Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
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.
The world's four largest grain traders, responsible for the vast majority of global corn, soya and wheat trading and processing, have been accused of large-scale tax evasion in a landmark series of cases being brought against them by the Argentinian government. Ricardo Echegaray, the head of Afip, the country's revenue and customs service, has given a detailed account of the charges his department is bringing against ADM, Bunge, Cargill and Dreyfus. "These companies have gone into criminality," Echegaray said. "2008 was when agricultural commodities prices spiked and was the best year for them in prices, yet we could see that the companies with the biggest sales showed very little profit in this country." Afip is seeking to claim $476m (Ł290m) for what it says are unpaid tax and duties from Bunge, $252m from Cargill and $140m from Dreyfus. With the global food system and who controls it under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, thanks to record prices, the legal battle between Afip and the "ABCD four", as they are known, has taken on heightened significance. Oxfam, in a report earlier this week, warned of spiralling prices and a huge increase in global hunger over the next two decades, and said that corporate concentration in the global food trade was a structural flaw in the system.
Note: When you hear of global food prices spiraling, think of market manipulation by companies like this and inside traders.
Cellphones are “possibly carcinogenic” to humans, according to [an international panel of experts] organized by the World Health Organization. But an exhaustive, eight-day review of hundreds of studies concluded that the existing evidence is insufficient to know for sure. And because cellphones are so popular, further research is urgently needed, the experts said. “Possibly carcinogenic” is the WHO’s third-highest rating, falling below “carcinogenic” and “probably carcinogenic”. Other substances that the group has categorized as “possibly carcinogenic” include talcum powder, which has been possibly linked to ovarian cancer, and low-frequency magnetic fields, which are emitted by power lines and appliances and have been possibly associated with childhood leukemia. The cellphone classification marks a departure for the WHO, which previously said there were no risks from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields emitted by the devices. “The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and, therefore, we need to keep a close watch for a link between cellphones and cancer risk,” said Jonathan M. Samet of the University of Southern California, who chaired the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer panel.
Note: Remember how long it took for the evidence to surface that smoking causes cancer. Consider using a wired headset with your cellphone to decrease any cancer risk. Watch a Senate committee meeting on the risks and dangers of cell phones, including greatly increased brain cancer rates. For other safety suggestions, click here. For key articles on health issues from reliable sources, click here.
Sexual secrets and drive do turn the tide of our public life. Just ask Arnold Schwarzenegger. Or porn impresario Larry Flynt, author of a new book, One Nation Under Sex: How the Private Lives of Presidents, First Ladies and Their Lovers Changed the Course of American History. This public-private collision turns up as sexual speed traps in the waylaid careers of Schwarzenegger, Newt Gingrich, John Edwards and fully half of the presidents in our history, according to Flynt's book, which he co-wrote with Columbia history Professor David Eisenbach. Lying, blackmail and hypocrisy about secret carnality just add spice to the stew of a particularly American phenomenon described in Flynt's book. One common trait among the powerful and errant, Flynt [commented], "was a huge ego." The book presents us as an often prudish culture where mistresses, illegitimate children and homosexuality in Washington not only dominate the landscape but hijack it at key moments in our history. "I'm the first person to defend a philandering president" who's doing a good job for the public, Flynt says. He'd just like people to know a lot more about sex themselves and care a lot less about how other people practice it. In 2003, Flynt briefly ran for California governor as "the smut peddler who cares." If he had been elected, at least we would have known what we were getting.
Note: If you are ready to see just how ugly it gets when sexual slavery reaches to the highest levels of government, watch the revealing Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence" at this link.
A group of more than 200 Japanese pensioners are volunteering to tackle the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima power station. The Skilled Veterans Corps, as they call themselves, is made up of retired engineers and other professionals, all over the age of 60. They say they should be facing the dangers of radiation, not the young. It was while watching the television news that Yasuteru Yamada decided it was time for his generation to stand up. No longer could he be just an observer of the struggle to stabilise the Fukushima nuclear plant. The retired engineer is reporting back for duty at the age of 72, and he is organising a team of pensioners to go with him. For weeks now Mr Yamada has been getting back in touch with old friends, sending out e-mails and even messages on Twitter. Volunteering to take the place of younger workers at the power station is not brave, Mr Yamada says, but logical. "I am 72 and on average I probably have 13 to 15 years left to live," he says. "Even if I were exposed to radiation, cancer could take 20 or 30 years or longer to develop. Therefore us older ones have less chance of getting cancer." Mr Yamada is lobbying the government hard for his volunteers to be allowed into the power station. The government has expressed gratitude for the offer but is cautious.
