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News Articles
Excerpts of Key News Articles in Major Media


Below are key excerpts of little-known, yet highly revealing news articles from the media. Links are provided to the full news articles for verification. If any link fails to function, read this webpage. These articles are listed by order of importance. You can also explore them listed by order of the date of the news article or by the date posted. By choosing to educate ourselves, we can build a brighter future.

Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news articles on dozens of engaging topics. And read excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.


America's masterplan is to force GM food on the world
2006-02-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/gmdebate/Story/0,,1708375,00.html

Three judges emerged after years of secret deliberation to rule that Europe had imposed a de facto ban on GM [genetically modified] food imports between 1999 and 2003, violating WTO rules. The court also ruled that Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Luxembourg had no legal grounds to impose their own unilateral import bans. Actually, the judges said much more, but in true WTO style no one has been allowed to know what. A few bureaucrats in the US, EU, Argentina and Canada have reportedly seen the full 1,045-page report, and an edited summary of some of its conclusions has been leaked. But no one, it seems, will take responsibility for the ruling, which may force the EU to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate some of the world's most heavily subsidised farmers, and could change the laws of at least six countries that have imposed GM bans. It is now clear that the real reason the US took Europe to the WTO court was...to make it easier for its companies to...open regulatory doors in China, India, south-east Asia, Latin America and Africa, where most US exports now go. This is where millions of tonnes of US food aid heads, and where US GM companies are desperate to have access, buying up seed companies and schmoozing presidents.

Note: For an excellent summary of the dangers of genetically modified foods that Americans are already eating without their knowledge, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/deception10pg


U.N. adviser: West killing Africa with gun sales
2006-02-02, CNN/Reuters
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/africa/02/02/africa.guns.reut/index.html

A senior United Nations aid official called on Thursday for a halt to arms sales to Africa, saying it would be more effective in addressing the continent's poverty than charity rock concerts or debt relief. Dennis McNamara, special U.N. adviser on internal displacement, slammed world powers for neglecting some 12.5 million Africans uprooted within their countries, who form half of the world's internally displaced persons (IDPs). He accused the West of supplying the weapons fuelling African conflicts which leave civilians homeless -- and prey to war crimes, hunger, disease and rape -- while greedy companies exploit the oil and mineral wealth. "Guns are at the heart of the problem ... There is one slogan I would like to suggest for 2006: No Arms Sales to Africa. Zero. Not an embargo, not a sanction, a voluntary cessation of all arms sales to Africa," McNamara told a news briefing." The kids on the streets of Nairobi, Khartoum, Abidjan and Monrovia have guns in their pockets or up their sleeves ... We provided the arms. We the West, we the G8," he added, referring to the Group of Eight industrialized nations.


FEMA ignored early offers of Katrina aid
2006-01-30, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0601300204jan30,1,4809351....

Hundreds of federal search-and-rescue workers and large numbers of boats, aircraft and bulldozers were offered to FEMA in the hours immediately after Hurricane Katrina hit, but the aid proposals were either ignored or not effectively used, newly released documents show. The Interior Department, which made the offers, also proposed dispatching as many as 400 of its law enforcement officers to provide security in Gulf Coast cities ravaged by flooding and looting. But nearly a month would pass before FEMA put the officers to work. Acting in the "immediate aftermath" of the hurricane, Interior officials provided FEMA with a comprehensive list of assets that were "immediately available for humanitarian and emergency assistance," according to the memo, dated Nov. 7, 2005. Those assets included more than 300 boats, 11 aircraft, 119 pieces of heavy equipment, 300 dump trucks and other vehicles. Also offered were rescue crews from the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service--teams that were trained for urban search-and-rescue missions using flat-bottom boats...but they were "never formally tasked" for that assignment by FEMA. The Interior Department wasn't the only government agency to offer assistance to FEMA that was not used effectively. Amtrak reportedly offered, before the storm, to carry residents out, but its train left nearly empty. New Mexico offered National Guard troops, but for days officials waited for formal approval to use them.


We Could Be Ignoring the Biggest Story in Our History
2006-01-18, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/17/AR20060117008...

The best reporting of...climate change has come from Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker. Her three-part series last spring lucidly explained the harbingers of potential disaster: a shrinking of Arctic sea ice by 250 million acres since 1979; a thawing of the permafrost for what appears to be the first time in 120,000 years; a steady warming of Earth's surface temperature; changes in rainfall patterns that could presage severe droughts of the sort that destroyed ancient civilizations. This month she published a new piece, "Butterfly Lessons," that looked at how these delicate creatures are moving into new habitats as the planet warms. Her real point was that all life, from microorganisms to human beings, will have to adapt, and in ways that could be dangerous and destabilizing. If people such as...Kolbert are right, we are all but ignoring the biggest story in the history of humankind. Kolbert concluded her series last year with this shattering thought: "It may seem impossible to imagine that a technologically advanced society could choose, in essence, to destroy itself, but that is what we are now in the process of doing." The failure of the United States to get serious about climate change is unforgivable, a human folly beyond imagining.


'What's in that bill?' The risk of deadline votes
2005-12-28, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1228/p01s03-uspo.html

The first session of the 109th Congress is over, but lawmakers and interest groups are still sorting out what surprises may have been buried in its final bills. A clause added here or lifted there can shift the fortunes of whole industries and regions. The year ended in a crush of tough negotiations, late-night votes, and hastily printed bills so vast that few lawmakers had time to read them. Early in the morning on Dec. 19, lawmakers got their first glimpse of the 774-page final version of a nearly $40 billion spending cut bill. The time? 1:12 a.m. House members had to vote on the measure just four and a half hours later. While the rules say that a conference agreement can't include elements that haven't been voted in either the House or Senate...they are often violated. Senate negotiators were stunned to learn that GOP House leaders had added a whole campaign-finance bill to the final conference report on the Defense authorization bill they had already signed. The new language...was added to the bill after the conference had closed. Another provision, granting immunity from liability to manufacturers of flu vaccine, was added at the last minute to the FY 2006 Defense Appropriations bill.

Note: Few people are aware that in clear violation of Congressional rules, the Patriot Act was passed only hours after significant changes were made to what had been previously agreed upon. No members of Congress had the opportunity to read all of these changes, which eroded significantly more civil rights and liberties than had been previously agreed. For more on this, click here.


The Agency That Could Be Big Brother
2005-12-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/weekinreview/25bamford.html?ex=1293166800&e...

Deep in a remote, fog-layered hollow near Sugar Grove, W.Va., hidden by fortress-like mountains, sits the country's largest eavesdropping bug. The station's large parabolic dishes secretly and silently sweep in millions of private telephone calls and e-mail messages an hour. Run by the ultrasecret National Security Agency, the listening post intercepts all international communications entering the eastern United States. Another N.S.A. listening post, in Yakima,Wash., eavesdrops on the western half of the country. According to John E. McLaughlin, who as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the fall of 2001 was among the first briefed on the program, this eavesdropping was the most secret operation in the entire intelligence network, complete with its own code word - which itself is secret. Jokingly referred to as "No Such Agency," the N.S.A. was created in absolute secrecy in 1952 by President Harry S. Truman. But the agency is still struggling to adjust to the war on terror. At home, it increases pressure on the agency to bypass civil liberties and skirt formal legal channels of criminal investigation. Originally created to spy on foreign adversaries, the N.S.A. was never supposed to be turned inward.

Note: Don't miss the amazing article on Operation Northwoods by the author of this article, former ABC producer James Bamford. It details the 1962 plans of the Pentagon chiefs to foment terrorism in the US as a pretext for war with Cuba. See http://www.WantToknow.info/010501operationnorthwoods


Exxon Mobil Posts New Record for Profit
2005-10-27, ABC/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=1255549

Exxon Mobil Corp. had a quarter for the record books. The world's largest publicly traded oil company said Thursday high oil and natural-gas prices helped its third-quarter profit surge almost 75 percent to $9.92 billion, the largest quarterly profit for a U.S. company ever, and it was the first to ring up more than $100 billion in quarterly sales. The hurricanes slashed Exxon Mobil's U.S. production volumes by 50,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, down nearly 5 percent year-over-year, costing the company $45 million before taxes. The company said total daily production slipped to 2.45 million barrels of oil equivalent from 2.51 million barrels.

Note: Isn't it amazing that though oil production fell, and though we all are paying much higher gas prices, Exxon Mobil earned the largest profits ever in the same quarter as Hurricane Katrina? Wouldn't it be nice if during a national catastrophe the oil companies were willing to drop their prices and suffer a little with the rest of us?


Videos Challenge Accounts of Convention Unrest
2005-04-12, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/12/nyregion/12video.html?ex=1270958400&en=46f3...

Dennis Kyne put up such a fight at a political protest last summer, the arresting officer recalled, it took four police officers to haul him down the steps of the New York Public Library and across Fifth Avenue. "We picked him up and we carried him while he squirmed and screamed," the officer, Matthew Wohl, testified in December. "I had one of his legs because he was kicking and refusing to walk on his own." Accused of inciting a riot and resisting arrest, Mr. Kyne was the first of the 1,806 people arrested in New York last summer during the Republican National Convention to take his case to a jury. But one day after Officer Wohl testified, the prosecutor abruptly dropped all charges. During a recess, the defense had brought new information to the prosecutor. A videotape shot by a documentary filmmaker showed Mr. Kyne agitated but plainly walking under his own power down the library steps, contradicting the vivid account of Officer Wohl, who was nowhere to be seen in the pictures. Nor was the officer seen taking part in the arrests of four other people at the library against whom he signed complaints.


Sorry, You're Vote Has Been: Lost, Hacked, Miscast, Recorded Twice
2004-11-00, Popular Science
http://www.popsci.com/popsci/technology/generaltechnology/ec959aa138b84010vgn...

In South Carolina, officials bought machines too late for adequate testing. And on many of their onscreen ballots, the presidential contest included names of candidates from local elections. Several Texas counties are thousands of votes short because a bug in the software failed to record Spanish-language ballots. For hundreds of thousands of votes, there will be no paper record at all. In Colorado, a group of hackers is boasting that they stole a box of electronic smartcards used to activate e-voting machines and reprogrammed them to allow multiple votes, just for fun. In virtually every state, officials failed to invite outside technical experts to participate in the process of e-voting machine selection. Because none of the major vendors of e-voting machines release their code for security testing, states and counties are forced to trust vendors' own assessments of their machines' reliability.


Report on USA Patriot Act Alleges Civil Rights Violations
2003-07-21, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/21/politics/21JUST.html?ex=1374206400&en=169d1...

A report by internal investigators at the Justice Department has identified dozens of recent cases in which department employees have been accused of serious civil rights and civil liberties violations involving enforcement of ... the USA Patriot Act. The report said that in the six-month period that ended on June 15 [2003], the inspector general's office had received 34 complaints of civil rights and civil liberties violations by department employees that it considered credible, including accusations that Muslim and Arab immigrants in federal detention centers had been beaten. The accused workers are employed in several of the agencies that make up the Justice Department, with most of them assigned to the Bureau of Prisons. The report said that credible accusations were also made against employees of the F.B.I., the [D.E.A.] and the Immigration and Naturalization Service. The report ... suggests that the relatively small staff of the inspector general's office has been overwhelmed by accusations of abuse, many filed by Muslim or Arab inmates in federal detention centers. The inspector general said that from Dec. 16 through June 15, his office received 1,073 complaints "suggesting a Patriot Act-related" abuse of civil rights or civil liberties. 272 [accusations] were determined to fall within the inspector general's jurisdiction, with 34 raising "credible Patriot Act violations on their face." In those 34 cases, it said, the accusations "ranged in seriousness from alleged beatings of immigration detainees to B.O.P. correctional officers allegedly verbally abusing inmates."


Congressional Testimony of DOD Inspector General - Report No. D-2001-120
2001-05-08, Department of Defense Inspector General's Website
http://www.dodig.osd.mil/Audit/reports/fy01/01-120.pdf

Statement of Robert J Lieberman, Deputy Inspector General, Department of Defense, Before the Subcommittee on Governmental Efficiency, Financial Management and Intergovernmental Relations, House Committee on Government Reform of Defense Financial Management. The extensive DoD efforts to compile and audit the FY 2000 financial statements, for the Department as a whole and for the 10 subsidiary reporting entities like the Army, Navy and Air Force General Funds, could not overcome the impediments caused by poor systems and unreliable documentation of transactions and assets. Some examples of the problems in these year-end statements follow. Department-level accounting adjustment entries used to compile the financial statements were $4.4 trillion, with $1.1 trillion of those unsupported by reliable explanatory information and audit trails. This is an improvement from FY 1999, when $7.6 trillion of adjustments were made with $2.3 trillion unsupported, but remains a good indication of the need for wholesale changes to the financial data reporting systems. Accurate reporting of inventory and property remains a continuing challenge for each of the Military Departments and Defense Logistics Agency because of problems in logistics and other feeder systems. Although the DoD has put a full decade of effort into improving its financial reporting, it seems that everyone involved-—the Congress, the Office of Management and Budget, the audit community, and DoD managers—-have been unable to determine or clearly articulate exactly how much progress has been made.


Catastrophic Terrorism: Tackling the New Danger
1998-11-01, Foreign Affairs, (the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations)
http://www.foreignaffairs.org/19981101faessay1434/ashton-carter-john-deutch-%...

A successful attack with weapons of mass destruction could certainly take thousands, or tens of thousands, of lives. If the device that exploded in 1993 under the World Trade Center had been nuclear, or had effectively dispersed a deadly pathogen, the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it. Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime and undermine America's fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet atomic bomb test in 1949. Like Pearl Harbor, this event would divide our past and future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian measures, scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens, detention of suspects, and use of deadly force.

Note: Is this not a remarkable statement? This 1998 article was written by Philip Zelikow (who later was Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission!!!), John Deutch (former CIA Director), and Ashton Carter (former deputy secretary of defense). Dr. David Ray Griffin, an esteemed WTK team member, asks in his new book, Debunking 9/11 Debunking, "Would it not be interesting if we were to learn that those who orchestrated the attacks of 9/11 were able to put one of their own -- someone who at least had foreknowledge of the attacks -- in charge of carrying out the official investigation into these attacks?" To view the full article, click here.


Poll: U.S. hiding knowledge of aliens
1997-06-15, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/US/9706/15/ufo.poll

Nearly 50 years since an alleged UFO was sighted at Roswell, New Mexico, a new CNN/Time poll released Sunday shows that 80 percent of Americans think the government is hiding knowledge of the existence of extraterrestrial life forms. While nearly three-quarters of the 1,024 adults questioned for the poll said they had never seen or known anyone who saw a UFO, 54 percent believe intelligent life exists outside Earth. Sixty-four percent of the respondents said that aliens have contacted humans, half said they've abducted humans, and 37 percent said they have contacted the U.S. government. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. As for the Roswell incident, nearly two-thirds of the respondents to the poll said they believed that a UFO crash-landed in a field outside the New Mexico town 50 years ago next month. Most people -- 91 percent -- told the pollsters that they had never had contact with aliens or known anyone who had. A similar number -- 93 percent -- said they had never been abducted or known anyone whisked away by beings from another planet. But if they do meet someone from a galaxy far, far away, 44 percent said they expect to be treated as friends, while 26 percent think they'll be treated as enemies.

Note: The wording here can be a little misleading. Stated another way, the above poll shows a full 9 percent said they had contact with aliens or knew someone who had, while 7 percent were either abducted or knew someone who was. Over one quarter had seen or know someone who saw a UFO. These are quite significant numbers. For lots more reliable, verifiable information suggesting a major cover-up on this topic, click here.


Sally Quinn has cast 3 hexes, and worries they worked
2017-09-08, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/09/08/sally-quinn-has-cast-3-hexes-a...

In her new "spiritual memoir" titled Finding Magic, veteran journalist Sally Quinn ... the widow of legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee ... describes her lifelong belief in the occult and worries that hexes she once put on three people may have worked. "My family were Scots," [said Quinn]. "They all believed in Scottish myths and mysticism and the stones and psychic behavior and ghosts and astrology and palmistry and all that. And then of course we all went to church. So I had this kind of two-pronged religious upbringing. I would say my prayers to God and Jesus every night ... but I also believed in all this other stuff. When I was in my late 20s and early 30s, there were three people who hurt me in some way, or (hurt) somebody I loved, and so I decided to put a hex on them. I had never done it before. What I wanted to have happen was for them to feel what I had felt. I didn’t mean for them to die." One person died right away, another person got fired immediately and then died, and then the other one died. I’ve never done it again. And believe me, since (Donald) Trump was elected, and since the election, I can’t tell you how many friends have asked me to put a hex on Donald Trump, and I won’t do it. I just said no. I don’t do that anymore." The environment right now is more toxic and more poisonous than I’ve ever seen....(But I have) still been able to pull away and still find a sense of faith and joy and magic in the world."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the nature of reality from reliable major media sources.


Debate rages over genetically modified crops
2007-01-19, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/01/19/BUGBONL8D91.DTL

The two sides in the debate over genetically modified crops issued warring reports assessing the first decade of the technology this week, as the industry's sunny view clashed with the darker vision of critics. The world's farmland planted with biotechnology crops reached 252 million acres in 2006, the industry-backed International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications calculated in a report ... that promotes the products as solutions for hunger and future fuel demand. The report concluded that biotechnology boosts crop yields and benefits the environment. That view was challenged by Friends of the Earth International and the Center for Food Safety in a report released Wednesday. The two groups argued that engineered plants don't produce larger harvests than conventional varieties, are often more vulnerable to drought and have increased the use of pesticides. The United States and Argentina host about 70 percent of the world's biotech crop acreage, both sides said. But adoption of the technology is growing at a faster rate in developing countries than in industrialized nations, according to the International Service. About 10 million farmers in 22 countries sow genetically modified crops, it said. The dominant biotech crop is soybeans, with 57 percent of world acreage, followed by maize, cotton and canola. Opponents said the crops are mainly a boon to agribusiness and big agricultural chemical companies trying to increase sales of seeds, weed-killers and bug sprays. Biotech crop seeds are often engineered to be resistant to the herbicides or pesticides sold by the same company.

Note: For reliable information showing that you may be eating genetically modified food every day which scientific experiments have repeatedly demonstrated can cause sickness and even death, click here.


Anti-war couple conceive new way to generate peace
2006-11-19, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/11/19/GLOBAL.TMP

Living on their houseboat off the Marin County coast, anti-war activists Donna Sheehan and her partner, Paul Reffel, concocted a way for the world to communally create a lot of peaceful vibes. They want everyone to have an orgasm on the same day. On Dec. 22, they're asking the world to contribute in their own way to the Global Orgasm for Peace. Sheehan said not to worry if you don't have a partner. Busy multi-taskers shouldn't despair about trying to cram this global activism into their busy schedules, either, she said. Take any time during the 24-hour period at the beginning of the winter solstice to join the demonstration. Just make sure to think of peace before or after participating. Once you've committed, there's even a secret sign to show others that you plan to take part: Flash the universal "OK" sign and wink. Or, as it has been redubbed, "The O" sign. While the Global O may sound much like other collective actions attempted over the years, the O's organizers promise something more on their Web site: "The combination of high-energy orgasmic energy combined with mindful intention may have a much greater effect than previous mass meditations and prayers."


9/ 11 Conspiracy Theorists Thriving
2006-08-06, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2279963

Kevin Barrett believes the U.S. government might have destroyed the World Trade Center. Steven Jones is researching what he calls evidence that the twin towers were brought down by explosives detonated inside them, not by hijacked airliners. These men aren't uneducated junk scientists: Barrett will teach a class on Islam at the University of Wisconsin this fall. Jones is a tenured physicist at Brigham Young University. The movement claims to be drawing fresh energy and credibility from a recently formed group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth. Publicity over Barrett's case has helped boost membership to about 75 academics. Some are well educated, with degrees from elite universities such as Princeton and Stanford and jobs at schools including Rice, Indiana and the University of Texas. Members of the group don't consider themselves extremists. They simply believe the government's investigation was inadequate, and maintain that questioning widely held assumptions has been part of the job of scholars for centuries. Daniel Orr, a Princeton Ph.D. and widely published retired economics chair at the University of Illinois, said he knew instantly from watching the towers fall that they had been blown apart by explosives. David Gabbard, an East Carolina education professor, acknowledges this isn't his field, but says "I'm smart enough to know ... that fire from airplanes can't melt steel." Judy Wood, until recently an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Clemson University, has been cited by conspiracy theorists for her arguments the buildings could not have collapsed as quickly as they did unless explosives were used.

Note: This article was published on the website of more than 100 media outlets. People are waking up all over!


Invoking Secrets Privilege Becomes a More Popular Legal Tactic
2006-06-04, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/04/washington/04secrets.html?ex=1307073600&en=...

Facing a wave of litigation challenging its eavesdropping at home and its handling of terror suspects abroad, the Bush administration is increasingly turning to a legal tactic that swiftly torpedoes most lawsuits: the state secrets privilege. Officials have used the privilege...to ask the courts to throw out three legal challenges to the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program. The privilege claim, in which the government says any discussion of a lawsuit's accusations would endanger national security, has short-circuited judicial scrutiny and public debate. While the privilege...was once used to shield sensitive documents or witnesses from disclosure, it is now often used to try to snuff out lawsuits at their inception. "If the very people you're suing are the ones who get to use the state secrets privilege, it's a stacked deck," said Representative Christopher Shays, Republican of Connecticut. Robert M. Chesney, a law professor at Wake Forest University...said the administration's legal strategy "raises profound legal and policy questions." Under Mr. Bush, the secrets privilege has been used to block a lawsuit by a translator at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sibel Edmonds, who was fired after accusing colleagues of security breaches. Two lawsuits challenging the government's practice of rendition, in which terror suspects are seized and delivered to detention centers overseas, were dismissed after the government raised the secrets privilege.

Note: Sibel Edmonds is one of several whistleblowers with powerfully incriminating information on 9/11 who have been silenced with tactics like those mentioned above. To learn more about this critical case which has been blocked, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/050131sibeledmonds


Psychiatric drugs fare favorably when companies pay for studies
2006-05-24, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2006-05-24-drug-studies_x.htm?POE=NEWISVA

Drug companies fund a growing number of the studies in leading psychiatric journals, and drugs fare much better in these company-funded studies than in trials done independently or by competitors, researchers reported Wednesday. About 57% of published studies were paid for by drug companies in 2002, compared with 25% in 1992, says psychiatrist Igor Galynker of Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. His team looked at clinical research in four influential journals: American Journal of Psychiatry, Archives of General Psychiatry, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry and Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology. In the report, released at the American Psychiatric Association meeting in Toronto, reviewers did not know who paid for the studies they evaluated, Galynker says. There were favorable outcomes for a medication in about: eight out of 10 studies paid for by the company that makes the drug; five out of 10 studies done with no industry support; three out of 10 studies done by competitors of the firm making the drug. As drug companies increasingly fund research that yields favorable outcomes for their drugs, there may be a built-in bias because journals are reluctant to publish studies with negative or inconclusive findings.

Note: To learn more about the astonishing profits and power of the major drug companies, read our concise summary of a major insider's research at http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthcoverup


Death Of A General
2006-04-09, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/04/06/60minutes/main1476781.shtml

How far should a soldier go when interrogating a prisoner? Is torture OK? What if the prisoner knew where Saddam Hussein was hiding? How far is too far? That was the dilemma facing Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer while interrogating an Iraqi major general, among the most important prisoners of the time. During interrogation, the general died. Welshofer says he thought Mowhoush might know where Saddam was hiding. Welshofer questioned Mowhoush, didn’t lay a hand on him, and got nothing out of him. So...Welshofer got creative. He remembered that years before...he helped stuff American soldiers into oil drums to induce claustrophobia and panic. In Iraq, Welshofer did much the same thing, this time, with a sleeping bag. Mowhoush...was 56 years old and not in good shape. Welshofer took an electrical cord, wrapped it around Mowhoush’s middle to hold the bag in place. Then he straddled him. But when Mowhoush didn’t give him the answers he was looking for, Welshofer says he put his hand over his mouth. "I saw that the water pooled in his mouth, and it was at that point that I realized...the general’s dead," Welshofer recalls. It happened in Abu Ghraib. It happened in Afghanistan. It happened in Guantanamo Bay. When you see this across three different arenas and in many different places, it is no longer just a few guys got it in their head to do this. It is coming from somewhere else. And it’s got to come from above.


E-Vote Problems 'Troubling but Anecdotal'
2004-11-03, Fox News/Associated Press
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,137489,00.html

Voters nationwide reported some 1,100 problems with electronic voting machines on Tuesday, including trouble choosing their intended candidates. There were also several dozen voters in six states...who said the wrong candidates appeared on their touch-screen machine's checkout screen. In many cases, voters said they intended to select John Kerry...but when the computer asked them to verify the choice it showed them instead opting for President Bush. The reports did highlight computer scientists' concerns about touch screens, which they say are prone to tampering and unreliable unless they produce paper records for recounts. Roberta Harvey, 57, of Clearwater, Fla., said she had tried at least a half dozen times to select Kerry-Edwards when she voted Tuesday at Northwood Presbyterian Church. After 10 minutes trying to change her selection, the Pinellas County resident said she called a poll worker and got a wet-wipe napkin to clean the touch screen as well as a pencil so she could use its eraser-end instead of her finger. Harvey said it took about 10 attempts to select Kerry before and a summary screen confirmed her intended selection. The Election Protection Coalition received a total of 32 reports of touch-screen voters who selected one candidate only to have another show up on the summary screen, Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a coalition member.


Navy's use of sonar suspected in near-stranding of whales
2004-09-01, Boston Globe/Washington Post
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2004/09/01/navys_use_of_sonar_susp...

The Navy has acknowledged that vessels on maneuver off Hawaii in July used their sonar periodically in the 20 hours before a large pod of melon-headed whales unexpectedly came to shore in the area. The acknowledgment added to an already contentious debate over whether the sound from sonar has been causing marine mammals to strand. Navy officials said that a review of the July 3 incident indicates that two ships turned on their sonar between 6:45 and 7:10 a.m., by most accounts just before the unusual movement of almost 200 deep-water whales to the shoreline of a Kauai bay. The Navy had said earlier that no sonar was used until more than 90 minutes later, well after the animals came ashore. "Every time the Navy changes its story, it reduces its credibility on this issue," said Cara Horowitz, a lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Residents and government officials worked throughout July 3 to steer the whales back to open water, and all made it except one newborn calf that died of starvation. The Hawaii incident is the third significant one involving sonar and marine mammal strandings near the United States since 2000. The stranding of 17 whales of various kinds off the Bahamas in 2000, which resulted in the death of at least six of them, occurred during a major Navy maneuver. Navy officials at first said there was no connection between their exercise and the stranding, but later acknowledged that the loud sound from the sonar had caused the animals to flee ashore.


Royal Rife: Discovering a Cure for Cancer Can Be Dangerous to Your Health
2000-10-09, WantToKnow.info/Jeff Rense
http://www.WantToKnow.info/cancercuresroyalrife

Note: We usually limit ourselves to information from sources known and respected by the public. For this message, we're making an exception. Jeff Rense of rense.com is a radio personality and researcher of major cover-ups with no strong credentials other than a large following of people convinced of the quality of his work. His popular website receives millions of visits a month. Below is vital information everyone should know.

Royal Raymond Rife was a brilliant scientist born in 1888 and died in 1971. He received 14 major awards and honors and was given an honorary Doctorate by the University of Heidelberg for his work. By 1933, he had ... constructed the incredibly complex Universal Microscope, which ... was capable of magnifying objects 30,000 times their normal size. With this incredible microscope, Rife became the first human being to actually see a live virus. In 1934, the University of Southern California appointed a Special Medical Research Committee to bring terminal cancer patients ... to Rife's San Diego Laboratory and clinic for treatment. The team included doctors and pathologists assigned to examine the patients - if still alive - in 90 days. After the 90 days of treatment, the Committee concluded that 86.5% of the patients had been completely cured. On November 20, 1931, forty-four of the nation's most respected medical authorities honored Royal Rife with a banquet. But by 1939, almost all of these distinguished doctors and scientists were denying that they had ever met Rife. The last thing in the world that the pharmaceutical industry wanted was ... a painless therapy that cured ... terminal cancer patients and cost nothing to use but a little electricity. It might give people the idea that they didn't need drugs. Medical journals, supported almost entirely by drug company revenues and controlled by the AMA, refused to publish any paper by anyone on Rife's therapy. Rife technology became public knowledge again in 1986 with the publication of The Cancer Cure That Worked, by Barry Lynes, and other material about Royal Rife and his monumental work.

Note: For excellent video documentaries, including interviews with Royal Rife: http://www.rifevideos.com. For an excellent website focused on Rife's work, click here. For more reliable, verifiable information on health cover-ups, click here.


Through a glass, very darkly
1993-12-19, US News & World Report
http://www.wanttoknow.info/images/931227-us-news-finders.pdf

In early February 1987, an anonymous tipster in Tallahassee, Fla., made a phone call to police. Two "well-dressed men" seemed to be "supervising" six disheveled and hungry children in a local park, the caller said. The cops went after the case like bloodhounds - at least at first. The two men were identified as members of the Finders. They were charged with child abuse in Florida. In Washington, D.C., police and U.S. Customs Service agents raided a duplex apartment building and a warehouse connected to the group. Among the evidence seized: detailed instructions on obtaining children for unknown purposes and several photographs of nude children. The more the police learned about the Finders, the more bizarre they seemed: There were suggestions of child abuse, Satanism, dealing in pornography and ritualistic animal slaughter. None of the allegations was ever proved, however. Today ... the Justice Department has begun a new investigation into the Finders. One of the unresolved questions involves allegations that the Finders are somehow linked to the Central Intelligence Agency. In 1987, when Customs agents sought to examine the evidence gathered by Washington, D.C., police, they were told that the Finders investigation "had become a CIA internal matter." The police report on the case had been classified secret. Even now, Tallahassee police complain about the handling of the Finders investigation by D.C. police. "They dropped this case," one Tallahassee investigator says, "like a hot rock."

Note: For lots more on the disturbing group called "The Finders," see the excellent research available at this link. As US News & World Report does not have archives for older articles like this, the link above takes you to a scanned copy of the the article taken directly from a copy of the magazine we obtained.


Manafort’s guilty plea exposes hardball tactics he used to thrive in Washington swamp
2018-09-14, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/manaforts-guilty-plea-exposes-hardbal...

Before he was Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort embraced extreme tactics in his lobbying efforts. He enlisted a foreign politician who was secretly on his payroll to deliver a message to President Barack Obama in the Oval Office. And he gleefully fueled allegations that an Obama Cabinet member who had spoken out against his Ukrainian client was an anti-Semite. With his guilty plea Friday, Manafort admitted the lengths to which he went to manipulate the American political system and the media for massive profit, exposing how he thrived in the Washington swamp that Trump railed against during his campaign. By pleading guilty, Manafort agreed that he knew he was required by law to publicly report that a pro-Russia Ukrainian political party was paying him and his stable of lobbyists, which included former leaders of Austria, Poland and Italy. Instead, he operated in the dark, working diligently to keep his lobbying for Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych a secret and pocketing millions routed through offshore bank accounts to hide his work and avoid paying taxes. Trump has downplayed Manafort’s wrongdoing. “What he did, some of the charges they threw against him, every consultant, every lobbyist in Washington probably does,” the president told Fox News. Paul Miller, who runs the Institute for Lobbying and Ethics ... acknowledged that there is a “widespread problem” of lobbyists failing to register their activities. But Manafort went far beyond that, Miller said.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Global demand for fossil fuels will peak in 2023, says thinktank
2018-09-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/sep/11/global-energy-demand-fossil-...

Global demand for fossil fuels will peak in 2023, an influential thinktank has predicted. Explosive growth in wind and solar will combine with action on climate change and slowing growth in energy needs to ensure that fossil fuel demand peaks in the 2020s, Carbon Tracker predicted. The projection is much more bullish than estimates by the global energy watchdog and oil and gas companies, which mostly expect demand to peak in the mid-2030s. Coal reached its peak in 2014. The group, which popularised the notion of a carbon bubble – where fossil fuel assets lose their value in the switch to a low-carbon economy – said the findings spelled disruption for energy firms. The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, has already warned that markets face a “huge hit” from the transition. The Carbon Tracker report warned incumbency and size would be no protection, and compared the fate of fossil fuel firms to the horse and cart at the start of the 20th century. “Demand for incumbents peaks early, and investors in incumbents lose money early,” it said. The first two decades of this century were the innovation period for renewables, the authors said, while the “endgame” for fossil fuels – when renewables overtake them – would come from 2050 onwards. Falling wind and solar costs would lead to some emerging countries “leapfrogging” fossil fuels and opting for renewables to meet most of their growing energy needs, the thinktank said.

Note: Ireland recently became the first country to fully divest from fossil fuels. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


DHS Asks For 'Positive Gems' About War-Torn Countries To Justify Returning Immigrants
2018-08-25, NPR
https://www.npr.org/2018/08/25/641652912/dhs-asks-for-positive-gems-about-war...

The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Trump administration in an attempt to restore protected status to immigrants from Sudan, Nicaragua, Haiti, and El Salvador. Thousands from those four countries were given safe haven in the U.S. following crippling natural disasters and civil conflict, but earlier this year the Trump administration officially ended their protected status. Lawyers for the ACLU and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network convinced the court to order the federal government to disclose communication between DHS officials and other federal agencies. The messages reveal that DHS asked staffers to find "positive gems" about war-torn countries to justify sending more than 300,000 people back to their homelands. The internal back-and-forths also demonstrate more subtle ways DHS sought to downplay the severity of conditions in volatile countries, like using the word "challenges," instead of "disasters" in talking points to the public. That guidance raised alarms with seasoned State Department officials. To ACLU lawyer Ahilan Arulanantham ... the emails show that DHS is more concerned with carrying out Trump's hardline stance on immigration than it is with following the law. "They cut diplomats out of the decision-making process. They rewrote their reports, downplayed sometimes really horrific problems in countries and basically did everything they could to justify the result that the Trump administration wanted," Arulanantham said

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties.


Claims of 'non-stop cycle of torture' involving top officials in Ethiopian jail
2018-07-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/jul/05/claims-torture-inv...

Ethiopia’s new prime minister has been urged to investigate a raft of gruesome torture and abuse allegations involving senior officials in the country’s most notorious prison. Jail Ogaden, officially known as Jijiga central prison, is home to thousands of prisoners and lies at the heart of Jigjiga, the capital of Ethiopia’s eastern Somali region. According to a report by Human Rights Watch ... prisoners are routinely brutalised and denied access to adequate medical care, family, lawyers, and sometimes food. Many have never been convicted of any crime. Former prisoners claimed they saw people dying in their cells after being tortured by officials. The report provides the most extensive catalogue to date of human rights abuses in eastern Ethiopia under Somali regional president Abdi Mohamed Omar, commonly known as Abdi Iley. The study documents alleged abuses including rape, sleep deprivation, long-term arbitrary detention, collective punishment and forced confessions between 2011 and early 2018. It highlights, in particular, the role of a 40,000-strong Somali special police unit known as the Liyu, which Abdi, then head of regional security, established in 2008 as part of a brutal counter-insurgency campaign targeting the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a secessionist rebel group. Most Jail Ogaden inmates are accused of some affiliation to the group. “Torture in detention is a serious problem throughout Ethiopia, but Jail Ogaden is in a class of its own,” said Felix Horne, the report’s author.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Millionaires Now Control Half of the World’s Personal Wealth
2018-06-14, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-14/millionaires-now-control-h...

The rich are getting a lot richer and doing so a lot faster. Personal wealth around the globe reached $201.9 trillion last year, a 12 percent gain from 2016 and the strongest annual pace in the past five years, Boston Consulting Group said in a report released Thursday. Booming equity markets swelled fortunes, and investors outside the U.S. got an exchange-rate bonus as most major currencies strengthened against the greenback. The growing ranks of millionaires and billionaires now hold almost half of global personal wealth, up from slightly less than 45 percent in 2012, according to the report. In North America, which had $86.1 trillion of total wealth, 42 percent of investable capital is held by people with more than $5 million in assets. Investable assets include equities, investment funds, cash and bonds.

Note: Read an intriguing CNBC article on the good habits of the rich that help them to the top. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Free Power From Freeways? China Is Testing Roads Paved With Solar Panels
2018-06-11, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/11/business/energy-environment/china-solar-ro...

The potential appeal of solar roads - modified solar panels that are installed in place of asphalt - is clear. Generating electricity from highways and streets, rather than in fields and deserts packed with solar panels, could conserve a lot of land. Those advantages are particularly important in a place like China, a heavily populated country where demand for energy has risen rapidly. Now, such roads are finally becoming viable. China’s leaders in solar road development are Pavenergy and Qilu Transportation. The surface of these panels, made of a complex polymer that resembles plastic, has slightly more friction than a conventional road surface, according to Zhang Hongchao, an engineering professor. Still, a litany of outstanding challenges means the wide deployment of solar roads is a long way off. Solar roads are ... more expensive than asphalt. It costs about $120 a square meter, or about $11 a square foot, to resurface and repair an asphalt road each decade. By comparison, Pavenergy and Colas hope to be able to bring the cost of a solar road to $310 to $460 a square meter with mass production. Panels on a highway would likely need to be replaced less often than asphalt, Professor Zhang said. And a solar road can produce about $15 a year worth of electricity from each square meter of solar panels. Less clear is whether the panels would be able to take the pounding of millions of tires each year for more than a decade, or whether they might be stolen.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing energy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Inventing New Ways to Solve Old Problems
2018-05-24, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/24/business/inventing-new-ways-to-solve-old-p...

While many people wring their hands over the amount of plastic waste, Miranda Wang aims to reduce the mess. Ms. Wang, 24, is a co-founder and chief executive of BioCellection, a start-up that is tackling hard-to-recycle plastic packaging, focusing initially on plastic-film waste. Using a novel reaction system that employs a liquid chemical catalyst, BioCellection turns unrecyclable, contaminated film waste into chemicals that can be used by consumers and industry. Later this year, BioCellection will start a pilot program in the San Francisco Bay Area to build its first commercial machine, which can process five metric tons of waste a day. Many borrowers with poor credit scores ... can’t qualify for an affordable small loan. Jeff Zhou is offering an answer, in the form of Fig Loans. The lender’s goal is to offer an alternative to pricey payday loans that strapped consumers turn to when they have an unexpected financial emergency and have no other option. “We want to offer socially responsible financial products for people who are under banked,” he said. Customers can apply online for a loan from Fig, which makes lending decisions based on bank statements, taking into account expenses like rent, utilities and spending, Mr. Zhou said. Loans are $300 to $500 and, depending on the state, are repaid in four or six equal monthly installments — unlike payday loans, which typically must be repaid in two weeks.

Note: Read about more inventive solutions to common problems at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Sweden distributes 'be prepared for war' leaflet to all 4.8m homes
2018-05-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/21/sweden-distributes-be-prepared-...

The Swedish government has begun sending all 4.8m of the country’s households a public information leaflet telling the population, for the first time in more than half a century, what to do in the event of a war. Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes) explains how people can secure basic needs ... what warning signals mean, where to find bomb shelters and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defence”. The 20-page pamphlet, illustrated with pictures of sirens, warplanes and families fleeing their homes, also prepares the population for dangers such as cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news. Similar leaflets were first distributed in neutral Sweden in 1943, at the height of the second world war. Updates were issued regularly to the general public until 1961. “Society is vulnerable, so we need to prepare ourselves as individuals,” said Dan Eliasson of the Swedish civil contingencies agency, which is in charge of the project. “There’s also an information deficit in terms of concrete advice, which we aim to provide.” The publication comes as the debate on security – and the possibility of joining Nato – has intensified in Sweden in the wake of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and recent incursions into Swedish airspace and territorial waters by Russian planes and submarines. The country has begun reversing military spending cuts and last year staged its biggest military exercises in nearly a quarter of a century.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Interior agency blocks group of archaeologists from attending scientific conference
2018-05-03, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/paloma/the-energy-202/2018/05/0...

The Bureau of Land Management blocked at least 14 of its staff archaeologists and other specialists from attending a major scientific conference this year, at a time when archeological sites have become a flashpoint in the debate over public lands protection. The archeologists and other BLM employees ... were originally scheduled to attend the annual meeting in Washington of the Society for American Archaeology. But officials at BLM’s headquarters in Washington only authorized the attendance of three archaeologists, citing “the potential travel and other costs” of the trips. The archaeologists from BLM were scheduled to give a presentation at a symposium titled “Tough Issues in Land Management Archaeology,” which ultimately had to be cancelled due to the lack of participation of government scientists. Some ... point to the decision as another example of the Trump Interior Department’s effort to restrict researchers’ communications with the public and fellow scientists." This entire incident reeks of scientific interference," said Aaron Weiss, media director at the Center for Western Priorities. Last year, officials at Interior headquarters directed the U.S. Geological Survey to delete a line from a news release discussing the role climate change played in raising Earth’s oceans and removed two top climate experts at Montana's Glacier National Park from a delegation scheduled to show Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg around the park full of shrinking glaciers.

Note: This follows reports that the Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services and Environmental Protection Agency have been "gagged" by the Trump administration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the scientific community.


Big banks saved $3.6B in taxes last quarter under new law
2018-04-20, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/big-banks-saved-36b-taxes-quarter-la...

The nation's six big Wall Street banks posted record, or near record, profits in the first quarter. While higher interest rates allowed banks to earn more from lending in the first quarter, the main boost ... came from the billions of dollars they saved in taxes under the tax law Trump signed in December. Combined, the six banks saved at least $3.59 billion last quarter, according to an Associated Press estimate, using the bank's tax rates going back to 2015. Before the change in tax law, the maximum U.S. corporate income tax rate was 35 percent, not including what companies paid in state income taxes. Banks historically paid some of the highest taxes among the major industries, due to their U.S.-centric business models. Before the Trump tax cuts, these banks paid between 28 to 31 percent of their income each year in corporate taxes. The results released over the past week show how sharply those rates have dropped. JPMorgan Chase said it had a first-quarter tax rate of 18.3 percent, Goldman Sachs paid just 17.2 percent in taxes, and ... Citigroup, had a tax rate of 23.7 percent. This is just one quarter's results. Bank executives at the big six firms have estimated that their full-year tax rates will be something closer to 20 percent to 22 percent. The AP's calculations are roughly in line with what Wall Street analysts predicted. Bank industry analyst Mike Mayo ... estimated that that the big U.S. banks combined would save roughly $19 billion in taxes for the full year.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument is now the world’s latest dark-sky sanctuary
2018-04-19, Salt Lake Tribune (One of Utah's leading newspapers)
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/04/19/utahs-rainbow-bridge-national-monument...

Southern Utah’s Rainbow Bridge National Monument has been selected as an international dark-sky sanctuary, a designation meant to recognize the area for its naturally dark skies and a cultural heritage revered by Native Americans. Encompassing 160 acres, Rainbow Bridge National Monument outside of Page, Ariz., is among the smallest areas managed by the National Park Service and is considered sacred by several regional tribes, including the Navajo, Hopi, Zuni, Utes and Paiutes. The dark-sky designation, made in conjunction with the International Dark-Sky Association, will be marked by a series of public astronomy events. The International Dark-Sky Association launched its dark-sky places program in 2001 to encourage protection of natural dark night skies worldwide through responsible lighting, public awareness and education. The association’s executive director J. Scott Feierabend said the group was pleased to honor Rainbow Bridge. “In the span of this remarkable natural bridge,” Feierabend said in a written statement, “we see symbolically represented the arch of the Milky Way across the night sky, a reminder of the long-held value of both Rainbow Bridge and the natural night sky to native peoples of the area.” The Utah monument joins three other certified dark-sky sanctuaries worldwide, including Cosmic Campground in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest; Aortea-Great Barrier Island in New Zealand; and Gabriela Mistal in Chile.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Court: Employers can’t pay women less because of their salary history
2018-04-09, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2018/04/09/court-employers-cant-p...

A federal appeals court ruled Monday that employers cannot justify paying a woman less than a man doing similar work because of her salary history - a move advocates say will help close the wage gap between the sexes. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit sided with the California math consultant at the center of Rizo v. Fresno County Office of Education, which argued that considering prior compensation when setting a worker’s pay perpetuates gender disparities and defies the spirit of the Equal Pay Act. In the United States, women earn an average of 82 cents for every dollar paid to men. This is a leap from the 1980 figure (60.2 cents for every dollar), but the chasm hasn’t narrowed much over the last 15 years, and it tends to be worse for women of color. Black women earn about 63 percent of what white men make, and the share is 67 percent for Hispanic women. Ariane Hegewisch, a labor economist ... said women, on average, are still paid less than their male counterparts in most industries. Companies that determine a worker’s value based on prior pay, she said, exacerbate the problem.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Facebook Closes Page of Hamas-affiliated Palestinian News Agency With 1.3 Million Followers
2018-03-25, Haaretz (One of Israel's leading newspapers)
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-facebook-closes-page-of-hamas-af...

Facebook closed down the official handle of Palestinian news agency Safa over the weekend. The move came as part of a new company policy to block Facebook pages that promote and publish contents that are defined as inciteful. A Palestinian activist who has been following the affair closely said that the move to close Palestinian Facebook pages started several weeks ago after Hamas operative Ahmed Jarrar was killed near Jenin. Jarrar, who was one of the main strategists behind the drive-by West Bank shooting attack that claimed the life of an Israeli father-of-three, was hailed as a Palestinian hero on social media, and images of him that circulated online had become emblematic of the Palestinian resistance movement against Israel. According to the activist, since the beginning of 2018 alone some 500 Facebook pages of Palestinian activists, journalists and bloggers were closed by the company. The activist also said that pages of news companies had also been blocked, including one of a news company affiliated with Islamic Jihad and another linked to the Palestinian National Front, with Safa being the latest. Other activists have noted that Facebook pages affiliated with Fatah, which recently posted images of Yasser Arafat holding a Kalashnikov, were taken offline by the company. Safa has been operating for a decade out of its offices in Gaza, and is associated with Hamas.

Note: How interesting that no Western media reported this major move by facebook. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable sources.


UK sets new wind power record as turbines deliver 14 gigawatts for first time – 37 per cent of nation's electricity
2018-03-17, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/wind-power-record-electricity...

Wind power in the UK set a new record today by generating 14 gigawatts for the first time – nearly 37 per cent of the the country’s electricity. The National Grid control room confirmed that 13.9 gigawatts was the highest ever metered wind output. At 10am on Saturday Wind generated 13.9GW, or 36.9 per cent of the UK’s electricity, increasing to 14GW by 11am. The previous record was 13.6GW in January this year. By contrast gas generated only 8.5GW (23 per cent), nuclear 6.5GW (17.3 per cent), coal just 4.7GW (12.5 per cent) and both solar and biomass 1.5GW (4.1 per cent). Hydro came last with 0.3GW or 0.9 per cent. Wind farms produced a record 15 per cent of Britain’s electricity in 2017, up from 10 per cent in 2016. Dr Iain Staffell of Imperial College said: “The dramatic increase comes from both higher wind speeds and a jump in installed capacity. Several large offshore farms came online and onshore wind had a record year for deployment.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Switzerland has a stunningly high rate of gun ownership — here's why it doesn't have mass shootings
2018-02-27, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/switzerland-high-rates-gun-o...

Switzerland hasn't had a mass shooting since 2001. The country has about 2 million privately owned guns in a nation of 8.3 million people. In 2016, the country had 47 homicides with firearms. The country's overall murder rate is near zero. But the Swiss have some specific rules and regulations for gun use. Unlike the US, Switzerland has mandatory military service for men. All men between the ages of 18 and 34 deemed "fit for service" are given a pistol or a rifle and trained. After they've finished their service, the men can typically buy and keep their service weapons, but they have to get a permit for them. In 2000, more than 25% of Swiss gun owners said they kept their weapon for military or police duty, while less than 5% of Americans said the same. In addition to the militia's arms, the country has about 2 million privately owned guns. Swiss authorities decide on a local level whether to give people gun permits. They also keep a log of everyone who owns a gun in their region. But cantonal police don't take their duty dolling out gun licenses lightly. They might consult a psychiatrist or talk with authorities in other cantons where a prospective gun buyer has lived before to vet the person. Some lawmakers in US states ... are considering a similar model. People who've been convicted of a crime or have an alcohol or drug addiction aren't allowed to buy guns in Switzerland. The law also states that anyone who "expresses a violent or dangerous attitude" won't be permitted to own a gun.

Note: It was reported in 2016 that 2,000 guns were sold to US buyers who failed FBI background checks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


'Sloppy and careless': courts call out Trump blitzkrieg on environmental rules
2018-02-20, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/feb/20/donald-trump-epa-environm...

In its first year in office, the Trump administration introduced a solitary new environmental rule aimed at protecting the public from pollution. It was aimed [at] dentists. About 5 tons of mercury, a dangerous toxin ... are washed away from dental offices down drains each year. In Trump’s first day in the White House, the administration told the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw an Obama-era plan that would require dentists to prevent this mercury from getting into waterways. But in June, the rule was unexpectedly enacted. This apparent change of heart followed legal action filed by green groups, part of a cascade of courtroom standoffs. In July, a federal court ruled that the EPA couldn’t suspend rules designed to curb methane emissions from new oil and gas wells. This was followed by a hasty retreat in August when the EPA agreed to not delay new standards to reduce smog-causing air pollutants, the day after 15 states and environment groups sued. Then, in December, a federal court told the EPA it couldn’t delay a new standard for dangerous levels of lead in paint and dust. Many of these legal problems have stemmed from the sheer pace of the rollbacks – required public comment periods have been set aside in some cases, any rationale for repeal or delay has been missing in others. Opponents of the administration also believe there is a determination to expunge every vestige of Obama’s environmental legacy, regardless of merit.

Note: Hundreds of people have left or been forced out of the Environmental Protection Agency since the current administration took office. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


This Computer Uses Light—Not Electricity—To Train AI Algorithms
2018-02-20, Wired
https://www.wired.com/story/this-computer-uses-lightnot-electricityto-train-a...

William Andregg ushers me into the cluttered workshop of his startup Fathom Computing. Inside [a bulky black box is] a prototype computer that processes data using light, not electricity, and it’s learning to recognize handwritten digits. In other experiments the device learned to generate sentences in text. Andregg claims this is the first time such complex machine-learning software has been trained using circuits that pulse with laser light, not electricity. The company is working to shrink its [prototype], which covers a few square feet of workbench, to fit into a standard cloud server. Fathom hopes the technology will become one of the shovels of the artificial-intelligence gold rush. Tech companies, particularly large cloud providers like Amazon and Microsoft, spend heavily on computer chips to power machine-learning algorithms. Fathom’s founders are betting this hunger for more powerful machine learning will outstrip the capabilities of purely electronic computers. “Optics has fundamental advantages over electronics,” says William Andregg. You’re already reaping the benefits of using light instead of electricity to work with data. Telecommunications companies move our web pages and selfies over long distances by shooting lasers down optical fiber. Optical computers aren’t likely to power your laptop or smartphone any time soon. Fathom’s prototype is still too bulky, for one thing. But the technology does look to be a decent match for the main work that chips perform in AI projects based on artificial neural networks.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Climate Change Just Got a Little Less Terrible
2018-02-09, Bloomberg
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-09/climate-change-just-got-a-...

There are some 20,000 research papers listed on Google Scholar, a search engine for academics, that mention the worst-case scenario for climate change. Basically, it’s the most cataclysmic estimate of global warming. This scenario is important to scientists. According to a provocative new analysis from the University of British Columbia, it’s also wrong. This is good news. The researchers contend that current goals of reducing coal, oil and gas consumption may be closer than we think. The basic issue has to do with coal. Quite simply, the more we burn, the faster we destroy the atmosphere. The darkest scenario assumes much more coal burning will take place in this century than is likely to happen, according to the study’s authors. For example, the most extreme worst-case storyline assumes that by 2100 coal would grow to 94 percent of the world energy supply. In 2015, that figure was about 28 percent. The new work, published this week in Environmental Research Letters, shows just how much all that phantom coal may be distorting our picture of what the future may look like. It casts “doubt on whether this outlook is still valid,” the researchers write. The amount of greenhouse gases emitted as a result of using energy - called the carbon intensity of energy - has been slipping for decades. The drop in carbon intensity is likely to continue. [The new study] suggest that climate scenarios should be adjusted to capture this “passive decarbonization.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.


Flynn kept FBI interview concealed from White House, Trump
2018-01-24, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/flynn-kept-fbi-interview-concea...

A year ago today, President Donald Trump’s newly sworn–in national security adviser, Michael Flynn, met privately in his West Wing office with FBI investigators interested in his communications with Russia's ambassador, without a lawyer or the knowledge of the president and other top White House officials. Flynn's FBI interview on Jan. 24, 2017, set in motion an extraordinary sequence of events. Flynn was fired as national security adviser after 24 days on the job, the acting attorney general was fired 10 days after the president took office, the FBI director was allegedly pressured by the president to let go of an investigation into Flynn, and then eventually fired himself. The attorney general recused himself from a federal investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and possible collusion with the sitting president's campaign, and a special counsel was appointed. The developments ensnared the president in an obstruction of justice inquiry. By the end of 2017, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team had spoken with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; Mike Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency; former FBI Director James Comey; and numerous members of Trump’s campaign and White House inner circle. Flynn pleaded guilty last month to lying to the FBI. For Trump opponents, his war with the FBI is an effort to undermine the Russia investigation. For Trump and his allies, he’s battling a conspiracy within the top ranks of the Justice Department to undermine his presidency.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


GOP lawmakers demand that 'alarming' memo on FISA abuses be made public
2018-01-19, MSN/Fox News
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/gop-lawmakers-demand-that-alarming-me...

A four-page memo circulating in Congress that reveals alleged United States government surveillance abuses is being described by lawmakers as “shocking.” The lawmakers said they could not yet discuss the contents of the memo they reviewed on Thursday after it was released to members by the House Intelligence Committee. But they say the memo should be immediately made public. “It is so alarming the American people have to see this,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said. “It's troubling,” North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows said. “Part of me wishes that I didn't read it because I don’t want to believe that those kinds of things could be happening in this country that I call home and love so much.” The House Intelligence Committee on Thursday approved a motion by New York Rep. Pete King to release the memo on abuses of FISA, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to all House members. The memo details the Intelligence Committee’s oversight work for the FBI and Justice, including the controversy over unmasking and FISA surveillance. The process for releasing it to the public involves a committee vote. If approved, it could be released as long as there are no objections from the White House within five days. On Thursday, the Senate voted 65-34 to reauthorize a FISA provision that allows U.S. spy agencies to conduct surveillance on foreign targets abroad for six years.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Civilian deaths tripled in U.S.-led campaign against ISIS in 2017, watchdog alleges
2018-01-18, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/civilian-deaths-triple...

U.S. and allied strikes against the Islamic State may have killed as many as 6,000 civilians in 2017. Airwars, which investigates allegations of civilian casualties by using social media and other information sources, said that between 3,923 and 6,102 noncombatants were “likely killed” in air and artillery strikes by the United States and its partners in 2017. The estimate for Iraq and Syria was more than triple that of the year before. While the Airwars data includes strikes by the United States and partner nations including Britain and France, most of the military activity has been conducted by American forces. The group’s estimate is vastly higher than the figure put forward by U.S. Central Command, which conducts its own investigations of selected U.S. strikes. According to its most recent public report, Centcom has determined that at least 817 civilians have been killed since the air campaign began in 2014.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Honduran opposition angry at US backing for election decision
2017-12-19, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/19/americas/honduras-elections-us-intl/index.html

Opposition parties in Honduras have attacked the failure of the US to denounce the controversial declaration of President Juan Orlando Hernández as winner of a widely disputed election. International observers with the Organization of American States say the vote was so discredited that it was impossible to declare a valid result. But the US State Department noted that an election court had ratified the result of the November 26 election. Honduras' Supreme Electoral Tribunal said Hernández won the election with 42.9% of the votes, edging his main challenger, Salvador Nasralla, who was declared second with 41.24%. The opposition accuses Hernandez of stuffing the court with supporters who helped him change the constitution to allow him to seek a second term. Hundreds of angry opposition supporters protested in the streets of the capital Tegucigalpa Monday following the announcement of the court's decision. The US has a large military base in Honduras, which has led to accusations that both the current and previous US administrations are turning a blind eye to political violence and corruption in the country. The Organization of American States raised a string of concerns about the election, [and] referred to "deliberate human intrusions in the computer system, intentional elimination of digital traces," and "pouches of votes open or lacking votes." The administration of Hernández has also been dogged by allegations of corruption and drug trafficking.

Note: Honduras was one of only eight countries which backed Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel. In 2017, leaked court documents raised concerns that the 2016 murder of an Honduran activist was "an extrajudicial killing planned by military intelligence specialists linked to the country’s US–trained special forces". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why incoming asteroids shouldn't keep you up at night
2017-12-11, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2017/1211/Why-incoming-asteroids-shouldn-t-...

Every once in awhile, as we Earthlings strive to explore the cosmos, we’re reminded that bits of the cosmos occasionally visit Earth, too. One such reminder came in the form of a blazing green fireball streaking across the predawn New Jersey sky earlier this month. Police dashcam footage ... shows a meteor plunging into the Earth's atmosphere and exploding in a brilliant flash. On Nov. 9 ... an asteroid designated 2017 VL2 came within 75,000 miles of Earth. Despite news reports that the asteroid ... carried enough energy to obliterate New York City, the asteroid – the 48th known one to pass within the moon's orbit this year so far – would have actually burned up in the atmosphere, causing little, if any, damage. “The most important message to get across is that asteroid impacts are extremely unlikely,” Paul Chodas, manager for the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. In 1998, Congress mandated that NASA find 90 percent of asteroids more than 1 kilometer wide. NASA met this goal in 2011, but in the meantime, Congress expanded its mission to include include 90 percent of asteroids 450 feet or larger. Scientists say they have detected about a third of these so far. The bigger the asteroid, the lower the chance of impact: The odds of an asteroid 1 kilometer wide hitting Earth in any given year are 1 in about 500,000, and even an object 450 feet wide has just a 1-in-30,000 chance of impact.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


The U.S. health care industry could learn a lot from India's doctors
2017-12-08, Popular Science
https://www.popsci.com/us-health-care-industry-generates-ton-waste-it-should-...

The medical industry produces plenty of waste ... in addition to using loads of energy. The health care sector accounts for 10 percent of carbon pollution in the United States. “Unfortunately, the way we practice medicine today has a negative impact on our environment and, in turn, human health,” [said NYU Langone Health professor Cassandra Thiel]. She and her colleagues decided to examine the problem of health industry emissions to see if they could find greener approaches. They studied cataract surgeries performed in a health care center in India, the Avravind Eye Care System, which is seen as a model for its low cost and excellent results. Because the United States and other developed nations rely largely on single-use materials in surgery, “we wanted to examine whether a different approach, where surgical supplies are mostly reused, could make a bigger impact on reducing emissions,” she said. Their paper appears in the Journal of Cataract and Refractive Surgery. “India currently performs over seven million cataract surgeries a year,” Thiel said. “If all were done with the U.K.’s process, they would emit nearly one million metric tons of greenhouse gases. If all were conducted with Aravind’s process, they would emit about 40,000 metric tons of greenhouse gasses. This difference is equivalent to removing over 230,000 passenger vehicles from the road.”.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


Can anything stop bitcoin? Price above $8,000
2017-11-10, CNN News
http://money.cnn.com/2017/11/20/investing/bitcoin-prices/index.html

Forget about boring stocks. Bitcoin is where it's at these days for investors. The virtual currency is now trading at a record high above $8,200. If this keeps up, bitcoin could be trading at $10,000 before the end of the year. The price of one bitcoin has surged more than 735% this year alone and has skyrocketed nearly 40,000% in the past five years. Some investors are likely flocking to bitcoin as a speculative bet. But there's also a legitimate case to be made that bitcoin, ethereum, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies are the future of money and that more and more people will conduct actual transactions using these currencies. To that end, Square - the popular mobile payment service run by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey - recently announced a trial that will let some users of its Cash app purchase bitcoin. "We're always listening to our customers and we've found that they are interested in using the Cash app to buy bitcoin," said a spokesperson for Square. "We believe cryptocurrency can greatly impact the ability of individuals to participate in the global financial system," the Square spokesperson added. And CME Group, owner of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, said earlier this month it plans to soon list bitcoin futures contracts. Futures let investors buy and sell an asset at a specified price at a later date, They're popular bets for currencies, metals and agricultural commodities. In other words, CME Group is now treating bitcoin as a legitimate financial asset.

Note: If you invested $100 in Bitcoin five years ago, it would now be worth about $5 million. Even since this article was written a week ago, Bitcoin's price has surged more than 10%. The fact that the media is hardly reporting this suggests it may have a ways to climb and that digital currencies might even dominate other currencies some day.


Pressure mounts for Vegas police to explain response time
2017-10-12, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press
http://www.latimes.com/nation/sns-bc-us--las-vegas-shooting-20171011-story.html

Pressure mounted Wednesday for Las Vegas police to explain how quickly they reacted to what would become the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history after two hotel employees reported a gunman spraying a hallway with bullets six minutes before he opened fire on a crowd at a musical performance. On Monday, Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo revised the chronology of the shooting and said the gunman, Stephen Paddock, had shot a hotel security guard through the door of his suite and strafed a hallway of the Mandalay Bay hotel and casino with 200 rounds six minutes before he unleashed a barrage of bullets into the crowd. That account differed dramatically from the one police gave last week when they said Paddock ended his hail of fire on the crowd in order to shoot through his door and wound the unarmed guard, Jesus Campos. The parent company of the hotel has raised concerns that the revised timeline presented by police may be inaccurate. "We cannot be certain about the most recent timeline," said Debra DeShong, a spokeswoman for MGM Resorts International. "We believe what is currently being expressed may not be accurate." Undersheriff Kevin McMahill earlier defended the hotel and said the encounter between Paddock and the security guard and maintenance man disrupted the gunman's plans, but he would not comment on the revised timeline.

