Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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Thousands of scientists and health experts have joined a global movement warning of "grave concerns" about Covid-19 lockdown policies. Nearly 6,000 experts, including dozens from the UK, say the approach is having a devastating impact on physical and mental health as well as society. They are calling for protection to be focused on the vulnerable, while healthy people get on with their lives. The movement - known as the Great Barrington Declaration - mirrors some of the warnings in a letter signed by a group of GPs in the UK. Sixty-six GPs, including ... a number of medics who have held senior roles at the British Medical Association, have written to the health secretary, saying there is insufficient emphasis on "non-Covid harms" in the decision-making. They say keeping the lockdown policies in place until a vaccine is available would cause "irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed". The health harms cited include ... worsening care for heart disease and cancer patients. And they point out the risk from coronavirus is 1,000 times greater for the old and infirm, with children more at risk from flu than Covid-19. The declaration recommends a number of measures to protect the vulnerable. But: young low-risk individuals should be allowed to work normally, schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching, [and] sports and cultural activities could resume and restaurants reopen.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
German prosecutors have broken up an online platform for sharing images and videos showing the sexual abuse of children, mostly boys, that had an international following of more than 400,000 members, they said. The site, named "Boystown," had been around since at least June 2019 and included forums where members from around the globe exchanged images and videos showing children, including toddlers, being sexually abused. In addition to the forums, the site had chat rooms where members could connect with one another in various languages. German federal prosecutors described it as "one of the largest child pornography sites operating on the dark net" in a statement they released on Monday announcing the arrest in mid-April of three German men who managed the site and a fourth who had posted thousands of images to it. The accused administrators of the "Boystown" site, aged 40 and 49, were arrested after raids in their homes. A third man accused of being an administrator ... has been detained. A fourth man, 64, was arrested in Hamburg on suspicion of uploading more than 3,500 images and videos of abuse to the site, as one of its most active members. He faces charges of belonging to the site and sharing material depicting child sexual abuse. Last month, the German Parliament passed a law to expand the authorities' abilities to pursue those suspected of harming children and increase the prison terms for anyone convicted of sexually abusing minors.
Note: To learn the dark meaning of "Boystown," explore on this webpage the Franklin cover-up and its involvement in child sex trafficking rings leading to the highest levels of government based out of Boystown in Nebraska. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
The first release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the United States began this week in the Florida Keys - the culmination of a decade-long effort by local mosquito control authorities to see if a genetically modified organism is a viable alternative to spraying insecticides in the region. For the first 12-week phase, blue-and-white boxes containing about 12,000 GMO eggs developed by a US-owned, British-based company called Oxitec have been placed in six small areas of Ramrod Key, Cudjoe Key and Vaca Key. When water is added, the mosquitoes hatch, mature and enter the environment over the next week or so. A small, vocal group of Florida Key residents have fought the release of what they call "mutant mosquitoes" since the project was announced - and they are incensed. "Our opposition has been long and strong," said Barry Wray, the executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition. "We live here, this our home, and they're forcing this down people's throats." The Florida Keys project, greenlit by the US Environment Protection Agency in May 2020, was approved to release up to 750 million genetically altered mosquitoes in 2021 and 2022. The program's target: Aedes aegypti, an invasive species of mosquito. Oxitec's solution to the problem is OX5034 - a 2.0 version of its original Aedes aegypti modification. Unlike version 1.0, designed to kill all offspring, the newer model has been genetically altered to pass along a lethal gene that only kills females.
New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered a controversial robotic dog undergoing trials with the city's police off the street, and a $94,200 contract with creator Boston Dynamics cancelled. The robot canine, named "Digidog", is to be returned to its manufacturer following outrage tied to calls to cut police funding and law enforcement access to military-developed or surplus hardware. De Blasio voiced that he is "glad the Digidog was put down." A city government spokesperson added: "It's creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers." The 70lb robot could run at three and a half miles per hour and climb stairs. It was primarily intended to go into situations deemed dangerous for officers, and had been undergoing trials in the Bronx since it was unveiled last December. But the dog sparked an immediate backlash, with critics noting police dogs have been traditionally used to suppress and intimidate communities of color. Some critics also pointed out it was reminiscent of robot dogs in the dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Whether you took up gardening during the pandemic or have been a lifelong cultivator, we have good news for you – a recent study found that the outdoor hobby may do wonders for your wellbeing, mental health, and overall life satisfaction. According to the study, conducted by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), people who garden daily have wellbeing scores 6.6 percent higher and stress levels 4.2 percent lower than those who do not garden at all. It takes only two to three gardening sessions per week to reap these healthy benefits. "This is the first time the â€dose response' to gardening has been tested and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden – the greater the health benefits," said study lead author Dr. Lauriane Chalmin-Pui. "In fact gardening every day has the same positive impact on wellbeing than undertaking regular, vigorous exercise like cycling or running." As part of the study, the scientists researched why residents engaged in gardening. They monitored 5,766 gardeners and 259 non-gardeners through an electronic survey distributed within the UK. The results revealed that six in ten people garden because of the pleasure and enjoyment they get from it. Just under a third of the participants claimed they garden for the health benefits. The findings also indicated that gardening may boost mental health, with those with health issues stating that the outdoor hobby reduced feelings of depression, boosted energy levels, and reduced stress.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A government study commissioned by Senator Bernie Sanders has revealed that Americans pay two to four times more on prescription medicine compared to other wealthy countries. Analysis released by the Government Acountability Office (GAO) found that US consumers and insurers paid 2.82 times more than in Canada, 4.25 times more than in Australia, and 4.36 times more than in France for 20 brand-named prescription drugs in 2020. France and Australia both operate on a universal, publicly funded healthcare system, which can explain some of the discrepancy in prescription drug prices. Canada, similar to the United States, does not provide prescription drug coverage to all of its residents. But the analysis found that US residents typically paid two to eight times more than Canadians when paying for the same prescription drug. For example, 30 tablets of Xarelto, which treats blood clots, costs $558.33 in the US but just $85.44 in Canada. When purchasing 28 tablets of Epclusa to treat Hepatitis C, an infection that attacks the liver, it costs $36,743 in the US compared to $17,023.63 in Canada, according to the analysis. But Mr Biden's $1.8tn infrastructure plan ultimately left out popular progressive initiatives that would alter the healthcare system in America, including lowering the Medicare eligibility age and allowing the federal government to directly negotiate prescription drug prices. These policy ideas were both left out despite receiving overwhelming approval from the US public.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Optimism is essentially hopefulness about the future, a general belief that things will work out in your favor. A new study provides evidence that cultivating optimism might be worthwhile. According to the paper, which was published last month in the journal Emotion, optimism appears to be particularly useful when tackling challenges or approaching situations that could elicit high levels of stress. Researchers Heather Lench and Zari Carpenter explored the benefits of optimism. Over a thousand undergraduates completed a survey two weeks before taking their first psychology exam, which assessed their anticipated grade and their emotions about the exam. One day before the exam, participants were surveyed again about their expected grade and their study habits leading up to the exam. Two days after taking the exam, participants reported on the actual grade they received, as well as their emotional response. Indeed, they found that there is a likely connection between optimism and effort. Greater optimism two weeks prior to the exam predicted more study hours, greater overall satisfaction with the quality of their studying, and a better grade on the exam. If students lowered their expectations the day before the exam, they'd study less and get a worse grade. It's not just optimism that drives effort and results, but unflappable optimism that holds steady over a period of time. Optimism appears to fuel our efforts in achieving personal goals, and also improves the overall quality of our experiences while doing so.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
"I'm not going to change," Joe Biden said in his 2008 vice presidential debate. "I have 35 years in public office. I haven't changed in that time." The Intercept conducted an exhaustive analysis of Biden's political career, with a focus on his positions on dozens of U.S. wars and military campaigns, CIA covert actions, and abuses of power; his views on whistleblowers and leakers; and his shifting stance on the often contentious relationship between the executive and legislative branches over war powers. The picture that emerges is of a man who is dedicated to the U.S. as an empire, who believes that preserving U.S. national interests and "prestige" on the global stage outweighs considerations of morality or even at times the deaths of innocent people. Even in cases in which he passionately opposed U.S. military or CIA action, such as in President Ronald Reagan's 1980s campaigns to aid the Contra death squads in Nicaragua and the right-wing military junta in El Salvador, Biden sought ways to tweak U.S. policy in return for his political or legislative support. Throughout the 1990s, he pushed through harsh and punitive policies on crime, while spearheading sweeping surveillance legislation that would form the basis for the Patriot Act after 9/11. Biden would emerge, in the early stages of the "war on terror," as a leading legislative force supporting the most far-reaching aspirations of the Bush-Cheney White House. He was instrumental in the rushed passage of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
Note: Have you noticed that on the campaign trail, every US president from both parties has advocated for peace, while when they assume office they strongly support the military-industrial complex? So whose will are they serving, the people or the military machine? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
When Suzanne Simard made her extraordinary discovery – that trees could communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi – the scientific establishment underreacted. Even though her doctoral research was published in the Nature journal in 1997 ... the finding that trees are more altruistic than competitive was dismissed by many. Today, at 60, she is professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia and her research of more than three decades as a "forest detective" is recognised worldwide. In her new book, Finding the Mother Tree – a scientific memoir as gripping as any HBO drama series – she wants it understood that her work has been no brief encounter: "I want people to know that what I've discovered has been about my whole life." Would she go as far as to suggest a tree can feel pain or grief? "I don't know. Trees don't have a brain, but the network in the soil is a neural network and the chemicals that move through it are the same as our neural transmitters." She is currently collaborating on research to see whether trees can distinguish us as humans. She laments our lack of vocabulary for communication between trees and adds: "Western Canada's aboriginal people have known about the connection between trees for a long time." But she believes we can learn from the way trees interact: "Some trees have lived for thousands of years. They get along, develop sophisticated relationships and listen – they're attuned. Attunement is something we all need too."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The pharmaceutical industry is pouring resources into the growing political fight over generic coronavirus vaccines. Over 100 lobbyists have been mobilized to contact lawmakers and members of the Biden administration, urging them to oppose a proposed temporary waiver on intellectual property rights by the World Trade Organization that would allow generic vaccines to be produced globally. Pharmaceutical lobbyists working against the proposal include Mike McKay, a key fundraiser for House Democrats, now working on retainer for Pfizer, as well as several former staff members to the U.S. Office of Trade Representative, which oversees negotiations with the WTO. Several trade groups funded by pharmaceutical firms have also focused closely on defeating the generic proposal, new disclosures show. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the International Intellectual Property Alliance, which all receive drug company money, have dispatched dozens of lobbyists to oppose the initiative. The push has been followed by a number of influential voices taking the side of the drug lobby. Last week, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., released a letter demanding that the administration "oppose any and all efforts aimed at waiving intellectual property rights." Currently, only 1 percent of coronavirus vaccines are going to low-income countries, and projections show much of the world's population may not be vaccinated until 2023 or 2024.
Note: Has it ever been more clear that big Pharma places profits above health, even when it might cause huge numbers of people to die? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
In response to the high rate at which American police kill civilians, many on the left have taken up the call for defunding the police, or abolishing the police entirely. But some policing experts are instead emphasizing a different approach that they say could reduce police killings: training officers better, longer, and on different subjects. Police in the United States receive less initial training than their counterparts in other rich countries - about five months in a classroom and another three or so months in the field, on average. Many European nations, meanwhile, have something more akin to police universities, which can take three or four years to complete. European countries also have national standards for various elements of a police officer's job - such as how to search a car and when to use a baton. The U.S. does not. The 18,000 police departments in the U.S. each have their own rules and requirements. "Police officers, police chiefs, and everyone agree that we do not get enough training in a myriad of fields," Dennis Slocumb, the legislative director of the International Union of Police Associations [said]. Many policing experts recommend that officers be trained to slow down when they are able to do so, giving themselves time to decide the best course of action. "Police are taught in the academy [that] police always have to win," says Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. But sometimes it's okay not to win, particularly if it means saving a life.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked," the billionaire investor Warren Buffett has famously said. During the crash of 2008, the whole world learned just how dangerously nude Wall Street was. Now it may be happening again – this time not with residential mortgage-backed securities, based on loans for homes, but commercial mortgage-backed securities, or CMBS, based on loans for businesses. John M. Griffin and Alex Priest are, respectively, a prominent professor of finance and a Ph.D. candidate at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. In a study released last November, they sampled almost 40,000 CMBS loans with a market capitalization of $650 billion underwritten from the beginning of 2013 to the end of 2019. "Overall," they write, "actual net operating income falls short of underwritten income by 5% or more in 28% of loans." This was just the average, however: Some originators – including an unusual company called Ladder Capital as well as the Swiss bank UBS, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley – were significantly worse, "having more than 35% of their loans exhibiting 5% or greater income overstatement." With almost every lender, including Ladder, the overstatement increased as time went on. These income overstatements might cause defaults under any circumstances. But it has been particularly dangerous in a severe economic downturn like the one caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
For decades, Nepal's endangered rhino population has dwindled to near extinction. But recently, thanks in part to travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, the population has soared. The nation's count of endangered one-horned rhinoceros has increased by more than 100 over the past six years. Officials are hailing the rise a "conservation milestone." The rhino population across four national parks in the southern plains rose to 752 – up from 645 in 2015, according to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. That's the highest it's been in decades. The area was once dominated by thousands of one-horned rhinos, but rampant poaching and habitat loss reduced their numbers. In the 1960s, there were only about 100 left. Nepal has conducted a rhino census every five years since 1994 in an effort to conserve the species after it was listed as vulnerable. That year, the Himalayan nation recorded 466 rhinos. Ever since, the government has stepped up its anti-poaching and conservation initiatives. But this year, the lack of tourists in the country left the habitats undisturbed, allowing for even more growth. "Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the tourist pressure was reduced drastically that resulted in the undisturbed habitat of rhinos," [information officer Haribhadra] Acharya told CBS News. "In that scenario, the wildlife recovery might have taken momentum." Last month, hundreds of enumerators, soldiers and veterinarians worked for about three weeks to count this year's rhino population.
Japan has approved a plan to release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea. The water will be treated and diluted so radiation levels are below those set for drinking water. But the local fishing industry has strongly opposed the move, as have China and South Korea. Tokyo says work to release water used to cool nuclear fuel will begin in about two years. The final approval comes after years of debate. Reactor buildings at the Fukushima power plant were damaged by hydrogen explosions caused by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The tsunami knocked out cooling systems to the reactors, three of which melted down. More than a million tonnes of water have been used to cool the melted reactors. Currently, the radioactive water is treated in a complex filtration process that removes most of the radioactive elements, but some remain, including tritium - deemed harmful to humans only in very large doses. It is then kept in huge tanks, but the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TepCo) is running out of space, with these tanks expected to fill up by 2022. About 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive water - or enough to fill 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools - are currently stored in these tanks. Environmental groups like Greenpeace have long expressed their opposition to releasing the water into the ocean. The NGO said Japan's plans to release the water showed the government "once again failed the people of Fukushima".
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Fukushima nuclear disaster from reliable major media sources.
Pentagon scientists working inside a secretive unit set up at the height of the Cold War have created a microchip to be inserted under the skin, which will detect COVID-19 infection, and a revolutionary filter that can remove the virus from the blood when attached to a dialysis machine. The team at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been working for years on preventing and ending pandemics. One of their recent inventions, they told 60 Minutes on Sunday night, was a microchip which detects COVID infection in an individual before it can become an outbreak. The microchip is sure to spark worries among some about a government agency implanting a microchip in a citizen. Retired Colonel Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician leading DARPA's response to the pandemic, showed the 60 Minutes team a tissue-like gel, engineered to continuously test your blood. 'You put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body, and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow,' he explained. 'It's like a "check engine" light,' said Hepburn. Troops are likely to be highly skeptical of the new invention. In February, The New York Times reported that a third of troops have refused to take the vaccine, sighting concerns that the vaccine contains a microchip devised to monitor recipients, that it will permanently disable the body's immune system or that it is some form of government control.
A pilot project in a California town is paying homeless residents to tidy up their living areas, and it's changing the culture of the city. The idea stemmed from a conversation with one of the city's police sergeants, said Sarah Bontrager, the housing and public services manager for Elk Grove, a city of 174,000 people located 15 miles south of Sacramento. "We got together to talk about homelessness, and from my prospective I wanted to build better relationships with people who were experiencing homelessness, and he wanted to address some of the complaints that come to his officers," Bontrager told CNN. The number one complaint surrounding homelessness was the amount of trash. "Our public works staff were previously doing cleanups out at encampment sites ... and just spending a lot of time and money doing it. We also wanted a way to reduce interactions at the early stages of Covid," she said. So they came up with the idea to offer an incentive to those who live in the homeless encampments to clean up their area. "We distribute trash bags, and we go out every two weeks to pick up the trash, and if they have it bagged, they are eligible for up to $20 in gift cards to a grocery store," Bontrager said. The recipients can use the gift cards on anything but cigarettes and alcohol. Bontrager said that they usually use them for food or hygiene items. Many of the homeless residents have expressed how thankful they are to be able to go pick out items themselves instead of relying on shelters.
Research Medical's owner, HCA Healthcare Inc., is a profitable, publicly traded network of 185 hospitals. Even in the year of Covid-19, 2020, the company generated $51.5 billion in revenue and increased its pretax earnings by 3.6 percent. That performance helped boost the total compensation HCA's chief executive, Samuel N. Hazen, received last year to $30.4 million, a 13 percent rise from 2019. The total worth of his compensation package equaled 556 times the compensation received by the median employee at HCA – $54,651. The figures highlight the growing CEO pay gap, a problem among many public companies according to some investors and workers and even a few CEOs. In 2019, for example, the average pay ratio among 350 large American companies was 320-to-1, according to research by the Economic Policy Institute. In 1989, the average was 61-to-1. Because [Jamelle] Brown, [an] emergency department worker, makes even less than the median, Hazen got roughly 1,000 times Brown's pay. Brown says he lives with his sister because he doesn't earn enough from his job at Research Medical to pay for his own apartment. HCA isn't alone in paying its chief executive vastly more than what rank-and-file workers earn. Acuity Brands, an industrial technology company, paid its CEO, Neil M. Ashe, $21 million last year, or 2,316 times the median employee's pay. Starbucks ... paid its CEO, Kevin Johnson, $14.7 million last year. That was 1,211 times the pay of its median employee.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
A former Gestapo general who sent tens of thousands of Jews to their deaths was protected from prosecution by US and West German intelligence after the Second World War. SS-General Franz Josef Huber served as head of the Gestapo in Vienna and much of Austria following the Nazi takeover. He worked closely with Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust, and personally ordered the deportation of Austrian Jews to concentration camps. Yet while Eichmann was captured by Israel and sentenced to death ... Huber was released by US forces following the war and spent the rest of his life as a free man in his native Munich, where he was a minor employee at a local business. That was a cover arranged for him by West German intelligence. It now appears Huber was protected by the US because it believed he could be a useful asset against the Soviet Union. "Although we are by no means unmindful of the dangers involved in playing around with a Gestapo general, we also believe, on the basis of the information now in our possession, that Huber might be profitably used by this organization," a CIA memo from 1953 obtained by the New York Times reads. Declassified files obtained by German ARD television's Munich Report show that US and West German intelligence conspired to hide Huber's past and protect him from prosecution. In the US, the CIA, FBI and other intelligence agencies recruited more than 1,000 ex-Nazis as agents in the years following the war.
Note: Read about the Nazi scientists secretly brought to the US to work after WWII. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
A Georgia restaurant owner is making waves for choosing kindness after his popular establishment was the target of vandalism. After discovering Diablo's Southwest Grill had been broken into on Saturday, owner Carl Wallace took to Facebook with an unusual proposal; rather than calling the police, he extended an offer of employment to the unknown vandal. "To the would-be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues... please swing by for a job application," Wallace wrote. "There are better opportunities out there than this path you've chosen." In a report from WFLA, a man was caught on security footage throwing a brick through the glass door and entering the establishment. Once inside, he shook the cash register, but according to Wallace, he ran off when he realized the register was empty. The viral Facebook post has touched the hearts of viewers. "As a 30-year government/law enforcement retiree I want to say, Thank you!," wrote another. "I've always said...' you're only one bad decision away from a totally different life.' This morning you made me think that sometimes....'you're only one GOOD decision away from a totally different life.'" Wallace said he did not expect his post to go viral the way it did. "It was just a little bit different approach to, you know, a bad situation," he [said]. "Putting this person through incarceration to then get out to make it harder to find a good-paying job. It only makes it worse."
When thousands of New Yorkers poured into the city's streets last summer following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, they were met with the very police violence they had come to protest. New York police arrested hundreds of people, many with no probable cause. Over multiple incidents, police regularly and unjustifiably used force against peaceful protesters, with state investigators finding that they beat people with blunt instruments at least 50 times, unlawfully pepper-sprayed them in at least 30 instances, and pushed or struck protesters at least 75 times. Officers targeted and retaliated against people engaging in constitutionally protected activity, New York Attorney General Letitia James's office concluded, and "blatantly violated the rights of New Yorkers." Leading the violent crackdown was the New York Police Department's Strategic Response Group, or SRG, a heavily militarized, rapid-response unit of several hundred officers. Investigators found a disproportionate number of SRG officers accused of wrongdoing to have exceeded their legal authority, when compared with the wider department. The group earned a reputation among activists as the NYPD's "goon squad." Despite initial reassurances to the contrary, the SRG ended up policing protests far more than it did any "counterterrorism" work – already the job of the NYPD's Counterterrorism Bureau – but it brought its militarized mentality and tactics to the policing of civil unrest.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Asked about the future of Parkinson's disease in the US, Dr Ray Dorsey says, "We're on the tip of a very, very large iceberg." Dorsey, a neurologist ... believes a Parkinson's epidemic is on the horizon. Parkinson's is already the fastest-growing neurological disorder in the world; in the US, the number of people with Parkinson's has increased 35% the last 10 years, says Dorsey, and "We think over the next 25 years it will double again." Researchers increasingly believe that one factor is environmental exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical compound used in industrial degreasing, dry-cleaning and household products such as some shoe polishes and carpet cleaners. To date, the clearest evidence around the risk of TCE to human health is derived from workers who are exposed to the chemical in the work-place. A 2008 peer-reviewed study in the Annals of Neurology, for example, found that TCE is "a risk factor for parkinsonism." And a 2011 study echoed those results, finding "a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE)." While some countries heavily regulate TCE (its use is banned in the EU without special authorization) the EPA estimates that 250m lb of the chemical are still used annually in the US. TCE is currently estimated to be present in about 30% of US groundwater. Using activated carbon filtration devices (like Brita filters) can help reduce TCE in drinking water.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
The number of newly minted and reissued billionaires soared last year, Forbes reported Tuesday in its annual ranking, a staggering accumulation of personal wealth that stands in sharp contrast with the widespread economic struggles unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of billionaires on Forbes' 35th annual ranking swelled by 660 to 2,755 – a roughly 30 percent jump from a year ago – and 493 of them are first-timers. Seven of eight are richer than they were before the pandemic. Forbes calculates net worth by using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, with an estimated fortune of $177 billion, topped the list. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk came in at No. 2 at $151 billion. As a class, billionaires added about $8 trillion to their total net worth from last year, totaling $13.1 trillion. The United States had the most billionaires, at 724, extending a rapid rise in wealth that hasn't happened since the Rockefellers and the Carnegies roughly a century ago. China ... had the second highest number of billionaires: 698. Gabriel Zucman, an economist ... said in an email that the explosive acceleration of wealth among the richest of the rich has only accelerated during the pandemic. "In the United States, the top 400 wealthiest Americans now own the equivalent 18% of GDP in wealth, twice as much as in 2010 (9% of GDP). The pandemic has reinforced this trend, with a boom in top-end wealth despite the decline in economic activity," he wrote.
Bill Gates has never been a farmer. So why did the Land Report dub him "Farmer Bill" this year? Gates' achievement, according to the report, is that he's largest private owner of farmland in the US. A 2018 purchase of 14,500 acres of prime eastern Washington farmland – which is traditional Yakama territory – for $171m helped him get that title. In total, Gates owns approximately 242,000 acres of farmland with assets totaling more than $690m. To put that into perspective, that's nearly the size of Hong Kong and twice the acreage of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, where I'm an enrolled member. A white man owns more farmland than my entire Native nation! The relationship to land – who owns it, who works it and who cares for it – reflects obscene levels of inequality and legacies of colonialism and white supremacy in the United States, and also the world. Wealth accumulation always goes hand-in-hand with exploitation and dispossession. Our era is dominated by the ultra-rich ... and a burgeoning green capitalism. And Bill Gates' new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster positions himself as a thought leader in how to stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and how to fund what he has called elsewhere a "global green revolution" to help poor farmers mitigate climate change. What expertise in climate science or agriculture Gates possesses beyond being filthy rich is anyone's guess. Investment firms are making the argument farmlands will meet "carbon-neutral" targets for sustainable investment portfolios.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
John Geddert, the former USA Gymnastics coach, was found dead in February just hours after he had been charged with 24 felonies including human trafficking and sexual assault in relation to his decades of work with young gymnasts in his home state of Michigan. Teristi, 46, says she was 10 years old when Geddert's coaching style became verbally and physically abusive. She says she was 14 years old when Geddert started sitting in on training sessions with sports medicine physician Larry Nassar, Geddert's close friend and a serial sexual predator, as Nassar repeatedly sexually abused Teristi. Nassar may not be making national headlines since his sentencing hearing three years ago, but the women he abused have been fighting every day since for accountability from the systems that allowed his abuse to flourish. Most of these survivors have one straightforward demand: a complete and objective accounting of how Nassar was allowed to abuse children for nearly 40 years. Who knew about the abuse and did nothing? Why were there no safeguards in place to prevent this from happening? An independent, transparent investigation that answers these questions can ensure that a predator like Nassar will never again go undetected in the sport of gymnastics or at a college like Michigan State University. And yet, at every turn survivors have been met with institutional apathy, continued betrayal and negligence – a press statement with flowery sentences about change followed by little to no action.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Gabriel Baron first heard about Crisis Kitchen through a call for support he saw on Facebook. The mutual aid group was providing free meals around Portland, Oregon, to combat food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm a believer in local communities supporting local communities," Baron says. So he volunteered to deliver meals for the kitchen. As he did so, he started having conversations with folks in the organization. Baron, a filmmaker, decided to bring his camera to the Crisis Kitchen. He said he was interested in demystifying mutual aid for viewers. It's not an unwieldy and hierarchical institution. It was as simple as laid-off restaurant employees asking to use the kitchen to prepare food for people in their community. And the effort has snowballed from there. The group now delivers about 1,000 free, restaurant-quality meals around the city every week. Crisis Kitchen is one of a network of mutual aid groups in Portland working to build a more supportive and just community. In the film, Adrian Garcia Groenendyk, the co-founder of Crisis Kitchen, says mutual aid demonstrates what can be done to meet people's needs and help them thrive in our society. Long-term, he says this critical work shouldn't be dependent on community donations. The goal should be to take money out of institutions of violence and put it into institutions of care, like Crisis Kitchen. Baron continues to deliver meals for Crisis Kitchen every week.
A new documentary called Writing With Fire ... profiles Khabar Lahariya (Waves of News), India's only major news outlet run by women from marginalized communities. It focuses on rural reporting through a feminist lens and is led by chief reporter Meera Devi. Khabar Lahariya began as a small Hindi language newspaper in 2002 in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Many of its reporters are Dalits, formally called "untouchables" – people at the very bottom of India's ancient 4-level caste system, that are considered by higher castes to be so impure, they should not be touched. The Indian constitution bans discrimination on the basis of caste but it still persists. Two-thirds of rural women and about half of rural men practice untouchability. That could mean they refuse to eat with lower caste people or don't let them enter their kitchen. Untouchability is more common in rural India, where Meera and her colleagues live and report. The documentary ... follows Meera and two other colleagues as they find workarounds to challenges like power outages while reporting, interviewing unyielding, patronizing elected officials. And all the while, many of the reporters' families are pressuring them to marry because that is what is expected for many women in India. Meera says, "When future generations ask us, 'What were you doing when the country was changing and the media was being silenced?' Khabar Lahariya will be able to say proudly that we were holding the powerful to account."
When West Virginia declared a state of emergency to arrest the coronavirus, the social network that aids the homeless froze along with everything else. Ordered to shelter in place, people without shelter died at an alarming rate. In a bad year here ... two to four of the unhoused die. Over the past year, they have tallied 22 deaths, a sevenfold increase. Only two of the deaths are suspected to be from COVID-19. But all occurred during the collapse of the safety net that in normal times addresses the complex mix of afflictions–trauma, medical conditions, addiction–that accompany homelessness, and worsened during the profound isolation of the pandemic. What happened in [West Virginia] is happening across the country. Even before the pandemic lockdowns that fell hardest on low-income Americans –– and stand to push more people out of their homes –– the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported U.S. homelessness at 580,466 people, up 7% from a year earlier. Deaths are rising even faster. In San Francisco, the department of public health says deaths tripled over the past year in an unhoused population of 8,035. In Los Angeles, home to a vast homeless population tallied at 41,290, deaths increased by 32%. Homeless deaths in Washington, D.C., soared by 54%. In New York City, the Coalition for the Homeless reported a death rate up 75%. And over the past year, they died ... at a rate many times higher than the rate of deaths from the virus.
Major American cities saw a 33% increase in homicides last year as a pandemic swept across the country, millions of people joined protests against racial injustice and police brutality, and the economy collapsed under the weight of the pandemic – a crime surge that has continued into the first quarter of this year. Sixty-three of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw increases in at least one category of violent crimes in 2020, which include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, according to a report produced by the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Raleigh, North Carolina, did not report increases in any of the violent crime categories. The increase in homicide rates across the country is both historic and far-reaching, as were the pandemic and social movements that touched every part of society last year. Experts point to a "perfect storm" of factors - economic collapse, social anxiety because of a pandemic, de-policing in major cities after protests that called for abolition of police departments, shifts in police resources from neighborhoods to downtown areas because of those protests, and the release of criminal defendants pretrial or before sentences were completed to reduce risk of Covid-19 spread in jails - all may have contributed to the spike in homicides. Covid-19 seemed to exacerbate everything - officers sometimes had to quarantine because of exposure or cases in their ranks, reducing the number of officers available.
Note: For why Baltimore fared so well and had a significant decrease in crime last year, see this inspiring CNN article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
On Election Day 2016, Crystal Mason went to vote. When her name didn't appear on official voting rolls at her polling place in Tarrant County, Texas, she filled out a provisional ballot. Ms. Mason's ballot was never officially counted or tallied because she was ineligible to vote: She was on supervised release after serving five years for tax fraud. Nonetheless, that ballot has wrangled her into a lengthy appeals process after a state district court sentenced her to five years in prison for illegal voting, as she was a felon on probation when she cast her ballot. Ms. Mason maintains that she didn't know she was ineligible to vote. Her case is now headed for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest state court for criminal cases. Ms. Mason unsuccessfully asked for a new trial and lost her case in an appellate court. This new appeal is the last chance for Ms. Mason, 46, who is out on appeal bond, to avoid prison. If her case has to advance to the federal court system, Ms. Mason would have to appeal from a cell. According to Tommy Buser-Clancy, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Ms. Mason should never have never been convicted. If there is ambiguity in someone's eligibility, the provisional ballot system is there to account for it, he said. If her eligibility was incorrect, he said, "that should be the end of the story." 72 percent of [Texas attorney general, Ken] Paxton's voter fraud cases have targeted people of color.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Just as the Biden administration is pushing to raise taxes on corporations, a new study finds that at least 55 of America's largest firms paid no taxes last year on billions of dollars in profits. The sweeping tax bill passed in 2017 by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump reduced the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%. But dozens of Fortune 500 companies were able to further shrink their tax bill – sometimes to zero – thanks to a range of legal deductions and exemptions that have become staples of the tax code. Salesforce, Archer-Daniels-Midland and Consolidated Edison were among those named in the report, which was done by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Twenty-six of the companies listed, including FedEx, Duke Energy and Nike, were able to avoid paying any federal income tax for the last three years even though they reported a combined income of $77 billion. Many also received millions of dollars in tax rebates. Publicly traded corporations are required to file financial reports. The institute used that data along with other information supplied by each company. The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief act ... contained a provision that temporarily allowed businesses to use losses in 2020 to offset profits earned in previous years. Tax avoidance strategies include a mix of old standards and new innovations. Companies, for example, saved billions by allowing top executives to buy discounted stock options in the future and then deducting their value as a loss.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
We are now in the 20th anniversary year of 9/11, the worst terror atrocity the world has witnessed, the day when more than 2,600 people were killed in the Twin Towers and the surrounding area. At first, the Campbell family and [fiancee Caroline Burbank] were sure [Geoff Campbell] was alive. But one year later, fragments of a shoulder blade containing Geoff's DNA were found amid World Trade Centre rubble. It was then that they started to question the official account of the disaster. After examining the testimony of hundreds of eyewitnesses and forensically dissecting the scientific trail of the towers' collapse, down to analysing dust on the ground at the New York site, they have compiled a lengthy dossier. It is a document which, they claim, proves that controlled demolition explosives – not aircraft – brought the buildings down. Later this month they will formally ask the acting Attorney General for England and Wales, Michael Ellis ... to allow them to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into Geoff's death. Six other families who lost loved ones in the Twin Towers plane attacks on 9/11 plan to send their own statements in support of the Campbells. If Mr Ellis gives the go-ahead – as the Campbells think likely – they plan an attempt to dismantle the notion that the Twin Towers were brought down by raging fires caused by leaking jet fuel which melted their supporting metal girders. At any new inquest, they would call in ... scientists who insist the plane attacks could not have toppled the two buildings.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on 9/11 from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
There literally are objects flying around that no one, including U.S. Navy pilots, can identify, and we have to puzzle out what that means. The U.S. government continues to tiptoe toward the normalization of the idea of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Last year the Department of Defense released three videos (one recorded in 2004 and the other two in 2015) of U.S. Navy pilots seeing something and having no idea what it was. In its news release, the Pentagon said, "the aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as â€unidentified,'" putting the U in UFO. The Pentagon went further in August 2020, announcing the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force. The Pentagon explained, "The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security." 10 days ago, former director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe went on Fox News and made a whole bunch of claims about what the U.S. intelligence community knew about UAPs, including that a Pentagon report would soon be released revealing even more information. If UAPs are extraterrestrials ... it is not humans contacting extraterrestrials but rather those extraterrestrials actively observing us. Furthermore, they seem to be doing so in a way that is not destructive. That is promising! Observation without the intent to destroy suggests a civilization that is much less violent than, say, Spanish conquistadors.
Note: The gradual roll out by government and media continues with this article. Where are those who are willing to talk about the major UFO activities which have been well known and established for decades in the UFO community? This two-page summary gives quotes and links for verification from well known astronauts, top military officials and others who have had personal experience with UFOs and ETs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
The discovery of a newborn blue whale on West Australia's south coast is a "game changer", according to scientists studying the ocean giants, who say the species has no known breeding grounds in Australian waters. The juvenile was spotted with its mother just a few hundred metres off the coast near Bremer Bay, about 500 kilometres south-east of Perth, at the weekend. It may be the first blue whale born in Australian waters. Marine biologist Brodee Elsdon said the subspecies pygmy blue whales were often spotted migrating along the west coast, but rarely during this time of year, so close to shore or with a recently born calf. Pia Markovich, who was on board the vessel which spotted the pair, said the calf appeared to be very young. "Seeing a blue whale is one thing, but to have a mother and calf [is] next level," she said. "And for the calf to be so small, well that's like winning the wildlife lotto. "At first glance, puzzled passengers looked to the crew to understand the significance of this encounter. "Our faces would have said it all, jaws dropped and minds blown." Ms Elsdon said the sighting could help develop scientists' understanding of blue whale migration and breeding. There are no known breeding grounds for these giants in Australian waters. "We predict the breeding grounds for pygmy blue whale are all the way in Indonesia waters, so to have one born this early and in the Southern Ocean, changes everything we know," she said.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on marine mammals.
Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby says the city will no longer prosecute for prostitution, drug possession and other low-level offenses. Mosby made the announcement on Friday following her office's one-year experiment in not prosecuting minor offenses to decrease the spread of Covid-19 behind bars. "Today, America's war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore. We leave behind the era of tough-on-crime prosecution and zero tolerance policing and no longer default to the status quo to criminalize mostly people of color for addiction, said Mosby. The experiment, known as The Covid Criminal Justice Policies, is an approach to crime developed with public health authorities. Instead of prosecuting people arrested for minor crimes ... the program dealt with those crimes as public health issues and work with community partners to help find solutions. The program has led to decreases in the overall incarcerated Baltimore population by 18%. Violent and property crimes are down 20% and 36% respectively. Mosby said her office will no longer prosecute the following offenses: drug and drug paraphernalia possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offense, open container violations, and urinating and defecating in public. The state's attorney's office is also working with the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore Crisis Response Inc. (BCRI), a crisis center dealing with mental health and substance abuse issue, to offer services instead of arresting individuals.
Something happened in Baltimore last year. The coronavirus pandemic hit, and State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that the city would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus. And then crime went down in Baltimore. A lot. While violent crime and homicides skyrocketed in most other big American cities last year, violent crime in Baltimore dropped 20 percent from last March to this month, property crime decreased 36 percent, and there were 13 fewer homicides compared with the previous year. This happened while 39 percent fewer people entered the city's criminal justice system in the one-year period, and 20 percent fewer people landed in jail after Mosby's office dismissed more than 1,400 pending cases and tossed out more than 1,400 warrants for nonviolent crimes. So on Friday, Mosby made her temporary steps permanent. She announced Baltimore City will continue to decline prosecution of all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to aggressively reach out to drug users, sex workers and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment rather than the back of a patrol car. A number of big-city prosecutors have moved to decriminalize drugs, and Oregon voters decriminalized small amounts of drugs statewide.
Note: The fact that the rest of the US last year experienced a "Massive 1-Year Rise In Homicide Rates" makes this all the more impressive. A 2016 report by the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy found that the the war on drugs harmed public health. When Portugal decriminalized drugs, its addiction rates were cut in half.
For exactly a year during the pandemic, the United States did not see a single high-profile public mass shooting. But a surge in daily gun violence contributed to an estimated 4,000 additional murders throughout 2020, in what experts warn will probably be the worst single-year increase in murders on record. There were only two public shootings in 2020 that primarily targeted strangers, were not related to other crimes and killed at least four victims – one standard definition researchers use to classify "mass shootings" – according to two databases that track this kind of gun violence. That's the lowest annual count of high-profile mass shootings in America in nearly a quarter-century, according to Jillian Peterson, the founder of the Violence Project. At the same time, the number of people murdered in everyday violence last year surged in cities large and small. Early estimates suggest the US may have seen at least 4,000 more murders last year than in 2019, and potentially as many as 5,000 more, according to projections based on FBI data, though complete official statistics will not be available until the fall. The number of all murders rose 25% across the country in 2020, with double-digit increases in small, medium and large cities, according to preliminary data from a large subset of law enforcement agencies that the FBI released last week. That would be the highest single-year increase, both in the murder rate and in the total number of additional murders, going back to 1960, the earliest year national crime data is available.
Note: Listen to an excellent 10-minute statement by Edward Snowden on the underlying causes of this increase in violence. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
In the coming months, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden's ambassador to the United Nations, will hear from a growing chorus of developing nations about the foundering efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccine globally. The nations, many of which have not even begun vaccinating their populations, are demanding that the U.S. support proposals to temporarily waive certain patent and intellectual property rights so that generic coronavirus vaccines can be produced. The proposals have been fiercely opposed by American drugmakers, including Pfizer. ASG ... represents Pfizer. Many leading figures in Biden's administration, including key White House advisers, State Department leaders, and health care officials have financial stake in or professional ties to vaccine manufacturers, which are now lobbying to prevent policies that would cut into future profits over the vaccine. ASG in particular has unusual amounts of sway in the Biden administration. State Department officials Victoria Nuland, Wendy Sherman, Uzra Zeya, and Molly Montgomery previously worked at ASG, as did Philip Gordon, Vice President Kamala Harris's national security adviser. The pharmaceutical industry, in a bid to shield an expected financial windfall, has pressed the Biden administration not only to oppose the waiver, but also to impose trade-related sanctions on countries that back [a] proposal or move to manufacture coronavirus vaccines without permission from patent holders.
When Covid cases were rising in the U.S., the news coverage emphasized the increase. When cases were falling, the coverage instead focused on those places where cases were rising. And when vaccine research began showing positive results, the coverage downplayed it, as far as [Dartmouth professor Bruce] Sacerdote could tell. He began working with two other researchers, building a database of Covid coverage from every major network. The researchers then analyzed it with a social-science technique that classifies language as positive, neutral or negative. The results showed that Sacerdote's instinct had been right. The coverage by U.S. publications with a national audience has been much more negative than coverage by any other source that the researchers analyzed, including scientific journals, major international publications and regional U.S. media. About 87 percent of Covid coverage in national U.S. media last year was negative. The share was 51 percent in international media, 53 percent in U.S. regional media and 64 percent in scientific journals. Notably, the coverage was negative in both U.S. media outlets with liberal audiences (like MSNBC) and those with conservative audiences (like Fox News). If we're constantly telling a negative story, we are not giving our audience the most accurate portrait of reality. As Ranjan Sehgal, another co-author, told me, "The media is painting a picture that is a little bit different from what the scientists are saying."
Note: Explore an inspiring article sharing some of the good news to come out of these challenging times. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mass media corruption from reliable sources.
Sweden, which has shunned the strict lockdowns that have choked much of the global economy, emerged from 2020 with a smaller increase in its overall mortality rate than most European countries, an analysis of official data sources showed. Infectious disease experts ... acknowledged [that the results] may indicate Sweden's overall stance on fighting the pandemic had merits worth studying. In the past week, Germany and France have extended lockdowns amid rising coronavirus cases and high death tolls, moves that economists say will further delay economic recovery. While many Europeans have accepted lockdowns as a last resort given the failure to get the pandemic under control with other methods, the moves have in recent months prompted street protests in London, Amsterdam and elsewhere. Sweden, meanwhile, has mostly relied on voluntary measures focused on social distancing, good hygiene and targeted rules that have kept schools, restaurants and shops largely open - an approach that has sharply polarised Swedes but spared the economy from much of the hit suffered elsewhere in Europe. Data from EU statistics agency Eurostat compiled by Reuters showed Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively. Twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality than Sweden.
Note: Read a balanced, detailed description of Sweden's response to COVID in this New Yorker article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The number of American bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009, with more than 300,000 birds soaring over the lower 48 states, government scientists said in a report Wednesday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said bald eagles, the national symbol that once teetered on the brink of extinction, have flourished in recent years, growing to more than 71,400 nesting pairs and an estimated 316,700 individual birds. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, in her first public appearance since being sworn in last week, hailed the eagle's recovery. "The strong return of this treasured bird reminds us of our nation's shared resilience and the importance of being responsible stewards of our lands and waters that bind us together,'' said Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet secretary. Bald eagles reached an all-time low of 417 known nesting pairs in 1963 in the lower 48 states. But after decades of protection, including banning the pesticide DDT and placement of the eagle on the endangered species list in more than 40 states, the bald eagle population has continued to grow. The bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened or endangered species in 2007. The celebration of the bald eagle "is also a moment to reflect on the importance of the Endangered Species Act, a vital tool in the efforts to protect America's wildlife,'' Haaland said, calling the landmark 1973 law crucial to preventing the extinction of species such as the bald eagle or American bison.
AstraZeneca may have included "outdated information" in touting the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in a U.S. study, federal health officials said Tuesday in an unusual public rift that could further erode confidence in the shot. In an extraordinary rebuke, just hours after AstraZeneca on Monday announced its vaccine worked well in the U.S. study, an independent panel that oversees the study scolded the company for cherry-picking data, according to a senior administration official. The panel wrote to AstraZeneca and U.S. health leaders that it was concerned the company chose to use data that was outdated and potentially misleading instead of the most recent and complete findings. The NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the incident "really is what you call an unforced error" and that he expects the discrepancy to be straightened out. But that nitty-gritty seldom is seen by the public, something now exposed by the extraordinary microscope being applied to development of the world's COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine is used widely in Britain, across the European continent and in other countries, but its rollout was troubled by inconsistent study reports about its effectiveness, and then last week a scare about blood clots that had some countries temporarily pausing inoculations. Company executives refused repeated requests from reporters to provide a breakdown of the 141 COVID-19 cases it was using to make the case for the shot's effectiveness.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Now that the 2020 figures have been properly tallied, there is still no convincing evidence that strict lockdowns reduced the death toll from COVID-19. But one effect is clear: more deaths from other causes, especially among the young and middle-aged, minorities and the less affluent. The best gauge of the pandemic's impact is what statisticians call excess mortality, which compares the overall number of deaths with the total in previous years. That measure rose among older Americans because of COVID-19, but it rose at an even sharper rate among people aged 15 to 54, and most of those excess deaths weren't attributed to the virus. Preliminary reports point to some obvious lockdown-related factors. There was a sharp decline in visits to emergency rooms and an increase in fatal heart attacks because patients didn't receive prompt treatment. Many fewer people were screened for cancer. Social isolation contributed to excess deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's. Researchers predicted that the social and economic upheaval would lead to tens of thousands of "deaths of despair" from drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicide. As unemployment surged and mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs were interrupted, the reported levels of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts increased dramatically, as did alcohol sales and fatal drug overdoses. The number of excess deaths not involving COVID-19 has been especially high in US counties with more low-income households and minority residents.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Sitting in a barrel chest-high in ice cubes seems more like torture than a birthday treat. But not for Wim Hof. His techniques, combining hypoxic breathing with ice baths and cold showers, have been adopted by a cult following. Scientists are studying his almost superhuman ability to eliminate fear and control his immune response. Now, a lot of regular people are taking his advice. Amanda Henry, a mother and sixth-grade teacher ... says the stress of distance learning pushed her into 5 a.m. cold showers and Wim Hof breathing. She says the practice helps her to keep her patience. For years, the Iceman, as Mr. Hof is called, gained publicity–and some ridicule–for daredevil feats such as sitting for hours on bare ice. In 2013, researchers ... found that 12 people trained by Mr. Hof and then injected with E. coli had milder flulike symptoms than an untrained control group. In 2019, tests indicated a significant decrease in inflammation in 13 people suffering spinal arthritis over eight weeks of training in breathing, meditation and cold exposure. Mr. Hof's career was born out of tragedy. He was in the Pyrenees working as a mountain guide when his wife died by suicide in 1995. "That's the way it actually began–the real trial of my life," he says. "We were left behind with broken hearts, four kids and no money." Swimming in icy cold water had for years been a pastime. Now, he found it stopped the rumination and pain. Cold water causes you to be in the moment, he says. "Going into the cold brought ... stillness in my mind."
Note: This article is available for free viewing on this webpage. Learn more and find an incredible documentary on Wim How on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Members of the U.S. special operations forces deployed to 154 countries, or roughly 80 percent of the world's nations, last year, but information about exactly where elite forces conduct missions, under what authorities they operate, who they've killed, and whether they're adhering to the laws of armed conflict is closely guarded, buried in obscure legal provisions, shrouded in secrecy, or allegedly unknown even to Special Operations Command. The command, known as SOCOM, will only name half the countries where its forces were active in 2020. It claims that its personnel – Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and Marine Corps Raiders among them – have captured or killed "thousands of terrorists" under one obscure program but also that it doesn't track such data. SOCOM refuses to provide even basic information about publicly acknowledged operations. Some of the least-known special operations missions are authorized under a provision known as "Section 1202 Authority," which first appeared in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, and is "used to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals" taking part in irregular warfare. Neither the Defense Department, SOCOM, nor any media outlet has ever revealed detailed information about 1202 missions, but based on what little is known about them, they are explicitly focused on so-called near-peer competitors such as China and Russia.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
In late February, I walked into a Bigfoot trap in Siskiyou National Forest a few miles north of the California border with Oregon. Posing for a photo inside pretending to be an oversized cryptid, I raised my own overly large foot for effect. A year ago I moved to Arcata – a veritable epicenter of Sasquatch sightings – where Bigfoot-themed businesses, adornments and paraphernalia are commonplace and undoubtedly a tourist draw and economic boon to the area. A scrap metal Bigfoot sculpture stands on a walking path in my town. The sheer concept of Bigfoot is fascinating, which is why I hiked to that trap, and why, when a friend recently mentioned an "Intro to Bigfoot Studies" online class with an instructor from Humboldt State University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, that seemed like fun. Here's something not fun: having to question your own grip on reality. And actually, that's part of why some people have a tough time acknowledging the possibility Bigfoot could be real, according to course instructor Steven Saint Thomas. "It's a natural human tendency to want to be comfortable," Thomas says. "So information that makes you uncomfortable is information you prefer to ignore." And here's what many Bigfoot enthusiasts do think proves the existence of the creature: the Patterson-Gimlin film. It was shot by two cowboys near Bluff Creek in 1967, capturing what appears to be a female Bigfoot striding across the forest, turning toward the camera in what has become an iconic stance, and disappearing forever.
Note: Watch the video footage which made bigfoot an international phenomenon on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the mysterious nature of reality from reliable major media sources.
