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The Roundup for August 30, 2012

Here’s your news for this Thursday evening.

International Developments

? Unbelievable. 270 workers at South Africa’s Marikana Mine “will be charged later with the murder of 34 colleagues shot by police”, under the “‘common purpose’ doctrine.” Charges, if any, against the police will only be made once an official investigation has ended.

? Syrian rebels claim to have shot down a Syria fighter jet. Human Rights Watch has said that “Syrian government forces have killed civilians queuing for bread in Aleppo”.

? Yesterday, “Syria’s Assad, in rare TV interview, says his army is winning civil war”, despite what he sees as “foreign governments . . . engaged in a conspiracy to destroy Syria.”

? “Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi has become the latest head of state to call for an end to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime . . .. He also said the “world had a ‘moral duty’ to support the rebels.”

? Egyptian President Morsi has scheduled his first foreign trip–to China. “By forging closer ties with China, Morsi is warning the US government not to take Egyptian acquiescence for granted.”

? “A U.S. drone attack killed at least four suspected Islamist militants in a car in a remote province of Yemen, a security official said.”

? “Five Australian soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in two separate incidents . . ..” Three were killed in a “green-on-blue” attack, or by a man wearing an Afghan army uniform. The other two perished in a helicopter crash in Helmand province.

International Finance

? “Prosecutors say they have unearthed evidence . . . that Chinese banks may have flouted United States sanctions against Iran.” They are also looking at HSBC and Standard Chartered, both London-based, to see if money transfers from Chinese banks moved through the British banks to their US branches.

? Antony Jenkins of Barclays Retail and Business section has been named new chief executive, replacing Bob Diamond.

Money Matters USA

? US Bank, per the Los Angeles City Attorney, is “one of the largest slumlords” in LA. Deutsche Bank is another. National Fair Housing Alliance has filed complaints against US Bank and Wells Fargo with the Department of Housing and Urban Development for failure “to maintain foreclosed homes in Atlanta, Miami, Oakland (CA), Washington (DC) and other cities.

? “US consumer spending up 0.4% in July”, “raising hopes that the country’s economy is continuing to recover.”

Politics USA

? “Obama to play up national security record at Democratic convention.” Sigh.

? President Obama said the huge amounts of money pouring into campaigns must be stopped. He views the Disclose Act as “a start” but favors a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. Enter stage left Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders (I) with such an Amendment, and a movement to go with it.

? The national GOP has dumped him, but MO’s GOP is still gung-ho about their guy, Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin in his race against Democratic Senate incumbent Claire McCaskill.

? “The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reinstated a federal civil rights and conspiracy lawsuit filed by Phoenix New Times owners Mike Lacey and Jim Larkin against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and a special prosecutor appointed by former County Attorney Andrew Thomas.” Complex case which finally made it to the 9th Circuit.

? “In Arizona, young illegal immigrants battle governor’s policy” by “joining forces to protest Gov. Jan Brewer’s order to ignore a federal program giving them benefits such as driver’s licenses.”

? Chris Matthews asked OH Republican Gov John Kasich point-blank if he’d rather have seen “the U.S. automotive industry enter bankruptcy, as Mitt Romney advocated in 2009, or if he was pleased with the restructuring plan put forth by the Obama administration.” Kasich said he’s “thrilled” that the auto industry survived but wants to “leave it right there.”

? They’ve avoided details so far, but the Romney campaign is pointing ahead to the three presidential candidate debates as the likeliest places to “get into the details.”

? Russ Feingold, in a two-sentence blog entry, sums up “Rep Ryan’s dishonest, partisan attack”.

? Those Ron Paul backers got stymied by change-of-rules at the Republican National Convention, so blatant that after one delegation announced 4 votes for Paul and 45 for Romney, only the 45 votes for Romney were acknowledged. The stage is set for no future challenges to the establishment.

? Small businessman Phil Archuleta of NM spoke at the Republican National Convention, saying, “President Obama talks like he supports small businesses, but his actions are destroying us.” Turns out, Archuleta got a $850,000 Small Business Administration loan through the Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency, and has worked with both the US Forest Service and Department of Energy on signage projects.

? CNN’s black camerawoman who had peanuts and derisive comments thrown at her by delegates at the Republican National Convention remarked that such a thing could have happened anywhere since “Racism is a global issue”.

The War on Women

? Tooo bad. “Fetal Personhood” won’t appear on the CO ballot because of lack of signatures for the thing.

Working for A Living

? There was no change last week in the number of people applying for unemployment benefits.

? The “decades-long decline in labor union membership” is tightly tied to “increasingly shrinking wages”. Union membership was 26.7% in 1973, but 13.1% in 2011. Union membership is also closely associated with workers having health insurance and pensions, and with reduction of inequality based on race. Unions empower workers

? United Steelworkers are preparing for a strike as contracts at five taconite plants in MN expire on Friday.

? Workers at one of Murray Energy Corp’s mines were told it was mandatory that they attend a Romney campaign event, without pay, and that the mine would be closed that day. Service Employees International Union, District 1199 wants OH “and federal labor union officials to investigate whether [the] company violated wage and hour laws” for the event.

? National Football League owners have locked out the League’s seasoned officials and is trying to use “replacement officials”. The NFL Players Association has “major concern” about inexperienced officials “being involved in an incredibly physically challenging activity”.

Planet Earth News

? Here it comes: “A vast outcrop of the Arctic Siberian coast that had been frozen for tens of thousands of years is releasing huge carbon deposits as rising temperatures thaw parts of its coastline . . ..”

Latin America

? “A massacre of up to 80 Yanomami Indians has taken place in the Venezuelan state of Amazonas”, adjoining Brazil. The entire village was firebombed from the air, apparently by illegal gold miners from Brazil. Venezuelan investigators have been sent to the area.

? “A team of 200 US Marines began patrolling Guatemala’s western coast this week in an unprecedented operation to beat drug traffickers in the Central America region . . ..” Agents from 13 countries, including 5 from Europe, are involved. The last time the US was in Guatemala things ended badly–200,000 dead, mostly poor indigenous farmers.

? Workers at 30 of 35 Brazilian government departments have accepted the offer of 15.8% pay raises over 3 years, and called off their strike.

Mixed Bag

? Billed as the oldest one of its kind in America, Detroit’s Belle Isle Aquarium is reopening.

? “Up to 50,000 people in Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish were ordered to evacuate Thursday morning when water from Tropical Storm Isaac threatened to overwhelm a dam across the state line in Mississippi.

Break Time

? Samantha Bee at the RNC (Scroll down)

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