News StoriesExcerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
Say what you like about Bilderberg, but they’ve got a sense of humour. The agenda for this year’s secretive summit of the global elite [gets] big laughs straight off the bat by describing themselves as “a diverse group of political leaders and experts”. They’re trumpeting the diversity of a conference where less than 25% of the participants are female. And as for racial diversity, there are more senior executives of Goldman Sachs at this year’s Bilderberg than there are people of colour. Perhaps by “diverse” they mean that some of the participants own hedge funds, whereas others own vast industrial conglomerates. Some are on the board of HSBC, others are on the board of BP. That sort of thing. But my favourite joke by far from this year’s agenda is this item: “The war on information”. Bilderberg is concerned about fake news? The world’s most secretive conference, which is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars keeping the press away from its sacred discussions, which has spent decades lying and obfuscating about itself, wants to ensure the spread of truth? Many times before I’ve been detained by armed police for trying to report on this conference. If Bilderberg wants an answer to “Why is populism growing?” – another question on the agenda – they might take a look in the mirror. People aren’t all that comfortable with unaccountable technocratic elites and billionaire globalists lobbying their ministers and party leaders behind closed doors.
Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before [the recent] election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously reported. In Illinois, investigators found evidence that cyber intruders tried to delete or alter voter data. The hackers accessed software designed to be used by poll workers on Election Day, and in at least one state accessed a campaign finance database. Details of the wave of attacks, in the summer and fall of 2016, were provided by three people with direct knowledge of the U.S. investigation into the matter. In all, the Russian hackers hit systems in a total of 39 states. The scope and sophistication so concerned Obama administration officials that they took an unprecedented step -- complaining directly to Moscow over a modern-day “red phone.” In October, two of the people said, the White House contacted the Kremlin on the back channel to offer detailed documents of what it said was Russia’s role in election meddling and to warn that the attacks risked setting off a broader conflict. The new details, buttressed by a classified National Security Agency document recently disclosed by the Intercept ... paint a worrisome picture for future elections: [This is] the newest portrayal of potentially deep vulnerabilities in the U.S.’s patchwork of voting technologies.
Note: Many who follow elections closely have known and spread the word for years about serious vulnerabilities in US electronic voting, yet only now that Russia is involved is it getting widespread coverage. Do you really think the Russians are the only ones who have hacked US elections? Read an enlightening analysis of elections hacking in the US which raises many serious questions. And don't miss the critically important information provided in our Elections Information Center.
Globally, millions of people suffer from depression, an estimated 300 million to be exact. In fact, major depression constitutes one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. For decades, people have correlated healthy eating with feeling better, including in the area of mental health. However, many people who do not eat well also have outside stress factors, such as a busy schedule or low income. Health professionals can easily attribute any depression in these groups to these outside factors strained by a poor diet. However, one study set out to evaluate the direct link between diet and depression. The researchers ... observed 67 patients with moderate to severe depression. Patients [in the control group] received social support rather than switching their eating habits. The other patients then received a series of seven one-hour dietary counseling sessions where they were advised to eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. After the trial period, the researchers found that over 30 percent of the patients had gone into remission with their depression. Only 8 percent of the control group actually experienced this same improvement. The participants that showed the most remarkable results had improved their diet the most. According to the research, diet and depression do go hand in hand. Those suffering from depression should eliminate processed foods as much as possible. Instead, they should replace them with a plant-rich diet alongside lean, quality meats.
Note: Read an essay by Jeffrey M. Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, that describes how replacing processed foods with healthy, non-GMO meals at an Appleton Wisconsin high school led to dramatic improvements in the mood and behavior of students. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food industry corruption and health.
Racial disparities have long been evident in the U.S. criminal justice system, but a new report drilling into statistics on wrongful convictions points up exactly how nefarious the problem is. African Americans are much more likely to be wrongfully convicted of a murder, sexual assault or drug offense than whites. The report, by the National Registry of Exonerations, found that “innocent black people are about seven times more likely to be convicted of murder than innocent white people,” and thus also account for a disproportionate share of the growing number of exonerations. African Americans who were convicted and then exonerated of murder charges also spent four years longer on death row than wrongfully convicted whites (and three years longer for those sentenced to prison). According to the report, African Americans convicted of murder “are about 50% more likely to be innocent than other convicted murderers,” and that such wrongful convictions, even when later corrected, expands the impact of violence on African American communities.
