CommunityThe Bullpen

The Weekend Roundup for December 21-22nd, 2013

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Hello folks, hope you are well

International Developments


– “Ongoing Gitmo Hunger-Strike Spurs Prison to Impose Media Blockade

– “Saying No to War Crimes” — Reflecting the Vietnam War and the drone strikes of today

– Tom Engelhardt: “How many American Weddings would have to get hit by Drones before they were Banned?

– “Inside Guantanamo

– David Cameron: Syria “should answer” for British doctor’s death

– “Saudi Arabia’s ambitious plans to transform the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) into a formidable military alliance and even a unified state have run into opposition from Oman, but the kingdom is determined to try to go forward in any case.

– U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice: We will seek triggers for new sanctions against Iran 

– “The Arab League says it rejects a continued Israeli troop presence on the eastern border of a future state of Palestine, a proposal Palestinians say was floated by the U.S. earlier this month.”

Middle East

– Regarding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s work in the Middle East

– “A pipe bomb believed to have been planted by Palestinian militants exploded on board a bus in central Israel just moments after it had been evacuated, police said, in the most serious attack inside Israel in more than a year.

– Suicide bombers in Iraq have killed at least 18 military officials and wounded 36 

– “A top Afghan general has said his country may be dangerously exposed if a security pact with the US on its military withdrawal is not signed soon.

– The Syrian government has bombed a section of Aleppo, killing at least 25 people

– Syrian rebels, meanwhile, seize a “strategic hospital” in Aleppo

– “Al-Qaida’s wing in Yemen has blamed a renegade fighter for targeting medical staff and patients in a military hospital during its attack on the defence ministry compound in Sanaa earlier this month, it said in a statement released on Saturday.”

Taking action against the racist marriage law in Israel

– “An Israeli woman appealed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday against a rabbinical ruling that ordered her to circumcise her one-year-old son, the Justice Ministry said, in the first case of its kind.

– Red Cross: Half a million Syrians wounded

– “Security officials in Yemen say gunmen have shot and killed three soldiers in a drive-by shooting and abducted four others in the country’s south.

Asia and Oceania

– Thai protesters have promised to renew efforts to oust Thailand PM

– In Bangladesh, owners and managers of a factory fire that killed over 100 last year have been charged with murder

– An Indian diplomat who reportedly paid a nanny a paltry sum per hour ($3.31) has been moved to another position, giving diplomatic immunity and potentially avoiding charges

– “Making Sen. Max Baucus the next ambassador to China reflects the importance the U.S. places on advancing its economic relationship with Beijing despite recent strains on security issues.


– “The capital of South Sudan’s oil-rich Unity State, Bentiu, has fallen to troops supporting former Vice-President Riek Machar, the army has confirmed.

– Confused on what is occurring in South Sudan? This article should be of help.

– “Obama warns South Sudan against Coup as US Plane comes under Fire

– Numerous couples in Nigeria get married to decrease divorce rates and out of wedlock births

Can stability come to Congo next year?

– Egypt has jailed secular leaders in the 2011 uprising

– The Libyan Council for Oil and Gas will hold a summit in two days, which will tackle the ongoing petrol fuel crisis

– Libya’s FIRST suicide bomber has killed seven people and injured at least 12

– “Egyptian prosecutors on Saturday referred the country’s toppled president to a third criminal trial on charges of organizing prison breaks during the 2011 uprising, spreading chaos and abducting police officers in collaboration with foreign militants.


– Regarding the recent amnesty by Russia

– “Russian former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has said he will do all he can to free other political prisoners.

– “Ukraine’s opposition has vowed to continue pro-EU protests over the holiday period, despite an economic deal signed with Russia this week.”

– Safety checks done at a London theater where the ceiling collapse have been fulfilled

– “Turkey’s interior affairs minister has offered his resignation to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan over a massive corruption and bribery scandal that has resulted in the arrest of his son and 23 other people.”

– African migrants use art in order to fight racism in Italy

– “Africans face uncertain Israeli future after perilous migration

– ” Portuguese officials say six people have drowned and one survivor was hospitalized with hypothermia after a leisure fishing boat capsized in rough seas off the country’s west coast.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada 

– “Venezuela car owners unfazed by planned fuel hike

– Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro meets with Cuba’s Fidel Castro

Surveillance Planet

– Obama: Snowden leaks have caused “unnecessary damage

– James Clapper has declassified Bush-era NSA documents

– Obama: Declassification is “unnecessary”

– After the recent information the NSA spied on Israeli leaders, Israel is now angry the U.S. did that

– “Congress eyes spy review in surveillance logjam

– Obama is promising that in Jan. he will present a “firm statement” on the future of the NSA

– Review panel members will appear before Senate committee on Jan. 14

– “Do We Have the NSA on the Run, or Is a Much Worse Surveillance State in the Making?

