Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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Norway's prison system is designed with three core values in mind: normality, humanity and rehabilitation. The point of incarceration in Norway, they say, is to make inmates "better neighbors" once they are released - and they take that mission very seriously. In the US, prison is generally seen as punishment for crimes committed. But Norway might change that. In 2015, prison directors and lawmakers from North Dakota traveled to see Norway's prisons for themselves. The trip was part of a program that takes state officials to visit the country, which has one of the lowest recidivism rates in the world. When the leaders returned, North Dakota slowly began making changes to its prison system. The move has been controversial with some prison staff. The changes called for different dynamics between inmates and corrections officers, causing one of them to leave over what he believed was a fundamental shift in their training. North Dakota's prison directors say the benefit in the long run - reducing the state's recidivism rate - is worth giving this new approach a chance. If the goal is to make them better neighbors, North Dakota inmate Jonathan McKinney says it's working. He spent more than two years in and out of solitary confinement during part of his 17-year sentence for murder and other serious charges. Because of Norway's influence, prison officials allowed him to transfer to medium security when he showed good behavior - a move that he would not have been able to make as easily before.
Note: Watch an incredible nine-minute video on the mind-boggling success of Norway's prison system.
Declining coal use has pushed UK carbon emissions to levels last consistently seen in 1890, highlighting the country’s progress in cutting greenhouse gases faster than most other developed economies. Emissions fell by 2.6 per cent in 2017, driven by a nearly one-fifth reduction in the use of coal as the energy industry shifts towards cleaner sources of electricity generation, especially wind and solar power. The data marked the fifth successive year in which the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into UK skies has fallen, and emissions are now 38 per cent below the level of 1990. “With coal quickly disappearing in the UK and other fossil fuel use mostly flat, emissions have continued their steady decline,” said Zeke Hausfather, author of the report by Carbon Brief, a climate research and news organisation, which based its findings on the latest UK government data. Britain’s success in driving down emissions contrasts with Germany, where the country’s continued dependence on coal for about 40 per cent of electricity generation has dented Chancellor Angela Merkel’s green credentials and put the country’s climate targets at risk. More than two-thirds of today’s emissions still need to be eliminated if Britain is to meet its legally binding goal to reduce CO2 output by 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.
Note: In 2017, for the first time since the 1800's, Britain went a day without burning coal to generate electricity. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine sued agricultural giant Monsanto on Monday, alleging the company concealed dangers posed by a toxic chemical compound it manufactured for nearly a half century. In the suit ... prosecutors argued that the company should pay for the clean-up of what it says are dozens of rivers, lakes and other water bodies contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The company stopped manufacturing the chemical in 1977 and it was banned in 1979 by the Environmental Protection Agency. According to the suit, Monsanto produced nearly all of the PCBs - which were used in everything from lubricants to electrical equipment - in the United States between 1929 and 1977. The chemical has been linked to cancer, liver damage and other negative health effects. The suit alleges that Monsanto learned of PCBs’ toxic effects in the 1930s, yet it kept producing the compound while concealing its effects. The suit claims the company acknowledged that prolonged exposure could produce "systemic toxic effects" in an internal memo in 1937, so it undertook a "decades-long campaign of misinformation and deception."
Note: Other major lawsuits are beginning to unfold over Monsanto's lies to regulators and the public on the dangers of its products, most notably Roundup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health.
