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Advocates Demand Compensation For U.S. Drone Strike Victims In Somalia
2023-12-18, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2023/12/18/somalia-drone-strike-civilians-letter/

Two Dozen human rights organizations called on the Pentagon Monday to make amends to a Somali family following an investigation by The Intercept of a 2018 U.S. drone strike that killed a woman and her 4-year-old daughter. The 14 Somali groups and 10 international organizations devoted to the protection of civilians urged Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III to take immediate action. The family is seeking an explanation, an apology, and compensation. Congress appropriates millions of dollars annually for the Defense Department to compensate families of civilians killed or injured in U.S. attacks, but the Pentagon has shown an aversion to confronting its mistakes and rarely makes compensation payments, even in cases as clear cut as this one. A drone pilot and analyst, who served in Somalia the year Luul [Dahir Mohamed] and [her daughter] Mariam were killed and spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the attack was no anomaly. “When I went to Africa, it seemed like no one was paying attention. It was like, ‘We can do whatever we want,’” he told The Intercept. When he counted the civilians he knew the U.S. had killed and compared that tally with publicly announced figures, he said, “the numbers just didn’t add up.” Luul’s family was traumatized by the airstrike and has suffered for more than half a decade. Her brothers say their elderly father — who died earlier this month — never recovered from his daughter’s sudden death.

Note: Since 2008, the US has supported at least nine coups in African countries, with a vast network of military bases scattered across the continent. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Military-Intelligence Corruption Information Center.


Former EPA official says agency fails to protect public from toxic pesticides
2023-12-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://amp.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/dec/15/epa-failing-public-health-pes...

Karen McCormack, a retired Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) scientist who spent 40 years with the agency, told Al Jazeera’s investigative show Fault Lines that she believed the EPA was not fulfilling its mission to protect the public from harmful chemicals. “In the last three decades that I have worked at EPA it has been very rare for a toxic pesticide to be taken off the market,” she told Fault Lines. “Just about every, every new pesticide application that is submitted to the agency is approved, no matter how high the risk.” As the Al Jazeera report notes, paraquat is banned in 58 countries but its use is on the rise in the United States. The Guardian’s Paraquat Papers, published in 2022 in collaboration with the New Lede, exposed years of corporate efforts to cover up paraquat’s links to Parkinson’s disease, mislead the public, challenge published scientific literature and influence the EPA. Dr Deborah Cory-Slechta, a prominent researcher, told Al Jazeera: “There is a very strong and compelling body of evidence based on the epidemiology studies and what we know from animal models of Parkinson’s disease” that paraquat causes changes in the brain that lead to Parkinson’s. As revealed by the Guardian, in 2005 Syngenta worked behind the scenes to keep Cory-Slechta from sitting on an EPA advisory panel, deeming her a threat to paraquat. Company officials wanted to make sure the efforts could not be traced back to Syngenta, the documents showed.

Note: Internal corporate documents reveal how global chemical giant Syngenta secretly influenced scientific research regarding links between its top-selling weedkiller and Parkinson's disease. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health and government corruption from reliable major media sources.


One unexpected way to reduce violent crime? Create green spaces.
2023-12-14, National Geographic
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/article/urban-greening-violent...

In 2012, according to FBI data, 2,774 violent crimes were reported to the Flint Police Department. In 2022, 985 were reported. Like other “legacy cities” that have experienced significant economic decline and population loss, Flint, [Michigan] is still struggling. But now, through the Genesee County Land Bank’s Clean & Green program, Ishmel and hundreds of other residents have been mowing vacant lots. Greening projects like these maintain abandoned spaces, either by mowing them or converting them into gardens and parks. But these projects don’t just make the neighborhood feel safer. Researchers who have been studying the effects of greening in Flint; Philadelphia; Youngstown, Ohio; and other legacy cities have shown repeatedly that it actually reduces violent crime. “It is one of the most consistent findings I’ve ever had in my 34-year career of doing research,” says Marc A. Zimmerman, professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. A review of 45 papers found that the presence of green spaces, including parks and trees, reduces crime in urban areas. In Flint, Zimmerman and his colleagues compared streets where community members maintained vacant lots through Clean & Green with streets where vacant lots were left alone, over five years. The maintained ones had almost 40 percent fewer assaults and violent crimes. One study found that while simply maintaining vacant lots reduced burglaries, turning them into gardens reduced assaults.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


