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Extremely high radiation levels have been recorded inside a damaged reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, almost six years after the plant suffered a triple meltdown. Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) said atmospheric readings as high as 530 sieverts an hour had been recorded inside the containment vessel of reactor No 2, one of three reactors that experienced a meltdown when the plant was crippled. Even if a 30-percent margin of error is taken into account, the recent reading, described by some experts as “unimaginable”, is far higher than the previous record of 73 sieverts an hour detected by sensors in 2012. A single dose of one sievert is enough to cause radiation sickness and nausea; 5 sieverts would kill half those exposed to it within a month, and a single dose of 10 sieverts would prove fatal within weeks. Quantities of melted fuel are believed to have accumulated at the bottom of the damaged reactors’ containment vessels, but dangerously high radiation has prevented engineers from accurately gauging the state of the fuel deposits. The extraordinary radiation readings highlight the scale of the task confronting thousands of workers, as pressure builds on Tepco to begin decommissioning the plant – a process that is expected to take about four decades. In December, the government said the estimated cost of decommissioning the plant and decontaminating the surrounding area ... had risen to 21.5tn yen (Ł150bn), nearly double an estimate released in 2013.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
Trump Takes Aim At Dodd-Frank, Investor Protections Rule In Executive Action
February 3, 2017, NPR
President Trump signed two directives on Friday, ordering a review of financial industry regulations known as Dodd-Frank and halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity. Trump himself made his intentions clear. "Dodd-Frank is a disaster," Trump said. "We're going to be doing a big number on Dodd-Frank." These executive actions are the start of a Trump administration effort to reverse or revise financial regulations put in place by the Obama administration. [One] directive will instruct the Treasury secretary to meet with the agencies that oversee the law to identify possible changes. It isn't clear yet how long the review would take, but the official says every aspect of the law will be considered. A second directive would call on the Department of Labor to defer implementation of an Obama-era rule, known as the Fiduciary Rule, requiring financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients in retirement planning. The deadline for implementation was supposed to be April. Backers of the rule say it will prevent advisers from gouging customers by selling them inappropriate, high-fee products. This rule has been heavily lobbied. Dodd-Frank, passed in 2010, [was intended] to implement comprehensive safeguards to monitor and regulate financial institutions so their potential failures would not pose a risk to the entire economy.
Donald Trump, the man who positioned himself as the common man's shield against Wall Street, signed a series of orders today calling for reviews or rollbacks of financial regulations. Before he ordered a review of both the Dodd-Frank Act and the fiduciary rule requiring investment advisors to act in their clients' interests, [Trump met] with leading CEOs, including JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon, Blackstone's Steve Schwarzman, and BlackRock's Larry Fink. Former Goldman honcho Gary Cohn [is] Trump's chief economic advisor. It would be hard to put together a group of people less sympathetic to the non-wealthy. The two primary disasters in American history this century ... have been 9/11 and the 2008 financial crisis, which cost 8.7 million people their jobs and may have destroyed as much as 45 percent of the world's wealth. The response to 9/11 we know: major military actions all over the world, plus a radical reshaping of our legal structure, with voters embracing warrantless surveillance, a suspension of habeas corpus, even torture. But the crisis response? Basically, we gave trillions of dollars to bail out the very actors who caused the mess. Now ... we've triumphantly put those same actors back in charge. These egomaniacal Wall Street titans want ... to get rid of the fiduciary rule, because they don't think it's anyone's business if they choose to bet against their clients (as Cohn's Goldman famously did), or overcharge them, or otherwise screw them.
The congregation of the Victoria Islamic Center in Texas was devastated. Its mosque was destroyed over the weekend in a fire, the cause of which is unknown. Then an act of kindness revived their spirits - the leaders of the local Jewish congregation gave them the keys to their synagogue so they could continue to worship. The leader of the mosque said he wasn't surprised by the gesture. "I never doubted the support that we were going to get" after the fire, Dr. Shahid Hashmi, a surgeon and president of Victoria Islamic Center, told CNN. "We've always had a good relationship with the community here." Hashmi said Dr. Gary Branfman - a member of Temple B'nai Israel in Victoria, as well as a fellow surgeon and friend - just came by his house and gave him the keys. And that wasn't the only offer of a temporary worship space that was extended. Hashmi said three local churches said his congregation could use their buildings. Also offered up was an empty office building, which the congregation used for three days before moving into a mobile home on the mosque property. Though Hashmi always knew his own east Texas community would support the mosque, he was stunned by the outpouring of support from people outside Victoria. So far, a GoFundMe page set up to help raise money for the mosque's reconstruction has taken in more than $1 million. Thanks to all of the financial contributions, he expects they'll be able to rebuild it in less than a year.
