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Nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime, and 10 percent think the Mayan calendar could signify that it will happen this year, according to a new poll. The end of the Mayan calendar — which spans about 5,125 years — on Dec. 21 has sparked interpretations and suggestions that it marks the end of the world. "Whether they think it will come to an end through the hands of God or a natural disaster or a political event, whatever the reason, 1 in 7 thinks the end of the world is coming," said Keren Gottfried, research manager at Ipsos Public Affairs, which conducted the poll for Reuters. Some Mayan scholars have disputed the interpretation. Responses to the international poll of 16,262 people in more than 20 countries varied widely, with only 6 percent of French residents believing in an impending Armageddon in their lifetime, compared with 22 percent in Turkey and the United States and slightly less in South Africa and Argentina. About 1 in 10 people globally also said they were experiencing fear or anxiety about the impending end of the world in 2012. The greatest numbers were in Russia and Poland, the fewest in Great Britain. Gottfried also said that people with lower education or household income levels, as well as those under 35 years old, were more likely to believe in an apocalypse during their lifetime or in 2012, or have anxiety over the prospect.
In the turbulent hours following President John F. Kennedy's assassination, many were uncertain about what to do, but medical examiner Earl Rose knew one thing: The shooting happened in Dallas, and it was his job to do an autopsy on anyone slain in the city. Rose stood in a doorway at the hospital where Kennedy's body was taken on Nov. 22, 1963, in a vain attempt to block Kennedy's aides as they removed his coffin. The Secret Service and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy prevailed, and the president's body was flown to Bethesda Naval Hospital, where an autopsy was done by pathologists James Humes and Thornton Boswell. Their findings have been used to support an array of conspiracy theories about Kennedy's death. Rose, who died [on May 1] at age 85, ... told The Associated Press in 2003 that he and his staff should have done the exam. "We had the routine in place to do it ... it was important for the chain of evidence to remain intact," Rose said. "That didn't happen when the body was taken to Bethesda." Rose conducted Oswald's autopsy, as well as those for Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed Oswald two days after Kennedy was shot, and J.D Tippit, a police officer believed to have been killed by Oswald shortly after the assassination.
Note: For highly illuminating investigations from reliable sources into major political assassinations, click here.
Cardinal [Seán] Brady became the Catholic Primate of all-Ireland in 1996, but the appointment that may define his career was made 21 years earlier. As a Bishop's secretary in 1975, he was tasked with investigating a complaint of sexual abuse made against a fellow priest, the man who would later be exposed as Ireland's most prolific paedophile, Fr Brendan Smyth. The manner in which he handled that internal church inquiry has come under intense scrutiny. Following two major and damning reports into the handling of clerical abuse in Ireland, it emerged that Ireland's most senior Catholic Priest had himself been involved in a process in which sex abuse was kept from the civil authorities. At the time Cardinal Brady described his role in the Brendan Smyth investigation as that of a "note-taker". What actually happened during that inquiry has now been exposed by reporter Darragh McIntyre, who has uncovered the full extent of Cardinal Brady's involvement. McIntyre's BBC investigation reveals that the teenage victim, Brendan Boland, had also told the then Father Brady and his colleagues, about other children who were being abused by Smyth. Father Brady interviewed one of those boys, who corroborated each of Brendan Boland's claims before being sworn to secrecy. Father Brady however, failed to inform any parent of the children in the group that they had been abused. Nor were the police told of Smyth's crimes against them. The result was that Brendan Smyth remained free to abuse another boy.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on the Catholic Church and other institutional sexual abuse scandals, click here.
