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The Roundup for December 26th, 2014

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Hi folks! We’re almost approaching the end of the year!

International Politics

Overall

– Lawyer Stanley Cohen blames the U.S. government for refusing to negotiate for the release of hostages like Peter Kassig because of political reasons

Middle East

– Juan Cole: “After Cuba, Obama Can Make History by Recognizing Palestine

– It seems it was a technical failure rather than fire by the Islamic State that brought a F-16 fighter down leading to a Jordanian pilot to be captured

– According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, air strikes by the Syrian government killed at least 52 people

– The challenge of the modern Iraqi army is making it an united force as it is more like a collection of different sectarian groups

Asia and Oceania

– U.S. drone strikes killed at least seven people, suspected to be militants, in Pakistan

Africa

– Egyptians are unhappy with the lack of a serious effort by the Ministry of Health in the country to combat diseases and virus aggressively

Europe 

– In Israel, members of a far-right party were arrested by police after it was found they were allegedly providing public funds to groups working with them

– In Eskilstuna, Sweden, five people were injured in an arson attack against a mosque; Funny how American liberals love to believe Sweden is the perfect democracy despite its issues

– The Kiev government and the rebels in the east switched captives with each other in a deal

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

– Yesterday, the families of the 42 missing students demonstrated outside the home of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to demand the government find the remains

– Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Colin Powell, joins The Real News to discuss the right choice in changing relations with Cuba, but cautions on how too much U.S. presence can be detrimental

Surveillance Planet

– The National Security Agency released a huge report on abuses caused by NSA employees yesterday (due to FOIAs); It’s a Christmas miracle!

– Emptywheel: “The Phone Dragnet Classified Appendix

Financial Matters

– Journalist Aleksandr Buzgalin talks to The Real News about the failure of Russian capitalism to avoid economic woes and explains the overall economic structure in the country

– Wall Street is closely looking at the drop in oil prices, especially with the weakened provisions in the Dodd-Frank bill. Why? Maybe there’s a bailout.

– The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau barred two retail companies from suing out-of-state military residents in a settlement agreement after it was found the companies engaged in illegal debt collecting

Labor’s a-Brewing

– An investigation found a new law in Peru would remove benefits and lower wages for workers under the age of 25. Who helped in this? Big business.

– Providing way more pay to workers by forcing employers to cough up would provide much-needed financial help to Americans

Politics US

– In general, the only movement really providing a voice for working people within the two parties is the Tea Party. As much as they are reactionary, their base is compromised of mostly ordinary Americans.

– The rhetoric being used in New York City about avoiding the “old times” (i.e. 1970s) in terms of crime is just propaganda to ensure control

– Former and current cops paid for a banner to be shown over New York City with the phrase, “De Blasio, our backs have turned to you.”

– It is comical, however, when pro-cop supporters blame demonstrators for being anti-police. It is just criticisms of an oppressive apparatus.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

– Gallup: Blacks usually suffer from chronic conditions such as obesity or high blood pressure

– San Jose, Calif., is one heartless town as it refuses to provide shelter to the homeless and kicks them out if anyone is caught sleeping in the streets

– A new report from the Census Bureau found one in five Millennials live in poverty

The Second Sex

– When discussing police brutality, we cannot forget about the black women who are also killed without hesitation.

Planet Earth

– A new report from the International Energy Agency found coal production will grow over the next few years despite its impact on the environment. In general, things are bright for the coal industry.

– While a group of academics called for nuclear power to be accepted by environmentalists, there is some criticism of turning to it

– The following year is an important year for environmentalists as the future looks bleak based on the evidence

Mixed Bag

– Eileen Jones provides a great and concise summary of the events surrounding “The Interview” along with the absurdity of it all. It should be noted, despite its limited release, it made more than $1 million.

– A woman was sent to jail for three nights. For what exactly? For attempting to switch seats on an airplane.

– Gallup: Forty-eight percent of Americans believe 2015 will be a better year than 2014

Break Time

Cancion de las Venusinas [Astor Piazzolla and Horacio Ferrer]

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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.

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