Good day folks.

Nelson Mandela’s Death and Legacy, Day 8

- Palestinians draw inspiration from Mandela on anti-apartheid activism

- “The Shifting Economics of the ANC

- Amy Goodman: Mandela: The man and the movement

- John Pilger: “Mandela’s Greatness May Be Assured, but Not His Legacy

International Developments

Overall

- “Chemical weapons were probably used in four locations in Syria this year in addition to the confirmed attack near Damascus in August, United Nations inspectors said on Thursday.

- “A retired FBI agent missing for seven years after disappearing in Iran was on an unauthorized mission for the CIA, according to an explosive new report on Thursday that contradicted the official explanation that he was on private business.” More here.

- “US’s top Iran negotiator: Sanctions relief ‘envisioned’ at $6-7 billion

- Why is the U.S. getting in the U.N.’s way of making drinking water a right?

- “Anoud Senussi, the daughter of Qaddafi’s intelligence chief Abdullah Senussi, has said her father should be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague for trial. She claimed that he would not receive a fair hearing in Libya and that he would face the death penalty there.

- “Kerry’s Coup

- ” French President François Hollande sought to take advantage of a chill in U.S.-Brazil relations to push a French bid for a multibillion-dollar fighter-jet contract during a visit to Brasilia on Thursday.

- U.N. asks India to review its gay sex ban

- “In 13 countries around the world, all of them Muslim, people who openly espouse atheism or reject the official state religion of Islam face execution under the law, according to a detailed study issued on Tuesday.

Middle East

- Drone strike has killed 15 civilians who were going to a wedding party. Kevin has more.

- Regarding the “non-existent” left in Israel

- Part 3 of interview with Phyllis Bennis

- “Hagel threatens to cut $1.6 billion Pakistan aid because [of] Drone Protests Blocking NATO Convoys

- Juan Cole: “Has a European Boycott of Israeli Colonies in the Palestinian West Bank Begun?

- Member of Lebanon Parlimanet Samy Gemayel: Hezbollah intervention in Syria has brought conflict into Lebanon

- In southern Syria, U.S. and UK “carving out” a security section for rebels

- 984 Iraqis died in Nov., vast majority of them were civilians. Up from Sept.

- “Israel was admitted as a full member of the prestigious European nuclear physics lab CERN.

- John Kerry meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Israeli-Palestinian talks

- “Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel says the U.S. will continue to support the moderate opposition in Syria, but non-lethal aid will be suspended until the U.S. can get a clear assessment on the status of warehouses of military equipment seized by extremist Islamic militants.”

- How Syria is attracting more suicide bombers

- “Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees are enduring blizzards, biting winds and freezing rain as the worst winter storm for decades sweeps across the Middle East.

Asia and Oceania

- Pilots cannot fly to Beijing anymore unless they know how to land in smog

- “Thailand’s opposition leader and former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has been formally charged with murder amid political upheaval that analysts say could see current anti-government protests lead to violence.

- Japan has been condemned for its “secret” executions

- High court in Australia has ruled gay marriage law unconstitutional and made it invalid

- “Bangladesh has executed the Islamist leader Abdul Kader Mullah, who was convicted of atrocities committed during the 1971 war of independence with Pakistan.

- “U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday discussed tensions with China in the East China Sea and stressed the importance of security cooperation between the United States, Japan and South Korea.

- “North Korea has executed Kim Jong-un’s uncle as a “traitor for all ages” who sought to grab power, state media announced early this morning.

Africa

- “Egyptian riot police fired teargas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of pro-Islamist protesters demonstrating near the headquarters of the ministry of defense in Cairo on Thursday, security sources said.

- Criminals from Israel make Morocco their haven for safety

- “Many of Tripoli’s petrol stations remained closed today as the fuel crisis spread to other towns in the region.

- “Somalia’s president has appointed a new prime minister, an economist who has worked for the World Bank and the United States government aid agency.

- “At least 39 people have been killed by an outbreak of bubonic plague in Madagascar in recent weeks, the country’s health ministry confirmed yesterday.

- “We made error over Nelson Mandela sign language interpreter” states SA government while interpreter states he has schizophrenia

- “Central African Republic humanitarian crisis mounts even as attacks ease

- “The U.N. Security Council on Thursday called the security situation in Africa’s Sahel region “alarming,” and it urged states there to better cooperate in fighting terrorist groups and the transnational crimes like drug trafficking that increasingly fund them.

Europe

- Pew: Western European countries more open to same-sex marriage than Eastern European countries

- “Russian President Vladimir Putin made a new attempt to woo Ukraine on Thursday after the European Union and United States stepped up efforts to pull Kiev out of its former Soviet master’s orbit.