How Police Have Undermined the Promise of Body Cameras
2023-12-14, ProPublica
https://www.propublica.org/article/how-police-undermined-promise-body-cameras

When body-worn cameras were introduced a decade ago, they seemed to hold the promise of a revolution. Once police officers knew they were being filmed, surely they would think twice about engaging in misconduct. And if they crossed the line, they would be held accountable: The public, no longer having to rely on official accounts, would know about wrongdoing. Police and civilian oversight agencies would be able to use footage to punish officers and improve training. In an outlay that would ultimately cost hundreds of millions of dollars, the technology represented the largest new investment in policing in a generation. It was a fix bound to fall far short. As policymakers rushed to equip the police with cameras, they often failed to grapple with a fundamental question: Who would control the footage? They defaulted to leaving police departments ... with the power to decide what is recorded, who can see it and when. Departments across the country have routinely delayed releasing footage, released only partial or redacted video or refused to release it at all. They have frequently failed to discipline or fire officers when body cameras document abuse. We conducted a review of civilians killed by police officers in June 2022, roughly a decade after the first body cameras were rolled out. We counted 79 killings in which there was body-worn-camera footage. A year and a half later, the police have released footage in just 33 cases — or about 42%.

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


Appeals panel invalidates EPA approval of streptomycin pesticide on citrus groves, citing risks to bees
2023-12-13, Courthouse News
https://www.courthousenews.com/appeals-panel-invalidates-epa-approval-of-stre...

A Ninth Circuit panel on Wednesday rolled back the Environmental Protection Agency’s approval of the use of the pesticide streptomycin sulfate on citrus groves to fight citrus disease. The underlying lawsuit was brought by farmworkers and other interest groups, which argued the EPA had greenlit streptomycin sulfate for use on citrus plants without adequately considering potential harms from the chemical. The panel, consisting of U.S. Circuit Judges Ronald Gould and Johnnie Rawlinson ... and Daniel Bress ... partially ruled in favor of the EPA — determining there was substantial evidence for the EPA’s assessment concerning risks which could lead to antibiotic resistance. However, they said, the EPA’s assessment concerning risks to bees and other pollinators was incomplete. In a statement after the ruling, the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups involved in the suit, applauded the Ninth Circuit's decision. The rollback of streptomycin approval "is a significant win for public health, farmworker safety and endangered species," [said attorney] Hannah Connor. Streptomycin sulfate is used as an antibiotic to treat serious illnesses but has also found use as a pesticide. The Center for Biological Diversity claims spraying streptomycin on citrus trees to combat citrus greening disease is “highly ineffective” and argues that its use as a pesticide violates the Endangered Species Act because it causes long-term health effects to endangered animals and plants.

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


How Meta’s New Face Camera Heralds a New Age of Surveillance
2023-12-13, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/12/13/technology/personaltech/meta-ray-ban-glass...

For the past two weeks, I’ve been using a new camera to secretly snap photos and record videos of strangers in parks, on trains, inside stores and at restaurants. I was testing the recently released $300 Ray-Ban Meta glasses that Mark Zuckerberg’s social networking empire made in collaboration with the iconic eyewear maker. The high-tech glasses include a camera for shooting photos and videos, and an array of speakers and microphones for listening to music and talking on the phone. The glasses, Meta says, can help you “live in the moment” while sharing what you see with the world. Meta, Apple and Magic Leap have all been hyping mixed-reality headsets that use cameras to allow their software to interact with objects in the real world. To inform people that they are being photographed, the Meta Ray-Bans include a tiny LED light embedded in the right frame to indicate when the device is recording. When a photo is snapped, it flashes momentarily. When a video is recording, it is continuously illuminated. As I shot 200 photos and videos with the glasses in public, including on BART trains, on hiking trails and in parks, no one looked at the LED light or confronted me about it. And why would anyone? It would be rude to comment on a stranger’s glasses, let alone stare at them. The ubiquity of smartphones, doorbell cameras and dashcams makes it likely that you are being recorded anywhere you go. But Chris Gilliard, an independent privacy scholar who has studied the effects of surveillance technologies, said cameras hidden inside smart glasses would most likely enable bad actors — like the people shooting sneaky photos of others at the gym — to do more harm.

