CommunityThe Bullpen

The Roundup for July 15, 2013

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International Developments

? “Police fired tear gas . . . on protesters [in Cairo] calling for the reinstatement of the ousted Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi”. Both sides have rebuffed the US Deputy Secretary of State’s overtures.

? President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria are putting “pressure on rebel-held districts of Damascus.”

? “Thousands of Chinese nationals have been deported from Ghana in a crackdown on the plunder of the country’s gold by illegal miners.”  Video.

? Claiming “western-style education [is] a ‘plot against Islam’, Boko Haram leader calls for more schools attacks after dorm killings” in Nigeria where 46 students were burned alive.

? “DR Congo M23 rebels battle army troops near Goma City.”

? “Burma’s president vows to releases [sic] all political prisoners.”

? “Italian police [are] investigating far-right militants suspected of hanging nooses [on lampposts] to protest Italy’s first black minister Cecile Kyenga, two days after a senator compare [sic] her to an orangutan.” Unbelievable.

International Finance

? “A Chilean appeals court ruled against the world’s largest gold mining company on Monday, favoring Chilean Indians who accused Barrick Gold Corp. of contaminating their water downstream.”  The court also ordered Barrick to repair environmental damage and monitor 3 glaciers adjacent to the mine.

? “Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is facing renewed calls to resign after a newspaper published text messages allegedly linking him to the man at the centre of a secret payments scandal.”

? “Eurozone crisis live: Greek police officers protest; Spain’s PM refuses to resign.”

? They’re still at work on the Libor scandal over in the UK, with “criminal fraud charges” now filed against a couple of “former interdealer brokers”.

? Oh, noooos.  “China Accuses [the UK’s] GlaxoSmithKline Of Enormous And Elaborate Bribery Network.”  Involves travel agencies, doctors, hospitals, officials, prostitutes and $450million in bribes.

France’s “socialist-led coalition is introducing a slew of new, groundbreaking laws to control rents and cap real estate agent fees” so that low- and moderate-income families aren’t squeezed out of Paris; also “giving property owners a state insurance system against unpaid rent”.

Money Matters USA

? Amid record homelessness and the highest rent in the city’s history, . . . 1 million [New Yorkers] in rent-regulated apartments [face] a rent increase of at least 4 percent [while] millionaires [receive] massive tax breaks for . . . buying luxury condos under a program intended for low-income housing.”

? “Citigroup profits rise 42% amid deep cost-cutting programme”.  $4.18bn profit, 2nd quarter.

Surveillance Planet

? “Obama’s secret kill list–the disposition matrix: . . .  a complex grid of suspected terrorists to be traced then targeted in drone strikes or captured and interrogated” with suspected British participation.   Concern about the accuracy of the information in it, and reference to “black sites that the US still quietly operates in east Africa”, etc.

? “N.S.A. Leaks Revive Push in Russia to Control Net”,  while revealing “how Microsoft, Facebook, Google and other companies have cooperated with the [NSA].”  Consumers will pay the price as superpowers grapple for control.  Antonio Patriota of Brazil advocates “transfer [of] some control over Internet technical standards to the United Nations telecommunications agency.”

? “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to push for tougher European laws to protect personal information on the internet.”  She wants internet companies to “tell us in Europe who they are giving data to” and she expects “the US to abide by German law.  Update:  “European commission backs Merkel’s call for tougher data protection laws.”

? Thanks to the Snowden leaks, it may now be more likely that legal suits challenging the constitutionality of classified information will be allowed to proceed.

? Marcy Wheeler searches for proof of NSA Chief Alexander Keith’s claims that “collecting it all” means  more lives will be saved.  Glenzilla also addresses the “collecting it all” quote, what it means (“that’s official-Washington-speak for ‘breaking the law'”) and the implications for “DC media figures”.

? Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has introduced legislation to bring some sunlight into the FISA court domain.  Currently, the “FISA court is exactly the type of secret tribunal that fanned the flames of revolution we celebrate each July 4.”

? What price universal surveillance?  “New Utah NSA center requires 1.7M gallons of water daily to operate.”

Politics USA

? In addition to yesterday’s spontaneous rallies across the country, over 100 cities this Saturday will participate in rallies and vigils over the verdict in the Trayvon Martin killing.

? Senate Majority Leader Harry “Leader” Reid (D-NV) has an ally on the immigration reform issue:  Robert Murdoch, News Corp CEO.

? Senate Majority Leader Harry “Leader” Reid (D-NV) says he has 51 votes for the nuclear option.

? VA Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) can’t catch a break in the polls, either.

? “Guess who doesn’t get radar tickets in Colorado?”

? A  GA judge has temporarily stayed the execution of a mentally disabled prisoner, Warren Lee Hill.

? “SD Mayor Reverses Course: Says He Isn’t Guilty Of Sexual Harassment, Won’t Resign.”  How can we miss you . . . ?

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? Three labor unions demanding changes in Affordable Care Act implementation to workers won’t be harmed (employers’ cutting work-time and benefits, etc.).

? Our poorest neighborhoods  “have few healthy food options, or no sidewalks to encourage walking, or less safety at night, or even greater rates of environmental pollution.”  They are similar to developing countries, so why not apply that model to them for more effective allocation of resources?

The War on Women

? NOVA Women’s Healthcare, the “busiest abortion clinic in Virginia”, has closed “as a result of the increasingly stringent regulations imposed on such facilities in the state.”  Not only that, but the Fairfax City Council pulled a fast re-zoning action, too.

Education Directions

? “California holds out against Obama’s education vision: The state has made a rare break with the administration, refusing to follow its lead on evaluating teachers, in a standoff that reflects a union’s lasting influence.” No Child Left Behind is a big sticking point, too.

Mixed Bag

? 5,000-year-old calendar found, called “the beginning of time”.

Break Time

You Ain’t Going Nowhere.

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