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British journalist Julia Breen's scoop about racism at her local police force didn't just get her on the front page, it got her put under surveillance. Investigators logged her calls, those of her colleague Graeme Hetherington and even their modest-sized newspaper's busy switchboard in an effort to unmask their sources. The [Northern Echo newspaper] has often provided painful reading for Cleveland Police, a department responsible for a Chicago-sized patch of England's industrial northeast. The small force has weathered a series of scandals. A minority officer, Sultan Alam, was awarded 800,000 pounds ... after allegedly being framed by colleagues in retaliation for a discrimination lawsuit. The judgment made national headlines. Cleveland Police issued a statement insisting the force wasn't racist. The next day, an anonymous caller told Breen an internal police report suggested otherwise. The following morning her byline was across the front page beneath the words: "Institutional racism uncovered within Cleveland Police." Breen ... eventually forgot the episode. Cleveland Police didn't. The force secretly began logging calls to and from Breen, Hetherington and a third journalist from another newspaper. It was later calculated that the surveillance covered over 1 million minutes of calling time. The Echo isn't unique. Britain's wiretapping watchdog ... revealed in 2015 that 82 journalists' communications records had been seized as part of leak investigations across the country over a three-year period.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is turning to Silicon Valley after receiving a surge in funds from opponents of US President Donald Trump. The non-profit organisation received $24m (Ł19m) last weekend after a controversial immigration order was issued on Friday. ACLU is teaming up with Y Combinator - which usually works with start-ups - over how to best utilise the donations. The donations made online at the weekend were six times the yearly average the organisation receives. How could Y Combinator help ACLU? The California-based firm ... helps its clients - usually start-ups - with funding as well as mentorship and networking. It typically deals with young companies looking to grow, but has dealt with mature organisations in the past. Y Combinator said it was contributing an undisclosed sum of money and would send some of its staff to the ACLU's New York offices. Y Combinator's founder Sam Altman, an outspoken critic of Mr Trump's, said: "We've been talking to them (ACLU) for some time. We were generally planning to get started more slowly, but things are so urgent now." Mr Trump's executive order bans immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the country for 90 days. The US refugee program has also been suspended for 120 days. The ACLU, which has been around for about a century, was among the first to react to the order. It filed a lawsuit which led a federal judge to halt deportations of people detained in US airports.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.
Using loopholes it has kept secret for years, the FBI can in certain circumstances bypass its own rules in order to send undercover agents or informants into political and religious organizations, as well as schools, clubs, and businesses. If the FBI had its way, the infiltration loopholes would still be secret. They are detailed in a mammoth document obtained by The Intercept, an uncensored version of ... the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, or DIOG. If an undercover agent wants to pose as a university student and take classes, or if an FBI handler wants to tell an informant to attend religious services - two examples straight out of the rulebook - he or she must obtain a supervisor’s approval and attest both to the operation’s importance and to its compliance with constitutional safeguards. But all those rules go out the window if an agent decides the group is “illegitimate” or an informant spies on the group of his or her own accord. Civil rights groups ... worry that the FBI has made use of precisely these kinds of loopholes, silently undermining cherished freedoms enshrined after a dark chapter of FBI history: the COINTELPRO program in the 1950s and ’60s, when the FBI spied on, harassed, and tried to discredit leftists, civil rights leaders, and anti-war protestors. The exposure of COINTELPRO led to a famous Senate investigation and to institutional reform. The DIOG, despite being hundreds of pages of dense bureaucracy, actually documents a loosening of the standards enacted to rein in the FBI after COINTELPRO and other scandals ... after the 9/11 attacks.
Note: Read a detailed essay on the FBI's COINTELPRO program from the well-researched online book Lifting the Veil. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
Corporate spin is nothing new. Whether it’s cigarettes or sugar-laden sodas, the companies that make billions from such products employ a variety of strategies to promote the good and bury the bad. But the tactics being unveiled by Monsanto and surrogates over glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide and the lynchpin for the success of genetically engineered crops, are noteworthy for the depths of their deception. The latest move, the formation of a group called “Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research”, (CAPHR) clearly promotes an agenda opposite to that which its name implies. Formed this month by the American Chemistry Council, whose membership includes Monsanto and other chemical industry titans, the group’s express purpose is to discredit the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a unit of the World Health Organization. An IARC scientific team declared in March 2015 that glyphosate was a probable human carcinogen after reviewing an extensive body of published research on the subject. Monsanto and friends have been harassing IARC ever since through a series of demands, threats and legal maneuvers, including lobbying the U.S. House of Representatives to cut funding for IARC. The new campaign takes the assault further. Embedded in the industry’s truth-twisting tactics is the characterization of anyone who gives credence to scientific research showing problems with glyphosate, or the GMOs that go with it, as “anti-science.”
