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Sun, 05 Dec 2021
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US: Google To Pay $500 Million Settlement For Ads By Illegal Online Pharmacies

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Regulators will announce Wednesday that Google will pay $500 million to settle government charges that it has illegally shown ads for online pharmacies that operate outside the law, according to two people briefed on the investigation.

The investigation was first revealed in May, when Google said in a government filing that it set aside $500 million for the potential settlement of a Department of Justice investigation into its advertising practices, which decreased its quarterly profits by 22 percent.

Megaphone

Israel: IDF Retaliates - Ceasefire Breached Again as 7 Rockets Hit South

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© Yaniv Ohana
Grad hits Beer Tuvia Regional Council
Rockets explode near Ashkelon, Ofakim and Eshkol Council after Islamic Jihad vows to avenge death of terrorist in IAF air strike. No injuries reported. IAF targets Islamic Jihad terrorist cell in Gaza, kills one

The Israel-Hamas ceasefire was breached again Wednesday as seven rockets hit southern communities. A rocket fired from the northern Gaza Strip exploded in an open field south of Ashkelon Wednesday evening. Minutes later, two additional rockets hit an open area near Ofakim. Shortly thereafter, two other rockets landed near the Eshkol Regional Council, which later saw two extra Qassam landings.

There were no reports of injuries or damage. An alarm was sounded in Beersheba and other southern communities.

Bad Guys

US: Cheney Says He Had Secret Resignation Letter

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© Photographer: Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney secretly put a signed resignation letter in a safe shortly after taking office, in part because of concerns about his health, according to excerpts from an NBC News interview.

Cheney, 70, who suffered four heart attacks before becoming President George W. Bush's vice president, was worried about the possibility "that I might have a heart attack or a stroke that would be incapacitating," he said in the interview. "There is no mechanism for getting rid of a vice president who can't function."

Cheney signed the letter in March 2001, two months after the inauguration. Bush knew about it as did a member of the vice president's staff, according to the NBC excerpts.

The former vice president has been beset by heart trouble. In February 2010, he was hospitalized for what doctors described as a "mild" heart attack, his fifth, and he underwent surgery later that year to implant a pump to assist his heart.

Dollar

Libya: Rebels put $1.3m bounty on Gaddafi

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© Getty Images
Libya's rebels put a $1.3m bounty on Muammer Gaddafi's head and said they were pressing in towards his home town of Sirte, a day after opposition forces swept through the strongman's Tripoli compound - without finding him.

Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of Libya's Benghazi-based national transitional council, announced an amnesty or pardon for any of the colonel's inner circle "who kill Gaddafi or capture him".

Stop

Indonesia: Anger Over Airline's 'Breast Check-Ups'

Garuda Airliner
© Associated Press
A Garuda Indonesia airliner.

Would-be flight attendants in South Korea have accused Indonesia's national airline of making them strip nearly naked and have their breasts handled in medical check-ups, provoking a storm of criticism.

Several dozen candidates for 18 highly-coveted female flight attendant positions with Garuda Indonesia were required to strip down to their panties to screen out those with tattoos or breast implants, one applicant told AFP.

She declined to be named, saying she was still waiting to hear whether she had got a job after the tests last month.

"The hand examination on breast was held since those with implants can have health issues when air pressure falls during flights," Yonhap news agency quoted an airline official as saying.

Cabin crew are banned from having tattoos and workers hired in other countries such as Japan and Australia were also subject to a similar process, the agency quoted the official as saying.

But the move baffled industry peers and angered women's rights groups, which called the process unnecessary and intrusive.

Bacon

Alex Jones, Mike Adams and the 9/11 Litmus Test

Well now, boys and girls. I'm kind of in Hobson's Choice-land today. This has come up on my radar and I am bound to engage it. I have no choice, even though I might seem to have a choice. Let me digress for a moment.

My good friend Roy and I were in Uberlingen at the lake this weekend. I like to get away with Roy, when I can, to have conversation. Roy is from India and a native of that land. For some reason we can sit and talk for hours and it's all good. Roy is a very bright fellow of spiritual inclination. He's also very well read and honest as the day is long. He told me a story this weekend, which was distressing to me to say the least. His father was a soldier and his father told him the tale. I spoke about it on the radio show this Sunday night.

