Early Headlines: Syria Missiles Kill Over 50, Atlantic and Pacific Storms Weaken, Macedonia Reopens Border, Venezuela Near Chaos and More
Early Bird Headlines 23 August 2015
Econintersect: Here are some of the headlines we found to help you start your day. For more headlines see our afternoon feature for GEI members, What We Read Today, which has many more headlines and a number of article discussions to keep you abreast of what we have found interesting.
- Hurricane Danny weakens near Caribbean; Kilo in Pacific loses strength (CNN) Hat tip to Alun Hill. Hurricane Danny weakened overnight and is expected to become a tropical storm Sunday, before it hits the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean. Saturday Danny remained a Category 2 storm with winds above 100 mph. Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Kilo in the Pacific returned to tropical depression status overnight, about 450 miles (725 km) south-soutwest of Hilo, Hawaii. However,the revised forecast also showed it again strengthening into a hurricane on Tuesday evening before reaching Hawaii.
- Why the Hillary Clinton email imbroglio isn’t just politics (Reuters) Echos of Watergate are what is the problem now. It began with the decision to use private email rather than the official State Department system. It is ending with the problem that control of the email server was not in impartial hands.
- Wildfires force new evacuation orders in Washington State (Al Jazeera) President Barack Obama signs federal declaration of emergency for Washington amid fatal blazes, with thousands evacuated from small towns and rural areas.
- Juror: Defense put police officer's shooting victim on trial (Associated Press) Defense attorneys representing a white North Carolina police officer put the unarmed black man he shot 10 times and killed on trial, a juror in the case said Saturday. The juror said the defense charged the deceased should have known "what to do to avoid being beaten or shot to death". The officer was responding to a breaking and entering call. The judge has declared a mistrial after the jury was hung 8-4.
- A Internet Mortgage Provider Reaps the Rewards of Lending Boldly (The New York Times) Hat tip to Marvin Clark. Bank of Internet has been turning heads because its financial performance has, in many ways, been spectacular. How do they do it? By making loans to higher risk big mortgage customers and charging a higher rate of interest. Does that sounds familiar? Oh yeah, that sounds like the subprime mortgages made ten years ago that contributed to the housing/credit bubble which collapsed in 2008. But Bank of the Internet says this is different. They are holding the mortgages they create and use stringent underwriting. For example, more than half of their single-family home mortgages are for 60% of market value and only 1/6 are for more than 70%. One of the banks more problematic areas is lending to foreign nationals buying U.S. real estate. This requires complex compliance hoops to be jumped through. So far there are no public problems with compliance. But, this article points out, earlier this year, a senior internal auditor, Jonathan Ball, and another employee in the division, Matt Erhart, left the bank. Does that mean anything? There has been a surge in shirting of the company stock by those who think there may be something there.
- Migrants crisis: More than 2,000 people rescued near Libya coast (BBC News) One of the biggest single day operations yet, two Italian naval ships rescued more than 2,000 migrants from more than 20 vessels in distress off the Libyan coast Saturday.
- Refugees allowed to cross Macedonia border from Greece (Al Jazeera) After firing stun grenades and tear gas in two-day standoff, Macedonians abruptly lower weapons, let thousands cross. After two days of tense standoffs - during which groups amounting to hundreds of refugees sporadically dashed past the forces and managed to cross the border - the lines of Macedonian police and soldiers abruptly parted. Security forces lowered their weapons as long lines of refugees ran, jogged and walked across.
- Over 50 people killed in Syrian missile strikes at rebel areas near Damascus (Reuters) At least 50 bodies were retrieved from buildings leveled to the ground after Syrian army missiles hit residential areas in the rebel-held northeast of Damascus on Saturday, rescue workers said. They said more bodies were believed to be under the rubble of buildings occupied by dozens of families in the city of Douma, about 15 km (10 miles) northeast of Damascus, with dozens of victims taken to field hospitals, many seriously wounded.
- Ukraine shifts closer to open war with recent attacks (Reuters) Renewed fighting in Ukraine has claimed the lives of dozens of civilians and soldiers in the past two weeks alone. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin have both called emergency war councils since Aug. 4, as the ceasefire and diplomacy have further broken down. In its recent reports, the Ukrainian military has used the phrase "most shelling in six months" multiple times, and with increasing frequency. On Aug. 10, Russian-backed fighters, whom Ukraine claims were led by Russian military units, launched a tank and artillery assault on the strategic town of Starognatovka, which lies between the capital of the Russian-backed separatists, Donetsk, and the key port city of Mariupol. The battle did not go the way the Russian-backed forces anticipated, however. The Ukrainian military units stationed in the area, which apparently included volunteer units, beat back the offensive within hours, and even counterattacked before returning to their positions. Though some facts are disputed, a few things are clear: The battle marked a significant escalation in fighting, both sides suffered higher casualties than they have in months and the bloodshed in eastern Ukraine has not ended.
- NATO contractors killed by Kabul car bomb identified as U.S. citizens (Reuters) Three U.S. contractors were among 12 killed by a Kabul bomb that targeted their NATO convoy, the U.S.-led coalition said, making the attack one of the most lethal for U.S. citizens in Afghanistan in recent years. The suicide attack outside a hospital on a residential street at rush hour killed mainly Afghan civilians and injured scores more, heightening the anger felt in Kabul after a barrage of deadly blasts this month killed dozens.
- If Venezuela Implodes, Will Its Neighbors Be Ready (Bloomberg) It's the country with the world's largest oil reserves and Venezuela is slipping toward a humanitarian crisis. The danger of a Venezuelan implosion is growing. Venezuela has the world's highest inflation rate, a collapsing currency and every prospect of defaulting on its debts next year. A massive migration into neighboring countries could result if the situation descends into complete chaos.
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