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News Stories
Excerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media


Below are many 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.


Bridging the Clothing Divide
2012-10-13, New York Times
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/03/clothing-the-poorest-for-surv...

One of the most glaring oversights in the field of development is the lack of attention to clothing. Countless organizations work on food, energy, education, health care, economic opportunity — but beyond disaster relief efforts, you hear little about the need for clothes. In India, this makes no sense. In 1998, the Guptas started an organization, Goonj (meaning “echo”), to redistribute (clothing) where it was most needed. They wanted to find a way to address the problem systematically — to craft a permanent, rather than an episodic response, to what they considered a non-natural, perpetual disaster. Goonj has found a way to assist villagers that moves beyond the stigma of charity. The model is grounded in the Indian concepts ... advocated by Gandhi and his disciple Vinoba Bhave. “The whole chain is full of respectful links. Not many supply chains are full of respect.” Today, Goonj operates collection centers in nine Indian cities and provides about two million pounds of materials, mostly clothes, but also utensils, school supplies, footwear, toys and many other items. It will assist about a half a million people in 21 states this year. Goonj also takes pains to see that its materials actually reach the intended recipients. They carefully vet N.G.O. partners and do follow-up visits. If that is impossible, they require that photographs be taken to show the distribution of goods. Gupta said. “It’s a tough game to deal with local police and government officials and tax officers. But we have a zero bribe policy.”

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


Kalamazoo Cop Pulls Over Choking Woman, Saves Her Life
2014-08-14, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/cop-saves-choking-woman_n_5677448.html

What started as a routine traffic stop on Saturday turned out to be a life-saving moment for one Michigan woman. At the time the unidentified driver was pulled over, she was choking. And the officer who stopped her saved her life in a scene caught on his dashcam, which you can see [on the webpage at the link] above. "For the first second or so I thought she might be trying to just get out of a ticket and then I realized she was in legitimate respiratory distress, so I tried to dislodge the item from her throat by just hitting her on the back," Officer Jason Gates said at a press conference, according to MLive.com. "When that didn't work, I got her out and I used the Heimlich for the first time in my nine-year police career and it worked," he said. With three hard abdominal thrusts, Gates dislodged a piece of sausage and bun, WOODTV reported. When she could breathe again, the grateful driver cried and hugged the officer. He did not give her a ticket. "Most of the times, traffic stops are a negative for people, but it's something we have to do," Gates was quoted as saying. "It does keep people safe, not only in slowing people down and keeping traffic safe, but in rare instances like this.

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


Nobody Should Die From Diseases We Know How To Treat
2014-10-22, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/864/poem-from-haiti-sriram-shamasunder

Nobody should die from diseases we know how to treat. Currently in all areas of the world over 50,000 people die daily from diseases we can treat. One component of getting good care in very poor places is to have the human capacity and training to deliver good care. Two UCSF Physicians have started a project called the HEAL initiative that aims to address health workforce in resource poor communities. HEAL initiative works at sites domestically and internationally, from Navajo Nation in New Mexico to Liberia and Haiti and India to both improve the quality of care, support and train local health professionals. The work that is about health care but is also beyond health care. It is about solidarity and justice. A simple home visit can shape the way anyone thinks about health. The community health workers sit with patients and discuss what ails them on many levels. When someone can't pay for medicines or health care, what other costs may be suffocating their budget? On arrival to the house, the family structure is revealed, how many people are staying under one roof, what material makes up that roof, straw or tin or concrete? Does the patient own his/her own land? Are there crops rising up from the soil or is the land barren? On one home visit we came across this grandmother (who) inspired this poem Towards Flooding Homes with Dignity. To witness this solidarity and movement towards health as a human right is to witness something precious becoming conferred as a right.

Note: The moving poem Towards Flooding Homes with Dignity is included in the complete article summarized above. Learn more about HEAL from this initiative's website.


Positive Post-it Day held to encourage Airdrie teen's anti-bullying campaign
2014-10-09, CBC News (Canada's public broadcasting station)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/positive-post-it-day-held-to-encourage-...

