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.
Farmer Phub Zam, 55, is in a hurry. Monsoon rains have hit ... and Zam is rushing to harvest her broccoli. "Of all my vegetables, broccoli is the most sought after," she said. Each kilogram sells for ... 15 to 30 cents more than broccoli imported from neighboring India, because her produce is grown without the use of chemicals. After decades of subsistence farming, Zam went organic four years ago. Now she grows 21 crops on her 1.3-acre farm, [earning] three times more than she made before. Zam’s success is part of Bhutan’s plan to support sustainable farming as one key to build a thriving “green" economy. In 2011, the government launched the National Organic Program, which aims to make the country’s agriculture 100 percent organic by 2020. Zam’s switchover came when a team of officials from the agriculture ministry told her they were offering women farmers in her village free training in organic farming, including composting and selling the compost for a profit. After attending a three-day training course, Zam started her home compost heap. Today, she sells about 60 kilograms of compost - made of grass, leaves, cow dung and sawdust - every two months to tourist resorts and other buyers. Zam also uses the compost at her farm, including in the two greenhouses she bought and installed with an 80 percent subsidy from the government. In June, officials announced that the government had so far provided 176 greenhouses to farmers and planned to install 650 more.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
As part of its ‘Unlimited’ campaign, Western Sydney University in New South Wales, Australia, has told the harrowing story of one of its graduates, refugee lawyer Deng Thiak Adut. In 1985, the Sudanese government began destroying villages eventually leading to the rise of the People's Liberation Army. Two years later, six-year old Deng Thiak Adut was taken away from his family’s banana farm in South Sudan and conscripted into the Army. After undergoing military training, several years of army service and witnessing numerous atrocities, Deng was still a boy when he was shot in the back. A further two years later, a chance meeting led to Deng reuniting with his brother who helped smuggle him out of the country by hiding him in a corn sack on the back of a truck. After working at a local service station to learn English, Deng enrolled at TAFE and completed his Advanced Diploma in Accounting before deciding to study law. In 2005 he enrolled in a Bachelor of Laws at Western Sydney University and became the first person in his family to graduate with a law degree. Now determined to help other Sudanese refugees, the university’s poignant video has prompted its Facebook page to be flooded with messages of support for the graduate and the campaign. As the refugee crisis continues to develop in Europe, the emotional advert serves as a stark reminder that if a country open its doors to those in need, people from all walks of life can come together to benefit humanity as a whole.
Note: Don't miss the awesome video commercial featuring this most inspiring man.
Kanya Sesser, 23, skateboards, models lingerie and surfs – and she does it all without lower limbs. Sesser, who was born without legs, was adopted from an orphanage in Thailand before moving to Portland, Oregon, with her new family. Now, she earns more than $1,000 a day working as a model. "I enjoy making money from it and I love showing people what beauty can look like," Sesser told the Daily News. "These images show my strength." The 23-year-old, who uses a skateboard instead of a wheelchair, began modeling for sports brands when she was 15. The Huffington Post UK reports that the Los Angeles-based model has reportedly posed for brands like Billabong, Rip Curl Girl and Nike. "I was mainly doing athletics shoots then as I got older I got into lingerie modeling," Sesser told the Daily News. "It's something fun and it shows my story – I'm different and that is sexy, I don't need legs to feel sexy." Now, the model hopes to compete in the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as a mono-skier.
Note: Don't miss this inspiring seven-minute video of Kanya's courage and fascinating life.
Hydrogen has the potential to fuel incredibly environmentally clean cars. But making that fuel hasn't been so efficient or economical. Pure hydrogen gas does not occur naturally on Earth, so scientists must devise ways to separate hydrogen from naturally occurring compounds, like H2O. Until now, cars that run on water have been out of reach. But a team of scientists have come up with a different mechanism to produce hydrogen fuel from water. These researchers have created a biomaterial that catalyzes the splitting of the water elements, which they describe in a paper published in the journal Nature Chemistry. The biomaterial, called P22-Hyd, is made up of a modified enzyme, hydrogenase, protected within the protein shell of a bacterial virus. The mechanism goes both ways. P22-Hyd breaks the chemical bonds in H2O to produce hydrogen and oxygen, but it can also combine the two gases to generate power. That reversal is how hydrogen fuel cell cars work. "The reaction runs both ways - it can be used either as a hydrogen production catalyst or as a fuel cell catalyst," study lead author Trevor Douglas, of Indiana University Bloomington said. "You don't need to mine it; you can create it at room temperature on a massive scale using fermentation technology. It's a very green process to make a very high-end sustainable material."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
It began in a trailer in the shadows of one of Florida's most elegant malls, a brazen plan by two small police agencies to take on the hemisphere's most dangerous drug cartels. Forming their own task force, members of the Bal Harbour police and Glades County Sheriff's Office struck deals with criminal organizations across the country in what grew into the largest state undercover money-laundering investigation in years. Posing as launderers, the task force took in $55.6 million from the criminal groups, keeping thousands each week for themselves for laundering the money. They spent lavishly on first-class flights and five-star hotel stays. They bought Mac computers and submachine guns. In the end, they made no arrests of their own, and ended up returning all the money they laundered to the criminal groups. They also withdrew $1 million in cash with no records to show where the money went – and struck millions in additional money-laundering deals that were never disclosed.
