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posted on 21 June 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks, Oil, Dollar All Lower, Gold Up, Handel Wins GA Seat, EU Citizens Want 'Hard' Brexit, Saudi Succession Shake Up, China Gets Into MSCI, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 21 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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Special notice: Due to staff travel there will be no Early Bird tomorrow morning, 22 June.


Global

  • Stocks in Asia decline after fall in oil; MSCI says yes to China A-shares (CNBC) Asian bourses traded mostly lower on Wednesday following MSCI's decision to add mainland Chinese stocks to its emerging markets index gradually and as oil prices slipped around 2% overnight. The dollar traded at 97.703 against a basket of rival currencies, after trading as high as 97.871 in the previous session. Brent crude was off by 0.24% at $45.91 a barrel and U.S. WTI crude edged lower by 0.16% to trade at $43.44. Spot gold had risen 0.3% to $1,246.25 per ounce by 0423 GMT, after dropping as far as $1,241 in the previous session. U.S. gold futures for August delivery climbed 0.3% to $1,247.5 per ounce.

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Click for large image.

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U.S.

  • Republican Handel wins Georgia House seat in key contest (Associated Press) Republican Karen Handel has won a nationally watched congressional election in Georgia, avoiding an upset that would have rocked Washington ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Incomplete returns show Handel, a former Georgia secretary of state, winning almost 53% of the vote over Democrat Jon Ossoff, who won just over 47% in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

  • Trump seeks sharp cuts to housing aid, except for program that brings him millions (The Washington Post) President Trump’s budget calls for sharply reducing funding for programs that shelter the poor and combat homelessness - with a notable exception: It leaves intact a type of federal housing subsidy that is paid directly to private landlords.

One of those landlords is Trump himself, who earns millions of dollars each year as a part-owner of Starrett City, the nation’s largest subsidized housing complex. Trump’s 4 percent stake in the Brooklyn complex earned him at least $5 million between January of last year and April 15, according to his recent financial disclosure.

EU

  • Two-thirds of Europeans believe EU should take hard line on Brexit - poll (The Guardian) Two-thirds of Europeans believe the EU should take a hard line with the UK over Brexit, according to a survey. Of those questioned in Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy Austria, Hungary and Poland, 65% said the EU, while trying to maintain a good relationship with Britain, should not compromise on its core principles. The Chatham House-Kantar survey showed just 18% of people in the nine countries - compared with 49% of people in Britain - believed the opposite; that the European commission should aim to keep the UK as close as possible, at the expense of its principles, during the talks, which began on Monday.

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UK

  • London copes with deep divisions after attacks, tower fire (Associated Press) The city of London has endured three deadly Islamic extremist attacks in the last three months alone. And the pace of horrific events has quickened: In the last week, London’s worst fire in decades claimed at least 79 lives and a group of Muslims leaving prayers marking the holy month of Ramadan were intentionally run down by a man in a van.

The city - and the country - seem divided: Between rich and poor, Muslim and non-Muslim, between those who welcome outsiders and those who fear them. Signs of division are everywhere - the general election in early June did not produce a clear majority for any party, leaving the makeup of the next government unclear.

Saudi Arabia

Qatar

The public and blunt criticism of Riyadh and the United Arab Emirates marked a sharp about-turn from Donald Trump’s wholehearted backing for the embargo, and his accusations of terrorist funding against Qatar. It follows a increasing pattern in which the state and defence departments have pursued policies abroad that are far removed from Trump’s rhetoric.

Russia

  • Russia’s role in the world and views on national defense (Pew Research Center) Most Russians believe their country’s global influence has risen. A 59% majority believes that Russia now plays a more important role in the world than it did a decade ago, while only 17% think Russia is now less important. About two-in-ten (21%) think its importance has not changed in the past decade. Russians ages 50 and older are more inclined to believe Russia’s importance has grown (63%), compared with 48% of 18- to 29-year-olds. The share of Russians who believe their country gets the respect around the world it deserves has more than doubled over the past five years. Some other Russian opinions:

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Philippines

A police report said about 300 armed men, among them members of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), stormed a school in Pigcawayan town in North Cotabato province on Mindanao island and were holding some students captive.

Members of the BIFF were engaged in a gunbattle with the military, Chief Inspector Realan Mamon, the police chief at Pigcawayan, said in a radio interview.

North Korea

  • Death of American detained in North Korea baffles experts (Associated Press) What happened to Otto Warmbier, an American college student who died just days after North Korea released him from detention in a coma, is difficult to make sense of. It jars so strikingly with the fates of most past detained Americans that outside observers are left struggling not only with the mystery of what killed Warmbier but also with what his death means for attempts by Washington and its allies to stop North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear-tipped ICBM that can target the U.S. mainland. John Delury, an Asia expert at Seoul's Yonsei University said:

"The treatment of Otto Warmbier is beyond the pale of North Korea's usual standards. It's worth a forceful response. The U.S. government should not just throw up its hands and say, 'This is just how North Korea is.' But how do you do that in a smart way where there is some modicum of accountability?"

China

  • MSCI said Tuesday it plans to add 222 China A Large Cap stocks to its benchmark emerging markets index on a gradual basis beginning next year.

  • This was the fourth-straight year MSCI was considering adding the mainland-traded stocks.

  • The Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares ETF (ASHR) traded more than 2 percent higher in extended trading following the decision.

Australia

  • Iranian asylum seeker Mojgan Shamsalipoor faces deportation after visa denied (The Guardian) Iranian asylum seeker Mojgan Shamsalipoor has been given six months to leave Australia despite a long-running national campaign for immigration minister Peter Dutton to intervene and allow her to remain in Brisbane. The former Yeronga state high school student had her application for a partner visa rejected by the Department of Immigration and Border Protection on Wednesday, in a decision her lawyers said would “rip her away" from her husband, Milad Jafari, and her community. Shamsalipoor fled Iran aged 17 after an alleged rape by her stepfather and a forced marriage to a 60-year-old man, but has consistently been denied refugee status by the government.

Brazil

  • Brazil federal police accuse president of getting bribes (Associated Press) Brazil’s federal police said Tuesday that investigators have found evidence President Michel Temer received bribes to help businesses, raising a new threat that the embattled leader could be suspended from office pending a corruption trial. Temer has been under investigation due to plea bargain testimony by wealthy businessman Joesley Batista of the giant meatpacking company JBS that linked the president and an aide to bribes and the president to an alleged endorsement of hush money for jailed ex-House Speaker Eduardo Cunha. Temer has denied any wrongdoing and insists he will not resign.

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