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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.


VIPs' arrivals marked by a discreet 'B'
2006-06-09, Ottawa Citizen (leading newspaper of Canada's capital city) (Front page)
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=6ac7a723-323b-497c-970...

Greeted at the airport by limousine drivers holding single-letter "B" signs, global luminaries such as Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller and Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands began quietly slipping into Ottawa yesterday for the annual gathering of the ultra-secretive Bilderberg Group. The group's discreet approach was evident as attendees arrived yesterday at the Ottawa Airport. Outside the airport, a phalanx of limousines lined up to ferry guests to the Brookstreet. Approached by a Citizen reporter upon his arrival, former U.S. defence policy adviser Richard Perle shot down criticism about the secrecy of the group's meetings. "It's a private organization," he said. He denied the charge, advanced by Bilderberg critics, that the organization crafts public policy behind closed doors. "It discusses public policy," he stressed. Mr. Perle also dismissed suggestions that the group's heavy representation from the oil industry gives it influence over energy prices. Also seen arriving yesterday were Jorma Ollila, chairman of Royal Dutch Shell [and] World Bank president James Wolfenson. According to an unsigned press release sent by fax yesterday, presumably by Bilderberg organizers, attendees will also include New York Governor George Pataki, deputy prime minister of Iraq Ahmad Chalabi, the heads of Coca-Cola, Credit Suisse, [and] the Royal Bank of Canada. "The meeting is private to encourage frank and open discussion," said the release. "There will be no press conference."

Note: To see photos of this article on the front page of the Ottawa Citizen:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/Pictures/Jun06/110606bbg_media_ottawa_citizen.jpg
http://www.prisonplanet.com/Pictures/Jun06/110606bbg_tucker_paper_cover.jpg
For a video clip of reporters trying trying to get close, click here and go to the "Video" section on the right.


How to Avoid an Alien Invasion
2006-06-09, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/08/AR20060608015...

An excellent meeting starting today in Hawaii featur[es] a former Canadian defense minister, diplomats, international law experts and others. The topic? "Whether extraterrestrial civilizations are visiting the earth, how diplomacy might be conducted with them and the impact on world peace." The keynote speaker, according to a news release from the Exopolitics Institute, is former Canadian defense minister Paul Hellyer, who we're told "will be discussing whether humanity is up to the diplomatic task of achieving peace with extraterrestrials." Another dignitary expected to attend the three-day conference is John W. McDonald , who has represented the United States at "four United Nations conferences" and is now head of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy. His topic, naturally, will be "how diplomatic initiatives, some involving private citizens, might be conducted when and if extraterrestrials visit earth." And retired Air Force Capt. Robert Salas will discuss a 1967 incident in which "UFOs shut down a Strategic Air command facility" in Montana and disabled its Minuteman nukes. The Exopolitics Institute was founded by Michael E. Salla, a professor and researcher in international peace and conflict resolution at American University from 1996 through 2004.

Note: For lots more reliable information on this topic, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/ufocover-up


VIPs set to arrive for Bilderberg meeting
2006-06-08, Ottawa Citizen (leading newspaper of Canada's capital city)
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=11df53f7-6caf-4385-a6d...

Members of the Bilderberg Group will descend on the upscale Brookstreet Hotel for the three-day meeting, several police sources confirmed yesterday. When asked about police plans for the event, a police spokeswoman referred the Citizen to Alan Bell of Globe Risk Holdings. Reached by phone, Mr. Bell -- who is listed as president of Globe Risk Holdings in Toronto and a former SAS paratrooper commando -- said he hadn't heard of the Bilderberg Group and denied that his firm has been hired to guard this week's conference. "Never heard of that conference. What is it?" said Mr. Bell before politely cutting the conservation short. But according to the company's website, Globe Risk Holdings specializes in "strategic planning and counter-measures," recruits its consultants primarily from elite military counter-terrorist and special forces units, and has "undertaken consultancy and project work worldwide in areas of high risk". "The consultants at Globe Risk Holdings have proven backgrounds in military, special forces, law enforcement and government organizations with real life expertise in the areas of international security...close protection, sabotage prevention, and military/law enforcement," reads the company website.

Note: Denial and lying seem to be standard protocol for those involved with the Bilderberg group. What does that say about what is being discussed in their secret meetings?


Secretive power brokers meeting coming to Ottawa?
2006-05-24, Ottawa Citizen (leading newspaper of Canada's capital city)
http://www.canada.com/topics/news/world/story.html?id=ff614eb8-02cc-41a3-a42d...

The meetings of a secretive global think-tank would bring 100 of the world's most powerful and influential figures to Ottawa next month [for] deliberations on such weighty issues as the direction of global oil markets and potential military action against Iran. Reports circulating on the Internet say this year's Bilderberg Conference will be held June 8-11 at the Brookstreet Hotel - a rumour the hotel would not confirm. Patrice Basille, general manager of the Brookstreet Hotel, said no event associated with the Bilderberg group has been formally booked. "'What is the Bilderberg?" he asked. "This is the first I've heard about it." Journalists aren't allowed to attend the sessions, and staff at the host hotels are told not to confirm or deny any event is scheduled. But, if a gathering in Ottawa is anything like past Bilderbergs, invitees will be drawn from the pages of International Who's Who, with a emphasis on political and corporate leadership and strong representation of the oil and banking industries. The Bilderberg has been accused of being everything from a Zionist cabal building a single global government to a secret star-chamber that seeks to fix the price of oil and presidential elections. Even some rational critics suspect the Bilderberg's meetings set the economic and political agenda for much of the industrialized world without any public oversight or accountability. They denounce the Bilderberg as elitist and overly secretive, calling it an anti-democratic gathering of "the high priests of globalization."


Needless Medical Tests Costly
2006-05-19, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/19/health/webmd/main1637144_page2.shtml

During your next routine medical checkup you have at least a 43 percent chance of undergoing an unnecessary medical test, a new study shows. It's not like you're getting something for nothing. If you're not having symptoms, and your doctor has no reason to suspect you have a problem, U.S. guidelines advise against giving you a routine urinalysis, electrocardiogram, or X-ray. "This has more harm than benefit," says Dan Merenstein, M.D., director of research in family medicine at Georgetown University. "The problem is, there are so many false-positive results from these tests. They lead to other things, like biopsies." The tests are meant to help doctors explore specific symptoms that are troubling patients or raise suspicion of a problem. If you're a healthy person who's just getting a routine checkup, there's only a tiny chance the tests will find disease. But Merenstein points out there's a good chance the tests will get a slightly abnormal finding. That means further costly tests — maybe even a painful biopsy — to show that you were, indeed, perfectly healthy to begin with. Aside from the costs in time and the potential for unnecessary suffering, these procedures add up to big money. Merenstein's modest estimate of the cost of just these three simple tests is $47 million to $194 million a year. And that doesn't include the cost of follow-up tests.

Note: For key reports from reliable sources on important health issues, click here.


Congress Demands NSA Spying Answers
2006-05-11, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/05/11/politics/main1609261.shtml

Congressional Republicans and Democrats demanded answers from the Bush administration Thursday about a government spy agency secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans' phone calls to build a database of every call made within the country. This database affects as many as 200 million Americans. AT&T Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., and BellSouth Corp. telephone companies began turning over records of tens of millions of their customers' phone calls to the NSA program shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 'We have reached a privacy crisis,' said Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-MA, the ranking Democrat on the House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee. 'The N.S.A. stands for Now Spying on Americans.' Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News Channel: "The idea of collecting millions or thousands of phone numbers, how does that fit into following the enemy?" The Justice Department has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the NSA refused to grant its lawyers the necessary security clearance. The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility [said] they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers' role in the program.

Note: Who gave the NSA power to stop the Justice Department from performing an inquiry?


Bush team imposes thick veil of secrecy
2006-04-30, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0604300395apr30,1,5984422....

As the Bush administration has dramatically accelerated the classification of information as "top secret" or "confidential," one office is refusing to report on its annual activity in classifying documents: the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. A standing executive order, strengthened by President Bush in 2003, requires all agencies and "any other entity within the executive branch" to provide an annual accounting of their classification of documents. More than 80 agencies have collectively reported to the National Archives that they made 15.6 million decisions in 2004 to classify information, nearly double the number in 2001, but Cheney continues to insist he is exempt. Explaining why the vice president has withheld even a tally of his office's secrecy when such offices as the National Security Council routinely report theirs, a spokeswoman said Cheney is "not under any duty" to provide it. By keeping secret so many directives and actions, the administration has precluded the public--and often members of Congress--from knowing about some of the most significant decisions and acts of the White House. Starting in the early weeks of his administration with a move to protect the papers of former presidents, Bush has clamped down on the release of government documents. That includes tougher standards for what the public can obtain under the Freedom of Information Act and the creation of a broad new category of "sensitive but unclassified information."


400 dolphins found dead on Zanzibar coast
2006-04-28, CNN/Associated Press
http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/africa/04/28/dolphins.ap/index.html

Hundreds of dead dolphins washed up Friday along the shore of a popular tourist destination on Zanzibar's northern coast, and scientists ruled out poisoning. The bottleneck dolphins, which live in deep offshore waters, had empty stomachs, meaning that they could have been disoriented and were swimming for some time to reorient themselves. They did not starve to death and were not poisoned. In the United States, experts were investigating the possibility that sonar from U.S. submarines could have been responsible for a similar incident in Marathon, Florida, where 68 deep-water dolphins stranded themselves in March 2005. A U.S. Navy task force patrols the East Africa coast as part of counterterrorism operations.


Sonar Called Likely Stranding Cause
2006-04-28, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/27/AR20060427020...

Federal marine specialists have concluded that Navy sonar was the most likely cause of the unusual stranding of melon-headed whales in a Hawaiian bay in 2004. The appearance of as many as 200 of the normally deep-diving whales in Hanalei Bay in Kauai occurred while a major American-Japanese sonar training exercise was taking place. The report is the latest in a series of scientific reviews linking traditional mid-frequency naval sonar to whale strandings. The active sonar used by navies sends out loud pings of sound that seem to frighten and disorient whales. The effect was documented off Greece in 1996 and established later during naval exercises in the Bahamas, off the Canary Islands and off Spain. In the 2000 Bahamas stranding, a local marine biologist collected some of the whales that died onshore and froze them for later study -- which helped NOAA conclude that sonar was the likely cause. Michael Jasny, a senior consultant with NRDC, said the NOAA report was worrisome. "Once again, the Navy's denial has been contradicted by the official government investigation. It's time for the Navy to stop this needless infliction of harm."


Oil refiners' golden age of profits
2006-04-27, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/04/27/MNG52IG4LV1.DTL

High crude oil prices aren't the only reason you're paying $3.15 for a gallon of regular. For America's giant gasoline refiners...this is a golden age. By California state estimates, refinery profit margins have more than doubled in 2006, though that figure doesn't take into account some key expenses. Meanwhile, oil prices have risen by 14 percent. Oil industry critics hunting for proof of price gouging point to refineries' expanding profit margins as evidence. Critics say the companies deliberately closed many U.S. refineries years ago as a way to drive up their margins. The country now has 144 refineries, down from 324 in 1981. "The refining business used to be pretty lousy, but they took very aggressive actions to correct that," said Tyson Slocum, director of the energy program at the Public Citizen watchdog group. "They're choosing not to build new refineries because it's not in their economic interest." Exact profit margins for the industry are difficult to track, because the companies involved don't reveal financial details. The California Energy Commission publishes a loose weekly estimate, measuring the difference between what the state's 21 refineries pay for crude oil and what they charge for their products. Since the start of the year, that figure has jumped 130 percent, from 30 cents for each gallon of finished gasoline to 69 cents last week. During the same time, the price refiners pay for crude oil has increased 14 percent.


National Archives Pact Let C.I.A. Withdraw Public Documents
2006-04-17, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/18/washington/18archives.html?ex=1303012800&en...

The National Archives signed a secret agreement in 2001 with the Central Intelligence Agency permitting the spy agency to withdraw from public access records it considered to have been improperly declassified, the head of the archives, Allen Weinstein, disclosed on Monday. Mr. Weinstein, who began work as archivist of the United States last year, said he learned of the agreement with the C.I.A. on Thursday and was putting a stop to such secret reclassification arrangements, which he described as incompatible with the mission of the archives. The disclosure of the secret agreements provides at least a partial explanation for the removal since 1999 of more than 55,000 pages of historical documents from access to researchers at the archives. The removal of documents, including many dating to the 1950's, was discovered by a group of historians this year and reported by The New York Times in February. In a brief interview, Mr. Weinstein said he was particularly disturbed that the archives had agreed not to tell researchers why documents were unavailable. The C.I.A. agreement said archives employees would "not attribute to C.I.A. any part of the review or the withholding of documents."


Abusive G.I.'s Not Pursued, Survey Find
2006-02-23, New York Times/Associated Press
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/23/international/middleeast/23abuse.html

The longest sentence for any member of the American military linked to a torture-related death of a detainee in Iraq or Afghanistan has been five months, a human rights group reported Wednesday. In only 12 of 34 cases has anyone been punished for the confirmed or suspected killings, said the group, Human Rights First, which is based in New York and Washington. Beyond those cases, in almost half of 98 known detainee deaths since 2002, the cause was never announced or was reported as undetermined. "In dozens of cases documented here, grossly inadequate reporting, investigation and follow-through have left no one at all responsible for homicides and other unexplained deaths," it said in the report, based on military court records, news reports and other sources. The Pentagon says it conscientiously investigates such deaths. When asked Wednesday for a status report on investigations and prosecutions in individual cases of abuse, the Pentagon said it could not offer a comprehensive compilation because the information was too scattered. Army lawyers at the Pentagon do not "have access to the information because other Army commands have the documents," Maj. Wayne Marotto, a spokesman, said.


Now the Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us
2006-02-22, The Observer (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1153513,00.html

A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs ... warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world. The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents. 'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once again, warfare would define human life.' The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern', say the authors. Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did not like. A former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury the threat of climate change.

Note: Though I don't agree with these doomsday scenario predictions (the Pentagon tends to focus on worst-case scenarios), the suppression of this report clearly does not serve the public.


U.S. Reclassifies Many Documents in Secret Review
2006-02-21, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/21/politics/21reclassify.html?ex=1298178000&en...

In a seven-year-old secret program at the National Archives, intelligence agencies have been removing from public access thousands of historical documents that were available for years, including some already published by the State Department. The restoration of classified status to more than 55,000 previously declassified pages began in 1999, when the Central Intelligence Agency and five other agencies objected to what they saw as a hasty release of sensitive information after a 1995 declassification order signed by President Bill Clinton. It accelerated after the Bush administration took office and especially after the 2001 terrorist attacks. But because the reclassification program is itself shrouded in secrecy -- governed by a still-classified memorandum that prohibits the National Archives even from saying which agencies are involved -- it continued virtually without outside notice until December. Historians say the program is removing material that can do no conceivable harm to national security. They say it is part of a marked trend toward greater secrecy under the Bush administration, which has increased the pace of classifying documents, slowed declassification and discouraged the release of some material under the Freedom of Information Act. "I think this is a travesty," said Dr. Nelson. "I think the public is being deprived of what history is really about: facts."

Note: More on this in the National Security Archive: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB179


The blog in the corporate machine
2006-02-09, The Economist
http://www.economist.com/business/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5501039

They have always had their critics, but corporations are having an especially hard time making friends of late. Scandals at Enron and WorldCom destroyed thousands of employees' livelihoods, raised hackles about bosses' pay and cast doubt on the reliability of companies' accounts. Big companies such as McDonald's and Wal-Mart have found themselves the targets of scathing films. Labour groups and environmental activists are finding new ways to co-ordinate their attacks on business. But those are just the enemies that companies can see. Even more troubling for many managers is dealing with their critics online -- because, in the ether, they have little idea who the attackers are. One of the main reasons that executives find bloggers so very challenging is because, unlike other 'stakeholders', they rarely belong to well-organised groups. That makes them harder to identify, appease and control. When a company is dealing directly with a labour union or an environmental outfit, its top brass often take the easy route, by co-opting the leaders or paying some sort of Danegeld. Until a couple of decades ago, that meant doling out generous union contracts and sticking shareholders, taxpayers or consumers with the bill. Increasingly, companies are learning that the best defence against these attacks is to take blogs seriously and fix rapidly whatever problems they turn up.


Judge Slams Ex-EPA Chief Over Sept. 11
2006-02-02, ABC/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1574465

A federal judge blasted former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman on Thursday for reassuring New Yorkers soon after the Sept. 11 attacks that it was safe to return to their homes and offices while toxic dust was polluting the neighborhood. U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts refused to grant Whitman immunity against a class-action lawsuit brought in 2004 by residents, students and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who said they were exposed to hazardous materials from the destruction of the World Trade Center. "No reasonable person would have thought that telling thousands of people that it was safe to return to lower Manhattan, while knowing that such return could pose long-term health risks and other dire consequences, was conduct sanctioned by our laws," the judge said. She called Whitman's actions "conscience-shocking," saying the EPA chief knew that the collapse of the twin towers released tons of hazardous materials into the air. In her ruling, Batts noted that the EPA and Whitman said repeatedly beginning just two days after the attack that the air appeared safe to breathe. The EPA's internal watchdog later found that the agency, at the urging of White House officials, gave misleading assurances.


The Oil Sands Of Alberta
2006-01-22, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/01/20/60minutes/main1225184.shtml

There’s an oil boom going on right now. Not in Saudi Arabia or Kuwait or any of those places, but...in Alberta, Canada. The oilmen up there are...digging up dirt -- dirt that is saturated with oil. They’re called oil sands, and if you’ve never heard of them then you’re in for a big surprise because the reserves are so vast in the province of Alberta that they will help solve America’s energy needs for the next century. Within a few years, the oil sands are likely to become more important to the United States than all the oil that comes to us from Saudi Arabia. There are 175 billion barrels of proven oil reserves here. That’s second to Saudi Arabia’s 260 billion but it’s only what companies can get with today’s technology. The estimate of how many more barrels of oil are buried deeper underground is staggering. "We know there’s much, much more there. The total estimates could be two trillion or even higher," says Clive Mather, Shell's Canada chief. "This is a very, very big resource." Very big? That’s eight times the amount of reserves in Saudi Arabia.

Note: For those who fear oil shortages and an energy crisis, here's yet another example of huge, untapped energy reserves. For many other, cleaner options, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/newenergyinformation


As Elections Near, Officials Challenge Balloting Security
2006-01-22, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/21/AR20060121010...

As the Leon County supervisor of elections, Ion Sancho's job is to make sure voting is free of fraud. Four times over the past year Sancho told computer specialists to break in to his voting system. And on all four occasions they did, changing results with what the specialists described as relatively unsophisticated hacking techniques. To Sancho, the results showed the vulnerability of voting equipment manufactured by Ohio-based Diebold Election Systems, which is used by Leon County and many other jurisdictions around the country. "While electronic voting systems hold promise for improving the election process," the Government Accountability Office said in a report to Congress last year, there are still pressing concerns about "security and reliability . . . design flaws" and other issues. Election officials have repeatedly clashed with voting-machine manufacturers. A new wave of concern over today's voting technologies, started in 2003, when a Seattle-based activist named Bev Harris released thousands of Diebold documents she said she found on an unsecured portion of the company's Web site. Some computer scientists said the documents showed Diebold's systems were vulnerable to attack. Today, more than 800 jurisdictions use their technology, Harris said.

Note: Integrity in elections is not a partisan issue. For lots more reliable, verifiable information raising serious questions about fair elections, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/electionsinformation


NSA used city police as trackers
2006-01-13, Baltimore Sun
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.nsa13jan13,1,3964287.story

The National Security Agency used law enforcement agencies, including the Baltimore Police Department, to track members of a city anti-war group as they prepared for protests outside the sprawling Fort Meade facility, internal NSA documents show. The target of the clandestine surveillance was the Baltimore Pledge of Resistance, a group...whose members include many veteran city peace activists with a history of nonviolent civil disobedience. Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, members of the group say, their protests have come under increasing scrutiny by federal and local law enforcement officials working on behalf of the NSA. An internal NSA e-mail, posted on two Internet sites this week, shows how operatives with the "Baltimore Intel Unit" provided a minute-by-minute account of Pledge of Resistances' preparations for a July 3, 2004. "****UPDATE: 11:55 HRS. S/A V------- ADVISED THE PROTESTORS LEFT 4600 YORK ROAD EN ROUTE TO THE NSA CAMPUS ... S/A V----- REPORTED FIVE OR SIX PEOPLE IN A BLUE VAN WITH BLACK BALLOONS, ANTI-WAR SIGNS AND A POSSIBLE HELIUM TANK." Some legal analysts and administration critics say the agency's actions violate the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.


Bush Presses Editors on Security
2005-12-26, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/25/AR20051225006...

President Bush has been summoning newspaper editors lately in an effort to prevent publication of stories he considers damaging to national security. The efforts have failed, but the rare White House sessions with the executive editors of The Washington Post and New York Times are an indication of how seriously the president takes the recent reporting that has raised questions about the administration's anti-terror tactics. Leonard Downie Jr., The Post's executive editor, would not confirm the meeting with Bush before publishing reporter Dana Priest's Nov. 2 article disclosing the existence of secret CIA prisons. Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, would not confirm that he, publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. and Washington bureau chief Philip Taubman had an Oval Office sit-down with the president on Dec. 5, 11 days before reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau revealed that Bush had authorized eavesdropping on Americans and others within the United States without court orders. But the meetings were confirmed by sources who have been briefed on them but are not authorized to comment because both sides had agreed to keep the sessions off the record. After Bush's meeting with the Times executives...the president assailed the paper's piece on domestic spying, calling the leak of classified information "shameful." "The decision to hold the story last year was mine," [New York Times Executive Editor] Keller says. "The decision to run the story last week was mine. I'm comfortable with both decisions."

Note: This excellent article shows why the alternative media is becoming increasingly important for those who want to know what is happening behind the scenes. It goes on to describe numerous cases where reporters were paid significant sums to write favorable articles for clients and then takes on the topic of child prostitution rings. It easily could have been three separate, information-packed articles.


A Scandal Beyond What Has Been Seen Before
2005-12-00, WantToKnow.info/The Journal of Psychohistory Winter 2005 Issue
http://www.wanttoknow.info/050726scandal911

"If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars."- Andreas von Bülow, former German government minister and author of "Die CIA und der 11." .... A Zogby poll in late August 2004 found 49 per cent of New York City residents and 41 per cent of New York citizens overall agreed that "some leaders in the U.S. Government knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to take action." Stanley Hilton -- a former aide to Senator Bob Dole -- has filed a $7 billion suit on behalf of the families of 14 victims of the 9/11 attacks, alleging that Bush, along with Cheney, Rumsfeld and others, actually ordered 9/11 to happen for political gain. Hilton says he has incriminating documents and witnesses showing this. Even an investigation into just a few of these questions, such as those around the war games on 9/11, could be enough to start a major scandal. However, as numerous writers and independent researchers have found, there are so many suspicious circumstances that the truth could be very different to what we have been led to believe. The human rights lawyer Richard Falk has written: "There are so many gaping holes in the official accounts of 9/11 that no plausible coherent narrative remains, and until now we have been staggering forward as if the truth about these traumatic events no longer mattered." But if the mainstream press start investigating properly, it could lead to a completely unprecedented '9/11 scandal.'

