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A selection of this week's celebrity news...

Vivienne Jolie-Pitt's Salary Revealed: Angelina Jolie's Daughter Earns $3,000 a Week for Maleficent http://eonli.ne/V48fvL

Zero Dark Thirty: Osama bin Laden Shooter Says Jessica Chastain's Performance Was "Awesome" http://eonli.ne/XGhSgJ

Kate Upton, Katherine Webb, Fellow Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models Do Late Show Top 10 http://eonli.ne/V1tGxv

Alyssa Milano's Dog Diesel Dies of Cancer: "Rest in Peace," Actress Tweets http://eonli.ne/V0vLd9

It started in Colombia in 2000, moved on to Mexico in 2008 and now rages in Central America. Since the beginning of the century, the US-backed “war on drugs” has progressively spread throughout the northern part of Latin America, leaving tens of thousands of lost lives in its wake.

An in-depth investigative piece published by the Associated Press explains how this so-called “war” ― which relies on US funding, training, equipment and troops ― has grown in recent years to become “the most expensive initiative in Latin America since the Cold War”.

The doctrine of national security imposed by the United States on Latin America, which fostered the dictatorships of the 1970s and '80s, is making a comeback in Honduras. A new law is combining military defence of the country with police strategies for maintaining domestic order.

The law created the National Directorate of Investigation and Intelligence (DNII), a key agency in the security structure that does not appear to be accountable to any other body, and does not appear to be under democratic civilian control.

Billionaire Rupert Murdoch's propaganda machine has a penchant for using Green Left Weekly as a metaphor for left-wing opinion.

This was on the sports page of the February 4 issue of its giveaway tabloid mX: “Shane Warne played Statesman last week with his ambitious Where is Australian Cricket At? Volume 1 ... it contained more utopian fantasy than your average issue of Green Left Weekly.”

“I saw men, women and children die during that time,” former US drone pilot Brandon Bryant told the December 10 Der Spiegel. “I never thought I would kill that many people. In fact, I thought I couldn’t kill anyone at all.”

There has been much speculation in the international media over the future of Venezuela in light of the poor health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The Venezuelan government reported on February 4 that Chavez's recovery in Cuba, from a cancer-related operation in December, was proceeding well.

Protests against the Al-Khalifa regime have escalated in Bahrain ahead of the two-year anniversary of the uprising's start in mid-February and planned national talks between the opposing camps. The protests were spurred on by court rulings against jailed activists and more deaths caused by security forces.

On January 13, 88-year-old Habib Ibrahim Abdullah died after inhaling tear gas fired by security forces at a protest in Malkiya, sparking protests in the capital. Security forces attacked demonstrators at his funeral the same day.

Greenwash: Big Brands & Carbon Scams
Guy Pearse
Black Inc., 2012
264 pages, $29.99 (pb)

The response of big business to global warming, their propaganda would have us believe, is to ride to the rescue by reducing their carbon emissions. As Guy Pearse shows in Greenwash, however, this is just a marketing ploy to attract the dollars of environmentally concerned customers.

It appears that the movement for a cultural boycott of Israel can claim another victory. On January 5 guitarist Stanley Jordan announced he will not be performing at the winter installment of Israel’s Red Sea Jazz Festival.

In a brief statement on his Facebook page, Jordan stated: “My performance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival has been cancelled. I apologize for any inconvenience to anyone.” Jordan, an acclaimed an innovative guitarist, had been billed as a headliner at the festival.

For a moment he lost himself in the old, familiar dream. He imagined that he was master of the sky, that the world lay spread out beneath him, inviting him to travel where he willed. It was not the world of his own time that he saw, but the lost world of the dawn -- a rich and living panorama of hills and lakes and forests. He felt bitter envy of his unknown ancestors, who had flown with such freedom over all the earth, and who had let its beauty die.

-- Arthur C. Clarke, The City and the Stars

Capitalism stands as a death sentinel over planetary life.

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