- “EU leaders came under pressure from the International Monetary Fund on Monday to bolster the firewall around Italy and Spain, as talks between Greece and its creditors remained in deadlock for a third week.”
- “European foreign ministers have agreed to suspend visa bans on leading politicians in Burma, including the president and cabinet members. EU ministers meeting in Brussels said the move followed Burma’s ‘remarkable programme of political reform’.”
- “Europe’s most senior judge launches an attack on David Cameron today, accusing the British Government of pandering to the tabloid press in its criticism of the European Court of Human Rights. Writing in The Independent on the eve of the Prime Minister’s visit to Strasbourg, where the court is based, its president, Sir Nicolas Bratza, says ‘senior British politicians’ have betrayed their ignorance of the institution’s history and legal position by joining the clamour for its reform.”
- “Lord Patten, the former Conservative cabinet minister who is now chairman of the BBC Trust, said politicians were wrong to seek close relationships with newspaper proprietors and had ‘demeaned themselves’ by ‘grovelling’ to the likes of Rupert Murdoch.”
- “The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is promising a legal challenge to federal rules requiring health insurers and non-profit religious employers, such as hospitals and colleges, to provide free birth control to women.”
- “The active ingredient in magic mushrooms may help people with depression by enabling them to relive positive and happy moments of their lives, according to UK researchers.” My old friend Gulliver, the Mushroom King, could have told them that.
- “The French Senate has approved a controversial bill that makes it a criminal offence to deny that genocide was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I. Armenia says up to 1.5 million people died in 1915-16 as the Ottoman empire split. Turkey rejects the term genocide and says the number was much smaller.”
- “The US businessman at the heart of Pakistan’s ‘memogate’ political scandal will not come to the country to testify, blaming concerns for his own safety, according to his lawyer. After proclaiming he was prepared to give evidence even at the risk of his own life, Mansoor Ijaz will not turn up for the court appearance on Tuesday.”
- “Israeli police have detained two senior Hamas MPs who had been sheltering for more than 18 months in the compound of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in East Jerusalem. Former Palestinian Jerusalem Affairs Minister Khaled Abu Arafah and Mohammed Totah took refuge after their Jerusalem residency permits were cancelled.”
- “Egypt’s new lower house of parliament has convened its first session just days after completing a historic election that put Islamists in the legislative lead after the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in February. Mahmoud al-Saqa, 81, a member of the liberal Wafd party and the oldest member of parliament, opened the session in the capital, Cairo, on Monday as acting speaker, beginning with a moment of silence for those killed in the uprising against Mubarak.”
- “Before the pro-democracy movement’s demonstrations swelled the streets of this city and ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Amr El-Beheiry was a 32-year-old factory worker who hailed from Nile Delta and was proud of his large and very close family. El-Beheiry struggled like most Egyptians, but his family says he kept a simple dream of being able to afford an apartment and to save enough to finance a modest wedding. He minded his own business.”
- Global Capitalism – a monthly update by Prof Richard Wolff. “Basic prospects for the US economy in 2012 opened this month’s update. Most attention focused on analyzing the two main problems now shaking European capitalism: (1) the financial and social costs and implications of European governments’ debts and austerity programs aimed to alleviate those debts, and (2) conflicts over Greece’s debts and default scenarios. Emphasis was placed on the impact of Europe’s crises on the US economy in 2012.”
The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.