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An Indian government attempt to head off a political crisis by arresting a key anti-corruption activist appeared to backfire ... when parliament walked out and demonstrations broke out across the country. Approximately 20 plainclothes police surrounded activist Anna Hazare, 73, ... as he left his house to begin a hunger strike against alleged widespread corruption, reportedly forbidding him from leaving the premises. When he defied them, they took him into custody on peremptory charges of "breach of peace." In April, Hazare held a five-day fast that garnered enormous national support and helped make him the public face of a grassroots anti-graft fight. It also put the ruling Congress party under pressure to pass a controversial "Lokpal Bill" that, among other things, would establish an independent ombudsman able to probe senior officials. When the cabinet passed a version that exempted the prime minister's office and top judges from close scrutiny, Hazare announced a second hunger-strike. India has seen a spate of corruption scandals in recent months, many allegedly involving senior Congress Party officials or their close allies, involving telecommunications, defense and sporting events allegedly amounting to tens of billions of dollars.
Note: For key reports from major media sources on government corruption, click here.
Members of a well-known hacking group -- according to a statement and Twitter messages -- took credit ... for an online attack targeting San Francisco's embattled transit system. Anonymous ... said it would take down the website of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, known as BART, between noon and 6 p.m. PT Sunday. This is in response to the system's decision to cut off cellphone signals at "select" subway stations in response to a planned protest last week. "By (cutting cell service), you have not only threatened your citizens' safety, you have also performed an act of censorship," a seemingly computer-generated voice -- speaking over dramatic music and images -- said in a video posted online Sunday afternoon. "By doing this, you have angered Anonymous." On Sunday afternoon, a link off BART's website to myBART.org apparently had been hacked. It showed a page featuring, among other items, the Anonymous logo -- a smirking mask above two crossed swords, all on a black background. In addition, Twitter traffic related to Anonymous boasted that hackers had been able to get into BART's internal network.
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors. Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent. If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine — most likely by a lot. My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.
Note: The author of this article is Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world. Thanks for the excellent article, Warren.
In the annals of the sexual abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church, most of the cases that have come to light happened years before to children and teenagers who have long since grown into adults. But a painfully fresh case is devastating Catholics in Kansas City, Mo., where a priest, who was arrested in May, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of taking indecent photographs of young girls, most recently during an Easter egg hunt just four months ago. Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has acknowledged that he knew of the existence of photographs last December but did not turn them over to the police until May. A civil lawsuit filed last week claims that during those five months, the priest, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, attended children’s birthday parties, spent weekends in the homes of parish families, hosted the Easter egg hunt and presided, with the bishop’s permission, at a girl’s First Communion. The case has generated fury at a bishop who was already a polarizing figure in his diocese, and there are widespread calls for him to resign or even to be prosecuted. Bishop Finn, who was appointed in 2005, alienated many of his priests and parishioners, and won praise from others, when he remade the diocese to conform with his traditionalist theological views. He is one of few bishops affiliated with the conservative movement Opus Dei.
[The top counterterrorism adviser to President Clinton and Mr. Bush, Richard Clarke will] be featured in a documentary advancing [a] theory that the Central Intelligence Agency tried to turn two of the 9/11 hijackers into double agents while they resided in the United States in the years leading up to the attacks. During the 9/11 Commission's investigation of the attacks, the CIA said it didn't know the location of the hijackers Clarke refers to, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar. In the documentary, Clarke ... concludes that the CIA director at the time, George Tenet, ordered the cover-up after the recruitment effort failed. In response to that accusation, Tenet released a written statement saying that Clarke has "suddenly invented baseless allegations which are belied by the record and unworthy of serious consideration."
Note: Richard Clarke is not the only highly-credible and respected former government official to question the official acount of 9/11. For the questions raised by many more, click here.
A dull-looking chart projected on the wall of a university office in Jerusalem displayed a revelation that would startle many readers of the Old Testament: The sacred text that people revered in the past was not the same one we study today. An ancient version of one book has an extra phrase. Another appears to have been revised to retroactively insert a prophecy after the events happened. Scholars in this out-of-the-way corner of the Hebrew University campus have been quietly at work for 53 years on one of the most ambitious projects attempted in biblical studies — publishing the authoritative edition of the Old Testament, also known as the Hebrew Bible, and tracking every single evolution of the text over centuries and millennia. The ongoing work of the academic detectives of the Bible Project, as their undertaking is known, shows that this text at the root of Judaism, Christianity and Islam was somewhat fluid for long periods of its history, and that its transmission through the ages was messier and more human than most of us imagine. The sheer volume of information makes the Bible Project's version "the most comprehensive critical edition of the Hebrew Bible in existence at the present time," said David Marcus, a Bible scholar at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, who is not involved with the project.
