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A Pennsylvania jury [has] convicted Msgr. William J. Lynn of child endangerment for covering up sexual abuse of children by priests. Lynn, 61, is the first Roman Catholic official in the U.S. to be tried and convicted on charges related to the church scandal in which priests across the country sexually abused children for years. In the landmark case, prosecutors said Lynn reassigned pedophile priests in Philadelphia while covering up allegations of sexual abuse. By assigning pedophile priests to unsuspecting parishes, in an attempt to protect the church’s reputation and stave off lawsuits, Lynn exposed more children to potential abuse, prosecutors said. Prosecutors produced a list that Lynn compiled in 1994 naming 37 priests in the archdiocese who had been identified as pedophiles or were suspected of sexually abusing children. The trial was noteworthy because Lynn was not accused of sexual misconduct, but of covering it up. More than a dozen witnesses testified that they were sexually abused by priests who had been allowed to serve in their parishes even after being suspected or accused of abuse. Prosecutors said Lynn lied to parents about pedophile priests in an attempt to protect the archdiocese, and that he and other church officials were lax in responding to credible reports of abuse. In some instances, prosecutors said, Lynn suggested to accused priests that their young alleged victims had enticed them into sexual contact.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.
In 1992, world leaders signed up to something called "sustainability". Few of them were clear about what it meant. Perhaps as a result, it did not take long for this concept to mutate into something subtly different: "sustainable development". Then it made a short jump to another term: "sustainable growth". And now, in the 2012 Rio+20 text that world leaders are about to adopt, it has subtly mutated once more: into "sustained growth". This term crops up 16 times in the document, where it is used interchangeably with sustainability and sustainable development. But if sustainability means anything, it is surely the opposite of sustained growth. Sustained growth on a finite planet is the essence of unsustainability. As a result, the draft document, which seems set to become the final document, takes us precisely nowhere: 190 governments have spent 20 years bracing themselves to "acknowledge", "recognise" and express "deep concern" about the world's environmental crises, but not to do anything about them. The draft and probably final declaration is 283 paragraphs of fluff. It suggests that the 190 governments due to approve it have, in effect, given up on multilateralism, given up on the world and given up on us. So what do we do now?
Tim Harris was born with Down syndrome and his father, Keith, admits that acceptance didn't come easily at first. But over the years, Keith's attitude shifted. "Tim is the second of four boys, and when he was growing up, we saw the challenges that his disability presented socially,” Keith [said]. “We started to ponder when he was young about his future and made the choice that we wanted to create a life for him that was as close to typical as possible.” Thanks to his parents' faith and support, Harris has not only accomplished the typical, but he's also made the world a little bit more extraordinary. Today, Harris is the proud owner of Tim's Place, a successful -- and unique -- restaurant in Albuquerque, N.M. Other than selling regular New Mexican fare, Tim's Place has a trademark special. It's called the Tim Hug -— a "calorie-free" and "guilt-free" treat that, according to the menu description, guarantees to "improve your lease on life." "I love giving all the customers a hug because I want them to feel comfortable and connected and being around friends,” Harris told Albuquerque The Magazine. Tim's Place, which calls itself the "world's friendliest restaurant" opened its doors in 2010 and since then, Tim has given out more than 19,000 hugs. He keeps track using a Hug Counter. Only 26, Harris -- a college graduate -- is also an accomplished Special Olympian, an excellent sailor and an experienced offshore fisherman. In high school, Harris was also elected homecoming king and Student Of The Year.
Note: Don't miss the awesome three-minute video of Tim and his restaurant! Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Real Goods Solar, the nation's most established residential solar installer and integrator, is helping Americans separate solar fact from solar fiction with a free, downloadable myth-busting eBook known as 87 Solar Myths, available online at www.RealGoodsSolar.com. 87 Solar Myths is a quick read to dispel what solar professionals across the U.S. say are today's most pervasive solar industry inaccuracies. Interest is high. Nearly one thousand eBooks have been downloaded since its Earth Week release. 87 Solar Myths slaps down perennial [myths] such as "Solar technology is too expensive," "Coal power is cheaper than getting power from the sun," "A solar lease traps you in your home," or "$0 down solar is too good to be true," while confirming the veracity of other well-publicized solar tenets. "What we've learned in speaking with people across the U.S. over the years is that we aren't just in the business of solar, we're in the business of educating," explained Real Goods Solar Residential Marketing Director Cheryl Moody. "There are some whacky - and some serious - rumors that persist amongst consumers. Our goal is to equip homeowners with an unbiased source of information so that they can confidently make valid decisions as to how the benefits of solar energy could improve their circumstances," Moody said.
