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Media Articles
Excerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media


Below are highly revealing excerpts of key media articles from the media that suggest major cover-ups and corruption. Links are provided to the full articles on their media websites. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These media articles are listed in reverse date order. You can also explore the articles listed by order of importance or by date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

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.


Airstrike by U.S.-backed Saudi coalition on bus kills dozens of Yemeni children
2018-08-09, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/airstrike-by-us-ally-on-bus-...

Dozens of civilians, mostly children, were killed or injured in an airstrike on Thursday by U.S. allies on a bus in a crowded market in northern Yemen. The International Committee of the Red Cross said the attack struck a bus carrying children in ... Saada province, which borders Saudi Arabia. “Body parts were scattered all over the area,” said Hassan Muwlef, executive director of the Red Crescent office in Saada. “The school bus was totally burned and destroyed.” Most of the children were under the age of 10, [said] Johannes Bruwer, the ICRC’s head of delegation in Yemen. The assault was the latest airstrike against civilians carried out by an American-backed regional coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The coalition entered Yemen’s civil war more than three years ago to fight northern Houthi rebels, who seized power from Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The conflict has also turned into a proxy war ... between the Sunni Muslim coalition and Iran’s Shiite theocracy, which is widely believed to be backing the rebels. The United States is helping the coalition, the only party in the conflict to use warplanes, with refueling, intelligence and billions in weapons sales. Human rights groups and Washington Post journalists have seen remnants of U.S.-made bombs at attack sites where civilians were struck. Civilian deaths have continued to multiply, even as the coalition promises not to target civilians.

Note: With weapons and support from the US and UK for the Saudi-led coalition, this war has already caused over 10,000 civilian deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Pence details plans for 'Space Force' in what would be sixth branch of the military
2018-08-09, Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-space-force-20180809-story....

The White House on Thursday announced ambitious plans to create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military warfighting service by 2020. Military leaders and experts have questioned the wisdom of launching an expensive, bureaucratic new service branch. Vice President Mike Pence announced the new force during a Pentagon speech, fleshing out an idea that President Donald Trump has extolled in recent months as he vowed to ensure American dominance in space. Pence described space as a domain that was once peaceful and uncontested but has now become crowded and adversarial. The last time the U.S. created a new uniformed military service was in 1947. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has endorsed steps to reorganize the military's space-warfighting forces and create a new command, but he previously opposed launching an expensive new service. The military's role in space has been under scrutiny because the United States is increasingly reliant on orbiting satellites that are difficult to protect. U.S. intelligence agencies reported earlier this year that Russia and China were pursuing "nondestructive and destructive" anti-satellite weapons for use during a future war. And there are growing worries about cyberattacks that could target satellite technology. Much of the military's current space power is wielded by the Air Force Space Command, which ... has about 38,000 personnel and operates 185 military satellite systems, including the Global Positioning System and communications and weather satellites.

Note: In 1974, the founder of modern rocket science Wernher Von Braun told his spokesperson Dr. Carol Rosin that "first the Russians are going to be considered the enemy. Then terrorists would be identified. The next enemy was asteroids – against asteroids we are going to build space-based weapons. Then ... the last card is the alien card. We are going to have to build space-based weapons against aliens, and all of it is a lie."


Tech Companies Banned Infowars. Now, Its App Is Trending.
2018-08-08, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/08/technology/infowars-app-trending.html

Just days after Google, Facebook and Apple purged videos and podcasts from the right-wing conspiracy site Infowars from their sites, the Infowars app has become one of the hottest in the country. On Wednesday, Infowars was the No. 1 overall “trending” app on the Google Play store. Among news apps, Infowars was No. 3 on Apple and No. 5 on Google, above all mainstream news organizations. The Infowars app, which includes news articles and the shows of the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, had likely been downloaded a few hundred to a few thousand times a day on average after its introduction last month, said Randy Nelson ... at Sensor Tower, which tracks app data. Now, it is likely getting 30,000 to 40,000 downloads a day, Mr. Nelson estimated. “This is such a niche app with niche content, that for it to make that sort of jump means it has become very interesting to a much broader audience,” said Jonathan Kay, a co-founder of Apptopia, an app analytics firm. “Essentially, it’s gone from being niche to being mainstream.” Mr. Jones has achieved infamy and financial success for spreading lies. Many of his most outlandish claims are made during his show, which runs live for four hours each weekday and is streamed and rebroadcast across the internet. YouTube, Facebook, Spotify and Apple’s podcasts service were all important distribution points for the show.

Note: How many other conspiracy websites will be shut down for "spreading lies"? What happened to freedom of speech? Will the major media be shut down for "spreading lies" of it own? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable major sources.


The spot where Emmett Till’s body was found is marked by this sign. People keep shooting it up.
2018-08-05, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/08/05/the-spot-where-e...

Emmett Till’s black, broken body was plucked from the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi days after his killing in August 1955, a heavy cotton gin fan tied on his neck with barbed wire. It took 19 days for two white men, Roy Bryant and his brother-in-law J.W. Milam, to be acquitted of murder by an all-white jury. Then it took 52 years for historical markers to be erected at locations related to the teenager’s death, which galvanized the civil rights movement after the acquittal. And now, at the spot marking where Till’s body was pulled from the river, it took just 35 days since installation for a replacement sign to be pierced by gunfire. Again. Till was lynched, shot and tortured before his death, and a grim trail of his final moments is marked by signs installed by the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, a museum supported by Tallahatchie County. But the sign - the third iteration after the first was stolen and the second was destroyed by gunfire - apparently was pierced by four bullets ... five weeks after it was dedicated, center co-founder Patrick Weems said. The marker has drawn visitors to the site outside Glendora, Miss., the final stop on a civil rights movement driving tour across the Mississippi Delta. It has also become a beacon for racist expressions of violence, and a signal that work toward justice and equality remains unfinished.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


FDA knew doctors were misusing powerful opioids
2018-08-03, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/americas-heroin-epidemic/fda-knew-doctors-w...

The Food and Drug Administration knew that some doctors were wrongly prescribing powerful opioid painkillers. The drugs include mouth sprays and lozenges meant to provide immediate relief for breakthrough cancer pain ... in patients who have been taking opioids for long periods of time. The formulations, referred to as transmucosal immediate-release fentanyl products, or TIRF products, can kill patients who take them without having first developed tolerance. But they were prescribed to patients who had no tolerance, and for migraines or dental pain, the team at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health said. The U.S. is suffering through an epidemic of opioid abuse. Opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, killed 42,000 people in 2016. At the same time, the CDC reported last year, the number of prescriptions for the painkillers tripled from 1999 to 2015. The FDA set up a special plan to control [TIRF products], called a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy. The FDA asked one of its expert panels ... to help review how the strategy for the TIRF opioids has been working. It has not worked as designed, the Johns Hopkins team said in testimony given to the panel. The strategy has "generated red flags for years," the team said in written testimony. “FDA had evidence as early as April 2016 that TIRFs were being prescribed for many patients who were not opioid tolerant,” they wrote in their testimony. “Of more than 25,000 patients receiving TIRFs, as many as 51 percent were not opioid tolerant.”

Note: A recent CNN report titled, "The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make" shows how doctors have profited from over-prescribing these dangerous drugs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma.


‘The most bizarre thing I’ve ever been a part of’: Trump panel found no widespread voter fraud, ex-member says
2018-08-03, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2018/08/03/the-most-bizarre-t...

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, one of the 11 members of the commission formed by President Trump to investigate supposed voter fraud, issued a scathing rebuke of the disbanded panel on Friday, accusing Vice Chair Kris Kobach and the White House of making false statements and saying that he had concluded that the panel had been set up to try to validate the president’s baseless claims about fraudulent votes in the 2016 election. Before it was disbanded by Trump in January, the panel had never presented any findings or evidence of widespread voter fraud. But the White House claimed at the time that it had shut down the commission despite “substantial evidence of voter fraud” due to the mounting legal challenges it faced from states. Dunlap said of ... more than 8,000 pages of [commission documents that were turned over to him], “It wasn’t just a matter of investigating President Trump’s claims that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally, but the goal of the commission seems to have been to validate those claims.” Dunlap said that ... the voting fraud panel was marked by obfuscation, secrecy and confusion related to the work the panel was engaged in. So Dunlap filed a lawsuit against the commission ... alleging that he and the other Democratic members were being excluded from its work and materials. He received the documents he sought only ... after a federal judge ordered the administration to turn them over, despite the objections of the Justice Department.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.


We’re drowning in trash. These Dutch scientists have a solution.
2018-08-02, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/theworldpost/wp/2018/08/02/biomass/?nored...

The sprawling, gated campus of the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) sits on a spit of land about an hour north of Amsterdam. In a nearby control room, engineers ... were working on one of clean energy’s intransigent problems: how to turn waste into electricity without producing more waste. Decades ago, scientists discovered that when heated to extreme temperatures, wood and agricultural leftovers, as well as plastic and textile waste, turn into a gas composed of underlying chemical components. The resulting synthetic gas, or “syngas,” can be harnessed as a power source, generating heat or electricity. But gasified waste has serious shortcomings: it contains tars, which clog engines and disrupt catalysts, breaking machinery, and in turn, lowering efficiency and raising costs. This is what the Dutch technology is designed to fix. The MILENA-OLGA system, as they call it, is a revolutionary carbon-neutral energy plant that turns waste into electricity with little or no harmful byproducts. The MILENA-OLGA process ... is 11 percent more efficient than most existing energy-from-waste plants and over 50 percent more efficient than incinerators of a comparable scale. The process also emits zero wastewater and produces no particulates or other pollutants. Just 4 percent of the original material is left over as inert white ash, which can be used to make cement.

Note: A similar technology was developed and implemented over 10 years ago, as detailed in this Popular Science article. Why wasn't this amazing invention widely reported and used? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Pope Francis changes Catholic Church teaching to say death penalty is ‘inadmissible’
2018-08-02, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/pope-francis-changes-catholic-church-tea...

Pope Francis has changed Catholic Church teaching to fully reject the death penalty, the Vatican announced Thursday, saying it would work to abolish capital punishment worldwide. The revision to several sentences of the catechism, the compendium of Catholic beliefs, has the potential to recast debates around the world on how to handle those accused of the most heinous crimes. The church’s updated teaching describes capital punishment as “inadmissible” and an attack on the “dignity of the person.” Previously, the church allowed for the death penalty in very rare cases, only as a means of “defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.” Francis has for years been a vocal critic of the death penalty, calling it an “inhuman measure.” The Argentine pontiff has pointed to the church’s stance on the death penalty as evidence of how the Vatican can evolve: The church for centuries permitted executions, but in 1997, John Paul II dramatically narrowed the standards for when the punishment was permissible. Francis’s latest move places the issue toward the forefront of his own efforts to overhaul and modernize the Roman Catholic Church’s approach to social justice. The full political significance of the new teaching stands to emerge slowly, as priests and bishops speak more clearly about the death penalty to planet’s 1.2 billion Catholics. Because the practice has already been abolished in most countries with large Catholic populations ... the United States is among the places where the shift could have the greatest consequence.

Note: In 2014, a major study found that about 300 wrongfully-convicted people had been executed in the US between 1973 and 2004. from reliable major media sources. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Memphis police accused of using fake accounts to surveil black activists
2018-08-01, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/aug/01/memphis-police-black-lives-ma...

A trove of documents released by the city of Memphis late last week appear to show that its police department has been systematically using fake social media profiles to surveil local Black Lives Matter activists, and that it kept dossiers and detailed power point presentations on dozens of Memphis-area activists. The surveillance project was operated through the Memphis police department’s office of homeland security. In a deposition for a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union over the information gathering, officials said it ... began to focus on “local individuals or groups that were staging protests” [around 2016]. This included the publication of daily joint information briefings on potential protests and known protesters. The briefings regularly included information about meetings on private property, panel discussions, town halls, and even innocuous events like “Black Owned Food Truck Sunday”. A good deal of that information appears to have been obtained by a fake MPD Facebook profile for a “Bob Smith”, which the ACLU said was used “to view private posts, join private groups, and otherwise pose as a member of the activist community”. The briefings, which contained ... photographs, dates of birth, addresses, and mental health histories were distributed beyond the department according to the ACLU lawsuit, to a number of local businesses including the region’s largest employer FedEx and the county school district.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Sweden to reach its 2030 renewable energy target by the end of 2018
2018-08-01, ZMEscience
https://www.zmescience.com/ecology/renewable-energy-ecology/sweden-renewable-...

While most countries are struggling to reach their renewable energy targets, others are breezing past them. Thanks to both its geography and impactful policies, Sweden is set to achieve its 2030 goals in mere months. In 2012, years before the Paris Agreement, Norway and Sweden signed a joint agreement to increase production of electricity from renewables by 28.4 terawatt hours within eight years. It only took a few years for Sweden to realize it was ahead of schedule, and in 2017, it increased its target, aiming to add another 18 TWh by 2030. Lo and behold, once more, Sweden is moving much faster than anticipated and now there’s a good chance it will reach the 2030 goal in mere months — maybe even by the end of the year. Wind energy is one of the main drivers propelling Sweden’s renewable targets forward. According to the World Economic Forum ... there will be 3,681 turbines functioning in the country by the end of the year. But this is only the start of the road for Sweden. Sweden already has a cross-party agreement to achieve 100% renewable energy production by 2040, and the figure is already hovering around 57%. The country has also set a target of net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2045. According to the Paris Agreement, all EU countries have agreed to achieve 20% final energy consumption from renewable sources by 2020.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Freshest Ideas Are in Small Grocery Stores
2018-07-31, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/31/dining/grocery-store.html

In New Prague, Minn., population around 7,600, Kendra and Paul Rasmusson [opened a grocery] store that is largely unstaffed. The couple’s young daughter has epilepsy, and they discovered early on that a healthy diet could help her feel better. They couldn’t find enough local, organic items at the big-box store close to town. So ... they opened Farmhouse Market. The numbers wouldn’t work if they were to run it in a traditional way. Inspired by a nearby 24-hour fitness center, they had an idea: Why not create a store that didn’t need staff, for shoppers who wanted organic [food] from local farmers? Members pay $99 a year and use a key card to open the door. They can shop anytime they want. Local farmers, beekeepers and other suppliers have cards, too, so they can restock their supplies at midnight if they want. In Baltimore, the Salvation Army market is tackling an urban version of the grocery-store drought. The DMG Foods was built in the front of a Salvation Army distribution center in a neighborhood where families in public housing mix with Johns Hopkins students and older people who grew up there. The cheery store, whose name is an abbreviation of the organization’s motto, Doing the Most Good, feels a little bit like what Amazon would ship if you typed “grocery store” into the search bar. And in a way, that’s what [founder Maj. Gene]. Hogg did. “We didn’t do this to make money selling groceries,” Mr. Hogg said. “We did this so people could have a neighborhood grocery store with fresh food.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'Stand your ground' has become a get-out-of-jail-free license to kill
2018-07-30, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/policing/spotlight/2018/07/30/stand-yo...

As has happened before in Florida, "stand your ground" is being appropriately scrutinized in the aftermath of the shocking shooting death of Markeis McGlockton, an unarmed black man who was gunned down for trying to protect his family - including his young children - in a dispute over a handicapped parking space. The local sheriff concluded that shooter Michael Drejka pulled the trigger because he was in fear, and therefore stand your ground applied. According to this inexplicable interpretation of the law, Drejka needed to defend himself from a man who ... was backing away from the confrontation. Florida’s stand your ground law emerged as an outgrowth of the traditional “castle doctrine,” which allowed individuals to defend their home (or “castle”) with whatever force was necessary. Somehow, that concept has been warped into a virtual get-out-of-jail-free card that is essentially a license to kill. Five members of Congress, including three U.S. senators, have called for the Department of Justice to investigate why stand-your-ground immunity was extended to a man carrying a concealed weapon who angrily approached a car ... and created a confrontation. Had McGlockton been the one to pull out a gun, there is no way stand your ground would have been extended to him, a man of color. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported a significant increase in unlawful homicides since stand your ground was enacted in Florida in 2005.

Note: Watch the disturbing video of the incident at the link above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Interference in US elections has been going on for years. The reason? Voter purges
2018-07-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/28/voter-purges-interferin...

In every American election there are some voters who show up to their polling place ready to cast a ballot, only to find their name isn’t on the registration list. The reason? Voter purges, an often flawed effort to update voter rolls by removing voters’ names from registration lists. Virginians fell victim in 2013, when nearly 39,000 voters were removed when the state relied on faulty data to determine which names should be deleted. In 2016 it was New Yorkers, when the New York City board of elections wrongly deleted more than 200,000 names. A new Brennan Center report found that purges could threaten the right to vote for millions in November. Purges have increased particularly in a handful of largely southern states which were freed from oversight by the supreme court’s landmark 2013 decision in Shelby County v Holder. Before Shelby County, areas around the country with histories of racial discrimination in voting were prohibited from making election changes without first showing that the change would not make minority voters worse off. Some states and jurisdictions are using bad information to determine who should be removed from the rolls, like relying on a faulty list that flags eligible voters as ineligible. Some are depending on matching criteria used by a problematic purge database called Crosscheck, which has been found to be more likely to flag African American, Asian American and Latino voters for removal than Caucasian voters.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.


CBS chief Leslie Moonves accused of sexual misconduct in Ronan Farrow article
2018-07-27, ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/cbs-chief-leslie-moonves-accused-sexual-...

The New Yorker has published a bombshell investigation of the head of CBS Corporation that includes allegations of sexual misconduct. The article by Ronan Farrow alleges that CBS chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior, including unwanted kissing and touching that occurred over 20 years ago. Farrow told ABC News that his latest piece is "about six women who did an incredibly brave thing: overcoming tremendous fear of retaliation to speak about their experiences with Moonves. But it’s also a story about dozens and dozens of sources who told us that a culture of harassment and retaliation had permeated various facets of his company," he said. The women recalled events when they were threatened with retaliation when rebuffing advances and detailed accounts of sexual assault. They "say that they are still afraid of Les Moonves," Farrow said. "They are speaking because they believe there is a broader culture around him in which he has protected other men who have engaged in similar misconduct," Farrow said. Moonves denied any allegations of sexual assault but acknowledged, "I recognize that there were times decades ago when I may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances. Those were mistakes, and I regret them immensely." A person "familiar with the situation" told The Wall Street Journal that CBS has no plans to sideline Moonves.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and sexual abuse scandals.


Venting about press, Trump has repeatedly sought to ban reporters over questions
2018-07-27, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/venting-about-press-trump-has-repeate...

President Trump has sought repeatedly to punish journalists for the way they ask him questions, directing White House staff to ban those reporters from covering official events or to revoke their press credentials. He has also asked that retaliatory action be taken against them. Until this week ... Trump’s senior aides have resisted carrying out his directives. On Wednesday, however, newly installed Deputy Chief of Staff Bill Shine and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders took action against CNN correspondent Kaitlan Collins, telling her she could not attend Trump’s open-media event in the Rose Garden because they objected to her questioning of the president earlier in the day. The move revealed a fresh willingness inside the West Wing to execute the president’s wishes to punish reporters. It immediately drew a chorus of protest throughout the media, including from Fox News Channel, Trump’s favorite network and Shine’s former employer. Olivier Knox, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said the group would challenge any further efforts by Trump to curtail the access of reporters who offend him. “In keeping with the spirit of the First Amendment, reporters who cover the White House should be free to do their jobs without the specter of reprisal from the government,” he said in a statement. During his campaign, Trump barred reporters from about a dozen media organizations ... from being credentialed at his rallies, news conferences and other events.

Note: The Department of Homeland Security recently began seeking a contractor to "gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


U.S. Secret Wars in Africa Rage On, Despite Talk of Downsizing
2018-07-26, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2018/07/26/us-special-operations-africa-green-berets...

Last October, four U.S. soldiers – including two commandos – were killed in an ambush in Niger. Since then, talk of U.S. special operations in Africa has centered on missions being curtailed and troop levels cut. Press accounts have suggested that the number of special operators on the front lines has been reduced. At the same time, a “sweeping Pentagon review” of special ops missions on the continent may result in drastic cuts in the number of commandos operating there. [Yet], there is no evidence yet of massive cuts, gradual reductions, or any downsizing whatsoever. In fact, the number of commandos operating on the continent has barely budged since 2017. Nearly 10 months after the debacle in Niger, the tally of special operators in Africa remains essentially unchanged. 16.5 percent of commandos overseas are deployed in Africa. This is about the same percentage of special operators sent to the continent in 2017 and represents a major increase over deployments during the first decade of the post-9/11 war on terror. In 2006, for example, just 1 percent of all U.S. commandos deployed overseas were in Africa. While media reports have focused on the possibility of imminent reductions, the number of commandos deployed in Africa is nonetheless up 96 percent since 2014 and remains fundamentally unchanged since the deadly 2017 ambush in Niger.

Note: Read more about the "shadow wars" being waged in Africa by US Special Operations forces. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Liquid water 'lake' revealed on Mars
2018-07-25, BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44952710

Researchers have found evidence of an existing body of liquid water on Mars. What they believe to be a lake sits under the planet's south polar ice cap, and is about 20km (12 miles) across. Previous research found possible signs of intermittent liquid water flowing on the martian surface, but this is the first sign of a persistent body of water on the planet in the present day. Lake beds like those explored by Nasa's Curiosity rover show water was present on the surface of Mars in the past. However, the planet's climate has since cooled due to its thin atmosphere, leaving most of its water locked up in ice. The result is exciting because scientists have long searched for signs of present-day liquid water on Mars, but these have come up empty or yielded ambiguous findings. It will also interest those studying the possibilities for life beyond Earth. Following the water is key to astrobiology - the study of potential life beyond Earth.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the nature of reality and UFO phenomena.


“This Is Unacceptable”: How the UN Falls Short in Responding to Alleged Sex Abuse
2018-07-24, PBS
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/this-is-unacceptable-how-the-un-fa...

When UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited the Central African Republic (CAR) in October of 2017, his words echoed a theme that he’d been sounding since taking office in January: Stemming the problem of sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers was among his top priorities. The same month of Guterres’ visit to CAR, the UN had received a report of a new rape case there. A young woman named Mauricette, who was 17 at the time, said she was raped by peacekeepers on her way home from a funeral. Mauricette went months without hearing from the UN after her initial interview with them. The details of what allegedly happened to Mauricette are grim. “She was vomiting,” says Jean-Gaston Endjileteko, who works at Samaritans’ Medical Center, where Mauricette had been treated. “She told me she had drunk some drugged tea spiked with a powder at the Mauritanian checkpoint. The hospital reported Mauricette’s rape, and she was interviewed by a local UN representative. But then, the UN went silent. “I’ve heard nothing,” Mauricette says. “No news.” That was approximately two months after Mauricette’s initial interview with the UN — so [PBS correspondent Ramita] Navai brought the delay to the attention of Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, Head of UN Mission, Central African Republic. Mauricette still hadn’t heard anything further from the UN — four months after FRONTLINE brought the delay in communication with her about her case to the UN’s attention.

Note: An hour-long episode of PBS FRONTLINE details the sad case introduced by the article above. In 2015, more than a year after allegations of UN peacekeepers sexual abusing children came to light, it was reported that the UN had taken disciplinary action against the whistleblower who exposed wrongdoing, but not against the soldiers accused of abuses. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Man dying of cancer testifies in weed-killer suit against Monsanto
2018-07-24, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Benicia-man-dying-of-cancer-testi...

A former school groundskeeper, diagnosed with terminal cancer, told a San Francisco jury Monday that he called a Monsanto Co. hotline twice - once before his diagnosis, once after - and asked whether the herbicide he was spraying on the job, the most widely used weed killer in the world, could cause harm to humans. Both times ... the person at the other end of the line listened to his account of being accidentally doused with the herbicide glyphosate, and said someone would call him back. No one ever did. “I would never have sprayed the product around school grounds or around people if I thought it would cause them harm,” Johnson told a Superior Court jury. Johnson ... was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in October 2014 and with ... a more aggressive form of the cancer in March 2015. Even after the latter diagnosis, Johnson said he continued to spray Monsanto’s product, a high-concentration brand of glyphosate called Ranger Pro, until he became convinced that it was dangerous and refused to use it in his final months on the job. His damage suit, now into its third week, is the first of about 4,000 nationwide to go to trial against Monsanto, now a subsidiary of Bayer. In 2015, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. [Johnson] said ... a supervisor told him the product was safe as long as he wore long-sleeved shirts, pants, shoes and socks.

Note: As major lawsuits like this one against Monsanto unfold, the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. A recent independent study published in a scientific journal found a link between glyphosate and gluten intolerance. Internal FDA emails suggest that the food supply contains far more glyphosate than government reports indicate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


'Dark Money' turns campaign finance into a political thriller
2018-07-24, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-dark-money-documentary-2...

The documentary “Dark Money” turns a story about campaign finance into a political thriller. Beyond that - in a veritable magic trick in these divisive times - viewers may well find themselves rooting for politicians who don’t share their political views. “Dark Money” ... delves into a seemingly nonpartisan issue: the use of anonymous funds to influence political campaigns on both sides of the aisle. Director Kimberly Reed ... first became interested in the topic after Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision that political spending was a protected form of free speech. “I joked around for years that I was going to change my name to Cassandra, because nobody was listening to my prophecies of doom,” said Reed. “You could just see that campaign finance was going to get worse and worse, and I watched it happen every election cycle.” The outcome has been even grimmer than she imagined. In addition to the flood of corporate money that funded super PACs, a more insidious tidal wave started to wash over the country in the form of anonymous donations, or “dark money.” Looking for a way into the challenging material, Reed found it in ... her home state of Montana. Former Federal Election Commission Chair Ann Ravel appears in “Dark Money” to provide a depressing counterpoint to Montana’s battle. “It’s such a good movie,” Ravel said, “because Kim juxtaposes what’s happening on the federal level with the hopeful side in Montana and in other states.”

Note: Find out more about this important documentary on the film's official website. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.


Who Represents Us When Our Political Parties Represent Only Corporations?
2018-07-23, Yes! Magazine
https://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/who-represents-us-when-our-political-...

We the people of the United States find ourselves in a political crisis. Irrespective of where we fall on the political spectrum, a great many of us don’t trust our own political system. Nor should we: It represents power that is captive to interests quite at odds with our own. Two recent news stories brought this home ... in a way that might help us find common cause. The first story was about a meeting of the World Health Organization. Ecuador introduced a resolution calling on governments to “protect, promote and support breast-feeding” and to restrict promotion of food products found to have deleterious effects on young children. Most ... rallied behind the initiative. The United States’ representatives stood firmly in opposition. They even threatened Ecuador with trade sanctions and a cutback in military aid. The U.S. representatives left ... no doubt that they were representing the interest of transnational corporations that sell infant formula. Within days of the breastfeeding incident, President Trump was attacking the U.S.’s NATO allies in Europe for spending too little on their militaries. At first mention his argument seemed reasonable. But ... our problem is not that our allies are spending too little on war, but that we are spending far too much. The interests served by bloated military ... are corporations that profit from defense contracts. Defense contractors and infant formula corporations are just two examples of the abuse of unaccountable institutional power in which both ... parties have been complicit for decades.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result
2018-07-19, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/world/asia/four-day-workweek-new-zealand.html

A New Zealand firm that let its employees work four days a week while being paid for five says the experiment was so successful that it hoped to make the change permanent. The firm, Perpetual Guardian, which manages trusts, wills and estates, found the change actually boosted productivity among its 240 employees, who said they spent more time with their families, exercising, cooking, and working in their gardens. Similar experiments in other countries have tested the concept of reducing work hours as a way of improving individual productivity. In Sweden, a trial in the city of Gothenburg mandated a six-hour day, and officials found employees completed the same amount of work or even more. In Perpetual Guardian’s case, workers said the change motivated them to find ways of increasing their productivity while in the office. Meetings were reduced from two hours to 30 minutes, and employees created signals for their colleagues that they needed time to work without distraction. “They worked out where they were wasting time and worked smarter,” [Jarrod Haar, a human resources professor] said. Andrew Barnes, the company’s founder ... said he came up with the idea for a four-day workweek after reading a report that suggested people spent less than three hours of their work day productively employed, and another that said distractions at work could have effects on staff akin to losing a night’s sleep.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The IRS found a way to make ‘dark money’ spent on politics even darker
2018-07-19, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-irs-darkmoney-20180719-story....

Tax-exempt nonprofit organizations supposedly devoted to “social welfare” can spend large amounts of money to influence elections without publicly disclosing the identities of their donors. But instead of cracking down on the use of “dark money” for political purposes, the Internal Revenue Service has decided to stop requiring these groups to reveal even to the government the sources of their funding. On Monday, the IRS and the Treasury Department announced they would no longer require 501(c)(4) groups ... to supply the government with the identities of donors who gave more than $5,000 in a single year. It’s a step backward that could make it easier for money from foreign sources to find its way into U.S. elections. But while this week’s policy change may not affect what the public may learn about political spending by so-called social welfare groups, it could make it more difficult for the government to police laws against spending by foreigners on U.S. elections. Fred Wertheimer, president of the campaign reform group Democracy 21, warned that, with the end of the reporting requirement, “there is no way to determine if a 501(c)(4) advocacy group that is spending money to influence federal elections is taking that money from [a] foreign interest.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.


Homegirl Cafe Offers 'Platos' by Ex-Gang Members With Hope
2018-07-17, US News and World Report/Associated Press
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/california/articles/2018-07-17/homegi...

Homegirl Cafe, a Los Angeles breakfast and lunch spot with a Latino twist, offers a unique dining experience prepared by former gang members. The popular cafe in the city's Chinatown allows visitors to relish carefully crafted meals while getting inspired by former inmates who willingly retell their stories about seeking a better life. The cafe is an offshoot of the Homeboy Industries social enterprises founded by Jesuit priest Greg Boyle to give former gang members job training and social services. Trainees learn all aspects of culinary arts while developing new social prowess that gives visitors a tender encounter. Plates like chilaquiles — fresh crisp tortilla chips tossed with warm tomatillo salsa, egg, crema fresca, and queso cotija — are made from ingredients that come straight from urban farms.

Note: Read more about Homeboy Industries' success in providing former gang members with a path to a better life. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Israeli parliament votes to ban state and army critics from schools
2018-07-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/17/israeli-parliament-votes-to-ban...

Israel’s parliament has passed a law that could ban groups critical of the armed forces or the state from entering schools and speaking to students. As an amendment to the country’s education act, the law grants extensive powers to Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the education minister and head of the religious-nationalist Jewish Home party. He can decide to ban groups, the bill states, if they “actively promote legal or international political actions to be taken outside Israel against soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces ... or against the state of Israel”. However, critics warn the law is so vague that it could apply to any person or body that criticises Israel to a foreign entity or government – for example, an Israeli rights group that submits an unfavourable report to a UN agency. The legislation has been dubbed the “Breaking the Silence” bill, a reference to an anti-occupation Israeli human rights group run by military veterans that collects and publishes testimony on army abuses. Bennett has been deeply scathing of the organisation, accusing it of damaging Israel’s image abroad and putting soldiers and officials at risk of prosecution for alleged war crimes. Yehuda Shaul, one of the founders of Breaking the Silence, said the law was “the broadest restriction on freedom of expression for political reasons ever put into Israeli law”. He said its goal was to silence criticism of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


GAO: Less Than Half of School Districts Test Water for Lead
2018-07-17, US News and World Report/Associated Press
https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/articles/2018-07-17/gao-le...

A survey of school districts around the country finds that less than half test their water for lead, and among those that do more than a third detected elevated levels of the toxin. The report, released by the Government Accountability Office, is based on a survey of 549 school districts across the United States. It estimates that 41 percent of school districts, serving 12 million students, did not test for lead in the water in 2016 and 2017. Of the 43 percent that did test for lead, about 37 percent reported elevated levels. Sixteen percent of schools said they did not know whether they test for lead. A 2005 memorandum signed by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance to schools, including a testing protocol and suggestions for disseminating results, educating the school community about the risks and health effects of exposure and what actions should be taken to correct the problem. But there are still major information gaps, the report says, and no federal law that requires schools to test for lead.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.


Here's how patients say they reversed early Alzheimer's symptoms
2018-07-16, ABC News
http://abc7news.com/health/heres-how-patients-say-they-reversed-early-alzheim...

Two prominent California doctors, with bestselling books, insist we have the power to heal our own brains from diseases. They say it should start when we're young and begin with a look at the way we eat. Two women we spoke with who followed that advice say ... they reversed their early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease by making food and lifestyle changes based on research by neuroscientist Dr. Dale Bredesen. He wrote a book called "The End of Alzheimer's." "Two years ago, I scored mildly cognitively impaired on a cognitive assessment test," said Dr. Sally Weinrich. "Most recently, I scored perfect!" Weinrich, a former cancer researcher and grandmother, followed the Bredesen protocol for several months and is able to cook once again for her large family, pick up the grandkids from school and she's learning Spanish. Deborah, a very active mother of four and a lawyer, says, "Over a period of four to six months, the symptoms I was experiencing all reversed and I returned to my cognitive functioning that had been my norm when I was younger." She was able to recover her ability to sight-read notes when she plays the piano. Adda, an active 51-year-old grandmother, [said] that she improved her ability to think clearly and she lost almost 80 pounds after making dramatic food and lifestyle changes ... after she started working for cardiologist Dr. Steven Gundry nearly six years ago. He wrote a book called "The Plant Paradox."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Europe keeps setting clean-energy records
2018-07-14, Quartz
https://qz.com/1328344/renewable-energy-europe-keeps-setting-new-records-and-...

This week, two of the biggest economies in Europe set new records for clean energy. The UK’s electrical grid has not burned any coal for about 1,000 hours so far this year. Though it’s just a symbolic achievement, the pace at which the UK is reaching such figures shows the pace of the energy transition. In 2016 and 2017, the comparable figures for the full year stood at 210 hours and 624 hours, respectively. There are two reasons for the shift: a carbon tax on coal has made cleaner natural gas more attractive, and subsidies for solar and wind power have ensured wider deployment of new clean-energy technologies. Germany’s case has been slightly different. Though it began pushing for renewable energy much earlier than the UK, its gains have been slower. The coal lobby in Germany is a lot stronger than in the UK. But as the costs of renewable energy have come down, change is finally showing. In 2018 so far, coal generated about 35.1% of the country’s electricity. In comparison, renewable sources, such as solar, wind, and biomass, generated about 36.5%. At the half-year mark, it’s the first time in Germany’s history that renewables sources have generated more electricity than coal. Such records and falling renewable costs have made it easier for the EU to set more ambitious clean-energy goals. Last month, the bloc’s member nations agreed that each country must get 32% of all its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Detaining immigrant kids is now a billion-dollar industry, analysis finds
2018-07-12, Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-migrant-child-detention-201...

Detaining immigrant children has morphed into a surging industry in the U.S. that now reaps $1 billion annually — a tenfold increase over the past decade. Health and Human Services grants for shelters, foster care and other child welfare services for detained unaccompanied and separated children soared from $74.5 million in 2007 to $958 million dollars in 2017. The agency is also reviewing a new round of proposals amid a growing effort by the White House to keep immigrant children in government custody. Currently, more than 11,800 children, from a few months old to 17, are housed in nearly 90 facilities in 15 states. By far the largest recipients of taxpayer money have been Southwest Key and Baptist Child & Family Services. From 2008 to date, Southwest Key has received $1.39 billion in grant funding to operate shelters; Baptist Child & Family Services has received $942 million. International Educational Services also was a big recipient, landing more than $72 million in the last fiscal year before folding amid a series of complaints about the conditions in its shelters. The recipients of the money run the gamut from nonprofits, religious organizations and for-profit entities. They are essentially government contractors for the Health and Human Services Department — the federal agency that administers the program keeping immigrant children in custody. In a recently released report, the State Department decried the general principle of holding children in shelters, saying it makes them inherently vulnerable.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The chief wanted perfect stats, so cops were told to pin crimes on black people
2018-07-12, Miami Herald
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article213647764.html

The indictment was damning enough: A former police chief of Biscayne Park and two officers charged with falsely pinning four burglaries on a teenager. But the accusations revealed in federal court last month left out far uglier details of past policing practices in tranquil Biscayne Park, a [suburb] of Miami. Records obtained by the Miami Herald suggest that during the tenure of former chief Raimundo Atesiano, the command staff pressured some officers into targeting random black people to clear cases. “If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries,” one cop, Anthony De La Torre, said in an internal probe ordered in 2014. “They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.” In a report from that probe, four officers — a third of the small force — told an outside investigator they were under marching orders to file the bogus charges to improve the department’s crime stats. Only De La Torre specifically mentioned targeting blacks, but former Biscayne Park village manager Heidi Shafran, who ordered the investigation after receiving a string of letters from disgruntled officers, said the message seemed clear for cops on the street. The federal case doesn’t raise allegations of racial profiling, but records show the false charges were filed against a black Haitian-American teen identified only as T.D. in the indictment.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Ireland becomes first country in world to pull money from fossil fuels
2018-07-12, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ireland-stop-fossil-fuel-mone...

Ireland will become the first country in the world to fully divest from fossil fuels after politicians voted to withdraw all public funds from oil and gas companies. In an effort to meet the country's climate change commitments, as embodied in the Paris agreement, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill will probably be brought into force after parliament's summer recess. First introduced by independent MP Thomas Pringle in 2016, the bill has since been backed by all opposition parties. Taking inspiration from universities and cities around the world that have withdrawn financial support from the fossil fuel industry, Mr Pringle began working on the idea after meeting Irish international development charity Trocaire. The passing of the bill will compel the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to sell off its fossil fuel investments, which stand at more than €300m (Ł265m) across 150 companies worldwide. Mr Pringle said the withdrawal of this money will not only remove funds from some of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters, it will act as a gesture of Ireland’s commitment to tackling climate change. Eamonn Meehan, executive director of Trocaire, agreed that the bill made a “powerful statement” that would serve to improve the nation’s reputation as a “climate laggard”.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Riveting Documentary Sheds Light On 'Dark Money' In Montana Politics
2018-07-12, NPR
https://www.npr.org/2018/07/12/626693116/riveting-documentary-sheds-light-on-...

Which is worse, corruption you can see or corruption you can't? In Dark Money, a documentary about invisible corporate shenanigans in her home state of Montana, director Kimberly Reed makes the incisive case that the latter threatens to sink our democracy outright. Dark Money opens and closes with a flock of geese flying over a toxic copper quarry. As Reed's story unfolds, we learn that the beautiful birds' mass demise is only a tiny fraction of the wreckage caused by shady money moguls tinkering with electoral campaigns over a hundred years of Montana history. Montana is also ... the only state, according to Reed, to have fought back locally against the U.S. Supreme Court's 2010 rollback of laws preventing corporations and unions using their treasury funds for electioneering. Reed shows how Democrats and Republicans running for political and judicial office found themselves targeted by vicious attack ads from deep-pocketed non-profits with blandly vanilla names like Citizens United or Americans For Prosperity, or strategically crowd-pleasing monikers like Mothers Against Child Predators. No one had ever heard of these shape-shifting advocacy groups, and it was difficult to track the money back to the shadowy ideologues hiding behind them. [The] film shows how, with the Internet's global reach and the ever-growing concentration of money and power, dark money is redrawing the political landscape in ways that render parties irrelevant and imperil democracy itself.

Note: Find out more about this important documentary on the film's official website. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.


The ‘King’ of Shambhala Buddhism Is Undone by Abuse Report
2018-07-11, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/11/nyregion/shambhala-sexual-misconduct.html

Mipham Rinpoche ... is the head of one of the largest Buddhist organizations in the West, Shambhala International, a network of more than 200 outposts in over 30 countries where thousands come for training in meditation. He is known as the Sakyong, a Tibetan word that translates roughly as king, and his students take vows to follow him that are binding across lifetimes. Late last month, a former Shambhala teacher released a report alleging that the Sakyong had sexually abused and exploited some of his most devoted female followers for years. Women quoted in the report wrote of drunken groping and forcefully extracted sexual favors. The report said that senior leaders at Shambhala — an organization whose motto is “Making Enlightened Society Possible” — knew of the Sakyong’s misconduct and covered it up. On Friday ... the governing council of Shambhala International, which is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, resigned en masse, “in the interest of beginning a healing process for our community.” The Sakyong ... took leave from running Shambhala as an outside firm investigates abuse allegations against him and other Shambhala teachers. He would, the announcement stated, “enter a period of self-reflection.” The Sakyong is not only another executive or religious leader dethroned by #MeToo, but the sole holder of the most sacred teachings in a custody chain that goes back centuries, the only one who can transmit them, according to the traditions of his lineage.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


‘There have to be limits’: Guantanamo attorneys challenge lifetime imprisonment without charge
2018-07-11, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/there-have-to-be-limit...

Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been held for as long as 16 years without being charged cannot be imprisoned indefinitely, attorneys argued in federal court Wednesday. Speaking before U.S. District Judge Thomas Hogan in Washington, attorneys representing eight men detained at the military facility said the Trump administration had violated prisoners’ rights because it did not intend to try them or resettle them overseas. The case shines a light on the few remaining prisoners at Guantanamo, which President Trump has promised to keep open and potentially use to house new suspects, reversing his predecessor’s failed quest to shutter the facility. The men’s collective challenge ... is a reminder of the unsettled questions that continue to surround the prison, which for critics symbolizes what they see as excesses that followed the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. At its peak, the military facility ... held more than 700 prisoners. After 2009, President Barack Obama, seeking to close the prison, resettled close to 200 more but was unable to overcome congressional opposition to shutting the prison. Two of the men whose challenge was heard Wednesday, Tofiq Nasser Awad al-Bihani and Abdul Latif Nasser, have already been deemed eligible for resettlement overseas by a government panel, but they remain at Guantanamo. Much of the hearing revolved around the government’s assertion that it could continue to hold the detainees until hostilities against the United States cease, no matter how long that takes.

Note: A letter written by Al Hajj, a Yemeni citizen detained without charges for over 15 years, sheds further light on the plight of these prisoners. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


Top Ecuador court upholds $9 billion ruling against Chevron
2018-07-11, Miami Herald/Associated Press
https://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article214688105.html

Ecuador's highest court has upheld a $9.5 billion judgment against oil giant Chevron for decades of rainforest damage. Plaintiffs celebrated the constitutional court's decision announced Tuesday night, saying it should pave the way for indigenous tribes to receive compensation for oil spills that contaminated groundwater and soil in their Amazon home. But the ruling is largely symbolic as Chevron no longer operates in the South American country. That means Ecuador's government will have to pursue assets owned by the ... company in foreign courts, where it so far has had little luck. Last week, an appeals court in Argentina rejected an attempt by Ecuador to collect on its award, echoing earlier rulings by courts in Canada, Gibraltar and Brazil. In 2014, a U.S. court of appeals ... also denied Ecuador's request, arguing that the original judgment was obtained through bribery, coercion and fraud. In an added twist, the American lawyer who for years represented Ecuador in the matter was barred Tuesday from practicing law in New York state. The New York state appeals court found Steven Donziger guilty of professional misconduct, saying that in his appeal of the 2014 ruling he did not challenge the judge's findings of bribery, witness tampering, and the ghostwriting of a court opinion.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Dying Organs Restored to Life in Novel Experiments
2018-07-10, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/10/health/mitochondria-transplant-heart-attac...

Mitochondria are tiny organelles that fuel the operation of the cell. A series of experiments has found that fresh mitochondria can revive flagging cells and enable them to quickly recover. In animal studies ... mitochondrial transplants revived heart muscle that was stunned from a heart attack. Infusions of mitochondria also prolonged the time organs could be stored before they were used for transplants, and even ameliorated brain damage that occurred soon after a stroke. In ... human tests, mitochondrial transplants appear to revive and restore heart muscle in infants that was injured in operations to repair congenital heart defects. The idea for mitochondrial transplants was born of serendipity. Dr. Emani is a pediatric surgeon. Dr. McCully is a scientist who studies adult hearts. Both were wrestling with ... how to fix hearts that had been deprived of oxygen during surgery or a heart attack. One day, [Dr. McCully] decided simply to pull some mitochondria from healthy [pig] cells and inject them into the injured cells. To his surprise, the mitochondria moved like magnets to the proper places in the cells and began supplying energy. The pig hearts recovered. Meanwhile, Dr. Emani was struggling with the same heart injuries in his work with babies. [When] the two researchers met, “it was almost an ‘aha’ moment,” Dr. Emani said. The scientists have now treated 11 babies with mitochondria. All of the more recent patients survived and are doing well.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Trying to Cut Crime in Public Housing by Making It More Livable
2018-07-10, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/10/opinion/new-york-crime-public-housing.html

New York City is the safest big city in the nation. The city is betting it can [get even safer]. The Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety is being employed in 15 of the most dangerous public housing complexes in the city. The idea is to lower crime by making these neighborhoods better - places where residents live in well-maintained buildings, have necessary services, are engaged in civic life and can collaborate to solve problems. Working elevators, summer jobs for teenagers, community centers open till midnight, residents who know what to do when the trash piles up - no one would doubt that these are good things. But it seems a stretch to call them crime prevention measures. Will people really commit fewer robberies and shootings if the trash gets picked up? Crime has dropped more in the 15 complexes involved in the plan than in other public housing. Why? It might be this: Crime is in part a function of trust. “Trust is the heartbeat of civic life,” said Elizabeth Glazer, head of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. “These neighborhoods feel completely estranged.” Perhaps more important ... is what social scientists call “collective efficacy” - achieved when neighbors feel that they can trust and rely on one another and work together to get things done. Collective efficacy is so important that the lack of it - common in disadvantaged neighborhoods - is most of the reason poor communities have more crime. When they build collective efficacy, even without other changes, crime drops.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Trump pardons Oregon ranchers who sparked 2016 militia standoff
2018-07-10, BBC News
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44775113

President Donald Trump has pardoned two Oregon cattle ranchers whose sentence for arson led armed militiamen to seize control of a wildlife refuge in 2016. Dwight Hammond, 76, and his son Steven Hammond, 49, were convicted in 2012 after a prescribed burn on their land spread to nearby public lands. The pair served time in jail, but a judge later ruled that they must serve their full five-year sentence. The ruling sparked anti-government protests that left one rancher dead. The case had drawn the attention of limited-government proponents, including the family of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who was himself facing charges relating to an armed standoff with law enforcement. His son, Ammon Bundy, then began a social media campaign backing the Hammonds, and travelled to Burns, Oregon, to organise protests calling for their release. On 2 January, 2016 [Mr Bundy and his group] took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and widened the range of demands. The standoff ended when police arrested several members and fatally shot the group's spokesman, LaVoy Finicum. The Obama administration insisted the Hammonds receive a mandatory minimum sentence of five years - but Mr Trump has other ideas. Tuesday's announcement marks seven pardons by Mr Trump, as well as two commuted sentences. Last month, Mr Trump granted clemency to 63-year-old Alice Johnson after meeting with celebrity Kim Kardashian, who lobbied the president for her release.

Note: The above article fails to mention that a mistrial was declared in the case against Cliven Bundy after prosecutors were caught withholding massive amounts of evidence undermining federal charges. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Judge: Experts Can Testify That Roundup Linked to Cancer
2018-07-10, US News and World Report
https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2018-07-10/judge-experts-can-te...

Evidence that Roundup weed killer can cause cancer seems "weak," but experts can still make that claim at trial, a U.S. judge ruled Tuesday. The decision by U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco allows hundreds of lawsuits against Roundup's manufacturer, Monsanto, to move forward. The lawsuits by cancer victims and their families say the agrochemical giant long knew about Roundup's cancer risk but failed to warn them. The judge wanted to determine whether the science behind the claim that Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma had been properly tested and met other requirements to be considered valid. Before issuing his ruling, Chhabria spent a week in March hearing dueling testimony from epidemiologists. He peppered them with questions about potential strengths and weaknesses of research on the cancer risk of glyphosate. Beate Ritz, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, testified for the plaintiffs that her review of scientific literature led her to conclude that glyphosate and glyphosate-based compounds such as Roundup can cause non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Ritz said a 2017 National Institute of Health study that found no association between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma had major flaws. A federal judge in Sacramento in February blocked California from requiring that Roundup carry a label stating that it is known to cause cancer.

Note: As major lawsuits like this one against Monsanto unfold, the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. A recent independent study published in a scientific journal found a link between glyphosate and gluten intolerance. Internal FDA emails suggest that the food supply contains far more glyphosate than government reports indicate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


Monsanto 'bullied scientists' and hid weedkiller cancer risk, lawyer tells court
2018-07-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/09/monsanto-trial-roundup-weedk...

Monsanto has long worked to “bully scientists” and suppress evidence of the cancer risks of its popular weedkiller, a lawyer argued on Monday in a landmark lawsuit against the global chemical corporation. “Monsanto has specifically gone out of its way to bully ... and to fight independent researchers,” said the attorney Brent Wisner, who presented internal Monsanto emails that he said showed how the agrochemical company rejected critical research and expert warnings over the years while pursuing and helping to write favorable analyses of their products. Wisner ... is representing DeWayne Johnson, known also as Lee, a California man whose cancer has spread through his body. The father of three ... is the first person to take Monsanto to trial over allegations that the chemical sold under the Roundup brand is linked to cancer. Thousands have made similar legal claims across the US. The suit centers on glyphosate ... which Monsanto began marketing as Roundup in 1974, presenting it as a technological breakthrough that could kill almost every weed without harming humans. Studies have suggested otherwise, and in 2015, the World Health Organization’s international agency for research on cancer (IARC) classified glyphosate as “probably carcinogenic to humans”. Glyphosate has been found in food, a variety of water sources, and the urine of agricultural workers. A number of countries have policies banning or restricting the sale and use of glyphosate.

Note: For more, see this article from the San Francisco Chronicle. As major lawsuits like this one against Monsanto unfold, the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. A recent independent study published in a scientific journal found a link between glyphosate and gluten intolerance. Internal FDA emails suggest that the food supply contains far more glyphosate than government reports indicate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


Two years after Philando Castile’s death, programs aim to transform relations between police, residents
2018-07-07, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/two-years-after-philando-castiles-dea...

An African American family of six sits inside the Nissan Quest in this first-ring suburb of St. Paul. The car tells a story of poverty: Plastic covers a broken window; rust lines the wheel wells. Officer Erin Reski pulled the vehicle over for a burned-out taillight, a problem similar to the one that led an officer to stop Philando Castile in the Twin Cities two years ago. That incident ... ended with Castile fatally shot. This situation ends very differently. Reski walks back to the minivan ... hands over a sheet of paper and offers a brief explanation. The response is swift and emphatic. “Oh, thank you!” the driver says. Scenes like this have been taking place across the Twin Cities thanks to the Lights On program, believed to be the first of its kind in the country. Instead of writing tickets for minor equipment problems, police officers are authorized to issue $50 coupons so motorists can have those problems fixed at area auto shops. Twenty participating police departments have given out approximately 660 coupons in a little more than a year. For motorists such as Sandy Patterson, another African American resident who was pulled over for a burned-out headlight in January, the small gesture of being offered a coupon makes a big difference. “I was relieved that I was getting a voucher to purchase a service that could’ve been quite expensive,” she said. “I had an overwhelming feeling of decreased anxiety because of the whole way the communication went, with somebody helping out versus giving a ticket.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


76 Environmental Rules on the Way Out Under Trump
2018-07-06, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/05/climate/trump-environment-rule...

President Trump has made eliminating federal regulations a priority. His administration ... has often targeted environmental rules it sees as overly burdensome to the fossil fuel industry. To date, the Trump administration has sought to reverse more than 70 environmental rules, according to a New York Times analysis, based on research from Harvard Law School’s Environmental Regulation Rollback Tracker, Columbia Law School’s Climate Tracker and other sources. The Environmental Protection Agency has been involved in more than a third of the policy reversals. Scott Pruitt, the head of the E.P.A. who spearheaded the administration’s agenda of environmental deregulation, resigned after facing a number of ethics scandals. The new acting chief of the agency is a former coal lobbyist. Rules targeted for reversal so far include ... air and water pollution controls and protections for threatened animals and habitats. The Trump administration has, in many instances, pared back these regulations in favor of more expansive energy extraction policies — often as a direct response to petitions from oil, gas and coal companies. All told, the Trump administration’s environmental rollbacks could lead to at least 80,000 extra deaths per decade and cause respiratory problems for more than one million people, according to a recent analysis. That number, however, is likely to be “a major underestimate of the global public health impact,” said Francesca Dominici, a professor ... at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Note: The Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency have all reportedly been "gagged" by the Trump administration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and climate change.


A migrant child was returned to his mother covered in lice
2018-07-06, MSN
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/a-migrant-child-was-returned-to-his-mother-...

One of the children separated from his parents at the US-Mexico border was returned months later with lice, looking as if he hadn’t been bathed in weeks, and with irrevocable changes to his personality ... according to documents filed in a lawsuit against the Trump administration. The lawsuit, from 17 states and the District of Columbia, calls for an end to Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy and demands the administration reunite all families that were separated at the border. One mother, Olivia Caceres, alleged that she was separated from her son in November at a legal point entry ... and wasn’t with him for 12 weeks. When he was returned to her custody, Caceres’s son was infested with lice and appeared as though he had not been bathed for the entirety of their separation. "[My son] is not the same since we were reunited. I thought that, because he is so young he would not be traumatized by this experience, but he does not separate from me. He cries when he does not see me. That behavior is not normal.” The stories about what happens to children who are reunited with their families are playing out as still hundreds more kids remain separated from their parents. On June 26, HHS was given a deadline to reunite children under the age of 5 to their families within 14 days and all children within 30 days. HHS Secretary Alex Azar ... admitted that they don’t know which of the nearly 3,000 migrant children in HHS’s custody have been separated from their parents.


'Predatory police': the high price of driving while black in Missouri
2018-07-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/05/missouri-driving-while-black-...

A 2014 federal report found that St Louis area police’s use of traffic stops to raise revenue through fines was an underlying cause of racial unrest. A study published last month by the state attorney general’s office confirmed what many fear about “driving while black” in Missouri. It concluded black motorists were 85% more likely to be pulled over in traffic stops last year. It is the highest disparity since stops data began being collected 18 years ago. “There’s still an idea that cities should be using the municipal courts as a grab bag to help their coffers, and black Missourians are disproportionately on the other end of that,” said Nimrod Chapel, president of the Missouri chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Last summer, Chapel was one of the primary agitators behind the NAACP’s first ever statewide travel advisory, issued for Missouri. This extraordinary advisory warned black drivers that “they are traveling and living in Missouri at their own risk and subject to unnecessary search, seizure and potential arrest”.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


Claims of 'non-stop cycle of torture' involving top officials in Ethiopian jail
2018-07-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jul/05/claims-torture-inv...

Ethiopia’s new prime minister has been urged to investigate a raft of gruesome torture and abuse allegations involving senior officials in the country’s most notorious prison. Jail Ogaden, officially known as Jijiga central prison, is home to thousands of prisoners and lies at the heart of Jigjiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region. According to a report by Human Rights Watch ... prisoners are routinely brutalised and denied access to adequate medical care, family, lawyers, and sometimes food. Many have never been convicted of any crime. Former prisoners claimed they saw people dying in their cells after being tortured by officials. The report provides the most extensive catalogue to date of human rights abuses in eastern Ethiopia under Somali regional president Abdi Mohamed Omar, commonly known as Abdi Iley. The study documents alleged abuses including rape, sleep deprivation, long-term arbitrary detention, collective punishment and forced confessions between 2011 and early 2018. It highlights, in particular, the role of a 40,000-strong Somali special police unit known as the Liyu, which Abdi, then head of regional security, established in 2008 as part of a brutal counter-insurgency campaign targeting the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a secessionist rebel group. Most Jail Ogaden inmates are accused of some affiliation to the group. “Torture in detention is a serious problem throughout Ethiopia, but Jail Ogaden is in a class of its own,” said Felix Horne, the report’s author.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


American-made bombs in Yemen are killing civilians, destroying infrastructure and fueling anger at the U.S.
2018-07-03, PBS
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/american-made-bombs-in-yemen-are-killing-ci...

