News StoriesExcerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
When President Donald Trump signed the $2.3 trillion coronavirus relief and government funding bill into law in December, so began the 180-day countdown for US intelligence agencies to tell Congress what they know about UFOs. The director of National Intelligence and the secretary of defense have a little less than six months now to provide the congressional intelligence and armed services committees with an unclassified report about "unidentified aerial phenomena." It's a stipulation that was tucked into the "committee comment" section of the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021, which was contained in the massive spending bill. That report must contain detailed analyses of UFO data and intelligence collected by the Office of Naval Intelligence, the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force and the FBI, according to the Senate intelligence committee's directive. It should also describe in detail "an interagency process for ensuring timely data collection and centralized analysis of all unidentified aerial phenomena reporting for the Federal Government" and designate an official responsible for that process. Finally, the report should identify any potential national security threats posed by UFOs and assess whether any of the nation's adversaries could be behind such activity, the committee said. The submitted report should be unclassified, the committee said, though it can contain a classified annex.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla told NBC's Dateline host Lester Holt that the pharmaceutical company was "not certain" if the vaccine prevented the coronavirus from being transmitted, saying: "This is something that needs to be examined." In a prime-time special titled "Race for a Vaccine" ... Holt questioned Bourla and other individuals involved in the development and distribution of the vaccine. In November, Pfizer announced that its vaccine candidate had been shown to be more than 90% effective at preventing COVID-19 and has applied for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The U.K. became the first country to approve Pfizer's vaccine this week with the first round of immunizations expected to roll out next week. In August, Canada signed a deal with Pfizer for 20 million doses of the vaccine. In a list of interview highlights released before the special, Holt asked Bourla: "Even though I've had the protection, am I still able to transmit it to other people?" "I think this is something that needs to be examined. We are not certain about that right now with what we know," Bourla responded.
Note: An MSN article reported that a 41-year-old Portuguese health worker died two days after getting the Pfizer vaccine, but then removed the article. Learn more about this death in this article. A Florida doctor also died after receiving the vaccine. This CDC report states "December 14–23, 2020, monitoring â€¦ detected 21 cases of anaphylaxis after administration of a reported 1,893,360 first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine." For more, explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
The pandemic has forced untold hardships onto many Americans, with tens of millions of families now reporting that they don't have enough to eat and millions more out of work on account of layoffs and lockdowns. America's wealthiest, on the other hand, had a very different kind of year: Billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began. And roughly one-fifth of that haul flowed into the pockets of just two men: Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon (and owner of The Washington Post), and Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX fame. Musk has quintupled his net worth since January, according to estimates put together by Bloomberg, adding $132 billion to his wealth and vaulting him to the No. 2 spot among the world's richest with a fortune of about $159 billion. Bezos's wealth has grown by roughly $70 billion over the same period, putting his net worth estimate at roughly $186 billion as the year came to an end. Such a rapid accumulation of individual wealth hasn't happened in the United States since the time of the Rockefellers and Carnegies a century ago, and we as a society are only just beginning to grapple with the ethical implications. What does it mean, for instance, that two men amassed enough wealth this year to end all hunger in America (with a price tag of $25 billion) eight times over? Or that the $200 billion accumulated by Bezos and Musk is greater than the amount of coronavirus relief allocated to state and local governments in the Cares Act?
Note: The new richest man in Asia reached his position partially through making vaccines for the coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Tech's biggest companies just wrapped up a huge year. The seven most valuable U.S. technology companies – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Facebook, Tesla and Nvidia – picked up a combined $3.4 trillion in market cap in 2020, powering through a global pandemic and broader economic crisis. Between continued optimism over iPhone sales, Microsoft's growing Teams collaboration product, Amazon's ongoing control of e-commerce and the strength of Google and Facebook's online ad duopoly, Big Tech was neither slowed by Covid-19 nor the rising number of investigations into its dominance. By far the biggest increase in market cap went to Apple, which jumped by almost $1 trillion in value, thanks to its stock climbing 81%. Amazon, which benefited from growth in its consumer and cloud-computing business, rose by $710 billion. Microsoft picked up $480 billion, while Alphabet gained $268 billion and Facebook $193 billion. The gains are clearly reflected in the ranks of the richest people. Amazon's Jeff Bezos is the wealthiest person in the world, followed by Tesla's Elon Musk and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is fifth. Also in the top 10 are Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Microsoft ex-CEO Steve Ballmer.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
2020 has been a killer year in every way, including murder. The United States has experienced the largest single one-year increase in homicides since the country started keeping such records in the 20th century, according to crime data and criminologists. The data collected so far is stark – a 20.9 percent increase in killings nationwide, in the first nine months of the year, according to the FBI, and even bloodier increases in many major cities, due largely to gun violence. Homicides recorded by 57 U.S. police agencies found a 36.7 percent increase for a similar time frame, according to figures compiled by Jeff Asher, an analyst and consultant who studies crime data. "Like everything else in 2020, the crime data was a disaster. There was a huge spike in murder, and it's hard to say just how bad it is, but it's fairly clear we are going to see the largest single-year rise," Asher said. Experts agree the pandemic has played a huge role in the rise in killings, but it has also probably contributed to a significant decrease in nonviolent crimes, which the FBI data shows fell by more than 8 percent in the first nine months of the year, possibly because there were fewer people on the street. It's not just big cities that are seeing rising homicides. According to the FBI data, small cities with fewer than 10,000 residents saw more than a 30 percent increase in killings in the first nine months of this year – a data point Asher called "insane."the main resource for national crime data, the FBI, will not report final figures for 2020 until September 2021.
Note: This new spike in homicides comes on the heels of a long downward trend in violent crime. An alarming survey published by 12 professors of leading US universities shows depression is up sharply since lockdowns were instituted. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
There was one story Neil Sheehan chose not to tell. It was the story of how he had obtained the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers, arguably the greatest journalistic catch of a generation, were a secret history of United States decision-making on Vietnam, commissioned in 1967 by the secretary of defense. Their release revealed for the first time the extent to which successive White House administrations had intensified American involvement in the war while hiding their own doubts about the chances of success. [Sheehan] also revealed that he had defied the explicit instructions of his confidential source, whom others later identified as Daniel Ellsberg, a former Defense Department analyst who had been a contributor to the secret history while working for the Rand Corporation. In 1969, Mr. Ellsberg had illicitly copied the entire report, hoping that making it public would hasten an end to a war he had come passionately to oppose. Contrary to what is generally believed, Mr. Ellsberg never "gave" the papers to The Times, Mr. Sheehan emphatically said. Mr. Ellsberg told Mr. Sheehan that he could read them but not make copies. So Mr. Sheehan smuggled the papers out of the apartment in Cambridge, Mass., where Mr. Ellsberg had stashed them; then he copied them illicitly, just as Mr. Ellsberg had done, and took them to The Times. Over the next two months, he strung Mr. Ellsberg along. He told him that his editors were deliberating. In fact, he was ... working feverishly toward publication.
What does it say about the humanitarian condition of US prisons and jails when one of the United States' closest allies refuses to extradite a person for fear that American prison conditions would drive him to suicide? This is exactly what happened ... when a British court ruled against the United States' extradition request for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange due to concerns that his health and safety cannot be assured in US custody. The United States fought vigorously to extradite Assange so that he can stand trial for alleged violations of the US Espionage Act, as well as other alleged cyber crimes. Judge Baraitser denied extradition due to the significant risk that Assange would be placed in solitary confinement, which she concluded would likely lead to his death by suicide. Assange has a long and documented history of mental illness. Prolonged solitary confinement – defined as the practice of confining people for 22 to 24 hours per day without meaningful human contact for a period of more than 15 days – can amount to torture, according to the United Nations. According to the Prison Policy Initiative, an estimated 37% of people incarcerated in US state and federal prisons have a diagnosed mental illness, as do an estimated 44% of incarcerated people in local jails. And studies have shown that approximately half of all suicides and incidents of self-harm in American prisons and jails occur among people held in solitary confinement.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Vaccines are ... under investigation for the possible side effects they can cause. In order to supply new information, an electron-microscopy investigation method was applied to the study of vaccines, aimed at verifying the presence of solid contaminants by means of an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope equipped with an X-ray microprobe. The results of this new investigation show the presence of micro- and nanosized particulate matter composed of inorganic elements in vaccines' samples which is not declared among the components and whose ... presence is, for the time being, inexplicable. A considerable part of those particulate contaminants have already been verified in other matrices and reported in literature as non biodegradable and non biocompatible. The evidence collected is suggestive of some hypotheses correlated to diseases that are mentioned and briefly discussed. Recently, with the worldwide-adopted vaccines against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the debate was reawaken[ed] due to some adverse effects reported by some young subjects. Specific studies communicated the existence of symptoms related to never-described-before syndromes developed after the vaccine was administered. For instance, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) ... side-effects that can arise within a relatively short time can be local or systemic.
A few months ago, 7-year-old Madison Wilson was watching the Disney movie "Maleficent: Mistress of Evil" at her home in Solvang, Calif., when her mother heard her say, "Finally, there's a brown person!" Madison was talking about the character Conall ... whose skin color is similar to her own. It was a contrast to most movies she sees where "there are only peach people," Madison told her mother, Vashti Wilson. Madison said she was also frustrated that there wasn't a brown color in her crayon box that properly represented the color of her skin when she drew pictures of herself. Wilson wanted her daughter to feel empowered, so she asked her, "Do you have some ideas?" Madison did, in fact. Madison had learned that Crayola was planning to release a new box of Colors of the World skin-tone crayons this summer. According to the Crayola website, "Crayola Colors of the World Crayons contain 24 specially formulated colors representing people of the world." Madison wanted to get some for her school, and also books that include characters of color. "But then we learned that due to covid-19, every child would have to have their own box of crayons," Wilson said. "So a few weeks ago, we decided to start a fundraiser." When word got out about Madison's cause, donations began to pour in. Since June 19, more than $23,000 has been raised – enough to buy books, crayons and construction paper in a variety of multicultural hues for ... nearly 500 children.
Jordan Reeves is just an ordinary 14-year-old girl who has inspired millions of people with her extraordinary "superpower." The young inventor from Columbia, Missouri was born with a left arm that stopped developing beyond the elbow. Although some people would look at her under-developed limb as just a disability, Jordan used her condition to launch her superhero alter ego. When she was 10 years old, Jordan attended a STEM workshop that encouraged kids with disabilities to think creatively about their condition - so with a 3D-printer at her disposal, she designed her own prosthetic arm that could shoot glitter from the tip. Jordan's invention was so dazzlingly successful, she went on to talk about her horn-shaped "Project Unicorn" prosthetic design on the TEDx stage, Shark Tank, and even The Rachel Ray Show. With each appearance, she hoped that Project Unicorn would encourage other kids to view disabilities as gifts rather than hindrances. As Project Unicorn gained more traction, Jordan and her mother turned their labor of love into the Born Just Right nonprofit so they could continue advocating for inclusivity. In addition to publishing a book about her experiences in 2019, Jordan and her prosthetic were featured on Episode One of Marvel's Superhero Project - and earlier this week, she was featured on a new LEGO documentary miniseries that interviews young change-makers from across North America. More than 430 children from 30 different countries contributed.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Ian McKenna was in third grade when he learned that nearly a quarter of the kids at his Austin school weren't getting enough to eat at home. He wanted to help, but local volunteer organizations turned him away, saying he was too young. So he decided to find his own solution. For years, he had been gardening with his mother, and they often distributed their extra vegetables to the neighbors. Why not give the produce to a soup kitchen? "Then I thought, I'm good at gardening," says McKenna, now 16. "Maybe I could try to start a garden that's meant solely to help feed these people who are in need." Better yet, he thought, why not plant a garden at school, so that kids in need could take food home? McKenna persuaded his school to set aside space for a garden, then he asked the community for donations of seeds and equipment. Other students donated their time. Within months, McKenna's garden was producing lettuces, spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash for students and their families. Now, seven years later, McKenna's Giving Garden project has expanded to five area schools in addition to his own backyard garden, and he has provided more than 20,000 lb. of organic produce (enough for 25,000 meals) to Austin families and food pantries. When COVID-19 hit the U.S., McKenna redoubled his efforts, cooking up to 100 meals out of his home to distribute to the hungry on the weekends. When social distancing meant that volunteers couldn't work on community garden plots, he started offering online tutorials.
Note: Scroll down near the bottom to read about this inspiring young man. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The rally that preceded the storming of the Capitol had been hyped for weeks, including by the president himself. "It definitely shows the ineffectiveness of the intelligence network that we've built since 9/11 – that the Capitol Police would not have been prepared for an assault on the Capitol that was planned in public," Mike German, a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice and former FBI agent specializing in counterterrorism, [said]. Adam Isacson, the D.C.-based director of the defense oversight program at the Washington Office on Latin America, linked the events to a broader politicization of law enforcement under Trump, reminiscent of the anti-democratic movements the U.S. has historically sponsored in countries around the world. "You don't get to ransack the Capitol for hours, then calmly walk away, unless law enforcement and its command share your views," he wrote. "What we saw yesterday was tacit approval of the rioters." The insurrectionary mob was met with some resistance as they descended on the Capitol – some, but not much. Police did use chemical agents against the crowd, but by and large the response bore little resemblance to the iron-fisted crackdown on racial justice protesters witnessed in Washington, D.C., and cities across the country just months before. When they were through, Trump's irregular forces walked out of the building triumphant and unmasked, smiling as a law enforcement officer held the door for them. "We love you. You're very special," the president said to his supporters.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
When Chanelle Helm helped organized protests after the March 13 killing of Breonna Taylor, Louisville police responded with batons, flashbang grenades and tear gas. The 40-year-old Black Lives Matter activist still bears scars from rubber bullets fired at close range. So Helm was startled and frustrated Wednesday to see a White, pro-Trump mob storm the U.S. Capitol - breaking down barricades, smashing windows and striking police officers - without obvious consequence. "Our activists are still to this day met with hyper-police violence," Helm said. "And today you see this full-on riot ... with people toting guns, which the police knew was coming and they just let it happen. I don't understand where the 'law and order' is. This is what white supremacy looks like." For veteran social justice demonstrators, the images of men and women wearing red Trump 2020 hats and clutching American and Confederate flags walking through the Capitol building largely unmolested came as shocking yet predictable evidence of their long-held suspicions that conservative, White protesters intent on violence would not be met with any of the strongarm tactics as anti-police brutality demonstrators. Lezley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, who died at age 18 in a 2014 police shooting in Ferguson, Mo., [said] that the lack of a police response was stunning. "There was no shooting, no rubber bullets, no tear gas," she said. "It was nothing like what we have seen. Nothing like what we have seen."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
When Elon Musk gave the world a demo in August of his latest endeavor, the brain-computer interface (BCI) Neuralink, he reminded us that the lines between brain and machine are blurring quickly. It bears remembering, however, that Neuralink is, at its core, a computer – and as with all computing advancements in human history, the more complex and smart computers become, the more attractive targets they become for hackers. Our brains hold information computers don't have. A brain linked to a computer/AI such as a BCI removes that barrier to the brain, potentially allowing hackers to rush in and cause problems we can't even fathom today. Might hacking humans via BCI be the next major evolution in hacking, carried out through a dangerous combination of past hacking methods? Previous eras were defined by obstacles between hackers and their targets. However, what happens when that disconnect between humans and tech is blurred? When they're essentially one and the same? Should a computing device literally connected to the brain, as Neuralink is, become hacked, the consequences could be catastrophic, giving hackers ultimate control over someone. If Neuralink penetrates deep into the human brain with high fidelity, what might hacking a human look like? Following traditional patterns, hackers would likely target individuals with high net worths and perhaps attempt to manipulate them into wiring millions of dollars to a hacker's offshore bank account.
Note: For more on this, see an article in the UK's Independent titled "Groundbreaking new material 'could allow artificial intelligence to merge with the human brain'." Meanwhile, the military is talking about "human-machine symbiosis." And Yale professor Charles Morgan describes in a military presentation how hypodermic needles can be used to alter a person's memory and much more in this two-minute video. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on microchip implants from reliable major media sources.
If you experience severe side effects after getting a Covid vaccine, lawyers tell CNBC there is basically no one to blame in a U.S. court of law. The federal government has granted companies like Pfizer and Moderna immunity from liability if something unintentionally goes wrong with their vaccines. "It is very rare for a blanket immunity law to be passed," said Rogge Dunn, a Dallas labor and employment attorney. You also can't sue the Food and Drug Administration for authorizing a vaccine for emergency use, nor can you hold your employer accountable if they mandate inoculation as a condition of employment. Congress created a fund specifically to help cover lost wages and out-of-pocket medical expenses for people who have been irreparably harmed by a "covered countermeasure," such as a vaccine. But it is difficult to use and rarely pays. Attorneys say it has compensated less than 6% of the claims filed in the last decade. In February, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar invoked the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act. The 2005 law empowers the HHS secretary to provide legal protection to companies making or distributing critical medical supplies. The protection lasts until 2024. That means that for the next four years, these companies "cannot be sued for money damages in court" over injuries related to the administration or use of products to treat or protect against Covid.
Note: Dr. Carrie Madej lays out the case for transhumanism through these mRNA vaccines. Are these vaccines the beginning of a well hidden agenda using nanotechnology to control all humans through advanced technology? Don't miss this powerful 20-minute video and do your own research as she suggests. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
Australia on Friday canceled a roughly $750 million plan for a large order of a locally developed coronavirus vaccine after the inoculation produced false positive test results for H.I.V. in some volunteers participating in a trial study. Of the dozens of coronavirus vaccines being tested worldwide, the Australian one was the first to be abandoned. While its developers said the experimental vaccine had appeared to be safe and effective, the false positives risked undermining trust in the effort to vaccinate the public. The Australian setback showed the missteps that can inevitably occur when scientists, during a pandemic that has killed more than 1.5 million people, rush to condense the usual yearslong process to develop vaccines into a matter of months. The trouble that arose with the Australian vaccine, developed by the University of Queensland and the biotech company CSL, was related to its use of two fragments of a protein found in H.I.V. The protein formed part of a molecular "clamp" that researchers placed on the spikes that surround the coronavirus and allow it to enter healthy cells. The clamp stabilizes the spikes, allowing the immune system to respond more effectively to the vaccine. The use of the H.I.V. protein posed no risk of infecting the volunteers with that virus, the researchers said. But the clamp generated the production of antibodies recognized by H.I.V. tests at higher levels than the scientists had expected. The researchers decided to abandon development of the vaccine.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency updated its assessment of the origin of the novel coronavirus to reflect that it may have been accidentally released from an infectious diseases lab. The report, dated March 27 and corroborated by two U.S. officials, reveals that U.S. intelligence revised its January assessment in which it "judged that the outbreak probably occurred naturally" to now include the possibility that the new coronavirus emerged "accidentally" due to "unsafe laboratory practices" in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. Chinese officials at first insisted that the virus, SARS-CoV-2, could be caught only through direct contact with animals. But many of the early patients in Wuhan had no connection to the wild animal markets, which meant that the virus had already been spreading from person to person. The Wuhan Institute of Virology, not far from the animal markets in downtown Wuhan, houses the world's largest collection of coronaviruses from wild bats, including at least one virus that bears a resemblance to SARS-CoV-2. What's more, Wuhan Institute of Virology scientists have for the past five years been engaged in so-called "gain of function" (GOF) research, which is designed to enhance certain properties of viruses for the purpose of anticipating future pandemics. Gain-of-function techniques have been used to turn viruses into human pathogens capable of causing a global pandemic. Similar work ... has been carried out in dozens of labs throughout the world.
Note: If you want to understand the huge risk to humanity of "gain of function" research, read the entire article at the link above. Explore also eye-opening information on how the questions about the origin of the virus have been manipulated. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
More than three years after the FBI came under fire for claiming "Black identity extremists" were a domestic terrorism threat, the bureau has issued a new terrorism guide that employs almost identical terminology. The FBI's 2020 domestic terrorism reference guide on "Racially or Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism" identifies two distinct sets of groups: those motivated by white supremacy and those who use "political reasons – including racism or injustice in American society" to justify violence. The examples the FBI gives for the latter group are all Black individuals or groups. The FBI document claims that "many" of those Black racially motivated extremists "have targeted law enforcement and the US Government," while a "small number" of them "incorporate sovereign citizen Moorish beliefs into their ideology, which involves a rejection of their US citizenship." In 2017, a leaked copy of an FBI report on "Black identity extremists" sparked an outcry from activists, civil rights groups and Congress, who criticized the bureau for portraying disparate groups and individuals as a single movement, even though the only common factor was that those associated with the term were Black Americans. Those critics also faulted the FBI for equating isolated attacks against law enforcement with those perpetrated by white supremacists, which even the FBI said represent the majority of domestic terror attacks in recent years.
Note: The above article is also available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Police have killed more than 1,000 people so far in 2020, according to the Mapping Police Violence project. The research group's database reveals that officers have killed 1,039 people in the U.S. as of December 8 - including 21 people who were aged 18 or under. According to Mapping Police Violence, by the end of November, there had only been 17 days in the year when police officers did not kill someone. And in a year that saw a nationwide reckoning on race following the police killings of George Floyd and other Black people, the database reveals that 28 percent of those killed by police in 2020 were Black - despite Black people only making up 13 percent of the U.S. population. Despite the months of protests denouncing police brutality and calls to "defund the police," Mapping Police Violence's data shows that police in 2020 have continued to kill people at similar rates to previous years. Mapping Police Violence's data shows that Black people are the most likely to be killed by police. Black people are three times more likely to be killed by police than white people and 1.3 times more likely to be unarmed compared to white people, according to data on police killings between 2013 and 2019. The statistics also show that there is little accountability for police killings. According to Mapping Police Violence, 98.3 percent of police killings between 2013 and 2020 resulted in no criminal charges for the officers involved.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
US-based pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has made the first compensation payment to Nigerian families affected by a controversial drug trial 15 years ago. It paid $175,000 (Ł108,000) each to four families in the first of a series of payments it is expected to make. The payouts are part of an out-of-court settlement reached in 2009. In 1996, 11 children died and dozens were left disabled after Pfizer gave them the experimental anti-meningitis drug, Trovan. The payouts were made to the parents of four of the children who died. Their parents told the BBC they welcomed the payment, but it would not replace the loss of their loved ones. The children were part of a group of 200 given the drug during a meningitis epidemic in the northern city of Kano as part of a medical trial comparing Trovan's effectiveness with the established treatment. For years Pfizer maintained that meningitis - not the drug - caused the deaths and disabilities. But after a lengthy and expensive litigation process, it reached a settlement with the Kano government in northern Nigeria. The trials were carried out in Kano and the state government fought Pfizer on behalf of victims and their families. It has taken two years and DNA tests to establish who is entitled to payments, the BBC's Jonah Fisher in Lagos says. It could take another year for payments to be concluded, he says. Pfizer also agreed to sponsor health projects in Kano as well as creating a fund of $35m to compensate those affected.
Note: A BMJ article about this case states, "The families allege that the company failed to tell them that their children were being enrolled in an experimental drug trial and that free, effective treatment was available ... at the same hospital. Five children in the trovafloxacin arm and six in the ceftriaxone arm died, according to Pfizer." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
One of the world's largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazonian rainforest. Hailed as "the Sistine Chapel of the ancients", archaeologists have found tens of thousands of paintings of animals and humans created up to 12,500 years ago across cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles in Colombia. Their date is based partly on their depictions of now-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn't roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses. These animals were all seen and painted by some of the very first humans ever to reach the Amazon. Their pictures give a glimpse into a lost, ancient civilisation. Such is the sheer scale of paintings that they will take generations to study. The discovery was made by a British-Colombian team, funded by the European Research Council. Its leader is JosĂ© Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University and a leading expert on the Amazon and pre-Columbian history. He said: "When you're there, your emotions flow â€¦ We're talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It's going to take generations to record them â€¦ Every turn you do, it's a new wall of paintings. "We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you're looking at a horse, for example. It's fascinating."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
An art exhibit is now open at the Beverly Center titled, "Heirs to the Throne." Among the well-known artists is newcomer Tyler Gordon who's blowing up social media with his recent works. "I just really love art, and I've always wanted to do art my whole life," said Tyler, 14. But it wasn't until he turned 10 that Tyler started painting. "He wakes me up at 3 in the morning, telling me he had a dream that God told him he could paint and he's going to be a painter," said Tyler's mom, Nicole. "And I told him, 'Go back to bed.'" His mom Nicole Kindle, an artist herself, gave him the supplies he needed, essentially launching his career as a portrait artist. His recent portrait of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris went viral just before Thanksgiving, with more than 1.5 million views. That led to a call from Harris herself, commending his work. "She broke through tons of barriers herself," Tyler explained. "And me myself, I broke through tons of barriers, with my stutter, me being deaf until I was 6, and me being in a wheelchair for 2 years." Tyler was also inspired to paint President-Elect Joe Biden. "He also stutters as well, and even though he stutters, he's still not afraid to do public speeches and use his voice," Tyler said. "So I feel like he really inspires me." Tyler showed NBCLA some of the works on display in his exhibit, including portraits of Brionna Taylor and George Floyd. "I painted him to let him and the world know that he would not be forgotten," said Tyler.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Twelve years after being sentenced to life for selling $20 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop, Fate Vincent Winslow will walk out of Louisiana State Penitentiary on Wednesday a free man. "Today is a day of redemption," the 53-year-old wrote to Yahoo News following his resentencing hearing on Tuesday. "I get my freedom back, I get my life back. There are no words that can really explain my feelings right now." Winslow's release comes through the work of the Innocence Project New Orleans (IPNO) and specifically Jee Park, its executive director, who felt confident that there was a path to freedom for Winslow as soon as she found his case. "You read the transcript of his trial and you're just horrified about what happened," Park told Yahoo News. "[His attorney] doesn't object when he gets sentenced to life. He doesn't file a motion to reconsider â€¦ he doesn't do anything. He just says, â€Sorry, you got a guilty verdict, you're going to prison for the rest of your life.'" Winslow said he's thanking God for his newfound freedom, and looking forward to reuniting with his daughter Faith, who has set up a GoFundMe to help get him back on his feet. In a statement provided to IPNO, Faith expressed optimism about the future. "My dad and I got closer while he was imprisoned. Even though he was locked up, he was there for me when I needed him," she said. "He deserves a second chance and I am so glad he is getting one."
When I called up Chuck Collins on Tuesday afternoon, I found him glued to one of the grimmest new metrics documenting America's economic and social unraveling. Collins is a scholar of inequality at the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, and since March he has been tracking how the collective wealth of American billionaires has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. In previous recessions, Collins said, billionaires were hit along with the rest of us; it took almost three years for Forbes's 400 richest people to recover losses incurred in 2008's Great Recession. But in the coronavirus recession of 2020, most billionaires have not lost their shirts. Instead, they've put on bejeweled overcoats and gloves made of spun gold – that is, they've gotten richer than ever before. On Tuesday, as the stock market soared to a record, Collins was watching the billionaires cross a depressing threshold: $1 trillion. That is the amount of new wealth American billionaires have amassed since March, at the start of the devastating lockdowns that state and local governments imposed to curb the pandemic. On March 18, according to a report Collins and his colleagues published last week, America's 614 billionaires were worth a combined $2.95 trillion. When the markets closed on Tuesday, there were 650 billionaires and their combined wealth was now close to $4 trillion. In the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, American billionaires' wealth grew by a third.
With few exceptions, big businesses are having a very different year from most of the country. Between April and September, one of the most tumultuous economic stretches in modern history, 45 of the 50 most valuable publicly traded U.S. companies turned a profit. Despite their success, at least 27 of the 50 largest firms held layoffs this year, collectively cutting more than 100,000 workers. Corporate leaders are touting their success and casting themselves as leaders on the road to economic recovery. Many of their firms have put Americans out of work and used their profits to increase the wealth of shareholders. 21 big firms that were profitable during the pandemic laid off workers anyway. Berkshire Hathaway raked in profits of $56 billion during the first six months of the pandemic while one of its subsidiary companies laid off more than 13,000 workers. Salesforce, Cisco Systems and PayPal cut staff even after their chief executives vowed not to do so. Companies sent thousands of employees packing while sending billions of dollars to shareholders. Walmart, whose CEO spent the past year championing the idea that businesses "should not just serve shareholders," nonetheless distributed more than $10 billion to its investors during the pandemic while laying off 1,200 corporate office employees. Economists estimate at least 100,000 small businesses permanently closed in the first two months of the pandemic alone.
If you were to approve a coronavirus vaccine, would you approve one that you only knew protected people only from the most mild form of Covid-19, or one that would prevent its serious complications? The answer is obvious. You would want to protect against the worst cases. But that's not how the companies testing three of the leading coronavirus vaccine candidates, Moderna, Pfizer and AstraZeneca ... are approaching the problem. According to the protocols for their studies ... a vaccine could meet the companies' benchmark for success if it lowered the risk of mild Covid-19, but was never shown to reduce moderate or severe forms of the disease, or the risk of hospitalization, admissions to the intensive care unit or death. To say a vaccine works should mean that most people no longer run the risk of getting seriously sick. That's not what these trials will determine. Influenza vaccines ... reduce the risk of mild disease in healthy adults. But there is no solid evidence they reduce the number of deaths. In fact, significant increases in vaccination rates over the past decades have not been associated with reductions in deaths. Moderna and Pfizer acknowledge their vaccines appear to induce side effects that are similar to the symptoms of mild Covid-19. In Pfizer's early phase trial, more than half of the vaccinated participants experienced headache, muscle pain and chills. If the vaccines ultimately provide no benefit beyond a reduced risk of mild Covid-19, they could end up causing more discomfort than they prevent.
Note: Did you know that the FDA allows cancer cells to be used in vaccines? And the Vatican has stated "It is morally acceptable to receive Covid-19 vaccines that have used cell lines from aborted fetuses." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
Keeping track of vaccinations remains a major challenge in the developing world. Now a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers has developed a novel way to address this problem: embedding the record directly into the skin. Along with the vaccine, a child would be injected with a bit of dye that is invisible to the naked eye but easily seen with a special cell-phone filter, combined with an app that shines near-infrared light onto the skin. The dye would be expected to last up to five years, according to tests on pig and rat skin and human skin in a dish. The system - which has not yet been tested in children - would provide quick and easy access to vaccination history ... according to the study. Delivering the dye required the researchers to find something that was safe and would last long enough to be useful. The team ended up using a technology called quantum dots, tiny semiconducting crystals that reflect light and were originally developed to label cells during research. The work was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and came about because of a direct request from Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates himself. The researchers hope to add more detailed information to the dots, such as the date of vaccination. Along with them, the team eventually wants to inject sensors that could also potentially be used to track aspects of health such as insulin levels in diabetics.
Note: Bill Gates insists he never said we'd need digital vaccine passports. Yet researchers have found that his TED Talk which included this statement was edited to remove it. You can prove this with the evidence provided on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines and microchip implants from reliable major media sources.
Though most people who protect themselves with a coronavirus vaccine will never develop serious side effects, such rare cases are barred from federal court and instead steered to an obscure program with a record of seldom paying claims. The Countermeasures Injury Compensation Program, which was set up specifically to deal with vaccines under emergency authorization, has just four employees and few hallmarks of an ordinary court. Decisions are made in secret by government officials, claimants can't appeal to a judge and payments in most death cases are capped at $370,376. That stands in contrast to the much more established federal vaccine court, which decides cases of injury from most childhood vaccines and other common inoculations. George Washington University law professor Peter Meyers has followed the countermeasures program for years and bluntly calls it a "black hole," obtaining federal documents this summer showing it has paid fewer than 1 in 10 claims in its 15-year history. Experts are concerned that with the sheer volume of people expected to get coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. – more than 200 million – even a successful rollout with relatively few ill effects could be enough to swamp the program. What's more, such cases are complex and it's often hard to prove a direct link between claims of illness and a vaccine. The countermeasures program was created by a 2005 law. Under the program, drug makers can only be sued for "willful misconduct."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
In total 2,487 people have died of the coronavirus in Japan, just over half the number in China and fewer people than on a single day in America several times over the past week. Japan has suffered just 18 deaths per million people, a higher rate than in China, but by far the lowest in the G7. As early as March, Japanese officials began warning citizens to avoid the san-mitsu or "3Cs": closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings. The phrase was blasted across traditional and social media. Authorities [made] granular distinctions about risks, opting for targeted restrictions rather than swinging between the extremes of strict lockdowns and free-for-all openings. Nishimura Yasutoshi, the minister overseeing the government's response to covid-19, carries a device that monitors carbon dioxide to measure the quality of ventilation during his meetings. Crowded subways pose little risk, if windows are open and passengers wear masks, Mr Nishimura insists. Sitting diagonally, rather than directly across from each other can reduce the risk of infection by 75%. Movie theatres are safe ... Mr Nishimura says. While most cinemas in the West are closed, "Demon Slayer", a new animeflick, has been playing to full houses in Japan. In addition to the 3Cs, the Japanese government warns of five more specific dangers: dinner parties with booze; drinking and eating in groups of more than four; talking without masks at close quarters; living in dormitories and other small shared spaces; and using changing or break rooms.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
H3N2 (or the "Hong Kong flu," as it was more popularly known) was an influenza strain that the New York Times described as "one of the worst in the nation's history." The first case of H3N2 ... was reported in mid-July 1968 in Hong Kong. By September, it had infected Marines returning to the States from the Vietnam War. By mid-December, the Hong Kong flu had arrived in all 50 states. But schools were not shut down nationwide, other than a few dozen because of too many sick teachers. Face masks weren't required or even common. Between 1968 and 1970, the Hong Kong flu killed between an estimated 1 and 4 million, according to the CDC and Encyclopaedia Britannica, with US deaths exceeding 100,000. But by all projections, the coronavirus will surpass H3N2's body count even with a global shutdown. The global fight to stop (or at least slow down) COVID-19 has brought heavy restrictions on all aspects of public life. The idea that a pandemic could be controlled with social distancing and public lockdowns is a relatively new one, said [Jeffrey Tucker with the American Institute for Economic Research]. It was first suggested in a 2006 study by New Mexico scientist Robert J. Glass. "Two government doctors, not even epidemiologists" – Richard Hatchett and Carter Mecher, who worked for the George W. Bush administration – "hatched the idea [of using government-enforced social distancing] and hoped to try it out on the next virus." We are, in effect, Tucker said, part of a grand social experiment.
Note: Woodstock (1969) was held in the middle of this pandemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Pentagon and Washington-area military leaders are on red alert, wary of what President Donald Trump might do in his remaining days in office. Though far-fetched, ranking officers have discussed what they would do if the president declared martial law. And military commands responsible for Washington DC are engaged in secret contingency planning in case the armed forces are called upon to maintain or restore civil order during the inauguration and transition period. "Right now, because of coronavirus," one retired judge advocate general says, "the president actually has unprecedented emergency powers, ones that might convince him - particularly if he listens to certain of his supporters - that he has unlimited powers and is above the law." "But martial law," says the lawyer, "is the wrong paradigm to think about the dangers ahead." Though such a presidential proclamation could flow from his order as commander-in-chief, an essential missing ingredient is the martial side: the involvement and connivance of some cabal of officers who would support the president's illegal move. Such a group doesn't exist ... but there could still be room for mischief, confusion, and even use of military force. It would just not be in the way Trump might intend, particularly if he continues his quest to destabilize the democratic process. "There is no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of an American election," Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy and Army Chief of Staff General James McConville said in a joint statement.
Note: Trump is the third president to extend the perpetual state of emergency established in the US after 9/11. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
In Togo ... 55% of the population lives on less than $1.90 a day. The economic effects of COVID-19 have drastically driven up the world's extreme poverty level. The World Bank estimates that the number of people living on less than $1.90 per day will reach 150 million by 2021. GiveDirectly, a charity that has focused for just under a decade on direct cash transfers to people in poverty around the world, particularly in Africa, has been escalating its pandemic relief efforts–and continually innovating with partners to find groundbreaking ways to target the most in need of money. The charity's latest innovation is harnessing an algorithm, designed by UC Berkeley, that uses artificial intelligence to identify the poorest individuals in the poorest areas, and transfer cash relief directly to them. The algorithm works in two stages. First, it finds the poorest neighborhoods or villages in a certain region, by analyzing high-resolution satellite imagery. The second stage is finding the poorest individuals within those areas, by analyzing their mobile phone data, provided by Togo's two principal carriers, Togocel and Moov. After the poorest individuals are identified, they will be prompted to enroll via mobile phone, and then instantly paid. Approximately $5 million will be delivered in total, sending cash every month for five months, in the sum of $15 for women and $13 for men per month, which they've calculated as the figure to cover their "minimum basket of goods" to survive. So far, 30,000 Togolese have been paid, out of a goal of 58,000.
In November, Dorri McWhorter, the chief executive of the Y.W.C.A. Metropolitan Chicago, got a phone call from a representative of the billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The news was almost too good to be true: Her group would be receiving a $9 million gift. Ms. McWhorter shed tears of joy on the call. Similar scenes were playing out at charities nationwide. Ms. Scott's team recently sent out hundreds of out-of-the-blue emails to charities, notifying them of an incoming gift. Many of the gifts were the largest the charities had ever received. Ms. McWhorter was not the only recipient who cried. All told, Ms. Scott – whose fortune comes from shares of Amazon that she got after her divorce last year from Jeff Bezos, the company's founder – had given more than $4 billion to 384 groups, including 59 other Y.W.C.A. chapters. In the course of a few months, Ms. Scott has turned traditional philanthropy on its head. Whereas multibillion foundations like Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have fancy headquarters, Ms. Scott's operation has no known address – or even website. By disbursing her money quickly and without much hoopla, Ms. Scott has pushed the focus away from the giver and onto the nonprofits she is trying to help. They are the types of organizations – historically Black colleges and universities, community colleges and groups that hand out food and pay off medical debts – that often fly beneath the radar.
While serving a 90-year prison sentence for selling marijuana, Richard DeLisi's wife died, as did his 23-year-old son and both his parents. Yet, 71-year-old DeLisi walked out of a Florida prison Tuesday morning grateful and unresentful as he hugged his tearful family. After serving 31 years, he said he's just eager to restore the lost time. DeLisi was believed to be the longest-serving nonviolent cannabis prisoner, according to the The Last Prisoner Project which championed his release. DeLisi was sentenced to 90 years for marijuana trafficking in 1989 at the age of 40 even though the typical sentence was only 12 to 17 years. Now, he wants "to make the best of every bit of my time" fighting for the release of other inmates through his organization FreeDeLisi.com. "The system needs to change and I'm going to try my best to be an activist," he said. Chiara Juster, a former Florida prosecutor who handled the case pro bono for the The Last Prisoner Project, criticized DeLisi's lengthy sentence as "a sick indictment of our nation." The family has spent over $250,000 on attorneys' fees and over $80,000 on long-distance international collect calls over the past few decades. Rick DeLisi was only 11-years-old when he sat in the courtroom and said goodbye to his father. Now, he's a successful business owner with a wife and three children living in Amsterdam. "I can't believe they did this to my father," the grieving son said. His voice cracks and his eyes well up with tears as he talks about how grateful he is to finally see his dad.
A former Israeli space security chief has sent eyebrows shooting heavenward by saying that earthlings have been in contact with extraterrestrials from a "galactic federation." "The Unidentified Flying Objects have asked not to publish that they are here, humanity is not ready yet," Haim Eshed, former head of Israel's Defense Ministry's space directorate, told Israel's Yediot Aharonot newspaper. The interview in Hebrew ran on Friday, and gained traction after parts were published in English by the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. A respected professor and retired general, Eshed said the aliens were equally curious about humanity and were seeking to understand "the fabric of the universe." Eshed said cooperation agreements had been signed between species, including an "underground base in the depths of Mars" where there are American astronauts and alien representatives. "There is an agreement between the U.S. government and the aliens. They signed a contract with us to do experiments here," he said. Eshed added that President Donald Trump was aware of the extraterrestrials' existence and had been "on the verge of revealing" information but was asked not to in order to prevent "mass hysteria." "They have been waiting until today for humanity to develop and reach a stage where we will understand, in general, what space and spaceships are," Eshed said, referring to the galactic federation.
Note: Haim Eshed headed Israel's space security programs for 30 years. Learn more in the Times of Israel. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
A four-inch wafer of silicon has been turned into an army of one million microscopic, walking robots, thanks to some clever engineering employed by researchers at Cornell University in New York. In a paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature, a team of roboticists detail the creation of their invisible army of robots, which are less than 0.1mm in size (about the width of a human hair) and cannot be seen with the naked eye. The robots ... take advantage of an innovative, new class of actuators, which are the legs of the microrobots. Controlling movement in these tiny machines requires the researchers to shine a laser on minuscule light-sensitive circuits on their backs, which propels their four legs forward. They've been designed to operate in all manner of environments such as extreme acidity and temperatures. One of their chief purposes, the researchers say, could be to investigate the human body from the inside. The team was able to build incredibly small legs, which are connected to two different patches on the back of the robot - one for the front pair of legs, one for the back. Alternating light between the patches propels the microrobot forward. The research team were able to show the microrobots devices could fit within the narrowest hypodermic needle and thus, could be "injected" into the body. The machines aren't intelligent enough to target a diseased cell or respond to stimuli, so there's no application for this invisible army. However, the researchers said that "their capabilities can rapidly evolve."
Note: Remember that secret military projects are often 20 years or more advanced of anything made public. Could this technology have already been developed in secret projects and used in military vaccines? Yale professor Charles Morgan describes in this two-minute video (or this one) how cells injected through hypodermic needles can cause foreign substances to be manufactured in our bodies, how they can alter a person's memory, and much more. His full presentation on psycho-neurobiology and war given at West Point Military Academy is quite disturbing.
The coronavirus pandemic and corresponding lockdown made way for "one of the greatest wealth transfers in history," CNBC's Jim Cramer said. The stock market is rising as big business rebounds from state-ordered stoppage of nonessential activity, while small businesses drop like flies. Despite the ongoing economic woes, the S&P index of 500 large-cap companies, which is considered a benchmark for the stock market, is within striking distance of its levels from the start of the trading year. Since bottoming near 2,191 in March, the index is up about 42%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 has recovered all of its losses from the coronavirus meltdown and set a new high. Many investors are betting on a V-shaped economic recovery, Cramer said. "I think we're looking at a V-shaped recovery in the stock market, and that has almost nothing to do with a V-shaped recovery in the economy," he said. Chapter 11 bankruptcies in May ballooned by 48% compared to a year ago. "That's that pesky real world asserting itself, but the only big bankruptcy we've seen in the stock market is Hertz," Cramer said. Cramer said it still only scratches the surface of what impact the halt in global economic activity will have on the country. The Senate on Wednesday sent a bill ... to relax rules on how businesses can spend relief funds provided by the Paycheck Protection Program. "The companies that took the money just got a big break: they only need to spend 60% on their employees to get the loans forgiven, down from the original 75%. That's important, as most small businesses fail because they can't afford to pay the rent," Cramer said.
