COVID panic: Graph shows Spain hospitalisations DROPPING despite UK claims

Professor Chris Witty and Sir Patrick Vallance set the preparations for a second coronavirus lockdown at a press conference this morning. Sir Patrick warned if infections rise unabated, “there would be something like 50,000 cases per day by the middle of October”. He added this would result in “200-plus deaths per day” by November.

The Government physician added, “so we do not enter this exponential growth, that requires speed, that requires action and it requires enough of both to bring that down.”

His comments came after a minister warned the UK was only a few weeks behind Europe, particularly Spain and France.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told Sky News: “We’re certainly at a critical moment this morning.

“It is clear we’re just a few weeks behind what we’re seeing elsewhere in Europe.

“You only have to look at what’s happening in France, particularly in Spain, and you can see that things have taken off there.”

However, Oncologist Professor Karol Sikora tweeted a graph showed a rise in infections in Spain did not necessarily mean a rise in hospitalisations.

Professor Sikora tweeted: “Useful chart from the BBC.

“Hospitalisations have gone up in France and Spain.

JUST IN: Sturgeon crisis: George Galloway launches campaign to oust SNP leader

But the daily new cases are rising again to the same levels as March.

The current drop in hospitalisations in Spain could coincide with the introduction of tougher measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in the country.

Professor Chris Whitty set expectations that new measures would seriously disrupt life in the UK.

He said that a scientific approach would “ride to our rescue”.

But, he said that “in the next six months, I think we have to realise that we have to take this collectively, very seriously”.

However, the need for the public to take measures imposed by the Government seriously was today reiterated by Professor Ravi Mahajan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists

On the Royal College of Anesthetists website Professor Mahajan said: “The statement by Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance today highlights the impact of a second surge in COVID-19, potentially causing unknown damage to the country and thousands more unnecessary deaths.

“As we move into winter, with the pressure of other illnesses, it is important to ensure that any significant rise in cases of COVID-19 do not overwhelm the NHS.”



Why are stocks dropping? Hint: It involves Jerome Powell

What’s happening: The Fed indicated on Wednesday that it would hold rates at or near zero through 2023 and boosted its economic projections. The central bank now expects a median unemployment rate of 7.6% this year, down from the 9.3% expected in June. GDP — the broadest measure of the economy — is forecast to contract by 3.7%, as opposed to 6.5%.

Even so, it’s clear the economy is not out of the woods, Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned.

“Overall activity remains well below its level before the pandemic and the path ahead remains highly uncertain,” he said at a press conference.

Those comments are helping drive stocks lower. The S&P 500 is off 1.1% in premarket trading after dropping 0.5% on Wednesday.

Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes attributes the fall in part to the fact that investors are clamoring for more support, even though the Fed just announced that it would take a more relaxed approach to inflation, allowing for a continuation of loose monetary policy in the months and years ahead.

“It’s only been a few weeks since the market cheered the Fed’s plan to target average inflation and allow the economy to run hot for a significant time before even thinking about raising rates,” Juckes said in a research note Thursday. “Now, the petulant crowd is disappointed that there’s nothing new to feed it.”

Confusion over the vaccine timeline is also muddying the picture. Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Congress on Wednesday that a Covid-19 vaccine may not be widely distributed until next summer.

President Donald Trump disputed that claim at a news conference later in the day. He said Redfield was “confused” and “made a mistake.” Trump insists a vaccine will be available soon, possibly as early as next month.

JPMorgan strategist Mislav Matejka cautioned in a recent note to clients that investors may be too optimistic in their expectations of when a vaccine will arrive.

He noted that while governments have cut some red tape to ease development, a recent ethics pledge from nine drugmakers suggesting they won’t seek premature government approval for any Covid-19 vaccines could “potentially delay the roll out.”

The fraying US-China relationship could sink these deals

The deteriorating relationship between Washington and Beijing is increasingly creeping into the realm of dealmaking, weighing on investment and threatening to scuttle lucrative tie-ups or force new spin-offs.

The latest: Trump will be briefed Thursday on a proposal from ByteDance to partner with Oracle in the United States. The agreement is designed to resolve the government’s national security concerns about the video app TikTok.

