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.
A federal court filing accuses ... Prince Andrew of having sex in three countries with the self-described “sex slave” of an American financier, Jeffrey Epstein. The lawsuit that mentions these charges [targets] the U.S. Department of Justice. The case [started] in 2005, when Florida police began investigating claims that Epstein was paying underage girls for sex at his West Palm Beach home. Investigators uncovered evidence that more than a dozen girls may have been victimized by Epstein. The Justice Department agreed to a deal with Epstein that required him to plead guilty to two state charges, including a single count of solicitation of minors for prostitution, to register as a sex offender and to serve a short jail sentence. In exchange, the U.S. Attorney agreed to drop any further prosecution. The agreement also said that “the parties anticipate that this agreement will not be made part of any public record,” an unusual condition for such a criminal plea. The [deal] shocked several of the victims. The case has been now been ongoing for six years, with more than 280 filings. In legal filings, Edwards [a Florida trial lawyer] and Cassell [a victims' rights advocate and former federal judge] have questioned [the] pressure on the U.S. Attorney to keep the case from trial, either from Prince Andrew or former President Clinton, who travelled with Epstein on his private plane at the time but has not been accused of wrongdoing. “The elephant in the room is this: How does a guy who sexually abused 40 girls end up doing basically one year in a halfway house,” says Cassell.
Note: This is the second recent child sex scandal connected with UK royalty. Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Government is deliberately sabotaging the inquiry into historic claims of child abuse to protect “high profile figures,” a Labour MP has claimed. A letter leaked at the weekend showed that Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is considering abandoning the current panel, amid a catalogue of problems including the resignations of two chairman. [Labour MP Simon Danczuk] told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “If Government are set on doing this then it can be achieved, but you can’t help thinking that they aren’t intent on getting this right. There’s a catalogue of mistakes that have been made, some of them fairly basic, and you can’t blame the survivors of child abuse for wondering [if] some of this is quite deliberate.” Asked why the Government would want to sabotage the probe, he went on: “Well, because they don’t want to get to the truth. The Home Secretary in this process is in complete disarray. We’re not moving forward and it’s been six months now. I think that people will turn to more direct action and you can hardly blame them.” Peter Saunders, of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, [says that] “The only people who want to see this fail, to not get off the ground and to not do the work that it potentially would be able to do are abusers themselves or those people who have covered up in the past. “I have yet to encounter any survivors themselves who have any confidence in the process and in the panel as it is currently constituted."
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.
Imagine a lender demanding that you miss a payment. That is the situation described in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. In 2013, GSO Capital Partners ... refused to renew a $122.3 million loan to the Spanish gambling company Codere unless it delayed paying interest on other existing debt. Why? It turns out that GSO had placed a bet that Codere’s existing debt would not be paid on time. When, lo and behold, the payment was late, GSO collected on its bet. The bet in this scenario was a credit default swap. Credit default swaps, a type of derivative, can be used to hedge against losses on bonds that investors own, or to speculate on how the underlying companies will perform. The Dodd-Frank financial reform law was supposed to curb speculation in swaps. But ... hedge funds are increasingly using swaps to wager on whether weak firms will live or die. RadioShack ... is one of several prominent examples. In December, RadioShack’s total debt came to about $1.4 billion, but swaps outstanding on the performance of the debt totaled $23.5 billion. Similarly, J.C. Penney ... had total debt of some $8.7 billion, but swaps outstanding on the debt totaled $19.3 billion. Last month, Congress repealed an anti-speculation provision of Dodd-Frank that would have prevented federally insured banks from conducting several types of swap transactions. In addition, the Federal Reserve recently gave the banks two extra years to meet [another important] Dodd-Frank provision. Sooner or later, poorly regulated credit derivatives will again play a role in damaging the economy.
The combined cost of the “war on terror” comes to an estimated $1.6 trillion. A lot of former senior government officials who played important roles in this debacle have done quite well for themselves. [Former CIA director George Tenet] missed multiple signs of a major Al Qaeda attack directed against the United States [prior to 9/11] and approved the Bush administration’s torturing of terror suspects. He got the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He [also] received a $4 million advance to write a memoir. Tenet has received millions more in his current role as ... a board director and advisor to intelligence and military contractors. Louis Freeh, Tenet’s counterpart at the FBI during the run-up to 9/11 [also mishandled] “significant and urgent” intelligence of “serious operational planning” for terrorism attacks by Islamic radicals. Freeh resigned from the FBI two months before 9/11. In 2008, [a businessman named Nasser Kazeminy] was accused of bribing former Senator Norm Coleman, [and] hired Freeh to conduct a “thorough investigation” of the allegations against him in the hopes of clearing his name. In 2011, Freeh issued a public statement saying that his investigation had “completely vindicated” both Kazeminy and Coleman. Freeh also met with the Justice Department – which was investigating the bribery charges but declined to bring a case — on Kazeminy’s behalf. [Today, Freeh has a $3 million] Palm Beach penthouse. Freeh’s wife co-owns it with Kazeminy. The quit claim deed giving Freeh’s wife one-half ownership of the penthouse was signed nine days after Freeh’s vindication of Kazeminy.