Note: Was this timeline discrepancy caused by poor communication, police department corruption, or something more sinister? Explore powerful evidence that Paddock (and other mass shooters) may have been a Manchurian Candidate programmed to do his deed.


Wind power is now cheaper than nuclear – the energy revolution is happening
2017-09-26, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/sep/26/offshore-wind-power-ene...

In March I went to see Henrik Poulsen, the boss of Dong Energy, in Copenhagen. Dong stands for Danish oil and natural gas. It was, like Shell and BP, involved in fossil fuel exploration and production. But in less than a decade it has become an 85% offshore wind company, and is divesting its coal, oil and gas interests. By 2023, Dong Energy will be very close to zero carbon. That is a pretty staggering transformation in a very short space of time. Talking to Poulsen made me realise that we were on the cusp of a quiet revolution. From being the most expensive form of renewable energy, offshore wind was fast becoming the cheapest form of large-scale, low-carbon generation bar none. As Poulsen said: “When you go 10 years into the future and you look back, I think we will look at these years, 2016, 2017, 2018, as the inflection point. I think we’ll look back and say wow ... Something happened for wind and solar energy during those years that completely changed the dynamic.” But he also said that “without the UK government and what they have done for the past five or six years, we wouldn’t have been where we are today. I’m glad to see that it’s paying off.” There’s a pleasing symmetry in fighting climate change, a truly enormous problem that remains invisible to most people in the UK, with offshore wind, an equivalently huge and equally invisible solution.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


You don't usually hear this word at a rally
2017-09-23, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/23/opinions/you-dont-hear-this-at-a-rally-costello...

All you need is love. Love is all you need. I'm singing that old Beatles song in my head and trying to wrap my mind around a beautiful love-fueled relationship between members of Black Lives Matter and the most passionate Trump supporters. That word - love - came up in a conversation with Hawk Newsome, who represents Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. "At some point, we're going to have to talk to the other side," he told me. And realize, he added, sometimes the situation calls for "words, for love, for compassion, as opposed to words of anger." He realized that smack in the middle of hundreds of pro-Trumpers at the Mother of All Rallies event ... in Washington, DC. As Newsome and his fellow activists waded through the mostly white crowd, ready to do battle, something totally radical happened. A Trump supporter, speaking from a makeshift stage, invited him to speak. "We're going to give you two minutes of our platform to put your message out," the Trump supporter told Newsome. "Whether they disagree or agree with your message is irrelevant. It's the fact you have a right to have the message." "This was a first-time occurrence," [Newsome said]. "It was hostile before we were invited on that stage." But, when he took the stage and started shouting his beliefs and found that some in the crowd actually listened, that word popped into his head - love. It's a small thing, which shines the light on what we already know - love and compassion go a long way. We just have to listen to that song in our heads.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Harvard withdraws invitation to Chelsea Manning to be a visiting fellow amid backlash
2017-09-15, USA Today
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/09/15/harvard-withdraws-i...

Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier who spent seven years in prison for leaking classified documents, will not be distinguished visiting fellow at Harvard after growing backlash prompted the school to rescind the invitation. The school withdrew Manning's invite two days after announcing she would be one of roughly ten visiting fellows this fall. Manning's designation as a visiting fellow led to Mike Morell, former deputy director and acting director of the CIA, to resign his post as a senior fellow at Harvard University, CBS reported. CIA Director Mike Pompeo also canceled a speaking event Thursday at a Harvard forum in protest of what he called the school's decision to place Manning in a "position of honor." Manning was convicted of leaking more than 700,000 classified documents, including battlefield reports on Iraq and Afghanistan and State Department cables, while working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. She said the leaks were intended to expose wrongdoing. Manning was arrested in May 2010 and given a 35-year sentence, which was commuted in the final days of the Obama administration. Manning was known as Pvt. Bradley Manning at the time of her arrest, but announced she was transgender during her incarceration. Elmendorf said Manning will still spend a day at the Kennedy School and speak in the Forum, though she will not be designated a visiting fellow.

Note: Read about Manning's wartime whistleblowing in this CNN story. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in intelligence agencies and in the corporate world.


A Funeral of 2 Friends: C.I.A. Deaths Rise in Secret Afghan War
2017-09-06, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/world/asia/cia-afghanistan-war.html

This summer, operatives with the Central Intelligence Agency gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to bury two of their own. Brian Ray Hoke and Nathaniel Patrick Delemarre, elite gunslingers who worked for the C.I.A.’s paramilitary force, were laid to rest after a firefight with Islamic State militants. Their deaths this past October were never acknowledged by the C.I.A., beyond two memorial stars chiseled in a marble wall at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va. Today there are at least 18 stars on that wall representing the number of C.I.A. personnel killed in Afghanistan - a tally that has not been previously reported, and one that rivals the number of C.I.A. operatives killed in the wars in Vietnam and Laos nearly a half century ago. The deaths are a reflection of the heavy price the agency has paid in a secret, nearly 16-year-old war, where thousands of C.I.A. operatives have served since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The deaths of Mr. Hoke, 42, and Mr. Delemarre, 47, show how the C.I.A. continues to move from traditional espionage to the front lines, and underscore the pressure the agency faces now that President Trump has pledged to keep the United States in Afghanistan with no end in sight.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Attorney general says Justice Dept. has tripled the number of leak probes
2017-08-04, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/attorney-general-says-...

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Friday that the Justice Department has more than tripled the number of leak investigations compared with the number that were ongoing at the end of the last administration. Sessions said he was devoting more resources to stamping out unauthorized disclosures, directing Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher A. Wray to actively monitor every investigation, instructing the department’s national security division and U.S. attorneys to prioritize such cases, and creating a new counterintelligence unit in the FBI to manage the work. Sessions also said he was reviewing the Justice Department’s policy on issuing subpoenas to reporters. Rosenstein refused to rule out the possibility that journalists would be prosecuted. It has long been Justice Department practice in leak probes to try to avoid investigating journalists directly to find their sources. Prosecutors in the Obama era brought nine leak cases, more than during all previous administrations combined, and in the process called a reporter a criminal “co-conspirator” and secretly went after journalists’ phone records in a bid to identify reporters’ sources. Danielle Brian, executive director at the Project on Government Oversight, said leak investigations might inappropriately target well-intentioned whistleblowers. “Whistleblowers are the nation’s first line of defense against fraud, waste, abuse, and illegality within the federal government,” Brian said in a statement.

Note: For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the manipulation of mass media.


Jordanian parliament moves to end 'marry the rapist' clause
2017-08-01, Christian Science Monitor/Associated Press
https://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2017/0801/Jordanian-parliament-mo...

The lower house of Jordan's parliament on Tuesday scrapped a provision in the kingdom's penal code that allowed a rapist to escape punishment if he married his victim. Cheers and applause erupted from a packed spectators' gallery as legislators voted for repeal, following an emotional debate in which some of the lawmakers jumped up and yelled at each other. The vote was hailed as a major step forward for women in the conservative kingdom. Many areas of Jordan remain socially conservative, with entrenched notions of "family honor." This includes the belief that having a rape victim in the family is shameful, and that such "shame" can be expunged through marriage. In Tuesday's debate, some lawmakers had argued that an amended version of Article 308 was needed to protect rape victims against social stigma by giving them the marriage option. In the end, lawmakers voted in line with the recommendations of the government and a royal committee on legal reforms. The decision must still be approved by parliament's appointed upper house, or Senate, and by King Abdullah II. After the expected final approval, Jordan would join Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt which have canceled their "marry the rapist" clauses over the years. The international rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Lebanon's parliament is also considering repealing such a provision. The clause remains on the books in several other countries in the Middle East and Latin America, as well as in the Philippines and Tajikistan, HRW said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Departing Ethics Chief: U.S. Is ‘Close to a Laughingstock’
2017-07-17, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/us/politics/walter-shaub-ethics.html

Walter M. Shaub Jr., who is resigning as the federal government’s top ethics watchdog on Tuesday, said the Trump administration had flouted or directly challenged long-accepted norms in a way that threatened to undermine the United States’ ethical standards. “It’s hard for the United States to pursue international anticorruption and ethics initiatives when we’re not even keeping our own side of the street clean. It affects our credibility,” Mr. Shaub said. “I think we are pretty close to a laughingstock at this point.” Mr. Shaub called for nearly a dozen legal changes to strengthen the federal ethics system: changes that, in many cases, he had not considered necessary before Mr. Trump’s election. Mr. Shaub recommended giving the ethics office limited power to subpoena records, as well as authority to negotiate prohibitions on presidential conflicts of interest; mandating that presidential candidates release tax returns; and revising financial disclosure rules. Hui Chen, who served until recently as an ethics expert in the Justice Department’s Fraud Section, said Mr. Shaub’s proposals would give the office greater independence and power to police actions by top federal officials. Mr. Shaub, who is taking a job at a nonprofit group called the Campaign Legal Center, said he had never wanted the role of challenging the president. “I would not have picked this fight,” said Mr. Shaub. “But I have never been one to shy away from bullies.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


As space junk soars, science turns to nature for ideas
2017-07-03, Christian Science Monitor
https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2017/0703/As-space-junk-soars-science-turns...

It was satellites that launched the space age, and it’s satellites that could bring it all crashing down. If not for the nearly three dozen atomic clocks providing reliably precise timestamps to anyone with an antenna, financial markets and cell service would quickly fall apart. It doesn’t take much to reduce these finely tuned machines to ... wrecks. With life expectancies rarely exceeding a decade, [satellites] are surprisingly disposable. And as new arrivals and old relics crowd the useful, near-Earth orbits, governments and researchers seek ways to restore space’s once infinite promise. “Everybody recognizes that this is a problem, and that the problem is getting worse,” says Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) robotics researcher Aaron Parness. Now, a collaboration between Dr. Parness’s JPL group and a team of Stanford engineers suggests this man-made problem might have a nature-inspired solution: gecko-like pads sticky enough to grab objects in the harsh vacuum of space. The Department of Defense catalogs tens of thousands of artificial objects around Earth, but fragments too small to track likely number in the millions. Any one of these hyper-speed projectiles could cause impact damage. The tipping point at which satellite shards destroy other satellites faster than the atmosphere can swallow them up has already passed. Retrieving such shards is nearly impossible, leaving only one practical solution. “Get rid of the big stuff. Get rid of the source,” [NASA astrophysicist Donald] Kessler urges.

Note: The article above includes detailed charts of the accumulation of space debris surrounding the planet. In 2016, CNN reported that NASA had set up a "Planetary Defense Coordination Office" to defend the Earth from space rubble.


'Full Measure': Quitting Congress
2017-06-18, ABC News (Washington DC affiliate)
http://wjla.com/news/nation-world/full-measure-quitting-congress

Just a couple of months ago, we profiled Congressman Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of the powerful House Oversight Committee which was poised to dig deep on wide-ranging investigations into government mischief, waste, fraud and abuse. A few weeks later, Chaffetz abruptly resigned from Congress. We asked the "Oversight Man" what changed his mind. "The reality is, sadly, I don't see much difference between the Trump administration and the Obama administration," [Chaffetz said]. "I thought ... these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon. "We have everything from the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which is really one of the critical things. There was the investigation into the IRS. And one that was more than seven years old is Fast and Furious. We have been in court trying to pry those documents out of the Department of Justice and still to this day, they will not give us those documents. And at the State Department, nothing. Stone-cold silence."

Note: Watch this very important interview which shows why neither Obama nor Trump are able to get to the bottom of what is really going on in the US government.


As Standing Rock Camps Cleared Out, TigerSwan Expanded Surveillance to Array of Progressive Causes
2017-06-12, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2017/06/21/as-standing-rock-camps-cleared-out-tigers...

Leaked documents and public records reveal a troubling fusion of private security, public law enforcement, and corporate money in the fight over the Dakota Access Pipeline. By the time law enforcement officers began evicting residents of the ... resistance camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation on February 22, the brutal North Dakota winter had already driven away most of the pipeline opponents. It would have been a natural time for the private security company in charge of monitoring the pipeline to head home. But internal communications between TigerSwan and its client, pipeline parent company Energy Transfer Partners, show that the security firm instead reached for ways to stay in business. Indeed, TigerSwan appeared to be looking for new causes, too. The ... firm’s sweeping surveillance of anti-Dakota Access protesters had already spanned five months and expanded into Iowa, South Dakota, and Illinois. TigerSwan became particularly interested in Chicago. [Leaked] documents dated between February 19 and February 21 describe TigerSwan’s efforts to monitor an anti-Trump protest organized by the local chapter of the Answer Coalition, an anti-war, anti-racism group. Answer Coalition’s ... John Beacham, who organized the protest TigerSwan described, said that [the NoDAPL movement] was not the event’s primary focus. “They’re trying to make connections where they aren’t. It’s almost like they’re trying to cast conspiracy theories across the entire progressive movement,” he told The Intercept.

Note: The above article is part of an in-depth series, and includes many original source documents. Standing Rock activists were also targeted for investigation by the FBI’s joint terrorism taskforce. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Mr. Trump Goes After the Inspectors
2017-06-12, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/12/opinion/mr-trump-goes-after-the-inspectors...

Michael Horowitz, chairman of the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, was at a hockey game when he began getting calls from other inspectors general in federal agencies. The inspectors ... were furious. Trump aides had let them know they might be replaced; for the first time ever, a president might fire them en masse. The administration later backed down. But it has continued to undermine the inspectors’ role by failing to hire for open positions and planning to slash the offices’ budgets. Every major federal agency and program has an inspector general ... whose staff investigates cases of wasteful spending, criminal activity, employee misconduct and plain bad management. These are watchdogs with real teeth. Today nearly one-quarter of inspector general offices have either an acting director or no director at all, including the offices at the C.I.A., the National Security Agency, the Department of Defense and the Social Security Administration. Acting directors can be reluctant to make extensive changes ... particularly if they hope to be nominated for a permanent appointment. The inspectors’ offices are deeply affected by the current federal hiring freeze and would be further harmed by the administration’s proposed budget cuts. The budget takes unexplained specific aim at the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, created in part to monitor the $700 billion taxpayer bailout for big banks.

Note: A New York Times article from 2015 states that, "at least 20 investigations across the government that have been slowed, stymied or sometimes closed because of a long-simmering dispute between the Obama administration and its own watchdogs." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


As Colombia's FARC disarms, rebels enlisted to fight deforestation
2017-06-09, Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-deforestation-peace-idUSKBN19102V

Muddy rivers snake through rolling forested hills stretching to the horizon in Colombia's southern province of Caqueta that for decades were rebel lairs and an epicentre of the civil war. A peace deal signed last year between the government and the rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) ended half a century of conflict. The accord has seen about 7,000 FARC fighters leave their strongholds and gather in 26 demobilization zones where so far rebels have surrendered about a third of their weapons to the United Nations. But now a new battle is on: to preserve Colombia's forests that are under threat from farmers seeking grazing land and criminal gangs cutting down trees for illegal gold mining. Colombia - in partnership with Norway - is focusing efforts to halt forest loss with a scheme that offers former fighters training and jobs as forest guardians. Norway is donating about $3.5 million over two years to the pilot project it hopes will stem deforestation by offering paid jobs to ex-FARC fighters and communities to safeguard forests. About 1,100 ex-FARC fighters ... will be trained in how to track and report illegal logging, along with sustainable farming methods and eco-tourism projects - a way of helping them integrate back into civilian society. Many former fighters have spent most of their lives fighting in the jungle and have few other skills and little education. By providing skills training and jobs, rebels are less likely to pick up a weapon again and join other criminal groups.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


World's biggest floating solar power plant in China can power 15,000 homes
2017-06-02, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.in/worlds-biggest-floating-solar-power-plant-china-can-...

China has activated the world's biggest floating solar power plant, which is situated in the city of Huainan, in the central Anhui province. According to Sungrow Power Supply, the firm that built the facility, the new plant can generate 40 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power as many as 15,000 homes. The new solar farm, which was connected to Huainan's power grid in May, is constructed on an area that was used for rigorous coal mining for years. Gradual sinking of the area and heavy rain thereafter created a lake, where Sungrow now have installed floating solar panels, ranging in depth from four to 10 metres. China is currently considered to be the world's largest solar energy producer with a capacity of 77.42 gigawatts by the end of 2016. According to reports, solar power accounts for only one percent of China's energy output. However, this could soon change as the country has shifted its attention towards clean energy. Currently, renewables represent only 11 percent of China's energy use, but that number could go up to 20 percent by 2030. China also unveiled the world's biggest solar farm in a far-off region of the Tibetan plateau, in western Qinghai province earlier this year. The facility, named Longyangxia Dam Solar Park, covers nearly 27 square kilometres, with an ability to generate energy to power 200,000 homes.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Federal Court Revives Wikimedia’s Challenge to N.S.A. Surveillance
2017-05-23, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/23/us/politics/nsa-surveillance-warrantless-w...

A federal appeals court on Tuesday revived a high-profile challenge to the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance of internet communications. The ruling ... increases the chances that the Supreme Court may someday scrutinize whether the N.S.A.’s so-called upstream system for internet surveillance complies with Fourth Amendment privacy rights. The ruling reversed a Federal District Court judge’s decision to throw out the case. The district judge had ruled that the plaintiffs - including the Wikimedia Foundation - lacked standing to sue because they could not prove that their messages had been intercepted. Because of how the internet works, surveillance of communications crossing network switches is different from traditional circuit-based phone wiretapping. While the government can target a specific phone call without touching anyone else’s communications, it cannot simply intercept a surveillance target’s email. Instead ... to find such emails it is necessary first to systematically copy data packets crossing a network switch and sift them in search of components from any messages involving a target. Documents provided by [Edward] Snowden and declassified by the government have shown that this system works through equipment installed at the facilities of companies, like AT&T, that [connect] the American internet to the rest of the world. Privacy advocates contend that the initial copying and searching of all those data packets ... violates Fourth Amendment protections against government search and seizure.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


Wild dolphins' immune systems are failing because of ocean pollution
2017-05-04, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/wild-dolphins-immune-systems-are-failing-because-oce...

Wild dolphins are struggling with high levels of mercury and industrial pollution in the oceans off the coasts of Florida and South Carolina. The pollution is putting their immune system on constant alert, which makes it less able to fight off bacteria, fungus, viruses and parasites in the water, according to a study in the journal PLOS ONE. The industrial pollution was strongest in the oceans near Charleston, South Carolina in the US. Organic compounds released into the water accumulate in microorganisms – that are eaten by fish, which are in turn eaten by dolphins. The toxins become more concentrated in each step of the food chain. Large amounts of mercury were found in dolphins that live in the Indian River Lagoon. Previous research has shown that the Indian River Lagoon dolphins developed a fungal skin disease because of their suppressed immune systems and new viruses. Some of these are also potentially infectious to humans. By comparison, the dolphins kept in the Georgia Aquarium had fewer diseases and their immune systems were under a lot less stress. This is because the environment at the aquarium is more tightly controlled for water quality. Keeping dolphins in captivity comes with its own impact on the overall health of the mammals. Dolphins are highly intelligent and have complex social structures that can't be maintained in small tanks. As a result, dolphins in captivity live shorter lives than those in the wild.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on dolphins and whales from reliable major media sources.


Scientists Observe Epigenetic Memories Being Passed Down For 14 Generations In Roundworms
2017-04-21, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.com/scientists-observe-epigenetic-memories-being-passed-do...

The DNA in our cells, which contains the genetic instructions that make us human, is passed on from parent to child along an unending line of generations. However, as recent experiments in mice have demonstrated, there is more to transgenerational inheritance than that. “Learned” experiences, which do not alter the underlying genetic material, can be passed on from one generation to the next - in mice, fruit flies, and possibly even humans. A new study ... has shown that such “epigenetic” memories can be passed down for 14 generations. This is the longest maintenance of transgenerational environmental memory observed in any animal to date. The researchers inserted a gene coding for fluorescent protein in [a species of] worms that, when activated, made them glow brightly under ultraviolet light. If the worms were kept at 20 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit), the array of transgenes was less active ... but when they were exposed to a warmer temperature of 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit), the activity of the transgenes was significantly increased. When these worms were moved back to the cooler temperature, their transgenes remained active - a sign that they were retaining the memory of their exposure to warmth. This high activity level was passed on for seven subsequent generations. Keeping worms at 25 degrees for five generations led to the transgene activity being maintained for at least 14 generations.

Note: Read more about the emerging science of epigenetics, which clarifies how environmental factors and lifestyle choices influence our genetic makeup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


The Bernie Sanders Show is interactive TV talk for the era of Facebook activism
2017-04-11, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/apr/11/the-bernie-sanders-tv-talk-in...

There have been four episodes of The Bernie Sanders Show so far, with the most popular seeing Sanders and his guest, Bill Nye, seated on stylish red armchairs. Sanders has decided to bypass traditional media and broadcast exclusively on Facebook. And it is attracting ... a huge audience. The first episode of the show featured the Rev William Barber, a protestant minister and activist who is a national board member of the NAACP. The conversation ... focussed on grassroots mobilizing, and has been viewed more than 950,000 times. Sanders himself is the brains behind much of the output. “Our goal – and this is all coming from the senator – is to find new ways to move outside the bubble of DC,” [Sanders’ deputy communications director] Miller-Lewis said. The scope of Sanders’ Facebook audience became clear after he used the platform to give a response to Trump’s state of the union speech in February. The video has 8.3m views, and ... 80,000 people watched it live. “We were essentially reaching as many people as we could if he went on cable news after the address,” Miller-Lewis said. “But instead he was able to give a 15-minute speech about whatever he wanted. He didn’t have to deal with the questions that they were going to ask or the things the anchors on CNN thought were important.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and mass media.


Why Deep Breathing May Keep Us Calm
2017-04-05, New York Times
https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/04/05/well/move/what-chill-mice-can-teach-us-...

The mind and body regulate breathing and vice versa at the cellular level. More than 25 years ago, researchers ... discovered a small bundle of about 3,000 interlinked neurons inside the brainstems of animals, including people, that seem to control most aspects of breathing. They dubbed these neurons the breathing pacemaker. Recently, a group of scientists ... began using sophisticated new genetics techniques to study individual neurons in the pacemaker. They eventually identified about 65 different types of neurons ... with a unique responsibility for regulating some aspect of breathing. For the newest study... researchers carefully disabled [a] type of breathing-related neuron in mice. Afterward, the animals at first seemed unchanged. But when the mice were placed in unfamiliar cages, which normally would incite jittery exploring and lots of nervous sniffing - a form of rapid breathing - the animals instead sat serenely grooming themselves. “They were, for mice, remarkably chill,” says Dr. Mark Krasnow, a professor of biochemistry at Stanford who oversaw the research. It turned out that the particular neurons in question showed direct biological links to a portion of the brain that is known to be involved in arousal. This area sends [directs] us to wake up, be alert and, sometimes, become anxious or frantic. In the mellow mice, this area of the brain remained quiet. The implication of this work ... is that taking deep breaths is calming because it does not activate the neurons that communicate with the brain’s arousal center.

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Europe becomes 'hub' for child sexual abuse content
2017-04-03, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39456093

Europe is becoming the global hub for the hosting of child sexual abuse images and videos, suggests a report. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) found that 60% of worldwide abuse material was now in Europe - an increase of 19%. The Netherlands topped the list of European nations hosting the illegal content, said the IWF. Improved reporting and policing by net firms in North America are believed to have driven the shift. The IWF is the UK body that acts to find and remove abuse content from UK networks. In 2015, about 57% of the web pages containing abuse content could be found in North America. In 2016, this had dropped to 37% with the majority now in Europe. About 34,212 web pages were found to be displaying abuse content in Europe - which also includes Russia and Turkey. Arda Gerkens, a Dutch MP who helps to oversee the nation's anti-abuse hotline, said it too had seen an "overall" rise in the number of reports to ISPs about material both in 2016 and 2015. A spokeswoman for the UK's National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said ... "We must never forget that there is a victim behind every child sexual abuse image. Every time these horrific pictures are viewed a child is re-abused. Anyone who wilfully seeks out this material is complicit in fuelling this appalling industry."

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Lawmakers Call On FBI to Help With Missing Minority Girls in Washington, DC
2017-03-24, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abc7.com/news/lawmakers-call-on-fbi-to-help-with-missing-minority-girl...

Black members of Congress are calling for the Justice Department to help police investigate a large number of missing children in Washington, D.C.. The District of Columbia logged 501 cases of missing juveniles, many of them black or Latino, in the first three months of this year, according to the Metropolitan Police Department, the city's police force. Twenty-two were unsolved as of March 22, police said. [A letter] sent by Congressional Black Caucus chairman Cedric Richmond, D-La., and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, who represents the District in Congress ... called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James Comey to "devote the resources necessary to determine whether these developments are an anomaly or whether they are indicative of an underlying trend that must be addressed." D.C. police officials said there has been no increase in the numbers of missing persons in their jurisdiction. "We've just been posting them on social media more often," said Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Rachel Reid. According to local police data, the number of missing child cases in the District dropped from 2,433 in 2015 to 2,242 in 2016. Derrica Wilson, co-founder of the Black and Missing Foundation, said that despite the assurances from police, it was alarming for so many children to go missing. Wilson said she is concerned about whether human trafficking is a factor, citing the case of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd, who has been missing since she vanished from a city homeless shelter in 2014.


In Beijing, Two Wheels Are Only a Smartphone Away
2017-03-19, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/19/world/asia/beijing-bike-sharing.html

Beijing was once a city of bikes, the capital of a country known as the Bicycle Kingdom for the millions of two-wheelers that dominated urban transport in a state-planned economy where cars were reserved for official business and the politically powerful. Decades of remarkable economic growth, beginning in the 1990s, led to a huge influx of cars in cities like Beijing. As the economy roared, autos pushed bikes off the roads, creating heavy pollution and miserable traffic. Now, Beijing may be returning to its roots. Thanks to about two dozen technology start-ups, brightly colored shared bikes have flooded Beijing since last year, dotting a normally drab cityscape with flashes of bumblebee yellow, kingfisher blue and tangerine. Commuters pick up the bikes and then ride and drop them off anywhere they like, locking the back wheel, with no need to find a stand or retether them. Costing as little as 7 cents a half-hour and designed to take people the last leg from public transport to their places of work or entertainment, the bikes have the potential to transform urban living and even shape people’s decisions about where to live and work. Those are vital issues in this sprawl of about 20 million people, many of whom spend hours a day commuting. “Having a bike like this might allow me to choose, say, to live a bit further out, or take another job in a place that isn’t as easy to get to,” said Ms. Cao, [an] employee at [an] advertising agency.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Facebook’s fake news tag is here. Who is charged with flagging hoaxes?
2017-03-06, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/Technology/2017/0306/Facebook-s-fake-news-tag-is-her...

Facebook unveiled its highly anticipated “disputed news” tag Friday, allowing some users to flag stories that appear to contain false information, alerting readers and potentially making them less likely to click through to the content. In December, the company announced it would unveil a fact-checking feature that allows users to dispute material they believe is false. The system relies on users who qualify as fact-checkers after signing onto a list of principles codified by the journalism nonprofit Poytner. These users can flag single stories, rather than entire sources, as fraudulent. Links to vetted debunkers, such as Politifact and Snopes, that analyze claims and arrive at conclusions regarding their validity then appear beneath the post. So users can still see and access flagged stories shared by their friends, but they will get a warning before clicking through. According to Gizmodo, two stories flagged as “disputed” by the social media site Friday seemed to follow a pattern: Both made critical statements about the Trump administration and came from sources that had previously admitted to publishing fake stories. It’s unclear how many fake stories the system will be able to identify, or how many others will trust it. The divisive political climate ... likely won’t be fixed simply by placing an asterisk on some coverage. “The problem is that we are too credulous of news that reinforces our predispositions and too critical of sites that contradict them,” Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., told the Monitor.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media corruption news articles from reliable sources.


CDC: Flu Vaccine 48-Percent Effective This Season
2017-02-17, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.news9.com/story/34532695/cdc-flu-vaccine-48-percent-effective-this...

This season’s flu vaccine seems to be working pretty well, weakening the punch of a nasty bug that’s going around, U.S. health officials said Thursday. Preliminary figures suggest the vaccine is 48 percent effective. That’s not bad since the strain that’s making most people sick is one of the worst. Experts consider it a good year when a flu vaccine is 50 to 60 percent effective. The flu vaccine is changed each year based on the best guess at which three or four strains will be the biggest problem for the next season. The current vaccine is a good match, and includes a strain of Type A H3N2 flu virus that is causing most illnesses. That wasn’t the case with the vaccine two years ago when the same bug dominated and caused a very bad flu season. As of Feb. 10, the CDC shipped out 145 million doses of the flu vaccine. Flu shots are recommended for virtually all Americans age 6 months or older. Health officials were worried that fewer kids would get vaccinated this season after they stopped endorsing a popular nasal spray version. Research showed it didn’t work well for another common type of flu. But vaccination rates for kids by November were about the same as the year before.

Note: A National Institute of Health study found in 2007 that flu shots do not protect the elderly. More recent studies have shown that some flu shots actually increase the risk of infection. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.


British charity preventing paedophiles from abusing faces closure after 'funding crisis'
2017-02-15, Sunday Express (One of the UK's most popular newspapers)
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/767881/UK-charity-StopSO-preventing-paedophi...

A British charity offering treatment to paedophiles before they become child molesters could be forced to close next month after being hit by a “funding crisis”. The Specialist Treatment Organisation for the Prevention of Sexual Offending, known as StopSO, is the country’s only nationwide agency offering the treatment option to non-offending paedophiles. StopSO founder Juliet Grayson says her organisation is about child protection – ensuring “the attraction never becomes an action”. She says working with perpetrators to reduce the amount of sexual abuse against children is more effective than “trying to constantly pick up the pieces after the abuse has happened”. Ms Grayson ... said research shows most paedophiles know they are attracted to children by the time they are 20, but don’t act on their urges until they are 30. “That means there is a 10-year window for society to make it safe enough for people to come forward and say, ‘I know I need some help to never act on my desires and I’m asking for that help.’” Between June 2013 and October 2016, StopSO treated 425 offenders and demand is said to be increasing for their services. “If you think about the number of people who haven’t been sexually abused because of that 425 people [who came forward]. It’s possible that today someone isn’t sexually abused because of what StopSO therapists have done,” said Ms Grayson. The organisation could be forced to close its doors in early march if its appeals for donations is unsuccessful.

Note: This organization is an important way to keep people from becoming pedophiles. To learn about and support this worthy cause, see this webpage.


President Trump's Solar Tariffs Are a Big Blow to Renewables
2017-01-23, Fortune
http://fortune.com/2018/01/22/donald-trump-solar-tariffs-blow-renewabales/

President Donald Trump just dealt his biggest blow to the renewable energy industry yet. On Monday, Trump approved duties of as much as 30% on solar equipment made abroad, a move that threatens to handicap a $28 billion industry that relies on parts made abroad for 80% of its supply. The Solar Energy Industries Association has projected 23,000 job losses this year in a sector that employed 260,000. The tariffs are just the latest action Trump has taken that undermine the economics of renewable energy. The administration has already decided to pull the U.S. out of the international Paris climate agreement, rolled back Obama-era regulations on power plant-emissions and passed sweeping tax reforms that constrained financing for solar and wind. The import taxes, however, will prove to be the most targeted strike on the industry yet and may have larger consequences for the energy world. Trump approved four years of tariffs that start at 30% in the first year and gradually drop to 15%. The first 2.5 gigawatts of imported solar cells are exempt for each year, the president said in an emailed statement. China and neighbors including South Korea may opt to challenge the decision at the World Trade Organization - which has rebuffed prior U.S.-imposed tariffs that appeared before it. Lewis Leibowitz, a Washington-based trade lawyer, expects the matter will wind up with the WTO. The Solar Energy Industries Association warned the tariffs will delay or kill billions of dollars of solar investments.

Note: The solar power industry now employs more US workers than coal, oil and natural gas combined. Elites like the Rockefellers have stopped investing in fossil fuels, while utility executives have been waging a "determined campaign" to try to stop Americans from installing rooftop solar panels. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Trump’s Cabinet nominees want to reshape the nation — and the Earth
2016-12-15, San Francisco Chronicle (One of SF's leading newspapers)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/politics/article/Trump-s-Cabinet-nominees-want-to-...

The latest batch of President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees are poised to reshape not only the nation, but also the planet. The man tapped to be America’s chief diplomat is a trusted friend of Russia, the nation’s longtime geopolitical rival. The man tapped to lead the Department of Energy has long pledged to kill it. Russia [awarded him] its Order of Friendship in 2013, one of the highest awards Moscow gives foreigners. The man nominated to shepherd the Labor Department opposes raising the minimum wage. And Trump’s nominees to run the Environmental Protection Agency and the departments of Interior and Energy are dubious about the science behind climate change. Trump tapped these men — most of his nominees are wealthy, white men — because they are top “deal-makers.” And while they may not be creatures of Washington, they are still part of the nation’s elite and a far cry from Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp” of entrenched power-brokers. “It’s a cabinet of tycoons,” said Eleni Kounalakis, a San Francisco business executive who served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary from 2010 to 2013. “He believes business tycoons know what’s best. Like what’s best for Exxon is best for America.”


'CIA created ISIS', says Julian Assange as Wikileaks releases 500k US cables
2016-11-29, Sunday Express (One of the UK's most popular newspapers)
http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/737430/CIA-ISIS-Wikileaks-Carter-Cables-I...

On the sixth anniversary of the first infamous "Cablegate" by WikiLeaks ... it has expanded its Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with 531,525 new diplomatic cables from 1979. In a statement to coincide with the release of the cables, known as "Carter Cables III", Mr Assange explained how events which unfolded in 1979 had begun a series of events that led to the rise of ISIS: "The Iranian revolution, the Saudi Islamic uprising and the Egypt-Israel Camp David Accords led not only to the present regional power dynamic but decisively changed the relationship between oil, militant Islam and the world. "The uprising at Mecca permanently shifted Saudi Arabia towards Wahhabism, leading to the transnational spread of Islamic fundamentalism and the US-Saudi destabilisation of Afghanistan." He said at this point Osama bin Laden left his native Saudi Arabia for Pakistan to support the Afghan Mujahideen. He added: "The invasion of Afghanistan by the USSR would see Saudi Arabia and the CIA push billions of dollars to Mujahideen fighters as part of Operation Cyclone, fomenting the rise of al-Qaeda and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union." The rise of al-Qaeda eventually bore the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, enabling the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and over a decade of war, leaving, at its end, the ideological, financial and geographic basis for ISIS."

Note: Read a well-researched essay from the profound online book Lifting the Veil suggesting the War on Terror is a fraud. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing terrorism news articles from reliable major media sources.


How to deal with worries about stranded assets
2016-11-24, The Economist
https://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21710632-oil-companies-need-hee...

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, addressed the insurance industry on climate change [in 2015]. He dropped a bombshell on the oil industry. His message was twofold. First, if the world seriously intended to limit global warming to 2şC, most of the coal, oil and gas reserves in the ground would be left “stranded”, or unrecoverable. Second, a task force would be set up to prompt companies to disclose how they planned to manage risks and prepare for a 2şC world, similar to the one created to improve risk disclosure by banks after the financial crisis. Mr Carney’s remarks presaged a change in attitude towards oil companies by governments, financial regulators and investors that has become clearer since the Paris climate-change agreement last December. The Securities and Exchange Commission, America’s stockmarket regulator, is investigating whether ExxonMobil, the country’s biggest oil company, values its untapped reserves appropriately in light of the recent halving of oil prices and potential regulatory action on climate change. In October it said it might write down about one-fifth of its reserves. The company has faced related probes by New York’s attorney-general. The industry may come under further pressure. If measures to stop global warming are fully implemented, oil-company revenues could fall by more than $22trn over the next 25 years, more than twice the predicted decline for the gas and coal industries combined.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing climate change news articles from reliable major media sources.


Something to Celebrate: 6 Women Who Won Historic Firsts
2016-11-09, Yes! Magazine
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/something-to-celebrate-6-women-who-wo...

We were preparing to celebrate the historic election of the nation’s first female president. Despite the upset, one loss does not devalue another victory. Across the country, women of various backgrounds ... ran on platforms of equality and progressive reform. And they won. Kate Brown has been serving as Oregon’s governor since her [predecessor] resigned. Yesterday, she was elected by the state to serve the next two years of what would have been the rest of former Gov. John Kitzhaber’s term. Brown ... is the first openly LGBTQ candidate to win a gubernatorial election. Tammy Duckworth [was] elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013, [and will soon serve as] the first female veteran, the first disabled woman, and the first Asian American woman to represent Illinois [as a senator]. In 2010, Kamala Harris made history as the first female, first Black, and first Asian American to be elected attorney general of California. Now, she will be the first Indian American and first biracial female senator. Soon representing Washington’s 7th congressional district, Pramila Jayapal is the first Indian American woman elected to U.S. Congress. Catherine Cortez Masto is both the first Latina and woman to enter the Senate from Nevada. She [previously] served two terms as attorney general, during which time she worked to provide financial aid for students and strengthen laws preventing sex trafficking. [Elected to the Minnesota state legislature], Ilhan Omar is the first Somali American woman to be elected to public office in the United States.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


To deal with climate change we need a new financial system
2016-11-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/nov...

When it comes to global warming, we know that the real problem is not just fossil fuels – it is the logic of endless growth. If we don’t keep the global economy growing by at least 3% per year, it plunges into crisis. This ... makes little sense given the limits of our finite planet. Climate change is the most obvious symptom of this contradiction, but we’re also seeing it in the form of deforestation, desertification and mass extinction. Our economic system is incompatible with life on this planet. Debt is the reason the economy has to grow in the first place. Because debt always comes with interest, it grows exponentially. Without growth, debt piles up and eventually triggers an economic crisis. The global economic system runs on money that is itself debt. Instead of letting commercial banks create money by lending it into existence, we could have the state create the money and then spend it into existence. [In] the 1930s ... a group of economists in Chicago proposed [this] as a way of curbing the reckless lending that led to the Great Depression. The Chicago Plan, as it was called, made headlines again in 2012 when progressive IMF economists put it forward as a strategy for preventing the global financial crisis from recurring. This idea is already beginning to gain traction: in the UK, the campaigning group Positive Money has generated momentum around it. The idea has its enemies, of course. If we shift to a positive money system, big banks will no longer have the power to literally make money out of nothing.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and global warming.


Swirling Scandal Involving Shamanistic Cult Threatens S. Korean President
2016-10-29, NPR
http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/10/29/499864915/swirling-scandal-...

Tens of thousands demonstrated in cities across South Korea on Saturday, demanding President Park Geun-hye step down from office. Revelations [that] an unelected, unappointed confidant was receiving advance copies and altering dozens of confidential policy speeches ... have led to charges that the friend is a secret "puppet master" and the real power behind "the throne." This scandal involves not only tens of millions of dollars and charges of influence-peddling, but of spiritual guides from a "Shamanistic prophet." The old friend of the president's, Choi Soon-sil ... is the daughter of a man the president considered her mentor, Choi Tae-min. He claimed to be a pastor from a tiny pseudo-Christian sect. His "church" is described by Korean media as more of a "Shamanistic cult." The New York Times explains further: "Mr. Choi was the founder of an obscure sect called the Church of Eternal Life. He befriended Ms. Park, 40 years his junior, soon after her mother was assassinated in 1974. Mr. Choi initially approached Ms. Park by telling her that her mother had appeared in his dreams, asking him to help her. He became a mentor to Ms. Park." The public's beliefs about how much control the Choi family enjoyed over the president, and how much they privately benefited as a result, is putting the president's remaining year in office in serious jeopardy. For her part, Park hasn't addressed the matter since her 90-second apology early in the week. But she did call for the en masse resignations of her senior staff late Friday night.

Note: For more, see this New York Times article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why 2,000 guns were sold to prohibited gun buyers who failed FBI checks
2016-09-29, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2016/0929/Why-2-000-guns-were-sold-to-pr...

Thanks to a disagreement between the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF), more than 2,000 guns were purchased in the past 15 years by people the FBI said should not have had them, according to a new report from the Office of Inspector General. This new report, which uncovered a loophole through which some of those deemed unfit to own firearms by the FBI can purchase them, puts a new scrutiny on the current laws, and how they're enforced. The FBI is responsible for running background checks on those purchasing guns. If the agency finds those buyers unfit, the responsibility to retrieve them falls on the ATF. But the two federal agencies disagree on who qualifies as a “fugitive from justice,” a label that prohibits prospective buyers from acquiring firearms, USA Today reports. While the FBI has considered anyone with an outstanding warrant to fall under the category, the ATF argues that prospective gun owners should be allowed to purchase firearms in the state where they have a warrant, but not in other states. The FBI sought to clarify the discrepancy by bringing the issue before the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. There, the agencies received “informal advice.” When the FBI requested a more formal ruling two years later, the counsel failed to render a decision, allowing the issue to persist some six years later. The report called for clarification on the “fugitive of justice” discrepancy to ensure proper enforcement of the law.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


What 80 million unexploded US bombs did to Laos
2016-09-06, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/05/asia/united-states-laos-secret-war/

For two years after the accident, Yei Yang refused to leave his home. "I couldn't farm, I couldn't go to see friends, as they might be afraid of me," Yang tells CNN. "I didn't want to live." Yang was just 22 and burning rubbish near his village in the province of Xieng Khoung in north-eastern Laos, when a bomb blast tore off one of his eyelids, his top lip and an ear, mutilated one of his arms, and left him with severe scarring from the waist up. His wounds were not caused by a modern day conflict, but by the remnants of a war that was waged more than 40 years ago, and is still destroying lives in this small Southeast Asian nation. Some 80 million unexploded bombs are scattered across the country - the deadly legacy of what became known as America's "secret war" in Laos - a CIA-led mission during the Vietnam War. In total, between 1964 and 1973, the US dropped more than two million tons of bombs - one of the heaviest aerial bombardments in history. Most of the munitions dropped were cluster bombs, which splinter before impact, spreading hundreds of smaller bomblets. To this day, less than 1% of the bombs have been removed, according to US-based NGO Legacies of War, which is spearheading the campaign to clear them. More than 20,000 people have been killed or maimed by the unexploded ordnance (UXOs) since the war ended, and currently, 50 people are maimed or killed every year. Around 40% of those are children.

Note: Big banks profited immensely from the cluster bomb trade. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.


Barack Obama 'deliberately snubbed' by Chinese in chaotic arrival at G20
2016-09-03, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/04/barack-obama-deliberately-snubb...

China’s leaders have been accused of delivering a calculated diplomatic snub to Barack Obama after the US president was denied a red-carpet welcome during his chaotic arrival in Hangzhou ahead of the start of the G20. Chinese authorities have rolled out the red carpet for leaders including India’s prime minister Narendra Modi, Russian president Vladimir Putin, South Korean president Park Geun-hye, Brazil’s president Michel Temer and British prime minister Theresa May, who touched down on Sunday morning. But [Obama] was forced to disembark from Air Force One through a little-used exit in the plane’s belly after no rolling staircase was provided when he landed in the eastern Chinese city. When Obama did find his way onto the tarmac, there were heated altercations between US and Chinese officials, with one Chinese official caught on video shouting: “This is our country! This is our airport!” Obama suggested his Chinese hosts might have found the size of the US delegation “a little overwhelming”. “We’ve got a lot of planes, a lot of helicopters, a lot of cars and a lot of guys. If you are a host country, sometimes it may feel a little bit much.” Susan Rice, the US national security adviser, admitted she had been surprised by the handling of the president’s arrival. “They did things that weren’t anticipated,” she told reporters.

Note: If the above is the part of this event that is being reported to the public, what parts of it are being kept secret?


More Coca-Cola Ties Seen Inside U.S. Centers For Disease Control
2016-08-01, Huffington Post
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/more-coca-cola-ties-seen_b_112871...

In June, Dr. Barbara Bowman, a high-ranking official within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unexpectedly departed the agency, two days after information came to light indicating that she had been communicating regularly with - and offering guidance to - a leading Coca-Cola advocate seeking to influence world health authorities on sugar and beverage policy matters. Now, more emails suggest that another veteran CDC official has similarly close ties to the global soft drink giant. Michael Pratt, Senior Advisor for Global Health in the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion at the CDC, has a history of promoting and helping lead research funded by Coca-Cola. Pratt also works closely with the nonprofit corporate interest group set up by Coca-Cola called the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI), emails obtained through Freedom of Information requests show. His work ... includes a position as a professor at Emory University, a private research university in Atlanta that has received millions of dollars from the Coca-Cola Foundation and more than $100 million from famed longtime Coca-Cola leader Robert W. Woodruff. Coca-Cola’s financial support for Emory is so strong that the university states on its website that “it’s unofficially considered poor school spirit to drink other soda brands.” The mission of the CDC is protecting public health. It is problematic for agency officials to collaborate with a corporate interest that has a track record of downplaying the health risks of its products.

Note: For more on the close ties between Coca Cola and the government, read this revealing article. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the food system.


George Pell subject of Victoria Police investigation into multiple allegations of sexual abuse
2016-07-27, MSN/ABC News
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/george-pell-subject-of-victoria-poli...

Police are investigating multiple child abuse allegations levelled directly against Australia's most senior Catholic cleric Cardinal George Pell, the ABC's 7.30 program has revealed. Victoria Police's Taskforce SANO, which investigates complaints coming out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, has been examining the allegations by complainants from Ballarat, Torquay and Melbourne for more than a year. They include allegations about incidents which allegedly happened during Cardinal Pell's time as Archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. A further complaint about George Pell ... relates to the period in the 1990s when George Pell was setting up the Melbourne Response - the Australian Catholic Church's first attempt to seriously address child abuse. It involves two teenage choirboys who asked their parents to leave the choir soon after the alleged abuse had occurred. One of the boys died in tragic circumstances two years ago and the other is working with Taskforce SANO detectives. 7.30 has met that young man and the family of his former friend who died. The royal commission advises that these sorts of allegations are outside its terms of reference, because it only investigates institutional responses to child abuse, and it refers any new complaints of clergy abuse to police. The alleged behaviour raises serious questions about whether George Pell was ever an appropriate person to drive the Church's response to child sexual abuse.

Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this topic in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Election Observers Cut to Conform With Voting Rights Act Ruling
2016-07-17, Newsweek/Reuters
http://www.newsweek.com/election-observers-cut-voting-rights-act-ruling-48116...

Federal election observers can only be sent to five states in this year’s U.S. presidential election, among the smallest deployments since the Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to end racial discrimination at the ballot box. The plan ... reflects changes brought about by the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision to strike down parts of the Act, a signature legislative achievement of the 1960s civil rights movement. Voting rights advocates told Reuters they were concerned that the scaling-back of observers would make it harder to detect and counter efforts to intimidate or hinder voters, especially in southern states with a history of racial discrimination at the ballot box. The Supreme Court ruling undercut ... the Justice Department’s ability to select voting areas it deemed at risk of racial discrimination and deploy observers there. Eleven mostly Southern states had been certified as needing federal observers by the department. Federal observers can still be sent to monitor elections but only when authorized by federal court rulings. Currently, courts have done so in five states: Alabama, Alaska, California, Louisiana, and New York, according to the Justice Department. In recent presidential elections, the Justice Department has sent more than 780 people to watch elections around the country. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Friday the Justice Department's ability to deploy election observers had been "severely curtailed" by the Supreme Court’s decision.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Elections Information Center.


Five cornerstones of a global bioeconomy
2016-07-12, Nature
https://www.nature.com/news/policy-five-cornerstones-of-a-global-bioeconomy-1...

More than 40 nations are proposing to boost their 'bioeconomy' - the part of the economy based in biology and the biosciences. Around US$2 trillion of products in agriculture and forestry, food, bioenergy, biotechnology and green chemistry were exported worldwide in 2014, amounting to 13% of world trade, up from 10% in 2007. These sectors are central to at least half of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), from food security to ensuring energy access and health. But conflicting national priorities make it hard to align bioeconomy policies to meet the SDGs on a global scale. Ecological sustainability is a prime concern in rich and industrializing countries; inclusive rural development and equitable sharing of resources is central in developing countries. Decisions made in one place may be felt elsewhere. A global bioeconomy must rebuild natural capital and improve the quality of life for a growing world population. It should balance managing common goods, such as air, water and soil, with the economic expectations of people. Three types of innovation will be needed: technological (such as systems to reduce emissions), organizational (changes in institutional behaviour) and social (such as job creation).

Note: For an excellent, more recent discussion on the global bioeconomy, see this informative article.


Former Police Chief Has A Plan For 'How To Fix America's Police'
2016-07-10, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2016/07/10/485460453/former-police-chief-has-a-plan-for-ho...

Former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper says in his book To Protect and Serve: How to Fix America's Police that policing is in crisis. He says more emphasis needs to be put on community policing. "Policing is broken. Tragically, it has been broken from the very beginning of the institution. It has evolved as a paramilitary, bureaucratic, organizational arrangement that distances police officers from the communities they've been sworn to protect and serve," [said Stamper]. "We've got to find a way to build trust. And that's not going to happen as a result of some cosmetic public relations approach. The ... problem, I think, is that police officers in the United States believe that they must maintain control from beginning to end of every single contact they make. They're taught that by their culture. In some cases, they're taught that in the police academy. We've also militarized American law enforcement beyond all measure. The drug [war] has contributed dramatically to the militarization of policing. If you're engaged in a war, you have to have an enemy. You also have to have propaganda. You don't fight wars without enemies and propaganda. And so we've taught our cops that they're on the front lines of an occupational force. And I would argue that they lose control when they embrace that attitude.

Note: Watch an inspiring four-minute video of this courageous man. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing police corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Catholic orders take their lead from the pope and divest from fossil fuels
2016-06-15, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jun/16/catholic-orders-take-thei...

Four Australian Catholic organisations have announced they are completely divesting from coal, oil and gas in what they say is the first joint Catholic divestment anywhere in the world. The move comes as prominent Jewish rabbis, Muslim clerics, Anglican bishops and other religious leaders call on the Australian government to protect the Great Barrier Reef, stop approving coalmines and remove subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, in an open letter published by the Guardian. The divestment announcement ... and letter were coordinated by the multi-faith group the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, in partnership with the environmental group 350.org. It comes a year after Pope Francis, in his second encyclical, Laudato Si’, called on all people – not just Catholics – to take “swift and unified global action” to protect the environment and stop global warming. At the time the papal intervention was labelled “explosive” and “the most astonishing and perhaps the most ambitious papal document of the past 100 years”. The multi-faith open letter ... reads: “So far, the election debates have failed to assign due priority to global warming. Neither of the major parties currently plan to wind back coal and gas mining.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Half of U.S. Cancer Deaths Due to Bad Habits, Study Finds
2016-05-19, NBC News
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/cancer/half-u-s-cancer-deaths-due-bad-habits-s...

People are firmly in charge of much of their own risk of cancer. The team at Harvard Medical School calculated that 20 to 40 percent of cancer cases, and half of cancer deaths, could be prevented if people quit smoking, avoided heavy drinking, kept a healthy weight, and got just a half hour a day of moderate exercise. They used data from long-term studies of about 140,000 health professionals who update researchers on their health every two years for the analysis, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Oncology. These figures increased to 40 percent to 70 percent when assessed with regard to the broader U.S. population of whites, which has a much worse lifestyle pattern than our cohorts,” Dr. Mingyang Song and Dr. Edward Giovannucci of Harvard Medical School wrote. "The findings of the current study provide strong support for the argument that a large proportion of cancers are due to environmental factors and can be prevented by lifestyle modification." By "environmental," they mean non-genetic causes. To a scientist, environment includes diet, exercise and other factors. “Cancer is preventable,” Dr. Graham Colditz and Dr. Siobhan Sutcliffe of Washington University School of Medicine ... agreed in a commentary. “In fact, most cancer is preventable - with estimates as high as 80 percent to 90 percent for smoking-related cancers ... and as high as 60 percent for other common, lifestyle-related cancers.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


An All-Volunteer Squad Of Farmers Is Turning Florida Lawns Into Food
2016-05-15, NPR
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/05/15/477036910/an-all-volunteer-squ...

Chris Castro has an obsession - turning the perfectly manicured lawns in his Orlando neighborhood into mini-farms. "The amount of interest in Orlando is incredibly surprising," Castro says. Surprising because he's asking Floridians to hand over a good chunk of their precious yards to volunteers who plant gardens full of produce. His program is called Fleet Farming, and it's starting off small, with 10 of these yard farms. Most of them sit smack in the middle of the front yard. Lawns are a thing here. Urban farms? Not so much. But so far, no neighbors have complained. Castro makes sure every garden is meticulously maintained - including homeowner Gary Henderson's. "I just think that the whole idea of lawns, especially in a place like Florida, is absurd," says Henderson, standing amid rows of tomatoes, sweet lettuce, carrots and arugula growing smack in the middle of his front yard. All of Fleet Farming's volunteers only ride bikes, going from garden to garden to harvest the produce. Because the program is bike-powered, Castro keeps the yard gardens within a mile of the local farmers market, where Fleet Farming sells most of the produce. Henderson offers this advice to anyone thinking about replacing their lawn with a garden: "Give it a try ... and once you get to the point where you realize that you can eat your lawn, I think it makes a whole lot of sense." And so do 300 other residents of central Florida. That's how many people are on Fleet Farming's waiting list, ready to eat their lawns instead of having to mow them.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Fed Policies 'Probably' Increased Inequality, Former Official Says
2016-05-12, US News & World Report
http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-05-12/fed-policies-probably-increase...

The Federal Reserve's monetary policies "probably" fueled wealth inequality in the U.S. during the aftermath of the Great Recession, according to a former regional Fed bank president. Narayana Kocherlakota, who until this year headed the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ... wrote in a candid op-ed Wednesday that "it's not surprising that poorer American families got the impression that the Fed did more to help banks during the financial crisis and associated recession than it did to help them. The wealth of the typical family in the bottom three-quarters of the distribution declined by a lot more than that of the typical family in the top 10th [between 2007 and 2010]," Kocherlakota wrote. "This was partly the result of leverage: The poorer families tended to have more debt for each dollar in assets, so any decline in assets translated into a much larger percentage decrease in net worth." So as housing prices collapsed in the late 2000s, poorer families were left with large pools of debt and significantly diminished assets, while more wealthy families suffered less drastic blows even though they largely had greater exposure to high-value assets. The Fed's policies, then, appeared to more dramatically affect the fortunes of lower-income Americans than the nation's richest households. Kocherlakota thinks the Fed could have done more. Suggesting that the Fed's moves inherently contributed to rising income inequality in the U.S., though, is a surprising stance for a former regional bank president to take.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


Ivy League economist ethnically profiled, interrogated for doing math on American Airlines flight
2016-05-07, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/rampage/wp/2016/05/07/ivy-league-economis...

A 40-year-old man - with dark, curly hair, olive skin and an exotic foreign accent - boarded a plane. The curly-haired man tried to keep to himself, intently ... scribbling on a notepad he’d brought aboard. His seatmate ... looked him over. Something about him didn’t seem right to her. He appeared laser-focused [on] those strange scribblings. Shortly after boarding had finished, she flagged down a flight attendant and handed that crew-member a note. The plane turned around and headed back to the gate. The woman was soon escorted off the plane. [Then] the pilot came by, and approached the ... darkly-complected foreign man. He was now escorted off the plane, too, and taken to meet some sort of agent, though he wasn’t entirely sure of the agent’s affiliation. What do you know about your seatmate? The agent asked the foreign-sounding man. Well, she acted a bit funny, he replied. And then the big reveal: The woman [had seen] her seatmate’s cryptic notes, scrawled in a script she didn’t recognize, [and alerted] the authorities. The curly-haired man was, the agent informed him politely, suspected of terrorism. The curly-haired man laughed. Those scribbles weren’t Arabic, or ... some special secret terrorist code. They were math. Yes, math. A differential equation, to be exact. This good-natured, bespectacled passenger - Guido Menzio - is a young but decorated Ivy League economist. Last year he was awarded the prestigious Carlo Alberto Medal, given to the best Italian economist under 40.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties news articles from reliable major media sources.


San Francisco Rooftop Solar Panels On New Buildings Required As Part Of New Law
2016-04-21, International Business Times
http://www.ibtimes.com/san-francisco-rooftop-solar-panels-new-buildings-requi...

San Francisco passed legislation this week that will require all new buildings under 10 stories tall to be outfitted with solar panels. The California city will become the largest municipality in the U.S. with such a mandate. “By increasing our use of solar power, San Francisco is once again leading the nation in the fight against climate change and the reduction of our reliance on fossil fuels,” Scott Wiener, the city supervisor who introduced the legislation, said. The legislation makes explicit references to combating climate change and expresses concern about the city’s future. Smaller California cities already have similar laws in place. Beginning in 2017, all new San Francisco buildings with 10 or fewer floors must have either solar photovoltaic or solar water panels. The measure builds on a California law that mandates new buildings have at least 15 percent of their roof space exposed to sunshine for solar panel use in the future.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


More high-ranking officers being charged with sex crimes against subordinates
2016-03-19, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/more-high-ranking-offi...

The U.S. military has stepped up investigations of high-ranking officers for sexual assault. The Defense Department ... has revamped its policies to prevent sexual assault and to hold perpetrators accountable. During the federal fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 116 officers of all stripes were court-martialed, discharged or received some sort of punishment after they were criminally investigated for sexual assault. That was more than double the number from three years earlier. Of last year’s cases, eight were against senior officers holding a rank equivalent to colonel or Navy captain or higher. While that figure may seem small, it represented a fourfold increase from 2012. Overall, the vast majority of troops investigated for sexual assault are enlisted personnel, who accounted for 94 percent of all cases last year. Enlisted troops outnumber officers by a ratio of 4.6 to 1. Under the military justice system, senior officers are responsible for deciding whether individuals under their command should be prosecuted. Some lawmakers and advocacy groups are pushing to strip commanders of that power and to give it instead to uniformed prosecutors. The Pentagon has resisted such proposals, saying they would undermine command authority. When senior officers themselves are charged with sexual assault, it “makes it appear as if the fox was guarding the henhouse,” said [Don] Christensen, the president of Protect Our Defenders, which has lobbied Congress to change the law.

Note: A 2015 Associated Press article states that: "the true scope of sex-related violence in the military communities is vastly underreported." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


General Mills to label GMOs on products across the country
2016-03-18, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/03/18/general-mills-to-label-gmos-on...

General Mills said Friday that it will start labeling its products that contain genetically modified ingredients in response to a law going into effect in Vermont later this year. The maker of Cheerios, Yoplait and Betty Crocker joins Campbell Soup as one of the few major consumer product companies to adopt labeling amid a contentious debate in Congress about whether identifying GMOs - genetically modified organisms - should be voluntary. In a blog post, General Mills argued for a national standard for GMO labeling but said that in the meantime, the company will start labeling certain products that contain GMOs. The decision comes as ... food producers prepare to comply with a Vermont law that will require GMOs to be identified starting July 1. General Mills said that it's more cost effective to adopt the practice across the country in order to keep prices from rising for customers. The labels will start hitting grocery stores over the next several weeks and customers can expect thousands of packages to be updated with new language. General Mills also launched a tool that lets customers search for products that contain GMOs, which includes Betty Crocker frosting, Chex cereal and Nature Valley bars. The fight over GMO labeling has been fraught with the question of whether GMOs are safe to consume. Genetically engineered foods, like corn and soybeans, have been part of the U.S. food supply since the 1990s.

Note: Other major companies are also saying they will start labelling GM foods in the US, as reported in this article in the UK's Guardian. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


5 Prisons Improving Life on the Inside
2016-03-14, Yes!
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/life-after-oil/5-prisons-improving-life-on-...

For the roughly 2.2 million people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails, daily life is often violent, degrading, and hopeless. But what if our approach to those behind bars were constructive, rather than destructive? Four-legged companions ... share living quarters with Fulton County Jail inmates as part of the Canine CellMates program in Atlanta. Believing all inmates have a capacity for good is what inspired [Susan Jacobs-Meadows] to found the program at the jail 2 1/2 years ago. More than 100 inmates have participated, and Jacobs-Meadows says it is extremely rare for an inmate to reoffend after completing the program. Since 2009, inmates at Washington’s Stafford Creek Corrections Center ... have planted more than 1.5 million flowers as environmental stewards in the Sustainability in Prisons Project’s Prairie Conservation Nursery Program, [which] also offers the potential for college credit. Solitary confinement at Oregon’s Snake River Correctional Institution used to mean a concrete cell, no bigger than a parking stall. Prisoners spent about 23 hours a day there. [This] often provoked aggressive behavior from prisoners. So guards tried an experiment: Send inmates back to nature or, more accurately, bring nature to them. The Blue Room, implemented in April 2013, immerses inmates in nature for an hour by playing videos of arid deserts, lush forests, and open oceans as they sit in a chair alone, imagining roaming the wide open spaces before them. The room ... has been credited with a reduction in reported incidents of violence.

Note: Read more on these and other creative programs bringing hope and useful skills to prisoners at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Morocco is producing solar power at night
2016-03-11, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2016/03/11/technology/solar-power-electricity-morocco-ou...

