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The number of hungry people globally has declined from about one billion 25 years ago to about 795 million today, or about one person out of every nine, despite a surge in population growth, the United Nations reported Wednesday. In developing regions, the number of hungry people has fallen to 780 million today, or 12.9 percent of the population, from 991 million 25 years ago, or 23.3 percent of the population at the time. Despite the finding that nearly 800 million people in the world remain hungry, the report described the progress made as a significant achievement. It said that 72 of the 129 nations monitored by the Food and Agriculture Organization had achieved the target under the so-called Millennium Development Goals of halving the percentages of hungry people in their populations and that developing regions had missed the target by only a small margin. The Millennium Development Goals are a set of eight international objectives, including hunger eradication, established by the United Nations in 2000. “The near-achievement of the M.D.G. hunger targets shows us that we can indeed eliminate the scourge of hunger in our lifetime,” said José Graziano da Silva, the director general of the Food and Agriculture Organization. Progress was most pronounced in East Asia, Southeast and Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. But the report also illustrated failures, especially in parts of Africa, where ... “extreme weather events, natural disasters, political instability and civil strife have all impeded progress.”
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Welcome to “Spring Fever” week in primary schools across the Netherlands, the week of focused sex ed classes. In the Netherlands, the approach, known as “comprehensive sex education,” starts as early as age 4. You’ll never hear an explicit reference to sex in a kindergarten class. In fact, the term for what’s being taught here is sexuality education rather than sex education. All primary school students in the Netherlands must receive some form of sexuality education. The system allows for flexibility in how it’s taught. But it must address certain core principles — among them, sexual diversity and sexual assertiveness. That means encouraging respect for all sexual preferences and helping students develop skills to protect against sexual coercion, intimidation and abuse. The underlying principle is straightforward: Sexual development is a normal process that all young people experience, and they have the right to frank, trustworthy information on the subject. “There were societal concerns that sexualization in the media could be having a negative impact on kids,” [health promotion official Robert] van der Vlugt said. “We wanted to show that sexuality also has to do with respect, intimacy, and safety.” The Dutch approach to sex ed has garnered international attention, largely because the Netherlands boasts some of the best outcomes. The teen pregnancy rate in the Netherlands is one of the lowest in the world, five times lower than the U.S. Rates of HIV infection and sexually transmitted diseases are also low.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is reaching its climax and as Congress hotly debates the biggest trade deal in a generation, its backers have turned on the cash spigot in the hopes of getting it passed. TPP passed another crucial vote ... to give Barack Obama the authority to speed the bill through Congress. The president’s own supporters, senior economists and a host of activists have lobbied against a pact they argue will favor big business but harm US jobs, fail to secure better conditions for workers overseas and undermine free speech. Fast-tracking the TPP, meaning its passage through Congress without having its contents available for debate or amendments, was only possible after lots of corporate money exchanged hands with senators. This chart shows all donations that corporate members of the US Business Coalition for TPP made to US Senate campaigns between January and March 2015, when fast-tracking the TPP was being debated in the Senate. Out of the total $1,148,971 given, an average of $17,676.48 was donated to each of the 65 “yea” votes. The average Republican member received $19,673.28 from corporate TPP supporters. The average Democrat received $9,689.23 from those same donors. Almost 100% of the Republicans in the US Senate voted for fast-track.
For months, the U.N.'s top human rights officials knew about allegations of child sexual abuse by French soldiers in Central African Republic. But they didn't follow up because they assumed French authorities were handling it ... even as France pressed the U.N. for more information about the case. The deputy high commissioner for human rights also says that her colleague who first informed French authorities last July did it because he didn't think the recently created U.N. peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic would act on the allegations. A year after the U.N. first heard allegations from children as young as 9 that French soldiers had sexually abused them, sometimes in exchange for food, it seems that the only person who has been punished is the U.N. staffer who told French authorities. The Paris prosecutor's office this month, however, blamed the U.N. "hierarchy" for taking more than six months to supply answers to its questions. The U.N. finally handed over written answers on April 29, the Paris prosecutor's office said — the same day that the Guardian newspaper first made the French and U.N. inquiries public. French soldiers had been tasked with protecting civilians in Central African Republic from vicious violence between Christians and Muslims. Thousands of scared people had crammed into a camp for displaced people. Residents have told the AP that soldiers offered cookies, other food or bottles of water in exchange for sodomy or oral sex. It is still not clear where the accused soldiers are now.
