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.
A fight to protect 'the most valuable real estate in space' (The Washington Post) The earth orbit about 22,000 miles above the surface of the planet is where the U.S. has its most sensitive national security satellites, used for tasks such as guiding precision bombs and spying on adversaries. This is a region now readily accessed by other countries, including Russia and China.
First Evidence of Humans in North America Found Off Florida, New Study Says (Popular Mechanics) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. Note: The headline is misleading. The archaeological dig is located "in" Florida, not "off" the coast. Florida State University has just completed an aquatic dig of the oldest archaeological site in the North American Southeast. It's a deep sinkhole called the Page-Ladson Archaeological Site located just beyond the southeastern skirts of Tallahassee in the Aucilla River. Recovered at the site have been stone knives and mastodon bones, tusks and dung, leading the scientists to believe the mastodon was either butchered or scavenged at the site by humans. Most interestingly, 71 individual radiocarbon dates show that the site is at least 14,550 years old - a full 1,500 years before many scientists recently believed humans first populated North America based on remains found around Clovis New Mexico. For more details see Pre-Clovis occupation 14,550 years ago at the Page-Ladson site, Florida, and the peopling of the Americas (Science Advances). See also next article.
A "Pre-Clovis" Settlement (Journey to a New Land) There have been other archaeological finds which indicate the Americas may have been populated by humans more than 14,000 years ago. The author, Dr. Paul Goldberg, Department of Archaeology at Boston University, says that: "The validity of these and other "pre-Clovis" sites has been hotly contested, and they have not yet met with universal acceptance." Here are two of the findings he reports:
Pedra Furada in Brazil has yielded even earlier dates in the range of 31,000 years BP.
States dig in against directive on transgender bathroom use (Associated Press) Politicians in Texas, Arkansas and elsewhere vowed defiance - and other conservative states could follow suit - after the Obama administration told public schools across the U.S. on Friday to let transgender students use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. The federal government's guidance was met with tearful praise from parents of transgender students. The directive from the U.S. Justice and Education Departments represents an escalation in the fast-moving dispute over what is becoming the civil rights issue of the day.
Susannah Mushatt Jones, world's oldest person, dies at 116 (CNN) Susannah Mushatt Jones, the world's oldest person, has died in New York, a Guinness World Records spokesman confirmed Friday. She was 116. Jones, who attributed her longevity to sleep, clean living and positive energy, died at 8:26 p.m. Thursday after being ill and in and out of the hospital for 10 days, said her niece, Dr. Lavilla Watson. She died in her sleep. Jones was the last American born in the 1800s, according to Robert Young, senior consultant for gerontology for Guinness World Records and director of the Los Angeles-based Gerontology Research Group's Supercentenarian Research and Database Division. The presumptive oldest person in the world is Emma Morano of Italy, who was born on November 29, 1899, according to Young. The oldest man is Israel Kristal of Israel, who is 112. Jones was born on July 6, 1899, in Lowndes County, Alabama, and her life spanned three centuries, according to Guinness World Records. Her father was a sharecropper who supported his family by picking cotton.
Boko Haram links to IS alarm UN (BBC News) The UN Security Council has said it is alarmed by ties between Nigeria's Boko Haram Islamist militants and the Islamic State (IS) group. In a statement, it said Boko Haram - which pledged allegiance to IS in 2015 - continued to "undermine the peace and stability" in West and Central Africa. Meanwhile, a senior US official said there were reports of Boko Haram fighters joining IS in Libya. Nigeria is to host a summit on Saturday on fighting Boko Haram.
ISIS declares state of emergency (This Week) ISIS has declared a state of emergency in its self-declared capital of Raqqa, Syria, with media reports indicating the city is mobilizing to shield potential targets from airstrikes or ground attacks. The terrorist group apparently appears to believe the capital will soon be under siege, according to those monitoring social media channels.
China April investment growth cools to 10.5 percent year-on-year, missing forecasts (Reuters) China keeps producing economic numbers that would indicate a raging boom elsewhere in the world, yet observers are disappointed. China's fixed-asset investment growth eased to 10.5% year-on-year in the January-April period, missing market expectations. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted investment growth would come in at 10.9%, compared with 10.7% posted a month earlier. Industrial output growth cooled to 6% in April, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Saturday, disappointing analysts who expected it to rise to 6.5% on an annual basis after an increase of 6.8% the prior month. Retail sales growth in April quickened to 10.1%. Analysts forecast they would rise 10.5% on an annual basis after gaining 10.5% the prior month.
Argentina ex-President Fernandez de Kirchner charged with fraud (BBC News) The former Argentine President, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has been charged with defrauding the state. She is accused of manipulating the Central Bank to sell dollars at an artificially low price in the months before she left office. Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio said this cost the state about $5.2billion. Ms Fernandez, who was in power in 2007-15, denies any wrongdoing, saying she is the victim of political persecution. She can appeal against the decision. The accusation is that the Central Bank sold US dollars on the futures market at an artificially low price ahead of a widely expected devaluation of the Argentine peso. The judge says the move allowed buyers to make a lot of money on the transaction. Former Economy Minister Axel Kicillof, former Central Bank President Alejandro Vanoli and 12 other ex-government officials were also charged.
A Day With the Buy-and-Flip Hustlers Who Rule in Venezuela (Bloomberg) With Venzuela's rip roaring inflation, hustlers called bachaqueros buy in the early morning and sell for a big "profit" later in the day. These flips can produce gains up to100%. But they can't hold onto the money - they must buy more "flipping material" in a hurry or they lose.
US officials: Venezuelan president's hold on power weakening (Associated Press) U.S. intelligence analysts are increasingly convinced that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is likely to be pushed aside by members of his own socialist movement before finishing his term. Senior American intelligence officials said Friday that as Venezuela's economy spins out of control, Maduro's grip on power is more fragile. They briefed reporters on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss their assessments by name. Since December, when the opposition won legislative elections by a landslide, the country has been wracked by growing political confrontation at a time of triple-digit inflation, widespread food shortages and almost daily hours-long blackouts across much of the nation. On Friday, Maduro decreed a "state of exception and economic emergency" giving him expanded powers to deal with the economic crisis.
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