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that an upcoming government report will show more unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings that are "difficult to explain." In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Ratcliffe spoke about hoping to release information about the UFOs for the American people. In December 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed a stimulus bill asking for federal agencies to publish a report on UFOs within 180 days. Ratcliffe said he'd wanted to declassify the information prior to his and Trump's departure from the White House in January, "but we weren't able to get it down into an unclassified format that we could talk about quickly enough." Ratcliffe appeared to reference some UFO footage that had been released by the Pentagon in April 2020. "Frankly, there are a lot more sightings than have been made public. Some of those have been declassified. When we talk about sightings, we're talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots or have been picked up by satellite imagery that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain." The former intelligence director also explained what activities the objects engaged in to receive their UFO titles, including "movements that are hard to replicate" or "traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom. "The anticipated report ... is part of the the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2021.
Note: The media and government seem to be gradually putting out long-hidden information on UFOs which has been publicly available for decades. To see reliable, verifiable evidence of an ET presence, see the witness testimony of very high-level officials on this webpage. Watch an interesting documentary titled "The Strangest Encounters in Space." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
Finland has been named the happiest place in the world for a fourth year running, in an annual UN-sponsored report. The World Happiness Report saw Denmark in second place, then Switzerland, Iceland and the Netherlands. New Zealand was again the only non-European nation in the top 10. Data from analytics researcher Gallup asked people in 149 countries to rate their own happiness. Measures including social support, personal freedom, gross domestic product (GDP) and levels of corruption were also factored in. The country deemed the most unhappy in the world was Afghanistan, followed by Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. There was a "significantly higher frequency of negative emotions" in just over a third of the countries, the report authors said, likely pointing to the effects of the pandemic. However, things got better for 22 countries. Several Asian countries fared better than they had in last year's rankings, while China moved to 84th place from 94th "Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people's own evaluation of their lives," John Helliwell, one of the report's authors, said in a statement. "One possible explanation is that people see Covid-19 as a common, outside threat affecting everybody and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and fellow-feeling." Finland "ranked very high on the measures of mutual trust that have helped to protect lives and livelihoods during the pandemic", the authors said.
The end of humankind? It may be coming sooner than we think, thanks to hormone-disrupting chemicals that are decimating fertility at an alarming rate around the globe. A new book called Countdown, by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist ... finds that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973. Following the trajectory we are on, Swan's research suggests sperm counts could reach zero by 2045. Zero. Let that sink in. That would mean no babies. No reproduction. No more humans. Forgive me for asking: why isn't the UN calling an emergency meeting on this right now? The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting. Some of them, called PFAS, are known as "forever chemicals", because they don't breakdown in the environment or the human body. They just accumulate and accumulate – doing more and more damage. Swan's book is staggering in its findings. "In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35," Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had. Given everything we know about these chemicals, why isn't more being done? Right now, there is a paltry patchwork of inadequate legislation responding to this threat.
Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon announced the members of the state's newly formed Psilocybin Advisory Board this week. Oregon is about to become the first state in the country to try to build a support infrastructure through which psychedelic mushrooms can be woven into everyday life. This framework is different from what we've seen before: not legalization, not medicalization, but therapeutic use, in licensed facilities, under the guidance of professionals trained to guide psychedelic experiences. The ... pressing case for psilocybin comes from research out of Johns Hopkins, U.C.L.A., N.Y.U. and elsewhere that has shown it to be a potentially effective treatment for major depression, end-of-life anxiety and drug addiction. "One of the things I've come to is that addiction medicine in 2021 is in desperate need of transformative technologies," Todd Korthuis, a ... member of Oregon's Psilocybin Advisory Board, told me. Studies ... are "showing dramatic change in people's lives – that's what we need for cocaine use disorder, methamphetamine use disorder, even alcohol and tobacco." A recent study on major depressive disorder, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found more than half of the subjects in remission four weeks later, after just two treatments alongside psychotherapy. A study on tobacco addiction, out of Johns Hopkins, found two-thirds of the subjects who received psilocybin in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy abstinent a year later.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
Two Maryland police officers are being credited for helping calm down a man having a behavioral health crisis. Hyattsville police received a call Saturday about an agitated, angry man inside the convenience store at a Sunoco gas station. Officers Edgar Andrickson-Franco and Mancini Gaskill responded. "When we first arrived, he appeared to be incoherent," Andrickson-Franco said. "He wasn't making much sense." "We engaged in conversation with him and we didn't want to be too overbearing," Gaskill said. Andrickson-Franco sat down on the floor with the man. He said at times the man became verbally abusive, but he refused to react. "Me reacting the way he was reacting wasn't going to get us anywhere," Andrickson-Franco said. "If anything, it would have worsened the situation." The officers were understanding, built trust, and the man calmed down. He eventually handed over his phone. The officers called his relatives, and they picked him up at the gas station. The encounter is an example of what the Hyattsville Police Department is teaching in their new pilot program called Mental Health and Wellness Program. "It feels really good to know that they were able to deescalate that situation," said Hyattsville police spokesperson Adrienne Augustus, a manager of the program. "Not everyday situation you have to arrest somebody, right?" said. "That's not our job. Our job is to help." Next month the department will have a Mental Health and Wellness Day focusing on mental health and domestic abuse training.
By his own assessment, Dick Hoyt wasn't in racing shape the first time his teenage son Rick, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, asked if they could participate in a 5-mile fund-raising race – father pushing son in a wheelchair. "I said, 'Yeah, let's go down there and try it.' I had no idea what would happen, and nobody else did, either," Mr. Hoyt later recalled. "Most people expected us to go down to the corner and come back, but we ended up doing the whole thing." From those first racing steps, the two became legends in running circles and inspirational worldwide as they participated in more than 1,000 competitions, including dozens of marathons and multiple triathlons. Mr. Hoyt ... was 80 when he died of heart failure Wednesday. Though Mr. Hoyt and Rick posted a best time of 2:40:47 in the Marine Corps Marathon – a pace many marathoners will never touch running alone – the teaming of father and son was, for both, more important than all else. "When we're out there," Mr. Hoyt told the Globe in 1990, "there's nothing I feel I can't do with Rick." "Dick started this whole movement of duos, and Team Hoyt inspired thousands of people around the world," said longtime Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray. "He helped open the door to people believing in themselves, and the walls of intimidation crumbled." Most runners would be too intimidated to even try what Mr. Hoyt did over and over again – push a wheelchair carrying a boy, who became a grown man, up and down hills for 26.2 miles.
Note: Don't miss the profoundly inspiring and beautiful story and video of this dynamic duo available on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.
The U.S. accounted for 37% of all global arms exports over the last five years, with Saudi Arabia – easily the world's top arms buyer – accounting for one-quarter of those sales, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. U.S. arms exports rose by 15% from 2011-2015 to 2016-2020, with 96 countries buying arms from America. Russia remained the second-largest exporter with 20% of the market, but supplied a smaller pool of 44 countries and saw sales fall by 22% from the previous five years due primarily to a decrease in sales to India. The next largest arms exporters were France (8% of the total), Germany (5%) and China (5%). China's sales also slid by 8% in the past five years, while exports from Europe increased significantly. Israel and South Korea both accounted for about 3% of the total after significantly increasing their exports over the past five years. Russia had four major clients that accounted for two-thirds of all exports – India, China, Algeria and Egypt – while Pakistan was by far China's biggest client. The U.S. had a diversified pool of major buyers: Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, the UAE, Qatar, Israel and the U.K. Arms imports overall were flat between 2011–2015 and 2016–2020, but rose in the Middle East (+25%) while falling in the Americas (-43%), Africa (-13%), and Asia and Oceania (-8.3%).
The main focus of the War Legacies Project is to document the long-term effects of the defoliant known as Agent Orange and provide humanitarian aid to its victims. Agent Orange – best known for its widespread use by the U.S. military to clear vegetation during the Vietnam War – is notorious for being laced with a chemical contaminant called 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-dioxin, or TCDD, regarded as one of the most toxic substances ever created. The use of the herbicide in the neutral nation of Laos by the United States – secretly, illegally and in large amounts – remains one of the last untold stories of the American war in Southeast Asia. Only in the last two decades has the United States finally acknowledged and taken responsibility for the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam. While records of spraying operations inside Laos exist, the extent to which the U.S. military broke international agreements has never been fully documented, until now. An in-depth, monthslong review of old Air Force records, including details of hundreds of spraying flights, as well as interviews with many residents of villages along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, reveals that, at a conservative estimate, at least 600,000 gallons of herbicides rained down on the ostensibly neutral nation during the war. Of the 517 cases of disabilities and birth defects so far documented by the War Legacies Project in Laos, about three-fourths, like malformed limbs, are identifiable to the untrained eye as ... linked to exposure to Agent Orange.
Note: In 2012, Monsanto settled a lawsuit related to its manufacture of Agent Orange for $93 million. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
A team of scientists led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a device that can deliver electrical signals to and from plants, opening the door to new technologies that make use of plants. The NTU team developed their plant 'communication' device by attaching a conformable electrode (a piece of conductive material) on the surface of a Venus flytrap plant using a soft and sticky adhesive known as hydrogel. With the electrode attached to the surface of the flytrap, researchers can achieve two things: pick up electrical signals to monitor how the plant responds to its environment, and transmit electrical signals to the plant, to cause it to close its leaves. Scientists have known for decades that plants emit electrical signals to sense and respond to their environment. The NTU research team believe that developing the ability to measure the electrical signals of plants could create opportunities for a range of useful applications, such as plant-based robots that can help to pick up fragile objects, or to help enhance food security by detecting diseases in crops early. Lead author of the study, Chen Xiaodong ... said: "Climate change is threatening food security around the world. By monitoring the plants' electrical signals, we may be able to detect possible distress signals and abnormalities. When used for agriculture purpose, farmers may find out when a disease is in progress, even before full blown symptoms appear on the crops."
Note: The pioneering Italian spiritual community Damanhur has been conducting sophisticated experiments on plant communication for decades with amazing results. Watch this amazing video showing how they have enabled plants to create music. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire yo to make a difference.
Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands have joined the growing list of countries that have suspended the use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford over blood clot concerns. The Dutch government said Sunday that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would not be used until at least March 29, while Ireland said earlier in the day that it had temporarily suspended the shot as a precautionary step. On Monday, the German government also said it was suspending its use, with the vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, calling for further investigations. The Italian medicines authority made a similar announcement on Monday afternoon and French President Emmanuel Macron also said the vaccine's use would be paused pending a verdict from the EU's regulator. Spain Health Minister Carolina Darias said Monday that the country will halt use of the shot for at least two weeks. Portugal and Slovenia also suspended the vaccine. Thailand has also halted its planned deployment of the vaccine. The move to pause its use by Dutch and Irish officials came shortly after Norway's medicines agency said it had been notified of three health workers being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Norway has put its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine program on hold.
Note: Many countries have resumed using this vaccine after Europe's medicines regulator concluded it was "safe and effective". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Nearly a year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the nation's first statewide shutdown because of the coronavirus, masks remain mandated, indoor dining and other activities are significantly limited, and Disneyland remains closed. By contrast, Florida has no statewide restrictions. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has prohibited municipalities from fining people who refuse to wear masks. And Disney World has been open since July. Despite their differing approaches, California and Florida have experienced almost identical outcomes in COVID-19 case rates. How have two states that took such divergent tacks arrived at similar points? "This is going to be an important question that we have to ask ourselves: What public health measures actually were the most impactful, and which ones had negligible effect or backfired by driving behavior underground?" said Amesh Adalja ... at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Though research has found that mask mandates and limits on group activities such as indoor dining can help slow the spread of the coronavirus, states with greater government-imposed restrictions have not always fared better than those without them. California and Florida both have a COVID-19 case rate of around 8,900 per 100,000 residents since the pandemic began, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In the summer of 1981, when he was 13, Grant crashed a trail motorbike. Grant hadn't given this childhood memory much thought in the intervening years, but one hot August day ... he suddenly understood it as a clue to his dangerously unhealthy relationship with alcohol. The day before, a team of specialists at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital had given him an intravenous infusion of ketamine, a dissociative hallucinogen, in common use as an anaesthetic since the 1970s, and more recently one of a group of psychedelic drugs being hailed as a silver bullet in the fight to save our ailing mental health. To date, more than 100 patients with conditions as diverse as depression, PTSD and addiction have been treated in research settings across the UK, using a radical new intervention that combines psychedelic drugs with talking therapy. What was once a fringe research interest has become the foundation of a new kind of healthcare, one that, for the first time in modern psychiatric history, purports to not only treat but actually cure mental ill health. Under its influence, Grant had an out-of-body experience he struggles to put into words. "It was like I was sinking deeper and deeper into myself," he says. "Then I became whiteâ€¦ and I left my body. I was up on the ceiling, looking at myself, but I was just this white entity. I felt very serene and humbled; I finally understood my place in the universe, just a white speck of light, I wasn't the centre of everything and that was fine."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potentials of mind altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
Five former Japanese prime ministers issued declarations that Japan should break with nuclear power generation on March 11, the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture. The "3.11 Declarations" were issued at the "Global Conference for a Nuclear Free, Renewable Energy Future: 10 Years Since Fukushima" held by the Federation of Promotion of Zero-Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy. Former prime ministers Morihiro Hosokawa, Tomiichi Murayama, Junichiro Koizumi, Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan signed and released their declarations during the conference. In his declaration titled "Don't hold back on reversing a mistake: A zero-carbon emission society can be achieved without nuclear power plants," Koizumi said, "When it comes to the nuclear power plant issue, there is no ruling party or opposition party. Nuclear power plants expose many people's lives to danger, bring financial ruin, and cause impossible-to-solve nuclear waste problems. We have no choice but to abolish them." Before issuing his declaration, Koizumi reflected on his days as prime minister in a keynote speech, and said: "Japanese nuclear plants are safe and on budget; they offer clean energy that doesn't emit CO2, and are necessary for economic development. I was told all of this, and I believed it. But as I've gone about reading books on nuclear plants, I've realized I was wrong."
About 30 kilometers from Denmark's capital of Copenhagen, lies a small, but significant district called Musicon. Sit on a bench in Musicon, and you'll likely be sitting on slabs of concrete salvaged and repurposed from a demolition site nearby. Or bring your kids to the skatepark, and they'll be riding their scooters on concrete that used to be a basin and canals for collection of rainwater. Musicon was founded in 2007 on the premise that the old concrete factory that occupied the site should ... become the foundation for the new district's development. This meant that new construction projects would have to reimagine the old factory buildings in creative ways to create structures for living and working. This is one example of what is called a circular economy. To become fully circular means to avoid as much waste as possible, and to preserve as much value in what does go to waste. City planners have been cozying up to the idea of circularity in recent years, typically with the hope of combating climate change and resource scarcity, and many have begun embracing the approach. The CityLoops experiment ... aims to create sustainable city planning solutions based on the premise of circular economy. In several participant cities, including in Musicon, the circular economy takes the form of "banks" or "marketplaces," digital and physical, where salvaged materials are stored and offered up for use in other projects in the area, including anything from a birdhouse to an apartment block.
In its final days, President Donald Trump's State Department made a series of highly controversial claims about the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, and its possible connection to the covid-19 outbreak. Now, the Biden administration has reviewed those claims, and is confirming some of the facts within them. The controversy surrounds a Jan. 15 statement put out by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was accompanied by a "Fact Sheet" entitled: "Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology." That fact sheet alleged that the U.S. government had evidence that "several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019 ... with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses." The fact sheet further alleged that the WIV has not publicly disclosed all of its work on SARS-like coronaviruses and "has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China's military." In early 2018, U.S. diplomats who visited the WIV lab wrote two cables back to Washington warning that the lab's scientists had reported safety and staffing issues – and that the lab was doing risky research on bat coronaviruses and how they infect humans. The fact sheet ... doesn't specify which information is gleaned from public sources and which data points are derived from U.S. intelligence collection. Trump administration officials told me that the information about sick researchers at the WIV and the lab's secret work with the Chinese government and military comes from intelligence sources.
Deep in the Sahara, the C.I.A. is continuing to conduct secret drone flights from a small but steadily expanding air base, even as the Biden administration has temporarily limited drone strikes against suspected terrorists outside conventional war zones, such as Afghanistan. Soon after it set up the base in northern Niger three years ago, the C.I.A. was poised to launch drone strikes from the site. But there is no public evidence that the agency has carried out anything but surveillance missions so far. New satellite imagery shows that the air base in Dirkou, Niger, has grown significantly since The New York Times first reported the C.I.A. operations there in 2018, to include a much longer runway and increased security. The new imagery also shows for the first time what appears to be an MQ-9 Reaper drone taxiing to or from a clamshell hangar. Under a directive that Mr. Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, quietly imposed on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, the military and the C.I.A. must now obtain White House permission to attack terrorism suspects in poorly governed places where there are scant or no American ground troops, such as Somalia, Yemen and Libya. Under the Trump administration, they had been allowed to decide for themselves whether circumstances on the ground met certain conditions and an attack was justified. A recent report by the International Crisis Group concluded that the military-first strategy of France and its allies, including the United States, has failed.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
Beside the ruins of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, more than 1,000 huge metal tanks loom in silent testament to one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, the meltdown of three nuclear reactors 10 years ago this month. The tanks contain nearly 1.25 million tons of cooling water from the 2011 disaster and groundwater seepage over the years – equivalent to around 500 Olympic-size swimming pools – most of it still dangerously radioactive. The government wants to gradually release the water into the sea – after it has been decontaminated and diluted – over the next three decades or more. The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) have insisted that an ocean release is their preferred solution and that it is perfectly safe. The idea of releasing the water has infuriated Fukushima's fishing community. Also angry is South Korea, even though it is more than 600 miles away across the sea. When it comes to public trust, the Japanese government and TEPCO are on shakier ground. There has been a tendency to downplay bad news. For years, TEPCO claimed that the treated water stored at the plant contained only tritium, but data deep on its website showed that the treatment process had failed to remove many dangerous radionuclides. Finally, in 2018, it was forced to acknowledge that 70 percent of the water is still contaminated with dangerous radioactive elements – including strontium-90, a bone-seeking radionuclide that can cause cancer – and will have to be treated again before release.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster from reliable major media sources.
China last winter censored doctors who shared "dangerous" misinformation about the novel coronavirus on social media. Now America's self-anointed virus experts and social-media giants are also silencing doctors with contrarian views in an apparent effort to shut down scientific debate. Facebook this week appended a Wall Street Journal op-ed "We'll Have Herd Immunity by April" by Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary (Feb. 19) with the label "Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people." According to Facebook, "Once we have a rating from a fact-checking partner, we take action by ensuring that fewer people see that misinformation." The Facebook label links to the third-party site Health Feedback ... an affiliate of the nonprofit Science Feedback that verifies scientific claims in the media. Another Science Feedback affiliate fact-checks climate-related articles in predominantly conservative media. Dr. Makary ... made a projection, much like the epidemiologists at Imperial College and University of Washington do. But the progressive health clerisy don't like his projection because they worry it could lead to fewer virus restrictions. Facebook's fact-checkers "cherry-pick," to borrow their word, studies to support their own opinions, which they present as fact. Facebook's fact checkers are presenting their opinions as fact and seeking to silence other scientists whose views challenge their own.
The factory that Pfizer Inc. plans to use to boost production of its covid-19 vaccine for the massive U.S. inoculation effort was cited by federal inspectors last year for repeated quality-control violations. Food and Drug Administration inspectors visited the McPherson, Kansas, plant at the end of 2019 into January 2020, according to an inspection report. They found the drug giant released medications for sale after failing to thoroughly review quality issues that arose in routine testing, the report shows. Additionally, the report says inspectors found bacteria and mold in supposedly sterile areas, an issue seen in previous visits to the facility. And the plant failed to properly sample drug products to ensure they didn't have excessive levels of certain toxins, the inspectors wrote. The FDA sent Pfizer a warning letter, the agency's strongest rebuke, concerning the factory in 2017 after the agency detected issues similar to those it found in 2020. The FDA concluded that Pfizer had addressed the violations in June 2018, a month before it returned to the facility and found more problems. The company plans to supply the U.S. with 200 million doses of its two-shot vaccine regimen by the end of May. The FDA halted all inspections of drugmaking facilities at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, though it has since resumed some domestic visits. Pfizer's plant in Kansas is also authorized to make the Covid-19 treatment remdesivir.
At 70 years of age, Wisdom the Laysan albatross has hatched another chick. Regarded as "oldest known wild bird in history", Wisdom has outlived previous mating partners as well as the biologist Chandler Robbins, who first banded her in 1956. Wisdom hatched the chick on 1 February in the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge in the North Pacific, where more than a million albatross return to nest each year. Wisdom's long-term mate, Akeakamai, who she has been with since 2010 according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), fathered the chick. The USFWS also stated that albatross find their mates through "dance parties". "We believe Wisdom has had other mates," US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Dr Beth Flint said. "Though albatross mate for life, they may find new partners if necessary – for example if they outlive their first mate." USFWS estimated Wisdom has hatched more than 30 chicks over the course of her lifetime. Sean Dooley, national public affairs manager for BirdLife Australia, was excited about the news of Wisdom's latest chick. "Because she only nests every two years, the international bird community looks forward to see if she's been able to come back and nest," Dooley said. "The odds are stacked against them so much, whenever it happens it's always a cause for celebration."
A small group of scientists and others who believe the novel coronavirus that spawned the pandemic could have originated from a lab leak or accident is calling for an inquiry independent of the World Health Organization's team of independent experts sent to China last month. Officials with the W.H.O. have said in recent interviews that it was "extremely unlikely" but not impossible that the spread of the virus was linked to some lab accident. The open letter ... lists what the signers see as flaws in the joint W.H.O.-China inquiry. The letter emphasized that the team was denied access to some records and did not investigate laboratories in China. Dr. David A. Relman, a professor of medicine and microbiology at Stanford University [said] "the W.H.O. investigation appears to be biased, skewed, and insufficient." Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University and one of the scientists who signed the letter, said it grew out of a series of online discussions among scientists, policy experts and others who came to be known informally as the Paris group. Many of those who signed the letter were based in France and Dr. Ebright, who has been outspoken about the need to investigate a possible laboratory leak, said such discussion had been less vigorous in the United States. He said that no one in the group thought that the virus had been intentionally created as a weapon, but they were all convinced that an origin in a lab through research or by accidental infection was as likely as a spillover occurring in nature from animals to humans.
Note: Read more about the controversial "gain-of-function" research that took place at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
President Joe Biden's administration is being asked to punish Hungary, Colombia, Chile, and other countries for seeking to ramp up the production of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics without express permission from pharmaceutical companies. The sanctions are being urged by the drug industry, which has filed hundreds of pages of documents to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative outlining the alleged threat posed by any effort to challenge "basic intellectual property protections" in the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The drug industry has sharply criticized any attempt to share vaccine patents or the technological knowledge needed to manufacture them, despite global need. The strident corporate opposition to any intellectual property flexibility has rankled public health advocates, many of whom note that much of the vaccine technology has been financed by the public sector. The Pfizer vaccine, noted Prabhala, was developed in partnership with the European firm BioNTech, which received $445 million from the German government to help accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing. The U.S. government provided about $1 billion for the research and testing by Moderna to create its coronavirus vaccine. Johnson & Johnson received over $1.45 billion in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for its recently approved Covid-19 vaccine.
When a dormant pecan farm in the neighborhoods of south Atlanta closed, the land was soon rezoned and earmarked to become townhouses. But when the townhouses never came to fruition and with the lot remaining in foreclosure, the Conservation Fund bought it in 2016 to develop an unexpected project: the nation's largest free food forest. Thanks to a US Forest Service grant and a partnership between the city of Atlanta, the Conservation Fund, and Trees Atlanta, you'll find 7.1 acres of land ripe with 2,500 pesticide-free edible and medicinal plants only 10 minutes from Atlanta's airport. The forest is in the Browns Mill neighborhood of southeast Atlanta, where the closest grocery store is a 30-minute bus ride away. "Access to green space and healthy foods is very important. And that's a part of our mission," says Michael McCord, a certified arborist and expert edible landscaper who helps manage the forest. The forest is part of the city of Atlanta's larger mission to bring healthy food within half a mile of 85% of Atlanta's 500,000 residents by 2022, though as recently as 2014, it was illegal to grow food on residential lots in the city. Resources like the food forest are a rarity and necessity in Atlanta as 1 in 6 Georgians face food insecurity, 1 in 3 Browns Mill residents live below the poverty line, and 1 in 4 Atlantans live in food deserts. The forest is now owned by the parks department and more than 1,000 volunteers and neighbors are helping to plant, water and maintain the forest.
A nursing home accused of illegally "dumping" patients onto city streets and into ill-equipped homes in order to take in more lucrative COVID-19 patients will nearly double its nursing staff, allow increased oversight and pay $275,000 in penalties and costs to settle a lawsuit brought by the Los Angeles city attorney's office. City Attorney Mike Feuer on Monday announced the legal agreement with the Lakeview Terrace skilled nursing facility, which he had accused of "sustained" and "intentional" misconduct in failing to adequately tend to some patients, while pushing others out of the 99-bed home. The city alleged in its lawsuit that the facility west of downtown had an incentive to discharge long-term residents in order to make room for COVID-19 patients, who brought Lakeview Terrace much higher reimbursement payments from Medicare. In one instance, the lawsuit said, an 88-year-old man with dementia was transferred from the nursing home in the Westlake neighborhood to a boarding house in Van Nuys, only to be found a day later wandering the streets, profoundly confused. Health care experts have warned that the money skilled nursing facilities are paid under a plan by the federal government to care for people stricken by the coronavirus would lead to patient-dumping by unscrupulous operators. The reimbursement plan pays more than four times more for COVID-19 patients than homes can charge for long-term residents with relatively mild conditions.
Sweden's novel approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic has drawn both praise and fierce criticism, not just inside the Scandinavian country, but across the Western world. The country has so far resisted going into lockdown, unlike the rest of Europe, even during the peak of its second wave over Christmas. Sweden may be faring comparably better in terms of excess deaths - those greater than the usual number of deaths expected in a certain time period. Experts say excess deaths can indicate whether policies intended to combat the pandemic have unintended consequences, such as delaying treatment for other ailments and is an important measure of the overall efficacy of policy. While still performing worse than other Nordic countries on data from Eurostat, the official European Union statistics agency, and the University of Oxford, shows that Sweden recorded 7.9% excess deaths last year compared to the years 2016-19, according to the independent health news site Dagens Medicin. That means that the country had the 23rd lowest annual excess deaths out of 30 European countries - lower than the U.K. (15.1%), France (10.4%) and Spain (18.9%). Sweden also has a lower number of coronavirus deaths per million than those countries, all of which have gone under strict lockdowns during the pandemic.
Note: The media has consistently compared Sweden to its immediate neighbors Finland and Norway, which have done much better than Sweden, but were not hit hard in the beginning as Sweden was. With the exception of this a a very few other articles, they almost always fail to compare Sweden to other European countries, as they don't won't people to know how well they have done with no lockdown. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
For Eric Nshimiyimanain, who owns two small electronic repair shops in Kigali, Rwanda, the startup chime of an old Windows laptop is the sound of a business opportunity. He refurbishes broken PCs, laptops, phones and secondhand gadgets classified as electronic waste, or "e-waste" that would otherwise end up as trash in Nduba, Rwanda's only open-air dump. "Sometimes we even use computer screens as TVs," Nshimiyimanain says. Converting those screens to televisions then becomes a cheaper option, he adds, for "citizens who have low incomes and cannot afford buying a brand-new TV." According to the UN-affiliated Global E-Waste Monitor report, nearly 54 million metric tons of e-waste was generated around the world in 2019. It includes everything from phones and computer monitors to larger appliances like refrigerators. Rwanda is one of only 13 countries in Africa that have passed national legislation regarding e-waste regulation, according to the report. And it has led to the first official recycling and refurbishing facility in the country. Operational since early last year, this public-private partnership between the government and Dubai-based Enviroserve became a source of pride for Rwanda. The state-of-the-art plant near Kigali can process up to 10,000 metric tons of e-waste per year. Enviroserve has already repaired and refurbished more than 5,000 computers, which were sold to public schools. To date, it has processed more than 4,000 tons of e-waste and created more than 600 jobs.
Dr. Monica Gandhi is not your typical epidemiologist in the era of COVID-19. While the vast majority of experts in her field call for the most stringent business closures and other mitigation measures, Gandhi – a professor of medicine at UCSF – has called for a "harm reduction" approach that also considers other risks beyond COVID-19 infection when making public policy. That view has not been a popular one among policymakers and experts in her city and state. But Gandhi is confident that one day, she'll be vindicated. "I have been surprised by the party lines that were drawn in terms of how to respond to pandemic, as opposed to having everyone take in new data as it comes, incorporate the data and then make decisions that can change over time," [said Gandhi]. "It seems that we decided early on that there's only one way to respond, and any dissent from standard messaging was met with dismay and criticism. For example, in terms of the winter lockdown in California, I was dismayed by the degree of profound shutdowns for outdoor playgrounds, outdoor dining and also this idea that no one from two households could see each other." And when I spoke out about that, I took a lot of criticism. My impulse in speaking out came out of a concern for the economic situations of the working class and the impacts on health that come from economic insecurity. And those questions of, "How are they going to feed their families?" were met by scientific community with, "We'll deal with that later."
Ghislaine Maxwell reportedly told a journalist that Jeffrey Epstein recorded tapes of former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, who were former acquaintances of the disgraced sex offender. Ms Maxwell, who awaits trial on charges she assisted Epstein's crimes in the 1990s, reportedly told a CBS "60 minutes" producer that she would not release tapes of Mr Trump without those of Mr Clinton before the 2016 presidential election. The apparent revelations were made by Ira Rosen, an ex-producer for the CBS show, who released a memoir called "Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes," which reveals details about his time on the award-winning programme. As reported by The Telegraph, Mr Rosen wrote that he was acting on a "hunch" that secret recordings of Epstein's former acquaintances existed – although the theory was never confirmed, and no tapes have been forthcoming. Mr Rosen allegedly told Ms Maxwell: "I want the tapes. I know he [Epstein] was videotaping everyone." Ms Maxwell was said to have ... "pointed a finger" at Mr Rosen, who theorized that Epstein secretly recorded those who visited his properties in Florida and New York in the 1990s, which included the former presidents. Ms Maxwell reportedly told Mr Rosen: "I am the daughter of a press baron. I know the way you people think. If you do one side, you must do the other. If you get the tapes on Trump you have to do Clinton'." Mr Trump previously remarked that he met Ms Maxwell "numerous times" ... while Mr Clinton has previously said his friendship with Epstein ended before [he] was convicted.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein's child sex ring from reliable major media sources.
About fifty years ago, Dr. Bruce Greyson was eating pasta in the hospital cafeteria when his beeper went off. Greyson, a psychiatrist, was urgently needed in the ER to treat a college student who had overdosed. He called her name – "Holly" – and tried to rouse her. But she didn't stir. The next morning, Greyson returned to work at the hospital. Holly stirred. "I remember you from last night," she mumbled. "I saw you talking with Susan, sitting on the couch." Suddenly Holly opened her eyes, looked Greyson in the face and added, "You were wearing a striped tie that had a red stain on it." Greyson began studying these so-called near-death experiences (NDEs) from a scientific standpoint, collecting hundreds of stories from those who've had them. He discovered that ... many people who survive the jaws of death report strange out-of-body experiences. Since meeting Holly, Greyson has published hundreds of academic papers. His search for answers is chronicled in his new book "After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond." Near-death experiences are fairly common. Some 10 percent to 20 percent of people who come close to death report them – about 5 percent of the population. So what is going on? Greyson, who grew up in a scientific household and is not religious, says he doesn't know. "But I think the evidence overwhelmingly points to the physical body not being all that we are," he says. "There seems to be something that is able to continue after the body dies."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on near-death experiences.
Sperm counts have been dropping; infant boys are developing more genital abnormalities; more girls are experiencing early puberty; and adult women appear to be suffering declining egg quality and more miscarriages. It's not just humans. Scientists report genital anomalies in a range of species, including unusually small penises in alligators, otters and minks. In some areas, significant numbers of fish, frogs and turtles have exhibited both male and female organs. Experts say the problem is a class of chemicals called endocrine disruptors, which mimic the body's hormones and thus fool our cells. This is a particular problem for fetuses as they sexually differentiate early in pregnancy. Endocrine disruptors can wreak reproductive havoc. These endocrine disruptors are everywhere: plastics, shampoos, cosmetics, cushions, pesticides, canned foods and A.T.M. receipts. They often aren't on labels and can be difficult to avoid. Chemical companies ... lobby against even safety testing of endocrine disruptors, so that we have little idea if products we use each day are damaging our bodies or our children. Still, the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the President's Cancer Panel and the World Health Organization have all warned about endocrine disruptors, and Europe and Canada have moved to regulate them. But in the United States, Congress and the Trump administration seemed to listen more to industry lobbyists than to independent scientists.
Mexico is sticking to a plan to stop importing genetically modified corn and a ban on a widely used herbicide, a senior official told Reuters, doubling down on a policy that has pleased green advocates but alarmed industry leaders. The plan announced late last year by executive order aims to replace some 16 million tonnes of yellow corn imported mostly from U.S. farmers and nearly all of it genetically modified, with new, local production by 2024. Victor Suarez, the deputy agriculture minister and a key architect of the order, argued that GMO corn and the herbicide glyphosate are too dangerous and that local output and sustainable "agroecological" practices must be prioritized. He cited studies linking glyphosate to cancer and saying that it harmed pollinators like bees and separately alleged that GMO corn contaminates Mexico's native strains of the grain. "We have to put the right to life, the right to health, the right to a healthy environment ahead of economic and business (interests)," said the former congressman. Mexico is mostly self-sufficient in white corn, used for the country's staple tortillas, but meat producers have for years relied on growing volumes of yellow corn imports to fatten cows, pigs and chickens. Asked if the Dec. 31 decree applied to animal feed as well processed foods that include GMO corn, Suarez said that the law covers all food that "will eventually reach human consumption."
There's a new "village" in Los Angeles – and it's filled with tiny homes. Earlier this month, nonprofit Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission opened its first "Tiny Home Village," to help combat homelessness. The first village ... has 40 tiny homes and 75 beds that Hope of the Valley will be offering to people who are trying to find permanent housing. Each of the tiny homes is 64 square feet and has two beds, heating, air conditioning, windows, a small desk and a front door that locks, according to the website and a video tour of the village led by Hope of the Valley founder and CEO Ken Craft. Residents will also have access to a hygiene trailer, with five showers, five toilets and five sinks and a laundry facility, which has five washers and dryers. Residents will also be given three meals a day and some of the tiny homes are even wheelchair accessible. The village is also pet-friendly and has a dedicated dog run, according to Craft's video tour. Support services such as case management, housing navigation, mental health help, job training and placement will be provided to residents onsite. "This is an incredible community where people will live together, but they all have something in common: they're trying to exit homelessness," Craft said during the tour. "They're trying to overcome the obstacles and barriers that are keeping them unhoused." The Chandler Boulevard village is the first of its kind in the Los Angeles area. However, Hope of the Valley is planning to open another village in April.
Portland joined Philadelphia and Amsterdam as the first cities to pilot the Thriving Cities Initiative. The Initiative is a collaboration between C40, the Amsterdam-based Circle Economy, which seeks to create zero-waste urban economies that support their residents, and the Doughnut Economics Action Lab, an organization mostly comprising volunteers working to implement systemic, society-wide economic change. At its most basic level, doughnut economics is a way of describing an economic system that extends beyond strictly financial measures, like gross domestic product, to include environmental sustainability and healthy, thriving communities. The Thriving Cities Initiative's model - and the expertise and resources it provided - dovetailed with Portland's existing momentum in tracking and reducing emissions that accounted for spending by government, businesses, and households. The model also pointed to ways to address the city's social issues, including more than 4,000 people in the metro area without stable housing. The pandemic ... forced Portland to scale back its Thriving Cities program. A five-year program that could have formed the basis for city council action was scaled back to a two-year in-house plan that the city's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability could follow on its own. Still, some existing programs already were in line with the goals of the Thriving Cities Initiative. In Amsterdam, the Doughnut Coalition and the city government are already looking toward next steps.
Monsanto owner Bayer AG and industry lobbyist CropLife America have been working closely with US officials to pressure Mexico into abandoning its intended ban on glyphosate, a pesticide linked to cancer that is the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkillers. The moves to protect glyphosate shipments to Mexico have played out over the last 18 months, a period in which Bayer was negotiating an $11bn settlement of legal claims brought by people in the US who say they developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma due to exposure to the company's glyphosate-based products. The pressure on Mexico is similar to actions Bayer and chemical industry lobbyists took to kill a glyphosate ban planned by Thailand in 2019. Records show alarm starting to grow in the latter part of 2019 after Mexico said it was refusing imports of glyphosate from China. In denying a permit for an import shipment, Mexican officials cited the "precautionary principle", which generally refers to a policy of erring on the side of caution. Industry executives told US government officials that they feared restricting glyphosate would lead to limits on other pesticides and could set a precedent for other countries to do the same. Mexico may also reduce the levels of pesticide residues allowed in food, industry executives warned. "If Mexico extends the precautionary principle" to pesticide residue levels in food, "$20bn in US annual agricultural exports to Mexico will be jeopardized", [CropLife president Chris] Novak wrote to US officials.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The pandemic has punished people of all ages. But the emotional fallout for teenagers has been uniquely brutal. At just the age when they are biologically predisposed to seek independence from their families, teens have been trapped at home. Friends – who take on paramount importance during adolescence – are largely out of reach, accessible mostly by social media, which brings its own mix of satisfying and toxic elements. A June survey by the Centers for Disease Control found that a staggering 26 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported having serious suicidal thoughts in the past 30 days, compared with 16 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds and less than 4 percent of people ages 45 and older. And mental health visits to emergency rooms by 12- to 17-year-olds increased 31 percent in 2020 compared with the previous year. Other research shows teens have been getting more sleep and feeling less taxed by their formerly frenetic schedules. But the academic pressure cooker hasn't disappeared; it's moved online, where students are forced to manage much of their own time and learning, with less access to teacher assistance. Milestone moments like graduation and homecoming have been erased. "So much of their social lives and social development revolves around being at school, interacting with people," says Michelle Carlson, executive director of Teen Line, a Los Angeles based non-profit. "So they're having a hard time."
Detective Michael Pezzelle spent his last seven years on a suburban police force here amassing a body count. He was involved in shootings that wounded two people and killed five. Pezzelle faced no public consequences. He retired in 2018. Today, he trains police officers around the country to follow the kind of advice he shared on Instagram: "Be polite, be professional, have a plan to kill everyone you meet." During most of the years in question, [Pezzelle] was assigned to task forces run by the U.S. Marshals Service, an arm of the federal Justice Department. In recent years ... marshals have been acting like local police – only with more violence and less accountability, according to an investigation by The Marshall Project and the USA Today Network. In cities and towns across the country, the Marshals Service has set up task forces largely staffed by local law enforcement officers who get deputized as federal agents. About two-thirds of the agency's arrests since 2014 were of people wanted on local warrants, not federal ones. On average, from 2015 to late 2020, marshals shot 31 people a year, killing 22 of them. By comparison, Houston police reported shooting an average of 19 people a year, killing eight. Philadelphia officers shot an average of nine people a year, killing three. Both departments employ roughly 6,000 officers, about the same number who serve in the Marshals Service and on its task forces. No marshal has ever been prosecuted after a shooting.
The possibility of a super soldier is not so outlandish and one that not just China is interested in. Enhancement is nothing new - since ancient times, troops have been bolstered by advancements in weaponry, kit and training. But today, enhancement could mean much more than merely giving an individual soldier a better gun. It could mean altering the individual soldier. In 2017, Russia's President Vladimir Putin warned that humanity could soon create something "worse than a nuclear bomb". "One may imagine that a man can create a man with some given characteristics, not only theoretically but also practically. He can be a genius mathematician, a brilliant musician or a soldier, a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret or pain." Last year, the former US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), John Ratcliffe, went further with a blunt accusation against China. "China has even conducted human testing on members of the People's Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities. There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing's pursuit of power," he wrote. Prof [Patrick] Lin said "a key challenge is that nearly all of this is dual-use research. For instance, exoskeleton research was first aimed at helping or curing people of medical conditions, such as to help paralysed patients walk again. But this therapeutic use can be easily weaponised. It's not obvious how to regulate it, without overly broad regulation that also frustrates therapeutic research."
Note: A New York Post article titled "France, China developing biologically engineered supersoldiers" describes how "France has joined the fray in creating terminator troops that can be â€bred to kill." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
A grandfather has become the oldest person to row 3,000 miles solo and unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean, raising more than Ĺ640,000 for dementia research. Frank Rothwell, 70, from Oldham, set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 12 December and crossed the finish line in Antigua in the Caribbean on Saturday – reuniting with Judith, his wife of 50 years, in good time for Valentine's Day. He said crossing the finish line was a "completely euphoric moment" as he raised more than Ĺ648,000 for Alzheimer's Research UK in tribute to his brother-in-law Roger, who died with Alzheimer's aged 62 during his journey. Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has pledged to double the first Ĺ500,000 of donations. Rothwell went on: "I felt quite emotional approaching the finish. It took six long weeks to row the Atlantic, but the challenge itself has taken over 18 months of training and preparation, so I'm very proud of what I've achieved and the unbelievable journey I've been on. The adventurer has previously spent five weeks on a deserted island for a Bear Grylls TV programme, and rowed in a boat nicknamed Never Too Old. Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "We're incredibly moved by Frank's determination to raise Ĺ1m for dementia research. He has helped to spread awareness and inspired people of all ages to take on their own challenges. Fundraising efforts from ordinary people like Frank and his supporters provide a crucial lifeline to the progression of our research."
A congressional report found many of the products made by the country's largest commercial baby food manufacturers contain significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, which can endanger infant neurological development. The report ... from the House Oversight Committee's subcommittee on economic and consumer policy found heavy metals in rice cereals, sweet potato puree, juices and sweet snack puffs made by some of the most trusted names in baby food. Gerber, Beech-Nut, HappyBABY (made by Nurture) and Earth's Best Organic baby foods (made by Hain Celestial Group) complied with the committee's request to submit internal testing documents. Campbell Soup, which sells Plum Organics baby foods, Walmart (its private brand is Parent's Choice) and Sprout Foods declined to cooperate. Although there are no maximum arsenic levels established for baby food ... the FDA has set the maximum allowable levels in bottled water at 10 ppb of inorganic arsenic. Hain ... used many ingredients in its baby foods with as much as 309 ppb of arsenic. Lead levels in baby foods should not exceed 1 ppb. Beech-Nut used ingredients containing as much as 886.9 parts per billion of lead. In addition, Gerber used carrots containing as much as 87 ppb of cadmium and Nurture sold baby foods with as much as 10 ppb of mercury. And even when baby foods tested over companies' internal limits for these heavy metals, they were sold anyway.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Back in November, Ajeet Jain felt like he was living a nightmare. The large public hospital where he works in India's capital was full of covid-19 patients, hundreds of them so ill they required intensive care. Three months later, the situation is unrecognizable. The number of coronavirus patients at the hospital can be counted on one hand. Out of 200 ventilators, only two are in use. Hospitals treating covid-19 patients around the country report similar experiences. "It's a big, big relief," Jain said. The apparent retreat of the coronavirus in India, the world's second-most populous nation, is a mystery that is crucial to the future course of the pandemic. Epidemiologists in India say that there is only one likely explanation for the decrease in new cases: The virus is finding it harder to spread because a significant proportion of the population, at least in cities, already has been infected. The results of a nationwide antibody survey ... indicated that more than 1 in 5 Indians – about 270 million people – had been exposed to the virus as of early January. In major cities, infection rates are even higher. A recent study of 28,000 people in India's capital found 56 percent had coronavirus antibodies. By comparison, a study published last month estimated that more than 14 percent of the population in the United States had coronavirus antibodies as of mid-November. India has recorded 155,000 deaths, or about 112 per 1 million of population, compared with 1,362 per million in the United States.
Note: Could it be that India's usage of Hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are also playing a role? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Google's YouTube has ratcheted up censorship to a new level by removing two videos from a U.S. Senate committee. They were from a Dec. 8 Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on early treatment of Covid-19. One was a 30-minute summary; the other was the opening statement of critical-care specialist Pierre Kory. Dr. Kory is part of a world-renowned group of physicians who developed a groundbreaking use of corticosteroids to treat hospitalized Covid patients. His testimony at a May Senate hearing helped doctors rethink treatment protocols and saved lives. At the December hearing, he presented evidence regarding the use of ivermectin, a cheap and widely available drug that treats tropical diseases caused by parasites, for prevention and early treatment of Covid-19. He described a just-published study from Argentina in which about 800 health-care workers received ivermectin and 400 didn't. Not one of the 800 contracted Covid-19; 58% of the 400 did. Before being removed from YouTube and other websites, Dr. Kory's opening statement had been viewed by more than eight million people. Unfortunately, government health agencies don't share that interest in early treatment. A year into the pandemic, NIH treatment guidelines for Covid patients are to go home, isolate yourself and do nothing other than monitor your illness. The censors at YouTube have decided for all of us that the American public shouldn't be able to hear what senators heard.
Note: You can access the entire article free of charge on this webpage. Can it be any more blatant that facebook is in cahoots with big Pharma in not wanting cheap, effective treatments for COVID-19? Watch an excellent, eye-opening 14-minute interview with a facebook insider revealing how censorship works. Read about how Silicon Valley is shutting down even live streams by legitimate journalists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
Pfizer expects to sell $15 billion worth of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021. That would make it the second-highest revenue-generating drug anytime, anywhere, according to industry reports. The maker of the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved for use in advanced markets has released its earning forecasts for 2021 today. Pfizer expects to earn between $59 billion and $61 billion - up from $42 billion it made in 2020. Sales of the vaccine are set to bring in about a fourth of Pfizer's total revenue this year. That would be nearly as much as its three best-selling products combined. The company is expecting profit margins for the vaccine to be between 25% and 30% which means profits from the vaccine could be around $4 billion. All of Pfizer's costs and profits from the vaccine are split evenly with BioNTech, the biotech company that helped develop the treatment. There are is only one drug in the world that sells more - Humira, a prescription medication for arthritis. Pfizer plans on selling 2 billion doses of the vaccine this year, but that demand should subside in coming years so the revenue of Covid-19 vaccine won't be stable, Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla said on an call with analysts and investors. The company expects to continue profiting from it by selling booster doses, including ones required to shield against new variants of the virus, Bourla said. Further, Pfizer is pursuing more avenues to employ the mRNA technology underlying the vaccine, including a flu vaccine and other therapeutic applications.
Note: Read more in this revealing Reuters article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Nzambi Matee hurls a brick hard against a school footpath constructed from bricks made of recycled plastic that her factory turns out in the Kenyan capital. It makes a loud bang, but does not crack. "Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete," said Matee, the founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials. "There is that waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get," Matee said, strolling past sacks of plastic waste. Matee gets the waste from packaging factories for free, although she pays for the plastic she gets from other recyclers. Her factory produces 1,500 bricks each day, made from a mix of different kinds of plastic. These are high density polyethylene, used in milk and shampoo bottles; low density polyethylene, often used for bags for cereals or sandwiches; and polypropylene, used for ropes, flip-top lids and buckets. The plastic waste is mixed with sand, heated and then compressed into bricks, which are sold at varying prices, depending on thickness and colour. Their common grey bricks cost 850 Kenyan shillings ($7.70) per square metre, for example. Matee, a materials engineer who designed her own machines, said her factory has recycled 20 tonnes of waste plastic since ... 2017. Matee set up her factory after she ran out of patience waiting for the government to solve the problem of plastic pollution. "I was tired of being on the sidelines," she said.
Comparing the severity of various lockdown measures across Europe is complicated, with many factors at play. However, it is safe to say they have varied greatly. In France, citizens had to print out certificates before stepping foot outside, whereas in Sweden, everyday life appears to have carried on relatively unchanged. When we look at the number of Covid deaths per capita in these countries ... France and Sweden are almost neck-and-neck [see graph]. And Spain's draconian measures didn't save it from recording far more fatalities than Austria, where the lockdown was comparatively relaxed. The health effects of these lockdowns will most likely exceed the death rate of a virus. In Spain, the economic consequences of the 2008 banking crisis contributed to the 40,000 deaths in excess of the five years prior. Covid-19 has already led that country into an economic state worse than that of their collapse in the mid-17th century. 50 percent of all Covid deaths across Europe have been within care homes. The budget for those in the UK is Ł16 billion. Meanwhile, the hospitality industry, which has been effectively shut down, is the fourth biggest employer in the UK ... as well as generating over Ł73bn of Gross Value Added directly to the UK economy, and a further Ł87bn indirectly. So perhaps, say, tripling the budget for care homes to make them Covid-secure would have been a better way of spending some of the eye-watering Ł400 billion ... since last April to facilitate lockdowns.
