News

U.S. Sanctions Turn Iran’s Oil Industry Into Spy vs. Spy

Since President Trump imposed sanctions on Iranian oil sales last year, information on those sales has become a prized geopolitical weapon — coveted by Western intelligence agencies and top secret for Iran. And the business of selling Iranian oil, once a safe and lucrative enterprise for the well connected, has been transformed into a high-stakes global game of espionage and counterespionage. New York Times

The future of insurance is happening without insurance firms

The industry’s plodding giants face mounting threats from restless reinsurers and Big Tech. Since the 1980s average annual losses from natural disasters have more than sextupled in real terms. Other risks are variations on old themes, such as pandemics or the fallout from increasing protectionism. And new ones have emerged. Ageing populations push up health-care costs. Cyber-attacks can shut power plants, paralyse firms and siphon fortunes from banks’ coffers. The Economicst

Tuition-Free College Could Cost Less Than You Think

Paying for college seems out of reach for many Americans, so the idea of free college has broad appeal. Several Democratic presidential candidates and members of Congress have endorsed it. New York Times

Everyone Claims They’re Worried About Global Finance. But Only One Side Has a Plan.

Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, said at the recent National Conservatism Conference, what he called the “the cosmopolitan economy” has encouraged multinational corporations to move jobs and profits overseas and then “rewarded these same corporations” for “investing their profits not in American workers, not in American development, but in financial instruments that benefit the cosmopolitan elite.” New York Times

Fewer Inspections for Aging Nuclear Plants, Regulators Propose

A new report by staff members of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which oversees the safety of the nation’s 59 aging nuclear power plants, recommends that the commissioners significantly weaken or reduce safety inspections of the plants. New York Times

Why This Narrow Strait Next to Iran Is So Critical to the World’s Oil Supply

Twenty percent of the global oil supply flows through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch of water that separates Persian Gulf countries like Iran, Iraq and Kuwait from the rest of the world. From May 15 to June 15, more than 1,000 tanker ships traveled the strait. Many were destined for places as far away as China and South Korea. New York Times

How A.I. Helped Improve Crowd Counting in Hong Kong Protests

Crowd estimates for Hong Kong’s large pro-democracy protests have been a point of contention for years. But for the first time in the march’s history, a group of researchers combined artificial intelligence and manual counting techniques to estimate the size of the crowd. New York Times