Frontrunning: February 14

  • Yellen to Face Questions on Trump’s Impact on Economy (WSJ)
  • Fed has limited view on Trump economic policies as Yellen heads to Congress (Reuters)
  • Oil rises as OPEC-led output cuts trim oversupply (Reuters)
  • Mnuchin’s G-20 Debut Clouded by Currency Chatter (BBG)
  • Israel’s Netanyahu Prepares for High-Stakes Talks With Trump (WSJ)
  • Peugeot Owner in Talks to Buy GM’s European Business (BBG)
  • Challenge to Trump travel ban moves forward in two courts (Reuters)
  • No return home in sight for thousands of Californians sheltering from dam (Reuters)
  • Aetna, Humana Mutually End Merger Agreement (WSJ)
  • South Korean prosecution again seeks arrest of Samsung chief (Reuters)
  • Pimco to Investors: Don’t Underestimate the Chance of a Fed Mistake (BBG)
  • Euro-Area Growth Revised Lower in Sign of Recovery Fragility (BBG)
  • U.K. Inflation Rate Rises Less Than Expected, Stays Below 2% (BBG)
  • Geeks venture into Goldman Sachs’ world of big deals and egos (Reuters)
  • Italy’s ex-pm Renzi calls leadership contest for his PD party (Reuters)
  • Toshiba’s Chaotic Earnings Report Raises Doubts Over Grip on Business (BBG)
  • Firm Delays Muscular Dystrophy Drug Launch Amid Criticism of $89,000 Price (WSJ)
  • The Hidden Side to the Reflation Trade Is China’s Surging Prices (BBG)
  • Macron Blames Russian Hackers for Downing Campaign Web Site (BBG)
  • Airbnb Wants to Spend Some of the $3 Billion It’s Sitting On (BBG)
  • Rolls-Royce Mulls Future of Weaker Operations as Profit Down 49% (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

– A $671 million settlement announced between DuPont Co and lawyers representing thousands of people in Ohio and West Virginia could bring a swift end to years of litigation, while fueling cases in other states where people have alleged health problems after a chemical used to make Teflon got into their drinking water. http://on.wsj.com/2lEJpoV

– The White House is exploring a new tactic to discourage China from undervaluing its currency to boost exports. Under the plan, the commerce secretary would designate the practice of currency manipulation as an unfair subsidy when employed by any country, instead of singling out China. http://on.wsj.com/2lEIPr9

– National Security Adviser Mike Flynn resigned as he was under increasing fire over his conflicting statements about his contacts with Russian officials before the inauguration, the White House said. Flynn’s resignation was accepted by Trump after information about his Russia contacts continued to emerge while the president was “evaluating” whether to keep him in his post. http://on.wsj.com/2lECrQw

– A federal judge in Virginia said late Monday that President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration was likely unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction blocking part of the administration’s efforts to restrict entry to the United States. U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema said the government has provided “no evidence” to justify the order, which temporarily barred visitors and immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries. http://on.wsj.com/2lEBoAm

 

FT

GlaxoSmithKline Plc said its new HIV treatment would be “less harmful” than current therapies, as it unveiled clinical trial results for a two-drug cocktail designed to reduce the amount of medicine that patients must take each day.

Glencore Plc announced a $960 million deal to buy Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler out of two of the mining-cum-trading company’s copper and cobalt operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

BAE Systems Plc is set to confirm that Ian King will be succeeded as chief executive this year by Charles Woodburn, the former oil services executive hired by the defence company in 2016 as chief operating officer.

The United States said Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami was an international drug trafficker who had facilitated multiple one-ton narcotics shipments to Mexico and the United States, and it froze millions of dollars worth of his U.S.-based wealth.

