Good evening.

International Developments

The UN General Assembly has finally approved “the first global arms trade treaty by 154 votes to three [Iran, North Korea, Syria], with 23 abstentions.”

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un: We’re going to re-start our nuclear reactor.  UN’s Ban Ki-moon: This crisis has “gone too far”.

❖ “M16 ‘arranged Cold War killing’ of Congo prime minister:  Claims over Patrice Lumumba’s 1961 assassination made by Labour peer in letter to London Review of Books”.  This claim has been rejected, therefore  events surrounding Lumumba’s death remain cloaked in deep mystery.

❖ “Egypt Calls U.S. Criticism of Bassem Youssef Investigation a ‘Blatant Intervention’.”  (Teevee comic Youssef’s been charged with insulting President Mohammed Morsi and his religion.) The US State Dept is engaging in a verbal tit-for-tat with the Morsi regime and not just about Bassem Youssef.  More from Jon Stewart, and yet more.

International Finance

❖ Nourished by Austerity, “Greece’s neo-Nazi Golden Dawn goes global with political ambitions.”

❖ “Eurozone joblessness stays at record high“.  12% overall in February, up from 10.9% in 2012.

❖ Oh, how the mighty are falling.  “France’s former budget minister [in Francois Holland's government] admits lying about secret offshore account” (€600,000 hidden for 20+ years);  “Cyprus finance minister quits after bailout concludes, investigation begins”.

Money Matters USA

❖ Big turn of the old revolving door as Mary Schapiro, Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission joins Promontory Financial, whose founder says “Mary is an outstanding advocate for investors”.  While others are expressing some–ahem–concern,  Yves Smith lays it all out.

Mary Jo White is now in charge at the Securities and Exchange Commission.  She previously worked for a Wall Street legal defense team, and earned $2.4m in her last year representing Jamie Dimon’s JP Morgan Chase.  Jamie described her as “the perfect choice” for the SEC position.

❖ “Fannie Mae swings to $17.2bn profit“.  Interesting dilemma for Congress since they want to “scale down government involvement in housing finance, but will now face a budgetary cost from lost dividends if they do.”

Corporations love to talk about the US having the highest corporate tax rate in the world, thereby effectively obscuring the fact that “the U.S. collects less in [corporate] taxes as a percent of the total economy than every industrialized country in the world save Iceland.”

❖ Let’s hope this holds:  “State Surpluses Could Point to More Growth to Come“.  This is happening even in the Rust Belt.

Factory orders in the US rose 3% in February, the most in 5 months.

Citigroup wants to pay $590m to settle a “shareholder lawsuit accusing it of hiding tens of billions of dollars of toxic mortgage assets.”  The US district judge on the case wants lawyers on both sides to “address several issues at an April 8 fairness hearing” instead.

❖ “Why Mandate Disclosure [of political donations by corporations]?  Because [--gasp!--] Corporations Lie on Voluntary Political Transparency”.

GOPers’ anti-labor temper tantrum continues in MI: they want to repeal a 1965 law guaranteeing “workers on state and public school projects are not paid below the prevailing hourly rate or benefits for construction projects” in local communities.

Politics USA

President Obama has a higher approval rating in LA than does Gov. Bobby Jindal.

❖ There’s now an official “Pro-Hillary Clinton PAC”.

Elizabeth Colbert Busch (D) polls ahead of former Gov. Mark Sanford (R – Appalachian Trail) 47 to 44%.  Hasn’t been a Democratic representative from that district since 1981.

Arianna Huffington’s landlord is suing her for $275,000 in damages to his $32,000-a-month New York City digs.  There’s a picture reminiscent of hotel rooms used by the late Keith Moon, memorialized in song.

Gun Corner

❖ Quelle surprise!  The National Rifle Association has “model legislation to allow armed personnel in schools.”  Father of a child killed in the Newton, CT massacre has applauded the “model legislation”.

Justice USA

Bill Moyers speaks volumes of truth in 2:51 minutes.

A US District judge has ordered the Pentagon to release bullet-wound records it refused to release following a Freedom of Information Request.

The War on Women

❖ “Abortion clinic to open in Wichita, the first in four years” since its original founder, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down.  It’s been renamed South Wind Women’s Center and will provide an array of reproductive health services.  (Abortion only through 14 weeks.)

❖ GOPers in ND, AR and TX are “pushing bills that would defund comprehensive sex education programs for at-risk teenagers.” Don’t want to jeopardize our claim to having the  “highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world.”

The struggle against femicide and all forms of discrimination against women in Bolivia was given a  legal boost as President Evo Morales signed  unprecedented anti-gender violence legislation.

Education Directions

❖ Today’s the day that former Atlanta Public Schools Superintend and 34 others accused along with her in the test cheating scandal must turn themselves in.

❖ “US District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras has denied [Michelle] Rhee’s motion to dismiss claims by a music teacher that his firing was concocted” and will allow the case to be expanded to include “Concealment and Fraud Claims”.

NC GOPers now want to further relax requirements for charter schools (which are already “very relaxed” when compared to those for public schools).

11% of children 4 through 17 “have been diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder”.

Punishment accorded children committing the same infractions in public schools varies by ethnicity.

Planet Earth News

AR Attorney General Dustin McDaniel (D) is opening an investigation into the oil pipeline rupture in the town of Mayflower.   Exxon is recruiting via craigslist “40 HR Hazmat trained laborers” for Mayflower.

❖ “Canada’s Information Commission is to investigate claims that the government is ‘muzzling’ its scientists” regarding environmental concerns.

The US  Trade Representative’s office, has “criticized ‘unnecessary’ European Union rules against genetically modified US crop imports”.

Terribly sick, emaciated baby sea lions are washing up on central CA beaches “at rates exponentially higher than in years past.”

Mixed Bag

❖ “Strange Decline of the Philly Accent”.

Break Time

Nadia