UN war crimes investigators have denounced a “staggering loss of civilian life” caused by the US-backed campaign to reclaim Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State. The independent commission of inquiry tasked with investigating violations of international law, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria said the intensification of airstrikes by the US-led coalition had led to the deaths of at least 300 civilians in the city. The Raqqa operation began last week with a ground assault by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group comprising Kurdish and Arab militiamen armed by the US and supported by coalition airstrikes. “The intensification of airstrikes ... has resulted not only in staggering loss of civilian life, but has also led to 160,000 civilians fleeing their homes and becoming internally displaced,” Paulo Pinheiro, the chairman of the UN commission of inquiry, told the human rights council in Geneva. The civilian cost of the campaign was highlighted last week when footage emerged of coalition planes deploying white phosphorus in the city, which is home to tens of thousands of civilians, prisoners of war, enslaved Yazidi women, and a few thousand Isis militants. Human Rights Watch urged the coalition separately on Wednesday to exercise great caution when using white phosphorus, saying it could cause “horrific and long-lasting harm” in crowded cities such as Raqqa.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Tax records are invaluable for the study of economic inequality. Graphs published on the World Wealth and Income Database, for example, show just how ... this information can inform the public debate. The top 1% income share is now closely scrutinised by journalists and policymakers. But if the rich dodge taxes more than others, tax records will underestimate inequality. The key data source used in rich countries to study tax evasion is random tax audits – but these audits do not capture tax evasion by the very wealthy. In our recent study, however, we exploited a massive trove of data leaked from HSBC Switzerland, the so-called HSBC files, to fill this gap. We also made use of the Panama Papers, which last year revealed the identity of the shareholders of shell companies created by the Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca. Just as with HSBC, this leak is valuable as it can be seen as a random event and involves a prominent provider of offshore financial services. We combined random audits with these new sources of information to shed light on who really evades taxes. The higher one moves up the wealth distribution, the higher the probability of hiding assets. So what are the consequences for inequality? At the very top of the pyramid, it is much greater than previously estimated. In Norway, where the available wealth data is particularly detailed, the super-wealthy appear to be 30% wealthier than previously though. The share of wealth owned by the top 0.1% increases from 8% to 10%.
The term “shock doctrine” describes the quite brutal tactic of systematically using the public’s disorientation following a collective shock – wars, coups, terrorist attacks, market crashes or natural disasters – to push through radical pro-corporate measures, often called “shock therapy”. From the evidence so far, it’s clear that Trump and his top advisers are ... trying to pull off a domestic shock doctrine. The goal is all-out war on the public sphere and the public interest, whether in the form of antipollution regulations or programmes for the hungry. In their place will be unfettered power and freedom for corporations. It’s a programme so defiantly unjust and ... corrupt that it can only be pulled off with the assistance of divide-and-conquer racial and sexual politics, as well as a nonstop spectacle of media distractions. And, of course, it is being backed up with a massive increase in war spending. Trump’s cabinet of billionaires and multimillionaires tells us a great deal about the administration’s underlying goals. ExxonMobil for secretary of state; General Dynamics and Boeing to head the department of defence; and the Goldman Sachs guys for pretty much everything that’s left. This is ... a naked corporate takeover, one many decades in the making. We have to tell a different story from the one the shock doctors are peddling, a vision of the world compelling enough to compete head to head with theirs. Most of all, that vision needs to offer those who are hurting – for lack of jobs, lack of healthcare, lack of peace, lack of hope – a tangibly better life.
Note: The above was written by Naomi Klein, bestselling author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.
Michael Horowitz, chairman of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, was at a hockey game when he began getting calls from other inspectors general in federal agencies. The inspectors ... were furious. Trump aides had let them know they might be replaced; for the first time ever, a president might fire them en masse. The administration later backed down. But it has continued to undermine the inspectors’ role by failing to hire for open positions and planning to slash the offices’ budgets. Every major federal agency and program has an inspector general ... whose staff investigates cases of wasteful spending, criminal activity, employee misconduct and plain bad management. These are watchdogs with real teeth. Today nearly one-quarter of inspector general offices have either an acting director or no director at all, including the offices at the C.I.A., the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense and the Social Security Administration. Acting directors can be reluctant to make extensive changes ... particularly if they hope to be nominated for a permanent appointment. The inspectors’ offices are deeply affected by the current federal hiring freeze and would be further harmed by the administration’s proposed budget cuts. The budget takes unexplained specific aim at the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, created in part to monitor the $700 billion taxpayer bailout for big banks.
