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The Roundup for December 18th, 2013

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Hello folks, hope you are well.

International Developments


– Iran and P5+1 will resume talks over nuclear deal

– “In a Rebuke to Putin, Obama Names Gay Athletes to Olympic Delegation

– U.N. & EU: We need a humanitarian ceasefire in Syria

71 journalists have died this year related to their work

– “There is a rosy outlook for military relations with the US, China’s defence ministry has said, in an apparent attempt to limit damage from a recent confrontation between the countries’ navies in the South China Sea.

– “The Peaceful Protest US Govt Doesn’t Want World to Know About

– Kerry: We express regret over handling of Indian diplomat 

– “Iran nuclear deal is model for ‘rule-based’ international relations

– U.N. criticizes Iran over human rights

– “UN OKs resolution condemning Syria rights abuses

– U.S. to U.N.: Condemn the recent Syrian airstrikes

Middle East

– “Why Israel Fears Roger Waters

– “President Karzai, Stand Tall Against US Pressure to Sign the Troop Deal

A guarded convoy will carry Syrian chemical weapons before destruction while Russia delivers trucks

– Palestinians are set to talk with Israelis

– In Iran, the amount of unemployed graduates is growing

– “Saudi Internet Activists face Crackdown

Asia and Oceania

– “The Mystery of Tajikistan

– Stephen Colbert talks about recent Chinese and North Korean events

– “Slouching Toward Confrontation in the South China Sea

– “Hunting for U.S. arms technology, China enlists a legion of amateurs

– India has passed an anti-corruption bill


– How the mainstream media attempted to rewrite the history of Nelson Mandela

– “Media and the End of Apartheid in South Africa

– Mohammed Morsi facing charges of terrorism as he starts trial in Egypt

– “South Sudan factional fighting leaves hundreds feared dead

– “The US/EU Egyptian Roadmap to Hell

– “The U.N. secretary-general says an estimated $1.2 billion worth of cocaine transits through West Africa each year, and the Security Council is expressing “deep concern” about the drug trade’s increasing links to terrorist groups.”

– Libya government has blocked U.N. request of security

– “A U.N. delegation investigating detention conditions in Morocco says torture occurs there, but is no longer as systematic as it once was.”


– Both the Arctic 30 and Pussy Riot members will be free in amnesty deal

– “Turkish police chiefs sacked after ministers’ sons detained

– “Some Spanish Police Protect Immigrants

– Russia: The West is pressuring Ukraine to join with the EU

– Success! Golden Dawn has lost state funding after Parliament vote

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– “A labor court has allowed construction to resume at the World Cup stadium where a man fell 115 feet to his death while working on a roofing structure in the jungle city of Manaus.”

– “The Country That’s Dismantling Its System of Privilege for the 1% — Can the U.S. Be Next?

– “Mexican authorities say five teenage students were killed when they were run over by armed men trying to escape from soldiers in a northern border city.

Surveillance Planet

– Presidential Panel: NSA should “stop undermining encryption“; Here is the full report for those interested

– Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR): Review panel’s recommendations “substantial

– Five majors reforms they offered here

– “NSA review panel stops short of concrete surveillance reforms

– Texas police, due to a recent appeals court ruling, can get search warrants for future crimes.

– “Outlawing the Metadata Program

– Stephen Colbert on NSA ruling and Snowden’s asylum request

– “Why the NSA Ruling Could Backfire into a Court Disaster We’ll Regret for Decades

– “The U.N. General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution aimed at protecting the right to privacy against unlawful surveillance in the digital age on Wednesday in the most vocal global criticism of U.S. eavesdropping.

– Regarding the unconstitutionality of NSA phone call collection

Press freedoms under the Obama administration

Financial Matters

– U.N.: Global economy will grow by at least 3 percent annually for the next two years

– The Fed has announced it will slow down stimulus measures

– Pew: 60 percent of Americans have heard a mix of good and bad news on the economy

On the revolving door between Washington and Wall Street

– “GlaxoSmithKline to Quit Paying Doctors for Promotional Talks

– “EU officials reach deal on handling failed banks

– Pew: “The many ways to measure economic inequality

– JPMorgan CEO Jaime Dimon broke a federal statute with a prison sentence attached—Will he go to jail for it?

– Pew: Four in 10 Americans have a favorable view of outgoing Fed chair Ben Bernanke

– “Delta Air Lines will not allow cellphone calls on flights

– Unemployment insurance in the U.S. worse than in other countries

– “Dish is considering making a bid for T-Mobile next year, according to people close to the matter, in what would be the satellite TV provider’s second attempt in as many years at acquiring a major wireless operator and potentially setting the stage for a new bidding war with Softbank 

– Ben Bernanke has intended to stay in Washington after leaving

– FedEx CEO: Drones are unlikely to make a large impact

Labor’s a-Brewing

– How the formation of low-wage futures came about

– “Crushing Labor Unions and the Middle Class: Is this the American Way?

