Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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Parkinson’s [is] a movement disorder that causes tremors, stiffness and balance problems. A 2008 meta-analysis found that placebos used in clinical trials of Parkinson’s treatments improved symptoms by an average of 16%. [A] team from the University of Cincinnati ... had a hunch that patients would be more responsive to a fake drug they thought was real if it came with a heftier price tag. So they recruited 12 patients with “moderately advanced” Parkinson’s and asked them to participate in a clinical trial. The study volunteers were told that there were two versions of the experimental drug and that both were believed to work equally well, [but] one version cost 15 times more than the other. In reality, both placebos were composed of the exact same saline solution. And yet, the patients perceived the expensive version to be more effective than the cheaper one, according to results published Wednesday in the journal Neurology. Both of the placebos improved motor function compared with a base line test. But when patients got the $1,500-per-dose placebo, their improvement was 9% greater than when they got the $100-per-dose placebo, the researchers reported. In another test, 67% of the patients were judged “very good” or having “marked improvement” after they took the expensive placebo, compared with 58% of patients after they took the purportedly cheap placebo.
Note: Even 58% experiencing "marked improvement" on the cheaper placebo is quite impressive! Why aren't more studies being done on the amazing and powerful affects of the placebo? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
America is a nation of pavement. According to research conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, most cities’ surfaces are 35 to 50 percent composed of the stuff. And 40 percent of that pavement is parking lots. That has a large effect: Asphalt and concrete absorb the sun’s energy, retaining heat — and contributing to the “urban heat island effect,” in which cities are hotter than the surrounding areas. So what if there were a way to cut down on that heat, cool down the cars that park in these lots, power up those parked cars that are electric vehicles, and generate a lot of energy to boot? There is actually a technology that does all of this — solar carports. It’s just what it sounds like — covering up a parking lot with solar panels, which are elevated above the ground so that cars park in the shade beneath a canopy of photovoltaics. Depending of course on the size of the array, you can generate a lot of power. For instance, one vast solar carport installation at Rutgers University is 28 acres in size and produces 8 megawatts of power, or about enough energy to power 1,000 homes. So what’s the downside here? And why aren’t solar parking lots to be found pretty much everywhere you turn? In a word, the problem is cost. They are mainly springing up in Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York and most of all California. That’s because these states offer an array of state financial incentives to support their development.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The middle class can't be saved unless Wall Street is tamed. Yet most presidential aspirants don't want to talk about taming the Street because Wall Street is one of their largest sources of campaign money. Six years ago ... the financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor, consuming the savings of millions of average Americans and causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance and some 1 million to lose their homes. A repeat performance is not unlikely. Wall Street's biggest banks are much larger now than they were then. Five of them hold about 45 percent of America's banking assets. In 2000, they held 25 percent. Meanwhile, the Street's lobbyists have gotten Congress to repeal a provision of Dodd-Frank curbing excessive speculation by the big banks. The language was drafted by Citigroup and personally pushed by Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. It's nice that presidential aspirants are talking about rebuilding America's middle class. But to be credible, the candidates have to [propose] to limit the size of the biggest Wall Street banks, to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act (which used to separate investment banking from commercial banking), to define insider trading the way most other countries do (using information any reasonable person would know is unavailable to most investors), and to close the revolving door between the Street and the U.S. Treasury. It also means not depending on the Street to finance their campaigns.
Attorneys for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein claim in a new court filing that the billionaire financier will be "irreparably harmed" if emails and letters his lawyers sent to federal prosecutors during plea negotiations are made public. Epstein's legal brief ... represents his first formal statements since explosive allegations emerged last month that he had forced a then-17-year-old girl to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew and other powerful men. Virginia Roberts, 31, [has recently] claimed in court documents that Epstein had kept her for sex for years as a teenager, [as well as] trafficked her for sex with a host of his prominent associates, including ... Prince Andrew [and] Harvard legal professor Alan Dershowitz. Epstein ... was the subject of wide-ranging state and federal investigations, beginning in 2005, looking into claims that he had illegal sexual contact with dozens of minor girls at his Palm Beach mansion and elsewhere. By mid-2007, he was facing a potential federal indictment for alleged sex crimes involving nearly three-dozen teenage girls. If charged and convicted, he could have faced 10 years to life in prison. Instead, Epstein entered into [an] unusual and, at the time, confidential non-prosecution agreement with the federal government. Dershowitz was among a group of prominent attorneys who helped Epstein secure the deal, which also granted federal immunity to any possible co-conspirators who may have assisted Epstein in the commission of the alleged crimes.