 

NYT

– New data published by OPEC shows its members are largely sticking to an agreement to limit production. But questions remain about whether they can hold together. http://nyti.ms/2kNIbWN

– Gerard Baker, the editor in chief of the Wall Street Journal, vigorously defended his newspaper’s coverage of President Trump on Monday, rejecting suggestions that the Journal had not been aggressive enough. http://nyti.ms/2kNFrZu

– The Senate confirmed Steven Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker and Hollywood film financier, to be secretary of the Treasury Department on Monday. http://nyti.ms/2kNFbK0

– Maurice Greenberg, the often combative former chief executive of American International Group, began a news media counteroffensive on Monday to repair his legacy days after the bruising end to his 12-year court battle with the New York State attorney general. http://nyti.ms/2kNHi00

– Spain’s national court on Monday ordered a criminal inquiry into whether a former governor of the country’s central bank and seven other regulatory officials knowingly ignored financial problems at Bankia, the giant savings bank whose near collapse prompted Spain’s banking bailout in 2012. http://nyti.ms/2kNLZXZ

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** After meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, U.S. President Donald Trump signaled his desire to strengthen the bilateral-trading relationship, as the two leaders committed to improved energy trade and singled out the Keystone XL pipeline as an important infrastructure project. https://tgam.ca/2leKN09

** Tim Hortons Inc’s sales growth at its existing restaurants continued to slide in its fourth quarter as its parent, Restaurant Brands International Inc, raced to seal agreements with international franchisees to bolster the chain’s business outside of Canada. https://tgam.ca/2kCi5mP

** The White House has assured Canada that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will not be appointed as U.S. ambassador to Canada. https://tgam.ca/2lKmK6q

NATIONAL POST

** Home Capital Group Inc will likely be able to manage any financial sanctions stemming from an enforcement notice it received from Canada’s largest securities regulator, but the threat of a class-action lawsuit is “potentially more meaningful,” a National Bank analyst says. http://bit.ly/2lKWxWa

** The specter of new rules creates more risk for Canada’s wireless service providers, Desjardins analyst noted in light of the federal regulator’s review of the wireless code. http://bit.ly/2kFsvSG

 

Britain

The Times

Banks scent bargains in Co-op chaos

Smaller lenders are circling Co-operative Bank Plc looking to pick up bargains as it emerged that the stricken institution could have to raise almost 1 billion sterling in order to bolster its finances. http://bit.ly/2ldCwJQ

Ocado may run out of cash to complete overseas licensing deal

Ocado Group Plc could be out of spare cash to execute an international licensing deal, according to an analyst who adds that short-term payouts to the online food retailer’s management may be unwarranted. http://bit.ly/2ldLrep

The Guardian

Unite workers at BMW threaten action over plans to shut UK pension scheme

More than 7,000 BMW workers are threatening industrial action over the German carmaker’s plans to shut the final salary pension scheme. http://bit.ly/2kiC51J

Chemical giant Ineos to build heir to Land Rover Defender

The chemicals group Ineos has insisted its plan to build an off-road vehicle to succeed the Land Rover Defender is not a vanity project driven by its billionaire founder and chairman Jim Ratcliffe. http://bit.ly/2ldxoFP

The Telegraph

BAE Systems poised to promote Charles Woodburn as chief executive

BAE Systems Plc is poised to confirm Charles Woodburn as its new chief executive in a widely anticipated move that marks a generational shift at the defence giant. http://bit.ly/2ldAZ6P

Firestone Diamonds smashes expectations with first sale

Fledgling diamond miner Firestone Diamonds Plc has promised more riches are in store after beating expectations for its first-ever sale of gemstones from Lesotho. http://bit.ly/2ldvFjJ

Sky News

Brexit pound plunge pumps up Sonos speaker prices by up to 25 pct

Music lovers face paying more to listen to their favourite tunes at home after U.S. speaker-maker Sonos said it would hike UK prices by up to 25 percent following the post-referendum slump in the pound. http://bit.ly/2ldBhur

