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Study says China-backed dam would destroy Mekong

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The Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river and runs some 2,700 miles from the Tibet plateau in the north through China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia spilling through the delta of South Vietnam into the South China Sea.

Giles Clarke | Getty Images

The Mekong is the world’s 12th longest river and runs some 2,700 miles from the Tibet plateau in the north through China, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia spilling through the delta of South Vietnam into the South China Sea.

A Chinese-backed plan for Cambodia to build the Mekong River’s biggest dam would destroy fisheries that feed millions and worsen tensions with Vietnam, the downstream country with most to lose from dams on the waterway, according to a three-year study commissioned by the Cambodian government.

The report, posted this month on the website of the U.S.-based organization that conducted the study, said the Sambor dam would “generate large power benefits to Cambodia, but at the probable cost of the destruction of the Mekong fishery, and the certain enmity of Vietnam.”

It said the dam designed by China Southern Power Grid Co. would have a 620 square kilometer (239 square mile) reservoir and dwarf the biggest dam currently being built on the Mekong, the Xayaburi dam in Laos, which was bitterly opposed by environmentalists for years.

The experts at the Natural Heritage Institute who authored the report, submitted to the Cambodian government late last year, recommended it defer the project while studying “better” alternatives such as using solar power to augment existing hydroelectric dams.

Alternative sites upstream where the Mekong separates into several channels are possible but either financially unfeasible or only marginally less destructive than the site currently envisaged for the 2,600 megawatt dam, the study said. Possible mitigation measures are either unproven or have a poor track record, it said.

The dam would block fish migration from the giant Tonle Sap lake in Cambodia which is crucial for reproduction and replenishing what scientists say is the world’s most productive freshwater fishery. It would also prevent riverbed sediment that fertilizes the Mekong Delta rice bowl from moving down river, a particular problem for Vietnam where delta farmlands are being destroyed by saltwater incursion from the sea.

“The dam and the reservoir would create a barrier that would be devastating for the migratory fish stocks,” the study said.

It also warned that a population of about 80 critically endangered Irrawaddy river dolphins would likely be wiped out because the deep river pools they use as a dry season refuge would become filled with sediment blocked by the dam.

Cambodia’s government, closely allied with China, its northern neighbor, and the recipient of substantial Chinese aid and investment, has not publicly commented on the report.

Seven dams that China built on the Mekong headwaters in its territory are already a headache for Southeast Asian countries, reducing the amount of sediment floating downstream by as much as half, according to researchers.

The Chinese dams were blamed for exacerbating a Southeast Asian drought in 2016, but countries in the region are pressing ahead with plans for Chinese companies to build a slew of other Mekong dams to meet growing demand for energy. Laos, one of the poorest countries in Asia, is pinning development hopes on becoming a source of power for its neighbors.



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Three options strategies for the week: August 20

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The “Options Action” traders share three options trading strategies to kick off the week.

Dan Nathan recommends a call spread in Alibaba.

Mike Khouw recommends a put spread in the Energy ETF

Mike Khouw recommends an iron condor strategy in the Russell 2000 ETF

Trader disclosure: On July 17, 2018, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s “Options Action” were owned by the “Options Action” traders: Dan Nathan is long XLF Sept put spread. Dan is long CAT put spread. Dan is long QQQ Sept put spread. Dan is long SMH Oct put spread. Carter disclosures not available. Long S&P, HAL. Bearish on TSLA.



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cornhole wants to make it to the big leagues

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Ankit Mittal, of Ellicott City, Md., tosses a bean bag as his friend Shean Flynn, of Newport News, Va., waves his Terrible Towel as the two were playing Corn Hole while enjoying tailgating before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Ricky Carioti | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Ankit Mittal, of Ellicott City, Md., tosses a bean bag as his friend Shean Flynn, of Newport News, Va., waves his Terrible Towel as the two were playing Corn Hole while enjoying tailgating before the game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

Every day after he leaves his job as a warehouse general manager, Cody Henderson runs up to three miles. Then, he sets up cornhole boards and practices throwing beanbags for a couple hours, focusing on timing, balance and precision.

“It helps a lot with the endurance and mental game,” Henderson, 27, told CNBC. “If you can sit there and not get bored in a quiet area for two or three hours, you are really going to set yourself up to succeed on the pro level.”

Succeed he has. Henderson, who lives in Jackson, Ohio, is the top-ranked player out of the 20,000 pros in the American Cornhole League (ACL). He says he earned between $20,000 and $25,000 in prize money last year. He’s peaking just as the sport is surging in popularity.

While cornhole is generally thought of as a beanbag tossing game played at family gatherings or tailgate parties, it’s gotten so big that players like Henderson are making their way to ESPN. During last year’s The Ocho, a one-day event for alternative sports on ESPN 2, the Championship of Bags was the most viewed competition.

In the 18 to 49 age group, more peopled watched cornhole on that day than the competing game coverage of Major League Baseball, the WNBA or the final stage of the Tour de France, according to Sports Media Watch.

For Henderson, cornhole requires 20 hours a week of training and tournaments on weekends. Still, he said most people don’t take him seriously when he says he plays professionally.

“They’ll say, ‘Oh yeah really?’ and just change the subject,” he said. “When people were seeing me on ESPN, everyone’s attitude changed.”



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TiVo falls on report Amazon is developing live TV recording device

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TIVO, Inc. gave a way free TIVO (DVR) Digital Video Recorder, boxes to thousands of happy Comcast Cable customers, who also donated a toy or clothing for charity outside their corporate headquarters.

Kim Kulish | Corbis | Getty Images

TIVO, Inc. gave a way free TIVO (DVR) Digital Video Recorder, boxes to thousands of happy Comcast Cable customers, who also donated a toy or clothing for charity outside their corporate headquarters.

Shares of TiVo fell as much as 10 percent in afternoon trading Friday following a Bloomberg report that Amazon is eyeing a live TV recording device.

TiVo pared losses and closed just 4 percent down at $12.20. The drop extends a challenging run for TiVo, which is now off 20 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in the last 12 months.

Amazon is known to scare investors and send stocks tumbling with news of a planned entrance into a new industry. Earlier this week, movie theater stocks dropped on a report that Amazon is considering a bid for Landmark Theaters.

Representatives for Amazon and TiVo were not immediately available to comment.



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