A little more than a third of nursing home workers have been getting COVID-19 vaccines when the shots are first offered, U.S. health officials said Monday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave a national accounting of a problem that's been reported anecdotally – many nursing home workers are not getting the shots. The CDC looked at more than 11,000 nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities that had at least one vaccination clinic between the middle of December and the middle of January. The researchers found that while 78% of residents got at least one shot, only 37.5% of staff members did. Data previously showed that people who work in nursing homes and long-term care facilities get flu vaccines at lower rates than other health-care workers. Surveys suggest that long-term care workers are skeptical the shots work and don't think viruses spread easily from them to the people they care for. The CDC released a second report Monday that offered a larger national look at who has been getting the vaccine. The CDC study found that of the people who got at least one shot between mid-December and mid-January, 63% were women, and 55% were age 50 or older.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Over the weekend, protests against Covid-19 lockdowns rocked the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain, just as several European governments began the new year by stepping up restrictions on movement amid concerns over more contagious variants of the coronavirus. On Saturday, Netherlands began its first nighttime curfew of the pandemic, said to be the country's first since World War II. Saturday evening, protesters set afire a Covid-19 testing centre. Protests rocked capital Madrid on Saturday as 1,300 gathered at the city center, leading police to fine 216 people with penalties of up to 700 euros. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace experts Thomas Carothers and Benjamin Press have categorized the anti-lockdown protests seen in several parts of the world in recent months into three types. The first are libertarian "pro-citizen" movements ... where participants have taken issue with governments restricting their personal freedoms. These attract large crowds– an example being the August 29 protest in Germany, when 38,000 protested in front of the national parliament in Berlin. The second type is seen taking place in developing economies with large informal sectors, where agitators target the impact of lockdowns on their livelihoods. Such protests were seen in Mexico, South Africa and Belgium. The third kind of protests are those objecting to how the lockdown restrictions are being enforced, accusing authorities of acting arbitrarily or of using excessive force.
Note: Why are virtually no major media in the US reporting on these large demonstrations against the lockdowns? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Rep. Katie Porter on Friday published a damning report revealing the devastating effects of Big Pharma mergers and acquisitions on U.S. healthcare, and recommending steps Congress should take to enact "comprehensive, urgent reform" of an integral part of a broken healthcare system. The report, entitled Killer Profits: How Big Pharma Takeovers Destroy Innovation and Harm Patients, begins by noting that "in just 10 years, the number of large, international pharmaceutical companies decreased six-fold, from 60 to only 10." While pharmaceutical executives often attempt to portray such consolidation as a means to increase operational efficiency, the report states that "digging a level deeper 'exposes a troubling industry-wide trend of billions of dollars of corporate resources going toward acquiring other pharmaceutical corporations with patent-protected blockbuster drugs instead of putting those resources toward' discovery of new drugs." Big pharmaceutical companies are not responsible for most major breakthroughs. Rather, innovation is driven in small firms, which are often spun off of taxpayer-funded academic research. These small labs are then purchased by giant firms. Instead of producing lifesaving drugs for diseases with few or no cures, large pharmaceutical companies often focus on small, incremental changes to existing drugs in order to kill off generic threats to their government-granted monopoly patents. Mergers in the pharmaceutical industry have had an overall negative effect on innovation.
Note: The major media, sponsored largely by Big Pharma, completely failed to report on this important study. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Ghislaine Maxwell reportedly asked a "room of underage girls" to dance for Jeffrey Epstein. Ms Maxwell, 58, was charged last summer with six counts of recruiting and grooming girls and young women to be sexually abused by both her and Epstein, her former business partner and boyfriend. On Wednesday, 112 legal documents totaling thousands of pages were made public in the US. The documents included redacted witness testimony accusing Ms Maxwell of preying on underage girls and forcing them to perform sexual favours for Epstein's gratification. "Maxwell direct a room full of underage girls to kiss, dance, and touch one another in a sexual way for defendant and Epstein to watch," the statement said. A separate witness claimed that Ms Maxwell recruited her from a school campus to have sex with Epstein, by initially informing her that she would be hired as a personal assistant. While another released document alleges that "ample evidence in this case establishes that not only did Defendant [Maxwell] recruit underage girls for massage and sexual activities with Epstein, but that she participated in calling the girls; getting other people to bring girls; talking to the girls; taking massages from and leaving messages about the girls; and scheduling the girls to come over".
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal from reliable major media sources.
The leader of the far-right Proud Boys group was a "prolific" informer for federal and local law enforcement, reports say. Enrique Tarrio worked undercover for authorities after he was arrested in 2012, according to a 2014 federal court document obtained by Reuters. During a Miami court hearing a federal prosecutor, an FBI agent and Mr Tarrio's lawyer described his work for law enforcement and said that he had helped convict more than a dozen people in drugs, gambling and human smuggling cases. He has become an increasingly high-profile figure as his violent group gained an elevated profile during the Trump administration. The ex-president infamously told the group to "stand back and stand by" when asked to denounce them during a presidential debate last September. They have been involved in a string of high-profile clashes in Washington DC, including the 6 January pro-Trump Capitol riot. [Mr Tarrio] was arrested in Washington DC in January two days before the riot and charged with possession of two high-capacity rifle magazines, and setting fire to a Black Lives Matter banner during a December pro-Trump demonstration in the city. Mr Tarrio was ordered to leave the city and has a June court date. During the 2014 court case Reuters says that Mr Tarrio's lawyer and prosecutors asked a judge to reduce his prison sentence after he and two defendants pleaded guilty in a fraud case related to stolen diabetes test kits. The prosecutor told the judge that Mr Tarrio had provided information that resulted in the prosecution of 13 people.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
The end of 2020 brought the sharpest rise in the U.S. poverty rate since the 1960s, according to a new study. Economists Bruce Meyer from the University of Chicago and James Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame found that the poverty rate increased by 2.4 percentage points during the latter half of 2020 as the U.S. continued to suffer the economic impacts of COVID-19. That percentage-point rise is nearly double the largest annual increase in poverty since the 1960s. This means an additional 8 million people nationwide are now considered poor. Moreover, the poverty rate for Black Americans is estimated to have jumped by 5.4 percentage points, or by 2.4 million individuals. The scholars' findings, released Monday, put the rate at 11.8% in December. While poverty is down from readings of more than 15% a decade earlier, the new estimates suggest that the annual Census Bureau tally due in September will be higher than the last official, pre-pandemic level of 10.5% in 2019. Black Americans were more than twice as likely to be poor than their white counterparts in December – an improvement from the summer months when they were nearly three times more apt to live in poverty – but an increase from before the pandemic, when the differential was under two. Despite improvements in the overall poverty rate since the middle of the 20th century, Black Americans had been about three times as likely to be poor as white Americans for most of the past 60 years.
Note: Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reported on Jan. 1, 2021, "billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began." The CDC also reports overdose deaths hit a record high last year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Genius" dogs learn new words after hearing them just four times, a study has found - making them as quick as three year olds. Dogs which have a special talent for remembering verbal cues can rapidly expand their vocabulary simply by playing with their owners, according to the research. Whisky, a four-year-old female Border Collie from Norway, and Vicky Nina, a nine-year-old female Yorkshire terrier from Brazil, were able to fetch the correct toy after being exposed to the object and its name just four times, despite not receiving any formal training. Scientists say these highly intuitive dogs are therefore able to learn new words at the same speed as toddlers aged two and three. To test whether most dogs would be as successful as Whisky and Vicky Nina at learning new words, 20 others were tested in the same way - but none showed any evidence of understanding the new toy names. This confirms that only very few dogs which are especially gifted are able to learn words quickly in the absence of formal training, the scientists concluded. However, the study did reveal that Whisky and Vicky Nina's memory of the new toy names decayed over time due to them only hearing the names a few times.
President Joe Biden ordered his Department of Justice on Tuesday to phase out its contracts with private prisons, one of multiple new planks of Biden's broad-focused racial justice agenda. Biden signed four additional executive actions after laying out his racial equity plan at the White House. The actions are aimed at combating discriminatory housing practices, reforming the prison system, respecting sovereignty of Tribal governments and fighting xenophobia against Asian Americans, especially in light of the Covid pandemic. "I ran for president because I believe we're in a battle for the soul of this nation," Biden said before signing the actions. "And the simple truth is, our soul will be troubled as long as systemic racism is allowed to persist." "For too many American families, systemic racism and inequality in our economy, laws and institutions, still put the American dream far out of reach," domestic policy advisor Susan Rice said at a press briefing preceding Biden's speech and signings. "These are desperate times for so many Americans, and all Americans need urgent federal action to meet this moment," Rice said. "Building a more equitable economy is essential if Americans are going to compete and thrive in the 21st century." Rice noted in the briefing that Biden's order to the DOJ does not apply to private-prison contracts with other agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That order is "silent on what may or may not transpire with ICE facilities," she said.
The pandemic has worsened income inequality, with the world's richest people regaining their losses from COVID-19 shutdowns in nine months while the number of people living in poverty has doubled to more than 500 million, according to a new report from the anti-poverty group Oxfam. Almost 9% of total working hours were lost last year when compared with the levels of employment at the end of 2019, before the pandemic shuttered the economy, according to a separate report from the International Labour Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency. That's the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs lost across the globe, or about four times greater than the impact from the Great Recession of 2009. The world's poorest could take a decade to regain their financial footing. Oxfam describes the pandemic's impact as "the greatest rise in inequality since records began." The International Labour Organization said the crisis has been the most severe on work since the Great Depression in the 1930s. "Its impact is far greater than that of the global financial crisis of 2009," said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. America's richest people have seen their wealth soar during the pandemic by more than $1 trillion, thanks to a booming stock market and a K-shaped recovery that has benefited the rich, while poorer people have struggled with lost wages and jobs and future opportunities. It's a rich vs. poor phenomenon that is replicating across the globe.
Note: The media continue to blame the pandemic for these dire consequences when it is clearly not the virus, but the lockdown policies that are the main reason for this huge increase in poverty and income inequality. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
The reminders of pandemic-driven suffering among students in Clark County, Nev., have come in droves. Since schools shut their doors in March, an early-warning system that monitors students' mental health episodes has sent more than 3,100 alerts to district officials, raising alarms about suicidal thoughts, possible self-harm or cries for care. By December, 18 students had taken their own lives. The spate of student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation's fifth largest, toward bringing students back as quickly as possible. This month, the school board gave the green light to phase in the return of some elementary school grades and groups of struggling students. Over the summer ... Dr. Robert R. Redfield, then the C.D.C. director, warned that a rise in adolescent suicides would be one of the "substantial public health negative consequences" of school closings. Mental health advocacy groups warned that the student demographics at the most risk for mental health declines before the pandemic – such as Black children and L.G.B.T.Q. students – were among those most marginalized by the school closures. But given the politically charged atmosphere this summer, many of those warnings were dismissed as scare tactics. Parents of students who have taken their lives say connecting suicide to school closings became almost taboo.
Lots of homeless people may end up having to sleep on the streets and Winter time can be particularly tough. A German-based team is trying to tackle this head on. It's installed sleeping pods across the German city of Ulm to provide the homeless with emergency shelter at night. The team ... consists of six business people from Ulm with expert knowledge in designing and developing products. The pods, which are known as Ulster Nests, are made from wood and steel and are both windproof and waterproof. They're designed to keep up to two people protected from the elements, including rain, frost and humidity. However, the creators have stressed that the capsules aren't an alternative to staying in proper overnight accommodation, especially as the city of Ulm can reach very low temperatures. The sleep pods have also been fitted with solar panels and they even come complete with enough room to house users' belongings. They've been fitted with sensors which can monitor temperature, humidity, smoke and carbon dioxide levels and an electronic verification system so those using it can lock the capsule from the inside. They also have lighting, an alarm signal buzzer and a ventilation system. There are no cameras in the pods to protect people's privacy. However, when the doors are opened, this triggers a motion sensor which lets social workers who check the pods know they've been used so they can get them cleaned, and so they can also provide help to those who might need it.
U.S. intelligence reports ... suggest the Chinese People's Liberation Army was conducting secret animal research with highly contagious viruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, without notifying the World Health Organization even after the pandemic began. [This raises] new questions about the possible laboratory origins of COVID-19 that must be addressed. If sloppy biolab security or reckless military experimentation followed by a coverup were the proximate cause, we need to prioritize developing rules and safeguards to make a global pandemic less likely to happen again. If the origins are revealed to be more innocent - a virus jumping naturally from mammals to humans - we will need to prioritize monitoring and containing future zoonotic outbreaks. But while evidence of a zoonotic jump in the wild, or at a market, or farm has been starkly absent, the case that COVID-19 might have reached humans through an accidental leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology seems like an ever-greater possibility. We know that many viruses at the Institute were manipulated using "gain of function" research to develop hybrid viruses to test their ability to infect human lung cells and humanized mice. Is it just coincidental that SARS-CoV-2 appears to have emerged in late 2019 already adapted for transmission to humans and that the COVID-19 outbreak occurred ... in the only Chinese city with a high-level virology institute that was experimenting with novel and diverse bat coronaviruses?
The first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons entered into force on Friday, hailed as a historic step to rid the world of its deadliest weapons but strongly opposed by the world's nuclear-armed nations. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is now part of international law, culminating a decades-long campaign aimed at preventing a repetition of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. But getting all nations to ratify the treaty requiring them to never own such weapons seems daunting, if not impossible, in the current global climate. When the treaty was approved by the U.N. General Assembly in July 2017, more than 120 approved it. But none of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons – the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – supported it and neither did the 30-nation NATO alliance. Nonetheless, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition whose work helped spearhead the treaty, called it "a really big day for international law, for the United Nations and for survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." As of Thursday, Fihn told The Associated Press that 61 countries had ratified the treaty ... and "from Friday, nuclear weapons will be banned by international law" in all those countries.
Jennifer Drouin, 30, headed out to buy groceries in central Amsterdam. Once inside, she noticed new price tags. The label by the zucchini said they cost a little more than normal: 6˘ extra per kilo for their carbon footprint, 5˘ for the toll the farming takes on the land, and 4˘ to fairly pay workers. The so-called true-price initiative, operating in the store since late 2020, is one of dozens of schemes that Amsterdammers have introduced in recent months as they reassess the impact of the existing economic system. In April 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19, Amsterdam's city government announced it would recover from the crisis, and avoid future ones, by embracing the theory of "doughnut economics." The theory argues that 20th century economic thinking is not equipped to deal with the 21st century reality of a planet teetering on the edge of climate breakdown. Instead of equating a growing GDP with a successful society, our goal should be to fit all of human life into what Raworth calls the "sweet spot" between the "social foundation," where everyone has what they need to live a good life, and the "environmental ceiling." By and large, people in rich countries are living above the environmental ceiling. Those in poorer countries often fall below the social foundation. The space in between: that's the doughnut. Amsterdam's ambition is to bring all 872,000 residents inside the doughnut, ensuring everyone has access to a good quality of life, but without putting more pressure on the planet than is sustainable.
The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) efforts to infiltrate governments around the world have been at turns remarkable and remarkably calculated. While readers might expect that China's ambitions have been met with resistance from Western countries, the CCP's rise in Europe has been welcomed, if not enabled, by respected European leaders, authors Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg argue in a new book, Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World. "Long seen by the CCP as the irrelevant junior partner of the United States, Europe is now viewed as the great prize. By winning over Europe, the CCP hopes to convince the world that China is the â€champion of multilateralism' and a much-needed counterweight to U.S. hegemony and unilateralism," Hamilton and Ohlberg write. The CPP is effectively manipulating global players like the EU to advance its larger geopolitical goals. The CCP provides financing to the EU-China Friendship Group, which counts 45 members of the European Parliament (seven political parties) as members. In the same way that no entity can use the term Royal in the United Kingdom without the crown's permission, the words "People" or "Friendship" are regulated by the CCP and require party approval for use in an organization's name. Universal human rights, democratic practice and the rule of law have powerful enemies, and China under the CCP is arguably the most formidable.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Donald Trump, in one of his final acts as president, released current and former members of his administration from the terms of their ethics pledge, a move that once again laid bare his failure to fulfil his 2016 campaign promise to "drain the swamp." Trump won the presidency, in part, on a pledge to take on entrenched special interests in Washington, and his ethics policy was one of his first acts after assuming office. But in practice it proved to be little more than bluster. Trump instituted a major loosening of ethics standards when compared with the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama, as well as the rules that will govern President Joe Biden's White House. By rescinding his ethics executive order before leaving office, Trump freed former officials from lingering concern that they could face consequences for running afoul of the ethics policy as they return to the private sector. Many of them will now try to leverage their experience to secure high-paying jobs in Washington's influence industry. "The first rule of ethics enforcement is you need to have strong standards. Then you need to back them up with intense transparency. And you also need to reinforce the whole thing with tone from the top. Trump did the opposite on all three," said Norm Eisen, Obama's former ethics czar. "He made a mockery of it by having a corrupt tone at the top." Unlike his predecessors, Trump refused to divest from his sprawling business empire. That set the tone for his tenure.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Batteries capable of fully charging in five minutes have been produced in a factory for the first time, marking a significant step towards electric cars becoming as fast to charge as filling up petrol or diesel vehicles. Electric vehicles are a vital part of action to tackle the climate crisis but running out of charge during a journey is a worry for drivers. The new lithium-ion batteries were developed by the Israeli company StoreDot and manufactured by Eve Energy in China on standard production lines. StoreDot has already demonstrated its "extreme fast-charging" battery in phones, drones and scooters and the 1,000 batteries it has now produced are to showcase its technology to carmakers and other companies. Daimler, BP, Samsung and TDK have all invested in StoreDot, which has raised $130m to date. "The number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles is no longer cost, it is range anxiety," said Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot. "You're either afraid that you're going to get stuck on the highway or you're going to need to sit in a charging station for two hours. But if the experience of the driver is exactly like fuelling [a petrol car], this whole anxiety goes away." "A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible," he said. "But we are not releasing a lab prototype, we are releasing engineering samples from a mass production line. This demonstrates it is feasible and it's commercially ready."
Health authorities in Norway sought to allay safety concerns raised by the death of some elderly patients after they were vaccinated against Covid-19, saying there's no evidence of a direct link. The initial reports from Norway raised alarm as the world looks for early signs of potential side effects from the vaccines. Although doctors say it's possible that vaccine side-effects could aggravate underlying illnesses, they were expecting nursing-home residents to die shortly after being vaccinated because deaths are more common among the frailest and sickest elderly patients. In Norway, 33 people aged 75 and over died following immunization, according to the [Norwegian Medicines Agency]'s latest figures. All were already seriously ill, it said. The Scandinavian country has already inoculated almost all of its nursing home population, with more than 48,000 people vaccinated. The reported fatalities are well under 1 out of 1,000 nursing-home patients to be vaccinated, [Steinar Madsen, medical director at the Norwegian Medicines Agency] said. The side effects of immunization can, in some cases, "tip the patients into a more serious course of the underlying disease," Madsen said. "We can't rule that out." Other countries, including Germany and Israel, have also reported deaths in people who recently were vaccinated. Until Friday, Norway had only used the vaccine provided by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. The companies are now working with the Nordic country to look into the deaths.
Note: For more details on these and other deaths from the vaccines, see this webpage. Are all these deaths shortly after vaccination simply coincidence? Read about many problems with these vaccines based on reports from reliable sources. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
On Jan 13, Dr Yvonne Doyle, the medical director at Public Health England (PHE) issued an alarming statement claiming that Britain had reported the highest number of coronavirus deaths on a single day since the pandemic began. She also alleged that there have now been more deaths in the second wave than the first. Dig a little deeper and the narrative that the second wave is more deadly than the first begins to unravel. According to the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) ... there were 72,900 excess deaths from the start of the pandemic in March to the end of December. Some 60,800 of those occurred in the first wave, but just 12,100 in the second. In a bad winter flu season, around 22,000 excess deaths would be expected. It means that, unlike the first wave, many people included in the coronavirus death figures would have been expected to die of other causes in the past few months. The mortality rate in December 2020 was 1,339.8 deaths per 100,000 males, compared with 1,674.7 in December 2003, and 950.4 deaths per 100,000 females, compared with 1,217.4 in December 2003. The ONS estimates that there were 50,882 more deaths in England in 2020, and 71,110 were due to coronavirus. This means that at least 20,000 people who died from coronavirus last year would have been likely to have died from something else. The figure is likely to be higher because many more people have died from the impact of lockdown.
In the first week of January, scientists representing the World Health Organization (WHO) were due to arrive in China to trace the origins of Covid-19. Beijing denied entry to the investigators. China ... relented and allowed the group to enter the country this week. The brief standoff highlights a more serious problem: the inadequacy of WHO's current investigative framework for exploring all plausible origins of Covid-19. The world needs an inquiry that considers not just natural origins but the possibility that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, escaped from a laboratory. The WHO team, however, plans to build on reports by Chinese scientists rather than mount an independent investigation. Responding to whether the WHO team will investigate lab origins, Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, the leader of the team, told us, "If our studies point to a possible lab accident, then other international mechanisms would be involved to document such an event. It would take time and additional types of expertise." Then-deputy U.S. national security adviser Matthew Pottinger told international leaders late last year that the latest intelligence points to SARS-CoV-2 having originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). This intelligence has not been made public. China has denied that the virus came from a lab.
A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction. The peer reviewed study was published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation on January 5, and analyzed coronavirus case growth in 10 countries in early 2020. The study compared cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the U.S. – all countries that implemented mandatory lockdown orders and business closures – to South Korea and Sweden, which instituted less severe, voluntary responses. The researchers used a mathematical model to compare countries that did and did not enact more restrictive lockdown orders, and determined that there was "no clear, significant beneficial effect of [more restrictive measures] on case growth in any country." "We do not question the role of all public health interventions, or of coordinated communications about the epidemic, but we fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures," the research said. Mandatory lockdown orders have also been a highly politicized issue across the U.S. Some Republican leaders ... have vehemently opposed state or nationwide closures. In Democratic states, including New York and California, lockdown orders have been a consistent part of the coronavirus response.
Thanks to The Black Vault, an online archive of declassified government documents, you can now dig through a massive trove of information the CIA has collected on UFOs over the years. The Black Vault's John Greenewald Jr. posted the contents of a CD full of 2,780 pages of documents last week, the result of Greenewald's many Freedom of Information Act requests. The CIA has occasionally declassified UFO-related documents over the years and even made a reading collection available online covering information from the 1940s through the early 1990s. Last year, the US Navy declassified documents and video connected to a 2004 UFO encounter. It seems public interest in UFOs hasn't waned. Greenewald tweeted on Wednesday that over 622,000 people generated more than 30.7 million hits on his servers and downloaded nearly 26 terabytes of data over the course of just 24 hours. This could be a fun year for UFO enthusiasts. The COVID-19 relief bill signed by President Trump in late December 2020 included a requirement for the director of national intelligence to submit a report on "unidentified aerial phenomena" within 180 days to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees. The request is for an unclassified report, but it may include a classified supplement. The search for definitive answers isn't over. "Although the CIA claims this is their 'entire' collection, there may be no way to entirely verify that," Greenewald wrote. "Research by The Black Vault will continue."
Note: In response to a FOIA request, the Pentagon has acknowledged that is has UFO debris. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
In the exquisitely constructed, deeply unnerving "MLK/FBI," filmmaker Sam Pollard takes viewers behind the looking glass into the shadowy world of governmental surveillance during the mid-century civil rights movement, a program of spying, infiltration and harassment that reached its perverse apotheosis with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with Martin Luther King, Jr. In this meticulously constructed narrative, which centers on FBI files that are scheduled to be declassified in 2027, Pollard reminds viewers that, at the time of his death, King was anything but universally admired. By the time he came out against the Vietnam War and began linking race and class via the Poor People's Campaign, Hoover's years-long campaign to peg King as a Communist had taken hold. Archival footage [shows] anti-King demonstrators spouting lies they've uncritically accepted about the Baptist minister. Pollard delves into the history of Hoover's career with the federal law enforcement agency, his quest to root out Communists and the path that took him to King's door and, eventually, bedroom. Once Hoover discovered that King was having extramarital affairs, he became even more single-minded, tapping the activist's phone lines, bugging his house and placing informants in proximity. When King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, Hoover redoubled his efforts, culminating in the notorious tape and anonymous letter sent to Coretta Scott King, obliquely suggesting that her husband kill himself.
Note: Read more about the controversy surrounding King's assassination. Then watch an eye-opening six-minute video report on a 1999 court trial that found the U.S. government guilty for assassinating King, yet the media almost universally refused to report on this important trial. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Health authorities are investigating the case of a Florida doctor who died from an unusually severe blood disorder 16 days after receiving the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist in Miami Beach, received the vaccine at Mount Sinai Medical Center on Dec. 18 and died 16 days later from a brain hemorrhage, his wife, Heidi Neckelmann, wrote. Shortly after receiving the vaccine, Dr. Michael developed an extremely serious form of a condition known as acute immune thrombocytopenia, which prevented his blood from clotting properly. About nine million people in the United States have received at least one shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine, the two authorized in the United States. So far, serious problems reported were 29 cases of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. Dr. Jerry L. Spivak, an expert on blood disorders at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in Dr. Michael's care, said that based on Ms. Neckelmann's description, "I think it is a medical certainty that the vaccine was related." "This is going to be very rare," said Dr. Spivak, an emeritus professor of medicine. But he added, "It happened and it could happen again." Dr. Paul Offit, an expert in vaccines and infectious diseases ... said that the measles vaccine and measles itself have been known to cause this same clotting problem, but it is usually transient and not serious. It occurs in about one of every 25,000 measles shots
Note: The supposed experts are claiming the numerous deaths of people within hours to weeks after the vaccine are just coincidental. This article examines these deaths and raises many questions. And why are so few of these being reported? Read about many problems with these vaccines based on reports from reliable sources. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
When President Donald Trump signed the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law in December, so began the 180-day countdown for US intelligence agencies to tell Congress what they know about UFOs. The director of National Intelligence and the secretary of defense have a little less than six months now to provide the congressional intelligence and armed services committees with an unclassified report about "unidentified aerial phenomena." It's a stipulation that was tucked into the "committee comment" section of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which was contained in the massive spending bill. That report must contain detailed analyses of UFO data and intelligence collected by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and the FBI, according to the Senate intelligence committee's directive. It should also describe in detail "an interagency process for ensuring timely data collection and centralized analysis of all unidentified aerial phenomena reporting for the Federal Government" and designate an official responsible for that process. Finally, the report should identify any potential national security threats posed by UFOs and assess whether any of the nation's adversaries could be behind such activity, the committee said. The submitted report should be unclassified, the committee said, though it can contain a classified annex.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
There are a few reasons why I supported lockdowns at first. Initial data falsely suggested that the infection fatality rate was up to 2-3%, that over 80% of the population would be infected, and modelling suggested repeated lockdowns would be necessary. But emerging data showed that the median infection fatality rate is 0.23%, that the median infection fatality rate in people under 70 years old is 0.05%. In addition, it is likely that in most situations only 20-40% of the population would be infected before ongoing transmission is limited (i.e., herd-immunity). Emerging data has shown a staggering amount of so-called Ă˘â‚Źcollateral damage' due to the lockdowns. This can be predicted to adversely affect many millions of people globally with food insecurity [82-132 million more people], severe poverty [70 million more people], school closures for children [affecting children's future earning potential and lifespan], and intimate partner violence for millions of women. In high-income countries adverse effects also occur from delayed and interrupted healthcare, unemployment, loneliness, deteriorating mental health ... and more. A formal cost-benefit analysis of different responses to the pandemic was not done by government. Once I became more informed, I realized that lockdowns cause far more harm than they prevent. The costs of lockdowns are at least 10 times higher than the benefits. Lockdowns cause far more harm to population wellbeing than COVID-19 can.
Note: The above was written by Dr. Ari Joffe, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
What does it say about the humanitarian condition of US prisons and jails when one of the United States' closest allies refuses to extradite a person for fear that American prison conditions would drive him to suicide? This is exactly what happened ... when a British court ruled against the United States' extradition request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange due to concerns that his health and safety cannot be assured in US custody. The United States fought vigorously to extradite Assange so that he can stand trial for alleged violations of the US Espionage Act, as well as other alleged cyber crimes. Judge Baraitser denied extradition due to the significant risk that Assange would be placed in solitary confinement, which she concluded would likely lead to his death by suicide. Assange has a long and documented history of mental illness. Prolonged solitary confinement – defined as the practice of confining people for 22 to 24 hours per day without meaningful human contact for a period of more than 15 days – can amount to torture, according to the United Nations. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, an estimated 37% of people incarcerated in US state and federal prisons have a diagnosed mental illness, as do an estimated 44% of incarcerated people in local jails. And studies have shown that approximately half of all suicides and incidents of self-harm in American prisons and jails occur among people held in solitary confinement.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The rally that preceded the storming of the Capitol had been hyped for weeks, including by the president himself. "It definitely shows the ineffectiveness of the intelligence network that we've built since 9/11 – that the Capitol Police would not have been prepared for an assault on the Capitol that was planned in public," Mike German, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and former FBI agent specializing in counterterrorism, [said]. Adam Isacson, the D.C.-based director of the defense oversight program at the Washington Office on Latin America, linked the events to a broader politicization of law enforcement under Trump, reminiscent of the anti-democratic movements the U.S. has historically sponsored in countries around the world. "You don't get to ransack the Capitol for hours, then calmly walk away, unless law enforcement and its command share your views," he wrote. "What we saw yesterday was tacit approval of the rioters." The insurrectionary mob was met with some resistance as they descended on the Capitol – some, but not much. Police did use chemical agents against the crowd, but by and large the response bore little resemblance to the iron-fisted crackdown on racial justice protesters witnessed in Washington, D.C., and cities across the country just months before. When they were through, Trump's irregular forces walked out of the building triumphant and unmasked, smiling as a law enforcement officer held the door for them. "We love you. You're very special," the president said to his supporters.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
There was one story Neil Sheehan chose not to tell. It was the story of how he had obtained the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers, arguably the greatest journalistic catch of a generation, were a secret history of United States decision-making on Vietnam, commissioned in 1967 by the secretary of defense. Their release revealed for the first time the extent to which successive White House administrations had intensified American involvement in the war while hiding their own doubts about the chances of success. [Sheehan] also revealed that he had defied the explicit instructions of his confidential source, whom others later identified as Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department analyst who had been a contributor to the secret history while working for the Rand Corporation. In 1969, Mr. Ellsberg had illicitly copied the entire report, hoping that making it public would hasten an end to a war he had come passionately to oppose. Contrary to what is generally believed, Mr. Ellsberg never "gave" the papers to The Times, Mr. Sheehan emphatically said. Mr. Ellsberg told Mr. Sheehan that he could read them but not make copies. So Mr. Sheehan smuggled the papers out of the apartment in Cambridge, Mass., where Mr. Ellsberg had stashed them; then he copied them illicitly, just as Mr. Ellsberg had done, and took them to The Times. Over the next two months, he strung Mr. Ellsberg along. He told him that his editors were deliberating. In fact, he was ... working feverishly toward publication.
At the end of 2020, Chicago police reported more than 750 murders, a jump of more than 50% compared with 2019. By mid-December, Los Angeles saw a 30% increase over the previous year with 322 homicides. There were 437 homicides in New York City by Dec. 20, nearly 40% more than the previous year. New Orleans-based data consultant Jeff Asher studied crime rates in more than 50 cities and says the crime spikes aren't just happening in big cities. With the numbers of homicides spiking in many places, Asher expects the final statistics for 2020 to tell a startlingly grim story. "We're going to see, historically, the largest one-year rise in murder that we've ever seen," he says. Asher says it has been more than a half-century since the country saw a year-to-year murder rate that jumped nearly 13%. "We have good data that the rise in murder picked up in the early stages of the summer," Asher says, "and we also have good data that the rise of murder picked up again in September and October as some of the financial assistance started to wear off." Chicago minister the Rev. Marshall Hatch Sr. says the spike in violence is sadly not surprising. His church is located in a west side Chicago neighborhood hard hit by both poverty and the pandemic. "COVID has had a disproportionate impact and people are increasingly desperate," Hatch says. "And people, because of the concentration of poverty, tend to turn on each other."
Note: It is not the pandemic which is causing these homicides. It is the lockdown measures that are negatively impacting the emotional and spiritual lives of billions of people around the globe. The CDC also reports overdose deaths hit a record high last year. And poverty had the sharpest rise in 50 years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
When Chanelle Helm helped organized protests after the March 13 killing of Breonna Taylor, Louisville police responded with batons, flashbang grenades and tear gas. The 40-year-old Black Lives Matter activist still bears scars from rubber bullets fired at close range. So Helm was startled and frustrated Wednesday to see a White, pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol - breaking down barricades, smashing windows and striking police officers - without obvious consequence. "Our activists are still to this day met with hyper-police violence," Helm said. "And today you see this full-on riot ... with people toting guns, which the police knew was coming and they just let it happen. I don't understand where the 'law and order' is. This is what white supremacy looks like." For veteran social justice demonstrators, the images of men and women wearing red Trump 2020 hats and clutching American and Confederate flags walking through the Capitol building largely unmolested came as shocking yet predictable evidence of their long-held suspicions that conservative, White protesters intent on violence would not be met with any of the strongarm tactics as anti-police brutality demonstrators. Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, who died at age 18 in a 2014 police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., [said] that the lack of a police response was stunning. "There was no shooting, no rubber bullets, no tear gas," she said. "It was nothing like what we have seen. Nothing like what we have seen."
Government figures show the proportion of children who arrived in emergency departments with mental health issues increased 24% from mid-March through mid-October, compared with the same period in 2019. Among preteens and adolescents, it rose by 31%. Anecdotally, some hospitals said they are seeing more cases of severe depression and suicidal thoughts among children, particularly attempts to overdose. The increased demand for intensive mental health care that has accompanied the pandemic has worsened issues that have long plagued the system. In some hospitals, the number of children unable to immediately get a bed in the psychiatric unit rose. Others reduced the number of beds or closed psychiatric units altogether to reduce the spread of COVID-19. "It's only a matter of time before a tsunami sort of reaches the shore of our service system, and it's going to be overwhelmed," said Jason Williams ... at Children's Hospital Colorado. Children's hospitals in New York, Colorado and Missouri all reported an uptick in the number of patients who thought about or attempted suicide. Clinicians also mentioned spikes in children with severe depression and those with autism who are acting out.
We all have things we don't need. For Canberra resident Zoe Bowman, it is melon ballers. "Someone asked for a melon baller to make some melon balls for a kid's party, and I looked in the drawer and I had three," she says. "I don't need three melon ballers!" The request was made on a Facebook page that she manages, one of the thousands of local pages that make up the "buy nothing" movement. Part zero-waste movement, part community-building project, "buy nothing" has taken off in Australia's affluent inner-city suburbs as a way to rehome unwanted goods and avoid unnecessary purchases – like a third melon baller. The "buy nothing" project began in the United States as an attempt at creating a cashless economy. The aim was that communities would distribute goods according to need, which meant group members had to explain why they needed a particular item in order to receive it. It was a slightly problematic beginning, says Bowman, and the secret Facebook group where "buy nothing" page admins gather has since gone through a decolonisation and anti-racism process that led to it losing some of its original fans. In Australia the tone is lighter but the rules remain. Giving an item away to the first person who replies, like you would on a buy/swap/sell page, is far too transactional for the "buy nothing" community. "The whole aim of the thing is actually community building, not getting rid of stuff," Bowman says.
Note: Explore two other inspiring articles on this beautiful movement on this webpage and this one. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The pandemic has forced untold hardships onto many Americans, with tens of millions of families now reporting that they don't have enough to eat and millions more out of work on account of layoffs and lockdowns. America's wealthiest, on the other hand, had a very different kind of year: Billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began. And roughly one-fifth of that haul flowed into the pockets of just two men: Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon (and owner of The Washington Post), and Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame. Musk has quintupled his net worth since January, according to estimates put together by Bloomberg, adding $132 billion to his wealth and vaulting him to the No. 2 spot among the world's richest with a fortune of about $159 billion. Bezos's wealth has grown by roughly $70 billion over the same period, putting his net worth estimate at roughly $186 billion as the year came to an end. Such a rapid accumulation of individual wealth hasn't happened in the United States since the time of the Rockefellers and Carnegies a century ago, and we as a society are only just beginning to grapple with the ethical implications. What does it mean, for instance, that two men amassed enough wealth this year to end all hunger in America (with a price tag of $25 billion) eight times over? Or that the $200 billion accumulated by Bezos and Musk is greater than the amount of coronavirus relief allocated to state and local governments in the Cares Act?
Note: The new richest man in Asia reached his position partially through making vaccines for the coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Tech's biggest companies just wrapped up a huge year. The seven most valuable U.S. technology companies – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Tesla and Nvidia – picked up a combined $3.4 trillion in market cap in 2020, powering through a global pandemic and broader economic crisis. Between continued optimism over iPhone sales, Microsoft's growing Teams collaboration product, Amazon's ongoing control of e-commerce and the strength of Google and Facebook's online ad duopoly, Big Tech was neither slowed by Covid-19 nor the rising number of investigations into its dominance. By far the biggest increase in market cap went to Apple, which jumped by almost $1 trillion in value, thanks to its stock climbing 81%. Amazon, which benefited from growth in its consumer and cloud-computing business, rose by $710 billion. Microsoft picked up $480 billion, while Alphabet gained $268 billion and Facebook $193 billion. The gains are clearly reflected in the ranks of the richest people. Amazon's Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest person in the world, followed by Tesla's Elon Musk and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is fifth. Also in the top 10 are Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Microsoft ex-CEO Steve Ballmer.
2020 has been a killer year in every way, including murder. The United States has experienced the largest single one-year increase in homicides since the country started keeping such records in the 20th century, according to crime data and criminologists. The data collected so far is stark – a 20.9 percent increase in killings nationwide, in the first nine months of the year, according to the FBI, and even bloodier increases in many major cities, due largely to gun violence. Homicides recorded by 57 U.S. police agencies found a 36.7 percent increase for a similar time frame, according to figures compiled by Jeff Asher, an analyst and consultant who studies crime data. "Like everything else in 2020, the crime data was a disaster. There was a huge spike in murder, and it's hard to say just how bad it is, but it's fairly clear we are going to see the largest single-year rise," Asher said. Experts agree the pandemic has played a huge role in the rise in killings, but it has also probably contributed to a significant decrease in nonviolent crimes, which the FBI data shows fell by more than 8 percent in the first nine months of the year, possibly because there were fewer people on the street. It's not just big cities that are seeing rising homicides. According to the FBI data, small cities with fewer than 10,000 residents saw more than a 30 percent increase in killings in the first nine months of this year – a data point Asher called "insane."the main resource for national crime data, the FBI, will not report final figures for 2020 until September 2021.
Note: This new spike in homicides comes on the heels of a long downward trend in violent crime. An alarming survey published by 12 professors of leading US universities shows depression is up sharply since lockdowns were instituted. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
More than three years after the FBI came under fire for claiming "Black identity extremists" were a domestic terrorism threat, the bureau has issued a new terrorism guide that employs almost identical terminology. The FBI's 2020 domestic terrorism reference guide on "Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism" identifies two distinct sets of groups: those motivated by white supremacy and those who use "political reasons – including racism or injustice in American society" to justify violence. The examples the FBI gives for the latter group are all Black individuals or groups. The FBI document claims that "many" of those Black racially motivated extremists "have targeted law enforcement and the US Government," while a "small number" of them "incorporate sovereign citizen Moorish beliefs into their ideology, which involves a rejection of their US citizenship." In 2017, a leaked copy of an FBI report on "Black identity extremists" sparked an outcry from activists, civil rights groups and Congress, who criticized the bureau for portraying disparate groups and individuals as a single movement, even though the only common factor was that those associated with the term were Black Americans. Those critics also faulted the FBI for equating isolated attacks against law enforcement with those perpetrated by white supremacists, which even the FBI said represent the majority of domestic terror attacks in recent years.
Note: The above article is also available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Pentagon and Washington-area military leaders are on red alert, wary of what President Donald Trump might do in his remaining days in office. Though far-fetched, ranking officers have discussed what they would do if the president declared martial law. And military commands responsible for Washington DC are engaged in secret contingency planning in case the armed forces are called upon to maintain or restore civil order during the inauguration and transition period. "Right now, because of coronavirus," one retired judge advocate general says, "the president actually has unprecedented emergency powers, ones that might convince him - particularly if he listens to certain of his supporters - that he has unlimited powers and is above the law." "But martial law," says the lawyer, "is the wrong paradigm to think about the dangers ahead." Though such a presidential proclamation could flow from his order as commander-in-chief, an essential missing ingredient is the martial side: the involvement and connivance of some cabal of officers who would support the president's illegal move. Such a group doesn't exist ... but there could still be room for mischief, confusion, and even use of military force. It would just not be in the way Trump might intend, particularly if he continues his quest to destabilize the democratic process. "There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election," Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said in a joint statement.
Note: Trump is the third president to extend the perpetual state of emergency established in the US after 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Though most people who protect themselves with a coronavirus vaccine will never develop serious side effects, such rare cases are barred from federal court and instead steered to an obscure program with a record of seldom paying claims. The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, which was set up specifically to deal with vaccines under emergency authorization, has just four employees and few hallmarks of an ordinary court. Decisions are made in secret by government officials, claimants can't appeal to a judge and payments in most death cases are capped at $370,376. That stands in contrast to the much more established federal vaccine court, which decides cases of injury from most childhood vaccines and other common inoculations. George Washington University law professor Peter Meyers has followed the countermeasures program for years and bluntly calls it a "black hole," obtaining federal documents this summer showing it has paid fewer than 1 in 10 claims in its 15-year history. Experts are concerned that with the sheer volume of people expected to get coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. – more than 200 million – even a successful rollout with relatively few ill effects could be enough to swamp the program. What's more, such cases are complex and it's often hard to prove a direct link between claims of illness and a vaccine. The countermeasures program was created by a 2005 law. Under the program, drug makers can only be sued for "willful misconduct."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
I am guilty of violating the Espionage Act, Title 18, U.S. Code Sections 793 and 798. If charged and convicted, I could spend the rest of my life in prison. This is not a hypothetical. Right now, the United States government is prosecuting a publisher under the Espionage Act. The case could set a precedent that would put me and countless other journalists in danger. I confess that I – alongside journalists at The Guardian, The Washington Post and other news organizations – reported on and published highly classified documents from the National Security Agency provided by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, revealing the government's global mass surveillance programs. This reporting was widely recognized as a public service. Last year ... the Justice Department indicted Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. None of the architects of the "war on terror," including the C.I.A.'s torture programs, have been brought to justice. Mr. Assange is facing a possible sentence of up to 175 years in prison. I spoke to one of the best First Amendment lawyers in the country. He read the Espionage Act out loud and said it had never been used against a journalist, but there is always a first time. It is impossible to overstate the dangerous precedent Mr. Assange's indictment under the Espionage Act and possible extradition sets: Every national security journalist who reports on classified information now faces possible Espionage Act charges.
Note: The above was written by award-winning journalist Laura Poitras. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.
In November, Dorri McWhorter, the chief executive of the Y.W.C.A. Metropolitan Chicago, got a phone call from a representative of the billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The news was almost too good to be true: Her group would be receiving a $9 million gift. Ms. McWhorter shed tears of joy on the call. Similar scenes were playing out at charities nationwide. Ms. Scott's team recently sent out hundreds of out-of-the-blue emails to charities, notifying them of an incoming gift. Many of the gifts were the largest the charities had ever received. Ms. McWhorter was not the only recipient who cried. All told, Ms. Scott – whose fortune comes from shares of Amazon that she got after her divorce last year from Jeff Bezos, the company's founder – had given more than $4 billion to 384 groups, including 59 other Y.W.C.A. chapters. In the course of a few months, Ms. Scott has turned traditional philanthropy on its head. Whereas multibillion foundations like Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have fancy headquarters, Ms. Scott's operation has no known address – or even website. By disbursing her money quickly and without much hoopla, Ms. Scott has pushed the focus away from the giver and onto the nonprofits she is trying to help. They are the types of organizations – historically Black colleges and universities, community colleges and groups that hand out food and pay off medical debts – that often fly beneath the radar.
A nurse who had just received the coronavirus vaccine at a Tennessee hospital told reporters she was feeling dizzy and then fainted. Nurse manager Tiffany Dover received the Pfizer-BioNTech jab at CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga on Thursday and was giving a press briefing when she began to trail off, according to WTVC-9. "All of my staff, you know, we are excited to get the vaccine. We are in the COVID unit, so therefore, you know, my team will be getting first chances to get the vaccine," Dover said. "And I know that it's really "Sorry, I'm feeling really dizzy," she continued. One of the doctors behind her caught her as she passed out about 17 minutes after receiving the shot. "It just hit me all of a sudden, I could feel it coming on. I felt a little disoriented, but I feel fine now, and the pain in my arm is gone," Dover said after recovering. Dover told WTVC-9 she has a condition where she often faints when she feels pain.
Note: A video of this nurse fainting while being interviewed is available here. Read about health care workers who went into anaphylactic shock shortly after receiving the vaccine. One landed in the ICU. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on problems with the coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
If you experience severe side effects after getting a Covid vaccine, lawyers tell CNBC there is basically no one to blame in a U.S. court of law. The federal government has granted companies like Pfizer and Moderna immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines. "It is very rare for a blanket immunity law to be passed," said Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney. You also can't sue the Food and Drug Administration for authorizing a vaccine for emergency use, nor can you hold your employer accountable if they mandate inoculation as a condition of employment. Congress created a fund specifically to help cover lost wages and out-of-pocket medical expenses for people who have been irreparably harmed by a "covered countermeasure," such as a vaccine. But it is difficult to use and rarely pays. Attorneys say it has compensated less than 6% of the claims filed in the last decade. In February, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. The 2005 law empowers the HHS secretary to provide legal protection to companies making or distributing critical medical supplies. The protection lasts until 2024. That means that for the next four years, these companies "cannot be sued for money damages in court" over injuries related to the administration or use of products to treat or protect against Covid.
Note: Dr. Carrie Madej lays out the case for transhumanism through these mRNA vaccines. Are these vaccines the beginning of a well hidden agenda using nanotechnology to control all humans through advanced technology? Don't miss this powerful 20-minute video and do your own research as she suggests. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
Two health care workers at the same hospital in Alaska developed concerning reactions just minutes after receiving Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine this week, including one staff member who was to remain hospitalized until Thursday. The first worker, a middle-aged woman who had no history of allergies, had an anaphylactic reaction that began 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine. [After treatment] her symptoms subsided but then re-emerged, and she was treated with steroids and an epinephrine drip. When doctors tried to stop the drip, her symptoms re-emerged yet again, so the woman was moved to the intensive care unit. The second worker received his shot on Wednesday and developed eye puffiness, lightheadedness and a scratchy throat 10 minutes after the injection. He was taken to the emergency room and treated. The worker was back to normal within an hour and released. The hospital ... administered 144 total doses. The Alaska woman's reaction was believed to be similar to the anaphylactic reactions two health workers in Britain experienced after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week. Like her, both recovered. Pfizer's trial did not find any serious adverse events caused by the vaccine, although many participants did experience aches, fevers and other side effects. [The CDC] has recommended that the vaccine be administered in settings that have supplies, including oxygen and epinephrine, to manage anaphylactic reactions.
Note: Does this sound like a safe vaccine? Remember that billions of dollars are involved here and Pfizer in the past was fined $2.3 billion dollars for illegal processes. How much can we trust them? More in this great article. And watch a video of a nurse fainting while being interviewed on TV minutes after getting the vaccine. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on problems with the coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
With few exceptions, big businesses are having a very different year from most of the country. Between April and September, one of the most tumultuous economic stretches in modern history, 45 of the 50 most valuable publicly traded U.S. companies turned a profit. Despite their success, at least 27 of the 50 largest firms held layoffs this year, collectively cutting more than 100,000 workers. Corporate leaders are touting their success and casting themselves as leaders on the road to economic recovery. Many of their firms have put Americans out of work and used their profits to increase the wealth of shareholders. 21 big firms that were profitable during the pandemic laid off workers anyway. Berkshire Hathaway raked in profits of $56 billion during the first six months of the pandemic while one of its subsidiary companies laid off more than 13,000 workers. Salesforce, Cisco Systems and PayPal cut staff even after their chief executives vowed not to do so. Companies sent thousands of employees packing while sending billions of dollars to shareholders. Walmart, whose CEO spent the past year championing the idea that businesses "should not just serve shareholders," nonetheless distributed more than $10 billion to its investors during the pandemic while laying off 1,200 corporate office employees. Economists estimate at least 100,000 small businesses permanently closed in the first two months of the pandemic alone.
Twelve years after being sentenced to life for selling $20 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop, Fate Vincent Winslow will walk out of Louisiana State Penitentiary on Wednesday a free man. "Today is a day of redemption," the 53-year-old wrote to Yahoo News following his resentencing hearing on Tuesday. "I get my freedom back, I get my life back. There are no words that can really explain my feelings right now." Winslow's release comes through the work of the Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) and specifically Jee Park, its executive director, who felt confident that there was a path to freedom for Winslow as soon as she found his case. "You read the transcript of his trial and you're just horrified about what happened," Park told Yahoo News. "[His attorney] doesn't object when he gets sentenced to life. He doesn't file a motion to reconsider â€¦ he doesn't do anything. He just says, â€Sorry, you got a guilty verdict, you're going to prison for the rest of your life.'" Winslow said he's thanking God for his newfound freedom, and looking forward to reuniting with his daughter Faith, who has set up a GoFundMe to help get him back on his feet. In a statement provided to IPNO, Faith expressed optimism about the future. "My dad and I got closer while he was imprisoned. Even though he was locked up, he was there for me when I needed him," she said. "He deserves a second chance and I am so glad he is getting one."
