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The Roundup for November 5th, 2013

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Hey it’s voting day so go out to vote…or something, might want to stay home. It’s a bit cold.

Anyway, hope your day is good.

International Developments


– “Obama’s disastrous, bumbling Middle East policy is making a huge mess of things

– “After a rocky day of talks, diplomats failed Tuesday to agree on a date to bring Syria’s warring sides back to the negotiating table, the U.N’s top envoy for Syria said.

– Moreover, “The United States and Russia failed on Tuesday to agree on a date for a Syrian peace conference, remaining divided over what role Iranmight play in talks to end the civil war and over who would represent Syria’s opposition.

– Kerry to Europe: Don’t let NSA revelations jeopardize our trade deals 

– Russell Brand: We deserve more from our democratic system

– “The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog is considering an invitation to visit Tehran for scheduled talks, a possible sign of progress in a long-stalled investigation into suspected nuclear arms research by Iran.”

Middle East

– Noam Chomsky: Don’t be distracted by the one-state/two-state debate on Israel — something nefarious is going on

– “Global chemical weapons inspectors will visit the last two unverified Syrian chemical weapons sites as soon as security conditions allow in the midst of an ongoing civil war, a U.N. official said Tuesday.

– “A suicide car bomb killed a British member of the international coalition in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, authorities said. It was the second death this month of a member in the NATO-led coalition.

A suicide car bombing has killed nine people in Iraq 

– “Yemen’s president is warning of sectarian violence in his country after deadly clashes continued for a second week in the restive northern part of the country between rebels from a branch of Shiite Islam and ultraconservative Sunnis.

– 152 Bangladeshis sentenced to death over a border guard mutiny in 2009

Asia & Oceania

– “An Australian who trained with al-Qaida in Afghanistan and ended up a prisoner in Guantanamo Bay sought Tuesday to walk back the plea deal that got him home, filing an appeal to overturn his terrorism conviction by a military court.

– “North Korea is making progress on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a first-generation nuclear warhead to the continental United States, a leading US think-tank said Tuesday.” Exclusive photo here.

– “China is considering the use of international law in a big push to get free trade zones up and running to promote the use of theyuan in global trade, which could challenge Hong Kong longer term as the main offshore center for the currency.


– Nigeria overtakes South Africa as the largest economy in Africa

– Congo’s M23 rebels have called off their revolt and work with government

– Tanzania’s anti-poaching policy — “shoot to kill” — has been suspended for going too far as torture and killings.


Tourism to see Nazi memorabilia 

– “OECD report finds that [Greek] citizens’ trust the government has plummeted from 38% to 13% in the five years up to 2012” and more can be found here.

– “The [Greek] government will on Tuesday resume its negotiations with the troika, whose inspectors have returned to Athens without showing any signs that it intends on withdrawing its demands for more austerity measures in 2014.

– “Up to six people are expected to appear before an investigating magistrate on Tuesday, to testify on charges of embezzling €1.1m from the sailors insurance fund, known as the Sailors’ House (Oikos Naftou)

– Ireland — The Ground Zero for Austerity 101

– Ireland to place referendum on ballot to public in 2015 on marriage equality

– “Nadezhda Tolokonnikova’s husband says move to new prison 2,000 miles from Moscow follows hunger strike over poor conditions

Latin America (& Canada)

– A World Cup trade show in Rio has been called off due to protests

– Venezuela declares Dec. 8 as a day in honor of Hugo Chavez

Financial Matters

– Gallup: American confidence plunges in Gallup Daily tracking for October, significant drop to be specific

– “The U.S. economy is growing at a tepid pace, job growth is subpar, pay raises are scant and business investment sluggish. Yet U.S. companies have been producing solid profits and lifting their stock prices. Here’s how.”

More on the first Wall Street criminal prosecution without anyone going to jail; meanwhile a Manhattan federal judge refuses to rubber stamp the SAC settlement unless he gets some answers on the “accord’s fairness”

– “Eight days before Detroit filed for bankruptcy, Michigan’s state treasurer expressed concern about the move, saying he agreed with it but wondered if the city first should give creditors a “take-it-or-leave-it demand before we pull this trigger,” according to an email revealed in court Tuesday.”

