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The Roundup for February 22, 2013

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‘Evening, all.

International Developments

?  “The UN [in a rare step, has invoked] its legal immunity to rebuff claims for compensation from 5,000 victims of the Haiti cholera epidemic, [which was traced via full genome sequencing to]  UN peacekeepers from Nepal”.

? “Syria: ‘Civilians killed’ by Aleppo rockets”.  At least 12 deaths; rockets from undetermined source.

? “Islamist fighters” holed up in the city hall in Gao, Mali have been repelled.  Meanwhile, “al-Qaeda-linked rebels say they detonated a car bomb near a base housing French and Chadian troops in Kidal.”

? The bomb blast in Hyderabad, India that killed 15 “may be” linked to an Islamist military group.

? “100 U.S. troops have been deployed to Niger to assist the French operation in Mali.”

? The US will leave 8,000-12,000 troops in Afghanistan after 2014, per a German official.

? “Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has called parliamentary elections, starting on 27 April and [ending] in June.”

? United Arab Emirates has purchased an undisclosed number of drones from CA’s General Atomics Aeronautical Systems.  $197 million order.

? A new report provides possible explanations for Pope Benedict XVI’s retirement, including blackmail and “homosexual acts”, etc.

International Finance

? And yet they keep hanging on: “EU forecasts paint grim economic picture”.

? Austerity!  Moody’s has downgraded the UK from AAA to Aa1–first downgrade since 1978.

? “Banks and broker-dealers ensnared in the Libor-rigging scandal are facing fresh pressure to settle with Europe’s top competition authority as it expands the scope of its probes”.

Money Matters USA

? “Slimin’ Jamie Dimon’s Scheming to Stick the FDIC with WaMu Losses”.  Thorough exposure of this latest exploit in the too-big-to-fail realm.

? A “former CEO whose money-laundering scheme cost investors more than $18 million was sentenced to 7 days in jail”.  The 6th Circuit has ruled the 7-day sentence is “unreasonably low” and sent the case back for sentencing reconsideration.

? GA lawmakers for privatization!  Of “MARTA, the backbone of public transit in metro Atlanta”.  They also are switching those pesky employees from their pension plan to a 401(k).

? “Operators of a Sandy relief group diverted more than $17,000 in donated money to eat out, pay credit card bill and shop online”, so NJ is suing them.

? Here’s how you do it:  “Detroit Anti-Eviction Campaign Keeping Families in Their Homes”.

Politics, USA

? 3-way split:  1) “House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) lauded the AFL-CIO and Chamber of Commerce . . . for teaming up to release a joint set of principles for immigration reform.”  2) “Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) . . . condemned” it.  3) Carlos Gutierrez, former Commerce Secretary under George W. Bush, has quit his job at Citigroup “to devote himself full time to advocacy on behalf of immigration reform.”

? President Obama on possibly losing Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act:  “People will still have the same rights not to be discriminated against when it comes to voting, you just won’t have this mechanism, this tool, that allows you to kind of stay ahead of certain practices.”  Well, yeah, that’s the point.

? New Pew Poll:  Americans “want either to increase spending or maintain it at current levels for 18 of 19 programs slated to be hit by the sequester”, including entitlements, education and health care.

? Sourcewatch has info galore on billionaire Pete Peterson’s “Fix the Debt”.  Examples:  Peterson dumped millions in support of the Simpson-Bowles Commission; 38 Fix the Debt leaders’ corporations enjoy $43.4bn in defense contracts; “Undisclosed Conflict of Interest” info for Erskine Bowles, Maya MacGuineas; etc.

? Krugman on the handiwork of those Austerity handmaidens, Simpson & Bowles: their “moment has passed; even Mr. Bowles concedes that the search for a grand bargain is on ‘life support.'”

? From deep in the heart of (Republican) TX:  Hillary Clinton could win.

? From high in the sky in TX:  State troopers will no longer be “shooting immigrants from helicopters.”

? Waste-not, want-not gone horribly wrong:  Georgia rushes through executions before lethal injection drugs expire”.

? Debate in MN over early and absentee voting, pitting advocates (the elderly and disabled, persons in the military, etc.) against Republicans.

? “TSA apologizes for attempting to screen [3-year-old with spina bifida] in wheelchair”.  Her mother filmed the child’s great distress throughout the ordeal.

Gun Corner

? MS’s state House Speaker Philip Gunn (R)–really!–has written to “CEOs of leading firearm manufacturers urging them to relocate to Mississippi”.

? “[A]ssault weapons, high-capacity magazines, more than 40,000 rounds of ammunition” in possession of one neo-Nazi, convicted felon who seems to have targeted directors of the Detroit NAACP and Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, among others.

? Man arrested in Clarkstown, NY, with “high-powered weapons and body armor”, who’d posted “death threats against many Democratic politicians . . . and all members of the Congressional Black Caucus”, etc.

Planet Earth News

? The mind reels: “Switzerland’s only wild bear is killed as a danger to humans”.

? “In the beautiful, threatened North:  Ravaging beautiful Alaska

? “6 Underground Hanford [WA] Nuclear Tanks Leaking . . . millions of gallons of a highly radioactive stew”.

? Plaquemines Parish, LA--very hard hit from BP’s Gulf blow-out–is suing BP for  “compensatory and punitive damages, civil and criminal penalties and attorneys’ fees.”

? “[I]ncreasingly in the U.S. and the developing world, 100% renewable energy goals are becoming the new normal.”

? “Louisiana [is] losing its battle with rising seas much more quickly than even the most pessimistic studies have predicted to date.”

? “Siberian Caves Reveal Advancing Permafrost Thaw”.

? “Saudi Arabia invites companies to bid for colossal renewables contracts”.

? “China admits [to] pollution-linked ‘cancer villages’“.

Latin America

? “State security forces in Mexico have participated in the kidnappings and disappearances of a large number of missing citizens”.  Human Rights Watch claims to have documented “almost 250 disappearances during the term of former President Felipe Calderon.”

? Bolivian President Evo Morales tried twice to visit his “brother president” Hugo Chavez in Cuba and, more recently, the military hospital in Venezuela.  He was not allowed at Chavez’s bedside either time.

Mixed Bag

? Solution to a 60-year snake infestation?

? Break out your hankies.

Break Time

? Marley.

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