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posted on 25 January 2018

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mostly Down, Dollar Down, Oil And Gold Up, Amnesty Don, FBI Collusion?, German Coalition, N. Korea Calls For Reunification, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 25 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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  • Asia markets decline as the dollar remains on the back foot (CNBC) Major indexes in Asia traded mostly lower on Thursday while the dollar remained on the back foot after tumbling in the last session. At 12:48 p.m. HK/SIN, the dollar index slipped to trade at 88.994. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.96% to trade at $66.24 per barrel. Brent crude rose 0.62% to trade at $70.97 after earlier breaking above the $71 mark for the first time in around three years. Spot gold had risen 0.2% to $1,361.10 per ounce by 0258 GMT, after hitting its highest since Aug. 5, 2016 at $1,361.87.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed above the $65 mark for the first time in more than three years on Wednesday.
  • The benchmark is important because it is considered a 'break-even' price for producers.


Capitol Hill sources on both sides of the aisle say the memo’s release is only a matter of time. And when it comes out, these current and former officials - all GOP bêtes noires - are likely to face even more criticism from the right over their involvement in FBI counterintelligence work.

  • The full 'secret society' text between FBI agents: Was it meant in jest? (ABC News) For the past 24 hours, a number of Republican lawmakers have been suggesting that a months-old text message between two FBI officials reveals a "secret society" of federal law enforcement officials clandestinely plotting against President Donald Trump. Lawmakers have refused to publicly release the full text message, sent the day after Trump won the 2016 presidential election. But ABC News has obtained a copy of the one message that Republicans appear to be citing, and it's unclear if the message's reference to a “secret society" may have been made in jest. FBI lawyer Lisa Page wrote in a message (unrelated to any other messages found) to senior FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was working on the FBI’s probe of Russian meddling in the presidential election and would later join Page for a brief period on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team.

"Are you even going to give out your calendars? Seems kind of depressing. Maybe it should just be the first meeting of the secret society."

Trump told reporters earlier Wednesday night that he would speak with Mueller under oath. He added that he expects an interview to occur in the next two to three weeks, but said his lawyers are still determining the specifics.

Cobb told The New York Times that Trump was speaking hurriedly, and only meant that he is willing to meet with the special counsel, not that he will speak in front of a grand jury.


  • Germany’s Bland Grand Coalition (Project Syndicate) In pursuit of another "grand coalition" government, Germany's Social Democrats and Christian Democrats have published a provisional agreement outlining their proposed agenda. But the program party leaders have devised seems to have been inspired by a wish not to offend rather than a desire to confront the country's challenges.


North Korea

The message reportedly called for a de-escalation of military tensions on the peninsula. State media also warned against foreign influence, saying Pyongyang will “smash" those who oppose reunification, Reuters reported.

The Korean peninsula has been divided into North and South Korea since after World War II.

South Korea

  • South Korean President Moon Jae-In is being criticized for catering to Pyongyang for the upcoming Winter Olympics
  • Many South Koreans aren't happy with his decision to allow athletes from both sides of the border to march together and the approval of a joint women's ice hockey team


  • China's commerce ministry said cooperation is the only "correct direction" for the China U.S. trade relationship.
  • U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that the U.S. is not starting a trade war, but rather trying to level the playing field of global commerce.



  • The United States has the right to build as many walls as it wants, but that's not the right way to approach border security, former Mexican President Vicente Fox told CNBC on Wednesday.
  • "Walls historically have never worked - the Chinese wall, the Berlin wall," he said.
  • Fox said there are many more intelligent ways of bringing security to the border.

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