War rains down from the sky in Yemen, where an aerial bombing campaign by Saudi-led and American-backed coalition hammers much of the north. The U.S. military supports the campaign against the Houthi rebels with logistics and intelligence, and sells the Saudis many of the bombs it drops on that country. In the mountains outside the capital, we gained exclusive access to the site where the Houthis store unexploded American-made bombs, like this 2000 pound Mark 84 bomb made in Garland, Texas. It landed in the middle of the street in the capital, we are told. The Houthis also let us see a storage site with the remains of American-made cluster bombs. Cluster bombs are amongst the most deadly to civilians, filled with baseball-sized smaller bombs that scatter over a larger area. Any that don’t explode stay where they fell, primed, and often wounding civilians like land mines. Deep into Yemen’s countryside ... I found a Doctors Without Borders cholera treatment center completely destroyed by an airstrike the day before. It was just about to open its doors to patients. The war has made it harder for people to access clean running water, leading to the worst cholera outbreak in modern history. Most people here, whether they support the Houthis or not, know that many of the bombs being dropped are American. It provides a strong propaganda tool for the Houthi rebels, who go by the slogan “Death to America.”

Note: PBS special correspondent Jane Ferguson smuggled herself across the front lines into Yemen to report this series. In 2015, the New York Times was caught making false claims about US-made cluster munitions. The international trade in cluster bombs is funded by major banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


China Builds Laser Rifle That Can Remotely Set Fire to People's Skin
2018-07-02, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/china-laser-ri...

Chinese researchers are working on a new handheld laser weapon capable of burning skin and clothing from up to half a mile away. Boasts about the ... laser rifle's capabilities come amid a diplomatic row between the US and China over the use of blinding lasers on military aircraft. The new laser rifle will be used by anti-terrorism squads in the Chinese Armed Police, the South China Morning Post reports, with prototypes of the device already being tested ... at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The ZKZM assault rifle causes "instant carbonisation" of human tissue, according to the researchers behind it, and will "burn through clothes in a split second. " The unnamed researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences added: "If the fabric is flammable, the whole person will be set on fire." While the gun is not powerful enough to kill someone, the researcher said: "The pain will be beyond endurance." Aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin has previously developed laser beam systems that can be attached to planes or ground-based vehicles. In May, the Pentagon made a formal complaint to the Chinese government over Chinese nationals allegedly pointing lasers at US planes in east Africa. While there has been no word on when China's new laser gun might see service, the US Navy recently announced its own $300 million research fund aimed at creating a family of laser weapons for its fleet. In 2016, the US military said it would be deploying laser weapons as early as 2023.

Note: China was reported in 2006 to be using lasers to blind American spy satellites. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing non-lethal weapons news articles from reliable major media sources.


How Google cleared a path for companies to buy clean power
2018-07-02, Fast Company
https://www.fastcompany.com/40584636/how-google-is-clearing-a-path-for-compan...

In southeast Georgia, in an area filled with farms, construction will soon begin on a sprawling new 120-megawatt solar plant. It will be the first solar facility in the county, and it will exist in part because Google - which has a large data center in Georgia - is working to bring renewable electricity to every region in which it operates. The solar farm is one of two new projects in Georgia that will sell energy to Google via the local utility, and is also the latest example of the company’s work to open energy markets to corporations that want to support new sources of renewable electricity. The company pioneered the practice in 2010; now, companies from Nike to Starbucks and AT&T are doing the same thing. Traditionally, wind farms and solar farms sold wholesale power only to utilities, and regulations made it impossible for companies to buy that clean energy. But the company realized that it could apply to the federal government for the right to buy and sell wholesale power itself, and then create long-term contracts - called power purchase agreements - with the developers of renewable projects. The first project was a wind farm in Iowa. By 2017, with around 20 similar projects, Google met a longstanding goal to buy as much renewable energy as it uses globally, sourced from new wind and solar plants. Ultimately, the company wants to use clean energy everywhere it works, all the time. The next step in that process is to buy renewable energy on every local grid where Google works.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A chemical breakthrough could eat the plastic pollution crisis
2018-07-01, Wired
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/plastic-pollution-environment-chemical-process

One single-use plastic bag takes at least 450 years to degrade. Give Miranda Wang three hours and she can reduce ten of them into liquid. Recycling plastic today is a mechanical process ... limited to only certain types of plastics: PET, used in water bottles, and HDPE, used in milk jugs. The five other types of commonly used plastics ... cannot be recycled. Adding to this is that most plastics thrown away are covered in food and grease and so are automatically rejected by markets with strict quality standards. These are the plastics Wang has her sights on. “Our technology can turn these dirty films that have food or dirt or any kind of grime or any kind of contamination on it and we turn this material into a combination of four different kinds of chemicals, called organic acids,” says Wang. One of these chemicals is adipic acid, a precursor for materials like nylon and polyamines used in fashion, for electronic parts and in the automotive industry for car parts. “Our vision is to transform a polyethylene, which right now does not have any downstream market value once its consumed and is used for one life cycle, and we turn it into a chemical that is of the same quality as what is immediately made from petroleum - adipic acid,” says Wang. “This first helps us not allow film plastics from becoming pollution and second ... displaces petroleum from being needed to be extracted to make new materials.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Ivy League student known for fighting sexual violence is charged with child sex crimes
2018-06-28, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2018/06/28/ivy-league-stud...

For a 22-year-old Columbia University student, Joel Davis had built an impressive reputation as an activist for ending sexual violence. He was the founding executive director of the international organization Youth to End Sexual Violence [and] served as a youth ambassador for the United Nations special representative on sexual violence in conflict. Davis traveled around the world, worked alongside high-profile activists such as Angelina Jolie, delivered a TED talk and appeared on media panels. Yet behind this virtuous front, Davis was allegedly committing the same types of crimes he claimed to be fighting, federal prosecutors say. On Tuesday, authorities arrested Davis on charges of attempting to sexually exploit a child, enticing a child to engage in sexual activity and possessing child pornography. Over the course of several weeks ... prosecutors say, Davis exchanged text messages with undercover FBI agents, trying to arrange meetings with a 9-year-old girl, an 8-year-old girl and a 2-year-old boy. Davis allegedly sent the undercover agents sexually explicit photos and videos of children as young as infants and made clear that he wanted to have sex with children of any age, according to a federal criminal complaint. He also admitted to meeting a 13-year-old boy on the dating app Grindr, speaking with him on Snapchat and engaging in sexual activity with the boy at Davis’s Manhattan apartment

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


California, of All Places, Has Banned Soda Taxes. How a New Industry Strategy Is Succeeding.
2018-06-27, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/27/upshot/california-banning-soda-taxes-a-new...

For years, the soda industry had an ironclad strategy when a city wanted to enact a soda tax: Spend a lot of money, rally local businesses, and shoot it down. That strategy worked again and again, until it didn’t. In 2014, Berkeley, Calif., passed the nation’s first tax on sugary drinks. Since then, eight communities, including three more cities in California, enacted similar bills. Now ... instead of fighting the ordinances city by city, [the beverage industry] is turning to states, trying to pass laws preventing any local governments from taxing their products. In California, the legislature passed a bill Thursday that will pre-empt any new local beverage or food taxes for 12 years. Arizona and Michigan have passed similar laws. In Oregon, the state’s grocers have collected enough signatures to bring a ballot initiative barring any taxes on grocery items. And legislators are considering pre-emption bills in other states, including Pennsylvania, New Mexico and Washington. In California, the arrival of the bill to pre-empt soda taxes ... came as a shock. The state has passed more soda taxes than any other, shepherded by progressive lawmakers who see them as ... a tool to fight obesity and diabetes. “The irony is that the soda companies screamed very loudly about government overreach when soda taxes began to get passed,” said Kelly Brownell, the dean of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. “But now they are looking for the ultimate government overreach when it works in their favor.”

Note: Learn how healthcare groups in California are fighting this measure in this Los Angeles Times article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


The NSA’s Hidden Spy Hubs in Eight U.S. Cities
2018-06-25, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2018/06/25/att-internet-nsa-spy-hubs/

Thousands of people pass by the buildings each day and rarely give them a second glance, because their function is not publicly known. They are an integral part of one of the world’s largest telecommunications networks – and they are also linked to a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program. Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.. In each of these cities, The Intercept has identified an AT&T facility containing networking equipment that transports large quantities of internet traffic across the United States and the world. A body of evidence – including classified NSA documents, public records, and interviews with several former AT&T employees – indicates that the buildings are central to an NSA spying initiative that has for years monitored billions of emails, phone calls, and online chats passing across U.S. territory. The NSA considers AT&T to be one of its most trusted partners and has lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” Little known, however, is that its scope is not restricted to AT&T’s customers. According to the NSA’s documents, it values AT&T not only because it “has access to information that transits the nation,” but also because it maintains unique relationships with other phone and internet providers. The NSA exploits these relationships for surveillance purposes, commandeering AT&T’s massive infrastructure and using it as a platform to covertly tap into communications processed by other companies.

Note: The NSA was authorized in 2016 to share communications data it collected without warrants on Americans with 16 intelligence and law enforcement agencies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Mexico detains entire police force days after mayoral candidate's killing
2018-06-25, NBC News/Associated Press
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/mexico-detains-entire-police-force-days-a...

State police have detained and disarmed the entire police force of a town in western Mexico where a mayoral candidate was killed on Thursday. Video of the detention aired by local media showed uniformed officers hitting each other as gunshots go off in the background. The Michoacán state police force said, "All the officers of the Ocampo municipal police force were detained for an internal affairs investigation." The state police department did not directly tie the detentions to the ... killing of Fernando Ángeles Juárez, the mayoral candidate for the leftist Democratic Revolution Party. He was killed in Ocampo, Michoacán. Ángeles Juárez is just one of at least 18 candidates killed so far in campaigns leading up to the July 1 elections. Just last week, another mayoral candidate was also gunned down in the conflict-ridden rural town of Aguililla in Michoacán. Almost all of the 18 candidates killed across the country so far have been running for local posts in the July 1 elections, which will also decide the presidency, governorships and Congress. Other politicians who were considering a run have been killed before they could even register as candidates. [Mexican security analyst Alejandro] Hope noted, “there has been a breakdown in the management of disputes,” largely in rural areas, where turf wars between rival gangs have heated up, even as the government has become overextended and less able to intervene.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Supreme Court rules that police generally need a warrant to access cell phone data
2018-06-22, ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/supreme-court-rules-police-warrant-access-cel...

The Supreme Court ruled that police generally need a search warrant to review cell phone records that include data like a user's location, which will impose a higher bar for law enforcement to access data collected on the millions of people who use smartphones on a daily basis. The plaintiff in the case, Timothy Carpenter, was convicted of multiple robbery and gun offenses in 2010 but challenged the conviction saying that officers investigating the case didn't get a warrant for his cell phone records. The government argued that law enforcement doesn't need a warrant to get cell phone records from the service provider since it's a third party. The Court ruled that the government's search, in this case, did not meet the bar for probable cause for a warrant. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority decision that the government is obligated to get a warrant before compelling a wireless provider to provide cell phone records in an investigation. "We decline to grant the state unrestricted access to a wireless carrier's database of physical location information," Roberts said.

Note: While this ruling limits police powers, the NSA was authorized in 2016 to freely share communications data it collected without warrants on Americans with 16 intelligence and law enforcement agencies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


What 7 Creepy Patents Reveal About Facebook
2018-06-21, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/21/opinion/sunday/facebook-patent...

A review of hundreds of Facebook’s patent applications reveals that the company has considered tracking almost every aspect of its users’ lives: where you are, who you spend time with, whether you’re in a romantic relationship, which brands and politicians you’re talking about. The company has even attempted to patent a method for predicting when your friends will die. Taken together, Facebook’s patents show a commitment to collecting personal information, despite widespread public criticism of the company’s privacy policies and a promise from its chief executive to “do better.” “A patent portfolio is a map of how a company thinks about where its technology is going,” said Jason M. Schultz, a law professor at New York University. One patent application discusses predicting whether you’re in a romantic relationship using information such as how many times you visit another user’s page [and] the number of people in your profile picture. Another proposes using your posts and messages to infer personality traits ... then using those characteristics to select which news stories or ads to display. Another patent application discusses tracking your weekly routine and sending notifications to other users of deviations from the routine. In addition, it describes using your phone’s location in the middle of the night to establish where you live. As long as Facebook keeps collecting personal information, we should be wary.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


The Billion-Dollar Business of Operating Shelters for Migrant Children
2018-06-21, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/21/us/migrant-shelters-border-crossing.html

The business of housing, transporting and watching over migrant children detained along the southwest border is not a multimillion-dollar business. It’s a billion-dollar one. Southwest Key Programs has won at least $955 million in federal contracts since 2015 to run shelters and provide other services to immigrant children in federal custody. Its shelter for migrant boys at a former Walmart Supercenter in South Texas has been the focus of nationwide scrutiny, but Southwest Key is but one player in the lucrative, secretive world of the migrant-shelter business. About a dozen contractors operate more than 30 facilities in Texas alone, with numerous others contracted for about 100 shelters in 16 other states. Trump’s order ... calling for migrant families to be detained together likely means millions more in contracts. A small network of private prison companies already is operating family detention centers in Texas and Pennsylvania, and those facilities are likely to expand. Defense contractors and security firms are also building a presence in the system, including General Dynamics ... and MVM Inc.. In Harlingen, [Texas] one recent morning, the federal courthouse that hears immigration cases was packed. Teenagers who had been apprehended crossing the border sat in the courtrooms. In the lobby, a group of men and women ... patiently waited for the hearings to end. They were there for the migrant youth. But they were neither relatives nor lawyers. They were contractors.

Note: What this article doesn't include is the possibility that some of these children are being fed into secret mind control programs and possibly even clandestinely sold into sex trafficking. For more on this, read this essay . For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Parents' record-breaking Facebook fundraiser will help reunify migrant families
2018-06-21, NBC Today
https://www.today.com/parents/facebook-fundraiser-immigrant-kids-raises-9-mil...

A record-breaking fundraiser started by Dave and Charlotte Willner to help families separated at the border continues exceeding all expectations. While President Trump signed an executive order to halt his policy of breaking up families, the Willners said some of the $16 million raised will help a nonprofit to return children to their families. The additional money raised by the Willners will help Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) provide lawyers to immigrants as well as reunite families. The Willners said RAICES has unified three families already. The fundraiser first started after the Willners saw the photo of a 2-year-old Honduran girl crying at the border and they thought immediately of their own 2-year-old daughter. They felt they had to act so they started a fundraiser on Facebook, hoping to raise $1,500 for RAICES. It soon became clear this was no ordinary fundraiser. At one point, people were donating between $2,000 and $4,000 a minute, the family shared. The average donation is $38. As the fundraiser neared $5 million dollars, Facebook updated its platform so that the family could continue raising money. The Willners were among Facebook's first employees, and now both work at different tech companies in Silicon Valley. They raised more than $16 million in five days for the RAICES, and the Willners reset their goal to $20 million.

Note: The donations continue to pour in and now exceed $20 million. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Voting machine vendor treated election officials to trips to Vegas, elsewhere
2018-06-21, Fresno Bee/McClatchy
https://www.fresnobee.com/news/politics-government/article213558729.html

The nation’s largest voting equipment vendor has for at least nine years coaxed state and local elections officials to serve on an “advisory board” that gathers twice annually for company-sponsored conferences, including one last year at a ritzy Las Vegas resort hotel. The arrangement could compromise the integrity of the officials' decisions. As many as a dozen election officials attended the March 2, 2017 Las Vegas meeting, with a number of them accepting airfare, lodging, meals and, according to one participant, a ticket to a show on the Strip from their voting systems vendor, Nebraska-based Election Systems and Software (ES&S). The unusual practice, which has not previously been reported, offers a glimpse of one way in which a voting equipment manufacturer has sought to cement relationships with government officials, some of whom play roles in the award of millions of dollars in contracts. Ethics experts and election watchdogs say the company's hospitality and hobnobbing with government officials is potentially corrupting. Many states are continuing a shift to voting systems that produce paper backup ballots, so vote counts can be verified in post-election audits. ES&S is peddling electronic ballot-marking devices that produce paper ballots to be fed into optical scanners – equipment that critics contend should be limited to use by disabled voters. Paper ballots, they say, are far less expensive and can be scanned and quickly tabulated.

Note: Why all the focus on Russia manipulating US elections, when this alone shows how US elections are being manipulated by internal groups? For undeniable evidence that elections have been manipulated for years by political groups in the country, see our Elections Information Center.


Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language, has died
2018-06-21, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/21/health/koko-gorilla-death-trnd/index.html

Koko, the gorilla who mastered sign language and showed the world what great apes can do, has died. She died Tuesday in her sleep at age 46. "Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy," the [The Gorilla Foundation] said. The western lowland gorilla was born at the San Francisco Zoo in 1971 and began to learn sign language early in life. Researchers moved her to Stanford in 1974 and established The Gorilla Foundation, a non-profit organization that works to preserve and protect gorillas. Koko and The Gorilla Foundation later moved to the Santa Cruz Mountains. She liked to read and be read to. She purred at parts of books she particularly enjoyed. She was very maternal toward kittens, and has had several throughout her lifetime. Her "tenderness" showed people how loving a gorilla can be, the foundation said. Koko made famous friends like Fred Rogers, who appeared on TV as Mr. Rogers, and Robin Williams. She used her sign language skills to communicate with them. She was said to have understood some 2,000 words of spoken English, and could usually keep up with conversations. Koko appeared in several documentaries and twice on the cover of National Geographic. The first cover featured a photo she'd taken of herself in a mirror. The foundation will continue its work on conservation and preservation of gorillas with continued projects, including a sign language application featuring Koko.

Note: Don't miss touching video of Koko the gorilla available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Why Palestinians risk their lives to protest near Gaza-Israel fence
2018-06-21, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/why-palestinians-risk-their-lives-protest-...

Before the bullet tore through his left leg, Hadad Gamry knew that he was venturing too close to the razor-wire fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. But the 20-year-old wanted the world to know how angry he was, so Gamry says he taunted the soldiers on the other side anyway. That decision resulted in him becoming ... one of the more than 13,000 Palestinians protesters injured near the barrier. At least 142 demonstrators have also been killed by Israeli troops. Israel maintains that Hamas, the Islamist group ... that many countries consider a terrorist organization, has encouraged civilians to put themselves in harm’s way. Gamry and others NBC News spoke to in Gaza rejected the idea that Hamas had compelled them to go to the fence, saying they went because they had run out of ways to make the world pay attention to their suffering. The pervasive threat of violence backs up the land, sea and air blockade imposed in 2007. Hamas won elections the previous year. Economically, the blockade is making life intolerable for many of Gaza’s 2 million residents. Almost none of the water is clean, raw sewage is pumped straight into the sea and worsening power shortages mean Gazans have electricity for only around four hours a day on average. Unemployment rates are close to 50 percent — more than 65 percent among those under 30. Israel and much of the world officially refuses to deal with Hamas and long-term talks aimed at creating an independent Palestinian state ... have stalled.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Thirty Years On, How Well Do Global Warming Predictions Stand Up?
2018-06-21, Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/thirty-years-on-how-well-do-global-warming-predi...

On June 23, 1988, [James E. Hansen], the NASA scientist testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. He expressed to the senators his “high degree of confidence” in “a cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming.” Mr. Hansen’s testimony described three possible scenarios for the future of carbon dioxide emissions. He called Scenario A “business as usual,” as it maintained the accelerating emissions growth typical of the 1970s and ’80s. This scenario predicted the earth would warm 1 degree Celsius by 2018. Scenario B set emissions lower, rising at the same rate today as in 1988. Mr. Hansen called this outcome the “most plausible,” and predicted it would lead to about 0.7 degree of warming by this year. He added a final projection, Scenario C, which he deemed highly unlikely: constant emissions beginning in 2000. Thirty years of data have been collected since Mr. Hansen outlined his scenarios. And the winner is Scenario C. Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Nińo of 2015-16. It isn’t just Mr. Hansen who got it wrong. Models devised by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have, on average, predicted about twice as much warming as has been observed since global satellite temperature monitoring began 40 years ago.

Note: The full text of this article is available on this webpage. There is virtually no doubt that global warming is real, yet there has been rampant fear mongering and exaggeration around it. For more on this, see this intriguing article. For an alternative view, see this article. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.


These college students moonlight as ‘grandkids’ for hire. Seniors love it.
2018-06-20, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2018/06/20/these-college...

When Andrew Parker’s grandfather began suffering from dementia three years ago, his grandmother had to start taking care of the house and caring for him. It was hard work, and one day, Parker got the idea to hire a college student to help out. His grandfather loved it. So did his grandmother. For a few hours, he said, “She got to go do her own thing.” It got Parker thinking. “There’s so many seniors and so many college students out there.” So in January, [he] launched a business called Papa, after his name for his grandfather. It connects students with seniors for light housekeeping or driving chores, but the company’s real goal is in its slogan: “Grandkids on-Demand.” “We are specifically a service that links two generations,” Parker said. “Our emphasis is this is a really fun day for a senior. Someone who might say, ‘I don’t want to bother my daughter or son but I want someone who can be with me for a day so I don’t have to annoy my kids.’” To date, the company has around 250 members who pay a monthly fee of $15 to $30 to belong, and then pay $15 per hour for visits by students, or Papa Pals. Pals must be enrolled in a 4-year college, or be working on a masters degree, a social work degree, or a nursing or medical degree. They must have a four-door car and pass a background check. “The biggest thing we’re focusing on is curing loneliness,” Parker said. The ... nature of the relationship – and the relative youth of the Pals – can also make them easier to work with than more traditional aides.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Canada becomes second nation in the world to legalize marijuana
2018-06-20, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/20/health/canada-legalizes-marijuana/index.html

Recreational marijuana use will soon be legal in Canada after the Senate passed a "historic" bill. Canada is only the second country in the world - and the first G7 nation - to implement legislation to permit a nationwide marijuana market. In the neighboring US, nine states and the District of Columbia now allow for recreational marijuana use, and 30 allow for medical use. The Cannabis Act, stems from a campaign pledge of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to keep marijuana away from underage users and reduce related crime. Uruguay was the first country to legalize marijuana's production, sale and consumption in December 2013. The justice minister, Jody Wilson-Raybould, ... applauded the vote. "This is an historic milestone for progressive policy in Canada," she tweeted. "This legislation will help protect our youth from the risks of cannabis while keeping profits out of the hands of criminals and organized crime." Once the bill is formally approved, adults will be able to carry and share up to 30 grams of legal marijuana in public. They also will be allowed to cultivate up to four plants in their households. However, stringent rules will still govern the purchase and use of marijuana. Consumers are expected to purchase marijuana from [regulated] retailers. Marijuana will also not be sold in the same location as alcohol or tobacco. The Canadian government has also implemented changes to their impaired driving laws, to address repercussions for driving under the influence of cannabis.

Note: In the US, more people are arrested for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined.


US quits UN Human Rights council: What message does it send to the world?
2018-06-20, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/20/politics/us-human-rights-council-intl/index.html

The United States has quit the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), saying the body is a "cesspool of political bias." US ambassador Nikki Haley announced the move Tuesday, which followed criticism by the UNHRC of Israel's shooting of unarmed protesters and the separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. While US officials have tried to frame the move as pro-human rights, Washington's withdrawal is likely to renew criticism that the Trump administration places less value on human rights than its predecessors, as exemplified by Trump's dealings with alleged human rights abusers like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte. The UNHRC is only the latest international body or agreement that the Trump administration has withdrawn from, including the Paris climate accords, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Both Haley and Trump have previously sparred with the wider UN ... with Haley claiming the international community pays outsized attention to Washington's actions while ignoring the "reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council." That comment was in response to UN criticism of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. However, both the Trump White House and previous US administrations have been open to dealing economically and otherwise with human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


How the Koch Brothers Are Killing Public Transit Projects Around the Country
2018-06-19, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/climate/koch-brothers-public-transit.html

Americans for Prosperity ... is financed by the oil billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch to advance conservative causes. In cities and counties across the country ... the Koch brothers are fueling a fight against public transit. At the heart of their effort is a network of activists who use a sophisticated data service built by the Kochs, called i360, that helps them identify and rally voters who are inclined to their worldview. It is a particularly powerful version of the technologies used by major political parties. In places like Nashville, Koch-financed activists are finding tremendous success. Early polling ... suggested that [a] $5.4 billion transit plan would easily pass. But the outcome of the May 1 ballot stunned the city: a landslide victory for the anti-transit camp. The Kochs’ opposition to transit spending ... dovetails with their financial interests, which benefit from automobiles and highways. Even as Americans for Prosperity opposes public investment in transit, it supports spending tax money on highways and roads. Since 2015, Americans for Prosperity has coordinated door-to-door anti-transit canvassing campaigns for at least seven local or state-level ballots. Americans for Prosperity and other Koch-backed groups have also opposed more than two dozen other transit-related measures ... by organizing phone banks, running advertising campaigns, staging public forums, issuing reports and writing opinion pieces in local publications.

Note: The Koch brothers built a secretive empire to manipulate the political process in the US. This empire spent nearly $1 billion on US elections in 2016. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


'Space force': Trump orders new branch of US military
2018-06-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/18/space-force-donald-trump-orde...

Donald Trump said on Monday he would direct the Pentagon to create a “space force” as a new branch of the US military to shore up American dominance in space. Trump claimed that the plan will ensure that America, which plans a return to the moon and a mission to Mars, stays ahead of China and Russia in any new space race. But it is likely to raise fears over the militarisation of space. “Very importantly, I’m hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces,” the president said at the White House. “We are going to have the air force and we are going to have the space force – separate but equal.” The president was speaking at the third meeting of the National Space Council, revived after a quarter of a century. He was joined by Mike Pence, the new Nasa administrator Jim Bridenstine and former astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. But there was a skeptical reaction from Bill Nelson, the Democratic senator for Florida. He tweeted: “The president told a US general to create a new Space Force as 6th branch of military today, which generals tell me they don’t want. During his remarks, Trump ... insisted: “When it comes to defending America, it is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space. So important.” Trump has floated the idea of a space force before but met both mockery and high-level resistance.

Note: In 1974, the founder of modern rocket science Wernher Von Braun told his spokesperson Dr. Carol Rosin that "first the Russians are going to be considered the enemy. Then terrorists would be identified. The next enemy was asteroids – against asteroids we are going to build space-based weapons. Then ... the last card is the alien card. We are going to have to build space-based weapons against aliens, and all of it is a lie."


Trump team cannot get its story straight on separating migrant families
2018-06-18, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2018/06/18/dai...

“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted. President Trump’s top domestic policy adviser, Stephen Miller, was quoted in Sunday’s New York Times touting the crackdown. “It was a simple decision by the administration to have a zero tolerance policy for illegal entry,” he said. “Period.” DHS announced last week that around 2,000 children have been taken from their families during the six weeks since the policy went into effect, and officials acknowledge the number may be even higher. More than a month after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced Trump’s new “zero tolerance” policy to great fanfare, members of the administration continue to struggle with how to talk about it – alternating between defending the initiative as a necessary deterrent, distancing themselves, blaming Democrats, trying to use it as leverage for negotiations with Congress or denying that it exists at all. Former first lady Laura Bush compares what’s happening to Japanese internment: “I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries, but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks my heart. Our government should not be in the business of warehousing children in converted box stores or making plans to place them in tent cities in the desert outside of El Paso. People on all sides agree that our immigration system isn’t working, but the injustice of zero tolerance is not the answer.”

Note: On June 20th, Trump signed an executive order intended to keep families of immigrant detainees together, though the fate of the more than 2,300 children already separated is not clear. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The Equal Rights Amendment has been dead for 36 years. Why it might be on the verge of a comeback.
2018-06-18, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/06/18/the-equal-r...

On May 30, Illinois became the 37th state to pass the Equal Right Amendment (ERA), which says, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.” Next, advocates aim to secure the final state needed to ratify the amendment. They will probably target Virginia, North Carolina or Georgia. The law is overdue. Many Americans assume that the United States already has gender-equality rules. The Civil Rights Act, Title IX and the Equal Pay Act all offer protections against discrimination. But these are pieces of legislation. New laws and Supreme Court rulings can diminish their power. An amendment, by contrast, would force a constitutional reckoning for sex-based discrimination. Activists lobbied, marched, went on strike and persuaded Congress to pass the amendment in 1972. Within just two years, 34 states ratified it. Then the momentum faltered. The amendment failed to secure ratification from the four additional states needed before 1982, the expiration date set by Congress. Passing the ERA will not be easy. Fierce opposition has long accompanied feminist surges, and this is already happening today. In Illinois, Republicans largely spoke out against the amendment. The dominant party could block the ERA’s path at the federal level, and other states could rescind their decades-old ratification. Securing the final state to pass the ERA will probably prove as challenging as it was to secure the final state to pass the 19th Amendment a century ago.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


Attacking Hodeidah is a deliberate act of cruelty by the Trump administration
2018-06-15, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/yemen-hodeidah-attack-trump-administrati...

A short press statement by the US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, effectively [gives] a green light for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to launch an offensive in Yemen aimed at capturing Hodeidah on the Red Sea. The port city is the point of entry for 70 per cent of food and medical supplies for the eight million Yemenis whom the UN says are on the brink of starvation out of the 22 million in need of humanitarian aid. Pompeo was deliberately low-key in his three sentence statement about Hodeidah: “I have spoken with Emirati leaders and made clear our desire to address their security concerns while preserving the free flow of humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial imports.” Absent from this message for the first time was any call for Saudi Arabia and the UAE not to attack Hodeidah. The US and UAE have been working hard on a smokescreen of misinformation about who is responsible for what is happening and why they are launching the offensive now. The 25,000 Yemeni fighters advancing on Hodeidah are not an independent force but are paid for and under the control of the UAE. Air support is provided by the Saudis and the UAE with the US providing essential services such as mid-air refuelling and target intelligence. The Hodeidah operation may ... turn a humanitarian disaster, which the UN is already calling the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, into complete catastrophe. Three quarters of the 27 million Yemenis already require aid to survive and this may be cut off in the next few days.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Marc Benioff of Salesforce: ‘Are We Not All Connected?’
2018-06-15, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/business/marc-benioff-salesforce-corner-of...

Salesforce may not be a household name like Facebook or Twitter, but the software company and its chief executive, Marc Benioff, are hugely influential. Salesforce is worth roughly $100 billion, and Mr. Benioff is a billionaire many times over. Success has emboldened him. A fan of Buddhism, Mr. Benioff has installed meditation rooms throughout Salesforce offices and emerged as an outspoken voice on social issues including L.G.B.T.Q. rights, the gender pay gap and the deleterious effects of social media. "There’s a shift going on," [said Benioff]. "When I went to U.S.C., it was all about maximizing value for shareholders. But we’re moving into a world of stakeholders. It’s not just about shareholders. Your employees are stakeholders, so are your customers, your partners, the communities that you’re in, the homeless that are nearby, your public schools. A company like ours can’t be successful in an unsuccessful economy or in an unsuccessful environment or where the school system doesn’t work. We have to take responsibility for all of those things." This idea that somebody put into our heads — that companies are somehow these kind of individuated units that are separate from society and don’t have to be paying attention to the communities they’re in — that is incorrect. We need to have a more enlightened view about the role of companies. This company is not somehow separate from everything else. Are we not all connected? Are we not all one? Isn’t that the point?"

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


McDonald's to scrap plastic straws in UK and Ireland
2018-06-15, CNN News
http://money.cnn.com/2018/06/15/news/mcdonalds-plastic-straws/index.html

McDonald's has joined the fight against plastic pollution by switching to paper straws at its restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The change, which will begin to take effect in September, follows trials of paper straws at select locations. The US fast food chain said a majority of its customers supported the move away from plastic. McDonald's ... uses 1.8 million straws each day at its 1,361 restaurants in the United Kingdom and Ireland. The company said the changeover would be complete in 2019. Plastic straws are the sixth most common type of litter globally. Only 1% are recycled. According to the UK government, 1 million birds and more than 100,000 sea mammals die every year from eating or getting tangled in plastic waste. And research shows there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world's oceans by 2050. UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove called on other companies to follow the example of McDonald's. "McDonald's has made a significant investment in UK manufacturing to produce an alternative to plastic, showing British businesses are taking a global lead," he said in a statement. The flurry of commitments comes as efforts to eliminate single-use plastic intensify. The European Union moved last month to ban 10 items - including plastic cutlery, straws and cotton swabs - by 2030 in a bid to clean up the oceans.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A third of start-ups aim for social good
2018-06-14, Financial Times
https://www.ft.com/content/d8b6d9fa-4eb8-11e8-ac41-759eee1efb74

Across the world, almost half as many people are creating ventures with a primarily social or environmental purpose as those with a solely commercial aim, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. The movement is driven mainly by younger entrepreneurs and its growth has taken place against a backdrop of corporate scandals in mainstream businesses ... that have brought capitalism’s values into question. “Social entrepreneurship has gone mainstream and global,” argues Peter Drobac, a doctor who created healthcare ventures in Rwanda. Dr Drobac ... was inspired to get into the field 20 years ago when HIV infection was running unchecked. “Younger generations in my experience are much more deeply connected to the world and to societal challenges. They want careers that allow them to create positive change,” he says. Other factors, Dr Drobac adds, include the changing nature of work, “which means that the prospect of spending one’s entire career in the same company is becoming vanishingly small”. At the same time, technology is creating opportunities for disruptive innovation in sectors such as education and healthcare. While research suggests the majority of social entrepreneurs worldwide are young, the movement has been inspired by figures such as Muhammad Yunus. The septuagenarian Bangladeshi founder of Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for pioneering microcredit — loans for entrepreneurs too poor to get traditional bank loans, many of them women.

Note: Read more about the microcredit movement mentioned in the article above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


IQ scores are falling and have been for decades, new study finds
2018-06-14, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/13/health/falling-iq-scores-study-intl/index.html

IQ scores have been steadily falling for the past few decades, and environmental factors are to blame, a new study says. Norwegian researchers analyzed the IQ scores of Norwegian men born between 1962 and 1991 and found that scores increased by almost 3 percentage points each decade for those born between 1962 to 1975 - but then saw a steady decline among those born after 1975. Studies in Denmark, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Finland and Estonia have demonstrated a similar downward trend in IQ scores. "The causes in IQ increases over time and now the decline is due to environmental factors," said [study co-author Ole] Rogeburg. These environmental factors could include changes in the education system and media environment, nutrition, reading less and being online more, Rogeberg said. Researchers have long preferred to use genes to explain variations in intelligence over environmental factors. However, the new study turns this thinking on its head. Intelligence is heritable, and for a long time, researchers assumed that people with high IQ scores would have kids who also scored above average. Moreover, it was thought that people with lower scores would have more kids than people with high IQ scores. The study not only showed IQ variance between children the same parents, but because the authors had the IQ scores of various parents, it demonstrated that parents with higher IQs tended to have more kids, ruling out the dysgenic fertility theory as a driver of falling IQ scores.

Note: This New York Times article shows that pesticide exposure can affect IQ. And this Newsweek article shows how flame retardants can harm IQ. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Millionaires Now Control Half of the World’s Personal Wealth
2018-06-14, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-14/millionaires-now-control-h...

The rich are getting a lot richer and doing so a lot faster. Personal wealth around the globe reached $201.9 trillion last year, a 12 percent gain from 2016 and the strongest annual pace in the past five years, Boston Consulting Group said in a report released Thursday. Booming equity markets swelled fortunes, and investors outside the U.S. got an exchange-rate bonus as most major currencies strengthened against the greenback. The growing ranks of millionaires and billionaires now hold almost half of global personal wealth, up from slightly less than 45 percent in 2012, according to the report. In North America, which had $86.1 trillion of total wealth, 42 percent of investable capital is held by people with more than $5 million in assets. Investable assets include equities, investment funds, cash and bonds.

Note: Read an intriguing CNBC article on the good habits of the rich that help them to the top. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Puerto Rico Has Released New Data Detailing Deaths in the Wake of Hurricane Maria
2018-06-13, Time/Associated Press
http://time.com/5310664/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-death-toll-2/

After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, Efrain Perez felt a pain in his chest. Doctors near his small town sent him to Puerto Rico’s main hospital. But when the ambulance pulled into the parking lot in the capital, San Juan ... a doctor ran out to stop it. “He said, ‘Don’t bring him in here, I can’t care for him,'” Perez’s daughter, Nerybelle, recalled. Perez died as the ambulance drove him back ... but he is not included in the island’s official hurricane death toll of 64 people, a figure at the center of a growing legal and political fight over the response to the Category 4 storm that hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20, 2017. Facing at least three lawsuits demanding more data on the death toll, Puerto Rico’s government released new information on Tuesday that added detail to the growing consensus that hundreds or even thousands of people died as an indirect result of the storm. According to the new data, there were 1,427 more deaths from September to December 2017 than the average for the same time period over the previous four years. The Puerto Rican government says it believes more than 64 people died as a result of the storm but it will not raise its official toll until George Washington University completes a study of the data being carried out on behalf of the U.S. territory. Like Perez, thousands of sick Puerto Ricans were unable to receive medical care in the months after the storm caused the worst blackout in U.S. history, which continues to this day, with 6,983 home and businesses still without power.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.


Health concerns arise as mobile network companies plan to roll out 5G in selected cities
2018-06-12, International Business Times
https://www.ibtimes.co.in/health-concerns-arise-mobile-network-companies-plan...

Experts believe that the next generation of smartphones will be ruled by 5G networks. Even though 5G network will provide a much faster connection than 4G, a section of health experts believes that the hazards which may be caused by the updated service ... may turn potentially dangerous. Research conducted on cellphone radiations have fetched mixed results. Even though many studies have ruled out the possibility of health hazards due to cell phone radiation exposure, some extensive studies have hinted that older wireless service generations may result in various types of cancers, heart disorders, and reproductive issues. 5G connection makes use of millimetre waves (MMWs) to transmit data, rather than microwaves which are being used in previous generation networks. Dr Joel Moskowitz, a public health professor at the University of California, Berkeley reveals that millimetre waves could pose serious health hazards [to] the general public. "The deployment of 5G, or fifth generation cellular technology, constitutes a massive experiment on the health of all species. MMW bio-effects may be transmitted through molecular mechanisms by the skin or through the nervous system. 5G will use high-band frequencies, or millimetre waves, that may affect the eyes, the testes, the skin, the peripheral nervous system, and sweat glands," [said] Moskowitz. The health expert also added that millimetre waves used in 5G networks will make many pathogens resistant to antibiotics.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks and dangers of wireless technologies.


Charitable giving is at a record high. Here’s where we’re donating our money
2018-06-12, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/06/12/charity-charitable...

Charitable giving surged to a record high in 2017 as Americans gave more than $400 billion for the first time ever to a wide variety of organizations. Giving jumped 5.2% from last year to an estimated $410.02 billion in 2017, according to Giving USA 2018, the Giving USA Foundation’s annual report on philanthropy. The report, researched and written by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, found that giving from all sources grew in 2017. Three of the four sources posted gains of more than 5%: Giving by corporations increased 8%, foundations 6% and individuals 5%. "The increase in giving in 2017 was generated in part by increases in the stock markets, as evidenced by the nearly 20% growth in the S&P 500," said Amir Pasic, dean of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Gifts to foundations saw the biggest increase in 2017, rising 15.5%, as large investment returns were the basis for several large gifts given by individual philanthropists to their foundations. The second-largest increase was an 8.7% jump in gifts to the arts, culture and humanities. Religious organizations, however, continue to receive the most charitable support, with contributions rising 2.9% to $127.37 billion. While the overall amount of giving by Americans has risen ... The Chronicle of Philanthropy reports that from 2000 to 2014, the share of Americans donating to charity fell from 66.2% to 55.5%. Many nonprofits have turned their focus to attracting more big gifts.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A lowered probability of pregnancy in females in the USA aged 25–29 who received a human papillomavirus vaccine injection
2018-06-11, Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15287394.2018.1477640

Birth rates per 1000 females aged 25–29 fell from 118 in 2007 to 105 in 2015. One factor may involve the vaccination against the human papillomavirus (HPV). Shortly after the vaccine was licensed, several reports of recipients experiencing primary ovarian failure emerged. This study analyzed information gathered in National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which represented 8 million 25-to-29-year-old women residing in the United States between 2007 and 2014. Approximately 60% of women who did not receive the HPV vaccine had been pregnant at least once, whereas only 35% of women who were exposed to the vaccine had conceived. For married women, 75% who did not receive the shot were found to conceive, while only 50% who received the vaccine had ever been pregnant. The probability of having been pregnant was estimated for females who received an HPV vaccine compared with females who did not receive the shot. Results suggest that females who received the HPV shot were less likely to have ever been pregnant than women in the same age group who did not receive the shot. If 100% of females in this study had received the HPV vaccine, data suggest the number of women having ever conceived would have fallen by 2 million. Further study into the influence of HPV vaccine on fertility is thus warranted.

Note: Read an article on how this information is being suppressed by both government and industry. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and vaccine controversies.


How big brands are trying to pull off a recycling revolution
2018-06-11, CNN News
http://money.cnn.com/2018/06/11/news/companies/recycling-revolution/

Coca-Cola said in January that by 2030, it will collect and recycle one bottle or can for each one it sells. Dunkin' Donuts said it will try to stop using foam cups by 2020. Several others, including McDonald's and Procter & Gamble, have made their own ambitious commitments to use sustainable packaging. Recycling can give companies better control over their supply chains, explained Bridget Croke, who leads external affairs for Closed Loop Partners, which invests in recycling technologies. Recycled materials aren't always cheaper than raw materials, she said, but their prices are consistent. There are other advantages to going green. Kevin Wilhelm, who runs a sustainability consulting firm, said that companies typically make recycling pledges because they've found that waste hurts their bottom line. The Closed Loop Fund and the Recycling Partnership, [a nonprofit group], count several major corporations as their funding partners, including Amazon, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Starbucks, Target, Walmart (WMT) and others. Croke said that at this stage, companies are better served by joining forces than by trying to work separately. "Smart companies," she said, are trying to figure out, "'What are the disruptive collective actions we can take to make the most out of our resources?'" Working together, companies can pour significant funds into development projects and create collective demand for sustainable products, like recyclable, compostable paper cups.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Free Power From Freeways? China Is Testing Roads Paved With Solar Panels
2018-06-11, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/business/energy-environment/china-solar-ro...

The potential appeal of solar roads - modified solar panels that are installed in place of asphalt - is clear. Generating electricity from highways and streets, rather than in fields and deserts packed with solar panels, could conserve a lot of land. Those advantages are particularly important in a place like China, a heavily populated country where demand for energy has risen rapidly. Now, such roads are finally becoming viable. China’s leaders in solar road development are Pavenergy and Qilu Transportation. The surface of these panels, made of a complex polymer that resembles plastic, has slightly more friction than a conventional road surface, according to Zhang Hongchao, an engineering professor. Still, a litany of outstanding challenges means the wide deployment of solar roads is a long way off. Solar roads are ... more expensive than asphalt. It costs about $120 a square meter, or about $11 a square foot, to resurface and repair an asphalt road each decade. By comparison, Pavenergy and Colas hope to be able to bring the cost of a solar road to $310 to $460 a square meter with mass production. Panels on a highway would likely need to be replaced less often than asphalt, Professor Zhang said. And a solar road can produce about $15 a year worth of electricity from each square meter of solar panels. Less clear is whether the panels would be able to take the pounding of millions of tires each year for more than a decade, or whether they might be stolen.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing energy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Germany's Bayer closes $63 billion Monsanto takeover, plans to drop US company's name
2018-06-07, CNBC News
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/07/germanys-bayer-closes-monsanto-deal-plans-to-...

German conglomerate Bayer on Thursday closed its $63 billion merger with Monsanto after getting the required nod from U.S. and EU regulators. The closing sets the stage for the ... brand name "Monsanto" to be dropped by Bayer. Monsanto's agricultural biotechnology research and development operations that are going to Bayer are the largest in the world. "The entire business is essentially going over to Bayer intact," said ... analyst Seth Goldstein. "Taking away the Monsanto name is more of a branding. It should allow for easier PR for Bayer." The annual Harris Poll of corporate reputation ratings among America's "100 most visible companies" has regularly shown Monsanto rank toward the lower end of the list. Monsanto ranked 97 on the list of 100 companies in 2017 and survey results this year put it at 95. Monsanto has spent upwards of $100 million in some years on advertising costs. Some of the corporate efforts have been in direct response to social media attacks ... against genetically modified organisms. Monsanto also has faced protests over the American company's Roundup herbicide product containing glyphosate. The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic" back in 2015. "It's not a surprise Bayer is dropping the Monsanto name since the brand has so many issues and there was international rejection of GMOs," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety.

Note: Monsanto has become the target of a negative publicity campaign for very good reasons because of it's huge support of GMOs and RoundUp. Now, Bayer is hoping to erase this negative image, yet they are far from a responsible company. See this post documenting how Bayer collaborated with the Nazis to kill Jews and much more. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the corporate world and in the food system.


Shell's Starship Initiative semi truck looks crazy, is crazy efficient
2018-06-06, Cnet.com
https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/shell-starship-initiative-semi-truck-coast...

Would it sound weird if we told you that Shell (yes, the petrochemical company) is building a starship? Probably. It would probably be less weird if we said that the Starship was actually a hyper-efficient bespoke semi truck that just did a coast-to-coast run from San Diego, California, to Jacksonville, Florida. To build the Starship, Shell teamed up with the AirFlow truck company to ruthlessly apply all of the best aerodynamic tricks and materials science hacks to the design of the truck in search of something more important to big trucks than simple miles-per-gallon: ton-miles per gallon. A truck's ton-miles per gallon figure compares the vehicle's fuel efficiency with the amount of cargo being carried since that dramatically affects how hard a diesel engine has to work. A typical long-haul diesel truck will weigh around 57,000 pounds, including a cargo load of 22,500 pounds. The Starship gross vehicle weight was right around 73,000 pounds, 39,900 pounds of which was cargo, despite that, the Starship averaged 8.94 miles per gallon versus a typical truck's average of 6.4 miles per gallon. The Starship's best mileage was just over 10 miles per gallon. Over the course of a million miles, the Starship would save over 44,000 gallons of diesel fuel versus a standard truck. That's a little more than 4,000 barrels of oil or 168,000 gallons of crude saved by one truck.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


U.S.-Led Coalition Accused of War Crimes in Syria, May Have Killed Hundreds of Raqqa Civilians
2018-06-05, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/us-led-coalition-accused-war-crimes-syria-may-have-ki...

The U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS may have committed war crimes as its airstrikes rained down on civilians trapped by the brutal fighting in the Syrian city of Raqqa last year, a new report claims. According to an investigation by Amnesty International, American, British and French strikes on the city from June to October 2017 “decimated extended families and neighborhoods” as the coalition embarked on a “war of annihilation.” Amnesty [claimed] its investigation provided “prima facie evidence that several coalition attacks that killed and injured civilians violated international humanitarian law.” After heavy fighting, surviving ISIS fighters were allowed to leave the city in October 2017. The U.S., British and French militaries claimed they did everything possible to minimize the risk of collateral damage during the operation, but Amnesty says hundreds died and thousands more were injured during the assault. The U.S. said it fired more than 30,000 artillery rounds during the five-month operation, and American forces were responsible for 90 percent of the airstrikes. The organization interviewed 112 civilian residents of Raqqa and visited the sites of 42 air, artillery and mortar strikes. The report focused on four cases in particular, which Amnesty said amounted to war crimes. In all cases “witnesses reported that there were no fighters in the vicinity at the time of the attacks,” Amnesty said. “Such attacks could be either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


A Growing Drive to Get Homelessness to Zero
2018-06-05, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/05/opinion/homelessness-built-for-zero.html

Over the past three years, nine communities in the United States have reached a rigorous standard known as “functional zero” for either veteran or chronic homelessness - a standard that indicates that homelessness is rare and much briefer than in the past for their populations - and 37 others have accomplished measurable reductions toward that goal. What’s illuminating is how they’re doing it: by making whole systems smarter. They are linking in a national network ... to improve their performance. Rockford, Ill., was the first community in the United States to reach the functional zero level for veterans. “We get everybody in our community who works on the issue ... and we bring them into a room,” [said Jennifer Jaeger, the city’s community services director]. “So if we’re working on veterans, we’ll have the V.A., the local veteran agencies, mental health agencies and substance abuse agencies. We’ll sit down with the list and say: ‘O.K., John Smith is No. 1. Who’s working with him? How do we get him housed as fast as we can?’ And we go literally name by name. It makes a huge difference because they stop being ‘the homeless’ and become people we all know. And we become very vested in making sure John Smith is housed and safe and has the services he needs.” Successes get turned into mini case studies and are logged in Built for Zero’s menu of strategies. So if a community partner wants to know how to do effective street outreach or improve housing retention ... there’s an inventory of proven ideas to draw from.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Cops are called when a senator tries to see kids taken from their immigrant parents
2018-06-04, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/daily-202/2018/06/04/dai...

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) went to a shuttered Walmart in Brownsville, Texas, that has been converted into a detention center for immigrant children who have been separated from their parents. He asked for a tour. Instead, the government contractor that runs the converted store called the cops. An officer filled out a police report, and the senator was asked to leave. The half-hour incident at a strip mall near the southern border with Mexico underscores the lack of transparency from President Trump’s administration about its intensifying efforts to break up undocumented families caught crossing the border, the centerpiece of a “zero tolerance” policy announced by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month. “The administration calls this ‘zero tolerance.' ... It is really a ‘zero humanity’ policy," Merkley said. The senator said he tried to go through proper channels to arrange a site visit but was rebuffed. Merkley said he’s also sought to figure out just how many kids are being held at the old Walmart ... but he still cannot get a straight answer. [This] policy may split up an untold number of families. Minors are not allowed in criminal jails, where adults are held when they’re charged with crimes related to crossing the border. Children are sent to separate facilities. This happens even if their folks present themselves at official ports of entry and declare that they are seeking asylum.

Note: The response from the White House to this incident was to blame Merkley for immigrant crimes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


California City Fights Poverty With Guaranteed Income
2018-06-04, New York Times/Reuters
https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2018/06/04/us/04reuters-california-income.html

Michael Tubbs, the 27-year-old mayor of Stockton, California, has a radical plan to combat poverty in his cash-strapped city: a "no strings" guaranteed basic income of $500 a month for its residents. Starting in early 2019, Tubbs plans to provide the monthly stipend to a select group of residents as part of a privately funded 18-month experiment to assess how people use the money. "And then, maybe, in two or three years, we can have a much more informed discussion about the social safety net, the income floor people deserve and the best way to do it, because we'll have more data and research," Tubbs told Reuters. The idea of governments providing a universal basic income to their citizens has been gaining traction globally. The Finnish government is running a two-year trial to provide 2,000 unemployed people with monthly payments of approximately $660. In Alaska, each resident has long received an annual dividend check from oil revenues from the Alaska Permanent Fund, which Tubbs said is a model for his approach. For 31-year-old Shay Holliman ... an extra $500 a month would just allow her to make ends meet. She ... works a 9-5 job at a local nonprofit then drives for Uber and Lyft in the evenings and at weekends. "I still can't pay all my bills," she said. Tubbs says he "felt almost a moral responsibility" to do something "a little bit out the box" for his city. "And I know, for me, I want to live in a community where people's basic needs are met," he said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Edward Snowden: 'The people are still powerless, but now they're aware'
2018-06-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jun/04/edward-snowden-people-still-p...

Edward Snowden has no regrets five years on from leaking the biggest cache of top-secret documents in history. He is wanted by the US. He is in exile in Russia. But he is satisfied with the way his revelations of mass surveillance have rocked governments, intelligence agencies and major internet companies. What has happened in the five years since? The most important change, he said, was public awareness. “The government and corporate sector preyed on our ignorance. But now we know. People are aware now. People are still powerless to stop it but we are trying. The revelations made the fight more even.” He said he had no regrets. His own life is uncertain, perhaps now more than ever, he said. His sanctuary in Russia depends on the whims of the Putin government, and the US and UK intelligence agencies have not forgiven him. For them, the issue is as raw as ever. One of the disclosures to have most impact was around the extent of collaboration between the intelligence agencies and internet companies. In 2013, the US companies were outsmarting the EU in negotiations over data protection. Snowden landed like a bomb in the middle of the negotiations and the data protection law that took effect last month is a consequence. But he will not be marking the anniversary with a “victory lap”. There is still much to be done. “The fightback is just beginning,” said Snowden. “The governments and the corporates have been in this game a long time and we are just getting started.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Seymour Hersh’s Memoir of a Life Making the Mighty Sweat
2018-06-03, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/03/business/media/seymour-hersh-reporter-memo...

Seymour M. Hersh didn’t even want to write a memoir. His publishers at Alfred A. Knopf ... “said, ‘Write a memoir,’ and I said, ‘No way,’” Mr. Hersh, 81, recalled the other day. The story of a working-class [kid who] exposed the horror of the My Lai massacre, revealed domestic and foreign abuses by the C.I.A. and harried Washington’s elite ... was not finished. Not for the first time in his career, the editors prevailed. “Reporter,” a 355-page memoir, will be released on Tuesday. The book ... reconstructs his reporting on Vietnam, his feuds with Henry Kissinger, the foibles of former bosses. He notes that major publications passed on his My Lai exposé, fearful of government denials that American soldiers had murdered dozens of Vietnamese civilians. In the end, Mr. Hersh syndicated the stories himself, and won a Pulitzer Prize for his efforts. Mr. Hersh’s place in the pantheon of reporters is secure, but his current status is ambiguous. In arguably the most fertile moment for investigative reporting since Watergate, he has been on the sidelines. By choice, he said. Mr. Hersh has found himself at odds with much of Washington’s reporting establishment since The New Yorker declined to publish his report on the death of Osama bin Laden — a story that directly contradicted the account given by the Obama White House and much of the mainstream press. His subsequent reporting on Syria, which questioned whether President Bashar al-Assad had gassed his own people, was similarly derided. But Mr. Hersh is unrepentant.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in mass media.


Facebook Gave Device Makers Deep Access to Data on Users and Friends
2018-06-03, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/06/03/technology/facebook-device-par...

As Facebook sought to become the world’s dominant social media service, it struck agreements allowing phone and other device makers access to vast amounts of its users’ personal information. Facebook has reached data-sharing partnerships with at least 60 device makers - including Apple, Amazon, BlackBerry, Microsoft and Samsung. The partnerships ... raise concerns about the company’s privacy protections and compliance with a 2011 consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission. Facebook allowed the device companies access to the data of users’ friends without their explicit consent, even after declaring that it would no longer share such information with outsiders. Some device makers could retrieve personal information even from users’ friends who believed they had barred any sharing. In interviews, several former Facebook software engineers and security experts said they were surprised at the ability to override sharing restrictions. “It’s like having door locks installed, only to find out that the locksmith also gave keys to all of his friends so they can come in and rifle through your stuff without having to ask you for permission,” said Ashkan Soltani, a research and privacy consultant who formerly served as the F.T.C.’s chief technologist.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


A debate over plant consciousness is forcing us to confront the limitations of the human mind
2018-06-03, Quartz
https://qz.com/1294941/a-debate-over-plant-consciousness-is-forcing-us-to-con...

