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posted on 01 February 2018

Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Mixed, Dollar And Gold Down, Oil Up, Canada And Mexico After NAFTA, Nunes Memo Storm, WH Slashes Clean Energy Research, May Threatened, So. Africa Water Crisis, And More

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Early Bird Headlines 01 February 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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  • Most Asian indexes advance, but China markets ease (CNBC) Asian indexes traded mostly higher on Thursday after stocks in the region sold off earlier this week. The moves also followed moderate gains on Wall Street following the Federal Reserve's decision to keep rates unchanged. The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against six rivals, was a touch softer at 89.074. NYMEX crude for March delivery rose $0.18, or 0.3%, to $64.91 a barrel by 0030 GMT, after ending the last session up 0.4%. Spot gold was down 0.2% at $1,342.70 per ounce at 0112 GMT.


After wrapping up a series of seemingly optimistic talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the United States, Canada, and Mexico showed just how far apart they remain on the thorniest issues. The continued impasse sets the stage for a final pressure-packed round of talks in Mexico City next month - if domestic politics in all three countries leave room for a deal at all this year.

Even as the Trump administration continues to try to compel its neighbors to accept a revised trade deal on its own terms, Canada and Mexico are forging ahead with new trade pacts of their own. That’s a sign of how much the global economy has changed since NAFTA was written a quarter-century ago, and of continued global momentum for multilateral free trade agreements despite President Donald Trump’s “America first" trade skepticism.


  • The Memo: Trump sticks to his guns on immigration agenda (The Hill) Donald Trump is going full-steam ahead with his immigration agenda, catering to his base with tough talk and trying to force a difficult choice on Democrats who have promised to protect immigrant communities. Trump’s State of the Union speech was notable for its emphatic rhetoric on illegal immigration and for the significant time devoted to the topic. The president offered little by way of an olive branch to Democrats
  • FBI Launches Preemptive Strike on Nunes Memo (Daily Beast) The bureau goes after Republicans for ‘omissions of fact.’ Nunes calls the bureau ‘spurious’ and self-serving. And the explosive memo hasn’t even come out yet. See also next article and Schiff: Nunes gave Trump 'secretly altered' version of memo (The Hill). Schiff said in a tweet:

"Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House - changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release."

A spokesman for Nunes responded to Schiff's letter by calling it an "increasingly strange attempt to thwart publication of the memo," saying changes were made that were "minor edits to the memo, including grammatical fixes and two edits requested by the FBI and by the Minority themselves."

  • White House seeks 72 percent cut to clean energy research, underscoring administration’s preference for fossil fuels (The Washington Post) The Trump administration is poised to ask Congress for deep budget cuts to the Energy Department’s renewable energy and energy efficiency programs, slashing them by 72 percent overall in fiscal 2019, according to draft budget documents obtained by The Washington Post. Many of the sharp cuts would likely be restored by Congress, but President Trump’s budget due out in February will mark a starting point for negotiations and offer a statement of intent and policy priorities.

The document underscores the administration’s continued focus on the exploitation of fossil fuel resources - or as Trump put it in his State of the Union address,beautiful clean coal" - over newer renewable technologies seen as a central solution to the problem of climate change.


  • No, Europe Isn’t Ambushing NATO (Foreign Policy) On 13 November 2017 the EU took another step to expand the partnership - one that some commentators see as a challenge to NATO. Twenty-three of the states signed a joint notification on the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO). The Council of the European Union then adopted a decision on Dec. 11 to establish PESCO, which creates formal security cooperation between member states.

there’s no reason to believe that PESCO will significantly undercut the structure or mission of NATO. The real question is whether it will do anything at all.



According to the experts, the dates shed new light on the occupation of the region, with the researchers concluding that the population and hunting practices in the area increased and decreased drastically in combination with the climate changes there. During periods of extreme cold for example, signs of human presence decrease, while they appear to return again in the warmer periods.

One of the busiest times in Oppland occurs simultaneously with one of the coldest - the Late Antique Little Ice Age that lasted from 536 to 660 AD.

As the number of finds reveal, between the eighth and tenth centuries AD was another busy period, just before the period known as the Viking Age. According to the report, this could be the result of an increase in the number of towns that occurred throughout Europe during this period.


  • Erdogan's plans for Afrin might not sit well with Syria (Al-Monitor) Turkey faces abundant risks by intervening in Afrin. Ankara's actions - especially concocting plans to change the demographic structure of the area and resorting to the use of problematic groups deemed terrorists by Damascus - warn of a dead end ahead. The plan seems to be denying that Kurds are a dominant part of the Afrin population and proposes settling anti-Damascus Syrians there.

South Africa

  • South Africa's water crisis spreads from Cape Town (Reuters) Cape Town is running out of water and low dam levels in the emerald-green highlands of Lesotho are raising alarm bells in South Africa’s industrial heartland around Johannesburg, which has so far avoided the shortages hitting other regions. The tourist hub of Cape Town may run dry in April and across South Africa water supplies have yet to recover from an El Nino-triggered drought two years ago, heralding potential water shortages that could hit industrial and agricultural output. Pictured: Katse Dam Reservoir, Lesotho, 28 January, 2018.




  • Dysfunctional procurement process leads to delays, high costs

  • Modi’s administration has not dramatically reformed system


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