- The European gas market may face “more strain” in the near future amid the ongoing Western Sahara dispute, in which Algeria and Morocco are involved, the Financial Times (FT) reports. Rabat, which severed ties with Algeria last month, perceives Western Sahara as Morocco’s “southern province”, warning against any actions it regards as a threat to its territorial integrity.
- Virginia Giuffre’s lawyers are so certain that the 2009 settlement with Jeffrey Epstein has no get-out clause for Prince Andrew that they handed a copy of the document to the Duke of York’s legal team, the Daily Mail has reported, citing court documents it viewed. The Duke of York’s lawyers have previously argued that the settlement may protect the 61-year-old “from any and all liability”.
- Thawing permafrost in the Arctic could be a potential spreader of nuclear waste and unknown viruses and bacteria, new research published in the journal Nature Climate Change said. “The Arctic cryosphere is collapsing, posing overlapping environmental risks. In particular, thawing permafrost threatens to release biological, chemical, and radioactive materials that have been sequestered for tens to hundreds of thousands of years”, the abstract reads.
- The unusually cold winter of 2020-2021 left European gas storage levels at their lowest for at least a decade, triggering a fierce race for hydrocarbons. At the same time, Asia is stepping up demand for natural gas as the continent witnesses an economic rebound after COVID lockdowns. As a result, wholesale gas prices in the UK have soared by a whopping 250 percent since the beginning of this year, including a 70 percent hike in August, according to the Oil & Gas UK (OGUK) trade association.
- One of the reasons China has gained momentum in the Indo-Pacific region of late is the failure of the US and UK to adopt free trade agreements in the region, which could have reduced Chinese influence, Judith Collins, the leader of New Zealand’s National Party said in an interview with The Guardian, published on 2 October. “If any criticism comes to New Zealand, as it often does about this close relationship with China and trade, my answer to everybody – whether they’re the US or UK – is: ‘So where’s our free trade agreement?’”, the politician was cited by The Guardian as saying.
- The Canary Islands Volcanic Institute earlier reported that a peninsula formed by lava, that gushed from the mountains down to the Atlantic Ocean, has reached the size of some 20 hectares, which is the equivalent of over 25 football pitches. The volcano began erupting on 19 September. The ongoing eruption has destroyed almost 600 buildings, 258 hectares of land, and damaged 13 miles of road to date. About 6,000 La Palma residents have been evacuated. According to the Canary Islands Volcanic Institute, the eruption is likely to last from 24 to 84 days.
- Considered among the most controversial movies ever, Stanley Kubrick’s masterwork, first released in 1971, is also one of the most prescient, showcasing the performative victimhood now rife in our culture. Seeing the movie through the eyes of 2021 is an alarming exercise – not because the film is pornography, but because the world of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ bears an uncomfortable resemblance to our own. ~ Michael McCaffrey
- One Russian woman’s dreams of a change of scene have landed her in hot water with authorities after she reportedly offered an under-the-table payment to police officers in an effort to have her husband charged with serious crimes. Investigators in the Russian city of Bryansk claimed on Friday that the suspect had offered over 30,000 rubles (around $412) to an investigator, in hope that the money could be used to convince the official to fabricate documents suggesting her husband was being investigated. The woman’s aim was purportedly to apply for political asylum in the US using the forged documents.
- French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced several “price protection” measures to counter rising natural gas and electricity prices to thwart discontent ahead of the presidential election, according to FT. “We’re going to introduce what I would call a tariff shield for gas and electricity,” Castex said during a televised speech on Thursday evening.
- The UK Ministry of Defence has inadvertently revealed its plan to spy on social media platforms in order to detect “change(s) in population sentiment.” Despite ostensibly being about “better use of existing silos,” the MoD’s Data Strategy for Defence document explains how the military should move towards “Automated scanning of social media platforms” to detect “change in population sentiment.”
- A massive wind turbine in the town of Haltern, Germany, collapsed just hours before it was set to be inaugurated this week. The huge alternative energy device sported rotor blades at a height of 784 feet, according to a report by AP. It fell over, without warning, late on Wednesday this week. The turbine was supposed to be officially launched the next day and had been hooked up to the power grid for over six months.
- Merck announced Friday that an experimental COVID pill it has developed reduced hospitalizations and deaths by 50% in people recently infected with COVID. The company will soon ask health officials in the US and abroad to authorize use of the drug. According to Dr. Gottlieb, “this is a phenomenal result. This is a profound game-changer that we have an oral pill that had this kind of effect on patients who are already symptomatic.” “And remember we have two other drugs in development one by Pfizer (where Dr. Gottlieb serves on the board) and the other by Roches,” he said.
- Russia is continuing to work on its ‘future soldier’ program, including the development of robotics and exoskeletons, a senior general revealed on Friday. The system is designed to boost the effectiveness of combat personnel. Speaking to the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper, General Oleg Salyukov revealed that the program, known as Ratnik, also includes mini and micro UAVs. “In regards to the outfit of the ‘future soldier’, extensive work has been carried out this past year, together with domestic industry enterprises, to include a new ‘robotic’ subsystem as part of the combat outfit of a soldier,” he said.
- As the US educational system gets radically transformed, parents are becoming more vocal, to the point where schools are requesting FBI protection. The National School Boards Association called on the Biden administration to protect teachers and schools from the possibility of “domestic terrorism.”
News Burst 3 October 2021