Springing up on the edge of the Sahara desert are rows of curved mirrors as far as the eye can see. They're part of what could become the biggest solar power plant in the world. Morocco is investing about $2.6 billion on the construction of the Ouarzazate complex, which forms the heart of a $9 billion strategy to harness one of the country's greatest natural resources - sunshine. When completed in 2017, it will cover an area nine times the size of New York's Central Park and generate enough electricity to power about one million households. Morocco has been developing solar and other sources of renewable power for years. It has just set itself the ambitious target of meeting just over half the nation's electricity needs from renewable power by 2030. Morocco is using solar technology that operates very differently from traditional solar panels, which use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity. The Ouarzazate complex uses large curved "mirrors" that track the sun like flowers and channel radiation to generate steam inside a network of tubes. The steam drives a central turbine that generates electricity, which flows into the national grid for use by Moroccan homes and businesses. Perhaps most impressive is that the complex can continue to operate after the sun sets. Heat from the system can be stored for hours in tanks filled with molten salts. That allows steam to be generated for hours and keep turning the turbine at night.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Snowden: FBI's claim it can't unlock the San Bernardino iPhone is 'bullshit'
2016-03-09, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/09/edward-snowden-fbi-san-bern...

Edward Snowden, the whistleblower whose NSA revelations sparked a debate on mass surveillance, has waded into the arguments over the FBI’s attempt to force Apple to help it unlock the iPhone 5C of one of the San Bernardino shooters. The FBI says that only Apple can deactivate certain passcode protections on the iPhone, which will allow law enforcement to guess the passcode by using brute-force. Talking via video link from Moscow to the Common Cause Blueprint for a Great Democracy conference, Snowden said: “The FBI says Apple has the ‘exclusive technical means’ to unlock the phone. Respectfully, that’s bullshit.” Snowden then went on to tweet his support for an American Civil Liberties Union report saying that the FBI’s claims in the case are fraudulent. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak also spoke out against the FBI on the Conan O’Brien show on Monday, saying: “I side with Apple on this one. [The FBI] picked the lamest case you ever could.” Wozniak added: “Verizon turned over all the phone records and SMS messages. So they want to take this other phone that the two didn’t destroy, which was a work phone. It’s so lame and worthless to expect there’s something on it and to get Apple to expose it.” Apple’s clash with the FBI comes to a head in California this month when the two will meet in federal court to debate whether the smartphone manufacturer should be required to weaken security settings on the iPhone of the shooter.

Note: According to The New York Times, the FBI has been misleading the public about the San Bernadino attacks for months. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and the disappearance of privacy.


CBS Chief: Trump's Success Is 'Damn Good' For the Network
2016-03-01, Fortune
http://fortune.com/2016/03/01/les-moonves-cbs-trump/

It’s still up for debate whether or not the media “created” Donald Trump - or, at least, the GOP presidential frontrunner version of him - but there is no doubt the billionaire reality TV star turned politician has meant big ratings - and income - for networks. Leslie Moonves, the chairman of CBS, admitted as much on Monday. “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” Moonves said at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco. In addition to around-the-clock TV news coverage of Trump and his fellow presidential candidates (but, mainly Trump), major broadcast and cable networks have pulled in record ratings for televised debates throughout this election cycle. Roughly 13.5 million tuned in to CBS for a GOP debate last month, making that one of the most-watched debates so far this year, as nearly 5 million more viewers tuned in to watch Trump battle his GOP rivals than did for a Democratic debate on CBS last November. Thanks to those high ratings, networks have reportedly been able to gouge advertisers for higher ad-rates during this cycle’s debates. Moonves indicated that he is more than happy to have Trump in the White House race if it means more advertising money.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about elections corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


Scalia Took Dozens of Trips Funded by Private Sponsors
2016-02-26, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/27/us/politics/scalia-led-court-in-taking-trip...

Antonin Scalia was the longest-tenured justice on the current Supreme Court. But another quality also set him apart: Among the court’s members, he was the most frequent traveler, to spots around the globe, on trips paid for by private sponsors. Ethical standards prohibit judges from accepting gifts from anyone with a matter currently before the court. But those guidelines presented no barrier to John Poindexter, who invited Justice Scalia to stay at his West Texas ranch. Mr. Poindexter is the owner of J. B. Poindexter & Co., a manufacturing firm based in Houston. One of his companies, the Mic Group, was a defendant in an age discrimination lawsuit filed by a former employee who unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court for a review last year. Mr. Poindexter, according to a former general manager at the ranch, is also a leader in the International Order of St. Hubertus, a worldwide organization of hunters, as, apparently, were several other guests during Justice Scalia’s visit. In 2011, a liberal advocacy group, Common Cause, questioned whether Justice Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas should have disqualified themselves from participating in the landmark Citizens United case on campaign finance because they had attended a political retreat in Palm Springs, Calif., sponsored by the conservative financier Charles G. Koch. Mr. Koch funds groups that could benefit from the ruling.

Note: Read about Antonin Scalia's "organization of hunters" and the other strange secret societies populated by the elite. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Pink Shirt Promise anti-bullying campaign kicks off in Dartmouth
2016-02-17, Global News
http://globalnews.ca/news/2522994/pink-shirt-promise-anti-bullying-campaign-k...

A section of the Mic Mac Mall was transformed into a bright anti-bullying statement Wednesday, as the Pink Shirt Promise anti-bullying campaign officially kicked off. The campaign will go for the next eight days, ending just in time for national Pink Shirt day, which was started in Nova Scotia eight years ago by Travis Price. Wearing pink has become an international symbol for the Anti-Bullying Movement. “It was a simple act of kindness, one act, just stand up for him. Show him that he wasn’t alone,” Price said at the opening for the campaign. The boy he’s referring to is a fellow student who wore a pink shirt to school on the first day of classes. He was teased and bullied for wearing the shirt. After seeing the bullying, Price decided to stand up and take action, encouraging other students to wear pink shirts in support of their fellow student and as a way to stand up to bullies. “We didn’t know at the time that Pink Shirt Day would turn into the movement that it has today. It was simply to try and show this student that he wasn’t alone. Now, this simple act of kindness has grown into something that simply blows my mind, that I can say is now in over 27 countries around the world,” [said Price]. The idea behind Pink Shirt Promise is simple: by making a personal pledge to end bullying and spread positivity, you could change someone’s life. Price says it only takes a few seconds for a bystander to intervene.

Note: Watch a great five-minute video on the origins of this inspiring movement.


Israel boycott ban: Shunning Israeli goods to become criminal offence for public bodies and student unions
2016-02-14, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/israel-boycott-local-councils-...

Local councils, public bodies and even some university student unions are to be banned by law from boycotting “unethical” companies. All publicly funded institutions will lose the freedom to refuse to buy goods and services from companies involved in the arms trade, fossil fuels, tobacco products or Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. Any public bodies that continue to pursue boycotts will face “severe penalties”, ministers said. Underlining the main target of the ban, the formal announcement will be made by the Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock when he visits Israel this week. Israeli companies, along with other firms which have investments in the occupied West Bank, have been among those targeted by unofficial boycotts in the past. In 2014 Leicester City Council passed a policy to boycott goods produced in Israeli settlements in the West Bank while the Scottish Government published a procurement notice to Scottish councils which “strongly discourages trade and investment from illegal settlements”. Mr. Hancock said the current position where local authorities had autonomy to make ethical purchasing decisions was “undermining” Britain’s national security.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


“Black Americans for a Better Future” Super PAC 100% Funded by Rich White Guys
2016-01-28, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2016/01/28/black-americans-for-a-better-future-super...

New FEC filings show that all of the $417,250 in monetary donations to a Super PAC called “Black Americans for a Better Future” comes from conservative white businessmen - including $400,000, or 96 percent of the total, from white billionaire hedge fund manager Robert Mercer. Mercer, co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies on Long Island, is best-known politically for donating $11,000,000 to Keep the Promise I, a Super PAC backing Ted Cruz’s presidential run. BABF appears to exist solely as a vehicle for Washington, D.C., consultant Raynard Jackson, who is African-American. Jackson is quoted on his firm’s website stating that “You have a fundamental right to pursue business interests with the least amount of interference from the government.” Jackson has elsewhere accused Barack Obama of “relentless pandering to homosexuals.” At an event in November 2015 at the National Press Club, which cost BABF $13,252.79 for the venue and catering, Jackson said that “Having well-trained, credible, experienced African-Americans constantly challenging the liberal orthodoxy in the media will create a tectonic shift in the perception of the Republican Party within the Black community.” Other donations to BABF [include] $10,000 from Keller Investment Properties of Utah, whose CEO is the white Scott Keller, a member of Mitt Romney’s donor network, [and] $5,000 from the very white Marc Stanley Goldman.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about elections corruption and the manipulation of public perception.


Former enemies share samba in Colombia's 'Dancing with the Stars'
2016-01-15, Christian Science Monitor/Reuters
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2016/0115/For...

Colombia's version of the hit TV contest "Dancing with the Stars" hopes to show millions of viewers that former battlefield enemies can live side by side. John Pinchao, a policeman held captive in a jungle camp, often in chains, by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) until he escaped in 2007, is now sharing the dance floor with ex-FARC child soldier Ana Pacheco, who joined the rebel group aged 14. The prime-time show comes at a time when the three-year-old peace talks between the Colombian government and the FARC are approaching the goal the two sides have set of signing an accord by March 23. If successful, this would end half a century of war that has killed 220,000 people and displaced 6.5 million, and would lead to some 7,000 FARC fighters handing in their weapons. As the March deadline for signing a peace deal looms, Colombians are considering to what extent they are ready to forgive FARC and accept former combatants back into society. For Pacheco, who left the rebel ranks when she was 16, the TV show is an opportunity to show the human face of former fighters. The producers of the TV show ... hope the unexpected line-up can foster empathy among Colombians with people who suffered during the years of conflict. "We want the show to awaken solidarity. We weren't just looking for great dancers and celebrities, what inspired us was to show the reality that faces Colombia, it's about living together," said Fox Colombia executive producer Oscar Guarin.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Lord Janner 'abused 12 at children's homes'
2016-01-15, BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-35304528

Twelve former residents of children's homes say they were abused by Lord Janner. [Janner], who died before a court could examine claims of child abuse against him, regularly visited homes in Leicester in the 1970s and 1980s. An ex-police officer says he reported suspicions about Lord Janner, a decade before police began a full inquiry. A "trial of the facts", due to take place in April, has now been shelved by prosecutors. However, the BBC has traced and interviewed dozens of men and women who lived at children's homes in Leicestershire in the 70s and 80s. It has also spoken to [several people] involved in investigating the case of Frank Beck, a notorious care home manager who was eventually convicted of child abuse. He was sent to prison in 1991, where he died in 1994. During Beck's trial, he and an alleged victim both sensationally claimed that Lord Janner was a child abuser, and the alleged victim was then interviewed by police. A former detective, Graeme Peene, told the BBC that in the late 1970s he reported Beck, after seeing him rubbing a boy's groin at The Beeches children's home. He was later asked to go back to The Beeches to return another boy who had run away, and was directed to Beck's office, [where] Lord Janner ... was sitting in an armchair "and next to Greville Janner was this young boy". Mr Peene says he considered it "an unusual occurrence" which was "something I felt ought to be reported". His report was sent to divisional headquarters where, he said, nothing was done.

Note: Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team titled "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government. A second suppressed documentary, "Conspiracy of Silence," goes even deeper into this sad subject. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sexual abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Campbell Soup May Become First Major Company to List GMO Ingredients Nationwide
2016-01-08, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/campbell-soup-major-company-list-gmo-ingredients...

The Campbell Soup Company may become the first major U.S. food company to list genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, in its ingredients lists nationwide as it threw its weight behind a national labeling standard. The company announced its support on Thursday for federal regulation of GMO standards, noting it is in favor of federal legislation that would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to regulate which foods can be labeled GMOs. The company's support for federal legislation comes as Vermont prepares to implement the Vermont Genetically Engineered Food Labeling Act, which would require a GMO label on food by July 1, 2016, if the food is "entirely or partially produced with genetic engineering." Campbell posted an example of that label on its website and said it was preparing to expand the GMO labeling nationwide even without federal regulations, but to do so would need guidance from the FDA and USDA. The company estimates the new labels could be implemented in approximately 12 to 18 months after it gets guidance from the federal agencies. There is currently no federal standard for what food would constitute a GMO, unlike a food item that is deemed USDA Organic. The World Health Organization defines a GMO as "foods derived from organisms whose genetic material (DNA) has been modified in a way that does not occur naturally, e.g. through the introduction of a gene from a different organism."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Another sign the era of mass incarceration is slowly coming to an end
2016-01-01, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/01/01/the-era-of-mass-incarc...

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has released new evidence that mass incarceration continues to unwind in the United States. The rate of U.S. adults under some form of criminal justice supervision declined for the seventh straight year, dropping to a level not seen since 1996. The criminal justice supervision rate comprises individuals on probation or parole as well as those incarcerated in local jails or in federal or state prison. A total of 6,851,000 adults were under criminal justice supervision in at the end of 2014, a decline of 52,200 from the year before. Evaluating change in the criminal justice system as whole is essential for determining whether the nation is truly making progress on reducing mass incarceration. Research on the state and federal prison population has documented a decline for over half a decade, but such data can be misleading if the criminal justice system is playing a shell game - transferring prisoners to local jails or moving them onto parole. The new Bureau of Justice System report shows that the correctional system is indeed shrinking across the board rather than simply shifting offenders from one form of supervision to another.

Note: This is great news. But it will take a very long time for the era of mass incarceration to end if the criminal justice supervision rate shrinks by less than one percent per year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prison system corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Kaiser Permanente's New Medical School Will Focus On Teamwork
2015-12-18, NPR
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/12/18/460291216/kaiser-permanen...

Kaiser Permanente ... plans to open its own medical school in Southern California in 2019. The nonprofit, national provider of managed health care says it plans to train students in its own style of integrated diagnosis and treatment - focusing on research, the use of new technologies, and teaching doctors to work as part of a collaborative caregiving team. Their new school will be about more than just primary care. "We need to prepare physicians for the way health care is delivered in the future," says Dr. Edward Ellison, executive medical director for the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Students need to learn not just medicine, he says, but about integrated systems of care and how to work in a much different medical environment. "Our advantage is we can start from scratch," he says. Another advantage is the HMO's deep pockets. "They've got huge resources," says Dr. George Thibault, president of the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation, which focuses on medical education. "This is a grand experiment, but if anybody can do it, Kaiser can."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Where’s Bernie? Media Ignores Sanders Though He’s More Popular Than Trump
2015-12-17, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2015/12/17/wheres-bernie-media-ignores-sanders-thoug...

The headlines about Donald Trump hitting new highs in national polls are tremendously deceptive, as they only measure his support among self-declared Republican primary voters, a small subset of the nation as a whole. For example, in [a] recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Trump was the first choice of 27 percent of the Republican voters who responded. Given the weighted samples in this poll (38 percent identify as Republican or leaning Republican) this translates into Trump capturing the support of about 11 percent of American voters in total. In the same poll, 37 percent of Democratic voters supported Democratic contender Bernie Sanders. Given the weighted samples (43 percent identify as Democrat or leaning Democrat) that translates into roughly 16 percent of all American voters. Additionally, in a recent Quinnipiac poll, Sanders beat Trump in a head-to-head matchup - by an even larger margin than Hillary Clinton did. But in terms of coverage by the mainstream media, Trump is besting Sanders 23 to 1, by some estimates. Some of this can be explained by the fact that Trump is the GOP frontrunner, and Sanders has consistently run second to Clinton. But it’s also partly because of what a spectacle Trump has made of himself - and because the media has consistently treated Sanders as a marginal candidate. Media executives view Trump’s outrageous antics as good for their bottom line. “Go Donald! Keep getting out there!” Les Moonves, the chief executive of CBS, [recently] cheered.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about elections and the manipulation of mass media.


Possible Alzheimer’s drug cut mice aging symptoms
2015-11-12, San Diego Union-Tribune (San Diego's leading newspaper)
http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/nov/12/alzheimer-j147-mice-brains/

A potential anti-Alzheimer’s drug tested in mice unexpectedly reduced general symptoms of aging, according to a study led by Salk Institute researchers. The study examined the effects of the drug, J147, in a strain of mice bred to rapidly age and show signs of senescence. It is the second mouse model to show effectiveness. Besides improved cognition compared to controls, the treated mice exhibited better metabolism, reduced blood leakage from microvessels in the brain, and other improvements. Researchers ... published the study Wednesday in the journal Aging. Abrexa Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego company formed to commercialize J147, has licensed the compound from Salk. The drug is to be tested for Alzheimer's, not for anti-aging properties. Derived from a spice in curry, [J147] was developed ... based on the observation that people in India, where curry is widely consumed, rarely get Alzheimer's. The potential drug has been previously tested in Alzheimer's model mice. It was found to have memory-enhancing effects. The new study, showing effectiveness in another strain of mice, lends further credence to J147's usefulness.

Note: For more on J147 see this article in U.S. News & World Report (particularly the video at the bottom of the page) or do a search on J177. Some are claiming that big Pharma won't study this promising drug as it won't make big enough profits for them.


California missile test: Social media nightmare or exactly what the Navy wanted?
2015-11-10, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/11/09/california-missi...

There’s no longer any doubt that thousands of West Coasters witnessed an unarmed missile streaking across the sky Saturday night. What remains open to interpretation: Why? Why test-fire a missile within sight of the nation’s second-largest city? Did officials underestimate social media’s ability to turn a routine event into front-page fodder? Or was that the plan all along, using the inevitable influence of social media to flex America’s military might for observers in Beijing and Moscow? The answer: It’s complicated. Loren Thompson, a military analyst who used to teach nuclear strategy at Georgetown University, told The Washington Post that “We have entered an era when anybody can reach a large audience using social media and the blogosphere, so the military needs to look closely at the implications of testing close to population centers. Obviously, with something as large as a Trident II missile, whether you launch during the daytime or at night, it will be visible,” he said. “That’s just the nature of it.” Even so, the extra attention might not have mattered to military officials, Thompson said. If you ignore the frenzy on social media, there is a benefit to visibility: The U.S. Navy, Thompson writes in Forbes, views nuclear deterrence as its most important mission, and the Trident is the backbone of that deterrence. “You could have demonstrated same point to the Russians or the Chinese without getting people really concerned in L.A.,” Thompson told The Post.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government corruption and media manipulation.


Where Homeless Meets Crazy
2015-11-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/07/opinion/where-homeless-meets-crazy.html?_r=0

In every corner of the world, there are people who are flagrantly ill, people who mutter to invisible others and box at the air. In India ... Madhu’s relatives dealt with her illness by abandoning her at a healing shrine. She wandered the country [until] the outreach team from an organization called the Banyan found her ... on the street. Since the Banyan was started in 1993, it has rescued over 1,500 women from the street. The group’s members wash, feed and medicate the women, and then they teach them to sew, cook and do other tasks. Families are more likely to take the women back if they come with medication and domestic skills. Over half the women have since been reunited with their kin. When I visited the Banyan, I was struck by how happy and grateful the women were. The atmosphere seemed so different from the palpable anger and fear in the shelters that catered to women with serious mental illness that I knew from working in Chicago. The challenge for the Banyan is to enable women to be useful to families who may not accept them back if they cannot work. In our country, it’s different. Because of our underfunded and fragmented mental health system, it is commonplace for people with psychosis to become periodically homeless. They often end up living in a street culture that teaches them that they become crazy only if they are weak. They distrust help, and they have learned that they should never admit to being ill. To reach the people who need our help we need to understand what it means to be crazy in their world.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Something Not Rotten in Denmark
2015-10-19, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/19/opinion/something-not-rotten-in-denmark.htm...

The Danes get a lot of things right, and in so doing refute just about everything U.S. conservatives say about economics. And we can also learn a lot from the things Denmark has gotten wrong. Denmark provides universal health care; college education is free, and students receive a stipend; day care is heavily subsidized. To pay for these programs, Denmark collects a lot of taxes. The top income tax rate is 60.3 percent; there’s also a 25 percent national sales tax. Overall, Denmark’s tax take is almost half of national income, compared with 25 percent in the United States. Adults in their prime working years are substantially more likely to be employed in Denmark than they are in America. Labor productivity in Denmark is roughly the same as it is here, although G.D.P. per capita is lower, mainly because the Danes take a lot more vacation. Denmark [also] ranks at or near the top on international comparisons of “life satisfaction.” It’s hard to imagine a better refutation of anti-tax, anti-government economic doctrine. But its economy has taken a hit in recent years, because its recovery from the global financial crisis has been slow. But Denmark’s monetary and fiscal errors don’t say anything about the sustainability of a strong welfare state.

Note: Denmark is also on track to use renewable power sources for all of its energy needs by 2050.


Filmmakers’ Pitch: See Our Movie, Save the World
2015-09-29, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/30/movies/racing-extinction-and-this-changes-e...

Two movies on similar missions are opening within weeks of each other this season, “Racing Extinction” and “This Changes Everything,” both exploring the devastation humanity has wrought on the natural world. Yet rather than focusing only on what is dying and lost, both films offer messages of hope, profiling people who have helped stop ... the pillaging of wildlife and land. Naomi Klein, who adapted “This Changes Everything,” based on her book of the same name, said a film salesman ... told her that he would market the movie only if there was no reference to climate change in the marketing. If you beat people over the head with shame, guilt and despair ... people turn away and try to forget about it. Cognizant of such aversion, the teams behind each film ... developed similar plans: target the people most passionate about what’s at stake, and bank on them to draw in others. “We want to make sure we approach the core audience directly,” said Richard Abramowitz, whose company, Abramorama, is distributing both films. “Racing Extinction” got a head start with its message this summer when the director and his collaborators projected images of endangered animals onto the Empire State Building. “This Changes Everything”... focuses on grass-roots movements that thwarted oil companies and communities that embraced renewable energy. It’s all part of the effort to get people to see the movie and then take an action.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Liquid water exists on Mars, boosting hopes for life there, NASA says
2015-09-29, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2015/09/28/us/mars-nasa-announcement/

Potentially life-giving water still flows across the ancient surface of Mars from time to time, NASA scientists said Monday in revealing a potential breakthrough in both the search for life beyond Earth and human hopes to one day travel there. While the discovery doesn't by itself offer evidence of life on Mars, either past or present, it does boost hopes that the harsh landscape still offers some refuge for microbes to cling to existence. "The existence of liquid water, even if it is super salty briny water, gives the possibility that if there's life on Mars, that we have a way to describe how it might survive," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. NASA researchers using an imager aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter confirmed the watery flows by looking at light waves returned from seasonal dark streaks on the surface, long suspected to be associated with liquid water. It remains unclear where the water comes from. Alfred McEwen, who heads up NASA's HiRISE high-resolution camera aboard the Mars orbiter, said he's fairly confident life will one day be found on Mars. "It's very likely, I think, that there's life somewhere in the crust of Mars, microbes," he said. Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, said the discovery announced Monday puts NASA in a perfect position to look for that life.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


NASA engineer repairs bikes – and young lives
2015-09-15, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2015/0917/NAS...

Trent Griffin was concerned last summer when he saw a child riding a bike that was missing a front tire in his neighborhood in Huntsville, Ala. He bought supplies to make the fix and offered the boy a newly repaired bike. Soon, Mr. Griffin was visited by many young bike riders. Griffin went to thrift stores to get materials to repair the bikes. He even gave bikes away to children in need. When a child received a freshly fixed bike, he or she also received a life lesson. His sister, Nicole Griffin Fields, told ABC News, "He makes them sign contracts that require them to have good behavior, to maintain their good grades, and to obey their parents." Is a little life counseling from a NASA engineer a good price to pay for having a freshly repaired bike? At least 1,000 people and a NASA astronaut said it was. Griffin's friends and family nominated him for the "Above and Beyond" award from "Good Morning America." His prize was a field full of 50 relatives and 1,000 grateful participants at the US Space and Rocket station near the Marshall Space Flight Center where Griffin works. Griffin also met an astronaut at the International Space Station, Scott Kelly, via a NASA video chat. Commander Kelly told Griffin he would receive 50 bicycles from Schwinn and Mongoose that he can give to more children in his neighborhood. Kelly finished the video chat with a low-gravity flip. America has a rich tradition of active community involvement, and people like Griffin share that with children by example.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Sweden Boosts Renewables to Become First Fossil-Fuel-Free Nation
2015-09-15, Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-09-16/sweden-boosts-renewables-to...

Sweden said it’s targeting to become one of the first nations in the world to be free of fossil fuels and that it will invest 4.5 billion kronor ($546 million) in climate-protection measures next year as a step toward that goal. The government will increase support for solar, wind, energy storage, smart grids and clean transport. Investment in photovoltaics will rise nearly eightfold. Sweden got about two-thirds of its electricity generation capacity from clean and low-carbon sources last year. It plans to significantly reduce its emissions by 2020. It didn’t set a target date for the nation becoming fossil free, though Stockholm may reach that goal by 2050. Sweden will also spend 50 million kronor annually on electricity storage research, 10 million kronor on smart grids and 1 billion kronor to renovate residential buildings and make them more energy efficient. The Scandinavian country will also increase its funding of climate-related projects in developing countries, raising its budget to 500 million kronor. The government hopes it will send an “important signal” before the United Nations conference in Paris in December.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


A Canadian manifesto for the planet and one another
2015-09-15, The Globe and Mail (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/a-canadian-manifesto-for-the-plan...

We could live in a country powered entirely by renewable energy, woven together by accessible public transit. Caring for one another and caring for the planet could be the economy’s fastest growing sectors. Many more people could have higher-wage jobs with fewer work hours. Canada is not this place today – but it can be. Climate scientists have told us this is the decade to take decisive action to prevent catastrophic global warming. That means small steps will no longer suffice. So we need to leap. There is no longer an excuse for building new infrastructure projects that lock us into increased extraction decades into the future. That applies equally to oil and gas pipelines; fracking in New Brunswick, Quebec and British Columbia; increased tanker traffic off our coasts; and to Canadian-owned mining projects the world over. Since this leap is beginning late, we need to invest in our decaying public infrastructure so it can withstand increasingly frequent extreme weather events. Moving to a far more localized and ecologically based agricultural system would reduce reliance on fossil fuels, capture carbon in the soil and absorb sudden shocks in the global supply – as well as produce healthier and more affordable food for everyone. “Austerity” – which has systematically attacked low-carbon sectors such as education and health care – is a fossilized form of thinking that has become a threat. One thing is clear: Public scarcity in times of unprecedented private wealth is a manufactured crisis, designed to extinguish our dreams.

Note: The esteemed authors of this essay are Naomi Klein, David Suzuki, Leonard Cohen, Donald Sutherland and Ellen Page. For more, read the complete essay, and see concise summaries of deeply revealing global warming news articles from reliable major media sources.


FBI spied on Burning Man music festival, documents reveal
2015-09-06, Houston Chronicle (A leading newspaper of Houston, Texas)
http://www.chron.com/national/article/FBI-spied-on-Burning-Man-music-festival...

Newly-released documents show that FBI spied on the Burning Man festival in 2010. It remains unclear if FBI agents actually attended the event. Burning Man [takes place] in an isolated Nevada desert, where up to 70,000 people gather annually for music, art, drugs and large fires. The revelations of federal surveillance come from heavily-redacted internal FBI memos handed to ... reporter Inkoo Kang, who filed a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act for any FBI documents "mentioning the phrase 'Burning Man." In late August, a private security firm contacted the FBI's Las Vegas division for help conducting a "threat assessment" ahead of the event, to which the FBI replied that they had no worrying intelligence about Burning Man. Days later, the Las Vegas division messaged the FBI's Special Events Management Unit requesting guidance on planning an approach to the festival. A subsequent paragraph, sandwiched between two entirely-redacted paragraphs, said, "scheduled overtime for special agents assigned to work special events will be approved under certain very limited and relatively rare circumstances," raising question over whether or not FBI special agents were deployed at Burning Man. A final memo listed two "accomplishments" from the operation; one was redacted, the other was "local agency liaison established/utilized." The FBI concluded that the greatest threat present at Burning Man was "use of illegal drugs by the participants."

Note: The CIA once used art as a weapon in its propaganda campaigns. Is the investigation of a large art festival merely another erosion of privacy, or is the FBI up to something comparably strange?


Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia Home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history
2015-08-27, Huffington Post
http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/welcome-to-beautiful-parkersburg/

In the early 1980s, DuPont, which ran a sprawling chemical plant called Washington Works in nearby Parkersburg, approached [Jim Tennants'] family about buying some acreage for a landfill. DuPont assured them it would only dispose of non-toxic material. They agreed to sell. In the mid-1990s ... the family began finding dead deer. The cattle started going blind, sprouting tumors, vomiting blood. Family members were being hospitalized for breathing problems and chemical burns. Convinced that the landfill was to blame, the Tennants tried unsuccessfully to get help from environmental agencies, [and eventually sued] DuPont [with the help of attorney] Rob Bilott. In August 2000, Bilott came across a single paper that mentioned ... C8, [which] is found in thousands of household products. The judge in the Tennant case eventually forced DuPont to turn over thousands of documents on C8. And that’s when the picture finally snapped into focus. The documents revealed that DuPont had used the landfill near the Tennants’ farm as part of an increasingly elaborate cover-up. After discovering C8 in [the nearby town] Lubeck’s water supply in the early 1980s, DuPont had dredged up 14 million pounds of C8-laced sludge from the unlined pits near the town wells and dumped it into the Dry Run landfill. But the C8 levels in Lubeck’s water kept climbing. To hide this ... DuPont devised a testing method that grossly underestimated C8 levels.

Note: DuPont wove a complex web of lies over a period of decades to cover up C-8's massive harms. The link above tells this story as a comprehensive multimedia presentation. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Jared Fogle's plea deal puts Subway back in spotlight
2015-08-19, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/08/18/jared-fogel-subway-plea/31951175/

The Subway sandwich chain is working vigorously to emphasize that it has cut its ties to its longtime ad pitchman, Jared Fogle, whose plea deal for having sex with underage girls and possession of child pornography was announced on Wednesday. Yet the case, just as it did in July when federal agents raided Fogle's home, put Subway back in a spotlight. Fogle, of Zionsville, Ind., appeared in court in Indianapolis Wednesday on charges of having had sex with minors and distributing and receiving child pornography. Under the deal, Fogle agrees to to a prison sentence of not less than five years. When media reports about impending deal surfaced Tuesday night, Subway sent out a tweet: "We have already ended our relationship with Jared and have no further comment." One crisis management public relations expert, Jonathan Bernstein, credits Subway for yanking their sponsorship of Fogle in July when search warrants were served by federal agents. But, he adds the sandwich chain would have been wiser to have parted ways when trouble first started surfacing last spring, when the head of Fogle's charitable arm, the Jared Foundation, was arrested in the case. "They probably didn't do it soon enough," says Bernstein, president of Bernstein Crisis Management. Before parting company with Subway, Fogle served as the face of the chain for many years to give it a healthy fast-food orientation.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sex abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.


Sarah Chayes battles a worldwide scourge: deep-rooted corruption
2015-08-13, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2015/0813/Sarah-Chayes-bat...

Sarah Chayes ... was a correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and National Public Radio and was assigned in 2001 to cover post-Taliban Afghanistan. But she soon decided to put aside her reporting career [to] become a key player in the attempt to bring about a sea change in US foreign policy by showing how what some see as an innocuous crime – corruption – is actually a serious threat to international security. She has seen it at work not only in Afghanistan but in other places with violent insurgencies, such as Syria, Nigeria, and Iraq. In Afghanistan, the government “was really a criminal organization masquerading as a government,” she says. “Its objective was amassing personal wealth, and it was doing this very well.” The United States had aligned itself ... with a corrupt system by working through corrupt proxies and providing them with funds and other assets, she says. This made the US no longer a neutral player in the eyes of those being harmed by corrupt practices. In 2007 Chayes wrote a book, “The Punishment of Virtue: Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban,” that showed how the corruption and “warlordism” in Afghanistan was supported by the US. It was read by academics and by those at high levels of the US military. In his final testimony to the US Senate, [former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael] Mullen pointed to systemic corruption as the No. 1 challenge undermining US efforts in the region: Chayes’s issue had finally entered the conversation of high-level US decisionmakers.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Facial Recognition Software Moves From Overseas Wars to Local Police
2015-08-12, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/13/us/facial-recognition-software-moves-from-o...

Facial recognition software, which American military and intelligence agencies used for years in Iraq and Afghanistan to identify potential terrorists, is being eagerly adopted by dozens of police departments around the country. It is being used with few guidelines and with little oversight or public disclosure. Facial recognition ... is among an array of technologies, including StingRay tracking devices and surveillance aircraft with specialized cameras, that were used in overseas wars but have found their way into local law enforcement. The F.B.I. is pushing ahead with its $1 billion Next Generation Identification program, in which the agency will gather data like fingerprints, iris scans and photographs, as well as information collected through facial recognition software. The F.B.I. system will eventually be made accessible to more than 18,000 local, state, federal and international law enforcement agencies. But people who are not criminal suspects are included in the database, and the error rate for the software is as high as 20 percent — meaning the authorities could misidentify millions of people. Among the cities that use facial recognition technology are New York and Chicago, which has linked it to 25,000 surveillance cameras. In many ways, though, San Diego County is at the forefront. Here, beat cops, detectives and even school police officers have been using hand-held devices to create a vast database of tens of thousands of photos of people — usually without the person’s consent.

Note: For more along these lines, read about the increasing militarization of police in the U.S. after 9/11, or see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of privacy rights.


Chapwood Index Proves Rising Taxes Main Culprit for Cost of Living Increase of 9.9% Across the United States
2015-08-07, Yahoo! News
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/chapwood-index-proves-rising-taxes-100000218.html

The cost of living increased an average of 9.9 percent across the top 50 major cities in the U.S. between July 1, 2014, and June 30, 2015, according to the Chapwood Index. The Index ... is a more precise measure of the cost of living than the government's Consumer Price Index (CPI), which showed a cost-of-living increase of less than 1 percent over the same time span. The 9.9 percent increase exposes why middle-class Americans - salaried workers who are given routine pay raises and retirees who depend on annual increases in their corporate pensions and Social Security payments - cannot maintain their standard of living. The Chapwood Index shows what the CPI tries to conceal: that the government keeps the CPI low to avoid spiraling debt increases, which are due primarily to corporate, income, sales and other tax increases at the local, state and federal levels, as well as rising insurance costs. For more than a century, the CPI has purported to reflect the fluctuation in prices for a typical "basket of goods" in American cities. But it hasn't really done that for more than 30 years, and since salary and benefit increases are pegged to the CPI, the middle class has seen its purchasing power decline dramatically over the last three decades. And this trend will continue as long as pay raises and benefit increases are tied to a false CPI, [Chapwood Index founder Ed] Butowsky says. "The CPI ... has been manipulated to show a lower cost of living increase in order to reduce government outlays," he says.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality.


Abdullah al-Senussi execution: This perversion of justice suits Western security services just fine
2015-08-06, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/abdullah-alsenussi-execution-this-pervers...

The secret agreements between our intelligence and Gaddafi’s torturers will now remain safe for good. Gaddafi’s spymaster Abdullah al-Senussi will be shot in Libya before he has a chance to tell us about the cosy relationship he had with our Western security services when he liaised between his boss, the CIA and MI6. The Brits and Americans have not batted an eyelid since Senussi, Gaddafi’s son Saif and a bunch of other regime cohorts were sentenced to death last week without defence counsel or testimony or documents or witnesses. Senussi himself is held responsible for the massacre of more than a thousand of Gaddafi’s political prisoners. But he and his successor, Moussa Koussa ... were among the most loyal of Gaddafi’s henchmen. [His] crimes against humanity [included] the torture of Libyan exiles after their barbaric rendition to Libya with the help of MI6 and other Western agencies. Senussi knew far more about our spying agencies and their dirty tricks than Saif al-Gaddafi – the late Muammar’s son. Maybe that’s why Senussi initially did a runner to Mauritania, which should have handed him over to The Hague. But after receiving a bribe of $200m, Mauritania returned him to Tripoli. Senussi’s international counsel, Ben Emmerson ... told me in 2013 that when Senussi’s lawyers wanted to know if MI6 operatives had interrogated their client while he was in Mauritania – before his illegal rendition to Libya – William Hague, the Foreign Secretary at the time, declined to answer.

Note: The British government is presently being sued by victims of the cooperative arrangement between MI6 and Libyan torturers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and government.


Hen-keeping – a cracking new therapy for older people
2015-07-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jul/28/hen-keeping-therapy-older-people

In the garden of a care home, gingernut ranger hen Ellen has just laid her second egg. Resident Ashok Patel, 64, has been pronounced “a natural” with the hens, someone who can coax them back into the henhouse when it is time for bed. “I like the hens, and the hens like me,” he says. Henpower, a project that brings hens to older people in care settings, has joined with Notting Hill Housing to introduce the hens into two of the housing association’s extra-care sites. The project is supporting some 700 residents, including those with dementia, in more than 20 care homes in north-east England. Henpower was set up by the charity Equal Arts in 2011. A 12-month study of the project by Northumbria University ... found that Henpower is improving the health and wellbeing of older people, and reducing depression, loneliness and the need for antipsychotic medication in care homes. [Northumbria University professor] Glenda Cook ... was the lead researcher on the Henpower evaluation. “Henpower is innovative because it is not just brief ‘petting’ of the hens, but also taking responsibility for them. There’s a huge range of roles with shared responsibilities, with diverse ways to interact with the project,” she says. Volunteer Jackie Copeland works with residents on “henspired” art projects. “People get a lot out of stroking [the hens]. You feel your stress levels go down. I get ‘chicken love’ – I almost expect them to start purring,” she laughs.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'Call Me Lucky': A Documentary Of Friendship, Childhood Abuse And Survival
2015-07-26, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2015/07/27/426734424/call-me-lucky-a-documentary-of-friend...

Comics Bobcat Goldthwait and Barry Crimmins are good friends who each became important in the '80s comedy scene. Both have been through a lot of changes since then. Goldthwait was first famous for ... his role as Zed in the "Police Academy" films. Goldthwait has dropped the persona and become a director of independent films and TV shows like "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and "Maron." His new film is a documentary about Barry Crimmins. [In] the early '90s ... Crimmins revealed he was raped several times at the age of 4 or 5 by a man brought into Crimmins's home by his babysitter. After going public, he started exposing pedophiles on Internet chat rooms. Goldthwait's documentary about Crimmins is titled "Call Me Lucky." This documentary is about [Crimmins's] contribution to the comedy scene, but it also is about his childhood when he was abused - and then later, as an adult, [when he] tried to out child pornographers and did a pretty successful job at getting some of them put behind bars. Crimmins [explains]: "A lot of us are drawn to the stage or show business or whatever because, you know, we didn't feel so great about ourselves, and we didn't know how to do anything about that, so we sought external approval. And as people got older and dealt with things and began to approve of themselves, then they started to find what else they could do and what else they were capable of. You can't hate anybody till you hate yourself and you can't love anybody till you love yourself. Once you [understand that], then you're pretty liberated to try a bunch of other things."

Note: The above was summarized from a lengthy radio interview that you can listen to at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How realistic is TNT’s ‘Proof’? Ask a real-life near-death researcher
2015-07-25, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/how-realistic-is-tnts-proof-as...

How realistic is your favorite paranormal TV drama? “Proof,” a new summer series on TNT ... stars Jennifer Beals as a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon recruited by a billionaire to investigate near-death experiences. You may or may not believe in such phenomena, but there are serious researchers exploring this realm. The University of Virginia’s Division of Perceptual Studies [is] one of only two university-affiliated labs in the country still doing parapsychology research. How realistic does “Proof” seem to real-life near-death researchers? [According to] Jim Tucker, director of U.Va.’s perceptual studies lab: “Patients who’ve died for a time have accurately reported conversations that took place outside of their hospital rooms. Some have reported seeing deceased relatives that at the time they didn’t know were deceased." But the researchers give a thumbs-down to the show’s treatment of reincarnation studies. “Seems a little unrealistic,” said Tucker, after watching an episode where a patient undergoes hypnosis and suddenly remembers a past life. Tucker and his colleagues “don’t place much stock in the idea of hypnotic regression of adults in order to remember past lives.” The Virginia lab has extensively explored the potential of past-life memories, he said — but with an exclusive focus on very young children who, in their early years of talking, have spontaneously reported what seem to be accounts of previous lives, no hypnosis involved. "They left out the most important part, which is that the children we work with report actual memories of past lives."

Note: See our near-death experience resource center for lots more fascinating, reliable information on this vital topic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about near-death experiences.


Archaeologists find possible evidence of earliest human agriculture
2015-07-24, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jul/24/archaeologists-find-possible-...

Israeli archaeologists have uncovered dramatic evidence of what they believe are the earliest known attempts at agriculture, 11,000 years before the generally recognised advent of organised cultivation. Previously, scientists had believed that organised agriculture in the Middle East ... had begun around 12,000 BC and later spread west through Europe. The new research is based on excavations at a site known as Ohalo II, which was discovered in 1989. Occupied by a community of hunter-gatherers at the height of the last ice age 23,000 years ago, it revealed evidence of six brush huts with hearths as well as stone tools and animal and plant remains. According to the researchers, the community at Ohalo II was already exploiting the precursors to domesticated plant types that would become a staple in early agriculture, including emmer wheat, barley, pea, lentil, almond, fig, grape and olive. Significantly, however, they discovered the presence of two types of weeds in current crop fields: corn cleavers and darnel. Microscopic examination of the edges of stone blades from the site also found material that may have been transferred during the cutting and harvesting of cereal plants. Prof Ehud Weiss, head of the archaeological botany lab at the Department of Land of Israel Studies, told the Guardian [that] the mixture of “proto-weeds” and grains that would become domesticated mirrors plant findings from later agricultural communities. The site also revealed evidence of rudimentary breadmaking.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing archaeology news articles from reliable major media sources.


Is religion doing enough to root out abuse?
2015-07-23, BBC
http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-33609927

From when Karen Morgan was 12, until she was well into her teens, she was sexually abused by her uncle - a ministerial servant with the Jehovah's Witnesses. Christian churches, as well as other religions, have faced claims of child abuse. But what is striking about the Jehovah's Witnesses is their explicit policy of dealing with abuse in-house, [and that] they insist there must be two witnesses to a crime. In Karen's case a second witness did come forward: Wendy, a family friend and fellow [church] member ... had been raped by the same man. Despite a pattern of predatory sexual behaviour, it took more than two decades to bring Wendy and Karen's abuser to justice. He is now serving a 14-year prison sentence. His punishment from the Jehovah's Witnesses? There wasn't one. When the case came to court, the organisation was reluctant to co-operate. Jehovah's Witnesses are not the only religious organisation to try to deal with allegations of sexual abuse in-house. For many decades, that was the preferred method of the Roman Catholic Church. Only this month, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish scholar from Manchester - who fled to Israel after he was exposed as a paedophile - was jailed for 13 years. The court had heard that both women who testified ... in the case had been "ostracised" by their community as a result of speaking out.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sex abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.


The Spirit of Judy Miller is Alive and Well at the NYT, and It Does Great Damage
2015-07-21, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/07/21/spirit-judy-miller-alive-well-n...

Former New York Times reporter Judy Miller ... granted anonymity to government officials and then uncritically laundered their dubious claims. As the paper’s own editors put it in their 2004 mea culpa about the role they played in selling the [Iraq] war: “We have found a number of instances of coverage that ... seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged.” But 12 years after Miller left, you can pick up that same paper on any given day and ... find reporters doing exactly the same thing. It is worth observing how damaging it continues to be, because, shockingly, all sorts of self-identified “journalists” — both within the paper and outside of it — continue to equate unverified assertions from government officials as Proven Truth, even when these officials are too cowardly to attach their names to these claims, as long as papers such as the NYT launder them. Among the assertions mindlessly repeated by the Paper of Record from its beloved anonymous officials is this one: that ISIS learned to use couriers as a result of the Snowden revelations. The claim itself ... is monumentally stupid. Terrorists have known for a very long time that the U.S. government and its allies are trying to intercept their communications, and have long used encryption and other means to prevent that. This is the same process that enabled the New York Times, more than any other media outlet, to sell the Iraq War to the American public, and they’re using exactly the same methods to this day.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in the intelligence community and the manipulation of public perception.


Rocker Neil Young donates $100,000 to fund to defend Vermont’s genetically modified organism labeling law
2015-07-20, Toronto Star/Associated Press
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/07/20/rocker-neil-young-donates-100000...

Vermont is scheduled to become the first U.S. state to require foods with altered DNA to be labelled as such. Rocker Neil Young is lending his support to the state’s efforts. Young, who performed in concert Sunday at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Vermont, appeared earlier with Gov. Peter Shumlin and donated $100,000 to a fund devoted to defending Vermont’s genetically modified organism, or GMO, labeling law from legal challenges. “It’s a huge gift, and we need more like them,” Shumlin said Monday. The money will be used to help defray the costs of a legal battle that Attorney General Bill Sorrell has estimated could cost the state as much as $8 million. The Grocery Manufacturers of America and other industry groups are suing to block the law before its scheduled implementation date, July 1, 2016. Young has been touring to promote a new album, “The Monsanto Years,” which is sharply critical of the Monsanto Co.’s role in agriculture.

Note: Monsanto's political clout in the U.S. recently led to what has been popularly termed "the Monsanto protection act." The risks and dangers of genetically engineering crops are becoming increasingly clear.


A national hero': psychologist who warned of torture collusion gets her due
2015-07-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/law/2015/jul/13/psychologist-torture-doctors-collu...

Jean Maria Arrigo’s inbox is filling up with apologies. For a decade, colleagues of the 71-year-old psychologist ignored, derided and in some cases attacked Arrigo for sounding alarms that the American Psychological Association was implicated in US torture. But now ... a devastating report has exposed deep APA complicity with brutal CIA and US military interrogations – and a smear campaign against Arrigo herself. David Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor, confirmed what she has crusaded against for a decade: the APA’s institutional involvement with torture led to a concerted effort to quash dissent, lie to the public, and silence people like her. In 2005, Arrigo ... was a member of an internal panel, known as the Task Force on Psychological Ethics and National Security (Pens), that greenlit psychologist participation in national-security interrogations. The taskforce was intentionally weighted in favor of the US department of defense, through stacking it with representatives from the military and CIA. It rejected efforts ... to include references to the Geneva Convention and specific interrogation techniques that psychologists could not be involved in. Arrigo took her concerns public. In response, [Gerald] Koocher ... who served as APA president in 2006, [launched] “a highly personal attack.” Arrigo said she was untroubled by Koocher’s “idiotic” broadside. What was more troubling to her, she said, were the well-meaning members of APA who did not challenge the attacks.

Note: Read an article on how military psychologists are fighting against torture reforms. For more, read about how the torture program fits in with a long history of human experimentation by corrupt intelligence agencies working alongside unethical scientists.


The War Over CopBlock
2015-07-13, Daily Beast
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/07/13/the-war-over-copblock.html

With nearly 1.5 million Facebook fans, CopBlock is relentless and gleeful in its posts of alleged cases of police misconduct and abuse of power. Made up of a loosely affiliated network of grassroots activists, CopBlock members also “patrol” their local law enforcement, monitoring traffic stops and other interactions, often shouting advice to those they perceive as victims. It’s a method that was initiated by the Black Panthers and, unsurprisingly, police have not always taken kindly to this sort of citizen oversight. Some even want to see CopBlock members listed as domestic terrorists. One of the emerging voices seeking to counter CopBlock is called, succinctly, Civilians Against CopBlock. Many of their posts attack those who would question police powers or officers accused of crimes. It’s worth noting here that the Department of Justice did find racial bias in Ferguson’s police department, and you can’t discuss race and police without mentioning New York’s infamous stop-and-frisk law, which an independent review from Columbia University found to be strongly biased. And a paper from the University of Pennsylvania found clear, strong tendencies for African Americans to be profiled and stopped. But does this mean most cops are racist or prone to violent abuse of power? No, of course not. There are nearly a million law enforcement officers in the United States, men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep the rest of us safe so we can fight on the Internet.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of civil liberties.


Corbynomics: Quantitative Easing for People (PQE)
2015-07-09, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/adnan-aldaini/quantitative-easing_b_8095758.html

What is termed Corbynomics is Jeremy Corbyn's proposal that: "The Bank of England to be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects: Quantitative Easing for people instead of banks." The money to fund these projects will be created electronically by the Bank of England. Only 3% of the money in circulation is in the form of coins and notes; the remaining, 97%, is created electronically by private banks every time they make a loan and by the bank of England under its Quantitative Easing programme. The recovery in the British economy thus far has been mainly based on inflating property and financial assets prices. The Bank of England has created Ł375bn, following the 2008 economic crash, that went into banks and financial markets through the buying of existing government bonds (Quantitative Easing for banks). Positive Money calculates that only 8% of that money went into the real economy, with the rest trapped in financial markets, inflating financial assets and property prices, and benefiting the top 5%. This has been money creation that creates bubbles in the economy, and when they burst, the fall out can devastate the lives of millions. Quantitative easing for people (PQE), in contrast, will bypass the financial markets and private banks with the money channelled through a National Investment Bank into the areas that Britain needs. This seems ... less risky to the economy than conventional Quantitative Easing.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


'Too broad to be constitutional'
2015-07-07, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/07/07/vaccination-california-child...

I swore an oath to uphold the U.S. and California constitutions. Sometimes, that means voting against "responsible" bills that nevertheless represent government overreach. California's broad new mandate, that a child cannot attend school unless vaccinated for 10 conditions and "any other disease deemed appropriate," was such an occasion. The legislation affects four fundamental rights: to parent one's children; to refuse medical treatment; to practice one's religion (for those whose creed genuinely eschews medicine); and to attend school (a unique right recognized in California). The government ... can only infringe these liberties if a law is narrowly tailored and logical, and if no less-restrictive means exist. Consider the following example. There are 1.2 million Americans with HIV and 178 this year with the measles. Just as vaccines slow or halt the spread of measles, prophylactics slow or halt HIV. But could the government mandate that everyone use condoms to stop the spread of HIV? Of course not. Such intimate decisions are not for government to make. As an article in the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics recently noted, court rulings allowing mandatory vaccinations are outdated, narrow and come from a line of precedent that also allowed the government to sterilize those it deemed genetically unfit. A law mandating vaccinating kindergarteners for an STD, shots for tetanus (not communicable) and "any other" vaccines that some bureaucrat chooses is too broad to be constitutional.

Note: The above was written by Mike Gatto, who represents Burbank in the California State Assembly and has practiced constitutional and appellate law. Read powerful evidence that some vaccines are not safe nor effective. Remember that big Pharma makes billions in profit from vaccines.


Finally! Woman to be on new $10 bill
2015-06-18, CNN News
http://money.cnn.com/2015/06/17/news/economy/woman-on-ten-dollar-bill/

On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said a woman will be featured on a redesigned $10 bill in 2020 - the 100th anniversary of the Constitution's 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. A decision on who the woman will be won't be made for several months. The last woman on U.S. paper currency was Martha Washington, who was on the $1 Silver Certificate between 1891 and 1896. "We have only made changes to the faces on our currency a few times since bills were first put into circulation, and I'm proud that the new 10 will be the first bill in more than a century to feature the portrait of a woman," Lew said. The department will launch a website, and is asking for input over social media with the hashtag #TheNew10. Lew wants the next generation of U.S. currency to underscore the theme of American democracy. The portrait must also be of someone who is no longer living. Hamilton, who was the nation's first treasury secretary, has been on the $10 bill since 1929. Bills are flagged for updates mainly for security reasons, Lew said. It was a "happy coincidence" that a push to put a woman on American money happened as the $10 note came under consideration. Lew said Hamilton will also be a part of the new design. He said it's up for discussion whether Hamilton will appear alongside a woman or be the centerpiece of one version of the new bill.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


France Bans Sales of Monsanto's Roundup in Garden Centers, 3 Months After U.N. Calls It 'Probable Carcinogen'
2015-06-15, Newsweek
http://www.newsweek.com/france-bans-sale-monsantos-roundup-garden-centers-aft...

After an arm of the U.N.'s World Health Organization (WHO) identified the main ingredient in Monsanto's popular weed killer Roundup as "probably carcinogenic to humans," France has taken a step to limit sales of the herbicide. On Sunday, French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal announced that the government would ban the sale of Roundup at garden centers in the country. Roundup and generic versions of glyphosate are still the most widely used herbicides in the world, among farmers and municipalities alike. As of 2012, it was the top choice of New York City for killing weeds in its parks. Farmers like Roundup because "Roundup Ready" versions of crops like corn and soybeans have been modified to specifically tolerate the herbicide, allowing growers to spray Roundup widely across their fields without damaging their crops. Shortly after the WHO announcement, Patrick Moore, who has an ecology Ph.D. and is a controversial defender of genetically modified crops, offered to drink Roundup on French television to prove its safety. But when a TV host offered him a glass of the stuff, Moore refused, and the video of the exchange quickly went viral online.

Note: The Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka preceded France in banning over the counter sales of Roundup. Watch a revealing documentary showing how Monsanto ruthlessly pursued farmers to stop them from planting their own seeds and corrupted judges to illegally support their efforts. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.


'Sea change' in Catholic sex abuse scandal
2015-06-10, CNN News
http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/10/us/pope-vatican-bishops-sex-abuse-tribunal/

Pope Francis has created a church tribunal to judge bishops who fail to protect children from sexually abusive priests, the Vatican announced Wednesday, a move long sought by abuse victims and their advocates. The new court will be part of the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Catholic Church's chief watchdog. Since 2001, the congregation has judged priests accused of sexual abuse, but there has been no Vatican office with a similar role to judge bishops. The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, said the Pope will appoint a secretary and permanent staff for the tribunal. Longtime critics of the Vatican called Wednesday's move a "sea change" within the Catholic Church. "Priests abuse children, and so do bishops," said Terence McKiernan, president of the watchdog group BishopAccountability.org. "Bishops who offend are inevitable enablers, and the commission's plan must confront that sad fact." Advocates for sexual abuse victims gave the new tribunal qualified approval. "Time will tell whether these moves actually result in holding bishops accountable for cover-ups of crimes," Boston-based church reform group Voice of the Faithful said. "But these steps are the most promising the Vatican has yet taken." The new court was advocated by Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley, who has long pushed the Vatican to discipline bishops who failed to protect children.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Thousands worldwide march against Monsanto and GMOs
2015-05-23, MSN News/AFP
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/thousands-worldwide-march-against-monsant...

From Paris to Ouagadougou, thousands of people took to the streets Saturday to protest against the American biotechnology giant Monsanto and its genetically modified crops and pesticides. The third annual March Against Monsanto was being held in upwards of 400 cities in more than 40 countries. About 2,500 people staged anti-Monsanto protests in the Swiss cities of Basel and Morgues, where the company has its headquarters for Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Up to 3,000 protesters ... gathered in Paris, with Monsanto's market-leading herbicide Roundup the main targets of protesters' anger. The controversial product's main ingredient was recently classified as "probably carcinogenic to humans" by the World Health Organization. "Looking for mass suicide? Go for Roundup," read one placard at another French protest in the western city of Rennes. Halfway around the planet in Burkina Faso, around 500 marched against the US giant which introduced GM cotton into the west African country in 2003. Demonstrators demanded a 10-year moratorium on the planting of Monsanto seeds so "independent research can be conducted" into the effects of the technology. Up to 1,000 anti-Monsanto activists gathered in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg as the sun was setting for a minute's silence "in homage to the existing and future victims poisoned by pesticides", according to the organisers. The worldwide March Against Monsanto was begun in 2013 by the Occupy movement.

Note: Monsanto's political clout in the U.S. recently led to what has been popularly termed "the Monsanto protection act." The negative health impacts of Monsanto's RoundUp are well known and this product is considered by the WHO to "probably cause cancer", while the risks and dangers of genetically engineering crops to tolerate such chemicals are becoming increasingly clear.


In the Same Week, the U.S. and U.K. Hide Their War Crimes by Invoking "National Security"
2015-05-21, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/21/key-tactic-us-uk-hide-war-crime...

Colonel Ian Henderson was a British official dubbed “the Butcher of Bahrain” because of atrocities he repeatedly committed during the 30 years he served as chief security official of that Middle Eastern country. A 2002 Guardian article reported that “during this time his men allegedly detained and tortured thousands of anti-government activists”; his official acts “included the ransacking of villages, sadistic sexual abuse and using power drills to maim prisoners”. Col. Henderson was never punished in any way. For years, human rights groups have fought to obtain ... a 37-year-old diplomatic cable, relating to British responsibility for Henderson’s brutality in Bahrain. Ordinarily, documents more than 30 years old are disclosable. Now, a governmental tribunal ruled ... that most of the diplomatic cable shall remain suppressed. The tribunal’s ruling was at least partially based on “secret evidence ... that the release of such information could jeopardise Britain’s new military base in the country.” This is the core mindset now prevalent in both the U.S. and U.K. for hiding their crimes from their own populations and the rest of the world: disclosure of what we did will embarrass and shame us, cause anger toward us, and thus harm our “national security.” This is exactly the same mentality driving the Obama administration’s years-long effort to suppress photographs showing torture of detainees by the U.S.. Obama insisted that to release the photos “would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in danger.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


Kay Eva - Saving lives in Cambodia
2015-05-17, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/1041/kay-eva-saving-lives-in-cambodia-inspired...

Kay Eva was travelling through rural Cambodia ... with a group handing out supplies to those in need when they approached a devastatingly poor family. They were there to deliver powdered milk for the family’s new baby. But the baby was missing. It had been sold the day before for $20 – a desperate act to raise money to feed the rest of the family. The news hit Kay like a punch to the stomach. Horrified, this mother of three knew she had to act. Fast forward 11 years and Kay has launched a thriving charity, Stitches of Hope, which operates a sewing centre to train women and help them find work, a children’s home for under-privileged kids, a community centre and a school. “It wasn’t even about helping with basics like education and health,” Kay says. “Basically, [getting some income] meant they didn’t have to sell their children into sex trafficking, or [to be] cleaners for the wealthy. It enabled women to obtain the skills to get a job. The Stitches of Hope Sewing Centre [is] a permanent institution that teaches women to sew, accommodates and feeds them, pays them a wage to fulfill factory orders, and encourages them to set up their own sewing businesses. In 2008, Stitches of Hope launched a children’s home which today houses 24 children cared for by live-in Cambodian couples. Those entrenched in poverty are too busy surviving the day to ponder how to escape its cruel clutches. With this in mind ... Stitches of Hope launched a community centre and school which now teaches more than 80 children.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Shell accused of strategy risking catastrophic climate change
2015-05-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/17/shell-accused-of-strategy-...

Royal Dutch Shell has been accused of pursuing a strategy that would lead to potentially catastrophic climate change after an internal document acknowledged a global temperature rise of 4C, twice the level considered safe for the planet. A paper used for guiding future business planning at the Anglo-Dutch multinational assumes that carbon dioxide emissions will fail to limit temperature increases to 2C, the internationally agreed threshold to prevent widespread flooding, famine and desertification. Instead, the New Lens Scenarios document refers to a forecast by the independent International Energy Agency (IEA) that points to a temperature rise of up to 4C in the short term, rising later to 6C. Louise Rouse, an investor relations specialist and consultant to Greenpeace, said the New Lens document undermined Shell’s claim that ongoing oil and gas exploration helps raise living standards in the developing world by supplying the energy for rapidly expanding economies. “There is an incoherence at best between oil companies on the one hand positioning themselves as being on the side of the world’s developing countries and while on the other actively pursuing strategies which will entail catastrophic climate change which we already know is having a significant impact on the global south,” she said. Shell’s carbon dioxide emissions have risen in 2014 and are set to increase further as it expands the business through a planned Ł47bn takeover of rival BG.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about global warming and corporate corruption from reliable sources.


FTC Unveils New Website to Help Victims of ID Theft Recover
2015-05-15, WSPA (North Carolina CBS affiliate)
http://www.wspa.com/story/29078081/ftc-unveils-new-website-to-help-victims-of...

There's now a new way you can report and recover from identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission is unveiling a new website to keep your identity safe. It tells victims what steps to take in the moments after identity theft happens. You can see detailed advice and checklists at www.identitytheft.gov. The site also helps you check to see if you've been a victim of identity theft without knowing it. Federal officials said they created the site after receiving more than 300,000 complaints from id theft victims in 2014. A Spanish version of the site is also available at RobodeIdentidad.gov. The new website provides an interactive checklist that walks people through the recovery process and helps them understand which recovery steps should be taken upon learning their identity has been stolen. It also provides sample letters and other helpful resources. In addition, the site offers specialized tips for specific forms of identity theft, including tax-related and medical identity theft. The site also has advice for people who have been notified that their personal information was exposed in a data breach. Identity theft has been the top consumer complaint reported to the FTC for the past 15 years, and in 2014, the Commission received more than 330,000 complaints from consumers who were victims of identity theft.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Greatest Threat to Free Speech Comes Not From Terrorism, But From Those Claiming to Fight It
2015-05-13, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/13/greatest-threat-free-speech-com...

We learned recently from Paris that the Western world is deeply and passionately committed to free expression and ready to march and fight against attempts to suppress it. That’s a really good thing, since there are all sorts of severe suppression efforts underway in the West — perpetrated not by The Terrorists but by the Western politicians claiming to fight them. One of the most alarming examples comes, not at all surprisingly, from the U.K. government, which is currently agitating for new counterterrorism powers, “including plans for extremism disruption orders designed to restrict those trying to radicalize young people.” Advocating any ideas or working for any political outcomes regarded by British politicians as “extremist” will not only be a crime, but can be physically banned in advance. Prime Minister David Cameron unleashed this Orwellian decree to explain why new Thought Police powers are needed: “For too long, we have been a passively tolerant society, saying to our citizens ‘as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.” It’s not enough for British subjects merely to “obey the law”; they must refrain from believing in or expressing ideas which Her Majesty’s Government dislikes. Threats to free speech can come from lots of places. But right now, the greatest threat by far in the West to ideals of free expression is coming not from radical Muslims, but from the very Western governments claiming to fight them.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.