Police have killed more than 1,000 people so far in 2020, according to the Mapping Police Violence project. The research group's database reveals that officers have killed 1,039 people in the U.S. as of December 8 - including 21 people who were aged 18 or under. According to Mapping Police Violence, by the end of November, there had only been 17 days in the year when police officers did not kill someone. And in a year that saw a nationwide reckoning on race following the police killings of George Floyd and other Black people, the database reveals that 28 percent of those killed by police in 2020 were Black - despite Black people only making up 13 percent of the U.S. population. Despite the months of protests denouncing police brutality and calls to "defund the police," Mapping Police Violence's data shows that police in 2020 have continued to kill people at similar rates to previous years. Mapping Police Violence's data shows that Black people are the most likely to be killed by police. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people and 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed compared to white people, according to data on police killings between 2013 and 2019. The statistics also show that there is little accountability for police killings. According to Mapping Police Violence, 98.3 percent of police killings between 2013 and 2020 resulted in no criminal charges for the officers involved.
The sudden death of a prominent anti-vaccination activist has led to a police probe. Brandy Vaughan, 45, was found dead on December 7. On Monday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death. "The decedent has been positively identified and the death is believe [sic] to be a result of natural causes based on an autopsy exam conducted last week," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Public Information Officer Raquel Zick said. "The final cause and manner of death determination are pending toxicology screening which normally takes 4-6 weeks." Vaughan, a former Merck pharmaceutical representative, was an outspoken critic of mandatory vaccinations and pharmaceutical companies. She founded non-profit organization Learn The Risk in a bid to educate people "on the dangers of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines and unnecessary medical treatments." [Vaughan] once worked for Merck pharmaceutical as a sales representative for Vioxx, a painkiller eventually taken off the market."I realized that just because something is on the market doesn't mean it's safe," Vaughan writes. "Much of what we are told by the healthcare industry just simply isn't the truth." In a Facebook post dated December 4 of 2019, Vaughan asks: "Ever wonder why I speak out against Big Pharma and suffer the major consequences? Because I will fight for my son and humanity and I will educate people on pharmaceutical product dangers until my last breath!"
Note: This article fails to mention that the number of deaths due to Vioxx are estimated to be between 40,000 and 500,000. Read also an article titled "Mystery surrounds death of Tanzanian president who defied COVID lockdown." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
In a year that witnessed a crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong, China has detained more journalists in 2020 than any other country, extending a role it assumed last year, two leading media rights groups say in studies published this week. The reports, published on Tuesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists and on Monday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), found Asia and the Middle East to be the most challenging regions of the world for journalists to operate freely. According to RSF ... the top five countries for imprisoning journalists in 2020 were China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Syria, which collectively accounted for 61% of the 387 journalists they had documented behind bars as of Dec. 1. RSF said at least 117 journalists were detained in China this year. Meanwhile, CPJ reported a record number of detained journalists – 274, according to its report, adding that China, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia imprisoned journalists at the highest rates. Officials from both organizations said the coronavirus pandemic even provided cover for some governments to more openly target the press in retaliation for critical COVID-19 coverage. "Fourteen journalists were arrested in connection with coverage of the pandemic," RSF Editor-in-Chief Pauline Ades-Mevel says, in response to what their governments called unfair or imprecise coverage. We've seen a backlash around the world against journalists reporting on the pandemic itself as well as government responses to the pandemic.
Note: Explore more on this and on censorship around questioning the official story of COVID-19. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and media manipulation from reliable sources.
Ian McKenna was in third grade when he learned that nearly a quarter of the kids at his Austin school weren't getting enough to eat at home. He wanted to help, but local volunteer organizations turned him away, saying he was too young. So he decided to find his own solution. For years, he had been gardening with his mother, and they often distributed their extra vegetables to the neighbors. Why not give the produce to a soup kitchen? "Then I thought, I'm good at gardening," says McKenna, now 16. "Maybe I could try to start a garden that's meant solely to help feed these people who are in need." Better yet, he thought, why not plant a garden at school, so that kids in need could take food home? McKenna persuaded his school to set aside space for a garden, then he asked the community for donations of seeds and equipment. Other students donated their time. Within months, McKenna's garden was producing lettuces, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash for students and their families. Now, seven years later, McKenna's Giving Garden project has expanded to five area schools in addition to his own backyard garden, and he has provided more than 20,000 lb. of organic produce (enough for 25,000 meals) to Austin families and food pantries. When COVID-19 hit the U.S., McKenna redoubled his efforts, cooking up to 100 meals out of his home to distribute to the hungry on the weekends. When social distancing meant that volunteers couldn't work on community garden plots, he started offering online tutorials.
Note: Scroll down near the bottom to read about this inspiring young man. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In total 2,487 people have died of the coronavirus in Japan, just over half the number in China and fewer people than on a single day in America several times over the past week. Japan has suffered just 18 deaths per million people, a higher rate than in China, but by far the lowest in the G7. As early as March, Japanese officials began warning citizens to avoid the san-mitsu or "3Cs": closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings. The phrase was blasted across traditional and social media. Authorities [made] granular distinctions about risks, opting for targeted restrictions rather than swinging between the extremes of strict lockdowns and free-for-all openings. Nishimura Yasutoshi, the minister overseeing the government's response to covid-19, carries a device that monitors carbon dioxide to measure the quality of ventilation during his meetings. Crowded subways pose little risk, if windows are open and passengers wear masks, Mr Nishimura insists. Sitting diagonally, rather than directly across from each other can reduce the risk of infection by 75%. Movie theatres are safe ... Mr Nishimura says. While most cinemas in the West are closed, "Demon Slayer", a new animeflick, has been playing to full houses in Japan. In addition to the 3Cs, the Japanese government warns of five more specific dangers: dinner parties with booze; drinking and eating in groups of more than four; talking without masks at close quarters; living in dormitories and other small shared spaces; and using changing or break rooms.
In Togo ... 55% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day. The economic effects of COVID-19 have drastically driven up the world's extreme poverty level. The World Bank estimates that the number of people living on less than $1.90 per day will reach 150 million by 2021. GiveDirectly, a charity that has focused for just under a decade on direct cash transfers to people in poverty around the world, particularly in Africa, has been escalating its pandemic relief efforts–and continually innovating with partners to find groundbreaking ways to target the most in need of money. The charity's latest innovation is harnessing an algorithm, designed by UC Berkeley, that uses artificial intelligence to identify the poorest individuals in the poorest areas, and transfer cash relief directly to them. The algorithm works in two stages. First, it finds the poorest neighborhoods or villages in a certain region, by analyzing high-resolution satellite imagery. The second stage is finding the poorest individuals within those areas, by analyzing their mobile phone data, provided by Togo's two principal carriers, Togocel and Moov. After the poorest individuals are identified, they will be prompted to enroll via mobile phone, and then instantly paid. Approximately $5 million will be delivered in total, sending cash every month for five months, in the sum of $15 for women and $13 for men per month, which they've calculated as the figure to cover their "minimum basket of goods" to survive. So far, 30,000 Togolese have been paid, out of a goal of 58,000.
Australia on Friday canceled a roughly $750 million plan for a large order of a locally developed coronavirus vaccine after the inoculation produced false positive test results for H.I.V. in some volunteers participating in a trial study. Of the dozens of coronavirus vaccines being tested worldwide, the Australian one was the first to be abandoned. While its developers said the experimental vaccine had appeared to be safe and effective, the false positives risked undermining trust in the effort to vaccinate the public. The Australian setback showed the missteps that can inevitably occur when scientists, during a pandemic that has killed more than 1.5 million people, rush to condense the usual yearslong process to develop vaccines into a matter of months. The trouble that arose with the Australian vaccine, developed by the University of Queensland and the biotech company CSL, was related to its use of two fragments of a protein found in H.I.V. The protein formed part of a molecular "clamp" that researchers placed on the spikes that surround the coronavirus and allow it to enter healthy cells. The clamp stabilizes the spikes, allowing the immune system to respond more effectively to the vaccine. The use of the H.I.V. protein posed no risk of infecting the volunteers with that virus, the researchers said. But the clamp generated the production of antibodies recognized by H.I.V. tests at higher levels than the scientists had expected. The researchers decided to abandon development of the vaccine.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
While serving a 90-year prison sentence for selling marijuana, Richard DeLisi's wife died, as did his 23-year-old son and both his parents. Yet, 71-year-old DeLisi walked out of a Florida prison Tuesday morning grateful and unresentful as he hugged his tearful family. After serving 31 years, he said he's just eager to restore the lost time. DeLisi was believed to be the longest-serving nonviolent cannabis prisoner, according to the The Last Prisoner Project which championed his release. DeLisi was sentenced to 90 years for marijuana trafficking in 1989 at the age of 40 even though the typical sentence was only 12 to 17 years. Now, he wants "to make the best of every bit of my time" fighting for the release of other inmates through his organization FreeDeLisi.com. "The system needs to change and I'm going to try my best to be an activist," he said. Chiara Juster, a former Florida prosecutor who handled the case pro bono for the The Last Prisoner Project, criticized DeLisi's lengthy sentence as "a sick indictment of our nation." The family has spent over $250,000 on attorneys' fees and over $80,000 on long-distance international collect calls over the past few decades. Rick DeLisi was only 11-years-old when he sat in the courtroom and said goodbye to his father. Now, he's a successful business owner with a wife and three children living in Amsterdam. "I can't believe they did this to my father," the grieving son said. His voice cracks and his eyes well up with tears as he talks about how grateful he is to finally see his dad.
Incarcerated men at California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in Norco, CA, can now earn a bachelor's of arts degree from one of the country's top liberal arts colleges. Pitzer College, a member of The Claremont Colleges, is the first university or college in the country to develop a bachelor's degree program for the incarcerated based on a sustainable inside-out curriculum. The inaugural cohort of eight incarcerated students in the Pitzer Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA are expected to graduate by the end of 2021. Pitzer Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA is the country's first degree-seeking prison education program whereby incarcerated "inside" students and "outside" students from The Claremont Colleges attend classes together in prison and are working toward earning bachelor's degrees. The Pathway is part of the intercollegiate Justice Education Initiative (JEI) program. The Claremont JEI model consists of an equal number of inside and outside students in each course. All inside students earn college credit, whether they are degree-seeking or not. The model allows Claremont College professors to teach their regular curriculum. The only difference is that the classes are held inside a prison (via online video-conferencing during COVID). Following their release, 86% of prisoners will be rearrested in three years. A RAND Corporation study found that correctional education programs reduce the inmates' chances of returning to prison, and those who participate had 43% lower odds of recidivating.
The automotive industry is set for yet another big leap next year, as Toyota is reportedly on the verge of rolling out its "game-changing" solid-state battery. The Japanese carmaker plans to be the first to sell solid-state battery-powered EVs this decade, and that it will be unveiling a prototype in 2021. Toyota promises that the new battery will "be a game-changer not just for electric vehicles, but for an entire industry." Solid-state batteries are expected to become a viable alternative to the usual lithium-ion units that we see in most electric vehicles today. These new power packs offer greater energy density as well as lower risks of fire. Toyota claims that its newly developed batteries can also enable a maximum EV range of 500km in one full charge and a zero to 100% charging time of just 10 minutes, "all with minimal safety concerns." The carmaker adds that with these new batteries, its EVs will boast a maximum range that's double of what it would have been able to achieve with a traditional lithium-ion battery–and this is achieved without legroom being compromised to accommodate a larger battery pack. Toyota has yet to specify when exactly we'll be seeing the new battery ... in action. Other automotive manufacturers that are looking to use solid-state battery technology include Nissan and Volkswagen.
To curb our climate crisis, we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels and power the world with renewables. That may have seemed far-fetched a decade ago given the cost of installing wind and solar at the time, but the price of renewables has been falling fast. In 10 years, the price of solar electricity dropped 89%, and the price of onshore wind dropped 70%. Clean energy has already passed its economic tipping point. A 2019 report from the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute found that it was cheaper to build and use a combination of renewables like wind and solar than to build new natural gas plants. A 2020 report from Carbon Tracker found that in every single one of the world's energy markets, it's cheaper to invest in renewables than in coal. And now, graphs recently published on Our World in Data, an online science publication, in partnership with Oxford University, starkly visualize that decline. Comparing the price of electricity from new power plants in 2009 and 2019, one graph shows how the price of solar photovoltaic power (from solar panels) plummets from $359 per megawatt hour to $40, the cheapest of any of the power options on the chart and an 89% decrease. In 2009, building a new solar farm was 223% more expensive than building a new coal plant. Now, it's flipped: Electricity from a new coal plant is 177% more expensive than electricity from new solar panels. What caused the switch? Huge leaps in technological advancement.
Eighteen astronauts – nine men and nine women – have been selected to begin training for upcoming Artemis missions to the moon, NASA announced Wednesday. The list includes the as-yet-unnamed next man and first woman who will set foot on the lunar surface later this decade. The announcement came at the end of a meeting of the National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. After reading off the names and welcoming five of the Artemis cadre who were present at the space center for the announcement, Pence said it "really is amazing to think that the next man and the first woman on the moon are among the names that we just read, and they may be standing in the room with us right now." NASA has been working toward a schedule imposed by the Trump administration calling for astronauts to return to the moon by the end of 2024 using the SLS, an Orion capsule and a commercially developed lunar lander that has not yet been built. The 18 astronauts named Wednesday are among the most diverse groups NASA has ever put together: nine men, including four with space flight experience, and nine women, including five space veterans. Nine of the 18 have not yet flown in space. Two astronauts on the list – Kate Rubins and Victor Glover – are currently aboard the International Space Station.
The African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, typically lives in the streams and ponds of sub-Saharan Africa. In January, researchers at the University of Vermont and Tufts University published a report that gave the amphibian a different lot in life. They harvested its embryonic skin and heart cells and reassembled the living matter into robotic devices – transforming Xenopus into xenobot. Xenobots are the first robots made completely of living materials. They're designed on a supercomputer running software that emulates natural selection: Algorithms determine possible effective tissue configurations for a xenobot to perform a specified task, such as moving through fluids or carrying a payload. The most promising designs are sculpted with tiny forceps and cauterizing irons, then set free in petri dishes, where the specks of amphibian flesh live for about a week before decomposing. There are no electronics involved. Behaviors are programmed entirely through the structural arrangement of the pulsating heart cells held in a matrix of rigid skin cells. Although xenobots can't yet do much more than crawl or swim, the researchers see great potential for them to aid in fields like medicine and environmental remediation. In the future, xenobots could be engineered to deliver drugs through the human body or to gather up microplastics in oceans, politely biodegrading when the job is done.
Note: Is humanity mature enough to be playing with life like this? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.
Electric cars are, in just about every quantifiable way, superior to gasoline vehicles. They accelerate with the speed of exotic supercars. They can run off clean, green power. And with fewer moving parts, electric cars are remarkably durable, with low maintenance costs. However, you still have to charge them. But what if you didn't need to plug in at all? That's the promise of the Aptera EV. It's a three-wheeled, two-passenger "Never Charge Vehicle" priced from $25,900 to $46,000. The car is available to preorder now for $100 down and is expected to ship in 2021. Instead of relying on electricity to charge, the vehicle can get substantial power via solar panels. And thanks to an extremely aerodynamic shape built out of strong, lightweight materials including carbon, Kevlar, and hemp, it needs less energy than competitors to drive, so the solar panels can generate meaningful miles on the road, whereas they barely move the needle on most electric cars. Aptera's newest vehicle can soak up 5 miles of charge every hour it's in bright sun, or about 40 miles of free range per day. With extra panels that can be attached to the hood and hatch during charging, that figure bumps to a full 64 miles of range per day. Given that the average person drives around 15 miles to work, the Aptera EV could be a viable commuter car for the week. The Aptera EV has some impressive overall performance stats, zooming from 0 to 60 in as few as 3.5 seconds, and featuring a fully charged range of up to 1,000 miles.
The fund set up to compensate victims of Jeffrey Epstein's sexual exploitation has already received more than 100 claims and paid out tens of millions of dollars. The fund will accept requests until the end of March, said Jordana Feldman, its administrator. So far, the fund has paid more than $30 million to accusers. The fund began taking claims in July, a little less than a year after Mr. Epstein, a financier, died in a Manhattan jail cell following his arrest on federal sex-trafficking charges. Because he had put his roughly $600 million fortune into a trust, there were concerns that it could take years for his victims to get any money back from his estate. But the estate's executors agreed to establish the fund, allowing accusers – including those who had reached settlements with Mr. Epstein after his 2008 conviction on soliciting prostitution from an underage girl – to seek compensation. Spencer Kuvin, a Miami lawyer representing nine women who have submitted claims to the fund, said the settlement process appeared to be fair. Three of [his clients] received settlements from Mr. Epstein when they were teenagers, but had felt intimidated by him and his legal team. "This process is light-years different," Mr. Kuvin said. Ms. Feldman said a person who received a settlement was normally barred from coming back for more money. But she said given the circumstances surrounding the earlier investigation of Mr. Epstein, it was important not to close the door on any victims.
Note: No mention is made of the many prominent men who were served by Epstein's girls. Why is no one investigating this? This New York magazine report has a wealth of information on Jeffrey Epstein's very strange death. Explore a complex yet very informative timeline of Epstein and his relationship to the Mossad and much more. Many links are made here with verifiable information that the major media has failed to report. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.
Carlos is a Mexican businessman. Two associates accompanied him as he travelled [to] India. There, [he] met Manu Gupta, a businessman active in a variety of sectors. On 25 September 2018 he was arrested in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, along with a Mexican associate and an Indian chemist. The three men were wearing masks and gloves – and were in possession of more than 10kg of fentanyl – an ultra-potent synthetic opioid. The case sheds light on the international networks which Mexican cartels have built up – and the business methods they employ to dominate the lucrative fentanyl market. Fentanyl increasingly displaced heroin on the underground market, causing record numbers of overdoses around the world. In 2018, fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs accounted for nearly half of the 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the US. This year, overdoses have rocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 40 US states reporting an increase in drug mortality rates – particularly from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. In theory, sales of precursors are highly regulated. In reality, the extent of the problem is revealed with a simple Google search. Entering keywords for fentanyl precursors quickly leads you to the social network Pinterest, where – nestled between wedding moodboards and home decor inspiration – are posts from Chinese companies offering fentanyl precursors for export – many directed towards Mexico.
Note: Pharmaceutical executives have been caught bribing doctors to prescribe fentanyl-containing painkillers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
A former Israeli space security chief has sent eyebrows shooting heavenward by saying that earthlings have been in contact with extraterrestrials from a "galactic federation." "The Unidentified Flying Objects have asked not to publish that they are here, humanity is not ready yet," Haim Eshed, former head of Israel's Defense Ministry's space directorate, told Israel's Yediot Aharonot newspaper. The interview in Hebrew ran on Friday, and gained traction after parts were published in English by the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. A respected professor and retired general, Eshed said the aliens were equally curious about humanity and were seeking to understand "the fabric of the universe." Eshed said cooperation agreements had been signed between species, including an "underground base in the depths of Mars" where there are American astronauts and alien representatives. "There is an agreement between the U.S. government and the aliens. They signed a contract with us to do experiments here," he said. Eshed added that President Donald Trump was aware of the extraterrestrials' existence and had been "on the verge of revealing" information but was asked not to in order to prevent "mass hysteria." "They have been waiting until today for humanity to develop and reach a stage where we will understand, in general, what space and spaceships are," Eshed said, referring to the galactic federation.
Note: Haim Eshed headed Israel's space security programs for 30 years. Learn more in the Times of Israel. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
Back in June, the World Economic Forum, best known for its annual Davos summit, kicked off a lunge for organizational relevance. The effort was called ... the Great Reset. And through articles, videos, webinars, podcasts, and a book by WEF founder Klaus Schwab, it provided a coronavirus-themed rebranding of all the things Davos does anyway, now hastily repackaged as a blueprint for reviving the global economy post-pandemic by "seeking a better form of capitalism." The Great Reset was a place to hawk for-profit technofixes to complex social problems; to hear heads of transnational oil giants opine about the urgent need to tackle climate change; to listen to politicians say the things they say during crises: that this is a tragedy but also an opportunity. In short, the Great Reset encompasses some good stuff that won't happen and some bad stuff that certainly will and, frankly, nothing out of the ordinary in our era of "green" billionaires readying rockets for Mars. None of this is to say that Schwab's Reset push is benign and unworthy of scrutiny. All kinds of dangerous ideas are lurking under its wide brim, from a reckless push toward more automation in the midst of a joblessness crisis, to the steady move to normalize mass surveillance and biometric tracking tools, to the very real (though not new) problem of Bill Gates's singular power over global health policy.
Note: The author of this article is courageous journalist Naomi Klein, who wrote the seminal book "The Shock Doctrine." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Nearly two years ago, researchers from X, the experimental "moonshot factory" at Alphabet, sat down with the head of a food bank in Arizona to begin to better understand one of the conundrums of hunger in the U.S.: As much as 40% of the food supply is wasted, but millions of Americans don't have enough to eat. "We probably have two to four times as much food as we need in the world, but we're not doing a very good job of distributing it to people who really need it," says Emily Ma, the leader of the X team, called Project Delta, which announced today that two early tools it developed will be moving to Google to be fully built. The X team built a prototype of a new matching platform that could automatically consider ... the shelf life of donated food, how it's packaged, what transportation is available, and where it's needed and wanted. Another tool uses computer vision and machine learning to identify food as it's being thrown out so that a restaurant or supermarket deli can better plan future buying decisions to reduce waste: If you're throwing out a lot of onions every week, the software will alert you so you can stop buying as many. Eventually, similar technology could also be used to identify surplus food available for donations, so that information doesn't have to entered manually. "What we're looking to do is, in the automating of this, actually make food much more accessible to everyone," says Ma. "I believe that in the next 10 to 30 years, it is possible to actually almost perfectly match supply and demand," she says.
The most probable cause of a series of mysterious afflictions that sickened American spies and diplomats abroad in the past several years was radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has concluded in a report. The conclusion by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields cited "directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy" as "the most plausible mechanism" to explain the illness, which came to be known as Havana syndrome. The report, which was commissioned by the State Department, provides the most definitive explanation yet of the illness that struck scores of government employees, first at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in 2016, and then in China and other countries. Many of the officers suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and loss of hearing, memory and balance, and some were forced into permanent retirement. C.I.A. officers visiting overseas stations also experienced similar symptoms. The new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to "directed" and "pulsed" – rather than "continuous" – energy, implying that the victims' exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy. It also said the committee found the immediate symptoms that patients reported ... were more consistent with a directed "attack" of radiofrequency energy.
Note: Many have belittled the possibility of directed energy beam weapons being used to cause harm and alter consciousness. We have been reporting on this for many years. For excellent, reliable information on this disturbing trend, see this essay and these news summaries.
Two years ago, Queensland woman 'Ellie' got a call that changed her life. It was from her first love, a man named James. She had met him in 2001. They were together for about a year before James broke it off. But in 2018, he phoned her in Australia to make a startling confession: he'd been living a lie. He was an undercover police officer who'd been sent to spy on her and those in her friendship circle. Ellie, who's never spoken publicly before, is one of at least 30 women who were tricked into having relationships with undercover officers working for London's Metropolitan Police Service. Some undercover officers, including James, adopted the identities of dead children and infiltrated environmental protest groups. A handful fathered children with their targets. Another former officer started a new life in Australia, before his target tracked him down in Sydney. The long-running scandal has finally culminated in public hearings of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, one of the biggest in UK legal history. In 1968, a secret unit was established within the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police, known as the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). In the decades that followed, SDS's reach expanded as it gathered intelligence on more than 1,000 political groups, often feeding that information to the security service, MI5. Some right-wing organisations were infiltrated, but the majority of targets were left-wing groups that challenged the status quo. The Special Demonstration Squad was disbanded in 2008.
Note: For more, see this BBC article on how a serious inquiry into the matter is being blocked and this Guardian article on police having sexual relations with women on whom they were spying. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla told NBC's Dateline host Lester Holt that the pharmaceutical company was "not certain" if the vaccine prevented the coronavirus from being transmitted, saying: "This is something that needs to be examined." In a prime-time special titled "Race for a Vaccine" ... Holt questioned Bourla and other individuals involved in the development and distribution of the vaccine. In November, Pfizer announced that its vaccine candidate had been shown to be more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 and has applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The U.K. became the first country to approve Pfizer's vaccine this week with the first round of immunizations expected to roll out next week. In August, Canada signed a deal with Pfizer for 20 million doses of the vaccine. In a list of interview highlights released before the special, Holt asked Bourla: "Even though I've had the protection, am I still able to transmit it to other people?" "I think this is something that needs to be examined. We are not certain about that right now with what we know," Bourla responded.
Note: An MSN article reported that a 41-year-old Portuguese health worker died two days after getting the Pfizer vaccine, but then removed the article. Learn more about this death in this article. A Florida doctor also died after receiving the vaccine. This CDC report states "December 14–23, 2020, monitoring â€¦ detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine." For more, explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
As a child, Suzanne Simard often roamed Canada's old-growth forests. Simard noticed that up to 10 percent of newly planted Douglas fir were likely to get sick and die whenever nearby aspen, paper birch and cottonwood were removed. The reasons were unclear. The planted saplings had plenty of space, and they received more light and water than trees in old, dense forests. So why were they so frail? Simard suspected that the answer was buried in the soil. Underground, trees and fungi form partnerships known as mycorrhizas: Threadlike fungi envelop and fuse with tree roots, helping them extract water and nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen in exchange for some of the carbon-rich sugars the trees make through photosynthesis. Research had demonstrated that mycorrhizas also connected plants to one another and that these associations might be ecologically important. By analyzing the DNA in root tips and tracing the movement of molecules through underground conduits, Simard has discovered that fungal threads link nearly every tree in a forest – even trees of different species. Carbon, water, nutrients, alarm signals and hormones can pass from tree to tree through these subterranean circuits. Before Simard and other ecologists revealed the extent and significance of mycorrhizal networks, foresters typically regarded trees as solitary individuals that competed for space and resources. This framework is far too simplistic. An old-growth forest is ... a vast, ancient and intricate society.
Note: If you are interested in cutting edge work on tree and plant consciousness, this long article is worth reading in full. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
More than half of the money from the Treasury Department's coronavirus emergency fund for small businesses went to just 5 percent of the recipients, according to data on more than 5 million loans that was released by the government Tuesday evening in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit. According to data on the government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), about 600 mostly larger companies, including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program of $10 million. The new data shows more than half of the $522 billion ... went to bigger businesses, and only 28 percent of the money was distributed in amounts less than $150,000. Liz Hempowicz, director of public policy for the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, said the new data shows how the Trump administration chose to focus its coronavirus relief efforts on helping wealthy organizations at the expense of truly small firms. "The data shows that this program primarily benefited the well-banked and well-lawyered at the expense of the small businesses it was supposed to benefit," Hempowicz said. The newly released data comes after a federal lawsuit filed by The Washington Post and 10 other news organizations under the Freedom of Information Act challenging the SBA's refusal to release records on borrowers and loan amounts. A federal judge ordered the release of the data by Tuesday and the agency did not appeal.
An art exhibit is now open at the Beverly Center titled, "Heirs to the Throne." Among the well-known artists is newcomer Tyler Gordon who's blowing up social media with his recent works. "I just really love art, and I've always wanted to do art my whole life," said Tyler, 14. But it wasn't until he turned 10 that Tyler started painting. "He wakes me up at 3 in the morning, telling me he had a dream that God told him he could paint and he's going to be a painter," said Tyler's mom, Nicole. "And I told him, 'Go back to bed.'" His mom Nicole Kindle, an artist herself, gave him the supplies he needed, essentially launching his career as a portrait artist. His recent portrait of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris went viral just before Thanksgiving, with more than 1.5 million views. That led to a call from Harris herself, commending his work. "She broke through tons of barriers herself," Tyler explained. "And me myself, I broke through tons of barriers, with my stutter, me being deaf until I was 6, and me being in a wheelchair for 2 years." Tyler was also inspired to paint President-Elect Joe Biden. "He also stutters as well, and even though he stutters, he's still not afraid to do public speeches and use his voice," Tyler said. "So I feel like he really inspires me." Tyler showed NBCLA some of the works on display in his exhibit, including portraits of Brionna Taylor and George Floyd. "I painted him to let him and the world know that he would not be forgotten," said Tyler.
Like many weddings this year, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis' nuptials didn't go as planned. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the couple decided to get married at City Hall in Chicago instead of having a big ceremony. And instead of taking the deposits for their reception back, they decided to repurpose them. The couple put their $5,000 worth of reception food to a good use on Thanksgiving, according to a local charity. Bugg and Lewis donated the 200 meals to Thresholds, an organization that provides services and resources for people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois. Thresholds usually holds a communal Thanksgiving dinner for clients, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Instead, Bugg and Lewis' wedding caterer, Big Delicious Planet, put the couple's $5,000 deposit to use to prepare special Thanksgiving meals for delivery. The caterers worked alongside Threshold staff members to box individual meals, which where then delivered to the client's homes. Big Delicious Planet cooked turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and other Thanksgiving staples. "Canceling a big wedding isn't the worst thing that could happen," Bugg said. "We're happy to be married, and we're so happy that we could help Thresholds' clients ... as a result of the wedding cancellation." Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug said the couple's donation is "an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many."
The coronavirus was present in the U.S. weeks earlier than scientists and public health officials previously thought, and before cases in China were publicly identified, according to a new government study published Monday. The virus and the illness that it causes, COVID-19, were first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, but it wasn't until about Jan. 20 that the first confirmed COVID-19 case, from a traveler returning from China, was found in the U.S. However, new findings published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases suggest that the coronavirus, known officially as SARS-CoV-2, had infected people in the U.S. even earlier. "SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been present in the U.S. in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized," the authors said. This discovery adds to evidence that the virus was quietly spreading around the world before health officials and the public were aware. It also shows the virus's presence in U.S. communities likely didn't start with the first case identified case in January. Researchers came to this conclusion after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed blood donations collected by the American Red Cross. They found evidence of coronavirus antibodies in 106 out of 7,389 blood donations. The CDC analyzed the blood collected between Dec. 13 and Jan. 17. The presence of antibodies in a person's blood means they were exposed to a virus, in this case the coronavirus.
Note: Explore a revealing article questioning the origin and causes of the coronavirus. Explore serious research suggesting that the influenza pandemic of 1918-19 was not what you think. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three federal criminal charges related to the company's role in creating the nation's opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma board chairman Steve Miller pleaded guilty on behalf of the company during a virtual federal court hearing in front of US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo. The counts include one of dual-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute. The plea deal announced in October includes the largest penalties ever levied against a pharmaceutical manufacturer, including a criminal fine of $3.544 billion and an additional $2 billion in criminal forfeiture, according to a Department of Justice press release. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2018, just one year of the opioid crisis, and about 70% of those deaths were caused by prescription or illicit opioids like OxyContin. Several civil lawsuits against Purdue Pharma related to the opioid crisis are still ongoing as the company undergoes bankruptcy proceedings. The Plaintiffs' Executive Committee in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation Multi-District Litigation called Purdue Pharma's guilty plea "long overdue." "Their illegal and profit-seeking actions were egregious. It is important to note, however, that they are just one company in one part of the larger opioid supply chain," [the plaintiffs'] attorneys ... said.
Note: The company pays huge fines for the deaths of countless thousands, yet the CEO and others responsible face no legal charges. Where is the deterrent for this egregious behavior? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Hundreds of homes in Scotland will soon become the first in the world to use 100% green hydrogen to heat their properties and cook their meals as part of a new trial that could help households across the country replace fossil fuel gas. Some 300 homes in Fife will be fitted with free hydrogen boilers, heaters and cooking appliances to be used for more than four years in the largest test of whether zero carbon hydrogen, made using renewable energy and water, could help meet Britain's climate goals. They will begin to receive green gas from the end of 2022, at no extra charge, and up to 1,000 homes could be included if the first phase of the trial is completed successfully. Green hydrogen is a central part of the government's plan to wean Britain off fossil fuels because it can be used in the same ways as fossil fuel gas but produces no carbon emissions. This is particularly important for central heating, which makes up almost a third of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions because 85% of homes use a gas boiler. Antony Green, the head of National Grid's hydrogen project, said: "If we truly want to reach a net zero decarbonised future, we need to replace methane with green alternatives like hydrogen."
Eriko Kobayashi has tried to kill herself four times. The first time, she was just 22 years old with a full-time job in publishing that didn't pay enough to cover her rent and grocery bills in Tokyo. "I was really poor," said Kobayashi, who spent three days unconscious in hospital after the incident. Now 43, Kobayashi has written books on her mental health struggles and has a steady job at an NGO. But the coronavirus is bringing back the stress she used to feel. "My salary was cut, and I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel," she said. "I constantly feel a sense of crisis that I might fall back into poverty." Experts have warned that the pandemic could lead to a mental health crisis. Mass unemployment, social isolation, and anxiety are taking their toll on people globally. In Japan, government statistics show suicide claimed more lives in October than Covid-19 has over the entire year to date. The monthly number of Japanese suicides rose to 2,153 in October. As of Friday, Japan's total Covid-19 toll was 2,087, the health ministry said. Japan is one of the few major economies to disclose timely suicide data -- the most recent national data for the US, for example, is from 2018. The Japanese data could give other countries insights into the impact of pandemic measures on mental health. For the 10 years leading up to 2019, the number of suicides had been decreasing in Japan. The pandemic appears to have reversed that trend.
Note: A CDC survey in the U.S. found that one in four teenagers had "seriously considered" suicide in the past 30 days. So which is more damaging, the virus itself or the results of the lockdown policies instituted because of it? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.
One of the world's largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest. Hailed as "the Sistine Chapel of the ancients", archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia. Their date is based partly on their depictions of now-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn't roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses. These animals were all seen and painted by some of the very first humans ever to reach the Amazon. Their pictures give a glimpse into a lost, ancient civilisation. Such is the sheer scale of paintings that they will take generations to study. The discovery was made by a British-Colombian team, funded by the European Research Council. Its leader is JosĂ© Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University and a leading expert on the Amazon and pre-Columbian history. He said: "When you're there, your emotions flow â€¦ We're talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It's going to take generations to record them â€¦ Every turn you do, it's a new wall of paintings. "We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you're looking at a horse, for example. It's fascinating."
Palma School, a prep school for boys in Salinas, California, created a partnership with the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) at Soledad State Prison to form a reading group for inmates and high school students - bringing the two groups together to learn and develop greater understanding of one another. But the reading group has developed into much more than an exchange of knowledge and empathy. When one Palma student was struggling to pay the $1,200 monthly tuition after both his parents suffered medical emergencies, the inmates already had a plan to help. "I didn't believe it at first," said English and Theology teacher Jim Michelleti, who created the reading program. "They said, 'We value you guys coming in. We'd like to do something for your school ... can you find us a student on campus who needs some money to attend Palma?" The inmates, who the program calls "brothers in blue," raised more than $30,000 from inside the prison to create a scholarship for student Sy Green - helping him graduate this year and attend college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. "Regardless of the poor choices that people make, most people want to take part in something good," said Jason Bryant, a former inmate who was instrumental in launching the scholarship. "Guys were eager to do it." Considering that minimum wage in prison can be as low as 8 cents an hour, raising $30,000 is an astonishing feat. It can take a full day of hard labor to make a dollar inside prison.
Note: For mind-blowing and heart-opening documentaries on prison programs which are transforming the decrepit, damaging culture of prisons, see the moving seven-minute video "Step Inside the Circle" and the profoundly inspiring one hour 40 minute documentary "The Work." Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The actual number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached nearly 53 million at the end of September and could be approaching 100 million now, according to a model developed by government researchers. The model, created by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calculated that the true number of infections is about eight times the reported number, which includes only the cases confirmed by a laboratory test. Preliminary estimates using the model found that by the end of September, 52.9 million people had been infected, while the number of laboratory-confirmed infections was just 6.9 million, the team reported in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. "This indicates that approximately 84% of the U.S. population has not yet been infected and thus most of the country remains at risk," the authors wrote. Since then, the CDC's tally of confirmed infections has increased to 12.5 million. So if the model's ratio still holds, the estimated total would now be greater than 95 million, leaving about 71% of the population uninfected. The model attempts to account for the fact that most cases of COVID-19 are mild or asymptomatic and go unreported. Scientists used studies looking for people who have antibodies to the coronavirus in their blood – an indication that they were infected at some time – to estimate how many infections went undetected. Some of these antibody studies have suggested that only about one in 10 coronavirus infections is reported.
Note: If this is true, it means the number of deaths compared to number of cases is much lower than has been estimated. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Few world leaders talk about morals and ethics as much as Mexican President AndrÄ‚©s Manuel LÄ‚Ĺ‚pez Obrador. On Thursday he presented an "Ethical Guide for the Transformation of Mexico." LÄ‚Ĺ‚pez Obrador took office two years ago pledging government austerity and an end to corruption. Much like the president himself, the text presented Thursday is socially conservative, and is definitely not a traditional leftist tract. It calls the family "the basic building block of society." The 20-point pamphlet is a compendium of vaguely social-democratic pontifications on work, fairness, forgiveness, justice and responsibility. It marks quite a divergence for Mexico's once rigidly anti-clerical government, which was long loathe to even talk about morality. But LÄ‚Ĺ‚pez Obrador often uses vaguely religious language and calls himself a Christian "in the broadest sense of the term." He has long said he wants a "moral constitution" and a "loving republic" for Mexico. The government aims to print and distribute 10 million copies for free. "Inequality in any area is the product of injustice and creates suffering," the pamphlet says. "Like power, work gains its full meaning when it is done for others." "It is not a crime to accumulate and increase material wealth," reads another section. "Whoever earns a reasonable profit, using their creativity and taking risks to create jobs, that person will be recognized by society as a responsible businessperson with social sense."
Note: Read an English translation of Mexico's inspiring new "Ethical Guide for the Transformation of Mexico." Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The announcement this week that a cheap, easy-to-make coronavirus vaccine appeared to be up to 90 percent effective was greeted with jubilation. But since unveiling the preliminary results, AstraZeneca has acknowledged a key mistake in the vaccine dosage received by some study participants, adding to questions about whether the vaccine's apparently spectacular efficacy will hold up under additional testing. Scientists and industry experts said the error and a series of other irregularities and omissions in the way AstraZeneca initially disclosed the data have eroded their confidence in the reliability of the results. The regimen that appeared to be 90 percent effective was based on participants receiving a half dose of the vaccine followed a month later by a full dose; the less effective version involved a pair of full doses. AstraZeneca disclosed in its initial announcement that fewer than 2,800 participants received the smaller dosing regimen, compared with nearly 8,900 participants who received two full doses. Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. initiative to fast-track coronavirus vaccines, noted another limitation in AstraZeneca's data. On a call with reporters, he suggested that the participants who received the half-strength initial dose had been 55 years old or younger. The fact that the initial half-strength dose wasn't tested in older participants, who are especially vulnerable to Covid-19, could undermine AstraZeneca's case to regulators that the vaccine should be authorized for emergency use.
Note: Learn in this revealing article how vaccine trials are rigged. This article spells out how vaccine makers are above the law and face no consequences for damage from vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from reliable major media sources.
When I called up Chuck Collins on Tuesday afternoon, I found him glued to one of the grimmest new metrics documenting America's economic and social unraveling. Collins is a scholar of inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, and since March he has been tracking how the collective wealth of American billionaires has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In previous recessions, Collins said, billionaires were hit along with the rest of us; it took almost three years for Forbes's 400 richest people to recover losses incurred in 2008's Great Recession. But in the coronavirus recession of 2020, most billionaires have not lost their shirts. Instead, they've put on bejeweled overcoats and gloves made of spun gold – that is, they've gotten richer than ever before. On Tuesday, as the stock market soared to a record, Collins was watching the billionaires cross a depressing threshold: $1 trillion. That is the amount of new wealth American billionaires have amassed since March, at the start of the devastating lockdowns that state and local governments imposed to curb the pandemic. On March 18, according to a report Collins and his colleagues published last week, America's 614 billionaires were worth a combined $2.95 trillion. When the markets closed on Tuesday, there were 650 billionaires and their combined wealth was now close to $4 trillion. In the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, American billionaires' wealth grew by a third.
More Americans are going hungry now than at any point during the deadly coronavirus pandemic, according to a Post analysis of new federal data – a problem created by an economic downturn that has tightened its grip on millions of Americans and compounded by government relief programs that expired or will terminate at the end of the year. Experts say it is likely that there's more hunger in the United States today than at any point since 1998, when the Census Bureau began collecting comparable data about households' ability to get enough food. One in 8 Americans reported they sometimes or often didn't have enough food to eat in the past week, hitting nearly 26 million American adults, an increase several times greater than the most comparable pre-pandemic figure. That number climbed to more than 1 in 6 adults in households with children. Nowhere has there been a hunger surge worse than in Houston, with a metro-area population of 7 million people. More than 1 in 5 adults in Houston reported going hungry recently, including 3 in 10 adults in households with children. The growth in hunger rates has hit Hispanic and Black households harder than White ones, a devastating consequence of a weak economy that has left so many people trying to secure food even during dangerous conditions. Yet the hunger crisis seems to have escaped widespread notice in a nation where millions of households have weathered the pandemic relatively untouched.
Note: Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reported on Jan. 1, 2021, "billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Youtube recently banned a video. In the video, Dr. Michael Yeadon said half or even almost all of the tests for COVID are false positives. Youtube banned the video within hours. Perhaps what irked the Big Tech was Yeadon's assertion that the panic over the second or third wave of coronavirus may be unfounded. Yeadon, who had worked as Chief Science Officer for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for 16 years, went on to say that "this pandemic is fundamentally over." Yeadon argues, citing principles of epidemiology, that a "second wave" of COVID is entirely manufactured. Citing the experience with other recent virus outbreaks - the SARS virus in 2003, and MERS in 2012 - he says that the idea of subsequent waves itself is wrong. Instead, what appears like subsequent waves is actually a single wave occurring in different geographical regions at different points in time. "It is actually multiple single waves affecting geographically distinct populations at different times as the disease spreads. Analyzed individually, each area followed a typical single event," he says about MERS. He gave another blow to the establishment, saying that lockdown did not actually help curb the virus spread. Yeadon cites the now-famous example of Sweden. Covid-19 doomsday preacher Neil Fergusson had said Sweden would see 40,000 deaths by May and 100,000 in later months as it did not lock up people in grids. Yet, Sweden's coronavirus toll is 6,000 as of now.
President-elect Joe Biden's first picks for senior national security posts – Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence – served in the Obama administration and are now being hailed as the sort of steady hands that America needs. But that's not the good news it seems to be. The costs of normalcy have been grave. "It's worth keeping in mind that the global war on terror has killed more than 7,000 U.S. servicemembers – more than twice the number of people killed by the 9/11 attacks – and more than 800,000 lives worldwide," said Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA's director of Security With Human Rights. "It's also cost the U.S. more than $6.4 trillion." Biden's presidential team of national security advisers is loaded with leading members of the Beltway foreign policy establishment unaffectionately known as "the Blob." It's a well-worn group of advisers who backed or waged the disastrous wars of the last two decades. At first glance, Biden's national security blueprint might look like a departure, even a repudiation, of the Obama template. "Biden will end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East," reads the plan for "Leading the Democratic World" at JoeBiden.com. But Biden's plan isn't actually what it seems. The fine print reads: "Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The coronavirus might be new, but nature long ago gave humans the tools to recognize it, at least on a microscopic scale: antibodies, Y-shaped immune proteins that can latch onto pathogens and block them from infiltrating cells. Millions of years of evolution have honed these proteins into the disease-fighting weapons they are today. But in a span of just months, a combination of human and machine intelligence may have beaten Mother Nature at her own game. Using computational tools, a team of researchers at the University of Washington designed and built from scratch a molecule that, when pitted against the coronavirus in the lab, can attack and sequester it at least as well as an antibody does. This molecule, called a mini-binder for its ability to glom onto the coronavirus, is petite and stable enough to be shipped en masse in a freeze-dried state. Bacteria can also be engineered to churn out these mini-binders, potentially making them not only effective but also cheap and convenient. Eventually, healthy people might be able to self-administer the mini-binders as a nasal spray, and potentially keep any inbound coronavirus particles at bay. Mini-binders are not antibodies, but they thwart the virus in broadly similar ways. The coronavirus enters a cell using a kind of lock-and-key interaction, fitting a protein called a spike – the key – into a molecular lock called ACE-2, which adorns the outsides of certain human cells. Antibodies made by the human immune system can interfere with this process.
North of the border, the .50-caliber sniper rifle is the stuff of YouTube celebrity. It is among the most destructive weapons legally available in the United States. But every week, those rifles are trafficked across the border to Mexico. After years of failed U.S. and Mexican efforts to curb arms trafficking, groups such as the Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels are showcasing the military-grade weapons in slick propaganda videos and using them to defeat security forces in battle. Roughly 2.5 million illicit American guns have poured across the border in the past decade, according to a new Mexican government study. The cartels are using trafficked weapons to kill record numbers of police officers – 464 in the first nine months of 2020 alone – and smaller armed groups are fueling historically high homicide rates. Mexican officials, in rare public criticism, are now venting their frustration at what they say is the U.S. failure to stop the flow of .50-caliber rifles. At a time when the United States is pushing Mexico to target cartels more aggressively, U.S. laws that make .50-calibers and other destructive weapons easy to buy ... are enabling those groups to expand their influence and activities in the country. A decade after "Operation Fast and Furious," in which U.S. agents allowed thousands of firearms to flow south in a botched attempt to track them, and despite $3 billion in U.S. aid to Mexico to fight narco-traffickers, the two countries have not curbed the flow of weapons.
Note: American officials allowed thousands of illegal guns to be trafficked into Mexico during Operation Fast and Furious. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
When Elon Musk gave the world a demo in August of his latest endeavor, the brain-computer interface (BCI) Neuralink, he reminded us that the lines between brain and machine are blurring quickly. It bears remembering, however, that Neuralink is, at its core, a computer – and as with all computing advancements in human history, the more complex and smart computers become, the more attractive targets they become for hackers. Our brains hold information computers don't have. A brain linked to a computer/AI such as a BCI removes that barrier to the brain, potentially allowing hackers to rush in and cause problems we can't even fathom today. Might hacking humans via BCI be the next major evolution in hacking, carried out through a dangerous combination of past hacking methods? Previous eras were defined by obstacles between hackers and their targets. However, what happens when that disconnect between humans and tech is blurred? When they're essentially one and the same? Should a computing device literally connected to the brain, as Neuralink is, become hacked, the consequences could be catastrophic, giving hackers ultimate control over someone. If Neuralink penetrates deep into the human brain with high fidelity, what might hacking a human look like? Following traditional patterns, hackers would likely target individuals with high net worths and perhaps attempt to manipulate them into wiring millions of dollars to a hacker's offshore bank account.
Note: For more on this, see an article in the UK's Independent titled "Groundbreaking new material 'could allow artificial intelligence to merge with the human brain'." Meanwhile, the military is talking about "human-machine symbiosis." And Yale professor Charles Morgan describes in a military presentation how hypodermic needles can be used to alter a person's memory and much more in this two-minute video. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on microchip implants from reliable major media sources.
In 2019, Oslo, Norway recorded zero pedestrian or cyclist deaths. There was only a single traffic fatality, which involved someone driving into a fence. (For comparison, preliminary figures in London show 73 pedestrian and six cyclist fatalities in 2019; New York recorded 218 total traffic fatalities, including 121 pedestrian and 28 cyclist deaths.) Oslo's achievement means that it is just one step away from "Vision Zero", an undertaking to eliminate all deaths on public roads. The foundation for reaching Vision Zero is to significantly reduce the number of cars on the road. Oslo officials have removed more than a thousand street-side central parking spots, encouraging people to lean on an affordable and flexible public transport network, and added more bike lanes and footpaths. Significant areas are closed off to cars entirely, including "heart zones" around primary schools. "The wish to pedestrianise the city isn't a new policy, but it has accelerated now," Rune GjĂ¸s, a director at Oslo's Department of Mobility, says. "The city centre is now a thriving area and all the top-brand shops want to establish themselves on the car-free streets," GjĂ¸s says. "This shows that consumers find these streets attractive, and they're leaving as much money behind as if they were coming by car." Demand for residential real estate has also increased, thanks to lower levels of traffic and pollution.
Note: This Guardian article shows that FInland's capital of Helsinki also reached zero pedestrian deaths. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Growing rapidly within the socially responsible investing landscape is the world of so-called impact investing, which deploys your money more directly toward solving societal problems. Largely executed through direct investing platforms, this approach addresses specific problems, such as alleviating poverty in certain communities or reducing pollution. These investments are designed to generate specific, positive and measurable environmental, social and/or good governance outcomes, oftentimes with market-rate financial returns, said Michael Kramer, managing partner of Natural Investments in Kona, Hawaii. Furthermore, outcomes can have a local or a societal focus. "It's very solution focused, very proactive – often investing in innovations, and supporting social entrepreneurs and socially focused start-ups," he said. Retail investors do have some opportunities to participate in impact investing, along with their accredited counterparts. Two of the most accessible, according to Kramer, are direct debt – i.e., investing in certificates of deposit and other loan instruments sponsored by socially focused lending institutions, such as community development financial institutions (privately owned banks that invest in struggling communities) – and peer-to-peer micro-lending platforms such as Kiva, which enable individuals to invest directly in small businesses worldwide. Another option for the retail market is to use Calvert Impact Capital's Community Investment Notes instead of traditional CDs.
