News roundup for Tue, Mar 8, 2022

Editor’s note: Thanks to everyone who gave feedback! If you have any news items or intel that you think we should feature, drop the links in the comments section of the most recent roundup.


Talks between Russia and Ukraine are not going very well—two previous attempts have been made for a ceasefire to allow Ukrainians to evacuate cities under siege, but violations of those ceasefires have occurred each time. A third attempt is to be made. There is no sign of a truce on the horizon despite the involvement and encouragement of many world leaders. 48 different nations have supplied Ukraine with monies, military assets, or assistance so far during the war. Putin is demonstrably upset about the assistance countries are giving Ukraine and he is keeping tabs on countries he deigns as having committed “unfriendly actions.” Over 1.5 million refugees have fled Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Russians are rushing to shop so that they can get needed items before the economy gets worse. Store shelves are not looking too hot in Ukraine. The Russian economy is expected to contract another 35% in the second quarter. Some Russian workers are already having to strike because they haven’t been paid.

Russia may have attacked and sunk an Estonian cargo ship off the coast of Odessa. The UK has doubled the number of troops it has stationed in Estonia and tanks and other military assets are being shored up in the Baltics as well:

Elon Musk is sending Starlink Satellites to help Ukrainians connect to the internet. The problem with this? The signal can be triangulated and used to target those who use it:

Ukraine is pushing to rapidly integrate its grid with the European Union, to keep electricity flowing if major plants are taken down.

Supply chain

UK dockworkers and US West Coast dockworkers are refusing to load or unload Russian cargo.

Wheat prices have essentially doubled. Corn prices are also spiking. Russia produces not just wheat, but a huge portion of the fertilizers used around the globe. Some countries, especially in the Middle East and North Africa, are at high risk for famine in the wake of the war-disrupted grain supply—some are already calling for help:

The cost of gas is soaring in the US—it’s nearly $7/gallon in some regions of Los Angeles County. The national average is about $4/gallon right now.


Remember that, starting this week, you can order a new round of free tests, even if you already had ordered them in the past.

Hong Kong, South Korea, and New Zealand are getting absolutely slammed by BA.2—this is concerning because these countries were once so tightly controlling spread. Either BA.2 is particularly nasty, or this is simply what happens when a mutant strain finally lands in a “no COVID” zone:

People who have recovered from COVID are still having significant morbidity from their previous infections. The best policy is not getting it. These “living with COVID” government approaches that many countries are adopting are problematic because they’re giving people a false sense of safety:

General COVID statistics readout for the US:

The global death toll is approaching 6 million deaths. If we calculate excess deaths the actual toll could be about 14 million.

The rest

Lake Powel has dropped to the lowest level it’s ever reached, only 24% of its capacity. The Lake is the second-largest reservoir in the country and it supplies hydroelectric power to Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Nebraska. If it drops much lower those states could lose a significant portion of their power supply. Water will have to be released from smaller reservoirs to prevent this from happening.

There was a deadly tornado in Iowa on Saturday, killing seven people. Impacted areas are facing $1 billion in damage.

A Sarajevo survivor shares tips on how to survive a war zone as a civilian.

In good news, the US unemployment rate fell from 4% to 3.8% in February.

In even better news, the United Nations has started negotiations on a global treaty to restrict the growth of plastic pollution.


    • brekke

      A National communications issue issue in the NWS system may have caused a delay in getting cell phone tornado warnings to residents in the path of the EF-4 that killed 7 people. The article talks about people relying on cell phones to get storm warnings, but in this case they were delayed. NOAA weather emergency radio broadcasts were getting through on time. 

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    • GB

      Fuel prices are also on the rise in Australia – with the national average of AUD$1.83/L (in my area it’s $1.89/L), apparently there’s fear for what this will mean for inflation. (Local news site link). Note that there is a smidge over 3.75L to a US gallon.

      Also, with flooding in both QLD and NSW, there are additional fears of a potential spread of mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis. While only three cases have been confirmed, it’s just another uncertainty on top of war, flood and Covid.

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      • brownfox-ffContributor GB

        Always great to hear about different preparedness across the planet.

        What do you do about floods?

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      • GB brownfox-ff

        Thankfully, we’re not in any kind of flood zone, so prepping for an inundation of water that way isn’t on any of my plans (a massive tsunami would be more likely). My preps are for mainly water and food prep back-up in case flooding impacts water treatment plants (like it threatened to do in the Brisbane area this year), power and food deliveries. Our plan includes filling up the bathtub with water for toilet flushing and showering (we have potable water stored) and using camp stoves to cook from our “storm shelf”.

        If we were in a flood zone, I would hope we lived in a classic “Queenslander” and get anything that is stored on the ground floor up to the main house. Mind you, with this recent flood and the one before in 2011, even then it may not be enough.

        Oh, and I have plenty of clove oil on hand to deal with the mould. Nothing I have right now is helping with the mosquities except anti-histamines to stop me from scratching. 🙂

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      • Eric GB

        “Nothing I have right now is helping with the mosquities except anti-histamines to stop me from scratching.”

        Have you tried using mosquito net to physically keep the little biters away from you?

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      • GB Eric

        Hi Eric.

