Iran Dilemma, U.S. Health and a Balkan Weed Craze: Weekend Reads

Michael Winfrey
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Iran Dilemma, U.S. Health and a Balkan Weed Craze: Weekend Reads

(Bloomberg) -- The attack against Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure exposed serious flaws both in U.S. President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” approach to Iran, which his administration blames, and the Kingdom’s ability to defend its most important sites.

The risk of an out-of-control Brexit may have increased after U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson met European Union officials, while, across the world, Taiwan lost key allies in its struggle for international recognition. In the U.S., health care is again under scrutiny because of a wave of deaths liked to vaping and a loophole that allows insurers to offer plans with weak coverage. There’s also a gold-rush style stampede erupting in the Balkans for legal marijuana.

We hope you enjoy these and more of our best stories from the past seven days in this edition of Weekend Reads.

Iran Shows Trump That It’s Too Big to Be Crushed or MarginalizedTrump warned earlier this year that “it’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens.” As Marc Champion explains, something big has happened with an attack on Saudi oil infrastructure, and it looks like it’s Washington that has a problem.

Read more about how Saudi Arabia, a country with the world’s third-largest military budget, failed to defend an industry it depends on and click here for some 2,500 advice on how to deal with Iran.

Brexit Stirs British Class War as Corbyn’s Troops Target EtonWith Britain in turmoil over Brexit, the Labour Party may soon stir up another huge argument: the class war over private schools. Kitty Donaldson writes how some party members are pushing to abolish establishments for paying elites or tax them out of existence.

Before Cracking Down, Trump’s FDA Gave Vaping Room to Breathe A deadly lung disease linked to vaping in the U.S. is raising new questions about an FDA regulatory extension. Anna Edney reports how e-cigarette makers ramped up sales during a gap in public-safety knowledge.

Under Trump, Health Insurance With Less Coverage Floods MarketWhen David Diaz suffered a heart attack, he wasn’t expecting to end up $244,447.91 in debt – he had a short-term insurance plan. But as Zeke Faux, Polly Mosendz and John Tozzi write, providers are taking advantage of a loophole expanded by the Trump administration that allows them to sell plans so skimpy that they offer no meaningful coverage.

Steyer Invests in Companies He Says Are Part of the ProblemBillionaire Tom Steyer says he’s spending his own money to run for president to slow climate change and break the political power of corporations. Bill Allison and Tom Maloney explain that some of that cash comes from companies he says are part of the problem.

Trump’s $28 Billion Bet That Rural America Will Stick With HimTrump’s trade-war induced farm rescue has cost taxpayers more than double the 2009 bailout of Detroit’s Big Three Automakers. Mario Parker and Mike Dorning describe how it’s covering only part of farmers’ losses, and how they expect the money to keep flowing.

Lured by China’s Cash, Tiny Pacific Islands Give Up on TaiwanFor Taiwan, the Pacific Islands had been relatively stable as China siphoned off diplomatic partners elsewhere after independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen took power in 2016. Jason Scott reports how that all changed this week.

India Seeks to Adopt China-Style Facial Recognition in PolicingIndia is planning to establish one of the world’s largest facial recognition systems. Archana Chaudhary lays out how it’s a potentially lucrative opportunity for surveillance companies. But privacy advocates warn it could  lead to a Chinese-style Orwellian state.

Carbon-Cutting Cities Plug In to ‘Electrify Everything’ MovementEnvironmental activists who once advocated using natural gas are changing their tune. Read Ari Natter’s look into the shift to “electrify everything” – from school buses to barbecue grills – that’s gaining steam as power from renewable sources grows.

And finally … Investors are clamoring in a far-flung corner of Europe to join a plan to make their country a nation of cannabis farmers. Slav Okov and Andrea Dudik explain how, whether it’s former policemen, a lawyer, or relatives of the prime minister, everyone in North Macedonia seems to want in.

 

To contact the author of this story: Michael Winfrey in Prague at mwinfrey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kathleen Hunter at khunter9@bloomberg.net

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