SPLASH! News for March 14, 2017

Dive Into the News of the Day

Photo Credit: Kiran Opal


Rex Tillerson Allegedly Used Alias to Discuss Climate Change

TIME – U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chairman and chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp, used an alias email address while at the oil company to send and receive information related to climate change and other matters, according to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
The attorney general’s office said in a letter on Monday that it found Tillerson had used an alias email address under the pseudonym “Wayne Tracker” from at least 2008 through 2015.

Wayne is Tillerson’s middle name. The letter was sent to a New York state judge overseeing Schneiderman’s investigation into whether Exxon misled shareholders and the public about climate change.

What the Unemployment Rate Tells Us About the Economy

World Economic Forum – Every month, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a flood of data about employment and unemployment in the U.S. And every month, the lion’s share of the attention goes to one figure – the unemployment rate, which was a seasonally adjusted 4.8% in January. (The February report comes out on Friday.)

But the unemployment rate is just one indicator of how the U.S. economy is doing, and it’s not always the best one. Simply being out of work isn’t enough for a person to be counted as unemployed; he or she also has to be available to work and actively looking for work (or on temporary layoff). In any given month, the unemployment rate can rise or fall based not just on how many people find or lose jobs, but on how many join or leave the active labor force.

There are, in fact, five other monthly measures of what the BLS calls “labor underutilization” besides the official unemployment rate, as well as scores of other measurements – labor force participation rates, employment-population ratios, average weekly wages, average hours worked and more. Knowing what those other data points are, where they come from and how they’re calculated is critical in understanding what they do – and don’t – tell us about the nation’s workers.

How NATO, Russia Interpret U.S. Demands on European Allies

CBSNews – Over the past four months, NATO has been flexing its muscles. It has deployed thousands of soldiers and heavy weapons along Russia’s border.

The treaty alliance’s annual report calls it the largest reinforcement of collective defense since the Cold War — and a response to Russia’s invasion of Crimea and the destabilization of Ukraine. The build-up is meant as both a warning, and a deterrent.

“What NATO does is defensive, it is proportionate and it is measured because we don’t want a new Cold War,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told CBS News after he presented the annual report in Brussels on Monday. “We don’t want a new arms race.”

Nigeria Military Says It Freed 400 Boko Haram Hostages

BloombergNigerian troops freed more than 400 hostages held by Boko Haram militants in the northeastern state of Borno, a military official said.

Soldiers raided more than 10 villages near the border with Cameroon where the hostages were held and destroyed hideouts in the area maintained by the Islamist militant group, Sani Usman, a spokesman for the military, said in an e-mailed statement.

President Muhammadu Buhari has stepped up military efforts to end the eight-year insurgency of Boko Haram, which wants to impose its version of Islamic rule in Africa’s most populous country of more than 180 million people. Nigeria is roughly split between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south.

Jets Deliberately Bombed Damascus Spring

BBC News – UN human rights experts say the Syrian air force deliberately bombed a spring outside Damascus in December, cutting off the water supply for 5.5 million people living in and around the city.

The Syrian government blamed rebels for damaging the Ain al-Fijeh spring during the battle for the Wadi Barada valley.

But a new report by a UN commission of inquiry says evidence showed the damage was caused by at least two air strikes.

The attack, it concludes, was grossly disproportionate and was a war crime.
The report also says the Syrian air force committed another war crime by bombing a complex of schools in rebel-held Idlib province in October – something for which the government also denied responsibility.

What the CBO Sees Ahead for the GOP Health Care Bill

PBS – JUDY WOODRUFF: The Congressional Budget Office is out tonight with its analysis of the Republican health care bill. It includes the nonpartisan agency’s best estimates on cost, coverage and other issues.
Our Lisa Desjardins has been looking at the numbers, and she joins me now. Lisa, what’s the headline here?

LISA DESJARDINS: There are several, but let’s start with a very big one. What will this mean for health insurance coverage for Americans? The Congressional Budget Office looked at the numbers and found that this Republican bill in just the first year, next year, would mean some 14 million Americans who have insurance now wouldn’t have it. The ranks of the uninsured would go up and they would continue to go up.

Next year, that’s because, Judy, they say the mandate ends. So people would choose no longer to have coverage because there is no mandate penalty. That shifts in 2024, where we see now another 24 million Americans or a total of 24 million Americans over now uninsured. And it grows because of the Medicaid changes, largely Medicaid cuts.

Written by Pamela Getz

Writer and Activist. Follow Pamela on Twitter @goddesspamela.

Pamela Getz is Editor of International Affairs for Progressive Army and a member of its Editorial Board.

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SPLASH! News for March 14, 2017