A debate over plant consciousness and intelligence has raged in scientific circles for well over a century - at least since Charles Darwin observed in 1880 that stressed-out flora can’t rest. Biologists believe that plants communicate with one another, fungi, and animals by releasing chemicals via their roots, branches, and leaves. Plants also send seeds that supply information, working as data packets. They even sustain weak members of their own species by providing nutrients to their peers. They also have memories, and can learn from experience. But does any of this qualify as consciousness? The answer to that question seems to depend largely on ... how humans choose to define our conceptions of the self and intelligence. We believe that our experience of life is what defines consciousness. But there is some evidence that other modes of existence are equally complex, which suggests that other living things have arguably intelligent or conscious experiences. Evolutionary ecologist Monica Gagliano insists that plants are intelligent, and she’s not speaking metaphorically. “My work is not about metaphors at all,” Gagliano tells Forbes. Gagliano’s behavioral experiments on plants suggest that - while plants don’t have a central nervous system or a brain - they behave like intelligent beings. Expanding definitions of consciousness and intelligence could mean admitting we’ve been limited in our worldview. What if everything around us is intelligent in its own way, and we’re just not smart enough to see it?

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Reality Winner has been in Jail for a Year. Her Prosecution is Unfair and Unprecedented.
2018-06-03, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2018/06/03/reality-winner-nsa-paul-manafort/

This is a tale of two defendants and two systems of justice. Suspected of colluding with the Russian government, the former campaign manager for Donald Trump, [Paul Manafort, was] indicted on a dozen charges involving conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud, and lying to federal investigators. Manafort avoided jail by posting $10 million in bond, though he was confined to his luxury condo in Alexandria, Virginia. Reality Winner, an Air Force veteran and former contractor for the National Security Agency ... was accused of leaking an NSA document that showed how Russians tried to hack American voting systems in 2016. Her case is related to Manafort’s in this sense: While Manafort is suspected of aiding the Russian effort, Winner is accused of warning Americans about it. Even though she has been indicted on just one count of leaking classified information and faces far less prison time than Manafort, the judge in her case ... denied her bail. Winner spent the holidays at the Lincolnton jail, which is smaller in its entirety than Manafort’s Hampton’s estate. The U.S. government rarely acts kindly toward the leakers it chooses to prosecute - unless they happen to be popular figures like David Petraeus, the former general and CIA director who shared with his girlfriend several notebooks filled with top-secret information; he was allowed to plead guilty to just a misdemeanor charge. Last year, Attorney General Jeff Sessions proudly announced that the DOJ was investigating three times as many leaks as in the Obama era.

Note: The NSA document Winner is accused of leaking revealed high-level interference in a US election. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in the intelligence community and in the judicial system.


Google to drop Pentagon AI contract after employee objections to the ‘business of war’
2018-06-01, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/06/01/google-to-drop-p...

Google will not seek to extend its contract next year with the Defense Department for artificial intelligence used to analyze drone video, squashing a controversial alliance that had raised alarms over the technological buildup between Silicon Valley and the military. Google ... has faced widespread public backlash and employee resignations for helping develop technological tools that could aid in warfighting. Google will soon release new company principles related to the ethical uses of AI. Thousands of Google employees wrote chief executive Sundar Pichai an open letter urging the company to cancel the contract, and many others signed a petition saying the company’s assistance in developing combat-zone technology directly countered the company’s famous “Don’t be evil” motto. Several Google AI employees had told The Post they believed they wielded a powerful influence over the company’s decision-making. The advanced technology’s top researchers and developers are in heavy demand, and many had organized resistance campaigns or threatened to leave. The sudden announcement Friday was welcomed by several high-profile employees. Meredith Whittaker, an AI researcher and the founder of Google’s Open Research group, tweeted Friday: “I am incredibly happy about this decision, and have a deep respect for the many people who worked and risked to make it happen. Google should not be in the business of war.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


EPA’s Pruitt spent $1,560 on 12 customized fountain pens from Washington jewelry store
2018-06-01, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/06/01/epas-pru...

Tiny Jewel Box, which calls itself Washington’s “premier destination for fine jewelry and watches,” had promised to expedite the order of a dozen customized silver fountain pens — each emblazoned with the seal of the Environmental Protection Agency and the signature of its leader, Scott Pruitt. Now all that the EPA staff member working with the store needed was for a top Pruitt aide to sign off on the $3,230 order. “The cost of the Qty. 12 Fountain Pens will be around $1,560.00,” the staffer emailed Aug. 14 to Millan Hupp, Pruitt’s head of scheduling. “All the other items total cost is around $1,670.00 ... Please advise.” “Yes, please order,” Hupp responded. The exchange, included among thousands of pages of emails released this week as part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the Sierra Club, offered another glimpse of the high-end tastes of the EPA chief, who has faced months of scrutiny over his expenditures of taxpayer money on first-class travel, an unprecedented security detail, a $43,000 phone booth, a top-of-the-line SUV and other office upgrades. In a Senate hearing last month, Pruitt came as close as he ever has to publicly acknowledging any personal fault in the ethical decisions that have triggered a dozen federal inquiries, including probes by the EPA’s inspector general, the Government Accountability Office and the White House itself. “There have been decisions over the past 16 months that, as I look back, I would not make the same decisions again,” Pruitt told lawmakers.

Note: EPA scientists have been leaving the agency in droves. The EPA is one of three federal agencies reported to have been "gagged" by the Trump administration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.


Ali Banat: the man with the Gift of Cancer
2018-05-31, Daily Times
https://dailytimes.com.pk/247087/ali-banat-the-man-with-the-gift-of-cancer/

Ali Banat, an Australian based charity worker, social activist, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and founder of the MATW (Muslims Around The World) Project passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2018. His story resonated with the millions of people who came to know of him after his ‘Gifted With Cancer’ video went viral. His diagnosis of fourth stage Testicular cancer ... completely changed his life, and he decided to donate all his wealth in charity to Muslims Around the World. As he showed off, in the viral video, his huge bedroom lined with Louis Vuitton shoes ... along with a bracelet that cost him $60,000, with one of his cars which included a Ferrari Spider worth $600,000, one could see that ever since he got sick, none of it meant anything to him. Banat was told by the doctors that he had seven months to live, but instead, he lived for another blessed three years. In all this time, he was only dedicated to doing good as he donated his wealth and money to thousands of people across a number of countries including Togo, Ghana, and Burkina Faso. To make sure that his organisation, MATW, was run in good hands, Ali visited ... to see that 100% of the donations would go into the project and not be divided with administrative fees. With the money collected, MATW aimed at building villages for over 200 widows, a mosque, a school that would house 600 orphans, a mini-hospital/medical centre, as well as businesses to support the local community.

Note: Watch a moving interview at the link above showing how his life was totally changed in a positive way by cancer. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Florida brewery introduces biodegradable, edible six-pack rings
2018-05-31, CBS (Local Utah affiliate)
http://kutv.com/news/nation-world/florida-brewery-introduces-biodegradable-ed...

A microbrewery in Delray Beach, Florida has devised a crafty solution to plastic six-pack rings that often wreak havoc on marine wildlife. After years of research and development, Saltwater Brewery has introduced six-pack rings made of wheat and barley. The brewery developed the rings with a start-up company called E6PR. Whereas plastic rings can become tangled in the wings of sea birds, warp the shells of growing sea turtles and choke seals, Saltwater Brewery's new rings are not only biodegradable but also perfectly edible. "E6PR hopes other breweries - both small and large - will buy into the new rings and help bring costs down," Nola.com reports. The Louisiana State University (LSU) reports that the Gulf of Mexico has one of the highest concentrations of marine plastic in the world. Every net that LSU dipped into the Gulf's water came up with some form of plastic. "We found it every time," LSU's Mark Benfield [said]. E6PR is testing the edible rings with "a select group of craft breweries," but the company is not yet ready to discuss specifics.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The epidemic of denial about sexual abuse in the evangelical church
2018-05-31, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2018/05/31/feature/the-...

Across the United States, evangelical churches are failing to protect victims of sexual abuse among their members. While some church leaders have worked to prevent abuse and harassment, many have not. The causes are manifold: authoritarian leadership, twisted theology, institutional protection, obliviousness about the problem and, perhaps most shocking, a diminishment of the trauma sexual abuse creates — especially surprising in a church culture that believes strongly in the sanctity of sex. “Sexual abuse is the most underreported thing — both in and outside the church — that exists,” says Boz Tchividjian, a grandson of Billy Graham and a former Florida assistant state attorney. As a prosecutor, Tchividjian saw dozens of sexual abuse victims harmed by a church’s response to them. In 2004, Tchividjian founded [a] nonprofit organization ... which trains Christian institutions in how to prevent sexual abuse and performs independent investigations. Tchividjian says sexual abuse in evangelicalism rivals the Catholic Church scandal of the early 2000s. According to research from the evangelical publishing company LifeWay ... pastors drastically underestimate the number of victims in their congregations.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Ending America's War on Drugs Would Finally Unleash the Therapeutic Potential of Psychedelics
2018-05-30, Time
http://time.com/5295544/war-on-drugs-ptsd-mdma-rick-doblin/

It was only after U.S. veteran Jonathan Lubecky pulled the trigger on a loaded gun aimed at his head and it misfired that he finally decided to seek help. He had tried to commit suicide five times after struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The only two drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration for PTSD, Zoloft and Paxil ... didn’t work for combat-related PTSD. Out of desperation, he volunteered as a subject in an experimental study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for chronic, treatment-resistant PTSD. The study was sponsored by the ... Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), and funded entirely by private donations. After his treatment with MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, Lubecky managed to heal from his PTSD to the point that he became National Veterans Director for Senator Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential primary campaign. His recovery is not unusual. The Lancet Psychiatry published a scientific paper about the study Lubecky volunteered for; it reported that two-thirds of the 26 veterans, firefighters and police officers treated no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD one month after their second MDMA session, with their reduction of PTSD symptoms lasting over time. Drug prohibition has for decades delayed medical research into the healing properties of Schedule 1 drugs. Now that this research is finally being conducted, we’re learning that enormous suffering and many suicides could have been prevented over these decades.

Note: The above was written by MAPS founder Rick Doblin. Read more about how MDMA, also known as 'ecstasy,' has been found to be effective for treating PTSD in a therapeutic context. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


Questions Raised About 5G Health Risks Months Before Sacramento Launches Service
2018-05-29, CBS (Sacramento, CA affiliate)
https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2018/05/29/questions-raised-about-5g-health-r...

Sacramento will be the first city in the country to get 5G cell service later this summer, but health concerns are now being raised about the equipment. 5G uses high frequency waves and is supposed to be 100 times faster than the current cell phone service. However, the 5G waves don’t travel as far as current wireless frequencies so instead of large cell phone tower equipment spread far apart, the 5G requires small cell sites closer together. The FCC does set exposure limits for cell site antennas that transmit signals to phones. According to the National Cancer Institute, “A limited number of studies have shown some evidence of statistical association of cell phone use and brain tumor risks.” Firefighters in San Francisco have reported memory problems and confusion after the 5G equipment was installed outside of fire stations. The firefighters claim the symptoms stopped when they relocated to stations without equipment nearby. The City of Sacramento partnered with Verizon to offer 5G. Sacramento issued a statement to CBS13- reading in part: “The City currently has six 5G sites active. The City does not/cannot regulate wireless devices.” Some cities, including Santa Rosa, have put their 5G plans on hold while health concerns are addressed.

Note: According the the CBS video at the link above, 5G towers are planned to be installed every 1,000 feet. Learn how cities can be sued if they question health concerns of 5G technology in this CBS news article. Real also on the website of the International Association of Firefighters a statement opposing the place of cell phone towers near fire stations because of safety concerns. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks and dangers of wireless technologies.


US lost track of 1,500 immigrant children, but says it's not 'legally responsible'
2018-05-28, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/26/politics/hhs-lost-track-1500-immigrant-childre...

The federal government has placed thousands of unaccompanied immigrant children in the homes of sponsors, but last year it couldn't account for nearly 1,500 of them. Steven Wagner, a top official with the Department of Health and Human Services, disclosed the number to a Senate subcommittee last month while discussing the state of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) that oversees the care of unaccompanied immigrant children. Wagner is the acting assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families. After a stay in an ORR shelter, the majority of children are sent to live with sponsors who have close ties to the children - typically a parent or close relative, Wagner said, though some end up living with "other-than-close relatives or non-relatives." Between October and December 2017, Wagner told the subcommittee, the ORR reached out to 7,635 unaccompanied children to check on them. But the ORR "was unable to determine with certainty the whereabouts of 1,475 children," Wagner testified. That's more than 19% of the children that were placed by the ORR. But Wagner said HHS is not responsible for the children. "ORR is not legally responsible for children after they are released from ORR care," Wagner said. Wagner's statement has received increased scrutiny a month after the Department of Homeland Security defended an agency policy that will result in more families being separated at the border.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Who killed Bobby Kennedy? His son RFK Jr. doesn't believe it was Sirhan Sirhan.
2018-05-26, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/05/26/who-killed-bobby...

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. pulled up to the massive Richard J. Donovan Correctional Center, a California state prison complex. Kennedy was there to visit Sirhan B. Sirhan, the man convicted of killing his father, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, nearly 50 years ago. It was the culmination of months of research by Kennedy into the assassination. He would not discuss the specifics of their conversation. But when it was over, Kennedy had joined those who believe there was a second gunman, and that it was not Sirhan who killed his father. He now supports the call for a re-investigation of the assassination led by Paul Schrade, who also was shot in the head as he walked behind Kennedy in the pantry of the Ambassador Hotel ... but survived. Though Sirhan admitted at his trial in 1969 that he shot Kennedy, he claimed from the start that he had no memory of doing so. And midway through Sirhan's trial, prosecutors provided his lawyers with an autopsy report that launched five decades of controversy: Kennedy was shot four times at point-blank range from behind, including the fatal shot behind his ear. But Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian immigrant, was standing in front of him. Was there a second gunman? The debate rages to this day. Sirhan's appeals have been rejected ... as recently as 2016, even with the courts considering new evidence that has emerged over the years that as many as 13 shots were fired - Sirhan's gun held only eight bullets - and that Sirhan may have been subjected to coercive hypnosis, a real life "Manchurian candidate."

Note: In 2006, BBC described new evidence that placed "three senior CIA operatives at the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination" and reported that Sirhan may have been a Manchurian Candidate programmed to act as a decoy for the real assassin. In 2011 the Boston Globe reported that RFK harbored suspicions that the CIA was behind his brother's murder. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on assassinations reported by reliable major media sources.


America's tree sitters risk lives on the front line
2018-05-26, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/26/tree-sitters-appalachian-...

Protesters – mainly women – are defying police and energy companies in non-violent environmental activism. Way out in the Appalachian hills ... an orderly clutch of tents were surrounded by a plastic yellow ribbon that read, “police line do not cross”. Past that, a woman sat on top of a 50ft pole. Opposite the knot of tents where the woman’s supporters kept 24-hour vigil lay an encampment of police, pipeline workers, and private security. On Wednesday 23 May, the protester, nicknamed Nutty, finally came down after a record-breaking 57 days spent in the trees ... to stop a fracked natural-gas pipeline from being built through the state. Her final three days in the trees were spent without food. There are others, too, who remain in the forest and are still blocking construction by putting their lives on the line. These activists hold the typical concerns of having a gas pipeline run through the yard: if it leaks it poisons the water, the font of the incredible biodiversity in the area; there’s a two-and-a-half-mile blast radius if it explodes; the pipeline is taking their land through eminent domain against their will for resource extraction. But they also say this is about more than just a pipeline, built by Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC. It is, they say, also about the erosion of democracy and the natural world. Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, took $50,000 from MVP’s largest shareholder, EQT Corp, and another $199,251 from Dominion Energy, [a] major shareholder of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline being built nearby.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.


Stabbed at a neo-Nazi rally, called a criminal: how police targeted a black activist
2018-05-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/25/neo-nazi-rally-california-stabb...

Cedric O’Bannon tried to ignore the sharp pain in his side and continue filming. The independent journalist, who was documenting a white supremacist rally in Sacramento, said he wanted to capture the neo-Nazi violence against counter-protesters with his GoPro camera. But the pain soon became overwhelming. He lifted up his blood-soaked shirt and realized that one of the men carrying a pole with a blade on the end of it had stabbed him in the stomach, puncturing him nearly two inches deep. He limped his way to an ambulance. Police did not treat O’Bannon like a victim. Officers instead monitored his Facebook page and sought to bring six charges against him, including conspiracy, rioting, assault and unlawful assembly. His presence at the protest – along with his use of the black power fist and “social media posts expressing his ideals” – were proof that he had violated the rights of neo-Nazis at the 26 June 2016 protests, police wrote in a report. None of the white supremacists have been charged for stabbing O’Bannon. O’Bannon’s case is the latest example of police in the US targeting leftwing activists, anti-Trump protesters and black Americans for surveillance and prosecution over their demonstrations and online posts. At the same time, critics say, they are failing to hold neo-Nazis responsible for physical violence. Michael German, a former FBI agent, said the Sacramento case was part of a pattern of police in the US siding with far-right groups and targeting their critics.

Note: A New York Times article describes how journalists, legal observers and volunteer medics were charged with riot-related crimes for attending a protest. United Nations officials recently said that the US government's treatment of activists was increasingly "incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Inventing New Ways to Solve Old Problems
2018-05-24, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/business/inventing-new-ways-to-solve-old-p...

While many people wring their hands over the amount of plastic waste, Miranda Wang aims to reduce the mess. Ms. Wang, 24, is a co-founder and chief executive of BioCellection, a start-up that is tackling hard-to-recycle plastic packaging, focusing initially on plastic-film waste. Using a novel reaction system that employs a liquid chemical catalyst, BioCellection turns unrecyclable, contaminated film waste into chemicals that can be used by consumers and industry. Later this year, BioCellection will start a pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area to build its first commercial machine, which can process five metric tons of waste a day. Many borrowers with poor credit scores ... can’t qualify for an affordable small loan. Jeff Zhou is offering an answer, in the form of Fig Loans. The lender’s goal is to offer an alternative to pricey payday loans that strapped consumers turn to when they have an unexpected financial emergency and have no other option. “We want to offer socially responsible financial products for people who are under banked,” he said. Customers can apply online for a loan from Fig, which makes lending decisions based on bank statements, taking into account expenses like rent, utilities and spending, Mr. Zhou said. Loans are $300 to $500 and, depending on the state, are repaid in four or six equal monthly installments — unlike payday loans, which typically must be repaid in two weeks.

Note: Read about more inventive solutions to common problems at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


EPA again blocks journalists from attending summit
2018-05-23, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/23/media/epa-blocks-journalists-summit/index.html

The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday barred journalists for the second consecutive day from attending a national summit focused on water contaminants, telling reporters from CNN and other news organizations that they would not be permitted inside the venue. Carrie Budoff Brown, editor of Politico, said in a statement that her publication "would much rather be writing about the agency's efforts to address this health problem than about reporters being excluded. "The summit was focused on an important public health crisis that has affected drinking water supplies across the country, and chemicals that are present in the bloodstreams of nearly all Americans," she added. "We believe it is important that the news media have access to the entirety of this discussion to keep the public informed." On Tuesday, the EPA blocked several journalists, including those from CNN and the Associated Press, from entering the venue when Scott Pruitt, the agency's chief, was speaking. Only those journalists specifically selected by the EPA were permitted to enter the premises. Sally Buzbee, executive editor of the Associated Press, called the move to block journalists "a direct threat to the public's right to know about what his happening inside their government." Less than two weeks ago, CNN aired a special report, "Pruitt Under Fire: The Battle at the EPA," about the various scandals plaguing the federal agency.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


Dodd-Frank rollback is money in the banks
2018-05-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-Dodd-Frank-r...

The House’s bipartisan vote Tuesday to weaken Dodd-Frank, the banking and consumer reform legislation passed in the wake of the 2008 financial collapse and recession ... dramatically shrinks the number of institutions deemed important to the financial system and therefore subject to strict oversight. It raises the threshold automatically triggering such measures from $50 billion to $250 billion in assets. Small banks, defined as under $10 billion in assets, would also be exempt from the Volcker Rule, which prohibits certain risky investments of customers’ money. And an estimated 85 percent of banks would also be excused from reporting requirements meant to detect discrimination in home mortgage lending. Supporters of the regulatory retreat would have the public believe that Dodd-Frank constitutes a crushing burden on a struggling financial industry. Meanwhile, on the very day that the House approved the rollback, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reported that the commercial banks and savings institutions it covers made $56 billion in the first quarter of the year, a 27.5 percent increase from a year earlier. Congress’ ... likely motivation is another figure: the $1.1 billion in contributions to federal campaigns attributed to financial institutions in the last two-year election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, more than any other sector spent. That haul favored Republicans only modestly, with 46 percent going to Democrats. Judging by this week’s vote, it was money well spent.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


More families of Sandy Hook victims, FBI agent sue Infowars' Alex Jones
2018-05-23, Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-sandy-hook-alex-jones-lawsu...

Six more families of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre victims sued right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for alleged defamation Wednesday for claiming the shooting was a hoax and the relatives are paid actors. An FBI agent who responded to the shooting joined the families as a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed in Bridgeport Superior Court in Connecticut. The families of two other victims filed similar defamation lawsuits against Jones last month in Travis County, Texas, where his media company, Infowars, is based. The families say Jones' comments have tormented them and subjected them to harassment and death threats by his followers. After the first two lawsuits were filed last month, Jones responded in a YouTube video, saying that the families are being used by the Democratic Party and the news media and that he believes Sandy Hook "really happened." Also named as defendants is Wolfgang Halbig, who the families say is a frequent guest on Jones' show who also questions whether the school shooting actually happened. Halbig, 71, a former police officer ... said Wednesday that he does believe people died in the shooting, but authorities have refused to answer his questions. The lawsuit filed Wednesday cites ... the case of a Florida woman, Lucy Richards, who believed the shooting was a hoax and was sentenced to prison last year for threatening the father of one of the slain children.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles from reliable sources.


U.S. cautions citizens in China after 'abnormal' sound incident
2018-05-23, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-usa-health/u-s-warns-citizens-in-chi...

An American citizen working at the U.S. consulate in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has reported suffering from “abnormal” sounds and pressure leading to a mild brain injury, the U.S. embassy said on Wednesday. China said it was investigating the incident. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was concerned about the “serious medical incident” and raised it with China’s visiting State Councillor Wang Yi. Pompeo told a news conference with Wang, “We’re working together to resolve [this] ... I hope we can figure it out.” The unnamed American citizen ... had reported a variety of “physical symptoms” dating from late 2017. “The clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI),” the embassy said. “We cannot at this time connect it with what happened in Havana, but we are investigating all possibilities,” a U.S. embassy official [said]. The U.S. government ... issued a health alert to Americans in China. “If you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source. Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present,” the emailed alert said. The U.S. government in October expelled 15 Cuban diplomats ... for what it said was Cuba’s failure to protect staff at the U.S. embassy in Havana from mysterious health incidents at one point thought to possibly have been acoustic “attacks”. The cause of those incidents remains unresolved.

Note: Could these sonic attacks possibly be false flag operations? Read more about the mysterious "sonic attack" incident in Cuba that injured American and Canadian diplomats. 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.


After ninth ascent of Mount Everest, Lhakpa Sherpa wants to inspire other women
2018-05-23, Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/breaking/ct-spt-lhakpa-sherpa-mount-ever...

The most successful female Everest climber said after finishing her ninth ascent of the world's highest mountain that she wants to inspire all women so they too can achieve their dreams. Lhakpa Sherpa was guiding some 50 climbers with her brother when she scaled the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak last week, breaking her own record for the most climbs of Mount Everest by a woman. "If an uneducated woman who is a single mother can climb Everest nine times, any woman can achieve their dreams," Sherpa said. "I want be an inspiration to all the women in the world that they too can achieve their goal," she said. The 44-year-old Sherpa never got a chance for formal education because she was already working carrying climbing gear and supplies for the trekkers. She plans to climb the mountain again next year. Her recent climb was the toughest of the nine, she said, adding there was a lot of wind and snow. This successful expedition is likely to help her brother Mingma's mountaineering company grow. It would also mean that Lhakpa can continue to climb Everest. She says she is also looking forward to seeing her three children back in Connecticut, where she works as a dishwasher at the Whole Foods Market in West Hartford. At [a] ceremony in Kathmandu, [the] tourism community honored her and and the overall record-holder for successful Everest climbs, Kami Rita, who has reached the summit 22 times, for their achievement.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Parents are warning that 'Show Dogs' portrays sexual abuse and is not OK for kids
2018-05-22, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/allthemoms/2018/05/22/show-dogs-movie-gro...

Show Dogs is a slapstick, buddy-cop comedy with talking dogs that seemed perfect for kids. Terina Maldonado, a Mesa, Arizona writer for Macaroni Kid wrote a column, imploring parents to keep their kids far away from the movie. The column struck a nerve. Max the Rottweiler and [Frank], his human partner ... are undercover officers who must crack the case of a kidnapped panda by infiltrating a prestigious dog show. The first troubling scene comes when Frank (Will Arnett) tells the dog Max (Ludacris) he needs to get used to getting his privates touched - which is a part of any inspection in a dog show. "He was telling him he needs to go to his zen place, and I like right away was wait ... what? When it turns into this big pivotal scene in the end and he needs to be allowed to be touched to win the competition ... red flags were going up and around in my mommy head," Maldonado said. A second scene in the movie shows Max having his private parts handled during the finals of the dog show competition. Max goes to his zen place and pictures himself flying through the sky. Finding the stolen panda depends on his ability to let this happen. "If it has just been a casual part of the movie, it wouldn't have been inappropriate." Maldonado said. "But it turned into this pivotal moment and it was teaching him to disassociate from himself while they were touching his private parts." As a survivor of child abuse, Maldonado said that this type of disassociation is what child predators tell children to do when they're upset about being touched.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Landmark lawsuit claims Monsanto hid cancer danger of weedkiller for decades
2018-05-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/may/22/monsanto-trial-cancer-weedki...

At the age of 46, DeWayne Johnson is not ready to die. But with cancer spread through most of his body, doctors say he probably has just months to live. Now Johnson, a husband and father of three in California, hopes to survive long enough to make Monsanto take the blame for his fate. Johnson will become the first person to take the global seed and chemical company to trial on allegations that it has spent decades hiding the cancer-causing dangers of its popular Roundup herbicide products – and his case has just received a major boost. Last week Judge Curtis Karnow issued an order clearing the way for jurors to consider not just scientific evidence related to what caused Johnson’s cancer, but allegations that Monsanto suppressed evidence of the risks of its weed killing products. “The internal correspondence noted by Johnson could support a jury finding that Monsanto has long been aware of the risk that its glyphosate-based herbicides are carcinogenic ... but has continuously sought to influence the scientific literature to prevent its internal concerns from reaching the public sphere and to bolster its defenses in products liability actions,” Karnow wrote. Johnson’s case ... is at the forefront of a legal fight against Monsanto. Some 4,000 plaintiffs have sued Monsanto alleging exposure to Roundup caused them, or their loved ones, to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Note: As major lawsuits like this one against Monsanto begin to unfold, the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. A recent independent study published in a scientific journal found a link between glyphosate and gluten intolerance. Internal FDA emails suggest that the food supply contains far more glyphosate than government reports indicate. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


New report highlights massive pay gap between CEOs and typical workers
2018-05-22, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/22/news/economy/ceo-pay-afl-cio/index.html

This is the first year that businesses are required to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to median worker pay in their annual proxies, due to a provision of the Dodd-Frank financial reforms passed during the Obama administration. The AFL-CIO's annual Executive PayWatch database, released Tuesday, compiled that data and shows that in many cases, the pay for top executives is hundreds — or even thousands — of times that of the median worker at their companies. The largest pay gap for proxies released so far in 2018 ... belongs to Mattel (MAT), according to the AFL-CIO. But companies will continue to release their pay ratios in SEC filings in coming months, so any superlatives are subject to change. The AFL-CIO said it will keep updating its database as the relevant documents are filed. Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis was awarded almost $31.3 million in 2017. Meanwhile, the median worker at the company, earned $6,271. The ratio? 4,987 to 1. Mattel is followed by McDonald's (MCD), where CEO Steve Easterbrook, who earned nearly $21.8 million last year, made 3,101 times as much as the company's median employee. The newly available pay ratios also highlight exactly how much standard workers earn. Amazon disclosed that the median pay for its employees was just $28,446 in 2017.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Rudy Giuliani won deal for OxyContin maker to continue sales of drug behind opioid deaths
2018-05-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/22/rudy-giuliani-opioid-epidemic...

The US government missed the opportunity to curb sales of the drug that kickstarted the opioid epidemic when it secured the only criminal conviction against the maker of OxyContin a decade ago. Purdue Pharma hired Rudolph Giuliani, the former New York mayor and now Donald Trump’s lawyer, to head off a federal investigation in the mid-2000s into the company’s marketing of the powerful prescription painkiller at the centre of an epidemic estimated to have claimed at least 300,000 lives. While Giuliani was not able to prevent the criminal conviction over Purdue’s fraudulent claims for OxyContin’s safety and effectiveness, he was able to reach a deal to avoid a bar on Purdue doing business with the federal government which would have killed a large part of the multibillion-dollar market for the drug. The former New York mayor also secured an agreement that greatly restricted further prosecution of the pharmaceutical company and kept its senior executives out of prison. The US attorney who led the investigation, John Brownlee, has ... expressed surprise that Purdue did not face stronger action. Purdue is now facing ... civil lawsuits [in] New York, Texas and five other states. But Brownlee was the first, and so far only, prosecutor to secure a criminal conviction against the drug maker. Brownlee’s office discovered training videos in which reps acted out selling the drug using the false claims. “This was ... pushed from the highest levels of the company,” said Brownlee.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma.


World's Oldest Yoga Teacher Shares Her Tips for a Long, Happy Life
2018-05-22, People
https://people.com/health/tao-porchon-lynch-oldest-yoga-teacher-shares-her-be...

Tao Porchon-Lynch is 99 years old, and she’s still practices – and teaches! – yoga regularly. So what’s her secret to staying happy and active? “Every morning I wake up and say this is going to be the best day of my life – and it is,” Porchon-Lynch tells Well and Good. “My life is my meditation.” Porchon-Lynch abides by three simple tips to stay upbeat. The first is to not get fixated on bad things that may or may not happen. “Your mind gets in the way. It plagues you with all of the things that can go wrong,” she says. “I don’t let it get in my way.” Secondly, she says to stop judging others. “Don’t look down on anyone,” she says. “Know that you can learn from everyone.” Finally, Porchon-Lynch says to begin each day feeling happy. “Wake up with a smile on your face!” Porchon-Lynch has been practicing yoga for over 70 years, and has been teaching it for 45. She encourages people of all ages to try yoga, and says it’s never too late to start. “Don’t give up and think, ‘I’ve done it. Now I can sit back,’ ” she [said]. “You haven’t seen enough of this earth and there is a lot more to see that is beautiful.” “I went once to a place to do a yoga program for seniors, and they were all sitting around hunched over actually waiting to die,” she [said]. “I came in with my high heels and said, ‘Are you going to join me?’ One woman replied, ‘Oh no, at our age?’ I said, ‘How old are you?’ One said, ‘I’m 68.’ Another said, ‘I’m 75.’ The oldest was 79. I said, ‘Oh, that’s it? You’re all my children!’ “

Note: For more on this amazing woman, see this Newsweek article.


We surveyed 100 security experts. Almost all said state election systems were vulnerable.
2018-05-21, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-cybersecurity-202/20...

We brought together a panel of more than 100 cybersecurity leaders from across government, the private sector, academia and the research community for a new feature called The Network — an ongoing, informal survey. Our first survey revealed deep concerns that states aren’t prepared to defend themselves against the types of cyberattacks that disrupted the 2016 presidential election. Several experts said that state voter registration databases are particularly vulnerable — and make an appealing target for attackers who want to sow confusion and undermine confidence in the voting process. “The voting machines themselves are only part of the story,” said Matt Blaze, a cryptographer and computer science professor. “The ‘back end’ systems, used by states and counties for voter registration and counting ballots, are equally critical to election security, and these systems are often connected, directly or indirectly, to the Internet.” Jay Kaplan, co-founder of the cybersecurity firm Synack, notes a bright spot: The Election Assistance Commission has a national voting system certification program to independently verify that a voting system meets security requirements. “However, testing for this certification is completely optional,” said Kaplan. “States can set their own standards for voting systems. As such, some states are significantly more buttoned up than others. The reality is states are understaffed, underfunded, and are too heavily reliant on election-system vendors securing their own systems.”

Note: Many states have purchased electronic voting machines that are surprisingly easy to hack from private companies. It has also been clearly demonstrated that elections software purchased from private companies to manage voter registration in many states is vulnerable to common cyberattacks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Sweden distributes 'be prepared for war' leaflet to all 4.8m homes
2018-05-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/21/sweden-distributes-be-prepared-...

The Swedish government has begun sending all 4.8m of the country’s households a public information leaflet telling the population, for the first time in more than half a century, what to do in the event of a war. Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes) explains how people can secure basic needs ... what warning signals mean, where to find bomb shelters and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defence”. The 20-page pamphlet, illustrated with pictures of sirens, warplanes and families fleeing their homes, also prepares the population for dangers such as cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news. Similar leaflets were first distributed in neutral Sweden in 1943, at the height of the second world war. Updates were issued regularly to the general public until 1961. “Society is vulnerable, so we need to prepare ourselves as individuals,” said Dan Eliasson of the Swedish civil contingencies agency, which is in charge of the project. “There’s also an information deficit in terms of concrete advice, which we aim to provide.” The publication comes as the debate on security – and the possibility of joining Nato – has intensified in Sweden in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and recent incursions into Swedish airspace and territorial waters by Russian planes and submarines. The country has begun reversing military spending cuts and last year staged its biggest military exercises in nearly a quarter of a century.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Victims of alleged LSD brainwashing experiments in Montreal plan to file lawsuit
2018-05-20, CTV News (One of Canada's leading television networks)
https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/victims-of-alleged-lsd-brainwashing-experiments...

Survivors and families of those who allegedly underwent brainwashing experiments at McGill University in Montreal are planning a class-action lawsuit against the Quebec and federal governments because of what they claim had been done to them decades ago. Dr. Ewen Cameron, a former psychiatrist at McGill University’s Alan Memorial Institute, conducted CIA-funded experiments in the 1950s and 1960s involving sleeping drugs, electroshock therapy and the powerful hallucinogenic LSD to see if the brain could be reprogrammed. Patients entered the program - known as Project MKUltra - with relatively minor mental health issues, such as anxiety. “These were innocent people that went in for mild depression… They came out completely ravaged and their life was ruined,” Marlene Levenson, whose aunt was admitted to the facility, told CTV Montreal. Many victims of these experiments have since passed away, but some family members have documents that share first-hand accounts of what allegedly transpired at the facility. Angela Bardosh’s mother Nancy Layton showed CTV Montreal a letter from her mother that read in part: "They destroyed many parts of me. I'm lucky to be alive." Bardosh said Layton was admitted to the facility at age 18 due to depression. Within six months of Cameron’s treatment, her mother developed acute schizophrenia. The victims and their families have now banded together in the hopes of filing a class-action lawsuit against the Quebec and federal governments, and maybe even McGill too, seeking damages and an apology for what they had to endure.

Note: The Canadian government has been actively attempting to silence victims of this program for over forty years. Read more on the court cases stemming from Dr Ewen Cameron's CIA-funded experiments in this Times of London article. Read also an excellent summary on the involvement of doctors in the CIA's brainwashing experiments. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mind control news articles from reliable major media sources.


In harsh Saudi crackdown, famous feminists are branded as ‘traitors’
2018-05-19, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-harsh-saudi-crackdown-fam...

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has cast himself as a reformer, advocating equality for women and granting them the right to drive. But in the past few days, Saudi activists who called for exactly those things were arrested, accused by the authorities of undermining national security and branded “traitors” in pro-government newspapers. The unusually vicious state-led crackdown has targeted Saudi Arabia’s most prominent women’s rights advocates, including activists who led the first protests against the driving ban decades ago and were jailed for their defiance. The arrests have been puzzling for their timing — occurring just weeks before the driving ban is set to be lifted. But Saudis have also been stunned by the gravity of the charges and the deeply personal attacks on the activists, whose pictures were circulated in government-friendly media outlets in what human rights groups called a smear campaign intended to silence calls for women’s rights. But the detentions of the women’s rights advocates continue a pattern: Over the past year, as the crown prince has consolidated power, authorities have locked up dozens of dissidents and perceived enemies, including rights activists, clerics, businessmen and princes.

Note: Why is the US such close allies with such a repressive Muslim regime with almost total disregard for human rights? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and threats to civil liberties.


The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election
2018-05-19, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2018/05/19/the-fbi-informant-who-monitored-the-trump...

Four decades ago, [CIA operative Stefan] Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election. The Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials. Over the past several weeks, House Republicans have been claiming that the FBI during the 2016 election used an operative to spy on the Trump campaign, and they triggered outrage within the FBI by trying to learn his identity. On May 8, the Washington Post described the informant as “a top-secret intelligence source” and cited DOJ officials as arguing that disclosure of his name “could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI.” But now ... everyone knows the name of the FBI’s informant: Stefan Halper. So as it turns out, the informant used by the FBI in 2016 to gather information on the Trump campaign was not some previously unknown, top-secret asset whose exposure as an operative could jeopardize lives. Quite the contrary: his decades of work for the CIA – including his role in an obviously unethical if not criminal spying operation during the 1980 presidential campaign – is quite publicly known.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in elections and in the intelligence community.


Electromagnetic radiation from power lines and phone masts poses 'credible' threat to wildlife, report finds
2018-05-18, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/05/17/electromagnetic-radiation-powe...

Electromagnetic radiation from power lines, wi-fi, phone masts and broadcast transmitters poses a ‘credible’ threat to wildlife, a new report suggests. An analysis of 97 studies by the EU-funded review body EKLIPSE concluded that radiation is a potential risk to insect and bird orientation and plant health. The charity Buglife warned that despite good evidence of the harms there was little research ongoing to assess the impact, or apply pollution limits. The charity said ‘serious impacts on the environment could not be ruled out’ and called for 5G transmitters to be placed away from street lights, which attract insects, or areas where they could harm wildlife. Matt Shardlow, CEO of Buglife said: “We apply limits to all types of pollution to protect the habitability of our environment, but as yet, even in Europe, the safe limits of electromagnetic radiation have not been determined, let alone applied." As of March, 237 scientists have signed an appeal to the United Nations asking them to take the risks posed by electromagnetic radiation more seriously. The EKLIPSE report found that the magnetic orientation of birds, mammals and invertebrates such as insects and spiders could be disrupted by electromagnetic radiation (EMR). It [found] that plant metabolism is also altered by EMR. The authors of the review conclude that there is “an urgent need to strengthen the scientific basis of the knowledge on EMR and their potential impacts on wildlife.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks and dangers of wireless technologies.


'CEOs don't want this released': US study lays bare extreme pay-ratio problem
2018-05-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/may/16/ceo-worker-pay-ratio-america-...

The first comprehensive study of the massive pay gap between the US executive suite and average workers has found that the average CEO-to-worker pay ratio has now reached 339 to 1, with the highest gap approaching 5,000 to 1. The study, titled "Rewarding Or Hoarding?," was published [by] US congressman Keith Ellison. Just the summary makes for sober reading. In 188 of the 225 companies in the report’s database, a single chief executive’s pay could be used to pay more than 100 workers; the average worker at 219 of the 225 companies studied would need to work at least 45 years to earn what their CEO makes in one. “Now we know why CEOs didn’t want this data released,” says Ellison, who championed the implementation of the pay ratio disclosure rule as it was written into the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill of 2010. “I knew inequality was a great problem in our society but I didn’t understand quite how extreme it was.” The requirements, long resisted by some of the largest US companies, simply tells companies to identify a median worker and then calculate how much the CEO makes in comparison to that person. According to a recent Bloomberg analysis of 22 major world economies, the average CEO-worker pay gap in the US far outpaces that of other industrialized nations. The average US CEO makes more than four times his or her counterpart in the other countries analyzed. Ellison said the data remains imperfect, as companies are still able to exclude contracted workers from their reporting.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


He Was Dying. Antibiotics Weren’t Working. Then Doctors Tried a Forgotten Treatment.
2018-05-18, Mother Jones
https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2018/05/the-best-viral-news-youll-eve...

Tom Patterson lay in a coma. Three months earlier ... Patterson had suddenly fallen ill, so severely that he had to be medevaced to [University of California-San Diego’s medical center]. The core of the problem was an infection with a superbug, a bacterium named Acinetobacter baumannii that was resistant to every antibiotic his medical team tried to treat it with. He was dying. “We are running out of options to save Tom,” [Tom's wife Steffanie Strathdee wrote to the hospital’s head of infectious diseases, Dr. Robert Schooley]. “What do you think about phage therapy?” Phages are viruses [that] kill only specific strains of bacteria. They can quell infections without inducing a terrible diarrheal disease ... that occurs when the balance of bacteria in the gut is disrupted by antibiotics wiping out good bugs along with the bad. But for phage therapy to be deployed routinely in the United States, phages would have to be approved as drugs by the FDA. To treat an American patient with them now requires emergency compassionate-use authorization - effectively an acknowledgment that nothing with an FDA license can save the patient’s life. The FDA agreed to let the pair attempt phages. The whole treatment process was a scramble. Patterson, however, made it. He left the hospital ... having beaten the superbug using phages. He was the first person in the United States to have been successfully treated intravenously. Strathdee ... says she hopes to see phages become a routine option for serious infections, available to substitute for antibiotics.

Note: The unwarranted use of prescription antibiotics by doctors and the routine practice of adding antibiotics to animal feed in factory farms have led to what the Los Angeles Times recently called "a slow catastrophe" of antibiotic-resistant infections. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


How Baby Boomers Broke America
2018-05-17, Time
http://time.com/magazine/us/5280431/may-28th-2018-vol-191-no-20-u-s/

About five decades ago, the core values that make America great began to bring America down. The First Amendment became a tool for the wealthy to put a thumb on the scales of democracy. America’s rightly celebrated dedication to due process was used as an instrument to block government from enforcing job-safety rules ... and otherwise protecting the unprotected. Election reforms ... wound up undercutting democracy. Ingenious financial and legal engineering turned our economy ... into a casino with only a few big winners. Distinctly American ideas became the often unintended instruments for splitting the country into two classes: the protected and the unprotected. The protected overmatched, overran and paralyzed the government. The unprotected were left even further behind. Income inequality has soared: Middle-class wages have been nearly frozen for the last four decades, while earnings of the top 1% have nearly tripled. For adults in their 30s, the chance of earning more than their parents dropped to 50% from 90% just two generations earlier. Many of the most talented, driven Americans used what makes America great - the First Amendment, due process, financial and legal ingenuity, free markets and free trade, meritocracy, even democracy itself - to chase the American Dream. And they won it, for themselves. Then, in a way unprecedented in history, they were able to consolidate their winnings ... and pull up the ladder so more could not share in their success or challenge their primacy.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality.


Wells Fargo Still Hasn’t Gotten Ahead of Its Problems
2018-05-17,

On Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Wells Fargo recently discovered that employees were improperly altering the documents of business borrowers, adding information to the accounts without the consent or notifying the clients. The latest issue comes only a week after news came out that Wells Fargo admitted it had improperly collected fees on a Tennessee public pension fund. Improper fees could be a widespread problem in its pension fund business. The bank’s wealth management unit is also under investigation for pressuring clients into rolling over their low-cost 401(k) accounts into more expensive alternatives. Wells Fargo has regularly said its problems are in the past, without spending the money it should to actually put those problems in the past. Wells Fargo, like other banks, doesn’t break out what it spends on compliance, and says it’s generally spending more, but in its most recent quarter it’s hard to see where. In February, the Federal Reserve sanctioned Wells Fargo for not having proper risk controls in place. The bank has since told shareholders it plans to cut costs, not raise them in order to improve compliance. The most recent problem ... appears to have come as Wells Fargo raced to comply with an order from regulators that it collect information on more than 100,000 accounts that it was supposed to have. It appears employees improperly altered the files, potentially adding false information, as part this regulatory review, once again showing a lack of oversight.

Note: Last year, it was reported that a Wells Fargo insurance scam defrauded 570,000 customers. The year before, this bank was caught opening millions of fake accounts using stolen customer identities. Wells Fargo fires employees and pays fines whenever these crimes are uncovered. But no bank executives are criminally prosecuted. And new problems continue coming to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Banned Ozone-Depleting Chemical Is Still Being Produced Somewhere, Scientists Say
2018-05-17, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/05/17/611984631/banned-ozone-dep...

Someone appears to be producing a banned ozone-depleting chemical, interfering with the recovery of Earth's damaged ozone layer, according to a newly published study led by scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The illicit emissions are believed to be coming from somewhere in eastern Asia, but nothing else is known about the offender. It's a scientific whodunit. The scientists say the atmospheric level of trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is ... not declining as quickly as it should be. "It appears that emissions of CFC-11 have increased in recent years, which is quite a surprise given the fact that production has been phased out," [the study's lead author Stephen] Montzka says. CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons, "were once widely used in the manufacture of aerosol sprays, as blowing agents for foams and packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants." But scientists realized the chemicals were harming the ozone layer. So in the late 1980s, the world agreed to phase out the use of the chemicals. Production was supposed to have stopped as of 2010. The amount of CFC-11 in the atmosphere should be declining more and more each year, allowing the ozone layer to replenish. The scientists ... concluded that CFC-11 emissions started to increase after 2012, two years after production of the chemical was reportedly at zero.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.


F.D.A. Names and Shames Drug Makers to Encourage Generic Competition
2018-05-17, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/17/health/drug-prices-generics-fda.html

Pharmaceutical companies that spend billions of dollars to develop new drugs do not want competitors to profit from inexpensive generic copies of blockbuster medicines. To avoid rivals, they ... sometimes prevent generic drug companies from obtaining samples. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, calls this “gaming the system,” and has vowed to stop it. On Thursday, the F.D.A. took a new tack and began posting a list of makers of brand-name drugs that have been the target of complaints, to persuade them to “end the shenanigans,” in the commissioner’s words. Congressional efforts to force the companies to hand over samples of their drugs to generic competitors have not been successful. Generic drug developers usually need between 1,500 to 5,000 units of the brand drug to develop their product and test it. Both the F.D.A. and the Federal Trade Commission say securing the samples can be difficult. The F.D.A.’s new list includes drug companies the agency said may be pursuing gaming tactics to delay generic competition. Along with the name of each business, the agency noted how many inquiries it received from generic drug companies seeking supplies. Celgene, [which makes drugs to treat cancer and immune-inflammatory diseases], tops the list. Other companies ... included GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Gilead Sciences and Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


U.S. Navy Reserve Doctor on Gina Haspel Torture Victim: “One of the Most Severely Traumatized Individuals I have Ever Seen”
2018-05-17, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2018/05/17/gina-haspel-cia-director-torture/

An American doctor and Naval reserve officer who has done extensive medical evaluation of a high-profile prisoner who was tortured under the supervision of Gina Haspel privately urged Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to oppose Haspel’s confirmation as CIA director. “I have evaluated Mr. Abdal Rahim al-Nashiri, as well as close to 20 other men who were tortured” in U.S. custody, including several who were tortured “as part of the CIA’s RDI [Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation] program. I am one of the only health professionals he has ever talked to about his torture,” Dr. Sondra Crosby, a professor ... at Boston University, wrote to Warner’s legislative director. “He is irreversibly damaged by torture that was unusually cruel. In my over 20 years of experience treating torture victims from around the world, including Syria, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. al-Nashiri presents as one of the most severely traumatized individuals I have ever seen.” Nashiri was ... “rendered” to Afghanistan by the CIA and eventually taken to the Cat’s Eye prison in Thailand that was run by Haspel from October to December 2002. On Monday, The Intercept reported that a ... classified memo compiled by the [Senate Intelligence Committee] and aimed at examining Haspel’s full involvement with torture and destruction of evidence was removed from the Senate. It was supposed to be housed in a secure facility inside Congress, so senators and their staff could read it.

Note: The above article contains graphic descriptions of torture overseen and then covered up by Gina Haspel. Another article, by a former CIA counterterrorism officer who was imprisoned for blowing the whistle on the CIA torture, referred to Haspel's actions as "war crimes, crimes against humanity". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why are for-profit US prisons subjecting detainees to forced labor?
2018-05-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/may/17/us-private-prisons-forc...

In 2017, officials at the Stewart immigration detention center in Georgia placed Shoaib Ahmed, a 24-year-old immigrant from Bangladesh, in solitary confinement for encouraging fellow workers to stop working. His punishment was solitary confinement for 10 days. Stewart is operated by the largest prison corporation in the US, CoreCivic (formerly Corrections Corporation of America), under a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice). A growing number of detained immigrants ... are subjected to forced labor. In April, we filed a lawsuit ... against CoreCivic, alleging that the prison corporation violates human trafficking laws and employs a deprivation scheme to force immigrants detained at Stewart to work for sub-minimum wages, and then threatens to punish them for refusing to work through solitary confinement or loss of access to necessities. A lawsuit against Geo Group, another prison corporation, is moving forward for using similar practices. CoreCivic’s abuse and exploitation ... constitute a contemporary form of slavery as we detailed in a submission to the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants. None of this bothered a group of 18 Republican lawmakers ... who sent a letter to Jeff Sessions, Ice, and the Department of Labor asking them to help ... Geo Group defend itself against the lawsuits. These legislators’ support for the prison corporations perhaps should not come as a surprise. Private prison companies contributed $1.6m during the 2016 federal election cycle.

Note: The federal class action lawsuit described in the article above was filed against CoreCivic by Project South jointly with the Southern Poverty Law Center, attorney Andrew Free, and the law firm Burns Charest LLP. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison industry corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Trump’s personal attorney solicited $1 million from government of Qatar
2018-05-16, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trumps-personal-attorn...

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal attorney, solicited a payment of at least $1 million from the government of Qatar in late 2016, in exchange for access to and advice about the then-incoming administration. The offer, which Qatar declined, came on the margins of a Dec. 12 meeting that year at Trump Tower between the Persian Gulf state’s foreign minister and Michael Flynn, who became Trump’s first national security adviser. Cohen did not participate in the official meetings but spoke separately to a member of the Qatari delegation, Ahmed al-­Rumaihi, who at the time was head of the investments division of the country’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority. The solicitation came during a period when Cohen was bragging to others that he could make millions from consulting on Trump and that foreign governments would be interested in having his expertise. As Cohen collected clients, he texted associates articles that described him as Trump’s “fixer” and asked them to spread the articles around. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, which conducted raids last month on Cohen’s New York residence and office, are investigating his activities.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


What is Project Maven? Google Urged to Abandon U.S. Military Drone Program
2018-05-15, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/project-maven-google-urged-abandon-work-military-dron...

Hundreds of academics have urged Google to abandon its work on a U.S. Department of Defense-led drone program codenamed “Project Maven”. An open letter calling for change was published Monday by the International Committee for Robot Arms Control (ICRAC). The project is formally known as the Algorithmic Warfare Cross-Functional Team. Its objective is “to turn the enormous volume of data available to DoD into actionable intelligence”. More than 3,000 Google staffers signed a petition in April in protest at the company's focus on warfare. “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” it read. “Therefore we ask that Project Maven be cancelled.” The ICRAC warned this week the project could potentially be mixed with general user data and exploited to aid “targeted killing.” Currently, its letter has nearly 500 signatures. It stated: “We are ... deeply concerned about the possible integration of Google’s data on people’s everyday lives with military surveillance data, and its combined application to targeted killing ... Google has moved into military work without subjecting itself to public debate or deliberation. While Google regularly decides the future of technology without democratic public engagement, its entry into military technologies casts the problems of private control of information infrastructure into high relief.” Lieutenant Colonel Garry Floyd, deputy chief of the Algorithmic Warfare Cross Functional Team, said ... earlier this month that Maven was already active in “five or six” combat locations.

Note: You can read the full employee petition on this webpage. The New York Times also published a good article on this. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and war.


Sen. Bernie Sanders says this one issue keeps progressive policies from advancing
2018-05-15, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/05/15/bernie-sanders-says-i...

Sen. Bernie Sanders, speaking at a policy forum here Tuesday, identified a singular roadblock to achieving success on a host of progressive policies. It’s American oligarchy. Sanders ... argued that the small number of multi-billionaires who now have power over the country’s economic, political and social life is “one issue out there which is so significant and so pervasive that, unless we successfully confront it, it will be impossible to succeed on any of these other important issues.” The solution, he said, is not only ending voter suppression, “extreme gerrymandering” and overturning the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which helped pave the way for super PACs, but moving toward automatic voter registration. He called for Wall Street, billionaires and big corporations to start paying their “fair share” in taxes, and for “substantially” increasing the estate tax. The annual conference ... was billed in part as an opportunity for speakers to “preview and sharpen the best arguments for rejecting far-right conservatism and for enacting progressive policies” at all levels of government. During his speech Tuesday, Sanders ... said the current “grotesque level” of income and wealth inequality is immoral and causing “massive suffering.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality.


Employers are monitoring computers, toilet breaks – even emotions. Is your boss watching you?
2018-05-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/14/is-your-boss-secretly-or-not-so...

Last year an American company microchipped dozens of its workers. Of the 90 people who work at [Three Square Market] headquarters, 72 are now chipped. Two months ago, the company ... started chipping people with dementia. If someone wanders off and gets lost, police can scan the chip “and they will know all their medical information, what drugs they can and can’t have, they’ll know their identity.” So far, Three Square Market has chipped 100 people, but plans to do 10,000. The company has just launched a mobile phone app that pairs the chip with the phone’s GPS, enabling the implantee’s location to be tracked. Last week, it started using it with people released from prison on probation. Some Chinese companies are using sensors in helmets and hats to scan workers’ brainwaves. There are tech companies selling products that can ... monitor keystrokes and web usage, and even photograph [employees] using their computers’ webcams. All this can be done remotely. Monitoring is built into many of the jobs that form the so-called “gig economy”. It’s not easy to object to the constant surveillance when you’re desperate for work. What has surprised [Cass Business School professor André Spicer] is how willingly people in better-paid jobs have taken to it. Spicer has watched the shift away from “monitoring something like emails to monitoring people’s bodies – the rise of bio-tracking basically. The monitoring of your vital signs, emotions, moods.”

Note: Author James Bloodworth describes the high tech monitoring of workers at Amazon warehouses in his new book, "Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on microchip implants and the disappearance of privacy.


Google employees quit over controversial Pentagon work
2018-05-14, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2018/05/14/google-employees-quit-over-controversial-pentag...

There’s something eating at Google employees. Roughly one dozen employees of the search giant have resigned in the wake of reports that the ... company is providing artificial intelligence to the Pentagon. The employees resigned because of ethical concerns over the company’s work with the Defense Department that includes helping the military speed up analysis of drone footage by automatically classifying images of objects and people, Gizmodo reported. Many of the employees who quit have written accounts of their decisions to leave the company. Their stories have been gathered and shared in an internal document. Google is helping the DoD’s Project Maven “implement machine learning to classify images gathered by drones,” according to the report. “Some employees believe humans, not algorithms, should be responsible for this sensitive and potentially lethal work - and that Google shouldn’t be involved in military work at all.” The 12 resignations are the first known mass resignations at Google in protest against one of the company’s business decisions - and they speak to the strongly felt ethical concerns of the employees who are departing. In addition to the resignations, nearly 4,000 Google employees have voiced their opposition to Project Maven in an internal petition that asks Google to immediately cancel the contract and institute a policy against taking on future military work.

