Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. The agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room. Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 US victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. New details learned by the Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling US officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up. Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has confounded the FBI, the state department and US intelligence agencies involved in the investigation. Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials said, the latest signs of more serious damage than the US government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August – nine months after symptoms were first reported. The cases vary deeply: different symptoms, different recollections of what happened. In several episodes recounted by US officials, victims knew it was happening in real time, and there were strong indications of a sonic attack.
Note: Sound weapons developed for war and increasingly used against civilian populations are well-documented. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing non-lethal weapons news articles from reliable major media sources.
Wells Fargo’s admission that its employees created up to 3.5 million fraudulent accounts suggests a reckless, out-of-control culture. But the San Francisco banking giant seems to have a split personality of sorts. While branch employees aggressively pressured consumers ... commercial bankers adopted a relatively stingy approach to lending money to companies. That strategy allowed Wells Fargo to avoid the same kind of bad commercial loans that wiped out many banks during the financial crisis a decade ago. Had Wells Fargo applied the same due diligence to consumer banking as it did to commercial banking, the company might have avoided its current troubles. How do we reconcile these reckless/conservative sides of Wells Fargo? For one thing, federal regulators were not exactly keeping a close watch over Wells Fargo’s consumer business. Over the past two decades, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which is charged with protecting consumers, issued just 448 enforcement actions against Wells Fargo, even as the bank’s total assets have soared from nearly $200 billion in 1998 ... to $1.85 trillion today. The sheer size ... of the bank allows different divisions to essentially act like separate companies. That means community and commercial operations can boast completely different strategies and methods of compensating employees. In Wells Fargo’s case, branch employees would receive more pay if they hit aggressive sales goals, prompting them to open fraudulent accounts.
Note: Read more about the massive fraud perpetrated by Wells Fargo. Steve Glazer, chairman of the California Senate Banking and Financial Institutions Committee, recently compared this bank's actions with the behavior of Enron when its culture of corruption initially came to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing banking corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
When U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ introduces his Medicare-for-All legislation on Wednesday, advocates of a single-payer, government-sponsored health care hope it will be the end of a bitterly fought policy battle that has roiled the Democratic Party for generations. Since Democratic President Harry Truman first proposed a government-sponsored universal health care system in 1945 - and since a Democratic president and Democratic congress first enacted Medicare and Medicaid in the mid-1960s - progressives have hoped that the United States would follow other industrialized countries by guaranteeing health care to all citizens. Now ... Democrats from across the party’s ideological spectrum are flocking to [Sanders'] legislation. With polls showing rising support for government-sponsored health care, the party’s long civil war over the issue may be over, potentially allowing a more unified party to campaign on Medicare-for-All in 2018. As some ... continue to oppose single-payer, popular support for the idea is rising: 53 percent of Americans support “a national health plan in which all Americans would get their insurance from a single government plan,” according to a June Kaiser Health survey.
Sinead O’Connor is opening up about the horrifying sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother in an emotional interview on Dr. Phil. The “Nothing Compares 2 U” singer ... detailed how her mother Marie O’Connor “ran a torture chamber” and tormented her until she ran away from home at 13. “She was not well. She was very, very, very not well. I would say she was possessed. Although I’m not sure I believe in such things,” O’Connor, 50, said.“I ran away,” the singer added. “She used to make me say over and over ‘I am nothing. I am nothing’ or else she’d beat me.” Marie O’Connor died decades ago in a car crash when Sinead was 19 years old. O’Connor has made headlines in recent years for her erratic behavior. Despite this, she denied that she is mentally unstable, telling Dr. Phil, “I am fed up of being defined as the crazy person; the child abuse survivor.”