Biotechnology's promise to feed the world did not anticipate "Trojan corn," "super weeds" and the disappearance of monarch butterflies. In the Midwest and South - blanketed by more than 170 million acres of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton - an experiment begun in 1996 with approval of the first commercial genetically modified organisms is producing questionable results. Those results include vast increases in herbicide use that have created impervious weeds now infesting millions of acres of cropland, while decimating other plants, such as milkweeds that sustain the monarch butterflies. More than a million people have signed a petition to the Food and Drug Administration to require labeling of genetically engineered food. The stakes on labeling such foods are huge. The crops are so widespread that an estimated 70 percent of U.S. processed foods contain engineered genes. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved more than 80 genetically engineered crops while denying none. Genetically engineered crops ... have spawned an infestation of "super weeds" now covering at least 13 million acres in 26 states. The crops led to a 400-million-pound net increase in herbicide applications. Dave Mortensen, a weed ecologist at Pennsylvania State University, said the number of "super weed" species grew from one in 1996 ... to 22 today. Last month, scientists definitively tied heavy use of glyphosate to an 81 percent decline in the monarch butterfly population. It turns out that the herbicide has obliterated the milkweeds on Midwest corn farms where the monarchs lay their eggs after migrating from Mexico. Iowa State University ecologist John Pleasants, one of the study's authors, said the catastrophic decline in monarchs is a consequence of the genetically engineered crops that no one foresaw.
Note: Multiple reliable sources have shown that you may be eating genetically modified food daily which scientific experiments have repeatedly demonstrated can cause sickness and even death in lab animals. For key reports from major media sources on hidden facts on the dangers of genetically modified food, click here.
[We've] been narrowly saved from lethal terrorist plots in recent years — or so it has seemed. A would-be suicide bomber was intercepted on his way to the Capitol; a scheme to bomb synagogues and shoot Stinger missiles at military aircraft was developed by men in Newburgh, N.Y.; and a fanciful idea to fly explosive-laden model planes into the Pentagon and the Capitol was hatched in Massachusetts. But all these dramas were facilitated by the F.B.I., whose undercover agents and informers posed as terrorists offering a dummy missile, fake C-4 explosives, a disarmed suicide vest and rudimentary training. Suspects naively played their parts until they were arrested. When an Oregon college student ... thought of using a car bomb to attack a festive Christmas-tree lighting ceremony in Portland, the F.B.I. provided a van loaded with six 55-gallon drums of “inert material,” harmless blasting caps, a detonator cord and a gallon of diesel fuel. An undercover F.B.I. agent even did the driving, with Mr. Mohamud in the passenger seat. To trigger the bomb the student punched a number into a cellphone and got no boom, only a bust. Typically, the stings initially target suspects for pure speech – comments to an informer outside a mosque, angry postings on Web sites, e-mails with radicals overseas – then woo them into relationships with informers, who are often convicted felons [or] F.B.I. agents posing as members of Al Qaeda or other groups. This is legal, but is it legitimate? Without the F.B.I., would the culprits commit violence on their own? Is cultivating potential terrorists the best use of the manpower designed to find the real ones?
Note: Read the entire article to find out just how far the FBI will go to entrap incompetent individuals. To read a New York Times article showing that the 1993 World Trade Center bombing involved similar entrapment, only the bomber was not stopped by knowing FBI agents, click here. More on that available here. For reports on other crazy cases of FBI entrapment, click here and here. For reliable, verifiable information suggesting 9/11 may have been facilitated in some way click here.
Wind turbines have long produced renewable energy. A French engineering firm has discovered another [application] for the towering structures. Eole Water claims to have successfully modified the traditional wind turbine design to create the WMS1000, an appliance that can manufacture drinking water from humid air. The technology works by first generating electricity in the traditional manner of a wind turbine. This power enables the entire water generating system to function. The next stage sees air sucked in through the nose of the turbine via a device known as an "air blower". All air trapped during this procedure is then directed through an electric cooling compressor situated behind the propellers. This contraption extracts humidity from the air, creating moisture which is condensed and collected. The water gathered at this stage is then transferred down a series of stainless steel pipes, which have been specially modified to aid the water production process, to a storage tank in the base of the turbine. Once there, the water is filtered and purified before it is ready for use and consumption. One turbine can produce up to 1,000 liters of water every day, depending on the level of humidity, temperature and wind speeds, ... enough to provide water for a village or town of 2,000 to 3,000 people.
