Moody's: President Trump Inherits Modest Deficit And Healthy Economy, But Challenges Loom

From Moodys.com today:
London, 24 January 2017 -- The US' (Aaa stable) credit profile will be most significantly influenced by the new administration's choices regarding medium-term fiscal policy, says Moody's Investors Service in its latest report on the US Government's credit profile. As President Trump's policies start to take shape, any actions to address the rising burden of entitlement spending will be particularly relevant.

While President Trump inherits a modest deficit, his administration faces fiscal challenges that will increasingly weigh on the US' credit strength by the end of the decade. Robust revenue growth during the last eight years helped shrink the fiscal deficit from around 9.8% of GDP to around 3.2% in 2016. However, in the absence of policy changes, rising expenditures on entitlement programs will lead to wider deficits again. Rising debt levels and rising interest rates will erode the US' capacity to absorb shocks. US debt levels in 2016 were already the highest for any Aaa-rated country, with federal debt at around 77% of GDP.

NATO Reports Huge Surge In Cyber Attacks in 2016

NATO’s top diplomat has said that cyber attacks on the alliance's network and facilities have skyrocketed by 60 percent over the past year, with the majority coming from state institutions. In comments made to German newspaper Die Welt last month and published Thursday, NATO’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that for just the first half of…

60% of Primates Are Facing Extinction

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Primates are remarkable. We’re all familiar with chimpanzees, monkeys, and ring-tailed lemurs, but have you heard of tarsiers, with their big eyes? Or Cleese’s woolly lemur, named after John Cleese? Or the fabulous red-shanked douc? What about the scary-looking red-headed bald uakari? Or did…

Pharma Money Reaches Guideline Writers, Patient Groups, Even Doctors on Twitter

This story was co-published with NPR’s Shots blog. The long arm of the pharmaceutical industry continues to pervade practically every area of medicine, reaching those who write guidelines that shape doctors’ practices, patient advocacy organizations, letter writers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even oncologists on Twitter, according to a series of papers…

FBI, 5 Other Agencies Probe Possible Covert Kremlin Aid To Trump: McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The FBI and five other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have collaborated for months in an investigation into Russian attempts to influence the November election, including whether money from the Kremlin covertly aided President-elect Donald Trump, two people familiar with the matter said. The agencies involved in the inquiry are the FBI, the CIA,…

African Forces Ready to Enter Gambia if Defeated President Refuses to Yield Power

Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow will be sworn in sometime Thursday in Banjul, with West African troops ready to cross the border if outgoing president Yahya Jammeh still refuses to give up power. Barrow won the December 1 election. Jammeh, who once vowed to rule Gambia for “a billion years,” initially accepted the results but then changed…

A Nevada woman dies of a superbug resistant to every available antibiotic in the US: STAT

If it sometimes seems like the idea of antibiotic resistance, though unsettling, is more theoretical than real, please read on. Public health officials from Nevada are reporting on a case of a woman who died in Reno in September from an incurable infection. Testing showed the superbug that had spread throughout her system could fend off…

South China Sea is Potential Flashpoint as Trump Takes Office: VOA

If the weeks before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration are any indication, the South China Sea could be a potential flashpoint in 2017. Trump's secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson voiced a much tougher tone with China at his Senate confirmation hearing, telling U.S. lawmakers that China’s island-building in the disputed waters was illegal and “akin to…

Chicago Public Schools orders 4 unpaid furlough days for all employees: Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO — Chicago Public Schools on Friday ordered four unpaid furlough days for its employees as a cost-cutting measure the district said is necessary because of Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of legislation that would have provided $215 million in state aid. The furlough days won't interrupt classes because all land on previously scheduled staff professional…

CIA chief nominee picks North Korea as one of biggest threats to US

The nominee for CIA director Mike Pompeo on Thursday pointed to North Korea as one of the biggest threats to the United States, along with terrorism, China and Russia. Pompeo made the remark during his Senate confirmation hearing in response to a question about whether he believes terrorism is the highest threat that the U.S. faces.…

British Health Care System Is Buckling

The health care system in England is in crisis mode -- and health experts fear it will get worse before it gets any better. More than 20 hospitals have declared a "black alert" this week. They've become so overcrowded they can no longer guarantee patient safety and provide a full range of normal services, The Guardian…