Linda Tutt High School in Sanger opened up a grocery store inside the school. It's meant to help put extra food on the table for students and their families. But the store doesn't accept money, just good deeds. "How often can a school say they have a grocery store inside their walls?" said principal Anthony Love. With the help of local partners like Texas Health, Albertsons and First Refuge Ministries, the school was able to complete the grocery store in an extra room. Students can shop using a point system. "A lot of our students, they come from low socioeconomic families." Love said. "It's a way for students to earn the ability to shop for their families. Through hard work you can earn points for positive office referrals. You can earn points for doing chores around the building or helping to clean." Paul Juarez, the Executive Director of First Refuge Ministries said he hopes the idea is implemented in other rural areas. "These points were actually given by the students, so we walked through here and decided that a can of green beans was one point," said Juarez. "It gives us a picture of what can be. So if we can do this inside other schools it will do a whole lot to help other small towns." Students will learn about having sales when they have too much product, and of course, what to expect in their own first jobs. The store will also hold food drives weekly for the community and act as a supplement to other food insecurity programs in the area.
By the time Officer Joseph Ferrigno shot a Black man from behind, court records show, the Rochester cop had drawn at least 23 misconduct complaints in nearly nine years on the force. Through it all, the Rochester Police Department and the Locust Club, the local police union, stood by Ferrigno. Then came April 1, 2016, when Ferrigno ... spotted a Chevrolet Impala. He saw two Black men inside. Ferrigno drew his Glock handgun. Silvon Simmons, the passenger in the Impala ... heard no warning. Simmons stepped from the Impala and ... ran toward the back door of the house where he lived. Ferrigno fired four shots, hitting Simmons three times. Before leaving the scene, Ferrigno asked for two things: a lawyer and a union rep. The officer, who told detectives he "was shaking and still in a state of shock," was driven to the station and later sent home. Simmons, stripped naked by paramedics treating his wounds, was handcuffed and loaded into an ambulance. Although Simmons was the one who took three bullets, Ferrigno is listed as the victim in at least 65 police reports. Police said they had been searching for a man wanted for threatening a woman with a gun. Ferrigno had been shot at and returned fire, striking his alleged assailant three times, the reports said. When [Judge Melchor] Castro came to his hospital room in 2016 to explain the charges ... Simmons was incredulous. "What in the world are you talking about?" Simmons recalled telling the judge. "I'm the one who got shot."
Companies are launching unprecedented numbers of rockets to put global Wi-Fi and 5G satellites into the sky. 100,000+ satellites, plus drones and balloons, are planned. Industry and government have done little research, claiming the "big sky" can absorb any problems. And the FCC exempts these satellite networks from environmental review. The sun turns oxygen into ozone in the stratosphere, creating the ozone shield which protects the Earth. But rocket exhaust, alumina, water vapor, and black carbon accumulate in the stratosphere and block the sun's rays, reducing ozone creation. In 2018, Martin Ross, senior project engineer at The Aerospace Corporation, estimated rockets' black carbon and alumina was 11,000 tons per year. These new mega-constellations require 1000s of additional rocket launches. Severe ozone loss is possible. 253 scientists signed the 2015 International EMF Scientist Appeal, warning the UN and member states of the damage already occurring. Extensive research shows many impacts from this radiation including: increased tumor, cancer, and stroke risk, oxidative stress, increase in free radicals, DNA, neurological, immune, and dermatological damage, heart rhythm disorders ... cognitive problems, headaches, nausea, and links to Alzheimer's and ADHD. Wildlife, bees, birds, trees, and plants are also harmed. 5G millimeter RF is highly absorbed by the skin's sweat ducts and the cornea of the eye, and could additionally impact cardiac function.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks of wireless technologies from reliable major media sources.
The Boy Scouts of America will be facing at least 92,700 claims of sexual abuse as former scouts submit filings against the bankruptcy-bound organization, said one of the lead attorneys for the legal team representing the claimants. Sex abuse in the BSA was an "unspoken norm," according to Van Arsdale, one of the lead attorneys who says he has communicated with thousands of alleged survivors over the past 19 months. "Based on what we are hearing from survivors, sexual abuse was a rite of passage in troops across the country, similar to other tasks where children had to ... perform certain duties to earn their coveted merit badges," he said. The cases against the Boy Scouts are no normal court proceeding. The organization filed for bankruptcy in February as hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits were filed across the country -- some of which alleged repeated fondling, exposure to pornography and forced anal or oral sex. Alleged survivors will now have to pursue their claims in bankruptcy court rather than via civil proceedings, Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based attorney representing hundreds of alleged victims, told CNN. "Their lives won't be scrutinized, but they lose their right to a jury trial. For a lot of abuse survivors, telling their story in a court of law and forcing the organizations to defend their actions can be cathartic. That won't happen with a bankruptcy," he said. Pfau estimated ... that the number of claims would surpass those targeting the Catholic Church.
Note: Doctors at the University of California and USC have also been accused of sexual abuse by hundreds of patients. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon failed its comprehensive audit in fiscal 2020, the third year it has failed since the first audit was conducted in 2018, reflecting system and accounting problems across its vast bureaucracy that could persist until 2027, the department's comptroller said. "The process of getting to a clean opinion for federal agencies, it can take a long time," said Thomas Harker, who is also undersecretary of defense and chief financial officer. After the first audit of the Pentagon's nearly $3 trillion worth of assets in fiscal 2018, then-Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said the department received an opinion of "disclaimer," a term used by auditors for findings that do not meet accounting standards. Harker said the Department of Homeland Security took a decade to pass a comprehensive audit, and the Pentagon could take just as long, making the possible date for its first clean audit somewhere around 2027. Coronavirus-related travel restrictions hampered the auditing process this year as auditors had to resort to video feeds or photographs to execute due diligence, Harker said. Around 1,400 auditors tested the systems and record-keeping processes on weapons systems, military personnel and property around the world in 100 site visits, 530 virtual visits and samples. The process resulted in 24 standalone audits, comprising the overall audit. Fees for the audit were $203 million this year.
Note: Every business in the U.S. is required to account for every dollar in their budget, yet the Pentagon cannot account for trillions of dollars in violation of the US Constitution Article I Section 9 Clause 7. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Each weekend, while New York City's East Village packs into sidewalk tables for brunch, activist Carmen Trotta leads a vigil for ending the U.S.-backed war in Yemen in Tompkins Square Park. He only has a few more Saturday mornings before he must report to federal prison, along with fellow activists from Plowshares, the anti-nuclear, Christian pacifist movement. Trotta, Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, and Patrick O'Neill are due to report to prison within the next few months for activism against a suspected nuclear weapons depot. Trotta and Hennessy ... peacefully broke into the naval base in Brunswick, Georgia – risking their own lives to protest the suspected nuclear arsenal housed within. Armed only with vials of their own blood, hammers, GoPro cameras, spray paint, protest banners, and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg's book, the activists symbolically attempted to disarm the nuclear weapons located on the Trident submarines at the base. All but one of the activists have quietly been sentenced in their faith-based battle with the U.S. government. The activists were charged with three felonies – conspiracy, destruction of government property, depredation – and misdemeanor trespassing. The sentencing – sending aging activists to federal prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic – fits squarely within the long history of the U.S. government throwing the book at people of conscience who dare to dissent. Trotta got 14 months, Grady was given 12 months and one day, and Hennessy was sentenced to 10 months.
A great deal of conflicting information has emerged about the immune response that develops in patients who have recovered from Covid-19. The good news is that we are unlikely to be reinfected with Sars-Cov-2 repeatedly until it eventually wipes us all out. Most of the evidence ... shows that the immune response to this is quite typical for an acute viral infection. Initially, the body ramps up high levels of IgG antibodies, but after the infection is cleared, those antibodies drop to a baseline level, which may be below the limit of detection of some serological tests. Most people who recover from Covid-19 have detectable neutralising antibodies months after infection. This suggests that Sars-Cov-2 infection does produce an immune response that is protective, at least for several months. Furthermore, antibodies are not the only important part of the immune system. T-cells are also a key component to the immune response. They come in two flavours: helper T-cells, which coordinate immune responses and facilitate immunological memory, and killer T-cells, which kill infected cells. Previous studies have shown that Sars-Cov-2 infection induces robust T-cell responses. Interestingly, some people who have never had Covid-19 have memory T-cells from prior common-cold coronavirus infections that cross-react with Sars-Cov-2, suggesting that there may be some existing protection in the population. T-cells alone are unlikely to provide complete immune protection, but they are a key contributor to immune memory.
Note: The author of this article, Angela Rasmussen, is a virologist and affiliate of the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Americans took to the streets for extended demonstrations this summer to protest police violence and racial injustice. Then, on Election Day, they took to the voting booth to endorse criminal justice and policing changes. With a wave of votes across the country, Americans backed a string of measures increasing police oversight, elected reform-minded prosecutors, loosened drug laws and passed other proposals rethinking key elements of law enforcement and justice in their communities. These votes, taken together, signal that after a summer of protest brought renewed scrutiny to the justice system, many Americans were open to rethinking how it functions. Voters in Oakland, Calif., moved to create an inspector general's office outside the police force to review officer misconduct. In Columbus, Ohio, voters passed an amendment creating a civilian police review board and an inspector general. San Diegans supported replacing a police review board with a commission that would have subpoena power and the authority to investigate police misconduct. These votes were not exclusively in big cities. In Kyle, Tex., outside Austin, voters overwhelmingly passed a proposition requiring police policies to be reviewed by the city council and put under a committee's oversight. Voters in several places supported loosening drug laws. Oregon voters backed a ballot measure decriminalizing small amounts of drugs including cocaine and heroin. New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota ... legalized recreational marijuana.
Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency - a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. The UK's pandemic response provides at least four examples of suppression of science or scientists. First, the membership, research, and deliberations of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) were initially secret until a press leak forced transparency. The leak revealed inappropriate involvement of government advisers in SAGE. Next, a Public Health England report on covid-19 and inequalities ... was delayed by England's Department of Health. Third, on 15 October, the editor of the Lancet complained that an author of a research paper, a UK government scientist, was blocked by the government from speaking to media because of a "difficult political landscape." Now, a new example concerns the controversy over point-of-care antibody testing for covid-19. Research published this week by The BMJ ... finds that the government procured an antibody test that in real world tests falls well short of performance claims made by its manufacturers. Researchers from Public Health England and collaborating institutions sensibly pushed to publish their study findings before the government committed to buying a million of these tests but were blocked by the health department and the prime minister's office.
Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency. Research published this week by The BMJ ... finds that the government procured an antibody test that in real world tests falls well short of performance claims made by its manufacturers. Researchers from Public Health England and collaborating institutions sensibly pushed to publish their study findings before the government committed to buying a million of these tests but were blocked by the health department and the prime minister's office. Public Health England then unsuccessfully attempted to block The BMJ's press release about the research paper. In the US, President Trump's government manipulated the Food and Drug Administration to hastily approve unproved drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir. Globally, people, policies, and procurement are being corrupted by political and commercial agendas. The UK's pandemic response relies too heavily on scientists and other government appointees with worrying competing interests, including shareholdings in companies that manufacture covid-19 diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines. Government appointees are able to ignore or cherry pick science ... and indulge in anti-competitive practices that favour their own products and those of friends and associates.
Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its Covid-19 vaccine by the end of November. The vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart. The shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects – including sore arms, muscle aches and fever – that could last days and temporarily sideline some people from work or school. And even if a vaccine proves 90 percent effective ... 1 in 10 recipients would still be vulnerable. That means, at least in the short term, as population-level immunity grows, people can't stop social distancing and throw away their masks. Left out so far ... has been a large-scale plan to communicate effectively about those issues in advance, said Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health. Such broad-based outreach will be necessary in a country where, as of mid-October, only half of Americans said they'd be willing to get a Covid-19 vaccine. "We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt," said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt. "There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two." Persuading people who experience those symptoms to return in three to four weeks for a second dose – and a second round of flu-like symptoms – could be a tough sell, Schaffner said. A professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at University of Iowa [suggested] that essential workers should be granted three days of paid leave after they're vaccinated.
Important Note: Learn about the serious dangers of these mRNA vaccines through the vitally important information given by Christiane Northrup, MD, in the first five minutes of this revealing video. Dr. Northrup's work has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Oprah, Dr. Oz, and more. And an informative article in the UK's Independent by another medical doctor states, "There are unique and unknown risks to messenger RNA vaccines, including the possibility that they ... could lead to inflammation and autoimmune conditions."
The chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, sold $5.6 million worth of stock in the pharmaceutical company on Monday. The sale took place on the same day Pfizer announced that its experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective. Bourla's sale of Pfizer stock was part of a trading plan set months in advance. Known as 10b5-1 plans, they essentially put stock trades on autopilot. Executives are supposed to adopt these plans only when they are not in possession of inside information that can affect a company's stock price. On Aug. 19, Bourla implemented his stock-trading plan. The next day, Aug. 20, Pfizer issued a press release ... confirming that Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, were "on track to seek regulatory review" for its vaccine candidate. Daniel Taylor, an expert in insider trading ... told NPR that the close timing between the adoption of Bourla's stock plan and the press release looked "very suspicious." "It's wholly inappropriate for executives at pharmaceutical companies to be implementing or modifying 10b5-1 plans the business day before they announce data or results from drug trials," Taylor said. The stock sales by Pfizer's CEO brought to mind similar concerns with another coronavirus vaccine-maker, Moderna. Multiple executives at Moderna adopted or modified their stock-trading plans just before key announcements about the company's vaccine. Those executives have sold tens of millions of dollars in Moderna stock.
While I was in anesthesia residency at the University of Southern California Hospital's Department of Anesthesiology from 2006 to 2009, I learned how to put people under for surgery using an anesthetic called ketamine. Afterwards, as I began work as an anesthesiologist at a hospital, I began hearing interesting things about the anesthetic. Researchers had begun testing it as a treatment for mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD – and with encouraging results. It also has psychedelic properties, so people can gain insight into their lives and even have mystical experiences on it. One study found that it reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients with severe depression, both immediately after it was administered and as well as a month down the line. Another found that it even provided relief from chronic pain that lasted for up to two weeks after treatment. In 2014, inspired by findings like these and conversations with psychiatrists who were beginning to incorporate ketamine into their practices, I founded the Ketamine Healing Clinic of Los Angeles. Over time, I've seen people undergo big changes in their lives because of their work with ketamine, including a few who left abusive relationships, grew their businesses, or pursued totally new ventures. Overall ... people typically come out of their infusions with a newfound will to live and increased clarity about their future. Some patients who came in with suicidal thoughts no longer have them at all.
Special Olympics athlete Chris Nikic crossed the finish line on Saturday to become the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon. Guiness World Records recognized Nikic's achievement after he finished a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-marathon run at the Ironman Florida competition in Panama City Beach. "Ironman. Goal set and achieve," said Nikic in a post to Instagram. "Time to set a new and Bigger Goal for 2021." Nikic completed the race in 16 hours 46 minutes and 9 seconds - 14 minutes under the 17-hour cutoff time. Nikic fell off his bike and was attacked by ants at a nutrition stop, but he pushed on to finish the competition. "We are beyond inspired, and your accomplishment is a defining moment in Ironman history that can never be taken away from you," the Ironman Triathlon organization said. Nikic and his father Nik developed the "1 percent better challenge" to stay motivated during training. The idea is to promote Down syndrome awareness while achieving 1% improvement each day, according to Nikic's website. "To Chris, this race was more than just a finish line and celebration of victory," Nik Nikic said. "Ironman has served as his platform to become one step closer to his goal of living a life of inclusion and leadership." Nikic's accomplishment earned him congratulatory messages from celebrities, such as tennis great Billie Jean King and runner Kara Goucher, and people around the world, including 33,000 new followers on social media
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Nestled on a wide plateau surrounded by the EspinhaĂ§o Mountains in southeastern Brazil is the city of Belo Horizonte. The city of 2.5 million is an industrial and technological hub, which had historically led to stark socioeconomic divisions, including high rates of poverty. But while other similarly situated cities around the globe struggle to meet the basic needs of their residents, Belo Horizonte pioneered a food security system that has effectively eliminated hunger in the city. The entire program requires less than 2% of the city's annual budget. Building off Brazil's grassroots Movement for Ethics in Politics, in 1993 Belo Horizonte enacted a municipal law that established a citizen's right to food. Today, Belo Horizonte's food security system comprises 20 interconnected programs that approach food security in sustainable ways. When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit Brazil in February, Belo Horizonte was well-positioned to address at least one attendant issue of the pandemic: The city already had a substantial infrastructure for distributing fresh, healthy food at low or no-cost to the vast majority of its residents. As Brazil's COVID-19 cases skyrocketed and the need became greater, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals offered financial and distribution support to expand the existing food security network, including increasing the number of open-air markets and restaurants available to distribute food to those in need.
Note: Why hasn't this most inspiring news been reported widely in the major media? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The U.S. can expect increased Covid-19 testing, a national mask policy and the possibility of nationwide lockdowns once President-elect Joe Biden takes office Jan. 20. The Biden-Harris campaign laid out a step-by-step plan for addressing the coronavirus pandemic that includes more testing, increasing use of the Defense Production Act to make protective equipment for frontline workers and restoring the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization. On top of that, Biden says he would establish a U.S. public health jobs corps to "mobilize at least 100,000 Americans across the country" to support contact tracing efforts. Biden has called for national mask requirements, though experts say it's unclear how that would be executed. In an Oct. 23 speech, Biden said he would " go to every governor and urge them to mandate mask wearing in their states." And if that doesn't work, Biden said he would turn to mayors and county executives to institute local mandates. Masks would be required in all federal buildings and interstate transportation systems. Biden would also direct the CDC to provide communities with evidence-based guidance on when to close some business or schools depending on the degree of viral spread. The CDC would be empowered to guide states when to place appropriate restrictions on gathering sizes and when to issue stay-at-home orders.
The government illegally approved a breed of genetically engineered salmon without assessing the harm the fish might cause if they escaped their confines and interbred with other salmon species, a federal judge ruled. The Food and Drug Administration agreed in 2015, under President Barack Obama's administration, to allow AquaBounty Technologies to produce the fish, which is an Atlantic salmon that has been infused with a growth hormone gene from Pacific salmon, also known as chinook, and DNA from a slithery creature known as an eelpout. But U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco said the FDA had failed to consider or study what would happen if the genetically engineered salmon slipped out and reached waters inhabited by other salmon. "They may directly interact with wild salmon, such as by mating or simply by competing for resources," Chhabria said in a ruling on a lawsuit by environmental, consumer and fishing organizations. "Even if this scenario was unlikely, the FDA was still required to assess the consequences," especially since the agency knew AquaBounty's facilities were likely to grow, he said. "Before starting the country down a road that could well lead to commercial production of genetically engineered fish on a large scale, the FDA should have developed a full understanding – and provided a full explanation – of the potential environmental consequences," Chhabria said. The FDA did not say whether it would appeal the ruling.
Oregon on Wednesday became the first state to legalize the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms on an election night that saw more states ease restrictions on recreational drugs across the country. Oregon's Measure 109 will give legal access to psilocybin, the main active ingredient in "magic mushrooms," for mental health treatment in supervised settings. While some cities have moved to legalize and regulate access to the drug, Oregon will become the first state in the country to legalize it on a statewide basis. Supporters of the measure point to the medical benefits of the drug, which has been shown in some studies to benefit trauma survivors. Through Measure 110, which has captured more than 58% of the vote so far, Oregon would also decriminalize the possession of small amounts of some hard drugs, including heroin and LSD. Instead of criminal prosecution, people in possession would face a $100 fine, which can be waived if the person agrees to pursue treatment, according to the measure. Ronan Levy, the cofounder of Field Trip Health, a Toronto-based company that provides psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy, said the ballot wins are "fantastic news" for what he called the psychedelic renaissance. Research is mounting that indicates the benefits of using psychedelic drugs to enhance therapy, Levy said, adding that ... the drug alone isn't necessarily helpful; it needs to be taken under supervision of trained personnel.
Note: Recent studies suggest psilocybin can be used to treat addiction and anxiety. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potential of mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
Norway's ability to preserve the fiscal and physical well-being of its residents during the COVID-19 pandemic is just one small example of a decades-long effort to create an equitable economy. What began as a result of the labor and feminist movements in the 1970s now suffuses most parts of society, including how the country responded to the outbreak. On March 12, Norway began its nationwide lockdown, and by April 7, Parliament had adopted a package that Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, a member of Parliament and the leader of the Center Party, told Norwegian Broadcasting was "the largest [monetary] commitment the parliament has ever made." The roughly $480 million relief package included tax relief for businesses experiencing losses, a reduction in the European Economic Community Value Added Tax, and tax deferrals for self-employed individuals such as freelance writers and artists. The package helped maintain stability in the economy while Norwegians did their part to slow the spread of the virus. Norwegian workers pay a roughly 25% income tax rate. That's on par with what the average American family pays in income tax, but in Norway, those taxes pay for generous social welfare programs for almost all Norwegian residents. Norwegian social welfare encompasses comprehensive unemployment benefits, retirement pay, and health care coverage that covers just about everything, from mental health care to ambulance and emergency services to clinical care for transgender residents.
A train driver in the Netherlands has had a lucky escape thanks to a fortuitously placed art installation. A metro train in Spijkenisse, near the city of Rotterdam, crashed through a barrier at the end of the tracks shortly before midnight on Sunday. But rather than plummeting 10m (32ft) into the water below, the train was left suspended dramatically in the air. It ended up being delicately balanced on the large sculpture of a whale's tail at the De Akkers metro station. "We are trying to decide how we can bring the train down in a careful and controlled manner," one official [said]. The driver, who has not been named, was able to leave the empty train by himself. He was taken to hospital for a check-up and is not believed to have suffered any injuries. The sculpture, titled Whale Tails, is the work of the architect and artist Maarten Struijs, and was erected in the water at the end of the tracks in 2002. Mr Struijs told NOS that he was surprised the structure did not break. "It has been there for almost 20 years and... you actually expect the plastic to pulverise a bit, but that is apparently not the case," he said. "I'll make sure that I get a few photos," he added. "I could never have imagined it that way."
Note: Don't miss the photos of this amazing miracle. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
With less than 24 hours' notice, President Emmanuel Macron announced his plan to plunge the French into a second national lockdown for at least a month. And if everything I hear and read about the UK is to be believed, this country is heading in the same direction. While Boris Johnson will be the person announcing that catastrophic decision, the measures are being dictated by a small group of scientists who, in my view, have repeatedly got things terribly wrong. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has made three incorrect assumptions which have had, and continue to have, disastrous consequences for people's lives and the economy. Firstly, Sage assumes that the vast majority of the population is vulnerable to infection; second, that only 7 per cent of the population has been infected so far; and third, that the virus causing Covid-19 has a mortality rate of about 1 per cent. Multiple research groups in Europe and the US have shown that around 30 per cent of the population was likely already immune to Covid-19 before the virus arrived. Sage has similarly failed to accurately revise down its estimated mortality rate for the virus. Pre-eminent scientists ... have concluded that the mortality rate is closer to 0.2 per cent. That figure means one in 500 people infected die. When applied to the total number of Covid deaths in the UK (around 45,000), this would imply that approximately 22.5million people have been infected. That is 33.5 per cent of our population – not Sage's 7 per cent calculation.
Note: The author of this article, Dr. Mike Yeadon, is a former Vice President and served as Chief Science Officer of the A&R Research Unit of Pfizer for 16 years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced nonessential businesses to temporarily shut down across Southern California, the Los Angeles Times invited readers to send in the names of businesses in their areas that had failed as a result. [#1] The Awesome Playground was in the first wave of Los Angeles businesses to close as a result of the pandemic, shutting its doors in March. Owner Kay Osorio opened the Awesome Playground in Highland Park 10 years ago. But when the coronavirus crisis began making headlines in Southern California, Osorio knew immediately it could have a devastating effect on her business. Unlike other businesses that have been able to pivot to outdoor-only or remote offerings, "we couldn't come up with another way to deliver our service." [#2] Sasha Jones had just one day in late July to clear out Cuties Coffee before its lease was taken over. "I got an email late Thursday afternoon, like, we need to get what we can out tomorrow, Friday," the Cuties CEO said. For weeks, the threat of closure had loomed over the LGBTQ-owned and -operated coffee shop. Since the closure of the coffee shop, Cuties is continuing to operate without a physical space. [#3] When Alan Abdo negotiated with his landlord to end the lease for Olive Tree Restaurant, he remembers saying, "I can't close fast enough. I'm losing money by the minute." Olive Tree was a thriving, well-known Middle Eastern restaurant in Anaheim right up until the enforced business closures began.
Note: Small businesses have been devastated worldwide by the lockdown, yet most large corporations are thriving and the billionaires are making money hand over fist. So who is really benefitting from these lockdown measures? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
At least four candidates are near the finish line in the U.S. coronavirus vaccine race. A key point to note, however, is that the vaccine isn't an end-all solution to the pandemic. That's in large part because any inoculations developed now are focused on simply preventing symptoms from arising, rather than blocking out the virus altogether. The latter goal is a secondary endpoint, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "The primary thing you want to do is that if people get infected, prevent them from getting sick, and if you prevent them from getting sick, you will ultimately prevent them from getting seriously ill," Fauci said. "What I would settle for, and all of my colleagues would settle for, is the primary endpoint to prevent clinically recognizable disease," he said. That level of protection would be the ultimate goal to diffusing the crisis, but is hard to do with companies facing an immediate demand for some sort of solution. While no vaccine is 100% effective, having a majority of the population inoculated and higher percentages of efficacy is the best to hope for. The U.K. is looking at challenge trials, which intentionally infect a smaller group of participants with the virus in an effort to test a vaccine's or treatment's efficacy. Fauci said the U.S. is not anticipating such a move because the rate of spread is so high in the country that it's sufficient enough of an environment to test the vaccine.
Note: This Bloomberg article further shows the vaccines are not designed to stop the virus. Why is the media not doing a better job of informing the public about this. Read also this CNBC article titled "Dr. Fauci says masks, social distancing will still be needed after a Covid-19 vaccine." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccine issues from reliable major media sources.
As of Sunday, a total [of] 1,231 people in South Korea reported side effects after getting the flu shot this year, according to health authorities. Last week, the Korean Medical Association "recommended to withhold vaccination for one week," but clarified it was not suggesting vaccinations be stopped. Of the 59 people who died after receiving the flu vaccine this year (up from 48 on Saturday), 46 of those deaths were believed to have no connection to the flu shot. An investigation into the 13 remaining fatalities has been launched, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) revealed. More than 9.4 million people in South Korea have received the flu shot so far since this year's vaccination program began in September. The KDCA noted the latest number of deaths following the flu vaccination is not greater than previous years. Last year, 1,531 people aged 65 years and older died within seven days after receiving a flu shot, according to the KDCA. President Moon noted Monday: "This year, it is necessary to expand flu vaccinations not only to prevent the flu, but also to prevent simultaneous infection and spread of the flu and coronavirus."
Note: How much can we trust authorities who are clearly biased towards promoting vaccines? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
America's imprisonment rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1995, led by a dive in the percentage of blacks and Hispanics sent to jail during the Trump administration, according to a new Justice tally. For minorities, the focus of President Trump's First Step Act prison and criminal reform plan, the rate is the lowest in years. For blacks, the imprisonment rate in state and federal prisons is the lowest in 31 years and for Hispanics it is down 24%. "Across the decade from 2009 to 2019, the imprisonment rate fell 29% among black residents, 24% among Hispanic residents and 12% among white residents. In 2019, the imprisonment rate of black residents was the lowest it has been in 30 years, since 1989," said the report. Explaining the rate, Justice said, "At year-end 2019, there were 1,096 sentenced black prisoners per 100,000 black residents, 525 sentenced Hispanic prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic residents and 214 sentenced white prisoners per 100,000 white residents in the U.S. Among sentenced state prisoners at year-end 2018 (the most recent data available), a larger percentage of black (62%) and Hispanic (62%) prisoners than white prisoners (48%) were serving time for a violent offense." For its report, Justice counts those in prison for more than a year. The report did not cite any reasons for the drop. Trump recently led a bipartisan coalition to push through criminal reforms with the First Step Act that have helped to cut prison terms for some.
Note: See the official Bureau of Justice statistics at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/p19_pr.pdf. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The development of the antibody cocktail used to treat President Donald Trump for Covid-19 – which he heralded as a cure for the disease – was funded largely by the U.S. government, yet the Trump administration has apparently failed to set any guarantees that the treatment would be affordable. The biopharmaceutical company Regeneron, led by the two highest paid executives in the industry, received hundreds of millions in public funds during the research and development of the antibody therapy, and now stands to make a killing from its potentially lifesaving treatment. In January ... Regeneron struck an agreement with a division of Department of Health and Human Services known as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, to receive up to $81 million for work on antibodies that would prevent Covid-19 from infecting cells by attaching to the spikes on its surface. The two antibodies Regeneron chose were developed using cell lines that were derived from the kidney tissue of an aborted fetus. The January contract [lacks] a standard clause that ensures interventions developed with government funding are available to the public "on reasonable terms." While Trump promised that the government would provide the antibody cocktail to Americans for free, drug pricing efforts say that many people probably won't have access to the treatment at all, let alone at an affordable price. "You have massive public investment, but ... it doesn't benefit public health," [said drug pricing expert Zain Rizvi].
Suicides are on the rise among Japanese teens and that worries 21-year-old Koki Ozora, who grew up depressed and lonely. His nonprofit "Anata no Ibasho," or "A Place for You," is run entirely by volunteers. It offers a 24-hour text-messaging service for those seeking a sympathetic ear, promising to answer every request – within five seconds for urgent ones. The online Japanese-language chat service has grown since March to 500 volunteers, many living abroad in different time zones to provide counseling during those hours when the need for suicide prevention runs highest, between 10 p.m. and the break of dawn. The site setup ... allows more experienced staff to supervise the counseling. Anonymity is protected. Anata no Ibasho has received more than 15,000 online messages asking for help, or about 130 a day. The most common ones are about suicide, at about 32%, while 12% deal with stress over raising children. The goal is to offer a solution within 40 minutes, including referrals to shelters and police. Contrary to the stereotype of Japan as harmonious, families are increasingly splintered. A recent OECD study found Japan ranks among the highest in the world in suffering isolation. Counseling through online chats can be a challenge, because all you have are words, said Sumie Uehara, a counselor who volunteers at Anata no Ibasho. "You don't ever negate their feelings or try to solve everything in a hurry. You're just there to listen, and understand," she said.
A 5th grader in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District has a habit of setting very lofty goals for himself... he also has a habit of exceeding them. So, it isn't surprising that Orion Jean wants to continue his mission to do good for others into the holiday season. Earlier this fall, the Chisholm Ridge Elementary student collected and donated hundreds of toys to hospitalized children in Dallas through his Race to 500 Toys drive. Now, he's started another drive with the goal of donating thousands of meals to people in need by Thanksgiving. In addition to the work Orion is doing on his own, the Race to 100,000 Meals food drive will be be accepting food donations from the public. "I'm asking everyone to join me in a race to kindness," Orion said. "This has been a rough year for everybody, and now it's more important than ever to show support and love to anyone who needs it." Orion began collecting donations earlier this week and has already received nearly 4,000 meals. Over the summer, Orion won the Think Kindness National Speech contest, where he urged others to show compassion through action. As champion, he was given $500 to start his own kindness project where he went on to collect toys for hospitalized children.
In a new report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says solar is now the cheapest form of electricity for utility companies to build. ThatÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ˘â€žËs thanks to risk-reducing financial policies around the world, the agency says, and it applies to locations with both the most favorable policies and the easiest access to financing. The report underlines how important these policies are to encouraging development of renewables and other environmentally forward technologies. Carbon Brief (CB) summarizes the annual report with a lot of key details. The World Energy Outlook 2020 Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄą'offers four Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ‚pathwaysÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ˘â€žË to 2040, all of which see a major rise in renewables,Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄąÄ„ CB says. Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄą'The IEAÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ˘â€žËs main scenario has 43 [percent] more solar output by 2040 than it expected in 2018, partly due to detailed new analysis showing that solar power is 20 [to] 50 [percent] cheaper than thought.Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄąÄ„ The calculation depends on financing figures compared with the amount of output for solar projects. That means that at the same time panel technology gets more efficient and prices for basic panels continue to fall, investors are getting better and better financing deals. So the statistic Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄą'20 to 50 percent cheaperÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄąÄ„ is based on a calculus of companies building solar projects, not something that has throughput for consumers or even solar homeowners. But itÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ˘â€žËs still a big deal, because the cost to build power plants is a major part of why so much of the world has stuck with coal and gas power.
Ghislaine Maxwell's answers to questions about the sex-trafficking operation she allegedly ran with the late Jeffrey Epstein were made public Thursday as a federal court released Maxwell's 2016 deposition. The transcript is finally being unsealed after a back-and-forth legal battle between Maxwell and Virginia Giuffre, who has accused Maxwell, Epstein and others of sexually abusing her when she was a minor. In it, Maxwell repeatedly denies "recruiting" girls for Epstein or taking part in orgies and other activities. Persistent allegations that Epstein sexually abused young women under the guise of receiving massages prompted an investigation by Palm Beach police in the early 2000s. Giuffre's attorney asked, "Are you aware there were underage girls, 30 of them, in this police report that were assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein in the Palm Beach house during the time you are working there?" In her reply, Maxwell said she couldn't testify about that, accusing one of Epstein's alleged victims of lying and saying that she spent only limited time at Epstein's house in 2004, the year in question. For years, accusations against Maxwell and Epstein were obscured by legal maneuvers – most famously, a controversial nonprosecution agreement Epstein reached in 2007 with federal prosecutors in Florida. That plea deal with then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta led to state charges against Epstein, but it also prevented him and any co-conspirators – including, allegedly, Maxwell – from being prosecuted in federal sex crimes in southern Florida.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking ring from reliable major media sources.
Purdue Pharma LP agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription opioid OxyContin, in a deal with U.S. prosecutors that effectively sidestepped paying billions of dollars in penalties and stopped short of criminally charging its executives or wealthy Sackler family owners. Prosecutors imposed significant penalties exceeding $8 billion against Purdue, though the lion's share will go largely unpaid. Purdue agreed to pay $225 million toward a $2 billion criminal forfeiture, with the Justice Department foregoing the rest if the company completes a bankruptcy reorganization dissolving itself and shifting assets to a "public benefit company," or similar entity, that steers the $1.775 billion unpaid portion to thousands of U.S. communities suing it over the opioid crisis. A $3.54 billion criminal fine and $2.8 billion civil penalty are likely to receive cents on the dollar as they compete with trillions of dollars of other claims from those communities and other creditors in Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings. Members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue agreed to pay a separate $225 million civil penalty for allegedly causing false claims for OxyContin to be made to government healthcare programs such as Medicare, according to court records. Neither the Sacklers nor any Purdue executives were criminally charged. Purdue reaped more than $30 billion from sales of OxyContin over the years, enriching Sackler family members while funneling illegal kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
For many of the nearly 2.3 million incarcerated Americans, keeping in touch with people on the outside isn't easy. Though prisons and jails generally do allow inmates to call, email, or video chat with their loved ones, they also often charge exorbitant rates, which leaves physical mail as the best (and sometimes, only) option for people behind bars. Even then, inmates still sometimes don't receive the letters and cards sent by their loved ones because they violate the facility's mail rules, which vary from place to place and can dictate everything from acceptable paper sizes to writing implements. Now, a "robot lawyer" is making it easier for people to send letters to inmates by automating much of the process – just write your message, and it takes care of the rest. The robot lawyer is actually an AI-powered app called DoNotPay, and it's the brainchild of British-American entrepreneur Josh Browder. The robot lawyer ... can now help people dispute evictions, cancel subscriptions, and navigate small-claims court, all for a $3 monthly fee. On October 15, Browder unveiled DoNotPay's new prison mail feature. A user starts by entering the name of the person they want contact in the app's search tool. The robot lawyer then scans the roster of inmates in federal, state, county, or ICE detention centers, all at once. The user then chooses the design they want for the letter and writes their message. DoNotPay then prints the letter, following the facility's specifications, and mails it to the inmate along with the postage they need to send a letter back.
The coronavirus pandemic caused nearly 300,000 deaths in the United States through early October, federal researchers said on Tuesday. The new tally includes not only deaths known to have been directly caused by the coronavirus, but also roughly 100,000 fatalities that are indirectly related and would not have occurred if not for the virus. The study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an attempt to measure "excess deaths" – deaths from all causes that statistically exceed those normally occurring in a certain time period. The analysis highlights two disturbing trends. The researchers discovered a high percentage of excess deaths in an unexpected group: young adults in the prime of life. And the coronavirus has greatly raised deaths over all among people of color. Although the pandemic has mostly killed older Americans, the greatest percentage increase in excess deaths has occurred among adults ages 25 to 44, the analysis found. While the number of deaths among adults ages 45 to 64 increased by 15 percent, and by 24 percent among those ages 65 to 74, deaths increased 26.5 percent among those in their mid-20s to mid-40s, a group that includes millennials. People of color also had large percentage increases in excess deaths. Hispanics experienced a 54 percent increase, while Black people saw a 33 percent rise. Deaths were 29 percent above average for American Indians or Alaska Native people, and 37 percent above average for those of Asian descent.
Note: Former U.S. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb voiced his concern that "a good portion of the deaths in that younger cohort were deaths due to despair. We've seen a spike in overdoses." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
At a time when the nation feels more divided than ever, one unlikely group in Omaha, Nebraska, is trying to bring people together. The Tri-Faith Initiative is a unique experiment in unity, sprawling across 38 acres on the edge of the city, almost smack in the center of America. There's a synagogue, a mosque and a church – and on Saturday, Tri-Faith introduced a new interfaith center, the final piece of a plan that was years in the making. "Sometimes people assume that the fact that we've come together and that we're so connected means that we're trying to create a blended, homogeneous faith, and that is absolutely not what Tri-Faith is about," said Rabbi A. Brian Stoller. "It's like a neighborhood. And each neighborhood lives in its own house and has its own values and belief system." Their goal? To learn about the "religious other," and in turn, become more tolerant and less fearful. It's also not lost on ... any of the faith leaders that the opening of their interfaith center coincides with a time in history marked by shocking division. "What I perceive as an inability to see others' world views and respect their way of thinking and believing is a crisis in America, and reflects a spiritual illness in our society," Stoller said, adding that he thinks what he and the other faith leaders are doing is part of the "antidote to that illness." That mutual respect, they believe, begins with relationship building. "It is friendship, what we created here," said Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi.
Cats are unable to distinguish between street clothes and prison uniforms – and that's exactly what makes the relationship between the men at Pendleton Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison outside of Indianapolis, and the cats that live there, so special. For six hours a day, seven days a week, a handful of men receive unqualified love from the more than 20 cats that live in the prison as part of the FORWARD program, or Felines and Offenders Rehabilitation with Affection, Reformation and Dedication. In exchange for care and a place to stay before being adopted, the cats at Pendleton offer inmates untampered, non-judgemental affection. Through the 5-year-old program, a select few incarcerated men are paid 20 cents an hour to spend their days caring for abandoned and abused cats, preparing them for adoption. Or, as some inmates will say, for a reason to get up in the morning. In partnership with the Animal Protection League of Indiana, the program removes cats from a traditional shelter and places them in the prison's "cat sanctuary," a wide-open room with scratching posts, climbing structures and nooks to hide in. The program houses them with incarcerated caregivers, who, incidentally, gain skills such as empathy, responsibility and self-esteem. The caregivers spend their days cleaning the cat sanctuary, changing litter boxes, and feeding and giving water to the cats. Everything but medical care is under the inmates' purview. The work, albeit behind prison walls, is a full-time job.
Previous vaccines have taken a decade or more to develop, and more than half of the past 20 years have failed in clinical trials. However, four [COVID-19] vaccine candidates have entered the final phase of clinical trials prior to approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Operation Warp Speed ... organized government agencies and private companies with the goal of developing, manufacturing and distributing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses, with starting doses to be available by early 2021. At the head of the operation is Moncef Slaoui, a Moroccan-born Belgian-American scientist. Operation Warp Speed â€¦ has invested in six vaccine candidates (Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Sanofi / GSK) with the hope that at least one ... will prove safe and effective in clinical trials. Four of the six vaccine candidates have already been shown to be safe and effective in the first two test phases, which test whether the vaccinations produce so-called neutralizing antibodies. Serious health problems regularly arise during vaccination attempts. "We know how to distribute vaccines to any location in the US," says Slaoui. "It happens every year for flu and shingles." Tracking systems need to be "incredibly precise" to ensure that patients are each given two doses of the same vaccine and to monitor them for adverse health effects. Operation Warp Speed â€¦ has selected medical distributor McKesson and cloud operators Google and Oracle to collect and track vaccine data.
Note: The above article is also available here. Don't miss this excellent article which raises many important questions about this operation. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Domestic violence homicides are on the rise in many cities around the country, according to preliminary data from local law enforcement. In at least two major counties, they have doubled – a reversal of multi-year declines. Experts attribute much of the alarming increase to the social and economic pressures of the coronavirus pandemic. Annual national data on domestic violence murders is not released until well into the following year, but violent crime and homicides have increased this year in cities from Milwaukee to New York, and some cities are already reporting spikes in domestic violence homicides. In Memphis, Milwaukee and Jefferson Parish, a New Orleans suburb, domestic violence homicides had equaled or surpassed last year's total by Oct.13, NBC News found. In Tarrant County, Texas ... they had more than doubled. In the Seattle area, there were 14 domestic violence homicides in 2020 through Oct. 8, equal to the combined total for 2018 and 2019, according to the King County District Attorney's office. All but one of the 2020 homicides occurred after the governor issued a Covid-19 state of emergency. Domestic violence lawyers and advocates in eight cities told NBC News that anecdotal information supports their belief that during lockdowns victims have had fewer opportunities to report abuse or seek help. The reports that do come in are more violent and dangerous. The very conditions that keep us safe in the public health pandemic are creating greater danger for victims of domestic violence.
Note: It is not the pandemic which is causing these homicides. It is the lockdown measures that are negatively impacting the emotional and spiritual lives of billions of people around the globe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Harvey Hill wouldn't leave John Finnegan's front yard. He stood in the pouring rain, laughing at the sky, alarming his former boss' wife. Finnegan dialed 911. "He needs a mental evaluation," the landscaper recalls telling the arriving officer. Instead, Hill was charged with trespassing and jailed. At the Madison County Detention Center ... guards tackled the 36-year-old, pepper sprayed him and kicked him repeatedly in the head. After handcuffing him, two guards slammed Hill into a concrete wall, previously unpublished jail surveillance video shows. They led him to a shower, away from the cameras, and beat him again, still handcuffed, a state investigation found. Video showed Hill writhing in pain in the infirmary, where he was assessed by a licensed practical nurse but not given medication. Hill was sent straight to an isolation cell. Within hours, he was dead. And he had a lot of company. Hill's is one of 7,571 inmate deaths Reuters documented in an unprecedented examination of mortality in more than 500 U.S. jails from 2008 to 2019. Death rates have soared in those lockups, rising 35% over the decade ending last year. Casualties like Hill are typical: held on minor charges and dying without ever getting their day in court. At least two-thirds of the dead inmates identified by Reuters, 4,998 people, were never convicted of the charges on which they were being held. Reuters is making the full data it gathered available to the public here.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Voter suppression has taken centre stage in the race to elect potentially the 46th president of the United States. But we've heard little about the 5.2 million Native Americans whose ancestors have called this land home before there was a US president. The rights of indigenous communities – including the right to vote – have been systematically violated for generations with devastating consequences. Voter turnout for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives is the lowest in the country, and about one in three eligible voters (1.2 million people) are not registered to vote. In a new book, Voting in Indian County: The View from the Trenches, Jean Reith Schroedel ... at Claremont Graduate University weaves together historical and contemporary voting rights conflicts. American Indians and Native Alaskans were the last group in the United States to get citizenship and to get the vote. Some laws used to disenfranchise them were still in place in 1975. Voting by mail is very challenging for Native Americans for multiple reasons. First and foremost, most reservations do not have home mail delivery. Instead, people need to travel to post offices or postal provide sites – little places that offer minimal mail services and are located in places like gas stations and mini-marts. Take the Navajo Nation that encompasses 27,425 square miles – it's larger than West Virginia, yet there are only 40 places where people can send and receive mail. In West Virginia, there are 725. Not a single PO box on the Navajo Nation has 24-hour access.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Kamal Singh did not even know what ballet was when he turned up nervously at the Imperial Fernando Ballet School, in Delhi, during the summer of 2016. But the 17-year-old, known as Noddy, whose father was a rickshaw driver in the west of the city, had been transfixed by ballet dancers in a Bollywood film, and wanted to try it for himself. Four years on Singh is now one of the first Indian students to be admitted to the English National Ballet school. He started this week. The school fees and London living expenses totalling about Ł20,000 were far beyond the reach of Singh's family, but a crowdfunding campaign, backed by some of Bollywood's biggest names, managed to raise all the funds needed in less than two weeks. "I cannot explain how it feels, it is all my dreams come true" said Singh, 21. "It's amazing, I'm enjoying every day. My family do not know much about ballet but they are very happy and very proud that I am at the English National Ballet. I am the first in my family to come to London." Viviana Durante, artistic director of the English National Ballet School, said the year-long programme would provide Singh with "intense training in classical and contemporary techniques", and he would be taught how to adapt to a dance world drastically altered by Covid-19. "Talk about passion, optimism and education. That's what you need in these times and the students have it, including Kamal," she said. He is one of only ten male dancers and ten female dancers who were selected this year.
When Facebook and Twitter moved quickly this week to limit the spread of an unverified political story published by the conservative-leaning New York Post, it led to predictable cries of censorship from the right. But it also illustrated the slippery hold even the largest tech companies have on the flow of information. While Facebook and Twitter have often been slow to combat apparent misinformation ... their response in this case shows how quickly they can move when they want to. For the first time in recent memory, the two social media platforms enforced rules against misinformation on a story from a mainstream media publication. The story in question, which has not been confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's son that were reportedly discovered by President Donald Trump's allies. Facebook used the possibility of false information as the reason to limit the article's reach, which means its algorithm shows it to fewer people, much the way you might not see as many posts from friends you don't interact with often. Twitter, meanwhile, blocked users from tweeting out the link to the story and from sending it in private messages. Though they acted quickly, both companies stumbled on communicating their decision to the public. In part because of this, and in part by the mere act of trying to limit the story, the tech platforms soon became the story.
Note: For more on this important story, read Matt Taibbi's article titled "With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Story." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
Evidence of what appears to be aggressive animal abuse, practices leading to heightened disease risk and cows being passed off as organic at a Texan auctioneers has been presented to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) by undercover welfare investigators. The ... investigation centres on Texan auctioneers, Erath County Dairy Sales (ECDS). Undercover video footage filmed at ECDS between January and March 2020 ... was delivered to the USDA by the US-Brazil based NGO, Strategies for Ethical and Environmental Development (Seed). In one video, the undercover investigator, hired as an animal handler, is told that removing a cowĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s ear tags, and replacing them with new Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’back tagsĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ that indicate a cow is organic, can triple or quadruple their meat sale value. The investigator said he witnessed the tag switching process. First, a bladed tool was used to remove the ear tags, which are part of the USDAĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s animal disease traceability framework. These tags were not replaced. Instead, another tag, known as a back tag or sticker, was glued to the cowĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s back. The stickers indicate the cow is organic and from Texas. A lawyer for California-based NGO, Animal Legal Defense Fund, said she was Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’not too surprisedĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ by the tag switching accusations. Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’We have seen this type of thing before,Ă˘â‚ŹĹĄ said Kelsey Eberly. She fears the practice is Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’more commonĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ than people would expect, mainly Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’because the price premium is so much higherĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ for organic and better welfare meat and dairy.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
With all the talk of remote learning for secondary schools and colleges, one important population is missing from the nationwide conversation about learning during the pandemic: babies and toddlers. Many parents are keeping their little ones away from playgrounds, playgroups and preschool preparatory programs. As a result, the social and learning opportunities for the youngest children have been curtailed, just like everyone else's Without group settings, "we are missing a lot of observations, so there is going to be a whole raft of problems," said Patricia K. Kuhl ... at the University of Washington. That's partly because group settings like day care, classrooms and even playgrounds are often where adults notice, sometimes by comparing children with their peers, that little ones have sensory, motor, cognitive and learning problems that can benefit from early interventions. To encourage the sense of discovery and the "problem solving, turn-taking and perspective-taking" that comes from situations like "navigating that playground moment of when you are going up a slide, and another kid wants to come down the slide," [psychologist Aliza W. Pressman] advises letting children play in an undirected manner. That may mean allowing children "to use garages, backyards, basements or attics to find opportunities for exploring," Dr. Pressman said. If children encounter obstacles, allow them to work things out. That includes conflicts with siblings, though "if you do need to jump in, help them communicate with each other," she said.
