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posted on 03 October 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar Up, Oil And Gold Down, Sand Crisis, Trump To Save Coal, Gun Violence In America, Euro Slump, Catalonia, US Expels Cuban Staff, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 03 October 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.oct.03

  • We're heading for a global sand crisis (World Economic Forum) When people picture sand spread across idyllic beaches and endless deserts, they understandably think of it as an infinite resource. But as discussed in a just-published perspective in the journal Science, over-exploitation of global supplies of sand is damaging the environment, endangering communities, causing shortages and promoting violent conflict.

Despite huge demand, sand sustainability is rarely addressed in scientific research and policy forums.

As long as national regulations are lightly enforced, harmful effects will continue to occur. We believe that the international community needs to develop a global strategy for sand governance, along with global and regional sand budgets. It is time to treat sand like a resource, on a par with clean air, biodiversity and other natural endowments that nations seek to manage for the future.

U.S.

  • Top House Intel Democrat: Make Russian Facebook ads public (The Hill) The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff (Calif.), says he is pushing for the 3,000 ads purchased on Facebook by Russian actors during the 2016 presidential campaign to be released to the public. The California Democrat says he hopes to make a “representative sampling" of the ads public by the time the House Intelligence Committee holds a hearing on the matter later this month. The committee expects Facebook, along with Twitter and Google, to send representatives to testify at the hearing.
  • Trump May Have Found Paths to Save Coal and Hobble Clean Energy (Bloomberg) President Donald Trump may soon have a chance to prove wrong the notion that economics will kill the U.S. coal industry and keep clean energy thriving.

Two initiatives pending in Washington -- one to prop up large traditional power plants and a second to impose tariffs on solar panels -- could let Trump upend wholesale electricity markets and tip the advantage away from renewables.

The moves, which both invoke laws that haven’t been used in a decade, come as Congress begins debating a White House tax plan that may undermine a key source of financing for clean energy. Together, they raise questions about whether falling costs will be enough to keep wind and solar thriving under a president intent on supporting fossil fuels.

  • Gun violence in America, explained in 17 maps and charts (Vox) America is an exceptional country when it comes to guns. It’s one of the few countries in which the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected. But America’s relationship with guns is unique in another crucial way: Among developed nations, the US is far and away the most violent - in large part due to the easy access many Americans have to firearms.

EU

Click for large image.

euro.2017.oct.02

UK

  • Brexit will hit Britain’s overseas territories hard - why is no one talking about it? (The Conversation) The 14 British Overseas Territories (OTs) are remnants of empire, mainly scattered through the tropics. An exception is Gibraltar, the only territory that is also part of the EU. It is facing well documented issues such as a possible closed border with neighbouring Spain and losing the right to provide services such as finance and online gambling to the rest of the EU. The remainder of the territories are mostly further afield and receive much less attention in the UK media. Besides the three without civilian populations - British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands - the rest have varying reasons to be nervous.

In the Caribbean, the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands both do well from specialist financial and business services - as does Bermuda to the north. They are therefore most likely to be affected if Brexit reduces the UK’s influence in determining the prevailing international rules and regulations that govern these activities - with the EU one of the key players here, this is a distinct possibility.

Germany

  • Sumitomo Said Among First Brexit Banks to Sign Frankfurt Lease‚Äč (Bloomberg) Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. has signed a lease in Frankfurt, according to people familiar with the decision, making it one of the first foreign banks to commit to new office space in Germany’s financial capital ahead of Brexit. Japan’s second-biggest lender plans to occupy one floor in the Main Tower, a 56-story building in Frankfurt’s financial district, the people said, asking not to be identified because the plans are private. Sumitomo plans to put as much as 100 people in the office, one person said. Each floor in Main Tower has about 1,200 square meters of office space, according to the building’s website.

Spain

  • Prime minister faces stark choices; opposition wants talks

  • Lawmaker warns Catalan independence may be ‘72 hours away’

Russia

  • Putin Is Filling the Middle East Power Vacuum (Bloomberg) The Israelis and Turks, the Egyptians and Jordanians -- they’re all beating a path to the Kremlin in the hope that Vladimir Putin, the new master of the Middle East, can secure their interests and fix their problems.

Japan

  • Many are failing to identify a key characteristic of Japan's newly-founded Party of Hope - its "extreme rightist" slant - according to CLSA's Nicholas Smith
  • Senior members of the party are supporters of Satoru Mizushima, a filmmaker and activist who has denied the 1937-1938 Nanking Massacre, Smith said
  • Yuriko Koike's Party of Hope has not explicitly committed to policy stances characterizing those of far-right movements in other regions

China

  • Beijing's enforcement of current sanctions against North Korea could just be a temporary measure
  • China is looking to improve relations with the U.S. as well as ensure stability ahead of a key meeting of Communist Party officials, experts said

Cuba

  • Majority of Cuban embassy staff to be expelled from US: report (The Hill) The Trump administration reportedly plans to expel almost two-thirds of Cuba’s embassy staff from the country, after more than two dozen U.S. diplomats working in Cuba were targeted in a mysterious attack that resulted in sudden brain injuries. The State Department could announce the decision to kick out the Cuban staff as early as Tuesday, McClatchy reported Monday, citing three sources briefed on the plan.

The move to push out the Cuban diplomats comes after the U.S. decided to pull back its own staff from the island nation after suspicious "health attacks" in Havana left some victims with hearing loss and speech problems.

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