Elizabeth Warren fires back at Obama: Here’s what they’re really fighting about
2015-05-11, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/05/11/elizabeth-warren-...

This week, the Senate will vote on whether to grant Obama “fast track” authority to negotiate the TPP agreement, which involves a dozen countries around the Pacific. [Senator Elizabeth] Warren has previously claimed that the TPP’s controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement provision, or ISDS, could undermine or chill public interest regulations in the U.S. and other participating countries, and could even undercut Dodd Frank financial reform, one of Obama’s signature achievements. Obama has strongly rejected Warren’s arguments in [an] interview with Yahoo and elsewhere. "The president said ... that he’s confident that when people read the agreement for themselves, that they’ll see it’s a great deal. But the president won’t actually let people read the agreement for themselves, [and] has committed only to letting the public see this deal after Congress votes to authorize fast track. At that point it will be impossible for us to amend the agreement or to block any part of it without tanking the whole TPP." Senator Warren went into more detail: “Congress will decide whether to give the President Fast Track authority. That authority would prevent Congress from amending trade deals and reduce its ability to block trade deals ... for ANY trade deal cut by ANY president over the next six years. Big banks on both sides of the Atlantic are gearing up to use that agreement to water down financial regulations. A six-year Fast Track bill is the missing link they need to make that happen.”

Note: Senator Warren's opposition to the TPP is further explained in this Washington Post article. Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and many others are also vocally opposed to the TPP and how this pending disaster is being pushed through under a veil of secrecy with little public debate.


Why are older Danish women so happy?
2015-05-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/03/europe-happiness-danish-women-pe...

Eva Kerner, 71, a former secretary, has been retired since 2006 and goes to the gym twice a week ... attends concerts, visits museums, travels extensively, sings in a choir and is a prolific seamstress. “It’s a nice life,” Kerner tells me. “Being so active keeps you young. I’m very happy.” She’s not alone. A study claims that retired Danish women are the most content in Europe, with those aged 65-74 scoring 8.6 out of 10 on the happiness scale – something experts suggest is partly down to the perspective that comes with age. But it’s not just being over 65, female and busy that guarantees you a retirement of pure revelry. There’s something about the experience of “living Danishly” that also helps. “Denmark is a country that takes care of its citizens,” says retired associate professor Jette Eiberg, 71, from Copenhagen. “I feel very lucky to be here and I’m really grateful” – something else that has been proven to boost happiness levels. Sky-high taxes ... have the happy side effect of making Danes more content. Denmark has the lowest income inequality among all the OECD countries and studies show that living in neighbourhoods where most people earn about the same can make you happier. And because Denmark has one of the shortest working weeks at just 37 hours, Danes have plenty of time to foster friendships and extracurricular interests throughout their careers to see them through retirement.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Leadership for Collective Wisdom
2015-04-29, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/1019/leadership-for-collective-wisdom-alan-bri...

Five conditions for the emergence of collective wisdom: 1. Deep Listening. Listening with an intention that the other person feels heard and seen; creating the conditions and presence for the other to more fully come into their own highest being. 2. Suspend Certainty. Capacity to suspend what we think is right, correct, or proper for a period of time, allowing other ways of knowing and other people to contribute to an expanded understanding. 3. See Whole Systems. Seek diverse perspective. Remain alert to the intrinsic interdependence of one's own group, other groups, larger collectives, and our shared Earth. 4. Gather for Group Emergence. Cultivate parallel ways of knowing - intuition, intellect, somatic awareness, respect for ancestral knowledge, regard for nature and physical space. Create safe spaces for dialogue. Maintain respect for others, for relationships, for human decency. Attend to the emotions arising within yourself and others. 5. Trust in the Extraordinary. Trust in what can emerge above and beyond your current understanding. Welcome all that is arising. Resist being constrained by the limitations of normative values or other's expectations. Recognize the power of synchronicity and meaningful coincidence to shape choices and inspire awe and action.

Note: The above was written by Alan Briskin, co-author of The Power of Collective Wisdom.


Obama failing to run 'most transparent’ administration
2015-04-25, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/diaz/article/Obama-failing-to-run-most-tra...

As a candidate in 2008, Barack Obama pledged to run the “most transparent administration” in U.S. history with an “unprecedented level of openness.” Seven years into his presidency, Obama’s promise rings hollower than ever. A year ago, 38 journalism groups assailed the president’s team for “politically driven suppression of the news.” Complaints included the inaccessibility of key staffers, delays in interview requests and — most insidiously — the blackballing of reporters who wrote critically of the administration. Photojournalists also objected to the White House’s insistence on issuing official images of the president instead of allowing them access. Even before that, The Chronicle had issues with the White House. Our Carla Marinucci was even barred for a time from serving as a pool reporter for presidential visits after she shot video of a spontaneous protest at an April 2011 Obama fundraiser in San Francisco. Most transparent administration in history? Obama has ... prosecuted more leakers under the century-old Espionage Act than all of his predecessors combined. He has continued to defy one of his campaign lines by invoking the state secrets privilege to keep classified information out of court proceedings or to force the dismissal of lawsuits. This administration ... is falling well short of Obama’s promise to be the most transparent president in U.S. history.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation news articles from reliable sources.


Cities and states paying millions in secret fees to Wall Street
2015-04-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Cities-and-states-paying-millions-in-se...

Currently, about 9 percent — or $270 billion — of America’s $3 trillion public pension fund assets are invested in private equity firms. With the financial industry’s standard 2 percent management fee, that quarter-trillion dollars generates roughly $5.4 billion in annual management fees for the private equity industry — and that’s not including additional “performance” fees paid on investment returns. Public officials are overseeing this enormous payout to Wall Street at the very moment many of those same officials are demanding big cuts to retirees’ promised pension benefits. “With billions of public worker and taxpayer dollars put at risk in the highest-cost, most opaque investment schemes ever devised by Wall Street for a decade now, investigations that hold Wall Street profiteers accountable are long, long overdue,” said former Securities and Exchange Commission attorney Ted Siedle. In a 2014 speech, the SEC’s top examiner, Andrew Bowden, sounded the alarm about undisclosed fees in the private equity industry, saying the agency had discovered “violations of law or material weaknesses in controls over 50 percent of the time” at firms it had evaluated. To date, however, the SEC has taken few actions to crack down on the practices, but some states are starting to step up their oversight.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Albuquerque teacher gets big surprise on ‘Ellen Show’
2015-03-19, KQRE (a leading Albuquerque, NM television news station)
http://krqe.com/2015/03/19/albuquerque-teacher-gets-big-surprise-on-ellen-show/

Sonya Romero has spent years helping students, and this week, Ellen DeGeneres gave her a big gift in return. Romero, a kindergarten teacher at Lew Wallace Elementary has gained international recognition for her generosity towards students. She always makes sure her students have clean clothes and food before they start their day. Thursday on the Ellen Show, Romero got a big surprise. “There’s a kindergarten teacher from Albuquerque. I want you to meet her, Sonya Romero come on down,” Ellen announced to the audience. Romero ... had no idea what would come next. On the show, Ellen played a video that Romero’s students and faculty all took part in. “I was speechless, speechless,” said Romero. “That to me is just absolutely priceless to hear what my school and the students had to say.” Lots of Romero’s kids have hard lives outside of school. Six months ago, she became a foster mom to two of them. When Ellen got wind of her story, she got Romero’s whole school involved. “We love you Ms. Sonya!” The whole school shouted, holding a sign for Ms. Sonya in the video played on the Ellen Show. “You’re an amazing woman,” Ellen said, teary eyed. But that wasn’t the end. Ellen presented Romero with a $10,000 check from Target, then another $10,000 check from Target, made out to Lew Wallace Elementary. After the show aired, Romero [said], "I'm glad that it gives teachers some exposure to what really goes on in our classrooms." For Romero, hearing from her kids, and knowing that she's helping them is what matters most.

Note: Watch an inspiring video on this amazing teacher.


No Regrets: Living with Dying
2015-03-04, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/965/no-regrets-living-with-dying-kitty-edwards

With Stage 4 metastasized breast cancer, Patti ... wanted to know how to live life with no regrets. Out of Patti’s vision and sense of urgency, the No Regrets Project was born. Between radiation treatments, spinal surgery and a bucket list trip to Alaska, Patti wrote essays, talked with anyone who would listen, dreamed and created. In the end, she developed five simple, personal practices to help herself live life more fully: be grateful every day, trust – take the risk, courage to be me, choose joy, and love myself & share it. While the phrases may be simple, accomplishing them is not. The development of the No Regrets Project is Patti Pansa’s legacy to all of us. Each day, Patti wrote in her gratitude journal. The simplest things caught her attention. “I am grateful for a little bird sitting on a branch outside of my bedroom window,” “I love to feel the warmth in the sunlight crossing my bed,” and more. This practice of gratitude helped her to focus on the things that she appreciated most, rather than on her declining health and the difficult medical procedures that she endured. Patti learned that trust requires an element of surrender. With diminishing energy, she simply followed the flow of suggestions and referrals to find the resources that were needed in a short period of time. Patti spent the last five months of her life celebrating, sharing, creating, loving, and living. On October 23, 2013, under hospice care, Patti died at home with her family. She died with no regrets.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Media watchdog laments global decline in press freedoms
2015-02-12, The Star/Associated Press
http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2015/02/12/media-watchdog-laments-global-de...

Russia, the United States, Japan and many parts of Europe lost ground last year in its ranking of global press freedoms. The rise of non-state groups, crackdowns on demonstrations, wars and economic crises provided a backdrop for a tough 2014. The Paris-based media watchdog [Reporters Without Borders] said two-thirds of the 180 countries surveyed in its annual World Press Freedom index scored worse than a year earlier. Western Europe, while top-ranked, lost the most ground as a region. Three Nordic countries headed the list, but there was slippage in Italy — where Mafia and other threats weighed on journalists — and Iceland, where the relationship between the media and politicians soured. The U.S. fell three places to 49th amid a “war on information” by the Obama administration. Reporters also faced difficulty covering events like demonstrations in Ferguson, Missouri, where black teen Michael Brown was shot dead in August by a white police officer. Russia dropped two notches to 152nd place after passing “draconian laws” to limit freedom of information, the group said. Legislation allowing access to information helped Mongolia jump 34 spots — the highest single advance — to 54th place. China, Iran and North Korea all remained among the 10 lowest-ranked countries. The group uses seven criteria to calculate its index — measures for media independence, the diversity of opinions expressed, self-censorship, transparency, abuses and the legislative environment.

Note: For more on ongoing threats to press freedom, see concise summaries of deeply revealing media manipulation stories from reliable sources.


Repairing the brain: Why we're living in an age of neuroscience
2015-02-09, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/features/repairin...

The endless adaptability of the human brain is summed up by the term "neuroplasticity". A few decades ago, scientists thought the brain was relatively fixed. It was also believed that different areas of the brain had their own specialities and didn't veer from these. Now we know that ... new neurons do grow. New neural pathways can be formed and, when disease or damage occurs in one part of the brain, cortical maps can be redrawn to make up for lost function. [Norman] Doidge, a Canadian psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, is the master of explaining how the brain's plasticity can be harnessed to improve the symptoms of brain-related disorders, ranging from stroke to autism. Doidge [identifies] stages of healing [the brain]: corrections of general cellular functions of the neurons and glia, neurostimulation, neuromodulation, neurorelaxation and neurodifferentiation and learning. The first stage [is] about restoring brain cell health. Doidge says that he has seen patients with depression, bipolar disorder and attention deficit disorder "make major progress by eliminating toxins and certain foods, such as sugar and grains, that they were sensitive to". Neurostimulation is when "dormant circuits in the hurt brain" are stimulated. This is followed by neuromodulation, where the brain is reset so that it's neither too excited nor too inhibited. Brain disorders often leave the person exhausted, so relaxation is an important part of recovery. Neurodifferentiation and learning is ... the stage when the brain does "what it does best" which is, apparently, "making fine distinctions".

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Croatia writes off debts for poorest citizens
2015-02-01, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/11382576/Croatia-writes-off-debt...

Thousands of Croats will see their debts written-off on Monday as part of an attempt to boost the economy by helping households to regain access to basic facilities including bank accounts. The scheme, which has been dubbed "fresh start", will see the debts of around 60,000 citizens erased by banks, telecoms and utilities operators as part of a deal with the government. Around 2.1bn kuna (Ł20m) worth of bad debts are expected to be written off by creditors who have signed up to the scheme. None will be refunded for their losses. Qualifying households must have debts lower than 35,000 kuna (Ł3,500), and their monthly income should not be higher than 1,250 kuna. Croats who own property or have any savings will not benefit from the deal. "Some 60,000 citizens ... will be given a chance for a new start without a burden of debt," said Milanka Opacic, Croatia's deputy prime minister. The program will give 20pc of the 317,000 Croatians whose accounts were frozen in July last year due to bad debts access to their accounts again. "This is the first time that any (Croatian) government tries to solve this difficult problem and we are proud of it," Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic told a cabinet session. The deal will be noted in Greece, where the new Syriza government is trying to renegotiate the terms of its multi billion euro bail-out.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Groups Place Free Hats And Scarves Around Cities, Spread Warmth To Those Who Need It Most
2015-01-23, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/23/hats-and-scarves-around-cities-_n_65...

Good Samaritans are working to make sure that the homeless and others in need are prepared for the winter weather. Hats and scarves have been spotted around several areas that are experiencing frigid temperatures this winter. The apparel -- which has shown up in cities including Edmonton and Winnipeg in Canada, and Wilmington, North Carolina -- comes with messages urging those in need to take the winter wear. "I am not lost!" a message attached to a scarf in Wilmington reads. "If you are stuck out in the cold, please take this to keep warm!" The group responsible for that particular item, Scarves in the Port City, says that their aim is to account for those who need a helping hand during the winter months in a simple and effective way. "We collect and distribute scarves for the homeless during inclement weather," the group ... wrote on their Facebook page. "We hope to help create awareness of the difference kindness can make to people's attitudes, feelings and actions towards themselves and others when it's embraced as a way of life." The do-gooders, who often place the clothing in locations that are easily accessible for people in need, like libraries where people may seek refuge from the chill or homeless shelters, say they hope their efforts can provide some much-needed comfort to those who need it most over the winter months.

Note: See the complete article for pictures of this generous practice showing up in the U.S. and Canada. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How Medical Marijuana’s Chemicals May Protect Cells
2015-01-20, Scientific American
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-medical-marijuana-s-chemicals-m...

Edward Maa did not plan to become a marijuana researcher. But a few years ago, when the neurologist and epilepsy specialist surveyed his patients about their use of alternative medicines, he discovered that more than a third had turned to marijuana to try to control their seizures. According to the Epilepsy Foundation of Colorado, the widely reported case of Charlotte Figi, a child whose nearly constant seizures were dramatically curtailed with cannabidiol, a marijuana ingredient, has helped trigger an influx of families from around the U.S. [into Colorado] seeking similar treatment for their children with seizure disorders. Maa wants to move beyond anecdote and into data. He is monitoring 150 epilepsy patients who all take a product derived from the same strain of marijuana that Figi used, provided by the same source. Although the federal government still lists marijuana as a Schedule I drug, a class “with no currently accepted medical use,” a body of recent research suggests that cannabinoids, which are the active ingredients in marijuana, may have medicinal uses even beyond the approved ones. They might protect the brain from the effects of trauma, ease the spasms of multiple sclerosis and reduce epileptic seizures. Further preliminary work indicates that the chemicals may slow the growth of tumors and reduce brain damage in Alzheimer's disease. Before World War II, marijuana was listed as a medicine in the country's encyclopedia of drugs, the United States Pharmacopeia.

Note: Read a summary of a CNN News story that describes how marijuana helped stem the seizures of 6 year old Jayden. Colorado has become the first U.S. state to directly fund medical marijuana research.


Hillary Clinton Made More in 12 Speeches to Big Banks Than Most of Us Earn in a Lifetime
2015-01-08, The Intercept
https://theintercept.com/2016/01/08/hillary-clinton-earned-more-from-12-speec...

According to public disclosures, by giving just 12 speeches to Wall Street banks, private equity firms, and other financial corporations, [Hillary] Clinton made $2,935,000 from 2013 to 2015. Clinton’s most lucrative year was 2013, right after stepping down as secretary of state. That year, she made $2.3 million for three speeches to Goldman Sachs and individual speeches to Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley, Fidelity Investments, Apollo Management Holdings, UBS, Bank of America, and Golden Tree Asset Managers. To put these numbers into perspective, compare them to lifetime earnings of the median American worker. In 2011, the Census Bureau estimated, that across all majors, a “bachelor’s degree holder can expect to earn about $2.4 million over his or her work life.” A Pew Research analysis published the same year estimated that a “typical high school graduate” can expect to make just $770,000 over the course of his or her lifetime. This means that in one year - 2013 - Hillary Clinton earned almost as much from 10 lectures to financial firms as most bachelor’s degree-holding Americans earn in their lifetimes — and nearly four times what someone who holds only a high school diploma could expect to make. The Associated Press notes that during Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state, Bill Clinton earned $17 million in talks to ... financial firms.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Oakland program defies hip-hop’s bad rap
2015-01-03, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/performance/article/Oakland-program-defies-hip-hop-s-ba...

HipHopForChange aims to combat images of violence, sexism, materialism, drugs and homophobia by educating young people about the spiritual pillars that first inspired hip-hop as a vehicle for social change — peace, love, unity and the spirit of fun. [Founder Khafre] Jay has developed an interactive workshop that he and his staff have taken to [several] schools, as well as community organizations like Youth Spirit Artworks. Sessions not only detail the early rise of hip-hop, but also teach students ... how to MC, the techniques of writing rap, and the finer points of graffiti lettering. Jay wants students to be able to talk about their lives and experiences without the superficial attitudes of mainstream hip-hop. “[Our] rappers talk about their real lives, not some made up fictionalized, money, materialist, misogynist narrative that you’re used to,” Jay says. “They talk about putting food on their tables, their aspirations, their hopes and their problems with society. Their views are just not congruent with the industry [stereotypes]. HipHopForChange also spends several days a week canvassing throughout the Bay Area. That grassroots approach [is] how Serenity Krieger, a teacher at El Cerrito High School, came to hire HipHopForChange to teach four classes for her geography students last year. “She says, “I want them to know about not just the oppression, but ways they can constructively do something about it.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


How Opening Doors Changed This Teen's Life
2015-01-02, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/opening-doors-teen-bullying_n_6526220.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/22/opening-doors-teen-bullying_n_652622...

Bullying is a serious problem. According to Family First Aid, nearly 30 percent of teens in the U.S. are estimated to be in school bullying, whether they're being bullied or doing the bullying. Josh Yandt, who lives in London, Ontario, was no exception. After being bullied for years, he decided to make one simple tweak when he transferred schools: He started opening doors for his classmates. "Not many people hold doors, right? But after that, people started to open up to me. Opening a door is more than a physical act, it’s about putting yourself out there, getting to know people, making them feel comfortable, making them feel welcome. Opening doors gives people hope that people care.” Holding the door for his classmates changed everything for Yandt, and now he has more friends than he can count. “People just love what I do. Every day people always say ‘thank you,’ people smile, and it’s really great,” he told Canada's CBC news as classmates clapped him on the back, said thanks, or gave a hello as they passed by in the hallway. The story doesn't end there. Yandt was crowned prom king, and he's taken on speaking engagements, sharing his story with younger students.

Note: Watch a video of Yandt's inspiring story, and see for yourself how a small change in his habits invited Yandt's peers to open up and treat him with kindness and respect.


Wind, solar power soaring in spite of bargain prices for fossil fuels
2015-01-01, Washington Post
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/wind-solar-power-soar-...

Wind and solar power appear set for a record-breaking year in 2016 as a clean-energy construction boom gains momentum in spite of a global glut of cheap fossil fuels. Installations of wind turbines and solar panels soared in 2015 as utility companies went on a worldwide building binge, taking advantage of falling prices for clean technology as well as an improving regulatory and investment climate. Both industries have seen stock prices jump since Congress approved an extension of tax credits for renewables as part of last month’s $1.14 trillion budget deal. Orders for 2016 solar and wind installations are up sharply, from the United States to China to the developing economies of Africa and Latin America, all in defiance of stubbornly low prices for coal and natural gas, the industry’s chief competitors. “The policy base for renewables has strengthened, both on the incentives side and through mandates,” [former Energy Department assistant secretary Dan] Reicher said. “At the same time, the financing of renewable-energy projects has become a mainstream business for Wall Street. The early-stage investments from Silicon Valley for clean energy were small potatoes compared to the massive investments Wall Street is making. It truly is a global business.”

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Goodbye to one of the best years in history
2014-12-26, The Telegraph
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/11310456/Goodbye-to-one-of-the-best-years-...

2014 has probably been the best year in history. Take war, for example – our lives now are more peaceful than at any time known to the human species. Archaeologists believe that 15 per cent of early mankind met a violent death, a ratio not even matched by the last two world wars. Since they ended, wars have become rarer and less deadly. We have recently been celebrating a quarter-century since the collapse of the Berlin Wall, which kicked off a period of global calm. The Canadian academic Steven Pinker has called this era the “New Peace”, noting that conflicts of all kinds – genocide, autocracy and even terrorism – went on to decline sharply the world over. Global life expectancy now stands at a new high of 71.5 years, up six years since 1990. In India, life expectancy is up seven years for men, and 10 for women. It’s rising faster in the impoverished east of Africa than anywhere else on the planet. In Rwanda and Ethiopia, life expectancy has risen by 15 years. The Ebola crisis has led to 7,000 deaths, each one a tragedy. But far more lives have been saved by the progress against malaria, HIV and diarrhoea. The World Bank’s rate of extreme poverty (those living on less than $1.25 a day) has more than halved since 1990, mainly thanks to China. We still have a lamentably long list of problems to solve. But in the round, there’s no denying it: we are living in the Golden Era.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Monkey Gives First Aid to Electrocuted Friend
2014-12-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/12/25/world/asia/ap-as-india-monkey-life...

Onlookers at a train station in northern India watched in awe as a monkey came to the rescue of an injured friend — resuscitating another monkey that had been electrocuted and knocked unconscious. The injured monkey had fallen between the tracks, apparently after touching high-tension wires at the train station in the north Indian city of Kanpur. His companion came to the rescue and was captured on camera lifting the friend's motionless body, shaking it, dipping it into a mud puddle and biting its head and skin — working until the hurt monkey regained consciousness. The first monkey, completely covered in mud, opened its eyes and began moving again. Crowds of travelers watched the Sunday scene in amazement, filming and snapping pictures.

Note: Watch a one-minute video of this most unusual heroic act.


Colorado Funds Medical Marijuana Research, a First
2014-12-17, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2014/12/17/us/ap-us-marijuana-research.html?_r=0

Colorado will spend more than $8 million researching marijuana's medical potential. The grants awarded by the Colorado Board of Health will go to studies on whether marijuana helps treat epilepsy, brain tumors, Parkinson's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder. Some of the studies still need federal approval. Though the awards are relatively small, researchers say they're a big step forward. While several other federal studies currently in the works look at marijuana's health effects, all the Colorado studies are focused on whether marijuana actually helps. "This is the first time we've had government money to look at the efficacy of marijuana, not the harms of marijuana," said Dr. Suzanne Sisley, a Scottsdale, Arizona, psychiatrist who will help run a study on marijuana for veterans with PTSD. Federal approval to study marijuana's medical potential requires permission of the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and either the National Institutes of Health or the Department of Health and Human Services. Twenty-three states and Washington, D.C., allow marijuana use by people with various medical conditions. But under federal law, pot is considered a drug with no medical use and doctors cannot prescribe it. Dr. Larry Wolk, Colorado's Chief Medical Officer, says the lack of research on marijuana's medical value leaves sick people guessing about how pot may help them and what doses to take.

Note: For more on the proven benefits from many mind-altering drugs, see these deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources.


Edward Snowden wins Swedish human rights award for NSA revelations
2014-12-01, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/01/nsa-whistlebloewer-edward-snow...

Whistleblower Edward Snowden received several standing ovations in the Swedish parliament after being given the Right Livelihood award for his revelations of the scale of state surveillance. Snowden, who is in exile in Russia, addressed the parliament by video from Moscow. In a symbolic gesture, his family and supporters said no one picked up the award on his behalf in the hope that one day he might be free to travel to Sweden to receive it in person. Snowden is wanted by the US on charges under the Espionage Act. His chances of a deal with the US justice department that would allow him to return home are slim and he may end up spending the rest of his days in Russia. His supporters hope that a west European country such as Sweden might grant him asylum. The awards jury, in its citation, said Snowden was being honoured “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights”. The chamber was filled with members of parliament from almost all the parties. The Guardian editor, Alan Rusbridger, was also among the recipients. The jury citation said his award was in celebration of “building a global media organisation dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest, undaunted by the challenge of exposing corporate and government malpractices”.

Note: For more along these lines, read how Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales considers Edward Snowden a hero. For more on the Snowden case, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


New York State blocks free medical services
2014-11-28, MSN News
http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/new-york-state-blocks-free-medical-services-...

New York state health officials have stopped a nonprofit group from providing free medical care to thousands of patients lacking health insurance during a four-day dental conference that starts Friday. The nonprofit, Remote Area Medical, had raised $3 million and enlisted hundreds of volunteer doctors and other medical workers to offer a range of health services, including dental care, new eyeglasses and other services. The group had planned to treat about 7,000 patients at the New York Sate event. In September, the New York State Department of Health told the volunteer group, founded in 1985, that it could not treat patients at the conference unless it partnered with an established, state-licensed medical organization. Despite last-minute efforts, the partnership could not be arranged in time, and the nonprofit group said it found out this week that the state would not waive the requirement. “This was incredibly disappointing and will mean that thousands of patients won’t get the care they desperately need,” said Stan Brock, the founder of Remote Area Medical. Brock said state health officials told him during negotiations that the free health services his organization provides were not needed. But Brock said there are tens of thousands of New Yorkers, including homeless people, who are in need of free healthcare.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Sentence for agender teen’s attacker: missed chance for justice
2014-11-20, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/7-year-sentence-for-teen-who-...

http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/openforum/article/7-year-sentence-for-teen-who-set-agender...

Last Friday, Richard Thomas was sentenced to seven years in prison for lighting the skirt of Sasha Fleischman on fire on an Oakland AC Transit bus. Thomas, who is 17 years old, was tried as an adult for his crime, and many, including Fleischman’s parents, Debbie Crandall and Karl Fleischman, have said the sentence was too harsh. The case represents a clear missed opportunity for a restorative justice solution. Restorative justice provides an effective alternative to the punishment focused model that dominates our criminal justice system. Instead of focusing on what laws have been broken, restorative justice brings the victim and the offender together to determine how to repair harm to the survivor and the community, hold the offender accountable, and reduce future harm. Crandall was supportive of the restorative-justice process, and after Thomas accepted a plea deal, she told KQED: “I wish there had been another way for this to be resolved that did not involve adult court — a place where Richard would really have the chance for rehabilitation.” Juveniles who serve time in adult prisons have significantly higher recidivism rates than those who remain in juvenile facilities. Placing juveniles in community-based centers can help to further decrease recidivism rates. Restorative-justice provider Community Works West’s Restorative Community Conferencing Program illustrates [this]. There is a 15 percent recidivism rate for youth six months after completing Community Works West’s program, compared with 45 percent to 75 percent recidivism rates for youth in and out of the Alameda County Juvenile Justice system.

Note: This teen was sent to prison for seven years despite objections from his victim and his victim's parents. How does that happen? See these excellent, concise summaries of prison corruption news stories from major media sources.


The Healing Power of Kindness
2014-11-16, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/project-compassion-stanford/the-healing-power-o...

An extensive scientific literature review sponsored by Dignity Health and conducted by the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) at Stanford University reveals a growing body of scientific evidence that indicates kindness holds the power to heal. This often overlooked, virtually cost-free remedy has a statistically significant impact on our physical health. For example, the positive effect of kindness is even greater than that of taking aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack or the influence of smoking on male mortality. The review shows that when patients are treated with kindness -- when there is an effort made to get to know them, empathize with them, communicate with them, listen to them and respond to their needs -- it can lead to: faster healing of wounds, reduced pain, reduced anxiety, reduced blood pressure, and shorter hospital stays. The research also shows that when doctors and nurses act compassionately, patients are more likely to be forthcoming in divulging medical information, which in turn leads to more accurate diagnoses. Patients aren't the only ones who see better results from kind treatment -- the doctors, nurses, and caregivers who provide the kind treatment benefit as well. This research review proves that in the context of health care and medicine, kindness should be viewed as an indispensable part of the healing process.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Does reality TV have a pedophile problem?
2014-10-27, Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2014/10/27/does-reality-tv-have-pedophil...

TLC cancelled ”Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” on Friday after photos surfaced of star Mama June hanging out with a convicted child molester. In August, “Sons of Guns” star Will Hayden was arrested on multiple rape charges against minors. Discovery, which owns TLC, swiftly cancelled that show, too. In 2013, reality TV producer Donald Luciano – who worked on some episodes of “Beverly’s Full House” about the life of former supermodel Beverly Johnson – pled guilty to possession of images of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct. So does reality TV have a pedophile problem? “The issue is not just about reality TV. Hollywood bears a lot of responsibility normalizing this behavior by sexualizing young girls,” said Dan Gainor, Vice President of Culture at the Media Research Center. “Too bad director Roman Polanski doesn’t get the (quick cancellation) treatment. He got an Oscar and a standing ovation and he raped a 13-year-old girl. ”Alec Shankman, Head of Alternative Programming & Digital Media at Abrams Artists Agency, noted that reality TV background checks are extremely thorough. “In the ‘Honey Boo Boo’ scenario, the guy wasn’t even on the show,” he said. "I wouldn’t say it is a problem in the genre, certainly no bigger than throughout the rest of Hollywood.” California-based criminal defense attorney Leo Terrell of CleartheCourt.com, noted that “The abuse is magnified when one of these predators appeared on a reality television show and/or is a public figure.”

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.


Canada, At War For 13 Years, Shocked That ‘A Terrorist’ Attacked Its Soldiers
2014-10-22, The Intercept
https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/22/canada-proclaiming-war-12-years...

In Quebec on Monday, two Canadian soldiers were hit by a car driven by Martin Couture-Rouleau, a 25-year-old Canadian who, as The Globe and Mail reported, “converted to Islam recently.” One of the soldiers died, as did Couture-Rouleau when he was shot by police. Canada’s Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney pronounced the incident “clearly linked to terrorist ideology." Every time one of these attacks occurs — from 9/11 on down — Western governments pretend that it was just some sort of unprovoked ... act of violence caused by primitive, irrational, savage religious extremism inexplicably aimed at a country innocently minding its own business. In this case in Canada, it wasn’t civilians who were targeted. The driver waited two hours until he saw a soldier in uniform. He seems to have deliberately avoided attacking civilians, and targeted a soldier instead – a member of a military that is currently fighting a war. Targeting soldiers who are part of a military fighting an active war is completely inconsistent with the common usage of the word “terrorism,” and yet it is reflexively applied by government officials and media outlets to this incident in Canada (and others like it in the UK and the US). The term “terrorism” has become nothing more than a rhetorical weapon for legitimizing all violence by Western countries, and delegitimizing all violence against them. This ... is central to how the west propagandizes its citizenries; the manipulative use of the “terrorism” term lies at heart of that.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing stories about manipulation of mass media and terrorism from reliable sources.


A Supersecret Spacecraft Comes Back to Earth After Two Years
2014-10-04, BloombergBusinessweek
http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-10-14/x-37b-super-secret-spaceship-...

The U.S. Air Force has kept an unmanned space shuttle in orbit for the past two years. No one without security clearance knows what it’s been doing up there. The X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle, which can enter orbit and land without human intervention, is scheduled to touch down this week. The landing will mark completion of the program’s third and longest mission. The Air Force has two such spacecraft for these low-earth orbit missions, all of which are classified. “The mission is basically top secret,” says Captain Chris Hoyler, an Air Force spokesman. Marco Caceres, a space analyst with Teal Group, says the Air Force is most likely interested in having a surveillance platform that can “maneuver in orbit faster” than satellites. The Air Force appears to be planning a future for the program. Speculation has flourished online about what the government is doing. Theories range from surveillance to [developing] the platform for a new generation of kinetic weapons that can be used from space [to] testing the craft so it can eventually drop special-forces soldiers from space to anywhere on the planet, within minutes.

Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about government secrecy from reliable major media sources.


Scientists Create Very First Solar Battery that Stores its Own Power
2014-10-03, Science World Report
http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/17672/20141003/scientists-create-v...

Scientists may have created the very first solar battery. Researchers have succeeded in combining a battery and a solar cell into one hybrid device, which could be huge in terms of renewable energy capture and storage. "The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy," said Yiying Wu, one of the researchers, in a news release. "We've integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost." The key to the new device is a mesh solar panel, which allows air to enter the battery. There's also a special process for transferring electrons between the solar panel and the battery electrode; inside the device, light and oxygen enable different parts of the chemical reactions that charge the battery. "Basically, it's a breathing battery," said Wu. "It breathes in air when it discharges, and breathes out when it charges." The mesh solar panel forms the first electrode. Beneath the mesh is a thin sheet of porous carbon, which acts as the second electrode, and a lithium plate, which acts as the third electrode. Between the electrodes are layers of electrolyte to carry electrons back and forth. During charging, light hits the mesh solar panel and creates electrons. Then inside the battery, electrons are involved in the chemical decomposition of lithium peroxide into lithium ions and oxygen. The oxygen is released into the air, and the lithium ions are stored in the battery as lithium metal after capturing the electrons. The findings could be huge in terms of creating sustainable energy for powering a variety of devices. Currently, the researchers are continuing to move forward in improving the efficiency of the battery and the amount of power the panel can absorb and convert. The findings are published in the journal Nature.

Note: For astounding major media articles on new energy inventions which have gotten very little press, explore this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Is this heart-shaped solar farm the world's most beautiful power plant?
2014-09-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/25/is-this-heart-shaped-solar...

An extraordinary heart-shaped solar farm is set to be built on the Pacific island of New Caledonia. The 2MW "Heart of New Caledonia" is being built by solar company Conergy and should start producing power for 750 homes from early next year. The plant ... is expected to save around 2m tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over its projected 25-year lifetime and reduce the French overseas territory's dependence on oil, gas and coal. The eye-catching heart shaped installation is made up of 7,888 panels across the four-acre site on Grand Terre, New Caledonia's largest island, with the design only visible from the air. The design is inspired by the "Coeur de Voh", or "Heart of Voh", an area of nearby wild mangrove vegetation that has naturally taken the shape of a heart. The "Coeur de Voh" gained worldwide recognition thanks to the aerial photography of environmental campaigner Yann Arthus-Bertrand in the best-selling book, The Earth from Above. David McCallum, managing director of Conergy Australia, said, "The 'Coeur de Voh' is an important landmark for the people of New Caledonia, and shows just how extraordinary nature can be. The 'Heart of New Caledonia' solar plant will be its man-made double, a landmark for clean power generation. It will also probably be the world's first beautiful PV plant, and perhaps the first beautiful power station of any description, anywhere on the planet."

Note: See a photo of this beautiful solar array at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Snowden Honored With 'Alternative Nobel'
2014-09-24, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/snowden-honored-alternative-nob...

Edward Snowden was among the winners Wednesday of a Swedish human rights award, sometimes referred to as the "alternative Nobel," for his disclosures of top secret surveillance programs. The decision to honor the former National Security Agency contractor with the Right Livelihood Award appeared to cause a diplomatic headache for Sweden's Foreign Ministry, which withdrew the prize jury's permission to use its media room for the announcement. Snowden split the honorary portion of the award with Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, which has published a series of articles on government surveillance based on documents leaked by Snowden. The award foundation cited Snowden's "courage and skill" in revealing the extent of government surveillance and praised Rusbridger "for building a global media organization dedicated to responsible journalism in the public interest." Created in 1980, the annual Right Livelihood Award honors efforts that founder Jacob von Uexkull felt were being ignored by the Nobel Prizes. Snowden, who has reportedly also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, remains exiled in Russia since leaking top secret NSA documents to journalists last year. He has been charged under the U.S. Espionage Act and could face up to 30 years in prison. Though the honorary award doesn't include any money, the foundation would offer to help pay Snowden's legal costs. Von Uexkull said the foundation was denied access to the Swedish Foreign Ministry's media room, where it has announced the awards since 1995, after it gave the ministry advance notice of the winners.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Why Zephyr Teachout can claim victory after losing by 30 points
2014-09-11, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/11/why-zephyr-teachou...

Zephyr Teachout took only 34 percent of the vote in [2014's] Democratic primary against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, but she succeeded in bringing her old-fashioned populist platform to the attention of the media and a broad audience of voters. Outside of New York, of course, it's still only a few people who have had exposure to Teachout's unusual political views. The Fordham University law professor has consistently argued -- on the stump and in her academic work -- that the government should do more to ensure free competition, both in elections and in the economy. She is calling for more aggressive government in these areas, but to the end of decentralizing political and financial power. Public financing of campaigns was one of two main planks in her platform. The other plank was a renewed commitment to preventing monopolies and oligopolies in business. She argues that in industries from health care to banking to meat processing, policies adopted during the Reagan administration have permitted mergers and acquisitions resulting in the concentration of market power in the hands of a few firms. As a result ... consumers pay higher prices and workers are paid less, and large firms can lobby in a coordinated way for legislative protection from would-be competitors. As Democrats decide on a compelling agenda to rally voters in 2016 ... the ideas Teachout has advocated could be appealing.

Note: Learn how Teachout spent 1/40th of what her opponent did in the elections, yet she still gained over 30% of the vote. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections news articles from reliable major media sources.


Elizabeth Warren: The market is broken
2014-09-05, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2014/09/05/news/economy/elizabeth-warren-market-broken/i...

Senator Elizabeth Warren ... believes the most important [problem] to solve is how to get the American economy working for someone other than billionaires. It's a message she's been taking all over the country, and she isn't afraid to call banks, credit card companies and some employers cheats and tricksters. "The biggest financial institutions figured out they could make a lot of money by cheating people on mortgages, credit cards and payday loans," she told a packed auditorium at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, where she spoke alongside New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. The biggest applause of the night was on three issues that come up frequently in Warren's speeches. 1) Financial regulation: Warren was the driving force behind the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the 2008 financial crisis. The agency has returned billions of dollars to Americans who were wronged. 2) Reducing student loans: Last summer Warren made headlines for arguing that student loans should have the same interest rates that banks get when they borrow money from the Federal Reserve. As she likes to remind people, "Student loans issued from 2007 to 2012 are on target to produce $66 billion in profit for the United States government." 3) Raising the minimum wage: "No one should work full time and still live in poverty," Warren said. Her other big push is for basic worker rights.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.


30 Years Later, 2 Men's Convictions Overturned in Rape-Murder
2014-09-03, NBC News/Associated Press
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/55979430/ns/us_news/t/nc-mens-convictions-overturne...

One of North Carolina's longest-serving death-row inmates and his half brother are being freed after three decades in prison after another man's DNA was discovered on a cigarette butt left near the body of a girl the siblings were convicted of killing. On Tuesday, a judge overturned the convictions of Henry McCollum, 50, and Leon Brown, 46, in the 1983 rape and murder of Sabrina Buie, citing the new evidence that they didn't commit the crime. The ruling is the latest twist in a notorious legal case that began with what defense attorneys said were coerced confessions from two scared teenagers with low IQs. McCollum was 19 at the time and Brown was 15. Defense lawyers petitioned for their release after a recent analysis from the butt pointed to another man who lived near the soybean field where Buie's body was found in Robeson County. That man is already serving a life sentence for a similar rape and murder that happened less than a month later. The DNA from the cigarette butts doesn't match Brown or McCollum, and fingerprints taken from a beer can at the scene aren't theirs either, attorneys say. No physical evidence connects them to the crime. Ken Rose, a senior staff attorney at the Center for Death Penalty Litigation in Durham, has represented Henry McCollum for 20 years. "It's terrifying that our justice system allowed two intellectually disabled children to go to prison for a crime they had nothing to do with, and then to suffer there for 30 years," Rose said.

Note: How many thousands of innocent people have been executed or given life sentences like this? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prisons news articles from reliable major media sources.


Whistleblower Claims CDC Covered Up Data Showing Vaccine-Autism Link
2014-08-28, Time
http://time.com/3208886/whistleblower-claims-cdc-covered-up-data-showing-vacc...

There’s a war going on between those who believe in the health benefits of vaccines ... and those that believe that the immunizations do more harm than good. Now one of the authors of a 2004 government study that found similar vaccination rates among children with and without autism says the study omitted some important data. William Thompson, a senior scientist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and one of the authors of a 2004 study published in the journal Pediatrics, spoke with Brain Hooker, who serves on the board of Focus Autism (which was founded to “put an end to the needless harm of children by vaccination and other environmental factors”), about the data that was not included in the final report. Hooker and Thompson ... discussed a subset of the 624 children with autism and 1824 without the condition who were studied. Thompson admitted that among African-American boys, the incidence of autism was higher among those who were vaccinated than among those who weren’t. But that information was not part of the paper. Did the CDC cover up the data? Thompson claims that the findings were statistically significant, but ... that the way that the 2004 study was presented does not negate the importance of vaccination, [and that] the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.

Note: Thompson claims he was not aware that the discussion was being recorded, and his statements appeared in a video released on YouTube on August 22 entitled “CDC Whistleblower Revealed.” For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Judge orders FBI to investigate witness tampering
2014-08-25, Miami Herald
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/08/25/4308448/judge-orders-fbi-to-investigate...

A federal judge has ordered the FBI to scrutinize allegations that the agency pressured a witness not to testify in a trial about videos related to the Oklahoma City bombing. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said the agency needs to get to the bottom of the claims from Utah lawyer Jesse Trentadue, who said that the FBI threatened to cut off a former government operative's benefits if he appeared in court. Waddoups decided the lawyer's report raises disturbing questions, and he wanted evidence that the agency has thoroughly investigated the matter. Waddoups ordered the attorneys to present the results of the witness-tampering investigation on Nov. 13. The hearing is the latest in a case that reignited questions about whether others were involved in the bombing that killed 168 people. Trentadue argues surveillance videos from 1995 show Timothy McVeigh had an accomplice. The agency says its investigators have done a reasonable search and found no evidence of additional unreleased videos. [John] Matthews was supposed to testify during a late July bench trial, but Trentadue argued that he backed out at the last minute because the FBI threatened to cut off his veteran's and disability benefits. Trentadue said Matthews was part of a stealth government operation before the Oklahoma City bombing tracking militia movements of which McVeigh was a part, and his testimony could support the idea that there was a second suspect. Matthews told him and a colleague that he had been pressured in phone calls just before and after he was supposed to testify, the lawyer said.

Note: Many aspects of the Oklahoma City bombing were covered up. For a compilation of media videos showing without doubt that there were other bombs in the building which later were completely ignored, click here. For other major media articles showing major manipulation, click here click here, here, and here.


Revolution in use of resources in order to meet demand
2014-08-16, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Revolution-in-use-of-resources-in-orde...

For years, pundits have warned that the world's soaring population ... will usher in an age of scarcity. We already have a hard time supplying 7 billion people with food, with energy, with water. What happens when we hit 9 billion, the Earth's projected population in 2050? Stefan Heck and Matt Rogers say the resources are there - and the way we use them is about to undergo radical change. In their new book, Resource Revolution, they argue that information technology and advanced materials science, combined with new business models, will enable companies and societies to do far more with far less. It will be, they claim, a jump in productivity and efficiency greater than anything seen before. Heck, who teaches resource economics at Stanford University, and Rogers, a director of the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, spoke with The Chronicle. Q: So current forecasts call for the world to add 2 billion people by 2050. Do we have the resources to give them a decent standard of living? Rogers: Take an example California faces right now - water. If you look at the next 20 years, we need to double the economic output for every unit of water we use. The good news is, in agriculture, we have a set of technologies where we can get much higher yields with the water that's available. Q: How about energy? Rogers: This resource revolution affects both how we produce and consume energy. With the dramatic increases in fuel economy we're seeing, from electrification and hybrids but also improvements in the internal combustion energy, you see an ability to improve the use of energy.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing energy news articles from reliable major media sources.


Girl Saved By Her Puppy After Spending 11 Days Lost In The Siberian Wilderness
2014-08-14, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/girl-saved-by-her-puppy-siberia_n_56...

What's more adorable than a puppy? A life-saving puppy, of course. That's especially true of the pup named Kyrachaan, who rescued Karina Chikitova, a 3-year-old girl from northeast Russia's Sakha Republic. Thanks to her dog, Chikitova is recovering safely after spending 11 days in the Siberian wilderness. Kyrachaan, meaning "little one," was with Chikitova when she got lost and is believed to have cuddled with the girl at night to keep her warm. After nine days, the dog went in search of help. The Siberian Times reports that the young girl ended up in the remote area after wandering away from home in search of her father, who had left for a nearby village. As a result, her mother -- believing Karina to have gone with her father -- didn't realize the girl was lost in the woods. Karina survived on wild berries and river water and seems to have escaped any run-ins with the bears and wolves inhabiting the area. According to the Toronto Sun, the girl "looked surprisingly well" when rescuers showed up, having followed the puppy to her hiding spot in a large tuft of grass. The girl was taken to a hospital to recover.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Kalamazoo Cop Pulls Over Choking Woman, Saves Her Life
2014-08-14, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/14/cop-saves-choking-woman_n_5677448.html

What started as a routine traffic stop on Saturday turned out to be a life-saving moment for one Michigan woman. At the time the unidentified driver was pulled over, she was choking. And the officer who stopped her saved her life in a scene caught on his dashcam, which you can see [on the webpage at the link] above. "For the first second or so I thought she might be trying to just get out of a ticket and then I realized she was in legitimate respiratory distress, so I tried to dislodge the item from her throat by just hitting her on the back," Officer Jason Gates said at a press conference, according to MLive.com. "When that didn't work, I got her out and I used the Heimlich for the first time in my nine-year police career and it worked," he said. With three hard abdominal thrusts, Gates dislodged a piece of sausage and bun, WOODTV reported. When she could breathe again, the grateful driver cried and hugged the officer. He did not give her a ticket. "Most of the times, traffic stops are a negative for people, but it's something we have to do," Gates was quoted as saying. "It does keep people safe, not only in slowing people down and keeping traffic safe, but in rare instances like this.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Hemp fibres 'better than graphene'
2014-08-13, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28770876

"People ask me: why hemp? I say, why not?" said Dr David Mitlin of Clarkson University, New York, who describes his device in the journal ACS Nano. "We're making graphene-like materials for a thousandth of the price - and we're doing it with waste. ... the leftover bast fibre - the inner bark - typically ends up as landfill. "You can do really interesting things with bio-waste. We've pretty much figured out the secret sauce of it," said Dr Mitlin. The trick is to tailor the right plant fibre to the right electrical device - according to their organic structure. "With banana peels, you can turn them into a dense block of carbon - we call it pseudo-graphite - and that's great for sodium ion batteries," he explained. "But if you look at hemp fibre its structure is the opposite - it makes sheets with high surface area - and that's very conducive to supercapacitors." Mitlin's peer-reviewed journal paper ranks the device "on par with or better than commercial graphene-based devices". "They work down to 0C and display some of the best power-energy combinations reported in the literature for any carbon. Fully assembled, their energy density is 12 Wh/kg, which can be achieved at a charge time less than six seconds. "Obviously hemp can't do all the things graphene can," Dr Mitlin concedes. "But for energy storage, it works just as well. And it costs a fraction of the price – $500-1,000 a tonne."

Note: For more about the amazing properties of graphene, read this CNN News Article.


For some firms, NSA eavesdropping means business
2014-08-12, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/For-some-firms-NSA-eavesdropping-mea...

To many Americans, online eavesdropping by the U.S. National Security Agency is an outrage, a threat to privacy and freedom. To some, it's a business opportunity. A small but growing number of companies have introduced Internet and communications services designed to shield users from the government's eyes. A few even advertise their products as "NSA-proof." Many of the companies have been offering encrypted online services for years, scrambling their customers' data and communications in ways that require the right computer-generated "key" to decode. They are at least as concerned with thwarting private hackers and corporate spies as they are with blocking federal agents. But some entrepreneurs in the field found motivation in the NSA, after learning that the agency has been collecting troves of Internet and phone data on ordinary citizens for years. "Privacy and democracy go hand in hand - that's why this is so important," said Jason Stockman, one of the creators of ProtonMail, which began offering an encrypted e-mail service in May. "Our goal is to protect people against mass surveillance." But most companies will quickly admit that if the NSA - or some foreign intelligence service - really wants your data, they can't guarantee protection. Since the NSA conducts its business in secret, its full capabilities remain a matter of speculation. Most companies that invoke the NSA in their marketing focus on encryption.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.


Girl, Previously Thought Dead, Reunited With Family 10 Years After Indian Ocean Tsunami
2014-08-08, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/08/girl-reunited-parents-tsunami-ten-ye...

Until Wednesday, Raudhatul Jannah's parents hadn't seen their daughter for 10 years. Jannah was just 4 years old when she and her brother were swept from their parents in the massive Indian Ocean tsunami which inundated Southeast Asia on Dec. 26, 2004, killing upwards of 230,000 people across 14 countries. In the immediate aftermath, Raudhatul's mother, Jamaliah, ... and her husband searched for their children in their area of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, for a month before giving up hope of finding them alive. In June of this year, however, Jamaliah's brother encountered a girl in a nearby village who bore a strong resemblance to Jannnah. After the tsunami a fisherman had rescued Jannnah from a group of remote islands; she had been living with the fisherman's mother ever since. Nearly a decade after they were ripped apart, Jannnah (now 14) was finally back in her mother's arms. "My heart beat so fast when I saw her," Jamaliah [said]. "I hugged her and she hugged me back and felt so comfortable in my arms." "My husband and I are very happy we have found her," Jamaliah [said].. "This is a miracle from God.” And the news gets better: Jannnah says her brother, who was 7 at the time of the tsunami, is likely alive as well, since the two were briefly stranded together on a nearby island. The family plans to mount a search for the boy.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Space Engine Breaks Laws of Physics?
2014-08-05, Popular Mechanics
http://www.popularmechanics.com/how-to/blog/pmam-impossible-space-engine-2482607

NASA has tested a microwave thruster that seemingly violates the law of conservation of momentum. Originally reported by Wired, the technology bounces microwaves around to create thrust. British engineer Roger Shawyer designed the original and dubbed it the Emdrive. If the Emdrive actually works, it could be a game changer in the spacecraft business because it doesn't require propellant. Propellant is heavy, and once a spacecraft runs out of it, it loses the ability to change direction. Space historian Amy Shira Teitel makes an interesting point on the website Motherboard: "If a spacecraft, say a deep space probe like New Horizons, which is less than a year from its encounter with Pluto, didn’t need propellant, that extra weight and space could be devoted to scientific instruments, larger solar arrays, or a larger power source." Last year, a Chinese team made an Emdrive and reported that they had created enough thrust to move a small satellite. NASA spent eight days testing an Emdrive that was built by Guido Fetta, an inventor based out of the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The lab detected a thrust of 30-50 microNewtons, about 1/20 of what the Chinese team measured. On a side note, the NASA lab doing the testing is the same one that is trying to develop the Alcubierre warp drive, another pie-in-the-sky idea. We'll know more once NASA publishes everything (right now, only the abstract is available) and outside experts weigh in on the experiment and data.

Note: For more along these lines, see a related summary about NASA's attempts to make a ship that travels through space without propellant, and read more about new energy technology.


TD Bank surprises customers and scores a viral video hit
2014-07-31, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2014/07/31/news/companies/td-bank-video

Why pay good money to release an advertisement when a viral video will do the trick? It worked for Canada-based TD Bank, which has a viral hit on its hands after filming customers who were surprised when an ATM spit out gifts -- very personal ones. In an effort to tell the world that the bank really knows its customers it turned one of its ATMs into what it called an "automatic thanking machine." The promotional video went viral, with more than 3.8 million views after just a week on YouTube. One woman received airline tickets to Trinidad so she can visit her only daughter, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Another mom got $2,000 to start savings plans for her two children, as well as tickets to take them to Disney Land. The recipient was ecstatic. "I've never been able to take my kids anywhere," she said. TD Bank (TD) customer Mike Jobin, a big baseball fan, got a Blue Jays hat and tee and the chance to throw out the first pitch at one of the team's games. The special ATM was located at a branch in Canada, where employees helped design the personalized gifts, the bank said in a statement. TD also gave away $20 bills to some customers at other TD locations.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Underground Lab Tackles Japan Nuclear Waste Issue
2014-07-14, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/underground-lab-tackles-japan-n...

Reindeer farms and grazing Holstein cows dot a vast stretch of rolling green pasture here on Japan's northern tip. Underground it's a different story. Workers and scientists have carved a sprawling laboratory deep below this sleep dairy town that, despite government reassurances, some of Horonobe's 2,500 residents fear could turn their neighborhood into a nuclear waste storage site. Japanese utilities have more than 17,000 tons of "spent" fuel rods that have finished their useful life but will remain dangerously radioactive for thousands of years. What to do with them is a vexing problem that nuclear-powered nations around the world face, and that has come to the fore as Japan debates whether to keep using nuclear energy after the 2011 disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s Fukushima plant. The answer to that problem may lie in the Horonobe Underground Research Center, which has been collecting geological data to determine if and how radioactive waste can be stored safely for as long as 100,000 years in a country that is susceptible to volcanic activity, earthquakes and shifting underground water flows. But as with America's doomed Yucca Mountain project, finding a community willing to host a radioactive dump site is proving difficult, even with a raft of financial enticements. One mayor expressed interest in 2007, and was booted from office in the next election.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.


Rikers: Where Mental Illness Meets Brutality in Jail
2014-07-14, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/14/nyregion/rikers-study-finds-prisoners-injur...

Brutal attacks by correction officers on inmates — particularly those with mental health issues — are common occurrences inside Rikers [Island], the country’s second-largest jail. Reports of such abuses have seldom reached the outside world, even as alarm has grown this year over conditions at the sprawling jail complex. A dearth of whistle-blowers, coupled with the reluctance of the city’s Department of Correction to acknowledge the problem and the fact that guards are rarely punished, has kept the full extent of the violence hidden from public view. But [in a four-month-long investigation, The New York Times has] uncovered details on scores of assaults through interviews with current and former inmates, correction officers and mental health clinicians at the jail, and by reviewing hundreds of pages of legal, investigative and jail records. Among the documents obtained ... was a secret internal study completed this year by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which handles medical care at Rikers, on violence by officers. The report helps lay bare the culture of brutality on the island and makes clear that it is inmates with mental illnesses who absorb the overwhelming brunt of the violence. The study ... found that over an 11-month period last year, 129 inmates suffered “serious injuries” — ones beyond the capacity of doctors at the jail’s clinics to treat — in altercations with correction department staff members. The report cataloged in exacting detail the severity of injuries suffered by inmates: fractures, wounds requiring stitches, head injuries and the like. But it also explored who the victims were. Most significantly, 77 percent of the seriously injured inmates had received a mental illness diagnosis.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing prisons corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.


Taking autistic kids out to a ball game
2014-06-19, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/19/living/cnnheroes-ross/index.html

For many families, a night at the ballpark is a treat. But it can be a nightmare for those with autistic children. Autism causes a greater sensitivity to environmental stimulation. So the lights, music and roar of the crowd can trigger a severe meltdown that is difficult to anticipate and control. "They're frustrated and they're scared and they're just overwhelmed," said Debra Forman, whose 8-year-old son, Adam, has autism. "You have to ask yourself if it's worth it." Dr. Wendy Ross was heartbroken to hear stories like this from families. The developmental pediatrician also knew that isolation didn't serve her patients well in the long run. "If kids are not in the community, building their skills from very young ages, then there's no reason to expect them to be independent one day," Ross said. "It's a social disability. It needs to be addressed in a social setting." So in 2007, Ross set out to do just that. Today, her nonprofit, Autism Inclusion Resources, helps families affected by autism navigate challenging social situations, such as airport travel, sporting events and museum visits. Ross partnered with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2012 to develop an innovative program. She armed all the Phillies game day employees -- approximately 3,000 people -- with knowledge about autism and how to interact with individuals who have the disorder. Now, everyone from the ticket takers to the hot dog vendors ... help create an atmosphere where families feel supported. Each family is ... provided a clinician at the game who gives additional support if problems arise. For Forman, having the professional assistance was a huge relief.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Chelsea Manning breaks silence, accuses U.S. of lying about Iraq
2014-06-15, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/15/us/nyt-chelsea-manning

A U.S. soldier imprisoned for leaking documents to WikiLeaks broke her silence in a fiery editorial accusing the United States of lying about Iraq. Chelsea [formerly Bradley] Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison in 2013 for leaking 750,000 pages of classified documents to the anti-secrecy group. Manning has stayed out of the limelight since the conviction. But she was back Saturday, with an opinion piece titled "The Fog Machine of War" in The New York Times. In it, she accuses the U.S. media of looking the other way when chaos and corruption reigned in Iraq and Afghanistan. "I believe that the current limits on press freedom and excessive government secrecy make it impossible for Americans to grasp fully what is happening in the wars we finance." She said that during the 2010 elections in Iraq, the media duped the world into thinking that all was well. "You might remember that the American press was flooded with stories declaring the elections a success, complete with upbeat anecdotes and photographs of Iraqi women proudly displaying their ink-stained fingers," she wrote. "The subtext was that United States military operations had succeeded in creating a stable and democratic Iraq. Those of us stationed there were acutely aware of a more complicated reality." She said at the time, she got regular reports detailing security forces' crackdown against dissidents "on behalf" of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. "I was shocked by our military's complicity in the corruption of that election," she said. "Yet these deeply troubling details flew under the American media's radar."

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war crimes news articles from reliable major media sources.


U.S. Health Care Ranked Worst in the Developed World
2014-06-06, Time
http://time.com/2888403/americahealth-care-ranked-worst-in-the-developed-world/

The U.S. health care system has been subject to heated debate over the past decade, but one thing that has remained consistent is the level of performance, which has been ranked as the worst among industrialized nations for the fifth time, according to the 2014 Commonwealth Fund survey 2014. The Commonwealth Fund report compares the U.S. with 10 other nations: France, Australia, Germany, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the U.K. were all judged to be superior based on various factors. These include quality of care, access to doctors and equity throughout the country. Although the U.S. has the most expensive health care system in the world, the nation ranks lowest in terms of “efficiency, equity and outcomes,” according to the report. One of the most piercing revelations is that the high rate of expenditure for insurance is not commensurate to the satisfaction of patients or quality of service. High out-of-pocket costs and gaps in coverage “undermine efforts in the U.S. to improve care coordination,” the report summarized. “Disparities in access to services signal the need to expand insurance to cover the uninsured and to ensure that all Americans have an accessible medical home,” it said. A lack of universal health care was noted as the key difference between the U.S. and the other industrial nations.

Note: By 2025, health care spending in the US is expected to reach nearly 20% of GDP. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.


No more liberal apologies as Elizabeth Warren takes the offensive
2014-05-18, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-no-more-liberal-apologies-as...

Elizabeth Warren is cast as many things: a populist, a left-winger, the paladin against the bankers and the rich, the Democrats’ alternative to Hillary Clinton, the policy wonk with a heart. The senior senator from Massachusetts is certainly a populist and her heart is with those foreclosed upon and exploited by shady financial practices. But she is not nearly as left-wing as many say — she can offer a strong defense of capitalism that’s usually overlooked. She is, above all, a lawyer who knows how to make arguments. From the time she first came to public attention, Warren has been challenging conservative presumptions embedded so deeply in our discourse that we barely notice them. Where others equivocate, she fights back with common sense. Since the Reagan era, Democrats have been so determined to show how pro-market and pro-business they are that they’ve shied away from pointing out that markets could not exist without government, that the well-off depend on the state to keep their wealth secure and that participants in the economy rely on government to keep the marketplace on the level and to temper the business cycle’s gyrations. Warren doesn’t back away from any of these facts. In her new book, A Fighting Chance, she recalls the answer she gave to a voter during a living-room gathering in Andover, Mass., that quickly went viral. “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own,” she said. “Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate."

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Florida Couple Fined, Threatened with Jail for Feeding Homeless
2014-05-12, NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/florida-couple-fined-threatened-jail-feed...

A Florida couple who retired from their management jobs to care for the poor vowed ... to wage a tenacious legal fight days after being fined more than $300 each for violating a local law. Debbie and Chico Jimenez openly admit committing the act that earned them two citations apiece: feeding more than 100 people who are homeless in Daytona Beach. Police in Daytona Beach also threatened them with arrest and incarceration, if they offer any more of their home-cooked meals at Manatee Island Park, a gathering the Jimenezes say they’ve hosted every Wednesday for the past year. Debbie Jimenez, 52, a retired auto parts store manager ... and her husband, 60, a retired construction manager, operate [the] New Smyrna Beach-based ministry called Spreading the Word Without Saying a Word. “We were given 10 days to either pay the fine or tell them we're going to court. We’re going to court. The police don’t like it. But how can we turn our backs on the hungry? We can’t,” [Debbie Jimenez said]. In all, police officers ticketed six people, including four volunteers who helped the Jimenezes on Wednesday – one of them, a man in a wheelchair who recently escaped homelessness and participated “to pay it forward,” Debbie Jimenez said. The fines levied by authorities total $2,238. Daytona Beach is not alone among cities that formally and legally restrict non-governmental individuals who seek to share food with homeless people in public or private spaces, according to a report co-released by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Trying to Salvage Remains of Blackwater Case
2014-05-12, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/12/us/trying-to-salvage-remains-of-blackwater-...

