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posted on 16 January 2018

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks And Gold Up, Dollar Flat, Oil Mixed, Gov Shutdown Ahead?, Could Be 'Shithouse', Radioactive Water, Trump At Home, EU Farm Subsidies, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 16 January 2018

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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In an interview with The Post and Courier, Graham seemed to challenge the accounts of fellow Republican Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and David Perdue of Georgia, who attended the bipartisan meeting last Thursday with Graham and have given shifting defenses of the president’s comments.

  • Durbin calls on White House to release tapes of Trump's remarks about African countries (USA Today) Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin is standing behind his statement that President Trump used a vulgar term to refer to African countries and is calling on the White House to release any recordings it might have of the exchange. Republicans are claiming the word "shithole" was not used. Apparently some think the word was "shithouse". Durban says he sees little difference.

Speaking to reporters in his home state, Durbin said Monday he didn’t record the conversation between Trump and a bipartisan group of lawmakers last Thursday because visitors are required to check their cell phones before entering the Oval Office. Durbin said he doesn’t know if the White House has recordings of the meeting either.

  • Are You One Of The 170 Million Americans Drinking Radioactive Tap Water? ( Hat tip to Zero Hedge. EWG's Tap Water Database compiles results of water quality tests for almost 50,000 utilities nationwide. EWG also mapped the nationwide occurrence of radium, the most common radioactive element found in tap water. From 2010 to 2015, more than 22,000 utilities serving over 170 million people in all 50 states reported the presence of radium in their water. And some public officials actually lie to cover this up. Kathleen Hartnett White, former chair of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, admitted in a 2011 interview that the commission falsified data to make it appear that communities with excessive radiation levels were below the EPA's limit. She said she did not "believe the science of health effects" to which the EPA subscribes, placing "far more trust" in the work of the TCEQ, which has a reputation of setting polluter-friendly state standards and casually enforcing federal standards. Ms. White is President Trump's nomonee to be the White House environment czar.

Click to view interactive map at

  • Foreign governments, candidates, trade groups spent at Trump properties: report (Reuters) Sixty-four trade groups, foreign governments, Republican candidates and others stayed at or held events at properties linked to U.S. President Donald Trump during Trump's first year in office, a political watchdog group said. The arrangements represented "unprecedented conflicts of interest" because Trump oversees the federal government and has not divested from properties he owns or that carry his name, Public Citizen, a nonpartisan group, said in the report.

Shortly before taking office last year, Trump said he would hand off control of his global business empire to his sons Donald Jr. and Eric, and move his assets into a trust to help ensure that he would not consciously take actions as president that would benefit him personally.

Many government and private ethics watchdogs said the president should have gone farther, divesting assets that could cause a conflict of interest.

The President has told friends he's willing to talk with Mueller -- the man Trump views as leading a "witch hunt" against him -- to make the case there was no wrongdoing, sources told CNN. White House special counsel Ty Cobb says the White House is cooperating with Mueller's investigation into potential collusion between the Trump team and the Russians in the 2016 election.

  • Trump has spent nearly one-third of his presidency at a Trump property (CNN) President Donald Trump has spent nearly one-third of his time in office this year at one of the properties that either bear his name or that his family company owns, according to CNN's count. Trump, as of Friday, has spent over 86 days at one of his golf courses, according to CNN's count, including Tuesday when he visited the nearby Trump International Golf Club.


  • EU Farm Supports (Financial Times) The EU farm supports have been mostly higher than the OECD average and much higher than the U.S. or Australia.


  • The long decline of the Great British Pound (Frances Coppola, Credit Writedowns) It’s the GBP/USD exchange rate from 1915 to the present day. Accompanying this chart on Twitter was the comment “quite shocking though how much the pound has been devalued since 1945".

This is a fine example of the way in which economic indicators can be misinterpreted when the historical narrative underlying them is ignored. What this chart shows is indeed shocking, but not because the value of the pound has fallen. It is shocking because it graphically depicts the decline of British global influence. And it charts the desperate attempts of British politicians to maintain global dominance by propping up the value of the currency.



  • Japan is examining ways to evacuate its roughly 60,000 citizens from South Korea in the event of a crisis that leads to airport closure
  • This comes amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula
  • "It's a totally natural duty as a nation to use every means at our disposal for the protection and evacuation of our citizens if they should face danger abroad," the Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary said


  • Countries have "specifically" targeted China as it makes more foreign investments, the president of the China Investment Corporation says
  • China faces growing resistance from Western countries when it tries to buy assets there
  • China has rules in place to contain foreign investments within its own borders

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