Note: Watch excerpts from Sinead O’Connor's interview with Dr. Phil. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
The government is under pressure to reconsider its commitment to a new generation of nuclear power stations after the cost of offshore wind power reached a record low. Experts said green energy had reached a tipping point in the UK after two windfarms secured a state-backed price for their output that was nearly half the level awarded last year to Britain’s first new nuclear power site in a generation, Hinkley Point C. Vince Cable, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said the breakthrough should prompt a rethink of the government’s energy plans, which have pencilled in atomic plants at Wylffa in Wales, Sizewell in Suffolk and Bradwell in Essex. “The spectacular drop in the cost of offshore wind is extremely encouraging and shows the need for a radical reappraisal by government of the UK’s energy provision,” he said. The government spending watchdog this year described Hinkley as a “risky and expensive” project that generations of British consumers will have to pay for through electricity bills. The auction results are unlikely to halt the Hinkley project. But they pose a serious dilemma for ... new nuclear power plants around the UK and are likely to feed into a flagship government review of energy costs out next month. Most industry watchers had expected future nuclear projects to cost Ł80-Ł90 per MWh, a long way from the Ł62.14 average awarded to offshore windfarms. The price of building offshore windfarms has fallen by nearly a third since 2012 as the technology matured.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
China will set a deadline for automakers to end sales of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles, becoming the biggest market to do so in a move that will accelerate the push into the electric car market. Xin Guobin, the vice minister of industry and information technology, said the government is working with other regulators on a timetable to end production and sales. The move will have a profound impact on the environment and growth of China’s auto industry, Xin said at an auto forum in Tianjin on Saturday. The world’s second-biggest economy, which has vowed to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and curb worsening air pollution, is the latest to join countries such as the U.K. and France seeking to phase out vehicles using gasoline and diesel. The looming ban ... will goad both local and global automakers to focus on introducing more zero-emission electric cars to help clean up smog-choked major cities. “The implementation of the ban for such a big market like China can be later than 2040,” said Liu Zhijia, an assistant general manager at Chery Automobile Co., the country’s biggest passenger car exporter. The U.K. said in July it will ban sales of diesel- and gasoline-fueled cars by 2040, two weeks after France announced a similar plan to reduce air pollution and meet targets to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Norway and the Netherlands are considering a more aggressive way to put an end on fossil fuel cars years earlier than its European peers.
Note: According to a recent study, subsidies propping up the global fossil fuel industry "were $4.9 tn in 2013 and they rose to $5.3 tn just two years later."
Two Stanford University researchers have reported startling accuracy in predicting sexual orientation using computer technology. Dr. Michal Kosinski and Yilun Wang, whose research will be published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, say that AI can distinguish between the face of a heterosexual man and a homosexual man in 81 percent of cases. For women, the predictive accuracy is 71 percent. The average human is less adept at identifying between straight and gay people purely based on an image: We are only able to guess correctly in 61 percent of cases for men and 54 percent for women. When scientists presented the algorithm with five facial images of a single person, the accuracy increased to 91 percent for men and 83 percent for women. Kosinski and Wang used “deep neural networks” to sample 35,326 facial images of men and women taken from a dating website. The findings advance discussion about the biological factors that may determine one’s sexual orientation. However, Kosinski tells The Economist, the research is not intended to be used to profile or “out” homosexual men and women. Rather, it is designed to demonstrate - or even warn - that technological advances can be used for such means and could pose a threat to our privacy, given that digital information is so easily accessible. The researchers argue the “digitalization of our lives and rapid progress in AI continues to erode the privacy of sexual orientation and other intimate traits.”
Note: Emerging artificial intelligence technologies are currently being developed for use in warfare. According to a United Nations report, misuse of these technologies may threaten human rights. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing privacy news articles from reliable major media sources.
While drug use is a problem among industrial workers nationwide, it raises particular concern in the oil patch as U.S. production surges to record levels in what is already one of the nation’s most dangerous sectors - with a fatality rate about three times the average for other industries. Drug use is a significant factor in workplace injuries and crimes involving oilfield workers, according to drug counselors, hospital and police officials and court records in West Texas, the epicenter of the U.S. shale sector. As the shale revolution has spawned waves of hiring here since 2010, law enforcement authorities have tracked a boom in drug trafficking and related crime. In Midland and Ector counties, home to many Permian Basin oil workers, state and local police in 2016 seized more than 95 pounds of methamphetamine - up from less than four pounds in 2010. Despite corporate and regulatory efforts to curb drug abuse, many oilfield workers regularly use stimulants on long shifts of grueling work for relatively high pay. When oil jobs are plentiful, companies desperate for labor sometimes will disregard signs of substance abuse, said three recovering drug addicts who worked in the oilfield. “These oilfield bosses - they party, too,” [oilfield worker] Forsythe said. “As long as you’re getting the job done and not making a scene, they won’t drug test you.”
