May James Avery rest in peace.

First Roundup of the year, though short as sites are taking a day off from New Year’s (wouldn’t blame them). Happy New Year to all.

International Developments

Overall

A new study has found the U.N. is “too Christian” and calls for more tolerance for all religions and work for equality

- Gartner, an IT research firm, has stated in a new report a movement greater and larger than Occupy Wall Street will develop near the end of 2014. Can’t tell whether to be thrilled or question it since it’s very specific.

- With all that happened this year in terms of terrible news, at least we have the benefit of 10 things (there’s certainly more) giving us hope for the future.

- As a civilization, we have a duty to evolve to a higher state of consciousness and living. With the system of capitalism, we’re digging the grave for the masses, while the elite reap the benefits. What gives?

- “Chinese iron trade fuels port clash with Mexican drug cartel

Middle East

- “U.S. officials are seeking to block a move by an Afghan panel to free 88 detainees from a prison north of Kabul the Americans say would pose a security threat if released.

The tragedy of children in Afghanistan with an environment lacking much-needed resources and a war-weary country that has millions poured into it for war, rather than livelihood of civilians.

- “Syria’s opposition National Coalition on Wednesday accused an Al-Qaeda-linked group in the country of ties to the Syrian regime, saying it was serving the government’s interests.

- “Syrian warplanes bomb hills inside Lebanon

- U.N. remarks Iraq suffered its worst year since 2008 in terms of deaths, which were over 8,000. Considering I had the unfortunate task of finding such information, I find it tragic and indicative of our presence in the region.

- Meanwhile Sunni militants have stormed police stations in Iraq to free prisoners 

- “Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Wednesday reversed a decision to withdraw soldiers from Anbar cities and ordered reinforcements to the mainly Sunni Arab province to tackle attacks by militants. ”

- “The Lebanese authorities are reported to have arrested the head of a jihadist group that claimed the suicide bomb attack on Iran’s embassy in November.

- A new poll has found 63 percent of Israelis and 53 percent of Palestinians support a two-state solutions. More on it can be found here.

- “The Palestinian ambassador to the Czech Republic has been killed in a blast at his home thought to have been caused when he opened a safe containing explosives.

- Juan Cole: “America’s Foreign Policy Challenges in the Middle East, 2014

Asia and Oceania

- North Korea’s Kim Jong Un refers to his uncle, along with others against his rule, as “factional filth” in his New Year’s address

- With the Chinese military increasing, is a superpower collision imminent?

- Labor strikes in Cambodia have done a rare thing: Link issues to the failure of government and calling for the resignation of the leader in the country.

- “Embattled Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called for reconciliation on Tuesday as the streets of the capital, Bangkok, emptied ahead of New Year celebrations, a rare period of calm after weeks of unrest.

- More protests occurring throughout the Asian region (it’s a shame this isn’t being covered in our media, but what do a bunch of white, underprivileged men want with Asia?) as thousands march in Hong Kong for autonomy from China

Africa

- The passing of Mandela give South Africa a time to reflect on the numerous advances it had and the setbacks they faced that still linger on.

- “Lawyers monitoring the cases of three journalists arrested in Cairo late on Sunday have expressed concern over the health of Mohamed Fahmy, a Canadian citizen, who is to be moved from the city’s Torah prison to a hospital facility.

- Based on South Sudan government’s Twitter account, a state of emergency has been declared for two states

- Despite talks occurring in South Sudan, fighting is still happening

- U.N.: Fighting must come to end in South Sudan

- Meanwhile, rebels have taken a seized control of a region ahead of the talks

- Two car bombs exploded out of a hotel in Somalia, killing 10 people 

Europe

- The establishment in France is going after a popular comedian. Considering numerous anti-establishment comedians throughout history have been targeted, I would say that’s an honor.

- One activist gives his own story of when he met Nelson Mandela and offers an analysis of his life and the world beyond.

- Pope Francis calls for the world to listen to “cry for peace” and not to act indifferent.

- Putin travels to Volgograd to meet with those injured and families of the deceased

- “Government plans to change Turkey’s justice system

- “Turkey’s Secretive Gulen Movement Challenges its Prime Minister as Religious Right Splits

- Turkish President Abdullah Gul: We must respect the rule of law as we enter into a new year

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- “The consortium carrying out a historic expansion of the Panama Canal says it may have to suspend work due to financial problems caused by a $1.6 billion cost overrun.

