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The Roundup for April 24, 2013

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International Developments

? Inspire is al-Qaeda’s English-language magazine whose  editor and publisher, Samir Khan, US citizen, was killed  by drone in Yemen in 2011.  Accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev reportedly told “investigators that he and his brother . . . learned to make pressure cooker bombs by reading Inspire”.

? A Yemeni man who studied at an American high school told Congress [yesterday] that a drone strike on his village in Yemen last week terrified his neighbors, turning them against the United States in a way that terrorist propaganda had failed to do.”

US funds to Palestine are earmarked for specific projects including for security forces trained by the US, but never to be used against Israel.

? “Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called on Pakistan to combat militants who use the country as a launch-pad for attacks on neighbouring Afghanistan.”

? 500 Europeans supposedly fighting with rebel forces in Syria constitute a “serious threat” when returning home.

UN to test soil samples to see if Syria has used sarin gas, as alleged by Britain, France and Israel.

? Disturbing history of Kenya from the 1990s, ending with the sudden shift in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s position vis-a-vis Uhuru Kenyatta, newly-elected President of Kenya, currently under indictment by the International Criminal Court.

? North Korea refuses to “demonstrate a willingness to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme and suspend missile launches”–two US conditions for talks.

International Finance

? Huge fire sale in the Eurozone as demanded by the European Commission.  “Austerity is not about solving the crisis, it’s about using the crisis” for privatization.  Water, electricity, health, ports, roads–everything ripped-off privatized.

Money Matters, USA

? Planes with no engines, helicopters with no transmissions, and now a new warship with flawed cybersecurity.

Politics USA

? Responding to Republican grumbling about the impact of the sequester on airports, Senate Majority Leader Harry “Leader” Reid (D-NV) suggested using war savings to make sure air travel is not negatively affected.  Aides to Republican senators had a field day rejecting that one.  Update:  Reid has “sidelined his sequester replacement legislation”.

? Senate Majority Leader Harry “Leader” Reid (D-NV) said that a ricin incident at Joint  Base Anacostia-Bolling in Washington was under investigation.  A spokesperson at the base knew nothing about it.

? The House GOP has legislation “designed to simultaneously undermine a piece of Obamacare and give themselves a pretext to say they’re interested in helping people with preexisting conditions.”

? MO state senators want to stop funding for driver’s license issuance because the wife of a state representative told them state “gun records had been shared with the federal government as a part of a United Nations initiative called Agenda 21”.

? In IA, some state house conservatives “want to reduce the pay of Iowa Supreme Court justices involved in a 2009 decision striking down a ban on same-sex marriages”.

? A TN GOP state senate member took to his blog to post “an image labeled as an ‘assault pressure cooker'” with arrows “pointing to the device’s dangerous features” and entitled “‘Here comes Feinstein again’.”

? Creepy report out of NC: a Democratic strategist was stabbed to death by a former employee, who them stabbed himself, though not fatally. The strategist’s husband was also stabbed, but survived.

Gun Corner

? 47% of Americans are “angry” or “disappointed” that gun control legislation didn’t pass the US Senate last week.

? Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband, Mark Kelly, are targeting Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) for their opposition to “background check legislation.”

? Newton, CT residents voted to reject the proposed school budget which included $1 million specifically for hiring “extra police officers and unarmed security guards” for each Newtown school.

Justice USA

? A federal judge, “presiding over the landmark case against the New York police department’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy has complained that witnesses have perjured themselves during the hearings”.

Which state “has the nation’s highest rate of incarceration among black men, with drug-related charges being a leading offense”?  Wisconsin, with a 12.8% incarceration rate for black men, followed by OK with 9.7%.  US average is 6.7%.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? “Hundreds of undocumented immigrants have been deported from United States hospitals while they were unconscious, after health care providers decided it would cost too much to let them stay.”

Working for A Living

? About “500 low-wage workers expected to stop working from a dozen chains Wednesday morning” in Chicago.  They’re fighting for $15/hour wages from McDonald’s, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts, Macy’s, Sears and Victoria’s Secret.

? “The United Steelworkers . . . denounced Caterpillar Inc. CEO Douglas Oberhelman’s [increased compensation] from $16.9 million in 2011 to $22.4 million in 2012.”  Caterpillar has aggressively pursued lock-outs, demanded  wage and benefits cuts, and bullies workers, according to the the USW.

Planet Earth News

?  USDA wants to cut the number of inspectors per poultry killing line from 4 to 1, thus speeding up killing time from 140 to 175 birds/minute.  USDA will save $90 million by firing inspectors, slaughterhouses will make bigger profits and we’ll be at greater risk of food poisoning.

? A Chevy Volt electric car in NJ gets 450 miles/gallon.

? Nestlé is trying to patent the fennel flower.

? Former US Senator and Governor, Bob Graham (D) is in Tallahassee fighting to stop two bills “relating to sugar company leases in the Everglades.”

Latin America

? The US State Department hinted  sanctions might be used if Venezuela doesn’t conduct a full recount of the recent presidential election. Venezuela responded by promising retaliation with “‘trade, energy, economic and political measures’.”   The State Department has “vehemently denied” the US was considering sanctions.

? “Venezuelan President Nicolas Madura named a new acting head of its U.S. diplomatic mission in Washington . . . and sent an offer of dialogue.”

? Viva Cheran! Two years of resistance to illegal logging and organized crime in Cheran, Mexico begun by a few brave women.  Now there’s an entire Community Guard patrolling the area and a community governing council. Viva Cheran!

Mixed Bag

? Scotland bans The Donald’s anti-wind farm ads.

Break Time

? I ain’t the same.

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