Kellogg is facing anger on social-media sites because of complaints that its popular Kashi brand of cold cereals doesn't live up to the company's "natural" billing on ads and boxes. The controversy went viral a week ago after a Rhode Island grocer tacked a note to one of his store shelves, telling customers he wouldn't sell the cereal because he found out the brand used genetically engineered, non-organic ingredients. Photos of the note began popping up on Facebook pages and food blogs as some consumers claimed Kellogg was misrepresenting its cereal. The soy in Kashi cereals comes from soybeans that have had a gene inserted to protect the soybeans from the herbicide Roundup, which kills weeds. Kashi has done nothing wrong, says David DeSouza, Kashi general manager. "The FDA has chosen not to regulate the term 'natural,' " he says. The company defines natural as "food that's minimally processed, made with no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sweeteners." Kellogg is not misleading people, says Barbara Haumann of the Organic Trade Association in Brattleboro, Vt. Consumers "are totally confused" and don't understand that the only way to get organic food is to buy organic, she says.
Note: For a succinct summary of the dangers posed by genetically-modified foods, click here.
A published report says Apple Inc. uses subsidiaries in Ireland, the Netherlands and other low-tax nations as part of a strategy that enables the technology giant to cut its global tax bill by billions of dollars every year. The New York Times on [April 29] outlined legal methods used by Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple to avoid paying billions of dollars in federal and state taxes. One approach highlighted in the report: Even though the company is based in California, Apple has set up a small office in Reno, Nev. to collect and invest its profits. The corporate tax rate in Nevada is zero. In California, it's 8.84 percent. While many major corporations try to reduce their tax bills, technology companies like Apple, Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and others have more options to do so. That's because some of their revenue comes from digital products or royalties on patents, which makes it easier for them to move profits to tax-friendly states or countries. Apple has legally allocated about 70 percent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are often much lower than in the U.S., according to company filings. The Times cites a study by former Treasury Department economist Martin A. Sullivan that estimates Apple's federal tax bill would have been $2.4 billion higher last year without such tactics.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.
As a federal court prepares to rule on a challenge to Sirhan Sirhan's conviction in the Robert F. Kennedy assassination, a long overlooked witness to the murder is telling her story: She heard two guns firing during the 1968 shooting and authorities altered her account of the crime. Nina Rhodes-Hughes wants the world to know that, despite what history says, Sirhan was not the only gunman firing shots when Kennedy was murdered a few feet away from her at a Los Angeles hotel. "What has to come out is that there was another shooter to my right," Rhodes-Hughes said in an exclusive interview with CNN. "The truth has got to be told. No more cover-ups." The U.S. District Court in Los Angeles is set to rule on a request by the 68-year-old Sirhan that he be released, retried or granted a hearing on new evidence, including Rhodes-Hughes' firsthand account. Prosecutors under the [CA] attorney general are contending that Rhodes-Hughes heard no more than eight gunshots during the assassination. Sirhan's lawyers are challenging those assertions. In a response also filed in federal court in Los Angeles, the defense team led by New York attorney William Pepper contends that the FBI misrepresented Rhodes-Hughes' eyewitness account and that she actually had heard a total of 12 to 14 shots fired.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on hidden facts about the assassinations of political leaders, click here.
