Hazmat-suited health workers removed “sick” passengers from a plane in Massachusetts as the CDC called for a rethinking of safety protocols. The Boston passengers from Dubai were deemed Ebola-free. But no one’s willing to take any chances after a Dallas nurse contracted Ebola while wearing protective gear. Meanwhile, questions are rising about hospital preparedness nationwide, and international airports like Britain’s Heathrow are gearing up to screen passengers as Germany reports that a UN aid worker with Ebola has died in Leipzig.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Oil prices have dropped to their lowest in years. Drivers may thrill to the dip at the pump, but companies and countries are fretting. At least seven of the 12 OPEC nations shudder when barrel prices drop this low. The oil glut could cripple Russia, which draws 40 percent of its federal budget from oil. Even lower prices would slow America’s shale-drilling boom, and call into question controversial pipeline proposals such as TransCanada and Keystone.
He’s back. Or so they say. Rumors that Kim Jong Un, the Hermit Kingdom’s supreme leader, had been overthrown or even died started flying after people noticed he hadn’t been seen for a month. Speculators seized on a limp seen in recent videos, theorizing that the 31-year-old suffered from gout. But state-controlled media has published new photos of Kim — walking with a cane — touring a building complex in Pyongyang. What’s still missing? The date the photos were taken.
Make no mistake, the Catholic Church is indeed changing. An official Vatican report acknowledged “positive aspects” of nonmarital unions and declared that gays have “gifts and qualities” to offer Catholicism. Some are citing the “Francis Effect” for this reversal of centuries-old dogma after the pontiff advocated a more moderate approach to homosexuality. This “pastoral earthquake” isn’t official policy, but bishops will now discuss the report and make recommendations to Pope Francis — who has the last and infallible word.
The wild ride is over. Global regulators are tightening the reins with new rules designed to impact hedge funds, private equity groups and money market funds. These so-called shadow banks engage in banking activities but have lacked the type of rules that govern the traditional sector. So to control excessive lending and risky behavior — which led to 2008’s financial crisis — the Financial Stability Board has outlined minimal requirements on collateral for short-term loans.
Ann Romney says her husband won’t run for president again: “Done. Done. Done.” (Daily News)
Iraqi Shiite militias are reportedly attacking and killing Sunnis. (BBC)
Harsh storms hit southern U.S. and Midwest. (USA Today)
Catalonia may put off independence vote. (DW)
FBI warns cops, journalists of ‘lone wolf’ hits. (NBC)
British parliament symbolically recognizes Palestinian state. (NYT)
Thanks to their real estate, folks Down Under are the richest in the world with a median net worth of more than $225,000 per adult. That’s one finding from the Global Wealth Report, which also raises the alarm on income inequality. The bottom half of the world’s population holds just one percent of the wealth, yet the top one percent holds nearly half the wealth. With only $3,650 in assets, you’re among the top 50 percent globally. Those with $77,000 hit the top 10 percent.
If you’re worried about the End Times, look no further. A “prepper camp” in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains has taken survivalism to the next level, and it’s drawing attention from more than just fringe groups. The four-day program of lectures and hands-on training prepares folks for worst-case scenarios like plagues, natural disasters and economic crashes. With a recent survey revealing that 41 percent of Americans value bunker provisions over retirement plans, it seems the apocalypse is already upon us.
It’s enough to alarm the military. The Pentagon declared Monday that the effects of climate change pose an immediate risk to U.S. national security. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that water shortages, crop failures and extreme weather could “sow the seeds for instability,” forcing military responses around the globe. The Pentagon’s code-red alert comes just after NASA reported that August and September were the hottest months for the planet since record-keeping began in 1880.
Globalization isn’t always good for big firms. Take Samsung, whose profits could be off nearly 60 percent in recent months. What’s throwing this tech giant off its stride? Some economists blame the “Shenzhen effect.” The town just north of Hong Kong acts as a technological depot that supplies parts for any model of phone, tablet or PC. There, companies like Xiaomi — the region’s overnight smartphone king — are able to piece together serious competition for traditional technology titans and give monopolies a run for their money.
Like nuclear missiles, stupid tweets can’t be recalled. It seems the R&B star — aka Rihanna’s ex — realized that as soon as he tweeted that Ebola was “a form of population control.” He immediately noted that he should shut up, but it was too late. “This is obviously nothing to do with population control but is a serious, deadly situation,” said a spokeswoman for charity Action Aid, which helps fight the epidemic. Recommended treatment? Donations to Ebola-fighting charities by Brown and his fans would be “fantastic.”
Soccer’s international governing body has weathered plenty of corruption storms, but now fingers are pointing from within. FIFA’s chief ethics investigator, Michael Garcia, has compared the organization’s secrecy to that of an intelligence agency. His report on a lengthy investigation into questionable World Cup awards to Russia and Qatar is being kept confidential within the group. As long as FIFA boss Sepp Blatter resists Garcia’s calls for ”greater transparency” from the organization, the rumors of corruption will be hard to kick away.