If you care about animal welfare or food safety, this news will concern you: the nationwide expansion of a risky US Department of Agriculture (USDA) high-speed slaughter program is imminent. There is still time to stop it. The USDA is now accepting public comments on its proposed rule that it euphemistically dubbed the “Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection”. As a former undercover investigator who worked inside a pig slaughterhouse operating under the pilot project that was, at the time, called HIMP, I’ve seen firsthand the hazardous and cruel nature of this controversial program. This expanded program ... would allow facilities to increase slaughter speeds, while reducing the number of trained government inspectors on the lines. The result is problems that can – and do – go unnoticed. For nearly six months, I worked undercover inside Quality Pork Processors (QPP). An exclusive Hormel Foods supplier, QPP kills about 1,300 pigs every hour operating under the high-speed pilot program. I documented pig carcasses covered in feces and abscesses being processed for human consumption, and workers ... beating, dragging, and electrically prodding pigs to make them move faster. NSIS may also allow higher numbers of sick and injured pigs too weak even to stand (known as “downers”) to be slaughtered for food. In 2016, a letter from 60 members of Congress to the USDA stated “the available evidence suggests the hog HIMP will undermine food safety.”
Note: The above was written by Scott David, a former undercover investigator at Compassion Over Killing, a national animal protection organization. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the food system.
Plainclothes police officers stormed the village of Madhura in Bihar State. They chased men into fields and detained the bride and groom, already covered in turmeric powder to prepare for the ceremony, for further questioning. Speaking to reporters at the police station later, Ms. Kumari, with downcast eyes, made her position clear: “I will not marry, sir,” she said. “I want to study.” India’s child marriage rate is one of the highest in the world. But as awareness has spread about the detriments associated with underage marriages ... the prevalence has dropped. Child marriage [in India] is finely threaded with other practices, including the exchange of a dowry from the bride’s family to the groom, and sometimes with sex trafficking, making it difficult to tackle any one issue without addressing others. Social workers said there are no easy solutions. Bihar, a poor, agrarian state in northern India, has one of the highest rates of underage marriages in the country. In 2005, 69 percent of surveyed women said they married when they were underage. Ten years later, the number fell to 42.5 percent. Last year, the Bihari government ... dispatched social workers to villages and cities across the state, and announced that priests who officiate weddings would be required to sign declarations affirming that both parties are of legal age to marry. The legal age for marriage for Indian women is 18 years old. For men, it is 21. With the 2006 Prohibition of Child Marriage Prevention Act, Indian lawmakers criminalized child marriage.
Note: While India has outlawed child marriage as a country, twenty-seven US States set no minimum age for marriage.
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has stepped up its efforts at "regime change" in Venezuela. High-level sources from inside the administration have stated that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is determining U.S. policy toward Venezuela. Rubio ... does not seem interested in an electoral or negotiated solution to Venezuela's political crisis. On Feb. 9, he appeared to support a military coup. Such open support from Washington for a military coup against an elected government ... is unusual. But the Trump team is not just sitting around waiting for it to happen. The Rubio/Trump strategy seems to be to try to worsen the economic situation and increase suffering to the point where either the military, or the insurrectionary elements of the opposition, rise up and overthrow the government. That appears to be the purpose of the financial sanctions that Trump ordered on Aug. 24, 2017. These sanctions cut off Venezuela from billions of dollars of potential loans, as well as from revenue even from its own oil company in the U.S., Citgo. They have worsened shortages of medicine and food, in an economy that is already suffering from inflation of about 3,000 percent annually and a depression that has cost about 38 percent of GDP. These sanctions are illegal under ... international conventions to which the U.S. is a signatory. Now U.S. officials are talking about ... cutting off Venezuela's oil sales. All this to overthrow a government that nobody can claim poses any threat to the United States.
Note: Important parts of this situation's history are described in a 2012 article titled, "Why the US demonises Venezuela's democracy". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
In recent years, rigorous research has been conducted on entheogens, such as ayahuasca, LSD, mescaline and psilocybin, and on the empathogen Ecstasy. The goal is to evaluate their effects on addiction, cluster headaches, depression, trauma, cancer, epilepsy, death and dying, as well as to explore their value in the study of consciousness. Psilocybin - or magic mushrooms - have been used in traditional healing rituals for thousands of years. However, for more than 40 years it has been illegal in the U.S. But recent findings are tearing down the barriers surrounding psychedelic research, as it has been clinically shown that they have the ability to ease depression and soothe anxiety in patients dealing with serious illness and impending death. Two separate studies discovered that a single, moderate-to-large dose of psilocybin was able to help alleviate profound distress among cancer patients. Researchers know “how,” but they do not know “why,” psilocybin has worked in these settings. One theory is that psilocybin interrupts the circuitry of self-absorbed thinking that is so pronounced in depressed people, making way for a mystical experience. Neuro-imaging studies ... suggest that the positive effects of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy are explained by changes in something in the brain called “the default mode network.” It turns out that this network is hyperactive in depression. Interestingly, in both meditation and also with psilocybin this network becomes quiescent.
