Sexism Campaign at facebook Wins, Pope on Vatican 'Gay Lobby,' Tax Haven Names Released
Revealing News Articles
Below are key excerpts of important news articles on the success of an inspiring grassroots sexism campaign at getting facebook to stop rape and other sexually abusive content, Pope Francis acknowledging a 'gay lobby' at the Vatican, a previously secret list of names involved with tax havens being released, and more. Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on the provision of free eye surgery to the poor of India and the rescue of innocent Nepalese children from lives in prison. To skip to the section on inspiring articles, click here.
Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Special note: To sign a White House petition to pardon whistleblower Edward Snowden, click here. The petition currently has nearly 100,000 signers. To see key quotes showing the amazing courage and dedication of Snowden, click here.
Facebook rejects rape culture. Can you?
May 31, 2013, CNN
After I wrote an article about misogyny found on Facebook, people began to send me links to content that they had tried and failed to have removed by the site. Among these was a seven-minute video depicting a gang-rape of a girl by the side of the road. I began looking more deeply into the subject. I came across "humor" pages with names like "Raping Your Girlfriend." There were easily accessed pictures and videos of girls and women frightened, humiliated, bruised, beaten, raped, [and] bathed in blood. In one instance, Facebook declined to remove an image of a woman, mouth covered in tape, in which the caption read, "Don't tap her and rap her. Tape her and rape her." The photo went viral. Facebook's response ... "the photo ... did not violate our community standards." I joined [others] to launch a global campaign to confront institutionalized sexism in media. We wrote an open letter to Facebook, co-signed by more than 100 organizations, asking the company ... to train people to recognize violence against women as hateful. We encouraged users of Facebook to send messages to its advertisers encouraging them to boycott the social media network. Over seven days, men and women around the world sent more than 60,000 tweets ... and 5,000 e-mails to targeted advertisers, 16 of whom withdrew their advertising. Facebook responded, noting that its "systems to identify and remove hate speech have failed to work as effectively" as they would like. We are in the midst of a shifting cultural tide in which gender based violence -- historically kept private -- is better understood as a pandemic problem. Facebook's action represents an open acknowledgment that violence against women is a serious issue [that] deserves serious attention.
Note: How sad that it took facebook advertisers withdrawing their support to make this change. And how awesome that the writer of this article, Soraya Chemaly, had to the courage to stand up and do something about it by initiating this sexism campaign against facebook, and to inspire others to join her. Working together, we can make a difference.
How Facebook Learned Rape is Bad for Business
May 30, 2013, Huffington Post
For years Facebook has maintained an imperious and stony silence against pleas from users and victims about its most objectionable content. But on May 27th, Facebook finally flinched. And then it cratered, caved and capitulated in the course of a single phone call after a one-week #fbrape campaign by the smartest feminists on the planet. In the end, it was all about the money. WAM (Women Action Media), feminist Soraya Chemaly and Everyday Sexism in the UK took direct aim at Facebook's advertising revenue stream. They publicly showed major advertisers their own paid ads prominently displayed ... on horrific rape-oriented Facebook pages. It was too much for Nissan and the insurance giant Nationwide, which both pulled their ads immediately. Organizers then aimed a blistering barrage of social media messages to Dove, American Express, ZipCar and other brands, demanding that they too withdraw their ads. Why did Facebook move so swiftly to staunch the bleeding? To put it simply, it had to. Advertising dollars are the octane that fuels Facebook. The #fbrape campaign organizers seized on the key paradox and gaping vulnerability in the advertising model. Although monetized like a titanic broadcast network, Facebook's content ethic is actually stuck on [a] frat-boy setting. A striking mismatch exists between the chaos generated by a billion content up-loaders and the brand discipline demanded by multi-billion dollar advertisers. No advertiser can risk having its brand associated with violent rape, gore, or child abuse porn, all of which are widely disseminated on Facebook by an army of trolls and goons.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
'Gay lobby' in the Vatican, says Pope Francis
June 11, 2013, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Pope Francis has admitted that a "gay lobby" exists within the Vatican's administration and is planning to take action about it, according to reports. "Yes, it is difficult," he reportedly said. "In the Curia there are holy people, truly holy people. But there is also a current of corruption, also there is ... a 'gay lobby' and that is true. It is there ... we will have to see what we can do." In February, Italian newspapers reported that a dossier on scandals within the Vatican, ordered by Pope Benedict XVI and delivered to him in December, exposed a network of patronage among a powerful lobby of homosexual churchmen as well as the potential blackmailing of homosexuals. The Italian reports suggested that the details exposed had pushed Benedict to resign in February. The dossier was compiled by three senior cardinals, who were charged with looking into secret rivalries and corruption within the Vatican following the leaking of Benedict's private letters by his butler, Paolo Gabriele. In his audience, Pope Francis allegedly promised to reform the Vatican but said it would be "difficult" and that he could not carry out the reforms himself because he was "disorganised". He reportedly said he would be relying on the commission of eight cardinals he appointed in April to organise reform of the Curia, which is due to meet in October.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on secrecy, click here.
