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The Roundup for November 15th, 2013

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Hey everyone. Happy Friday.

International Developments


– “Albania rejected on Friday a U.S. request to host the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons, dealing a blow to a U.S.-Russian accord to eliminate the nerve agents from the country’s protracted civil war.

– “Major powers and Iran are getting closer to an initial agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, a senior U.S. official said on Friday, adding it is “quite possible” a deal could be reached when negotiators meet November 20-22 in Geneva.

Middle East

– “The global chemical weapons watchdog says it has now adopted a detailed plan for the destruction of Syria’s stockpile by mid-2014.

– Video: “Children Wade Through Swamps Of Raw Sewage In Streets of Central Gaza

– “Iran appears to have moved quickly to prevent a large increase in its most disputed nuclear stockpile, a new U.N. watchdog report indicates, in what may be an attempt not to undermine talks on a nuclear deal with six world powers next week.

– “Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor, Hillary Rodham Clinton, said Friday that Afghanistan is reaching a turning point in maintaining the advances made by women in Afghan society and any future security agreement needs to respect the rights of women.

Asia & Oceania

– China will both ease the one-child policy and abolish prison labor camps

– Pew: “Will the end of China’s one-child policy shift its boy-girl ratio?

– “Caroline Kennedy takes up post as US ambassador to Japan

– “Voters in the Maldives will choose between their first democratically elected leader and the longtime autocrat’s brother in a presidential runoff on Saturday that comes amid international concerns that the tiny archipelago nation may slip back to strongman rule after long delays in the election.


– “At least 31 people have been killed and 235 injured in clashes in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, officials say, after militiamen opened fire on protesters.

– “The U.S. is urging Cambodia’s political factions to resolve their differences, as the opposition continues to boycott parliament after a disputed election.


– “The European Commission, the European Union’s executive arm, has warned Spain and Italy that their draft budgets for 2014 may not comply with new debt and deficit rules.

– “The annual commemoration marking the junta’s bloody suppression of the 1973 Athens Polytechnic uprising got underway on Friday, as schools across the country marked the anniversary by remembering those who died and the ideals behind the protests.

– “More data released by the government shows that while a uniform pay scale for the public sector may exist in law, it does not exist in reality, despite much government fanfare that it had imposed standards and transparency on its salaries

Latin America, Carribean & Canada

– “Remittances to Latin America recover — but not Mexico

– “Venezuela’s socialist government has arrested more than 100 “bourgeois” businessmen in a crackdown on alleged price-gouging at hundreds of shops and companies since the weekend, President Nicolas Maduro said on Thursday.

– “Top figures found guilty in Brazil’s biggest corruption scandal turned themselves in to police on Friday, just days after the supreme court ruled that they must begin serving their prison sentences, a blow to long-standing immunity in the country where the rich and powerful rarely face punishment for crimes.

– “ Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro says there’s no need to devalue the bolivar even as the country’s currency plunges in illegal black market trading.

Financial Matters

Inflation and unemployment through the decades

– “A week of trade talks in Brussels have taken the European Union and the United States a little closer to a deal to liberalise bilateral trade.

– “American manufacturing isn’t dead yet. In fact, it’s growing

– Pew: The world sees inequality as a major problem

– “US investment bank JP Morgan has agreed to pay $4.5bn (£2.8bn) to investors who lost money on mortgage-related securities during the financial crisis.

The 10 corporations that have taken control of our economy

– “Yellen In Line to Head Fed, But How Will She Lead?

– Richard Wolff: Capitalism and unemployment

– “Google eyes Snapchat, for $4 billion this time

– “Fed Insider Exposes Giant Central Bank “Easing” Swindle

– “Activist investor Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square hedge fund has invested half a billion dollars to acquire stakes of nearly 10 percent each in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the latest big investor this week to buy into the mortgage finance companies.

– The Post Office reports a loss of $5 billion for the year

Surveillance Planet

– Rania Khalek: Jeremy Hammond sentenced to 10 years in prison. The corruption he exposed? Free today.

– Hammond: “FBI directed my attacks on foreign government sites

– Emptywheel: “Like Obi Wan, Osama bin Laden Has Come Back More Powerful Than Ever Before” & “The CIA (&etc) Money Orders

– “The U.S. Supreme Court, which in recent years has ruled for business in a string of high-profile cases, agreed on Friday to hear a case that could herald a dramatic decline in securities class action litigation.

– “Activist hackers linked to the collective known as Anonymous have secretly accessed U.S. government computers in multiple agencies and stolen sensitive information in a campaign that began almost a year ago, the FBI warned this week.” That…doesn’t seem to make any sense.

– “Feinstein promotes bill to strengthen NSA’s hand on warrantless searches

– Interesting. “The Justice Department said Friday it will notify criminal defendants when the government has used evidence against them that was gathered through warrantless surveillance programs.

– “The United States faces a difficult task in repairing its image among Germans after allegations of massive National Security Agency surveillance, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s personal cellphone, the U.S. ambassador to Germany acknowledged Friday.