Note: Children around the world have been told to keep at least six feet away from their friends and they have to wear a mask if they leave home. They can no longer play and explore freely with their friends or even see their smiles. How does this affect their mental, emotional, and spiritual health? How do you think those who are only children with no playmates are faring? How will this impact this entire generation of children growing up now? For more along these lines, see revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Jordan Reeves is just an ordinary 14-year-old girl who has inspired millions of people with her extraordinary "superpower." The young inventor from Columbia, Missouri was born with a left arm that stopped developing beyond the elbow. Although some people would look at her under-developed limb as just a disability, Jordan used her condition to launch her superhero alter ego. When she was 10 years old, Jordan attended a STEM workshop that encouraged kids with disabilities to think creatively about their condition - so with a 3D-printer at her disposal, she designed her own prosthetic arm that could shoot glitter from the tip. Jordan's invention was so dazzlingly successful, she went on to talk about her horn-shaped "Project Unicorn" prosthetic design on the TEDx stage, Shark Tank, and even The Rachel Ray Show. With each appearance, she hoped that Project Unicorn would encourage other kids to view disabilities as gifts rather than hindrances. As Project Unicorn gained more traction, Jordan and her mother turned their labor of love into the Born Just Right nonprofit so they could continue advocating for inclusivity. In addition to publishing a book about her experiences in 2019, Jordan and her prosthetic were featured on Episode One of Marvel's Superhero Project - and earlier this week, she was featured on a new LEGO documentary miniseries that interviews young change-makers from across North America. More than 430 children from 30 different countries contributed.
A COVID-19 envoy appointed by Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has appealed to world leaders to stop resorting to lockdown to control the pandemic. Dr David Nabarro, who has spent his career working for the WHO and the United Nations (UN), seems to have marked a departure from the global health body's early stance on the COVID-19 pandemic, warning about the economic and social consequences of lockdown as a means of controlling the spread of the disease. On Sunday, Dr Nabarro appealed to world leaders to stop "using lockdowns as your primary control method", insisting that such drastic measures can have a dire impact on global poverty rates. The British doctor stated: "We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus. The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we'd rather not do it." Dr Nabarro went on to say that developing economies had been indirectly affected by lockdown measures, adding: "Look what's happened to smallholder farmers all over the world -- look what's happening to poverty levels. "It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition. Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer."
The New York Times Guild, the union of employees of the paper of record, tweeted a condemnation on Sunday of one of their own colleagues, op-ed columnist Bret Stephens. What angered the union today was an op-ed by Stephens on Friday which voiced numerous criticisms of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project,” published last year by the New York Times Magazine. One of the Project’s principal arguments was expressed by a now-silently-deleted sentence that introduced it: “that the country’s true birth date” is not 1776, as has long been widely believed, but rather late 1619, when, the article claims, the first African slaves arrived on U.S. soil.” The 1619 Project has become a major controversy. In his Friday column, Stephens addressed the controversy by first noting the Project’s positive contributions and accomplishments, then reviewed in detail the critiques of historians and other scholars of its central claims, and then sided with its critics by arguing that “for all of its virtues, ... the 1619 Project has failed.” But his colleagues in the New York Times Guild evidently do not believe that he had any right to express his views on these debates. In a barely-literate tweet that not once but twice misspelled the word “its” as “it’s” — not a trivial level of ignorance for writers with the world’s most influential newspaper — the union denounced Stephens and the paper itself on these grounds: "It says a lot about an organization when it breaks it's own rules and goes after one of it's own. The act, like the article, reeks."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption from reliable sources.
Animal agriculture industry groups defending factory farms engage in campaigns of surveillance, reputation destruction, and other forms of retaliation against industry critics and animal rights activists, documents obtained through a FOIA request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal. That the USDA possesses these emails and other documents demonstrates the federal government’s knowledge of, if not participation in, these industry campaigns. These documents detail ongoing monitoring of the social media of news outlets, including The Intercept, which report critically on factory farms. They reveal private surveillance activities aimed at animal rights groups and their members. They include discussions of how to create a climate of intimidation for activists who work against industry abuses, including by photographing the activists and publishing the photos online. And they describe a coordinated ostracization campaign that specifically targets veterinarians who criticize industry practices. One of the industry groups central to these activities is the Animal Agriculture Alliance, which represents factory farms and other animal agriculture companies. The group boasts that one of its prime functions is “Monitoring Activism,” by which they mean: “We identify emerging threats and provide insightful resources on animal rights and other activist groups by attending their events, monitoring traditional and social media and engaging our national network.”
Note: Watch an interview with Dr. Crystal Heath, a veterinarian targeted by Animal Agricultural Alliance for her activism against inhumane factory farming practices. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Programme, knows the existence of his organization is both a blessing and a curse: it helps so many, but that means many are suffering. On Friday, that World Food Programme's fight against hunger ... was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. "[COVID-19] comes on top of what you already thought was a worst-case scenario. It is literally horrific," Beasley told ABC News. At the beginning of this year, 135 million people already faced starvation from manmade conflict and climate extremes, Beasley said. Now, 270 million people are on the brink of starvation. "We've got a vaccine against starvation. It's called food," said Beasley. The award comes with the equivalent of a $1.1 million U.S. cash prize and a gold medal to be handed out at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10. "The economies of the world's strongest nations on Earth are struggling. We are not going to have the money we need next year. And not only are the resources going to go down, but the needs are going to be going up," said Beasley. Established in 1962, the United Nations World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian organization that delivers food assistance in emergencies and works with communities to improve nutrition and resilience, according to the website. The World Food Programme assisted 97 million people in 88 counties in 2019 alone.
Note: As of early October 2020, 1.5 million people had reportedly died from the virus, yet 135 million had been pushed to "the brink of starvation" not by the virus, but by the lockdown measures. Are the consequences of the lockdown policies worse than the consequences of the virus itself? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A young Dutch fashion designer just out of school in 2014, [Bas] Timmer was embarking on a promising direction as a cold weather-gear specialist when he stumbled over a homeless man one cold night. He thought about giving the man one of his signature fashion hoodies, butĂ˘â‚Ź"to his lasting shameĂ˘â‚Ź"paused for fear of diminishing his brand. A few months later a friendĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s father, also homeless, died of hypothermia. Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’I felt guilty,Ă˘â‚ŹĹĄ says Timmer. Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’I had the opportunity to help, and I did nothing.Ă˘â‚ŹĹĄ To make up for it, he dedicated his brand to helping others. He designed around the requirements for life on the streets: waterproof, warm, portable and good for sleeping. Part tent and part parka, TimmerĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’sheltersuitĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ featured a detachable sleeping bag that could be zipped off and easily stored during the day. He presented his mashup to a local homeless man, who was enchanted. Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’He said, Ă˘â‚ŹI have two friends, can I share my jacket with them?Ă˘â‚Źâ„˘ And I said Ă˘â‚Źno, this one is yours. Let me see if I can make two more.Ă˘â‚Źâ„˘ And thatĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s when the whole Sheltersuit idea started.Ă˘â‚ŹĹĄ Six years later, Timmer, 30, is still handing out Sheltersuits. So far he has distributed 12,500 to homeless people in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, the U.S. and to refugees in Greece. He has inserted Velcro closures at the foot of the sleeping bags so that wearers have more freedom for their feet. The suits are made out of donated and upcycled materials. Manufacturing costs are covered by donations.
Billionaires have seen their fortunes hit record highs during the pandemic, with top executives from technology and industry earning the most. The world's richest saw their wealth climb 27.5% to $10.2trn (Ł7.9trn) from April to July this year, according to a report from Swiss bank UBS. That was up from the previous peak of $8.9trn at the end of 2017 and largely due to rising global share prices. UBS said billionaires had done "extremely well" in the Covid crisis. It also said the number of billionaires had hit a new high of 2,189, up from 2,158 in 2017. It comes as a World Bank report on Wednesday showed extreme poverty is set to rise this year for the first time in more than two decades due to the pandemic. Among the billionaires, the biggest winners this year have been industrialists, whose wealth rose a staggering 44% in the three months to July. "Industrials benefited disproportionately as markets priced in a significant economic recovery [after lockdowns around the world]," UBS said. Tech billionaires have also had a good pandemic, seeing their wealth soar 41%. UBS said this was "due to the corona-induced demand for their goods and services" and social distancing accelerating "digital businesses [and] compressing several years' evolution into a few months". Healthcare billionaires also benefited as the crisis put drug makers and medical device companies in the spotlight.
The New Leaf project is a joint study started in 2018 by Foundations for Social Change, a Vancouver-based charitable organization, and the University of British Columbia. After giving homeless Lower Mainland residents cash payments of $7,500, researchers checked on them over a year to see how they were faring. All 115 participants, ranging in age between 19 and 64, had been homeless for at least six months. Of those, 50 people were chosen at random to be given the cash, while the others formed a control group that did not receive any money. "I had no expectations and really high hopes," said Claire Williams, CEO of Foundations for Social Change. What researchers found after 12 months, she said, was "beautifully surprising." Not only did those who received the money spend fewer days homeless than those in the control group, they had also moved into stable housing after an average of three months. On average, cash recipients spent 52 per cent of their money on food and rent, 15 per cent on other items such as medications and bills, and 16 per cent on clothes and transportation. In comparison, spending on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs went down, on average, by 39 per cent. [Williams] said it costs, on average, $55,000 annually for social and health services for one homeless individual. According to study data, the project saved the shelter system approximately $8,100 per person for a total of roughly $405,000 over one year for all 50.
In 2017, newly published Land Registry data revealed 4 million km of networks and telecommunications lines underneath London, many of which were secretly constructed by the Post Office, British Telecom and the Ministry of Defence. These mysterious Cold War-era tunnel systems and underground chambers, which number in the hundreds, have been a source of fascination for decades. Yet, until recently, authorities remained conspicuously secretive about them, many owned by the Ministry of Defence and never publicly acknowledged. The most intriguing revelation was of the Postmaster General's secret tunnel beneath the heart of the government at 57 Whitehall. More than 30 gears and a dozen lifts – stretching from the working-class East End to the heart of Whitehall – connect the Postmaster General's tunnel to a secret underground network, which mostly emerges unobtrusively into government buildings and telephone exchanges. Further, a short distance from Whitehall, an A-bomb-proof telephone exchange deep underneath High Holborn street – originally built as a deep-level government air raid shelter in the early 1940s – was a top-secret hub of more than 200 engineers from the 1960s to the â€80s. The two-tunnel shelter was extended by the addition of four tunnels at right angles to the originals to become the termination point of the first transatlantic telephone cable, and was spacious enough to boast a staff restaurant, tea bar, games room and licensed bar.
Note: A 1972 Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory patent describes a device for drilling underground tunnels using a small nuclear reactor. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
Houseplant sales were skyrocketing among US millennials even before the pandemic, with a nearly 50% rise in sales between 2017 and 2019, according to the National Gardening Association. Now, many like [travel writer MaSovaida] Morgan see them as a necessary tool in fostering optimal work-from-home conditions. Experts say this desire to fill indoor environments with objects from the outdoors ties in to the growing movement toward 'biophilic design', which is a concept used to increase wellbeing through both direct and indirect exposure to nature. Biophilic design was a major office trend in the years leading up to 2020, when Amazon introduced spherical conservatories to its Seattle headquarters; Microsoft debuted treehouse conference room in nearby Redmond, Washington; and Facebook created a 3.6-acre rooftop garden at its Silicon Valley hub. Thanks to the pandemic, millions of [remote workers] now have the chance to create a work environment with their own wellbeing in mind. An increasing body of evidence shows that incorporating nature can help with things like decreasing stress and increasing productivity, creativity and attention span. Beyond adding greenery ... there are several other simple additions for optimising a home office, including light and colour. Natural light supports the circadian rhythms of the body, which regulate our sleep-wake cycle, as well as hormones. Those working in a ... dark environment can typically mimic natural light by incorporate a variety of lighting levels throughout the workday.
Air pollution in London has plunged since Sadiq Khan became mayor, with a 94% reduction in the number of people living in areas with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide. The number of schools in such areas has fallen by 97%, from 455 in 2016 to 14 in 2019. Experts described the reductions as dramatic and said they showed the air pollution crisis was not intractable. More than 9,000 people in the capital were dying early each year due to dirty air in 2015. The report from the mayor of London, reviewed by scientists, shows that more than 2 million people in the capital lived with polluted air in 2016, but this fell to 119,000 in 2019. The report, which does not include the further falls in pollution seen after the Covid-19 lockdown began in March, shows levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by roads in central London fell by 44% between early 2017 and early 2020. The pollution cuts have been achieved by charges that have deterred dirty vehicles from entering the city centre and have driven up the use of cleaner vehicles. Putting low-emission buses on the dirtiest routes, ending the licensing of new diesel taxis and extending the amount of protected space for cycling have also contributed. Prof Stephen Holgate, a special adviser on air quality to the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Air pollution is a scourge on society. What the mayor of London has shown in his first term is that major reductions in toxic pollutants can be achieved and that businesses and the public are willing to make the necessary changes to deliver this.”
Current COVID-19 lockdowns protect low-risk college students and young professional bankers, attorneys, journalists, scientists and others who can work from home, while older high-risk working-class people are risking their lives building the population immunity that will eventually protect us all. While mortality is inevitable during a pandemic, the COVID-19 lockdown strategy has led to more than 220,000 deaths, with the urban working class carrying the heaviest burden. Many older workers have been forced to accept high mortality risk or increased poverty, or both. While the current lockdowns are less strict than in March, the lockdown and contact tracing strategy is the worst assault on the working class since segregation and the Vietnam War. Lockdown policies have closed schools, businesses and churches, while not enforcing strict protocols to protect high-risk nursing home residents. Denying in-person teaching to students is harmful to their education and physical and mental health, with working-class children hardest hit. Online schooling puts a disproportional burden on our children, despite their own minimal risk. For ages 1 to 15, Sweden kept day care and schools open throughout the height of the pandemic, and among the 1.8 million children of that age, there were zero COVID-19 deaths without masks used or physical distancing. Neither was there any excess risk for in-person teachers compared with the average of other professions.
Note: The above article was written by three doctors, one from Stanford, one from Harvard, and one from the UK's Oxford. Explore an abundance of good information questioning the official story of COVID. Explore a summary of alternative views on the coronavirus. Explore a revealing article questioning the origin and causes of the coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Earl Moore remembers the day his father walked out. Moore discovered the power of opioids to take that pain away while attending college at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Moore's addiction lasted more than 15 years - before he finally found the help he needed. It was a nightmare odyssey that led him to steal his grandmother's cancer pain medication and his police officer brother's ATM card to pay for pills. Not until Moore says he found a 12-step program and a mentor who showed him the art of building stringed instruments - did he find the self-love and confidence that turned his life around for good. Moore was trying to get clean yet again in 2012 when he heard a master luthier - an expert stringed-instrument maker - was coming to his hometown of Hindman, a tiny hamlet nestled in the lush mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Moore had been doing carpentry, building cabinets and had a love for guitars. Moore found himself in Naselroad's wood shop nearly every day learning how to craft guitars from Appalachian native hardwoods in a town where the mountain dulcimer was first made in the late 1800s. "Music has always been a part of this community ever since pioneer days," said Naselroad. What started out as a one-year apprenticeship became a six-year journey that brought Moore back to life. Since he began, Moore has made more than 70 instruments. He's sold many of them and kept others. Moore's success inspired the creation of the "Culture of Recovery" arts program at The Appalachian Artisan Center.
For Alaskans, summertime means cruise ships. Lots of cruise ships. The 2020 season was expected to commence with a record-breaking deluge of 1.4 million tourists and glacier gazers that would effectively triple the state's scant population of 730,000. Once the pandemic hit, that number effectively dropped to zero. Although the economy is being decimated by the reduction in tourist vessels, the state's humpback whales are some of the few locals actually enjoying the silence. Dr Michelle Fournet, director of the Sound Science Research Collective and research fellow at Cornell University, has been listening in on whale conversations for 10 years, but never before has she seen a summer like this. "The last time researchers were able to listen to humpbacks in a quiet ocean in Alaska was in 1976," when commercial whale watching began, said Fournet, and their population was much lower as humpback whaling was banned only a decade earlier. Since that time, recording technology has come a long way and whale populations have seen a huge resurgence, with several thousand summering in south-east Alaska alone. Fournet was ecstatic after listening to her first hydrophone recordings of the year two weeks ago. "It's really, really quiet. [On] my very first pass of listening, I randomly picked a file, and I immediately heard a whale instead of a boat." The state may be facing a big economic downturn, but this is at least one fact to take comfort in, she said. "Even though we are not on the ocean right now, the whales are still there," said Fournet.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on marine mammals.
Something as simple as saying hello to a stranger can enhance your happiness and feelings of well-being in these troubled times, two new studies show. In one survey, a sampling of 856 commuters who initiated "positive social interactions" with their bus or shuttle drivers had greater levels of being satisfied with themselves and their lives. In the other, a group of 265 travelers were split into two groups. Half were told to strike up a positive interaction with their driver by saying "have a nice day" or "thank you" upon leaving the bus, in a warm and sincere way. They were also told to make eye contact. The other half of participants was told not to speak to their driver. The commuters were surveyed after they got off their buses. The first group reported more positive feelings and well-being than the travelers who didn't talk to their drivers. Both studies were recently published as a paper titled "Minimal Social Interactions with Strangers Predict Greater Subjective Well-Being," in the Journal of Happiness Studies. "Simply taking a moment to greet, express good wishes, or say thank you to strangers is linked with greater happiness in everyday life," the authors wrote. So if the coronavirus pandemic is on your last nerve, try a simple hello to the person behind the wheel on your next bus ride.
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) got out her marker and scrawled a figure on the whiteboard beside her: $13 million. “Do you know what this number is?” she asked Mark Alles, the former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Celgene, as he testified remotely before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. “Does it ring any bells?” Alles could hardly get his answer out before Porter scribbled more math on the board. That multimillion figure — his total compensation in 2017 — was already 200 times the average income in the United States, the congresswoman pointed out. It got even larger, she said, after Celgene needlessly tripled the cost of a cancer medication, thus securing himself hefty bonuses in return. As of early Thursday, the rapid-fire interrogation had been viewed more than 15 million times on Twitter — the latest in a long list of her viral cross-examinations. These stunning exchanges at congressional hearings have themselves gained plenty of attention beyond Capitol Hill — especially when Porter pulls out what one person on Twitter dubbed “her mighty whiteboard of truth.” It is this kind of clear, insistent inquiry that has made Porter — a consumer protection lawyer ... who studied bankruptcy law under Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — so effective at grilling everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to little-known Trump appointees, all with a dry-erase marker and some simple math. “No one has ever wielded a weapon as terrifying as Katie Porter’s whiteboard,” wrote Molly Wood, a public radio journalist.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, ordered counties to stop accepting hand-delivered absentee ballots at more than one location, issuing a proclamation that could make it harder for residents to vote early. The proclamation, which goes into effect Friday, modifies part of Abbott's July 27 order that added six days of early absentee voting in the state in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fellow Republicans in Texas are challenging the additional early voting days in court. Abbott said he issued the new order to ensure the security of the ballots, which President Donald Trump has questioned as Americans have embraced early and absentee voting in response to the pandemic. Texas has 254 counties, the largest of which is rural Brewster, which covers 6,193 square miles. Harris County, which includes much of the sprawling city of Houston, has a population of more than 4.7 million people. The county is home to 25 percent of the state's Black residents and 18 percent of its Hispanic population. Before Abbott's proclamation, the county had created 11 ballot drop-off locations. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner ... criticized the decision. "Growing up, I was bused over 20 miles as a student in the first integrated class at Klein High School," he said. "Because of the Governor's decision today, I would now have to go even farther to drop off an absentee ballot and make sure my vote is counted."
The world’s wealthiest individuals have become even richer during the coronavirus pandemic as the prices of financial assets have been supported by widespread policy intervention while employment and wages, well, not so much. The Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank in Washington, chronicles just how bifurcated the road the recovery from an economy slump is likely to be. At the upper end of the spectrum, the combined wealth of all U.S. billionaires increased by $821 billion or 28% between March 18, 2020 and September 10, 2020, from approximately $2.947 trillion to $3.768 trillion. That means they own the equivalent of nearly 20% of U.S. gross domestic product. The richest five billionaires, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk, saw a 59% increase in their total wealth, from $358 billion to $569 billion. One University of Chicago study found that, between the start of February and the end of June, the lowest-income group had the highest job loss rate while the highest-income workers had the [lowest] rate of lob losses. Black and Hispanic workers were also much more likely to become unemployed during the pandemic than Whites despite their predominant role in work deemed ... essential. As the pandemic forced many industries into remote work, millions of Black and Hispanic workers have been left out. “Only 19.7% of Black and 16.2% of Latinx people work in jobs where they are able to telework, compared to 29.9% of White and 37.0% of Asian workers,” the report said.
Prescription drug prices in the U.S. are expensive. One vial of insulin can cost as much as $450, while the same amount goes for about $30 in Canada. Now, California could make its own generic insulin - and other prescription drugs - through a new law passed this week that aims to increase access to affordable medications. California governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation this week that allows the California Health and Human Services Agency to partner with drug manufacturers in order to make or distribute generic prescription drugs. The bill builds on a plan Newsom first announced in January to increase generic drug manufacturing, which would lower prescription drug costs through a state-sponsored prescription drug label called Cal Rx. Cal Rx wouldn’t be developing new drugs ... just attempting to make cheaper versions of generic drugs, or drugs that aren’t currently covered by a patent. The bill does not specify what prescription drugs the state’s health agency would create or distribute through such partnerships - officials are in the process of identifying potential medications - but it does require a partnership for “at least one form of insulin, provided that a viable pathway for manufacturing a more affordable form of insulin exists at a price that results in savings.” Current U.S. laws allow pharmaceutical manufacturers to set their own prices, which isn’t common practice in other countries. In England ... a government agency negotiates directly with pharmaceutical companies.
When the Main Street Phoenix Project buys a distressed restaurant, it will turn the workers into owners, making the industry more equitable. “The hypothesis was that we needed to accelerate, streamline, and simplify the process of converting to employee ownership,” says Jason Wiener, a partner in the new venture. “This was about taking a traditional, tried-and-true business strategy - the private equity firm - and using the tools of concentration and capital efficiency and deploying it not for the benefit of investors, rather, for the benefit of workers.” As an attorney, Wiener has spent years helping small businesses convert to employee ownership, a process that can raise both profits and worker compensation. But the work was slow, and he realized that the response to the pandemic needed to happen much faster. He was particularly concerned about workers at restaurants, who are often women, people of color, or undocumented, with little savings to survive on if they lose their job. “By bringing new capital to the table, from mission-aligned, patient investors, we could buy businesses at significant value, we can hire their workers back, put them into ownership position, and lock in all of that improved cash flow and all that gain in value for the benefit of workers,” he says. After developing the financial model, the partners are now beginning to raise capital and expect to acquire the first restaurant by the end of the year, with plans to acquire around 25 over the next two years.
Almost alone in the Western world, the Swedes refused to impose a coronavirus lockdown last spring, as the country’s leading health officials argued that limited restrictions were sufficient and would better protect against economic collapse. For their part, the Swedes admit to making some mistakes, particularly in nursing homes, where the death toll was staggering. Indeed, comparative analyses show that Sweden’s death rate at the height of the pandemic in the spring far surpassed the rates in neighboring countries and was more protracted. (Others point out that Sweden’s overall death rate is comparable to that of the United States.) Now, though, the question is whether the country’s current low caseload, compared with sharp increases elsewhere, shows that it has found a sustainable balance, something that all Western countries are seeking eight months into the pandemic. With a population of 10.1 million, Sweden averaged just over 200 new cases a day for several weeks. The per capita rate is far lower than nearby Denmark or the Netherlands. Sweden is also doing far better ... than Spain, with 10,000 cases a day, and France, with 12,000. Some experts believe Sweden is now almost fully in control of the virus. “There are indications that the Swedes have gained an element of immunity to the disease, which, together with everything else they are doing to prevent the infection from spreading, is enough to keep the disease down,” Kim Sneppen, professor of biocomplexity at the Niels Bohr Institute ... said.
Note: For the 60 days from Aug. 15 to Oct. 14, Sweden (population 10 million) had a total of 124 coronavirus deaths according to official Johns Hopkins statistics. That's an average of just over two deaths a day with no lockdown or masks required. Compare that to California (population 33 million), which had 5,581 deaths in the same period. That's an average of over 90 deaths a day with lockdown and masks required. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Trump administration has compared Operation Warp Speed's crash program to develop a COVID-19 vaccine to the Manhattan Project. And like the notoriously secretive government project to make the first atomic bomb, the details of Operation Warp Speed's work may take a long time to unravel. One reason is that Operation Warp Speed is issuing billions of dollars' worth of coronavirus vaccine contracts to companies through a nongovernment intermediary, bypassing the regulatory oversight and transparency of traditional federal contracting mechanisms, NPR has learned. Instead of entering into contracts directly with vaccine makers, more than $6 billion in Operation Warp Speed funding has been routed through a defense contract management firm called Advanced Technologies International, Inc. ATI then awarded contracts to companies working on COVID-19 vaccines. As a result, the contracts between the pharmaceutical companies and ATI may not be available through public records requests, and additional documents are exempt from public disclosure for five years. [Robin] Feldman, of UC Hastings, says the administration's comparison of Operation Warp Speed to the Manhattan Project is troubling. "I think that's completely the wrong image," she says. "The right analogy, I think, for Operation Warp Speed is the penicillin effort in World War II. We can do a lot of good together, but we have to make sure pharma companies aren't taking advantage of the crisis."
Note: Read an excellent article showing how most of these contracts are linked to the CIA and DHS and more. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower cautioned the United States against "unwarranted influence" — what he saw as an alarming alignment of corporate interests with military operations, a relationship he famously called: "the military-industrial complex." Col. Lawrence Wilkerson ... spent over 30 years in the U.S. Army [and] was chief of staff for former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. He believes that Eisenhower was right, and is a fierce critic of the military-industrial complex. Or what he calls "the warfare state," an obvious play on "welfare state." He believes military spending ... is ruining America. "Today we have become what Eisenhower's worst nightmare predicted in his farewell address," says Wilkerson. Col. Wilkerson has seen firsthand how military expenditures create a devastating feedback loop with politics. "The country marches on to yet another war, another trillion dollar fiasco, another bloodbath for young men and women who are signed up because they were bribed to do so," says Col. Wilkerson. He says "bribed" unapologetically, as the U.S. military relies disproportionately on personnel from have-not states to fill its ranks. The expenditures, however, don't benefit the troops. "The divorce rate: off the charts in the services now. Suicide rate: off the charts in the services now. More post-traumatic stress then you'd ever imagine," Col. Wilkerson explains. "We are almost $22 trillion in debt right now. We've not been this far in debt since the last year of World War Two."
Note: Read a two-page summary of General Smedley Butler's important book, titled "War is a Racket". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was created to stop deadly pathogens. But 2020 has been a disaster for the CDC. The agency's response to the worst public health crisis in a century - the coronavirus pandemic - has been marked by technical blunders and botched messaging. The agency has endured false accusations and interference by Trump administration political appointees. Worst of all, the CDC has experienced a loss of institutional credibility at a time when the nation desperately needs to know whom to trust. The stumbles started early in the pandemic, with the botched rollout of test kits suspected of being contaminated at a CDC lab in late January. But the agency's most chronic problem has been the inability to speak directly and persuasively to the American public. That's because it has been muzzled ... by political operatives. White House officials have pressured the CDC to change guidance over the last several months to align the guidelines more closely with the administration's message that the pandemic is under control, federal health officials have said. Those actions include revised CDC guidance on mask-wearing and the reopening of religious institutions and schools. "Every big public health response has two components: the public health emergency and the political emergency," said a CDC epidemiologist who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation. "I never would have expected the level of political interference we're seeing now. It's so sad."
At least 50 journalists in the US have been arrested during Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the US, while dozens of others have also been injured by rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas. The US Press Freedom Tracker has collected nearly 500 incidents from 382 reports, from the unrest in Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd‘s killing by police in late May, to demonstrations in more than 70 cities across 35 states since. At least 46 journalists were arrested between the end of May and the beginning of June. Dozens of others reported injuries from law enforcement, firing “less lethal” projectiles, tear gas canisters and other weapons into crowds or directly at reporters during demonstrations, even when they had identified themselves and shown credentials. Two reporters have suffered permanent eye injuries. The latest reports mark a significant spike since the end of May, when nationwide protests started, at which point the organisation had recorded only five arrests and 26 attacks for the entire year. But by the end of the month, the number of attacks had increased nearly five times. “The conversations and reckoning that lie ahead of us as a country are taking shape right now,” Press Freedom Tracker managing editor Kristin McCudden said. “What’s happened in 70 cities in more than 30 states across the nation in one month is unlike anything we’ve seen in modern history and surpasses the Tracker’s entire ... history of documentation.”
Note: Read more about the violent attacks on members of the media by police this year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
A song from South Africa that has gone around the world and been endorsed by presidents and priests has become the sound of the pandemic for millions across southern Africa. Last week the Jerusalema dance challenge was endorsed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The simple dance routine to the 2019 hit Jerusalema by Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode has provided an uplifting soundtrack for difficult times. In February, as lockdowns began to seem like a possibility, it was a group of friends in Angola who shot a video dancing to the song that sparked the global trend. In the video, over lunch, a group of young men holding plates of food start to demonstrate the dance routine to their female counterparts who then join in. It was followed by another video from Portugal, setting the tone for how international the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge would prove to be. “It is a dance that was done by people from Angola, then Portugal followed and it just went viral from that point,” Master KG said. Clips of dancers across the globe now include nuns, construction workers, police officers, waiters and fuel attendants. Emotional videos of healthcare workers in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Italy, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the US, Australia and Puerto Rico have become an uplifting source of hope for patients fighting Covid-19. Not to be outdone are newly married couples who have used the dance to celebrate their love while the sight of Catholic priests dancing to Jerusalema raised eyebrows among spectators.
The level of hunger in U.S. households almost tripled between 2019 and August of this year, according to an analysis of new data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Agriculture. Even more alarming, the proportion of American children who sometimes do not have enough to eat is now as much as 14 times higher than it was last year. The Agriculture Department conducts yearly studies on food insecurity in the U.S., with its report on 2019 released this month. The Census Bureau began frequent household surveys in April in response to Covid-19 that include questions about hunger. The analysis, by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, found that 3.7 percent of U.S. households reported they sometimes or often had “not enough to eat” during 2019. Meanwhile, the most recent Census data from the end of August of this year showed that 10 percent of households said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat within the past seven days. Levels of food insecurity in Black and Latino households are significantly higher, at 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively, compared to 7 percent in white households. Remarkably, this increase in hunger has nothing to do with any actual shortage of food. It is purely the result of political decisions.
Note: How much is severe collateral damage like this from the coronavirus lockdown policies being considered? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are leading candidates for the completion of a Covid-19 vaccine likely to be released in the coming months. These companies have published their vaccine trial protocols. Close inspection of the protocols raises surprising concerns. These trials seem designed to prove their vaccines work, even if the measured effects are minimal. Prevention of infection is not a criterion for success for any of these vaccines. In fact, their endpoints all require confirmed infections and all those they will include in the analysis for success, the only difference being the severity of symptoms between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Measuring differences amongst only those infected by SARS-CoV-2 underscores the implicit conclusion that the vaccines are not expected to prevent infection, only modify symptoms of those infected. We all expect an effective vaccine to prevent serious illness if infected. Three of the vaccine protocols - Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca - do not require that their vaccine prevent serious disease only that they prevent moderate symptoms which may be as mild as cough, or headache. A vaccine must significantly or entirely reduce deaths from Covid-19. None list mortality as a critical endpoint.
Note: Read also this article in BMJ (British Medical Journal) titled "Will covid-19 vaccines save lives? Current trials aren't designed to tell us." And this CNBC article is titled "Dr. Fauci says masks, social distancing will still be needed after a Covid-19 vaccine." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccine issues from reliable major media sources.
California plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars statewide by 2035, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday, in a sweeping move aimed at accelerating the state’s efforts to combat global warming amid a deadly and record-breaking wildfire season. In an executive order, Governor Newsom directed California’s regulators to develop a plan that would require automakers to sell steadily more zero-emissions passenger vehicles in the state, such as battery-powered or hydrogen-powered cars and pickup trucks, until they make up 100 percent of new auto sales in just 15 years. The plan would also set a goal for all heavy-duty trucks on the road in California to be zero emissions by 2045 where possible. And the order directs the state’s transportation agencies to look for near-term actions to reduce Californian’s reliance on driving by, for example, expanding access to mass transit and biking. “This is the next big global industry,” Governor Newsom said at a news conference on Wednesday, referring to clean-energy technologies such as electric vehicles. “And California wants to dominate it.” California has long cast itself as a global leader on climate-change policy, having already passed a law to get 100 percent of its electricity from wind, solar and other sources that don’t produce carbon dioxide by 2045.
New data from Strava, the fitness tracking app used by 68 million global users, shows that several U.S. cities saw significant year-over-year growth in both bike trips and cyclists in much of 2020. Among the six U.S. cities for which Strava provided data, Houston and Los Angeles, two sprawling metropolises where just .5% and 1% of the respective populations biked to work in pre-pandemic times, stand out. In Houston, the total volume of cycling trips ... was 138% higher in May 2020 than in May 2019. In Los Angeles, the jump was 93%. Unlike their peers, these two places also saw cycling increases in April, the first full month of widespread stay-at-home order and economic shutdowns. Yet other major cities saw more people pedaling this spring and summer. After a drop in trips in April, New York City saw a steady rise in cycling in the ensuing months, with nearly 80% year-over-year growth in trips for July. Chicago saw significant, though more modest, increases, with a 34% bump that same month. Research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control comparing Strava users who track their bike and walking commutes on the app to U.S. Census Bureau commute data has found that Strava is a reliable indicator of how the broader population moves. On Wednesday, the company announced that a web platform that aggregates, de-identifies and analyzes Strava trips on foot or bike is now free for use by urban planners, city governments and street safety advocates who apply.
Finland has deployed coronavirus-sniffing dogs at the Nordic country’s main international airport in a four-month trial of an alternative testing method that could become a cost-friendly and quick way to identify infected travelers. Four dogs of different breeds trained by Finland’s Smell Detection Association started working Wednesday at the Helsinki Airport as part of the government-financed trial. “It’s a very promising method,” Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, a University of Helsinki ... said. “If it works, it will be a good (coronavirus) screening method at any other places,” she said, listing hospitals, ports, elderly people’s homes, sports venues and cultural events among the possible locations where trained dogs could put their snouts to work. Finland is the second country after the United Arab Emirates - and the first in Europe - to assign dogs to sniff out the coronavirus. Passengers who agree to take a free test under the voluntary program in Helsinki do not have direct physical contact with a dog. They are asked to swipe their skin with a wipe which is then put into a jar and given to a dog waiting in a separate booth. The participating animals - ET, Kossi, Miina and Valo - previously underwent training to detect cancer, diabetes or other diseases. It takes the dog a mere 10 seconds to sniff the virus samples before it gives the test result by scratching a paw, laying down, barking or otherwise making its conclusion known. The process should be completed within one minute, according to Hielm-Bjorkman.
If you were to approve a coronavirus vaccine, would you approve one that you only knew protected people only from the most mild form of Covid-19, or one that would prevent its serious complications? The answer is obvious. You would want to protect against the worst cases. But that's not how the companies testing three of the leading coronavirus vaccine candidates, Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca ... are approaching the problem. According to the protocols for their studies ... a vaccine could meet the companies' benchmark for success if it lowered the risk of mild Covid-19, but was never shown to reduce moderate or severe forms of the disease, or the risk of hospitalization, admissions to the intensive care unit or death. To say a vaccine works should mean that most people no longer run the risk of getting seriously sick. That's not what these trials will determine. Influenza vaccines ... reduce the risk of mild disease in healthy adults. But there is no solid evidence they reduce the number of deaths. In fact, significant increases in vaccination rates over the past decades have not been associated with reductions in deaths. Moderna and Pfizer acknowledge their vaccines appear to induce side effects that are similar to the symptoms of mild Covid-19. In Pfizer's early phase trial, more than half of the vaccinated participants experienced headache, muscle pain and chills. If the vaccines ultimately provide no benefit beyond a reduced risk of mild Covid-19, they could end up causing more discomfort than they prevent.
Note: Did you know that the FDA allows cancer cells to be used in vaccines? And the Vatican has stated "It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
Facebook has suspended the accounts of several environmental organizations less than a week after launching an initiative it said would counter a tide of misinformation over climate science on the platform. Groups such as Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote and Rainforest Action Network were among those blocked from posting or sending messages on Facebook over the weekend. Activists say hundreds of other individual accounts linked to indigenous, climate and social justice groups were also suspended. The suspended people and groups were all involved in a Facebook event from May last year that targeted KKR & Co, a US investment firm that is backing the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a 670km-long gas development being built in northern British Columbia, Canada. The suspensions, the day before another online action aimed at KKR & Co, has enraged activists who oppose the pipeline for its climate impact and for cutting through the land of the Wetʼsuwetʼen, a First Nations people. “Videos of extreme violence, alt-right views and calls for violence by militias in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are allowed to persist on Facebook,” said Delee Nikal, a Wet’suwet’en community member. “Yet we are banned.” Many of the accounts have now been restored, but a handful are still blocked. The suspensions came just a few days after the social media giant said it was launching a “climate science information center” to counter ... posts that reject the established science of the climate crisis.
Global banks faced a fresh scandal about dirty money on Monday as they sought to limit the fallout from a cache of leaked documents showing they transferred more than $2 trillion in suspect funds over nearly two decades. Britain-based HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and Barclays Plc, Germany's Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, and U.S.-headquartered JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of New York Mellon Corp were among the lenders named in the report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and based on leaked documents. The report was based on 2,100 leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs), covering transactions between 1999 and 2017, filed by banks and other financial firms with the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Banks are required to file an SAR whenever handling funds that cause grounds for suspicion of criminal activity. The reports revealed broader problems with the monitoring system at the heart of global policing of money laundering and other criminal activity. Investors worried about the potential fallout for global banks, many of which have faced hefty fines in the past for lapses in controls and spent billions of dollars to bolster compliance. "It confirms what we already knew: that there are huge amounts of SARs being filed with relatively low numbers of cases brought through to prosecution,” said Etelka Bogardi, a Hong Kong-based financial services partner at Norton Rose Fulbright. "It also brings out the point that managing financial crime risk goes beyond making SARs," Bogardi said.
Note: The original ICIJ report is titled “Global banks defy U.S. crackdowns by serving oligarchs, criminals and terrorists.” Compare with the title of the New York Times article on this, “Banks Suspected Illegal Activity, but Processed Big Transactions Anyway.” A search on this topic shows that headlines of almost all major media have watered this down, likely to not upset the big banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
More states and countries are coming to the conclusion that COVID-19 lockdowns like those in China and New Zealand are overly restrictive and too costly. People in democracies will simply not tolerate them. Sweden has "flattened the curve" of COVID-19 without ordering its citizens to stay inside. It has kept open its shops, schools for those under 16, and restaurants and bars. Its health authorities trusted its citizens to wash their hands and social distance without imposing laws. Anders Tegnell, the Swedish epidemiologist [said,] "We see no point in wearing a face mask." Swedish health authorities ... pride themselves on "following the science" and are highly respected. Sweden made a mistake ... when it, like the state of New York, sent recovering patients back to their nursing homes too soon (in the U.S., nursing home residents [and staff] account for ... 45% of COVID-19 fatalities). [Yet Swedish] schools stayed open with little risk to students. Studies from Sweden and the Netherlands ... have found teachers at no greater risk than the overall population. Sweden is approaching record lows while its European neighbors are seeing increasing rates. Sweden had about 30,000 new cases in June ... and was down to 7,000 new cases in August. During this time, cases took off in Spain, France and Germany. Sweden's current rate of positive tests is lower than those in Norway and Denmark. [Its] economy will contract by about 4.6%. In contrast, the European Union economy is expected to contract 11.9%. The U.S. economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate between April and June. New Zealand's GDP contracted by 13.8% in the April-June period and has entered a recession, which Sweden has not.
Note: Explore a revealing article in the BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) for more on Sweden's unusual success. Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Millions of Americans have lost jobs during a pandemic that kept restaurants, shops and public institutions closed for months and hit the travel industry hard. While lower-wage workers have borne much of the brunt, the crisis is wreaking a particular kind of havoc on the debt-laden middle class. Before the pandemic, Americans had amassed $4.2 trillion in consumer debt, excluding mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a record even when adjusting for inflation. Housing debt added an additional $10 trillion to the tally. The coronavirus has spared few industries and expanded unemployment benefits designed to replace the average American income didn’t cover all the lost pay of higher-earning workers, especially in or near expensive cities. The extra $600 weekly payments expired in July, putting them even further behind. Unemployment has fallen from its pandemic peak of near 15%, but the rate stood at 8.4% in August, up from 3.5% in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment for the arts, design, media, sports and entertainment was 12.7% in August, more than triple its year-earlier level. In education, it more than doubled to 10.2%. Sales and office unemployment was 7.8% in August, up from 3.8% in August 2019. It could get worse. Many people who have jobs are struggling with pay cuts. As of August, 17 million workers were getting paid less due to the pandemic. Some 9.5 million took pay cuts; the remaining 7.5 million are working fewer hours.
Note: You can find the full article available for free viewing on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
AstraZeneca revealed details of its large coronavirus vaccine trials on Saturday, the third in a wave of rare disclosures by drug companies under pressure to be more transparent about how they are testing products that are the world's best hope for ending the pandemic. Polls are finding Americans increasingly wary of accepting a coronavirus vaccine. Experts have been particularly concerned about AstraZeneca's vaccine trials, which began in April in Britain, because of the company's refusal to provide details about serious neurological illnesses in two participants, both women, who received its experimental vaccine in Britain. Those cases spurred the company to halt its trials twice, the second time earlier this month. The studies have resumed in Britain, Brazil, India and South Africa, but are still on pause in the U.S. About 18,000 people worldwide have received AstraZeneca's vaccine so far. The company has released few details about the two cases of serious illness in its trial. The first participant received one dose of the vaccine before developing inflammation of the spinal cord, known as transverse myelitis. The condition can cause weakness in the arms and legs, paralysis, pain and bowel and bladder problems. The company said it had not confirmed a diagnosis in the second case, a participant who got sick after the second dose of the vaccine. A person familiar with the situation who spoke with The Times on the condition of anonymity said the participant's illness had been pinpointed as transverse myelitis.
Note: Why won't the company let the two who became seriously ill speak to the media? And why initially did they hide the fact that the illnesses were serious? And why are top vaccine executives now dumping their shares of stocks? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Alexandria police chief, Mike Ward, was “sick and tired” of sending his officers to respond to 911 calls that they lacked the skills and time to handle. In this small Kentucky town of 10,000 people ... two-thirds of the calls police responded to were not criminal – instead, they were mental health crises and arguments resulting from long-brewing interpersonal conflicts. Police would show up, but they could rarely offer long-lasting solutions. Often, it was inevitable that they would be called back to the same address for the same problem again and again. In 2016 he decided to try a new approach: he talked the city into hiring a social worker for the police department. The current police chief, Lucas Cooper, said he was “the most vocal opponent” of the plan at the time. But now four years later, Cooper sees the program as indispensable: it frees officers from repeat calls for non-criminal issues and gets residents the help they needed, but couldn’t get. In Alexandria two social workers are now on the police department’s payroll. But while working for the police, they are not cops: they do not have arresting powers and they do not carry weapons. They ride in a Ford Focus instead of a police cruiser. They wear polo shirts, not police uniforms, and carry a radio with a panic button in case they find themselves in danger. “We’re like a non-threatening type of follow-up,” said Cassie Hensley, one of the department’s social workers. “I’ve been told by individuals that they’re very glad I didn’t show up in a police cruiser ... and that they’re more likely to talk to me.”
Note: Could it be beneficial rather than defunding police to include social workers in their ranks for the many calls involving mental health? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Netflix’s brilliant new 90-minute docu-drama, The Social Dilemma ... might be the most important watch of recent years. The film, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival in January, takes a premise that’s unlikely to set the world alight ... ie that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al aren’t exactly creating a utopia. Its masterstroke is in recruiting the very Silicon Valley insiders that built these platforms to explain their terrifying pitfalls – which they’ve realised belatedly. You don’t get a much clearer statement of social media’s dangers than an ex-Facebook executive’s claim that: “In the shortest time horizon I’m most worried about civil war.” The commonly held belief that social media companies sell users’ data is quickly cast aside – the data is actually used to create a sophisticated psychological profile of you. What they’re selling is their ability to manipulate you, or as one interviewee puts it: “It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behaviour and perception. It’s the only thing for them to make money from: changing what you do, how you think, who you are.” Despite it being public knowledge that Vote Leave and Trump’s 2016 election campaign harvested voters’ Facebook data on a gigantic scale, The Social Dilemma still manages to find fresh and vital tales of how these platforms destabilise modern politics. Russia’s Facebook hack to influence the 2016 US election? “The Russians didn’t hack Facebook. They used the tools that Facebook made for legitimate advertisers,” laments one of the company’s ex-investors.
Nashville officials reportedly concealed the low number of COVID-19 cases deriving from bars and restaurants in the city, according to emails between the Metro Health Department and Mayor John Cooper's office. On June 30, contact tracing found that construction and nursing homes were the cause of most Nashville coronavirus cases with thousands traced back to those specific categories. Only 22 cases were traced back to bars and restaurants. In the series of emails obtained by FOX 17 News, a discussion between the two offices about how to conceal the number associated with restaurants and bars from the public was shown. "This isn't going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor's Office?" wrote Leslie Waller from the health department. Senior Advisor Benjamin Eagles responded: "Correct, not for public consumption." A month later ... reporter Nate Rau asked the health department about rumors circulating that only 80 cases resulted from the city's bars and restaurants. Rau asked: "The figure you gave of 'more than 80' does lead to a natural question: If there have been over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Davidson and only 80 or so are traced to restaurants and bars, doesn't that mean restaurants and bars aren't a very big problem?" "We raised taxes 34 percent and put ... literally thousands of people out of work that are now worried about losing their homes, their apartments ... and we did it on bogus data. That should be illegal," [Nashville Councilman Steve] Glover told FOX 17 News.
A new study digs into the reasons people are wrongly convicted, and it has found that 54 percent of those defendants are victimized by official misconduct, with police involved in 34 percent of cases, prosecutors in 30 percent, and some cases involving both police and prosecutors. The study by the National Registry of Exonerations reviewed 2,400 exonerations it has logged between 1989 and 2019, nearly 80 percent of which were for violent felonies. Of the 2,400, 93 innocent defendants were sentenced to death and later cleared before they were executed. The study also found that police and prosecutors are rarely disciplined for actions that lead to a wrongful conviction. Researchers found that 4 percent of prosecutors involved in those convictions were disciplined, but the penalties were “comparatively mild” and only three were disbarred. Police officers were disciplined in 19 percent of cases leading to wrongful convictions, and in 80 percent of those cases officers were convicted of crimes, such as Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts, who led a group of officers who planted drug or gun evidence leading to 66 false convictions. The 2,400 cases are far from a comprehensive count, since there is no centralized national database of criminal cases at the state and local levels. So an estimate of how often wrongful convictions occur, as a percentage of overall cases, is not possible. The study acknowledges there are other areas to examine, including quantifying ineffective assistance by defense attorneys.
While many European countries are seeing new cases surge to levels not seen since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sweden – whose light-touch approach has made it an international outlier – has one of the continent’s lowest infection rates. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), [its] 14-day cumulative total of new cases was 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday, against 279 in Spain, 158.5 in France, 118 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Belgium and 59 in the UK, all of which imposed lockdowns this spring. Sweden also has fewer new daily infections than Norway and Denmark. Thirteen Covid-19 patients are in intensive care in Swedish hospitals, and its seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths is zero. “We don’t have the resurgence of the disease that many countries have,” Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist [said] in an interview, adding that the country was broadly happy with its overall strategy. Unlike many countries, Sweden closed schools for the over-16s but kept those for younger pupils open. Schools and universities are now open again. It also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and told people over 70 and in at-risk groups to self-isolate. Otherwise, the population of 10 million was asked, rather than ordered, to respect physical distancing and work from home if possible. Shops, bars, restaurants and gyms stayed open and the wearing of masks has not so far been recommended. Tegnell has insisted the aim was not to achieve rapid herd immunity but to slow the spread of coronavirus enough for health services to be able to cope.
