The International AIDS Conference is making dangerously impossible promises about putting an end to the epidemic; the London Olympics’ opening ceremonies included a unique tribute to free, universal health care; meanwhile, British graffiti artist Banksy has proved he will not be erased. These discoveries and more below.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that have found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

The links below open in a new window. Newer ones are on top.

The End of AIDS? What are you smoking? For the first time in 22 years the International AIDS Conference is underway in the United States, and the dominant mood is strangely optimistic.

Where has all the surplus gone? A large part of it is hidden in tax havens abroad.

Obama aide tells Israel of Iran attack plan: paper President Barack Obama’s national security adviser has briefed Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a U.S. contingency plan to attack Iran should diplomacy fail to curb its nuclear program, an Israeli newspaper reported on Sunday.

GOP Imperiled by Decline of White Population So the Mad Hatter of the American conservatism, Pat Buchanan, wrote a piece today called “In the Long Run, is the GOP Dead?”

Protectors of Wall Street If you believe the Federal Reserve has done a fine job of managing monetary policy and trust it to continue to exert vast power with no accountability or transparency, then you are probably content with the status quo.

What if Europe Fails? The European Union is engaged in a ferocious political, diplomatic, and economic struggle to preserve the future of the single currency, the euro, and the viability of what has become known simply as ‘‘the project,’’ namely the process of integration that has been the bedrock of Western European politics for over half a century.

Celebrating free, universal healthcare London did what Chicago could never have done: celebrate the existence of universal healthcare.

Twitter airport bomb joke case ‘a scandal’ Paul Chambers, who was found guilty of sending a menacing tweet threatening to blow up an airport, has won a challenge against his conviction.

The Real Reason That Big Banks Have So Many Scandals This spring has seen a veritable festival of revelations of illegal, stupid, and dishonest behavior by some of the largest banks in the world.

Will London Really Erase Banksy’s New Olympics Art? In cleaning up London’s graffiti for the Olympics city authorities threaten to squelch the work one of its biggest celebrities, the street artist Banksy, but last week the secretive graffiti artist showed he wouldn’t be deterred from creating Olympics-related art while the whole world is watching.

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