Topic: Middle East
Written by Sgt. Elizabeth Peña
Fort Campbell, KY – Texas Guardsmen from the 136th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based out of Round Rock, Texas, exercised their combat readiness skills during a three-week Warfighter at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, just in time to get home for Thanksgiving.
The 136th MEB went to Fort Campbell November 5th-22nd in support of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) for the real-time scenario spanning three fictional countries in the Middle East. The purpose of Warfighter is to test a unit’s battle skills and ensure it is fit for overseas combat.
“This is our available year, so generally that is when you are going to see a brigade assigned to a warfighter exercise,” said Col. Scott Mac Leod, commander of the 136th MEB. “It’s part of the [Army Force Generation] cycle, which means, theoretically, that if an overseas contingency requirement occurred, it’s possible that the 136th MEB could be assigned to deploy in support of that assignment.”
Georgia Gasoline was cheapest in Five years
Tampa, FL – AAA forecast the most auto travelers for the Independence Day holiday on record, and motorists in Florida and Tennessee found the cheapest gas prices for the holiday since 2009, while gasoline in Georgia was the lowest since 2010.
“Low gas prices were a major driver in the rise in auto travelers this year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “However, Americans have grown cautious about rising gas prices during recent months and worry they would be again be paying $3.00 a gallon soon. Fortunately, gas prices peaked last month and have been on a slow and relatively steady downturn during the past 20 days, which is even more incentive for Americans to take a road trip this summer.”
Clarksville, TN – Thursday’s national average price for gas was $2.58 per gallon – the highest average so far this year. Average U.S. gas prices are up 55 cents per gallon since reaching a low of $2.03 per gallon in late January, making this the largest seasonal increase in gas prices since 2012.
“Gas prices have climbed to the highest levels of the year due largely to rising crude oil costs,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “As prices keep climbing, it getting more difficult to believe that gas was below $2.00 per gallon at the majority of stations earlier this year.”
Tampa, FL – For the first time in 127 days, the national average price for regular unleaded gasoline exceeded $2.50 per gallon on Friday. Sunday’s price of $2.53 per gallon represents an increase of 8 cents per gallon in comparison to last Sunday, and the national average has moved higher for 12 consecutive days
“Motorists haven’t seen prices this high since December,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group.
Tampa, FL – The most expensive oil of 2015 triggered increases at the gas pump, and prices could continue to climb this week. The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $2.45 per gallon, up 6 cents since last Sunday. Prices also rose 3 cents in Florida and 9 cents in both Georgia and Tennessee
“The average price at the pump typically reflects a bit of seasonality this time of year,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “It is not uncommon for prices to inch higher leading up to the summer driving season and the transition to more expensive summer-blend fuel. However, record high domestic oil production is likely to deliver the cheapest summer gas prices in a decade.”
Tampa, FL – Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Libya caused oil prices to briefly spike last week, and Florida gas prices responded in kind. The average price for a gallon of gasoline rose 10 cents in Florida, but is about the same in Georgia and Tennessee.
“The increase in oil came at a time when gasoline supplies in Florida are already tight,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “March is the peak month for gasoline demand in Florida, because the weather warms up, people drive more, and there are more visitors for spring break and Major League Baseball Spring Training. Plus, it is still maintenance season, and refinery gasoline output is reduced.” «Read the rest of this article»
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – About 60 percent of California is experiencing “exceptional drought,” the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most dire classification. The agency issued the same warning to Texas and the southeastern United States in 2012. California’s last two winters have been among the driest since records began in 1879. Without enough water in the soil, seeds can’t sprout roots, leaves can’t perform photosynthesis, and agriculture can’t be sustained.
Currently, there is no ground- or satellite-based global network monitoring soil moisture at a local level. Farmers, scientists and resource managers can place sensors in the ground, but these only provide spot measurements and are rare across some critical agricultural areas in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Clarksville, TN – The few economic releases were generally positive and reports on corporate earnings were mostly on the high side of expectations, but the stock market seemed to pay little attention. Geopolitical tensions (Russia/Ukraine, Iraq, Israel/Hamas) and the ongoing Fed policy debate set market participants on edge.
Geopolitical concerns helped push global bond yields sharply lower. The U.S. Treasury note yield fell below 2.40%.
Clarksville, TN – As was widely anticipated, the Federal Open Market Committee tapered another $10 billion from the monthly pace of asset purchases (now at $25 billion, with the program on track to be completed at the end of October).
The Fed provided no additional guidance on short-term interest rates, but repeated that the federal funds rate target would likely remain exceptionally low for “a considerable period” after the asset purchase program ends and that economic conditions will likely warrant a below-normal federal funds rate even as the Fed nears its employment and inflation goals.
Clarksville, TN – The economic data were mixed. New home sales were much weaker than expected in June, with a sharp downward revision to May (March and April figures were also revised lower) – however, these figures are reported with an enormous level of uncertainty.
Existing home sales improved, with a further increase in the number of homes for sale. Durable goods orders rose moderately, but details showed a lackluster trend in shipments of nondefense capital goods. The Consumer Price Index rose 0.3% (+2.1% y/y), inflated partly by the seasonal adjustment for gasoline (which rose 0.3% before adjustment and +3.3% after adjustment). Ex-food & energy, the CPI edged up 0.1% (+2.0% y/y).
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