Warming oceans likely to raise sea levels 30cm by end of century | The Guardian


The world’s oceans are warming at a faster rate than previously estimated, new research has found, raising fresh concerns over the rapid progress of climate change.

Warming oceans take up more space, a process known as thermal expansion, which the study says is likely to raise sea levels by about 30cm by the end of the century, on top of the rise in sea levels from melting ice and glaciers. Warmer oceans are also a major factor in increasing the severity of storms, hurricanes and extreme rainfall.

Oceans store heat so effectively that it would take decades for them to cool down, even in the unlikely scenario that greenhouse gas emissions were halted urgently.

Source: Warming oceans likely to raise sea levels 30cm by end of century – study | Environment | The Guardian

Aboard the giant sand-sucking ships that China uses to reshape the world | MIT Technology Review


In recent years, China has assembled an armada of oceangoing dredges. Some it buys from Japan, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Increasingly, though, China manufactures them itself. China’s homemade dredges are not yet the world’s largest, nor are they any more technologically advanced than those of other countries, but it is building many more of them than any other country.

In the past decade, Chinese firms have built some 200 vessels of ever greater size and sophistication. In 2013, Rabobank, a Dutch firm, declared that China’s dredging industry had become the biggest in the world, and it has only grown since then. Chinese firms bring in as much revenue from domestic dredging as is accrued in all of Europe and the Middle East combined.

Since 1985, according to Deltares, a Dutch research group, humans have added 5,237 square miles (13,564 sq km) of artificial land to the world’s coasts. China is a major—and growing—contributor to that total.

Source: Aboard the giant sand-sucking ships that China uses to reshape the world – MIT Technology Review

Law enforcement agencies squeezed by U.S. government shutdown | Reuters


“We still have a responsibility for going after those who might be using this time to flood the streets” with drugs, a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) field agent told Reuters, asking not to be identified by name.

“For us, it’s even a more important time to try to target as much as we can. We still have a safety obligation to the public … with the limited resources,” the agent said.

Most employees at federal law enforcement agencies – from the FBI and DEA to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration – have kept working since Trump’s demands on the wall triggered the shutdown on Dec. 22.

Source: Law enforcement agencies squeezed by U.S. government shutdown | Reuters

France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests could shake up euro zone bond markets | Reuters


Increased public spending could be the way out for governments struggling to contain discontent over living standards and may face a strong challenge from populist politicians at May’s European parliament elections.

But if that pushes up government bond supply, it may also increase concern about some member states’ longer-term ability to service debt, and could hamstring the European Central Bank’s plan to lift interest rates.

Central to this is the situation in France, where people have taken to the streets in recent weeks wearing brightly colored “gilets jaunes” or “yellow vests”, protesting against President Emmanuel Macron’s economic policies.

Source: France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests could shake up euro zone bond markets | Reuters

Goldman Sachs on course to launch cash management in mid-2020 | Reuters


The bank, which will earn fees and gain a captive client base for its foreign exchange business, could offer existing corporate clients more on deposits if they sign up for Goldman’s cash management services, a person familiar with the plan told Reuters.

Long considered a low-margin, utility-like service, the wholesale payments and cash management business generated about $250 billion in global revenue in 2017 for big banks, according to management consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

Source: Exclusive: Goldman Sachs on course to launch cash management in mid-2020 | Reuters

U.S.-led coalition says it has started Syria withdrawal


U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement last month that he had decided to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops stunned allies that have joined Washington in the battle against Islamic State in Syria. Senior U.S. officials were shocked too, among them Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who quit in protest.

The coalition “has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria. Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troop movements,” Colonel Sean Ryan said.

Source: U.S.-led coalition says it has started Syria withdrawal

Factbox: Impact on U.S. government widens on 21st day of shutdown | Reuters


Some 800,000 employees from the departments of Homeland Security and Transportation, among others, have been furloughed or are working without pay.

Private contractors working for many government agencies are also without pay and private companies that rely on business from federal workers or other consumers – such as national park visitors – are affected across the country.

The following is what is happening around the federal government …

Source: Factbox: Impact on U.S. government widens on 21st day of shutdown | Reuters

Shutdown’s economic damage: $1 billion a week | POLITICO


Private-sector contractors and other workers tied to the government are already seeing damage from lost business.

And a hit to the nation’s financial standing is on the horizon with a warning from Fitch Ratings on Wednesday about downgrading the government’s credit rating if the shutdown persists.

Estimates from President Donald Trump’s chief economist peg the cost to the overall U.S. economy at about $1.2 billion for each week the shutdown persists.

While that’s just 0.05 percentage points off the GDP growth rate, it could be among the factors complicating the administration’s aspiration of reaching sustained 3 percent growth.

Source: Shutdown’s economic damage: $1 billion a week – POLITICO

Federal workers seek loans, second jobs as shutdown lingers


Rachael Weatherly is a senior adviser for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but she’s considering trying to get a job at a grocery store.

Weatherly is among the 800,000 federal employees who aren’t getting paychecks for the first time Friday because of the lingering government shutdown.

They are scaling back spending, canceling trips, applying for unemployment benefits and taking out loans to stay afloat, with no end in sight for a partial shutdown that enters its 21st day Friday and will be the longest in history by this weekend.

Source: Federal workers seek loans, second jobs as shutdown lingers

Some Dems like Trump emergency declaration — at least as far as reopening government | TheHill

Some House Democrats are endorsing the idea of President Trump declaring a national emergency at the southern border to dissolve a partisan standoff about funding his border wall and end a weeks-long government shutdown.

The supportive Democrats are quick to emphasize they don’t believe the president has the legal authority to declare such an emergency, predicting the maneuver would quickly lead to lawsuits that they themselves would support.

Source: Some Dems like Trump emergency declaration — at least as far as reopening government | TheHill

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