Howdy folks. How are you this fine day?

International Politics

Overall

- Gallup: Based on a poll of civilians across 130 countries, 46 percent of those polled state they approve of the leadership in the U.S. versus 24 percent who disapprove

- Amy Goodman: “From Kabul to Cairo, the Killing and Jailing of Journalists Continues

- Great point from this article as to why U.S. agencies who financially helped the drug kingpin El Chapo are not put on trial

- The UN has a new report out on how the Americas has the highest murder rate in the world with 40 percent of murders committed yhere

- Uh-oh. One government official said Russia may have withheld information on the Boston Bombers to the U.S.

- Satellite photos from NATO show the Russian military is building up along the border with Ukraine

Middle East

- Both Israeli and Palestinian officials met in talks with the U.S. as the mediator but the talks suffered a major setback as Israel announced sanctions against Palestine

- The Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIS) militants attacked al-Qaeda-tied rivals and other rebels in a town on the border of Iraq. They killed dozens of fighters in their surprise attack.

- Two car bombs in Iraq killed at least 16 people in Shitte neighborhoods when they exploded

Asia and Oceania

- For the third time in recent weeks, another Chinese Community Party official has committed suicide, although details are unknown as to how.

- The UN decided to send 12,000 peacekeepers to Central African Republic to stabilize the country

Africa

- An interview on The Real News on Rwanda 20 years ago and the legacy from what happened in the country still reverberating

Europe

- A car bomb went off near the Bank of Greece in Athens, but thankfully no injuries were reported.

Very well-written article on how civilians in Crimea decided to choose the lesser of two evils when they joined with Russia after seeing the chaotic mess in Ukraine

- Vladimir Putin: We are hoping talks next week will be “positive,” but I must warn Ukraine not to do anything that cannot be “fixed later.”

- Far-right parties throughout Europe are celebrating Vladimir Putin and his decision to take Crimea

Latin America, Caribbean and Canada

- Part one of three with a Venezuelan professor remembering the election in 1998 when Hugo Chávez first came on the scene

Surveillance Planet

- After Angela Merkel asked about her file by the NSA or on surveillance of German citizens and politicians, the NSA denied the request and refused to comment further

- Emptywheel: “Judge in WikiLeaks FOIA Cites “Events that Have Transpired,” Government Claims FOIA Is “Improper”

Financial Matters

- The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a free trade agreement so you know it has to be helpful, is supported by 53 percent of Americans and 55 percent of Germans

- Here is something that you probably did not know: shopping malls filled with stores dependent on impulse buying was an idea of a socialist. Imagine that.

- I am in full agreement with this article on how capitalism’s incentive of commercialization removes our incentive to share with one another and think more communally

- World Bank: Growth will not be enough for countries to help their poor as more resources need to be allocated

- Two engineers have been put on leave by General Motors over the handling of the faulty ignition switch in its cars

- U.S. financial regulators have told big banks to quickly upgrade their systems in response to “Heartbleed” bug

Labor’s a-Brewing

- A new report from the Eurostat, which is the EU’s statistical office, found 10 million Europeans—or 4.6 percent of the workforce—were underemployed.

- The National Labor Review Board found NBC Universal was guilty of “failing and refusing” to engage with their employees.

- In Argentina, a nationwide strike stopped the economy as union demonstrators demanded better pay and reduced taxes

- Workers in Curitiba, Brazil have gone back to work after going on strike and getting their demands from employers over better pay

Politics US

Washington USA

- The head of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius will resign from her position because of the disastrous start of Obamacare

- Gallup: For April, only 13 percent of Americans approve of Congress and its job. This is down from 15 percent in March. Keep in mind, their approval rating has not surpassed 25 percent in the past few years.

Salon has an exclusive interview with former President Jimmy Carter on women, the media, the Democrats, and more

- A new report found the IRS gave $4 billion in fraudulent tax refunds due to mistakes that could have been corrected and this is a growing problem

- Pew: 64 percent of Republican voters state the ACA is “very important” for upcoming midterms. In contrast, only 52 percent of Democrats and 45 percent of Independents say the same.

- A new bill introduced in the House would establish transparency for drones on deaths and usage, which is significant in terms of the secrecy this administration has taken on drones.