According to reports, one of the first acts of the Republican-controlled Congress will be to fire Doug Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, because he won’t use “dynamic scoring” for his economic projections. Dynamic scoring is the magical math Republicans have been pushing since they came up with supply-side “trickle-down” economics. It’s based on the belief that cutting taxes unleashes economic growth and thereby produces additional government revenue. Dynamic scoring would make it easier to enact tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, because the tax cuts wouldn’t look as if they increased the budget deficit. Few economic theories have been as thoroughly tested in the real world as the asserted revenue effects of supply-side economics, and so notoriously failed. Ronald Reagan cut the top income tax rate from 70 to 28 percent and ended up nearly doubling the national debt. George W. Bush inherited a budget surplus from Bill Clinton, but then slashed taxes, mostly on the rich. The Bush tax cuts reduced revenue by $3 trillion. Yet Republicans don’t want to admit supply-side economics is hokum. As a result, they’ve never had much love for the truth-tellers at the Congressional Budget Office. The pattern seems to be: If you don't like the facts, make them up. Or have your benefactors finance think tanks filled with hired guns who will tell the public what you and your patrons want them to say.
Nicholas and Jill Woodman ... will receive a huge tax deduction for their [charitable] donation of 5.8 million shares of company stock to a donor-advised fund. But there’s no guarantee that one dollar of their October donation will ever be spent [on charity]. Donors gets an immediate, one-time tax break by depositing their money or assets in a donor-advised fund. They can advise the institution holding their money where and when to spend it on their timetable. Boston College Law School Professor Ray Madoff points out, “It is like money-laundering." There was $54 billion under management in donor-advised funds in 2013. Top financial houses like Fidelity, Schwab and Vanguard have fully embraced donor-advised funds. Fidelity Charitable, with $13.2 billion worth of assets under management, is now the nation’s second-largest charity. Even though organizations like Fidelity Charitable, Schwab Charitable and Vanguard Charitable were founded by their financial house namesakes, they are separate 501(c)3 charities. But while Fidelity Charitable is independent from the financial institution, roughly two-thirds of the money in the charitable arm is invested in Fidelity mutual funds. Madoff said that because investment advisers can charge a fee for managing the money in these accounts, they have a natural incentive to keep the money in these accounts growing — and not leaving.
Republicans who now run Congress say they want to cooperate with President Obama, and point to the administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is the TPP would be a disaster. If you haven't heard much about the TPP, that's part of the problem. It would be the largest trade deal in history ... representing 792 million people and accounting for 40 percent of the world economy -- yet it's been devised in secret. Lobbyists from America's biggest corporations and Wall Street's biggest banks have been involved but not the American public. That's a recipe for fatter profits and bigger paychecks at the top, but not a good deal for most of us, or even for most of the rest of the world. Big corporations and Wall Street want ... more international protection when it comes to their intellectual property and other assets. But they want less protection of consumers, workers, small investors, and the environment, because these interfere with their profits. So they've been seeking trade rules that allow them to override these protections. Not surprisingly for a deal that's been drafted mostly by corporate and Wall Street lobbyists, the TPP provides exactly this mix. In other words, the TPP is a Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits.
Note: The above article is written by former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see this summary of an article that appeared in the Guardian newspaper in 2013. You can also read the TPP's Intellectual property and environment language for yourself.
On June 29, 2009, upon conviction of running a Ponzi scheme that bamboozled investors of at least $18 billion, Bernie Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in federal prison. The sentence ... came at a time of public anger against bankers, [and] was almost unanimously hailed: Finally, at least one corrupt financier had gotten his comeuppance. The judge called Madoff’s crimes “extraordinarily evil.” By Vietnamese standards, Madoff got off easy. In the past five months, at least three Vietnamese bankers have been sentenced to death — though their crimes amount to just 1 percent of Madoff’s haul. a 57-year-old director of a Vietnam Development Bank was sentenced to death after he and 12 others approved counterfeit loans in the amount of $89 million. For inking those contracts, he got a BMW, a diamond ring, and $5.5 million. His death sentence follows similar punishments meted out to two other bankers: One was sent to death row in November for his part in a $25 million scam, and the other, banker Duong Chi Dung, got his in December. The sentences offer a sharp contrast between how the West handles financial crimes — prison terms, sometimes just a fine — and how some East Asian countries do it. What warrants death in Vietnam would only be years in prison — or no prison at all — in the United States.
