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Showing posts from October 13, 2015

The Key Players in the Syria Crisis, Explained.


Four years ago, there were 22 million people living in Syria. As many as 12 million are now gone. 

More than 200,000 have been killed, 7.6 million have fled their homes, but remain inside Syria. 

More than four million more have fled the country.

The scale of violence in Syria. 
Source: The New York Times

The security vacuum in Syria has attracted a dangerous mix of players.

Syria’s President Assad is reaching out to old friends. 

ISIS is entrenched. 

The US and some of its allies are involved. 

Russia’s President Putin has charged into the fray. 

Turkey’s President Erdogan is ordering airstrikes, the Saudis are issuing threats, and Iranian soldiers are already on the ground.

 Qatar, Syrian Kurds, and Lebanon’s Hezbollah are also important players.

In recent days, we’ve learned a new military term. “Deconfliction” is the process of changing the flight path of an aircraft or weapon to avoid an accidental collision. 

In Syria, this word refers to a lot more than j…


Here's where the world's richest 0.00168% live

Elena Holodny


There are 123,800 ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals in the world, according to Credit Suisse's 2015 Global Wealth Report.

These folks have a net worth of over $50 million. Furthermore, about 44,900 of them have a net worth of at least $100 million, and 4,500 have assets of $500 million.

Notably, the number of UHNW individuals has dropped over the past year.

"The strong dollar has reduced the number of UNHW adults by 800 since mid-2014; but our calculations suggest that there has been a small increase in the number of individuals owning more than USD 500 million,"according to Credit Suisse analysts.

But more important is where you find these people, according to the report:

North America dominates the regional rankings, with 61,300 UHNW residents (50%), while Europe has 29,900 (24%) and 15,900 (13%) live in Asia-Pacific countries, excluding China and India. 

Among individual countries, the United States leads by a huge margin with 58,900 UHNW adults, equi…

The Fukushima Wasteland: "Terrifying" Drone Footage Of Japan's Abandoned Nuclear Exclusion Zone

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 10/13/2015 14:19 -0400


While the world has had decades of opportunities to observe nature slowly reclaiming the consequences of human civilization, particularly at the site of the original nuclear disaster, Chernobyl, there has been far less media coverage for obvious reasons, of that other nuclear disaster, Fukushima, where as we reported last night, one year after giving up on its "ice wall" idea Tepco has renewed the strategy of encasing the radioactive sarcophagus in an ice wall.

It was not precisely clear why this time the idea is expected to work after it was nixed last summer.

What is clear is that something has to be done, because as renewed interest in the aftermath of the results of the 2011 disaster once again builds ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the public is realizing just how vast the Japanese wasteland truly is.

And capturing just that, is this eerie drone overflight of the Fukushima graveyard shown in the clip below:

For those…

Heineken Is Fine Drinking Alone: Better agile than bloated

Brooke Sutherland
October 13, 2015 — 12:28 PM PDT

Heineken is the odd man out in the world’s biggest beer merger, and that suits it just fine.

The world’s third-largest brewer is set to face a much larger rival as AB InBev and SABMiller ready their gargantuan $106 billion merger. There’s no doubt that the competition is going to get bigger, stronger and more efficient for Heineken. But the brewer seems up for the challenge.

Consider this: Heineken was one the few big European brewers to actually increase saleson the continent in the first half of the year amid price competition and sluggish demand. Analysts estimate the brewer will boost global revenue 14 percent to about 22 billion euros by the end of 2017 -- and that’s without a mega-merger to inflate its numbers.

Matching MegaBrew’s size will be impossible for Heineken, with a market cap of $49 billion. But there’s a benefit to staying sma…

Sip On This: That $10,000 (Or $30) Bottle Of Wine Might Be Fake

OCTOBER 13, 2015 5:14 AM ET


Listen to the Story

Morning Edition

Lab workers test wine for authenticity in a lab run by the French Finance ministry in Bordeaux, southwestern France. Demand has driven up the price of wine, making conditions ripe for counterfeiters.

Bob Edme/AP

On an early spring day in 2012, a half dozen FBI officers entered a house in the Los Angeles suburb of Arcadia. It belonged to an Indonesian named Rudy Kurniawan.

According to Maureen Downey, founder of, his home was kept to 55 degrees.

"His elderly mother had to have a space heater in her bedroom because it was so damned cold,"says Downey.

 "The entire house was cellar temperature.

Inside the FBI found everything to produce counterfeit wine: corks, dozens of empty bottles and 18,000 labels of the world's rarest wines.

"The whole thing was a wine counterfeiting factory,"says Downey.

By the time of his arrest, the then 37-year-old Kurniawan had been living the high …

Brazil Snake Island is home to world's deadliest serpent - and its venom MELTS human flesh

Published on Jul 2, 2014

Fancy a trip to an island swarming with 4,000 of the world's deadliest snakes that pluck birds out of the sky and kill them with a venom that can melt human flesh?

That's what awaits you if you travel to Ilha de Queimada Grande 20 miles (32 km) off the coast of Sao Paolo, Brazil, which is home to the golden lancehead viper.

In fact, the island is deemed so dangerous that visiting it was been banned by the Brazilian government - although not before numerous people foolishly ventured there in the past.

Ilha de Queimada Grande, understandably nicknamed 'Snake Island', is a piece of land 4.6 million square feet (430,000 square metres) in size.

It's the only place on Earth where Bothrops insularis, also known as the golden lancehead viper, is known to inhabit.

That's probably a good thing, though, as the reptile is regarded as the world's most venomous viper.

The island is devoid of almost any human visitors, save for a few scientists granted p…


This will surprise you and change the way we view countries ...

“The bigger the better”
proverb generally does not apply to this map.

That’s because scaled each country by how much unsustainable debt they have.

 Japan is at the top, with a debt-to-GDP ratio of 230%. Greece is number two at 177%. 

The lowest ratios belong to countries with big nationalized oil and gas industries, like Saudi Arabia and Nigeria.

“This debt is not necessarily a bad thing — in fact it’s quite normal for a country to raise debt,”
wrote Raul Amoros,“but excessive debt could put a country’s future economic well-being at risk.”

He pointed out that there is no simple threshold for unsafe levels, but that mounds of debt are associated with more volatile growth.

“Countries with high debt levels are more susceptible to collapse when economic shocks occur,”
he wrote. 

“The important thing is therefore not so much the level of debt, but whether the underlying causes of the high debt level are being addressed.”

As f…

Reefer equipment reaches surplus point, cool cargo execs say

Michael Hollmann, special correspondent | Oct 11, 2015 1:03PM EDT

Growth in consumption of fruits, vegetables, meat and fish in emerging and newly industrialized countries should accelerate in the coming years, creating tailwinds for reefer container and specialized reefer operators.

On the other hand, equipment overcapacity is reaching very high levels. Financial returns from transporting perishables are likely to lag due to the fast expansion of reefer plug and equipment capacity by container lines, according to experts at the Cool Logistics Global conference in Brugge, Belgium.

The latest market forecast by one of the leading agriculture and food business lenders, Rabobank of the Netherlands, points to increased growth in fresh food consumption in key import regions in coming years.

According to Rabobank analyst Paul Bosch, annual consumption growth across Africa and the Middle East will rise 4.5 percent each year through to 2020, up from 3.5 percent per annum between 2010 and 2015.