Note: You can read the full employee petition on this webpage. An open letter in support of google employees and tech workers was signed by more than 90 academics in artificial intelligence, ethics, and computer science. The New York Times also published a good article on this. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and war


Israel Kills Dozens at Gaza Border as U.S. Embassy Opens in Jerusalem
2018-05-14, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/world/middleeast/gaza-protests-palestinian...

Palestinian officials say at least 58 people have been killed in the latest round of protests. A mass attempt by Palestinians to cross the border fence separating Israel from Gaza turned violent, as Israeli soldiers responded with rifle fire. Monday became the bloodiest day since the campaign of demonstrations began seven weeks ago to protest Israel’s economic blockade of Gaza. Tens of thousands of Palestinians took part in the Gaza protests. Protests also took place on the West Bank. By late in the evening, 58 Palestinians, including several teenagers, had been killed and more than 1,350 wounded by gun fire, the Health Ministry said. Israeli soldiers and snipers used barrages of tear gas as well as live gunfire to keep protesters from entering Israeli territory. The protest nearest to Gaza City ... turned into a pitched battle. Emergency workers with stretchers carried off a stream of injured protesters, many with leg wounds but some having been shot in the abdomen. Even as Palestinians’ anger erupted, American and Israeli officials celebrated President Trump’s move of the embassy to Jerusalem. Previous administrations in Washington, like the governments of most American allies, had been unwilling to make the transfer, insisting that the status of Jerusalem needed to be resolved in a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


A Strait-Laced Writer Explores Psychedelics, and Leaves the Door of Perception Ajar
2018-05-14, New York Times
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/05/14/books/review-how-to-change-your-mind-ps...

To microdose is to take small amounts of LSD, which generate “subperceptual” effects that can improve mood, productivity and creativity. Michael Pollan’s new book, “How to Change Your Mind,” is not about that. It’s about taking enough LSD or psilocybin (mushrooms) to feel the colors and smell the sounds. If Pollan’s wide-ranging account has a central thesis, it’s that we’re still doing the hard work of rescuing the science of psychedelics from the “countercultural baggage” of the 1960s. In the mid-60s “the exuberance surrounding these new drugs gave way to moral panic,” and ... “the whole project of psychedelic science had collapsed.” Before collapsing, though, that project discovered in psychedelics the same potential that scientists are exploring as they reclaim it today: possible help in treating addiction, anxiety and depression, and “existential distress” — common in people “confronting a terminal diagnosis,” which of course, broadly speaking, is all of us. Pollan doesn’t give a lot of prime real estate to psychedelics’ naysayers. But given that those on LSD can appear to be losing their minds, and that the drug leaves one feeling emotionally undefended (a potential benefit as well as a profound risk), he does strongly recommend having an experienced guide in a proper setting when you trip. With those safeguards in place, he believes usage could be on the verge of more widespread acceptance.

Note: A recent clinical trial found psilocybin to be an extremely effective treatment for anxiety and depression. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream credibility.


DNA of every baby born in California is stored. Who has access to it?
2018-05-12, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/california-biobank-dna-babies-who-has-access/

The Newborn Genetic Screening test is required in all 50 states. Nearly every baby born in the United States gets a heel prick shortly after birth. Their newborn blood fills six spots on a special filter paper card. It is used to test baby for dozens of congenital disorders. Some states destroy the blood spots after a year, 12 states store them for at least 21 years. California, however, is one of a handful of states that stores the remaining blood spots for research indefinitely in a state-run biobank. The child's leftover blood spots become property of the state and may be sold to outside researchers without the parent's knowledge or consent. "I just didn't realize there was a repository of every baby born in the state. It's like fingerprints," new mom Soniya Sapre responded. In California ... you do have the right to ask the biobank to destroy the leftovers after the fact, though the agency's website states it "may not be able to comply with your request." You also have the right to find out if your child's blood spots have been used for research, but you would have to know they were being used in the first place and we've discovered that most parents don't. But researchers with the California Genetic Disease Screening Program aren't the only ones with access to samples stored in the biobank. Blood spots are given to outside researchers for $20 to $40 per spot. According to biobank records, the program sold about 16,000 blood spots over the past five years, totaling a little more than $700,000.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Alexa and Siri Can Hear This Hidden Command. You Can’t.
2018-05-10, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/10/technology/alexa-siri-hidden-command-audio...

Over the last two years, researchers in China and the United States have begun demonstrating that they can send hidden commands that are undetectable to the human ear to Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant. Researchers have been able to secretly activate the artificial intelligence systems on smartphones and smart speakers, making them dial phone numbers or open websites. In the wrong hands, the technology could be used to unlock doors, wire money or buy stuff online - simply with music playing over the radio. A group of students from University of California, Berkeley, and Georgetown University showed in 2016 that they could hide commands in white noise played over loudspeakers and through YouTube videos to get smart devices to turn on airplane mode or open a website. This month, some of those Berkeley researchers published a research paper that went further, saying they could embed commands directly into recordings of music or spoken text. So while a human listener hears someone talking or an orchestra playing, Amazon’s Echo speaker might hear an instruction to add something to your shopping list. There is no American law against broadcasting subliminal messages to humans, let alone machines. The Federal Communications Commission discourages the practice as “counter to the public interest,” and the Television Code of the National Association of Broadcasters bans “transmitting messages below the threshold of normal awareness.”

Note: Read how a hacked vehicle may have resulted in journalist Michael Hastings' death in 2013. A 2015 New York Times article titled "Why ‘Smart’ Objects May Be a Dumb Idea" describes other major risks in creating an "Internet of Things". Vulnerabilities like those described in the article above make it possible for anyone to spy on you with these objects, accelerating the disappearance of privacy.


Costa Rica to ban fossil fuels and become world's first decarbonised society
2018-05-10, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/costa-rica-fossil-fuels-ban-preside...

Costa Rica’s new president has announced a plan to ban fossil fuels and become the first fully decarbonised country in the world. Carlos Alvarado, a 38-year-old former journalist, made the announcement ... during his inauguration. "Decarbonisation is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first," Mr Alvarado said. Symbolically, the president arrived at the ceremony in San Jose aboard a hydrogen-fuelled bus. Last month, Mr Alvarado said the Central American country would begin to implement a plan to end fossil fuel use in transport by 2021 – the 200th year of Costa Rican independence. "When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate ... that we've removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation,” he promised during a victory speech. Costa Rica already generates more than 99 per cent of its electricity using renewable energy sources. Costa Rica’s push towards clean energy faces no large-scale backlash, in part because the country has no significant oil or gas industry. But demand for cars is rising, as is use of other transport systems, and that may prove one of the biggest challenges in meeting the new goal. Transport is today the country’s main source of climate changing emissions.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


California becomes first state to require solar panels on new homes
2018-05-09, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/california-becomes-first-state-require-s...

Solar panels will be a required feature on virtually every new home built in California, under a policy advanced Wednesday by California regulators. The California Energy Commission voted unanimously, 5-0, to recommend energy efficiency standards that are set to be added to state building regulations later this year, effecting all construction after Jan. 1, 2020. The rules will make California the first state in the nation to require solar panels on new homes. "This will be nothing short of historic for our state and for our country," said Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar & Storage Association, an industry group. The requirement will apply to single-family homes and to apartment and condominium complexes of three stories or less. Solar installations have become so cost effective that they are included in more than 15,000 homes built each year in California, even without the directive from the state. In 2020 and beyond that number promises to increase to 80,000, the number of homes built each year in the Golden State. The average estimated cost of a solar system is $9,500, or $40 a month when amortized over a 30-year mortgage. But the systems are projected to save customers an average of $80 a month on their utility bills. Another part of the new regulation ... gives energy credit to homes that employ battery storage technology.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The problem with prescription drug prices
2018-05-06, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-problem-with-prescription-drug-prices/

One very expensive prescription drug threatened to financially cripple an entire city. Rather than using a health insurance company, Rockford, [Illinois] has, for years, paid its own health care costs for its 1,000 employees and their dependents. When Rockford got hit with the drug bill it was so enormous the mayor at the time set out to understand why. In 2015, two small children of Rockford employees were treated with Acthar, a drug that's been on the market since 1952. In 2001, Acthar sold for about $40 a vial. Today: more than $40,000. [Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey] wanted to know how that could've happened. His investigation got nowhere until last year, when the Federal Trade Commission charged the drug manufacturer, Mallinckrodt, with violating antitrust laws. [The company] bought another drug that was Acthar's main competitor ... and put it on the shelf. Many of the doctors who prescribed a lot of Acthar also were getting money from the company that makes Acthar ... adding up to huge sums. Cities like Rockford [hire pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs] to negotiate down the price of drugs. The company negotiating prices for Rockford is Express Scripts. Express Scripts is many companies, not just the PBM. It also owns a pharmacy that sells expensive drugs, [as well as] a company that ships and packs expensive drugs. The city of Rockford was able to find out one more piece of the puzzle: that Express Scripts ... had a contract to be the exclusive distributor of Acthar.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The Hemisphere's Biggest Solar Plant Is in Mexico, Not the U.S.
2018-05-06, TruthDig
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-hugest-solar-plant-in-the-new-world-is-...

Mexico wants to produce 43% of its electricity from renewables by 2024, in only 6 years. Toward that end, in December it opened the Villanueva solar farm in the desert, with 2.3 million solar panels, generating enough juice to power 1.3 million homes. It is the largest solar project in the Western hemisphere. That’s right. The largest solar installation in the New World is not in the United States. It is in Mexico. In the first quarter of 2018, India set a record with the addition of 4.6 gigawatts of solar! That’s the name plate capacity of four small nuclear reactors, added in just one quarter. By the end of January India had 20 gigawatts of installed solar power capacity. In contrast, France only has 8 gigawatts of installed solar capacity. Dubai will tender a bid before the end of this year for a 300 megawatt solar farm, as part of its plan to get 7% of its electricity from solar by 2020. Since Dubai is one of seven emirates making up the United Arab Emirates, a major oil exporter, this push for renewables may ... seem hard to explain. But look more closely. Dubai does not have its own hydrocarbons and is rather a service economy. So ... it is highly beneficial for Dubai to get its electricity from solar, the fuel of which is free down the line once installment costs are paid off. The UAE gets enormous amounts of sunshine and bids have been let there for as little as 2.5 cents a kilowatt hour, which is world-beating. Coal, one of the cheapest hydrocarbons, is typically 5 cents a kilowatt hour.

Note: Watch a promotional video for the massive Villanueva solar farm in Mexico.


These Towns Are Trying Out A Basic-Income Scheme And It’s Already Changing Lives
2018-05-06, Huffington Post
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/ontario-basic-income_us_5aeac0e0e4b06748...

Sherry Mendowegan has accomplished a lot in the past six months. The mother of two bought her first car and graduated with her high school diploma. “Next is my college, post-secondary, and then hopefully I get some work,” she says. Going to college would have been out of reach for the 41-year-old just last year. But as a participant in the basic income pilot program launched by the Canadian province of Ontario, she and her husband, Dan, can now afford the tuition fees. “Our life has changed,” Mendowegan says. “We’re not struggling.” Ontario’s basic income program, launched in April 2017, is currently operating in three towns ― Thunder Bay, Lindsay and Hamilton. The scheme has enrolled more than 4,000 low-income people living on less than CA$34,000 ($29,500) individually. This includes those who are working, in school or living on financial assistance. For three years, single participants will receive up to CA$17,000 a year and couples will receive up to CA$24,000. Those earning any money will see their basic income amounts reduced by 50 cents for every dollar they make. Universal basic income, or the idea of giving people money without any conditions, is not new. But it is gaining fresh momentum globally as inequality worsens and swaths of jobs are at risk from automation and other factors. Ontario joins a handful of other places in the world to test out some sort of guaranteed basic income.

Note: In the US, Stockton, California recently announced plans to provide residents with a Universal Basic Income. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


NXIVM Doctor Accused of Conducting Illegal Human Experiments in 'Fright Study'
2018-05-05, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/nxivm-dr-brandon-porter-cults-912098

The resident physician of the NXIVM sex cult has been charged by a state oversight board of conducting illegal human experiments. The New York Post reported ... that Dr. Brandon Porter, 44, forced actress Jennifer Kobelt to watch dismemberment and rape videos for a “fright study” he was conducting. “He continued to film my reaction for at least 10 minutes as I just sat there, dry heaving like I was going to puke and crying very hard,” Kobelt, said in the complaint to the health department. “He failed me, not only as a friend but as the medical practitioner I had trusted on numerous occasions with my health while I was in New York.” The New York State Office of Professional Medical Conduct said in a letter to Kobelt in September 2017 that they were not going to investigate Porter because “the issues you have described are not medical misconduct.” The board is now accusing Porter of moral unfitness, gross negligence and gross incompetence. A New York Supreme Court justice signed an executive order asking Porter and Clare Bronfman of the nonprofit Ethical Science Foundation to hand over documents on the human studies that were conducted for research, the Albany Times Union reported in April. Actress Samia Shoaib spoke out against actress Allison Mack after she was arrested on sex trafficking charges in April. Shoaib said Mack attempted to recruit her into the cult that is known to be abusive by blackmailing and branding women.

Note: Read more on the "NXIVM Sex Cult". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mind control news articles from reliable major media sources.


What Charles Koch and Other Donors to George Mason University Got for Their Money
2018-05-05, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/05/us/koch-donors-george-mason.html

A group of student activists sat in the library at George Mason University this past week feeling both vindicated and violated. The group, Transparent GMU, had sued ... last year after it was denied requests for documents that it suspected showed how deep-pocket donors were given undue influence over academic affairs. After a recent court hearing in the case, the university released those documents. The documents reveal in surprising detail that for years, as George Mason grew from a little-known commuter school to a major public university and a center of libertarian scholarship, millions of dollars in donations from conservative-leaning donors like the Charles Koch Foundation had come with strings attached. As early as 1990, entities controlled by the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch were given a seat on a committee to pick candidates for a professorship that they funded. Similar arrangements that continued through 2009 gave donors decision-making roles in selecting candidates for key economics appointments. In 2016, executives of the Federalist Society, a conservative national organization of lawyers, served as agents for a $20 million gift from an anonymous donor, and were given the right to terminate installments of the gift at their discretion. Federalist Society officials were also involved in hiring discussions and had suggested a student for admission. In academia, such influence is viewed as inappropriate.

Note: The above article suggests that the secretive empire built by the Koch brothers to manipulate US politics extends deep into academia. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Mandatory GMO labels are coming to your food
2018-05-04, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/05/04/mandatory-gmo-labels-a...

Foodmakers will soon be required to disclose when their products contain genetically modified ingredients - but those labels may not be as obvious, or as comprehensive, as consumers expected. A proposed rule released by the Agriculture Department ... instructs foodmakers to use the term “bioengineered” to label such foods instead of “genetically modified.” The proposed rule ... will now undergo a public comment period and could be finalized as early as this summer. Congress passed a mandatory-labeling law in 2016. Food companies will have three options for disclosing the ingredients, the USDA said: a one-sentence label declaration, such as “contains a bioengineered food ingredient”; a standardized icon, such as the one used in the National Organic Program; or a QR code or other digital marker that directs shoppers to a website for more information. Under one plan, the USDA said it would exempt highly refined sugars and oils, such as those made from genetically modified corn, soybeans and sugar beets, from labeling. This would effectively exempt as much as 70 percent of covered food products from GMO labeling. Under another plan, the USDA would exempt products containing ingredients from mixed sources that were less than 5 percent genetically modified by weight. That ... is significantly higher than the 0.9 percent threshold observed by China, Russia and the European Union.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs and food system corruption.


The FBI Is in Crisis. It's Worse Than You Think
2018-05-03, Time
http://time.com/5264153/the-fbi-is-in-crisis-and-america-is-paying-the-price/

The Justice Department’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, will soon release a much-anticipated assessment of Democratic and Republican charges that officials at the FBI interfered in the 2016 presidential campaign. That year-long probe ... is expected to come down particularly hard on former FBI director James Comey. An earlier [report] in April by Horowitz ... showed that the ousted deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, had lied to the bureau’s internal investigations branch to cover up a leak he orchestrated about Clinton’s family foundation less than two weeks before the election. Another IG report in March found that FBI retaliation against internal whistle-blowers was continuing despite years of bureau pledges to fix the problem. There have been other painful, more public failures as well: missed opportunities to prevent mass shootings that go beyond the much-publicized overlooked warnings in the Parkland, Fla., school killings; an anguishing delay in the sexual-molestation probe into Olympic gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar; and evidence of misconduct by agents in the aftermath of standoffs with armed militias in Nevada and Oregon. FBI agents are facing criminal charges ranging from obstruction to leaking classified material. And then there’s ... the FBI’s miss of the Russian influence operation against the 2016 election. Jeffrey Danik, a retired FBI agent ... blames the state of affairs on “a severe lack of leadership” and transparency at headquarters.

Note: A New York Times article titled "Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the FBI" sheds further light on questionable practices within The Bureau. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


The New Science of Psychedelics
2018-05-03, Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-new-science-of-psychedelics-1525360091

Recent trials of psilocybin, a close pharmacological cousin to LSD, have demonstrated that a single guided psychedelic session can alleviate depression when drugs like Prozac have failed; can help alcoholics and smokers to break the grip of a lifelong habit; and can help cancer patients deal with their “existential distress” at the prospect of dying. At the same time, studies imaging the brains of people on psychedelics have opened a new window onto the study of consciousness, as well as the nature of the self and spiritual experience. Perhaps the most significant new evidence for the therapeutic value of psychedelics arrived in a pair of phase 2 trials (conducted at Johns Hopkins and NYU and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology in 2016) in which a single high dose of psilocybin was administered to cancer patients struggling with depression, anxiety and the fear of death or recurrence. Eighty percent of the Hopkins cancer patients who received psilocybin showed clinically significant reductions in standard measures of anxiety and depression, an effect that endured for at least six months after their session. Results at NYU were similar. Curiously, the degree to which symptoms decreased in both trials correlated with the intensity of the “mystical experience” that volunteers reported, a common occurrence during a high-dose psychedelic session. Few if any psychiatric interventions for anxiety and depression have ever demonstrated such dramatic and sustained results.

Note: This entire article is filled with the results of excellent studies in this exciting new field. If the above link fails, here is an alternative link. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


The toxic legacy of Canada's CIA brainwashing experiments: 'They strip you of your soul'
2018-05-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/03/montreal-brainwashing-allan-mem...

In 1956, Velma Orlikow checked herself into a renowned Canadian psychiatric hospital, the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal. Instead of improving, her condition deteriorated – and her personality underwent jarring changes. More than two decades passed before ... her family had an explanation, and it was much stranger than any of them could imagine: in 1977 it emerged that the CIA had been funding experiments in mind-control brainwashing at the institute as part of a North America-wide project known as MK Ultra. Orlikow was one of several hundred patients who became unwitting subjects of these experiments in Montreal in the late 1950s and early 60s. “It’s almost impossible to believe,” said her granddaughter, Sarah Anne Johnson. “Some of the things [psychiatrist Ewen Cameron] did to his patients are so horrible and unbelievable that it sounds like the stuff of nightmares.” Patients were subjected to high-voltage electroshock therapy several times a day, forced into drug-induced sleeps that could last months and injected with megadoses of LSD. After reducing them to a childlike state ... Cameron would attempt to reprogram them by bombarding them with recorded messages for up to 16 hours at a time. Years later, Johnson found out that the experiments had wreaked havoc on Orlikow’s brain; it could take her three weeks to read a newspaper, months to write a letter, and years to read a book. Similar scenes played out across Canada as former patients of the institute attempted to return to their lives. “It tainted our whole family,” said Alison Steel, whose mother was admitted to the institute in 1957.

Note: The Canadian government has been actively attempting to silence victims of this program for over forty years. Read more on the court cases stemming from Dr Ewen Cameron's CIA-funded experiments in this Times of London article. Read also an excellent summary on the involvement of doctors in the CIA's brainwashing experiments. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mind control news articles from reliable major media sources.


Interior agency blocks group of archaeologists from attending scientific conference
2018-05-03, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-energy-202/2018/05/0...

The Bureau of Land Management blocked at least 14 of its staff archaeologists and other specialists from attending a major scientific conference this year, at a time when archeological sites have become a flashpoint in the debate over public lands protection. The archeologists and other BLM employees ... were originally scheduled to attend the annual meeting in Washington of the Society for American Archaeology. But officials at BLM’s headquarters in Washington only authorized the attendance of three archaeologists, citing “the potential travel and other costs” of the trips. The archaeologists from BLM were scheduled to give a presentation at a symposium titled “Tough Issues in Land Management Archaeology,” which ultimately had to be cancelled due to the lack of participation of government scientists. Some ... point to the decision as another example of the Trump Interior Department’s effort to restrict researchers’ communications with the public and fellow scientists." This entire incident reeks of scientific interference," said Aaron Weiss, media director at the Center for Western Priorities. Last year, officials at Interior headquarters directed the U.S. Geological Survey to delete a line from a news release discussing the role climate change played in raising Earth’s oceans and removed two top climate experts at Montana's Glacier National Park from a delegation scheduled to show Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg around the park full of shrinking glaciers.

Note: This follows reports that the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency have been "gagged" by the Trump administration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.


Mobile phone cancer warning as malignant brain tumours double
2018-05-02, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/05/02/mobile-phone-cancer-warning-ma...

Fresh fears have been raised over the role of mobile phones in brain cancer after new evidence revealed rates of a malignant type of tumour have doubled in the last two decades. The new study, published in the Journal of Public Health and Environment ... set out to investigate the rise of an aggressive and often fatal type of brain tumour known as Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM). [It found] that cases of GBM in England have increased from around 1,250 a year in 1995 to just under 3,000. The scientists at the Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE) say the increase of GBM has till now been masked by the overall fall in incidence of other types of brain tumour. The group said the increasing rate of tumours in the frontal temporal lobe “raises the suspicion that mobile and cordless phone use may be promoting gliomas”. Professor Denis Henshaw said: “Our findings illustrate the need to look more carefully at, and to try and explain the mechanisms behind, these cancer trends, instead of brushing the causal factors under the carpet and focusing only on cures.” The new study list causal factors aside from mobile phone use that may explain the GMB trend, including radiation from X-rays, CT scans and the fallout from atomic bomb tests in the atmosphere.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks of cell phones and wireless devices.


Plants use underground communication to learn when neighbours are stressed
2018-05-02, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/plants-underground-communication-c...

Plants use an underground communication network to exchange chemical warnings, according to a new study. Work by a team of biologists at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences has provided new insights into the complex subterranean life of seemingly immobile corn plants. The work adds to a body of research exploring the chemical pathways that plants use to “talk” to each other. “Our study demonstrated that ... above ground mechanical contact between plants can affect below ground interactions, acting as cues in prediction of the future competitors,” said Dr Velemir Ninkovic, lead author of the study. [Plant] signaling both within their bodies and with neighbors consists of the relatively slow exchange of chemical messages. Some of this communication takes place via strands of underground fungi that plants use to share food, warning signals and even toxic chemicals – a phenomenon that some biologists have informally termed the “wood-wide web”. The study by Dr Ninkovic and his colleagues ... found that the fresh seedlings responded [to stresses] by growing more leaves and fewer roots than plants that had grown under normal conditions. [The Results] suggested that the corn seedlings, upon being exposed to the chemical signals of recently touched plants in the soil, were responding by preparing themselves for the trouble ahead posed by new neighbors or becoming something’s dinner.

Note: Read the New York Times review of a mind and heart expanding new novel about the secret life of trees. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Active ingredient in ecstasy may help veterans with PTSD, study finds
2018-05-01, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/01/health/mdma-psychotherapy-ptsd-study/

MDMA - the active ingredient in the banned street drug ecstasy - is safe and enhances the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder when administered during psychotherapy, according to a new clinical trial. The US Food and Drug Administration-approved ... study included just 26 patients, all of them veterans, firefighters and police officers who developed PTSD as a result of trauma in the line of duty. PTSD ... affects about 8 million American in any given year. Continuing symptoms, including flashbacks and frightening thoughts, may lead to substance abuse, unemployment, family disruption and even suicide. Up to 72% of veterans who receive psychotherapy retain their PTSD diagnosis and frequently drop out of their treatment programs. "We only included people who had received prior treatment but still had clinically significant PTSD," [Dr. Michael C. Mithoefer, lead author of the study] said. Participants received ... about 13 hours of non-drug psychotherapy plus two eight-hour sessions of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. Participants were randomly assigned to receive MDMA (orally) in one dose of either 30, 75 or 125 milligrams for each of the two MDMA-assisted psychotherapy sessions. One month after the second MDMA session, 68% of patients in the two higher-dose groups no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD. One year later, 67% of all participants no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD. Those participants who still met the criteria for PTSD experienced a reduction in symptoms, the researchers noted.

Note: Watch an engaging interview with one of the participants of the study at the link above. Read more about how MDMA has been found to be effective for treating PTSD in a therapeutic context. Articles like this suggest that the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs are gaining mainstream scientific credibility.


Weedkiller found in granola and crackers, internal FDA emails show
2018-04-30, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/30/fda-weedkiller-glyphosate-in-...

US government scientists have detected a weedkiller linked to cancer in an array of commonly consumed foods, emails obtained through a freedom of information request show. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been testing food samples for residues of glyphosate, the active ingredient in ... widely used herbicide products, for two years, but has not yet released any official results. Documents obtained by the Guardian show the FDA has had trouble finding any food that does not carry traces of the pesticide. “I have brought wheat crackers, granola cereal and corn meal from home and there’s a fair amount in all of them,” FDA chemist Richard Thompson wrote to colleagues in an email last year regarding glyphosate. That internal FDA email ... is part of a string of FDA communications that detail agency efforts to ascertain how much of the popular weedkiller is showing up in American food. Glyphosate is best known as the main ingredient in Monsanto Co’s Roundup brand. More than 200m pounds are used annually by US farmers. Thompson’s detection of glyphosate ... will probably not be included in any official report. Separately, FDA chemist Narong Chamkasem found “over-the-tolerance” levels of glyphosate in corn, detected at 6.5 parts per million, an FDA email states. The legal limit is 5.0 ppm. An illegal level would normally be reported to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but an FDA supervisor wrote to an EPA official that the corn was not considered an “official sample”.

Note: The negative health impacts of Monsanto's Roundup are well known. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


India says all villages have electricity
2018-04-30, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-43946049

All villages in India now have access to electricity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced. This was achieved on Saturday when a remote village in the north-eastern state of Manipur became the last to be connected to the grid. A village is considered electrified if 10% of its homes and all public buildings are connected to the grid. World Bank figures show around 200 million people in India still lack access to electricity. Mr Modi said all of nearly 600,000 villages in India have now been given electricity connection. In August 2015, Mr Modi launched a $2.5bn (Ł1.8bn) scheme to electrify all Indian households by December 2018. As part of this scheme, all 597,464 inhabited villages in the country and more than five million households have been connected to the grid. Remote and inaccessible villages have always proved to be a major challenge in the country's electrification drive. Though most Indian villages have some electrical connection today, connecting the last remote households in the surrounding areas can be expensive. Some people may also forgo accessing electricity by choice because of the monthly bills that come with it, especially if power supply is not reliable and blackouts are frequent.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Department of Justice Removes 'Press Freedom' Language in Manual for Federal Prosecutors
2018-04-30, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/department-justice-takes-out-press-freedom-905976

The Department of Justice has scrubbed and revised language concerning press freedom and civil rights from its manual for federal prosecutors. In a broad revamping - the first in over 20 years - a subsection titled “Need for Free Press and Public Trial” was taken out. "The purpose of that review is to identify redundant sections and language, areas that required greater clarity, and any content that needed to be added to help department attorneys perform core prosecutorial functions," Ian D. Prior, a spokesperson for the Department of Justice, [said]. "Taken in isolation, I’m not sure how much we should read into the language changed in the DOJ manual," Alexandra Ellerbeck, the North America program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, told Newsweek. Ellerbeck pointed out, however, that removing the “need for the free press” section is concerning, considering the level of hostility toward journalists. Since President Donald Trump has taken office, he has popularized the term "fake news". The administration has also made repeated threats to go after leakers, Ellerbeck said. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in November there are 27 open leak investigations. In comparison, Sessions noted that during former President Barack Obama's administration, the DOJ investigated "three per year." Reporters Without Borders released its annual World Press Freedom Index last week and cited an increasing sense of “hostility” toward the media. The U.S. fell back two places in rankings.

Note: The NSA recently deleted the terms "honesty" and "openness" from its mission statement. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


Bee-harming pesticides are now banned in the European Union
2018-04-27, USA Today/Associated Press
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/04/27/bee-harming-pesticides-b...

The European Union has made a key breakthrough to completely ban pesticides that harm bees and their crop pollination. The 28 member states got a large majority backing the ban on the three prevalent neonicotinoid pesticides which will take effect at the end of the year. The decision builds on a limited ban which has been in effect since 2013. Antonia Staats of the Avaaz campaign group on Friday called it a “beacon of hope for bees. Finally our governments are listening.” Over the past several years, there’s been an alarming drop in bee populations and there were fears it would start to seriously affect crop production since bees are necessary for the spread of pollen and reproduction.

Note: Neonicotinoid pesticides have been found to negatively impact bee reproduction. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


The #MeToo movement and public outcry over Dr. Larry Nassar’s sex abuse have not reformed the system that disciplines doctors.
2018-04-26, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
http://doctors.ajc.com/still_forgiven/

A new national investigation by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has uncovered 450 cases of doctors who were brought before medical regulators or courts for sexual misconduct or sex crimes in 2016 and 2017. In nearly half of those cases, the AJC found, the doctors remain licensed to practice medicine, no matter whether the victims were patients or employees, adults or children. Even some doctors criminally convicted are back in practice, demonstrating that a system that forgives doctors — first exposed by the AJC in 2016 — has not changed. Dr. Richard Martin Roberts is still allowed to see patients in Texas even though a medical board disciplinary panel in November 2017 found he repeatedly conducted unwarranted genital exams on young girls. “Only doctors get to do this,” he told one, a 7-year-old he was supposed to be examining for a learning disability. Doctors benefit from a system where victims are often not believed [and] criminal charges for physician sex abuse are rare. At a time when powerful men in business and politics are losing careers over sexual misconduct, America’s doctors remain a baffling exception, impervious to the power of the #MeToo movement. The AJC’s new investigation found that medical boards still routinely handle serious sexual misconduct as an illness or lapse in training that should be dealt with through therapy, education and watchful eyes in exam rooms. In 31 states, cases can be hidden from the public through private board actions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals and health.


Why America must atone for its lynchings
2018-04-26, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/26/lynchings-sadism-white-men-why-...

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, which opens on Thursday, is a place unlike any other in the United States. Together with a new Legacy Museum which also opens this week, it addresses head on a subject that has been marked by a booming silence until now – the enforcement of white supremacy in America through racial terrorism in the form of lynching, as well as its other guises: slavery, segregation and modern mass incarceration. The memorial records and honors the more than 4,000 people of color ... who lost their lives to terror lynching. [It] sits audaciously atop a hill overlooking the heart of Montgomery. From its grounds you look down on the state capitol, the legislative beating heart of Alabama that acted as the first capital of the Confederacy and presides over a state constitution that to this day outlaws white and black kids going to school together: in 2004 and 2012 Alabamans held referendums on whether to remove the racist ban; both times the overwhelmingly white majority voted to keep it. [Equal Justice Initiative] has identified more than 4,384 lynchings by white people of people of colour [from] 1877 to 1950. They spanned 800 counties. Huge crowds often turned out: 10,000 to watch Henry Smith, 17, tortured and burned on a 10ft-high stage in Paris, Texas in 1893; 20,000 at the burning alive of Willy Brown in Omaha, Nebraska in 1919. Such was the communal complicity that sometimes entire white communities would attend – to a man, woman and child.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


Autism prevalence increases: 1 in 59 US children
2018-04-26, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/26/health/autism-prevalence-cdc/index.html

One in 59 US children has autism, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new estimate represents a 15% increase from two years prior and a 150% increase since 2000. Autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disability, is characterized by problems with communication and social interaction with accompanying repetitive behavior patterns. The CDC launched the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network in 2000 to collect data that would provide estimates of the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities. The agency ... developed a methodology for estimating autism prevalence using information from children's health and education records. The new estimated rate of autism in the United States is based on data collected from 11 communities in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin. About 8% of all 8-year old children living in the US [live in these communities]. Overall, fewer than half of the children identified with autism had received their first diagnosis by the time they were 4 years old, the new CDC report finds. Also, the definition of autism has changed through the decades. In the past, more than half of children identified with autism also had intellectual disability, and now it's about a third.

Note: The above article carefully avoids mentioning the link between autism and environmental toxins such as mercury additives in vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Third of early deaths could be prevented by everyone giving up meat, Harvard says
2018-04-26, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/04/26/third-early-deaths-could-preve...

At least one-third of early deaths could be prevented if everyone moved to a vegetarian diet, Harvard scientists have calculated. Dr Walter Willett, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at Harvard Medical School said the benefits of a plant-based diet had been vastly underestimated. "Looking at the question of how much could we reduce mortality shifting towards a healthy, more plant based diet, not necessarily totally vegan ... our estimates are about one third of deaths could be prevented," [he said]. “That’s not even talking about physical activity or not smoking, and that’s all deaths, not just cancer deaths. That’s probably an underestimate as well as that doesn’t take into account the fact that obesity is important and we control for obesity." Dr Neal Barnard, president of the Committee for Responsible Medicine also said people need to wake up to the health benefits of vegetarianism and veganism. “I think we’re underestimating the effect,” he told delegates. “I think people imagine that a healthy diet has only a modest effect and a vegetarian diet might help you lose a little bit of weight. But when these diets are properly constructed I think they are enormously powerful. A low-fat vegan diet is better than any other diet I have ever seen for improving diabetes. With regards to inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis we are seeing tremendous potential there too. Partly because of things we are avoiding and cholesterol but also because of the magical things that are in vegetables and fruits.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


Flint crisis, four years on: what little trust is left continues to wash away
2018-04-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/25/flint-water-crisis-four-years...

LeeAnne Walters was one of the activists who brought Flint’s brown, lead-laden water to the world’s attention, thrusting plastic bottles of dingy liquid into camera lenses and the national consciousness. Four years later, you might think things have improved in the Michigan city. But Walters is still bathing her kids in bottled water, which she heats on the stove in four separate pots and a plastic bowl in the microwave. “I know as far as the lead in the water that’s OK, but it’s the lack of trust that was never rebuilt,” said Walters. It is four years since the ... public health crisis. In the aftermath, Flint received presidential visits, millions of dollars in donations and government aid. It is the subject of scientific studies. Walters has now won the Goldman environmental prize for activism. But, despite all this attention, regular people feel that little has changed since the crisis. Debra Furr-Holden, a researcher at Michigan State University ... said even though federal agencies flung themselves at the city, “the impact of their presence is not known or real for the residents”. For the roughly 100,000 people who live here, the damage is done. The list of physical ailments is long. Flint resident Keri Webber’s ... daughters, variously, have kidney damage, fatty liver, anemia and lead-laden bones. Other Flint residents have had recurring skin rashes. There were so many miscarriages in Flint that University of Kansas economists found the fertility rate dropped by 12%, and fetal death shot up by 58%. The mental scars are as tangible as the physical.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.


Environment prize goes to Flint water activist
2018-04-23, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43840275

The founder of a citizens' movement that helped expose the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, is one of the recipients of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Nearly 100,000 residents of Flint were left without safe tap water after lead began leaching into the supply. Mother of four LeeAnne Walters led a citizens' movement that tested the tap water to expose the health threat. In 2014, the water in Ms Walters' home turned brownish and she noticed rashes on her three-year-old twins. Her daughters' hair then fell out in clumps. Walters ... then teamed up with environmental engineer Dr Marc Edwards, from Virginia Tech, who helped her conduct extensive water testing in the city. She methodically sampled each zip code in Flint and set up a system to ensure the integrity of the tests. They showed lead levels as high as 13,200 parts per billion in some parts of the city - more than twice the level classified as hazardous waste by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The contamination was traced to the city switching its water supply away from Detroit's system, which draws from Lake Huron, and beginning instead to draw water from the Flint River. This switch was meant to save the city millions of dollars. But the water from the Flint River was more corrosive than Lake Huron's water and the pipes began leaching lead, which is a powerful neurotoxin. The city has since switched back to using Detroit's water system. But Flint continues to wrestle with the aftermath of the crisis.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and health.


Anxiety Relief Without The High? New Studies On CBD, A Cannabis Extract
2018-04-23, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/04/23/604307015/anxiety-relief...

As more states legalize marijuana, there's growing interest in a cannabis extract — cannabidiol, also known as CBD. It's marketed as a compound that can help relieve anxiety - and, perhaps, help ease aches and pains, too. CBD doesn't have the same mind-altering effects as marijuana, since it does not contain THC, the psychoactive component of the plant. "There's good evidence to suggest that CBD could be an effective treatment of anxiety and addiction" and other disorders, says Dr. Esther Blessing, a psychiatrist and researcher at New York University. "But we need clinical trials." Small, short-term human studies ... suggest CBD exhibits anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. These preliminary findings piqued Blessing's interest. For instance, she points to a 2011 study of a few dozen people, some of whom had social anxiety disorder, who were asked to speak in front of a large audience. Researchers compared anxiety levels in people after they took CBD, compared to those who got the placebo or nothing at all. "People who took CBD reported significantly less anxiety" compared to those who got the placebo, Blessing says. Though CBD supplements are widely available for sale, a legal murkiness surrounds marijuana extracts. Even if you live in a state where marijuana use is legal, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration still classifies the CBD extract as a Schedule 1 substance — the DEA's most restricted category.

Note: Read more about the use of CBD to treat epilepsy and other serious conditions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


World's first ocean plastic-cleaning machine set to tackle Great Pacific Garbage Patch
2018-04-22, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/ocean-plastic-cleanup-machi...

Scientists are preparing to launch the world's first machine to clean up the planet's largest mass of ocean plastic. The system, originally dreamed up by a teenager, will be shipped out this summer to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between Hawaii and California, and which contains an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic. Experts believe the machine should be able to collect half of the detritus in the patch – about 40,000 metric tons – within five years. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) spans 617,763 sq miles. Seabirds and other marine life are increasingly being found dead with stomachs full of small pieces of plastic. Creatures eat plastic discarded in the sea thinking it’s food but then starve to death because they are not feeding properly. Others are trapped and die of starvation. The system to tackle the largest swirling mass of rubbish in the Pacific has been designed by a non-profit technology firm called The Ocean Cleanup, set up by Dutch inventor Boyan Slat when he was an 18-year-old aerospace engineering student. The clean-up contraption consists of 40ft pipes ... that will be fitted together. Filled with air, they will float on the ocean's surface in an arc, and have nylon screens hanging down below forming a giant floating dustpan to catch the plastic rubbish that gathers together when moved by the currents. The screens, however, will be unable to trap microplastics – tiny fragments. They plan to have 60 giant floating scoops, each stretching a mile from end to end. Boats will go out to collect debris every six to eight weeks.

Note: More than 50 species of fish have been found to consume plastic trash. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


From ‘Dr. Evil’ to hero maker: Philip Zimbardo
2018-04-20, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/From-Dr-Evil-to-hero-maker-Philip...

Philip Zimbardo is understandably tired of being associated with the darker sides of human behavior. Yet the 85-year-old San Francisco psychologist, who taught at Stanford for 50 years ... knows that history has a way of flattening careers into one landmark accomplishment. For Zimbardo, that would be the 1971 Stanford Prison Experiment. Zimbardo devised a mock jail in the basement of Stanford’s Jordan Hall to study the psychology of imprisonment. All hell broke loose ... and Zimbardo, the “warden,” abruptly cut the study short. Ever since, his prison experiment has been cultural shorthand for proof [that] depersonalized circumstances [can turn] anyone temporarily into a tyrant. Embedded within Zimbardo’s findings on the “banality of evil” was the kernel of a vastly more positive and, he believes, more broadly consequential idea: heroism training. “If essentially good people are capable of evil, then can’t any of us also be inspired and trained to act heroically?” he asks. The Heroic Imagination Project was launched in 2010. “I worked with a team of academics to develop six three-hour-long lessons on transforming passive bystanders into active heroes,” [Zimbardo said]. The key to “awakening everyone’s heroic instincts,” Zimbardo said, is twofold: first, redefining who a hero is. “We must ... promote the idea that heroes are ordinary people who take extraordinary action.” Second, it’s about having a ... belief that our abilities and aptitudes aren’t static but can be developed over time.

Note: Watch a video of Zimbardo's talk titled, "What Makes a Hero?." Explore an excellent essay on moving beyond duality which talks about Zimbardo's experiments.


Smallville Actress Arrested for Role in Alleged Sex Cult that Branded and Enslaved Women
2018-04-20, Time/Associated Press
http://time.com/5248810/allison-mack-keith-raniere-nxivm-sex-cult/

A television actress best known for playing a young Superman’s close friend was charged with sex trafficking. Allison Mack was accused in an indictment unsealed Friday in federal court in Brooklyn. Mack, 35, starred in The CW network’s “Smallville,” ending in 2015. Prosecutors said she helped recruit women for leader Keith Raniere and his cult-like organization called NXIVM. She told the women they were joining what was purported to be a female mentorship group. But “the victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor,” according to federal prosecutors. Prosecutors said she required women she recruited to engage in sexual activity with Raniere, who paid Mack in return. Raniere, 57, was arrested last month. The FBI has filed sex trafficking charges against him, saying that with the help of mostly female assistants, he blackmailed and coerced women into unwanted sex. Raniere sold himself as a self-improvement guru. NXIVM promoted Raniere’s teachings as a kind of mystical, executive coaching. Women who were part of a NXIVM subgroup [came] forward to say that they had been physically branded with a surgical tool against their will. Prosecutors said in court papers that Raniere created a society within NXIVM called “DOS” - an acronym based on a Latin phrase that loosely translates to “Lord/Master of obedient female companions.” Women were required to provide damaging material about their friends and family, naked photos and even sign over their assets as a condition for joining, they said.

Note: Watch the revealing video at the above link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals and mind control.


Big banks saved $3.6B in taxes last quarter under new law
2018-04-20, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/big-banks-saved-36b-taxes-quarter-la...

The nation's six big Wall Street banks posted record, or near record, profits in the first quarter. While higher interest rates allowed banks to earn more from lending in the first quarter, the main boost ... came from the billions of dollars they saved in taxes under the tax law Trump signed in December. Combined, the six banks saved at least $3.59 billion last quarter, according to an Associated Press estimate, using the bank's tax rates going back to 2015. Before the change in tax law, the maximum U.S. corporate income tax rate was 35 percent, not including what companies paid in state income taxes. Banks historically paid some of the highest taxes among the major industries, due to their U.S.-centric business models. Before the Trump tax cuts, these banks paid between 28 to 31 percent of their income each year in corporate taxes. The results released over the past week show how sharply those rates have dropped. JPMorgan Chase said it had a first-quarter tax rate of 18.3 percent, Goldman Sachs paid just 17.2 percent in taxes, and ... Citigroup, had a tax rate of 23.7 percent. This is just one quarter's results. Bank executives at the big six firms have estimated that their full-year tax rates will be something closer to 20 percent to 22 percent. The AP's calculations are roughly in line with what Wall Street analysts predicted. Bank industry analyst Mike Mayo ... estimated that that the big U.S. banks combined would save roughly $19 billion in taxes for the full year.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Government Accidentally Releases Documents on "Psycho-Electric" Weapons
2018-04-19, Popular Mechanics
https://www.popularmechanics.com/military/weapons/a19855256/muckrock-foia-psy...

MuckRock, a news organization that specializes in filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with state and federal government bodies, received mysterious documents about mind control, seemingly by accident. Journalist Curtis Waltman was writing to the Washington State Fusion Center (WSFC), a joint operation between Washington State law enforcement and the federal government to request information about Antifa and white supremacist groups. He got responses to the questions he asked, but also a file titled “EM effects on human body.zip.” At least some of the images [in the file] appear to be part of an article in Nexus magazine describing a 1992 lawsuit brought by one John St. Clair Akewi against the NSA. Akewi claimed that the NSA had the "ability to assassinate US citizens covertly or run covert psychological control operations to cause subjects to be diagnosed with ill mental health" and was documenting their alleged methods. The federal government has absolutely experimented with mind control in a variety of methods, but the documents here do not appear to be official. Waltman had no idea why these documents were included in his request and isn't sure why the government is holding them. The WSFC did not respond to requests for more information.

Note: Text and images from the Nexus magazine article referenced above are available on this page. For more along these lines, see our resource-filled mind control information center and concise summaries of deeply revealing mind control news articles from reliable major media sources.


Palantir Knows Everything About You
2018-04-19, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2018-palantir-peter-thiel/

A former U.S. Secret Service agent named Peter Cavicchia III ran special ops for JPMorgan Chase & Co. His insider threat group ... used computer algorithms to monitor the bank’s employees. Aided by as many as 120 “forward-deployed engineers” from the data mining company Palantir Technologies Inc., which JPMorgan engaged in 2009, Cavicchia’s group vacuumed up emails and browser histories, GPS locations ... and transcripts of digitally recorded phone conversations. It all ended when the bank’s senior executives learned that they, too, were being watched. [The] spying scandal ... which has never been reported, also marked an ominous turn for Palantir. An intelligence platform designed for the global War on Terror was weaponized against ordinary Americans at home. Founded in 2004 by Peter Thiel and some fellow PayPal alumni, Palantir cut its teeth working for the Pentagon and the CIA. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services uses Palantir. The FBI uses it. The Department of Homeland Security deploys it. Police and sheriff’s departments in New York, New Orleans, Chicago, and Los Angeles have also used it, frequently ensnaring in the digital dragnet people who aren’t suspected of committing any crime. JPMorgan’s experience remains instructive. “The world changed when it became clear everyone could be targeted using Palantir,” says a former JPMorgan cyber expert who worked with Cavicchia at one point on the insider threat team. “Everyone’s a suspect, so we monitored everything.”

Note: Palantir was one of the private intelligence firms that reportedly conspired to discredit activists and journalist Glenn Greenwald, in part by submitting fake documents to WikiLeaks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument is now the world’s latest dark-sky sanctuary
2018-04-19, Salt Lake Tribune (One of Utah's leading newspapers)
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/04/19/utahs-rainbow-bridge-national-monument...

Southern Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument has been selected as an international dark-sky sanctuary, a designation meant to recognize the area for its naturally dark skies and a cultural heritage revered by Native Americans. Encompassing 160 acres, Rainbow Bridge National Monument outside of Page, Ariz., is among the smallest areas managed by the National Park Service and is considered sacred by several regional tribes, including the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Utes and Paiutes. The dark-sky designation, made in conjunction with the International Dark-Sky Association, will be marked by a series of public astronomy events. The International Dark-Sky Association launched its dark-sky places program in 2001 to encourage protection of natural dark night skies worldwide through responsible lighting, public awareness and education. The association’s executive director J. Scott Feierabend said the group was pleased to honor Rainbow Bridge. “In the span of this remarkable natural bridge,” Feierabend said in a written statement, “we see symbolically represented the arch of the Milky Way across the night sky, a reminder of the long-held value of both Rainbow Bridge and the natural night sky to native peoples of the area.” The Utah monument joins three other certified dark-sky sanctuaries worldwide, including Cosmic Campground in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest; Aortea-Great Barrier Island in New Zealand; and Gabriela Mistal in Chile.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The search for truth in the rubble of Douma – and one doctor’s doubts over the chemical attack
2018-04-17, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-f...

This is the story of a town called Douma ... and of an underground clinic whose images of suffering allowed three of the Western world’s most powerful nations to bomb Syria last week. When I track [a doctor] down in the very same clinic, [he] tells me that the “gas” videotape which horrified the world – despite all the doubters – is perfectly genuine. The same 58-year old senior Syrian doctor then adds something profoundly uncomfortable: the patients, he says, were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation in the rubbish-filled tunnels and basements in which they lived. Dr Rahaibani ... showed me his lowly hospital and the few beds where a small girl was crying as nurses treated a cut above her eye. “All the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night – but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia – not gas poisoning.” Oddly, after chatting to more than 20 people, I couldn’t find one who showed the slightest interest in Douma’s role in bringing about the Western air attacks. Two actually told me they didn’t know about the connection.

Note: Learn an alternative view of who the "white helmets" are in this Corbett Report. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Scientists accidentally create mutant enzyme that eats plastic bottles
2018-04-16, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-c...

Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles. The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug. The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process. Industrial enzymes are widely used in, for example, washing powders and biofuel production. They have been made to work up to 1,000 times faster in a few years, the same timescale [Prof John McGeehan, who led the research] envisages for the plastic-eating enzyme. Earlier work had shown that some fungi can break down PET plastic, which makes up about 20% of global plastic production. But bacteria are far easier to harness for industrial uses.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Doctors Keep Licenses Despite Sex Abuse
2018-04-14, US News and World Report/Associated Press
https://www.usnews.com/news/entertainment/articles/2018-04-14/ap-investigatio...

[Robert] Rook was allowed to keep his family practice open, so long as he’s chaperoned, despite facing multiple criminal charges for rape. Prosecutors subsequently downgraded the charges to more than 20 counts of sexual assault in the second- and third-degree, charges for which Rook says he is innocent. An Associated Press investigation finds that even as Hollywood moguls, elite journalists and politicians have been pushed out of their jobs or resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the world of medicine is more forgiving. Even when doctors are disciplined, their punishment often consists of a short suspension paired with therapy that treats sexually abusive behavior as a symptom of an illness or addiction. The investigation finds that decades of complaints that the physician disciplinary system is too lenient have led to little change in the practices of state medical boards. The #MeToo campaign and the push to increase accountability for sexual misconduct in workplaces don't appear to have sparked a movement toward changing how medical boards deal with physicians who act out sexually against patients or staffers.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals and health.


Atlantic Ocean Current Slows Down To 1,000-Year Low, Studies Show
2018-04-13, NPR
https://www.npr.org/2018/04/13/602240020/atlantic-ocean-current-slows-down-to...

An Atlantic Ocean current that helps regulate the global climate has reached an 1,000-year low, according to two new studies in the journal Nature. The shift could mean bad news for the climate. The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation [AMOC] – often called the conveyor belt of the ocean – exchanges warm water from the equator with cold water in the Arctic. The AMOC "plays a key role in the distribution of heat" across the Earth, but that is being disrupted by melting ice, particularly from Greenland, causing larger volumes of freshwater to flow through the oceans, says David Thornalley ... the lead author of one of the new studies. Some scientists are concerned the influx of freshwater could cause the current to shut down altogether. Scientists are worried about the AMOC shutting down "because evidence from the past suggests that it actually did happen during the last ice age, and it is possible that it could happen in the future," [Thornalley] says. While there is an ongoing dispute about what is causing the slowdown, scientists agree that it could have a dramatic impact on ocean ecosystems, such as coral reefs and deep-sea sponge grounds. "These delicate ecosystems rely on ocean currents to supply their food and disperse their offspring," Prof Murray Roberts, who co-ordinates the Atlas project at the University of Edinburgh, told BBC News. "Ocean currents are like highways spreading larvae throughout the ocean, and we know these ecosystems have been really sensitive to past changes in the Earth's climate."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.


National Enquirer paid doorman $30,000 to squash Trump baby rumor
2018-04-12, ABC/Associated Press
http://abc7news.com/politics/tabloid-paid-doorman-$30000-to-squash-trump-baby...

Eight months before the company that owns the National Enquirer paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate who claimed she'd had an affair with Donald Trump, the tabloid's parent made a $30,000 payment to a less famous individual: a former doorman at one of the real estate mogul's New York City buildings. As it did with the ex-Playmate, the Enquirer signed the ex-doorman to a contract that ... prevented him from going public. The Associated Press confirmed the details [through] interviews with dozens of current and former employees of the Enquirer and its parent company, American Media Inc. Sajudin got $30,000 in exchange for signing over the rights, "in perpetuity," to a rumor ... that the president had fathered a child with an employee at Trump World Tower. The contract subjected Sajudin to a $1 million penalty if he disclosed either the rumor or the terms of the deal to anyone. The parallel between the ex-Playmate's and the ex-doorman's dealings with the Enquirer raises new questions about the roles that the Enquirer and [Trump's personal lawyer, Michael] Cohen may have played in ... a hard-fought presidential election. Enquirer staffers ... said the abrupt end to reporting combined with a binding, seven-figure penalty to stop the tipster from talking to anyone led them to conclude that this was a so-called "catch and kill" - a tabloid practice in which a publication pays for a story to never run, either as a favor to the celebrity subject of the tip or as leverage over that person.

Note: The National Enquirer for decades has been notorious for reporting crazy, unbelievable news. Why would they then quash this juicy tidbit which was real? In his interpreting career with the US State Department, WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks learned that the Enquirer was actually a CIA managed media front. If any big news on UFOs, mind control, or other sensitive topics that the CIA didn't want published was about to come out, the Enquirer would quickly publish the news so that it could be easily debunked if any media later dared report on the story.


Danone's North America business hits key social, environmental milestone
2018-04-12, CNBC News
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/12/danones-north-america-business-receives-b-cor...

DanoneWave has renamed itself and says it has been certified as a B Corporation. It is now called Danone North America. To be designated a B Corp, a for-profit company must pass a set of standards regarding its social and environmental performance and change its legal structure to become a public benefit company. Danone sought to achieve this certification by 2020, but it came out two years ahead of schedule. While some stakeholders may worry that big changes to become more environmentally friendly will increase costs, Danone North America's larger suppliers have seen the opposite happen. Dairy is one the company's main ingredients and its production can be harmful to the environment due to water usage and waste. The company's largest manufacturing facility has cut its usage. While the initial research involved in reducing water usage was costly, one of the owners of the facility has already seen a huge reduction in costs. Faber said that up to 250,000 gallons of water can be saved per day due to ... new technology. Danone North America sustainable development manager Catherine Queen [said] that there has been a movement to bring the sustainability effort to global suppliers. Global suppliers have been encouraged to move toward more plant-based packaging and pay their workers living wages. Sustainable manufacturing can lower costs significantly and create more room in budgets to increase wages. Costs on the higher executive level have also been cut.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Face-Off: Elizabeth Warren Vs. Trump's Consumer Watchdog, Mick Mulvaney
2018-04-12, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/12/601795946/face-off-warren-...

An epic throw-down happened Thursday on Capitol Hill. The topic: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis. The Trump administration's acting director, Mick Mulvaney ... believes the bureau's powers are excessive. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ... led the creation of the bureau to protect consumers from abuses by everything from big banks to student loan providers to fly-by-night loan sharks. Mulvaney ... calls the bureau Warren's "baby." But Democrats say that over the past five months, he has done a terrible job of taking care of it. Back when he was a Republican congressman, Mulvaney sponsored legislation that would have abolished the bureau. Since its creation, the bureau has returned a total of $12 billion to consumers by clawing back money from companies that cheated them. Thursday's hearing was part of Mulvaney's mandated semiannual report to Congress on the activities of the CFPB. In a hearing ... New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney said the bureau used to bring several enforcement actions a month against financial companies. She pressed Mulvaney: "So let me ask you how many enforcement actions has the bureau initiated since you took over?" Mulvaney: "We have initiated none since I've been there." Mulvaney ... is asking lawmakers to put the bureau's budget under the control of Congress. The bureau ... is funded by the Federal Reserve instead of by Congress, a move designed to shield it from political influence.