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


Farmer sells her food for pennies in a trendy Tokyo district to help
2023-12-13, CBS News
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/japan-farmer-sells-food-for-pennies-in-trendy-to...

There's a quiet alley in Japan's capital where passersby often do a double-take. Sharing space with chic cafes and world-class bars, the tiny fruit and vegetable stand seems to have been teleported from a country road far away. Weather-beaten wood tables groan under stacks of carrots, potatoes, mandarin oranges and other fresh farm produce. But what makes the stall even more remarkable in the heart of Tokyo is that payment is on the honor system — customers just toss coins into an old mailbox — and most of the items on offer are priced at 100 yen, or about 70 cents, in a neighborhood where fresh food usually goes for much, much more. A handwritten mission statement on the stall is addressed: "Dear young people." "I came here from Hiroshima with nothing. Lived on watermelon for a month, but couldn't ask mom for help. Thirty years on, I grow plenty of vegetables," the note continues. "Tomo-chan is on your side, so don't worry about the future." Opened five years ago, the produce stand has struck a chord with some of the city's hard-pressed younger residents, revealing a well of hidden despair beneath the glitter and gloss of a world-famous metropolis. The greengrocer with a heart of gold is rarely glimpsed by her grateful customers. "I want young people to feel that they're not forgotten, that they are treasured," she said. "That not everyone is out for himself. I can make money anytime. Right now, I want to give young people a helping hand."

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


The secret science of how drugs like Ozempic and Jardiance get their weird names
2023-12-12, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2023/12/07/lifestyle/the-secret-science-of-how-ozempic-and...

If you’ve ever found yourself absentmindedly humming the “oh-oh-oh-Ozempic” jingle, you have David Paton to blame. The singer-songwriter ... co-wrote “Magic” — the 1975 hit for his band Pilot that he reworked and sang for the trendy weight-loss drug’s TV commercials, which play incessantly. “I have heard from doctors about patients not remembering the names of drugs but singing the songs,” a former product manager for drug companies that include Merck and Pfizer, [said]. It can cost billions of dollars to develop a pharmaceutical, so promoting it is essential. And that all starts with the name. “We try to craft a name that [has] five to nine letters and two to four syllables.” But it even comes down to the exact letters. “Let’s say there is an oral drug instead of an injectable, we’ll explore something that sounds liquidy or has an O in it,” Fernando Fernandez, managing director of BX: Brand Experience Design Group, [said]. “If we expect a product to have an extra level of efficacy, we might put an X in the name.” Consumers like taking drugs with the letter Z, which may have played a role in the naming of Ozempic and Zepbound. According to the Canadian Medical Journal, the letters X, Y and Z all impart a “high tech, sciency” [sic] feeling to drugs such as the sleeping medication Xanax. “People have hesitancy about taking drugs,” a medical advertising veteran told The Post. “If they don’t have diabetes, they wonder why they are taking a diabetes drug to lose weight. The weight-loss drug has to be called something different, even though it is very close to being the same thing. The name Wegovy is playful and memorable and obviously works.”

Note: The money behind the makers of weight-loss drugs is staggering, while concerns grow about the significant adverse effects of these drugs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.


Pharmacies share medical data with police without a warrant, inquiry finds
2023-12-12, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2023/12/12/pharmacy-records-police-...