But Trump, whose involvement in brokering the deal is extremely unusual, may not give his seal of approval. He told reporters Wednesday he has not seen the specifics of the deal but that “conceptually” he would oppose an arrangement that left ByteDance with majority control.

“Conceptually, I can tell you I don’t like that,” he said. “If that’s the case, I’m not going to be happy with that.”

That’s not all: The battle between the United States and China over critical technology could also doom a record-breaking deal for British chip designer Arm, my CNN Business colleague Sherisse Pham reports.

China, which needs to give its approval for California-based Nvidia to buy SoftBank-owned Arm for $40 billion, has indicated it may not sign off. An op-ed published this week in The Global Times, a state-run Chinese tabloid, characterized the deal as “disturbing” for the Chinese and European tech companies that rely on the company’s advanced chip designs.

“If [Arm] falls into US hands, Chinese technology companies would certainly be placed at a big disadvantage in the market,” the op-ed read. Chinese regulators haven’t spoken publicly about the deal, but state-run media is often viewed as a barometer of sentiment among senior officials.

Watch this space: The costs of bilateral tensions are rising. US-China capital flows fell to their lowest level in almost a decade in the first half of 2020, according to a new report from consultancy Rhodium Group.

Is Snowflake demand a warning sign?

One of the hottest Wall Street debuts of the year made quite a splash.

Snowflake shares more than double. It's the biggest software IPO ever
Shares of Snowflake, a cloud data warehousing firm that has the backing of Salesforce and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, more than doubled on their first day of trading in the biggest software IPO ever, my CNN Business colleague Paul R. La Monica reports.

Remember: Snowflake priced its initial public offering Tuesday night at $120 a share — well above the expected range of $100 to $110. But demand was so strong that shares opened Wednesday afternoon at $245 a share and quickly climbed above $300, a 150% gain. The stock pulled back a bit as the day wore on, but still finished the session up nearly 112%.

At its closing price of just under $254, Snowflake is valued at $70 billion.

Why it matters: At that valuation, Snowflake is worth more than established companies in the S&P 500 like Bank of New York Mellon and Hershey.

But even though the company is growing fast amid higher demand for cloud services, it still isn’t profitable, raising concerns it’s overhyped — especially given that competitors like Amazon and Microsoft loom large.

“There have been some pretty frothy IPOs over the last decade or so, but today we saw what has to be the most out-of-control exuberance for a fresh issuance yet,” Bespoke Investment Group told clients Wednesday.

The question on everyone’s mind: Is this the early 2000s tech bubble all over again?

Up next

Initial US unemployment claims for the week ending Sept. 12 post at 8:30 a.m. ET, along with housing starts and building permit data for August.

Coming tomorrow: How is consumer spending holding up? New US and UK data will provide some clues.

Tesla is dropping again, bringing three-day loss to 16%

Elon Musk

Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images

Tesla shares slid more than 6% during premarket trading on Thursday, building on the stock’s recent losses after the company’s largest outside shareholder reduced its position, and after the auto maker said it would raise up to $5 billion in a new stock offering.

The stock is poised to open Thursday’s session around $418.50, or more than 16% below Monday’s close, a day when the stock surged following its stock split.

Tesla shares rose to a new intraday all-time high of $502.49 on Tuesday. The stock then ended Tuesday’s session 4.67% lower asTesla announced that it would raise up to $5 billion through stock offerings “from time to time” and “at-the-market” prices.

Then on Wednesday, Baillie Gifford, Tesla’s largest outside shareholder said it reduced its position in the company from around 6.3% to less than 5%, according to FactSet. The firm said it intends to remain a long-term shareholder in the company and that the selling was purely due to portfolio restrictions. Tesla dropped 5.8% on Wednesday.

The recent weakness does little to dent Tesla’s more than 430% surge this year, but it does suggest that some of the momentum behind the stock’s record run may be slowing.

In a note to clients on Wednesday Credit Suisse said that four key factors have been driving the rapid appreciation in shares, including short investors covering their positions as well as passive investors purchasing shares ahead of possible inclusion in the S&P 500. In other words, reasons beyond the company’s fundamentals are driving stock performance.