Note: Explore powerful evidence from a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about sexual abuse scandals and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The May 20 settlement between the Justice Department and five giant banks reveals the appalling weakness of modern antitrust. The banks had engaged in the biggest price-fixing conspiracy in modern history. It was a "brazen display of collusion" that went on for years, said Attorney General Loretta Lynch. But there will be no trial [and] no executive will go to jail. The fines ... will be treated by the banks as costs of doing business. America used to have antitrust laws that permanently stopped corporations from monopolizing markets. No longer. The result has been higher prices for the many, and higher profits for the few. It's a hidden upward redistribution from the majority of Americans to corporate executives and wealthy shareholders. Similar upward distributions are occurring elsewhere in the economy. The four largest food companies control 82 percent of beef packing, 85 percent of soybean processing, 63 percent of pork packing, and 53 percent of chicken processing. Monsanto alone owns the key genetic traits to more than 90 percent of the soybeans planted by farmers in the United States, and 80 percent of the corn. Big Agribusiness wants to keep it this way. The list goes on, industry after industry, across the economy. Antitrust has been ambushed by the giant companies it was designed to contain. The market is rigged. And unless government unrigs it through bold antitrust action to restore competition, the upward distributions hidden inside the "free market" will become even larger.
Note: The above article was written by former US Secretary of Labor and current professor of public policy at UC Berkeley Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the systemically corrupt financial industry and the income inequality that this contributes to.
Misshapen potatoes, multi-pronged carrots and past-their-prime apples are coming into vogue. Campaigns aimed at reducing food waste are bringing these fruits and vegetables, previously reserved for hogs, compost piles and landfills, to the forefront of our minds. Dan Barber, co-owner and chef of Blue Hill in Manhattan ... for three weeks this spring turned his prominent eatery into a pop-up he called Waste-ED featuring dishes such as charred pineapple core and “dumpster dive” salad. Forty percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, a statistic that has been widely circulated since the Natural Resource Defense Fund issued a report on the subject in 2012. Many nonprofits and government agencies link that excess to a sobering shortage: the one in six Americans who lack a reliable supply of nutritious food. Taken together, they’re arguably our food system’s worst dichotomy. “We think a for-profit business is the way to solve” food waste, said Evan Lutz, the 22-year-old chief executive and co-founder of Hungry Harvest, a ... program that delivers ugly and excess produce throughout the Baltimore-Washington region. The business spun off last year from a “recovered food CSA” run by the Food Recovery Network, a national nonprofit launched ... to divert food waste from college campuses to feed the hungry. As a for-profit business, Hungry Harvest still works on the hunger side of the equation by donating a pound of produce to food banks and shelters for every pound sold to customers.
Note: Check out the food waste movie.
There are intelligent, informed parents who oppose SB277, which removes the personal belief exemption for vaccines. I am a California-born, Stanford-educated technology professional and mother who makes intelligent, science-based decisions about my child’s health. I do vaccinate my child — but the overloaded vaccine schedule forced on us is not a one-size-fits-all. Vaccines have saved millions of lives. That does not mean that we should be forced to give our infants ... 25 doses of vaccines by age 6 months. If the Legislature’s goal is to increase vaccination rates and thus protect the public health, it is much better served by making the schedule more flexible and working with parents, rather than mandating we either dose our kids or be forced to take them out of school. Pharmaceutical companies must offer single vaccines instead of “combo” shots, which can combine four or more vaccines. This will allow us to space out the vaccines and, if our child reacts to one, pinpoint exactly which one caused the reaction so we can avoid it. Families should also be able to hold pharmaceutical companies liable for damages potentially caused by their vaccines. The American Medical Association reserves its physicians rights to decline vaccines based on personal belief. Parents deserve the same right of informed consent for our kids.
Note: Vaccines are a miracle of modern science that may save countless lives. Yet powerful evidence suggests that some vaccines are not safe nor effective. Big Pharma makes billions in profit from vaccines and does not always put public interest first. Who are politicians serving with this legislation?
From Paris to Ouagadougou, thousands of people took to the streets Saturday to protest against the American biotechnology giant Monsanto and its genetically modified crops and pesticides. The third annual March Against Monsanto was being held in upwards of 400 cities in more than 40 countries. About 2,500 people staged anti-Monsanto protests in the Swiss cities of Basel and Morgues, where the company has its headquarters for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Up to 3,000 protesters ... gathered in Paris, with Monsanto's market-leading herbicide Roundup the main targets of protesters' anger. The controversial product's main ingredient was recently classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the World Health Organization. "Looking for mass suicide? Go for Roundup," read one placard at another French protest in the western city of Rennes. Halfway around the planet in Burkina Faso, around 500 marched against the US giant which introduced GM cotton into the west African country in 2003. Demonstrators demanded a 10-year moratorium on the planting of Monsanto seeds so "independent research can be conducted" into the effects of the technology. Up to 1,000 anti-Monsanto activists gathered in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg as the sun was setting for a minute's silence "in homage to the existing and future victims poisoned by pesticides", according to the organisers. The worldwide March Against Monsanto was begun in 2013 by the Occupy movement.