Note: This report is from June 2020, early in the pandemic. How many more bankruptcies occurred after that? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The coronavirus pandemic caused nearly 300,000 deaths in the United States through early October, federal researchers said on Tuesday. The new tally includes not only deaths known to have been directly caused by the coronavirus, but also roughly 100,000 fatalities that are indirectly related and would not have occurred if not for the virus. The study, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is an attempt to measure "excess deaths" – deaths from all causes that statistically exceed those normally occurring in a certain time period. The analysis highlights two disturbing trends. The researchers discovered a high percentage of excess deaths in an unexpected group: young adults in the prime of life. And the coronavirus has greatly raised deaths over all among people of color. Although the pandemic has mostly killed older Americans, the greatest percentage increase in excess deaths has occurred among adults ages 25 to 44, the analysis found. While the number of deaths among adults ages 45 to 64 increased by 15 percent, and by 24 percent among those ages 65 to 74, deaths increased 26.5 percent among those in their mid-20s to mid-40s, a group that includes millennials. People of color also had large percentage increases in excess deaths. Hispanics experienced a 54 percent increase, while Black people saw a 33 percent rise. Deaths were 29 percent above average for American Indians or Alaska Native people, and 37 percent above average for those of Asian descent.
Note: Former U.S. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb voiced his concern that "a good portion of the deaths in that younger cohort were deaths due to despair. We've seen a spike in overdoses." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
At least four candidates are near the finish line in the U.S. coronavirus vaccine race. A key point to note, however, is that the vaccine isn't an end-all solution to the pandemic. That's in large part because any inoculations developed now are focused on simply preventing symptoms from arising, rather than blocking out the virus altogether. The latter goal is a secondary endpoint, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "The primary thing you want to do is that if people get infected, prevent them from getting sick, and if you prevent them from getting sick, you will ultimately prevent them from getting seriously ill," Fauci said. "What I would settle for, and all of my colleagues would settle for, is the primary endpoint to prevent clinically recognizable disease," he said. That level of protection would be the ultimate goal to diffusing the crisis, but is hard to do with companies facing an immediate demand for some sort of solution. While no vaccine is 100% effective, having a majority of the population inoculated and higher percentages of efficacy is the best to hope for. The U.K. is looking at challenge trials, which intentionally infect a smaller group of participants with the virus in an effort to test a vaccine's or treatment's efficacy. Fauci said the U.S. is not anticipating such a move because the rate of spread is so high in the country that it's sufficient enough of an environment to test the vaccine.
Note: This Bloomberg article further shows the vaccines are not designed to stop the virus. Why is the media not doing a better job of informing the public about this. Read also this CNBC article titled "Dr. Fauci says masks, social distancing will still be needed after a Covid-19 vaccine." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccine issues from reliable major media sources.
Moderna, Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson are leading candidates for the completion of a Covid-19 vaccine likely to be released in the coming months. These companies have published their vaccine trial protocols. Close inspection of the protocols raises surprising concerns. These trials seem designed to prove their vaccines work, even if the measured effects are minimal. Prevention of infection is not a criterion for success for any of these vaccines. In fact, their endpoints all require confirmed infections and all those they will include in the analysis for success, the only difference being the severity of symptoms between the vaccinated and unvaccinated. Measuring differences amongst only those infected by SARS-CoV-2 underscores the implicit conclusion that the vaccines are not expected to prevent infection, only modify symptoms of those infected. We all expect an effective vaccine to prevent serious illness if infected. Three of the vaccine protocols - Moderna, Pfizer, and AstraZeneca - do not require that their vaccine prevent serious disease only that they prevent moderate symptoms which may be as mild as cough, or headache. A vaccine must significantly or entirely reduce deaths from Covid-19. None list mortality as a critical endpoint.
Note: Read also this article in BMJ (British Medical Journal) titled "Will covid-19 vaccines save lives? Current trials aren't designed to tell us." And this CNBC article is titled "Dr. Fauci says masks, social distancing will still be needed after a Covid-19 vaccine." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccine issues from reliable major media sources.
More than half of the money from the Treasury Department's coronavirus emergency fund for small businesses went to just 5 percent of the recipients, according to data on more than 5 million loans that was released by the government Tuesday evening in response to a Freedom of Information Act request and lawsuit. According to data on the government's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), about 600 mostly larger companies, including dozens of national chains, received the maximum amount allowed under the program of $10 million. The new data shows more than half of the $522 billion ... went to bigger businesses, and only 28 percent of the money was distributed in amounts less than $150,000. Liz Hempowicz, director of public policy for the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, said the new data shows how the Trump administration chose to focus its coronavirus relief efforts on helping wealthy organizations at the expense of truly small firms. "The data shows that this program primarily benefited the well-banked and well-lawyered at the expense of the small businesses it was supposed to benefit," Hempowicz said. The newly released data comes after a federal lawsuit filed by The Washington Post and 10 other news organizations under the Freedom of Information Act challenging the SBA's refusal to release records on borrowers and loan amounts. A federal judge ordered the release of the data by Tuesday and the agency did not appeal.
When nurse Meleney Gallagher was told to line up with her colleagues on the renal ward at Sunderland Royal Hospital, for her swine flu vaccination, she had no idea the injection she was about to have had not gone through the usual testing process. It had been rushed into circulation after the swine flu virus had swept across the globe in 2009. Gallagher was one of thousands of NHS staff vaccinated with Pandemrix, a vaccine made by pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Eight years later, her career in the NHS is a memory and she's living with incurable, debilitating narcolepsy and suffers from cataplexy, a sudden, uncontrollable loss of muscle tone that can cause her to collapse without warning. Because of her condition, she can no longer work or drive. People with narcolepsy experience chronic fatigue and difficulty sleeping at night. They can have night terrors, hallucinations, and a range of mental health problems. Gallagher is not alone. More than a dozen frontline NHS staff are among around 1,000 adults and children across Europe who are believed to have developed narcolepsy after being given Pandemrix. Gallagher and four other NHS professionals – two nurses, a community midwife, and a junior doctor – have told how they felt pressured into receiving the vaccine, were given misleading information, and ultimately lost their careers. They are all suing GlaxoSmithKline seeking compensation for what they believe was a faulty drug that has left them with lifelong consequences.
Note: Yet the media and big Pharma continually tout the safety of their vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Incarcerated men at California Rehabilitation Center (CRC) in Norco, CA, can now earn a bachelor's of arts degree from one of the country's top liberal arts colleges. Pitzer College, a member of The Claremont Colleges, is the first university or college in the country to develop a bachelor's degree program for the incarcerated based on a sustainable inside-out curriculum. The inaugural cohort of eight incarcerated students in the Pitzer Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA are expected to graduate by the end of 2021. Pitzer Inside-Out Pathway-to-BA is the country's first degree-seeking prison education program whereby incarcerated "inside" students and "outside" students from The Claremont Colleges attend classes together in prison and are working toward earning bachelor's degrees. The Pathway is part of the intercollegiate Justice Education Initiative (JEI) program. The Claremont JEI model consists of an equal number of inside and outside students in each course. All inside students earn college credit, whether they are degree-seeking or not. The model allows Claremont College professors to teach their regular curriculum. The only difference is that the classes are held inside a prison (via online video-conferencing during COVID). Following their release, 86% of prisoners will be rearrested in three years. A RAND Corporation study found that correctional education programs reduce the inmates' chances of returning to prison, and those who participate had 43% lower odds of recidivating.
What is the very best way for people with more money than they need to quickly hand it over to those in need, so they can use it for food, shelter and other necessities? Sites and services like GoFundMe can connect donors with real people, but they may lack vetting of recipients, their back stories or their plans. Donors with large amounts to give may want to use tax deductions to increase what they can afford to donate, but may not be able to get them through one-off cash transfers. The elusiveness of perfect solutions has inspired a variety of social entrepreneurs to pursue various forms of direct giving. Two existing organizations and one new entrant are offering some of the most satisfying ways of providing few-strings-attached assistance. Modest Needs Foundation and GiveDirectly, both nonprofit organizations, are using years of experience to pay people's bills or hand them money to pay for things themselves. And the 1K Project is facilitating money transfers, although without the tax deductions the other two can offer donors. So far, GiveDirectly has sent $1,000 each to about 82,000 people. Its goal is to reach 100,000, though it is likely to continue the efforts if donations keep coming in. Modest Needs, a nonprofit organization, operates on a smaller scale, with a slightly different model. Recipients need to find their way to the group and apply for help paying particular bills. It requires documentation of the need and pays bills directly, without giving money to the applicant.
Note: For other exciting new ways to directly help the poorest of the poor, read this NPR article. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born. The fertility rate - the average number of children a woman gives birth to - is falling. If the number falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to fall. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 - and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100. As a result, the researchers expect the number of people on the planet to peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century. "That's a pretty big thing; most of the world is transitioning into natural population decline," researcher Prof Christopher Murray told the BBC. "I think it's incredibly hard to think this through and recognise how big a thing this is; it's extraordinary, we'll have to reorganise societies." It is being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children. In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story.
A nurse who had just received the coronavirus vaccine at a Tennessee hospital told reporters she was feeling dizzy and then fainted. Nurse manager Tiffany Dover received the Pfizer-BioNTech jab at CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga on Thursday and was giving a press briefing when she began to trail off, according to WTVC-9. "All of my staff, you know, we are excited to get the vaccine. We are in the COVID unit, so therefore, you know, my team will be getting first chances to get the vaccine," Dover said. "And I know that it's really "Sorry, I'm feeling really dizzy," she continued. One of the doctors behind her caught her as she passed out about 17 minutes after receiving the shot. "It just hit me all of a sudden, I could feel it coming on. I felt a little disoriented, but I feel fine now, and the pain in my arm is gone," Dover said after recovering. Dover told WTVC-9 she has a condition where she often faints when she feels pain.
Note: A video of this nurse fainting while being interviewed is available here. Read about health care workers who went into anaphylactic shock shortly after receiving the vaccine. One landed in the ICU. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on problems with the coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
Two health care workers at the same hospital in Alaska developed concerning reactions just minutes after receiving Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine this week, including one staff member who was to remain hospitalized until Thursday. The first worker, a middle-aged woman who had no history of allergies, had an anaphylactic reaction that began 10 minutes after receiving the vaccine. [After treatment] her symptoms subsided but then re-emerged, and she was treated with steroids and an epinephrine drip. When doctors tried to stop the drip, her symptoms re-emerged yet again, so the woman was moved to the intensive care unit. The second worker received his shot on Wednesday and developed eye puffiness, lightheadedness and a scratchy throat 10 minutes after the injection. He was taken to the emergency room and treated. The worker was back to normal within an hour and released. The hospital ... administered 144 total doses. The Alaska woman's reaction was believed to be similar to the anaphylactic reactions two health workers in Britain experienced after receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine last week. Like her, both recovered. Pfizer's trial did not find any serious adverse events caused by the vaccine, although many participants did experience aches, fevers and other side effects. [The CDC] has recommended that the vaccine be administered in settings that have supplies, including oxygen and epinephrine, to manage anaphylactic reactions.
Note: Does this sound like a safe vaccine? Remember that billions of dollars are involved here and Pfizer in the past was fined $2.3 billion dollars for illegal processes. How much can we trust them? More in this great article. And watch a video of a nurse fainting while being interviewed on TV minutes after getting the vaccine. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on problems with the coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
David Beasley, the executive director of the World Food Programme, knows the existence of his organization is both a blessing and a curse: it helps so many, but that means many are suffering. On Friday, that World Food Programme's fight against hunger ... was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize. "[COVID-19] comes on top of what you already thought was a worst-case scenario. It is literally horrific," Beasley told ABC News. At the beginning of this year, 135 million people already faced starvation from manmade conflict and climate extremes, Beasley said. Now, 270 million people are on the brink of starvation. "We've got a vaccine against starvation. It's called food," said Beasley. The award comes with the equivalent of a $1.1 million U.S. cash prize and a gold medal to be handed out at a ceremony in Oslo, Norway, on Dec. 10. "The economies of the world's strongest nations on Earth are struggling. We are not going to have the money we need next year. And not only are the resources going to go down, but the needs are going to be going up," said Beasley. Established in 1962, the United Nations World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian organization that delivers food assistance in emergencies and works with communities to improve nutrition and resilience, according to the website. The World Food Programme assisted 97 million people in 88 counties in 2019 alone.
Note: 1.5 million people have reportedly died from the virus, yet 135 million have been pushed to "the brink of starvation" not by the virus, but by the lockdown measures. Are the consequences of the lockdown policies worse than the consequences of the virus itself? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Current COVID-19 lockdowns protect low-risk college students and young professional bankers, attorneys, journalists, scientists and others who can work from home, while older high-risk working-class people are risking their lives building the population immunity that will eventually protect us all. While mortality is inevitable during a pandemic, the COVID-19 lockdown strategy has led to more than 220,000 deaths, with the urban working class carrying the heaviest burden. Many older workers have been forced to accept high mortality risk or increased poverty, or both. While the current lockdowns are less strict than in March, the lockdown and contact tracing strategy is the worst assault on the working class since segregation and the Vietnam War. Lockdown policies have closed schools, businesses and churches, while not enforcing strict protocols to protect high-risk nursing home residents. Denying in-person teaching to students is harmful to their education and physical and mental health, with working-class children hardest hit. Online schooling puts a disproportional burden on our children, despite their own minimal risk. For ages 1 to 15, Sweden kept day care and schools open throughout the height of the pandemic, and among the 1.8 million children of that age, there were zero COVID-19 deaths without masks used or physical distancing. Neither was there any excess risk for in-person teachers compared with the average of other professions.
Note: The above article was written by three doctors, one from Stanford, one from Harvard, and one from the UK's Oxford. Explore an abundance of good information questioning the official story of COVID. Explore a summary of alternative views on the coronavirus. Explore a revealing article questioning the origin and causes of the coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The most probable cause of a series of mysterious afflictions that sickened American spies and diplomats abroad in the past several years was radiofrequency energy, a type of radiation that includes microwaves, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine has concluded in a report. The conclusion by a committee of 19 experts in medicine and other fields cited "directed, pulsed radiofrequency energy" as "the most plausible mechanism" to explain the illness, which came to be known as Havana syndrome. The report, which was commissioned by the State Department, provides the most definitive explanation yet of the illness that struck scores of government employees, first at the U.S. Embassy in Havana in 2016, and then in China and other countries. Many of the officers suffered from dizziness, fatigue, headaches, and loss of hearing, memory and balance, and some were forced into permanent retirement. C.I.A. officers visiting overseas stations also experienced similar symptoms. The new report reveals strong evidence that the incidents were the result of a malicious attack. It attributes the illnesses to "directed" and "pulsed" – rather than "continuous" – energy, implying that the victims' exposure was targeted and not the result of more common sources of microwave energy. It also said the committee found the immediate symptoms that patients reported ... were more consistent with a directed "attack" of radiofrequency energy.
Note: Many have belittled the possibility of directed energy beam weapons being used to cause harm and alter consciousness. We have been reporting on this for many years. For excellent, reliable information on this disturbing trend, see this essay and these news summaries.
Two years ago, Queensland woman 'Ellie' got a call that changed her life. It was from her first love, a man named James. She had met him in 2001. They were together for about a year before James broke it off. But in 2018, he phoned her in Australia to make a startling confession: he'd been living a lie. He was an undercover police officer who'd been sent to spy on her and those in her friendship circle. Ellie, who's never spoken publicly before, is one of at least 30 women who were tricked into having relationships with undercover officers working for London's Metropolitan Police Service. Some undercover officers, including James, adopted the identities of dead children and infiltrated environmental protest groups. A handful fathered children with their targets. Another former officer started a new life in Australia, before his target tracked him down in Sydney. The long-running scandal has finally culminated in public hearings of the Undercover Policing Inquiry, one of the biggest in UK legal history. In 1968, a secret unit was established within the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police, known as the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS). In the decades that followed, SDS's reach expanded as it gathered intelligence on more than 1,000 political groups, often feeding that information to the security service, MI5. Some right-wing organisations were infiltrated, but the majority of targets were left-wing groups that challenged the status quo. The Special Demonstration Squad was disbanded in 2008.
Note: For more, see this BBC article on how a serious inquiry into the matter is being blocked and this Guardian article on police having sexual relations with women on whom they were spying. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
The coronavirus was present in the U.S. weeks earlier than scientists and public health officials previously thought, and before cases in China were publicly identified, according to a new government study published Monday. The virus and the illness that it causes, COVID-19, were first identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, but it wasn't until about Jan. 20 that the first confirmed COVID-19 case, from a traveler returning from China, was found in the U.S. However, new findings published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases suggest that the coronavirus, known officially as SARS-CoV-2, had infected people in the U.S. even earlier. "SARS-CoV-2 infections may have been present in the U.S. in December 2019, earlier than previously recognized," the authors said. This discovery adds to evidence that the virus was quietly spreading around the world before health officials and the public were aware. It also shows the virus's presence in U.S. communities likely didn't start with the first case identified case in January. Researchers came to this conclusion after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed blood donations collected by the American Red Cross. They found evidence of coronavirus antibodies in 106 out of 7,389 blood donations. The CDC analyzed the blood collected between Dec. 13 and Jan. 17. The presence of antibodies in a person's blood means they were exposed to a virus, in this case the coronavirus.
Note: Explore a revealing article questioning the origin and causes of the coronavirus. Explore serious research suggesting that the influenza pandemic of 1918-19 was not what you think. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Back in June, the World Economic Forum, best known for its annual Davos summit, kicked off a lunge for organizational relevance. The effort was called ... the Great Reset. And through articles, videos, webinars, podcasts, and a book by WEF founder Klaus Schwab, it provided a coronavirus-themed rebranding of all the things Davos does anyway, now hastily repackaged as a blueprint for reviving the global economy post-pandemic by "seeking a better form of capitalism." The Great Reset was a place to hawk for-profit technofixes to complex social problems; to hear heads of transnational oil giants opine about the urgent need to tackle climate change; to listen to politicians say the things they say during crises: that this is a tragedy but also an opportunity. In short, the Great Reset encompasses some good stuff that won't happen and some bad stuff that certainly will and, frankly, nothing out of the ordinary in our era of "green" billionaires readying rockets for Mars. None of this is to say that Schwab's Reset push is benign and unworthy of scrutiny. All kinds of dangerous ideas are lurking under its wide brim, from a reckless push toward more automation in the midst of a joblessness crisis, to the steady move to normalize mass surveillance and biometric tracking tools, to the very real (though not new) problem of Bill Gates's singular power over global health policy.
Note: The author of this article is courageous journalist Naomi Klein, who wrote the seminal book "The Shock Doctrine." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The fund set up to compensate victims of Jeffrey Epstein's sexual exploitation has already received more than 100 claims and paid out tens of millions of dollars. The fund will accept requests until the end of March, said Jordana Feldman, its administrator. So far, the fund has paid more than $30 million to accusers. The fund began taking claims in July, a little less than a year after Mr. Epstein, a financier, died in a Manhattan jail cell following his arrest on federal sex-trafficking charges. Because he had put his roughly $600 million fortune into a trust, there were concerns that it could take years for his victims to get any money back from his estate. But the estate's executors agreed to establish the fund, allowing accusers – including those who had reached settlements with Mr. Epstein after his 2008 conviction on soliciting prostitution from an underage girl – to seek compensation. Spencer Kuvin, a Miami lawyer representing nine women who have submitted claims to the fund, said the settlement process appeared to be fair. Three of [his clients] received settlements from Mr. Epstein when they were teenagers, but had felt intimidated by him and his legal team. "This process is light-years different," Mr. Kuvin said. Ms. Feldman said a person who received a settlement was normally barred from coming back for more money. But she said given the circumstances surrounding the earlier investigation of Mr. Epstein, it was important not to close the door on any victims.
Note: No mention is made of the many prominent men who were served by Epstein's girls. Why is no one investigating this? This New York magazine report has a wealth of information on Jeffrey Epstein's very strange death. Explore a complex yet very informative timeline of Epstein and his relationship to the Mossad and much more. Many links are made here with verifiable information that the major media has failed to report. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.
Ask people to name Pfizer's best-selling product and many would opt for one of its most famous drugs: Viagra, for erectile dysfunction, or Lipitor, to reduce high cholesterol. But they would all be wrong. The top-seller is not a drug but a vaccine: Prevnar, which prevents pneumonia, meningitis and other infections caused by pneumococcus bacteria. Prevnar generated revenues of $6.25bn last year – almost three times as much as Viagra. This was up 40 per cent from the year before, after the expert panel that advises on US vaccine policy recommended its use in over-65s as well as in children. Pfizer is one of just four pharma groups with large vaccines operations. The others are GlaxoSmithKline of the UK, Sanofi of France and Merck of the US. All four reported stronger sales growth in vaccines than in pharmaceuticals last year and operating margins were comparable with pharma at around 25-30 per cent. Pricing remains a sensitive topic, however, especially in the developing world. MĂ©decins Sans FrontiĂ¨res, the health charity, last month launched a challenge against Pfizer's patent on Prevnar in a bid to allow Indian companies to produce the vaccine cheaper. Manica Balasegaram, executive director of the MSF Access Campaign, says it could be produced in India for $6 per child, compared with Pfizer's reduced $10 price. Critics argue that consolidation in the industry has left too few companies, developing too few vaccines – and that those that do exist tend to be aimed at rich countries.
Note: Read this eye-opening article showing how powerful financial interests control the public narrative about vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Palma School, a prep school for boys in Salinas, California, created a partnership with the Correctional Training Facility (CTF) at Soledad State Prison to form a reading group for inmates and high school students - bringing the two groups together to learn and develop greater understanding of one another. But the reading group has developed into much more than an exchange of knowledge and empathy. When one Palma student was struggling to pay the $1,200 monthly tuition after both his parents suffered medical emergencies, the inmates already had a plan to help. "I didn't believe it at first," said English and Theology teacher Jim Michelleti, who created the reading program. "They said, 'We value you guys coming in. We'd like to do something for your school ... can you find us a student on campus who needs some money to attend Palma?" The inmates, who the program calls "brothers in blue," raised more than $30,000 from inside the prison to create a scholarship for student Sy Green - helping him graduate this year and attend college at The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. "Regardless of the poor choices that people make, most people want to take part in something good," said Jason Bryant, a former inmate who was instrumental in launching the scholarship. "Guys were eager to do it." Considering that minimum wage in prison can be as low as 8 cents an hour, raising $30,000 is an astonishing feat. It can take a full day of hard labor to make a dollar inside prison.
Note: For mind-blowing and heart-opening documentaries on prison programs which are transforming the decrepit, damaging culture of prisons, see the moving seven-minute video "Step Inside the Circle" and the profoundly inspiring one hour 40 minute documentary "The Work." Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Few world leaders talk about morals and ethics as much as Mexican President AndrÄ‚©s Manuel LÄ‚Ĺ‚pez Obrador. On Thursday he presented an "Ethical Guide for the Transformation of Mexico." LÄ‚Ĺ‚pez Obrador took office two years ago pledging government austerity and an end to corruption. Much like the president himself, the text presented Thursday is socially conservative, and is definitely not a traditional leftist tract. It calls the family "the basic building block of society." The 20-point pamphlet is a compendium of vaguely social-democratic pontifications on work, fairness, forgiveness, justice and responsibility. It marks quite a divergence for Mexico's once rigidly anti-clerical government, which was long loathe to even talk about morality. But LÄ‚Ĺ‚pez Obrador often uses vaguely religious language and calls himself a Christian "in the broadest sense of the term." He has long said he wants a "moral constitution" and a "loving republic" for Mexico. The government aims to print and distribute 10 million copies for free. "Inequality in any area is the product of injustice and creates suffering," the pamphlet says. "Like power, work gains its full meaning when it is done for others." "It is not a crime to accumulate and increase material wealth," reads another section. "Whoever earns a reasonable profit, using their creativity and taking risks to create jobs, that person will be recognized by society as a responsible businessperson with social sense."
Note: Read an English translation of Mexico's inspiring new "Ethical Guide for the Transformation of Mexico." Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Hundreds of homes in Scotland will soon become the first in the world to use 100% green hydrogen to heat their properties and cook their meals as part of a new trial that could help households across the country replace fossil fuel gas. Some 300 homes in Fife will be fitted with free hydrogen boilers, heaters and cooking appliances to be used for more than four years in the largest test of whether zero carbon hydrogen, made using renewable energy and water, could help meet Britain's climate goals. They will begin to receive green gas from the end of 2022, at no extra charge, and up to 1,000 homes could be included if the first phase of the trial is completed successfully. Green hydrogen is a central part of the government's plan to wean Britain off fossil fuels because it can be used in the same ways as fossil fuel gas but produces no carbon emissions. This is particularly important for central heating, which makes up almost a third of the UK's greenhouse gas emissions because 85% of homes use a gas boiler. Antony Green, the head of National Grid's hydrogen project, said: "If we truly want to reach a net zero decarbonised future, we need to replace methane with green alternatives like hydrogen."
The actual number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. reached nearly 53 million at the end of September and could be approaching 100 million now, according to a model developed by government researchers. The model, created by scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calculated that the true number of infections is about eight times the reported number, which includes only the cases confirmed by a laboratory test. Preliminary estimates using the model found that by the end of September, 52.9 million people had been infected, while the number of laboratory-confirmed infections was just 6.9 million, the team reported in the Nov. 25 issue of the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases. "This indicates that approximately 84% of the U.S. population has not yet been infected and thus most of the country remains at risk," the authors wrote. Since then, the CDC's tally of confirmed infections has increased to 12.5 million. So if the model's ratio still holds, the estimated total would now be greater than 95 million, leaving about 71% of the population uninfected. The model attempts to account for the fact that most cases of COVID-19 are mild or asymptomatic and go unreported. Scientists used studies looking for people who have antibodies to the coronavirus in their blood – an indication that they were infected at some time – to estimate how many infections went undetected. Some of these antibody studies have suggested that only about one in 10 coronavirus infections is reported.
Note: If this is true, it means the number of deaths compared to number of cases is much lower than has been estimated. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The announcement this week that a cheap, easy-to-make coronavirus vaccine appeared to be up to 90 percent effective was greeted with jubilation. But since unveiling the preliminary results, AstraZeneca has acknowledged a key mistake in the vaccine dosage received by some study participants, adding to questions about whether the vaccine's apparently spectacular efficacy will hold up under additional testing. Scientists and industry experts said the error and a series of other irregularities and omissions in the way AstraZeneca initially disclosed the data have eroded their confidence in the reliability of the results. The regimen that appeared to be 90 percent effective was based on participants receiving a half dose of the vaccine followed a month later by a full dose; the less effective version involved a pair of full doses. AstraZeneca disclosed in its initial announcement that fewer than 2,800 participants received the smaller dosing regimen, compared with nearly 8,900 participants who received two full doses. Moncef Slaoui, the head of Operation Warp Speed, the U.S. initiative to fast-track coronavirus vaccines, noted another limitation in AstraZeneca's data. On a call with reporters, he suggested that the participants who received the half-strength initial dose had been 55 years old or younger. The fact that the initial half-strength dose wasn't tested in older participants, who are especially vulnerable to Covid-19, could undermine AstraZeneca's case to regulators that the vaccine should be authorized for emergency use.
Note: Learn in this revealing article how vaccine trials are rigged. This article spells out how vaccine makers are above the law and face no consequences for damage from vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Companies are launching unprecedented numbers of rockets to put global Wi-Fi and 5G satellites into the sky. 100,000+ satellites, plus drones and balloons, are planned. Industry and government have done little research, claiming the "big sky" can absorb any problems. And the FCC exempts these satellite networks from environmental review. The sun turns oxygen into ozone in the stratosphere, creating the ozone shield which protects the Earth. But rocket exhaust, alumina, water vapor, and black carbon accumulate in the stratosphere and block the sun's rays, reducing ozone creation. In 2018, Martin Ross, senior project engineer at The Aerospace Corporation, estimated rockets' black carbon and alumina was 11,000 tons per year. These new mega-constellations require 1000s of additional rocket launches. Severe ozone loss is possible. 253 scientists signed the 2015 International EMF Scientist Appeal, warning the UN and member states of the damage already occurring. Extensive research shows many impacts from this radiation including: increased tumor, cancer, and stroke risk, oxidative stress, increase in free radicals, DNA, neurological, immune, and dermatological damage, heart rhythm disorders ... cognitive problems, headaches, nausea, and links to Alzheimer's and ADHD. Wildlife, bees, birds, trees, and plants are also harmed. 5G millimeter RF is highly absorbed by the skin's sweat ducts and the cornea of the eye, and could additionally impact cardiac function.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks of wireless technologies from reliable major media sources.
Eriko Kobayashi has tried to kill herself four times. The first time, she was just 22 years old with a full-time job in publishing that didn't pay enough to cover her rent and grocery bills in Tokyo. "I was really poor," said Kobayashi, who spent three days unconscious in hospital after the incident. Now 43, Kobayashi has written books on her mental health struggles and has a steady job at an NGO. But the coronavirus is bringing back the stress she used to feel. "My salary was cut, and I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel," she said. "I constantly feel a sense of crisis that I might fall back into poverty." Experts have warned that the pandemic could lead to a mental health crisis. Mass unemployment, social isolation, and anxiety are taking their toll on people globally. In Japan, government statistics show suicide claimed more lives in October than Covid-19 has over the entire year to date. The monthly number of Japanese suicides rose to 2,153 in October. As of Friday, Japan's total Covid-19 toll was 2,087, the health ministry said. Japan is one of the few major economies to disclose timely suicide data -- the most recent national data for the US, for example, is from 2018. The Japanese data could give other countries insights into the impact of pandemic measures on mental health. For the 10 years leading up to 2019, the number of suicides had been decreasing in Japan. The pandemic appears to have reversed that trend.
Note: A CDC survey in the U.S. found that one in four teenagers had "seriously considered" suicide in the past 30 days. So which is more damaging, the virus itself or the results of the lockdown policies instituted because of it? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, pleaded guilty Tuesday to three federal criminal charges related to the company's role in creating the nation's opioid crisis. Purdue Pharma board chairman Steve Miller pleaded guilty on behalf of the company during a virtual federal court hearing in front of US District Judge Madeline Cox Arleo. The counts include one of dual-object conspiracy to defraud the United States and to violate the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and two counts of conspiracy to violate the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute. The plea deal announced in October includes the largest penalties ever levied against a pharmaceutical manufacturer, including a criminal fine of $3.544 billion and an additional $2 billion in criminal forfeiture, according to a Department of Justice press release. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2018, just one year of the opioid crisis, and about 70% of those deaths were caused by prescription or illicit opioids like OxyContin. Several civil lawsuits against Purdue Pharma related to the opioid crisis are still ongoing as the company undergoes bankruptcy proceedings. The Plaintiffs' Executive Committee in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation Multi-District Litigation called Purdue Pharma's guilty plea "long overdue." "Their illegal and profit-seeking actions were egregious. It is important to note, however, that they are just one company in one part of the larger opioid supply chain," [the plaintiffs'] attorneys ... said.
Note: The company pays huge fines for the deaths of countless thousands, yet the CEO and others responsible face no legal charges. Where is the deterrent for this egregious behavior? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Antarctica is now a harsh land of ice and snow, but has not always been that way. Earth's southernmost continent long ago was home to temperate, swampy rainforests teeming with life, scientists said on Wednesday based on pristinely preserved forest soil they retrieved by drilling under the seafloor off Antarctica's coast. The sediment core obtained by scientists working aboard the research icebreaker RV Polarstern in the Amundsen Sea near the Pine Island Glacier dated to about 90 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period when dinosaurs were the dominant land animals. The researchers estimated based on the soil content that this location, 560 miles (900 km) from the South Pole, experienced average annual temperatures of about 53-55 degrees Fahrenheit (12-13 Celsius) and average temperatures during the warmest summer months of about 68-77 Fahrenheit (20-25 Celsius). A modern temperature analogue may be New York City, according to marine geologist Johann Klages ... lead author of the research published in the journal Nature. The dark-brownish gray soil was composed of fine-grained silt and clay bearing remains of fossil roots in a dense network, pollen and spores spanning 65 types of plants, with individual cell structures clearly visible. "If you would go to a forest near you and drill a hole, it would probably look pretty similar," Klages said. While they did not find any animal remains, Klages said there likely were dinosaurs.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on little-known history from reliable major media sources.
For the first time, the number of children paralyzed by mutant strains of the polio vaccine are greater than the number of children paralyzed by polio itself. So far in 2017, there have been only six cases of "wild" polio reported anywhere in the world. By "wild," public health officials mean the disease caused by polio virus found naturally in the environment. By contrast, there have been 21 cases of vaccine-derived polio this year. These cases look remarkably similar to regular polio. But laboratory tests show they're caused by remnants of the oral polio vaccine that have gotten loose in the environment, mutated and regained their ability to paralyze unvaccinated children. The oral polio vaccine used throughout most of the developing world contains a form of the virus that has been weakened in the laboratory. But it's still a live virus. (This is a different vaccine than the injectable one used in the U.S. and most developed countries. The injectable vaccine is far more expensive and does not contain live forms of the virus.) WHO is attempting to phase out the use of live oral polio vaccine to eliminate the risk that the active virus in the vaccine could mutate into a form that can harm unvaccinated children. But for now, the live vaccine continues to be the workhorse of the global polio eradication campaign. The killed vaccine doesn't fully block the virus from spreading because a person who is immunized can still carry and spread the polio virus.
Note: Explore an excellent article showing how the media and government are complicit in suppressing vital information on the dangers of excessive vaccines to babies and young children. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
People who work at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as medical reviewers are responsible for parsing the risks and benefits of a particular drug before it gets the agency's approval. But a new report from two researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University, published in the journal The BMJ, suggests many of these medical reviewers go on to work for the drug companies they oversaw while working for the government. The study's authors ... looked at the FDA's list of haematology-oncology drug approvals from 2006 to 2010 and scanned all medical reviews from 2001 to 2010 in the agency's database, then looked up the subsequent jobs of the people who worked as medical reviewers for those drug approvals. The researchers found that among 55 people who worked as haematology-oncology medical reviewers from 2001 to 2010, 27 continued in their roles at the FDA, two people worked at the FDA but held other appointments, and 15 left the FDA to work with or consult for the biopharmaceutical industry. "If you know in the back of your mind that a major career opportunity after the FDA is going to work on the other side of the table, I worry it can make you less likely to put your foot down," says study author Dr. Vinay Prasad. "Regulators may be less willing to be very tough, and I worry that is happening." Prasad says he would like to see more transparency from the FDA on the number of people who go from the agency to the drug industry.
In 2019, Oslo, Norway recorded zero pedestrian or cyclist deaths. There was only a single traffic fatality, which involved someone driving into a fence. (For comparison, preliminary figures in London show 73 pedestrian and six cyclist fatalities in 2019; New York recorded 218 total traffic fatalities, including 121 pedestrian and 28 cyclist deaths.) Oslo's achievement means that it is just one step away from "Vision Zero", an undertaking to eliminate all deaths on public roads. The foundation for reaching Vision Zero is to significantly reduce the number of cars on the road. Oslo officials have removed more than a thousand street-side central parking spots, encouraging people to lean on an affordable and flexible public transport network, and added more bike lanes and footpaths. Significant areas are closed off to cars entirely, including "heart zones" around primary schools. "The wish to pedestrianise the city isn't a new policy, but it has accelerated now," Rune GjĂ¸s, a director at Oslo's Department of Mobility, says. "The city centre is now a thriving area and all the top-brand shops want to establish themselves on the car-free streets," GjĂ¸s says. "This shows that consumers find these streets attractive, and they're leaving as much money behind as if they were coming by car." Demand for residential real estate has also increased, thanks to lower levels of traffic and pollution.
Note: This Guardian article shows that FInland's capital of Helsinki also reached zero pedestrian deaths. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The coronavirus might be new, but nature long ago gave humans the tools to recognize it, at least on a microscopic scale: antibodies, Y-shaped immune proteins that can latch onto pathogens and block them from infiltrating cells. Millions of years of evolution have honed these proteins into the disease-fighting weapons they are today. But in a span of just months, a combination of human and machine intelligence may have beaten Mother Nature at her own game. Using computational tools, a team of researchers at the University of Washington designed and built from scratch a molecule that, when pitted against the coronavirus in the lab, can attack and sequester it at least as well as an antibody does. This molecule, called a mini-binder for its ability to glom onto the coronavirus, is petite and stable enough to be shipped en masse in a freeze-dried state. Bacteria can also be engineered to churn out these mini-binders, potentially making them not only effective but also cheap and convenient. Eventually, healthy people might be able to self-administer the mini-binders as a nasal spray, and potentially keep any inbound coronavirus particles at bay. Mini-binders are not antibodies, but they thwart the virus in broadly similar ways. The coronavirus enters a cell using a kind of lock-and-key interaction, fitting a protein called a spike – the key – into a molecular lock called ACE-2, which adorns the outsides of certain human cells. Antibodies made by the human immune system can interfere with this process.
Like many weddings this year, Emily Bugg and Billy Lewis' nuptials didn't go as planned. Because of coronavirus restrictions, the couple decided to get married at City Hall in Chicago instead of having a big ceremony. And instead of taking the deposits for their reception back, they decided to repurpose them. The couple put their $5,000 worth of reception food to a good use on Thanksgiving, according to a local charity. Bugg and Lewis donated the 200 meals to Thresholds, an organization that provides services and resources for people with serious mental illnesses and substance use disorders in Illinois. Thresholds usually holds a communal Thanksgiving dinner for clients, but it was canceled due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions. Instead, Bugg and Lewis' wedding caterer, Big Delicious Planet, put the couple's $5,000 deposit to use to prepare special Thanksgiving meals for delivery. The caterers worked alongside Threshold staff members to box individual meals, which where then delivered to the client's homes. Big Delicious Planet cooked turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green beans and other Thanksgiving staples. "Canceling a big wedding isn't the worst thing that could happen," Bugg said. "We're happy to be married, and we're so happy that we could help Thresholds' clients ... as a result of the wedding cancellation." Thresholds CEO Mark Ishaug said the couple's donation is "an incredible example of the generosity and creativity that the pandemic has inspired in so many."
Teen and youth anxiety and depression are getting worse since COVID lockdowns began in March, early studies suggest, and many experts say they fear a corresponding increase in youth suicide. At the end of June, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention surveyed Americans on their mental health. They found symptoms of anxiety and depression were up sharply across the board between March and June, compared with the same time the previous year. And young people seemed to be the hardest-hit of any group. Almost 11 percent of all respondents to that survey said they had "seriously considered" suicide in the past 30 days. For those ages 18 to 24, the number was 1 in 4 – more than twice as high. Data collection for several studies on teen mental health during the pandemic is currently underway. And experts worry those studies will show a spike in suicide, because young people are increasingly cut off from peers and caring adults, because their futures are uncertain and because they are spending more time at home, where they are most likely to have access to lethal weapons. "Teenagers are in a developmental space where it is critically important that they have regular contact with their peers and are able to develop close and ongoing relationships with adults outside the home, such as their teachers, their coaches, their advisers," says Lisa Damour, an adolescent psychologist. "And I worry very much about what it means for that to be disrupted by the pandemic."
Note: Lots more in this Psychology Today article titled "America Is Facing a Teen Suicide Pandemic." A Nov. 28, 2020 CNN article is titled, "In Japan, more people died from suicide last month than from Covid in all of 2020. And women have been impacted most." And according to this USA Today article, millions went hungry on Thanksgiving as a result of lockdown policies. Are these policies causing more long-term damage than the virus itself? For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.
Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency. Research published this week by The BMJ ... finds that the government procured an antibody test that in real world tests falls well short of performance claims made by its manufacturers. Researchers from Public Health England and collaborating institutions sensibly pushed to publish their study findings before the government committed to buying a million of these tests but were blocked by the health department and the prime minister's office. Public Health England then unsuccessfully attempted to block The BMJ's press release about the research paper. In the US, President Trump's government manipulated the Food and Drug Administration to hastily approve unproved drugs such as hydroxychloroquine and remdesivir. Globally, people, policies, and procurement are being corrupted by political and commercial agendas. The UK's pandemic response relies too heavily on scientists and other government appointees with worrying competing interests, including shareholdings in companies that manufacture covid-19 diagnostic tests, treatments, and vaccines. Government appointees are able to ignore or cherry pick science ... and indulge in anti-competitive practices that favour their own products and those of friends and associates.
The Trump administration this month announced that one of its largest pandemic-related contracts would go to a little-known biodefense company named Emergent BioSolutions. The $628 million deal to help manufacture an eventual vaccine cemented Emergent's status as the highest-paid and most important contractor to the HHS office responsible for preparing for public health threats and maintaining the government's stockpile of emergency medical supplies. Emergent has long been the government's sole provider of BioThrax, a vaccine for anthrax poisoning. Emergent's advocacy for biodefense spending over more than a decade was aided by influential allies in Washington and tens of millions of dollars in lobbying campaigns. "It has strategically placed itself to be, let's just say, the company that can't fail," said a former senior government official who worked with Emergent on stockpile operations. The company that would become Emergent began as BioPort Corp., formed in 1998 to buy an aging, state-owned company in Lansing, Mich., that was the only licensed supplier of anthrax vaccine to the Pentagon. The Pentagon ... awarded a $29 million no-bid contract for the anthrax vaccine, BioThrax. Controversy swamped the operation. Hundreds of U.S. troops who received the BioThrax treatment complained of bad reactions, such as headaches and nerve problems. Some troops risked courts-martial by refusing vaccination. Emergent spent nearly $4 million on lobbying last year alone.
Note: To understand the huge influence of lobbying and profits on the development and stockpiling of vaccines, don't miss reading this entire, eye-opening article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and vaccines from reliable major media sources.
With less than 24 hours' notice, President Emmanuel Macron announced his plan to plunge the French into a second national lockdown for at least a month. And if everything I hear and read about the UK is to be believed, this country is heading in the same direction. While Boris Johnson will be the person announcing that catastrophic decision, the measures are being dictated by a small group of scientists who, in my view, have repeatedly got things terribly wrong. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) has made three incorrect assumptions which have had, and continue to have, disastrous consequences for people's lives and the economy. Firstly, Sage assumes that the vast majority of the population is vulnerable to infection; second, that only 7 per cent of the population has been infected so far; and third, that the virus causing Covid-19 has a mortality rate of about 1 per cent. Multiple research groups in Europe and the US have shown that around 30 per cent of the population was likely already immune to Covid-19 before the virus arrived. Sage has similarly failed to accurately revise down its estimated mortality rate for the virus. Pre-eminent scientists ... have concluded that the mortality rate is closer to 0.2 per cent. That figure means one in 500 people infected die. When applied to the total number of Covid deaths in the UK (around 45,000), this would imply that approximately 22.5million people have been infected. That is 33.5 per cent of our population – not Sage's 7 per cent calculation.