The firm did say, however, that September could prove to be a “catalyst-rich month for Tesla” with the company’s upcoming Battery Day, among other things.

Part of shares’ recent run can be attributed to the company reporting record vehicle delivery numbers in July as well as a fourth straight quarter of profits. But the stock also jumped more than 80% between when the company announced a stock split on Aug. 11, and when it actually went into effect on Aug. 31 even though stock splits are purely cosmetic.

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

E-brokers defy odds by recording record trading revenue while dropping commissions to zero

A pedestrian walks by a TD Ameritrade office on November 25, 2019 in San Francisco, California.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Silicon Valley start-up Robinhood may have turned the stock-trading business on its head, but the old-school brokers are fighting back. 

Slashed trading commissions, new offers such as fractional trades, as well as record market volatility, helped incumbents Fidelity, Charles Schwab, TD Ameritrade, E-Trade and Interactive Brokers capitalize on a new class of retail investors.

Most notably, trading revenue isn’t taking the hit so many on Wall Street expected when major brokers announced they would no longer charge for trades. In fact, all the major brokers, expect Charles Schwab reported record trading revenue in the second quarter. 

“If you went back to last October and looked at expectations, many market observers expected trading related revenues would fall off a cliff,” JMP analyst Devin Ryan told CNBC. “It was the inevitable outcome of this kind of constant pressure on trading pricing. What we have seen is that that revenue has been quite resilient in addition to ushering millions of customers into the industry.” 

The industry started a transformation before the coronavirus pandemic roiled financial markets. Last fall, all the major online brokers dropped trading commissions, following millennial-favored stock trading app Robinood. As zero-commissions became industry standard, investors expected the brokerage industry to take hit from the loss of trading revenue.

However, second-quarter results from most of the major brokers showed trading revenues were actually up year-over-year, and hit all-time record at E-Trade, Interactive Brokers and TD Ameritrade. 

Brokers had bet that free trading would bring in new clientele to offset the loss of commissions. But the unexpected macro trend of shelter-in-place has been “icing on the cake” for their bottom line, according to Stephen Biggar, director of financial services research at Argus Research.

“They couldn’t have predicted Covid, and that trading volumes were going to explode with customers staying home with more time to invest,” Biggar told CNBC.

The trading revenue — which includes payment for order flow and commission payments — was boosted by the money the broker’s make from market makers, like Citadel Securities, for executing trades. 

“Even moving to zero and removing the primary mechanism for monetization of the trade, overall revenues that come from trading and order revenues are overall is down just marginally,” add Ryan.

Robinhood is trouncing the other brokers in daily average revenue trades or DARTS, but all of its publicly traded rivals more than doubled their trading volume year over year in the second quarter. TD Ameritrade saw the largest increase in DARTs, at 312% from the comparable quarter last year.

Fractional trading usage jumps

New fractional trading services from the major brokers lowered the barrier for entry for retail investors. Instead of buying an entire share of a company, many brokers now let you buy or sell a portion of it. The trend was first introduced by start-ups like Stash, SoFi and Square, which began offering the service before Robinhood.

The incumbent brokers jumped on the bandwagon, and are seeing a steady uptick in the product’s adoption among their clients.

Fidelity — which is the largest private broker with $8.3 trillion in assets under administration — saw 343,000 accounts use the fractional trade service through the end of July. The Boston-based firm has more than 32 million brokerage accounts. It saw a record second quarter with an all-time high of 1.2 million new retail accounts in the quarter, the company announced Tuesday. Fidelity also saw trading activity more than double year over year, with an average 2.3 million daily transactions in the quarter. 

Of its 12.7 million accounts, Charles Schwab said more than 60,000 clients have used its fraction trading option called Stock Slices. Of 1.51 million users at Interactive Brokers, 136,000 have signed up for fractional trading. TD Ameritrade does not offer stock slivers to its clients. 

“The move of some of these firms to allow fractional trading has just removed one more area of friction in e-trading,” said Ryan. 

A slice of Apple

The most popular stocks investors are owning fractions of are some of the most expensive and well-known stocks on Wall Street. 

