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Sudden Strike

In the wake of North Korea’s failed medium-range missile test recently, President Donald Trump is willing to consider ordering “kinetic” military action, including a sudden strike, to counteract North Korea’s destabilising actions in the region, said a person familiar with the White House’s thinking

Photo Credit : Bloomberg

In the wake of North Korea’s failed medium-range missile test recently, President Donald Trump is willing to consider ordering “kinetic” military action, including a sudden strike, to counteract North Korea’s destabilising actions in the region, said a person familiar with the White House’s thinking.

But Trump’s very strong preference is for China to take the lead on dealing with North Korea, said the person, who asked not to be named because the discussions are private.

Trump’s strategy isn’t exactly a departure from long-standing U.S. policy. He isn’t particularly interested in toppling the regime of leader Kim Jong Un and isn’t looking to force a reunification of the two Koreas, the person said. He instead wants to push for their long-term cooperation.

Trump’s national security team had already thought through various scenarios that North Korea might take off late, and how the U.S. would react. So when the medium-range missile test failed right after launch recently, Trump was informed immediately and decided to downplay it, according to the person.

Joining Hands: As President Donald Trump contemplates whether to make good on his campaign promise to yank the United States out of the Paris climate accord, an unlikely lobbying force is hoping to talk him out of it: oil and coal producers.

A pro-Paris bloc within the administration has recruited energy companies to lend their support ahead of a high-level White House meeting on the subject taking place soon, according to two people familiar with the effort who asked not to be identified. Cheniere Energy, which exports liquefied natural gas, became the latest company to weigh in for the pact to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a recent letter solicited by White House energy adviser G. David Banks.

“Domestic energy companies are better positioned to compete globally if the United States remains a party to the Paris agreement,” Cheniere wrote. The accord “is a useful instrument for fostering demand for America’s energy resources and supporting the continued growth of American industry.”

Short on Users: For now, Netflix Inc. investors can have rapid subscriber growth or a big jump in profit — not both.

The streaming-video giant reported first-quarter user gains that fell short of estimates because there wasn’t a “House of Cards”—style hit to draw new viewers and retain others. On the other hand, the lack of big-budget productions boosted net income. Next quarter, with the return of “House of Cards” and three major movies on the release schedule, profit will miss estimates while customer gains will improve.

The dilemma whipsawed Netflix investors, with the stock dropping on the subscriber figures before recovering later and moving higher. The shares rose 1.4 per cent to $149.30 in extended trading after results were announced.

They had gained 15 per cent this year through April 13. The world’s biggest paid video service signed 4.95 million new customers last quarter, less than the 5.49 million analysts were expecting. It’ll make up some of that in the current period, with a forecast for viewer growth that beat analysts’ forecasts.

Tough Rules: Australia will tighten temporary skilled migration visas, scrapping the current 457 programme used by almost 100,000 people, as the country’s labour market weakens and anti-immigration sentiment spreads among developed nations.

The migration system has to be “seen to ensure that Australian jobs are filled by Australians wherever possible,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told reporters in Canberra recently. “That foreign workers are brought into Australia in order to fill critical skill gaps, and not brought in simply because an employer finds it easier to recruit a foreign worker than go to the trouble of hiring an Australian.”

Oil Bets: OPEC is finally making some headway in its race against the tide of surging U.S. supplies, and speculators are giving the group greater credence.

Hedge funds boosted bets on higher West Texas Intermediate crude prices a second week as futures topped $53 a barrel for the first time in a month, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. While more OPEC members are seen ready to extend output cuts, U.S. crude stockpiles dropped from a record. Fuel supplies are shrinking week after week at a time when refineries are stepping up their crude processing ahead of the summer driving season.

Economy Accelerates:
China’s economy accelerated for a second-straight quarter as investment picked up, retail sales rebounded and factory output strengthened amid robust credit growth and further strength in property markets.

Gross domestic product increased 6.9 per cent in the first quarter from a year earlier, compared with a 6.8 per cent median estimate in survey. It was the first back-to-back acceleration in seven years.

Singapore Home Sales Surge to Highest in Almost Four Years:
 Singapore home sales surged to the highest monthly total for nearly four years in March, a month in which the government rolled back some property curbs following a three-year slide in prices. Developers sold 1,780 units in March, the most in a month since June 2013 and more than double the 843 sold in the same period last year, according to data released recently by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. A total of 1,527 units were offered, almost three times the 550 in February.

The largest sales came from Grandeur Park Residences in the city’s east, which sold 484 units of the 720 put up for sale, and Park Place Residences at PLQ, which sold all 217 units it placed on the market last month. The government moved in March to relax a raft of measures to cool home prices — steps it began implementing in 2009, with some of the strictest restrictions being imposed in 2013.

Corruption Probe: South Korea’s former President Park Geun-hye was charged with bribery and abuse of power, setting the stage for a trial that could result in a lengthy prison term.
Park is also accused of coercion and leaking state secrets, according to a report released by the prosecutors. Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin was also indicted on charges of giving 7 billion won ($6.2 million) in bribes to Park and her friend Choi Soon-sil.

Park’s indictment follows months of street protests as the corruption scandal unfolded, culminating in her ouster and arrest last month. Park, who denies wrongdoing, faces allegations that she abused her powers and colluded with Choi and former aides to get bribes and seek favours from top businesses.

The 65-year-old daughter of former dictator Park Chung-hee was the nation’s first female president. Prosecutors argue that she pressured top business executives to donate tens of millions of dollars to foundations run by her confidante in return for government favours.

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magazine 01 May 2017 globescan economy donald trump