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The Roundup for November 8th, 2013

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Hello everyone, hope everything is well.

International Developments


– “With a boost from Russia and China, Secretary of State John Kerry mounted a major diplomatic push Friday to reach an interim nuclear deal with Iran, despite fierce opposition from Israel and uncertainty in Congress.

– Obama: We must continue to update policies toward Cuba

– Pakistan has appointed a new ambassador to the U.S.

– “Syria’s main Western-backed opposition group has refused to participate in talks in Moscow with Syrian government organizations on resolving the country’s humanitarian crisis, the Russian Foreign Ministry and opposition figures said Friday.

– “Iran and six world powers extended high-stakes talks over Tehran’s nuclear program into an unscheduled third day on Saturday, as their top diplomats labored to hammer out a long-sought deal to end a decade-old standoff.

Middle East

– Pentagon: Spike in amount of Afghan troops killed

– “Drone strikes in southern Yemen killed five suspected al-Qaida militants, the country’s interior ministry said Friday, as fighting between rebels and ultraconservative Sunnis raged on in the north.

– New confusion over Arafat’s death after a Russian report comes up inconclusive

– “A bomb exploded on a busy street filled with shoppers in northern Iraq, part of a series of attacks that killed at least 19 people Friday, officials said, the latest in a wave of violence roiling the country.

– “Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that he “utterly rejects” the emerging nuclear deal between western powers and Iran, calling it a “bad deal” and promising that Israel will do everything it needs to do to defend itself.

– Afterward, he got a call from President Obama. Because what better way to appease those delusional than speaking with them.

– George Soros pledges $1 million for Syrian “humanitarian work

Asia & Oceania

– Pew: Chinese public concerned on inflation, corruption and inequality, among other things

– “Two months of political bickering had pushed Maldives voters into the background. But finally they will have their say Saturday when they choose a new president for their vulnerable new democracy.


– “A police officer in Somalia says two people were killed after a car bomb exploded next to a hotel frequented by government officials.

– Pew: Despite challenges, Africans hopeful for the future

– “Supporters of Egypt’s toppled president clashed with opponents Friday as security forces fired tear gas to break up their demonstrations over detained female protesters, part of an effort to draw wider support for their dwindling rallies. At least two people were killed and 20 were injured, an official said.

– Egyptian foreign minister sets out timetable for elections


– “Croatia, the newest member of the 28-nation European Union, will hold a referendum on whether to allow gay marriages but rights groups say the vote is unconstitutional.

– Due to the News of the World scandal, there is a push for a press watchdog

– “Dutch King Willem-Alexander and his wife Queen Maxima arrived in Russia on Friday for a visit that aimed to celebrate the two nations’ historical ties but comes as relations between them have soured.”

– “A poll of European Jews has found that more than three-quarters of those questioned believe anti-Semitism is on the rise in their home countries and close to one-third have considered emigrating because they don’t feel safe.

– “A senior prosecutor sent to inspect a prisons in northern Greece has reported to the justice minister that the conditions he found made him “ashamed of the Greek state and everybody concerned”.

– “France’s second credit-rating downgrade by Standard & Poor’s in less than two years is as damaging politically for the socialist François Hollande as it was for his rightwing predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, who lost the election shortly after France lost its AAA rating in January 2012.

– “Royal Marine sergeant killed injured Afghan prisoner in cold blood, court martial finds, while two other defendants are cleared

Latin America & Canada

– “A Miami Herald journalist was detained by Venezuelan authorities while reporting on politics and the chronic shortages in the South American country, the newspaper said Friday.

– Meanwhile, “Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro has announced a slew of policy reforms aimed at combating speculation and hoarding, along with the creation of new government institutions to regulate trade and oversee foreign currency exchange.

A small victory for a small fight against Mexican cartels

– Meanwhile, “Officials said Friday that a crusading small-town Mexican mayor who denounced cartel extortion has been found dead on a roadside, a killing that has drawn national attention.”

– “Brazil’s justice ministry is asking the nation’s main hotel chains to explain the high prices for rooms during the 2014 World Cup.

– Chilean miners in dispute with Hollywood over royalties

Financial Matters

– October Jobs Report: 204,000+ jobs, unemployment rate increases to 7.3 percent and labor force declines by 700,000. Dean Baker has more.

– Despite the shutdown, U.S. businesses have boosted hiring

– “Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew makes a five-nation swing through Asia next week and will reiterate that completion of an ambitious trans-Pacific trade pact by the year’s end remains a top U.S. priority.

– “The price of gasoline is the lowest in nearly two years, an early holiday gift for U.S. drivers.

– “Steven A. Cohen’s SAC Capital Advisors hedge fund pleaded guilty to fraud charges Friday as part of a $1.2 billion deal to resolve a long-running insider trading investigation, but it did not completely resolve the certainty of the fates of the firm or its principals.

– Coca-Cola planning to invest more than $4 billion into China because the brand needs to survive 

– “The European Central Bank is pushing for the quick setup of an agency that can restructure failing banks, saying the new entity can be set up under the existing European Union treaty.

– “Bank of America Corp asked a federal court on Friday to throw out two U.S. government lawsuits accusing the nation’s second-largest bank of defrauding investors during the financial crisis.

– Hackers have stolen more than $1 million from Bitcoin site, TradeFortress

Surveillance Planet

– Spain: US ambassador states NSA acts are legal. Wait, what?

