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Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of key media articles from the media that suggest major cover-ups and corruption. Links are provided to the full articles on their media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These media articles are listed in reverse date order. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

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.


Ocean Life Faces Mass Extinction, Broad Study Says
2015-01-15, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/16/science/earth/study-raises-alarm-for-health...

A groundbreaking analysis of data from hundreds of sources has concluded that humans are on the verge of causing unprecedented damage to the oceans and the animals living in them. “We may be sitting on a precipice of a major extinction event,” said Douglas J. McCauley, an ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and an author of the new research, which was published on Thursday in the journal Science. There is still time to avert catastrophe. Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and [an] author of the new report [said], “The impacts are accelerating, but they’re not so bad we can’t reverse them.” Humans are harming the oceans to a remarkable degree. Carbon emissions are altering the chemistry of seawater, making it more acidic. “If you cranked up the aquarium heater and dumped some acid in the water, your fish would not be very happy,” Dr. Pinsky said. “In effect, that’s what we’re doing to the oceans." Mining operations, too, are poised to transform the ocean. Contracts for seabed mining now cover 460,000 square miles underwater, the researchers found, up from zero in 2000. Limiting the industrialization of the oceans to some regions could allow threatened species to recover, [but] slowing extinctions in the oceans will [ultimately] mean cutting back on carbon emissions, not just adapting to them.

Note: Ocean acidification was the number one story subjected to press censorship in 2014. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mass animal deaths from reliable major media sources.


Philadelphia Pizza Lovers Pay It Forward One Slice At A Time
2015-01-14, NPR
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/01/14/377033772/philadelphia-pizza-love...

At Rosa's Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia, the shop is adorned with Post-it notes and letters. The messages are from customers who gave $1 so homeless members in the community could get a slice, which costs $1. The pay-it-forward pizza program started about a year ago, [owner Mason] Wartman says, when one paying customer asked if he could buy a slice for a homeless person. "I said, 'Sure.' I took his dollar and ran out and got some Post-it notes and put one up to signify that a slice was purchased," he recalls. Pay-it-forward pizza was born. Over the past nine months, Wartman says, clients have bought 8,400 slices of pizza for their homeless neighbors. He kept track of the prepaid slices with Post-it notes on the walls until he hit about 500 free slices. He now keeps track at the register. Wartman says the customer who started it all was inspired by a practice in Italy called "suspended coffee" where customers purchase an extra cup for someone who can't afford it. Pay-it-forward generosity isn't limited to Italian cafes or one Philly pizza shop. Even mega-chains, including the bakery and sandwich chain Panera, have gotten into the giving act. Other chains' pay-it-forward systems have grown organically. Starbucks Coffee Co. spokeswoman Sanja Gould says some people just offer to pay for the person behind them in line, while others "might load a certain dollar amount onto a Starbucks card and the store partners have it on hand and they keep adding to it as the line goes on." Wartman says ... people want to help but aren't sure what to do. "This is a super-easy way, a super-efficient way and a super-transparent way to help the homeless."

Note: Watch a great video on this inspiring pizza shop.


Mass Animal Die-Offs Are on the Rise, Killing Billions and Raising Questions
2015-01-13, National Geographic
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2015/01/150113-mass-die-off-disease-a...

Mass die-offs are individual events that kill at least a billion animals, wipe out over 90 percent of a population, or destroy 700 million tons—the equivalent weight of roughly 1,900 Empire State Buildings—worth of animals. According to new research, such die-offs are on the rise. The study, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first to examine whether mass die-offs have increased over time. Researchers reviewed historical records of 727 mass die-offs from 1940 to 2012 and found that over that time, these events have become more common for birds, marine invertebrates, and fish. Disease, human-caused disturbances, and biotoxins ... are three major culprits. Big die-offs can permanently change food webs. Massive die-offs can also endanger human activities like farming by disrupting insects that pollinate plants, like bees. "Such events can reshape the ecological and evolutionary trajectories of life on Earth," the study authors write. It's unclear what's making diseases more common. Climate change and environmental degradation are some contenders. Researchers also don't know why die-off rates differ between animal groups. What's clear is that lack of coordinated attention from scientists is a problem, the study authors say. There needs to be better monitoring of these events.

