Wednesday Morning Briefing: Fed chief likely to focus on trade-inspired policy shift in testimony






Politics

The U.S. Federal Reserve over the course of its 105-year history has changed monetary policy in reaction to property crashes, war, financial bubbles and policymakers’ gut instincts about where the economy was heading. But the U.S. central bank is now laying the groundwork for its first policy shift triggered by tweets, as Fed officials grapple with how the ground shifted on May 30 when President Donald Trump threatened on Twitter to impose new import tariffs on Mexico if it did not agree to curb the flow of migrants across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Donald Trump defended his Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, who is under pressure from Democrats to resign over his handling of a decade-old sex abuse case against financier Jeffrey Epstein, but said he would look into it. Wealthy American financier Epstein, charged with sex trafficking in underage girls, is now confined to a cell in a fortress-like concrete tower jail that has been criticized by inmates and lawyers for harsh conditions.

A judge in New York denied the U.S. Department of Justice’s request to shake up the legal team that was handling cases on the 2020 Census, adding another hurdle to the Trump administration’s bid to put a contentious citizenship question on the survey.

Amy McGrath, a former U.S. Marine combat pilot whose compelling biography drew national attention during an unsuccessful Democratic congressional campaign last year, said she would challenge Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020.

U.S. Democratic lawmakers declare climate emergency. Democratic lawmakers, including six presidential candidates, unveiled a Congressional resolution declaring a climate change emergency to spur “sweeping reforms” to stem a dangerous rise in global temperatures.

Violent Mexican border city opens its doors to U.S. asylum seekers. Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican border city known for high rates of violence, received its first foreign migrants from the United States as part of a program begun in January, U.S. and Mexican officials said.





World

From Iron Lady to lame duck: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam’s apologies and explanations for a doomed extradition bill have failed to quell political tension and her departure is now seen by many in the Chinese-ruled city as merely a matter of time in a drawn-out, long goodbye.
Iran’s release last month of Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese businessman with U.S. permanent residency, after four years in prison was meant as an opening for U.S.-Iranian talks, according to three Western sources familiar with the issue. The gesture, however, was not enough for Washington, which did not pursue it.
Only one in eight of the world’s most-polluting companies are on track to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in line with global temperature goals, a study funded by investors with $14 trillion under management found. The findings underscore the gulf between commitments made by the private sector and the transformation that scientists say is needed to stop the climate crisis wrecking the planet.

UK

Britain’s ambassador to Washington resigned after Donald Trump labelled him “stupid” and “wacky” following the release of confidential memos from the envoy in which he branded the U.S. president’s administration inept. Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May said she regretted that the British ambassador to the U.S. had felt the need to resign, adding that officials needed to be able to give “full and frank advice”.
Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, rivals to become Britain’s next prime minister, clashed over who could be most trusted on Brexit in a sometimes bad-natured television debate just two weeks before one will be crowned. Johnson, the favorite to succeed Theresa May as prime minister, refused to rule out suspending parliament to force through a no-deal Brexit. However former Prime Minister John Major would be willing to go to court to block a new leader from delivering a no-deal Brexit by suspending parliament, saying he would act to prevent the queen from being dragged into a constitutional crisis.


Business

Apple starts China app development program in services business push

Apple has started a program in Shanghai to help Chinese developers create apps as part of the iPhone maker’s efforts to build out its services business in one of its most critical overseas markets.
2 min read

Aggressive U.S. energy policy tests ties with European allies

For the administration of President Donald Trump, a policy of “energy dominance” means reducing dependence on imported oil and promoting exports to boost the national economy and Washington’s political influence overseas. For many of America’s European allies, however, it means unwelcome interference in its markets.
8 Min Read

British billionaire Dyson snaps up Singapore's priciest penthouse

British billionaire and inventor of the bagless vacuum cleaner James Dyson has bought the most expensive apartment in Singapore, where his company plans to build an electric car.
3 min read

Appetizing prospects: Uber founder takes aim at South Korea's shared kitchen market

Chef Youm Jung-phil plans to close his restaurant in Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district this month, worn down by the rising cost of labor and rent as well as declines in the number of customers eating in. Instead Youm, who has nearly 20 years of experience in the industry, has opted to sell his avocado burgers and bagels by delivery only, renting a 16.5 square meter kitchen space from Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick’s CloudKitchens.
7 min read



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