At Fidelity, Tesla, Apple and Amazon — some of the higher-priced U.S. stocks — are seeing the most fractional shares trading activity. Similarly, Schwab said its most popular stock slivers have been Amazon, Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Netflix. Apple became the first U.S. company to reach a $2 trillion market cap on Wednesday. 

“Those are stocks that have historically been active retail stocks but not every investor has had access to on every platform,” said Ryan. “They’re popular stocks with retail and they’re popular stocks with institutional investors as well.”

Still, Interactive Brokers EVP of marketing and product development Steve Sanders told CNBC the stock slivers are still for a sophisticated clientele, and are not targeting inexperienced investors, a tactic Robinhood has been accused of. 

“We did not do this because we wanted little small clients with not a lot of money to put their last $200 into stocks,” Sanders told CNBC. “We did this as another tool that we put out there for clients like to deal with even dollars or want to be able to get something large like Berkshire Hathaway at a more managed price.”

“If the end clients is just in there because they’re bored and its another sports venue for them to play with their money and gamble and they’re not doing they’re homework and they just enjoy the ups and downs, I would say that’s a bad thing,” added Sanders. “If the client doesn’t have a lot of money but they’re doing their homework and its a way to get into the market I would say its a good thing.”

‘Hangover’ next year?

As economies re-open, people go back to work, and volatility dies down, retail brokers may not see the explosive growth that saved trading revenue in the beginning of the year. 

Argus Research’s Biggar pointed to the volatility index and trading volume on the S&P 500. In the heart of Covid-related shutdowns, market activity exploded but has calmed down since. The volatility index, or VIX, was above 80 in March and is now down in the twenties. The S&P 500 has recovered to its pre-covid February level,  kicking off the start of a new bull market and notching its fastest recovery in history. But Biggar said he worries about retail investors’ stomach for investing if stocks retreat.

“I think we’ve hit a peak, there’s just less trading than there had been.” Argus Research’s Biggar said. “Brokers are in good shape through year end — maybe the hangover comes comes next year.”

— with reporting from CNBC’s Nate Rattner. 

Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.

Coronavirus map LIVE: Less people have COVID-19 antibodies than predicted– number DROPPING

Public Health England (PHE) figures show that 9.9 of people in London were found to have antibodies compared to 4.7 per cent in North East England and 6.5 per cent in Birmingham. This is down from an estimated 7.1 per cent earlier in the pandemic.

The figures are based on samples taken from blood donors in different parts of the UK.

Yvonne Doyle, Public Health England’s medical director, said earlier this week: “We reckon that, over the peak, we had in London about 16 percent of the population showing that they had antibodies.

“This is dropping off now, and it’s now much lower than that. Overall, between six and 10 per cent of the population are showing those kind of antibodies as we do our regular seroprevalence testing.”

It comes after a recent study showed that scientists managed to isolate antibodies from COVID-19 patients which are among the most potent in neutralising coronavirus.

 

It comes after a recent study showed that scientists managed to isolate antibodies from COVID-19 patients which are among the most potent in neutralising coronavirus.

The study showed that these antibodies could be produced in large quantities by pharmaceutical companies to treat patients, especially early in the course of infection.

They can also be used to prevent infection, particularly in the elderly, the scientists say.

The study, published in Nature, reports that researchers have confirmed the purified, strongly neutralising antibodies provide significant protection from SARS-CoV-2 infection in hamsters.

David Ho, scientific director of the Aaron Diamond Aids Research Centre and professor of medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, directed the study.

He said: “We now have a collection of antibodies that’s more potent and diverse compared to other antibodies that have been found so far, and they are ready to be developed into treatments.”

FOLLOW BELOW EXPRESS.CO.UK’S LIVE UPDATES:

8am update: Fightback over Government’s Spain quarantine plan 

Consumer rights and travel groups have criticised the Government after it moved suddenly to re-impose quarantine restrictions on those returning from Spain.

Ministers announced on Saturday that holidaymakers who had not returned from Spain and its islands by midnight would be forced to quarantine for 14 days after COVID-19 second wave fears saw the European country struck off the UK’s safe list.

But questions have been asked about why the so-called “travel corridor” with the UK’s most popular holiday destination was suspended with little notice, with the sudden turn of events catching out even Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is currently in Spain for his summer break.

