Sex Trafficking Sweep Rescues 82 Kids, Punishment Waived for Convicted Banks, Global Progress in 2017
January 16, 2018
Explore below key excerpts of revealing news articles on an FBI-led sting operation that rescued 82 kids from sex trafficking and led to 120 arrests, the Trump administration's extension of an Obama-era waiver of punishment for five major banks convicted of manipulating global interest rates, the granting of Ecuadorian citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and more.
Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on incredible progress made on global issues in 2017, Iceland's new law requiring companies to pay equal wages to women and men, how more than half of the energy used by the UK in 2017 came from renewable sources, and more. You can also skip to this section now.
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: Explore an excellent article on serious problems with facebook by one who played a key role in making facebook what it is today. Read how comedian Sarah Silverman responded to an attack on Twitter and ended up turning her attacker's life around in a most inspiring way. This photo essay will astound you with the work of artists who are severely disabled. A scientist has recently published a revealing study showing clearly how aluminum used in vaccines can be highly detrimental to children's health.
Quote of the week: "It is a good thing to look down at the tide pools, then up to the stars, then back to the tide pools again." ~~ John Steinbeck
PEERS annual report: Thanks again so much to all who donated so generously to make last month the best month ever financially for PEERS! We are surprised and thrilled that we ended the year in the plus column. Our 2017 annual report available at this link shares the details on this, as well as inspiring messages from many supporters through the year. This report also shows the many ways you are helping PEERS to make a difference. Thank you so much for all of your support!
3-month-old and 5-year-old girls rescued in sex trafficking crackdown
October 24, 2017, CNN News
Two sisters, one 5 years old and the other 3 months old, were rescued in Denver by undercover agents during this year's FBI-led sting operation against sex traffickers, officials said. The alleged trafficker, a friend of the children's family, made a deal to sell them for sex for $600, the FBI said. The friend communicated with an undercover agent, the FBI said in announcing details of Operation Cross Country XI. 82 other juveniles were rescued during last week's nationwide sweep. Some 120 people were arrested. On October 13, the second day of the operation, a minor was rescued by the FBI in El Paso, Texas, when a 16-year-old female victim was advertised online for "entertainment," officials said. The girl was accompanied by a 21-year-old female who offered an undercover agent sexual intercourse with both her and the underage victim for $200. According to the FBI report, the woman as well as the driver, another female, who took the minor and 21-year-old to the undercover officer's location, were arrested. Among the recovered victims across the country was one from Russia. Local and state agencies were involved in the operation, as were police as far away as the Philippines and Thailand. The average age of the victims recovered from this year's operation is 15, the FBI said.
Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "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 topic in the US. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Trump Administration Waives Punishment For Convicted Banks, Including Deutsche — Which Trump Owes Millions
January 9, 2018, International Business Times
The Trump administration has waived part of the punishment for five megabanks whose affiliates were convicted and fined for manipulating global interest rates. One of the Trump administration waivers was granted to Deutsche Bank - which is owed at least $130 million by President Donald Trump ... and has also been fined for its role in a Russian money laundering scheme. The waivers were issued in a little-noticed announcement published in the Federal Register. Under laws designed to protect retirement savings, financial firms whose affiliates have been convicted of violating securities statutes are effectively barred from ... managing those savings. However, that punishment can be avoided if the firms manage to secure a special exemption from the U.S. Department of Labor. In late 2016, the Obama administration extended ... one-year waivers to five banks - Citigroup, JPMorgan, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank. Late last month, the Trump administration issued new, longer waivers for those same banks. Leading up to the new waiver for Deustche Bank, Trump’s financial relationship with the firm has prompted allegations of a conflict of interest. In 2016, the Wall Street Journal reported Trump and his companies have received at least $2.5 billion in loans from Deutsche Bank and co-lenders. In 2015, Deutsche Bank pled guilty in the U.S. to wire fraud for its role in the [LIBOR] scandal. Less than two years later ... Deutsche Bank agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement with the Justice Department for misleading investors.
