August 19, 2015

Europe's migrant crisis and China's stock crisis, female rangers, Arctic drilling and cheese…  


Hat tip to Iain for today’s cow analogy. Russian system: You have two cows. The State deems them “sanctioned products” and seizes them. A Russian bureaucrat has a medium rare steak dinner (see Loose Nuts section for details). 



EU Adds Refugee Crisis To List Of Things It Can’t Solve

107,500 refugees landed on European soil in the month of July, setting a new record as the EU struggles to deal with the surge. The problem is most acutely felt in Greece, a country so broke Syrian refugees think twice before going there. 21,000 refugees landed on Greek islands this last month overwhelming local officials. 

What is going on?
As Syria, Iraq, Libya and other countries have descended into chaos more and more refugees are braving the deadly trip across the Mediterranean to get to the EU. The main entry points are the Italian island of Lampedusa, the Greek islands of Lesvos, Samos and Kos and the southern border of Hungary (currently building a massive anti-migrant wall). The EU is less capable of dealing with this crisis than it was with the Greek crisis…and the Russian crisis…

Good Read: The sea route to Europe via UNHCR


China: Um, Beijing, We Have A Problem… 

It’s been a rough week for the Chinese stock market with both the Shenzen and Shanghai stock exchanges down around nine percent this week after two days of heavy selling. The correction comes a week after China devalued its currency, the Yuan. The summer has been particularly brutal on Chinese equities with the Shanghai market down about 30 percent since its peak in June. 

Wait, what is going on?
The Chinese economy is starting to slow down and no one is excited about that (except maybe Donald Trump). Over the past few months the Chinese government has done everything to stop the crash and none of it seems to work. This is an issue because the rest of the world is finally starting to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. A crash in China would put all of that at risk…    




Female Army Rangers To Beat ISIS If Allowed To Fight  

After completing a legendarily difficult obstacle course that most of us would cry just looking at, two female soldiers will be the first women to graduate from the Ranger School. Unsurprisingly, there are opponents (potentially those bitter to have been unable to finish the 61-day Ranger course?) who believe there was unfair treatment. Even so, these female soldiers aren’t allowed to join the elite 75th Ranger Regiment…wait, what? 


‘Islamic Climate Declaration’ Makes Things Awkward For Saudi Arabia 

A statement put out by Islamic scholars urged Muslims around the world to combat climate change, calling it a religious duty. The statement leans on verses from the Koran to justify their call, asking world leaders and Muslims around the world to embrace 100 percent renewable energy. Needless to say, their call was not endorsed by certain states… cough Saudi Arabia cough…  

Turkish Ruling Party Struggles To Make Friends

Turkey’s ruling AKP party failed (or didn’t try hard enough) to make a coalition government. AKP has ruled the country for the past 12 years in a semi-authoritarian manner and had lost its parliamentary majority earlier this year. The loss also meant that President Tayyip Erdogan (doesn’t own a golden toilet) can’t turn Turkey into a Presidential system. Expect another round of elections in November… as if the region needed more uncertainty.   

#pnut4prez: Hilary Clinton Doesn’t Want Arctic Drilling

Hilary Clinton tweeted that she wasn’t too thrilled with Obama’s decision to grant Shell drilling rights in the Arctic. She wrote that it wasn’t “worth the risk” of drilling in the Arctic given the high environmental risks associated with drilling in such a sensitive area. The Arctic is a source of major geopolitical and environmental tension… perhaps she is wise to encourage us all to just leave it be or just let the Russians do it.


Keeping Our Eye On…

  • What conflict? Despite the cease-fire agreement of February, violence persists in Ukraine. While both sides point the finger, Putin dives in a submarine for Byzantine ruins.
  • Theaters: The weekend’s number one summer blockbuster, “Straight Outta Compton,” is ironically not available to watch in Compton due to lack of a theater. There might be a problem here….
  • Bangkok Bombing: While the culprit remains at large, there is new video evidence of a man in a yellow shirt who left a backpack. Thai police confidently believes he is the bomber.


Russians Bust Deadly Cheese Ring

Prohibition gave us Al Capone. The “War On Drugs” gave us Pablo Escobar and El Chapo. Russian sanctions gave us a ring of organized crime known for smuggling the most coveted of goods… cheese. The crime syndicate is accused of producing illegal cheese worth $30 million. In a dangerous sign of escalation the cheese smugglers are growing more “sophisticated” in how they get their contraband past borders and onto the crackers of eager connoisseurs…  


Josh Groban Sings Donald Trump Tweets
Josh Groban offers an added level of absurdity to Trump’s tweets.
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Correction: 21 people were killed by the bomb in Bangkok, not 12 as we accidentally wrote yesterday.

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