Good evening, all.
❖ Malawi’s Minister of Justice “called for an immediate moratorium on arrests and prosecutions of gays under the existing penal code” while Parliament reviews anti-gay laws.
❖ UK Prime Minister David Cameron says he “would back offering President Bashar al-Assad safe passage out of Syria if it ended the bloodshed there.”
❖ “The UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, has said he fears the country could ‘turn into a new Somalia’ unless the crisis does not end soon.”
❖ “Brother of Syrian parliament speaker assassinated: Five Syrian officials have been killed since July”.
❖ Seems the German intelligence service “mistakenly” destroyed files on far-right extremists back in June.
❖ The European Court of Auditors has found “substantial errors” in how the European Union has been spending its funds. According to Godfrey Bloom, UK member of the European Parliament, “You would think that after 18 years, a more mature EU could have its accounts signed off, but no. The EU–a byword for corruption and waste–has failed again.”
❖ Two-day general strike in Greece in protest of the proposed next round of austerity. Transportation workers, air traffic controllers, judges, lawyers, post office workers, museum and archeological sites workers–all on strike, “streaming” to Athens. Promises are being made–such as “these would be ‘the last cuts in wages and pensions’”–but are no longer believed.
❖ Gerald Tremblay has resigned his post as mayor of Montreal following testimony of “witnesses [which] linked him to illegal party financing skimmed from city construction contracts as part of an alleged mafia scheme.”
❖ UK banks have “ramped up” the cash set-asides for compensation to “clients who were mis-sold insurance policies”. Approximately $16 billion total has been set aside by the banks “which have also been rocked by humbling state bailouts, money-laundering and the Libor rate-rigging scandal.”
❖ True the Vote (tea-partiers) in Franklin County, OH tried to “sign up as poll observers in African American-heavy precincts in central Ohio, but seem to have forged signatures to do so.” Result: the persons involved will not be allowed as poll observers in Franklin County. Update: The group “may soon find itself under investigation for fraud“.
❖ A Federal judge has rejected the lawsuit against use of new software on OH voting machines.
❖ Youth involvement in getting out the vote in OH.
❖ “Peculiar” analysis of the presidential race was broadcast twice by WSYX in Columbus, OH, last night. Billed as an “election special”, the show featured “some of the most partisan criticisms of President Barack Obama, and spent relatively little time” on Mitt Romney.
❖ A gated community in Woodstock, GA has decided to “step up security” through next Monday by keeping the gates closed. The ‘wingers have got themselves in a tizzy fearing rioting and I don’t know what all.
❖ That election worker in Clackamas County, OR accused of “altering multiple ballots to benefit Republican candidates” has been fired.
❖ An unknown number (though “nowhere close to 12,000″) Pinellas County, FL residents received a robocall from the county elections office telling them they could vote “tomorrow”. Problem is, the robocalls went out between 8:00 and 8:30 this morning.
❖ Despite “a massive voter registration drive [by the local NAACP], which added some 10,000 new voters to Hinds County [MS] registers . . . many of the names” haven’t turned up in the appropriate database. The Circuit Clerk for Hinds County has been cited and fined three times since 2008 for failure to comply with legal requirements. Hinds County has quite a civil rights history. JFK placed it under martial law for a year.
❖ The Republican National Committee wrote to the MO Secretary of State stating that voting machines were reported to have given Romney votes to Obama. There had been one instance of a voter trying to cast an absentee ballot using a machine having such a problem. A clerk reset the machine and it then functioned properly.
Health, Homelessness & Hunger
❖ Most medications are usually tested on men, since women’s monthly hormonal fluctuations make testing more complex. Results? Women react differently than men to many medications on the market. Duh!
❖ South FL, Medicare fraud, and money laundering. This time, a pharmacy store owner used a check-cashing store to launder the funds that then got transferred “through a remittance firm with shell companies in not only Canada and Trinidad, but also in Mexico”. More than $30 million eventually ended up in Cuba.
❖ The Sandinistas won “134 of 153 mayoral posts in Sunday’s elections” in Nicaragua. Fraud was alleged and “the US state department voiced concerns over the electoral process.”
❖ “UN to send food for 500,000 in eastern Cuba after Sandy; power grid at 64 percent in Santiago.” The agricultural sector was particularly hard hit and approximately 1 million people directly affected.
❖ Thousands of civilians were murdered by Colombian armed forces, beginning in 1985. It seems Colombia’s Inspector General has managed to “disappear” about 800 cases of these “false positive” murders (so called because the guerilla uniforms were put on the civilians and photos taken to justify the killings).