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.
Former CIA officer [Jeffrey Sterling] was convicted Monday of providing classified information about his work to a New York Times reporter. Guilty verdicts were read on all nine criminal counts. The prosecution ... spawned a First Amendment confrontation between a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and the Justice Department. It might be one of the greatest courtroom successes of a presidential administration that has pursued more leak cases than all of its predecessors combined. Other leak cases have resulted in pleas, at least one with terms favorable to the defendant. Sterling ... faced charges under the Espionage Act. [He] was first accused in 2010 of giving classified information to New York Times reporter and author James Risen for his 2006 book, “State of War.” Sterling, who was fired in the early 2000s, had sued the agency over alleged discrimination and also sparred with officials about publishing a memoir describing some of his work. The trial itself was something of a spectacle, with CIA officers testifying behind a retractable gray screen. The case against Sterling was largely circumstantial. There were no recorded phone conversations or captured e-mail exchanges that show that he leaked classified information to Risen. Defense attorneys posited several people other than Sterling who could have served as Risen’s sources, and ... argued that some information in the book could not have come from Sterling, because it addressed things that happened after he left the CIA.
Note: James Risen tried to help Jeffrey Sterling expose CIA racism, and later wrote an unrelated book exposing some questionable government practices. Now Sterling is going to prison for what Risen wrote then. Risen's journalistic courage remains intact, and his latest book exposes major government corruption related to the war on terror.
The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The spending goal ... would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited ... to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party’s dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government. The [increased budget] reflects the rising ambition and expanded reach of the Koch operation. In 2012, the Kochs’ network spent just under $400 million, an astonishing sum at the time. The $889 million spending goal for 2016 would put it on track to spend nearly as much as the campaigns of each party’s presidential nominee. The Kochs are longtime opponents of campaign disclosure laws. Their network is constructed chiefly of nonprofit groups that are not required to reveal donors.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources.
McDonald’s is really trying to be more transparent about what goes into their food. Mythbusters host Grant Imahara took us from fryer to farm in a reverse process peek at what goes into McDonald’s potatoes. While the global burger chain does explain the usage of a few unpronounceable ingredients meant to preserve color and texture, it looks like these practices aren’t being implemented across the board. After checking out McDonalds.co.uk, a blogger on Boing Boing points out that McDonald’s french fries in the U.K. appear to have far fewer ingredients than those produced in the U.S.-- and no crazy, hard-to-say additives. FoxNews.com did a side by side comparison of the two websites and found the same information. Across the pond, Brits are enjoying McDonald’s French fries sans additives like Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Dimethylpolysiloxane and “natural beef flavor.” Dimethylpolysiloxane is “added as an anti-foaming agent” but it’s also a silicon-based organic polymer used to make Silly Putty. Hmm. Looks like the chain has some more explaining to do to American consumers.
Note: For lots more on this, read this great mercola.com article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In Silicon Valley, there is a premium on creativity, and tools thought to induce or enhance it are avidly sought. Some view psychedelics as ... a way to approach problems differently. There's no definitive scientific evidence that LSD or other hallucinogens improve creativity, and the DEA classifies LSD as a highly addictive, Schedule I drug. But the belief that they might work as a creative tool is enough to fuel some technologists' hope for professional epiphanies. Tim Ferriss, a Silicon Valley investor and author of "The 4-Hour Workweek," says he knows many successful entrepreneurs who dabble in psychedelics. "The billionaires I know, almost without exception, use hallucinogens on a regular basis," Ferriss said. "[They're] trying to be very disruptive and look at the problems in the world ... and ask completely new questions." The phenomenon was satirized on HBO's Silicon Valley when psychedelic mushrooms guide one of the show's main characters in the hunt for a new name for their startup. A recent study at Imperial College London provides a possible explanation. Twenty participants ingested LSD and then had their brain activity monitored in an fMRI machine. The drug [allowed] new patterns of communication to form. "Psychedelics dismantle 'well-worn' networks, and this allows novel communication patterns to occur. Modules that don't usually talk to each other are talking to each other more," explained Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris, the researcher who conducted the study.