Note: The author of this article, Dr. Mike Yeadon, is a former Vice President and served as Chief Science Officer of the A&R Research Unit of Pfizer for 16 years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Youtube recently banned a video. In the video, Dr. Michael Yeadon said half or even almost all of the tests for COVID are false positives. Youtube banned the video within hours. Perhaps what irked the Big Tech was Yeadon's assertion that the panic over the second or third wave of coronavirus may be unfounded. Yeadon, who had worked as Chief Science Officer for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for 16 years, went on to say that "this pandemic is fundamentally over." Yeadon argues, citing principles of epidemiology, that a "second wave" of COVID is entirely manufactured. Citing the experience with other recent virus outbreaks - the SARS virus in 2003, and MERS in 2012 - he says that the idea of subsequent waves itself is wrong. Instead, what appears like subsequent waves is actually a single wave occurring in different geographical regions at different points in time. "It is actually multiple single waves affecting geographically distinct populations at different times as the disease spreads. Analyzed individually, each area followed a typical single event," he says about MERS. He gave another blow to the establishment, saying that lockdown did not actually help curb the virus spread. Yeadon cites the now-famous example of Sweden. Covid-19 doomsday preacher Neil Fergusson had said Sweden would see 40,000 deaths by May and 100,000 in later months as it did not lock up people in grids. Yet, Sweden's coronavirus toll is 6,000 as of now.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The claim: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis's executive order allows civilians to receive a coronavirus vaccination and 'it might be happening.' An Instagram post from April claims an executive order signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis allows the state to require its "civilians" to receive a coronavirus vaccination. The Instagram post [refers] to an executive order issued by DeSantis on March 23. It mandates travelers arriving in Florida self-quarantine for "14 days from the time of entry into the state of Florida or the duration of the person's presence in the state of Florida, whichever is shorter." Section B of the executive order ... references powers given under section 5 of Florida statute 381.00315, which details the proceedings of public officials in the time of a public health emergency. The statute says the government, amid a public health emergency when imposing isolation or quarantine, can adopt rules such as "tests or treatment, including vaccination, for communicable disease required before employment or admission to the premises or to comply with an isolation or a quarantine." It is true that Florida statute 381.00315, as cited in DeSantis's executive orders, makes it legal to order an individual to be vaccinated, among other public safety measures, during a public health emergency. But because there is not yet a coronavirus vaccine, it is false to imply this action is imminent.
Note: The Instagram post did not say that the vaccine mandate is imminent. Notice how far the media will stretch to discredit valid information. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
President-elect Joe Biden's first picks for senior national security posts – Antony Blinken as secretary of state, Jake Sullivan as national security adviser, and Avril Haines as director of national intelligence – served in the Obama administration and are now being hailed as the sort of steady hands that America needs. But that's not the good news it seems to be. The costs of normalcy have been grave. "It's worth keeping in mind that the global war on terror has killed more than 7,000 U.S. servicemembers – more than twice the number of people killed by the 9/11 attacks – and more than 800,000 lives worldwide," said Daphne Eviatar, Amnesty International USA's director of Security With Human Rights. "It's also cost the U.S. more than $6.4 trillion." Biden's presidential team of national security advisers is loaded with leading members of the Beltway foreign policy establishment unaffectionately known as "the Blob." It's a well-worn group of advisers who backed or waged the disastrous wars of the last two decades. At first glance, Biden's national security blueprint might look like a departure, even a repudiation, of the Obama template. "Biden will end the forever wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East," reads the plan for "Leading the Democratic World" at JoeBiden.com. But Biden's plan isn't actually what it seems. The fine print reads: "Biden will bring the vast majority of our troops home from Afghanistan and narrowly focus our mission on Al-Qaeda and ISIS."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The Food and Drug Administration is under pressure from the Trump administration to approve drugs faster, but researchers at the Yale School of Medicine found that nearly a third of those approved from 2001 through 2010 had major safety issues years after the medications were made widely available to patients. Seventy-one of the 222 drugs approved in the first decade of the millennium were withdrawn, required a "black box" warning on side effects or warranted a safety announcement about new risks, Dr. Joseph Ross ... and colleagues reported in JAMA. The Yale researchers' previous studies concluded that the FDA approves drugs faster than its counterpart agency in Europe does and that the majority of pivotal trials in drug approvals involved fewer than 1,000 patients and lasted six months or less. It took a median of 4.2 years after the drugs were approved for these safety concerns to come to light, the study found, and issues were more common among psychiatric drugs, biologic drugs, drugs that were granted "accelerated approval" and drugs that were approved near the regulatory deadline for approval. "All too often, patients and clinicians mistakenly view FDA approval as [an] indication that a product is fully safe and effective," [Dr. Caleb Alexander] says. "Nothing could be further from the truth. We learn tremendous amounts about a product only once it's on the market and only after use among a broad population."
We've all heard the stories about near-death experiences: the tunnel, the white light, the encounter with long-dead relatives. Now some researchers are giving a closer neurological look at near-death experiences and asking: Can your mind operate when your brain has stopped? Pam ... Reynolds' journey began one hot August day in 1991. An MRI revealed an aneurysm on her brain stem. "The aneurysm was very large, which meant the risk of rupture was also very large," [Dr. Robert] Spetzler says. "And it was in a location where the only way to really give her the very best odds of fixing it required what we call 'cardiac standstill.'" "I was lying there on the gurney ... unconscious," Reynolds recalls. "I don't know how to explain this ... I popped up out the top of my head." She found herself looking down at the operating table. She could see 20 people around the table and hear what sounded like a dentist's drill. Soon after, the surgeons began to lower her body temperature to 60 degrees. It was about that time that Reynolds believes she noticed a tunnel and bright light. She eventually flat-lined completely, and the surgeons drained the blood out of her head. During her near-death experience, she says she chatted with her dead grandmother and uncle, who escorted her back to the operating room. As they looked down on her body, she could hear the Eagles' song "Hotel California" playing. A year later, she mentioned the details to her neurosurgeon. Spetzler says her account matched his memory.
Note: Read the entire fascinating story at the link above to learn more about this woman who had to die in order to live. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on near-death experiences.
At a time when the nation feels more divided than ever, one unlikely group in Omaha, Nebraska, is trying to bring people together. The Tri-Faith Initiative is a unique experiment in unity, sprawling across 38 acres on the edge of the city, almost smack in the center of America. There's a synagogue, a mosque and a church – and on Saturday, Tri-Faith introduced a new interfaith center, the final piece of a plan that was years in the making. "Sometimes people assume that the fact that we've come together and that we're so connected means that we're trying to create a blended, homogeneous faith, and that is absolutely not what Tri-Faith is about," said Rabbi A. Brian Stoller. "It's like a neighborhood. And each neighborhood lives in its own house and has its own values and belief system." Their goal? To learn about the "religious other," and in turn, become more tolerant and less fearful. It's also not lost on ... any of the faith leaders that the opening of their interfaith center coincides with a time in history marked by shocking division. "What I perceive as an inability to see others' world views and respect their way of thinking and believing is a crisis in America, and reflects a spiritual illness in our society," Stoller said, adding that he thinks what he and the other faith leaders are doing is part of the "antidote to that illness." That mutual respect, they believe, begins with relationship building. "It is friendship, what we created here," said Imam Mohamad Jamal Daoudi.
While I was in anesthesia residency at the University of Southern California Hospital's Department of Anesthesiology from 2006 to 2009, I learned how to put people under for surgery using an anesthetic called ketamine. Afterwards, as I began work as an anesthesiologist at a hospital, I began hearing interesting things about the anesthetic. Researchers had begun testing it as a treatment for mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and PTSD – and with encouraging results. It also has psychedelic properties, so people can gain insight into their lives and even have mystical experiences on it. One study found that it reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in patients with severe depression, both immediately after it was administered and as well as a month down the line. Another found that it even provided relief from chronic pain that lasted for up to two weeks after treatment. In 2014, inspired by findings like these and conversations with psychiatrists who were beginning to incorporate ketamine into their practices, I founded the Ketamine Healing Clinic of Los Angeles. Over time, I've seen people undergo big changes in their lives because of their work with ketamine, including a few who left abusive relationships, grew their businesses, or pursued totally new ventures. Overall ... people typically come out of their infusions with a newfound will to live and increased clarity about their future. Some patients who came in with suicidal thoughts no longer have them at all.
The Boy Scouts of America will be facing at least 92,700 claims of sexual abuse as former scouts submit filings against the bankruptcy-bound organization, said one of the lead attorneys for the legal team representing the claimants. Sex abuse in the BSA was an "unspoken norm," according to Van Arsdale, one of the lead attorneys who says he has communicated with thousands of alleged survivors over the past 19 months. "Based on what we are hearing from survivors, sexual abuse was a rite of passage in troops across the country, similar to other tasks where children had to ... perform certain duties to earn their coveted merit badges," he said. The cases against the Boy Scouts are no normal court proceeding. The organization filed for bankruptcy in February as hundreds of sexual abuse lawsuits were filed across the country -- some of which alleged repeated fondling, exposure to pornography and forced anal or oral sex. Alleged survivors will now have to pursue their claims in bankruptcy court rather than via civil proceedings, Michael Pfau, a Seattle-based attorney representing hundreds of alleged victims, told CNN. "Their lives won't be scrutinized, but they lose their right to a jury trial. For a lot of abuse survivors, telling their story in a court of law and forcing the organizations to defend their actions can be cathartic. That won't happen with a bankruptcy," he said. Pfau estimated ... that the number of claims would surpass those targeting the Catholic Church.
Note: Doctors at the University of California and USC have also been accused of sexual abuse by hundreds of patients. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
When pharmaceutical company Moderna issued a press release about the promising results of its Phase I clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine, the media and the markets went wild. Upon examining Moderna's non-peer reviewed press release, the actual data on the vaccine's success is ... flimsy. Of the 45 patients who received the vaccine, the data on "neutralising antibody data are available only for the first four participants in each of the 25-microgram and 100-microgram dose level cohorts." In other words, that means that when it comes to finding out whether the vaccine elicits an antibody response that could potentially fight the coronavirus, they only had data on eight patients. That's not enough to do any type of statistical analysis and it also brings into question the status of the other 37 patients who also received the vaccine. Moderna's messenger RNA vaccine ... uses a sequence of genetic RNA material produced in a lab that, when injected into your body, must invade your cells and hijack your cells' protein-making machinery called ribosomes to produce the viral components that subsequently train your immune system to fight the virus. There are unique and unknown risks to messenger RNA vaccines, including the possibility that they generate strong type I interferon responses that could lead to inflammation and autoimmune conditions. Messenger RNA vaccines have never before been brought to market for human patients.
Note: To learn about the serious risks and dangers of these mRNA vaccines, don't miss the vitally important information given by Christiane Northrup, MD, in the first five minutes of this highly revealing video. Reader's Digest named Dr. Northrup one of "The 100 Most Trusted People in America." Dr. Northrup's work has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Today Show, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, 20/20, and The Dr. Oz Show. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from major media sources.
The U.S. can expect increased Covid-19 testing, a national mask policy and the possibility of nationwide lockdowns once President-elect Joe Biden takes office Jan. 20. The Biden-Harris campaign laid out a step-by-step plan for addressing the coronavirus pandemic that includes more testing, increasing use of the Defense Production Act to make protective equipment for frontline workers and restoring the U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization. On top of that, Biden says he would establish a U.S. public health jobs corps to "mobilize at least 100,000 Americans across the country" to support contact tracing efforts. Biden has called for national mask requirements, though experts say it's unclear how that would be executed. In an Oct. 23 speech, Biden said he would " go to every governor and urge them to mandate mask wearing in their states." And if that doesn't work, Biden said he would turn to mayors and county executives to institute local mandates. Masks would be required in all federal buildings and interstate transportation systems. Biden would also direct the CDC to provide communities with evidence-based guidance on when to close some business or schools depending on the degree of viral spread. The CDC would be empowered to guide states when to place appropriate restrictions on gathering sizes and when to issue stay-at-home orders.
The chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, sold $5.6 million worth of stock in the pharmaceutical company on Monday. The sale took place on the same day Pfizer announced that its experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective. Bourla's sale of Pfizer stock was part of a trading plan set months in advance. Known as 10b5-1 plans, they essentially put stock trades on autopilot. Executives are supposed to adopt these plans only when they are not in possession of inside information that can affect a company's stock price. On Aug. 19, Bourla implemented his stock-trading plan. The next day, Aug. 20, Pfizer issued a press release ... confirming that Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, were "on track to seek regulatory review" for its vaccine candidate. Daniel Taylor, an expert in insider trading ... told NPR that the close timing between the adoption of Bourla's stock plan and the press release looked "very suspicious." "It's wholly inappropriate for executives at pharmaceutical companies to be implementing or modifying 10b5-1 plans the business day before they announce data or results from drug trials," Taylor said. The stock sales by Pfizer's CEO brought to mind similar concerns with another coronavirus vaccine-maker, Moderna. Multiple executives at Moderna adopted or modified their stock-trading plans just before key announcements about the company's vaccine. Those executives have sold tens of millions of dollars in Moderna stock.
Moderna CEO StÄ‚©phane Bancel more than tripled the number of his company shares to be sold through an executive stock plan that was changed just days after the biotech in May announced positive early results for its coronavirus vaccine. Moderna's shares spiked on the May news, rising 30% in just one day. After seeking the executive stock plan change in May, Bancel sold more than 72,000 Moderna shares in the first 16 days of July, generating nearly $4.8 million for the executive. That was more than triple the 22,000 shares he had previously scheduled to sell during the same period through the company's executive trading plan. Another top Moderna executive, President Stephen Hoge, also had his pre-programmed executive trading plan reset around the same time. The change allowed him to sell $1.9 million worth of Moderna stock in the first two weeks of July. The executives' ... sales were made through what are known as 10b5-1 stock plans. These arrangements must be set up or amended at least 30 days before any transactions are executed; they are commonly used at publicly traded companies to help shield executives from potential claims of insider trading. The fact that the plans were changed during the pandemic as news was emerging about the company's closely watched coronavirus vaccine raises new questions about how Moderna executives have pocketed millions of dollars in recent months.
By the time Officer Joseph Ferrigno shot a Black man from behind, court records show, the Rochester cop had drawn at least 23 misconduct complaints in nearly nine years on the force. Through it all, the Rochester Police Department and the Locust Club, the local police union, stood by Ferrigno. Then came April 1, 2016, when Ferrigno ... spotted a Chevrolet Impala. He saw two Black men inside. Ferrigno drew his Glock handgun. Silvon Simmons, the passenger in the Impala ... heard no warning. Simmons stepped from the Impala and ... ran toward the back door of the house where he lived. Ferrigno fired four shots, hitting Simmons three times. Before leaving the scene, Ferrigno asked for two things: a lawyer and a union rep. The officer, who told detectives he "was shaking and still in a state of shock," was driven to the station and later sent home. Simmons, stripped naked by paramedics treating his wounds, was handcuffed and loaded into an ambulance. Although Simmons was the one who took three bullets, Ferrigno is listed as the victim in at least 65 police reports. Police said they had been searching for a man wanted for threatening a woman with a gun. Ferrigno had been shot at and returned fire, striking his alleged assailant three times, the reports said. When [Judge Melchor] Castro came to his hospital room in 2016 to explain the charges ... Simmons was incredulous. "What in the world are you talking about?" Simmons recalled telling the judge. "I'm the one who got shot."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Each weekend, while New York City's East Village packs into sidewalk tables for brunch, activist Carmen Trotta leads a vigil for ending the U.S.-backed war in Yemen in Tompkins Square Park. He only has a few more Saturday mornings before he must report to federal prison, along with fellow activists from Plowshares, the anti-nuclear, Christian pacifist movement. Trotta, Martha Hennessy, Clare Grady, and Patrick O'Neill are due to report to prison within the next few months for activism against a suspected nuclear weapons depot. Trotta and Hennessy ... peacefully broke into the naval base in Brunswick, Georgia – risking their own lives to protest the suspected nuclear arsenal housed within. Armed only with vials of their own blood, hammers, GoPro cameras, spray paint, protest banners, and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg's book, the activists symbolically attempted to disarm the nuclear weapons located on the Trident submarines at the base. All but one of the activists have quietly been sentenced in their faith-based battle with the U.S. government. The activists were charged with three felonies – conspiracy, destruction of government property, depredation – and misdemeanor trespassing. The sentencing – sending aging activists to federal prisons amid the coronavirus pandemic – fits squarely within the long history of the U.S. government throwing the book at people of conscience who dare to dissent. Trotta got 14 months, Grady was given 12 months and one day, and Hennessy was sentenced to 10 months.
Americans took to the streets for extended demonstrations this summer to protest police violence and racial injustice. Then, on Election Day, they took to the voting booth to endorse criminal justice and policing changes. With a wave of votes across the country, Americans backed a string of measures increasing police oversight, elected reform-minded prosecutors, loosened drug laws and passed other proposals rethinking key elements of law enforcement and justice in their communities. These votes, taken together, signal that after a summer of protest brought renewed scrutiny to the justice system, many Americans were open to rethinking how it functions. Voters in Oakland, Calif., moved to create an inspector general's office outside the police force to review officer misconduct. In Columbus, Ohio, voters passed an amendment creating a civilian police review board and an inspector general. San Diegans supported replacing a police review board with a commission that would have subpoena power and the authority to investigate police misconduct. These votes were not exclusively in big cities. In Kyle, Tex., outside Austin, voters overwhelmingly passed a proposition requiring police policies to be reviewed by the city council and put under a committee's oversight. Voters in several places supported loosening drug laws. Oregon voters backed a ballot measure decriminalizing small amounts of drugs including cocaine and heroin. New Jersey, Arizona, Montana and South Dakota ... legalized recreational marijuana.
Nestled on a wide plateau surrounded by the EspinhaĂ§o Mountains in southeastern Brazil is the city of Belo Horizonte. The city of 2.5 million is an industrial and technological hub, which had historically led to stark socioeconomic divisions, including high rates of poverty. But while other similarly situated cities around the globe struggle to meet the basic needs of their residents, Belo Horizonte pioneered a food security system that has effectively eliminated hunger in the city. The entire program requires less than 2% of the city's annual budget. Building off Brazil's grassroots Movement for Ethics in Politics, in 1993 Belo Horizonte enacted a municipal law that established a citizen's right to food. Today, Belo Horizonte's food security system comprises 20 interconnected programs that approach food security in sustainable ways. When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit Brazil in February, Belo Horizonte was well-positioned to address at least one attendant issue of the pandemic: The city already had a substantial infrastructure for distributing fresh, healthy food at low or no-cost to the vast majority of its residents. As Brazil's COVID-19 cases skyrocketed and the need became greater, businesses, nonprofits, and individuals offered financial and distribution support to expand the existing food security network, including increasing the number of open-air markets and restaurants available to distribute food to those in need.
Note: Why hasn't this most inspiring news been reported widely in the major media? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Special Olympics athlete Chris Nikic crossed the finish line on Saturday to become the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon. Guiness World Records recognized Nikic's achievement after he finished a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-marathon run at the Ironman Florida competition in Panama City Beach. "Ironman. Goal set and achieve," said Nikic in a post to Instagram. "Time to set a new and Bigger Goal for 2021." Nikic completed the race in 16 hours 46 minutes and 9 seconds - 14 minutes under the 17-hour cutoff time. Nikic fell off his bike and was attacked by ants at a nutrition stop, but he pushed on to finish the competition. "We are beyond inspired, and your accomplishment is a defining moment in Ironman history that can never be taken away from you," the Ironman Triathlon organization said. Nikic and his father Nik developed the "1 percent better challenge" to stay motivated during training. The idea is to promote Down syndrome awareness while achieving 1% improvement each day, according to Nikic's website. "To Chris, this race was more than just a finish line and celebration of victory," Nik Nikic said. "Ironman has served as his platform to become one step closer to his goal of living a life of inclusion and leadership." Nikic's accomplishment earned him congratulatory messages from celebrities, such as tennis great Billie Jean King and runner Kara Goucher, and people around the world, including 33,000 new followers on social media
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The government illegally approved a breed of genetically engineered salmon without assessing the harm the fish might cause if they escaped their confines and interbred with other salmon species, a federal judge ruled. The Food and Drug Administration agreed in 2015, under President Barack Obama's administration, to allow AquaBounty Technologies to produce the fish, which is an Atlantic salmon that has been infused with a growth hormone gene from Pacific salmon, also known as chinook, and DNA from a slithery creature known as an eelpout. But U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria of San Francisco said the FDA had failed to consider or study what would happen if the genetically engineered salmon slipped out and reached waters inhabited by other salmon. "They may directly interact with wild salmon, such as by mating or simply by competing for resources," Chhabria said in a ruling on a lawsuit by environmental, consumer and fishing organizations. "Even if this scenario was unlikely, the FDA was still required to assess the consequences," especially since the agency knew AquaBounty's facilities were likely to grow, he said. "Before starting the country down a road that could well lead to commercial production of genetically engineered fish on a large scale, the FDA should have developed a full understanding – and provided a full explanation – of the potential environmental consequences," Chhabria said. The FDA did not say whether it would appeal the ruling.
After the COVID-19 pandemic forced nonessential businesses to temporarily shut down across Southern California, the Los Angeles Times invited readers to send in the names of businesses in their areas that had failed as a result. [#1] The Awesome Playground was in the first wave of Los Angeles businesses to close as a result of the pandemic, shutting its doors in March. Owner Kay Osorio opened the Awesome Playground in Highland Park 10 years ago. But when the coronavirus crisis began making headlines in Southern California, Osorio knew immediately it could have a devastating effect on her business. Unlike other businesses that have been able to pivot to outdoor-only or remote offerings, "we couldn't come up with another way to deliver our service." [#2] Sasha Jones had just one day in late July to clear out Cuties Coffee before its lease was taken over. "I got an email late Thursday afternoon, like, we need to get what we can out tomorrow, Friday," the Cuties CEO said. For weeks, the threat of closure had loomed over the LGBTQ-owned and -operated coffee shop. Since the closure of the coffee shop, Cuties is continuing to operate without a physical space. [#3] When Alan Abdo negotiated with his landlord to end the lease for Olive Tree Restaurant, he remembers saying, "I can't close fast enough. I'm losing money by the minute." Olive Tree was a thriving, well-known Middle Eastern restaurant in Anaheim right up until the enforced business closures began.
Note: Small businesses have been devastated worldwide by the lockdown, yet most large corporations are thriving and the billionaires are making money hand over fist. So who is really benefitting from these lockdown measures? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Peter Nygard, meet Jeffrey Epstein. The Canadian fashion kingpin has fallen into sordid company amid explosive allegations he sexually assaulted a slew of underage women – including three 14-year-olds. Ten unidentified women have filed a class-action lawsuit accusing Nygard, 77, of rape and sex trafficking. The allegations are eerily similar to the twisted web woven by hedge fund pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. "Nygard lured and enticed young, impressionable, and often impoverished children and women with cash payments and false promises of lucrative modelling opportunities in order to assault, rape, and sodomize them. Many were drugged to force compliance with Nygard's sexual desires," the plaintiffs said in a press release. Many of the women were underage at the time of the alleged assaults, between 2008 and 2015. Nygard allegedly ordered underlings to "procure" the girls and take them to what he called "pamper parties." At the parties, they were allegedly fed drugs and booze. Many of the payouts were allegedly run through his string of companies, the suit charges. The lawsuit also alleges the style impresario bribed cops and government officials in the Bahamas to turn a blind eye to his antics. Nygard allegedly has a database of more than 7,500 underage girls and women. Most of the incidents allegedly occurred at Nygard's mansion on Lyford Cay in the Caribbean paradise. And most of the alleged victims were young "impoverished" Bahamian girls.
Note: Read an excellent, well researched essay on this disturbing case. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Eleven-year-old Allie sways back and forth. She rolls her eyes into her head and collapses onto the bed behind her. After lying there motionless for a moment, she pops back up. "Um, I wasn't really sure what else to add, 'cause all that was requested was to faint while putting my eyes backwards," she says to the camera, thanking a user who goes by "Martin" for the suggestion. Allie's channel is full of skits that she has eagerly filmed at the request of strangers on YouTube. She's learned that her audience particularly enjoys watching her pretend to pass out and hypnotize herself; those kinds of requests come in all the time. For Allie ... the attention is exciting. To the girl's great delight, her dizzy-themed videos randomly blow up sometimes, pulling in thousands of views despite her small following. She refers to her viewers as "fans" and promises to film whatever they'd like to see. That often means unwittingly acting out sexual fetishes for predators, who flock to her content like flies. This didn't happen by accident. YouTube's automated recommendation engine propels sexually implicit videos of children like Allie from obscurity into virality and onto the screens of pedophiles. Executives at the Google-owned company are well aware of this. Over the years, YouTube has claimed repeatedly that keeping children safe on its platform is a top priority. But ... the company has actually continued to amplify such videos into virality and to specifically steer them toward users seeking sexual content and footage of partially clothed kids.
A Texas appeals court on Thursday upheld a five-year prison sentence for a woman who was convicted of illegally voting even though she didn't know she was ineligible when she went to the polls in 2016. The punishment for the Fort Worth woman, Crystal Mason, stirred national outrage because of its severity, prompting accusations that prosecutors were trying to intimidate Texans from voting. Four years ago, Mason was on supervised release, similar to probation, for a federal felony conviction. Mason voted in the last presidential election at the urging of her mother and cast a provisional ballot. The ballot was never counted because Mason was not an eligible voter. During her 2018 trial probation officials testified that they never told Mason she could not vote, but the appeals court said that didn't matter. Mason was guilty, the court said, because she knew she was on supervised release. Texas is one of 48 states that strip people with felony convictions of the right to vote, but the rules on when people regain the right to vote vary widely from state to state and are often extremely confusing, even to elections officials. The decision to prosecute Mason was unusual. Since 2014, at least 12,668 people have voted using a provisional ballot in Tarrant county and 88% of them have been rejected because the voter was not eligible. Mason is the only voter who used a provisional ballot who was prosecuted for illegal voting.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Reading minds has just come a step closer to reality: scientists have developed artificial intelligence that can turn brain activity into text. While the system currently works on neural patterns detected while someone is speaking aloud, experts say it could eventually aid communication for patients who are unable to speak or type. "We are not there yet but we think this could be the basis of a speech prosthesis," said Dr Joseph Makin, co-author of the research from the University of California, San Francisco. Writing in the journal Nature Neuroscience, Makin and colleagues reveal how they developed their system by recruiting four participants who had electrode arrays implanted in their brain to monitor epileptic seizures. These participants were asked to read aloud from 50 set sentences multiple times, including "Tina Turner is a pop singer", and "Those thieves stole 30 jewels". The team tracked their neural activity while they were speaking. This data was then fed into a machine-learning algorithm, a type of artificial intelligence system that converted the brain activity data for each spoken sentence into a string of numbers. At first the system spat out nonsense sentences. But as the system compared each sequence of words with the sentences that were actually read aloud it improved, learning how the string of numbers related to words, and which words tend to follow each other. The system was not perfect. However, the team found the accuracy of the new system was far higher than previous approaches.
Note: Remember that the military in their secret projects is often 10 to 20 years in advance of anything public. In 2008, CBS reported the story of a man with ALS who could type using only a brain computer interface. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on microchip implants from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. Department of Education says it is opening an investigation into Yale and Harvard universities for failing to disclose hundreds of millions of dollars in gifts and contracts from foreign donors. The two Ivy League schools have been singled out in a federal crackdown on institutions of higher learning for allegedly not reporting foreign donations of more than $250,000, as required by law under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act. The Department of Education said Yale failed to disclosed a total of $375 million in foreign money and that it was concerned that Harvard may not have fully complied with reporting requirements. The investigation of Yale and Harvard is part of a larger examination by the DOE, which says its enforcement efforts, since July, have triggered the reporting of approximately $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign money, much of it from China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, according to the department. In the case of Yale, the letter from the DOE specifically requested all records from the school related to gifts or contracts from Saudi Arabia, Saudi nationals, China, Huawei Technologies and ZTE. Huawei and ZTE ... were placed on a U.S. sanctions blacklist last year. In February of last year, a Senate report described China's influence on the U.S. education system as "effectively a black hole," because universities were failing to report foreign money.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
A probe by the California Public Utilities Commission has concluded that William Devereaux, a former PG&E employee who used a false identity to spy on activists opposed to SmartMeters, did not act alone but had support from senior managers. Devereaux resigned in November 2010 after admitting that he used the name "Ralph" to try to infiltrate an online group of consumers opposed to the utility's new digital meters. At the time, PG&E characterized him as a rogue employee who acted alone. But a lengthy investigation by the PUC's Consumer Protection and Safety Division revealed that Devereaux forwarded emails that he collected using the false identity to his boss and other senior managers at PG&E. "PG&E senior management knew of Mr. Devereaux's deceit before it was reported in the press and failed to prevent and stop his inappropriate behavior," said the eight-page finding from the PUC. "By lying to and infiltrating anti-smart meter consumer groups, Mr. Devereaux, acting on behalf of PG&E, violated PG&E's obligation to provide just and reasonable service to its customers." Devereaux was the senior director of PG&E's SmartMeter program from October 2009 through early November 2010. He admitted to the Mercury News that he used the name "Ralph" to try to join the California EMF Coalition, a ... group that maintains a private, moderated online discussion forum for people concerned about the possible health effects of electromagnetic fields generated by SmartMeters.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks of wireless technologies from reliable major media sources.
Dorothy Kilgallen's Death on November 8, 1965, was treated by many as just another high-strung female checking out of Hotel Earth. Since she was a person many loved to hate - her sins being intelligence, perserverance and right-wing political affections - her supposed "suicide" gratified her detractors. However, Lee Israel's carefully researched book indicates the chances of Dorothy Kilgallen (a devout Catholic) having committed suicide are about the same as your being struck by a meteorite. Wanting to break the story of the century regarding John F. Kennedy's assassination, Kilgallen, a reporter, first and foremost, had every reason to live. Israel is at her best when showing Kilgallen up against the Warren Commission, the FBI, and a hostile administration. Avoiding political controversy, she was content to live for herself, her family, her friends. Nothing larger than her own life or her own needs motivated her until she had a fateful, secret interview with Jack Ruby early in 1964. She could have chosen to forget it, what appeared to her to be horrific implications of conspiracy in the death of the president; she could have backslid into her life of glamor. The more she probed the more she felt her own life was in jeopardy. She thought the JFK assassination touched the soul of America and she wasn't going to stop. She put the truth first and paid the price. We are not accustomed to finding heroes in middle-aged, quirky women. We cannot afford casually to dismiss anyone on the basis of appearance and manner.
Note: For other articles on this most suspicious death, see this one from the New York Post and this one from the UK's Daily Mail. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the JFK assassination from reliable major media sources.
Cats are unable to distinguish between street clothes and prison uniforms – and that's exactly what makes the relationship between the men at Pendleton Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison outside of Indianapolis, and the cats that live there, so special. For six hours a day, seven days a week, a handful of men receive unqualified love from the more than 20 cats that live in the prison as part of the FORWARD program, or Felines and Offenders Rehabilitation with Affection, Reformation and Dedication. In exchange for care and a place to stay before being adopted, the cats at Pendleton offer inmates untampered, non-judgemental affection. Through the 5-year-old program, a select few incarcerated men are paid 20 cents an hour to spend their days caring for abandoned and abused cats, preparing them for adoption. Or, as some inmates will say, for a reason to get up in the morning. In partnership with the Animal Protection League of Indiana, the program removes cats from a traditional shelter and places them in the prison's "cat sanctuary," a wide-open room with scratching posts, climbing structures and nooks to hide in. The program houses them with incarcerated caregivers, who, incidentally, gain skills such as empathy, responsibility and self-esteem. The caregivers spend their days cleaning the cat sanctuary, changing litter boxes, and feeding and giving water to the cats. Everything but medical care is under the inmates' purview. The work, albeit behind prison walls, is a full-time job.
Norway's ability to preserve the fiscal and physical well-being of its residents during the COVID-19 pandemic is just one small example of a decades-long effort to create an equitable economy. What began as a result of the labor and feminist movements in the 1970s now suffuses most parts of society, including how the country responded to the outbreak. On March 12, Norway began its nationwide lockdown, and by April 7, Parliament had adopted a package that Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, a member of Parliament and the leader of the Center Party, told Norwegian Broadcasting was "the largest [monetary] commitment the parliament has ever made." The roughly $480 million relief package included tax relief for businesses experiencing losses, a reduction in the European Economic Community Value Added Tax, and tax deferrals for self-employed individuals such as freelance writers and artists. The package helped maintain stability in the economy while Norwegians did their part to slow the spread of the virus. Norwegian workers pay a roughly 25% income tax rate. That's on par with what the average American family pays in income tax, but in Norway, those taxes pay for generous social welfare programs for almost all Norwegian residents. Norwegian social welfare encompasses comprehensive unemployment benefits, retirement pay, and health care coverage that covers just about everything, from mental health care to ambulance and emergency services to clinical care for transgender residents.
Suicides are on the rise among Japanese teens and that worries 21-year-old Koki Ozora, who grew up depressed and lonely. His nonprofit "Anata no Ibasho," or "A Place for You," is run entirely by volunteers. It offers a 24-hour text-messaging service for those seeking a sympathetic ear, promising to answer every request – within five seconds for urgent ones. The online Japanese-language chat service has grown since March to 500 volunteers, many living abroad in different time zones to provide counseling during those hours when the need for suicide prevention runs highest, between 10 p.m. and the break of dawn. The site setup ... allows more experienced staff to supervise the counseling. Anonymity is protected. Anata no Ibasho has received more than 15,000 online messages asking for help, or about 130 a day. The most common ones are about suicide, at about 32%, while 12% deal with stress over raising children. The goal is to offer a solution within 40 minutes, including referrals to shelters and police. Contrary to the stereotype of Japan as harmonious, families are increasingly splintered. A recent OECD study found Japan ranks among the highest in the world in suffering isolation. Counseling through online chats can be a challenge, because all you have are words, said Sumie Uehara, a counselor who volunteers at Anata no Ibasho. "You don't ever negate their feelings or try to solve everything in a hurry. You're just there to listen, and understand," she said.
Pfizer is expected to seek federal permission to release its Covid-19 vaccine by the end of November. The vaccine, and likely most others, will require two doses to work, injections that must be given weeks apart. The shots will cause enervating flu-like side effects – including sore arms, muscle aches and fever – that could last days and temporarily sideline some people from work or school. And even if a vaccine proves 90 percent effective ... 1 in 10 recipients would still be vulnerable. That means, at least in the short term, as population-level immunity grows, people can't stop social distancing and throw away their masks. Left out so far ... has been a large-scale plan to communicate effectively about those issues in advance, said Saad Omer, director of the Yale Institute for Global Health. Such broad-based outreach will be necessary in a country where, as of mid-October, only half of Americans said they'd be willing to get a Covid-19 vaccine. "We are asking people to take a vaccine that is going to hurt," said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and health policy at Vanderbilt. "There are lots of sore arms and substantial numbers of people who feel crummy, with headaches and muscle pain, for a day or two." Persuading people who experience those symptoms to return in three to four weeks for a second dose – and a second round of flu-like symptoms – could be a tough sell, Schaffner said. A professor of internal medicine and epidemiology at University of Iowa [suggested] that essential workers should be granted three days of paid leave after they're vaccinated.
Important Note: Learn about the serious dangers of these mRNA vaccines through the vitally important information given by Christiane Northrup, MD, in the first five minutes of this revealing video. Dr. Northrup's work has been featured on NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, Oprah, Dr. Oz, and more. And an informative article in the UK's Independent by another medical doctor states, "There are unique and unknown risks to messenger RNA vaccines, including the possibility that they ... could lead to inflammation and autoimmune conditions."
Berlin's city hall deliberately placed troubled children in the care of paedophiles. From 1969 to 2003 the authorities put at least nine boys in the hands of convicted sex offenders on the advice of a disgraced social scientist. The idea behind the Kentler experiment – named after Helmut Kentler, an academic who argued that paedophilia could have "positive consequences" – was that unruly and "feeble-minded" children would benefit from adult sexual attention. In the late 1960s Kentler persuaded West Berlin's ruling Senate that the homeless boys would jump at the opportunity to be fostered by paedophiles. One of the boys, referred to in legal proceedings as Marco, had been taken into care after suffering physical abuse at the hands of his father. In 1989, aged six, he was placed with a convicted child abuser. A year later this foster father, Fritz H, began going into Marco's room for a "cuddle". For ten years he was repeatedly beaten and raped by Fritz H. It is not known how many children were subjected to the Kentler experiment. Four years ago the Berlin Senate commissioned an inquiry into the scandal from experts at GĂ¶ttingen University. Their final report has yet to be published. At the beginning of the experiment, Kentler, who died in 2008, was regarded as one of Germany's foremost sexologists and often appeared as an expert witness in court cases. He boasted of having secured the acquittal of several alleged paedophiles. In 1970 he urged the Bundestag to decriminalise sex between adults and children in West Germany.
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 news articles on government corruption and sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Lesley Stahl reports on an innovative project that uses artificial intelligence technology to allow people to talk with Holocaust survivors, even after their death. This high-tech initiative is a project of the USC Shoah Foundation. The project's creators film lengthy interviews with Holocaust survivors, then enter all the recorded answers into a database. When a person asks a spoken question, voice recognition technology identifies what the person is asking, then artificial intelligence identifies the best answer to the question and pull up the video of that response. [Stahl] digitally spoke with ... Eva Kor, an identical twin who survived the brutal experiments of Josef Mengele at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Kor died in July 2019 at the age of 85, yet there she was, in a life-like projection, willing to answer Stahl's questions, even her recollections of Mengele: "When I looked into his eyes, I could see nothing but evil," the digital Kor told Stahl. "People say that the eyes are the center of the soul, and in Mengele's case, that was correct." In 1992, 60 Minutes reported on Mengele's twin experiments, and Stahl interviewed the living Kor. Kor recalled how her twin sister, Miriam, helped sustain her life at Auschwitz. "I was continuously fainting out of hunger; even after, I survived," Kor said. "Yet Miriam saved her bread for one whole week. Now can you imagine what willpower does it take?" Kor told Stahl it had taken her 40 years before she was able to speak with her sister about the atrocities they experienced at Auschwitz.
Note: The 60 Minutes video at the link above is quite revealing. If only good people around the world were willing to step out of their comfort zones and see what Dr. Josef Mengele, the Angel of Death at Auschwitz, did to his concentration camp inmates, we might live in a kinder gentler world. If you are open to learning more see an excellent two-page summary on secret Nazi experiments and this well documented webpage on how Mengele may have been allowed to escape to then serve in secret American projects. By shining a light into the dark shadows, we can transform our our world.
A man once described by an FBI agent as the world's largest "facilitator" of child abuse websites pleaded guilty on Thursday to operating a web hosting service that allowed users to anonymously access hundreds of thousands of images and videos depicting child abuse. Eric Eoin Marques, 34, faces a mandatory minimum of 15 years in prison and a maximum of 30 years after his guilty plea to one count of conspiracy to advertise child abuse images. A plea agreement will ask the US district judge Theodore Chuang in Maryland to sentence Marques to 15 to 21 years in prison, but the judge is not bound by the recommendation. Marques created and operated a free, anonymous web hosting service, called Freedom Hosting, on a network allowing users to access websites without revealing their IP addresses. In 2013, FBI agents in Maryland connected to the network and accessed a child abuse bulletin board with more than 7,700 members and more than 22,000 posts. Agents downloaded more than 1 million files from another website on the network, nearly all of which depicted sexually explicit images of children. Images on the service depicted the rape and torture of infants and older children. Authorities seized nearly $155,000 in US currency from Marques, who said during an August 2013 extradition hearing that his business had been "very successful" and profitable. FBI special agent Brooke Donahue has described Marques as "the largest facilitator of child pornography websites on the planet", according to court records.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Native American burial sites have been blown up by construction crews building the US-Mexico border wall. Authorities confirmed that "controlled blasting" has begun at Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a Unesco recognised natural reserve. Raul Grijalva, a Democratic congressman, told the Intercept the destruction is "sacrilegious". The government failed to consult the Tohono O'odham Nation, he said. Environmental groups also warn of the damage being done to the local underground aquifer, as well as to migrating wildlife. Officials say the aim of the project is to construct a 30ft-tall (9m) steel barrier that runs for 43 miles on the national park land. The United Nations designated Organ Pipe as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1976, calling it "a pristine example of an intact Sonoran Desert ecosystem". Mr Grijalva, the chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, represents a district that encompasses the area, which shares 400 miles of border with Mexico. He toured the burial sites at the Organ Pipe, known as Monument Hill, last month, and was told that O'odham people buried warriors from the rival Apache tribe there. "What we saw on Monument Hill was opposing tribes who were respectfully laid to rest - that is the one being blasted with dynamite," Mr Grijalva said. He called the Trump administration's conduct "sacrilegious" and said the environmental monitor that the government assigned to the project would do nothing to mitigate the cultural damage.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
In 2017, newly published Land Registry data revealed 4 million km of networks and telecommunications lines underneath London, many of which were secretly constructed by the Post Office, British Telecom and the Ministry of Defence. These mysterious Cold War-era tunnel systems and underground chambers, which number in the hundreds, have been a source of fascination for decades. Yet, until recently, authorities remained conspicuously secretive about them, many owned by the Ministry of Defence and never publicly acknowledged. The most intriguing revelation was of the Postmaster General's secret tunnel beneath the heart of the government at 57 Whitehall. More than 30 gears and a dozen lifts – stretching from the working-class East End to the heart of Whitehall – connect the Postmaster General's tunnel to a secret underground network, which mostly emerges unobtrusively into government buildings and telephone exchanges. Further, a short distance from Whitehall, an A-bomb-proof telephone exchange deep underneath High Holborn street – originally built as a deep-level government air raid shelter in the early 1940s – was a top-secret hub of more than 200 engineers from the 1960s to the â€80s. The two-tunnel shelter was extended by the addition of four tunnels at right angles to the originals to become the termination point of the first transatlantic telephone cable, and was spacious enough to boast a staff restaurant, tea bar, games room and licensed bar.
Note: A 1972 Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory patent describes a device for drilling underground tunnels using a small nuclear reactor. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
Oregon on Wednesday became the first state to legalize the active ingredient in so-called magic mushrooms on an election night that saw more states ease restrictions on recreational drugs across the country. Oregon's Measure 109 will give legal access to psilocybin, the main active ingredient in "magic mushrooms," for mental health treatment in supervised settings. While some cities have moved to legalize and regulate access to the drug, Oregon will become the first state in the country to legalize it on a statewide basis. Supporters of the measure point to the medical benefits of the drug, which has been shown in some studies to benefit trauma survivors. Through Measure 110, which has captured more than 58% of the vote so far, Oregon would also decriminalize the possession of small amounts of some hard drugs, including heroin and LSD. Instead of criminal prosecution, people in possession would face a $100 fine, which can be waived if the person agrees to pursue treatment, according to the measure. Ronan Levy, the cofounder of Field Trip Health, a Toronto-based company that provides psychedelic-enhanced psychotherapy, said the ballot wins are "fantastic news" for what he called the psychedelic renaissance. Research is mounting that indicates the benefits of using psychedelic drugs to enhance therapy, Levy said, adding that ... the drug alone isn't necessarily helpful; it needs to be taken under supervision of trained personnel.
