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.


 News stories


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.

Croatia writes off debts for poorest citizens
2015-02-01, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-09 03:54:17
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11382576/Croatia-writes-off-debt...

Thousands of Croats will see their debts written-off on Monday as part of an attempt to boost the economy by helping households to regain access to basic facilities including bank accounts. The scheme, which has been dubbed "fresh start", will see the debts of around 60,000 citizens erased by banks, telecoms and utilities operators as part of a deal with the government. Around 2.1bn kuna (£20m) worth of bad debts are expected to be written off by creditors who have signed up to the scheme. None will be refunded for their losses. Qualifying households must have debts lower than 35,000 kuna (£3,500), and their monthly income should not be higher than 1,250 kuna. Croats who own property or have any savings will not benefit from the deal. "Some 60,000 citizens ... will be given a chance for a new start without a burden of debt," said Milanka Opacic, Croatia's deputy prime minister. The program will give 20pc of the 317,000 Croatians whose accounts were frozen in July last year due to bad debts access to their accounts again. "This is the first time that any (Croatian) government tries to solve this difficult problem and we are proud of it," Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told a cabinet session. The deal will be noted in Greece, where the new Syriza government is trying to renegotiate the terms of its multi billion euro bail-out.

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




Vatican To Offer Haircuts, Shaves To Rome's Homeless
2015-01-29, Reuters
Posted: 2015-02-09 03:52:28
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/30/vatican-haircuts-homeless_n_6573058....

The Vatican will offer homeless people in Rome not only showers but also haircuts and shaves when new facilities open next month, the head of Pope Francis' charity office said. The Vatican announced last year that it would provide shower facilities in St Peter's Square for homeless people. Bishop Konrad Krajewski told the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire on Thursday that it would also offer haircuts and shaves when the services start on Feb. 16 in an area under the colonnade of the square. Krajewski, whose official title is the pope's almoner, said barbers and hairdressers would volunteer their services on Mondays, the day their shops are traditionally closed in Italy. They had already donated chairs, hair-cutting instruments, and mirrors, the newspaper's website said. Krajewski came up with the idea of building showers in St. Peter's Square last year after a homeless person told him that while it was relatively easy to find places to eat at Rome charities, it was difficult to find places to wash. He immediately received the pope's backing for the shower project and then expanded it to include haircuts and shaves.

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




How Nebraska Became the Only State to Bring Everyone Power From a Public Grid
2015-01-30, Yes! Magazine
Posted: 2015-02-09 03:50:25
http://www.yesmagazine.org/commonomics/nebraskas-community-owned-energy

In the United States, there is one state, and only one state, where every single resident and business receives electricity from a community-owned institution rather than a for-profit corporation. Nebraska ... has embraced the complete socialization of energy distribution. The Nebraska Power Association proudly proclaims, “Our electric prices do not include a profit. That means Nebraska’s utilities can focus exclusively on keeping electric rates low and customer service high. Our customers, not big investors in New York and Chicago, own Nebraska’s utilities.” Nebraska has a long history of publicly owned power systems. However, in the post-World War I era, large corporate electric holding companies backed by Wall Street banks entered the market and began taking over. Tired of abusive corporate practices, in 1930 residents and advocates of publicly owned utilities took a revenue bond financing proposal straight to the voters, bypassing the corporate-influenced legislature which had previously failed to pass similar legislation. It was approved overwhelmingly. By 1949, Nebraska had solidified its status as the first and only all-public power state. Nebraska’s nearly 100-year-old experience with a completely public and community-owned electricity system demonstrates that ... the principles of subsidiarity and local control can, in fact, be preserved through a networked mix of publicly owned institutions at various scales without sacrificing efficiency or service quality.

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




New police radars can 'see' inside homes
2015-01-20, USA Today
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:39:27
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/01/19/police-radar-see-through-walls/...

At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside. Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person's house without first obtaining a search warrant. The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving. The device the Marshals Service and others are using [was] first designed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. They represent the latest example of battlefield technology finding its way home to civilian policing and bringing complex legal questions with it. Those concerns are especially thorny when it comes to technology that lets the police determine what's happening inside someone's home.

Note: This technology is not new. Working as interpreter in Washington, DC, WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks witnessed this technology being used by the police there in the late 1980s. For more along these lines, see this deeply revealing summarized NPR report about The Pentagon's massive Program 1033 to widely distribute military hardware to domestic police forces.




Revealed: how Blair colluded with Gaddafi regime in secret
2015-01-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:36:27
http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/jan/23/-sp-blair-gaddafi-letter-than...