Note: Read the full series of articles on this incredibly corrupt situation. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The very richest Americans have financed a sophisticated and astonishingly effective apparatus for shielding their fortunes. Some call it the “income defense industry,” consisting of a high-priced phalanx of lawyers, estate planners, lobbyists and anti-tax activists. All are among a small group providing much of the early cash for the 2016 presidential campaign. Operating largely out of public view - in tax court, through arcane legislative provisions and in private negotiations with the Internal Revenue Service - the wealthy have used their influence to steadily whittle away at the government’s ability to tax them. The effect has been to create a kind of private tax system, catering to only several thousand Americans. Two decades ago ... the 400 highest-earning taxpayers in America paid nearly 27 percent of their income in federal taxes, according to I.R.S. data. By 2012 ... that figure had fallen to less than 17 percent, which is just slightly more than the typical family making $100,000 annually. Some of the biggest current tax battles are being waged by some of the most generous supporters of 2016 candidates. Whatever tax rates Congress sets, the actual rates paid by the ultra-wealthy tend to fall over time as they exploit their numerous advantages.
Note: The IRS now conducts only half as many audits of the super-rich as it did five years ago. Over half of the money contributed so far to 2016 US presidential candidates has come from just 158 families. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
U.S. intelligence agencies recently fought off a move by Congress to require the CIA and other spy services to disclose more details about high-ranking employees who have been promoted or fired. Under a provision drafted by the Senate Intelligence Committee this year, intelligence agencies would have been required to regularly provide names of those being promoted to top positions and disclose any “significant and credible information to suggest that the individual is unfit or unqualified.” But that language faced intense opposition from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr.. As a result, the wording was watered down by Congress this month and now requires Clapper only to furnish “information the Director determines appropriate.” U.S. spy chiefs chafed at the idea of subjecting their top officials to such congressional scrutiny and went so far as to warn that candidates for certain jobs would probably withdraw. Former CIA director Michael Hayden said he [opposed the provision] “for simply being too invasive.”
Note: As a vocal advocate of intrusive spying, former CIA director Michael Hayden's claim that congressional oversight of spy agency personnel could be "too invasive" is ironic. The unaccountable US intelligence agencies were recently called a "secret government" in the Boston Globe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
The phrase “cancer screening saves lives” is ... familiar to most consumers of public service announcements. But that advice may be misleading. The ubiquitous adage ... fails to take into account deaths linked to factors related to the screening itself. For example, prostate cancer screening is known to return “numerous” false positives, writes Vinay Prasad, an assistant professor at Oregon Health and Science University, and contributes to over 1 million prostate biopsies a year. The procedure is “associated with serious harms, including admission to hospital and death.” What’s more, men diagnosed with prostate cancer are “more likely to have a heart attack or commit suicide in the year after diagnosis,” he writes. A similar case can be made for breast cancer screening. Fully 60 percent of women who get regular mammograms for 10 years have been handed a false positive result at some point. Being told you have breast cancer - even if it turns out that the test result was incorrect - has been associated with “psychosocial distress as great as a breast cancer diagnosis.” A massive study of 90,000 women over 25 years found that the regular screening did not change the women’s death rates. In fact, if anything, the screenings harmed some women: Out of every five cancers detected with the technology and treated, one was “not a threat to the woman’s health and did not need treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery or radiation,” all of which can cause serious side effects.
