Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 8/2 - CA Drought Takes Over State, The Quarantine Next Door

Saturday, August 2, 2014, 12:49 PM

Economy

A Mound of Forgotten Money, and Even You May Have a Claim (jdargis)

In New York, where the state comptroller, Thomas P. DiNapoli, returned $422 million to owners last year, the unclaimed property fund has been around since the 1940s. Five years ago it stood at $9.9 billion, and its remarkable growth is a reminder of people’s laxity (or the vicissitudes of the postal system), the redefinition of what constitutes a trifling amount of money and the fact that businesses are much more dogged in hounding deadbeats than in tracking down creditors.

American With Ebola Arrives in U.S. for Treatment (jdargis)

“We depend on the body’s defenses to control the virus,” he said. “We just have to keep the patient alive long enough in order for the body to control this infection.”

Dr. Ribner said Emory would have a robust roster of medical workers handling the care of Dr. Brantly and Ms. Writebol, including four infectious disease doctors, a rotating cast of nurses and, as needed, subspecialists.

Ebola Vaccine Possible, but Many Doubts Persist (jdargis)

Researchers have been studying the Ebola virus for decades, and vaccine efforts have begun to bear fruit with the development of several new strategies for priming the immune system to recognize and attack the virus after exposure.

But Ebola is strangely elusive, raging through populations like wildfire before disappearing. Unlike viruses that attack only the respiratory system or only the gastrointestinal system, Ebola attacks almost every cell in the human body.

The Quarantine Next Door (jdargis)

The practice of isolating sick people stretches back to the days of the Old Testament. By the 14th century, during the outbreak of the plague in Europe, governments began establishing formal quarantine protocols, according to a short history of the quarantine by PBS. During the smallpox epidemic of the 1730s, New York City residents were banished to Bedloe's Island, where the Statue of Liberty would be erected a century and a half later. When astronauts first returned from the moon in 1969, they spent three weeks quarantined in a trailer, awaiting lab results as scientists tested their blood for moon germs. (No lunar diseases were found, though it's still kind of a bummer we didn't find life up there.)

U.S. CDC lab inspectors may have risked public safety: documents (jdargis)

Newly released federal documents show that oversight gaps at the CDC Division of Select Agents and Toxins (DSAT) may have contributed to biosafety lapses at six laboratories handling pathogens including smallpox, influenza and monkeypox. As a result, the inspectors may have put public safety at risk.

"We found that DSAT did not effectively monitor and enforce certain federal select agent regulations at the laboratories," Daniel Levinson, inspector general for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said in a July 2011 report sent with a letter to CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden.

Russian Oligarchs Wave Goodbye To Visa, Switch To Chinese Credit Card (pinecarr)

So much for the "Russia is becoming increasingly isolated" meme that the West would like many to believe. As Russia continues to sign de-dollarization deals and trade agreements with its BRICS allies while pushing ahead with retaliatory actions against the US and Europe, it appears the 'sanctioned' friends of Putin are taking matters into their own hands. Billionaire oligarch Gennady Timchenko, among the first to be hit by travel bans and asset freezes by the US, has decided to tear up his Visa and Mastercard, shifting all his credit cards to China's UnionPay, noting that "in some ways it is more secure than Visa - at least the Americans can't reach it."

Gaza Fighting Surges as Truce Frays, Soldier Disappears (jdargis)

As the violence intensified, the U.S. House and Senate yesterday approved $225 million in emergency spending for Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defense system. The military says Iron Dome has intercepted 549 rockets fired at urban areas, including three today. In all, militants have launched more than 3,040 rockets since the conflict began, the military said.

Watch Drought Take Over the Entire State of California in One GIF (jdargis)

California, the producer of half of the nation's fruits, veggies, and nuts, is experiencing its third-worst drought on record. The dry spell is expected to cost the state billions of dollars and thousands of jobs, and farmers are digging into groundwater supplies to keep their crops alive. We've been keeping an eye on the drought with the US Drought Monitor, a USDA-sponsored program that uses data from soil moisture and stream flow, satellite imagery, and other indicators to produce weekly drought maps. Here's a GIF showing the spread of the drought, from last December 31—shortly before Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency—until July 29.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 8/1/14

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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