Note: Recent studies suggest psilocybin can be used to treat addiction and anxiety. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potential of mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
In 2013, Internet activist and Reddit co-founder Aaron Swartz ended his life while facing up to 35 years in prison for hacking. Swartz faced multiple charges for breaking and entering into an MIT wiring closet and downloading academic journals, including two counts of wire fraud and 11 counts of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Swartz, who was battling the court, also battled with depression. Prosecutors dropped the charges after his death. I first met Swartz's father, Robert, last year as he explained his mission to fight for his son's memory by helping to change outdated laws. He wanted answers about why he lost his son. His son's story is now the subject of a new documentary called "The Internet's Own Boy: The story of Aaron Swartz." "He was someone who tried to understand technology and use it as a force for good," [said Robert Swartz]. "He came up with the notion of Wikipedia before Wikipedia started. It was very clear that he felt that putting academic research behind a pay wall was wrong and that it limited the diffusion of knowledge. After he was arrested ... he was worried about his phone being tapped. He couldn't go to MIT, he couldn't go to Harvard. He couldn't leave the country because they took his passport. The prosecutor was cruel and vindictive and bordered ... on sadism. They strip-searched him and they left him in solitary confinement ... with the goal of attempting to break him. This is not a system in which people are treated fairly or reasonably. They're bullied and destroyed. "
Note: What this article completely fails to mention is that Swartz's father believes it was not suicide, but that he was killed by the government, as made clear in this article in the Daily Mail. His father had been quite public about this. Why would CNN fail to mention this important fact? Could it have been an obvious message to other hackers of what might happen to them? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
More than 60 years ago, in his "Foundation" series, the science fiction novelist Isaac Asimov invented a new science – psychohistory – that combined mathematics and psychology to predict the future. Now social scientists are trying to mine the vast resources of the Internet – Web searches and Twitter messages, Facebook and blog posts, the digital location trails generated by billions of cellphones – to do the same thing. The government is showing interest in the idea. This summer a little-known intelligence agency began seeking ideas from academic social scientists and corporations for ways to automatically scan the Internet in 21 Latin American countries for "big data," according to a research proposal. The three-year experiment ... is being financed by the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity, or Iarpa. The automated data collection system is to focus on patterns of communication, consumption and movement of populations. It will use publicly accessible data, including Web search queries, blog entries, Internet traffic flow, financial market indicators, traffic webcams and changes in Wikipedia entries. It is intended to be an entirely automated system, a "data eye in the sky" without human intervention. Some social scientists and advocates of privacy rights are deeply skeptical of the project, saying it evokes queasy memories of Total Information Awareness, a post-9/11 Pentagon program that proposed hunting for potential attackers by identifying patterns in vast collections of public and private data.
America's imprisonment rate has dropped to its lowest level since 1995, led by a dive in the percentage of blacks and Hispanics sent to jail during the Trump administration, according to a new Justice tally. For minorities, the focus of President Trump's First Step Act prison and criminal reform plan, the rate is the lowest in years. For blacks, the imprisonment rate in state and federal prisons is the lowest in 31 years and for Hispanics it is down 24%. "Across the decade from 2009 to 2019, the imprisonment rate fell 29% among black residents, 24% among Hispanic residents and 12% among white residents. In 2019, the imprisonment rate of black residents was the lowest it has been in 30 years, since 1989," said the report. Explaining the rate, Justice said, "At year-end 2019, there were 1,096 sentenced black prisoners per 100,000 black residents, 525 sentenced Hispanic prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic residents and 214 sentenced white prisoners per 100,000 white residents in the U.S. Among sentenced state prisoners at year-end 2018 (the most recent data available), a larger percentage of black (62%) and Hispanic (62%) prisoners than white prisoners (48%) were serving time for a violent offense." For its report, Justice counts those in prison for more than a year. The report did not cite any reasons for the drop. Trump recently led a bipartisan coalition to push through criminal reforms with the First Step Act that have helped to cut prison terms for some.
Note: See the official Bureau of Justice statistics at https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/press/p19_pr.pdf. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Earl Moore remembers the day his father walked out. Moore discovered the power of opioids to take that pain away while attending college at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Moore's addiction lasted more than 15 years - before he finally found the help he needed. It was a nightmare odyssey that led him to steal his grandmother's cancer pain medication and his police officer brother's ATM card to pay for pills. Not until Moore says he found a 12-step program and a mentor who showed him the art of building stringed instruments - did he find the self-love and confidence that turned his life around for good. Moore was trying to get clean yet again in 2012 when he heard a master luthier - an expert stringed-instrument maker - was coming to his hometown of Hindman, a tiny hamlet nestled in the lush mountains of Eastern Kentucky. Moore had been doing carpentry, building cabinets and had a love for guitars. Moore found himself in Naselroad's wood shop nearly every day learning how to craft guitars from Appalachian native hardwoods in a town where the mountain dulcimer was first made in the late 1800s. "Music has always been a part of this community ever since pioneer days," said Naselroad. What started out as a one-year apprenticeship became a six-year journey that brought Moore back to life. Since he began, Moore has made more than 70 instruments. He's sold many of them and kept others. Moore's success inspired the creation of the "Culture of Recovery" arts program at The Appalachian Artisan Center.
A 5th grader in the Eagle Mountain-Saginaw Independent School District has a habit of setting very lofty goals for himself... he also has a habit of exceeding them. So, it isn't surprising that Orion Jean wants to continue his mission to do good for others into the holiday season. Earlier this fall, the Chisholm Ridge Elementary student collected and donated hundreds of toys to hospitalized children in Dallas through his Race to 500 Toys drive. Now, he's started another drive with the goal of donating thousands of meals to people in need by Thanksgiving. In addition to the work Orion is doing on his own, the Race to 100,000 Meals food drive will be be accepting food donations from the public. "I'm asking everyone to join me in a race to kindness," Orion said. "This has been a rough year for everybody, and now it's more important than ever to show support and love to anyone who needs it." Orion began collecting donations earlier this week and has already received nearly 4,000 meals. Over the summer, Orion won the Think Kindness National Speech contest, where he urged others to show compassion through action. As champion, he was given $500 to start his own kindness project where he went on to collect toys for hospitalized children.
The "Temple of Man" [is] a five-story underground warren of vast, ornately decorated chambers, with towering pillars, 40-foot-high gold-leaf ceilings, giant frescoes and bronze statues, all linked by narrow passages and concealed stone doors that spring open and shut by electrical command. Begun more than 20 years ago in total secrecy, [the temple] is the spiritual core of Damanhur, a 23-year-old New Age commune nestled ... in the foothills of the Alps. Members [describe] their commune as a nation, one that aims at total self-sufficiency and boasts its own currency, schools, federal and local government, newspapers, Web site and tax code. It has melded California-style New Age spirituality with the customs and mores of northern Italy. It also claims to have its own unique transportation system: time travel. When its 500 full-time residents are not experimenting with time travel and "Selfic" healing, they are industriously churning out luxury items for export. One Damanhur workshop makes Tiffany-style glass products. Another business ... makes silk and cashmere fabrics on 18th-century wooden looms for ... top Italian fashion houses. "We were never hippies," Damanhur's founder, Oberto Airaudi ... explained. "We believed in hard work, personal responsibility and bank loans." Damanhur ... also shares the Italian aversion to ironclad rules and has only one: no smoking. Everything else is pretty much permitted, including long lunches that include wine, pasta and meat, which may help explain why the community has remained intact for more than two decades.
Note: For more on this magical community, see photos of their mind-boggling underground temples and the deeper story of its founding and development on this webpage. Their website is www.damanhur.org.
As of Sunday, a total [of] 1,231 people in South Korea reported side effects after getting the flu shot this year, according to health authorities. Last week, the Korean Medical Association "recommended to withhold vaccination for one week," but clarified it was not suggesting vaccinations be stopped. Of the 59 people who died after receiving the flu vaccine this year (up from 48 on Saturday), 46 of those deaths were believed to have no connection to the flu shot. An investigation into the 13 remaining fatalities has been launched, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) revealed. More than 9.4 million people in South Korea have received the flu shot so far since this year's vaccination program began in September. The KDCA noted the latest number of deaths following the flu vaccination is not greater than previous years. Last year, 1,531 people aged 65 years and older died within seven days after receiving a flu shot, according to the KDCA. President Moon noted Monday: "This year, it is necessary to expand flu vaccinations not only to prevent the flu, but also to prevent simultaneous infection and spread of the flu and coronavirus."
Note: How much can we trust authorities who are clearly biased towards promoting vaccines? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
When Facebook and Twitter moved quickly this week to limit the spread of an unverified political story published by the conservative-leaning New York Post, it led to predictable cries of censorship from the right. But it also illustrated the slippery hold even the largest tech companies have on the flow of information. While Facebook and Twitter have often been slow to combat apparent misinformation ... their response in this case shows how quickly they can move when they want to. For the first time in recent memory, the two social media platforms enforced rules against misinformation on a story from a mainstream media publication. The story in question, which has not been confirmed by other publications, cited unverified emails from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's son that were reportedly discovered by President Donald Trump's allies. Facebook used the possibility of false information as the reason to limit the article's reach, which means its algorithm shows it to fewer people, much the way you might not see as many posts from friends you don't interact with often. Twitter, meanwhile, blocked users from tweeting out the link to the story and from sending it in private messages. Though they acted quickly, both companies stumbled on communicating their decision to the public. In part because of this, and in part by the mere act of trying to limit the story, the tech platforms soon became the story.
Note: For more on this important story, read Matt Taibbi's article titled "With the Hunter Biden Expose, Suppression is a Bigger Scandal Than The Actual Story." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
The development of the antibody cocktail used to treat President Donald Trump for Covid-19 – which he heralded as a cure for the disease – was funded largely by the U.S. government, yet the Trump administration has apparently failed to set any guarantees that the treatment would be affordable. The biopharmaceutical company Regeneron, led by the two highest paid executives in the industry, received hundreds of millions in public funds during the research and development of the antibody therapy, and now stands to make a killing from its potentially lifesaving treatment. In January ... Regeneron struck an agreement with a division of Department of Health and Human Services known as the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, to receive up to $81 million for work on antibodies that would prevent Covid-19 from infecting cells by attaching to the spikes on its surface. The two antibodies Regeneron chose were developed using cell lines that were derived from the kidney tissue of an aborted fetus. The January contract [lacks] a standard clause that ensures interventions developed with government funding are available to the public "on reasonable terms." While Trump promised that the government would provide the antibody cocktail to Americans for free, drug pricing efforts say that many people probably won't have access to the treatment at all, let alone at an affordable price. "You have massive public investment, but ... it doesn't benefit public health," [said drug pricing expert Zain Rizvi].
Luke Denman, 34, was one of two ex-Green Berets arrested in a foiled plot to oust Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro. He's now locked up in a Venezuelan jail, his fate in the hands of a leader the U.S. government considers a dictator responsible for tens of millions of his people going hungry. Much remains unknown about the ill-fated operation. According to the Venezuelan government, eight "mercenary terrorists" were killed and several captured, including Denman and fellow Army veteran Airan Berry, during an attempt to seize Maduro and topple his government. A third ex-Green Beret, Jordan Goudreau, claimed responsibility for the plot. A decorated former U.S. commando, Goudreau operated a Florida-based private security company called Silvercorp USA. Before he went into hiding, Goudreau had said in multiple interviews the plan was initially coordinated with representatives of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized as the country's interim president by the U.S. and much of the international community. But the relationship soured and Goudreau moved forward with the operation anyway. In interviews with NBC News, a half dozen family members and close friends of Denman and Berry said they believe the former Special Operations soldiers would have only participated in such an operation had the two men been convinced it was supported by the U.S. government.
Note: Important parts of this situation's history are described in a 2012 article titled, "Why the US demonises Venezuela's democracy". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
If you don't want to know how easy it is for a canny individual - or a malicious state actor - to hack into the electronic voting technology used in the U.S., don't watch Kill Chain: The Cyber War on America's Elections. In this unnervingly persuasive HBO documentary, directors Simon Ardizzone, Russell Michaels and Sarah Teale marshal cyber-security experts, statisticians and lawmakers to expose cracks in the system that could easily allow hackers to affect voting results. The filmmakers' sources also include actual hackers, among them an individual who breached Alaska's voting system in 2016 just to see if he could. One of the central figures of Kill Chain is election-security expert Harri Hursti, who explains, with clarity, just how vulnerable American voting systems are. Although voting machines are supposed to be kept in secure facilities, Hursti found a widely used model for sale - on eBay. The vendor had hundreds of them. Hursti bought a few, using them to explain how easily their workings could be examined and breached. He also brought a selection of voting machines to Def Con, a three-day conference for hackers, and invited attendees to go at them; one expert quickly figured out how to shut down a machine remotely from a laptop. The U.S. voting system is, as several interviewees in Kill Chain put it, a bipartisan concern; still, as the documentary notes, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has blocked votes on the Secure Elections Act and four similar bipartisan bills.
Note: Hackers can easily breach electronic voting machines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Ghislaine Maxwell's answers to questions about the sex-trafficking operation she allegedly ran with the late Jeffrey Epstein were made public Thursday as a federal court released Maxwell's 2016 deposition. The transcript is finally being unsealed after a back-and-forth legal battle between Maxwell and Virginia Giuffre, who has accused Maxwell, Epstein and others of sexually abusing her when she was a minor. In it, Maxwell repeatedly denies "recruiting" girls for Epstein or taking part in orgies and other activities. Persistent allegations that Epstein sexually abused young women under the guise of receiving massages prompted an investigation by Palm Beach police in the early 2000s. Giuffre's attorney asked, "Are you aware there were underage girls, 30 of them, in this police report that were assaulted by Jeffrey Epstein in the Palm Beach house during the time you are working there?" In her reply, Maxwell said she couldn't testify about that, accusing one of Epstein's alleged victims of lying and saying that she spent only limited time at Epstein's house in 2004, the year in question. For years, accusations against Maxwell and Epstein were obscured by legal maneuvers – most famously, a controversial nonprosecution agreement Epstein reached in 2007 with federal prosecutors in Florida. That plea deal with then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta led to state charges against Epstein, but it also prevented him and any co-conspirators – including, allegedly, Maxwell – from being prosecuted in federal sex crimes in southern Florida.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein's sex trafficking ring from reliable major media sources.
"Capital in the 21st Century" is based on the bestselling 2013 book by Thomas Piketty, a French economist. The film, directed by Justin Pemberton, undermines that core power of the world's elites – shaping how we think – in a particularly wise, sneaky way. The movie starts by going back to the ... Industrial Revolution. Both the American and French revolutions were in part fights between old feudal elites and a new business elite struggling to be born. And while the old and new elites disagreed on who should be in charge, they both agreed that regular people shouldn't be. By 1914 in Paris, the top 1 percent owned 70 percent of all wealth, and two-thirds of the population died with nothing. In the face of this raw brutality, all kinds of alternatives, from communism to socialism to Georgism, gained adherents across Europe. Capitalists were petrified. What could they do that wouldn't require them to share any wealth or power? "You have this rise in nationalism and competition between European countries," Piketty says. "Nationalism is often used by elites to make people forget class conflict and instead focus on national identity." It was only with the worldwide slaughter of the Second World War that capitalism was willing to make some changes. But as World War II receded into the distance, capitalism mounted a counterattack with the elections of Ronald Reagan in the U.S. and Margaret Thatcher in the U.K.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
A devil-worshipping sailor in the Royal Navy has become the first registered Satanist in the British Armed Forces. Chris Cranmer, 24, a technician serving on the Type 22 frigate Cumberland, has been officially recognized as a Satanist by the ship's captain. That allows him to perform satanic rituals aboard and permits him to have a non-Christian Church of Satan funeral should he be killed in action. A spokesman for Britain's Ministry of Defence told CNN Sunday that it had a duty to allow members of the forces to practice their religion. "The Royal Navy allows this kind of approach because it is clearly in line with current regulations. We are not aware of any other individuals who want to be registered as Satanists." Cranmer ... is now lobbying the Ministry of Defence to make Satanism a registered religion in the Armed Forces. He says he wants Satanists to be able to join the military without "fear of marginalisation and the necessity to put up with Christian dogma." The defense ministry told CNN that Cranmer went to his commanding officer with a request to practice his beliefs on board his ship and, after consultation with the ship's chaplain, this was granted. The decision was at the discretion of the captain, the MoD, said, and was on the basis that it did not impinge on the operational effectiveness, safety or security of the ship, or the well-being of colleagues. "From a military perspective, I believe in vengeance," [said Cranmer]. "If I were asked if I were evil, I would say yes - by virtue of the common definition."
Note: The U.S. army also allows Satanists, as shown in this video of the Geraldo show in which Col. Michael Aquino even dresses in his Satanic garb. Read more about Aquino in this Washington Post article.
For Alaskans, summertime means cruise ships. Lots of cruise ships. The 2020 season was expected to commence with a record-breaking deluge of 1.4 million tourists and glacier gazers that would effectively triple the state's scant population of 730,000. Once the pandemic hit, that number effectively dropped to zero. Although the economy is being decimated by the reduction in tourist vessels, the state's humpback whales are some of the few locals actually enjoying the silence. Dr Michelle Fournet, director of the Sound Science Research Collective and research fellow at Cornell University, has been listening in on whale conversations for 10 years, but never before has she seen a summer like this. "The last time researchers were able to listen to humpbacks in a quiet ocean in Alaska was in 1976," when commercial whale watching began, said Fournet, and their population was much lower as humpback whaling was banned only a decade earlier. Since that time, recording technology has come a long way and whale populations have seen a huge resurgence, with several thousand summering in south-east Alaska alone. Fournet was ecstatic after listening to her first hydrophone recordings of the year two weeks ago. "It's really, really quiet. [On] my very first pass of listening, I randomly picked a file, and I immediately heard a whale instead of a boat." The state may be facing a big economic downturn, but this is at least one fact to take comfort in, she said. "Even though we are not on the ocean right now, the whales are still there," said Fournet.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on marine mammals.
For many of the nearly 2.3 million incarcerated Americans, keeping in touch with people on the outside isn't easy. Though prisons and jails generally do allow inmates to call, email, or video chat with their loved ones, they also often charge exorbitant rates, which leaves physical mail as the best (and sometimes, only) option for people behind bars. Even then, inmates still sometimes don't receive the letters and cards sent by their loved ones because they violate the facility's mail rules, which vary from place to place and can dictate everything from acceptable paper sizes to writing implements. Now, a "robot lawyer" is making it easier for people to send letters to inmates by automating much of the process – just write your message, and it takes care of the rest. The robot lawyer is actually an AI-powered app called DoNotPay, and it's the brainchild of British-American entrepreneur Josh Browder. The robot lawyer ... can now help people dispute evictions, cancel subscriptions, and navigate small-claims court, all for a $3 monthly fee. On October 15, Browder unveiled DoNotPay's new prison mail feature. A user starts by entering the name of the person they want contact in the app's search tool. The robot lawyer then scans the roster of inmates in federal, state, county, or ICE detention centers, all at once. The user then chooses the design they want for the letter and writes their message. DoNotPay then prints the letter, following the facility's specifications, and mails it to the inmate along with the postage they need to send a letter back.
Something as simple as saying hello to a stranger can enhance your happiness and feelings of well-being in these troubled times, two new studies show. In one survey, a sampling of 856 commuters who initiated "positive social interactions" with their bus or shuttle drivers had greater levels of being satisfied with themselves and their lives. In the other, a group of 265 travelers were split into two groups. Half were told to strike up a positive interaction with their driver by saying "have a nice day" or "thank you" upon leaving the bus, in a warm and sincere way. They were also told to make eye contact. The other half of participants was told not to speak to their driver. The commuters were surveyed after they got off their buses. The first group reported more positive feelings and well-being than the travelers who didn't talk to their drivers. Both studies were recently published as a paper titled "Minimal Social Interactions with Strangers Predict Greater Subjective Well-Being," in the Journal of Happiness Studies. "Simply taking a moment to greet, express good wishes, or say thank you to strangers is linked with greater happiness in everyday life," the authors wrote. So if the coronavirus pandemic is on your last nerve, try a simple hello to the person behind the wheel on your next bus ride.
With all the talk of remote learning for secondary schools and colleges, one important population is missing from the nationwide conversation about learning during the pandemic: babies and toddlers. Many parents are keeping their little ones away from playgrounds, playgroups and preschool preparatory programs. As a result, the social and learning opportunities for the youngest children have been curtailed, just like everyone else's Without group settings, "we are missing a lot of observations, so there is going to be a whole raft of problems," said Patricia K. Kuhl ... at the University of Washington. That's partly because group settings like day care, classrooms and even playgrounds are often where adults notice, sometimes by comparing children with their peers, that little ones have sensory, motor, cognitive and learning problems that can benefit from early interventions. To encourage the sense of discovery and the "problem solving, turn-taking and perspective-taking" that comes from situations like "navigating that playground moment of when you are going up a slide, and another kid wants to come down the slide," [psychologist Aliza W. Pressman] advises letting children play in an undirected manner. That may mean allowing children "to use garages, backyards, basements or attics to find opportunities for exploring," Dr. Pressman said. If children encounter obstacles, allow them to work things out. That includes conflicts with siblings, though "if you do need to jump in, help them communicate with each other," she said.
Note: Children around the world have been told to keep at least six feet away from their friends and they have to wear a mask if they leave home. They can no longer play and explore freely with their friends or even see their smiles. How does this affect their mental, emotional, and spiritual health? How do you think those who are only children with no playmates are faring? How will this impact this entire generation of children growing up now? For more along these lines, see revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Previous vaccines have taken a decade or more to develop, and more than half of the past 20 years have failed in clinical trials. However, four [COVID-19] vaccine candidates have entered the final phase of clinical trials prior to approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Operation Warp Speed ... organized government agencies and private companies with the goal of developing, manufacturing and distributing hundreds of millions of vaccine doses, with starting doses to be available by early 2021. At the head of the operation is Moncef Slaoui, a Moroccan-born Belgian-American scientist. Operation Warp Speed â€¦ has invested in six vaccine candidates (Moderna, Pfizer / BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Novavax, and Sanofi / GSK) with the hope that at least one ... will prove safe and effective in clinical trials. Four of the six vaccine candidates have already been shown to be safe and effective in the first two test phases, which test whether the vaccinations produce so-called neutralizing antibodies. Serious health problems regularly arise during vaccination attempts. "We know how to distribute vaccines to any location in the US," says Slaoui. "It happens every year for flu and shingles." Tracking systems need to be "incredibly precise" to ensure that patients are each given two doses of the same vaccine and to monitor them for adverse health effects. Operation Warp Speed â€¦ has selected medical distributor McKesson and cloud operators Google and Oracle to collect and track vaccine data.
Note: The above article is also available here. Don't miss this excellent article which raises many important questions about this operation. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from reliable major media sources.
For many years Michigan was divided evenly along party lines. Then, in 2011, Michigan's Republican party legally rigged the system. Charged with drawing new district lines, the lawmakers did so with unprecedented precision – carving unnatural boundaries to keep their favored voters and locales in hand – to guarantee a majority for their party. It worked perfectly. The process of creating these doctored maps, known as gerrymandering, resulted in widespread victories for the Republicans. But in 2016, a then 26-year-old with no political experience uprooted the system. Katie Fahey ... dedicated two years of her life to launching and leading a grassroots campaign that started with a Facebook post and, against the odds, ended gerrymandering in Michigan. Film-makers found Fahey the perfect anchor for their gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon, named for the oddly shaped district in Massachusetts created by the man who gerrymandering its name, former vice-president Elbridge Gerry. Slay the Dragon will be released this week during a census year – when the US population will be carefully counted in order to determine the size of electoral districts next year. It's clear that Fahey's hard-won movement is a threat to Republicans across the country during that process. But Fahey is hoping the momentum ... can be replicated in the 35 other states that still use congressional redistricting.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Voter suppression has taken centre stage in the race to elect potentially the 46th president of the United States. But we've heard little about the 5.2 million Native Americans whose ancestors have called this land home before there was a US president. The rights of indigenous communities – including the right to vote – have been systematically violated for generations with devastating consequences. Voter turnout for Native Americans and Alaskan Natives is the lowest in the country, and about one in three eligible voters (1.2 million people) are not registered to vote. In a new book, Voting in Indian County: The View from the Trenches, Jean Reith Schroedel ... at Claremont Graduate University weaves together historical and contemporary voting rights conflicts. American Indians and Native Alaskans were the last group in the United States to get citizenship and to get the vote. Some laws used to disenfranchise them were still in place in 1975. Voting by mail is very challenging for Native Americans for multiple reasons. First and foremost, most reservations do not have home mail delivery. Instead, people need to travel to post offices or postal provide sites – little places that offer minimal mail services and are located in places like gas stations and mini-marts. Take the Navajo Nation that encompasses 27,425 square miles – it's larger than West Virginia, yet there are only 40 places where people can send and receive mail. In West Virginia, there are 725. Not a single PO box on the Navajo Nation has 24-hour access.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Purdue Pharma LP agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges over the handling of its addictive prescription opioid OxyContin, in a deal with U.S. prosecutors that effectively sidestepped paying billions of dollars in penalties and stopped short of criminally charging its executives or wealthy Sackler family owners. Prosecutors imposed significant penalties exceeding $8 billion against Purdue, though the lion's share will go largely unpaid. Purdue agreed to pay $225 million toward a $2 billion criminal forfeiture, with the Justice Department foregoing the rest if the company completes a bankruptcy reorganization dissolving itself and shifting assets to a "public benefit company," or similar entity, that steers the $1.775 billion unpaid portion to thousands of U.S. communities suing it over the opioid crisis. A $3.54 billion criminal fine and $2.8 billion civil penalty are likely to receive cents on the dollar as they compete with trillions of dollars of other claims from those communities and other creditors in Purdue's bankruptcy proceedings. Members of the billionaire Sackler family who own Purdue agreed to pay a separate $225 million civil penalty for allegedly causing false claims for OxyContin to be made to government healthcare programs such as Medicare, according to court records. Neither the Sacklers nor any Purdue executives were criminally charged. Purdue reaped more than $30 billion from sales of OxyContin over the years, enriching Sackler family members while funneling illegal kickbacks to doctors and pharmacies.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
On June 30, the U.S. Senate Banking Committee will hold a virtual hearing titled "The Digitization of Money and Payments." The Senate Banking Committee is chaired by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and the ranking member is Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH). The hearing can be viewed ... here. J. Christopher Giancarlo, Senior Counsel at Willkie Farr and Gallagher ... has been busy splicing and dicing the technical details of a futuristic â€Digital Dollar,' one that is informed by distributed ledger technology and â€tokenized' so as to represent the physical cash we have today in digital form. Giancarlo's new think tank, the Digital Dollar Project, zooms in on the criticality of holding â€tokenized' or digital bearer instruments, just like cash, vs. account-based systems. This idea crossed paths in the last hearing with a concept called FedAccounts, where Morgan Ricks ... presented the idea that the Federal Reserve should operate as a retail bank and offer digital dollars. The idea presented by Ricks focuses on the idea of â€Bank Accounts for All,' a bill from ... Senator Sherrod Brown. Although the Digital Dollar surfaced in a draft of the CARES Act originally reported by NPR on March 23, the bill that was introduced in the House and the final CARES Act made no mention of a Digital Dollar. However, the next day, Brown introduced S. 3571, the Banking For All Act, where the idea of a Digital Dollar and FedAccounts (seen in the draft of the CARES Act) were included in his legislation.
Note: Some elites and bankers would like to make all money digital so that they can track every transaction, as is already happening in China. This would also give those in power the ability to cut off those who go against their agenda from access to their funds. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on banking corruption from reliable major media sources.
Harvey Hill wouldn't leave John Finnegan's front yard. He stood in the pouring rain, laughing at the sky, alarming his former boss' wife. Finnegan dialed 911. "He needs a mental evaluation," the landscaper recalls telling the arriving officer. Instead, Hill was charged with trespassing and jailed. At the Madison County Detention Center ... guards tackled the 36-year-old, pepper sprayed him and kicked him repeatedly in the head. After handcuffing him, two guards slammed Hill into a concrete wall, previously unpublished jail surveillance video shows. They led him to a shower, away from the cameras, and beat him again, still handcuffed, a state investigation found. Video showed Hill writhing in pain in the infirmary, where he was assessed by a licensed practical nurse but not given medication. Hill was sent straight to an isolation cell. Within hours, he was dead. And he had a lot of company. Hill's is one of 7,571 inmate deaths Reuters documented in an unprecedented examination of mortality in more than 500 U.S. jails from 2008 to 2019. Death rates have soared in those lockups, rising 35% over the decade ending last year. Casualties like Hill are typical: held on minor charges and dying without ever getting their day in court. At least two-thirds of the dead inmates identified by Reuters, 4,998 people, were never convicted of the charges on which they were being held. Reuters is making the full data it gathered available to the public here.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Evidence of what appears to be aggressive animal abuse, practices leading to heightened disease risk and cows being passed off as organic at a Texan auctioneers has been presented to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) by undercover welfare investigators. The ... investigation centres on Texan auctioneers, Erath County Dairy Sales (ECDS). Undercover video footage filmed at ECDS between January and March 2020 ... was delivered to the USDA by the US-Brazil based NGO, Strategies for Ethical and Environmental Development (Seed). In one video, the undercover investigator, hired as an animal handler, is told that removing a cowĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s ear tags, and replacing them with new Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’back tagsĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ that indicate a cow is organic, can triple or quadruple their meat sale value. The investigator said he witnessed the tag switching process. First, a bladed tool was used to remove the ear tags, which are part of the USDAĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s animal disease traceability framework. These tags were not replaced. Instead, another tag, known as a back tag or sticker, was glued to the cowĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s back. The stickers indicate the cow is organic and from Texas. A lawyer for California-based NGO, Animal Legal Defense Fund, said she was Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’not too surprisedĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ by the tag switching accusations. Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’We have seen this type of thing before,Ă˘â‚ŹĹĄ said Kelsey Eberly. She fears the practice is Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’more commonĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ than people would expect, mainly Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’because the price premium is so much higherĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ for organic and better welfare meat and dairy.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
In a new report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says solar is now the cheapest form of electricity for utility companies to build. ThatÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ˘â€žËs thanks to risk-reducing financial policies around the world, the agency says, and it applies to locations with both the most favorable policies and the easiest access to financing. The report underlines how important these policies are to encouraging development of renewables and other environmentally forward technologies. Carbon Brief (CB) summarizes the annual report with a lot of key details. The World Energy Outlook 2020 Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄą'offers four Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ‚pathwaysÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ˘â€žË to 2040, all of which see a major rise in renewables,Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄąÄ„ CB says. Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄą'The IEAÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ˘â€žËs main scenario has 43 [percent] more solar output by 2040 than it expected in 2018, partly due to detailed new analysis showing that solar power is 20 [to] 50 [percent] cheaper than thought.Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄąÄ„ The calculation depends on financing figures compared with the amount of output for solar projects. That means that at the same time panel technology gets more efficient and prices for basic panels continue to fall, investors are getting better and better financing deals. So the statistic Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄą'20 to 50 percent cheaperÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąÄąÄ„ is based on a calculus of companies building solar projects, not something that has throughput for consumers or even solar homeowners. But itÄ‚ËĂ˘â€šĹąĂ˘â€žËs still a big deal, because the cost to build power plants is a major part of why so much of the world has stuck with coal and gas power.
Houseplant sales were skyrocketing among US millennials even before the pandemic, with a nearly 50% rise in sales between 2017 and 2019, according to the National Gardening Association. Now, many like [travel writer MaSovaida] Morgan see them as a necessary tool in fostering optimal work-from-home conditions. Experts say this desire to fill indoor environments with objects from the outdoors ties in to the growing movement toward 'biophilic design', which is a concept used to increase wellbeing through both direct and indirect exposure to nature. Biophilic design was a major office trend in the years leading up to 2020, when Amazon introduced spherical conservatories to its Seattle headquarters; Microsoft debuted treehouse conference room in nearby Redmond, Washington; and Facebook created a 3.6-acre rooftop garden at its Silicon Valley hub. Thanks to the pandemic, millions of [remote workers] now have the chance to create a work environment with their own wellbeing in mind. An increasing body of evidence shows that incorporating nature can help with things like decreasing stress and increasing productivity, creativity and attention span. Beyond adding greenery ... there are several other simple additions for optimising a home office, including light and colour. Natural light supports the circadian rhythms of the body, which regulate our sleep-wake cycle, as well as hormones. Those working in a ... dark environment can typically mimic natural light by incorporate a variety of lighting levels throughout the workday.
A young Dutch fashion designer just out of school in 2014, [Bas] Timmer was embarking on a promising direction as a cold weather-gear specialist when he stumbled over a homeless man one cold night. He thought about giving the man one of his signature fashion hoodies, butĂ˘â‚Ź"to his lasting shameĂ˘â‚Ź"paused for fear of diminishing his brand. A few months later a friendĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s father, also homeless, died of hypothermia. Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’I felt guilty,Ă˘â‚ŹĹĄ says Timmer. Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’I had the opportunity to help, and I did nothing.Ă˘â‚ŹĹĄ To make up for it, he dedicated his brand to helping others. He designed around the requirements for life on the streets: waterproof, warm, portable and good for sleeping. Part tent and part parka, TimmerĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’sheltersuitĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ featured a detachable sleeping bag that could be zipped off and easily stored during the day. He presented his mashup to a local homeless man, who was enchanted. Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’He said, Ă˘â‚ŹI have two friends, can I share my jacket with them?Ă˘â‚Źâ„˘ And I said Ă˘â‚Źno, this one is yours. Let me see if I can make two more.Ă˘â‚Źâ„˘ And thatĂ˘â‚Źâ„˘s when the whole Sheltersuit idea started.Ă˘â‚ŹĹĄ Six years later, Timmer, 30, is still handing out Sheltersuits. So far he has distributed 12,500 to homeless people in the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, the U.S. and to refugees in Greece. He has inserted Velcro closures at the foot of the sleeping bags so that wearers have more freedom for their feet. The suits are made out of donated and upcycled materials. Manufacturing costs are covered by donations.
On April 30, 1966 ... Anton LaVey signed away his soul forever and became leader of ... the Church of Satan. In the church's first year, LaVey conducted a satanic wedding, a satanic funeral on Treasure Island (in cooperation with the U.S. Navy) and a satanic baptism of his young daughter, Zeena. The church was brazenly and publicly devoted to selfish hedonism. In 1968, LaVey opened up his home to a documentary film crew. Satanic rituals were staged for the cameras, with a nude woman serving as the altar. In 1969, LaVey published "The Satanic Bible": "Hate your enemies with a whole heart, and if a man smite you on one cheek, SMASH him on the other." The canon has gone on to sell nearly a million copies. Michael Aquino began corresponding with Anton LaVey while a psychological operative for the U.S. Army. Aquino returned to the States and was soon made a high-ranking priest. His distinctive appearance – he sported a prominent widow's peak and darkly accented eyebrows – was further enhanced by a small 666 tattooed on his scalp. In 1975, Aquino left with many church members and priests ... to form the Temple of Set, a tightly organized religion that revolved around an Egyptian deity on whom the Hebraic Satan supposedly was based. LaVey's church has been besieged for years by bickering former adherents who insist that he was a fraud and that his institution does not worship the Devil properly. "My estrangement from Anton LaVey caused me intense personal pain," Aquino writes. "For six years I had regarded him as a friend, mentor, and ultimately Devil-father."
Note: An openly avowed Satanist while serving as a Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army, Michael Aquino coauthored the highly controversial document “Mindwar” in 1980, which would define the strategy and importance of Psychological Operations, aka PSYOPS, for the U.S. Department of Defense. Aquino was investigated in connection with military child abuse scandals, but never brought to court. He defended his beliefs dressed in Satanic wear on this Geraldo show.
A COVID-19 envoy appointed by Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has appealed to world leaders to stop resorting to lockdown to control the pandemic. Dr David Nabarro, who has spent his career working for the WHO and the United Nations (UN), seems to have marked a departure from the global health body's early stance on the COVID-19 pandemic, warning about the economic and social consequences of lockdown as a means of controlling the spread of the disease. On Sunday, Dr Nabarro appealed to world leaders to stop "using lockdowns as your primary control method", insisting that such drastic measures can have a dire impact on global poverty rates. The British doctor stated: "We in the World Health Organisation do not advocate lockdowns as the primary means of control of this virus. The only time we believe a lockdown is justified is to buy you time to reorganise, regroup, rebalance your resources, protect your health workers who are exhausted, but by and large, we'd rather not do it." Dr Nabarro went on to say that developing economies had been indirectly affected by lockdown measures, adding: "Look what's happened to smallholder farmers all over the world -- look what's happening to poverty levels. "It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition. Lockdowns just have one consequence that you must never ever belittle, and that is making poor people an awful lot poorer."
Disruption to food production and supplies due to COVID-19 could cause more deaths from starvation than the disease itself, according to an Oxfam report. The report found that 121 million more people could be “pushed to the brink of starvation this year” as a result of disruption to food production and supplies, diminishing aid as well as mass unemployment. The report estimates that COVID-19 related hunger could cause 12,000 deaths per day: the peak global mortality rate for COVID-19 in April was 10,000 deaths per day. “COVID-19 is the last straw for millions of people already struggling with the impacts of conflict, climate change, inequality and a broken food system that has impoverished millions of food producers and workers,” said Oxfam’s Interim Executive Director Chema Vera. Oxfam says Yemen, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Afghanistan, Venezuela, the West African Sahel, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and Haiti are “extreme hunger hotspots” that are likely to be severely affected by the pandemic. Women, who also make up a significant portion of informal workers, are more likely to have been severely affected by lockdown measures. The report notes that there are enough funds globally to address starvation. Eight out of ten of the biggest food and drink companies paid more than $18 billion to shareholders since the beginning of this year, an amount that is “ten times more than the UN says is needed to stop people going hungry,” according to the report.
Almost alone in the Western world, the Swedes refused to impose a coronavirus lockdown last spring, as the country’s leading health officials argued that limited restrictions were sufficient and would better protect against economic collapse. For their part, the Swedes admit to making some mistakes, particularly in nursing homes, where the death toll was staggering. Indeed, comparative analyses show that Sweden’s death rate at the height of the pandemic in the spring far surpassed the rates in neighboring countries and was more protracted. (Others point out that Sweden’s overall death rate is comparable to that of the United States.) Now, though, the question is whether the country’s current low caseload, compared with sharp increases elsewhere, shows that it has found a sustainable balance, something that all Western countries are seeking eight months into the pandemic. With a population of 10.1 million, Sweden averaged just over 200 new cases a day for several weeks. The per capita rate is far lower than nearby Denmark or the Netherlands. Sweden is also doing far better ... than Spain, with 10,000 cases a day, and France, with 12,000. Some experts believe Sweden is now almost fully in control of the virus. “There are indications that the Swedes have gained an element of immunity to the disease, which, together with everything else they are doing to prevent the infection from spreading, is enough to keep the disease down,” Kim Sneppen, professor of biocomplexity at the Niels Bohr Institute ... said.
Note: For the 60 days from Aug. 15 to Oct. 14, Sweden (population 10 million) had a total of 124 coronavirus deaths according to official Johns Hopkins statistics. That's an average of just over two deaths a day with no lockdown or masks required. Compare that to California (population 33 million), which had 5,581 deaths in the same period. That's an average of over 90 deaths a day with lockdown and masks required. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Billionaires have seen their fortunes hit record highs during the pandemic, with top executives from technology and industry earning the most. The world's richest saw their wealth climb 27.5% to $10.2trn (Ł7.9trn) from April to July this year, according to a report from Swiss bank UBS. That was up from the previous peak of $8.9trn at the end of 2017 and largely due to rising global share prices. UBS said billionaires had done "extremely well" in the Covid crisis. It also said the number of billionaires had hit a new high of 2,189, up from 2,158 in 2017. It comes as a World Bank report on Wednesday showed extreme poverty is set to rise this year for the first time in more than two decades due to the pandemic. Among the billionaires, the biggest winners this year have been industrialists, whose wealth rose a staggering 44% in the three months to July. "Industrials benefited disproportionately as markets priced in a significant economic recovery [after lockdowns around the world]," UBS said. Tech billionaires have also had a good pandemic, seeing their wealth soar 41%. UBS said this was "due to the corona-induced demand for their goods and services" and social distancing accelerating "digital businesses [and] compressing several years' evolution into a few months". Healthcare billionaires also benefited as the crisis put drug makers and medical device companies in the spotlight.
Animal agriculture industry groups defending factory farms engage in campaigns of surveillance, reputation destruction, and other forms of retaliation against industry critics and animal rights activists, documents obtained through a FOIA request from the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveal. That the USDA possesses these emails and other documents demonstrates the federal government’s knowledge of, if not participation in, these industry campaigns. These documents detail ongoing monitoring of the social media of news outlets, including The Intercept, which report critically on factory farms. They reveal private surveillance activities aimed at animal rights groups and their members. They include discussions of how to create a climate of intimidation for activists who work against industry abuses, including by photographing the activists and publishing the photos online. And they describe a coordinated ostracization campaign that specifically targets veterinarians who criticize industry practices. One of the industry groups central to these activities is the Animal Agriculture Alliance, which represents factory farms and other animal agriculture companies. The group boasts that one of its prime functions is “Monitoring Activism,” by which they mean: “We identify emerging threats and provide insightful resources on animal rights and other activist groups by attending their events, monitoring traditional and social media and engaging our national network.”
Note: Watch an interview with Dr. Crystal Heath, a veterinarian targeted by Animal Agricultural Alliance for her activism against inhumane factory farming practices. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The US is far behind other industrialized nations on environmental performance and now ranks 24th in the world, according to a new analysis by Yale and Columbia universities. Denmark came in first place, followed by Luxembourg and Switzerland. The United Kingdom ranked fourth. The findings come as the Trump administration has continued to weaken environmental protections in a quest to relax rules on industry and expand fossil fuel development which threatens to put the country even further behind its peers. The index ranks 180 countries on 32 performance indicators across 11 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. The US is near the back of the pack for developed nations. China, which is plagued by poor air quality, has made investments that have helped it climb to 120th place, ahead of India’s 168th-place ranking. The US ranked 15th on climate. It is currently the second-biggest contributor to the climate crisis, after China. Over time, it has put more heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere than any other nation. But Trump has consistently questioned climate science and the severity of the problem. He has vowed to leave an international agreement to curb emissions, which the US joined under President Barack Obama. Other countries have also seen major changes in governance but are nonetheless doing well on climate. In particular, the US scored poorly on protecting water resources and managing its waste.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on climate change from reliable major media sources.
The New York Times Guild, the union of employees of the paper of record, tweeted a condemnation on Sunday of one of their own colleagues, op-ed columnist Bret Stephens. What angered the union today was an op-ed by Stephens on Friday which voiced numerous criticisms of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “1619 Project,” published last year by the New York Times Magazine. One of the Project’s principal arguments was expressed by a now-silently-deleted sentence that introduced it: “that the country’s true birth date” is not 1776, as has long been widely believed, but rather late 1619, when, the article claims, the first African slaves arrived on U.S. soil.” The 1619 Project has become a major controversy. In his Friday column, Stephens addressed the controversy by first noting the Project’s positive contributions and accomplishments, then reviewed in detail the critiques of historians and other scholars of its central claims, and then sided with its critics by arguing that “for all of its virtues, ... the 1619 Project has failed.” But his colleagues in the New York Times Guild evidently do not believe that he had any right to express his views on these debates. In a barely-literate tweet that not once but twice misspelled the word “its” as “it’s” — not a trivial level of ignorance for writers with the world’s most influential newspaper — the union denounced Stephens and the paper itself on these grounds: "It says a lot about an organization when it breaks it's own rules and goes after one of it's own. The act, like the article, reeks."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption from reliable sources.