        I’d have to shroud the house! LOL. It’s a good suggestion and not something I’ve thought about – since I don’t live on the equator or in India or Africa, I didn’t see the need for one. Considering we were still finding mozzies around during winter last year, it may become a necessity.

        All of our openings in the house are covered with flyscreens, which are complete (no holes or gaps). The dasterdly bloodsuckers follow us inside if we have to go out at all. <grumble grumble> We’re also very careful to not leave water in open containers outside.

        The worst of the bites I have at the moment I got while I was on the couch reading. I whacked the little blighter as soon as I felt the sting of the bite (it’s on the underside of my forearm), but that didn’t save me. Honestly, I’m reacting to it like I would to a midge bite, but I know it wasn’t, ’cause I killed it good. 😀

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      • Hardened GB

        This thing seemed to help me with the itch of mosquito bites:

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      • Eric GB

        “I’d have to shroud the house!”

        I previously assumed outdoors just because houses usually do a good job of protecting against mosquitos.

        I live in Florida, where it’s quite common to have a few mosquitos hanging around outside my door, especially after dark. I open the door as little as possible and slip through quickly so that mosquitos are less likely to take advantage of the open door. If any mosquito does slip past, I go back inside, hunt it down, and try again. No mosquitos allowed indoors.

        “I whacked the little blighter as soon as I felt the sting of the bite”

        Rules of engagement: If the mosquito already bit you, let it finish the meal.

        By smacking a mosquito that is actively drinking your blood, part of the corpse ends up embedded in your skin. Instead, wave your hand above the mosquito to scare it away, then continue the hunt when it’s not on you.


        This product gets mixed reviews on Amazon. Some people love that it replaces bug bites with welts or bruises. Other people hate that it replaces bug bites with welts or bruises. Uncertain which group I would end up in, I think I’ll continue my strategy of not getting bit in the first place.

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      • GB Eric

        Thanks Hardened and Eric. I’ll look into it. I usually hit bites with diluted Roman Chamomile essential oil, which takes care of the itch most of the time.

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      • Hardened Eric

        Given that mosquitos can carry diseases the best strategy is to avoid getting bitten in the first place but having said that the Bug Bite Thing doesn’t leave welts nor bruises if used properly.

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    • brownfox-ffContributor

      What you can do about it:

      Good luck this week.

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    • ChickenPrepper

      “States reporting: 10/50”

      COVID deaths are rising sharply in the UK this past week. We’re headed into the next wave with our shields down and eyes closed. 

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      • Hardened ChickenPrepper

        I’m virtually the only one wearing a mask indoors in my area now.  Fortunately the people where I live are very polite but it makes me feel like I’m nuts.

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      • Stephanie ArnoldContributor ChickenPrepper

        This is what I’m watching for. BA.2 is rising as a percentage of cases even as cases are dropping in the US. I can’t yet tell if we’re going to have another wave because of that. 

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    • Captain Peanut

      The new larger section headings were nice. and there was some diversity in topics towards the end. Not many places actually listen to their users, so props to The Prepared!

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    • Sbesch

      Another excellent roundup, Stephanie – thanks!  One suggestion that comes to mind (or this may already be a thing and I’m just unaware of how to do it).  I only get notified of new comments if I’ve left a comment myself.  I’d like to be able to click a button to “subscribe” to a blog post so I get notified of new comments.  The comments often provide additional insights and perspectives from around the world, and I find that sharing of information valuable, but don’t often remember to keep coming back to previous blog entries to (manually) check for new comments.  Having them delivered to my email (with a link to return to that blog post to review or join in the discussion) would be great.  I think it would really increase the level of interaction across the community.  Just an idea…

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      • Carlotta SusannaStaff Sbesch

        Hi Sbesch thanks for the feedback. Totally agreed – fwiw that will be a feature that is going to be implemented in the next version of the website.

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    • Bill Masen

      Price of oil reached $138 at one point today, but if you want scaring look at the price hike of nickel.

      Electric cars, batteries, stainless steel etc just got MASSIVELY more expensive.

      Screenshot 2022-03-08 at 19-23-46 Nickel PRICE Today Nickel Spot Price Chart Live Price of Nickel per Ounce Markets Insider

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    • Hardened

      Please consider featuring the following news in a future roundup:

      Loss of Russian Oil Leaves a Void Not Easily Filled, Straining Market

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    • Bed

      And now the US has officially announced a ban on Russian energy imports. I know that Russian oil only makes up only 8% of America’s energy (at least in 2021) and that oil companies have already left Russia (which just makes an official ban a political move more than an actual response in my eyes), but… I can’t see this going well for the average consumer.
      Really gotta buy solar panels or something, or at least a portable charger. The only thing I have is a Midland emergency radio, which has a solar panel+battery alongside a handcrank, but still.

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    • Hardened

      Power loss at Chernobyl is worrying, but it’s not an immediate threat, the U.N. says.

      The United Nations agency said on Twitter that the plant, which has been occupied by Russian troops since the early days of the invasion, had suffered a loss of power that violated a “key safety pillar” for the site of the 1986 leak.

      The International Atomic Energy Agency said on Wednesday that there was no need for immediate alarm over a loss of power at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, but left clear that the situation around the site of the world’s largest nuclear power disaster was deteriorating.

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