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Purveyor's Journal
Purveyor's Journal
June 29, 2012

Palestinians Hail UN Nod For Nativity Church As Victory In Bid For Global Recognition

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, June 29, 3:08 PM

BETHLEHEM, West Bank — The Palestinians on Friday persuaded the U.N. cultural agency to list the Church of the Nativity — the place where Christians believe Jesus was born — as an endangered World Heritage site despite misgivings by churches in charge of the basilica.

The Palestinians hailed the nod by UNESCO as a step forward in their quest for global recognition of an independent Palestine in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in 1967.

The centuries-old basilica is located in a part of the Israeli-occupied West Bank where the Palestinians have self-rule. UNESCO’s decision was seen by them as validation of their rights to the territory.

“We are ecstatic,” Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi said of Friday’s 13-6 by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee, meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia.



June 29, 2012

Clinton, Lavrov Set For Showdown Over Syria Ahead Of International Conference On Transition

By Associated Press, Updated: Friday, June 29, 9:40 AM

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov were heading for a face-to-face showdown over Syria on Friday as major powers prepared for a weekend conference to hash out a political transition plan for the country.

On the eve of Saturday’s conference aimed at ending 16 months of brutal violence in Syria, Clinton and Lavrov were to meet in St. Petersburg in a bid to iron out deep differences over the transition plan being pushed by U.N. envoy Kofi Annan that calls for the formation of a national unity government that would oversee the drafting of a new constitution and elections.

U.S. officials are adamant that the plan will not allow Syrian President Bashar Assad to remain in power at the top of the transitional government, but Russia insists that outsiders cannot dictate the ultimate solution or the composition of the interim administration.

Annan laid out his expectations for the weekend conference in an op-ed in The Washington Post. The future government in Syria, he said “must include a government of national unity that would exercise full executive powers. This government could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups, but those whose continued presence and participation would undermine the credibility of the transition and jeopardize stability and reconciliation would be excluded.”



June 29, 2012

Guest Lineups For The Sunday TV News Shows

ABC's "This Week" - Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; White House chief of staff Jack Lew; Vicki Kennedy, widow of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.


NBC's "Meet the Press" - House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California; Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La.; former Gov. Howard Dean, D-Vt.


CBS' "Face the Nation" - House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.


CNN's "State of the Union" - Lew.


"Fox News Sunday" - Lew; Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

June 29, 2012

National Occupy Gathering Set For July 4 In Philly

Source: Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Get ready for Occupy Fourth of July in the cradle of liberty.

Occupy groups from across the country are headed to Philadelphia for a national gathering on Independence Mall, seeking to unify their far-flung movement against economic inequality a half-year after police evicted protesters from encampments in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, New York and other cities. The event, which starts Saturday and runs through July 4, is expected to bring about 1,500 protesters for marches, speakers and camping during the city's annual Independence Day festivities.

That has Philadelphia officials bracing for extra people during a week that already brings more than 1 million tourists to town for concerts, fireworks and other celebrations. While the Occupy Philadelphia protests last year were largely peaceful, the city eventually became frustrated with protesters' refusal to leave a City Hall plaza and police evicted those who remained in late November; several dozen protesters were arrested in the raid's aftermath.

Philadelphia Managing Director Rich Negrin said city officials have been preparing for the Occupy gathering, a conference being held by a spinoff group known as The 99% Working Group and other events planned by tea party activists.

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OCCUPY_NATIONAL_GATHERING?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-06-29-11-59-00

June 28, 2012

‘Vagina’ Speech Makes Michigan Lawmaker Symbol in Abortion Wars

By Chris Christoff - Jun 28, 2012 12:01 AM ET

June 28 Bloomberg) -- Ever since Lisa Brown sarcastically told fellow Michigan lawmakers that she was flattered by their interest in her private parts, her life has become a swirl of interviews, hugs, handshakes and a starring role in a Capitol steps performance of the “The Vagina Monologues.”

“That was the craziest week of my life,” said Brown, a 45-year-old Democrat from suburban Detroit who on June 13 used the word “vagina” in opposing a bill to regulate abortion clinics more strictly. The next day, Republicans prevented her from speaking, along with fellow state representative Democrat Barb Byrum, who yelled “vasectomy” when her pleas to speak were ignored.

The one-day gag order has become a rallying point for Democrats who accuse Republicans, who dominate the state Legislature, of trampling women’s rights and free speech. Videos of Brown’s and Byrum’s statements have become fodder for bloggers, talk radio and cable television as lawmakers across the nation debate a record number of bills aimed at making abortions more difficult to obtain.

Battles over such laws have flared in 14 states this year, including Mississippi, Kansas, Arizona, Texas and Florida, according to the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League in Washington and the Guttmacher Institute. In 2011, a record 92 such bills passed, according to the nonpartisan New York-based institute, which studies reproductive rights.



