Sunday, December 26, 2010

Truthout... News Briefs 12/26/10

News Briefs
Sunday 26 December 2010 

Beyond WikiLeaks: The Privatization of War
Jose L. Gomez de Prado, UN Working Group on Mercenaries: "Human rights violations perpetrated by private military and security companies are indications of the threat posed to the foundations of democracy when inherently public functions - such as the monopoly on the legitimate use of force - become privatized." 
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Food Aid Stalled in Northern Pakistan After Female Taliban Suicide Bomber Kills 45
Kristen Chick, The Christian Science Monitor: "Aid agencies have closed down much-needed food-aid operations in parts of northwest Pakistan after a female suicide bomber struck a crowd at a food aid distribution center Saturday, killing at least 45 people and wounding as many as 100 more." 
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Top 5 Overlooked Stories of 2010
Mark Clayton, Ron Scherer, Amanda Paulson and Chris Gaylord, The Christian Science Monitor: "History, it seems, will remember 2010 in the United States as the year of health-care reform, the Gulf oil spill, and the tea party movement. But the most widely covered stories are clearly not the only events that could shape the future of the nation. Here we note five overlooked stories of 2010 - developments that might have received some press coverage but perhaps not as much as they should have, given the impact they could have on various aspects of American life in the years ahead." 
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Asia: Guinea Pigs Aplenty for Drug Giants
Patrick Winn, GlobalPost: "Before any pill reaches the pharmacy shelf, it must first pass through a gauntlet of human guinea pigs: the 'clinical subjects' paid to take trial drugs so specialists can observe their symptoms. But like call centers and high-end hospitals, drug trials too are rapidly shifting to India and Asia with Thailand as the region's favored frontrunner." 
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Dennis Brutus: A Small Tribute to a Giant Man
Beverly Bell, Other Worlds: "It is perhaps easiest to remember Dennis the fighter, but I was always equally impressed with Dennis the human being. No matter how ugly the political fight, Dennis' anger remained streamlined on the unjust systems and policies, not wasted on the individuals behind them. He kept his eyes on the prize: the principles at play." 
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Bankers' on the Pay Line Again
Simon Johnson, The Baseline Scenario: "The people who run big banks in the US have had a good year. They pushed back hard on financial reform legislation during the spring and were able to defeat the most serious efforts to constrain their power.... But there is also a potential lump of coal in Santa's sack for the biggest banks, in the form of restrictions of pay - both its structure and perhaps even the amounts (although officially the latter is not currently on the table)." 
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China Shifts Stance in Sudan, Advancing Prospects for Partition
Alan Boswell, McClatchy Newspapers: "Long Sudan's most powerful friend, China is shifting ties just weeks ahead of a key secession vote, cozying up to the nation's separatist southern region in what appears to be a pragmatic concession to the impending partition of Africa's largest country. China's move could help deal a final blow to any lingering hopes by Arab leaders in the north to hold the country together by force." 
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Bush Intelligence Chief: Obama "Has Been as Aggressive, If Not More Aggressive in Pursuing" Terrorists
Alex Seitz-Wald, ThinkProgress: "For the past two years, conservatives have repeatedly attacked President Obama for supposedly endangering American lives by not being aggressive enough in goin g after terrorists.... Retired Vice Admiral Mike McConnell, who served as the Director of National Intelligence under President Bush, said the Obama 'administration has been as aggressive, if not more aggressive in pursuing' terror threats." 
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The Baby Trade
John Feffer, Foreign Policy in Focus: "First of all, the global baby trade is a market. Adoptive families pay a lot of money - to the sending country, adoption agencies, and lawyers.... Like any market, the unscrupulous find plenty of ways to make money." 
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