With President Obama proclaiming this morning "it's too early to tell" if a nuclear-deal with Iran is still possible; and apparent confirmation this afternoon that differences are "still significant," the US is said to be discussing extending the nuclear-deal deadline. Yet again no consequences (for a newfound 'ally') and yet again John Kerry finds himself purposeless... and now we hear Vladimir Putin will be calling Iran's Rouhani tomorrow (one can only imagine the topic of conversation).
Some of the major problems that humanity faces today transcend borders, and as such international cooperation is of vital importance. But recent events make such cooperation increasingly more challenging. Without going into the wisdom of the decision, sanctions imposed on Russia over its foreign policy in Ukraine have a wide range of implications that go much beyond the economic sphere. For one, international dialogue is breaking down fast; just this week Russian President Vladimir Putin unceremoniously left the G20 meeting early. Inevitably, this will have repercussions on major international cooperation initiatives, perhaps irreversibly in some cases. Here are a few notable examples...
If there were no puppet masters in Washington DC or the Kremlin, what would happen next week?
- Banks to Pay $3.3 Billion in FX-Manipulation Probe (BBG)
- Symbolic being the key word: U.S., China sign symbolic emissions plan, play down rivalry (Reuters)
- Europe (so really Russian sanctions) is the new "snow in the winter" - Carney Sees Europe Stagnation Impact as Growth Outlook Cut (BBG)
- Eurozone Industrial Output Points to Weak Third Quarter Growth (WSJ)
- Not everyone around Abe is insane: Kuroda Ally Flags Warning on Delaying Sales-Tax Increase (BBG)
- Hong Kong to scrap daily yuan conversion limit to boost stock investment (Reuters)
- Barclays Falls After FX Settlement Delay Reduces Discount (BBG)
- Some unhappy Yahoo investors asking AOL for rescue (Reuters)
While no US Federal Agency sees fit to monitor ocean radioactivity in coastal waters, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) has taken on the task of keeping the information flowing in a world of 'promises' that everything will be ok. As WHOI reports this week, scientists have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California.
With this year's APEC meeting in China having just barely concluded, where the biggest news was not the inability of the US to make any material headway in trans-Pacific trade (who needs trade when you have a printer?) or that China is "willing" to import even more NSA bugs courtesy of Cisco and Qualcomm, but Russia's second "western" mega gas deal with China, as well as the following photo-op of course and with the WSJ reporting that in the now year-old "nuclear"negotiations between the west and Iran, there has been no progress, it was once again Putin's turn to turn the screws on the lame duck president following a report moments ago that Russia inked a deal to build eight nuclear power units in Iran, as a new partnership agreement, guaranteed by the IAEA.
"Weakness, indecision and unreliability are terrible characteristics in a dangerous world. Strength does not mean bombing everyone. It means having capabilities, choosing one’s spots, and doing what you say you will do." The West might be war-weary, but the jihadis and other combatants in the Middle East are just getting started.
U.S. Ignoring Earthquake Risks to Nuclear Plants
Japan Reacts to Worsening Fukushima Disaster By ... Reopening Nuclear Plant Next to Active Volcano Which Is About to BlowSubmitted by George Washington on 10/29/2014 13:01 -0500
"We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability." - Putin
Most planned cities probably aren't designed with the view from space in mind, but, as Wired.com's Betsy Mason notes, some of them create incredible patterns on the landscape that can only be truly appreciated from above.
At the moment, the Ebola virus is ravaging three countries - Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone - where it is doubling every few weeks, but singular cases and clusters of them are cropping up in dense population centers across the world. Ebola's mortality rate can be as high as 70%, but seems closer to 50% for the current major outbreak. This is significantly worse than the Bubonic plague, which killed off a third of Europe's population. Previous Ebola outbreaks occurred in rural, isolated locales, where they quickly burned themselves out by infecting everyone within a certain radius, then running out of new victims. But the current outbreak has spread to large population centers with highly mobile populations, and the chances of such a spontaneous end to this outbreak seem to be pretty much nil. The scenario in which Ebola engulfs the globe is not yet guaranteed, but neither can it be dismissed as some sort of apocalyptic fantasy: the chances of it happening are by no means zero.
UPDATE: *JMA ISSUES TORNADO WARNINGS IN TOKYO AREA, IZU ISLANDS, AS TYPHOON PHANFONE MAKES LANDFALL AT JAPAN'S SHIZUOKA, JMA SAYS
With 1 US airman dead and 2 missing, Super Typhoon Phanfone has already wreaked havoc in its doom-strewn approach of Japan, but as RIA reports, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), has revealed that the approaching typhoon could hit the damaged, decommissioned 40-year old nuclear power facility at Fukushima. Rather stunningly, The Japan Times reports tidal waves from the storm are likely to reach a maximum height of 26.3 meters or more (compared to the 2011 tsunami which reached a height of 15.5 meters when it hit the plant). Due to the expected 'mingling' of contaminated and Typhoon-driven ocean water, TEPCO admits 100 trillion becquerels of cesium to escape; Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) plans to verify the accuracy of TEPCO's estimate and the "appropriateness" of countermeasures being taken.
Why Is the U.S. Government Dictatorial Towards Dissenters ... But Welcoming Ebola Carriers With Open Arms?Submitted by George Washington on 10/01/2014 23:43 -0500
Will Obama be the Commander-In-Chief Who Lets Ebola Infect America?
When one thinks of Japan and natural disaster, the things that usually come to mind are earthquakes, tsunamis, radioactive lizards, the occasional massive nuclear power plant explosion. Not volcanoes - those are usually delegated to the sole country that dared to give bankers the middle finger, Iceland. And yet, overnight Japan declared a level 3 alert (on a scale of 1 to 5) when a volcano in central Japan erupted, sending ash clouds down the mountain’s slope for more than 3 kilometers. According to RT, at least one person has died and 70 were injured, while aircraft have been forced to divert to avoid the dangerous area. Medics confirmed the death of at least one person, while 70 more were reported to be injured, NHK reported. Thirty of the injured have been sent to hospital in critical condition, health officials added. One can only hope there were no nuclear power plants in the immediate vicinity of the volcano.