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The Roundup for April 25th, 2014

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Hey folks, how are you today?

International Politics


– Juan Cole: “Is Obama right that America’s Future is in Asia, not the Middle East?

– Russia states it has proof Bashar Assad and his government were not behind the alleged chemical attacks in the country

– Normalization between Israel and Turkey may be hindered by the recent halt of peace talks between Israel and Palestine, but Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan did not comment on the matter

– As John Kerry called the halt in peace talks a “holding period,” the recent announcement of Fatah and Hamas working together could lose millions in U.S. aid

– The U.S. says Russian jets entered into Ukrainian airspace a number of times, but nothing happened

– Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov: What is happening in Ukraine is a plot by the West for control

Middle East

– The Prime Minister in Palestine offered his resignation to President Mahmoud Abbas, which could allow for a unified government between Fatah and Hamas

– In Iraq, suicide bombers killed 31 people in a rally for a militant Shiite group


– Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic call for their own separate country to end the sectarian warfare

Asia and Oceania

– Alleged Maoist rebels in India killed five soldiers and four polling officials in an ambush

– The South Korean government admitted it mixed up the remains of the dead to families affected by the ferry disaster

– U.S. officials warn it may take years for missing Flight MH370 to be located since no trace has been found

– An American tourist was detained in North Korea for allegedly displaying “rash behavior” after ripping up his visa and wanting to stay in North Korea for asylum


– Turkey announced it will offer citizenship for descendants of Armenians killed or displaced in the genocide

– Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine captured a group of European military observers after they said they were with a spy tied to the Kiev government

– German Chancellor Angela Merkel: I have told Vladimir Putin he has to do more to prevent this crisis from getting out of hand

– A Greek official said there has been 14 protests per day (on average) since the bailout four years ago and defended the use of brutal police tactics against demonstrators

– The Nazis were far from anti-capitalists (despite what right-wing shrills state), but were, in fact, for capitalism every step of the way (I might add killing communists and socialists further proves how in bed with capitalism they were)

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– An official in El Salvador said gangs are now in possession of automatic rifles and some are trying to join the army to get rifles

– Eva Golinger: “The Dirty Hand of the National Endowment for Democracy in Venezuela

Surveillance Planet

– A federal judge ruled information on the internet has to be given to U.S. agencies even if it is overseas; Once again, national law has jurisdiction extranationally, which makes no sense

Financial Matters

– Gallup: 30 percent of Americans say it is now a good time to go find a quality job, which is the highest since 2008

A new EU law forces Swiss banks to reveal their customers’ identities if they are avoiding taxes in their countries

– Here is an article on 10 corporations restricting competition and providing poor service for Americans

– With all of these intergovernmental organizations worrying about inequality, it is the system they have set up and defended that creates it in the first place

– Gallup: Americans are both relying less on credit cards and paying their debts compared with a few years ago

– What happens when a dark money—funds whose origin is not revealed—group breaks IRS law? Nothing.

Labor’s a-Brewing

– In China, 30,000 workers protest against a factory creating Nike sneakers for better pay and additional benefits

– After employees at Guitar Center organized for better pay, the company announced it will provide higher pay for them with an hourly pay rate rather than a commission system

Politics US

Washington USA

– Good news as a federal judge ruled U.S. companies who assisted the apartheid government in South Africa can be sued by non-U.S. civilians

– Oregon decided to use the federal health exchanges website rather than its continually broken state health care exchange website

– A French woman was prevented from flying back to France after an airport in New York refused to let her board because her name sounds like Al-Qaeda; All those federal funds really go to a good cause when agents know words that sound the same (but mean nothing)

Anytown USA

– In Brooklyn, NY, District Attorney Kenneth Thompson announced he will not prosecute anyone arrested with a minor amount of marijuana, which is not the policy the NYPD wants

– What we are seeing with Cliven Bundy is the consequence of Ronald Reagan’s rise in the 1980s and continuing influence after leaving office

– A lovely article about tap dancer Howard Johnson during his time at the Cotton Club and how his leftist perspective shaped his life

We Don’t Need No Education

– Even with communities in Chicago pleading not to do so, the Board of Education there decided to close down public schools for privatization

– Meanwhile, a new report found privatizated schools hurt low-income children

– Certainly it should be praised New York City interns are now protected from sexual harassment, but the definition of an “unpaid intern” could exclude some from that protection

– An informative article about one fraternity on campus that is violent, promotes date rape among other things which Americans University does not address at all

Top Gun (Stories)

– The Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive has a report showing the U.S. imported more firearms than any year in the previous two decades. Moreover, these imports have been rising since 1986.

– At an NRA conference, one lecturer told attendees how to avoid gun restrictions, for mental health reasons as an example

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– In Rogue Valley, Oregon, the county is proposing to ban any genetically modified food from being grown there, which is a microcosm of the debate on the national stage around GMOs

– A study out of New York University found psychedelic mushrooms could alleviate anxiety for cancer patients

– Researchers out of University of Texas found a major breakthrough with ghrelin—an anti-depressant hormone in the brain—as it could be used to help those suffering from depression

– MERS, an emerging virus in the Middle East that scientists are baffled about, could potentially spread worldwide, but it probably will not reach SARS-level 

Good news as the suicide rate for the military dropped by 15 percent last year, but bad news as suicide rates for army reservists and national guard soldiers increased

The Second Sex

– With all of these colleges failing to do the responsible thing on rape charges at their universities, it might be time for students to decide colleges based on safe policies

– A tech millionaire who assaulted his girlfriend will not be going to jail, but will be heading for community service, three years of probation, and a year of domestic violence training

A new lawsuit by cheerleaders for the Buffalo Bills states they were not paid minimum wage, forced to undergo humiliating sessions, and verbally harassed.

Planet Earth 

– A few days ago I reported on the family in Texas who was awarded $3 million by a hydrofracking company after getting sick from the fracking on their land. The Real News interviews the family here on the trial’s significance.

– Nissan displayed a new car that could clean itself, reducing the need for water as well as making car washes irrelevant for drivers

– With governments getting behind hydrofracking as the future of energy, its drawbacks could place its future in crisis

This article reveals the efforts so far from ALEC, the right-wing legislation organization, against the environment through PR efforts and working with legislators

– Flash floods in Afghanistan killed more than 80 people in the northern region and more are feared to be dead

Mixed Bag

– “Small Business Still Manages To Mistreat Workers Like Large Corporate Chain

– The Onion is really on a roll today: “World’s Luminaries Crowd Around ‘Time’ 100 List Posted On Editor’s Door

– Pew: Digital ad sales are growing in the digital news world, yet these organizations get a smaller share of the pie

– In what is completely serious, the Marxist Internet Archive will delete the “Marx and Engels Collected Works” because it infringes on copyright. It will be deleted on May 1, which is May Day.

– “Poll Finds Only 83% Of New Yorkers Visit Statue Of Liberty Every Day

– A Congressional candidate in Texas wants to establish a New Israel on the east coast of Texasfor Israel if it  withdraws to its pre-1967 borders

Here is an interview from 1983 with the late Gabriel García Márquez on what the future needs. He states we need “a government that will make the poor happy.”

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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.