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International Developments

? “Five Americans from NATO-led foreign forces in Afghanistan have died in a helicopter crash” in Kandahar Province.”

? With the World Bank’s infusion of cash, an “international team of archaeologists and more than 550 local laborers are now frantically excavating” Mes Aynak, ancient Buddhist city in Afghanistan.

? “Obama’s national security adviser [Tom Donilon] says China must end recent cyberespionage traced . . . back to that country or risk impacting relations with the U.S.”

? “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of a new medal for troops who operate drones and use other technological skills to fight America’s wars from afar.”

? “A court in Italy has ordered medical checks to be carried out on Silvio Berlusconi to verify that he cannot attend a trial due to health problems.”

International Finance

? “A woman has been jailed for 10 years for laundering about $860m in Hong Kong.”

? “60 of the largest U.S. corporations . . . ‘parked a total of $166 billion offshore last year”.  Nonetheless, “they all still expect Uncle Sam to come to their aid with military firepower in case the natives abroad get restless and nationalize their company’s assets.”

Money Matters USA

? Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau through a recess appointment, has been nominated as permanent director.  Republicans are gearing up for a fight over his nomination with the ultimate goal of gutting the agency.

? Only “$787 million of the $92.5 billion lost to bank collapses between 2007-2012″ have been recovered by the FDIC.  Bankster misbehavior in those cases include a “catalog of fraud and negligence; reckless loans to homeowners and builders; falsified documents; inflated appraisals; lender refusals to buy back bad loans.”   This on top of FDIC’s failure to announce settlements made with the banks.

? Those F-35s the Air Force is so fond of  will be costing taxpayers more than thought because the GAO’s draft report failed to include the cost of the engines–you know, those things which make the planes go.  Include everything and the total is $316bn each year through 2037.

? Some NC crooks have  ripped off  “at least $100 million” from the USDA “program that insures crops.”  41 of those charged have “either pleaded guilty or reached plea agreements”.

Secretary of Treasury Jack Lew’s swell $1.4million mortgage, given by New York University as part of his employment deal, is “the tip of the iceberg”.  One NYU Dean received a $1.3 million loan, which increased to $5.1 million.  Another had a $6.15 million apartment purchased by NYU.

? 81,000 jobs waiting to be filled in January, but no breakdown by full- and part-time status.

? “Nationally, renters needed to earn $18.79 per hour to spend less than 30% of their income on a two-bedroom home. That is significantly more than the $7.25 federal minimum wage.” [cont’d.]

Photo by Howard Ignatius under Creative Commons license

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.