Union calls off London Underground strike threat after deal

Union officials have called off the threat of further industrial action on the London Underground after agreeing a deal with Transport for London (TfL). http://bit.ly/2ldvZPt

The Independent

Brexit: Britain must be made worse off after leaving EU, says Austrian chancellor

The European Union must ensure Britain is made worse off when it leaves the trading bloc and any other result would be a “capitulation,” the Austrian chancellor said at a press conference on Monday. http://ind.pn/2kqF1EB

Waitrose rebrands ‘British’ lamb ready meals after customer outrage over New Zealand meat

Waitrose has rebranded its lamb ready meals after coming under fire from both customers and the farming sector for using misleading labels. http://ind.pn/2kqBm9S

 

The post Frontrunning: February 14 appeared first on crude-oil.news.

Half-brother of N. Korean leader assassinated in Malaysia: media

Author: 
AFP
Tue, 2017-02-14
ID: 
1487076489073531300

SEOL: The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been assassinated in Malaysia, South Korean media reported Tuesday, with one TV station saying he was attacked at the main airport with poisoned needles.
Officials in Seoul could not be reached for comment on the reported death of Kim Jong-Nam. Malaysian police said an unidentified Korean had been taken sick at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and since died.
If confirmed, Kim’s case would be the highest-profile death under the Kim Jong-Un regime since the execution of the leader’s uncle Jang Song-Thaek in December 2013.
Kim Jong-Un has been trying to strengthen his grip on power in the face of growing international pressure over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.
The latest missile launch on Sunday brought UN Security Council condemnation.
South Korea’s national news agency Yonhap quoted a Seoul government source as saying Kim Jong-Nam was killed on Monday. The source gave no further details.
The 45-year-old was poisoned by two unidentified female agents using poisoned needles at an airport in Kuala Lumpur, according to South Korean broadcaster TV Chosun.
The report, citing what it called multiple government sources, said the two women hailed a cab and fled immediately afterwards.
In Malaysia, the police chief in charge of Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Assistant Commissioner Abdul Aziz Ali, told AFP a Korean in his forties was found sick at the airport on Monday.
Airport authorities rushed him to the hospital and he died on the way, the police chief said.
“We do not have any other details of this Korean man. We do not know his identity,” Abdul said. 
Kim Jong-Nam was once considered heir apparent but fell out of favor with his father Kim Jong-Il following an embarrassing botched attempt in 2001 to enter Japan on a forged passport and visit Disneyland.
He has since lived in virtual exile, mainly in the Chinese territory of Macau.
Jong-Nam’s half-brother Jong-Un took over as North Korean leader when their father died in December 2011.
Jong-Nam, known as an advocate of reform in the North, once told a Japanese newspaper that he opposed his country’s dynastic power transfers.
He was reportedly close to his uncle Jang Song-Thaek, once the North’s unofficial number two and political mentor of the current leader.
Jong-Nam has been targeted in the past. In October 2012 South Korean prosecutors said a North Korean detained as a spy had admitted involvement in a plot to stage a hit-and-run car accident in China in 2010 targeting Kim Jong-Nam.
In 2014 Jong-Nam was reported to be in Indonesia — sighted at an Italian restaurant run by a Japanese businessman in Jakarta — and was said to be shuttling back and forth between Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and France.
In 2012 a Moscow newspaper reported that Jong-Nam was having financial problems after being cut off by the Stalinist state for doubting its succession policy.
The Argumenty i Fakty weekly said he was kicked out of a luxury hotel in Macau over a $15,000 debt.
Last year South Korea warned of possible North Korean assassination attempts on its territory. It noted previous attempts to assassinate Hwang Jang-Yop, the North’s chief ideologue and former tutor to Kim Jong-Il, who defected to the South in 1997 and died of natural causes in 2010.
Jong-Nam was born from his father’s extra-marital relationship with Sung Hae-rim, a South Korean-born actress who died in Moscow.

