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The Roundup for December 30th, 2013

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Good day folks, penultimate Roundup of the year. Any comments on how the Roundup is doing, any suggestions or comments are welcomed as I continue to improve the Roundup.

International Developments


– Report: 70 journalists have been killed this year, while on the job

– Pew: Americans favor countries like Canada, Great Britain, Brazil, Japan and don’t favor countries like Mexico, Russia, China and Saudi Arabia

– Talking about faster internet connections in other countries compared to the U.S.

– “A Human Rights Manifesto

– Egypt to Arab League: You must act against the Muslim Brotherhood

– The U.N. is seeking access to Palestinians in Syria since they wish to feed anyone starving

– International Olympic Committee is “confident” Sochi games will be safe, but athletes are worried

Middle East

– “NYT Backs Off Its Syria-Sarin Analysis

– Talking about Israel and its demands

– Poll: Nearly 65 percent of Israelis agree Palestinian narrative should be introduced in schools and 51 percent agree information on Palestine in general must be positive

– “Israel plans 1400 New Squatter Homes in Palestinian West Bank

– Israel has freed 26 Palestinian prisoners

– The State Dept. has remarked Secretary of State John Kerry will present a general framework of the peace process for Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week

– “Jordan is using Iraq as a transit route to ship agricultural produce to Turkey, the Ministry of Agriculture said.”

– In a clash at a Sunni Arab protest camp in Iraq, Iraqi forces killed 10 gunmen 

– Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif: Any attacks on the army or public will not be tolerated

– Pakistan has appointed the first female judge to its sharia court

– Pentagon to Afghanistan: We urge you to sign the new agreement

Asia and Oceania

– Incredible. Let’s get this here.; In South Korea, over 100,000 have been protesting the government’s labor crackdown, privatization of railways and manipulation of the election.

– “Thousands of South Korean railway workers agreed on Monday to end a three-week partial strike after lawmakers promised to reflect their opinions in the government’s controversial plan to reorganise railway services.

– Clashes occurred in Bangladesh that left one dead and an opposition leader banned from a rally as election draws near

– In Xinjang, China, police have killed eight alleged to be involved in terrorist attack

– “A southern Chinese news company at the center of free speech protests early in 2013 has come under fire for turning against demonstrators who sought to defend it in a dispute with censors.


– “A reliable source to TAP, a Tunisian press agency, has announced that the leader in Ansar Al Sharia movement, Abou Iyadh has been captured this morning in Masrata, Libya by a unit of U.S. special forces in coordination with the Libyan authorities.

– The U.S. African Command has denied its involvement in the arrest of Abou Iyadh as the latter’s lawyer confirms the arrests

– The General National Council has passed a law regulating the profession of lawyers

– Egypt is arresting al-Jazeera journalists, already arrested three

– Egypt will make presidential election first before the parliamentary elections

– “The Democratic Republic of Congo’s army has repulsed several attacks in the capital, Kinshasa, by a “terrorist group”, the government has said.

– South Sudan President Salva Kiir has ruled out a power share with rebel leader

– Uganda: We’re ready to take on and defeat the rebel leader in South Sudan


– Now a suicide bomber has killed 14 people on a bus in Volgograd

– The number of those killed by suicide bombs in Russia was 30 people and has placed Russia on edge as Sochi draws near

– Volgograd is now under lock-down under Putin’s request

– More on the type of female suicide bombers in Russia

– Pew: 53 percent of Russians cite Islamic extremists as a “major threat” to Russia

– “A former transport minister in Greece has received a four-year suspended sentence for driving an uninsured luxury car with fake license plates in an apparent tax dodge.”

– The Italian Supreme Court has ruled that an Italian man having intercourse with an 11 year old girl is okay because of “love

– “A foundation close to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric’s movement has denied being behind a corruption probe targeting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s allies.”

– “Greek prison system collapsing [and is] labeled ‘inhuman’

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada 

– Despite fewer individuals crossing into the U.S., there has been an increase of deaths

– Even though drone use is increasing in Latin America, it still remains unregulated

– In Puerto Rico, teachers are going on strike

– In Buenos Aires, Argentina, residents are protesting over recent outages

– Uruguayan police have seized 42 plants from a man in an apartment after hearing a domestic violence dispute

Surveillance Planet

– The ACLU is suing the the U.S. government to release surveillance information under an executive order

– “Ikea Isn’t Only Furnishing Your Bedroom, It’s Watching You There

– “A well-known privacy advocate [Jacob Appelbaum] has given the public an unusually explicit peek into the intelligence world’s tool box, pulling back the curtain on the National Security Agency’s arsenal of high-tech spy gear.

– Regarding on how Snowden has “already won

– Talking about the recent court cases on the NSA

– Is anything left of our privacy rights?

– Juan Cole: “Assange warns of Information Apartheid & Encompassing State: “This is the Last Free Generation”

– Emptywheel: “How NSA Hunts Metadata “Content” in Search of Your Digital Tracks

Financial Matters

– Hold on to your seats. It seems the nation’s billionaires are renting addresses in South Dakota to avoid taxes…forever

– Gallup: Small business owners in the U.S. are slightly more pessimistic than optimistic for next year

– “The European Central Bank’s president says Europe’s economy is showing encouraging signs though the crisis isn’t yet over — and he says he has faced “perverse angst” among Germans, whose country is the eurozone’s most powerful member.

