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News Stories
Excerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media


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

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.


South Yorkshire Police warned twice of Rotherham child abuse but did not act, as commissioner claims girls were seen as 'willing'
2015-05-05, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:37:37
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/south-yorkshire-police-warned-...

Senior members of South Yorkshire police were warned twice of the serious child abuse being carried out in Rotherham around a decade before it was discovered 1,400 children had been raped, trafficked and groomed over a period of 16 years – but no action was taken at the time. The Sheffield Star has obtained reports from 2003 and 2006 detailing the organised child sexual exploitation being carried out in Rotherham and Sheffield. Dr Angie Heal, the author of the reports, stated at the time it was “very evident” that “significant abuse” was taking place in Sheffield and Rotherham, in 2003, and in 2006 found that that the perpetrators of sexual abuse had been able to “carry on with impunity”. The reports were sent to both South Yorkshire Police district commanders, chief superintendents and CID and community safety superintendents at the time, but no action was taken. As the news of the warnings emerge, South Yorkshire’s current police and crime commissioner has [stated], “We saw these girls not as victims but as troublesome young people out of control, and willing participants. We saw it as child prostitution rather than child abuse, and I think that was broadly accepted and that’s why it all went wrong.” Dr Heal told the Sheffield Star that child sexual exploitation had been put in the “too hard to deal with tray” and a senior police officer informed her at the time that “burglary and car crime were policing priorities set by the government”.

Note: Explore powerful evidence from 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 news articles about sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.


Out of Debtors’ Prison, With Law as the Key
2015-03-27, New York Times Blog
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:35:21
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com//2015/03/27/shutting-modern-debtors-pris...

When Jack Dawley returned in 2007 to his hometown, Norwalk, Ohio, after eight years in prison and on parole in Wisconsin, he knew getting by would be difficult. For four years, he ... paid down the $1,400 in fines and court fees he owed. But in 2012, he injured his back, lost his job and missed a payment on his court debt. He was arrested and sentenced to jail for 10 days. When he got out, he had 90 days to make a payment. He failed, and went back to jail. A cycle was beginning: jail every 90 days. Although the United States outlawed debtors’ prison two centuries ago, that, in effect, is where Dawley kept going. It is crowded there. [In] Ferguson, MO ... the recent Department of Justice investigation of the police and courts portrays a system designed to jail the poor for their poverty. Across America, courts levy fines and fees ... on misdemeanor offenders, and jail them when they cannot pay. You don’t go to jail for walking your dog without a leash, making an illegal left turn or burning leaves without a permit, but in many states you will go to jail if you can’t pay the resulting fees and fines. We have a two-tier system: The rich pay fines. The poor go to jail. Debtors’ prison is both senseless and illegal. In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that courts must inquire about a defendant’s ability to pay fines and can jail only those who can pay but won’t. Yet defendants don’t know [that] they can ask for a hearing on their ability to pay, [and] courts routinely fail to suggest a hearing.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about income inequality and systemic prison industry corruption.


Stream of Foreign Wealth Flows to Elite New York Real Estate
2015-02-07, New York Times
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:33:08
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/08/nyregion/stream-of-foreign-wealth-flows-to-...

Behind the dark glass towers of the Time Warner Center ... a majority of owners have taken steps to keep their identities hidden, registering condos in trusts, limited liability companies or other entities that shield their names. By piercing the secrecy of more than 200 shell companies, The New York Times documented a decade of ownership in this iconic Manhattan way station for global money, [and] found a growing proportion of wealthy foreigners, at least 16 of whom have been the subject of government inquiries around the world. The cases range from housing and environmental violations to financial fraud. Four owners have been arrested, and another four have been the subject of fines or penalties for illegal activities. They have been able to make these multimillion-dollar [real estate] purchases with few questions asked because of United States laws that foster the movement of largely untraceable money through shell companies. Vast sums are flowing unchecked around the world as never before — whether motivated by corruption, tax avoidance or investment strategy, and enabled by an ever-more-borderless economy and a proliferation of ways to move and hide assets. The high-end real estate market has become less and less transparent — and more alluring for those abroad with assets they wish to keep anonymous — even as the United States pushes other nations to help stanch the flow of American money leaving the country to avoid taxes.

Note: The New York Times investigation at the above link provides a comprehensive look at the international crime and political corruption at the heart of Manhattan's spiking real estate prices.


'I Can See, Mommy': Witness The Moment Two Blind Sisters See The World For First Time
2014-09-08, Huffington Post
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:31:07
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/08/blind-sisters-see-first-time-202020_...

