Hey folks, hope you’re well this day.

International Developments

Overall

- Pew: 53 percent of Americans view power of U.S. “less important and powerful” than 10 years ago. Way more discussed in this report

- Report: Somalia most corrupt country in the world, followed by North Korea and Afghanistan.

- “Iran will “immediately” export more crude oil once sanctions are lifted in the wake of the international deal to roll back its nuclear programme, the country’s oil minister said Tuesday.

- Poland taken to European Commission of Human Rights court by two Guantanamo Bay detainees for involvement in torture

- “The US and Canada Are Failing Asylum Seekers

- Despite Pope talking about “a new tyranny” of capitalism, will ministers at Bali WTO talks have the same opinion?

- “The dreadful legacy of U.N. resolution 181

Middle East

- Juan Cole: “Israeli Blockade of 40,000 Gaza Fishermen Briefly Broken by Youth Protesters

- “Closure of Lone Power Plant Cripples Already Besieged Gaza Strip

- Rania Khalek: “US Media Whitewashes Israel’s Plan To Ethnically Cleanse 40,000 Of Its Arab Citizens

- Syrian rebel fighters have kidnapped 12 nuns 

- French investigators find Yassar Arafat died of natural causes

- The Pentagon halts truckers shipping military supplies into Pakistan over anti-drone rally fears

- “Clashes resumed on Tuesday between Lebanese militias who back opposing sides of Syria’s war and 21 fighters were arrested by the army as it pursued a six-month-long mandate to end bloodshed battering the city of Tripoli.

- John Kerry: The Afghan defense secretary could sign the pact instead of Karzai

Asia & Oceania

- Pew: China has nearly 600 million internet users, most in the world

- Thai police let protesters through to protest in front of PM’s place after taking down barriers, but in a truce

- An American held in North Korea once trained South Korean guerrilla unit 

- Joe Biden reassures Japan that it will be defended by U.S. over disputed territory

- “Joe Biden’s trip to Asia was supposed to focus on economic co-operation. Instead, it is being dominated by the row over China’s new air defence identification zone.

Africa

- In the Congo, the U.N. uses drones for the first time for surveillance only

- According to the U.N., armed individuals killed 12 civilians & wounded at least 30 in Central African Republic

Europe

- Teenagers in Greece receive poor marks in math, science and reading in OECD report

- “The Vatican on Tuesday dodged a series of questions posed by a U.N. committee about clerical sexual abuse by noting that the Holy See doesn’t control the actions of every Catholic in the world, much less regulate every Catholic priest, parish or school.

- Greece is the least generous country in the world, according to a new report

- “How do the rich live?

- John Pilger: “Fear of the People’s History

- “Ukraine’s government faced a tightening blockade of key buildings by protesters in the capital Kiev on Wednesday amid a crisis over its rejection of closer ties with the European Union that has piled pressure on the creaking economy.

- “The last dead Nazi

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- “The mega fundraising event, organized by the Jewish National Fund, attracted Canadian public officials and major donors to Israel and the JNF. David Koschitzky, the chair of the Centre for Israel and the Jewish Affairs, said this was an opportunity to thank the [Canadian] prime minister for his steadfast friendship and support over the years.

- Honduras – “Banana Republic [is] open for business

- “Thousands in Honduras Decry “Fraudulent” Election and Call for Recount

- “A blackout that plunged much of Venezuela into darkness as President Nicolas Maduro spoke on TV was caused by a ruptured conductor in a transmission line, the government said Tuesday.

Surveillance Planet

- Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, testified to MPs over Snowden leaks. Live coverage here. Kevin has more here and here.

- Emptywheel discusses it further here

- Also, only 1 percent of Snowden documents have been revealed

- “British police are examining whether Guardian newspaper staff should be investigated for terrorism offenses over their handling of data leaked by Edward Snowden, Britain’s senior counter-terrorism officer said on Tuesday.

- “The Guardian editor should not have to love his country

- “Legendary Watergate journalist Carl Bernstein has written a letter of support to Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, who is due to appear before MPs on Tuesday to face questions over his publication of intelligence files from U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.”

- Report: Wal-Mart has consumer data on around 60 percent adults in U.S. and could sell them if wanted (in fact, they do share with other parties)

- For shame. “It appears “possible that some people may have committed offences” Scotland Yard’s head of counter-terrorism told MPs when she updated them on the state of the investigation into the material seized from David Miranda in August.

- Emptywheel: “Stealing US Person Data Overseas: A Fox Source and Method

- Great piece. “Exposed: Globally Renowned Activist Collaborated With Intelligence Firm Stratfor

Financial Matters

- Gallup: Despite confidence in U.S. economy up, it is still not on same level pre-shutdown

- Regarding financial and worker exploitation by the fast food companies

- Despite the elites being nervous about increasing inequality, they aren’t doing much to fix it

- Wal-Mart sells a misattributed Banksy print called “Destroy Capitalism

- “Corn futures rose Tuesday as traders speculated that recent price declines may be over for now.