The nation’s largest pharmacy chains have handed over Americans’ prescription records to police and government investigators without a warrant, a congressional investigation found, raising concerns about threats to medical privacy. Though some of the chains require their lawyers to review law enforcement requests, three of the largest — CVS Health, Kroger and Rite Aid, with a combined 60,000 locations nationwide — said they allow pharmacy staff members to hand over customers’ medical records in the store. Pharmacies’ records hold some of the most intimate details of their customers’ personal lives, including years-old medical conditions and the prescriptions they take for mental health and birth control. Because the chains often share records across all locations, a pharmacy in one state can access a person’s medical history from states with more-restrictive laws. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, regulates how health information is used and exchanged among “covered entities” such as hospitals and doctor’s offices. But the law gives pharmacies leeway as to what legal standard they require before disclosing medical records to law enforcement. In briefings, officials with eight American pharmacy giants — Walgreens Boots Alliance, CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Kroger, Cigna, Optum Rx and Amazon Pharmacy — told congressional investigators that they required only a subpoena, not a warrant, to share the records.

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


Apple now requires court-order to release customers’ information to law enforcement
2023-12-12, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2023/12/12/tech/apple-now-requires-court-order-to-release-...

Apple has said it now requires a judge’s order to hand over information about its customers’ push notification to law enforcement, putting the iPhone maker’s policy in line with rival Google and raising the hurdle officials must clear to get app data about users. It follows the revelation from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden that officials were requesting such data from Apple as well as from Google. Apps of all kinds rely on push notifications to alert smartphone users to incoming messages, breaking news, and other updates. These are the audible “dings” or visual indicators users get when they receive an email or their sports team wins a game. What users often do not realize is that almost all such notifications travel over Google and Apple’s servers. In a letter first disclosed by Reuters last week, Wyden said the practice gave the two companies unique insight into traffic flowing from those apps to users, putting them “in a unique position to facilitate government surveillance of how users are using particular apps.” Apple and Google both acknowledged receiving such requests. Apple added a passage to its guidelines saying such data was available “with a subpoena or greater legal process.” The passage has now been updated to refer to more stringent warrant requirements. Wyden said in a statement that Apple was “doing the right thing by matching Google and requiring a court order to hand over push notification related data.”

Note: Read more about the controversial geofence warrants that use Big Tech data. As an older article about the Apple court order articulates, law enforcement can "intercept your messages, access your health records or financial data, track your location, or even access your phone’s microphone or camera without your knowledge." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Palestine: “Peace to Prosperity” Through Technocracy
2023-12-12, Unlimited Hangout
https://unlimitedhangout.com/2023/12/investigative-reports/palestine-peace-to...

The Palestinian population is intimately familiar with how new technological innovations are first weaponized against them–ranging from electric fences and unmanned drones to trap people in Gaza—to the facial recognition software monitoring Palestinians in the West Bank. Groups like Amnesty International have called Israel an Automated Apartheid and repeatedly highlight stories, testimonies, and reports about cyber-intelligence firms, including the infamous NSO Group (the Israeli surveillance company behind the Pegasus software) conducting field tests and experiments on Palestinians. Reports have highlighted: “Testing and deployment of AI surveillance and predictive policing systems in Palestinian territories. In the occupied West Bank, Israel increasingly utilizes facial recognition technology to monitor and regulate the movement of Palestinians. Israeli military leaders described AI as a significant force multiplier, allowing the IDF to use autonomous robotic drone swarms to gather surveillance data, identify targets, and streamline wartime logistics.” The Palestinian towns and villages near Israeli settlements have been described as laboratories for security solutions companies to experiment their technologies on Palestinians before marketing them to places like Colombia. The Israeli government hopes to crystalize its “automated apartheid” through the tokenization and privatization of various industries and establishing a technocratic government in Gaza.

Note: 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.


