Written by Econintersect
Early Bird Headlines 17 April 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.
Vaccine switched in ‘milestone’ towards ending polio (BBC News) More than 150 countries have begun switching to a different polio vaccine – an important milestone towards polio eradication, health campaigners say. The new vaccine will target the two remaining strains of the virus under a switchover 18 months in the planning. There were just 74 cases of the paralyzing disease in 2015 and there have been 10 so far this year. All of the cases were in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Africa has been free of polio for more than a year. Switching the vaccine from one successfully used to fight polio for more than 30 years is a huge logistical exercise.
What’s at risk if Doha oil freeze deal fails (CNBC) At best, this weekend’s oil producers meeting was only expected to walk away with a sketchy deal to freeze production. Now, with Iran’s last minute decision to stay home, even that modest outcome appears in jeopardy. See more under Saudi Arabia later below.
The Lessons of a Coal Giant’s Collapse (Bloomberg) The editors of Bloomberg lament that the bankruptcy of America’s largest coal miner could actually be an environmental disaster. Taxpayers in four states could be on the hook for $1.5 billion to clean up the mess Peabody Coal has left behind. The reason is explained thusly:
Under federal law, companies must pay for the reclamation of the land they have contaminated though mining. The usual way to do this would be to require them to put up money or collateral to cover those costs. But some states, with the federal government’s blessing, allow companies to “self-bond” — essentially, to promise that when the time comes to clean up a mine, they’ll have enough money to do the job.
Peabody’s bankruptcy shows the folly of this practice. Of the six states in which Peabody has mines, four — Wyoming, New Mexico, Illinois and Indiana — allow self-bonding.
GOP official rails over effort aimed at nomination rules (Associated Press) In an extraordinary display of internal discord, the chairman of the Republican Party’s rules committee accused top GOP officials Saturday of “a breach of our trust” by improperly trying to impede a proposed change in bylaws that would make it harder for party leaders to nominate a fresh candidate for president. Bruce Ash, RNC committeeman from Arizona, wrote the harshly worded email to the other 55 members of the GOP rules committee that he chairs. The confidential email, obtained by The Associated Press, was written days before party officials gather in Hollywood, Florida, for preliminary discussions about what rules the GOP will use at its presidential nominating convention this July. Many Republican leaders think that the two front running candidates, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, have poor prospects for the November election.
Ted Cruz wins Wyoming Republican presidential nominating contest (Reuters) Republican U.S. presidential hopeful Ted Cruz won all 14 delegates at stake on Saturday in Wyoming, besting rival Donald Trump, who made little effort to win the rural state, and further narrowing the gap in the race for the party’s nomination. Cruz is trying to prevent Trump from obtaining the 1,237 delegates needed to secure the Republican nomination at the July convention in Cleveland. By continuing to rack up small wins, Cruz is gaining ground on the New York real estate mogul, who has thus far failed to shift his focus on the local-level campaigning necessary to win delegates.
This Device Could Provide a Third of America’s Power (Bloomberg) The oscillatory energy of ocean waves, currents and tides is an untapped source of energy. The dependability 24/7 is much better than solar or wind energy and the costs may be comparable. But, until now the method of reliably and economically producing electricity has been elusive. Now, a new device called the “Triton” shows promise of breakthrough.
Saudi Prince Sticks to Oil Freeze Ultimatum as Iran Stays Home (Bloomberg) Saudi Arabia won’t restrain its oil production unless other producers, including Iran, agree to freeze output at a meeting this weekend in Doha, the kingdom’s deputy crown prince said. Iran said it had decided to stay at home. Iran is not willing to freeze at the artificially low levels of production imposed by the recently lifted sanctions. Oil has rallied this year on the idea that production would be limited to January levels. But Iran is a major producer and they are balking. Russia seems to think a deal can be reached without Iran. But Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who has emerged as Saudi Arabia’s leading economic force, said:
“If all major producers don’t freeze production, we will not freeze production. If we don’t freeze, then we will sell at any opportunity we get.”
India world’s largest FDI destination: Jaitley (The Hindu) India has liberalized foreign investment policies and created a “very favorable investment climate” for investments across all segments of economy — agriculture, manufacturing and services, finance minister Arun Jaitley told the Development Committee meeting of the International Monitory Fund (IMF). Mr. Jaitley said Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow in India has increased by over 30-40% in last two years and India was now “the largest FDI destination in the world“.
Great Barrier Reef: the scale of bleaching has the most sober scientists worried (The Guardian) Australia’s world heritage site is the largest living thing on Earth. But warm water driven by El Niño is bleaching the reef, and a recent report calls for it to be listed as in danger.
Brazil’s Rousseff makes last-minute bid for support (BBC News) Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has held held last-minute talks with lawmakers – a day before Congress votes on whether to impeach her. She had been due to attend a rally but instead has been lobbying congress members and party leaders for support. Ms Rousseff is accused of manipulating government accounts. She says her opponents are mounting a “coup”. Meanwhile, presidential supporters and opponents are holding rival rallies in the capital Brasilia. Metal barriers have been built outside the parliament building to keep the groups apart to prevent possible clashes. Latest estimates suggest those in favor of impeachment have just enough votes for the motion to carry. Ironically, some leaders of the impeachment effort are themselves facing corruption charges.
Powerful earthquake hits Ecuador; at least 41 killed (CNN) A major magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit Ecuador’s central coast Saturday, killing at least 41 people as it buckled homes and knocked out power hundreds of miles away. This quake was stronger than either of the two earthquakes that caused so much damage in Japan this week.
The ancient Peruvian mystery solved from space (BBC News) The puzzling holes in the arid valleys of southern Peru tell us there was once a flourishing, sophisticated society here. From before 1,000 BC up to about 750 AD the extremely arid Nasca region supported a flourishing society by developing a unique technology to recover water from very deep aquifers.