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Increasing Attacks: Piracy Shifts Coasts in Africa

Der Spiegel, 19 July 2013

The scourge of African piracy is shifting from the East Coast to the West. Although the attacks are taking a major toll on the global shipping trade, world leaders continue to play for time in the hope that it will be resolved locally.

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This Is What Fracking Really Looks Like

Slate, 20 July 2013

Photographer Nina Berman had just started focusing on climate and environmental issues when she read an article about fracking and its connection to the possible contamination of New York City’s drinking water. Berman resides in New York and knew very little about how the controversial process of drilling for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing worked and decided to head to Pennsylvania for Gov. Thomas Corbett’s inauguration in 2011. “I knew there would be demonstrators (opposed to his support of natural gas drilling), and I wanted to learn what they were screaming about,” Berman said. After researching the issues, she then had to figure out how to document them in a visual way.

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WTI Crude Exceeds Brent for First Time in Almost Three Years

Bloomberg, 20 July 2013

West Texas Intermediate crude became more expensive than Brent for the first time in almost three years as pipeline and rail shipments helped clear a bottleneck that reduced the price of the U.S. benchmark. WTI hadn’t been higher than Brent since Aug. 17, 2010. The move was in intraday trading. WTI averaged $17.47 less than Brent in 2012 and traded as much as $23.44 lower than its European counterpart Feb. 8.

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Tax breaks for cars ֠a dumb idea

Climate Spectator, 22 July 2013

A rent seekers meltdown is now taking place over the government’s decision to change Fringe Benefits Tax requirements on cars. What has the government done? It has removed the ability for people to use the leasing of a car as an income tax deduction (and also avoiding GST on petrol) by default (known as the ‘statutory method’), without providing any evidence that the car is used for work purposes. Instead people will have to provide evidence via a log book that demonstrates that the car is a genuine working expense. Outrageous isn’t it?

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Learning From Pittsburgh

Detroit 2020, 6 January 2011

Our nicknames: Motown, The Motor City, or Auto Capital of the World. They all indicate one of our past strengths…and one of our current challenges. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was known as Steel Town for decades. But that city has reinvented itself. Detroit 2020 visited Pittsburgh and found there were lessons we could learn.

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Aviation is a rogue industry on a runway to nowhere

The Guardian, 17 July 2013

In the debate over building new runways in the UK, we are getting a lot of new answers – to the wrong questions. A huge lobbying effort has successfully changed the argument from whether we need more tarmac for more flights to how many new runways we need and where should they be laid.

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The dream of the car is over

The Conversation, 3 July 2013

I had always been obsessed with cars. To me, cars represented freedom, engineering excellence, modernity, technological brilliance, speed, fun and excitement. I still love cars but not like I used to. Now, I grieve for them. I grieve for what they promised me but cannot deliver. Why? Because these days, driving a car is sadly neither exciting nor liberating. More frequently it is mundane, unproductive and frustrating. Worse, it is deadly.

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Senators Grill Refiners Over High Prices Amid Oil Boom

Bloomberg, 17 July 2013

Lawmakers grilled representatives of oil producers and refiners seeking an explanation for a rise in gasoline prices at the pump amid a boom in U.S. oil production.

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California gets $4-a-gallon gas. Who’s next?

CNN Money, 16 July 2013

Drivers in California became the first in the mainland U.S. to pay an average of $4 a gallon for gas in the current price spike. They probably will get lots of company soon.

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The One Issue Republicans and Democrats Can Agree On

Slate, 12 July 2013

While recent Supreme Court rulings on voting rights and same-sex marriage have held the nation’s attention, another decision slipped under the radar. In late June, the Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s program to raise the maximum ethanol content of gasoline from 10 to 15 percent, thus clearing the way for more ethanol production. The Senate’s version of the Farm Bill, meanwhile, includes more than $1 billion of support for the ethanol industry. While these developments at the federal level are bullish for ethanol, many states are calling bull.

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