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FirstEnergy Corp. [stock price] fell after a report that engineers discovered cracks in the concrete shell of its Davis-Besse nuclear plant. Contractors on Oct. 10 discovered a hairline crack measuring about 30 feet (9.1 meters) long as they sliced a hole into the plant’s outer shell in order to install a new reactor vessel head, said Jennifer Young, a FirstEnergy spokeswoman. The cracked shell is the outermost of several layers of steel and concrete that protect the reactor, which has been shut down since Oct. 1 in preparation for the repair work. Davis-Besse was shuttered for more than three months in 2010 after workers discovered cooling water leaking through cracks in some reactor-head nozzles, steel casings that hold fuel and control rods. Leaks and reactor corrosion prompted FirstEnergy to close the plant for two years, from 2002 to 2004, while the company retrained or replaced workers who ignored signs of damage, and eventually replaced the reactor head. The leaks found last year at the 900-megawatt plant prompted the Union of Concerned Scientists in April 2010 to demand that the plant remain closed until its owners established better controls to maintain health and safety standards.
Note: If you want to see how safety around nuclear plants is ignored and threatened all the time by money interests at all levels, watch the amazingly revealing documentary on Chernobyl at this link. The most telling piece in this documentary involves the man tasked by Gorbechov to write the official report of all the problems they faced. When he gave the report to the IAEA in a secret meeting, he was ridiculed by the other international leaders there, who accused him of spreading baseless fears. On the second anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, he committed suicide.
A widening gap between rich and poor is reshaping the U.S. economy, leaving it more vulnerable to recurring financial crises and less likely to generate enduring expansions. Left unchecked, the decades-long trend toward increasing inequality may ... shake social stability, economists and financial-industry executives say. “Income inequality in this country is just getting worse and worse and worse,” James Chanos, president and founder of New York-based Kynikos Associates Ltd., told Bloomberg Radio this week. “And that is not a recipe for stable economic growth when the rich are getting richer and everybody else is being left behind.” Since 1980, about 5 percent of annual national income has shifted from the middle class to the nation’s richest households. That means the wealthiest 5,934 households last year enjoyed an additional $650 billion -- about $109 million apiece -- beyond what they would have had if the economic pie had been divided as it was in 1980, according to Census Bureau data. Disputes over what constitutes economic fairness are moving to center stage amid a near-stagnant U.S. economy saddled with 9.1 percent unemployment yet boasting record corporate profits.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on income inequality in the US and worldwide, click here.
Authorities granted protesters a four-month extension to continue occupying Freedom Plaza in D.C.. A deadline for protesters with the October 2011/Stop the Machine demonstration to pack up and leave Freedom Plaza came and went Monday afternoon. The protesters were given until 2 p.m. to break down their stage and other equipment after their original four-day permit expired Sunday. While the protesters cleaned the space and took down the stage where they led rallies, made speeches and played music, they didn't leave. At about 2 p.m. Monday, Park Police went to Freedom Plaza and requested a private meeting with protest organizers. They met at National Park Service headquarters about 4 pm. Before leaving Freedom Plaza, the organizers told the crowd they'd stay until they're ready to leave. The organizers returned to a round of applause when they told demonstrators that authorities offered the four-month extension. Park Police realized it was not in their best interests to shut the demonstrators down or make arrests, organizers said, and asked if demonstrators needed to be arrested to make their point. The organizers replied that they don’t need to be arrested over a permit issue and want their issues addressed.
Note: For lots more on the reasons why people all over the world are occupying their city centers, check out our "Banking Bailout" news articles.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has the potential to turn into a political firestorm. We have become so divided as a nation that it is very difficult to prognosticate if anything good will come out of these protests from a political perspective. Let’s examine a number of issues that have been raised by Occupy Wall Street, the Tea Party and liberals and libertarians and see where there is agreement. Get Corporate Money Out Of Politics – This is the issue that really kick started Occupy Wall Street. Americans are sick and tired of mega-corporations and Wall Street banks being in bed with our politicians in Washington D.C. End the Federal Reserve – The Federal Reserve is directly responsible for the Too Big To Fail banking cartel, the U.S. debt, the perpetual deficits, and ... the Fed has also robbed the poor and working class blind as a result of their inflationary policies. End The Wars – The American people are fed up with these conflicts, and even large percentages of the military believe that the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan were not worth fighting in the first place. It is time for our troops to come home. End The Drug War - The drug war is an absolute failed policy. The U.S. incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than any country on Earth, yet we call ourselves “The Home of the Free.” Repeal The Patriot Act – The assault on our civil liberties in the wake of 9/11 has been swift and draconian. These are the types of things that go on in totalitarian states, and now, apparently the United States as well.