Note: Food justice champion Michael Pollan recently wrote a fascinating article prominently featured in the venerable magazine The New Yorker about the amazing power of psilocybin mushrooms to create profound healing in carefully controlled environments. It is subtitled "Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, is now yielding exciting results." Are the healing potentials of mind altering drugs finally starting to receive honest mainstream attention?
What do you call the unelected leader of a state that beheads people in public, permits only one faith and exports an extreme form of Islam to other countries? If he happens to be Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, self-appointed caliph of Islamic State (Isis), the answer is one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. If he is King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the proper form of address is “Your Majesty”. Yesterday, the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister turned up in Riyadh to pay their respects to Salman’s half-brother, King Abdullah, whose death was announced on Friday. Flags flew at half-mast in Whitehall while David Cameron ... praised the deceased despot’s efforts towards “strengthening understanding between faiths”. This is the same David Cameron who marched in Paris two weeks ago in solidarity with the victims of al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism. Barack Obama ... found the time to praise the absolute monarch and hailed the US-Saudi relationship “as a force for stability and security in the Middle East”. Few of the people hailing Abdullah as a “reformer” said anything about [how] the Saudi royal family promoted the puritanical ideology that created al-Qaeda and its offshoots, [and] sent Osama bin Laden and other young Saudis to fight in Afghanistan, creating a worldwide jihadist movement. Since then, Wahhabist ideology has inspired horrific attacks on civilians in the Middle East, Africa, the US and a string of European capitals.
Note: Read how several current and former US government officials have been trying to expose the Saudi government money behind terrorism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption articles from reliable major media sources.
The outrageous legal attack on WikiLeaks and its staffers ... is an attack on freedom of the press itself. WikiLeaks has had their Twitter accounts secretly spied on, been forced to forfeit most of their funding after credit card companies unilaterally cut them off, had the FBI place an informant inside their news organization, watched their supporters hauled before a grand jury, and been the victim of the UK spy agency GCHQ hacking of their website and spying on their readers. Now we’ve learned that, as The Guardian reported on Sunday, the Justice Department got a warrant in 2012 to seize the contents – plus the metadata on emails received, sent, drafted and deleted – of three WikiLeaks’ staffers personal Gmail accounts. The tactics used against WikiLeaks by the Justice Department in their war on leaks [are] also used against mainstream news organizations. For example, after the Washington Post revealed in 2013 the Justice Department had gotten a warrant for the personal Gmail account of Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2010 without his knowledge. Despite the ongoing legal pressure, WikiLeaks has continued to publish important documents in the public interest.
Note: In recent years, Wikileaks' radical transparency has made draft texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership public, and uncovered a secret CIA report that suggests the US government’s policy of assassinating foreign 'terrorists' does more harm than good. So who is the real problem here?
