I’m not sure why, but I feel really proud of this Roundup compared to previous ones. Must be my mood.

International Politics

Overall

- There are key lessons to be associated with both Tahrir and Occupy and how it ushered in a new way of thinking for movements.

- New round of talks begin in Syria with Geneva II between the government and the opposition.

- The IAEA announces there is a “good” progress with Iran, yet work remains

- French President of Francois Hollande arrives in the U.S. to meet President Obama as a red carpet has been rolled out for Hollande.

- Both Russia and China are skipping talks on Syria on the Security Council

Middle East

- Chase Madar: “The Folly of Arming Israel”

- In Iran, one Arab-Iranian poet who criticized the treatment of ethnic Arabs in Khuzestan was hung last Jan. 

- Could the “humanitarian” ceasefire in Homs be weak and fictional? Meanwhile, more Syrians leave the town.

- Two American contractors died due to a car bomb in Kabul, Afghanistan. In Pakistan, meanwhile, gunmen killed a U.S. consulate

- A “terror instructor” in Iraq has accidentally blown up 21 recruits in an attempt to teach them how to use a car bomb

Asia and Oceania

- There are elections happening in India. Unsure on what the developments are and what main players are involved? Here is an article to clear that up.

- North Korea rejects invitation of a U.S. envoy over release of Kenneth Bae, which disappoints the White House

Africa

- On the failure of Western media to report on the situation happening across Africa.

- U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon is considering adding more troops to ease the situation in Central African Republic

- Mohamed Morsi, outed Egyptian president, was recorded as saying the protests on his behalf were “useless

Europe

- Pew: It seems Russians are returning to the faith, however they are not going back to Church.

- Here are some photos of floods occurring in the U.K. in towns.

- The government in Greece is seeking to disenfranchise non-EU civilians the right to vote and run in local election

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- Can the strengthening of the left occur in South America due to the recent election in El Salvador?

Surveillance Planet

- First Look Media publishes for the first time in its history with Jeremy Scahill and Glenn Greenwald writing a story on the NSA’s role in drone strikes.

- Also catch Trevor Paglen’s piece with photos of the NSA and other intelligence agencies

- When NSA surveillance combines with the power of drone strikes, the risk of civilians dying increases as Natasha Lennard argues

- A coalition of civil liberties groups have sent a letter to President Obama to focus on reforming the entire security system as our “future is at stake

- Henry Giroux: “Totalitarian Paranoia in the Post-Orwellian Surveillance State

- The plea bargain for Edward Snowden has been played down by ex-CIA and ex-NSA chief Michael Hayden

- Emptywheel: “In Cut and Paste Tumblr Post, James Clapper Describes Who We Can Spy on without Discriminants

Financial Matters

- When states end Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the only victors are states, their budgets and the elites. Us? We’re fodder.

- Difficult to imagine, but there are companies that profit off the imprisonment of Americans. Here are six companies that do just that.

- Part one of three in this The Real News interview on the economics of the top one percent and their neoliberal agenda.

- Just 64 donors, in 2012, made up half of Chamber of Commerce’s budget. So much for the fighting for small business rhetoric…

- Bank of France has reported the country will have economic growth of .2 percent between Jan.-Mar.

- The price of Bitcoin has plunged to its lowest levels over the past two months

- China is experiencing a slowdown in its economic as their export growth slows down 

Labor’s a-Brewing

- NBC workers go to 30 Rock to confront MSNBC hosts to break their silence and speak up

- One nurse in California announces he was fired due to speaking out against a merger that would have led to higher prices and poor quality

- The Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) has voted to go on strike last week over the state of education with support of the community.

Politics US

Washington USA

- Gallup: For Feb., Congress has an approval rating of 12 percent, nearly unchanged from Dec.

- Dean Baker: “Privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac?

- Pew: 68 percent of Americans have an approval rating of Michelle Obama, while only 24 percent disapprove of her.

- The White House is stating there will be a delay of a provision of Obamacare on companies with 50-100 employees on mandates. It will be after the 2014 midterm elections (I wonder why…)

- Emails within the U.S. military show they wanted personnel to either destroy or submit photos to the CIA of Bin Laden’s corpse

Anytown USA

- To sell health insurance to young adults, Illinois will be using the Onion (seriously)

- Gallup: Washington D.C. has the most economically confident, while West Virginia has the least

- Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his defense attorneys are seeking a trial before 2015

- Wisconsin has its legislature supporting an attempt to have a Constitutional Convention 

- Pew: Only four percent of LGBT folks state that professional sports leagues are friendly toward their community

- Chris Hedges: “Legalizing Oppression“; On Lynn Stewart’s release. You can catch more Chris Hedges here with his interview with RT’s Abby Martin on the elites who ensure inequality in the system

- Pew: One unfortunate aspect of the Sochi games is the utterly idiotic morning news wars between TV stations

- The Illinois Dept. of Corrections is denying there is an obvious hunger strike going on in one of their prisons.

- An Occupy activist is facing up to seven years in jail for an alleged assault of a police officer

- Scott Walker and his campaign may be the center of campaign finance violations for the 2012 election.

- In his first state of the city address, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio references the wealth gap in the city and says NYC will issue papers for undocumented immigrants

- A new report has found airport pilots are mistaking arriving in airports more often than you think

We Don’t Need No Education

- A new study has found that U.S. colleges aren’t the best in the world or have catching up to do, they are just in between.

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- When purchasing a new automobile, we often inhale that “new car smell,” as we understand it. However, what is not known, the smell features chemicals in the air that are actually harmful for your health.

- Florida is the next state to introduce a bill to allow medicinal cannabis 

The Second Sex

- In London, a crisis pregnancy center was spreading right-wing propaganda by “establishing” a link between abortion and breast cancer, among other ludicrous things.

- The EU is harshly criticizing Afghanistan for its law against women who face domestic violence

- Rania Khalek points out in this FAIR story on how the LA Times fails to call rape when it is rape

Planet Earth

- Numerous business coalition have announced they won’t let climate change action happen without a fight.

- Remember Freedom Industries and their chemical spills that occurred twice in West Virginia? Well, they didn’t bother to show up at congressional testimony that specifically dealt with their inept ability to stop it. I like that. American freedom doesn’t show up to acknowledge its failure. So poetic.

- The Sochi Olympics are currently experiencing warm weather that is melting the ice there.

- In Japan, 11 have died and thousands are injured due to a rare and deadly snowstorm. Meanwhile, two earthquakes have struck near Fukushima.

- Speaking of Fukishima, here’s another article discussing the case of the U.S. sailors who were sick by radiated water on their ship near Fukishima

- Ralph Nader: “Climate Disasters

- Believe it or not (just believe it since it’s true), when the U.S. pledges to fight global warming with natural gas, we are just exporting global warming.

- The state of Georgia has finally announced a “state of emergency” due to the winter storm

Mixed Bag

- “Live Cow Lowered Onto Floor Of U.S. House Of Representatives

- Michael Sam comes out as a gay man before being drafted for the NFL. Here’s why that matters.

- This is not a joke. The French media is stating there is an affair between President Obama and Beyonce.

- “Endangered Rhino Just Wishes His Horn Didn’t Make People Immortal

Break Time

-  Giant Steps