Note: A combination of GMO crops and common pesticides was reported by Reuters to cause mass honeybee deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mass animal deaths from reliable major media sources.


Maligned and banned: The American comeback of industrial hemp
2015-01-12, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Maligned-and-banned-The-American-comeba...

Hemp is back, semi-legalized in the 2014 Farm Bill. Humankind’s most ancient cultivated plant has never had an easy time in America, and there’s no reason to believe that its return is going to be accompanied by a red carpet. It’s back and it’s legal, but ... farmers can’t legally get the seeds. You, as a citizen, can’t legally grow it. It would be easier to grow medical marijuana, hemp’s twin (same species, Cannabis sativa linnaeus). The Drug Enforcement Agency, a policing arm of the U.S. Department of Justice, remains an anti-hemp force to be reckoned with — despite federal rules (in the Farm Bill and the Dec. 9 Congressional budget bill that cut DOJ enforcement funding) that have purportedly removed it from hemp oversight. Nineteen states have declared hemp farming to be legal, but state officials can’t guarantee there will be no federal raids. These contradictions are part of hemp’s new world: The promise of a brilliant future amid political and regulatory uncertainty. Re-establishing hemp as a viable American industry will take rebuilding, piece by piece, a working infrastructure that would include contract farming, growers’ associations, trade lines, material transportation, research and development and niche manufacturing, and, more importantly, further legislation fully guaranteeing its legal status. By the time the landmark Farm Bill was signed, 18 states had declared hemp legal, 33 states had introduced hemp farming legislation and 22 had passed other various pro-hemp bills.

Note: The article linked to above provides a detailed history of hemp's complex legal status under US federal law. Although industrial hemp remains entangled with the failed war on drugs, American companies may eventually join Canadian manufacturers in building cars out of hemp.


How Gratitude Beats Materialism
2015-01-08, Greater Good
http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/materialism_gratitude_happiness

Material things are unlikely to boost our happiness in a sustained or meaningful way. In fact, research suggests that materialistic people are less happy than their peers. They experience fewer positive emotions, are less satisfied with life, and suffer higher levels of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. How can we avoid falling into the unhappiness trap of materialism? One answer has been emerging from social science: Cultivate a mindset of gratitude. In the early 1990s, researchers Marsha Richins and Scott Dawson developed the first scale to measure materialism rigorously. People who score high on Drs. Richins and Dawson’s scale score lower on just about every major scale that scientists use to measure happiness. Earlier this year, Jo-Ann Tsang of Baylor University and her colleagues surveyed 246 undergraduate students to measure their levels of materialism, life satisfaction and gratitude. Their results ... show that as materialism increased, feelings of gratitude and life satisfaction decreased. The relationship between materialism and gratitude can run in the opposite direction. A 2009 study led by Nathaniel Lambert, now of Brigham Young University, found that inducing gratitude in people caused a decrease in materialism. Dr. Lambert and his colleagues were able to increase gratitude in their participants by instructing them to focus on appreciating the good things they had been given in life, then write about what came to mind.

Note: The complete article presents several approaches to cultivating gratitude in everyday life. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Saudi Role in Sept. 11 and the Hidden 9/11 Report Pages
2015-01-07, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/saudi-arabia-911-george-w-bush-barack-obama-prince-ba...