Note: In 2016, Wells Fargo paid a $100 million fine to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after getting caught ripping off millions of customers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Goldman Sachs asks in biotech research report: 'Is curing patients a sustainable business model?'
2018-04-11, CNBC News
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/11/goldman-asks-is-curing-patients-a-sustainable...

Goldman Sachs analysts attempted to address a touchy subject for biotech companies, especially those involved in the pioneering "gene therapy" treatment: cures could be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in an April 10 report entitled "The Genome Revolution." "The potential to deliver 'one shot cures' is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies," analyst Salveen Richter wrote in the note to clients. "While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow." Richter cited Gilead Sciences' treatments for hepatitis C, which achieved cure rates of more than 90 percent. The company's U.S. sales for these hepatitis C treatments peaked at $12.5 billion in 2015, but have been falling ever since. "GILD is a case in point, where the success of its hepatitis C franchise has gradually exhausted the available pool of treatable patients," the analyst wrote. "In the case of infectious diseases such as hepatitis C, curing existing patients also decreases the number of carriers able to transmit the virus to new patients, thus the incident pool also declines. Where an incident pool remains stable (eg, in cancer) the potential for a cure poses less risk to the sustainability of a franchise."

Note: Many cancer treatments have been suppressed, sometimes in brutal ways, because the medical profession would lose the huge profits of traditional cancer treatments. Watch this video for undeniable evidence showing that this is the case. Read an excellent article on how the profiteering drug industry is crippling our children, possibly even intentionally. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


I Downloaded the Information That Facebook Has on Me. Yikes.
2018-04-11, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/11/technology/personaltech/i-downloaded-the-i...

I downloaded a copy of my Facebook data last week. I didn’t expect to see much. But when I opened my file, it was like opening Pandora’s box. I learned that about 500 advertisers - many that I had never heard of, like Bad Dad, a motorcycle parts store, and Space Jesus, an electronica band - had my contact information, which could include my email address, phone number and full name. Facebook also had my entire phone book, including the number to ring my apartment buzzer. The social network had even kept a permanent record of the roughly 100 people I had deleted from my friends list over the last 14 years. Facebook said unfamiliar advertisers might appear [in the file] because they might have obtained my contact information from elsewhere, compiled it into a list of people they wanted to target and uploaded that list into Facebook. Brands can obtain your information [by] buying ... from a data provider like Acxiom, which has amassed one of the world’s largest commercial databases on consumers. Let’s be clear: Facebook is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what information tech companies have collected on me. Knowing this, I also downloaded copies of my Google data with a tool called Google Takeout. The data sets were exponentially larger than my Facebook data. Here was the biggest surprise: In a folder labeled Ads, Google kept a history of many news articles I had read. Be warned: Once you see the vast amount of data that has been collected about you, you won’t be able to unsee it.

Note: Those who want to download their own Facebook data can use this link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


More Organic Than Thou? Rebel Farmers Create New Food Label
2018-04-10, New York Times/Associated Press
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/04/10/us/ap-us-food-and-farm-organic-la...

Organic shoppers might notice additional labels this summer. Farmers and scientists from around the country met in Vermont late last month to create the standards for an additional organic certification program, which they plan to roll out nationally to between 20 to 60 farms as a pilot. Under the current U.S. Department of Agriculture program, the organic label means that your tomato has been produced without synthetic substances - with some exceptions - and without certain methods, like genetic engineering. The additional label ... would indicate that a tomato, for example, has been grown in soil, and that meat and dairy products came from farms that pasture their animals. An inspector would certify that the farm has complied with the new standards, and the farms - not distributors - would add the label. The move comes five months after the National Organic Standard Board ... voted against a proposal to exclude from the USDA's organic certification program hydroponics - raising plants with water but no soil - and aquaponics, in which plants and aquatic animals, such as fish, are grown within one system. The group creating the new label, which calls itself the Real Organic Project, said it has not abandoned the National Organic Program. "Some of the cornerstones of what organic means are being taken away, and we're concerned," said Dave Chapman, a member of the executive and standards board of the Real Organic Project.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Solar Power Investment Outstripped Coal, Gas And Nuclear Combined In 2017
2018-04-09, Forbes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikescott/2018/04/09/solar-power-investment-outs...

More money was invested in solar power in 2017 than in coal, gas and nuclear power combined, according to a new report for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The report says that global investment in solar rose 18% to $160.8 billion, driven by the Chinese market, which was responsible for more than half of the world’s 98GW of new solar capacity. Solar power made up 57% of last year’s total for all renewables (excluding large hydro) of $279.8 billion, and it towered above new investment in coal and gas generation capacity, at an estimated $103 billion. Last year was the eighth in a row in which global investment in renewables, excluding large hydropower, exceeded $200 billion. The $2.7 trillion invested in clean energy from 2007 to 2017 have increased the proportion of electricity generated by wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, geothermal, marine and small hydro globally to more than 12%, from 5.2% in 2007 ... and has avoided the emission of about 1.8 gigatonnes of CO2, about the same as is emitted by the entire US transportation system. UN Environment head Erik Solheim said that “the extraordinary surge in solar investment shows how the global energy map is changing and, more importantly, what the economic benefits are of such a shift. Investments in renewables bring more people into the economy, they deliver more jobs, better quality jobs and better paid jobs. Clean energy also means less pollution, which means healthier, happier development.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Court: Employers can’t pay women less because of their salary history
2018-04-09, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/04/09/court-employers-cant-p...

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that employers cannot justify paying a woman less than a man doing similar work because of her salary history - a move advocates say will help close the wage gap between the sexes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with the California math consultant at the center of Rizo v. Fresno County Office of Education, which argued that considering prior compensation when setting a worker’s pay perpetuates gender disparities and defies the spirit of the Equal Pay Act. In the United States, women earn an average of 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. This is a leap from the 1980 figure (60.2 cents for every dollar), but the chasm hasn’t narrowed much over the last 15 years, and it tends to be worse for women of color. Black women earn about 63 percent of what white men make, and the share is 67 percent for Hispanic women. Ariane Hegewisch, a labor economist ... said women, on average, are still paid less than their male counterparts in most industries. Companies that determine a worker’s value based on prior pay, she said, exacerbate the problem.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Department Of Homeland Security Compiling Database Of Journalists And 'Media Influencers'
2018-04-06, Forbes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michellefabio/2018/04/06/department-of-homeland-...

Bloomberg Government reports on a FedBizOpps.gov posting by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with the relatively benign-sounding subject “Media Monitoring Services.” The details of the attached Statement of Work, however, outline a plan to gather and monitor the public activities of media professionals and influencers and are enough to cause nightmares of constitutional proportions, particularly as the freedom of the press is under attack worldwide. As part of its "media monitoring," the DHS seeks to track more than 290,000 global news sources as well as social media. The successful contracting company will have "24/7 access to a password protected, media influencer database" ... in order to "identify any and all media coverage related to the Department of Homeland Security or a particular event." The database will be browsable by "location, beat and type of influencer," and for each influencer, the chosen contractor should "present contact details and ... an overview of the previous coverage published by the media influencer." Increasing government encroachment on the freedom of the press is the sinister backdrop to all of this. Freedom House ... recently concluded that global media freedom has reached its lowest level in the past 13 years. The independent watchdog organization blames "new threats to journalists and media outlets in major democracies" as well as "further crackdowns on independent media in authoritarian countries like Russia and China."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


In March, Portugal Made More Than Enough Renewable Energy To Power The Whole Country
2018-04-05, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/05/599886059/in-march-portuga...

Last month, Portugal produced more than enough renewable energy to meet the country's entire electrical demand - a feat "unmatched in the last 40 years," according to the Portuguese Renewable Energy Association, or APREN. Renewable power produced in March was equal to 103.6 percent of electrical demand on mainland Portugal. Fifty-five percent of that energy was produced through hydro power, while 42 percent came from wind. The country still used fossil fuels to balance out supply and demand. "These periods were nevertheless fully compensated by others of greater renewable production," [APREN writes]. "It is expected that by 2040 the production of renewable electricity will be able to guarantee, in a cost-effective way, the total annual electricity consumption of Mainland Portugal." For most countries in the world, a fully renewable energy supply still seems like a challenging target. Portugal has made substantial investments in renewable energy sources, as has its neighbor Spain. Some of that spending was cut in 2012, amid austerity measures, and more were scaled back in 2016. But by that point, many renewable energy projects had already been paid off and were operating cost-efficiently. And this week, coincidentally, the Portuguese government put a stop to another energy subsidy - one "worth about 20 million euros a year, most of which goes to fossil fuel plants," Reuters writes.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Before the Media Lionized Martin Luther King Jr., They Denounced Him
2018-04-04, Rolling Stone
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-how-mlk-media-narrative...

Fifty years ago ... Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis. The Washington Post is running a series of commentaries. The New York Times ran an emotional editorial. Neither paper will mention that they each denounced Dr. King in his later years. Nor will any outlet today likely mention that King had fallen sharply out of favor with much of the national media ... on April 4, 1967. The offense was a speech in New York. King spoke of the “hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence” abroad, and added that a country as financially and politically committed to war as ours could never fight a “War on Poverty” in earnest. One hundred and sixty-eight newspapers denounced him in the days that followed. These editorials had a peculiarly vicious flavor. In late 1967, King pooh-poohed the “violence” and “extremism” criticisms of the civil rights movement, explicitly saying the excesses of urban rioters were “infinitely less dangerous and immoral” than the cold, corporatized murder of the “American mainstream.” “If destruction of property is deplorable,” he asked, “what is the use of napalm on people?” Yet the “mainstream” King is the one most Americans have been conditioned to believe in. King ... died wanting us to radically change our way of life. But history has sanitized him, turning him into a mainstream leader who accomplished what he could within an acceptable role. That sanitizing continues on each of these anniversaries, and is a sad commentary on our inability to listen to even the best of us.

Note: A recent Corbett Report on the assassination of MKL has some powerful evidence of conspiracy at the highest levels. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Why this Thai businessman was named a ‘biodiversity hero’
2018-04-04, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2018/0404/Why-this-Thai-b...

Now and again you can find Nonn Panitvong floating facedown in rivers and lakes. Peering intently into the murky waters through his snorkeling mask, the Thai taxonomist is there to observe the behaviors of various freshwater fish species. At other times you can find him in limestone caves. With a flashlight in hand or strapped to his helmet, he scouts around for rare species of karst-dwelling geckos. He looks ... like a businessman, which is what he is: Nonn runs his family’s sugar-cane mill conglomerate. Yet he’s also among Thailand’s most intrepid naturalists. Recognized as a “biodiversity hero” by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations ... Nonn has been a relentless popularizer of his homeland’s rich biodiversity, partly through his Siamensis.org website. A comprehensive database with some 20,000 members, the site has nurtured a form of crowdsourced ecology. It allows Thai nature lovers from all walks of life to pool their knowledge about often overlooked species, from snakes to dragonflies. Via social media Nonn has been inviting lay nature lovers and trained biologists alike to act as volunteer nature-watchers for neglected areas. The members of his platforms are also keeping an eye on the spread of invasive species. “We want to generate and spread knowledge,” Nonn says. “One of our main themes is ‘If you don’t know it, you won’t love it.’ In the end, people will conserve only what they value and love.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'The Business of War': Google Employees Protest Work for the Pentagon
2018-04-04, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/technology/google-letter-ceo-pentagon-proj...

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses artificial intelligence to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google and has garnered more than 3,100 signatures, reflects a culture clash ... that is likely to intensify as cutting-edge artificial intelligence is increasingly employed for military purposes. “We believe that Google should not be in the business of war,” says the letter, addressed to Sundar Pichai, the company’s chief executive. It asks that Google pull out of Project Maven, a Pentagon pilot program, and announce a policy that it will not “ever build warfare technology.” That kind of idealistic stance ... is distinctly foreign to Washington’s massive defense industry and certainly to the Pentagon, where the defense secretary, Jim Mattis, has often said a central goal is to increase the “lethality” of the United States military. Some of Google’s top executives have significant Pentagon connections. Eric Schmidt, former executive chairman of Google and still a member of the executive board of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, serves on a Pentagon advisory body, the Defense Innovation Board, as does a Google vice president, Milo Medin. Project Maven ... began last year as a pilot program to find ways to speed up the military application of the latest A.I. technology.

Note: The use of artificial intelligence technology for drone strike targeting is one of many ways warfare is being automated. Strong warnings against combining artificial intelligence with war have recently been issued by America's second-highest ranking military officer, tech mogul Elon Musk, and many of the world's most recognizable scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Google Bought Enough Clean Power for Whole Company and Then Some
2018-04-04, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-04/google-bought-enough-clean...

Google has more clean power than it needs. The Alphabet Inc. unit used about 7 terawatt-hours of electricity to run all of its global operations last year, and it sourced even more than that, according to Neha Palmer, its head of energy strategy. Corporate buyers are major purchasers of wind and solar power. While part of the motivation is to advance sustainability goals, they’re also finding that clean energy is often the cheapest electricity available. Big technology companies have been leading this trend, and Google has been the biggest of them all. “Our electric consumption is the largest part of our carbon footprint,” Palmer said in a phone interview. “The renewable-energy program we have is the best way to mitigate our carbon impact.” Companies signed long-term agreements for a record 5.4 gigawatts of clean capacity globally last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, up from 4.3 gigawatts in 2016. That’s enough to displace at least 10 coal-fired power plants. Google signed its first clean power-purchase agreement in 2010, and since then it’s arranged about 25 more, prompting more than $3 billion in new clean-power plants. Google has agreed to buy ... more than double that of Amazon.com Inc., the next biggest green consumer. “It’s a significant investment, leading to lots of new renewables projects,” Kyle Harrison, a New York-based analyst ... said. “It’s a long-term bet on clean energy, a hedge against wholesale prices.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Bosses read workers' minds: It's not the future, it's now
2018-04-03, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2018/04/30/chinese-companies-are-monitoring-employees-brains/

Chinese companies are picking their employees’ brains - literally - with mind-reading devices designed to improve efficiency and performance. Workers are being outfitted with safety helmet-like caps that monitor brain waves and send the information to computers that use artificial intelligence algorithms to detect emotional spikes, like depression, anxiety and rage. The Orwellian technology has been used on factory employees, train conductors and workers at State Grid Zhejian Electric Power. State Grid, which has 40,000 employees ... said the company’s profits have increased by about $315 million since it implemented the surveillance caps in 2014. The government-funded brain-monitoring project, called Neuro Cap, has been implemented in more than a dozen factories and businesses. Jin Jia, an associate professor of brain science and cognitive psychology at Ningbo University, which is hosting the project, said the brain caps allow workers to be better managed. Qiao Zhian, professor of management psychology at Beijing Normal University, said the devices could give companies a competitive boost - but warned they could also violate privacy in the worst way. “There is no law or regulation to limit the use of this kind of equipment in China. The employer may have a strong incentive to use the technology for higher profit, and the employees are usually in too weak a position to say no,” he said. “The selling of Facebook data is bad enough. Brain surveillance can take privacy abuse to a whole new level.”

Note: While slightly less invasive than microchip implants, the use of devices like these by government and industry threatens to fully eliminate privacy.


Supreme Court shields a police officer from being sued for shooting a woman in her front yard
2018-04-02, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-supreme-court-police-shooting-20180...

The Supreme Court on Monday shielded a police officer from being sued for shooting an Arizona woman in her front yard, once again making it harder to bring legal action against officers who use excessive force, even against an innocent person. With two dissents, the high court tossed out a lawsuit by a Tucson woman who was shot four times outside her home because she was seen carrying a large knife. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg said in dissent the victim did not threaten the police or a friend who was standing nearby. This "decision is not just wrong on the law; it also sends an alarming signal to law enforcement officers and the public," Sotomayor wrote. Since the Civil War, federal law has allowed people to sue government officials, including the police, for violating their constitutional rights. But in recent years, the Supreme Court has erected a shield of immunity for police and said officers may not be sued unless victims can point to a nearly identical shooting that had been deemed unconstitutionally excessive in a previous decision. The justices did not rule on whether officer Andrew Kisela acted reasonably when he used potentially deadly force against Amy Hughes. The court instead ruled [that Kisela] could not be sued because the victim could not cite a similar case. Sotomayor said the majority had revised the facts to favor the officer. "Hughes was nowhere near the officers, had committed no illegal act, was suspected of no crime, and did not raise the knife," she wrote.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in policing and in the court system.


'Dark Money' in the States: Arizona GOP Blocks Cities From Implementing Transparent Elections
2018-04-02, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/arizona-legislature-ensures-dark-money-stays-secret-w...

The Arizona legislature passed a bill that protects anonymous political spending Thursday, less than a month after Tempe, Arizona, residents voted overwhelmingly to increase transparency on that type of spending in local elections. The battle between city and state opens a new front in the national debate over so-called “dark money” in politics; it's also the first time a state has moved to ban local governments from shining light on secret spending. This type of spending is most consequential at the local level, experts say, because since local elections are relatively cheap and receive little media coverage, ads or mailers backed by just a few thousand dollars of dark money can easily dominate a campaign. More than 90 percent of Tempe voters cast ballots for an amendment to the city’s charter requiring all groups spending more than $1,000 on local races to disclose their donors in March. In response, the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature passed a bill last week that bans local governments from requiring non-profit groups, the most common dark money vehicles, to disclose the source of their funding. Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, these groups can spend an unlimited amount of money on elections, so long as they don’t coordinate with candidates and their parties. Anonymous spending has surged. As a result, cities and states have passed their own political disclosure laws. Denver and Philadelphia, for example, have passed laws requiring disclosure of dark money.

Note: South Dakota citizens also voted for tougher ethics laws, only to have this reversed by the state's Republicans. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Woman Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Voting in 2016 Presidential Election While on Probation
2018-03-31, Time/Associated Press
http://time.com/5223721/woman-gets-prison-for-voting-on-probation/

A Texas woman was sentenced to five years in prison for voting in the 2016 presidential election when she was ineligible because she was on probation. Crystal Mason ... is a former tax preparer who was previously convicted in 2012 on charges related to inflating refunds for clients. She testified that she didn’t know people convicted of felonies can’t vote until they complete their sentence, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. She told the newspaper last year following her indictment that she had gone to vote at her mother’s encouragement and wasn’t told when released from federal prison that she could not cast a ballot. Mason’s ... case was prosecuted in Tarrant County, the same place where a Mexican national last year was sentenced to eight years in prison over illegal voting. Voting illegally in Texas is a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Mason used a provisional ballot to vote, and it was not counted. She believes she was being targeted for prosecution because she voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton over Republican Donald Trump for president. Voter fraud convictions are rare, but Texas Republicans leaders have zealously pursued a crackdown on illegal voting in recent years. A federal judge has twice blocked Texas’ voter ID law. Mason testified that when she voted ... she signed a provisional ballot affidavit stating that she had not been convicted of a felony. Prosecutors said she signed the form with the intent to vote illegally, but Mason’s attorney called it a mistake.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Who killed Martin Luther King Jr.? His family believes James Earl Ray was framed.
2018-03-30, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/03/30/who-killed-marti...

In the five decades since Martin Luther King Jr. was shot dead by an assassin at age 39, his children have worked tirelessly to preserve his legacy. They are unanimous on one key point: James Earl Ray did not kill Martin Luther King. For the King family and others in the civil rights movement, the FBI’s obsession with King in the years leading up to his slaying in Memphis on April 4, 1968 - pervasive surveillance, a malicious disinformation campaign and open denunciations by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover - laid the groundwork for their belief that he was the target of a plot. Until her own death in 2006, Coretta Scott King, who endured the FBI’s campaign to discredit her husband, was open in her belief that a conspiracy led to the assassination. Her family filed a civil suit in 1999 ... and a Memphis jury ruled that the local, state and federal governments were liable for King’s death. “There is abundant evidence,” Coretta King said after the verdict, “of a major, high-level conspiracy in the assassination of my husband.” The jury found the mafia and various government agencies “were deeply involved in the assassination. Mr. Ray was set up to take the blame.” But nothing changed afterward. William Pepper, a New York lawyer and civil rights activist who knew and worked with King ... became convinced of Ray’s innocence and continued to investigate the case even after Ray died. Pepper wrote three books outlining the conspiracy, most recently “The Plot to Kill King” in 2016, which were largely ignored by the media.

Note: Watch an excellent, six-minute clip from Canada's PBS giving powerful evidence based on the excellent work of William Pepper that King was assassinated by factions in government that wanted his movement stopped. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


Are you ready? This is all the data Facebook and Google have on you
2018-03-29, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/28/all-the-data-facebook-g...

[Here's] how much of your information ... Facebook and Google store about you. Google stores your location ... every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone. Google stores search history across all your devices. Even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices. Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight ... and income. Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. I’ve requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big, which is roughly 3m Word documents. Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents. Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you’ve liked and what you and your friends talk about. The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


New Studies Link Cell Phone Radiation with Cancer
2018-03-29, Scientific American
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-studies-link-cell-phone-radiat...

Does cell phone radiation cause cancer? New studies show a correlation in lab rats, but the evidence may not resolve ongoing debates over causality. The ionizing radiation given off by sources such as x-ray machines and the sun boosts cancer risk by shredding molecules in the body. But the non-ionizing radio-frequency (RF) radiation that cell phones and other wireless devices emit has just one known biological effect: an ability to heat tissue by exciting its molecules. Still, evidence advanced by the studies shows prolonged exposure to even very low levels of RF radiation, perhaps by mechanisms other than heating that remain unknown, makes rats uniquely prone to a rare tumor called a schwannoma, which affects a type of neuron (or nerve cell) called a Schwann cell. The studies are notable for their sizes. Researchers at the National Toxicology Program, a federal interagency group under the National Institutes of Health, tested 3,000 rats and mice of both sexes for two years. Investigators at the Ramazzini Institute in Italy were similarly ambitious; in their recent study they investigated RF effects in nearly 2,500 rats. The studies evaluated radiation exposures in different ways. Yet they generated comparable results. The strongest finding connected RF with heart schwannomas in male rats, but the researchers also reported elevated rates of lymphoma as well as cancers affecting the prostate, skin, lung, liver and brain in the exposed animals. Rates for those cancers increased as the doses got higher.

Note: The National Toxicology Program study came to light in 2016 after scientists posted some of its preliminary findings to a public website. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks of cell phones and wireless devices.


Democratic Party is guilty of dereliction of duty on defense spending
2018-03-29, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Democratic-Party-is-gui...

By completing the $1.3 trillion spending bill for the remainder of 2018, the Republican Congress and the president took the first big step in implementing their highest priority: a huge increase in the Pentagon budget. The United States has embarked - with hardly a pause after 16 years of costly and counterproductive wars - on another binge of military spending. Which is worse? The Republican Party’s crude equation of greater spending with more security, or the Democrats’ utter lack of opposition to this unjustified boondoggle for the Pentagon? Each is a powerful indictment of the state of our politics. Together they could signal the end of any rational debate on national security in a country that spends about as much on defense as the next eight nations (ranked by military expenditures) combined. The defense budget at the end of President Barack Obama’s administration, adjusted for inflation, was still at the levels of the Reagan buildup in the 1980s. The jaw-dropping increases in the congressional agreement and Trump’s proposed budget for future years will return us to near the record levels of 2010 when the country still had about 150,000 troops deployed between Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, the United States has about 19,000 troops deployed to those two nations. And the response by the Democratic Party? With few exceptions, complicity and silence. Since Trump assumed the presidency, congressional Democrats have had one concern about increased military spending: how to use it as leverage for comparable increases in domestic spending. And that is exactly what happened with the recent spending bill.

Note: Read a powerful essay by one of the most highly decorated U.S. general's ever exposing war-making as a racket supported by the military industrial complex. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war.


Lockheed Martin Receives Patent For ‘World Changing’ Fusion Reactor
2018-03-28, CBS News (Washington D.C. affiliate)
http://washington.cbslocal.com/2018/03/28/fusion-reactor-power-lockheed-martin/

Lockheed Martin has reportedly been working on a revolutionary new type of reactor that can power anything from cities to aircraft carriers. The Maryland-based defense contractor recently received a patent for the compact fusion reactor (CFR) after filing plans for the device in 2014. According to reports, one generator would be as small as a shipping container but produce the energy to power 80,000 homes or one of the U.S. Navy’s Nimitz-class carriers. Lockheed’s advanced projects division, Skunk Works, has reportedly been working on the futuristic power source since 2014 and claimed at the time that a CFR could be ready for production by 2019. “I started looking at all the ideas that had been published. I basically took those ideas and melded them into something new by taking the problems in one and trying to replace them with the benefits of others,” Dr. Thomas McGuire of Skunk Works said during a 2014 interview. “The nice thing about a fusion reaction is that if somehow it would go out of control, it would just stop itself automatically,” William & Mary’s Saskia Mordijck told Phys.org in 2012. “If a fission reaction goes out of control, it can really go out of control. You can’t stop it and it actually might go into a nuclear meltdown.” Lockheed advertises its quest to develop fusion power on its website, calling the technology “a cleaner, safer source of energy” that could be used to power communities or even travel to Mars.

Note: A 2004 New York Times article stated that Lockheed Martin runs a "breathtakingly big part" of the US. This company's "Skunk Works" was kept very secret until 2014, when reporters were given a glossy brochure featuring a "10-point "Skunk Works 2015" agenda". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing energy invention news articles from reliable major media sources.


Saudi Arabia Must Face U.S. Lawsuits Over Sept. 11 Attacks
2018-03-28, US News & World Report/Reuters
https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-03-28/saudi-arabia-must-face-...

A U.S. judge on Wednesday rejected Saudi Arabia's bid to dismiss lawsuits claiming that it helped plan the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and should pay billions of dollars in damages to victims. U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan said the plaintiffs' allegations "narrowly articulate a reasonable basis" for him to assert jurisdiction over Saudi Arabia under the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), a 2016 federal law. Daniels' decision covers claims by the families of those killed, roughly 25,000 people who suffered injuries, and many businesses and insurers. The judge also dismissed claims that two Saudi banks, National Commercial Bank and Al Rajhi Bank, and Saudi Binladin Group, a construction company controlled by the bin Laden family, provided funds and financial services for the attacks, saying he lacked jurisdiction. Saudi Arabia had long had broad immunity from Sept. 11 lawsuits in the United States. That changed in September 2016, when the U.S. Congress overrode President Barack Obama's veto of JASTA, allowing such cases to proceed. Obama had warned that the law could expose U.S. companies, troops and officials to lawsuits in other countries. Daniels said the plaintiffs could try to prove that Saudi Arabia was liable for the alleged activities of Fahad al Thumairy, an imam ... and Omar al Bayoumi, said to be an intelligence officer. They were accused of helping two hijackers acclimate themselves to the United States, and begin preparing for the attacks.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.


We asked for Gitmo prison’s book policy in 2013. It arrived this week, censored.
2018-03-28, Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/articl...

The U.S. military took more than four years to process a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the Guantánamo guidelines for censoring prison library material - and censored the guidelines when it processed the request. The paperwork the military released appeared to leave out three pages of the prison’s procedure for handling the Quran. The Miami Herald sought the Nov. 27, 2013, document in a Dec. 10, 2013, FOIA request. The U.S. Southern Command apparently released the document, with redactions, on March 21 but didn’t put it in the mail for five more days. It arrived at the Herald newsroom, which is next door to Southcom, on Tuesday. The Guantánamo prison is a Law of War detention site run by the Pentagon; left unclear was the U.S. military’s law enforcement or prosecution function related to the Detainee Library, which circulates books among 26 of the prison’s 41 detainees. Of those 26, only two have been convicted of war crimes. Former CIA captives at the clandestine Camp 7 prison, including those accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks, don’t have privileges at the main library but can draw from a different, secret collection. In May 2016, a U.S. Army officer in charge of detainee diversionary programs told reporters that “negative screening criteria” included military topics, extreme graphic violence, nudity, sexuality and extremism. Many of the prison’s current detainees were held by the CIA for weeks or years before their transfer to U.S. military custody.

Note: A letter titled, "Will I Die At Guantanamo Bay? After 15 Years, I Deserve Justice" was recently published by Newsweek. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


Ecuador cuts off Julian Assange's internet access at London embassy
2018-03-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2018/mar/28/julian-assange-internet-connect...

Ecuador has cut Julian Assange’s communications with the outside world from its London embassy, where the founder of the whistleblowing WikiLeaks website has been living for nearly six years. The Ecuadorian government said in statement that it had acted because Assange had breached “a written commitment made to the government at the end of 2017 not to issue messages that might interfere with other states”. The move came after Assange tweeted on Monday challenging Britain’s accusation that Russia was responsible for the nerve agent poisoning of a Russian former double agent and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury earlier this month. Ecuador previously cut Assange’s internet access in the embassy in October 2016 over fears he was using it to interfere in the US presidential election following Wikileaks’ publication of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton’s campaign adviser, John Podesta. In May 2017 the Ecuadorian president, Lenin Moreno, again asked Assange to refrain from commenting on Spain’s dispute with the separatist region of Catalonia. Assange had tweeted that Madrid was guilty of “repression”. As part of a subsequent agreement between Assange and the Ecuadorian government, he is not permitted to send any messages that could interfere with Ecuador’s relations with other countries.

Note: Despite the "legal limbo" and propaganda campaign carried out against Assange and Wikileaks, Assange was recently granted Ecuadorian citizenship. 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.


Khan Academy founder wins 2018 Visionary of the Year award
2018-03-27, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/visionsf/article/Khan-Academy-founder-wins-2018-V...

When Salman Khan began posting videos on YouTube more than a decade ago, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur had no idea of the celebrity he would gain, nor the impact he would have. His online tutorials in math ... were made for friends and family struggling in school. But his audience quickly grew. Before long, Khan had quit his day job in finance to carry out a goal of delivering free Internet instruction to the world. His educational website was called Khan Academy. On Tuesday night, Khan ... was presented the fourth annual Visionary of the Year Award, an honor announced by The San Francisco Chronicle. Khan Academy today has more than 62 million registered users in nearly 200 countries. His voice, which still narrates many of the tutorials, is widely recognized, and students and parents often stop him on the street to thank him for providing an assist at school or work. Since its launch in 2008, Khan Academy has broadened its online course load to include nearly every school subject from science to art and from the kindergarten to college levels. Khan’s Mountain View nonprofit has grown from just him to more than 150 employees. Perhaps most impressive is that the schooling has remained entirely free. With the admirable mission of providing a “world-class” education to anyone anywhere, Khan has attracted financial support from well-heeled donors, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Google and Bank of America.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Orlando nightclub shooter’s father was FBI informant, court documents say
2018-03-26, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/orlando-nightclub-shoo...

The father of the 29-year-old who killed 49 people at an Orlando nightclub in the summer of 2016 was an FBI informant who came under scrutiny himself after investigators found receipts for money transfers to Turkey and Afghanistan in the wake of the mass shooting. The revelation came in documents filed by attorneys for the shooter’s wife, Noor Salman, who is on trial in Orlando on allegations that she aided and abetted her husband’s attack and obstructed law enforcement’s investigation into it. Salman’s trial has been underway for weeks, but defense attorneys argued that they were not informed until Saturday of the father’s work for the FBI. That, they argued, is grounds to dismiss the charges. Seddique Mateen - the father of Omar Mateen - was an FBI informant at various points between January 2005 and June 2016, court documents say. Salman’s attorneys argued in court filings that if they had known of Seddique Mateen’s work for the bureau, they might have explored ... whether the FBI’s interviews with Salman were an attempt at “evading the negligence they exercised with their own informant,” and whether their “unwavering focus on Noor Salman, rather than Seddique Mateen, could have been designed to find a culprit other than the father.” The FBI has previously come under criticism for investigating Omar Mateen for 10 months starting in 2013 and ultimately concluding he was not a threat.

Note: Noor Salman was acquitted shortly after this information came out. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Facebook Closes Page of Hamas-affiliated Palestinian News Agency With 1.3 Million Followers
2018-03-25, Haaretz (One of Israel's leading newspapers)
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-facebook-closes-page-of-hamas-af...

Facebook closed down the official handle of Palestinian news agency Safa over the weekend. The move came as part of a new company policy to block Facebook pages that promote and publish contents that are defined as inciteful. A Palestinian activist who has been following the affair closely said that the move to close Palestinian Facebook pages started several weeks ago after Hamas operative Ahmed Jarrar was killed near Jenin. Jarrar, who was one of the main strategists behind the drive-by West Bank shooting attack that claimed the life of an Israeli father-of-three, was hailed as a Palestinian hero on social media, and images of him that circulated online had become emblematic of the Palestinian resistance movement against Israel. According to the activist, since the beginning of 2018 alone some 500 Facebook pages of Palestinian activists, journalists and bloggers were closed by the company. The activist also said that pages of news companies had also been blocked, including one of a news company affiliated with Islamic Jihad and another linked to the Palestinian National Front, with Safa being the latest. Other activists have noted that Facebook pages affiliated with Fatah, which recently posted images of Yasser Arafat holding a Kalashnikov, were taken offline by the company. Safa has been operating for a decade out of its offices in Gaza, and is associated with Hamas.

Note: How interesting that no Western media reported this major move by facebook. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable sources.


Security Troops on US Nuclear Missile Base Took LSD
2018-03-24, New York Times/Associated Press
https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/05/24/us/politics/ap-us-nuclear-weapons...

Meet service members entrusted with guarding nuclear missiles that are among the most powerful in America's arsenal. Air Force records ... show they bought, distributed and used the hallucinogen LSD and other mind-altering illegal drugs as part of a ring that operated undetected for months on a highly secure military base in Wyoming. After investigators closed in, one airman deserted to Mexico. "Although this sounds like something from a movie, it isn't," said Capt. Charles Grimsley, the lead prosecutor of one of several courts martial. Fourteen airmen were disciplined. Six of them were convicted in courts martial of LSD use or distribution or both. None of the airmen was accused of using drugs on duty. Yet it's another blow to the reputation of the Air Force's nuclear missile corps, which is capable of unleashing hell in the form of Minuteman 3 intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. The service members accused of involvement in the LSD ring were from the 90th Missile Wing, which operates one-third of the 400 Minuteman 3 missiles that stand "on alert" 24/7 in underground silos scattered across the northern Great Plains. Airman Basic Kyle S. Morrison acknowledged at his court martial that under the influence of LSD he could not have responded if recalled to duty in a nuclear security emergency. In all, disciplinary action was taken against 14 airmen.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


When the media tries too hard to 'appeal to both sides', integrity is lost
2018-03-24, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/24/when-the-media-tries-too-hard-t...

Trump-era media really is something else. Otherwise smart and interesting publications are working so hard to “appeal to both sides” that they’ve completely abandoned their integrity in the process. Take the Atlantic, who announced a new roster of high-profile columnists this week, including Kevin D Williamson – a writer who compared a nine-year-old black child to a primate, and who argued that women that have abortions – along with their doctors and nurses – should be executed by hanging. When I asked the Atlantic for comment, a spokesperson responded that the magazine has “a large number of contributors who represent a broad spectrum of views”. She wrote that while “diverse viewpoints” are core to the magazine’s mission, they have “strict standards for how these viewpoints are expressed in our pages”. In other words, the Atlantic doesn’t mind employing a marquee columnist who thinks women should be hanged for having abortions so long as he doesn’t say as much in the magazine. But believing America should execute women in genocidal numbers (one in four women in this country will have an abortion) is not a “diverse viewpoint” – and the fact that one of the nation’s leading political magazines could defend it as such indicates a serious moral crisis in mainstream media.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


Millennials Are Driving The Worldwide Shift Away From Meat
2018-03-23, Forbes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelpellmanrowland/2018/03/23/millennials-mov...

There has been a global shift away from meat in recent years. A full 70% of the world population reportedly is either reducing meat consumption or leaving meat off the table altogether. This is from a report at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company that works with 4,000 of the world’s largest companies. Fiona Dyer, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, comments: ‘The shift toward plant-based foods is being driven by millennials, who are most likely to consider the food source, animal welfare issues, and environmental impacts when making their purchasing decisions.’ While millennials are one of the key drivers of this global shift away from consuming animal products, the plant-based movement appears to be bigger than any one generation. Celebrities, athletes, and even entire companies including Google and countries such as China are backing the movement to eat more plants. When the World Health Organization connected processed meats, like bacon and ham, to cancer, it sent shock waves through the food world. It also gave mainstream health organizations even more ammunition to encourage healthier dietary guidelines. Kaiser Permanente, the largest healthcare organization in the U.S., and the American Institute for Cancer Research are now recommending a plant-centric diet to combat heart disease and other common killers.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


Saudi prince denies Kushner is ‘in his pocket’
2018-03-22, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/saudi-prince-denies-ku...

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said Thursday it would be “really insane” for him to trade classified information with presidential son-in-law and White House adviser Jared Kushner. Speaking in a meeting with Washington Post editors and reporters, Mohammed denied U.S. media reports that he had claimed Kushner was “in his pocket,” or that ... he had sought or received a green light from Kushner for massive arrests of allegedly corrupt members of the royal family and Saudi businessmen that took place in the kingdom. The detentions were solely a domestic issue and had been in the works for years, the prince said. The son of King Salman and heir to the Saudi throne, Mohammed, 32, met with President Trump on Tuesday in the Oval Office and over lunch. He also spoke with a number of congressional leaders. Even as Trump has said he is seeking increased investment and purchases of U.S. military equipment and other products from Saudi Arabia, Mohammed has made clear that his primary mission here is to win U.S. investor confidence in his country. Asked about the Saudi-funded spread of Wahhabism, the austere faith ... that some have accused of being a source of global terrorism, Mohammed said that investments in mosques and madrassas overseas were rooted in the Cold War, when allies asked Saudi Arabia to use its resources to prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviet Union. Successive Saudi governments lost track of the effort, he said.

Note: 531,525 diplomatic cables from 1979 published by Wikileaks shed light on how Saudi Arabia and the CIA fueled the rise of modern Islamic terrorism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and terrorism.


Finland's homeless crisis nearly solved. How? By giving homes to all who need.
2018-03-21, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Europe/2018/0321/Finland-s-homeless-crisis-ne...

As anyone who has visited Europe recently can attest, the scourge of homelessness has reached epidemic proportions. The only exception to the trend is Finland. The number of homeless people in Finland has declined from a high of 18,000 30 years ago, to approximately 7,000: the latter figure includes some 5,000 persons who are temporarily lodging with friends or relatives. At the core of this was a move away from the so-called “staircase model,” whereby a homeless person moved from one social rehabilitation level to another, with an apartment waiting for him or her at the highest step. Instead, Finland opted to give housing to the homeless from the start. The concept behind the new approach was not original. What was different, and historic, about the Finnish Housing First model was a willingness to enact the model on a nationwide basis. In 2008 the Finnish National Program to reduce long-term homelessness was drafted and put into place. One [goal] was to cut the number of long-term homeless in half by producing ... supported housing units for tenants with their own leases. The extant network of homeless shelters was phased out. This also involved phasing out the “old way” of thinking about homelessness. The program pays for itself. A case study undertaken by the Tampere University of Technology in 2011 ... showed society saved $18,500 per homeless person per year who had received a rental apartment with support, due to the medical and emergency services no longer needed to assist and respond to them.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'Dirty meat': Shocking hygiene failings discovered in US pig and chicken plants
2018-03-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/animals-farmed/2018/feb/21/dirty-meat-shocking-hy...

Shocking hygiene failings have been discovered in some of the US’s biggest meat plants, as a new analysis reveals that as many as 15% (one in seven) of the US population suffers from foodborne illnesses annually. A joint investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) and the Guardian found that hygiene incidents are at numbers that experts described as “deeply worrying”. US campaigners are calling once again for the closure of a legal loophole that allows meat with salmonella to be sold in the human supply chain, and also warn about the industry’s push to speed up production in the country’s meat plants. Unpublished US- government records highlight numerous specific incidents including: Diseased poultry meat that had been condemned found in containers used to hold edible food products; Pig carcasses piling up on the factory floor after an equipment breakdown, leading to contamination with grease, blood and other filth; Meat destined for the human food chain found riddled with faecal matter and abscesses filled with pus; High-power hoses being used to clean dirty floors next to working production lines containing food products; Factory floors flooded with dirty water after drains became blocked by meat parts and other debris; Dirty chicken, soiled with faeces or having been dropped on the floor, being put back on to the production line after being rinsed with dilute chlorine.

Note: Read more on the unsafe and unethical high speed slaughterhouses on track for USDA approval. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


'Catastrophe' as France's bird population collapses due to pesticides
2018-03-20, The Guardian/AFP
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/21/catastrophe-as-frances-bird-pop...

Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said. Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies – one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France. “The situation is catastrophic,” said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France’s National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies. A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70%. The museum described the pace and extent of the wipe-out as “a level approaching an ecological catastrophe”. The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn. The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared. Recent research ... has uncovered similar trends across Europe. Flying insects have declined by 80%, and bird populations has dropped by more than 400m in 30 years. Despite a government plan to cut pesticide use in half by 2020, sales in France have climbed steadily, reaching more than 75,000 tonnes of active ingredient in 2014, according to European Union figures. “What is really alarming, is that all the birds in an agricultural setting are declining at the same speed, even ’generalist’ birds,” which also thrive in other settings such as wooded areas, said [ecologist Vincent] Bretagnolle.

Note: A United Nations report recently noted that pesticides have produced “catastrophic impacts on the environment, human health and society as a whole”, and condemned the pesticide industry for aggressively promoting lies about the usefulness of their products. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing food system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The decades-long quest to end drought (and feed millions) by taking the salt out of seawater
2018-03-20, Wired
http://www.wired.co.uk/article/charlie-paton-seawater-greenhouse-desalination...

“The world isn’t short of water, it’s just in the wrong place, and too salty," says Charlie Paton – so he's spent the past 24 years building the technology to prove it. Paton is the founder of Seawater Greenhouse, a company that transforms two abundant resources – sunshine and seawater – into freshwater for growing crops in arid, coastal regions such as Africa’s horn. His latest project [is] in Somaliland (an autonomous but internationally unrecognised republic in Somalia). On a 25-hectare plot of desert land close to the coastline, he’s building the region’s first sustainable, drought-resistant greenhouse. Using solar power to pump in seawater from the coastline and desalinate it on site, Paton is generating freshwater to irrigate plants, and water vapour to cool and humidify the greenhouse interior. Less than a year after its launch, this improbable desert oasis produced its first harvest of lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes. This year he plans to build an on-site training centre to teach local farmers how to grow greenhouse vegetables. The structure’s modular design will enable farmers to adopt their own one- to five-hectare plots – the dream being a network of connected, drought-resistant farms running across the country. “One of the exciting things is that it can work all the way along our long Red Sea coastline, bringing new sources of income in arid, pastoral areas,” Shibeshi says. “If you have a greenhouse, you aren’t worried about whether there’s rain or no rain.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Cambridge Analytica, Trump-Tied Political Firm, Offered to Entrap Politicians
2018-03-19, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/us/cambridge-analytica-alexander-nix.html

Sitting in a hotel bar, Alexander Nix, who runs the political data firm Cambridge Analytica, had a few ideas for a prospective client looking for help in a foreign election. The firm could send an attractive woman to seduce a rival candidate and secretly videotape the encounter, Mr. Nix said, or send someone posing as a wealthy land developer to pass a bribe. “We have a long history of working behind the scenes,” Mr. Nix said. The prospective client, though, was actually a reporter. The encounter was secretly filmed as part of a monthslong investigation into Cambridge Analytica, the data firm with ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign. The results of Channel 4’s work were broadcast ... days after reports ... that the firm had harvested the data from more than 50 million Facebook profiles in its bid to develop techniques for predicting the behavior of individual American voters. Less noticed has been the work that Cambridge Analytica and its parent company, the SCL Group, have done outside the United States. “Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company,” he told the Channel 4 reporter. “We can set up fake IDs and websites.” Mr. Nix ... boasted that Cambridge Analytica employs front companies and former spies on behalf of political clients. The information that is uncovered ... is then put “into the bloodstream to the internet,” said Mark Turnbull, another Cambridge executive. “Then watch it grow,” he added. “It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘That’s propaganda.’”

Note: Watch an astounding video revealing how Cambridge Analytica has successfully manipulated national elections around the world using sleazy tactics like pretty women to entrap candidates and offering major bribes while recording the exchange. And here is a video featuring the whistleblower who exposed this.


China’s latest energy megaproject shows that coal really is on the way out
2018-03-19, San Francisco Chronicle/Business Insider
https://www.sfgate.com/technology/businessinsider/article/China-s-latest-ener...

According to a 2016 study, the top contributor of air pollution-related deaths in China is the burning of coal. To improve the country's air quality, the Chinese government vows to spend at least $360 billion on clean energy projects and create 13 million new renewable energy jobs by 2020. This year marks China's fourth anniversary since it started a "war on pollution," and there's reason to believe the country is making headway. Chinese cities have cut concentrations of fine particulates - often considered the deadliest type of pollution - by 32% on average since 2013. The city of Xingtai saw the largest pollution decline at 52.2%. China's latest energy megaproject - a giant floating solar farm on top of a former coal mine in Anhui - may get the country closer to that goal. The 166,000-panel array ... can generate 40 megawatts of power - enough to accommodate 15,000 homes. It's currently the world's largest floating solar project and will operate for up to 25 years. Local energy company Sungrow Power Supply developed the farm on a lake that was once the site of extensive coal mining. After an explosion caused the mine to collapse, a lake formed and flooded it. Building solar plants on top of lakes and reservoirs can protect agricultural land and wildlife on the ground. The water also cools the solar panels, helping them work more efficiently. Choosing to develop the Sungrow farm on an abandoned coal mine signals the slow decline of fossil fuels like coal in China and other countries around the world.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Power of Your Suffering is in How You Tell Your Story
2018-03-19, PBS
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/the-power-of-your-suffering-is-in-how-you-t...

Trauma is a word we hear used to describe a range of experiences. Author and journalist Aminatta Forna thinks the word is overused, and, in her Humble Opinion, it is time to find a new way of talking about terrible events. "My family has seen what feels like more than our share of painful, you might say traumatic, events," [said Forna]. "The murder of my father who was a political activist when I was 11, followed by 25 years of political oppression, 10 years of civil war and even an Ebola outbreak. "I’m often asked whether I was traumatized by events, and I have to answer, truthfully, no. Over the years, I have written a great deal about people who have managed to endure events with the power to ruin lives, and this is what I have learned. The more a society tells you that you are irrevocably damaged by what has taken place, the more it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The ability to shape your own narrative, rather than having others shape it for you, is ultimately what matters most. Almost any experience can be reshaped, any destiny re-imagined, if those who have lived it tell their own stories. People who frame their experience within a wider context are often most capable of withstanding painful events. They rarely ask, why me. But rather see the world for the capricious and unfair place it can be, and they have a vision of their role in it. Individual temperament matters, but societal attitudes play a considerable role in shaping our responses. The suffering is real, but it may yet be withstood."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


No CEO should earn 1,000 times more than a regular employee
2018-03-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/mar/18/america-ceo-worker-pay-gap-n...

The CEO of Marathon Petroleum, Gary Heminger, took home an astonishing 935 times more pay than his typical employee in 2017. One of Marathon’s gas station workers would have to toil more than nine centuries to make as much as Heminger grabbed in just one year. Employees of at least five other US firms would have to work even longer – more than a millennium – to catch up with their top bosses. These companies include the auto parts maker Aptiv (CEO-worker pay ratio: 2,526 to 1), the temp agency Manpower (2,483 to 1), amusement park owner Six Flags (1,920 to 1), Del Monte Produce (1,465 to 1), and apparel maker VF (1,353 to 1). These revelations come thanks to a new federal regulation that requires publicly traded US corporations to disclose, for the first time ever, how much their chief executives are making compared with their median workers. The disclosures are just now starting to flow in. Ever since 2010, the year Congress plugged a ratio disclosure mandate into the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, corporate lobbyists have been scheming to delay and repeal that mandate’s implementation. But responsible investors and other activists rallied and kept the mandate in place. The new ratios offer a benchmark for corporate greed that exposes exactly which firms are sharing the wealth their employees create and which aren’t, knowledge we can use to impose consequences on the corporations doing the most to make the United States more unequal.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


ESP: Inside the government's secret program of psychic spies
2018-03-18, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/esp-inside-the-governments-secret-program-of-psy...

In the 1970s, a handsome ex-Israeli army paratrooper popularized extrasensory perception, or ESP. Uri Geller claimed he could ... see inside sealed containers, and even read other people's minds. Geller ... caught the eye of the intelligence community. "Scientists would consider, 'Wait a minute, maybe we can read the minds of other government officials, [or] see inside a nuclear facility in Russia,'" said national security reporter Annie Jacobsen. Jacobsen has written about the U.S. government's ... attempts to use Uri Geller, and others like him, for psychic espionage. "It's sort of like a highly-classified black program inside of a black program," Jacobsen said. "One, because you don't want the Russians or the Chinese to know what we are doing; and two, because a lot of scientists didn't want their colleagues to know what they were doing." In the 1980s, the Defense Intelligence Agency began "Project Star Gate," which was, according to Dean Radin, a scientist who worked on the program, top secret. The program employed about a dozen psychics and mediums. Its aim: espionage. Angela Ford was with Project Star Gate for nine years. She calls herself a medium; the Defense Department preferred "remote viewer." Her assignment? To look for missing hostages and fugitives without ever leaving a building at Fort Meade in Maryland. She recalled one assignment, in 1989, when she says she was able to psychically track down a former customs agent who had allegedly gone rogue.

Note: Explore lots more solid information on remote viewing – the government's psychic spying program. Could it be that key elements in government don't want us to know of the unlimited powers contained within each of us? See undeniable evidence that remote viewing was quite successful.


‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’: meet the data war whistleblower
2018-03-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/mar/17/data-war-whistleblower-christoph...

At 24, [Christopher Wylie] came up with an idea that led to the foundation of a company called Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm that went on to claim a major role in the Leave campaign for Britain’s EU membership referendum, and later became a key figure in digital operations during Donald Trump’s election campaign. In 2014, Steve Bannon ... was Wylie’s boss. And Robert Mercer, the secretive US hedge-fund billionaire and Republican donor, was Cambridge Analytica’s investor. The idea they bought into was to bring big data and social media to an established military methodology – “information operations” – then turn it on the US electorate. By [2017], Steve Bannon had become Trump’s chief strategist. Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL, had won contracts with the US State Department and was pitching to the Pentagon, and Wylie was genuinely freaked out. “It’s insane,” he told me one night. “The company has created psychological profiles of 230 million Americans. And now they want to work with the Pentagon? It’s like Nixon on steroids.” He ended up showing me a tranche of documents that laid out the secret workings behind Cambridge Analytica. Wylie ... came up with a plan to harvest the Facebook profiles of millions of people in the US, and to use their private and personal information to create sophisticated psychological and political profiles. And then target them with political ads designed to work on their particular psychological makeup.

Note: Billionaire Robert Mercer used this new new technology to build a corporate empire capable of swinging elections by using military propaganda strategies on civilian populations. The above article further details how mass media is being combined with Big Data to produce powerful new forms of mind control. Watch an astounding video revealing how Cambridge Analytica has successfully manipulated national elections around the world.


Energy healing: ‘I like things that I know — and what I know is, this works’
2018-03-18, News.com.au (a leading media outlet in Australia)
http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/health-problems/energy-healing-i-like...

He can make a two-year-old who hasn’t spent a day of his life without pain sleep like a baby. He can banish 30 years of neck pain in 30 seconds. Mobilise paralysed limbs. Zap an allergy. All without laying a hand on anyone. Melbourne energy healer Charlie Goldsmith has a gift sceptics love to dismiss, but the people he’s helped begged to differ. He’s never charged any of them a cent. If it sounds like a Hollywood script, that’s because it sort of is. US TV producers gave him his own show. The Healer premiered ... late last year. He has a gift nobody can quite explain, so many distrust it. He believes what he sees, and knows: Like the studies he’s been involved in which show he “heals” 80 per cent of those he treats. The Healer is his chance to lend a credibility ... to energy healing. He believes there are plenty of others with his “gift”, they just need that talent spotted, and developed. “I work on old 80-year-olds and I’m their first experience of this stuff. And I think ‘wow you could spend your whole life on this planet and not know that humans have this ability that’s been misunderstood and probably misrepresented a lot’.” Goldsmith partnered with New York University’s Lutheran Hospital for the first study scrutinising his talent. He treated 50 people with a 76 per cent success rate of pain-related conditions with immediate “marked improvement” and 79 per cent of conditions other than pain.

Note: See this miracle worker's website at https://www.charliegoldsmith.com.


UK sets new wind power record as turbines deliver 14 gigawatts for first time – 37 per cent of nation's electricity
2018-03-17, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wind-power-record-electricity...

Wind power in the UK set a new record today by generating 14 gigawatts for the first time – nearly 37 per cent of the the country’s electricity. The National Grid control room confirmed that 13.9 gigawatts was the highest ever metered wind output. At 10am on Saturday Wind generated 13.9GW, or 36.9 per cent of the UK’s electricity, increasing to 14GW by 11am. The previous record was 13.6GW in January this year. By contrast gas generated only 8.5GW (23 per cent), nuclear 6.5GW (17.3 per cent), coal just 4.7GW (12.5 per cent) and both solar and biomass 1.5GW (4.1 per cent). Hydro came last with 0.3GW or 0.9 per cent. Wind farms produced a record 15 per cent of Britain’s electricity in 2017, up from 10 per cent in 2016. Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College said: “The dramatic increase comes from both higher wind speeds and a jump in installed capacity. Several large offshore farms came online and onshore wind had a record year for deployment.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


I went to prison for disclosing the CIA’s torture. Gina Haspel helped cover it up.
2018-03-16, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/i-went-to-prison-for-disclosing-the-ci...

I was inside the CIA’s Langley, Va., headquarters on Sept. 11, 2001. I headed counterterrorism operations in Pakistan from January to May 2002. My team captured dozens of al-Qaeda fighters, including senior training-camp commanders. One of the fighters whom I played an integral role in capturing was Abu Zubaida, mistakenly thought at the time to be the third-ranking person in the militant group. By that May, the CIA had decided to torture him. When I returned to CIA headquarters that month, a senior officer in the Counterterrorism Center asked me if I wanted to be “trained in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques.” I declined. I said that I had a moral and ethical problem with torture and that - the judgment of the Justice Department notwithstanding - I thought it was illegal. Unfortunately, there were plenty of people in the U.S. government who were all too willing to allow the practice to go on. One of them was Gina Haspel, whom President Trump nominated Tuesday as the CIA’s next director. Putting Haspel in charge of the CIA would undo attempts by the agency - and the nation - to repudiate torture. The message this sends to the CIA workforce is simple: Engage in war crimes, in crimes against humanity, and you’ll get promoted. Don’t worry about the law. Don’t worry about ethics. Don’t worry about morality or the fact that torture doesn’t even work. Go ahead and do it anyway. We’ll cover for you. And you can destroy the evidence, too.

Note: The above was written by former CIA counterterrorism officer John Kiriakou, who was imprisoned for blowing the whistle on the CIA’s illegal torture program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


A forgotten hero stopped the My Lai massacre 50 years ago today
2018-03-16, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-wiener-my-lai-hugh-thompson-201803...