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Jim Rogers Buying Gold Bullion On Dips

Jim Rogers Buying Gold Bullion On Dips

  • Jim Rogers accumulating gold bullion on dips
  • “Get prepared” as “we’re going ‘to have the worst economic problems we’ve had in your lifetime or my lifetime’
  • Warns that Trump and his team are “very, very keen to have trade wars with China and other people”
  • History shows trade wars lead to real wars
  • Cashless Society – Cash-less means Freedom-less
  • Cashless societies are about governments “looking out for themselves first”
  • Gold and silver may head lower but advises accumulating bullion on the dip
  • Advocates storing gold in Singapore
Jim Rogers holds a gold coin (Digital Journal)

I want to own more gold and silver

In a wide ranging interview with MacroVoices’ Erik Townsend, legendary investor Jim Rogers, co-founder of Quantum Fund with fellow investor George Soros, has said that he wants to own more gold and silver and will continue to accumulate on any price dips.

Set against a background of thoughts regarding the both the political and economic outlook, Rogers echoes the growing theme we have been touching on in recent months – heightened and arguably unprecedented uncertainty.

Basing much of his analysis and thoughts on history, Rogers reminds us that it does repeat itself and we’re not to assume that the ways of modern life mean that things will turn out differently.

Mixed feelings on Trump

When it comes to what President Trump will mean for markets, Jim Rogers believe that if the new Commander In Chief says all the things that he will do then it will stand for some overwhelmingly poor results on an international scale.

Whilst Rogers believes that Trump’s promises to cut taxes, improve infrastructure and bring back $3 trillion worth of US company assets from overseas will be ‘wonderful, wonderful things.’ Yet, he seems more concerned about the idea of trade wars that a few in Trump’s ear seemed to have a thing for.

“Mr. Trump has also said he’s going to have trade war with China, Mexico, Japan, Korea a few other people that he has named. He swore that on his first day in office he would impose 45% tariffs against China. He’s been there three weeks, two or three weeks and he hasn’t done it yet but he still got it in his head I’m sure or maybe he’s just another politician like all the rest of them. He says one thing and he doesn’t mean it at all but he does have at least three people in high levels in his group who are very, very keen to have trade wars with China and other people.”

Rogers says it could be ‘happy days’ for a while if Trump doesn’t follow through on campaign promises to take on trade competitors, but warns that if Trump does pursue these ideas that “it’s all over. I mean history is very clear that trade wars always lead to problems, often to disaster, sometimes even to real war, a shooting war.”

We’re heading for war

Rogers is convinced that we are heading for war. Thanks to the seeming decline of the US, the rise of populism and push for protectionism. Indeed, he recently went as far as to warn that we are on the verge of a “biblical” collapse.

The decline of the US in the short-term may well be encouraged by President Trump. Should a recession, or worse, kick-in in the short-term then the new administration can blame Obama, and then seemingly swoop in and save the day.

How will they save the day? That remains to be seen, but it seems that much of the rhetoric being used by Trump is also being seen elsewhere in the Western world and Rogers believes this signals war.

“…whenever things are bad and things are going wrong people look for somebody to blame. They always throughout history wherever we are, whichever country we’re discussing the first people blamed are always the foreigners… it’s always happened that way to blame the foreigners for better or for worse it seems it is happening as you point out in the U.S. again but it’s also happening in other places in Germany, France, Italy many places they’re blaming the foreigners already again it’s even happening in Singapore to some extent where I live…

“And as you rile up against the foreigners most countries historically have closed off one way or the other they close their borders, they close their economies and when you close the economy it leads to economic problems and sometimes eventually if you get into real serious trade wars it leads to bankruptcy and even worse.

“It’s rare and I don’t think ever in history that one country has started a trade war and the other country says, “oh well that’s too bad but we’re not going to do anything we’re just going to sit here and let you hit us again and again and again.” No the other countries retaliate that’s the way human beings are.