Note: Read more about routine over-diagnosis and unnecessary treatment of cancer in this New York Times article. And learn about the promising cancer research that has been largely suppressed by the medical-industrial complex. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
A report commissioned by the College of Family Physicians of Canada to examine the relationship between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry is being criticized. The document ... was completed in 2013 and only released this month after a number of doctors challenged the college board to make it public. In one of its key findings, the report notes, "There have been instances in which marketing messages have been portrayed as education and health care and pharmaceutical industries have attempted in this way to influence physicians' behaviour or practices," it says. "Evidence suggests that there could also be significant influence on the behaviour of individuals who may be offered gifts or other forms of support, even when the recipients perceive neither obligation nor influence." The report makes 20 recommendations dealing with issues such as conflict of interest, financial relationships, marketing and other relationships with the pharmaceutical and health care industries. But they don't prevent a doctor with ties to the pharmaceutical industry from serving in leadership positions, sponsoring certain events, or even from contributing to an "unrestricted" education fund. Alan Cassels, a drug policy researcher at the University of Victoria, is critical of the college for sitting on the report as long as it did. He suspects the college held it back because it's "pretty embarrassing."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the corruption of science and big pharma profiteering. Then read an in-depth essay titled "The Truth About Drug Companies" by acclaimed author Dr. Marcia Angell.
Rocco Galati has taken on a case for a group called the Committee for Monetary and Economic Reform, or COMER, which wants the central bank to return to the practice of lending federal and provincial governments interest-free money for infrastructure. "They felt it was important in the face of the financial sector meltdown in 2008, the banking meltdown, and the drastic reduction and elimination of human capital infrastructure such as health care, universities and basically the stuff that the Bank of Canada from 1938 to 1974 funded," Galati, [a Toronto lawyer], said. The Bank of Canada was set up in 1935 in the wake of the Great Depression to provide a means for settling international accounts and to provide interest-free loans to government to finance infrastructure investments. But in 1974, the central bank stopped providing interest-free loans to government so it could join the Bank for International Settlements, a kind of central bank of central banks. Galati argues that from then on private banks became government's lender, contravening the act that established the central bank. He has launched legal action, beginning in 2011, to rule on the constitutionality of the central bank's current role. His argument is that private banks are dictating the terms of Canadian debt, usurping the role of the Bank of Canada. "My hope is that the court declare that the government is bound by the legislation and cannot simply hand over that decision-making to foreign private bankers," Galati said.
Note: Don't miss the excellent video on this case at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.
The Transportation Security Administration’s new rules for screening passengers with its controversial full-body scanners - which were quietly changed just before the busy holiday travel season - represent a significant policy reversal that could affect your next flight. Getting checked by the TSA’s advanced-imaging technology used to be entirely optional, allowing those who refused a scan to be subjected to a pat-down. In fact, many observers thought the agency installed the 740 body scanners in 160 airports with an understanding that no one would be forced to use them, ever. But on a Friday in late December, the TSA revised its rules, saying an “opt out” is no longer an option for certain passengers. “The TSA is going back on its word,” says Fred Cate, a law professor at Indiana University and prominent TSA-watcher. “The scanners were sold to Congress and the public on the promise that they were optional, but for at least some people, that is no longer the case.” In previous court filings, the agency offered written assurance that the scanners were optional. Based on the agency’s statements, a federal appeals court affirmed the legality of using the full-body scanners as long as fliers were given a choice.
Note: Read more on the controversy surrounding TSA's costly but technically questionable scanners. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping personnel must lose their status as “a privileged class,” according to a former senior U.N. official, after fresh allegations of sexual abuse of minors by peacekeepers in Central African Republic (CAR) emerged. The U.N. peacekeeping mission in CAR - known as MINUSCA - said on Tuesday that it was investigating allegations concerning sexual exploitation and abuse of minors, as well as other misconduct, by peacekeepers and international forces. The peacekeepers came from Gabon, Egypt and Morocco, and AFP reported that the allegations brings the total number of sexual abuse cases against U.N. peacekeepers in CAR to 26. According to Paula Donovan, who served as a senior advisor to the U.N. Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa from 2003 to 2006, the latest allegations mean that the U.N.’s “sex abuse crisis is now more exposed than ever before, but there’s no evidence that the U.N. has changed the way it’s dealing with the problem. The U.N. treats reports of sexual abuse by its personnel as administrative matters to be handled internally and in secret, rather than as serious violent crimes,” says Donovan.