Everybody's heard of the My Lai massacre - March 16, 1968, 50 years ago today - but not many know about the man who stopped it: Hugh Thompson, an Army helicopter pilot. When he arrived, American soldiers had already killed 504 Vietnamese civilians. They were going to kill more, but they didn't - because of what Thompson did. "We started noticing these large numbers of bodies everywhere," [Thompson said]. "They were old women, old men, children, kids, babies." Then Thompson ... "saw some civilians hiding in a bunker, cowering. Saw some advancing Americans coming that way. I just figured it was time to do something, to not let these people get killed. Landed the aircraft in between the Americans and the Vietnamese, told my crew chief and gunner to cover me, got out of the aircraft, went over to the American side." What happened next was one of the most remarkable events of the entire war, and perhaps unique: Thompson told the American troops that, if they opened fire on the Vietnamese civilians in the bunker, he and his crew would open fire on them. "I thank God to this day that everybody did stay cool and nobody opened up. It was time to stop it. That was the only way the madness ... could be stopped." Back at their base he filed a complaint about the killing of civilians that he had witnessed. The Army covered it up. But eventually the journalist Seymour Hersh found out about the massacre, and his report made it worldwide news and a turning point in the war.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Ex-CIA Director Says U.S. Meddles for a 'Good Cause'
2018-03-15, Truth in Media
http://truthinmedia.com/reality-check-ex-cia-director-says-u-s-meddles-good-c...

Ex-CIA Director James Woolsey said it himself. Yes, the U.S. meddles in other countries elections. But when we do it, it’s for the right reasons. “Only for a very good cause,” he says, because our government is ensuring foreign elections result in “democracy.” But doesn’t democracy demand that people decide for themselves? And how well has U.S. meddling actually worked out? According to Carnegie Mellon University researcher Dov Levin, the United States has attempted to sway elections in other countries more than 80 times worldwide between 1946 and 2000. But those 80+ instances of the U.S. interfering with other nations elections does not include regime change efforts. In the 1970s in Chile, the CIA conducted a botched kidnapping of General René Schneider, the Chilean Army’s commander-in-chief, that resulted in Schneider’s death. The plot was an effort to undermine the presidency of Salvador Allende, which may have fueled the violent coup that led to Allende’s overthrow. In 1974, Henry Kissinger was quoted in Newsweek, saying about Chile: “I don’t see why we have to let a country go communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people.” Levin’s tally also does not include covert coup d’etats where our government overthrows a foreign leader like the the U.S. did in Iran in 1953 or in Guatemala in 1954. In fact, Salon magazine documents 35 nations in which the United States has overthrown legitimate governments and or supported fascists, drug lords or terrorists. U.S. intervention is rarely about democracy.

Note: Truth in Media is one of the few media outlets speaking truth from a balanced place with reliable facts can be verified. Don't miss the excellent video at the webpage above. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


3D-printed homes turn sludge into shelter
2018-03-15, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-43411581

More than a billion people in the world go to sleep each night without reliable shelter. But a pair of companies working on solving that believes their model of quickly 3D-printing a one-story house could not only provide merely a roof over the head, but a genuinely great place to live. I took a walk around a demonstration house ... built by Icon, a construction firm, and New Story, a non-profit that sets up housing in the developing world. Later this year, the project will head to El Salvador to build some test homes, with the view to begin work on a community of 100 houses in 2019. "If it does work it could literally change how shelter is created," said Brett Hagler, chief executive and co-founder of New Story. Like small-scale 3D-printing, the system works by slowly adding material, layer-by-layer. In this case, that material is mortar, similar to concrete. The El Salvador project will ... aim to build 100 homes, financed by mostly Silicon Valley-based donors. The houses will not be a hand-out, however. "The families agreed to a no-interest, no-profit mortgage that they will pay over about 10 years," explained Mr Hagler. That works out at about $30 a month. According to the country's economics ministry, the average monthly wage in rural El Salvador is around $360. "That money does not come back to us," he added. "It's kept in a community fund." The fund will go on to pay for more homes in future, or maintenance on existing structures. Mr Hagler said the mortgage model will foster "respect and dignity" within the community.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Al Jazeera did a hard-hitting investigation into US and Israeli lobbying – so why won't they air it?
2018-03-15, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/al-jazeera-investigation-us-israel-lobby...

I’m talking about a documentary called The Lobby, directed by one of Al Jazeera’s top journalists, Clayton Swisher. After months of postponement, The Lobby ... is still no nearer to being shown – and Swisher himself has taken a paid leave of absence. In his published explanation, Swisher described how his award-winning investigative unit ... sent an undercover reporter to look into “how Israel wields influence in America through the pro-Israeli American community. But when some right-wing American supporters of Israel found out about the documentary, there was a massive backlash. It was ... labelled as antisemitic.” Although Swisher’s reporters had exposed genocide in Myanmar, presidential corruption in the Maldives and paedophilia in British youth football, another documentary under Swisher’s direction concentrated on Israel’s influence over Britain and included a secretly filmed sequence in which Israeli official Shai Masot discussed how to “take down” British MPs regarded as pro-Palestinian. In response to antisemitism claims after the London documentary, the broadcasting regulator Ofcom ruled that the programme was “a serious investigative documentary”. It was the same question, Swisher says, that he and his team sought to answer in the American edition of The Lobby: “whether the Israeli government was funding or involved in lobbying efforts in the US under the guise of a domestic lobbying group”.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in mass media.


Schwarzenegger says he wants to sue global oil companies for first-degree murder
2018-03-13, CNBC/USA Today
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/13/schwarzenegger-says-he-wants-to-sue-global-oi...

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he is going after Big Oil and climate change. The actor and former governor of California said in a Politico-sponsored podcast ... that he is in talks with law firms about possibly suing global oil companies "for knowingly killing people all over the world." "The oil companies knew from 1959 on, they did their own study that there would be global warming happening because of fossil fuels, and on top of it that it would be risky for people's lives, that it would kill," Schwarzenegger said. "I don't think there's any difference: If you walk into a room and you know you're going to kill someone, it's first degree murder; I think it's the same thing with the oil companies," he said. In the podcast, Schwarzenegger compares the issue to the tobacco industry. "The tobacco industry knew for years and years and years and decades, that smoking would kill people ... and were hiding that fact from the people and denied it," Schwarzenegger said. "Then eventually they were taken to court and had to pay hundreds of millions of dollars because of that." He argues that every gas station, car and product with fossil fuels should have a warning label on it. He hopes that this will raise awareness about cleaner cars and alternative fuels. "We're going to go after them. Because to me it's absolutely irresponsible to know that your product is killing people and not have a warning label on it, like tobacco," he said.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and climate change.


Having a Torturer Lead the C.I.A.
2018-03-13, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/13/opinion/cia-torture-gina-haspel.html

When it comes to torture, no American officials have been more practiced in those heinous dark arts than the officers and employees of the Central Intelligence Agency who applied it to terrorism suspects after 9/11. Few American officials were so directly involved in that frenzy of abuse ... as Gina Haspel. On Tuesday, in announcing that he had dismissed Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and was replacing him with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, Mr. Trump said that Mr. Pompeo’s successor would be his deputy, Ms. Haspel. As an undercover C.I.A. officer, Ms. Haspel played a direct role in the agency’s “extraordinary rendition program,” under which suspected militants were ... were tortured by agency personnel. Ms. Haspel ran the first detention site in Thailand and oversaw the brutal interrogation of the Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. The sessions were videotaped and the recordings stored in a safe at the C.I.A. station in Thailand until they were ordered destroyed in 2005. Ms. Haspel’s name was on the cable with the destruction orders. In 2013, these activities were of such concern that Senator Dianne Feinstein of California ... blocked Ms. Haspel’s promotion to be head of the agency’s clandestine service. Senator John McCain ... a former prisoner of war, insisted that during the confirmation process, Ms. Haspel must “explain the nature and extent of her involvement” in the interrogation program.

Note: Read the thoughts of a former CIA counterterrorism officer on the dangers of this appointment. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing intelligence agency corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make
2018-03-11, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/11/health/prescription-opioid-payments-eprise/ind...

As tens of thousands of Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses each year, an exclusive analysis by CNN and researchers at Harvard University found that opioid manufacturers are paying physicians huge sums of money - and the more opioids a doctor prescribes, the more money he or she makes. The CNN/Harvard analysis looked at 2014 and 2015, during which time more than 811,000 doctors wrote prescriptions to Medicare patients. Of those, nearly half wrote at least one prescription for opioids. Fifty-four percent of those doctors - more than 200,000 physicians - received a payment from pharmaceutical companies that make opioids. Among doctors in the top 25th percentile of opioid prescribers by volume, 72% received payments. Among those in the top fifth percentile, 84% received payments. Among the very biggest prescribers ... 95% received payments. On average, doctors whose opioid prescription volume ranked among the top 5% nationally received twice as much money from the opioid manufacturers, compared with doctors whose prescription volume was in the median. Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors are not unique to opioids. Drug companies pay doctors billions of dollars for various services. In 2015, 48% of physicians received some pharmaceutical payment. The CNN and Harvard findings are in line with other studies suggesting that money from drug companies does influence a doctor's prescribing habits.

Note: From 1999 to 2015, over 183,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in the US. A CBS article titled, "Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress" describes major regulatory failures that contributed to this crisis. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


1,000 children may have been victims in Britain's biggest ever child abuse scandal
2018-03-11, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/11/1000-children-may-have-victims-br...

Up to 1,000 children could have been abused in Britain's biggest ever child abuse scandal, an investigation has revealed. Hundreds of children, some as young as 11, are estimated to have been drugged, beaten and raped over a 40-year period in the town of Telford. Lucy Allan, the Conservative MP for Telford, has called for an inquiry into child sexual exploitation. The investigation claims that allegations dating back to the 1980s were mishandled by authorities in Telford, who repeatedly failed to punish a network of abusers. Victims claimed that similar abuse, which has been linked to three murders and two other deaths, has continued in the area. The newspaper's probe alleges that social workers were aware of the abuse in the 1990s, but that it took police a decade to launch Operation Chalice, an inquiry into child prostitution in the Telford area in which seven men were jailed. It is also claimed that abused and trafficked children were considered "prostitutes" by council staff, that authorities did not keep details of abusers from Asian communities for fear of being accused of "racism" and that police failed to investigate one recent case five times until an MP intervened. The estimate of 1,000 potential victims was made with the help of Professor Liz Kelly, from the Child and Woman Abuse Studies Unit at London Metropolitan University. Twelve victims spoke to the newspaper and accused more than 70 abusers. Two other investigations were launched alongside Operation Chalice after two victims named dozens more abusers, yet victims have claimed that they were put off helping inquiries.

Note: Similar reports of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham were suppressed by officials for years. Over 1400 children as young as 12 were sexually exploited between 1997 and 2013 in Rotherham. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions
2018-03-11, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/11/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-corruption-m...

In November, the Saudi government locked up hundreds of influential businessmen - many of them members of the royal family - in the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton in what it called an anti-corruption campaign. Most have since been released but they are hardly free. During months of captivity, many were subject to coercion and physical abuse. In the early days of the crackdown, at least 17 detainees were hospitalized for physical abuse and one later died in custody with a neck that appeared twisted, a badly swollen body and other signs of abuse, according to a person who saw the body. To leave the Ritz, many of the detainees not only surrendered huge sums of money, but also signed over to the government control of precious real estate and shares of their companies - all outside any clear legal process. As the architect of the crackdown, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman prepares to travel to the United States this month to court American investment. Saudi officials are spotlighting his reforms. But extensive interviews with Saudi officials, members of the royal family, and relatives, advisers and associates of the detainees revealed a murkier, coercive operation, marked by cases of physical abuse, which transferred billions of dollars in private wealth to the crown prince’s control. The government ... has refused to specify the charges against individuals and, even after they were released, to clarify who was found guilty or innocent, making it impossible to know how much the process was driven by personal score settling.

Note: Yet the U.S. continues to court Saudi Arabia as one of its closest allies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The military keeps encountering UFOs. Why doesn’t the Pentagon care?
2018-03-09, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-military-keeps-encountering-ufos-w...

In December, the Defense Department declassified two videos documenting encounters between U.S. Navy F-18 fighters and unidentified aircraft. The first video captures multiple pilots observing and discussing a strange, hovering, egg-shaped craft, apparently one of a “fleet” of such objects, according to cockpit audio. The second shows a similar incident involving an F-18 attached to the USS Nimitz carrier battle group in 2004. The videos, along with observations by pilots and radar operators, appear to provide evidence of the existence of aircraft far superior to anything possessed by the United States or its allies. Defense Department officials who analyze the relevant intelligence confirm more than a dozen such incidents off the East Coast alone since 2015. Military departments and agencies treat such incidents as isolated events rather than as part of a pattern requiring serious attention and investigation. Reports from different services and agencies remain largely ignored and unevaluated inside their respective bureaucratic stovepipes. There is no Pentagon process for synthesizing all the observations the military is making. The current approach is equivalent to having the Army conduct a submarine search without the Navy. It is also reminiscent of the counterterrorism efforts of the CIA and the FBI before Sept. 11, 2001, when each had information on the hijackers that they kept to themselves. In this instance, the truth may ultimately prove benign, but why leave it to chance?

Note: The above was written by Christopher Mellon, who served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing UFO news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.


One thing Democrats and Republicans apparently agree on: Destabilizing the banking sector again
2018-03-09, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-dayen-deregulation-bank-bill-20180...

Next week marks the 10th anniversary of the run on Bear Stearns, the investment bank that collapsed under the weight of toxic subprime mortgages ... leading to the biggest economic crisis in nearly a century. That seems like a terrible political backdrop for the Senate to pass a bill that deregulates the banking sector. But that's exactly what's about to happen. The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, which pro-regulation groups have called the "Bank Lobbyist Act," advanced in the Senate this week. The ... Congressional Budget Office stated [that the] legislation would increase the risk of another [financial crisis] happening. The bill ... rolls back key pieces of the Dodd-Frank Act and includes giveaways to large institutions of the same size and scope as the ones that crashed the economy in 2008. The most important measure in the legislation raises the threshold for enhanced regulatory supervision by the Federal Reserve from $50 billion to $250 billion. The beneficiaries, 25 of the top 38 banks in America, could be called "stadium banks:" not big enough to count as Wall Street mega-banks, but big enough to have a sports stadium named after them. Nearly all giant foreign banks with operations in the U.S. could enjoy the same weaker rules. Why would more than one-third of the Senate Democratic caucus provide the margin of victory on [this] bill. The answer is simple: money. The top three recipients of campaign donations from commercial banks since 2017 are Democrats. This whole process reveals that bipartisanship usually arrives in Washington at the barrel of a money cannon.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Clearing the Radioactive Rubble Heap That Was Fukushima Daiichi, 7 Years On
2018-03-09, Scientific American
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/clearing-the-radioactive-rubble-he...

Seven years after one of the largest earthquakes on record unleashed a massive tsunami and triggered a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, officials say they are at last getting a handle on the mammoth task of cleaning the site. In 2016 the government increased its cost estimate to about $75.7 billion, part of the overall Fukushima disaster price tag of $202.5 billion. The Japan Center for Economic Research, a private think tank, said the cleanup costs could mount to some $470 billion to $660 billion. Under a government roadmap, TEPCO hopes to finish the job in 30 to 40 years. But some experts say even that could be an underestimate. Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, doubts the ambitious cleanup effort can be completed in the time cited. Until TEPCO can verify the conditions of the molten fuel, he says, “there can be no confirmation of what impact and damage the material has had” on the various components of the reactors - and therefore how radiation might leak into the environment in the future.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Fukushima Nuclear Plant disaster.


Heated floors and pillow-top mattresses... in prison
2018-03-08, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/08/us/prison-reform-north-dakota-norway/index.html

Norway's prison system is designed with three core values in mind: normality, humanity and rehabilitation. The point of incarceration in Norway, they say, is to make inmates "better neighbors" once they are released - and they take that mission very seriously. In the US, prison is generally seen as punishment for crimes committed. But Norway might change that. In 2015, prison directors and lawmakers from North Dakota traveled to see Norway's prisons for themselves. The trip was part of a program that takes state officials to visit the country, which has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world. When the leaders returned, North Dakota slowly began making changes to its prison system. The move has been controversial with some prison staff. The changes called for different dynamics between inmates and corrections officers, causing one of them to leave over what he believed was a fundamental shift in their training. North Dakota's prison directors say the benefit in the long run - reducing the state's recidivism rate - is worth giving this new approach a chance. If the goal is to make them better neighbors, North Dakota inmate Jonathan McKinney says it's working. He spent more than two years in and out of solitary confinement during part of his 17-year sentence for murder and other serious charges. Because of Norway's influence, prison officials allowed him to transfer to medium security when he showed good behavior - a move that he would not have been able to make as easily before.

Note: Watch an incredible nine-minute video on the mind-boggling success of Norway's prison system.


Coal’s rapid decline drives carbon emissions down to 1890 levels
2018-03-07, Financial Times
https://www.ft.com/content/47563b2a-21f6-11e8-9a70-08f715791301

Declining coal use has pushed UK carbon emissions to levels last consistently seen in 1890, highlighting the country’s progress in cutting greenhouse gases faster than most other developed economies. Emissions fell by 2.6 per cent in 2017, driven by a nearly one-fifth reduction in the use of coal as the energy industry shifts towards cleaner sources of electricity generation, especially wind and solar power. The data marked the fifth successive year in which the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into UK skies has fallen, and emissions are now 38 per cent below the level of 1990. “With coal quickly disappearing in the UK and other fossil fuel use mostly flat, emissions have continued their steady decline,” said Zeke Hausfather, author of the report by Carbon Brief, a climate research and news organisation, which based its findings on the latest UK government data. Britain’s success in driving down emissions contrasts with Germany, where the country’s continued dependence on coal for about 40 per cent of electricity generation has dented Chancellor Angela Merkel’s green credentials and put the country’s climate targets at risk. More than two-thirds of today’s emissions still need to be eliminated if Britain is to meet its legally binding goal to reduce CO2 output by 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Note: In 2017, for the first time since the 1800's, Britain went a day without burning coal to generate electricity. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.


Monsanto concealed effects of toxic chemical for decades, Ohio AG alleges
2018-03-06, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/monsanto-concealed-effects-toxic-chemica...

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, alleging the company concealed dangers posed by a toxic chemical compound it manufactured for nearly a half century. In the suit ... prosecutors argued that the company should pay for the clean-up of what it says are dozens of rivers, lakes and other water bodies contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The company stopped manufacturing the chemical in 1977 and it was banned in 1979 by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the suit, Monsanto produced nearly all of the PCBs - which were used in everything from lubricants to electrical equipment - in the United States between 1929 and 1977. The chemical has been linked to cancer, liver damage and other negative health effects. The suit alleges that Monsanto learned of PCBs’ toxic effects in the 1930s, yet it kept producing the compound while concealing its effects. The suit claims the company acknowledged that prolonged exposure could produce "systemic toxic effects" in an internal memo in 1937, so it undertook a "decades-long campaign of misinformation and deception."

Note: Other major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of its products, most notably Roundup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.


America's horrifying new plan for animals: highspeed slaughterhouses
2018-03-06, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/06/ive-seen-the-hidden-hor...

If you care about animal welfare or food safety, this news will concern you: the nationwide expansion of a risky US Department of Agriculture (USDA) high-speed slaughter program is imminent. There is still time to stop it. The USDA is now accepting public comments on its proposed rule that it euphemistically dubbed the “Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection”. As a former undercover investigator who worked inside a pig slaughterhouse operating under the pilot project that was, at the time, called HIMP, I’ve seen firsthand the hazardous and cruel nature of this controversial program. This expanded program ... would allow facilities to increase slaughter speeds, while reducing the number of trained government inspectors on the lines. The result is problems that can – and do – go unnoticed. For nearly six months, I worked undercover inside Quality Pork Processors (QPP). An exclusive Hormel Foods supplier, QPP kills about 1,300 pigs every hour operating under the high-speed pilot program. I documented pig carcasses covered in feces and abscesses being processed for human consumption, and workers ... beating, dragging, and electrically prodding pigs to make them move faster. NSIS may also allow higher numbers of sick and injured pigs too weak even to stand (known as “downers”) to be slaughtered for food. In 2016, a letter from 60 members of Congress to the USDA stated “the available evidence suggests the hog HIMP will undermine food safety.”

Note: The above was written by Scott David, a former undercover investigator at Compassion Over Killing, a national animal protection organization. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the food system.


Uphill Battle Against Child Marriage Is Being Won in India, for Now
2018-03-06, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/05/world/asia/india-child-marriage.html

Plainclothes police officers stormed the village of Madhura in Bihar State. They chased men into fields and detained the bride and groom, already covered in turmeric powder to prepare for the ceremony, for further questioning. Speaking to reporters at the police station later, Ms. Kumari, with downcast eyes, made her position clear: “I will not marry, sir,” she said. “I want to study.” India’s child marriage rate is one of the highest in the world. But as awareness has spread about the detriments associated with underage marriages ... the prevalence has dropped. Child marriage [in India] is finely threaded with other practices, including the exchange of a dowry from the bride’s family to the groom, and sometimes with sex trafficking, making it difficult to tackle any one issue without addressing others. Social workers said there are no easy solutions. Bihar, a poor, agrarian state in northern India, has one of the highest rates of underage marriages in the country. In 2005, 69 percent of surveyed women said they married when they were underage. Ten years later, the number fell to 42.5 percent. Last year, the Bihari government ... dispatched social workers to villages and cities across the state, and announced that priests who officiate weddings would be required to sign declarations affirming that both parties are of legal age to marry. The legal age for marriage for Indian women is 18 years old. For men, it is 21. With the 2006 Prohibition of Child Marriage Prevention Act, Indian lawmakers criminalized child marriage.

Note: While India has outlawed child marriage as a country, twenty-seven US States set no minimum age for marriage.


Behind the Scenes in Venezuela
2018-03-03, US News & World Report
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/world-report/articles/2018-03-03/new-evidence-...

In recent weeks, the Trump administration has stepped up its efforts at "regime change" in Venezuela. High-level sources from inside the administration have stated that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is determining U.S. policy toward Venezuela. Rubio ... does not seem interested in an electoral or negotiated solution to Venezuela's political crisis. On Feb. 9, he appeared to support a military coup. Such open support from Washington for a military coup against an elected government ... is unusual. But the Trump team is not just sitting around waiting for it to happen. The Rubio/Trump strategy seems to be to try to worsen the economic situation and increase suffering to the point where either the military, or the insurrectionary elements of the opposition, rise up and overthrow the government. That appears to be the purpose of the financial sanctions that Trump ordered on Aug. 24, 2017. These sanctions cut off Venezuela from billions of dollars of potential loans, as well as from revenue even from its own oil company in the U.S., Citgo. They have worsened shortages of medicine and food, in an economy that is already suffering from inflation of about 3,000 percent annually and a depression that has cost about 38 percent of GDP. These sanctions are illegal under ... international conventions to which the U.S. is a signatory. Now U.S. officials are talking about ... cutting off Venezuela's oil sales. All this to overthrow a government that nobody can claim poses any threat to the United States.

Note: Important parts of this situation's history are described in a 2012 article titled, "Why the US demonises Venezuela's democracy". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why Psychedelic Psychotherapy Works
2018-03-01, Optimist Daily
https://www.optimistdaily.com/2018/03/why-psychedelic-psychotherapy-works/

In recent years, rigorous research has been conducted on entheogens, such as ayahuasca, LSD, mescaline and psilocybin, and on the empathogen Ecstasy. The goal is to evaluate their effects on addiction, cluster headaches, depression, trauma, cancer, epilepsy, death and dying, as well as to explore their value in the study of consciousness. Psilocybin - or magic mushrooms - have been used in traditional healing rituals for thousands of years. However, for more than 40 years it has been illegal in the U.S. But recent findings are tearing down the barriers surrounding psychedelic research, as it has been clinically shown that they have the ability to ease depression and soothe anxiety in patients dealing with serious illness and impending death. Two separate studies discovered that a single, moderate-to-large dose of psilocybin was able to help alleviate profound distress among cancer patients. Researchers know “how,” but they do not know “why,” psilocybin has worked in these settings. One theory is that psilocybin interrupts the circuitry of self-absorbed thinking that is so pronounced in depressed people, making way for a mystical experience. Neuro-imaging studies ... suggest that the positive effects of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy are explained by changes in something in the brain called “the default mode network.” It turns out that this network is hyperactive in depression. Interestingly, in both meditation and also with psilocybin this network becomes quiescent.

Note: See an article in the UK's Independent showing remarkable results from these studies. Learn more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs now being explored by the scientific community.


Holding hands can sync brainwaves, ease pain, study shows
2018-03-01, Science Daily
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180301094822.htm

Reach for the hand of a loved one in pain and not only will your breathing and heart rate synchronize with theirs, your brain wave patterns will couple up too, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study ... also found that the more empathy a comforting partner feels for a partner in pain, the more their brainwaves fall into sync. And the more those brain waves sync, the more the pain goes away. "We have developed a lot of ways to communicate in the modern world and we have fewer physical interactions," said lead author Pavel Goldstein. "This paper illustrates the power and importance of human touch." The study is the latest in a growing body of research exploring a phenomenon known as "interpersonal synchronization," in which people physiologically mirror the people they are with. It is the first to look at brain wave synchronization in the context of pain, and offers new insight into the role brain-to-brain coupling may play in touch-induced analgesia, or healing touch. Goldstein came up with the experiment after, during the delivery of his daughter, he discovered that when he held his wife's hand, it eased her pain. How exactly could coupling of brain activity with an empathetic partner kill pain? More studies are needed to find out, stressed Goldstein. But he and his co-authors offer a few possible explanations. Empathetic touch can make a person feel understood, which in turn -- according to previous studies -- could activate pain-killing reward mechanisms in the brain.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How one US state saved $240 million in health care spending
2018-03-01, Quartz
https://qz.com/1218748/how-one-us-state-saved-240-million-in-health-care-spen...

Investment in primary care results in savings in overall health care spending. This has been empirically proven in the state of Oregon. Health care spending in the United States in 2016 was $3.4 trillion, or 17.8% of GDP. By the year 2025, spending in the US is expected to reach 19.9% of GDP. What are we getting in return for spending more money on health care than any other developed nation in the world? Not much. Our health outcomes leave much to be desired. Why? Health care spending in the US generally promotes utilization of services - apart from outcomes - as opposed to effective, proactive, whole-person care. There is a better way. In 2009, the Oregon legislature established the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) program. As of the writing of this article, there are over 600 clinics in Oregon with PCPCH recognition. The foundation of the PCPCH model consists of 6 Core Attributes that promote care which is: accessible, accountable, comprehensive, continuous, coordinated, and patient- and family-centered. What has been achieved since implementation of the PCPCH program in Oregon? A multi-year study from Portland State University [found] $240 million in savings in the first three years of the program. Every $1 increase in spending in primary care resulted in $13 in savings in overall spending.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Why Congress must vote on the United States’ role in Yemen
2018-02-28, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-congress-must-vote-on-the-united-...

In Yemen, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes. That is just one startling fact from a country that has been torn by war for nearly three years. More than 10,000 civilians have died and over 40,000 have been wounded in this war. An estimated 17 million people – 60 percent of the total population – do not have reliable access to food. Americans have so far provided more than $768 million in humanitarian aid to that country. What few Americans know, however, is that the U.S. military is making the crisis worse by helping one side in the conflict bomb innocent civilians. The millions we have spent in humanitarian aid were necessitated, in part, by a U.S. government failure. In March 2015, a coalition of Arab forces led by Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention into Yemen. The Obama administration, without consulting Congress, quickly authorized U.S. military forces to provide “logistical and intelligence support” to the Saudi coalition. U.S. military support for this intervention continues to this day. U.S. forces are coordinating, refueling and targeting with the Saudi-led coalition. We believe that since Congress has not authorized military force for this conflict, the United States should play no role in it beyond providing desperately needed humanitarian aid. That is why we are introducing a joint resolution that would force Congress to vote on the U.S. war in Yemen. If Congress does not authorize the war, our resolution would require U.S. involvement in Yemen to end.

Note: The above was written by US senators Mike Lee, Bernie Sanders, and Chris Murphy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Patrol officers are trained to spot drunken driving and drug trafficking. Why not child trafficking, too?
2018-02-27, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/police-are-trained-to-spot-...

When Deputy Patrick Paquette pulled to a stop on Interstate 20 in Georgia in January 2013, he didn’t anticipate a career-altering experience. A young man and a far younger girl ... had been detained by an officer who had pulled them over for speeding, smelled pot and discovered a bag of marijuana. Inside [the girl’s suitcase, Paquette] discovered ... dozens of condoms, lubricant, sex toys and a small pile of lingerie. The girl and the man, Johnathon Nathaniel Kelly, were still separated. Kelly could not see or hear the girl. But Paquette ... kept his voice low. “Do you need help?” he asked. “Sir,” she said, “please get me some help,” and began to cry. Paquette uncuffed her, loaded her into the car and drove her to the station for an interview with a specialist in sex crimes. The girl, Rebecca ... sobbed. “I’ve been praying,” she told him, “every second I could, to be rescued.” Kelly was arrested and later sentenced to 11 years for interstate transportation of a minor for prostitution. If Rebecca had encountered Paquette just months earlier, she would have been arrested. But Paquette had recently taken a Texas-based training program, called Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC), which taught him how to spot indicators of child-sex trafficking. Before the creation of IPC training, Texas DPS kept no record of “child rescues.” But Texas state troopers have made 341 such rescues since the program’s inception; and in formalized follow-up interviews, virtually all of the troopers said the training was key to spurring them to action.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Amazon paid no US income taxes for 2017
2018-02-27, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfgate.com/business/tech/article/Amazon-paid-no-US-income-taxes-f...

Amazon won't pay any federal income taxes after topping $5.6 billion in income in 2017. The Seattle-based online retailer will end up paying out roughly $769 million in taxes for the year, but $724 million of that will be in foreign taxes. That's according to an analysis of the online behemoth's 2017 10-K form, which "provides a comprehensive overview of the company's business and financial condition," according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Public companies are required to submit the form every year to the SEC. Without being privy to the company's tax return, no one can say exactly how CEO Jeff Bezos and Co. avoided what could have been more than $1.3 billion in federal taxes based solely on the annual financial report, but there is information to be gleaned. For example, Amazon took out a $917 million tax deduction on stock options exercised by current or former employees. Unlike wages ... the stock options don't require any cash expenditures by the company. Another ingredient in the low tax bill is likely capital expenditure depreciation ... where companies are allowed to write off the cost of some expenses - say those incurred while building a distribution center, for example - up front. [Amazon] earned a windfall from the Trump administration's U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, passed in December. Amazon readjusted estimates for taxes deferred under the old 35 percent corporate tax rate to meet the new tax law's 21 percent figure, which resulted in an estimated $789 million reduction.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Congress’ net worth keeps on growing
2018-02-27, Press Herald (Portland, Maine's leading newspaper)
https://www.pressherald.com/2018/02/27/in-the-moneycongress-net-worth-keeps-o...

The cumulative net worth of senators and House members jumped by one-fifth in the two years before the start of this Congress, outperforming the typical American’s improved fortunes as well as the solid performance of investment markets during that time. The total wealth of all current members was at least $2.43 billion when the 115th Congress began, 20 percent more than the collective riches of the previous Congress, a significant gain during a period when both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose slightly less than 10 percent. Beyond that grand total, the median minimum net worth (meaning half are worth more, half less) of today’s senators and House members was $511,000 at the start of this Congress, an upward push of 16 percent over just two years – and quintuple the median net worth of an American household, which the Federal Reserve pegged at $97,300 in 2016. The financial disparity between those who try to govern and those who are governed is almost certainly even greater than that. Members of Congress are not required to make public the value of their residences and their contents, which are the principal assets of most Americans. Nor are they required to reveal their other assets and debts to the penny, or even close – instead using 11 broad categories of value ... that do a comprehensive job of obscuring what each member is precisely worth.

Note: The above article fails to mention that laws against insider trading do not apply to members of Congress. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality.


Incredible device that generates electricity out of thin air by harvesting energy from changes in temperature
2018-02-27, Daily Mail
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-5440613/Incredible-device-gene...

A miraculous device that can generate electricity seemingly out of thin air has been developed by engineers. Called a thermal resonator, it relies on fluctuations in temperature between day and night to produce electricity. It can be used without the need for sunlight, batteries or wind, making it ideal for situations where these resources can't be relied upon. The technology has the potential to power sensors and communications devices for years without the need for batteries. Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) department of chemical engineering are behind the find. Their gadget is a twist on a thermoelectric generator, which creates power when one side of the device is a different temperature from the other. Researchers say that the power levels generated by the new system so far are modest. However, it outperformed a commercially available pyroelectric material - an existing method for converting temperature fluctuations to electricity - by 300 per cent. Professor Michael Strano, who led the study, said: 'We basically invented this concept out of whole cloth. 'It's something that can sit on a desk and generate energy out of what seems like nothing. 'We are surrounded by temperature fluctuations of all different frequencies all of the time. These are an untapped source of energy.' Such systems could provide low-power but long-lasting energy sources for landers or rovers exploring remote locations, including other moons and planets, says Volodymyr Koman, an MIT postdoc and co-author of the new study.

Note: For more, see this article on the MIT website.


El Salvador's military not opening archives for missing kids
2018-02-27, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/el-salvadors-military-opening-a...

More than 25 years after the end of its civil war, families in El Salvador are still searching for an estimated 3,000 children who disappeared in the fighting. The country's military has so far refused to open its archives from that period to allow an investigation into the whereabouts of children separated from their families. In a decision released in January, El Salvador's Supreme Court backed the demand of Nicolasa Rivas for a probe into the disappearances of her daughters, Gladys Suleyma and Norma Climaco Rivas. Rivas blames the military for taking her daughters. The U.N. Truth Commission created with the signing of the peace agreement in January 1992 estimated there were 5,000 forced disappearances during the war. Human rights advocates have documented about 3,000 more cases and estimate that about 3,000 of all the disappeared were minors. The Supreme Court's decision ordered the armed forces to release information related to a military operation called "Mario Azenon Palma." It was during that operation that Gladys and Norma disappeared. The Defense Ministry has said that ... "no documents or registries of any kind related to the alleged operation have been found." The operation's existence has been confirmed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In its ruling supporting Rivas' call for an investigation into the fate of her daughters, the Supreme Court said there was sufficient information to conclude "they were involuntarily disappeared at the hands of soldiers."

Note: Consider the possibility that many of these kids were used in sex trafficking to bring in money to the military. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


These Are The World’s Greenest Cities
2018-02-27, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018-renewable-cities/

Cities around the globe are going green. Over 100 cities from Addis Ababa to Auckland use more than 70 percent renewables in their energy mix, according to CDP research. The places where populations are at their most dense and pollution is at its highest are doing their bit to battle rising global temperatures by turning to hydro, geothermal, solar and wind to keep the lights on. Since the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees, city leaders have improved their environmental reporting and set firm emissions reductions targets, CDP said. In the U.S. 58 cities and towns, including Atlanta and San Diego, have committed to move to 100 percent clean energy. Meanwhile Burlington, Vermont, claims to be the first city in the country to get its energy from entirely renewable sources. Only a handful of the more than 100 North American cities that reported their energy mix to CDP use at least 70 percent renewable energy, while a majority of Latin American cities that reported passed that threshold. “Many cities in the developing world have capitalized on their local natural resources. This pioneering activity has largely been driven by local economic needs and political will,” said Kyra Appleby, director of cities at CDP.

Note: An interactive map of the world's greenest cities is available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


San Diego pays homeless people to pick up trash in new program
2018-02-27, Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/27/san-diego-pays-homeless-people-to-pick-u...

San Diego officials are putting homeless people back on the street - but this time to pay them to pick up trash as part of a new program that launched Monday. The homeless people, who are staying at the city’s tented shelters, will be cleaning up trash and clearing brush in downtown San Diego for five hours a day. The program, called Alpha’s Project’s “Wheels of Change,” will pay participants $11.50 an hour. [They are] expected to hold cleaning shifts three days a week. “This is all about creating more opportunities for homeless individuals to lift themselves out of extreme poverty,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “‘Wheels for Change’ will help restore dignity by allowing people to earn a paycheck and begin to get back on their feet. For many, this may be just the chance they need to begin turning their lives around.” Program participants will also receive access to housing resources. Homeless people [said] they liked the work. “It’s better than sitting in a tent all day,” Edwin Fisk ... said. “It gives us something to do, you know? And you make money. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” Nichole Hill, who has been homeless for 18 months, also said: “I get to give back to the community and have some extra money to get around.” The new program follows similar ones that were launched in Chicago, Denver and Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it was first implemented.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Norway Is Investing $13 Million To Upgrade Doomsday Seed Vault
2018-02-27, Huffington Post
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/norway-doomsday-seed-vault-upgrade_us_5a...

Norway’s doomsday agricultural seed vault will get a $13 million upgrade to better protect world food supplies. The work on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located nearly 400 feet beneath the earth’s surface inside a coal mine, was announced ... as the international facility celebrated its 10th anniversary and its holding of more than 1 million seed samples. The facility, which is fully funded by the Norwegian government, offers any government access to seeds in case of natural or man-made disaster. The concept was successfully tested in 2015, with a seed withdrawl to help Syria re-establish crops wiped out by the country’s civil war. The upgrades will include a concrete access tunnel, a service building for emergency power and refrigerating units, as well as other electrical equipment that will emit heat through the tunnel. The decision to upgrade to the access tunnel comes nearly one year after the vault’s entryway flooded due to unprecedented melting of the area’s permafrost. Though the flooding did not damage any seeds, it served as a jarring reminder of the growing effects of climate change. The vault was designed to take advantage of the location’s permafrost as a permanent feature offering natural cooling protection for the seeds.

Note: Read more about the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.


America's Biggest Solar Buyer Is a Firm You've Never Heard Of
2018-02-27, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-27/america-s-biggest-solar-bu...

The biggest buyer of solar farms in America is a company you’ve probably never heard of. Meet Capital Dynamics, an asset manager that handles $15 billion. The firm’s been snapping up clean-power plants for years, but it wasn’t until this month - when the company agreed to spend almost $1 billion on a solar business - that it really landed on mainstream investors’ radar. Now the firm is being called the harbinger of things to come, heralding the next generation of solar and wind farm owners: funds backed by institutional investors like pensions. Its agreement this month to buy 8Point3 Energy Partners LP is among the biggest in a recent string of clean-energy deals done by infrastructure funds. They’re appeasing their investors, who are hungry for the dependable, long-term returns of renewable-energy. After clinching $3 billion of clean-power deals last year ... Capital Dynamics is positioned to buy even more. A key part of the firm’s strategy hinges on capital from its institutional investors. Such investors like that they can match their long-dated liabilities with the returns of solar and wind farms that can stretch over decades. Another edge that Capital Dynamics has over other asset managers: It has spent years building an in-house team with an expertise in solar and wind farm operations, one that leverages its relationships with tax-equity investors and banks.

Note: Despite new solar tariffs and the "determined campaign" against rooftop solar being led by utility companies, elites like the Rockefellers have stopped investing in fossil fuels.


Switzerland has a stunningly high rate of gun ownership — here's why it doesn't have mass shootings
2018-02-27, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/switzerland-high-rates-gun-o...

Switzerland hasn't had a mass shooting since 2001. The country has about 2 million privately owned guns in a nation of 8.3 million people. In 2016, the country had 47 homicides with firearms. The country's overall murder rate is near zero. But the Swiss have some specific rules and regulations for gun use. Unlike the US, Switzerland has mandatory military service for men. All men between the ages of 18 and 34 deemed "fit for service" are given a pistol or a rifle and trained. After they've finished their service, the men can typically buy and keep their service weapons, but they have to get a permit for them. In 2000, more than 25% of Swiss gun owners said they kept their weapon for military or police duty, while less than 5% of Americans said the same. In addition to the militia's arms, the country has about 2 million privately owned guns. Swiss authorities decide on a local level whether to give people gun permits. They also keep a log of everyone who owns a gun in their region. But cantonal police don't take their duty dolling out gun licenses lightly. They might consult a psychiatrist or talk with authorities in other cantons where a prospective gun buyer has lived before to vet the person. Some lawmakers in US states ... are considering a similar model. People who've been convicted of a crime or have an alcohol or drug addiction aren't allowed to buy guns in Switzerland. The law also states that anyone who "expresses a violent or dangerous attitude" won't be permitted to own a gun.

Note: It was reported in 2016 that 2,000 guns were sold to US buyers who failed FBI background checks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Florida sheriff says only 1 deputy was on scene during shooting
2018-02-25, CNBC/AP
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/25/florida-sheriff-says-only-1-deputy-was-on-sce...

The Florida sheriff whose department responded to this month's high school massacre defended his leadership Sunday while insisting that only one of his deputies was on the scene as the gunman killed 14 students and three staff members. Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel told CNN that investigators are looking into claims that three other deputies were on the scene but failed to enter the school when the chance to save lives still existed. Israel and the sheriff's office have come under withering scrutiny after last week's revelation that deputy Scot Peterson did not go in to confront the suspected shooter, 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, during the Valentine's Day attack. It is also facing backlash for apparently mishandling some of the 18 tipster calls related to the suspected shooter. The tips were among a series of what authorities now describe as the clearest missed warning signs that Cruz ... posed a serious threat. The FBI has acknowledged that it failed to investigate the tip about Cruz that the agency received on Jan. 5. A transcript of the phone call [to the FBI] spanned more than 13 minutes. During the call, the woman described a teenager prone to anger with the "mental capacity of a 12 to 14 year old" that deteriorated after his mother died last year. She pointed the FBI to several Instagram accounts where Cruz had posted photos of sliced-up animals and rifles and ammunition he apparently purchased with money from his mother's life insurance policy. "He's thrown out of all these schools because he would pick up a chair and just throw it at somebody, a teacher or a student, because he didn't like the way they were talking to him."

Note: The above article describes problems in government organizations that allowed a threat to become a tragedy, but does not mention the well-documented connection between prescription drugs and mass shootings.


Monsanto demands Avaaz hands over all of its campaign data
2018-02-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/23/monsanto-demands-avaaz-ha...

A US court will today hear a request from Monsanto for access to a huge batch of internal communications by Avaaz, in a move that the campaign group says could have grave repercussions for online activism and data privacy. Monsanto is seeking the release of all lobby documents ... where the firm or its herbicide ingredient glyphosate have been mentioned. Avaaz says this would include personal information about its employees, as well as the email addresses of more than four million signatories to petitions against Monsanto’s GM and glyphosate policies. A victory for Monsanto in today’s hearing would cost the online advocacy group thousands of person-hours of work time, and hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to Avaaz’s lawyers. It could even raise the prospect of a migration out of online activism by campaigners concerned about corporate surveillance. Monsanto’s [request] demands all documents Avaaz employees have created, maintained, received, sent or copied, where these involve discussion about glyphosate, Monsanto, or the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer, which found glyphosate to probably be carcinogenic. Monsanto filed its request shortly after a bitter EU regulatory battle ended with its license for glyphosate – the core ingredient in Roundup – being extended by just five years, rather than the 15 years originally sought.

Note: Read more on Avaaz and the power of online activism. Major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of its products, most notably Roundup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.


Florida school shooting: Sheriff got 18 calls about Nikolas Cruz's violence, threats, guns
2018-02-23, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/02/23/florida-school-shoo...

Broward County deputies received at least 18 calls warning them about Nikolas Cruz from 2008 to 2017, including concerns that he "planned to shoot up the school" and other threats and acts of violence before he was accused of killing 17 people at a high school. The warnings, made by concerned people close to Cruz, came in phone calls to the Broward County Sheriff's Office, records show. At least five callers mentioned concern over his access to weapons, according to the documents. None of those warnings led to direct intervention. In February 2016, neighbors told police that they were worried he “planned to shoot up the school”. The new details add to the growing list of red flags missed by law enforcement officials, including the FBI, in the months leading up to last week's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. The FBI is reviewing why a tip last month called into the agency about Cruz's desire to kill people was not forwarded to Miami agents for investigation. The Sheriff’s Office has since opened two internal affairs investigations looking into whether its deputies followed the department’s standards after receiving two phone calls. After the February 2016 call, a deputy forwarded the information to the Stoneman Douglas School Resource Officer, Deputy Scot Peterson. Peterson, 54, retired after an internal investigation was launched into why he sat outside the school for about four minutes and never entered as the shooter killed students and staff.

Note: The above article describes problems in government organizations that allowed a threat to become a tragedy, but does not mention the well-documented connection between prescription drugs and mass shootings.


From fake news to fabricated video, can we preserve our shared reality?
2018-02-22, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2018/0222/From-fake-news-to-fabricated-v...

People tend to trust video evidence as an arbiter of truth. But that faith could soon become quaint, as machine learning is enabling ordinary users to create fabricated videos of just about anyone doing just about anything. Earlier this month, the popular online forum Reddit shut down r/deepfakes, a subreddit discussion board devoted to using open-source machine-learning tools to insert famous faces into pornographic videos. This episode represents just one of the many ways that the this technology could fuel social problems, particularly in an age of political polarization. Combating the negative effects of fabricated video will require a shift among both news outlets and news consumers. “When you see something, or when you believe that you’re seeing something and hearing something, it has a much more visceral impact ... than when it’s something that you’re just reading about,” says Henry Farrell, a professor of political science. Professor Farrell warned that this technology’s “implications for democracy are eye-opening,” in a Feb. 4 New York Times op-ed. “Democracy assumes that its citizens share the same reality,” the op-ed concluded. “We’re about to find out whether democracy can be preserved when this assumption no longer holds.” When mixed with confirmation bias – the tendency to process information in a way that conforms to one’s preexisting beliefs – [the technology] could become an increasingly destructive social influence, one that corrodes even good-faith efforts to tell the truth.

Note: Read more about producing fake video with machine learning programs. While governments have long been developing technologies to produce very convincing illusions, and it has become trivial to edit video footage of a person talking to change their words and facial expressions, this emerging technology makes it possible to manipulate mass media in previously impossible ways.


Can altruism exist without empathy? Lessons from the ant world
2018-02-20, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2018/0220/Can-altruism-exist-without-empath...

Named for a famed group of Bantu warriors, the Matabele ant is renowned as a fierce fighter. But the sub-Saharan termite-hunter also shows a caring side. Researchers have found that Megaponera analis, as scientists call it, will tend to the wounds of nest-mates. The only other animals that have been observed systematically treating others’ injuries are humans and some of our primate relatives. In other words, ants and humans share what biologists call a convergent trait: caring for another in need. The finding also informs a growing body of research aimed at fitting what we experience as moral sentiments into a larger pattern in nature. That such precisely directed helping behavior, as it is known, pops up in as distant a relative as the ant belies some popular notions of Darwinian evolution, which characterize natural selection as promoting only selfish behavior. While it’s true that competition both among and within species plays a major role in shaping the evolution of biological traits, it’s not nature’s only driving force. “If you bring people together, the first thing they want to do is cooperate,” says Dr. de Waal, the author of several books on morality and empathy in nonhuman animals. “Now we know from all sorts of studies ... that actually all of the mammals are a bit like that. The first tendency is to help.” People, being the intelligent, social mammals that we are, like to frame helping in terms of morality. But ants appear to demonstrate “helping behavior without morality,” says [biologist] Erik Frank.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'Sloppy and careless': courts call out Trump blitzkrieg on environmental rules
2018-02-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/donald-trump-epa-environm...

In its first year in office, the Trump administration introduced a solitary new environmental rule aimed at protecting the public from pollution. It was aimed [at] dentists. About 5 tons of mercury, a dangerous toxin ... are washed away from dental offices down drains each year. In Trump’s first day in the White House, the administration told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw an Obama-era plan that would require dentists to prevent this mercury from getting into waterways. But in June, the rule was unexpectedly enacted. This apparent change of heart followed legal action filed by green groups, part of a cascade of courtroom standoffs. In July, a federal court ruled that the EPA couldn’t suspend rules designed to curb methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. This was followed by a hasty retreat in August when the EPA agreed to not delay new standards to reduce smog-causing air pollutants, the day after 15 states and environment groups sued. Then, in December, a federal court told the EPA it couldn’t delay a new standard for dangerous levels of lead in paint and dust. Many of these legal problems have stemmed from the sheer pace of the rollbacks – required public comment periods have been set aside in some cases, any rationale for repeal or delay has been missing in others. Opponents of the administration also believe there is a determination to expunge every vestige of Obama’s environmental legacy, regardless of merit.

Note: Hundreds of people have left or been forced out of the Environmental Protection Agency since the current administration took office. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


This Computer Uses Light—Not Electricity—To Train AI Algorithms
2018-02-20, Wired
https://www.wired.com/story/this-computer-uses-lightnot-electricityto-train-a...

William Andregg ushers me into the cluttered workshop of his startup Fathom Computing. Inside [a bulky black box is] a prototype computer that processes data using light, not electricity, and it’s learning to recognize handwritten digits. In other experiments the device learned to generate sentences in text. Andregg claims this is the first time such complex machine-learning software has been trained using circuits that pulse with laser light, not electricity. The company is working to shrink its [prototype], which covers a few square feet of workbench, to fit into a standard cloud server. Fathom hopes the technology will become one of the shovels of the artificial-intelligence gold rush. Tech companies, particularly large cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft, spend heavily on computer chips to power machine-learning algorithms. Fathom’s founders are betting this hunger for more powerful machine learning will outstrip the capabilities of purely electronic computers. “Optics has fundamental advantages over electronics,” says William Andregg. You’re already reaping the benefits of using light instead of electricity to work with data. Telecommunications companies move our web pages and selfies over long distances by shooting lasers down optical fiber. Optical computers aren’t likely to power your laptop or smartphone any time soon. Fathom’s prototype is still too bulky, for one thing. But the technology does look to be a decent match for the main work that chips perform in AI projects based on artificial neural networks.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Ikea joins Big Clean Switch to offer 100% renewable energy tariff
2018-02-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/feb/20/ikea-joins-big-clean-switch-...

Ikea is calling for households to join its latest joint venture – a collective energy switch that promises an exclusive 100% renewable electricity tariff. The furniture retailer has joined forces with the “Big Clean Switch” campaign to use a collective switch to secure cheaper green power for the households that sign up. The two companies claim it will save a typical UK household Ł300 a year in lower gas and electricity bills. Big Clean Switch describes itself as a “profit with purpose” company that helps people move to renewable electricity providers. Its website only list tariffs where the supplier can guarantee that 100% of the electricity sold is matched from renewables such as sun, wind and water. Big Clean Switch will then negotiate the best deal it can with green suppliers, at which point customers can choose to sign up. The prices will be announced on 6 March. For every switch, Ikea will receive a commission payment. It remains to be seen whether this big switch will undercut the cheapest 100% green electricity suppliers already available. Anyone can switch to a green supplier via a comparison site. Tonik is one of the cheapest green suppliers at the moment. People’s Energy is another. Consumers have nothing to lose by registering with the Ikea initiative, but will have to decide when the prices are announced whether this is better than the deals on offer. In the past, some collective switches have been “best in market” offering big savings, but others have not.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing energy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Autism Breakthrough: Girl's Writings Explain Her Behavior and Feelings
2018-02-19, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4311223&page=1

Carly Fleischmann has severe autism and is unable to speak a word. But ... this 13-year-old has made a remarkable breakthrough. Two years ago, working with pictures and symbols on a computer keyboard, she started typing and spelling out words. The computer became her voice. "All of a sudden these words started to pour out of her, and it was an exciting moment because we didn't realize she had all these words," said speech pathologist Barbara Nash. Then Carly began opening up, describing what it was like to have autism. Carly writes about her frustrations with her siblings, how she understands their jokes and asks when can she go on a date. "We were stunned," Carly's father Arthur Fleischmann said. "We realized inside was an articulate, intelligent, emotive person that we had never met. This ... opened up a whole new way of looking at her." This is what Carly wants people to know about autism. "It is hard to be autistic because no one understands me. People look at me and assume I am dumb because I can't talk or I act differently than them. I think people get scared with things that look or seem different than them." Carly had another message for people who don't understand autism. "Autism is hard because you want to act one way, but you can't always do that. It's sad that sometimes people don't know that sometimes I can't stop myself and they get mad at me. If I could tell people one thing about autism it would be that I don't want to be this way. But I am, so don't be mad. Be understanding."

Note: Read an excellent follow-up article in which Carly answers readers questions about autism. For more, see this webpage.


Kept out: How banks block people of color from homeownership
2018-02-16, Chicago Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-bc-us--reveal-modern-day-redlining-201...

Fifty years after the federal Fair Housing Act banned racial discrimination in lending, African Americans and Latinos continue to be routinely denied conventional mortgage loans at rates far higher than their white counterparts. This modern-day redlining persisted in 61 metro areas even when controlling for applicants' income, loan amount and neighborhood, according to millions of ... records analyzed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting. Lenders and their trade organizations do not dispute the fact that they turn away people of color at rates far greater than whites, [and] singled out the three-digit credit score ... as especially important in lending decisions. Reveal's analysis included all records publicly available under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Credit score was not included because that information is not publicly available. That's because lenders have deflected attempts to force them to report that data to the government. America's largest bank, JPMorgan Chase & Co., has argued that the data should remain closed off even to academics. At the same time, studies have found proprietary credit score algorithms to have a discriminatory impact on borrowers of color. The "decades-old credit scoring model" currently used "does not take into account consumer data on ... bill payments," Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina wrote in August. "This exclusion disproportionately hurts African-Americans, Latinos, and young people who are otherwise creditworthy."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and civil liberties.


Lockheed Martin got $35.2 billion from taxpayers last year. That’s more than many federal agencies.
2018-02-16, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/in-trumps-budget-lockheed-loo...

Of Lockheed Martin’s $51 billion in sales last year, nearly 70 percent, or $35.2 billion, came from sales to the U.S. government. It’s a colossal figure, hard to comprehend. So think of it this way: Lockheed’s government sales are nearly what the Trump administration proposed for the State Department next year in its recently released spending plan. Or $15 billion more than all of NASA. Or about the gross domestic product of Bolivia. Year after year, Lockheed has received more federal money than any other corporation. Now, President Trump has opened the floodgates for defense spending, proposing $716 billion for the Pentagon, a 13 percent increase. And the defense industry is poised to profit, with Lockheed in the lead. “Diplomacy is out; airstrikes are in,” said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace consultant with the Teal Group. In 2013, Marine Corps Gen. Jim Mattis, now the secretary of defense, told Congress, “If you don’t fully fund the State Department, then I need to buy more ammunition.” As journalist Fred Kaplan noted in Slate, the Trump administration’s budget calls for a more than 25 percent increase in spending on missiles and munitions and a 26 percent cut to the State Department’s funding. The Pentagon wants to buy more Super Hornet fighter jets, a boon for Boeing. But ... there has been nothing like the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Over its projected 60-year life span, it’s expected to cost more than $1 trillion, making it the most expensive weapons program in the history of the Defense Department.

Note: Lockheed Martin runs a breathtakingly big part of the United States, and was reported in 2015 to be “engaged in deep and systemic corruption" including paying off a Congresswoman. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the corporate world.