When it comes to treating cancer, surgeons want to get rid of as much cancerous tissue as possible during tumor removal. Now a new technology - the size of a pen - is attempting to make that easier by distinguishing between tumors and healthy tissue in just 10 seconds. The MasSpec Pen is a real-time diagnostic tool created by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin. In a new study published Wednesday in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers report that their handheld device (which is not yet FDA-approved) uses tiny droplets of water to analyze human tissue samples for cancer. “It’s a gentle, simple chemical process,” says study author Livia Schiavinato Eberlin. “It’s highly specific and highly sensitive. The fact that it’s non-destructive brings a new approach to cancer diagnosis.” Getting rid of all cancerous tissue while also preventing any harm to healthy tissue is a delicate process. Other tools available to surgeons for tissue diagnosis ... use gases or solvents that can be harmful for the human body [and] are slower than the MasSpec Pen. In the study, the researchers tested 253 human tissue samples from lung, ovary, thyroid and breast cancer tumors and compared them to samples of healthy tissues. The device was 96% accurate at identifying cancerous tissues. The researchers also tested the MasSpec Pen in live mice with tumors and found that the device was able to identify the presence of cancer without harming healthy surrounding tissues.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
An international rights group says Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has given a “green light” to systematic torture inside detention facilities.” Human Rights Watch says el-Sissi, a U.S. ally who was warmly received at the White House earlier this year ... “has effectively given police and National Security officers a green light to use torture whenever they please,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at the New York-based group. The allegations, the group said, amount to crimes against humanity. Most of the detainees are alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which rose to power after the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. Egypt arrested or charged some 60,000 people in the two years after Mohammed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader who became Egypt’s first freely elected president, was overthrown following a divisive year in power. Hundreds have gone missing in what appear to be forced disappearances, and hundreds of others have received preliminary death sentences. Based on interviews with 19 Egyptians detained as far back as 2013, the rights group documented abuses ranging from beatings to rape and sodomy. Local rights groups have documented dozens of deaths under torture in police custody. The Interior Ministry ... denied allegations of systemic torture. Citing national security, the government has shut down hundreds of websites, including many operated by independent journalists and rights groups.
This summer, operatives with the Central Intelligence Agency gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to bury two of their own. Brian Ray Hoke and Nathaniel Patrick Delemarre, elite gunslingers who worked for the C.I.A.’s paramilitary force, were laid to rest after a firefight with Islamic State militants. Their deaths this past October were never acknowledged by the C.I.A., beyond two memorial stars chiseled in a marble wall at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va. Today there are at least 18 stars on that wall representing the number of C.I.A. personnel killed in Afghanistan - a tally that has not been previously reported, and one that rivals the number of C.I.A. operatives killed in the wars in Vietnam and Laos nearly a half century ago. The deaths are a reflection of the heavy price the agency has paid in a secret, nearly 16-year-old war, where thousands of C.I.A. operatives have served since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The deaths of Mr. Hoke, 42, and Mr. Delemarre, 47, show how the C.I.A. continues to move from traditional espionage to the front lines, and underscore the pressure the agency faces now that President Trump has pledged to keep the United States in Afghanistan with no end in sight.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
On the evening of October 30, 1938, a seventy-six-year-old millworker in Grover’s Mill, New Jersey, named Bill Dock heard something terrifying. Aliens had landed just down the road, a newscaster announced. Dock ... prepared to face down the invaders. But ... he’d been duped by Orson Welles’s radio adaptation of “The War of the Worlds.” The next day, newspapers were full of stories like Dock’s. This early fake-news panic lives on in legend, but [historian A. Brad] Schwartz is the latest of a number of researchers to argue that it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. There was no mass hysteria, only small pockets of concern that quickly burned out. Newspapers exaggerated the panic to better control the upstart medium of radio, which was becoming the dominant source of breaking news in the thirties. Newspapers wanted to show that radio was irresponsible and needed guidance from its older, more respectable siblings in the print media, such “guidance” mostly taking the form of lucrative licensing deals and increased ownership of local radio stations. To some, the lesson of the panic was that the F.C.C. needed to take an even more active role to protect people from malicious tricksters like Welles. Yet Schwartz says that the people calling for a government crackdown were far outnumbered by those who warned against one. Today, Facebook and Google have taken the place of the F.C.C. in the conservative imagination. With a powerful, well-funded propaganda machine ... conservatives aren’t the ones who have the most to fear.
Note: Historian A. Brad Schwartz is the author of a bestselling book titled, "Broadcast Hysteria: Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the manipulation of mass media.
More than 50 species of fish have been found to consume plastic trash at sea. This is bad news, not only for fish but potentially also for humans who rely on fish for sustenance. Fish don’t usually die as a direct result of feeding on the enormous quantities of plastic trash floating in the oceans. But that doesn’t mean it’s not harmful for them. Some negative effects that scientists have discovered when fish consume plastic include reduced activity rates and weakened schooling behavior, as well as compromised liver function. Most distressingly for people, toxic compounds that are associated with plastic transfer to and bioaccumulate in fish tissues. This is troubling because these substances could further bioaccumulate in people who consume fish that have eaten plastic. Plastic trash poses a serious threat to marine animals, but we are still trying to understand why animals eat it. Typically, research has concluded that marine animals visually mistake plastic for food. While this may be true, the full story is probably more complex. For example, colleagues at the University of California at Davis and I showed in a recent study that plastic debris may smell attractive to marine organisms. That’s a problem, because if plastic looks and smells interesting to fish, it will be very hard for them to discern that it is not food.
