The Price of Water. Easy Travel. Iraq Infighting.


Dangerous Verbal Threats Between North Korea And The US Continue: During an interview President Trump boasted that the US is “prepared for anything” when it comes to the North Korea nuclear crisis. “We’ll see what happens…We are so prepared, like you wouldn’t believe,” he said. In response, senior North Korean official Ri Yong Pil countered: “The US is talking about a military option and even practicing military moves. They’re pressuring us with sanctions. If you think this will lead to diplomacy, you’re deeply mistaken.” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had tried to suggest there were still diplomatic channels open between the US and North Korea, but Ri indicated no such channels existed.

Ri also said the threat made last month to test a nuclear weapon above groundshould be taken “literally,” because his country “has always brought its words into action.” This, of course, is not true, but he was referring to Trump’s speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, during which he said the US would “totally destroy” North Korea if provoked. Shortly after Trump’s UN speech, North Korea’s foreign minister responded by suggesting his country might test a powerful hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.


Kurds Offer To Suspend Independence Drive And Open Dialogue With Baghdad: On Wednesday, the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) proposed an immediate ceasefire, a suspension of the September referendum result, and “starting an open dialogue with the federal government based on the Iraqi Constitution.” Baghdad has always considered the Kurdish referendum illegal and responded last week by seizing the city of Kirkuk, the oil-producing areas around it, and other territory that the Kurds had captured from ISIS. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi stated that the KRG must cancel the referendum outcome as a prerequisite for talks, and several members of Parliament asked him not to accept just a freeze of the referendum. Abadi has ordered the Iraqi military to recapture all disputed territory and demanded control of Iraq’s border with Turkey, all of which are located inside the Kurdish autonomous region. So to summarize: now that ISIS is less of a problem in Iraq they are going to resume the century long fighting between Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds.

Deadly Infection Post Hurricane Harvey Claims Another Life In Texas: A second person has died from a rare bacterial infection called necrotizing fasciitis, after exposure to floodwaters in Galveston County, Texas following Hurricane Harvey in late August. The flesh-eating bacteria enters the body from a wound or broken skin and kills soft tissue. The 31-year old man entered a hospital on October 10 with a serious upper arm wound. He died October 16. A 77-year old woman died in September of the infection after she fell inside her flooded home in Houston and broke her arm. The Harris County medical examiner said the bacteria had entered her body through cuts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, there have been 700 to 1,100 such cases each year in the US since 2010. Unless promptly diagnosed and treated with antibiotics and surgery, the infection can be deadly in a very short time. Symptoms include warm skin with red or purplish areas of painful swelling after the injury, followed by fever, chills, fatigue, and vomiting.


Trump Nominates A Pro-Industry Toxicologist For EPA Chemical Safety Role: President Trump nominated Dr. Michael Dourson to be the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) top toxic chemical regulator. His nomination will move to the Senate for a full vote. The position is charged with implementing the Toxic Substance Control Act, legislation meant to regulate toxic chemicals in across the board from children’s toys and furniture to household cleaning products. The legislation passed in 2016 with overwhelming bipartisan support after decades of deliberation.

Dourson, a toxicologist, has spent his career producing research downplaying the health risks of chemical substances. In 2002, West Virginia found that a DuPont chemical was polluting the drinking water. Dourson’s firm was hired to set a “safe” level of PFOA in drinking water which they established 150 times higher than what DuPont’s own scientists had endorsed. When DuPont was sued for PFOA exposure in West Virginia, Dourson helped the defense. DuPont eventually paid $671 million to settle 3,550 lawsuits from people who claimed they developed cancer after being exposed to PFOA.

Clean tap water is one of the amazing benefits that for decades the American people have enjoyed. And it seems this benefit is gradually being eroded due to deregulation, the lack of infrastructure investment, and how companies have convinced consumers to foolishly opt for bottled water over tap water. Water and the paradox of price and value can best be summarized by a question that Adam Smith, the father of capitalism raised: “Why do diamonds cost more than water?”

Singaporeans Take The Lead In Easy Travel: Thanks to a recent decision by Paraguay to remove visa requirements for passport holders from Singapore, its citizens can now enter 159 countries without a visa, or can obtain a visa upon arrival, according to a ranking by Arton Capital. It’s the first time an Asian nation has topped the list, and Singapore’s rise coincides with a drop in the American ranking. “While Singapore quietly climbed the ranks, the US passport has fallen down since President Donald Trump took office,” Arton Capital said in a statement. The US is now in the sixth tier, behind Singapore, Germany, Sweden, South Korea, Denmark, Finland, Italy, France, Spain, Norway, Japan, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Portugal. “Visa-free global mobility has become an important factor in today’s world,” said Armand Arton, founder and president of Arton Capital. “More and more people every year invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a second passport to offer better opportunity and security for their families.”

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