A southern Alberta city got a little brighter today after hundreds of neon Post-it notes with inspiring hand-written messages started popping up at homes, shops and offices in Airdrie. The movement was started by a local high school student trying to fight off a bully. Caitlin Prater-Haacke had been sent a message on Facebook telling her to kill herself. Instead of replying to the message, Prater-Haacke took out a marker and some small pads of paper. She decided to fight back by posting positive messages on every locker in her school. "Little simple messages like, 'You're beautiful' [and] 'You shine bright like a diamond,'" she said. But officials at George McDougall High School didn't like the idea and told her it was littering, which didn't sit well with the community. City council then declared Oct. 9 as Positive Post-it Day. "What's come out of it is 100 times better," said Prater-Haacke, adding she can't believe the support she has received. The school is now filled with the sticky notes, and this time the school says the colourful messages can stay. But it wasn't just among students, as other Airdrie residents also embraced the movement. "I think it put a smile on everyone's face this morning and I think it gave them that little bit of extra oomph for the morning to get them going," said resident David Jones. The campaign has taken off online.

Note: Watch an inspiring two-minute video about Caitlan's movement. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Ebola: How It Spreads
2014-10-12, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/ebola-spreads-26135907

WHEN IS EBOLA CONTAGIOUS? Only when someone is showing symptoms, which can start with vague symptoms including a fever, flu-like body aches and abdominal pain, and then vomiting and diarrhea. HOW DOES EBOLA SPREAD? Through close contact with a symptomatic person's bodily fluids, such as blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen. Those fluids must have an entry point, like a cut or scrape or someone touching the nose, mouth or eyes with contaminated hands, or being splashed. That's why health care workers wear protective gloves and other equipment. The World Health Organization says blood, feces and vomit are the most infectious fluids, while the virus is found in saliva mostly once patients are severely ill and the whole live virus has never been culled from sweat ... WHAT ABOUT MORE CASUAL CONTACT? Ebola isn't airborne. Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said people don't get exposed by sitting next to someone on the bus. "This is not like flu. It's not like measles, not like the common cold. It's not as spreadable, it's not as infectious as those conditions," he added. HOW IS IT CLEANED UP? The CDC says bleach and other hospital disinfectants kill Ebola. Dried virus on surfaces survives only for several hours.

Note: Read an article by father of Reaganomics Paul Craig Roberts revealing that there may be a hidden agenda in the ebola epidemic. For more accurate information about health, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


Ebola is highly contagious … plus seven other myths about the virus
2014-10-09, The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/09/ebola-highly-contagious-...

The outbreak is certainly a grave issue for west Africa, a public health priority, and has been exacerbated by a slow response from international bodies and rich nations. It has already claimed more than 3,800 lives, and could claim far more without an appropriate international response. But it is also not the species-ending disaster some fear it could be. Compared with most common diseases, Ebola is not particularly infectious. Ebola has an incubation period of up to 21 days between infection and showing symptoms (though it’s generally shorter). This is part of the fuel behind fears people could travel from west Africa then spread the disease. However, in general, people who display no Ebola symptoms are not yet infectious – and in any case, casual social contact (being nearby, or even shaking hands) generally doesn’t spread the virus. There are many things epidemiologists (and others) think we should worry about far more. Top of the list is a repeat of a deadly pandemic flu. Despite a few near misses, we’ve yet to see a repeat of the Spanish flu outbreak of 1918, which devastated nations already barely recovered from war, killing the youngest and healthiest. If you must fear a pandemic, it’s a much better candidate than Ebola. There are extensive measures in place for such a situation, but officials agree they all leave much to be desired. Ebola is a serious problem, which anyone with a degree of compassion should be concerned about. But if you’re in the west, it is astonishingly unlikely it will affect you, or anyone you know, personally. Perhaps, though, it’s only that fear that’s making us pay the virus any attention at all.

Note: Read an article by father of Reaganomics Paul Craig Roberts revealing that there may be a hidden agenda in the ebola epidemic. For more examples of medical fear mongering, see powerful media reports suggesting that both the Avian Flu and Swine Flu were manipulated to promote fear and boost pharmaceutical sales. For more accurate information about health, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


Chat logs reveal FBI informant Sabu’s role in hacking of Sun newspaper
2014-10-14, The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/14/fbi-informants-role-hacking-su...