The Survival Condo in Kansas—the most lavish and sophisticated private bunker in the world—was once a Cold War U.S. government missile silo. Built in the early 1960s at a cost of approximately $15 million to the U.S. taxpayer, it was one of 72 "hardened" missile silo structures built to protect a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) 100 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Larry Hall wasn't the first to reuse one of these Cold War relics. But his is arguably the most gobsmacking. Hall bought the 197-foot-deep silo for $300,000 in 2008, and transformed it into a 15-story luxury bolt-hole, where a community of up to 75 individuals can weather a maximum of five years during a doomsday event. When the event passes, residents expect to be able to re-emerge into the post-apocalyptic world to rebuild. It's not that difficult to imagine living underground in an environment that can sustain life, technically. What's rather more of a challenge is to create a psychologically and socially tolerable environment. Hall, however, thought he had worked out a solution. The key to well-being underground, he told me, could be about creating an illusion of "normal," aboveground, pre-event life. "So," Larry said, "we will have people baking bread and making coffee, people can advertise their yoga class on the café blackboard and we're going to stack this deli case full of three different species of tilapia that are grown in the aquaponics facility next door."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
The New Leaf project is a joint study started in 2018 by Foundations for Social Change, a Vancouver-based charitable organization, and the University of British Columbia. After giving homeless Lower Mainland residents cash payments of $7,500, researchers checked on them over a year to see how they were faring. All 115 participants, ranging in age between 19 and 64, had been homeless for at least six months. Of those, 50 people were chosen at random to be given the cash, while the others formed a control group that did not receive any money. "I had no expectations and really high hopes," said Claire Williams, CEO of Foundations for Social Change. What researchers found after 12 months, she said, was "beautifully surprising." Not only did those who received the money spend fewer days homeless than those in the control group, they had also moved into stable housing after an average of three months. On average, cash recipients spent 52 per cent of their money on food and rent, 15 per cent on other items such as medications and bills, and 16 per cent on clothes and transportation. In comparison, spending on alcohol, cigarettes and drugs went down, on average, by 39 per cent. [Williams] said it costs, on average, $55,000 annually for social and health services for one homeless individual. According to study data, the project saved the shelter system approximately $8,100 per person for a total of roughly $405,000 over one year for all 50.
A song from South Africa that has gone around the world and been endorsed by presidents and priests has become the sound of the pandemic for millions across southern Africa. Last week the Jerusalema dance challenge was endorsed by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The simple dance routine to the 2019 hit Jerusalema by Master KG and Nomcebo Zikode has provided an uplifting soundtrack for difficult times. In February, as lockdowns began to seem like a possibility, it was a group of friends in Angola who shot a video dancing to the song that sparked the global trend. In the video, over lunch, a group of young men holding plates of food start to demonstrate the dance routine to their female counterparts who then join in. It was followed by another video from Portugal, setting the tone for how international the #JerusalemaDanceChallenge would prove to be. “It is a dance that was done by people from Angola, then Portugal followed and it just went viral from that point,” Master KG said. Clips of dancers across the globe now include nuns, construction workers, police officers, waiters and fuel attendants. Emotional videos of healthcare workers in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Italy, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the US, Australia and Puerto Rico have become an uplifting source of hope for patients fighting Covid-19. Not to be outdone are newly married couples who have used the dance to celebrate their love while the sight of Catholic priests dancing to Jerusalema raised eyebrows among spectators.
Finland has deployed coronavirus-sniffing dogs at the Nordic country’s main international airport in a four-month trial of an alternative testing method that could become a cost-friendly and quick way to identify infected travelers. Four dogs of different breeds trained by Finland’s Smell Detection Association started working Wednesday at the Helsinki Airport as part of the government-financed trial. “It’s a very promising method,” Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, a University of Helsinki ... said. “If it works, it will be a good (coronavirus) screening method at any other places,” she said, listing hospitals, ports, elderly people’s homes, sports venues and cultural events among the possible locations where trained dogs could put their snouts to work. Finland is the second country after the United Arab Emirates - and the first in Europe - to assign dogs to sniff out the coronavirus. Passengers who agree to take a free test under the voluntary program in Helsinki do not have direct physical contact with a dog. They are asked to swipe their skin with a wipe which is then put into a jar and given to a dog waiting in a separate booth. The participating animals - ET, Kossi, Miina and Valo - previously underwent training to detect cancer, diabetes or other diseases. It takes the dog a mere 10 seconds to sniff the virus samples before it gives the test result by scratching a paw, laying down, barking or otherwise making its conclusion known. The process should be completed within one minute, according to Hielm-Bjorkman.
The Trump administration has compared Operation Warp Speed's crash program to develop a COVID-19 vaccine to the Manhattan Project. And like the notoriously secretive government project to make the first atomic bomb, the details of Operation Warp Speed's work may take a long time to unravel. One reason is that Operation Warp Speed is issuing billions of dollars' worth of coronavirus vaccine contracts to companies through a nongovernment intermediary, bypassing the regulatory oversight and transparency of traditional federal contracting mechanisms, NPR has learned. Instead of entering into contracts directly with vaccine makers, more than $6 billion in Operation Warp Speed funding has been routed through a defense contract management firm called Advanced Technologies International, Inc. ATI then awarded contracts to companies working on COVID-19 vaccines. As a result, the contracts between the pharmaceutical companies and ATI may not be available through public records requests, and additional documents are exempt from public disclosure for five years. [Robin] Feldman, of UC Hastings, says the administration's comparison of Operation Warp Speed to the Manhattan Project is troubling. "I think that's completely the wrong image," she says. "The right analogy, I think, for Operation Warp Speed is the penicillin effort in World War II. We can do a lot of good together, but we have to make sure pharma companies aren't taking advantage of the crisis."
Note: Read an excellent article showing how most of these contracts are linked to the CIA and DHS and more. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
At least 50 journalists in the US have been arrested during Black Lives Matter demonstrations across the US, while dozens of others have also been injured by rubber bullets, pepper spray and tear gas. The US Press Freedom Tracker has collected nearly 500 incidents from 382 reports, from the unrest in Minneapolis in the wake of George Floyd‘s killing by police in late May, to demonstrations in more than 70 cities across 35 states since. At least 46 journalists were arrested between the end of May and the beginning of June. Dozens of others reported injuries from law enforcement, firing “less lethal” projectiles, tear gas canisters and other weapons into crowds or directly at reporters during demonstrations, even when they had identified themselves and shown credentials. Two reporters have suffered permanent eye injuries. The latest reports mark a significant spike since the end of May, when nationwide protests started, at which point the organisation had recorded only five arrests and 26 attacks for the entire year. But by the end of the month, the number of attacks had increased nearly five times. “The conversations and reckoning that lie ahead of us as a country are taking shape right now,” Press Freedom Tracker managing editor Kristin McCudden said. “What’s happened in 70 cities in more than 30 states across the nation in one month is unlike anything we’ve seen in modern history and surpasses the Tracker’s entire ... history of documentation.”
Note: Read more about the violent attacks on members of the media by police this year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
The United States is poised to continue spending more money on the Pentagon than the next 10 countries combined, with some 1 million troops deployed in about 175 countries. In other words, there's no end in sight for our forever wars. Monday marks the 19th anniversary of the vote to pass the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force, or AUMF, a blank check to deploy U.S. military personnel anywhere in the world in the name of going after terrorists. Our country's response to that attack has had unintended and tragic consequences: war profiteering by military contractors, traumatic impact to our soldiers, and massive numbers of refugees and civilian casualties around the world. Under the auspices of two laws that are now nearly 20 years old, the 2001 and 2002 AUMFs, the United States is militarily engaged in 80 countries, outside of the public eye and with little congressional oversight. The past four years have seen the Trump administration cite these laws as the legal justification to assassinate a foreign government official and take us to the brink of war with Iran, expand the U.S. military footprint in the African continent and indefinitely occupy eastern Syria. Yet the past four years have also seen a growing recognition in Congress that ... we must repeal these laws and reclaim the legislative branch's sole constitutional authority to declare war. For far too long, Congress has relied on the executive branch to tell us what does and does not constitute war.
Note: The above was written by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents California's 13th Congressional District. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has informed the House and Senate Select Committees on Intelligence that it'll no longer be briefing in-person on election security issues, according to letters obtained by CNN. Instead, ODNI will primarily provide written updates to the congressional panels, a senior administration official said. The abrupt announcement is a change that runs counter to the pledge of transparency and regular briefings on election threats by the intelligence community. It also comes after the top intelligence official on election security issued a statement earlier this month saying China, Russia and Iran are seeking to interfere in the 2020 US election. US officials charged with protecting the 2020 election also said last week that they have "no information or intelligence" foreign countries, including Russia, are attempting to undermine any part of the mail-in voting process, contradicting President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly pushed false claims that foreign adversaries are targeting mail ballots as part of a "rigged" presidential race. Senate Intelligence Vice Chairman Mark Warner called the decision to stop in-person briefings an "unprecedented attempt to politicize an issue - protecting our democracy from foreign intervention - that should be non-partisan. Congress and the American public need to know more information about the election interference threat — not less," the Virginia Democrat said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, ordered counties to stop accepting hand-delivered absentee ballots at more than one location, issuing a proclamation that could make it harder for residents to vote early. The proclamation, which goes into effect Friday, modifies part of Abbott's July 27 order that added six days of early absentee voting in the state in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Fellow Republicans in Texas are challenging the additional early voting days in court. Abbott said he issued the new order to ensure the security of the ballots, which President Donald Trump has questioned as Americans have embraced early and absentee voting in response to the pandemic. Texas has 254 counties, the largest of which is rural Brewster, which covers 6,193 square miles. Harris County, which includes much of the sprawling city of Houston, has a population of more than 4.7 million people. The county is home to 25 percent of the state's Black residents and 18 percent of its Hispanic population. Before Abbott's proclamation, the county had created 11 ballot drop-off locations. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner ... criticized the decision. "Growing up, I was bused over 20 miles as a student in the first integrated class at Klein High School," he said. "Because of the Governor's decision today, I would now have to go even farther to drop off an absentee ballot and make sure my vote is counted."
Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) got out her marker and scrawled a figure on the whiteboard beside her: $13 million. “Do you know what this number is?” she asked Mark Alles, the former CEO of the pharmaceutical company Celgene, as he testified remotely before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. “Does it ring any bells?” Alles could hardly get his answer out before Porter scribbled more math on the board. That multimillion figure — his total compensation in 2017 — was already 200 times the average income in the United States, the congresswoman pointed out. It got even larger, she said, after Celgene needlessly tripled the cost of a cancer medication, thus securing himself hefty bonuses in return. As of early Thursday, the rapid-fire interrogation had been viewed more than 15 million times on Twitter — the latest in a long list of her viral cross-examinations. These stunning exchanges at congressional hearings have themselves gained plenty of attention beyond Capitol Hill — especially when Porter pulls out what one person on Twitter dubbed “her mighty whiteboard of truth.” It is this kind of clear, insistent inquiry that has made Porter — a consumer protection lawyer ... who studied bankruptcy law under Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) — so effective at grilling everyone from Mark Zuckerberg to little-known Trump appointees, all with a dry-erase marker and some simple math. “No one has ever wielded a weapon as terrifying as Katie Porter’s whiteboard,” wrote Molly Wood, a public radio journalist.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Facebook has suspended the accounts of several environmental organizations less than a week after launching an initiative it said would counter a tide of misinformation over climate science on the platform. Groups such as Greenpeace USA, Climate Hawks Vote and Rainforest Action Network were among those blocked from posting or sending messages on Facebook over the weekend. Activists say hundreds of other individual accounts linked to indigenous, climate and social justice groups were also suspended. The suspended people and groups were all involved in a Facebook event from May last year that targeted KKR & Co, a US investment firm that is backing the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a 670km-long gas development being built in northern British Columbia, Canada. The suspensions, the day before another online action aimed at KKR & Co, has enraged activists who oppose the pipeline for its climate impact and for cutting through the land of the Wetʼsuwetʼen, a First Nations people. “Videos of extreme violence, alt-right views and calls for violence by militias in Kenosha, Wisconsin, are allowed to persist on Facebook,” said Delee Nikal, a Wet’suwet’en community member. “Yet we are banned.” Many of the accounts have now been restored, but a handful are still blocked. The suspensions came just a few days after the social media giant said it was launching a “climate science information center” to counter ... posts that reject the established science of the climate crisis.
A soldier wears a skullcap that stimulates his brain to make him learn skills faster, or reads his thoughts as a way to control a drone. Another is plugged into a Tron-like “active cyber defense system,” in which she mentally teams up with computer systems “to successfully multitask during complex military missions.” The Pentagon is already researching these seemingly sci-fi concepts. The basics of brain-machine interfaces are being developed—just watch the videos of patients moving prosthetic limbs with their minds. The Defense Department is examining newly scientific tools, like genetic engineering, brain chemistry, and shrinking robotics, for even more dramatic enhancements. But the real trick may not be granting superpowers, but rather making sure those effects are temporary. Last year, three Canadian defense researchers published a paper that explored the intersection of human enhancement and ethics. They found that the permanence of the enhancement could have impacts on troops in the field ... as well as a return to civilian life. They also note that “many soldier resilience human enhancement technologies raised health and safety questions.” The Canadian researchers wrote: “Are there unknown side effects or long term effects that could lead to unanticipated health problems during deployment or after discharge? Moreover, is it ethical to force a soldier to use the technology in question, or should he/she be allowed to consent to its use? Can consent be fully free from coercion in the military?”
Note: Read an excellent article detailing the risks of biosensors implanted under the skin which have already been developed. Some smaller than a grain of rice can be injected with a needle. Watch a slick video promoting this brave new world. Learn how this is already planned for use on soldiers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Air pollution in London has plunged since Sadiq Khan became mayor, with a 94% reduction in the number of people living in areas with illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide. The number of schools in such areas has fallen by 97%, from 455 in 2016 to 14 in 2019. Experts described the reductions as dramatic and said they showed the air pollution crisis was not intractable. More than 9,000 people in the capital were dying early each year due to dirty air in 2015. The report from the mayor of London, reviewed by scientists, shows that more than 2 million people in the capital lived with polluted air in 2016, but this fell to 119,000 in 2019. The report, which does not include the further falls in pollution seen after the Covid-19 lockdown began in March, shows levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by roads in central London fell by 44% between early 2017 and early 2020. The pollution cuts have been achieved by charges that have deterred dirty vehicles from entering the city centre and have driven up the use of cleaner vehicles. Putting low-emission buses on the dirtiest routes, ending the licensing of new diesel taxis and extending the amount of protected space for cycling have also contributed. Prof Stephen Holgate, a special adviser on air quality to the Royal College of Physicians, said: “Air pollution is a scourge on society. What the mayor of London has shown in his first term is that major reductions in toxic pollutants can be achieved and that businesses and the public are willing to make the necessary changes to deliver this.”
Prescription drug prices in the U.S. are expensive. One vial of insulin can cost as much as $450, while the same amount goes for about $30 in Canada. Now, California could make its own generic insulin - and other prescription drugs - through a new law passed this week that aims to increase access to affordable medications. California governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation this week that allows the California Health and Human Services Agency to partner with drug manufacturers in order to make or distribute generic prescription drugs. The bill builds on a plan Newsom first announced in January to increase generic drug manufacturing, which would lower prescription drug costs through a state-sponsored prescription drug label called Cal Rx. Cal Rx wouldn’t be developing new drugs ... just attempting to make cheaper versions of generic drugs, or drugs that aren’t currently covered by a patent. The bill does not specify what prescription drugs the state’s health agency would create or distribute through such partnerships - officials are in the process of identifying potential medications - but it does require a partnership for “at least one form of insulin, provided that a viable pathway for manufacturing a more affordable form of insulin exists at a price that results in savings.” Current U.S. laws allow pharmaceutical manufacturers to set their own prices, which isn’t common practice in other countries. In England ... a government agency negotiates directly with pharmaceutical companies.
In a cavernous room filled with garbage, a giant mechanical claw reaches down and grabs five tons of trash. As a technician in a control room maneuvers the spiderlike crane, the claw drops its moldering harvest down a 10-story shaft into a boiler that is hotter than 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. The process continues 24 hours a day to help fuel this power plant run by Tekniska Verken, a municipal government company in Linköping, a city 125 miles south of Stockholm. It is one of Sweden’s 34 “waste-to-energy” power plants. Instead of burning coal or gas, this power plant burns trash. Sweden is known for strikingly reducing the trash sent to its landfills. Less than 1 percent of household waste in this Scandinavian country finds it way to landfills, according to Avfall Sverige, the Swedish Waste Management and Recycling association. Trash accounts for a small portion of Sweden’s overall power supply; hydro and nuclear energy generate about 83 percent of Sweden’s electricity, and wind generates another 7 percent. But garbage supplies much of the heat during cold months for the country’s nearly 10 million residents. Energy from trash equals the heating demand of 1.25 million apartments and electricity for 680,000 homes, according to Avfall Sverige. Along with heat and electricity, Tekniska Verken produces methane biogas from 100,000 tons of food and organic waste each year. This biogas runs more than 200 city buses in the county, as well as fleets of garbage collection trucks, and some taxis and private cars.
Protesters mobilizing across the country against racism and excessive force by police have been countered by law enforcement officers more heavily armed than ever. Three federal programs have allowed local and state law enforcement to arm itself with military equipment. Since 1997, the Defense Department has transferred excess or unused equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies. Departments have acquired more than $7 billion worth of guns, helicopters, armored vehicles and ammunition under the program. The transfers were limited under the Obama administration but re-expanded under President Donald Trump in 2017. Now Congress is considering reining it in again. But that effort, if successful, is unlikely to touch an even bigger source of advanced weapons accessible to civilian police. Two Department of Homeland Security initiatives established in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks have given state and local law enforcement agencies billions more to buy equipment without the rules and restrictions of the Defense Department program. Because of the Defense Department program, authorized by Section 1033 of the National Defense Authorization Act, more than 6,500 law enforcement agencies across the country currently possess more than $1.8 billion worth of equipment. Since 2003, states and metro areas have received $24.3 billion from two DHS grant programs, which have little oversight: The State Homeland Security Program (SHSP) and the Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI).
Note: Read also this wired.com article revealing how the 1033 program has shipped over $7.4 billion of Defense Department property to more than 8,000 law enforcement agencies and this NPR article detailing the military weaponry gifted to police around the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
In his 1961 farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower cautioned the United States against "unwarranted influence" — what he saw as an alarming alignment of corporate interests with military operations, a relationship he famously called: "the military-industrial complex." Col. Lawrence Wilkerson ... spent over 30 years in the U.S. Army [and] was chief of staff for former Secretary of State, General Colin Powell. He believes that Eisenhower was right, and is a fierce critic of the military-industrial complex. Or what he calls "the warfare state," an obvious play on "welfare state." He believes military spending ... is ruining America. "Today we have become what Eisenhower's worst nightmare predicted in his farewell address," says Wilkerson. Col. Wilkerson has seen firsthand how military expenditures create a devastating feedback loop with politics. "The country marches on to yet another war, another trillion dollar fiasco, another bloodbath for young men and women who are signed up because they were bribed to do so," says Col. Wilkerson. He says "bribed" unapologetically, as the U.S. military relies disproportionately on personnel from have-not states to fill its ranks. The expenditures, however, don't benefit the troops. "The divorce rate: off the charts in the services now. Suicide rate: off the charts in the services now. More post-traumatic stress then you'd ever imagine," Col. Wilkerson explains. "We are almost $22 trillion in debt right now. We've not been this far in debt since the last year of World War Two."
Note: Read a two-page summary of General Smedley Butler's important book, titled "War is a Racket". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The world’s wealthiest individuals have become even richer during the coronavirus pandemic as the prices of financial assets have been supported by widespread policy intervention while employment and wages, well, not so much. The Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal think tank in Washington, chronicles just how bifurcated the road the recovery from an economy slump is likely to be. At the upper end of the spectrum, the combined wealth of all U.S. billionaires increased by $821 billion or 28% between March 18, 2020 and September 10, 2020, from approximately $2.947 trillion to $3.768 trillion. That means they own the equivalent of nearly 20% of U.S. gross domestic product. The richest five billionaires, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Elon Musk, saw a 59% increase in their total wealth, from $358 billion to $569 billion. One University of Chicago study found that, between the start of February and the end of June, the lowest-income group had the highest job loss rate while the highest-income workers had the [lowest] rate of lob losses. Black and Hispanic workers were also much more likely to become unemployed during the pandemic than Whites despite their predominant role in work deemed ... essential. As the pandemic forced many industries into remote work, millions of Black and Hispanic workers have been left out. “Only 19.7% of Black and 16.2% of Latinx people work in jobs where they are able to telework, compared to 29.9% of White and 37.0% of Asian workers,” the report said.
Millions of Americans have lost jobs during a pandemic that kept restaurants, shops and public institutions closed for months and hit the travel industry hard. While lower-wage workers have borne much of the brunt, the crisis is wreaking a particular kind of havoc on the debt-laden middle class. Before the pandemic, Americans had amassed $4.2 trillion in consumer debt, excluding mortgages, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a record even when adjusting for inflation. Housing debt added an additional $10 trillion to the tally. The coronavirus has spared few industries and expanded unemployment benefits designed to replace the average American income didn’t cover all the lost pay of higher-earning workers, especially in or near expensive cities. The extra $600 weekly payments expired in July, putting them even further behind. Unemployment has fallen from its pandemic peak of near 15%, but the rate stood at 8.4% in August, up from 3.5% in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment for the arts, design, media, sports and entertainment was 12.7% in August, more than triple its year-earlier level. In education, it more than doubled to 10.2%. Sales and office unemployment was 7.8% in August, up from 3.8% in August 2019. It could get worse. Many people who have jobs are struggling with pay cuts. As of August, 17 million workers were getting paid less due to the pandemic. Some 9.5 million took pay cuts; the remaining 7.5 million are working fewer hours.
Note: You can find the full article available for free viewing on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Income inequality has given the rich a greater share of the economic spoils than middle- and low-income earners. That's resulted in a very real impact on the incomes of middle- and low-income households, with the typical full-time American worker now earning $42,000 less than they would have if inequality hadn't surged over the last four decades. That's according to a new analysis from researchers at Rand, the global policy think tank. Its researchers wanted to look at the dollars-and-cents impact on U.S. households from yawning income inequality. Prior to the mid-1970s, Americans' incomes, no matter their level, generally rose in step with overall economic growth. That changed in the late 1970s, with the rich capturing the lion's share of economic growth, while middle-class and lower-income workers eked out gains far below par. In 2018, the typical full-time worker earned about $50,000 — but if that same worker had kept up with the economy's expansion, they would have earned $92,000 annually, the Rand analysis found. Only the top 5% of Americans have enjoyed earnings that approached or exceeded the nation's economic growth. Meanwhile, the top 1% has come out far ahead, gaining a far greater share of economic growth than they did prior to the 1970s. The typical person in the top 1% earned $1.4 million in 2018, but would have earned $630,000 – less than half that amount – were it not for benefitting from widening inequality, the analysis found.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Like the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic is a crisis of such magnitude that it threatens to change the world in which we live, with ramifications for how leaders govern. Governments are locking down cities with the help of the army, mapping population flows via smartphones and jailing or sequestering quarantine breakers using banks of CCTV and facial recognition cameras backed by artificial intelligence. The restrictions are unprecedented in peacetime and made possible only by rapid advances in technology. And while citizens across the globe may be willing to sacrifice civil liberties temporarily, history shows that emergency powers can be hard to relinquish. “A primary concern is that if the public gives governments new surveillance powers to contain Covid-19, then governments will keep these powers after the public health crisis ends,” said Adam Schwartz ... at the non-profit Electronic Frontier Foundation. “Nearly two decades after the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. government still uses many of the surveillance technologies it developed in the immediate wake.” In part, the Chinese Communist Party’s containment measures at the virus epicenter in Wuhan set the tone, with what initially seemed shocking steps to isolate the infected being subsequently adopted in countries with no comparable history of China’s state controls. For Gu Su ... at Nanjing University, China’s political culture “made its people more amenable to the draconian measures.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was created to stop deadly pathogens. But 2020 has been a disaster for the CDC. The agency's response to the worst public health crisis in a century - the coronavirus pandemic - has been marked by technical blunders and botched messaging. The agency has endured false accusations and interference by Trump administration political appointees. Worst of all, the CDC has experienced a loss of institutional credibility at a time when the nation desperately needs to know whom to trust. The stumbles started early in the pandemic, with the botched rollout of test kits suspected of being contaminated at a CDC lab in late January. But the agency's most chronic problem has been the inability to speak directly and persuasively to the American public. That's because it has been muzzled ... by political operatives. White House officials have pressured the CDC to change guidance over the last several months to align the guidelines more closely with the administration's message that the pandemic is under control, federal health officials have said. Those actions include revised CDC guidance on mask-wearing and the reopening of religious institutions and schools. "Every big public health response has two components: the public health emergency and the political emergency," said a CDC epidemiologist who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation. "I never would have expected the level of political interference we're seeing now. It's so sad."
Netflix’s brilliant new 90-minute docu-drama, The Social Dilemma ... might be the most important watch of recent years. The film, which debuted at Sundance Film Festival in January, takes a premise that’s unlikely to set the world alight ... ie that Facebook, Twitter, Instagram et al aren’t exactly creating a utopia. Its masterstroke is in recruiting the very Silicon Valley insiders that built these platforms to explain their terrifying pitfalls – which they’ve realised belatedly. You don’t get a much clearer statement of social media’s dangers than an ex-Facebook executive’s claim that: “In the shortest time horizon I’m most worried about civil war.” The commonly held belief that social media companies sell users’ data is quickly cast aside – the data is actually used to create a sophisticated psychological profile of you. What they’re selling is their ability to manipulate you, or as one interviewee puts it: “It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in your own behaviour and perception. It’s the only thing for them to make money from: changing what you do, how you think, who you are.” Despite it being public knowledge that Vote Leave and Trump’s 2016 election campaign harvested voters’ Facebook data on a gigantic scale, The Social Dilemma still manages to find fresh and vital tales of how these platforms destabilise modern politics. Russia’s Facebook hack to influence the 2016 US election? “The Russians didn’t hack Facebook. They used the tools that Facebook made for legitimate advertisers,” laments one of the company’s ex-investors.
California plans to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered cars statewide by 2035, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday, in a sweeping move aimed at accelerating the state’s efforts to combat global warming amid a deadly and record-breaking wildfire season. In an executive order, Governor Newsom directed California’s regulators to develop a plan that would require automakers to sell steadily more zero-emissions passenger vehicles in the state, such as battery-powered or hydrogen-powered cars and pickup trucks, until they make up 100 percent of new auto sales in just 15 years. The plan would also set a goal for all heavy-duty trucks on the road in California to be zero emissions by 2045 where possible. And the order directs the state’s transportation agencies to look for near-term actions to reduce Californian’s reliance on driving by, for example, expanding access to mass transit and biking. “This is the next big global industry,” Governor Newsom said at a news conference on Wednesday, referring to clean-energy technologies such as electric vehicles. “And California wants to dominate it.” California has long cast itself as a global leader on climate-change policy, having already passed a law to get 100 percent of its electricity from wind, solar and other sources that don’t produce carbon dioxide by 2045.
When the Main Street Phoenix Project buys a distressed restaurant, it will turn the workers into owners, making the industry more equitable. “The hypothesis was that we needed to accelerate, streamline, and simplify the process of converting to employee ownership,” says Jason Wiener, a partner in the new venture. “This was about taking a traditional, tried-and-true business strategy - the private equity firm - and using the tools of concentration and capital efficiency and deploying it not for the benefit of investors, rather, for the benefit of workers.” As an attorney, Wiener has spent years helping small businesses convert to employee ownership, a process that can raise both profits and worker compensation. But the work was slow, and he realized that the response to the pandemic needed to happen much faster. He was particularly concerned about workers at restaurants, who are often women, people of color, or undocumented, with little savings to survive on if they lose their job. “By bringing new capital to the table, from mission-aligned, patient investors, we could buy businesses at significant value, we can hire their workers back, put them into ownership position, and lock in all of that improved cash flow and all that gain in value for the benefit of workers,” he says. After developing the financial model, the partners are now beginning to raise capital and expect to acquire the first restaurant by the end of the year, with plans to acquire around 25 over the next two years.
New data from Strava, the fitness tracking app used by 68 million global users, shows that several U.S. cities saw significant year-over-year growth in both bike trips and cyclists in much of 2020. Among the six U.S. cities for which Strava provided data, Houston and Los Angeles, two sprawling metropolises where just .5% and 1% of the respective populations biked to work in pre-pandemic times, stand out. In Houston, the total volume of cycling trips ... was 138% higher in May 2020 than in May 2019. In Los Angeles, the jump was 93%. Unlike their peers, these two places also saw cycling increases in April, the first full month of widespread stay-at-home order and economic shutdowns. Yet other major cities saw more people pedaling this spring and summer. After a drop in trips in April, New York City saw a steady rise in cycling in the ensuing months, with nearly 80% year-over-year growth in trips for July. Chicago saw significant, though more modest, increases, with a 34% bump that same month. Research by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control comparing Strava users who track their bike and walking commutes on the app to U.S. Census Bureau commute data has found that Strava is a reliable indicator of how the broader population moves. On Wednesday, the company announced that a web platform that aggregates, de-identifies and analyzes Strava trips on foot or bike is now free for use by urban planners, city governments and street safety advocates who apply.
Global banks faced a fresh scandal about dirty money on Monday as they sought to limit the fallout from a cache of leaked documents showing they transferred more than $2 trillion in suspect funds over nearly two decades. Britain-based HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and Barclays Plc, Germany's Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, and U.S.-headquartered JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of New York Mellon Corp were among the lenders named in the report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and based on leaked documents. The report was based on 2,100 leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs), covering transactions between 1999 and 2017, filed by banks and other financial firms with the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Banks are required to file an SAR whenever handling funds that cause grounds for suspicion of criminal activity. The reports revealed broader problems with the monitoring system at the heart of global policing of money laundering and other criminal activity. Investors worried about the potential fallout for global banks, many of which have faced hefty fines in the past for lapses in controls and spent billions of dollars to bolster compliance. "It confirms what we already knew: that there are huge amounts of SARs being filed with relatively low numbers of cases brought through to prosecution,” said Etelka Bogardi, a Hong Kong-based financial services partner at Norton Rose Fulbright. "It also brings out the point that managing financial crime risk goes beyond making SARs," Bogardi said.
Note: The original ICIJ report is titled “Global banks defy U.S. crackdowns by serving oligarchs, criminals and terrorists.” Compare with the title of the New York Times article on this, “Banks Suspected Illegal Activity, but Processed Big Transactions Anyway.” A search on this topic shows that headlines of almost all major media have watered this down, likely to not upset the big banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
A new study digs into the reasons people are wrongly convicted, and it has found that 54 percent of those defendants are victimized by official misconduct, with police involved in 34 percent of cases, prosecutors in 30 percent, and some cases involving both police and prosecutors. The study by the National Registry of Exonerations reviewed 2,400 exonerations it has logged between 1989 and 2019, nearly 80 percent of which were for violent felonies. Of the 2,400, 93 innocent defendants were sentenced to death and later cleared before they were executed. The study also found that police and prosecutors are rarely disciplined for actions that lead to a wrongful conviction. Researchers found that 4 percent of prosecutors involved in those convictions were disciplined, but the penalties were “comparatively mild” and only three were disbarred. Police officers were disciplined in 19 percent of cases leading to wrongful convictions, and in 80 percent of those cases officers were convicted of crimes, such as Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts, who led a group of officers who planted drug or gun evidence leading to 66 false convictions. The 2,400 cases are far from a comprehensive count, since there is no centralized national database of criminal cases at the state and local levels. So an estimate of how often wrongful convictions occur, as a percentage of overall cases, is not possible. The study acknowledges there are other areas to examine, including quantifying ineffective assistance by defense attorneys.
The level of hunger in U.S. households almost tripled between 2019 and August of this year, according to an analysis of new data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Agriculture. Even more alarming, the proportion of American children who sometimes do not have enough to eat is now as much as 14 times higher than it was last year. The Agriculture Department conducts yearly studies on food insecurity in the U.S., with its report on 2019 released this month. The Census Bureau began frequent household surveys in April in response to Covid-19 that include questions about hunger. The analysis, by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, found that 3.7 percent of U.S. households reported they sometimes or often had “not enough to eat” during 2019. Meanwhile, the most recent Census data from the end of August of this year showed that 10 percent of households said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat within the past seven days. Levels of food insecurity in Black and Latino households are significantly higher, at 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively, compared to 7 percent in white households. Remarkably, this increase in hunger has nothing to do with any actual shortage of food. It is purely the result of political decisions.
Note: How much is severe collateral damage like this from the coronavirus lockdown policies being considered? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
The elephant in the room is extreme income inequality. How big is this elephant? A staggering $50 trillion. That is how much the upward redistribution of income has cost American workers over the past several decades ... according to a groundbreaking new working paper by Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation. Had the more equitable income distributions of the three decades following World War II (1945 through 1974) merely held steady, the aggregate annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 trillion higher in the year 2018 alone. That is an amount equal to nearly 12 percent of GDP - enough to more than double median income - enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Price and Edwards calculate that the cumulative tab for our four-decade-long experiment in radical inequality had grown to over $47 trillion from 1975 through 2018. As a result, the top 1 percent’s share of total taxable income has more than doubled, from 9 percent in 1975, to 22 percent in 2018, while the bottom 90 percent have seen their income share fall, from 67 percent to 50 percent. This represents a direct transfer of income ... from the vast majority of working Americans to a handful at the very top. A 2014 report from the OECD estimated that rising income inequality knocked as much 9 points off U.S. GDP growth over the previous two decades.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Whether the coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna succeeds or not, executives at the small biotech company have already made tens of millions of dollars by cashing in their stock. An NPR examination of official company disclosures has revealed additional irregularities and potential warning signs. Since January, CEO StĂ©phane Bancel has sold roughly $40 million worth of Moderna stock; Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks has sold around $60 million; and President Stephen Hoge has sold more than $10 million. The stock sales first came to widespread notice after Moderna announced positive early data from a vaccine trial in May. At that point, the company's share price jumped and official disclosures showed executives cashing in their shares for millions of dollars. Advocates have questioned whether it's appropriate for executives to privately profit before bringing the vaccine to market, especially when American taxpayers have committed roughly $2.5 billion to the company's vaccine development. Moderna says its executives pre-scheduled their stock sales long in advance. Those schedules - known as 10b5-1 plans - can act as a defense to charges of insider trading. But the plans have to be put in place when executives do not have confidential inside information. NPR has found multiple executives adopted or modified their plans just before key announcements about the company's vaccine. That has raised questions about whether they were aware of nonpublic information when they planned their stock trades.
Note: Explore a revealing NBC article titled "Secret, powerful panels will pick Covid-19 vaccine winners." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
AstraZeneca revealed details of its large coronavirus vaccine trials on Saturday, the third in a wave of rare disclosures by drug companies under pressure to be more transparent about how they are testing products that are the world's best hope for ending the pandemic. Polls are finding Americans increasingly wary of accepting a coronavirus vaccine. Experts have been particularly concerned about AstraZeneca's vaccine trials, which began in April in Britain, because of the company's refusal to provide details about serious neurological illnesses in two participants, both women, who received its experimental vaccine in Britain. Those cases spurred the company to halt its trials twice, the second time earlier this month. The studies have resumed in Britain, Brazil, India and South Africa, but are still on pause in the U.S. About 18,000 people worldwide have received AstraZeneca's vaccine so far. The company has released few details about the two cases of serious illness in its trial. The first participant received one dose of the vaccine before developing inflammation of the spinal cord, known as transverse myelitis. The condition can cause weakness in the arms and legs, paralysis, pain and bowel and bladder problems. The company said it had not confirmed a diagnosis in the second case, a participant who got sick after the second dose of the vaccine. A person familiar with the situation who spoke with The Times on the condition of anonymity said the participant's illness had been pinpointed as transverse myelitis.
Note: Why won't the company let the two who became seriously ill speak to the media? And why initially did they hide the fact that the illnesses were serious? And why are top vaccine executives now dumping their shares of stocks? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Nashville officials reportedly concealed the low number of COVID-19 cases deriving from bars and restaurants in the city, according to emails between the Metro Health Department and Mayor John Cooper's office. On June 30, contact tracing found that construction and nursing homes were the cause of most Nashville coronavirus cases with thousands traced back to those specific categories. Only 22 cases were traced back to bars and restaurants. In the series of emails obtained by FOX 17 News, a discussion between the two offices about how to conceal the number associated with restaurants and bars from the public was shown. "This isn't going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor's Office?" wrote Leslie Waller from the health department. Senior Advisor Benjamin Eagles responded: "Correct, not for public consumption." A month later ... reporter Nate Rau asked the health department about rumors circulating that only 80 cases resulted from the city's bars and restaurants. Rau asked: "The figure you gave of 'more than 80' does lead to a natural question: If there have been over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Davidson and only 80 or so are traced to restaurants and bars, doesn't that mean restaurants and bars aren't a very big problem?" "We raised taxes 34 percent and put ... literally thousands of people out of work that are now worried about losing their homes, their apartments ... and we did it on bogus data. That should be illegal," [Nashville Councilman Steve] Glover told FOX 17 News.
The Alexandria police chief, Mike Ward, was “sick and tired” of sending his officers to respond to 911 calls that they lacked the skills and time to handle. In this small Kentucky town of 10,000 people ... two-thirds of the calls police responded to were not criminal – instead, they were mental health crises and arguments resulting from long-brewing interpersonal conflicts. Police would show up, but they could rarely offer long-lasting solutions. Often, it was inevitable that they would be called back to the same address for the same problem again and again. In 2016 he decided to try a new approach: he talked the city into hiring a social worker for the police department. The current police chief, Lucas Cooper, said he was “the most vocal opponent” of the plan at the time. But now four years later, Cooper sees the program as indispensable: it frees officers from repeat calls for non-criminal issues and gets residents the help they needed, but couldn’t get. In Alexandria two social workers are now on the police department’s payroll. But while working for the police, they are not cops: they do not have arresting powers and they do not carry weapons. They ride in a Ford Focus instead of a police cruiser. They wear polo shirts, not police uniforms, and carry a radio with a panic button in case they find themselves in danger. “We’re like a non-threatening type of follow-up,” said Cassie Hensley, one of the department’s social workers. “I’ve been told by individuals that they’re very glad I didn’t show up in a police cruiser ... and that they’re more likely to talk to me.”
Note: Could it be beneficial rather than defunding police to include social workers in their ranks for the many calls involving mental health? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Media portrayals of adolescence shape how society views young people and, as positive youth development scholars note, whether they are seen as risks to be managed or resources to be developed. My own research on adolescent mindfulness and virtue inspired me to learn more about how adolescents are faring during the pandemic. Zoya Sethi is a ninth grader from Delhi, India. She and four of her friends observed that after the shutdown of industries in the cities, millions migrated hundreds of kilometers by foot back to their villages, and women had no access to feminine hygiene pads. In response, they began a campaign through Instagram (@we_standwithher). Lucas Hung is a 12th grader from Vancouver, British Columbia. He and four friends similarly used Instagram to raise funds for those in need, with the dual goal of uniting their classmates (@_viralcause_) The teens also found meaning in smaller acts of service that filled critical needs in their communities. “It was so cool to see that something as small as offering to teach a 40-minute online dance class to their kids could make parents’ lives so much better,” explained Devyn Slade, a 12th grade volunteer dance instructor. Teens also empathized with the plight of seniors in retirement communities. One group wrote letters to older adults, “trying to make them feel connected, seen, and loved during this time where they’re facing tons of isolation and fear and hard times,” said Connor Macmillan, a 12th grade water polo player.
When Encinitas, Calif., teenager Ariella Pacheco was a little girl, her parents let her choose from a catalog the American Girl doll that most appealed to her. She picked the one with the hair color and style that matched her own. But what about children with rare medical conditions who don’t look like anyone else, including the mass-produced dolls on store shelves? Pacheco wanted to give these children the same gift she got as a child. So, over the past several months, she has designed and sewn cloth dolls for four local youth. “I really value the beauty in the little things,” Pacheco said. “Each of these kids are so unique, so special. I hope through these dolls they can see themselves in a new light and really embrace their beauty.” She ... designed her own patterns and figured out how to re-create the children’s differences. It was important to her that the children recognize themselves in the dolls but that their differences not be the most noticeable feature. “I hope they’re really excited with them,” Pacheco said. “The whole time I was trying to put as much love into it as I could and hoped they represented each child faithfully.” The inspiration for the four dolls are Felix, a 6-year-old boy with a large scar on his head from surgery for a skull fracture; Andrea, a 2-year-old with a port-wine stain birthmark on her face; Valeria, a toddler with Apert syndrome, which causes skull deformities, misshapen eyes and fused fingers; and Zulema Gillett, [who has] Goldenhar syndrome, which caused her to be born with a cleft lip, misaligned jaw, and only one ear.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Thanks to the internet and MOOC (massive open online courses) culture, it's not hard to find courses from prestigious universities such as Yale online for free or cheap. Counter to the Ivy League's legacy of exclusivity, MOOCs are designed to remove traditional education barriers: price and location. In fact, Yale offers access to a handful of recorded in-person courses such as African American History: From Emancipation to the Present via Open Yale Courses, a platform where anyone can access the lectures. However, lecture-listeners won't earn course credit, degrees, or a certificate of completion. If you're looking for a classroom-like educational experience with more structure, feedback, and peers, you'll want to turn to Coursera. The online learning platform features more than a dozen Yale courses that range in topic from economics to parenting to happiness. Coursera classes typically include video lectures, resources, community discussions, and quizzes. They're free to enroll in, but you'll have to pay a low fee (starting at $49) for features like graded homework assignments or certificates of completion, which can be added to a LinkedIn page. Based on the most popular course in Yale's history, [The Science of Well-Being] combines positive psychology with the real-life applications of behavioral science to increase your own happiness using concrete, productive habits. Read our full review of The Science of Well-Being course here.
More states and countries are coming to the conclusion that COVID-19 lockdowns like those in China and New Zealand are overly restrictive and too costly. People in democracies will simply not tolerate them. Sweden has "flattened the curve" of COVID-19 without ordering its citizens to stay inside. It has kept open its shops, schools for those under 16, and restaurants and bars. Its health authorities trusted its citizens to wash their hands and social distance without imposing laws. Anders Tegnell, the Swedish epidemiologist [said,] "We see no point in wearing a face mask." Swedish health authorities ... pride themselves on "following the science" and are highly respected. Sweden made a mistake ... when it, like the state of New York, sent recovering patients back to their nursing homes too soon (in the U.S., nursing home residents [and staff] account for ... 45% of COVID-19 fatalities). [Yet Swedish] schools stayed open with little risk to students. Studies from Sweden and the Netherlands ... have found teachers at no greater risk than the overall population. Sweden is approaching record lows while its European neighbors are seeing increasing rates. Sweden had about 30,000 new cases in June ... and was down to 7,000 new cases in August. During this time, cases took off in Spain, France and Germany. Sweden's current rate of positive tests is lower than those in Norway and Denmark. [Its] economy will contract by about 4.6%. In contrast, the European Union economy is expected to contract 11.9%. The U.S. economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate between April and June. New Zealand's GDP contracted by 13.8% in the April-June period and has entered a recession, which Sweden has not.
