Global News April 19, 2017

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  2. Global News April 19, 2017

The Economist
“Markets cheer Turkey’s referendum result”

The victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s president, in a referendum on April 16th is seen by many observers as a worrying step on the road to autocracy. The vote handed Mr Erdogan far-reaching new powers. But the Turkish lira, government bonds and stockmarket all gained ground as the results came in.
In Turkey, investors may have feared turmoil if Mr Erdogan’s proposal had been defeated. It is an old, but fairly reliable, cliché that investors dislike uncertainty. And the early years of Mr Erdogan’s rule saw rapid economic growth; since he took office, the Istanbul market has gained 760%.
There are remarkable similarities between the election in America and the referendums in Britain and Turkey. In all three cases, the electorate was bitterly divided and the margin of victory was narrow (Donald Trump lost the popular vote but won the electoral college). In all three cases, the victorious side drew its support from rural areas and small towns, and was opposed by voters in the big cities. And in all three cases, the winning side has ignored the narrowness of the majority and has argued it has a mandate for radical policy change. This is likely to result in more radical political changes, of the type that markets do find unsettling. The general drift is towards more authoritarian, more nationalistic policies that appeal to voters whose living standards have stagnated. That process can create a chain reaction; nationalist policies in one country can provoke an adverse reaction in its neighbours and trading partners. Investors may believe that some of these authoritarian leaders will deliver policies they like in the short run—tax cuts, for example. But in the long run, this is a development that ought to concern them greatly.


The Guardian
“White House all at sea over claims flotilla was heading to North Korea”

A US aircraft carrier-led flotilla that the White House said last week was “steaming” towards North Korea to increase pressure on Pyongyang was actually thousands of miles away heading in the opposite direction. The USS Carl Vinson and three other ships were on Tuesday heading towards North Korea but only after a string of misleading statements about its original course put out last week from the Trump administration. The confusion about the flotilla’s course threatened to overshadow a visit to Japan by the US vice-president, Mike Pence, intended to demonstrate US resolve over North Korea. Speaking aboard the USS Ronald Reagan at its home port of Yokosuka on Wednesday, Pence pledged to strengthen the US presence in the Asia Pacific region.
In Washington, officials are facing questions and criticism over the location and original course of the Vinson flotilla, after it was photographed 3,500 miles away from North Korea, sailing south in the Sunda Strait at a time officials said it was sailing north.
Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, responded with his own fiery warnings and threatened to conduct weekly missile tests.


“General election: UK Parliament approves Theresa May’s snap vote”

Members of the British Parliament have approved Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to hold an early general election on June 8.
May made an unexpected announcement Tuesday that she would seek a «snap» election less than halfway through her government’s five-year term, with the aim of gaining a stronger mandate for the country’s historic withdrawal from the European Union.
The announcement marked a U-turn for May, who had repeatedly said she would not seek an early vote. After debating the motion put forward by May in Parliament, 522 of the 650 sitting MPs threw their support behind the early election, well and truly passing the threshold of two-thirds needed to approve the plan. Thirteen voted against the motion. The early election is the latest twist a turbulent year in British politics, which was plunged into turmoil when the country unexpectedly voted to leave the European Union last year. The hotly contested «Brexit» referendum ended with the resignation of then-Prime Minister David Cameron.
Britain is now gearing up for its third general election in seven years, which comes less than a year after the divisive referendum that decided the UK would withdraw from the EU.
May’s call comes despite a law passed in 2011 under Cameron’s coalition government aimed at keeping elections five years apart to prevent precisely this kind of uncertainty.
Parliament is expected to be dissolved on May 3, as British law mandates the dissolution must happen 25 working days before a general election. The House could also chose to suspend Parliament before then.


The Washington Post
“Aaron Hernandez, former Patriots star convicted of murder, hangs himself in prison”

Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who was serving a life sentence for murder without the possibility of parole, hanged himself in his prison cell early Wednesday morning, Massachusetts Department of Corrections officials say.
Officers at the Souza Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, Mass., found Hernandez, 27, hanging from a bedsheet at about 3:05 a.m. Wednesday. They attempted lifesaving techniques on the former Pro Bowl player and he was taken to UMass Memorial Health Alliance Hospital in Leominster, where he was pronounced dead.
Hernandez’s death ends a stunning fall from the golden life of a star athlete and comes on the day the Patriots visit the White House to celebrate their victory in Super Bowl LI. The team’s visit is still on, with only about a dozen men who were Hernandez’s teammates still on the squad. One of them, quarterback Tom Brady, announced Wednesday he would not attend due to “personal family matters.”