Note: For lots more from major media sources on the reasons why people worldwide are occupying the financial centers of their cities, check out our "Banking Bailout" news articles.
More black men are behind bars or under the watch of the criminal justice system than there were enslaved in 1850, according to the author of a book about racial discrimination and criminal justice. Ohio State University law professor and civil rights activist Michelle Alexander..., the author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, [says] there are more African American men in prison and jail, or on probation and parole, than were slaves before the start of the Civil War. More than 846,000 black men were incarcerated in 2008, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice estimates. African Americans make up 13.6 percent of the U.S. population according to census data, but black men reportedly make up 40.2 percent of all prison inmates. The criminal justice system is the newest in a long line of societal structures that have disenfranchised people of color, Alexander argues in her book. Alexander writes that despite today's belief in "colorblindness," our criminal justice system effectively bars African American men from citizenship, treating them as a separate caste: "Denying African Americans citizenship was deemed essential to the formation of the original union. Hundreds of years later, America is still not an egalitarian democracy. The arguments and rationalizations that have been trotted out in support of racial exclusion and discrimination in its various forms have changed and evolved, but the outcome has remained largely the same."
Note: For more on the deep injustices of the prison-industrial complex, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Britain's tax authorities have given Goldman Sachs an unusual and generous Christmas present, leaked documents reveal. In a secret London meeting last December with the head of Revenue, the wealthy Wall Street banking firm was forgiven Ł10m interest on a failed tax avoidance scheme. HM Revenue and Customs sources admit privately that the interest-free deal is "a cock-up" by officials, but refuse to say who was responsible. Documents leaked to Private Eye magazine and published in full by the Guardian record that Britain's top tax official, HMRC's permanent secretary Dave Hartnett, personally shook hands on a secret settlement last December. Hartnett also refused to give the facts about Goldman Sachs to MP Jesse Norman on the Treasury committee last month, claiming disclosure would be illegal. He also refuses to brief ministers on the details. The Ł10m Christmas gift for Goldman was the culmination of a prolonged attempt by the US firm to avoid paying national insurance on huge bonuses for its bankers working in London. The sum was pocket change to Goldman, whose employees received $15.3bn (Ł9.5bn) in pay and bonuses last year.
An official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been arrested and charged with two counts of child molestation and one count of bestiality, police said. Police arrested Dr. Kimberly Quinlan Lindsey, 44, in DeKalb County, Georgia, on Sunday. Authorities also charged Lindsey's live-in boyfriend, Thomas Joseph Westerman, 42, with two counts of child molestation. The two are accused of "immoral and indecent" sexual acts involving a 6-year-old. The bestiality charge says Lindsey "did unlawfully perform or submit to any sexual act with an animal." The alleged incidents took place between January 1, 2010, and August 22, 2011. Lindsey is the deputy director for the Laboratory Science Policy and Practice Program Office at the CDC, according to her biography on the agency's website. Prior to her current role, Lindsey was the senior health scientist in the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response. That office oversees the allocation process for $1.5 billion in terrorism preparedness. In her 12 years at the CDC, Lindsey has received 12 awards for outstanding performance on projects and programs, according to her bio on Emory University's Biological and Biomedical Sciences website.
Note: Don't miss Dr. Mercola's highly revealing analysis showing that Dr. Lindsey played a primary role in the bogus swine flu propaganda campaign. Read the article at this link. For how the CDC came to be infiltrated with such people, read the powerful information available here.