Note: The cover of this issue of the respected Journal of Psychohistory is titled "The New 9/11 Scandal."


A new spin on the placebo effect
2005-11-28, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10242034/

Research is showing the power of expectations, that they have physical -- not just psychological -- effects on your health. “Your expectations can have profound impacts on your brain and your health,” says Columbia University neuroscientist Tor Wager. Doctors have long thought the placebo effect was psychological. Now scientists are amassing the first direct evidence that the placebo effect actually is physical, and that expecting benefit can trigger the same neurological pathways of healing as real medication does. University of Michigan scientists injected the jaws of healthy young men with salt water to cause painful pressure, while PET scans measured the impact in their brains. During one scan, the men were told they were getting a pain reliever, actually a placebo. Their brains immediately released more endorphins -- chemicals that act as natural painkillers -- and the men felt better.


UN says sonar threatens dolphin, whale survival
2005-11-24, ABC/Reuters
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1343081

Naval maneuvers and submarine sonars in oceans are a new factor among many threatening dolphins, whales and porpoises that depend on sound to survive, the United Nations and marine experts said on Wednesday. "These low frequency sounds travel vast distances, hundreds if not thousands of kilometers from the source," [Mark Simmonds of the Whale and Dolphin Society] told Reuters. UNEP said underwater sonar and military maneuvers threatened more than 4 percent of species, although Simmonds indicated all were affected. In October, a coalition of environmental groups sued the U.S. Navy over its use of sonar, saying the ear-splitting sounds violated environmental protection laws. The report by UNEP and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) says species like the Beluga whale, Blanville's beaked whale and the Goosebeak whale are seriously at risk from noise pollution.


Meditation Research is Coming of Age
2005-11-21, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/health_science/articles/2005/11/21/the_power...

Meditation seems to energize the sleep-deprived. It seems to help with concentration. It even seems to bolster the very structure of the brain as we age. Enthusiasts have long touted the health benefits of meditative practices such as chanting, yoga, and prayer. Now, using the latest high-tech tools of neuroscience and biochemistry, they are teasing out how those benefits work. And increasingly, they are focusing on how meditation may help not only the body but the brain. "As time goes on, we're understanding this phenomenon in ever more advanced scientific terms," said Dr. Herbert Benson, president of the Mind/Body Medical Institute and a Harvard Medical School associate professor who has studied the body's "relaxation response" for nearly 40 years. "And why it's so important today is because over 60 percent of visits to the doctor are in the stress-related realm." While some of the most striking studies have involved monks who were experts at meditation, the new research also backs up claims that garden-variety meditation can bring scientifically demonstrable benefits. Serious research on meditation now includes hundreds of studies examining its possible ... benefits, from lifting depression to relieving pain to fighting flu. Benefits can come from a spectrum of repetitive, mind-clearing practices that elicit the so-called relaxation response -- from swaying in prayer to saying the rosary to knitting.

Note: At the end of this article is a simple how-to guide for meditation that may be useful for those who have little to no experience. For lots of exciting reports on new health research, click here.


25 questions about murder of the Big Easy
2005-10-02, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/10/02/INGSHEVHR31.DTL

The most toxic debris in New Orleans isn't the sinister gray sludge that coats the streets..., but all the unanswered questions that have accumulated in the wake of so much official betrayal and hypocrisy. Where outsiders see simple "incompetence" or "failure of leadership," locals are more inclined to discern deliberate design and planned neglect -- the murder, not the accidental death, of a great city. Here are 25 of the urgent questions that deeply trouble the local people we spoke with on a trip to New Orleans and South Louisiana. Until a grand jury or congressional committee begins to uncover the answers, the moral (as opposed to simply physical) reconstruction of the New Orleans region will remain impossible. 20. Who is responsible for the suspicious fires that have swept the city? Why have so many fires occurred in blue-collar areas that have long been targets of proposed gentrification? 23. Why isn't FEMA scrambling to create a central registry of everyone evacuated from the greater New Orleans region? Will evacuees receive absentee ballots and be allowed to vote in the crucial February municipal elections that will partly decide the fate of the city?


Media Shrug Off Mass Movement Against War
2005-09-28, Media Channel
http://mediachannel.org/blog/node/1192

Hundreds of thousands of Americans around the country protested the Iraq War on the weekend of September 24-25, with the largest demonstration bringing between 100,000 and 300,000 to Washington, D.C. on Saturday. But if you relied on television for your news, you'd hardly know the protests happened at all. According to the Nexis news database, the only mention on the network newscasts that Saturday came on the NBC Nightly News, where the massive march received all of 87 words. CNN anchor Aaron Brown offered an interesting explanation (9/24/05): "There was a huge 100,000 people [march] in Washington protesting the war in Iraq today, and I...feel like I've heard from all 100,000 upset that they did not get any coverage, and it's true they didn't get any coverage."

Note: See also Detroit News blog on this topic: http://info.detnews.com/weblog/index.cfm?blogid=5304


They're coming. Are we ready?
2005-09-24, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's most widely read newspapers)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050924/UFOS2...

This weekend, Toronto will host some of the UFO community's more level-headed types. The day-long symposium, dubbed Exopolitics Toronto, is an effort by the UFO community's more moderate and serious adherents to prod officialdom into opening its own X-files. To them, official disclosure would not only help to silence the skeptics, but also the wackier elements of the UFO community, who only make the issue easier for the rest of us to laugh off and for governments to avoid. J. Allen Hynek, the astrophysicist who set out to debunk UFO claims for the U.S. Air Force in the 1950s...[found] that he couldn't. Dr. Hynek, who coined the term "close encounters of the third kind" before Steven Spielberg made it famous, was among the first scientists to lend credibility to UFO study. "We think we're bringing forth the best people on the planet," [organizer Mr. Bird] says of the five speakers on the bill. Most anticipated, perhaps, is the latest addition to that list: Paul Hellyer, a former defence minister...who believes that UFOs exist, and that officials have been too quiet about it.

Note: For quotes from many top officials on the UFO Cover-up: http://www.WantToKnow.info/ufocover-up


Forecaster leaves job to pursue weather theories
2005-09-23, Idaho State Journal
http://www.journalnet.com/articles/2005/09/23/news/local/news05.txt

Scott Stevens is...the face of the weather at KPVI News Channel 6. The Pocatello native made his final Channel 6 forecast Thursday night, leaving a job he's held for nine years in order to pursue his weather theories on a full-time basis. Since Katrina, Stevens has been in newspapers across the country. On Wednesday, Stevens was interviewed by Fox News firebrand Bill O'Reilly. Stevens said he received 30 requests to do radio interviews on Thursday alone. Although the theories espoused by Stevens - scalar weapons, global dimming - are definitely on the scientific fringe today, there are thousands of Web sites that mention such phenomena. "The Soviets boasted of their geoengineering capabilities; these impressive accomplishments must be taken at face value simply because we are observing weather events that simply have never occurred before, never!" Stevens wrote on his Web site. To learn more about Stevens and his thoughts on manipulated weather, check out his Web site at www.weatherwars.info, or go to www.journalnet.com/articles/2005/03/06/opinion/opinion04.txt.


Cold-war device used to cause Katrina?
2005-09-20, USA Today/Associated Press
http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2005-09-20-wacky-weatherman_x.htm

An Idaho weatherman says Japan's Yakuza mafia used a Russian-made electromagnetic generator to cause Hurricane Katrina in a bid to avenge itself for the Hiroshima atom bomb attack. Meteorologist Scott Stevens, a nine-year veteran of KPVI-TV in Pocatello, said he was struggling to forecast weather patterns starting in 1998 when he discovered the theory on the Internet. It's now detailed on Stevens' website, www.weatherwars.info. Stevens...says a little-known oversight in physical laws makes it possible to create and control storms -- especially if you're armed with the Cold War-era weapon said to have been made by the Russians in 1976. Stevens' bosses at KPVI-TV say their employee can think and say what he wants as long as he keeps the station out of the debate and acknowledges that his views are his own opinion. Bill Fouch, KPVI's general manager, said. "He's very knowledgeable about weather, and he's very popular."

Note: Former U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen in a 1997 news briefing stated: "Others are engaging even in an eco-type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves." To verify this quote on the U.S. Department of Defense website, click here. If terrorist organizations have the capability to set off earthquakes and other major natural disasters, do you think huge military research laboratories might have some of the same capabilities? For more, click here and here.


U.S. agency blocks photos of New Orleans dead
2005-09-06, Reuters
http://today.reuters.com/investing/financeArticle.aspx?type=bondsNews&storyID...

The U.S. government agency leading the rescue efforts after Hurricane Katrina said on Tuesday it does not want the news media to take photographs of the dead as they are recovered from the flooded New Orleans area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, heavily criticized for its slow response to the devastation caused by the hurricane, rejected requests from journalists to accompany rescue boats as they went out to search for storm victims. "We have requested that no photographs of the deceased be made by the media," the spokeswoman said in an e-mailed response to a Reuters inquiry.

Note: Though a Washington Post article mentioned this news a couple days later, no major media picked up this important Reuters story.


UFOs are real, but the Tories are acting
2005-09-03, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's most widely read newspapers)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20050903/NOTEB...

Paul Hellyer has been a Liberal and a Conservative, has run for the leadership of both parties and founded two more, and will announce this month that he believes UFOs exist. Yes, indeed, the 82-year-old former defence minister in Lester Pearson's government is to address the Exopolitics Toronto Symposium on UFO Disclosure and Planetary Directions. "My role is really to say publicly for the first time that I believe that what we call unidentified flying objects are real," he said, ". . . and that people should know more about them and some of the implications of the fact they exist and that they've been observing our planet for more than half a century now."


Former Scotland Yard Official Peter Power on London Bombings
2005-07-07, Global Research/BBC Radio
http://globalresearch.ca/audiovideo/070705londonterrorexercise.mp3

POWER: At half past nine this morning we were actually running an exercise for a company of over a thousand people in London based on simultaneous bombs going off precisely at the railway stations where it happened this morning, so I still have the hairs on the back of my neck standing up right now. HOST: To get this quite straight, you were running an exercise to see how you would cope with this, and it happened while you were running the exercise? POWER: Precisely, and it was about half past nine this morning. We planned this for a company, and for obvious reasons I don't want to reveal their name but they're listening and they'll know it. And we had a room full of crisis managers for the first time they'd met. And so within five minutes we made a pretty rapid decision that this is the real one, and so we went through the correct drills of activating crisis management procedures to jump from slow time to quick time thinking.

Note: For Mr. Power's comments on CBC radio, Canada's PBS, click here. For many more serious questions raised around the London bombings, click here and here. For a very similar "coincidence" on 9/11, click here.


Experts Discuss Possibility Of Existence Of UFOs
2005-07-06, CNN News
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0507/06/lkl.01.html

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: Tonight, are UFOs real or fake? Have they actually been here? Some say the truth is out there. Others say there is no proof at all. Now we'll go inside some 60 years worth of sensational, controversial reports about people who say they saw UFOs, and those who even claim they were abducted by them. Investigators on both sides of the UFO question will take your calls. HOPKINS: The most important point here, Larry, is that [in a] conversation I had years ago with the late Carl Sagan, we agreed that the UFO phenomenon was an extraordinary phenomenon. What I said to Dr. Sagan was: shouldn't we be saying an extraordinary phenomenon demands an extraordinary investigation? We're not getting an investigation here. We're getting, unfortunately, lots of arm chair theorists who sit away from the investigation process, who have actually never really gone out to examine the site, the physical marks, or to do any medical work. KING: I will confirm that, because I interviewed the late Dr. Sagan many times, and he was open to the possibility and to more investigation of it.


Freezing gas prices
2005-05-25, NBC Oklahoma City
http://www.kfor.com/Global/story.asp?s=3390503

There is a man who fills up his tank once every two months. One tank of gas, literally, lasts him two months. He is freezing the price of gas by freezing something else. David Hutchison is a Cryogenics expert. He built this Cryo-Process himself. A few years ago he began an experiment on his hybrid Honda, freezing the engine components. The results were a fuel-efficiency dream. A hybrid Honda typically gets really great gas mileage anyway, around 50 miles to the gallon, but David Hutchison's cryogenically tempered engine has been known to get close to 120 miles a gallon. Racers have picked up on David's trick of cryogenically freezing car parts. It is now widely accepted among NASCAR and Indy-car racers.

Note: Why isn't this front-page headlines with rapid development for use by us all?


Secretly, tiny nations hold much wealth
2005-04-25, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0425/p17s01-cogn.html

They're tax havens: 70 mostly tiny nations that offer no-tax or low-tax status to the wealthy so they can stash their money. Usually, the process is so secret that it draws little attention. But the sums - and lost tax revenues - are growing so large that the havens are getting new and unaccustomed scrutiny. There are about 3 million shell companies (set up largely to duck taxes) in offshore tax havens, Komisar reckons. These tiny tax havens hold 31 percent of total world assets and 26 percent of the stock of US multinationals.


Read the book, seen the movie? Now smell it too
2005-04-07, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/news/story/0,12976,1453921,00.html

Sony....has patented a device to evoke smells, flavours and even a sense of touch in audience's brains, in the hope of enhancing the movie-watching experience. Sony has been granted a series of patents that outline how the device works. According to the documents, pulses of ultrasound would be fired at the audience's heads to alter the normal neural activity in key parts of the brain. "Changes in the neural firing timing induce various sensory experiences, depending on the location," the company's first patent states. Elizabeth Boukis, a spokeswoman for Sony Electronics, said the device remained only an idea at the moment. According to Sony's patents, carefully directed ultrasound beams could evoke different sensations in people's brains, including tastes, smells and touch, and even moving images. "One of the advantages is that no invasive surgery is needed to assist a person, such as a blind person, to view live/recorded images," the patent says.


Dr. Ecstasy
2005-01-30, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/01/30/magazine/30ECSTASY.html?ex=1264914000&en=0b...

By [Alexander] Shulgin's own count, he has created nearly 200 psychedelic compounds, among them stimulants, depressants, aphrodisiacs, ''empathogens,'' [and] convulsants. And in 1976, Shulgin fished an obscure chemical called MDMA out of the depths of the chemical literature and introduced it to the wider world, where it came to be known as Ecstasy. Most of the scientific community considers Shulgin at best a curiosity and at worst a menace. Now, however, near the end of his career, his faith in the potential of psychedelics has at least a chance at vindication. A little more than a month ago, the [FDA] approved a Harvard Medical School study looking at whether MDMA can alleviate the fear and anxiety of terminal cancer patients. And next month will mark a year since [the start of a] study of Ecstasy-assisted therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Shulgin's knack for befriending the right people hasn't hurt. A week after I visited him, he was headed to Sonoma County for the annual ''summer encampment'' of the Bohemian Club, an exclusive, secretive San Francisco-based men's club that has counted every Republican president since Herbert Hoover among its members. For a long time, though, Shulgin's most helpful relationship was with the D.E.A. itself. The head of the D.E.A.'s Western Laboratory, Bob Sager, was one of his closest friends. In his office, Shulgin has several plaques awarded to him by the agency for his service. Shulgin has been credited with jump-starting today's therapeutic research.

Note: The sentence about the Bohemian Club is a very rare revelation in the major media on the influence of this secret society. For lots more reliable, verifiable information on secret societies, click here.


Was Robert Kennedy killed by a real 'Manchurian candidate'-style assassin?
2005-01-18, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?story=601960

The circumstances surrounding the assassination of Robert Kennedy are being resurrected and re-examined in an attempt to establish the truth of what happened that night in the cramped pantry of a Los Angeles hotel. New evidence has emerged [in] the case of Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted of the assassination. Celebrities and journalists are joining the campaign for a federal investigation, which has been sparked in part by a new book, Nemesis, by the British author Peter Evans. Evans, who spent 10 years researching the book, has unearthed evidence to support Sirhan's contention that he was hypnotised into being the "fall guy" for the murder. Evans identifies the hypnotist, who had worked on CIA mind control programmes and who was later found dead in mysterious circumstances. Bullet holes in the walls and ceiling demonstrate conclusively that more than one gunman fired shots at Senator Kennedy. Both Evans and Sirhan's lawyer, Larry Teeter, are convinced that the Palestinian activist was chosen to be a Manchurian Candidate-style assassin. The assassination, they say, was carried out by a professional hitman who fled immediately, leaving Sirhan to take the blame. Teeter ... said: "I know it was done. It was consistent with the US government's programme developed by the CIA and Military Intelligence to enable handlers to get people to commit crimes with no knowledge of what they are doing." Evans goes further and names the hypnotist as a Dr William Joseph Bryan Jnr. He had worked on a CIA mind-control programme called MKULTRA. Dr Bryan was found dead in a Las Vegas hotel room in 1978. He had either shot himself or was murdered. The case remains unsolved.

Note: As this article is no longer available on the Independent website, to read it in full, click here.


Plum Island Reports Disease Outbreak
2004-08-22, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/22/nyregion/plum-island-reports-disease-outbre...

The Department of Homeland Security confirmed last week that the highly contagious foot-and-mouth virus had briefly spread within the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in two previously undisclosed incidents earlier this summer. The incidents and their belated public disclosure raised new questions about laboratory safety and communications to the public. In a letter to the laboratory director, Beth Lautner, dated Aug. 2, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Representative Timothy Bishop of Southampton said they were alarmed that the two incidents had taken place within a one-month span. A spokesman for the department, said the virus had remained within the laboratory's sealed biocontainment area. Asked why the department did not make a public announcement of the events, Mr. Tighe said: "It was within the laboratory environment, safely sealed in biocontainment. This was really an operational issue." Plum Island is the only location in the United States where research on the foot and mouth virus is legally permitted. In 1978, a foot and mouth outbreak among animals in pens outside the laboratory resulted in new procedures for keeping animals used in research inside the biocontainment area. Since taking over the laboratory just over a year ago, Homeland Security had been emphasizing its intention to keep the public informed. But department officials apparently did not heed calls from elected officials to disclose the two incidents sooner.

Note: At the northernmost tip of Long Island, Plum island sits directly across from the town of Lyme, Conn., famous as the epicenter of the Lyme disease outbreak. For a powerful, multiple award-winning film showing shocking ignorance and even political corruption on the part of the medical community about the Lyme disease epidemic spreading across the US and even around the world, click here. It shows evidence that Lyme may be even the cause of many cases of ALS, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's disease.


Taking Stock of Family Business
2004-04-29, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/life/lifestyle/2004-04-29-family-mission-statements_x...

Family mission statements are a way of transferring your highly effective business habits to your home life. Finding the time to assemble a document that outlines a family's goals and philosophy might seem unrealistic ... but believers urge a closer look at what they hail as a method for getting unwieldy modern lives back on track. Laura Puryear was introduced to the concept when her mother handed her Stephen Covey's The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families. In Habits, the well-known motivational guru asks couples to consider questions such as: "If our family is a plane, are we on course?" Conflicting answers are OK; the point is to discuss differences en route to a common destination. "The pace of life, technology and culture all put greater pressure on us to decide what's really important," says Covey. "We all have values that guide us, but 95% of us never write them down. It's precisely the act of writing that imprints it in the subconscious." Start from a family foundation of trust and openness, where everyone feels welcome to participate. Schedule a time to share the mission statement concept, keeping in mind that even young children can understand and contribute. Brainstorm together about ideas for the statement. Encourage even the most off-the-wall contributions. Record all such suggestions in writing. Revisit the list regularly and pare it down to the most important ideas. Once everyone agrees on a final draft that truly summarizes the family's values and vision, make copies accessible to all. Avoid rushing your family, favoring any one person's agenda, or forgetting about the final product once you're done. The mission statement carries weight only if you actively pursue your stated goals.

Note: For a concise guide to developing your own personal mission statement or life intentions, click here.


One-click voting: Will your vote count?
2004-01-19, PBS
http://www.pbs.org/weta/washingtonweek/voices/200401/0119voting.html

Diebold, Inc. is one of the largest distributors of electronic voting machines. There are no proven cases of fraud or miscounting with Diebold machines as yet. However...these systems provide no "barometer for judging accuracy," says computer science professor Edward Felten. He contends that since all tallying takes place inside the system, voters have no way of knowing if their vote was truly registered. "A programmer could put malicious code in the software, or there could be a bug." On July 30, Diebold agreed. The company posted on their homepage that "a combination of malevolent insiders and unscrupulous voters could tamper with [election] results." But company spokespeople say any machines would be susceptible to that level of fraud. Therefore, they say, their technology can not be expected to guard against it. Diebold has used copyright laws to quash internal memos and e-mails admitting to security flaws and refuses to make their voting machine software code available for independent inspection. Ina Fairfax, Va. school board election. Some voters noticed "when they pushed the button for a given candidate an X would appear over the candidate's name and then later disappear," Felten said. After testing, it was found that about 10 percent of votes were being invisibly dropped. And, according to an Associated Press story published in December, Diebold's staff might include characters willing to engage in malicious actions. Jeffrey Dean, a chief programmer for the company, has spent time in a Washington, D.C., jail for embezzlement and tampering with computer files.


Earth loses its magnetism
2003-12-31, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci/tech/3359555.stm

Scientists have known for some time that the Earth's magnetic field is fading. Its strength has steadily and mysteriously waned, leaving parts of the planet vulnerable to increased radiation from space. Some satellites already feel the effects. What is uncertain is whether the weakened field is on the way to a complete collapse and a reversal that would flip the North and South Poles. It is not a matter of whether it will happen, but when, said scientists who presented the latest research on the subject at a recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. But when is hard to pinpoint. The dipole reversal pattern is erratic. "We can have periods without reversals for many millions of years, and we can have four or five reversals within one million years," said Yves Gallet, from Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, France, who studies the palaeomagnetic record and estimates that the current decay started 2,000 years ago. Over the last century and a half, since monitoring began, scientists have measured a 10% decline in the dipole. At the current rate of decline it would take 1,500 to 2,000 years to disappear. The last major pole flip appears to have been about 780,000 years ago. A particular weakness in the field has been observed off the coast of Brazil in the so-called Southern Atlantic Anomaly. Here, eccentricities in the Earth's core have caused a "dip" in the field, leaving it 30% weaker than elsewhere. The extra dose of radiation creates electronic glitches in satellites and spacecraft that fly through it. Even the Hubble telescope has been affected.