“So if country X. starts a trade war then country Y. hits back and then country X. hit’s back and country Y. hits back and the next thing you know countries C and D and E are involved as well and everybody’s suffering and then as economies get worse more and more things happen more and more discrimination more and more blame and then eventually bullets start flying.

“…I don’t like at all what I see happening. There are many analogies to previous periods in history before the First World War and this sort of thing started happening certainly before the Second World War this sort of thing started happening. It’s been common throughout history.

And these wars when they start they usually– in 1914 nobody, nobody could conceive of war and then the next thing you knew, there was war and everybody said don’t worry it’ll be over by Christmas, well six months later everybody was saying, how did we get into this war? How do we get out of this war? It’s absurd. It’s ludicrous…”

Where does all this lead to?

Rogers told Barron’s in 2016 that

“… if Trump does what he says he’s going to do such as wage trade wars then it’s going to be bad news for all of us. Trade wars have led to bankruptcy and bankruptcy has often led to war. At that point, you’d better own a lot of gold.”

Cashless Society – Cash-less means Freedom-less

Whilst everyone is keen to jump in on what Trump means, Jim Rogers was keen to provide the wider picture and “governments are always looking out for themselves first.”

Whilst he argues that this has been going on for hundreds of years, at the moment he sees it most clearly in the war on cash.

He refers to the move by governments to reduce the amount of physical cash in circulation through controls and law enforcement as a way of taking away our personal freedoms.

In both Europe and India, where the war on cash is strongest, we are repeatedly told that it has something to do with security – generally money laundering and terrorist activities. To this Jim Rogers says that this is just a way to get us to give up our freedoms:

“Well history shows that people always would like a little more safety and a willing to “give up some things for more safety and security.” Benjamin Franklin said well anybody who would give up some freedoms for security is going to wind up with neither security nor freedom and they deserve to lose both and of course that’s the way it is.”

And the war on cash is facilitated, as we have discussed in past articles, by the rise in technology. But cashless societies isn’t the only freedom-reducing side to tech.

“So the Internet and the computers changing everything that we know, money can certainly be easily converted to computers not today because there are still, some people who don’t have computers and the system is not ready it but it can be done and when it’s done the governments are going to be very, very happy they going to say they’re doing it for our own good Eric, this is not them, this is for our good. That they’re doing this, but it’s coming and it’s going to be a whole different world in which we live. Probably we are not going to have as many freedoms as we have now even though we are already losing our freedoms at a significant pace.”

As outlined in our post Cashless Society – War on Cash to Benefit Gold? the war on cash is not only reducing our personal freedoms but makes us far more vulnerable to bail-ins and negative interest rates. With this in mind, we and Jim Rogers recommend investors diversify their portfolios and buy gold, even if you already have some.

Rogers plans to buy more gold

As mentioned in the beginning, Rogers is very clear that whilst he already owns gold and silver, he is looking to own more. When will he buy some? He’s expecting both metals to have another dip.

Readers should not be put off by a seemingly bearish attitude to the gold price. Mr. Rogers has previously said that he has never sold any of his gold and has high hopes for the long-term gold price, mainly thanks to his very low expectations of governments and central bankers running the economy.

He told Barron’s last year:

“Before this is over, gold is going to go through the roof and could turn into its own bubble – more and more people will lose confidence in governments and currencies and when that happens, they always turn to gold.”

Timing is tricky though, and Rogers hopes that he’ll realise at the right time if the dip isn’t coming and will be “smart enough to buy more if it doesn’t.”

Rogers has long been on record regarding his expectation of great things for gold, mainly thanks to governments debasing the currency.

“If the U.S. dollar becomes confetti, any number you want to make up. They’re printing U.S. dollars fast enough to turn them into confetti. Who knows how high gold will go …”

To those who are unaware, Jim Rogers resides in Singapore extolling the virtues of the Asian country that acts as the gateway to the gold market between East and West. It will come as no surprise that he also advocates storing gold in Singapore. He’s not alone, both Jim Sinclair and Dr Marc Faber are also advocating acting as your own central bank and owning physical gold coins and bars in Singapore.

