Global News August 21, 2018

  1. BBC
  2. Global News August 21, 2018

“Weak Tech Sends Stocks Down in Roller Coaster Week: Markets Wrap.”

U.S. stocks rose and the dollar slipped as investors assess the latest developments in the trade war with China.
The S&P 500 Index churned less than half a percentage point below an all-time high. President Donald Trump said he doesn’t expect a breakthrough from low-level talks with China as both sides prepare to make billions of dollars in goods subject to tariffs. The dollar fell for a fourth day after Trump complained about the Federal Reserve’s policies. The 10-year Treasury yield rose for the first time in three days.
The effects of the trade war have rippled through markets over the last few months and could continue this week as China and the U.S. meet Wednesday. The Trump administration plans to slap tariffs on $16 billion of goods on the same day and China is poised to retaliate. At the same time, investors await clues on monetary policy as central bankers gather in Jackson Hole Friday.
“For the market, it’s the idea that the U.S. and China are talking,” Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial Inc., said by phone. “Talking is better than no talking for the market, but it still hovers over the market, there’s no doubt about that.”
Elsewhere, Turkey’s lira extended declines to a third day; the country’s markets are closed for most of this week. Futures in crude oil and industrial metals climbed, as emerging-market stocks and currencies advanced.


“Russian hackers targeted U.S. conservative think-tanks, says Microsoft.”

Hackers linked to Russia’s government tried to target the websites of two right-wing U.S. think-tanks, suggesting they were broadening their attacks in the build-up to November elections, Microsoft said.
The software giant said it thwarted the attempts last week by taking control of sites that hackers had designed to mimic the pages of The International Republican Institute and The Hudson Institute. Users were redirected to fake addresses where they were asked to enter usernames and passwords.
There was no immediate comment from Russian authorities, but the Kremlin was expected to address the report later on Tuesday. It has regularly dismissed accusations that it has used hackers to influence U.S. elections and political opinion.
Casting such allegations as part of an anti-Russian campaign designed to justify new sanctions on Russia, it says it wants to improve not worsen ties with Washington.
The International Republican Institute has a roster of high-profile Republican board members, including Senator John McCain of Arizona who has criticized U.S. President Donald Trump’s interactions with Russia, and Moscow’s rights record.
Facebook said late last month it had removed 32 pages and fake accounts from its platforms in a bid to combat foreign meddling ahead of the U.S. votes. The company stopped short of identifying the source of the misinformation. But members of Congress who had been briefed by Facebook on the matter said the methodology of the influence campaign suggested Russian involvement.


BBC News
“Water ice ‘detected on Moon’s surface’.”

Scientists say they have definitive evidence for water-ice on the surface of the Moon. The ice deposits are found at both the north and south poles, and are likely to be ancient in origin.
The result comes from an instrument on India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission, which explored the Moon between 2008 and 2009. Details of the work have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The distribution of the ice deposits is patchy. At the lunar south pole, most of the ice is concentrated in craters. At the northern pole, the water-ice is both more sparse and more widely spread. The Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard Chandrayaan identified three specific signatures of water-ice at the lunar surface.
M3 not only picked up the reflective properties one would expect from ice, but was able to directly measure the distinctive way its molecules absorb infrared light. This meant that it could differentiate between liquid water and vapour and solid ice.
Temperatures on the Moon can reach a searing 100C in daytime, which doesn’t provide the best conditions for the survival of surface ice. But because the Moon is tilted on its axis by about 1.54 degrees, there are places at the lunar poles that never see daylight. Scientists estimate that temperatures in permanently shadowed craters at the Moon’s poles do not rise above -157C (-250F). This would create an environment where deposits of water-ice could remain stable for long periods.
The result supports previous indirect detections of surface ice at the Moon’s south pole. However, those results could potentially be explained by other phenomena – such as unusually reflective lunar soil. If there’s enough ice sitting at the surface – within the top few millimetres – the water might be accessible as a resource for future human missions to the Moon.
Surface water ice has also been found on other Solar System bodies, such as at the north pole of the planet Mercury and on the dwarf planet Ceres.


“Trump Proposes Unwinding Obama’s Coal-Plant Pollution Curbs.”

President Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday unveiled its plan to dramatically weaken pollution limits on coal-fired power plants by shifting most of the regulatory burden to states in a further assault on the Obama climate legacy.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s «Affordable Clean Energy» proposal would replace the Obama-era Clean Power Plan’s sweeping changes in the U.S. electricity mix with more modest emissions curbs at individual power plants. It would set pollution guidelines based on assumptions about what improvements could be eked out through efficiency upgrades at the facilities, then give states the latitude to design their own plans for paring carbon dioxide emissions at the sites.
EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the proposal “would restore the rule of law and empower states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions” while providing “modern, reliable, and affordable energy for all Americans.”
The move represents the latest bid by Trump to fulfill campaign promises to revive the coal industry and restore mining jobs. Although it is unlikely to dramatically alter the U.S. power mix — or give a big boost to domestic coal demand, which has flagged amid competition from cheap natural gas and renewables — industry advocates hailed the effort as curbing federal government overreach and leveling the playing field.