Note: Explore a revealing article in the BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) for more on Sweden's unusual success. This chart shows that Sweden is now doing much better on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths per million than most other countries that have instituted a lockdown. Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon is forming a new task force to investigate UFOs that have been observed by US military aircraft, according to two defense officials. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will help oversee the task force. Members of Congress and Pentagon officials have long expressed concerns about the appearance of the unidentified aircraft that have flown over US military bases. There is no consensus on their origin with some believing they may be drones potentially operated by earthly adversaries seeking to gather intelligence rather than extraterrestrials. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted in June to have the Pentagon and intelligence community provide a public analysis of the encounters, following the official Pentagon release of three short videos showing US aircraft encountering these phenomena. "We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises, and we don't know what it is and it isn't ours, so that's a legitimate question to ask," the chairman of that committee, Sen. Marco Rubio, [said]. The videos released by the Pentagon appear to show unidentified flying objects rapidly moving while recorded by infrared cameras. The Pentagon had previously studied recordings of aerial encounters with unknown objects as part of a since-shuttered classified program that was launched at the behest of former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. That program was launched in 2007 and ended in 2012, according to the Pentagon.
Note: This is clearly part of a planned roll out to acculturate the public to the reality of UFOs. For undeniable evidence top Pentagon officials have known about the ET presence since the 1940s, see our revealing two page summary on UFOs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
Cell phones are currently used by 95% of American adults. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nominated radio frequency radiation (RFR) used by cell phones for an NTP [National Toxicology Program] study because of widespread public use of cell phones and limited knowledge about potential health effects from long-term exposure. NTP conducted two-year toxicology studies in rats and mice to help clarify potential health hazards, including cancer risk, from exposure to RFR like that used in 2G and 3G cell phones. The NTP studies found that high exposure to RFR (900 MHz) used by cell phones was associated with: Clear evidence of an association with tumors in the hearts of male rats (malignant schwannomas); some evidence of an association with tumors in the brains of male rats (malignant gliomas); some evidence of an association with tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats (benign, malignant, or complex combined pheochromocytoma). As a follow-up, NTP published an article in October 2019 that evaluated DNA damage in three regions of the brain, the liver, and in blood cells in rats and mice that were removed at an earlier timepoint from the ongoing 2-year toxicology study. NTP scientists found that RFR exposure was associated with an increase in DNA damage ... in the frontal cortex of the brain in male mice, the blood cells of female mice, and the hippocampus of male rats.
Note: For the full, revealing study, see this webpage. For an excellent appeal to stop the 5G rollout already signed by over 300,000 people, see this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the risks and dangers of wireless technologies from reliable major media sources.
Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus. Most of these people are not likely to be contagious. The most widely used diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, called a PCR test, provides a simple yes-no answer to the question of whether a patient is infected. “We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all,” [epidemiologist Dr. Michael] Mina said. “We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making.” But yes-no isn’t good enough, he added. It’s the amount of virus that should dictate the infected patient’s next steps. The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious. This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are. In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.
She was 30 years old, jobless and facing a custody fight. To keep her kids, she needed a lawyer. Tim Parker seemed ideal. The woman told authorities that she covered part of her legal fees by having sex with Parker, and that Parker paid her at least $3,000 for more sex over the next two years. But [Parker] wasn't just a lawyer. He was also a part-time judge. Although the woman declined to talk with Reuters, she alleged in secret testimony to the agency that Parker had also used his authority as a judge to help her friends bond out of jail, again in return for sex. The alleged conduct was not isolated. City police, the sheriff’s office, the state police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a federal grand jury investigated Parker for about four years. Witnesses gave evidence that the judge disclosed the identity of a confidential informant; traded money and opioids for sex; and gave favorable treatment to young women in his courtroom, Reuters found. Despite the intense scrutiny, Parker, 58, was never charged with any crime. Still, Parker’s term on the bench ended in disgrace, when the state judicial commission forced his removal and resignation on what was already scheduled to be his final day in office. The story of Tim Parker shows how hard it can be to remove an American judge suspected of corruption. In its investigation into judicial misconduct across America, Reuters ... found at least 5,206 people who were directly affected by a judge’s misconduct.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
District Court Judge Curtis DeLapp was renowned for his hair-trigger temper. For almost a dozen years, DeLapp used his power to terrify people who appeared before him, pressing contempt charges against defense attorneys, prosecutors and even a prospective juror who brought children to court when she couldn’t find daycare, court records show. Local attorneys had grown convinced that DeLapp was violating the state’s judicial conduct code by abusing his authority. They worked collectively to build a voluminous complaint alleging that DeLapp had unlawfully jailed ... dozens of people. The complaint also contained an explosive charge: that the judge may have fabricated a court document. Had DeLapp fought the charges, he risked more than disgrace. If it could be proved that he submitted a forged document to the supreme court, he might land in prison. Instead, DeLapp, 53, struck a deal. He resigned and agreed never again to seek office as a judge. The case against him was dismissed. His state pension and law license remained intact. And DeLapp received a written assurance that neither his departure nor the settlement constituted an admission to the “validity of any of the allegations.” In leaving the bench, DeLapp became one of at least 341 judges across the United States to escape punishment or further investigation in the past dozen years by resigning or retiring amid misconduct allegations, Reuters found. In most states, the ultimate disciplinary authority over a judge rests with other judges.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment – jointly sponsored by Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Cheney of Wyoming – prohibiting the expenditure of monies to reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan below 8,000 without a series of conditions first being met. The Crow/Cheney amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ... passed by a vote of 45-11. The NDAA was then unanimously approved by the Committee by a vote of 56-0. It authorizes $740.5 billion in military spending. President Trump throughout the year has insisted that the Pentagon present plans for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan prior to the end of 2020. Shortly after those White House withdrawal plans were reported, anonymous intelligence officials leaked a series of claims to the New York Times regarding Ă˘â‚ŹĹ’bountiesĂ˘â‚ŹĹĄ allegedly being paid by Russia to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops. Those leaks emboldened opposition to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on the ground that it would be capitulating to Russian treachery. It was that New York Times leak that Liz Cheney, along with GOP Congressman Mac Thornberry, cited in a joint statement on Monday to suggest troop withdrawal would be precipitous. The NDAA that was approved ... also imposed restrictions on Trump's plan to withdraw troops from Germany. Congresswoman Cheney, to oppose this troop removal from Germany, cited ... the threat of Russia.
Note: When it comes to funding the war machine, both Democrats and Republicans are rarely opposed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
The FBI inadvertently revealed one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive secrets about the Sept. 11 terror attacks: the identity of a mysterious Saudi Embassy official in Washington who agents suspected had directed crucial support to two of the al-Qaida hijackers. The disclosure came in a new declaration filed in federal court by a senior FBI official in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims that accuses the Saudi government of complicity in the terrorist attacks. The declaration ... represents a major breakthrough in the long-running case, providing for the first time an apparent confirmation that FBI agents investigating the attacks believed they had uncovered a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Embassy in Washington. The disclosure, which a senior U.S. government official confirmed was made in error ... shines a light on the extraordinary efforts by top Trump administration officials in recent months to prevent internal documents about the issue from ever becoming public. “This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” said Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the 9/11 families whose father was killed in the attacks. “It demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.” Ironically, the declaration identifying the Saudi official in question was intended to support recent filings ... barring the public release of the Saudi official’s name and all related documents.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on 9/11 from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested on Thursday at Ecuador's London embassy, where he had been granted asylum since 2012. The United States alleges that he conspired with Chelsea Manning to access classified information on Department of Defense computers. Since it launched in 2006, Wikileaks has become renowned for publishing thousands of classified documents covering everything from the film industry to national security and wars. In 2010, Wikileaks published a video from a US military helicopter showing the killing of civilians in Baghdad, Iraq. A voice on the transmission urged the pilots to "light 'em all up" and the individuals on the street were fired at from the helicopter. When a van arrived on the scene to pick up the wounded, it too was fired at. Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and his assistant Saeed Chmagh were both killed in the attack. Wikileaks has published hundreds of thousands of documents leaked by former US Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. Documents relating to the war in Afghanistan revealed how the US military had killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents. Further documents from the Iraq war revealed that 66,000 civilians had been killed - more than previously reported. The documents also showed that prisoners had been tortured by Iraqi forces. Among the leaks were more than 250,000 messages sent by US diplomats. They revealed that the US wanted to collect "biographic and biometric" information ... of key officials at the UN.
Note: Read more about Wikileaks' effort to promote openness over secrecy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Jocelynn James, a recovered drug addict ... saved the life of the police officer who put her in jail nearly a decade ago. Between 2007-2012, James was arrested 16 times for theft and drug charges. “I was just living a really bad life, doing a lot of really bad things that I shouldn’t have had no business doing,” James said. Terrell Potter, a former officer with Phil Campbell Police Department, said James was going through a difficult place in her life. “She was out running crazy, stealing and doing drugs,” Potter said. “I locked her up a couple of times.” James said she was finally able to get her life straightened out, and on Nov. 5, she will celebrate eight years out of jail and eight years sober. James said Potter saved her life by arresting her and leading her to turn her life around. Last November, Potter learned that his kidney was failing, only functioning at 5%. Doctors told Potter that he would face a seven to eight-year waiting period for a kidney. After scrolling on her phone on Facebook, James learned that Potter needed a kidney. “I just threw my phone down and the holy spirit told me right then that I had that man’s kidney.” After a series of hospital tests, James learned that they were a perfect match. “If you asked me 100 names of who may give me a kidney, her name would have not been on the list,” Potter said. On July 21, Potter received a successful kidney transplant. “All the numbers were great. It started working from the time it was put in,” Potter said. “Her giving me a kidney ... extended my life.”
Jonah Larson taught himself how to crochet at age 5 by watching YouTube videos. Now 11, he has been described as a "crocheting prodigy." He has his own crochet business, called Jonah's Hands, based out of his home in La Crosse, Wisc. Crocheting has also made him a social media star — but he doesn't do it for the fame. Jonah has more than 46,000 followers on Instagram, where he sells his goods. Jonah regularly donates some of his goods and money to the Ethiopian orphanage from which he was adopted as an infant. His mother, Jennifer Larson, doesn't crochet, but she does run his Instagram account and has joined a few Facebook crocheting groups on his behalf. It's up to Jonah, she says, to decide what he does with the profits. "I don't buy his yarn for him. He buys his own yarn from the profits he makes from selling," she says. "He saves some money, he's investing some money and he donates as well. So those are things I think are important in life for adults to do, and I'm glad that he can learn that at an early age." "I hope people gain from seeing my work [and] it makes them happy too," Jonah says. "When I see my crochet work when it's done, it blows my mind to know that I, an 11-year-old with a tiny hook and a ball of yarn, made this amazing afghan, scarf, cowl, you name it." After an article was published about him in a local paper last month, his story went viral. Jonah now has over 2,500 orders and has temporarily stopped taking new requests.
As frugal, outdoorsy newlyweds in the 1960s, Jack and Laura Dangermond spent their honeymoon camping along California's iconic Central Coast before heading inland to Yosemite. The two grew especially fond of a stretch of coastline west of Santa Barbara, with sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Now the Dangermonds are donating $165 million to ensure that one of the last pristine stretches of California's coast that remains in private hands, just up the road from where they camped, is preserved forever. The gift to The Nature Conservancy is the largest the organization has ever received and was earmarked for the purchase the 25,000-acre Bixby Ranch, which straddles Point Conception in Santa Barbara County. The donation by the Dangermonds, the billionaire founders of Esri, the privately-held software company that essentially invented the digital map, is also the ninth largest philanthropic gift of 2017, according to a database compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The ranch has been privately owned and was once considered for development. It includes 8 miles of coastline, windswept bluffs and hillsides and valleys rich with California live oaks. It is home to 39 threatened or "special status" species, including 14 that are considered endangered, as well as Chumash artifacts and dozens [of] National Historic Register sites. Sitting at the intersection of Northern and Southern California, its habitat has elements of both regions. "That's a pretty rare thing in California," Dangermond says.
While many European countries are seeing new cases surge to levels not seen since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sweden – whose light-touch approach has made it an international outlier – has one of the continent’s lowest infection rates. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), [its] 14-day cumulative total of new cases was 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday, against 279 in Spain, 158.5 in France, 118 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Belgium and 59 in the UK, all of which imposed lockdowns this spring. Sweden also has fewer new daily infections than Norway and Denmark. Thirteen Covid-19 patients are in intensive care in Swedish hospitals, and its seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths is zero. “We don’t have the resurgence of the disease that many countries have,” Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist [said] in an interview, adding that the country was broadly happy with its overall strategy. Unlike many countries, Sweden closed schools for the over-16s but kept those for younger pupils open. Schools and universities are now open again. It also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and told people over 70 and in at-risk groups to self-isolate. Otherwise, the population of 10 million was asked, rather than ordered, to respect physical distancing and work from home if possible. Shops, bars, restaurants and gyms stayed open and the wearing of masks has not so far been recommended. Tegnell has insisted the aim was not to achieve rapid herd immunity but to slow the spread of coronavirus enough for health services to be able to cope.
Note: A Swedish MD on the front lines shares thoughts on why Sweden's COVID death rate has been in the single digits for weeks. Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. This graph shows that Sweden is doing well compared to other countries considering that they have not instituted a lockdown. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
Judge Les Hayes once sentenced a single mother to 496 days behind bars for failing to pay traffic tickets. In 2016, the state agency that oversees judges charged Hayes with violating Alabama’s code of judicial conduct. According to the Judicial Inquiry Commission, Hayes broke state and federal laws by jailing Johnson and hundreds of other Montgomery residents too poor to pay fines. Among those jailed: a plumber struggling to make rent, a mother who skipped meals to cover the medical bills of her disabled son, and a hotel housekeeper. Hayes, a judge since 2000, admitted in court documents to violating 10 different parts of the state’s judicial conduct code. One of the counts was a breach of a judge’s most essential duty: failing to “respect and comply with the law.” Despite the severity of the ruling, Hayes wasn’t barred from serving as a judge. Hayes is among thousands of state and local judges across America who were allowed to keep positions of extraordinary power and prestige after violating judicial ethics rules or breaking laws they pledged to uphold, a Reuters investigation found. All told, 9 of every 10 judges were allowed to return to the bench after they were sanctioned for misconduct, Reuters determined. They included a California judge who had sex in his courthouse chambers ... a New York judge who berated domestic violence victims; and a Maryland judge who, after his arrest for driving drunk, was allowed to return to the bench provided he took a Breathalyzer test before each appearance.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
An Arkansas judge who styled himself as a “Sugar Daddy” and was accused by local women of soliciting sex in exchange for cash, drugs and bail leniency largely escaped accountability from authorities for years, a Reuters investigation found. The judge was forced to resign from the bench in disgrace. But ... he continues to practice law despite his misconduct. As part of its “Teflon Robe” project, Reuters identified and reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, the news agency’s investigation identified 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined judges privately – withholding from the public details of their offenses, including the identities of the judges themselves. In many states, the lack of aggressive public oversight means that judges may behave with impunity. In the unlikely case that judges are publicly charged with misconduct, many states enable judges to simply resign or retire, putting a stop to the charges and any investigation of potential wrongdoing. Reuters found that at least 341 judges across the United States escaped punishment or further investigation in the past dozen years by resigning or retiring amid misconduct allegations. At least 5,206 people were directly affected by a judge’s misconduct. The victims ranged from people who were illegally jailed to those subjected to racist, sexist and other abusive comments from judges in ways that tainted the cases.
Seven years after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans' telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional. Snowden, who fled to Russia in the aftermath of the 2013 disclosures and still faces U.S. espionage charges, said on Twitter that the ruling was a vindication of his decision to go public with evidence of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping operation. "I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA's activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them," Snowden said. Evidence that the NSA was secretly building a vast database of U.S. telephone records ... was the first and arguably the most explosive of the Snowden revelations published by the Guardian newspaper in 2013. Up until that moment, top intelligence officials publicly insisted the NSA never knowingly collected information on Americans at all. After the program's exposure, U.S. officials fell back on the argument that the spying had played a crucial role in fighting domestic extremism. But the Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that those claims were "inconsistent with the contents of the classified record."
At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II. It is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies. The report accounts for the number of people, mostly civilians, displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, where fighting has been the most significant, and says the figure is a conservative estimate — the real number may range from 48 million to 59 million. The calculation does not include the millions of other people who have been displaced in countries with smaller U.S. counterterrorism operations, according to the report, including those in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger. “This has been one of the major forms of damage, of course along with the deaths and injuries, that have been caused by these wars,” said David Vine, a professor of anthropology ... and the lead author of the report.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump launched an unprecedented public attack against the leadership of the US military on Monday, accusing them of waging wars to boost the profits of defense manufacturing companies. "I'm not saying the military's in love with me - the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy," Trump [said]. Trump's extraordinary comments come as several defense officials tell CNN relations between the President and Pentagon leadership are becoming increasingly strained. They also followed efforts by Trump to convince the public that he had not made a series of reported disparaging remarks about US military personnel and veterans, which were first reported by The Atlantic magazine. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared to attempt to walk back Trump's comments ... saying the President's accusations against the "top people at the Pentagon" were not directed specifically at people like Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. "Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, DC," Meadows said, saying "That comment was more directed about the military industrial complex." Trump has also repeatedly touted boosting the defense budget as one of his administration's major accomplishments.
Note: Is Trump actually breaking ranks with almost every other U.S. president and going after the military-industrial complex?
Four years ago, for an embarrassingly modest price, Russia pulled off one of the more audacious acts of election interference in modern history. The Internet Research Agency, the team of Kremlin-backed online propagandists, spent $15 million to $20 million and wreaked havoc on the psyche of the American voter. Russian intelligence agents carried out the digital version of Watergate, infiltrating the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign, stealing tens of thousands of emails, and weaponizing them in the days and weeks before the election. Russian-based hackers tested election websites in all 50 states for weak spots. “The Russians were testing whether our windows were open, rattling our doors to see whether they were locked, and found the windows and doors wide open,” says Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee. The Russians ... recently hacked the Ukrainian natural-gas company at the center of the Trump impeachment scandal to potentially find damaging material about the Biden family. Other foreign nations, including Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and China, are getting in on the act. They’ll be joined, analysts say, by domestic actors — American consultants and candidates and click merchants borrowing and adapting Russia’s tactics to influence an election or make a quick buck. “We’re still in a situation going into 2020 where there are significant gaps left in the security of election infrastructure,” says J. Alex Halderman ... who studies voting equipment.
Note: The private companies that supply elections software are very vulnerable to hacking. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
President Trump just made a major announcement. Trump is now prohibiting federal agencies from conducting cultural sensitivity trainings because, according to the report, they are “divisive, anti-American propaganda.” Diversity trainings that focus on educating participants about white privilege, critical race theory and the racist origins of the United States apparently create “division and resentment” amongst federal employees. What is deeply problematic about this new ban is that the U.S. has a habit of avoiding the country’s dark and racist past. Evading the issue will not make it go away. The memorandum states that the Trump administration is “fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals.” It’s important to note that the goal is not equality but rather equity. Equality is treating everyone the same. The reason equality is not the goal is because it does not take into consideration the different barriers and challenges that have been experienced. Equity, on the other hand, is taking one’s unique needs and challenges into consideration and providing support based on these unique needs. There is an implication that everyone should be treated the exact same way, which is not the objective. Because there has been a long history of unequal treatment, there has to be efforts made to rectify this. Equality does not work to actively address or correct systems that have allowed unfair treatment. Because these impacts are still being felt today, having an equity focus is needed for progress to continue.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
What are the essentials of President Bush's plan for bird flu pandemic preparedness? The plan calls for a $7.1 billion total expenditure. The president proposes that $2 billion of this would be devoted to stockpiling antiviral medications and 20 million doses of an experimental vaccine against the bird flu strain H5N1. $2.7 billion would go toward vaccine research and upgrading our methods of vaccine manufacture. Federal dollars would be invested in an international flu-surveillance network, and federal funding to state and local public health agencies would be boosted by $100 million. Critics of the plan say that far too little is designated for the state and local agencies or for fighting bird flu in Asia, where it is currently (only $251 million would be spent overseas). Critics also have complained that the plan doesn't provide for improving the hospital infrastructure for disaster response. According to Dr. Irwin Redlener ... at Columbia University: "Less than seven percent of that budget could be construed as going towards anything that would help bolster a very ailing hospital system in the United States. Which in fact would be the only recourse that we would have if, in fact, we're dealing with a race against time. And if it becomes real that we get a pandemic prior to the development of sufficient capacity to contain, to vaccinate and to treat with specific antivirals, then all we have left is a health and hospital system ... we'll find that we don't have sufficient isolation beds, intensive care beds, ventilators, et cetera, et cetera."
Note: Over $4 billion was gifted to big Pharma for drugs and vaccines based largely on fear mongering. And after the big scare around the avian flu, less than 200 people died from it. So all of that money was pure profit for the pharmaceuticals. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on bird and swine flu from reliable major media sources.
Denmark, currently the second happiest country on earth, is now home to The Happiness Museum, an institution dedicated to the idea of happiness and how it has been perceived and discussed over the centuries. The Happiness Museum officially opened on July 14 in a small 240-squaremeter (2,585 square foot) space in Copenhagen. During a time when museums are getting hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this museum feels like a shining ray of hope. “There might not be a lot of guests these days, but the world does need a little bit more happiness,” said Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute. The institute is particularly focused on studying why some societies are happier than others, with the objective to help affect political and societal change. “We thought, why don't we create a place where people can experience happiness from different perspectives and give them an exhibition where they can become a little bit wiser around some of the questions we try to solve?” said Wiking. Instead of rainbows, puppies, or things that are soft, squishy, or shiny, visitors to the museum are met with exhibits and interactive experiences to show them how different countries perceive happiness. Visitor’s reactions to interactive experiences also help the institute further its research. “We might be Danish or Mexican or American or Chinese, but we are first and foremost people,” Wiking said. “It's the same things that drive happiness no matter where we're from.”
Giving money or resources to your children or aging parents is likely to increase their life span, according to a new paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. There is a linear relationship between the amount and frequency of wealth transfers and the lengths of individuals' lives, the study results have shown. The researchers' goal was to track data on how every individual in a given society consumes and saves. Intergenerational wealth transfers can include money, but they can also include houses, benefits or time. The researchers recognized that other factors - such as country's gross domestic product (GDP) and income inequality - also affect a population's life expectancy and adjusted their models to include those factors. One likely reason, [lead study author Tobias] Vogt said, for the correlation between countries experiencing greater longevity in the presence of financial transfers was that those countries exhibited stronger social cohesion. To back that up, he cited a 2010 meta-analysis ... with an aggregate of 148 separate studies involving a total of more than 300,000 participants. It found that survival was 50% greater for those with stronger social relationships compared to those with lesser or no social bonds. Generosity and life expectancy are among the six variables scientists look at when making the World Happiness Report, which is released annually by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.
Judith Heumann, who had polio as a baby and uses a wheelchair, started her activism early. After graduating from college, she applied for a teaching license but was rejected by the New York City board of education, which called her a fire hazard. Heumann sued for discrimination and won in a landmark case, becoming the first wheelchair user to teach in the city’s schools. That victory put Heumann in the spotlight. She founded her own disability-rights group in 1970 and became an advocate for the independent-living movement. She successfully pushed Richard Nixon to sign the first federal civil rights legislation for disabled people. But when regulations for the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were stalled, Heumann helped organize more than 100 disabled activists to stage a sit-in, named for the law’s section on disabilities, at a San Francisco federal building in 1977. The 504 Sit-in, which lasted 28 days, challenged the perception of people with disabilities as helpless or objects of pity. In Heumann’s words: “We demonstrated to the entire nation that disabled people could take control over our own lives and take leadership in the struggle for equality.” The 504 Sit-in accomplished its goal, and those protections laid the groundwork for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Heumann, who served in the Education and State departments of the Clinton and Obama administrations, has continued to advance the rights of disabled people around the world.
Note: Listen to a BBC interview with this courageous, pioneering woman. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Last August, NPR profiled a Harvard-led experiment to help low-income families find housing in wealthier neighborhoods. Every quoted expert is connected to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which helps fund the project. NPR itself receives funding from Gates. The story ... is one of hundreds NPR has reported about the Gates Foundation or the work it funds, including myriad favorable pieces written from the perspective of Gates or its grantees. And that speaks to a larger trend - and ethical issue - with billionaire philanthropists’ bankrolling the news. As philanthropists increasingly fill in the funding gaps at news organizations ... an underexamined worry is how this will affect the ways newsrooms report on their benefactors. Nowhere does this concern loom larger than with the Gates Foundation. During the pandemic, news outlets have widely looked to Bill Gates as a public health expert on covid - even though Gates has no medical training and is not a public official. PolitiFact and USA Today (run by the Poynter Institute and Gannett, respectively - both of which have received funds from the Gates Foundation) have even used their fact-checking platforms to defend Gates from “false conspiracy theories” and “misinformation,” like the idea that the foundation has financial investments in companies developing covid vaccines and therapies. In fact, the foundation’s website and most recent tax forms clearly show investments in such companies, including Gilead and CureVac.
Note: Watch an excellent 15-minute presentation by courageous journalist Ben Swann on the agenda of facebook fact checkers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
Perhaps you saw Ray Suarez’s three-part series on poverty and AIDS in Mozambique on the PBS NewsHour. Or listened to Public Radio International’s piece on the rationing of kidney dialysis in South Africa. These reports ... were all bankrolled by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Better-known for its battles against global disease, the giant philanthropy has also become a force in journalism. The foundation’s grants to media organizations such as ABC and The Guardian, one of Britain’s leading newspapers, raise obvious conflict-of-interest questions: How can reporting be unbiased when a major player holds the purse strings? The foundation has invested millions in training programs for journalists. It funds research on the most effective ways to craft media messages. Gates-backed think tanks turn out media fact sheets and newspaper opinion pieces. Magazines and scientific journals get Gates money to publish research and articles. Experts coached in Gates-funded programs write columns that appear in media outlets from The New York Times to The Huffington Post, while digital portals blur the line between journalism and spin. Over the past decade, Gates has devoted $1 billion to these programs. Beyond direct links to media, the foundation also supports a dizzying mix of organizations whose goals include influencing media coverage. An interested citizen might think she’s getting news and information from a variety of sources, but many of them might be funded by Gates.
Dr Stefan Peterson, chief of health at Unicef, cautioned that the blanket lockdowns imposed in many low and middle income [countries] are not an effective way to control Covid-19 and could have deadly repercussions. “Indiscriminate lockdown measures do not have an optimal effect on the virus,” he [said]. “If you’re asking families to stay at home in one room in a slum, without food or water, that won’t limit virus transmission. I’m concerned that lockdown measures have been copied between countries for lack of knowing what to do, rarely with any contextualisation for the local situation.” According to a stark report published in Lancet Global Health journal on Wednesday, almost 1.2 million children could die in the next six months due to the disruption to health services and food supplies caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The modeling ... found that child mortality rates could rise by as much as 45 per cent due to coronavirus-related disruptions, while maternal deaths could increase by almost 39 per cent. Dr Peterson said these figures were in part a reflection of stringent restrictions in much of the world that prevent people leaving their homes without documentation, preventing them from accessing essential health care services. In some countries the public are also avoiding hospitals and health centres for fear of picking up Covid-19. Dr Peterson warned that these trends have resulted in a reduction in the “effective utilization of services” - a shift which ... could be more dangerous than the virus itself.
In response to the novel and deadly coronavirus, many governments deployed draconian tactics never used in modern times: severe and broad restrictions on daily activity that helped send the world into its deepest peacetime slump since the Great Depression. The equivalent of 400 million jobs have been lost world-wide, 13 million in the U.S. alone. Global output is on track to fall 5% this year, far worse than during the financial crisis. Despite this steep price, few policy makers felt they had a choice, seeing the economic crisis as a side effect of the health crisis. They ordered nonessential businesses closed and told people to stay home, all without the extensive analysis of benefits and risks that usually precedes a new medical treatment. Five months later, the evidence suggests lockdowns were an overly blunt and economically costly tool. The evidence also points to alternative strategies that could slow the spread of the epidemic at much less cost. Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong set early examples of how to stop Covid-19 without lockdowns. They quickly cut travel to China, introduced widespread testing to isolate the infected and traced contacts. Sweden took a different approach. Instead of lockdowns, it imposed only modest restrictions to keep cases at levels its hospitals could handle. Sweden has suffered more deaths per capita than neighboring Denmark but fewer than Britain, and it has paid less of an economic price than either.
As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to explode, hospital systems are scrambling to intensify their measures for protecting patients and health care workers. Providers are wondering whether this effort should include universal use of masks by all health care workers. Wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic. The calculus may be different, however, in health care settings. There are two scenarios in which there may be possible benefits. The first is during the care of a patient with unrecognized Covid-19. More compelling is the possibility that wearing a mask may reduce the likelihood of transmission from asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic health care workers with Covid-19 to other providers and patients. A mask will not protect providers caring for a patient with active Covid-19 if it’s not accompanied by meticulous hand hygiene, eye protection, gloves, and a gown. Focusing on universal masking alone may, paradoxically, lead to more transmission of Covid-19 if it diverts attention from ... more fundamental infection-control measures.
Note: For more information on this article, see this educational commentary. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A group of Silicon Valley and Wall Street executives has raised $30 million to speed the development of a closely watched psychedelic-drug therapy. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit advocating for psychedelic research since the 1980s, is conducting its last phase of clinical trials to research the efficacy of using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD afflicts about eight million adults a year. MDMA is more commonly known as the main component of Ecstasy. Armed with the new funding, MAPS is aiming to finish the trials and seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration to commercialize the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as soon as 2022. In 2017, the FDA designated MDMA as a breakthrough therapy for PTSD, meaning it would expedite review of the drug. MAPS said a recent interim analysis of its Phase 3 clinical trials ... showed a very high likelihood the therapy will be effective for treating PTSD. In phase 2 clinical trials, individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder received psychotherapy, some with the psychedelic drug MDMA. More of those who received the drug no longer received a PTSD diagnosis in the months after treatment, compared with those who received a placebo. Business leaders said their donations came from a personal connection to mental-health conditions. Among them is billionaire Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy and ... a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran, who said he has continued to battle PTSD.
Note: To read the entire article free of charge, see this webpage. Note that as big Pharma won't make big profits from these therapies, they are not funding any of the major studies, while the nonprofit MAPS has stepped in to make this happen. And not mentioned in this article is that the results of these studies has been dramatic, with over 2/3 of patients showing no signs of PTSD a year after treatment. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
White supremacist groups have infiltrated US law enforcement agencies in every region of the country over the last two decades. In a timely new analysis, Michael German, a former FBI special agent who has written extensively on the ways that US law enforcement have failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats, concludes that US law enforcement officials have been tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000, and hundreds of police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content. Police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. Police in Sacramento, California, in 2018 worked with neo-Nazis to pursue charges against anti-racist activists. This week, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, faced intense scrutiny over their response to armed white men and militia groups gathered in the city amid demonstrations by Black Lives Matter activists and others over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who appeared to consider himself a militia member ... was arrested on suspicion of murder after the fatal shooting of two protesters. Activists in Kenosha say police there have responded aggressively and violently to Black Lives Matter demonstrators, while doing little to stop armed white vigilantes.
Note: Read how law enforcement prioritizes investigations of peaceful activists over investigations of violent white supremacist groups. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Now that we have built The Counted, a definitive record of people killed by police in the US this year, at least there is some accountability in America – even if data from the rest of the world is still catching up. It is undeniable that police in the US often contend with much more violent situations and more heavily armed individuals than police in other developed democratic societies. Still, looking at our data for the US against admittedly less reliable information on police killings elsewhere paints a dramatic portrait: the US is not just some outlier in terms of police violence when compared with countries of similar economic and political standing. America is the outlier – and this is what a crisis looks like. There were 59 fatal police shootings in the US for the days between 1 January and 24 January. According to data collected by the UK advocacy group Inquest, there have been 55 fatal police shootings – total – in England and Wales from 1990 to 2014. The US population is roughly six times that of England and Wales. According to the World Bank, the US has a per capita intentional homicide rate five times that of the UK. There has been just one fatal shooting by Icelandic police in the country’s 71-year history. The city of Stockton, California – with 25,000 fewer residents than all of Iceland combined – had three fatal encounters in the first five months of 2015. Police in the US have shot and killed more people – in every week this year – than are reportedly shot and killed by German police in an entire year.
A dolphin species considered regionally extinct in the Adriatic has been spotted there repeatedly off the Italian and Slovenian coast. Researchers from Morigenos Slovenian Marine Mammal Society and the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews have published a new review study on the occurrence of common dolphins in the Gulf of Trieste and the northern Adriatic Sea, published in the scientific journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. The dolphin (Delphinus delphis) used to be very common in the Adriatic Sea and other parts of the Mediterranean Sea. However, since the 1970s it has become so rare that the Mediterranean population is now listed as Endangered on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). During the last 30 years, this species has been considered as regionally extinct from the Adriatic Sea, likely due to intentional and systematic killing during mid-20th century. Back then, both Italy and the former Yugoslavia used to pay monetary rewards for every dolphin killed because dolphins were considered a pest that competed with fisheries. Due to their rarity, all records of common dolphins in the Adriatic and many other Mediterranean areas are important. Despite no previous records, four different animals were observed in the area over a period of four years. Some of these individual dolphins were seen repeatedly, one over the course of two months and one over the course of more than a year.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on marine mammals.
Older Americans suffer disproportionately from chronic pain and its attendant ailments, anxiety, depression and insomnia. In the search for relief, they consume more pharmaceutical drugs than perhaps any comparable cohort on this planet. Psychedelic therapies to treat mental health conditions offer a radical departure from current pharmaceutical models. The psychedelic therapy modalities currently under investigation combine a limited number of treatment sessions with a psychedelic substance, sandwiched between intensive pre- and post-treatment therapy sessions. The ideal, and realistic, outcome from this course of treatment is not mere symptom control, but durable remission. Indeed, these studies are finding that, in clinically significant numbers, recipients of a single course of psychedelic therapy report the experience to be life-changing, and enduring over time. The positive preliminary outcomes of clinical studies by MAPS using MDMA to treat PTSD, and Compass Pathways for psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression, have convinced the FDA to grant them Breakthrough Therapy Designation. In the 1960s researchers were interested in seeing if psychedelic drug treatment could alleviate existential distress in terminal cancer patients. This line of research was picked up 35 years later by Dr. Charles Grob, whose 2011 pilot study of psilocybin treatment for terminal cancer patients found significant enduring reductions in anxiety and improvement in mood at a six-month follow up.
Wind farms come with many benefits - but they can be a danger to local birds. A new study suggests a small tweak to the turbine design could make a big difference in terms of avian safety, and all it takes is a paint job. In an experiment run on the Norwegian archipelago of Smřla, changing the colour of just one of the turbine blades to black led to an average of 70 percent annual reduction in bird fatalities, as measured over three and a half years. In a linked experiment, painting part of some of the turbine towers black also resulted in fewer bird deaths. While the study only involved one wind farm and a small number of birds ... it points to a way of keeping birds from harm without major reengineering. "In this case it was resource demanding to paint the rotor blades, since the wind turbines were already installed," says conservation biologist Roel May. "If the painting is done before construction, however, both the cost and the bird mortality will be reduced." Very little data is available on just how many bird deaths are caused each year by wind turbines. Some estimates put it at the tens of thousands. Painted blades could be one solution to the problem. The researchers think it makes the turbines more visible to birds, reducing what's known as motion smear – where moving objects are more difficult to get a visual lock on. The study also looked at other possible ways of reducing bird deaths, such as covering blades with ultraviolet paint, and positioning turbines in such a way as to avoid areas of updraft that birds use to soar.
US authorities have approved a plan to release more than 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes across the Florida Keys, despite objections from local residents. British-based firm Oxitec are behind the project that will test whether the altered mosquitoes can work as an alternative to pesticides to control the spread of diseases. The male mosquito, which is named OX5034, has been created to produce female offspring that die at larval stage, before they grow big enough to spread disease and bite. Female mosquitoes bite for blood while they mature their eggs, but males do not carry the diseases as they feed on nectar. The mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys in 2021, but will be expanded into Harris County, Texas, after the Environmental Protection Agency granted Oxitec’s request for an experimental use permit. Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Centre for Technology Assessment and Centre for Food Safety ... criticized the decision. “What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks. Now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” Mr Hanson [said]. Since the initial announcement of the project in May, more than 230,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal, which was supported by more than 30 local physicians. Local media reported that residents were unhappy to be treated as “guinea pigs” for the experiment.
Note: Read more about the controversy surrounding Oxitec's genetically altered mosquitoes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs from reliable major media sources.
The power of the president is enormous. As Mr. Trump stated in March, "I have the right to do a lot of things that people don't even know about." What the president appears to have been referring to are his presidential emergency action documents, often referred to as PEADs. "Even though I've had security clearances for the better part of 50 years and been in and out of national security matters during that half-century, I had never heard of these 'secret powers,'" said former Senator Gary Hart. Ted Koppel asked, "Do you know what they are, now that you've heard of them?" "Only vaguely, due to research done at the Brennan Center for Justice," Hart said. "What these secret powers are, apparently, based on the research, is suspension of the Constitution, basically." The Brennan Center research that Senator Hart referred to has been spearheaded by Elizabeth Goitein. Goitein says what little we do know about PEADs comes from references to them in other documents, some of which are now declassified. "They originated in the Eisenhower administration," Goitein said. "But since then ... no presidential emergency action document has even been released, or even leaked. Not even Congress has access to them. Congress is not aware of these documents, and from public sources we know that at least in the past these documents have purported to do things that are not permitted by the Constitution – things like martial law and the suspension of habeas corpus and the roundup and detention of people not suspected of any crime."
John Oliver returned to Last Week Tonight with another examination of an unjust cog in America’s criminal justice system: the unrepresentative makeup of trial juries. Serving on a “jury of your peers” is an “essential civic duty”, Oliver said. But in practice, said “peers” are not chosen from a fair cross-section of society. People of color and particularly black Americans are chronically underrepresented in jury pools. First, there’s the list of potential jurors, which in many states draws from voter registration data or drivers’ license lists, both of which disproportionately exclude people of color. Many states contract jury selection to private companies, whose methods, when revealed, fall far short of truly representative or random; Oliver pointed to one example in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a private company accidentally excluded zip codes in which 90% of the county’s black residents lived. Once potential jurors show up for selection, prosecutors can weed out jurors of color. Although the supreme court ruled in 1986 that prosecutors can’t strike jurors on the basis of race, “it turns out that’s a pretty easy rule to get around,” said Oliver. “All you have to do is just come up with some reason other than race to strike a juror.” To demonstrate the brazen efforts prosecutors will take to whitewash juries, Oliver pointed to the six murder trials for Curtis Flowers in Mississippi, a black man whose case eventually reached the supreme court, which decided that the prosecutor had repeatedly and blatantly filtered out any potential black jurors.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Deepfake technology enables anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to create realistic-looking photos and videos of people saying and doing things that they did not actually say or do. A combination of the phrases “deep learning” and “fake”, deepfakes first emerged on the Internet in late 2017, powered by an innovative new deep learning method known as generative adversarial networks (GANs). Several deepfake videos have gone viral recently, giving millions around the world their first taste of this new technology: President Obama using an expletive to describe President Trump, Mark Zuckerberg admitting that Facebook's true goal is to manipulate and exploit its users, Bill Hader morphing into Al Pacino on a late-night talk show. The technology is improving at a breathtaking pace. Experts predict that deepfakes will be indistinguishable from real images before long. It does not require much imagination to grasp the harm that could be done if entire populations can be shown fabricated videos that they believe are real. In a world where even some uncertainty exists as to whether such clips are authentic, the consequences could be catastrophic. In a recent report, The Brookings Institution grimly summed up the range of political and social dangers that deepfakes pose: “distorting democratic discourse; manipulating elections; eroding trust in institutions; weakening journalism; exacerbating social divisions ... and inflicting hard-to-repair damage on the reputation of prominent individuals.”
Note: Watch a scary video showing how easy it is to make very realistic fake videos of Bush, Obama, and Trump. Read more about this emerging technology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
The Australian state of Victoria [announced] on Tuesday that military personnel will be deployed to enforce Covid-19 lockdown orders, amid growing concerns about attacks on police. Authorities warned police were facing a sometimes violent resistance, often by so-called 'sovereign citizens' groups who considered themselves above the law. Victoria earlier this week imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people's daily movements and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of coronavirus. But nearly a third of those who contracted Covid-19 were not home isolating when checked on by officials, requiring tough new penalties, Daniel Andrews, the state premier, said. Fines of nearly A$5,000 (Ł2,710) will be issued to anyone breaching stay at home orders. Repeat offenders face a fine of up to A$20,000. "There is literally no reason for you to leave your home and if you were to leave your home and not be found there, you will have a very difficult time convincing Victoria police that you have a lawful reason," Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. The only exemption will be for urgent medical care, said Mr Andrews, adding anyone under a self-isolation order will no longer be allowed to leave their homes for outdoor exercise. Mr Andrews said an additional 500 unarmed military personnel will this week deploy to Victoria to assist police in ensuring self-isolation orders are being complied with. The latest military deployment will join about 1,500 troops already in Victoria.
Note: Learn more about the incredible, draconian measures being taken in Australia in this article banned by facebook. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The nation's mental health is languishing, according to data reported this week as part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Suicidal ideation is up among young people since last year, with as many as one in four people ages 18 through 24 having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days preceding the survey. In the general US population, the CDC reported that 11% of adults surveyed had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days before they completed the survey. Among those identifying as Black or Hispanic, the numbers were worse: 19% of Hispanics reported suicidal ideation and 15% of Blacks reported suicidal thoughts. The results reflect a nation increasingly on edge. The number of Americans reporting anxiety symptoms is three times the number at this same time last year, the CDC said. "Previous events have had a start, middle, an end," said Vaile Wright [with] the American Psychological Association. "People can't disconnect from this." Add on the pressures of the economy, the increased scrutiny on racial injustice and the looming specter of the presidential election, and it's hard for many to feel like things might turn out OK. The stress is disproportionately falling on the young. On an individual level, Wright noted that the main pillars of psychological health include eating healthy, staying active, getting enough sleep and maintaining social connections. But figuring out healthy ways to socialize virtually can require being intentional.
