Good evening, all. Here’s your news.

International Developments

❖Last week, the Free Syrian Army issued President Assad a 48-hour ultimatum–observe the UN cease-fire or resume fighting. The former didn’t occur, but the latter has: over the weekend the “rebels killed at least 80 army soldiers . . ..”

Egyptian protestors, angry at the verdicts from the recent trial of Mubarak and six security commanders, have called for mass demonstrations on Tuesday.

❖The US State Department has urged China to free all protestors arrested in conjunction with the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, and to “provide a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing.”

❖As “part of a new military strategy that calls for greater emphasis on the region”, Leon Panetta visited Hanoi “to broaden its military partnership with Vietnam.” (China wasn’t mentioned in the article, except as part of the place name “South China Sea”.)

World Economics

❖Interesting article focused on fears about the world economy: feeble to slowing growth in the US, China, India and Brazil; investors turning to US and German government bonds; Greece and its potential impact on the eurozone; machines replacing US workers and other companies just not hiring; and so on.

❖Cryin’ my 96 tears: “World’s Richest Lose $24 Billion As Adelson Fortune Drops” (Sheldon Adelson lost $2.2 billion of those 24.)

❖They haven’t asked for it yet, but it appears Cyprus will be requesting bailout funds from the EU’s European Financial Stability Facility.

Economics USA

Abacus Bank of NYC and 19 of its former employees “have been criminally charged [in a rare indictment] with issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent mortgages and ended up in unwitting investors’ portfolios . . ..”

❖In response to a survey by AlixPartners, almost half of US manufacturers said “reshoring” was a good thing, but that Mexico–and not the US–”was their top choice for relocating factories designed to supply the US market.” 70% said the same thing last year, so this year’s 50% is an improvement; moreover, 35% this year (up from 21% last year) said the US looked attractive to them.

Politics USA

❖From the WI Gov Scott Walker “John Doe” trial: Tim Russell, Walker’s closest political aide, is the once-insider who “was cooperating with [the] prosecution against Walker himself.”

❖US House Rep Nancy Pelosi (Dem-CA) had this to say recently about Hillary Clinton: “Why shouldn’t she run? She’s a magnificent secretary of state . . .. She’s our shot” for 2016.

❖From the things-it’s-nice-to-know-never-happened department: “Obama Administration Approached Bloomberg About World Bank Post”

❖The US Supreme Court has refused to review AL ex-Gov Don Siegelman’s conviction

Earth News

❖Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government “is rewriting the nation’s environmental laws to speed the extraction and export of oil, minerals and other materials . . ..” The energy industry and some economists love it; environmentalists hate it, calling it a war on nature and democracy”.

❖More than 1,000 banana plantation workers in Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama have sued Dole Food Co, Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc, and Dow Chemical Co for injury due to pesticide poisoning.

Documents obtained under freedom of information rules in the UK show that “the government has been trying to water down key environmental regulations in Brussels”, and those efforts “have the backing of the UK’s big six energy firms . . ..”

❖Gulp. “Recent Global Warming Is Unprecedented in Magnitude And Speed and Cause”, based on latest findings from Australia.

Latin America

❖Who invited them? “U.S. officials have said that, with the Iraq War finished and the Afghanistan War winding down, more attention and money can be devoted to the war on drugs in Central America.” Honduras seems to be prime target for the moment.

Bolivian president Evo Morales, who nationalized some utility companies a while back, is now talking about “making all natural resource-related industries property of the state.”

❖”Thousands of people joined a march in the Colombian capital to demand justice in a case of rape and murder that has shocked the country.”

❖The leader of Colombian drug cartel Los Rastrojos, which exports cocaine to the US, has been arrested in Venezuela.

Mixed Bag

❖Good grief! Seven scientists are on trial for manslaughter in Italy for “allegedly giving a false sense of security” to people in L’Aquila prior to the April 6, 2009, quake that killed at least 17.

12 guns were turned in Saturday at the Oakland CA PD’s first-ever gun buy-back.

Break Time

Venus’ transit across the sun is tomorrow. Take heed, for you won’t be able to see it again until December 2117.

Jeremiah Horrox of Much Hoole: “The Man Who Knew Venus Would Transit The Sun”