Libyan government papers pieced together by [a] team of London lawyers show [that] Tony Blair wrote to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to thank him for the “excellent cooperation” between the two countries’ counter-terrorism agencies. The letter, written in 2007, followed a period in which the dictator’s intelligence officers were permitted to operate in the UK, approaching and intimidating Libyan refugees. Addressed “Dear Mu’ammar” and signed “Best wishes yours ever, Tony”, the letter was among hundreds of pages of documents recovered from Libyan government offices following the 2011 revolution. Six Libyan men, the widow of a seventh, and five British citizens of Libyan and Somali origin are bringing claims against the British government on the basis of the recovered documents, alleging false imprisonment, blackmail, misfeasance in public office and conspiracy to assault. The recovered documents show that MI5 and MI6 submitted more than 1,600 questions to be put to two opposition leaders after they had been kidnapped with British assistance and flown to one of Gaddafi’s prisons. Both men say they suffered appalling torture. On Thursday an attempt by government lawyers to have the case struck out without admitting liability failed when the high court ruled the allegations “are of real potential public concern” and should be heard and dealt with by the courts.

Note: British intelligence agencies have been trying to silence the lawyers filing this lawsuit, and got caught illegally spying on them. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in intelligence agencies and government.




Koch Brothers Budget of $889 Million for 2016 Is on Par With Both Parties’ Spending
2015-01-26, New York Times
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:33:41
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/27/us/politics/kochs-plan-to-spend-900-million...

The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history. The spending goal ... would allow their political organization to operate at the same financial scale as the Democratic and Republican Parties. It would require a significant financial commitment from the Kochs and roughly 300 other donors they have recruited ... to influence legislation and campaigns across the country, leveraging Republican control of Congress and the party’s dominance of state capitols to push for deregulation, tax cuts and smaller government. The [increased budget] reflects the rising ambition and expanded reach of the Koch operation. In 2012, the Kochs’ network spent just under $400 million, an astonishing sum at the time. The $889 million spending goal for 2016 would put it on track to spend nearly as much as the campaigns of each party’s presidential nominee. The Kochs are longtime opponents of campaign disclosure laws. Their network is constructed chiefly of nonprofit groups that are not required to reveal donors.

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




The Davos oligarchs are right to fear the world they’ve made
2015-01-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:31:10
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/22/davos-oligarchs-fear-ine...

The billionaires and corporate oligarchs meeting in Davos this week are getting worried about inequality. The architects of the crisis-ridden international economic order are starting to see the dangers ... of the widest global economic gulf in human history. The scale of the crisis has been laid out for them by the charity Oxfam. On current trends, the richest 1% will have pocketed more than the other 99% put together next year. The 0.1% have been doing even better, quadrupling their share of US income since the 1980s. In most of the world, labour’s share of national income has fallen continuously and wages have stagnated under this regime of privatisation, deregulation and low taxes on the rich. At the same time finance has sucked wealth from the public realm into the hands of a small minority, even as it has laid waste the rest of the economy. Now the evidence has piled up that not only is such appropriation of wealth a moral and social outrage, but it is fuelling social and climate conflict, wars, mass migration and political corruption, stunting health and life chances, increasing poverty, and widening gender and ethnic divides. Escalating inequality has also been a crucial factor in the economic crisis of the past seven years, squeezing demand and fuelling the credit boom. The thinking person’s Davos oligarch realises that allowing things to carry on as they are is dangerous. What they won’t accept is any change in the balance of social power.

Note: Oxfam's complete report "identifies the two powerful driving forces that have led to the rapid rise in inequality" as "market fundamentalism and the capture of politics by elites." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and secret societies which manipulate global politics.




Company's Struggles Highlight Challenges of Inmate Care
2015-01-19, New York Times/Associated Press
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:28:14
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2015/01/19/us/ap-us-profiting-from-prison-car...

Months after he landed in Florida's Manatee County Jail, Jovon Frazier's pleas for [medical care] were met mostly with Tylenol. "I need to see a doctor!" he wrote on his eighth request form. Four months later, after Frazier's 13th request resulted in hospitalization and doctors quickly diagnosed bone cancer, his arm had to be amputated, according to a lawsuit filed by his family. But the cancer spread and Frazier died in 2011, months after his release. As an inmate, his medical care had been managed ... by a private company under contract. Corizon, whose responsibility for 345,000 inmates at prisons and jails in 27 states makes it the country's biggest for-profit correctional health provider, is just one of many firms using a similar model to vie for the billions of dollars states and counties spend on prisoner care. The growth of the for-profit prison care industry raises questions. Some critics say privatization, itself, is a faulty strategy, regardless of which company is hired. "The problem is a structure that creates incentives to cut corners and deny care to powerless people that have no other options," said David Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Prison Project. [Corizon] generated $1.4 billion in revenue in 2013 and is owned by a Chicago private equity management firm.

