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Most Americans say Republican healthcare plan will be harmful: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:37
NEW YORK (Reuters) - When U.S. Senate Republicans unveil their plan to overhaul America's healthcare system, they will face a skeptical public that already does not buy the justification for an earlier version that passed the House of Representatives, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. 

Most Americans say Republican healthcare plan will be harmful: Reuters/Ipsos poll

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:37
NEW YORK (Reuters) - When U.S. Senate Republicans unveil their plan to overhaul America's healthcare system, they will face a skeptical public that already does not buy the justification for an earlier version that passed the House of Representatives, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday. 

US police officer stabbed at Michigan airport in suspected 'terror' attack

MiddleEasteye - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:35
Language Undefined

No passengers were harmed in the assault at the Flint, Michigan airport which remains closed until further notice

Altice boosts IPO offering by 37% to raise up to $2 billion

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:27

Cable company Altice USA Inc. increased Wednesday the number of shares it will sell in its initial public offering by 37% to 63.9 million shares, to raise up to $1.98 billion, from 46.6 million shares last month. The increase comes entirely from selling shareholders, who are now selling 51.9 million shares, compared with last month's plan to sell 34.5 million shares. The company, which acquired Cablevision last June and Suddenlink in December 2015, is still selling about 12.1 million shares in the IPO, which is still expected to price between $27 and $31 a share. The stock will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "ATUS."

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White House pressures State Department over refugee costs: sources

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:14
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two studies President Donald Trump hopes will buttress his case to cut the number of refugees are at the heart of a fight between senior White House adviser Stephen Miller and career U.S. government officials over immigration policy, four current and former officials said.

NATO F-16 Buzzes Russian Defense Minister’s Plane

Antiwarblog - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 14:08

That’s the claim, anyway. And, not knowing for sure if the DM was on the plane or not, it looks plausible. ABC News is treating it so.

Ex-Guantanamo detainee Ghailani may pursue prison prayer claim: U.S. court

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:54
(Reuters) - A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived a lawsuit in which Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee convicted over the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, said prison officials violated his right to participate in group prayer.

Gold settles higher for first time in three sessions

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:54

Gold prices settled higher Wednesday for the first time in three sessions, finding support as the U.S. dollar weakened. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker on Wednesday said he advocated a "pause" on rate hikes while the central bank starts to pare its balance sheet. Prices had ended Tuesday at a five-week low. August gold rose $2.30, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,245.80 an ounce.

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NATO F-16 Threatens Russian Defense Minister’s Plane

LibertarianInstitute - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:51

Well, that’s the claim. And it sure looks like it.

Update: Jason Ditz has all the details here.

NATO F-16 Threatens Russian Defense Minister’s Plane was first posted on June 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm.

Fed's Harker says plan to start to shrink balance sheet could start in September

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:47

Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker on Wednesday said the September meeting could be a good time for the U.S. central bank to begin the process of shrinking its balance sheet. In an interview with the Financial Times, Harker stressed that no final decision had been made and negative economic data would delay the start of the program. Fed officials agreed earlier this month on details to allow a fixed amount of assets to run off the $4.5 trillion balance sheet every month. The initial cap will be set at $10 billion. The Philadelphia Fed president, who is a voting member of the Fed policy committee, said he advocated a "pause" on rate hikes while the central bank starts to pare its balance sheet.

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Republicans mull inviting Democrats into U.S. budget negotiations

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:24
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republicans in the U.S. Congress, unable so far to resolve deep disagreements over spending for the fiscal year starting on Oct. 1, are mulling whether to seek a bipartisan budget deal with Democrats similar to one reached nearly four years ago.

