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The Roundup for November 13th, 2013

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Hey everyone, hope you’re doing well so far.

International Developments


– “An Argentine prosecutor Wednesday asked a judge to declare unconstitutional an agreement with Iran to probe the 1994 bombing of a Buenos Aires Jewish center after charges Tehran ordered the attack.

– “A French appeals court on Wednesday approved the extradition of two Rwandans wanted by Kigali for their alleged role in the 1994 genocide that claimed some 800,000 lives.”

Middle East

– “Israel has agreed to return organs of dead Palestinians harvested by its forensic pathologists during autopsies, Palestinian Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh told Ma’an news agency on Wednesday.

– “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to scrap plans for a “record” 20,000 West Bank settler homes was driven by Israel’s bid to scupper an Iranian nuclear deal, observers said Wednesday.”

Part 3 of Ann Jones’ interview

– “Afghanistan’s farmers planted a record opium crop this year, despite a decade of western-backed narcotics programmes aimed at weaning farmers off the drug and cracking down on producers and traffickers

– “Syrian troops capture rebel-held suburb south of Damascus

Asia & Oceania

– “The palm-flecked island nation of Sri Lanka plays host this week to leaders from dozens of Commonwealth nations at a summit it hopes will generate enough good will and photo opportunities to eclipse three decades of grim history — massive civilian deaths, persistent media harassment and gangster-style politics.


– Mohamed Morsi: No stability in Egypt unless coup is reversed

– “Nigerian lawmakers ordered an investigation into the country’s oil business after an international financial watchdog group alleged that Swiss traders may be complicit in defrauding the Nigerian public.

– “Scores of Libyan protesters on Wednesday shut down an oil refinery in the country’s east to demand jobs they claim were promised for 1,000 people, a state-owned oil company official said.


“Malta’s Parliament has voted to sell its citizenship for 650,000 euros ($865,000), granting buyers a coveted passport that allows them into the 28-nation European Union.

– “Pope Francis’s crusade against corruption has made him a target for Italy’s all-powerful mafia clans, a leading anti-mob prosecutor has warned.

– Swiss voters are likely to reject executive pay cap 

– “Health minister wants all the ‘glory’ for firing public doctors

– “A Pasok MP has said that he will not vote for the proposed single property tax even if it meant bringing down the government, which has a precarious majority of four seats since last weekend’s no confidence vote.

– “The family of the hip-hop artist stabbed to death by a self-confessed Golden Dawn supporter in September has condemned Pasok’s youth wing for including his image in a poster commemorating the 40th anniversary of the suppression of the Athens Polytechnic uprising.

Latin America & Canada

– A Mexican drug lord has been extradited to the U.S.

Financial Matters

– ” The U.S. government started the first month of the 2014 budget year with a smaller budget deficit, signaling further improvement in the nation’s finances at a time when lawmakers are wrestling to reach a deal to keep the government open past January.”

– As we suffer in our system, Charles Dickens is coming back as a relevant author

– “A history essay on gay rights led a 15-year-old Sudbury girl to take a stand against a giant corporation — Apple.”

– “Corporate crime wave in Texas: How a crackdown could be coming

– “You won’t believe how much companies make every single second

– On Facebook’s “stupidity” of buying Snapchat

– “WikiLeaks releases major trade agreement draft chapter” Kevin has more.

– Stephen Colbert on Shanty Town Glamour Camp for top richest people

– ” Shares of General Motors rose to their highest level in almost three years Wednesday after analysts applauded news that the company could be free of U.S. government ownership by the end of the year.”

Airplanes to add another seat in coach, narrow your seat to 17 inches and give more space to business/first class

– “Detroit’s decision to fend off bankruptcy: pay pensions or banks?

– ” Janet Yellen is sure to face skepticism at a hearing Thursday on her nomination to lead the Federal Reserve from Republicans who say the Fed’s policies may be swelling asset bubbles or raising the risk of high inflation.

– “Janet Yellen says the economy has regained ground lost to the deepest recession since the 1930s. But she says unemployment remains too high at 7.3 percent and notes that the Fed is still trying to accelerate the economy’s recovery.

Surveillance Planet

– “ACLU report chronicles thousands of ruined lives for crimes like shoplifting and possession of a crack pipe.

“A crooked cop groped a paraplegic man’s genitals under his diaper and falsely claimed to have found drugs there – and was sentenced to prison for such assaults, the man claims in court. 

– Emptywheel: “The Phone Dragnet Did Not (and May Still Not) Meet the PATRIOT Act’s Minimization Requirements

– “FBI calls Ph.D. FOIA research a national security risk

– “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.

– “Italian lawmakers say Premier Enrico Letta has assured them that as far as he knows the privacy of Italian leaders and ordinary citizens has not been violated by the U.S. National Security Agency’s surveillance work.

– “The Central Intelligence Agency has declassified 1,400 pages of intelligence related to the Camp David Accords that President Jimmy Carter negotiated in 1978 with the leaders of Israel and Egypt.

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “A Supreme Court case being argued Wednesday could take away a tactic that’s kept unions alive

– Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker reveals disdain for unions and protesters

– “Madrid’s city council says it will tear up its municipal cleaning contracts with private companies, if they fail to end a trash collectors’ strike that has left piles of garbage in the Spanish capital’s streets.

– Go! Go! Go! Target workers threaten to strike on Black Friday with Wal-Mart workers

– “The NFL players union has set up an organization to help former players, establishing it out of a $22 million fund from the collective bargaining agreement with the league. Such an organization created by the NFL Players Association was called for by former players for years before the CBA was reached in 2011. It’s finally here.

