curent-events

msnbc.msn.com
Crisis (again) grips N. Korea, Kim Jong Il too busy looking at things

North Korea’s dysfunctional food-distribution system, rising global commodities prices and sanctions imposed over Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs had contributed to what appears to be a hunger crisis in the North, even before devastating summer floods and typhoons compounded the emergency.

The regime’s appeals for massive food aid have gone mostly unanswered by a skeptical international community. Only 30 percent of a United Nations food aid target for North Korea has been met so far. The United States and South Korea, the two biggest donors before sanctions, have said they won’t resume aid until they are satisfied the military-led communist regime won’t divert the aid for its own uses and progress is made on disarmament talks.

english.aljazeera.net
The great land grab: India's war on farmers

Land is life. It is the basis of livelihoods for peasants and indigenous people across the Third World and is also becoming the most vital asset in the global economy. As the resource demands of globalisation increase, land has emerged as a key site of conflict.  …

What OWS Was Trying To Tell Us Last Year. And Why We Should Listen This Election Year.

As the Occupy Wall Street movement has moved from Wall Street to Zuccotti Park, and is generally being dismantled across the nation, there’s still time to remind ourselves what this fledgling movement is all about. After speaking to consumers about their money recently, we have at least one of what may be many answers.

 

Feed the piggy.

 

With high unemployment, people scrapping for even low-paying jobs, high gas prices and economic uncertainty, people just don’t have the money to save any more. They’re not feeding their piggy bank.

 

“We’re not even able to do the most basic act of money management,” complains one Midwestern mother of two. “Much less teach it to our children.”

 

A man in his thirties complains, “I went back to school to get a better paying job. Now I have a huge school debt to pay off—and the job that used to pay $65,000 is now paying only $35,000.”

 

According to a University of Michigan study, more households feel they are in a financially worse situation now than they were a year ago as a result of income declines. Another report finds that half of all families expect lower living standards in 2012.

 

Even aspiring young persons find that whereas a better education used to mean a better job, some young people are finding themselves more behind than ahead.

 

“I am educated beyond my means,” laments one college grad with a new Masters degree. “I had a small house filled with lots of things before I went back to school,” he says. “Now I have this huge debt and I’m just scraping by.”

 

On top of short-changed aspirations, citizens feel frustrated by the banks themselves. And their frustrations are not just confined to the Federal bailout or theoretical constructs like bonus packages and golden parachutes. They are much more personal and practical. Like service fees for using what they feel is their own money.

 

“I give them [banks] my money, and then they charge me for using it,” exclaims a union worker. “I want to feel the warm and fuzzies.”

 

A group of average middle-class well-employed citizens sit around a table. “I’m very inspired about the Wall Street occupants,” one of them blurts. “I think it’s inspiring.”

 

Heads nod.

 

 “It’s about time,” exclaims another.

 

“I’ve simplified everything,” remarks a middle-aged woman. “Reduced spending. Reduced options. No more credit cards. We’re not going to take that trip to Disney until we can pay cash!”

 

Even as we crawl out of a recession, people who still have jobs feel they’re working at their job and the job of the person who used to sit next to them. (Studies show that Americans’ weekly hours worked have increased about 20% in the last 30 years, contributing to making people more harried and time pressured.) Real advancement (that is, a new title with a pay increase) is often slow in coming. In the end, it seems not only that the jobs aren’t out there like they used to be, but with the housing market in many cities devalued or under water, we can only wonder if the slow build to wealth through good job, house on the cul-de-sac, and modest debt (a.k.a. The American Dream), if our “Land Of Opportunity” concept is a sugar cube dissolving under a steady drizzle of acid rain.

 

“I don’t have faith in the banking system, or in the government anymore,” declares a frustrated middle-class woman who works as a flight attendant.  “I believe we’re coming to a time when we will all have to fend for ourselves.”