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Big lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs and the corruption of science.
White supremacists and other domestic extremists maintain an active presence in U.S. police departments and other law enforcement agencies. [FBI] policies have been crafted to take this infiltration into account. An October 2006 FBI internal intelligence assessment ... raised the alarm over white supremacist groups’ “historical” interest in “infiltrating law enforcement communities or recruiting law enforcement personnel.” In 2009 ... a Department of Homeland Security intelligence study, written in coordination with the FBI, warned of the “resurgence” of right-wing extremism. The report concluded that “lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.” The report caused an uproar. Faced with mounting criticism, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano disavowed the document. The agency’s unit investigating right-wing extremism was largely dismantled and the report’s lead investigator was pushed out. “They stopped doing intel on that, and that was that,” Heidi Beirich, who leads the Southern Poverty Law Center’s tracking of extremist groups, told The Intercept. Daryl Johnson, who was the lead researcher on the DHS report ... says the problem has since gotten “a lot more troublesome.” Homeland Security has given up tracking right-wing domestic extremists. “It’s only the FBI now,” he said, adding that local police departments don’t seem to be doing anything to address the problem.
What Steve Bannon is doing, most dramatically with the ban on immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries - is creating what is known as a "shock event." Such an event is unexpected and confusing. People scramble to react to the event, usually along some fault line that those responsible for the event can widen by claiming that they alone know how to restore order. As society reels and tempers run high, those responsible for the shock event perform a sleight of hand to achieve their real goal, a goal they know to be hugely unpopular, but from which everyone has been distracted as they fight over the initial event. There is no longer concerted opposition to the real goal; opposition divides along the partisan lines established by the shock event. Donald Trump's executive order has all the hallmarks of a shock event. It was not reviewed by any governmental agencies or lawyers before it was released, and counterterrorism experts insist they did not ask for it. People charged with enforcing it got no instructions about how to do so. Courts immediately have declared parts of it unconstitutional, but border police in some airports are refusing to stop enforcing it. Unless you are the person setting it up, it is in no one's interest to play the shock event game. It is designed explicitly to divide people. But because shock events destabilize a society, they can also be used positively. We do not have to respond along old fault lines.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Officers are investigating 255 allegations of historical sexual abuse involving 77 football clubs in London, including five from the Premier League, the Metropolitan police have said. All the capital’s top flight teams – Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United – are understood to be involved. A Met spokesman said: “The allegations are connected with individuals at 77 named clubs or teams.“The breakdown for those clubs is: five in the Premier League, three against Championship clubs, three against clubs in Leagues One and Two, and there have also been 66 other named clubs, which would include non-league or non-professional or amateur teams.” DCS Ivan Balhatchet of the sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command said: “The Met take all allegations seriously and specialist officers will work through the information passed to them. “Anyone who has been the victim of sexual assault should contact their local force, or call the NSPCC helpline. Earlier this month, the National Police Chiefs’ Council, which is coordinating the nationwide police investigation Operation Hydrant, said more than 500 complainants and 184 potential suspects had been identified. Latest figures put the number of potential victims at 526.
