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posted on 03 September 2017

Early Headlines: GOP Aligns For Dreamers, Scott Pruitt's Climate War, LA Is Burning, Drug Death Explosion, US - S. Korea Trade Deal To End?, NAFTA Struggles, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 03 September 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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  • House speaker urges Trump not to scrap 'Dreamers' immigration policy (Reuters) House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan urged President Donald Trump on Friday not to rescind an Obama-era program that protects immigrants who entered the United States illegally as children, as more Republicans lined up against the move. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump will announce on Tuesday whether he will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, which protects nearly 800,000 young men and women from deportation. It also makes those covered, so-called Dreamers, eligible for work permits.
  • The White House has become a cultural wasteland (The Economist) Cultural types don't like Donald Trump, and he has returned the favour by insulting and ignoring them. It's hard to imagine a presidential duty as easy, uncontroversial and plainly enjoyable as hosting the nation’s greatest artists, writers, actors and musicians at the White House. Such events offer a reprieve from politics and partisanship. They bestow glamour on an administration. They are a routine part of the job - a means of recognising and supporting the indispensable role of the arts in a great civilisation. Yet for Donald Trump even this duty is proving difficult.
  • For Scott Pruitt’s EPA, Climate-Change Denial Is Mission Critical (The Nation) The human tragedy resulting from Hurricane Harvey is also an environmental crisis - and the Environmental Protection Agency, even as it has been disrupted and diminished by the Trump administration, is playing a crucial role in responding to the flooding that has created dramatic new perils for Texans.

Unfortunately, the charlatan who heads the EPA, Scott Pruitt, is spinning discussions about that response to make them fit within the narrow confines of his climate-science denial. As America’s fourth-largest city was under water this week, and as reports mounted regarding environmental threats unleashed by the storms and the unprecedented flooding of industrial and refinery zones, Pruitt’s EPA went so far as to criticize media outlets and scientists who dared to suggest that there are explanations for the epic rainfall, storm surges, and flooding associated with Harvey to be found in climate science.

  • Largest fire in Los Angeles history forces hundreds to evacuate (The Washington Post) A fast-spreading brush fire north of Los Angeles forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes Friday and Saturday as firefighters struggled against triple-digit temperatures and erratic winds to contain the blaze, officials said.

Within a day, the wildfire - named the La Tuna Fire for its origin in La Tuna Canyon to the north of Burbank - had grown to cover more than 5,000 acres, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. In all, about 300 homes in Burbank, 250 homes in Glendale and 180 homes in Los Angeles were under evacuation as of Saturday afternoon.

Click for large image.

Drug overdoses are expected to remain the leading cause of death for Americans under 50, as synthetic opioids - primarily fentanyl and its analogues - continue to push the death count higher. Drug deaths involving fentanyl more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, accompanied by an upturn in deaths involving cocaine and methamphetamines. Together they add up to an epidemic of drug overdoses that is killing people at a faster rate than the H.I.V. epidemic at its peak.

Click for large image.

South Korea

  • Trump hints at withdrawal from U.S.-South Korea free trade deal (Reuters) President Donald Trump on Saturday said he would discuss the fate of a five-year-old U.S.-South Korean free trade deal with his advisers next week, in a move that could see him pull out of the accord with a key American ally at a time of heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula. Trump made his remarks to reporters while visiting hurricane-hit Houston a day after he spoke with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and struck a deal allowing Seoul access to longer-range missiles as well as a potential arms sale.

The U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), hammered out by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, has been a frequent target for Trump, who in earlier interviews with Reuters threatened to withdraw from what he called an unequal deal in which Washington runs a goods trade deficit of almost $28 billion with Seoul.


  • Activist Tintori says she is barred from leaving Venezuela (Reuters) Human rights activist Lilian Tintori, the wife of Venezuela’s best-known detained political leader, said on Saturday she had been barred from flying out of the country and summoned to a court hearing over cash found in her vehicle. French President Emmanuel Macron weighed in to say that Tintori was expected in Europe and Venezuela’s opposition should remain free. Tintori, whose husband, opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, is under house arrest, frequently travels abroad to campaign against President Nicolas Maduro’s socialist government and denounce rights abuses.


  • Mexico's Peña Nieto vows to defend 'national dignity' (BBC News) Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto says he will not accept any proposal that goes against national dignity in its negotiations with the US. It was his first state of the union address since US President Trump came to power promising to build a wall on the border and make Mexico pay for it.

Mr Peña Nieto's approval ratings have slumped amid concerns over drugs violence and the economy.

He also defended the North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Trump is an outspoken critic of the deal and initiated a renegotiation of the deal in May.

Trade officials from Mexico, the US and Canada are currently holding talks in Mexico City to come up with more proposals.

  • NAFTA negotiators seek to enshrine Mexico's energy reforms (Reuters) U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators are zeroing in on ways to enshrine Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s sweeping energy reforms into a modernized North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico’s chief negotiator said on Saturday. The 2014 reforms wrung control of the country’s oil and gas sector from state hands, opening it up to private investment, and incorporating them into the 23-year-old NAFTA is seen as a way to help preserve them for the long term.

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