Note: See an article in the UK's Independent showing remarkable results from these studies. Learn more about the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs now being explored by the scientific community.
Reach for the hand of a loved one in pain and not only will your breathing and heart rate synchronize with theirs, your brain wave patterns will couple up too, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study ... also found that the more empathy a comforting partner feels for a partner in pain, the more their brainwaves fall into sync. And the more those brain waves sync, the more the pain goes away. "We have developed a lot of ways to communicate in the modern world and we have fewer physical interactions," said lead author Pavel Goldstein. "This paper illustrates the power and importance of human touch." The study is the latest in a growing body of research exploring a phenomenon known as "interpersonal synchronization," in which people physiologically mirror the people they are with. It is the first to look at brain wave synchronization in the context of pain, and offers new insight into the role brain-to-brain coupling may play in touch-induced analgesia, or healing touch. Goldstein came up with the experiment after, during the delivery of his daughter, he discovered that when he held his wife's hand, it eased her pain. How exactly could coupling of brain activity with an empathetic partner kill pain? More studies are needed to find out, stressed Goldstein. But he and his co-authors offer a few possible explanations. Empathetic touch can make a person feel understood, which in turn -- according to previous studies -- could activate pain-killing reward mechanisms in the brain.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Investment in primary care results in savings in overall health care spending. This has been empirically proven in the state of Oregon. Health care spending in the United States in 2016 was $3.4 trillion, or 17.8% of GDP. By the year 2025, spending in the US is expected to reach 19.9% of GDP. What are we getting in return for spending more money on health care than any other developed nation in the world? Not much. Our health outcomes leave much to be desired. Why? Health care spending in the US generally promotes utilization of services - apart from outcomes - as opposed to effective, proactive, whole-person care. There is a better way. In 2009, the Oregon legislature established the Patient-Centered Primary Care Home (PCPCH) program. As of the writing of this article, there are over 600 clinics in Oregon with PCPCH recognition. The foundation of the PCPCH model consists of 6 Core Attributes that promote care which is: accessible, accountable, comprehensive, continuous, coordinated, and patient- and family-centered. What has been achieved since implementation of the PCPCH program in Oregon? A multi-year study from Portland State University [found] $240 million in savings in the first three years of the program. Every $1 increase in spending in primary care resulted in $13 in savings in overall spending.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In Yemen, a child under the age of five dies of preventable causes every 10 minutes. That is just one startling fact from a country that has been torn by war for nearly three years. More than 10,000 civilians have died and over 40,000 have been wounded in this war. An estimated 17 million people – 60 percent of the total population – do not have reliable access to food. Americans have so far provided more than $768 million in humanitarian aid to that country. What few Americans know, however, is that the U.S. military is making the crisis worse by helping one side in the conflict bomb innocent civilians. The millions we have spent in humanitarian aid were necessitated, in part, by a U.S. government failure. In March 2015, a coalition of Arab forces led by Saudi Arabia launched a military intervention into Yemen. The Obama administration, without consulting Congress, quickly authorized U.S. military forces to provide “logistical and intelligence support” to the Saudi coalition. U.S. military support for this intervention continues to this day. U.S. forces are coordinating, refueling and targeting with the Saudi-led coalition. We believe that since Congress has not authorized military force for this conflict, the United States should play no role in it beyond providing desperately needed humanitarian aid. That is why we are introducing a joint resolution that would force Congress to vote on the U.S. war in Yemen. If Congress does not authorize the war, our resolution would require U.S. involvement in Yemen to end.