By Tanzanian standards, Nosim Noah is not poor. A tall, handsome woman with the angular features of her fellow Masai tribe members, Ms. Noah makes a good living selling women’s and children’s clothes. But despite their relative prosperity, up until late 2013, the family had no electricity. Now, however, [they have power because] a new solar energy movement is bringing kilowatts to previously unlit areas of Africa – and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The idea behind the latest effort isn’t to tap the power of the sun to electrify every appliance in a household. Instead, it is to install a small solar panel not much bigger than an iPad to power a few lights, a cellphone charger, and other basic necessities that can still significantly alter people’s lives. People use the money they normally would spend on kerosene to finance their solar systems, allowing them to pay in small, affordable installments and not rely on government help. The concept is called pay-as-you-go solar. When [Noah] and her late husband moved into their house in 2004, they paid about a $200 connection fee to TANESCO, the Tanzanian national utility, to extend a power line to their home. After a six-month wait, workers finally erected a utility pole outside their home. But the power never came. “I have no idea why it didn’t work,” Noah says. “All I know is that the lights never came on.” They have power now, though, with the help of the sun.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Libyan government papers pieced together by [a] team of London lawyers show [that] Tony Blair wrote to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to thank him for the “excellent cooperation” between the two countries’ counter-terrorism agencies. The letter, written in 2007, followed a period in which the dictator’s intelligence officers were permitted to operate in the UK, approaching and intimidating Libyan refugees. Addressed “Dear Mu’ammar” and signed “Best wishes yours ever, Tony”, the letter was among hundreds of pages of documents recovered from Libyan government offices following the 2011 revolution. Six Libyan men, the widow of a seventh, and five British citizens of Libyan and Somali origin are bringing claims against the British government on the basis of the recovered documents, alleging false imprisonment, blackmail, misfeasance in public office and conspiracy to assault. The recovered documents show that MI5 and MI6 submitted more than 1,600 questions to be put to two opposition leaders after they had been kidnapped with British assistance and flown to one of Gaddafi’s prisons. Both men say they suffered appalling torture. On Thursday an attempt by government lawyers to have the case struck out without admitting liability failed when the high court ruled the allegations “are of real potential public concern” and should be heard and dealt with by the courts.
Note: British intelligence agencies have been trying to silence the lawyers filing this lawsuit, and got caught illegally spying on them. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in intelligence agencies and government.
Hacktivist group Anonymous, which has made public attacks on extremists, corporations and religious and governmental bodies, is calling for help in its fight against international paedophile networks, or what it calls the “paedosadist industry”. In a project named Operation DeathEaters, Anonymous says it is is planning on collating evidence against international paedophile rings and their severe abuse of children and find the links between different operations, and to bring them to justice. Anonymous has issued a video instructing activists on how they can aid in the operation, which has appeared at a time of serious allegations of historic child sexual abuse levied against prominent UK figures, including claims that a VIP Westminster paedophile ring existed in the past. “The Westminster paedophile ring is one of many cases where Operation DeathEaters has actively pursued and sought truth, in order to end the hideous crimes concealed behind the British elite,” Anonymous alleges in a statement. “In fear of these investigations being bungled over time, the operation’s objectives are clear and simple: source public information before it disappears, push for independent enquiry, and offer support to witnesses and the victims where needed.” It has outlined its first step in the operation as gathering “meticulously researched and clearly documented examples of high level complicity in the industry, obstruction of justice and cover ups to show the need for independent inquiries”.
Note: Anonymous has been quite active in exposing pedophiles, as can be seen in the Time magazine article where they revealed information on known offenders to the authorities. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Good Samaritans are working to make sure that the homeless and others in need are prepared for the winter weather. Hats and scarves have been spotted around several areas that are experiencing frigid temperatures this winter. The apparel -- which has shown up in cities including Edmonton and Winnipeg in Canada, and Wilmington, North Carolina -- comes with messages urging those in need to take the winter wear. "I am not lost!" a message attached to a scarf in Wilmington reads. "If you are stuck out in the cold, please take this to keep warm!" The group responsible for that particular item, Scarves in the Port City, says that their aim is to account for those who need a helping hand during the winter months in a simple and effective way. "We collect and distribute scarves for the homeless during inclement weather," the group ... wrote on their Facebook page. "We hope to help create awareness of the difference kindness can make to people's attitudes, feelings and actions towards themselves and others when it's embraced as a way of life." The do-gooders, who often place the clothing in locations that are easily accessible for people in need, like libraries where people may seek refuge from the chill or homeless shelters, say they hope their efforts can provide some much-needed comfort to those who need it most over the winter months.