Note: For more on promising developments on energy technologies, click here.
Amid the 500,000 people who pass through the center of Manhattan on their way to work, I took part in an outdoor yoga practice held in honor of the Summer Solstice. Against the cacophony of police sirens and taxi horns, the occasional rumble from the subway, the perplexed stares of commuters and the urban aroma of bus exhaust, four thousand of us stretched, lunged, twisted and saluted the sun. It was surreal – in an odd and wonderful way. The event was the 10th annual “Solstice in Times Square.” The yoga class I attended was the first of four that were held throughout the day and evening. The early-morning class was led by Drisana Carey, a lanky instructor who also works as a model for Athleta. A midday class was lead by Rajashree Choudhury, the wife of Bikram Choudhury – the founder of the standardized yoga practice that consists of 26 poses done in an environment heated to 105-degrees. Carey had great presence and even greater poise when the audio on her microphone frequently cut out. She understood that New Yorkers who get on their yoga mats are still New Yorkers. Carey reminded us to try to transcend the rush-and-bustle of Times Square — to be, as she put it, “guided by our breath and our hearts and not by our egos.” The movements were designed to be accessible for yogis of all levels, but the workout was tough. The mental challenges, however, were far greater: How to get zen amid the chaos?
Note: Other media reported that 14,000 people attended this event. For more great photos, see this link. WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks had major back problems for years until 2003, when Bikram yoga completely healed his back within a matter of months.
A Republican-run House committee voted today to cite Attorney General Eric Holder for contempt after President Obama asserted executive privilege over documents in the "Fast and Furious" operation. The "decision to invoke executive privilege implies that White House officials were either involved in the Fast and Furious operation or the cover-up that followed," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. "The administration has always insisted that wasn't the case. Agents involved in Operation Fast and Furious lost track of some weapons. Two guns were later found at the scene of the killing of a U.S. border patrol agent, Brian Terry. In a statement issue by their attorney, Terry's parents condemned the Obama administration for invoking executive privilege. "Our son, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, was killed by members of a Mexican drug cartel armed with weapons from this failed Justice Department gun trafficking investigation," said Josephine Terry and Kent Terry Sr. "For more than 18 months we have been asking our federal government for justice and accountability." The Terrys also said that "our son lost his life protecting this nation, and it is very disappointing that we are now faced with an administration that seems more concerned with protecting themselves rather than revealing the truth behind Operation Fast and Furious." The investigation into the operation was spurred after Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, inquired into whistle-blower allegations that the government had allowed the transfer of illegally purchased weapons.
Note: For more about the Fast and Furious ATF operation that provided US guns to criminal gangs, see this news summary from a reliable major media source.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) may soon be an acronym as recognizable as NAFTA — but this free trade venture could have much more economic strength and impact than its North American predecessor. The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a free trade deal aimed at further expanding the flow of goods, services and capital across borders. Its four founding members — New Zealand, Chile, Singapore and Brunei – soon caught the attention of five other nations: the United States, Australia, Peru, Vietnam and Malaysia, who joined in 2008. The nine partners currently have a combined GDP of more than $17 trillion. Canada and Mexico are now being considered for membership, subject to the approval of the nine countries already involved. Add to this the possibility that Japan could join the TPP, despite mounting protests in that country, and the economic and political traction of the group increases. In fact, the TPP could become the world's largest free-trade zone. "It's really a trade agreement for the one per cent and their corporate interests," said Maude Barlow, the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians, which opposed and continues to criticize NAFTA. "This is not going to be a good deal for Canadians."
