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posted on 07 December 2017

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks, Gold And Dollar Up, Oil Flat, Temp Spending Bill, US Drinking Water Crisis, CHIP To Expire, EU Mfg Expands, US Of Europe, China Payment Systems, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 08 December 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, published Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 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.dec.08

Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to powernine homes in the U.S. for one day. And miners are constantly installing more and faster computers. Already, the aggregate computing power of the bitcoin network is nearly 100,000 times larger than the world’s 500 fastest supercomputers combined.

The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge - an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year.

The paper, published on Wednesday in Nature, found that global temperatures could rise nearly 5 °C by the end of the century under the the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s steepest prediction for greenhouse-gas concentrations. That’s 15 percent hotter than the previous estimate. The odds that temperatures will increase more than 4 degrees by 2100 in this so-called “business as usual" scenario increased from 62 percent to 93 percent, according to the new analysis.

U.S.

  • Congress Passes Two-Week Spending Bill to Avoid Dec. 9 Shutdown (Bloomberg) Congress passed a two-week extension of federal funding that averts a government shutdown this week but defers decisions on spending levels for defense and domestic programs. The House voted 235 to 193 in favor of the extension Thursday afternoon followed quickly by the Senate, which passed it 81 to 14. Lawmakers now have until Dec. 22 to settle some larger issues on spending and legislation. At the same time they will be rushing to finish work on tax legislation before leaving Washington for the holidays.

  • California wildfires: Nearly 200,000 flee amid new blaze (BBC News) Nearly 200,000 residents have now been evacuated due to California wildfires as crews pivot to fight a new blaze. Some 5,000 firefighters have been battling four brushfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes in the south of the state. The number of evacuees nearly quadrupled on Thursday as a fifth fire broke out north of San Diego.

  • AP sources: Conservative Arizona Rep. Trent Franks resigning (Yahoo) Eight-term Republican congressman Trent Franks (AZ) announced his resignation Thursday. No reason was given. He joins two other who resigned this week, both Democrats - Rep. John Conyers (MI) and Sen. Al Franken, both after being accused of sexual harassment. Rep Franks was a member of the House Freedom Caucus and a strong supporter of President Trump.
  • Why are America's farmers killing themselves in record numbers? (The Guardian) The suicide rate for farmers is more than double that of veterans.
  • Why America's drinking water crisis goes beyond Flint (BBC News) While Flint made headlines two years ago when 12 people died due to high lead levels in the city's water, more than 1,000 water systems across the US have drinking water that fails safety standards for lead. Experts say the U.S. has a major national water contamination crisis. See also Far away from any witnesses, my small town is being poisoned by fracking waste (The Guardian)

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  • Negotiating with Trump: the Art of the Deal (Counter Punch) Interesting discussion of negotiation without information or facts, which the author infers mean nothing to Donald Trump. Only winning matters. The key to negotiation, the author says, is to convince Trump he is losing. Then you will win as he will go to great effort to avoid losing.
  • Children's Health Insurance Program Expire Under GOP Tax Bill (The Real News Network) William K. Black, a white collar criminologist, Associate Professor of Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a GEI contributor, discusses the current tax reform legislation with Sharmini Peries. Econintersect: The opening comments, attributed to two Republican senators, infer that people are poor because they chose to be poor. Watch and see where the conversation goes from there.

EU

UK

  • British Isis fighters should be hunted down and killed, says defence secretary (The Guardian) Britons who have fought for Islamic State abroad should be hunted down and killed to ensure they never return to the UK, the defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, has said. In the strongest remarks yet from a senior cabinet minister, Williamson suggested there was deliberate targeting of British jihadists by the armed forces fighting Isis as the group retreats in Syria and Iraq. The new defence secretary told the Daily Mail:

“A dead terrorist can’t cause any harm to Britain."

Germany

In a speech at the SPD’s party conference in Berlin that called for the creation of a “United States of Europe" by 2025, as well as a more robust social security net and a phasing out of coal power, Martin Schulz made the case for entering open-ended talks with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU).

North Korea

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China

  • Investor is betting big on China's payments system going global (CNBC) Hong Kong-based private equity and venture capital firm First Eastern Investment Group is betting big on China's burgeoning financial technology sector, its chairman and chief executive told CNBC. Alibaba's Alipay and Tencent's WeChat Pay, which currently dominate the payments landscape in China, have already had some expansion outside of their domestic market. And as Chinese tourists travel abroad in greater numbers, the two payments companies are expected to "follow their customers" and sink their feet in more countries.

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