28 still-classified pages pages in a congressional inquiry on 9/11 ... raise questions about Saudi financial support to the hijackers in the United States prior to the attacks. Both the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have refused to declassify the pages on grounds of national security. But [some] members of Congress who have read the pages ... say national security has nothing to do with it. Former Florida Senator Bob Graham, a Democrat who co-chaired the joint investigation of the House and Senate intelligence committees into the Sept. 11 attacks ... maintains that nothing in them qualifies as a legitimate national security secret. The 2002 joint congressional committee probe [Graham] co-chaired reported only that, “contacts in the United States helped hijackers ...” But in an interview with Newsweek, Graham said “the contacts” were Saudis with close connections to their government. The Florida Democrat charged that there has been “an organized effort to suppress information” about Saudi support for terrorism, which "started long before 9/11 and continued ... after 9/11. ISIS ... is a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money and Saudi organizational support, although now they are making a pretense of being very anti-ISIS,” Graham added. The two co-chairman of ... the 9/11 Commission, likewise urged the White House to declassify the 28 pages. “I’m embarrassed that they’re not declassified,“ former Rep. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind) said at a press conference with his co-chair Tom Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey. Meanwhile, Washington and the Saudi royals still maintain their decades-long, cozy relationship.

Note: Several current and former government officials are trying to expose the Saudi government money behind ISIS and other terrorist groups. For more along these lines, read concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 investigation news from reliable major media sources.


Prince Andrew Sex Scandal Lawsuit Has High Legal Stakes
2015-01-07, Time
http://time.com/3658851/prince-andrew-jeffrey-epstein/

A federal court filing accuses ... Prince Andrew of having sex in three countries with the self-described “sex slave” of an American financier, Jeffrey Epstein. The lawsuit that mentions these charges [targets] the U.S. Department of Justice. The case [started] in 2005, when Florida police began investigating claims that Epstein was paying underage girls for sex at his West Palm Beach home. Investigators uncovered evidence that more than a dozen girls may have been victimized by Epstein. The Justice Department agreed to a deal with Epstein that required him to plead guilty to two state charges, including a single count of solicitation of minors for prostitution, to register as a sex offender and to serve a short jail sentence. In exchange, the U.S. Attorney agreed to drop any further prosecution. The agreement also said that “the parties anticipate that this agreement will not be made part of any public record,” an unusual condition for such a criminal plea. The [deal] shocked several of the victims. The case has been now been ongoing for six years, with more than 280 filings. In legal filings, Edwards [a Florida trial lawyer] and Cassell [a victims' rights advocate and former federal judge] have questioned [the] pressure on the U.S. Attorney to keep the case from trial, either from Prince Andrew or former President Clinton, who travelled with Epstein on his private plane at the time but has not been accused of wrongdoing. “The elephant in the room is this: How does a guy who sexually abused 40 girls end up doing basically one year in a halfway house,” says Cassell.

Note: This is the second recent child sex scandal connected with UK royalty. 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.


Prince Andrew sex allegations: Jeffrey Epstein 'the most dangerous sexual predator America has ever seen', lawyer's letter claims
2015-01-07, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/prince-andrew-sex-allegations-lawyers-lette...

The FBI allegedly possesses "secret documents" about the American billionaire [Jeffrey Epstein] that could provide evidence for under-age "sex slave" accusations against him, [which include] forcing a 17-year-old girl to have sex with Prince Andrew, Duke of York. FBI documents are said to show that Epstein controlled under-age girls who could provide evidence about the claims. In May last year, prosecutors surrendered 541 pages of correspondence with Epstein’s lawyers leading up to a 2008 non-prosecution agreement. A letter released by the court last year showed Brad Edwards, [alleged victim Virginia] Roberts’s lawyer, telling the US attorney’s office that Epstein "may be the most dangerous sexual predator that the country has ever seen". The letter continued: "The evidence suggests that for at least four years he was sexually abusing as many as three to four girls a day. "He uses his extraordinary wealth and power to lure in poor, underprivileged little girls and then also uses his wealth to shield himself from prosecution and liability." Lawyers for Virginia Roberts ... have said that evidence against the billionaire was covered up after lobbying by his “political and social” connections. Epstein pleaded guilty in 2008 to a single charge of soliciting prostitution.