Drug stocks surge on report that President Trump plans to ease industry regulations

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 13:03

The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF surged 4% and the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF rose 2.3% in midday trade Tuesday after a New York Times report said President Donald Trump has drafted an executive order that would ease industry regulations. Several proposals in the draft come from industry or simply seem to benefit drug companies, theTimes reported, including a study of how drug prices vary by country and reconsidering trade agreements using that information. The move would be a change in tone for the president, who has previously said drug companies are "getting away with murder" and vowed to bring prices down. Still, several of Trump's previous drug price proposals would likely only be possible through legislative action and not an executive order, the Times article noted. "The limited scope of the Trump discussions is an implicit acknowledgement that only congressional action could solve those issues (say, by rewriting Medicare Part D). Nothing of that scope will be discussed or acted upon in the executive branch," said EvercoreISI analyst Terry Haines. "Congress would not act on any part of ACA affecting drug prices before 2018 at earliest, and even that is far from likely after the battle over ACA taxes and revenues which is pending in the Senate and is far from over." The SPDR S&P Biotech ETF has risen 14.9% in the last month, and the SPDR S&P Pharmaceuticals ETF has surged 3.1%, compared with a 0.9% rise in the S&P 500 .

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Chesapeake Energy's stock sinks after Macquarie turns bearish

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:54

Shares of Chesapeake Energy Corp. sank 5.4% toward an 11-month low in midday trade Wednesday, after Macquarie Research turned bearish on the oil and gas explorer, citing concerns that the company is ill-equipped to deal with another drop in oil prices. Analyst Paul Grigel downgraded the stock to a rare underperform rating from neutral and slashed his stock price target to $3.50, which is 25% below current levels, from $6.00. Only 5.8% of the U.S. companies covered by Macquarie are rated underperform. Grigel said the lower outlook for crude prices pressures Chesapeake's fundamentals given the company's recent efforts to increase its oil exposure over natural gas. "While the company has made strides in repositioning itself, it simply isn't far enough along to sustainably compete in a lower-for-longer crude world," Grigel wrote in a research note. Continuous crude oil futures tumbled 1.6% toward a 10 1/2-month low, and have now plunged more than 21% from the February peak. And although the company has been selling assets to pay down its high debt load, Grigel said he is still estimates a "material outspend on high leverage with concerns around liquidity." The stock has plummeted 34% year to date, while the SPDR Energy Select Sector ETF has shed 15% and the S&P 500 has gained 8.8%.

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Moscow annuls meeting with top U.S. diplomat due to sanctions

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:51
MOSCOW/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Russia said on Wednesday it was cancelling a high level meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon in response to what it called a significant widening of U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

Trump lawyers make final Supreme Court pitch on travel ban

Reuters US Politics - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:49
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration on Wednesday made its final plea to the U.S. Supreme Court to allow its proposed ban on travelers from six Muslim-majority countries to go into effect as the justices weigh how to handle the hotly contested dispute.

U.N. chief appoints Russian diplomat to top anti-terror job

Top Reuters News - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:36
UNITED NATIONS/VIENNA (Reuters) - United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday appointed one of Moscow's veteran diplomats to head a newly created U.N. Counterterrorism Office, giving a Russian a top job at the world body's headquarters in New York.

