What We're Watching: Deadly Explosion in Mexico

Deadly unintended consequences in Mexico – Earlier this month, we wrote that Mexico's new president was off to a rough start following some early policy missteps. In particular, we noted the temporary pipeline shutdown Lopez Obrador had ordered to combat gasoline theft that had triggered a severe gasoline shortage in several of Mexico's states. The unintended consequences of that mistake turned deadly last week when a pipeline exploded as hundreds of people in one town in Central Mexico tried to collect gasoline gushing from a pipeline leak. The death toll has risen to 94. We're watching closely to see how AMLO deals with the political fallout.


Huawei Yesterday, the US Department of Justice confirmed that it planned to pursue extradition of the Chinese tech giant's CFO Meng Wanzhou from Canada, where she was arrested last month at the request of US authorities. China warned that moving forward with Meng's extradition would be a "serious mistake." President Trump might prefer to cut her loose to avoid a major escalation in relations as trade negotiations continue with Beijing, but he also faces political pressure from hawks in Congress who want the administration to get tough on Huawei. It's not just the trade talks that hang in the balance – China has detained two Canadian citizens in apparent retaliation for Meng's arrest and recently sentenced a third to death in a drug smuggling case. We'll be watching how this saga unfolds ahead of a January 30 paperwork deadline.

What We're Ignoring:

New Vows, Same Old Marriage The leaders of France and Germany met in the border town of Aachen yesterday to sign a new friendship agreement on the anniversary of a similar one penned by their predecessors 56 years ago. The Treaty of Aachen aims to demonstrate unity and bolster cooperation between Europe's two powerhouses at a moment when the common bloc is struggling to deal with widespread nationalism and anti-EU sentiment. We're ignoring the story though because both Macron and Merkel remain sufficiently tied up with domestic concerns and out of step on key issues like economic and security cooperation to make this new treaty anything other than symbolic.

The growing list of Democratic presidential contenders It's not that we don't care that Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, California Senator Kamala Harris, Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and a clutch of other hopefuls have either declared themselves official candidates or launched exploratory committees for the Democratic Party's nomination in the 2020 race. But the list of contenders is bound to get longer, and we need to conserve our energy.

Ferrera Erbognone, a small town in the northern Italian province of Pavia, is home to one of the most cutting-edge computing centers in the world: Eni's Green Data Center. All of the geophysical and seismic prospecting data Eni produces from all over the world ends up here. Now, the Green Data Center is welcoming a new supercomputing system: HPC5, an advanced version of the already powerful HPC4. Due to be completed by early 2020, HPC5 will triple the Green Data Center's computing power, from 18.6 to 52 petaflops, equivalent to 52 million billion mathematical operations per second.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

Why is Instagram going to hide likes?

Well, one explanation is that they want to encourage healthy behavior and a like can make us addicted. Second explanation is that they get rid of the likes, they can get more of the cut in the market for influencers, who get money from advertisers, sometimes based on likes.

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This week, the process of impeaching President Trump entered the critical phase as the House of Representatives held its first public hearings. The battle lines are now drawn.

The Democrats say that there is compelling evidence that Trump withheld badly needed military to aid to an ally at war to pressure that country's government to provide him with personal political benefit by helping him discredit a political rival.

The Republicans say that the evidence comes mainly from witnesses with little or no direct contact with the president, and that the military aid was delivered to Ukraine without the Ukrainian president taking the actions Trump is alleged to have demanded.

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The fight for the Nile: In recent days, the Trump administration has tried to mediate three-way talks between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia on their long-running dispute to access the waters of the Nile. In short, a 1929 treaty gave Egypt and Sudan rights to nearly all Nile waters and the right to veto any attempt by upstream countries to claim a greater share. But in 2011, Ethiopia began work on the so-called Grand Renaissance Dam on the Blue Nile tributary from where 85 percent of the Nile's waters flow. The project, due for completion next year, will be Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant. Egypt, which draws 85 percent of its water from the Nile, has made threats that raised fears of military action. We're watching as this conflict finally comes to a head early next year.

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