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posted on 28 May 2017

Early Headlines: Bin Laden Son Emerges, Trump To Leave Paris Accord, Gov't Has Low Public Trust, May Lead Narrows, Final Mosul Push, Scheer Conserv. Pick In Canada, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 28 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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  • Bin Laden’s son steps into father’s shoes as al-Qaeda attempts a comeback (The Washington Post) Hamza bin Laden has made a string of recent pronouncements eerily reminiscent of his father, Osama bin Laden. Many terrorism experts regard Hamza as the crown prince of al-Qaeda’s global network. Posted just two weeks before Monday’s suicide bombing in Manchester, England, a recent message includes a specific call for attacks on European and North American cities to avenge the deaths of Syrian children killed in airstrikes.


  • NOAA Predicts Above-Normal Hurricane Season (Bloomberg) The 2017 hurricane season starts June 1, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts above-normal activity: 11 to 17 tropical storms across the Atlantic, of which two to four could become major hurricanes. Cleanup costs could add up. Since 1980─when NOAA started keeping detailed records─32 hurricanes have resulted in at least $1 billion in insured and uninsured losses in the U.S. Seven of the eight costliest hurricanes have occurred since 2004. Here are the 20 most costly storms:


  • Public Trust in Government Remains Near Historic Lows as Partisan Attitudes Shift (Pew Research Center) The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted April 5-11 among 1,501 adults, finds that the overall level of trust in government remains near historic lows; just 20% say they trust the government to do what’s right always or most of the time. Far more say they trust the government only some of the time (68%); 11% volunteer that they never trust the government to do what’s right. The public’s feelings about government tend more toward frustration than anger, according to the survey results.


The world just got its first close-up look at Donald Trump. It didn’t always like what it saw.

There he was pushing aside Montenegro’s prime minister to be front-and-center for a NATO photo-op. Here he was beaming giddily next to a stern-faced pope. On the same day, his wife Melania swatted away his attempt to hold hands.

In Saudi Arabia, one senior White House official marveled at the lack of protesters, perhaps not realizing Saudi bans them. In Israel, after an historic direct flight from Riyadh, Trump raised eyebrows with the comment, “we just got back from the Middle East." In Brussels, Trump walked into the gleaming new NATO headquarters -- and, with a real-estate mogul’s eye, made clear he wondered if they’d overpaid.


  • Scotland's Ruling Party to Pledge End of Austerity With Spending (Bloomberg) Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon will pledge to end austerity with £118 billion ($151 billion) of spending across the U.K. in the next five years to boost public services and support families when the party sets out its manifesto this week. The party plans to balance the budget by the end of Parliament in 2022, and will set to alleviate the pace of deficit cuts "in a responsible way" by balancing current spending, rather than aim for a surplus, the SNP said in a statement. It will also seek to stabilize net borrowing at its pre-financial crisis levels, while aiming to reduce debt from 2019. The plans would allow a further £10 billion in spending on Scotland over the next five years.

  • UK PM May's lead narrows after Manchester attack placing landslide win in doubt (Reuters) British Prime Minister Theresa May's lead over the opposition Labour Party has narrowed sharply, according to five opinion polls published since the Manchester attack, suggesting she might not win the landslide predicted just a month ago.

Four opinion polls published on Saturday showed that May's lead had contracted by a range of 2 to 6 percentage points, indicating the June 8 election could be much tighter than initially thought when she called the snap vote.


  • Unemployment So Low It's Time for Poland to Worry About It (Bloomberg) To the extent that Poland’s record-low joblessness matters for policy makers, it’s only as a sign of worse to come. While the numbers dazzle, behind them is labor supply squeezed by emigration, a low participation rate and government policies such as a reduction in the retirement age that further shrink the pool of workers. Under Eurostat methodology, Polish unemployment was at 5.3 percent in March and February, among the lowest in the European Union. The central bank estimates the rate is already below the level that puts pressure on wages.


  • Iraqi forces launch operation to seize last Islamic State enclave in Mosul (Reuters) Iraqi armed forces launched an operation on Saturday to capture the last Islamic State-held enclave in Mosul, according to a military statement. The fall of the city would, in effect, mark the end of the Iraqi half of the "caliphate" declared nearly three years ago by Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, which also covers parts of Syria.

The enclave includes the Old City center and three adjacent districts along the western bank of the Tigris river.

The U.S.-backed offensive in Mosul, now in its eighth month, has taken longer than planned as the militants are dug in among civilians.


  • Kushner Weighed Creating a Secret Channel With Russia (Bloomberg) Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, considered setting up a secret line of communications between the incoming administration and the Russian government, primarily to discuss a resolution to the crisis in Syria, according to a person familiar with the matter. Kushner discussed the idea with Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in December, as the Trump team was preparing its transition to the White House after its unexpected election victory a month earlier. The line was never established, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter.


Scheer, a 38-year-old bilingual father of five, was elected in voting revealed Saturday in Toronto from a field of 14 candidates. He had trailed libertarian Maxime Bernier, a black-sheep former cabinet minister, through the first 12 ballots before leapfrogging Bernier and passing the required 50 percent threshold on the 13th and final ballot. He finished with 51 percent.

Scheer campaigned on a vision that largely extended the legacy of Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister who governed Canada from 2006 to 2015. Scheer is a former Speaker of the House of Commons first elected as a lawmaker in 2004, and thanked Harper at length in his victory speech.

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