Israel's former security chief has censured the country's "messianic" political leadership for talking up the prospects of a military strike on Iran's nuclear programme. Yuval Diskin, who retired as head of the internal intelligence agency Shin Bet last year, said he had "no faith" in the abilities of the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, to conduct a war. The pair, who are the foremost advocates of military action against Iran's nuclear programme, were "not fit to hold the steering wheel of power", Diskin told a meeting on [April 27]. "I don't believe in a leadership that makes decisions based on messianic feelings. Believe me, I have observed them from up close ... They are misleading the public on the Iran issue. They tell the public that if Israel acts, Iran won't have a nuclear bomb. This is misleading. Actually, many experts say that an Israeli attack would accelerate the Iranian nuclear race." Diskin's remarks followed a furore over comments made on [April 25] by Israel's serving military chief, Benny Gantz, which starkly contrasted with Netanyahu's rhetoric on Iran. Gantz said he did not believe the Iranian leadership was prepared to "go the extra mile" to acquire nuclear weapons because it was "composed of very rational people" who understood the consequences. In what was seen as a veiled rebuke to the prime minister, Gantz added: "Decisions can and must be made carefully, out of historic responsibility but without hysteria."
Note: For veteran geopolitical analyst Michel Chossudovsky's view that the "intelligence" on Iran's nuclear program is being "cooked" to justify an upcoming war, click here. On the preparations for this war by the US and UK, which go far beyond the usual contingency planning for future possibilities, click here. To understand how the politicians and military leaders manage to manipulate us into war after war, read what a highly decorated general had to say at this link.
Think of it sort as an updated take on "Hoop Dreams," except that its basketball-playing dreamers use wheelchairs. And they live in Afghanistan, not the Windy City. Jess Markt, originally from the Portland, Ore. area, is ... at the center of "The League of Afghanistan," a new documentary film currently in development. In 2009, Markt, whose spinal cord was injured in a car accident at the age of 19 and [who] relies on a wheelchair to get around, traveled to northwest Afghanistan to coach a wheelchair basketball team hoping to create a nationwide league. When Aaron Cooley, a Los Angeles-based producer with Joel Schumacher's production company, caught wind of Markt's experience, he saw the seeds of a great film. Today, the documentary, which aims to tell the story of Markt's efforts to bring basketball to disabled men and women [throughout Afghanistan], is in its early stages of filming. From Jess' perspective, he is the outsider American who comes into a legitimately ... hostile situation. For the local players, we're looking at how the introduction of this game can help rebuild the hope and the purpose that is in their own lives, which were shattered by their own injuries.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor became the first head of state since World War II to be convicted by an international war crimes court, a historic verdict that sends a message that tyrants worldwide will be tracked down and brought to justice. The warlord-turned-president was found guilty ... of 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for arming Sierra Leone rebels in exchange for "blood diamonds" mined by slave laborers and smuggled across the border. Judges at the Special Court for Sierra Leone said Taylor played a crucial role in allowing the rebels to continue a bloody rampage during that West African nation's 11-year civil war, which ended in 2002 with more than 50,000 dead. Ten years after the war ended, Sierra Leone is still struggling to rebuild. The rebels gained international notoriety for hacking off the limbs of their victims and carving their groups' initials into opponents and even children they kidnapped, drugged and turned into killers. The ruling "permanently locks in and solidifies the idea that heads of state are now accountable for what they do to their own people," said David Crane, the former prosecutor who indicted Taylor in 2003 and is now a professor of international law at Syracuse University. "This is a bell that has been rung and clearly rings throughout the world. If you are a head of state and you are killing your own people, you could be next."
The “Medicine Baba,” Omkar Nath Sharma, 75, spends his days knocking on doors in Delhi’s upper and middle class neighborhoods, collecting their leftover medicines and giving them to the poor. Mr. Sharma, a former medical technician ... starts his day at 6 a.m., when he leaves his rented home in Manglapuri, a southern Delhi suburb, and travels by buses on his senior citizen pass to wealthier parts of the city. He has built up a pool of regular contributors in neighborhoods like Green Park, who he calls on when they have medicines they no longer need. Wearing an orange shirt that says “Mobile medicine bank for poor patients,” he picks up medicines that he estimates are worth 200,000 rupees, about $3,860, a month, and then distributes them to individuals and charitable clinics for no charge. Mr. Sharma knows that loosely distributing medicine brings real risks, so he said he will only give them out if a patient has a prescription from a doctor. Vimla Rani, a 47-year-old maid, said she is alive because of Sharma’s medicines, which help to control her asthma. “I keep on getting inhalers and other medicines from Medicine Baba,” she said. “Thousands of poor people die as they can’t afford expensive medicines, while at the same time unused medicines worth millions get wasted,” Mr. Sharma said. He also distributes medicine to more than a dozen nongovernmental organizations.
