May 1, 2005
Below are one paragraph summaries of news stories which did not warrant a separate message, but which may be of interest. Links are provided to the original sources. If any link fails to function, click here. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
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Fred Burks for WantToKnow.info
notches huge profit for quarter
April 28, 2005, Houston Chronicle
Exxon Mobil's profit was the company's biggest ever in a first quarter. It also was the fifth-largest for any U.S. company in any quarter. The news Thursday was similar at the Royal Dutch-Shell Group of Companies and Houston-based Marathon Oil Co., which also reported sharply higher profits despite a drop in production. The latest batch of oil-industry earnings were in line with this week's results at BP, which reported a 35 percent jump in profits, buoyed by higher oil and gas prices. Still, oil stocks fell as profits missed Wall Street's expectations. Do the companies deserve credit for their profits, or are they merely riding the crest of high energy prices? In other energy earnings: Unocal Corp. said its profit jumped 69 percent.
and awes: there is no war on terrorism
April 27, 2005, Sydney Morning Herald (Australia's leading newspaper)
The so-called global war on terrorism does not exist, a high-ranking army officer has declared in a speech that challenges the conventional political wisdom. In a frank speech, Brigadier Justin Kelly dismissed several of the central tenets of the Iraq war and the war on terrorism, saying the "war" part is all about politics and terrorism is merely a tactic. Speaking at a conference on future warfighting, Brigadier Kelly, the director-general of future land warfare, also suggested that the "proposition you can bomb someone into thinking as we do has been found to be untrue".
nations hold much
April 25, 2005, Christian Science Monitor
They're tax havens: 70 mostly tiny nations that offer no-tax or low-tax status to the wealthy so they can stash their money. Usually, the process is so secret that it draws little attention. But the sums - and lost tax revenues - are growing so large that the havens are getting new and unaccustomed scrutiny. There are about 3 million shell companies (set up largely to duck taxes) in offshore tax havens, Komisar reckons. These tiny tax havens hold 31 percent of total world assets and 26 percent of the stock of US multinationals.
Government report says 2.1 million behind bars in U.S.
April 24, 2005, MSNBC
Growing at a rate of about 900 inmates each week between mid-2003 and mid-2004, the nation's prisons and jails held 2.1 million people, or one in every 138 U.S. residents, the government reported Sunday. While the crime rate has fallen over the past decade, the number of people in prison and jail is outpacing the number of inmates released, said the report's co-author, Paige Harrison. In 2004, one in every 138 U.S. residents was in prison or jail. 61 percent of prison and jail inmates were of racial or ethnic minorities, the government said. An estimated 12.6 percent of all black men in their late 20s were in jails or prisons, as were 3.6 percent of Hispanic men and 1.7 percent of white men in that age group, the report said.
Pope 'obstructed' sex abuse inquiry
April 24, 2005, The Observer (one of the UK's leading newspapers)
Confidential letter reveals Ratzinger ordered bishops to keep allegations secret. Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret. The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001. It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.
More Robot Grunts Ready for Duty
Army Research Office, December 1, 2004
Hunting for guerillas, handling roadside bombs, crawling across the caves and crumbling towns of Afghanistan and Iraq -- all of that was just a start. Now, the Army is prepping its squad of robotic vehicles for a new set of assignments. And this time, they'll be carrying guns. "Putting something like this into the field, we're about to start something that's never been done before," said Staff Sgt. Santiago Tordillos, waving to the black, 2-foot-six-inch robot rolling around the carpeted floor on twin treads, an M249 machine gun cradled in its mechanical grip. "This opens up great vistas, some quite pleasant, others quite nightmarish. On the one hand, this could make our flesh-and-blood soldiers so hard to get to that traditional war -- a match of relatively evenly matched peers -- could become a thing of the past," he said. "But this might also rob us of our humanity. We could be the ones that wind up looking like Terminators, in the world's eyes."
Closes FBI Case Arguments to Public
Los Angeles Times/Associated Press, April 21, 2005
A federal appeals court Thursday barred the public from arguments in the case of a fired FBI contractor who alleged security breaches and misconduct at the agency. Sibel Edmonds' lawsuit against the government was thrown out of a lower court when the Bush administration invoked the state secrets privilege, which allows the government to withhold information to safeguard national security. The Justice Department's inspector general said Edmonds' allegations to her superiors about a co-worker "raised serious concerns that, if true, could potentially have extremely damaging consequences for the FBI." The inspector general concluded that the FBI did not adequately investigate the allegations and that Edmonds was retaliated against for speaking out. [Note: Ms. Edmonds' claim is that top government officials had clear foreknowledge of 9/11, yet 9/11 is not even mentioned in the article.]
Theologian calls for response to
The Capitol Times (Madison, Wisconsin), April 18, 2005
David Ray Griffin asks the tough questions about Sept. 11, contending U.S. officials had some knowledge of what was coming and possibly orchestrated the attacks. Griffin, whose book, "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11," came out a year ago, drew an enthusiastic standing ovation from the majority of the 400 or so people who packed his lecture Monday night at Bascom Hall. A retired Christian theologian, Griffin, 65, taught for more than 30 years at the Claremont School of Theology in California. While Griffin noted that his books and talks have not received attention from the mainstream media, C-SPAN had a cameraman at the event and plans to air the lecture at a future date.
Arrested in U.S. Fugitive Roundup
Los Angeles Times, April 15, 2005
In an operation that was equal parts police work, public relations and lobbying, the Justice Department said Thursday that it had conducted an unusual weeklong sweep with state and local authorities that led to the arrest of more than 10,000 fugitives wanted for murder, rape, kidnapping, robbery and drug offenses. The roundup was funded under a program that Congress established four years ago requiring the Marshals Service to help state and local authorities clear the streets of the most violent criminals. The program has netted more than 147,000 fugitives.
boycotts biotech rice
MSNBC/Associated Press, April 5, 2005
Anheuser-Busch Cos., the nation's No. 1 buyer of rice as well as its largest brewer, says it won't buy rice from Missouri if genetically modified, drug-making crops are allowed to be grown in the state. Last month, Arkansas-based Riceland Foods Inc., the world's largest rice miller and marketer, asked federal regulators to deny a permit for Ventria's project, saying its customers don't want to risk buying genetically modified rice. Anheuser-Busch is believed to be the first major company to threaten a boycott over the issue, according to comments filed last month with the Agriculture Department.
Claims May Be a Look at Dark Side of War on Terror
Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2004
ULM, Germany – Khaled el-Masri says his strange and violent trip into the void began with a bus ride on New Year's Eve 2003. When he returned to this city five months later, his friends didn't believe the odyssey he recounted. Masri said he was kidnapped in Macedonia, beaten by masked men, blindfolded, injected with drugs and flown to Afghanistan, where he was imprisoned and interrogated by U.S. intelligence agents. He said he was finally dumped in the mountains of Albania. A Munich prosecutor has launched an investigation and is intent on questioning U.S. officials about the unemployed car salesman's claim that he was wrongly targeted as an Islamic militant. Masri's story, if true, would offer a rare firsthand look at one man's disappearance into a hidden dimension of the Bush administration's war on terrorism. Since the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. authorities have used overseas detention centers and jails to hold or interrogate suspected terrorists, such as at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Many of the estimated 9,000 prisoners in U.S. military custody were captured in Iraq, but others, like Masri, were allegedly picked up in another country and delivered to U.S. authorities in Afghanistan or elsewhere for months of confinement.
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