Note: An FBI investigation has identified 40 female victims of Epstein's elite criminal enterprise. For more along these lines, watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government, or read concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


The greatest trick Obama ever pulled was convincing the world America isn't still at war
2015-01-06, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/06/obama-america-still-at-w...

The [recent] holiday headlines blared: “End of War” and “Mission Ends” and “U.S. formally ends the war in Afghanistan." Great news! Except: “the fighting is as intense as it has ever been since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001,” according to the Wall Street Journal. And about 10,000 troops will remain there for the foreseeable future. They’ll continue to engage in combat regularly. This is the new reality of war: As long as the White House doesn’t admit the United States is at war, we’re all supposed to pretend as if that’s true. This ruse is not just the work of the president. Members of Congress [are also] letting the public think we’re Definitely Not at War. Another place the United States is Definitely Not at War? Pakistan, where, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, the US conducted multiple drone strikes between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, killing at least nine people. Another six “militants” were reportedly killed in a drone strike in Pakistan on Sunday. There was yet another American drone strike in Somalia on 30 December. Meanwhile, the Defense Department quietly announced ... that, later this month, another 1,300 troops will deploy to Iraq in its ever-expanding undeclared war on Isis. The US continues to launch airstrikes against Isis and various other groups in Syria as well. Legal experts across the political spectrum believe this war is without precedent.

Note: Although 21st Century military combat operations may no longer be called war, war has been called a racket since the era of General Smedley Butler, one of the most highly decorated US generals ever. Read General Butler's eye-opening essay "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Is a Pending Disaster
2015-01-06, Baltimore Sun (Baltimore's leading newspaper)
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/bal-why-the-transpacific-partnership...

Republicans who now run Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to the administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster. If you haven't heard much about the TPP, that's part of the problem. It would be the largest trade deal in history ... representing 792 million people and accounting for 40 percent of the world economy -- yet it's been devised in secret. Lobbyists from America's biggest corporations and Wall Street's biggest banks have been involved but not the American public. That's a recipe for fatter profits and bigger paychecks at the top, but not a good deal for most of us, or even for most of the rest of the world. Big corporations and Wall Street want ... more international protection when it comes to their intellectual property and other assets. But they want less protection of consumers, workers, small investors, and the environment, because these interfere with their profits. So they've been seeking trade rules that allow them to override these protections. Not surprisingly for a deal that's been drafted mostly by corporate and Wall Street lobbyists, the TPP provides exactly this mix. In other words, the TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.

Note: The above article is written by former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see this summary of an article that appeared in the Guardian newspaper in 2013. You can also read the TPP's Intellectual property and environment language for yourself.


Corn syrup more toxic than table sugar in female mice: Study
2015-01-06, MSN/Reuters
http://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/corn-syrup-more-toxic-than-table-suga...

Corn syrup was found to be more toxic to female mice than table sugar, shortening their lives and cutting their rate of reproduction, according to a study by University of Utah researchers published online in a scientific journal. The research, funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, is among the first to differentiate between the effects of the fructose-glucose mixture found in corn syrup and sucrose, or table sugar, said University of Utah biology professor Wayne Potts, senior author of the paper. It is to be published in March in the print edition of the Journal of Nutrition. The study showed that female mice fed a diet which contained 25 percent of calories from added fructose and glucose carbohydrates known as monosaccharides that are found in corn syrup died at a rate 1.87 times higher than female mice on a diet in which 25 percent of calories came from sucrose. The mice on the fructose-glucose diet produced 26.4 percent fewer offspring than their counterparts on the diet containing added table sugar, according to the paper. The study suggests humans, especially women, could face adverse health effects tied to consuming too much corn syrup, which is found in many processed food products, Potts said. Between 13 and 25 percent of Americans are estimated to eat diets containing 25 percent or more of calories from added sugars, according to the paper.