San Francisco has taken a tentative step toward deciding on whether it will become the first local government in the country to run its voting machines on open-source software. The notion of shifting away from using proprietary technology sold by private companies to computer code made freely available for anyone to use and modify has been talked about for years. But it’s been getting more attention since the city allocated $300,000 to study the issue. Proponents of open-source voting systems say local governments using them would be able to hold elections with an unprecedented level of control, transparency and security. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has said he would support an open-source voting system, assuming it could pass the state’s certification protocols. Open-source software could allow the city to more fully understand and adjust how votes are tallied. Currently, vendors of electronic voting equipment provide few details about how their machines operate, claiming those details are proprietary. Governments are also beholden to private vendors if they want to make a change to the software running the machines.
Note: How crazy that the technology behind the US electronic voting system is held privately and the government cannot even inspect the technology used. Do you think there is the potential for fraud? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Air pollution levels have plunged in cities across Bolivia as the country marked a nationwide car-free day in which all non-emergency vehicles were banned from city streets. As Bolivia’s middle-class population has increased over the past 10 years so has the number of cars clogging city streets. The car-free event started 18 years ago in Cochabamba, one of Latin America’s five most polluted cities, and has gradually taken root across the country. By 2011, it had become so popular that Bolivia’s legislature declared a yearly “Day of the Pedestrian and Cyclist in Defence of Mother Earth”. Families love it. Jesus Romero, who lives on the northern edge of Cochabamba, said: “We really enjoy that it is so quiet and peaceful without any cars around, and that’s there’s space in the streets for the kids to play.” Deyanira López, 14, highlighted another benefit. “Our city is very beautiful but you just don’t see it because of all the cars,” she said. Andres Clares, 16, agreed, saying: “I really like walking at least one day without cars. It’s quieter and the air is so much fresher.” In a typically noisy city, the sudden silence is striking. This year the event’s catchphrase is “leave your green footprint in Cochabamba”. Six eco-stations are focused on different themes in coordination with local businesses and charities. “These educate about the air, animals, water, recycling, protected areas and trees,” said Gaviota Borda, head of the municipal department of environmental protection.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
America’s love affair with LSD did not begin in Haight-Ashbury or during the summer of love. Instead it was seeded ... in Midwestern laboratories and government offices, where it comprised one strand of an extensive germ warfare programme. Errol Morris’s splendidly clammy, mysterious docu-drama Wormwood reopens the file on Frank Olson, a jobbing biochemist who fell to his death from a New York hotel. At the time (December 1953) Olson’s death was ruled to be suicide. But 20 years later evidence emerged that complicated the official verdict and prompted Olson’s family to sue the federal government. Even today elderly Eric Olson is in search of a definitive answer. He casts himself in the role of a Cold War Hamlet, haunted and harried by his father’s ghost. So what became of luckless Frank Olson? Did he fall or was he pushed? Infuriatingly – perhaps fittingly – we will have to wait to find out. For Morris’s docu-drama is a six-part series, commissioned by Netflix. So we’re left to blunder on, hands outstretched, past pensive Eric Olson and ... through spooky archive footage of a 1970s congressional hearing where sleazy Colonel Ruwet – surely the villain of the piece – sits with his back to the camera, meaning that we can only see his starched collar and his bald spot and the hint of a smile when he responds to a question. Who, then, can predict how this investigation turns out?
Note: A 1975 US government report said that Frank Olson committed suicide after being given LSD without his knowledge as part of the CIA's MK-ULTRA program. The lawsuit filed by his sons claimed Olson was killed by the CIA after he "raised concerns about testing chemical and biological weapons on human subjects without their consent". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
This week, Donald Trump lifted the ban on certain military-grade weapons and equipment available from the Pentagon to our local police forces across the nation. Before Barack Obama signed an executive order in 2015 limiting the transfer of certain types of military equipment under the Pentagon’s 1033 Program, the Department of Defense transferred more than $5bn in surplus military equipment directly to police agencies. The Pentagon program creates a pipeline that bypasses normal ... procurement processes, enabling police departments to acquire expensive-to-maintain and often unneeded military equipment directly from the Pentagon without the approval or even knowledge of [elected] government officials. Citizens are left to pay the price when these military “toys” are put into the anxious hands of often untrained local law enforcement. Handing our police weapons of war, including but not limited to large-capacity, rapid-fire weapons and ammunition – including .50-calibers – bayonets, grenade launchers, armored vehicles including military tanks, unmanned vehicles (armed drones), explosives and pyrotechnics, and similar explosive devices, makes us less safe. It also drives a wedge between police officers and ... communities. Our nation was built on the principle that there are clear lines between our armed forces and domestic police. Moreover ... law enforcement is subject to civilian authority. This program blurs those lines. Militarizing America’s main streets won’t make us any safer, just more fearful.
