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Ratings agencies downgrade UK after Brexit vote

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Two ratings agencies downgraded Britain on Monday because of its vote to leave the European Union, citing risks to its economy and political upheaval.

Standard & Poor’s removed Britain’s coveted AAA status, downgrading it by two notches with a long-term negative outlook.

“In our opinion, this outcome is a seminal event, and will lead to a less predictable, stable, and effective policy framework in the UK,” a statement from the agency read.

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“The Brexit result could lead to a deterioration of the UK’s economic performance, including its large financial services sector, which is a major contributor to employment,” it said.

Fitch cut its credit rating by one notch from ‘AA+’ to ‘AA’, with a negative outlook. It lowered its economic growth forecast to 0.9 percent in 2017 and 2018 from 2 percent previously.

“Fitch believes that uncertainty following the referendum outcome will induce an abrupt slowdown in short-term GDP growth,” its analysis wrote.

Both ratings agencies listed a possible second referendum on Scottish independence as a significant risk in the future.

Voters in Scotland backed staying in the EU but pro-Brexit sentiment in England carried the overall “Leave” vote, prompting a rise in support for independence according to polls.

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The risks facing Britain are increased by the “political upheaval” that has followed the vote with the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and a leadership crisis in the opposition Labour party.

Divisions within the ruling Conservative party and a lack of clarity of Britain’s future trade relationship with the EU increase the risks, according to both agencies.

A lack of clarity over what trading relationship the UK might have with the EU will also damage confidence, they noted.

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“We believe that the lack of clarity on these key issues will hurt confidence, investment, GDP growth, and public finances in the UK, and put at risk important external financing sources vital to the financing of the UK’s large current account deficits,” S&P wrote.

Britain voted by 52 percent in favour of leaving the EU last week in a result that has hit European markets and sent the British pound tumbling to a three-decade low against the dollar.

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Following the vote, fellow ratings agency Moody’s cut Britain’s credit rating outlook to “negative” but kept its overall rating at a high “Aa1”.


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California lawmaker who chaired Republican Assembly caucus leaving GOP — to become an independent: report

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On Thursday, the Sacramento Bee reported that California Assemblyman Chad Mayes, the former Assembly Minority Leader, is leaving the Republican Party and registering as No Party Preference.

"Instead of focusing on solutions for the big problems that we've got, we focused on winning elections," said Mayes in his announcement. "For me, I'm at the point in my life where I'm done with gamesmanship."

Mayes, a controversial figure who was implicated in an affair with a fellow public official, represents Yucca Valley. He is the second Republican Assemblyman this year to leave the party, after Brian Maienschein of San Diego, who Maienschein of San Diego.

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‘Quantum physics generator’ incident in Ohio results in evacuation — hazmat found no radiation

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Authorities in Columbus, Ohio evacuated dozens of homes after a man called 911 to report being burned by a

"Firefighters say nothing threatening was found in a northwest Columbus garage," WCMH-TV reported. "According to firefighters, a man called and reported that he received ‘RF burns’ while building some sort of ‘quantum physics generator’ in a garage. The man used words like ‘particle accelerator,’ ‘alpha rays,’ and ‘radiation’ while describing how he was burned."

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Trump spoke with Giuliani on unsecured phones that were vulnerable to Russian surveillance: report

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On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump has communicated with his lawyer Rudy Giuliani via unsecured and unencrypted phone lines that are potentially vulnerable to interception and monitoring by Russian intelligence officials and other hostile foreign powers.

"Trump is not identified by name in the House phone records, but investigators said they suspect he may be a person with a blocked number listed as '-1' in the files," stated the report. "And administration officials said separately that Trump has communicated regularly with Giuliani on unsecured lines."

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