The FBI is facing questions over its role in a 2011 hacking attack on Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper in the UK after the publication of chat logs showed that a man acting as an agency informant played a substantial role in the operation. The attack was so successful that the publisher took down the websites of the Sun and the Times while technicians worked out the scale of the hack. Unsealed documents ... seen by the Guardian, show Hector Xavier Monsegur – known widely online as “Sabu” and frequently referred to as the leader of Lulzsec – played an active role in the operation. The chat records show Monsegur encouraging others to break further into News International systems, claiming to have sources at the Sun, and even apparently helping to break staff’s passwords and to source files for stealing. Monsegur was, however, at that time operating under the direction of the FBI. The close involvement of an FBI asset working under extraordinarily close supervision in a hacking attack on a media outlet ultimately owned by a US-listed company is set to raise further questions about the agency’s approach to tackling online crime. The logs also show Sabu on multiple occasions offering detailed technical help to find additional records on different servers, breaking in to new servers, or obtaining more files – which could easily have included those belonging to journalists at either the Sun or Times. The Sun, which is challenging the UK government over police accessing the phone records of one of its reporters, declined to comment on the apparent FBI involvement in attacks on its servers.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources. For an in-depth look at how these practices have been shown to interfere with a free press, see these excellent, reliable Mass Media Resources.


Our Dysfunctional Financial System
2014-10-02, Time Magazine
http://time.com/3455631/our-dysfunctional-financial-system/

Did anyone ever doubt that the New York Fed was in hock to Wall Street? Or that Fed bank examiners ... might fear alienating the powerful financiers on whom they depend for information or future jobs? It’s one thing to know and another to hear in painful, crackling detail how the Fed’s financial cops slip on their velvet gloves to deal with Goldman Sachs. Or how Segarra, one of a group of examiners brought in after the financial crisis to keep a closer watch on the till, was fired, perhaps for doing her job. Consider one of the shady deals highlighted on the secret tapes of New York Fed meetings, which Segarra made with a spy recorder before she was let go and which were made public on Sept. 26. The Fed employees, who work inside the banks they examine (yes, it’s literally an inside job), knew the deal was dodgy. Numerous experts believe that the size of the financial sector is slowing growth in the real economy by sucking the monetary oxygen out of the room. Banks don’t want to lend; they want to trade, often via esoteric deals that do almost nothing for anyone outside Wall Street. This disconnect between the real economy and finance is now being closely studied by policymakers and academics. Adair Turner, a former British banking regulator, thinks that only about 15% of U.K. financial flows go to the real economy; the rest stay within the financial system, propping up existing corporate assets, supporting trading and enabling $40 million briefcase-watching fees. If the New York Fed really wants to redeem itself, it might consider commissioning a similar study to look at Wall Street’s contribution to the U.S. economy.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial news articles from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.


Robert B. Reich: Why we allow Big Pharma to rip us off
2014-10-07, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201410071030--tms--amvoices...

America spends a fortune on drugs, more per person than any other nation on earth, even though Americans are no healthier than the citizens of other advanced nations. Of the estimated $2.7 trillion America spends annually on health care, drugs account for 10 percent of the total. Government pays some of this tab through Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies under the Affordable Care Act. But we pick up the tab indirectly through our taxes. We pay the rest of it directly, through higher co-payments, deductibles and premiums. Drug company payments to doctors are a small part of a much larger strategy by Big Pharma to clean our pockets ... The drug companies say they need the additional profits to pay for researching and developing new drugs. But the government supplies much of the research Big Pharma relies on, through the National Institutes of Health. Meanwhile, Big Pharma is spending more on advertising and marketing than on research and development -- often tens of millions to promote a single drug. And it's spending hundreds of millions more every year on lobbying. Last year alone, the lobbying tab came to $225 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's more than the formidable lobbying expenditures of America's military contractors. In addition, Big Pharma is spending heavily on political campaigns. In 2012, it shelled out over $36 million, making it the biggest political contributor of all American industries.