Note: A New York Times article from 2015 states that, "at least 20 investigations across the government that have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Television reporters covering the Capitol were told midday Tuesday to stop recording interviews in Senate hallways, a dramatic and unexplained break with tradition that was soon reversed amid a wide rebuke from journalists, Democratic lawmakers and free-speech advocates. The episode heightened concerns about reporters’ access to Washington leaders in an era when hostility toward the political media has increasingly become the norm. For some, the move to protect senators from impromptu on-camera interviews fell into a wider Trump-era pattern of efforts to roll back press freedoms, whether by barring reporters from interviewing officials or denying them access to briefings, trips and events. “These are actions that are without precedent in the history of the White House and Congress,” said Ben Wizner, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union and director of the group’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. “Even if some of the violations are of norms rather than rights, the effect is to make the government less transparent at precisely the moment when congressional oversight has been at its weakest,” Wizner said.
After World War II, American counterintelligence recruited former Gestapo officers, SS veterans and Nazi collaborators to an even greater extent than had been previously disclosed and helped many of them avoid prosecution or looked the other way when they escaped, according to thousands of newly declassified documents. With the Soviet Union muscling in on Eastern Europe, “settling scores with Germans or German collaborators ... appeared counterproductive,” said a government report published Friday by the National Archives. In chilling detail, the report also elaborates on the close working relationship between Nazi leaders and the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, who ... recruited Muslims for the SS, the Nazi Party’s elite military command, [and] was allowed to flee after the war to Syria. The report, “Hitler’s Shadow: Nazi War Criminals, U.S. Intelligence and the Cold War,” grew out of an interagency group created by Congress to identify, declassify and release federal records on Nazi war crimes and on Allied efforts to hold war criminals accountable. It is drawn from a sampling of 1,100 C.I.A. files and 1.2 million Army counterintelligence files that were not declassified until ... 2007. “Hitler’s Shadow” adds a further dimension to a separate Justice Department history of American Nazi-hunting operations, which the government has refused to release ... and which concluded that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for certain other former Nazis.
Note: Following World War Two, more than 1500 Nazi's, including many war criminals, were brought to the US by "Operation Paperclip" and secretly embedded in the US scientific community and intelligence establishment. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
Modern exercise science shows that working with weights - whether that weight is a light dumbbell or your own body - may be the best exercise for lifelong physical function and fitness. Brad Schoenfeld, an assistant professor of exercise science at New York City’s Lehman College ... has published more than 30 academic papers on every aspect of resistance training - from the biomechanics of the push-up to the body’s nutrient needs following a hard lift. Later in life, bone tissue losses accelerate and outpace the creation of new bone. This loss of bone tissue leads to the weakness and postural problems that plague many older adults. “Resistance training counteracts all those bone losses and postural deficits,” he says. For anyone at risk for metabolic conditions - type-2 diabetes, but also high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol levels and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome - strength training is among the most-effective remedies. Strength training also seems to be a potent antidote to inflammation, a major risk factor for heart disease and other conditions. More research has linked strength training to improved focus and cognitive function, better balance, less anxiety and greater well-being. If all that isn’t convincing enough ... perhaps this is: maintaining strength later in life “seems to be one of the best predictors of survival," says [University of Michigan professor Mark] Peterson. “When we add strength ... almost every health outcome improves.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Hypnosis isn’t just for hucksters and Hollywood villains any more. Clinical trials have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating anxiety, phobias, skin rashes, irritable-bowel syndrome and acute and chronic pain. In North America, medical centres such as the Mayo Clinic have added hypnosis to their pain-management tools. As with mindfulness meditation, hypnosis harnesses the brain’s natural abilities to regulate the body and control the random thoughts that ricochet through our minds, says Dr. David Patterson, a University of Washington psychologist. But, he adds, meditation can take weeks or months of practice before it helps patients. With hypnosis, “the relief is just a lot quicker and more dramatic.” About 10 per cent to 15 per cent of adults are “highly hypnotizable,” meaning they can easily slip into a trance and act on hypnotic suggestions. The same percentage of adults do not respond to hypnosis at all, while the rest are somewhere in between. In hypnosis circles, the word “powerful” comes up a lot. But it’s hardly an overstatement when you consider the work of Dr. Marie-Elisabeth Faymonville, director of the pain clinic ... at the University Hospital of Ličge, Belgium. Hypnosis allows patients to avoid general anesthesia in surgeries ranging from mastectomies to heart-valve replacements, Faymonville says. Since 1992, she has treated more than 9,500 surgery patients with “hypno-sedation,” combining hypnosis with small amounts of local anesthesia. Of those patients, just 18 had to switch to general anesthesia.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