Chocolate seems to be good for the cardiovascular system - no secret there. Studies have tied the sweet stuff to lower blood pressure, healthier blood vessels, and reduced risk of blood clots. And now Swedish researchers have linked chocolate to a reduced risk for stroke. The scientists found that the women who ate the most chocolate - 66.5 grams a week, or about 2.4 ounces - were 20 percent less likely to have a stroke than the women who never or seldom ate chocolate. The study was published in the October 2011 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. But before you unleash your inner chocoholic, be aware that not all forms of chocolate are thought to be beneficial. Dark chocolate is best because it contains more of the antioxidant-rich cocoa and less sugar and fewer calories than milk chocolate.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
The villages and farming communities that surround Uganda's capital, Kampala, are gripped by fear. Schoolchildren are closely watched by teachers and parents as they make their way home from school. In playgrounds and on the roadside are posters warning of the danger of abduction by witch doctors for the purpose of child sacrifice. The ritual, which some believe brings wealth and good health, was almost unheard of in the country until about three years ago, but it has re-emerged, seemingly alongside a boom in the country's economy. The mutilated bodies of children have been discovered at roadsides, the victims of an apparently growing belief in the power of human sacrifice. Many believe that members of the country's new elite are paying witch doctors vast sums of money for the sacrifices in a bid to increase their wealth. At the Kyampisi Childcare Ministries church, Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga is teaching local children a song called Heal Our Land, End Child Sacrifice. "Child sacrifice has risen because people have become lovers of money. They want to get richer," the pastor says. "They have a belief that when you sacrifice a child you get wealth, and there are people who are willing to buy these children for a price. So they have become a commodity of exchange, child sacrifice has become a commercial business."
Somewhere, a US government official is reading through a list of those who sent or received an email from Jacob Appelbaum, a 28-year-old computer science researcher at the University of Washington who volunteered for WikiLeaks. Among those listed will be my name, a journalist who interviewed Appelbaum for a book about the digital revolution. Appelbaum is a spokesman for Tor, a free internet anonymising software that helps people defend themselves against internet surveillance. He's spent five years teaching activists around the world how to install and use the service to avoid being monitored by repressive governments. Now, Appelbaum finds himself a target of his own government as a result of his friendship with Julian Assange and the fact WikiLeaks used the Tor software. Appelbaum has not been charged with any wrongdoing; nor has the government shown probable cause that he is guilty of any criminal offence. That matters not a jot, because, as the law stands, government officials don't need a search warrant to access our digital data. Searching someone's home requires a warrant that can only be obtained by proving probable cause, but digital searches require no such burden of proof. Most people are not aware of the ease with which governments – free, open and so-called democratic – can access and peruse our private communications.
Note: For key reports on government threats to privacy from major media sources, click here.
Amber Miller accomplished two monumental feats this weekend. Days from her due date, the 27-year-old joined 45,000 other runners to participate in Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon and then gave birth to a baby girl named June hours later. Miller, an avid runner, said she signed up for the 26.2-mile race before finding out she was pregnant. She said she never expected to finish the race. "I was having a conversation with my parents and said, 'You know what? I have no plans of actually finishing,'" she told reporters at Central DuPage Hospital this morning. "I was planning on running half, skipping to the end, then walking across the finish line." But Miller and her husband started running, and just kept going. They ran part of the race and walked the second half as her contractions started. It took the couple 6.5 hours to finish. She said she grabbed something to eat and the two headed to the hospital. "It was very interesting hearing people's reaction," Miller said about crowds watching an extremely pregnant woman among the runners. "I've been running up to this point anyway, so I'm used to it." At 7 pounds, 13 ounces, baby June entered the world at 10:29 p.m. Sunday, just hours after her parents crossed the finish line.
The average person’s body contains about 100 trillion cells, but only maybe one in 10 is human. Human cells ... are far outnumbered by those from microbes — primarily bacteria but also viruses, fungi and a panoply of other microorganisms. That thought might make a lot of people lunge for the hand sanitizer, but that impulse may be exactly the wrong one. Researchers are amassing a growing body of evidence indicating that microbial ecosystems play crucial roles in keeping us healthy. Moreover, scientists are becoming more convinced that modern trends — diet, antibiotics, obsession with cleanliness, Caesarean deliveries — are disrupting this delicate balance, contributing to some of the most perplexing ailments, including asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer and perhaps even autism. These microbial stowaways may wield far greater powers than previously appreciated. Acquired beginning at birth, this mass of fellow travelers may help steer normal development. Investigators are trying to identify which organisms may truly be beneficial “probiotics” that people could take to help their health. One intriguing finding is that babies born through Caesarean section apparently miss out on acquiring their mothers’ microbiota. The rising number of C-section babies ... might help explain trends such as rising incidents of asthma and food allergies caused by misfiring immune systems. Obese people appear to have a distinctive mix of digestive bacteria that make them prone to weight gain. Thin mice get fatter when their microbiota is replaced with the microbes of obese animals.
