13 February 2017

US President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe concluded a weekend of discussions and at the end the US reaffirmed its previously stated position that the US-Japanese defense treaty covers Japanese control of the Senkaku Islands.  Those islands are also claimed by China, which calls them the Diaoyu Islands, and the Chinese response was swift and direct.  According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman. Geng Shuang: “No matter what anyone says or does, it cannot change the fact that the Diaoyu Islands belong to China, and cannot shake China’s resolve and determination to protect national sovereignty and territory.”

Image result for senkaku islands dispute map

Scientists have studied wildlife in the Marianas Trench, the deepest part of the ocean–about 7 miles deep.  They have found that these animals, which feed off the detritus on the bottom since sunlight cannot reach those depths and there are no hydrothermal vents there either, are contaminated with very high levels of the toxic chemicals, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).  The scientists believe that the chemicals descend to those depths from the pollution humans routinely dump into the ocean and that the pollution simply accumulates since there is no place else to go.

Image result for map marianas trench

The negotiations over Greek debt have raised concerns about overall debt levels in the European Union.  Since the Great Recession of 2008-09, sovereign debt levels have remained stubbornly high and few countries have managed to reduce their debts in real terms.  According to The Telegraph:

Altogether there are five European nations whose debts are larger than their economic output, and 21 that have debts larger than the 60 per cent-of-GDP limit set out in the Maastricht Treaty.”

The fear is that if global economic growth slows down, then servicing these debts will become very difficult, if not impossible for some countries.  If the global economy were to slip into a recession, then the likelihood of sovereign debt defaults will increase quite dramatically.

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Posted February 13, 2017 by vferraro1971

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