Note: The above article shows that lawsuits and investigations in Arizona, Florida, Maine, Minnesota, and New York have all uncovered escalating inmate deaths related to Corizon's for-profit medical services. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about systemic corruption in the prison industry.




Lawyers for Billionaire Sex Offender Linked to Prince Andrew Scandal Ask Judge to Keep Documents Sealed
2015-01-27, ABC News
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:25:46
http://abcnews.go.com/International/lawyers-billionaire-sex-offender-linked-p...

Attorneys for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein claim in a new court filing that the billionaire financier will be "irreparably harmed" if emails and letters his lawyers sent to federal prosecutors during plea negotiations are made public. Epstein's legal brief ... represents his first formal statements since explosive allegations emerged last month that he had forced a then-17-year-old girl to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew and other powerful men. Virginia Roberts, 31, [has recently] claimed in court documents that Epstein had kept her for sex for years as a teenager, [as well as] trafficked her for sex with a host of his prominent associates, including ... Prince Andrew [and] Harvard legal professor Alan Dershowitz. Epstein ... was the subject of wide-ranging state and federal investigations, beginning in 2005, looking into claims that he had illegal sexual contact with dozens of minor girls at his Palm Beach mansion and elsewhere. By mid-2007, he was facing a potential federal indictment for alleged sex crimes involving nearly three-dozen teenage girls. If charged and convicted, he could have faced 10 years to life in prison. Instead, Epstein entered into [an] unusual and, at the time, confidential non-prosecution agreement with the federal government. Dershowitz was among a group of prominent attorneys who helped Epstein secure the deal, which also granted federal immunity to any possible co-conspirators who may have assisted Epstein in the commission of the alleged crimes.

Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.




Anonymous calls for activists to help expose international paedophile networks with 'Operation DeathEaters'
2015-01-23, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:22:37
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/anonymous-calls-for-activists-...

Hacktivist group Anonymous, which has made public attacks on extremists, corporations and religious and governmental bodies, is calling for help in its fight against international paedophile networks, or what it calls the “paedosadist industry”. In a project named Operation DeathEaters, Anonymous says it is is planning on collating evidence against international paedophile rings and their severe abuse of children and find the links between different operations, and to bring them to justice. Anonymous has issued a video instructing activists on how they can aid in the operation, which has appeared at a time of serious allegations of historic child sexual abuse levied against prominent UK figures, including claims that a VIP Westminster paedophile ring existed in the past. “The Westminster paedophile ring is one of many cases where Operation DeathEaters has actively pursued and sought truth, in order to end the hideous crimes concealed behind the British elite,” Anonymous alleges in a statement. “In fear of these investigations being bungled over time, the operation’s objectives are clear and simple: source public information before it disappears, push for independent enquiry, and offer support to witnesses and the victims where needed.” It has outlined its first step in the operation as gathering “meticulously researched and clearly documented examples of high level complicity in the industry, obstruction of justice and cover ups to show the need for independent inquiries”.

Note: Anonymous has been quite active in exposing pedophiles, as can be seen in the Time magazine article where they revealed information on known offenders to the authorities. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.




The war on leaks has gone way too far when journalists' emails are under surveillance
2015-01-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:19:26
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jan/25/war-on-leaks-gone-way-to...

The outrageous legal attack on WikiLeaks and its staffers ... is an attack on freedom of the press itself. WikiLeaks has had their Twitter accounts secretly spied on, been forced to forfeit most of their funding after credit card companies unilaterally cut them off, had the FBI place an informant inside their news organization, watched their supporters hauled before a grand jury, and been the victim of the UK spy agency GCHQ hacking of their website and spying on their readers. Now we’ve learned that, as The Guardian reported on Sunday, the Justice Department got a warrant in 2012 to seize the contents – plus the metadata on emails received, sent, drafted and deleted – of three WikiLeaks’ staffers personal Gmail accounts. The tactics used against WikiLeaks by the Justice Department in their war on leaks [are] also used against mainstream news organizations. For example, after the Washington Post revealed in 2013 the Justice Department had gotten a warrant for the personal Gmail account of Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2010 without his knowledge. Despite the ongoing legal pressure, WikiLeaks has continued to publish important documents in the public interest.

