Daily Digest 1/28 – Coronavirus is becoming more contagious, Chinese health authorities warn, The True Cost Of “Freedom Gas”


Scientist who simulated the global impact of a coronavirus outbreak says ‘ the cat’s already out of the bag’ and calls China’s efforts to contain the disease ‘unlikely to be effective’ (Thomas R.)

Scientist and scholar Eric Toner, quoted above in an excerpt from a Friday interview with the business-news channel CNBC, explained that China’s efforts to contain the current outbreak of a fast-moving upper-respiratory illness are “unlikely to be effective.”

Cases of the illness, which is related to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, and MERS, Middle East respirator syndrome, have now turned up in a number of countries beyond China, where the illness originated in Wuhan City.

New York City To Require Businesses To Accept Cash Payments (jasonw)

New York City stores and restaurants will soon be legally required to accept cash or face a stiff fine.

The city council is expected to pass a bill on Thursday that would prohibit brick-and-mortar food and retail establishments from refusing payments of $20 or less in cash or imposing a fine or tax on cash payments.

Coronavirus is becoming more contagious, Chinese health authorities warn (Thomas R.)

The ability of the new coronavirus to spread is strengthening and infections could continue to rise, China’s National Health Commission said on Sunday, with nearly 2,000 people in China infected and 56 killed by the disease.

A handful of cases have been reported outside China, including in Thailand, Australia, the United States and France, with health authorities around the world racing to prevent a pandemic.

Boris Johnson Defies Trump By Giving Huawei Limited Role In UK’s 5G Networks (jasonw)

Boris Johnson has approved plans to allow Chinese telecoms firm Huawei a role in building the UK’s 5G phone and data network.

Despite huge pressure from Donald Trump to ban the company amid spying fears, the British government’s National Security Council decided Tuesday to give it limited access to the new hi-tech infrastructure.

Ordinary or ‘Enemy’? How Jay Powell Is Positioning the Fed in a Fraught Era (jasonw)

Jerome H. Powell is a pragmatist, and one who is quietly insulating an embattled Federal Reserve often in President Trump’s cross hairs.

Jerome H. Powell has spent much of his life toiling quietly behind the scenes, first as an investment banker and later as a governor at the Federal Reserve. Even as the central bank’s chair, and arguably the global economy’s most important figure, he has maintained a low-key image.


OPEC Considers Deeper Oil Cuts Amid Virus Market Meltdown (Michael S.)

As leading OPEC producers downplayed fears of crippled demand growth in an attempt to calm the oil market on Monday, the cartel is said to be considering extending the ongoing production cuts or even deepening them to stave off excessive price slides due to the coronavirus outbreak in China, an OPEC source told S&P Global Platts.

The True Cost Of “Freedom Gas” (Michael S.)

The reputation of natural gas as a clean fuel has been repeatedly undermined by unfavorable emissions data. But now, several new studies suggest that the problem could be even bigger than we imagined.

Do these studies paint an accurate picture of LNG, or are they just more anti-fossil fuel hype?   The short answer is: it’s complicated.

As Gas Prices Crash, Will This Shale Giant Survive? (Michael S.)

Fracking pioneer and the king of unconventional drilling Chesapeake Energy (NYSE:CHK) is a company in dire straits, which makes it a great bargain right now.

The Oklahoma-based exploration company ushered in America’s shale natural gas revolution a decade and a half ago; now, the odds are that it might not even survive the era of cheap gas it helped create. Chesapeake is the poster child of an industry that at one time had more money to burn than sense.


Africa threatened with severe food crisis as locust ‘mega-swarms’ devour crops (Thomas R.)

The locusts are coming thick and fast as the low-flying aircraft punches through the swarm, leaving khaki-coloured streaks smeared across the plane’s windscreen and obstructing the view outside.

But the pilot – despite travelling at 100 miles per hour – is unfazed. He simply winds down the window of the unpressurised cockpit, reaches his arm outside and wipes away what’s left of the insects with a damp cloth.

Greta Thunberg Rips Steve Mnuchin For Saying She Needs An Econ Degree Before He’ll Listen (jasonw)

Teen environmental activist Greta Thunberg schooled Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin Thursday after he said she needs a college degree in economics before he’ll condescend to take her seriously about climate change.

“It doesn’t take a college degree in economics to realise that our remaining 1,5° carbon budget and ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and investments don’t add up,” Thunberg, 17, tweeted in response to Mnuchin’s dig.

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