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US: Most of the Unemployed No Longer Receive Benefits

© AP Photo/Paul SancyaA job applicant receives advice on his resume while attending a job fair in Southfield, Mich. Nearly all states provide up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits.
The jobs crisis has left so many people out of work for so long that most of America's unemployed are no longer receiving unemployment benefits.

Early last year, 75 percent were receiving checks. The figure is now 48 percent - a shift that points to a growing crisis of long-term unemployment. Nearly one-third of America's 14 million unemployed have had no job for a year or more.

Congress is expected to decide by year's end whether to continue providing emergency unemployment benefits for up to 99 weeks in the hardest-hit states. If the emergency benefits expire, the proportion of the unemployed receiving aid would fall further.

The ranks of the poor would also rise. The Census Bureau says unemployment benefits kept 3.2 million people from slipping into poverty last year. It defines poverty as annual income below $22,314 for a family of four.

Yet for a growing share of the unemployed, a vote in Congress to extend the benefits to 99 weeks is irrelevant. They've had no job for more than 99 weeks. They're no longer eligible for benefits.

Their options include food stamps or other social programs. Nearly 46 million people received food stamps in August, a record total. That figure could grow as more people lose unemployment benefits.

So could the government's disability rolls. Applications for the disability insurance program have jumped about 50 percent since 2007.

"There's going to be increased hardship," said Wayne Vroman, an economist at the Urban Institute.

Light Saber

US: More Small Businesses Are Pulling Their Accounts Out Of Big Banks

© APBurn rate: More and more small businesses are switching to small banks.

Even in a tight credit market, David Meinert didn't think he'd have a problem getting funding from his bank. He was a model entrepreneur, with good credit and a profitable business earning $2 million in revenue. But when he applied for a relatively small $50,000 line of credit from Chase in late 2010, he got denied in 12 hours, with no explanation. "It was insulting and made no sense, even to the banker. And there was no one to even talk to about it," Meinert says. "It's frustrating that banks are getting billions of dollars in taxpayers' money and they're sitting on that money and not lending it to small businesses. If you're making less than $10 million, they don't care about you."

Meinert decided to turn his frustration into action. After 12 years with Bank of America and a year with Chase, he's switching all his business accounts to Seattle Bank. Like many small-business owners, he initially joined the big banks for no particular reason other than that they were conveniently located. Bank of America was the closest bank to his office and Chase was the closest bank to his office that wasn't Bank of America. He spent years enduring all the subsequent irritations -- outdated online banking systems, the revolving door of bank employees, increasing fees, a sense that he was more a number than a name -- with little more than an eye roll. But the credit line denial was a breaking point.

The practical incentives were compounded by his philosophical objections. "Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day really put a highlight on national issues for me," Meinert says. "So it's not just a practical business decision, but also a societal, political decision. I don't want to do business with companies that are risking people's money in a way that can harm our whole country. And the damage that the big banks and so-called Wall Street have done to our economy and our country -- it's a real thing for me. I see it. The people it's damaging are my customers and my peers. Purely as a businessman, I see the destruction of the middle class and the inequality that's being caused in our society as bad for business. But also as a human, outside of being a businessman, I see the damage it does to humans. I realized I needed to be out of that system as much as I can be."


CPS Seizes Baby From 'Occupy Dallas' Site

A homeless family living at the 'Occupy Dallas' camp said that they will find a new place to stay in order to keep their baby. CBS 11 News was on the scene as officers with the Dallas Police Department and Child Protective Services took custody of the 9-month-old boy on Thursday afternoon.

Brian and Cathy Carpich said that they met with CPS and were told that the camp was, in their words, an unhealthy living environment. The couple cannot get their boy, Zachariah, back until their living situation improves.

There were plenty of tears coming from the family after they returned from a meeting with a woman who they called their CPS caseworker. "It's not against the law," pleaded Brian Carpich. "We've not broken any laws."


US: Bank Dumping Days Begin!

© Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

New York -- Customers are dumping their banks in droves ahead of the nationwide "Move Your Money" and "Bank Transfer Day" movements this Saturday.

Given the recent spotlight on attempts -- and ultimate failures -- by some of the nation's biggest banks to tack on new debit card fees, thousands of disgruntled consumers have already either left or pledged to leave their current bank for a community bank or credit union, which are known for having fewer and/or lower bank account fees.

At least 650,000 consumers have already joined credit unions since Sept. 29, the day Bank of America (BAC, Fortune 500) announced plans to impose its controversial $5 debit card fee, according to a nationwide survey of credit unions by the Credit Union National Association.


US: New York, Sott Exclusive: Freezing OWS Protester says "Bring It On!"

Just prior to the big Snowstorm at the end of October 2011, the NYPD infiltrated the Occupy Wall Street movement on Liberty Plaza to find out where all the power generators were located, in order to remove them by raid.

All generators, including inflammable, environmentally safe bio-fuel generators were confiscated just before the snow storm hit.

An unconscionable action on the part of the NYPD. But they didn't plan on the creativity of the movement:


UK, London: Journalist's Arrest Adds to Woes of Murdoch's British Empire

The Sun
© Martin Argles / The GuardianThe man arrested by police is believed to be Sun journalist Jamie Pyatt.
A journalist at the tabloid The Sun was arrested Friday on suspicion of making illegal payments to police officers, a sign that a scandal has spread beyond The News of the World to other papers in Rupert Murdoch's British media empire.

The suspect, a 48-year-old man, is the sixth person to be arrested in Scotland Yard's investigation into illegal payoffs by newspapers to police officers in the wake of the phone hacking scandal at The News of the World. He was arrested outside London "in connection with allegations of corruption," the police said, and taken to a police station in southwest London for questioning.