Note: Read how cancer research is crippled by the greed of drug companies in the New York Times article Profits Over Patients. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


American higher education skewed toward elite private universities
2014-10-13, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/sns-201410141100--tms--amvoices...

Imagine a system of college education supported by high and growing government spending on elite private universities that mainly educate children of the wealthy and upper-middle class, and low and declining government spending on public universities that educate large numbers of children from the working class and the poor. You can stop imagining. That's the American system right now. The annual government subsidy to Princeton University, for example, is about $54,000 per student, according to an estimate by economist Richard Vedder. Other elite privates aren't far behind. Public universities, by contrast, have little or no endowment income. They get almost all their funding from state governments. But these subsidies have been shrinking. State and local financing for public higher education came to about $76 billion last year, nearly 10 percent less than a decade before. Since more students attend public universities now than ten years ago, that decline represents a 30 percent drop per student. That means the average annual government subsidy per student at a public university comes to less than $4,000, about one-tenth the per student government subsidy at the elite privates. So what justifies the high per-student government subsidies at the elite private universities, and the low per-student subsidies in public universities? There is no justification.

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


Public’s rights getting slowly pared back
2014-10-11, Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/leonard-pitts-jr/article...

Last week, a federal judge told us what we already knew. Namely, that police in Ferguson, Mo. violated the rights of protesters demonstrating against the shooting death of Michael Brown. U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry struck down an ad hoc rule under which cops had said people could not stand still while peacefully protesting. Still, one’s sense of righteous vindication is tempered by the fact that police felt free to try this absurd stratagem in the first place — and by the fact that this was hardly the only recent example of police using the Constitution for Kleenex. Ferguson, let us not forget, is also the town where reporters were tear gassed and jailed and photographers ordered to stop taking pictures. In our unthinking mania for laws to “get tough on crime,” we actually made it tougher on ourselves, altering the balance of power between people and police to the point where a cop can now take your legally-earned money off your sovereign person and there’s little you can do about it. Indeed, at the height of the Ferguson protests, an L.A. cop named Sunil Dutta published in the Washington Post an Op-Ed advising that, “if you don’t want to get shot, tased, pepper-sprayed, struck with a baton or thrown to the ground, just do what I tell you.” Don’t argue, he said, even if you “believe (or know)” your rights are being violated. Deal with it later. It’s all well and good that now, several weeks after the fact, a court affirms the rights Ferguson police denied. But that’s a poor consolation prize. An argument can be made that rights which aren’t respected in the moment they are asserted are not really rights at all.

Note: For more on the history of civil rights violations in Ferguson, MO, see this deeply revealing news article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of recent news articles about the erosion of our civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


Journalist Talks Confidential Sources, Getting Subpoenaed And His New Book
2014-10-14, National Public Radio
http://www.npr.org/2014/10/14/356121289/journalist-talks-confidential-sources...

TERRY GROSS: James Risen [is] an investigative reporter for The New York Times. He, along with Eric Lichtbau, broke the story about warrantless wiretapping. Now Risen is facing a prison sentence for refusing to reveal his source or sources for that story. [Risen] has a new book called "Pay Any Price: Greed, Power And Endless War," which is a series of investigations into who's making money on the War on Terror and what are some of the secret operations within it. You recently wrote an article in The New York Times with Laura Poitras who broke the Edward Snowden story along with Glenn Greenwald. And you reported on how American intelligence is trying to harvest facial imagery with the intention of - what's it for? RISEN: Facial recognition ... in a way that no [one] really understood before has become a central focus of the NSA today. They can link that up with a signals intelligence, which is the communications that they intercept [and] basically find where you are, what you're doing, who you're seeing and virtually anything about you in real time. GROSS: So ... your big story turned out kind of differently than the celebrations facing Woodward and Bernstein. RISEN: I think the times have changed. We had this period in journalism for about 30 years where there was the government and the press. The government ... wouldn't go after whistleblowers or reporters very aggressively. It's only after the - after 9/11 and after the plane case, which you may remember where Judy Miller was sent to jail. I think the post-9/11 age, the government has decided to become much more aggressive against reporters and whistleblowers.

