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posted on 20 June 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar Lower, Oil And Gold Up, Pound Down,"W" And Obama Gain Popularity, Brexit Talks Start, London House Prices Down, China 'A' Shares 19-Mo High, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 20 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

asia.pac.2017.jun.20

ExxonMobil Corp., Total SA, Raymond Dalio, Laurene Powell Jobs, Stephen Hawking, Ratan Tata, and Michael Bloomberg, the founder and owner of Bloomberg LP, among others, have signed on as "founding members" of a months-old group called the Climate Leadership Council. The organization is the brainchild of Ted Halstead, a serial think-tank entrepreneur, who set out to craft traditionally conservative ideas into a potential climate fix.

The Council has developed a draft policy that taxes climate pollution and redirects the money to taxpayers.

U.S.

  • Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill (The Hill) Senate Democrats are stepping up their attacks on the GOP's push to repeal and replace ObamaCare as the legislative battle enters a critical two-week stretch. Democrats can’t block a healthcare bill on their own, but are threatening to shut down the Senate in retaliation for Republicans negotiating their legislation in a string of closed-door GOP-only meetings. See also Warren cites 'avalanche' of opposition to GOP health bill.

  • In Hamptons House, a Link to Manafort and Jared Kushner’s Dad (Bloomberg) The Kushners and the Manaforts, it turns out, go way back -- at least when it comes to two of New York’s great obsessions: money and real estate. Kushner, of course, is now the son-in-law and confidant of President Trump. Manafort is a big-time Republican strategist and Trump’s former campaign manager. Both have been pulled into the vortex of questions surrounding the administration and Russia.

  • Poll: Bush, Obama gaining popularity under Trump (Politico) Former presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have seen their favorability ratings rise in retirement and since President Donald Trump took office, according to a Gallup Poll released Monday. Both Obama and Bush are viewed favorably by about six in 10 adults, and both are more popular than Trump, who registered a favorability rating of 40 percent in the current poll.

  • Battle Over Sanctuary Cities Pits California Against Texas (Bloomberg) The White House has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to jump into Texas’s battle to force its cities and elected local officials to comply with the state’s tough sanctuary-city ban, which makes it a crime to shelter some undocumented immigrants from deportation. At the same time, California was taking steps to thwart Trump’s stance, with the Legislature considering a bill that would formally declare the most populous state a sanctuary, barring local law enforcement from using resources to help federal authorities target immigrants for deportation.

UK

Officials will meet on a monthly basis. However, in a significant concession, Britain's negotiators have now agreed to an EU demand to delay talks on a new trading relationship.

Previously, the UK had insisted on so-called parallel talks, in which both divorce terms and a future relationship would be covered simultaneously. EU officials have long insisted on covering the topics in sequence.

  • UK house prices have fallen in June for the first time since 2009 (City A.M.) June: traditionally a month the UK's house-hunters dust off their walking shoes go in search of a new home. Not so much this year, though, new figures have shown, after house prices fell this month, the first time they've fallen in June since 2009. Rightmove's house price index showed average asking prices fell 0.4% between 14 May and 10 June, having risen 1.2% the month before.

Qatar

  • Barclays, Former Executives Charged Over Qatar Fundraising (Bloomberg) Barclays Plc and four former executives were charged with conspiracy to commit fraud regarding the bank’s 2008 capital raising from Qatar, following a five-year investigation into one of the most turbulent periods in financial history. The UK Serious Fraud Office said Tuesday that former Chief Executive Officer John Varley, former chairman of investment banking for the Middle East Roger Jenkins, ex-deputy head of investment banking Richard Boath and ex-wealth chief Thomas Kalaris face charges along with the bank.

The case stems from 322 million pounds ($410 million) in fees Barclays paid Qatari investors for a loan as part of a wider 12 billion-pound fundraising during the 2008 financial crisis to avoid a state bailout and a $3 billion loan facility made available to Qatar. A London court hearing is scheduled for July 3.

Russia

  • Russia warns US-led coalition that all of its aircraft, including drones, are now 'targets' if they operate west of the Euphrates River in Syria

  • Sen. John McCain calls Russian threat 'outrageous' and says 'U.S. must take necessary steps'

  • Russia plans to disconnect its military 'de-confliction' hotline with U.S.

Pakistan

  • Exclusive: Trump seen hardening line toward Pakistan after Afghan war review (Reuters) President Donald Trump's administration appears ready to harden its approach toward Pakistan to crack down on Pakistan-based militants launching attacks in neighboring Afghanistan, U.S. officials tell Reuters. Potential Trump administration responses being discussed include expanding U.S. drone strikes, redirecting or withholding some aid to Pakistan and perhaps eventually downgrading Pakistan's status as a major non-NATO ally, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

India

North Korea

  • Trump Blames North Korea's 'Brutal Regime' for Student's Death (Bloomberg) President Donald Trump on Monday denounced the death of Otto Warmbier, saying the University of Virginia student who spent more than a year imprisoned in North Korea suffered at the hands of a “brutal regime." “At least he got home to his parents," the president said during an event with technology CEOs at the White House, speaking just hours after Warmbier died. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in March 2016 for trying to steal a political banner, and was medically evacuated to Ohio last week.

China

  • China's pork demand hits a peak, shocking producers, as diets get healthier (Reuters) China's frozen dumpling makers are finding there's a quick route to winning new sales - increase the vegetable content, and cut down on the meat. This departure from traditional pork-rich dumplings is a hit with busy, young urbanites, trying to reduce the fat in diets often heavy on fast food.

For pig farmers in China and abroad, it is a difficult trend to stomach. The producers and other market experts had expected the growth to continue until at least 2026.

Chinese hog farmers are on a building spree, constructing huge modern farms to capture a bigger share of the world's biggest pork market, while leading producers overseas have been changing the way they raise their pigs to meet Chinese standards for imports. Some have, for example, stopped using growth hormones banned in China.

Click for large image.

china.a.shares.2017.jun.19

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