Note: A Swedish MD on the front lines shares thoughts on why Sweden's COVID death rate has been in the single digits for weeks. Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. This graph shows that Sweden is doing well compared to other countries considering that they have not instituted a lockdown. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
Media portrayals of adolescence shape how society views young people and, as positive youth development scholars note, whether they are seen as risks to be managed or resources to be developed. My own research on adolescent mindfulness and virtue inspired me to learn more about how adolescents are faring during the pandemic. Zoya Sethi is a ninth grader from Delhi, India. She and four of her friends observed that after the shutdown of industries in the cities, millions migrated hundreds of kilometers by foot back to their villages, and women had no access to feminine hygiene pads. In response, they began a campaign through Instagram (@we_standwithher). Lucas Hung is a 12th grader from Vancouver, British Columbia. He and four friends similarly used Instagram to raise funds for those in need, with the dual goal of uniting their classmates (@_viralcause_) The teens also found meaning in smaller acts of service that filled critical needs in their communities. “It was so cool to see that something as small as offering to teach a 40-minute online dance class to their kids could make parents’ lives so much better,” explained Devyn Slade, a 12th grade volunteer dance instructor. Teens also empathized with the plight of seniors in retirement communities. One group wrote letters to older adults, “trying to make them feel connected, seen, and loved during this time where they’re facing tons of isolation and fear and hard times,” said Connor Macmillan, a 12th grade water polo player.
The elephant in the room is extreme income inequality. How big is this elephant? A staggering $50 trillion. That is how much the upward redistribution of income has cost American workers over the past several decades ... according to a groundbreaking new working paper by Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation. Had the more equitable income distributions of the three decades following World War II (1945 through 1974) merely held steady, the aggregate annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 trillion higher in the year 2018 alone. That is an amount equal to nearly 12 percent of GDP - enough to more than double median income - enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Price and Edwards calculate that the cumulative tab for our four-decade-long experiment in radical inequality had grown to over $47 trillion from 1975 through 2018. As a result, the top 1 percent’s share of total taxable income has more than doubled, from 9 percent in 1975, to 22 percent in 2018, while the bottom 90 percent have seen their income share fall, from 67 percent to 50 percent. This represents a direct transfer of income ... from the vast majority of working Americans to a handful at the very top. A 2014 report from the OECD estimated that rising income inequality knocked as much 9 points off U.S. GDP growth over the previous two decades.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Income inequality has given the rich a greater share of the economic spoils than middle- and low-income earners. That's resulted in a very real impact on the incomes of middle- and low-income households, with the typical full-time American worker now earning $42,000 less than they would have if inequality hadn't surged over the last four decades. That's according to a new analysis from researchers at Rand, the global policy think tank. Its researchers wanted to look at the dollars-and-cents impact on U.S. households from yawning income inequality. Prior to the mid-1970s, Americans' incomes, no matter their level, generally rose in step with overall economic growth. That changed in the late 1970s, with the rich capturing the lion's share of economic growth, while middle-class and lower-income workers eked out gains far below par. In 2018, the typical full-time worker earned about $50,000 — but if that same worker had kept up with the economy's expansion, they would have earned $92,000 annually, the Rand analysis found. Only the top 5% of Americans have enjoyed earnings that approached or exceeded the nation's economic growth. Meanwhile, the top 1% has come out far ahead, gaining a far greater share of economic growth than they did prior to the 1970s. The typical person in the top 1% earned $1.4 million in 2018, but would have earned $630,000 – less than half that amount – were it not for benefitting from widening inequality, the analysis found.
The United States is poised to continue spending more money on the Pentagon than the next 10 countries combined, with some 1 million troops deployed in about 175 countries. In other words, there's no end in sight for our forever wars. Monday marks the 19th anniversary of the vote to pass the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, a blank check to deploy U.S. military personnel anywhere in the world in the name of going after terrorists. Our country's response to that attack has had unintended and tragic consequences: war profiteering by military contractors, traumatic impact to our soldiers, and massive numbers of refugees and civilian casualties around the world. Under the auspices of two laws that are now nearly 20 years old, the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, the United States is militarily engaged in 80 countries, outside of the public eye and with little congressional oversight. The past four years have seen the Trump administration cite these laws as the legal justification to assassinate a foreign government official and take us to the brink of war with Iran, expand the U.S. military footprint in the African continent and indefinitely occupy eastern Syria. Yet the past four years have also seen a growing recognition in Congress that ... we must repeal these laws and reclaim the legislative branch's sole constitutional authority to declare war. For far too long, Congress has relied on the executive branch to tell us what does and does not constitute war.
Note: The above was written by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California's 13th Congressional District. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Teen and youth anxiety and depression are getting worse since COVID lockdowns began in March, early studies suggest, and many experts say they fear a corresponding increase in youth suicide. At the end of June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed Americans on their mental health. They found symptoms of anxiety and depression were up sharply across the board between March and June, compared with the same time the previous year. And young people seemed to be the hardest-hit of any group. Almost 11 percent of all respondents to that survey said they had "seriously considered" suicide in the past 30 days. For those ages 18 to 24, the number was 1 in 4 – more than twice as high. Data collection for several studies on teen mental health during the pandemic is currently underway. And experts worry those studies will show a spike in suicide, because young people are increasingly cut off from peers and caring adults, because their futures are uncertain and because they are spending more time at home, where they are most likely to have access to lethal weapons. "Teenagers are in a developmental space where it is critically important that they have regular contact with their peers and are able to develop close and ongoing relationships with adults outside the home, such as their teachers, their coaches, their advisers," says Lisa Damour, an adolescent psychologist. "And I worry very much about what it means for that to be disrupted by the pandemic."
Note: Lots more in this Psychology Today article titled "America Is Facing a Teen Suicide Pandemic." A Nov. 28, 2020 CNN article is titled, "In Japan, more people died from suicide last month than from Covid in all of 2020. And women have been impacted most." And according to this USA Today article, millions went hungry on Thanksgiving as a result of lockdown policies. Are these policies causing more long-term damage than the virus itself? For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.
At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II. It is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies. The report accounts for the number of people, mostly civilians, displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, where fighting has been the most significant, and says the figure is a conservative estimate — the real number may range from 48 million to 59 million. The calculation does not include the millions of other people who have been displaced in countries with smaller U.S. counterterrorism operations, according to the report, including those in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger. “This has been one of the major forms of damage, of course along with the deaths and injuries, that have been caused by these wars,” said David Vine, a professor of anthropology ... and the lead author of the report.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump launched an unprecedented public attack against the leadership of the US military on Monday, accusing them of waging wars to boost the profits of defense manufacturing companies. "I'm not saying the military's in love with me - the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy," Trump [said]. Trump's extraordinary comments come as several defense officials tell CNN relations between the President and Pentagon leadership are becoming increasingly strained. They also followed efforts by Trump to convince the public that he had not made a series of reported disparaging remarks about US military personnel and veterans, which were first reported by The Atlantic magazine. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared to attempt to walk back Trump's comments ... saying the President's accusations against the "top people at the Pentagon" were not directed specifically at people like Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. "Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, DC," Meadows said, saying "That comment was more directed about the military industrial complex." Trump has also repeatedly touted boosting the defense budget as one of his administration's major accomplishments.
Note: Is Trump actually breaking ranks with almost every other U.S. president and going after the military-industrial complex?
President Trump just made a major announcement. Trump is now prohibiting federal agencies from conducting cultural sensitivity trainings because, according to the report, they are “divisive, anti-American propaganda.” Diversity trainings that focus on educating participants about white privilege, critical race theory and the racist origins of the United States apparently create “division and resentment” amongst federal employees. What is deeply problematic about this new ban is that the U.S. has a habit of avoiding the country’s dark and racist past. Evading the issue will not make it go away. The memorandum states that the Trump administration is “fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals.” It’s important to note that the goal is not equality but rather equity. Equality is treating everyone the same. The reason equality is not the goal is because it does not take into consideration the different barriers and challenges that have been experienced. Equity, on the other hand, is taking one’s unique needs and challenges into consideration and providing support based on these unique needs. There is an implication that everyone should be treated the exact same way, which is not the objective. Because there has been a long history of unequal treatment, there has to be efforts made to rectify this. Equality does not work to actively address or correct systems that have allowed unfair treatment. Because these impacts are still being felt today, having an equity focus is needed for progress to continue.
Whether the coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna succeeds or not, executives at the small biotech company have already made tens of millions of dollars by cashing in their stock. An NPR examination of official company disclosures has revealed additional irregularities and potential warning signs. Since January, CEO StĂ©phane Bancel has sold roughly $40 million worth of Moderna stock; Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks has sold around $60 million; and President Stephen Hoge has sold more than $10 million. The stock sales first came to widespread notice after Moderna announced positive early data from a vaccine trial in May. At that point, the company's share price jumped and official disclosures showed executives cashing in their shares for millions of dollars. Advocates have questioned whether it's appropriate for executives to privately profit before bringing the vaccine to market, especially when American taxpayers have committed roughly $2.5 billion to the company's vaccine development. Moderna says its executives pre-scheduled their stock sales long in advance. Those schedules - known as 10b5-1 plans - can act as a defense to charges of insider trading. But the plans have to be put in place when executives do not have confidential inside information. NPR has found multiple executives adopted or modified their plans just before key announcements about the company's vaccine. That has raised questions about whether they were aware of nonpublic information when they planned their stock trades.
Note: Explore a revealing NBC article titled "Secret, powerful panels will pick Covid-19 vaccine winners." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Jocelynn James, a recovered drug addict ... saved the life of the police officer who put her in jail nearly a decade ago. Between 2007-2012, James was arrested 16 times for theft and drug charges. “I was just living a really bad life, doing a lot of really bad things that I shouldn’t have had no business doing,” James said. Terrell Potter, a former officer with Phil Campbell Police Department, said James was going through a difficult place in her life. “She was out running crazy, stealing and doing drugs,” Potter said. “I locked her up a couple of times.” James said she was finally able to get her life straightened out, and on Nov. 5, she will celebrate eight years out of jail and eight years sober. James said Potter saved her life by arresting her and leading her to turn her life around. Last November, Potter learned that his kidney was failing, only functioning at 5%. Doctors told Potter that he would face a seven to eight-year waiting period for a kidney. After scrolling on her phone on Facebook, James learned that Potter needed a kidney. “I just threw my phone down and the holy spirit told me right then that I had that man’s kidney.” After a series of hospital tests, James learned that they were a perfect match. “If you asked me 100 names of who may give me a kidney, her name would have not been on the list,” Potter said. On July 21, Potter received a successful kidney transplant. “All the numbers were great. It started working from the time it was put in,” Potter said. “Her giving me a kidney ... extended my life.”
Seven years after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans' telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional. Snowden, who fled to Russia in the aftermath of the 2013 disclosures and still faces U.S. espionage charges, said on Twitter that the ruling was a vindication of his decision to go public with evidence of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping operation. "I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA's activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them," Snowden said. Evidence that the NSA was secretly building a vast database of U.S. telephone records ... was the first and arguably the most explosive of the Snowden revelations published by the Guardian newspaper in 2013. Up until that moment, top intelligence officials publicly insisted the NSA never knowingly collected information on Americans at all. After the program's exposure, U.S. officials fell back on the argument that the spying had played a crucial role in fighting domestic extremism. But the Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that those claims were "inconsistent with the contents of the classified record."
Giving money or resources to your children or aging parents is likely to increase their life span, according to a new paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. There is a linear relationship between the amount and frequency of wealth transfers and the lengths of individuals' lives, the study results have shown. The researchers' goal was to track data on how every individual in a given society consumes and saves. Intergenerational wealth transfers can include money, but they can also include houses, benefits or time. The researchers recognized that other factors - such as country's gross domestic product (GDP) and income inequality - also affect a population's life expectancy and adjusted their models to include those factors. One likely reason, [lead study author Tobias] Vogt said, for the correlation between countries experiencing greater longevity in the presence of financial transfers was that those countries exhibited stronger social cohesion. To back that up, he cited a 2010 meta-analysis ... with an aggregate of 148 separate studies involving a total of more than 300,000 participants. It found that survival was 50% greater for those with stronger social relationships compared to those with lesser or no social bonds. Generosity and life expectancy are among the six variables scientists look at when making the World Happiness Report, which is released annually by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.
Thanks to the internet and MOOC (massive open online courses) culture, it's not hard to find courses from prestigious universities such as Yale online for free or cheap. Counter to the Ivy League's legacy of exclusivity, MOOCs are designed to remove traditional education barriers: price and location. In fact, Yale offers access to a handful of recorded in-person courses such as African American History: From Emancipation to the Present via Open Yale Courses, a platform where anyone can access the lectures. However, lecture-listeners won't earn course credit, degrees, or a certificate of completion. If you're looking for a classroom-like educational experience with more structure, feedback, and peers, you'll want to turn to Coursera. The online learning platform features more than a dozen Yale courses that range in topic from economics to parenting to happiness. Coursera classes typically include video lectures, resources, community discussions, and quizzes. They're free to enroll in, but you'll have to pay a low fee (starting at $49) for features like graded homework assignments or certificates of completion, which can be added to a LinkedIn page. Based on the most popular course in Yale's history, [The Science of Well-Being] combines positive psychology with the real-life applications of behavioral science to increase your own happiness using concrete, productive habits. Read our full review of The Science of Well-Being course here.
Denmark, currently the second happiest country on earth, is now home to The Happiness Museum, an institution dedicated to the idea of happiness and how it has been perceived and discussed over the centuries. The Happiness Museum officially opened on July 14 in a small 240-squaremeter (2,585 square foot) space in Copenhagen. During a time when museums are getting hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this museum feels like a shining ray of hope. “There might not be a lot of guests these days, but the world does need a little bit more happiness,” said Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute. The institute is particularly focused on studying why some societies are happier than others, with the objective to help affect political and societal change. “We thought, why don't we create a place where people can experience happiness from different perspectives and give them an exhibition where they can become a little bit wiser around some of the questions we try to solve?” said Wiking. Instead of rainbows, puppies, or things that are soft, squishy, or shiny, visitors to the museum are met with exhibits and interactive experiences to show them how different countries perceive happiness. Visitor’s reactions to interactive experiences also help the institute further its research. “We might be Danish or Mexican or American or Chinese, but we are first and foremost people,” Wiking said. “It's the same things that drive happiness no matter where we're from.”
Lesley Stahl reports on an innovative project that uses artificial intelligence technology to allow people to talk with Holocaust survivors, even after their death. This high-tech initiative is a project of the USC Shoah Foundation. The project's creators film lengthy interviews with Holocaust survivors, then enter all the recorded answers into a database. When a person asks a spoken question, voice recognition technology identifies what the person is asking, then artificial intelligence identifies the best answer to the question and pull up the video of that response. [Stahl] digitally spoke with ... Eva Kor, an identical twin who survived the brutal experiments of Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Kor died in July 2019 at the age of 85, yet there she was, in a life-like projection, willing to answer Stahl's questions, even her recollections of Mengele: "When I looked into his eyes, I could see nothing but evil," the digital Kor told Stahl. "People say that the eyes are the center of the soul, and in Mengele's case, that was correct." In 1992, 60 Minutes reported on Mengele's twin experiments, and Stahl interviewed the living Kor. Kor recalled how her twin sister, Miriam, helped sustain her life at Auschwitz. "I was continuously fainting out of hunger; even after, I survived," Kor said. "Yet Miriam saved her bread for one whole week. Now can you imagine what willpower does it take?" Kor told Stahl it had taken her 40 years before she was able to speak with her sister about the atrocities they experienced at Auschwitz.
Note: The 60 Minutes video at the link above is quite revealing. If only good people around the world were willing to step out of their comfort zones and see what Dr. Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death at Auschwitz, did to his concentration camp inmates, we might live in a kinder gentler world. If you are open to learning more see an excellent two-page summary on secret Nazi experiments and this well documented webpage on how Mengele may have been allowed to escape to then serve in secret American projects. By shining a light into the dark shadows, we can transform our our world.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has informed the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence that it'll no longer be briefing in-person on election security issues, according to letters obtained by CNN. Instead, ODNI will primarily provide written updates to the congressional panels, a senior administration official said. The abrupt announcement is a change that runs counter to the pledge of transparency and regular briefings on election threats by the intelligence community. It also comes after the top intelligence official on election security issued a statement earlier this month saying China, Russia and Iran are seeking to interfere in the 2020 US election. US officials charged with protecting the 2020 election also said last week that they have "no information or intelligence" foreign countries, including Russia, are attempting to undermine any part of the mail-in voting process, contradicting President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly pushed false claims that foreign adversaries are targeting mail ballots as part of a "rigged" presidential race. Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner called the decision to stop in-person briefings an "unprecedented attempt to politicize an issue - protecting our democracy from foreign intervention - that should be non-partisan. Congress and the American public need to know more information about the election interference threat — not less," the Virginia Democrat said.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus. Most of these people are not likely to be contagious. The most widely used diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, called a PCR test, provides a simple yes-no answer to the question of whether a patient is infected. “We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all,” [epidemiologist Dr. Michael] Mina said. “We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making.” But yes-no isn’t good enough, he added. It’s the amount of virus that should dictate the infected patient’s next steps. The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious. This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are. In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.
White supremacist groups have infiltrated US law enforcement agencies in every region of the country over the last two decades. In a timely new analysis, Michael German, a former FBI special agent who has written extensively on the ways that US law enforcement have failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats, concludes that US law enforcement officials have been tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000, and hundreds of police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content. Police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. Police in Sacramento, California, in 2018 worked with neo-Nazis to pursue charges against anti-racist activists. This week, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, faced intense scrutiny over their response to armed white men and militia groups gathered in the city amid demonstrations by Black Lives Matter activists and others over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who appeared to consider himself a militia member ... was arrested on suspicion of murder after the fatal shooting of two protesters. Activists in Kenosha say police there have responded aggressively and violently to Black Lives Matter demonstrators, while doing little to stop armed white vigilantes.
Note: Read how law enforcement prioritizes investigations of peaceful activists over investigations of violent white supremacist groups. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Wind farms come with many benefits - but they can be a danger to local birds. A new study suggests a small tweak to the turbine design could make a big difference in terms of avian safety, and all it takes is a paint job. In an experiment run on the Norwegian archipelago of Smřla, changing the colour of just one of the turbine blades to black led to an average of 70 percent annual reduction in bird fatalities, as measured over three and a half years. In a linked experiment, painting part of some of the turbine towers black also resulted in fewer bird deaths. While the study only involved one wind farm and a small number of birds ... it points to a way of keeping birds from harm without major reengineering. "In this case it was resource demanding to paint the rotor blades, since the wind turbines were already installed," says conservation biologist Roel May. "If the painting is done before construction, however, both the cost and the bird mortality will be reduced." Very little data is available on just how many bird deaths are caused each year by wind turbines. Some estimates put it at the tens of thousands. Painted blades could be one solution to the problem. The researchers think it makes the turbines more visible to birds, reducing what's known as motion smear – where moving objects are more difficult to get a visual lock on. The study also looked at other possible ways of reducing bird deaths, such as covering blades with ultraviolet paint, and positioning turbines in such a way as to avoid areas of updraft that birds use to soar.
A four-inch wafer of silicon has been turned into an army of one million microscopic, walking robots, thanks to some clever engineering employed by researchers at Cornell University in New York. In a paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, a team of roboticists detail the creation of their invisible army of robots, which are less than 0.1mm in size (about the width of a human hair) and cannot be seen with the naked eye. The robots ... take advantage of an innovative, new class of actuators, which are the legs of the microrobots. Controlling movement in these tiny machines requires the researchers to shine a laser on minuscule light-sensitive circuits on their backs, which propels their four legs forward. They've been designed to operate in all manner of environments such as extreme acidity and temperatures. One of their chief purposes, the researchers say, could be to investigate the human body from the inside. The team was able to build incredibly small legs, which are connected to two different patches on the back of the robot - one for the front pair of legs, one for the back. Alternating light between the patches propels the microrobot forward. The research team were able to show the microrobots devices could fit within the narrowest hypodermic needle and thus, could be "injected" into the body. The machines aren't intelligent enough to target a diseased cell or respond to stimuli, so there's no application for this invisible army. However, the researchers said that "their capabilities can rapidly evolve."
Note: Remember that secret military projects are often 20 years or more advanced of anything made public. Could this technology have already been developed in secret projects and used in military vaccines? Yale professor Charles Morgan describes in this two-minute video (or this one) how cells injected through hypodermic needles can cause foreign substances to be manufactured in our bodies, how they can alter a person's memory, and much more. His full presentation on psycho-neurobiology and war given at West Point Military Academy is quite disturbing.
In response to the novel and deadly coronavirus, many governments deployed draconian tactics never used in modern times: severe and broad restrictions on daily activity that helped send the world into its deepest peacetime slump since the Great Depression. The equivalent of 400 million jobs have been lost world-wide, 13 million in the U.S. alone. Global output is on track to fall 5% this year, far worse than during the financial crisis. Despite this steep price, few policy makers felt they had a choice, seeing the economic crisis as a side effect of the health crisis. They ordered nonessential businesses closed and told people to stay home, all without the extensive analysis of benefits and risks that usually precedes a new medical treatment. Five months later, the evidence suggests lockdowns were an overly blunt and economically costly tool. The evidence also points to alternative strategies that could slow the spread of the epidemic at much less cost. Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong set early examples of how to stop Covid-19 without lockdowns. They quickly cut travel to China, introduced widespread testing to isolate the infected and traced contacts. Sweden took a different approach. Instead of lockdowns, it imposed only modest restrictions to keep cases at levels its hospitals could handle. Sweden has suffered more deaths per capita than neighboring Denmark but fewer than Britain, and it has paid less of an economic price than either.
A dolphin species considered regionally extinct in the Adriatic has been spotted there repeatedly off the Italian and Slovenian coast. Researchers from Morigenos Slovenian Marine Mammal Society and the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews have published a new review study on the occurrence of common dolphins in the Gulf of Trieste and the northern Adriatic Sea, published in the scientific journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. The dolphin (Delphinus delphis) used to be very common in the Adriatic Sea and other parts of the Mediterranean Sea. However, since the 1970s it has become so rare that the Mediterranean population is now listed as Endangered on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). During the last 30 years, this species has been considered as regionally extinct from the Adriatic Sea, likely due to intentional and systematic killing during mid-20th century. Back then, both Italy and the former Yugoslavia used to pay monetary rewards for every dolphin killed because dolphins were considered a pest that competed with fisheries. Due to their rarity, all records of common dolphins in the Adriatic and many other Mediterranean areas are important. Despite no previous records, four different animals were observed in the area over a period of four years. Some of these individual dolphins were seen repeatedly, one over the course of two months and one over the course of more than a year.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on marine mammals.
When Encinitas, Calif., teenager Ariella Pacheco was a little girl, her parents let her choose from a catalog the American Girl doll that most appealed to her. She picked the one with the hair color and style that matched her own. But what about children with rare medical conditions who don’t look like anyone else, including the mass-produced dolls on store shelves? Pacheco wanted to give these children the same gift she got as a child. So, over the past several months, she has designed and sewn cloth dolls for four local youth. “I really value the beauty in the little things,” Pacheco said. “Each of these kids are so unique, so special. I hope through these dolls they can see themselves in a new light and really embrace their beauty.” She ... designed her own patterns and figured out how to re-create the children’s differences. It was important to her that the children recognize themselves in the dolls but that their differences not be the most noticeable feature. “I hope they’re really excited with them,” Pacheco said. “The whole time I was trying to put as much love into it as I could and hoped they represented each child faithfully.” The inspiration for the four dolls are Felix, a 6-year-old boy with a large scar on his head from surgery for a skull fracture; Andrea, a 2-year-old with a port-wine stain birthmark on her face; Valeria, a toddler with Apert syndrome, which causes skull deformities, misshapen eyes and fused fingers; and Zulema Gillett, [who has] Goldenhar syndrome, which caused her to be born with a cleft lip, misaligned jaw, and only one ear.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Last August, NPR profiled a Harvard-led experiment to help low-income families find housing in wealthier neighborhoods. Every quoted expert is connected to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which helps fund the project. NPR itself receives funding from Gates. The story ... is one of hundreds NPR has reported about the Gates Foundation or the work it funds, including myriad favorable pieces written from the perspective of Gates or its grantees. And that speaks to a larger trend - and ethical issue - with billionaire philanthropists’ bankrolling the news. As philanthropists increasingly fill in the funding gaps at news organizations ... an underexamined worry is how this will affect the ways newsrooms report on their benefactors. Nowhere does this concern loom larger than with the Gates Foundation. During the pandemic, news outlets have widely looked to Bill Gates as a public health expert on covid - even though Gates has no medical training and is not a public official. PolitiFact and USA Today (run by the Poynter Institute and Gannett, respectively - both of which have received funds from the Gates Foundation) have even used their fact-checking platforms to defend Gates from “false conspiracy theories” and “misinformation,” like the idea that the foundation has financial investments in companies developing covid vaccines and therapies. In fact, the foundation’s website and most recent tax forms clearly show investments in such companies, including Gilead and CureVac.
Note: Watch an excellent 15-minute presentation by courageous journalist Ben Swann on the agenda of facebook fact checkers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
A group of Silicon Valley and Wall Street executives has raised $30 million to speed the development of a closely watched psychedelic-drug therapy. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit advocating for psychedelic research since the 1980s, is conducting its last phase of clinical trials to research the efficacy of using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD afflicts about eight million adults a year. MDMA is more commonly known as the main component of Ecstasy. Armed with the new funding, MAPS is aiming to finish the trials and seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration to commercialize the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as soon as 2022. In 2017, the FDA designated MDMA as a breakthrough therapy for PTSD, meaning it would expedite review of the drug. MAPS said a recent interim analysis of its Phase 3 clinical trials ... showed a very high likelihood the therapy will be effective for treating PTSD. In phase 2 clinical trials, individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder received psychotherapy, some with the psychedelic drug MDMA. More of those who received the drug no longer received a PTSD diagnosis in the months after treatment, compared with those who received a placebo. Business leaders said their donations came from a personal connection to mental-health conditions. Among them is billionaire Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy and ... a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran, who said he has continued to battle PTSD.
Note: To read the entire article free of charge, see this webpage. Note that as big Pharma won't make big profits from these therapies, they are not funding any of the major studies, while the nonprofit MAPS has stepped in to make this happen. And not mentioned in this article is that the results of these studies has been dramatic, with over 2/3 of patients showing no signs of PTSD a year after treatment. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
US authorities have approved a plan to release more than 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes across the Florida Keys, despite objections from local residents. British-based firm Oxitec are behind the project that will test whether the altered mosquitoes can work as an alternative to pesticides to control the spread of diseases. The male mosquito, which is named OX5034, has been created to produce female offspring that die at larval stage, before they grow big enough to spread disease and bite. Female mosquitoes bite for blood while they mature their eggs, but males do not carry the diseases as they feed on nectar. The mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys in 2021, but will be expanded into Harris County, Texas, after the Environmental Protection Agency granted Oxitec’s request for an experimental use permit. Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Centre for Technology Assessment and Centre for Food Safety ... criticized the decision. “What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks. Now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” Mr Hanson [said]. Since the initial announcement of the project in May, more than 230,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal, which was supported by more than 30 local physicians. Local media reported that residents were unhappy to be treated as “guinea pigs” for the experiment.
Note: Read more about the controversy surrounding Oxitec's genetically altered mosquitoes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs from reliable major media sources.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. They've watched helplessly as their meager savings dwindled away, as they were confined to their homes–prohibited from interacting with friends, attending church, temple or music and sporting events due to restrictions enacted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This resulted in a profound impact on the mental health and emotional well-being of people–leading to a significant increase in cases of anxiety, depression and deaths by suicide. The CDC conducted a survey of 5,412 people between June 24 and 30 and the collected data on suicides is alarming. Roughly 25% percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 say they've considered suicide because of the pandemic. About 30.9% of the respondents said that they "had symptoms of anxiety or depression" and about 26.3% reported trauma and stress-related disorders caused by the outbreak. Over 13% said that they have used alcohol, prescription and/or illegal drugs to deal with their pandemic-induced stress and anxiety. The amount of Americans reporting anxiety symptoms is triple the number of this time last year. The CDC reported that 11% of adults surveyed had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days. The study showed "19% of Hispanics reported suicidal ideation" and "15% of Blacks reported suicidal thoughts." As it relates to young adults, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said, "We're seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from [Covid-19]."
Note: What this article glaringly failed to mention is that the large majority of these tragic problems are not caused by the virus, but rather by the lockdown policies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski, an ex-convict and lecturer, has transformed his life through education after he earned his undergraduate degree and two master’s while serving a 16-year jail sentence. Without any qualification, he managed to defy the odds and studied to earn a degree from The Open University and two master’s from Oxford Brooks. Stephen was serving a 16-year jail sentence for the importation of class A drugs. In spite of the major setbacks and bitter life experiences, Stephen managed to transform his life, and his extraordinary story has inspired many across the world. Stephen defines his decision to pursue a degree as a "seminal moment in his life". Stephen is now studying for his PhD in criminology while working part-time as the regional manager for The Open University’s Students. In 2019, 17 inmates, police officers and former convicts graduated from the Kamiti Maximum Prison in Nairobi with law degrees from the University of London. Ten of the inmates were drawn from Kenyan and Ugandan prisons, three were former convicts who enrolled for the program while still in prison while the rest were prison officers and one African Prison Project staff. John Muthuri, the legal aid manager noted there were few lawyers to serve more than 54,000 prisoners in the country and as such the project would ensure convicts behind bars got affordable legal representation. “We are creating innovative ways to ensure that everyone behind bars who can’t afford legal representation is represented,” Muthuri said.
John Oliver returned to Last Week Tonight with another examination of an unjust cog in America’s criminal justice system: the unrepresentative makeup of trial juries. Serving on a “jury of your peers” is an “essential civic duty”, Oliver said. But in practice, said “peers” are not chosen from a fair cross-section of society. People of color and particularly black Americans are chronically underrepresented in jury pools. First, there’s the list of potential jurors, which in many states draws from voter registration data or drivers’ license lists, both of which disproportionately exclude people of color. Many states contract jury selection to private companies, whose methods, when revealed, fall far short of truly representative or random; Oliver pointed to one example in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a private company accidentally excluded zip codes in which 90% of the county’s black residents lived. Once potential jurors show up for selection, prosecutors can weed out jurors of color. Although the supreme court ruled in 1986 that prosecutors can’t strike jurors on the basis of race, “it turns out that’s a pretty easy rule to get around,” said Oliver. “All you have to do is just come up with some reason other than race to strike a juror.” To demonstrate the brazen efforts prosecutors will take to whitewash juries, Oliver pointed to the six murder trials for Curtis Flowers in Mississippi, a black man whose case eventually reached the supreme court, which decided that the prosecutor had repeatedly and blatantly filtered out any potential black jurors.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Just because someone has limited mobility, does that mean they should be limited to traversing smooth pavement? Not according to husband-and-wife team Zack and Cambry Nelson, who are now marketing their off-road motorized "wheelchair." Known as The Rig and made mainly from bicycle parts, the vehicle was initially developed by Zack to help Cambry take part in their outdoor adventures. It features an aluminum frame with detachable bumpers, a padded adjustable seat, a 1,000-watt ebike motor linked to the rear axle by a chain drive, dual steering handles, front hydraulic disc brakes, plus 4-inch-wide fatbike tires on each of its four wheels. Front and rear independent suspension is an optional extra, as is a second lithium battery for added range. The whole thing measures 5 ft long by 32 inches wide by 41 in tall (1,524 by 812 by 1,041 mm), and tips the scales at a claimed 120 lb (54 kg) – that's with the suspension package, and a single battery. One charge of that battery should reportedly be good for a range of 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 km), depending on usage and rider weight. And while it can't accommodate a second passenger in the back, it does have a cargo-mounting system that allows gear such as camping supplies, a cooler or a conventional wheelchair to be brought along for the ride. The Rig is now available for pre-order in a choice of seven frame colors, with prices starting at US$4,750. For reference, some other electric off-road wheelchairs we've seen are priced at $10,000 or more.
Note: Watch a fun and inspiring video of this awesome invention. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The power of the president is enormous. As Mr. Trump stated in March, "I have the right to do a lot of things that people don't even know about." What the president appears to have been referring to are his presidential emergency action documents, often referred to as PEADs. "Even though I've had security clearances for the better part of 50 years and been in and out of national security matters during that half-century, I had never heard of these 'secret powers,'" said former Senator Gary Hart. Ted Koppel asked, "Do you know what they are, now that you've heard of them?" "Only vaguely, due to research done at the Brennan Center for Justice," Hart said. "What these secret powers are, apparently, based on the research, is suspension of the Constitution, basically." The Brennan Center research that Senator Hart referred to has been spearheaded by Elizabeth Goitein. Goitein says what little we do know about PEADs comes from references to them in other documents, some of which are now declassified. "They originated in the Eisenhower administration," Goitein said. "But since then ... no presidential emergency action document has even been released, or even leaked. Not even Congress has access to them. Congress is not aware of these documents, and from public sources we know that at least in the past these documents have purported to do things that are not permitted by the Constitution – things like martial law and the suspension of habeas corpus and the roundup and detention of people not suspected of any crime."
About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers. That makes them 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops. The analysis also showed that Latino men and boys, black women and girls and Native American men, women and children are also killed by police at higher rates than their white peers. But the vulnerability of black males was particularly striking. “That 1-in-1,000 number struck us as quite high,” said study leader Frank Edwards. The number-crunching by Edwards and his coauthors also revealed that for all young men, police violence was one of the leading causes of death in the years 2013 to 2018. The findings ... add hard numbers to a pattern personified by victims like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray. Five years after police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., fatally shot Michael Brown, protesters and activist groups have focused public attention on the disproportionate use of force against African Americans and other people of color. Scientists, meanwhile, are increasingly studying police violence as a public health problem. A study published in the Lancet last year found that police killings of unarmed black men were associated with an increase in mental health problems such as depression and emotional issues for black people living in the state where the killing took place.
Note: Just as a comparison, so far in the U.S., about one in 2,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 according to official figures. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
U.S. stocks are hovering near a record high, a stunning comeback since March that underscores the new phase the economy has entered: The wealthy have mostly recovered. The bottom half remain far from it. Jobs are fully back for the highest wage earners, but fewer than half the jobs lost this spring have returned for those making less than $20 an hour. The pandemic is causing especially large gaps between rich and poor, and between White and minority households. It is also widening the gap between big and small businesses. Some of the largest companies, such as Nike and Best Buy, are enjoying their highest stock prices ever while many smaller businesses fight for survival. Some economists have started to call this a “K-shaped” recovery because of the diverging prospects for the rich and poor, and they say policy failures in Washington are exacerbating the problems. For many of the unemployed, the downturn is lasting far longer than they had anticipated. Nearly 80 percent of furloughed or laid-off workers thought they would be rehired, a Washington Post-Ipsos poll conducted April 27-May 4 found. Yet so far, only 42 percent of jobs have returned. “This has been a very clear K-shaped recovery,” says Peter Atwater ... at the College of William & Mary. “The biggest and wealthiest have been on a clear path toward recovery. Meanwhile, for most small businesses and those worst off, things have only become worse. The contrast is piercing: One group feels better than ever while the other borders on hopelessness.”
The nation's mental health is languishing, according to data reported this week as part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Suicidal ideation is up among young people since last year, with as many as one in four people ages 18 through 24 having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days preceding the survey. In the general US population, the CDC reported that 11% of adults surveyed had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days before they completed the survey. Among those identifying as Black or Hispanic, the numbers were worse: 19% of Hispanics reported suicidal ideation and 15% of Blacks reported suicidal thoughts. The results reflect a nation increasingly on edge. The number of Americans reporting anxiety symptoms is three times the number at this same time last year, the CDC said. "Previous events have had a start, middle, an end," said Vaile Wright [with] the American Psychological Association. "People can't disconnect from this." Add on the pressures of the economy, the increased scrutiny on racial injustice and the looming specter of the presidential election, and it's hard for many to feel like things might turn out OK. The stress is disproportionately falling on the young. On an individual level, Wright noted that the main pillars of psychological health include eating healthy, staying active, getting enough sleep and maintaining social connections. But figuring out healthy ways to socialize virtually can require being intentional.
What Americans need to understand about the race to find vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 is that in the U.S., even when companies appear to downshift from maximum greed levels – and it's not at all clear they've done this with coronavirus treatments – the production of pharmaceutical drugs is still a nearly riskless, subsidy-laden scam. Americans reacted in horror five years ago when a self-satisfied shark of an executive named Martin Shkreli, a.k.a. the "Pharma Bro," helped his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raise the price of lifesaving toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Shkreli, who smirked throughout congressional testimony ... was held up as a uniquely smug exemplar of corporate evil. Really, the whole industry is one big Shkreli, and Covid-19 – a highly contagious virus with unique properties that may require generations of vaccinations and booster shots – looms now as the ultimate cash cow for lesser-known Pharma Bros. "The power of the industry combined with fear is driving extraordinary spending," says U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who has been ... warning about pandemic profiteering. "It all suggests rosy times ahead for the pharmaceutical industry." Recent House and Senate emergency-spending bills allocate as much as $20 billion or more for vaccine development, and another $6 billion for manufacturing and distribution. "The public will pay for much research and manufacturing," says Doggett. "Only the profits will be privatized."
The Pentagon is forming a new task force to investigate UFOs that have been observed by US military aircraft, according to two defense officials. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will help oversee the task force. Members of Congress and Pentagon officials have long expressed concerns about the appearance of the unidentified aircraft that have flown over US military bases. There is no consensus on their origin with some believing they may be drones potentially operated by earthly adversaries seeking to gather intelligence rather than extraterrestrials. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted in June to have the Pentagon and intelligence community provide a public analysis of the encounters, following the official Pentagon release of three short videos showing US aircraft encountering these phenomena. "We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises, and we don't know what it is and it isn't ours, so that's a legitimate question to ask," the chairman of that committee, Sen. Marco Rubio, [said]. The videos released by the Pentagon appear to show unidentified flying objects rapidly moving while recorded by infrared cameras. The Pentagon had previously studied recordings of aerial encounters with unknown objects as part of a since-shuttered classified program that was launched at the behest of former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. That program was launched in 2007 and ended in 2012, according to the Pentagon.
Note: This is clearly part of a planned roll out to acculturate the public to the reality of UFOs. For undeniable evidence top Pentagon officials have known about the ET presence since the 1940s, see our revealing two page summary on UFOs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on Americans' mental health, according to a new survey out Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It found elevated levels of symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders, substance use and suicidal ideation among U.S. adults, and identified populations at increased risk, including young people, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and caregivers of adults. More than 40% of respondents who completed surveys during June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, and 11% reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days prior. The data's greatest value, experts say, is the spotlight it shines on vulnerable populations. "It is showing that this breakdown in our society, the breakdown of the safety net, the breakdown of economic security is taking a massive toll," said Anna Mueller, a suicide researcher and professor of sociology at the Indiana University Bloomington. "These breakdowns really show how crucial economic stability and economic security are to an individual's well being. Because the people who are more vulnerable in terms of their socioeconomic status, people who are being put in harm's way, those are the people who are suffering the most." The survey found 75% of respondents 18-24 reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom and serious suicidal ideation among this group was 25%.
So now we know: Sweden got it largely right, and the British establishment catastrophically wrong. Anders Tegnell, Stockholm’s epidemiologist-king, has pulled off a remarkable triple whammy: far fewer deaths per capita than Britain, a maintenance of basic freedoms and opportunities, including schooling, and, most strikingly, a recession less than half as severe as our own. Politicians can react in one of three ways to a pandemic. They can do nothing, and allow the disease to rip until herd immunity is reached. Quite rightly, no government has pursued this policy, out of fear of mass deaths and total social and economic collapse. The second approach involves imposing proportionate restrictions to facilitate social distancing, banning certain sorts of gatherings while encouraging and informing the public. The Swedes pursued a version of this centrist strategy: there was a fair bit of compulsion, but also a focus on retaining normal life and keeping schools open. There was no formal lockdown. The third option is the full-on statist approach, which imposes a legally binding lockdown and shuts down society. Almost all economists thought that Sweden’s economy would suffer hugely from its idiosyncratic strategy. They were wrong. Sweden’s GDP fell by just 8.6 per cent in the first half of the year ... and its excess deaths jumped 24 per cent. By contrast, Britain’s economy slumped by 22.2 per cent in the first half of the year, a performance almost three times as bad as Sweden’s, and its excess deaths shot up by 45 per cent.
Note: A Swedish MD on the front lines shares thoughts on why Sweden's COVID death rate has been in the single digits for weeks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Small businesses are disappearing by the thousands amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the drag on the economy from these failures could be huge. This wave of silent failures goes uncounted in part because real-time data on small business is notoriously scarce, and because owners of small firms often have no debt, and thus no need for bankruptcy court. Yelp Inc., the online reviewer, has data showing more than 80,000 permanently shuttered from March 1 to July 25. About 60,000 were local businesses, or firms with fewer than five locations. About 800 small businesses did indeed file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy from mid-February to July 31, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the trade group expects the 2020 total could be up 36% from last year. While the businesses are small individually, the collective impact of their failures could be substantial. Firms with fewer than 500 employees account for about 44% of U.S. economic activity, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration report, and they employ almost half of all American workers. About 58% of small business owners say they’re worried about permanently closing, according to a July U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey. In a June 2020 NFIB survey, a net 31% of owners reported lower sales in the past three months, while 7% reported higher sales a year earlier. In the same survey, only 13% of business owners said it was a good time to expand, a dip from 24% a year earlier.
Scientists have developed new technology that can turn seawater into clean drinking water in less than 30 minutes. Researchers based in Australia used a metal-organic framework (MOF), a type of lattice-like crystal, to desalinate water. The hollow framework of pores separates the salty solute within the brackish water or even saltier seawater, in a process known as molecular sieving. Under dark conditions, the framework absorbs salts and other impurities in the water in 30 minutes. The MOF itself is then regenerated for reuse in just four minutes, using sunlight to remove the adsorbed salts. The light-responsive MOF was used to filter harmful particles from water and generate 139.5 litres of clean water per kilogram of MOF per day. Scientists say their technology is more energy-efficient than current desalination practices, including reverse osmosis, and could provide potable water for millions globally. Water scarcity is one of the largest global risks in the upcoming years, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Thermal desalination processes by evaporation using solar energy are widely used to produce fresh water, but can be highly energy intensive. 'Sunlight is the most abundant and renewable source of energy on Earth,' said Professor Huanting Wang ... at Monash University in Australia. 'Our development of a new adsorbent-based desalination process through the use of sunlight for regeneration provides an energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable solution for desalination.'
Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a 'statistical flaw'. Academics found Public Health England's methods ... count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later. Thousands of coronavirus deaths will be wiped off the government's official toll. Public Health England ... admitted that a coronavirus death is one that happens to anyone who has previously tested positive, regardless of how long ago the test happened. It would've meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England's confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease. The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England's official toll of 41,749. Mr Hancock is set to bring the figures in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which only attribute deaths to Covid-19 if it occurs within a month of their diagnosis. The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University's Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Yoon Loke. Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the prestigious [University of East Anglia commented], 'If it's someone who picked up the virus in a care home in March and recovered, and last week died of a heart attack, what does that actually tell us?' Ministers are thought to be planning a huge reform of PHE following a series of failings by the beleaguered agency. Separate figures ... revealed overall deaths in England and Wales are still below the number usually expected at this time of year, based on an average from the previous five years.
Note: A recent Newsweek article is titled "Florida Man Killed in Crash Listed as COVID-19 Death, Raising Doubts Over Health Data." Could it be that some officials are wanting to inflate the figures? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
For 23 years, Larry Collins worked in a [toll] booth. But one day in mid-March, as confirmed cases of the coronavirus were skyrocketing, Collins’ supervisor called and told him not to come into work the next day. Collins’ job was disappearing, as were the jobs of around 185 other toll collectors at bridges in Northern California, all to be replaced by technology. The drive to replace humans with machinery is accelerating as companies struggle to avoid workplace infections of COVID-19 and to keep operating costs low. The U.S. shed around 40 million jobs at the peak of the pandemic. Some will never return. One group of economists estimates that 42% of the jobs lost are gone forever. This replacement of humans with machines may pick up more speed in coming months as companies move from survival mode to figuring out how to operate while the pandemic drags on. Robots could replace as many as 2 million more workers in manufacturing alone by 2025. “Look at the business model of Google, Facebook, Netflix. They’re not in the business of creating new tasks for humans,” says Daron Acemoglu, an MIT economist. The U.S. government incentivizes companies to automate, he says, by giving tax breaks for buying machinery and software. A business that pays a worker $100 pays $30 in taxes, but a business that spends $100 on equipment pays about $3 in taxes, he notes. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered taxes on purchases so much that “you can actually make money buying equipment,” Acemoglu says.
We’re headed into a global depression–a period of economic misery that few living people have experienced. Depressions don’t just generate ugly stats and send buyers and sellers into hibernation. They change the way we live. COVID-19 fears will bring lasting changes to public attitudes toward all activities that involve crowds of people and how we work on a daily basis; it will also permanently change America’s competitive position in the world and raise profound uncertainty about U.S.-China relations going forward. Most postwar U.S. recessions have limited their worst effects to the domestic economy. But most were the result of domestic inflation or a tightening of national credit markets. That is not the case with COVID-19 and the current global slowdown. This is a synchronized crisis, and just as the relentless rise of China over the past four decades has lifted many boats in richer and poorer countries alike, so slowdowns in China, the U.S. and Europe will have global impact on our globalized world. The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the unemployment rate will remain stubbornly high for the next decade, and economic output will remain depressed for years unless changes are made to the way government taxes and spends. Those sorts of changes will depend on broad recognition that emergency measures won’t be nearly enough to restore the U.S. economy to health. What’s true in the U.S. will be true everywhere else.
Note: A CNN article dated Aug. 15th is titled "1 in 4 young people are reporting suicidal thoughts." A USA Today article states, "More than 40% of respondents who completed surveys during June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, and 11% reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days prior." It's possible that deaths from suicide, domestic violence, hunger, and more will significantly exceed the number of virus deaths. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
More than two decades ago, police in Shreveport, La. stopped Fair Wayne Bryant on the side of the road for allegedly stealing a pair of hedge clippers. His vehicle looked like one that had been used in a recent home burglary, they told the black 38-year-old moments before arresting him. Bryant insisted the clippers police found in the van belonged to his wife, but he did make a confession to the officers: After his vehicle had broken down ... he had entered a carport in search of a tank of gas. That disclosure would eventually land Bryant life in prison. Last week, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a request from Bryant to hear a review of his life sentence. Six of the seven justices backed the decision. The lone Black judge on the bench was the only one to disagree. In a searing dissent, Chief Justice Bernette Johnson said Bryant’s sentence was only due to Louisiana’s harsh habitual offender laws. “Mr. Bryant has already spent nearly 23 years in prison and is now over 60 years old,” she wrote. “If he lives another 20 years, Louisiana taxpayers will have paid almost one million dollars to punish Mr. Bryant for his failed effort to steal a set of hedge clippers.” The decision from the state supreme court gives Bryant few, if any, options for recourse to leave Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola ... which is also the site of a former slave plantation. In her dissent, Johnson — the court’s first Black chief justice — drew a straight line from slavery to the laws that she said enabled Louisiana prosecutors to send Bryant to Angola for the rest of his life.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Australian state of Victoria [announced] on Tuesday that military personnel will be deployed to enforce Covid-19 lockdown orders, amid growing concerns about attacks on police. Authorities warned police were facing a sometimes violent resistance, often by so-called 'sovereign citizens' groups who considered themselves above the law. Victoria earlier this week imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people's daily movements and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of coronavirus. But nearly a third of those who contracted Covid-19 were not home isolating when checked on by officials, requiring tough new penalties, Daniel Andrews, the state premier, said. Fines of nearly A$5,000 (Ł2,710) will be issued to anyone breaching stay at home orders. Repeat offenders face a fine of up to A$20,000. "There is literally no reason for you to leave your home and if you were to leave your home and not be found there, you will have a very difficult time convincing Victoria police that you have a lawful reason," Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. The only exemption will be for urgent medical care, said Mr Andrews, adding anyone under a self-isolation order will no longer be allowed to leave their homes for outdoor exercise. Mr Andrews said an additional 500 unarmed military personnel will this week deploy to Victoria to assist police in ensuring self-isolation orders are being complied with. The latest military deployment will join about 1,500 troops already in Victoria.
Note: Learn more about the incredible, draconian measures being taken in Australia in this article banned by facebook. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In Vallejo, California, a former police captain is alleging a secretive ritual that has triggered an independent investigation into the city's embattled police force: he says some officers involved in fatal shootings since 2000 bent the tips of their star-shaped badges to mark each time they killed someone in the line of duty. Former Vallejo police Capt. John Whitney, a 19-year department veteran and former SWAT commander who was fired from his job last August, first described the alleged tradition in an interview published this week. Officers involved in fatal shootings marked those incidents with backyard barbecues and were initiated into a "secretive clique" that included curving one of the tips of their seven-point sterling silver badge. Vallejo, a Bay Area community of 122,000 people, has been in the spotlight for its high number of fatal police shootings ... compared with other California cities. Last month, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the Department of Justice will undertake an "expansive review" of the Vallejo Police Department after lawsuits claiming excessive force and residents' demands for an outside investigation into officers' actions. Whitney learned about the bending of badges in April 2019, two months after the fatal shooting of the rapper Willie McCoy, 20. McCoy was asleep in his car at a fast-food restaurant. Police said they discovered his car was locked and in drive, and saw a handgun on his lap. As McCoy woke up, six of the officers opened fire with 55 rounds.