The coronavirus pandemic now ravaging the United States should lead every American to a series of important questions: What are the real threats that I face? What has my government been prioritizing in terms of my - and the nation’s - security? And where has all my tax money been going? It’s hard not to conclude that the American government’s national security priorities have been so askew of reality that they left the country dramatically unprepared for an acute threat to millions of its people. The government’s focus has been overwhelmingly on the threat of extremist groups and unfriendly regimes abroad, mostly in the Middle East. These confrontations have won America an ever-growing list of enemies around the world. But their impact on the United States itself is now also being painfully revealed: a country that has spent trillions on foreign wars but is unable to defend its citizens from basic threats like disease and economic collapse. The last few weeks have revealed a spectacle of a federal government apparently incapable of doing what is required to stop the spread of a pandemic on American soil. Meanwhile, the avalanche of military spending that was released after the September 11 attacks continues to roll onwards. According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project, the U.S. government has spent a staggering $6.4 trillion on its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since 2001. Interest payments on the borrowing needed to pay for the wars ... could run to as much as $8 trillion by midcentury.
The U.S.-supported military coup in Bolivia has largely disappeared from western news outlets ever since the November 2019 massacres of pro-democracy protesters by the right-wing faction that seized power. But for Bolivians, the repression and tyranny that replaced their stable and thriving democracy endures. What makes the coup in Bolivia and its aftermath so worthwhile to explore is not just the inherent importance of Bolivia itself: a country of 11 million people with a rich and unique ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, as well as an ample supply of the now-vital resource of lithium. It is also instructive because of how U.S. discourse evolved in support of the coup, with supposed “foreign policy experts” across the political spectrum ... spouting outright falsehoods to depict the destruction of Bolivian democracy as the salvation of it. Since the coup last October, many of the key claims used to justify the ousting of Morales ... have been proven to have been lies. Yet not a single one of the foreign policy “experts” or media outlets have acknowledged their errors or even addressed these subsequent revelations, because they know that there are never any consequences for journalists and analysts as long as they remain subservient to the U.S. government agenda. Bolivia is but the latest of a long line of thriving, stable democracies destroyed with the support if not the outright participation of the U.S. government, while jingoistic media figures disseminated the propaganda used to justify it all.
Note: Watch journalist Glenn Greenwald interview experts on the Bolivian coup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski, an ex-convict and lecturer, has transformed his life through education after he earned his undergraduate degree and two master’s while serving a 16-year jail sentence. Without any qualification, he managed to defy the odds and studied to earn a degree from The Open University and two master’s from Oxford Brooks. Stephen was serving a 16-year jail sentence for the importation of class A drugs. In spite of the major setbacks and bitter life experiences, Stephen managed to transform his life, and his extraordinary story has inspired many across the world. Stephen defines his decision to pursue a degree as a "seminal moment in his life". Stephen is now studying for his PhD in criminology while working part-time as the regional manager for The Open University’s Students. In 2019, 17 inmates, police officers and former convicts graduated from the Kamiti Maximum Prison in Nairobi with law degrees from the University of London. Ten of the inmates were drawn from Kenyan and Ugandan prisons, three were former convicts who enrolled for the program while still in prison while the rest were prison officers and one African Prison Project staff. John Muthuri, the legal aid manager noted there were few lawyers to serve more than 54,000 prisoners in the country and as such the project would ensure convicts behind bars got affordable legal representation. “We are creating innovative ways to ensure that everyone behind bars who can’t afford legal representation is represented,” Muthuri said.
2020 marks the 82nd year that researchers at Harvard University began following 724 college age men as part of the longest running study in history on human development. Their objective? To determine what factors lead to healthy and happy lives. Key results suggest that happiness and health do not result from fame and fortune. Instead, as the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development Robert Waldinger put it, the clearest message to emerge is, “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” Close relationships ... are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes. Research from University College London found that people with a greater sense of purpose in life lived longer than those with the lowest sense of purpose. A study conducted with the elderly showed those who helped others lived longer lives. Researchers from Norway found that women who rated high for humor had a 48 percent lower risk of death from all causes. Research from University College London showed people who felt younger had a lower death rate than those who felt their own age or older. A Harvard study found the most optimistic people had a 16 percent lower risk of death from cancer, a 38 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and respiratory disease, and a 39 percent lower risk of dying from stroke. Research from UC Berkeley shows that experiencing awe can actually impact health by reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Note: The above article contains a great list of questions designed to help improve wellbeing. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Just because someone has limited mobility, does that mean they should be limited to traversing smooth pavement? Not according to husband-and-wife team Zack and Cambry Nelson, who are now marketing their off-road motorized "wheelchair." Known as The Rig and made mainly from bicycle parts, the vehicle was initially developed by Zack to help Cambry take part in their outdoor adventures. It features an aluminum frame with detachable bumpers, a padded adjustable seat, a 1,000-watt ebike motor linked to the rear axle by a chain drive, dual steering handles, front hydraulic disc brakes, plus 4-inch-wide fatbike tires on each of its four wheels. Front and rear independent suspension is an optional extra, as is a second lithium battery for added range. The whole thing measures 5 ft long by 32 inches wide by 41 in tall (1,524 by 812 by 1,041 mm), and tips the scales at a claimed 120 lb (54 kg) – that's with the suspension package, and a single battery. One charge of that battery should reportedly be good for a range of 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 km), depending on usage and rider weight. And while it can't accommodate a second passenger in the back, it does have a cargo-mounting system that allows gear such as camping supplies, a cooler or a conventional wheelchair to be brought along for the ride. The Rig is now available for pre-order in a choice of seven frame colors, with prices starting at US$4,750. For reference, some other electric off-road wheelchairs we've seen are priced at $10,000 or more.
Note: Watch a fun and inspiring video of this awesome invention. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers. That makes them 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops. The analysis also showed that Latino men and boys, black women and girls and Native American men, women and children are also killed by police at higher rates than their white peers. But the vulnerability of black males was particularly striking. “That 1-in-1,000 number struck us as quite high,” said study leader Frank Edwards. The number-crunching by Edwards and his coauthors also revealed that for all young men, police violence was one of the leading causes of death in the years 2013 to 2018. The findings ... add hard numbers to a pattern personified by victims like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray. Five years after police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., fatally shot Michael Brown, protesters and activist groups have focused public attention on the disproportionate use of force against African Americans and other people of color. Scientists, meanwhile, are increasingly studying police violence as a public health problem. A study published in the Lancet last year found that police killings of unarmed black men were associated with an increase in mental health problems such as depression and emotional issues for black people living in the state where the killing took place.
Note: Just as a comparison, so far in the U.S., about one in 2,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 according to official figures. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
What Americans need to understand about the race to find vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 is that in the U.S., even when companies appear to downshift from maximum greed levels – and it's not at all clear they've done this with coronavirus treatments – the production of pharmaceutical drugs is still a nearly riskless, subsidy-laden scam. Americans reacted in horror five years ago when a self-satisfied shark of an executive named Martin Shkreli, a.k.a. the "Pharma Bro," helped his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raise the price of lifesaving toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Shkreli, who smirked throughout congressional testimony ... was held up as a uniquely smug exemplar of corporate evil. Really, the whole industry is one big Shkreli, and Covid-19 – a highly contagious virus with unique properties that may require generations of vaccinations and booster shots – looms now as the ultimate cash cow for lesser-known Pharma Bros. "The power of the industry combined with fear is driving extraordinary spending," says U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who has been ... warning about pandemic profiteering. "It all suggests rosy times ahead for the pharmaceutical industry." Recent House and Senate emergency-spending bills allocate as much as $20 billion or more for vaccine development, and another $6 billion for manufacturing and distribution. "The public will pay for much research and manufacturing," says Doggett. "Only the profits will be privatized."
U.S. stocks are hovering near a record high, a stunning comeback since March that underscores the new phase the economy has entered: The wealthy have mostly recovered. The bottom half remain far from it. Jobs are fully back for the highest wage earners, but fewer than half the jobs lost this spring have returned for those making less than $20 an hour. The pandemic is causing especially large gaps between rich and poor, and between White and minority households. It is also widening the gap between big and small businesses. Some of the largest companies, such as Nike and Best Buy, are enjoying their highest stock prices ever while many smaller businesses fight for survival. Some economists have started to call this a “K-shaped” recovery because of the diverging prospects for the rich and poor, and they say policy failures in Washington are exacerbating the problems. For many of the unemployed, the downturn is lasting far longer than they had anticipated. Nearly 80 percent of furloughed or laid-off workers thought they would be rehired, a Washington Post-Ipsos poll conducted April 27-May 4 found. Yet so far, only 42 percent of jobs have returned. “This has been a very clear K-shaped recovery,” says Peter Atwater ... at the College of William & Mary. “The biggest and wealthiest have been on a clear path toward recovery. Meanwhile, for most small businesses and those worst off, things have only become worse. The contrast is piercing: One group feels better than ever while the other borders on hopelessness.”
Federal charging documents unsealed Tuesday describe how the company, FirstEnergy, spent $60 million to get House Speaker Larry Householder and his favored candidates elected, securing in return a $1.3 billion bailout, paid for by Ohio ratepayers. Householder and Jeff Longstreth, a top aide ... set up Generation Now, a secretive political nonprofit that could raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. “Having secured Householder’s power as Speaker, the Enterprise transitioned quickly to fulfilling its end of the corrupt bargain with Company A — Passing nuclear bailout legislation,” the complaint reads. After Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill ... opponents, allied with natural-gas and environmental interests in the state, got to work trying to repeal it. They cleared an initial hurdle, collecting 1,000 valid signatures from voters. They had until Oct. 21 to gather hundreds of thousands more signatures. FirstEnergy and FirstEnergy Solutions sent $38 million to Generation Now. The campaign spent millions on mailers and ads discouraging Ohioans from signing the petitions. It also hired petition firms to prevent them from working for the repeal side. “For example,” the complaint reads,” in a meeting on July 24, 2019, which was recorded, [lobbyist Neil] Clark stated that he wired about $450,000 today hiring signature collections people to not work.” Some of the petitioners worked as “blockers,” disrupting the other side’s signature gathering efforts by following them around and making possible signers uncomfortable.
So now we know: Sweden got it largely right, and the British establishment catastrophically wrong. Anders Tegnell, Stockholm’s epidemiologist-king, has pulled off a remarkable triple whammy: far fewer deaths per capita than Britain, a maintenance of basic freedoms and opportunities, including schooling, and, most strikingly, a recession less than half as severe as our own. Politicians can react in one of three ways to a pandemic. They can do nothing, and allow the disease to rip until herd immunity is reached. Quite rightly, no government has pursued this policy, out of fear of mass deaths and total social and economic collapse. The second approach involves imposing proportionate restrictions to facilitate social distancing, banning certain sorts of gatherings while encouraging and informing the public. The Swedes pursued a version of this centrist strategy: there was a fair bit of compulsion, but also a focus on retaining normal life and keeping schools open. There was no formal lockdown. The third option is the full-on statist approach, which imposes a legally binding lockdown and shuts down society. Almost all economists thought that Sweden’s economy would suffer hugely from its idiosyncratic strategy. They were wrong. Sweden’s GDP fell by just 8.6 per cent in the first half of the year ... and its excess deaths jumped 24 per cent. By contrast, Britain’s economy slumped by 22.2 per cent in the first half of the year, a performance almost three times as bad as Sweden’s, and its excess deaths shot up by 45 per cent.
Note: A Swedish MD on the front lines shares thoughts on why Sweden's COVID death rate has been in the single digits for weeks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on Americans' mental health, according to a new survey out Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It found elevated levels of symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders, substance use and suicidal ideation among U.S. adults, and identified populations at increased risk, including young people, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and caregivers of adults. More than 40% of respondents who completed surveys during June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, and 11% reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days prior. The data's greatest value, experts say, is the spotlight it shines on vulnerable populations. "It is showing that this breakdown in our society, the breakdown of the safety net, the breakdown of economic security is taking a massive toll," said Anna Mueller, a suicide researcher and professor of sociology at the Indiana University Bloomington. "These breakdowns really show how crucial economic stability and economic security are to an individual's well being. Because the people who are more vulnerable in terms of their socioeconomic status, people who are being put in harm's way, those are the people who are suffering the most." The survey found 75% of respondents 18-24 reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom and serious suicidal ideation among this group was 25%.
Small businesses are disappearing by the thousands amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the drag on the economy from these failures could be huge. This wave of silent failures goes uncounted in part because real-time data on small business is notoriously scarce, and because owners of small firms often have no debt, and thus no need for bankruptcy court. Yelp Inc., the online reviewer, has data showing more than 80,000 permanently shuttered from March 1 to July 25. About 60,000 were local businesses, or firms with fewer than five locations. About 800 small businesses did indeed file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy from mid-February to July 31, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the trade group expects the 2020 total could be up 36% from last year. While the businesses are small individually, the collective impact of their failures could be substantial. Firms with fewer than 500 employees account for about 44% of U.S. economic activity, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration report, and they employ almost half of all American workers. About 58% of small business owners say they’re worried about permanently closing, according to a July U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey. In a June 2020 NFIB survey, a net 31% of owners reported lower sales in the past three months, while 7% reported higher sales a year earlier. In the same survey, only 13% of business owners said it was a good time to expand, a dip from 24% a year earlier.
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma should not be able to make any more political contributions without a judge’s permission, lawyers for its creditors said in a court filing. The issue came up this week after it was reported that the company, which has a long history of influencing policymakers, made contributions to national associations representing state attorneys general and governors. The money was sent after Purdue entered bankruptcy protection last year in an effort to settle thousands of lawsuits accusing it of helping spark an opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that has contributed to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S.. State attorneys general are among those trying to negotiate a nationwide settlement. The committee of creditors that asked for recipients to return the money to Purdue said the contributions represent a conflict. “The Political Contributions — $185,000 in donations to associations whose members include the very public servants with whom the Debtors are attempting to negotiate a consensual resolution of these cases — are precisely the sort of transaction that demand close scrutiny,” they said in a filing. In 2016, an investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that Purdue and other companies in the opioid industry, along with the advocacy groups largely funded by the industry, spent more than $880 million from 2006 through 2015 to influence state and local governments. Those efforts helped fight off restrictions on drug prescriptions.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
When Trinity Jagdeo’s best friend was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, a rare and serious degenerative disease, Trinity wished her friend had a hero she could relate to, someone to inspire her. She couldn’t find one. So she created one. “Seeing what my best friend was going through, I wanted to do more for others like her.” In 2014, her friend Alexus Dick was hospitalized for six months. “I took note of how drained she was. She had nobody to look up to while she was going through that battle.” Trinity’s first instinct was to reach out to Disney, asking for more characters with disabilities or special needs. “I wrote them letters, made Youtube videos. I didn’t receive a response, so I decided to create my own non-profit, and I began writing and illustrating my own books that featured local special-needs kids.” Alexus was thrilled when she saw Trinity’s comic books starring heroes with disabilities. “I was excited when I realized what she was doing. She was right, there were no characters with disabilities.” Trinity ... found an inexpensive drawing pad that connected to her computer, and she began to use Amazon’s publishing tools. “I put the entire thing together, and they’d print it out for me.” This was when Trinity was 17. Trinity has written and illustrated three books so far. “I love all of the kids I write about, and they all inspire me. I actually illustrated Alexus’s brother, who also has spinal muscular atrophy.” His book is titled “Zappy Zane.” Her other two titles are “Alice the Ace” and “The We Can Squad Saves the Day.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
When we think about people who are behind bars for crimes simple or heinous, our minds take us to a place of judgment. We may view inmates as less than: less intelligent, less successful, less worthy of love and support. We may see them as “other.” The reality is, we may all be a few experiences away from potentially committing a crime. A video that poignantly highlights the dynamics that could lead to incarceration is called Step Inside the Circle. It begins with a group of 235 men in blue uniforms in a yard of a maximum-security prison. Barbed wire and guards surround them. They tower over a petite blond woman wearing a black and white t-shirt that says There Is No Shame. She carries a megaphone through which she invites them to step inside the circle if they have experienced verbal or physical abuse and neglect, if they lived in a home without feeling loved, if they had given up on themselves. One by one and then in multitudes, they join Fritzi Horstman as together they chant “There is no shame,” over and over. A group of them move indoors and sit in a circle of chairs with Horstman admitting her own wounds that led to criminal activity. That opened the door for the participants to describe the wounds they have carried for much of their lives. [The] men were visibly moved, some wiping their eyes, some providing brotherly support and admitted that they were breaking the code by being vulnerable. They discovered that it was a unifying experience and they felt less isolated as a result.
Days after Argentina canceled all international passenger flights to shield the country from the new coronavirus, Juan Manuel Ballestero began his journey home the only way possible: He stepped aboard his small sailboat for what turned out to be an 85-day odyssey across the Atlantic. The 47-year-old sailor could have stayed put on the tiny Portuguese island of Porto Santo. But the idea of spending what he thought could be “the end of the world” away from his family, especially his father who was soon to turn 90, was unbearable. So he said he loaded his 29-foot sailboat with canned tuna, fruit and rice and set sail in mid-March. He was no stranger to spending long stretches of time at sea, but being alone on the open ocean is daunting to even the most experienced sailor. “I wasn’t afraid, but I did have a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “It was very strange to sail in the middle of a pandemic with humanity teetering around me.” Several weeks into the trip, when his spirits were low, Mr. Ballestero said he was buoyed by wildlife sightings that felt like omens. He found solace in a pod of dolphins that swam alongside his boat, on and off, for some 2,000 miles. When he made it to his native Mar del Plata, on June 17, he was startled by the hero’s welcome he received. “Entering my port where ... all this originated, gave me the taste of a mission accomplished,” he said. While he didn’t get to celebrate his father’s 90th birthday in May, he did make it home in time for Father’s Day.
We’re headed into a global depression–a period of economic misery that few living people have experienced. Depressions don’t just generate ugly stats and send buyers and sellers into hibernation. They change the way we live. COVID-19 fears will bring lasting changes to public attitudes toward all activities that involve crowds of people and how we work on a daily basis; it will also permanently change America’s competitive position in the world and raise profound uncertainty about U.S.-China relations going forward. Most postwar U.S. recessions have limited their worst effects to the domestic economy. But most were the result of domestic inflation or a tightening of national credit markets. That is not the case with COVID-19 and the current global slowdown. This is a synchronized crisis, and just as the relentless rise of China over the past four decades has lifted many boats in richer and poorer countries alike, so slowdowns in China, the U.S. and Europe will have global impact on our globalized world. The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the unemployment rate will remain stubbornly high for the next decade, and economic output will remain depressed for years unless changes are made to the way government taxes and spends. Those sorts of changes will depend on broad recognition that emergency measures won’t be nearly enough to restore the U.S. economy to health. What’s true in the U.S. will be true everywhere else.
Note: A CNN article dated Aug. 15th is titled "1 in 4 young people are reporting suicidal thoughts." A USA Today article states, "More than 40% of respondents who completed surveys during June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, and 11% reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days prior." It's possible that deaths from suicide, domestic violence, hunger, and more will significantly exceed the number of virus deaths. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
For 23 years, Larry Collins worked in a [toll] booth. But one day in mid-March, as confirmed cases of the coronavirus were skyrocketing, Collins’ supervisor called and told him not to come into work the next day. Collins’ job was disappearing, as were the jobs of around 185 other toll collectors at bridges in Northern California, all to be replaced by technology. The drive to replace humans with machinery is accelerating as companies struggle to avoid workplace infections of COVID-19 and to keep operating costs low. The U.S. shed around 40 million jobs at the peak of the pandemic. Some will never return. One group of economists estimates that 42% of the jobs lost are gone forever. This replacement of humans with machines may pick up more speed in coming months as companies move from survival mode to figuring out how to operate while the pandemic drags on. Robots could replace as many as 2 million more workers in manufacturing alone by 2025. “Look at the business model of Google, Facebook, Netflix. They’re not in the business of creating new tasks for humans,” says Daron Acemoglu, an MIT economist. The U.S. government incentivizes companies to automate, he says, by giving tax breaks for buying machinery and software. A business that pays a worker $100 pays $30 in taxes, but a business that spends $100 on equipment pays about $3 in taxes, he notes. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered taxes on purchases so much that “you can actually make money buying equipment,” Acemoglu says.
More than two decades ago, police in Shreveport, La. stopped Fair Wayne Bryant on the side of the road for allegedly stealing a pair of hedge clippers. His vehicle looked like one that had been used in a recent home burglary, they told the black 38-year-old moments before arresting him. Bryant insisted the clippers police found in the van belonged to his wife, but he did make a confession to the officers: After his vehicle had broken down ... he had entered a carport in search of a tank of gas. That disclosure would eventually land Bryant life in prison. Last week, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a request from Bryant to hear a review of his life sentence. Six of the seven justices backed the decision. The lone Black judge on the bench was the only one to disagree. In a searing dissent, Chief Justice Bernette Johnson said Bryant’s sentence was only due to Louisiana’s harsh habitual offender laws. “Mr. Bryant has already spent nearly 23 years in prison and is now over 60 years old,” she wrote. “If he lives another 20 years, Louisiana taxpayers will have paid almost one million dollars to punish Mr. Bryant for his failed effort to steal a set of hedge clippers.” The decision from the state supreme court gives Bryant few, if any, options for recourse to leave Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola ... which is also the site of a former slave plantation. In her dissent, Johnson — the court’s first Black chief justice — drew a straight line from slavery to the laws that she said enabled Louisiana prosecutors to send Bryant to Angola for the rest of his life.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
As protesters around the country have marched against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, activists have spotted a recurring presence in the skies: mysterious planes and helicopters hovering overhead, apparently conducting surveillance on protesters. A press release ... revealed that the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Marshals Service were asked by the Justice Department to provide unspecified support to law enforcement during protests. A few days later, a memo obtained by BuzzFeed News ... revealed that shortly after protests began in various cities, the DEA had sought special authority from the Justice Department to covertly spy on Black Lives Matter protesters on behalf of law enforcement. Both the DEA and the Marshals possess airplanes outfitted with so-called stingrays or dirtboxes: powerful technologies capable of tracking mobile phones or, depending on how they’re configured, collecting data and communications from mobile phones in bulk. That data can be used to identify people — protesters, for example — and track their movements during and after demonstrations, as well as to identify others who associate with them. They also can inject spying software onto specific phones. Stingrays are routinely used to target suspects in drug and other criminal investigations, but activists also believe the devices were used during protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, and against Black Lives Matter protesters over the last three months.
Note: Read more about invasive "stingray" technology and the secrecy surrounding its use. Learn how Google is siphoning all information about you it can get. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
In Vallejo, California, a former police captain is alleging a secretive ritual that has triggered an independent investigation into the city's embattled police force: he says some officers involved in fatal shootings since 2000 bent the tips of their star-shaped badges to mark each time they killed someone in the line of duty. Former Vallejo police Capt. John Whitney, a 19-year department veteran and former SWAT commander who was fired from his job last August, first described the alleged tradition in an interview published this week. Officers involved in fatal shootings marked those incidents with backyard barbecues and were initiated into a "secretive clique" that included curving one of the tips of their seven-point sterling silver badge. Vallejo, a Bay Area community of 122,000 people, has been in the spotlight for its high number of fatal police shootings ... compared with other California cities. Last month, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the Department of Justice will undertake an "expansive review" of the Vallejo Police Department after lawsuits claiming excessive force and residents' demands for an outside investigation into officers' actions. Whitney learned about the bending of badges in April 2019, two months after the fatal shooting of the rapper Willie McCoy, 20. McCoy was asleep in his car at a fast-food restaurant. Police said they discovered his car was locked and in drive, and saw a handgun on his lap. As McCoy woke up, six of the officers opened fire with 55 rounds.
Note: Find lots more on police gangs that target certain groups in this revealing Guardian article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Chad Wolf, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, responded to media reports that unidentified federal agents using unmarked vehicles have been arresting protesters in Portland, Oregon. Since early July, men in military-style uniforms have waged battle against protesters there ... with what looks like a regular army moving on unarmed protesters night after night. On behalf of the D.H.S. and its uniformed services, Wolf claimed responsibility for the armed presence in Portland. He asserted that his agency was doing exactly what it was created to do. He was right. The original proposal for the D.H.S. described the agency as “a new government structure to protect against invisible enemies that can strike with a wide variety of weapons”; one hypothetical example of an invisible enemy was “a non-citizen that intends to enter our nation and attack one of our chemical facilities.” The nation used to protect itself against other nations and their hostile military forces, but now it had to fear individuals. This is the premise on which secret police forces are built. The secret police, even when it looks and appears to act like an army, always has a single individual as its target. As we learn more about what is happening in Portland - as footage of federal troops waging war on protesters floods social media ... we are watching the perfect and perhaps inevitable combination of a domestic-security superagency and a President who rejects all mechanisms of accountability.
It's a fairly ordinary evening on TikTok, the video-sharing app. Things do not seem so different on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, where a live streaming boom has minted new social media millionaires. Behind the scenes, however, Chinese streamers are subject to an elaborate regime of automated surveillance and censorship. One system can use facial recognition to scan live streamers' broadcasts and guess their age. Another checks whether users' faces match their state ID cards. Another system assigns streamers, who are expected to uphold "public order and good customs", a "safety rating", similar to a "credit score". If the score dips below a certain level, they are punished automatically. Meanwhile, speech and text recognition is used to ferret out sins such as "feudal superstition" [and] defamation of the Communist Party. These methods are laid bare in a little-known document from TikTok and Douyin's parent company, ByteDance, and unearthed by New York City journalist Izzy Niu, which explains how the apps have adapted China's strict internet censorship laws to the unprecedented speed and chaos of live streaming. The document raises difficult questions for TikTok, which faces privacy probes in the US and UK and has already been banned in India. Some of these methods are common in the West, too. Both Facebook and YouTube use AI to police their services, and have massively expanded their censorship during the pandemic.
It looks like an ordinary commercial warehouse, only much bigger. When the lights come on, hundreds of thousands of shrink-wrapped boxes of medicines emerge from the gloom, stacked on shelves nearly five stories high. This [warehouse] and several others across the country are part of the $7 billion Strategic National Stockpile, a government repository of drugs and supplies ready for deployment in a bioterrorism or nuclear attack, or ... other major public health emergency. For nearly two decades, the repository has been almost exclusively managed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That will change under a Trump administration plan to shift oversight of the $575 million program. Public health officials and members of Congress ... worry the move will disrupt a complex process that relies on long-standing relationships. Experts also question whether the administration’s plan will politicize decision-making about products bought for the stockpile. The office of the assistant secretary for preparedness and response (ASPR) oversees the process by which the government awards contracts to private biotechnology companies that develop and manufacture medicines. The CDC then is responsible for buying and replenishing the materials. Come October, however, the ASPR will be in charge of choosing the products and then purchasing them for the stockpile. Critics say it will allow biotech companies to lobby for more of their specialized, and often more expensive, drugs to be included.
Note: With a $7 billion price tag, big Pharma is making money hands over fist on this repository which is almost never used. Most of these drugs have a shelf life of well under 10 years, so major parts of this huge inventory go to waste every year and have to be disposed of. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Scientists have developed new technology that can turn seawater into clean drinking water in less than 30 minutes. Researchers based in Australia used a metal-organic framework (MOF), a type of lattice-like crystal, to desalinate water. The hollow framework of pores separates the salty solute within the brackish water or even saltier seawater, in a process known as molecular sieving. Under dark conditions, the framework absorbs salts and other impurities in the water in 30 minutes. The MOF itself is then regenerated for reuse in just four minutes, using sunlight to remove the adsorbed salts. The light-responsive MOF was used to filter harmful particles from water and generate 139.5 litres of clean water per kilogram of MOF per day. Scientists say their technology is more energy-efficient than current desalination practices, including reverse osmosis, and could provide potable water for millions globally. Water scarcity is one of the largest global risks in the upcoming years, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Thermal desalination processes by evaporation using solar energy are widely used to produce fresh water, but can be highly energy intensive. 'Sunlight is the most abundant and renewable source of energy on Earth,' said Professor Huanting Wang ... at Monash University in Australia. 'Our development of a new adsorbent-based desalination process through the use of sunlight for regeneration provides an energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable solution for desalination.'
At only 10 years old, [Devan Watkins] went from being an energetic sports-oriented kid to one with paraplegia navigating a new way of life from a wheelchair. It wasn’t long before he learned about adaptive sports from his physical therapist who suggested he try wheelchair basketball. Devan attended his first practice in his regular wheelchair, and for the first time since his surgery, he realized he was not alone with his new disability. Trooper Johnson coached the league along with Team USA’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball superstar, Jorge Sanchez. Jorge mentored Watkins on his new journey and introduced the Watkins family to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), the world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF has given over 26,000 grants to individuals with permanent physical disabilities. As a growing 12-year-old, Devan soon found it harder to fit in the borrowed basketball wheelchairs the league offered. His mom applied for a CAF grant. He was invited to attend the Golden State Warriors practice facility for a special surprise. What he didn’t know was that Jorge Sanchez and CAF had been working behind the scenes with the Warriors to orchestrate a surprise. Devan was escorted into Chase Stadium and ... Coach Steve Kerr rolled out a brand new customized PER4MAX® basketball wheelchair on behalf of CAF. “I was very shocked. This piece of equipment and all the tips from Jorge Sanchez are so helpful,” Devan said after shooting a few hoops.
In a year of astonishing reversals, one of the biggest may turn out to be President Trump’s emergence as the unlikely savior of America’s national parks. The president tweeted that he will sign the Great American Outdoors Act, which will provide billions of dollars to repair and maintain the country’s 419 national park sites and help to protect public lands in all 50 states. Hailed as “a conservationist’s dream,” the act will be the biggest land conservation legislation in a generation. How did we get here? For the past three years, the Trump administration has been undermining safeguards for public lands. Earlier this year, Trump proposed draconian cuts to the National Parks budget and Land and Water Conservation Fund. The administration’s dramatic about-face is largely due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. As the economy struggles in the deepest crisis since the 1930s, local communities that rely on visitors and tourism associated with national parks are desperate to protect their assets. The Great Outdoors Act is long overdue. The parks budget has been flat for two decades. The new legislation ... establishes a National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund that will provide up to $9 billion to fix deferred maintenance at national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other federal lands. It also guarantees $900 million per year in perpetuity for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which enables state and local governments to acquire land for recreation and conservation..
Note: This bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump on August 4. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The Dutch government says it will not advise the public to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, asserting that their effectiveness has not been proven. The decision was announced by Minister for Medical Care Tamara van Ark after a review by the country's National Institute for Health (RIVM). The government will instead seek more adherence to social distancing rules after a surge in coronavirus cases in the country this week, Van Ark said. "Because from a medical perspective there is no proven effectiveness of masks, the cabinet has decided that there will be no national obligation for wearing non-medical masks" The decision bucks the trend as many European countries have made masks mandatory in stores or crowded outdoor areas. RIVM chief Jaap van Dissel said that the organisation was aware of studies that show masks help slow the spread of disease but it was not convinced they will help during the current coronavirus outbreak in the Netherlands. He argued wearing masks incorrectly, together with worse adherence to social distancing rules, could increase the risk of transmitting the disease. "So we think that if you're going to use masks (in a public setting)... then you must give good training for it," he said. Masks are currently required only on public transportation in the Netherlands and in airports. The decision followed a meeting of health and government officials after new coronavirus cases in the country rose to 1329 in the past week, an increase of more than a third.
Note: Sweden, the country which chose not to lock down, also does not require masks. Their death rates have been in the single digits per day for a couple weeks now. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
As other countries face renewed outbreaks, Sweden’s latest Covid-19 figures suggest it’s rapidly bringing the virus under control. “That Sweden has come down to these levels is very promising,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told reporters in Stockholm on Tuesday. The Health Agency of Sweden says that since hitting a peak in late June, the infection rate has fallen sharply. That’s amid an increase in testing over the period. “The curves are going down and the curves for the seriously ill are beginning to approach zero,” Tegnell said. The development follows months of controversy over Sweden’s decision to avoid a full lockdown. The unusual strategy coincided with a much higher Covid-19 mortality rate than elsewhere in the Nordic region. On Tuesday, Sweden reported two new deaths, bringing the total to 5,702. Tegnell also broached the subject of face masks. “With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport,” he said. Tegnell has consistently argued that Sweden’s approach is more sustainable than the sudden lockdowns imposed elsewhere. With the risk that Covid-19 might be around for years, he says completely shutting down society isn’t a long-term option. Meanwhile, many countries that thought they’d brought the virus under control are now seeing second waves. Tegnell called those developments “worrying.” “The positive trend is reversing, with an increase in the number of cases in Spain, Romania and Belgium, among others,” he said.
Note: In the 7 days ending Aug. 14th, Sweden had a total of 14 deaths from COVID-19 and the numbers continue to decline. By comparison, California with four times the population had 949 deaths. Why isn't the media talking more about Sweden's success without any lockdown? The Dutch government is also not advising the public to wear masks, claiming their effectiveness has not been proven. Why is the media overall so biased against Sweden? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Amid fears over a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus across Europe, new infections in Sweden, where full lockdown measures were not implemented, have mostly declined since late June. The number of new cases per 100,000 people in Sweden reported over the last 14 days since July 29 dropped by 54 percent from the figure reported over 14 days prior to then, according to the latest report Wednesday from the ... WHO. Meanwhile, other parts of Europe have reported large spikes in new cases over the same period, including Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, which have seen increases between 40 and 200 percent over the last month. The seven-day rolling average of Sweden's daily new cases has been dropping consistently since June 29. The seven-day rolling average of daily new deaths in Sweden has also been declining since around April 15. The country's latest seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases and daily new deaths stand at 154 and 2. Last week Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at Sweden's public health agency ... said the nation's controversial anti-lockdown strategy has been a success. Tegnell noted: "In many ways the voluntary measures we put in place in Sweden have been just as effective as complete lockdowns in other countries. We are now seeing rapidly falling cases, we have continuously had healthcare that has been working. The failure [of the strategy] has of course been the death toll…that has been very much related to the long-term care facilities in Sweden. Now that has improved, we see a lot less cases in those facilities," Tegnell said.
Note: Sweden, the country which chose not to lock down, also does not require masks. Their death rates have been in the single digits per day for a couple weeks now. As mentioned above, the seven-day rolling average is two deaths a day. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
An additional 6.7 million children under the age of five could suffer from wasting – and therefore become dangerously undernourished – in 2020 as a result of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF warned today. According to an analysis published in The Lancet, 80 per cent of these children would be from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Over half would be from South Asia alone. “It’s been seven months since the first COVID-19 cases were reported and it is increasingly clear that the repercussions of the pandemic are causing more harm to children than the disease itself,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Household poverty and food insecurity rates have increased. Essential nutrition services and supply chains have been disrupted. Food prices have soared. As a result, the quality of children’s diets has gone down and malnutrition rates will go up.” Wasting is a life-threatening form of malnutrition, which makes children too thin and weak, and puts them at greater risk of dying, poor growth, development and learning. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 47 million children were already wasted in 2019. Without urgent action, the global number of children suffering from wasting could reach almost 54 million over the course of the year. This would bring global wasting to levels not seen this millennium. The estimated increase in child wasting is only the tip of the iceberg, UN agencies warn. COVID-19 will also increase other forms of malnutrition in children and women.
A leading epidemiologist says "thousands of people" will be quarantined in isolation facilities for months - and possibly years - into the future. University of Otago professor of public health Michael Baker's appearance on Newshub Nation on Saturday comes after multiple cases of people breaking out of their facilities. Prof Baker says ... we need to be prepared for a "long-term risk management challenge". "Mistakes happen, and we have to learn from them and improve our systems so we don't repeat those errors," he [said]. "We're going to have thousands of people sitting in these facilities, quarantined in isolation facilities for months, maybe years ahead." The latest escapee, a person in their 60s, broke the window of the Waipuna Hotel in Auckland on Friday and climbed out of the building. Their escape is the fourth since last Saturday, when a woman scaled two fences to escape from Auckland's Pullman Hotel. On Tuesday, a 32-year-old man snuck through a gap in the Stamford Plaza fencing and visited an inner-city supermarket. Prof Baker says we need to look at why these people feel the need to escape from the isolation facilities. ACT leader David Seymour said the Government needs to start profiling travelers based on their risk of absconding. "The vast majority of people entering New Zealand will pose absolutely no risk of absconding from managed isolation and quarantine facilities," he said in a statement. "But a tiny minority will be a risk. The Government should ... place them under tighter security."
Note: Baker likely is not referring to individuals being detained for years, but to these policies continuing for years. A second MSN article includes a video describing how police are now guarding the quarantine facilities in New Zealand, which is being called "managed isolation." The "managed isolation" aka quarantine policy started in April. As this article states, "every person arriving in New Zealand will have to go into compulsory quarantine as a measure to try and combat Covid-19." For more, see summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
More than 600 of the nation’s physicians sent a letter to President Trump this week calling the coronavirus shutdowns a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing negative health consequences” to millions of non COVID patients. “The downstream health effects ... are being massively under-estimated and under-reported," according to the letter initiated by Simone Gold, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist. “Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%,” the letter said. Other silent casualties: “150,000 Americans per month who would have had new cancer detected through routine screening.” From missed cancer diagnoses to untreated heart attacks and strokes to increased risks of suicides, “We are alarmed at what appears to be a lack of consideration for the future health of our patients.” The physicians’ letter focuses on the impact on Americans’ physical and mental health. “The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse. “It is impossible to overstate the short, medium, and long-term harm to people’s health with a continued shutdown,” the letter says. “Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful events, and the effect on a person’s health is not lessened because it also has happened to 30 million [now 38 million] other people.”
Scientists have devised a way to use the antibody-rich blood plasma of COVID-19 survivors for an upper-arm injection that they say could inoculate people against the virus for months. Using technology that's been proven effective in preventing other diseases such as hepatitis A, the injections would be administered to high-risk healthcare workers, nursing home patients, or even at public drive-through sites. But the idea exists only on paper. Federal officials have twice rejected requests to discuss the proposal, and pharmaceutical companies — even acknowledging the likely efficacy of the plan — have declined to design or manufacture the shots. The antibodies in plasma can be concentrated and delivered to patients through a type of drug called immune globulin, or Ig, which can be given through either an IV drip or a shot. Yet for the coronavirus, manufacturers are only developing an intravenous solution of Ig. Intravenous plasma products are traditionally the main economic driver for the industry. The money-making antibodies are also far more diluted in intravenous drugs than in injectable ones, which boosts profit margins. “They charge a fortune off of intravenous drugs in the hospital. They don't want to devote the manufacturing plant to something that won't make oodles of money,” said one infectious disease expert. Researchers also said industry executives have little incentive to produce the immunity shots for the coronavirus, given the possibility that a longer-lasting vaccine could replace it within a year.
Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies – most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug – have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March, according to figures compiled for The New York Times. The sudden windfalls highlight the powerful financial incentives for company officials to generate positive headlines in the race for coronavirus vaccines and treatments, even if the drugs might never pan out. Some officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have grown concerned about whether companies are trying to inflate their stock prices by exaggerating their roles in Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. In some cases, company insiders ... appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out while their stock prices are sky high. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress. "It is inappropriate for drug company executives to cash in on a crisis," said Ben Wakana, executive director of Patients for Affordable Drugs. "Every day, Americans wake up and make sacrifices during this pandemic. Drug companies see this as a payday."
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday directed the intelligence branch of his department to cease collecting information involving journalists and ordered a review of the incident that was made public on Thursday. The department "will no longer identify US members of the media in our intelligence products," he wrote ... adding that he is ordering an "immediate review of the circumstances surrounding the collection and dissemination of intelligence on US members of the press." The order comes a day after The Washington Post reported that DHS compiled "intelligence reports" about the work of two American journalists covering protests in Portland, Oregon, in what current and former officials called an alarming use of a government system meant to share information about suspected terrorists. The revelations that DHS collected and disseminated information on journalists comes amid increased scrutiny of the department's handling of the unrest in Portland. Homeland Security officials have warned in recent weeks that the increased politicization of law enforcement risks undercutting public trust in the department. One of the journalists DHS collected information on wrote in a series of tweets responding to the Post story, "What is troubling about this story is that I&A shared my tweets *as intelligence reporting,* that is, an intelligence arm of the government filed a report on a citizen for activity at the heart of journalism: revealing newsworthy information about government to the public."
Dr. Brooke Herndon, an internist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, could not stop coughing. Dr. Kathryn Kirkland, an infectious disease specialist at Dartmouth, had a chilling thought: Could she be seeing the start of a whooping cough epidemic? By late April, other health care workers at the hospital were coughing. It was the start of a bizarre episode at the medical center: the story of the epidemic that wasn’t. For months, nearly everyone involved thought the medical center had had a huge whooping cough outbreak, with extensive ramifications. Nearly 1,000 health care workers ... were given a preliminary test and furloughed from work until their results were in; 142 people, including Dr. Herndon, were told they appeared to have the disease; and thousands were given antibiotics and a vaccine for protection. The whole thing was a false alarm. Now, as they look back on the episode, epidemiologists and infectious disease specialists say the problem was that they placed too much faith in a quick and highly sensitive molecular test that led them astray. Such tests are coming into increasing use and may be the only way to get a quick answer in diagnosing diseases like whooping cough, Legionnaire’s, bird flu, tuberculosis and SARS. There are no good estimates of their error rates. But their very sensitivity makes false positives likely, and when hundreds or thousands of people are tested, as occurred at Dartmouth, false positives can make it seem like there is an epidemic.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Imagine a world where wireless devices are as small as a grain of salt. These miniaturized devices have sensors, cameras and communication mechanisms to transmit the data they collect back to a base in order to process. Today, you no longer have to imagine it: microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), often called motes, are real and they very well could be coming to a neighborhood near you. With such a small size, these devices can stay suspended in an environment just like a particle of dust. They can: Collect data including acceleration, stress, pressure, humidity, sound and more from sensors; Process the data with what amounts to an onboard computer system; Store the data in memory; Wirelessly communicate the data to the cloud, a base or other MEMs. Since smart dust devices are miniature sensors they can record anything that they are programmed to record. Since they are so small, they are difficult to detect. Your imagination can run wild regarding the negative privacy implications when smart dust falls into the wrong hands. Once billions of smart dust devices are deployed over an area it would be difficult to retrieve or capture them if necessary. The volume of smart dust that could be engaged by a rogue individual, company or government to do harm would make it challenging for the authorities to control. Many of the applications for smart dust are still in the concept stage. We might not know when it will progress to the point of wide-scale adoption, but ... it’s a question of when rather than if.
Note: This takes privacy issues to an entirely new level. This AP article states the supermicro chips are "just 0.002 inches by 0.002 inches and look like bits of powder. They're thin enough to be embedded in a piece of paper." They are also small enough to slip into a vaccine unnoticed. And check out another Forbes article titled "Stratospheric Balloons Will Rain Tiny Electronic Spies From The Sky." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
A project to decentralize the internet that you’ve never heard of has more capacity than all other blockchain projects put together: 5-10X more, according to its founder. The project is called ThreeFold, and it’s not your typical blockchain startup. Instead, it’s a long-term project to rewire the internet in the image of its first incarnation: decentralized, unowned, accessible, free. “We have 18,000 CPU cores and 90 million gigabytes, which is a lot of capacity,” founder Kristof de Spiegeleer [said]. “Less than 20 companies actually own more than 80% of the internet capacity, which is the storage and the compute. It really needs to be something like electricity. It needs to be everywhere and everyone needs to have access to it. It needs to be cost effective, it needs to be reliable, it needs to be independent.” That would be a fundamentally different kind of internet: one we all collectively own rather than just one we all just use. It requires a lot of different technology for backups and storage, for which ThreeFold is building a variety of related technologies: peer-to-peer technology to create the grid in the first place; storage, compute, and network technologies to enable distributed applications; and a self-healing layer bridging people and applications. Oh, and yes. There is a blockchain component: smart contracts for utilizing the grid and keeping a record of activities. So ... you have people providing actual tangible services for others in exchange for some degree of cryptocurrency reward.