Note: A later Toronto Star article reveals that the agreements of the TPP are secret.
When Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase Bank, appeared before the Senate Banking Committee on June 13, he was wearing cufflinks bearing the presidential seal. “Was Dimon trying to send any particular message by wearing the presidential cufflinks?” asked CNBC editor John Carney. “Was he . . . subtly hinting that he’s really the guy in charge?” The groveling of the Senators was so obvious that Jon Stewart did a spoof news clip on it. JPMorgan Chase is the biggest campaign donor to many of the members of the Banking Committee. Financial analysts Jim Willie and Rob Kirby think it may be something far larger, deeper, and more ominous. They contend that the $3 billion-plus losses in London hedging transactions that were the subject of the hearing can be traced, not to European sovereign debt (as alleged), but to the record-low interest rates maintained on U.S. government bonds. The national debt is growing at $1.5 trillion per year. Ultra-low interest rates must be maintained to prevent the debt from overwhelming the government budget. Near-zero rates also need to be maintained because even a moderate rise would cause multi-trillion dollar derivative losses for the banks, and would remove the banks’ chief income stream, the arbitrage afforded by borrowing at 0% and investing at higher rates. The low rates are maintained by interest rate swaps, called by Willie a “derivative tool which controls the bond market in a devious artificial manner.”
Note: We don't usually use alternet.org as a reliable source, but because the major media failed to ask the hard, very important questions posed in this article, we've included it here. For powerful reports on financial corruption, click here.
"The 9 Nanas" ... gather in the darkness of night. At 4am they begin their daily routine - a ritual that no one, not even their husbands, knew about for 30 years. They have one mission and one mission only: to create happiness. And it all begins with baked goods. Over the next three hours, The 9 Nanas (who all consider themselves sisters, despite what some of their birth certificates say) will whip up hundreds of pound cakes, as part of a grand scheme to help those in need. Before anyone gets as much as a glimpse of them, they’ll disappear back into their daily lives. Their master plan ... began 35 years ago. They’d eavesdrop - and when they heard about a widow or a single mom who needed a little help, they’d step in and anonymously pay a utility bill or buy some new clothes for the children. The Nanas would find out where the person lived and send a package with a note that simply said, “Somebody loves you” - and they’d be sure to include one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes. 30 years into their secret mission ... the sisters came clean. They told the husbands, [who then] offered to help. It wasn’t long before the couples decided it was also time to tell their grown children. And that’s when happiness began to happen in an even bigger way. The children encouraged their mothers to start selling MaMaw Ruth’s pound cakes online, so they could raise money to help even more people. That’s when the 9 Nanas moved their covert baking operation out of their homes. In the last 35 years, the 9 Nanas have contributed nearly $900,000 of happiness to their local community.
Note: To learn more about The 9 Nanas and Happiness Happens or to purchase one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes, you can visit their website.
Right now, renewable energy sources like solar and wind still provide just a small fraction of the world’s electricity. But they’re growing fast. Solar is growing exponentially. Across the globe, 55 terawatt-hours of solar power had been installed by the end of 2011. That may not seem like much in itself — the United States by itself, after all, needed about one hundred times that much power in 2011. But solar has been growing at a stunning rate, as panels keep getting dramatically cheaper. If these exponential growth rates [continue] solar could provide nearly 10 percent of the world’s electricity by 2018. Official agencies keep underestimating the growth rate of renewables. The International Energy Agency is forecasting that solar will catch on much more slowly — providing a mere 4.5 percent of the world’s electricity by 2035. But [t]he IEA has almost always underestimated how quickly wind and solar can grow. Forecasters have consistently been too pessimistic. For instance, back in 2000, the IEA’s World Energy Outlook predicted that non-hydro sources of renewable energy would make up 3 percent of global energy by the year 2020. The world reached that point in 2008, well ahead of schedule. Using only current technology, renewables could technically provide the vast bulk of U.S. electricity by mid-century.
Note: The media has consistently underplayed the promising potential for alternative energy sources. The fact that the above is a blog and not a regular article in the Post is yet another example of this. For more on promising developments on energy technologies, click here.
When JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testified in the U.S. House today, he presented himself as a champion of free-market capitalism in opposition to an overweening government. His position would be more convincing if his bank weren't such a beneficiary of corporate welfare. JPMorgan receives a government subsidy worth about $14 billion a year, according to research published by the International Monetary Fund. The money helps the bank pay big salaries and bonuses. More important, it distorts markets, fueling crises such as the recent subprime-lending disaster and the sovereign-debt debacle that is now threatening to destroy the euro and sink the global economy. In recent decades, governments and central banks around the world have developed a consistent pattern of behavior when trouble strikes banks that are large or interconnected enough to threaten the broader economy: They step in to ensure that all the bank's creditors, not just depositors, are paid in full. With each new banking crisis, the value of the implicit subsidy grows. JPMorgan's share of the subsidy is $14 billion a year, or about 77% of its net income for the past four quarters. In other words, U.S. taxpayers helped foot the bill for the multibillion-dollar trading loss that is the focus of today's hearing. When Dimon pushes back against capital requirements or the Volcker rule, it's worth remembering that he's pushing for a form of corporate welfare that, left unchecked, could lead to a crisis too big for the government to contain.
Note: For more vitally important information on this, explore the excellent, reliable information in our Banking Corruption Information Center available here. For other key major media articles showing blatant financial corruption, click here.
A recent study of Morgellons disease has been cited as a "must read" by the Faculty of 1000 (F1000). The article entitled "Morgellons Disease: A Chemical and Light Microscopic Study", by MJ Middelveen, EH Rasmussen, DG Kahn and RB Stricker, was published in the open-access online Journal of Clinical and Experimental Dermatology Research. In 2011, veterinary microbiologist Marianne J. Middelveen from Calgary, Alberta, Canada and internist Raphael B. Stricker, MD published a study documenting similarities between Morgellons disease and a veterinary illness known as bovine digital dermatitis (BDD) that causes lameness, decreased milk production, weight loss, and skin lesions near the hooves of affected cattle. That study revealed that the unusual fibers seen in the animal disease were similar to those seen in and under the skin of people worldwide who suffer from Morgellons disease. The new study confirms that Morgellons disease is not a delusional illness, as some in the medical community maintain. The latest findings confirm that fibers from both bovine and human samples were similar in formation at the cellular level and had the chemical and physical properties of keratin. Fibers from human patients were found to be biological in origin and are produced by keratinocytes in epithelial and follicular tissues. "This study puts the final nail in the coffin of delusional disease that these patients have been labeled with," stated Dr. Stricker. "It proves that Morgellons disease is a physiologic illness. From here on, scientists will be able to move forward in finding a cause and a cure."
A U.N. investigator has called on the Obama administration to justify its policy of assassinating rather than capturing al Qaeda or Taliban suspects, increasingly with the use of unmanned drone aircraft that also take civilian lives. Christof Heyns, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, urged Washington to clarify the basis under international law of the policy, in a report issued overnight to the United Nations Human Rights Council. The U.S. military has conducted drone attacks in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, in addition to conventional raids and air strikes, according to Heyns, a South African jurist serving in the independent post. Citing figures from the Pakistan Human Rights Commission, he said U.S. drone strikes killed at least 957 people in Pakistan in 2010 alone. Thousands have been killed in 300 drone strikes there since 2004, 20 percent of whom are believed to be civilians." Although figures vary widely with regard to drone attack estimates, all studies concur on one important point: there has been a dramatic increase in their use over the past three years," Heyns said. Human rights law requires that every effort be made to arrest a suspect, in line with the "principles of necessity and proportionality on the use of force", the investigator said.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the warcrimes committed by the US military, click here.
