Good evening!

International Developments

❖ Malala Yousafzai–15-year-old champion of education for girls in Pakistan who was shot in the head by the Taliban for being so bold–is writing a book.  It’ll be out this fall.

❖ Three scuba divers in the Mediterranean were caught while allegedly severing an internet cable belonging to “Egypt’s main communications company”.

Israel has set up a “field hospital” in the Golan Heights to treat wounded Syrians.

❖ “The rebel now in charge of the Central African Republic [will be reviewing] mining contracts signed with South African and Chinese companies”.  The Red Cross has found 78 bodies in the capital, Bangui.

❖ What else could possibly go wrong?  “Homegrown crystal meth industry sparks west African crime wave.”

11 people were killed, 22 injured by a suicide bomber attack at the US Consulate in Peshawar, Pakistan today.  5 of those killed were Pakistan security forces members.

❖ The US “will not be intimidated by ‘bellicose rhetoric’” from North Korea.

International Finance

“Bail-in” is the tactic used in Cyprus to get bank customers to bail out the banks.  This “experiment” and people’s reactions, including the notion that depositors are somehow to blame, are no doubt being monitored.  Earlier, predictive article.  Update: Cyprus has eased “some bank restrictions”.

Money Matters USA

❖ Including “medical care of wounded veterans and expensive repairs to a [depleted] force”, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are projected to cost between $4 – $6 trillion. $2tr have already been spent on combat costs.

What the banks are up to, trying to overturn “a series of tough rulings” in a “critical mortgage case”.

❖ You-Cannot-Make-This-Stuff-Up Dept.: “the highest-paid banker on Wall Street” is Dick Handler.

SAC Capital paid $14m to settle an improper trading suit recently; now its portfolio manager has been arrested by the FBI.

CEO-to-worker pay ratios:  Walmart 1,034:1; Target 597:1; Walt Disney Co  557:1; and so on.

Politics USA

❖ President Obama has finally developed plans “to pump billions into US infrastructure [and] return the focus back to the economy and jobs.” He gave a nice speech about it today in Miami.

❖ Oh, noooos.  Our senators might not look so pretty and well-coiffed now that they’ve managed to put the Senate Barber Shop in the sequester squeeze.

❖ And they’re off!  During Week One of the GOP’s outreach effort, they’ve managed to insult the LGBT community (Ben Carson, Dave Agema) and farmworkers from Latin America (Don Young).

Former Sen. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig (R-ID) didn’t do so well yesterday.  A judge wouldn’t “dismiss a Federal Election Commission lawsuit [accusing him] of misusing $217,000 in campaign funds for his legal defense after his arrest in a 2007 airport bathroom sex sting.”

GOPers in  the NC legislature have two bills going, one aimed at cutting the early voting period to one week and eliminating same-day voter registration.  The other also outlawing “early voting on Sunday and straight-ticket voting.”

❖ Finally hit the wall?  Steven Brooks (D), formerly in the NV state assembly, but expelled as a result of his erratic, threatening behavior, was arrested in Barstow, CA.   High-speed chase.

❖ “New Orleans curfew data: 92 percent of curfew arrestees are black.”  This came to light after New Orleans police said “they did not track the demographics of curfew violators.”

Gun Corner

❖ “Top donors threaten Dems: Do the right thing on guns, or no more money”.  The “right thing on guns” = support of expanded background checks.

Magpul Industries, upset over CO’s new gun laws, is threatening to leave the state.  AK wants ‘em.

❖ Someone stole an AR-15 from the locked car of the Utah Shooting Sports Council chairman.

Health, Homelessness & Hunger

❖ US Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius has posted, with request for comments, the final rule “guaranteeing 100 percent funding for new Medicaid beneficiaries”.

In 1990, the median age of the homeless was 34; in 2010, it was 53.   Their life expectancy is estimated to be 64.  “Without beefed-up efforts to help the aging homeless . . . 10 years from now, half . . . will be dead–and in 15 years, almost all will be gone.”  Early death by neglect.

Education Directions

Teachers at Strongesville, OH schools have been on strike for four weeks.  During the first two weeks, the district paid $1.113m to keep the schools open.  They paid Huffmaster, Inc. for “strike management, and wages to substitute teachers.”  Some background is here.

Working for A Living

Great graphic comparing wages, health insurance coverage, poverty rates, etc., in so-called “right-to-work” states and states that don’t have such laws.

❖ “New York City is poised to mandate that thousands of companies provide paid time off for sick employees–five days/year.  This will be a first.

❖ The contract with 250,000 Teamsters at UPS is expiring July 31st, but UPS “wants an early agreement to keep FedEx from luring away customers”.  The Teamsters won’t budge unless UPS’ “escalating harassment of workers” is addressed.

Planet Earth News

❖ “Despite ‘Enormous Risk’ White House Reaffirms Commitment to Arctic Drilling“.

❖ The EPA is releasing a rule that cuts sulfur in gasoline from 30 to 10 parts/million.

Honeybee colony collapse is on the rise and neonicotinoids are the main suspect, mainly produced by  Syngenta and Bayer.  A suit has been “filed against the EPA for approving the pesticides.”

An amicus brief has been filed in a case before the Supreme Court regarding “whether human genes are patentable.”  The brief argues that “DNA fragments are ubiquitous in the human body and cover the entire human genome, [and therefore] are indeed a naturally occurring part of nature and cannot be patented.”

Latin America

Paiter Surui Chief, Almir Narayamoga Surui, has gone high tech: GPS, Android phones, Google Earth Outreach, carbon credits for international sale.  He’s visited the US 16 times, met with tech companies and Wall Street financiers, even the UK’s Prince Charles, in his “feverish” efforts to save his 1,300-member tribe and the Amazon forest it inhabits.  More here and here.

Mixed Bag

❖ Evidence of Late Neanderthal-Sapiens interbreeding?

Break Time

Third base.