US Companies Will Not Benefit From Iran Nuclear Deal

Despite the fact that the United States led the negotiations with Iran to sign an agreement to limit nuclear weapons proliferation, US companies will not benefit economically from that agreement. Companies based in other countries, such as in Europe, Russia and China, will however be able to gain financially from the accord.

This is due to the fact that much of the sanctions placed on Iran from the United States are decades old, ever since relations between the two countries have been strained. The US has imposed an embargo on Iran since 1995, aimed at checking the development of weapons of mass destruction and missiles, Iran’s support for terrorism around the world, and human rights abuses.

During the recent negotiations between the Obama administration and Iran the US stuck to its position of only lifting sanctions connected to nuclear proliferation, despite Iran insisting that the US lift all sanctions immediately. In the end, though, due to high pressure from Iran and others to sign the deal, the US backed down and agreed to end the arms embargo after five years and the missile embargo after eight years. The remaining US sanctions will stand.

In addition, the nuclear-related sanctions that the US will end are on foreign, and not US companies. The sanctions prohibit non-US companies from investing in the oil sector of Iran, trading in oil, and financing those transactions. Doing business with Iranian banks and other companies connected to the sanctions will also be prohibited.

The bottom line is that US companies will still not be allowed to do business with Iran,  even after the accords are signed, except in very limited situations.

Yes, Pun Intended!

Photo by Stephanie Chapman
Photo by Stephanie Chapman

Atlas Obscura is asking the public to help with a project that some might call “punny.” Yes, they are crowd-sourcing with the intent of putting together a map of the country’s businesses that utilize word play, or puns, in their monikers.

For instance, anyone familiar with the comedy television series “Friends” has heard of the much-visited neighborhood coffee house “Central Perk.”  And there are probably quite a number of cafes called “Bean There, Done That.”

This project is requesting the public to send in real businesses with pun names, whether good or bad. The folks at Atlas Obscura will rank them from best to worst, and will follow trends in playful names. They will then put together an interactive map of imagined literary road trips.

To participate follow the link and fill out the form before September 7.  Have a great time with this pun project!

Three US Wines Banned From Russian Market

"Bluebottel" by Taro Taylor - originally posted to Flickr as H20. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -
“Bluebottel” by Taro Taylor – originally posted to Flickr as H20. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The Russian agency which oversees consumer rights, protection and human well-being, known as the Rospotrebnadzor, banned three different types of US-made wines after examining them for safety.

The three banned wines are Crane Lake Cellars Crane Lake Moscato, Geyser Peak Winery’s Geyser Peak Merlot, and the Gnarly Head Chardonnay from the Delicato Family Vineyards.

In a statement issued by the Rospotrebnadzor they said that after their investigation of the three wines they found high levels of phthalates in the Chardonnay, and both the Moscato and Merlot had unacceptable levels of phthalates and bifenazate, a pesticide.

“Phthalates are the first class of danger according to the sanitary and toxicological indicators, and can cause functional and other organic changes in the central and peripheral nervous system, as well as oncological illnesses, and fertility problems in both men and women,” the Rospotrebnadzor stated.

Over the last few months the Rospotrebnadzor has banned other foods from western countries, causing some to wonder if the bans are not entirely over safety concerns.

“Some observers see as a politically motivated move targeted at imports from countries that slapped sanctions on Russia over its support for separatists in Ukraine,” the Moscow Times stated.

Westerlies Blowing Ozone from China to US

 Ozone molecular electrical potential surface 3D-vdW
Ozone molecular electrical potential surface 3D-vdW

Despite efforts to reduce the levels of ozone in the US, overall reduction has been stymied by the arrival of pollution across the Pacific Ocean from China.

A new study conducted by six researchers at US and Dutch universities shows that ozone concentrations in the air over China has gone up 7 percent between 2005 and 2010, and that this increased level of  ozone  is traveling through the air all the way from China to the western United States, off-setting the significant reduction in production in ozone levels there.

The US has put into place public policy to reduce emissions which are pre-cursers to the formation of ozone, such as nitrogen oxides. On the West Coast of the US that reduction in production amounted to about 20 percent. Yet the overall air quality, especially in ozone concentrations, did not improve.

Lead researcher from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, Willem Verstraeten, said that the worsening air pollution in Asia could be the reason the US is not seeing the kind of ozone reduction it should.

Verstraeten theorized that the “dominant westerly winds blew this air pollution straight across to the United States.  As a manner of speaking, China is exporting its air pollution to the West Coast of America.”

Shire Buys Foresight Biotherapeutics

Shire expanding to more eyecare drugs
Shire expanding to more eyecare drugs

Dublin-based Shire announced its all-cash purchase of privately held Foresight Biotherapeutics, expanding the pharmaceutical company’s ability to develop medicine against viral and bacterial forms of conjunctivitis.

UK-listed Shire has been increasing its investment in eyecare while also pushing for approval from regulators for its own treatment for dry-eye disease, lifitegrast.

“Ophthalmics is a highly attractive growth area for Shire and this acquisition allows us to strengthen our presence,” said Flemming Ornskov, Shire chief executive.

Foresight’s drug, known as FST-100 is a perfect companion medicine to lifitegrast for a pharmaceutical company. If both obtain approval for use then together they will “address two of the leading reasons people seek eyecare treatment,” Mr Ornskov said.

Last year Shire created a dedicated opthalmics division, separate from its main business selling treatments for rare diseases and attention deficit Hyperactivity disorder.

Shire purchased Foresight for $300 million as it’s stock is trading at near-record prices of £57.30, considerably more than the £52.48 per share that AbbVie of the US tried to pay last year in its takeover bid, which eventually fell through.