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posted on 30 August 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks And Gold Up, Oil And Dollar Down, Mattis Freezes Trump Order, Texas Rain A U.S. Record, Euro Keeps Climbing, Pound Keeps Falling, China And India Back Off Doklam, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 30 August 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.aug.30

U.S.

  • Mattis freezes transgender policy; allows troops to continue serving, pending study (USA Today) Defense Secretary Jim Mattis late Tuesday announced that transgender troops will be allowed to continue serving in the military pending the results of a study by experts. The announcement follows an order from President Trump - first announced in a tweet - declaring that transgender service members can no longer serve in the military, effectively reversing an Obama administration policy. The order also affects the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Coast Guard. Mattis said in the statement:

"Once the panel reports its recommendations and following my consultation with the secretary of Homeland Security, I will provide my advice to the president concerning implementation of his policy direction. In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place."

Rains in the region, near Mont Belvieu, Texas, reached 51.88 inches as of 3:30 p.m. CDT. That's a record for both Texas and the continental United States but it doesn't surpass the 52 inches from tropical cyclone Hiki in Kauai, Hawaii, in 1950 -- before Hawaii became a state.

  • Texas Just Passed a New Law That Could Screw Harvey Victims (Daily Beast) For many Texans ravaged by the rain and winds Hurricane Harvey carried ashore this past weekend, filing an insurance claim for the damage their property sustained is probably the farthest thing from their minds right now. But waiting to submit a claim past Friday could cost them big. A new law set to take effect Friday aims to crack down on frivolous insurance lawsuits. But House Bill 1774 also reduces the penalty interest rate insurance companies face for late payments if the policyholder files a lawsuit.
  • Presidential Pardons Might Not End Russia Prosecutions (NBC News) President Donald Trump's unusual pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, issued before his federal case was even finished, has sparked a debate over whether the president could end Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe with a spate of preemptive pardons. But even mass pardons of all suspects in the Russia case would not close the door to potential prosecutions. While presidential pardons can halt the federal case, local prosecutors could then pursue any Americans suspected of aiding Russia's election meddling. In fact, legal experts say presidential pardons could make that prospect more likely. According to a new MSNBC legal analysis, federal pardons could open the door to local criminal investigations in several states.
  • Trump blocks Obama rule on collecting info on pay by race, gender (The Hill) The White House will shut down an Obama-era rule that would have required businesses to track how much they pay workers of varying genders, races and ethnicities according to a new report. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that Trump officials will stay the rule, which would have gone into effect in the spring, because it created a burden for employers. Neomi Rao, administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, told The Journal:

"It's enormously burdensome. We don't believe it would actually help us gather information about wage and employment discrimination."

EU

  • The Mighty Euro (The Daily Shot) The euro keeps climbing. The increase is more than 15% against the dollar this year.

UK

Sterling has been weighed down in recent weeks by weak growth figures and moderating inflation, which have lowered expectations of a rise in interest rates this year from the Bank of England.

Slow progress so far in Brexit negotiations has also offered little reason for traders to buy the pound, according to Jeremy Cook, chief economist at forex firm World First.

Afghanistan

India

  • Doklam standoff ends as India, China step back (The Hindu) After weeks of diplomatic negotiations, India and China agreed to disengage from the standoff on the Doklam plateau, disputed between China and Bhutan, with a formula that saw China promise to make “necessary adjustments" to their troop deployments, after Indian troops withdrew back to their posts in Sikkim on Monday.
  • India Has Asia's Highest Real Interest Rates (The Daily Shot) India has the highest real rates among its Asian peers. Will the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) consider further rate cuts soon?

South Korea

  • The Trump administration's efforts to renegotiate the U.S. free trade agreement with South Korea has already run into headwinds
  • U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had sought a special meeting with South Korea over the administration's concerns about the U.S. goods trade deficit
  • But South Korea didn't agree on the need to renegotiate
  • Analysts also pointed to inconsistencies in blaming the deficit on the trade deal

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