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Activists who say too many poor people are unfairly languishing in U.S. jails because they can’t afford to post cash bail are increasingly deploying a new tactic: Bailing out strangers. Community groups are collecting donations from individuals, churches, cities and other organizations in more than a dozen cities, including New York, Chicago, Seattle and Nashville, to bail out indigent prisoners. They’ve freed several thousand people in the last few years, and the number is growing. The overwhelming majority of defendants still show up for court. Once free, the defendants are better able to fight their case, often leading to charges being dropped or reduced. “Many, many people are having their lives ruined pre-trial because they can’t afford to get out of jail,” said Max Suchan, who co-founded the Chicago Community Bond Fund, which had bailed out 50 people as of December. The bail funds are a step toward a larger goal for some legal reform activists: abolishing the cash bail system. Advocates say it creates two unequal tiers of justice: one for people who can afford bail and one for people who can’t. In Chicago the anti-cash bail movement has a seemingly unlikely ally in Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart. He argues the cash system should be abolished and replaced with more thorough background checks; if a person is considered dangerous, they stay in jail and if they’re not, they go free, with access to services such as drug-addiction counseling if needed.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The seven nations targeted for new visitation restrictions by President Trump on Friday all have something in common: They are places he does not appear to have any business interests. The executive order he signed Friday bars all entry for the next 90 days by travelers from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. Excluded from the lists are several majority-Muslim nations where the Trump Organization is active. The restriction applies to countries that have already been excluded from programs allowing people to travel to the United States without a visa because of concerns over terrorism. Trump’s order makes no mention of Turkey. On Wednesday, the State Department updated a travel warning for Americans visiting Turkey, noting that “an increase in anti-American rhetoric has the potential to inspire independent actors to carry out acts of violence against US citizens.” Trump has licensed his name to two luxury towers in Istanbul. A Turkish company also manufactures a line of Trump-branded home furnishings. The executive order makes no mention of Saudi Arabia, home of 15 of the 19 terrorists involved in the 9/11 attacks. The Trump Organization had incorporated several limited liability companies in preparation for an attempt to build a hotel in Saudi Arabia, showing an interest in expansion in the country. The company canceled those incorporations in December.
For nearly 100 years, scientists have dreamed of turning the lightest of all the elements, hydrogen, into a metal. Now, in a stunning act of modern-day alchemy, scientists at Harvard University have finally succeeded in creating a tiny amount of [this] material. Metallic hydrogen could theoretically revolutionise technology, enabling the creation of super-fast computers, high-speed levitating trains and ultra-efficient vehicles and dramatically improving almost anything involving electricity. But the prospect of this bright future could be at risk if the scientists’ next step – to establish whether the metal is stable at normal pressures and temperatures – fails to go as hoped. Professor Isaac Silvera, who made the breakthrough with Dr Ranga Dias, said: “This is the holy grail of high-pressure physics. “It's the first-ever sample of metallic hydrogen on Earth, so when you're looking at it, you're looking at something that’s never existed before.” At the moment the tiny piece of metal can only be seen through two diamonds that were used to crush liquid hydrogen at a temperature far below freezing. The amount of pressure needed was immense – more than is found at the centre of the Earth. Sometime in the next few weeks, the researchers plan to carefully ease the pressure. According to one theory, metallic hydrogen will be stable at room temperature. If this is true, then [it] could ... transform humanity’s efforts to explore our solar system by providing a form of rocket fuel nearly four times more powerful than the best available today.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing breakthrough energy invention news articles from reliable major media sources.
California can require Monsanto to label its popular weed killer Roundup as a possible cancer threat even though the chemical giant insists it poses no risk to people, a judge tentatively ruled Friday. California would be the first state to order such labeling if it carries out the proposal. Monsanto had sued the nation's leading agricultural state, saying California officials illegally based their decision for carrying the warnings on findings by an international health organization based in France. Critics take issue with Roundup's main ingredient, glyphosate. It is sold in more than 160 countries, and farmers in California use it on 250 types of crops. The chemical is not restricted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. But the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a Lyon, France-based branch of the U.N. World Health Organization, classified the chemical as a “probable human carcinogen.” Shortly afterward, the most populated U.S. state took its first step in 2015 to require the warning labels. Once a chemical is added to a list of probable carcinogens, the manufacturer has a year before it must attach the label. Dozens nationwide ... are suing Monsanto, claiming the chemical gave them or a loved one cancer.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. More lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. Yet the EPA used industry studies while ignoring independent studies to declare Roundup safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.
Donald Trump’s administration has appeared to ban at least three Government agencies from speaking to journalists, providing documents to the public or even tweeting. Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency staff are all reportedly subject to gagging orders. As well as the prohibition of social media posts ... the EPA has been ordered to freeze all grants, contracts and other agreements until further notice. A memo sent to EPA staff said there should be no press releases sent to “external audiences” and that “no social media will be going out”. The letter ... also says that a digital strategist will be drafted in to oversee the agency’s social media and that “existing, individually controlled social-media accounts may become more centrally controlled”. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ... employees were told not to publish any new documents or correspondence in any public forum, including the Federal Register, and not to discuss any documents or rules with public officials until it is reviewed by the administration. Staff at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service received a memo on Monday telling them not to provide any documents to the public including press releases and social media. The email told employees, including about 2,000 staff scientists, that “starting immediately and until further notice”, they could not release any documents or post on social media.