Note: A personal friend of WantToKnow.info manager Fred Burks served with the Peace Corps in Africa where she saw learned of horrendous sexual abuse, but was told by all of her superiors in Peace Corps not to touch that one. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team titled "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
In total, incidents involving sexual assault in which the children of service members are victims occur hundreds of times each year, data the Defense Department provided ... show. The figures offer greater insight into the sexual abuse of children committed by service members, a problem of uncertain scale due to a lack of transparency into the military's legal proceedings. With more than 1 million military dependents, the number of cases appears statistically small. An AP investigation ... found more inmates are in military prisons for child sex crimes than for any other offense. But the military's opaque justice system keeps the public from knowing the full extent of their crimes or how much time they spend behind bars. Responding to AP's findings, three Democratic senators have urged Defense Secretary Ash Carter to lift what they called the military justice system's "cloak of secrecy" and make records from sex-crimes trials readily accessible. The senators also raised another concern. Child sex-assault cases are not included in the Defense Department's annual report to Congress on sexual assaults, which focuses primarily on adult-on-adult incidents, they said. The senators ... told Carter in a Dec. 8 letter they are concerned the department may be underestimating how many sexual assaults are occurring in the military.
Note: When it comes to sexual abuse, the US military has reportedly fostered a culture of coverup. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team titled "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this sad subject. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Saudi Arabia’s well-funded public relations apparatus moved quickly after Saturday’s explosive execution of Shiite political dissident Nimr al-Nimr to shape how the news is covered in the United States. The execution led protestors in Shiite-run Iran to set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, precipitating a major diplomatic crisis. The Saudi side of the story is getting a particularly effective boost in the American media through pundits who are quoted justifying the execution, in many cases without mention of their funding or close affiliation with the Saudi Arabian government. Meanwhile, social media accounts affiliated with Saudi Arabia’s American lobbyists have pushed English-language infographics, tweets, and online videos to promote a narrative that reflects the interests of the Saudi regime. An editorial published by the Wall Street Journal approvingly quoted Joseph Braude of the Foreign Policy Research Institute claiming that Nimr was a violent extremist. Braude’s depiction of Nimr aligns with ... Saudi Arabia’s terrorism law, [which] includes as acts of terrorism merely criticizing the government. But as journalists and editors from the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, the BBC, and other prominent outlets have reported, Nimr advocated nonviolence and encouraged his followers to protest peacefully. Braude did not provide any evidence for his claims beyond anonymous “Saudi sources.”
Note: Read about the Saudi campaign to charm American policy makers even as it set a record in the number of public beheadings. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and media manipulation.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released new evidence that mass incarceration continues to unwind in the United States. The rate of U.S. adults under some form of criminal justice supervision declined for the seventh straight year, dropping to a level not seen since 1996. The criminal justice supervision rate comprises individuals on probation or parole as well as those incarcerated in local jails or in federal or state prison. A total of 6,851,000 adults were under criminal justice supervision in at the end of 2014, a decline of 52,200 from the year before. Evaluating change in the criminal justice system as whole is essential for determining whether the nation is truly making progress on reducing mass incarceration. Research on the state and federal prison population has documented a decline for over half a decade, but such data can be misleading if the criminal justice system is playing a shell game - transferring prisoners to local jails or moving them onto parole. The new Bureau of Justice System report shows that the correctional system is indeed shrinking across the board rather than simply shifting offenders from one form of supervision to another.
Note: This is great news. But it will take a very long time for the era of mass incarceration to end if the criminal justice supervision rate shrinks by less than one percent per year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In March I received a call from the White House counsel’s office regarding a speech I had prepared for my boss at the State Department. The speech was about the impact ... of National Security Agency surveillance practices. The draft stated that “if U.S. citizens disagree with congressional and executive branch determinations about the proper scope of signals intelligence activities, they have the opportunity to change the policy through our democratic process.” But the White House counsel’s office told me that no, that wasn’t true. I was instructed to amend the line. Some intelligence practices remain so secret, even from members of Congress, that there is no opportunity for our democracy to change them. Public debate about the bulk collection of U.S. citizens’ data by the NSA has focused largely on Section 215 of the Patriot Act. Based in part on classified facts that I am prohibited by law from publishing, I believe that Americans should be even more concerned about the collection and storage of their communications under Executive Order 12333 than under Section 215. Unlike Section 215, the executive order authorizes collection of the content of communications, not just metadata, even for U.S. persons. It does not require that the affected U.S. persons be suspected of wrongdoing and places no limits on the volume of communications by U.S. persons that may be collected and retained. None of the reforms that Obama announced earlier this year will affect such collection.