Note: The kind of high-fructose corn syrup commonly found in many industrial food products has been directly implicated in the autism epidemic by the substantial amounts of mercury that it has been proven to contain. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the lies and business practices that threaten human health.


Cartel Cannibalism: Mexico says drug gang members ate human hearts
2015-01-06, MSN/Reuters
http://www.msn.com/en-nz/news/world/cartel-cannibalism-mexico-says-drug-gang-...

Michoacan, a mountainous, agricultural state in western Mexico, has been ravaged by fighting between drug gang henchmen and vigilantes who took up arms against the cartels but have since splintered into violent factions. A mid-December shootout between two rival groups that killed 11 people has reignited fears the government is failing to control the state after flooding it with federal troops and pressing vigilantes into a fledgling rural police force. The renewed fighting in Michoacan comes [just after] the apparent murder of 43 trainee teachers by a drug gang working with corrupt police in neighboring Guerrero state. The incident sparked widespread protests against the government, compounded by conflict-of-interest scandals enveloping the president and his finance minister. Pena Nieto discussed Mexico's chronic violence with US President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday. The main gangs operating in Michoacan ... were founded by Nazario Moreno. On local television, Alfredo Castillo, Michoacan's federal security commissioner ... said there were various testimonies indicating heart-eating was part of a macabre initiation Moreno used to root out moles or test his men's loyalty. More than 100,000 people have been killed in gang-related violence in Mexico since 2007.

Note: If the above link does not work, here is an alternate link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Ready, Willing and Able
2015-01-04, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/922/ready-willing-and-able-patty-de-llosa/

The Doe Fund’s 400 fulltime employees (some 70% of them graduates of the program) operate four programs to help homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals achieve permanent self-sufficiency. Ready, Willing & Able does this through a 9-to-12-month transitional work program. The second program is an intensive non-residential work and education program for recent parolees, and the third a veterans program which offers homeless vets transitional work and housing, counseling and benefits advocacy, life skills, educational assistance, occupational training, job readiness, and graduate services. The fourth program is built around affordable housing for low-income individuals and families as well as supportive housing for individuals and families who face a variety of complex challenges. The Doe Fund has succeeded in offering less fortunate citizens of the world we all share a path to self-respect. Nazerine Griffin was an armed robber, stealing for his drug habit. He came to RWA from a homeless shelter. "We were a bunch of warehoused human beings with no way out," he says. He’s now the director of the Fund’s Harlem Center for Opportunity.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Heavyweight Response to Local Fracking Bans
2015-01-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/04/us/heavyweight-response-to-local-fracking-b...

Longmont [Colorado] has become a cautionary tale of what can happen when cities decide to confront the oil and gas industry. In an aggressive response to a wave of citizen-led drilling bans, state officials, energy companies and industry groups are taking Longmont and other municipalities to court, forcing local governments into ... expensive, long-shot efforts to defend the measures. Two years ago, [Longmont] residents voted to ban hydraulic fracturing from their grassy open spaces and a snow-fed reservoir. In Colorado, the energy industry, which argues that cities lack the authority to outlaw fracking, has already won rulings overturning three fracking prohibitions. Longmont, which sits near the juncture of rolling plains and jagged mountains, has spent about $136,000 fighting — unsuccessfully so far — to defend a 2012 measure that outlawed fracking. In July, a district court judge tossed out the ban, and the city is appealing. A judge also overturned a fracking ban last year in Fort Collins, Colo., and denied pleas from the city to keep the ban in place while local officials went to court to defend a five-year fracking moratorium. In Broadview Heights, Ohio, energy companies are suing the town — and residents are suing the energy companies in return — over a bill of rights that outlawed fracking and the disposal of its byproducts. While the Longmont City Council voted unanimously in August to defend the fracking ban, other towns have decided it is just too costly a fight.

