Nicaragua in Crisis: What to Know | Council on Foreign Relations


Not long ago Nicaragua seemed to be an island of calm in an otherwise turbulent corner of the world.

The country was one of the poorest in the hemisphere and long ruled by a leftist autocrat and his wife, but its economy was plugging along and its streets were peaceable, particularly in comparison to its Northern Triangle neighbors—El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

But now it is coping with its own political and economic crisis.

What happened? How did conditions spiral so quickly?

Source: Nicaragua in Crisis: What to Know | Council on Foreign Relations

Russia may have violated the INF Treaty. Here’s how the United States appears to have done the same. | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists


This political decision to finesse one bad missile defense idea with another has helped create a crisis with Russia over the future of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

The Trump administration announced its suspension of the treaty last week, alleging (as did the Obama administration) that the Russians have violated it by developing a cruise missile that appears to breach the clear limitations on weapons ranges established by the INF. The Russian government responded by also suspending its adherence to the treaty; it has long claimed that United States missile defense installations in Eastern Europe violate the treaty.

If no agreement on the INF is reached, both countries could formally withdraw from the pact in six months.

Source: Russia may have violated the INF Treaty. Here’s how the United States appears to have done the same. – Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Jared Kushner Cited by Democrats Investigating Trump Administration Plan to Sell Nuclear Technology to Saudis


Democrats are investigating the Trump administration’s plans to sell nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia, according to a congressional memo released Tuesday.

A 24-page report from the House oversight committee noted that there are serious misgivings about the Trump administration’s plans to build nuclear power plants across Saudi Arabia, a move some say could put U.S. national security at risk.

Source: Jared Kushner Cited by Democrats Investigating Trump Administration Plan to Sell Nuclear Technology to Saudis

Macron unveils Franco-German plan to give electric battery industry a jolt | EURACTIV.com


France will invest €700 million over the next five years into projects to boost the European electric car battery industry and reduce its carmakers’ reliance on dominant Asian rivals, President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday.

“The project will lead to the building of two battery factories, one in France and the other one in Germany,” Macron said in a speech to the Paris-based International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers.

The plan comes after Germany in November set aside €1 billion to support battery cell production to reduce dependence on Asian suppliers and shore up jobs at home that may be at risk from the shift away from combustion engines.

Source: Macron unveils Franco-German plan to give electric battery industry a jolt – EURACTIV.com

The beacon of sustainable finance in Europe must not lose its flame | EURACTIV.com


It’s been exactly a year since the HLEG released its Final Report. The long-awaited recommendations were well received and highlighted the critical role of public policy in shifting capital flows to support the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and Agenda 2030.

A few short months later, the European Commission released its Action Plan on Financing Sustainable Growth and soon after released the three legislative proposals that have shaped the progression of work since then, covering the disclosure of sustainability risks, a pan-European taxonomy to classify environmentally friendly activities, and low-carbon benchmarks.

However, other HLEG proposals are lagging somewhat behind. The work on investors’ duties, which covers a whole set of recommendations as to how sustainability risks should be integrated in investment decisions is one example. We did not see the omnibus proposal recommended by the HLEG, and work on this topic is progressing slowly.

Source: The beacon of sustainable finance in Europe must not lose its flame – EURACTIV.com

CO2 removals ‘increasingly necessary’ to avoid climate disaster, scientists warn | EURACTIV.com


As global emissions continue to rise, hopes of containing the planet’s warming “well below 2°C” – the headline target of the Paris Agreement – are fading by the day, according to a new report by the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC).

This means carbon removal technologies “will need to take on increased importance in the EU’s climate change strategy this year and in the near future,” EASAC said in a new report published on Tuesday.

Source: CO2 removals ‘increasingly necessary’ to avoid climate disaster, scientists warn – EURACTIV.com

Judge issues stay in JEDI protest case | FCW


Oracle’s lawsuit against the Department of Defense looking to stop its $10 billion cloud buy is being frozen temporarily while DOD probes conflict-of-interest allegations.

Judge Eric Bruggink of the Court of Federal Claims issued a stay in the case Feb. 19, in response to a motion from the DOD. According to the brief order, DOD is reconsidering “whether possible personal conflicts of interest impacted the integrity of the JEDI Cloud procurement.”

The DOD’s motion seeking the stay remains under seal.

The conflict-of-interest allegations stem from the participation of two individuals in the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure procurement with strong ties to Amazon Web Services, the vendor widely seen as having the inside track in this procurement because of its work provisioning classified cloud services for the intelligence community.

Source: Judge issues stay in JEDI protest case — FCW

Why Saudi Arabia Is Investing $20 Billion in Pakistan | Time


Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been shunned by much of the world after the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, which the CIA concluded he had ordered. A-list executives pulled out of his Riyadh investment forum (dubbed ‘Davos in the Desert’), street protests greeted his arrival in Tunisia in November, and there were reports Morocco’s King Mohammed VI snubbed him on a visit to the North African country.

That wasn’t the case earlier this week in Pakistan, however, which bestowed its highest civilian award on the young Saudi prince, gave him a gold-plated gun, and declared Monday a public holiday in honor of his two-day visit to Islamabad.

“Saudi Arabia has always been a friend in need, which is why we value it so much,” Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said Sunday, while seated next to MBS, as the crown prince is known. Earlier Saudi’s de-facto leader had announced investments in Pakistani petrochemicals, power generation, and mining projects worth more than $20 billion.

Source: Why Saudi Arabia Is Investing $20 Billion in Pakistan | Time

Donald Trump’s Emergency Declaration Faces Legal Challenges | Time


The central issue at play is a constitutional question: whether Trump’s emergency declaration violated Congress’s constitutional authority to appropriate funds. But the “they” in Trump’s scenario— “they will sue us”— turned out to be several groups with specific concerns about the effects of building a border wall.

Here’s a look at four court challenges Trump’s emergency declaration will likely face.

Source: Donald Trump’s Emergency Declaration Faces Legal Challenges | Time

Is the Future of Grocery Shopping B.Y.O. Container? | EcoWatch


If you think this is going to be yet another column admonishing you for not doing enough to curb the amount of single-use plastic in our waste stream, you can relax. You don’t need a lecture at this point.

You might already know, for instance, that global consumer culture has generated more than 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic since the middle of the last century, and that we currently produce 300 million tons of it a year, half of which is made up of items used only once.

And you’re probably aware that roughly 8 million metric tons of this discarded plastic ends up in the ocean, where it threatens marine life of all kinds. It’s unlikely anyone needs to tell you that every year we throw enough plastic away to circle the planet four times, or that a mass of plastic waste floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is three times the size of France.

Source: Is the Future of Grocery Shopping B.Y.O. Container? – EcoWatch