Sonia and Anita, two sisters living in rural India, were both born blind. A simple surgery, costing about $300, could have restored their sight long ago; but their parents, who earn 17 cents an hour planting and harvesting rice by hand, could barely make ends meet. Thanks to the efforts of 20/20/20, a nonprofit working to restore vision to blind children and adults in some of the world’s poorest countries, Sonia and Anita were able to undergo that simple surgery on their eyes. When the bandages came off, they saw the world around them for the very first time, and it was captured in a video detailing the sisters’ story. Sonia, 12, is said to have gasped as she opened her eyes and blinked into the sunlight for the first time. Her 6-year-old sister, holding her mother close, reportedly declared, “I can see, Mommy.” According to 20/20/20, the 15-minute “miracle” surgery, which the sisters both underwent, involves a surgeon removing the defective lens that causes blindness and replacing it with an artificial lens. The procedure could restore the eyesight of half the blind children and adults in the world, the nonprofit says. “The only problem is, for the poorest people in the world, who live on $1 a day, they could never afford to pay for a $300 surgery. So they will remain blind for the rest of their lives –- unless someone helps them,” 20/20/20 writes on its website.

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


Why are older Danish women so happy?
2015-05-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:29:17
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/03/europe-happiness-danish-women-pe...

Eva Kerner, 71, a former secretary, has been retired since 2006 and goes to the gym twice a week ... attends concerts, visits museums, travels extensively, sings in a choir and is a prolific seamstress. “It’s a nice life,” Kerner tells me. “Being so active keeps you young. I’m very happy.” She’s not alone. A study claims that retired Danish women are the most content in Europe, with those aged 65-74 scoring 8.6 out of 10 on the happiness scale – something experts suggest is partly down to the perspective that comes with age. But it’s not just being over 65, female and busy that guarantees you a retirement of pure revelry. There’s something about the experience of “living Danishly” that also helps. “Denmark is a country that takes care of its citizens,” says retired associate professor Jette Eiberg, 71, from Copenhagen. “I feel very lucky to be here and I’m really grateful” – something else that has been proven to boost happiness levels. Sky-high taxes ... have the happy side effect of making Danes more content. Denmark has the lowest income inequality among all the OECD countries and studies show that living in neighbourhoods where most people earn about the same can make you happier. And because Denmark has one of the shortest working weeks at just 37 hours, Danes have plenty of time to foster friendships and extracurricular interests throughout their careers to see them through retirement.

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


Audi creates green 'e-diesel fuel of the future' using just carbon dioxide and water
2015-04-27, International Business Times
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:24:57
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/audi-creates-green-e-diesel-fuel-future-using-just-c...

German car manufacturer Audi says it has created the "fuel of the future" made solely from water, carbon dioxide and renewable sources. The synthetic "e-diesel" was made following a commissioning phase of just four months at a plant in Dresden, Germany. Unlike regular diesel, the clear fuel does not contain any sulphur or fossil oil, while it has an overall energy efficiency of around 70%. Creation of the fuel, which Audi and Sunfire are calling blue crude, first requires heating water to 800C (1,472F) to trigger a high temperature electrolysis to break down the steam to hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen then reacts with the CO2 in synthesis reactors, again under pressure and at a high temperature. The reaction product is a ... synthetic fuel, which is free from sulphur and aromatic hydrocarbons, [that] is suitable for mixing with fossil diesel or being used as a fuel in its own right. Reiner Mangold, head of sustainable product development at Audi, said: "In developing Audi e-diesel we are promoting another fuel based on CO2 that will allow long-distance mobility with virtually no impact on the climate."

Note: Read exciting news from major media sources on other amazing new energy breakthroughs. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Real Junk Food Project: The Leeds cafe that has fed 10,000 people, using 20 tonnes of unwanted food – and started a worldwide movement
2014-12-16, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-05-11 19:22:26
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/real-junk-food-project-the-lee...

