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posted on 27 May 2017

Early Headlines: OPEC Vs US Shale, Polluters Control Regulations, More Refugees For US, Kushner And Russia, Trump Starts Russia War Room, Big Bets Long The Euro, China's Oil Demand Is Shrinking, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 27 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

When it comes to the fossil fuel industry participating in UN climate negotiations, it’s clear there is a conflict of interest - and demands for this to end are nothing new. But after fierce resistance to this idea during talks in Bonn last week from the EU, US and Australia, more needs to be done, argues Pascoe Sabido of Corporate Europe Observatory. With just six months to go before November’s COP23 climate negotiations, calls for big polluters to be excluded from the talks are growing.

U.S.

  • U.S. Quietly Lifts Limit on Number of Refugees Allowed In (The New York Times) Despite repeated efforts by President Trump to curtail refugee resettlements, the State Department this week quietly lifted the department’s restriction on the number of refugees allowed to enter the United States. The result could be a near doubling of refugees entering the country, from about 830 people a week in the first three weeks of this month to well over 1,500 people per week by next month, according to refugee advocates. Tens of thousands of refugees are waiting to come to the United States.

The State Department’s decision was conveyed in an email on Thursday to the private agencies in countries around the world that help refugees manage the nearly two-year application process needed to enter the United States.

In her email, Jennifer L. Smith, a department official, wrote that the refugee groups could begin bringing people to the United States “unconstrained by the weekly quotas that were in place."

  • Kushner had undisclosed contacts with Russia envoy (Reuters) President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, Jared Kushner, had at least three previously undisclosed contacts with the Russian ambassador to the United States during and after the 2016 presidential campaign, seven current and former U.S. officials told Reuters.

  • In shakeup, Trump to set up 'war room' to repel attacks over Russia probe (Reuters) Once U.S. President Donald Trump returns from his overseas trip, the White House plans to launch its most aggressive effort yet to push back against allegations involving Russia and his presidential campaign, tackling head-on a scandal that has threatened to consume his young presidency.

Trump's advisers are planning to establish a "war room" to combat mounting questions about communication between Russia and his presidential campaign before and after November's presidential election, while bringing new aides into the White House, administration officials and persons close to Trump told Reuters.

The strategic shake-up comes as Republicans in Washington increasingly have fretted that the probe, continued chaos in the West Wing and Trump's steady slide in opinion polls will derail the president's drive to reform healthcare, cut taxes and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.

  • Russian Once Tied to Trump Aide Seeks Immunity to Cooperate With Congress (The New York Times) Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch once close to President Trump’s former campaign manager, has offered to cooperate with congressional committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but lawmakers are unwilling to accept his conditions, according to congressional officials.

Mr. Deripaska’s offer comes amid increased attention to his ties to Paul Manafort, who is one of several Trump associates under F.B.I. scrutiny for possible collusion with Russia during the presidential campaign. The two men did business together in the mid-2000s, when Mr. Manafort, a Republican operative, was also providing campaign advice to Kremlin-backed politicians in Ukraine. Their relationship subsequently soured and devolved into a lawsuit.

Mr. Deripaska, an aluminum magnate who is a member of the inner circle of the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, recently offered to cooperate with congressional intelligence committees in exchange for a grant of full immunity, according to three congressional officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the issue publicly. But the Senate and House panels turned him down because of concerns that immunity agreements create complications for federal criminal investigators, the officials said.

EU

long.euro.2017.may.26

China

  • China April industrial profits up 14 percent but slowing pace stokes economy worries (Investing.com) Profits earned by Chinese industrial firms rose 14.0% in April from a year earlier, official data showed on Saturday, slowing from March's pace and adding to concerns that the world's second-largest economy may be losing steam. Profits in April rose to ¥572.78 billion ($83.59 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on its website. Profits had surged 23.8% in March over the same month of last year. For the first fourth months of the year, profits reached ¥2.28 trillion, up 24.4% from the same period last year and compared with a growth of 28.3% in the first quarter.

  • China's teapot refiners set to slow crude imports as tanks overflow (Reuters) As OPEC extends production cuts in a bid to tighten the oil market, China's independent refiners - awash with crude and facing disappointing local demand - are poised to slow purchases of oil for at least the next two months. The move by China's so-called "teapots", a key driver of the country's crude appetite, will stir concerns about demand in the world's top oil buyer, which fell from a peak of 9.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in March to 8.4 million bpd in April. Independent refiners, mainly based in Shandong, are under pressure to cut run rates as profit margins have been squeezed by Beijing's tighter scrutiny over taxes and shifting quota policies, while some have begun seasonal maintenance.

Australia

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