Fareed Zakaria talks to Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman. Why does Paul Krugman say space aliens could fix the U.S. economy? Paul Krugman: Think about World War II, right? That was actually negative social product spending, and yet it brought us out. If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and ... inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren't any aliens, we'd be better – there was a Twilight Zone episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time ... we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.
Note: A Fairchilds Industries Corporate Manager turned whistleblower has been talking about a staged UFO alien invastion predicted by rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun for many years. See her comments here.
Only up close does it become clear that some of the bulky figures in armoured vests scouring the fields of southern Lebanon for unexploded cluster bombs are wearing hijabs under their protective helmets. Once local teachers, nurses and housewives, this group of women are now fully trained to search for mines and make up the only all-female clearance team in Lebanon, combing the undergrowth inch by inch for the remnants of one of the most indiscriminate weapons of modern warfare. Leading the women in the field is Lamis Zein, a 33-year-old divorced mother of two and the team's supervisor. She was one of the first recruits for the team, which was set up by the de-mining NGO Norwegian People's Aid. "We are good at what we do and we are showing that women can do any kind of job," [said Zein]. Their painstaking task became necessary five years ago this week, after Israel rained cluster munitions on southern Lebanon to a degree the UN condemned as a "flagrant violation of international law". The women's team works in tandem with other teams of searchers, all co-ordinated by the Lebanese army, to clear up the unexploded ordnance that still litters the countryside. "Women are more patient than men," said Zein. "That is why we are good at this job. We work more slowly – and maybe we are a little more afraid than men."
A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that roiled the state's juvenile justice system. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was convicted of taking $1 million in bribes from developers of juvenile detention centers. The judge then presided over cases that would send juveniles to those same centers. The case came to be known as "kids-for-cash." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed about 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008, saying he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Ciavarella, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering charges earlier this year. More than a dozen people who said they had been affected by the judge's decision stood outside [the court house in Scranton, PA], awaiting the sentencing. Jeff Pollins was in that crowd. His stepson was convicted by Ciavarella. "These kids are still affected by it. It's like post traumatic stress disorder," Pollins told the Times Leader. "Our life is ruined. It's never going to be the same".
Note: Two crooked judges and a for-profit detention center company used millions of taxpayer dollars to systematically violate the rights of thousands of kids. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Newly released government files on UFOs show a lack of will and resources to study thousands of reported sightings. The Ministry of Defence files released by the National Archives cover reported sightings of UFOs from 1985 to 2007. The 34 files include sightings of lights over Glastonbury and a "flying saucer" in Nottinghamshire. National Archives consultant Dr David Clarke said it was about time the data was released. "One of the most interesting documents in the files is a piece from an intelligence officer, who basically says that despite thousands of reports that they've received since the Second World War, they've never done any study or spent any money or time on the subject, and they say that people just won't believe that when they find out." Nick Pope worked at the MoD between 1991 and 1994. He said the files were quite revealing: "The fascinating thing about these files is that they show that just as in society there's this huge debate about UFOs - is it really interesting, are we being visited by aliens - or is it all just nonsense? We were having the same debates in the Ministry of Defence. Some people thought it was a waste of time and money, others thought it was of extreme defence significance."
A longtime judge has been ordered to spend nearly three decades in prison for his role in a massive juvenile justice bribery scandal that prompted the state's high court to toss thousands of convictions. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was sentenced ... to 28 years in federal prison for taking $1 million in bribes from the builder of a pair of juvenile detention centers in a case that became known as "kids-for-cash." The Pennsylvania Supreme Court tossed about 4,000 convictions issued by Ciavarella between 2003 and 2008, saying he violated the constitutional rights of the juveniles, including the right to legal counsel and the right to intelligently enter a plea. Ciavarella, 61, was tried and convicted of racketeering charges earlier this year. Federal prosecutors accused Ciavarella and a second judge, Michael Conahan, of taking more than $2 million in bribes from the builder of the PA Child Care and Western PA Child Care detention centers and extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars from the facilities' co-owner. Ciavarella, known for his harsh and autocratic courtroom demeanor, filled the beds of the private lockups with children as young as 10, many of them first-time offenders convicted of petty theft and other minor crimes.