Automation's Destruction of Jobs: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Charles Hugh Smith - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:31
Employers have no choice: it's innovate/automate or die.Automation--networked robotics, software and processes--has already had a major impact on jobs. As this chart from my colleague Gordon T. Long illustrates, the rise of Internet technologies is reflected in the steady, long-term decline of the labor force participation rate-- the percentage of the populace that is actively in the labor market.The oft-repeated fantasy is that every new wave of technological innovation creates more jobs than it destroys. Not this time: the total number of full-time jobs has stagnated for years, and most of the new jobs that have been created are in low-wage, moderate-skill positions that cannot move the productivity needle much: jobs such as those in the retail and restaurant sectors.Real wealth isn't created by printing currency or jacking up stock valuations--it's created by increasing productivity. As this chart reveals, productivity has stagnated for years. This is a complex dynamic, but we can surmise that the low-hanging fruit of automation has already been harvested, and the addition of jobs that are inherently limited in the productivity gains that can be achieved are core components in stagnating/declining productivity. I have often discussed productivity and economist Michael Spence's framework of tradable and non-tradable labor. You want a beer-bottling machine? That's a tradable good; it can be manufactured anywhere in the world. You want a beer at the local tavern? That is non-tradable--it is a service that can only be provided locally.The problem is non-tradable labor is typically impervious to productivity gains: even the most experienced bartenders can only draw so many beers and mix so many drinks in an hour. A retail salesperson can only help so many customers in an hours, a gardener can only mow so much lawn in an hour, and so on.As Gordon and I discuss in our new video program, Robotics & Chronic Unemployment, automation is now entering these non-tradable sectors with a vengeance. Sectors dominated by non-tradable labor include taxis, local trucking, long-haul trucking, delivery services, courier services, retail, restaurants, fast food, and so on.Every one of these sectors is perched on the precipice of dramatic disruption by automation. Self-driving vehicles, drone deliveries, self-serve kiosks, robotic store clerks that have the entire store inventory available to answer customer questions--the list of automation advances in once-safe sectors is almost endless.The driver is the need for productivity increases. Labor costs keep rising, especially for labor-overhead expenses such as healthcare insurance and pensions. The cost of living keeps rising, pushing wages higher.If productivity can't be increased, the only alternative is to raise prices. But consumers, even at the high end, are reaching their limits. When meals that cost $20 now cost $30, consumers start opting for cheaper alternatives.Corporations and small businesses alike can only trim production costs and keep prices fixed for so long before profits vanish.Enter automation. The new technologies are now giving enterprises the tools to increase productivity in these previously low-productivity non-tradable sectors.While we can collectively fret over this need to increase productivity and the resulting decline in paid labor, the employers have no choice: it's innovate/automate or die.Even local, state and federal government agencies and contractors, heretofore impervious to soaring labor and overhead costs, are about to feel the urgent need to automate as a survival technique as budgets turn red in rising deficits and taxpayers revolt against ever-higher taxes.There are no safe sectors any more because unrestrained cost increases are killing the economy. Healthcare is a runaway train, and all the buffers that enables prices to go to the moon are gone: we can't even afford the limited Medicare we have now, much less Medicare for All.It's not just low-skill jobs that are being destroyed. Look at the automation of financial services and trading. In the near future, if you want human service, you'll have to pay extra--if it's available at all.There is a self-reinforcing dynamic to job losses and stagnating wages. As households receive less income, they must tighten their belts, further pressuring government and private enterprise alike to do more with less costly labor.Given a choice between a lower-cost automated service and a higher-cost human-labor service, the bottom 95% will have to choose the automated service.If a fast-food meal at a kiosk is $5 and the one served by a human is $6, which will people choose? I have described the difference in my book Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy: this setting is low-touch--the human interaction doesn't create much value for the customer, so they aren't willing to pay a premium for it.the same is true of most non-tradable sectors.The coming destruction of jobs will be monumental, unstoppable and long-term. Gordon Long and I discuss the effects of robotics and automation on jobs in this 27-minute program:


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From pledging allegiance to calling it a 'coup', public reacts to rise of MBS: ,

MiddleEasteye - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:30
Language Undefined

The appointment of Mohamed Bin Salman as Saudi new crown prince has sparked heated reactions from people across the region

Diageo to purchase George Clooney's Casamigos tequila in deal that values the brand up to $1B

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:21

Diageo PLC said Wednesday that it has agreed to acquire Casamigos, the tequila brand founded by George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman. The deal values Casamigos at up to $1 billion, with initial consideration of $700 million and an additional $300 million potential based on performance over the next decade. Casamigos shipped 120,000 cases in 2016, primarily in the U.S., Diageo said in a statement. It's on the path to more than 170,000 cases in 2017. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of this year. Diageo expects the deal to be earnings neutral for the first three years and then become accretive. Diageo's other brands include Johnnie Walker whiskey, Bulleit bourbon, Ketel One vodka, and Don Julio tequila. Diageo shares are unchanged in Wednesday trading, but up 17.6% for the year so far. The S&P 500 index is up 8.8% for 2017 to date.

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