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posted on 25 May 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Up, Oil Up, Dollar Down, Gold Steady, Bitcoin $2600, CBO Backlash, EPA Science Cuts, Trump Base Shrinks, PBOC Needs Rate Hike, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 25 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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Global

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U.S.

The long-awaited analysis of the ObamaCare repeal bill found that a controversial amendment from Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) - added at the last minute to secure conservative votes - would have a significant effect despite Republican assurances to the contrary.

The amendment allows states to waive rules governing what an insurance plan must cover and lets insurers charge sick people more based on their health.

  • Trump faces rougher reception in NATO, EU meetings (Reuters) After a warm welcome in the Middle East and a "fantastic" visit with the pope, U.S. President Donald Trump walks on shakier ground on Thursday when European Union and NATO leaders will press him on defense, trade, and environmental concerns. The Republican president, midway through his first foreign trip since taking office, has basked in the glow of favorable receptions in Riyadh and Jerusalem, where leaders lauded his harsh words for Iran. Praise may be in shorter supply in Brussels. Trump questioned the relevance of the NATO military alliance as a presidential candidate, and is considering pulling the United States out of the Paris agreement on climate change - a huge concern in Europe. The EU was also a party to the Iran nuclear agreement, which Trump has criticized sharply.

  • Bad intel from Russia influenced Comey's Clinton announcement: report (The Hill) Former FBI Director James Comey’s controversial decision to detail the FBI’s findings in the Hillary Clinton email case without Justice Department input was influenced by a dubious Russian document that the FBI now considers to be bad intelligence, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.

The secret document, which purported to be a piece of Russian intelligence, claimed that former Attorney General Loretta Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the investigation into Clinton’s handling of classified information would go nowhere.

But according to people familiar with the matter, by August the FBI had come to believe the document was unreliable - and in fact may have been planted as a fake to confuse the FBI.

Comey made his announcement in July.

When the city of Toledo temporarily lost access to clean drinking water several years ago after a bloom of toxic algae, the Environmental Protection Agency sent scientists from its Office of Research and Development to study health effects and formulate solutions.

The same office was on the front lines of the Flint water crisis and was a critical presence in handling medical waste from the U.S. Ebola cases in 2014.

President Trump’s 2018 budget would slash ORD’s funding in half as part of an overall goal to cut the EPA’s budget by 31 percent.

ORD has no regulatory authority, but it conducts the bulk of the research that underlies EPA policies. ORD scientists are involved in “virtually every major environmental challenge the nation has," Burke said. Diminishing the role and input of the office, he said, risked leaving the country “uninformed about risks and public health."

UK

  • UK hits out at US over leaks in Manchester attack probe (Financial Times) British security officials investigating the Manchester terror attack are considering withholding sensitive information from Washington after a series of damaging leaks they fear are endangering British lives. Such a move would break with years of ever-closer counter terrorism work between the US and the UK that has followed the September 11 attacks.

As British authorities race to gather intelligence on the Manchester bomber, fearful of a potential second terror attack, the growing controversy over the secrecy of their work is threatening to sour relations with the UK’s closest ally.

UK intelligence and security agencies are frustrated by leaks of up-to-date information about the attack which appears to have been disclosed to media by US counterparts without permission.

China

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  • In first under Trump, U.S. warship challenges Beijing's claims in South China Sea (Reuters) A U.S. Navy warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of an artificial island built up by China in the South China Sea, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, the first such challenge to Beijing in the strategic waterway since U.S. President Donald Trump took office. The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the USS Dewey traveled close to the Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, among a string of islets, reefs and shoals over which China has territorial disputes with its neighbors.

The so-called freedom of navigation operation, which is sure to anger China, comes as Trump is seeking Beijing's cooperation to rein in ally North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

Territorial waters are generally defined by U.N. convention as extending at most 12 nautical miles from a state's coastline.

south.china.sea.territorial.limits

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