China has activated the world's biggest floating solar power plant, which is situated in the city of Huainan, in the central Anhui province. According to Sungrow Power Supply, the firm that built the facility, the new plant can generate 40 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power as many as 15,000 homes. The new solar farm, which was connected to Huainan's power grid in May, is constructed on an area that was used for rigorous coal mining for years. Gradual sinking of the area and heavy rain thereafter created a lake, where Sungrow now have installed floating solar panels, ranging in depth from four to 10 metres. China is currently considered to be the world's largest solar energy producer with a capacity of 77.42 gigawatts by the end of 2016. According to reports, solar power accounts for only one percent of China's energy output. However, this could soon change as the country has shifted its attention towards clean energy. Currently, renewables represent only 11 percent of China's energy use, but that number could go up to 20 percent by 2030. China also unveiled the world's biggest solar farm in a far-off region of the Tibetan plateau, in western Qinghai province earlier this year. The facility, named Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, covers nearly 27 square kilometres, with an ability to generate energy to power 200,000 homes.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Renewable energy capacity around the world was boosted by a record amount in 2016 and delivered at a markedly lower cost, according to new global data – although the total financial investment in renewables actually fell. Plummeting prices for solar and wind power ... led to new power deals in countries including Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates all being priced well below fossil fuel or nuclear options. The new renewable energy capacity installed worldwide in 2016 was 161GW, a 10% rise on 2015 and a new record, according to REN21, a network of public and private sector groups covering 155 nations and 96% of the world’s population. New solar power provided the biggest boost – half of all new capacity – followed by wind power at a third and hydropower at 15%. It is the first year that the new solar capacity added has been greater than any other electricity-producing technology. Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief who delivered the Paris agreement and is now convenor of Mission 2020, said: “The economic case for renewables as the backbone of our global energy system is increasingly clear and proven. Offering ever greater bang-for-buck, renewables are quite simply the cheapest way to generate energy in an ever-growing number of countries.”
Facebook wants to get up close and personal with its users after a patent was revealed detailing a desire to secretly watch users through their webcam or smartphone camera, spying on your mood in order to sell you tailored content or advertisements. The purpose behind the invasive idea is to analyse people through the camera in real time while they browse online and if it recognises you looking happy, bored or sad, it would deliver an advert fitting your emotion. If you were forlorn, for example, it would be able to serve an ad to perk you up, or know what products you had previously looked at online and put them under your nose at just the right time. The social network has filed several patents over the years on emotion-based technology but this, based on 'passive imaging data' is perhaps the most unnerving, considering it would take control of cameras that weren't even switched on by the user. As described by CB Insights: "This patent proposes capturing images of the user through smartphone or laptop cameras, even when the user is not actively using the camera. By visually tracking a user's facial expression, Facebook aims to monitor the user's emotional reactions to different types of content." Other patents listed by Facebook include a text messaging platform to detect a user's mood by measuring how hard and fast they were typing, then augment the message format, such as adding emojis or changing the font size, to match their emotion.
Russian military intelligence attempted to cyber-attack a U.S. voting software supplier and more than 100 local election officials in the days leading up to the 2016 presidential election, The Intercept reported Monday. According to an NSA document ... Russian military intelligence cyber-attacked a U.S. voting software supplier, using information gained in that attack to “launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations. Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions,” the document states. The operation gave the hackers “persistent access” to the targeted computers, allowing them to “survey the victims for items of interest.” But Pamela Smith, president of election integrity watchdog Verified Voting, said the hacking might have kept some Americans from voting. “If someone has access to a state voter database, they can take malicious action by modifying or removing information,” she told The Intercept. “This could affect whether someone has the ability to cast a regular ballot or be required to cast a ‘provisional’ ballot — which ... may mean the voter has to jump through certain hoops such as proving their information to the election official before their eligibility is affirmed.”
Note: Why have those who set up our elections allowed private companies to develop software which can be hacked? For undeniable evidence our voting systems have not been safe for years, read summaries of these major media news articles.
