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.
An autistic teenager has become an online sensation after a video demonstrating his unique technique as a barista - which involves plenty of dancing - went viral. Sam was filmed making a cup of coffee for a customer while working alongside his boss Chris at the Starbucks restaurant, believed to be in North America. The clip shows the teenager smiling and dancing while heating the milk and later pouring it into the cup of coffee, before adding whipped cream and sprinkles. Carly Fleischmann, who lives in Toronto, Canada, posted the video to YouTube and Facebook alongside a caption introducing Sam. Carly explained that when Sam was offered a position at Starbucks he told his parents that for the first time in his life he felt like he had real meaning. She added: 'Sam was diagnosed with autism and like some people with autism Sam has a movement disorder. Sam has a hard time keeping his body still. 'Sam never thought that he would be able to work behind the bar because of his sudden movements but his manager Chris believed in him and got Sam to channel his movements into dance.' The partnership was not an overnight success however and it has taken Sam and Chris many shifts and hours to get to the level demonstrated in the video. Sam is now known as the 'dancing barista' and Carly noted that if it was not for Chris believing in the ability of his employee then he would not have had the confidence to believe in himself.
Note: Don't miss the inspiring six-minute video of Sam and Chris on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Federal officials are preparing to enforce an 86-year-old ban on importing goods made by children or slaves under new provisions of a law signed by President Barack Obama. "This law slams shut an unconscionable and archaic loophole that forced America to accept products made by children or slave labor," said Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who worked on the legislation. The Tariff Act of 1930, which gave Customs and Border Protection the authority to seize shipments where forced labor was suspected and block further imports, was last used in 2000, and has been used only 39 times all together largely because of two words: "consumptive demand" - if there was not sufficient supply to meet domestic demand, imports were allowed regardless of how they were produced. The Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act signed by Obama on Wednesday eliminated that language, allowing stiffer enforcement. To start an investigation, Customs needs to receive a petition from anyone - a business, an agency, even a non-citizen - showing "reasonably but not conclusively" that imports were made at least in part with forced labor. A Labor Department list of more than 350 goods produced by child labor or forced labor provides a detailed breakdown that human rights groups plan to use as they petition the government to take action.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
An episode of CBS’ “Undercover Boss” that turned out to be a life-changing experience for sporting goods mogul Mitchell Modell first aired last November. Mitchell Modell, the CEO of the 153-store chain Modell’s, shaved his head, donned an oversized walrus mustache and transformed into “Joey Glick,” a worker inside the company’s warehouse and at Modell’s Sporting Goods locations in Washington, D.C., and Connecticut. In disguise, he drove forklifts in the warehouse, ran a cash register, and was a stock boy, sales associate and shipping clerk. The eye-opening experience of working on the front lines alongside some of his lowest paid associates changed the chain - and Modell himself - forever. “As CEO, one of the things you always wonder about is what your associates (employees) are really thinking and what their days are like. It was a great education,” he said. Among the episode’s most moving moments is when he gifted one of his associates with a $250,000 check when he learned she had been living in a homeless shelter with her two kids. He also suffered greatly from the physicality of the job and vowed to lose weight. On the professional side he adjusted the company’s entire approach to customer service and implemented dozens of changes to increase profitability and cut red tape. “I tell everybody if you’re fortunate enough to be on ‘Undercover Boss’ to do it in a heartbeat,” he said. “If you’re not fortunate enough, then go work on the front lines. It’s an eye-opening experience.”
Note: Watch the inspiring video of how Modell gives one employee a huge, unexpected gift.