Adam Smith, founder of The Real Junk Food Project, in Armley, Leeds, feeds his punters on goods that would otherwise have been thrown away by supermarkets, independent grocers and food banks. The 29-year-old trained chef cooks up stews, casseroles, soups and cakes with the unwanted food, charging [based on] a “pay as you feel” policy - allowing punters to pay what they feel they can, and if that is nothing, they can help with the washing up. In just 10 months he has fed 10,000 people on 20 tonnes of unwanted food, raising over Ł30,000. The cafe ... has inspired 47 other "pay as you feel" cafes to spring in the past few months. But Mr Smith says The Real Junk Food Project ... is about more than simply feeding those who might otherwise go hungry. "It is bringing people from different demographics together [in a way] that doesn't involve money. People are opening Junk Food Projects because they have had enough of what is going on in society and care about what is happening to other human beings," he said. The publication of an all-party report into Hunger in Britain last week revealed 4m people in the UK were at risk of going hungry, while 3.5m adults could not afford to feed themselves properly. Britain experienced the highest rate of food inflation in the world the report said, rising 47% since 2003, compared with 30.4% in the United States, 22.1% in Germany and 16.7% in France.

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


Why Operation Jade Helm 15 is freaking out the Internet
2015-03-31, Washington Post
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:56:37
http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/03/31/why-the-new-speci...

Elite service members from four branches of the U.S. military will launch an operation this summer in which they will operate covertly among the U.S. public and travel from state to state in military aircraft. Texas, Utah and a section of southern California are labelled as hostile territory, and New Mexico isn’t much friendlier. That’s the scheme for Jade Helm 15, a new Special Operations exercise that runs from July 15 to Sept. 15. Army Special Operations Command announced it last week, saying the size and scope of the mission sets it apart from many other training exercises. The exercise has prompted widespread conspiracy theories that the United States is preparing to hatch martial law. In particular, some have expressed alarm about this map, which outlines events for the exercise in unclassified documents posted online last week. The Washington Post verified them to be legitimate by speaking to Army sources. They appear to have been prepared for local authorities. It’s also worth noting that the military has routinely launched exercises in the past in which regions of the United States are identified as hostile for the purpose of training.

Note: This Washington Post article is clearly playing down some important facts and developments. Why is the US military spending so much time and money preparing for scenarios where US soil and citizens are considered enemies? Read and educate yourself with this excellent article on Operation Jade Helm 15, one in a string of US exercises planning for mass civilian arrests under a variety of scenarios.


CIA's torture experts now use their skills in secret drones program
2015-04-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:52:48
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/29/cias-torture-experts-now...

The New York Times reported on Sunday that many of those in charge of the CIA’s torture program – the same people whose names were explicitly redacted from the Senate’s torture report in order to avert accountability – “have ascended to the agency’s powerful senior ranks” and now run the CIA drone program. Rather than being fired and prosecuted, they have been rewarded with promotions. The longtime Counterterrorism Center chief who just stepped down, Michael D’Andrea, was previously in charge of the notorious CIA prison known as the Salt Pit, where prisoners were regularly tortured and some died. His replacement, Chris Wood, was also “central to the interrogation program”, according to the Times. The only reason we know D’Andrea and Wood’s names is because the New York Times’ executive editor Dean Baquet commendably decided to publish them. The CIA asked them not to. Adding to the disturbing nature of the CIA’s ability to kill people in complete secrecy, the agency apparently now has a carte blanche to conduct drone strikes on its own. President Obama doesn’t individually approve them anymore – he lets the CIA unilaterally decide to kill people. The Obama administration has promised more transparency around drone strikes, yet at the same time, won’t even acknowledge that the controversial drone strike it’s apologizing for even happened - just because such admission might force courts to hold the government accountable for its actions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


Deep Support in Washington for C.I.A.’s Drone Missions
2015-04-25, New York Times
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:50:49
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/26/us/politics/deep-support-in-washington-for-...

About once a month, staff members of the congressional intelligence committees drive across the Potomac River to C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., and watch ... footage of drone strikes. The screenings have provided a veneer of congressional oversight. The C.I.A.’s killing missions are ... unlikely to change significantly despite President Obama’s announcement on Thursday that a drone strike accidentally killed two innocent hostages, an American and an Italian. Michael D’Andrea ... was chief of operations during the birth of the agency’s detention and interrogation program and then, as head of the C.I.A. Counterterrorism Center, became an architect of the targeted killing program. He presided over the growth of C.I.A. drone operations and hundreds of strikes. Mr. D’Andrea was a forceful advocate for the drone program. He was particularly effective in winning the support of Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who was chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee until January. The confidence Ms. Feinstein and other Democrats express about the drone program ... stands in sharp contrast to the criticism among lawmakers of the now defunct C.I.A. program to capture and interrogate Qaeda suspects in secret prisons. When Ms. Feinstein was asked in a meeting with reporters in 2013 why she was so sure she was getting the truth about the drone program while she accused the C.I.A. of lying to her about torture, she seemed surprised. “That’s a good question, actually.”