The cost of imprisoning each of California’s 130,000 inmates is expected to reach a record $75,560 in the next year. That’s enough to cover the annual cost of attending Harvard University and still have plenty left over. The price for each inmate has doubled since 2005, even as court orders related to overcrowding have reduced the population by about one-quarter. Salaries and benefits for prison guards and medical providers drove much of the increase. The result is a per-inmate cost that is the nation’s highest. Since 2015, California’s per-inmate costs have surged nearly $10,000, or about 13%. New York is a distant second in overall costs at about $69,000. Critics say with fewer inmates, the costs should be falling. “Now that we’re incarcerating less, we haven’t ramped the system back down,” said Chris Hoene, executive director of the ... California Budget & Policy Center. California was sued over prison overcrowding, and to comply with a federal court-imposed population cap, the Brown administration now keeps most lower-level offenders in county jails instead of state prisons. Additionally, voters in 2014 reduced penalties for drug and property crimes and last fall approved the earlier releases.
Note: Could it be that the privatization of prisons is driving up prison costs? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A study in the journal Stroke showed a correlation between drinking diet soda and both stroke and dementia: people who drank at least one diet soda a day were three times as likely to have a stroke or develop dementia as those who avoided the beverages. Previous research had already uncovered a possible link with higher stroke risk. The findings in this study add some support to those results. The link with dementia, however, is new, and at minimum is enough cause for concern that it's worth studying further. Why might diet sodas contribute to these risks? Diet sodas are designed to trick the brain into thinking it’s getting an extra dose of glucose (the brain’s fuel), but eventually the trick is on us because the brain adapts to not receiving the added glucose by overcompensating in other ways (leading to a variety of effects still under investigation). Diet sodas could imbalance the bacterial jungle in our guts - the microbiome - causing unpredictable results. Since there’s a bacterial superhighway from gut to brain, which we know interacts with key neurotransmitters, this theory may eventually tell us more of a much bigger brain story. This study didn’t narrow down the exact types of artificial sweeteners that were consumed, so it’s an open question how one may have affected the brain differently than another. In the meantime, curtailing how much of any artificial sweetener you ingest, along with added sugar, is a reasonable position to take.
Note: Artificial sweeteners have also been connected with blood sugar level spikes, obesity, and diabetes. There is undeniable evidence that aspartame is toxic to the human body. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food industry corruption and health.
The entire pharmaceutical industry is floated by a protectionist racket. Drugs that are in fact very cheap to make are kept artificially expensive – we have drugs that cost $1,000 a pill here in America that sell for $4 in India, for instance. The means of keeping prices high vary, but include lengthy patents to push production of generics into the future, the barring of foreign competition, and the prohibition of negotiations to lower prices for bulk purchases by both the federal and state governments. Without government intervention, the pharmaceutical industry would be profitable, but it wouldn't be the massive cash factory it is now. In 2015, for instance, the 20 largest drug companies made a collective $124 billion in profits. All the industry needs to protect those sums is the continued cooperation of Congress. So naturally it spends money ... to make sure they always have just enough dependable people in office to block change. Which brings us ... to drug importation. Trump announced early in the race that he was in favor of bringing in cheaper drugs from Canada and made it a big stump theme. The Democrats, meanwhile, put allowing importation of drugs from countries like Canada in their platform last summer. The seeming synergy of the two candidates' positions led to the hope that something might actually be done about the problem, no matter who won. No such luck. Trump's support for drug importation basically went up in smoke from the moment he started filling out his executive appointees.
A key member of the Scottish government's child abuse inquiry has resigned, saying it is "doomed" by government interference. Psychology professor Michael Lamb said there had been "repeated threats" to the independence of the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. The major review is scheduled to last four years, but has been criticised by survivors of abuse. The inquiry, which concerns historical allegations of child abuse in Scotland, will examine the extent of abuse of children in care, and identify any systemic failures. It launched a formal call for evidence in March, but has already heard from some seriously ill or very elderly survivors. Mr Lamb - one of three members of the panel, alongside chairwoman Susan O'Brien QC and Glenn Houston - said the project had "noble and worthy goals", but that it was ultimately "doomed". In a letter to Education Secretary John Swinney, he said: "It has become increasingly clear over the last nine months that the panel cannot act independently and that the Scottish government intends to continue interfering in ways large and small, directly and indirectly. Continuing interference threatens to prevent the inquiry from investigating thoroughly and taking robust evidence of the highest quality. The Scottish government has delayed or prevented the appointment of crucial members of staff for prolonged periods of time while its officials have questioned the decisions made by the supposedly independent inquiry."
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly 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 sexual abuse scandal news articles.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.