Military enforces 'Semper Fido' with microchips
2002-08-15, Christian Science Monitor
http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0815/p01s04-usmi.html

Abandoned pets are a growing part of the military culture. Dogs and cats are dropped off in remote corners of the post at a rate of more than 20 a week. But the US Armed Forces are fighting back. Adopting a Big Brother approach, the military is implanting microchips in cats and dogs that live on government land – as much for animal control as for owner control. Says Fort Polk, La., Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Ricky L. Jones of the soldier who abandons a pet, "with the chip you can't hide." Fort Polk has used the chip to track down soldiers who have abandoned their pets and forced them to pay an adoption fee. "It's a way to control our stray animal population and protect our working force, too," says Capt. Steven Baty, a veterinarian at Fort Carson, Colo., where microchipping has been mandatory since 1998. The tiny chips, the size of a grain of rice, are injected under the skin on an animal's neck and contain a bar code that can be scanned and read by humane societies and veterinary clinics nationwide. The procedure costs about $15, takes two to three seconds, and is no more painful than a typical vaccination. Microchip enforcement varies by base. At Fort Polk, La., animal controllers are part of a weekly housing patrol, joining inspectors who check to make sure lawns are cut and that soldiers aren't violating housing regulations. The animal controller carries a portable scanner and runs the wand over dogs and cats, looking for numbers to light up the small screen. If the pets don't have a microchip, soldiers are warned, and if they don't comply, their animals are taken away.

Note: The Monitor removed this article from their website. To see a copy of it on the Internet archive, click here.


Indian seabed hides ancient remains
2001-05-22, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1345150.stm

Marine experts have discovered a clump of archaeological structures deep beneath the sea off India's western coast. Although the discovery has not yet been accurately dated, the structures are said to resemble archeological sites belonging to the Harappan civilisation, dating back more than 4,000 years. This is the first time man-made structures have been found in this part of the Arabian Sea which is known as the Gulf of Cambay. The images gathered over the past six months led to a surprising discovery - a series of well-defined geometric formations were clearly seen, spread irregularly across a nine-kilometre (five-mile) stretch, a little beneath the sea bed. Some of them closely resemble an acropolis - or great bath - known to be characteristic of the Harappan civilisation. A leading marine archaologist says that far more detailed investigations need to be done to confirm the exact date of the structures.


Smallpox vaccine 'triggered Aids virus'
1987-05-11, WantToKnow.info/London Times
http://www.WantToKnow.info/870511vaccineaids

The Aids epidemic may have been triggered by the mass vaccination campaign which eradicated smallpox. The World Health Organization, which masterminded the 13-year campaign, is studying new scientific evidence suggesting that immunization with the smallpox vaccine Vaccinia awakened the unsuspected, dormant human immuno defence virus infection (HIV). Doctors who accept the connection between the anti-smallpox campaign and the Aids epidemic now see answers to questions which had baffled them. How, for instance, the Aids organism, previously regarded by scientists as 'weak, slow and vulnerable,' began to behave like a type capable of creating a plague. The smallpox vaccine theory would account for the position of each of the seven Central African states which top the league table of most-affected countries; why Brazil became the most afflicted Latin American country; and how Haiti became the route for the spread of Aids to the US. The greatest spread of HIV infection coincides with the most intense immunization programmes. Although detailed figures of Aids cases in Africa are difficult to collect, the more than two million carriers, and 50,000 deaths...are concentrated in the Countries where the smallpox immunization programme was most intensive. Brazil, the only South American country covered in the eradication campaign, has the highest incidence of Aids in that region.


Cancer Crusade
1931-03-23, Time Magazine
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,741262,00.html

Drs. Coffey & Humber ... last year cautiously announced that they were alleviating hopeless cases of cancer by means of adrenal cortex extract derived from sheep. The Hearst press recognized the kernel of news in this announcement and puffed it so that thousands of cancer victims abandoned the orthodox treatment of surgery, X-rays and radium, rushed for the sure-cure. The two doctors were amazed, but nonetheless swam with the tide of publicity and patients. They opened auxiliary clinics at Los Angeles and Long Beach. They went before a Senate committee to argue for Government aid for cancer research. They gained a patent for their extract. Mrs. Grace Hammond Conners ... gave Drs. Coffey & Humber her $1,000,000 estate, "The Monastery," at Huntington, L. I. Although Dr. Hartwell & friends who last week opposed opening "The Monastery" as a clinic "do not for a minute question the sincerity of Drs. Coffey and Humber in believing they have something of value," the critics "do question the way they have handled their work." The New York men are certain that their San Francisco colleagues have had no training to qualify for research in "the most complex field that exists" in medicine. They do not believe that adrenal cortex extract will cure cancer or that it has value in cancer treatment. They fear that the Californians will experiment on New York humans, hence want them (or at least their methods; excluded, to remain in California where patients are "abundantly available." This was obviously a campaign to ostracize Drs. Coffey & Humber from Manhattan's vicinity. It was conducted ... "by persons who had their own methods, hospitals and funds."

Note: The doctors eventually not only were denied permission to open a cancer clinic for their promising work, they were stripped of the $1 million dollar estate donated to them (worth about $15 million in current U.S. dollars). For the full, fascinating story, click here.


Train Which Runs on Virtual Railway Track Unveiled in China
2017-06-03, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/train-virtual-transport-t...

A train that runs on virtual rails has been unveiled in China. The Autonomous Rapid Transit (Art), which was unveiled in the city of Zhuzhou on 2 June, is around 30metres long and is fitted with sensors that detect the dimensions of the road. This enables the vehicle to follow routes without the need for metal rails. Each vehicle can hold up to 307 passengers, and is said to navigate the streets easier than a bus while being more adaptable than a train. It has a top speed of 70kmph. The technology behind the Art was developed by Chinese railmaker CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive which also designs parts for the country’s high-speed railway. Instead of having steel wheels like a train, Art is fitted with rubber wheels attached to a plastic core which are linked to its especially designed guiding technology. Its creators say that Art is significantly cheaper than a metro service, which costs between 400 to 700millon yuan (Ł46 to Ł80million) per km to build. In contrast, Art costs between 15million yuan (Ł2million). The virtual train was unveiled as engineers across the world attempt to modernise transport infrastructure. In the US, Tesla and SpaceX owner Elon Musk is developing the Hyperloop, which is proposed to run at at top speed of 760mph using pod-like vehicles in a tube with reduced pressure.

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


The hidden history of the CIA’s prison in Poland
2014-01-23, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/the-hidden-history-of-t...

In early 2003, two senior CIA officers arrived at the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw to pick up a pair of large cardboard boxes. Inside were bundles of cash totaling $15 million that had been flown from Germany via diplomatic pouch. The Americans and Poles then sealed an agreement that over the previous weeks had allowed the CIA the use of a secret prison — a remote villa in the Polish lake district — to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects. The Polish intelligence service received the money, and the CIA had a solid location for its newest covert operation, according to former agency officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the interrogation program, including previously unreported details about the creation of the CIA’s “black sites,” or secret prisons. The CIA prison in Poland was arguably the most important of all the black sites created by the agency after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It was the first of a trio in Europe that housed the initial wave of accused Sept. 11 conspirators, and it was where Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-declared mastermind of the attacks, was waterboarded 183 times after his capture. In December, the European Court of Human Rights heard arguments that Poland violated international law and participated in torture by accommodating its American ally. “In the face of Polish and United States efforts to draw a veil over these abuses, the European Court of Human Rights now has an opportunity to break this conspiracy of silence and uphold the rule of law,” said Amrit Singh, a lawyer with the Open Society Justice Initiative.

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


End Is Seen to Free Checking
2010-06-16, Wall Street Journal
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703513604575311093932315142.html

Bank of America Corp. and other banks are preparing new fees on basic banking services as they try to replace revenue lost to regulatory rules, in a push that is expected to spell an end to free checking accounts for many Americans. Free checking accounts, which have been widely available for more than a decade, have been a boon to middle-class consumers and attracted low-income customers to the banking system for the first time. Customers will likely be required to pay new monthly maintenance fees on the most basic accounts that don't generate a lot of activity. To avoid a fee, customers will have to maintain certain account balances or frequently use other banking services, such as credit and debit cards, automated teller machines and online accounts. Some consumer advocates warn the new fees will whack consumers who now manage their bank accounts to avoid such charges. The transformation of checking accounts comes at a time when banks are bouncing back from the steepest financial losses in a generation and are facing new regulations. To accelerate that recovery and recoup losses from new banking rules, financial institutions are increasingly leaning on customers who don't now generate enough revenue for the bank.

Note: Why hasn't the federal government protected consumers from this sort of response by the banking industry to new regulations imposed after the massive taxpayer bailout of these failing corporations?


Federal No-Bid Contracts On Rise
2007-08-22, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/22/AR20070822000...

Last year, officials at the Department of Homeland Security's counter-narcotics office took a shortcut that has become common at federal agencies: They hired help through a no-bid contract. And the firm they hired showed them how to do it. A contract worth up to $579,000 was awarded to the consultant's firm in September. Though small by government standards, the counter-narcotics contract illustrates the government's steady move away from relying on competition to secure the best deals for products and services. A recent congressional report estimated that federal spending on contracts awarded without "full and open" competition has tripled, to $207 billion, since 2000, with a $60 billion increase last year alone. The category includes deals in which officials take advantage of provisions allowing them to sidestep competition for speed and convenience and cases in which the government sharply limits the number of bidders or expands work under open-ended contracts. Government auditors say the result is often higher prices for taxpayers and an undue reliance on a limited number of contractors. "The rapid growth in no-bid and limited-competition contracts has made full and open competition the exception, not the rule," according to the report, by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Keith Ashdown, chief investigator at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group, said that in many cases, officials are simply choosing favored contractors as part of a "club mentality." "Contracting officials are throwing out decades of work to develop fair and sensible rules to promote competition," Ashdown said. "Government officials are skirting the rules in favor of expediency or their favored contractors."


Scientists issue warning on chemical
2007-08-03, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-plastic3aug03,0,1828523....

In an unusual effort targeting a single chemical, several dozen scientists on Thursday issued a strongly worded consensus statement warning that an estrogen-like compound in plastic is likely causing an array of serious reproductive disorders in people. The compound, bisphenol A or BPA, is one of the highest-volume chemicals in the world and has found its way into the bodies of most human beings. Used to make hard plastic, BPA can seep from beverage containers and other materials. It is used in all polycarbonate plastic baby bottles as well as ... large water cooler containers, sports bottles and microwave oven dishes, along with canned food liners and some dental sealants for children. The scientists — including four from federal health agencies — reviewed about 700 studies before concluding that people are exposed to levels of the chemical exceeding those that harm lab animals. Infants and fetuses are most vulnerable, they said. The statement, published online by the journal Reproductive Toxicology, was accompanied by a new study from researchers from the National Institutes of Health that found uterine damage in newborn animals exposed to BPA. That damage is a possible predictor of reproductive diseases in women, including fibroids, endometriosis, cystic ovaries and cancers. It is the first time BPA has been linked to disorders of the female reproductive tract, although earlier studies have found early-stage prostate and breast cancer and decreased sperm counts in animals exposed to low doses. The scientists' statement and the new study — accompanied by five scientific reviews summarizing the 700 studies — intensify a contentious debate over whether the plastic compound poses a public threat. So far no government agency here or abroad has restricted its use.


Stampeding Congress, Again
2007-08-03, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/03/opinion/03fri1.html?ex=1343793600&en=269721...

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bush administration has repeatedly demonstrated that it does not feel bound by the law or the Constitution. It cannot even be trusted to properly use the enhanced powers it was legally granted after the attacks. Yet, once again, President Bush has been trying to stampede Congress into a completely unnecessary expansion of his power to spy on Americans. The fight is over the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires the government to obtain a warrant before eavesdropping on electronic communications that involve someone in the United States. Mr. Bush decided after 9/11 that he was no longer going to obey that law. He authorized the National Security Agency to intercept international telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans and other residents of this country without a court order. He told the public nothing and Congress next to nothing about what he was doing, until The Times disclosed the spying in December 2005. Ever since, the White House has tried to pressure Congress into legalizing Mr. Bush’s rogue operation. The administration and its ... supporters in Congress argue that American intelligence is blinded by FISA and have seized on neatly timed warnings of heightened terrorist activity to scare everyone. It is vital for Americans, especially lawmakers, to resist that argument. It is pure propaganda. [The question at issue is] whether we are a nation ruled by law, or the whims of men in power.


Power Without Limits
2007-07-22, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/22/opinion/22sun2.html?ex=1342756800&en=fbd7ef...

The Bush administration, which has been pushing presidential power to new extremes, is reportedly developing an even more dangerous new theory of executive privilege. It says that if Congress holds White House officials in contempt for withholding important evidence in the United States attorney scandal, the Justice Department simply will not pursue the charges. This stance tears at the fabric of the Constitution and upends the rule of law. Congress has a constitutional right to investigate the purge of nine United States attorneys last year. The next question is how Congress will enforce its right to obtain information, and it is on that point that the administration is said to have made its latest disturbing claim. If Congress holds White House officials in contempt, the next step should be that the United States attorney for the District of Columbia brings the matter to a grand jury. But according to a Washington Post report, the administration is saying that its claim of executive privilege means that the United States attorney would be ordered not to go forward with the case. There is no legal basis for this obstructionism. The Supreme Court has made clear that executive privilege is not simply what the president claims it to be. It must be evaluated case by case by a court, balancing the need for the information against the president’s interest in keeping his decision-making process private. The White House’s extreme position could lead to a constitutional crisis. If the executive branch refused to follow the law, Congress could use its own inherent contempt powers, in which it would level the charges itself and hold a trial. Congress should use all of the tools at its disposal to pursue its investigations. It is about preserving the checks and balances that are a vital part of American democracy.


Attack of the mutant rice
2007-07-02, Fortune magazine
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/07/09/100122123/i...

In the spring of 2001, a ... rice farmer named Jacko Garrett watched a fleet of 18-wheelers haul away truckloads of rice that he had grown with great care. "It just bothers me so bad," Garrett said. "I'm sitting here trying to find food to feed people, and I've got to bury five million pounds of rice." Garrett's rice was genetically modified, part of an experiment that was brought to an abrupt halt by its sponsor, a ... biotechnology company called Aventis Crop Science. The company had contracted with a handful of farmers to grow the rice, which was known as Liberty Link because its genes had been altered to resist a weed killer called Liberty, also made by Aventis. In January 2006, small amounts of genetically engineered rice turned up in a shipment that was tested ... by a French customer of Riceland Foods. Because no transgenic rice is grown commercially in the U.S., the people at Riceland were stunned. Then came another shock. Testing revealed that the genetically modified rice contained a strain of Liberty Link that had not been approved for human consumption. What's more, trace amounts of the Liberty Link had mysteriously made their way into the commercial rice supply in all five of the Southern states where long-grain rice is grown. The tainted rice was everywhere. If in the past year or so you or your family ate Uncle Ben's, Rice Krispies, or Gerber's, or drank a Budweiser ... you probably ingested a little bit of Liberty Link, with the unapproved gene. Last November, over the howls of anti-GMO activists, the USDA retroactively approved the Liberty Link rice, known as LL601. The department said the genes that it approved are similar to those inserted for years into canola and corn, with no apparent ill effects.

Note: To read a ten-page summary of Seeds of Deception, a ground-breaking exposé of the dangers of the genetic engineering of foods, click here.


I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose. We Were Both Doing Our Duty.
2007-05-27, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/25/AR20070525020...

When my son was killed in Iraq earlier this month at age 27, I found myself pondering my responsibility for his death. Among the hundreds of messages that my wife and I have received, two bore directly on this question. Both held me personally culpable, insisting that my public opposition to the war had provided aid and comfort to the enemy. Each said that my son's death came as a direct result of my antiwar writings. This may seem a vile accusation to lay against a grieving father. But in fact, it has become a staple of American political discourse, repeated endlessly by those keen to allow President Bush a free hand in waging his war. What exactly is a father's duty when his son is sent into harm's way? Among the many ways to answer that question, mine was this one: As my son was doing his utmost to be a good soldier, I strove to be a good citizen. As a citizen, I have tried since Sept. 11, 2001, to promote a critical understanding of U.S. foreign policy. I genuinely believed that if the people spoke, our leaders in Washington would listen and respond. This, I can now see, was an illusion. The people have spoken, and nothing of substance has changed. The November 2006 midterm elections signified an unambiguous repudiation of the policies that landed us in our present predicament. But half a year later, the war continues, with no end in sight. Indeed, by sending more troops to Iraq (and by extending the tours of those, like my son, who were already there), Bush has signaled his complete disregard for what was once quaintly referred to as "the will of the people." To be fair, responsibility for the war's continuation now rests no less with the Democrats who control Congress than with the president and his party.

Note: The author, Andrew Bacevich, is a conservative professor on international relations at Boston University. The title of his highly praised 2006 book, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War, establishes the case for an American empire which is not benign. For more on the war machine, click here.


Ex-Presidents Bush, Clinton Find Common Ground Outside Politics
2007-05-19, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=3192296

Fifteen years ago, then-Gov. Bill Clinton got him fired from his job as "leader of the free world." But that doesn't seem to bother former President George H.W. Bush too much these days. The political odd couple -- one a gregarious baby boomer, the other a genteel guardian of the greatest generation and both members of the world's most exclusive club of former American presidents -- was on the road again this weekend. They've helped raise more than $1 billion in U.S. aid for tsunami victims and more than $130 million for those devastated by Hurricane Katrina. No matter what the future may hold for either the Bush or Clinton clan, it's clear the friendship struck between two formal rivals is not just for show. "I cannot tell you the selfish pleasure I get out of working with President Clinton," Bush told the near graduates of the University of New Hampshire. "It's a very selfish feeling I have in my heart that we can be out there transcending politics, doing something to help others." Clinton returned the compliment. "Our differences are important; they matter. They make life more interesting and they aid the search for truth," he said, "but our common humanity matters more." President Clinton, who spoke of "seeing" and recognizing ourselves in others, said, "There's nothing beyond the reach of our common endeavor because it's our common endeavor." "You don't have to be a president to be a leader and to touch the lives of your fellow countrymen," former President Bush said.


Government Keeps a Secret After Studying Spy Agencies
2007-04-26, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/26/washington/26contracting.html

Concerned about the growing dependence of the nation’s spy agencies on private contractors, top intelligence officials have spent months determining just how many contractors work at the C.I.A., D.I.A., F.B.I., N.S.A. and the rest of the spook alphabet soup. Now they have an answer. But they cannot reveal it, they say, because America’s enemies might be listening. Steven Aftergood of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said the decision not to reveal the numbers was a sign of dysfunctional policies. “It reveals how confused the government is about what is really sensitive and what is not,” Mr. Aftergood said. “What would Osama bin Laden do with the fraction of intelligence workers who are contractors? Absolutely nothing.” The government’s use of contractors has accelerated greatly during the Bush administration. Nowhere has the increase been more striking than in the spy agencies. The agencies have long fought efforts to make public their budgets and work force numbers. But not all officials have been punctilious about keeping the secrets. At a conference in 2005 ... a deputy director of national intelligence, let slip that the annual spy budget was $44 billion. Last year, John D. Negroponte, then the intelligence director, said in a speech “almost 100,000 patriotic, talented and hard-working Americans” work for the agencies. Why was Mr. Negroponte permitted to reveal that number? “It was an estimate,” said Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the current intelligence chief.


Canada offers forum for lecturer barred from U.S.
2007-04-11, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070411.IRAQI11/TPStory/Nat...

A highly regarded Iraqi epidemiologist who wants to tell Americans about an alarming rise in cancer levels among Iraqi children will come to Canada instead because he couldn't get a visa to the United States. Unable to travel to the University of Washington, Riyadh Lafta -- best known for a controversial study that estimated Iraq's body count in the U.S.-led war in Iraq at more than half a million -- will arrive at Simon Fraser University in B.C. this month to give a lecture and meet with research associates. "The University of Washington wanted him, but the U.S. denied his entry," said his colleague at SFU, Tim Takaro. Once in Canada, Dr. Lafta will present estimates that paint a damning portrait of the war's ravages on children: that birth defects are on the rise since the war began, and that the number of children dying from cancers such as leukemia has risen tenfold. Dr. Lafta had tried for six months to get a visa into Seattle to speak in Washington, and was ignored a half-dozen times, Dr. Takaro said.


FEMA Wants Over $300M in Katrina Aid Back
2007-02-06, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2852688

In the neighborhood President Bush visited right after Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. government gave $84.5 million to more than 10,000 households. But Census figures show fewer than 8,000 homes existed there at the time. Now the government wants back a lot of the money it disbursed. The Federal Emergency Management Administration has determined nearly 70,000 Louisiana households improperly received $309.1 million in grants, and officials acknowledge those numbers are likely to grow. An Associated Press analysis of government data obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act suggests the government might not have been careful enough with its checkbook as it gave out nearly $5.3 billion in aid to storm victims. The analysis found the government regularly gave money to more homes in some neighborhoods than the number of homes that actually existed. The pattern was repeated in nearly 100 neighborhoods. At least 162,750 homes that didn't exist before the storms may have received a total of more than $1 billion in improper or illegal payments. In one neighborhood GAO scrutinized, at least one person gave an address as a cemetery. Records show FEMA gave 27,924 assistance grants worth $293 million in that neighborhood. Only 18,590 homes existed, meaning up to $98 million in aid could have been disbursed improperly or illegally. The AP's findings are similar to those of a February report by the Government Accountability Office, which found hurricane aid was used for to pay for guns, strippers and tattoos. The GAO concluded that between $600 million and $1.4 billion was improperly spent on Katrina relief alone.


Report: There was no plot to kill Diana
2006-12-14, San Jose Mercury News (San Jose's leading newspaper)
http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews/news/world/16240988.htm

Princess Diana wasn't engaged, wasn't pregnant, wasn't murdered and probably would've survived the spectacular Paris car crash that claimed her life had she been wearing her seat belt, according to an 833-page report released Thursday. The report ... was the result of almost three years of investigation into allegations that the princess was murdered by British secret agents after they learned she was pregnant and engaged to Dodi al Fayed, the son of the millionaire owner of the famed Harrod's department store. The report was immediately denounced by Mohamed al Fayed, who has spent millions on a private investigation into the deaths of his son and Diana. He said he would continue to investigate the deaths until he finally found "the terrorists ... with power in high places." The elder al Fayed repeated his accusations that his son and the princess were killed to stop them from marrying and to stop his son, a Muslim, from becoming the stepfather of the future king of England. He believes Lord John Stevens, the former London police chief who headed the inquiry, intended to do a thorough investigation, but was forced by British security forces to produce a whitewash. [Stevens] said investigators had concluded that the car carrying al Fayed and Diana ... rammed into the 13th support post in a tunnel near the Seine River. Stevens noted that while there was evidence that al Fayed had purchased an engagement ring for the divorced princess, there was no evidence that she knew about it. Stevens, however, noted Thursday that Diana's premonition that she would die in an accident is "one of those things that will go unanswered."

