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The Roundup for December 28, 2012

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Here’s your news, folks. See you back here Sunday evening.

International Developments

? Meet the supreme ruler of two blocks of ruins in Aleppo. Riveting account of living in an on-going nightmare.

? “UN to seek $1.5 billion for Syrian needy“. 2+ million Syrians are displaced inside the country, with almost 550,000 in neighboring countries–the latter expected to double by June, 2013.

? US drone strikes are down in Pakistan, up in Yemen. Pakistan: 122 drones strikes in 2010, 72 in 2011 and 46 in 2012. Yemen: 18 in 2011 and 52 in 2012. Between 189 – 308 militants were killed by drone strikes in Pakistan; between 397 – 539 were killed in Yemen. Drones in Yemen “are operated both by the CIA and by the Joint Special Operations Command.”

? “China has tightened its rules on internet usage to enforce a previous requirement that users fully identify themselves to service providers.”

? President Vladimir Putin of Russia has signed a bill banning US adoptions of Russian children.

International Finance

? Greece’s suicide rate increased 37% between 2009-11, and the number of child and adolescents seeking mental health services rose 51% between 2006-11. So far, five years of recession–with no end in sight. “This represents a chronic stress . . . It doesn’t finish. It’s always there.”

Money Matters USA

? Bill Black takes on “Progressives Indoctrinated into Supporting Austerity”, specifically: The Guardian (UK)’s Finance Editor; Gov. Howard Dean;  former Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern; and the “Wall Street wing of the Democratic Party”.

? “HP discloses US probe into Autonomy“, the UK software HP purchased and has since claimed it paid way too much for because of deception.  HP disclosed other goodies, too.  HP’s shares are down 47% for the year.

Politics USA

? President Obama met with congressional leaders this afternoon and said that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) will be working over the weekend with their members over the so-called “fiscal cliff” crisis.  Obama wants his proposal–“extending Bush-era tax rates on incomes below $250,000” and unemployment insurance–to go before the Senate for an up-or-down vote.

? Newly-elected San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) served in the US House for 10 terms.  Heaping criticisms on the Republicans, he dishes on the Democrats too.

? A noun and a verb whose time has come: “Profitutes” and “Profitution”

?  Despite attempts by CA Gov Jerry Brown (D)’s office, to get the error corrected, continued to report–wrongly–that CA’s 2012 budget deficit will be $28 billion.

? Gol-durn it! TX Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s campaign manager, Kenneth “Buddy” Barfield, “longtime GOP consultant”, is under criminal investigation for stealing “at least $600,000” from Dewhurst’s political accounts.

? MI had an emergency manager law which was repealed by 52% of MI voters last month.  Now MI has an emergency manager law, recently passed by the MI Legislature and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Snyder.

? Maricopa County, AZ’s very own Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced plans to send his “armed volunteer posse to protect Valley schools”. Problem is, he jumped the gun by not consulting with the schools beforehand. His counterpart in nearby Pinal County simply wants to arm all the teachers and principals.

Women & Children

? MI Republican Gov Rick Snyder has signed a bill mandating doctors to screen patients seeking abortion “to make sure they haven’t been coerced into having an abortion” and requiring fetal remains be disposed in a manner that is currently being practiced.  From now on, clinics giving more than 120 abortions/year must be licensed.

? The 23-year Delhi student who was severely beaten while being gang-raped in a public bus, has died.

? “A 17-year-old Indian girl who was gang-raped committed suicide after police pressured her to drop the case and marry one of her attackers”.  She poisoned herself.  In India, “228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded last year”, or 89.2%, were  cases of violence against women.

? In Italy, a Catholic priest has said “women bring violence on themselves by serving cold food and dressing provocatively.”  Once he’d whipped the public into an uproar by that and other comments, the good pastor said he’s going to “take a period of rest.” Video.

Heads Up!

? Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), opening debate on renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments, referenced the British Writs of Assistance which allowed “constables and customs officers” to search houses of the American colonists at will.  Such abuses led to the creation of our Fourth Amendment now under attack by our own government.  Video.

? Glenn Greenwald: “GOP and Feinstein join to fulfill Obama’s demand for renewed warrantless eavesdropping; The California Democrat’s disgusting rhetoric recalls the worst of Dick Cheney while advancing Obama’s agenda”. Misplaced phrase, but you get the point.

? “The Senate Can At Least Agree On One Thing”.

? Facebook is censoring political critics.

? Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence continues her 17-day hunger strike, waiting to meet with Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss legislation that will destroy many treaty rights and threatens the environment.

Planet Earth News

? Let’s hear it for the International Maritime Organization which plans to shift shipping lanes in the Santa Barbara Channel and Los Angeles-Long Beach port area to protect the endangered blue whales from further collisions.  Calls of the blue whale.

? Teflon kills chickens.  Where is the EPA on this?

Latin America

Argentina’s on-going international legal wrangling with Elliott Associates (which Argentina calls “vultures”) may hinge on definition of “pari passu”.

? “Eight former army lieutenants have been charged in the death” of  poet, singer and songwriter Victor Jara who was seized, tortured and murdered by machine gun six days after the 1972 coup that brought down Chile’s President Salvador Allende.  His last poem, from the stadium.

Mixed Bag

? RIP Fontella Bass,  R&B and Soul singer, including “Rescue Me”

? RIP Norman Schwarzkopf,  Iraq war general

? That’ll show ’em!  “Opposed to same-sex marriage, company ends wedding business”.

? Hope DDay sees this:  Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi will pay $48m/year to ex-wife Veronica Lario whom he married after seeing her “perform” in 1980;  she left him in 2009–3 children later–because of his involvement with an 18-year-old actress; he is currently on trial for sex in 2010 with  17-year-old, “Ruby the Heart-Stealer” and is fighting charges of abuse of power for springing Ruby from jail after she was caught shoplifting; he is also appealing his 4-year jail sentence for tax evasion.  He intends to run for political office again in 2013.

Break Time

? Arlo’s tribute  to Victor Jara

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