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The Roundup for December 25th, 2014

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Merry Christmas today folks!

International Politics

Overall

– Russia said it hoped to organize a conference by late January between the regime in Syria and the opposition

Middle East

– Jordan announced it would get back a Jordanian pilot who was captured by Islamic State militants after his plane was shot down

– Iraq and Turkey announced it would work together to fight against ISIS as they believe the group threatens the region’s stability

– Meanwhile, 44 ISIS members were killed as a result of fighting with Kurdish forces in Syria

– ISIL forces in Iraq decided to abandon their barracks and broke into smaller groups after the announcement by the Iraqi government to take over Mosul

A new report found corruption to be a significant issue hampering reconstruction in Gaza

– Near the West Bank, an Israeli father and his daughter were hurt, although not severely, when a firebomb hit their car

Africa

Two U.N. officials were kicked out of Sudan for reasons unknown although the government there is not too friendly with the U.N.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Nicaraguan authorities broke up a demonstration against the construction of a new canal in the country

Surveillance Planet

– Both the PlayStation Network (owned by Sony mind you) and Xbox Live, online services for gamers, were down after denial of services attacks by hackers

– Russia said it sympathized with North Korea over “The Interview” scandal as well as not believing U.S. claims of North Korea’s involvement in the hack

– An Israeli cyber security expert said, after the hacking of Sony, cyber warfare is real and nations should prepare for it

Financial Matters

– Saudi Arabia announced its budget for the next fiscal year and it will include a $38.6 billion deficit as a result of low oil prices; Very interesting, however, they previously mentioned they would not do anything should the price continue to drop

– Even as it is claimed, as famously said by former President Bill Clinton, welfare changed after reforming it in the 1990s, it did not fix the issue of poverty in the U.S.

– Determining a true poverty rate in the U.S. is a difficult job should one follow what the federal government defines as “poverty” since it is an outdated model

– With Shinzo Abe elected as the new prime minister of Japan, austerity will soon follow as a result of his policies

– Retailers are not really feeling anything special in terms of sales this holiday season

Labor’s a-Brewing

– Workers at food processing plants, who should be noted as sometimes being undocumented, face harsh conditions and lasting effects at these factories

– A prisoner in the U.K. was sent back to jail after taking a job that started before his night-time curfew ended

Politics US

Washington USA

– Amy Goodman: “Mark Udall Can Make History by Releasing the Torture Report

Anytown USA

– What does the Berkeley Police Department in Missouri think of Antonio Martin, the 18-year-old who was fatally shot by an officer who said he was acting in self-defense? Martin made “bad choices.”

– Demonstrations took place near St. Louis after the death of Martin with hundreds coming out

– Following up on Kevin’s article over at The Dissenter on people being arrested for threatening the police, two more men in New York City were arrested for the same.

– Being behind bars during Christmas must feel different and difficult sometimes, especially if someone is wrongly convicted

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– If we analyze shootings across the U.S., we are able to see how the shooters are often men who suffer from mental issues as evident in the most recent shooting in Bedford-Stuyvesant, N.Y.

– Let us not forget this holiday season how homelessness among the youth is on the rise. A tragic and persistent problem.

The Second Sex

– Watching the misogynists in power demonize women is frightening considering the position they hold in society

– Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said birth control in the country was a form of treason

– Two women in Saudi Arabia were sent to “terrorism” court. For what exactly? Driving.

– There should be clemency for victims of domestic violence considering they really did nothing wrong

Planet Earth

– It is not just the Arctic that is warming at a high rate as new research uncovered areas further south of the Arctic are warming too

– Despite the ban on fracking in New York State, there still is the issue of liquefied natural gas pipelines flowing through the state along with other transportation tools the oil and natural gas industry uses

Mixed Bag

– It is 100 years since British and German soldiers held a truce during the Christmas day.

– Funny story about “It’s a Wonderful Life” as it was accused of being a film promoting communism during the Red Scare

– In general, video games in society are a part of culture as they can influence society and provide lessons as other forms of art do

– Lots of people are going out to see “The Interview” today; As the old motto goes, “Any publicity is good publicity.”

Break Time

Greensleeves [John Coltrane]

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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.