The Roundup for October 25, 2012

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Good evening, all!

International Developments

? “UN to investigate civilian deaths from US drone strikes: Special rapporteur on counter-terror operations condemns Barack Obama’s failure to establish effective monitoring process”. A UN investigations unit in Geneva will “examine the legality of drone attacks” in which civilians are killed.

? “A man suspected of involvement in an attack on the US consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi last month has been killed in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, officials say.”

? “The worst in the gold sector is over”, according to the National Union of Mineworkers in South Africa, as the miners accepted a pay offer.

? “Syria’s military says it will adhere to a four-day ceasefire to begin on Friday for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.”

? “Britain rejects US request to use UK bases in nuclear standoff with Iran: Secret legal advice states pre-emptive strike could be in breach of international law as Iran not yet ‘clear and present threat’.”

? All but a “skeleton crew” of those Argentine sailors stuck in Ghana while their ship was seized during a dispute between Argentina and NML Capital, are now back in Buenos Aires. An Air France plane was chartered by Argentina to get them home due to fears an Argentine plane would also be seized.

? In May, three Muslim males raped and murdered a Buddhist female in Burma’s Rakhine state. Ten Muslims were subsequently killed by Buddhists, thus beginning a series of violent incidents resulting in 90 people killed and hundreds of homes torched. 56 people were killed since this past Sunday alone.

? Wikileaks has begun publishing “more than 100 US Department of Defense documents including the first prisoner treatment manual for Guantanamo Bay.

International Finance

? Interesting set of graphs showing the Greek government’s “expenditures were basically stable” between 1990-2007, ‘increasing rapidly only as a result of the 2008 recession”, and Greece’s government expenditures as a percent of GDP were not all that different from other countries. Moreover, it was in the private, rather than government, sector where the grossest financial imbalances occurred.

Money Matters USA

? The prosecution had asked for a 10-year sentence, but US District Judge Jed Rakoff in New York, handed down a 2-year prison sentence to former Goldman Sachs board member Rajat Gupta, recently convicted of insider trading. Judge Rakoff was impressed with Gupta’s “‘extraordinary’ contribution to humanitarian and education causes”. Gupta was also fined $5 million.

? Nomi Prins, former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs: “Before The Election Was Over, Wall St. Won

Politics USA

? “The FBI and U.S. Postal Service agents are investigating bogus official-looking letters sent to voters in at least 28 Florida counties questioning their citizenship and their eligibility to vote”. They’re covering a broad swath–“from civil rights violations to election fraud–to everything in between.”

? Over 200 FL congregations will be participating in the “Marching Souls to Polls” on October 28th and November 4th, 2012 as part of the national initiative Protect Our Vote Sundays. Impressive list of organizations and groups participating.

? The Romney-Ryan campaign, seemingly rolling in money, is sending Veep candidate Paul Ryan to many fund-raising events in states that aren’t battleground or swing states. Why?

? Handy chart showing each of CA’s propositions on the November ballot, together with the “Biggest Supporter”, “Biggest Opponent” and dollar amounts contributed by each.

? OH Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted is requiring that anyone not returning the absentee ballot they requested, but showing up at the polls to cast a vote, will have to use a provisional ballot. By law, OH provisional ballots can’t be counted until Nov 17th. So, if the presidential election outcome depends on OH, the nation will have to wait until near the end of November for results.

? Guantanamo prisoners watched the last Presidential debate, too, though some preferred to listen to it on the radio.

? Out of the Mouth of Mourdock: health insurance shouldn’t cover contraception.

? Rick Hill, MT Republican Congressman running for governor, received an illegal contribution of $500,000 from the Montana Republican Party. His opponent, Democrat Steve Bullock, current MT Attorney General, asked for a temporary restraining order to keep Hill from spending the funds and an order that he return them. A US District Court in Helena has blocked Hill’s attempt to ignore a state court’s inspection of the contribution.

? TX Attorney General, Republican Greg Abbott, says he’ll arrest those international election monitors invited to observe voting during next month’s presidential elections. In response, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said, “The threat of criminal sanctions against OSCE/ODIHR observers is unacceptable.”

? According to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, “more than 3,000 young illegal immigrants are applying for deferred deportation every day under the administration’s new immigration policy”, resulting in a total of 200,000 hoping to stay in the US for at least two years with temporary work permits.

? Dinesh D’Souza is being sued over that flick “2016: Obama’s America” by the other two people involved in creating the film. The film made “millions” at the box office and the three partners are fighting over those millions.

Women & Children

? “Wingnut Theories on Rape and the Female Body: A Taxonomy”. Comments to the article are interesting, too.

? What the up-and-coming generation thinks about politics.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? MA Gov Mitt Romney’s administration in 2006 ok’d Pharmacy Support, Inc. to investigate complaints about the New England Compounding Center which is currently “at the center of the national meningitis outbreak” investigation. PSI found everything was ok, although PSI’s chief executive was “awaiting trial on a fraud indictment” at the time. Current MA governor, Democrat Deval Patrick, is investigating the “troubling” choice of PSI.

Working for A Living

? The Rev Jesse Jackson and 13 employees of Sensata Technologies were arrested yesterday for trespassing on the company’s property. Among Rev Jackson’s statements at the site: “The Chinese are not taking jobs from us. We are taking jobs to them.”; “Now, you’re looking at an economic terrorism.”

Planet Earth News

? Shudder. PA has issued a fracking permit to Chesapeake Energy for a site that is barely over a mile from the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station, in Shippingport.

? “Towns in the Netherlands are considering a proposal to heat cycle lanes to encourage greater use of bicycles in winter.”

? Massive iceberg breaking off Antarctica.

Latin America

? Electronic Frontier Foundation “is accusing Chevon of violating the First Amendment and trying to intimidate its critics by prying into the private email accounts of 71 individuals connected to the Amazon villagers who recently won a historic $19 billion judgment against the oil giant.”

? Mayans are angry about crass commercialization and even fear-mongering as the one calendar cycle, the 13th Baktun, ends on 21 Dec 2012. Felipe Gomez, leader of the Maya alliance, Oxlaljuj Ajpop, explained that the new cycle which will then begin “means there will be big changes on the personal, family and community level, so that there is harmony and balance between mankind and nature.”

Mixed Bag

? Clark Kent has had it with what’s passing for “news” these days in the Daily Planet. And he’s in good company, too: here’s another expert on today’s so-called “unbiased news”.

? Seems an investigation of now-deceased Jimmy Savile, BBC host accused of molesting “hundreds of boys and girls”, was cancelled while Mark Thompson was the BBC’s Director General. Thompson is the newly-hired CEO of the New York Times. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., the NYT publisher, is confident Thompson “played no role” in the cancellation.

? Battery prices for electric cars have decreased from around $1000/kilowatt hour to $200-$250 today and supply is assured. What’s needed is customer demand.

Break Time

? President Pryor’s first press conference.

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