Diplomats in Cuba Suffered Brain Injuries. Experts Still Don’t Know Why.
2018-02-15, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/15/health/cuba-diplomats-attack-concussions.html

A group of American diplomats stationed in Havana appear to have symptoms of concussion without ever having received blows to their heads, medical experts have found. The diplomats originally were said to have been victims of a “sonic attack,” a possibility that the Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly ruled out. The experts’ report, published late Wednesday in the journal JAMA, does not solve the mystery, instead raising even more questions about what could have caused the brain injuries. The incidents occurred in 2016, when 18 of the 21 affected diplomats reported they heard strange sounds in their homes or hotel rooms. All but one reported immediate symptoms: headache, pain in one ear, loss of hearing. Days or weeks later, other symptoms emerged. The State Department asked researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to investigate. Their report confirmed neurological problems in the diplomats, including signs of what appear to be concussions. The study’s lead author, Dr. Douglas H. Smith [said], “This is ... concussion without blunt head trauma.” Like concussion patients, some of the diplomats improved on their own, while others recovered only after therapy. Dr. Smith and his colleagues do not think audible sound caused the injuries. Perhaps, they speculated, a device that produced another sort of harmful energy also produced an audible sound. Low-frequency infrasound, high-frequency ultrasound and microwaves have all been shown to damage the brain, the researchers noted.

Note: Was this a false flag attack using non-lethal weapons to get the US out of Cuba? More here.


China reassigns 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in bid to fight pollution
2018-02-13, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/china-tree-plant-soldiers-reass...

China has reportedly reassigned over 60,000 soldiers to plant trees in a bid to combat pollution by increasing the country's forest coverage. A large regiment from the People's Liberation Army, along with some of the nation's armed police force, have been withdrawn from their posts on the northern border to work on non-military tasks inland. The majority will be dispatched to Hebei province, which encircles Beijing, according to the Asia Times. The area is known to be a major culprit for producing the notorious smog which blankets the capital city. The idea is believed to be popular among members of online military forums as long as they can keep their ranks and entitlements. It comes as part of China's plan to plant at least 84,000 square kilometres (32,400 square miles) of trees by the end of the year, which is roughly equivalent to the size of Ireland. The aim is to increase the country's forest coverage from 21 per cent of its total landmass to 23 per cent by 2020. Zhang Jianlong, head of China's State Forestry Administration, said by 2035 the figure could reach as high as 26 per cent."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The good news is … people like to read good news
2018-02-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/12/but-first-here-is-the-good-news-

Strange thing happens when you write about something going right. People take notice. They read to the end. They share it with their friends. They write to thank you. Eighteen months ago, the Guardian launched a pilot project to see how readers would respond if we deliberately sought out the good things happening in the world. More than 150 pieces of journalism later – in which we have examined the relative merits of everything from dog turds to ketamine, the blockchain to microhouses, and gardening to exoskeletons – we have proof of concept. Reader numbers for this kind of journalism have proven remarkably robust throughout the project. While audiences have always been riveted by bad news (it serves as both an early warning system and a reassurance about the comfort of their own lives), they are tired of the avalanche of awfulness. They are switching off. If people just shrug at news because they feel there is little they can do, nothing will change. Journalists in the US, Europe and the UK are waking up to this by publishing what is variously described as constructive journalism, solutions journalism or, somewhat misleadingly, positive news. Now the Guardian is deepening its commitment to this type of work. Our new series, The Upside, launched this week with [a] determination to show readers all of humanity, not just the bad bits. As our editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, promised in a speech ... recently, “we will develop ideas that help improve the world, not just critique it.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Government spying on immigrants in America is now fair game.
2018-02-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/feb/12/government-spying-immig...

Last week, the existence of a draft Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report came to light, which calls for long-term surveillance of Sunni Muslim immigrants. Internal documents obtained from the FBI and DHS last year also showed how the agencies are surveilling the Movement for Black Lives, bringing into mind tactics of Cointelpro, an FBI program which secretly and illegally conducted surveillance on the civil rights movement in order to disrupt Americans’ ability to organize politically. But these are not the only types of surveillance this administration is engaged in. On 18 October, DHS implemented a new rule to track the internet activity of all visa applicants, visa holders and legal permanent residents. The rule would also apply to naturalized US citizens. The new rule would track and store social media account information and other highly sensitive data as part of individuals’ immigration files. The policy would allow DHS to collect and track immigrants’ social media accounts handles as well as aliases, and search results from both public search engines as well as commercial databases. The rule ... seems like it was designed with the specific purpose of hampering our freedom of speech, in line with the Trump administration’s other chilling tactics of attacks on the press and crackdowns on protesters who do not fall in line with the policies of this administration. This covert surveillance, now culminating in overt spying on immigrants, is designed as a tactic to control and fracture dissent.

Note: Read more about the FBI's infamous Cointelpro program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Safe, happy and free: does Finland have all the answers?
2018-02-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/12/safe-happy-and-free-does-finlan...

Western Europe’s last naturally caused famine ended 150 years ago. In ... Finland, more than a quarter of a million people – nearly 10% of the population – starved to death. Last year ... Finland was ranked, by assorted international indices, the most stable, the safest and the best-governed country in the world. It was also the third wealthiest, the third least corrupt, the second most socially progressive and the third most socially just. Finland’s judicial system is the most independent in the world, its police the most trusted, its banks the soundest, its companies the second most ethical, its elections the second freest, and its citizens enjoy the highest levels of personal freedom, choice and wellbeing. The Nordic country’s 5.5 million inhabitants are also the third most gender-equal in the world and have the fifth lowest income inequality. Their babies are the least underweight, their kids feel the most secure, and their teens perform the second best at reading (only third at science, though). In a century and a half, they seem to have done rather well. The magic sauce ... seems based mainly on basic virtues: self-confidence, cooperation, equality, respect for education, trust. At bottom and in practice, says [Finnish journalist] Anu Partanen ... it boils down to a different quality of relationship. She calls it ... the Nordic theory of love. “In a society, it means policy choices aimed at ensuring the greatest possible degree of independence, freedom and opportunity for everyone.”

Note: Watch this 10-minute video about how Finland completely turned around it's education system to become #1 in the world, largely by cutting out homework. The above article is part of an inspiring new Guardian series investigating the things that are going right in the world.


Former Pentagon director says UFOs warp space-time for uncanny movement: Did aliens figure out time travel?
2018-02-10, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.in/former-pentagon-director-says-ufos-warp-space-time-u...

Alien and Unidentified Flying Objects (UFO) have been mind-boggling stuff since 1947 – the first time a well-known UFO sighting occurred. Cut to 2004, Navy pilots encountered a UFO off the San Diego coast. According to an eyewitness, pilot David Fravor, the 40-foot Tic-Tac shaped white vehicle moved, unlike any other thing he had ever seen in the air with lightning speed. UFOs are often reported to display bizarre aerodynamics, defying the laws of physics, which human minds are still incapable of apprehending. Former director of the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program - Pentagon's program to identify and investigate UFOs, Luis Elizondo has put forward an explanation about "the physics of how it works". "We do believe all these observables we've been seeing, sudden and extreme acceleration, hypersonic velocities, low observability, trans medium travel, and last but not least, positive lift, anti-gravity – is really the manifestation of a single technology," Elizondo said. It is the ability to warp space-time, Elizondo explained, and not by a lot, but by a little. Space and Time Warps theory says that the fourth dimension called the space-time continuum, which fuses the three dimensions of space and the one dimension of time, can be bent like a cloth when exposed to high gravity of objects. Thus from here, another question arises: Are aliens time-travellers?

Note: Luis Elizondo is one of several former government officials reportedly working with a new company called To the Stars Academy for Arts and Sciences. Watch an excellent 8-minute video showing that something is fishy about this company. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing UFO news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.


Where Do You Go When You Die? The Increasing Signs that Human Consciousness Remains After Death
2018-02-10, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/where-do-you-go-when-you-die-increasing-signs-human-c...

Clinically, we understand death to mean the state that takes hold after our hearts stop beating. Philosophically, though, our definition of death hinges on something else: the point past which we’re no longer able to return. Those two were more or less the same until about 50 years ago, when we saw the advent of CPR. Modern resuscitation ... blew apart our understanding of what it means to be dead. Without many people returning from the dead to show us otherwise, it was natural to assume, from a scientific perspective, that our consciousness dies at the same time as our bodies. Over the last few years, though, scientists have seen repeated evidence that once you die, your brain cells take days, potentially longer, to reach the point past which they’ve degraded too far to ever be viable again. People who survive medical death frequently report experiences that share similar themes: bright lights; benevolent guiding figures; relief from physical pain and a deeply felt sensation of peace. Because those experiences are subjective, it's possible to chalk them up to hallucinations. Where that explanation fails, though, is among the patients who have died on an operating table or crash cart and reported watching ... as doctors tried to save them, accounts subsequently verified by the (very perplexed) doctors themselves. How these patients were able to describe objective events that took place while they were dead, we're not exactly sure. But it does seem to suggest that when our brains and bodies die, our consciousness may not.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on near-death experiences. Then explore our near-death experience resource center for lots more fascinating, reliable information on this vital topic.


'Calls From Home': How one Kentucky radio station connects inmates and families
2018-02-09, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2018/0209/Calls-From-Home-How-one-Kentu...

Tom Sexton leans forward into a microphone. “Coming up by request,” he says in a softened-for-radio Appalachian drawl, “going out to Sporty Black from his wife, this is Kendrick Lamar with ‘LOVE.’ ” The melodic R&B track then begins to emanate from the heart of this small eastern Kentucky town. Tonight’s shows are targeted for a very specific audience. People like “Sporty Black.” More than 5,000 men are incarcerated in the six federal and state prisons in the broadcasting range of WMMT. Every week, for almost 20 years, the station has produced a show called “Calls From Home” that broadcasts recorded messages from the inmates’ friends and family members. WMMT bills itself as “a 24 hour voice of mountain people,” and as far as the station is concerned, if the inmates can tune in, then they are mountain people too. “They’re here and part of our communities,” says Elizabeth Sanders, WMMT’s co-general manager. “Anything we can do to help make the barriers between them and their families a little bit less, then we’re fulfilling part of our mission as the radio station here,” she adds. The show has become something of a national phenomenon. Every Monday night calls flood in to the station. Some of the calls come with children discussing a report card, a “happy birthday” rendition, or more somber family news. The costs of calling prisons directly ... have been rising for years, reaching in excess of $10 a minute. “Having a toll-free number can help families keep in touch a little bit more,” says Sanders.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Climate Change Just Got a Little Less Terrible
2018-02-09, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-09/climate-change-just-got-a-...

There are some 20,000 research papers listed on Google Scholar, a search engine for academics, that mention the worst-case scenario for climate change. Basically, it’s the most cataclysmic estimate of global warming. This scenario is important to scientists. According to a provocative new analysis from the University of British Columbia, it’s also wrong. This is good news. The researchers contend that current goals of reducing coal, oil and gas consumption may be closer than we think. The basic issue has to do with coal. Quite simply, the more we burn, the faster we destroy the atmosphere. The darkest scenario assumes much more coal burning will take place in this century than is likely to happen, according to the study’s authors. For example, the most extreme worst-case storyline assumes that by 2100 coal would grow to 94 percent of the world energy supply. In 2015, that figure was about 28 percent. The new work, published this week in Environmental Research Letters, shows just how much all that phantom coal may be distorting our picture of what the future may look like. It casts “doubt on whether this outlook is still valid,” the researchers write. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted as a result of using energy - called the carbon intensity of energy - has been slipping for decades. The drop in carbon intensity is likely to continue. [The new study] suggest that climate scenarios should be adjusted to capture this “passive decarbonization.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.


Our Opinion: A solution to 'bummer gun' journalism
2018-02-08, Portland Tribune (One of Oregon's leading newspapers)
https://portlandtribune.com/pt/10-opinion/386084-275054-our-opinion-a-solutio...

At Portland's Aladdin Theater at the close of 2017, Storm Large confessed that she finds it hard to follow headlines these days. "It's like a bummer gun aimed right at your face," she said, pointing a pair of imaginary pistols at her head. An April 2016 study by The Tow Center for Digital Journalism offered this sobering observation: "In a journalistic environment where the mantra 'if it bleeds, it leads' continues to resonate - and is amplified ever more by the clickbait web - there is a professional bias in favor of reporting on violence ... and other negative tropes." As journalists, it's our job to point out problems. However, I've come to see that we messengers are part of the problem - and, thankfully, that there's a fix. When I first heard about [the Solutions Journalism Network] I was skeptical. Their point is that journalists ... consistently do an amazing job of providing independent, objective reporting on societal problem. What we don't do as well is report how people respond to those problems, leaving readers like Storm feeling depressed. SJN, led by New York Times reporters Tina Rosenberg and David Bornstein, aims to change that. They're not asking us to dish out "happy news" but simply use a slightly different lens when we look at issues, to take the same professional rigor we bring to our reporting on problems and apply it to investigations of potential remedies. SJN has found that solutions journalism ... engages readers and leaves them feeling empowered, rather than helpless.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing mass media news articles from reliable sources.


Australia child sex abuse: Victims to receive national apology
2018-02-08, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-42984260

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said he will deliver a national apology to victims of child sexual abuse. Mr Turnbull's pledge follows the conclusion of a four-year inquiry that found tens of thousands of children had been abused in Australian institutions. The crimes, over decades, took place in institutions including churches, schools and sports clubs. The royal commission inquiry, which concluded in December, made more than 400 recommendations, including calling on the Catholic Church to overhaul its celibacy rules. "It is not a case of a few 'rotten apples'. Society's major institutions have seriously failed," it said. Mr Turnbull said his government would consult abuse survivors about what should be included in the national apology. He also called on state governments and institutions to join a national redress scheme for victims. "We owe it to survivors not to squander this moment," he said. The Australian government has already pledged A$30m (Ł17m; $23m) to the scheme, which would pay victims up to A$150,000 each. It would also provide counselling and other services. The inquiry heard testimonies from more than 8,000 victims, but it said the true number may never be known.

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.


Patagonia Steps Up Environmental Activism With 'Dating Site' For Grassroots Projects
2018-02-07, Forbes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/melissaanders/2018/02/07/patagonia-steps-up-envi...

Things are so bad for the planet right now that it’s easy to get depressed about it, says Patagonia Inc. founder Yvon Chouinard. The cure for that depression, he says, is action. So he launched Patagonia Action Works, which ... connects individuals with opportunities to support and get involved with grassroots environmental groups. It matches people with events and volunteering opportunities in their area as well as petitions they can sign and ways to donate money. Participating organizations cover issues of land, water, climate, communities and biodiversity. The Ventura, Calif.-based outdoor clothing retailer is no stranger to activism. It has given $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to environmental groups since 1985 as part of a pledge to donate at least 1% of sales to preserve and restore nature. “Patagonia’s reason for existence is to force government and corporations to take action in solving our environmental problems,” Chouinard said in a video promoting the new program. The company made headlines recently for taking a stand against President Donald Trump’s action to reduce the size of two national monuments. Patagonia’s latest move comes as a number of other companies delve into the politically charged realm of activism, including Tiffany and Co., which urged Trump to keep the U.S. in the Paris Climate Agreement, and REI, which also spoke out against the shrinking of public lands.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


German workers win right to 28-hour week
2018-02-07, CNN News
http://money.cnn.com/2018/02/07/news/economy/germany-28-hour-work-week/index....

Millions of German workers are winning the fight for a 28-hour work week. Labor union IG Metall secured an unprecedented deal this week to give a large portion of its 2.3 million members more flexible working hours and a big pay rise. From next year, workers at many of Germany's top engineering firms - such as Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler - can opt to work 28 hours a week for up to two years, before returning to the standard 35-hour week. The deal was negotiated with representatives of more than 700 companies in southwest Germany. It is expected to have ripple effects across German industry. "This sets the standard for everyone else," said Megan Greene, chief economist at Manulife Asset Management. IG Metall said the flexibility would help employees who want to care for children or relatives. Pay will be reduced to reflect the shorter working week. The deal also gives workers the option to work 40 hours to earn more. And non-unionized workers could also benefit from the agreement as firms that employ IG Metall workers offer the same terms to their wider workforce. Daimler said it would offer the new flexible hours to all its employees starting in 2019. Bosch, which employs 138,000 people in Germany, said it would offer the same pay rises and perks to the majority of its German workers. It said the flexible hours wouldn't be disruptive. But other companies may find it harder to swallow.

Note: Several major studies have found that long working hours negatively impact health.


Our Hackable Political Future
2018-02-04, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/04/opinion/hacking-politics-future.html

Imagine it is the spring of 2019. A bottom-feeding website, perhaps tied to Russia, “surfaces” video of a sex scene starring an 18-year-old Kirsten Gillibrand. It is soon debunked as a fake, the product of a user-friendly video application that employs generative adversarial network technology to convincingly swap out one face for another. Then it is fall. The junior senator from New York State announces her campaign for the presidency. At a diner in New Hampshire, one “low information” voter asks another: “Kirsten What’s-her-name? She’s running for president? Didn’t she have something to do with pornography?” Welcome to the shape of things to come. The technology [is] closer than you might think. And even when fake video isn’t perfect, it can convince people who want to be convinced, especially when it reinforces ... stereotypes. It might be impossible to stop the advance of this kind of technology. But the relevant algorithms here aren’t only the ones that run on computer hardware. They are also the ones that undergird our too easily hacked media system, where garbage acquires the perfumed scent of legitimacy with all too much ease. It already feels as though we are living in an alternative science-fiction universe where no one agrees on what it true. Just think how much worse it will be when fake news becomes fake video. Democracy assumes that its citizens share the same reality. We’re about to find out whether democracy can be preserved when this assumption no longer holds.

Note: Read more about producing fake video with computer programs. While governments have long been developing technologies to produce very convincing illusions, and it has become trivial to edit video footage of a person talking to change their words and facial expressions, this emerging technology makes it possible to manipulate mass media in previously impossible ways.


Sedate a Plant, and It Seems to Lose Consciousness. Is It Conscious?
2018-02-02, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/02/science/plants-consciousness-anesthesia.html

Your houseplant salutes the sun each morning. At night, it returns to center. You probably don’t think much of it. But what about all the signs of plant intelligence that have been observed? Under poor soil conditions, the pea seems to be able to assess risk. The sensitive plant can make memories and learn. And plants can communicate with one another and with caterpillars. Now, a study published recently in Annals of Botany has shown that plants can be frozen in place with a range of anesthetics, including the types that are used when you undergo surgery. Insights gleaned from the study may help doctors better understand the variety of anesthetics used in surgeries. But the research also highlights that plants are ... perhaps less different from animals than is often assumed. “Plants are not just robotic, stimulus-response devices,” said [study co-author] Frantisek Baluska, a plant cell biologist. Plants ... take in information from their environment and produce their own anesthetics like menthol, ethanol and cocaine, similar to how humans release chemicals that dull pain during trauma. Our anesthetics work on plants too, the study confirmed, although what exactly they’re working on is unclear. The electrical activity that moves across neurons is thought by some scientists to contribute to human consciousness. If electrical activity is being disrupted by anesthetic in plants, too, causing them to “lose consciousness,” does that mean, in some way, that they are conscious?

Note: Don't miss a time-lapse video of a pea plant responding to an anesthetic at the link above. And check out a fascinating video of plants making music. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle
2018-02-02, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-42916261

Researchers have found more than 60,000 hidden Maya ruins in Guatemala in a major archaeological breakthrough. Laser technology was used to survey digitally beneath the forest canopy, revealing houses, palaces, elevated highways, and defensive fortifications. The landscape, near already-known Maya cities, is thought to have been home to millions more people than other research had previously suggested. "I think this is one of the greatest advances in over 150 years of Maya archaeology," said Stephen Houston, [a] Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology. Results from the research using Lidar technology, which is short for "light detection and ranging", suggest that Central America supported an advanced civilisation more akin to sophisticated cultures like ancient Greece or China. Maya civilisation, at its peak some 1,500 years ago, covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, with an estimated population of around five million. With this new data it's no longer unreasonable to think that there were 10 to 15 million people there. One of the hidden finds is a ... complex network of causeways linking all the Maya cities in the area. The raised highways, allowing easy passage even during rainy seasons, were wide enough to suggest they were heavily trafficked and used for trade. "Understanding everything is connected across many square miles is amazing," said Mr Houston.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing archeology news articles from reliable major media sources.


New Cancer Treatment? Vaccine Kills Tumors in Mice—and Human Tests are Starting Soon
2018-02-01, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/new-cancer-treatment-vaccine-kills-tumors-mice-human-...

A vaccine injected into a tumor triggers the immune system to kill cancer, a new study in mice confirms. Stanford researchers have now begun seeking human patients who want to help test this approach. The research behind this potential new cancer treatment was published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine. Cancer vaccines work a bit differently than a vaccine against the measles or the flu. Those shots are meant to train an immune system to target an infection before the virus or bacteria arrives. Cancer vaccines, however, are given after a person is diagnosed. This shot ... combines two components: a short piece of DNA molecules that can stimulate the immune system to create greater quantities of a receptor called OX40 and a protein that sticks to those receptors, prompting the immune cells to attack the tumor. [Study co-author Dr. Ronald Levy] and his colleagues tested their vaccine in more than 90 mice, some with a tumor transplanted into them and others that were genetically primed to develop cancer. However, the next step in this research will go well beyond mice. Levy and his colleagues have begun looking for about 15 people with lymphoma to test the vaccine in a clinical trial. If the trials are successful, he believes it could help people with a wide variety of cancers. “I don’t think there’s a limit to the type of tumor we could potentially treat, as long as it has been infiltrated by the immune system,” he stated.

Note: For more on this exciting development, see this article. Then see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on promising cancer treatments and health.


A carbon tax killed coal in the UK. Natural gas is next.
2018-02-01, Quartz
https://qz.com/1192753/a-carbon-tax-killed-coal-in-the-uk-natural-gas-is-next/

In 2012, the UK ranked 20th out of a list of 33 rich countries in terms of low-carbon electricity use. In 2017, it jumped to 7th. No other country has ever climbed up the rankings so quickly. How did the UK manage it? It imposed a carbon tax. The carbon tax, or the carbon floor price as policymakers refer to it, was introduced in 2013. It stands at Ł18 ($25) per ton of carbon dioxide emitted in producing electricity. As a member of the EU’s emissions trading scheme (for now), UK electricity providers also pay a market-based price for carbon credits, which is about Ł5 per ton of CO2. After the tax was introduced, it became much more expensive to burn coal, which produces about twice the emissions per unit of energy as natural gas. The carbon floor price only applies at the point of generation. That means, only UK producers are required to pay it. In normal conditions, this would mean that the interconnectors would have been able to include bids from cheaper dirty fossil fuel generation outside the UK. As it happens, however, France, Norway, and Belgium generate a very high proportion of electricity from low-carbon sources. Even the Netherlands, which only gets 15% of its electricity from renewable sources, can provide a lot of low-carbon electricity on windier days. With the carbon floor price probably set to increase after 2020, the clear direction the UK’s electricity market is headed is away from fossil fuels.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


What Happens When Amazon Takes on Health Care
2018-02-01, Time
http://time.com/5128377/amazon-and-friends-takes-on-a-new-industry-health-care/

Amazon has announced that it - along with Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and the banking behemoth JPMorgan Chase - will be entering the dominion of health care. Word that Amazon was entering health care immediately depressed the value of old-school health-insurance companies. Anyone who has been a customer of either knows why. The U.S. health care system is the antithesis of Silicon Valley. Grossly inefficient and user-unfriendly, it may be the least transparent enterprise outside the Kremlin - and just as awash in money. The $3.3 trillion that Americans spent on health care in 2016 was close to Germany’s entire GDP that year. It accounted for an astounding 18% of the U.S. gross domestic product - twice the share other developed countries typically spend on health - and produced a return on investment that would get any CEO fired. Life expectancy in the U.S. is actually going down. David Cutler, a health economist at Harvard, made the striking calculation that administration accounts for about a quarter of the cost of health care. He once pointed out that Duke University Hospital had 900 beds and 1,300 billing clerks. If the triad of Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase can find a way to bring sense to health care, the savings will accrue first for those three companies, which are not acting out of altruism. But ... when the worker reaches a doctor without having to run a gauntlet, the vaunted, disruptive efficiency of tech will have produced a common good.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.


A town of 3,200 was flooded with nearly 21 million pain pills as addiction crisis worsened, lawmakers say
2018-01-31, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/01/31/a-town-of-32...

Over the past decade, nearly 21 million prescription painkillers have been shipped to a tiny town in West Virginia, a state where more people have overdosed on opioids and died than in any other in the nation. 20.8 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills have been delivered to Williamson, W.Va., a town with ... fewer than 3,200 residents. [House Energy and Commerce] Committee leaders sent letters to two regional drug distributors, asking why the companies oversupplied this town, among others, with painkillers. “These numbers are outrageous,” Reps. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) said in a statement. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday announced a nationwide crackdown on pharmacies and prescribers that are oversupplying opioids amid a deadly epidemic sweeping the United States. In the letters, dated Jan. 26, the congressional committee noted that between 2006 and 2016, drug distributors shipped large quantities of hydrocodone and oxycodone to two pharmacies in Williamson. During that time, Tug Valley Pharmacy received more than 10.2 million pills and Hurley Drug Company received more than 10.5 million pills. The pharmacies are 0.2 miles apart. The committee said in a letter to distributor Miami-Luken that from 2008 to 2015, the company had supplied more than half of all the prescription pain pills shipped to Tug Valley Pharmacy. And distributor H.D. Smith, the committee said, provided the pharmacies with nearly 5 million pills between 2007 and 2008.

Note: A CBS article titled, "Ex-DEA agent: Opioid crisis fueled by drug industry and Congress" describes major regulatory failures that contributed to this addiction crisis. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why Do You Need a College Degree to Give Diet Advice?
2018-01-31, Wall Street Journal
https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-do-you-need-a-college-degree-to-give-diet-ad...

Heather Kokesch Del Castillo launched a dietary advice business in Monterey, Calif., in 2014. Ms. Del Castillo eventually established a nationwide client base as a “health coach.” But when her husband, who is in the Air Force, was transferred to a base in Florida, her business hit a roadblock. A Florida Department of Health investigator showed up ... with a cease-and-desist letter and a $750 fine. After nearly two years of operating her business in Florida, Ms. Del Castillo learned that she had run afoul of a law requiring any person offering dietary advice to possess a state-issued license. Qualifying for that permit requires a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, a 900-hour internship, a passing grade on an exam administered by the state Commission on Dietetic Registration, and a $355 fee. A licensed dietitian had tipped off the Health Department that Ms. Del Castillo was giving unauthorized advice. She retained the Institute for Justice, a public-interest law firm, to fight the law that stripped her of her livelihood. About 1 in 4 Americans need licenses to perform their occupations. In some states, florists, taxidermists and even fortune-tellers need licenses to operate. Far too often, these licenses serve less as safeguards of public health and safety than as barriers to entry. In many cases, the state-appointed boards that issue licenses are stocked with industry insiders seeking to restrict competition. Aggressive licensing regimes limit the ability of Americans to move from state to state. All Americans ought to have access to license portability.

Note: The full text of this document is available on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Earth's Magnetic Poles Show Signs They're About to Flip
2018-01-30, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/earth-magnetic-poles-signs-flip-exposing-humans-radia...

Historically, Earth’s North and South magnetic poles have flipped every 200,000 or 300,000 years—except right now, they haven’t flipped successfully for about 780,000 years. But the planet’s magnetic field is at long last showing signs of shifting. Although there’s no way to know yet for sure, it could be gearing up to flip once more, according to Undark Magazine. And that possibility is raising new speculation about what that means for planetary life. Our planet’s magnetic field protects us from lethal levels of radiation from phenomena like solar rays. The Earth’s magnetic field extends out from electrical currents created by the metals in its core, generating invisible lines that touch back down at the planet’s opposing magnetic poles. Cosmic radiation expert Daniel Baker, director of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, Boulder, believes that the next pole reversal could likely render some areas of the planet unlivable. Because we haven’t reached that point yet, scientists are using imagery from satellites to track the magnetic field’s movements. Since 2014, Swarm - a trio of satellites from the European Space Agency - has allowed researchers to study changes building at the Earth’s core, where the magnetic field is generated. Their observations ... could indicate that the field is preparing to flip. A weakened field might allow more radiation into our atmosphere than we’re used to, but it wouldn’t be deadly, according to NASA.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the mysterious nature of reality.


Orcas can imitate human speech, research reveals
2018-01-30, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jan/31/orcas-killer-whales-can-imita...

New research reveals that orcas are able to imitate human speech, in some cases at the first attempt, saying words such as “hello”, “one, two” and “bye bye”. The creatures are already known for their ability to copy the movements of other orcas, with some reports suggesting they can also mimic the sounds of bottlenose dolphins and sea lions. “We wanted to see how flexible a killer whale can be in copying sounds,” said [study co-author] Josep Call. “We thought what would be really convincing is to present them with something that is not in their repertoire – and in this case ‘hello’ [is] not what a killer whale would say.” Only a fraction of the animal kingdom can mimic human speech, with brain pathways and vocal apparatus both thought to determine whether it is possible. “That is what makes it even more impressive – even though the morphology [of orcas] is so different, they can still produce a sound that comes close to what another species, in this case us, can produce,” said Call. Wikie, a 14-year-old female orca ... had previously been trained to copy actions performed by another orca when given a human gesture. After first brushing up Wikie’s grasp of the “copy” command, she was ... exposed to five orca sounds she had never heard before. Finally, Wikie was exposed to a human making three of the orca sounds, as well as six human sounds. Wikie was often quickly able to copy the sounds, whether from an orca or a human, with all of the novel noises mimicked within 17 trials.

Note: Learn more about the amazing world of marine mammals.


Who buys a trafficked child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men.
2018-01-30, USA Today/Indianapolis Star
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2018/01/30/sex-trafficking-...

She was only 15, pregnant and alone on the streets. In this wounded child, [Marcus] Thompson saw a means to make money. Thompson and his wife, Robin, forced the girl on a nightmarish six-week trek across the southern United States. Photographed in suggestive poses and marketed online, she was sold out of hotel rooms and truck stops to any man with the money and the desire to buy sex. The victim was [eventually] rescued and provided with treatment. The traffickers who exploited her were caught, pleaded guilty and were sent to prison. But what of the men who paid to rape this child? Not a single one was ever charged. That same breach of justice is the norm in thousands of trafficking cases. About 10,000 children a year suffer the horrors of commercial sexual exploitation in the United States. Each victim on average is forced to have sex more than five times a day. The buyers who fuel the child sex trade are seldom held accountable. Most just blend back into their families, jobs and neighborhoods. Until the next time. Who buys a 15-year-old child for sex? “They’re in all walks of life,” a 17-year-old survivor from the Midwest, trafficked when she was 15, said about the more than 150 men who purchased her in a month. “Some could be upstanding people in the community. It was mostly people in their 40s, living in the suburbs.” The scale of the trade indicates that it’s not a small number of men who pay to have sex with kids. Adults purchase children for sex at least 2.5 million times a year in the United States.

Note: The above is the first of 10 columns in a series titled, "Exploited," which explores the cultural and economic forces that contribute to commercial sexual exploitation. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Chile creates national parks from donated land
2018-01-30, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-42868690

Chile has officially designated a national park network including land privately donated by a US couple. The government signed a deal with Kristine McDivitt Tompkins, who worked with late husband Doug for decades to protect areas of Patagonia. Chilean President Michelle Bachelet called the signing an "unprecedented preservation effort". Tompkins Conservation, the not-for-profit organisation set up by the couple, said the area being protected was roughly the size of Switzerland. Their donation is thought to be the largest of land by private owners to a country. The move will create five new national parks, and expand three others. In total it adds about 10 million acres of land, about one tenth of which was donated by the Tompkins. The Chilean government wants the string of national parks to span a tourist route of more than 1,500 miles (2,400km) across the country. Mrs Tompkins was formerly the CEO of outdoor brand Patagonia, and her husband was one of the founders of outdoor brands The North Face and Espirit. They relocated to Chile in 1994 to work on conservation, buying up land to ecologically preserve as wilderness. Kristine Tompkins signed an agreement with the national government in March 2017, following her husband's accidental death. Monday's designation was the latest act of natural protection by the outgoing Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. In 2017 an area off the coast of Easter Island was designated as one of the world's largest marine protection zones.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The Follower Factory
2018-01-27, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/27/technology/social-media-bots.html

An obscure American company named Devumi ... has collected millions of dollars in a shadowy global marketplace for social media fraud. Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, businesses and anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers. The accounts that most resemble real people ... reveal a kind of large-scale social identity theft. At least 55,000 of the accounts use the names, profile pictures, hometowns and other personal details of real Twitter users, including minors. Fake accounts, deployed by governments, criminals and entrepreneurs, now infest social media networks. As many as 48 million of Twitter’s reported active users ... are automated accounts designed to simulate real people. In November, Facebook disclosed ... that it had at least twice as many fake users as it previously estimated. Up to 60 million automated accounts may roam the world’s largest social media platform. Devumi has more than 200,000 customers, including reality television stars, professional athletes, comedians, TED speakers, pastors and models. Devumi’s fake followers also serve as phantom foot soldiers in political battles online. Devumi’s customers include both avid supporters and fervent critics of President Trump, and both liberal cable pundits and a reporter at the alt-right bastion Breitbart.

Note: The use of social media to manipulate public perception has reportedly influenced recent elections in Latin America, the UK, and the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


New York Attorney General to Investigate Firm That Sells Fake Followers
2018-01-27, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/27/technology/schneiderman-social-media-bots....

The New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, on Saturday opened an investigation into a company that sold millions of fake followers on social media platforms, some of them copying real users’ personal information. The company, Devumi, and its sale of automated followers to a swath of celebrities, sports stars, journalists and politicians, was detailed in a New York Times article published earlier on Saturday. At least 55,000 of its “bot” accounts used names, pictures, hometowns and other details taken from people on Twitter. The real users hailed from every U.S. state, including New York, and dozens of countries. “Impersonation and deception are illegal under New York law,” Mr. Schneiderman wrote. “We’re opening an investigation into Devumi and its apparent sale of bots using stolen identities.” Tens of millions of fake accounts have been deployed to defraud businesses, influence political debates online and attract customers. Social media companies, including Twitter and Facebook, have drawn intense scrutiny for not taking greater steps to weed them out. Mr. Schneiderman ... has brought a series of cases focused on the emerging world of online fraud, impersonation and abuse. In December, he began an investigation into how the Federal Communications Commission was flooded with millions of fake comments on a proposal to scrap so-called net neutrality rules. Many of the comments used names and addresses borrowed from real people, almost always without their knowledge.

Note: The use of social media to manipulate public perception has reportedly influenced recent elections in Latin America, the UK, and the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Yale’s Most Popular Class Ever: Happiness
2018-01-26, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/nyregion/at-yale-class-on-happiness-draws-...

A few days after registration opened at Yale for Psyc 157, Psychology and the Good Life, roughly 300 people had signed up. Within [six] more days, about 1,200 students, or nearly one-fourth of Yale undergraduates, were enrolled. The course, taught by Laurie Santos ... tries to teach students how to lead a happier, more satisfying life in twice-weekly lectures. “Students want to change, to be happier themselves, and to change the culture here on campus,” Dr. Santos said in an interview. “If we see good habits, things like students showing more gratitude, procrastinating less, increasing social connections, we’re actually seeding change in the school’s culture.” A 2013 report by the Yale College Council found that more than half of undergraduates sought mental health care from the university during their time there. “A lot of us are anxious, stressed, unhappy, numb,” said Alannah Maynez, 19, a freshman taking the course. “The fact that a class like this has such large interest speaks to how tired students are of numbing their emotions - both positive and negative - so they can focus on their work.” Psychology and the Good Life ... stands as the most popular course in Yale’s 316-year history. Dr. Santos has encouraged all students to enroll in the course on a pass-fail basis, tying into her argument that the things Yale undergraduates often connect with life satisfaction - a high grade, a prestigious internship, a good-paying job - do not increase happiness at all.

Note: Harvard, Stanford and other colleges are getting in on the action, too, as reported in this article.


Air Force One's new refrigerators cost $24 million
2018-01-26, CNN News
https://www.cnn.com/2018/01/26/politics/air-force-one-refrigerator-contract-b...

Air Force One is primed to receive an upgrade that will include new refrigerators expected to cost American taxpayers nearly $24 million. The US Air Force awarded Boeing a $23.6 million contract in December to replace two of the five "cold chiller units" aboard the aircraft. The $24 million contract will cover the costs of engineering support services for the new chillers - including prototype design, manufacturing and installation, according to the DOD contract. Former senior adviser to President Barack Obama Eric Schultz mocked the high price tag in a tweet on Friday, saying, "we would have been impeached." The Boeing fridge contract isn't the first time an administration has come under fire for the high cost of military aircraft upgrades - the Obama administration was pressured to scuttle plans to build a new fleet of presidential helicopters in 2009 after reports emerged that they cost at least $11 billion. When he was running for president, Trump boasted he would swap out Air Force One with his private jet and has been fiercely critical of the cost of the new Air Force One program in the past. But since taking office, Trump - like his predecessors - has traveled aboard the Boeing-made VC-25 aircraft. The Air Force announced last year that it had finalized a deal to purchase two already-built aircraft from Boeing to serve as the next generation of Air Force One. That contract is separate from the arrangement ... for upkeep of the current Air Force One fleet.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


5G Cellphone Towers Signal Renewed Concerns Over Impacts On Health
2018-01-25, CBS News (San Francisco affiliate)
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/01/25/consumerwatch-5g-cellphone-towers...

Is a cell tower going up in your neighborhood? Wireless carriers are installing millions of them across the country. Many are ... asking: Are there legitimate health concerns? That question is keeping John Hiestand up at night. Outside his bedroom window he can see a new pole where Verizon will soon install a next-generation cell tower. It’s called a “small cell” or “distributed antenna system.” The industry says they’re safe. Many in Piedmont aren’t convinced – including the Hiestands. However, according to federal law the city simply can’t consider health concerns. It’s outlined in a small section of the Telecommunications Act. If cities do consider health, cell companies can sue them. So, with few legal arguments to deny a tower, they’re popping up outside bedroom windows and school campuses, despite objections from across the country. The International Association of Firefighters ... began opposing cell towers on fire stations, after firefighters complained of health problems. “These firefighters developed symptoms,” says Dr. Gunnar Heuser. “The symptoms included problems with memory, problems with intermittent confusion, problems with weakness,” Heuser said. Heuser says their brain scans suggest even low-level RF can cause cell damage. “We found abnormal brain function in all of the firefighters we examined,” Heuser said. So, following lobbying by firefighters, [Piedmont officials] exempted fire stations from their bill, making them one place cell companies couldn’t put a tower.

Note: Read an excellent article on the serious dangers of 5G wireless technology which is being rolled out. France has recently banned WiFi in nursery schools. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


NSA Deletes “Honesty” and “Openness” From Core Values
2018-01-24, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2018/01/24/nsa-core-values-honesty-deleted/

The National Security Agency maintains a page on its website that outlines its mission statement. Since at least May 2016, the surveillance agency had featured honesty as the first of four “core values” listed on NSA.gov, alongside “respect for the law,” “integrity,” and “transparency.” On January 12, however, the NSA removed the mission statement page – which can still be viewed through the Internet Archive – and replaced it with a new version. Now, the parts about honesty and the pledge to be truthful have been deleted. The agency’s new top value is “commitment to service,” which it says means “excellence in the pursuit of our critical mission.” Those are not the only striking alterations. All references to “trust,” “honor,” and “openness” have disappeared. The agency previously stated on its website that it embraced transparency and claimed that all of its activities were aimed at “ensuring the safety, security, and liberty of our fellow citizens.” That has also been discarded. The new list of values includes the additions “respect for people” and “accountability.” But the section on respecting people is a reference to diversity within the NSA workforce, not a general commitment to members of the public. Accountability is defined as taking “responsibility for our decisions.” The one core value that remains essentially unchanged is “respect for the law,” which the agency says means it is “grounded in our adherence to the U.S. Constitution and compliance with the U.S. laws, regulations and policies that govern our activities.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


White Coat Betrayal: Ending Sexual Assault in Medicine
2018-01-24, US News and World Report
https://health.usnews.com/health-care/for-better/articles/2018-01-24/white-co...

As a women's health advocate and practicing OB-GYN for 25 years, I want to point out that some doctors, especially male gynecologists, pediatricians and anesthesiologists and psychiatrists, have raped, fondled and molested patients of all ages. Finally, the conversation is getting started because of Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar. He's the former team doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics, and he was sentenced to 60 years in prison on child pornography (37,000 images!) charges. I've heard story upon story about sexual misconduct from my patients, including inappropriate touching and sexual misconduct during their gynecologic exams when they were young women. Experiences like these have a long-term negative effect on a woman and the way she takes care of her physical health during her lifetime. Trying to get any hard facts or statistics about doctor sexual misconduct is very difficult. According to the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, "half of the more than 2,400 doctors sanctioned since 1999 for sexual misconduct involving patients still have active medical licenses." A nationwide investigation by the AJC published in July 2016 found widespread sexual abuse by doctors – from OB-GYNs committing rape and anesthesiologists taking advantage of sedated patients to pediatricians molesting children. We cannot tolerate business as usual. I would like to see a law passed where violating a patient would result in revoking his or her medical license, jail time and being forever identified as a sex offender on state registries.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals and health.


In Larry Nassar’s Case, a Single Voice Eventually Raised an Army
2018-01-24, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/24/sports/rachael-denhollander-nassar-gymnast...

Rachael Denhollander had the first word and the last one. A former gymnast who became a lawyer and a coach, Ms. Denhollander told The Indianapolis Star in 2016 that Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar had molested her as a child. She had just read a report in The Star about U.S.A. Gymnastics’ mishandling of sexual misconduct allegations against coaches. But no one had yet spoken up about Dr. Nassar, who molested young athletes for about two decades while pretending the abuse was therapy. The Star soon published an article about the doctor, based on reports from two former gymnasts. One remained anonymous. The other was Rachael Denhollander. In a Michigan courtroom Wednesday, before Dr. Nassar received a prison sentence of 40 to 175 years for multiple counts of criminal sexual misconduct, Ms. Denhollander, 33, spoke again. This time, she was not alone. Over a seven-day sentencing hearing, 155 people had delivered victim impact statements to the court. Ms. Denhollander became the 156th, the final voice in a gathering of survivors who grew stronger by the day. Michigan State and U.S.A. Gymnastics, which made Dr. Nassar its longtime doctor for the national women’s team, were culpable in this case, too, Ms. Denhollander said. She mentioned that Dr. Nassar had used his phony medical treatments on her after four other women had complained about Dr. Nassar to employees in the M.S.U. athletic department.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Flynn kept FBI interview concealed from White House, Trump
2018-01-24, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/flynn-kept-fbi-interview-concea...

A year ago today, President Donald Trump’s newly sworn–in national security adviser, Michael Flynn, met privately in his West Wing office with FBI investigators interested in his communications with Russia's ambassador, without a lawyer or the knowledge of the president and other top White House officials. Flynn's FBI interview on Jan. 24, 2017, set in motion an extraordinary sequence of events. Flynn was fired as national security adviser after 24 days on the job, the acting attorney general was fired 10 days after the president took office, the FBI director was allegedly pressured by the president to let go of an investigation into Flynn, and then eventually fired himself. The attorney general recused himself from a federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with the sitting president's campaign, and a special counsel was appointed. The developments ensnared the president in an obstruction of justice inquiry. By the end of 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team had spoken with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency; former FBI Director James Comey; and numerous members of Trump’s campaign and White House inner circle. Flynn pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI. For Trump opponents, his war with the FBI is an effort to undermine the Russia investigation. For Trump and his allies, he’s battling a conspiracy within the top ranks of the Justice Department to undermine his presidency.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Spending bill limited Congress' oversight of secret intelligence activities
2018-01-23, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/01/23/senate-intel-leaders-...

The White House can now direct US intelligence agencies to spend money and take covert action without approval of congressional oversight committees under a provision slipped into the bill that ended the government shutdown, leaders of the Senate intelligence committee say. A provision in the bill - requested by the White House and Pentagon - gives intelligence agencies an exemption from the law that requires them to get authorization from the intelligence committees before they spend taxpayer money, said Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and chairman of the Senate panel. Section 504 of the National Security Act gives the committees the power to withhold money from the intelligence agencies if they object to surveillance programs or other intelligence activities. Burr and [Sen. Mark] Warner said the provision to weaken their oversight power comes just after they promised civil liberties advocates in the Senate that they would ensure that the FBI and other intelligence agencies don't overstep their bounds in carrying out a controversial surveillance program recently renewed by Congress. That surveillance program, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ... sweeps up emails, text messages, photos and other communication from an unknown number of Americans, and allows federal agents to search that data without a warrant. Burr and Warner both supported a six-year renewal of the program earlier this month.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


The 1% grabbed 82% of all wealth created in 2017
2018-01-22, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2018/01/21/news/economy/davos-oxfam-inequality-wealth/in...

More than $8 of every $10 of wealth created last year went to the richest 1%. That's according to a new report from Oxfam International, which estimates that the bottom 50% of the world's population saw no increase in wealth. Oxfam says the trend shows that the global economy is skewed in favor of the rich, rewarding wealth instead of work. "The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system," said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. The head of the advocacy group argued that the people who "make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food" are being exploited in order to enrich corporations and the super wealthy. The study, released ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, was produced using data from Credit Suisse's (CS) Global Wealth Databook. Oxfam said Monday that it is time for the global elite to stop talking about inequality and start changing their ways. "It's hard to find a political or business leader who doesn't say they are worried about inequality. It's even harder to find one who is doing something about it," said Byanyima. Oxfam said that governments should focus on policies that would lead to fairer distribution of wealth and stronger workers' rights.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Billionaires Made So Much Money Last Year They Could End Extreme Poverty Seven Times
2018-01-22, Time
http://time.com/money/5112462/billionaires-made-so-much-money-last-year-they-...

The global economy created a record number of billionaires last year, exacerbating inequality amid a weakening of workers’ rights and a corporate push to maximize shareholder returns, charity organization Oxfam International said in a new report. The world now has 2,043 billionaires. The group of mostly men saw its wealth surge by $762 billion, which is enough money to end extreme poverty seven times over, according to Oxfam. According to separate data compiled by Bloomberg, the top 500 billionaires’ net worth grew 24% to $5.38 trillion in 2017, while the world’s richest person, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, saw a gain of $33.7 billion. “The billionaire boom is not a sign of a thriving economy but a symptom of a failing economic system,” said Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International. “The people who make our clothes, assemble our phones and grow our food are being exploited.” Oxfam published the report as global leaders, chief executives and bankers arrive in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. Noting that many of the world’s elite say they’re concerned about income inequality, the charity said most governments are “shamefully failing” to improve the matter. Oxfam called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns, while ensuring workers receive a living wage. It also recommended eliminating the gender pay gap and raising taxes on the wealthy, among other suggestions.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


'World's richest 1% get 82% of the wealth', says Oxfam
2018-01-22, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-42745853

The gap between the super rich and the rest of the world widened last year as wealth continued to be owned by a small minority, Oxfam has claimed. Some 82% of money generated last year went to the richest 1% of the global population while the poorest half saw no increase at all, the charity said. It blamed tax evasion, firms' influence on policy, erosion of workers' rights, and cost cutting for the widening gap. Oxfam has produced similar reports for the past five years. In 2017 it calculated that the world's eight richest individuals had as much wealth as the poorest half of the world. This year, it said 42 people now had as much wealth as the poorest half, but it revised last year's figure to 61. Oxfam said the revision was due to improved data and said the trend of "widening inequality" remained. Oxfam's report coincides with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, a Swiss ski resort. The annual conference attracts many of the world's top political and business leaders. The charity is urging a rethink of business models, arguing their focus on maximising shareholder returns over broader social impact is wrong. It said there was "huge support" for action with two thirds (72%) of 70,000 people it surveyed in ten countries saying they wanted their governments to "urgently address the income gap between rich and poor". Oxfam's report is based on data from Forbes and the annual Credit Suisse Global Wealth databook, which gives the distribution of global wealth going back to 2000.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


The NSA knows who you are just by the sound of your voice—and their tech predates Apple and Amazon
2018-01-20, CNBC News
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/20/the-nsa-can-recognize-you-by-just-your-voice-...

The National Security Agency has apparently been way ahead of Apple or Amazon. The agency has at its disposal voice recognition technology that it employs to identify terrorists, government spies, or anyone they choose — with just a phone call, according to a report by The Intercept. By using recorded audio, the NSA is able to create a "voiceprint," or a map of qualities that mark a voice as singular, and identify the person speaking. According to a classified memo ... the agency has employed this technology since at least 2006, with the document referencing technology "that identifies people by the sound of their voices." In fact, the NSA used such technology during Operation Iraqi Freedom, when analysts were able to verify audio thought to be of Saddam Hussein speaking. It suggests that national security operatives had access to high-level voice technology long before Amazon, Apple and Google's solutions became cultural touchstones. A "voiceprint" is "a dynamic computer model of the individual's vocal characteristics," the publication explained, created by an algorithm analyzing features like pitch and mouth shape. Then, using the NSA's formidable bank of recorded audio files, the agency is able to match the speaker to an identity. Identifying people through their voiceprints is a skill at which the "NSA reigns supreme," according to a leaked document from 2008. And, they're only getting better.

Note: As this BBC article from 1999 shows, mass surveillance systems with voice recognition capability have been in use for many years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


GOP lawmakers demand that 'alarming' memo on FISA abuses be made public
2018-01-19, MSN/Fox News
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/gop-lawmakers-demand-that-alarming-me...

A four-page memo circulating in Congress that reveals alleged United States government surveillance abuses is being described by lawmakers as “shocking.” The lawmakers said they could not yet discuss the contents of the memo they reviewed on Thursday after it was released to members by the House Intelligence Committee. But they say the memo should be immediately made public. “It is so alarming the American people have to see this,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said. “It's troubling,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. “Part of me wishes that I didn't read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.” The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday approved a motion by New York Rep. Pete King to release the memo on abuses of FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to all House members. The memo details the Intelligence Committee’s oversight work for the FBI and Justice, including the controversy over unmasking and FISA surveillance. The process for releasing it to the public involves a committee vote. If approved, it could be released as long as there are no objections from the White House within five days. On Thursday, the Senate voted 65-34 to reauthorize a FISA provision that allows U.S. spy agencies to conduct surveillance on foreign targets abroad for six years.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Hackers are flooding the internet with more fake domain names. Here’s how you can protect yourself
2018-01-18, PBS
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/hackers-are-flooding-the-internet-with-mo...

The use of fake internet domain names to trick consumers into giving up personal information is more widespread than experts originally thought. This is largely because of the heightened use of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs), which use homographs carefully crafted to look exactly like their English counterparts. Hackers create domain names that replace an English-language character with a look-alike character from another language - replacing the Latin letter ‘a’ with the Cyrillic letter ‘a,’ for instance - as a way of luring users to fake websites where they’re prompted to enter their personal information. [A new] report from ... Farsight Security identified 125 different websites, from social networking giants like Facebook and Twitter to luxury brands like Gucci and financial websites like Wells Fargo, being imitated by fake domain addresses. Between Oct. 17 and Jan. 10, the group observed more than 116,000 imitator domains of these sites in real time. Take a popular financial site like BankofAmerica.com. Cybercriminals take this domain and ... create a website that looks strikingly similar to the original Bank of America page. A user types in their login information and password on this fake Bank of America site, automatically giving cybercriminals their credentials to log in to the real thing. Most phishing attempts reach internet users through email, so you should be suspicious of any emails that include ... login links to different accounts combined with demands to update information.

Note: Read the complete Farsight Security report for more information on these common cyberattacks and how to protect yourself from them.


Fed Up With Drug Companies, Hospitals Decide to Start Their Own
2018-01-18, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/health/drug-prices-hospitals.html

Hospital executives have expressed frustration when essential drugs like heart medicines have become scarce, or when prices have skyrocketed. Now, some of the country’s largest hospital systems are taking an aggressive step to combat the problem: They plan to go into the drug business themselves, in a move that appears to be the first on this scale. “This is a shot across the bow of the bad guys,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, the chief executive of Intermountain Healthcare, the ... hospital group that is spearheading the effort. Several major hospital systems, including ... the nation’s largest nonprofit hospital group, plan to form a new nonprofit company, that will provide a number of generic drugs to the hospitals. The Department of Veterans Affairs is also expressing interest in participating. The idea is to directly challenge the host of industry players who have capitalized on certain markets, buying up monopolies of old, off-patent drugs and then sharply raising prices, stoking public outrage and prompting a series of Congressional hearings and federal investigations. The most notorious example is of Martin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager who raised the price of a decades-old drug, Daraprim, to $750 a tablet in 2015, from $13.50. Hospitals have also struggled to deal with shortages of hundreds of vital drugs over the past decade, ranging from injectable morphine to sodium bicarbonate (the medical form of baking soda), shortfalls that are exacerbated when only one or two manufacturers make the product.

Note: Americans pay the highest prices for medications in the world, and many US government policies appear designed to keep drug prices high. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


N Carolina: Sterilization Victims to Get Final Payment Soon
2018-01-18, US News & World Report/Associated Press
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/north-carolina/articles/2018-01-18/n-...

North Carolina officials say the third and final compensation payment to sterilization victims should be mailed soon, marking the end of a 15-year pursuit of financial help for them. A spokeswoman for the state Department of Administration tells the Winston-Salem Journal that officials are verifying the final number of qualified claimants and confirming addresses. Spokeswoman Gena Renfrow says payments will be prepared once that's done. About 7,600 people were sterilized under North Carolina's eugenics program before it ended in 1974. The N.C. Industrial Commission has certified more than 200 victims, who have received two previous payments of $20,000 and $15,000. The payments are being finalized nearly two months after a decision by the N.C. Court of Appeals rejecting arguments from the heirs of some victims about the law.

Note: North Carolina was one of 31 US states to run a eugenics program. An estimated 65,000 people were sterilized by these programs. Female prison inmates in California were sterilized without consent as recently as 2010. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


The Trump Administration Abandons Science Advice--but at What Cost?
2018-01-18, Scientific American
https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/the-trump-administration-ab...

In its first year, the Trump administration has amassed a dismal record on science and science advice. Now a new report, Abandoning Science Advice: One Year In, the Trump Administration Is Sidelining Science Advisory Committees ... suggests the problem is even worse than previously recognized. Science advisory committees at the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Interior, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have met less often in 2017 than at any time since 1997, when the government began collecting such data. At the DOE, the EPA, and the Department of Commerce, fewer experts serve on science advisory committees than at any time since 1997. As the report notes, the government’s system of some 1,000 federal advisory committees plays an important role in alerting federal officials to the policy implications of the latest scientific research, often with major consequences for Americans’ health and safety. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Advisory Board has been hit by Administrator Scott Pruitt’s directive to purge EPA-funded scientists from its ranks, replacing many of them with industry representatives. Not only that, but since announcing the change to the roster in November, the SAB has held no meetings. The absence of SAB feedback means that there is no scientific peer review on Pruitt’s decisions to roll back protections like emissions standards and improvements to chemical facility accidental release plans.

Note: Hundreds of people have left or been forced out of the Environmental Protection Agency since the current administration took office. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.


Civilian deaths tripled in U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in 2017, watchdog alleges
2018-01-18, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/civilian-deaths-triple...