Secret tax-haven names released to public
June 14, 2013, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting network)
An enormous trove of leaked records about secret companies and accounts is being opened to the public in hope it will shed light on the murky world of offshore finance. The information, contained in a new online database released [on June 14], has the names of more than 100,000 offshore entities – mainly companies and trusts set up in locales such as the British Virgin Islands and Cook Islands – and the people associated with them. Media outlets worldwide have been reporting on the information leak since it came to light in early April, with far-reaching global repercussions. The online names database was released ... by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, and contains a basic subset of the 260 gigabytes of leaked tax-haven files that the Washington-based group obtained and shared with global news organizations. "What we're doing for the British Virgin Islands, the Cook Islands, and other offshore havens is what's routinely done in many countries around the world – making the control and ownership of companies a matter of public record," said Michael Hudson, a senior editor at the journalism consortium. The newly released database shows the names and, where available, the shareholders and directors of offshore companies, and visually maps out links between them. [ICIJ] said it hopes people will browse the names and tip off reporters to new revelations about people and companies doing business offshore.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corporate corruption, click here.
Traders Said to Rig Currency Rates to Profit Off Clients
June 11, 2013, Bloomberg News
Traders at some of the world's biggest banks manipulated benchmark foreign-exchange rates used to set the value of trillions of dollars of investments, according to five dealers with knowledge of the practice. Employees have been front-running client orders and rigging WM/Reuters rates by pushing through trades before and during the 60-second windows when the benchmarks are set, said the current and former traders, who requested anonymity because the practice is controversial. Dealers colluded with counterparts to boost chances of moving the rates, said two of the people, who worked in the industry for a total of more than 20 years. The behavior occurred daily in the spot foreign-exchange market and has been going on for at least a decade, affecting the value of funds and derivatives, the two traders said. The Financial Conduct Authority, Britain's markets supervisor, is considering opening a probe into potential manipulation of the rates, according to a person briefed on the matter. The $4.7-trillion-a-day currency market, the biggest in the financial system, is one of the least regulated. The inherent conflict banks face between executing client orders and profiting from their own trades is exacerbated because most currency trading takes place away from exchanges. The WM/Reuters rates are used by fund managers to compute the day-to-day value of their holdings. While the rates aren't followed by most investors, even small movements can affect the value of [the] $3.6 trillion in funds including pension and savings accounts that track global indexes.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.
America's private prison system is a national disgrace
June 13, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Privatization [of government functions] often comes with a lack of oversight and a series of abuses. One particularly stunning example is the American prison system, the realities of which should be a national disgrace. Some of those realities are highlighted in a recent lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of prisoners at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility (EMCF). EMCF houses severely mentally ill prisoners, with the supposed intent of providing both incarceration and treatment. Instead, the ACLU contends, the facility, which is operated by private contractors, is rife with horrific abuses. The complaint lists a litany of such horrors, [including]: Rampant rapes. Placing prisoners in solitary confinement for weeks, months or even years at a time. Rat infestations so bad that vermin crawl over prisoners. Many suicide attempts, some successful. Denying or delaying treatment for infections and even cancer. Stabbings, beatings and other acts of violence. Malnourishment and chronic hunger. Officers who deal with prisoners by using physical violence. The [US] prison system is increasingly built and run by for-profit corporations, who have a financial interest in increasing the number of people in prison while decreasing the amount of money it costs to house them. Since 1980, the US prison population has grown by 790%. We have the largest prison population of any nation in the history of the world.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on corruption and human rights abuses in prisons, click here.