Note: The above quotes are from the transcript of a radio interview that you can listen to by clicking on the news story link provided. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about high level manipulation of mass media from reliable sources.


Probe of silencers leads to web of Pentagon secrets
2014-10-14, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/probe-of-silencers-lead...

The mysterious workings of a Pentagon office that oversees clandestine operations are unraveling in federal court, where a criminal investigation has exposed a secret weapons program ... to manufacture an untraceable batch of automatic-rifle silencers. The silencers — 349 of them — were ordered by a little-known Navy intelligence office at the Pentagon known as the Directorate for Plans, Policy, Oversight and Integration. The directorate is composed of fewer than 10 civilian employees, most of them retired military personnel. Court records filed by prosecutors allege that the Navy paid the auto mechanic — the brother of the directorate’s boss — $1.6 million for the silencers, even though they cost only $10,000 in parts and labor to manufacture. If the foreign-made weapons were equipped with unmarked silencers, the source said, the weapons could have been used by U.S. or foreign forces for special operations in other countries without any risk that they would be traced back to the United States. No documentation has surfaced in court to indicate that Navy officials formally signed off on the silencer project, although many pretrial motions have been filed under seal. Hall, the directorate official charged with illegally purchasing the silencers, has asserted that he received verbal approval for the secret program from Robert C. Martinage, a former acting undersecretary of the Navy, according to statements made during pretrial hearings. Martinage was forced to resign in January after investigators looking into the silencer deal found evidence that he had engaged in personal misconduct ... unrelated to the silencer contract.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.


Court Spotlights the FBI’s Super-Secret National Security Letters
2014-10-09, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/09/court-spotlight-super-secret-na...

[National security letters], the reach of which was expanded under the Patriot Act in 2001, let the FBI get business records from telephone, banking, and Internet companies with just a declaration that the information is relevant to a counterterrorism investigation. The FBI can get such information with a subpoena or another method with some judicial oversight. Can the government make demands for data entirely in secret? That was the question yesterday before a federal appeals court in San Francisco, where government lawyers argued that National Security Letters — FBI requests for information that are so secret they can’t be publicly acknowledged by the recipients — were essential to counterterrorism investigations. One of the judges seemed to question why there was no end-date on the gag orders, and why the burden was on the recipients of NSLs to challenge them. “It leaves it to the poor person who is subject to those requirements to just constantly petition the government to get rid of it,” said the judge, N. Randy Smith. The FBI sends out thousands of NSLs each year – 21,000 in fiscal year 2012. Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Microsoft filed a brief in support of the NSL challenge, arguing that they want to “publish more detailed aggregate statistics about the volume, scope and type of NSLs that the government uses to demand information about their users.” Twitter also announced this week that it was suing the U.S. government over restrictions on how it can talk about surveillance orders. Tech companies can currently make public information about the number of NSLs or Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders they receive in broad ranges, but Twitter wants to be more specific.

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


FBI director attacks tech companies for embracing new modes of encryption
2014-10-16, The Guardian
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/oct/16/fbi-director-attacks-tech-comp...

The director of the FBI savaged tech companies for their recent embrace of end-to-end encryption and suggested rewriting laws to ensure law enforcement access to customer data in a speech on Thursday. James Comey said data encryption such as that employed on Apple’s latest mobile operating system would deprive police and intelligence companies. Privacy advocates contend Comey is demagoguing the issue. It took a June supreme court ruling, they point out, for law enforcement to abandon its contention that it did not require warrants at all to search through smartphones or tablets, and add that technological vulnerabilities can be exploited by hackers and foreign intelligence agencies as well as the US government. Tech companies contend that their newfound adoption of encryption is a response to overarching government surveillance, much of which occurs ... without a warrant, subject to a warrant broad enough to cover indiscriminate data collection, or under a gag order following a non-judicial subpoena. Comey did not mention such subpoenas, often in the form of National Security Letters, in his remarks. Comey acknowledged that the Snowden disclosures caused “justifiable surprise” among the public about the breadth of government surveillance, but hoped to mitigate it through greater transparency and advocacy. Yet the FBI keeps significant aspects of its surveillance reach hidden even from government oversight bodies. Intelligence officials said in a June letter to a US senator that the FBI does not tally how often it searches through NSA’s vast hoards of international communications, without warrants, for Americans’ identifying information. Comey frequently described himself as being technologically unprepared to offer specific solutions, and said he meant to begin a conversation, even at the risk of putting American tech companies at a competitive disadvantage.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about questionable intelligence agency practices from reliable sources.