Labor’s a-Brewing

– America allows 12 year olds to work and die on factory farms, it’s the free market at play

A rare win for labor’s rank and file

– “San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit officials said Friday that board members would not vote on a tentative agreement during a special meeting to discuss a problem regarding a labor deal that settled a second strike.

Politics USA

Washington USA

– “Dozens of President Barack Obama’s Democratic allies have sided with Republicans to back a bill the White House says would gut its health law…The bill, which seeks to bypass the health law’s minimum requirements for medical insurance, has little chance of making it on to the statute books.

– “Obama taps wealthy Philadelphia donors after day of healthcare drama” “It’s my money and I need it now!” says Obama

– The most narcissistic U.S. Presidents

– Gallup: 61 percent of Americans believe JFK was assassinated

– Gallup: 74 percent of Americans view JFK as the top modern President all time

– Drone strike victims in the capital

– War criminal Dick Cheney: Obama lied “over and over and over again

– Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): I lost my insurance because of Obamacare

– “Many U.S. states are hesitant to embrace President Barack Obama’s fix to keep Americans from losing health insurance plans that do not comply with his healthcare reform, saying they need to figure out how to resurrect canceled policies and whether to allow insurers to raise prices.

– “Health insurers bemoan Obamacare ‘fix’ as adding confusion to rollout

– “ Fears that insurance exchanges that are the linchpin of President Barack Obama’s federal health care overhaul wouldn’t attract the young, healthy people needed to make them financially viable are being heightened by the early results of signups in several states.

– “The Obama administration will allow some relatives of U.S. service members living in the country illegally to stay, according to a policy directive issued Friday.

– The guest lineups for Sunday news shows

– “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday there is “no room for error” by those responsible for America’s nuclear forces, commenting publicly for the first time on what he called “troubling lapses” in professionalism within the nuclear ranks.”

Everything Else USA 

– Justice. “Homeowner Charged With Murder in Shooting Death of Renisha McBride

– Why both Coca-Cola and PepsiCo. are more dangerous than you imagine

– Americans are separating themselves based on ideology

– “DC Beltway Is America’s Wealthiest, Brainiest, Most Insular Region

– I’ve personally met and interviewed Mr. Levine. Definitely a recommended article to read. “How Police and Politicians Profit by Destroying the Lives of Young Black People for Tiny Amounts of Pot

– ALEC is considering a law to weaken the 17th Amendment

– Ray Kelly praises his ability to be a racist and thinks Bill de Blasio is “full of shit”

– W. Kamau Bell: “The show was canceled. I’m not cancelled

– “Kicked out because of cancer? Ailing mom says she was banned from school

– Seattle elects their first socialist to the City Council. Should admit now I’ve personally met Kshama Sawant when she came to NY to speak

The rise and fall of the Working Families Party

– “Federal prosecutors want former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to pay about $4.5 million for widespread corruption under his watch.

We Don’t Need No Education

– Multiple-choice tests is America’s most idiotic idea for this generation

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– “What happens in your brain when you get hooked

– Can breadfruit save the world from hunger?

The War on Women

On Google searches and feminism

– “Women share their stories of being lied to by crisis pregnancy centers

– “Students and former students at Vanderbilt University and Amherst College have filed federal complaints alleging the schools responded inadequately to their reports of sexual assaults, harassment and stalking, which one rape survivor said is a common problem on campuses nationwide.

Planet Earth

Typhoon Haiyan

– “The number of people in the Philippines confirmed dead from Typhoon Haiyan now stands at 3,631, officials say.

– Pseudo-human and Fox News host Dana Perino: What Philippines needs is “more fossil fuels

– “Police Chief Who Wrongly Predicted 10K Death Toll in Philippines Removed From Post

– “Typhoon Haiyan survivors lack food and water one week on

– ” The death toll from one of the world’s most powerful typhoons surged to about 4,000 on Friday, but the aid effort was still so patchy bodies lay uncollected as rescuers tried to evacuate stricken communities across the central Philippines.

The Rest

– A year after Sandy, depression rates in areas hardest hit fall

– By Google Earth, forest changes

Six ways to start our energy revolution

– ” Federal agencies will provide better and more accessible information about matters such as long-term weather prospects and soil moisture levels under a program designed to help communities prepare for future droughts and respond more effectively when they happen, Obama administration officials said Thursday.

– Japan gives up its effort to reduce carbon emissions

– But, but, but Obama is a great environmentalist!…said apologists “The Obama administration proposed on Friday slashing federal requirements for U.S. biofuel use in 2014, bowing to pressure from the petroleum industry and attempting to prevent a potential fuel crunch next year.”

“North Dakota oil drillers are on pace to set record annual crude production for the sixth consecutive year and are nearing a milestone of a million barrels of oil a day.

Mixed Bag

– San Francisco shows human compassion 

Your parks in 2050

– The world’s largest snake, the Green Anaconda, has invaded the United States

– The Playstation 4 versus Xbox One

– Toronto mayor Rob Ford getting a TV show

A European wolf is your dog’s ancestor

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Daily Show

Break Time

Surfing on a Rocket

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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.