 

What is becoming clear is that while OWS may appear fringe and may not completely represent 99% of the American public, they do represent some  

very, very mainstream frustrations. And they have codified it in a concept as single-minded as any Republican platform. More and more, they seem to be acting out the frustrations and dissatisfactions of a widespread public. And, in that sense (no matter how exaggerated their math), they are the 99%.

 

 The underpinning of the American fabric has always been a vision of prosperity—whether real or imagined. Whether launching a Manifest Destiny, the American Dream, or a HOPE campaign, we have always felt better about ourselves when we have been propelled toward a distant mythic horizon line. The notion of success lurking right around the corner is what keeps our colleges full, talent continuing to immigrate into our country, and a steadfast work ethic.

 

The harsh and growing realities of trillion-dollar debt, high unemployment, devalued careers—rendered on an aging baby boomer generation ready to retire and an aspiring generation of college graduates—makes for disrupted ideology and soured prospects on both ends of the rainbow.

 

As it turns out, not feeding the piggy does not bode well for any society, and rarely has. It pays heed to remind ourselves that some of the civil demonstrations that ignited around the world in 2011 became bonfires of discontent.

 

Those who mockingly suggest that the OWS is fringe, or somehow laughable should remind themselves that the tattered tent cities have spoken something from the gut of Americana that rubber bullets and police squads in riot gear cannot quell: a bold idea.

Boston. Fucking horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem – one human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

—  Patton Oswalt
Current Events from the Broadway Girl
Hello my tumbling tumblr-ettes, Yes, it has been forever since I did anything regarding Broadway Girl and I’m truly sorry. Being a senior in high school, I have had college applications, essays, fees and all that jazz to do and worry about. Along with that, I have presidential duties in two video clubs, and I was cast in my school’s drama club play. The play is called Never Mind What Happened, How Did It End? and I’m the Photographer. I’m only in one scene in the entire play for five minutes, and have a total of 4 lines….Yay? But hey! I was cast in a show and that’s great! The show is starting tech week this week (aka HELL week) and the show runs for three days. I’m also running the spot lights for a production of Mame at my community theatre. The show is currently in it’s second weekend of shows out of three. For a Bway Girl review, yeah….I see a review of that in the future! ;) All that plus a lot more stuff, my plate was full and then some. Poor Broadway Girl had to be postponed until things could get situated. But never fear my dears, all my college apps have been submitted, my two shows will be over at the end of November, and Broadway Girl can review again! I have some new episodes written and I am so excited to review them. I also have some mini reviews that I want to post here and on my Tumblr so stay tuned! 

Also, I am hoping to do a Christmas Themed Month in December so I am really working on getting scripts out for that. The movies I’m reviewing for that are somewhat musical but mostly they are nostalgic. I have some funny material so hopefully I can get them done in time.  That’s about it for now. Thanks for all your patience guys. You rock! Over and out. <3 Jessica
rtvs.sk
Slovakia Today, English Language Current Affairs Programme from Slovak Radio - RTVS.sk

Big news: Martina is back with the English section!
Click here to listen to the Sunday Listeners’ Tribune: http://www.rtvs.sk/radio/archiv/1487
Gavin & Martina ask you a trick question, play good music, read your fanmail, and discuss the week that was.

thedailybeast.com
What an Iranian Funeral Tells Us About the Wars in Iraq

Gen. Tahgavi was almost unknown to Iran’s public, and even more mysterious to the West, but he was a key figure in the Quds Force running the fight against ISIS.

“Iranians are used to regarding Gen. Qasem Suleimani as a symbol of the country’s military might; the Iranian media love to present him as a formidable spirit who leads victorious campaigns against Iran’s enemies. Some have likened Suleimani to John le Carré’s fictional spy Karla, the nemesis of the West during the Cold War. So when recent photographs showed the leader of the Quds Force looking tired and overcome with grief, holding his head in his hands, it came as something of a surprise. As he tried to make his way through a crowd of mourners late last month, he looked preoccupied and even disoriented.”

Comm: There are always two sides to a war. Sometimes it’s easy to become lost in what you’re fighting for - sometimes it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the fight through your so-called enemy’s eyes.