Roy told me that Gandhi was not at all as he is made out to be and that he actually wanted the British to stay and worked to that end and that it was Chandra Ghosh who drove them out, even though they didn't actually leave, they just went underground and behind the scenes. I haven't researched this and have no idea of how true it is. As with all things, I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle but actually, at right angles to everything else.

I mention this because it is possible that all of our assumptions concerning everyone are wrong and that brings me to today's brief.

Attention

Strauss-Kahn Drama Ends With Short Final Scene

Strauss-Kahn
© Michael Appleton for The New York Times
After the hearing on Tuesday, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, center, said in a statement that the criminal inquiry had been “a nightmare for me and my family.”
The coda to one of New York's most gripping and erratic criminal dramas lasted all of 12 minutes.

A prosecutor spoke first, quickly summarizing what had been obvious for weeks: the Manhattan district attorney's office had little confidence in its case, and even less trust in the accuser it had initially championed. A defense lawyer was next, saying simply, "We do not oppose the motion."

Then the judge spoke.

And just like that, the sexual-assault case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn was dismissed Tuesday, bringing an abrupt end to what had been a three-month episodic criminal investigation, each chapter offering a sensational twist on the underlying storyline: Mr. Strauss-Kahn, a man of international power and prestige, was accused of sexually assaulting an immigrant hotel housekeeper after she entered his suite to clean it.

The dismissal order issued by Justice Michael J. Obus of State Supreme Court in Manhattan brought some semblance of legal vindication to Mr. Strauss-Kahn, 62, after his stunning and embarrassing arrest more than three months ago. He was taken into custody on May 14 aboard an Air France jet at Kennedy International Airport, and then appeared disheveled and in handcuffs before news cameras.

Wall Street

Guess How Much Wall Street Borrowed From Fed During Crisis While Americans Went Bust?

ben bernanke
© http://static6.businessinsider.com/image/4e3c36996bb3f7a45e00001f-400-/bernanke-drops-money-from-helicopters.jpg
After months of litigation and an act of Congress, Bloomberg has an exclusive on the massive lending by the Federal Reserve to Wall Street banks during the height of the financial crisis in 2008.

On top of the $160 billion in loans from the Treasury Department, banks - including those based overseas - borrowed $669 billion from the Fed, with the Fed's peak balance at one point reaching a staggering $1.2 trillion.

According to Bloomberg, the $1.2 trillion is about the same amount as homeowners owe on 6.5 million delinquent mortgages, three-times the size of the federal deficit in 2008, and more than the total earnings of federally insured banks in the last decade.

The Fed had refused to disclose the specific sums it lent to the banks in 2008 - but was compelled to by the Dodd-Frank regulatory reform law.

War Whore

Israeli Video Games in Gaza

"Minimal Collateral Damage" Islam was the second two-year-old to be killed by Israeli drone strikes in two days.

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© n/a
Islam Quraiqe in Gaza
He looks at the camera with bright eyes and the beginning of a smile, wearing a miniature dark blue zipper sweatshirt, the cuffs folded up a bit to make it fit.

I can imagine his mother dressing him that morning, making sure he would be warm enough. I wonder if she's the one who took the picture. Someone has written on the photo "kisses."

It's not a formal picture. He's outside on a sunny day. It looks like he was probably moving when the picture was snapped; his arms seem to be swinging a little. As with most almost two-year-olds, I suspect it was hard to get him to stay still long enough for a photo.

It's a happy picture, the kind that makes you smile; perhaps it reminds you of funny, energetic little children you know or remember.

Coffee

Study Shows Powerful Corporations Really Do Control the World's Finances

Financial Network topology
© Image from arXiv:1107.5728v1 [q-fin.GN].
Network topology with a zoom on some major transnational corporations in the financial sector.
For many years conventional wisdom has said that the whole world is controlled by the monied elite, or more recently by the huge multi-national corporations that seem to sometime control the very air we breathe. Now, new research by a team based in ETH-Zurich, Switzerland, has shown that what we've suspected all along, is apparently true. The team has uploaded their results onto the preprint server arXiv.

Using data obtained (circa 2007) from the Orbis database (a global database containing financial information on public and private companies) the team, in what is being heralded as the first of its kind, analyzed data from over 43,000 corporations, looking at both upstream and downstream connections between them all and found that when graphed, the data represented a bowtie of sorts, with the knot, or core representing just 147 entities who control nearly 40 percent of all of monetary value of transnational corporations (TNCs).