June 25, 2015

Get up, get on up!

“The World in a Nutshell” A daily newsletter brought to you by OpedSpace
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IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READS Calm Down, Don’t Be Dra(ch)matic You’re hot then you’re cold, you’re yes then you’re no, you’re deal then no deal, you must be Greeece (yes, we just referenced Katy Perry, and yes we’re a repeat offender with the dra(ch)ma joke… sorry about that). Just when you thought the Greek crisis had been resolved it all fell apart again. Greece’s creditors rejected the deal that Greek PM Alexis Tsipras had proposed on Monday night, prompting Tsipras to turn around and reject the IMF counter proposal (aka “you can’t fire me, I quit”). The drama leaves both sides little time to reach a compromise and get it approved by their respective parliaments. Confused by what’s going on? So is EU Commission President Juncker who recently exclaimed that he doesn’t “understand Tsipras.” 
UN Accuses Everyone Of War Crimes… Again
Another UN panel on the Middle East, and this time it is on Syria, where, sadly, human rights abuses have become as common as our lame Greek drachma jokes. On Tuesday, the UN condemned everyone involved in the Syrian civil war of “deliberately targeting civilians.” However, condemning Assad, Al-Qaeda and ISIS of targeting civilians is a bit like accusing former Toronto mayor Rob Ford that he has a cocaine problem, he knows it, he knows you know it and he couldn’t care less. Now the UN report may be useless but you don’t have to be. Do something good today — donate here to help Syrian refugees who are caught in the middle of this brutal conflict. 
US Spies On France (Surprise!)
French President Francois Hollande was furious at the US government yesterday after “discovering” that the US was listening in on his private conversations. According to Wikileaks documents (click if you want to go on the NSA watchlist), between 2006 and 2012 the US listened to everyone from Chirac, Sarkozy and Hollande down to ambassadors and cabinet ministers. The documents showed Hollande’s discomfort at German austerity, as well as his fears over Greece’s fate. Hollande’s party released a statement saying that the allegations showed that the US had “truly stupefying state paranoia” with the President — known to his critics as “Mr Flamby” (a wobbly pudding) — convening an emergency meeting of his defense cabinet to examine the allegations and “draw useful conclusions” (sounds very very threatening, sir). We expect France and the US to renew their vows soon… Must Read: The least three surprising things US spies learned about France
What’s Made In China And Not Fake?
Your Social Security number, perhaps. New revelations from the Obama administration about the recent hack into the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) indicate that up to 18 million Social Security numbers could have been stolen. The OPM director rushed to say that 18 million is a number that is “preliminary, unverified and approximate.” Unlike your SSN, which is verified, exact and in China. Turns out Chinese hackers had “administrator privileges” for a year — which is not surprising when US government cybersecurity still allows employees to set their password to “password,” just like they did when they opened their first MySpace account. 

Honey! I Flushed The Fish
I know you might be sick of your pet goldfish, Bob, but don’t think you can just flush him down the toilet and be done with him that easily. The Government of Alberta is launching a campaign to stop people from flushing their pet goldfish down the drain as they are disturbing the aquatic balance in Alberta’s ponds. Apparently “goldfish the size of dinner plates are multiplying like bunnies” across the province. Canada hasn’t faced this kind of crisis since Quebec tried to secede for the 8th time… aye!
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