People repurpose old shipping containers for lots of things. But Shawn Cooney may have found the greenest use yet. On a vacant lot near Boston's Logan Airport, Cooney is using four former freight containers ... to grow some 30,000 heads of lettuce, herbs and other leafy greens. "I'm not really a farmer," said the 61-year-old Cooney, who ran software companies before starting Corner Stalk farms in 2013. "But it's more interesting than a desk job." If 30,000 heads of lettuce sounds like a lot, it is - and it's the reason why he's able to run a successful farm in one of the country's most expensive cities. The containers come from Freight Farms, a Boston-based startup that outfits the boxes with lights, growing racks and irrigation systems - creating what are essentially super efficient growing machines. The boxes themselves are former freezer containers that were used to ship meat, so they're insulated against the heat and cold. Inside, the plants get light from LEDs and there's no soil. The roots are instead placed in a peat moss base that gets a dollop of nutrient-rich water every 12 minutes. The entire container, floor to ceiling, is filled with plants in a totally self-contained operation. And it churns out the plants. Cooney said he harvests 4,000 to 6,000 plants a week - roughly 80 times the number he'd get from a similar amount of space on a conventional farm. The plants are sold to a wholesaler, which distributes them to mostly high-end restaurants in the Boston area.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
When Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died 12 days ago at a West Texas ranch, he was among high-ranking members of an exclusive fraternity for hunters called the International Order of St. Hubertus, an Austrian society that dates back to the 1600s. The names of the 35 other guests at the remote resort [remain] largely unknown. Members of the worldwide, male-only society wear dark-green robes emblazoned with a large cross. Some hold titles, such as Grand Master, Prior and Knight Grand Officer. Cibolo Creek Ranch owner John Poindexter and C. Allen Foster, a prominent Washington lawyer who traveled to the ranch with Scalia by private plane, hold leadership positions within the Order. In 1695, Count Franz Anton von Sporck founded the society in Bohemia, which is in modern-day Czech Republic. The society’s U.S. chapter launched in 1966 at the famous Bohemian Club in San Francisco, which is associated with the all-male Bohemian Grove - one of the most well-known secret societies in the country. In 2010, Poindexter hosted a group of 53 members of the Houston chapter of the International Order of St. Hubertus at the Cibolo Creek Ranch. In a statement after Scalia died, the U.S. Marshals Service said that Scalia had declined a security detail while at the ranch.
Dr Aseem Malhotra, an NHS cardiologist and a trustee of the King’s Fund health think tank, claims there is “a systemic lack of transparency in the information being given to doctors to prescribe medication, in terms of the benefits of drugs being grossly exaggerated and their side effects under reported in studies”. Dr Malhotra said the prevalence of pharmaceutical companies, which are “profit making businesses” being able to fund studies and drug trials causes biased information to be recorded and reported on in medical journals. This is in turn “creating an epidemic of misinformed doctors,” he said. This lack of transparency ... harms patients through the adverse side effects of drugs, Dr Malhotra said, citing an FDA report that found adverse events from prescribed medications caused 123,000 deaths in the USA in 2014 and 800,000 serious patient outcomes, which include hospitalisation or potentially causing disability. The FDA report also states that the number of adverse events from prescribed medications have tripled in the past 10 years in America. While the UK does not have the same kind of data, Peter Gotze, professor of research design at the University of Copenhagen, has evidence to suggest that prescribed drugs are the third biggest killer behind heart disease and cancer. Last year the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges launched a campaign to stop doctors from ‘over-treating’ patients.
Note: The editor of The Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world, recently wrote that half of all claims made in medical science journals may be untrue. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has quietly developed a new way to measure its success in the war on terror: counting the number of terror threats it has “disrupted” in a year. In the section on “Performance Measures” in the FBI’s latest financial statement, the bureau reports 440 “terror disruptions” in the 12-month period ending on September 30, 2015. That’s ... more than three times the 2015 “target” of 125. In a vacuum, that would appear to suggest that the FBI’s terror-fighting mission - which sucked ... 54 percent of the bureau’s $9.8 billion budget in 2015 - is exceeding expectations. But that number - 440 - is much higher than the number of arrests reported by the FBI. The Washington Post counted about 60 terror-related arrests in 2015. Of those arrests, many were of people trying to travel abroad or trying to help others do so. Many more involved people planning attacks that were essentially imaginary, often goaded by FBI informants. There was only one genuinely “foiled attack” in the United States between January 2014 and September 2015. And that one ... was stopped by the local police department. The fact that the agency establishes a target for terrorism disruptions is also troubling, said Michael German, a former FBI agent.
Note: The FBI has made a habit of manufacturing "terrorist plots" from thin air. Now it appears that activities reminiscent of COINTELPRO are again being carried out to justify massive anti-terrorism spending. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.