Note: There "was evidence" that an engagement ring was purchased? How can that be in question? They must know whether he purchased it or not. And wouldn't Diana have had some idea? The Los Angeles Times reports that "a poll commissioned by the BBC, released this month, found that 31 percent of the sample believed the deaths were not an accident." A little research turns up many questions not answered in this report.


LA actor regrets copying election memos
2006-11-22, BusinessWeek
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8LIF2DG0.htm

During the past two years, [Actor Stephen] Heller tapped the family savings and lost two jobs while fighting charges that he took copies of documents from a law firm where he worked. Prosecutors said he copied more than 500 pages of documents, including memos suggesting Diebold may have broken state law by providing Alameda County with electronic voting machines that hadn't been certified by state officials. Soon after, Heller gave the documents to Bev Harris, founder of Black Box Voting, which was involved in a lawsuit claiming Diebold used uncertified software in 17 counties. Harris then turned them over to the secretary of state and the Oakland Tribune. Heller was sentenced Monday to three years probation and ordered to pay his former law firm $10,000 in restitution. The records detailed potential problems with electronic voting machines made by Diebold. Heller was hailed by digital rights and political activists as a whistle-blower who tried to do the right thing. Some observers believe prosecuting Heller could prevent other people from revealing potential flaws with electronic voting systems. Some of Diebold's machines failed to work properly in the March 2004 primary election. Two months later, then-Secretary of State Kevin Shelley decertified 14,000 Diebold electronic voting machines. [Shelley's] lawsuit was eventually joined by the state attorney general's office. Diebold settled for $2.6 million last year. Heller hopes his case will bring about changes and prevent corporations from keeping details of election equipment and software secret. "The only thing that should be secret is our ballots," Heller said.

Note: So a whistleblower who exposes major corruption later proven to be true is fined and penalized. What kind of system is this? For lots more, click here.


Climate experts: Gore's movie gets the science right
2006-06-27, CNN/Associated Press
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/science/06/27/gore.science.ap/index.html

The nation's top climate scientists are giving "An Inconvenient Truth," Al Gore's documentary on global warming, five stars for accuracy. The former vice president's movie -- replete with the prospect of a flooded New York City, an inundated Florida, more and nastier hurricanes, worsening droughts, retreating glaciers and disappearing ice sheets -- mostly got the science right, said all 19 climate scientists who had seen the movie or read the book and answered questions from The Associated Press.


Top Democrat Finds F.D.A.'s Efforts Have Plunged
2006-06-27, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/27/health/policy/27fda.html?ex=1309060800&en=e...

A 15-month inquiry by a top House Democrat has found that enforcement of the nation's food and drug laws declined sharply during the first five years of the Bush administration. For instance, the investigation found, the number of warning letters that the Food and Drug Administration issued to drug companies, medical device makers and others dropped 54 percent, to 535 in 2005 from 1,154 in 2000. The seizure of mislabeled, defective or dangerous products dipped 44 percent. The research found no evidence that such declines could be attributed to increased compliance with regulations. Investigators at the F.D.A. continued to uncover about the same number of problems at drug and device companies as before...but top officials of the agency increasingly overruled the investigators' enforcement recommendations. The investigation found that by almost every measure, enforcement actions had significantly declined from 2000 to 2005. Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at the watchdog organization Public Citizen, noted that the agency now received about $380 million a year in fees from drug makers. "The public," Dr. Wolfe said, "is getting the kind of F.D.A. that the industry is paying for them to get."

Note: For lots more on collusion between government and the medical industry, see our Health Information Center at http://www.WantToKnow.info/healthinformation


AT+T revises privacy policy, says owns customer data
2006-06-22, ABC News/Reuters
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2105967

AT&T Inc. said on Wednesday it was revising its privacy policy, explaining to customers that it owns their phone records and can hand them over to law enforcers if necessary. The changes...come at a time when AT&T and other phone companies face lawsuits claiming they aided a U.S. government domestic spying program by giving the National Security Agency call records of millions of customers without their permission. The new policy, unlike the old one, spells out the fact that AT&T...customer information constitutes "business records that are owned by AT&T. As such, AT&T may disclose such records to protect its legitimate business interests, safeguard others, or respond to legal process." The earlier policy had simply said that...the company could share customer information to "respond to subpoenas, court orders or other legal process, to the extent required and/or permitted by law." Under the new policy...the company also said that it would track viewing information for customers of a television service it is developing in order to help it make recommendations to customers based on their viewing habits. It also said that before customers use its services they must agree to the policy, an element that was not in its previous guidelines.


Bilderberg-bound filmmaker held at airport
2006-06-08, Ottawa Citizen (leading newspaper of Canada's capital city)
http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=f67cbe75-4eed-4daf-877...

Canadian authorities detained an American activist filmmaker at the Ottawa airport late Wednesday night, confiscating his passport, camera equipment and most of his belongings. Citizenship and Immigration Canada agents stopped Alex Jones, whose films include Martial Law 9/11: The Rise of the Police State, and questioned him for nearly four hours before letting him go with only one change of clothes and telling him to return Thursday morning. “It’s really chilling, like a police state,” said Mr. Jones of his detention. Mr. Jones and his crew...travelled to Canada to film a documentary about the Bilderberg group, a secretive group of former politicians and business leaders who are meeting in Ottawa this week. A Citizenship and Immigration representative said that her department was unable to comment on Mr. Jones’ detention.


Documents Shed Light on C.I.A.'s Use of Ex-Nazis
2006-06-06, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/06/washington/06cnd-nazi.html?ex=1307246400&en...

The Central Intelligence Agency took no action after learning the pseudonym and whereabouts of the fugitive Holocaust overseer Adolf Eichmann in 1958, according to C.I.A. documents that shed new light on the spy agency's use of former Nazis as informers after World War II. The United States government...had no policy at the time of pursuing Nazi war criminals. The documents show the C.I.A. "failed to lift a finger" to hunt Eichmann and "forced us to confront not only the moral harm but the practical harm" of relying on intelligence from ex-Nazis. As head of the Gestapo's Jewish affairs office during the war, Eichmann implemented the policy of extermination of European Jewry, promoting the use of gas chambers and having a hand in the murder of millions of Jews. The Eichmann papers are among 27,000 newly declassified pages released by the C.I.A. to the National Archives under Congressional pressure to make public files about former officials of Hitler's regime later used as American agents. The material reinforces the view that most former Nazis gave American intelligence little of value and in some cases proved to be damaging double agents for the Soviet K.G.B. Since Congress passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act in 1998, the Interagency Working Group has persuaded the government to declassify more than 8 million pages of documents. But the group ran into resistance starting in 2002 from the C.I.A., which sought to withhold operational files from the 1940's and 50's.

Note: For more on clandestine government use of Nazi scientists in developing top-secret mind control programs with links for verification, see http://www.WantToKnow.info/mindcontrol10pg


Doctors Make Progress With Mysterious Disease
2006-05-23, KTVU (San Francisco FOX affiliate)
http://www.ktvu.com/news/9264350/detail.html

A horrifying ... disease is affecting thousands of people in the Bay Area, along the Gulf Coast and in Florida. Though some doctors have claimed the malady is psychosomatic, other scientists are making headway unraveling the mystery of Morgellons Disease. Former Oakland A's pitcher Billy Koch has it. And so do his wife and their three children. It started in Oakland four years ago. Koch saved 44 games and was the top reliever in the major leagues. Within two years -- at age 29 -- Billy Koch was out of baseball, partly because of the uncontrollable muscle twitching that went on for months at a time and often kept up him up all night. The disease is characterized by slow-healing skin lesions that often extrude small, dark filaments, especially after bathing. More than 3,000 families nationwide [report] these same unexplained symptoms. Oklahoma State University Professor Randy Wymore was the first scientist to conduct research on this disconcerting disease. He says it's the biggest mystery he's ever been involved in. The UC Davis-trained physiologist is leading a medical team at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa. With cooperation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wymore's team is studying Bay Area patients and others from around the country. His first finding disputes the frequent diagnosis of delusions. He says the filaments are not an external contamination. Instead, they are a substance that materializes somehow inside the body, apparent artifacts of something infectious. More results are expected soon. And Wymore says skin problems are not the worst symptoms. He says a neurotoxin or microorganism may disturb muscle control and memory. "The neurological effects are the much more severe, life altering and much more dangerous of the conditions."

Note: To watch an intriguing five-minute video of the above story on KTVU, click here.


Over 70 Million American Adults Support New 9/11 Investigation
2006-05-22, Yahoo! News/PRWeb
http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20060522/bs_prweb/prweb388743_4

A new Zogby poll reveals that less than half of the American public trusts the official 9/11 story or believes the attacks were adequately investigated. The poll is the first scientific survey of Americans' belief in a 9/11 cover up. Poll results indicate 42% believe there has indeed been a cover up. 45% think "Congress or an International Tribunal should re-investigate the attacks, including whether any US government officials consciously allowed or helped facilitate their success." According to Janice Matthews, executive director of 911truth.org, "These results are both heartening and frankly quite amazing, given the mainstream media's ongoing refusal to cover the most critical questions of that day. The collapse of WTC 7...was not even mentioned by the 9/11 Commission and has seldom been reported in the media. [The poll showed that] only 52% had known about it, but over 70% of this group believe it should have been investigated. 911truth.org is a coalition of researchers, journalists and victim family members working to expose and answer the hundreds of still unresolved questions concerning 9/11, especially the nearly 400 questions that the Family Steering Committee filed with the 9/11 Commission. Initially welcomed by the commissioners as their "road map"...the Commission ultimately ignored 80% of these issues. The victim families' most incisive questions remain unaddressed to this day.

Note: Zogby is a higly respected polling agency used by many major media organizations. Why did the media largely ignore the results of this astounding poll? A previous Zogby poll showed that half of New Yorkers believe US leaders had foreknowledge of the impending 9-11 attacks and 'consciously failed' to act. The highly revealing 9/11 documentary "Loose Change" has at times been ranked the #1 most popular of the many thousands of videos available on Google. In spite of the virtual media blackout, an ever increasing number of people are willing to ask the hard questions.


Top Journalists Prevented From Reporting Major News Stories
2006-05-07, Book - Into the Buzzsaw by Emmy Award Winning Kristina Borjesson
http://www.wanttoknow.info/060507newsjournalistsprevented

"The story was developing a momentum of its own, despite a virtual news blackout from the major media. Ultimately, public pressure forced the national newspapers into the fray. The Washington Post, the NY Times, and the LA Times published stories, but spent little time exploring the CIA's activities. Instead, my reporting became the focus. It was remarkable [my editor] Ceppos wrote, that the four Post reporters assigned to debunk the series "could not find a single significant factual error." A few months later, the Mercury News [due to intense CIA pressure] backed away from the story, publishing a long column by Ceppos apologizing for "shortcomings." The NY Times hailed Ceppos for "setting a brave new standard," and splashed his apology on their front page." (click for more)

    -- Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Webb, excerpted from landmark book Into The Buzzsaw


Taxes Flatten but Deep Pockets Still Bulge
2006-04-17, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-taxday17apr17,1,6526314....

Millionaires and middle-class Americans now pay taxes at almost the same rates. Lower tax rates have contributed to huge increases in the wealth of the wealthy, but so far most people haven't seen significant economic improvement. [The] latest three-year examination of family finances found that average family income fell by 2% between 2001 and 2004. In the previous three-year period, average family income grew by 17%. Thanks to more credit card debt and borrowing against their homes, the 25% of Americans at the bottom of the wealth scale had negative net worth in 2004. The first federal tax code specified a maximum rate of 7%, but after the U.S. entered the war in 1917, Congress boosted the top rate to 77%. The 1986 tax overhaul brought the top rate to 28% in 1988, its lowest level since 1931. President Bush has achieved something close to the flat-rate structure by cutting tax rates on earned income and particularly on dividends and investment profits. Although the top tax rate is 35%, nobody pays that percentage. People with income between $500,000 and $1 million owed the same share of their income... -- 22% -- as did taxpayers reporting at least $1 million in income. Taxpayers in the $100,000 to $200,000 range paid nearly the same rate, 20.6%. Those in the $50,000 to $75,000 range paid 17.4%; taxpayers in the $40,000 to $50,000 range paid 15.8%. During the previous seven economic expansions before the current one, employee compensation rose four times faster than corporate profits. In the current expansion, profits have risen three times faster than compensation.


CNN Raises Serious Questions About 9/11 Over Several Days
2006-03-22, CNN
http://www.WantToKnow.info/cnn9-11cover-up

[March 22] HAMMER: A Charlie Sheen shocker. Tonight, the actor`s stunning statements on 9/11. Maybe the airplanes did not take down the Twin Towers. And maybe the government is covering it all up. SHEEN: The more you look at stuff, especially specific incidents, specific events in and around the fateful day, it just -- it just raises a lot of questions. HAMMER: Charlie Sheen, star of CBS`s successful sitcom, "Two and a Half Men", says point blank, 9/11, the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, this is all a cover up. [March 23] It's been pretty hard to believe the response we got today to the incredible story Showbiz Tonight broke last night, after Charlie Sheens' startling claims that the government may be covering up what really happened on 9/11. So many emails coming in...we've been really overwhelmed today. Between the emails, the blogs, the websites -- everybody is writing and talking about it. [March 27] HAMMER: Over the weekend I had the opportunity to sit down with Sharon stone. She commended Charlie Sheen for having the guts to speak his mind. SHARON STONE: I think you have to be brave enough to say how you feel and stand in the face of authority and say it. That`s why we have freedom of speech. HAMMER: Responses at SHOWBIZ TONIGHT absolutely overwhelming. The e-mails continue to flood in. They were coming in all weekend long. We were asking the question; do you agree there is a government cover-up of 9/11? More than 53,000 of you voted in our online poll. Eighty-three percent of you agreed and said yes; 17 percent of you said no.


Judges liken terror laws to Nazi Germany
2005-10-16, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/legal/article320005.ece

A powerful coalition of judges, senior lawyers and politicians has warned that the Government is undermining freedoms citizens have taken for granted for centuries and that Britain risks drifting towards a police state. One of the country's most eminent judges has said that undermining the independence of the courts has frightening parallels with Nazi Germany. Senior legal figures are worried that "inalienable rights" could swiftly disappear unless Tony Blair ceases attacking the judiciary and freedoms enshrined in the Human Rights Act.


Ex-FBI Chief On Clinton's Scandals
2005-10-06, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/10/06/60minutes/main923095.shtml

When President Bill Clinton appointed Louis Freeh director of the FBI, he called Freeh “a law enforcement legend.” But it also turns out that no FBI director had a more strained relationship with the president who had appointed him. Now he’s written a book, My FBI, and speaks out for the first time about his years as director, and his toxic relationship with Bill Clinton. Here’s how he wrote about the former president: “The problem was with Bill Clinton, the scandals...never ended. Whatever moral compass the president was consulting was leading him in the wrong direction. His closets were full of skeletons just waiting to burst out.” Former Chief of Staff John Podesta says Clinton always referred to the FBI director as ‘Effing’ Freeh...[After] the 1996 Khobar Towers terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, where 19 U.S. servicemen died and more than 370 were wounded, President Clinton had sent the FBI to investigate and promised Americans that those responsible would pay. But Freeh says the President failed to keep his promise. The FBI wanted access to the suspects the Saudis had arrested. Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar said the only way to get access to prisoners would be if the president personally asked the crown prince for access. [Freeh] writes...: “Bill Clinton raised the subject only to tell the crown prince that he understood the Saudi’s reluctance to cooperate, and then he hit Abdullah up for a contribution to the Clinton Presidential Library.”


Pentagon, Senate committee bicker over 9/11 probe
2005-09-23, ABC/Reuters
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1154206

The Pentagon and the Senate Judiciary Committee squabbled publicly on Friday about whether lawmakers could question five key witnesses in public about their claims the U.S. military identified four September 11 hijackers long before the 20001 attacks. The panel's chairman, Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, said at Wednesday's hearing the Pentagon could be guilty of obstructing congressional proceedings. Other lawmakers accused the Defense Department of orchestrating a cover-up. On Friday, the Senate committee announced the Pentagon had reversed its position and would allow the five witnesses to testify at a new public hearing scheduled for October 5. The five witnesses in question were all involved with Able Danger and contend the team identified September 11 ringleader Mohamed Atta and three other hijackers as members of an al Qaeda cell in early 2000. One prospective witness, Army Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, has said publicly that Able Danger members tried to pass the information about Atta along to the FBI three times in September 2000 but were forced by Pentagon lawyers to cancel the meetings. Much of the information related to Able Danger was destroyed in 2000.


Blackwater Down
2005-09-22, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/09/22/opinion/main878822.shtml

The men from Blackwater USA arrived in New Orleans right after Katrina hit. The company known for its private security work guarding senior U.S. diplomats in Iraq beat the federal government and most aid organizations to the scene. About 150 heavily armed Blackwater troops dressed in full battle gear spread out into the chaos of New Orleans. When asked what authority they were operating under, one guy said, "We're on contract with the Department of Homeland Security." Then, pointing to one of his comrades, he said, "He was even deputized by the governor of the state of Louisiana. We can make arrests and use lethal force if we deem it necessary." Says Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, "These private security forces have behaved brutally, with impunity, in Iraq. To have them now on the streets of New Orleans is frightening and possibly illegal." Blackwater is operating under a federal contract...[that] was announced just days after Homeland Security Department spokesperson Russ Knocke told the Washington Post he knew of no federal plans to hire Blackwater. With President Bush using the Katrina disaster to try to repeal Posse Comitatus (the ban on using U.S. troops in domestic law enforcement)...the war is coming home in yet another ominous way. As one Blackwater mercenary said, "This is a trend. You're going to see a lot more guys like us in these situations."


Able Danger disabled
2005-08-13, Toledo Blade
http://toledoblade.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050813/COLUMNIST14/508130...

What may be a bigger scandal is that the staff of the 9/11 Commission knew of Able Danger and what it had found, but made no mention of it in its report. This is as if the commission that investigated the attack on Pearl Harbor had written its final report without mentioning the Japanese. Mr. Weldon unveiled Able Danger in a speech on the House floor June 27, but his remarks didn't attract attention until the New York Times reported on them Tuesday. When the story broke, former Rep. Lee Hamilton, a Democrat from Indiana, co-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, at first denied the commission had ever been informed of what Able Danger had found, and took a swipe at Mr. Weldon's credibility: "The Sept. 11th Commission did not learn of any U.S. government knowledge prior to 9/11 of the surveillance of Mohammed Atta or his cell," Mr. Hamilton said. "Had we learned of it obviously it would have been a major focus of our investigation." Mr. Hamilton changed his tune after the New York Times reported Thursday, and the Associated Press confirmed, that commission staff had been briefed on Able Danger in October, 2003, and again in July, 2004. The 9/11 commission wrote history as it wanted it to be, not as it was. The real history of what happened that terrible September day has yet to be written.


100 MPG Car Heralded by London Times in 2002 - Where is it now?
2004-12-02, WantToKnow.info/London Times
http://www.WantToKnow.info/carmileage

Note: The Toyota Eco Spirit was the talk of the fuel economy car industry in 2002. At over 100 MPG and with the lowest exhaust emissions and a very reasonable sticker price, the Eco Spirit's debut was widely anticipated (see London Times article). Now, over two years later, what happened to it? If you do an Internet search, you will find that Toyota decided not to be move forward with it. Why in these times of soaring oil prices would they not rush this car into mass production?


Hack The Vote 2004
2004-11-00, Popular Mechanics
http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/1303046.html?page=3&c=y

A team of former National Security Agency (NSA) computer experts conducted a weeklong exercise with six Diebold machines and a server. According to team leader Michael Wertheimer, the group uncovered "considerable security risks." They found that the smart cards used to provide supervisors with access to the machines could be easily hacked; the removable media containing voting information was protected by flimsy locks that the team picked in under a minute using bent paper clips. The paper clips weren't even necessary, since all 32,000 keys supplied by Diebold for the machines are identical, allowing any key to open all of the machines. On the software side, the most glaring weakness was in election headquarters servers: Dell PCs ran the Windows 2000 operating system without Microsoft's security upgrade patches, which left servers susceptible to viruses and worms, enabling a remote attacker to tamper with election systems by phone.


Cancer "Cure"
1930-05-26, Time Magazine
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,739328,00.html

Very cagily did Dr. Edward Sigfrid Sundstroem of the University of California Medical School at Berkeley report last week that experimentally he had cured laboratory-developed cancer in rats by keeping them for three to six weeks in low pressure tanks. The reduced oxygen tension in those tanks simulated atmospheric conditions on tops of mountains four to five miles high. His hesitancy in making the report was due to: 1) ordinary scientific cautiousness; 2) the misinterpretation of the experimental adrenal cortex cancer treatment being tried out by Drs. Walter Bernard Coffey and John Davis Humber in San Francisco. Previous experimenters have retarded growth of cancer cells by low tension oxygen treatment. Dr. Sundstroem declared his were the first "cures" by this means. In it one great danger exists. Minute care must be taken in reducing the atmospheric pressure in the tanks very slowly, else the rats die. Because of this, half of Dr. Sundstroem's test rats died. Of 133 which lived, 83% were definitely freed of their laboratory cancer.

Note: Why wasn't this seriously pursued so that the number who died could be reduced? If 83% of those who survived their cancer were cured, there was clearly great potential there. For a possible answer, click here.


Civil liberties group ACLU seeks help using anti-Trump donations
2017-02-01, BBC News
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38822229

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is turning to Silicon Valley after receiving a surge in funds from opponents of US President Donald Trump. The non-profit organisation received $24m (Ł19m) last weekend after a controversial immigration order was issued on Friday. ACLU is teaming up with Y Combinator - which usually works with start-ups - over how to best utilise the donations. The donations made online at the weekend were six times the yearly average the organisation receives. How could Y Combinator help ACLU? The California-based firm ... helps its clients - usually start-ups - with funding as well as mentorship and networking. It typically deals with young companies looking to grow, but has dealt with mature organisations in the past. Y Combinator said it was contributing an undisclosed sum of money and would send some of its staff to the ACLU's New York offices. Y Combinator's founder Sam Altman, an outspoken critic of Mr Trump's, said: "We've been talking to them (ACLU) for some time. We were generally planning to get started more slowly, but things are so urgent now." Mr Trump's executive order bans immigrants from seven majority-Muslim countries from entering the country for 90 days. The US refugee program has also been suspended for 120 days. The ACLU, which has been around for about a century, was among the first to react to the order. It filed a lawsuit which led a federal judge to halt deportations of people detained in US airports.