Note: An interactive map of global corruption is available online from Transparency International. For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about widespread corruption in government and banking and finance.
Michoacan, a mountainous, agricultural state in western Mexico, has been ravaged by fighting between drug gang henchmen and vigilantes who took up arms against the cartels but have since splintered into violent factions. A mid-December shootout between two rival groups that killed 11 people has reignited fears the government is failing to control the state after flooding it with federal troops and pressing vigilantes into a fledgling rural police force. The renewed fighting in Michoacan comes [just after] the apparent murder of 43 trainee teachers by a drug gang working with corrupt police in neighboring Guerrero state. The incident sparked widespread protests against the government, compounded by conflict-of-interest scandals enveloping the president and his finance minister. Pena Nieto discussed Mexico's chronic violence with US President Barack Obama in Washington on Tuesday. The main gangs operating in Michoacan ... were founded by Nazario Moreno. On local television, Alfredo Castillo, Michoacan's federal security commissioner ... said there were various testimonies indicating heart-eating was part of a macabre initiation Moreno used to root out moles or test his men's loyalty. More than 100,000 people have been killed in gang-related violence in Mexico since 2007.
Note: If the above link does not work, here is an alternate link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Royal Family is to be granted absolute protection from public scrutiny in a controversial legal reform designed to draw a veil of secrecy over the affairs of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William. Letters, emails and documents relating to the monarch, her heir and the second in line to the throne will no longer be [publicly] disclosed. Sweeping changes to the Freedom of Information Act will reverse advances which had briefly shone a light on the royal finances – including an attempt by the Queen to use a state poverty fund to heat Buckingham Palace – and which had threatened to force the disclosure of the Prince of Wales's prolific correspondence with ministers. Lobbying and correspondence from junior staff working for the Royal Household and Prince Charles will now be held back from disclosure. The Government buried the plan for "added protection" for the Royal Family in the small print of plans called "opening up public bodies to public scrutiny". A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said that the change to the law was necessary because the Freedom of Information Act had failed to protect the constitutional position of the monarch and the heir to the throne. He explained that the sovereign has the right and duty to be consulted, [and that] "This constitutional position relies on confidentiality."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The extent of the Queen and Prince Charles's secretive power of veto over new laws has been exposed after Downing Street lost its battle to keep information about its application secret. Whitehall papers prepared by Cabinet Office lawyers show that overall at least 39 bills have been subject to the most senior royals' little-known power to consent to or block new laws. The internal Whitehall pamphlet was only released following a court order and shows ministers and civil servants are obliged to consult the Queen and Prince Charles [to a greater extent] than was previously understood. The new laws that were required to receive the seal of approval from the Queen or Prince Charles cover issues from higher education and paternity pay to identity cards and child maintenance. In one instance the Queen completely vetoed ... a private member's bill that sought to transfer the power to authorise military strikes against Iraq from the monarch to parliament. "This is opening the eyes of those who believe the Queen only has a ceremonial role," said Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption from reliable major media sources.
In a recent experiment, a person in India said “hola” and “ciao” to three other people in France. Today, the Web, smartphones and international calling might make that not seem like an impressive feat, but it was. The greetings were not spoken, typed or texted. The communication in question happened between the brains of a set of study subjects, marking one of the first instances of brain-to-brain communication on record. The team, whose members come from Barcelona-based research institute Starlab, French firm Axilum Robotics and Harvard Medical School, published its findings earlier this month in the journal PLOS One. Study co-author Alvaro Pascual-Leone ... hopes this and forthcoming research in the field will one day provide a new communication pathway for patients who might not be able to speak. “We want to improve the ways people can communicate in the face of limitations — those who might not be able to speak or have sensory impairments,” he says. “Can we work around those limitations and communicate with another person or a computer?” Pascual-Leone’s experiment was successful — the correspondents neither spoke, nor typed, nor even looked at one another. But he freely concedes that the test was more a proof of concept than anything else, and the technique still has a long way to go. Brain-to-brain communication could find applications across many disciplines. At the same time, Pascual-Leone cautions that scientists must also keep in mind the ethics of telepathy.