Note: Find lots more on police gangs that target certain groups in this revealing Guardian article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
As protesters around the country have marched against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, activists have spotted a recurring presence in the skies: mysterious planes and helicopters hovering overhead, apparently conducting surveillance on protesters. A press release ... revealed that the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Marshals Service were asked by the Justice Department to provide unspecified support to law enforcement during protests. A few days later, a memo obtained by BuzzFeed News ... revealed that shortly after protests began in various cities, the DEA had sought special authority from the Justice Department to covertly spy on Black Lives Matter protesters on behalf of law enforcement. Both the DEA and the Marshals possess airplanes outfitted with so-called stingrays or dirtboxes: powerful technologies capable of tracking mobile phones or, depending on how they’re configured, collecting data and communications from mobile phones in bulk. That data can be used to identify people — protesters, for example — and track their movements during and after demonstrations, as well as to identify others who associate with them. They also can inject spying software onto specific phones. Stingrays are routinely used to target suspects in drug and other criminal investigations, but activists also believe the devices were used during protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, and against Black Lives Matter protesters over the last three months.
Note: Read more about invasive "stingray" technology and the secrecy surrounding its use. Learn how Google is siphoning all information about you it can get. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday directed the intelligence branch of his department to cease collecting information involving journalists and ordered a review of the incident that was made public on Thursday. The department "will no longer identify US members of the media in our intelligence products," he wrote ... adding that he is ordering an "immediate review of the circumstances surrounding the collection and dissemination of intelligence on US members of the press." The order comes a day after The Washington Post reported that DHS compiled "intelligence reports" about the work of two American journalists covering protests in Portland, Oregon, in what current and former officials called an alarming use of a government system meant to share information about suspected terrorists. The revelations that DHS collected and disseminated information on journalists comes amid increased scrutiny of the department's handling of the unrest in Portland. Homeland Security officials have warned in recent weeks that the increased politicization of law enforcement risks undercutting public trust in the department. One of the journalists DHS collected information on wrote in a series of tweets responding to the Post story, "What is troubling about this story is that I&A shared my tweets *as intelligence reporting,* that is, an intelligence arm of the government filed a report on a citizen for activity at the heart of journalism: revealing newsworthy information about government to the public."
Amid fears over a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus across Europe, new infections in Sweden, where full lockdown measures were not implemented, have mostly declined since late June. The number of new cases per 100,000 people in Sweden reported over the last 14 days since July 29 dropped by 54 percent from the figure reported over 14 days prior to then, according to the latest report Wednesday from the ... WHO. Meanwhile, other parts of Europe have reported large spikes in new cases over the same period, including Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, which have seen increases between 40 and 200 percent over the last month. The seven-day rolling average of Sweden's daily new cases has been dropping consistently since June 29. The seven-day rolling average of daily new deaths in Sweden has also been declining since around April 15. The country's latest seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases and daily new deaths stand at 154 and 2. Last week Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at Sweden's public health agency ... said the nation's controversial anti-lockdown strategy has been a success. Tegnell noted: "In many ways the voluntary measures we put in place in Sweden have been just as effective as complete lockdowns in other countries. We are now seeing rapidly falling cases, we have continuously had healthcare that has been working. The failure [of the strategy] has of course been the death toll…that has been very much related to the long-term care facilities in Sweden. Now that has improved, we see a lot less cases in those facilities," Tegnell said.
Note: Sweden, the country which chose not to lock down, also does not require masks. Their death rates have been in the single digits per day for a couple weeks now. As mentioned above, the seven-day rolling average is two deaths a day. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Dutch government says it will not advise the public to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, asserting that their effectiveness has not been proven. The decision was announced by Minister for Medical Care Tamara van Ark after a review by the country's National Institute for Health (RIVM). The government will instead seek more adherence to social distancing rules after a surge in coronavirus cases in the country this week, Van Ark said. "Because from a medical perspective there is no proven effectiveness of masks, the cabinet has decided that there will be no national obligation for wearing non-medical masks" The decision bucks the trend as many European countries have made masks mandatory in stores or crowded outdoor areas. RIVM chief Jaap van Dissel said that the organisation was aware of studies that show masks help slow the spread of disease but it was not convinced they will help during the current coronavirus outbreak in the Netherlands. He argued wearing masks incorrectly, together with worse adherence to social distancing rules, could increase the risk of transmitting the disease. "So we think that if you're going to use masks (in a public setting)... then you must give good training for it," he said. Masks are currently required only on public transportation in the Netherlands and in airports. The decision followed a meeting of health and government officials after new coronavirus cases in the country rose to 1329 in the past week, an increase of more than a third.
Note: Sweden, the country which chose not to lock down, also does not require masks. Their death rates have been in the single digits per day for a couple weeks now. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
As other countries face renewed outbreaks, Sweden’s latest Covid-19 figures suggest it’s rapidly bringing the virus under control. “That Sweden has come down to these levels is very promising,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told reporters in Stockholm on Tuesday. The Health Agency of Sweden says that since hitting a peak in late June, the infection rate has fallen sharply. That’s amid an increase in testing over the period. “The curves are going down and the curves for the seriously ill are beginning to approach zero,” Tegnell said. The development follows months of controversy over Sweden’s decision to avoid a full lockdown. The unusual strategy coincided with a much higher Covid-19 mortality rate than elsewhere in the Nordic region. On Tuesday, Sweden reported two new deaths, bringing the total to 5,702. Tegnell also broached the subject of face masks. “With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport,” he said. Tegnell has consistently argued that Sweden’s approach is more sustainable than the sudden lockdowns imposed elsewhere. With the risk that Covid-19 might be around for years, he says completely shutting down society isn’t a long-term option. Meanwhile, many countries that thought they’d brought the virus under control are now seeing second waves. Tegnell called those developments “worrying.” “The positive trend is reversing, with an increase in the number of cases in Spain, Romania and Belgium, among others,” he said.
Note: In the 7 days ending Aug. 14th, Sweden had a total of 14 deaths from COVID-19 and the numbers continue to decline. By comparison, California with four times the population had 949 deaths. Why isn't the media talking more about Sweden's success without any lockdown? The Dutch government is also not advising the public to wear masks, claiming their effectiveness has not been proven. Why is the media overall so biased against Sweden? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Sweden famously took a totally different approach to its Nordic neighbours in trying to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Swedish strategy allowed people to keep living largely as normal. Stores and restaurants remained open – so too did many schools. With a COVID-19 death toll of 5,700, Sweden’s mortality rate from the disease is now around a quarter higher than that of the United States, when adjusted for population size. However, authorities insist that the number of deaths has considerably dropped in recent weeks. "We've actually seen a clearly declining trend in the number of patients in intensive care and also in the number of deaths since the middle of April," said Anna Mia Ekström ... at Stockholm’s Karolinksa Institute. So how close is Sweden to possibly reaching herd immunity? We don’t know at this point. Scientists are still trying to figure out whether immunity from the new coronavirus can even be reached – and for how long. Ekström noted that the reproduction number of the epidemic – or R number, which measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to – has now fallen in Sweden to around 0.6, meaning transmission is declining. The number of people with antibodies against the new coronavirus, meanwhile, is increasing. Data published by Sweden’s public health agency in June showed that about 10 per cent of people in Stockholm – the nation's worst affected area – had developed antibodies to COVID-19, more than anywhere else in the country.
Note: The number of new cases and deaths in Sweden has dropped significantly while the U.S. other non-European countries are seeing a rise in both, according to this MSN article. For the month of July 2020, Sweden had 370 deaths while California had 3,200 deaths. California has a population about four times that of Sweden, yet California with its strict lockdown had almost 10 times as many deaths as Sweden, which is one of the few countries that chose not to lock down. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Survival Condo in Kansas—the most lavish and sophisticated private bunker in the world—was once a Cold War U.S. government missile silo. Built in the early 1960s at a cost of approximately $15 million to the U.S. taxpayer, it was one of 72 "hardened" missile silo structures built to protect a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Larry Hall wasn't the first to reuse one of these Cold War relics. But his is arguably the most gobsmacking. Hall bought the 197-foot-deep silo for $300,000 in 2008, and transformed it into a 15-story luxury bolt-hole, where a community of up to 75 individuals can weather a maximum of five years during a doomsday event. When the event passes, residents expect to be able to re-emerge into the post-apocalyptic world to rebuild. It's not that difficult to imagine living underground in an environment that can sustain life, technically. What's rather more of a challenge is to create a psychologically and socially tolerable environment. Hall, however, thought he had worked out a solution. The key to well-being underground, he told me, could be about creating an illusion of "normal," aboveground, pre-event life. "So," Larry said, "we will have people baking bread and making coffee, people can advertise their yoga class on the café blackboard and we're going to stack this deli case full of three different species of tilapia that are grown in the aquaponics facility next door."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
All around the world, the coronavirus and its restrictions are pushing already hungry communities over the edge, cutting off meager farms from markets and isolating villages from food and medical aid. Virus-linked hunger is leading to the deaths of 10,000 more children a month over the first year of the pandemic, according to an urgent call to action from the United Nations shared with The Associated Press ahead of its publication in the Lancet medical journal. Further, more than 550,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, according to the U.N. – malnutrition that manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies. Over a year, that's up 6.7 million from last year's total of 47 million. Wasting and stunting can permanently damage children physically and mentally, transforming individual tragedies into a generational catastrophe. From Latin America to South Asia to sub-Saharan Africa, more families than ever are staring down a future without enough food. The analysis published Monday found about 128,000 more young children will die over the first 12 months of the virus. In April, World Food Program head David Beasley warned that the coronavirus economy would cause global famines "of biblical proportions" this year.
Note: Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reported on Jan. 1, 2021, "billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies – most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug – have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March, according to figures compiled for The New York Times. The sudden windfalls highlight the powerful financial incentives for company officials to generate positive headlines in the race for coronavirus vaccines and treatments, even if the drugs might never pan out. Some officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have grown concerned about whether companies are trying to inflate their stock prices by exaggerating their roles in Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. In some cases, company insiders ... appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out while their stock prices are sky high. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress. "It is inappropriate for drug company executives to cash in on a crisis," said Ben Wakana, executive director of Patients for Affordable Drugs. "Every day, Americans wake up and make sacrifices during this pandemic. Drug companies see this as a payday."
An additional 6.7 million children under the age of five could suffer from wasting – and therefore become dangerously undernourished – in 2020 as a result of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF warned today. According to an analysis published in The Lancet, 80 per cent of these children would be from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Over half would be from South Asia alone. “It’s been seven months since the first COVID-19 cases were reported and it is increasingly clear that the repercussions of the pandemic are causing more harm to children than the disease itself,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Household poverty and food insecurity rates have increased. Essential nutrition services and supply chains have been disrupted. Food prices have soared. As a result, the quality of children’s diets has gone down and malnutrition rates will go up.” Wasting is a life-threatening form of malnutrition, which makes children too thin and weak, and puts them at greater risk of dying, poor growth, development and learning. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 47 million children were already wasted in 2019. Without urgent action, the global number of children suffering from wasting could reach almost 54 million over the course of the year. This would bring global wasting to levels not seen this millennium. The estimated increase in child wasting is only the tip of the iceberg, UN agencies warn. COVID-19 will also increase other forms of malnutrition in children and women.
Big corporations accused of driving environmental and health inequalities in black and brown communities through toxic and climate-changing pollution are also funding powerful police groups in major US cities, according to a new investigation. Some of America’s largest oil and gas companies, private utilities, and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels also back police foundations – opaque private entities that raise money to pay for training, weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for departments across the US. The investigation by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit corporate and government accountability research institute ... details how police foundations in cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Washington, New Orleans and Salt Lake City are partially funded by household names such as Chevron, Shell and Wells Fargo. Police foundations are industry groups that provide substantial funds to local departments, yet, as nonprofits, avoid much public scrutiny. The investigation details how firms linked to fossil fuels also sponsor events and galas that celebrate the police, while some have senior staff serving as directors of police foundations. The report portrays the fossil fuel industry as a common enemy in the struggle for racial and environmental justice. “Many powerful companies that drive environmental injustice are also backers of the same police departments that tyrannize the very communities these corporate actors pollute,” it states.
In a year of astonishing reversals, one of the biggest may turn out to be President Trump’s emergence as the unlikely savior of America’s national parks. The president tweeted that he will sign the Great American Outdoors Act, which will provide billions of dollars to repair and maintain the country’s 419 national park sites and help to protect public lands in all 50 states. Hailed as “a conservationist’s dream,” the act will be the biggest land conservation legislation in a generation. How did we get here? For the past three years, the Trump administration has been undermining safeguards for public lands. Earlier this year, Trump proposed draconian cuts to the National Parks budget and Land and Water Conservation Fund. The administration’s dramatic about-face is largely due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. As the economy struggles in the deepest crisis since the 1930s, local communities that rely on visitors and tourism associated with national parks are desperate to protect their assets. The Great Outdoors Act is long overdue. The parks budget has been flat for two decades. The new legislation ... establishes a National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund that will provide up to $9 billion to fix deferred maintenance at national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other federal lands. It also guarantees $900 million per year in perpetuity for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which enables state and local governments to acquire land for recreation and conservation..
Note: This bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump on August 4. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
On June 26, a small South San Francisco company called Vaxart made a surprise announcement: A coronavirus vaccine it was working on had been selected by the U.S. government to be part of Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. The race is on to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and some companies and investors are betting that the winners stand to earn vast profits from selling hundreds of millions – or even billions – of doses to a desperate public. Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members ... are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies – most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug – have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March. Senior officials appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress. Some companies are attracting government scrutiny for ... using their associations with Operation Warp Speed as marketing ploys. Vaxart's news release declared: "Vaxart's Covid-19 Vaccine Selected for the U.S. Government's Operation Warp Speed." But Vaxart is not among the companies selected to receive significant financial support from Warp Speed.
Note: MSN strangely removed this article a few days after posting it. A similar article by the New York Times titled "The race for a coronavirus vaccine is making some corporate insiders very rich" is available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Chad Wolf, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, responded to media reports that unidentified federal agents using unmarked vehicles have been arresting protesters in Portland, Oregon. Since early July, men in military-style uniforms have waged battle against protesters there ... with what looks like a regular army moving on unarmed protesters night after night. On behalf of the D.H.S. and its uniformed services, Wolf claimed responsibility for the armed presence in Portland. He asserted that his agency was doing exactly what it was created to do. He was right. The original proposal for the D.H.S. described the agency as “a new government structure to protect against invisible enemies that can strike with a wide variety of weapons”; one hypothetical example of an invisible enemy was “a non-citizen that intends to enter our nation and attack one of our chemical facilities.” The nation used to protect itself against other nations and their hostile military forces, but now it had to fear individuals. This is the premise on which secret police forces are built. The secret police, even when it looks and appears to act like an army, always has a single individual as its target. As we learn more about what is happening in Portland - as footage of federal troops waging war on protesters floods social media ... we are watching the perfect and perhaps inevitable combination of a domestic-security superagency and a President who rejects all mechanisms of accountability.
A Pentagon UFO unit will make some investigations public as ex-advisors suggest that “vehicles not made on this earth” were placed in US government storage. The team will update the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee on its unidentified flying object (UFO) research every six months, The New York Times reported. Publicly named in 2019 as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, the Pentagon unit succeeded an investigative UFO program that was said to have been disbanded prior to 2017. One former official, Eric Davis, [said] that he briefed the US Department of Defense in March about the retrieval of “off-world vehicles not made on this earth”. The Pentagon consultant and subcontractor said objects he believed “we couldn’t make ... ourselves” were discovered during his time on the unit, where he has worked since 2007. Whilst no crash artifacts have ever been documented in public, Harry Reid – the former Democratic Senate majority leader – told The Times that he “came to the conclusion” that UFO materials were in the government’s possession. “After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” said the former senator for Nevada. acting intelligence committee chairman Marco Rubio said last week that his priority was to uncover who was behind unidentified flying vehicles seen over American military bases.
Note: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, declared publicly long ago that there have been crashed ET craft and material has been recovered. Many military officers have made similar claims. The government appears to be doing a slow roll-out on UFOs and ETs. For undeniable evidence from generals and government officials testifying to their personal knowledge of and involvement in a major UFO cover-up for decades, see this concise summary. For more along these lines, see our deeply revealing UFO Information Center.
The U.S.-supported military coup in Bolivia has largely disappeared from western news outlets ever since the November 2019 massacres of pro-democracy protesters by the right-wing faction that seized power. But for Bolivians, the repression and tyranny that replaced their stable and thriving democracy endures. What makes the coup in Bolivia and its aftermath so worthwhile to explore is not just the inherent importance of Bolivia itself: a country of 11 million people with a rich and unique ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, as well as an ample supply of the now-vital resource of lithium. It is also instructive because of how U.S. discourse evolved in support of the coup, with supposed “foreign policy experts” across the political spectrum ... spouting outright falsehoods to depict the destruction of Bolivian democracy as the salvation of it. Since the coup last October, many of the key claims used to justify the ousting of Morales ... have been proven to have been lies. Yet not a single one of the foreign policy “experts” or media outlets have acknowledged their errors or even addressed these subsequent revelations, because they know that there are never any consequences for journalists and analysts as long as they remain subservient to the U.S. government agenda. Bolivia is but the latest of a long line of thriving, stable democracies destroyed with the support if not the outright participation of the U.S. government, while jingoistic media figures disseminated the propaganda used to justify it all.
Note: Watch journalist Glenn Greenwald interview experts on the Bolivian coup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Pandemics can be indiscriminate. COVID-19 has been different. The disease has shown a special animus for older people, with those 65-plus considered at especially high risk for hospitalization and death, and those 18 and below catching a semblance of an epidemiological break. Adolescents ... are likelier to experience milder symptoms or none at all. But if COVID-19 is sparing most kids’ bodies, it’s not being so kind to their minds. In one study out of China, published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers in Hubei province, where the pandemic originated, examined a sample group of 2,330 schoolchildren for signs of emotional distress. The kids had been locked down for ... an average of 33.7 days. 22.6% of them reported depressive symptoms and 18.9% were experiencing anxiety. Then too there is ... the economy, which continues to struggle badly. A 2018 paper published in Health Economics ... studied economic conditions in the U.S. from 2001 to 2013 and found that during the Great Recession, a 5-percent-age-point increase in the national unemployment rate correlated with an astounding 35% to 50% increase in “clinically meaningful childhood mental-health problems.” With unemployment now exceeding 11%, [health-policy researcher Ezra] Golberstein expects to see more of the same emotional blowback. “When the economy is in a bad place, kids’ mental health gets worse,” he says. “Children who were struggling before [the pandemic] are at higher risk now,” says psychologist Robin Gurwitch.
Note: For the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. GDP plunged 32.9% according to this CNBC article. The lockdown policies are clearly damaging not only the health of the economy, but of the children as well. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.
Federal charging documents unsealed Tuesday describe how the company, FirstEnergy, spent $60 million to get House Speaker Larry Householder and his favored candidates elected, securing in return a $1.3 billion bailout, paid for by Ohio ratepayers. Householder and Jeff Longstreth, a top aide ... set up Generation Now, a secretive political nonprofit that could raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. “Having secured Householder’s power as Speaker, the Enterprise transitioned quickly to fulfilling its end of the corrupt bargain with Company A — Passing nuclear bailout legislation,” the complaint reads. After Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill ... opponents, allied with natural-gas and environmental interests in the state, got to work trying to repeal it. They cleared an initial hurdle, collecting 1,000 valid signatures from voters. They had until Oct. 21 to gather hundreds of thousands more signatures. FirstEnergy and FirstEnergy Solutions sent $38 million to Generation Now. The campaign spent millions on mailers and ads discouraging Ohioans from signing the petitions. It also hired petition firms to prevent them from working for the repeal side. “For example,” the complaint reads,” in a meeting on July 24, 2019, which was recorded, [lobbyist Neil] Clark stated that he wired about $450,000 today hiring signature collections people to not work.” Some of the petitioners worked as “blockers,” disrupting the other side’s signature gathering efforts by following them around and making possible signers uncomfortable.
As a kid growing up in 1960s Chicago, Daryl Davis was shocked when his parents explained that White children were throwing rocks at him during a Cub Scouts parade because he was Black. This ... left a burning question in Davis’ mind: “How can you hate me if you do not know me?” A blues pianist, whose energetic style led him to perform with the likes of Chuck Berry, B.B. King, and Jerry Lee Lewis, Davis would commit his life to seeking out answers to that question, often with his music and his Christian faith as equalizers. But a performance ... in 1983 would leave its mark. He had been approached, after a set, by a member of the audience who told him he had never seen a Black man who could play like Jerry Lee Lewis. That began a conversation that would reveal a surprising truth: The man making the comment was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This revelation sparked the beginning of a 30-year journey that for Davis involved sitting down with members of the Klan and other White supremacists, attending their rallies and cross burnings—all in a search for answers. By tackling prejudices head-on, Davis believes he succeeded in persuading more than 200 KKK members and other white supremacists to disavow their allegiances. Many became friends, including Scott Shepherd, a former Grand Dragon of the KKK in Tennessee. The two regularly travel together to help shine a light on white supremacy and address the spread of racism through dialogue and education.
Note: Davis' work reforming white supremacists is the subject of an inspiring new documentary. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Moderna CEO StÄ‚©phane Bancel more than tripled the number of his company shares to be sold through an executive stock plan that was changed just days after the biotech in May announced positive early results for its coronavirus vaccine. Moderna's shares spiked on the May news, rising 30% in just one day. After seeking the executive stock plan change in May, Bancel sold more than 72,000 Moderna shares in the first 16 days of July, generating nearly $4.8 million for the executive. That was more than triple the 22,000 shares he had previously scheduled to sell during the same period through the company's executive trading plan. Another top Moderna executive, President Stephen Hoge, also had his pre-programmed executive trading plan reset around the same time. The change allowed him to sell $1.9 million worth of Moderna stock in the first two weeks of July. The executives' ... sales were made through what are known as 10b5-1 stock plans. These arrangements must be set up or amended at least 30 days before any transactions are executed; they are commonly used at publicly traded companies to help shield executives from potential claims of insider trading. The fact that the plans were changed during the pandemic as news was emerging about the company's closely watched coronavirus vaccine raises new questions about how Moderna executives have pocketed millions of dollars in recent months.
It started with a simple message on Facebook on April 29. George Ahearn had heard about farmers in Eastern Washington who were giving away potatoes and onions and wanted to know if someone had a truck he could borrow to haul the discarded crops to Western Washington food banks. The response was immediate and dramatic. A convoy of four trucks, including two with trailers, made the trip east, helping provide quite a bounty for local food banks. “We brought back 9.36 tons when my original goal was 2,000 pounds (one ton),” Aheard said. The effort didn’t end there. EastWest Food Rescue is now a registered nonprofit organization, having delivered more than 2.4 million pounds of crops to more than 160 food banks. Not only is it helping with food security, but the organization is paying the farmers, who saw the market for some of their crops vanish during the coronavirus pandemic. “The whole thing started because of COVID,” said Nancy Balin, who answered Ahearn’s initial request and is now one of three directors of the program. “They immediately lost all the restaurant contracts they had for these restaurant-quality potatoes and onions.” Meanwhile, unemployment was spiking everywhere, along with the need for food. “People who had never needed food before needed food banks, and these farmers have potatoes that they need to get rid of,” Balin said. The goal now is 10 million pounds of food rescued, which Balin said will take $250,000 in donations in addition to hundreds of volunteer hours.
The son of a federal judge was killed and her husband injured when a gunman opened fire at their family home in New Jersey on Sunday night. New Jersey U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas' 20-year-old son Daniel Anderl was killed in the attack in North Brunswick, New Jersey, by a suspect dressed in a FedEx uniform. Salas was not injured in the shooting. North Brunswick Mayor Francis Womack told ABC News that Anderl died after being "shot through the heart." Womack said Salas received threats "from time to time" in the past but she is not believed to have received any recently. On July 15, four days before the shooting, Salas was assigned to the ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies. The suit also alleged the bank failed to properly monitor "high-risk" customers, including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Salas was nominated by President Barack Obama and was confirmed in 2011 having previously served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey. Her most high-profile case in recent years was the sentencing of Real Housewives of New Jersey reality TV stars Teresa and Joe Giudice for financial fraud charges. Salas allowed the pair to serve their time consecutively so one could raise their four children while the other was in jail.
Note: Media reports say the killer was Den Hollander, whose resume on his website states he once worked for Kroll Associates Russia. This Washington Post article states, "The French equivalent of the FBI ... suspected that Kroll's Paris operation was a CIA front." This New Yorker article states Kroll "has hired plenty of graduates of the C.I.A. and other secret services, such as M.I.6 and the Mossad." Is it just a coincidence these murder took place just days after Judge Salas was assigned to the Epstein case? Much more on this available here by crack reporter Whitney Webb.
Christopher David had watched in horror as videos surfaced of federal officers in camouflage throwing protesters into unmarked vans in Portland. The 53-year-old Portland resident had heard the stories: protesters injured, gassed, sprayed with chemicals that tugged at their nostrils and burned their eyes. David, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former member of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, said he wanted to know what the officers involved thought of the oath they had sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. So, he said, on Saturday evening, he headed to downtown Portland to ask them. He asked one woman when the feds would show up, but she said it was also her first protest since the Department of Homeland Security deployed tactical units from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to bolster protections for federal buildings. Just as he was about to leave, David said, the federal officers emerged. “Why are you not honoring your oath?” he bellowed. “Why are you not honoring your oath to the Constitution?” An officer trained his weapon on David’s chest as several agents pushed him, sending David stumbling backward. But he regained his center and tried again. Another agent raised his baton and began to beat David, who stood unwavering with his arms at his sides. Then another officer unloaded a canister of chemical irritant spray into David’s face. At the hospital, he said, he learned his right hand had been broken in two places.
The strange and frightening images of unidentified military-looking men taking protesters off the streets of Portland, Oregon, and into unmarked vans may be headed to a city near you if that city is, as President Donald Trump declared Monday, run by "liberal Democrats." The teams of masked authorities seen in Portland dressed up for war like special forces apparently belong to the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Unit. They're trained for drug missions, but ... they've been dispatched to American streets. Trump suggested more federal agents will soon be headed to more American cities. The fact that DHS would deploy its own warriors into American streets without much discussion and without a clear mandate (they're vaguely supposed to be protecting federal buildings?) is dark-of-night dystopian stuff. Meanwhile, the militarized response has led to more violent levels of protest in Portland, where racial justice and anti-police brutality demonstrations have lasted more than 50 days. The atmosphere has not been helped by the efforts of federal agents, according to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who called the administration's actions "abhorrent." "People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars," Wheeler [said]. Both Wheeler and Oregon's governor have demanded the federal authorities leave. And multiple House committee chairs are also calling for an immediate watchdog investigation.
According to a July 17 study published in the International Journal of Geriatrics and Rehabilitation, 50 percent of nucleic acid coronavirus tests distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided inaccurate results. The study's lead author, Sin Hang Lee, MD, director of Milford Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, found that the testing kits gave a 30 percent false-positive rate and a 20 percent false-negative rate. To determine these false-positive and false-negative rates, the Connecticut State Department of Public Health Microbiology Laboratory provided Lee 20 tests, which were then re-tested using his own methodology, which examines samples on a cellular level, rather than just testing fluid with no cellular matter from potentially infected oral and nasal secretions. While the results of Lee's testing may be alarming, they also pointed to yet another discovery: new mutations of the virus. Two tests that initially provided false-negatives and one test that yielded a positive result were actually found to be positive for coronavirus and a mutation of the virus, meaning two variants of the virus can simultaneously infect one person. However, it's not just the test you use that may be contributing to inaccurate results—when you get tested is important, too. Getting tested the day a person is infected with coronavirus will likely yield a 100 percent false-negative rate; by day 8 after becoming infected, however, that rate drops to just 20 percent.
Note: Explore an excellent, well-researched article further questioning the validity of these tests. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Somewhere in the vast ocean, a little boat covered in solar panels is doing something extraordinary: making its own hydrogen fuel from the seawater underneath it. The Energy Observer uses a patchwork of different cutting-edge technologies to generate enough energy to power nine homes each day. During the day, 200 square meters of solar panels charge up the boat's lithium ion batteries. Any extra energy is stored as hydrogen, thanks to a special fuel cell that goes by the name Rex H2 (short for Range Extender H2). The Rex H2 was made by Toyota, using components from Toyota's hydrogen-powered Mirai vehicle line. The fuel cell brings in seawater, removes the salt and then separates the H from the pure H20 with electricity. When the Energy Observer began its journey in 2017, it could only produce hydrogen while stopped. That changed in a big way with the addition of the Oceanwings, 12-meter sails that improved the efficiency of the Energy Observer from 18% to 42%, to the point where it can now produce hydrogen even while sailing. One of the main benefits of hydrogen is its ability to store more more electricity by weight than its lithium ion competition. This benefit is especially useful at sea. Because fossil fuels have had more than a century's head start, we now find ourselves far beyond the point of any one technology being a silver bullet for our growing energy needs. A sustainable future will require a patchwork of new technologies, like the one powering the Energy Observer.
Federal law enforcement officers have used unmarked vehicles to detain protesters in Portland. Videos shared online show officers driving up to people, detaining them without explanation, then driving off, Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported. The ACLU filed a lawsuit Friday evening to try and end what it called "lawlessness" on the streets of Portland. The lawsuit ... seeks to block the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies from attacking journalists and legal observers at protests. "Federal agents are terrorizing the community, threatening lives, and relentlessly attacking protesters demonstrating against police brutality," the ACLU said. "This is not law and order. This is lawlessness — and it must be stopped." Conner O’Shea, 30, a Portland resident who’s been attending protests for almost two months, told USA Today that early Thursday morning, around 2 a.m. he and a friend had left protests downtown and were walking back to their car when they were suddenly pursued by men who they believed to be federal agents. O’Shea did not see any sort of identifying markers on the men — badges or numbers or words on their camouflage uniforms. O’Shea managed to get away. But his friend Mark Pettibone, 29, has told media he was arrested and booked by federal agents. Pettibone told the Washington Post that officers placed him in a holding cell in a federal courthouse, where he was read his Miranda rights. After Pettibone ... declined to answer questions, he was released.
Note: Read a CNN article questioning the degree to which we are moving towards martial law. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Sweden’s decision to keep schools open during the pandemic resulted in no higher rate of infection among its schoolchildren than in neighboring Finland, where schools did temporarily close, their public health agencies said in a joint report. Sweden decided to forego a hard lockdown and keep most schools and businesses open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, a divisive strategy that set it apart from most of Europe. Its Public Health Agency has maintained that the negative consequences of a shutdown on the economy and society outweigh the benefits, and says this also applies to schools. During the period of February 24 to June 14, there were 1,124 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among children in Sweden, around 0.05% of the total number of children aged 1-19. Finland recorded 584 cases in the same period, also equivalent to around 0.05%. “In conclusion, (the) closure or not of schools had no measurable direct impact on the number of laboratory confirmed cases in school-aged children in Finland or Sweden,” the agencies said in the report. Sweden’s death toll of 5,572, when compared relative to population size, far outstripped those of its Nordic neighbors, although it remains lower than in some European countries that locked down, such as Britain and Spain. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the health agency, who has devised Sweden’s response to the epidemic, has said there is little evidence linking the death toll to the absence of a lockdown.
Note: Explore an excellent article on Sweden's underreported success in dealing with COVID-19. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born. What is going on? The fertility rate - the average number of children a woman gives birth to - is falling. If the number falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to fall. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 - and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100. As a result, the researchers expect the number of people on the planet to peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century. It is being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children. In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story. A smaller population would reduce carbon emissions as well as deforestation for farmland. Says Prof [Christopher] Murray ... "It will create enormous social change."
Note: The full article at the link above largely paints decreasing population as a problem. One of the greatest fears for many years was that global overpopulation would destroy our planet. Why is the news that global population will decline being spun here as a problem? Why not celebrate this good news? Could it be that the media profits from selling fear? For more on this great shift, see this inspiring information.
When Trinity Jagdeo’s best friend was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, a rare and serious degenerative disease, Trinity wished her friend had a hero she could relate to, someone to inspire her. She couldn’t find one. So she created one. “Seeing what my best friend was going through, I wanted to do more for others like her.” In 2014, her friend Alexus Dick was hospitalized for six months. “I took note of how drained she was. She had nobody to look up to while she was going through that battle.” Trinity’s first instinct was to reach out to Disney, asking for more characters with disabilities or special needs. “I wrote them letters, made Youtube videos. I didn’t receive a response, so I decided to create my own non-profit, and I began writing and illustrating my own books that featured local special-needs kids.” Alexus was thrilled when she saw Trinity’s comic books starring heroes with disabilities. “I was excited when I realized what she was doing. She was right, there were no characters with disabilities.” Trinity ... found an inexpensive drawing pad that connected to her computer, and she began to use Amazon’s publishing tools. “I put the entire thing together, and they’d print it out for me.” This was when Trinity was 17. Trinity has written and illustrated three books so far. “I love all of the kids I write about, and they all inspire me. I actually illustrated Alexus’s brother, who also has spinal muscular atrophy.” His book is titled “Zappy Zane.” Her other two titles are “Alice the Ace” and “The We Can Squad Saves the Day.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A few months ago, 7-year-old Madison Wilson was watching the Disney movie "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" at her home in Solvang, Calif., when her mother heard her say, "Finally, there's a brown person!" Madison was talking about the character Conall ... whose skin color is similar to her own. It was a contrast to most movies she sees where "there are only peach people," Madison told her mother, Vashti Wilson. Madison said she was also frustrated that there wasn't a brown color in her crayon box that properly represented the color of her skin when she drew pictures of herself. Wilson wanted her daughter to feel empowered, so she asked her, "Do you have some ideas?" Madison did, in fact. Madison had learned that Crayola was planning to release a new box of Colors of the World skin-tone crayons this summer. According to the Crayola website, "Crayola Colors of the World Crayons contain 24 specially formulated colors representing people of the world." Madison wanted to get some for her school, and also books that include characters of color. "But then we learned that due to covid-19, every child would have to have their own box of crayons," Wilson said. "So a few weeks ago, we decided to start a fundraiser." When word got out about Madison's cause, donations began to pour in. Since June 19, more than $23,000 has been raised – enough to buy books, crayons and construction paper in a variety of multicultural hues for ... nearly 500 children.
More than a million people may have quit smoking in Britain during the pandemic, figures have suggested. A survey of 10,000 people indicated that across the country as many as 400,000 people aged 16 to 29 dropped their smoking habit during lockdown, and 240,000 aged over 50. It is believed another 400,000 aged 30-49 have also quit since April, according to analysis by the charity Action on Smoking and Health and University College, London. It is thought to be explained by the health threat, as Covid-19 has severe effects on the respiratory system. A public health drive is now being launched to encourage more people to give up smoking. The figures have been published to coincide with a new campaign, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, which hopes to target smokers in areas with the highest rates of smoking, such as England's north east. Matt Hancock has set a Government target for the UK to become smoke-free by 2030. Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of ASH, said: "This campaign is designed to encourage those who have not yet succeeded in stopping to wake up, and decide that today is the day to stop smoking." Dr Ruth Sharrock, a respiratory consultant who is supporting the campaign, said: “Every day of my working life I see the terrible health problems caused by smoking. But I have also been inspired by those already suffering from smoking related diseases, who have still managed quit and get health benefits from this.”
Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born. The fertility rate - the average number of children a woman gives birth to - is falling. If the number falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to fall. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 - and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100. As a result, the researchers expect the number of people on the planet to peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century. "That's a pretty big thing; most of the world is transitioning into natural population decline," researcher Prof Christopher Murray told the BBC. "I think it's incredibly hard to think this through and recognise how big a thing this is; it's extraordinary, we'll have to reorganise societies." It is being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children. In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story.
An Arkansas judge who styled himself as a “Sugar Daddy” and was accused by local women of soliciting sex in exchange for cash, drugs and bail leniency largely escaped accountability from authorities for years, a Reuters investigation found. The judge was forced to resign from the bench in disgrace. But ... he continues to practice law despite his misconduct. As part of its “Teflon Robe” project, Reuters identified and reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, the news agency’s investigation identified 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined judges privately – withholding from the public details of their offenses, including the identities of the judges themselves. In many states, the lack of aggressive public oversight means that judges may behave with impunity. In the unlikely case that judges are publicly charged with misconduct, many states enable judges to simply resign or retire, putting a stop to the charges and any investigation of potential wrongdoing. Reuters found that at least 341 judges across the United States escaped punishment or further investigation in the past dozen years by resigning or retiring amid misconduct allegations. At least 5,206 people were directly affected by a judge’s misconduct. The victims ranged from people who were illegally jailed to those subjected to racist, sexist and other abusive comments from judges in ways that tainted the cases.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
She was 30 years old, jobless and facing a custody fight. To keep her kids, she needed a lawyer. Tim Parker seemed ideal. The woman told authorities that she covered part of her legal fees by having sex with Parker, and that Parker paid her at least $3,000 for more sex over the next two years. But [Parker] wasn't just a lawyer. He was also a part-time judge. Although the woman declined to talk with Reuters, she alleged in secret testimony to the agency that Parker had also used his authority as a judge to help her friends bond out of jail, again in return for sex. The alleged conduct was not isolated. City police, the sheriff’s office, the state police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a federal grand jury investigated Parker for about four years. Witnesses gave evidence that the judge disclosed the identity of a confidential informant; traded money and opioids for sex; and gave favorable treatment to young women in his courtroom, Reuters found. Despite the intense scrutiny, Parker, 58, was never charged with any crime. Still, Parker’s term on the bench ended in disgrace, when the state judicial commission forced his removal and resignation on what was already scheduled to be his final day in office. The story of Tim Parker shows how hard it can be to remove an American judge suspected of corruption. In its investigation into judicial misconduct across America, Reuters ... found at least 5,206 people who were directly affected by a judge’s misconduct.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
As America begins the formidable task of getting our kids back to school and all of us back to work safely ... public health experts face two opponents: covid-19, but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of this date, the CDC guidelines, which were designed to protect children, teachers, school staffers and their families — no matter the state and no matter the politics — have not been altered. It is not unusual for CDC guidelines to be changed or amended during a clearance process that moves through multiple agencies and the White House. But it is extraordinary for guidelines to be undermined after their release. Through last week, and into Monday, the [Trump] administration continued to cast public doubt on the agency’s recommendations and role in informing and guiding the nation’s pandemic response. On Sunday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos characterized the CDC guidelines as an impediment to reopening schools quickly rather than what they are: the path to doing so safely. The only valid reason to change released guidelines is new information and new science — not politics. Sound science is being challenged with partisan potshots, sowing confusion and mistrust. These efforts have even fueled a backlash against public health officials: Public servants have been harassed, threatened and forced to resign when we need them most.
2020 marks the 82nd year that researchers at Harvard University began following 724 college age men as part of the longest running study in history on human development. Their objective? To determine what factors lead to healthy and happy lives. Key results suggest that happiness and health do not result from fame and fortune. Instead, as the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development Robert Waldinger put it, the clearest message to emerge is, “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” Close relationships ... are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes. Research from University College London found that people with a greater sense of purpose in life lived longer than those with the lowest sense of purpose. A study conducted with the elderly showed those who helped others lived longer lives. Researchers from Norway found that women who rated high for humor had a 48 percent lower risk of death from all causes. Research from University College London showed people who felt younger had a lower death rate than those who felt their own age or older. A Harvard study found the most optimistic people had a 16 percent lower risk of death from cancer, a 38 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and respiratory disease, and a 39 percent lower risk of dying from stroke. Research from UC Berkeley shows that experiencing awe can actually impact health by reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Note: The above article contains a great list of questions designed to help improve wellbeing. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Purity Amleset is feeling tense. But fear is just part of the job, she says, as she patrols her section of the 147,000-hectare (363,000-acre) community land around Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, a Unesco-designated biosphere reserve. Amleset ... is one of eight rangers in the all-female International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Team Lioness, a patrol unit among 76 rangers from the local Maa community. Their job is to protect wildlife from poaching, trafficking in bushmeat and human-wildlife conflict. “I risk my life to spare their life [wildlife],” says Amleset, who is on a regular 20km patrol to visit the local community, tracking and recording GPS coordinates of wildlife sightings, as well as threats like snares or any suspicious activity along the way. “I grew up here with wildlife as our friends. We are thriving together. The water point, we share together with wildlife. The grass we use to herd the cattle, [we] herd together with wildlife,” she says. In neighbouring Tanzania, many rangers have lost their jobs as tourism has dwindled, putting more pressure on Team Lioness and other community rangers because they are forced to patrol larger areas. There are fears that fewer rangers could prompt a spike in poaching. “For us now the job has increased,” says 20-year-old Sharon Nankinyi. “The most difficult thing is dangerous animals. If you meet them in the bush, they can attack you. But we know that without wildlife, people will not survive, and without people, wildlife will not survive.
It's a fairly ordinary evening on TikTok, the video-sharing app. Things do not seem so different on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, where a live streaming boom has minted new social media millionaires. Behind the scenes, however, Chinese streamers are subject to an elaborate regime of automated surveillance and censorship. One system can use facial recognition to scan live streamers' broadcasts and guess their age. Another checks whether users' faces match their state ID cards. Another system assigns streamers, who are expected to uphold "public order and good customs", a "safety rating", similar to a "credit score". If the score dips below a certain level, they are punished automatically. Meanwhile, speech and text recognition is used to ferret out sins such as "feudal superstition" [and] defamation of the Communist Party. These methods are laid bare in a little-known document from TikTok and Douyin's parent company, ByteDance, and unearthed by New York City journalist Izzy Niu, which explains how the apps have adapted China's strict internet censorship laws to the unprecedented speed and chaos of live streaming. The document raises difficult questions for TikTok, which faces privacy probes in the US and UK and has already been banned in India. Some of these methods are common in the West, too. Both Facebook and YouTube use AI to police their services, and have massively expanded their censorship during the pandemic.
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma should not be able to make any more political contributions without a judge’s permission, lawyers for its creditors said in a court filing. The issue came up this week after it was reported that the company, which has a long history of influencing policymakers, made contributions to national associations representing state attorneys general and governors. The money was sent after Purdue entered bankruptcy protection last year in an effort to settle thousands of lawsuits accusing it of helping spark an opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that has contributed to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S.. State attorneys general are among those trying to negotiate a nationwide settlement. The committee of creditors that asked for recipients to return the money to Purdue said the contributions represent a conflict. “The Political Contributions — $185,000 in donations to associations whose members include the very public servants with whom the Debtors are attempting to negotiate a consensual resolution of these cases — are precisely the sort of transaction that demand close scrutiny,” they said in a filing. In 2016, an investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that Purdue and other companies in the opioid industry, along with the advocacy groups largely funded by the industry, spent more than $880 million from 2006 through 2015 to influence state and local governments. Those efforts helped fight off restrictions on drug prescriptions.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
A leading epidemiologist says "thousands of people" will be quarantined in isolation facilities for months - and possibly years - into the future. University of Otago professor of public health Michael Baker's appearance on Newshub Nation on Saturday comes after multiple cases of people breaking out of their facilities. Prof Baker says ... we need to be prepared for a "long-term risk management challenge". "Mistakes happen, and we have to learn from them and improve our systems so we don't repeat those errors," he [said]. "We're going to have thousands of people sitting in these facilities, quarantined in isolation facilities for months, maybe years ahead." The latest escapee, a person in their 60s, broke the window of the Waipuna Hotel in Auckland on Friday and climbed out of the building. Their escape is the fourth since last Saturday, when a woman scaled two fences to escape from Auckland's Pullman Hotel. On Tuesday, a 32-year-old man snuck through a gap in the Stamford Plaza fencing and visited an inner-city supermarket. Prof Baker says we need to look at why these people feel the need to escape from the isolation facilities. ACT leader David Seymour said the Government needs to start profiling travelers based on their risk of absconding. "The vast majority of people entering New Zealand will pose absolutely no risk of absconding from managed isolation and quarantine facilities," he said in a statement. "But a tiny minority will be a risk. The Government should ... place them under tighter security."
Note: Baker likely is not referring to individuals being detained for years, but to these policies continuing for years. A second MSN article includes a video describing how police are now guarding the quarantine facilities in New Zealand, which is being called "managed isolation." The "managed isolation" aka quarantine policy started in April. As this article states, "every person arriving in New Zealand will have to go into compulsory quarantine as a measure to try and combat Covid-19." For more, see summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
Scientists have devised a way to use the antibody-rich blood plasma of COVID-19 survivors for an upper-arm injection that they say could inoculate people against the virus for months. Using technology that's been proven effective in preventing other diseases such as hepatitis A, the injections would be administered to high-risk healthcare workers, nursing home patients, or even at public drive-through sites. But the idea exists only on paper. Federal officials have twice rejected requests to discuss the proposal, and pharmaceutical companies — even acknowledging the likely efficacy of the plan — have declined to design or manufacture the shots. The antibodies in plasma can be concentrated and delivered to patients through a type of drug called immune globulin, or Ig, which can be given through either an IV drip or a shot. Yet for the coronavirus, manufacturers are only developing an intravenous solution of Ig. Intravenous plasma products are traditionally the main economic driver for the industry. The money-making antibodies are also far more diluted in intravenous drugs than in injectable ones, which boosts profit margins. “They charge a fortune off of intravenous drugs in the hospital. They don't want to devote the manufacturing plant to something that won't make oodles of money,” said one infectious disease expert. Researchers also said industry executives have little incentive to produce the immunity shots for the coronavirus, given the possibility that a longer-lasting vaccine could replace it within a year.
Disruption to food production and supplies due to COVID-19 could cause more deaths from starvation than the disease itself, according to an Oxfam report. The report found that 121 million more people could be “pushed to the brink of starvation this year” as a result of disruption to food production and supplies, diminishing aid as well as mass unemployment. The report estimates that COVID-19 related hunger could cause 12,000 deaths per day: the peak global mortality rate for COVID-19 in April was 10,000 deaths per day. “COVID-19 is the last straw for millions of people already struggling with the impacts of conflict, climate change, inequality and a broken food system that has impoverished millions of food producers and workers,” said Oxfam’s Interim Executive Director Chema Vera. Oxfam says Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Venezuela, the West African Sahel, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Haiti are “extreme hunger hotspots” that are likely to be severely affected by the pandemic. Women, who also make up a significant portion of informal workers, are more likely to have been severely affected by lockdown measures. The report notes that there are enough funds globally to address starvation. Eight out of ten of the biggest food and drink companies paid more than $18 billion to shareholders since the beginning of this year, an amount that is “ten times more than the UN says is needed to stop people going hungry,” according to the report.
District Court Judge Curtis DeLapp was renowned for his hair-trigger temper. For almost a dozen years, DeLapp used his power to terrify people who appeared before him, pressing contempt charges against defense attorneys, prosecutors and even a prospective juror who brought children to court when she couldn’t find daycare, court records show. Local attorneys had grown convinced that DeLapp was violating the state’s judicial conduct code by abusing his authority. They worked collectively to build a voluminous complaint alleging that DeLapp had unlawfully jailed ... dozens of people. The complaint also contained an explosive charge: that the judge may have fabricated a court document. Had DeLapp fought the charges, he risked more than disgrace. If it could be proved that he submitted a forged document to the supreme court, he might land in prison. Instead, DeLapp, 53, struck a deal. He resigned and agreed never again to seek office as a judge. The case against him was dismissed. His state pension and law license remained intact. And DeLapp received a written assurance that neither his departure nor the settlement constituted an admission to the “validity of any of the allegations.” In leaving the bench, DeLapp became one of at least 341 judges across the United States to escape punishment or further investigation in the past dozen years by resigning or retiring amid misconduct allegations, Reuters found. In most states, the ultimate disciplinary authority over a judge rests with other judges.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
While the country is subsumed by both public health and an unemployment crisis, and is separately focused on a sustained protest movement against police abuses, a massive $740.5 billion military spending package was approved last week by the Democratic-controlled House Armed Services Committee. Pro-war and militaristic Democrats on the Committee joined with GOP Rep. Liz Cheney and the pro-war faction she leads to form majorities which approved one hawkish amendment after the next. How do Democrats succeed in presenting an image of themselves based on devotion to progressive causes and the welfare of the ordinary citizen while working with Liz Cheney to ensure that vast resources are funneled to the weapons manufacturers, defense sector and lobbyists who fund their campaigns? Why would a country with no military threats from any sovereign nation to its borders spend almost a trillion dollars a year for buying weapons while its citizens linger without health care, access to quality schools, or jobs? When these committee members return to their blue districts, they talk endlessly about topics such as the NRA, LGBTs, and reproductive rights — issues on which many do little work and over which they wield little influence — in order to manufacture brands for themselves as good, caring progressives, which is how they are reelected over and over. When they return to Washington, what they really do is spend their time collaborating with lobbyists for ... the “defense” industry.
Ties between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon are deeper than previously known, according to thousands of previously unreported subcontracts published Wednesday. The subcontracts were obtained through open records requests by accountability nonprofit Tech Inquiry. They show that tech giants including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have secured more than 5,000 agreements with agencies including the Department of Defense, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the FBI. Tech workers in recent years have pressured their employers to drop contracts with law enforcement and the military. Google workers revolted in 2018 after Gizmodo revealed that Google was building artificial intelligence for drone targeting through a subcontract with the Pentagon — after some employees quit in protest, Google agreed not to renew the contract. Employees at Amazon and Microsoft have petitioned both companie