Hello.

International Developments

Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban for promoting education for girls in Pakistan, addressed the UN on her 16th birthday.

“Militants linked to al Qaeda in Syria killed a senior figure in the Western- and Arab-backed Free Syrian army on Thursday . . . , signaling a widening rift”.

❖ “Will Egypt’s post-Morsi era be safer for women?”

The US wants Egypt to “stop the ‘arbitrary’ arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members”.  Update: Germany and the US want former President Mohamed Morsi to be freed.

Hamas claims UK, France and others are “trying to establish open dialogue despite isolation policy”.

❖ “Drones in Niger Reflect New U.S. Tack on Terrorism”, with the US not disclosing much, “presumably to avoid raising their public profile” and concern that “Islamic radicals [might] make it an issue.”

Why did the US opt for killing by drone “after shuttering Bush’s black sites and deciding not to send anyone else to Guantanamo”?  Did CIA fears of being “held legally responsible for engaging in torture” lead to greater emphasis on drones?  Does emphasis on drones result in war without end?

Berlin police are searching for the “light artist [who] projected the phrase ‘United Stasi of America’ onto the US Embassy in Berlin.”

Boeing 787 Dreamliner, Ethiopian Airlines’ Queen of Sheba, caught on fire while parked at London’s Hearthrow.

24 bodies found so far in the devastated area of Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.

International Finance

Walmart’s and Gap’s proposed  program for Bangladesh factory safety “falls short of the [enforceable] standard set by the binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh”.

Money Matters USA

❖ “JPMorgan Quarterly Earnings Surge 31 Percent.”

Microsoft is reorganizing.

In Hot Pursuit

Edward Snowden met with human rights activists and Russian officials at the Sheremetyevo airport today.  Afterwards a Duma member said Snowden “plans to seek asylum in Russia”.  Update:  Snowden’s statement.

❖ “Disappointed”, says the US of China’s “failure to hand over intelligence analyst Edward Snowden”.

Surveillance Planet

“The [UN's] 120-member Non-Aligned Movement . . . has expressed its ‘deep concern over the flagrant violation of the diplomatic immunity’ of a sitting head of state”, Bolivian President Evo Morales.

Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela) met in Uruguay  and “planned to send a tough message to Washington” about US spying in Latin America “and to defend their right to offer asylum to . . . Edward Snowden.”  Update: They are recalling their European ambassadors “for consultation . . . over Bolivian plane incident.”

Two French human rights groups have filed a “lawsuit in attempt to prompt investigation in France into disclosures made by Edward Snowden.” Another suit in the UK challenges “British and US spy programmes” and seeks a temporary injunction of the UK’s TEMPORA.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) “believes Obama is increasingly concerned about privacy issues around NSA collection” and might consider “scaling back . . . bulk collection of Americans’ phone records.”

Politics USA

❖ “White House pledges veto of GOP farm bill”, the one without food stamps in it.

Janet Napolitano, next president of the University of California?  What? Why?  “[H]er experiences in the Obama administration, including heading anti-terrorism initiatives, would be an advantage in administering UC’s federal energy and nuclear weapons labs”.  Update:  It’s true.  Update:  NY Police Commission Ray Kelly to replace Napolitano?

Representative Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) wants to recall J. Russell George, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration before the Oversight and Government Reform Committee to answer additional questions, including why George didn’t mention that  ”Occupy Organizations” were included in the IRS BOLO entries.

New York Times takes “Republican extremists” to task for stripping food stamps from the Farm Bill and refusing to enact any meaningful immigration legislation.

“[A] group of Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members will host an emergency summit this month designed to rein in urban shootings.”

IL Gov. Pat Quinn (D) wants the state’s $100bn pension crisis resolved.  Since state lawmakers haven’t done much about it, he’s suspended their pay (and his own) until they do.

VA Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) and his wife have been in the news lately for accepting funds for personal use from a “prominent political donor and businessmen”.  Now the governor’s chef has been thrown into the mix.  He’s talking to the FBI and VA State Police.

NC Gov.Pat McCrory (R) “said he has often entered the crowds that gather in [Raleigh] to protest the Republican agenda and policies . . . [and has] even got a good cussing by protesters.”  Problem is, there’s nary a picture nor video of him doing that.

Prominent supporters say he should resign “over sexual harassment allegations”, but San Diego, CA Mayor Bob Filner (D) says he’s going to get help with changing his “behavior and approach” instead.

PA Attorney General Kathleen Kale (D) won’t defend against a “federal lawsuit . . . challenging the constitutionality of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage”.

12,000+ prisoners in CA’s prison system have been on a hunger strike for three days.

The jury is now deliberating in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case.

GA is shamelessly scrambling to find drugs to execute an “intellectually disabled” inmate.

The War on Women

Forceful letter from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to the Texas Legislature:  “Get Out of Our Exam Rooms”.  Update: “Tampons Confiscated, Guns Still Allowed At Texas Capitol”.

Females under 17 in IL must alert their parents “before having an abortion”.

Education Directions

❖ “A New York City charter school operator claims the state has no right to audit it, and asked a judge to stop the state comptroller from doing so.”

Planet Earth News

❖ ”US government assessment of BP oil spill ‘will not account for damage’”.  That’s from the National Research Council which called for a “sweeping overhaul” of methods used.

ME’s Department of Environmental Protection is “investigating why Pan Am has stopped paying monthly oil shipping fees.”

Brazil’s Jirau hydropower plant and Uruguay’s wind energy program received Renewable Energy recognition from the UN.

An estimated 2.1m deaths/year “are associated globally and annually with . . . fine particulate matter”.

Latin America

❖ “Key ports and several motorways were blocked, many schools and banks stayed closed and crowds marched through Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo” yesterday as unions struck for “improved working conditions and better public services.”

Mixed Bag

Wow! What a great vacation spot.

Break Time

Dear Mr. Fantasy