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Daily Digest 9/13 - Long Fight Against Ebola Ahead, Scotland Independence Vote Nears

Saturday, September 13, 2014, 10:12 AM

Economy

Truce Is Strengthening, Ukraine President Says (jdargis)

Ukrainian officials said that the crisis in southeastern Ukraine was the main priority, and that the issue of Crimea, which started the crisis, would have to wait for another day. They said that the first step should be the withdrawal of all Russian troops from the southeast, followed by the closing of the border and the release of all detainees.

Some of those detainees were freed early Friday outside Donetsk, one of the centers of the insurgency. Thirty-six Ukrainian servicemen held by the rebel side were exchanged for 31 insurgent fighters, some of them Russian citizens, news services reported.

Returning the gaze: everyone’s a war reporter in an always-connected world (jdargis)

For those who pay attention to the current conflicts in the Middle East, Brown Moses is likely a familiar name. Working from a laptop in his living room in Leicester, he has produced some of the most important journalism on the Syrian Civil War, and become a lodestar for an emerging kind of online citizen war reporting. His first big scoop came after the chemical gas attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta on 21 August 2012, where he used video footage posted online to build a case that the Assad regime was responsible for the deaths of as many as 1,729 people. He cross-referenced the shapes of the canisters which had held the gas with those seen in earlier YouTube videos showing other attacks on rebel positions by regime forces – it was the kind of detail only he, having spent hours obsessively gathering such videos, would recognise.

Liberian President Pleads With Obama for Assistance in Combating Ebola (jdargis)

Ms. Johnson Sirleaf’s request was made several days after Mr. Obama, in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, called the disease a national security priority and said the United States must lead the international effort in containing the spread of Ebola in Africa.

U.S. Scientists See Long Fight Against Ebola (jdargis)

While previous outbreaks have been largely confined to rural areas, the current epidemic, the largest ever, has reached densely populated, impoverished cities — including Monrovia, the capital of Liberia — gravely complicating efforts to control the spread of the disease. Alessandro Vespignani, a professor of computational sciences at Northeastern University who has been involved in the computer modeling of Ebola’s spread, said that if the case count reaches hundreds of thousands, “there will be little we can do.”

Scots War Games Haunt U.K. Elite Bracing for Referendum (jdargis)

While polls currently suggest Scots will opt to stay with the U.K. by a narrow margin, the vote is so close that officials are girding themselves for the possibility of the biggest shock to the financial system since the collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. in 2008. The pound has the potential to tumble 10 percent within a month, said 61 percent of the 31 respondents in a Bloomberg News survey conducted Sept. 5-11.

Is It The Whiskey Or The Oil? (jdargis)

It’s a lovely vision, but there’s a catch: Nobody is really sure how much oil and gas is left in the North Sea, where crude production peaked all the way back in 1999, and has been declining swiftly in recent years. Tax revenue from drilling fell from £12.4 billion in 2008-09 to £6.5 billion in 2012-13. As for the future, the predictions are all over the map. The Scottish National Party has optimistic estimates based on the assumption that investing in better technology will let the industry drill more oil out of the ocean. Sir Ian Wood, a billionaire Scottish oil executive, has called those predictions a “fantasy,” and said that revenues from the North Sea “will simply not be there in 25 to 30 years’ time.” The U.K.’s Office for Budget Responsibility thinks output will be far lower than the nationalists hope.

Good news on ozone, bad news on greenhouse gases (jdargis)

The bulletin also notes that, beyond greenhouse warming, CO2 emissions also contribute to ocean acidification. As some of the atmospheric CO2 dissolves into ocean waters, it is converted into a weak acid, lowering the ocean's pH. The WMO has included graphs that show a steady downward trend in ocean pH over the last several decades.

2002 Larsen B ice shelf collapse likely due to rising temps (jdargis)

While digging down a little over a meter gets you to 12,000-year-old sediment there, the sediment core nearest the recent grounding line looks very different. More than 2.5 meters of sediment has been deposited there since 2002. That’s partly due to landslides of sediment from the sides of the fjord (now free from the influence of the ice shelf) and partly due to the accelerated flow that came with the retreat of the Crane Glacier after 2002. Ice shelves act like buttressing supporting the rest of the glacier—remove one and the ice comes spilling out.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 9/12/14

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