[In] California ... job growth remains stagnant, public coffers are low and much-needed government services are reduced. Yet maverick companies are stepping forward, inventing business models that create public benefit and deliver economic returns. Such "social enterprises" have gained traction in the marketplace. For example, New Leaf Paper has led the paper industry with its more sustainable operating practices and 100 percent recycled products while generating strong profits. And there are others: Revolution Foods, Give Something Back, Cleanfish and SaveUp, to name a few. New legislative proposals could sweep in a wave of such firms. Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, introduced a bill in the state Senate to support the creation of "flexible purpose corporations" that seek profits and at least one broader social or environmental goal. A bill introduced by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael ... would allow entrepreneurs to incorporate their businesses as "for-benefit" or "B corporations." Seeking social impact would become part of the fiduciary responsibility of directors and executives of these firms rather than a distracting pursuit that diminishes financial return.
Each name is next to a number, in black type on a thick legal document. They are the mothers and fathers, spouses, sisters and brothers of thousands of Colombians who were killed or vanished during a bloody civil conflict between leftist guerrillas and right-wing paramilitary groups whose victims have largely been civilians. The list has at least 4,000 names, each one targeting Chiquita Brands International in U.S. lawsuits, claiming the produce giant's payments and other assistance to the paramilitary groups amounted to supporting terrorists. Cincinnati-based Chiquita in 2007 pleaded guilty to similar criminal charges brought by the Justice Department and paid a $25 million fine. But if the lawsuits succeed, plaintiffs' lawyers estimate the damages against Chiquita could reach into the billions. The cases filed around the country are being consolidated before a South Florida federal judge who must decide whether to dismiss them or let them proceed. Chiquita has long maintained it was essentially blackmailed into paying the paramilitary groups - perpetrators of the majority of civilian deaths in Colombia's dirty war.
Note: For lots more on corporate corruption from reliable sources, click here.
The government is conducting armed raids on dairies that sell raw milk, [yet it allows us] to buy food that is so toxic ... it has to carry "safe handling instructions." Factory farms that knowingly produce chicken and eggs teeming with salmonella are not considered a threat to public health, but an impeccably clean organic raw milk dairy is treated like a meth lab. I used to think the "food freedom" activists were being paranoid about this stuff. Not anymore. The federal government is broke, but we're hiring 18,000 food police, to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. How does this happen? The former CEO of genetically modified organism powerhouse Monsanto is now our secretary of agriculture and head of food safety. Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse. Tell your representatives to defund the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2010, and buy organic and local. While you still can.
Solar power may be cheaper than electricity generated by fossil fuels and nuclear reactors in three to five years because of innovations, said Mark M. Little, global research director for General Electric Co. “If we can get solar at 15 cents a kilowatt-hour or lower, which I’m hopeful that we will do, you’re going to have a lot of people that are going to want to have solar at home,’’ Little said. The 2009 average US retail rate per kilowatt-hour for electricity ranged from 6.1 cents in Wyoming to 18.1 cents in Connecticut, according to federal data. GE said in April that it had boosted the efficiency of thin-film solar panels to a record 12.8 percent. Improving efficiency, or the amount of sunlight converted to electricity, helps reduce costs. The panels will be made at a plant GE intends to open in 2013. Most solar panels use silicon-based photovoltaic cells. The thin-film versions, made of glass or other material coated with cadmium telluride or copper indium gallium selenide alloys, account for about 15 percent of the $28 billion in worldwide solar-panel sales. First Solar Inc. is the world’s largest producer of thin-film panels, with $2.6 billion in yearly revenue.
Note: For reliable reports on promising new energy technologies, click here.
The more aggressively a bank lobbied before the financial crisis, the worse its loans performed during the economic downturn -- and the more bailout dollars it received, according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research this week. The report, titled "A Fistful of Dollars: Lobbying and the Financial Crisis," said that banks' lobbying efforts may be motivated by short-term profit gains, which can have devastating effects on the economy. "Overall, our findings suggest that the political influence of the financial industry played a role in the accumulation of risks, and hence, contributed to the financial crisis," said the report, written by three economists from the International Monetary Fund. Data collected by the three authors -- Deniz Igan, Prachi Mishra and Thierry Tressel -- show that the most aggressive lobbiers in the financial industry from 2000 to 2007 also made the most toxic mortgage loans. They securitized a greater portion of debt to pass the home loans onto investors and their stock prices correlated more closely to the downturn and ensuing bailout. The banks' loans also suffered from higher delinquencies during the downturn.
Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin ... signed into law a bill establishing a single-payer health care plan for the state, making Vermont the first state to do so. Shumlin lauded the legislation as an "economic and fiscal imperative" -- as well as a moral one. "This law recognizes an economic and fiscal imperative - that we must control the growth in health care costs that are putting families at economic risk and making it harder for small employers to do business," he said. "We have a moral imperative to fix this problem, with 47,000 Vermonters uninsured and another 150,000 underinsured and worried about how to afford keeping their families healthy." Vermont lawmakers passed the legislation in March by a 92-49 margin. At the time of its passage, Shumlin lauded the legislature for becoming "the first state in the country to make the first substantive step to deliver a health care system where health care will be a right and not a privilege." The legislation, when fully enacted, will guarantee every Vermont resident the right to enroll in a state-sponsored insurance plan, Green Mountain Care. The law is set to become operational in 2014.
Note: The huge medical and pharmaceutical industries in the U.S. have a vested interest in keeping health care private in order to maintain their massive profits. This may be why the important news above was hardly reported in the media. The rest of the industrialized world already knows that it is much cheaper for government to provide medical care than for the private sector. Yet the media, a major source of whose income comes from advertising by these industries, is quite biased against providing health care for all, unless it is done through a profitable private system.
For Maria Gillespie, the memories of what she endured in a prison in Uruguay, when she was only 15 years old, are almost too much to bear. She remembers being hooded, interrogated and tortured. Eventually every tooth was wrenched out of her mouth. But she also remembers - as Amnesty International marks its 50th anniversary - how much she owes to the organisation that helped end the horror and set her free. "I don't think that if I say 'thank you' it will be enough," Mrs Gillespie says of the Amnesty activists around the world who campaigned on her behalf. "I think that I do owe them my life." Amnesty was founded 12 years before she was jailed. It called for collective action on behalf of those unjustly imprisoned around the world. Maria Gillespie fell into that category after the military seized power in Uruguay in 1973, ushering in a period of severe repression. She was ... married to a trade union activist who was wanted by the authorities, and had fled the country. In his absence ... Maria was arrested. She was accused of aiding the regime's enemies, and sentenced to 75 years in prison. And so she began her solitary confinement in a windowless cell lit only by an electric bulb. She was repeatedly taken - with her head in a hood - for questioning about her husband's associates. But she knew nothing of his activities. She had no answers for her interrogators.
Note: The brutal repression of political activity in Uruguay described in this article was supervised by the CIA in its Operation Condor, a campaign of torture and killing across Latin America.
Cancer is not one disease. It is many. Yet oncologists have long used the same blunt weapons to fight different types of cancer: cut the tumour out, zap it with radiation or blast it with chemotherapy that kills good cells as well as bad ones. New cancer drugs are changing this. Scientists are now attacking specific mutations that drive specific forms of cancer. A breakthrough came more than a decade ago when Genentech, a Californian biotech firm, launched a drug that attacks breast-cancer cells with too much of a certain protein, HER2. In 2001 Novartis, a Swiss drugmaker, won approval for Gleevec, which treats chronic myeloid leukaemia by attacking another abnormal protein. Other drugs take different tacks. Avastin, introduced in America in 2004 by Genentech, starves tumours by striking the blood vessels that feed them. These new drugs sell well. Last year Gleevec grossed $4.3 billion. Roche’s Herceptin (the HER2 drug) and Avastin did even better: $6 billion and $7.4 billion respectively. The snag, from society’s point of view, is that all these drugs are horribly expensive. Last year biotech drugs accounted for 70% of the increase in pharmaceutical costs in America, according to Medco, a drug-plan manager. Cancer plays a huge role in raising costs.
