It’s been a week since Hurricane Maria made landfall in eastern Puerto Rico, and hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans living in remote villages remain cut off from the world, after the storm trashed power grids, tore up roads, downed cell towers and caused a dam in the northwestern part of the island to fail, endangering tens of thousands of people living in a valley below.
Hospitals, especially in rural areas, have been hopelessly crippled by the storm, which has left them dependent on backup generators for power, threatening the lives of thousands of vulnerable patients. Shipments of diesel fuel to the hospitals are delivered by armed guards to protect against looters – which sounds like something from the plot of one of the “Mad Max” movies.
CNN sent low-flying planes over the island to survey the landscape, and they’ve brought back some stunning footage of the damage. News anchor Jake Tapper tweeted this before-and-after photo, which shows how more than 90% remains mired in blackouts more than a week after the storm made landfall.
Puerto Rico before the hurricane:
Some meteorologists said Maria hit Puerto Rico with the flooding of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and the windspeeds of Hurricane Irma in Florida.
"It is as if Puerto Rico got hit with the strength of Irma's winds, leaving a trail of devastation worse than much of the destruction Irma left in Florida," said CNN meteorologist Judson Jones. "The rainfall in some areas of Puerto Rico rival the amounts of rain left by Harvey in Houston. And now they are contending with a dam disaster that is reminiscent of California's Oroville Dam crisis earlier this year."
Having spooked the bond market earlier with her surprisingly hawkish remarks, and sending the 2Y surging while flattening the curve even more, moments ago the Treasury sold $26 billion in 2 Year paper at a yield of 1.462%, a notable jump from last month’s 1.345%, and the highest since October 2008. It also tailed by 0.2 bps to the 1.460% When Issued, which however was to be expected following the sharp move just minute earlier.
The internals were average, with the cid-to-cover at 2.88 vs last month’s 2.86%, and the six previous auction average of 2.91. Indirect bidders withdrew further, and were awarded 44.2% vs six previous auction average 55.1%, and down from 45.80% in August. This was the lowest Indirect takedown since December. Direct bidder interest jumped, resulting in an award of 19% vs six previous auction average 13.7% and notably higher than the 12.6% in August. Finally, Dealers were left to sop up the mess, and were awarded 36. (more…)
The nation of Iran is claiming that they successfully launched a missile, but the United States disagrees. US intelligence officials said there was “no indication” Iran launched a medium-range ballistic missile.
Word of the alleged launch surfaced on Friday as Iran claimed a missile launch was successful.
Multiple news outlets reported on Monday that the launch was faked. According to CNN, US intelligence radars and sensors “picked up no indication” of an Iranian ballistic missile launch in the days surrounding a reported test, according to a Trump administration official familiar with the latest US assessment.
The video footage of the purported missile was over seven months old, Fox News said. This is the same period in which the Iranians conducted a failed launch where a missile exploded prematurely. The country was reportedly claiming that they were testing the Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile, a missile that has been reported to share similarities with North Korea’s counterpart, the Hwasong-10 when it exploded after traveling 600 miles.
— Press TV (@PressTV) September 23, 2017
Iran did not include the location or date of the launch at the time it released the footage. “I am not sure why the Iranians are lying about the range,” a US official told Fox News. “I think they don’t want to piss the Europeans off.”
President Donald Trump has been an outspoken critic of Iran’s missile program. He blasted the alleged missile activity on Twitter just days after he criticized the Iran nuclear deal. “Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel. They are also working with North Korea,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “Not much of an agreement we have!”
Iran just test-fired a Ballistic Missile capable of reaching Israel.They are also working with North Korea.Not much of an agreement we have!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Of course, Iran maintains that their tests were “solely defensive,” as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered a speech before the UN. “We never threaten anyone, but we do not tolerate threats from anyone,” Rouhani said on Wednesday. Rouhani also threatened to act “decisively and resolutely” if Trump pulled the US out of the Iran deal; a decision that Trump says has been “decided,” yet he would not reveal what that decision is.
Although Iran was encouraged not to conduct ballistic missile tests in the UN Security Council’s resolution, it was only “called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles” — a discrepancy that has allowed Iran to merely violate the spirit of the agreement when it conducts its ballistic missile tests.
Since 2015, Iran has conducted over 20 missile tests.