Note: The above was written by US Congressman Hank Johnson, author of the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act of 2017. The Pentagon's 1033 program now being revived led to what the ACLU called an "excessive militarization of American policing". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.
From his self-proclaimed Aryan Nations church, a retired engineer named Richard Butler preached hate to his followers. [The Idaho town of] Coeur d’Alene became code for white supremacists. But what happened here offers an antidote of hope. The community came together, rejecting the vision of Mr. Butler’s small band, and organizing a tenacious effort to drive them out. [Norman] Gissel and others involved in that campaign ... embraced some old-fashioned phrases – freedom, equality, and justice – and decided on a way to challenge the Aryan Nations. When the Aryan Nations marched, the group sponsored counter protests as far away as Spokane to draw the crowds down. For one event, [organizer Tony] Stewart enlisted local businesses and individuals to pledge money to human rights groups for every minute of a planned Aryan Nations march, and then publicly urged Butler to march slowly to raise more money for his opponents. “They marched for 27 minutes and we got $34,000,” Stewart chuckled. It was the group’s violence that finally brought it down ... in 1998. The compound’s guards ... terrorized [an American Indian woman and her son] at gunpoint. The Southern Poverty Law Center pounced on the incident, bringing lawsuits on behalf of the victims. They won a $6.3 million judgment in 2000 against Butler, and two of his bodyguards served prison time for assault. Butler’s compound was seized in the judgment, used as a training exercise by the fire department and burned to the ground.
Two Australian mathematicians assert that an ancient clay tablet was a tool for working out trigonometry problems, possibly adding to the many techniques that Babylonian mathematicians had mastered. “It’s a trigonometric table, which is 3,000 years ahead of its time,” said Daniel F. Mansfield of the University of New South Wales. Dr. Mansfield and his colleague Norman J. Wildberger reported their findings last week in the journal Historia Mathematica. The tablet, known as Plimpton 322, was discovered in the early 1900s in southern Iraq and ... contains 60 numbers organized into 15 rows and four columns. With all the publicity, the tablet has been put on display at [Columbia] University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Plimpton 322 has been dated to between 1822 and 1762 B.C. One of the columns on Plimpton 322 is just a numbering of the rows from 1 to 15. The other three columns are ... Pythagorean triples - sets of integers, or whole numbers, that satisfy the equation a2 + b2 = c2. That by itself was remarkable given that the Greek mathematician Pythagoras, for whom the triples were named, would not be born for another thousand years. “You don’t make a trigonometric table by accident,” Dr. Mansfield said. “Just having a list of Pythagorean triples doesn’t help you much. That’s just a list of numbers. But when you arrange it in such a way so that you can use any known ratio of a triangle to find the other sides of a triangle, then it becomes trigonometry. That’s what we can use this fragment for.”
Who’s a bigger terror threat to the United States right now: Islamic extremists or white nationalists? That’s been a big question on Americans’ minds. Democrats are more worried about white nationalists, while Republicans are more likely to identify Islamic extremists as the greater terror threat. But here’s what neither side will tell you: In both cases, the threat is negligible. Americans radically exaggerate the danger of radical terrorism. And that speaks to the real problem here, which doesn’t have to do with terrorism at all. It’s the hyper-polarization of our politics, which leads us to demonize the other team. Most Muslims are not Islamic extremists, any more than most supporters of President Trump are white nationalists. But the bogeyman of terrorism blinds us to these distinctions, transforming our political opponents into existential enemies. But guess what? In the grand scheme, all of these threats are infinitesimal. Since 2001, your chance of being crushed to death by an unstable television or piece of furniture has been greater than your chance of dying at the hands of a terrorist. There are plenty of bigots in the United States, of every creed and color. And yes, we have to be vigilant about identifying and neutralizing the real terrorists among them, whether Muslim or white supremacist. But imagining everyone in the other camp as a potential terrorist - or as an apologist for the same - is the ultimate red herring. It’s bipartisan, infecting liberals and conservatives alike. And it’s time for it to stop.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.