Note: The megabanks again get away with huge manipulations resulting in financial losses for many millions, yet hardly any media focuses on how these banks hardly get a slap on the wrist for their huge criminal offenses. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian citizenship
January 11, 2018, CNN News
Ecuador has granted citizenship to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Ecuador's Foreign Minister Maria Fernanda Espinosa announced Thursday. She called the measure "one more ring of protection" for Assange, who has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012 in an effort to avoid a Swedish arrest warrant. Sweden dropped the charges in May 2017, but Assange remains the subject of a UK arrest warrant. Assange ... has previously expressed concern that if he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London he could end up being extradited to the US, where he fears facing the death penalty over allegations of revealing government secrets through WikiLeaks. In December, the Ecuadorian government requested diplomatic status for Assange. But the UK rebuffed the request. Espinosa said Ecuador will continue to pursue a dialogue with the UK to eventually remove Assange from the embassy. "We will continue to protect Julian Assange while his physical and psychological integrity are at risk," Espinosa said. "We are a country that defends human rights and ... respects international law." A 2016 United Nations report concluded that the WikiLeaks founder had been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Note: Read more about the "legal limbo" and propaganda campaign carried out against Assange and Wikileaks. A 2016 United Nations panel found that authorities in Sweden and the UK have acted unlawfully with regard to Assange. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Honduran opposition angry at US backing for election decision
December 19, 2017, CNN News
Opposition parties in Honduras have attacked the failure of the US to denounce the controversial declaration of President Juan Orlando Hernández as winner of a widely disputed election. International observers with the Organization of American States say the vote was so discredited that it was impossible to declare a valid result. But the US State Department noted that an election court had ratified the result of the November 26 election. Honduras' Supreme Electoral Tribunal said Hernández won the election with 42.9% of the votes, edging his main challenger, Salvador Nasralla, who was declared second with 41.24%. The opposition accuses Hernandez of stuffing the court with supporters who helped him change the constitution to allow him to seek a second term. Hundreds of angry opposition supporters protested in the streets of the capital Tegucigalpa Monday following the announcement of the court's decision. The US has a large military base in Honduras, which has led to accusations that both the current and previous US administrations are turning a blind eye to political violence and corruption in the country. The Organization of American States raised a string of concerns about the election, [and] referred to "deliberate human intrusions in the computer system, intentional elimination of digital traces," and "pouches of votes open or lacking votes." The administration of Hernández has also been dogged by allegations of corruption and drug trafficking.
Note: Honduras was one of only eight countries which backed Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. In 2017, leaked court documents raised concerns that the 2016 murder of an Honduran activist was "an extrajudicial killing planned by military intelligence specialists linked to the country’s US–trained special forces". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
NYC sues, divests from oil firms over climate change
January 10, 2018, ABC News/Associated Press
New York City is taking on the oil industry on two fronts, announcing a lawsuit Wednesday that blames the top five oil companies for contributing to global warming and saying the city will sell off billions in fossil fuel investments from the city's pension funds. Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio received immediate blowback from some of the companies, while winning praise from environmentalists and others. "We're bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits," the mayor said. "As climate change continues to worsen, it's up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient." The city alleges the fossil fuel industry was aware for decades that burning fuel was impacting climate change. The defendants in the city's federal lawsuit are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell. New York's lawsuit ... follows similar litigation filed by San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Cruz in California. Also Wednesday, de Blasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer said they intend to divest the city's five pension funds of roughly $5 billion in fossil fuel investments out of its total of $189 billion. The divestment is the largest of any municipality in the U.S. to date. "Safeguarding the retirement of our city's police officers, teachers and firefighters is our top priority, and we believe that their financial future is linked to the sustainability of the planet," Stringer said.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
New York City records fewest murders, lowest crime rate in decades
January 5, 2018, ABC News
New York City ended the year with the fewest murders and the lowest crime figures in decades, the mayor and the NYPD said Friday. There were 290 murders in the nation's largest city in 2017, compared to 335 killings the previous year, said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a news conference. “No one believed it was possible to get under 300 murders,” de Blasio said. The murder rate is a far cry from 1990, when 2,245 people were killed in the city. The numbers of other crimes - shootings, robberies, burglaries and grand larcenies auto - also dropped, officials said. “To see crime levels as low as we have today, you’d have to go back to 1951, when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn and a slice was 15 cents,” de Blasio added. Overall, 2017 was the fourth straight year of declines in crime in New York City. According to NYPD records there were 96,517 crimes reported last year, compared with 102,052 in 2016, a drop of 5.4 percent.
Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?
January 7, 2018, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
In the 1970s, a truth was accidentally discovered about depression. American psychiatrists had produced a book ... called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual [that] laid out nine symptoms that a patient has to show to be diagnosed with depression. If [doctors] followed this guide, they had to diagnose every grieving person who came to them as depressed. So, the doctors wanted to know, are we supposed to start drugging all the bereaved people in America? The authors ... decided that there would be a special clause added to the list of symptoms. If you have lost somebody you love in the past year ... all these symptoms are natural, and not a disorder. It was called “the grief exception”. Then ... doctors on the frontline started to come back with another question. If you agree that the symptoms of depression are a logical and understandable response to one set of life circumstances – losing a loved one – might they not be an understandable response to other situations? What about if you lose your job? What if you are stuck in a job that you hate? What about if you are alone and friendless? The grief exception seemed to have blasted a hole in the claim that the causes of depression are sealed away in your skull. It suggested that there are causes out here, in the world, and they needed to be investigated and solved there. Depression ... is a signal that your natural psychological needs are not being met. It is a form of grief – for yourself, and for the culture you live in going so wrong.