The Red Cross and the Vatican both helped thousands of Nazi war criminals and collaborators to escape after the Second World War, according to a book that pulls together evidence from unpublished documents. Gerald Steinacher, a research fellow at Harvard University, was given access to thousands of internal documents in the archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). They throw light on how and why mass murderers such as Adolf Eichmann, Josef Mengele and Klaus Barbie and thousands of others evaded capture by the allies. By comparing lists of wanted war criminals to travel documents, Steinacher says Britain and Canada alone inadvertently took in around 8,000 former Waffen-SS members in 1947, many on the basis of valid documents issued mistakenly. The documents – which are discussed in Steinacher's book Nazis on the Run: How Hitler's henchmen fled justice – offer a significant insight into Vatican thinking, particularly, because its own archives beyond 1939 are still closed. The Vatican has consistently refused to comment. Through the Vatican Refugee Commission, war criminals were knowingly provided with false identities.
Note: Many Nazis were allowed entry, often under false identities, into the US in the late 40's and early '50s. Some were doctors who had experimented on concentration camp inmates without their consent, often torturing them and killing them. They continued to experiment on unwilling subjects in CIA mind-control experiments. For confirmation and more information, click here.
The number of violent crimes in the United States dropped significantly last year, to what appeared to be the lowest rate in nearly 40 years, a development that was considered puzzling partly because it ran counter to the prevailing expectation that crime would increase during a recession. In all regions, the country appears to be safer. The odds of being murdered or robbed are now less than half of what they were in the early 1990s, when violent crime peaked in the United States. Small towns, especially, are seeing far fewer murders: In cities with populations under 10,000, the number plunged by more than 25 percent last year. Criminology experts said they were surprised and impressed by the national numbers, issued ... by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and based on data from more than 13,000 law-enforcement agencies. There was no immediate consensus to explain the drop. But some experts said the figures collided with theories about correlations between crime, unemployment and the number of people in prison. Take robbery: The nation has endured a devastating economic crisis, but robberies fell 9.5 percent last year, after dropping 8 percent the year before.
Note: See the U.S. Department of Justice statistics at this link for verification. Why isn't this exciting news making front page headlines? Could it be that the media and powers that be want us to be afraid?
After President Jacobo Arbenz was overthrown in a C.I.A.-backed coup in 1954, the Guatemalan government reversed his policies and branded him a Communist, all but erasing his brief presidency from history. Nearly six decades later, a democratic Guatemala has promised to restore his legacy and treat him as a statesman. In an agreement signed with Mr. Arbenz’s descendants last week, the government promised to revise the school curriculum and grant Mr. Arbenz the treatment afforded to historical heroes. It will name a main highway and a museum wing after the ousted president, prepare a biography of him, publish his widow’s memoir and mount an exhibition about him and his legacy in the National History Museum. The post office will even issue a series of stamps in his honor. After winning the presidency in a landslide election in 1950, Mr. Arbenz began an effort to modernize the economy, including a land-redistribution program that angered American corporations and the United States government. President Eisenhower, convinced that Mr. Arbenz was giving the Communists a foothold in the Americas, authorized a coup that ousted the Guatemalan president in nine days.
Note: Many are still not aware of the role of the US in overthrowing democratically-elected leaders like Guatemala's Arbenz. For a powerful documentary featuring five CIA whistleblowers, one of whom was directly involved in overthrowing Arbenz, only later to regret his actions, click here.
The operator of the nuclear power plant at the center of a radiation scare after being disabled by Japan's earthquake and tsunami confirmed ... that there had been meltdowns of fuel rods at three of its reactors. Tokyo Electric Power Co said meltdowns of fuel rods at three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant occurred early in the crisis triggered by the March 11 disaster. The government and outside experts had said previously that fuel rods at three of the plant's six reactors had likely melted early in the crisis, but the utility, also known as Tepco, had only confirmed a meltdown at the No.1 reactor. Tepco officials said a review since early May of data from the plant concluded the same happened to reactors No.2 and 3. Some analysts said the delay in confirming the meltdowns at Fukushima suggested the utility feared touching off a panic by disclosing the severity of the accident earlier. "Now people are used to the situation. Nothing is resolved, but normal business has resumed in places like Tokyo," said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Tokyo's Sophia University. Nakano said that by confirming the meltdowns now, Tepco may be hoping the news will have less impact.
Note: Very few major media have given TEPCO's confirmation of the world's worst fears about the severity of the Fukushima nuclear disaster the attention it deserves. Are the major media burying this story because of the potential harm it will do to plans for the expansion of the nuclear power industry?
