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posted on 18 June 2017

Early Headlines: Record Coal Drop, Bitcoin Rebound, Mueller "Political Hack", Few Americans Want Cuts, 20k Homes Vacant In London, Macron Sweep, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 18 June 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

  • World Coal Production Just Had Its Biggest Drop on Record (Bloomberg) It’s the end of an era for coal. Production of the fossil fuel dropped by a record amount in 2016, according to BP Plc’s annual review of global energy trends. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years and use dropped in the U.S to a level last seen in the 1970s, the company’s data show.

  • In less than three days, bitcoin bounced more than 20 percent from its low of the month.

  • Developers appeared to reach some agreement on a technological upgrade that threatened to divide bitcoin in two.

  • Bitcoin remains more than 150 percent higher year-to-date.

U.S.

  • Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller Is a “Political Hack" (Global Research) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. This is a repost from Washington's Blog with has contributed to GEI. This is a fasticiously referenced review of an extensive portion of Robert Mueller's years as Director of the FBI. The conclusion:

Rather than being “above the fray", Mueller is an authoritarian and water-carrier for the status quo and the powers-that-be.

  • Ethics chief: Waiver that covers Bannon is 'problematic' (CNN) A top government ethics official is taking issue with a White House waiver that allows chief strategist Steve Bannon to talk to the news organization he used to run. Walter Shaub, the director of the Office of Government Ethics, told lawmakers in a letter Tuesday that the waiver was "problematic" because it isn't signed or dated and "purports to have 'retroactive' effect."

  • Key GOP senators to watch on ObamaCare (The Hill) The Senate is heading into a critical two-week stretch, where GOP leaders are aiming to hold a vote before July 4 on an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill that hasn’t yet been fully written. It’s crunch time, as leadership needs to finish the bill and ensure at least enough moderates and conservatives support the final product. It won’t be an easy task. This article discusses the key Republican players:

  • Mike Lee (UT)

  • Rand Paul (KY)

  • Ted Cruz (TX)

  • Lisa Murkowski (AK)

  • Susan Collins (ME)

  • Dean Heller (NV)

  • Rob Portman (OH)

  • Shelley Capito (WV)

"They're going to get somebody. I don't think they're going to get the president, but they're going to get somebody, and they're going to get him for something. And they're probably going to go to jail. This is like watching an old-fashioned Western movie. This is an Indian hunting party. They're out looking for a couple scalps, and they're not going to go home until they get some."

UK

  • 30,000 buildings in UK are covered in the same cladding as Grenfell Tower (Metro) Tens of thousands of buildings across the UK are covered in the same cladding that surrounded Grenfell Tower. The covering, made from aluminium composite material, is on 87 more tower blocks similar to the west London flats. They are currently under enforcement orders for failures in their fire safety precautions, the Daily Mirror reports. Up to 30,000 buildings of varying heights are wrapped in the cladding leading to fire experts to express serious concerns over their safety. Calls are now being made to tear down any building wrapped in the potentially hazardous material.

  • Government ministers ‘congratulated themselves’ for cutting fire regulations (Metro) Conservative ministers were proud of slashing fire regulations, just months ahead of the Grenfell Tower block blaze. Scores are feared dead in the social housing complex in West London. In February this year, ministers posted on a government website details of their ‘anti-red tape’ agenda on new-build properties. In a separate report fire safety inspections, the Conservatives said, had been reduced for some companies from six hours to just 45 minutes. The move, titled Cutting Red Tape, was part of the Tory plans to abolish a ‘health and safety’ culture that they claimed was hurting money-making businesses.

  • Map reveals shocking number of empty homes across London (Metro) A map has laid bare the shocking number of homes that sit empty in London while many in the capital struggle to find somewhere they can afford to live. According to research some 19,845 homes sat idle for over six months in the capital in 2016 and collectively would worth £9.4 billion ($12 billion) at the average market price.

Click for larger image.

France

The new president’s year-old party, Republic on the Move, won 32.3 percent of the vote alongside its centrist ally MoDem, more than 13 percentage points ahead of the Republicans’ group, according to the Interior Ministry’s final vote count. The first round was marked by record-low turnout with less than half the registered voters casting a ballot. In an alliance with the centrist MoDem party, Macron’s group will have between 415 and 455 seats out of 577 in the lower house of parliament, according to projections by Ipsos.

Cuba

  • President Trump announced his decision to reverse the Obama administration's policies on Cuba.

  • A closer look shows that the policies aren't that different than what we have now.

  • But the rally and Trump's words came off beautifully in front of a key voting block.

  • Wilkerson: Practically Everyone Opposes Trump's Reversal of Obama's Cuba Opening (The Real News Network) College of William and Mary Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Government and Public Policy Lawrence Wilkerson's last positions in government were as Secretary of State Colin Powell's Chief of Staff (2002-05), Associate Director of the State Department's Policy Planning staff under the directorship of Ambassador Richard N. Haass, and member of that staff responsible for East Asia and the Pacific, political-military and legislative affairs (2001-02). Before serving at the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army. During that time, he was a member of the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College (1987 to 1989), Special Assistant to General Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93), and Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Virginia (1993-97). Wilkerson retired from active service in 1997 as a colonel, and began work as an advisor to General Powell. He has also taught national security affairs in the Honors Program at the George Washington University. He is currently working on a book about the first George W. Bush administration.

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