Belo Monte Dam Protest (photo: International Rivers/flickr)

The coffee’s freshly ground, there’s a wide variety of teas and the sticky buns are homemade.

  • “A leading architect of the austerity programme in Greece – one of the harshest ever seen in Europe – has admitted that its emphasis on fiscal consolidation has failed to work, and said economic recovery will only come if the crisis-hit country changes tack and focuses on structural reforms. Poul Thomsen, a senior International Monetary Fund official who oversees the organisation’s mission in Greece, also insists that, contrary to popular belief, Athens has achieved a lot since the eruption of the debt crisis in December 2009.”
  • “China’s response to calls from the West to join an oil embargo penalising Iran for its nuclear programme so far has been to choose the middle course typical of its non-interfering foreign policy of the last 30 years – denouncing sanctions on one hand yet working to protect its national interests on many fronts. But the decision by India, another major buyer of Iran’s oil, to continue importing from Tehran despite the Western sanctions, will shine uncomfortable light on the powerful nationalist sentiments among the Chinese public and the internal debate raging in China about the future course of its foreign policy.”
  • “A secret US military report says the Taliban, heavily backed by Pakistan, are confident they can win the Afghanistan conflict, and that they are gaining popular support at the expense of the Kabul government. The report, The State of the Taliban 2012, is the latest of a series drawn up by a US special operations taskforce on the basis of interrogations with 4,000 suspected Taliban and al-Qaida detainees.”
  • “Construction is now under way in Brazil on the world’s third-largest dam project, potentially displacing 24,000 people. Once complete, the 11,000-megawatt dam is supposed to provide a source of clean energy for Brazil’s growing needs. But critics say it will only help local industries and not the general population, with some claiming that it will be one of the most inefficient hydropower projects in the country’s history.”
  • “The Colombian Red Cross says at least seven people have been killed and 70 injured in an attack on a police station in the southern city of Tumaco. A motorcycle laden with explosives was driven into the police station in the centre of the Pacific port city. Police officials say Colombia’s left-wing Farc rebel group was behind the attack.”
  • “International negotiators are closing in on a new solution for combating climate change — and saving the world’s remaining forests. Some 20 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions now come from deforestation, especially in the lush, green band of tropical rainforest that circles the earth. That is more than from global transport.”
  • “Oil has started to spread from the wrecked Costa Concordia cruise ship, adding to fears that an environmental disaster could occur, the Associated Press reported. Authorities are currently trying to assess how serious and extensive the spread of the thin film of oil was, the AP reported. It appeared to be spreading from the stern of the ship, although a crack between two large glass panels that formed part of the roof of the ship also appeared. According to the Italian Port Authority, the leak consisted of a thin film of hydrocarbons.”
  • “Three men from Mozambique have been jailed for 25 years after being found guilty of hunting rhino in South Africa’s famous Kruger National Park. The Mozambicans were caught with two fresh rhino horns, an assault rifle, a hunting rifle and an ax inside the Kruger park, which borders Mozambique, in July 2010.”
  • “A woman has hurled flour at the Socialist candidate in the French presidential election, Francois Hollande, at a campaign stop in Paris. Bodyguards leapt forward to protect the candidate and the assailant was restrained, then carried from the stage by her hands and feet. Mr Hollande, covered in white, stayed calm during the incident.”
  • “The US has the highest prison population in the world – some of whom have been subjected to lengthy sentences for relatively minor crimes. And that population has surged over the past three decades. Although there has been a slight reduction in the past year, more than two million people are either incarcerated in prison or in jail awaiting trial. The US has the highest rate of imprisonment in the world, with 743 people incarcerated for every 100,000 Americans. No other nation even comes close to these figures.”
  • “In a development that can only delight authorities in Beijing, The Associated Press reported today that Nobel Peace Prize officials were under investigation for choosing nominees based on the wrong set of criteria. An adverse decision could, in theory, cause the Stockholm County Administrative Board, which oversees charitable foundations in the Swedish capital, to suspend award decisions going back three years, though this would be unprecedented, according to the AP.”
  • “State of the Union speeches usually throw bones in every direction, to every constituency that matters to a president. But even though black male unemployment is at record levels, even higher than when the president declared the “recession” over, it remains beneath the notice of the First Black President.”

The Costs of Capitalism’s Crisis: Who Will Pay?  Prof Richard Wolff speaks on 24 January (the same day Osterity made his first major campaign speech, aka SOTU). (1 hour, 35 minutes)

The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off.