Corey Feldman has no idea what it's like not to be famous. After all, he starred in a McDonald's ad when he was just 3 years old. But being famous and underage, he said, caused serious damage to him and his friends, including loss of innocence and a lost childhood. Feldman blamed the adults around him, not just those looking to profit from charming children, but also some with far more sinister motives. "I can tell you that the No. 1 problem in Hollywood was and is and always will be pedophilia. That's the biggest problem for children in this industry. ... It's the big secret," Feldman said. The "casting couch," which is the old Hollywood reference to actors being expected to offer sex for roles, applied to children, Feldman said. "I was surrounded by [pedophiles] when I was 14 years old. … Didn't even know it. It wasn't until I was old enough to realize what they were and what they wanted … till I went, Oh, my God. They were everywhere," Feldman, 40, said. The trauma of pedophilia contributed to the 2010 death of his closest friend and "The Lost Boys" co-star, Corey Haim, Feldman said. "There's one person to blame in the death of Corey Haim. And that person happens to be a Hollywood mogul," Feldman said, adding that he, too, had been sexually abused by men in show business. Feldman said his realization followed the discovery of what some adults around him had allegedly done to other children. "There was a circle of older men … around this group of kids. And they all had either their own power or connections to great power in the entertainment industry," he said.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on pedophilia and sexual abuse by the powerful, click here.
Doctors have treated only three leukemia patients, but the sensational results from a single shot could be one of the most significant advances in cancer research in decades. Doctors at the University of Pennsylvania say the treatment made the most common type of leukemia completely disappear in two of the patients and reduced it by 70 percent in the third. In each of the patients as much as five pounds of cancerous tissue completely melted away in a few weeks, and a year later it is still gone. The results of the preliminary test “exceeded our wildest expectations,” says immunologist Dr. Carl June a member of the Abramson Cancer Center's research team. Chemotherapy and radiation can hold this form of leukemia at bay for years, but until now the only cure has been a bone marrow transplant. A bone marrow transplant requires a suitable match, works only about half the time, and often brings on severe, life-threatening side effects such as pain and infection. So why has this remarkable treatment been tried so far on only three patients? Both the National Cancer Institute and several pharmaceutical companies declined to pay for the research. Neither applicants nor funders discuss the reasons an application is turned down.
Note: For key reports from reliable sources on hopeful new cancer treatments, click here.
Investors are pouring into farmland in the U.S. and parts of Europe, Latin America and Africa as global food prices soar. A fund controlled by George Soros, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, owns 23.4 percent of South American farmland venture Adecoagro SA. Hedge funds Ospraie Management LLC and Passport Capital LLC as well as Harvard University's endowment are also betting on farming. TIAA-CREF, the $466 billion financial services giant, has $2 billion invested in some 600,000 acres (240,000 hectares) of farmland in Australia, Brazil and North America and wants to double the size of its investment. The growth in demand for food, spurred by the rising middle classes in China, India and other emerging markets, shows no signs of abating. Food prices in June, as measured by a United Nations index of 55 food commodities, were just slightly below their peak in February. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization said in a June report that it expects food costs to remain high through 2012. So many investors have rushed to capitalize on food prices in the past three years that they may be creating a farmland bubble. The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, which covers Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska and other agricultural states, said in May that farmland prices had surged 20 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.
Note: This news is further clear evidence that the rapid increases in food prices is another ploy to funnel money from the pockets of the public into the uber wealthy.
It was the kind of study that made doctors around the world sit up and take notice: Two popular high-blood-pressure drugs were found to be much better in combination than either alone. Unfortunately, it wasn't true. Six and a half years later, the prestigious medical journal the Lancet retracted the paper, citing "serious concerns" about the findings. The damage was done. Doctors by then had given the drug combination to well over 100,000 patients. Instead of protecting them from kidney problems, as the study said the drug combo could do, it left them more vulnerable to potentially life-threatening side effects, later studies showed. Today, "tens of thousands" of patients are still on the dual therapy, according to research firm SDI. When a study is retracted, "it can be hard to make its effects go away," says Sheldon Tobe, a kidney-disease specialist at the University of Toronto. And that's more important today than ever because retractions of scientific studies are surging. Since 2001, while the number of papers published in research journals has risen 44%, the number retracted has leapt more than 15-fold, data compiled for The Wall Street Journal by Thomson Reuters reveal. Just 22 retraction notices appeared in 2001, but 139 in 2006 and 339 last year
Note: To learn lots more of how the medical industry puts profit above public health, click here.
The insurer AIG is suing Bank of America to recover more than $10 billion of losses from a "massive fraud" on mortgage debt, deepening the morass of litigation faced by the largest U.S. bank. American International Group Inc, still largely owned by taxpayers after $182.3-billion of government bailouts, is the latest of a growing number of investors filing lawsuits to hold banks responsible for losses on soured mortgages that contributed to the financial crisis. The AIG complaint accuses Bank of America and its Countrywide and Merrill Lynch units of misrepresenting the quality of mortgages placed in securities and sold to investors. "Defendants were engaged in a massive scheme to manipulate and deceive investors, like AIG, who had no alternative but to rely on the lies and omissions made," said the complaint, being filed in the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan. Bank of America bought Countrywide for $2.5 billion in July 2008 and acquired Merrill six months later. The Countrywide acquisition is almost universally considered a disaster because of the costs of litigation and writing down bad loans.