The name Rumi is synonymous with love poetry. But [many readers] don’t know much about the life of the beloved 13th-century Persian poet and Sufi mystic. The new biography Rumi’s Secret, by Brad Gooch ... provides important insights. The idea of Rumi’s secret came from a conversation Gooch had with a merchant named Sebastian, [who] compared Rumi to the American Walt Whitman – another poet revered for the universality of his writing – who “never tells his secret!” Gooch follows that fascinating statement with one of his own: “Rumi did have secrets – personal, poetic, and theological – that he was always both revealing and concealing.” The book’s first section ... opens with Rumi, at five years old, seeing angels. His father, an esteemed Muslim preacher and teacher, explained that the beings had come to bring him favor and invisible gifts. The Rumi we know today might never have emerged if not for three profound friendships. The first and most impactful was with Shams of Tabriz, a mystic. Shams urged Rumi ... to be honest and heartfelt, rather than refined, and to ... use music, sung poetry, and whirling to “literally spin loose of language and logic, while opening and warming his heart.” Rumi had two other cherished friends: a goldsmith named Salah, who had studied with Rumi’s tutor from childhood, and Hosam, one of Rumi’s loyal followers. Each man helped the poet learn about love (both human and divine), the process of giving up the self to make room for something purer and higher, and transcendence.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Four more journalists have been charged with felonies after being arrested while covering the unrest around Donald Trump’s inauguration, meaning that at least six media workers are facing up to 10 years in prison and a $25,000 fine if convicted. A documentary producer, a photojournalist, a live-streamer and a freelance reporter were each charged with the most serious level of offense under Washington DC’s law against rioting, after being caught up in the police action against demonstrators. The Guardian learned of their arrests after reporting on Monday that the journalists Evan Engel of Vocativ and Alex Rubinstein of RT America had also been arrested and charged with felonies while covering the same unrest. All six were arraigned in superior court on Saturday and released to await further hearings. “These charges are clearly inappropriate, and we are concerned that they could send a chilling message to journalists covering future protests,” said Carlos Lauría, the [Committee to Protect Journalists'] senior Americas program coordinator. The National Lawyers’ Guild accused Washington DC’s metropolitan police department of having “indiscriminately targeted people for arrest en masse based on location alone” and said they unlawfully used teargas and other weapons. None of the arrest reports for the six journalists makes any specific allegations about what any of them are supposed to have done wrong.
Note: These outrageous charges come on the heels of similar tactics being used to silence reporters covering last October's Dakota Access Pipeline protests. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
The Trump administration is putting a gag on the U.S. Department of Agriculture and its 2,000 scientists, with an order that forbids the public sharing of information and scientific papers produced by the USDA's main research arm. "Starting immediately and until further notice, the Agricultural Research Service will not release any public-facing documents," Sharon Drumm, chief of staff at ARS, wrote in a department-wide email. "This includes but is not limited to news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds and social media content," Drumm wrote. The Department of Agriculture gag comes at the same time as an administration-imposed media blackout at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Department of Agriculture is not in the vortex of environmental controversy, although ... its research does include genetically modified foods - subject to a nationwide labeling battle - as well as the impact of pesticides.
Pizzagate was the false claim that the Comet Ping Pong pizza place in Washington D.C. was at the center of a pedophilia ring linked to the Hillary Clinton campaign. But on Tuesday night, Meredith-owned CBS46 ran a report full of recycled Internet rumors about the restaurant. Reporter Ben Swann cited the WikiLeaks release of hacked emails from Clinton campaign chief John Podesta heavily throughout his segment. “In all, WikiLeaks dumped around 50,000 email messages, and it was from those emails that the claims that John Podesta may be part of a child sex-trafficking ring come from,” Swann said. However, moments later he added: “To be clear, not one single email in the Podesta emails discusses child sex trafficking or pedophilia.” Swann claimed “strangely worded emails” could be “code language used by pedophiles,” and repeated much of the conspiracy theories featured by conservative radio host Alex Jones and various online forums. “For all that is here, there has not been one single public investigation of any of this,” Swann said. “Not from local police, not from the FBI, no one. And that has to be the big question.” Swann’s boss defended his latest report. “I know he was meticulous with his search for facts,” CBS46 news director Frank Volpicella told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Note: Ben Swann was removed from the show shortly after this report, and his social media accounts went strangely silent. Watch his controversial Pizzagate report on this webpage. The media has slammed Pizzagate as fake news, yet if you look without bias, there is tremendous solid evidence suggesting something very fishy is going on. See this webpage for lots more.
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.