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, the group that told women in their 40s that they don't need mammograms, will recommend that men not get screened for prostate cancer, according to a source privy to the task force deliberations. A review of studies shows screening with the PSA blood test results in "small or no reduction" in prostate cancer deaths. The report adds that PSA testing is "associated with harms related to subsequent evaluation and treatments." The problem is that many of the cancers that get detected are so small and slow-growing, they'll never be harmful, and doctors have a difficult time discerning the quick, harmful cancers from the slow, harmless ones. If you test 100 men over age 50, 17 of them will have prostate cancer, and only three of those will have a fast-growing cancer and die of the disease, according to Dr. Kenneth Lin, senior author of the paper. If the 14 men with the slow-growing cancers are treated, they could be rendered impotent or incontinent from the treatment; or worse, the treatment could kill them. Some prostate cancer patients were disappointed with the task force's decision. A spokesman for the Prostate Cancer Foundation called the proposed recommendation "a tremendous mistake." "You're talking to someone whose life was saved by [the PSA test]," Dan Zenka said. But Lin says he believes testing does more harm than good. "Maybe you should get tested if you have this horrible family history where everyone gets prostate cancer before the age of 50. But for most men, testing is harmful," he said.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.
When the Occupy Wall Street protests began three weeks ago, most news organizations were derisive if they deigned to mention the events at all. For example, nine days into the protests, National Public Radio had provided no coverage whatsoever. It is, therefore, a testament to the passion of those involved that the protests not only continued but grew, eventually becoming too big to ignore. Occupy Wall Street is starting to look like an important event that might even eventually be seen as a turning point. The protesters’ indictment of Wall Street as a destructive force, economically and politically, is completely right. Bankers took advantage of deregulation to run wild (and pay themselves princely sums), inflating huge bubbles through reckless lending. The bubbles burst — but bankers were bailed out by taxpayers, with remarkably few strings attached, even as ordinary workers continued to suffer the consequences of the bankers’ sins. Bankers showed their gratitude by turning on the people who had saved them, throwing their support — and the wealth they still possessed thanks to the bailouts — behind politicians who promised to keep their taxes low and dismantle the mild regulations erected in the aftermath of the crisis. Given this history, how can you not applaud the protesters for finally taking a stand?
Note: For insights into the reasons why people have decided they must occupy their cities in protest of the predations of financial corporations, check out our extensive "Banking Bailout" news articles.
The world is facing the worst financial crisis since at least the 1930s “if not ever”, the Governor of the Bank of England said last night. Sir Mervyn King was speaking after the decision by the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee to put Ł75billion of newly created money into the economy in a desperate effort to stave off a new credit crisis and a UK recession. Economists said the Bank’s decision to resume its quantitative easing [QE] showed it was increasingly fearful for the economy, and predicted more such moves ahead. Sir Mervyn said the Bank had been driven by growing signs of a global economic disaster. “This is the most serious financial crisis we’ve seen, at least since the 1930s, if not ever. We’re having to deal with very unusual circumstances, but to act calmly to this and to do the right thing.” Announcing its decision, the Bank said that the eurozone debt crisis was creating “severe strains in bank funding markets and financial markets”. Financial experts said the committee’s actions would be a “Titanic” disaster for pensioners, savers and workers approaching retirement. Under QE, the Bank electronically creates new money which it then uses to buy assets such as government bonds, or gilts, from banks. By increasing the demand for gilts, QE pushes down the interest rate yields paid to holders of these and other bonds. Critics of the policy say it pushes up inflation and drives down sterling.
Note: For lots more on the global financial crisis from reliable sources, click here.
American militants like Anwar al-Awlaki are placed on a kill or capture list by a secretive panel of senior government officials, which then informs the president of its decisions, according to officials. There is no public record of the operations or decisions of the panel, which is a subset of the White House's National Security Council. Neither is there any law establishing its existence or setting out the rules by which it is supposed to operate. The panel was behind the decision to add Awlaki ... to the target list. He was killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen late last month. The White House is portraying the killing of Awlaki as a demonstration of President Barack Obama's toughness toward militants who threaten the United States. But the process that led to Awlaki's killing has drawn fierce criticism from both the political left and right. Obama, who ran for president denouncing predecessor George W. Bush's expansive use of executive power in his "war on terrorism," is being attacked in some quarters for using similar tactics. They include secret legal justifications and undisclosed intelligence assessments. Liberals criticized the drone attack on an American citizen as extra-judicial murder. Conservatives criticized Obama for refusing to release a Justice Department legal opinion that reportedly justified killing Awlaki.