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the government bailout of major banks and Wall Street corporations, click here.
A decade after the events of September 11, 2001, which resulted in the immediate deaths of nearly 3,000 people on American soil, countless victims from toxic dust, and hundreds of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, international hearings on this pivotal event will begin in Toronto in September. The events of September 11 provided a pretext for a War on Terror that has led to military invasions and occupations, and attacks upon civil and human rights throughout the world. The credibility of the official investigation into the events of September 11, 2001, carried out by the U.S. Government between 2003 and 2005, has been questioned by millions of citizens in the United States and abroad, including victim family members, expert witnesses and international legal experts. A group of international citizens has therefore undertaken to privately fund and cause these independent hearings to take place. Because of the global ramifications of the events of 9/11, the initiators of this inquest have opted to select an international location outside of the United States for these hearings to proceed. The city of Toronto, Canada was chosen as an ideal "international" location because of its proximity to New York, Washington and Shanksville (the crime scenes).
Note: Sponsored by the International Center for 9/11 Studies, the first four days of these hearings will take place at Toronto's Ryerson University between September 8 and 11, 2011. The proceedings will be broadcast live via the Internet. For more information, click here.
For nearly seven decades, the American public has accepted one version of the events that led to Japan’s surrender. Aug. 6 [is] the anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing’s mixed legacy. The leader of our democracy purposefully executed civilians on a mass scale. Yet the bombing also ended the deadliest conflict in human history. In recent years, however, a new interpretation of events has emerged. Tsuyoshi Hasegawa - a highly respected historian at the University of California, Santa Barbara - has marshaled compelling evidence that it was the Soviet entry into the Pacific conflict, not Hiroshima and Nagasaki, that forced Japan’s surrender. According to his close examination of the evidence, Japan was not poised to surrender before Hiroshima, ... nor was it ready to give in immediately after the atomic bomb. Instead, it took the Soviet declaration of war on Japan, several days after Hiroshima, to bring the capitulation. Both the American and Japanese public have clung to the idea that the mushroom clouds ended the war. That may help explain why Hasegawa’s thesis, which he first detailed in an award-winning 2005 book and has continued to bolster with new material, is still little known outside of academic circles.
Note: The atomic bombs almost certainly played a role in the decision to end the war, yet this new thesis shows that there were other factors of key importance which may have been downplayed.
A helicopter was shot down today by Afghan insurgents as it was rushing to aid troops in a firefight, killing 30 Americans, including 22 Navy SEALs, most of whom belonged to Team 6, the unit whose members were involved in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, U.S. officials said. It's unclear how far away the helicopter was from the initial firefight when it went down and unclear how the troops in the firefight got to the crash location, the official said. Although the Taliban have claimed to have shot the helicopter down, U.S. officials have only identified the attackers as insurgents. The last worst one-day U.S. casualty record in Afghanistan was on June 28, 2005 when 16 U.S. soldiers were killed in Kunar province after a helicopter was shot down by Taliban insurgents.
Note: Many scholars claim Osama bin Laden was already dead long before he was allegedly killed by the Navy Seal Team 6. Isn't it strange the his body was buried at sea, so that the identity of the dead body could never be certain, when those in charge knew about theories that bin Laden wasn't dead. And now, many members of the team that took part in the raid may be dead, so that they can't tell their side of the story. For more evidence that bin Laden died long before the raid, see BBC articles here and here, a Washington Post article, and an article in New Zealand's leading newspaper showing the published death photo was a fake.
What distinguishes the BBC from the rest of this country's media? Perhaps the most important factor is its editorial guidelines, which are supposed to ensure that the corporation achieves "the highest standards of due accuracy and impartiality and strive[s] to avoid knowingly and materially misleading our audiences." Woe betide the producer or presenter who breaches these guidelines. Unless, that is, they work for Top Gear. Take, for example, Top Gear's line on electric cars. Casting aside any pretence of impartiality or rigour, it has set out to show that electric cars are useless. If the facts don't fit, it bends them until they do. It's currently being sued by electric car maker Tesla. Now it's been caught red-handed faking another trial, in this case of the Nissan LEAF. Last Sunday, an episode of Top Gear showed Jeremy Clarkson and James May setting off for Cleethorpes in Lincolnshire, 60 miles away. The car unexpectedly ran out of charge when they got to Lincoln, and had to be pushed. They concluded that "electric cars are not the future". But it wasn't unexpected: Nissan has a monitoring device in the car which transmits information on the state of the battery. This shows that, while the company delivered the car to Top Gear fully charged, the programme-makers ran the battery down before Clarkson and May set off, until only 40% of the charge was left.
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.