NSA surveillance played little role in foiling terror plots, experts say
June 12, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Lawyers and intelligence experts with direct knowledge of two intercepted terrorist plots that the Obama administration says confirm the value of the NSA's vast data-mining activities have questioned whether the surveillance sweeps played a significant role, if any, in foiling the attacks. The defence of the controversial data collection operations ... has been led by Dianne Feinstein, chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee, and her equivalent in the House, Mike Rogers. The two politicians have attempted to justify the NSA's use of vast data sweeps such as Prism and Boundless Informant by pointing to the arrests and convictions of would-be New York subway bomber Najibullah Zazi in 2009 and David Headley, who is serving a 35-year prison sentence for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. But court documents lodged in the US and UK, as well as interviews with involved parties, suggest that data-mining through Prism and other NSA programmes played a relatively minor role in the interception of the two plots. Conventional surveillance techniques, in both cases including old-fashioned tip-offs from intelligence services in Britain, appear to have initiated the investigations. The Headley case is a peculiar choice for the administration to highlight as an example of the virtues of data-mining. The fact that the Mumbai attacks occurred, with such devastating effect, in itself suggests that the NSA's secret programmes were limited in their value as he was captured only after the event. Headley ... had been an informant working for the Drug Enforcement Administration perhaps as recently as 2005. There are suggestions that he might have then worked in some capacity for the FBI or CIA.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency activity, click here.
Daniel Ellsberg: 'I'm sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case'
June 5, 2013, Washington Post
[Daniel] Ellsberg is one of the most outspoken critics of the Obama administration's prosecution of leakers. Under President Obama's tenure, the government has prosecuted six individuals for releasing classified information to media organizations. Ellsberg is particularly fierce in his support of Bradley Manning, a young soldier who released a large amount of classified information to WikiLeaks. Manning was arrested in 2010, and his military court-martial began this week. Ellsberg considers Manning a hero, and he argues that there is little difference between what Manning did in 2010 and what Ellsberg did four decades earlier. [Q.}: In a 1973 interview, you said that a "secondary objective" of releasing the Pentagon Papers was "the hope of changing the tolerance of Executive secrecy that had grown up over the last quarter of a century both in Congress and the courts and in the public at large." How has that "tolerance of secrecy" changed over the last four decades? DE: There's been very great tolerance that if the magic words "national security," or the new words "homeland security" are invoked, Congress has given the president virtually a free hand in deciding what information they will know as well as the public. I wouldn't count on the current court with its current makeup making the same ruling with the Pentagon Papers as they did 40 years ago. I'm sure that President Obama would have sought a life sentence in my case. Various things that were counted as unconstitutional then have been put in the president's hands now. He's become an elected monarch. Nixon's slogan, "when the president does it, it's not illegal," is pretty much endorsed now.
Note: To see key quotes showing the amazing courage and dedication of Snowden, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency activity, click here.
Connecting the Dots on PRISM, Phone Surveillance, and the NSA's Massive Spy Center
June 12, 2013, Wired Magazine
Long before Edward Snowden walked out of the NSA with his trove of documents, whistleblowers there had been trying for years to bring attention to the massive turn toward domestic spying that the agency was making. Last year in my Wired cover story on the enormous new NSA data center in Utah, Bill Binney, the man who largely designed the agency's worldwide eavesdropping system, warned of the secret, nationwide surveillance. He told how the NSA had gained access to billions of billing records not only from AT&T but also from Verizon. I also wrote about Adrienne J. Kinne, an NSA intercept operator who attempted to blow the whistle on the NSA's illegal eavesdropping on Americans following the 9/11 attacks. She [attempted and failed] to end the illegal activity with appeals all the way up the chain of command to Major General Keith Alexander. The deception by General Alexander is especially troubling. In my new cover story for Wired's July issue ...I show how he has become the most powerful intelligence chief in the nation's history. Never before has anyone in America's intelligence sphere come close to his degree of power, the number of people under his command, the expanse of his rule, the length of his reign, or the depth of his secrecy. A four-star Army general, his authority extends across three domains: He is director of the world's largest intelligence service, the National Security Agency; chief of the Central Security Service; and commander of the U.S. Cyber Command. As such, he has his own secret military, presiding over the Navy's 10th Fleet, the 24th Air Force, and the Second Army.
Note: James Bamford, the author of this article, was the ABC producer responsible for breaking the story on Operation Northwoods, which proved a level of deception almost beyond belief at the very highest levels of the Pentagon. For more on this, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency activity, click here.
G8 has a chance to tackle the forgotten scandal of hunger
June 13, 2013, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
The week before the G8 convenes once again is a natural time to reminisce about the good old days, but this is about more than nostalgia. Even in today's age of austerity, the G8 has a chance to ... tackle the forgotten scandal of hunger. A child dies every 10 seconds from malnutrition – not because their parents are reckless, stupid or lazy – but because they were unlucky enough to be born at a time and place where there is too little food available or, perhaps more tragically, where people cannot afford to buy the food that is. One in eight people in the world will go to bed hungry tonight. That's 870 million people. The total population of the G8 is just 890 million. Just imagine the urgency to act if those 870 million lived in the G8 rather than in Africa, South Asia and other poor countries. Protecting poor people from land grabs, making it easier for them to find out what companies and their governments are doing and stopping the ridiculous situation where G8 members' policies actively encourage land to be used for growing fuel rather than food: all these will help. But perhaps the biggest step forward the G8 could make would be to end the scandal that sees companies dodge more than $160bn a year in tax they should pay poor countries. It is money that could be invested in farms – providing the seeds, equipment and knowhow to get more food from the same plot of land. And it could be used to provide safety nets to help people whose ability to earn a living has failed to keep pace with rising food prices.