Conclusion – take a different perspective

Jim Rogers once told Time Magazine:

“My success in the market has been predicated on viewing the world from a different perspective…”

We couldn’t agree more. During uncertain times like these – with increasing ‘fake news’ and misleading news, of rising alternative and radical political views, of confusing financial signals – it is important to look beyond the simple information and simple narratives provided in the mainstream media whose primary function is to serve the agendas of corporate and government masters and tom profit from the sale of advertising.

Powerful, big spending advertising corporations do not want media to focus on the real risks of another global financial crisis as it risks frightening the consuming masses and impacting their advertising spend and their return on investment (ROI).

In the mainstream, Brexit was not going to happen. In the mainstream Trump was not supposed to win the election. In the mainstream, reduced personal freedoms and the gradual erosion of our civil rights are good and necessary things. In the mainstream, the cashless society is a good thing for everyone.

These narrow, one sided perspectives and a lack of plurality of opinion regarding these matters, the increasinh financial risks and the benefits of owning some physical gold are endangering both our liberties and our financial well being.

We live in uncertain times. No one knows how political declarations or financial volatility will play out, needless to say there are more unknown unknowns than ever before.

One thing we do know is that history repeats or at least rhymes as Marc Twain said. With this in mind, we echo Jim’s advice and advocate owning actual bullion coins and bars, knowing that if owned either in your possession or in the safest vaults in the world, they are beyond the reach of incompetent and desperate politicians and the risks they pose to us in terms of a reduction of our personal freedoms, trade wars, currency wars, terrorism and actual wars.

Jim Rogers Interview with MacroVoices’ Erik Townsend can be accessed here

Dr Marc Faber On Owning Gold In Singapore here

 

Gold and Silver Bullion – News and Commentary

Gold prices firm ahead of testimony by Fed’s Yellen (Reuters.com)

Banking Giant UBS Says Gold to Hit $1,300 in 2017 Amid 2 Rate Hikes (Fortune.com)

Global Stock Rally Loses Momentum, Dollar Declines (Bloomberg.com)

S&P tops $20 trillion as ‘Trump trade’ roars back to life (Reuters.com)

Juncker Will Not Run Again for President of EU – Says it Will Break Up (Telegraph.co.uk)

Bank For International Settlements Warns Of Looming Debt Bubble (Forbes.com)

Death of the Dollar: A New World Money (DailyReckoning.com)

Germany Gets the ‘Wrong Suitcase’ While Repatriating Its Gold Reserves from U.S. (SputnikNews.com)

Goodbye Petrodollar: Russia and China Dump US Treasuries, Buy Gold (Russia-Insider.com)

German gold returns home: How populism is influencing monetary policy (CSMonitor.com)

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Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

14 Feb: USD 1,229.65, GBP 986.67 & EUR 1,157.84 per ounce
13 Feb: USD 1,229.40, GBP 982.04 & EUR 1,155.64 per ounce
10 Feb: USD 1,225.75, GBP 980.23 & EUR 1,151.35 per ounce
09 Feb: USD 1,241.75, GBP 988.18 & EUR 1,161.04 per ounce
08 Feb: USD 1,235.60, GBP 989.47 & EUR 1,160.10 per ounce
07 Feb: USD 1,231.00, GBP 995.14 & EUR 1,154.43 per ounce
06 Feb: USD 1,221.85, GBP 978.34 & EUR 1,138.15 per ounce
03 Feb: USD 1,214.05, GBP 970.93 & EUR 1,128.99 per ounce
02 Feb: USD 1,224.05, GBP 966.14 & EUR 1,131.88 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