Whether it concerns bankers after the crisis in 2008 or the shooting of innocent civilians by American contractors in Iraq, the prosecution does not seem to be up to the task. [The fatal] shooting [of 17 people by Blackwater Worldwide mercenaries] in Nisour Square [Baghdad in Oct. 2007] became a signature moment in the Iraq war. Five Blackwater security guards were indicted on manslaughter and weapons charges, and a sixth entered a plea deal to testify against his former colleagues. But over the years, a case that once seemed so clear-cut has been repeatedly undermined by the government’s own mistakes. Prosecutors are trying to hold together what is left of it. But charges against one contractor were dropped last year because of a lack of evidence. And the government suffered another self-inflicted setback in April when a federal appeals court ruled that the prosecution had missed a deadline and allowed the statute of limitations to expire against a second contractor. The [episode inflamed] anti-American sentiment abroad and helped cement the image of Blackwater, whose security guards were involved in scores of shootings, as a trigger-happy company that operated with impunity because of its lucrative contracts with the American government. “As citizens, we need to ask why our government fails to achieve any accountability for such blatant wrongdoing,” said Susan Burke, a lawyer who represented Iraqi victims of the Nisour Square shooting in a lawsuit that Blackwater settled by paying an undisclosed amount. “The ongoing delays and mistakes undermine any confidence in the system.”

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


French parliament bans cultivation of GM maize
2014-04-15, Reuters
http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/15/us-france-gmo-idUSBREA3E1NY20140415

France's lower house of parliament adopted a law on [April 15] prohibiting the cultivation of any variety of genetically modified maize, saying it posed a risk to the environment. France adopted a decree last month to halt the planting of Monsanto's insect-resistant MON810 maize, the only GM crop allowed for cultivation in the European Union. The law also applies to any strain adopted at EU level in future, including another GM variety, Pioneer 1507 developed jointly by DuPont and Dow Chemical, which could be approved by the EU executive later this year after 19 out of 28 member states failed to gather enough votes to block it. The Socialist government, like its conservative predecessor, has opposed the growing of GM crops because of public suspicion and widespread protests by environmentalists. Jean-Marie Le Guen, the minister in charge of relations with parliament, told the National Assembly, "This bill strengthens the decree passed last March by preventing the immediate cultivation of GMO and extending their reach to all transgenic maize varieties." A debate on the future of GM policy is going on at EU level, with the European Commission suggesting an opt-out that would allow individual countries to ban such crops. Le Guen called for a stable EU system that would ensure member states' decisions could not be challenged legally.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Jimmy Carter Talks About Iran, Campus Rape, Jesus Christ and the Paintings of W
2014-04-10, Time Magazine
http://time.com/56770/jimmy-carter-jesus-christ-iran-putin-clinton-kerry/

After speaking [on April 8] at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, [former President Jimmy] Carter spoke with TIME by phone about his recent [activities] and his recent book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power.You say in A Call to Action that Jesus Christ was the greatest liberator of women in his culture. Why was that? One of the examples that he set invariably in every word and deed of his life was to emphasize the equality of women and even to exalt women well beyond any status they had enjoyed in any previous decades or centuries or even since then. What could the U.S. do better to address human trafficking? [In the US] for every brothel owner or pimp or male customer, there are 50 girls who are arrested for being prostitutes. Other countries have tried the other way around, and it works beautifully. Sweden is the No. 1 example that other countries are now emulating, where they bring the charges against the brothel owners and the pimps and the male customers, and they do not prosecute the girls, who quite often are brought into that trade involuntarily. You said last week that “the U.S. is the No. 1 warmonger on earth”. Yes, it is. It has been. You can look at the record: ever since the United Nations was formed after the Second World War, the United States has almost constantly been at war somewhere. There are about 30 countries where we have initiated armed conflict.


Secret Spaceplane, Mystery Mission
2014-04-07, Yahoo News/The Daily Beast
http://news.yahoo.com/secret-spaceplane-mystery-mission-094500663--politics.html

The Air Force’s secret space plane has been up in orbit for nearly 500 days—a space endurance record. But nearly a year and a half into the mission, the Pentagon still won’t say what the X-37B is doing up there, or when it might come back. The U.S. Air Force boosted the robotic X-37B atop the nose of an Atlas-5 rocket in December 2012. Since then it’s orbited the Earth thousands of times, overflying such interesting places as North Korea and Iran. The U.S. Air Force will not comment on what kind of missions the X-37B does in space. The service, which doesn’t mind talking about the space drone as a technological achievement, clams up when discussing actual missions. Brian Weeden, a former Air Force officer with the Space Command’s Joint Space Operations Center and now at the Secure World Foundation, believes that the X-37B is primarily a test bed for new technologies. “I think it is primarily an ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platform for testing new sensor technologies or validating new technologies.” Weeden [said]. “The current [flight] has basically been in the same orbit since launch, with only the occasional maneuver to maintain that orbit. That’s consistent with a remote sensing/ISR mission.” The X-37B is probably testing technologies that might be incorporated into the spy satellites of the future. New cameras, radars, and other sensors could be tested in space and then brought back to Earth for study.

Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Ruling Spurs Rush for Cash in Both Parties
2014-04-05, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/05/us/politics/ruling-sets-off-a-bipartisan-ru...

As constitutional scholars digest the [Supreme Court’s latest decision freeing donors to spend more money on campaigns], it has already set off a bipartisan scramble for campaign cash, thrusting party leaders, lawmakers with leadership PACs, and candidates into a fierce competition. The ruling allows donors to make the maximum contribution to an unlimited number of campaigns, freeing donors from caps that required them to pick and prioritize from among each party’s candidates and national committees. And while the decision could inject tens of millions of additional dollars into the 2014 races, it has also left some candidates and party leaders with a new concern: that the biggest donors will get tired of writing new checks. Fund-raisers and donors in both parties said they had begun to get a wave of tentative and not-so-tentative requests for new checks or future commitments, as the leaders of the parties’ congressional wings compete with each other and with the Republican and Democratic National Committees. All are focusing on a relatively limited group of donors in both parties who appeared to have given the maximum allowed or come close to the old cap — the people most likely to write additional checks after [the court’s] decision.

Note: For more on corruption in the US electoral process, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


US criticised by UN for human rights failings on NSA, guns and drones
2014-03-13, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/13/us-un-human-rights-abuses-nsa-dr...

The US came under sharp criticism at the UN human rights committee in Geneva on [March 13] for a long list of human rights abuses that included everything from detention without charge at Guantánamo, drone strikes and NSA surveillance, to the death penalty, rampant gun violence and endemic racial inequality. The experts raised questions about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of digital communications in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations. The committee’s 18 experts [are] charged with upholding the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), a UN treaty that the US ratified in 1992. The US came under sustained criticism for its global counter-terrorism tactics, including the use of unmanned drones to kill al-Qaida suspects, and its transfer of detainees to third countries that might practice torture, such as Algeria. Committee members also highlighted the Obama administration’s failure to prosecute any of the officials responsible for permitting waterboarding and other “enhanced interrogation” techniques under the previous administration. Walter Kälin, a Swiss international human rights lawyer who sits on the committee, attacked the US government’s refusal to recognise the convention’s mandate over its actions beyond its own borders. The US has asserted since 1995 that the ICCPR does not apply to US actions beyond its borders - and has used that “extra-territoriality” claim to justify its actions in Guantánamo and in conflict zones.

Note: How sad that it appears this news was not reported in any major US media.


U.S. stores say no to genetically engineered salmon
2014-03-03, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-gmo-salmon-20140303,0,873900....

The nation’s two largest conventional grocery chains, Kroger and Safeway, have announced that they will not sell genetically engineered salmon. They join several other chains, including Target, Whole Foods ... and Trader Joe’s. The Food and Drug Administration has not yet decided whether to approve the salmon, with DNA retooled so that the fish grow twice as fast as conventional salmon. The FDA’s final decision on the fish has been expected for a long time, and there is speculation that the agency has been holding off mainly because it knows that the public is inclined to look suspiciously on the new product. Consumer groups have taken matters into their own hands by appealing to food markets not to carry the fish, and they’re obviously having some notable successes. The other markets should fall in line; they don’t need these salmon in their fish departments in order to succeed, and, in fact, they stand a good chance of turning off consumers who worry about making over the DNA of an animal that, for all the fish farms, is essentially a wild creature.

Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Why The 'Non-GMO' Label Is Organic's Frenemy
2014-02-28, NPR blog
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/02/28/283460420/why-the-non-gmo-label-i...

It's easy to think of "organic" and "non-GMO" as the best buddies of food. They sit comfortably beside each other in the same grocery stores — most prominently, in Whole Foods Market. Culturally, they also seem to occupy the same space. Both reject aspects of mainstream industrial agriculture. In fact, the movement to eliminate genetically modified crops — GMOs — from food is turning out to be organic's false friend. The non-GMO label has become a cheaper alternative to organic. "More and more, there's concern [among organic food companies] that they created a monster," says Mark Kastel, a pro-organic activist who's co-founder of the Cornucopia Institute. No food retailer likes high costs. If it can offer a cheaper product that attracts the same consumers, it will do it. According to Kastel, that's how Whole Foods and others are using non-GMO labels. "This is a potent marketing vehicle designed to blur the line between organic and nonorganic," he says. David Bruce, director of eggs, meat, produce and soy for Organic Valley, a major organic food company, says the non-GMO labels "definitely" are diverting some consumers away from organic food. "We call it trading down," he says. Bruce says organic companies need to draw a clear line that sets organics apart from any alternatives. "The goal is to educate consumers that 'non-GMO' or 'natural' products are not 100 percent the same as an organic product," he says.

Note: For more on the risks from GMO foods, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Indiana Woman Sues US Customs Over Detention
2014-02-20, CBS Cleveland
http://cleveland.cbslocal.com/2014/02/20/indiana-woman-sues-us-customs-over-d...

An Indiana University faculty member has sued two U.S. customs agents for detaining her after the government eavesdropped on emails she exchanged with a Greek friend. The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit [on February 19] alleging the customs agents violated Christine Von Der Haar’s constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. “This case raises troubling issues about the power of the government to detain and question citizens,” said Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana legal director who represents Von Der Haar. The lawsuit alleges Von Der Haar, a senior lecturer in the sociology department at Indiana University in Bloomington, was confined in a guarded room at Indianapolis International Airport for more than 20 minutes on June 8, 2012, while she was questioned about her relationship with her friend. The lawsuit alleges the questioning was based on surreptitious monitoring of communications between Von Der Haar and her friend, Dimitris Papatheodoropoulus. The two “communicated frequently through emails. Some of these emails were flirtatious and romantic in nature,” the lawsuit said. Von Der Haar felt she had no choice but to answer questions from the agents, whom she believed to be armed, and did not believe she could leave until they released her, the lawsuit said. “The detention of Dr. Von Der Haar was without cause or justification,” the complaint said, and “caused her anxiety, concern, distress and other damages.” The lawsuit names the two customs agents as defendants and seeks damages.

Note: For more on government abuses of civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Philippines Recovers $29M From Marcos Accounts
2014-02-14, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/philippines-recovers-29m-marcos...

The Philippine government has recovered more than $29 million from the Swiss accounts of late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and is still searching for more of his hidden wealth 28 years after he was toppled. The money, recovered over the last week, is part of the more than $712 million from Marcos' secret Swiss accounts now in government hands. The government won ownership of the funds after several years of litigation in Singapore courts over claims by victims of human rights violations under Marcos' rule and private foundations representing the Marcoses. Authorities have already recovered more than $4 billion from an estimated $5 billion to $10 billion amassed by the Marcoses during the dictator's 20-year rule. The Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the Marcoses wealth in excess of their total legal income of around $304,000 from 1965 to 1986 was presumed to be ill-gotten. Marcos died in exile in Hawaii in 1989 without admitting any wrongdoing during his presidency. Imelda Marcos is a member of the House of Representatives. Her eldest child, daughter Imee, is governor of their northern home province of Ilocos Norte, while her son, Ferdinand Jr., is a senator. Her other daughter, Irene, has kept away from politics.

Note: This article fails to mention that Marcos was considered a strong ally and propped up by the US, which supported his strong-arm rule with financial support. For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


S.F. General foundation honors man who fled life of crime
2014-02-14, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/S-F-General-foundation-honors-man-who-f...

Five gunshot wounds. A stabbing that left a long gash down his left arm. An estranged family, no home, no high school diploma and a rap sheet for theft, carrying a gun and using drugs. That's what Joe Drake Jr., now 24, was coping with when he arrived in an ambulance at San Francisco General Hospital almost six years ago after being caught in a gun and knife battle in Bayview-Hunters Point. After three surgeries and a month in the hospital, doctors repaired his body. A team of hospital social workers, however, had a much harder time repairing his spirit. But now, Drake sports an easy smile, is studying social welfare and theater at City College of San Francisco, has made amends with his family, holds down two jobs, and volunteers at San Francisco General telling teenage survivors of violent crime to avoid the tumultuous journey he took. On Thursday, Drake will be honored by the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation at its annual Heroes and Hearts award luncheon. Asked how it feels to win the award, the outgoing Drake turned shy and looked down at his lap. "It's amazing," he said after a long pause. "I want to be an asset. Hopefully, people can see I'm very capable." Asked to recount what he tells youths caught up in the juvenile justice system or who arrive at the hospital as victims of violence, Drake was much more animated. "Feed yourself what you need and not what you want," he said. "Don't be afraid of discipline, or somebody will discipline you. And pray - that's a big thing."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


5 Mindfulness Steps That Guarantee Increased Success And Vitality
2014-02-12, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2014/02/12/5-mindfulness-steps-that-...

Dr. Ellen Langer, a renowned mindfulness expert, experimental social psychologist and psychology professor at Harvard University, [is] the author of the groundbreaking book Mindfulness. Dr. Langer is considered the “mother of mindfulness” and has been researching mindfulness for more than 35 years, producing an important body of work on the impact of mindfulness on expanding success, health and vitality. Dr. Langer is convinced that virtually all of our suffering — professional, personal, interpersonal, societal — is the direct or indirect result of our mindlessness. In fact her studies suggest to her that most of us are mindless most of the time. Her research has found that increasing mindfulness results in increases in health, competence and happiness. More specifically, when people become more mindful, they become more charismatic, more innovative, less judgmental. Memory and attention improve, relationships expand, and mindfulness even leaves its imprint on the products we produce. By increasing mindfulness she’s found that stress decreases, pain diminishes, symptoms of arthritis, ALS and the common cold decrease, among other findings. Most astounding is that when seniors were encouraged to be mindful, they actually lived longer. How can we become more mindful in our lives, and create more success and vitality in the process? Dr. Langer suggests we take these 5 critical steps: Seek out, create, and notice new things. Realize how behavior can be understood differently in different contexts. Reframe mistakes into successes. Be aware that stress — indeed, all emotion — is a result of our views about events. Be authentic.

Note: For more on major health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Fracking is depleting water supplies in America's driest areas, report shows
2014-02-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/05/fracking-water-america-dro...

America's oil and gas rush is depleting water supplies in the driest and most drought-prone areas of the country, from Texas to California, new research has found. Of the nearly 40,000 oil and gas wells drilled since 2011, three-quarters were located in areas where water is scarce, and 55% were in areas experiencing drought, the report by the Ceres investor network found. Fracking those wells used 97bn gallons of water, raising new concerns about unforeseen costs of America's energy rush. "Hydraulic fracturing is increasing competitive pressures for water in some of the country's most water-stressed and drought-ridden regions," said Mindy Lubber, president of the Ceres green investors' network. Without new tougher regulations on water use, she warned industry could be on a "collision course" with other water users. "It's a wake-up call," said Prof James Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine. "[I]t is time to have a conversation about what impacts there are, and do our best to try to minimise any damage." It can take millions of gallons of fresh water to frack a single well, and much of the drilling is tightly concentrated in areas where water is in chronically short supply, or where there have been multi-year droughts. Half of the 97bn gallons of water was used to frack wells in Texas, which has experienced severe drought for years. "Shale producers are having significant impacts at the county level, especially in smaller rural counties with limited water infrastructure capacity," the report said.

Note: For more on corporate corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


North American monarch butterfly migration falls to record lows, report says
2014-01-29, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/monarch-migration-falls-to-r...

One of North America’s most dazzling natural phenomena, the annual winter migration to central Mexico by millions of monarch butterflies from the northern United States and Canada, has shrunk to record lows and is in danger of ending. The monarch migration has been documented in books and movies and attracts thousands of tourists to a nature preserve about 100 miles west of Mexico City. The black-and-orange butterflies hang from the trees there like shaggy beards. In the 20 years since environmentalists began keeping detailed records of the monarch’s winter habitats, the butterflies have covered as much as 45 acres of forest in the Mexican state of Michoacan. But the most recent winter count showed how far the migrating monarch population has fallen: As of December, they blanketed just 1.6 acres of forest, the smallest area yet. The butterflies face numerous threats across North America. In Michoacan, illegal logging has cut into their winter habitat in the oyamel fir trees, although government conservation efforts have slowed the rate of deforestation. In the United States and Canada, herbicides used in industrial-scale farming have destroyed the milkweed plants where they lay their eggs. Omar Vidal, the director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Mexico office, said he wants North American leaders to agree on a plan to protect the monarch, saying the migration “symbolically unites our three countries.”

Note: For more on mass animal deaths, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Vivienne Harr's lemonade stand story a movie
2014-01-27, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Vivienne-Harr-s-lemonade-stand-st...

When Eric Harr was a kid, he made $9 one day from selling lemonade. He thought that was totally cool. Thirty years later, his daughter Vivienne set up a lemonade stand ... and did considerably better. Over 173 consecutive days, she took in $101,320. Vivienne, a 10-year-old with a penchant for bouncy princess dresses and the color pink, had a motive. Alarmed by photos she'd seen of Nepalese children hauling enormous rocks down a mountain, she decided in May 2012 to raise money to stop child slavery. When people stopped at her lemonade stand to ask how much she was charging, Vivienne said, "Whatever's in your heart." She donated the $101,320 to Not for Sale, a nonprofit that works to eradicate human trafficking around the world. But she wasn't finished. During the last year and a half, her campaign morphed into a corporation. Make a Stand Lemon-Aid, which her father oversees, sells fair-trade, organic lemonade at 137 stores and is expected to gross $2 million this year. Along the way, Vivienne became a bit of a celebrity. In November, she joined "Star Trek" actor Patrick Stewart to ring the opening bell for Twitter's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange - a distinction bestowed because she and her dad, a social-media professional, had made extensive use of the microblogging service. In a new documentary, "#Standwithme," Portland, Ore., filmmakers Patrick Moreau and Grant Peelle show how Vivienne and her parents were drawn to their cause and set their story in a larger context of global efforts to halt human trafficking.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Solar industry job growth jumped 20% in 2013
2014-01-27, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-industry-job-growth-jumped-20-in...

Job growth in 2013 stayed sluggish for much of the American economy. But for solar companies, it was a banner year. Employment in the U.S. solar industry jumped 20 percent in 2013 to hit 142,698. The number of solar jobs across the country has grown 53 percent since 2010. Last year, the industry added 56 U.S. jobs per day, on average. "That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies," said Andrea Luecke, executive director of the Solar Foundation. Her research and advocacy group has issued its National Solar Jobs Census every year since 2010. Nearly half of all U.S. solar workers counted in the most recent survey install systems, rather than make the equipment. Installation employed 69,658 people across the country last year, up from 57,177 in 2012. Solar manufacturing, in contrast, employed 29,851 people in the United States, a slight increase from 29,742 the previous year. In 2012, California had 43,700 solar jobs, 37 percent of the nationwide total. The Golden State is the nation's largest solar market, and many of the country's biggest solar companies - including SolarCity, SunPower and Sunrun - call it home. The survey found that the average installer earned about $20 per hour in 2013.

Note: For more on exciting energy developments, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


The Elders of Organic Farming
2014-01-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/business/the-elders-of-organic-farming.html

For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties [at California's Esalen Institute]. During their meetings, some of the farmers worried that their children would not want to continue their businesses and that they might have to sell their homes and land to retire. [Conference organizer Michael] Ableman, the author of Fields of Plenty, is writing a book about the gathering. Deborah Garcia, the widow of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and a filmmaker whose previous films include “The Future of Food” and “The Symphony of the Soil,” is making a documentary. The grandfathers and grandmothers of organic farming should be joyous, but they are not. Some of today’s organic farmers have thousands of acres of single crops, which are flown to supermarket shelves, where they are sold at lower prices than many small organic farmers can afford to sell their produce. Generally, the farmers at Esalen have less acreage and sell dozens or hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets, to upscale restaurants and through so-called community-supported agriculture. C.S.A.’s, as these arrangements are known, consist of consumers who pay before the harvest for weekly deliveries of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The sustainable agriculture these farmers practice goes beyond farming without synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. They adhere to a broader political and ecological ethos that includes attention to wildlife, soil, education and community. For most of them, the bottom line has never been their bottom line.

Note: Don't miss the eye-opening documentary "Future of Food" at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


New species of river dolphin identified in Brazilian Amazon
2014-01-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/25/new-species-of-river-dolphin-ide...

Scientists have made the first discovery in 100 years of a new river dolphin species in the waters of the Araguaia river in Brazil's vast Amazon rainforest. The discovery of the Inia araguaiaensis was officially announced earlier this week in a study posted online by the Plos One scientific journal. The study's lead author, biologist Tomas Hrbek, of the Federal University of Amazonas in the city of Manaus, said the new species is the third ever found in the Amazon region. "It was an unexpected discovery that shows just how incipient our knowledge is of the region's biodiversity," Hrbek said by telephone. "River dolphins are among the rarest and most endangered of all vertebrates, so discovering a new species is something that is very rare and exciting." He said: "people always saw them in the river but no one ever took a close up look at them." Hrbek added that scientists concluded the large dolphin was a new species by analysing and comparing DNA samples of several types of dolphins from the Amazon and Araguaia river basins. There [are] about 1,000 Inia araguaiaensis dolphins living in the 2,627km-long (1,630 miles) river.

Note: For more on the amazing world of marine mammals, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Brazil’s Latest Clash With Its Urban Youth Takes Place at the Mall
2014-01-20, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/20/world/americas/brazils-latest-clash-with-it...

The images have already been so jolting to Brazil’s elites that President Dilma Rousseff has convened a meeting of top aides to form a response and business owners have obtained injunctions to shut them down: thousands of teenagers, largely from the gritty urban periphery and organizing on social media, going on raucous excursions through shopping malls. Called rolezinhos (little strolls) in the slang of Săo Paulo’s streets, the rowdy gatherings may be going beyond mere flash mobs to touch on issues of public space and entitlement. “Why don’t they want us to go inside malls?” asked Plinio Diniz, 17, a high school student who attended a rolezinho this month in Shopping Metrô Itaquera, a mall here where police officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the estimated crowd of 3,000. Unnerved by the street protests that shook cities across the country last year, the authorities are carefully trying to evaluate ways to react to the gatherings, which began heightening in size and intensity in December. Rolezinhos are generally organized on Facebook, with nearly 20 planned in Brazilian cities in the weeks ahead, and often involve running up and down escalators and a good deal of shouting, flirting and singing of Brazilian funk songs. For many participants, although they may come from relatively poor urban areas, the events are also opportunities to show off costly brand-name clothing. Others contend that the rolezinhos, while not explicitly political, nevertheless open the way for new methods of protest at malls.

Note: For more on civil liberties, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


9/11 Fraud Scandal 'Probably' More Widespread, Top Official Says
2014-01-16, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/911-fraud-scandal-widespread-top-official/story...

Lawmakers pressed Social Security Administration officials ... over a massive fraud scandal involving New York City cops and firefighters who allegedly bilked the government out of millions by falsely claiming disability from working at Ground Zero after 9/11. Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), chairman of the House's Ways and Means subcommittee that oversees the agency ... convened the hearing following the stunning arrests last week of more than 100 in New York from vaunted public safety agencies known in the city as the "Finest" and the "Bravest," who stand accused of filing phony disability claims. Many allegedly faked mental disabilities they claimed were as a result of the [attacks] that reduced the World Trade Center into a smoldering wasteland of rubble. Johnson demanded accountability from the acting chief of the Social Security Administration, Carolyn Colvin and agency Inspector General Patrick O'Carroll. Workers labored for months to retrieve remains of hundreds who perished in the twin towers on 9/11 and were sickened by toxic air that the feds had said was safe to breathe without respirator masks. The alleged New York scam was lucrative for the perpetrators and is estimated to have cost the Social security pension fund at least $22 million so far, with more arrests to come, according to testimony from Edward Ryan, New York SSA IG Special Agent in Charge. "When we executed search warrants we found large amounts of cash in safes……and gold bars" Ryan testified.

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Billionaires Worth $3.7 Trillion [in] 2013
2014-01-02, Bloomberg News
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-02/billionaires-worth-3-7-trillion-surg...

The richest people on the planet got even richer in 2013, adding $524 billion to their collective net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, a daily ranking of the world’s 300 wealthiest individuals. The aggregate net worth of the world’s top billionaires stood at $3.7 trillion at the market close on Dec. 31. The biggest gains came in the technology industry, which soared 28 percent during the year. Bill Gates, the founder and chairman of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp., was the year’s biggest gainer. The 58-year-old tycoon’s fortune increased by $15.8 billion to $78.5 billion, according to the index, as shares of Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, rose 40 percent. Gates recaptured the title of world’s richest person on May 16 from Mexican investor Carlos Slim. Slim lost $1.4 billion during 2013. His America Movil SAB, the largest mobile-phone operator in the Americas, dropped 12 percent in the first three months of the year after Mexico’s Congress passed a bill to quash the billionaire’s market dominance. Sheldon Adelson, founder of Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world’s largest casino company, was the second-biggest gainer in 2013, adding $14.4 billion to his net worth as the company’s shares rose 71 percent.

Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


12 Days Of Charitable Giving 2013: Sow Much Good
2013-12-17, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/kellyphillipserb/2013/12/17/12-days-of-charitable...

Sow Much Good grows fresh fruit and vegetables for low-income communities in and around Charlotte, North Carolina. The seeds for Sow Much Good were planted after founder Robin Emmons helped her brother find residence in a mental health facility. Emmons realized that her brother did not respond well to the canned and sugary foods at the facility – which it served because it didn’t have the funds for fresh foods – and [so she] donated home grown produce [as a substitute]. As a result, her brother’s health improved dramatically. Emmons dedicated herself to providing access to fresh, affordable food to communities in underserved neighborhoods. Part of the mission of the organization is also to educate and engage the community to adopt healthy eating habits. Nationwide, nearly 10% of the population in the U.S. live in economically depressed areas located more than a mile from a supermarket. Those “food deserts” result in populations with greater risks of cardiovascular disease and premature death. Emmons tackled this problem locally by growing fresh fruits and vegetables and donating produce to local nonprofits. Today, she has 200 volunteers helping her tend 9 acres of crops on three sites; that produce is now sold at affordable prices. Since 2008, Sow Much Good has grown more than 26,000 pounds of fresh produce for underserved communities in Charlotte.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Edward Snowden a 'hero' for NSA disclosures, Wikipedia founder says
2013-11-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/25/edward-snowden-nsa-wikipedia-fou...

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, has called on Barack Obama to rein in the National Security Agency as he described the whistleblower Edward Snowden as "a hero" whom history will judge "very favourably". Wales called for a "major re-evaluation" of the NSA, adding that the public "would have never approved this sweeping surveillance program" had it been put to a vote. The revelations, Wales said, had been "incredibly damaging and embarrassing to the US. It makes it very difficult for someone like me to go out, as I do, [to] speak to people in authoritarian countries, and say: 'You shouldn’t be spying on activists, you shouldn’t be censoring the internet', when we [in the US] are complicit in these acts of extraordinary intrusion into people’s personal lives. [Snowden] has exposed what I believe to be criminal wrongdoing, lying to Congress, and certainly [an] affront to the Fourth Amendment. I think that history will judge him very favourably. There is a growing sense of concern in Congress about this, a growing sense in Congress that public is angry about this, that they have been misled and I think we are going to see legislation to change this."

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency activities, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Elizabeth Warren: The contender
2013-11-21, Boston Globe
http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/11/21/elizabeth-warren-the-contender/...

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the champion of Main Street versus Wall Street, just got another boost to the presidential campaign she said she isn’t running. It lies in the $13 billion deal that JP Morgan Chase reached with the US Justice Department. The settlement, which ends the government’s probe into the bank’s risky mortgage business, reportedly represents the largest amount a single company has ever committed to pay Uncle Sam. That’s significant — but so is the bank’s unusual admission that it failed to disclose the risks of buying its mortgage securities. Warren was a force in both aspects of JP Morgan’s day of reckoning. After the economic collapse of 2008 — and before her election as senator — Warren led the charge for Wall Street accountability while overseeing the government response to the banking crisis. As senator from Massachusetts, she ... isn’t shy about acknowledging her role in achieving them. In September, Warren [said] that her lobbying of Mary Jo White, the newly installed chairwoman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, played a key role in getting government regulators to require more companies to admit wrongdoing, not just pay fines — which is what happened in JP Morgan’s case. The JP Morgan headlines play out as the stock market surges and unemployment ticks up. The gap between America’s rich and poor is growing bigger. The divide creates an opening for a Democrat who speaks to the shrinking middle class, as well as to those already squeezed out of it. Warren could be that candidate, if she chooses.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Truth Demands To Be Lived
2013-11-12, Daily Good
http://www.dailygood.org/story/606/truth-demands-to-be-lived-richard-whittaker

A few years ago Americ Azevedo sat in a college classroom with about 15 students. It was a meditation class and he was the instructor. This past fall, that same class enrolled 603 students and took place in one of the largest lecture halls on the UC Berkeley campus. Richard Whittaker: You told me your early experiences in school were difficult. Americ Azevedo: It wasn’t until I hit first grade that I was exposed to English—and to other children. Kids punched me. I threw up all the time. I felt like I lost the light. RW: It’s interesting that you describe losing something. AA: I lost something. I feel that most people lose it at some point in their lives. But losing at that stage is so dramatic. I think school knocks it out of us. School is so artificial, so industrial. All of the sudden it’s a totally different experience from that matrix of love and all the things that make a human being comfortable. And it takes a long time to recover that feeling. There were bullies. There was one boy who beat me up and somewhere along the way I was able to communicate with him and he became my friend. Then he protected me from the other bullies. Later on I realized that the biggest protection we have as human beings is communication. Now I understand it’s a form of love—even for the bully, but it’s become twisted. But that’s how it is for so many people. Somehow the psyche has become twisted and the good has become bad and the bad has become good.

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Sen. Bernie Sanders: Don't cut the big benefit programs
2013-10-30, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2013/10/30/social-security-medicare-med...

In America today, the middle class is disappearing, unemployment is sky high and senior poverty is growing. We also have the most unequal distribution of wealth and income of any major country. At a time when almost all new income created is going to the top 1% and when the gap between the very rich and everybody else is growing wider, we must not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable people in our country: working families, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor. We must not cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Let's be clear: Social Security is not an entitlement program. It is an earned income benefit that has been enormously successful in cutting the rate of senior poverty. Further, Social Security is not "going broke." According to the Social Security Administration, the Social Security Trust Fund has a surplus today of $2.8 trillion and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 20 years. The solution to making Social Security fully solvent for the next 50 years is to apply the payroll tax on annual income more than $250,000. Right now, the Social Security tax stops at $113,700 a year, so someone who earns that amount pays the same as a billionaire. This makes no sense. Our entire health care system, including Medicare and Medicaid, is much too wasteful and bureaucratic. We should join the rest of the industrialized world in moving toward a national health care program that provides health care to every man, woman and child as a right.

Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Census protester Audrey Tobias acquitted of not filing form
2013-10-09, CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/census-protester-audrey-tobias-acquitte...

An 89-year-old peace activist who refused to fill out the census because of its link to a U.S. military contractor is not guilty of violating the Statistics Act, a Toronto judge decided today. Audrey Tobias, who faced jail time if she had been convicted, argued she didn't file her 2011 census because it is processed using software from Lockheed Martin. Outside the Old City Hall courthouse after the ruling, the Toronto woman thanked the judge. “He put a lot of work and analysis and care into that judgment,” she said. "I respect it and I am grateful. I think it’s a significant issue for Canadians. I think people will know now what their government is all about.” Tobias said she would have been willing to go to jail. “I would have done whatever was necessary,” she said. “Under no circumstances would I have paid a fine, which was a way of saying I was guilty.” Tobias's lawyer, Peter Rosenthal, had argued that forcing her to complete the census would violate her freedoms of conscience and free expression. Judge Ramez Khawly noted that for a conviction both the act and intent of a crime must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt, so he had to acquit Tobias. The judge also described the Justice Department's decision to prosecute Tobias, a Second World War veteran, as a "PR disaster." In 2011, StatsCan received 13 million completed census forms, a 98 per cent response rate. Overall, it referred 54 people for prosecution for failing to complete the mandatory census form.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Neuro-enhancement in the military: far-fetched or an inevitable future?
2013-10-07, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/science/head-quarters/2013/oct/07/neuroscience-psy...

Brain stimulation research has moved far and fast. Different forms of neurostimulation in humans have now been shown to boost our ability to learn and perform motor actions, to pay attention to events in the environment, to recall information in memory, and to exercise self-control. [Brain stimulation] techniques and their applications hold great promise for understanding the machinery of human mental processes, with hope for treating patients suffering from brain injury and disease. Except that ... anything that can boost or rehabilitate human abilities could also be exploited for military or security purposes, as well as by questionable private enterprises. Predictably, some of the major innovations in brain stimulation research are being funded by the US military. What army wouldn't take advantage of a method that could make soldiers more alert, faster to react, faster to learn, less likely to binge-drink off duty, and more compliant with authority? What intelligence agency wouldn't embrace a technology that could help their operatives become better liars, or which limits the ability of prisoners to lie under interrogation? Applications like these, in turn, raise ethical questions. Would a soldier be able to refuse brain stimulation, and if not, wouldn't that violate the principle of consent underlying 'medical' interventions? Going deeper we might ask whether it is ethical for neuroscientists and psychologists to collaborate with organisations whose ultimate research objective is to develop more efficient ways of killing people.

Note: For more on mind control, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Children who report abuse are often ignored
2013-10-06, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/child...

When children tell adults they are being abused, their confidants only take action in just over half of cases, according to a study by the NSPCC [National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children]. Eight out of 10 abused under-18s tried to tell an adult, according to research based on interviews with 60 young adults. But adults acted in only 58 per cent of cases. One young woman described how police and social workers bungled her attempts to report her sexually abusive father. "The first time I told, I told my teacher, and then a social worker came, and two police officers. But they invited my mum and dad and sat them in the room with me. Then they asked me what happened, and so I denied it and said, 'No, nothing's happening,' because I could see my dad in the corner and I just thought, 'Oh my God!'" It took an average of seven years for those children who had been sexually abused to successfully tell someone about what was happening and to get help. Pam Miller, co-author of the report called No One Noticed, No One Heard, ..., said: "We were surprised at the number of people who had told someone about their abuse as a child, particularly given the extreme amount of abuse they suffered."

Note: For more on sexual abuse of children, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


World's first lab-grown burger is eaten in London
2013-10-05, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-23576143

The world's first lab-grown burger has been cooked and eaten at a news conference in London. Scientists took cells from a cow and, at an institute in the Netherlands, turned them into strips of muscle that they combined to make a patty. Prof Mark Post, of Maastricht University, the scientist behind the burger, remarked: "It's a very good start." The professor said the meat was made up of tens of billions of lab-grown cells. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, has been revealed as the project's mystery backer. He funded the Ł215,000 ($330,000) research. Stem cells are the body's "master cells", the templates from which specialised tissue such as nerve or skin cells develop. Most institutes working in this area are trying to grow human tissue for transplantation to replace worn-out or diseased muscle, nerve cells or cartilage. Prof Post is using similar techniques to grow muscle and fat for food. He starts with stem cells extracted from cow muscle tissue. These are cultured with nutrients and growth-promoting chemicals to help them develop and multiply. Three weeks later, there are more than a million stem cells, which are put into smaller dishes where they coalesce into small strips of muscle. These strips are collected into small pellets, which are frozen. When there are enough, they are defrosted and compacted into a patty just before being cooked. At the moment, scientists can only make small pieces of meat; larger ones would require artificial circulatory systems to distribute nutrients and oxygen.

Note: Meat grown in factory farms is a major source of pollution. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and health.


Media groups cite First Amendment in BLM horse fight
2013-09-17, Salt Lake Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/world/56883666-68/blm-access-horse-media.html.csp

The Reporters Committee on Freedom of the Press says the U.S. Bureau of Land Management is using safety concerns as an excuse to limit media access to wild horse roundups across the West in violation of the First Amendment. The National Press Photographers Association and more than a dozen newspaper companies joined the committee in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals late Monday to back an advocacy group waging a series of legal battles over mustang roundups in Nevada. Horseback Magazine photographer Laura Leigh and others "have a right to see what happens" during the roundups, the media groups said, urging the court to be "highly skeptical of assertions by the BLM that restrictions placed on media access were done for administrative convenience and/or to satisfy safety concerns." The 9th Circuit sent the case brought by Leigh’s advocacy group, Wild Horse Education, back to U.S. Judge Larry Hicks in Reno last year to determine if the BLM limits are constitutional. Hicks ruled in 2011 that a balancing of the interests of the agency and public access to a roundup in Nevada didn’t warrant granting an injunction to block the gathers. But a three-judge panel of the appellate court ruled he failed to determine whether those restrictions violated First Amendment protections. "When the government announces it is excluding the press for reasons such as administrative convenience, preservation of evidence, or protection of reporters’ safety, its real motive may be to prevent the gathering of information about government abuses or incompetence," Appellate Judge Milan Smith Jr. wrote in the 18-page opinion in February 2012.

Note: For more on the disturbing decision to round up the few remaining wild horses, click here.


Creating an oasis in a Southern 'food desert'
2013-09-12, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/12/living/cnnheroes-emmons-food-deserts

For more than a decade, Robin Emmons felt helpless as her older brother lived on the streets, eating out of garbage cans. She tried repeatedly to get him help for his mental illness, but authorities told her there was nothing they could do. After he was arrested in 2008 for damaging someone's car during a schizophrenic outburst, she was finally able to become his legal guardian and get him into a halfway house with psychiatric services. But as she watched his mental health improve, she noticed his physical health getting worse. "I learned that he was becoming borderline diabetic," she said. "He wasn't like that even when he was homeless." She investigated and found out that the nonprofit facility was mainly feeding him packaged and canned foods because it couldn't afford fresh fruits and vegetables. "I had a small garden, so I thought, 'Well, I'll just put in some extra rows,' " Emmons said. "I began making weekly deliveries of whatever was coming up." She soon realized, however, that the problem extended well beyond her brother's transitional home. While farmers markets were springing up across the city, she noticed that low-income and working-class neighborhoods had few grocery stores or places to buy fresh produce. "If you don't live in an affluent part of the city ... your easiest options are the dollar menu or the convenience store attached to a gas station," said Emmons, 45. Today, Emmons has 200 volunteers helping her tend 9 acres of crops on three sites. Since 2008, she says, her nonprofit, Sow Much Good, has grown more than 26,000 pounds of fresh produce for underserved communities in Charlotte.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Santa Clara, Stanford compete in Solar Decathlon
2013-09-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Santa-Clara-Stanford-compete-in-Solar-...

Designed by students, the small blue house wedged onto a corner of the Santa Clara University campus generates all the electricity it needs. And it needs very little. Solar cells blanket most of the roof. A separate solar array heats water. Pipes in the ceiling circulate cold water to keep the house cool. A mobile phone app controls the lights and windows. Dubbed Radiant House, the building is the university's entry in this year's Solar Decathlon, an international student competition to create energy-efficient houses that run their systems and appliances on sunlight. To win, the houses can't just be a collection of technologies. They have to feel inviting and livable. Judges grade them on comfort and curb appeal in addition to innovation. This year's decathlon culminates next month in Orange County, when 20 university teams present their homes to judges drawn from the fields of architecture, development and renewable energy. First held in 2002, the Solar Decathlon runs in two-year cycles, giving teams enough time to design, finance and build their creations. This year, students from two Bay Area schools - Santa Clara and Stanford University - will compete against teams from as far afield as Austria and the Czech Republic. The contest rules require that the houses can't be larger than 1,000 square feet and must produce at least as much energy as they consume over the course of a week. Solar panels donated by Bosch Solar Energy coat the central room's tilted roof and can generate up to 7.14 kilowatts of electricity, more than a typical home array. The panels rest on a new type of rack, made by startup company Sunplanter, that is integrated into the structure of the roof.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Income Gap Grows Wider (and Faster)
2013-09-01, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/01/business/income-gap-grows-wider-and-faster....

Income inequality in the United States has been growing for decades, but the trend appears to have accelerated during the Obama administration. One measure of this is the relationship between median and average wages. The median wage is straightforward: it’s the midpoint of everyone’s wages. Interpreting the average, though, can be tricky. If the income of a handful of people soars while everyone else’s remains the same, the entire group’s average may still rise substantially. So when average wages grow faster than the median, as happened from 2009 through 2011, it means that lower earners are falling further behind those at the top. One way to see the acceleration in inequality is to look at the ratio of average to median annual wages. From 2001 through 2008, during the George W. Bush administration, that ratio grew at 0.28 percentage point per year. From 2009 through 2011, the latest year for which the data is available, the ratio increased 1.14 percentage points annually, or roughly four times faster. The reasons for the widening income gap aren’t entirely clear. Yes, the nation has had a big recession, but recessions typically tend to lessen inequality rather than increase it.

Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Just Because Science Can Genetically Engineer Foods, Doesn't Mean We Should
2013-08-26, Forbes
http://www.forbes.com/sites/bethhoffman/2013/08/26/why-genetically-modifying-...

Recently the debate over genetically modified (GMO) foods has heated up again. Over the weekend New York Times writer Amy Harmon wrote again of the saving graces of genetically engineered foods, this time citing “Golden Rice” as a clear example of the life-saving abilities of GMOs. Yet ... there are other highly effective tools out there to solve hunger and malnutrition besides genetic engineering. Why am I against the creation of Golden Rice, even if it may stop millions of children from going blind? The basic answer is simple: trust. Science has a credibility problem. Today it is not “false fears” that has bred skeptical consumers, it is experience. The most audacious claim made by those who believe genetic engineering is the way to go [is] that genetic engineering is somehow better, and in the long run, cheaper than other more natural ways of eating and that the logistical complexities of getting fruits and veggies to malnourished human beings are too large to overcome. Baloney. The amount of money it has cost to concoct a product like Golden Rice is enormous. Scientists first got initial funding for Golden Rice from the Rockefeller Foundation in 1984 and have now been supported (with monies to cover lab expenses, legal fees, teaching assistants, salaries, long patent processes, etc) for more than 30 years. Meanwhile, again and again, simple low-cost, low-tech solutions like “kitchen gardening,” improved agricultural methods, and cover cropping have been found to give outstanding nutritional and economic results quickly to farmers.

Note: For more on the risks from GMOs, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Guardian teams up with New York Times over Snowden documents
2013-08-23, MSN/Reuters
http://money.msn.com/business-news/article.aspx?feed=OBR&date=20130823&id=168...

The Guardian has agreed with the New York Times to give the U.S. newspaper access to some classified documents leaked by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, both papers said on [August 23]. In a brief story posted on its website, the Guardian said it "struck a partnership" with the Times after the British government threatened the Guardian with legal action unless it either surrendered or destroyed files it received from Snowden about Government Communications Headquarters - Britain's equivalent of NSA. The Times' executive editor, Jill Abramson, confirmed the collaboration. A source familiar with the matter said the partnership deal had been struck several weeks ago and that Abramson was personally involved in negotiating it. The Guardian said in its story that its partnership with the Times would enable it to "continue exposing mass surveillance by putting the Snowden documents on GCHQ beyond government reach." The Times and the Guardian previously collaborated on stories related to alleged phone hacking by British tabloid newspapers and on coverage of secret U.S. military and diplomatic documents made available by U.S. Army soldier Bradley Manning to the WikiLeaks website.

Note: For more on the NSA spying scandal, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


Banks hate Richmond homeowners' bailout plan
2013-08-05, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/johnson/article/Banks-hate-Richmond-homeow...

Richmond [CA] city officials took a giant leap forward for everyday people last week when they announced a program to purchase ailing residential mortgages and refinance them through a financial partnership and a bold new initiative that's already begun. To accomplish the task, the city said it will use its eminent domain powers in reverse: To save a home instead of condemn it. Much to the displeasure of the banking industry, the city sent offer letters to more than 600 homeowners whose mortgages are held by nongovernment lending institutions. The program offers to pay lenders the current market value of the property, not the higher value of the mortgage. Under the Richmond program, a bank that approved a $500,000 mortgage would be paid roughly 80 percent of its investment. Already, some lenders contend that such a law violates constitutionally protected property rights and sets a precedent that could open the floodgates for other cities in the same predicament. The mere exploration of similar programs in a half-dozen California cities and counties provoked a strong reaction from the banking industry. Financial experts have warned that the Richmond policy is certain to spawn legal challenges and a backlash from lenders who recalculate higher mortgages in Richmond to offset the risk of the city using a local law to claim a foreclosed property. That's interesting, because no measure was too extreme, no taxpayer sacrifice too great to come up with and fund a new financial model to bail out the bankers and brokerage firms in 2008. But that's what the federal government - and American taxpayers did.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


“Renegade Gardener” Plots World Domination Through Home-Grown Veggies
2013-07-30, Yes! Magazine
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/gardening-is-gangsta-an-interview-wit...

Ron Finley grew up in South Central Los Angeles, a "food desert" where nutritious eats are chronically unavailable. But when the fashion designer [and] father got tired of driving 45 minutes to buy an organic tomato, he decided to grow his own. In the fall of 2010, he planted a "demonstration garden" on the strip of land between the curb and the sidewalk in front of his house in South Central Los Angeles, a neighborhood where he has lived all his life. He says he was tired of living in the "food prison"—where the lack of access to healthy foods was causing diabetes, obesity, and other health problems. "If you look at the statistics, the drive thrus literally are killing more people than the drive-bys," Finley says. Finley encouraged people to take what they needed from the garden. He shared tomatoes, peppers, melons, eggplant, pumpkins, and more with anyone who passed by his home, often people with few financial resources and little access to vegetables. In May of 2011, however, Finley received a citation from the city, which considered his plants "obstructions." They asked him to pay $400 for a permit or remove the garden. After getting 500 signatures on a petition posted on change.org and gaining the confidence of a city councilman, Finley received a permit for free and eventually provoked the city to relax its laws on curb strip usage. Since then, Finley has created the organization LA Green Grounds, which plants vegetable gardens in South Central yards free of charge and has installed public gardens in curb strips, homeless shelters, abandoned lots, and traffic medians. The all-volunteer organization has installed over 30 gardens.

Note: For an inspiring 10-minute TED talk given by Mr. Finley, click here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


DARPA's 'Hydra' would be an undersea drone carrier
2013-07-23, NBC News
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/darpas-hydra-would-be-undersea-drone-carrie...

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, are in the news constantly, but what about unmanned underwater vehicles? They could also be important in both war and peace, which is why the Defense Department's research arm, DARPA, is looking into a mobile submarine base from which to launch drones. The project, still in the earliest stages, is called "Hydra," after the mythical beast whose heads multiplied upon being cut off. The idea is to create a sort of underwater version of an aircraft carrier. The Hydra, itself an unmanned underwater vehicle, would be stocked with drones of various kinds and capacities: circling overhead, scouting underwater for mines, or listening on the surface.

Note: For more on the US military and police use of drones both abroad and in the US, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.


'Standing man' inspires silent protests in Turkey
2013-06-18, Reuters
http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-turkey-protests-standingman-idUKBRE95H04N201...

A Turkish man has staged an eight-hour silent vigil on Istanbul's Taksim Square, scene of violent clashes between police and anti-government protesters in recent weeks, inspiring hundreds of others to follow his lead. Erdem Gunduz said he wanted to take a stand against police stopping demonstrations near the square, Dogan news agency reported. He stood silently, facing the Ataturk Cultural Centre which was draped in Turkish flags and a portrait of Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, from 6 p.m. ... on Monday. By 2 a.m. ... when the police moved in, about 300 people had joined him. Ten people, who refused to be moved on by police, were detained. Gunduz, swiftly dubbed "standing man" on social media in Turkey, inspired similar protests elsewhere in Istanbul as well as in the capital Ankara and the city of Izmir on the Aegean coast. The silent protests were in stark contrast to demonstrations at the weekend, which saw some of the fiercest clashes so far when police fired teargas and water cannon to clear thousands from Taksim Square. What began in May as a protest by environmentalists upset over plans to build on a park adjoining Taksim has grown into a movement against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, presenting the greatest public challenge to his 10-year leadership.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


282 join RCMP sexual harassment class-action lawsuit
2013-06-11, CBC News [Canada's Public Broadcasting System]
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/06/11/bc-rcmp-haras...

Almost 300 current and former female Mounties have come forward to join a class-action lawsuit alleging harassment within the ranks of the RCMP. Documents filed in [British Columbia] Supreme Court ... in support of class-action certification say the action now includes 282 women from all territories and provinces across Canada. The civil suit was filed last year by Janet Merlo, a former RCMP officer. Merlo, who alleges she suffered bullying and verbal abuse throughout a career that began in March 1991 and ended in March 2010, says she is overwhelmed by the number of other women who have come forward. In her claim, Merlo describes a number of humiliating incidents that she alleges occurred during the course of her 19 years with the force. The alleged incidents described in Merlo's affidavit range from receiving verbal propositions, to facing gender-based comments challenging her ability to perform her duties, to witnessing differences in how male and female officers were accommodated at her workplace.

Note: Inside sources have revealed to WTK that rogue factions within the RCMP are responsible for many destructive programs, including mind control.


Supreme Court says police may take DNA samples from arrestees
2013-06-03, Washington Post
http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-06-03/politics/39704073_1_dna-samples...

A divided Supreme Court ruled [on June 3] that police may take DNA samples when booking those arrested for serious crimes, narrowly upholding a Maryland law and opening the door to more widespread collection of DNA by law enforcement. The court ruled 5 to 4 that government has a legitimate interest in collecting DNA from arrestees ... to establish the identity of the person in custody. Conservative Justice Antonin Scalia ... amplified his displeasure by reading a summary of his dissent from the bench. “The court has cast aside a bedrock rule of our Fourth Amendment law: that the government may not search its citizens for evidence of crime unless there is a reasonable cause to believe that such evidence will be found,” Scalia said from the bench. He added, “Make no mistake about it: As an entirely predictable consequence of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national DNA database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason.” Steven R. Shapiro, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union said the decision “creates a gaping new exception to the Fourth Amendment” and violates a long-established understanding that “police cannot search for evidence of a crime ... without individualized suspicion.”

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government assaults on privacy, click here.


A New Deal for Appalachia’s Forests: Growing Biofuels?
2013-05-31, Yes! Magazine
http://www.yesmagazine.org/new-economy/could-biofuels-mean-a-new-deal-for-app...

Using valuable food crops like corn and sugar cane to produce biofuels has been a highly controversial topic in an age of imminent food crises. But nobody is growing corn on the former strip mines of Eastern Kentucky. Surface mining left its mark on the Appalachian landscape through much of the 20th century, as large swaths of native forest were replaced with sparse, scrubby grassland. But University of Kentucky forestry professor Chris Barton sees in the compacted soil of old strip mines the possibility of using former surface mine land for short-rotation forestry—in order to produce fuel. Here's how it would work: Fast-growing, native trees like black locust could be grown and harvested every five to 10 years; then, the woodchips would be burned in an oxygen-restricted condition to produce combustible gases that in turn could be used to generate energy and heat. After a few generations of short-rotation harvests, the land could be transitioned to a long-term forest. Barton is the founder of Green Forests Work, a nonprofit spin-off of the Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative that seeks to reforest lands scarred by mining with native trees—all the while helping to rebuild struggling local economies. Since GFW was launched in 2008, more than 5,000 volunteers have planted nearly 1 million trees on former surface mine sites. And last year, the program received a $300,000 grant, enabling Barton to add a couple full-time staff members.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


After Years Of Hiding, 'Walking In Love' As Transgender
2013-05-03, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2013/05/03/180628239/after-years-of-hiding-walking-in-love...

Growing up in a rough housing project on Chicago's South Side during the early 1960s, Alexis Martinez had to hide that she was transgender. "When I came out to my mom that I was transgender, I think I was 13 or 14," Alexis says. "And she called the police. And I always remember that when the police showed up, they just laughed and told her, 'You've got a fag for a son, and there's nothing we can do about it. So, I went as macho as I could be, to mask what I really was underneath," explains Alexis, now 62. One day, [Alexis' daughter] Lesley discovered some of her father's female clothes. "It was a big to-do," Lesley says. "It was sort of, you know, my uncovering the secret." Alexis knew trying to cover up that she was transgender would mean a loss of trust with her daughter — so she told. "I was really torn between being a female role model and a dad," Alexis says. "And so, I said to myself, 'OK, well be the best parent. Whatever it takes, however I do it, you have to look out for your baby.' But one of the most difficult things for me was, I was always afraid that I wouldn't be allowed to be in my granddaughters' lives." She needn't have worried. Lesley and her husband's acceptance, Alexis says, "blew that completely out of the water. To Alexis, the openness with which her family can talk about her gender identity "is a miracle," she says. "Now I walk in love, and I try to live that way every day."

Note: Watch a beautiful, moving video by the founder of StoryCorps, which led to this story.


SF startup's solar lamps aid developing world
2013-04-26, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/SF-startup-s-solar-lamps-aid-deve...

Most of Donn Tice's customers make $4 to $6 a day. What little money they have, they guard. But they're willing to part with some of it, Tice says, for a product that can improve their lives. Tice's company, d.light, sells solar-powered lamps in the developing world. The lamps charge on their own during the daytime, shine for at least four hours at night and are designed to last more than five years. The standard model costs $30 - a significant investment for d.light's core customers. But the San Francisco startup has sold about 3 million lamps in the last five years, mostly in parts of rural Africa and India with limited access to electricity. "What we've discovered, frankly, is there's a much bigger global problem around reliable power than we imagined," said Tice, d.light's chief executive officer. D.light is one of a growing number of companies trying to make money by selling to the "bottom of the pyramid" - the world's poor. They see a vast, often-ignored pool of potential customers for a wide range of products, so long as those products serve real needs and are affordably priced. For entrepreneurs like Tice, there's the added lure of doing something that can help people pull themselves out of poverty. "I can't tell you how profoundly meaningful it is, how inspiring it is, to go to a village with our customers and go to a school where recently the students weren't using lights to study," Tice said. "It doesn't take a lot of imagination to visualize how really transformative that could be in the trajectory of their lives."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


EU Embraces 'Suspended Coffee': Pay It Forward With A Cup Of Joe
2013-04-25, NPR
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/04/24/178829301/eu-embraces-suspended-c...

Tough economic times and growing poverty in much of Europe are reviving a humble tradition that began some one hundred years ago in the Italian city of Naples. It's called caffč sospeso — "suspended coffee": A customer pays in advance for a person who cannot afford a cup of coffee. The barista would keep a log, and when someone popped his head in the doorway of the cafe and asked, "Is there anything suspended?" the barista would nod and serve him a cup of coffee ... for free. It's an elegant way to show generosity: an act of charity in which donors and recipients never meet each other, the donor doesn't show off and the recipient doesn't have to show gratitude. It's fitting that the tradition started in Naples, a city that prides itself on having the best coffee in Italy. The caffč sospeso tradition waned as Italy entered the boom years of postwar reconstruction and La Dolce Vita. For decades, the custom was confined mainly to the Christmas season. Now, it's made a comeback. Two years ago, with the eurozone crisis already raging, unemployment rising and small businesses closing on a daily basis, more and more Italians could no longer afford the national beverage — an espresso or a cappuccino. Then someone remembered the old Neapolitan custom. So several nongovernmental organizations got together and — with the support of Naples Mayor Luigi de Magistris — Dec.10 was formally declared "Suspended Coffee Day." The practice is now spreading to other crisis-ravaged parts of Europe.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Despair Drives Guantánamo Detainees to Revolt
2013-04-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/us/guantanamo-prison-revolt-driven-by-inmat...

A hunger strike is now in its third month [at Guantánamo prison], with 93 prisoners considered to be participating — more than half the inmates. Both military officials and lawyers for the detainees agree about the underlying cause of the turmoil: a growing sense among many prisoners, some of whom have been held without trial for more than 11 years, that they will never go home. While President Obama made closing the prison a top priority when he entered the White House, he put that effort on the back burner in the face of Congressional opposition to his plan to move the detainees to a Supermax facility inside the United States. The prisoners “had great optimism that Guantánamo would be closed,” Gen. John F. Kelly, who oversees the prison as head of the United States Southern Command, recently told Congress. “They were devastated when the president backed off ... of closing the facility.” That disappointment was heightened by Mr. Obama’s decision in January 2011 to sign legislation to restrict the transfers of prisoners. More than half the inmates were designated three years ago for transfer to another country if security conditions could be met, but the transfers dried up. “President Obama has publicly and privately abandoned his promise to close Guantánamo,” said Carlos Warner, a lawyer who represents one of 17 hunger strikers being kept alive by force-feeding through nasal tubes. “His tragic political decision has caused the men to lose all hope. Thus, many innocent men have chosen death over a life of unjust indefinite detention.”

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on civil liberties, click here.


The Billionaire Brothers Behind America's Predator Drones -- And Their Very Strange Past
2013-04-24, AlterNet
http://www.alternet.org/investigations/billionaire-brothers-behind-americas-p...

Gray Butte, CA: The General Atomics drone base, way out in the wastelands of the Mojave Desert ... today ranks as possibly the largest private drone base in the United States. General Atomics took the base over in 2001 and converted it into a testing and quality control facility for its drone fleet. This is where the company tests experimental drone technology--like the newfangled stealth bomber jet drone. But mostly the base is where General Atomics techs assemble and test their Predator and Reaper drones before breaking them down again and shipping them to eager customers in the Air Force, Border Patrol, National Guard and the CIA. The Guardian estimated that U.S. armed forces had about 250 General Atomics drones in 2012. And a good number of them first came through Grey Butte. [The] brothers who make them: Linden Stanley and James Neal Blue, the mysterious Blue brothers who own and run General Atomics. General Atomics does not disclose its financial information, but stats gleaned from public data show that they took in just under $5 billion from U.S. taxpayers from 2000 to 2009. Current annual revenue is estimated to between $600 million and $1 billion, with about 80 percent coming from government defense contracts. Today, General Atomics dominates 25% of the UAV market--a market that will only keep getting bigger and bigger.

Note: For lots more excellent background to the Blue brothers and their predator-producing company, read the NY Times article at this link.


From Housing to Health Care, 7 Co-ops That Are Changing Our Economy
2013-04-23, Yes! Magazine
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/how-cooperatives-are-driving-the-new-econom...

Ideas for co-ops may flourish, but few people understand exactly how to make theirs real. The Co-op Academy is providing answers. Founded four years ago by Omar Freilla (who recently made Ebony magazine’s list of the Power 100), the academy runs 16-week courses that offer intensive mentoring, legal and financial advice, and help designing logos and websites. Run by the South Bronx-based Green Worker Cooperative, the academy guides up to four teams per session through the startup process and has graduated four organizations now thriving in New York City. These include Caracol Interpreters, which is raising the bar on interpreter wages, and Concrete Green, which focuses on environmentally sound landscaping. Six more co-ops are in the pipeline. “I’m amazed at how little knowledge and information is out there for the average person about how co-ops function and how to start one,” says Janvieve Williams Comrie, whose mother-owned cooperative Ginger Moon also came out of the program. “That’s one thing the Co-op Academy really provides, the hands-on know-how.” Even money for tuition ($1,500 per team) gets the treatment. Freilla is adamant that teams fundraise to cover that cost—even if they can foot the bill themselves. “By fundraising for the registration fee, you are promoting the vision for your cooperative, gaining supporters, and creating a buzz before the program even starts,” he says. “That is just the kind of support that will propel your business forward, and while you’re doing it you’ll be getting an early opportunity to see just how well you and your teammates work together.”

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


New film looks at ‘War on Whistleblowers’
2013-04-23, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/new-film-looks-at-w...

The Obama administration’s approach to federal whistleblowers has been likened to “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” “There’s a schizophrenia within the administration,” said Tom Devine, legal director of the nonprofit Government Accountability Project. “Until recently, there was a virtual free-speech advocacy for whistleblower job rights that’s unprecedented. At the same time,” Devine added, “[Obama] has willingly allowed the Justice Department to prosecute whistleblowers on tenuous grounds.” That last point — the Mr. Hyde side — is the focus of the new film “War on Whistleblowers: Free Press and the National Security State.” The stories about the government’s aggressive moves against federal employees who worked to uphold the finest traditions of public service are chilling and deserve the notice and outrage the film hopes to generate. Franz Gayl’s is the first case presented. The Defense Department civilian employee was punished for his efforts to save the lives of U.S. troops at war. He was stripped of his security clearance, the lifeline for national security workers, and suspended. “They were using all these personnel actions against me,” he said. “I’m the substandard employee, bottom 3 percent, unreliable, untrustworthy, et cetera. After investigations and after all these personnel actions and reprisals, I was placed on administrative leave." The film makes you wonder how many more trampled, and largely unknown, federal whistleblowers like Gayl are out there.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.