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


TV News and the Idea of Truth
2015-02-17, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/17/us/tv-news-and-the-idea-of-truth.html?_r=0

I have been the guest of both Jon Stewart and Brian Williams, the newsy comedian and the comedic newsman who announced very different sorts of leave-taking last week. As they depart — Mr. Stewart honorably, Mr. Williams with his integrity in doubt — I found myself recalling very different experiences on their shows. On Mr. Stewart’s show, the truth was a process; on Mr. Williams’s, it was an outcome. “The Daily Show” deconstructed purported truths. “Nightly News” took precarious facts and fallible “experts” and constructed them into something purporting to be Truth. An under-told aspect of Mr. Stewart’s legacy is how much his deconstructing spirit meant to many in the less open parts of the world. On a reporting trip to China some years ago, I was struck by the risks young people took to download the show illegally and, in some cases, to subtitle and disseminate it for others. I telephoned one such Stewart fan in Beijing to ask how she was coping with his departure. “We hope he can delay his resigning until after the 2016 election,” said Maggie Chen. “We’re not interested in your politics,” she said, adding: “We’re interested in the style of the show, and the idea that you can use jokes to tell the truth.” As a young Chinese woman living through a widening crackdown on free speech, Ms. Chen admires the show’s exploration of “the things behind the news or within the news.”

Note: "The Daily Show" has used irreverent comedy to talk about NSA spying, financial industry malfeasance, racial inequality, and even to celebrate child heroes of a global human rights struggle.


Pope Prays in Istanbul Mosque in New Outreach
2014-11-29, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/pope-visits-iconic-religious-sites-ist...

Pope Francis stood Saturday for two minutes of silent prayer facing east in one of Turkey's most important mosques, a powerful vision of Christian-Muslim understanding at a time when neighboring countries are experiencing violent Islamic assault on Christians and religious minorities. The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi called it a moment of "silent adoration." It was a remarkably different atmosphere from Francis' first day in Turkey, when the simple and frugal pope was visibly uncomfortable with the pomp and protocol required of him for the state visit part of his trip. With President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's mega-palace, honor guard and horseback escort now behind him, Francis got down to the business of being pope, showing respect to Muslim leaders, celebrating Mass for Istanbul's tiny Catholic community and meeting with the spiritual leader of the world's 300 million Orthodox Christians. Francis' visit comes at an exceedingly tense time for Turkey, with Islamic State militants grabbing territory next door in Syria and Iraq and sending some 1.6 million refugees fleeing across the border. Some refugees were expected to attend Francis' final event on Sunday before he returns to Rome. Francis was following in the footsteps of Pope Benedict XVI, who visited Turkey in 2006 amid heightened Christian-Muslim tensions over a now-infamous papal speech linking violence with the Prophet Mohammed.

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


The 3 best plants to clean your air
2014-04-03, The Intelligent Optimist
http://theoptimist.com/3-best-plants-clean-air/#!CRsQt

The world’s air quality is deplorable. You don’t have to look far to find examples of how bad it is. Harder to find are solutions to this problem. Government mandates and clean air initiatives help the goal of reducing greenhouse gases on a larger scale, but these measures do little to help improve the quality of air that you’re breathing right now. [Here is information about] three plants that create enough oxygen to keep you alive, even if you’re sitting with them inside a sealed container, though we don’t suggest you try that. Dypsis lutescens [or] bamboo palm: In addition to removing carbon dioxide from the air and replacing it with oxygen, the bamboo palm filters out air particles that can be dangerous when inhaled. The main particles the bamboo palm removes from the air are xylene, a byproduct of the petroleum and chemical industries, and toluene, a component of car exhaust. It is recommended to have 4 shoulder high palms per person in your house. Sansevieria trifasciata [or] snake plant: Snake plant ... converts carbon dioxide to oxygen at night [and] removes nitrogen oxide, a by-product of car exhaust and fertilizer, and formaldehyde, a component of textile and wood production, from its environment. It is suggested to have 6–8 waist high plants per person per household. Epipremnum aureum [or] devil’s ivy: Devil’s ivy ... filters out formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene, a byproduct of petroleum combustion, from the air you’re breathing. A handful of these 12-inch high plants should do wonders for making the air quality in your house better.

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


9/11 conspiracy theories
2011-08-29, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-14572054

Conspiracy theories have proliferated following the attacks in the US on 11 September 2001. An opinion poll ... for BBC's The Conspiracy Files in 2011, found that 14% of people questioned in the UK and 15% in the US did not believe the official explanation that al-Qaeda was responsible, and instead believed the US government was involved in a wider conspiracy. Among 16 to 24-year-olds that belief rises to around one in four. Ten years on from the attacks [conspiracy theories] now question every aspect of the official account. The starting point for 9/11 conspiracies is that many people find it hard to believe 19 young men, armed with just knives and box-cutters, could casually walk through airport security, hijack four commercial planes and then within the space of 77 minutes destroy three of the iconic symbols of America's power, in the face of the world's most powerful and technologically-advanced military superpower. It is a similar argument that questions whether a lone gunman could have killed President John F Kennedy, then the most powerful and best-protected man on the earth, or how someone so special as Princess Diana could die in a car crash. "We don't know the full story of exactly what happened," says American radio talk show host Alex Jones. "It needs to be investigated."

Note: For questions raised about the 9/11 attacks by highly credible and respected professionals, click here and here.


Tracking The Companies That Track You Online
2010-08-19, NPR
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129298003

One of the fastest-growing online businesses is the business of spying on Internet users by using sophisticated software to track movements through the Web, so that the information can be sold to advertisers. Julia Angwin recently led a team of reporters from The Wall Street Journal in analyzing the tracking software. They discovered that nearly all of the most commonly visited websites gather information in real time about the behavior of online users. The Journal series identified more than 100 tracking companies, data brokers and advertising networks collecting data — which are then sold on a stock market-like exchange to online advertisers. Angwin explains how consumer surveillance works, how users can disable the tracking software — and how advertisers are continually evolving to keep up with the data they receive. She notes that many Internet users are unaware that their information is being tracked and then traded. "Most people that we have heard from since writing these stories did not know what was going on," Angwin explains. "So when you go to a website, you're not thinking about the fact that they might have relationships with all different types of monitoring firms, and those firms are installing things that are invisible to you on your computer."

Note: Julia Angwin is senior technology editor of The Wall Street Journal, and author of the book, Stealing MySpace: The Battle to Control the Most Popular Website in America. For lots more on growing threats to privacy, click here.


Administration Seeks to Keep Terror Watch-List Data Secret
2009-09-06, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/05/AR20090905022...

The Obama administration wants to maintain the secrecy of terrorist watch-list information it routinely shares with federal, state and local agencies, a move that rights groups say would make it difficult for people who have been improperly included on such lists to challenge the government. Intelligence officials in the administration are pressing for legislation that would exempt "terrorist identity information" from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Such information -- which includes names, aliases, fingerprints and other biometric identifiers -- is widely shared with law enforcement agencies and intelligence "fusion centers," which combine state and federal counterterrorism resources. Advocates for civil liberties and open government argue that the administration has not proved the secrecy is necessary and that the proposed changes could make the government less accountable for errors on watch lists. The proposed FOIA exemption has been included in pending House and Senate intelligence authorization bills at the administration's request. "Instead of enhancing accountability, this would remove accountability one or two steps further away," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy. David Sobel, senior counsel for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy advocacy group, said the government has successfully used existing FOIA exemptions to deny requests for watch-list records. Rather than expanding the list of FOIA exemptions, Congress should pay more attention to improving the procedures for helping people who have been improperly included on the watch list, Sobel said. "There's a serious redress problem," he said. "That's the issue that needs to be addressed."

Note: For lots more on government secrecy from reliable, verifiable sources, click here.


'Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11' by Kathryn S. Olmsted
2009-02-28, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/features/booksmags/chi-0228-real-enemiesfeb28,0...

In August 2006, almost five years after the catastrophic attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a poll by Scripps Howard and Ohio University found that 36 percent of respondents thought it "very likely" or "somewhat likely" that officials of the federal government "either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or took no action to stop them." The poll also found that those who regularly use the Internet but do not habitually consult mainstream media "are significantly more likely to believe in 9/11 conspiracies." Kathryn S. Olmsted, in her exquisitely researched and annotated new book Real Enemies: Conspiracy Theories and American Democracy, World War I to 9/11, points out that although such views "may seem to belong to the fringe," they are held by millions of Americans and a majority of those between the ages of 18 and 29. In fact, Olmsted asserts that the tendency to see conspiracies everywhere "long ago spread from the margins into the main body of American political culture," and that the quelling of political dissent is an exacerbating factor. She has set out to track the history and patterning of conspiratorial beliefs as they relate to politics and public policy. Her thesis — that conspiracy theories thrive in part because the government has misled the public or acted illegally and covertly, and been caught at it frequently enough to make them credible — is a disconcerting one. But the historical detail she marshals (which demonstrates a tendency for fusion of far-left and far-right political views) is persuasive in its cumulative power.

Note: For more on the important Scripps/Howard poll showing that high percentages of American citizens suspect US government complicity in the 9/11 attacks, click here. For a 15-minute clip of a powerfully revealing documentary on this, 9/11: Press for Truth, click here.


'Soldiers of Conscience': To kill or not kill
2008-10-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/14/DDBL13G653.DTL

As independent documentary filmmakers from Berkeley, husband and wife Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan knew the Army's press office might be suspicious of their request to interview soldiers for a film about the morality of killing. Much to their surprise, though, the Army brass not only granted access to recruits on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan, but the couple's new film, "Soldiers of Conscience," which airs Thursday on PBS, also struck such a deep chord among the military, it's now to be shown in sophomore ethics classes at West Point. "They sent us a very nice, but terse, statement after they viewed it," Weimberg recalled of the military press aides who signed off on the finished product. "It read: This is approved. And, Thank you." In "Soldiers," Weimberg and Ryan focus on eight young soldiers, four of whom decide they can't pull the trigger after they reach the battlefield. Viewers may wonder why anyone with pacifist tendencies would join the Army, but each soldier has a trench epiphany - what the military calls a "crystallization of conscience" - and it's clear only the realities of wars can dredge up such emotions. The filmmakers do their utmost to ignore politics - their subjects barely mention their commander in chief's arguments for war - focusing, instead, on how soldiers marshall the will to attack. "It's not a film about Iraq," Ryan said. "Even in the wars that are supposed to be 'good wars' and fought for 'good reasons,' this question gets raised, and these stories occur."

Note: For many key reports on the realities of the Iraq and Afghan wars, click here.


'Gitmo On The Platte' Set As Holding Cell For DNC
2008-08-13, CBS4 TV (Denver CBS affiliate)
http://cbs4denver.com/denver2008/denver.protesters.arrested.2.793930.html

CBS4 News has learned if mass arrests happen at the Democratic Convention, those taken into custody will be jailed in a warehouse owned by the City of Denver. Protesters have already given this place a name: "Gitmo on the Platte." Inside are dozens are metal cages. They are made out of chain link fence material and topped by rolls of barbed wire. In past conventions, mass arrests have taken place. Each of the fenced areas is about 5 yards by 5 yards and there is a lock on the door. A sign on the wall reads "Warning! Electric stun devices used in this facility." CBS4 showed its video to leaders of groups that plan to demonstrate during the convention. "Very bare bones and very reminiscent of a political prisoner camp or a concentration camp," said Zoe Williams of Code Pink. "That's how you treat cattle," said Adam Jung of the group Tent State University. "You showed the sign where it said stun gun in use and you just change the word gun for bolt and it's a meat processing plant." The American Civil Liberties Union is asking the City of Denver how prisoners will get access to food and water, bathrooms, telephones, plus medical care, and if there will be a place to meet with attorneys.

Note: For many reliable and verifiable reports on threats to a free and fair electoral process in the U.S., click here.


Pentagon to Consult Academics on Security
2008-06-18, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/18/arts/18minerva.html?partner=rssuserland&emc...

The Pentagon has started an ambitious and unusual program to recruit social scientists and direct the nation’s brainpower to combating security threats like the Chinese military, Iraq, terrorism and religious fundamentalism. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has compared the initiative — named Minerva, after the Roman goddess of wisdom (and warriors) — to the government’s effort to pump up its intellectual capital during the cold war after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957. Although the Pentagon regularly finances science and engineering research, systematic support for the social sciences and humanities has been rare. But if the uncustomary push to engage the nation’s evolutionary psychologists, demographers, sociologists, historians and anthropologists in security research — as well as the prospect of new financial support in lean times — has generated excitement among some scholars, it has also aroused opposition from others, who worry that the Defense Department and the academy are getting too cozy. Cooperation between universities and the Pentagon has long been a contentious issue. The Pentagon put out its first requests for proposals last week. Minerva will award $50 million over five years. Another set of grants administered by the National Science Foundation is expected to be announced by the end of this month. [Gates] contacted Robert M. Berdahl, [former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley and] the president of the Association of American Universities — which represents 60 of the top research universities in the country — in December to help design Minerva.

Note: For many revealing reports on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.


Herschel Walker: 'Tell the World My Truth'
2008-04-14, CBS News
http://media.abcnews.com/Nightline/story?id=4643971&page=1&singlePage=true

Herschel Walker has always been something of a puzzle. As difficult as the star running back was to bring down on the field, it was harder, still, to figure out what made him tick. "I told somebody once, 'You don't want the Herschel that plays football ... babysitting your child," Walker told ABC News correspondent Bob Woodruff. "When I am competing, I am a totally different person.'" He means it literally. For the first time, the 46-year-old former professional football player reveals in a book ..., Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder, that he has a rare and controversial mental illness called dissociative identity disorder — or D.I.D. — formerly known as multiple personality disorder. "I had it the whole time, I just didn't know what it was," Walker said. The athlete who played 15 seasons of professional football in the NFL and USFL and pushed a bobsled for the 1992 U.S. Olympic team in Albertville, France; the family man who married his college sweetheart; the man who once danced with the Fort Worth Ballet; the business man — Walker says none of those guys were him. Not really. Those were his "alters," he says -- alternate personalities. The disorder usually has its roots in childhood trauma. "I was a fat little kid with a speech impediment," Walker told Woodruff. "I used to get beat up, not just picked on." Walker's therapist Jerry Mungadze, said he met Walker's alternate personalities, or alters, in therapy. Walker and Mungadze believe the disorder actually helped Walker — who started for a number of NFL teams, including the Minnesota Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys — succeed on the gridiron.

Note: To watch the moving two-part video of this ABC news interview, click here and here. For a concise introduction to secret government programs which used D.I.D. to create Manchurian Candidates, as revealed in declassified CIA documents, click here.


Machine May Offer Novel Approach In Cancer Fight
2008-04-14, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/04/10/60minutes/main4006951.shtml

The last thing John Kanzius thought he'd ever do was try to cure cancer. A former radio and television executive from Pennsylvania, he came to Florida to enjoy his retirement. "I have no business being in the cancer business. It's not something that a layman like me should be in, it should be left to doctors and research people," he told [CBS] correspondent Lesley Stahl. It was the worst kind of luck that gave Kanzius the idea to use radio waves to kill cancer cells: six years ago, he was diagnosed with terminal leukemia and since then has undergone 36 rounds of toxic chemotherapy. But it wasn't his own condition that motivated him, it was looking into the hollow eyes of sick children on the cancer ward at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. "I saw the smiles of youth and saw their spirits were broken. And you could see that they were ... asking, 'Why can't they do something for me?'" Kanzius told Stahl. "And I said, 'There's got to be a better way to treat cancer.'" It was during one of those sleepless nights that the light bulb went off. When he was young, Kanzius was one of those kids who built radios from scratch, so he knew the hidden power of radio waves. Sick from chemo, he got out of bed, went to the kitchen, and started to build a radio wave machine. "Started looking in the cupboard and I saw pie pans and I said, 'These are perfect. I can modify these,'" he recalled. His wife Marianne woke up that night to a lot of banging and clamoring. "I was concerned truthfully that he had lost it," she told Stahl. "She felt sorry for me," Kanzius added. "I did," Marianne Kanzius acknowledged. "And I had mentioned to him, 'Honey, the doctors can't-you know, find an answer to cancer. How can you think that you can?'" That's what 60 Minutes wanted to know, so Stahl went to his garage laboratory to find out.

Note: This CBS News report was broadcast on 60 Minutes. To watch the video of the broadcast, click on the link above.


Greater Use of Privilege Spurs Concern
2008-01-29, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/28/AR20080128024...

The U.S. government has been increasing its use of the state secrets privilege to avoid disclosure of classified information in civil lawsuits. Some legal scholars and members of Congress contend that the Bush administration has employed it excessively as it intervened in cases that could expose information about sensitive programs. These include the rendition of detainees to foreign countries for interrogation and cases related to the National Security Agency's use of warrantless wiretaps. The privilege allows the government to argue that lawsuits -- and the information potentially revealed by them -- could damage national security. It gives judges the power to prevent information from reaching public view or to dismiss cases even if they appear to have merit. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) ... cited statistics that show the Bush administration has used the state secrets privilege substantially more, on a percentage basis, than previous administrations to block or dismiss lawsuits. Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation ... said "The administration is attempting to use the privilege as a back-door immunity to obtain dismissal of any case that attempts to put the NSA wiretapping issue in front of a judge. It is no secret such a program existed."

Note: For many disturbing reports on government secrecy from reliable sources, click here.


Prisons to Restore Purged Religious Books
2007-09-27, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/27/washington/27prison.html?ex=1348545600&en=0...

Facing pressure from religious groups, civil libertarians and members of Congress, the federal Bureau of Prisons has decided to return religious materials that had been purged from prison chapel libraries because they were not on the bureau’s lists of approved resources. After the details of the removal became widely known this month, Republican lawmakers, liberal Christians and evangelical talk shows all criticized the government for creating a list of acceptable religious books. In an e-mail message Wednesday, the bureau said: “In response to concerns expressed by members of several religious communities, the Bureau of Prisons has decided to alter its planned course of action with respect to the Chapel Library Project. The bureau will begin immediately to return to chapel libraries materials that were removed in June 2007, with the exception of any publications that have been found to be inappropriate, such as material that could be radicalizing or incite violence. The review of all materials in chapel libraries will be completed by the end of January 2008.” Only a week ago the bureau said it was not reconsidering the library policy. But critics of the bureau’s program said it appeared that the bureau had bowed to widespread outrage. “Certainly putting the books back on the shelves is a major victory, and it shows the outcry from all over the country was heard,” said Moses Silverman, a lawyer for three prisoners who are suing the bureau over the program. “But regarding what they do after they put them back ... I remain concerned that the criteria for returning the books will be constitutional and lawful.”


Prisons Purging Books on Faith From Libraries
2007-09-10, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/10/us/10prison.html?ex=1347076800&en=8aca150d6...

Behind the walls of federal prisons nationwide, chaplains have been quietly carrying out a systematic purge of religious books and materials that were once available to prisoners in chapel libraries. The chaplains were directed by the Bureau of Prisons to clear the shelves of any books, tapes, CDs and videos that are not on a list of approved resources. In some prisons, the chaplains have recently dismantled libraries that had thousands of texts collected over decades, bought by the prisons, or donated by churches and religious groups. Some inmates are outraged. Two of them, a Christian and an Orthodox Jew, in a federal prison camp in upstate New York, filed a class-action lawsuit last month claiming the bureau’s actions violate their rights to the free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the First Amendment and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bureau, an agency of the Justice Department, defended its effort, which it calls the Standardized Chapel Library Project, as a way of barring access to materials that could, in its words, “discriminate, disparage, advocate violence or radicalize.” “It’s swatting a fly with a sledgehammer,” said Mark Earley, president of Prison Fellowship, a Christian group. “There’s no need to get rid of literally hundreds of thousands of books that are fine simply because you have a problem with an isolated book or piece of literature that presents extremism.” A chaplain who has worked more than 15 years in the prison system, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is a bureau employee, said: “At some of the penitentiaries, guys have been studying and reading for 20 years, and now they are told that this material doesn’t meet some kind of criteria. It doesn’t make sense to them."


CEO pay: 364 times more than workers
2007-08-29, Money magazine
http://money.cnn.com/2007/08/28/news/economy/ceo_pay_workers/index.htm

Pay comparisons almost always leave someone feeling dwarfed, and none more so than the CEO-to-worker pay gap. But even CEOs have reason to feel seriously dwarfed these days, thanks to the outsized paychecks of private equity and hedge fund managers. The average CEO of a large U.S. company made roughly $10.8 million last year, or 364 times that of U.S. full-time and part-time workers, who made an average of $29,544, according to a joint analysis released Wednesday by the liberal Institute for Policy Studies and United for a Fair Economy. The IPS and UFE pay-gap numbers are also wider than some other measures of CEO-to-worker pay because they count both full-time and part-time workers in their calculations, which effectively lowers workers' average pay due to fewer hours worked. If you just consider the average compensation (wages plus benefits) of full-time year-round workers in non-managerial jobs - roughly $40,000 - CEO pay is more like 270 times bigger than the average Joe's. That's still a far cry from days gone by. In 1989, for instance, U.S. CEOs of large companies earned 71 times more than the average worker, according to the Economic Policy Institute. The top 20 CEOs of U.S. companies made an average of $36.4 million in 2006. The pay gap numbers don't include the value of the many perks CEOs receive, which averaged $438,342, according to the report. Nor do they include the pension benefits CEOs receive. But even including all that, CEO pay can look like chump change next to private equity and hedge fund managers' pay. Those managers made an average of $657.5 million in 2006 - more than 16,000 times what the average full-time worker makes, and roughly 61 times that of the average CEO.


New Details on Tillman's Death
2007-07-27, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=3419299

Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime. "The medical evidence did not match up with the ... scenario as described," a doctor who examined Tillman's body after he was killed on the battlefield in Afghanistan in 2004 told investigators. The doctors ... said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away. The medical examiners' suspicions were outlined in 2,300 pages of testimony released to the AP this week by the Defense Department in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. Among other information contained in the documents: Army attorneys sent each other congratulatory e-mails for keeping criminal investigators at bay as the Army conducted an internal friendly-fire investigation that resulted in administrative, or non-criminal, punishments. The three-star general who kept the truth about Tillman's death from his family and the public told investigators some 70 times that he had a bad memory and couldn't recall details of his actions. No evidence at all of enemy fire was found at the scene, no one was hit by enemy fire, nor was any government equipment struck. The military initially told the public and the Tillman family that he had been killed by enemy fire. Only weeks later did the Pentagon acknowledge he was gunned down by fellow Rangers. With questions lingering about how high in the Bush administration the deception reached, Congress is preparing for yet another hearing next week.


Congress eyes voting machines in disputed race
2007-06-15, Miami Herald (Miami's leading newspaper)
http://www.miamiherald.com/569/story/140319.html

A congressional task force called Thursday for a speedy resolution to a southwest Florida election dispute that questions the accuracy of ATM-style voting machines. Democrat Christine Jennings claims that touch-screen voting machines in Sarasota County failed to register up to 18,000 votes. Republican Vern Buchanan was declared the winner by 369 votes after two recounts and a state audit found no problems. GAO investigators will gather information on Sarasota County's voting systems, analyze the 18,000 so-called ''undervotes,'' review tests and audits done after the election and determine if more tests are needed. Jennings said Thursday the she was pleased even though the approach brings her no closer to gaining access to hardware and software that the machines' maker, Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems & Software Inc., says is a trade secret.

