Good evening!

International Developments

❖”Time to refer Syrian war crimes to the [International Criminal Court], U.N. inquiry says”.   “[V]iolations and abuses committed by anti-government armed groups did not . . . reach the intensity and scale of those committed by government forces and affiliated militia.”

❖ “Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi declared a month-long state of emergency” in Port Said, Ismailia and Suez.”

Islamist militant group Ansaru claims responsibility for kidnapping  seven foreign workers during a raid in  Nigeria.

❖ On his March visit to Israel, President Obama will be awarded Israel’s Presidential Medal of Distinction for “his ‘unique and significant contribution to strengthening the State of Israel and the security of its citizens.’”

International Finance

Co-CEO Lars Seier Christensen of Denmark’s Saxo Bank does not wear rose-colored glasses.  The euro is “doomed”; even the economies of Germany, France and Italy are shrinking; once France enters a “full-scale crisis, it’s over”; the euro is supported for political, not economic, reasons.

❖ Two huge Eurozone scandals bubbling to the surface, the first threatening to reveal deep corruption among top Spanish politicians who have impoverished their own people and the second concerning the huge amounts of “Russian ‘black money” [flowing] into and out of” a broke Cyprus.

Spanish airline Iberia workers are on a five-day strike.  Video.

❖ “Only a third of Britons would vote to stay in the European Union in a proposed referendum”.

❖ “Latvia to apply for eurozone membership within weeks”.  (Don’t they have enough problems already?)

China has taken over management of several key ports to India’s disadvantage and discomfort.  Pakistan’s turning over  Gwadar Port to Chinese management has other implications, including Iran’s planned naval base “very close to Gwadar”.

Money Matters USA

DNA: Monopoly Control  or Free Access?  Upcoming Supreme Court case re breast cancer gene patent (property/profit) rights.  Dispute goes back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

MN “lost 2,525 jobs to offshore outsourcing in 2012.  That’s 12th highest in the nation.” Video.

Reader’s Digest has filed for bankruptcy.

Why won’t CA apply the “severance tax” to Big Oil as all other states do?

Politics USA

❖ Will they be able to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)?

❖  Sens John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) seem ready to drop the belligerence mode and let the appointment of Chuck Hagel to Secretary of Defense proceed.

The White House and CIA head-nominee John Brennan, who’s been up to his eyeballs in drones and “targeted killings” for some time, want to shift the drone program from the CIA to the Pentagon.

NE Republican Sen. Mike Johanns is not going to seek re-election.

PA state Sen. Dominic Pileggi (R) is pushing a scheme to allocate electoral votes according to “each candidate’s share of the statewide vote.”  These little beavers never stop, do they?

MS voted to ratify the 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, in 1995 (“only 130 years late”), but somehow nobody told the US archivist, so it’s been unrecorded.   Until now.

Gun Corner

Another teenager in Chicago shot and killed–”just hours after her sister sat on a stage behind Barack Obama, listening to the president appeal for tighter gun controls.”

Don’t shoot the mailman.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ “Hundred sue Ky hospital over heart procedures.”  Catholic Health Initiatives owns the London, KY hospital being sued for medically unnecessary cardiac procedures.

Oral bacteria on teeth from ancient times forward show major changes.  “The modern mouth basically exists in a permanent disease state.”

Women & Children

❖ “Vatican impeded Mahony [of the Los Angeles Archdiocese] attempts to remove priests, files show.” Update: The Pope has allegedly sought “legal immunity” from the Italian government.  Could this be why?  Update:  Cardinal Mahony has “forgiven” those who are angry at him.

NY Democratic Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo “is putting finishing touches on legislation that would guarantee women in New York the right to late-term abortions when their health is in danger or the fetus is not viable.”

Planned Parenthood in WI has had to close four clinics due to state budget cuts.

❖ Not-too-bright, bub, MI state Rep. Joel Johnson (R), who wants ultrasounds mandatory prior to abortion, says it’s necessary to make sure a woman is “mentally capable” of making a decision about having an abortion.

Use of Plan B, the “morning-after pill”, has increased from 4% of the US female population in 2002, to 11% today.  Almost 60% said they used the pill “just once”.

❖ “Human Rights Watch . . . found that many aboriginal women in British Columbia have been the victim of discrimination, aggressive use of police force, and even sexual assault by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police”.

Education Directions

❖ “Charters are public schools, funded by taxpayers and widely promoted as open to all.  But . . . charters aggressively screen student applicants . . . , sometimes in violation of state and federal law.”

New York City teachers have had it, and they are self-organizing and -promoting a public form on “Dignity and Democracy in Education: Blowing the Whistle on the Culture of Fear and Corruption in NYC Public Schools”.  This Saturday, Feb 23rd.

Yoga in public schools?  Bad.  Bible study in public schools?  Good.

Latin America

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned from his 2-month cancer treatment in Cuba.  He’s in a military hospital in Caracas.

Venezuela is interested in “improving relations” with the US, including restoring ambassadorships, although it is “not desperate” to do so.

❖ “Ecuador election: President Rafael Correa wins new term”, but there is another side to the story, including Pachakutik.

Marina Silva, “a former presidential candidate and environment minister has launched a new poitical party [in Brazil], Sustainability Network”.

Mixed Bag

Fresh air! “Non-believers taking college campuses by storm: In the past few years, the number of affiliated student secular organizations has increased more than threefold.”

Lumbees and eagle feathers.

❖ “Top 20 Foods and Products that have been Genetically Modified”,  more.

Break Time

She has funny cars