September 1, 2017
U.S. Warplanes Simulate Strikes Against North Korea’s Core Facilities – North Korea and The United States
The United States flew some of its most advanced warplanes — including two nuclear-capable bombers — to South Korea on Thursday for bombing drills intended as a show of force against North Korea. A South Korean military official confirmed the joint operation to NBC News, adding that the aircraft later returned safely to their home bases. The live-fire exercises came two days after Kim Jong Un's regime in Pyongyang fired a mid-range ballistic missile over Japan, sharply raising tension in the region. Two U.S. B-1B bombers and four F-35 fighters participated in training with South Korean F-15 fighter jets, the official added. The planes took part in bombing exercises in a military field near South Korea's eastern coast. The B-1Bs were flown in from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam while the F-35s came from a U.S. base in Iwakuni, Japan, an official from South Korea's Defense Ministry told the Associated Press.
Oil Refineries Have Released Two Million Pounds of Chemicals in Harvey's Wake – Texas, United States
Tropical Storm Harvey may be on the move — but its after-effects are just beginning to be realized. In addition to slamming homes and hospitals, the storm struck the heart of Texas' refining industry, where roughly a third of America's oil is processed. In its wake, more than two million pounds of hazardous chemicals have been released into the air, according to filings reported with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and first reported by Politico. Those chemicals include cancer-causing and potentially lethal gases like carbon monoxide and benzene, among others. Shortly after Harvey made landfall, companies including Exxon Mobil and Valero Energy began to shutter local facilities and evacuate workers, taking close to a fifth of the nation's total refining capacity offline. Yet those efforts failed, in many cases, to prevent the release of hazardous pollutants into the environment. In some cases, companies were forced to intentionally burn chemicals as a means of disposing them in anticipation of the storm. Chevron Phillips, the company that reported the largest release, burned close to 800,000 pounds of chemicals — nearly 300,000 of which were the colorless, odorless, and potentially deadly gas carbon monoxide — as it shuttered its plant to prepare for Harvey. At other plants, Harvey's rising waters easily overwhelmed existing safety precautions. At Exxon's Baytown plant, the floating roof covering one tank "partially sank during the excess rain event" from the storm, it noted in a TCEQ filing showing that close to 13,000 pounds of chemicals — including cancer-causing benzene and toxic lung-irritant xylene — had been released. Similarly, officials at Kinder Morgan's Pasadena terminal, which released close to 300,000 pounds of chemicals, noted in a filing that several floating roof tanks were "impacted by torrential downpour" from Harvey.
The Justice Department is Looking Into Whether Uber Violated U.S. Foreign Bribery Laws – United States
The Justice Department is in the early stages of examining Uber's business for alleged violations of U.S. foreign bribery laws, unnamed sources told The Wall Street Journal in a report published on Tuesday. Uber confirmed to CNBC it is cooperating with the Justice Department on a preliminary probe, but did not specify the nature of the potential case. The Journal's sources said it's unclear which countries, or how many countries, are being examined by regulators. According to the Journal, the Justice Department may or may not decide to open a full investigation into the ride-hailing company. CNBC's request for comment from the Justice Department was not immediately returned. A probe would be the latest headache for the rapidly expanding global business, which has restructured branches in major markets like China and Russia amid turmoil and executive turnover within its California headquarters.
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