Mr Shapps, whose department formally announced the rule change, had to dial in from Spain to discuss altering the guidance with Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove.



Coke says it will kill more 'zombie' brands, weeks after dropping Odwalla


The beverage giant, fresh off announcing the shutdown of longtime juice smoothie brand Odwalla, is considering dumping other “zombie brands” — or those that aren’t growing — to help cut costs, Coke’s CEO James Quincey said on the company’s second-quarter earnings call Tuesday.
During the past few months, Coca-Cola — like other major consumer goods companies — streamlined its product offerings and zeroed in on its larger and best-selling brands to help ease the strain on supply chains. Coca-Cola is now doubling down on those efforts.

In Coca-Cola’s second quarter, which ended on June 26, the company saw sales drop 28% to $7.2 billion.

“We are shifting to prioritizing fewer but bigger and stronger brands across various consumer needs,” Quincey said. “At the same time, we need to do a better job nurturing and growing smaller, more enduing propositions and exiting some zombie brands.”

More than half of Coca-Cola’s 400 brands are ones with “little to no scale” and have sales that represent only 2% of total revenue, Quincey said.

Quincey did not name specific brands the company was considering dropping, and a Coca-Cola spokesman declined to provide additional comment.

This isn’t Coca-Cola’s first zombie hunt. During the past two years, the company has been “identifying and killing zombie” brands, products, flavors and packaging that were not delivering as high of returns as other products. In the first half of last year, Coca-Cola eliminated more than 275 products, Quincey said during a July 2019 earnings call.
One of the company’s most notable zombies was New Coke, a reformulation introduced in April 1985 and scrapped in July 1985.
“The lesson of New Coke was not so much the conviction to launch it but the courage to withdraw it after less than 80 days,” Francisco Crespo, Coca-Cola’s former chief growth officer wrote in a 2018 blog post about the product culling.

– CNN Business’ Danielle Wiener-Bronner contributed to this report.

World War 3: Secret US doomsday device to wipe-out nation ‘without dropping bomb’ revealed

Known as Project Pluto, the US programme was developed at the height of the Cold War to create nuclear-powered ramjet engines capable of dropping multiple nuclear weapons on the Soviet Union. But, this breakthrough in technology also gave the weapon a secondary purpose, it could fly around for weeks or even months in enemy territory spilling radiation over the entire country, before its final blow. Directed by Dr Theodore Charles Merkle, the project was born in Livermore, California, by the US Air Force and the US Atomic Energy Commission and two tests were conducted at the United States Department of Energy Nevada Test Site (NTS) in 1961 and 1964.

YouTube channel ‘Dark Docs’ revealed how the disturbing project came to fruition, and the consequences the US risked by rolling it out.

The narrator said in 2019: “The weapon in question, a missile, needed to push the limits of technology, needed to be nuclear-powered and unmanned.

“Nothing of that sort had ever been built before by any military on the planet, and the way that the team at Livermore chose to approach the challenge was through building a ram-jet engine – the concept was rather simple and required no moving parts.

“Instead of launching a hypothetical vehicle through a more conventional method, the velocity or the air pushed in through the front of the vehicle, known as the ram effect, would then by coming into contact with the heat of an unshielded nuclear reactor.

The weapon was capable of wiping an entire nation off the map

The weapon was capable of wiping an entire nation off the map (Image: USAF/GETTY)

The weapon was develop during the Cold War

The weapon was develop during the Cold War (Image: GETTY)

“The expanded air would provide thrust as it exited through a back nozzle – no engine had ever used nuclear energy to heat air this way.

“Project Pluto had to be designed smaller than a commercial one to facilitate flight, but had to be sufficiently sturdy to make the trip from wherever it would be stationed to a potential target.”

The series explained why the missile was unlike anything seen before, moving at supersonic speeds with a reactor that was among the smallest and lightest ever.

The resulting engine could carry a missile at 2,500mph – supersonic speed – and potentially operate for weeks or even months.

The narrator added: “The main challenge with this type of engine was the ram-jets were difficult to construct and manoeuvre and required special materials that could resist the extreme heat of the reactor.