The police would not identify the man, but News International, the British newspaper arm of Mr. Murdoch's media conglomerate, said in a statement that he was a News International employee, and people at the company have identified him as Jamie Pyatt, a senior journalist at The Sun, the Murdoch-owned tabloid that is the most popular daily newspaper in Britain.

The arrest suggests that payoffs to the police may have extended beyond The News of the World, which was closed by Mr. Murdoch in July in an effort to contain the scandal, to other parts of the Murdoch newspaper stable. Mr. Pyatt is the first journalist not employed by The News of the World to be arrested in connection with the police corruption case; he has been at The Sun for more than 20 years and has never worked at The News of the World.

Bizarro Earth

Nazi-saluting nationalists march through Moscow in 'Take back Russia' protest over Muslim migrants

5,000-strong mob chants 'Russia for Russians'

Thousands of far-right Nazi-saluting nationalists marched in Moscow today in a 'Take Back Russia' protest at Muslim migrants.

Resentment is growing over the migrants from Russia's Caucasus and the money the Kremlin sends to those troubled regions.

Chanting 'Russia for Russians' and 'Migrants today, occupiers tomorrow,' about 5,000 demonstrators, mostly young men, marched through a working-class neighbourhood on the outskirts of the capital.
© ReutersDefiant: Russian nationalist protestors march in a Moscow suburb today in a street lined with police

Che Guevara

Fed-up consumers planning for 'Bank Transfer Day'

© The Associated Press / Paul SakumaIn this Nov. 2, 2011 file photo, a protester sits in front of an ATM machine as a customer gets money at a Bank of America branch in Oakland, Calif. The spirit behind "Bank Transfer Day" caught fire with the Occupy Wall Street protests around the country and had more than 77,000 supporters on its Facebook page as of Friday, Nov. 4. The movement has already helped beat back Bank of America's plan to start charging a $5 debit card fee.
It's moving day for bank customers.

A grassroots movement that sprang to life last month is urging bank customers to close their accounts in favor of credit unions by Saturday.

The spirit behind "Bank Transfer Day" caught fire with the Occupy Wall Street protests around the country and had more than 79,000 supporters on its Facebook page as of Friday. The movement has already helped beat back Bank of America's plan to start charging a $5 debit card fee.

It's not clear to what extent the banking industry's about-face on debit card fees will extinguish the anger driving the movement. But many supporters say their actions are about far more than any single complaint.

"It's too little, too late," said Kristen Christian, the 27-year-old Los Angeles small business owner who started "Bank Transfer Day." She already opened accounts at two credit unions in preparation for cutting ties with Bank of America this weekend.

"Consumers are waking up and seeing that they have options," she said.

Even with its public support, however, it's not likely that any account closings that take place on Saturday will make a big dent with industry titans such as Chase, which is the largest bank in the country with some 26.5 million checking accounts.

But the call to action shows just how incensed consumers were at the prospect of a debit card fee at a time of so much economic uncertainty. Even those who were appeased by the industry's reversal may have tapped into a new sense of empowerment.

That's the case for Dan Blakemore, a Bank of America customer for the past 10 years. He said he no longer plans to close his checking account now that the debit fee has been scrapped. But he'll be on the lookout for any other changes that might hit his wallet.


US, Minnesota: Ventura, Miffed by Court, Says He's Off to Mexico

© The Associated Press / The Star Tribune / Bruce BispingFormer Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura speaks to the media about the court dismissing his suit against the TSA for the pat downs at the airport, outside the St. Paul Federal Courthouse on Friday, Nov. 4, 2011
Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura is so upset by the dismissal of his airport security lawsuit that he threatened Friday to apply for dual citizenship so he can spend more time in his beloved Mexico - or run for president of what he labeled "the Fascist States of America."

Ventura, also a former wrestling star, sued the U.S. government in January, alleging that airport scans and pat-downs amounted to unreasonable search and seizure. A district judge threw out his lawsuit Thursday, ruling it should have been filed in a Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ventura has said a titanium hip implanted in him in 2008 sets off metal detectors and that agents previously used hand-held wands to scan his body. He said he was subjected to a body pat-down after an airport metal detector went off last November. Ventura said he hasn't flown since and won't fly commercially again.

Outside the federal courthouse in St. Paul, with a crew from his Conspiracy Theory cable TV show filming, Ventura said he hadn't decided whether to continue pressing his lawsuit. He said he wanted to make his case before a jury, not a panel of judges.

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Colombia: Top FARC Rebel Commander Killed in Military Raid

© The Associated Press / The Canadian Press / Scott Dalton In this Feb. 2, 2001 file photo, rebel Commanders Alfonso Cano, left, and Ivan Rios, right, spokesmen for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, give a news conference in San Vicente del Caguan, in the rebel controlled area in southern Colombia. According to Colombian military authorities, Cano, the top FARC commander, was killed in a military operation on Friday Nov. 4, 2011.
The top leader of Colombia's main rebel group, the bookish ideologue Alfonso Cano, was killed Friday in combat hours after his nearby camp was bombed, authorities said.

The death was a major victory for President Juan Manuel Santos and comes just over a year after the military killed the rebels' field marshal. It is anything but a fatal blow, however, to the nearly half-century-old peasant-based Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

Cano, 63, was killed in a remote area of the southwestern state of Cauca along with four other rebels an hour before dusk about 200 yards (meters) from the bunker he apparently fled after the 8:30 a.m. bombing raid, said Adm. Roberto Garcia, the navy chief.

He had shaven off his trademark beard and his thick glasses were not found with him, Garcia said. Officials said he was positively identified by fingerprint.

Officials did not say whether Cano was armed when he died or how many bullet wounds he had or where. Garcia said five rebels also were captured.

Santos called Cano's killing "the hardest blow to this organization in its entire history" and cheered "Viva Colombia!"