Note: The CIA has been aware that drone strikes are ineffective since at least 2009. If drones help terrorists, almost always miss their intended targets, and may be used to target people in the US in the future, what are the real reasons for the US government's drone program?


White House admits: we didn't know who drone strike was aiming to kill
2015-04-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:48:40
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/23/drone-strike-al-qaida-targets-wh...

The targets of the deadly drone strikes that killed two hostages and two suspected American members of al-Qaida were “al-Qaida compounds” rather than specific terrorist suspects, the White House disclosed on Thursday. The lack of specificity suggests that despite a much-publicized 2013 policy change by Barack Obama restricting drone killings by, among other things, requiring “near certainty that the terrorist target is present”, the US continues to launch lethal operations without the necessity of knowing who specifically it seeks to kill. Josh Earnest, the White House spokesman, acknowledged that the January deaths of hostages Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto might prompt the tightening of targeting standards. Earnest [confirmed that] the two US civilians killed, longtime English-language propagandist Adam Gadahn and Ahmed Farouq of al-Qaida in the Indian subcontinent, were not “high-value targets” marked for death. In a May 2013 speech, Obama indicated that drone strikes were only permissible when the administration possessed “near certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured, the highest standard we can set”. Human-rights observers see little indication, two years after Obama’s speech, that the US meets its own stated standards. Reprieve, looking at US drone strikes in Yemen and Pakistan, concluded last year that the US killed nearly 1,150 people while targeting 41 individuals.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


Rise of robotic killing machines has a cautious world talking
2015-04-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:46:23
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Rise-of-robotic-killing-machines-has-a-...

They’re called lethal autonomous weapons, or LAWs, and their military mission would be to seek out, identify and kill a human target independent of human control. Representatives of 60 nations ... met in Geneva during the third week of April in an attempt to define the level of artificial intelligence needed for an international definition of robotic autonomy. The Panel of Experts, under the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), will meet again next year to continue the discussion. None of the industrial nations admits having a LAW, but there’s really no way to confirm the nonexistence of a weapon that would be classified as secret. The U.S. Department of Defense has had a directive in place for three years that outlines the chain of command that would approve their deployment on a case-by-case basis. It’s called Directive 3000.09. On April 15, the third day of the panel meeting, Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus ... announced the creation of a new office for unmanned warfare systems. According to Stuart Russell, who addressed the panel, “Devices in the 1-gram range might be able to selectively kill a chosen human target on contact using a shaped explosive charge. I’m not sure what countermeasures one might try against a swarm of 5-gram robots. There will be ... a LAWs arms race."

Note: Current surveillance drones can be hacked, hijacked, and redirected while flying in some cases. Under human guidance, current killer drones almost always miss their intended targets. What will happen when tiny lethal flying robots begin operating without being controlled by human decision makers?


Sale of U.S. Arms Fuels the Wars of Arab States
2015-04-18, New York Times
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:43:25
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/world/middleeast/sale-of-us-arms-fuels-the-...

To wage war in Yemen, Saudi Arabia is using F-15 fighter jets bought from Boeing. Pilots from the United Arab Emirates are flying Lockheed Martin’s F-16 to bomb both Yemen and Syria. Soon, the Emirates are expected to complete a deal with General Atomics for a fleet of Predator drones to run spying missions in their neighborhood. As the Middle East descends into proxy wars, sectarian conflicts and battles against terrorist networks, countries in the region that have stockpiled American military hardware are now actually using it and wanting more. American defense firms are following the money. Boeing opened an office in Doha, Qatar, in 2011, and Lockheed Martin set up an office there this year. Lockheed created a division in 2013 devoted solely to foreign military sales, and the company’s chief executive, Marillyn Hewson, has said that Lockheed needs to increase foreign business — with a goal of global arms sales’ becoming 25 percent to 30 percent of its revenue. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the Arms Control Association ... said he viewed the increase in arms sales to the region “with a great deal of trepidation, as it is leading to an escalation in the type and number and sophistication in the weaponry in these countries.” Meanwhile, the deal to sell Predator drones to the Emirates is nearing final approval. If the sale goes through, it will be the first time that the drones will go to an American ally outside of NATO.

Note: If you look at history from the viewpoint that most wars are fostered and enflamed by the military-industrial complex, a lot of things make sense. Read a powerful essay by a top US general exposing the war machine titled "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


UN aid worker suspended for leaking report on child abuse by French troops
2015-04-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:41:12
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/apr/29/un-aid-worker-suspended-leaking-...