Note: In recent years, Wikileaks' radical transparency has made draft texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership public, and uncovered a secret CIA report that suggests the US government’s policy of assassinating foreign 'terrorists' does more harm than good. So who is the real problem here?




King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
2015-01-25, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:17:14
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/king-abdullah-dead-we-cant-afford-not-to-...

What do you call the unelected leader of a state that beheads people in public, permits only one faith and exports an extreme form of Islam to other countries? If he happens to be Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, self-appointed caliph of Islamic State (Isis), the answer is one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. If he is King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the proper form of address is “Your Majesty”. Yesterday, the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister turned up in Riyadh to pay their respects to Salman’s half-brother, King Abdullah, whose death was announced on Friday. Flags flew at half-mast in Whitehall while David Cameron ... praised the deceased despot’s efforts towards “strengthening understanding between faiths”. This is the same David Cameron who marched in Paris two weeks ago in solidarity with the victims of al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism. Barack Obama ... found the time to praise the absolute monarch and hailed the US-Saudi relationship “as a force for stability and security in the Middle East”. Few of the people hailing Abdullah as a “reformer” said anything about [how] the Saudi royal family promoted the puritanical ideology that created al-Qaeda and its offshoots, [and] sent Osama bin Laden and other young Saudis to fight in Afghanistan, creating a worldwide jihadist movement. Since then, Wahhabist ideology has inspired horrific attacks on civilians in the Middle East, Africa, the US and a string of European capitals.

Note: Read how several current and former US government officials have been trying to expose the Saudi government money behind terrorism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption articles from reliable major media sources.




Flu vaccine paradox adds to public health debate
2015-01-16, CBC News (Canada's public broadcasting system)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:13:30
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/flu-vaccine-paradox-adds-to-public-health-debat...

People who receive flu vaccines year after year can sometimes show reduced protection, an effect that Canadian infectious disease specialists say muddies public health messages for annual flu vaccine campaigns. During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, researchers at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control originally thought seasonal flu shots from 2008 might offer extra protection. They were puzzled to find instead, seasonal flu vaccination almost doubled the risk of infection with pandemic flu. Dr. Danuta Skowronski and her colleagues went on to do five more studies during the summer that showed the same effect in people and in ferrets, which are considered the best animal model of flu. What was originally called "the Canadian problem" has since been found in a randomized control trial by researchers in Hong Kong ... Japan and the U.S. Researchers in several countries have found a blunting or "interference" effect between previous seasonal vaccines and reduced levels of vaccine protection in later years. "People do not have a good explanation for why," said Dr. Michael Gardam, director of infection prevention and control at Toronto's University Health Network. "We have kind of hyped this vaccine so much for so long we are starting to believe our own hype. Really, what we should be doing is looking for better vaccines," Gardam said. In the meantime, public health officials who aim to protect people from flu complications need to grapple with the imperfections of a vaccine given every year to a moving target of strains.

Note: Healthcare workers in New York protested the government mandate that they be given this vaccine, from which drug companies made billions of dollars. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the mysterious and profitable avian and swine flu panics and questioning the effectiveness of many other vaccines.




Five insights challenging science's unshakable 'truths'
2014-06-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:09:00
http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jun/29/five-insights-challenging-scie...

1. Lifestyle can change genes. We have each inherited a particular set of genes, but the outcome of that inheritance is not fixed. Our environment, diet and circumstance flood our bodies with molecules that switch the genes on or off. The result can make a huge difference. What you eat, what your mother ate, the age when your grandfather started smoking, the amount of pollution in your neighbourhood – these factors have all been linked to epigenetic changes that get passed down through the generations. 2. The mind can affect the body. What used to be dismissed by science as superstition or old wives' tales ... has a palpable effect on our bodies. 3. Quantum effects exist in biology. Plants, for instance, use quantum theory to harvest energy from the sun [by] using "superposition". This trick effectively searches all possible [solar energy delivery] paths [through the organism] simultaneously, and finds the quickest and thus most energy-efficient route. That means the energy reaches the plant's storage centre before it dissipates. There are also hints that smell is a quantum sense. The fact that these things happen in the warm, wet world of biological material suggests that we are missing a trick. 4. The universe is a computer (and we are the programmers). The universe ... behaves exactly like a computer [and] we, by our conscious and unconscious actions, are playing the role of that computer's programmers. 5. Human beings are nothing special. Researchers know of only a handful of genes unique to humans; it's thought that, when the count is finished and the numbers are totted up, fewer than 20 of our 20,000 genes will be exclusively human.

