? “US Secretary of State John Kerry has said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would have no role in a political settlement to Syria’s conflict.” 10% of Jordan’s population is now comprised of Syrian refugees.
? “Pakistani court declares US drone strikes in the country’s tribal belt illegal”, inhumane and a violation of the UN charter on human rights.
? Not another! “A fire has raced through an 11-story building housing a garment factory and residential complex in Bangladesh’s capital, killing at least eight people.”
? Latest from that horrific building collapse in Bangladesh in April: 1000 bodies have now been found.
? “Dissident shareholders” want Rupert Murdoch out as chair of News Corporation.
Money Matters USA
? “IRS Opens Tax Cases Based on Trove of Offshore Account Data”
? Oh, noooos. “JPMorgan Chase has been warned of a probable enforcement action by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [after] Jamie Dimon, chief executive, met about 100 officials from the Office of Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Reserve”. Quite a range of troubles.
? Three weeks ago Rust Consulting sent almost 100,000 checks to homeowners “as compensation for foreclosure abuses”, but the checks bounced. Now, they’ve mailed out more checks, “written for the wrong amounts”, although they didn’t bounce.
? Oopsie! Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “tipped off US banks and other big mortgage investors to more loan data than . . . intended”. The info was used “to identify and analyse Harp loans.” Will there be an investigation?
? Meanwhile, Fannie Mae is sending “$59.4bn back to taxpayers”, part of the repayment of $170bn given to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the 2008 financial crisis. Fannie Mae has now repaid $95bn of the $116bn we loaned to it.
? Krugman: “the days of a ONE TRILLION DOLLAR deficit are over. In fact, the deficit is falling fast.” And as it fades, “debt as a medium-term (meaning up to 10 years) issue has largely gone away.”
? “Jeffrey Skilling, the former Enron Corp chief executive, could be freed from prison nearly a decade sooner than originally expected”. In return, Skilling is supposed “to stop appealing his conviction” and “more than $40 million seized from him [is] to be freed up for distribution to Enron fraud victims.”
? “Hundreds of billions of dollars in federal contracts, grants, loans, concession agreements and property leases go to private companies that pay low wages, provide few benefits, and offer employees little opportunity”. Austerity USA.
? The US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals says it’s A-OK for MI to “bar public schools from collecting union dues”.
? Under a Republican House bill, workers would have “the option to take time off instead of overtime.” Democrats recognized “employers will push workers” to take comp time rather than pay them for time worked, but they were out-voted.
? There’s a $2.5bn cost overrun on one single aircraft carrier, a nuclear one. Total cost is now at $13bn. [cont’d.]
Photo from JPL in the public domain