U.S. and allied strikes against the Islamic State may have killed as many as 6,000 civilians in 2017. Airwars, which investigates allegations of civilian casualties by using social media and other information sources, said that between 3,923 and 6,102 noncombatants were “likely killed” in air and artillery strikes by the United States and its partners in 2017. The estimate for Iraq and Syria was more than triple that of the year before. While the Airwars data includes strikes by the United States and partner nations including Britain and France, most of the military activity has been conducted by American forces. The group’s estimate is vastly higher than the figure put forward by U.S. Central Command, which conducts its own investigations of selected U.S. strikes. According to its most recent public report, Centcom has determined that at least 817 civilians have been killed since the air campaign began in 2014.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


EPA eases path for new chemicals, raising fears of health hazards
2018-01-17, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/epa-eases-path-new-chemicals-raising-fea...

The Environmental Protection Agency is shifting course. Some former EPA officials ... say the agency is skipping vital steps that protect the public from hazardous chemicals that consumers have never used before, undermining new laws and regulations that Congress passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 2016. In recent months, the EPA has quietly overhauled its process for determining whether new chemicals - used in everything from household cleaners and industrial manufacturing to children’s toys - pose a serious risk to human health or the environment. The agency will no longer require that manufacturers who want to produce new, potentially hazardous chemicals sign legal agreements that restrict their use under certain conditions. Such agreements, known as consent orders, will still be required if the EPA believes that the manufacturer’s intended use for a new chemical poses a risk to the public health and the environment. But the agency won’t require consent orders when it believes there are risks associated with “reasonably foreseen” uses of the new chemical. Instead the EPA will rely on a broader measure, known as significant new-use rules, to regulate chemicals. Under EPA administrator Scott Pruitt’s leadership, the agency has taken major industry-friendly steps to loosen its regulation of legacy chemicals. Last year, the EPA delayed bans on chemicals already in widespread use, including a lethal substance in paint strippers and a pesticide linked to developmental disabilities in children.

Note: Hundreds of people have left or been forced out of the Environmental Protection Agency since the current administration took office. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.


The EU Targets Plastic Waste as it Aims to Make All Packaging Recyclable by 2030
2018-01-17, Fortune
http://fortune.com/2018/01/17/eu-pushes-plastic-recycling/

European Union regulators declared a new policy agenda Tuesday starting with the goal that all plastic packaging on the EU market will be recyclable or reusable by 2030. The European Commission appears to be scrambling to curb plastic usage and increase recycling after China announced it would no longer accept imports of “foreign garbage” starting in 2018. The urgent goal is part of a plan to develop a new, sustainable “plastic economy,” which could potentially involve levying taxes and modernizing plastics production to kickstart a behavior change, the European Commission said. Europeans produce 25 million tons of plastic waste annually, but less than 30% of it is currently recycled. “If we don’t do anything about this, 50 years down the road we will have more plastic than fish in the oceans” Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission responsible for sustainable development, said. Brussels is zeroing in on single-use plastics in particular, hoping to reduce if not eliminate items like straws, bottles that do not degrade, coffee cups, lids and stirrers, cutlery and takeaway containers. “Single-use plastics ... take five seconds to produce, you use it for five minutes and it takes 500 years to break down again,” Timmermans said. In addition to promoting consumer education, the commission said it will facilitate easy access to tap water throughout Europe in order to reduce the demand for bottled water.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


New Jersey’s New Governor Outlines Plans, Signs Executive Order Promoting Equal Pay For Women
2018-01-16, CBS (Philadelphia affiliate)
http://philadelphia.cbslocal.com/2018/01/16/phil-murphy-to-take-oath/

One-time Wall Street financier Phil Murphy became New Jersey’s 56th governor in a ceremony at the Trenton War Memorial, complete with a traditional 21-gun salute. The new governor wasted little time in getting to work. Murphy’s first act? Signing an executive order promoting equal pay for women. It’s just part of the change Murphy promised to the people of the state. “They voted to build a stronger and fairer New Jersey that works for every New Jersey family,” the governor said, “and they elected a governor and a lieutenant governor and a legislature with a duty to carry out this promise.” Murphy’s half-hour address hit on all the major themes of the campaign that led him to this moment, providing a better break for all of New Jersey’s 9 million people. That includes everything from requiring the wealthy to pay more in taxes to improving jobs and education, and, yes, legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The governor also noted the diversity of his administration, from the first black woman to serve as lieutenant governor in Sheila Oliver to the first Sikh to be appointed attorney general anywhere in America.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How ex-congresswoman helped squelch reports of secret government surveillance
2018-01-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/nation/article/Ex-congresswoman-helped-squelch-sto...

Two New York Times reporters learned in 2004 that the George W. Bush administration was secretly wiretapping Americans, and collecting their phone and email records. The reporters’ attempt to publish their findings were thwarted by the administration’s intense and successful lobbying of their editors. That effort ... had an unlikely ally: Rep. Jane Harman of Los Angeles, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Details of the far-reaching, legally unauthorized surveillance program remained secret until the Times published the article in late 2005. The newspaper’s interactions with administration officials, and Harman’s role, were described by former Times reporter James Risen this month in the Intercept, the investigative publication where he now works. The story on the program known as Stellar Wind was ready for publication before the November 2004 election, when Bush was on the ballot, but NSA Director Michael Hayden and other administration officials told Times editors, in phone calls and face-to-face meetings, that publication would damage national security and endanger lives, Risen said. He said the officials were joined in that effort by Harman, one of a handful of congressional leaders who had been briefed on the program and were enlisted by the White House to contact the Times. Members of Congress learned later that the NSA had not been seeking warrants from a secret court, as required by law, before wiretapping calls.

Note: James Risen is a courageous hero who shared two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting around 9/11 and massive government surveillance. His recent article in The Intercept describes how a "marketplace of secrets in Washington" supports the US national security apparatus, and is used by corrupt government officials to manipulate the news.


Iceland becomes first supermarket to go 'plastic-free' for own brand products in landmark announcement
2018-01-15, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/iceland-plastic-free-packagin...

Iceland has become the first major retailer to commit to eliminating plastic packaging for all its own brand products. The retailer said it would be replacing plastic with packaging including paper and pulp trays and paper bags. Iceland said it ... aimed to complete the move by the end of 2023. It has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own label range and new food ranges set to hit the shelves in early 2018 will use paper-based rather than plastic food trays. A survey for Iceland revealed overwhelming public support for a shift away from plastic by retailers, with 80% of 5,000 people polled saying they would endorse a supermarket's move to go plastic-free. Iceland managing director, Richard Walker, said: "The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics. "A truckload is entering our oceans every minute causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity - since we all depend on the oceans for our survival. The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change." As it was technologically and practically possible to create less environmentally harmful alternatives, "there really is no excuse any more for excessive packaging that creates needless waste and damages our environment", he added. Last week, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years as part of the government's environmental strategy, with calls for supermarkets to introduce "plastic-free" aisles.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Amish family ordered to connect outhouse to sewer, despite religious beliefs
2018-01-13, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/01/13/amish-family-ordere...

An Amish family in Pennsylvania must connect to its local municipal sewer system, even though it would require the use of an electric pump, which goes against the family's religious beliefs. A Jan. 5 opinion by a divided Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court finally ended the five-year legal battle. The court agreed with a lower court ruling that ordered the Yoder family to connect to the municipal sewer system. The Yoder family argued that use of electricity violates its religious convictions. The family has used an outhouse - an "old-fashioned privy" - that did not require running water or electricity. But Sugar Grove Township requires residents with properties that abut the sewer system to connect to it at the owners' cost. The ruling addressed whether the Yoders could connect to the system without use of an electric pump. The court ruled that that using an electric pump was ​the "least intrusive means" of connecting to the sewer system. In a dissenting opinion, Judge Patricia McCullough expressed concern with the ruling, saying there were other ways of disposing of sewage in a sanitary way that would not infringe upon the Yoder family's religious rights. That's a concern shared by Sara Rose, a senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union. "They didn't consider the other ways that the government could have achieved its ends," she said. She also said the decision unduly put the burden on the Yoders.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


How some cops use the badge to commit sex crimes
2018-01-12, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/how-some-cops-use-the-badge-to-commit-...

She was driving in a park with two male friends when a pair of plainclothes New York City police detectives drove up in an unmarked van. The officers, from the Brooklyn South precinct ... arrested her, put her in the back of the van in handcuffs and ordered her friends not to follow. According to prosecutors, the detectives proceeded to force the 18-year-old woman to perform oral sex on one of them, who then raped her. The 50-count indictment also alleges that the officers, who are facing charges of rape, kidnapping and official misconduct, threatened her with criminal charges if she didn’t cooperate. This young woman’s experience ... is representative of national patterns of sexual violence by officers during traffic stops and handling of minor offenses, drug arrests and police interactions with teenagers. Research on “police sexual misconduct” ... overwhelmingly concludes that it is a systemic problem. A 2015 investigation ... concluded that an officer is accused of an act of sexual misconduct at least every five days. The vast majority of incidents ... involve motorists, young people in job-shadowing programs, students, victims of violence and informants. In more than 60 percent of the cases reviewed, an officer was convicted of a crime or faced other consequences. [Another] study, funded by the National Institute of Justice ... found that half of arrests for sexual misconduct were for incidents involving minors. Sexual misconduct is the second-most-frequently reported form of police misconduct, after excessive force.

Note: A yearlong Associated Press investigation found that the "broken system which lets problem officers jump from job to job" fosters and abets sexual abuse. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange granted Ecuadorian citizenship
2018-01-11, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/11/europe/wikileaks-julian-assange-given-ecuadoria...

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.


Will I Die At Guantanamo Bay? After 15 Years, I Deserve Justice
2018-01-11, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/will-i-die-guantanamo-bay-15-years-without-charges-de...

I was captured when I was in my 20s and brought to Guantanamo Bay in 2004, after more than two years in secret prisons. I have been imprisoned here without charges since then. I am now 43. Thirteen years ago, your country brought me here because of accusations about who I was. Confessions were beaten out of me in those secret prisons. I tried, but I am no longer trying to fight against those accusations from the past. What I am asking today is, how long is my punishment going to continue? Your president says there will be no more transfers from here. Am I going to die here? If I have committed crimes against the law, charge me. In 15 years, I have never been charged, and the worst things the government has said about me were extracted by force. The judge in my habeas case decided years ago that I had been subjected to physical and psychological abuse during my interrogations, and statements the government has wanted to use against me are not reliable. Even if I were cleared, it would not matter. There are men here who have been cleared for years who are sitting in prison next to me. Detainees here, all Muslim, have never had rights equal to other human beings. Even when we first won the right to challenge our detention, in the end, it became meaningless. It is hard for me to ... believe that laws will not be bent again to allow the government to win. But this week, I am joining a group of detainees here, all of us who have been held without charges for years, to try again to ask the courts for protection.

Note: The above was written by Sharqawi Al Hajj, a Yemeni citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay. For more along these lines, see the "10 Craziest Things in the Senate Report on Torture". For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


NYC sues, divests from oil firms over climate change
2018-01-10, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/nyc-taking-steps-divest-pension-fu...

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.


Trump Administration Waives Punishment For Convicted Banks, Including Deutsche — Which Trump Owes Millions
2018-01-09, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/trump-administration-waives-punishme...

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.


Silver-lined underwear promises to save your sperm
2018-01-09, Cnet.com
https://www.cnet.com/news/silver-lined-underwear-promises-to-save-your-sperm/

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.


What it's like to live in a well-governed country
2018-01-08, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20180107-what-its-like-to-live-in-a-well-gove...

What makes a country well-run? Whether minimising corruption or spearheading educational and medical initiatives, governments around the world use different policies to facilitate a high-functioning society. To quantify the effectiveness of these policies, indexes like the World Justice Project’s Rule of Law Index, the World Bank’s Governance Index and the Social Progress Index survey residents, compile publicly available statistics and rank countries based on their performance across different categories. Certain patterns emerge across all three, with the same countries consistently at the top for their progressive social policies, trust in government and effective justice system. Denmark inches out its neighbours (and blows away the rest of the world) with near-perfect scores on the ‘Basic Human Needs’ ranking in the 2017 Social Progress Index, which includes meeting the nutritional and medical needs of its citizens and giving access to basic knowledge and communication. These benefits are offered to more than just native-born residents. “The general health and social system is well-developed and accessible to anyone living in Denmark, and as a student you can get financial assistance and free language classes,” explained German native Anne Steinbach. The social system also relies on a sense of trust, rather than paperwork. While life in Denmark can be expensive compared to other European countries, with the highest collective taxes in the EU to pay for these services, the benefits outweigh the costs.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Is everything you think you know about depression wrong?
2018-01-07, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/07/is-everything-you-think-you-k...

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.


Why 2017 Was the Best Year in Human History
2018-01-06, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/opinion/sunday/2017-progress-illiteracy-po...

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.


Why Do Land Mines Still Kill So Many?
2018-01-06, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/06/opinion/sunday/ban-land-mines.html

The world is rolling backward, and at a disturbingly faster pace, in the struggle to limit carnage from land mines and other booby-trap explosives. The most recent numbers, covering 2016, are appalling. Known casualties that year came to 8,605, including 2,089 deaths, according to a new report by Landmine Monitor. The toll was nearly 25 percent higher than the 6,967 maimed and dead counted a year earlier, and more than double the 3,993 in 2014. Much of the 2016 mayhem stemmed from conflicts in Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen, but people in 56 countries and other areas were killed or wounded. Nearly 80 percent of the victims were civilians; children accounted for 42 percent of civilian casualties. One subset of the menace, cluster munitions, is singularly vicious. Cluster munitions alone caused 971 known casualties in 2016, more than twice the toll of the previous year. Most victims were Syrians ... but Saudi Arabia has also used American-supplied cluster bombs in Yemen. Thanks to an international treaty that came into force in 1999 - now signed by 163 countries and banning the production, stockpiling and transfer of land mines - casualties ... reached a low of 3,450 in 2013, compared with 9,228 in 1999. Nearly all that hard-won progress has been erased. Land mine and cluster munitions treaties are undercut by the refusal of some of modern warfare’s most powerful players to sign them. Among those countries are China, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Russia and Saudi Arabia. And the United States.

Note: The international cluster bomb trade is funded by world's biggest banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Cliven Bundy-FBI debacle: Another example of why the feds need to be leashed
2018-01-05, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/01/05/bundy-fbi-misconduct-anothe...

The Justice Department was caught in another high-profile travesty last month. On Dec. 20, federal judge Gloria Navarro declared a mistrial in the case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and others after prosecutors were caught withholding massive amounts of evidence undermining federal charges. Bundy, a 71-year old Nevadan rancher, and his sons and supporters were involved in an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ... stemming from decades of unpaid cattle grazing fees and restrictions. The Bundys have long claimed the feds were on a vendetta against them, and 3,300 pages of documents the Justice Department wrongfully concealed from their lawyers provides smoking guns that buttress their case. A whistleblowing memo by BLM chief investigator Larry Wooten charges that BLM chose "the most intrusive, oppressive, large scale and militaristic trespass cattle (seizure) possible" against Bundy. The feds charged the Bundys with conspiracy in large part because the ranchers summoned militia to defend them after they claimed that FBI snipers had surrounded their ranch. Justice Department lawyers scoffed at this claim in prior trials ... but newly-released documents confirm that snipers were in place prior to the Bundy’s call for help. The feds also belatedly turned over multiple threat assessments which revealed that the Bundys were not violent or dangerous, including an FBI analysis that concluded that BLM was "trying to provoke a conflict" with the Bundys.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the judicial system.


New York City records fewest murders, lowest crime rate in decades
2018-01-05, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/US/york-city-records-fewest-murders-lowest-crime-rate/s...

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.

Note: Major media consistently under-reports the remarkable drop in crime in the US. In 1990, there were nearly twice as many reported violent crimes as there were in 2016.


My Life as a New York Times Reporter in the Shadow of the War on Terror
2018-01-03, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2018/01/03/my-life-as-a-new-york-times-reporter-in-t...

The Obama administration was demanding that I reveal the confidential sources I had relied on for a chapter about a botched CIA operation in my 2006 book, “State of War.” I had also written about the CIA operation for the New York Times, but the paper’s editors had suppressed the story at the government’s request. It wasn’t the only time they had done so. My case was part of a broader crackdown on reporters and whistleblowers that had begun during the presidency of George W. Bush and continued far more aggressively under the Obama administration, which had already prosecuted more leak cases than all previous administrations combined. I started covering the CIA in 1995. Success as a reporter on the CIA beat inevitably meant finding out government secrets, and that meant plunging headlong into the classified side of Washington, which had its own strange dynamics. I discovered that there was, in effect, a marketplace of secrets in Washington, in which White House officials and other current and former bureaucrats, contractors, members of Congress, their staffers, and journalists all traded information. This informal black market helped keep the national security apparatus running smoothly, limiting nasty surprises for all involved. The revelation that this secretive subculture existed, and that it allowed a reporter to glimpse the government’s dark side, was jarring. It felt a bit like being in the Matrix.

Note: Article author James Risen is a courageous hero who shared two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting around 9/11 and massive government surveillance. If you read the entire article at the link above, you will learn in detail how the New York Times and other media bow to government pressure and filter what information reaches the public. They also have a strong, but secretive agenda to support war and the military-industrial complex. You will also see how government keeps the media from reporting some of the most important stories.


Low-carbon sources produce majority of UK electricity supply for first time ever
2018-01-03, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/uk-energy-production-electric...

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.

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
2018-01-02, Fortune
http://fortune.com/2018/01/02/illegal-to-pay-men-more-than-women-iceland/

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
2018-01-02, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/climate/china-cars-pollution.html

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.


Freemasons are blocking reform, says Police Federation leader
2017-12-31, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/31/freemasons-blocking-reform-po...

Reform in policing is being blocked by members of the Freemasons, and their influence in the service is thwarting the progress of women and people from black and minority ethnic communities, the leader of rank-and-file officers has said. Steve White, who steps down on Monday after three years as chair of the Police Federation, told the Guardian he was concerned about the continued influence of Freemasons. White took charge with the government threatening to take over the federation if it did not reform after a string of scandals and controversies. One previous Metropolitan police commissioner, the late Sir Kenneth Newman, opposed the presence of Masons in the police. White would not name names, but did not deny that some key figures in local Police Federation branches were Masons. Masons in the police have been accused of covering up for fellow members and favouring them for promotion over more talented, non-Mason officers. White said: “Some female representatives were concerned about Freemason influence in the Fed. The culture is something that can either discourage or encourage people from the ethnic minorities or women from being part of an organisation.” The federation has passed new rules on how it runs itself, aimed at ending the fact that its key senior officials are all white, and predominantly male.

Note: In response to these accusations, the Freemasons placed a series of full page ads defending themselves in several of the UK's top newspapers, as reported in this BBC News article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and secret societies.


With more to come, new JFK documents offer fresh leads 54 years later
2017-12-28, McClatchy News
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article191819019.html

Half-a-dozen 2017 releases of long-secret documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have given plenty of new leads to those who don’t believe alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. The 34,963 documents ... have fed the fire tended by researchers and others who believe there is much more to the story how a U.S. president was assassinated in Dallas 54 years ago. One particular document from the August release has created much buzz. It that shows that Earle Cabell, mayor of Dallas at the time of the Nov. 22, 1963, shooting, became a CIA asset in late 1956. Another revelatory JFK document released in full on Dec. 15 was the transcript of a 1978 interview by the House Select Committee on Assassinations with Orest Pena. According to Pena, a bar owner in New Orleans, Lee Harvey Oswald was a U.S. government agent or informant. How did he know? Because Pena himself was an informant. He had given details to the Warren Commission in July 1964 but, as the new document shows, later revealed much more detail about Warren de Brueys, an FBI agent in New Orleans to whom Pena said he reported. Oswald, he claimed, frequented a breakfast place regularly not only with de Brueys but with agents from U.S. Customs and Immigration. Pena believed Oswald had an office in the same government complex. Pena also testified to the House panel that de Brueys had threatened him if he shared with investigators details of their meetings and training of anti-Castro instigators.

Note: Watch an excellent five-minute segment of the History Channel's "Men Who Killed Kennedy," For more along these lines, see our excellent resource center filled with reliable information questions what really happened in the JFK assassination.


The world’s richest became $1 trillion wealthier in 2017 and here’s why that should worry us
2017-12-27, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/worlds-richest-are-getting-richer-general...

The world’s richest individuals increased their wealth by a weighty $1 trillion, or about Ł750bn, in 2017. Most of us here in the UK battled stagnant wages [and] rising shop prices. In fact, the figures are quite startling. Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, which measures the wealth of the world’s top 500 people, shows that the richest of the rich controlled a total of $5.3 trillion in 2017, up from an already staggering $4.4 trillion at the same point in 2016. For context, the United States of America - the world’s largest economy - has a gross domestic product of somewhere around $19 trillion. So all in all, not a bad year to be a billionaire. But what does it mean for the rest of us? Back in 2016 ... a group of academics from such esteemed institutions as the University of Oxford, London School of Economics and Cornell University found that as the rich get richer the rest of us get grumpier. The findings were quite clear: in societies where the richest control the majority of the country’s income, the population as a whole is more likely to report feeling “stressed”, “worried” or “angry”. As the rich get richer, they are responsible for pricing certain goods and services out of the reach of the rest of the population – think top schools, the best hospitals and property in particularly desirable locations. And then there’s also a crucial psychological factor that may play a part: seeing the most prosperous becoming even more affluent might make you feel like your chances of moving up the ladder are fluttering away.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Some Things About Tech Were Good in 2017. No, Really.
2017-12-27, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/27/technology/tech-roundup-2017.html

For much of Silicon Valley, 2017 felt like a nonstop parade of scandal. As many of Silicon Valley’s largest companies were wreaking havoc, numerous people and organizations used technology to advance important causes and address large-scale problems. These projects do not always make headlines, but they show what’s possible when technologists use their powers for good. So I’m presenting the first-ever Actually Good Tech Awards, to highlight a handful of tech efforts that produced real societal benefits this year. ESight and Aira ... are taking advantage of recent advances in mobile and imaging technology to help visually impaired people navigate the world. These technologies do not yet allow blind people to drive vehicles or perform other complicated tasks, but they can make their everyday life much easier. Tiffani Ashley Bell ... learned that thousands of low-income residents of Detroit were having their running water shut off because of unpaid bills. So she [set up] an online platform that matched willing donors with Detroit households with unpaid water bills. In 2017, the [nonprofit organization, now known as the Human Utility] paid more than $120,000 toward water bills for nearly 300 families. Bail Bloc ... is an app that uses your computer’s spare processing power to produce a cryptocurrency called Monero, which is [then] donated to the Bronx Freedom Fund, an organization that helps pay bail fees for low-income New Yorkers who have been charged with misdemeanors, so that they can get out of jail while they await trial.

Note: Don't miss the complete list of "Actually Good Tech Awards" recipients at the link above.


Price of 40-year-old cancer drug hiked 1,400% by new owners
2017-12-26, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/cancer-drug-lomustine-price-hiked-1400-percent-b...

Prices for a cancer drug called lomustine have skyrocketed nearly 1,400 percent since 2013, putting a potentially life-saving treatment out of reach for patients suffering from brain tumors and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Though the 40-year-old medication is no longer protected by patents, no generic version is available. According to the Wall Street Journal, lomustine was sold by Bristol-Myers Squib for years under the brand name CeeNU at a price of about $50 a capsule for the highest dose. The drugmaker sold lomustine in 2013 to a little-known Miami startup called NextSource, which proceeded to hike lomustine's price nine times since. It now charges about $768 per pill for the medication. According to an analysis done for the Journal ... NextSource this year raised prices for the drug, which it rebranded as Gleostine, by 12 percent in November following a 20 percent increase in August. Soaring prices for cancer drugs are a concern for both patients and doctors because financial pressures can lead to delays in seeking treatment that can easily surpass six figures per year. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found prices for 24 patented injectible Medicare Part B drugs rose an average of 18 percent annually over the past eight years on an inflation-adjusted basis. Prices continued to rise even when generic versions of the drug became available.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


A little hope for a homeless solution: Tiny housing units sprout in the Bay Area
2017-12-26, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/A-little-hope-for-a-homeless-solut...

Nearly two years after a smattering of tiny homes popped up in the Bay Area as a peculiar new way of housing homeless people, the technique is exploding from one end of the region to the other. Nearly 1,000 tiny homes or their close cousins - stackable modular housing units, typically with less than 200 square feet of living space - are being planned in San Francisco, San Jose, Richmond, Berkeley, Oakland and Santa Rosa. Tiny units can be built in a fraction of the time it takes to construct typical affordable housing, at a sliver of the cost, and that means a lot of homeless people can be housed quickly. In one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation, with tent-camp problems everywhere, that prospect sounds like a game-changer to officials. Contra Costa has a $750,000 federal homelessness grant to pay for 50 stackable micro-units of supportive housing, and Richmond Mayor Tom Butt would like to see them in his city. Developer Patrick Kennedy brought a prototype of his MicroPad unit to Richmond in November, and county and city leaders say they are leaning toward choosing it. Tiny homes have also caught on in San Jose, where the City Council this month approved plans for a village of 40 of them for homeless people. “You really have two options,” said [city Councilman Raul] Peralez, who said he wants the village in his downtown district. “You can allow the homeless to live on the streets, or you can provide ... shelter [and] services. In my mind, that’s a way better option for managing this community in an organized way.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Power Prices Go Negative in Germany, a Positive for Energy Users
2017-12-25, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/25/business/energy-environment/germany-electr...

Germany has spent $200 billion over the past two decades to promote cleaner sources of electricity. That enormous investment is now having an unexpected impact - consumers are now actually paid to use power on occasion, as was the case over the weekend. Power prices plunged below zero for much of Sunday and the early hours of Christmas Day on ... a large European power trading exchange, the result of low demand, unseasonably warm weather and strong breezes that provided an abundance of wind power on the grid. Such “negative prices” are not the norm in Germany, but they are far from rare, thanks to the country’s effort to encourage investment in greener forms of power generation. Prices for electricity in Germany have dipped below zero ... more than 100 times this year alone. Several countries in Europe have experienced negative power prices, including Belgium, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. But Germany’s forays into negative pricing are the most frequent. At times, Germany is able to export its surplus electricity to its neighbors, helping to balance the market. Still, its experiences of negative prices are often longer, and deeper, than they are in other countries. In one recent example, power prices spent 31 hours below zero during the last weekend of October. At one point, they dipped as low as minus €83, or minus $98, per megawatt-hour, a wholesale measure. Anyone who was able to hook up for a large blast of electricity at that time was paid €83 per unit for the trouble.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


UFO Existence “Proven Beyond Reasonable Doubt,” Says Former Head of Pentagon Alien Program
2017-12-24, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/ufo-existence-proven-beyond-reasonable-doubt-says-for...

The existence of UFOs had been “proved beyond reasonable doubt,” according the head of the secret Pentagon program that analyzed the mysterious aircrafts. Luis Elizondo [said] of the sightings, “In my opinion, if this was a court of law, we have reached the point of ‘beyond reasonable doubt.’ I think it’s pretty clear this is not us, and it’s not anyone else, so no one has to ask questions where they’re from.” Elizondo led the U.S. Defense Department’s Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, investigating evidence of UFOs and alien life, from 2007 to 2012, when it was shuttered. Its existence was first reported by The New York Times last week. Elizondo [said] that there had been “lots” of UFO sightings and witnesses interviewed during the program’s five years. Investigators pinpointed geographical “hot spots” that were sometimes near nuclear facilities and power plants. They also observed trends among the aircrafts, including lack of flight surfaces on the objects and extreme maneuverability. “There was never any display of hostility, but ... they maneuvered in ways no one else in the world had,” he said. Despite Pentagon funding running out in 2012, Elizondo oversaw UFO work for another five years before resigning in October 2017 out of frustration with the secrecy of the investigations. He had pushed for videos of the possible alien sightings to be made public so people could see the footage. In his resignation letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Elizondo asked, “Why aren’t we spending more time and effort on this issue?”

Note: Elizondo is one of several former government officials now employed by To the Stars Academy for Arts and Sciences, which claims it will "advance research into unexplained phenomena and develop related technology." This may be part of a planned roll out so that the public becomes more comfortable with the existence of UFOs. Many dozens of top officials have spoken openly of their personal involvement in the UFO cover-up, yet the media has failed to make this headlines until now. For more, explore the excellent, reliable resources in our UFO Information Center.


Smartphone users should minimize risk
2017-12-24, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-Smartphone-u...

There’s no more ubiquitous feature of modern life than smartphones. Convenience, necessity and plain fun make the devices a near requirement, but it all comes with a ... doubt: Is there a health risk to a device that’s become almost a human appendage? The California Department of Public Health [has published] guidelines that come close to suggesting that there’s uncertain harm. As people use the devices, more often and at an earlier age, health risks could eventually show up. A Kaiser Permanente study ... found a higher rate of miscarriage for those exposed to radiation emitted by cell phones, power lines and wireless networks. Health dangers indicated in other studies include brain tumors, lower sperm count and impacts on memory, learning and sleep. State health officials are flashing a yellow light. If people want to take steps to minimize risk, the agency has suggestions. On the list is parking a smartphone away from the bedside table at night, storing the device in a purse or backpack instead of a pocket during the day, and generally keeping the phone at a distance from the body. Ease back on phone use when the signal is weak. Such advice sounds easy to accept. But coming from a major state agency, the idea of preventive steps to decrease exposure is sending a message. There are hundreds of millions of phones in this country, and California’s top health experts aren’t convinced there’s no human risk.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Think You’re Seeing More Drug Ads on TV? You Are, and Here’s Why
2017-12-24, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/24/business/media/prescription-drugs-advertis...

Television advertisements for prescription drugs ... have been running for 20 years. [Yet] it is not your imagination if you think you are seeing more of them these days. Lots more. 771,368 such ads were shown in 2016 ... an increase of almost 65 percent over 2012. “TV ad spending by pharmaceutical companies has more than doubled in the past four years, making it the second-fastest-growing category on television during that time,” Jon Swallen, Kantar’s chief research officer, said. The ads ... have turned to more serious ailments in the last few years. And when the ads come on, [the] audience is also listening intently to all that can befall them if they take a certain drug. An unexpected side effect of ad agency compliance with the drug administration’s regulation, it turns out, is enhanced credibility. “It’s counterintuitive, but everything in our research suggests that hearing about the risks increases consumers’ belief in the advertising,” said Jeff Rothstein, the chief executive officer of Cult Health, an ad agency that specializes in health care.

Note: 25 years ago drug advertising was illegal, as it was believed drugs should sell themselves on their own merits. Now Big Pharma is raking in profits hand over fist by inundating us with fear-based advertising. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.


Star Trek's secret weapon: a scientist with a mushroom fetish bent on saving the planet
2017-12-24, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting system)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/paul-stamets-star-trek-mushroo...

On Star Trek: Discovery, the character Lieutenant Paul Stamets is an "astromycologist" - a mushroom expert in outer space who is passionate about the power of fungi. Stamets is actually named after a real U.S. scientist who ... looks nothing like his blond-haired TV counterpart, but he's just as enamoured with fungi. Over 40 years, Stamets has pioneered methods for using mushrooms to do everything from clean up oil spills to save disappearing bees by boosting their immune systems. But he's just as excited about Star Trek's potential to inspire people to create some of the science they see presented in screen - even if it does seem a bit fantastic. So were flip phones when people first saw Spock's, he said. "What I love about Star Trek is that we can actually set the stage for science fact," said Stamets. In a 2008 TED Talk, Stamets explained how fungi can be used to "save the world" by cleaning polluted soil, replacing toxic insecticides and even treating viruses. "I'm just a messenger for the mycelium," he said, referring to the network of fungal filaments under the soil that form the largest organism on earth. Mycelium can be found in every forest, but the biggest one he knows of is a massive, 970-hectare mass - bigger than 1,600 football fields - in an Oregon forest. Stamets believes this network "communicates," not unlike a fungal internet. The filaments transfer nutrients and information, and even sabotage unwelcome plants by spreading toxins.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Tesco: No edible food will go to waste by February 2018
2017-12-23, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-42464912

No food fit for human consumption will be wasted by Tesco's UK stores by the end of February, the retail giant says. Chief executive Dave Lewis told the Daily Telegraph food waste had been "talked about for years" as he unveiled the plans for all 2,654 stores. Urging other chains to follow suit, he said edible food should be used for people, not go to waste. Tesco, with all major UK supermarkets, has signed a commitment to cut food waste by one-fifth within a decade. The voluntary agreement is known as the Courtauld Commitment 2025. Mr Lewis ... said the contrast between the amount of wasted food in the UK and the situation in countries suffering food shortages was "really stark". He said: "Last year we sold 10 million tons [10.2 million tonnes] of food to the British public. But even if our waste is just 0.7% of the food, that's still 70,000 tons [71,100 tonnes] of food. Tesco says it cuts waste by selling surplus groceries with "reduced to clear" stickers and [by using] an app, FoodCloud, to scan and upload surplus food that stores have at the end of the day, which is shared with registered charities that collect the food. "That goes a long way in reducing charities' bill burdens, so they can spend the money on ... providing much more needed services," Mr Lewis said. "Food waste has been talked about for years but if Tesco can make this work, with all of our different stores across the country, then why can't everybody," he added.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Paradise Papers: US puts sanctions on billionaire over dealings in DRC
2017-12-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/dec/22/paradise-papers-us-sanctions-bil...

The US government has imposed sanctions on the Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler, whose African business dealings were exposed in the Paradise Papers, over “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of opaque and corrupt mining and oil deals” in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In a strongly worded statement, the US president ... placed sanctions on 13 people and companies associated with them, declaring a state of “national emergency with respect to serious human rights abuse and corruption around the world”. In November, the Paradise Papers investigation unveiled new details of Gertler’s mining deals in strife-torn but resource-rich DRC, in particular over a $45m loan in shares to one of his companies from the world’s biggest miner, Glencore. In imposing sanctions on Gertler, the US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) said the Israeli billionaire’s corrupt dealings had deprived the state coffers of DRC of ... more than $1.36bn in revenues from the underpricing of mining assets that were sold to offshore companies linked to Gertler. Gertler’s involvement in the DRC spans nearly two decades. He was cited by a 2001 UN investigation that said he had given the DRC’s then-president $20m to buy weapons to equip his army against rebel groups in exchange for a monopoly on the country’s diamonds, and a 2013 Africa Progress Panel report said a string of mining deals struck by companies linked to him had deprived the country of more than $1.3bn in potential revenue.

Note: Gertler had close ties with Mark Rich, who was once on the FBI's 10 most wanted list only to later be pardoned by Bill Clinton. This revealing article on Gertler in the UK's Guardian shows corruption and abuse leading to very high places. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.


E.P.A. Officials, Disheartened by Agency’s Direction, Are Leaving in Droves
2017-12-22, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/climate/epa-buyouts-pruitt.html

More than 700 people have left the Environmental Protection Agency since President Trump took office, a wave of departures that puts the administration nearly a quarter of the way toward its goal of shrinking the agency to levels last seen during the Reagan administration. Of the employees who have quit, retired or taken a buyout package since the beginning of the year, more than 200 are scientists. An additional 96 are environmental protection specialists, a broad category that includes scientists as well as others experienced in investigating and analyzing pollution levels. Nine department directors have departed the agency as well as dozens of attorneys and program managers. Most of the employees who have left are not being replaced. The departures reflect poor morale and a sense of grievance at the agency, which has been criticized by President Trump and top Republicans in Congress. That unease is likely to deepen following revelations that Republican campaign operatives were using the Freedom of Information Act to request copies of emails from E.P.A. officials suspected of opposing Mr. Trump and his agenda. Employees say the exodus has left the agency depleted of decades of knowledge about protecting the nation’s air and water. Many also said they saw the departures as part of a more worrisome trend of muting government scientists, cutting research budgets and making it more difficult for academic scientists to serve on advisory boards.

Note: The EPA is one of three federal agencies reported to have been "gagged" by the Trump administration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.


Gymnast McKayla Maroney was paid to keep quiet about abuse, lawsuit says
2017-12-21, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/20/us/mckayla-maroney-lawsuit/index.html

Olympic gold-medal-winning gymnast McKayla Maroney alleges in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Wednesday that USA Gymnastics paid her to be quiet about abuse by the team's longtime doctor Larry Nassar. The lawsuit ... also names as defendants Michigan State University, the US Olympic Committee and Nassar, the former team doctor who has admitted sexually abusing underage girls. "In December of 2016, after suffering for years from psychological trauma of her sexual abuse at the hands of Nassar, and in need of funds to pay for psychological treatment," Maroney was forced to enter into a confidential agreement with USA Gymnastics, the lawsuit said. John Manly, Maroney's attorney, called the confidentiality agreement "an immoral and illegal attempt to silence a victim of child sexual abuse. The US Olympic Committee and USA Gymnastics were well aware that the victim of child sexual abuse in California cannot be forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement as a condition of a settlement," he said. "Such agreements are illegal for very good reasons - they silence victims and allow perpetrators to continue committing their crimes." Maroney entered the settlement to "obtain funds necessary to pay for lifesaving psychological treatment and care," according to the lawsuit. Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on child pornography charges earlier this month. In November, he pleaded guilty to seven counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and admitted to using his position to sexually abuse underage girls.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and sexual abuse scandals.


Prosecutors ask FBI agents for info on Uranium One deal
2017-12-21, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/prosecutors-ask-fbi-agents-info-uranium-...

On the orders of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Justice Department prosecutors have begun asking FBI agents to explain the evidence they found in a now dormant criminal investigation into a controversial uranium deal that critics have linked to Bill and Hillary Clinton. At issue is a 2010 transaction in which the Obama Administration allowed the sale of U.S. uranium mining facilities to Russia's state atomic energy company. Hillary Clinton was secretary of state at the time, and the State Department was one of nine agencies that agreed to approve the deal. There were allegations of corruption surrounding the process under which the U.S. government approved the sale. But no charges were filed. On June 8, 2010, Uranium One announced it had signed an agreement to sell a majority stake to the mining arm of Rosatom, the Russian nuclear energy agency. As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, The New York Times reported, Uranium One's Canadian chairman, Ian Telfer, used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the foundation. Uranium One became a much bigger player in the uranium market after it absorbed a company run and co-owned by Frank Giustra, a Canadian businessman and Bill Clinton associate, in February 2007. Giustra has donated more than $100 million to the Clinton Foundation and currently sits on the foundation's board.

Note: For lots more eye-opening information on Uranium One and the Clintons, read this very informative New York Times article. The State Department also approved $165 Billion in commercial arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors under Clinton's leadership. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Avoiding EMF radiation not as easy as quitting smoking
2017-12-21, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/article/Avoiding-EMF-radiation-not-as-eas...

How much more proof do we need that being online isn’t healthy for us? The latest terrible tech research is from Kaiser Permanente. In a study of hundreds of pregnant women in the Bay Area, the authors found that those who were more exposed to the kind of radiation produced by cell phones, wireless networks and power lines were nearly three times as likely to suffer miscarriages. These electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, are around every single one of us. There will be tremendous pushback against any research showing how dangerous this stuff may be. An example: San Francisco’s radiation-warning law, championed by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom, passed in 2010. But after a lawsuit from the cell phone industry, the city backed off on implementing it. Around the same time, the California Department of Public Health drew up its set of guidelines to inform the public about the risks associated with cell phone use. The health department then sat on these guidelines for seven years. The health department’s lawyers ... argued that releasing the guidelines might cause the public to panic. Well, it might be time to start panicking. More and more, it sounds like the long-term effects of our Internet habits could be dangerous, not just for our relationships and our ability to focus, but our brains and bodies as well. The small-but-growing body of EMF research looks like anti-tobacco research must have looked in the 1950s — necessary and important work that will surely gain researchers an ugly, uphill battle against better-funded opponents.

Note: Read an excellent article on the serious dangers of 5G wireless technology which is being rolled out. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Record sexual harassment settlement exposes byzantine congressional process
2017-12-21, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/record-sexual-harassment-settlement...

Of all the secret deals cut on behalf of accused members of congress, the one that resulted in the largest settlement yet uncovered may be the most surprising. With new harassment accusations being revealed on a nearly daily basis in Congress, documents obtained by NBC News from this one case shed light on how taxpayer money ends up being used to essentially sweep such incidents under a bureaucratic rug. In 2011, Winsome Packer, a congressional staffer who worked for the United States Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe ... filed a complaint against the commission, alleging that its chairman at the time, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., made unwanted sexual advances toward her and that she was threatened with retaliation. The details ... are recorded in the complaint she also brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The [House Ethics Committee] closed the case after finding that while the congressman admitted to having made some unprofessional comments, it had found “no additional evidence supporting [Packer’s] allegations.” The federal court also dismissed the case. So how did Winsome Packer end up getting a $220,000 taxpayer-funded settlement in May 2014? And why was that payment, settling sexual harassment claims against a member of the House of Representatives, not included in a disclosure ... of all such settlement payments in the last five years, provided by Congress’ Office of Compliance, the congressional office that approved the payment?

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and sexual abuse scandals.


Once US murder capital, NYC close to record low in homicides
2017-12-21, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/killings-hit-record-low-york-terror-attack...

Even after two terror attacks and a driver's deadly rampage through Times Square, New York City is on track to smash its modern-era low for homicides in a year. Through Dec. 17, the city of 8.5 million people, once America's murder capital, had recorded 278 killings. That puts it on pace to end this year with killings down 14 percent from last year, and well below the 333 in 2014, which was the year with the fewest homicides since the city began keeping accurate crime statistics. Those numbers mean a person's odds of getting killed by homicide in tightly packed, diverse New York City this year were about the same as they were last year in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota. Crime has been dropping for many years in New York, but 2017 saw substantial drops even in places like Brooklyn's 75th Police Precinct, once among the nation's most violent places. There were 126 killings in the precinct in 1993. This year ... there have been 11. A move away from heavy-handed policing may have helped drive crime lower. Arrests are down about 7 percent this year. Chief of Patrol Terence Monahan said there were other tactical changes. The department ditched specialized units within precincts and made most officers general assignment. "We're not going to arrest our way out of the problems here," said Sgt. Timothy Cecchini on a recent patrol through the 75th Precinct. "But now, we are getting the space to think about how to do our jobs and really address issues for people and talk to them."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Homeboy Humility: Growing Stronger And Better By Listening
2017-12-21, Forbes
https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnbaldoni/2017/12/21/homeboy-humility-growing-...

If you want to help, you first need to listen. That is a philosophy that Father Greg Boyle, S.J., founder of Homeboy Industries in East Los Angeles, employs. “If you're humble, you'll ask the poor, what would help you? But if you're led by hubris, then you tell the poor, here's what your problem is; here's how you fix yourself.” Homeboy Industries was founded more than 30 years ago as a means of providing employment to gang members in East LA. Few businesses would hire ex-gang members so Fr. Greg, Jesuit pastor of the Dolores Mission the poorest mission in the LA archdiocese, created a business to provide those jobs. Today Homeboy serves not just the neighborhood but all of Los Angeles County with its restaurants, coffee shops, bakery and even a tattoo removal clinic. “Homeboy has ... listened to the formerly gang-involved.” It asks the question: “what can we do that is concretely helpful?” Fr. Greg [said] on NPR’s “Fresh Air.” No one likes to be told how to get better; they want to participate in the process. That begins with conversation, a discovery of what the other is feeling and how he or she can help in his own improvement. Often the best answers come from the people you serve, as it does with Homeboy Industries. Its tattoo removal clinic came about because ex-gang members wanted to remove tattoos no longer relevant to their current lives, and which in some instances may prevent them from getting hired. Removing a tattoo is a long and painful process but it can serve as a kind of rebirth.

Note: Watch an inspiring video on this program which has transformed the lives of thousands of gang members. Readers interested in learning more about Father Greg Boyle and his work can check out his new memoir, Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship.


U.S. Imposes Sanctions on 52 People and Entities for Abuse and Corruption
2017-12-21, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/21/world/global-magnitsky-act-sanctions.html

The United States imposed sanctions on 52 people and entities Thursday for alleged human rights violations and corruption, a list that included Maung Maung Soe, a top Burmese general cited for an ongoing deadly crackdown on the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic group. Maj. Gen. Maung Maung Soe was the chief of the Burmese Army’s Western Command during a crackdown that survivors say involved government soldiers stabbing babies, cutting off the heads of boys, gang-raping girls and burning entire families to death. Maj. Gen. Maung Maung Soe is the first high-level Burmese military official to be named in sanctions. “Today, the United States is taking a strong stand against human rights abuse and corruption globally by shutting these bad actors out of the U.S. financial system,” said Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary. Among others penalized on Thursday was Yahya Jammeh, former president of Gambia. Mr. Jammeh created a terror and assassination squad ... that he used to intimidate, interrogate and kill people who threatened him. Benjamin Bol Mel of South Sudan, Dan Gertler, who did business in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Mukhtar Hamid Shah of Pakistan were also on the list. The sanctions freeze any assets the individuals or entities hold in the United States and also prevent them from using any American financial institution.

Note: Importantly, billionaire Israeli mine kingpin Dan Gertler is on this list. This revealing article on Gertler in the UK's Guardian shows corruption and abuse leading to very high places. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world.


Miscarriage rates triple for women with top radiation exposures
2017-12-20, Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-mobilephone-miscarriage/miscarriage...

Pregnant women exposed to high radiation levels from sources like cell phones, wireless devices and cell towers miscarried at nearly three times the rate as those exposed to low levels, according to new research. “I hope this study makes us rethink the notion that magnetic field non-ionizing radiation exposure is safe or has no health risk,” said lead author Dr. De-Kun Li. Cell phones, cordless phones and other wireless devices, appliances, power lines, smart-meter networks and cell towers generate non-ionizing radiation from magnetic fields. Writing in Scientific Reports, Li and his team call rapidly proliferating electromagnetic field emissions “a ubiquitous environmental exposure and a serious looming public health challenge.” For the study, more than 900 pregnant women in the San Francisco area carried meters that measured their exposure to electromagnetic field radiation. Expectant mothers with the highest exposure levels during their typical weekday routines were 2.7 times as likely to miscarry as women with the lowest levels. The results underscore the need for additional research into possible health harms of a technology to which virtually everyone in the U.S. is now exposed, whether by choice or circumstance, Li said. A federal study last year found an increased risk of cancer associated with magnetic field non-ionizing radiation exposure in rodents. Li called the findings from the National Toxicology Program “stunningly important.”

Note: The National Toxicology Program study mentioned above came to light in 2016 after scientists posted some of its preliminary findings to a public website. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks of cell phones and wireless devices.


Going to School for Empathy
2017-12-20, US News and World Report
https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/articles/2017-12-20/canadian-class...

In a Toronto classroom, a group of 10-year-olds sit in a circle around a green felt blanket cheering on a baby as he tries to roll over. The baby's classroom visit is part of a program designed in Canada to foster empathy among children and, in the process, reduce aggression and bullying. Founded in 1996 by Canadian educator Mary Gordon, the program, Roots of Empathy, has found receptive audiences at home and abroad. In an age of polarized politics in many democracies, where social media often is seen more as a tool of cyberbullying than a bridge to increased understanding, Roots of Empathy has expanded to the U.S. and in Western Europe by using a 20th-century technique: face-to-face interactions. "The students learn that each person has a particular disposition, that there are differences between individuals - but that we all share the same menu of feelings," Gordon says. In 2001, the government of Manitoba commissioned a three-year follow-up study of Roots of Empathy, measuring positive social behavior, physical aggression, and indirect aggression. The results showed an improvement in all three areas immediately after the program and three years later. Studies commissioned by the University of Missouri and the University of Toronto had similar findings. The program has expanded from Canada, where it is delivered in English and French, to the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland ... Costa Rica, [and the] the U.S..

Note: Read an interview with the founder of this great program.


US lifts ban on lethal virus experiments despite security risks
2017-12-20, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42426548

The US government has lifted a three-year ban on making lethal viruses in the lab, saying the potential benefits of disease preparedness outweigh the risks. Labs will now be able to manufacture strains of influenza, Sars and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers). The ban was imposed following safety breaches at federal institutions involving anthrax and avian flu. Now a scientific review panel will have to green-light each research proposal. It will only be allowed to go ahead if the panel determines there is no safer way to conduct the research and that the benefits it will provide justify the risk. Critics say such "gain-of-function" research still risks creating an accidental pandemic. The ban was imposed in 2014 after embarrassing safety lapses including ... dozens of workers at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) being exposed to anthrax bacteria, [and] long forgotten vials of smallpox left in a cardboard box being discovered at a research centre near Washington. In addition, there was concern that research into transmissible pathogens, which is published, could be used to deliberately engineer a mutant virus. Now, the US National Institutes of Health says it is time to lift the ban on funding such research.

Note: Despite FBI assurance to the contrary, the 2001 weaponized anthrax attacks remain unsolved. From November of 2001 to March of 2002, eleven microbiologists mysteriously died. According to this 2009 ABC News article, swine flu may be a "man-made product of genetic experiments accidently leaked from a laboratory". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on avian and swine flu from reliable major media sources.


US government recovered materials from unidentified flying object it 'does not recognise'
2017-12-19, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pentagon-ufo-alloys-program...

The Pentagon has reportedly recovered metal alloys from unidentified flying objects that scientists "do not recognise”. Materials, which are alleged to have “amazing properties”, are being stored in modified buildings in Las Vegas, the New York Times reports. The US Department of Defence (DoD) has admitted to a secret $22m (Ł15m) programme, which ran between 2007 and 2012, that was tasked with investigating reports of UFOs. “They have some material from these objects that is being studied, so that scientists can try to figure out what accounts for their amazing properties,” [said] Ralf Blumenthal, one of the authors of the New York Times report. Researchers also studied people who claimed they had experienced physical effects from encounters with unidentified aerial phenomena. A previously classified video released by the DoD shows Navy pilots reacting with astonishment after being sent to investigate a mysterious flying object as it hovered off the coast of San Diego. The recently released footage shows a 2004 encounter between an apparent object, roughly the size of a commercial plane, and two Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets. Commander David Fravor and Lieutenant Commander Jim Slaight were on a routine training mission 100 miles out into the Pacific when they were asked to investigate the object. Commander Fravor [said] the object was about 40ft long, had no plumes, wings or rotors, and outpaced their F-18s. It was big enough to churn the sea 50ft below it, he said.

Note: Something smells fishy about all of this. Serious UFO researchers have known for decades about these alien materials, yet the media had failed to cover this. Read this provocative essay which suggests the current sensational coverage may be a way to eventually spread more fear about viruses from space to bring mega-profits to the peddlers of vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing UFO news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.


Congressional complaint office refuses to release data on sexual harassment settlements
2017-12-19, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/sexual-misconduct/congressional-complaint-o...

The office that receives complaints from Congressional staffers on sexual harassment has refused to release information on settlements in the Senate, keeping secret the amount of taxpayer money spent to quiet such claims. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., asked the Office of Compliance on Dec. 6 to release the number of sexual harassment claims filed against a senator or his or her staff between 2007 and 2017. He also asked for the dollar amounts of the settlements and said he would make the information public. Susan Grundmann, executive director of the OOC, said [that] the statute that created the Office of Compliance prohibits her from releasing the data. "The OOC provided ... a statistical breakdown of settlement amounts involving Senate employing offices from 1997-2017. That information represents the full extent of what we can provide," Grundmann wrote. Kaine ... wasn’t satisfied with Grundmann’s response. In a statement, Kaine said that by not releasing the names of the accused or the accusers, no privacy rights would be violated. The OOC’s response seems to be inconsistent. The office released five years of data in settlements with House offices to the House Administration Committee and is expected to release the first 15 years as well. The only public information surrounding Senate settlements is a $220,000 payment in 2014. Even though the accused was a congressman, Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., the case was finally resolved with the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment office.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and sexual abuse scandals.


‘Medical marijuana has no public health risks’ should not be withheld from patients’
2017-12-19, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://guardian.ng/features/health/medical-marijuana-has-no-public-health-ri...

After months of deliberation and investigation, the WHO has concluded that cannabidiol (CBD) is a useful treatment for epilepsy and palliative care, and does not carry any addiction risks. The organization is set to run a fuller review of cannabis next year. The report ... also recommended imposing the strong restrictions available on fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which has killed thousands of people in America’s drug addiction epidemic. “There is increased interest from Member States in the use of cannabis for medical indications including for palliative care,” the report said. “Responding to that interest and increase in use, WHO has in recent years gathered more robust scientific evidence on therapeutic use and side effects of cannabis and cannabis components.” In conclusion, the authors wrote: “Recent evidence from animal and human studies shows that its use could have some therapeutic value for seizures due to epilepsy and related conditions.” They added that ‘current information does not justify scheduling of cannabidiol’, and declared that taking medical marijuana will not lead to addiction to THC, the psychoactive property of cannabis that induces a ‘high’.

Note: More people are arrested in the US for marijuana use than for all violent crimes combined and the US federal government continues to regard non-psychoactive CBD as a dangerous drug. The UK government recently announced it will regulate CBD as medicine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Honduran opposition angry at US backing for election decision
2017-12-19, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/19/americas/honduras-elections-us-intl/index.html

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.


This old drug was free. Now it’s $109,500 a year.
2017-12-18, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/18/this-old-drug-was-free...

For decades, Don Anderson of Seattle has been taking the same drug to help control the temporary bouts of immobility and muscle weakness caused by a rare and frightening genetic illness called periodic paralysis. The drug Anderson has been taking all these years was originally approved in 1958 and used primarily to treat the eye disease glaucoma under the brand name Daranide. The price has been on a roller coaster in recent years — zooming from a list price of $50 for a bottle of 100 pills in the early 2000s up to $13,650 in 2015, then plummeting back down to free, before skyrocketing back up to $15,001 after a new company, Strongbridge Biopharma, acquired the drug and relaunched it this spring. The zigzagging trajectory of the price of Daranide, now known as Keveyis, shows just how much freedom drug companies have in pricing therapies — and what a big business opportunity selling extremely-rare-disease drugs has become. In 2016, after The Washington Post asked questions about the high price of the drug, Sun Pharmaceutical said it would give the drug away free. Late last year, Sun agreed to sell Keveyis to a biotech company, Strongbridge Biopharma. In April, Strongbridge relaunched the drug. In August, it jacked the list price ... to $15,001 for a bottle of 100 pills. In a PowerPoint presentation for investors, Strongbridge Biopharma estimated that the annual price of treatment for the drug, Keveyis, would range from $109,500 to $219,000.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Cell Phone Radiation May Be Dangerous, California Health Officials Warn
2017-12-18, Time
http://time.com/5069317/california-mobile-phone-radiation/

The science is still out on whether the long-term use of cell phones - which emit electromagnetic radiation when they send and receive signals from towers or WiFi devices - can affect human health. But for people who want to reduce their exposure to this type of energy, the California Department of Public Health has published new guidelines on how to do just that. The guidelines, issued last week, note that “some laboratory experiments and human health studies have suggested the possibility that long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and other health effects.” These include brain cancer, tumors of the acoustic nerve and salivary glands, lower sperm count, headaches and effects on learning, memory, hearing, behavior and sleep. The guidelines recommend keeping phones away from the body when they’re not in use ... and sleeping with phones away from the bed. People can also reduce their exposure by limiting cell-phone use when the cellular signal is weak; when traveling in a high-speed car, bus or train; to stream audio or video; or to download or upload large files. All of these circumstances cause phones to put out higher-than-normal levels of RF energy. In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer published a review stating that cell-phone radiation is “possibly carcinogenic.” And earlier this year, an Italian court ruled in favor of a plaintiff who argued that his brain tumor was the result of excessive work-related cell-phone use over a 15-year period.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Could A Zap To The Brain Derail Destructive Impulses?
2017-12-18, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/12/18/571679556/could-a-zap-to...

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