– Both the CIA and the NSA worked together to kill FARC rebel forces in Columbia

– “Obstructions in Halting NSA Surveillance

– Juan Cole: “NSA bribed Encryption Companies to Install Back Doors: Was the Law Broken? Did Obama Know?

– “Obama Signals Changes Likely to NSA Spying

– Emptywheel: “James Clapper Claims Publicly Acknowledged Details Are State Secrets While Boasting of Transparency

Financial Matters

– More conservative economists don’t want to gut Social Security

– 100 years after its founding, it’s time to make the Fed a “public institution

– “Trade Advantage Replaced by Rent Extraction

– President Jim Yong Kim of the World Bank: Corruption is “Public Enemy No. 1”

– “The U.S. is the juiciest target for hackers hunting credit card information. And experts say incidents like the recent data theft at Target’s stores will get worse before they get better.

Labor’s a-Brewing

– “The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers has set a vote on a proposed contract with Boeing Co.

– Milwaukee County is interested in raising its minimum wage to $12.45

– “A Seminar on the Labor Movement — With an Opinionated Professor

– “Conditions for Abu Dhabi’s migrant workers ‘shame the west’

– “National leaders of the Machinists union are scheduling a vote on a proposed contract between Boeing and Puget Sound machinists, despite objections from local union officials who have already rejected the company’s latest offer.

Politics USA

Washington USA

– AP Poll: Obamacare website problems top story of 2013

– “Health plan sticker shock ahead for some buyers

– Study: States with Voter ID laws are also states with high turnout rates with minority groups that have been increasing

– Regarding the military-industrial complex

– “Iran Sanctions Bill Big Test of Israel Lobby Power

– “Senate intelligence committee presses CIA to release torture report

– Juan Cole: “Obama will Veto new Iran Sanctions, Israel War Mandate pushed by AIPAC Senators

– On bills in Congress “cracking down” on whistleblowers

– “President Barack Obama says the bipartisan budget approved by Congress is a hopeful sign that Washington can end its cycle of crisis-driven decisions.

– Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV): Obamacare could have a “meltdown” for the Democratic Party next year if problems are not resolved

Everything Else USA 

– Michelle Alexander and Bill Moyers discuss the state of the prison system and more here

– “Detroit’s Dan Gilbert: Henry Ford or Henry Potter?

– “Why the Right to a Fair Trial Doesn’t Really Exist for Drug Defendants

– “The hundreds of nuclear missiles that have stood war-ready for decades in underground silos along remote stretches of America, silent and unseen, packed with almost unimaginable destructive power, are a force in distress, if not in decline.”

– Victories for cyber activists

– “De Blasio names head of NYC children’s services

– Mike Huckabee interested in running in the 2016 election 

– “The nation’s already backlogged immigration courts might soon be thrown into more havoc as roughly half of their 220 judges will be eligible for retirement next year.

We Don’t Need No Education

– “Latino academic achievement gap persists

– “Cutting sports a growing trend at major colleges

Top Gun! (Stories)

– A Colorado student who was injured in a school shooting has died

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

Six horrors by the food industry

– “The New York Times is dead wrong about drug addiction

– How the poor were abandoned in the U.S. from the late ’70s on

The Second Sex

– Can feminine care products for women be harmful?

– Female sailors were forced into a hazing ritual by carrying feces

– “Democrats work to raise number of female governors

Planet Earth

– “To clean up coal, Obama pushes more oil production”

– Study: “Dark money” — untraceable money — increases in climate change denial efforts

A large amount of reservoir water has been found under Greenland and the ice is melting, hinting an increase in sea level

– Egypt is considering nuclear power

– “As Wall Street’s giants pull back from the energy business, Canadian banks are stepping forward, aided by booming domestic oil production and a reputation for prudence.

– The winter weather has killed seven as record high in temperature hits New England states

– U.S. gas prices are down two cents over the last two weeks

Mixed Bag

An interview with musician David Byrne

No evidence coffee stuns growth of children

– Justine Sacco, a PR executive, was in heated controversy yesterday over a racist tweet

– “Iceland’s hidden elves delay road projects

Break Time

Carol of the Bells

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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.