– New data shows EU still seeing high unemployment

– “Activity at U.S. service firms accelerated in October behind a jump in sales and more hiring, suggesting businesses largely shrugged off the partial government shutdown.”

– Apple has created 2,000 jobs in the US, shifting production back there

– “EU antitrust regulators are set to fine six global banks including Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and HSBC after an investigation into the rigging of benchmark euro zone interest rates, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.”

Surveillance Planet

– Pew: 56 percent of Americans believe spying on allies is “unacceptable”

– “On Reality Asserts Itself with Paul Jay, [ex-CIA official] Ray McGovern comments on the British Gov. calling journalist Glen Greenwald’s partner a terrorist and on awarding Edward Snowden the Sam Adams award

– Six months after Obama promised to give more info on drones, here’s what we still don’t know 

– “The federal institute that sets national standards for how government, private citizens and business guard the privacy of their files and communications is reviewing all of its previous recommendations.

– “Governments and businesses spend $1 trillion a year for global cybersecurity, but unlike wartime casualties or oil spills, there’s no clear idea what the total losses are because few will admit they’ve been compromised. Cybersecurity leaders from more than 40 countries are gathering at Stanford University this week to consider tackling that information gap by creating a single, trusted entity that would keep track of how much hackers steal.

“Look at the U.S. economy and you’ll notice an unusual disconnect.” Ya think?

– Anonymous pledges to make more attacks against “corrupt” Philippine goverment

– Emptywheel: “Lawfare Uses Incomplete Facts about Abdulmutallab Trial to Attack Dirty Wars” & “NSA’s notation of regaining confidence

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “Many [Saudi] workers stayed off the streets to avoid checkpoints looking for invalid labor papers. Thousands of others had already arranged one-way journeys home, with Saudi officials insisting that those without the right visas and documents would receive no leniency.”

– “Mondragón has been justly cited as a leading example of what can be done through cooperative organization. But it recently announced that its most important unit, Fagor, was filing for bankruptcy. This raises important larger questions about the market, and longer-term strategies for moving beyond the failings of corporate capitalism and traditional socialism.”

Politics USA

Washington USA

– “A House of Representatives oversight panel subpoenaed the Obama administration on Tuesday for internal reports showing the number of people who have enrolled in health coverage through new online insurance marketplaces in all 50 states.”

– Only one in seven House districts were competitive in 2012

– “The U.S. Supreme Court will revisit the issue of legislative prayer when it hears oral arguments on Nov. 6 in a case involving a challenge to a municipality’s practice of beginning each town board meeting with an invocation. 

Five steps to save the Post Office

– “Why health insurance cancellations shouldn’t be a surprise

– “Can a reprieve and a lawsuit reverse health insurance cancellations?

– “President Barack Obama’s early efforts to boil down an intricate health care law so Americans could understand it are coming back to haunt him, leaving a trail of caveats and provisos in place of the pithy claims he once used to sell the law.

“The White House is asking insurance companies to explain to Americans the cancellation letters they’re receiving in the mail.

– Medicare chief Marilyn Tavenner: The website is improving

– Stephen Colbert’s hilarious take on the religious issue of contraceptive use in the ACA

– “Under growing pressure, the administration refused repeatedly to state a position Tuesday on legislation formalizing President Barack Obama’s oft-stated promise that everyone who likes their existing coverage should be allowed to keep it under the new health care law.”

– Attorney General Eric Holder appears at a court session to listen more on the issue of overcrowded prisons

– In other news, he has not ruled out charging George Zimmerman with federal charges; Also he made a “strange Gitmo boast

– Jeh Johnson, potential Department of Homeland Security secretary appointee, unfamiliar to those in law enforcement

– Both Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) want to place an anti-union “right to work” clause in the anti-LGBT discrimination ENDA bill

– “The US military must reshape its role in the face of deep budget cuts while avoiding a turn towards isolationism after a decade of war, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel said Tuesday.