Note: The above was written by US senators Mike Lee, Bernie Sanders, and Chris Murphy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
When Deputy Patrick Paquette pulled to a stop on Interstate 20 in Georgia in January 2013, he didn’t anticipate a career-altering experience. A young man and a far younger girl ... had been detained by an officer who had pulled them over for speeding, smelled pot and discovered a bag of marijuana. Inside [the girl’s suitcase, Paquette] discovered ... dozens of condoms, lubricant, sex toys and a small pile of lingerie. The girl and the man, Johnathon Nathaniel Kelly, were still separated. Kelly could not see or hear the girl. But Paquette ... kept his voice low. “Do you need help?” he asked. “Sir,” she said, “please get me some help,” and began to cry. Paquette uncuffed her, loaded her into the car and drove her to the station for an interview with a specialist in sex crimes. The girl, Rebecca ... sobbed. “I’ve been praying,” she told him, “every second I could, to be rescued.” Kelly was arrested and later sentenced to 11 years for interstate transportation of a minor for prostitution. If Rebecca had encountered Paquette just months earlier, she would have been arrested. But Paquette had recently taken a Texas-based training program, called Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC), which taught him how to spot indicators of child-sex trafficking. Before the creation of IPC training, Texas DPS kept no record of “child rescues.” But Texas state troopers have made 341 such rescues since the program’s inception; and in formalized follow-up interviews, virtually all of the troopers said the training was key to spurring them to action.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
Amazon won't pay any federal income taxes after topping $5.6 billion in income in 2017. The Seattle-based online retailer will end up paying out roughly $769 million in taxes for the year, but $724 million of that will be in foreign taxes. That's according to an analysis of the online behemoth's 2017 10-K form, which "provides a comprehensive overview of the company's business and financial condition," according to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Public companies are required to submit the form every year to the SEC. Without being privy to the company's tax return, no one can say exactly how CEO Jeff Bezos and Co. avoided what could have been more than $1.3 billion in federal taxes based solely on the annual financial report, but there is information to be gleaned. For example, Amazon took out a $917 million tax deduction on stock options exercised by current or former employees. Unlike wages ... the stock options don't require any cash expenditures by the company. Another ingredient in the low tax bill is likely capital expenditure depreciation ... where companies are allowed to write off the cost of some expenses - say those incurred while building a distribution center, for example - up front. [Amazon] earned a windfall from the Trump administration's U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, passed in December. Amazon readjusted estimates for taxes deferred under the old 35 percent corporate tax rate to meet the new tax law's 21 percent figure, which resulted in an estimated $789 million reduction.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
The cumulative net worth of senators and House members jumped by one-fifth in the two years before the start of this Congress, outperforming the typical American’s improved fortunes as well as the solid performance of investment markets during that time. The total wealth of all current members was at least $2.43 billion when the 115th Congress began, 20 percent more than the collective riches of the previous Congress, a significant gain during a period when both the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose slightly less than 10 percent. Beyond that grand total, the median minimum net worth (meaning half are worth more, half less) of today’s senators and House members was $511,000 at the start of this Congress, an upward push of 16 percent over just two years – and quintuple the median net worth of an American household, which the Federal Reserve pegged at $97,300 in 2016. The financial disparity between those who try to govern and those who are governed is almost certainly even greater than that. Members of Congress are not required to make public the value of their residences and their contents, which are the principal assets of most Americans. Nor are they required to reveal their other assets and debts to the penny, or even close – instead using 11 broad categories of value ... that do a comprehensive job of obscuring what each member is precisely worth.
Note: The above article fails to mention that laws against insider trading do not apply to members of Congress. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality.
