Hey folks, how’s it going for you?

International Politics

Overall

- Here is an interview (part one and part two) on The Real News further discussing the Crimea referendum vote and how the West should respond

- Meanwhile, Russia signed a treaty to annex the Crimea region into their territory. Putin has said the vote was entirely democratic

- Ukraine to troops: Use your weapons in self defense if you come under attack after an officer was killed

- The chief Palestinian negotiator reported the Abbas-Obama meeting was “difficult

- EU: The current situation in Ukraine will in no way affect talks with Iran

Middle East

- Gareth Porter, in part three of three of this interview, discusses the past few years on the Iranian situation with both the Bush Administration and Obama Administration and what could happen next

- As Hamid Karzai chose a new vice president for Afghanistan, a suicide bomber killed 15 people in a busy marketplace

- In Baghdad, Iraq, bombings left 15 people dead in a marketplace

- As a result of a return to the old way of doing checkpoints [guards checking vehicles], causalities from violence are much higher

- Iran said it has seen an increase in drug seizures in the past year with opium compromising over three-fourths

- The Palestinian Authority announced it will drill for oil in the West Bank, jeopardizing peace efforts

Asia and Oceania

- A new report found nearly one-in-10 Vietnamese children aged five to 17 are child workers

Africa

- One-third of Libyans are worried about their safety when traveling to specific places (among other things)

- In Japan, thousands of protesters went into the streets against nuclear power. Good for them.

- The UN reports thousands of deaths in South Sudan were caused by political motivations

Europe

- Gallup: Last year, Ukrainians said crime, tolerance for religion and tolerance for ethnicity were worse than under Soviet Union, but not poverty

- In the most pointless survey of all time, it seems mentioning Adolf Hitler to Americans before being asked about U.S. intervention into Ukraine made them more likely to support intervention. This is hilarious to read as it wants to be considered serious, but it’s still a joke study.

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- Essential article in discussing Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, beloved abroad for gay marriage and legalization of cannabis, but is questioned iat home for not solving problems of education and security

- A narrow win for a progressive in El Salvador over a right-wing politician in the presidential race

Surveillance Planet

- The Pentagon’s top watchdog has said he was not aware of NSA’s phone record collection program

- Meanwhile, a new Snowden document shows the U.S. developed a system to record every phone call made in a month inside of a foreign country, but which one?

Financial Matters

- Here are five reasons why a basic guaranteed income for all Americans would produce benefits

- Dean Baker: “The Progressive Caucus’ Stealth Budget

- All these “performance-based” salaries for executives are an insult to workers who struggle to make a living

- CEO of GM Mary Barra: I didn’t know of faults in GM cars until Jan. 31 (which is two weeks after she was appointed)

Labor’s a-Brewing

- New York’s Attorney General forced an owner of seven McDonald’s franchises to pay up to his workers who were shorted on pay

- 1,200 workers from Nepal and India have died in Qatar in preparations for the 2022 World Cup

Politics US

Washington USA

- Pew: 59 percent of deported immigrants last year were convicted of a crime [26 percent were a misdemeanor, 33 percent of aggravated felony or other], 20 percent for repeat immigration and 17 percent were border problems.

- The #McConnelling ads that were spoofed by Jon Stewart and Co. may just violate campaign finance laws

- Pew: As a result of unlawful re-entry into the U.S. there was a rise in federal crime over the past few years

- The U.S. ordered Syrian diplomats back to Damascus after closing down the Syrian embassy

- RNC Chair Reince Priebus: I expect a “tsunami” of GOP victories this midterm election

- The IRS said of its one of its employees took personal information of 20,000 other IRS employees, current and former, and contractors

Anytown USA

- Judge Lewis Kaplan rejected testimony from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law’s trial

- One journalist has been keeping a collection online of police killings of civilians and speaks on police accountability

- Former Abu Ghraib detainees asked an appeals court to reinstate their torture lawsuit

- A new helicopter in Seattle, Wash. crashed downtown, killing two on board

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- According to a new study, if children are exposed to consumer brands at a young age, the effect persists into adulthood

- Mississippi, the poorest state in the U.S., decides it’s a good idea (to be fair, it’s the government) to spend money drug testing their own poorest citizens

The Second Sex

- The head of the Texas Republican Party said there is a gender pay difference because “men are better at negotiating.

- It seems the “rape insurance” in Michigan is difficult to obtain because it isn’t offered in individual plans

- Women are more likely to die as a result of heart attacks because it can be misdiagnosed as anxiety and not treated immediately

Planet Earth

- Gallup: 57 percent of Americans say humans are to blame for climate change, while 40 percent say it’s natural; Meanwhile, CO2 levels have reached a record high

- With 2013 being a record year for oil-train accidents, insurers are now cautious going forward

- A new report by leading scientists said climate change is absolutely real and irreversible changes can occur if nothing is done about it

- Wildflowers are blooming earlier and lasting longer than usual (35 days) as a result of climate change

- Bill Koch, one of the Koch brothers, said the U.S. coal industry “has kind of died.

- Superfund sites, set up to clean up very toxic sites for the betterment of the environment, have their own environmental problems attached

- A drought in northeast Haiti has produced an “extreme emergency” according to government officials

Mixed Bag

- More on Tony Benn, a man who saw the need to implement socialism in order to create a true democracy where the people can be engaged

- Star Wars: Episode VII will begin filming in May and will take place 30 years after “Return of the Jedi”

Break Time

- Landslide