In November 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder vowed before television cameras to prosecute those responsible for the market collapse a year earlier, saying the U.S. would be “relentless” in pursuing corporate criminals. In the 18 months since, no senior Wall Street executive has been criminally charged. Prosecutions of three categories of crime that could be linked to the causes of the crisis -- corporate, securities and bank fraud -- declined last fiscal year by 39 percent from 2003, the period after the accounting scandals at Enron Corp. and WorldCom Inc., Justice Department records show. “You need a massive prosecutorial effort,” said Solomon Wisenberg, a white-collar defense attorney at Barnes & Thornburg LLP in Washington and a former federal prosecutor. “I don't see evidence that it's happening." The seizing up of credit markets led to the collapse of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and sparked the worst economic slump in the U.S. since the Great Depression. Much of the blame belongs to banks that profited from selling products that imploded with the housing market.
Note: For undeniable evidence of fraud at the highest levels of Wall Street, click here.
The Iceman's students look wary as they watch him dump bag after bag of ice into the tub of water where they will soon be taking a dip. Under the direction of "Iceman" Wim Hof, the group of athletes is going to stay in the water for minutes practising his meditation techniques. Hof, 52, earned his nickname from feats such as remaining in a tank of ice in Hong Kong for almost 2 hours [and] swimming half the length of a football field under a sheet of ice in the Arctic. Hof tells his students meditation in the cold strengthens mind and body. For most people, hypothermia begins shortly after exposure to freezing temperatures without adequate clothing, and it can quickly lead to death. Hof says he can endure cold so well because he has learned to activate parts of his mind beyond the reach of most people's conscious control, and crank up what he calls his "inner thermostat." "I never had a teacher, and I never had lessons, other than hard Nature itself," he says in an interview at his apartment in Amsterdam. "If you do it wrong, it hurts and you take some knocks, and if you do it right, then you really learn." Hof may be able to exercise some influence over other body functions considered involuntary, [and] tells his students at the Rotterdam workshop that viewing mental and physical training as separate may hinder their performance. Hof describes the three main elements in his method as controlled breathing, paying close mental attention to signals coming from the body, and crucially, keeping an open mind.
Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyer has become a cause celebre for raw milk drinkers as the target of a Food and Drug Administration campaign - using sting operations and guns-drawn raids usually reserved for terrorists and drug lords - to eliminate unpasteurized milk. Such milk, also known as raw or fresh milk, is legal in California and considered essential to Europe's finest cheeses, creams and butters. Allgyer is the latest to feel the force of a yearslong Food and Drug Administration campaign against raw milk that has focused on tiny farms and consumer co-ops. Raw milk drinkers say cooking milk diminishes its flavor and nutrients. They said similar sterilization standards, if applied across the American diet, would ban sushi, medium-rare steaks, oysters on the shell and most raw fruits and vegetables. The Food Safety and Modernization Act approved by Congress last year and signed by President Obama in January has vastly enhanced the agency's powers. Starting July 3, the agency can confiscate any food at any farm that it deems unsafe or mislabeled. Throughout Europe, uncooked milk is the norm, dispensed in vending machines in Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Slovenia and the Netherlands. It is healthy, adherents say, because it contains fat that is not broken down by homogenization and is free of antibiotics and hormones, because cows are raised in small herds on pastures.
On deadline day [May 20], President Barack Obama ... sent a letter to Congress expressing support for a bipartisan resolution favoring military operations in Libya. At issue: The 1973 War Powers Act, which says if the president does not get congressional authorization 60 days after military action, the mission must stop within 30 days. The president formally notified Congress about the mission in Libya with a letter on March 21. Rep. Brad Sherman, D-California, told CNN before news of the letter broke that he believed Obama was trying to "bring democracy to Libya while shredding the Constitution of the United States. He cannot continue what he is doing in Libya without congressional authorization." To be sure, presidents in both parties often ignored another part of the War Powers Act -- that the commander-in-chief should get congressional approval before any military action. But it is virtually unprecedented for a president to continue a mission beyond 60 days without a resolution from Congress. "Make no mistake: Obama is breaking new ground, moving decisively beyond his predecessors," Yale law professors Bruce Ackerman and Oona Hathaway wrote this week in the Washington Post.
Note: For ideas on why Obama has shifted to become as much of a war-monger as his predecessors, see what a top general has to say at this link.
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.