Note: See the complete article for pictures of this generous practice showing up in the U.S. and Canada. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Journalist and former Anonymous member ... Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison by a federal judge in Dallas on Thursday. The judge also ordered him to pay more than $890,000 in restitution and fines. An investigative journalist, essayist and satirist who has written for the Onion, Vanity Fair and the Huffington Post, as well as for the Guardian, Brown claims to have split with Anonymous in 2011. Brown also founded Project PM, a crowdsourced investigative thinktank dedicated to looking into abuses by companies in the area of surveillance. In September 2012, Brown was arrested by the FBI. In October 2012, after being held for two weeks without charge, he was indicted on charges of making an online threat, retaliating against a federal officer and conspiring to release personal information about a government employee. Two months later, he was indicted on 12 further charges related to the hacking of private intelligence contractor Stratfor in 2011. Jeremy Hammond, the hacker who actually carried out the Stratfor breach, was sentenced to the maximum possible 10 years. Brown, who was accused of sharing a link to the data Hammond obtained from the breach ... at one point faced a possible sentence of 105 years. He will reportedly be eligible for supervised release after one year, and once released will have his computer equipment monitored. The $890,250 in restitution payments will go to Stratfor and other companies targeted by Anonymous.
Note: Even after being targeted by a high level conspiracy, jailed on spurious charges, and forced to pay nearly a million dollars to Stratfor for merely writing about the hack of their private spy agency, Brown states that he remains committed to exposing corruption as a journalist from within the US prison system.
What President Obama called for in his State of the Union: completion and adoption of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade agreement, or TPP, for the Asia-Pacific region. The president [and other TPP supporters] make two major arguments. One is that the trade pact would create lots of new jobs and raise American incomes and living standards. The other is that it would strengthen U.S. alliances in Asia while curbing Chinese influence. Over the last 35 years, the U.S. has ... concluded many free-trade agreements. In advance of each, U.S. leaders promised the deals would create high-paying jobs, reduce the trade deficit, increase GDP and raise living standards. None of these [promises] came true. In fact, the U.S. non-oil trade deficit continued to grow, millions of jobs were offshored and mean household income has hardly risen since 2000. And economists overwhelmingly agree that rising U.S. income inequality is being driven in part by international trade. The ever-closer linking of the U.S. economy to those of the TPP countries over the last 35 years has not ... deterred U.S. trade partners and allies from developing ever closer ties with China. The TPP is not going to bring together nations such as Mexico, Peru, Chile, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei to gang up against China. That is just not going to happen. Thus the TPP fails on both economic and political grounds.
Note: Read an excellent Washington Post article showing how the claim of 65,000 jobs created with the TPP is a blatant lie and manipulation. Then watch an excellent, two-minute video by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich on the TPP titled "The Worst Trade Deal You've Never Heard of," or read leaked draft texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for yourself.
The billionaires and corporate oligarchs meeting in Davos this week are getting worried about inequality. The architects of the crisis-ridden international economic order are starting to see the dangers ... of the widest global economic gulf in human history. The scale of the crisis has been laid out for them by the charity Oxfam. On current trends, the richest 1% will have pocketed more than the other 99% put together next year. The 0.1% have been doing even better, quadrupling their share of US income since the 1980s. In most of the world, labour’s share of national income has fallen continuously and wages have stagnated under this regime of privatisation, deregulation and low taxes on the rich. At the same time finance has sucked wealth from the public realm into the hands of a small minority, even as it has laid waste the rest of the economy. Now the evidence has piled up that not only is such appropriation of wealth a moral and social outrage, but it is fuelling social and climate conflict, wars, mass migration and political corruption, stunting health and life chances, increasing poverty, and widening gender and ethnic divides. Escalating inequality has also been a crucial factor in the economic crisis of the past seven years, squeezing demand and fuelling the credit boom. The thinking person’s Davos oligarch realises that allowing things to carry on as they are is dangerous. What they won’t accept is any change in the balance of social power.