The Doe Fund’s 400 fulltime employees (some 70% of them graduates of the program) operate four programs to help homeless and formerly incarcerated individuals achieve permanent self-sufficiency. Ready, Willing & Able does this through a 9-to-12-month transitional work program. The second program is an intensive non-residential work and education program for recent parolees, and the third a veterans program which offers homeless vets transitional work and housing, counseling and benefits advocacy, life skills, educational assistance, occupational training, job readiness, and graduate services. The fourth program is built around affordable housing for low-income individuals and families as well as supportive housing for individuals and families who face a variety of complex challenges. The Doe Fund has succeeded in offering less fortunate citizens of the world we all share a path to self-respect. Nazerine Griffin was an armed robber, stealing for his drug habit. He came to RWA from a homeless shelter. "We were a bunch of warehoused human beings with no way out," he says. He’s now the director of the Fund’s Harlem Center for Opportunity.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Ethical consumers in the United States are increasingly concerned with the seeds used in the production of their food. However, this has been an issue in Europe for many years. In fact, there are several transnational seed-saver networks, like Arche Noah, whose members have become experts on heritage seeds. One of the most famous groups within Arche Noah’s 8,000-member network is the “live” seed bank Peliti, which has been raising awareness about endangered varieties of heritage seeds since 1995. Once tiny, now Peliti is an NGO that receives thousands of visitors for its annual seed swap where you can get a mind-boggling number of seed varieties for free. It’s the biggest event of its kind in the world. They call themselves a “live seed bank” because traditional seed banks store seeds under refrigeration, sometimes for up 15 years, which is “more like a seed museum than a seed bank,” according to volunteer Vasso Kanellopoulou. Peliti concentrates on keeping their seeds reproducing [to prevent] genetic erosion. It is [part of] the larger global seed-saver network. Their organization has given birth to many satellite communities that are linked with one another via a Google Group. Panagiotis Sainatoudis, Peliti’s founder, says that one of the organization’s basic principles is “to support man’s freedom to keep his own seed so he won’t depend every year on seed purchase, commerce, not even on the seeds supplied by Peliti.”
Note: In the United States, industrial agriculture companies are using the USDA to antagonize local community seed sharing groups. Find out more here.
HipHopForChange aims to combat images of violence, sexism, materialism, drugs and homophobia by educating young people about the spiritual pillars that first inspired hip-hop as a vehicle for social change — peace, love, unity and the spirit of fun. [Founder Khafre] Jay has developed an interactive workshop that he and his staff have taken to [several] schools, as well as community organizations like Youth Spirit Artworks. Sessions not only detail the early rise of hip-hop, but also teach students ... how to MC, the techniques of writing rap, and the finer points of graffiti lettering. Jay wants students to be able to talk about their lives and experiences without the superficial attitudes of mainstream hip-hop. “[Our] rappers talk about their real lives, not some made up fictionalized, money, materialist, misogynist narrative that you’re used to,” Jay says. “They talk about putting food on their tables, their aspirations, their hopes and their problems with society. Their views are just not congruent with the industry [stereotypes]. HipHopForChange also spends several days a week canvassing throughout the Bay Area. That grassroots approach [is] how Serenity Krieger, a teacher at El Cerrito High School, came to hire HipHopForChange to teach four classes for her geography students last year. “She says, “I want them to know about not just the oppression, but ways they can constructively do something about it.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Buckingham Palace has denied "any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors" by Prince Andrew, after he was named in US court papers. This is [part of] a long-running, complicated legal action which began in 2011 against an American businessman called Jeffrey Epstein. In these court documents ... an unnamed woman alleges she was forced to have sexual relations with Prince Andrew when she was a minor, three times in three different locations. The court document, first reported on by Politico Magazine, alleges: "Epstein also sexually trafficked the then-minor Jane Doe ... making her available for sex to politically connected and financially powerful people. "Epstein's purposes in 'lending' Jane Doe (along with other young girls) to such powerful people were to ingratiate himself with them for business, personal, political, and financial gain, as well as to obtain potential blackmail information." Prince Andrew ... is named as part of evidence relating to a wider case of an alleged sex trafficking scheme, involving US businessman Jeffrey Epstein, who spent time in jail in 2008-9 for a sex offence with a minor. Two women (known as Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2) are suing the US government, saying it failed to protect their rights when it entered into a plea deal with Epstein. Now, two further women (Jane Doe #3 and #4) want to join this case, and it's Jane Doe #3 who has made claims against the Duke of York, as part of this. The prince strongly denies the allegations.
