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Member since: 2003 before July 6th
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Industrial Production in U.S. Drops 0.4% on Sandy Effect

Industrial production in the U.S. unexpectedly declined in October as superstorm Sandy knocked out power in the Northeast.

Output at factories, mines and utilities dropped 0.4 percent last month after a revised 0.2 percent increase in September that was smaller than previously estimated, Federal Reserve data showed today in Washington. Economists forecast a 0.2 percent gain, according to the Bloomberg survey median. The Fed said the storm cut total production by almost 1 percentage point.

American factories, a source of strength for much of the three-year expansion, face a persistent challenge from Europe’s recession and slower growth in Asia. Further cutbacks in capital spending by companies concerned about the possibility of $607 billion in automatic tax increases and spending reductions next year represent another hurdle for the industry.

“Manufacturing is still not the source of economic energy that it was earlier in the year,” said Ward McCarthy, chief financial economist of Jefferies & Co. Inc. in New York, the fourth-ranked forecaster of industrial production, according to a Bloomberg survey. “It’s a sluggish story on manufacturing. It’s not where it was.”



Jordanians Protest Fuel-Subsidy Cut, Demand King’s Ouster

Source: Bloomberg

Thousands of Jordanians rallied around the country for a third day against the government’s decision to cut subsidies on fuel, with some demanding the ouster of King Abdullah II.

Security forces in Amman prevented protesters from marching to the royal court from Al Husseini mosque after the Friday sermon. While the demonstration broke up, protesters announced plans to continue the rally tonight outside the Ministry of Interior at the Dakhlia circle. Police barricaded the circle and are refusing entry to the area.

Rallying Cry

Some protesters today called for the king and Ensour to quit, chanting “Down with corrupt government,” “Down with Ensour” and “Down with the regime” -- the rallying cry of the Arab Spring uprisings.

The Obama administration recognizes the difficult situation of Jordan and respects the rights of people to protest peacefully, the state-run Petra news agency reported, citing Mark Toner, deputy State Department spokesman. The “reformatory road-map King Abdullah has provided responds to” Jordanians’ financial and political concerns and their aspirations, Toner said, according to Petra.

Read more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-11-16/jordanians-plan-protest-in-amman-over-cut-in-fuel-subsidy.html

Israel's Attack Underlines Helplessness, Hopelessness Of Gaza Palestinians

Ramallah, West Bank — The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Nov. 16 2012, 9:19 AM EST

It is with horror that I watch the latest events in Gaza unfold. As a Canadian based in the West Bank who once lived in Gaza, I know the fear that is currently running through the veins of each man, woman and especially child as they face Israel’s unrelenting aerial and naval bombardment. My time in Gaza was marked by long periods of aerial bombings and sonic booms. I still– 6 years later – live with those horrible memories and the sheer sense of helplessness and hopelessness that ensued

Today, the Gaza Strip is a much different place. The people have not changed – they are just as vibrant, funny and full of life as they were when I lived there – but their living conditions, and prospects for a bright future, have grown dim.

Today, the people of Gaza suffer from a brutal blockade that has lasted for more than 6 years and isolation that has lasted for more than 20 years. Israel strictly controls imports into Gaza and exports are virtually non-existent. Palestinian life is so controlled by Israel that the Israeli government even sets policies on the minimum number of calories needed to prevent malnutrition. Access to the sea – one of their main sources of livelihood – is strictly curtailed and the water of the Gaza Strip is barely drinkable, with less than 5 per cent of their water supply fit for human consumption. Today, Gaza is an open-air prison and it comes as little surprise that UN agencies recently concluded that, in a few years, Gaza will become unlivable.

But these facts have to be put in their proper light by looking at the population of Gaza. Today, 90 per cent of Gaza’s population is descended from the over 750,000 Palestinians ethnically cleansed in 1947-1949 from their homes in what is today Israel. More than 50 per cent of the population of Gaza is under the age of 18 and 20 per cent are under the age of 5.



Intensive Israeli airstrikes blitz Gaza Strip as death toll mounts

Source: alarabiya


Israeli aircraft attacked targets throughout the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, unleashing dozens of strikes in swift succession according to Al Arabiya correspondents and news agency witnesses.

The aerial bombardment set off earth-shaking thuds and fireballs in the dark sky and were met with screeches of Palestinian rocket fire launched from the outskirts of Gaza City towards southern Israel.

The airstrikes marked an escalation of two days of reciprocal attacks between the Palestinian militant Hamas group ensconced in the coastal enclave and the Israeli military, which killed a top Islamist leader on Wednesday.

Israel’s military said that in the space of an hour it had targeted approximately 70 underground launching sites for medium-range rockets.

Read more: http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/11/16/249866.html

MODS: Since the below linked article in LBN was allowed to stand and not sequester to the I/P, I assume this one will be allowed also.

I'm not sure what the criteria for I/P or other placement is these days.


Paul Wolfowitz weighs in on Petraeus; “Forget the gossip: focus on Benghazi.”

Former deputy secretary of defense and World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz, now at the American Enterprise Institute, is worried that everyone’s having too much fun with the increasingly bizarre Paula Broadwell/Jill Kelly/David Petraeus soap opera and losing sight of serious matters.