Reformer in the black hat
June 7, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
Jack Abramoff had just delivered a primer on the corruption of Congress when a University of San Francisco graduate student in public affairs posed the question: Does ethical lobbying exist, or is the cutting of moral corners just part of the job description? Abramoff, whose mastery of capital sleaze earned him a fortune and then a prison term, estimated that 95 percent of the thousands of lobbyists who populate Washington are ethical. He was, by his own admission, among the 5 percent. "The problem is, when you're one of those (unethical) lobbyists, you will be able to crush the other lobbyists," said Abramoff, now 55, repentant after 43 months in federal prison and on a crusade to reform the system he exploited so adroitly. Abramoff's reform plan ... would expand the definition of lobbyist to anyone (person or corporation) that tries to influence legislation, impose a limit on campaign contributions to $500 per election cycle and prohibit legislators, staffers and administration decisionmakers from lobbying activity for 10 years after leaving government. In Abramoff's eyes, well-directed money is the only way to overcome the corrosive influence of strategically distributed money in Washington. He has written a book, Capitol Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America's Most Notorious Lobbyist, and become an advocate of political reform. He still owes nearly $44 million in restitution for defrauding his tribal clients.
Note: Abramoff, who manipulated tens of millions of dollars, was sentenced to a total of 10 years in jail, yet was released after less than four years. At the same time petty thieves caught three times in many US states are sentenced to life in prison. Where's the justice? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Key prosecutor gunned down in Pakistan
May 4, 2013, Boston Globe/Washington Post
Gunmen shot to death the Pakistani government's top prosecutor ... in a case that accuses former military ruler Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the 2007 assassination of ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, police said. The gunmen opened fire on Chaudhry Zulfikar's car as he was leaving his home. The assailants escaped. Chaudhry Zulfikar was involved in a number of high-profile cases. Zulfikar's slaying was a rare episode of violence in the capital, which has so far seen none of the bombings or other attacks launched by the Taliban against secular politicians. Musharraf, who ruled Pakistan for nine years before going into self-exile in 2008, returned in March in an ultimately futile bid to run for prime minister. He has been under house arrest for more than two weeks, facing allegations in various cases linked to his tenure. In the case unfolding in Rawalpindi, prosecutors allege that Musharraf was culpable for Bhutto's murder for not providing her with enough security. He has denied the allegations. Bhutto's son, Bilawal, who now leads the Pakistan People's Party, has alleged that Musharraf was behind it. Proceedings in the case have been bogged down for years, and resumed only recently with Musharraf's return. Speculation was rife ... that Zulfikar was killed to disrupt that case.
Note: It is interesting to note that only weeks before her death in 2007, Benazir Bhutto said in a BBC interview that Osama bin Laden had already been killed. To read quotes from this BBC interview, click here. For a CNN article revealing the Bhutto was planning to give US lawmakers a report on vote rigging on the day she was assassinated, click here. Could it be that the prosecutor in the article above was killed because he knew too much?
Bilderberg Protests: Police Create No-Fly Zone Over London
June 6, 2013, CNBC
As political leaders arrive for the 61st annual Bilderberg conference in London, police have implemented a no-fly zone and used anti-terror laws to close-off streets to traffic. The annual meeting of the secretive Bilderberg Group, which features some of the world's most powerful policymakers and politicians, is a lightning rod for anti-capitalist protestors who see the private club as a conspiracy to "fix the global economy" for private interests. The meeting being held at the Grove Hotel in the North London suburb of Watford is being attended by Henry Kissinger, the former U.S. secretary of state, Timothy Geithner, the former U.S. treasury secretary, former Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and George Osborne, the U.K. finance minister. The heads of Barclays, McKinsey & Company, BP, Goldman Sachs and HSBC will also be in attendance as well as Google's Eric Schmidt and Amazon's Jeff Bezos. Around 200 protesters gathered outside the hotel on Thursday afternoon. A large 7-foot fence had been erected around the hotel building where the group is due to meet. Cars featuring blacked out-windows had been entering the grounds of the hotel, amid protesters shouting "pay your taxes" and "scum". It is predicted the number of protesters will swell as the meeting progresses into the weekend. U.K. opposition politician Michael Meacher travelled to the event to speak at the protest on Thursday, despite his Labour Party colleague and shadow finance minister, Ed Balls, attending the Bilderberg conference. "World elite of finance capitalism meets secretly to fix global economy in own interests," he said on Twitter.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on secret societies, click here.