Politics USA

Washington USA

– “Secretary of State John Kerry warned Congress Wednesday against scuttling a historic opportunity for a nuclear pact with Iran by pressing ahead with new sanctions while international negotiators seek to prevent Tehran from being able to assemble an atomic weapons arsenal.

– Gallup: 51 percent of Americans do not see Barack Obama as a “strong and decisive leader”

– “The White House is dispatching top aides and other administration officials to Capitol Hill to mollify Democratic lawmakers anxious about deep problems with the rollout of President Barack Obama’s health care law.”

– Pew: 66 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Department of Homeland Security

– “Top Democratic Pollster Says Don’t Mess with Social Security — Or Else Face the Wrath of Voters in 2014

Only 100K of Americans have enrolled in Obamacare

“The Clinton vs. Warren fantasy: Why progressives shouldn’t get distracted”

– John Boehner: The House has “no intention” of Senate’s immigration reform bill

– Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY): FDA will have a war on doughnuts. Sure, Rand, sure.

– Report: website unlikely to be fixed by deadline

– “Looking Back On How Republicans Changed House Rules During Shutdown

– “Who Are State Dept’s 100 “Special Government Employees”? It Won’t Say”

– Which states are biggest losers in terms of Obamacare?

– “American Indian leaders gathered in Washington on Wednesday to discuss with Barack Obama and members of his administration the challenges of crime, poverty, violence and inequality faced by their their communities.

– Obama has vowed to visit next year

– Jeh Johnson warns at Senate hearing that US has “blind spot” on terrorism

– “The House on Wednesday voted to tighten disclosure requirements from asbestos trusts set up more than 20 years ago to help pay billions of dollars in injury claims.

Everything Else USA 

Another post over Ann Jones’ new book

– “Something is really wrong with the USA

– “How Big Food Beat the Little Guy on Election Day with Deceptive Advertising

– “Socialist candidate takes lead in City Council race in left-leaning Seattle as count continues

– “With de Blasio elected, justice on horizon for “Central Park 5?

– “Was Election Day Drug Bust an Attempt to Intimidate Black Voters in NC?”

– “CBS News said Wednesday that it is conducting an “ongoing journalistic review” into how “60 Minutes” aired a story about the 2012 attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, based in part on the testimony of a man who said he was there when now there is considerable doubt he was.

We Don’t Need No Education

– “Research has found free websites add $34 billion to consumer welfare each year – that’s 0.26% of GDP

Top Gun (Stories)

School shooting in Pittsburgh

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Pew: Americans see U.S. losing ground on mental illness and prescription drug use

– “Some 21 nations in the Middle East and nearby regions have jointly made the eradication of polio an emergency priority and recognized that Pakistan is a key part of the problem, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

– “There’s been a shift in how restaurants satisfy their patrons’ taste buds. The consequences are both sweet and sour.

– Pew: “Obesity and poverty don’t always go together

– “Real life hunger is no game

– “After Indian Valley lost its sixth teenager to suicide, residents started talking about the issue openly — and it’s working.

– “Broward County, FL announced this week that it is expanding its sex ed requirements for students to include information about HIV and AIDS and how to prevent them.

The War on Women

– “‘If You Can’t Prevent Rape, You Might as Well Enjoy It,’ India’s Top Cop Says—Then Apologizes

– “A northeast Ohio woman says her gynecologist sprayed her genitals with a chemical that’s used to unclog drains.

– “A study released by a Tennessee group this week determined that the cost of violence against women in the state “likely exceeds $1 billion.”

– Why Lily Allen’s new song isn’t a “feminist anthem

– “The head of the Army said Wednesday that taking decisions on prosecuting serious crimes away from commanders would be costly and harmful to the military as the Senate’s chief sponsor of changing the justice system signaled that she may scale back her effort.

Planet Earth

Typhoon Haiyan

More than 3.4 million Americans trace their heritage to Philippines

– “Doubts cast on government’s low estimate as Haiyan death toll rises

– “Filipino Delegate Goes on Hunger Strike, As Wealthy Nations Don’t Meet Global Climate Fund Pledges

– “Typhoon-ravaged Tacloban sees first signs of international aid effort”

– “A run-down, single-story building with filthy floors at Tacloban’s ruined airport has become the area’s main medical center for victims of last week’s powerful typhoon. It has little medicine, virtually no facilities and very few doctors.”

The Rest

– 2013 will be one of the hottest years ever

– “An Ecuadoran court upheld a ruling that US oil giant Chevron was liable for environmental damage in its Amazon basin region by sister company Texaco, but ordered it to pay a reduced $9.51 billion.”

– “Sea levels this year posted a record high, making low-lying coastal populations ever more vulnerable to extreme weather like super-storm Haiyan, the UN said Wednesday.”

– “Wal-mart’s big green con: Environmentalists blast megastore, as workers strike

– “Save the bees, save yourself

– Pope Francis, a fractivist

– “Fossil Fuel Industry Receives $500 Billion in Subsidies by Governments Worldwide”

– Study: Majority of red-state believe in climate change

– “Brazil’s state-run oil company says it has sold its Peruvian subsidiary to China National Petroleum Co. for $2.6 billion.

Mixed Bag

– Study: Black holes recycle matter and energy into space

– Tina Turner to give up her U.S. citizenship

– “Penguins waddled into the book of life around 20 million years ago and diversified thanks to global cooling which opened up Antarctica for habitation, a study said on Wednesday.

– “Don Cheadle will play Miles Davis in a biopic the actor has long planned on the innovative jazz pioneer.

Break Time

I Wish

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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.