Note: The software in electronic voting machines is considered proprietary information, kept secret from Congress, the courts and even the President. Yet any computer programmer will tell you that this software can be manipulated. To join in demanding transparency in our elections process, contact your political representatives by clicking here. For more reliable information on this issue vital to democracy, click here.


Charges dropped for Cuban militant
2007-05-10, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/05/10/MNGAMPO4IS1.DTL

In a case that critics say demonstrates a U.S. double standard on terrorism, a federal judge has dismissed all charges against Luis Posada Carriles, a former CIA operative who has been accused of masterminding a 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airplane that killed 73 people and a series of 1997 bombings in Havana. Posada, 79, is expected to return soon to his home in Miami as a hero of that city's anti-Castro right wing, despite U.S. government documents made public recently that have tied him to terrorist acts. [In 1959, Posada] began a long association with the CIA, receiving training in sabotage and explosives at the U.S. School of the Americas for the 1961 invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs. He also was involved in a 1965 attempt to overthrow the Guatemalan government. On Oct. 6, 1976, a Cubana jet was blown up in midair after leaving Barbados for Havana. CIA documents released in 2005 indicate that the agency had prior knowledge of the plot, and a recently declassified FBI document placed Posada at two meetings where the bombing was planned. "The CIA taught us everything," Posada said in a 1998 interview with the New York Times. "They taught us explosives, how to kill, bomb, trained us in acts of sabotage." In 1997, Posada was linked to a series of bombings of hotels, restaurants and night clubs in Havana. In August 2003 ... the Miami bureau of the FBI made the unexpected decision to close its terrorism case on Posada. Subsequently, according to FBI officials, five boxes of evidence were removed from the bureau's evidence room and destroyed.

Note: Why is the U.S. government releasing a suspected terrorist who has stacks of evidence against him? And why is the CIA training terrorists? Read this article and click here for some possible answers.


Kucinich Introduces Impeachment Articles Against Cheney
2007-04-24, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/24/AR20070424015...

We hold these truths to be self-evident: That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights; that, among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men ... and, whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it. These words from the Declaration of Independence are instructive. Because not only whenever any form of government, but whenever any government official becomes destructive of the founding purposes, that official or those officials must be held accountable. Because I believe the vice president's conduct of office has been destructive to the founding purposes of our nation ... I have introduced House Resolution 333, Articles of Impeachment Relating to Vice President Richard B. Cheney. It became obvious to me that this vice president, who was a driving force for taking the United States into a war against Iraq under false pretenses, is once again rattling the sabers of war against Iran with the same intent to drive America into another war, again based on false pretenses. Preceding the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, the vice president was fully informed that no legitimate evidence existed of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the vice president actively and systematically sought to deceive the citizens and the Congress ... about an alleged threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The vice president pressured the intelligence community to change their findings to enable the deception of the citizens and the Congress of the United States.

Note: To sign a petition in support of impeachment, click here.


The Dubai Deal You Don't Know About
2006-03-09, Time Magazine
http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1171773,00.html

Dubai Ports World, the firm at the center of the controversy, announced today that it would give up its bid to manage U.S. ports, agreeing to transfer the contracts to a “U.S. entity." Yet while one Dubai company may be giving up on U.S. ports, another one shows no signs of...giving up a contract with the Navy to provide shore services for vessels in the Middle East. The firm, Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS)...was sold to a Dubai government investment vehicle for $285 million. Why is a Dubai shipping services company doing business with the Pentagon when handing over U.S. port operations to the emirate would supposedly compromise national security? ISS “will be responsible for providing all the logistics requirements of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in ports throughout the [Middle East] region.” The release also notes that ISS may be asked to provide services for U.S. military training exercises and “contingency operations inland.” ISS’s partner for those services? None other than KBR, the division of Halliburton -- Vice President Dick Cheney’s old firm -- that has won billions of dollars in contracts for the Iraq war and reconstruction. Ironically, Halliburton's name has come up as a possible candidate to be the "U.S. entity" to take over the U.S. ports management from Dubai Ports World.


Midwest Oil fined for selling gas too cheaply
2006-02-24, Star Tribune (Leading newspaper of Minneapolis-St. Paul)
http://www.startribune.com/535/story/267143.html

The Minnesota Commerce Department on Thursday announced plans to fine a gas station chain $140,000 for repeatedly selling gas below the state's legal minimum price. The fine against Midwest Oil of Minnesota is twice as large as any imposed on a company since 2001, when the state established a formula based on wholesale prices, fees and taxes to determine a daily floor for gas prices. The price law was intended to prevent large oil companies from driving smaller competitors out of business, but some critics argue it fails to protect consumers. According to the Commerce Department, the Midwest-owned stations in Anoka, Oakdale and Albert Lea sold gas below the minimum price on 293 days in 2005. Kevin Murphy, deputy commissioner of the department, called the violations "willful, continuing, and egregious and warrant a substantial penalty."


Report: Gov't Secrecy Grows, Costs More
2005-09-03, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/03/AR20050903014...

The government is withholding more information than ever from the public and expanding ways of shrouding data. Last year, federal agencies spent a record $148 creating and storing new secrets for each $1 spent declassifying old secrets, a coalition of watchdog groups reported Saturday. In the late 1990s, the ratio was $15-$17 a year to $1, according to the secrecy report card by OpenTheGovernment.org. Overall, the government spent $7.2 billion in 2004 stamping 15.6 million documents "top secret," "secret" or "confidential." That almost doubled the 8.6 million new documents classified as recently as 2001. Last year, the number of pages declassified declined for the fourth straight year to 28.4 million. In 2001, 100 million pages were declassified; the record was 204 million pages in 1997. These figures cover 41 federal agencies, excluding the CIA, whose classification totals are secret. The report also noted the growing use of secret searches, court secrecy, closed meetings by government advisory groups and patents kept from public view. J. William Leonard, director of the National Archives' Information Security Oversight Office,...said, "the great lesson of 9-11 is that improper hoarding of information can cost lives and harm national security."


FBI surprise on top domestic terror threat
2005-05-19, MSNBC/AP
http://msnbc.msn.com/id/7908466/

Environmental and animal rights extremists who have turned to arson and explosives are the nation’s top domestic terrorism threat, the FBI has told lawmakers. Groups such as the Animal Liberation Front, the Earth Liberation Front and the Britain-based SHAC, or Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty, are “way out in front” in terms of damage and number of crimes, John Lewis, the FBI’s deputy assistant director for counterterrorism, told a Senate hearing Wednesday. “Just like al-Qaida or any other terrorist organization, ELF and ALF cannot accomplish their goals without money, membership and the media,” Inhofe said. The FBI said 35 of its offices have 150 open investigations, and activists are claiming responsibility for 1,200 crimes between 1990 and mid-2004.


Secret program left toxic legacy
2000-09-05, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/news/poison/001.htm

The U.S. government secretly hired hundreds of private companies during the 1940s and '50s to process huge volumes of nuclear weapons material, leaving a legacy of poisoned workers and contaminated communities that lingers to this day. From mom-and-pop machine shops to big-name chemical firms, private manufacturing facilities across the nation were quietly converted to the risky business of handling tons of uranium, thorium, polonium, beryllium and other radioactive and toxic substances. Few of the contractors were prepared for the hazards of their government-sponsored missions. Thousands of workers were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, often hundreds of times stronger than the limits of the time. Dozens of communities were contaminated, their air, ground and water fouled by toxic and radioactive waste. The risks were kept hidden. In some cases, they have remained so. The full story of the secret contracting effort has never been told. Many of the companies that were involved have been forgotten, the impact of their operations unexamined for half a century. Yet their history carries profound implications for the thousands of people they employed, as well as for the thousands who lived — and still live — near the factories.

Note: For key reports from major media sources on government secrecy, click here.


Blind artist's painting passion
2000-08-10, BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/872434.stm

A financial analyst who was devastated when she lost her sight has taken up a new career: painting. Lisa Fittipaldi ... has created more than 400 works of art. Her pictures now sell from $2,800 to $10,000 and hang in some of the most exclusive galleries in the United States. Mrs Fittipaldi was robbed of her sight seven years ago by a degenerative vascular disease. The gift of a child's water colour set has changed her life. Her husband, Al, gave her the painting kit to stop her feeling sorry for herself. Even though Lisa had never painted before, a star of the art world was born. She does not do abstracts, but instead paints images from memories from her travels. She uses a technique she describes as mental mapping to work her way around a canvas, by dividing it up into quadrants. And how does she find the right colours? "In water colours, I used to differentiate between colours by dipping my fingers in it," she said. "The pigment of blue is a little bit drier, a bit stickier than red." She is encountering new hurdles as she attempts to progress from water colours to oils. One dollop of oil paint feels identical to another. Lisa's husband is still amazed. "When she first picked up a brush and started doing water colours, I just couldn't believe that this could be happening," said Al Fittipaldi, glowing with pride. "But now I just accept it and we move on with it and her work just keeps getting better and better." For how much longer will Lisa be able to transfer her inner vision to the canvas? The disease that made her blind is slowly crippling her body. She says she will never give up painting and says her ambition is to travel to India to paint a thousand people bathing in the Ganges.

Note: To visit Lisa Fittipaldi's website, click here. For other inspiring articles like this, click here.


Face-Off: Elizabeth Warren Vs. Trump's Consumer Watchdog, Mick Mulvaney
2018-04-12, NPR
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/04/12/601795946/face-off-warren-...

An epic throw-down happened Thursday on Capitol Hill. The topic: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis. The Trump administration's acting director, Mick Mulvaney ... believes the bureau's powers are excessive. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ... led the creation of the bureau to protect consumers from abuses by everything from big banks to student loan providers to fly-by-night loan sharks. Mulvaney ... calls the bureau Warren's "baby." But Democrats say that over the past five months, he has done a terrible job of taking care of it. Back when he was a Republican congressman, Mulvaney sponsored legislation that would have abolished the bureau. Since its creation, the bureau has returned a total of $12 billion to consumers by clawing back money from companies that cheated them. Thursday's hearing was part of Mulvaney's mandated semiannual report to Congress on the activities of the CFPB. In a hearing ... New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney said the bureau used to bring several enforcement actions a month against financial companies. She pressed Mulvaney: "So let me ask you how many enforcement actions has the bureau initiated since you took over?" Mulvaney: "We have initiated none since I've been there." Mulvaney ... is asking lawmakers to put the bureau's budget under the control of Congress. The bureau ... is funded by the Federal Reserve instead of by Congress, a move designed to shield it from political influence.

Note: In 2016, Wells Fargo paid a $100 million fine to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after getting caught ripping off millions of customers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry.


Rumblings of a ‘Deep State’ Undermining Trump? It Was Once a Foreign Concept
2017-03-06, New York Times
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/06/us/politics/deep-state-trump.html?_r=0

President Trump’s allegations that former President Barack Obama tapped his phone and his assertions that the bureaucracy is leaking secrets to discredit him are the latest signs of a White House preoccupation with a “deep state” working to thwart the Trump presidency. “A deep state [is] part of government or people outside of government that are literally controlling the direction of the country no matter who’s actually in charge, and probably engaging in murder and other corrupt practices,” [former National Security Council official Loren DeJonge] Schulman said. The deep state is a phrase often heard in countries where there is a history of military coups. Pakistan is Exhibit A: The deep state is often invoked in serious discussions about the role of the Pakistani military and its intelligence service. Wide swaths of the population see the unseen hand of the security services behind major political events and all kinds of everyday happenings, such as random traffic stops. The views are not without basis. “The deep state concept emerges in places where the army and the security apparatus creates boundaries within which the civilian political people are allowed to operate,” said Peter Feaver, a specialist in civil-military issues. “If they transgress those boundaries, then the deep state interferes to reorder things, often using military force. There are milder forms of it in healthier democracies,” Mr. Feaver said.

Note: A 2014 Boston Globe article suggests that US policy in the national security realm is made by "concealed institutions" rather than by elected officials. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.


EU Parliament votes to protect Edward Snowden
2015-10-29, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/29/europe/eu-edward-snowden-vote

The European Parliament voted Thursday in support of a resolution that calls on member states to protect Edward Snowden from extradition. The vote ... has no legal force. The resolution urges nations to drop criminal charges and "consequently prevent extradition or rendition by third parties, in recognition of his status as whistle-blower and international human rights defender." Snowden called Thursday's vote a "game-changer." "This is not a blow against the US Government, but an open hand extended by friends. It is a chance to move forward," he wrote.The Justice Department has said Snowden would face criminal prosecution if he returns to the United States. He's been charged with three felony counts, including violations of the U.S. Espionage Act. Snowden told the BBC this month that he has offered "many times" to go to prison in the United States as part of a deal to return from exile in Russia, but is still waiting for an answer from the American government. In response to Thursday's vote, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. policy on Snowden has not changed. "He needs to come back to the United States and face the due process and the judicial process here 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.


Judge Says Vermont Law on Genetically Modified Food Stands
2015-04-27, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/food-industry-block-vermonts-gmo-labeling-...

A Vermont law that could make the state the first in the country to require labeling of genetically modified food has been allowed by a federal judge to stand for now despite opposition by food industry groups. U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss in Burlington on Monday ruled against the Grocery Manufacturers' Association and other industry groups in their request for a preliminary order to block the law from going into effect as scheduled on July 1, 2016. The case is likely to go to trial. The ruling comes nearly a year after Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the law, under which Vermont is expected to become the first state to require genetically modified organism, or GMO, food labeling. The Grocery Manufacturers Association was joined by the Snack Foods Association, the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Association of Manufacturers as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, seeking to have Vermont's law declared unconstitutional. Supporters of the law have included consumer and environmental groups. The judge found that the concerns embedded in Vermont's law were well within the state's purview. "The safety of food products, the protection of the environment, and the accommodation of religious beliefs and practices are all quintessential governmental interests, as is the State's desire 'to promote informed consumer decision-making,'" she wrote, quoting from the state's court filings.

Note: Can you believe that industry groups are claiming it is unconstitutional to require labeling of GMOs? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on genetically modified foods from reliable major media sources.


Let's debate the Trans-Pacific Partnership -- history's largest trade deal -- before OKing it
2015-03-02, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-reich-trumka-tpp-trade-fast-track-...

This spring, President Obama and Republican leaders in Congress want to use an outdated process used to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement more than 20 years ago — a rule called “fast track” — to force ... passage of the giant Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, trade deal. A fast-tracked TPP would lock in a rigged set of economic rules, lasting potentially forever, before most Americans — let alone some members of Congress — have had a chance to understand it thoroughly. It would be a grave mistake for Congress to authorize fast-tracking this giant trade deal. We now know that NAFTA [has] contributed to the huge U.S. trade deficits. We now import about $500 billion more in goods and services each year than we export. Following NAFTA with the Trans-Pacific Partnership is like turning a bad television show into a terrible movie. As for the problems with the TPP? What's been leaked about its proposals reveals, for example, that the pharmaceutical industry would get stronger patent protections, delaying cheaper generic versions of drugs. The deal also gives global corporations an international tribunal of private attorneys, outside any nation's legal system, that can order compensation for lost expected profits resulting from a nation's regulations, including our own. These extraordinary rights for corporations put governments on the defensive over legitimate public health or environmental rules.

Note: The above article was co-authored by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, and current president of the AFL-CIO Richard Trumka. For more, see this article, or watch the two minute video Robert Reich made to educate the public about the dangers of the TPP.


Okla. teen acts to right his father's wrong
2013-09-27, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57605098/okla-teen-acts-to-right-his-fa...

Seventy-eight-year-old Tona Herndon of Bethany, Okla., was vulnerable in every way. Her husband of 60 years had died just two weeks earlier. Her eyes were so clouded with grief, she never saw it coming. She was mugged as she visited her husband's grave. The mugger got away with her purse and $700, but not for long. Police caught him, and the news put his mug shot on TV. Fifteen-year-old Christian Lunsford says the first time he saw the picture, he ... had no doubt that it was his dad. Christian says his parents divorced when he was two, and his dad has been mostly absent ever since. Last time he heard from him was a few weeks ago. His dad gave him $250 for a band trip Christian really wants to go on. Christian says his dad has been in and out of jail more than half a dozen times. "There's times that you just feel really low, like, 'Is that going to be me?'" he says. "'Am I going to end up like that?'" Which is why, after Christian heard about his dad's latest crime, he reached out to the victim and asked to meet her. Christian says he just had to tell her he was sorry about what happened. And Christian was just getting started. "He gave me $250 for my band trip, but I'm not sure if it was yours or however he got it, but I'd feel bad if I didn't give it to you," he told Tona. "I accepted the money back," Tona says. "And it was mine to do with what I wanted." "I want you to take your band trip," Tona told Christian. She gave it all back to him for his band trip. "I feel more like my life still has a purpose," Tona says. "You're not who your parents are," Christian says. "Even if they do raise you, you can become whatever you want to be."

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


New study of tribal societies reveals conflict is an alien concept
2013-07-18, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/is-it-natural-for-humans-to-make-wa...

Is it natural for humans to make war? Is organised violence between rival political groups an inevitable outcome of the human condition? New research suggests not. A study of tribal societies that live by hunting and foraging has found that war is an alien concept and not, as some academics have suggested, an innate feature of so-called “primitive people”. Douglas Fry and Patrik Söderberg of Abo Akademi University in Vasa, Finland, studied 148 violently lethal incidents documented by anthropologists working among 21 mobile bands of hunter-gatherer societies, which some scholars have suggested as a template for studying how humans lived for more than 99.9 per cent of human history, before the invention of agriculture about 10,000 years ago. They found that only a tiny minority of violent deaths come close to being defined as acts of war. Most the violence was perpetrated by one individual against another and usually involved personal grudges involving women or stealing. Only a tiny minority of cases involved more organised killing between rival bands of people, which could fall into the definition of war-like behaviour. Most of these involved only one of the 21 groups included in the study. In short they found that some of the most “primitive” peoples on Earth were actually quite peaceful compared to modern, developed nations. “These findings imply that warfare was probably not very common before the advent of agriculture, when most if not all humans lived as nomadic foragers,” Kirk Endicott, an anthropologist at Dartmouth College told the journal Science, where the study is published.

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


De Silva report on Finucane case turns spotlight on MI5
2012-12-13, BBC News
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20708070

The prime minister says a public inquiry into the state's involvement in the assassination of solicitor Pat Finucane would not produce a fuller picture "of what happened and what went wrong" than the review he commissioned from Sir Desmond de Silva QC. But by publishing on Thursday the review containing hundreds of secret and confidential documents, Mr Cameron seems unwittingly to have strengthened the campaign by the Finucane family and others for a public inquiry. The scale of collusion is quite shocking: · 85% of intelligence that the [Ulster Defence Association] used to target people for murder originated from army and police sources · 270 separate instances of security force leaks to the UDA between January 1987 and September 1989 · Agents working for MI5, [Royal Ulster Constabulary] Special Branch and Military Intelligence were participating in criminality, presumably including murder. · Neither a proper legal framework nor even guidelines to control the criminality of what are known as these "participating agents". · The Northern Ireland Office was "not overly enthusiastic" about attempts by senior RUC and MI5 officers to introduce guidelines "despite representations at the highest levels." · This issue was also considered extensively at cabinet level and ministers were clearly aware that the agents were being run without guidelines. The director general of the MI5 raised it with the Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1988. All this was a "wilful and abject failure by successive Governments" to run agents lawfully.

Note: Patrick Finucane (1949 – 12 February 1989) was a Belfast solicitor killed by UDA loyalist paramilitaries. Two public investigations concluded that elements of the British security forces colluded in Finucane's murder and there have been high-profile calls for a public inquiry. A review, led by Desmond Lorenz de Silva, released a report in December 2012 acknowledging that the case entailed "a wilful and abject failure by successive Governments"; however, Finucane's family called the De Silva report a "sham."


In R-rated world, 'Bully' deserves to be heard
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/DD3E1NL98D.DTL

Nobody connected with the documentary "Bully," from filmmaker Lee Hirsch to the Weinstein Co.'s Harvey Weinstein, could possibly be surprised by the film's getting an R rating from the MPAA. If even I know that two f-words will almost always get you an automatic R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America, then Weinstein, who knows a few things about making movies, certainly knew it, too. Nor is there any question that things could not have worked out better for "Bully" had they planned it - so they probably did plan it. The outrage over the R rating for this documentary, about kids getting bullied in school, is the absolute best publicity that a distributor could hope for. Documentaries are like the literary novel of the movie world - lots of respect but a limited audience. Now this movie has become a cause and will be seen by everybody. "Bully," which exposes the horrible bullying that millions of kids are subjected to and that our schools and institutions tolerate, initially received an R rating on the basis of its "language." Weinstein and one of the kids depicted in the film made a personal appeal to the MPAA board, but the R rating was upheld by a single vote. In a country in which kids are coming home beaten up or demoralized, and in which social media have become the ultimate goon squad to browbeat, intimidate and humiliate the young and delicate among us, the MPAA needs to reverse its decision. But whatever they do, the good news is that they've all but guaranteed that "Bully" will find an audience.

Note: To learn about Challenge Day, the amazing organization which put bullying on the map, click here. A documentary on their transformative work won and Emmy award. You can watch powerful clips of this moving documentary at the link just given.


Vatican Radio is told to pay out over cancer risk scare
2011-03-01, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/vatican-radio-is-told-to-pay-o...

Italy's supreme Court has ordered Vatican Radio to compensate a small town near Rome following claims that children there were at a higher risk of cancer because of the broadcaster's high-powered transmitters. Reports emerged in 2001 that electro-magnetic radiation produced by Vatican Radio's transmitters near Cesano was above the legal limit. The station cut the strength of its signals, but the case went to court when a health authority released a study claiming that children in the area were six times more likely to develop leukaemia than youngsters elsewhere. Codacons, the national consumer association which backed residents' claims, hailed the court's decision. "Finally justice is done and the people of Cesano will be able to have the compensation they deserve," said the president of Codacons, Carlo Rienzi. Some experts believe high-powered radio transmitters might raise the risk of cancer in children. However, unlike ionising radiation, such as X-rays, it is not clear how radio waves might damage cells in a way that causes the disease.

Note: For a related BBC article, click here.


WikiLeaks' stepchildren
2011-01-06, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2011/01/04/f-forbes-wikileaks-stepchildren...