Note: The article at the link above is an edited extract from Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. A 2012 Huffington Post article titled, "Drug Companies Drive the Psychiatric Drugging of Children" describes how fake science and bribes have been used by corrupt pharmaceutical companies to rake in the profits.
Could A Zap To The Brain Derail Destructive Impulses?
December 18, 2017, NPR
Picture this: While reaching for the cookie jar - or cigarette or bottle of booze or other temptation - a sudden slap denies your outstretched hand. When the urge returns, out comes another slap. Now imagine those "slaps" occurring inside the brain. In a report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Stanford neuroscientists say they've achieved this sort of mind-reading in binge-eating mice. They found a telltale pattern of brain activity that comes up seconds before the animals start to pig out - and delivering a quick zap to that part of the brain kept the mice from overindulging. Whether this strategy could block harmful impulses in people remains unclear. The current study used a brain stimulation device already approved for hard-to-treat epilepsy. And based on the new findings, a clinical trial testing this off-the-shelf system for some forms of obesity could start as early as next summer, says Casey Halpern, the study's leader. He thinks the approach could also work for eating disorders and a range of other addictive or potentially life-threatening urges. As a physician-researcher, Halpern specializes in deep brain stimulation (DBS), a surgical treatment in which battery-powered implants send electrical pulses to brain areas where signals go awry. The Food and Drug Administration has approved DBS therapy for movement disorders such as Parkinson's disease, tremor and dystonia. Occasionally DBS is a last-resort treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Note: Remember that secret military and intelligence projects are usually 10 to 20 years ahead of anything being done in the public. Could some groups already have developed microchip implants designed for behavior modification or mind control?
Silver-lined underwear promises to save your sperm
January 9, 2018, Cnet.com
Throughout the years that I've written about the potential health hazards of cell phone radiation, I've seen a lot of products promise protection from the radiofrequency (RF) signals that our wireless devices emit. They've ranged from the useless gold-lined radiation "shields" to Pong's more respectable line of phones cases that promise to refocus RF energy away from your head. At CES 2018, a company called Spartan grabbed that promise of protection and took it below the belt with a line of men's underwear. Spartan's boxer briefs claim to block 99 percent of cellphone and Wi-Fi radiation with pure silver fibers woven into the cotton fabric. That Spartan is focused on protecting your balls is significant. Though brain cancer tends to dominate the debate over whether wireless signals are safe, other studies have suggested that cell phones decrease male fertility. Some health advocates who have long been involved with the debate, and even some government agencies (most recently, the California Department of Public Health), recommend that men not carry their phones in a pants pocket to reduce radiation exposure to your nether regions. If the potential danger concerns you, most of the typical recommendations like using a headset, texting instead of making a call (a lot of us already do that) and not sleeping with your phone don't cost a penny.