Wind Power Blows Away Coal and Gas in Nordic Countries
2014-10-17, Scientific American/Reuters
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/wind-power-blows-away-coal-and-gas-...

Wind power is blowing gas and coal-fired turbines out of business in the Nordic countries, and the effects will be felt across the Baltic region as the renewable glut erodes utility margins for thermal power stations. Fossil power plants in Finland and Denmark act as swing-producers, helping to meet demand when hydropower production in Norway and Sweden falls due to dry weather. The arrival of wind power on a large scale has made this role less relevant and has pushed electricity prices down, eroding profitability of fossil power stations. "Demand for coal condensing power in the Nordic power market has decreased as a result of the economic recession and the drop in the wholesale price for electricity," state-controlled Finnish utility Fortum said. Nordic wholesale forward power prices have almost halved since 2010 to little over 30 euros per megawatt-hour (MWh) as capacity increases while demand stalls on the back of stagnant populations, low economic growth and lower energy use due to improved efficiency. "The Nordic system price will likely more often clear well below the production cost for coal fired power production," said Marius Holm Rennesund Oslo-based consultancy THEMA. "This will, in our view, result in mothballing of 2,000 MW of coal condensing capacity in Denmark and Finland towards 2030," he added. Adding further wind power capacity at current market conditions could lead to power prices dropping towards as low as 20 euros per MWh, the marginal cost for nuclear reactors, Rennesund said.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of key energy news articles from reliable major media sources. To learn about new energy technologies, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our New Energy Information Center.


Moral Courage & The Story of Sister Megan Rice
2014-10-01, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/857/moral-courage-and-the-story-of-sister-mega...

The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oakridge, Tennessee, is supposed to be impregnable. But on July 28th 2012, an 84 year-old nun called Sister Megan Rice broke through a series of high-security fences surrounding the plant and reached a uranium storage bunker at the center of the complex. She was accompanied by Greg Boertje-Obed (57) and Michael Walli (63). The trio ... sat down for a picnic. When the security guards arrived they offered them some bread. Two years later, Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed were sentenced to federal prison terms of between three and five years, plus restitution in the amount of $53,000 for damage done to the plant - far in excess of the estimates produced at their trial. When questioned about her actions at her trial by Judge Amul Thapar, Rice told him that her actions were intended to draw attention to the US stockpile of nuclear weapons that she and her co-defendants felt was illegal and immoral. They also wanted to expose the ineffectiveness of the security systems that were supposed to protect these weapons from theft or damage. “We were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear weapons have already caused,” wrote Rice afterwards in a letter to her supporters, “and we realize that all life on earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental or technical error. Our action exposed the storage of weapons-making materials deliberately hidden from the general public.” All three defendants were found guilty of “sabotage of the national defense.” Just before they were sentenced, Rice made a statement to the court which ended like this: “We have to speak, and we’re happy to die for that. To remain in prison for the rest of my life is the greatest honor that you could give me. Please don’t be lenient with me. It would be an honor for that to happen.”

Note: If you would like to receive copies of Sister Rice’s letters to her supporters, please email [email protected] Mailing addresses for Sister Rice and her co-defendants can be found here and here. You can also sign a petition requesting their pardon.