Congress Clashes Over the Future of America’s Global Spy Program
2023-12-11, Wired
https://www.wired.com/story/section-702-house-bills-plewsa-frra/

Under ... Section 702 [of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act], the US government collects hundreds of millions of phone calls, emails, and text messages each year. An inestimable chunk belongs to American citizens, permanent residents, and others in the United States neither suspected nor accused of any crime. Police and intelligence agencies buy their way around the Fourth Amendment by paying US companies for information that they’d otherwise demand a warrant to disclose. The House Intelligence Committee’s bill—the FISA Reform and Reauthorization Act, or FRRA—does nothing to address this privacy threat. What the FRRA does appear to do, despite its name, is explode the number of companies the US government may compel to cooperate with wiretaps under Section 702. That was the assessment on Friday of Marc Zwillinger, amicus curiae to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (FISCR). Section 702 currently allows the government to compel a class of companies called “electronic communications providers” to collect communications. If the FRRA becomes law, according to Zwillinger, that category would be greatly expanded to include a slew of new businesses, including “data centers, colocation providers, business landlords, and shared workspaces,” as well as, he says, “hotels where guests connect to the internet.” Communications may be seized under 702 and only years later dug up for an entirely different reason.

Note: 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.


In the name of ‘fake news,’ NewsGuard extorts sites to follow the government narrative
2023-12-10, New York Post
https://nypost.com/2023/12/10/opinion/newsguard-extorts-sites-to-follow-the-g...

An opaque network of government agencies and self-proclaimed anti-misinformation groups ... have repressed online speech. News publishers have been demonetized and shadow-banned for reporting dissenting views. NewsGuard, a for-profit company that scores news websites on trust and works closely with government agencies and major corporate advertisers, exemplifies the problem. NewsGuard’s core business is a misinformation meter, in which websites are rated on a scale of 0 to 100 on a variety of factors, including headline choice and whether a site publishes “false or egregiously misleading content.” Editors who have engaged with NewsGuard have found that the company has made bizarre demands that unfairly tarnish an entire site as untrustworthy for straying from the official narrative. In an email to one of its government clients, NewsGuard touted that its ratings system of websites is used by advertisers, “which will cut off revenues to fake news sites.” Internal documents ... show that the founders of NewsGuard privately pitched the firm to clients as a tool to engage in content moderation on an industrial scale, applying artificial intelligence to take down certain forms of speech. Earlier this year, Consortium News, a left-leaning site, charged in a lawsuit that NewsGuard’s serves as a proxy for the military to engage in censorship. The lawsuit brings attention to the Pentagon’s $749,387 contract with NewsGuard to identify “false narratives” regarding the war [in] Ukraine.

Note: A recent trove of whistleblower documents revealed how far the Pentagon and intelligence spy agencies are willing to go to censor alternative views, even if those views contain factual information and reasonable arguments. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of news articles on corporate corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.


Biden Is Overseeing the Silent Death of the First Amendment
2023-12-08, The Nation
https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/julian-assange-belmarsh-tribunal/

In early 2024, a new, grim chapter may be written in the annals of journalistic history. Julian Assange, the publisher of Wikileaks, could board a plane for extradition to the United States, where he faces up to 175 years in prison on espionage charges for the crime of publishing newsworthy information. The persecution of Assange is clear evidence that the Biden administration is overseeing the silent death of the First Amendment—with global consequences. Wikileaks exposed not only civilian casualties, torture, and other human rights abuses through projects such as the Iraq War Logs, but also published documents that offer invaluable insight into conflicts still raging today. For example, cables released by Wikileaks in the 2010 Cablegate leaks show Israel’s policy towards Gaza in the years following Hamas’s election victory in 2006. According to the cable, Israel determined that Hamas’s rise in Gaza would benefit them as it would allow the Israeli military to “deal with Gaza as a hostile state” and so turned down a Palestinian Authority request for assistance in defeating Hamas. Israeli policy to blockaded Gaza was to “keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest possible level consistent with avoiding humanitarian crisis.” The application of the Espionage Act in the US sets a chilling precedent that reverberates far beyond Assange’s individual fate. The struggle for press freedom is ongoing.

Note: The US prosecution of Assange undermines press freedom. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.