Note: In 2017, after years of public pressure and a lawsuit, the California Department of Health released guidelines on the health risks of cell phone use. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
Taxify Takes on Uber in Crowded London Taxi-Hailing Market
September 4, 2017, Reuters
Estonian start-up Taxify is to go head to head with Uber in London’s highly competitive taxi-hailing market. Taxify said it will launch services across London on Tuesday after signing up 3,000 private hire taxi drivers, who have been vetted to ensure they meet local licensing requirements. In London, it enters a crowded market where the city’s famous black cab taxi drivers and private hire taxi firms such as Addison Lee compete with ride-hailing apps including Gett and Hailo, which is now part of Daimler’s MyTaxi. Uber counts 40,000 drivers and has 3 million London users, who take 1 million trips a week. Taxify is a fraction of Uber’s size - being active in just under 25 cities compared to Uber’s presence in nearly 600 cities worldwide - but runs on a lower cost business model, allowing passengers to pay marked-down fares and letting drivers retain a bigger share of the profits. Taxify said on Monday it would take a 15 percent commission on rides booked through its online platform, versus the 20-25 percent Uber charges in London. Taxify also said it will accept cash as well electronic payments from riders, unlike Uber. Uber has struggled over the past year with legal setbacks, workplace harassment scandals, driver protests and bitter disputes among directors.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Why 2017 Was the Best Year in Human History
January 6, 2018, New York Times
2017 was probably the very best year in the long history of humanity. A smaller share of the world’s people were hungry, impoverished or illiterate than at any time before. A smaller proportion of children died than ever before. The proportion disfigured by leprosy, blinded by diseases like trachoma or suffering from other ailments also fell. We journalists focus on bad news - we cover planes that crash, not those that take off - but the backdrop of global progress may be the most important development in our lifetime. Every day, the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than about $2 a day) goes down by 217,000, according to ... Max Roser, an Oxford University economist who runs a website called Our World in Data. Every day, 325,000 more people gain access to electricity. And 300,000 more gain access to clean drinking water. As recently as the 1960s, a majority of humans had always been illiterate and lived in extreme poverty. Now fewer than 15 percent are illiterate, and fewer than 10 percent live in extreme poverty. In another 15 years, illiteracy and extreme poverty will be mostly gone. After thousands of generations, they are pretty much disappearing on our watch. Steven Pinker, the Harvard psychology professor, explores the gains in a terrific book due out next month, “Enlightenment Now,” in which he recounts the progress across a broad array of metrics, from health to wars, the environment to happiness, equal rights to quality of life.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
It's Now Illegal to Pay Men More Than Women in Iceland
January 2, 2018, Fortune
Iceland is the first country to make it illegal to pay men more than women. Equal pay policies is now mandatory for companies with 25 or more employees. Those that cannot show that they provide equal pay will be subject to fines. The law, which was passed last year, went into effect on Jan. 1. Iceland is already a leader in gender parity. The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Iceland as the top country for gender quality for the last nine years based on criteria involving economics, education, health, and politics. For example, Icelandic women make up 48% of the country’s parliament - without a quota system. Despite this, wage inequality has persisted. In 2016, thousands of women in Iceland left work at 2:38 p.m., to protest pay disparity. The time was symbolic of when woman stop receiving pay during their 9 to 5 work day compared to men. The wage gap in Iceland was 72 cents to every man’s dollar. On International Women’s Day in 2017, the country moved to change that. The tiny country, pop. 323,000, aims to completely eliminate the wage gap by 2020.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
China, Moving to Cut Emissions, Halts Production of 500 Car Models
January 2, 2018, New York Times
China is suspending the production of more than 500 car models and model versions that do not meet its fuel economy standards, several automakers confirmed Tuesday, the latest move by Beijing to reduce emissions in the world’s largest auto market and take the lead in battling climate change. The suspension, effective Jan. 1, would affect both domestic carmakers and foreign joint ventures ... in China, where 28 million vehicles were produced in 2016. China has dozens of small-scale automakers - some producing just a few hundred cars a year. Cui Dongshu, the secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, said that the ban would affect at most 1 percent of the Chinese market. But the government’s decision to cite fuel economy in the deregistration of so many versions at the same time is nonetheless a signal of the government’s commitment to fuel economy. The country, which for years prioritized economic growth over environmental protection ... has emerged as an unlikely bastion of climate action. “They’re sending a signal to everybody,” said Michael Dunne, president of ... a Hong Kong-based consultancy on China’s clean car market. “This shows their emissions standards have teeth.” The Chinese government has already become the world’s biggest supporter of electric cars, offering automakers numerous incentives for producing so-called new energy vehicles. Those incentives are set to decrease by 2020, to be replaced by quotas for the number of clean cars automakers must sell.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Low-carbon sources produce majority of UK electricity supply for first time ever
January 3, 2018, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
More than half of the electricity generated in the UK in 2017 came from low-carbon sources for the first time ever. Renewables and nuclear provided more electricity than all fossil fuels combined, with wind generation alone supplying twice as much energy as coal, according to analysis by Carbon Brief, a website that tracks climate change and energy policy. Wind made a greater contribution to the country’s electricity needs than coal in every month apart from January. The share from low-carbon sources doubled between 2008 and 2017, Carbon Brief said. The UK has also added wind and solar power generation rapidly, as costs have fallen. Future development will increasingly be possible without the Government subsidies that have aided the industry’s development until now. The UK also passed a series of other milestones last year, including its first day without coal power since 1882, the most electricity produced from solar power at any one moment and the most wind power produced in a day. Wind saw the biggest increase of any energy source, with supply up 31 per cent for the whole of 2017 on 2016’s level. The electricity sector has been the primary focus of renewable power generation as that power can then be used to revolutionise the other sectors, for example through the electrification of transport. Britain’s power system is the fourth cleanest in Europe and the seventh cleanest in the world.
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