Note: Oxfam's complete report "identifies the two powerful driving forces that have led to the rapid rise in inequality" as "market fundamentalism and the capture of politics by elites." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and secret societies which manipulate global politics.
The Duke of York is under renewed pressure to speak publicly about sex abuse allegations after flight records backed up his accuserâ€™s claims of having met him three times. Flight logs from the private jet of the Dukeâ€™s friend Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted sex offender, show Virginia Roberts and the Duke were both in the locations where she claims to have had sex with him, at the relevant times. The Duke had no doubt hoped that interest in claims made by Miss Roberts in US court documents, which emerged at the start of the month, would have died down by the time he arrived in Davos, but new disclosures continue to emerge. Flight logs for Epsteinâ€™s Gulfstream jet, published by Mail Online, together with public information about the Dukeâ€™s movements, show that Miss Roberts and the Duke were both in London in March 2001, when she claims they first had sex, and in New York and the US Virgin Islands the following month, the locations where she says their other sexual encounters happened. Meanwhile fresh legal papers [were] submitted to a Florida court on Tuesday. The Miami US attorneyâ€™s office ... is seeking to prevent [Roberts from] joining an existing case in which two other victims are trying to overturn a plea bargain which enabled Epstein to serve an 18-month prison sentence in return for pleading guilty to procuring a 14-year-old girl for prostitution. In exchange [for this plea], all federal investigations into his alleged widespread sex abuse were halted.
Note: An ABC News article on this case states Roberts "declined to name others in her statement - but her lawyers noted in a cryptic footnote that, if she had, the names would 'have created significantly more media attention than the names that she did include.'" 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.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who relinquished the chairmanship of the intelligence committee ... said she objects to Senator Richard Burrâ€™s request that the Obama administration return all copies of the full, 6,000-plus-page classified [torture] study. â€śDoing so would limit the ability to learn lessons from this sad chapter in Americaâ€™s history and omit from the record two years of work,â€ť Feinstein said in a statement late on Tuesday. In an extraordinary epilogue to the battle between the Senate intelligence committee and the CIA over the torture report, new chairman Burr, a North Carolina Republican, requested that administration agencies return to the committee all copies of the full report. Burrâ€™s request was first reported by the New York Times and the Huffington Post. The Times noted that Burrâ€™s request would have the effect of placing the classified report beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act, which exempts Congress. President Obama has [given the report] rhetorical support, but [empowered] the CIA to determine what portions of a critique of the agency ought to be public. A CIA-appointed review panel also recently found that the agencyâ€™s director, John Brennan, consulted with the White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, before agency employees surreptitiously accessed emails and drafts from committee investigators. Feinstein said in March that the breach represented a constitutional crisis, with the CIA spying on its Senate overseers.
Following the lashing of blogger Raif Badawi and leaked footage that showed the public execution of a woman accused of beating her daughter, Saudi Arabia's harsh interpretation of sharia law and its use of capital punishment have come under international scrutiny. For many, the Saudi justice system sounds not unlike that of the Islamic State, the extremist Islamist group which has struck fear in much of the Middle East. This week, Middle East Eye, a Web site that focuses on news from the region and is frequently critical of Saudi Arabia, contrasted a set of legal punishments recently announced by the Islamic State with the corresponding punishments in Saudi Arabia. One key difference between the Islamic State and Saudi Arabia, of course, is that the latter is a key U.S. ally in the region â€“ and a member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State. Some experts argue that the fundamentalist brand of Islam practiced by both has theological links, however, and Riyadh's recent crackdown has been interpreted as an act of appeasement for Saudi hard-liners. Saudi Arabia's own concern about the Islamic State is likely genuine (plans to build an enormous wall along its border with Iraq are a good sign of that), but for many Americans, the extremist group's rise is also bringing with it a renewed skepticism about American allies in the region.
Note: Here is the diagram that compares Saudi justice with I.S. justice, and here is a diagram of the big, expensive security wall mentioned above. Is Saudi Arabia concerned that the Islamic State is less aligned with Saudi interests than other popular Islamic terrorist groups have been?
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.