Note: Monsanto's political clout in the U.S. recently led to what has been popularly termed "the Monsanto protection act." The negative health impacts of Monsanto's RoundUp are well known and this product is considered by the WHO to "probably cause cancer", while the risks and dangers of genetically engineering crops to tolerate such chemicals are becoming increasingly clear.
The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals. The surveillance project was launched by a joint electronic eavesdropping unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the countries in the “Five Eyes” alliance — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. The top-secret document, obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden ... outlines a series of tactics that the NSA and its counterparts in the Five Eyes were [using, which included] a method to hack and hijack phone users’ connections to app stores so that they would be able to send malicious “implants” to targeted devices. The implants could then be used to collect data from the phones without their users noticing. The agencies ... were also keen to find ways to hijack [app stores] as a way of sending “selective misinformation to the targets’ handsets” as part of so-called “effects” operations that are used to spread propaganda or confuse adversaries. Moreover, the agencies wanted to gain access to companies’ app store servers so they could secretly use them for “harvesting” information about phone users. The revelations are the latest to highlight tactics adopted by the Five Eyes agencies. Last year, The Intercept reported that the NSA ... was shown to have masqueraded as a Facebook server in order to hack into computers.
The CIA can keep secret a nearly 7,000-page Senate report on harsh interrogation methods, as well as an internal agency review. The complete 6,963-page report compiled by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence [is] exempt from the dictates of the Freedom of Information Act, U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg concluded. The Senate committee report, he reasoned, remained a document under congressional control, and Congress made sure to exempt itself from FOIA. “Congress has undoubted authority to keep its records secret, authority rooted in the Constitution, longstanding practice, and current congressional rules,” Boasberg stated. Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU National Security Project, voiced disappointment in the ruling. The Senate committee released a summary of the $40 million report last December, following years of back-and-forth.
Colonel Ian Henderson was a British official dubbed “the Butcher of Bahrain” because of atrocities he repeatedly committed during the 30 years he served as chief security official of that Middle Eastern country. A 2002 Guardian article reported that “during this time his men allegedly detained and tortured thousands of anti-government activists”; his official acts “included the ransacking of villages, sadistic sexual abuse and using power drills to maim prisoners”. Col. Henderson was never punished in any way. For years, human rights groups have fought to obtain ... a 37-year-old diplomatic cable, relating to British responsibility for Henderson’s brutality in Bahrain. Ordinarily, documents more than 30 years old are disclosable. Now, a governmental tribunal ruled ... that most of the diplomatic cable shall remain suppressed. The tribunal’s ruling was at least partially based on “secret evidence ... that the release of such information could jeopardise Britain’s new military base in the country.” This is the core mindset now prevalent in both the U.S. and U.K. for hiding their crimes from their own populations and the rest of the world: disclosure of what we did will embarrass and shame us, cause anger toward us, and thus harm our “national security.” This is exactly the same mentality driving the Obama administration’s years-long effort to suppress photographs showing torture of detainees by the U.S.. Obama insisted that to release the photos “would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.”
The decapitated body of a missing blogger who was investigating a child prostitution ring has been found by police in Brazil. Evany José Metzker's body was found outside the town of Padre Paraíso, in ... Brazil's southeastern Minas Gerais state. Metzger, who maintained a blog named 'Coruja do Vale' (The Owl of the Valley), was reportedly investigating a child prostitution ring operating in the area. Metzger had travelled to Padre Paraíso three months earlier. His body was found on Monday. He had been missing for several days. Metzger's wife, Hilma Chaves Silva Borges, was quoted by The Committee to Protect Journalists as saying that Metzker was working in a dangerous part of the country. "There are lots of murders here. I think that the motive, given the barbarity of his murder, was because he hit on something," she was quoted as saying. Brazil is the third most dangerous country for journalists in Latin America, after Mexico and Colombia, according to Reporters Without Borders. In his blog Metzger often reported on corrupt officials and politicians. Extra, a local daily newspaper, quoted Metzker's family as saying the police were led to the body following an anonymous tip-off.
Note: Those running child prostitution rings make huge amounts of money and are protected by politicians at high levels. Many will not hesitate to kill if anyone threatens to expose their sex trade in children. If you want to understand how pedophile rings have infiltrated the highest levels of government, don't miss the powerful Discovery Channel documentary on this available here.