Book explores how giving helps a career
2013-04-18, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/Book-explores-how-giving-helps-a-...

Adam Grant believes that nice guys - and gals - can finish first. The young Wharton management professor, just 31, ... has spent years studying how and why certain people succeed in the workplace. It's more than just hard work, talent, luck or looking out for No. 1. He believes that it also takes a generous spirit. In his new book, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success, Grant outlines three types of workers: givers, takers and matchers. Givers, he says, are generous about helping others, including lending a hand to junior employees, without expecting something in return. Takers may excel at "managing up" with their bosses, but they can't be bothered with their colleagues and underlings. And matchers fall somewhere in between that spectrum, handing out favors but expecting reciprocity, too. In a recent interview, Grant talked about how to be a giver. Q: What is the first step to becoming a giver? A: The first step is to figure out the people you care about helping and the forms of giving you enjoy. The evidence shows that giving is rarely sustainable when you're doing it out of a sense of guilt, duty and pressure. For some people, (the most meaningful form of giving) is to be a connector and to make an introduction, or for other people, it's sharing knowledge or expertise, solving a problem or becoming a mentor.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Heroic Women: Judge Debbie O'Dell-Seneca
2013-04-17, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alexia-parks/heroic-women-judge-debbie_b_308226...

Judge Debbie O'Dell-Seneca, of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas in Pennsylvania, [has issued a] historic ruling that corporations are not "persons." They cannot elevate their "private rights" above the rights of persons. In uncommonly elegant language, Judge O'Dell-Seneca cites the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution as she declares: "It is axiomatic that corporations, companies, and partnerships have no 'spiritual nature,' 'feelings,' 'intellect,' 'beliefs,' 'thoughts,' 'emotions,' or 'sensations,' because they do not exist in the manner that humankind exists... They cannot be 'let alone' by government, because businesses are but grapes, ripe upon the vine of the law, that the people of this Commonwealth raise, tend, and prune at their pleasure and need." The judgement came after several Western Pennsylvania newspapers had gone to court to reveal the monies one family had received from Range Resources Corp. and other corporations included in a complaint to settle claims of water contamination caused by fracking. The amount: $750,000. This ruling by O'Dell-Seneca, which caused a corporate settlement to a single family to become unsealed, will lend strength to 150 cases now being brought in eight other states around the U.S. Calling it "A New Civil Rights Movement," the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund of Mercerberg, PA documents the victory.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Goldman Environmental Prize winners 2013
2013-04-14, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfchronicle.com/science/article/Goldman-Environmental-Prize-winner...

The Goldman Environmental Prize, the most prestigious award for grassroots environmental work, [was awarded] in San Francisco to six activists who struggled against the odds to protect the world ecosystem. Profiles of winners: Aleta Baun, [of] Indonesia ... was born to a family ... on the western half of the island of Timor. [She] organized villagers against mining companies that started clearing the forests and taking marble out of the mountains. Her efforts led to threats and an assassination attempt by mining interests, forcing Baun, known by villagers as Mama Aleta, to hide in the forest with her baby. The movement grew despite the intimidation. In 2010, the mining companies caved to the pressure and halted mining on all four sites within the Mollo territories. Azzam Alwash, [of] Iraq ... led the effort to restore the Mesopotamian marshland in southern Iraq where he had spent much of his childhood. The marshland, a lush oasis that had been dubbed the Garden of Eden because it was teeming with birds, water buffalo, fox and otter, was drained and poisoned in the mid-1990s by Hussein in retaliation for a Shiite Arab uprising. Alwash ... founded a nonprofit called Nature Iraq and developed a master plan for restoring his beloved marshes. Despite constant threats from armed terrorists, the Alwash-led environmental movement has so far restored half the original marshland, which is scheduled this spring to become the nation's first national park. Alwash is now leading the fight in Iraq to block development of a chain of 23 dams along the border with Turkey and Syria that would reduce the flow of water in Iraq to a trickle.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Seva Cafe Serves Generosity on a Platter
2013-04-11, Forbes India Magazine
http://forbesindia.com/article/changing-lanes/seva-cafe-serves-generosity-on-...

The milieu at Shantivan, a garden in Mumbai’s tony Malabar Hill area, on February 17 was like a hangover from Valentine’s Day. Placards displaying messages like ‘Love is all we need’ were tied to tree branches. The occasion was the second monthly lunch hosted by Seva Café. Omnipresent at the venue was a bespectacled man [named] Siddharth Sthalekar, who was orchestrating this “generosity enterprise”. About three years ago, he was the co-head of the derivatives trading desk and the head of algorithmic trading at Edelweiss Capital. [One] morning in 2010 [he took the decision] to throw it all away. For some time, the 31-year-old Mumbaikar had been contemplating quitting his cushy job to explore if there is an alternative to the premise of accumulation that seemed to drive individuals in the corporate world. When he finally took the plunge, he set out to travel across India with his wife Lahar. Over the next six months, as they visited several non-profit organisations, they woke up to the concept of gift economy where goods and services are extended without any formal quid pro quo. This motto formed the cornerstone of Moved by Love, an incubator at Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, which carries out various projects. One such project, Seva Café, was in hibernation. Sthalekar ... and his wife became its core volunteers and helped reopen it in September 2011. Seva Café practises giving, the antithesis to accumulation. At the café, volunteers cook and serve meals every week from Thursday to Sunday for free. What is Sthalekar’s takeaway from the experiment? The idea, he says, is to trust the assumption that every individual, irrespective of his economic standing, can be generous. [He] hopes that people will develop the habit of being generous even outside the café—in all environments and circumstances.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


'Absurd' drug laws 'hinder research' - Prof David Nutt
2013-04-06, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-22042994

'Absurd' laws dealing with magic mushrooms, ecstasy and cannabis are hindering medical research, according to a former government drugs adviser. Prof David Nutt says he has funding to research the use of the chemical psilocybin - found in fungi known as "magic mushrooms" to treat depression. But he says "insane" regulations mean he cannot get hold of the drug. The Home Office said there was "no evidence" that regulations were a barrier to research. It is not the first time Prof Nutt has been at odds with government policy. He was sacked as an adviser over views that ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol. Earlier research at Imperial College London showed that injections of psilocybin could calm a region of the brain which is overactive in depression. The UK's Medical Research Council has given the lab a Ł550,000 grant to test the idea - in 30 patients who have not responded to at least two other therapies. They have also been given ethical approval. However, there are more stringent regulations for testing the drug as a treatment than in earlier experiments. As a potential medicine it must meet Good Manufacturing Practice requirements set out by the EU. "It hasn't started yet because the big problem is getting hold of the drug," said Prof Nutt. He said finding a company to provide a clinical-grade psilocybin had "yet proved impossible" as none was prepared to "go through the regulatory hoops". He told the BBC: "We have regulations which are 50 years old, have never been reviewed and they are holding us back, they're stopping us doing the science and I think it's a disgrace actually."

Note: Watch an informative three-minute BBC news clip of an interview with Prof. Nutt. Another good five-minute BBC interview is available here. For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources. See also the website of MAPS, and excellent organization supporting scientific study of the healing powers of these drugs.


Banks score major win in private Libor suits
2013-03-29, Chicago Tribune/Reuters
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-29/business/sns-rt-us-libor-lawsui...

The world's biggest banks won a major victory on [March 29] when a U.S. judge dismissed a "substantial portion" of the claims in private lawsuits accusing them of rigging global benchmark interest rates. The 16 banks had faced claims totaling billions of dollars in the case. The banks include: Bank of America, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC Holdings, JPMorgan Chase, [and others]. They had been accused by a diverse body of private plaintiffs, ranging from bondholders to the city of Baltimore, of conspiring to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), a key benchmark at the heart of more than $550 trillion in financial products. In a significant setback for the plaintiffs, U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in Manhattan granted the banks' motion to dismiss federal antitrust claims and partially dismissed the plaintiffs' claims of commodities manipulation. She also dismissed racketeering and state-law claims. Buchwald did allow a portion of the lawsuit to continue that claims the banks' alleged manipulation of Libor harmed traders who bet on interest rates. Small movements in those rates can mean sizable gains or losses for those gambling on which way the rates move. Buchwald's decision may make it more likely that banks will talk settlement with a significant win in their pocket. The decision also could cast doubt on some of the highest analyst projections about potential Libor damages, and quell some concerns that the banks have not reserved enough for litigation expenses.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on criminal operations of the financial industry, click here.


Your car may be invading your privacy
2013-03-24, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/03/24/car-spying-edr-data-priva...

Is your car spying on you? If it's a recent model, has a fancy infotainment system or is equipped with toll-booth transponders or other units you brought into the car that can monitor your driving, your driving habits or destination could be open to the scrutiny of others. If your car is electric, it's almost surely capable of ratting you out. You may have given your permission, or you may be the last to know. All too often, "people don't know it's happening," says Dorothy Glancy, a law professor at Santa Clara University in California who specializes in transportation and privacy. "People should be able to decide whether they want it collected or not." Try as you may to protect your privacy while driving, it's only going to get harder. The government is about to mandate installation of black-box accident recorders, a dumbed-down version of those found on airliners — that remember all the critical details leading up to a crash, from your car's speed to whether you were wearing a seat belt. The devices are already built into 96% of new cars. Privacy becomes an issue when data end up in the hands of outsiders whom motorists don't suspect have access to it, or when the data are repurposed for reasons beyond those for which they were originally intended. Though the information is being collected with the best of intentions — safer cars or to provide drivers with more services and conveniences — there is always the danger it can end up in lawsuits, or in the hands of the government or with marketers looking to drum up business from passing motorists.

Note: For more on the OnStar system in most GM cars now and how it allows spying on you, read the CNN article titled "OnStar's 'brazen' data tracking comes under fire" at this link.


Federal court rejects CIA's denial of drone strikes as 'fiction'
2013-03-15, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-court-cia-drone-20130315,0,1257923...

A federal appeals court said [on March 15] that it will no longer accept the “fiction” from the Obama administration’s lawyers that the CIA has no interest in or documents that describe drone strikes. “It is neither logical nor plausible for the CIA to maintain that it would reveal anything not already in the public domain to say the Agency at least has an intelligence interest in such strikes,” said Chief Judge Merrick Garland. “The defendant is, after all, the Central Intelligence Agency.” The decision gave a partial victory to the American Civil Liberties Union in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit that seeks documents on the government’s still-secret policy on drone strikes. The three judges ... rejected the administration’s position that it could simply refuse to “confirm or deny” that it had any such documents. A federal judge had rejected the ACLU’s suit entirely, but the three-judge appeals court revived the suit. The agency’s non-response does not pass the “straight face” test, Garland concluded. He cited public statements from President Obama, new CIA Director John Brennan and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that discussed the use of drone strikes abroad. “In this case, the CIA has asked the courts ... to give their imprimatur to a fiction of deniability that no reasonable person would regard as plausible,” Garland wrote in ACLU vs. CIA. ACLU attorney Jameel Jaffer called the decision a victory. “It requires the government to retire the absurd claim that the CIA’s interest in targeted killing is a secret,” he said. “It also means that the CIA will have to explain what records it is withholding and on what grounds it is withholding them."

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the lies required to sustain the illegal US/UK wars of aggression in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, click here.


Website shows foster kids their wishes are worthwhile
2013-03-07, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/07/us/cnnheroes-gletow-foster-wishes/index.html

Many 16-year-olds might covet a smartphone, an Xbox, maybe some expensive new sneakers or even a car. Ronald Hennig just wanted a suit so he could attend a relative's funeral. "I didn't really own even a shirt and tie or dress shoes," he said. "I was seeing some of my old family members, and it was kind of embarrassing to not have a suit when everyone else would have one." The teenager, who had been in and out of foster care for much of his childhood, was living in a group home at the time. His caseworker was unable to justify the nonessential expense. But an anonymous benefactor stepped in to help Hennig through a website called One Simple Wish. "I got custom-fitted for the suit and I was able to go to the funeral," said Hennig, now 18. "I could pay the same respect as everyone else." One Simple Wish was started by Danielle Gletow to help grant the wishes of children in foster care. Since 2008, the nonprofit has granted more than 4,000 wishes for children living in 35 states. Since 2006, Gletow and her husband, Joe, have been foster parents to several children, eventually adopting one of them. Over the years, many friends and family members expressed a desire to help other children in the system, short of becoming foster parents themselves. "(They) would say, 'I really wish there was something I could do, but I don't want to be a foster parent,' " Gletow said. "I just felt like, this is my opportunity to create something that makes it possible for all of these children who need something to get connected to all of these wonderful people that are out there, that want to help them."

Note: Check out the One Simple Wish website at www.onesimplewish.org and see how to help. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Unrepresentative democracy
2013-03-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/Unrepresentative-democracy-4337889.php

Why are ideas widely supported in most of the country so often portrayed as controversial, polarizing and divisive once they are taken up by legislatures? Why does the professional political class seem like a wholly separate society that does not understand the constituents it is supposed to be representing? These are the questions at the root of America's political dysfunction - and a new study marshaling reams of data finally provides some concrete answers. Conducted by graduate students David Broockman at UC Berkeley and Christopher Skovron at the University of Michigan, the survey of nearly 2,000 legislators from across America documents politicians' perceptions of their constituents' views on hot-button issues like universal health care and same-sex marriage. It then compares them with constituents' views. The juxtaposition reveals a jarring truth: Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers hugely overestimate the conservatism of the very people they are supposed to represent. In all, the report finds that "conservative politicians systematically believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are by over 20 percentage points, while liberal politicians also typically overestimate their constituents' conservatism by several percentage points." Ultimately, that has resulted in a political system inherently hostile to mainstream proposals and utterly unrepresentative of public opinion. Ensconced in a bubble of conservative-minded corporate lobbyists and mega-donors, they come to wrongly assume that what passes for a mainstream position in that bubble somehow represents consensus in the larger world.


U.S. has energy trade surplus with China
2013-03-06, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/U-S-has-energy-trade-surplus-with-Chin...

American clean-energy companies racked up a $1.6 billion trade surplus with China in 2011. The report from the Pew Charitable Trusts contradicts the widely held belief that China has overtaken U.S. leadership in clean technologies. According to Pew's research, the U.S. solar industry held a $913 million trade surplus with China in 2011. American wind companies boasted a $146 million surplus. And U.S. "energy smart technologies" - a catch-all category Pew used to survey makers of advanced batteries, light-emitting diodes and electric cars - scored a $571 million trade surplus with China. China exports to the United States items that lend themselves to mass production, such as solar cells and modules. U.S. companies sell to China items that require advanced engineering, such as electronic control systems and manufacturing equipment. The United States also sells more specialized materials used in clean-tech products, such as polysilicon for solar cells and fiberglass for wind turbine blades. Competition among clean-tech companies in China and the United States has strained relations between the two countries. American authorities have slapped import tariffs on Chinese solar panels, and the Chinese government has threatened to retaliate. And yet the Chinese and American clean-tech industries are deeply intertwined, according to the Pew report. In 2011, the latest year data were available, trade in alternative energy technologies between the two countries reached $8.5 billion.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on energy development, click here.


I did it to make the world a better place: Manning
2013-03-01, Sydney Morning Herald/New York Times
http://www.smh.com.au/world/i-did-it-to-make-the-world-a-better-place-manning...

Bradley Manning has confessed in open court to providing vast archives of military and diplomatic files to the antisecrecy group WikiLeaks, saying he wanted the information to become public "to make the world a better place". Appearing before a military judge for more than an hour on [Feb. 28], Private Manning read a statement recounting how he joined the military, became an intelligence analyst in Iraq, decided that certain documents should become known to the American public to prompt a wider debate about the Iraq War, and ultimately uploaded them to WikiLeaks. Before reading the statement, he pleaded guilty to 10 criminal counts in connection with the leak, which included videos of airstrikes in Iraq and Afghanistan in which civilians were killed, logs of military incident reports, assessment files of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and 250,000 diplomatic cables. The guilty pleas exposed him to up to 20 years in prison. But the case against the slightly built, bespectacled 25-year-old – who has become a folk hero among antiwar and whistleblower advocacy groups – is not over. In a riveting personal history, Private Manning portrayed himself as thinking carefully about the categories of information he was divulging, excluding the sort that would harm the United States. He said he was initially concerned about diplomatic cables in particular, but after doing research learned that the most sensitive ones were not placed into the database to which he had access, and he concluded that those might prove "embarrassing" but would not cause harm.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on crimes committed in wars of aggression, click here.


Ivan Fernandez Anaya, Spanish Runner, Intentionally Loses Race So Opponent Can Win
2013-01-18, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/18/ivan-fernandez-anaya-hone_n_2505360....

A Spanish runner has shown the world that sometimes, just sometimes, winning isn't everything. Last month, Spanish athlete Ivan Fernandez Anaya impressed the world by giving up victory to do the right thing. According to El Pais, it happened as the 24-year-old raced a cross-country event in Burlada, Navarre on Dec. 2. In second place to Abel Mutai, the Kenyan athlete who won a bronze medal in the London Olympics, Anaya suddenly had a chance to surge ahead. According to El Pais, Mutai mistakenly thought the end of the race came about 10 meters sooner than it did, and stopped running. Then, he “looked back and saw the people telling him to keep going," Anaya told CNA. "But since he doesn't speak Spanish he didn't realize it." So Anaya slowed, guiding Mutai to the actual finish line. And he didn't think much of it, either. Anaya told El Pais:"I didn't deserve to win it. I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn't have closed if he hadn't made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn't going to pass him." His actions may not have won him the match, or the approval of his coach, but they did get him a few new fans.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Washington police accused of 'disturbing' failures to investigate rape
2013-01-17, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/17/washington-police-accused-rape-fa...

Police in Washington DC frequently fail to investigate reports of rape, and treat victims so dismissively at times, that they experience fresh trauma while the chances of the perpetrator being caught are undermined, according to a comprehensive report due out next week. Human Rights Watch is expected to uncover "disturbing evidence of police failure" in a 200-plus page report after a two-year investigation into law enforcement practices in the US capital. But although shocking, the situation in Washington is far from isolated. There are widespread examples across the US of the police routinely neglecting crimes of sexual violence and refusing to believe victims. "This is a national crisis requiring federal action. We need a paradigm shift in police culture, because rapes and sexual assaults are being swept under the rug, and too many victims are being bullied," said Carol Tracy of the Women's Law Project, a legal advocacy group that specialises in sexual violence cases. Human Rights Watch began looking into the situation in Washington after discovering evidence that the city's Metropolitan police department (MPD) were refusing even to document a significant number of reports of sexual assaults coming in from the central hospital where victims are treated. HRW ... estimated that more than 37% of reports of serious sexual assault and rape were not being followed up on by investigators. In many cities across the US, the police record an alarming proportion of reported rapes as "unfounded" cases, meaning they decide the crime did not happen and the report was false or baseless.

Note: Full details and statistics will be disclosed by HRW in its final report, due to be published on 24 January.


U.S. military suicides exceed combat deaths
2013-01-14, CBS News/Associated Press
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57563857/u.s-military-suicides-exceed-com...

Suicides in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year, far exceeding American combat deaths in Afghanistan, and some private experts are predicting the dark trend will worsen this year. The problem reflects severe strains on military personnel burdened with more than a decade of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over the prospect of being forced out of a shrinking force. The 349 suicides among active-duty troops last year were up from 301 the year before and exceeded the Pentagon's own internal projection of 325. Last year's total is the highest since the Pentagon began closely tracking suicides in 2001. It exceeds the 295 Americans who died in Afghanistan last year. Military suicides began rising in 2006 and soared to a then-record 310 in 2009 before leveling off for two years. It came as a surprise to many that the numbers resumed an upward climb this year, given that U.S. military involvement in Iraq is over and the Obama administration is taking steps to wind down the war in Afghanistan.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of the "endless war", click here.


Court case draws Monsanto protesters to White House
2013-01-10, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/political-fix/court-case...

An appeal by organic farmers [of] a court ruling last year turned into a wide-ranging protest this morning with speakers skewering Monsanto Co. for its policies and demanding labeling of genetically modified food. About 200 people, many from organic seed companies, rallied in a park directly across from the White House. The protest suggested an uptick in efforts to demand labeling, which was defeated in a California ballot initiative in November. Monsanto spent at least $8 million in an industry-wide effort to sink the California proposition. Organic farmers, who are pressing a lawsuit against Monsanto, often complain that their products are threatened by wind-blown pollen from genetically altered crops. "We want and demand the right of clean seed not contaminated by a massive biotech company that's in it for the profit," Carol Koury, who operates Sow True Seeds in Asheville, N.C., said at the rally. The gathering was held in conjunction with an appeal heard today before a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel in Washington. The suit questions the legality of Monsanto's seed patents and seeks protection from patent-infringement suits against farmers in the event their fields are found to contain genetically modified seed. Last February, U.S. District Judge Naomi Buchwald in the Southern District of New York dismissed the suit.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the risks from genetically modified organisms, click here.


Why We Must Go Off the Platinum Coin Cliff
2013-01-03, Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-03/why-we-must-go-off-the-platinum-coin...

President Barack Obama should avert a debt-limit crisis by issuing large-denomination platinum coins, as permitted by 31 USC § 5112 [k]. In case you're not familiar with this idea: In general, the Treasury Department is not allowed to just print money if it feels like it. It must defer to the Federal Reserve's control of the money supply. But there is an exception: Platinum coins may be struck with whatever specifications the Treasury secretary sees fit, including denomination. This law was intended to allow the production of commemorative coins for collectors. But it can also be used to create large-denomination coins that Treasury can deposit with the Fed to finance payment of the government's bills, in lieu of issuing debt. What the law should say is that the executive branch may borrow to pay whatever obligations the federal government has, but may not print. Unfortunately, when we hit the debt ceiling, the situation will be backwards: The administration will not be allowed to borrow, but it can print in unlimited quantities. Monetizing deficits through direct presidential control of the currency, in lieu of borrowing, is ... no way to run a country. It's silly, and it's perfectly legal.

Note: For more on this crazy idea and the power of government to do whatever it wants in printing money, click here.


Euros discarded as impoverished Greeks resort to bartering
2013-01-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/02/euro-greece-barter-poverty-crisis

In [the] bustling [Greek port city Volos], in the heart of Greece's most fertile plain, locals have come up with a novel way of dealing with austerity – adopting their own alternative currency, known as the Tem. As the country struggles with its worst crisis in modern times, with Greeks losing up to 40% of their disposable income as a result of policies imposed in exchange for international aid, the system has been a huge success. Organisers say some 1,300 people have signed up to the informal bartering network. The currency – a form of community banking monitored exclusively online – is not only an effective antidote to wage cuts and soaring taxes but the "best kind of shopping therapy". Greece's deepening economic crisis has brought new users. With ever more families plunging into poverty and despair, shops, cafes, factories and businesses have also resorted to the system under which goods and services – everything from yoga sessions to healthcare, babysitting to computer support – are traded in lieu of credits. "For many it plays a double role of supplementing lost income and creating a protective web at this particularly difficult moment in their lives," says Yiannis Grigoriou, a UK-educated sociologist among the network's founders. "The older generation in this country can still remember when bartering was commonplace. In villages you'd exchange milk and goat's cheese for meat and flour." Other grassroots initiatives have appeared across Greece.


Paedophilia: bringing dark desires to light
2013-01-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/03/paedophilia-bringing-dark-desir...

A liberal professor of psychology who studied in the late 1970s will see [pedophilia] very differently from someone working in child protection, or with convicted sex offenders. There is, astonishingly, not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm. So what, then, do we know? A paedophile is someone who has a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children. But not all paedophiles are child molesters, and vice versa: by no means every paedophile acts on his impulses, and many people who sexually abuse children are not exclusively or primarily sexually attracted to them. In fact, "true" paedophiles are estimated by some experts to account for only 20% of sexual abusers. Nor are paedophiles necessarily violent: no firm links have so far been established between paedophilia and aggressive or psychotic symptoms. Psychologist Glenn Wilson, co-author of The Child-Lovers: a Study of Pedophiles in Society, argues that "The majority of paedophiles, however socially inappropriate, seem to be gentle and rational." Legal definitions of paedophilia, needless to say, have no truck with such niceties, focusing on the offence, not the offender. The Sex Offenders Act 1997 defined paedophilia as a sexual relationship between an adult over 18 and a child below 16. There is much more we don't know, including how many paedophiles there are: 1-2% of men is a widely accepted figure. Even less is known about female paedophiles, thought to be responsible for maybe 5% of abuse against pre-pubescent children in the UK.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse, click here.


Dr. Robert Lustig crusades against sugar
2013-01-01, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/health/article/Dr-Robert-Lustig-crusades-against-sugar-...

Dr. Robert Lustig [has just published] his first book, Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease - a scientific and passionate diatribe against processed food in general and sugar in particular. Sugar, he argues, is the major culprit behind the country's explosive obesity rates. Sugar has poisoned the food supply and is altering people's biology, compelling them to eat more and move less. Sugar consumption is not unlike nicotine or alcohol addiction, he says, and kicking the habit - and in turn, reducing the waistlines of Americans - can't be done by sheer individual willpower. In other words: don't blame the fat for being fat, and don't expect most of them to drop the weight on their own. In 2009, a presentation he gave on sugar was posted to YouTube and has since collected more than 3 million hits. What Lustig suggested, and has since broadcast as a public health disaster in the making, is that sugar is poisonous. His scientific theory is that sugar in large quantities drives up insulin secretion. Insulin triggers the body to either use sugar as fuel or store it as fat, and Lustig argues that fructose is more likely to end up as fat, especially in the liver. Plus, insulin blocks a hormone called leptin, which signals to the brain when the body needs more or less energy. A lack of leptin tells the brain that the body doesn't have enough energy, which sets off efforts to increase and preserve fuel. In other words, it makes people want to eat more and move less.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.


National Rifle Association moves to block UN treaty on gun control
2012-12-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/28/nra-block-un-treaty-gun-c...

The National Rifle Association continues to block any gun control laws whatsoever, and even trumpets its efforts to block the global arms trade treaty, slated for negotiations at the United Nations this March. On Christmas Eve, the same day as the attack in Webster, the UN general assembly voted to move ahead with 10 days of negotiations on the arms trade treaty, to commence 18 March. The NRA succeeded in helping to scuttle the global arms trade treaty, delivering to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a letter opposing the treaty signed by 50 US senators, including eight Democrats, and 130 members of the House of Representatives. The global treaty shouldn't be controversial. By signing on, governments agree not to export weapons to countries that are under an arms embargo, or to export weapons that would facilitate "the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes" or other violations of international humanitarian law. Amnesty International last week called on the NRA to "immediately drop its campaign of distortions and lies about the pending United Nations' global arms trade treaty". Amnesty USA's Michelle Ringuette elaborated: "These unregulated weapons are used to force tens of thousands of children into armed conflict and to rape women and girls in conflict zones. More than 26 million people around the globe are forced from their homes, and their livelihoods destroyed, by armed conflict. The NRA must immediately stand down on its campaign to block a global arms trade treaty."


Mothers of Invention: Girltank, A Sisterhood of Changemakers
2012-12-24, The Daily Beast/Newsweek
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/24/mothers-of-invention-girltan...

While still a teen, Bay Area-based activist Sejal Hathi founded the non-profit, Girls Helping Girls. Encouraging social change, the NGO raised money for scholarships, shared curricula across borders, and combated sex trafficking. Tara Roberts authored two critically acclaimed young adult books, What Your Mama Never Told You and Am I the Last Virgin? exploring social issues facing today’s black youth. And as an editor for the likes of Essence and CosmoGirl, one of her job responsibilities was to track down and nominate candidates for an annual magazine award acknowledging the outstanding social accomplishments of teens. Girltank [is] an online model intended to engage young entrepreneurs in various stages of their ventures—from the idea stage to the launch and scaling stages. Girltank has three main components—connect, inspire, and fund. Girltank sets up a forum for girls interested in similar causes to find each other and collaborate, and is supported by a variety of workshops that encourage the exchange of ideas. For the second component, inspire, Tara produced an eclectic database of clips featuring girls and women both in the U.S. and abroad discussing vulnerabilities and issues they face with their respective projects. It’s an inspiring resource for anyone looking to get started. The third and all-important component is its crowd-funding platform poised to funnel financial support from its partners to the most promising ventures. To date, girltank’s community, comprised of women of all ages, represents more than 105 countries and every economic, racial, and religious background.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


Whistleblower Frank Serpico is never too far from his NYPD past
2012-12-22, New York Daily News
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/quit-famed-nypd-whisteblower-frank-serpic...

If you’re searching for the Frank Serpico of the ’70s, the whistle-blowing hippie cop of cinematic renown, pay a visit to Netflix. The real thing is now 76, his famous beard close-cropped and gray. Wiry and fit, Serpico sports tinted glasses and a Keith Richards-style skull ring with ruby red eyes. He lives alone in the woods upstate, far from his Greenwich Village haunts of yore. But despite the distance and the decades, Serpico is never too far away from his NYPD past. The long-retired cop speaks just weeks after the death of his Knapp Commission cohort David Durk, the ex-detective who helped expose the NYPD’s massive corruption. For the record: Serpico never received a gold first-grade detective’s shield. His NYPD Medal of Honor was handed to him without ceremony, like a pack of cigarettes. And he still wants to know why fellow cops never called in a code 10-13 — officer down — after he took a bullet in the face on Feb. 3, 1971. As for the movie, the man who broke through the Blue Wall of Silence is succinct: “Pacino played Serpico better than I did.” Serpico, left with a bullet in the head and a deaf ear from the on-duty shooting, still collects a regular NYPD disability check. And he still maintains skepticism toward the department.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.


'Solar sisters' spreading light in Africa
2012-12-17, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/17/world/africa/solar-sister-africa-light/index.html

Eva Walusimbi knows well how it is to live in darkness. As a community leader in the small town of Mityana, central Uganda, she's been witnessing the health hazards and financial strains that a shortage of electricity can bring to people living in energy poor, rural areas. In Uganda, some 90% of the population lives without access to electricity, according to World Bank figures. Apart from the health risks, Walusimbi, 50, says that lack of electricity is also preventing people from escaping poverty. "People that are living without electricity, their day ends up so quickly -- they can do less work compared to the people with full light," she says. But for Walusimbi, there is light at the end of the tunnel. She has joined Solar Sister, a group aiming to eradicate energy poverty while creating economic opportunities for women. Solar Sister trains, recruits and supports female entrepreneurs in East Africa to sell affordable solar lighting and other green products such as solar lamps and mobile phone chargers. The women use their community networks of family and neighbors to build their own businesses, earning a commission on each sale. Solar Sister founder Katherine Lucey, a former investment banker with expertise in the energy sector, says this model is creating access to safe, affordable and clean energy while helping women to earn a steady income to support their families.

Note: For deeply inspiring reports from major media sources, click here.


Mayan apocalypse: panic spreads as December 21 nears
2012-12-07, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/9730618/Mayan-apoc...

Fears that the end of the world is nigh have spread across the world with only days until the end of the Mayan calendar, with doomsday-mongers predicting a cataclysmic end to the history of Earth. Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year "Long Count" Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them. The precise manner of Armageddon remains vague, ranging from a catastrophic celestial collision between Earth and the mythical planet Nibiru, also known as Planet X, a disastrous crash with a comet, or the annihilation of civilisation by a giant solar storm. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister, even addressed the situation. "I don't believe in the end of the world," before adding somewhat disconcertingly: "At least, not this year." In China, which has no history of preoccupation with the end of the world, a wave of paranoia about the apocalypse can be traced to the 2009 Hollywood blockbuster "2012". The film, starring John Cusack, was a smash hit in China, as viewers were seduced by a plot that saw the Chinese military building arks to save humanity. Mayans themselves reject any notion that the world will end. Pedro Celestino Yac Noj, a Mayan sage, burned seeds and fruits to mark the end of the old calendar at a ceremony in Cuba. He said: "The 21st is for giving thanks and gratitude and the 22nd welcomes the new cycle, a new dawn."

Note: People have been waiting for an imminent day to be saved for millennia. There is no time like the present for transformation.


Racketeering and Money Laundering Lawsuit Seeking Return of $43 Trillion to the United States Treasury
2012-10-25, MarketWatch/Wall Street Journal
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/major-banks-governmental-officials-and-their...

Spire Law Group's national home owners' lawsuit [is] the largest money laundering and racketeering lawsuit in United States history, identifying $43 trillion of laundered money. [In] the federal lawsuit now [pending] in the United States District Court in Brooklyn, New York ... plaintiffs now establish the location of the $43 trillion of laundered money in a racketeering enterprise. [The] mass tort action [seeks] to halt all foreclosures nationwide pending the return of the $43 trillion, an audit of the Fed and audits of all the "bailout programs." The epicenter of this laundering and racketeering enterprise has been and continues to be Wall Street and continues to involve the very "Banksters" located there who have repeatedly asked in the past to be "bailed out" and to be "bailed out" in the future. The Havens for the money laundering schemes ... are located in such venues as Switzerland, the Isle of Man, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Cypress and [other entities] identified in both the United Nations and the U.S. Senate's recent reports on international money laundering. The case further alleges that through these obscure foreign companies, Bank of America, J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo Bank, Citibank, Citigroup, One West Bank, and numerous other federally chartered banks stole trillions of dollars of home owners' and taxpayers' money during the last decade and then laundered it through offshore companies.

Note: CNBC also reported this astonishing news. Yet within hours the original page for the article was taken down, and CNBC senior vice president Kevin Krim received news that his children were killed under very suspicious circumstances. Could this have been a strong warning? For more in this, click here. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on financial corruption, click here.


Remote U.S. base at core of secret operations
2012-10-25, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/remote-us-base-at-core-...

Around the clock, about 16 times a day, drones take off or land at a U.S. military base [in Djibouti], the combat hub for the Obama administration’s ... wars in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East. Some of the unmanned aircraft are bound for Somalia. Most of the armed drones, however, veer north across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen. Camp Lemonnier began as a temporary staging ground for U.S. Marines looking for a foothold in the region a decade ago. Over the past two years, the U.S. military has clandestinely transformed it into the busiest Predator drone base outside the Afghan war zone. The Obama administration has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal the legal and operational details of its targeted-killing program. Increasingly, the orders to find, track or kill [targeted] people are delivered to Camp Lemonnier. Secrecy blankets most of the [500-acre] camp’s activities. In August, the Defense Department delivered a master plan to Congress detailing how the camp will be used over the next quarter-century. About $1.4 billion in construction projects are on the drawing board, including a huge new compound that could house up to 1,100 Special Operations forces, more than triple the current number. Drones will continue to be in the forefront. Today, Camp Lemonnier is the centerpiece of an expanding constellation of half a dozen U.S. drone and surveillance bases in Africa ... from Mali to Libya to the Central African Republic. The U.S. military also flies drones from small civilian airports in Ethiopia and the Seychelles, but those operations pale in comparison to what is unfolding in Djibouti.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the secret and illegal operations of the "global war on terror," click here.


Studying how brain responds to hypnosis
2012-10-23, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Studying-how-brain-responds-to-hypnosis...

[Hypnosis] is the oldest Western conception of psychotherapy and, in mainstream medicine, it has been shown to help patients manage pain, stress and anxiety, and combat traumas and phobia. It is also associated with being used to retrieve "repressed" memories connected to mental disorders. Now, new scientific research, bolstered by technological advances, is shedding light on the neurological nuances of the brain's response to hypnosis. For instance, a recent study from the Stanford University School of Medicine helps explain why some people easily fall into a trance while others do not. David Spiegel, the study's senior author [and medical director of Stanford's Center for Integrative Medicine], defines hypnosis as a state of highly focused attention, achieved through deep breathing and muscle relaxation. When patients are fully hypnotized, they can, for instance, alter their minds to perceive pain as less painful. The ability to slip into this mentality varies among people, according to Spiegel's study. Published this month in Archives of General Psychiatry, it shows that the reason may have to do with the strength of connections between specific brain regions. This deeper proof of people's abilities to be hypnotized helps physicians explain to patients that hypnosis "is not just some carnival trick" but a helpful medical tool, said Donald Olson, director of the pediatric epilepsy program at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford. He was not involved in Spiegel's study.

Note: Hypnosis, used effectively, is a very powerful tool which has often been ignored and even suppressed by mainstream medicine. Secret government mind control programs have had incredible success with hypnosis, as you can read in a declassified CIA document available here. The document shows how two young women under hypnosis were programmed to place bombs.


How our brains work to erase bad memories
2012-10-19, NBC News
http://bodyodd.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/10/19/14540990-how-our-brains-work-to-e...

Researchers [have] found that we use two different ways -- suppression or substitution -- to avoid thinking of uncomfortable or unhappy memories. “We assume that, in everyday life, healthy people will use a mixture of both mechanisms to prevent an unwanted memory from coming to mind,” says Roland Benoit, a scientist at the Medical Research Council, Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at University of Cambridge. While both processes cause forgetting, a different region of the brain controls each one. Even though people exploit both to forget those nagging, unwanted memories, actively overlooking unpleasant events can negatively impact how we remember. But Benoit notes that learning how people deal with unwanted memories helps them understand how people with traumatic memories, such as PTSD sufferers, cope with remembering.


Philippines and Muslim rebels sign key peace plan
2012-10-15, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19944101

The Philippines has signed a framework peace plan with the country's largest Muslim rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The deal follows lengthy negotiations aimed at ending a 40-year conflict that has cost an estimated 120,000 lives. The agreement was reached in early October after talks in Malaysia. It provides for a new autonomous region in part of the south where Muslims are a majority in a mainly Catholic nation. The framework deal was signed by the chief negotiators of the government and the rebels, and witnessed by President Benigno Aquino and MILF leader Murad Ebrahim at the presidential palace in Manila. In the rebels' main headquarters, there is a real sense of optimism about this deal. Hundreds of fighters converged here from their jungle hideouts, to listen to the signing of the agreement being relayed on loudspeakers. They excitedly posed for photos with each other to mark the occasion. But these rebels - like both sides on the negotiating panel - know this is only the start of a long process. The new autonomous region would be named Bangsamoro, after the Moros - or Moors, which was how the Spanish used to refer to the followers of Islam - living there. The draft agreement would give the leaders of Bangsamoro more political and economic powers, and provides for the gradual transfer of law enforcement from the army to the Bangsamoro police in a "phased and gradual manner". The framework also promises the people a "just and equitable share" of the region's abundant natural resources, and pledges to address the needs of poverty-stricken communities.

Note: This is one of many hopeful signs in our world. The intense Aceh conflict in Indonesia which lasted may decades and took many thousands of lives has also now been resolved peacefully.


Brad Pitt blasts U.S. 'War on Drugs,' calls for policy rethink
2012-10-13, Chicago Tribune/Reuters
http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/sns-rt-us-houseilivein-bradpittbr...

Brad Pitt has thrown his weight behind a documentary that blasts America's 40-year war on drugs as a failure, calling policies that imprison huge numbers of drug-users a "charade" in urgent need of a rethink. The Hollywood actor [recently became] an executive producer of filmmaker Eugene Jarecki's "The House I Live In," which won the Grand Jury Prize in January at the Sundance Film Festival. The film opened in wide release in the United States on [October 12]. Ahead of a Los Angeles screening, Pitt and Jarecki spoke passionately about the "War on Drugs" which, according to the documentary, has cost more than $1 trillion and accounted for over 45 million arrests since 1971, and which preys largely on poor and minority communities. "It's such bad strategy. It makes no sense. It perpetuates itself. You make a bust, you drive up profit, which makes more people want to get into it," he added. "To me, there's no question; we have to rethink this policy and we have to rethink it now." "The House I Live In" was filmed in more than 20 states and tells stories from many sides of the issue, including Jarecki's African-American nanny, a drug dealer, narcotics officer, inmate, judge, grieving mother, senator and others. It also shows that although the United States accounts for only 5 percent of the world's population, it has 25 percent of its prison population. Additionally, African Americans, who make up roughly 13 percent of the population and 14 percent of its drug users, account for 56 percent of those incarcerated for drug crimes.

Note: Some believe that whenever the government declares a war on something, the result is an increase in that thing. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.


Richest 400 Americans get richer
2012-09-19, CNN
http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/19/news/companies/forbes-richest/index.html

The rich got quite a bit richer this past year, according to this year's rankings of the 400 wealthiest Americans. Forbes magazine released its annual list on [September 19], and the combined net worth jumped 13% to $1.7 trillion in 2012, up from $1.5 trillion in 2011. The boost came thanks to the rising stock market and a rebound in real estate values - especially in cities like Los Angeles and New York. Microsoft founder Bill Gates remained at the top of the list, as his net worth rose $7 billion to $66 billion. His pal Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, also saw his net worth climb by $7 billion, which helped him retain the number two spot on the list with $46 billion. Another software mogul, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, enjoyed the biggest increase in wealth of anyone on the list -- a jump of $8 billion. That put his net worth at $41 billion, ranking him No. 3 on the list. The average net worth of a member of the Forbes 400 hit $4.2 billion. That's the highest level it's been in at least a decade, according to the magazine, and up from $3.8 billion last year. The net worth cut off to make the list this year was $1.1 billion. Forbes said that 241 members of the 400 enjoyed an increase in their net worth, while only 66 members suffered a decline.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on income inequality, click here.


Global Social Benefit Incubator still strong
2012-09-07, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Global-Social-Benefit-Incubator-still-...

Shivani Siroya was one of 19 entrepreneurs at this year's Global Social Benefit Incubator who have been undergoing a critical evaluation from this group, whose members also include venture capitalists and experts in social enterprise. Beyond building successful enterprises, the incubator wants ones that alleviate social needs. "People are not going to give money to you indefinitely, even if you're doing some good in the world. So we have to help these entrepreneurs develop sound business models that will flourish and last," said Eric Carlson, director of the incubator and dean's executive professor in the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University. This year's gathering brought together more than 150 mentors, who will continue to work with these enterprises into the fall. One is Jeff Miller, former director of Santa Clara's Center for Science, Technology and Society. He's been an adviser since the program's inception and sees one common thread in many of the young people. "They have such huge, wonderful, passionate visions of how to change the world in energy, water, education and more. But they lack focus. So we encourage them to look at an area that they can focus on and make an impact. This can be a particular demographic or region, which makes for a more concentrated effort." Impact investing, an emerging field for social effect as well as monetary return, has been gaining prominence. But Miller and Carlson are cautious, noting that the area needs to mature and develop an infrastructure. Yet it's quickly become a topic of discussion at the incubator.

Note: For information on microlending, one of the highest impact forms of investing for eliminating poverty in our world while still gaining interest on investment, click here.


Girl earns $30K at lemonade stand to end slavery
2012-08-20, KGO-TV Channel 7 (SF Bay Area ABC affiliate)
http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local/north_bay&id=8779876

In the city of Fairfax, a stand is being made against human trafficking, and its leader is an 8-year-old girl. Vivienne Harr has set up her 'Make a Stand' lemonade stand for 57 straight days. She's on a mission to raise at least $150,000 that will go towards ending world slavery. Harr uses only fair trade lemons for her drink. "And it's really hard to find fair-trade things. We're buying fair trade things because ... you can't be freeing slaves and having them to work harder for the cause that you're trying to do to help them be free," said Harr. In less than two months, Harr has already earned more than $30,000. Much of that is from donations. By the way, Harr has a Twitter account which has 15,000 followers, including pop star Katy Perry.

Note: For a great, inspiring five-minute video on this amazing eight-year-old girl, click here. And she's up to almost $50,000 as of late October 2012.


Solar, wind power get Pentagon boost
2012-08-06, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-wind-power-get-Pentagon-boost-37...

The U.S. Defense Department will encourage companies to build solar power plants and wind farms on 16 million acres of open land surrounding military bases, making each base less dependent on the nation's aging electricity grid. The plan ... will help the military cut its $4 billion annual energy bill and help insulate bases from blackouts. A study the Defense Department released this year found that the lands surrounding four military installations in Southern California alone could generate seven gigawatts of solar energy, equivalent to the output of seven nuclear reactors. But the plan will not focus solely on the desert Southwest. Federal officials also will study the possibility of creating offshore wind farms near military bases along the country's coasts. Solar, wind, geothermal and biomass facilities developed near military bases will be used primarily to power those facilities. But the projects will be big enough that the private companies that finance and build them will be able to sell some excess energy to other users.

Note: For reports from reliable major media sources on energy developments, click here.


Scientists' agony over ecstasy
2012-07-18, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jul/18/scientists-study-ecstasy-...

Research into ... Schedule I drugs like MDMA (ecstasy), LSD and magic mushrooms ... requires not only a high level of security, but also that the institutions involved buy a licence costing several thousand pounds not required for researching other drugs. Paradoxically, the other schedules include more harmful substances such as heroin. Funders often shy away from such research because of the red tape, associated higher costs, and the perception that it is possible to be stigmatised for supporting such work. Research into a Schedule I drug like MDMA has potential both to help our understanding of how drugs affect the brain, and provide those who take them with better harm-reduction information. It also helps us understand how we can make drugs work normally, advancing our treatment of brain disorders. Some Schedule I drugs have huge potential for serious conditions where treatment is currently inadequate, including addiction and depression. Frustratingly, almost no research has been carried out since current regulations came into force in 1971. And the situation is about to get worse; the government's new temporary drug control orders ... automatically puts new substances under Schedule I for the year that they are controlled. The likelihood of the drug then being downgraded is very remote, given that research will be practically impossible, especially within the year's timeframe.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on mind-altering drugs, click here.


Seismologists warn Japan against nuclear restart
2012-06-26, MSNBC/Reuters
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47958890/ns/us_news-environment/t/seismologists-w...

Two prominent seismologists said on Tuesday that Japan is ignoring the safety lessons of last year's Fukushima crisis and warned against restarting two reactors next month. Japan has approved the restart of the two reactors at the Kansai Electric Power Ohi nuclear plant, northwest of Tokyo, despite mass public opposition. They will be the first to come back on line after all reactors were shut following a massive earthquake and tsunami last March that caused the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl at Tokyo Electric Power's Daiichi Fukushima plant. Seismic modeling by Japan's nuclear regulator did not properly take into account active fault lines near the Ohi plant, Katsuhiko Ishibashi, a seismologist at Kobe University, told reporters. "The stress tests and new safety guidelines for restarting nuclear power plants both allow for accidents at plants to occur," Ishibashi told reporters. "Instead of making standards more strict, they both represent a severe setback in safety standards." Experts advising Japan's nuclear industry had underestimated the seismic threat, Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a tectonic geomorphology professor at Tokyo University, said at the same news conference. "The expertise and neutrality of experts advising Japan's Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency are highly questionable," Watanabe said.

Note: For more from reliable sources on corruption on the nuclear power industry, click here.


The Business 9 Women Kept A Secret For Three Decades
2012-06-20, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/20/it-aint-over-the-business-secret_n_1...

"The 9 Nanas" ... gather in the darkness of night. At 4am they begin their daily routine - a ritual that no one, not even their husbands, knew about for 30 years. They have one mission and one mission only: to create happiness. And it all begins with baked goods. Over the next three hours, The 9 Nanas (who all consider themselves sisters, despite what some of their birth certificates say) will whip up hundreds of pound cakes, as part of a grand scheme to help those in need. Before anyone gets as much as a glimpse of them, they’ll disappear back into their daily lives. Their master plan ... began 35 years ago. They’d eavesdrop - and when they heard about a widow or a single mom who needed a little help, they’d step in and anonymously pay a utility bill or buy some new clothes for the children. The Nanas would find out where the person lived and send a package with a note that simply said, “Somebody loves you” - and they’d be sure to include one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes. 30 years into their secret mission ... the sisters came clean. They told the husbands, [who then] offered to help. It wasn’t long before the couples decided it was also time to tell their grown children. And that’s when happiness began to happen in an even bigger way. The children encouraged their mothers to start selling MaMaw Ruth’s pound cakes online, so they could raise money to help even more people. That’s when the 9 Nanas moved their covert baking operation out of their homes. In the last 35 years, the 9 Nanas have contributed nearly $900,000 of happiness to their local community.

Note: To learn more about The 9 Nanas and Happiness Happens or to purchase one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes, you can visit their website.


Transatlantic alliance between Rothschilds and Rockefellers for wealth management
2012-05-31, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/transatlantic-alliance-betwee...

As if they weren't already well-connected enough, the world's two greatest dynasties joined forces yesterday as Europe's Rothschild banking clan bought a stake in the Rockefeller group's wealth and asset management business to gain a foothold in the US. The patriarchs of the two families – 96-year-old David Rockefeller and Jacob Rothschild, 76 – cemented a five-decade acquaintance as the younger man's London-based Ł2bn RIT Capital investment trust bought a 37 per cent stake in the American's business. In addition to bringing together the two doyens, the deal will considerably expand the vast networks of both families. To give a taste: Lord Rothschild's son, Nat Rothschild, is a well-known entrepreneur with stakes in a range of companies such as Genel, the Kurdistan-focused oil producer ... and Bumi, the Indonesian mining group. He was also linked with George Osborne and Peter Mandelson at a notorious party on an oligarch's yacht off Corfu in 2008. Lord Rothschild's niece Kate is married to Ben Goldsmith, brother of Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith and Jemima Khan and son of the late billionaire business tycoon Sir James Goldsmith. On the Rockefeller side, for starters, David's granddaughter Ariana is a successful fashion designer who married the construction heir Matthew Bucklin in 2010. The Rothschilds bought the stake in Rockefeller from French banking group Société Générale for an undisclosed sum.


Former top FBI agent charged with child porn distribution
2012-05-15, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/15/justice/ex-fbi-agent-pornography/index.html

A former supervisory FBI agent has been arrested and jailed on child pornography charges. Donald Sachtleben was taken into custody and charged ... after a nationwide undercover investigation of illegal child porn images traded over the Internet. The 54-year-old resident of Carmel, Indiana, has pleaded not guilty. A federal complaint alleges 30 graphic images and video were found on Sachtleben's laptop computer late last week when FBI agents searched his home, about 23 miles north of Indianapolis. The arrest was a result a months-long probe, said the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, Joseph Hogsett. "The mission of our Project Safe Childhood initiative is to investigate and prosecute anyone found to (be) engaged in the sexual exploitation of children," Hogsett said in a news release. "No matter who you are, you will be brought to justice if you are found guilty of such criminal behavior." Sachtleben is currently an Oklahoma State University visiting professor, according to his online resume. He is director of training at the school's Center for Improvised Explosives. He had been an FBI special agent from 1983 to 2008, serving as a bomb technician. He worked on the Oklahoma City bombing and Unabomber investigations, according to his university biography. The Justice Department's Project Safe Childhood initiative was launched in 2006, leading to what federal officials call a more than 40% increase in the number of cases investigated. The project's website says 2,700 indictments were filed last year alone.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on sexual abuse scandals, click here.


Kodak had secret nuclear reactor
2012-05-15, Sydney Morning Herald
http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/kodak-had-secret-nuclear-rea...

It has been revealed that ailing imaging company Kodak had a secret nuclear reactor hidden in a US research facility for more than 30 years. The reactor, which contained 1.5kg of enriched "weapons-grade" uranium, was a Californium Flux Multiplier (CFX) acquired by the company in 1974 and only decommissioned in 2006. "The uranium used in the CFX was highly enriched, but ... was not easily adaptable to creating a nuclear weapon," company spokesman Christopher Veronda told Fairfax Media. While the reactor was not used to generate power and therefore was not at risk of a meltdown, it was still vulnerable to radiation leaks. "These devices are very rare," said Miles Pomper, a senior research associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, D.C. "According to the decommissioning plan submitted by Kodak it is only one of two such devices ever produced - and the only one for private industry," Mr Pomper [said]. The CFX, which was roughly the size of a domestic refrigerator, was used for neutron multiplication, an analytical method. Kodak used it to test chemicals for impurities, and to perform neutron radiography - an imaging technique in which neutrons are passed through an object [and] then produce an image of the object as they expose a photographic film. If the reactor really was secure, it poses the question: why was it decommissioned? Kodak claims that in 2003 it made the decision to pursue alternative, more cost-effective methods of analysis. The uranium was removed in 2007 and taken to a government facility in South Carolina.

Note: For reliable articles revealing the dangers of nuclear reactors, click here.


Nicolas Sarkozy faces questioning in raft of investigations as immunity ends
2012-05-09, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nicolas-sarkozy/9255097/Nicolas-Sar...

Nicolas Sarkozy could face questioning in a raft of party financing and corruption cases when he leaves the Elysée next week and loses his presidential immunity. The outgoing president could soon be called for questioning – either as a witness or potentially as a suspect – in several corruption cases ... after leaving office on May 15. Judges are likely to want to summon him over an investigation into who ordered French intelligence to unlawfully seek to uncover the source of journalists working for Le Monde. France's intelligence chief is currently under investigation over the affair in which Le Monde exposed embarrassing links between Mr Sarkozy's government and Liliane Bettencourt, the l'Oréal billionaire caught up in a tax evasion and illegal party financing inquiry. Mr Sarkozy is suspected of benefiting from brown envelopes of cash to help fund his 2007 campaign from Mrs Bettencourt and her late husband, André, whose former bookkeeper has told judges she withdrew 150,000 euros earmarked for Mr Sarkozy's then campaign treasurer. He also faces questioning over allegations he personally accepted cash from the Bettencourts during a visit shortly before his 2007 election. Another case in which Mr Sarkozy's name has cropped up is the so-called "Karachi affair", a complex investigation into alleged kickbacks on arms contracts.

Note: For lots more on government corruption, click here.


Google gets license to operate driverless cars in Nevada
2012-05-07, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/05/07/tech/nevada-driveless-car/index.html

Nevada [has become] the first [state] to approve a license for "autonomous vehicles" -- in other words, cars that cruise, twist and turn without the need for a driver -- on its roads. The license goes to Google. Engineer and Google X founder Sebastian Thrun said that the self-driving vehicle project aims "to help prevent traffic accidents, free up people's time and reduce carbon emissions by fundamentally changing car use." He noted that the "automated cars use video cameras, radio sensors and a laser range finder to 'see' other traffic, as well as detailed maps ... to navigate the road ahead." There is no driver needed, though one is typically in the front seat ready to take control if need be. Earlier this spring, Google said it had "safely completed over 200,000 miles of computer-led driving." Nevada issued a special license after demonstrations on state freeways, state highways, in Carson City neighborhoods and on Las Vegas' landmark Las Vegas Strip, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles said in a news release. All such cars on the road are "test" vehicles for now, though the state signaled it intends to be "at the forefront of autonomous vehicle development."

Note: For reports from major media sources on new automotive and energy inventions, click here.


Global Automakers to Demo EV Fast Charging at EVS26
2012-05-03, MarketWatch/PR Newswire
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/global-automakers-to-demo-ev-fast-charging-a...

Global automakers from the United States and Germany will demonstrate fast-charging technology that will enable the recharging of most electrified vehicles with compatible systems in as little as 15-20 minutes. Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen have agreed to support a harmonized single-port fast charging approach - called DC-fast charging with a Combined Charging System - for use on electric vehicles in Europe and the United States. Live charging demonstrations [were] conducted during the Electric Vehicle Symposium 26 (EVS26) May 6-9. The combined charging system integrates one-phase AC-charging, fast three-phase AC-charging, DC-charging at home and ultra-fast DC-charging at public stations into one vehicle inlet. This will allow customers to charge at most existing charging stations regardless of power source and may speed more affordable adoption of a standardized infrastructure. The International Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has chosen the Combined Charging System as the fast-charging methodology for a standard. The standard is to be officially published this summer. ACEA, the European association of vehicle manufacturers has also selected the Combined Charging System as its AC/DC-charging interface for all new vehicle types in Europe beginning in 2017.

Note: How sad that an Internet search turned up no major media reporting this important and inspiring news. For lots more from reliable sources on new developments in automotive and alternative energy technologies, click here.


'The League of Afghanistan': One Man's Quest To Bring Wheelchair Basketball To War-Torn Region
2012-04-28, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/28/league-of-afghanistan-wheelchair_n_1...

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.

Note: Don't miss the inspiring video on this beautiful story. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


Tending the Body’s Microbial Garden
2012-04-07, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/science/studies-of-human-microbiome-yield-n...

For a century, doctors have waged war against bacteria, using antibiotics as their weapons. But that relationship is changing as scientists become more familiar with the 100 trillion microbes that call us home — collectively known as the microbiome. “I would like to lose the language of warfare,” said Julie Segre, a senior investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. “It does a disservice to all the bacteria that have co-evolved with us and are maintaining the health of our bodies.” This new approach to health is known as medical ecology. Rather than conducting indiscriminate slaughter, Dr. Segre and like-minded scientists want to be microbial wildlife managers. No one wants to abandon antibiotics outright. But by nurturing the invisible ecosystem in and on our bodies, doctors may be able to find other ways to fight infectious diseases, and with less harmful side effects. Tending the microbiome may also help in the treatment of disorders that may not seem to have anything to do with bacteria, including obesity and diabetes. Last week, Dr. Segre and about 200 other scientists published the most ambitious survey of the human microbiome yet. Known as the Human Microbiome Project, it is based on examinations of 242 healthy people tracked over two years. The scientists sequenced the genetic material of bacteria recovered from 15 or more sites on their subjects’ bodies, recovering more than five million genes. The project and other studies like it are revealing some of the ways in which our invisible residents shape our lives, from birth to death.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on health issues, click here.


Goldman Sachs is latest to hear wrath of ex-worker
2012-03-16, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/16/BUNA1NKMIE.DTL

The Goldman Sachs executive who didn't so much burn as firebomb his career bridges with a poisonous resignation letter in the New York Times wasn't the only former employee to go on a publicized rant this week. A couple of days earlier, James Whittaker, an engineering director at Google who recently moved to Microsoft, took direct aim at the Mountain View search giant in a blog post arguing that the company has lost its way in the desperate quest to funnel users into its social network. Later that day, in an opinion piece on Wired.com, Andy Baio assailed Yahoo's patent-infringement suit against Facebook ... calling it "extortion" and a betrayal of employees. Obviously these parting shots carried extra weight coming from onetime senior, internal sources. While it's hard to draw broad conclusions about the criticisms, we can safely draw some narrow ones: Goldman Sachs should stop being an awful, awful corporate citizen (but then we've known that). Google shouldn't undermine its culture and core product in search of the next big thing. And Yahoo should drop this embarrassing lawsuit over bogus patents and get to work on real innovation. Alas, the conclusion most companies will probably draw from these episodes is that they need to toughen up their nondisclosure agreements.

Note: For revealing reports from reliable sources on corruption and criminality at the biggest financial corporations, click here. For lots more on corporate corruption, click here.


Jane McGonigal: Game on with 'SuperBetter'
2012-03-04, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/01/LV7E1NDDO5.DTL

Jane the Concussion Killer ended her battle against evil years ago, but See Jane Run is still vanquishing foes. Both are the alter egos of video game advocate Jane McGonigal, whose slow recovery from a head injury was inspiration to turn wellness into a hero-themed game called "SuperBetter." The San Francisco author and game researcher is taking "SuperBetter" global this month, as a free online game and app. With partners, funding and a network of users who have already signed up, she's hoping "SuperBetter" can help people on their own heroic journeys to tackle depression, obesity and other health issues." 'SuperBetter' is fundamentally about a mind shift," McGonigal says. "It's about claiming your power to be in charge of how you spend your time and energy, and focusing it on the things that matter the most to you. Focusing on things that will bring real happiness, real well-being." [She] became a public face with her 2011 best-seller Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World. Reality Is Broken talks about adopting the stimulating challenges and rewards of video games when tackling real-life problems. "I still believe really strongly that gamers can solve some of the world's toughest challenges, but some of the world's toughest challenges are very personal," she says. "Things like depression and obesity are global challenges."


Snowe’s departure may fuel anger at Congress that puts partisanship before solutions
2012-03-01, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/analysis-snowes-departure-may-fuel-ang...

The surprising retirement of moderate Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine moves congressional centrists a step closer to extinction and highlights the great paradox of American politics. Even with her party standing a good chance to regain the Senate majority, Snowe wanted no more of the endless gridlock that has rendered Congress barely able to carry out the most basic functions, such as keeping the federal government’s doors open. She expressed frustration “that an atmosphere of polarization and ‘my way or the highway’ ideologies has become pervasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions.” Snowe is one of the few remaining moderate Republicans, a group that once dominated the Northeast and vied for control of the national GOP under leaders such as Nelson Rockefeller. She was instrumental in forcing President George W. Bush to limit the size of his 2001 tax cut. She was one of three Senate Republicans who backed President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus plan. “She just quit in disgust,” even though she easily could have won a fourth term this fall, said Matt Bennett of the centrist-Democratic group Third Way. By some measures, Snowe is the Senate’s most liberal Republican and Ben Nelson of Nebraska is its most conservative Democrat. Both are retiring this year, raising serious possibilities they will be replaced by less moderate members of the opposite party, further widening the chamber’s partisan divide.


Monsanto Agrees To Pay Up $93 Million In Agent Orange Settlement
2012-02-24, NPR blog
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/02/24/147370124/monsanto-agrees-to-p...

More details about [a] preliminary agreement to settle an "Agent Orange" related class-action lawsuit filed against the Monsanto Company [have been released]. Monsanto agreed to settle a case over pollution claims made on behalf of current and former residents of the small town of Nitro, West Virginia. In a written statement today Monsanto says it's agreeing to pay up to $93 million dollars. $84 million of that would go toward medical monitoring for residents ($21 million up front and up to $63 million over 30 years). The company also is agreeing to spend up to $9 million to professionally clean homes in the affected area, which includes an estimated 4500 houses. Putnam Circuit Court Judge Derek Swope will now give the agreement a thorough review before giving the deal his final approval.

