Greetings.

International Developments

❖ “More British soldiers and veterans took their own lives in 2012 than died fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan over the same period.”

❖ “Israel carried out an air attack . . . July 5th near Latakia, Syria’s principal port city . . . [against] advanced antiship cruise missiles sold to the Syrian government by Russia, American officials [who didn't want to be identified] said Saturday.”

Free Syrian army clashes with jihadists in wake of commander’s assassination: Fighting in Aleppo widens cracks in splintering opposition as military gains are reversed.”

❖ “At least six people have been killed in a series of gun and bomb attacks in northern Iraq.”  Update: “Wave Of Evening Bombings Kills At Least 28.”

British security experts at Jane’s say “Saudi missile sites target Iran, Israel.”

❖ “The Pakistani Taliban have set up camps and sent hundreds of men to Syria to fight alongside rebels opposed to President Bashar al-Assad”.

❖ “Officials say an apparent U.S. drone missile strike has killed two people in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal zone.”

❖ “Egypt ‘freezes assets’ of [14] Muslim Brotherhood leaders.”

Two US “amphibious assault ships have moved to the coast” of Egypt.

Seven “UN peacekeepers killed in Sudan’s Darfur”.

❖ “More than 30,000 people have fled DR Congo after a group of Ugandan rebels attacked a border town”.

Confidential UN report:  “Kenyan soldiers in the African Union peacekeeping force in Somalia [facilitated] illegal charcoal exports [which generate] millions of dollars a year for Islamic militants”.

❖ Hunger strike at Guantanamo Bay, hunger strike in CA prisons, hunger strike by Palestinians in Israeli jails:  “Prisoners Stage Hunger Strikes Worldwide.”

International Finance

Portugal’s Socialist Party leader, Antonio Jose Seguro caused quite a stir by demanding “Lisbon renegotiate the terms of its bailout deal with Brussels.”  Why? “The prime minister has to recognise publicly that his austerity policies have failed.”

❖ “Europe’s debt-crisis strategy is near collapse. The long-awaited recovery has failed to take wing. . . . Political consent for extreme austerity is breaking down . . ..”  In other words, “The wheels are coming off the whole of southern Europe.”

Deutsche Bank “managed to lend to firms from Brazil to Italy while making the transactions disappear from its balance sheet, even though it is still owed the money.”

Remember the good ship Libertad, held in Ghana last December while Argentina battled with hedge fund Elliott Management?  The US Justice Department “ponders whether to take the unusual step of wading into the dispute before the Supreme Court asks it to”.

Money Matters USA

Major recalculations by the Economic Policy Institute of what it takes for US families to get by.  (E.g., a one parent/one child family in St. Louis, MO costs $3905/month.)  Comparisons by family sizes across cities, geographic areas.

In the wake of the economic calamities brought on by the mortgage trap, some cities are beginning “to buy underwater mortgages at their current market value and resell them to homeowners at reduced price and mortgage payments.”

Surveillance Planet

❖ “Q&A with Glenn Greenwald: Americans’ reaction [to the Snowden leaks] ‘surprising and gratifying’.  ACLU:  “U.S. Actions in Snowden Case Threaten Right to Seek Asylum”.

Brazil’s Foreign Relations Committee want to have Glenn Greenwald attend a public hearing Tuesday relative to his recent articles about US spying in Brazil.  [Google translate.]

James “Comey’s responses [to questions about government surveillance during the Senate hearing on his FBI nomination], taken in total, were quite troubling” and his ducking a debate on FISA Court issues “should be enough to cause concern among Senators when considering Comey’s nomination.”

On the relevance of the word ‘relevant’ or “Secrets Exposed: How the NSA Rubber-Stamps Warrantless Spying.”

❖ “Focusing on Snowden’s Revelations, not Snowden” includes a roundup of all the links to Guardian stories about the NSA leaks.  Update:  Greenwald responds to articles about the “dead man’s switch” and other issues.

Politics USA

US Attorney General Eric Holder logged in $1.45 million in travel expenses in 2011.

The sad state of American journalism today, except for the lucky few who’ve made it into the inner circle of corporate-approved talk and type.

Jim Newell watched all the Sunday teevee newstalk shows so we didn’t have to.

❖ Some reactions to the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin verdict:  a WI lawyer; Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic; Cord Jefferson of Gawker; the ACLU.  “From NY to California, protesters hold rallies to protest Zimmerman’s acquittal”.

❖ So, what do you think about the list of possible replacements for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano?

Former MT Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) “will not run for Montana’s open U.S. Senate seat in 2014″.

The War on Women

The US Department of Education will  investigate the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for allegedly  retaliating “against sophomore Landen Gambill for filing a federal complaint . . . over its handling of sexual assault cases.”

❖ “The Iowa [all-male] Supreme Court on Friday stood by its ruling that a dentist acted legally when he fired an assistant because he found her too attractive and worried he would try to start an affair.”

Beginning August 28th, the law in MO will stipulate that a physician must be “present for any drug-induced abortion”.

While state troopers in TX were confiscating tampons and sanitary pads, a member of the Irish legislature, during their abortion debate, grabbed a colleague and forced her onto his lap.

Planet Earth News

❖ Apparently, the State Department, responsible for the environmental assessment of the Keystone XL Pipeline, doesn’t know its exact route.

❖ Last week, Google hosted a fundraiser for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), major climate change denier.

❖ “The 7 States Leading the Charge for Clean Energy.”  You might be a bit surprised.

Sediment under a “Swiss lake used for drinking water and situated near a nuclear plant” contains “a radioactive substance”.

Latin America

❖ “Brazil’s Major Unions Join Movement for First Time, Strike in 150 Cities.”  President Dilma Rousseff’s party “is largely criticized for its gradual separation from workers’ struggles and its closeness to financial elites and agribusiness oligarchies.”  Sound familiar?

Break Time

❖ Wild Heart