Wednesday morning roundup

Workers block the road during a general strike in Barcelona, Spain, early Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2010. Photo: AP/Manu Fernandez

Economy

A wave of workers’ strikes unfolded across Europe in response to the austerity measures being enforced by governments in the name of deficit reduction. Hundreds of thousands of workers in Belgium, Spain and Ireland took to the streets to rally against budget cuts that were enacted after the sovereign debt crisis rocked the eurozone earlier this year. [The Guardian, Le Soir, El Mundo]

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Tuesday morning roundup

Photo: Flickr/Kristen Bonardi Rapp

Culture

The John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation announced this year’s “genius grant” winners. Included in the rarefied group of 23 is David Simon, the television producer and writer behind such shows as “The Wire” and “Treme.” Recipients receive a grant of $500,000 over 5 years. See the full list of winners at the MacArthur Foundation website. [NYT]

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Monday morning roundup

Culture

Across the pond, Ed Miliband bested his older brother, David, by a narrow margin to become the Labour party’s new leader Saturday. The younger Miliband took to the airwaves on Sunday to reject the “Red Ed” sobriquet and affirm a centrist platform for the UK’s main opposition party. The elder Mililband, the former foreign secretary under Gordon Brown, has been offered the position of shadow chancellor in his brother’s cabinet; he has until Wednesday to decide. [Telegraph, Guardian, FT]
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Friday morning roundup

Culture

Stephen Colbert tops Monica Lewinsky. That’s at least one of the takeaways from a Congressional hearing on immigration and farm work this morning. The panel’s most famous participant was Colbert, the Comedy Central host who recently spent a day working on a vegetable farm in upstate New York. One Democrat, who asked Colbert to leave, quipped that he had attracted more members of the media than a presidential impeachment process. Colbert ended up finishing his testimony, suggesting among other things that Americans stop eating fruits and vegetables altogether, as a way to deter illegal immigrants from entering the country. [MSNBC, Boston Globe]

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Thursday afternoon roundup

Security/International

President Obama exhorted delegates to the United Nations General Assembly in New York to support fledgling peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Obama used his address at the U.N. to warn of the consequences of failure, telling diplomats: “More blood will be shed. This Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity.” The Israeli delegation was unusually absent during the speech, prompting some concern among attendees. But an official told reporters that no disrespect was intended: Israeli diplomats were observing Sukkot, a religious holiday. [AFP, The Washington Post]

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Humpty Dumpty goes to Washington

For those of you who saw NTK’s egg/salmonella explainer on food safety a few weeks back, here’s an update.

The owner of the farm from which most of the tainted eggs came, a man who was fined for numerous environmental and workplace violations, faced a Congressional committee today.  After the senatorial smack down, Austin “Jack” DeCoster, the owner of Wright County Eggs, apologized. The owner of the other big offending farm, Orland Bethel, president of Hillandale Farms of Iowa, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.  And apparently there was a bit of fireworks between some of the Senators. Who knew an egg recall could lead to such drama!

Wednesday morning roundup

Culture:

Image: www.planetmichael.com

Online developer Virtual Worlds has teamed up with Michael Jackson’s estate to create a new online gaming experience called “Planet Michael.” Creators describe the game as “a virtual world devoted to Jackson’s life, music and concerns,” where online users can interact with each other via social network.

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Tuesday morning roundup

Health

It turns out that there may be a bright side to global warming after all: It reduces cases of the bubonic plague. Globally, the number of cases has been in decline recently, and a new study concluded that escalating temperatures have helped.

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Monday morning roundup

Here’s what’s going on with our beats today:

Security

Observers are debating the success of parliamentary elections in Afghanistan on Saturday. Nationwide turnout was about 40 percent, and the vote was marred by sporadic violence. Officials have been hesitant to judge the legitimacy of the result, with more than 4,000 outstanding complaints, including allegations of fraud, to be adjudicated. [Voice of America]

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