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The Roundup for June 28, 2013

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International Developments

? “German chancellor Angela Merkel has warned against shipping weapons to Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar Assad.”  The “risks would be incalculable.”

? “U.N.-appointed inspectors, blocked from entering Syria, are in Turkey to gather information about possible use of chemical weapons in the civil war”.

? Top British officer: “We should have talked to Taliban.”

? “Pro- and anti-government protests under way in Egypt”.   So far, six acknowledged killed.

? Anti-Obama demonstrators in Johannesburg, South Africa, protesting “U.S. policy on Cuba, the war in Afghanistan, global warming and other issues.”

International Finance

? Christine Lagard of the International Monetary Fund:  “Climate change will create jobs.  It will create disasters before it creates jobs, but it will create jobs.”  The woman should find something more suitable to do, like growing turnips for a living. Organically.

? A “recently suspended” Vatican Bank accountant and two others were arrested for plotting “to bring 20 million euros ($26 million) into Italy from Switzerland illegally.”

? “China’s largest wind-turbine company has been charged with stealing trade secrets from its American former software supplier,” says US Justice Department.

? “Why Is the Obama Administration Suddenly So Interested in African Farms?”  Because “US businesses stand to profit”?

? “Central banks sell record sums of US debt” and “bond funds suffered the biggest ever investor withdrawals” after The Fed’s Ben Bernanke mentioned ending Quantitative Easing.

? “Obama Administration, Congress Intensify Opposition To Global Generic Drug Industry”.  Politics in the service of corporations to cripple generic drug manufacture in India where desperate poverty prevails.

? Having eliminated such jobs in the US, Bank of America “opened a unit in India to review home-valuation reports”.

? The manager of the FL-based Specialty Medical Supplies factory in Beijing, a US citizen held captive by workers since June 21st, has been released.

Money Matter USA

? US Bank and Dealers’ Financial Services are refunding “$6.5 million to 50,000 military service members” after being caught misleading them about auto loans, thanks to   the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

? “North Carolina not only is cutting benefits for those who file new [unemployment] claims, it will become the first state disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless.”

? Once-Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Scott Brown (R-MA) are involved in a 501(c)(4) organization, Bipartisan Coalition for American Security, which exists to ensure Iran is the eternal enemy.  Wait’ll you see who the founder is.

? “The Defense Department wants to continue working with contractors to pump propaganda into Afghanistan”–even though its effectiveness is doubtful and the program lacks oversight.

Surveillance Planet

? World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee finds the NSA’s internet surveillance program “shocking”.  “PRISM is ‘an affront to right of privacy, and an overreach of government power”.

? “A former agent of the Stasi, the much-feared East Germany secret police, has said the recently revealed NSA spying program would have been his agency’s ‘dream come true'”.

? Getting down to the nitty-gritty: “How Much Are the NSA and CIA Front Running Markets?”

? The US government has not provided sufficient oversight of its contracts with private industry to screen people for top-secret clearances, as attested by the “47 open investigations” the Office of Personnel Management has right now.

? Edward Snowden’s father suggests conditions under which his son might return to the US.

? Charlie Rose interview with the editor-in-chief of The Guardian and editor-in-chief of The Guardian-USA on the publication of the Snowden documents, the surveillance they’ve revealed and “the balance between national security and personal privacy.”

26 US Senators have “written intelligence chiefs to complain that the administration is relying on a ‘secret body of law’ to collect massive amounts of data on US citizens”, and “accuse officials of making misleading statements”.

? Two highly respected legal experts, after a thorough review of the NSA’s scooping up of citizens’ phone calls, email and other private communications, conclude, “It’s time to call the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal.”

Politics USA

? VA Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) simply wasn’t “aware that a $6,500 Rolex watch was a gift from a major political donor.”

? Another menacing side-walk chalker arrested, this one in PA.  He was “protesting the governor’s decision to block health care for 700,000 residents in the state.”

Phyllis Schlafly ding-a-lings along, this time about Latino voters.

Gun Corner

? “U.S. Commission on Civil Rights to Investigate “Stand Your Ground” Law” to determine if it has a racial bias.

? The Violence Policy Center says 516 deaths have occurred due to “Concealed Carry Killers”.

The War on Women

? “The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver waived millions of dollars of fines against Hobby Lobby Inc. and a subsidiary company . . . which have refused to comply with the” Affordable Care Act because of contraception coverage.

? OH Republican budget tactics would “defund Planned Parenthood, shut down abortion clinics, and redirect state funding to right-wing ‘crisis pregnancy centers.'”

? On TX state Sen. Wendy Davis’ shoes.

Powerful TX House Speaker Joe Strauss (R) on TX Gov. Rick Perry (R)’s recent utterances about Sen. Wendy Davis (D).

Planet Earth News

? “Bush EPA Rushed Approval Of Pesticide Now Tied To Honeybee Genocide”.

? President Obama is set “to nominate Ron Binz to head Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.”  Binz “chaired Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission between 2007-2011” and is “a strong proponent of renewable energy”.

? Gina McCarthy’s prospects for heading the Environmental Protection Agency” doubtful thanks to Senate Republicans.

? WY Gov. Matt Mead is  facing questions about “how Wyoming plans to take over and carry on with a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency investigation into the contamination” of groundwater by fracking.

? “Fracking Fever Hits The South As Lawmakers Push Industry-Friendly Regulations”.

Latin America

? “Leader of leftist party in Mexico’s Oaxaca  state found dead“.  Reported missing since June 20th, he was found shot 3 times in the head.

Mixed Bag

? Voyager 1 is finding some pretty strange stuff. 

Break Time

? Shakedown Street, four days before the 1906 quake.

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