Aug 16, 2018

Italy's populist government skates toward looming debt crisis

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte meets the press at Palazzo Chigi before summer break, on August 08, 2018 in Rome, Italy. Photo: Simona Granati - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Italy faces a potential downgrade in its sovereign credit rating from three agencies — Moody's, Fitch and S&P — as its newly-elected coalition government attempts to incorporate expensive campaign promises into its budget for next year, according to FXStreet.

The big picture: The spending promises made by the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the far-right League, whose coalition government must approve a budget by mid-October, include cutting taxes while also boosting pensions and welfare — policies that could cost between $74 billion and $142 billion. Public debt already sits at 130% of GDP, second-largest in the euro zone, and an Italian banking crisis could spell serious trouble for the rest of Europe.

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Federal court temporarily halts "Remain in Mexico" program

Migrant wearing a cap with U.S. flagin front of the border between Guatemala and Mexico. Photo: Jair Cabrera Torres/picture alliance via Getty Image

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's earlier injunction on Friday, temporarily stopping the Trump administration from enforcing the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) — known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy.

Why it matters: Tens of thousands of migrants seeking asylum have been forced to wait out their U.S. immigration court cases across the border in Mexico under the policy. The Trump administration has long credited this program for the decline in border crossings following record highs last summer.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: WHO raises global threat level to "very high"

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization raised its global risk assessment for the novel coronavirus to "very high" Friday, its highest risk level as countries struggle to contain it. Meanwhile, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow this morning tried to reassure the markets, which continued to correct amid growing fears of a U.S. recession.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected about 83,800 others in almost 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Bernie's plan to hike taxes on some startup employees

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Sens. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced legislation that would tax nonqualified stock options at vesting, rather than at exercise, for employees making at least $130,000 per year.

The big picture: Select employees at private companies would be taxed on monies that they hadn't yet banked.