A senior United Nations aid worker has been suspended for disclosing to prosecutors an internal report on the sexual abuse of children by French peacekeeping troops in the Central African Republic. Anders Kompass passed the document to the French authorities because of the UN’s failure to take action to stop the abuse. The report documented the sexual exploitation of children as young as nine by French troops stationed in the country as part of international peacekeeping efforts. The abuses took place in 2014 when the UN mission in the country, Minusca, was in the process of being set up. The Guardian has been passed the internal report. It was commissioned by the UN office of the high commissioner for human rights after reports on the ground that children, who are among the tens of thousands displaced by the fighting, were being sexually abused. Entitled Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces ... the report details the rape and sodomy of starving and homeless young boys by French peacekeeping troops who were supposed to be protecting them at a centre for internally displaced people in Bangui, capital of the Central African Republic. The UN has faced several scandals in the past relating to its failure to act over paedophile rings operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo and Bosnia. It has also faced allegations of sexual misconduct by its troops in Haiti, Burundi and Liberia.

Note: Explore powerful evidence from 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 news articles about sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.


Sharyl Attkisson’s computer intrusions: ‘Worse than anything Nixon ever did’
2014-10-27, Washington Post Blog
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:38:07
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2014/10/27/sharyl-attkisso...

The intrusions into former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computers constitute the narrative spine of the reporter’s new book “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.” In October 2012, right in the midst of the Benghazi story ... a person who’s identified as “Jeff” warns Attkisson: “I’ve been reading your reports online about Benghazi. It’s pretty incredible. Keep at it. But you’d better watch out.” So CBS News hires an independent computer analyst whom Attkisson identifies as "Jerry Patel." He finds a massive amount of suspicious activity in the computer. Intrusions of this caliber, concludes “Patel,” are “far beyond the the abilities of even the best nongovernment hackers.” In summing up, Attkisson writes, “Everything Patel has found serves to confirm my January source and analysis. Patel tells me that only a few entities possess these skills. One of them is the U.S. government. [Computer security specialist] Don Allison ... takes a close look at Attkisson’s iMac. The results: “While a great deal of data has been expertly wiped in an attempt to cover-up the deed, Don is able to find remnants of what was once there. There’s key evidence of a government computer connection to my computer. A sort of backdoor link that leads to an ISP address for a government computer that can’t be accessed by the general public on the Web. It’s an undeniable link to the U.S. government.”

Note: For lots more on this courageous reporter and suppression of vital news, read this article and this one. Then read even more mind-blowing reports of news suppression by top journalists.


Obama failing to run 'most transparent’ administration
2015-04-25, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:36:03
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/diaz/article/Obama-failing-to-run-most-tra...

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to run the “most transparent administration” in U.S. history with an “unprecedented level of openness.” Seven years into his presidency, Obama’s promise rings hollower than ever. A year ago, 38 journalism groups assailed the president’s team for “politically driven suppression of the news.” Complaints included the inaccessibility of key staffers, delays in interview requests and — most insidiously — the blackballing of reporters who wrote critically of the administration. Photojournalists also objected to the White House’s insistence on issuing official images of the president instead of allowing them access. Even before that, The Chronicle had issues with the White House. Our Carla Marinucci was even barred for a time from serving as a pool reporter for presidential visits after she shot video of a spontaneous protest at an April 2011 Obama fundraiser in San Francisco. Most transparent administration in history? Obama has ... prosecuted more leakers under the century-old Espionage Act than all of his predecessors combined. He has continued to defy one of his campaign lines by invoking the state secrets privilege to keep classified information out of court proceedings or to force the dismissal of lawsuits. This administration ... is falling well short of Obama’s promise to be the most transparent president in U.S. history.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable sources.


Cities and states paying millions in secret fees to Wall Street
2015-04-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:34:03
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Cities-and-states-paying-millions-in-se...

Currently, about 9 percent — or $270 billion — of America’s $3 trillion public pension fund assets are invested in private equity firms. With the financial industry’s standard 2 percent management fee, that quarter-trillion dollars generates roughly $5.4 billion in annual management fees for the private equity industry — and that’s not including additional “performance” fees paid on investment returns. Public officials are overseeing this enormous payout to Wall Street at the very moment many of those same officials are demanding big cuts to retirees’ promised pension benefits. “With billions of public worker and taxpayer dollars put at risk in the highest-cost, most opaque investment schemes ever devised by Wall Street for a decade now, investigations that hold Wall Street profiteers accountable are long, long overdue,” said former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Ted Siedle. In a 2014 speech, the SEC’s top examiner, Andrew Bowden, sounded the alarm about undisclosed fees in the private equity industry, saying the agency had discovered “violations of law or material weaknesses in controls over 50 percent of the time” at firms it had evaluated. To date, however, the SEC has taken few actions to crack down on the practices, but some states are starting to step up their oversight.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Quakes in once-stable areas linked to oil, gas drilling
2015-04-23, San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:31:28
http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Quakes-in-once-stable-areas-linked-to-oi...