A miraculous device that can generate electricity seemingly out of thin air has been developed by engineers. Called a thermal resonator, it relies on fluctuations in temperature between day and night to produce electricity. It can be used without the need for sunlight, batteries or wind, making it ideal for situations where these resources can't be relied upon. The technology has the potential to power sensors and communications devices for years without the need for batteries. Experts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's (MIT) department of chemical engineering are behind the find. Their gadget is a twist on a thermoelectric generator, which creates power when one side of the device is a different temperature from the other. Researchers say that the power levels generated by the new system so far are modest. However, it outperformed a commercially available pyroelectric material - an existing method for converting temperature fluctuations to electricity - by 300 per cent. Professor Michael Strano, who led the study, said: 'We basically invented this concept out of whole cloth. 'It's something that can sit on a desk and generate energy out of what seems like nothing. 'We are surrounded by temperature fluctuations of all different frequencies all of the time. These are an untapped source of energy.' Such systems could provide low-power but long-lasting energy sources for landers or rovers exploring remote locations, including other moons and planets, says Volodymyr Koman, an MIT postdoc and co-author of the new study.
Note: For more, see this article on the MIT website.
More than 25 years after the end of its civil war, families in El Salvador are still searching for an estimated 3,000 children who disappeared in the fighting. The country's military has so far refused to open its archives from that period to allow an investigation into the whereabouts of children separated from their families. In a decision released in January, El Salvador's Supreme Court backed the demand of Nicolasa Rivas for a probe into the disappearances of her daughters, Gladys Suleyma and Norma Climaco Rivas. Rivas blames the military for taking her daughters. The U.N. Truth Commission created with the signing of the peace agreement in January 1992 estimated there were 5,000 forced disappearances during the war. Human rights advocates have documented about 3,000 more cases and estimate that about 3,000 of all the disappeared were minors. The Supreme Court's decision ordered the armed forces to release information related to a military operation called "Mario Azenon Palma." It was during that operation that Gladys and Norma disappeared. The Defense Ministry has said that ... "no documents or registries of any kind related to the alleged operation have been found." The operation's existence has been confirmed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. In its ruling supporting Rivas' call for an investigation into the fate of her daughters, the Supreme Court said there was sufficient information to conclude "they were involuntarily disappeared at the hands of soldiers."
Note: Consider the possibility that many of these kids were used in sex trafficking to bring in money to the military. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Cities around the globe are going green. Over 100 cities from Addis Ababa to Auckland use more than 70 percent renewables in their energy mix, according to CDP research. The places where populations are at their most dense and pollution is at its highest are doing their bit to battle rising global temperatures by turning to hydro, geothermal, solar and wind to keep the lights on. Since the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2 degrees, city leaders have improved their environmental reporting and set firm emissions reductions targets, CDP said. In the U.S. 58 cities and towns, including Atlanta and San Diego, have committed to move to 100 percent clean energy. Meanwhile Burlington, Vermont, claims to be the first city in the country to get its energy from entirely renewable sources. Only a handful of the more than 100 North American cities that reported their energy mix to CDP use at least 70 percent renewable energy, while a majority of Latin American cities that reported passed that threshold. “Many cities in the developing world have capitalized on their local natural resources. This pioneering activity has largely been driven by local economic needs and political will,” said Kyra Appleby, director of cities at CDP.