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Protesters enraged about the country's economic miasma disrupted Wells Fargo's annual summit [on April 24], as shareholders celebrated the bank's record profit and awarded its chief executive a pay package of nearly $20 million. Hundreds of activists - including union members, Occupy activists and people whose homes have been foreclosed - surrounded the Merchants Exchange Building in downtown San Francisco, where about 250 shareholders gathered on the 15th floor to hear details of the bank's 28 percent profit increase last year. Fifteen protesters, allowed into the meeting because they own stock in Wells Fargo, shouted over CEO John Stumpf as he presented a PowerPoint slide show about the bank's $15.9 billion profit last year. Police escorted out the protesters, who were cited for disrupting the meeting and released. It was the bank's involvement in foreclosures ... that brought hundreds of protesters to the meeting. Some came from as far away as Minnesota. They filled the air with lively chants, led by people using loudspeakers set up on a flatbed truck alongside an 8-foot-high, inflated rat smoking a cigar. A protester-built, 10-foot-high mockup of Wells Fargo's signature stagecoach stood in the street, covered with slogans denouncing the bank.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on Occupy and other protests against the criminal profiteering of banks and other financial corporations, click here.
Cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana were allowed to pass security checkpoints at LAX in a bribery scheme that led to the arrests of two former and two current Transportation Security Administration employees, according to authorities. The screeners were accused of allowing large amounts of cocaine and other drugs to pass through X-ray machines at security checkpoints in exchange for payments of up to $2,400, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The indictment cites five incidents in which the employees allowed suitcases filled with drugs to pass X-ray machines at security checkpoints. The scheme occurred over a six-month period last year, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. One drug courier is already in custody in connection with the case, according to authorities. Another courier suspect is expected to surrender Thursday. If convicted, all four [TSA] employees face a minimum of 10 years in federal prison.
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Recent studies at Harvard, U.C.L.A. [and] John Hopkins have now made it plain that doctors should [soon] be free to offer illicit drugs to patients who are terminally ill, in order to ease their emotional suffering. At Harvard, Dr. John Halpern ... tested MDMA (the street drug Ecstasy) to determine if it would ease the anxieties in two patients with terminal cancer. At U.C.L.A. and Hopkins, Drs. Charles Grob and Roland Griffiths used psilocybin (the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms) to help cancer patients past their paralyzing, debilitating fears. The results are reportedly consistently good. In many cases, patients are able to cope with their physical pain and psychological turmoil better than before. Some, no doubt, feel the drugs opened doors of perception previously closed to them, allowing them to make peace with their lives and the impending end of their lives. Recent data also show that low doses of the street drug Special K (ketamine), when slowly infused via IV, can instantly [relieve] major depression ... in many patients. And opiates like oxycodone ... are also extremely useful for those patients who ... suffer with unwieldy anxiety that cannot be addressed ... in any other way.
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Drug maker Novartis is taking legal action in Britain to make state-run hospitals use an eye drug that costs about 700 pounds ($1,130) per shot instead of a cheaper one that costs 60 pounds ($97). In a statement, Novartis said it was calling for a judicial review “as a last resort” because it believed patient safety was being potentially compromised. According to the U.K.’s health watchdog, Novartis’ Lucentis is the only drug recommended to treat the eye problem macular degeneration in the country’s state-run National Health Service hospitals. However, several NHS hospitals have been prescribing the much cheaper Avastin, a cancer drug made by Genentech Inc., a subsidiary of Roche, for the same problem even though it has not been officially approved. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine last year showed Avastin worked just as well as Lucentis for treating the eye disorder. Lucentis and Avastin act on the same biological protein in the body to spur blood vessel growth. In the U.S., eye doctors have often used tiny amounts of Avastin and billed the government for the cost, rather than buying Lucentis. Patient groups called for an independent analysis to determine which drug should be used.