Note: Read the complete article for more on these and other interesting scientific breakthroughs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles that push the boundaries of our understanding of reality.




A Hefty Price for Entry to Davos
2011-01-25, New York Times
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:03:59
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2011/01/24/a-hefty-price-for-entry-to-davos/?_r=0

The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting [in Davos, Switzerland is] a heady power gathering that mixes business, politics and Champagne in the Swiss Alps. It is an event that draws a wide range of [chief executives, government leaders and academics], ostensibly to contemplate how to solve the world’s problems. An invitation to the meeting is supposed to be considered an exclusive honor. But for corporate executives, the cost of being a Davos Man, or, yes, a Davos Woman, even for just a couple of days, does not come cheap. Just to have the opportunity to be invited to Davos, you must be invited to be a member of the World Economic Forum. There are several levels of membership: the basic level, which will get you one invitation to Davos, costs 50,000 Swiss francs, or about $52,000. The ticket itself is another 18,000 Swiss francs ($19,000), plus tax, bringing the total cost of membership and entrance fee to $71,000. But that fee just gets you in the door. To participate in private sessions among your industry’s peers, you need to step up to the “Industry Associate” level. That costs $137,000, plus the price of the ticket, bringing the total to about $156,000.

Note: After attending this event, author David Rothkopf quoted AOL's founder as saying,"You always feel like ... the real Davos is happening in secret somewhere." Might this suggest that Davos is a breeding ground for the secret plots of the global elite? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of news articles on secret societies which manipulate global politics.




Once a rising star, chef now feeds hungry
2010-04-02, CNN
Posted: 2015-02-02 12:59:16
http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/04/01/cnnheroes.krishnan.hunger/

Narayanan Krishnan was a bright, young, award-winning chef with a five-star hotel group, short-listed for an elite job in Switzerland. But a quick family visit home [to the south Indian city of Madurai] before heading to Europe changed everything. "I saw a very old man eating his own human waste for food," Krishnan said. "After that, I started feeding that man and decided this is what I should do the rest of my lifetime." Krishnan quit his job within the week and returned home for good, convinced of his new destiny. "That spark and that inspiration is a driving force still inside me as a flame -- to serve all the mentally ill destitutes and people who cannot take care of themselves." Krishnan founded his nonprofit Akshaya Trust in 2003. Now 29, he has served more than 1.2 million meals -- breakfast, lunch and dinner -- to India's homeless and destitute, mostly elderly people abandoned by their families and often abused. The hot meals he delivers are simple, tasty vegetarian fare he personally prepares, packs and often hand-feeds to nearly 400 clients each day. The group's operations cost about $327 a day, but sponsored donations only cover 22 days a month. Krishnan subsidizes the shortfall with $88 he receives in monthly rent from a home his grandfather gave him. Krishnan sleeps in Akshaya's modest kitchen with his few co-workers.

Note: Don't miss the beautiful three-minute video of this great hero. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Africa's quiet solar revolution
2015-01-25, Christian Science Monitor
Posted: 2015-02-02 12:56:47
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/2015/0125/Africa-s-quiet-solar-revolution

By Tanzanian standards, Nosim Noah is not poor. A tall, handsome woman with the angular features of her fellow Masai tribe members, Ms. Noah makes a good living selling women’s and children’s clothes. But despite their relative prosperity, up until late 2013, the family had no electricity. Now, however, [they have power because] a new solar energy movement is bringing kilowatts to previously unlit areas of Africa – and changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. The idea behind the latest effort isn’t to tap the power of the sun to electrify every appliance in a household. Instead, it is to install a small solar panel not much bigger than an iPad to power a few lights, a cellphone charger, and other basic necessities that can still significantly alter people’s lives. People use the money they normally would spend on kerosene to finance their solar systems, allowing them to pay in small, affordable installments and not rely on government help. The concept is called pay-as-you-go solar. When [Noah] and her late husband moved into their house in 2004, they paid about a $200 connection fee to TANESCO, the Tanzanian national utility, to extend a power line to their home. After a six-month wait, workers finally erected a utility pole outside their home. But the power never came. “I have no idea why it didn’t work,” Noah says. “All I know is that the lights never came on.” They have power now, though, with the help of the sun.