Note: Fracking can poison drinking water, negatively impact human health, and may cause earthquakes.


Oakland program defies hip-hop’s bad rap
2015-01-03, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/performance/article/Oakland-program-defies-hip-hop-s-ba...

HipHopForChange aims to combat images of violence, sexism, materialism, drugs and homophobia by educating young people about the spiritual pillars that first inspired hip-hop as a vehicle for social change — peace, love, unity and the spirit of fun. [Founder Khafre] Jay has developed an interactive workshop that he and his staff have taken to [several] schools, as well as community organizations like Youth Spirit Artworks. Sessions not only detail the early rise of hip-hop, but also teach students ... how to MC, the techniques of writing rap, and the finer points of graffiti lettering. Jay wants students to be able to talk about their lives and experiences without the superficial attitudes of mainstream hip-hop. “[Our] rappers talk about their real lives, not some made up fictionalized, money, materialist, misogynist narrative that you’re used to,” Jay says. “They talk about putting food on their tables, their aspirations, their hopes and their problems with society. Their views are just not congruent with the industry [stereotypes]. HipHopForChange also spends several days a week canvassing throughout the Bay Area. That grassroots approach [is] how Serenity Krieger, a teacher at El Cerrito High School, came to hire HipHopForChange to teach four classes for her geography students last year. “She says, “I want them to know about not just the oppression, but ways they can constructively do something about it.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Prince Andrew sex case claim denied
2015-01-02, BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-30659629

Buckingham Palace has denied "any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors" by Prince Andrew, after he was named in US court papers. This is [part of] a long-running, complicated legal action which began in 2011 against an American businessman called Jeffrey Epstein. In these court documents ... an unnamed woman alleges she was forced to have sexual relations with Prince Andrew when she was a minor, three times in three different locations. The court document, first reported on by Politico Magazine, alleges: "Epstein also sexually trafficked the then-minor Jane Doe ... making her available for sex to politically connected and financially powerful people. "Epstein's purposes in 'lending' Jane Doe (along with other young girls) to such powerful people were to ingratiate himself with them for business, personal, political, and financial gain, as well as to obtain potential blackmail information." Prince Andrew ... is named as part of evidence relating to a wider case of an alleged sex trafficking scheme, involving US businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who spent time in jail in 2008-9 for a sex offence with a minor. Two women (known as Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2) are suing the US government, saying it failed to protect their rights when it entered into a plea deal with Epstein. Now, two further women (Jane Doe #3 and #4) want to join this case, and it's Jane Doe #3 who has made claims against the Duke of York, as part of this. The prince strongly denies the allegations.

Note: Read the full legal text of the claims against Prince Andrew in this article in the UK's Telegraph. 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.


Betting on Default
2015-01-02, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/03/opinion/betting-on-default.html?_r=0

Imagine a lender demanding that you miss a payment. That is the situation described in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. In 2013, GSO Capital Partners ... refused to renew a $122.3 million loan to the Spanish gambling company Codere unless it delayed paying interest on other existing debt. Why? It turns out that GSO had placed a bet that Codere’s existing debt would not be paid on time. When, lo and behold, the payment was late, GSO collected on its bet. The bet in this scenario was a credit default swap. Credit default swaps, a type of derivative, can be used to hedge against losses on bonds that investors own, or to speculate on how the underlying companies will perform. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was supposed to curb speculation in swaps. But ... hedge funds are increasingly using swaps to wager on whether weak firms will live or die. RadioShack ... is one of several prominent examples. In December, RadioShack’s total debt came to about $1.4 billion, but swaps outstanding on the performance of the debt totaled $23.5 billion. Similarly, J.C. Penney ... had total debt of some $8.7 billion, but swaps outstanding on the debt totaled $19.3 billion. Last month, Congress repealed an anti-speculation provision of Dodd-Frank that would have prevented federally insured banks from conducting several types of swap transactions. In addition, the Federal Reserve recently gave the banks two extra years to meet [another important] Dodd-Frank provision. Sooner or later, poorly regulated credit derivatives will again play a role in damaging the economy.