Note: State assassination of a citizen without due process would seem to be the ultimate attack on civil liberties. For lots more on such threats from reliable sources, click here.
Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, ... demanded an independent investigation of whether Attorney General Eric Holder misled Congress on what he knew about the botched gun-tracking operation known as "Fast and Furious" - and when he found out about it. The Associated Press reported that the George W. Bush administration conducted a program similar to Fast and Furious, in which Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents were instructed to let Mexican drug cartel straw purchasers buy guns in the Phoenix area to follow the trail to higher-ups. Known as Operation Wide Receiver, the Bush-era operation also let guns be transferred to suspected arms traffickers. Justice Department prosecutors have brought charges against nine people involved in the operation, according to AP; two have pleaded guilty. Fast and Furious was meant to take down Mexican cartels importing U.S.-bought weapons and shipping drugs to the United States. Phoenix-based ATF agents allowed the gun purchases so they could take down cartel bosses rather than only arresting lower-level purchasers. But the agents lost track of more than 1,000 firearms during the operation last year. Several were later found at the scenes of Mexican drug crimes, according to a report by the House oversight committee.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Yes, there are a wide array of complaints, demands, and goals from the Wall Street protesters: the collapsing environment, labor standards, housing policy, government corruption, ... and so on. Different people have been affected by different aspects of the same system -- and they believe they are symptoms of the same core problem. I witnessed [many cogent conversations] as I strolled by Occupy Wall Street's many teach-ins this morning. There were young people teaching one another about, among other things, how the economy works, ... the history of centralized interest-bearing currency, the creation and growth of the derivatives industry, and about the Obama administration deciding to settle with, rather than investigate and prosecute the investment banking industry for housing fraud. Anyone who says he has no idea what these folks are protesting is not being truthful. We all know that there are investment bankers working on Wall Street getting richer while things for most of the rest of us are getting tougher. Occupy Wall Street is meant more as a way of life that spreads through contagion, creates as many questions as it answers, aims to force a reconsideration of the way the nation does business and offers hope to those of us who previously felt alone in our belief that the current economic system is broken.
Note: For insights into the reasons why people have decided they must occupy their cities in protest of the predations of financial corporations, check out our extensive "Banking Bailout" news articles.
After 10 years of war, the vast majority of post-Sept. 11 veterans say the public does not understand the problems faced by those in the military and by their families. The public largely agrees but believes there’s nothing unfair about the outsized burden being shouldered by veterans. The findings are part of a broad new study by the Pew Research Center that documents a growing gap between civilians and a military force that has been put under intense strain over the past decade. Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has been on active military duty at any given time during the past decade. For many Americans, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been seen only in glimpses, in a newspaper or on television. For many veterans, however, the wars have meant incredible strains that have lasted long beyond their deployments. Roughly 44 percent of post-9/11 veterans say their readjustment to civilian life was difficult, according to the Pew study. By contrast, 25 percent of veterans who served in earlier eras said the same. Nearly four in 10 said that they believe they have suffered from post-traumatic stress, regardless of whether they have been formally diagnosed.
Note: The full study, "War and Sacrifice in the Post-9/11 Era," can be found here.
Republican presidential contender Ron Paul on [October 5] suggested that the United States could assassinate journalists the same way it targeted Americans with ties to al-Qaida. The Texas congressman again criticized President Barack Obama for approving last week's drone strikes in Yemen against a U.S. citizen who was tracked and executed based on secret intelligence. [Another American citizen] also died in the bombing. Escalating his criticism, Paul told a National Press Club luncheon that if citizens do not protest the deaths, the country will start adding reporters to its list of threats that must be taken out. "Can you imagine being put on a list because you're a threat? What's going to happen when they come to the media? What if the media becomes a threat? ... This is the way this works. It's incrementalism," Paul said. Paul, making his second run for the Republican presidential nomination, has built a die-hard following among the GOP's libertarian wing and has worked to court anti-war conservatives.
Note: For key reports on government corruption from major media sources, click here.
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.