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




Probiotic Bacteria Chill Out Anxious Mice
2011-09-02, NPR
Posted: 2015-02-02 12:54:28
http://www.npr.org/2011/09/02/140146780/probiotic-bacteria-chill-out-anxious-...

You might have heard probiotic bacteria help keep your gut healthy, but could they be good for your brain, too? A study out this week suggests the answer is yes, at least for mice, because mice on a probiotic diet for a couple of weeks were more relaxed than their counterparts who were not. They showed fewer visible signs of anxiety, lower levels of stress hormones, even chemical changes in the brain. Sounds a little like valium, doesn't it? Other than signals telling you when you're hungry or full, what connection is there between the intestinal tract and the brain? And why would it be there? It's been long known that the brain and the gut communicate. What's becoming clearer over the last while is that this brain-gut communication [is] bidirectional, [and that the microbial] flora within the gut can actually also play an important part in regulating this. So we can now describe what we call the microbial gut-brain axis, and this is coming across in a whole variety of studies in [many new and] different ways. We've known for a long time that if you're feeling sick, or you've got a bad bacteria, like a food poisoning, the [vagus] nerve will signal to the brain to allow you express the sickness behavior. So it's kind of like the good side of what we've already known. We were able to get such a pronounced effect, and similar effects as if the animals had been given some pharmaceutical agents that are used to treat anxiety and depression.

Note: The above is a summary of an NPR interview with John Cryan, discussing findings published in PNAS by his research team. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Placebo effect influenced by perceived cost, study finds
2015-01-28, Los Angeles Times
Posted: 2015-02-02 12:51:24
http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-expensive-placebos-work-b...

Parkinson’s [is] a movement disorder that causes tremors, stiffness and balance problems. A 2008 meta-analysis found that placebos used in clinical trials of Parkinson’s treatments improved symptoms by an average of 16%. [A] team from the University of Cincinnati ... had a hunch that patients would be more responsive to a fake drug they thought was real if it came with a heftier price tag. So they recruited 12 patients with “moderately advanced” Parkinson’s and asked them to participate in a clinical trial. The study volunteers were told that there were two versions of the experimental drug and that both were believed to work equally well, [but] one version cost 15 times more than the other. In reality, both placebos were composed of the exact same saline solution. And yet, the patients perceived the expensive version to be more effective than the cheaper one, according to results published Wednesday in the journal Neurology. Both of the placebos improved motor function compared with a base line test. But when patients got the $1,500-per-dose placebo, their improvement was 9% greater than when they got the $100-per-dose placebo, the researchers reported. In another test, 67% of the patients were judged “very good” or having “marked improvement” after they took the expensive placebo, compared with 58% of patients after they took the purportedly cheap placebo.

Note: Even 58% experiencing "marked improvement" on the cheaper placebo is quite impressive! Why aren't more studies being done on the amazing and powerful affects of the placebo? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.




Defense contractor pleads guilty in massive bribery case
2015-01-15, Washington Post
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:56:13
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/navy-captain-enters-gui...

Malaysian defense contractor [Leonard Glenn Francis] pleaded guilty [to bribing] "scores" of U.S. Navy officials [while] presiding over a decade-long corruption scheme. His Singapore-based firm, Glenn Defense Marine Asia ... bilked the service out of tens of millions of dollars. Five current and former Navy officials have pleaded guilty so far. Francis, 50, agreed to forfeit $35 million in ill-gotten proceeds and could face up to 25 years in prison. [He also] provided evidence against two more Navy officials who have yet to be charged: a lieutenant commander and a ... civilian official [that] worked as a mole for Glenn Defense Marine. The Navy says that [Frances] was repeatedly able to thwart criminal investigators by bribing a senior agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who fed him sensitive files and helped to cover his tracks. A Navy captain, Daniel Dusek, admitted to disclosing military secrets to Francis and his firm in exchange for prostitutes, cash and visits to luxury hotels. Dusek provided classified information about Navy ship schedules dozens of times. According to court records, in October 2010, Dusek [as deputy director of operations for the 7th Fleet] persuaded the Navy to send an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and its strike group to visit a port in Malaysia that was largely controlled by Glenn Defense Marine. As a result, the company was able to easily inflate invoices and overcharge the Navy.

Note: Frances bribed Naval officials to redirect an aircraft carrier, and avoided prosecution for years by also bribing military investigators. If he could do this, and if Brent R. Wilkes could persuade the #3 Official at the CIA to award him millions in suspicious agency contracts, what else have corrupt government officials been bribed to do?





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