Note: Derivatives trading in the shadow banking system has produced a speculative bubble, valued at nearly a quadrillion dollars, that has been described as a financial time bomb.


With limited oversight, the wealthy get a charitable tax break
2015-01-02, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/With-limited-oversight-the-wealthy-get...

Nicholas and Jill Woodman ... will receive a huge tax deduction for their [charitable] donation of 5.8 million shares of company stock to a donor-advised fund. But there’s no guarantee that one dollar of their October donation will ever be spent [on charity]. Donors gets an immediate, one-time tax break by depositing their money or assets in a donor-advised fund. They can advise the institution holding their money where and when to spend it on their timetable. Boston College Law School Professor Ray Madoff points out, “It is like money-laundering." There was $54 billion under management in donor-advised funds in 2013. Top financial houses like Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard have fully embraced donor-advised funds. Fidelity Charitable, with $13.2 billion worth of assets under management, is now the nation’s second-largest charity. Even though organizations like Fidelity Charitable, Schwab Charitable and Vanguard Charitable were founded by their financial house namesakes, they are separate 501(c)3 charities. But while Fidelity Charitable is independent from the financial institution, roughly two-thirds of the money in the charitable arm is invested in Fidelity mutual funds. Madoff said that because investment advisers can charge a fee for managing the money in these accounts, they have a natural incentive to keep the money in these accounts growing — and not leaving.

Note: For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance.


How Opening Doors Changed This Teen's Life
2015-01-02, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/opening-doors-teen-bullying_n_6526220.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/opening-doors-teen-bullying_n_652622...

Bullying is a serious problem. According to Family First Aid, nearly 30 percent of teens in the U.S. are estimated to be in school bullying, whether they're being bullied or doing the bullying. Josh Yandt, who lives in London, Ontario, was no exception. After being bullied for years, he decided to make one simple tweak when he transferred schools: He started opening doors for his classmates. "Not many people hold doors, right? But after that, people started to open up to me. Opening a door is more than a physical act, it’s about putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, making them feel welcome. Opening doors gives people hope that people care.” Holding the door for his classmates changed everything for Yandt, and now he has more friends than he can count. “People just love what I do. Every day people always say ‘thank you,’ people smile, and it’s really great,” he told Canada's CBC news as classmates clapped him on the back, said thanks, or gave a hello as they passed by in the hallway. The story doesn't end there. Yandt was crowned prom king, and he's taken on speaking engagements, sharing his story with younger students.

Note: Watch a video of Yandt's inspiring story, and see for yourself how a small change in his habits invited Yandt's peers to open up and treat him with kindness and respect.


Ministry of Defence pays out Ł2 million to settle cadets' sex abuse claims
2015-01-01, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11315528/Ministry-of-Defence-pay...

The Ministry of Defence has paid out more than Ł2 million in out-of-court settlements in the last three years as a result of claims that young cadets were sexually abused. The cases includes allegations that teenage boys performed ritual sex acts on younger cadets, and a cadet who was raped by an instructor and gave birth to her abuser’s child. Some of the settlements are understood to relate to historic abuse, perpetrated against adults when they were children. Others relate to abuse carried out in recent years. [One] settlement involved a teenage girl who was sexually abused by her adult cadet instructor while she was a cadet under his charge. Eventually she gave birth to her abuser’s child, leading to her suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression. The MoD admitted liability at an early stage and settled the claim for Ł210,000. Among the settlements made in 2012, four people made a successful claim for Ł900,000 after alleging they were abused when they were young members of the Army Cadets in Harborne, Birmingham. An MoD spokesperson said: “We take any allegation of abuse extremely seriously. All adult volunteers undergo enhanced criminal record checks and are made fully aware of their responsibility to protect children from harm.”

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