Greetings.

International Developments

❖ “Turkey’s Deputy [Prime Minister] Bulent Arinc apologises to protesters injured [while] opposing the demolition of an Istanbul park.”

“Syria’s war has reached ‘new levels of brutality‘, with evidence of fresh suspected massacres, sieges and violations of children’s rights”,  including forcing a child to participate in two beheadings.  ”80 child soldiers . . . killed during combat.”  Update: UK and France are sure sarin has been used, but not so sure by whom.  Update:  10,000 Shias have volunteered to fight the rebels, following attack on a Shia shrine.

❖ “Afghans protest against US forces after discovery of mutilated bodies.”

❖ This should turn out really well:  “Egyptian Politicians: Sabotage Ethiopia’s New Dam.”

❖ Smuggling ancient manuscripts out of Timbuktu.

❖ Ooopsie.  “U.S. publishes details of missile base Israel wanted kept secret.”

❖ Three years ago, he wrote a “scathing editorial” about the failures of the OAS.  This week, though, Secretary of State John Kerry will be attending an OAS meeting to discuss  “Counternarcotics and counterterrorism strategy, as well as human rights throughout the Western Hemisphere”.

International Finance

Concern that Chinese firms “are unfairly undercutting rivals”, the European Commission “is imposing temporary anti-dumping levies on Chinese solar panel imports.”

Money Matters USA

❖ “US Proposes Labeling Some Nonbanks Threats“.  American International Group “says it is among the firms” named.  Update: Two more names revealed:  Prudential Financial and GE Capital.

❖ How smart is this?  “MSNBC Chief Phil Griffin:  Our Network Is ‘Not The Place’ for Breaking News”

Map showing “The Absolute Worst States for Job Hunting Law School Grads”.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has called for “Americans to take matters into their own hands” over the pending doubling of interest rates for student loans (from 3.4 to 6.8%).  “Why isn’t she willing to be in the fore here?”  BTW, the Department of Education is making money hands-over-fist.

❖ NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed suit against HSBC bank for failure “to meet state requirements for giving borrowers an opportunity to negotiate loan modifications.”

Politics USA

President Obama has announced he’ll veto “any 2014 spending bills based on the House GOP budget.”  Apparently, this is a ploy to force a conference between the House GOP and the Senate to “turn off . . . the sequester.”

❖ “IRS tax scandal in US: new evidence undermines political bias claims: Officials reveal three-quarters of political groups subject to extra tax inspection not identifiably White House opponents”.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC):  “There is ‘No Evidence’ White House Directed IRS To Target Conservatives.”

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who sneaked into Syria last week, “was the unfortunate ‘victim of a terrorist photo-bombing’.”

Recap of the interesting history of Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA).

❖ “I believe the root problem here is that Republicans told lies for so long that they finally produced a generation of officeholders who actually confuse lies with the truth.  They got high on their own supply.”

PA Gov. Tom Corbett (R)’s popularity numbers are so low he’s “even uniquely unpopular in a crowd that includes Governor Bat Boy down in Florida”.

FL state representative Matt Gaetz (R) on speeding up the death penalty: “Only God can judge.  But we sure can set up the meeting.”  Hardy-har-har.

Speaking before the TX legislature,  “representative Tom Alvin (R) Altruria, dropped . . . what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette.”  He picked it up, put it in his pocket and carried on.

A Seattle judge threw the book at a “sovereign citizen” who’s persisted for years in filing spurious documents “to flood the legal system”–even from his prison cell.

Gun Corner

❖ Uh-oh.  “Pro-gun activists in Colorado have turned in twice the number of signatures necessary to trigger a recall vote for Democratic state Senate President John Morse”.

The War on Women

A C-section was successfully performed on the 22-year-old El Salvadoran woman who has major medical problems and was carrying a seriously malformed fetus.

Sen  Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) “blames military rapes on “the hormone level created by nature’.”

MS Gov. Phil Bryant (R), who’s vowed to shut down every abortion clinic in his state, attributes American mediocrity to “the mom [being] in the workplace.”

Education Directions

Big news out of Raleigh, NC where 100s of protesters are rallying and being arrested, fighting Republican efforts to cut education spending, promote private school vouchers, and to reverse hard-won women’s and voters’ rights.

Heads Up!

Much more is going on between the Associated Press and the federal government.  E.g., AP “filed Freedom of Information requests for the secret email addresses of appointed administration employees”, only to be told by the Labor Department that would cost the AP $1.03 million, which is illegal.  AP’s now awaiting word from the other departments.

❖ “Authorities were nearly 400 percent more likely to arrest people of color than whites for marijuana-related offenses”, even though the two groups have very similar patterns of use of the drug.  American Civil Liberties Union report using FBI data.

Planet Earth News

Monsanto is completely baffled over the appearance of “unauthorised genetically modified wheat” on a farm in OR.  Since Monsanto is the only entity known to have planted GMO wheat in Oregon during tests 9 years ago . . .

❖ “Billionaire and climate activist Tom Steyer [is developing]  a new campaign to sharpen opposition to the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline.”  He notes “the arguments for building the Canada-to-Texas pipeline have ‘collapsed’.”

Canadian firm “Enbridge is quietly building a 5,000-mile network of . . . pipelines”, bringing more oil into the US than the Keystone XL.

Purchase of Smithfield Farms by China’s Shuanghui Group “might actually clean up one dirty aspect of our domestic pork industry.”

❖ “EU’s Oettinger: Nuclear Power Part of Bloc’s Future Energy Mix“.  He’s the European Commissioner for Energy.  He had another great idea once–”that heavily indebted countries should fly their flag at half mast outside EU buildings.”

Mixed Bag

Eight 3000-year-old boats found in Cambridgeshire, England.

Guard cats; chicken fight-busters.

Break Time

1927 London, in color.