"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Thursday, June 16, 2011

World News!

  • Protesting the economic crisis in the eastern European nation, around 1000 people gathered outside the main administration building in defiance of - stop me if this sounds familiar - orders issued under a State of Emergency banning any sort of protests.  President Alexander Lukashenko's response was to - and stop me if this part sounds familiar as well - suppress any further protests.
  • The Liberation Army Daily, the official newspaper of the People's Liberation Army, has released a report warning that China's internet infrastructure is vulnerable to attack, and reviewing what they know of the Pentagon's efforts in cyber security and warfare.
  • Two members of Greece's ruling socialist party stepped down in protest over the austerity package supported by Prime Minister George Papandreou, leaving it increasingly unclear that the Prime Minister will be able to form a cabinet and get the deal approved.
  • Saif al-Islam, Muammar Gaddafi's son, has announced that Gaddafi is willing to hold elections and to step aside if he lost.  He also states that the elections could be held within three months, and international observers would be allowed to guarantee transparency.  "I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority of Libyans stand with my father and sees the rebels as fanatical Islamist fundamentalists, terrorists stirred up from abroad," he is quoted as saying.
  • The British government has confirmed that, due to the EU travel ban, no members of the Libyan government will be allowed to attend the London 2012 Olympics.
North Korea Crazy
  • Last week, a boat containing three men, two women and four children crossed the marine border between North and South Korea, looking to defect.  Now, Pyongyang is demanding their immediate repatriation through the offices of the North Korean version of the Red Cross.  So far, the refugees have expressed no desire to return to the land of Furry Hats of Power and starvation.
  • The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has released a report on the situation in Syria, itemizing the facts as they are currently known (using live ammunition on unarmed civilians, arbitrary arrests, torture, and executions, and so forth), and calling on the Syrian government to allow them entry to the nation to examine the situation for themselves.
United States
  • LulzSec took down the CIA's public website yesterday, apparently in a Denial of Service attack.  At present, there is no confirmation whether the site was hacked as well.
  • Citigroup announced that a cyber attack in May compromised 360,083 North American credit card accounts - nearly twice as many as originally reported.  The attackers obtained names, account numbers and contact information, but continues to insist that "data critical to commit fraud was not compromised".
  • Vice President Biden and a committee of six lawmakers have set a July 1 goal to reach a debt-reduction agreement
  • In "there is no joke I can think of that could possibly be construed as safe for work" news, Representative Anthony Weiner has announced that he is resigning his seat in the House of Representatives, for lying about what sending what could be called "junk" e-mails.
  • Responding to Representative Boehner's warning that, without approval from Congress, the President would be in violation of the War Powers Act if US participation in Libya continued past Saturday, the President has delivered a 32-page response stating that the administration is acting with legal authority and urging lawmakers not to send "mixed messages".  The argument is that, since US military participation in Libya has been scaled back to a support role, it does not require congressional consent.
  • Two days after the release of congressional report demonstrating that some 70% of firearms recovered from Mexican crime scenes and submitted for tracing came from the US[1], three BATF agents testified before the House Oversight Committee that they were ordered to seize weapons from traffickers along the Mexican border, but were told not to make arrests.
[1]  And which, for some reason, proposes restricting firearms imports into the United States as a solution.  No, it doesn't make any sense to me, either.

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