June 28, 2012

Consumer Confidence in U.S. Climbs to Highest Level in Two Months

By Caroline Fairchild

Consumer confidence in the U.S. climbed last week to the highest level in two months as optimism over personal finances helped alleviate growing apprehension about the economy.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to minus 36.1 in the week ended June 24 from minus 37.9 in the previous period. The gauge of household finances was positive for the first time since April, while sentiment toward the state of the economy dropped to the lowest level since February.

A 57-cent decrease in gasoline prices since early April is providing some relief, helping offset concern the job market is weakening by allowing employed Americans to stretch their paychecks. At the same time, sentiment among higher-income households turned negative for the first time in three months as Europe’s debt crisis hurts stock prices.

“The decline in confidence among households earning more than $100,000 per year likely reflects concerns about portfolio exposure to the crisis in Europe and the global economic slowdown,” said Joseph Brusuelas, a senior economist at Bloomberg LP in New York. Since the top 40 percent of income earners accounts for about 60 percent of consumer purchases, “even a modest pullback can have outsized effects on household spending and overall growth,” he said.



June 28, 2012

Oil Drops as U.S. Jobless Claims Hover Near Year’s High

By Moming Zhou on June 28, 2012

Oil fell for the first time in three days as applications for unemployment benefits last week hovered near the highest level of the year, indicating there hasn’t been an increase in commuters using fuel.

Prices dropped as much as 2.3 percent after the Labor Department reported jobless claims of 386,000 in the week ended June 23, in line with the 385,000 median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Economic confidence in the euro area slumped to the lowest level in more than 2 1/2 years in June ahead of a two-day summit of the region’s leaders.

“The economic numbers are not turning around to show anything good and the problems in Europe are not getting better,” said Tariq Zahir, a New York-based commodity fund manager at Tyche Capital Advisors. “The fundamentals are still bearish for oil.”

Crude oil for August delivery dropped $1.64, or 2 percent, to $78.57 a barrel at 10:37 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices have fallen 24 percent this quarter, heading for the biggest drop since the final three months of 2008.



June 27, 2012

Caterpillar Pulled From Social Indexes

Associated Press

JERUSALEM (AP) -- A U.S. investment firm has removed Caterpillar Inc. from three of its popular indexes that track socially responsible investments, citing concerns about the Israeli military's use of company bulldozers in the Palestinian territories.

The decision by the American investment-support firm MSCI Inc. was welcomed Wednesday by pro-Palestinian groups that have called for boycotts of companies that profit from Israel's occupation of the West Bank. It has already had at least one concrete effect, leading mutual fund giant TIAA-CREF to divest itself of $72 million in Caterpillar stock from its "Social Choice" fund, which tracks one of MSCI's indexes.

In a statement, MSCI said one of the "key factors" in Caterpillar's downgrade was "an ongoing controversy associated with use of the company's equipment in the occupied Palestinian territories." It also citied employee safety concerns, environmental issues and a January 2012 plant closing in Canada.

The decisions by MSCI and TIAA-CREF, both made in March, were only recently disclosed in their latest quarterly reports.



June 27, 2012

Obama Tops Romney in Poll of Three Swing-State Vote (Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida)

President Barack Obama holds an edge over presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the election battleground states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, a Quinnipiac University poll shows.

Obama leads Romney by 9 percentage points in Ohio, 6 points in Pennsylvania and 4 points in Florida, according to the June 19-25 “swing-state” survey released today. Obama has gained ground in Ohio and Florida while his lead in Pennsylvania diminished slightly, compared with a comparable Quinnipiac poll released on May 3.

A move by Obama to stop deportations of some illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children helped win over voters, said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. The president holds almost a 2-1 lead among Hispanic voters in Florida, the poll found.

“If he can keep those leads in all three of these key swing states through Election Day, he would be virtually assured of re-election,” Brown said in an e-mailed statemen

June 27, 2012

Christie May Trim N.J. Budget Amid Spat With 'Arrogant S.O.B' Democrat

By Terrence Dopp and Elise Young - 2012-06-27T04:01:00Z

Governor Chris Christie called a New Jersey Senate Democrat an “arrogant S.O.B.” over the failure to guarantee a tax cut in the Legislature’s $31.7 billion spending plan, without saying whether he’ll veto the package.

Christie’s comment referred to Senator Paul Sarlo, a Wood- Ridge Democrat who heads the budget panel, and how the measure deals with tax relief. The Republican said he “got fooled” in swapping his income-levy rollback for property-tax rebates, citing a six-month delay and conditions set by lawmakers.

The budget that passed the Senate and Assembly without a single Republican vote would set aside money for the rebates while making the payments conditional on revenue reaching targets set in Christie’s spending proposal. State receipts for the fiscal year that begins next week have been projected to fall short by as much as $1.3 billion.

“If you’ve been good according to Paul Sarlo, maybe you can have your tax cut,” Christie, 49, told a crowd of about 750 at a town-hall meeting in Brick Township yesterday. “But I wouldn’t count on it.”



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