– AFL-CIO: “Fear and concern” is keeping MSNBC hosts quiet over NBC union-busting

– “A Legal Loophole Plays a Key Role in the Deaths of Teenage Farmworkers

On the risk of temporary jobs

Politics USA

Washington USA

A look at the new congressional budget deal

– “An argument about a secret congressional committee’s ability to review the US intelligence agencies exploded into rare public view on Tuesday as angry senators demanded legal memos from a nominee to run the CIA’s legal office.

– The GOP in the Senate will meet Tuesday to discuss how to block nominees

– “Employer groups oppose pension fees in budget deal

– Janet Yellen confirmation may be the last vote for the Senate this year

– “AP-GfK poll: Obama int’l ratings top domestic ones

– WaPo/ABC News Poll: 55 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s job performance

– “Many detainees at Guantánamo Bay may be closer to heading home under a bipartisan deal reached in Congress that gives President Barack Obama a rare victory in his fight to close the prison for terror suspects.

– Gallup: 72 percent of Americans say “Big Government” the greatest threat for future of U.S., “Big Business” clocks at 21 percent

Part 1 of interview with Ralph Nadar, regards McCarthyism and system change

– “Some technical experts are perplexed at the U.S. government’s plan to switch web hosts for its new health insurance portal,, in the midst of an expected last-minute rush to beat a March 31 enrollment deadline for 2014 coverage.

– “231 CIA Agents Killed In Overt Ops Mission”

– “The United States issued a warning on Wednesday to migrants thinking of crossing the border, saying they won’t qualify for any potential immigration reform that might be enacted in the U.S.” How do you measure that?

– Gallup: 79 percent of Americans satisfied with personal life versus 23 percent satisfied with life in the U.S.

– “The CIA and the Washington Post

– Jon Stewart talks about the budget deal here and here

– “Concerns among Hispanics that signing up for medical insurance under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law may draw the scrutiny of immigration authorities has hurt enrollment, according to advocates of the policy.

– Amy Goodman: “Obama Wrongs the Bill of Rights

– “Insurers allow more time to pay under health law

– “Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that his Democratic counterpart is barring any GOP changes to pending defense legislation because he “can’t stomach a vote on Iran sanctions.”

– Obama will nominate Sen. Max Baucus (D-MO) to be an ambassador to China

– “The Obama administration needs to be more open with Congress to win support for a trans-Pacific trade pact under negotiation with 11 countries, an influential Democratic senator said Wednesday.” More open…to win support”?

Everything Else USA 

– Richard Wolff: “Capitalism and Democracy: Year-End Lessons

– Pew: Public views on the top 20 stories in 2013

– “How to Add Your Voice to the Fight for Human Rights Abroad and at Home

– Jessica Williams of The Daily Show interviews a Forbes columnist on food stamps, guess how it goes?

– “Invitation For America to Go Home Is Inevitable

– Colbert jokes on the Ted Cruz coloring book

– “Local Government Is the Secret Weapon in the Fight Against Economic Inequality

On the success in Seattle

– “An Illinois man convicted earlier this year of conspiring to provide material support to the Taliban has been sentenced in New York to 25 years in prison.

– Bloomberg in last speech: “New York has never been stronger“; Suuuuuuuurrrrreeeeeeeee

– “Mississippi school district sued for pervasive anti-LGBT harassment among students and administrators

Top Gun! (Stories)

– “The new front line in the battle over gun rights is “open carry.” Here’s why it has psychologists deeply concerned

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Pesticides killing bees may also harm the brain’s development

– “Get over yourself, New York Times. You’re not standing up to anyone

– The government is giving housing aid more to rich people than to poor people

– “I Bought Signs Homeless People Use to Beg—Here’s What Happened

– Whole Foods will drop Chobani yogurt to ensure it has organic and GMO-free products

– “More than half of U.S food poisoning cases are traced to unsanitary restaurant food handling practices.

– A new form of bird flu has killed a woman in China

The Second Sex

Regarding sexism in the toy aisle

– “The Republican War on Women: The Newly Invisible and Undeserving Poor

– “MRAs Flood Occidental College’s Rape Reporting Form With False Claims

– “‘Men’s Rights’ and ‘Revenge Porn’ Sites Seethe With Anger Over Women’s Autonomy

Planet Earth

The seven ways to shut down a climate change denier

– U.S. will give an additional $25 million in aid for Philippines

– China has opened its first official smog clinic

– The year’s biggest climate report in haiku form

– “Marc McCord on How Dallas Was Saved From Frac’ing

– New island off the coast of Japan is growing

– “The Coming ‘Instant Planetary Emergency’

– BP discovers oil in the Gulf of Mexico. This’ll end well.

– Why environmentalists should support the working class

– Study: BP oil spill has led to deaths of dolphins

– Juan Cole: “Top Ten Ominous Signs about Last Month being the Hottest November on Record

Mixed Bag

– Pew: Nine in 10 Americans celebrate Christmas and more

– “Noam Chomsky Inspires and Invigorates

– Study: We find humor in tragedy, although in a limited time-frame

On the growth of Catholic hospitals

– “The Salvation Army says someone dropped a diamond ring in one of the group’s kettles outside a South Florida grocery store.

– “Nativity scenes out at Guantanamo dining halls” All the high officials there are getting coal

Break Time

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

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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.