- Turkey tries to restore relations with Armenia, but does not apologize

- “The Turkish Historical Society (TTK) has been “profiling” scholars and students working on the Armenian issue, weekly Agos has reported. 

- “The parents of a Pakistani man stabbed to death in Athens earlier this year will be in Greece for the trial of his alleged murderers, which opens on December 18.” Two Golden Dawn supporters committed the crime so can we please designate them as a terrorist organization?

- “Pro-EU protesters in Ukraine have reinforced their position in the centre of Kiev, rebuilding barricades torn down by police.

- Vladimir Putin: Russia is not attempting to be a superpower nor do we want to dictate how others should live

- Also, Putin defended anti-gay laws as countering “so-called tolerance

- “Police in southeast Athens are hunting for a group of individuals who attempted to abduct a shipowner on Thursday afternoon.

- “The Spanish government has vowed to block plans by parties in Catalonia to hold a referendum on independence on 9 November of next year.

- A new metro station will open in Greece

- “Greece is close to reaching a central target of its bailout agreements with international lenders, after beating expectations for its budget performance in the first 11 months of the year, the Finance Ministry said Thursday.

- “For the first time in the five years of Italy’s economic crisis, grass-roots protests expressing frustration if not deep anger at the political class are spreading across Italy.”

- Pope Francis: We give super rich millions, while the poor get “crumbs”

- Death toll for Glasgow helicopter crash reaches 10

- Ukraine “still intends to sign EU pact

- “Understanding Pope Francis

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- More on Uruguay’s push for legalized cannabis

- “The United States illegally deported a gay asylum-seeker to months of torture and death in a Honduran prison, his mother claims in court.

- More analysis over the Honduran election

Surveillance Planet

- MEPs have voted to invite Edward Snowden to testify

- “A digital bill of rights

- Emptywheel: “Did DOJ Prosecute Basaaly Moalin Just to Have a Section 215 “Success”?

- Santa Claus and the NSA

- “France’s Green Party said it would back a campaign to force the constitutional court to review a new law that expands the government’s powers to monitor phone and Internet connection data without authorization from a judge.

Financial Matters

- Gallup: “Intentions” by U.S. consumers for holiday shopping remain modest

- “The Church of “Stop Shopping”: Meet the Man Leading An Uprising Against The World’s Biggest Banks

- “Boeing is a Greedy, Freeloading Corporation That Screws American Taxpayers and Workers

- “JP Morgan Chase, the biggest bank in the US, is facing another multi-billion dollar fine, this time deriving from its involvement with notorious Ponzi scheme fraudster Bernard Madoff.

- “SEC Issues More Fines Over Magnetar Deals – and Appears to Move on

- “The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose sharply last week, reversing the prior three weeks declines, but a recent strengthening of the labor market likely remains intact. 

- “Iceland Sends Four Bank Bosses to the Slammer

- “As part of its efforts to expand globally, Ford announced plans to hire 5,000 workers in the US and 6,000 workers in Asia in 2014.

Labor’s a-Brewing

- Great! “Federal Employee Unions Gain Members Post-Shutdown

- “Amid workers alleging union-busting by an NBC Universal-owned company, MSNBC’s prime-time host Chris Hayes recently met privately with a group of them to hear their concerns, according to several people present at the meeting.

- NYU grad students have signed, with a 98 percent approval rate, to form a union with UAW

Politics USA

Washington USA

- House passes budget deal 332-94. The entire day process is found here

- “The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama wants to address growing media protests about limited access to his events, including restricted coverage of his trip to South Africa with former President George W. Bush.

- Gallup: 21 percent of Americans cite “dissatisfaction with government” as top problem, economy in second, healthcare in third

- “Bipartisan Budget Deal Secures Austerity Policies, Fails to Extend Unemployment Benefits

- The Daily Show discusses the latest budget deal here and here and here

- Five things wrong with the latest budget deal

- “The Senate Intelligence Committee and Central Intelligence Agency still have major disagreements over a huge report the committee is trying to complete that is highly critical of harsh counter-terrorism practices such as “waterboarding,” which the agency used under President George W. Bush.

- Deportations reach nearly 2 million as protests continue to force Obama to act

- “For Republicans, a Homeless, 11-year-old Black Girl Named Dasani is a ‘Useless Eater’ Who Should Die

- Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK): Obamacare “will work and work well

- “President Barack Obama’s campaign for Congress to hold off on new sanctions over Iran’s nuclear program won a key endorsement on Thursday when the chairman of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee rejected tightening measures against Iran now.