– Additionally, he stated the US should lead but “continue to listen”

– Defender of capitalism and pseudo-libertarian (since us communists coined that term) Ron Paul calls for nullification by the states against Obamacare during a campaign stop for Ken Cuccinelli in Virginia

– Amid numerous statements that Rand Paul has plagiarized from different sources, Sen. Rand Paul concedes defeat by saying he will have a “new approval process” for his speeches

Everything Else USA 

Breaking: Authorities are coming to arrest you for crime you didn’t commit

– Live updates of elections can be found here

Local, not US, issues at play in elections today

– Pew: 57 percent of Americans view their state and local government favorably

– Al Madrigal’s hilarious piece about the Virginia gubernatorial election

– “Esquire and NBC News are pushing a new political demographic that just so happens to be in sync with the priorities of the 1 percent.

– ” A former California councilman has agreed to plead guilty to a bribery charge after accepting $2.3 million in what is believed to be the largest illegal payment ever taken by a U.S. politician in an undercover sting, authorities said Tuesday.”

– “The Promise and Perils of Bill de Blasio If Elected Mayor of NYC: 9 Power Centers to Keep Your Eye On

– Police subject individual to eight anal searches after a minor traffic stop

– “A New Jersey couple is fighting to put their child in a discredited therapy to ‘cure’ him of his sexual identity [with a lawsuit to do it].”

– “Federal officials are looking into whether Paul Ciancia, accused of killing a TSA agent last week, is a right-wing conspiracy theorist.”

– “With the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado, adults over 21 can freely use the drug and will soon be able to buy it in stores. But where does that leave lawyers, who take oaths to uphold state and federal law?

– By a 10-0 vote, the D.C. City Council has urged the Washington Football Team to change their name from “Redskins”

A short history of populism in the U.S.

A lack of money for conservative Republicans across the U.S.

– Gretchen Carlson: LGBT rights are a distraction from real issues like jobs. She does realize the new bill does impact jobs too?

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– “The Surprising Truth About Wheat, Carbs, Sugar — The Brain’s Silent Killer” This isn’t good. I eat a PB&J sandwich every morning for class

– “50 Years After the Community Mental Health Act, the Best Reporting on Mental Health Care Today

– Colon cancer testing is leveling off in the US it seems

– Priorities: Israeli military aid versus food stamps

– “Cargill Inc, one of the world’s largest beef processors, will begin labeling when its finely textured beef is used in the making of its U.S. ground beef products, the company told Reuters on Tuesday.

– Report: US homicide rates are twice the OECD average

– Fast food experts analyze 5,427 kids meals and only 33 are healthy

Top Gun! (Stories)

– Gunman in New Jersey fires in a mall, but dies by a self-inflicted gunshot wound intending only to kill self

The War on Women

– On 12 Years a Slave: “The U.S. has not yet reckoned with the trauma of enslaved and oppressed women.”

– “A Florida sheriff’s deputy was fired for making inappropriate and suggestive commentsto a teenage girl while investigating a sexual assault case.

– Even though Kerry did not talk much on Saudi women driving than Hillary Clinton, both refuse to place women’s rights as a part of foreign policy

Five reasons how Voter ID laws affect women

Planet Earth

– “Polar bear researchers are experimenting with the idea of crowdsourcing data as they study the effects of climate change on the animals.

– “A Canadian company has applied to build the largest oil pipeline yet from western North Dakota’s booming oil patch and will soon begin courting oil producers to reserve space, a key step in a $2.6 billion project that would move millions of gallons of oil to Minnesota and Wisconsin.

– “The U.S. Coast Guard is seeking public comments on a proposal that would allow barges to transport shale gas wastewater, a drilling byproduct that can include chemicals, radioactive material and heavy metals.

– Emissions are still increasing, albeit slowly

– Meanwhile, the UN has called for carbon emissions to be cut “significantly” by 2020

A deadly sea disease is hitting numerous animals near the west coast of the US, leaving US scientists baffled

Mixed Bag

Ms. Marvel to return in Marvel Comics as a Muslim teen

– The National Zoo asks the public for a name for their new panda

– India fires a rocket to reach Mars

Break Time

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Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan

Brandon Jordan is a freelance journalist in Queens, NY and written for publications such as The Nation, In These Times, Truthout and more.