Mar. 16, 2018

BLOOMBERG

Trophy hunters are packed on a new U.S. advisory board created to help rewrite federal rules for importing the heads and hides of African elephants, lions and rhinos. That includes some members with direct ties to President Donald Trump and his family.

Southeast Asian leaders started gathering Friday for their first summit in Australia as the regional neighbors look for closer economic and security links and the host prime minister warned against trade protectionism.

Russian hackers are conducting a broad assault on the U.S. electric grid, water processing plants, air transportation facilities and other targets in rolling attacks on some of the country's most sensitive infrastructure, U.S. government officials said Thursday.

Chinese hackers have launched a wave of attacks on mainly U.S. engineering and defense companies linked to the disputed South China Sea, the cybersecurity firm FireEye Inc. said.

The U.K.'s top diplomat pointed the finger directly at Vladimir Putin, saying it was "overwhelmingly likely" that he personally ordered the nerve-agent attack on British soil.

Haitian immigrants are suing President Donald Trump and Homeland Security officials, alleging racism influenced a decision to end a program allowing them to live and work legally in the U.S. after disasters in their home country.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. pays female employees in the U.K. an average of 56 percent less than male colleagues, another stark example of the entrenched gender imbalances in the financial-services industry. The gap widens to 72.2 percent for year-end discretionary bonuses.

U.S. new-home construction cooled by more than expected in February on a reversal in the volatile multifamily category, while building remained on pace to contribute to economic growth this quarter, government figures showed Friday. Residential starts fell 7% to a 1.24m annualized rate.

Traders who look for future price direction in chart patterns are finding more indicators suggesting the world's largest digital currency may have further to fall. Bitcoin's 50-day moving average has dropped to the closest proximity to its 200-day moving average in nine months. Crossing below that level -- something it hasn't done since 2015 -- signals fresh weakness to come for technical traders who would dub such a move a "death cross." Another moving-average indicator of momentum has already turned bearish.

AP Top Stories

A U.S. military helicopter crashed after hitting a power line in Iraq's western Anbar province, killing all seven personnel aboard, the Pentagon said Friday.

South Korea and the United States will scale down and shorten annual joint military exercises in light of a diplomatic thaw with Pyongyang, a report said Friday.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis accused Iran on Thursday of "mucking around" in Iraq's May parliamentary election, in which Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is seeking another term after a successful, U.S.-backed war against Islamic State militants.

A Turkish-led offensive to capture the Kurdish-majority enclave of Afrin in northern Syria has forced 30,000 civilians from its main city in 24 hours, a monitor said Thursday.

NASA published details of its Hammer (Hypervelocity Asteroid Mitigation Mission for Emergency Response) deterrent, an eight ton spaceship which could deflect a giant space rock. NASA has said previously that Earth is overdue a huge asteroid strike and programs are in places across the globe to map dangerous rocks as they move through the Solar System.

15 new planets discovered, including potentially habitable super-Earth Scientists from the Tokyo Institute of Technology have discovered 15 new planets orbiting small, cool dwarf stars near our solar system, including one planet that may be habitable.

U.S. factory output jumped last month, led by big gains in the production of cars, computers and furniture.

BBC

As many as 50,000 people have fled separate offensives against rebel forces in northern and southern Syria in recent days, activists said. Russian air strikes reportedly killed 31 people in the Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus on Friday, after 20,000 people left the region.

Germany's new interior minister has said he believes "Islam does not belong" to the country, in direct contrast with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Crypto-currencies and digital cash systems have become a key way for cyber-thieves to launder stolen funds, suggests research. Alongside its use in ransomware, virtual cash was also helping clean up other sources of stolen cash, said criminologist Dr Mike Maguire. Bitcoin's anonymity made it attractive to tech-savvy thieves, he said.

Tasmania has become the first state in Australian history to elect a majority of female MPs to its legislature.

North Korea's foreign minister has attended talks in Stockholm with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, ahead of a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

Saudi Arabia has warned that it will develop its own nuclear weapon if regional rival Iran acquires one.

WND

Telling a classmate "God bless you" after she sneezes is a "microaggression," according to extensive social justice guidelines posted by a women's college in Boston.

Amid an ongoing surge in Christianity that developed as communism created a spiritual vacuum in people's lives, China has launched a new crackdown, including rules introduced last month that further restrict the activities of unregistered house churches, according to a new report.

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