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Today In The World

Dated: 23 Oct 2013
Posted by Thomas McIntyre
Categoiry: International, New Markets, Uncategorized

Saudi/US Relations: With Saudi Arabia recently turning down a seat at the UN Security Council, Riyadh’s frustration with the Obama Administration and its regional policies, including the decision not to bomb Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons in August and the recent détente with Iran, is beginning to create a rift between the two allies.  Notable, that prior to the planned strikes against Syria, Saudi Arabia asked for US assistance to protect their oil operations in the Eastern Province, which was turned down by US officials.  “Disappointed, the Saudis told the U.S. that they were open to alternatives to their long-standing defense partnership, emphasizing that they would look for good weapons at good prices, whatever the source, the official said.”

Space: A Tucson, Arizona company, Paragon Space Development Corp, wants to develop high-altitude balloons to send travelers to the edge of Earth’s atmosphere. The trips would cost less than other proposed commercial space flights, but passengers wouldn’t experience the same intensity of weightlessness.  The company is planning to build helium filled balloons that are able to transport eight passengers up to 100,000 feet or about 19 miles above the earth’s surface.  With other companies such as Virgin and SpaceX offering similar space voyages, expect more private firms to establish commercial operations above the earth’s atmosphere.

Chinese Smog: Small-particle pollution soared to a record high in China yesterday, as airports and schools closed due to the unprecedented level of smog.  State media said the PM 2.5 reading [which measures the level of harmful particulate matter in the air] ‘exceeded’ 500. A Reuters report put the figure at 1,000, or 40 times higher than what the World Health Organization deems safe.

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