“A federal judge declined to order jail time for the mother of a writer and activist with ties to the hacking collective Anonymous, after she pleaded guilty to helping her son hide laptops from federal agents.

– Chrysler recalling 1.2 million Ram trucks for steering troubles

–  “Former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden used login credentials and passwords provided unwittingly by colleagues at a spy base in Hawaii to access some of the classified material he leaked to the media, sources said.” Is this reliable?

“The Senate Intelligence Committee has quietly approved a plan to step up both public and internal government oversight of the use of armed drones to kill suspected militants overseas, including American citizens.”

– NSA releases a smartphone app

– The Guardian will soon face MPs over Snowden leaks

– Emptywheel: “The Leahy-Sensenbrenner Language on Back Door Searches Improves But Doesn’t Eliminate the Back Door

Labor’s a-Brewing

– In LA, 50 workers arrested for civil disobedience against Wal-Mart, huge development

– “Brooklyn College’s plan to dramatically scale back the Graduate Center for Worker Education is one of the latest efforts to curtail examination of working class issues done in a way designed to provide students with activist skills.

Politics USA

Washington USA

– Pew: Obama’s second-term slide continues

– Gallup: Three in 10 uninsured Americans familiar with the exchanges

– Pew: “Spending by nonparty groups higher so far this election cycle

– Remember Dianne Feldstein, NSA cheerleader? Well meet her husband who sells our post offices for his friends for privatization.

– Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA): We won’t be voting on immigration this year

– “Dwarfed by towering cranes and cargo containers, President Barack Obama came to a port in conservative-leaning Louisiana on Friday to nudge both parties to stop throwing up roadblocks to jobs and economic progress.

– “Some canceled insurance policies were ‘junk’ targeted by law

Everything Else USA 

– “We Sent Them to Brutal Wars: Now, the Untold Story Of What Happens When Soldiers Come Home

– “Police shot dead a 19-year-old who drove off in his father’s truck Monday, after a dispute with his father over a pack of cigarettes.

– The alcohol industry is furious on ads saying cannabis is safer than alcohol. Why argue with truth?

– “Hundreds of red, white and blue LED modules are illuminating lower Manhattan as officials test the lights atop 1 World Trade Center.

– “Four Idaho couples are suing the state in federal court to challenge laws banning same-sex marriage and denying recognition to same-sex couples who married in other states.

– The Detroit bankruptcy case is wrapping up

– CBS admits error in Benghazi “60 minutes” report

– Connected to that, “Publication has been halted for a disputed book about the attack last year on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

– “Protesters and civil rights groups are calling for justice after a suburban Detroit homeowner fatally shot a 19-year-old woman on his porch.

– “An aide to former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she was approached by a firm helping Penn State look for a new president but she was not interested, a newspaper reported Friday.” Good.

– “Koch Brothers Dealt Mixed Election Results as Grassroots Movement Mobilizes Against Dark Money”

– Chris Hedges: The detention of Greenwald’s partner on terrorism amounts to “criminalization of journalism

Talking about racists, Ray Kelly and Richard Cohen, and how to make them go away

– “Libertarians are confused about capitalism” No, I think they’re are too delusional to know they are really anarcho-communists.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Pew: 52 percent of Americans oppose prohibiting restaurants from using trans fat

– “It’s final: Health insurance companies must cover mental illness and substance abuse just as they cover physical diseases.

– In Chicago, homeless student numbers a growing concern

– Dallas reporting increase of homelessness as well

The War on Women

– Lululemon owner states women’s thighs are too big and are to blame for not fitting his company’s pants

– Military women moving into combat more and more

– “How black girls die in America: The outrage of the Renisha McBride shooting

– “A school that admits three of the ‘Roast Busters’ were its pupils is defending its handling of its students’ welfare [in New Zealand rape case].”

Planet Earth

‘One of the strongest storms on record slammed into the central Philippines, killing at least four people, forcing hundreds of thousands from their homes and knocking out power and communications in several provinces. But the nation appeared to avoid a major disaster because the rapidly moving typhoon blew away before wreaking more damage, officials said.”

– “Bodies in the streets” as more than 100 feared to be dead and destruction continues by super typhoon Haiyan.

– “Oil train derails and explodes in Alabama

Five things we can learn from the battle against GMOs

“Corn futures rose Friday after the U.S. forecast higher demand for the grain than traders were expecting.

– “This year’s corn crop has soared to a new national record, breaking expectations in many states that received too much rain early on and a summer dry spell that brought back drought concerns.

– The spent fuel rods from Fukushima are set to be removed

“Is fresh produce healthier than frozen?

– Bill Koch: Supporters of carbon tax “on LSD.” Not sure that’s an insult…

– Poland double-books climate conference with coal summit. Genius! It shows the world’s commitment to climate change.

Mixed Bag

– Gallup: 25 years old is the ideal age for women to have children

The secret to breaking our destructive habits

– Meet the invisible helmet

– “The European Space Agency says its GOCE research satellite will crash to Earth on Sunday night or during the day on Monday, but debris is unlikely to cause any casualties.

– NY’s graffiti mecca 5 Pointz might be demolished. I’ve past it through the 7 train many times for the past 19 years. To see it demolished would be a crime against art.

– Rappers in Washington, DC will go to North Korea to record songs and film a music video

– Fox News decided to report on University of Wisconsin since it was called the “sexiest college in America” and interviewed students.

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.