Hey folks. Such a severe storm here in the Northeast. Couldn’t go to the Colbert Report due to it.

International Developments

Overall

- With talks in Geneva soon to begin tomorrow, Iran and Russia are angry Iran’s invitation was taken away by the U.N. and say it will make talks more difficult. The U.N. said Ban Ki-Moon only had an “oral understanding” with Iran.

- FIFA has warned one Brazilian city that if it doesn’t speed up the process of constructing a stadium, then it will be excluded from the games.

- Both the U.S. and the U.N. have stated they’ve expressed “horror” at recent documents stating the Assad government participated in torture and executions of people.

Middle East

- A blast on a bus has killed 22 Shia pilgrams and wounded 32 people in Pakistan. Officials are still unsure on what exactly happened.

- Noori al-Maliki, Prime Minister of Iraq, has considered making a national council to review oil development, exports and imports.

- In Lebanon, four people were killed due to a car bomb in Beirut, Lebanon.

Asia and Oceania

- With protests continuing in an unstable country, Thailand has declared a “state of emergency” in Bangkok giving police sweeping powers.

- Leaked documents have found that family members of China’s top military and government officials have hid their money in offshore tax havens.

Africa

- Supporters of General Sisi in Egypt have called for him to run for President.

- In Libya, militia-controlled detention centers are holding thousands without access to court system according to a report by Human Rights Watch.

Europe

- “The split between voters and their elected representatives is partly the result of the Americanisation of French political life: the largest parties are now simply electoral machines, cartels of local officials who rely for support on the ranks of senior citizens.” Discussing the next election for the Socialist Party in France with Hollande in office for two years and problems continuing to persist in France.

- In Turkey, doctors and medics have condemned the government for preventing them to help out protesters who are injured and threatening those who do.

- Perhaps one major criticism of Pope Francis (and right criticism) is his silence with the Catholic Church‘s support of Franco’s fascist state in Spain during the Civil War there and beyond.

- In Germany, 16 million accounts have been stolen after an internet security website crashed.

- Text messages to Ukraine protesters by the government states they are “participants in a mass riot” as Russia is saying that Ukraine is “out of control.

- Russia, meanwhile, had its police kill an Islamist leader as they search for another suspect who may launch an attack on the games.

- Spain is refusing Catalonia to hold a referendum to become its own country.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- Harper’s government in Canada is keen on expanding its weapon sales to overseas for more profit in their pockets.

- Henry Kissinger had ties to Argentina’s fascist military junta that executed and made people disappear in the 1970s based on new memos released.

Surveillance Planet

- The Justice Department has withheld FISA court documents in an ACLU-related lawsuit on other surveillance acts by the NSA

- A lawyer for Edward Snowden has said he needs better security after a new report found unnamed U.S. officials saying that Snowden has to be killed.

- At the University of Glasgow, Edward Snowden is nominated to run as rector, or student representative to management of the university. Snowden has said he is okay with the nomination.

- Human Rights Watch has a report out stating NSA surveillance has wide-sweeping precedents for global surveillance if not stopped.

- Jon Stewart jokes on and mocks on Barack Obama’s NSA speech last Friday

Financial Matters

- Gallup: Despite nine-in-10 Baby Boomers having a bank account, only 12 percent trust banks “a great deal.” More on different generations with bank accounts and their trust of banks here.

- Economic growth isn’t helping us, it’s “killing us.

- The EU is suspending free-trade talks with the U.S. over some worries on what the effects of the ultimate agreement will be.

- Gallup: Their economic confidence index has fallen to -16, perhaps with the weak December jobs report.

Labor’s a-Brewing

- At LaGuardia Airport, hundreds of airport workers blocked the highway yesterday to demand higher wages from their employers. Around 40 were arrested.

- BP employees have resigned and/or felt outraged by the company’s lack of helping them with pensions and lack of compensation. They are warning oil spill victims BP will do the same shady deals with them.

- In the U.K., top football clubs employ workers who gain less than minimum wage and work through subcontractors.

- In Memphis, Kellogg workers have locked out employees who feel they’ve been cheated by the company who wants to hire employees with lower wages and no benefits.

Politics USA

Washington USA

- Gallup: Obama averages 45.8 percent in his fifth year in office, the second lowest of his administration.

- Immigration activists acknowledge it’s a difficult road to reform the immigration situation in the U.S. with both parties interested only in getting elected than actually change.

- After four years of Citizens United, there are groups mobilizing to stop its effects.

- Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has called for safety devices to be added to drugs for children that ProPublica has found can work wonders and prevent overdoses.

Anytown USA

- With Amazon’s Jeff Bezos owning Washington Post, it endangers U.S. journalism with a conflict interest between Bezos and the C.I.A.

- From corporations to the U.S. military, they used MLK in such a terrible way on Twitter yesterday that it shows some still don’t know what King stood for.

- It may be difficult to even grasp, but the reality is that the courtroom in the U.S. is one of the most dangerous places for young blacks.

- Colbert provides good satire on capital punishment in the U.S. and the shortage of drugs used for it and alternatives being presented that are extremely insane.

- More on Robert Gates’ new book that is “self-serving”  and avoids criticizing war criminal George W. Bush at all in the book.

- Texas police have arrested two Mexican citizens with 96 fraudulent credit cards and maybe suspects in Target breach.

- The ACLU has sued Utah over their halt of same-sex marriages claiming it has created numerous problems for those seeking and already wedded.

- A new poll conducted on Hispanics in the U.S. has found they are optimistic, despite facing challenges from economic problems to violence in their neighborhood.

We Don’t Need No Education

- Get this. Texas is spending $82 million per year to teach creationism in charter schools, which is unconstitutional. Huh….

- An adjunct reflects on her experience as one and the overall situation for adjuncts in this country of exploitation at every corner.

Top Gun (Stories)

- A school shooting has occurred at Purdue University, killing one person and a suspect in custody.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- A new CDC report has demolished the stereotype that African-American fathers aren’t involved with their children as they are there mostly all the time compared to other races.

- We’ve heard a lot on corporate America, but what about corporate Europe? In Europe, agencies for food standards are revolving doors with companies who will be regulated by their rules.

- A new study out of Harvard has found flaws with FDA’s testing of medical treatments in which some aren’t tested at all.

The Second Sex

- Here are seven women who done amazing work throughout history giving us things like Wi-Fi or been a revolutionary in history.

- Jessica Valenti of The Nation writes a really good piece on how we need a new law to defend women titled “Back the Fuck Up.

Planet Earth

- Winter snowstorm is utterly severe and is making New Yorkers to stay home, canceling 3,000 flights in the U.S. and making Chris Christie declare a “state of emergency” in New Jersey,

- Here’s a major problem. A new study has found that smog in China you hear a lot about is actually moving across the Pacific to the West Coast of the U.S.

- Another study has found 2013 is the fourth warmest year on record.

- It seems that, because of climate change, we’re going to have “super” El Ninos that will feature heavy rainfall and strong winds.

- In West Virginia, a former coal miner has said chemicals have been dumped there in the rivers for years.

Mixed Bag

- Pew: E-book readership is on the rise as overall book reading is stabilizing among U.S. adults. The average is five books in the past year.

- Salon.com interviews Black Francis from the Pixies on advice to new artists, the music industry and where they’re going next.

Break Time

- Hallelujah