- “A Pennsylvania woman who said AT&T improperly billed the government for millions of dollars in services has settled a federal lawsuit.

- Towels were number one big sellers for Wal-Mart on Black Friday

Labor’s a-Brewing

- Would organizing bank tellers assist in halting abuses by banks?

- Dean Baker: Everyday low wages at Wal-Mart – Brought to you by government policy

- “San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit’s two largest unions filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the agency, claiming its board of directors broke state law when it approved a contract without a key provision.

Politics USA

Washington USA

- Gallup: 1 in 4 Americans who are uninsured will remain that way

- “The White House says Obama in a speech Wednesday will renew his call for increasing the minimum wage, arguing that growing income inequality and stagnant wages threaten upward mobility and retirement security.”

- Obama: There’s no going back to pre-Obamacare health system, so what’s the GOP alternative?

- “Republicans controlling the House oppose a drive by Democrats to renew jobless benefits averaging less than $300 a week nationwide for the long-term unemployed, a senior GOP lawmaker said Tuesday.

- The White House is against the Senate’s efforts to continue Iran sanctions

- “The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is urging the Senate to ratify a global treaty on the rights of the disabled, arguing that it would benefit Americans when they are overseas.”

- “Congress’ Cushy Jobs: 239 Days Off While Workers Guaranteed Zero”

- Congress is on track for its most unproductive year

- “With the advent of 3-D printers capable of producing plastic weapons, the House voted Tuesday to renew a 25-year-old prohibition against firearms that can evade metal detectors and X-ray machines.

- Wall Street Journal features an op-ed that remarks Democrats must reject “economic populism” in order to win

- Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN): Obama has “rewritten the Constitution“; Even a broken clock is right twice a day, especially a deconstructed and barely functional one

- “Does Hillary’s Silence on Iran Deal Show Neocon Pull on Her Presidential Run?

- Colbert talks about HealthCare.gov woes and calls for the execution of a turkey who lost in pardoning contest

- Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WS) is close to working out a budget deal, so it’s bad news all around

Everything Else USA 

- Judge in Detroit case states the city can file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, thereby placing pensions at serious risk.

- What’s next for Detroit?

- Bloomberg continues to defend NY’s controversial Stop and Kiss Program

- The top ten ways American is “the most corrupt country in the world

- Pew: Americans have 50 percent favorable view of drone use made us safer from terrorism, but 39 percent say the same with Afghanistan war

- Democracy Now! discusses major trial over the no-fly list

- Campaign aide for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has been fired for her racist tweets

- ALEC is attempting to regain strength in politics after losing numerous corporations and state legislators in past two years

- What do indigenous Americans want?

- An uninsured Missouri journalist and Obamacare

- Train in New York had no problems. The driver states he went into a “daze

- The LA Times has an investigative series over Cardinal Roger Mahony and cover ups of sexual abuse

We Don’t Need No Education

- “Papering Over Public K-12 School Reform

- U.S. teens lagging behind in education new OECD report states

- What does the OECD report say anyway?

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- Data model can predict peak flu outbreaks

- “Sex, Lies and HIV: When What You Don’t Tell Your Partner Is a Crime

The Second Sex

- PETA claims, due to Plan B’s ineffectiveness for women weighing over 176 pounds, women should lose weight by going vegan

- More information from yesterday’s link on ACLU lawsuit “After a woman who was denied an abortion had a harrowing miscarriage, the ACLU sues Conference of Catholic Bishops

- Lawmakers in Michigan want women to have “special insurance” when it comes to abortion

- “Female Fort Hood soldiers recruited for prostitution ring, trial hears

- “The Four Reasons Misogynists Become Misogynists, According to Misogynists

- New study finds women are discriminated against in the media world

- “An appellate court on Tuesday questioned a lawyer for the state of Wisconsin about why lawmakers singled out abortion clinics in requiring their doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, as judges heard arguments about the hotly debated law.

- First chapter of Malala Yousafzai’s book can be found here

- “A Montana judge under fire for commenting that a 14-year-old rape victim appeared “older than her chronological age” said Tuesday that he deserves to be censured but not removed from the bench for the remarks.

Planet Earth

- “Why I’m Eating My Words on Veganism – Again

- Report: “Abrupt” changes due to climate change may occur in the next few decades

- “Silicon Valley’s scheme to trick carnivores into eating fake meat

- An infographic on global consumption

- “Britain has formally backed BP’s effort to overturn a US ban on the oil giant from government contracts due to the disastrous 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.”

- “Fukushima two years on: a dirty job with no end in sight

- “ Hard-to-predict sudden changes to Earth’s environment are more worrisome than climate change’s bigger but more gradual impacts, a panel of scientists advising the federal government concluded Tuesday.

Mixed Bag

- Musician David Lowery: “Silicon Valley must be stopped, or creativity will be destroyed

- Eight tips for creativity to happen

Break Time

- Since I Fell for You