- Congress passed a bill! It restricts the current Iranian envoy to the UN from ever entering in the U.S.; Not what you expected, huh?

Anytown USA

- Lovely piece by Samantha Bee on The Daily Show on how Putin’s recent actions may happen here (not seriously)

- Despite an informative interactive report by Pew, the argument that there will be a retirement crisis with fewer workers and more retirees is misleading.

- Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers: “The McCutcheon Decision Is Our Rallying Cry

- Pew: 33 percent of Americans were closely following the missing plane story. In terms of the McClutcheon decision, just 13 percent of Americans followed it.

- A report by Human Rights Watch found the state of Florida prosecutes teenagers as adults for non-violent offenses, which has major repercussions

- Pro-independent Scotland activist came to the U.S. to inform audiences about why an independent Scotland is necessary

- Pew: Just 26 percent of blacks say their situation is better now than it was just five years ago. In addition, 35 percent of whites agreed with the same statement regarding blacks.

We Don’t Need No Education

- Gallup: 87 percent of residents in North Dakota rate their schools, which in this case refers to Kindergarten to 12th grade, as “excellent/good.” Residents in New Mexico are on the opposite end of the scale as 41 percent rate their schools as “excellent/good.”

- States across the U.S. are considering community colleges to be free for civilians as the importance of a high school degree dwindles

Health, Hunger and Homelessness

- Officials in California have given an ultimatum to a sriracha hot sauce factory to reduce the odor from the factory or face closure; I prefer the latter. Let’s hope it goes through.

The Second Sex

- A report found more women are participating in NCAA sports, but there are fewer female coaches than before

- If President Obama were serious about promoting equal pay between men and women, then he would have said unionization was one sure way of guaranteeing this

- Earlier I mentioned how the Americas have the highest homicide rate in the world, but Africa has the highest homicide rate for women in the world

Planet Earth

- Crude oil reserves for 2013 in the U.S. rose 15 percent to 33 million barrels, which is the fourth year in a row it rose. Let’s cheer our energy policy, I’m sure it won’t backfire.

- A new report out found blackouts as a result of harsh weather have risen considerably since 2004

- Naomi Klein: “Why US fracking companies are licking their lips over Ukraine“; Meanwhile, Putin tells Europe there might be gas shortages as a result of Ukrainian debts

- A Chinese artist protests the smog conditions in the country by getting a jar of “fresh French air” and selling it for $852. Keep in mind some Chinese entrepreneurs have seriously thought this is effective and needed

- Dahr Jamail: “Evidence of Acceleration of Anthropogenic Climate Disruption on All Fronts

- Oops. That is certainly what the National Weather Service said when they accidentally listed the entire East Coast at risk for major flooding.

- Even Hollywood is backing more pieces featuring its A-list celebrities to raise awareness on the grave consequences of climate change

- 11 Senate Democrats sent a letter to President Obama to build the (presumably northern half of) Keystone XL pipeline. Why exactly? Some of those who wrote in have races this years, but my money is on the massive profits they will get if the northern half is built

- An interesting article on the Ecuadorian government’s refusal to seriously address environmental concerns and impacts from oil explorations

- 93 Harvard faculty members pen a letter to the Harvard administration to divest from fossil fuels

- South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu: “We need an apartheid-style boycott to save the planet

Mixed Bag

- “Statue Of Liberty Corporation To Shut Down All But New York Flagship Statue

- Stephen Colbert will take over from David Letterman on The Late Show in 2015. I refuse to link to what right-wing “journalists” have been saying since we should not reward cartoon journalism. Glad to see Colbert get the spot, though I wish a woman would have gotten it. Late Night TV needs more diversity. By the way, if you are curious, Colbert will not be doing the show in character

- Pew Research has a good report on how digital media sites are “young, lean and local.” These sites—like Buzzfeed, Vox, First Look—also move for the non-profit way as well.

- “Elite Congressman Trained To Kill Legislation In 24 Different Ways

- The Weather Channel claimed the drought has been aggravated by a number of factors, including the cultivation of marijuana

- A Harvard study reports the ancient text referring to Jesus’ wife may not be a fake after all

Break Time

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