Note: An interactive map of the world's greenest cities is available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
San Diego officials are putting homeless people back on the street - but this time to pay them to pick up trash as part of a new program that launched Monday. The homeless people, who are staying at the city’s tented shelters, will be cleaning up trash and clearing brush in downtown San Diego for five hours a day. The program, called Alpha’s Project’s “Wheels of Change,” will pay participants $11.50 an hour. [They are] expected to hold cleaning shifts three days a week. “This is all about creating more opportunities for homeless individuals to lift themselves out of extreme poverty,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “‘Wheels for Change’ will help restore dignity by allowing people to earn a paycheck and begin to get back on their feet. For many, this may be just the chance they need to begin turning their lives around.” Program participants will also receive access to housing resources. Homeless people [said] they liked the work. “It’s better than sitting in a tent all day,” Edwin Fisk ... said. “It gives us something to do, you know? And you make money. Who wouldn’t want to do that?” Nichole Hill, who has been homeless for 18 months, also said: “I get to give back to the community and have some extra money to get around.” The new program follows similar ones that were launched in Chicago, Denver and Albuquerque, New Mexico, where it was first implemented.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Norway’s doomsday agricultural seed vault will get a $13 million upgrade to better protect world food supplies. The work on the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, located nearly 400 feet beneath the earth’s surface inside a coal mine, was announced ... as the international facility celebrated its 10th anniversary and its holding of more than 1 million seed samples. The facility, which is fully funded by the Norwegian government, offers any government access to seeds in case of natural or man-made disaster. The concept was successfully tested in 2015, with a seed withdrawl to help Syria re-establish crops wiped out by the country’s civil war. The upgrades will include a concrete access tunnel, a service building for emergency power and refrigerating units, as well as other electrical equipment that will emit heat through the tunnel. The decision to upgrade to the access tunnel comes nearly one year after the vault’s entryway flooded due to unprecedented melting of the area’s permafrost. Though the flooding did not damage any seeds, it served as a jarring reminder of the growing effects of climate change. The vault was designed to take advantage of the location’s permafrost as a permanent feature offering natural cooling protection for the seeds.
The biggest buyer of solar farms in America is a company you’ve probably never heard of. Meet Capital Dynamics, an asset manager that handles $15 billion. The firm’s been snapping up clean-power plants for years, but it wasn’t until this month - when the company agreed to spend almost $1 billion on a solar business - that it really landed on mainstream investors’ radar. Now the firm is being called the harbinger of things to come, heralding the next generation of solar and wind farm owners: funds backed by institutional investors like pensions. Its agreement this month to buy 8Point3 Energy Partners LP is among the biggest in a recent string of clean-energy deals done by infrastructure funds. They’re appeasing their investors, who are hungry for the dependable, long-term returns of renewable-energy. After clinching $3 billion of clean-power deals last year ... Capital Dynamics is positioned to buy even more. A key part of the firm’s strategy hinges on capital from its institutional investors. Such investors like that they can match their long-dated liabilities with the returns of solar and wind farms that can stretch over decades. Another edge that Capital Dynamics has over other asset managers: It has spent years building an in-house team with an expertise in solar and wind farm operations, one that leverages its relationships with tax-equity investors and banks.
Switzerland hasn't had a mass shooting since 2001. The country has about 2 million privately owned guns in a nation of 8.3 million people. In 2016, the country had 47 homicides with firearms. The country's overall murder rate is near zero. But the Swiss have some specific rules and regulations for gun use. Unlike the US, Switzerland has mandatory military service for men. All men between the ages of 18 and 34 deemed "fit for service" are given a pistol or a rifle and trained. After they've finished their service, the men can typically buy and keep their service weapons, but they have to get a permit for them. In 2000, more than 25% of Swiss gun owners said they kept their weapon for military or police duty, while less than 5% of Americans said the same. In addition to the militia's arms, the country has about 2 million privately owned guns. Swiss authorities decide on a local level whether to give people gun permits. They also keep a log of everyone who owns a gun in their region. But cantonal police don't take their duty dolling out gun licenses lightly. They might consult a psychiatrist or talk with authorities in other cantons where a prospective gun buyer has lived before to vet the person. Some lawmakers in US states ... are considering a similar model. People who've been convicted of a crime or have an alcohol or drug addiction aren't allowed to buy guns in Switzerland. The law also states that anyone who "expresses a violent or dangerous attitude" won't be permitted to own a gun.
Note: It was reported in 2016 that 2,000 guns were sold to US buyers who failed FBI background checks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.