As leak enthusiasts go, few resemble Julian Assange less than Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The wide-eyed and softspoken German left WikiLeaks in September to start his own leak-focused organization known as OpenLeaks. Like its parent organization, OpenLeaks will solicit secret documents from leakers in government and business. But instead of publishing the leaks on its site — a strategy that has made WikiLeaks the target of cyber- and legal attacks since it began posting a quarter-million secret cables from the U.S. State Department last month — OpenLeaks will function as a secure tip box that passes leaked files on to whatever media outlet or NGO the leaker chooses. OpenLeaks is just one of a bumper crop of WikiLeaks-inspired sites popping up across the globe, borrowing various pieces of the original site's model of anonymous submissions and online publishing. That's good news for WikiLeaks, too, as Assange himself said in an interview last month. "The supply of leaks is very large," he said. "It's helpful for us to have more people in this industry. It's protective to us." In the long term, Domscheit-Berg argues, WikiLeaks' greatest impact may not be any particular document release but the entire movement of second-generation sites like OpenLeaks that it has spawned.


AT&T, Verizon to Target Visa, MasterCard With Smartphones
2010-08-02, Bloomberg News
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-08-02/at-t-verizon-said-to-target-visa-mas...

AT&T Inc. and Verizon Wireless, the biggest U.S. mobile carriers, are planning a venture to displace credit and debit cards with smartphones, posing a new threat to Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., three people with direct knowledge of the plan said. The trial would be the carriers’ biggest effort to spur mobile payments in the U.S. and supplant more than 1 billion plastic cards in American wallets. Smartphones have encroached on tasks ranging from Web browsing to street navigation and now may help the phone companies compete with San Francisco-based Visa and MasterCard, the world’s biggest payments networks. The service, similar to those already available in Japan, Turkey and the U.K., would use contactless technology to complete purchases in stores. They’d be processed through Discover’s payments network, currently the fourth-biggest behind Visa, MasterCard and American Express Co. Barclays would be the bank helping to manage the accounts, said the people, who requested anonymity because of confidentiality agreements. Retailers may be eager to help another network after years of fighting over transaction fees set by Visa and MasterCard.


Doctors Who Aid Torture
2010-06-08, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/08/opinion/08tue1.html

Disturbing new questions have been raised about the role of doctors and other medical professionals in helping the Central Intelligence Agency subject terrorism suspects to harsh treatment, abuse and torture. The Red Cross previously documented, from interviews with "high-value" prisoners, that medical personnel helped facilitate abuses in the C.I.A.'s "enhanced interrogation program" during the Bush administration. Now Physicians for Human Rights has suggested that the medical professionals may also have violated national and international laws setting limits on what research can be performed on humans. The group's report focused particularly on a few issues where medical personnel played an important role – determining how far a harsh interrogation could go, providing legal cover against prosecution and designing future interrogation procedures. In the case of waterboarding, a technique in which prisoners are brought to the edge of drowning, health professionals were required to monitor the practice and keep detailed medical records. Their findings led to several changes, including a switch to saline solution as the near-drowning agent instead of water, ostensibly to protect the health of detainees who ingest large volumes of liquid but also, the group says, to allow repeated use of waterboarding on the same subject.

Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the unlawful actions of US intelligence and military forces in the "global war on terror," click here.


Facing foreclosure? Don't leave. Squat
2009-02-04, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/04/EDK215MNA0.DTL

Marcy Kaptur of Ohio is the longest-serving Democratic congresswoman in U.S. history. Her district, stretching along the shore of Lake Erie from west of Cleveland to Toledo, faces an epidemic of home foreclosures and 11.5 percent unemployment. Now, she is recommending a radical foreclosure solution from the floor of the U.S. Congress: "So I say to the American people, you be squatters in your own homes. Don't you leave." She criticizes the bailout's failure to protect homeowners facing foreclosure. These mortgages were made, then bundled into securities and sold and resold repeatedly, by the very Wall Street banks that are now benefiting from [a government bailout]. The banks foreclosing on families very often can't locate the actual loan note that binds the homeowner to the bad loan. "Produce the note," Kaptur recommends [to] those facing foreclosure demands of the banks. "[P]ossession is nine-tenths of the law," Rep. Kaptur [said]. "Therefore, stay in your property. Get proper legal representation ... [if] Wall Street cannot produce the deed nor the mortgage audit trail ... you should stay in your home. It is your castle. It's more than a piece of property. ... If you look at the bad paper, if you look at where there's trouble, 95 to 98 percent of the paper really has moved to five institutions: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wachovia, Citigroup and HSBC. They have this country held by the neck."

Note: Why is it that with the trillions of dollars given by the U.S. government to prop up banks who used shady loan practices, so few homeowners facing foreclosure have received any assistance? For many revealing reports on the realities of the Wall Street bailout, click here.


Study Links Chemical BPA to Health Problems
2008-09-17, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/16/AR20080916010...

The first large study in humans of a chemical widely used in everyday plastics has found that people with higher levels of bisphenol A had higher rates of heart disease, diabetes and liver abnormalities. The research, published ... in the Journal of the American Medical Association by a team of British and American scientists, compared the health status of 1,455 men and women with the levels of the chemical, known as BPA, in their urine. The researchers divided the subjects into four statistical groupings according to their BPA levels and found that those in the quartile with the highest concentrations were nearly three times as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those with the lowest levels, and 2.4 times as likely to have diabetes. Higher BPA levels were also associated with abnormal concentrations of three liver enzymes. "This is the nail in the coffin," Frederick vom Saal, a reproductive scientist at the University of Missouri at Columbia and one of the first to document evidence of health problems in rodents exposed to low doses of BPA. "This is a huge deal." More than 100 studies have linked BPA exposure to health effects in animals. The FDA maintains that BPA is safe largely on the basis of two studies funded by the chemical industry, a fact that was repeatedly cited at yesterday's forum. "We're concerned that the FDA is basing its conclusion on two studies while downplaying the results of hundreds of other studies," said Amber Wise of the Union of Concerned Scientists. "This appears to be a case of cherry-picking data with potentially high cost to human health."

Note: For many important reports on health issues from reliable sources, click here.


Zenn and the art of small, electric vehicles
2008-08-15, MSNBC/Forbes Autos
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26140663

It might sound surprising, but all-electric vehicles are already on American roads. They just haven't quite made it to the highway yet. A growing cottage industry of Neighborhood Electric Vehicle [NEV] manufacturers is spurring the development of cars like the Zenn, which has reached a state of vehicular enlightenment so advanced it doesn't even need a tail pipe. "We saw this car in May of '06, and all of us were just freaking out: 'Finally, a car!'" said Steve Mayeda, sales manager at Seattle-based MC Electric Vehicles, which sells 30 percent of Zenn's U.S. inventory, in addition to electric vehicles made by Columbia, Canadian EV, E-Ride and Miles. "Zenn was the first neighborhood electric car that actually looked and felt and drove like a real car. Everything else before that was either a converted golf cart or a car that was built from the ground up." NEVs are silent, have no tailpipe emissions (or tailpipes, for that matter) and plug into electrical outlets like vacuum cleaners. They come in two varieties: Low-Speed Electric Vehicles, which have a top speed of about 25 miles per hour and are restricted to roads where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or less; and Medium-Speed Electric Vehicles, which reach 35 mph and are allowed on roads with a posted speed of up to 45 mph. They're exempt from federal safety regulations that mandate impact-absorbing bumpers and airbags. But to be street legal, NEVs must have three-point seat belts, windshields with wipers, headlights, brake lights, rearview mirrors and turn signals.

Note: Note: For a fun, six-minute video demonstration of the Zenn, click here.


White House in climate change "cover up"
2008-07-08, Forbes/Reuters News
http://www.forbes.com/reuters/feeds/reuters/2008/07/08/2008-07-08T203454Z_01_...

A leading U.S. Senate Democrat accused the Bush administration on Tuesday of a "cover-up" aimed at stopping the Environmental Protection Agency from tackling greenhouse emissions. "This cover-up is being directed from the White House and the office of the vice president," said Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. At issue is a preliminary finding by the EPA last December that "greenhouse gases may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public welfare," according to Jason Burnett, the agency's former associate deputy administrator who appeared at a news conference with Boxer. Such a finding would be an early step toward government regulation aimed at protecting public health. Boxer said that unless EPA documents were released, it was likely that within the next two weeks her committee would try to subpoena the material. Burnett, who resigned on June 9, told Boxer's committee the White House tried pressuring him to retract an e-mail [in] which he detailed the finding. Burnett said he refused. Since then, the EPA finding has been left "in limbo." [Boxer] has been trying since last October to obtain related documents to show that planned congressional testimony on global warming by Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was censored by the Bush administration. Burnett told the congressional committee the administration's Council on Environmental Quality "and the office of the vice president were seeking deletions to the CDC testimony."

Note: For key news reports on global warming from reliable sources, click here.


India's Future: Balancing Old and New Worlds
2008-04-07, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/WN/21AroundtheWorld/story?id=4593064

At age 21, [Nisha] Mehta has five people -- all older than she is -- working under her. And her boss says the sky's the limit. This is a seismic change in a country where women have, until recently, been restricted to traditional family roles. And it's a change that has transpired within one generation in one household. Mehta's mother never went to college, doesn't work and cannot make major decisions without the consent of her husband. Mehta says she has no desire to live the way her mother does -- and her mother has actively encouraged her not to follow in her footsteps. Mehta is conducting an interesting -- and seemingly effortless -- balancing act between two very different worlds. On the one hand, she lives at home, as most unmarried Indians do, in a tiny, two-room apartment. She shares a pull-out couch with her little brother. On the other, she is financially independent and also insistent that she will not submit to an arranged marriage, as the vast majority of young Indians do. Mehta says she wants a "love match." But, she says that she'll get her parents' consent before marrying and that she won't marry anyone from outside her community. The changes going on in India right now -- the breaking down of old barriers of gender, religion and caste -- are incredibly exciting. But it's important to realize that these changes -- as of right now, at least -- are only affecting a minority. India's exploding middle class is estimated to be 300 million people -- roughly the size of the U.S. population! -- But there are still 600 million people living on less than $2 a day.

Note: For video clips of this fascinating series of interviews with 21-year-olds from around the world, click here.


Sunlight cuts risk of many cancers
2007-10-21, Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://news.independent.co.uk/health/article3081843.ece

Sunbathing, considered risky by skin cancer experts, may actually reduce the risk of breast and other cancers, new research has found. Some women who had higher sun exposure had their risk of advanced breast cancer reduced by almost half, according to the scientific study. The researchers from Stanford University, who report their findings in the American Journal of Epidemiology this week, said: "This study supports the idea that sunlight exposure reduces risk of advanced breast cancer among women with light skin pigmentation." The Stanford cancer specialists measured 4,000 women aged 35 to 79, half of them diagnosed with breast cancer, for the effects of long-term sun exposure. Sun exposure may also protect against a number of other cancers, according to a second research team who studied more than four million people in 11 countries, including 416,000 who had been diagnosed with skin cancer. These results, reported in the European Journal of Cancer, show that the risk of internal cancers ... was lower among people living in sunny countries. The researchers said: "Vitamin D production in the skin seems to decrease the risk of several solid cancers, especially stomach, colo-rectal, liver and gall- bladder, pancreas, lung, female breast, prostate, bladder and kidney cancers." Sunlight plays a vital role in the production of beneficial vitamin D in the body. Although food provides some vitamin D, up to 90 per cent comes from exposure to sunlight.

Note: For many reliable, verifiable reports on promising cancer cures, click here.


Some risk linked to plastic chemical
2007-08-09, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-plastic9aug09,0,4581047....

A federal panel of scientists [has concluded] that an estrogen-like compound in plastic could be posing some risk to the brain development of babies and children. Bisphenol A, or BPA, [a component of polycarbonate plastic,] is found in low levels in virtually every human body. The decision by the 12 advisors of the Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction ... is the first official, government action related to the chemical. The scientists ranked their concerns about BPA, concluding they had "some concern" about neurological and behavioral effects in fetuses, infants and children, but "minimal" or "negligible" concern about reproductive effects. The findings put the panel roughly in the middle -- between the chemical industry, which has long said there is no evidence of danger to humans, and the environmental activists and scientists who say it is probably harming people. Environmentalists lambasted the panel, saying it had minimized the risks and ignored important research. "Only the chemical industry agrees with the decision that BPA has little or no human health risks. That by itself should speak volumes about the corrupted process endorsed by the panel today," said Dr. Anila Jacob of the Environmental Working Group. The panel's preliminary report on BPA was drafted by a private consulting firm with financial ties to the chemical industry. The National Toxicology Program fired the company but ruled that the report was unbiased. The panel rejected several dozen animal studies that found reproductive effects. The decision to reject the studies has been controversial with toxicologists.


The state can take your dreams, too
2007-07-15, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/07/15/EDG3IQ8JHE1.DTL

John Revelli vividly remembers the day the U.S. Supreme Court issued its infamous Kelo decision that allowed local governments to condemn private property under eminent domain, not only for public uses such as roads and schools, but also to accommodate private developers. "The Kelo decision," the former owner of Revelli Tires in Oakland [said,] "came out on June 23 of '05, and the deadline that the city put up against us to move out was July 1." The U.S. Constitution states, "Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation." The big bench wrongly ruled that "public use" could be whatever states want it to be -- including private developments designed to expand the tax base. The ruling allowed the City of New London, Conn., to seize the land under Susette Kelo's "little pink cottage" and hand it over to a private developer for a development featuring high-end waterfront homes. And Oakland went ahead with its plans to seize Revelli Tires [as well as] Autohouse -- a business owned and run by first-generation American Tony Fung -- in order to accommodate a private apartment project. Revelli and Fung lost their businesses and their property. As former Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who dissented on Kelo, warned, "The specter of condemnation hangs over all property. Nothing is to prevent the state from replacing any Motel 6 with a Ritz-Carlton, any home with a shopping mall, or any farm with a factory." No government should be able to take your land to give it to a corporation. When states and cities, in search of a richer tax base, can take your land and give it to a private developer -- they have license to trample on everyone's rights. And no one, except the very rich, is safe.


When Fakery Turns Fatal
2007-06-05, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/05/business/worldbusiness/05fakes.html?ex=1338...

They might be called China’s renegade businessmen, small entrepreneurs who are experts at counterfeiting and willing to go to extraordinary lengths to make a profit. But just how far out of the Chinese mainstream are they? Cutting corners or producing fake goods is not just a legacy of China’s initial rush toward the free market three decades ago but [is] still woven into the fabric of the nation’s thriving industrial economy. It is driven by entrepreneurs who are taking advantage of a weak legal system, lax regulations and a business culture where bribery and corruption are rampant. “This is cut-throat market capitalism,” said Wenran Jiang, a specialist in China who teaches at the University of Alberta. Since this country’s economic reforms began to take root in the 1980s, businesses have engineered countless ways to produce everything from fake car parts, cosmetics and brand name bags to counterfeit electrical cables and phony Viagra. Counterfeiting rings are broken nearly every week; nonetheless, the government seems to be waging a losing battle against the operations. Dozens of Chinese cities have risen to prominence over the last two decades by first specializing in fake goods, like Wenzhou, which was once known for selling counterfeit Procter & Gamble products, and Kaihua in Zhejiang province, which specialized in fake Philips light bulbs. For a time, people even derided the entire province of Henan as the capital of substandard or fake goods, like medicines that could make you miraculously grow taller.

Note: The fact that China recently sentenced to death the former head of the State Food and Drug Administration may show that China is trying to address the problem, yet corruption is rampant in the drug industries of China, the U.S., and most other countries.


White House: Visitor logs exempt from laws
2007-06-01, CNN/Associated Press
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/06/01/cheney.secrecy.ap/index.html

A newly disclosed effort to keep Vice President Dick Cheney's visitor records secret is the latest White House push to make sure the public doesn't learn who has been meeting with top officials in the Bush administration. Over the past year, lawyers for President Bush and Cheney have directed the Secret Service to maintain the confidentiality of visitor entry and exit logs, declaring them to be presidential records, exempt from a law requiring their disclosure to whoever asks to see them. Cabinet officers often don't want to give up their meeting calendars to journalists. They have no choice under the Freedom of Information Act, which provides public access to some records kept by federal agencies. But the FOIA disclosure law, which doesn't apply to Congress, also doesn't apply to presidential records. The Bush administration has exploited that difference, triggering a battle in the courts. The administration is seeking dismissal of two lawsuits by ... Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, demanding Secret Service visitor logs. "The scary thing about this move by the vice president's office is the power grab part of it," said Tom Blanton, head of [George Washington University's] National Security Archive ... which uses the FOIA law to pierce government secrecy. "We're looking at a huge problem if the White House can reach into any agency and say certain records have something to do with the White House and they are presidential from now on," Blanton said. "This White House has been infinitely creative in finding new ways and new forms of government secrecy."


Not to See the Fallen Is No Favor
2007-05-28, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/28/business/media/28carr.html?ex=1338004800&en...

While troop numbers are surging, the media that cover them are leaking away, worn out by the danger and expense of covering a war that refuses to end. Many of the journalists who are in Iraq have been backed into fortified corners, rarely venturing out to see what soldiers confront. And the remaining journalists who are embedded with the troops in Iraq — the number dropped to 92 in May from 126 in April — are risking more and more for less and less. Since last year, the military’s embedding rules require that journalists obtain a signed consent from a wounded soldier before the image can be published. Images that put a face on the dead, that make them identifiable, are simply prohibited. Ashley Gilbertson, a veteran freelance photographer who has been to Iraq seven times ... said the policy, as enforced, is coercive and unworkable. “They are not letting us cover the reality of war,” he added. “I think this has got little to do with the families or the soldiers and everything to do with politics.” Until last year, no permission was required to publish photographs of the wounded, but families had to be notified of the soldier’s injury first. Now, not only is permission required, but any image of casualties that shows a recognizable name or unit is off-limits. And memorials for the fallen in Iraq can no longer be shown, even when the unit in question invites coverage. James Glanz, a Baghdad correspondent ... for The New York Times ... said that “This tiny remaining corps of reporters becomes a greater and greater problem for the military brass because we are the only people preventing them from telling the story the way they want it told.”


Dealer ... says tactics used by Shell are unfair to operators
2007-05-10, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/05/10/MNGUKPOGKJ1.DTL

At Bob Oyster's Shell station ... putting the price way up over $4 a gallon isn't about making a profit. It's about making a statement to a multinational corporation. After Shell forced him to pay higher prices for gas in San Francisco and jacked up his rent, Oyster says, he decided to fight back. Far from making a huge profit, Oyster is going out of business. He has operated the Shell station at Sixth and Harrison for 22 years, but he's walking away from it at the end of the month. "I'm getting nothing for the station,'' he says. At a time when the oil companies are posting record profits, the little guys are struggling to stay in business. And many, like Oyster, are giving up the fight. "The dealer can no longer be competitive,'' says Dennis DeCota, executive director of the California Service Station and Automotive Repair Association. "The companies are squeezing these guys out. It's just wrong.'' Oyster says his rent has gone up exponentially. Fifteen years ago it was $1,000 a month. Then it went to $6,000, then $8,000. This year Shell came back with a demand of $13,000. DeCota and Oyster see [a] sinister motive: If the dealers like them leave, a company like Shell can run its stations with its own employees and set its own pump prices. "That way they really are controlling it from the well head to the gas pump,'' says DeCota. While the price per gallon gets all the attention, Oyster says the little secret of independent dealers is that, like movie theater operators, they make their profit on the extras -- snacks, drinks and other items.

Note: When the big oil boys supposedly believe in the "trickle down" theory, why are they not sharing any of their huge profits with their dealers? And why is there so little reporting on the arbitrary raising of gas prices?


US and EU agree 'single market'
2007-04-30, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6607757.stm

The United States and the European Union have signed up to a new transatlantic economic partnership at a summit in Washington. The pact is designed to boost trade and investment by harmonising regulatory standards, laying the basis for a US-EU single market. The two sides agreed to set up an "economic council" to push ahead with regulatory convergence in nearly 40 areas, including intellectual property, financial services, business takeovers and the motor industry. The aim is to increase trade and lower costs. Some reports suggest that incompatible regulations in the world's two richest regions add 10% to the cost of developing and producing new cars.

Note: Why is this important news getting such minimal press coverage?


Why do ordinary people commit evil deeds?
2007-04-18, BBC News
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/6567335.stm

Prof Phil Zimbardo, creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment: "In 1971 I became superintendent of the Stanford Prison, a mock prison. I was a young psychology professor at Stanford University. I wanted to understand what happens when you put good people in a bad place. [We] selected college-student volunteers - normal, healthy young men with no history of crime or violence - and randomly assigned them the roles of prisoner or guard. To increase the real-life feel, we arranged for actual mass arrests and booking by the Palo Alto police; visits by a prison chaplain, a public defender, and parents. Though not part of the plan, there were also prisoner rebellions. And, notoriously, there was chilling abuse and torture by the guards. The experiment was supposed to last two weeks, but we had to pull the plug after only six days because nearly half the prisoners had emotional breakdowns. Fast-forward to April 2004. Horrific images flash across our television screens - nightmarish abuses of Iraqi prisoners by young American soldiers. The images were ... strikingly similar to what I had seen at Stanford - prisoners naked, bags over their heads, forced into sexually humiliating poses. Historical inquiry and behavioural science have demonstrated ... that given certain conditions, ordinary people can succumb to social pressure to commit acts that would otherwise be unthinkable. In the prisons at Stanford and Abu Ghraib, men and women did terrible things to other people in part because responsibility for their actions was diffused. We find ourselves in a similar situation whenever we witness someone else's trouble but fail to help because we assume others will."

Note: When each one of us takes responsibility for doing our part to build a brighter future, we will see tremendous positive changes both in our lives and our world.


Bigger than you think: The story behind the pet food recall
2007-04-03, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2007/04/03/petscol.DTL

The March 16 recall of 91 pet food products manufactured by Menu Foods wasn't big news at first. Early coverage reported only 10-15 cats and dogs dying. I'm a contributing editor for a nationally syndicated pet feature ... and all of us there have close ties to the veterinary profession. What we were hearing from veterinarians wasn't matching what we were hearing on the news. Although ... Menu Foods started getting complaints as early as December 2006, FDA records state the company received their first report of a food-related pet death on February 20. One week later, on February 27, Menu started testing the suspect foods. Three days later, on March 3, the first cat in the trial died of acute kidney failure. Nearly one month passed from the date Menu got its first report of a death to the date it issued the recall. At that point, Menu had seen a 35 percent death rate in their test-lab cats. We started a database for people to report their dead or sick pets. As of March 31, the number of deaths alone was at 2,797. Pet owners were encouraged to report deaths and illness to the FDA. But ... there was no place on the agency's Web site to do so. The FDA kept confirming a number it had to have known was only the tip of the iceberg. It prevented veterinarians from having the information they needed to treat their patients. It allowed the media to repeat a misleadingly low number ... preventing a lot of people from really grasping the scope and implication of the problem. An import alert buried on the FDA Web site ... identified the Chinese company that is the source of the contaminated gluten -- gluten that is now known to be sold not only for use in animal feed, but in human food products, too.

Note: If you want to understand how the FDA sometimes works to support big industry at the expense of our health (and in this case the health of our pets), the entire article is a big eye-opener. Click here for more.