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The Pentagon is planning to ramp up its spying operations against high-priority targets such as Iran under an intelligence reorganization aimed at expanding on the military’s espionage efforts beyond war zones. The newly created Defense Clandestine Service would work closely with the CIA ... in an effort to bolster espionage operations overseas at a time when the missions of the agency and the military increasingly converge. Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, who signed off on the newly created service last week, served as CIA director at a time when the agency relied extensively on military hardware, including armed drones. Michael Vickers, the undersecretary of defense for intelligence and the main force behind the changes, is best known as one of the architects of the CIA’s program to arm Islamist militants to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan in the 1980s. He is also a former member of U.S. Special Operations forces. Despite the potentially provocative name for the new service, the official played down concerns that the Pentagon was seeking to usurp the role of the CIA or its National Clandestine Service. The new service fits into a broader convergence trend. U.S. Special Operations forces are increasingly engaged in intelligence collection overseas and have collaborated with the CIA on missions. The blurring is also evident in the organizations’ upper ranks. Panetta previously served as CIA director.
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Charles Grob [is] a psychiatrist and researcher at Harbor-U.C.L.A. Medical Center who [has administered] psilocybin — an active component of magic mushrooms — to end-stage cancer patients to see if it could reduce their fear of death. When the research was completed in 2008 ... the results showed that administering psilocybin to terminally ill subjects could be done safely while reducing the subjects’ anxiety and depression about their impending deaths. Grob’s interest in the power of psychedelics to mitigate mortality’s sting is not just the obsession of one lone researcher. Dr. John Halpern, head of the Laboratory for Integrative Psychiatry at McLean Hospital in Belmont Mass., a psychiatric training hospital for Harvard Medical School, used MDMA — also known as ecstasy — in an effort to ease end-of-life anxieties in two patients with Stage 4 cancer. And there are two ongoing studies using psilocybin with terminal patients, one at New York University’s medical school, led by Stephen Ross, and another at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, where Roland Griffiths has administered psilocybin to 22 cancer patients and is aiming for a sample size of 44. “This research is in its very early stages,” Grob told me earlier this month, “but we’re getting consistently good results.” Grob and his colleagues are part of a resurgence of scientific interest in the healing power of psychedelics.
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Since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there has been a large and steady rise in the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder among our troops. One recent study of ... Americans who served in those countries found that the rates of the disorder jumped to 22 percent in 2008 from just 0.2 percent in 2002. [A] factor that might be playing a role in the increasing rates of the disorder ... has escaped attention: the military’s use of stimulant medications, like Ritalin and Adderall, in our troops. Annual spending on stimulants jumped to $39 million in 2010 from $7.5 million in 2001 - more than a fivefold increase. The number of Ritalin and Adderall prescriptions written for active-duty service members increased by nearly 1,000 percent in five years, to 32,000 from 3,000. The military almost certainly uses the stimulants to help fatigued and sleep-deprived troops stay alert. By causing the direct release of norepinephrine — a close chemical relative of adrenaline — in the brain, stimulants facilitate memory formation. Not surprisingly, emotionally arousing experiences — both positive and negative — also cause a surge of norepinephrine, which helps to create vivid, long-lasting memories. That’s why we tend to remember events that stir our feelings and learn best when we are a little anxious. Since PTSD is basically a pathological form of learning known as fear conditioning, stimulants could plausibly increase the risk of getting the disorder. It is an open question whether the use of stimulants in combat does more good than harm.
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.