July 29th, 2014
Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.
- Pushing locals aside, Russians take top rebel posts in east Ukraine (Gabriela Baczynska and Aleksandar Vasovic, Reuters) Hat tip to John Katz. Russian nationals have been brought in to take top posts in self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine. Is it a Ukrainian revolution if there are no Ukrainian leaders at the top?
- US: Russia violated 1987 nuclear missile treaty (AP, MSN News) The U.S. has accused Russia of violating a 1987 treaty signed by Reagan and Gorbachev (the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty) that prohibits a type of ground launch missile that the U.S. claims Russia has conducted. A report which makes the formal accusation will be released today, following a letter sent by President Obama to President Putin yesterday (Monday, 18 July) asking for discussion of steps the Kremlin might take to end violations. According to The New York Times in 2013 "Russian officials said they had looked into the matter and consider the issues to be closed".
- Surface to air missile attack ruled out as calibre of cockpit bullet holes puts Ukraine pilots in the frame for MH17 murders (John Ward, Investment Watch) Hat tips to Roger Erickson and Dan Flemming. Ward offers a translation of parts a German website article, Schockierende Analyse zum Abschuss der Malaysian MH 017 (Peter Haisenko, Anderwelt Online). He says that many bullet holes in pieces of the wreckage are inconsistent with a missle hit and indicate gun fire from another aircraft was responsible.
Another German aviation source, a Colonel A.D. Bernd Biederman has also supported the "no missle" thesis, neues deutschland: NVA-Raketenspezialist: MH17 nicht von Boden-Luft-Rakete abgeschossen (Neues Deutchland). Biederman maintains that a missile hot would have started fires immediately and he claims that wreckage only started burning after impact with the ground. Econintersect: Would wreckage been spread over a a six to nine mile range if the plane was brought down intact? Would bodies have fallen from the sky separately from the plane? Could the plane have disintegrated at altitude and not have caught on fire? Could "bullets" cause the plane to disintegrate? See contemporaneous Daily Mail article.
One of the commenters on the Ward article states that the maximum altitude of the SU-25 Ukrainian aircraft implicated by other reports has a maximum unloaded altitude of 23,000 feet and fully loaded with munitions 16,000. Flight MH 17 was flying somewhere between 31,000 and 35,000 feet at last ground contact.
- Robert Rubin: How ignoring climate change could sink the U.S. economy (Robert E. Rubin, The Washington Post) While much focus is on the cost of dealing with climate change, Rubin says the more important question is: What is the cost of inaction?
Good economic decisions require good data. And to get good data, we must account for all relevant variables. But we're not doing this when it comes to climate change - and that means we're making decisions based on a flawed picture of future risks. While we can't define future climate-change risks with precision, they should be included in economic policy, fiscal and business decisions because of their potential magnitude.
The scientific community is all but unanimous in its agreement that climate change is a serious threat. According to Gallup, nearly 60 percent of Americans believe that global warming is caused by human activity. Still, for many people, the effects of climate change seem like a future problem - something that falls by the wayside as we tackle what seem like more immediate crises.
But climate change is a present danger. The buildup of greenhouse gases is cumulative and irreversible; the pollutants we are now emitting will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. So what we do each day will affect us and the planet for centuries. Damage resulting from climate change cuts across almost every aspect of life: public health, extreme weather, the economy and so much else. - Read the rest at The Washington Post.
- Iraq militants blow up purported tomb of Biblical Jonah (Doug Stanglin, USA Today) The Iraq insurgency group ISIS has reportedly destroyed the Mosul mosque which was on a site first built 2,800 years ago and purported to be the burial site of Jonah (swallowed by the whale for three days) and the prophet Daniel. Locals told reporters ISIS had declared the mosque was no longer used for prayer but for apostasy.
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