- Paul Ryan to Marco Rubio: Read the deal and get back to me

- “U.S. wireless carriers will make it easier for consumers to “unlock” their mobile phones for use on a competitor’s network, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said on Thursday.

- “SEC plans to take more cases to trial despite losses

- “The Obama administration asked insurers on Thursday to be flexible with Americans trying to buy new health policies through the federal website HealthCare.gov, as officials race to fix problems still plaguing the enrollment process.

- U.S. Congress interested in lowering contractor pay with cap of near $500,000

- House passes $633 billion defense spending bill

- “The U.S. House of Representatives passed a stopgap farm measure on Thursday to avert a potential doubling in dairy prices next month while lawmakers wrap up a new farm bill that cuts food stamps for the poor and expands subsidized crop insurance.

- Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV): Every last one of Obama’s nominees will be confirmed

- “Top US auto safety regulator to step down

Everything Else USA 

- Bill Moyers: “We Are This Close to Losing Our Democracy to the Mercenary Class

- Pew: Out of 38 countries, U.S. last in providing paid parental care 

- Coincidentally, new CAP/CEPR study advocates for more benefits and investment when it comes to paid parental leave. Press release here.

- “The pensions of Detroit city retirees won’t be immune to cuts despite a private effort to raise $500 million to help the city eventually emerge from bankruptcy, emergency manager Kevyn Orr said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press.”

- New economic report leads more Americans to be delusional enough to run their own business

- “Techpreneur’s Friends Won’t Let Him Retract His Facebook Rant Calling SF’s Destitute ‘Trash’

- “An Open Letter to My Transgender Brothers on World AIDS Day 2013

- David Sirota: “Three essential (and ignored) questions about Detroit’s bankruptcy

- Police say teen shot himself in the head while his hands were in handcuffs behind his back

- Megyn Kelly: Santa Claus is white; You know it’s bad when a journalist believes in a social construct and calls it white

- “North Carolina shows why the Voting Rights Act is needed

- “Christie asked Cuomo to rein in investigator of George Washington Bridge closure

- “Here Lies America: Shot to Death

- 16 shows and films that talk about race in America

- “Camden, N.J.: A Catastrophic Cautionary Tale

- “Federal experts will spend the next two months examining safety compliance and safety culture at a commuter railroad that operated a train that derailed and killed four people this month.

- “Actually Existing Capitalism: Wrecking Societies for the Benefit of Big Capital and the Super-Rich

- “Another Setback in Federal Investigation of New Orleans Police

Top Gun! (Stories)

- Pew: A year after Newtown, 50 percent of Americans think it is important to control gun ownership

- “Where’s the Body Count from Shootings by the Police?

- “Thousands of guns could be sold illegally by unlicensed firearms dealers on just one classified ad website, according to an investigation commissioned by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- “The Company That Made Silk Soy Milk Non-Organic Has Bought the Biggest Organic Salad Supplier — What’s in Store?

- New drug found to reduce breast cancer risk by half

- “Health officials say the flu season seems to be getting off to more normal start this year.

- “28 states ask FDA to rethink painkiller approval

The Second Sex

- Juan Cole: “Five Women Human Rights Activists who are Changing the Middle East

- A gender gap with scientific publishing

- United Nations Women releases a PSA ad on life of an Egyptian woman facing sexual harassment. Definitely recommended.

- Michigan has passed a bill requiring woman to get “rape insurance” Lawmaker in Michigan argues against it by bringing up her own history as a rape survivor

- “Op-Ed: A Difficult Solidarity with Saudi Arabian Women

- “‘Slut-Shaming’ Has Been Tossed Around So Much, It’s Lost All Meaning

- A “radical feminist” judge was confirmed by the Senate

Planet Earth

- Dallas, Texas passes ban on fracking

- NOAA: Arctic melting slowed this year, but it’s not all good news

- “Activists urge White House to let Podesta weigh in on Keystone

- “Yellowstone grizzlies could lose federal protection”

- The risk, due to fracking, of a Fukushima-esque nuclear disaster

- “The Last Great Ethical Question

- “Mexico’s Congress on Thursday overwhelmingly voted to open up the country’s oil and gas sector to private investment in the biggest overhaul of the industry since it was nationalized in 1938.

- Earth is probably “double sensitive” to CO2

Mixed Bag

- Pew: 46 percent of American don’t care whether it is “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas”

- The universe might be one large hologram

- Ice Cube, Kevin Hart and Conan O’Brien take a ride with a stranger

- Just great to hear. “Bots now ‘account for 61% of web traffic’

- “Coloring book featuring Ted Cruz selling fast

Break Time

- La Mer