A New Deal for Appalachia's Forests: Growing Biofuels?
May 31, 2013, Yes! Magazine
Using valuable food crops like corn and sugar cane to produce biofuels has been a highly controversial topic in an age of imminent food crises. But nobody is growing corn on the former strip mines of Eastern Kentucky. Surface mining left its mark on the Appalachian landscape through much of the 20th century, as large swaths of native forest were replaced with sparse, scrubby grassland. But University of Kentucky forestry professor Chris Barton sees in the compacted soil of old strip mines the possibility of using former surface mine land for short-rotation forestry–in order to produce fuel. Here's how it would work: Fast-growing, native trees like black locust could be grown and harvested every five to 10 years; then, the woodchips would be burned in an oxygen-restricted condition to produce combustible gases that in turn could be used to generate energy and heat. After a few generations of short-rotation harvests, the land could be transitioned to a long-term forest. Barton is the founder of Green Forests Work, a nonprofit spin-off of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative that seeks to reforest lands scarred by mining with native trees–all the while helping to rebuild struggling local economies. Since GFW was launched in 2008, more than 5,000 volunteers have planted nearly 1 million trees on former surface mine sites. And last year, the program received a $300,000 grant, enabling Barton to add a couple full-time staff members.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concises summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A Hospital Network With a Vision
January 16, 2013, New York Times
In 1976, Dr. Govindappa Venkataswamy – known as Dr. V – retired. He decided to devote his remaining years to eliminating needless blindness among India's poor. Twelve million people are blind in India, the vast majority of them from cataracts, which tend to strike people in India before 60. Blindness robs a poor person of his livelihood and with it, his sense of self-worth; it is often a fatal disease. Dr. V started by establishing an 11-bed hospital with six beds reserved for patients who could not pay and five for those who would pay modest rates. He persuaded his siblings to join him in mortgaging their houses, pooling their savings and pawning their jewels to build it. Today, the Aravind Eye Care System is a network of hospitals, clinics, community outreach efforts, factories, and research and training institutes in south India that has treated more than 32 million patients and has performed 4 million surgeries. Aravind's story is well-told in depth in a new book, Infinite Vision: How Aravind Became the World's Greatest Business Case for Compassion. Aravind is not just a health success, it is a financial success. Aravind's core services are sustainable: patient care and the construction of new hospitals are funded by fees from paying patients. And at Aravind, patients pay only if they want to. The majority of Aravind's patients pay only a symbolic amount, or nothing at all. Dr V was guided by the teachings of the radical Indian nationalist[, philosopher] and mystic Sri Aurobindo ... who located man's search for his divine nature not in turning away from the world, but by engaging with it.
Note: For lots more on this most inspiring business model, click here. Explore a treasure trove of concises summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Pulling children out of Nepal's prisons
March 15, 2012, CNN
Pushpa Basnet doesn't need an alarm clock. Every morning, the sounds of 40 children wake her up in the two-story home she shares with them. All of these children once lived in Nepal's prisons. This 28-year-old woman has saved every one of them from a life behind bars. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world. When no local guardian is available, an arrested parent often must choose between bringing their children to jail with them or letting them live on the streets. "It's not fair for (these) children to live in the prison because they haven't done anything wrong," said Basne. "My mission is to make sure no child grows up behind prison walls." Since 2005, she has assisted more than 100 children of incarcerated parents. She runs a day care program for children under 6 and a residential home where mostly older children receive education, food, medical care and a chance to live a more normal life. Basnet decided to start a day care to get incarcerated children out from behind the prison walls. "When I started, nobody believed in me," Basnet said. "People thought I was crazy. They laughed at me." But Basnet was undaunted. She got friends to donate money, and she rented a building in Kathmandu to house her new organization, the Early Childhood Development Center. Two years later, Basnet established the Butterfly Home, a children's home where she herself has lived for the past five years. While she now has a few staff members who help her, Basnet is still very hands on. "We do cooking, washing, shopping," she said. "It's amazing, I never get tired. (The children) give me the energy. ... The smiles of my children keep me motivated."
Note: Check out the Early Childhood Development Center website at www.ecdcnepal.org and see how to help. Explore a treasure trove of concises summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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