Greetings.

International Developments

Claims about use of sarin gas in Syria come under closer scrutiny.  Update:  “Al-Qaeda’s battle for control of Assad’s chemical weapons plant.”  Update: Syria calls “US and UK claims that it may have used chemical arms” a “barefaced lie”.

The UK Defence Staff Chief “has warned [Prime Minister] David Cameron that intervening in Syria would risk sucking UK forces into an all-out war.”

Four NATO service members killed when a plane crashed in southern Afghanistan yesterday.

❖ “Iraqi authorities have suspended the licences of 10 satellite channels because of a rise in sectarian unrest.”

❖ “Men in pick-up trucks bristling with anti-aircraft guns have blocked off Libya’s foreign ministry, demanding a jobs ban on Gaddafi-era officials.”

An American tourist who photographed some homeless North Korean children is facing the death penalty for “plotting to overthrow the government”.

The two owners of the Bangladesh factory which collapsed last week, and two authorities who issued permits for adding stories to the building, have been arrested. Death toll is now at almost 400, with around 900 still missing.

Italy has a government, “forged from team of rivals”–with “Berlusconi-conservatives return[ing] in power-sharing deal with liberal opponents to jointly save country from recession.”  Any bets on who’ll end up in charge?  Update: ”Italian police shot outside prime minister’s office.”

❖ “A Bosnian court has ordered the president of the autonomous Bosniak-Croat Federation to be detained for a month on corruption charges.”

❖ ”U.S. deploying drones in drug wars” in the Caribbean.

Mariela Castro, Fidel’s daughter, cannot visit Philadelphia, PA “to receive an award for her gay rights activism”.  The US State Department “has denied her permission to travel there”.

International Finance

❖ Good news: “Austerity opposition goes mainstream: Bad data, dodgy assumptions and a basic inability to use Microsoft Excel may have doomed the economic movement”.

France’s Social and Consumer Affairs Minister accuses German Chancellor Angela Merkel of being “the only one, supported by a few northern countries, [who] believes austerity is working”.

5.6 million homes in Spain are unoccupied, as people are evicted into homelessness.  The Platform for Mortgage Affected Persons and Indignado groups are blocking evictions and occupying abandoned buildings for the homeless.

❖ ”Fatigued by years of austerity and swayed by promises of debt relief, Icelandic voters dumped the Social Democrats from power on Saturday, returning a center-right government that ruled over its stunning financial collapse just five years ago.”

Money Matters USA

King County, WA and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank sued Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Morgan Stanley, accusing “them of hiding risky investments” (this goes back to the mortgage crisis).  There has been a settlement; details were not disclosed.

Politics USA

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a day late and a dollar short: “without intervention in the Syrian civil war, the entire region will “fall into chaos”. Rep. MIke Rogers (R-MI) says “further action in Syria must be taken now that the United States believes that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons.”  Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) says “we should leave all options on the table . . ., including sending in troops.”

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) thinks the “Russians know more about the Tsarnaev family than they are currently” saying.  Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security, thinks “the mother of alleged Boston Marathon Bombers” radicalized her sons  and that a “trainer” taught them how to make the bombs.

❖ A FL college professor thinks the Boston Marathon Bombing was staged and actors were used.  No doubt we’ll be hearing from the hologram people next.

Boeing says that landing gear found “wedged between a mosque and an apartment building in New York” was the same type as used on jets that flew into the WTC.  There’s an ID number on the thing, too.

J. Everett Dutschke, the man the FBI was searching for in relation to those ricin-laden letters sent to Obama, et al., is now in FBI custody.  He’s “been charged with possessing a biological agent with intent to use as a weapon.”

❖ For the first time, the black turnout rate for the 2012 election surpassed that of whites.

Signs that former MT Governor Brian Schweitzer (D) may be running for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT).

❖ ”Sarah Palin Called Everyone At The White House Correspondents’ Dinner ‘Assclowns’.” Segueing right along  . . .

Gun Corner

❖ “The Tennessee Firearms Association is raffling off one AR-15 semiautomatic rifle” (type used in the Newtown, CT massacre) “to resist Barack Obama” and anybody else  messin’ with their 2nd Amendment rights.

Enough!

❖ “Occupy Draws a Bead on the NRA”

Education Directions

Michelle Rhee’s StudentsFirst has announced that TN House Representative John Ragan is “the state’s ‘educational Reformer of the year’”.  Ragan is author of TN’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

❖ Prestigious and expensive Horace Mann prep school in New York had “a systemic pattern of alleged abuse” by “at least 12 separate” pedophiles from 1962-1996.  Nothing’s going to be done about it: statute of limitations.

Heads Up!

❖ From Bill Moyers’ website:  “Slideshow: Six Whistleblowers Charged Under the Espionage Act”.

Almost complete lockdown at Guantanamo.

New York City police officer who testified in court about the stop-and-frisk program describes the harassment they’re facing.

$40m–that’s the price the owner is demanding for 40 acres of land.  It just happens to be the site of the 1890 massacre of Lakota people at Wounded Knee, SD.  The land the owner wants to sell was appraised at $14,000 by the county.

Planet Earth News

❖ “The Environmental Protection Agency says the proposed Pebble mine in Alaska could wipe out nearly 100 miles of streams and 4,800 acres of wetlands in one of the last places remaining in the world to support huge runs of wild salmon.”

❖ “‘We Speak for the Bees‘:  Marchers Urge Eu-Wide Ban of Killer Pesticides: ‘This is not abstract theorizing.  Bees are dying out.  Now.’”

Break TIme

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