Three ways inequality keeps getting worse in the U.S.

– Gallup: Despite Islamic banking being known among nearly half of the population in North Africa, 3 percent or less across five countries use such banking

– “Wells Fargo & Co will pay a net $541 million to Fannie Mae to settle claims over defective home loans, completing the government-controlled mortgage company’s efforts to have banks buy back troubled loans made before the financial crisis.

– On the 100th anniversary of the Fed, Wall Street is thrilled, but should anyone else be?

– HP has announced another 5,000 employees to layoff, increasing their layoffs to 34,000

– Dean Baker: “Centrists Have No Right to Lecture Anyone on Growth

– “A turnaround in Japan’s economic fortunes over the last year has given the Nikkei index of leading shares its biggest annual rise since 1972.

– Speaking about economic growth and the way forward

– Chinese local government debt has increased by 70 percent

– Chris Hedges: Overthrow the speculators

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Regarding the stand the Boeing workers took in Washington

– A company using prison labor isn’t an “employer” under American with Disability Act

– “Big Spanish Labor Union Facing an Investigation on Misuse of Funding

– Employment in Hungary will exceed 4 million, states labor secretary

Politics USA

Washington USA

– “About 5 million people will be without health care next year that they would have gotten simply if they lived somewhere else in America.

Here’s the numbers by the state for the above link

– Gallup: Obama ends up still as America’s most admired man (at 16 percent) and Hillary Clinton ends up as most admired woman (at 15 percent)

– “A federal judge on Monday questioned whether the government was trying to hide or obscure something by failing to give information to a civil rights group about thousands of immigrant detainees held for long periods.

Seven strange cash contribution events for Congress members

– Congress is letting 55 tax breaks expire at the end of the year

– “Democrats’ Moral-Political Bankruptcy

15 wins for progressives this year

– “The American Federation of Teachers confirmed Friday that it was the donor behind One Boston, a mysterious political action committee that paid for a $480,000 television commercial supporting Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh during the final days of the Boston mayoral race.

– Health official who oversaw ACA online debacle will be stepping down to retire

– “Dad of Boston bomb suspect’s friend writes Obama

Everything Else USA 

– Alaska, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia and Nevada have been chosen by the FAA as locations for drone testing and lucrative contracts

– Here’s an “inside look” into one of the sites

– Pew: 60 percent of Americans believe in evolution

– “For Brooklyn Prosecutor, a Troubled Last Term, and a Trail of Lingering Questions

– Rania Khalek: “Jersey City Man Shot In the Face And Blinded By Cop Faces 30 Years In Prison

– Report: U.S. law enforcement deaths at a 50 year low; Can’t say the same for those they kill, but hey they’re authority, right?

– “Demanding Justice for Andy Lopez

Questioning Politico’s list of journalists to watch next year due to the fact no person of color is on it

– Pew: 73 percent of Americans use some sort of social networking site, Facebook is the most popular

– “Crime is down, but decline lags in NY neighborhood”

– Regarding the myth of the middle class

– How the rise of Occupy and the decline of neoliberalism helped de Blasio win

We Don’t Need No Education

– A Pittsburgh school board has dropped a “Teach For America” contract over skepticism over its effectiveness

– Report: 2012 college graduates had the highest average level of debt on record – $29,400

– “A former teacher, principal and longtime advocate of early childhood education will be the next leader of the nation’s largest public school system, New York City’s incoming mayor announced Monday.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– In Japan, the homeless cleaned up the fallout from Fukushima and were paid very little and exploited a lot

– “Why a Safety Device That Can Stop Overdoses by Kids Isn’t Widely Used

– “Sanofi’s Lemtrada multiple sclerosis treatment has failed to win approval from US regulators, dealing a setback to a drug which was at the heart of the French drugmaker’s $20bn takeover of biotech firm Genzyme.

– Homeless in NYC waiting for de Blasio to put rhetoric into action

– U.S. panel: Some smokers, current and former, should get lung scans yearly

– “The U.S. beef industry’s dependence on the muscle-building drug Zilmax began unraveling here, on a sweltering summer day, in the dusty cattle pens outside a Tyson Foods Inc slaughterhouse in southeastern Washington state.

The Second Sex

– “Against Patriarchy: Tools for Men to Further Feminist Revolution

– Israel will pay for all abortions for females 20 to 33 next year, regardless of circumstance

– A group of women in China have exposed some companies that will unofficially hire men only and have sent the information to the government

10 great feminist articles this year

Planet Earth

– “Elephants Pushed Toward Extinction as Terrorist Groups Bankrolled With Ivory Trade to US and China

– How climate change is affecting our farms and our resources of food

– Study: 2013 will indicate a continued increase of CO2 emissions

– In North Dakota, a train collision has allowed oil to spill and go ablaze

– “Authorities are urging residents to evacuate a small North Dakota town after a mile-long train carrying crude oil derailed outside of town.”

– Housing electricity use has fallen to 2001 levels

– Ash of volcano has fallen over parts of El Salvador

Mixed Bag

– Scientists find dolphins can get high if eating the right amount of puffer fish

– It seems scientists can give the perfect pitch to mice

– F1 driver Michael Schumacher was in a terrible accident and doctors are attempting to save his life

– Study: There are thicker brain regions for those who are spiritual

Break Time

Sunday Afternoon at Tamagawa River

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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.