Five of the world’s largest banks have agreed to pay more than $5 billion in fines to settle charges made by regulatory agencies and the Justice Department that the banks had acted in concert to manipulate international interest and foreign currency exchange rates. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said the banks had engaged in “brazenly illegal behavior on a near-daily basis.” The scale of the price-fixing scandal is hard to grasp. It touched ... almost every company and individual in the financial markets. By tweaking global benchmarks used to set foreign exchange and interest rates for a staggering number of transactions a day, the banks — over several years — bilked billions of dollars of extra profits by altering rates in their favor. Critics complained that the Justice Department had failed to prosecute any additional individuals. Wall Street watchdog group Better Markets called it a “slap on the wrist,” and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said in an e-mail: “That’s not accountability for Wall Street. It’s business as usual, and it stinks.” Barclays, along with JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Citigroup, will plead guilty to conspiring to manipulate the price of U.S. currency and euros, authorities said. JPMorgan Chase said it had agreed to plead guilty to a single antitrust violation and pay a fine of $550 million. Under the resolution with the Fed, the firm will pay a fine of $342 million. The bank said it had previously set aside reserves for these settlements.
Note: When it comes to international banking, it appears that almost everything is rigged. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the systemically corrupt financial industry.
More than 1,400 suspects, including politicians and celebrities, have been investigated by police probing historical child sex abuse allegations. The figures were revealed by Operation Hydrant, set up by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC). It explores ... child sex abuse by "prominent public persons". Of the 1,433 suspects identified, 216 are now dead and 261 are classified as people of public prominence, with 135 coming from TV, film or radio. The figures are taken from police forces in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. They relate to reports of abuse, or investigations of abuse, which police forces were dealing with in the summer of 2014. Norfolk Police Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the NPCC's lead on child protection, said the referrals were increasing "on an almost daily basis". He also said police were projected to receive about 116,000 reports of historical child sex abuse by the end of 2015 - an increase of 71% from 2012. He added: "There is no doubt [Jimmy] Savile has had an effect on us. We are dealing with more and more allegations." Ex-DJ Jimmy Savile was revealed after his death to be one of the UK's most prolific sexual predators. Jon Brown, head of the NSPCC's programme to tackle sexual abuse, described the figures as "astonishing" and said they showed abuse "permeates all parts of society". He added: "What we're beginning to see is a much more realistic picture now of the scale of the problem."
Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
As part of a PR offensive to rebrand coal as a “21st-century fuel” that can help solve global poverty, it has emerged that at the height of Ebola’s impact in Africa, Peabody Energy promoted its product as an answer to Africa’s devastating public health crisis. Greg Boyce, the chief executive of Peabody, a US-based multinational with mining interests around the world, included a slide on Ebola and energy in a presentation to a coal industry conference in September last year. The slide suggested that more energy would have spurred the distribution of a hypothetical Ebola vaccine. Public health experts who were involved in fighting the spread of Ebola were outraged at Peabody’s suggestion that expanding energy access with coal generation could have hindered the spread of Ebola and helped with the distribution of a vaccine – especially as there is no approved vaccine against the disease. Skip Burkle, a senior fellow of the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative ... said Peabody’s claims were “absolutely ludicrous”. He went on: “The coal industry is going down but there are other answers to this and it is not to dump it in Africa. It is just an insult to the population.” The Ebola claims surfaced amid growing pressure on Peabody Energy from the downturn in coal and a global anti-apartheid style fossil fuel divestment campaign.
The Twins Plus Go-Go Lounge ... had an unusual distinction: David Polos, an official with the Drug Enforcement Administration in New York City, and Glen Glover, a civilian D.E.A. employee, each had ownership interests and actively participated in its management. That secret connection was revealed when the two men were charged with lying during national security background checks about their ownership interests and their work in the strip club. Mr. Polos, 51, had been with the agency for more than 20 years. He helped supervise the New York Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Strike Force, a multiagency group that targets large narcotics traffickers. Polos ... resigned from the agency last month. Glen Glover, 45, of Lyndhurst, N.J., also a longtime agency employee, worked as a telecommunications specialist. Each man was charged with one count of making false statements. The men had claimed that they had no employment outside the agency, when in fact they had ownership interests in the lounge, and actively managed it while working for the D.E.A.. The two men had worked regular shifts running the club, hiring and firing dancers, bouncers and other employees, arranging for advertising and using a video surveillance system to remotely monitor activities inside the club by smartphone or computer. Mr. Polos used his status as a law enforcement officer to facilitate the club’s operations. At times, he told people in the club that he was working for the F.B.I.