Note: For key reports from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here. For information on a major lawsuit and settlement for U.S. veterans injured by the government's use of agent orange, click here.


U.S. Plays Down Warning by Israeli Over Iran’s Missiles
2012-02-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/03/world/middleeast/israel-warns-iranian-missi...

A senior Israeli official said [on February 2] that the missile-testing site near Tehran that was destroyed in a huge explosion three months ago was developing missiles with a range of 6,000 miles aimed at the United States. The assertion went far beyond what rocket experts have established about Iran's missile capabilities, and U.S. officials questioned its accuracy. The Israeli official, Moshe Yaalon, a deputy prime minister, said the explosion, at a Revolutionary Guard missile base, hit a system "getting ready to produce a missile with a range of 10,000 kilometers. It was aimed at America, not at us." Yaalon was trying to make the point that the Iranian nuclear program is not a threat only to Israel but, as he put it, "a nightmare for the free world." He said it was a concern to Arab states as well as to the United States and Israel. U.S. officials said they believed Yaalon's assertions were at best premature and at worst badly exaggerated. The officials said Iran ... is nowhere close to achieving such a capability. They declined to say what kind of missile work was being done at the base where the explosion took place. Today, the maximum range of Iran's known ballistic missiles is roughly 1,200 miles, rocket experts say.

Note: For analysis of the increasing buildup by the US and Israel toward a military strike on Iran, click here and here.


Petition tells Obama: ‘Cease FDA ties to Monsanto’
2012-01-30, Washington Post blog
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/monsanto-petition-tells-oba...

A two-year-old Food and Drug Administration appointment is stirring up online protests once more. In 2009, President Obama appointed Michael Taylor as a senior adviser for the FDA. Consumer groups protested the appointment because Taylor had formerly served as a vice president for Monsanto, the controversial agricultural multinational at the forefront of genetically modified food. In recent days, a petition calling for the former Monsanto VP’s ouster is gaining steam. “President Obama, I oppose your appointment of Michael Taylor,” the petition on Signon.org reads. “Taylor is the same person who was Food Safety Czar at the FDA when genetically modified organisms were allowed into the U.S. food supply without undergoing a single test to determine their safety or risks. This is a travesty.” Signers of the petition argue that Monsanto should not have influence at the FDA because it will hurt farmers and threaten plants and animals. They cite scientific research that has found genetically modified foods could be a cause for chronic illnesses or cancer in the U.S. The petition calls Taylor’s appointment an example of a “fox watching the hen house.”

Note: To sign the petition, click here. For lots more on this danger to public health, click here. For how WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks found himself blacklisted by Monsanto, click here.


Could A Club Drug Offer 'Almost Immediate' Relief From Depression?
2012-01-30, NPR blog
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/01/30/145992588/could-a-club-drug-offer-...

Traditional antidepressants like Prozac work on a group of chemical messengers in the brain called the serotonin system. Researchers once thought that a lack of serotonin was the cause of depression, and that these drugs worked simply by boosting serotonin levels. Recent research suggests a more complicated explanation. Serotonin drugs work by stimulating the birth of new neurons, which eventually form new connections in the brain. Ketamine, in contrast, activates a different chemical system in the brain – the glutamate system. Researcher Ron Duman at Yale thinks ketamine rapidly increases the communication among existing neurons by creating new connections. This is a quicker process than waiting for new neurons to form and accomplishes the same goal of enhancing brain circuit activity. Ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic. It also has become a wildly popular but illegal club drug known as "Special K." Mental health researchers got interested in ketamine because of reports that it could make depression vanish almost instantly. Carlos Zarate ... does ketamine research at the NIH. Zarate says patients typically say, "'I feel that something's lifted or feel that I've never been depressed in my life. I feel I can work. I feel I can contribute to society.' And it was a different experience from feeling high. This was feeling that something has been removed."

Note: For many inspiring potential treatment breakthroughs in health issues, click here.


Overall, about 5.6 million people moved their bank accounts in the last quarter of 2011
2012-01-27, Reuters News
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/27/us-bank-transfer-idUSTRE80Q1TU20120127

More than 600,000 U.S. consumers have moved their money from big banks to community banks or credit unions, thanks to the much-publicized Bank Transfer Day last fall, according to an analysis released by Javelin Strategy & Research. The grassroots campaign to get people to shift out of big banks capitalized on the nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement, and picked up further momentum from a Bank of America plan in September to charge customers a $5 per month debit card fee. "It was a meaningful movement of people from big banks into small community banks and credit unions ..." said Jim Van Dyke, founder of Javelin. Historically, people don't switch banks easily, even if they are unhappy, Van Dyke says. Consumers have strong ties to their banks because of direct deposit, automated bill payments and habit -- making change more complex than simply going someplace else. "Individuals are really resistant to moving their money out of banks," Van Dyke says. Overall, about 5.6 million people moved their bank accounts in the last quarter of 2011, Javelin says. Account changes attributed to Bank Transfer Day represented about 11 percent of total moves.

Note: As the article mentions, people rarely change banks, so the fact that 6 million changed banks in three months is quite impressive!


Parade ordinance power grab
2012-01-02, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-emanuel-protest-permits-20120...

A City Hall rewrite to tighten rules for protesters at this spring's gathering of international leaders in Chicago would also place permanent and little-publicized restrictions on all future demonstrations. Mayor Rahm Emanuel proposed the changes to the city's parade ordinance in his December request to the City Council for expanded powers to deal with the NATO and G-8 summits, set to overlap between May 19-21. The mayor said his request for new spending authority and additional restrictions on public gatherings "is temporary and it's just for the conference and it's appropriate." But the mayor's office now acknowledges the protest rules would be permanent. And a closer look at Emanuel's proposals reveals a series of changes to arcane parade regulations that would be accompanied by a large boost in fines for violations — from the current $50 for some to a minimum $1,000 per violation. Stiffening rules on typically fluid demonstrations will increase the likelihood of violations, giving police more opportunity to crack down and making it more costly for demonstrators, free speech advocates said. "It's clear the more stringent the provisions, the more numerous, the greater the difficulty in complying with those provisions," said Harvey Grossman, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois.

Note: For those who may have forgotten Rahm Emanuel is Obama's former chief of staff.


60 Years After Leaving, Porpoises Again Play In SF Bay
2011-12-28, NPR
http://www.npr.org/2011/12/28/143857342/60-years-after-leaving-porpoises-agai...

Something that has been missing from San Francisco Bay since World War II appears to be making a comeback: Harbor porpoises are showing up in growing numbers, and researchers are trying to understand why they're returning. Bill Keener ... is with Golden Gate Cetacean Research, a nonprofit group focused on studying local porpoises, whales and dolphins. Harbor porpoises, ... feeding in the middle of a busy shipping lane, spin as they go after schools of herring and anchovies. Seeing this behavior is huge for Keener because harbor porpoises are notoriously shy in the open ocean. But the fact that they're here at all is what's most remarkable. Keener and his colleagues have identified 250 porpoises with their photos by looking for unique scars on the animals. The big question, though, is why harbor porpoises disappeared in the first place. Keener says the bay has always been porpoise habitat. Sightings were common until the 1930s. "There were a lot of things going on during World War II that could have caused [the decline]," he says. Water quality has dramatically improved since the 1970s, which may be bringing the porpoises back.

Note: For fascinating reports from major media sources on the amazing capacities of marine mammals, as well as threats to their well-being from human activities, click here.


Voters leaving Republican, Democratic parties in droves
2011-12-22, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/news/politics/story/2011-12-22/voters-political-parti...

More than 2.5 million voters have left the Democratic and Republican parties since the 2008 elections, while the number of independent voters continues to grow. A USA TODAY analysis of state voter registration statistics shows registered Democrats declined in 25 of the 28 states that register voters by party. Republicans dipped in 21 states, while independents increased in 18 states. The trend is acute in states that are key to next year's presidential race. In the eight swing states that register voters by party, Democrats' registration is down by 800,000 and Republicans' by 350,000. Independents have gained 325,000. Registered Democrats still dominate the political playing field with more than 42 million voters, compared to 30 million Republicans and 24 million independents.


Latin American leaders assail U.S. drug ‘market’
2011-12-19, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/latin-american-leaders-assail-us-drug-mar...

Latin American leaders have joined together to condemn the U.S. government for soaring drug violence in their countries, blaming the United States for the transnational cartels that have grown rich and powerful smuggling dope north and guns south. “Our region is seriously threatened by organized crime, but there is very little responsibility taken by the drug-consuming countries,” Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom said at a December meeting of Latin leaders in Caracas. Colom said the hemisphere was paying the price for drug consumption in the United States with “our blood, our fear and our human sacrifice.” With transit countries facing some of the highest homicide rates in the world, so great is the frustration that the leaders are demanding that the United States and Europe consider steps toward legalization if they do not curb their appetite for drugs. At a regional summit this month in Mexico, attended by the leaders of 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries, officials declared that “the authorities in consumer countries should explore all possible alternatives to eliminate exorbitant profits of criminals, including regulatory or market options.” “Market options” is diplomatic code for decriminalization. The critique comes from sitting presidents left to right, from persistent U.S. antagonists such as President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, and from close U.S. allies such as President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, which has received almost $9 billion in aid to fight the cartels.

Note: Have you noticed that whenever the government declares a war on something (drugs, terrorism, etc.), it usually leads to an increase of whatever is being targeted?


Arrest Bush during Africa trip: human rights group
2011-12-01, Reuters News
http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/01/us-usa-amnesty-bush-idUSTRE7B02IQ20...

Amnesty International on [December 1] called on Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia to arrest former U.S. President George W. Bush for human rights abuse when he visits the region this month. During his time as President from 2001 to 2009, Bush authorized the use of waterboarding and other interrogation techniques that Amnesty and other human rights groups consider torture. "International law requires that there be no safe haven for those responsible for torture; Ethiopia, Tanzania and Zambia must seize this opportunity to fulfill their obligations and end the impunity George W. Bush has so far enjoyed," Matt Pollard, senior legal adviser, said in a statement. Bush has defended the use of waterboarding -- which simulates the sensation of drowning -- as key to preventing a repeat of the September 11 attacks on the United States. Bush is expected to visit the region this week to raise awareness about cancer in Africa, Amnesty said.

Note: For the full text of Amnesty's call for the arrest of George W. Bush, click here. For lots more from major media sources on the crimes of the Bush administration during the "global war on terror," click here.


Sheriff's deputies to get battlefield-tested technology
2011-11-25, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-raytheon-sheriff-20111125,0,7649379.story

Battlefield technology is coming to the streets of Los Angeles County. Starting this month, one of the nation's major military contractors is outfitting the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's patrol cars with sophisticated computer systems and high-tech gadgetry that has been perfected for the battlefield. At a total cost to taxpayers of $20 million, Raytheon Co. promises to deliver technology that will enable deputies on the road to sort through key intelligence information in mere seconds. In a single roadside stop, they'll have the ability to run a background check using a searchable FBI database — or pull up a suspect's mug shots or even obtain biometric data, such as fingerprints — on the spot. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is the largest in the nation, covering more than 4,000 square miles and a population of more than 10 million. Daniel J. Crowley, president of Raytheon's Network Centric Systems, noted that ... the Sheriff's Department's new equipment is being used by security forces in the Green Zone in Baghdad to police the area. "The military's situation overseas may be much different from the Sheriff's Department, but the need is basically the same."

Note: For an illuminating article revealing that the Pentagon is supplying police departments across the US with military technology and supplies for no cost, click here.


Judge in child abuse scandal donated to charity, and volunteered there
2011-11-14, Washington Post/Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/judge-in-child-abuse-scandal-donated-to-...

A judge who granted unsecured bail to former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky also donated money to the charity he founded. The charity is at the center of child sex-abuse charges against Sandusky. District Judge Leslie Dutchcot gave money to The Second Mile in 2009 and volunteered for the group, according to annual reports and her web page. The charity’s 2009 annual report says Dutchcot and her husband donated between $500 and $999 to The Second Mile. Dutchcot didn’t immediately respond to a question about whether she’ll recuse herself from the case because of those past ties. The judge set bail for Sandusky at $100,000 but he did not have to post collateral. The Attorney General’s office declined to say if prosecutors would ask Dutchcot to recuse herself from Sandusky’s preliminary hearing.

Note: For powerful evidence that this kind of abuse is much more widespread than expected, click here. To understand how this relates to secret societies and deep hidden knowledge of our world, click here.


In Penn State, some see Boston scandal parallels
2011-11-09, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45228328

Nearly a decade and hundreds of miles separate Penn State from the clergy sex abuse scandal that erupted in Boston's Roman Catholic archdiocese [and] then spread nationwide, but those who lived through the church crisis see painful parallels. At Penn State, school administrators, including a [football] coach known for his integrity, didn't notify prosecutors when they learned years ago that former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had been accused of molesting children. In the Archdiocese of Boston, the case of one predator priest led to revelations that for decades church leaders had moved guilty clergy among parish assignments without alerting parents or police. Both cases have had consequences for administrators. Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law wound up leaving his post and, on Wednesday, Penn State President Graham Spanier and coach Joe Paterno were fired. The scope of the crimes alleged to have taken place at Penn State doesn't nearly match those in Boston, where dozens of priests were accused of abusing hundreds of victims over six decades. At Penn State, Sandusky was indicted on charges he abused eight boys over the course of 15 years. Two Penn State officials, Senior Vice President Gary Schultz and Athletic Director Tim Curley, turned themselves in after being indicted on perjury charges and accused of failing to alert police about abuse complaints. The indictment paints a picture of administrators who had ample warning about Sandusky but failed to act.

Note: For powerful evidence that this kind of abuse is much more widespread than expected, click here. To understand how this relates to secret societies and deep hidden knowledge of our world, click here.


Founder Says WikiLeaks, Starved of Cash, May Close
2011-10-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/25/world/europe/blocks-on-wikileaks-donations-...

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, said ... that his controversial website could be forced to shut down by the end of the year because a 10-month-old "financial blockade" had sharply reduced the donations on which it depends. Calling the blockade a "dangerous, oppressive and undemocratic" attack led by the United States, Assange said at a news conference that it had deprived his organization of "tens of millions of dollars," and warned, "If WikiLeaks does not find a way to remove this blockade, we will not be able to continue by the turn of the new year." Since the end of 2010, financial intermediaries - including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union - have refused to allow donations to WikiLeaks to flow through their systems, he said, blocking "95 percent" of the website's revenue and leaving it to operate on its cash reserves for the past 10 months. An aide said that WikiLeaks was now receiving less than $10,000 a month in donations. Assange said that WikiLeaks had been forced to halt work on the processing of tens of thousands of secret documents that it has received, and to turn its attention instead to lawsuits it has filed in the United States, Australia, Scandinavian countries and elsewhere, as well as to a formal petition to the European Commission to try to restore donors' ability to send it money through normal channels.

Note: For more on this from BBC, click here.


Obama should give press access to his fundraisers
2011-10-25, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/10/24/ED9E1LLJHG.DTL

The Obama White House's restrictions on media access to its fundraising events makes a mockery of its claim to be the most transparent administration in history. If anything, there is almost a Nixonian quality to the level of control, paranoia - and lack of credibility - this White House has demonstrated on the issue of media access to President Obama's fundraisers. Bay Area reporters will not be allowed inside the W Hotel today when the president meets with hundreds of contributors paying $7,500 or more to attend. Only Washington-based journalists were allowed in the pool - continuing a disturbing trend by this White House to severely limit access to fundraisers. Fundraisers are not private events in this post-Watergate era. Contributions are a matter of public record, and the public has a right to know what is being said to and by the president. Local journalists are better positioned than their Beltway brethren to recognize who is there - and why. The White House press office seems to have missed the transparency memo. Now it has cut all local reporters out of the pool. Most transparent administration in history? We'll see. Right now, we'd settle for straight answers and the opportunity to do our jobs.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on government secrecy, click here.


Last of US's most powerful nuclear bombs, put into service in 1962, dismantled in Texas
2011-10-25, Minneapolis Star-Tribune/Associated Press
http://www.startribune.com/nation/132516043.html

The last of the nation's biggest nuclear bombs, a Cold War relic 600 times more powerful than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima was dismantled [on October 25]. Workers in Texas separated the roughly 300 pounds of high explosives inside from the special nuclear material — uranium — known as the pit. The work was done outside of public view for security reasons, but explosives from a bomb taken apart earlier were detonated as officials and reporters watched from less than a mile away. Put into service in 1962, when Cold War tensions peaked during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the B53 weighed 10,000 pounds and was the size of a minivan. The B53's disassembly ends the era of big megaton bombs, said Hans Kristensen, a spokesman for the Federation of American Scientists. The biggest nuclear bomb in the nation's arsenal now is the 1.2-megaton B83, he said. The B53 was 9 megatons. The 15-kiloton bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, at the end of World War II killed as many as 140,000 people. Kristensen said the Obama administration shouldn't boast too much about dismantling the B53 when its arsenal of active nuclear warheads has been reduced by only 10 in the past seven months and Russia's arsenal has grown by 29. The two nations signed a treaty in December to reduce their arsenals.


Watch a Confessed Terrorist Scramble to Save Himself
2011-10-20, PBS
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/afghanistan-pakistan/david-headley/wa...

After years of criminality and deception that included scouting targets for the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks — a slaughter that left 166 people dead — Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley was arrested by U.S. authorities in October 2009. Facing the death penalty and possible extradition overseas, he chose to cooperate. A federal judge yesterday ordered federal prosecutors to make public two video clips of the FBI’s interrogation of Headley shortly after he was arrested. The tapes show Headley ... trying to make the kind of deal that had won his freedom twice before. His first success came in 1988, when his cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) shrunk an eight-year sentence for importing heroin down to four years. When he was arrested again on heroin charges in 1997, he again cooperated with the DEA, becoming an informant and even traveling to Pakistan on the agency’s behalf. He served 15 months in prison, when he had been looking at nine years. From these experiences, Headley knew the more information he gave, the sweeter the deal. Once again, Headley succeeded in getting himself a deal. His plea agreement saved him from extradition and the death penalty, but his cooperation included testifying against his childhood best friend, Tahawwur Rana, who in June was found guilty of conspiring with Headley to attack a Danish newspaper. During Rana’s trial, the defense played these two clips of Headley’s interrogation in court.

Note: Videos of Headley's manipulations are available at the link above. For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on government corruption, click here.


Wall Street protest movement spreads to cities across US, Canada and Europe
2011-10-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/04/wall-street-protest-movement-spreads

It began as the brainchild of activists across the border in Canada when an anti-consumerism magazine put out a call in July for supporters to occupy Wall Street. Now, three weeks after a few hundred people heeded that initial call and rolled out their sleeping bags in a park in New York's financial district, they are being joined by supporters in cities across the US and beyond. Protesters against corporate greed, unemployment and the political corruption that they say Wall Street represents have taken to the streets in Boston, Los Angeles, St Louis and Kansas City. The core group, Occupy Wall Street, claims people will take part in demonstrations in as many as 147 US cities this month, while the website occupytogether.org lists 47 US states as being involved. Around the world, protests in Canada, the UK, Germany and Sweden are also planned, they say. The speed of the leaderless movement's growth has taken many by surprise. The movement, which organisers say has its roots in the Arab spring and in Madrid's Puerta del Sol protests, has been galvanised by recent media attention. Last week, the Guardian reported that a NYPD police officer had been filmed spraying four women protesters with pepper spray. On Saturday, a peaceful march on Brooklyn bridge intended as a call to the other four boroughs of New York to join in resulted in 700 arrests. Some protesters claim the police trapped them.

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.


Trader tells BBC 'millions of people's savings will vanish'
2011-09-26, The Telegraph (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/8790719/Trader-tells-BBC-m...

An independent trader, appearing on BBC News, reveal[ed] that he thinks banks and hedge funds believe the stock market 'is toast'. Alessio Rastani said that Goldman Sachs rules the world, not governments, and that Goldman Sachs “don't care about this rescue package” because they know “the stock market is finished” and they “don't really care” about the Euro. US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said over the weekend: "Sovereign and banking stresses in Europe are the most serious risk now confronting the world economy. Decisions cannot wait until the crisis gets more severe." He has proposed the so-called Geithner plan which will leverage the EU's €440bn bail-out fund (EFSF) from €440bn to €2 trillion to cope with Italy and Spain. But according to Mr Rastani it may already be too late as: “In less than twelve months, my prediction is, the savings of millions of people are going to vanish.”

Note: To watch the full BBC video of this most unusual interview, click here. For lots more on the fraudulent practices of major financial firms, click here.


Do loved ones bid farewell from beyond the grave?
2011-09-23, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2011/09/23/living/crisis-apparitions

Nina De Santo was about to close her New Jersey hair salon one winter's night when she saw him standing outside the shop's glass front door. It was Michael. He was a soft-spoken customer who'd been going through a brutal patch in his life. She'd listened to his problems, given him pep talks, taken him out for drinks. When De Santo opened the door that Saturday night, Michael was smiling. "Nina, I can't stay long," he said, pausing in the doorway. "I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for everything." They chatted a bit more before Michael left and De Santo went home. On Sunday she received a strange call from a salon employee. Michael's body had been found the previous morning -- at least nine hours before she talked to him at her shop. He had committed suicide. If Michael was dead, who, or what, did she talk to that night? Today, De Santo has a name for what happened that night: "crisis apparition." A crisis apparition is the spirit of a recently deceased person who visits someone they had a close emotional connection with. As they chatted face to face in the doorway of her shop, De Santo said they never touched, never even shook hands. "I'm in a really good place now," she recalled him saying. And when she held the door open for him, he refused to come in. He just chatted before finally saying, "Thanks again, Nina." Michael then smiled at her, turned and walked away into the winter's night.

Note: For an eye-opening documentary with powerful evidence of an afterlife, click here. For lots more inspiring information on life after death, click here.


The Informants
2011-09-01, Mother Jones
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/08/fbi-terrorist-informants

Ever since 9/11, counterterrorism has been the FBI's No. 1 priority, consuming the lion's share of its budget—$3.3 billion, compared to $2.6 billion for organized crime—and much of the attention of field agents and a massive, nationwide network of informants. After years of emphasizing informant recruiting as a key task for its agents, the bureau now maintains a roster of 15,000 spies—many of them tasked ... with infiltrating Muslim communities in the United States. In addition, for every informant officially listed in the bureau's records, there are as many as three unofficial ones, according to one former high-level FBI official, known in bureau parlance as "hip pockets." The bureau now maintains a roster of 15,000 spies, some paid as much as $100,000 per case, many of them tasked with infiltrating Muslim communities in the United States. The FBI regularly taps all of them as part of a domestic intelligence apparatus whose only historical peer might be COINTELPRO, the program the bureau ran from the '50s to the '70s to discredit and marginalize organizations ranging from the Ku Klux Klan to civil-rights and protest groups. Throughout the FBI’s history, informant numbers have been closely guarded secrets. Periodically, however, the bureau has released those figures. A Senate oversight committee in 1975 found the FBI had 1,500 informants. In 1980, officials disclosed there were 2,800. Six years later, following the FBI’s push into drugs and organized crime, the number of bureau informants ballooned to 6,000, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1986. And according to the FBI, the number grew significantly after 9/11.

Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the realities of intelligence agency operations, click here.


In Germany, Sex Workers Feed a Meter
2011-09-01, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/01/world/europe/01germany.html

The city of Bonn has begun collecting taxes from prostitutes with an automated pay station similar to a parking meter, proving again that German efficiency knows few if any bounds. Bonn is not the only city in Germany to charge such a tax, but it is the first to hit upon the idea of a ticket machine that prints out receipts for the nightly flat fee of 6 euros (currently about $8.65) for the privilege of streetwalking. The meter went into service over the weekend, and by Monday morning had collected $382 for the city’s coffers. Prostitution is legal in Germany; the Reeperbahn in Hamburg is one of the largest red-light districts in Europe. Attempts are often made to regulate the industry, unionize the workers and tax the proceeds, but they are not always effective, given both the discretion and the unpredictability that are inherent in the business. Street prostitution as practiced in Bonn, once the capital of West Germany and a town better known for sleepiness than sexiness, would be unfamiliar to many people outside Germany for its unusual degree of organization and institutionalization. The Siemens-built meter machine ... cost $11,575 including installation.

Note: Prostitution is legal and regulated in Germany and seven other European countries.


Ron Paul Leaps Past Bachmann in Latest Poll
2011-08-24, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/08/24/benzinga1881149.DTL

Ignored by the media and dismissed by the Republican Party in general, liberty-minded Congressman Ron Paul leaped into third place today in the Gallup Presidential Nomination preference poll. Paul jumped over Michele Bachmann, relegating her to fourth-place in the current poll. Apparently the American people are starting to take notice, too. According to the most recent Rasmussen survey of likely voters, Ron Paul is a mere one point behind President Obama in a head-to-head matchup - a better result than any of the other GOP contenders received. This is despite the media blackout around Ron Paul's campaign, and despite the media's insistence that Ron Paul can't beat Obama. This poll suggests he can.

Note: We have seen a consistent and systematic campaign to block news reportage of candidates who are exposing the deeper political agenda like Congress members Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich. For how the media is controlled to make this happen, click here.


Hackers target San Francisco's rapid transit system
2011-08-16, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/08/14/california.transit.hack/index.html

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.


'I feel like I've saved a life': the women clearing Lebanon of cluster bombs
2011-08-12, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/12/lebanon-women-clear-cluster-bombs

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."


International Hearings on 9/11 to begin in Toronto in September
2011-08-08, CNBC
http://www.cnbc.com/id/44059164

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.


US contractor can sue Donald Rumsfeld for alleged Iraq torture, judge rules
2011-08-04, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/aug/04/american-sues-donald-rumsfeld-ira...

An American former military contractor who claims he was imprisoned and tortured by the US army in Iraq has been allowed by a judge to sue the former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld personally for damages. The man, an army veteran whose identity has been withheld, worked as a translator for the US Marines in the volatile Anbar province when he was detained for nine months at Camp Cropper, a US military facility near Baghdad airport dedicated to holding "high-value" detainees. He was never charged with a crime. Court papers filed on his behalf say he was repeatedly abused, then released without explanation in August 2006. Two years later, he filed a suit in Washington arguing that Rumsfeld personally approved torturous interrogation techniques on a case-by-case basis and controlled his detention without access to the courts in violation of his constitutional rights. The Obama administration has represented Rumsfeld through the justice department and argued that he could not be sued personally for official conduct. It also argued that a judge could not review wartime decisions which are the constitutional responsibility of Congress and the president. District judge James Gwin rejected those arguments and said US citizens were protected by the constitution at home or abroad during wartime.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the illegal prosecution of the US "global war on terror", click here.


Apple has more cash than the U.S. Treasury
2011-07-29, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-apple-cash-20110730,0,6198166.story

As the government struggled to reach an agreement on raising the debt ceiling, the U.S. Treasury's cash balance fell to $74 billion this week. That's less than the $76 billion that Apple now has in cash. To be fair, comparing Apple's cash reserves with the Treasury's is not exactly apples to apples. Apple's billions are essentially the funds in its bank accounts, while the federal number represents the amount of money the government has left before it hits the legal debt limit — a figure that can be changed by Congress. At about $362 billion, Apple is the second-largest company in the world by market value (behind Exxon Mobil Corp. at $395 billion) — big by any standard, but still far smaller than the U.S. government, which will spend close to $3.8 trillion this year, 10 times what Apple is worth. Still, Apple's reasons for keeping such a giant cash stockpile may well be related to worries about the stability of the U.S. government's finances. "One of the reasons U.S. companies have amassed so much cash is that it provides them financial flexibility in times of heightened uncertainty," said Laurie Simon Hodrick, a professor of business economics at Columbia University's business school. "It might seem ironic, but as the risk of a government default grows, bringing with it the specter of higher interest rates, the incentives for firms to finance with internally generated cash grows as well."


Shell profits jump 77% on higher oil prices
2011-07-28, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14321819

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has reported a 77% jump in second-quarter profit, thanks to higher energy prices. Shell's profit for the three months to June came in at $8bn (Ł4.9bn) on a current cost of supplies basis, up from $4.5bn in the same period last year. Earlier this week, rival BP announced second-quarter profits of $5.3bn. Larger US rival Exxon Mobil said that net profit rose 41% to $10.7bn for the three months to June from the same period last year. The price of oil is much higher now than it was a year ago, in part inflated by political unrest in oil-producing countries such as Libya. Twelve months ago, US light sweet crude oil was trading at about $78 a barrel. It is currently trading at about $97 a barrel, having topped $110 at the end of April.

Note: Why aren't any of the major media questioning the practice of oil companies making huge profits from gas price increases, profits which come directly from the pockets of consumers? Shouldn't they all be responsible for at least part of the burden?


Former Gov. Jesse Ventura sues TSA over pat-downs
2011-07-22, St. Paul Pioneer Press (One of Minneapolis' leading newspapers)
http://www.twincities.com/ci_18533113?nclick_check=1

It started with Jesse Ventura's titanium hip and turned into a fight over the Bill of Rights. In federal court in St. Paul on Friday, a lawyer for the former governor argued that rules implemented by the Transportation Security Administration - which subject Ventura to pat-down body searches when he flies - violate his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable and unwarranted searches. The TSA's rules were "issued in secret, (were) never published (and) can be changed at any time, in secret," attorney David Bradley Olsen told U.S. District Judge Susan Rogers Nelson. Silent throughout the hearing, [Ventura] went up to Tamara Ulrich, the Justice Department lawyer from Washington who had argued for dismissal, and told her TSA's airport screenings were un-American. "In a free country, you should never feel comfortable being searched," he told her. "This is not the country I was born in. We're a fascist nation now." He turned 60 this month and now hosts "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" on cable's truTV. His lawsuit, filed in January, stems from the fact the show requires him to fly two or three times a week. Since [the fall of 2010], whenever his hip sets off the walk-through detector, TSA screeners pull him aside for a more detailed check, and he contends it is unconstitutional. Ventura and Olsen maintain that challenging the TSA's actual procedures is difficult because they are considered "Sensitive Security Information" and aren't made public.

Note: Jesse Ventura is just one of many former highly-placed government officials to publicly raise strong questions about the official account of the 9/11 attacks, events which provided the pretext for the increasingly totalitarian controls on travel. For a vitally important analysis of the plans of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to carry out its agency motto, "Dominate. Intimidate. Control.", click here.


Sharpton Appears to Win Anchor Spot on MSNBC
2011-07-21, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/21/business/media/sharpton-close-to-being-msnb...

After giving a nearly six-month tryout for the Internet talk show host Cenk Uygur, the cable news channel MSNBC is preparing to instead hand its 6 p.m. time slot to the Rev. Al Sharpton. Cenk Uygur said MSNBC's management decided that they did not care for his aggressive style. Mr. Uygur, who had been made a paid contributor to MSNBC months earlier, was handed 6 p.m., a big coup given that he had earlier campaigned to have his progressive Web show “The Young Turks” picked up by MSNBC. Mr. Uygur, who by most accounts was well liked within MSNBC, said in an interview that he turned down the new contract because he felt [MSNBC President Phil] Griffin had been the recipient of political pressure. In April, he said, Mr. Griffin “called me into his office and said that he’d been talking to people in Washington, and that they did not like my tone.” He said he guessed Mr. Griffin was referring to White House officials, though he had no evidence for the assertion. He also said that Mr. Griffin said the channel was part of the “establishment,” and “that you need to act like it.”

Note: To understand why Uygur was forced out by powerful forces behind the scenes, watch the amazing 10-minute video of him exposing the blatant corruption of the bankers at this link. For an interview of MSNBC's Keith Olbermann on Uygur's resignation, click here.


Police to begin iPhone iris scans amid privacy concerns
2011-07-20, Chicago Tribune/Reuters News
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-crime-identificatre76j4a1-201107...

Dozens of police departments nationwide are gearing up to use a tech company's already controversial iris- and facial-scanning device that slides over an iPhone and helps identify a person or track criminal suspects. Its use has set off alarms with some who are concerned about possible civil liberties and privacy issues. The smartphone-based scanner, named Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, is made by BI2 Technologies in Plymouth, Massachusetts. An iris scan, which detects unique patterns in a person's eyes, can reduce to seconds the time it takes to identify a suspect in custody. When attached to an iPhone, MORIS can photograph a person's face and run the image through software that hunts for a match in a BI2-managed database of U.S. criminal records. Constitutional rights advocates are concerned, in part because the device can accurately scan an individual's face from up to four feet away, potentially without a person's being aware of it. Experts also say that before police administer an iris scan, they should have probable cause a crime has been committed. "What we don't want is for them to become a general surveillance tool, where the police start using them routinely on the general public, collecting biometric information on innocent people," said Jay Stanley, senior policy analyst with the national ACLU in Washington, D.C.

Note: For key reports from major media sources on government threats to privacy and civil liberties, click here and here.


Muoy You, who escaped Cambodia's killing fields, now teaches self-respect and integrity
2011-07-11, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/2011/0711/Muoy-You-who-esc...

For Muoy You, "the power of education" isn't an abstract concept. She's seen it transform the life of her family. Her father was a bicycle repairman, and her mother an illiterate street vendor. Yet her four children are all university graduates. Muoy grew up poor in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, during the Vietnam War. In 1972 she won a scholarship to study in France. It would save her from Pol Pot's killing fields, where her parents and siblings were among the 2 million dead. She spent the next two decades in exile, raising a family and working as a teacher in Africa and the Middle East. Now Muoy wants to transform the prospects of other Cambodian families by giving children of low-income cleaners, laborers, farmers, and tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw) drivers a high-quality education. "I don't just want to teach them to read and write," she stresses. "I want them to become professionals, writers, thinkers, artists – to make their country proud." Upon returning home to Phnom Penh in 2003, Muoy set up the Seametrey Children's Village, a private initiative. "You shouldn't just stick children behind desks," Muoy explains. "You need to help them retain their childlike curiosity and spontaneity." Word of her school spread. Parents pay according to their means. The poorest pay nothing; some pay small sums they can afford. Expatriates and better-off locals pay the full monthly fee of $290. Currently, the school has 80 students, from toddlers to teens.

Note: Visit seametreycambodia.org


Livermore Lab - perception versus reality
2011-06-28, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/06/28/EDRD1K37RR.DTL

Look at the Department of Energy's 2012 budget request for the Livermore Lab and it becomes apparent that PR has an inverse relationship to budget. Some 89 percent of the funds are for nuclear weapons activities. Yet, more than 89 percent of the press releases showcase programs like renewable energy and science that receive less than 3 percent of the spending. This has caused many to believe that Livermore Lab is converting from nuclear weapons to civilian science. A major consequence of the chasm between public perception and where the money actually goes is that science at Livermore continues to exist on the margins - underfunded, understaffed and at the mercy of the 800-pound gorilla of the nuclear weapons budget. Consider the many benefits of transitioning Livermore from nuclear-weapons design to a "green lab," focused on nonpolluting energy development, climate research, basic sciences, nonproliferation and environmental cleanup. Livermore Lab is uniquely qualified to contribute in these areas. The lab already employs the right mix of physicists, other scientists, engineers, materials specialists, and support personnel for these undertakings.

Note: To learn more about how the public is being massively deceived around war and weapons spending, read what a top U.S. general had to say about this at this link.


'I Paid a Bribe' may be a model for anti-corruption
2011-06-23, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2011/0623/I-P...

India's innovative "I Paid a Bribe" website – which puts a spotlight on government corruption – may become a model for rooting out corruption around the world. Co-founder Ramesh Ramanathan told The Hindu news site that he had received requests from seven countries to start similar sites for them. "I Paid a Bribe," begun last August, invites people to post anonymous reports on instances in which they have had to bribe an official. They can also share ways that they have been able to avoid paying a bribe. "Bribery is routinely expected in interactions with government officials – to register your house, to get your driving license, domestic water connection, even a death certificate," Swati Ramanathan, the other co-founder, told the BBC. "We said, 'It's not enough to moralize, we need to find out what exactly is this corruption? What's the size of it?'" The site has recorded more than 10,000 incidences of bribery. Some results are already being seen. "I Paid a Bribe" has already been copied in China by a number of sites ... reports Reuters news agency. Although the Chinese government is officially in favor of anti-corruption efforts, it's not clear whether the authoritarian regime will allow such citizen-led efforts to go forward. In Transparency International's 2010 survey of perceived corruption, India ranked 87th among 178 nations on the list and China ranked 78th. Denmark, New Zealand, and Singapore were listed as the least-corrupt countries. The United States ranked 22nd.

Note: Isn't it inspiring to see activism around government corruption? For lots more from reliable sources on this serious issue, click here.


Americans dig deep to give more to charities
2011-06-20, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Making-a-difference/Change-Agent/2011/0620/Ame...

Americans continued to strongly support charitable work with their dollars last year, despite the lingering recession, a new report says. The biggest area of growth in charitable giving was in aiding international causes, such as the earthquake relief efforts in Haiti. Total US charitable giving rose 3.8 percent in 2010 (2.1 percent adjusted for inflation), estimates "Giving USA 2011: The annual report on philanthropy for the year 2010," produced by the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. The groups estimate that total US charitable giving in 2010 was $291 billion, compared with an estimated $280 billion in 2009. "The environment for philanthropy has been admittedly challenging over the past few years, but one message has come through loud and clear: Charitable giving remains a central part of the American fabric," says a foreword to the report. "Even through a period of economic stress and volatility, Americans have continued to give." Americans give about 2 percent of their disposable income to charitable causes, the report says, a figure that has stayed stable over many years.


Drones soar in U.S. plans for future aircraft purchases
2011-06-10, CNN News
http://articles.cnn.com/2011-06-10/us/pentagon.drones_1_drone-strikes-unmanne...

The military is dramatically upping its investment in drones over the next nine years, according to Pentagon plans. Medium and high altitude unmanned aircraft like the Global Hawk, Predator, and Reaper will balloon in number to 650 in fiscal year 2021, up from approximately 340 in fiscal year 2012. The emphasis on unmanned aircraft "is a direct reflection of recent operational experience and combatant commander (COCOM) demand," the aviation plan states. And what does that refer to? Just a few examples: There were 118 drone strikes in the ... Pakistan-Afghanistan border region of North and South Waziristan in 2010, up drastically from about 50 in 2009. Every day these systems are being flown by the U.S. worldwide. An advantage to using drones is the persistent surveillance they provide, having the ability to hover over a target for hours on end. National security expert John Pike likens it to an FBI stakeout of a gangster's social club. And another obvious benefit-- using unmanned drones allows the military and the CIA to avoid US casualties. "You avoid body bags, hostages, and public attention," says Pike. The procurement plan numbers released only focus on the larger, higher speed unmanned aircraft, and leave out the smaller systems the US has and plans to purchase. In total, the US currently has 8,000 drones of all sizes and capabilities.

Note: And what about the many innocent civilians killed by these drones? Drones are murdering people without any usage of a formal justice system, often with opposition from the leaders of the countries in which the strikes are made. Is this justice? For key reports on developing new war technologies, click here.


The costly war on cancer
2011-05-26, The Economist Magazine
http://www.economist.com/node/18743951?fsrc=scn%2Ftw%2Fte%2Far%2Fthecostlywar...

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.

Note: To see what happens when inexpensive potential cures for cancer are discovered, click here. For key reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.


What Would You Do If You Saw a Waitress Refusing To Serve Gay Parents?
2011-05-19, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/WhatWouldYouDo/hidden-cameras-roll-cafe-patrons-defend-...

With one in five gay couples raising children in the U.S., the traditional mother and father setting is no longer the rule. Several professional organizations -- the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychiatric Association -- have issued statements saying that a parent's sexual orientation is irrelevant to their ability to raise a child. The Gay Parents Scenario: An actress hired by "What Would You Do?" is waiting tables at a local family style diner, Norma's Café in Farmers Branch, Texas. It's a typical busy morning for her until our actors portraying the role of a gay couple -- first females, then males -- dining with their children are seated in her section. As she begins to express her discomfort and probe their parenting skills, other diners begin to take notice. Will these patrons take the side of our waitress or will they defend the unconventional family? What They Said: Our actress portraying a waitress: "I mean it's bad enough you're lesbians but you're also parents and they don't have a father. I think that's kind of bad...I think this is terrible. I think they need a Dad!" Reactions from bystanders who witness the waitress's behavior: "I've never felt so uncomfortable and so beside myself with anger. You are a horrible person and a horrible waitress, and you need to leave." "You're the hate monster." "This is not the place for a political debate. This is a place for you to do your job." "It's about the quality of the parents and the love that there is in the home more than it's having a mom and a dad."

Note: For an inspiring seven-minute video on this showing how Texans have bigger hearts than many people imagine, click here.


Dad Gives Toddler Battling Brain Cancer Medical Marijuana
2011-04-28, KXLY-TV (Spokane, WA)
http://www.kxly.com/news/27706509/detail.html

To call what the Hyde family has been through a "parent's worst nightmare" sounds like a horrible cliche. But, it's hard to imagine what else you could call it. Their two-year-old son Cash was diagnosed last year with a stage 4 brain tumor; he nearly died more times than they can count. He was miserable from the chemotherapy coursing through his body until his dad made a controversial decision to give cannabis to his young son. The doctors had no answers, so Mike found his own. It was relief for Cashy in the form of cannabis oil. It's illegal to possess without authorization from a medical professional. It's something doctors wouldn't even discuss. Mike got authorization to give Cashy the oil and, without telling them why, told the doctors to wean Cashy off the anti-nausea cocktail. Inserted through Cashy's feeding tube, a tiny amount of oil replaced all those drugs. The result, Mike said, was almost immediate. Mike Hyde, though, doesn't care about the controversy or the political battle over this drug. He cares that his son survived and is convinced not only did the cannabis help Cashy feel better, it prevented long-term damage to his organs. For Mike, the proof is in his vibrant two-year old boy. "It's very controversial, it's very scary. But, there's nothing more scary than losing your child." A few weeks ago, Cashy was back in Salt Lake City for scans and found out he's cancer-free.


Exxon Profit Up 69 Percent as Gas and Oil Prices Boost Top Five Oil Companies
2011-04-28, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/exxon-shell-profits-bp-oil-companies-high-expe...

Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell today reported first-quarter profit increases of 69 percent and 30 percent, respectively, from the same period last year. With rising gas and oil prices, analysts expected the five biggest oil companies -- with Exxon as the largest -- to report that they are swimming in revenue. Exxon earned $10.7 billion in the first quarter, up from $6.3 billion. Shell announced profit of $6.3 billion in the first quarter this year, up from $4.8 billion. ConocoPhillips said its first quarter earnings increased 43 percent to $3 billion from $2.1 billion in the same period last year. BP's first quarter earnings dipped this year -- $5.48 billion compared with $5.60 billion during the first quarter a year ago -- including a charge of $384 million related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Valero Energy, based in San Antonio, Texas, and the largest independent U.S. refiner, announced ... a first quarter profit of $98 million "primarily due to higher margins for diesel and jet fuel," compared to a first quarter loss last year of $113 million.

Note: Why are oil companies raising their profit margins to drive gas prices even higher? For lots more from reliable sources on corporate corruption, click here.


Fukushima and the 'nuclear renaissance' that wasn't
2011-04-15, CNN
http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2011/04/15/fukushima-and-the-nuclear-...

A month after a devastating earthquake sent a wall of water across the Japanese landscape, the global terrain of the atomic power industry has been forever altered. The ongoing drama at the power plant in Fukushima ... has erased the momentum the nuclear industry has seen in recent years. Before Fukushima, a "nuclear renaissance" - as it was termed in the press - seemed well underway, except for this point: Nuclear power, as a total of world energy supply, has been in steady decline for the past decade. From 2000 to 2008, nuclear energy dropped from 16.7% to 13.5% of global energy production, according to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2009. The 2010-11 preliminary report, expected to be released [on April 20], will show the downward trend has continued. Costs of nuclear power plants can be as high as $10 billion. The average construction time is seven years, but with licensing approval new builds often take a decade. Nuclear power reactors are dependent on government subsidies and loan guarantees to be built, cover costs in case of accidents and assume long-term responsibility for storage of spent radioactive fuel, critics say, which artificially lowers the cost of production. Market reaction has been swift against the nuclear industry after the Fukushima disaster. Companies on the Standard & Poor's Clean Energy Index rose on average 17% in the wake of the disaster, while companies on the S&P Nuclear Index fell 8.7%.

Note: For lots more on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.


Bradley Manning: top US legal scholars voice outrage at 'torture'
2011-04-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/10/bradley-manning-legal-scholars-le...

More than 250 of America's most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his "degrading and inhumane conditions" are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture. The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America's foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that "is not only shameful but unconstitutional" as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia. Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called "prevention of injury order" and stripped naked at night apart from a smock. Tribe said the treatment was objectionable "in the way it violates his person and his liberty without due process of law and in the way it administers cruel and unusual punishment of a sort that cannot be constitutionally inflicted even upon someone convicted of terrible offences, not to mention someone merely accused of such offences". The harsh restrictions have been denounced by a raft of human rights groups, including Amnesty International, and are being investigated by the United Nations' rapporteur on torture.

Note: For a compendium of revealing stories from reliable sources on the illegal wars of aggression launched by the US and UK under the pretext of 9/11, click here.


Radiation Detected In Drinking Water In 13 More US Cities, Cesium-137 In Vermont Milk
2011-04-09, Forbes blog
http://blogs.forbes.com/jeffmcmahon/2011/04/09/radiation-detected-in-drinking...

Radiation from Japan has been detected in drinking water in 13 more American cities, and cesium-137 has been found in American milk -— in Montpelier, Vermont -— for the first time since the Japan nuclear disaster began, according to data released by the Environmental Protection Agency [on April 8]. Milk samples from Phoenix and Los Angeles contained iodine-131 at levels roughly equal to the maximum contaminant level permitted by EPA, the data shows. The cesium-137 found in milk in Vermont is the first cesium detected in milk since the Fukushima-Daichi nuclear accident occurred last month. The sample contained 1.9 picoCuries per liter of cesium-137, which falls under the [EPA's] 3.0 standard. Airborne contamination continues to cross the western states, the new data shows, and Boise has seen the highest concentrations of radioactive isotopes in rain so far. A rainwater sample collected in Boise on March 27 contained 390 picocures per liter of iodine-131, plus 41 of cesium-134 and 36 of cesium-137. EPA released this result for the first time yesterday. Typically several days pass between sample collection and data release because of the time required to collect, transport and analyze the samples. In most of the data released Friday the levels of contaminants detected are far below the standards observed by EPA and other U.S. agencies.

Note: For lots more on corporate and government corruption, click here and here.


News of selfless acts has positive effect: study
2011-03-29, CBC (Canada's public broadcasting station)
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2011/03/29/bc-good-news-...

Good news begets better people. That was the conclusion of new research released ... by the University of British Columbia, that found people with a strong sense of "moral identity" were inspired to do good when they read media stories about Good Samaritans' selfless acts. According to lead author Karl Aquino, who studies forgiveness and moral behaviour issues, four separate studies found a direct link between a person's exposure to media accounts of extraordinary virtue and their yearning to change the world. He said media reports could potentially play a crucial role in the mobilization of history makers if less attention was paid to negative coverage. "The news media have a tendency to celebrate bad behaviour, from Charlie Sheen's recent exploits to articles that focus the spotlight on criminal and other aberrant behaviour." "These things have to be beyond just everyday goodness," Aquino said in an interview. "We're talking here about really exceptional acts of virtue. Acts that require enormous sacrifice, that put people at risk for the sake of others." Based on his research, Aquino also said the media could play a strategic role in helping the fundraising efforts for natural disasters like the recent earthquake in Japan. "Focusing on individual examples of extraordinary goodness within the crisis may be a more effective and subtle way to encourage people to donate than inundating them with stories and pictures of need and desperation," he said.


Betting on green
2011-03-10, The Economist magazine
http://www.economist.com/node/18304172

“Environmentalists are fiddling while Rome burns,” says Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, a Silicon Valley venture-capital firm. “They get in the way with silly stuff like asking people to walk more, drive less. That is an increment of 1-2% change.” Forget today’s green technologies like electric cars, wind turbines, solar cells and smart grids, in other words. None meets what Mr Khosla calls the “Chindia price”—the price at which people in China and India will buy them without a subsidy. “Everything’s a toy until it reaches that point,” he says. Mr Khosla has a different plan to save the planet. He is investing over $1 billion of his clients’ money in “black swans” -— ideas with the potential for sudden jumps in technology that promise huge environmental benefits, easy scalability and rapid payback. The catch? Mr Khosla expects nine out of ten of his investments to fail. “I am only interested in technologies that have a 90% chance of failure but, if they do succeed, would change the infrastructure of society in some radical way,” he says. Khosla Ventures’ portfolio reads like an eco-utopian wish-list: diesel from microbes; carbon-negative cement; quantum batteries; and a system for extracting methane from coal while it is still underground.

Note: Why aren't people in governments around the world thinking in this way? The time is now to shift our priorities in investment.


The Emotional Lives of Animals
2011-03-02, Yes! Magazine
http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/can-animals-save-us/we-second-that-emotion

Scientific research shows that many animals are very intelligent and have sensory and motor abilities that dwarf ours. Dogs are able to detect diseases such as cancer and diabetes and warn humans of impending heart attacks and strokes. Elephants, whales, hippopotamuses, giraffes, and alligators use low-frequency sounds to communicate over long distances, often miles; and bats, dolphins, whales, frogs, and various rodents use high-frequency sounds to find food, communicate with others, and navigate. Many animals also display wide-ranging emotions, including joy, happiness, empathy, compassion, grief, and even resentment and embarrassment. Many animals display profound grief at the loss or absence of a relative or companion. Do animals marvel at their surroundings, have a sense of awe when they see a rainbow, or wonder where lightning comes from? Sometimes a chimpanzee, usually an adult male, will dance at a waterfall with total abandon. Ravens and many other animals live by social norms that favor fairness and justice. And outside of Buenos Aires, Argentina, a dog rescued an abandoned baby by placing him safely among her own newborn puppies. Amazingly, the dog carried the baby about 150 feet to where her puppies lay after discovering the baby covered by a rag in a field.


US Army to charge Bradley Manning with 'aiding the enemy'
2011-03-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/02/bradley-manning-charges-aiding-enemy

The US Army has announced it is to charge Private Bradley Manning with "aiding the enemy" – which can carry the death penalty – and 21 further offences of illegally disclosing classified information, after an investigation lasting seven months. The 22 new charges are in addition to the 12 counts of leaking classified information and computer fraud that Manning already faces over material said to be related to the WikiLeaks disclosures – and for which he has been held in military custody since May last year. The army's charge sheet states that Manning did "knowingly give intelligence to the enemy, through indirect means," in violation of article 104 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, known as "aiding the enemy". The other new charges include wrongfully causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it will be accessed by the enemy, five counts of thefts of public property or records, eight counts of transmitting national defense information to someone not entitled to receive it – violating the Espionage Act, two counts of computer fraud, and five counts of breaking US Army computer security rules. The Army's prosecution team said in a statement that if Manning were convicted of all charges, he would face life in prison.

Note: For a compendium of revealing stories from reliable sources on the illegal wars of aggression launched by the US and UK under the pretext of 9/11, click here.


Deaths of baby dolphins worry scientists
2011-02-24, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/02/24/gulf.dolphins/index.html

Baby bottlenose dolphins are washing up dead in record numbers on the shores of Alabama and Mississippi, alarming scientists and a federal agency charged with monitoring the health of the Gulf of Mexico. Moby Solangi, the executive director of the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) in Gulfport, Mississippi, said ... he's never seen such high death numbers. "I've worked with marine mammals for 30 years, and this is the first time we've seen such a high number of calves," he said. "It's alarming." At least 24 baby dolphins have washed up on the shores of the two states since the beginning of the year -- more than ten times the normal rate. Also, six older dolphins died.

Note: For many reports from major media sources on the threats to marine mammals, click here.


Cellphone study shows one-hour exposure changes brain activity
2011-02-22, Washington Post
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2011/02/cell_phone_study_shows_1_ho...

Scientists at the National Institute of Health on [February 22] released a study that showed 50 minutes of cellphone use could alter the activity of the part of the brain closest to a cellphone antenna. The study was led by Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Her research shows that those people exposed to 50 minutes of cellphone radio frequencies saw an increased brain glucose metabolism in the region closest to the antenna. "The dramatic increase in use of cellular telephones has generated concern about possible negative effects of radiofrequency signals delivered to the brain," JAMA wrote in background material on the study's release. "However, whether acute cellphone exposure affects the human brain is unclear." Public-interest groups say the regulatory agencies haven't updated guidelines on cellphone health in more than one decade. And the rapid adoption of cellphones -- 290 million in the U.S. -- call for greater protections, particularly among children who have thinner skulls and ears than adult cellphone users.

Note: For key health reports from reliable sources, click here.


Scientist Finds Bottom Of Gulf Still Oily, Dead
2011-02-20, NPR/Associated Press
http://www.npr.org/2011/02/20/133912491/scientist-finds-bottom-of-gulf-still-...

Oil from the BP spill remains stuck on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, according to a top scientist's video and slides that she says demonstrate the oil isn't degrading as hoped and has decimated life on parts of the sea floor. That report is at odds with a recent report by the BP spill compensation czar that said nearly all will be well by 2012. At a science conference in Washington Saturday, marine scientist Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia aired early results of her December submarine dives around the BP spill site. She went to places she had visited in the summer and expected the oil and residue from oil-munching microbes would be gone by then. It wasn't. "There's some sort of a bottleneck we have yet to identify for why this stuff doesn't seem to be degrading," Joye told the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Washington.


Gang Stalking
2011-01-28, KION-TV (Santa Cruz, CA Fox Network affiliate)
http://www.kionrightnow.com/story/13931348/gang-stalking-drives-man-out-of-home

Police call it "bullying on steroids." They are referring to gang stalking [which] is when multiple people organize to systematically stalk and harass a person, whether emotionally or physically. Lawrence Guzzino claims his neighbors are gang stalking him because he plays loud music and is outspoken. He said, for the last year and a half, he's been systematically followed by a group of people. At one point, he said they climbed on his roof to bother him. Guzzino said he's developed a paranoia that's devastated his relationships with friends, and worst of all, family. "It makes me feel afraid...that's the worst part of it. If it was just me, I would take action," he said. Santa Cruz Police Lieutenant Larry Richard said police are becoming more aware of gang stalking because of cyber bullying. Richard said gang stalking is nothing new, but new technology is making it more common. "Gang stalkers ... have elevated themselves to technology so this is something that's been going on before Facebook and Twitter. They just now have gone into those areas," Lt. Richard said.

Note: To watch the video of this report, click here. For further information on gang stalking, click here.


U.S. can't link accused Army private to Assange
2011-01-24, MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41241414/ns/us_news-wikileaks_in_security

U.S. military officials [have said] that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. The officials say that ... there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure. WikiLeaks' release of secret diplomatic cables last year caused a diplomatic stir and laid bare some of the most sensitive U.S. dealings with governments around the world. It also prompted an American effort to stifle WikiLeaks by pressuring financial institutions to cut off the flow of money to the organization. U.S. Attorney General Eric holder has said his department is also considering whether it can prosecute the release of information under the Espionage Act. Assange told MSNBC TV last month that WikiLeaks was unsure Army PFC Bradley Manning is the source for the classified documents appearing on his site. "That's not how our technology works, that's not how our organization works," Assange said. "I never heard of the name of Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media." He called allegations that WikiLeaks had conspired with Manning "absolute nonsense." Anti-war groups, a psychologist group as well as filmmaker Michael Moore and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg have called for Bradley to be released from detention.

Note: For lots more from major media sources on governmental secrecy, click here.


'Prince of Mercenaries' who wreaked havoc in Iraq turns up in Somalia
2011-01-22, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/prince-of-mercenaries-who-wrea...

Erik Prince, the American founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, has cropped up at the centre of a controversial scheme to establish a new mercenary force to crack down on piracy ... in the war-torn East African country of Somalia. The project, which emerged yesterday when an intelligence report was leaked to media in the United States, requires Mr Prince to help train a private army of 2,000 Somali troops that will be loyal to the country's United Nations-backed government. Several neighbouring states, including the United Arab Emirates, will pay the bills. Mr Prince is working in Somalia alongside Saracen International, a murky South African firm which is run by a former officer from the Civil Co-operation Bureau, an apartheid-era force notorious for killing opponents of the white minority government. News of his latest project has alarmed, though hardly surprised, critics of Blackwater. The firm made hundreds of millions of dollars from the "war on terror", but was severely tarnished by a string of incidents in post-invasion Iraq, in which its employees were accused of committing dozens of unlawful killings. Mr Prince ... remains entangled in a string of lawsuits pertaining to the alleged recklessness of the firm. For most of the past year, he has been living in Abu Dhabi, where he has close relations with the government and feels better positioned to dodge lawsuits.

Note: For key reports from reliable sources exposing the crimes carried out by corporations and the military in the "Global War on Terrorism", click here.


Rethinking the OSS and CIA
2011-01-20, Washington Post blog
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2011/01/rethinking_the_oss_and_cia....

It doesn't seem all that long ago that *le tout Washington* was crying for the CIA to be demolished and replaced by an updated version of the OSS, our World War II spying and dirty tricks service. The idea, accelerated by the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was that the CIA had grown too bloated, comfortable and cautious over the 40 years since it moved into its new headquarters in Langley, Va. The challenge thrown down by al-Qaeda, it was said, called for a far smaller, nimble, can-do organization, as presidential candidate John McCain put it, that would fight terrorist subversion across the world and in cyberspace. But a few hours spent with Douglas Waller's forthcoming and lively new book, Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage, should cure that. As Waller and a number of other authors before him have discovered, the forerunner of the CIA was every bit as bewitched, beleaguered and befogged for much of its brief existence as [the CIA]. Even in Waller's balanced hands, there's no glossing over the record that the OSS's contribution to the glorious victories over Germany, and especially Japan, was marginal. From the invasion of North Africa through the Italian campaign, to the invasion of occupied France and the final push into Germany, the OSS mostly muddled through.


Plain-clothes officers 'were deployed at G20 demo'
2011-01-19, BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12232936

Scotland Yard has admitted giving MPs inaccurate information by denying "covert officers" were deployed at London's G20 protests in April 2009. In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said it had established that covert officers had been deployed to the protests. The letter came after ... the unmasking of undercover policeman Mark Kennedy, who attended many demonstrations during seven years living as a spy among green activists. Giving evidence at the select committee in 2009, Commander Bob Broadhurst told MPs then: "The only officers we deploy for intelligence purposes at public order are forward intelligence team officers who are wearing full police uniforms with a yellow jacket with blue shoulders. There were no plain clothes officers deployed at all." The Met statement released on Wednesday said: "Having made thorough checks on the back of recent media reporting we have now established that covert officers were deployed during the G20 protests. Therefore the information that was given by Commander Bob Broadhurst to the Home Affairs Select Committee saying that 'We had no plain-clothes officers deployed within the crowd' was not accurate."

Note: For lots more on the police provocateur Mark Kennedy, click here.


Former Playmates tell of 'grubby' world inside Hugh Hefner's empire
2010-12-31, Daily Mail (One of the UK's largest-circulation newspapers)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1342643/Hugh-Hefners-Playboy-mansio...

[Hugh Hefner's] image as a fast-living Lothario has done much to make a success of the Playboy brand, and news of his impending nuptials to a woman young enough to be his great-granddaughter will further promote the idea of him as a lovable old rascal who has plenty of life in him yet. This is certainly the image Hefner likes to project to the celebrities drawn to his lavishly debauched parties at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles. The attractions there include a games house, with two guestrooms equipped with only a bed, a ceiling mirror and a phone. But unfortunately for Hefner, some of his former ‘girlfriends’, as he calls them, have become disenchanted with life in his harem over the years. One by one they have revealed what life was like behind the glittering façade of the Playboy Mansion. According to them, it disguises a grubby world where some girls feel they are no better than prostitutes, paid pocket money by an octogenarian obsessive who funds plastic surgery to turn them into his physical ideal. Hefner likes to have anywhere between three and 15 girlfriends at any one time. One of the group will be chosen to be Girlfriend No 1. She will share Hefner’s bedroom at all times, while the others are merely visitors.

Note: We don't consider the U.K.'s Daily Mail to be a particularly reliable source, but this article is quite revealing.


Survivor of tragedy now on giving side of charity
2010-12-23, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/12/23/BAMU1GFS8D.DTL

Jessica Jamil would like to thank all the people who helped raise her - from the probation officers to the social workers, Secret Santas and the charities, including Season of Sharing. Because living with her real family nearly killed her. When she was 13, her father raped her, stabbed her in the head and neck 32 times, and then left her for dead. Soon afterward, Jamil's mother abandoned her. "She checked out mentally," Jamil said. "I haven't talked to her since." Now 30, the single mother from San Mateo is [a] full-time working mom and student ... raising her 12-year-old daughter, Deja Sullivan. "I'm doing the opposite of how I was raised," Jamil said. "I just like knowing I'll have someone there for me whatever happens, and I'm there for her in any way she needs." Since her daughter's birth, Jamil has been assembling a team of life helpers. She went back to school to earn a certificate as a registered addiction specialist, and accepted $150 from the Pacifica Resource Center to pay for classes. She found a "grandma" for Deja, a friend's mother who cares for the girl when Jamil has to work. She's now going to the College of San Mateo at night to earn her associate in arts degree so she can one day become a probation officer and work with troubled kids. She works full time with autistic infants and toddlers at the Stepping Stones Center in San Mateo. "A lot of them don't have words, or they have sensory issues, so we just work with them modeling language and behavior," she said.


