Daily Digest 8/13 - A Texan Tragedy, War-torn Syria Split into Three Regions
ut even if you think you’ve found the perfect refuge, don’t get too attached just yet: some countries have a fairly extensive asylum process, so no guarantees once you’re there that you won’t be extradited in future. And you might be more welcome in certain countries, depending on the status of the country’s treaty with the U.S. on the matter or the local culture (note: Iran does not have the best of relations with Americans).
Poitras remained wary of whoever it was she was communicating with. She worried especially that a government agent might be trying to trick her into disclosing information about the people she interviewed for her documentary, including Julian Assange, the editor of WikiLeaks. “I called him out,” Poitras recalled. “I said either you have this information and you are taking huge risks or you are trying to entrap me and the people I know, or you’re crazy.”
”The plan was always a little vague, at least as Keith described it, but today it may be Snowden’s biggest single victim,” one senior intelligence official said recently, referring to Edward J. Snowden, the former N.S.A. contractor who released documents revealing details of many of the agency’s surveillance programs.
War-torn Syria Split into Three Regions (jdargis)
According to the Associated Press, two and a half years into Syria's civil war, the once highly-centralized authoritarian state has effectively split into three distinct parts, each boasting its own flags, security agencies and judicial system. The regime of President Bashar Al Assad retains control of a corridor running from north to south along the Mediterranean shore, while large sections of Syria's interior and southwest remain in rebel hands, and Syrian Kurds control the northeast. The dividing lines remain very fluid, as regime and rebel forces have traded advances and attacks for months now. While foreign aid to both rebels and Assad's forces is on the rise, and diplomatic efforts toward peace start and stop, the U.N. now estimates that more than 100,000 Syrians have died in the conflict, with millions more forced to flee to neighboring states.
Much has changed over the last six years. Big banks like Goldman are reporting strong profits and regulators are wrapping up cases stemming from Wall Street’s recklessness. House prices are on the rise, providing relief and encouragement for many homeowners. Indeed, subprime securities like the Goldman bond can now even be found in some mom-and-pop mutual funds — which bought them at a discount of as much as half of their original face value.
Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse.
In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
Over the years PDVSA has been criticised for poor management, resulting from Hugo Chavez’s decision to nationalise the company, leading to serious underinvestment that has been blamed for many accidents and unplanned stoppages.
Last year, the giant 645,000 barrel a day Amuay oil refinery suffered one of the world’s worst industry accidents for decades when a gas leak ignited causing an explosion and subsequent fire that destroyed hundreds of local houses and the deaths of more than 40 people.
New York Today: Flood Watch (jdargis)
The New York City region is under a flash-flood watch until 6 p.m., with more than an inch of rain forecast, some of it likely coming in bursts accompanied by gusty winds.
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