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posted on 29 July 2017

Early Headlines: Priebus Out, Kelly In, GOP Split On Health Care, More Wells Fargo Fraud, GDP Analysis, London Home Sales Way Down, IS Killing Their Own, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 29 July 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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  • Priebus forced out as White House chief of staff (The Hill) President Trump dismissed Reince Priebus as chief of staff on Friday, announcing on Twitter that he picked Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly as his new top aide. The dramatic move on Friday comes amid a long-simmering feud between Priebus and new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci, who lambasted him in an interview with The New Yorker this week. Speaking to reporters, Trump called Priebus a "good man" but called Kelly a "star". For the callous nature of the timing of the dismisal, see Reince Priebus parted ways with White House on airport tarmac.
  • Wells Fargo Does It Again, This Time With Unwanted Auto Insurance (Bloomberg) Fraudulent bank accounts, bogus credit cards, compromised customer data and, now, unwanted car insurance. Wells Fargo & Co., it seems, just can’t stay out of trouble. News late this week that the lender may have charged more than 500,000 people for auto insurance they didn’t need has raised uncomfortable questions for the bank, including the big one: What will it take to clean up Wells Fargo? Econintersect: Felony convictions of executives.
  • Five Stages of White House Employment (Twitter)


  • Long Island police department responds to Trump: We don't tolerate roughing up prisoners (The Hill) The Suffolk County Police Department said they do not tolerate the “roughing up of prisoners" in response to President Trump’s address to police on Long Island on Wednesday, in which the president said cops should treat subjects violently.
  • Republicans Shellshocked by Health Defeat Split on Next Step (Bloomberg) Republicans in Congress have been unable to agree on a way to repeal and replace Obamacare -- and now they’re divided on whether they should give up on their GOP-only approach. Senator John McCain urged fellow senators Friday to "start fresh" and seek a bipartisan plan, hours after he provided the decisive vote against his chamber’s latest Obamacare-repeal proposal. "We can do this," the Arizona Republican said in a statement. Some in the GIP want to fix Obamacare but others are still pushing for repeal. See also Moving On From the Senate's Health-Care Debacle: The next step is honesty.
  • Scaramucci's wife files for divorce (The Hill) Anthony Scaramucci and his wife are reportedly calling it quits. The White House communication director’s wife has filed for divorce just days after Scaramucci took on his new role in President Trump's administration, according to the New York Post. Deidre Ball was tired of Scaramucci’s “naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end," a source told the Post in a Friday story. Scaramucci and Ball, who once worked as vice president in investor relations at her husband’s former hedge fund, have reportedly been married for three years and have two children. A source told the paper:

“Deidre is not a fan of Trump, and she hasn’t exactly been on board and supportive of Anthony and his push to get back into the White House."

On Wednesday night, I received a phone call from Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director. He wasn’t happy. Earlier in the night, I’d tweeted, citing a “senior White House official," that Scaramucci was having dinner at the White House with President Trump, the First Lady, Sean Hannity, and the former Fox News executive Bill Shine. It was an interesting group, and raised some questions. Was Trump getting strategic advice from Hannity? Was he considering hiring Shine? But Scaramucci had his own question - for me.

Who leaked that to you?" he asked. I said I couldn’t give him that information. He responded by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. “What I’m going to do is, I will eliminate everyone in the comms team and we’ll start over," he said. I laughed, not sure if he really believed that such a threat would convince a journalist to reveal a source. He continued to press me and complain about the staff he’s inherited in his new job. “I ask these guys not to leak anything and they can’t help themselves," he said. “You’re an American citizen, this is a major catastrophe for the American country. So I’m asking you as an American patriot to give me a sense of who leaked it."


  • Europe’s Rocky Recovery (Project Syndicate) While the US and the UK have been mired in political chaos this year, the EU has enjoyed improved economic conditions and some political windfalls. The question now is whether this good news will inspire long-needed EU and eurozone reforms, or merely fuel complacency - and thus set the stage for another crisis down the road.


  • Hardly Any Homes Are Selling in London (Bloomberg) London home sales show no sign of recovering as high values, tax increases and worries about the U.K. economy continue to put off potential buyers. Sales volume is still much lower than it was before a tax increase on second homes and landlords took effect in April 2016, a few months before the U.K. voted to leave the EU. About 5,500 homes were sold in London in May, according to preliminary data from the U.K. Land Registry data. That figure will rise slightly as the data is revised, but the message is clear. In 2015, for example, 10,000 homes would be sold in a typical month. In London's desirable borough of Islington, just 87 sales have been recorded so far in May, compared with 139 in May 2016 or 259 in two years before that. Interactive chart is shown in the article.

Click for large image.


  • Jihan Sheikh Ahmad: SDF captures 50% of Raqqa (Iraqi News) The Syrian Democratic Forces managed to recapture several neighborhoods and security points, belonging to the Islamic State group, since the beginning of the “Wrath of the Euphrates" military operation in the city last June. The spokesperson of the “Wrath of the Euphrates" Operation Command, Jihan sheikh Ahmad, said in a press statement:

“The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is now controlling 50% of the city [Raqqa]."


  • Islamic State infighting leaves many members dead in Kirkuk (Iraqi News) Hat tip to Sig Silber who suggests there are similarities between Kirkuk and Washington DC. Several Islamic State members were killed and wounded after internal splits ignited infighting among the militants in Kirkuk, a security source was quoted saying Friday. Alsumaria News quoted the source saying that violent armed clashes erupted Friday between IS members from Haija and others positioned in Abbassi region (35 Km southwest of Kirkuk), leaving many dead and injured. The source said, referring to the group’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi:

“The clashes took place over disagreements regarding the distribution of ranks and allegiance to Baghdadi."

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