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Well, folks, here’s your news.

International Developments

? Doctors at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham are “hopeful” that 14 year-old Malala Yousafzai “can recover”.

? Syria has denied Human Rights Watch claims that the Syrian army “has been using cluster bombs in its battle with the rebels.”

? The Israeli Parliament voted to dissolve, so new elections will be held in January.

? President Vladimir Putin won big time with the victories of his 5 mayoral candidates and legislative candidates in 77 of 83 regions. “Independent observers” say “the vote was openly rigged.” Oh, nooos.

? The two Pussy Riot members who remain behind bars are being sent to what is described as a “Horrible Russian Prison Colony” for 2 years, unless a last-minute appeal proves successful.

? In response to outrage that Uzbek children were forced to pick cotton used in clothing, some international “firms such as H&M, Adidas and Marks and Spencer boycotted” the cotton. Children are no longer forced to pick the cotton, but “office workers, nurses and even surgeons are being forced into the fields instead.”

International Finances

? Portugal has released draft budget details for 2013, under which the average income tax will increase from 9.8% to 13.2%, and public sector jobs will be reduced by 2%.

? Mitt Romney’s “accusing President Obama of ducking an important decision on whether China is manipulating its currency”, but China’s central bank chief says “China’s currency has reached its equilibrium rate and its value is mainly set by the market.”

Money Matters USA

? Net profits at Goldman Sachs were $1.5bn during the third-quarter, “higher than expected” and apparently due to “underwriting new share and bond offerings to investors.”

? “US Homebuilder Confidence at 6-Year High“. Seems there’s increased optimism in the housing market and increased interest by prospective buyers in new homes.

Politics USA

? Garry Wills on The Election. “Here is the Romney strategy: since you don’t like what you’ve got, vote for what you haven’t got. Whatever it is you haven’t got, it is better than what you’ve got. . . . So we are supposed to vote for a big Mystery box full of things we haven’t got.”

? “For a detailed explanation of how the Romney-Ryan tax plan is able to cut taxes by $5 trillion without raising taxes on the middle class or exploding the deficit”, go here.

? Sheila Bair, Republican and former FDIC Chair, will endorse Democrat Elizabeth Warren for MA Senator.

? So, how’re things in Wisconsin? Wisconsin “shimmers in the desert as the next-best chance at a GOP pick-up. Democrats know this, and they’re trying not to blow it again.”

? Got balls? Apparently, Mitt Romney will demand during tonight’s debate that President Obama “‘man up’ and ‘accept his responsibility’ for the terrorist attack on the American diplomatic mission in Libya.”

? Republican Veep candidate Paul Ryan and his family stopped in at the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society soup kitchen in Youngstown, OH–apparently uninvited and unauthorized–had pictures taken while Ryan supposedly cleaned some already clean pots, and left. The operator of the soup kitchen was not pleased. Not at all.

? Politico warned: “Lobbyists ready for a comeback under Romney”. To which Timothy P. Carney of the Washington Examiner responds in rapid-fire detail.

? White voters in GA are solidly in the Romney-Ryan camp.

? At last, Molly Munger has listened to the California PTA and the state Superintendent of Public Instruction, among others, to take down her negative ads that opposed Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax plan to benefit CA schools.

? TN’s Department of Health will be investigating whether physician and Republican Representative Scott DesJarlais did have sex with a patient and urged her to have an abortion.

? Dinesh D’Souza, anti-Obama movie-maker, “family values” espouser and a darling of fundamentalists, seems to have been in major back-sliding mode recently involving a woman other than his wife.

? The US Supreme Court will take up AZ’s requirement that people show “proof of their citizenship before they register to vote.” They will do that “early next year”.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? Seems the New England Compounding Center is now under investigation for contamination of a steroid and a heart drug.

? Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls, “tweeted a story about not having insurance”. Her fans “responded in droves . . . about their own stories of not having insurance”, she followed up with another tweet which went viral resulting in “thousands upon thousands of responses from people around the world”.

Working for A Living

? “An Hour’s Work at Minimum Wage Can’t Buy Two Gallons of Gas”

? In Fort Collins, Larimer County, CO, the working poor line up at the local food bank, including those who used to donate to it, joining many millions of other Americans in defining “getting ahead as ‘not falling behind’.” Statistic: “The US poverty rate has risen 19% since 2000.”

Heads Up!

? A man, who had permission to be there, was sleeping in a New York City synagogue when two police officers entered, got upset with him, beat him (with fists and a club) and finally pepper-sprayed him. 10 more officers arrived on the scene and the man was hauled away. The NYC Jewish community is now outraged. Video at link.

? “Goggle told to fix privacy policy“. In the EU, that is. Google wanted “to pool data from . . . Youtube, social network Google+ and smartphone system Android”. But they’ve hit a snag with the “French data privacy regulator CNIL” which has given them “months” to change.

Planet Earth News

Kentucky Utilities and affiliated company Louisville Gas and Electric announced . . . they expect to shut down three coal-fired electrical generation plants months ahead of schedule as part of their effort to comply with new federal environmental regulations.” They expect their new “640-megawatt natural gas combined cycle generation plant” will be operational in May 2015. A “timely turnaround on government permits” helped speed up the process.

? Two positive signs: 1) results of the University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll showed that 37% back Obama’s energy policies compared to 28% for Romney’s. (The rest were undecided or “not sure”); and 2) “belief” in global warming has increased to 67% of Americans, according to a Pew Research Center poll.

Latin America

? 2 weeks ago, the Argentine ship, The Libertad, with 300 crew members aboard, stopped in Ghana. NML Capital obtained a court order to have the ship detained until Argentina pays NML at least $20 million of an alleged $300 million owed. Argentina has suspended its Navy chief and a couple of other senior officers and sent a delegation to Ghana to try and resolve the dispute.

? Those student protests over curriculum changes in the teachers’ colleges in Michoacan, Mexico have taken a violent turn with 176 arrested and 10 police officers injured.

? In 1972, 16 political prisoners in Argentina were executed by naval officers, “even though a judge publicly guaranteed their safety.” 3 of the naval officers have now been found guilty and sentenced to life for murder. A 4th naval officer was charged but is living in Miami and will not be extradited by the US.

Mixed Bag

? Bizarre report of a Glendale, CA Deutsch Bank executive running around loaded on bath salts.

Break Time

? “The Last Great Steam Train” in the East (great photos). Riding the Skunk, venerable Engine # 45 in the West.