READ MORE: Churchill’s FURIOUS China clash exposed: ‘Hong Kong will be taken over my dead body!’

Plans show how the missile would look

Plans show how the missile would look (Image: WIKI)

“These high temperatures – reaching around 2,500F (1,371C), would have melted most alloys, so the engineers in charge opted to switch metal components for ceramic pieces produced by a small company named Coors.

“Today, that company, registered under the name CoorsTek, turns over an annual revenue of $820million (£664million), Project Pluto is one of the pursuits that brought the company to prominence.”

This breakthrough allowed for a new type of warfare unseen before, but it also opened the potential for a concerning World War 3 scenario.

The narrator explained: “Integrating this new type of engine to an ad-hoc missile resulted in the assembly of a new weapon – SLAM – standing for Supersonic Low-Altitude Missile.

“The weapon was also endearingly nicknamed the big stick, it was built as a nuclear-powered cruise missile that would circulate at a low altitude, dropping nuclear bombs on multiple selected targets and radiating everything in its path.

DON’T MISS
Coronavirus: Is this PROOF China’s been lying about outbreak? [REVEALED]‘A stitch-up!’ Scotland braced for 20% MORE funding than England [EXPLAINED]Coronavirus vaccine to take ‘over 10 years’ as cases surge [ANALYSIS]

The ram-jet engines were tested twice

The ram-jet engines were tested twice (Image: WIKI)

The technology was unlike anything seen before

The technology was unlike anything seen before (Image: WIKI)

“At three times the speed of sound and capable of flying almost indefinitely, this instrument of mass destruction could carry more than 16 hydrogen bombs, with some reports calculating the maximum possibility of 26.

“While bombs were intended as the main feature, and were indeed the most hazardous feature for potential victims, the secondary radiation damage the missile could cause while flying over portions of enemy territory.

“With near-infinite fuel, the missile could spend weeks or months radiating areas without dropping a single bomb – the intention was to then crash the missile into one final target at the end of its mission – increasing its potential for destruction.”

But, this also caused concerns in the US Government, and the project was shut down due to the catastrophic consequences of launching such a weapon.

The series continued: “As a killing machine, Project Pluto’s SLAM was exquisite, militants and civilians of the target nations could be eradicated through nuclear blasts, radiation sickness, or even simply the shockwave of the missile passing over the area.

“Yet despite the record-breaking nature of Project Pluto, the missile came with a few significant issues for the deploying party – it would have to cross territory adjacent to the USSR at a very low altitude, the expelled air of the engine releasing plenty of radioactive material, showering US allies in Western Europe.

“This could have serious repercussions and the technology also needed to be tested, SLAM was simply too dangerous to launch untested – what if things went wrong mid-flight?

“Testing the nuclear reactor of the engine in a lab or on a base would prove particularly challenging since the unmanned device could have catastrophic consequences should anything go wrong.”



World War 3: Secret US doomsday device to wipe-out nation ‘without dropping bomb’ revealed

Known as Project Pluto, the US programme was developed at the height of the Cold War to create nuclear-powered ramjet engines capable of dropping multiple nuclear weapons on the Soviet Union. But, this breakthrough in technology also gave the weapon a secondary purpose, it could fly around for weeks or even months in enemy territory spilling radiation over the entire country, before its final blow. Directed by Dr Theodore Charles Merkle, the project was born in Livermore, California, by the US Air Force and the US Atomic Energy Commission and two tests were conducted at the United States Department of Energy Nevada Test Site (NTS) in 1961 and 1964.

YouTube channel ‘Dark Docs’ revealed how the disturbing project came to fruition, and the consequences the US risked by rolling it out.

The narrator said in 2019: “The weapon in question, a missile, needed to push the limits of technology, needed to be nuclear-powered and unmanned.

“Nothing of that sort had ever been built before by any military on the planet, and the way that the team at Livermore chose to approach the challenge was through building a ram-jet engine – the concept was rather simple and required no moving parts.

“Instead of launching a hypothetical vehicle through a more conventional method, the velocity or the air pushed in through the front of the vehicle, known as the ram effect, would then by coming into contact with the heat of an unshielded nuclear reactor.