Pentagon Was Involved In Domestic Censorship Scheme, New CTIL Whistleblower Files Show
2023-12-07, Public on Substack
https://public.substack.com/p/pentagon-was-involved-in-domestic

A second whistleblower has come forward with Slack messages showing far greater government and military involvement in the Cyber Threat Intelligence League (CTIL) than we had previously discovered. The CTIL Slack “disinformation” channel and the “law enforcement escalation” channel included current and former FBI employees, as well as personnel from the Michigan Cyber Command Center, the US Defense Digital Service (DDS), and at least one European government. Some of the military’s involvement in censoring information and shaping opinion has been out in the open. In 2017, the DOD added “information” as the seventh joint function of the military. With the addition of “information” as a function of defense, DOD effectively declared that citizens’ perceptions, attitudes, decisions, and behaviors were subject to military scrutiny and manipulation. The Censorship Industrial Complex ... aims to undermine and denigrate populist actors and movements through allegations that anti-government sentiment is linked to hate, conspiracy theories, or Russia. Supposed attempts to stop “disinformation” are really attempts to prevent opposition and challenges to the international political and military order. The new files suggest that the US and UK military and intelligence officials and contractors created the Censorship Industrial Complex’s to defeat populist sentiment, not just individuals.

Note: The extensive collusion between Big Tech and government officials to censor COVID information is barely beginning to come to light. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.


‘Chilling’: Some Smart Toys Can Collect Kids’ Iris Scans, Fingerprints, Vital Signs and More
2023-12-07, The Defender
https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/smart-toys-biometric-data-collect...

The annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, produced by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) and released before the holiday season, historically has focused on safety hazards found in traditional children’s toys. According to the 38th annual “Trouble in Toyland” report, released in mid-November, “Toys that spy on children are a growing threat.” The threats “stem from toys with microphones, cameras and trackers, as well as recalled toys, water beads, counterfeits and Meta Quest VR headsets.” “The riskiest features of smart toys are those that can collect information, especially without our knowledge or used in a way that parents didn’t agree to,” said Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog at the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and author of the report. “It’s chilling to learn what some of these toys can do,” Murray said. Smart toys include “stuffed animals that listen and talk, devices that learn their habits, games with online accounts, and smart speakers, watches, play kitchens and remote cars that connect to apps or other technology,” according to PIRG. Smart toys can pose the risk of data breaches, hacking, potential violations of children’s privacy laws such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), and exposure to “inappropriate or harmful material without proper filtering and parental controls.” According to PIRG, “We don’t know with certainty when our child plays with a connected toy that the company isn’t recording us or collecting our data.”

Note: A 2015 New York Times article called smart objects a "trainwreck in privacy and security." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.


Covid mRNA Vaccines Were Developed Under a Military Protocol and Required No Safety Oversight
2023-12-07, The Daily Skeptic
https://dailysceptic.org/2023/12/07/covid-mrna-vaccines-were-developed-under-...

When the U.S. Government entered into its Covid vaccine agreement with Pfizer, which was acting on behalf of the BioNTech/Pfizer partnership, in July 2020, the agreement encompassed a minimum of 100 million doses of a “vaccine to prevent COVID-19” and a payment of at least $1.95 billion. The Government declared that we were “at war” with a catastrophically dangerous virus. In keeping with the declaration of war, it was a military framework that was used for acquiring the aspirational products that became known as Covid mRNA vaccines. The Government side to the agreement with Pfizer was the Department of Defence (DoD), represented by a convoluted chain of parties, each operating as a subcontractor, or co-contractor, for the next. In fact, agencies governing civilian and public health, like the NIH, NIAID and HHS, do not have the authority to grant certain types of special acquisition contracts, which is why the Covid vaccine contracts had to be overseen by the Department of Defence. Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) ... is a very special way to authorise a medical countermeasure in very specific types of emergencies. EUA was meant for dire situations of warfare or terrorism, not to protect the entire population from naturally occurring pathogens. For this reason, EUA products do not require the type of legal safety oversight that is applied in civilian contexts by the FDA.

Note: Read how the Department of Defense and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority allowed vaccine makers to bypass standard safety testing of their products. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on COVID vaccines from reliable major media sources.


