Hello folks, hope you are well this day and for this week.

International Developments

Overall

- John Kerry has thanked the Saudi king for his support of Israel-Palestine peace talks. Not a very trustworthy person.

- Problems erupt for Kerry as Israel has rejected Kerry’s suggestion to relinquish control of Palestine-Jordan border

- Czech police has found illegal weapons within the Palestinian embassy where a Palestinian ambassador was killed.

- Juan Cole: “John McCain and Lindsey Graham Want to invade Falluja Yet Again” Great!

Middle East

- Fallujah is, once again (unfortunately), a place of extreme violence, emigration and clashes with the government fighting against al-Qaeda linked individuals who have taken control the city.

- John Kerry states we can fight al-Qaeda in Iraq without any troops sent there. You mean drones?

- Soldiers in Afghanistan use art of familiar icons in order to stay sane during the war and even having a friendly sparring match with other graffiti artists.

- “Afghanistan’s booming narcotics trade risks splintering the country into a “fragmented criminal state” if the government and its western allies do not step up efforts to tackle opium production, a senior UN official has warned.” Legacy of our involvement.

- The Iraq government has killed 34 militants in a air bombing

- Meanwhile, bombings in Baghdad have killed at least 15 people

- Syrian rebels have pushed back against al-Qaeda-linked rebels and Kerry states Iran can have  role to play in Syria

- In Yemen, clashes between rebels and ultraconservatives have killed at least 17 people. 

Asia and Oceania

- Violence is being found at polls (18 were reported dead) in Bangladesh as the opposition is promising to continue their protests, though the leading party is likely to win

- 14 people have died and 10 were injured in Ningxia region in China after a stampede in a mosque

11 people have been killed, and more are trapped, after an apartment building collapsed in Goa, India

Africa

- South Sudan peace have stalled during continued clashes

- Meanwhile, a general for the army has been killed in an ambush

- Libya has restarted its southern oil field after a blockade was lifted

- After convicting activists in one case, the military junta in Egypt seeks to open another one

Europe

- A bit lost with the Turkish crisis? This article provides an overview of the graft scandal currently happened, its significance in the region and even international involvement as well.

- Pope Francis states the Church should not alienate any children of gay or divorced parents

- Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan favors having a retrial of military officers convicted of wanting to overthrow the government. This comes after a senior official remarks they have been framed by the police and the judiciary.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- Chinese dam builders are flocking to Latin America, but lack of corporate responsibility may also follow

- In Argentina, power companies have been sanctioned by the government for not providing electricity

- Sepp Blatter, President of FIFA, criticizes Brazil for preparing “too late” for the World Cup

Surveillance Planet

- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) prefers a light prison term for Snowden as punishment. That’s…really weird for him to say after NYT, The Guardian and the Atlantic calling for clemency. We know what side he’s on.

- Former head of Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano has remarked Snowden should not be given clemency

- Even more discussion on how the NSA could get into your iPhone and the significance of that.

- The NSA is not denying it has spied on members of Congress

Financial Matters

- ‘Workplace loans” is the new financial method companies are using to have high interest rates on workers’ paychecks and unfairly discriminate against them

- Rents are soaring so much in China that it is forcing some people to live underground

- The value of Bitcoin, after Zynga decided to accept it as a form of monetary exchange, has surpassed $1,000

- “Wall Street brokerages that hire stockbrokers who have a track record of misconduct should expect to show examiners how they will curb future wrongdoing, the industry’s watchdog said on Thursday in an overview of issues it will review in 2014.

Labor’s a-Brewing

- “A new labor contract that was approved in a close vote by Boeing machinists secures a major airplane contract for the Seattle area, but it also moves workers away from pensions.

- The struggle taken upon workers for $15/hour is one of a better livelihood, while moving away from the capitalist mainframe we live under.

- Great news! Chicago activists brought in petitions to add a referendum for Chicago civilians to vote to add $15/hour for workers in companies making at least $50 million a year.

Politics USA

Washington USA

- Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) believes removing unemployment benefits will help those who are unemployed, but it’s obvious that isn’t valid

- An audit of the Federal Election Commission has found it is in “significant” danger of being hacked

- Ralph Nader pens a letter to George W. Bush. I don’t think much else should be said.

- The White House is pressing Republicans to restore unemployment benefits

Anytown USA

- “You can’t have capitalism without racism” is what Malcolm X once remarked. The situation is similar today with discrimination increasing along with the crisis of capitalism.

- The new “American Dream” can be found in Grand Theft Auto V, a series of crime, murder and exaggerations

- It’s sad to see, but for Louisiana to survive economically, it chooses to jail its citizens to unprecedented levels.

- Late at night, a community garden was bulldozed for an amphitheater to be built. This proposal is one residents were opposed to and, ultimately, had no say in.

- With King, Mandela and Obama, betrayal is a common theme with all of three (not that all three betrayed someone, rather it was caused by someone or, in Obama’s case, by them). Specifically, the economic consequences they either caused or faced.

- As now a need is required in Oakland, the absence of an organized left is hurting those who have that need for change.

- One person has died and two have been injured in a plane crash in Aspen, Colorado.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- One successful homeless shelter is being evicted from their building for a restaurant or retail shop to take hold. After reading it, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

- A vegetarian criticizes the cruel folks used against those who are overweight or those who opt not to eat meat.

- New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is allowing limited use of medicinal cannabis

- “If the FDA’s intention to remove growth promoters is going to be meaningful. Simply reducing antibiotic use (if that does indeed happen) isn’t adequate; by itself, it may even be a threat to welfare. Changing the livestock practices that made antibiotic use necessary will improve animal and human health both.

The Second Sex

- An interview with writer Mikki Kendall on the problems with white feminism and inquiring further on a hashtag she created: #solidarityisforwhitewomen

- A journalist reflects on her use of makeup, despite environmental and health concerns.

- Rape is occurring in South Africa with the intent to “cure” lesbians. Utterly sickening story.

- Women are being underrepresented in video games and movies. Significantly, might I add.

- Abortion restriction laws have been increasing in the U.S. It hasn’t stopped.

- In the Basra province in Iraq, free courses are offered to women to learn how to drive

Planet Earth

- In what seems to be an incessant (but undervalued) point, environmentalists should link up with economic concerns in order to produce significant change.

- Here’s something troubling. Temperatures are getting colder as weather moves into the Midwest and the temperatures will break records. Dead batteries and frostbite will occur.

- Last year was one of the warmest years for Australia and the reaction from the government is…well, not that good. Let’s say they’ll appoint a climate skeptic for its Business Advisory Council.

- What’s the consequences of calling for “birth control” for animals? Indeed, there are a few concerns if that is even an option.

- “In at least four states that have nurtured the nation’s energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen.

- Mount Sinaburg has erupted in Indonesia. Government responds by increasing their danger zone for civilians to escape to safety.

- “London Mining, a British mineral company, is trying to attract Chinese and other international investors to build a £1.5bn iron ore mine just outside the Arctic Circle in Greenland.”

- A Palestinian electric company will be the first buyers of Israeli natural gas

- It’s possible for Europe to give up 30 percent of its energy dependence on coal and natural gas and switch to green energy, according to a report

Mixed Bag

- Perhaps an extremely worrisome thing is smartphones. By taking away our human interactions through a computerized screen, we become a different entity. Perhaps not for the best.

- A very disturbing trend with some wedded-to-be: weddings on former plantations 

- How should criticism be approached? What factors into listening or not?

- “New Forced-Retirement Community Opens For Local 60-Year-Olds

Break Time

- Moonlight in Vermont