The weapon was capable of wiping an entire nation off the map

The weapon was capable of wiping an entire nation off the map (Image: USAF/GETTY)

The weapon was develop during the Cold War

The weapon was develop during the Cold War (Image: GETTY)

“The expanded air would provide thrust as it exited through a back nozzle – no engine had ever used nuclear energy to heat air this way.

“Project Pluto had to be designed smaller than a commercial one to facilitate flight, but had to be sufficiently sturdy to make the trip from wherever it would be stationed to a potential target.”

The series explained why the missile was unlike anything seen before, moving at supersonic speeds with a reactor that was among the smallest and lightest ever.

The resulting engine could carry a missile at 2,500mph – supersonic speed – and potentially operate for weeks or even months.

The narrator added: “The main challenge with this type of engine was the ram-jets were difficult to construct and manoeuvre and required special materials that could resist the extreme heat of the reactor.

READ MORE: Churchill’s FURIOUS China clash exposed: ‘Hong Kong will be taken over my dead body!’

Plans show how the missile would look

Plans show how the missile would look (Image: WIKI)

“These high temperatures – reaching around 2,500F (1,371C), would have melted most alloys, so the engineers in charge opted to switch metal components for ceramic pieces produced by a small company named Coors.

“Today, that company, registered under the name CoorsTek, turns over an annual revenue of $820million (£664million), Project Pluto is one of the pursuits that brought the company to prominence.”

This breakthrough allowed for a new type of warfare unseen before, but it also opened the potential for a concerning World War 3 scenario.

The narrator explained: “Integrating this new type of engine to an ad-hoc missile resulted in the assembly of a new weapon – SLAM – standing for Supersonic Low-Altitude Missile.

“The weapon was also endearingly nicknamed the big stick, it was built as a nuclear-powered cruise missile that would circulate at a low altitude, dropping nuclear bombs on multiple selected targets and radiating everything in its path.

DON’T MISS
Coronavirus: Is this PROOF China’s been lying about outbreak? [REVEALED]‘A stitch-up!’ Scotland braced for 20% MORE funding than England [EXPLAINED]Coronavirus vaccine to take ‘over 10 years’ as cases surge [ANALYSIS]

The ram-jet engines were tested twice

The ram-jet engines were tested twice (Image: WIKI)

The technology was unlike anything seen before

The technology was unlike anything seen before (Image: WIKI)

“At three times the speed of sound and capable of flying almost indefinitely, this instrument of mass destruction could carry more than 16 hydrogen bombs, with some reports calculating the maximum possibility of 26.

“While bombs were intended as the main feature, and were indeed the most hazardous feature for potential victims, the secondary radiation damage the missile could cause while flying over portions of enemy territory.

“With near-infinite fuel, the missile could spend weeks or months radiating areas without dropping a single bomb – the intention was to then crash the missile into one final target at the end of its mission – increasing its potential for destruction.”

But, this also caused concerns in the US Government, and the project was shut down due to the catastrophic consequences of launching such a weapon.

The series continued: “As a killing machine, Project Pluto’s SLAM was exquisite, militants and civilians of the target nations could be eradicated through nuclear blasts, radiation sickness, or even simply the shockwave of the missile passing over the area.

“Yet despite the record-breaking nature of Project Pluto, the missile came with a few significant issues for the deploying party – it would have to cross territory adjacent to the USSR at a very low altitude, the expelled air of the engine releasing plenty of radioactive material, showering US allies in Western Europe.

“This could have serious repercussions and the technology also needed to be tested, SLAM was simply too dangerous to launch untested – what if things went wrong mid-flight?

“Testing the nuclear reactor of the engine in a lab or on a base would prove particularly challenging since the unmanned device could have catastrophic consequences should anything go wrong.”



Uber driver shot while dropping off passenger

CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago police are investigating after a ride share driver was shot while dropping off a passenger Saturday morning.

The incident happened at around 1:30 a.m. near 21st Street and Leavitt on the Near Southwest Side.

The 46-year-old man was shot in the back and was not seriously injured, according to police.

Police also say he was not the intended target of the gunfire. No one is in custody as detectives investigate.

No other information was provided as of Saturday morning. We will update as soon as it becomes available.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.