It's one of the biggest experiments in fighting global poverty. Now the results are in
2023-12-07, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2023/12/07/1217478771/its-one-of-th...

Since 2017 the U.S.-based charity GiveDirectly has been providing thousands of villagers in Kenya what's called a "universal basic income" – a cash grant of about $50, delivered every month, with the commitment to keep the payments coming for 12 years. This week a team of independent researchers who have been studying the impact released their first results. Their findings ... compare the outcomes for about 5,000 people who got the monthly payments to nearly 12,000 others in a control group who got no money. The researchers also compared the recipients to people in two other categories: nearly 9,000 who received the monthly income for just two years; and another roughly 9,000 people who got that same two years' worth of income but in a lump-sum payment. When it came to measures of well-being such as consumption of protein or spending money on schooling, all of the groups who were given cash were better off than people in the control group that got no money. Those who got the money in a lump sum vastly outperformed people who were promised the same amount for just two years but received it in monthly installments. Lump-sum recipients had 19% more enterprises – businesses such as small shops in local markets, motorbike taxis and small-scale construction concerns. And the lump sum recipients' net revenues from their businesses were a whopping 80% higher. The grants did not seem to fuel inflation.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


‘It’s kind of gross but we can do it’: How a community learned to go zero waste
2023-12-07, The Guardian (One of the UK's Leading Newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/dec/07/its-kind-of-gross-but-we-...

When [city councillor] Alexandre Garcin dreamed up Zero-Waste Roubaix, it wasn’t sustainability he wanted to tackle, but the litter problem that plagued his city. Garcin sent out leaflets looking for 100 volunteers to participate in a free, year-long pilot programme that would teach them how to live waste-free. These familles zéro déchet, or zero-waste families, would receive training and attend workshops on topics such as making your own yoghurt and cleaning with homemade products, with the goal of halving their waste by the year’s end. Volunteers weren’t offered any direct financial incentives to participate – only the promise of helping solve the litter problem and protecting the environment. The project focused on creating an identity around zero-waste and assigning families quantitative waste-reduction targets – strategies that are proven to be effective in other contexts, and everyone got pretty straightforward guidelines – for example, “don’t buy more food than you can eat”. According to Garcin, it’s actually “not that difficult” to halve a household’s waste production. Composting gets you most of the way there, since organic waste makes up about a third of the average French family’s municipal waste by weight. Another third is glass and metal, a significant chunk of which can probably be kept out of the landfill through recycling, and 10% is plastic, much of which can be avoided by finding reusable alternatives to plastic grocery bags, cutlery, packaging and other single-use items.

Note: Explore more positive stories like this in our comprehensive inspiring news articles archive focused on solutions and bridging divides.


As U.S.-funded Wars Rage In Israel And Ukraine, Pentagon Watchdog Warns Of Military Failures
2023-12-06, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2023/12/06/pentagon-military-failures-waste/

The Department of Defense’s Office of Inspector General issued a report that details widespread failures in the Pentagon’s operations. In a semiannual report to Congress, the watchdog found a breakdown in the process to provide care for sexual assault survivors, damaged artillery earmarked for Ukraine, and continued failures to monitor the Defense Department’s single most expensive program, the scandal-ridden F-35 fighter jet. Taken together, the inspector general’s findings paint a picture of a sprawling military-industrial complex that, while providing billions in aid to foreign militaries, has failed to solve long-standing issues that result in extreme levels of taxpayer waste. In October, President Joe Biden asked Congress to approve $75 billion in combined security assistance for Israel and Ukraine. The request would add to the $44 billion in security assistance already pledged to Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and the tens of billions of dollars in security assistance delivered to Israel over the past five years. Just last month, the Department of Defense failed its sixth straight audit, underscoring the lack of oversight of the funds that Congress forks over to the armed forces every year. The inspector general also reported that the Defense Department’s protocols for protecting its employees are not routinely followed. The Pentagon’s medical treatment facilities failed to consistently triage and record care administered to survivors of sexual assault. 

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