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The Roundup for July 11, 2013

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International Developments

? “Afghan judges free three jailed for torture of child bride [12-year-old] Sahar Gul” who was imprisoned, starved and burned.

? Almost overnight, “Gas lines have disappeared, power cuts have stopped and the police have returned to the street” in Egypt.   “Sudden Improvements in Egypt Suggest a Campaign to Undermine Morsi.”  Update:  “Morsi loyalists vow to keep up ‘peaceful’ protest.”

? “Burma jails 25 Buddhists for mob killings of 36 Muslims in Meikhtila”.

? The pilot of the Asiana plane that crashed upon landing at San Francisco International Airport last week was “temporarily blinded” by a bright flash of light “seconds before” the accident.

? “The operator of the runaway train that derailed and exploded in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec, this weekend recorded an accident rate far higher than the U.S. average over the past 10 years.”  Officials continue investigations. The conductor is “under police control.”

? From the New England Journal of Medicine:  Guantanamo Bay: A Medical Ethics-free Zone?”

? Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 9/11 mastermind and notorious waterboarding survivor, wanted to design a vacuum cleaner while in prison.

International Finance

? As this week’s US-EU trade talks wind down, consumer groups are fearful that “government will be . . . rushing to help corporations cash in on billions of dollars in new business.”

Money Matters USA

? Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked officials from the Federal Reserve, Treasury, FDIC and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency today at a Senate Banking Committee Hearing why they “had sought settlements with many of Wall Street’s bad actors instead of taking those firms to trial.”

? Why relying on Econ 101 “in a complex, global and technologically driven economy in which nation-states compete” economically “is like a physicist today relying on Newton.”

? Upon being assured by Big Daddy Bernanke that “stimulus measures [will continue] for the foreseeable future”, stocks soared to “near session highs”.

? The US ran a $117bn surplus in June.

? The Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Oversight Council has put AIG and General Electric Capital Corporation (GECC) under “consolidated supervision and enhanced prudential standards . . . by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve”.

? Charles Koch is all against the minimum wage since it “reduces the mobility of labor.”  Uhhhhhh, wtf?

Surveillance Planet

? Not just government secrets, but “NSA Spying on Latin American Countries Included Targeting of Trade Secrets” (e.g. Venezuelan oil) as well as “military capabilities.”

? “Brazil’s government . . . may contact . . . Edward Snowden as it probes allegations the U.S. monitored phone calls and e-mail in Latin America’s largest economy.”

? Colombia is also “seeking answers” about US surveillance programs in the region.  Some Brazilian senators are even questioning whether President Dilma Rousseff should go to Washington as scheduled in October.

? “Even senators must fear to describe America’s laws to America’s citizens.  This is, yes, democracy-suppression, but it . . . keeps you and your adorable kids and even your cute pet dog alive.”

? Information sharing between internet giants, the FBI and CIA through PRISM is a “‘team sport'”, says the NSA.  Glenzilla and his team report on the depth of the relationship between Microsoft and the FBI and NSA.  Update: What Microsoft “Is Letting the Government See”.   Update:  Emptywheel brings up the interesting timing of acquisitions by Microsoft and Verizon.

? Yahoo wants to “publish its legal argument against a [2008] case that gave the government ‘powerful leverage’ in persuading tech companies to co-operate”.

? Interview with CIA whistleblower, and now federal prison inmate, John Kiriakou:  “Everyone is corrupt, I’ve come to learn” as he offers advice to Edward Snowden and everyone else.

? Jeremy Hammond “agrees to ‘non-cooperating plea agreement’ as alternative to endless court battle and decades of prison time”, for hacking Stratfor, “law enforcement and defense contractor websites.”  Facing 10 years.

? Thud! From NSA Director Keith Alexander’s keynote speech last year to: “Hackers convention ask government to stay away over Snowden”.

Politics USA

? 61% of US voters don’t want the US “to be involved in the Syrian civil war.”  Nonetheless, 49% said the US should “use drones or cruise missiles in Syria.”

? “Eliot Spitzer takes lead over Scott Stringer in [New York City] controller race after just three days.”

? “The Backlash Begins:  Indiana Makes Same-Sex Marriage a Felony Punishable by Prison”, effective July 2014.

? Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is defending one of his aides “who spent years as a pro-secessionist activist and radio shock jock.”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? “House Approves Farm Bill, Without Food Stamp Program“. Watch Rep Louis Gohmert (R-TX) behaving badly.

? How to get from the mess we have to a single payer, “‘unified, universal’ health care system” with access for all.

? Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University’s suit against mandatory coverage of full-time workers and abortion subsidy under Obamacare was rejected.

The War on Women

? Congrats to TX Gov. Rick Perry and his misogynist band of Republicans:  “Flea-Market Abortions Thrive as Texas May Close Clinics”.

? MD officials have “sharply tightened oversight” of Maryland abortion clinics “through new regulations and procedures” negotiated “by heath officials in consultation with medical groups, clinic managers and anti-abortion leaders”.

Planet Earth News

? A National Geographic photographer, George Steinmetz, has been arrested  and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing for “taking pictures of a feedlot outside Garden City [KS] from a paraglider”.

? Six SD Sioux tribes are collaborating on developing “the largest wind farm in the US and one of the world’s largest.”

? The Union of Concerned Scientists weighs in on genetically modified crops.

? “New Study Claims Fracking Leads to More Earthquakes.”

Latin America

? “Tens of thousands of workers across Brazil walked off their jobs [today] . . . demanding better working conditions and improved public services”.

Mixed Bag

? RIP, Toshi-Aline Ohta Seeger

? New law in the Vatican makes “it a crime to abuse children sexually or physically on Vatican grounds” and includes “provisions of international laws against war crimes, racial discrimination and humiliating treatment or punishment”.

Impalas, Cheetahs, and a Toyota.

Break Time

? Finding Oregon

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