Note: Read the full legal text of the claims against Prince Andrew in this article in the UK's Telegraph. Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Ministry of Defence has paid out more than Ł2 million in out-of-court settlements in the last three years as a result of claims that young cadets were sexually abused. The cases includes allegations that teenage boys performed ritual sex acts on younger cadets, and a cadet who was raped by an instructor and gave birth to her abuser’s child. Some of the settlements are understood to relate to historic abuse, perpetrated against adults when they were children. Others relate to abuse carried out in recent years. [One] settlement involved a teenage girl who was sexually abused by her adult cadet instructor while she was a cadet under his charge. Eventually she gave birth to her abuser’s child, leading to her suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression. The MoD admitted liability at an early stage and settled the claim for Ł210,000. Among the settlements made in 2012, four people made a successful claim for Ł900,000 after alleging they were abused when they were young members of the Army Cadets in Harborne, Birmingham. An MoD spokesperson said: “We take any allegation of abuse extremely seriously. All adult volunteers undergo enhanced criminal record checks and are made fully aware of their responsibility to protect children from harm.”
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
In 2015, the pope will issue a lengthy message on [climate change] to the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, give an address to the UN general assembly and call a summit of the world’s main religions. The reason for such frenetic activity, says Bishop Marcelo Sorondo, chancellor of the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Sciences, is the pope’s wish to directly influence next year’s crucial UN climate meeting in Paris. The idea is to convene a meeting with leaders of the main religions to make all people aware of the state of our climate and the tragedy of social exclusion. In March ... the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners. In recent months, the pope has argued for a radical new financial and economic system to avoid human inequality and ecological devastation. Francis’s environmental radicalism is likely to attract resistance from Vatican conservatives and in rightwing church circles, particularly in the US. Francis will also be opposed by the powerful US evangelical movement, said Calvin Beisner, spokesman for the conservative Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, which has declared the US environmental movement to be “un-biblical” and a false religion. “The pope should back off,” he said.
The U.S. Supreme Court building proclaims a high ideal: “Equal Justice Under Law.” But inside, an elite cadre of lawyers has emerged [to give] their clients a disproportionate chance to influence the law. A Reuters examination of nine years of cases shows that 66 of the 17,000 lawyers who petitioned the Supreme Court ... were at least six times more likely to be accepted by the court than were all others. About half [of these 66 lawyers] worked for justices past or present, and some socialize with them. Although they account for far less than 1 percent of lawyers who filed appeals to the Supreme Court, these attorneys were involved in 43 percent of the cases the high court chose to decide from 2004 through 2012. The Reuters examination of the Supreme Court’s docket, the most comprehensive ever, suggests ... a decided advantage for corporate America. Some legal experts contend that the reliance on a small cluster of specialists, most working on behalf of businesses, has turned the Supreme Court into an echo chamber – a place where an elite group of jurists embraces an elite group of lawyers who reinforce narrow views of how the law should be construed. Of the 66 most successful lawyers, 51 worked for law firms that primarily represented corporate interests. In cases pitting the interests of customers, employees or other individuals against those of companies, a leading attorney was three times more likely to launch an appeal for business than for an individual, Reuters found.
Note: How interesting that no major media seem to have picked up this revealing story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The identity of the Sony hackers is still unknown. President Obama, in a December 19 press conference, announced: “We can confirm that North Korea engaged in this attack.” He then vowed: “We will respond. We cannot have a society in which some dictator some place can start imposing censorship here in the United States.” The ... campaign to blame North Korea actually began two days earlier, when The New York Times [reported] that North Korea was ‘centrally involved’ in the hacking of Sony Pictures computers. The same day, The Washington Post ... devoted most of its discussion to the “retaliation” available to the U.S. The NYT and Post [did not note] how sparse and unconvincing was the available evidence against North Korea. The day before Obama’s press conference, long-time expert Marc Rogers detailed his reasons for viewing the North Korea theory as “unlikely”; after Obama’s definitive accusation, he comprehensively reviewed the disclosed evidence and was even more assertive: “there is NOTHING here that directly implicates the North Koreans” and “the evidence is flimsy and speculative at best.” None of this expert skepticism made its way into countless media accounts of the Sony hack. North Korea was [reported to be] responsible for the hack, because the government said it was. That kind of reflexive embrace of government claims is ... dangerous [because such] claims can serve as a pretext for U.S. aggression.
Note: Read the complete article above to see why Glen Greenwald compares this propaganda campaign with the run-up to the Iraq War and the Gulf of Tonkin fraud. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about mass media deception from reliable sources.
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.