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The Roundup for April 23rd, 2014

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How are you folks on this Wednesday? It feels like this week is just going by fast. Meanwhile, it’s been 450 years since Shakespeare was (probably) born on this day!

International Politics


– Former military official Larry Wilkerson remarks the U.S. should focus on establishing a positive relationship with China to solve global issues rather than engage in geo-political battles

– President Obama: The islands under dispute in the South China Sea are Japan’s and they have the backing of the U.S. based on a defense treaty

– Danish, British and Dutch jets were scrambled in response to Russian bombers heading near their airspace above the North Sea

– What Vladimir Putin is facing is a game where the West is in control if he missteps in Ukraine and the U.S. is eager to remove any threat of Russian regional power

– The U.S. delivered 10 Apache helicopters to Egypt, but have denied it was to reward its government, they are to prevent uprisings in the northern part of the countries; So you support their right to gain legitimacy, but don’t recognize it?

– The U. S. military will investigate a soldier who killed two unarmed Iraqi teenagers after his squad was spotted

– The Ukrainian government alleges the Russian government supports terrorists who kidnap lawmakers and torture them to death

Middle East

– Hamas and Fatah announced they will join together as a newly united government in what seems to be in response to Israel’s actions in Palestinian peace talks. Moreover, Israel attacked Gaza with a warplane that wounded six people after the announcement and the U.S. called the announcement “disappointing

– The Iraqi ambassador to the U.S. has stated the elections in Iraq will not produce stability and the U.S. still has major influence in the country

– The Kurdish regional government in Iraq is building a moat to separate itself from the rebels in Syria

– The Associated Press, based on interviews with activists, medics and residents in Syria, state the Syrian government attacked rebel-held territory with chlorine gas 

– In Iraq, nine people died when a car bomb detonated in the northern part of Iraq that affected a village of Shabak

Asia and Oceania

– As the death toll from the ferry accident rose to 152, South Korean prosecutors have raided 10 firms in connection with the operator

– In response to the shortages and sanctions the country faces, North Koreans are turning to methamphetamine


– Gallup: 20 percent of African adults state they work on farms, 41 percent say they do not have a job

A new report found 71 percent of Africans support democracy, however there are few countries that provide such democracy

– In Kenya, a car bomb killed four people outside of a police station, it is unknown who is behind it.

– The Tunisian government accepted a petition that questioned a recent decision to admit Israelis with their passports rather than a special document since Tunisia does not recognize Israel


– Pro-Russian separatists admitted they have taken journalist Simon Ostrovsky, who works with Vice News, based on “war rules.” Moreover, they say he is fine.

– Tony Blair: What has caused the failure of our (the West) inventions in the world has been Islamic extremism

– Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an: We are sorry for the Armenian massacre during World War I

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Part nine of nine about the vast changes that occured in Venezuela after Hugo Chávez was able to take control of structuring in the country

– The recent election in El Salvador, where a leftist party won in a clean election without U.S. government interference, provides a bright step forward in a country that suffered from corrupt elections

Surveillance Planet

– Artists in New York City placed recorders in different locations and tweeted what strangers said in public to make a statement against the NSA

– A bill in Mexico intended to break up telecommunication stranglehold would allow for surveillance, censorship and no net neutrality

– In response to a rise in hacking of federal agencies, the Justice Department is seeing if it could expand its power to hack people’s computers

– Here is an interview with New York Times reporter James Risen over recent efforts by the Obama administration to force him to testify against an ex-CIA employee who was charged under the Espionage Act

– A new, improved version of OpenSSL, which allowed for Heartbleed to exist due to the flaws of the program, called LibreSSL will be released soon to be used

Financial Matters

– Gallup: 52 percent of Americans say their financial situation is “fair/poor,” which is down from the previous poll’s 54 percent

– With all we are reading about these rich billionaires from families or groups that can be remembered like a tattoo, we have to remember the real enemies are the institutions that proliferate problems; Or, alternatively, we could just say capitalism

– Investors, like hedge-fund investor David Einhorn, are warning there may be another tech bubble in the next 15 years

– Financial institutions are gaming the system and making up documents when it comes to housing. Meanwhile, the federal government just stares.

– The government would benefit if it provided a job guarantee program for all Americans who have no job as it allows for economic benefits to bloom, especially if it is “bottom-up

– Large pharmaceutical companies have not been a helping hand in efforts to find low-cost treatments for cancer

– The European Union reduced its budget deficit, but they are still borrowing a lot 

– Wal-Mart has cut the pay of the CEO by 73 percent and no stock awards due to low performance

Labor’s a-Brewing

Reviewing the failed vote at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee and how it indicates unionization is not strong enough against political interference that is not subject to punishment

– At the University of Connecticut, graduate assistants won the right to unionize after the State Board of Labor Relations approved their petition

Politics US

Washington USA

– The Obama administration removed an official viewed as impeding progress on clemency for non-violent inmates and some view that as a step forward for clemency

– Officials at the FCC said they will review new rules for net “neutrality” to be established for access on the web

Anytown USA

– A new report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics found, in 30 states, 67.8 of prisoners were imprisoned again within three years of being released

– If Governor of Tennessee Bill Haslam, a Republican, does not veto a bill that requires his signature for it to be law, then it will jail pregnant women who use drugs for up to 15 years

– After an Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled a stay of execution for two serial killers over secret drugs used for the death penalty, Governor Mary Fallin (R) said she overruled that after writing an order that many are saying is not constitutional

– A new report found prisons in Texas violate international human rights standards, including extreme heat temperature that have led to the deaths of 14 inmates since 2007

Utterly hilarious interview by Stephen Colbert with Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-CA) on his district and more

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports American Indian and Alaskan Native civilians die at a rate 50 percent higher than whites. The leading cause of death is cancer, followed by heart attacks.

– MRSA, the superbug that is resistant to antibiotics, can now be found in people’s very own home

– In Amsterdam, The Netherlands, the city has gotten permission by a court to ban pot shops in its red light district due to the criminality located there

The Second Sex

– A poll found 69 percent of Americans were in favor of requiring health insurance companies to cover contraception.

– An economist from Harvard stated the pay gap in the U.S. is not due to jobs. Rather, it is due to the gender discrimination in the workplace.

– Jessica Valenti explains the idea that women suffer from a “confidence gap” is false and the issue of the pay gap rests in society itself

– Jon Stewart shows how sexism is strong in Washington against women for acting weak or too emotional, but men are given a free pass

Planet Earth 

– Quinoa, a “superfood” that could be found mostly in Bolivia, could have a lot of benefits, but suffers from geo-politics and environmental issues

– In the first case of its kind, a jury in Dallas, Texas has forced Aruba Petroleum Inc. to pay $3 million to a family that became sick after hydrofracking on their property

– Christopher Hayes: “80 Percent of the World’s Fossil Fuels Must Stay in the Ground to Avert Catastrophe

– Of curse researchers have found herbicides on the GM crop of soy by America’s most trustworthy company Monsanto

– Federal investigators said the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas last year could have been prevented if regulators and the company followed standard procedure

– Juan Cole: “Top Five Reasons Solar Energy will Save the World

– For the 2016 Olympic games in Brazil, there is a site for aquatics that has 195 times the amount of sewage considered safe in the water

– The Obama administration will cut the amount of coal dust allowed in coal mines to reduce the amount of black lung disease

Mixed Bag

– Gallup: 75.3 percent of Provo-Orem, Utah residents say they learned something new or interesting “yesterday” (The highest in the nation)

New research found dogs and cats release the same “love” chemical that we do when we are in love

Break Time

The Life of Kings

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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.