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posted on 21 May 2017

Early Headlines: TPP Tries To Advance Without US, CEOs In Riyadh, Screwing Planet Exponentially, Saudis And Russians Are Strange Bedfellows, Still No Inflation In Japan, No. Korea Unit 180, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 21 May 2017

Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.


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  • TPP countries agree to explore options for trade deal without U.S. (Reuters) Remaining countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal have agreed to explore options for continuing with it despite U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to ditch it, ministers from Mexico and New Zealand said on Sunday. The so-called TPP-11 countries held their highest level talks on the deal since the U.S. pullout on the sidelines of a meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries in Hanoi, Vietnam.

  • Screwing the Planet at an Exponential Rate (Twitter)

Click for larger image.



  • Trump: What We Saw Is What We Got (Bloomberg) What we saw in the Trump candidacy is what we have gotten in the Trump presidency. This column says that disorganized dishonesty is the hallmark of the administration’s response to accusations of misconduct.

Donald Trump promised he’d be a different kind of president, and he’s certainly delivered.

He’s not one of those politicians who campaigns as one sort of person and then governs as quite another. While voters were weighing him as a possible president, he made it clear that he saw the norms of American politics and government as contemptible. He showed himself to have excellent instincts - or at least an eye for the main chance - but not to be interested in the details of public policy or inclined to listen to those who are. A small circle of family and close friends were the only people whose counsel he took to heart. He had no guiding political principles but placed immense value on personal loyalty to him. His words weren’t meant to be taken as literally as those of other politicians, and he was much less coy than they were about bragging.

Donald Trump is shredding the Constitution. But he can’t do it on his own. He needs a lot of help to advance an agenda that aggressively assaults the rule of law, the separation of powers, freedom of the press, and the basic liberties of Americans.

 Trump’s got Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the job of attacking voting-rights and civil-rights protections. He’s got House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell shutting down the system of checks and balances. But the work of undermining basic liberties is a big task, even for an authoritarian president, so Trump is reportedly calling in reinforcements.

Meet Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr., an ardent ally of President Trump and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who announced on Wednesday that he would leave his elected post to become an assistant secretary in the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security.

Saudi Arabia

  • Corporate A-Listers Descend on Riyadh for Trump's CEO Summit (Bloomberg) More than 30 CEOs of major U.S. corporations were in Riyadh Saturday. Defense contractors were the big winners, but President Donald Trump’s first day in Saudi Arabia yielded a slew of high-profile investment deals that showcased the administration’s ability to draw support from major corporations.

Top executives who descended on Riyadh for a CEO summit timed to coincide with Trump’s visit included JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon, Blackstone Group LP CEO Steve Schwarzman, and Marillyn Hewson, the CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp.

Saturday’s meeting, the “Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum," drew the kind of corporate firepower Trump suggested he could harness when he ran for the Oval Office as a Washington outsider/business executive who would reach outside the Beltway and enlist other executives in support of the administration’s economic goals.

  • Saudi Arabia and Russia Are at Odds on Almost Everything, Except Oil (Bloomberg) Saudi Arabia and Russia are at odds on pretty much everything: the war in Syria, policies on Iran, ties with Washington. But when it comes to propping up global oil prices, they’ve never been more aligned. Just look at how the world’s two biggest oil producers united this month to tell markets they want to maintain output curbs for an extra nine months. Coordinated leaks and official statements from Riyadh and Moscow -- circulated even before the Saudis sit down to agree the cuts with OPEC this Thursday -- sent oil rallying more than 5% within days.



  • Japan inflation stagnant at 0.2% (Financial Times) The Japanese labor market is tightening but the country has yet to see any wage inflation or increases in consumer prices.

Consumption expenditures, adjusted for prices, were down 1.3 per cent compared with a year ago. That was similar to a 1.4 per cent fall in real incomes, showing how the failure of a tight labour market to turn into wage rises is holding back spending in the economy.

  • Imperial engagement worsens Japan royalty shortage (Financial Times) Japan has a demographic problen with an aging and shrinking population. That problem also afflicts the royal family. The engagement of imperial princess Mako to her university sweetheart last week added to the gaiety of the Japanese nation but highlighted a tricky issue: the chrysanthemum throne is running out of royals. Princesses are required by law to leave the imperial family when they marry a commoner, as the popular 25-year-old Mako will do when she weds aspiring lawyer Kei Komuro, reducing the membership of the imperial family from nineteen to eighteen.

North Korea

  • Exclusive: North Korea's Unit 180, the cyber warfare cell that worries the West (Reuters) North Korea's main spy agency has a special cell called Unit 180 that is likely to have launched some of its most daring and successful cyber attacks, according to defectors, officials and internet security experts. North Korea has been blamed in recent years for a series of online attacks, mostly on financial networks, in the United States, South Korea and over a dozen other countries. Cyber security researchers have also said they have found technical evidence that could link North Korea with the global WannaCry "ransomware" cyber attack that infected more than 300,000 computers in 150 countries this month. Pyongyang has called the allegation "ridiculous".

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