14 Feb: USD 17.91, GBP 14.37 & EUR 16.85 per ounce
13 Feb: USD 17.97, GBP 14.34 & EUR 16.89 per ounce
10 Feb: USD 17.62, GBP 14.15 & EUR 16.55 per ounce
09 Feb: USD 17.71, GBP 14.10 & EUR 16.58 per ounce
08 Feb: USD 17.74, GBP 14.20 & EUR 16.66 per ounce
07 Feb: USD 17.60, GBP 14.21 & EUR 16.49 per ounce
06 Feb: USD 17.60, GBP 14.10 & EUR 16.39 per ounce
03 Feb: USD 17.28, GBP 13.84 & EUR 16.10 per ounce
02 Feb: USD 17.71, GBP 13.95 & EUR 16.38 per ounce


Recent Market Updates

– French Election Could See Euro Break Up – New Global Crisis
– Gold Prices Up 5.8% YTD – Trump ‘Honeymoon’ Ends
– Gold Buying Russia To Intensify Diversification On Trump ‘Unpredictability’?
– Gold Prices Rising Mean “Impending Market Volatility”
– Gold Bullion Banks To “Open Vaults” In Transparency Push?
– Ignore Sabre-Rattling and Buy Gold
– Buy Gold Because of Uncertainty not Doomsday
– The Alternative Fact of the Cashless Society
– Silver, Platinum and Palladium As Safe Havens – Reassessing Their Role
– Why 2017 Could See the Collapse of the Euro
– Dow 20K … US Debt $20 Trillion … Trump and $15,000 Gold
– Switzerland’s Gold Exports To China Surge To 158 Tons In December
– Blockchain – Central Banks Banking On It
– Sharia Standard May See Gold Surge

Interested in learning more about physical gold and silver?
Call GoldCore and speak with a Gold and Silver Specialist today!

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China, India account for half world’s pollution deaths in 2015 — study

Author: 
Reuters
Tue, 2017-02-14
ID: 
1487075947603484800

SHANGHAI: China and India accounted for more than half of the total number of global deaths attributable to air pollution in 2015, researchers said in a study published on Tuesday.
The US-based Health Effects Institute (HEI) found that air pollution caused more than 4.2 million early deaths worldwide in 2015, making it the fifth highest cause of death, with about 2.2 million deaths in China and India.
The institute’s study, the first of its kind, was based on the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) project, a database backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that tracks the role that behavioral, dietary and environmental factors play in deaths across 195 countries.
New evidence and methodologies mean that the estimate is significantly higher than the figure published by the World Health Organization last year, which put the number of global air pollution-related deaths in 2012 at 3 million, HEI said.
The institute, which has also launched an online database showing the global impact of pollution on health (https://www.stateofglobalair.org), said 92 percent of the world’s population lives in areas with unhealthy air.
Air pollution has been linked to higher rates of cancer, stroke and heart disease, as well as chronic respiratory conditions such as asthma.
China and India, the world’s two most populous countries, each accounted for 1.1 million deaths, the findings showed, but China is pushing ahead when it comes to taking action, HEI president Dan Greenbaum told Reuters.
“(India) has got a longer way to go, and they still appear to have some ministers who say there is not a strong connection between air pollution and mortality in spite of quite a lot of evidence,” he said.
A spokesman for India’s environment ministry could not be reached for comment, but minister Anil Madhav Dave said last week that “there is no conclusive data available” on the link between pollution and mortality, media reported.
China’s environment ministry did not respond to a request to comment on whether the estimate of 1.1 million deaths was accurate.
Though China has launched a campaign to improve air quality, authorities have been reluctant to draw direct links between air pollution and mortality, with the health ministry saying it had “no data” linking smog to higher incidences of cancer.
“It is currently too early to draw conclusions about the extent of the impact of smog on health, especially its long-term impact on the body,” a ministry spokesman told media during a press briefing in January.
In a long-term national health care plan published last October, the government acknowledged the link between health and pollution, and pledged to assess the precise impacts as well as boost environmental monitoring capabilities. 

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