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The Roundup for August 26, 2013

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International Developments

? “Syria crisis: children speak from Zaatari refugee camp”.

? “Mairead Maguire, Nobel peace laureate, today appealed to the Rt. Hon. William Hague, British Foreign Minister, and M. Laurent Fabius, French Foreign Minister, to stop calling for military action against Syria”.

? “Syrian crisis:  UN team poised to probe ‘chemical attack’.”  Washington has “‘very little doubt’ that President Assad’s forces used such weapons”.  Update:  “Man in hospital to inspectors: ‘This is the effect of chemicals’.”  Britain, France and Turkey ready to go with US military intervention.  Update:  “Iran army warns US of ‘harsh consequences‘ over Syria.”  Update:  “Iraq opposes use of airspace to strike Syria.”  Update:  “Russia, West on collision course over Syria”.  Update:  “U.N. Pushes Back at U.S. Calls to Abort Syria Inspection Mission.”  Update:  John Kerry’s “Statement on Chemical Weapons in Syria.”  Update: “Warplanes and military transporters . . . arriving at Britain’s Akrotiri airbase on Cyprus”.  Update:  “Syrian Kurdish leader says Assadnot to blame for attack.”   Update:  “Syrian Official: Israel ‘will come under fire’ if Syria attacked.”

? Gasp!  Some think President Obama needs Congressional authorization for war.

? Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai “stresses need for Pakistani help in Taliban peace process.”

? Egypt’s military “has enlisted Muslim scholars. . . to persuade soldiers and policemen that they have a religious duty to obey orders to use deadly force against [Morsi].”

? Conspiracy theory, Egyptian-style: The US is in cahoots with “the Muslim Brotherhood to destroy Egypt.”

? “Israeli soldiers killed three Palestinians” in the West Bank; Palestinian officials cancelled “peace talks with the Israelis.”

? Australian elections (incl. Assange).

International Finance

? German Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to “reassure voters . . . that Greece would not need a debt write-down” while leaving the door open for “more aid for Athens.”

? “Trans-Pacific Partnership talks roadblock over anti-smoking policies.”

? Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority have inked a deal for oil sales to the PA “at a ‘fair price'”.

Money Matters USA

? The NYTimes: “Huge, complex and opaque banks continue to take enormous risks that endanger the economy . . .. What’s shameful is how easily our leaders have caved”.

? “Giant bank holding companies now own airports, toll roads, and ports; control power plants; and store and hoard vast quantities of commodities of all sorts.  They are systematically buying up or gaining control of . . . essential [economic] lifelines”.

? Feeding at the trough:  “hundreds of lobbyists in at least 20 states . . . get public pensions because they represent associations of counties, cities and school boards”.

? “We pay . . . at the grocery store . . . at the gas pump.  We pay the taxes they write off.  Our low-wage workers pay with sweat and deprivation because this town–aloof, self-obsessed, bought off and doing very well, thank you–feels no pain.”

Surveillance Planet

? How Edward Snowden ended up in Moscow.

? “Q&A with Guardian editors” Alan Rusbridger (UK) and Janine Gibson (US).

? “Exclusive Glenn Greenwald Interview“, including the necessity of encryption, global elimination of privacy, Edward Snowden and journalists.

? “World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers tells the UK government its actions could threaten press freedom.”

? “NSA row: Merkel rival . . . Peer Steinbruck says he will delay negotiations until US comes clean on bugging of German government offices.”

? “The National Security Agency is facing its worst crisis since the domestic spying scandals four decades ago”.

? “Experts Say Release of Secret Surveillance Court Ruling Underscores Overclassification.”

? The “wealth of empirical evidence on the psychological effects of . . . indiscriminate intelligence-gathering presents a grave risk to our mental health, productivity, social cohesion, and ultimately our future.”

? “Parallel Earth”.

Politics USA

? US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is “fully engaged in her work . . . on what she called ‘one of the most activist courts in history.'”

? Hillary Clinton polls well in OH:  51-36 over Rand Paul, 52-36 over Paul Ryan, 45-36 over Chris Christie, and 53-35 over John Kasich.

? Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has scheduled a hearing on marijuana before the Judiciary Committee, saying “state laws legalizing the drug ‘should be respected.'”

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

? A local church group which “has been feeding the homeless in downtown Raleigh [NC] virtually every [weekend] for the past six years” was told by police that they could no longer do so.

The War on Women

? TX Republican Gov. “Rick Perry is the General in the War on Women”.  A bill was passed by the TX legislature “mirroring the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”  Perry vetoed it.

? It began August 25, continues through the 31st:  The World March of Women in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Planet Earth News

? Fukushima August news roundup.  Update: the “world’s largest ice wall” around Fukushima?

? “Energy Department: World oil use hit new high in 2012.”

? “90 Million Tons of Carbon Dioxide are Dumped into the Atmosphere Every 24 Hours”.

? Not the preferred route, but at least we got there: “Under pressures from Congress and the honey industry, the EPA is ordering an immediate reduction in the uses of widely used pesticides.”

? “Every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima.  Every single one.”

? No way:  The feds intend to euthanize “about half of the 1400 [desert] tortoises under their protection” in NV due to budget shortfalls.

? As the seas soak up more carbon dioxide, plankton will “release less cloud-forming compounds back into the atmosphere”, thus hastening global warming.

? “Proposed rules [in NM] could give copper mines free rein to pollute water.”

? If you really, really care what an oil billionaire finds offensive about wind turbines.

? GA’s Board of Natural Resources is considering loosening “rules meant to prevent hog manure from washing into streams and rivers”.

? Canada will “bury used nuclear rods” somewhere in-country once it identifies a site that’s just right.

? “India on verge of becoming lead poisoning capital”.

? “China will soon have 40% more coal than the combined weight of the human population.”

Break Time

? Last Resort

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