Hemp fibres 'better than graphene'
2014-08-13, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28770876

"People ask me: why hemp? I say, why not?" said Dr David Mitlin of Clarkson University, New York, who describes his device in the journal ACS Nano. "We're making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price - and we're doing it with waste. ... the leftover bast fibre - the inner bark - typically ends up as landfill. "You can do really interesting things with bio-waste. We've pretty much figured out the secret sauce of it," said Dr Mitlin. The trick is to tailor the right plant fibre to the right electrical device - according to their organic structure. "With banana peels, you can turn them into a dense block of carbon - we call it pseudo-graphite - and that's great for sodium ion batteries," he explained. "But if you look at hemp fibre its structure is the opposite - it makes sheets with high surface area - and that's very conducive to supercapacitors." Mitlin's peer-reviewed journal paper ranks the device "on par with or better than commercial graphene-based devices". "They work down to 0C and display some of the best power-energy combinations reported in the literature for any carbon. Fully assembled, their energy density is 12 Wh/kg, which can be achieved at a charge time less than six seconds. "Obviously hemp can't do all the things graphene can," Dr Mitlin concedes. "But for energy storage, it works just as well. And it costs a fraction of the price – $500-1,000 a tonne."

Note: For more about the amazing properties of graphene, read this CNN News Article.


Globetops gives old laptops a new home – and a new purpose
2014-05-29, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2014/0529/Glo...

Becky Morrison never knew her love of African dance and a friend’s old laptop would help change the world. Becky, 33, is a producer who works on big budget projects like the NFL’s Sunday Night Football and Hollywood blockbuster movies. She’s also a professional West African dancer. Over the years she’s built a community of close friends in Guinea. During one of her trips, her friend Sekou Sano, the Ballet Merveilles’s artistic director, made a request: Rather than bring t-shirts or other small gifts, he asked if Becky could bring a laptop. Shortly before her next trip to Guinea, Becky posted a request on Facebook for old laptops. Within minutes she had 10 responses. So Becky founded Globetops, an organization that refurbishes donated laptops and sends them to worthwhile applicants throughout the world. It was through Globetops that Becky discovered just how much an old laptop can change a life while at the same time, reducing the amount of E-waste that ends up in landfills. In addition to receiving the laptop, Globetops recipients receive a “Golden Ticket” for training at a local “hub.” The hubs offer a free course in basic computing skills, web browsing, setting up an e-mail address and Microsoft Office, and graduates receive a certificate upon completion of the course. Certificates are a big deal in Guinea, Becky says. And after a long happy life, when the laptop no longer works, the hub will arrange for responsible disposal. The hubs are also the center of Globetops’ ambition to grow their footprint and introduce sustainable practices beyond just computers. Right now Becky is working to create a worldwide, grassroots infrastructure to move a wide variety of goods. “I’m starting at laptops but it could be cell phones or [even] shoes. We have enough stuff in the world,” Becky says, “It’s just not in the right places.”

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Seed money sprouts change for tiny non-profits
2014-03-23, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/seed-money-sprouts-change-for-tiny-non-profits/

Ari Nessel ... made a fortune in Dallas real estate. Nessel's unusual quest: giving away $1,000 a day, every day for the rest of his life, to someone trying to make a difference. Instead of writing a big check to an established charity, he chooses someone just getting started to receive his daily thousand-dollar donation. [He] created a foundation he calls the Pollination Project. He sent out his first check January 1st last year, and has selected a new recipient each day since. He gave away his 447th grant this morning -- that's $447,000 and counting. In the past year-and-a-half, he's awarded grants in 42 different states and in 50 countries. "My experience is that transformation happens on the fringes and in the micro areas and the individuals, and doesn't happen on the large scale. It happens through all these people coming together in communities, and those communities coming together in larger communities. And so it becomes a movement." Kazu Haga is trying to start a movement with the $1,000 he got from the Pollination Project. Haga trains prisoners and at-risk students to embrace nonviolence. "One of the reasons why we continue to come into county jails and prisons is because we know that if the violence is ever going to decrease in our communities, it's your voices that's going to help create that change," Haga said. He conducts weekly workshops at the San Bruno County Jail. Ivan Montgomery, one of Haga's students, says the training has changed him: "I'm practicing on being better than I was. I know one thing is for sure: I'm never going to be the same person I was when I walked in these doors." When asked what difference the Pollination Project has made, Haga replied, "As small as the grant may be, it's really meaningful when we're starting off." For Ari Nessel, these small investments are earning big returns.

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