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Monday, November 18, 2013

3-Day Strike to Kick Militias out of Tripoli

At least 37 people were killed and more than 400 wounded on Saturday night when a Misrata militia unit opened fire on protesters who had gathered around their base in Tripoli, demanding they leave. Local leaders issued a statement calling for a 3-day strike to protest the gunmen and local leaders demanding they leave the city within 72 hours. Libya’s military has taken over the capital with pickup trucks and anti-aircraft guns to drive the militias out.

In a move that may ease tensions for the time being, the militias have begun to withdraw to areas they control. Libya’s army is still no match for the militias, many of which control their own fiefdoms within the country.

WalMart Faces Strikes, Scrutiny, Safety Complaints

Hundreds of trucker drivers working for WalMart, Forever 21, Costco and Sketchers – among others – plan to walk off the job today to protest the companies’ alleged illegal punishment of workers for labor organizing and exposing wrongdoing.

The National Labor Relations Board will announce its decision today  to prosecute WalMart for violating workers rights, including firing and threatening workers attempting to unionize. Warehouse workers have announced they will file two complaints alleging widespread abuse with the California Department of Occupational Safety and Health.

Additionally, WalMart published a list of 75 of its 200 factories in Bangladesh that had been inspected thus far – one sixth of them failed to meet basic standards of structural, fire or electrical safety.

Finally, and almost unbelievably, Walmart is holding a canned food drive to support its own employees.

Extended Jobless Benefits Set to End

Unless Congress acts to extend them, around 1.3 million people will lose access to additional weeks of jobless benefits during the last week of December - over the subsequent three months, 850,000 will follow.

The program extending jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed has been re-authorized 11 times since June 2008, and Democrats are pushing for it once again. They will likely try to make re-extending them part of the renewed budget talks, but acrimony between the parties is so high that negotiators doubt whether even a relatively small deal altering sequestration cuts is possible. If it’s not, then the jobless are out of luck.

Syria Updates

This weekend, at least 31 troops were killed when a massive blast rocked a government building in Damascus, causing it to collapse. Because the bomb was placed either inside the building or in a tunnel under neath it, there is a possibility that rebels had infiltrated the base.

Today, the Syrian rebel leader who created one of the most effective and organized factions fighting against President Bashar al-Assad, died after wounds he received when the government attacked a meeting of rebel leaders.

As the civil war continues to rage, more and more obstacles to destroying Syria’s chemical stockpiles seem to appear: the weapons have to be transported through battlegrounds across rugged terrain and then loaded onto a ship that has no place to go.

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