- The Zapitista movement in Mexico marks 20 years after its birth

Surveillance Planet

- The utterly creepy power Gmail has over its users.

- Emptywheel: “The Obama as Civil Libertarian Propaganda Rolls Out

Financial Matters

- What were Apple’s top crimes of 2013? Well, here’s an article just for your pleasure

- Property prices in China sour, but growth and manufacturing output rates decline

- In 2012, JPMorgan gave its staffer two million pounds as their salary. Just great knowing there’s an elite division out there.

- “Italian carmaker Fiat SpA said on Wednesday it has signed an agreement to buy the stake in U.S. automaker Chrysler Group LLC it does not already own, ending months of tense negotiations and allowing Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne to pursue his goal of creating the world’s seventh-largest auto group.

Labor’s a-Brewing

- The company IKEA commits to anti-union practices in Canada in an “Americanized” way. I think that’s just capitalism…

- Jim Levitt, a Boeing worker, gives information over the situation between the workers in Washington and Boeing & IAM International over their contract. Good read for understanding this situation.

- Solidarity with their work. “GECOL engineers in Sebha have gone on strike following the electrocution of two colleagues when the wrong circuits were turned off and the men began to work on live high voltage equipment.

- Looking more into the life of the fast food worker, an often vilified member of our society

Politics USA

- Obamacare goes into effect today as all eyes are on its impact 

- Doctors and hospitals are expecting major confusion to take hold. Never a good sign.

TED Talks give a plethora of information and ideas, but at the end of the day that’s all it is. Benjamin Bratton critiques this model and lack of making an actual change in the world.

- “The Pennsylvania woman who called herself Jihad Jane and a teenage accomplice from Maryland provided “very significant” assistance to U.S. authorities in several terrorism investigations but still remain threats to the public, prosecutors say in new court filings.

- It’s de Blasio’s first day in office as the mayor of New York City and his first speech was to say he would go after the “Two Cities” that plague NYC

- “A billowing fire engulfed a three-story building near downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday morning, sending 13 people to hospitals with injuries ranging from burns to trauma associated with falls.

- Boujemaa Razgui, a virtuoso with flutes, had 11 hand-crafted flutes destroyed by Customs officials at JFK airport since they were “agricultural products.

- Chief Justice Roberts: Our courts are being starved from funds due to sequestration. We must restore the funds.

We Don’t Need No Education

- The GED test may undergo a change or just be scrapped for something else. Interesting development.

Top Gun (Stories)

- A writer goes over all the gun deaths that happened this year and questions why nothing is being done it.

- In Chicago, homicide rates have dropped to levels not seen since 1965

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- An interview with journalist Jeannie Marshall on the essentials of home cooking and as the only option of usurping the fast food industry

- “Luxury condo development can’t solve the affordable housing crisis — only public construction can.

The Second Sex

- A discussion on how lack of childcare, lack of effective treatment and other factors lead to rehab being harder for women or even difficult to do

- “The US supreme court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Tuesday night granted Roman Catholic-affiliated groups a temporary exemption from a part of the Obamacare healthcare law that requires employers to provide insurance policies covering contraception.” I’m sure enough has been said about this.

Planet Earth

- In California (specifically the Bay Area), water will be used for fracking because it’s a “reasonable, beneficial use” of water. Do they think  sugarcoating fracking will make things better?

- Our coral reefs are under the major threat of climate change with water getting hotter. However, there are solutions and it’s up to us (preferably through a radical restructuring of society, but that’s my take) to implement them.

- Uh-oh. There’s fresh plume coming out of the Fukushima reactor and no one knows the cause.

- Meanwhile, the “ghost towns” of Fukushima are struggling to recover through the process.

- “Federal investigators have recovered a broken axle at the scene of an oil train derailment and fire in southeastern North Dakota but don’t know whether it caused the wreck.

Mixed Bag

- Egypt remarks 96 artifacts are missing from a museum

- A study found alcohol brand preferences indicate voting preference.

Break Time

Animals