But he forgets that people are still exhausted from the endless, bitter presidential campaign. L’affaire Petraeus is like a peach sorbet, a palate-cleanser, after a very heavy meal.

Wolfowitz, writing on the AEI policy blog, says “Forget the gossip: focus on Benghazi.”

He argues that “fascination with the general’s personal story must not divert attention from the very significant policy failures that helped produce a chaotic security situation in Libya.”



Photos: With Gaza under attack, children pay the price

As I write now, I am back in my home. While I was editing pictures, I could hear the frightening sound of the bombs. The street emptied of cars, and there is almost no light. I moved far away from the window, which can get easily smashed by some of the explosions from nearby.In Al Shifa Hospital, there was total chaos, with so many injured people constantly coming in. When I reached the section where they treated burn injuries, some women collapsed in grief. They had just found out that one-year-old Omar Jihad Masharawi had just died of his wounds. One of the women was his mother.

I had arrived with other photographers. I cannot describe in words what I saw, nor can I post the grim pictures of a burned baby. It is just too horrific.

Later, the father carried Omar to the morgue, sobbing. I went home. I feel nervous, with news coming in about more attacks, more injured. There is nowhere to escape in Gaza.

Israel is attacking a civilian population that has committed no crimes other than being Palestinian. Don’t talk to me about rockets. Palestinians have been dispossessed of most of their lands since 1948. The occupation started in 1967. The rockets started in 2001.



Russia Threatens Tough Response If U.S. Backs Rights Bill

Source: Reuters

By Steve Gutterman
MOSCOW | Thu Nov 15, 2012 10:48am EST

(Reuters) - Russia warned the United States on Thursday to expect a tough response if Congress passes "unfriendly and provocative" legislation designed to punish Russian officials for human rights violations.

The Foreign Ministry said U.S.-Russian ties were sure to suffer if lawmakers back a move directing the U.S. government to deny visas to Russian officials involved in the detention, abuse or death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in jail in 2009.

"Such a step will unavoidably have a negative effect on the whole range of Russian-U.S. relations," Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich told a news briefing.

"We will certainly not leave the introduction of essentially anti-Russian visa and financial sanctions without consequences," he said. "We will have to react, and react toughly, depending on the final version of this unfriendly provocative act."

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/15/us-russia-usa-idUSBRE8AE10Y20121115

Gaza Rocket Hits Area South Of Tel Aviv For First Time


A rocket from the Gaza Strip exploded in an open field outside of Rishon Lezion on Thursday evening, marking the first hit in the center of the country in renewed violence from the Gaza Strip. The rocket, one of over 240 fired from Gaza into the South since the IDF launched Operation Pillar of Defense Wednesday to root out the terror infrastructure in the coastal territory, landed less than 15 km south of Tel Aviv. The operation began with the Wednesday afternoon targeted killing of Ahmed Jabari, the chief of Hamas's military wing.

At an emergency meeting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, the security cabinet authorized Defense Minister Ehud Barak to mobilize reservists if needed.

The cabinet also agreed that the IDF should continue to act against terrorist infrastructure and activity in Gaza. It instructed the Foreign Ministry to begin a diplomatic public relations campaign to explain that Israel was acting in self-defense against military targets, as the continued rocket barrage had become intolerable.



Florida Governor Scott Drops Opposition to Health Law

By Michael C. Bender - Nov 14, 2012

Florida Governor Rick Scott dropped his opposition to President Barack Obama’s health overhaul, saying he wants to negotiate on the issue that began his political career.

“I don’t think anyone involved in trying to improve health care should say, ‘no, no, no,’” Scott, a 59-year-old Republican, told the Associated Press. “Let’s have a conversation.”

Scott’s conversion came one week after Election Day, when Florida voters supported Obama’s re-election and struck down a constitutional amendment aimed at making it harder to implement the health law. Governors in just 13 states committed before the election to building their own insurance exchanges, which the law requires to provide coverage to the uninsured. If states fail to act, the federal government will create them.

Scott wants to find “solutions that are good for Florida families by reducing cost and improving quality and access in health care,” Jackie Schutz, a spokeswoman for the governor, said in a statement.



Ohio’s Provisional-Ballot Rule Unfair, Federal Judge Says

By Margaret Cronin Fisk - Nov 14, 2012
The Ohio secretary of state’s new rule on counting provisional ballots risked denying citizens’ rights to vote and ignored state law, a federal judge said.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, issued a directive to county election officials on Nov. 2 requiring the rejection of a provisional ballot if the voter failed to record the type of identification used when casting the vote.

A labor union and a homeless advocates’ coalition asked U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley in Columbus, Ohio, to stop authorities from rejecting such ballots, citing an Ohio law that requires poll workers, not voters, to record the information. Marbley found the rule “violates substantive due process,” and ordered the ballots counted where voters didn’t provide the type of identification.

“For an executive official of the state to flout state law in arbitrarily reassigning a poll worker’s statutory duty to a voter, with the result being the disenfranchisement of the voter, is fundamentally unfair and constitutionally impermissible,” Marbley said yesterday in a 17-page ruling. The rule “imposes an impermissible burden,” he said.


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