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International Developments

? US Secretary of State John Kerry organized a meeting of the  “Friends of Syria”, the US and 10 other countries, who will be mapping out arming the rebels. Saudi Arabia “has taken a lead role”.  Update:  The “Friends” agree on “urgent support for the rebels”.

? In Cairo, “hard-line Sunni Muslim leaders command the faithful to respond to recent escalations in Syria by the Shiite forces of Iran and Hezbollah.”  Syrian rebels report new “shipments of heavy weaponry”.

? “Six Lebanese soldiers were killed on Sunday in clashes with supporters of a radical Sunni Musliim sheikh opposed to the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah”.

? “Aswan tombs attacked” in Egypt.  Antiquities imperiled as political disintegration grows.

? Militant group Ansar al Shariah, reportedly involved in the deadly attack on the US Embassy in Benghazi, Libya,  disappeared from Libya shortly after the attack. They’re now back.

? The Pakistan Taliban are now killing mountain climbing tourists, in revenge for drone strikes.

? Turkish police yesterday used water cannon on protesters in Taksim Square in Istanbul, followed by tear gas, rubber bullets and batons.  Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is blaming things on outside agitators.

? “Increasingly brutal tactics are being used in an attempt to break the hunger strike by detainees at Guantanamo Bay”, allegedly including “freezing cold” cells and “‘metal-tipped’ feeding tubes”.

International Finance

? “Austerity has failed. . . . What is being done here in the UK and also in much of the eurozone is worse than a crime . . .. If policymakers listened to the arguments put forward by our opponents, the picture, already dark, would become still darker.”

? “Central [Eurozone] banks must head for the exit and stop trying to spur a global economic recovery, the Bank for International Settlements” says.  The BIS also said, “Central banks cannot repair the balance sheets of households and financial institutions”–and then defended the Austerity which wrecked those balance sheets!

? Protesting “record unemployment“, “Tens of thousands march in Rome against unemployment.”

Money Matters USA

? “Bill Moyers: The United States of ALEC”.

? After being pushed  into defined contribution retirement plans (and away from defined benefit ones), US citizens find their retirement plans “significantly eroded”.  Result: “The average working household has virtually no retirement savings.”

Surveillance Planet

? UK’s “GCHQ data-tapping claims nightmarish says German justice minister”, and if true, “would be a catastrophe.”

? Money talks.  The UK’s Serious and Organised Crime Agency “has withheld from MPs information about . . .  illegal activity by insurance and telecoms companies, legal firms and wealthy individuals who paid private investigators to hack computers and steal information”.

? Former US President Bill Clinton says “Americans need to be on guard for abuses of power by US”.  (He made the remark in Scotland.)

? Overview of US spying, beginning with the FBI and its intense concentration on political surveillance during World War I, as well as the emergence of the Espionage Act (1917) and the Sedition Act (1918). And from there it grew.

? “How Many Americans Does the N.S.A. Spy On?  A Lot Of Them”.  Laws and procedures provide abundant wiggle room for spying on US citizens, official claims to the contrary.

? Edward Snowden’s extraordinary weekend.  “US Asks Hong Kong to Extradite Leaker”, which “could take years”Hong Kong official says Snowden won’t be extradited if he faces political charges.  Snowden flies from Hong Kong to Moscow, escorted by “one of [Julian] Assange’s closest advisors.”  Snowden “awaiting processing of his application for asylum” in Ecuador.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) “Goes On Furious Tirade At Vladimir Putin For Allowing Edward Snowden To Land In Russia.”

? Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson:  “Where oversight and accountability have failed, Snowden’s leaks have opened up a vital public debate on our rights and privacy.”

? NSA Director Keith Alexander says Snowden “has caused irreversible damage to US [and his] agency’s broad surveillance [is] in line with Americans’ expectations for preventing another 9/11.”

Politics USA

? “Let’s check James Comey’s Bush years record before he becomes FBI director” and see what he approved.  Torture-check.  Warrantless wiretapping–check.  Indefinite detention–check.

? Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was booed at the recent Netroot Nations Conference in response to “questions about National Security Agency data surveillance and whistleblower Edward Snowden.”  She did agree that “we shouldn’t be outsourcing national security”, which drew some applause.

? The judge in the George Zimmerman trial (the death of Trayvon Martin) has ruled the prosecution may not call two audio experts when the 911 calls are presented in court.

? NC Gov. Patrick McCrory (R) “secretly signed Republican passed legislation . . .  repealing North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act on June 19, Junteeth [sic], the African American holiday of liberation of the enslaved.”

? New Republican law in AZ “raises the bar to qualify for the ballot so high that minor-party candidates . . . say it would be nearly impossible for them to compete in statewide, congressional and legislative races.”  It also affects Democrats “seeking to run statewide”.

Planet Earth News

? Nev. Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) has told the US “to Bury Nuke Waste Elsewhere”, that NV doesn’t want “a ‘dirty bomb’ buried in a shallow pit at the former national nuclear proving ground north of Las Vegas.”

? “US Department of Agriculture probes Oregon Monsanto GM wheat mystery; Company cries foul over appearance of genetically modified wheat plants, but scientist who found it doubts claim of sabotage.”

? Siemens is out of the solar industry business after taking a $1bn loss in two years.

? The US Department of Agriculture has approved a label and certification process so people can know if meat and poultry were fed non-GMO food.

Latin America

? Xiomara Castro, wife of Manuel Zelaya who was “booted from power four years ago when Honduras’ army” staged a coup, is leading all other candidates at the moment (November elections).

? “Paraguayan Indigenous Community [Sawhoyamaxa] Reoccupies Territory After Two Decades of Forced Expulsion.”

? 75% of Brazilians support demonstrations for ending corruption and reforming government.

 Break Time