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The Roundup for June 17, 2013

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International Developments

? “A string of nearly a dozen apparently coordinated bombs . . . in cities across Iraq killed at least 32 and wounded dozens”.

? Syria top item at the G8 meetings.  US President Obama and Russian President Putin appeared ‘tense’ after their two-hour meeting.

? “Russia . . .  will not permit no-fly zones . . . over Syria”.

? “Pew Poll: 70 Percent [of US adults] Oppose Providing Arms To Syrian Rebels.”

? Boris Johnson, London mayor: “Don’t arm the Syria maniacs.”

? Outgoing Iranian President “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad summoned to criminal court.”

? Turkey’s “Public Workers’ Unions . . . and . . . Progressive Trade Unions . . . are demanding an end to ‘police violence'” and  called for a one-day strike.  Update:  “Turkish government says it may use army to end protests.”

International Finance

? “Greek court suspends ERT [state] broadcaster closure.”

? “The IOR [Institute for Religious Works, or Vatican Bank for short] is currently seeking recognition from the Council of Europe’s anti-money laundering committee . . . that it is fully compliant with international standards on combating money laundering, tax evasion and terrorist financing”, which it hasn’t been for some time.

? “Plans for an ambitious transatlantic trade deal have been launched by the European Union and the United States.”

? “Chevron . . . has a new tool to dismantle a $19 billion judgment it faces in Ecuador”.  Ecuador accuses Chevon’s  predecessor, Texaco, of oil contamination in Lago Agrio.  Chevron blames Ecuador’s Petroecuador.

Money Matters USA

? “[O]wners of 7-Eleven franchises in New York and Virginia created a ‘modern day plantation system’ in which undocumented workers were furnished with stolen identities and forced to work 100 hours a week for a fraction of their wages”.

Surveillance Planet 

? Turkey, South Africa and Russia are po’d about UK spying during the 2009 G20 summit in London.

? 40% of Britons polled said whistleblower Edward Snowden is a hero;  45% said he “should be reprimanded”.

? A “trio of former National Security Agency whistle-blowers” say “Edward Snowden succeeded where they failed.”  Video.

? James Clapper’s office said that it “is incorrect” to say that “a single analyst can eavesdrop on domestic communications without proper legal authorization”, as Edward Snowden claimed.  Update: Snowden addressed that issue  earlier today.

? Emptywheel digs in on CNET’s reporting that NSA “has acknowledged . . . that it does not need court authorization to listen to domestic phone calls”, and on James Clapper’s assertion that “NSA doesn’t wittingly ‘collect’ data” on millions of us.

? While the government snoops on us, some in the government “have used alternative [secret] e-mail accounts . . . to conduct federal business” so we can’t know what they’re doing.

? How Uncle Sugar dispenses goodies to contractors such as Booz Allen Hamilton. Much $ data, including the amount returned in the form of “lobbying” the Congress which bestowed so much.

? “Apple Inc., said it received 4,000 to 5,000 requests for customer data from U.S. officials during the six months ending in May”.

? “‘Quit Google, Facebook’ suggests tech expert as surveillance scandal deepens.”

Politics USA

? “An Internal Revenue Service supervisor in Washington [DC}” provides more detail about the relationship of the Cincinnati office to D.C.  Once DC provided guidance  to the Cincinnati office, btw, 102 applications were approved, 29 of which were right-wing.  No rejections.

? New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg now wants “New Yorkers to separate their food scraps for composting.”

? Rahmbo “is losing control of his city: As his disapproval rating soars, he’s getting tagged with names like the ‘murder mayor.’  Here’s how it fell apart.”

? The Zimmerman trial {Trayvon Martin death case] is now in jury selection process, and is live.

? Wrongful death suits filed by families of four TX inmates, incarcerated for non-violent crimes, who died from heat stroke.

? “At least 74 Texas sites report large stores of potentially explosive ammonium nitrate.”

USSC Rules

? “[P]rosecutors can use a person’s silence against them if it comes before he’s told of his right to remain silent.”

? “[A]n Arizona law that required proof of citizenship to register to vote” was overturned since federal laws trump such state laws.

? Money “deals between pharmaceutical corporations and their generic drug competitors, which government officials say keep cheaper forms of medicine off the market, can sometimes be illegal”.

? “[L]awyers cannot gather personal information about drivers from state databases when seeking plaintiffs for potential lawsuits”.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? Sweden’s healthcare program with “far more government involvement”, costs at least half as much/person/year as in the US, and has much better outcomes.

? Geneticists are deeply concerned that DNA samples cannot be held anonymously, as they once thought was the case.

? Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago is under federal investigation for unnecessary  tracheotomies on Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The War on Women

? “Fewer waiting periods for guns than for abortions.”

? Hoag Hospital of Newport Beach, CA affiliated with Catholic St. Joseph Health and stopped performing abortions, claiming  that was strictly a “business decision”.

? Susan G. Komen for the Cure has a new CEO.

? “Texas jailers ran a ‘rape camp’ where they ‘repeatedly raped and humiliated female inmates,’. . . two women claim in court.”  Two of the guards are already in TX prisons.

? Two Saudi women trying to help a Canadian escape her husband were “convicted of the Islamic sharia law offence of takhbib, or incitement of a wife to defy the authority of her husband” and sentenced to 10 months

Planet Earth News

? Depressing sign of the times:  “Climate talk shifts from curbing CO2 to adapting”.

? By year’s end, “The world will have enough wind turbines to generate more than 300 gigawatts of power–the equivalent of 114 nuclear power plants”.

? “The upcoming TriMet Portland-Milwaukee light rail line has been designed so that power captured from braking trains can power accelerating ones.”

Mixed Bag

? NASA has selected 8 new astronauts–4 women, 4 men.

? O, Canada! Michael Applebaum, Montreal’s Interim Mayor, has been arrested “by Quebec province’s anti-corruption squad”.  And there’s more on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s alleged crack video.

Break Time

? Slo-Mo Surfing

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