Faulty computer modeling caused the equipment problems that are expected to keep the San Onofre nuclear plant dark through the summer, federal regulators said Monday. The plant has been out of service since Jan. 31, when operators discovered a small leak in one of the thousands of steam generator tubes that carry hot, radioactive water used to create steam to turn turbines that generate electricity. That led to the discovery that other tubes were rubbing against support structures and adjacent tubes, and wearing out more quickly than expected. Eight tubes failed pressure testing, which NRC officials said ... is the first time in the nuclear industry that more than one tube at a plant has failed. The wear is a safety concern because tube ruptures can release radiation. The plant's operator, Southern California Edison; the NRC; and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the manufacturer of the steam generators, have been studying the cause and extent of the wear. The NRC has ordered Edison to keep the plant shuttered until it has determined the cause and how to fix it. "This is a significant, serious safety issue," said NRC regional administrator Elmo Collins. "This is a very difficult technical issue, and to be honest, it's not one we've seen before." NRC officials said it appears that simulations by Mitsubishi underpredicted the velocity of steam and water flowing among the tubes by a factor of three or four. The high rate of flow caused the tubes to vibrate and knock against each other, leading to the wear. It was not clear why the computer modeling was so far off.
Note: For lots more on corruption in the nuclear power industry, click here.
Are we in the middle of a gratitude movement? Evidence suggests so. Publishers can't seem to print enough books with the words "gratitude" or "gratefulness" in the title. Scientists rake in millions of dollars in grants to study how feelings of gratitude might improve physical health and psychological well-being. And this weekend, hundreds are expected to attend a Pathways to Gratefulness conference [in San Francisco] to talk about cultivating gratefulness in their lives. Among the participants is Brother David Steindl-Rast, an 85-year-old Benedictine monk, considered the spiritual leader of the gratitude movement. The author of Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer ... and A Listening Heart ..., Steindl-Rast will be joined by an eclectic collection of writers, poets, spiritual teachers and scientists involved in the fast-growing field of gratitude research. One of those scientists, Emiliana Simon-Thomas, is director of the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, which controls a $5.9 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to fund a project called Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude. Simon-Thomas ... said the Berkeley center is considering 60 research proposals, including many from the leading brain science laboratories in the United States. Some of the research would build on studies already conducted by UC Davis psychologist Robert Emmons, who cites "scientific proof that when people regularly work on cultivating gratitude they experience a variety of measurable benefits - psychological, physical and social."
Native American tribes are celebrating a major victory in their battle for equal treatment after the US supreme court ruled that the government could no longer short-change them over contracts for public services. The suit claimed that the government had over many years withheld millions of dollars owed to the tribes by imposing a cap on the contracts it had taken out with them. Native American leaders hailed the ruling as an important victory. Rodger Martinez, president of the Ramah Navajo Chapter in New Mexico that was a plaintiff in the case, said they had been saddened that they had to go all the way to the supreme court to find redress. "But we are happy that they sided with us. This gets us back to the principle that the government must pay us what we are entitled to," he said. The dispute over money relates to services provided by the tribes themselves under the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1975. Under that law, the tribes would sub-contract from the federal government public services such as police, schools, fire prevention, hospitals, and infrastructure works, as well as environmental works and subsidies to farmers. Under the arrangement, the federal government would pay the tribes for the services provided, just as it would any other contractor. But from 1994 the government changed the way it paid for the services, no longer paying for each contract in full but handing the tribes a collective lump sum onto which it imposed a ceiling – thereby withholding from them a portion of the moneys owed. The supreme court ruling found this to be unacceptable.
Note: For key reports on government corruption from major media sources, click here.
The controversial row surrounding alleged links between the measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism is set to be reignited following a court ruling in Italy. Judges in Rimini, north-east Italy awarded the Bocca family 174,000 Euros (Ł140,000) after the Italian Health Ministry conceded the MMR vaccine caused autism in their nine-year-old son Valentino. Up to 100 similar cases are now being examined by Italian lawyers and experts suggest the case could lead to other families pursuing cases. The ruling in Italy is likely to re-open a debate which first made the headlines in Britain over a decade ago when the respected medical journal The Lancet published an article in 1998, making a connection between the triple vaccine and autism. Valentino Bocca was 15 months old when he received an MMR jab in 2004. His parents said the change in him, after the jab, from a healthy boy to one who was in serious discomfort, was immediate. The number of autism cases has risen sharply since the 1970s, with one in 64 British children affected.