Houston TV stations refuse ad that slams fast food
2010-12-14, Houston Chronicle (Houston's leading newspaper)
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7339356.html

A physicians' group campaigning against McDonald's fast food offerings says that four Houston TV stations have refused to run its advertisement equating cheeseburgers with heart disease and death. The advertisement from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, titled "Consequences," displays a doctor and a weeping woman standing over a corpse clutching a cheeseburger in its right hand. The 30-second spot ends with a picture of the McDonald's logo, the words "I was lovin' it," a parody of the company's "I'm lovin' it" slogan, and the voiceover, "High cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart attacks. Tonight, make it vegetarian." Susan Levin, director of nutrition of education for the Washington, D.C., nonprofit, said all four of Houston's major network affiliates turned down "Consequences," which she said has aired in Chicago and Washington and was rejected by stations in Miami. The group was prepared to pay $5,000 to air the ad locally. Houston was selected for the campaign, the group said, because of its market size, its reputation as having one of the nation's highest obesity rates and because it has 149 McDonald's outlets, more than any city in the nation other than New York. The "Consequences" spot has been viewed more than 1.1 million times on the group's YouTube site.

Note: To view the commercial at YouTube, click here.


Vatican is world's greenest state
2010-12-12, The Independent/Agence France Presse
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/vatican-is-worlds-greenest-state-off...

The tiny Vatican City is now by far the world's most environmentally friendly state following the installation of giant solar power panels, the Vatican's official daily said. "The Vatican has reached a small record in solar energy power production per capita: 200 watts at peak times ... per inhabitant, compared to 80 in Germany, the world leader in this field," Osservatore Romano said. The Vatican City is the least populated sovereign state in the world, with a population of only around 800 people. Osservatore Romano said that the panels installed on the Paul VI conference hall two years ago had saved the Vatican 89.84 tons of oil equivalent. Pope Benedict XVI has been dubbed the "green pope" by the Italian media for his strong emphasis on defence of the environment. Earlier this month Vatican officials said they were thinking of using an electric-powered vehicle to replace the iconic popemobile.


Allied Irish Banks to pay €40m bonuses despite bailout
2010-12-08, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2010/dec/08/allied-irish-banks-pay-bonuses...

Stricken Allied Irish Banks is preparing to hand out €40m (Ł34m) of bonuses next week – despite being on the brink of receiving another emergency bailout from the Irish government. As many as 2,400 bankers in its Dublin capital markets division are to receive the payments on 17 December under agreements struck with the bank in 2008. The bank, 19% owned by Ireland's taxpayers but expected to reach 95% state-ownership, had originally been blocked from making the payments under one of the government's bailout programmes. But legal action by a trader, John Foy, over a deferred €161,000 bonus awarded in 2008 has led the bank to conclude it will need to pay bonuses to many of the staff to whom they were awarded for that year. The bonuses are being handed out at a time when the government is instigating four years of tax rises and brutal cuts to benefits. Bankers are receiving much of the blame for forcing Ireland to take international assistance and implement the austerity budgetary measures.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the worldwide bailout by taxpayers of failed banks, click here.


Report says level of armed conflict, support for radical Islamists, waning in Muslim world
2010-12-02, Los Angeles Times/Associated Press
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/wire/sns-ap-un-un-waning-war,0...

A new study says the level of armed conflict in Muslim countries is far lower than two decades ago, with support for ... radical Islamist groups waning as locals reject extremism and the killing of other Muslims. The report, released ... by the Canadian Human Security Research Project ... maintains the decrease occurred even though four of the world's five deadliest recent conflicts raged in predominantly Muslim Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and Somalia. Report director Andrew Mack says armed conflict in Muslim nations has waned partly because Cold War proxy battles such as the Afghanistan-Soviet Union conflict have ended and independence wars have been resolved.


Growing backlash against TSA body scanners, pat-downs
2010-11-13, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2010/TRAVEL/11/12/travel.screening/index.html

A growing pilot and passenger revolt over full-body scans and what many consider intrusive pat-downs couldn't have come at a worse time for the nation's air travel system. Thanksgiving, the busiest travel time of the year, is less than two weeks away. Grassroots groups are urging travelers to either not fly or to protest by opting out of the full-body scanners and undergo time-consuming pat-downs instead. Some pilots, passengers and flight attendants have chosen to opt out of the revealing scans. One online group, National Opt Out Day calls for a day of protest against the scanners on Wednesday, November 24, the busiest travel day of the year. Another group argues the TSA should remove the scanners from all airports. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC)... is taking legal action. Pilots' unions for US Airways and American Airlines are urging their members to avoid full-body scanning at airport security checkpoints, citing health risks and concerns about intrusiveness and security officer behavior. "Pilots should NOT submit to AIT (Advanced Imaging Technology) screening," wrote Capt. Mike Cleary, president of the U.S. Airline Pilots Association. "Frequent exposure to TSA-operated scanner devices may subject pilots to significant health risks," Cleary wrote. The website We Won't Fly urgers travelers to "Act now. Travel with Dignity."

Note: For a powerful, one-minute video showing just how invasive these searches are, click here.


Rescuing Young Women From Traffickers’ Hands
2010-10-15, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/16/world/europe/16romania.html?_r=0

Ms. Matei started out life thinking she would be a graphic designer. She married, had a child and then divorced. In 1990, as Romania was emerging from Communism, she [fled] the country, walking alone ... into the former Yugoslavia. She eventually arranged for her son to join her and was resettled in Australia. There, she earned a degree in psychology and worked with street children. But in 1998, after bringing her son to Romania on a holiday, she decided to move back and began working with street children here. Soon, the police called asking a favor. Would she take three young prostitutes they had just rounded up to a doctor? Afterward, she was just supposed to release them. “I was annoyed until I got there and saw these girls,” Ms. Matei said. “The mascara was running all over their faces. They had been crying so hard. And they were minors ... but no one cared.” One of the girls was pregnant. All three would be in the hospital for two weeks. But afterward, Ms. Matei said, child welfare services would have nothing to do with them. “Eventually, I got an apartment for them, and more girls kept coming,” she said. “That’s how it started.” Over the years, she has cobbled together all sorts of financing, pleading with various embassies. Right now, the shelter [she founded] is supported by an American ministry dedicated to combating human trafficking, Make Way Partners in Birmingham, Ala. More than 400 girls have stayed in the shelter, and most of them are still in touch, she said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.


For Those Near, the Miserable Hum of Clean Energy
2010-10-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/06/business/energy-environment/06noise.html

Like nearly all of the residents on this island in Penobscot Bay, Art Lindgren and his wife, Cheryl, celebrated the arrival of three giant wind turbines late last year. That was before they were turned on. “In the first 10 minutes, our jaws dropped to the ground,” Mr. Lindgren said. “Nobody in the area could believe it. They were so loud.” Now, the Lindgrens, along with a dozen or so neighbors living less than a mile from the $15 million wind facility here, say the industrial whoosh-and-whoop of the 123-foot blades is making life in this otherwise tranquil corner of the island unbearable. They are among a ... growing number of families and homeowners across the country who say they have learned the hard way that wind power ... is not without emissions of its own. Lawsuits and complaints about turbine noise, vibrations and subsequent lost property value have [been brought] in Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Massachusetts, among other states. “The quality of life that we came here for was quiet,” Mrs. Lindgren said. “You don’t live in a place where you have to take an hour-and-15-minute ferry ride to live next to an industrial park. And that’s where we are right now. The wind industry has long been dogged by ... complaints about turbines, [including] that they have direct physiological impacts like rapid heart beat, nausea and blurred vision caused by the ultra-low-frequency sound and vibrations from the machines.

Note: National Wind Watch is a clearinghouse for information on industrial wind energy. The Society for Wind Vigilance is an international group of physicians, engineers and other professionals who are promoting guidelines for appropriate siting of industrial wind turbines and independent third-party research to mitigate risks to public health.


Angry in America: Inside Alex Jones' World
2010-09-02, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/alex-jones-day-life-libertarian-radio-host/st...

"Good old Uncle Sam will stage attacks ... that's how they keep the slaves in line," the libertarian radio host says during a rant on his show. "We have to wake up and face the fact that we have a criminal government." The criminal government is just one of many conspiracy theories [Alex] Jones espouses -- although he thinks that term belittles his reporting. He also believes that the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center were an inside job ... and that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) runs concentration camps. "They [FEMA] have designat[ed] sports stadiums," he said matter-of-factly, "They have designated fields, they have designated closed down prisoner of war camps for the American people during a civil uprising." His six-day-a-week radio show and webcast reach an estimated one million people a day. On YouTube and elsewhere, Jones estimates 200 million people have seen his various documentaries, like "The Fall of the Republic," "Endgame: Blueprint for Global Enslavement" and "The Obama Deception." "I've got to report the information I see and what I believe is happening," he said. "I have a responsibility to put out."

Note: It's extremely rare that a major media outlet such as ABC News will cover the work of a prominent member of the 9/11 truth movement. It is likely due to the growing groundswell of demands for a genuine investigation into the events. On September 9, two days before the ninth anniversary of 9/11, three new professional organizations held joint press conferences in New York City and Los Angeles: Scientists for 9/11 Truth, Military Officers for 9/11 Truth, and Actors and Artists for 9/11 Truth, calling for such an investigation.


WikiLeaks releases 'CIA report'
2010-08-26, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2010/US/08/25/wikileaks.cia.release/#fbid=2AOzOD4MGB-&...

The whistle-blower website WikiLeaks on [August 25] posted what it said was an internal CIA report into the perception that the United States exports terrorism. The three-page document, dated February 2, 2010, asks, "What If Foreigners See the United States as an 'Exporter of Terrorism?'" The founder and editor of the website, Julian Assange, was arrested in absentia last week in Sweden on charges of rape, but the warrant was revoked less than a day later by Chief Prosecutor Eva Finne. Separately on [August 24], the attorney for the alleged victims told CNN rumors that the Pentagon or CIA was somehow involved in the sex crime accusations against Assange are "complete nonsense."


What's So Great About Organic Food?
2010-08-18, Time magazine
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2011756_2011730,00...

Our diet is indeed killing us, and it's killing the planet too. Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta released a study revealing that nearly 27% of Americans are now considered obese (that is, more than 20% above their ideal weight), and in nine states, the obesity rate tops 30%. We eat way too much meat — up to 220 lb. per year for every man, woman and child in the U.S. — and only 14% of us consume our recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Our processed food is dense with salt and swimming in high-fructose corn syrup, two flavors we can't resist. Currently, enough food is manufactured in the U.S. for every American to consume 3,800 calories per day — we need only 2,350 in a healthy diet. Keeping the food flowing — and the prices low enough for people to continue buying it — requires a lot of industrial-engineering tricks, and those have knock-on effects of their own. Up to 10 million tons of chemical fertilizer per year are poured onto fields to cultivate corn alone, for example, which has increased yields 23% from 1990 to 2009 but has led to toxic runoffs that are poisoning the beleaguered Gulf of Mexico.

Note: For vitally important information showing why organic foods are much safer for you, click here. For important articles from reliable sources on health issues, click here.


Greenland ice sheet faces 'tipping point in 10 years'
2010-08-10, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/10/greenland-ice-sheet-tipping...

The entire ice mass of Greenland will disappear from the world map if temperatures rise by as little as 2C, with severe consequences for the rest of the world, a panel of scientists told Congress today. Greenland shed its largest chunk of ice in nearly half a century last week, and faces an even grimmer future, according to Richard Alley, a geosciences professor at Pennsylvania State University "Sometime in the next decade we may pass that tipping point which would put us warmer than temperatures that Greenland can survive," Alley told a briefing in Congress, adding that a rise in the range of 2C to 7C would mean the obliteration of Greenland's ice sheet. "What is going on in the Arctic now is the biggest and fastest thing that nature has ever done," he said. Greenland is losing ice mass at an increasing rate, dumping more icebergs into the ocean because of warming temperatures, he said. The stark warning was underlined by the momentous break-up of one of Greenland's largest glaciers last week, which set a 100 sq mile chunk of ice drifting into the North Strait between Greenland and Canada. The ice loss from the Petermann Glacier was the largest such event in nearly 50 years. Andreas Muenchow, professor of ocean science at the University of Delaware, who has been studying the Petermann glacier for several years, said he had been expecting such a break, although he did not anticipate its size.

Note: For key reports from reliable sources on global warming, click here.


Gulf oil blowout: White House accused of spinning report
2010-08-05, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/aug/05/oil-spill-white-house-accus...

The White House was accused today of spinning a government scientific report into the amount of oil left in the Gulf of Mexico from the BP [blowout] which had officials declaring that the vast majority of the oil had been removed. Environmental groups and scientists – including those working with government agencies – said White House officials had painted far too optimistic a picture of a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency [NOAA] into the fate of the oil. "Recent reports seem to say that about 75% of the oil is taken care of and that is just not true," said John Kessler, of Texas A&M University, who led a National Science Foundation on-site study of the spill. "The fact is that 50% to 75% of the material that came out of the well is still in the water. It's just in a dissolved or dispersed form." Rick Steiner, a former University of Alaska marine biologist, suggested that the White House had been too eager to try to put the oil spill behind it, with Democrats in Congress facing tough election fights in November. "It seems that there was a rush to declare this done, and there were obvious political objectives there," he said. "Even if there is not a drop of oil out there, and it had truly magically vanished, it would still be an environmental disaster caused by the toxic shock of the release of 5m barrels of oil."

Note: For lots more from major media sources on government corruption, click here.


Gold Coin Sellers Angered by New Tax Law
2010-07-21, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/gold-coin-dealers-decry-tax-law/story?id=11211611

Starting Jan. 1, 2012, Form 1099s will become a means of reporting to the Internal Revenue Service the purchases of all goods and services by small businesses and self-employed people that exceed $600 during a calendar year. Precious metals such as coins and bullion fall into this category and coin dealers have been among those most rankled by the change. This provision, intended to mine what the IRS deems a vast reservoir of uncollected income tax, was included in the health care legislation ostensibly as a way to pay for it. Taking an early and vociferous role in opposing the measure is the precious metal and coin industry, according to Diane Piret, industry affairs director for the ... trade association representing an estimated 5,000 coin and bullion dealers in the United States. "Coin dealers not only buy for their inventory from other dealers, but also with great frequency from the public," Piret said. "Most other types of businesses will have a limited number of suppliers from which they buy their goods and products for resale." So every time a member of the public sells more than $600 worth of gold to a dealer, Piret said, the transaction will have to be reported to the government by the buyer. Pat Heller, who owns Liberty Coin Service in Lansing, Mich., deals with around 1,000 customers every week. Heller estimates that he'll be filling out between 10,000 and 20,000 tax forms per year after the new law takes effect. "I'll have to hire two full-time people just to track all this stuff, which cuts into my profitability," he said.

Note: For lots more on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.


2 UFO sightings have China, blogs abuzz
2010-07-16, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/asiapcf/07/16/china.ufo.reports/

One of two recent UFO sightings in China occurred almost on the 63rd anniversary of news that a "flying disc" had been found in Roswell, New Mexico. The first sighting occurred at Hangzhou's Xiaoshan Airport, in the eastern part of the country. Eighteen flights were delayed or rerouted and operations shut down after twinkling lights were spotted above the terminal around 9 p.m. July 7. "No conclusion has yet been drawn," said Wang Jian, head of air traffic control with Zhejiang branch of the Civil Aviation Administration of China. Purported photos of the unworldly object have appeared online and on YouTube. Meanwhile, The Shanghai Daily reported a UFO appeared above the city of Chongqing on [July 15]. Witnesses said four "lantern-like objects forming a diamond shape" hovered for an hour above a park. "I stared at it and it did not move," one resident told the newspaper. "After hovering for an hour, the thing started to fly higher and finally out of people's sight." UFO sightings around the world are common, but a little rarer in China.

Note: For a massive amount of reliable information on sightings of UFOs, click here.


Argentina legalizes gay marriage in historic vote
2010-07-15, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38251758/ns/world_news-americas

Argentina legalized same-sex marriage [on July 15], becoming the first country in Latin America to declare that gays and lesbians have all the legal rights, responsibilities and protections that marriage brings to heterosexual couples. The law is sure to bring a wave of marriages by gays and lesbians who have found Buenos Aires to be a welcoming place to live. But same-sex couples from other countries shouldn't rush their Argentine wedding plans, since only citizens and residents can wed in the country, and the necessary documents can take months to obtain. While it makes some amendments to the civil code, many other aspects of family law will have to be changed. Nine gay couples had already married in Argentina after persuading judges that the constitutional mandate of equality supports their marriage rights, although their validity was later challenged by other judges. Congressional passage now removes that doubt. When the final vote came, cheers and hugs broke out among the bill's supporters. Sen. Norma Morandini ... compared the discrimination closeted gays face to the oppression imposed by Argentina's dictators decades ago. "What defines us is our humanity, and what runs against humanity is intolerance," she said.


Sea Shepherd's Watson on Interpol's most wanted
2010-06-26, ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/06/26/2937694.htm

Interpol has placed the head of anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson, on its international wanted list. Interpol has issued a so-called blue notice, asking national police forces to pass on information about Mr Watson's whereabouts and activities. The Sea Shepherd leader has harassed the Japanese whaling fleet for the past few years, limiting the number of whales caught for so-called scientific research. Mr Watson, who is in the United States, says the notice does not make any sense. "It's a blue notice which means it's not an arrest warrant, it's just so they can keep tabs on me. But they needn't have wasted their time, they could have just followed our website," he said. "One thing that it does mean to me is that we're certainly getting to them. We cut their kill quotas in half and they're really desperate that we not go back down there this year. But I can tell them we'll certainly be back down in the Southern Ocean harassing them again in December."

Note: For lots more on whales and other marine mammals, and on their defenders from slaughter and abuse, click here.


Report: 97 percent of scientists say man-made climate change is real
2010-06-22, USA Today
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2010/06/scientists-o...

A new survey out this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ... found that 97 percent of scientific experts agree that climate change is "very likely" caused mainly by human activity. The report is based on questions posed to 1,372 scientists. Nearly all the experts agreed that it is "very likely that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for most of the unequivocal warming of the Earth's average global temperature in the second half of the twentieth century." As for the 3 percent of scientists who remain unconvinced, the study found their average expertise is far below that of their colleagues, as measured by publication and citation rates. In the study, the authors wrote: "This extensive analysis of the mainstream versus skeptical/contrarian researchers suggests a strong role for considering expert credibility in the relative weight of and attention to these groups of researchers in future discussions in media, policy, and public forums regarding anthropogenic climate change." The report comes as the Earth continues to sizzle in 2010. So far, through May, 2010 is the warmest year ever recorded, according to the National Climatic Data Center.

Note: For key reports on global warming, click here.


The 'July Effect': Worst Month For Fatal Hospital Errors
2010-06-03, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/WN/WellnessNews/july-month-fatal-hospital-errors-study-...

There is an old saying among some doctors -- do not let your friends and family schedule a surgery in July. July is the month when graduates, fresh out of medical school, report to residencies in teaching hospitals. Anecdotally, at least, it's been a time when medical errors peak. A new study decided to see if the so-called "July Effect" was real. Researchers from the University of California at San Diego investigated more than 62 million U.S. death certificates between 1979 and 2006. Of those, 244,388 deaths were caused by a medication errors in a hospital. Month to month, the statistics showed a relatively equal chance for a fatal medication error -- except at teaching hospitals in the month of July. The study found that fatal medication errors spiked by 10 percent in July in counties with a high number of teaching hospitals, but stayed the same in areas without teaching hospitals. David Phillips, [a professor of sociology at the University of California at San Diego, and] the lead author of the study, said ... "There's something going on in teaching hospitals in July, and the most common thing people think of was residents starting." Residents are inexperienced, often sleep-deprived -- working 36-hour shifts in many cases.


Dearth of financing stalls inventor of 110-mpg engine
2010-05-28, Toledo Blade (Toledo's leading newspaper)
http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100528/BUSINESS07/5280334

A year ago, hundreds of people flocked to a 100,000-square-foot former factory building in Wauseon's industrial area where a Napoleon, Ohio, inventor promised to begin building engines that would travel more than 110 miles on a gallon of E85 gasoline. But time and the economy have not been kind to Doug Pelmear's plan to revolutionize the American automobile. The factory today is largely dark and empty, Mr. Pelmear's dreams of putting northwest Ohioans back to work are still constrained within two file drawers full of job applications, and his hopes of mass-producing his HP2g engine have fallen victim to a lack of funding. "We can't get the banks to look at us," Mr. Pelmear said yesterday. Mr. Pelmear said he hasn't sought money from more traditional capital sources such as investors, selling stock or bonded indebtedness, because such sources would likely cost him control of HP2g LLC - something he's unwilling to provide. A partnership Mr. Pelmear forged with Revenge Designs Inc., a Decatur, Ind. specialty carmaker that had planned to use his engine in its upcoming "Verde" supercar, dissolved this spring.

Note: For a treasure trove of exciting reports on new automotive and new energy technologies, click here.


State first lady adds good humor to conference
2010-05-21, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/05/20/BUJ21DHU5F.DTL

California first lady Maria Shriver told 1,000-odd attendees at the Microfinance USA 2010 conference in San Francisco. "Maybe I need a loan, too." Actually, she admitted offstage, her 2-year-old company, Lovin' Scoopful, whose "gourmet light" ice cream is on grocery shelves in 22 states, is doing quite well. And Shriver was at the conference to give rather than receive. Not only to cheer on the burgeoning microfinance movement, but to give $300,000 from her nonprofit Women's Conference organization to various microfinance organizations, including San Francisco's Kiva.org - Shriver heads one of its "lending teams" - and San Jose's Opportunity Fund, which put on the two-day conference. But that was a small tip of the growing amount of serious money flowing into the sector. "Banks, especially since they've come under more scrutiny, realize getting involved in microfinance is good business," said Premal Shah, president of Kiva. "Bringing more people into the economic mainstream ultimately brings them more customers." But with the coming of age also come pitfalls, as Kiva and others have found. A New York Times story last month ... about the seemingly usurious rates of interest some lenders were charging created a stir in the microfinance community.

Note: To learn more about how you can help to end poverty through investing in microloans, click here.


U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts
2010-05-16, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/world/16contractors.html

Top military officials have continued to rely on a secret network of private spies who have produced hundreds of reports from deep inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. Earlier this year, government officials admitted that the military had sent a group of former Central Intelligence Agency officers and retired Special Operations troops into the region to collect information — some of which was used to track and kill people suspected of being militants. Many portrayed it as a rogue operation that had been hastily shut down once an investigation began. But interviews with more than a dozen current and former government officials and businessmen, and an examination of government documents, tell a different a story. Not only are the networks still operating, their detailed reports on subjects like the workings of the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and the movements of enemy fighters in southern Afghanistan are also submitted almost daily to top commanders and have become an important source of intelligence. Pentagon officials said that ... the supervisor who set up the contractor network, Michael D. Furlong, was now under investigation. But a review of the program by The New York Times found that Mr. Furlong’s operatives were still providing information using the same intelligence gathering methods as before.

Note: For revealing reports on the secret and extra-legal operations of the US military in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.


U.S. Said to Allow Drilling Without Needed Permits
2010-05-14, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/14/us/14agency.html

The federal Minerals Management Service gave permission to BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico without first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species — and despite strong warnings from that agency about the impact the drilling was likely to have on the gulf. Those approvals, federal records show, include one for the well drilled by the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded on April 20, killing 11 workers and resulting in thousands of barrels of oil spilling into the gulf each day. The Minerals Management Service, or M.M.S., also routinely overruled its staff biologists and engineers who raised concerns about the safety and the environmental impact of certain drilling proposals in the gulf and in Alaska, according to a half-dozen current and former agency scientists. Those scientists said they were also regularly pressured by agency officials to change the findings of their internal studies if they predicted that an accident was likely to occur or if wildlife might be harmed. “M.M.S. has given up any pretense of regulating the offshore oil industry,” said Kierán Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity, ... which filed notice of intent to sue the agency over its noncompliance with federal law concerning endangered species. “The agency seems to think its mission is to help the oil industry evade environmental laws.”

Note: For lots more from reliable souces on government corruption and collusion with industries it is supposed to be regulating, click here.


Morality is modified in the lab
2010-03-30, BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8593748.stm

Scientists have shown they can change people's moral judgements by disrupting a specific area of the brain with magnetic pulses. They identified a region of the brain just above and behind the right ear which appears to control morality. And by using magnetic pulses to block cell activity they impaired volunteers' notion of right and wrong. [The] Massachusetts Institute of Technology study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Lead researcher Dr Liane Young said: "You think of morality as being a really high-level behaviour. To be able to apply a magnetic field to a specific brain region and change people's moral judgments is really astonishing." The key area of the brain is a knot of nerve cells known as the right temporo-parietal junction (RTPJ). The researchers subjected 20 volunteers to a number of tests designed to assess their notions of right and wrong. In one scenario participants were asked how acceptable it was for a man to let his girlfriend walk across a bridge he knew to be unsafe. After receiving a 500 millisecond magnetic pulse to the scalp, the volunteers delivered verdicts based on outcome rather than moral principle. If the girlfriend made it across the bridge safely, her boyfriend was not seen as having done anything wrong. In effect, they were unable to make moral judgments that require an understanding of other people's intentions.

Note: For lots more on the technologies of mind control, click here.


Bagram prison in Afghanistan may become the new Guantánamo
2010-03-22, The Times (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article7070460.ece

The American detention centre at Bagram in Afghanistan could be expanded into a Guantánamo-style prison for terrorist suspects detained around the world. This is one of the options being considered as US officials try to find an alternative to Guantánamo Bay. A decision to send al-Qaeda suspects detained in countries such as Yemen and Somalia to Bagram, which is located north of Kabul, would be highly controversial. Bagram is synonymous in Afghan eyes with past human rights abuses, although the old prison has been replaced by a new facility at the large US airbase. The other alternative — of using a special prison in the US — is seen as less practical because the detainees would have to be put through the American justice system, and some of the suspects considered by the US as the most dangerous would be difficult to prosecute because of the lack of sufficient evidence. Congress would also oppose such a move. Bagram currently houses about 800 detainees, including a small number of foreign fighters who were not arrested in Afghanistan. They were taken there under the Administration of George W. Bush.

Note: Isn't it amazing that this article simply asserts that "lack of sufficient evidence" to prosecute is a reason to hold captives indefinitely?


How the West poisoned Bangladesh
2010-03-21, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/how-the-west-poisoned-bangladesh...

Up to 20 million people in Bangladesh are at risk of suffering early deaths because of arsenic poisoning – the legacy of a well-intentioned but ill-planned water project that created a devastating public health catastrophe. Four decades after an internationally funded move to dig tube wells across the country massively backfired, huge numbers of people still remain at higher risk of contracting cancer and heart disease. The move, spearheaded by the UN and the World Bank, was fatally flawed. Although checks were carried out for certain contaminants in the newly sourced water, it was not tested for arsenic, which occurs naturally in the Ganges and Brahmaputra deltas. By the early 1990s, when it was found that up to half of 10 million tube wells were contaminated with arsenic, Bangladesh was confronting a huge problem. The World Health Organisation called it "the largest mass poisoning of a population in history. The scale of the environmental disaster is greater than any seen before; it is beyond the accidents in Bhopal, India, in 1984, and Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986". Some subsequent studies predicted that, ultimately, one person in 10 who drinks water from the arsenical wells would go on to die from lung, bladder or skin cancer. Even though some of these conditions take decades to develop, by 2004, about 3,000 people a year were dying from arsenic-related cancers.

Note: What do you think might have occurred had the same thing happened in the US or Europe?


Stance on Israel to face scrutiny in GOP debate
2010-03-05, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/03/04/MNPD1CB0L4.DTL

Few politicians stray from pledging absolute fidelity to strong U.S.-Israel relations. But former South Bay Rep. Tom Campbell has come under fire for accepting $1,300 in contributions during his 2000 Senate campaign from a former Florida professor. The professor, Sami Al-Arian, pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiring to help a terrorist organization, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Al-Arian had not been charged with a crime when he made the donation. Campbell's rivals in the race to face Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer in November - Assemblyman Chuck DeVore, R-Irvine, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina - hope to use his links with the professor to gain ground on Campbell, who has high name recognition and leads most polls. Campbell [has] stood behind his opinion that the United States should support Palestinians and Israel should they agree to share Jerusalem as a capital city.

Note: How rare it is that the media will actually state the obvious, that if top politicians don't support Israel, they rarely get elected? Why is this? And why is it that everyone knows Israel has nuclear bombs, yet officially Israel refused to acknowledge this and it is almost never talked about?


RNC Fundraising Document Suggests Donors Might Be Motivated by 'Fear' of President Obama, 'Socialism'
2010-03-04, ABC News blog
http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2010/03/rnc-fundraising-document-sugg...

An internal Republican National Committee fundraising presentation obtained by Ben Smith at Politico proposes that GOP fundraisers shake the money tree by motivating donors based on "fear" of President Obama. The document also uses the controversial image of the president made up like Heath Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight. Part of the presentation included a slideshow explaining “RNC Marketing 101," suggesting that direct marketing is based on “Visceral Giving” in which donors can be motivated by “fear,” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration” and “Reactionary.” Asks another slide: "What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate ...?" The answer is "Save the country from trending toward Socialism!” DNC communications director Brad Woodhouse [says] "The express strategy of the Republican party is not to offer new ideas, but ‘fear.’ Republicans can no longer deny that they are peddling fear when they are literally selling it as their path back to power."

Note: The Democratic party also has made ample use of fear, particularly under the Bush administration. For a powerfully insightful essay which describes how various factions of the power elite use fear and more to manipulate the public and what we can do about it, click here.


The People We Pay to Look Over Our Shoulders
2010-02-23, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/23/books/23watchers.html

The world of modern eavesdropping, or signals intelligence ... for many years ... operated in the shadows. The Puzzle Palace, the 1983 best seller by James Bamford that remains the benchmark study of the N.S.A., first pulled back the curtain to provide a glint of unwanted sunlight on the place. As each operation has come to light, an anxious public has wanted to know whether this powerful new surveillance model was undermining traditional notions of privacy and civil liberties. Just whom is the government watching? And who is watching the watchers? It has been left to outsiders — journalists, authors, civil rights advocates and privacy groups — to keep tabs on the watchers and to bring public scrutiny to once-secret programs. For the spymasters, this spotlight was decidedly unwelcome. Mike McConnell, a director of intelligence in the Bush administration, ... is one of the recurring characters in The Watchers: The Rise of America’s Surveillance State by Shane Harris. Mr. Harris, with some success, does what Mr. McConnell and others in the intelligence world have found so objectionable: he watches the watchers. At its best The Watchers provides an insightful glimpse into how Washington works and how ideas are marketed and sold in the back rooms of power, whether the product being peddled is widgets or a radical model for intelligence gathering.

Note: For more insights into the activities of Big Brother, click here.


Senator Evan Bayh's departure sparks debate about partisanship in Congress
2010-02-17, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/16/AR20100216059...

[Sen. Evan] Bayh dealt a triple blow to his Democratic Party and to President Obama with his announcement ... that he is sick of the partisanship in Washington and will not seek a third term. But it was as much Bayh's stated reasons for leaving as the consequences that stirred controversy. "If in fact he believed that the Senate was broken and dysfunctional, then he had a responsibility to stand and man the pumps rather than run for the lifeboat," said Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University. Baker said Bayh's depiction of Congress overstates the case that lawmakers are dealing with something unprecedented in American politics. "I won't say it's cyclical, but from time to time . . . even the Senate goes berserk," he said. He cited the red-baiting era of the early 1950s, saying, "The McCarthy period was a terrible time, in which reputations were ruined, senators attacked each other and questioned each other's motives." Bayh has $13 million in his campaign account and, despite a determined effort by the GOP to mount a serious challenge to his reelection prospects, was leading in early polls. His decision could be taken by other Democrats as one more piece of evidence that the energy so far this year is on the right.

Note: If the people of the U.S. stopped falling for the polarization agendas of the power elite and fighting against each other, maybe the elected representatives would start working together for the good of all.


On different wavelengths over EMFs
2010-02-15, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-he-electromagnetic15-2010feb15,0,33...

Three years ago, at the age of 48, Camilla Rees had to leave her apartment in downtown San Francisco. Not because of the rent, she says, but because of the radiation. Her personal radiation meter -- yes, such things exist -- spiked after a lawyer couple moved in next door. Rees says she quickly lost her ability to think clearly. "I was unfocused, as if I had suddenly come down with ADHD. I would wake up dizzy in the morning. I'd collapse to the floor. I had to leave to escape that nightmare." Rees asked the neighbors if they had installed a new Wi-Fi router, and sure enough they had, on the wall near Rees' bed. Since then, Rees, a former investment banker, has been on a crusade against low-level electromagnetic fields, or EMFs, of all types, including the microwave radiation that flows from cellphones and cellphone towers. She co-wrote the 2009 book Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution, one of many recent books to warn against the dangers of EMFs, and founded the website electromagnetichealth.org.

Note: For many key reports from major media sources on health issues, click here.


Why Can't Women Ski Jump?
2010-02-11, Time magazine
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1963484_1963490_19...

Lindsey Van holds the record — among both men and women — for the longest jump off of Whistler, B.C.'s normal ski jump, built for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. The 25-year-old skier trains six days a week, 11 months a year and has been jumping for the past 19 years. But when games kick off on Feb. 12, the 2009 women's ski jumping world champion will be nowhere in sight. That's because women aren't allowed to ski jump in the Olympics. It's not for lack of trying. Women ski jumpers have petitioned to join every Winter Olympics since Nagano in 1998, and each time they have been denied by the International Olympics Committee (IOC). In fact, ski jumping is the only Olympic discipline to remain men-only. The IOC declined interview requests for this article but a spokesperson provided a written statement saying, "Women's Ski Jumping does not reach the necessary technical criteria and as such does not yet warrant a place alongside other Olympic events." Van isn't sure what that means. "I would love to know what the technical merits are," she says. "We have international competitions and our own championships. We meet all the technical requirements."


One quarter of US grain crops fed to cars - not people, new figures show
2010-01-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jan/22/quarter-us-grain-biofuels-food

One-quarter of all the maize and other grain crops grown in the US now ends up as biofuel in cars rather than being used to feed people, according to new analysis which suggests that the biofuel revolution launched by former President George Bush in 2007 is impacting on world food supplies. The 2009 figures from the US Department of Agriculture shows ethanol production rising to record levels driven by farm subsidies and laws which require vehicles to use increasing amounts of biofuels. "The grain grown to produce fuel in the US [in 2009] was enough to feed 330 million people for one year at average world consumption levels," said Lester Brown, the director of the Earth Policy Institute, a Washington thinktank ithat conducted the analysis. According to Brown, the growing demand for US ethanol derived from grains helped to push world grain prices to record highs between late 2006 and 2008. In 2008, the Guardian revealed a secret World Bank report that concluded that the drive for biofuels by American and European governments had pushed up food prices by 75%, in stark contrast to US claims that prices had risen only 2-3% as a result. Since then, the number of hungry people in the world has increased to over 1 billion people, according to the UN's World Food programme.


Spanish MP's photo used for Osama Bin Laden poster
2010-01-16, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8463657.stm

A Spanish politician has said he was shocked to find out the FBI had used his photo for a digitally-altered image showing how Osama Bin Laden might look. Gaspar Llamazares said he would no longer feel safe travelling to the US after his hair and parts of his face appeared on a most-wanted poster. He said the use of a real person for the mocked-up image was "shameless". The FBI admitted a forensic artist had obtained certain facial features "from a photograph he found on the internet". The digitally-altered photos of the al-Qaeda leader, showing how he might look now, aged 52, were published on the state department's Rewards for Justice website. Officials said they had adapted a 1998 file image to take account of a decade's worth of ageing, and possible changes to facial hair. Mr Llamazares said it showed the "low level" of US intelligence services and could cause problems if he was wrongly identified as the Saudi. "Bin Laden's safety is not threatened by this but mine certainly is," he said, adding that he was considering taking legal action.

Note: Now the FBI has admitted that it is doctoring images of Osama bin Laden, and doing so quite ineptly. For WantToKnow team member David Ray Griffin's powerful analysis of the highly suspect series of audio and video "messages from bin Laden" claimed by US authorities, click here.


Israeli Robots Remake Battlefield
2010-01-13, Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB126325146524725387.html

Israel is developing an army of robotic fighting machines that offers a window onto the potential future of warfare. Sixty years of near-constant war ... and its high-tech industry have long made Israel one of the world's leading innovators of military robotics. "We're trying to get to unmanned vehicles everywhere on the battlefield for each platoon in the field," says Lt. Col. Oren Berebbi, head of the Israel Defense Forces' technology branch. "We can do more and more missions without putting a soldier at risk." Among the recently deployed technologies that set Israel ahead of the curve is the Guardium unmanned ground vehicle, [which] is essentially an armored off-road golf cart with a suite of optical sensors and surveillance gear. In the Gaza conflict in January 2009, Israel unveiled remote-controlled bulldozers. Israel pioneered the use of aerial drones. Within the next year, Israeli engineers expect to deploy the voice-commanded, six-wheeled Rex robot, capable of carrying 550 pounds of gear alongside advancing infantry. The Protector SV [is] an unmanned, heavily armed speedboat that today makes up a growing part of the Israeli naval fleet.

Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources on war manipulations and advanced weapons developments often being used against civilians, click here.


Who will pay for Amazon's 'Chernobyl'?
2010-01-10, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/who-will-pay-for-amazon...

So severe is the environmental damage [at Lago Agrio, on the fringes of the Ecuadorian Amazon] that experts have called it an "Amazon Chernobyl". But the people of Lago Agrio and its surrounding area have been fighting back. Sixteen years ago, 30,000 Ecuadorians began legal action against the US oil company – now owned by Chevron – they hold responsible. This week, while both sides await the verdict, a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the case goes on release in Britain. Directed by Joe Berlinger ... "Crude" tells a story [that] began when Steve Donziger, a lawyer acting for the Ecuadorians, arrived at the film-maker's office. "The story the lawyer told me was indeed shocking," said Berlinger. Within a few days of Berlinger's trip to Ecuador, he realised that the case was virtually demanding to be made into a film. "I noticed a group of indigenous people sitting by the riverbank, preparing a meal by an open fire using processed tuna fish from a big industrial-sized can. They were eating this canned tuna because the fish that swam in their river, which had fed these proud people for millennia, were dead." "Crude" is a head-on culture clash bursting with strong personalities where brash US lawyers on both sides are at loggerheads, and Ecuador's indigenous – incongruous in New York with their traditional dress and warpaint – are carefully coached to fight their case in a foreign system.

Note: To watch the trailer for the film "Crude," click here.


Living on Nothing but Food Stamps
2010-01-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/03/us/03foodstamps.html

About six million Americans receiving food stamps report they have no other income, according to an analysis of state data collected by The New York Times. In declarations that states verify and the federal government audits, they described themselves as unemployed and receiving no cash aid – no welfare, no unemployment insurance, and no pensions, child support or disability pay. Their numbers were rising before the recession as tougher welfare laws made it harder for poor people to get cash aid, but they have soared by about 50 percent over the past two years. About one in 50 Americans now lives in a household with a reported income that consists of nothing but a food-stamp card. Members of this straitened group range from displaced strivers ... to weathered men who sleep in shelters and barter cigarettes. Some draw on savings or sporadic under-the-table jobs. Some move in with relatives. Some get noncash help, like subsidized apartments. While some go without cash incomes only briefly before securing jobs or aid, others rely on food stamps alone for many months. The surge in this precarious way of life has been so swift that few policy makers have noticed. But it attests to the growing role of food stamps within the safety net. One in eight Americans now receives food stamps, including one in four children.

Note: For revealing reports from major media sources on increasing income inequality, click here.


Federal appeals court sets limits on police use of Tasers
2009-12-29, McClatchy News
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/81381.html

A federal appeals court [has] issued one of the most comprehensive rulings yet limiting police use of Tasers against low-level offenders who seem to pose little threat and may be mentally ill. In a case out of San Diego County, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals criticized an officer who, without warning, shot an emotionally troubled man with a Taser when he was unarmed, yards away, and neither fleeing nor advancing on the officer. Sold as a nonlethal alternative to guns, Tasers deliver an electrical jolt meant to subdue a subject. The stun guns have become a common and increasingly controversial tool used by law enforcement. As lawsuits have proliferated against police and Taser International, which manufactures the weapons, the nation's appellate courts have been trying to define what constitutes appropriate Taser use. "Officer McPherson's desire to quickly and decisively end an unusual and tense situation is understandable," Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw wrote for the court. "His chosen method for doing so violated Bryan's constitutional right to be free from excessive force." Some lawyers called it a landmark decision.

Note: For lots more from major media sources on the dangers of supposedly "non-lethal" weapons, click here.


Kindness taught in Seattle school's online class
2009-12-26, Seattle Times (One of Seattle's leading newspapers)
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2010604939_kindnessclass27m.html

If you recently found a shiny gold dollar coin in downtown Bellevue, thank the kindness class. Ditto if you stumbled upon a piece of glass art in Pioneer Square, or a lottery ticket taped to a bus shelter with a note saying, "This may be your lucky day." Since mid-September, the 250 people in Puget Sound Community School's online course learned about kindness by practicing it. Along the way, they took emotional risks, repaired relationships, improved their outlook on the world, and realized that kindness is contagious. Signing up for the class "just felt like the right thing to do in order to step outside of myself and see the world as a helpful, kind place, as opposed to a frightening place," said Barbara Kyllingstad, of Seattle, who enrolled as a way to combat the isolation she's felt since she got laid off from Washington Mutual this year. "I feel a lot more peaceful and positive about the world." The phrase "random acts of kindness" first showed up at least a decade ago, a play on the expression "random acts of violence." Since then, books, movies and even national organizations have sprung up to keep the trend going. Puget Sound Community School's kindness class – now in its 15th year – is a homegrown example that this year drew a record number of students.


US forces mounted secret Pakistan raids
2009-12-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/us-forces-secret-pakistan-raids

American special forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan's tribal areas as part of a secret war in the border region where Washington is pressing to expand its drone assassination programme. A former Nato officer said the incursions, only one of which has been previously reported, occurred between 2003 and 2008, involved helicopter-borne elite soldiers stealing across the border at night, and were never declared to the Pakistani government. "The Pakistanis were kept entirely in the dark about it. It was one of those things we wouldn't confirm officially with them," said the source, who had detailed knowledge of the operations. Such operations are a matter of sensitivity in Pakistan. While public opinion has grudgingly tolerated CIA-led drone strikes in the tribal areas, any hint of American "boots on the ground" is greeted with virulent condemnation. After the only publicly acknowledged special forces raid in September 2008, Pakistan's foreign office condemned it as "a grave provocation" while the military threatened retaliatory action. The military source said that was the fourth raid of previous years. The secretive nature of the raids underscores the suspicious nature of the relationship between the two allies as they argue about Washington's latest demands.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the secret realities of the "war on terrorism," click here.


Cleaners 'worth more to society' than bankers - study
2009-12-14, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8410489.stm

Hospital cleaners are worth more to society than bankers, a study suggests. The research, carried out by think tank the New Economics Foundation, says hospital cleaners create Ł10 of value for every Ł1 they are paid. It claims bankers are a drain on the country because of the damage they caused to the global economy. They reportedly destroy Ł7 of value for every Ł1 they earn. Meanwhile, senior advertising executives are said to "create stress". The study says they are responsible for campaigns which create dissatisfaction and misery, and encourage over-consumption. By contrast, child minders and waste recyclers are also doing jobs that create net wealth to the country. Eilis Lawlor, spokeswoman for the New Economics Foundation, said: "Pay levels often don't reflect the true value that is being created. As a society, we need a pay structure which rewards those jobs that create most societal benefit rather than those that generate profits at the expense of society and the environment".


Signs That Swine Flu Has Peaked
2009-11-20, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/21/health/21flu.html

Although federal health officials decline to use the word "peaked," the current wave of swine flu appears to have done so in the United States. Flu activity is coming down in all regions of the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday, though it is still rising in Hawaii, Maine and some isolated areas. The World Health Organization said Friday that there were "early signs of a peak" in much of the United States. On Wednesday, the American College Health Association, which surveys over 250 colleges with more than three million students, said new cases of flu had dropped in the week ending Nov. 13. It was the first drop since school resumed in the fall, and it was significant – new cases were down 27 percent from the week before. And on Friday, Quest Diagnostics, the country's largest laboratory, said its tests of 142,000 suspected flu specimens since May showed that the flu peaked in late October. Nonetheless, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of immunization and respiratory diseases at the C.D.C., chose her words carefully, saying: "I wish I knew if we had hit the peak. Even if a peak has occurred, half the people who are going to get sick haven't gotten sick yet." The drop was clearly not caused by the swine flu vaccine drive, which has not gone as fast as the authorities had hoped.

Note: Just like the avian flu scare a few years ago, the swine flu hype has turned out to be largely a whimper, yet the pharmaceutical companies are happy, as again they have made billions of dollars from the massive amonts of vaccines and drugs purchased by the government with your tax dollars. For more, click here and here.


'Liberation was just a big lie'
2009-11-19, Toronto Star (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/afghanmission/article/727873---liberation-...

She sleeps in safe houses, with a rotating squad of bodyguards securing the doors. She goes out only in a billowing burqa. Even her wedding was held in secret. Elected the youngest member of the Afghan parliament – and suspended for her outspoken criticism of the country's top officials – Malalai Joya has been labelled the bravest woman in Afghanistan. Small, soft-spoken and now 31, she has survived at least four assassination attempts. "Canada should pull its troops out now," she said in Toronto, where she was promoting her book A Woman Among Warlords, co-written with Canadian peace activist Derrick O'Keefe. And, she says, U.S. President Barack Obama, who is considering a surge in troop levels to battle Al Qaeda and the Taliban, should think again. "The United States should go, too. As long as foreign troops are in the country we will be fighting two enemies instead of one." Yes, she says, there is a risk of civil war ... but it would still be better than "night raids, torture and aerial bombardment" that killed hundreds of Afghan civilians while the Taliban made steady gains. "Liberation was just a big lie." Joya believes Afghans are now better prepared to battle the Taliban alone. "resistance has increased, and people are becoming more aware of democracy and human rights. They need humanitarian and educational support." But not, she adds, at the point of a gun. "It will be a long struggle," she wrote. "A river is made drop by drop ... you can kill me, but you can never kill my spirit."

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the realities of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.


Labor Fight Ends in Win for Students
2009-11-18, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/business/18labor.html

The anti-sweatshop movement at dozens of American universities, from Georgetown to U.C.L.A., has had plenty of idealism and energy, but not many victories. Until now. Its pressure tactics persuaded one of the nation's leading sportswear companies, Russell Athletic, to agree to rehire 1,200 workers in Honduras who lost their jobs when Russell closed their factory soon after the workers had unionized. From the time Russell shut the factory last January, the anti-sweatshop coalition orchestrated a nationwide campaign against the company. Most important, the coalition, United Students Against Sweatshops, persuaded the administrations of Boston College, Columbia, Harvard, New York University, Stanford, Michigan, North Carolina and 89 other colleges and universities to sever or suspend their licensing agreements with Russell. Student activists picketed the N.B.A. finals in Orlando and Los Angeles this year to protest the league's licensing agreement with Russell. In its agreement, not only did Russell agree to reinstate the dismissed workers and open a new plant in Honduras as a unionized factory, it also pledged not to fight unionization at its seven existing factories there. "For us, it was very important to receive the support of the universities," Moises Alvarado, president of the union at the closed plant in Choloma, said. "We are impressed by the social conscience of the students in the United States."


Biotech crops cause big jump in pesticide use
2009-11-17, Reuters News
http://www.reuters.com/article/environmentNews/idUSTRE5AG0QY20091117

The rapid adoption by U.S. farmers of genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton has promoted increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of herbicide-resistant weeds and more chemical residues in foods, according to a report ... by health and environmental protection groups. The groups said research showed that herbicide use grew by 383 million pounds from 1996 to 2008, with 46 percent of the total increase occurring in 2007 and 2008. The report was released by nonprofits The Organic Center (TOC), the Union for Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Center for Food Safety (CFS). The groups said that [there is] a net overall increase on U.S. farm fields of 318 million pounds of pesticides, which includes insecticides and herbicides, over the first 13 years of commercial use. The rise in herbicide use comes as U.S. farmers increasingly adopt corn, soy and cotton that have been engineered with traits that allow them to tolerate dousings of weed killer. The report by the environmental groups states that a key problem resulting from the increase in herbicide use is the emergence of "super weeds," which are difficult to kill because they have become resistant to the herbicides. "This report confirms what we've been saying for years," said Bill Freese, science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety. "The most common type of genetically engineered crops promotes increased use of pesticides, an epidemic of resistant weeds, and more chemical residues in our foods. This may be profitable for the biotech/pesticide companies, but it's bad news for farmers, human health and the environment."

Note: Why did the major media fail to report this Reuters' article? To read the full report, "Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use: The First Thirteen Years", and to view additional information, click here. And for a powerful online lesson on health which has already transformed lives, click here.


The Halliburton Loophole
2009-11-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/opinion/03tue3.html

Among the many dubious provisions in the 2005 energy bill was one dubbed the Halliburton loophole, which was inserted at the behest of — you guessed it — then-Vice President Dick Cheney, a former chief executive of Halliburton. It stripped the Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to regulate a drilling process called hydraulic fracturing [commonly referred to as "fracking"]. Invented by Halliburton in the 1940s, it involves injecting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals, some of them toxic, into underground rock formations to blast them open and release natural gas. Hydraulic fracturing has been implicated in a growing number of water pollution cases across the country. It has become especially controversial in New York, where regulators are eager to clear the way for drilling in the New York City watershed, potentially imperiling the city’s water supply. Congress last week approved a bill that asks the E.P.A. to conduct a new study on the risks of hydraulic fracturing. An agency study in 2004 whitewashed the industry and was dismissed by experts as superficial and politically motivated. This time Congress is demanding “a transparent, peer-reviewed process.” Cumbersomely named the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act, it would close the loophole and restore the E.P.A.’s rightful authority to regulate hydraulic fracturing. It would also require the oil and gas industry to disclose the chemicals they use.

Note: Energy-development corporations using the fracking process will not disclose the chemicals they inject into the subsurface because of the chemicals' high toxicity when they penetrate groundwater supplies. For many more examples from reliable sources of corporate and government secrecy, click here.


Wall Street Follies: The Next Act
2009-10-25, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/weekinreview/25morgenson.html

Hoping, perhaps, to persuade a dubious public that curbing reckless business practices is indeed a Washington priority, the Obama administration and Congress produced a hat trick of financial reforms last week. For all the apparent action in Washington, some acute observers say that it was much ado about little. Last week’s moves, they say, were tinkering around the edges and did nothing to prevent another disaster like the one that unfolded a year ago. The white-hot focus on pay, for example, looks like a way for the government to reassure an angry public that they are making genuine changes. But compensation is a trifling matter compared to, say, true reform of derivatives trading. “The American public understands the immorality of paying people huge bonuses for failures that damaged the economy,” said Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland and a former commodities regulator. “What they don’t understand is that those payments are only a small fraction of the irregularities that took place and that, in essence, the compensation problems, as bad as they are, are a sideshow to the casino-like nature of the economy as it existed, pre-Lehman Brothers, and as it exists today.” Regulating derivatives is far more important to those interested in eliminating the possibility of future billion-dollar bailouts. But the derivatives bill generated by the House Agriculture Committee contains a sizable loophole. Many derivatives would not trade in the light of day.

Note: For many revealing reports from reliable sources on the realities of the continuing bank bailout, click here.


Justice Says Scientist Tried to Share US Secrets
2009-10-20, New York Times/Associated Press
http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2009/10/20/us/politics/AP-US-Espionage-Charge...

A scientist who allegedly tried to sell classified secrets to Israel had worked on the U.S. government's Star Wars missile shield program, and the Justice Department declared Tuesday that he had tried to share some of the nation's most guarded secrets. Arrested in an FBI sting operation, Stewart David Nozette was jailed without bond and accused in a criminal complaint of two counts of attempting to communicate, deliver and transmit classified information. In an interview, Scott Hubbard, a former colleague, said that Nozette was primarily a defense technologist who had worked on the Reagan-era Star Wars effort formally named the Strategic Defense Initiative. ''This was leading edge, Department of Defense national security work,'' said Hubbard, a professor of aerospace at Stanford University who worked for 20 years at NASA. Nozette held a special security clearance equivalent to the Defense Department's top secret and ''critical nuclear weapon design information'' clearances. Authorities became worried about possible espionage activity by Nozette after an investigation by NASA's inspector general in 2006 began looking at whether Nozette submitted false claims for expenses that were not actually incurred. In probing Nozette's finances in that case, investigators found indications he might be working for a foreign government, and they launched a national security investigation that eventually led to the undercover FBI sting.

Note: There's definitely something strange going on here.


Climate change activist stopped from travelling to Copenhagen
2009-10-14, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/oct/14/climate-change-activist-held

UK border police used anti-terrorist legislation to prevent a British climate change activist from crossing over into mainland Europe where he planned to take part in events surrounding the forthcoming United Nations summit in Denmark. Chris Kitchen, a 31-year-old office worker, said he feared his treatment by police could mark the start of a clampdown on protesters, hundreds of whom are planning to travel to Copenhagen for the climate change talks in December. [He had hoped] to take part in discussions organised by a network of protest groups coming together under the banner Climate Justice Action. He said he was prevented from crossing the border ... when the coach he was travelling on stopped at the Folkestone terminal of the Channel tunnel. Kitchen said police officers boarded the coach and, after checking all passengers' passports, took him and another climate activist to be interviewed under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000, a clause which enables border officials to stop and search individuals to determine if they are connected to terrorism. The passports were not initially scanned, Kitchen said, suggesting the officials knew his name and had planned to remove him from the coach before they boarded. During his interview, he was asked questions about his family, work and past political activity. The police also asked him what he intended to do in Copenhagen. When Kitchen said that anti-terrorist legislation does not apply to environmental activists, he said the officer replied that terrorism "could mean a lot of things". Police are understood to be monitoring protesters on a number of databases, some of which highlight individuals when they pass through secure areas, such as ports.

Note: For many reports from reliable sources on increasing government erosion of civil liberties, click here.


Arrest Puts Focus on Protesters’ Texting
2009-10-05, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/05/nyregion/05txt.html

As demonstrations have evolved with the help of text messages and online social networks, so too has the response of law enforcement. On Thursday, F.B.I. agents descended on a house in Jackson Heights, Queens [NY], and spent 16 hours searching it. The most likely reason for the raid: a man who lived there had helped coordinate communications among protesters at the Group of 20 summit in Pittsburgh. The man, Elliot Madison, 41, a social worker who has described himself as an anarchist, had been arrested in Pittsburgh on Sept. 24 and charged with hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal use of a communication facility and possession of instruments of crime. The Pennsylvania State Police said he was found in a hotel room with computers and police scanners while using the social-networking site Twitter to spread information about police movements. He has denied wrongdoing. American protesters first made widespread use of mass text messages in New York, during the 2004 Republican National Convention. Messages, sent as events unfolded, allowed demonstrators and others to react quickly to word of arrests, police mobilizations and roving rallies. Mass texting has since become a valued tool among protesters, particularly at large-scale demonstrations. Mr. Madison [may be] the first to be charged criminally while sending information electronically to protesters about the police. “He and a friend were part of a communications network among people protesting the G-20,” Mr. Madison’s lawyer, Martin Stolar, said on Saturday. “There’s absolutely nothing that he’s done that should subject him to any criminal liability.”

Note: For many reports from reliable sources on increasing government erosion of civil liberties, click here.


Big business and security
2009-09-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/libertycentral/2009/sep/25/eu-security

The European security research programme (ESRP) has a €1.4bn EU budget and its twin objectives are to enhance European security and foster the growth of a globally competitive security industry in Europe. Unfortunately, in its haste to cash-in on the homeland security boom, the EU has effectively outsourced the design of its security research agenda to some of the corporations that have the most to gain from its implementation. It has created bodies outside the formal structure of the EU, beyond parliamentary scrutiny and democratic control. The result is a public research programme designed by lobbyists, for lobbyists, with corporations invited to shape the objectives and annual priorities, and then apply for the money on offer. ESRP was the brainchild of the "group of personalities", an EU advisory body convened in 2003 that included some of Europe's largest defence and IT contractors alongside the likes of NATO, the EU military committee and the Rand Corporation. The group's primary concern was the scale of the US government's investment in homeland security R&D, which meant that the US was "taking a lead" in the development of security "technologies and equipment which … could meet a number of Europe's needs", putting US multinationals in "a very strong competitive position".

Note: The author of this article, Ben Hayes, has written a detailed report, NeoConOpticon: the EU Security-Industrial Complex published by Statewatch and the Transnational Institute.


Big Oil’s Stain in the Amazon
2009-09-09, New York Times
http://movies.nytimes.com/2009/09/09/movies/09crude.html

Because of concerns about climate change, a lot of current environmentalist advocacy — including movies like “An Inconvenient Truth” — concentrates on the dire results of burning fossil fuels. Joe Berlinger’s “Crude,” a thorough and impassioned new documentary, focuses its gaze on production rather than consumption. The film, which follows the fitful progress of a class-action lawsuit undertaken on behalf of the people of the Ecuadorean Amazon, is not about the unintended consequences of using petroleum. Instead, it examines the terrible, frequently unacknowledged costs of extracting oil from the ground. “Crude,” in other words, investigates the local manifestations — cancer, contaminated water, cultural degradation — of a global problem. Even as “Crude” dwells on a single, relatively small slice of territory (about the size of Rhode Island), its action shifts from muddy villages in Amazonia to law offices and shareholders’ meetings in the steel-and-glass cities of North America, drawing into its purview a motley cast of scientists, human rights crusaders, civil servants and international celebrities. Like almost every other recent documentary on a politically charged topic, “Crude” does not pretend to neutrality. Yet while Mr. Berlinger’s sympathies clearly lie with the oddly matched pair of lawyers — Steven Donziger, a big, outgoing American, and Pablo Fajardo, a wiry, diffident Ecuadorean — who are consumed by the now 16-year-old suit against Chevron, he is fair-minded enough to include rebuttals from the company’s executives and in-house environmental scientists. And since this is, in part, a courtroom drama, both sides have a chance to be heard.


Japan's New First Lady Miyuki Hatoyama Claims Alien Abduction
2009-09-02, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/WaterCooler/wireStory?id=8473087

Japan's next prime minister might be nicknamed "the alien," but it's his wife who claims to have had a close encounter with another world. "While my body was asleep, I think my soul rode on a triangular-shaped UFO and went to Venus," Miyuki Hatoyama, the wife of premier-in-waiting Yukio Hatoyama, wrote in a book published last year. "It was a very beautiful place and it was really green." Yukio Hatoyama is due to be voted in as premier on September 16 following his party's crushing election victory over the long-ruling Liberal Democratic Party Sunday. Miyuki, 66, described the extraterrestrial experience, which she said took place some 20 years ago, in a book entitled Very Strange Things I've Encountered. When she awoke, Japan's next first lady wrote, she told her now ex-husband that she had just been to Venus. He advised her that it was probably just a dream. "My current husband has a different way of thinking," she wrote. Yukio Hatoyama, 62, the rich grandson of a former prime minister, was once nicknamed "the alien" for his prominent eyes. Miyuki, also known for her culinary skills, spent six years acting in the Takarazuka Revue, an all-female musical theater group. She met the U.S.-educated Yukio while living in America.

Note: For an intriguing ABC special on alien abductions, click here.


Health care alone can't make nation healthier, experts say
2009-08-12, Sacramento Bee/McClatchy News
http://www.sacbee.com/273/story/2101966.html

Ask around for the healthiest country in the world, and the United States won't come close to topping the list. People live longer in just about every industrialized nation, from Canada to our north, throughout much of Europe, and around the Pacific in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. New mothers and their babies also face a rockier start here, with U.S. infant and maternal death rates double some of our industrialized peers. As debate swirls in Washington and at town halls nationwide over health care reform, there is also a more fundamental question - what about health? "If you want to see dramatic changes in health, you're not going to get there even by doubling the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system," said Dr. Richard Kravitz, a University of California, Davis, professor of medicine whose research interests include quality of care. "When you need it, you really need it … but in general, the benefits of medical care to populations are a little bit overrated," he said. When taken all together, the other factors that play a bigger role include education, income, toxins in the environment, crime, violence, family structure, stress, obesity, nutritious food and exercise. Across large populations, he said, numerous studies suggest that medical care contributes only modestly to overall health, perhaps somewhere between 10 percent and 25 percent. Health care for all would provide a "very large" improvement for some deprived populations, Kravitz said, but "a surtax on high fructose corn syrup would probably be more effective ... than anything we could do for the health care system, just because of obesity."

Note: For many highly informative reports on health issues, click here.


Ministers must explain destruction of 'torture flight' papers, says panel of MPs
2009-08-09, The Guardian (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/aug/09/diego-garcia-flights-mps-documents

Ministers must explain why crucial documents relating to CIA "torture flights" that stopped on sovereign British territory were destroyed, a panel of MPs has said. In particular, the MPs ... call for an explanation for the missing papers, which might explain the role of Diego Garcia, the British overseas territory, in the US's "extraordinary rendition" programme. The report says: "We recommend that the government discloses how, why and by whom the records relating to flights through Diego Garcia since the start of 2002 were destroyed." Foreign secretary David Miliband admitted 18 months ago that two US planes refuelled on the Indian Ocean island. The committee now wants a detailed account of the record-keeping and disposal policy regarding flights through the territory and "elsewhere through UK airspace". It also criticises the government's inability to offer assurances that ships anchored outside Diego Garcia's waters were not involved in the rendition programme. "The government must address the use of UK airspace for empty flights