More than a dozen areas in the U.S. have been shaken in recent years by small earthquakes triggered by oil and gas drilling, a government report released Thursday found. The man-made quakes jolted once stable regions in eight states, including parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas, according to researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey. Experts said the spike in seismic activity is mainly caused by the oil and gas industry injecting wastewater deep underground, which can activate dormant faults. A few instances stem from hydraulic fracturing, in which water, sand and chemicals are pumped into rock formations to free oil or gas. Many studies have linked the rise in small quakes to the injection of wastewater into disposal wells, but the Geological Survey’s report takes the first comprehensive look at where the man-made quakes are occurring. Oklahoma lately has been rocked by more magnitude 3 quakes than California, the most seismically active of the Lower 48 states, Petersen said. Oklahoma was not on scientists’ radar until recently, when the state experienced a spate of quakes, the largest registering a magnitude 5.6 in 2011. This week, the Oklahoma Geological Survey acknowledged that it is very likely most of the recent shaking is from wastewater disposal. Many faults awakened by drilling have not moved in millions of years, Geological Survey geophysicist William Ellsworth said.

Note: Even this article avoids the obvious. The big change since these quakes started is fracking.


Judge Says Vermont Law on Genetically Modified Food Stands
2015-04-27, ABC News/Associated Press
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:28:01
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/food-industry-block-vermonts-gmo-labeling-...

A Vermont law that could make the state the first in the country to require labeling of genetically modified food has been allowed by a federal judge to stand for now despite opposition by food industry groups. U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss in Burlington on Monday ruled against the Grocery Manufacturers' Association and other industry groups in their request for a preliminary order to block the law from going into effect as scheduled on July 1, 2016. The case is likely to go to trial. The ruling comes nearly a year after Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the law, under which Vermont is expected to become the first state to require genetically modified organism, or GMO, food labeling. The Grocery Manufacturers Association was joined by the Snack Foods Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, seeking to have Vermont's law declared unconstitutional. Supporters of the law have included consumer and environmental groups. The judge found that the concerns embedded in Vermont's law were well within the state's purview. "The safety of food products, the protection of the environment, and the accommodation of religious beliefs and practices are all quintessential governmental interests, as is the State's desire 'to promote informed consumer decision-making,'" she wrote, quoting from the state's court filings.

Note: Can you believe that industry groups are claiming it is unconstitutional to require labeling of GMOs? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on genetically modified foods from reliable major media sources.


Love thy neighbor: Son's killer moves next door
2011-06-08, CBS News
Posted: 2015-05-04 21:25:31
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/love-thy-neighbor-sons-killer-moves-next-door/

In February 1993, Mary's son, Laramiun Byrd, was shot to death. He was 20, and Mary's only child. The killer was a 16-year-old kid named Oshea Israel. Mary wanted justice. "He was an animal. He deserved to be caged." And he was. Tried as an adult and sentenced to 25 and a half years -- Oshea served 17 before being recently released. He now lives back in the old neighborhood - next door to Mary. How a convicted murder ended-up living a door jamb away from his victim's mother is a story, not of horrible misfortune, as you might expect - but of remarkable mercy. A few years ago Mary asked if she could meet Oshea at Minnesota's Stillwater state prison. As a devout Christian, she felt compelled to see if there was some way, if somehow, she could forgive her son's killer. Oshea says they met regularly after that. When he got out, she introduced him to her landlord - who with Mary's blessing, invited Oshea to move into the building. Today they don't just live close - they are close. Mary was able to forgive. "Unforgiveness is like cancer," Mary says. "It will eat you from the inside out. It's not about that other person, me forgiving him does not diminish what he's done. Yes, he murdered my son - but the forgiveness is for me. It's for me." For Oshea, it hasn't been that easy. "I haven't totally forgiven myself yet, I'm learning to forgive myself." To that end, Oshea is now ... singing the praises of God and forgiveness at prisons, churches - to large audiences everywhere.

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