Note: Other key media articles exposing the serious risks of vaccines are available here. For lots more important information on this vital topic, click here. For an abundance of powerful information on the little-known risks of vaccination, click here. For a German study showing the vaccinated children had two to five times as many diseases as those not vaccinated, click here.
It's a curious paradox: Crime rates continue to fall in California, but the number of people killed by the police keeps rising. In Los Angeles County, for example, the number of 2011 homicides was a historic low of 612 people. But the number of fatal police shootings skyrocketed by nearly 70 percent that same year, to 54. That number of fatal shootings by officers was almost equal to 10 percent of the county's homicides last year. Los Angeles is not alone. Nationwide, officer-involved shootings are on the rise, with cities as disparate as Dallas and Albuquerque registering sharp spikes in fatal police shootings. What's going on? It's too soon to know whether 2011 was just an unusual year or the start of a trend. In 2011, 72 officers across the country were killed by perpetrators - a 75 percent increase from 2008. This rough equation makes some sense - if the police are encountering suspects who are more likely to fire on them, they're going to fire back. California is struggling with decades-old budget decisions that have left far too many mentally ill people out on the street, where they can be a danger to themselves and others. Police officers, not caseworkers, are all too often first responders to the mentally unstable. [And] California's ... draconian sentencing laws - followed by prison overcrowding and early release programs - haven't made anyone safer. Legislators and governors have tinkered around the edges of these issues without attempting a full overhaul, but a full overhaul is what the state needs.
Note: For more on corruption within the judicial system and "prison-industrial complex," click here.
Most Americans have gotten used to regular news reports about military and CIA drones attacking terrorist suspects – including US citizens – in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere abroad. But picture thousands of drone aircraft buzzing around the United States. By some government estimates, as many as 30,000 drones could be part of intelligence gathering and law enforcement here in the United States within the next ten years. Operated by agencies down to the local level, this would be in addition to the 110 current and planned drone activity sites run by the military services in 39 states, reported this week by the Federation of American Scientists, a non-government research project. Civil libertarians warn that “unmanned aircraft carrying cameras raise the prospect of a significant new avenue for the surveillance of American life,” as the American Civil Liberties Union put it in a report last December. “The technology is quickly becoming cheaper and more powerful, interest in deploying drones among police departments is increasing, and our privacy laws are not strong enough to ensure that the new technology will be used responsibly and consistently with democratic values,” reported the ACLU. “In short, all the pieces appear to be lining up for the eventual introduction of routine aerial surveillance in American life.”
Note: For deeper analysis of the threats posed to American citizens by military and police drones in the skies, click here. For information on a federal recent law compelling the Federal Aviation Administration to allow drones to fly in US skies, click here. For more information on the use of drones by police in the US, click here. For lots more from reliable sources on surveillance in the US, click here.
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi declared Saturday that the Nobel Peace Prize she won while under house arrest 21 years ago helped to shatter her sense of isolation and ensured that the world would demand democracy in her military-controlled homeland. Suu Kyi received two standing ovations inside Oslo’s city hall as she gave her long-delayed acceptance speech to the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The 66-year-old champion of political freedom praised the power of her 1991 Nobel honor both for saving her from the depths of personal despair and shining an enduring spotlight on injustices in distant Myanmar. “Often during my days of house arrest, it felt as though I were no longer a part of the real world,” she said. “What the Nobel Peace Prize did was to draw me once again into the world of other human beings, outside the isolated area in which I lived, to restore a sense of reality to me. ... And what was more important, the Nobel Prize had drawn the attention of the world to the struggle for democracy and human rights in Burma." Suu Kyi, who since winning freedom in 2010 has led her National League for Democracy party into opposition in Myanmar’s parliament, offered cautious support for the first tentative steps toward democratic reform in her country. But she said progress depended on continued foreign pressure on the army-backed government.
Note: It is inspiring to see the positive effect that the Nobel Peace Prize may have on the state of the world. Unfortunately it does not always do so, as is evident with the prizes given to strategists of global war such as Henry Kissinger.
Important Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing 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.