The Republican-led House intelligence committee wants the Pentagon to provide what it believes are illegally deleted intelligence files pertaining to the U.S. military campaign against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. "We have been made aware that both files and emails have been deleted by personnel at CENTCOM, and we expect that the Department of Defense will provide these and all other relevant documents to the committee," [Committee Chairman Devin] Nunes said at a hearing Thursday. Nunes' assertions led to an extraordinary public acknowledgment from Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, who was testifying before the committee, of the "unusually high" dissatisfaction inside the agency responsible for providing military intelligence on ISIS. There is already an ongoing Defense Department Inspector General investigation into allegations that intelligence analysts at CENTCOM were pressured into changing their analysis to make their reports sound overly optimistic. Congress is conducting a separate investigation. The committee has information from whistleblowers that both intelligence files and emails were deliberately deleted at Central Command, but that copies remain in the hands of analysts. Some Pentagon officials have privately told CNN they believe the problem at Central Command is that some analysts feel their work is not accepted if it shows a negative view of progress.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Local councils, public bodies and even some university student unions are to be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies. All publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face “severe penalties”, ministers said. Underlining the main target of the ban, the formal announcement will be made by the Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock when he visits Israel this week. Israeli companies, along with other firms which have investments in the occupied West Bank, have been among those targeted by unofficial boycotts in the past. In 2014 Leicester City Council passed a policy to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank while the Scottish Government published a procurement notice to Scottish councils which “strongly discourages trade and investment from illegal settlements”. Mr. Hancock said the current position where local authorities had autonomy to make ethical purchasing decisions was “undermining” Britain’s national security.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Newly published classified documents show the National Security Agency spied on a 2010 conversation between Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as the two discussed ways to improve Israel’s relationship with the United States. The Italian-Israeli conversation is included in one of five NSA documents released Tuesday by WikiLeaks. Two of the documents focus on climate change, one relates to trade talks, and two report on Italian government communications. The intelligence reports date from 2007 through 2011, [and] provide additional details on U.S. efforts to spy on countries taking part in the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, which failed to reach an agreement. One ... contains details of a confidential discussion about climate change negotiations between U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the lead-up to the conference. The NSA report is stamped “U.N. diplomatic,” “German leadership,” and Top Secret Gamma, the “Gamma” indicating an extremely sensitive spying operation. The interception methods stated on the latest leaked intelligence reports are “Unconventional” and “SCS,” which stands for Special Collection Service. SCS involves joint NSA and CIA eavesdropping operations run covertly inside U.S. and allied foreign embassy buildings in foreign capitals.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
It is worse in Afghanistan now than ... ever. The conflict, begun initially to oust the Taliban that sheltered al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., has cost the lives of more than 3,500 Coalition service members and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians. The war ... moved back into focus three weeks ago with the death of Wasil Ahmad. Wasil learned firearms and commanded a unit of anti-Taliban fighters briefly, before Taliban gunmen on a motorbike mowed him down as he bought food for his mother and siblings. Wasil was just 11 years old. Dissent in the ranks of the Taliban has led to ISIS becoming a radical, brutal and attractive alternative to the country's disenfranchised youth, for whom the old insurgency isn't moving fast enough. The Taliban hold more territory now than at any time since 2001. There are about 10,000 U.S. troops left, who can hunt extremists, but not hold territory. In terms of Western goals - things are right back where they started: needing to keep Afghanistan free of extremists and a viable country for its people. Without that the result is thousands of refugees in Europe, and ISIS gets a new safe haven. What is left is a country where the West is discredited; ... where most fighters are meaner, better armed, and more chaotic than they were in 2001; and whose name causes opinion-formers in the West to try and change the subject.
Note: The underlying reason for this war and most wars is the huge profits that are made, as clearly revealed by a top US general in his highly revealing book "War is a Racket." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Real health care for all would be nice, we are told, but there's just no room for it in the budget. What's rarely mentioned ... is that the current version of the budget - the place where our taxes go and metamorphose into services and activities that are supposed to support us - is extremely bad for our health. Much of our tax money, on both the federal and state levels, is funneled toward activities that are literally killing people. Instead of dismissing "health care for all" as an appealing-but-unachievable dream, we need to talk about how we can shift our overall funding priorities from a framework of death and destruction to one of life and healing. In mid-February, the Obama administration released its 2017 budget proposal, in which almost $623 billion is allocated to the Pentagon and related spending. The "global war on terror" has left 1.3 million dead. Beyond Pentagon funding, the administration's 2017 budget calls for $19 billion for nuclear weapons. In fact, President Obama recently proposed [expanding] the US's [nuclear] arsenal, spending $1 trillion over 30 years. This prioritization of state-sponsored death and destruction over health and renewal is by no means limited to the US Defense Department. Each year, in total ... the United States spends about $80 billion on incarceration. This country locks 2.3 million people ... inside cages. In part, real "health care" would necessitate dismantling [our] violent institutions.
