Daily Digest 1/6 – Saudi Aramco Hits New Low Amid Int’l Tensions, How Australia’s Bushfires Are Generating Thunderstorms


What stock market investors need to know about intensifying U.S.-Iran tensions (Thomas R.)

“We came into this year calling for a continuation of the equity bull market, but with a single-digit return profile and elevated volatility,” said David Donabedian, chief investment officer at CIBC Private Wealth Management, in an interview.

And with the U.S.-Iran conflict unlikely to be a “one-and-done” event, the effect on oil and other markets is unlikely fade quickly as it did in September after an attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure that was widely blamed on Iran, he said.

Iranian-Americans in California React to Suleimani’s Death (tmn)

“The last thing the world needs is yet another disastrous American military adventure in the Middle East,” said Jamal Abdi, the organization’s president. The killing of the commander, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, was “a profoundly reckless move,” Mr. Abdi said.

But many Californians who emigrated from Iran said they weren’t mourning Mr. Suleimani.

Saudi Aramco hits new low amid US-Iran tensions (Thomas R.)

Saudi Aramco’s trading price impacted the nation’s benchmark index, which fell 2.4% on Sunday, Reuters reported. Saudi Aramco is a state-owned oil company.

Major stock markets in the Middle East traded down on fears of a conflict between Iran and the U.S. after an American drone strike killed Soleimani.

Iraqi parliament votes to expel US troops from country (video) (Thomas R.)

Senior Research Associate at MIT’s Security Studies Program Dr. Jim Walsh on the U.S. airstrike that killed top Iranian general Soleimani.

As 3,500 Soldiers Deploy, a ‘Whirlwind’ Whips Through Fort Bragg (Thomas R.)

The tide of the community, in many ways, ebbs and flows based on the gravitational pull of conflicts a world away: When a deployment comes, a barber’s regular customers disappear, and their sons are brought in by their mothers. When troops flood back, just as more than 20,000 did after a pivotal moment during the Iraq war, the subsequent baby booms overwhelm hospitals and deplete the stock in the maternity sections of department stores.

It’s Not Just Software: New Safety Risks Under Scrutiny on Boeing’s 737 Max (Thomas R.)

The company is looking at whether two bundles of critical wiring are too close together and could cause a short circuit. A short in that area could lead to a crash if pilots did not respond correctly, the people said. Boeing is still trying to determine whether that scenario could actually occur on a flight and, if so, whether it would need to separate the wire bundles in the roughly 800 Max jets that have already been built. The company says that the fix, if needed, is relatively simple.

Samsung sheds light on its ‘artificial human’ project (Thomas R.)

There are many remaining questions. Are these 3D avatars, or just cleverly-manipulated 2D? Just how much autonomy do they have? And when might people see Neon in the real world? Samsung is expected to say more at CES on January 6th, although it’s not certain that you’ll get as many answers as you might like.

Deceased GOP Strategist’s Daughter Makes Files Public That Republicans Wanted Sealed (edelinski)

“The Court finds that in many election environments, it is the carefully crafted maps, and not the will of the voters, that dictate the election outcomes in a significant number of legislative districts and, ultimately, the majority control of the General Assembly,” a three-judge panel of the Wake County Superior Court wrote in their ruling.

Other files have become intertwined in the federal lawsuits over the Trump administration’s push to add the now-blocked citizenship question to the 2020 census, raising questions about Thomas Hofeller’s role and the administration’s true motives.

Meth use up sixfold, fentanyl use quadrupled in U.S. in last 6 years (Thomas R.)

Similarly, the percentage of drug urine tests coming back positive for the highly potent — and sometimes fatal — opioid fentanyl have more than quadrupled since 2013, the study found. In 2013, just over 1 percent of the urine samples tested positive for fentanyl, but by 2019 that number was nearing 5 percent, said a team led by Dr. Eric Dawson, of Millennium Health in San Diego.

Why Are Young Americans Killing Themselves? (jdargis)

While young people are generally physically healthy, they are psychiatrically vulnerable. Three-quarters of all the mental illness that we see in adults has already occurred by age 25. Our collective failure to act in the face of this epidemic is all the more puzzling since we are living at a time when people are generally more accepting of mental illness and stigma is on the wane.

Russian government to ‘use the advantages’ of climate change (Thomas R.)

The government said it would plan for crisis scenarios including evacuations in the case of natural disasters, and make sure climate change was taught in schools.

The publication comes after Moscow experienced its warmest December on record, with authorities dumping artificial snow in Red Square ahead of New Year celebrations.

How Australia’s massive bushfires are generating thunderstorms (Thomas R.)

As global temperatures rise, pyrocumulus clouds may become more common. A similar fire-induced weather system took place during California’s wildfire season in 2018. The state’s hilly terrain created perfect conditions for not only thunderstorms, but fire tornadoes. An unprecedented number of wildfires in north Russia and the Arctic Circle in the summer of 2019, as captured by satellite images, contributed to an increase in lightning strikes in the North Pole.

ADF in seven-day race to help bury hundreds of thousands of farm animals killed in bushfires, amid biosecurity fears (ezlxq1949)

“I know South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales will be taking up that offer to get that assistance as soon as possible — to not just assess the health, but these teams will also be euthanasing stock.”

As of Monday afternoon, 3,872 animals had already been euthanased.

A statement about the 480 million animals killed in NSW bushfires since September (ezlxq1949)

Australia supports a rich and impressive diversity of mammals, with over 300 native species. The continent is uniquely dominated by marsupials and is the only great land mass to contain three major groups of living mammals: marsupials, monotremes (egg-laying platypus and echidna) and placentals. About 244 species, or 81% of this distinctive fauna, are found only in Australia.

Beekeepers traumatised and counselled after hearing animals screaming in pain after bushfires (ezlxq1949)

More than a million hectares has burnt in NSW since the start of this year’s bushfire season, with hives and key foraging country for bees burnt out.

Peter Matthison from Elands, south-west of Port Macquarie, estimated he had lost 70 per cent of his hives and 90 per cent of the sites he used for his bees.

Australia bushfires: Which animals typically fare best and worst? (ezlxq1949)

“Koalas don’t make noise much of the time,” says Prof Chris Dickman, an ecology expert at Sydney University.

“Males only make booming noises during mating season. Other than that they’re quiet animals. So hearing their yelps is a pretty bad sign things are going catastrophically wrong for these animals.”

Bushfire preparations stymied by climate change deniers in Government, says small business lobby (ezlxq1949)

“The preparation at the state level, I think, was very good. But at the federal level, there are people within Government who firmly believe there is no such thing as climate change or that human beings don’t have an impact upon it, and they are adamant that no extra work or extra effort should ever happen because they don’t believe in climate change.

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