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The Roundup for December 18th, 2014

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Phew, all done with finals! That means more attention to the Roundup and more pieces.

Regardless, how have all of you been doing so far this week?

International Politics


– Pew: In developing and emerging countries, citizens only vote and do little else politically; Do you smell that? It’s the smell of Western democracy

– President Barack Obama called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi concerning the mass trials in the country

Middle East

Part one and two with journalist Lia Tarachansky on growing up in Israel and starting as a Zionist before leaving the dogma

According to U.S. officials, some Islamic State leaders in Iraq were killed by air strikes in the past few weeks; Meanwhile, U.S. Lieutenant General James Terry said Kurdish forces successfully took over areas formally under ISIL control

– The United Nations asked for $8.4 billion to assist people escaping from the civil war in Syria

– No matter what, Russia’s role in Yemen is to ensure extremism from Sunnis are kept at a low and the country is stable

– Ali Abunimah: “Why I want Obama to veto Abbas’ UN resolution on Palestine

Asia and Oceania

– To monitor North Korea, South Korea will purchase drones from an Israeli companies, whose drones were used in attacks against Gaza.

– U.N. officials warn extremists in the Taliban are becoming more popular in Afghanistan


– According to a Libyan government official, production of Libyan oil dropped 60 percent in the just the past few days as a result of fighting.

– Meanwhile, Morocco will spend $4.6 billion to find natural gas to consume; I’m interested in learning more about these “private investors.”

More than 170 women and children were kidnapped from a village in Nigeria by suspected militants from Boko Haram


– Gallup: Forty-seven percent of Ukrainians approve of President Petro Poroshenko

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Journalist Reese Erlich provides some helpful information to summarize the latest decision of the U.S. to normalize relations with Cuba; Attorney Michael Ratner also talks about the overall context for this situation

Surveillance Planet

– Jeremy Hammond: “I’m an Anonymous hacker in prison, and I am not a crook. I’m an activist

– The White House said the attacks against Sony over The Interview are of national security concerns

Financial Matters

– Pew: The wealth inequality between upper and middle-income Americans are the largest on record

A new report warned American companies who export coal are threatened not only by demand falling in China, but cheap Russian coal;

– Historian Eric Toussaint explains to The Real News how important it is for The Bank of the South to strengthen Latin America

– The state of Vermont will not be going through with a single-payer health care system because, as Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin said, it is too expensive

– Robert Reich: “The Coin of the Realm: How Inside Traders Are Rigging America

– Egypt announced it would receive financial support from the European Union to develop its tourism industry; Never heard of something like that before…

– Russian President Vladimir Putin: I am not responsible for the decline in our currency, but we will get through this

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Another Wal-Mart worker is suing the retail giant after being given tasks involving chemicals despite acknowledging she was pregnant

– A BBC investigative report discovered the horrific conditions Chinese workers experience when constructing iPhones

Politics US

Washington USA

– Journalist Greg Palast joins The Real News to report on how people were denied the chance to vote in the last election for voter fraud suspicion despite not committing such offenses

– Amy Goodman: “Obama and the Beginning of the End of the Cuban Embargo

– The Affordable Care Act is, as a person involved with the insurance system, a “complete farce” tricking Americans into believing it can actually change the health care system.

– Jason Leopold: “The Weird Saga of the Other ‘Smoking Gun’ Torture Report the CIA Still Has Under Wraps

– President Obama appoints the second-highest official in the CIA to his national security team

– A very thorough review of the most recent trial against journalist Barrett Brown; a case, I must note, is scary considering the consequences if Brown is found guilty

– Ray McGovern: “Clashing Face-to-Face on Torture

– It’s official: President Obama signs a sanctions bill against Venezuela into law

– The Internal Revenue Service warned cuts to their budget would delay tax refunds for Americans; What is this concept of providing money to Americans? My neoliberal handbook doesn’t say anything about that.

– Glenn Greenwald: “Jeb Bush v. Hillary Clinton: The Perfectly Illustrative Election

Anytown USA

– Glen Ford: “Getting Rid of Al Sharpton and the Misleadership Class

– The Real News reports on the Millions March in Oakland, Calif., last Saturday with the responses of people involved with the march

– Patrick Lynch, the head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association in New York City (the union for NYPD officers), said the enemies of the NYPD would face “extreme discretion.” He also criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio for running a “revolution.”

– A judge overturned a 70-year-old case where a 14-year-old black teenager was accused of murdering two white girls. The teen was executed in 1944, but justice was served, uh, in a way.

– Rania Khalek: “‘Liberation for all’: Why Palestine is a key issue on the streets of Ferguson

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

A very thoughtful article on the issue of homelessness from people walking by them to what folks can do to help

– With the War on Drugs considered a failure, you would officials would respond to issues of heroin as a public emergency. Nope! It’s a war on heroin now.

The Second Sex

– In Boston, a driver contracted with Uber was charged with sexually assaulting and kidnapping a woman. There are more charges of course.

Planet Earth

– Pew: Sixty percent of Americans say it is important to expand alternative energy sources rather than continue with oil and natural gas

– Add Quebec to the list of places deciding not to allow fracking on their land; Great to hear

– A new study found around one in four Americans can name health diseases caused by climate change

– The tragedy of the climate crisis in California is how under-reported it is despite being a significant concern to the world

Mixed Bag

– Gallup: Who do Americans view as the most ethical and honest? Nurses. The least ethical and honest? Congressional lawmakers; Ratings of police were low due to the low support by non-whites

– At the end of the day, aside from the release of the personal data, the information revealed within Sony Pictures Entertainment was worth it

A new study found most movies for children include death of significant characters

Break Time

Carol of the Bells [David Benoit]

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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.