Note: Award-winning journalists have presented powerful evidence of direct DEA and CIA involvement in and support of drug running and drug cartels. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
Fossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (Ł3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF ... says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. The biggest single source of air pollution is coal-fired power stations and China, with its large population and heavy reliance on coal power, provides $2.3tn of the annual subsidies. The next biggest fossil fuel subsidies are in the US ($700bn), Russia ($335bn), India ($277bn) and Japan ($157bn), with the European Union collectively allowing $330bn in subsidies to fossil fuels. Subsidy reforms are beginning in dozens of countries including Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco and Thailand. In India, subsidies for diesel ended in October 2014. Coal use has also begun to fall in China for the first time this century. Shelagh Whitley, a subsidies expert at the Overseas Development Institute, said: “Our research shows that many of the energy subsidies highlighted by the IMF go toward finding new reserves of oil, gas and coal, which we know must be left in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic, irreversible climate change.”
Note: The additional cost of suppressing new energy technologies does not appear to have been included in these IMF estimates.
1971: A group of ordinary citizens broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania. What they discovered shocked them. Long before Edward Snowden’s revelations about NSA surveillance, these activist-burglars exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans. For forty years the burglars kept their identities secret, but in Johanna Hamilton’s new film 1971, these previously anonymous Americans publicly tell their story for the first time. Hamilton took the time to talk to us about how she approached telling this story: "To me, every aspect of the story was compelling. A group of ordinary people who put everything on the line to protect freedom of speech and hold their government accountable. They were total outsiders who trained themselves for one night of amateur burglary in order to break into an FBI office — on a hunch! They manage to evade capture. The revelations from the break-in helped lead to the Church Committee hearings in Congress, which ended up establishing the first ever set of guidelines governing the FBI’s investigative powers. The Citizens’ Commission risked everything because they suspected the government was conducting illegal surveillance. And they were right. We are in the midst of the same discussion today. Post 9/11 we lost many of the checks and balances that the government normally operates under. Governments should not spy on law-abiding citizens — whether it’s Hoover’s FBI or today’s NSA."
Kay Eva was travelling through rural Cambodia ... with a group handing out supplies to those in need when they approached a devastatingly poor family. They were there to deliver powdered milk for the family’s new baby. But the baby was missing. It had been sold the day before for $20 – a desperate act to raise money to feed the rest of the family. The news hit Kay like a punch to the stomach. Horrified, this mother of three knew she had to act. Fast forward 11 years and Kay has launched a thriving charity, Stitches of Hope, which operates a sewing centre to train women and help them find work, a children’s home for under-privileged kids, a community centre and a school. “It wasn’t even about helping with basics like education and health,” Kay says. “Basically, [getting some income] meant they didn’t have to sell their children into sex trafficking, or [to be] cleaners for the wealthy. It enabled women to obtain the skills to get a job. The Stitches of Hope Sewing Centre [is] a permanent institution that teaches women to sew, accommodates and feeds them, pays them a wage to fulfill factory orders, and encourages them to set up their own sewing businesses. In 2008, Stitches of Hope launched a children’s home which today houses 24 children cared for by live-in Cambodian couples. Those entrenched in poverty are too busy surviving the day to ponder how to escape its cruel clutches. With this in mind ... Stitches of Hope launched a community centre and school which now teaches more than 80 children.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Royal Dutch Shell has been accused of pursuing a strategy that would lead to potentially catastrophic climate change after an internal document acknowledged a global temperature rise of 4C, twice the level considered safe for the planet. A paper used for guiding future business planning at the Anglo-Dutch multinational assumes that carbon dioxide emissions will fail to limit temperature increases to 2C, the internationally agreed threshold to prevent widespread flooding, famine and desertification. Instead, the New Lens Scenarios document refers to a forecast by the independent International Energy Agency (IEA) that points to a temperature rise of up to 4C in the short term, rising later to 6C. Louise Rouse, an investor relations specialist and consultant to Greenpeace, said the New Lens document undermined Shell’s claim that ongoing oil and gas exploration helps raise living standards in the developing world by supplying the energy for rapidly expanding economies. “There is an incoherence at best between oil companies on the one hand positioning themselves as being on the side of the world’s developing countries and while on the other actively pursuing strategies which will entail catastrophic climate change which we already know is having a significant impact on the global south,” she said. Shell’s carbon dioxide emissions have risen in 2014 and are set to increase further as it expands the business through a planned Ł47bn takeover of rival BG.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.