Note: Read an excellent article diving deeper into this issue titled "Why the Deafening Silence on Cutting the Military Budget?" For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
A potential anti-Alzheimer’s drug tested in mice unexpectedly reduced general symptoms of aging, according to a study led by Salk Institute researchers. The study examined the effects of the drug, J147, in a strain of mice bred to rapidly age and show signs of senescence. It is the second mouse model to show effectiveness. Besides improved cognition compared to controls, the treated mice exhibited better metabolism, reduced blood leakage from microvessels in the brain, and other improvements. Researchers ... published the study Wednesday in the journal Aging. Abrexa Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego company formed to commercialize J147, has licensed the compound from Salk. The drug is to be tested for Alzheimer's, not for anti-aging properties. Derived from a spice in curry, [J147] was developed ... based on the observation that people in India, where curry is widely consumed, rarely get Alzheimer's. The potential drug has been previously tested in Alzheimer's model mice. It was found to have memory-enhancing effects. The new study, showing effectiveness in another strain of mice, lends further credence to J147's usefulness.
Note: For more on J147 see this article in U.S. News & World Report (particularly the video at the bottom of the page) or do a search on J177. Some are claiming that big Pharma won't study this promising drug as it won't make big enough profits for them.
The Danes get a lot of things right, and in so doing refute just about everything U.S. conservatives say about economics. And we can also learn a lot from the things Denmark has gotten wrong. Denmark provides universal health care; college education is free, and students receive a stipend; day care is heavily subsidized. To pay for these programs, Denmark collects a lot of taxes. The top income tax rate is 60.3 percent; there’s also a 25 percent national sales tax. Overall, Denmark’s tax take is almost half of national income, compared with 25 percent in the United States. Adults in their prime working years are substantially more likely to be employed in Denmark than they are in America. Labor productivity in Denmark is roughly the same as it is here, although G.D.P. per capita is lower, mainly because the Danes take a lot more vacation. Denmark [also] ranks at or near the top on international comparisons of “life satisfaction.” It’s hard to imagine a better refutation of anti-tax, anti-government economic doctrine. But its economy has taken a hit in recent years, because its recovery from the global financial crisis has been slow. But Denmark’s monetary and fiscal errors don’t say anything about the sustainability of a strong welfare state.
Note: Denmark is also on track to use renewable power sources for all of its energy needs by 2050.
David Bronner, CEO of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps, presides over a company with famously wacky product labels. But Bronner himself, grandson of the founder ... has emerged as a serious, though fun-loving, activist, particularly around pesticides and genetically modified crops. Bronner's writing on GMOs is too hot for the advertising pages of the English-speaking world's two most renowned science journals, Science and Nature - even though a slew of magazines ... accepted the Bronner ad. It consists of a short essay, known in publishing as an advertorial, [and] focuses on how GMO crops have led to a net increase in pesticide use in the United States, citing an analysis by Ramon Seidler, a retired senior staff scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency. Bronner ... first published his critique on Huffington Post, and then decided to publish it as an ad in a variety of high-profile magazines. Science was close to accepting it. An ad sales manager for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which published the magazine, emailed on September 15 that she would send over paper work "in a bit," adding that "[a]fter you sign it, I can take your credit card info." The price: $9,911.00. But hours later, she wrote back, squashing the deal: "This has gone up the ladder quite far and our CEO along with the board have come back saying that we cannot accept the ad. We're concerned about backlash from our members and potentially getting into a battle with the GMO industry."
Note: See the original ad at this link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation and the GMO controversy from reliable major media sources.
Michael Specter's recent articles bashing Vandana Shiva and the labeling of genetically engineered foods (Seeds of Doubt and The Problem with G.M.O. Labels) in the New Yorker are the latest high-profile pro-GMO articles that fail to engage with the fundamental critique of genetically engineered food crops in US soil today: rather than reduce pesticide inputs GMOs are causing them to skyrocket in amount and toxicity. Setting the record straight, Dr. Ramon J. Seidler, Ph.D., former Senior Scientist, Environmental Protection Agency, has recently published a well-researched article documenting the devastating facts, "Pesticide Use on Genetically Engineered Crops," in Environmental Working Group's online AgMag. Dr. Seidler's article cites and links recent scientific literature and media reports, and should be required reading for all journalists covering GMOs, as well as for citizens generally to understand why their right to know if food is genetically engineered is so important. Over 99% of GMO acreage is engineered by chemical companies to tolerate heavy herbicide (glyphosate) use and/or produce insecticide (Bt) in every cell of every plant over the entire growing season. The result is massive selection pressure that has rapidly created pest resistance - the opposite of integrated pest management. Predictably ... we now have huge swaths of the country infested with "superweeds" and "superbugs" resistant to glyphosate and Bt, meaning more volume of more toxic pesticides are being applied.
Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Major lawsuits are building over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public about the safety of glyphosate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Working as a guidance counselor five years ago in Palm Beach County, Estella Pyfrom noticed that [few] students had access to a computer after school. "They needed food. They needed to pay their mortgage or their rent," said Pyfrom, a former teacher. Without a computer at home, or reliable transportation to get to a computer, Pyfrom feared that many of these students would get left behind. So she bought a bus, filled it with computers and brought technology to the kids. Her mobile computer lab, Estella's Brilliant Bus, has provided free, computer-based tutoring for thousands of students since 2011. Pyfrom ... retired in 2009 and used money from her savings to buy the bus, [which] is outfitted with 17 computer stations that are connected to high-speed Internet via satellite. Emblazoned on its side are the words "Have Knowledge, Will Travel" and "We bring learning to you." The bus travels to schools, shelters and community centers throughout the county. Pyfrom and her team provide about 8,000 hours of instruction to at least 500 children a year. She also partnered with a community nonprofit to help provide meals to 3,000 residents each month. To keep up the momentum of her efforts, Pyfrom has continued to pour her savings into maintaining and modifying her bus, so far spending about $1 million, she says. "I don't think I'm going to get tired," she said. "I'm constantly charged up. I look at the faces of the children and I get energized."
Note: Watch an inspiring video on Estella's Brilliant Bus.
France has become the first country in the world to ban supermarkets from throwing away or destroying unsold food, forcing them instead to donate it to charities and food banks. Under a law passed unanimously by the French senate, as of Wednesday large shops will no longer bin good quality food approaching its best-before date. Charities will be able to give out millions more free meals each year to people struggling to afford to eat. The law follows a grassroots campaign in France by shoppers, anti-poverty campaigners and those opposed to food waste. Campaigners now hope to persuade the EU to adopt similar legislation across member states. Supermarkets will also be barred from deliberately spoiling food in order to stop it being eaten by people foraging in stores’ bins. In recent years, growing numbers of families, students, unemployed and homeless people in France have been foraging in supermarket bins at night to feed themselves. People have been finding edible products thrown out just as their best-before dates approached. Some supermarkets doused binned food in bleach, [or] deliberately binned food in locked warehouses for collection by refuse trucks. Now bosses of supermarkets with a footprint of 400 sq metres (4,305 sq ft) or more will have to sign donation contracts with charities or face a penalty of €3,750 (Ł2,900).
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A section of the Mic Mac Mall was transformed into a bright anti-bullying statement Wednesday, as the Pink Shirt Promise anti-bullying campaign officially kicked off. The campaign will go for the next eight days, ending just in time for national Pink Shirt day, which was started in Nova Scotia eight years ago by Travis Price. Wearing pink has become an international symbol for the Anti-Bullying Movement. “It was a simple act of kindness, one act, just stand up for him. Show him that he wasn’t alone,” Price said at the opening for the campaign. The boy he’s referring to is a fellow student who wore a pink shirt to school on the first day of classes. He was teased and bullied for wearing the shirt. After seeing the bullying, Price decided to stand up and take action, encouraging other students to wear pink shirts in support of their fellow student and as a way to stand up to bullies. “We didn’t know at the time that Pink Shirt Day would turn into the movement that it has today. It was simply to try and show this student that he wasn’t alone. Now, this simple act of kindness has grown into something that simply blows my mind, that I can say is now in over 27 countries around the world,” [said Price]. The idea behind Pink Shirt Promise is simple: by making a personal pledge to end bullying and spread positivity, you could change someone’s life. Price says it only takes a few seconds for a bystander to intervene.
Note: Watch a great five-minute video on the origins of this inspiring movement.
A Spanish runner has shown the world that sometimes, just sometimes, winning isn't everything. Last month, Spanish athlete Ivan Fernandez Anaya impressed the world by giving up victory to do the right thing. According to El Pais, it happened as the 24-year-old raced a cross-country event in Burlada, Navarre on Dec. 2. In second place to Abel Mutai, the Kenyan athlete who won a bronze medal in the London Olympics, Anaya suddenly had a chance to surge ahead. According to El Pais, Mutai mistakenly thought the end of the race came about 10 meters sooner than it did, and stopped running. Then, he “looked back and saw the people telling him to keep going," Anaya told CNA. "But since he doesn't speak Spanish he didn't realize it." So Anaya slowed, guiding Mutai to the actual finish line. And he didn't think much of it, either. Anaya told El Pais:"I didn't deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn't have closed if he hadn't made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn't going to pass him." His actions may not have won him the match, or the approval of his coach, but they did get him a few new fans.
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.