First identified in Cambodia, a new malaria superbug which is spread by mosquitoes, is ravaging southeast Asia. The new form of malaria is also drug-resistant, making the first line of defense against it, null and void.
As of now, five countries in Southeast Asia have reported artemisinin-resistant malaria. (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Myanmar.) What is more concerning, however, is that along the border between Cambodia and Thailand, the parasite has become resistant to almost all treatments. This drug resistance is thought to be driven by a number of different factors, including patients not completing their course of drugs and inadequate treatment policies in certain regions, as well as the wide availability of the drug over the counter, including cheap substandard forms.
With humans being more connected than ever right now too, the parasite could spread to other regions of the world quickly, making treatments even more difficult. The worry for scientists is that the superbug could travel to the African continent.
According to The Lancet Infectious Diseases, the strain of Plasmodium falciparum (the new malaria superbug) is resistant to drug artemisinin. “The spread of this malaria “superbug” strain, resistant to the most effective drug we have, is alarming and has major implications for public health globally,” said the Wellcome Trust’s Michael Chew, who was not involved in the study. “Around 700,000 people a year die from drug-resistant infections, including malaria. If nothing is done, this could increase to millions of people every year by 2050.”
This is of serious concern to scientists in the global fight against the malaria parasite. The drug that it has been found to be resistant to, artemisinin, is often administered as a first-line treatment for the infection. Expanding access to this drug it is thought to have been crucial in the massive achievements seen globally to reduce the malaria burden, with up to 311 million courses of the drug having been produced in 2015 alone.
The main role of the drug is to reduce the parasite load of infected patients to a level that other combination medicines can tackle. The fact that one strain of malaria has been found to be resistant to this drug could, therefore, have a profound impact on the effectiveness of others, although the World Health Organization does stress that the parasite can still be eliminated with these other medicines, but that it simply takes more time. –IFL Science
“We are losing a dangerous race,” explained Sir Nicholas White, a co-author of the letter. “The spread of this malaria “superbug” has caused an alarming rise in treatment failures forcing changes in drug policy and leaving few options for the future. We need to tackle this public health emergency urgently.”
It is not nearly as much as Donald Trump has promised. He promised us a… READ THE REST OF THE ARTICLE ON THE NEW WEBSITE: JIM ROGERS TALKS MARKETS
Natural disasters are coming fast and furious around the globe. About 6,000 people have been evacuated from the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu because of an erupting volcano.
Although the Monaro volcano on Ambae island has been active since 2005, however, sudden activity on Saturday raised fears of a major eruption. The director of Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office Shadrack Welegtabit said on Tuesday that Vanuatu would declare an emergency on the island after the volcano’s activity measure was raised to Level Four for the first time over the weekend.
Vanuatu is located about one-quarter of the way from Australia to Hawaii. It’s made up of 80 islands, about 65 of which are inhabited, and is home to around 280,000 people. The nation is considered one of the world’s most prone to natural disasters, with a half-dozen active volcanoes as well as regular cyclones and earthquakes. It rests on the Pacific’s ‘Ring of Fire,’ the arc of seismic faults around the Pacific Ocean where earthquakes and volcanoes are common.
Welegtabit also said those villagers had been moved into schools and community halls in the island’s eastern and western regions and that authorities have already planned to send a ship to the island filled with water, food, and other supplies to help those people who had been displaced. That ship is due to arrive on Wednesday.
Almost 50,000 people are currently evacuated from the island nation of Bali in Indonesia as well, due to an imminent volcanic eruption there.
“There’s ash, fire, stones, and lava being thrown out from the mouth of the volcano,” Welegtabit said. “There’s a lot of activity going on.” He also said that it’s difficult to say whether there will be a major eruption and that those who have been evacuated will just have to sit and wait for further instruction. At this time, evacuees are in limbo.
Vanuatu was also close to a 6.4 magnitude earthquake that occurred on September 20 of this year.
Vanuatu’s Meteorology and Geohazards Department said that villagers within 6.5 kilometers (4 miles) of the volcano face the biggest risk from airborne rocks and volcanic gas. The department also warned that acid rain could damage crops across a broader area.
“With the seismic machine, we can measure what’s happening but we can’t really predict what the volcano will do next,” he said.