A independent study of the financial costs and benefits of Wall Street 'stress tests' could be released as soon as Tuesday and may strengthen calls to reform U.S. banking rules, said sources familiar with the report. The Federal Reserve conducts a review each year of how the largest U.S. banks could fare during a financial crisis and the Government Accountability Office has been studying that work for two years. The report will suggest about 15 ways that the Federal Reserve would be able to improve the openness of its yearly review and reduce some of the regulatory burden, sources familiar with the report said. Although the GAO findings are non-binding, they could exert some influence on an impending debate about whether some financial regulations are unduly costly to the financial sector. President-elect Donald Trump has said that he wants to ease federal regulations. Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, asked for the study in September 2014 … [Read more...] about Exclusive: Audit of U.S. stress test ready, may aid Dodd Frank overhaul fight
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said he’s considering buying weapons from Russia and China while also ending joint patrols with U.S. forces in the South China Sea. In a televised speech Tuesday before military officers in Manila, Duterte said that two countries -- which he didn’t identify -- had agreed to give the Philippines a 25-year soft loan to buy military equipment. Later, he said that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and “technical people” in the armed forces would visit China and Russia “and see what’s best.” While Duterte said he didn’t want to cut the “umbilical cord” with his allies, the remarks were the latest to signal a shift away from the Philippine-U.S. defense treaty in place since 1951. Since engaging in a public spat with U.S. President Barack Obama last week, Duterte has denounced American military killings during the early days of colonial rule and called for U.S. forces to leave the southern island … [Read more...] about Duterte seeks arms from China, ends joint patrols with U.S.
A decorated former U.S. Marine sergeant opened fire on police in Baton Rouge on Sunday, killing three officers, nearly two weeks after the fatal police shooting of a black man there sparked nationwide protests, including one shattered by the massacre of five Dallas policemen. The suspect, dressed in black and armed with a rifle, was himself shot to death minutes later in a gunfight with police who converged on the scene of a confrontation that Mayor Kip Holden said began as an "ambush-style" attack on officers. Two Baton Rouge Police Department officers and one sheriff's deputy were killed, and one sheriff's deputy was critically wounded. Another police officer and one other deputy suffered less severe wounds and were expected to survive. Colonel Mike Edmonson, superintendent of the Louisiana State Police, told a news conference the gunman was believed to have acted alone, contrary to early reports that police may have been looking for other shooters. It was not immediately clear … [Read more...] about Ex-U.S. Marine kills three policemen in racially tense Baton Rouge
The U.S. missile defense system to counter attacks from rogue states like North Korea has no proven capability to protect the United States and is not on a credible path to achieve that goal, a science advocacy group said on Thursday. The ground-based midcourse missile defense system, which has deployed 30 interceptors in Alaska and California, has been tested under highly scripted conditions only nine times since being deployed in 2004, and failed to destroy its target two-thirds of the time, the Union of Concerned Scientists said in a report. "After nearly 15 years of effort to build the GMD homeland missile defense system, it still has no demonstrated real-world capability to defend the United States," said Laura Grego, a UCS physicist who co-authored the report. Deficiencies in the program, which has cost $40 billion so far and is being expanded to include 44 interceptors by 2017, are due largely to a Bush administration decision to exempt the system from normal oversight and … [Read more...] about Science group warns of shortcomings in U.S. missile defense
A model of Y-20 military transporter aircraft is displayed at Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC)'s booth at the Aviation Expo China 2015, in Beijing, China, September 16, 2015. Photo: Reuters/Jason Lee/File Photo Some Chinese state-owned entities, backed by the key government agency that oversees major state industrial companies, have adopted a controversial defense when they face U.S. lawsuits: You can't touch us because we enjoy sovereign immunity. Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), China's biggest state-owned aerospace and defense company, has used the strategy twice, while state-owned China National Building Materials Group Co (CNBM), a state-owned building products company, successfully used it in a case involving allegations that Chinese-made drywall led to health problems for U.S. homeowners. China's Foreign Ministry in October complained to the U.S. government over attempts by plaintiff lawyers to serve the drywall lawsuit on the State-owned Assets … [Read more...] about Chinese state entities argue they have ‘sovereign immunity’ in U.S. courts