Note: The above was written by John Napier Tye, former section chief for Internet freedom in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. A 2014 Washington Post investigation sheds more light on the NSA's legally dubious domestic mass surveillance program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
It was every subway rider’s nightmare. Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker and Navy veteran ... was waiting for the downtown local at 137th Street and Broadway in Manhattan around 12:45 p.m. He was taking his two daughters, Syshe, 4, and Shuqui, 6, home before work. Nearby, a man collapsed, his body convulsing. Mr. Autrey and two women rushed to help, he said. The man, Cameron Hollopeter ... stumbled to the platform edge and fell to the tracks, between the two rails. The headlights of the No. 1 train appeared. “I had to make a split decision,” Mr. Autrey said. So he made one, and leapt. Mr. Autrey lay on Mr. Hollopeter, his heart pounding, pressing him down in a space roughly a foot deep. The train’s brakes screeched, but it could not stop in time. Five cars rolled overhead before the train stopped, the cars passing inches from his head, smudging his blue knit cap with grease. Mr. Autrey heard onlookers’ screams. “We’re O.K. down here,” he yelled, “but I’ve got two daughters up there. Let them know their father’s O.K.” He heard cries of wonder, and applause. Power was cut, and workers got them out. Mr. Hollopeter ... had only bumps and bruises. The police said it appeared that Mr. Hollopeter had suffered a seizure. Mr. Autrey refused medical help, because, he said, nothing was wrong. He did visit Mr. Hollopeter in the hospital before heading to his night shift. “I don’t feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help,” Mr. Autrey said. “I did what I felt was right.”
Note: Don't miss the inspiring two-minute video of this act of courage.
To the average person, it may seem that the biggest technology advances of 2015 were the larger smartphone screens. But a ... broad range of technologies reached a tipping point. 1. The Internet and knowledge: As of 2015 ... India has more Internet users than the U.S. does, and China has twice as many. Never before has all of humanity been connected in this way. 2. Doctors in our pockets: In 2015, smartphone-connected medical devices came into the mainstream. Previous generations of medical advances were for the rich; now all can benefit. 3. Bitcoin and disintermediation: One of the most controversial technology advances recently is Bitcoin, an unregulated and uncontrolled digital currency. In 2015, it gained acceptance by retailers such as Overstock.com. And the technology that underlies it, blockchain ... has the potential to transform the lives of billions of people who lack bank accounts and access to the legal and administrative infrastructure that we take for granted. 4. Engineering of life: Another technology that came into the mainstream was Crispr gene modification. Via Crisprs, DNA can be edited for as little as $100. 5. The drone age: As the technologies advance, drones will carry increasing amounts of weight and travel over longer distances. 6. Saving the planet with clean energy: U.S. lawmakers struck [a deal] to extend tax credits for solar and wind capture for another five years, which will accelerate the progress of clean energy. By, 2030, solar capture could provide 100 percent of today’s energy.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Campbell Soup Company may become the first major U.S. food company to list genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in its ingredients lists nationwide as it threw its weight behind a national labeling standard. The company announced its support on Thursday for federal regulation of GMO standards, noting it is in favor of federal legislation that would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate which foods can be labeled GMOs. The company's support for federal legislation comes as Vermont prepares to implement the Vermont Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act, which would require a GMO label on food by July 1, 2016, if the food is "entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering." Campbell posted an example of that label on its website and said it was preparing to expand the GMO labeling nationwide even without federal regulations, but to do so would need guidance from the FDA and USDA. The company estimates the new labels could be implemented in approximately 12 to 18 months after it gets guidance from the federal agencies. There is currently no federal standard for what food would constitute a GMO, unlike a food item that is deemed USDA Organic. The World Health Organization defines a GMO as "foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism."
Wind and solar power appear set for a record-breaking year in 2016 as a clean-energy construction boom gains momentum in spite of a global glut of cheap fossil fuels. Installations of wind turbines and solar panels soared in 2015 as utility companies went on a worldwide building binge, taking advantage of falling prices for clean technology as well as an improving regulatory and investment climate. Both industries have seen stock prices jump since Congress approved an extension of tax credits for renewables as part of last month’s $1.14 trillion budget deal. Orders for 2016 solar and wind installations are up sharply, from the United States to China to the developing economies of Africa and Latin America, all in defiance of stubbornly low prices for coal and natural gas, the industry’s chief competitors. “The policy base for renewables has strengthened, both on the incentives side and through mandates,” [former Energy Department assistant secretary Dan] Reicher said. “At the same time, the financing of renewable-energy projects has become a mainstream business for Wall Street. The early-stage investments from Silicon Valley for clean energy were small potatoes compared to the massive investments Wall Street is making. It truly is a global business.”
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.