Fastest Train in the World Hits France
2007-04-03, ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=3004116

France's famous high-speed train, the TGV, broke its 17-year-old world speed record today when it hit a top speed of 357.2 mph. Another French train held the previous rail train record, set in 1990, of 320.2 mph. Normal TGV trains have a cruising speed of 186 mph. Japan holds the absolute speed record for a train, with its magnetically levitated Maglev train that floats over a guideway on a magnetic field without ever touching the track. The Maglev set a record of 361 mph in 2003.

Note: A CNN report states that the fastest train in the U.S. is the Acela, with a top speed of 150 mph. The same report notes "the top speed for most passenger trains outside the Northeast Corridor ... is 79 mph." Another CNN article comments "Japan's Shinkansen trains, introduced just before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, regularly hit 186 mph." Why are American trains so backward compared to the rest of the world? Could it have anything to do with oil? For more, click here.


Japan’s Textbooks Reflect Revised History
2007-04-01, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/world/asia/01japan.html?ex=1333080000&en=3f...

In another sign that Japan is pressing ahead in revising its history of World War II, new high school textbooks will no longer acknowledge that the Imperial Army was responsible for a major atrocity in Okinawa, the government announced late Friday. The Ministry of Education ordered publishers to delete passages stating that the Imperial Army ordered civilians to commit mass suicide during the Battle of Okinawa, as the island was about to fall to American troops in the final months of the war. The decision was announced as part of the ministry’s annual screening of textbooks used in all public schools. The ministry also ordered changes to other delicate issues to dovetail with government assertions, though the screening is supposed to be free of political interference. The decision on the Battle of Okinawa ... came as a surprise because the ministry had never objected to the description in the past. The fresh denial of the military’s responsibility in the Battle of Okinawa and in sexual slavery — long accepted as historical facts — is likely to deepen suspicions in Asia that Tokyo is trying to whitewash its militarist past even as it tries to raise the profile of its current forces. The ministry’s new position appeared to discount overwhelming evidence of coercion, particularly the testimony of victims and survivors themselves.

Note: History many times is written -- or in this case re-written -- by those in power.


Hating America (Dallas Mavericks' billionaire owner on 9/11 cover-up)
2007-03-26, Fox News
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,261242,00.html

There's a movie called "Loose Change" that asserts hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans colluded to kill their fellow citizens on 9/11. That Al Qaeda didn't attack us, we essentially attacked ourselves. Billionaire Mark Cuban is going to distribute the film so people all over the world can see it. We reported the situation last night and I talked with Mr. Cuban today on "The Radio Factor": [BILL] O'REILLY: The people in my town, Mr. Cuban, do now want "Loose Change" playing in the theater or Charlie Sheen narrating it. They believe that this is dishonest. They believe it diverts attention away from the real villains. MARK CUBAN, OWNER OF THE DALLAS MAVERICKS: Well, let's qualify here. First of all, it's already been on the Internet. O'REILLY: Rationalization, sir. CUBAN: It's not rationalization. This is just fact. When you have things that are in the shadows that people can't find and take on mythic proportions, that's what they can take. And they can take innuendo. Once you can see something, you can refute it.

Note: To understand how one of the richest people in the world (Mark Cuban) and a famous actor (Charlie Sheen) came to believe in a major cover-up of 9/11, see our 9/11 Information Center. Mr. Cuban is financing a new version of the Internet blockbuster which opened the eyes of millions to the cover-up. The new version will be narrated by Charlie Sheen. To see the earlier version of this powerful documentary, click here.


After 9/11, U.S. archivists pulled 1 million pages
2007-03-13, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17597711

More than 1 million pages of historical government documents — a stack taller than the U.S. Capitol — have been removed from public view since the September 2001 terror attacks. Some of the papers are more than a century old. In some cases, entire file boxes were removed without significant review because the government’s central record-keeping agency, the National Archives and Records Administration, did not have time for a more thorough audit. The pulled records include the presumably dangerous, such as nearly half an enormous database from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with information about all federal facilities. But they also include the presumably useless, such as part of a collection about the Lower Colorado River Authority that includes 114-year-old papers. After the September 2001 attacks, the records administration signed a secret deal with the Pentagon and CIA to review and permit the removal of tens of thousands of pages from public view that intelligence officials believed had been declassified too hastily. [Some] researchers said the project, while well-intentioned, reinforces a culture of secrecy that became more pronounced after the September 2001 terror attacks.


Matthieu Ricard: Meet Mr Happy
2007-02-19, The Independent (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
http://news.independent.co.uk/people/profiles/article2276190.ece

Bring to your mind a past occasion of inner joy and happiness," writes Matthieu Ricard in his new book Happiness: A Guide To Developing Life's Most Important Skill. "Recall how you felt. Consider the lasting effect this experience has had on your mind, and how it still nourishes a sense of fulfilment." Ricard, French translator and right-hand man for the Dalai Lama, has been the subject of intensive clinical tests at the University of Wisconsin, as a result of which he is frequently described as the happiest man in the world. As a young man, Matthieu Ricard, 60, was regarded as one of the most promising biologists of his generation. He completed a starred PhD at the Institut Pasteur under the supervision of Nobel prize-winner François Jacob, but abandoned his scientific career in 1972, when he moved to Darjeeling. There, he devoted himself to studying under ... a Tibetan master. He has been a monk, and celibate, since he was 30. Developing happiness, Ricard argues, is a skill. Most people exist like beggars, "unaware of the treasure buried beneath their shack". We can develop our potential as if "polishing a nugget" and eventually ... achieve happiness. Ricard's book exudes inspiration and intelligence, qualities embodied in its author. Happiness ... contains simple exercises designed to help the reader achieve the same sort of composure that radiates from Ricard himself. "Ultimately, it's how your mind relates to the world that determines whether you're miserable or not. You have to ask yourself: is my happiness dependent on other people?"

Note: For a highly inspiring 12-minute video by an amazing gentleman with a similar message, click here.


Los Alamos scientist criticizes federal approach to arsenal
2007-02-13, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/02/13/MNGI1O3N0G1.DTL

One of the country's top weapons designers said he believes it is time for the United States to consider a radical shift in policy that would ultimately eliminate the nuclear arsenal. Joseph Martz, leader of a team designing a new generation of warheads at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said in a series of interviews last week that he is troubled by how the debate on nuclear weapons policy in Washington is focused narrowly on the number of weapons needed for the future ... rather than on how to eradicate them entirely. Lab officials originally refused to give Martz permission to be interviewed for this article. Martz, however, said he decided to speak anyway in order to press ideas that he believes can reduce the risk of nuclear war and carve out a central role for the weapons labs, which have been threatened with budget cuts. Martz emphasized that he was expressing only his personal views and not those of the lab. But his comments still represent the first time in recent years that a senior scientist inside the weapons program has proposed making disarmament a concrete policy goal. Martz's aim is to help policymakers understand that, because of a more sophisticated grasp of weapons science, the United States can slowly dismantle its warheads and still protect itself. The country could also bolster its credibility as a leading voice for disarmament by ratifying the long-stalled treaty banning underground testing.


Navy May Deploy Anti-Terrorism Dolphins
2007-02-12, ABC News/Associated Press
http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=2870040

Dozens of dolphins and sea lions trained to detect and apprehend waterborne attackers could be sent to patrol a military base in Washington state, the Navy said Monday. The base is home to submarines, ships and laboratories and is potentially vulnerable to attack by terrorist swimmers and scuba divers. Several options are under consideration, but the preferred plan would be to send as many as 30 California sea lions and Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins from the Navy's Marine Mammal Program, based in San Diego. Dolphins ... are trained to detect underwater mines; they were sent to do this in the Iraqi harbor of Umm Qasr in 2003. Sea lions can carry in their mouths special cuffs attached to long ropes. If the animal finds a rogue swimmer, it can clamp the cuff around the person's leg. The individual can then be reeled in for questioning. The last time the animals were used operationally in San Diego was in 1996, when they patrolled the bay during the Republican National Convention. The Navy has been training marine mammals since the 1960s and keeps about 100 dolphins and sea lions. Most are in San Diego, but about 20 are deployed at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga. The Navy is seeking public comment for an environmental impact statement on the proposal.


FDA To Make Changes To Boost Drug Safety
2007-01-30, ABC News/Reuters
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory?id=2835505

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Tuesday it would make organizational changes to improve internal communication about potential risks that emerge after a new drug reaches the market. The move is part of the agency's response to an Institute of Medicine (IOM) report that sharply criticized the FDA's drug safety oversight and called for more staffing, funding and power to police the drug industry. The September 2006 report also found a "dysfunctional" FDA structure that hindered the agency's ability to protect public health. The IOM experts said they found FDA officials had trouble managing scientific disagreements among staff and downplayed some concerns by safety reviewers who monitor drugs after they win approval. On Tuesday, the agency said it was "making specific organizational and management changes to increase communications among FDA review staff and safety staff." The announcement came as lawmakers prepare to debate critical funding legislation for the agency that could become a vehicle for drug safety reforms. The FDA had requested the IOM report after it came under harsh criticism for its handling of Merck & Co. Inc.'s withdrawn arthritis drug Vioxx and other medicines. Merck pulled Vioxx from the market in 2004, five years after its approval, because of a link to heart attacks and strokes.


U.S. report accuses Canadian coins of spying
2007-01-10, Globe and Mail (One of Canada's leading newspapers)
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20070110.COINS10/TPStory

They say money talks, and a new report suggests Canadian currency is indeed chatting, at least electronically, on behalf of shadowy spies. Coins containing tiny transmitters have mysteriously turned up in the pockets of at least three American contractors who visited Canada, says a branch of the U.S. Defence Department. Security experts believe the devices could be used to track the movements of defence industry personnel dealing in military technology. According to a report from the U.S. Defence Security Service, "On at least three separate occasions between October 2005 and January 2006, cleared defense contractors' employees travelling through Canada have discovered radio frequency transmitters embedded in Canadian coins placed on their persons." A service spokeswoman said details of the incidents were classified. The type of transmitter in play and its ultimate purpose remain a mystery. However, tiny tracking tags, known as RFIDs, are commonly placed in everything from clothing to key chains to help retailers track inventory. Each tag contains a miniature antenna that beams a unique identification code to an electronic reader. The information can then be transferred by the reader into a computerized database.


White House pact cloaked visits amid scandal
2007-01-05, MSNBC/Associated Press
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16491370

The White House and the Secret Service quietly signed an agreement last spring in the midst of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal declaring that records identifying visitors to the White House are not open to the public. The Bush administration didn’t reveal the existence of the memorandum of understanding until last fall. The White House is using it to deal with ... a ruling by a federal judge ordering the production of Secret Service logs identifying visitors to the office of Vice President Dick Cheney. The five-page document dated May 17 declares that all entry and exit data on White House visitors belongs to the White House as presidential records rather than to the Secret Service as agency records. Therefore, the agreement states, the material is not subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. In the past, Secret Service logs have revealed the comings and goings of various White House visitors, including Monica Lewinsky and Clinton campaign donor Denise Rich, the wife of fugitive financier Marc Rich. The memo last spring was signed by the White House and Secret Service the day after a Washington-based group asked a federal judge to impose sanctions on the Secret Service in a dispute over White House visitor logs for Abramoff. “It appears the White House is actually manufacturing evidence to further its own agenda,” Anne Weismann, a Justice Department lawyer for 19 years. Secret Service records played a significant role in the Whitewater scandal in the 1990s, supplying congressional Republicans with leads to follow in their investigations of the Clintons.


Journalist in legal battle with military
2007-01-05, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/01/05/DDG4HNCE5R1.DTL

The questions from the civilian spokesman at Fort Lewis started sounding suspicious to Sarah Olson. He had called to ask the Oakland freelance journalist about the accuracy of quotes in her story about Lt. Ehren Watada, which had appeared on the liberal Web site Truthout.org. As the telephone conversation progressed, Olson realized that the military was using her to fortify its case against Watada, whom it was prosecuting as the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to Iraq. While Watada faces a court-martial next month for conduct unbecoming an officer, the U.S. military pursues Olson. Last month, military prosecutors subpoenaed the 31-year-old writer and radio journalist, asking her to appear at his court-martial, scheduled to begin next month, to verify what Watada said. If Olson doesn't testify, she faces six months in jail or a $500 fine and a felony charge for a story she was paid $300 to write. Olson doesn't want to be part of a legal action that she believes limits someone's free speech. She came to journalism six years ago ... hoping to create more places for dissenting or seldom-heard voices, not fewer. "Journalists should not be asked to participate in the prosecution of political speech," Olson said. [She] isn't being asked to reveal unpublished work. "What I don't understand is why they (prosecutors) can't get this information digitally," said Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice. Olson doesn't have a problem with journalists testifying in court. She doesn't want journalists to be coerced to testify in cases that could limit free speech.

Note: Truthout.org is one of the main sources of our information. Interesting that one of their reporters should be targeted in this way. For stories by 20 award-winning journalists on how the media is controlled, click here.


In the sky! A bird? A plane? A ... UFO?
2007-01-01, Chicago Tribune
http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/columnists/chi-0701010141...

A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees. A group of airline employees insist they are in earnest, and they are upset that neither their bosses nor the government will take them seriously. Officials at United professed no knowledge of the Nov. 7 event--which was reported to the airline by as many as a dozen of its own workers. The [FAA] said its air traffic control tower at O'Hare did receive a call from a United supervisor asking if controllers had spotted a mysterious elliptical-shaped craft sitting motionless over Concourse C of the United terminal. No controllers saw the object, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said. The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena ... was first seen by a United ramp worker who was directing back a United plane at Gate C17. The sighting occurred during daylight, about 4:30 p.m. All the witnesses said the object was dark gray and well defined in the overcast skies. They said the craft, estimated by different accounts to be 6 feet to 24 feet in diameter, did not display any lights. All agreed the object made no noise and it was at a fixed position in the sky, just below the 1,900-foot cloud deck, until shooting off into the clouds. A United mechanic who was in the cockpit of a Boeing 777 [said] "I know that what I saw and what a lot of other people saw stood out very clearly, and it definitely was not an [Earth] aircraft."

Note: The Associated Press ran a very short, dismissive story on this sighting which was reported widely. For military and government witnesses testifying to major UFO cover-up, click here.


Judge Chastises FEMA as Botching Katrina Housing Program
2006-12-14, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/14/washington/14fema.html?ex=1323752400&en=221...

A federal judge on Wednesday called the Bush administration’s handling of a Hurricane Katrina housing program “a legal disaster” and ordered officials to explain a computer system that cannot count evacuees with precision or explain why they were denied aid. The judge ... ruled last month that the Federal Emergency Management Agency had violated evacuees’ constitutional rights by eliminating their housing payments without notice. Judge Leon ruled that the agency last spring and summer had mishandled the transition from a short-term housing program to a longer-term program. Instead of explaining why financing was being cut, the agency provided only computer-generated and sometimes conflicting program codes, Judge Leon said. He ordered agency officials to explain those decisions so that thousands of evacuees could understand the reasoning and decide whether to appeal. “I’m not looking for a doctoral dissertation,” Judge Leon said. “I’m looking for a couple of paragraphs in plain English.” “This is a legal disaster,” Judge Leon said. “People’s rights are being denied. I don’t want us to get so mired in the minutiae and the law while, in the meantime, people who need help are not getting help.” The agency has appealed Judge Leon’s initial order and is hoping a higher court will block its enforcement.


How to Bring Our Schools Out of the 20th Century
2006-12-10, Time Magazine
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1568480,00.html

In an age of overflowing information and proliferating media, kids need to rapidly process what's coming at them and distinguish between what's reliable and what isn't. The juniors in Bill Stroud's class are riveted by a documentary called Loose Change unspooling on a small TV screen at the Baccalaureate School for Global Education, in urban Astoria, N.Y. The film uses 9/11 footage and interviews with building engineers and Twin Towers survivors to make an oddly compelling if paranoid case that interior explosions unrelated to the impact of the airplanes brought down the World Trade Center on that fateful day. Afterward, the students--an ethnic mix of New Yorkers with their own 9/11 memories--dive into a discussion about the elusive nature of truth. Raya Harris finds the video more convincing than the official version of the facts. Marisa Reichel objects. "Because of a movie, you are going to change your beliefs?" she demands. "Just because people heard explosions doesn't mean there were explosions." Stroud has posed this question to his class on the blackboard: "If truth is difficult to prove in history, does it follow that all versions are equally acceptable?" Throughout the year, the class will examine news reports, websites, propaganda, history books, blogs, even pop songs. The goal is to teach kids to be discerning consumers of information and to research, formulate and defend their own views, says Stroud, who is founder and principal of [the] school.

Note: To view the highly engaging documentary Loose Change, click here. For more on 9/11, click here.


Calif. Couple Calls for Orgasm for Peace
2006-11-19, Washington Post/Associated Press
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/11/19/AR20061119008...

Two peace activists have planned a massive anti-war demonstration for the first day of winter. But they don't want you marching in the streets. The Global Orgasm for Peace was conceived by Donna Sheehan, 76, and Paul Reffell, 55, whose immodest goal is for everyone in the world to have an orgasm Dec. 22 while focusing on world peace. "The orgasm gives out an incredible feeling of peace during it and after it," Reffell said Sunday. "Your mind is like a blank. It's like a meditative state. And mass meditations have been shown to make a change." The couple have studied evolutionary psychology and believe that war is mainly an outgrowth of men trying to impress potential mates, a case of "my missile is bigger than your missile," as Reffell put it. By promoting what they hope to be a synchronized global orgasm, they hope to get people to channel their sexual energy into something more positive. The couple said interest appears strong, with 26,000 hits a day to their Web site, http://www.globalorgasm.org. "The dream is to have everyone in the world (take part)," Reffell said. "And if that means laying down your gun for a few minutes, then hey, all the better."


Libraries for Africa
2006-07-12, CBS News San Francisco Affiliate
http://cbs5.com/jeffersonawards/local_story_193173818.html

An industrious group of sixth graders is packing box after box with books ... all headed to Africa, for children whose educational experience is worlds apart. Student Emily Moreton says, "I've learned that a lot of kids in Africa don't have a lot of books to read." Classmate Josh Totte adds, "The places they learn -- they don't all have buildings. Sometimes they just gather around a tree." Two years ago, [Chris Bradshaw] and her family took a vacation to Africa. That's when the African Library Project was born. "I asked them if they had ever thought about having a library and they said, 'we've always wanted a library, but we didn't know how to make it happen,'" she explains. Now her all-volunteer network partners with schools and organizations that handle the collecting and shipping. In Africa, Peace Corps volunteers help identify communities interested in sustaining a library, then work with local officials to set them up with books shipped from the U.S. So far, the African Library Project has completed work on 29 libraries. Twenty more are under development. Twenty thousand books have been donated by fourteen American schools. And countless lessons are learned each day on both sides. "There are many, many places that are poor, but Africa is getting poorer," says Chris. "It's poorer now than it was 25 years ago and it's the only place in the world that is like that." She believes books provide the tools for change. Her dream is to one day provide books written in native African languages... a chapter she'll write when there's more money. "I got sick of feeling overwhelmed," she says. "I wanted to dig in and do it and this was something I could do and I know it's making a huge difference."

Note: For more on this most inspiring project, see their website at http://www.africanlibraryproject.org.


Bush challenges hundreds of laws
2006-04-30, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/04/30/bush_challen...

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty "to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to "execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional. Twice in recent months, Bush drew scrutiny after challenging new laws: a torture ban and a requirement that he give detailed reports to Congress about how he is using the Patriot Act. Citing his role as commander in chief, Bush says he can ignore any act of Congress that seeks to regulate the military. In October 2004, five months after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal in Iraq came to light, Congress passed a series of new rules and regulations for military prisons. Bush signed the provisions into law, then said he could ignore them all. On several other occasions, Bush contended he could nullify laws creating "whistle-blower" job protections. Bruce Fein, a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, said the American system of government relies upon the leaders of each branch "to exercise some self-restraint." But Bush has declared himself the sole judge of his own powers, he said, and then ruled for himself every time. "This...eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy," Fein said.


Documents Describe U.S. Auditors' Battles With Halliburton
2006-03-29, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/asection/la-na-halliburton29mar29,1,...

Frustrated government auditors pleaded, cajoled and finally threatened Halliburton Co. executives who repeatedly failed to comply with government reporting requirements under a key Iraq contract with a $1.2-billion potential price tag. The 15-page report cites findings by auditors that Halliburton overcharged -- "apparently intentionally" -- on the contract by using hidden calculations, and attempted in one instance to bill the government for $26 million in costs it did not incur. The report blamed the Department of Defense for awarding the contract despite warnings from auditors that Halliburton's cost estimating system had "significant deficiencies." Although federal officials have criticized the company and threatened to cancel its contracts, Halliburton remains the largest private contractor in Iraq. The contract, awarded in January 2004, was one of three Iraq pacts for the company once headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. Although the other two agreements...have faced heavy criticism as no-bid contracts...Tuesday's report was the first to focus on the third Halliburton contract. "You are hereby notified that the government considers that you have universally failed to provide adequate cost information as required under the subject contract," a U.S. contracting officer wrote in an Aug. 28, 2004, letter to an executive of KBR, the Halliburton unit formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root.


Autistic Teen's Hoop Dreams Come True
2006-02-23, CBS News
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/02/23/earlyshow/main1339324.shtml

It was the stuff of Hollywood, but it was real. Senior Jason McElwain had been the manager of the varsity basketball team of Greece Athena High School in Rochester, N. Y. McElwain, who's autistic, was added to the roster by coach Jim Johnson so he could be given a jersey and get to sit on the bench in the team's last game of the year. Johnson hoped the situation would even enable him to get McElwain onto the floor a little playing time. He got the chance, with Greece Athena up by double-digits with four minutes go to. And, in his first action of the year, McElwain missed his first two shots, but then sank six three-pointers and another shot (video), for a total of 20 points in three minutes. "I've had a lot of thrills in coaching," Johnson says. "I've coached a lot of wonderful kids. But I've never experienced such a thrill." The crowd went wild, and his teammates carried the excited McElwain off the court.

Note: The video of this inspiring piece is most excellent (though you have to watch the 30-second commercial first). It is available at the above link to CBS.


Advise and assent
2006-02-19, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-ed-nsa19feb19,0,5503861.story

That the United States Senate has a body called the Intelligence Committee is an irony George Orwell would have truly appreciated. In a world without Doublespeak, the panel, chaired by GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, would be known by a more appropriate name -- the Senate Coverup Committee. Although the committee is officially charged with overseeing the nation's intelligence-gathering operations, its real function in recent years has been to prevent the public from getting hold of any meaningful information about the Bush administration. Hence its never-ending delays of the probe into the bogus weapons intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq. And its squelching, on Thursday, of an expected investigation into the administration's warrantless spying program.


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.

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


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.

Note: If you would enjoy getting an inspiring email once a day with stories like this, consider signing up at www.dailygood.org. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.


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)