It started with a simple message on Facebook on April 29. George Ahearn had heard about farmers in Eastern Washington who were giving away potatoes and onions and wanted to know if someone had a truck he could borrow to haul the discarded crops to Western Washington food banks. The response was immediate and dramatic. A convoy of four trucks, including two with trailers, made the trip east, helping provide quite a bounty for local food banks. “We brought back 9.36 tons when my original goal was 2,000 pounds (one ton),” Aheard said. The effort didn’t end there. EastWest Food Rescue is now a registered nonprofit organization, having delivered more than 2.4 million pounds of crops to more than 160 food banks. Not only is it helping with food security, but the organization is paying the farmers, who saw the market for some of their crops vanish during the coronavirus pandemic. “The whole thing started because of COVID,” said Nancy Balin, who answered Ahearn’s initial request and is now one of three directors of the program. “They immediately lost all the restaurant contracts they had for these restaurant-quality potatoes and onions.” Meanwhile, unemployment was spiking everywhere, along with the need for food. “People who had never needed food before needed food banks, and these farmers have potatoes that they need to get rid of,” Balin said. The goal now is 10 million pounds of food rescued, which Balin said will take $250,000 in donations in addition to hundreds of volunteer hours.
Somewhere in the vast ocean, a little boat covered in solar panels is doing something extraordinary: making its own hydrogen fuel from the seawater underneath it. The Energy Observer uses a patchwork of different cutting-edge technologies to generate enough energy to power nine homes each day. During the day, 200 square meters of solar panels charge up the boat's lithium ion batteries. Any extra energy is stored as hydrogen, thanks to a special fuel cell that goes by the name Rex H2 (short for Range Extender H2). The Rex H2 was made by Toyota, using components from Toyota's hydrogen-powered Mirai vehicle line. The fuel cell brings in seawater, removes the salt and then separates the H from the pure H20 with electricity. When the Energy Observer began its journey in 2017, it could only produce hydrogen while stopped. That changed in a big way with the addition of the Oceanwings, 12-meter sails that improved the efficiency of the Energy Observer from 18% to 42%, to the point where it can now produce hydrogen even while sailing. One of the main benefits of hydrogen is its ability to store more more electricity by weight than its lithium ion competition. This benefit is especially useful at sea. Because fossil fuels have had more than a century's head start, we now find ourselves far beyond the point of any one technology being a silver bullet for our growing energy needs. A sustainable future will require a patchwork of new technologies, like the one powering the Energy Observer.
Back in the Nineties, socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was known in New York as the “female Gatsby” for her lavish entertaining. Today ... she is behind bars. The daughter of the disgraced media tycoon Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine was his ninth and ... his favourite. When her father died, his publishing empire collapsed after it was found that he had been pillaging the pension fund to prop up his businesses. However, a trust fund provided an income of £80,000 a year for Ghislaine. She lived the high life. Ghislaine was never more at home than with the super-rich, bumming a ride on Donald Trump’s private jet and dating billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein. Ghislaine was in love with Jeffrey the way she was in love with her father. Marriage didn’t happen, but she was always by his side, choreographing his world. “My job included hiring many people,” she said in a court deposition. She admitted hiring masseuses as young as 17. A source close to Ghislaine said in [a] Vanity Fair article: “When I asked what she thought of the under age girls, she looked at me and said, ‘They’re nothing, these girls. They are trash.’” She was driven to only respect high status and wealth. Things started to unravel for Ghislaine ... when under-age girls accused Epstein of paying them to perform sexual acts. Ghislaine fought to keep the court papers from [a] 2017 defamation case closed – and failed. On August 9, the first batch was released. The following day, Epstein was found dead in jail, presumed suicide, and Ghislaine vanished. On Thursday, Maxwell was finally arrested and charged with six federal crimes.
Note: Key Epstein witness Maria Farmer claimed in a highly revealing interview with crack reporter Whitney Webb that she was in the car with Ghislaine and Trump's ex-wife Ivana when they enticed young girls to come give a massage for large amounts of money. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources. 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.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a 'statistical flaw'. Academics found Public Health England's methods ... count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later. Thousands of coronavirus deaths will be wiped off the government's official toll. Public Health England ... admitted that a coronavirus death is one that happens to anyone who has previously tested positive, regardless of how long ago the test happened. It would've meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England's confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease. The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England's official toll of 41,749. Mr Hancock is set to bring the figures in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which only attribute deaths to Covid-19 if it occurs within a month of their diagnosis. The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University's Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Yoon Loke. Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the prestigious [University of East Anglia commented], 'If it's someone who picked up the virus in a care home in March and recovered, and last week died of a heart attack, what does that actually tell us?' Ministers are thought to be planning a huge reform of PHE following a series of failings by the beleaguered agency. Separate figures ... revealed overall deaths in England and Wales are still below the number usually expected at this time of year, based on an average from the previous five years.
Note: A recent Newsweek article is titled "Florida Man Killed in Crash Listed as COVID-19 Death, Raising Doubts Over Health Data." Could it be that some officials are wanting to inflate the figures? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
According to a July 17 study published in the International Journal of Geriatrics and Rehabilitation, 50 percent of nucleic acid coronavirus tests distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided inaccurate results. The study's lead author, Sin Hang Lee, MD, director of Milford Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, found that the testing kits gave a 30 percent false-positive rate and a 20 percent false-negative rate. To determine these false-positive and false-negative rates, the Connecticut State Department of Public Health Microbiology Laboratory provided Lee 20 tests, which were then re-tested using his own methodology, which examines samples on a cellular level, rather than just testing fluid with no cellular matter from potentially infected oral and nasal secretions. While the results of Lee's testing may be alarming, they also pointed to yet another discovery: new mutations of the virus. Two tests that initially provided false-negatives and one test that yielded a positive result were actually found to be positive for coronavirus and a mutation of the virus, meaning two variants of the virus can simultaneously infect one person. However, it's not just the test you use that may be contributing to inaccurate results—when you get tested is important, too. Getting tested the day a person is infected with coronavirus will likely yield a 100 percent false-negative rate; by day 8 after becoming infected, however, that rate drops to just 20 percent.
Note: Explore an excellent, well-researched article further questioning the validity of these tests. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A Pentagon UFO unit will make some investigations public as ex-advisors suggest that “vehicles not made on this earth” were placed in US government storage. The team will update the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee on its unidentified flying object (UFO) research every six months, The New York Times reported. Publicly named in 2019 as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, the Pentagon unit succeeded an investigative UFO program that was said to have been disbanded prior to 2017. One former official, Eric Davis, [said] that he briefed the US Department of Defense in March about the retrieval of “off-world vehicles not made on this earth”. The Pentagon consultant and subcontractor said objects he believed “we couldn’t make ... ourselves” were discovered during his time on the unit, where he has worked since 2007. Whilst no crash artifacts have ever been documented in public, Harry Reid – the former Democratic Senate majority leader – told The Times that he “came to the conclusion” that UFO materials were in the government’s possession. “After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” said the former senator for Nevada. acting intelligence committee chairman Marco Rubio said last week that his priority was to uncover who was behind unidentified flying vehicles seen over American military bases.
Note: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, declared publicly long ago that there have been crashed ET craft and material has been recovered. Many military officers have made similar claims. The government appears to be doing a slow roll-out on UFOs and ETs. For undeniable evidence from generals and government officials testifying to their personal knowledge of and involvement in a major UFO cover-up for decades, see this concise summary. For more along these lines, see our deeply revealing UFO Information Center.
Mr. Ton-That — an Australian techie and onetime model — did something momentous: He invented a tool that could end your ability to walk down the street anonymously. His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants. Without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year. The computer code underlying its app ... includes programming language to pair it with augmented-reality glasses; users would potentially be able to identify every person they saw. The tool could identify activists at a protest or an attractive stranger on the subway, revealing not just their names but where they lived, what they did and whom they knew. And it’s not just law enforcement: Clearview has also licensed the app to at least a handful of companies for security purposes. Because the police upload photos of people they’re trying to identify, Clearview possesses a growing database of individuals who have attracted attention from law enforcement. The company also has the ability to manipulate the results that the police see.
Note: For lots more on this disturbing new technology, read one writer's personal experience with it. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
On June 26, a small South San Francisco company called Vaxart made a surprise announcement: A coronavirus vaccine it was working on had been selected by the U.S. government to be part of Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. The race is on to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and some companies and investors are betting that the winners stand to earn vast profits from selling hundreds of millions – or even billions – of doses to a desperate public. Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members ... are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies – most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug – have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March. Senior officials appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress. Some companies are attracting government scrutiny for ... using their associations with Operation Warp Speed as marketing ploys. Vaxart's news release declared: "Vaxart's Covid-19 Vaccine Selected for the U.S. Government's Operation Warp Speed." But Vaxart is not among the companies selected to receive significant financial support from Warp Speed.
Note: MSN strangely removed this article a few days after posting it. A similar article by the New York Times titled "The race for a coronavirus vaccine is making some corporate insiders very rich" is available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Sweden famously took a totally different approach to its Nordic neighbours in trying to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Swedish strategy allowed people to keep living largely as normal. Stores and restaurants remained open – so too did many schools. With a COVID-19 death toll of 5,700, Sweden’s mortality rate from the disease is now around a quarter higher than that of the United States, when adjusted for population size. However, authorities insist that the number of deaths has considerably dropped in recent weeks. "We've actually seen a clearly declining trend in the number of patients in intensive care and also in the number of deaths since the middle of April," said Anna Mia Ekström ... at Stockholm’s Karolinksa Institute. So how close is Sweden to possibly reaching herd immunity? We don’t know at this point. Scientists are still trying to figure out whether immunity from the new coronavirus can even be reached – and for how long. Ekström noted that the reproduction number of the epidemic – or R number, which measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to – has now fallen in Sweden to around 0.6, meaning transmission is declining. The number of people with antibodies against the new coronavirus, meanwhile, is increasing. Data published by Sweden’s public health agency in June showed that about 10 per cent of people in Stockholm – the nation's worst affected area – had developed antibodies to COVID-19, more than anywhere else in the country.
Note: The number of new cases and deaths in Sweden has dropped significantly while the U.S. other non-European countries are seeing a rise in both, according to this MSN article. For the month of July 2020, Sweden had 370 deaths while California had 3,200 deaths. California has a population about four times that of Sweden, yet California with its strict lockdown had almost 10 times as many deaths as Sweden, which is one of the few countries that chose not to lock down. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Pandemics can be indiscriminate. COVID-19 has been different. The disease has shown a special animus for older people, with those 65-plus considered at especially high risk for hospitalization and death, and those 18 and below catching a semblance of an epidemiological break. Adolescents ... are likelier to experience milder symptoms or none at all. But if COVID-19 is sparing most kids’ bodies, it’s not being so kind to their minds. In one study out of China, published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers in Hubei province, where the pandemic originated, examined a sample group of 2,330 schoolchildren for signs of emotional distress. The kids had been locked down for ... an average of 33.7 days. 22.6% of them reported depressive symptoms and 18.9% were experiencing anxiety. Then too there is ... the economy, which continues to struggle badly. A 2018 paper published in Health Economics ... studied economic conditions in the U.S. from 2001 to 2013 and found that during the Great Recession, a 5-percent-age-point increase in the national unemployment rate correlated with an astounding 35% to 50% increase in “clinically meaningful childhood mental-health problems.” With unemployment now exceeding 11%, [health-policy researcher Ezra] Golberstein expects to see more of the same emotional blowback. “When the economy is in a bad place, kids’ mental health gets worse,” he says. “Children who were struggling before [the pandemic] are at higher risk now,” says psychologist Robin Gurwitch.
Note: For the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. GDP plunged 32.9% according to this CNBC article. The lockdown policies are clearly damaging not only the health of the economy, but of the children as well. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.
Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared. The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself. The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous. "The current best estimates for the infection fatality risk are between 0.5% and 1%," says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. That's in contrast with death rates of 5% or more based on calculations that included only people who got sick enough to be diagnosed with tests that detect the presence of virus in a person's body. And the revised estimates support an early prediction by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In an editorial published in late March ... Fauci and colleagues wrote that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 "may be considerably less than 1%." The new evidence is coming from places such as Indiana, which completed the first phase of a massive testing effort early in May. Indiana's infection fatality rate turned out to be about 0.58%, or roughly one death for every 172 people who got infected. In New York ... an antibody study indicated the state has an infection fatality rate around 0.5%. Studies in Florida and California have suggested even lower fatality rates.
Big corporations accused of driving environmental and health inequalities in black and brown communities through toxic and climate-changing pollution are also funding powerful police groups in major US cities, according to a new investigation. Some of America’s largest oil and gas companies, private utilities, and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels also back police foundations – opaque private entities that raise money to pay for training, weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for departments across the US. The investigation by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit corporate and government accountability research institute ... details how police foundations in cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Washington, New Orleans and Salt Lake City are partially funded by household names such as Chevron, Shell and Wells Fargo. Police foundations are industry groups that provide substantial funds to local departments, yet, as nonprofits, avoid much public scrutiny. The investigation details how firms linked to fossil fuels also sponsor events and galas that celebrate the police, while some have senior staff serving as directors of police foundations. The report portrays the fossil fuel industry as a common enemy in the struggle for racial and environmental justice. “Many powerful companies that drive environmental injustice are also backers of the same police departments that tyrannize the very communities these corporate actors pollute,” it states.
Research shows that acts of kindness make us feel better and healthier. Kindness is also key to how we evolved and survived as a species, scientists say. We are hard-wired to be kind. Psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky has put that concept to the test in numerous experiments over 20 years and repeatedly found that people feel better when they are kind to others, even more than when they are kind to themselves. “Acts of kindness are very powerful,” Lyubomirsky said. In one experiment, she asked subjects to do an extra three acts of kindness for other people a week and asked a different group to do three acts of self-kindness. The people who were kind to others became happier and felt more connected to the world. The same occurred with money, using it to help others versus helping yourself. Lyubomirsky said she thinks it is because people spend too much time thinking and worrying about themselves and when they think of others while doing acts of kindness, it redirects them away from their own problems. Oxford’s [Oliver] Curry analyzed peer-reviewed research like Lyubomirsky’s and found at least 27 studies showing the same thing: Being kind makes people feel better emotionally. But it’s not just emotional. It’s physical. Lyubomirsky said a study of people with multiple sclerosis ... found they felt better physically when helping others. She also found that in people doing more acts of kindness that the genes that trigger inflammation were turned down more than in people who don’t.
For Paul Stamets, the phrase “mushroom hunt” does not denote a leisurely stroll with a napkin-lined basket. This morning, a half-dozen of us are struggling to keep up with the mycologist. He points to a clutch of plump oyster mushrooms halfway up an alder trunk. “These could clean up oil spills all over the planet,” he says. He ducks beneath a rotting log, where a rare, beehive-like Agarikon dangles. “This could provide a defense against weaponized smallpox.” He plucks a tiny, gray Mycena alcalinafrom the soil and holds it under our noses. “Smell that? It seems to be outgassing chlorine.” To Stamets, that suggests it can break down toxic chlorine-based polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. Most Americans think of mushrooms as ingredients in soup or intruders on a well-tended lawn. Stamets, however, cherishes a grander vision, one trumpeted in the subtitle of his 2005 book, Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. Mushroom-producing fungi, he believes, can serve as game changers in fields as disparate as medicine, forestry, pesticides and pollution control. He describes mycelium, the web of fibrous tissue from which mushrooms spring, as “the neurological network of nature,” a “sentient membrane” that has “the long-term health of the host environment in mind.” To some, such language seems uncomfortably metaphysical. Yet Stamets’ ideas have gained an expanding audience among mainstream scientists, environmental engineers, federal officials and Silicon Valley investors.
Note: The stunningly beautiful documentary Fantastic Fungi takes you on an amazing journey through the wild and wonderful world of mushrooms. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
When wildfires burned across Northern California in October 2017, they killed at least 43 people and displaced another 100,000. The human toll alone was dire, but the fires also left behind a toxic mess. The charred detritus of paint, pesticides, cleaning products, electronics, pressure-treated wood, and propane tanks left a range of pollutants in the soil—including arsenic, asbestos, copper, hexavalent chromium, lead, and zinc. In Sonoma County, a coalition of fire remediation experts, local businesses, and ecological activists mobilized to cleanse the foundations of burned-out buildings with mushrooms. The Fire Remediation Action Coalition placed more than 40 miles of wattles—straw-filled, snakelike tubes designed to prevent erosion—inoculated with oyster mushrooms around parking lots, along roads, and across hillsides. Their plan? The tubes would provide makeshift channels, diverting runoff from sensitive waterways. The mushrooms would do the rest. The volunteers, led by Sebastopol-based landscape professional Erik Ohlsen, are advocates for “mycoremediation,” an experimental bioremediation technique that uses mushrooms to clean up hazardous waste, harnessing their natural ability to use enzymes to break down foreign substances. Research suggests mushrooms can convert pesticides and herbicides to more innocuous compounds, remove heavy metals from brownfield sites, and break down plastic.
Note: The stunningly beautiful documentary Fantastic Fungi takes you on an amazing journey through the wild and wonderful world of mushrooms. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
One by one, vaccine developers at a White House roundtable convened by President Donald Trump in early March pitched their product as a viable solution to the coronavirus. StĂ©phane Bancel of Moderna Inc. glanced across the table at the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and said he is "very proud to be working with the US government and to have already sent, in only 42 days from the sequence of the virus, our vaccine to Dr. Fauci's team at the NIH." Bancel went on to say that he needed just "a few months" to start phase two of a three-part clinical trial of the sort that typifies vaccine development. (The entire process often takes more than a decade.) The day after the roundtable, the FDA green-lit Moderna's product for trial, making it the first vaccine candidate to advance to the first phase of a clinical study, in which an as-yet unapproved vaccine is injected into the arms of a small group of 45 human volunteers. The effort received another boost on April 16, when the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) awarded Moderna up to $483 million to accelerate the development and manufacturing of the vaccine. The FDA allowed Moderna's RNA vaccine ... to essentially gloss over the animal-testing that typically precede clinical trials in humans. [Moderna's former director of chemistry Dr. Suhaib] Siddiqi said this is cause for alarm. "I would not let that [vaccine] be injected in my body," he said. "I would demand: Where is the toxicity data from the lab?"
Note: Read a New York Times/MSN article titled "Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Federal law enforcement officers have used unmarked vehicles to detain protesters in Portland. Videos shared online show officers driving up to people, detaining them without explanation, then driving off, Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported. The ACLU filed a lawsuit Friday evening to try and end what it called "lawlessness" on the streets of Portland. The lawsuit ... seeks to block the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies from attacking journalists and legal observers at protests. "Federal agents are terrorizing the community, threatening lives, and relentlessly attacking protesters demonstrating against police brutality," the ACLU said. "This is not law and order. This is lawlessness — and it must be stopped." Conner O’Shea, 30, a Portland resident who’s been attending protests for almost two months, told USA Today that early Thursday morning, around 2 a.m. he and a friend had left protests downtown and were walking back to their car when they were suddenly pursued by men who they believed to be federal agents. O’Shea did not see any sort of identifying markers on the men — badges or numbers or words on their camouflage uniforms. O’Shea managed to get away. But his friend Mark Pettibone, 29, has told media he was arrested and booked by federal agents. Pettibone told the Washington Post that officers placed him in a holding cell in a federal courthouse, where he was read his Miranda rights. After Pettibone ... declined to answer questions, he was released.
Note: Read a CNN article questioning the degree to which we are moving towards martial law. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Christopher David had watched in horror as videos surfaced of federal officers in camouflage throwing protesters into unmarked vans in Portland. The 53-year-old Portland resident had heard the stories: protesters injured, gassed, sprayed with chemicals that tugged at their nostrils and burned their eyes. David, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former member of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, said he wanted to know what the officers involved thought of the oath they had sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. So, he said, on Saturday evening, he headed to downtown Portland to ask them. He asked one woman when the feds would show up, but she said it was also her first protest since the Department of Homeland Security deployed tactical units from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to bolster protections for federal buildings. Just as he was about to leave, David said, the federal officers emerged. “Why are you not honoring your oath?” he bellowed. “Why are you not honoring your oath to the Constitution?” An officer trained his weapon on David’s chest as several agents pushed him, sending David stumbling backward. But he regained his center and tried again. Another agent raised his baton and began to beat David, who stood unwavering with his arms at his sides. Then another officer unloaded a canister of chemical irritant spray into David’s face. At the hospital, he said, he learned his right hand had been broken in two places.
The strange and frightening images of unidentified military-looking men taking protesters off the streets of Portland, Oregon, and into unmarked vans may be headed to a city near you if that city is, as President Donald Trump declared Monday, run by "liberal Democrats." The teams of masked authorities seen in Portland dressed up for war like special forces apparently belong to the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Unit. They're trained for drug missions, but ... they've been dispatched to American streets. Trump suggested more federal agents will soon be headed to more American cities. The fact that DHS would deploy its own warriors into American streets without much discussion and without a clear mandate (they're vaguely supposed to be protecting federal buildings?) is dark-of-night dystopian stuff. Meanwhile, the militarized response has led to more violent levels of protest in Portland, where racial justice and anti-police brutality demonstrations have lasted more than 50 days. The atmosphere has not been helped by the efforts of federal agents, according to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who called the administration's actions "abhorrent." "People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars," Wheeler [said]. Both Wheeler and Oregon's governor have demanded the federal authorities leave. And multiple House committee chairs are also calling for an immediate watchdog investigation.
The son of a federal judge was killed and her husband injured when a gunman opened fire at their family home in New Jersey on Sunday night. New Jersey U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas' 20-year-old son Daniel Anderl was killed in the attack in North Brunswick, New Jersey, by a suspect dressed in a FedEx uniform. Salas was not injured in the shooting. North Brunswick Mayor Francis Womack told ABC News that Anderl died after being "shot through the heart." Womack said Salas received threats "from time to time" in the past but she is not believed to have received any recently. On July 15, four days before the shooting, Salas was assigned to the ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies. The suit also alleged the bank failed to properly monitor "high-risk" customers, including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Salas was nominated by President Barack Obama and was confirmed in 2011 having previously served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey. Her most high-profile case in recent years was the sentencing of Real Housewives of New Jersey reality TV stars Teresa and Joe Giudice for financial fraud charges. Salas allowed the pair to serve their time consecutively so one could raise their four children while the other was in jail.
Note: Media reports say the killer was Den Hollander, whose resume on his website states he once worked for Kroll Associates Russia. This Washington Post article states, "The French equivalent of the FBI ... suspected that Kroll's Paris operation was a CIA front." This New Yorker article states Kroll "has hired plenty of graduates of the C.I.A. and other secret services, such as M.I.6 and the Mossad." Is it just a coincidence these murder took place just days after Judge Salas was assigned to the Epstein case? Much more on this available here by crack reporter Whitney Webb.
The drug that buoyed expectations for a coronavirus treatment and drew international attention for Gilead Sciences, remdesivir, started as a reject. To make progress, Gilead needed help from U.S. taxpayers. Lots of help. Three federal health agencies were deeply involved in remdesivir’s development every step of the way, providing tens of millions of dollars of government research support. Federal agencies have not asserted patent rights to Gilead’s drug. That means Gilead will have few constraints other than political pressure when it sets a price. “Without direct public investment and tax subsidies, this drug would apparently have remained in the scrapheap of unsuccessful drugs,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.) ... said earlier this month. Doggett and Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) have asked Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for a detailed financial accounting of federal support for remdesivir’s discovery and development. Watchdog groups ... have documented the large taxpayer-funded contributions toward the drug. Public Citizen estimates public investment at a minimum of $70 million. An independent organization that measures the cost-effectiveness of drugs said Gilead could be justified in charging up to $4,500 for a 10-day course of treatment for a single coronavirus patient. But advocates, citing a study by academic researchers on what it costs to make the drug, have said Gilead could break even by charging $1 per dose.
Note: According to this CNBC article Gilead is charging from $2,000 to $3,120 per patient despite huge subsidies. Gilead is the same company which developed Tamiflu and licensed it to Roche. Aggressive sales of Tamiflu to governments around the world brought profits of over $1 billion yet almost none of the doses sold were ever used, as described in this Reuters article. The study that is being used to tout Remdesivir was conducted by none other than Gilead. Could there be conflict of interest here? For more, see summaries of revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption.
Pediatricians say students should be in classrooms for in-person learning as soon as possible – the most full-throated endorsement yet for getting children back into schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and one that was included in a set of recommendations released by the American Academy of Pediatrics for how schools should safely reopen. "The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020," the group representing 67,000 pediatricians wrote. "Lengthy time away from school ... often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality." The recommendations acknowledge that infectious disease experts are still learning about the effects of COVID-19. But the academic, physical and mental upsides associated with reopening outweigh the risks, the group concludes, especially as evidence mounts that children ... tend to exhibit milder symptoms when they do contract the virus. Perhaps most importantly, the pediatric group concludes, reopening is essential for the country's most vulnerable students, including poor students and students of color.
Over the last two months, Chinese citizens have had to adjust to a new level of government intrusion. Getting into one’s apartment compound or workplace requires scanning a QR code, writing down one’s name and ID number, temperature and recent travel history. Telecom operators track people’s movements while social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo have hotlines for people to report others who may be sick. Some cities are offering people rewards for informing on sick neighbours. Chinese companies are meanwhile rolling out facial recognition technology that can detect elevated temperatures in a crowd or flag citizens not wearing a face mask. A range of apps use the personal health information of citizens to alert others of their proximity to infected patients. Experts say the virus ... has given authorities a pretext for accelerating the mass collection of personal data to track citizens. “It’s mission creep,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. According to Wang, the virus is likely to be a catalyst for a further expansion of the surveillance regime. Citizens are particularly critical of a system called Health Code, which users can sign up for through Alipay or WeChat, that assigns individuals one of three colour codes based on their travel history, time spent in outbreak hotspots and exposure to potential carriers of the virus. The software, used in more than 100 cities, will soon allow people to check the colours of other residents when their ID numbers are entered.
Note: Learn in this New York Times article how everyone in China is given a red, yellow, or green code which determines how free they are to move about and even enter businesses. This article shows how foreigners are being stopped instantly from making live podcasts from China using facial recognition technology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
As a kid growing up in 1960s Chicago, Daryl Davis was shocked when his parents explained that White children were throwing rocks at him during a Cub Scouts parade because he was Black. This ... left a burning question in Davis’ mind: “How can you hate me if you do not know me?” A blues pianist, whose energetic style led him to perform with the likes of Chuck Berry, B.B. King, and Jerry Lee Lewis, Davis would commit his life to seeking out answers to that question, often with his music and his Christian faith as equalizers. But a performance ... in 1983 would leave its mark. He had been approached, after a set, by a member of the audience who told him he had never seen a Black man who could play like Jerry Lee Lewis. That began a conversation that would reveal a surprising truth: The man making the comment was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This revelation sparked the beginning of a 30-year journey that for Davis involved sitting down with members of the Klan and other White supremacists, attending their rallies and cross burnings—all in a search for answers. By tackling prejudices head-on, Davis believes he succeeded in persuading more than 200 KKK members and other white supremacists to disavow their allegiances. Many became friends, including Scott Shepherd, a former Grand Dragon of the KKK in Tennessee. The two regularly travel together to help shine a light on white supremacy and address the spread of racism through dialogue and education.
Note: Davis' work reforming white supremacists is the subject of an inspiring new documentary. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
More than a million people may have quit smoking in Britain during the pandemic, figures have suggested. A survey of 10,000 people indicated that across the country as many as 400,000 people aged 16 to 29 dropped their smoking habit during lockdown, and 240,000 aged over 50. It is believed another 400,000 aged 30-49 have also quit since April, according to analysis by the charity Action on Smoking and Health and University College, London. It is thought to be explained by the health threat, as Covid-19 has severe effects on the respiratory system. A public health drive is now being launched to encourage more people to give up smoking. The figures have been published to coincide with a new campaign, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, which hopes to target smokers in areas with the highest rates of smoking, such as England's north east. Matt Hancock has set a Government target for the UK to become smoke-free by 2030. Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of ASH, said: "This campaign is designed to encourage those who have not yet succeeded in stopping to wake up, and decide that today is the day to stop smoking." Dr Ruth Sharrock, a respiratory consultant who is supporting the campaign, said: “Every day of my working life I see the terrible health problems caused by smoking. But I have also been inspired by those already suffering from smoking related diseases, who have still managed quit and get health benefits from this.”
Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born. What is going on? The fertility rate - the average number of children a woman gives birth to - is falling. If the number falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to fall. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 - and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100. As a result, the researchers expect the number of people on the planet to peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century. It is being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children. In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story. A smaller population would reduce carbon emissions as well as deforestation for farmland. Says Prof [Christopher] Murray ... "It will create enormous social change."
Note: The full article at the link above largely paints decreasing population as a problem. One of the greatest fears for many years was that global overpopulation would destroy our planet. Why is the news that global population will decline being spun here as a problem? Why not celebrate this good news? Could it be that the media profits from selling fear? For more on this great shift, see this inspiring information.
Ingersoll Lockwood, an American political writer [combined] science fiction and fantasy into his novels from the late 1800s. Two of his most popular works of literature were illustrated children's stories, focusing on a peculiar fictional character: Baron Trump. Trump, an aristocratically wealthy young man living in Castle Trump, is the protagonist of Lockwood's first two fictional novels. The little boy ... is bored of the luxurious lifestyle he has grown so accustomed to. Trump visits Russia to embark on an extraordinary adventure that will shape the rest of his life. There are some incredible connections to be made to the first family of the United States and Lockwood's novels. For starters, the main character's name is the same as President Donald Trump's son, albeit spelt differently. Trump's adventures begin in Russia, and are guided thanks to directions provided by "the master of all masters," a man named "Don." But by Lockwood's third novel, The Last President, things become even more eerily linked to the present day. The story begins with a scene from a panicked New York City in early November, describing a "state of uproar" after the election of an enormously opposed outsider candidate. "Mobs of vast size are organizing under the lead of anarchists and socialists, and threaten to plunder and despoil the houses of the rich who have wronged and oppressed them for so many years. The Fifth Avenue Hotel will be the first to feel the fury of the mob," the novel continues, citing an address in New York City where Trump Tower now stands.
Note: Not mentioned in this article is that Donald Trump's uncle John Trump, was a brilliant MIT scientist whose work involved X-rays and World War II radar research. His NY Times obituary states his work "provided additional years of life to cancer patients throughout the world." A New Yorker article states, "in 1943 the F.B.I. had enough faith in his technical ability and his discretion to call him in when Nikola Tesla died." He has become the subject of strange time travel theories related to Qanon on the Internet that stem from his real-life connection to engineer and inventor Nikola Tesla.
When Oswald Bilotta landed his dream job as a sales representative for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in 1999, he thought he'd be doing good. He had no idea that just over a decade later, he'd be part of a vast federal investigation into kickbacks at Novartis and that he'd be paying cash bribes to doctors while wearing a wire for prosecutors. On July 1, Ozzie Bilotta's years long effort to blow the whistle at Novartis paid off. The Justice Department announced a $678 million settlement with the company over improper inducements it made to doctors to prescribe 10 of the company's drugs, including the anti-hypertension drug Lotrel. The deal represents the biggest whistleblower settlement under the federal anti-kickback law, Bilotta's lawyer said. Bilotta ... could receive a pretax sum of $75 million through the settlement. In the settlement, Novartis admitted to "certain conduct" alleged by the government and will sharply curtail practices exposed by Bilotta that gave doctors incentives to prescribe its drugs. Novartis derived at least $40 million as a result of the conduct, money that was paid by federal health care programs, the government said. "For more than a decade, Novartis spent hundreds of millions of dollars on so-called speaker programs, including speaking fees, exorbitant meals, and top-shelf alcohol that were nothing more than bribes to get doctors across the country to prescribe Novartis's drugs," said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney for southern New York, whose office prosecuted the case.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Sweden’s decision to keep schools open during the pandemic resulted in no higher rate of infection among its schoolchildren than in neighboring Finland, where schools did temporarily close, their public health agencies said in a joint report. Sweden decided to forego a hard lockdown and keep most schools and businesses open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, a divisive strategy that set it apart from most of Europe. Its Public Health Agency has maintained that the negative consequences of a shutdown on the economy and society outweigh the benefits, and says this also applies to schools. During the period of February 24 to June 14, there were 1,124 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among children in Sweden, around 0.05% of the total number of children aged 1-19. Finland recorded 584 cases in the same period, also equivalent to around 0.05%. “In conclusion, (the) closure or not of schools had no measurable direct impact on the number of laboratory confirmed cases in school-aged children in Finland or Sweden,” the agencies said in the report. Sweden’s death toll of 5,572, when compared relative to population size, far outstripped those of its Nordic neighbors, although it remains lower than in some European countries that locked down, such as Britain and Spain. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the health agency, who has devised Sweden’s response to the epidemic, has said there is little evidence linking the death toll to the absence of a lockdown.
Note: Explore an excellent article on Sweden's underreported success in dealing with COVID-19. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests, distorting several important metrics and providing the country with an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. We’ve learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus. The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons. This is not merely a technical error. The upshot is that the government’s disease-fighting agency is overstating the country’s ability to test people who are sick with COVID-19. States have set quantitative guidelines for reopening their economies based on these flawed data points. Several states - including Pennsylvania, the site of one of the country’s largest outbreaks, as well as Texas, Georgia, and Vermont - are blending the data in the same way. Virginia likewise mixed viral and antibody test results until last week, but it reversed course and the governor apologized for the practice. These results damage the public’s ability to understand what is happening in any one state. On a national scale, they call the strength of America’s response to the coronavirus into question. The number of tests conducted nationwide each day has more than doubled in the past month. At the same time, the portion of tests coming back positive has plummeted.
Most new Covid-19 hospitalizations in New York state are from people who were staying home and not venturing much outside, a “shocking” finding, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The preliminary data was from 100 New York hospitals involving about 1,000 patients. It shows that 66% of new admissions were from people who had largely been sheltering at home. The next highest source of admissions was from nursing homes, 18%. Cuomo said nearly 84% of the hospitalized cases were people who were not commuting to work through car services, personal cars, public transit or walking. He said a majority of those people were either retired or unemployed. Overall, some 73% of the admissions were people over age 51. He said the information shows that those who are hospitalized are predominantly from the downstate area in or around New York City, are not working or traveling and are not essential employees. He also said a majority of the cases in New York City are minorities, with nearly half being African American or Hispanic. Cuomo said the state’s hospitalization rate has continued to decline, although at a “painfully slow” rate. He said around 600 infected people were still walking through hospital doors every day, although that number has also declined. While data shows the coronavirus is on the decline in New York, the new survey results appear to clash with Cuomo’s prior assurances that isolation can reliably prevent transmission.
Coronavirus patients without symptoms aren’t driving the spread of the virus, World Health Organization officials said Monday, casting doubt on concerns by some researchers that the disease could be difficult to contain due to asymptomatic infections. Preliminary evidence from the earliest outbreaks indicated that the virus could spread from person-to-person contact, even if the carrier never develops symptoms. But WHO officials now say that while asymptomatic spread can occur, it is not the main way it’s being transmitted. “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said. The virus is primarily spread via respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes or if they touch a contaminated surface, scientists say. WHO officials say Covid-19 can also spread in the so-called pre-symptomatic stage — a few days before a patient shows symptoms. More research and data are needed to “truly answer” the question of whether the coronavirus can spread widely through asymptomatic carriers, Van Kerkhove added. “We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing,” she said. “They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.”
Note: This official was immediately pressured to retract what she said, even though it was based on scientific studies. Learn in this Science magazine article how Fauci based his recommendations on one faulty study with five people to state "There's no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring." See this CNN article for Fauci quote. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
As America begins the formidable task of getting our kids back to school and all of us back to work safely ... public health experts face two opponents: covid-19, but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of this date, the CDC guidelines, which were designed to protect children, teachers, school staffers and their families — no matter the state and no matter the politics — have not been altered. It is not unusual for CDC guidelines to be changed or amended during a clearance process that moves through multiple agencies and the White House. But it is extraordinary for guidelines to be undermined after their release. Through last week, and into Monday, the [Trump] administration continued to cast public doubt on the agency’s recommendations and role in informing and guiding the nation’s pandemic response. On Sunday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos characterized the CDC guidelines as an impediment to reopening schools quickly rather than what they are: the path to doing so safely. The only valid reason to change released guidelines is new information and new science — not politics. Sound science is being challenged with partisan potshots, sowing confusion and mistrust. These efforts have even fueled a backlash against public health officials: Public servants have been harassed, threatened and forced to resign when we need them most.
While the country is subsumed by both public health and an unemployment crisis, and is separately focused on a sustained protest movement against police abuses, a massive $740.5 billion military spending package was approved last week by the Democratic-controlled House Armed Services Committee. Pro-war and militaristic Democrats on the Committee joined with GOP Rep. Liz Cheney and the pro-war faction she leads to form majorities which approved one hawkish amendment after the next. How do Democrats succeed in presenting an image of themselves based on devotion to progressive causes and the welfare of the ordinary citizen while working with Liz Cheney to ensure that vast resources are funneled to the weapons manufacturers, defense sector and lobbyists who fund their campaigns? Why would a country with no military threats from any sovereign nation to its borders spend almost a trillion dollars a year for buying weapons while its citizens linger without health care, access to quality schools, or jobs? When these committee members return to their blue districts, they talk endlessly about topics such as the NRA, LGBTs, and reproductive rights — issues on which many do little work and over which they wield little influence — in order to manufacture brands for themselves as good, caring progressives, which is how they are reelected over and over. When they return to Washington, what they really do is spend their time collaborating with lobbyists for ... the “defense” industry.
Social isolation is a growing epidemic — one that’s increasingly recognized as having dire physical, mental and emotional consequences. Since the 1980s, the percentage of American adults who say they’re lonely has doubled from 20 percent to 40 percent. About one-third of Americans older than 65 now live alone, and half of those over 85 do. People in poorer health — especially those with mood disorders like anxiety and depression — are more likely to feel lonely. Those without a college education are the least likely to have someone they can talk to about important personal matters. A wave of new research suggests social separation is bad for us. Individuals with less social connection have disrupted sleep patterns, altered immune systems, more inflammation and higher levels of stress hormones. One recent study found that isolation increases the risk of heart disease by 29 percent and stroke by 32 percent. Another analysis that pooled data from 70 studies and 3.4 million people found that socially isolated individuals had a 30 percent higher risk of dying in the next seven years, and that this effect was largest in middle age. Loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline in older adults, and isolated individuals are twice as likely to die prematurely as those with more robust social interactions. These effects start early: Socially isolated children have significantly poorer health 20 years later. All told, loneliness is as important a risk factor for early death as obesity and smoking.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Purity Amleset is feeling tense. But fear is just part of the job, she says, as she patrols her section of the 147,000-hectare (363,000-acre) community land around Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, a Unesco-designated biosphere reserve. Amleset ... is one of eight rangers in the all-female International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Team Lioness, a patrol unit among 76 rangers from the local Maa community. Their job is to protect wildlife from poaching, trafficking in bushmeat and human-wildlife conflict. “I risk my life to spare their life [wildlife],” says Amleset, who is on a regular 20km patrol to visit the local community, tracking and recording GPS coordinates of wildlife sightings, as well as threats like snares or any suspicious activity along the way. “I grew up here with wildlife as our friends. We are thriving together. The water point, we share together with wildlife. The grass we use to herd the cattle, [we] herd together with wildlife,” she says. In neighbouring Tanzania, many rangers have lost their jobs as tourism has dwindled, putting more pressure on Team Lioness and other community rangers because they are forced to patrol larger areas. There are fears that fewer rangers could prompt a spike in poaching. “For us now the job has increased,” says 20-year-old Sharon Nankinyi. “The most difficult thing is dangerous animals. If you meet them in the bush, they can attack you. But we know that without wildlife, people will not survive, and without people, wildlife will not survive.
With all the violence and conflict in the world, it's refreshing to know that people from all different demographics are able to sit down together around the world to have an open conversation. That's what Ronni Abergel, 42, has achieved since launching the Human Library in Copenhagen in 2000. Just as you would at a library, you can check out a "book" on a certain topic for an allotted period of time. The only difference is that the "book" is actually a person who you can have a conversation with — and learn from. The type of books you can borrow range from someone who is transgender, deaf, blind, obese or homeless to a person with autism or even a refugee. In the 16 years since its inception, Abergel brought the concept to more than 70 countries, including the U.S.. When the Human Library came to St. Norbert College, ... Sarah Griffiths, who works at the college's Center for International Education, brought her two sons, ages 11 and 13, to check out a book titled "International Woman, Leader of Color, Gender Justice." "When else would my sons get the opportunity to hear a woman from Ghana speak about her experiences with racism after moving to the predominantly white city of Green Bay, Wisconsin?" Griffiths [asked]. Adam Jackson, a black man adopted by a white family at 6 months old, volunteered himself as a book at that same event at St. Norbert College. "It was harder than I thought it would be to share my story," Jackson [said]. "But I'm so happy I had the opportunity to enter the conversation on diversity in a meaningful way."
Stefano Mancuso studies what was once considered laughable – the intelligence and behaviour of plants. Mancuso’s lab started work in 2005. “We were interested in problems that were, until that moment, just related to animals, like intelligence and even behaviour,” he says. At the time, it was “almost forbidden” to talk about behaviour in plants. But “we study how plants are able to solve problems, how they memorise, how they communicate, how they have their social life and things like that”. One of the most controversial aspects of Mancuso’s work is the idea of plant consciousness. “Let’s use another term,” Mancuso suggests. “Consciousness is a little bit tricky. Let’s talk about awareness. Plants are perfectly aware of themselves.” A simple example is when one plant overshadows another – the shaded plant will grow faster to reach the light. But when you look into the crown of a tree, all the shoots are heavily shaded. They do not grow fast because they know that they are shaded by part of themselves. “So they have a perfect image of themselves and of the outside,” says Mancuso. Far from being silent and passive, plants are social and communicative, above ground and beneath, through their roots and fungal networks. They are adept at detecting subtle electromagnetic fields generated by other life forms. They use chemicals and scents to warn each other of danger. When corn is nibbled by caterpillars ... the plant emits a chemical distress signal that lures parasitic wasps to exterminate the caterpillars.
Sending children back to schools and day care centres in Denmark, the first country in Europe to do so, did not lead to an increase in coronavirus infections, according to official data, confirming similar findings from Finland on Thursday. As countries across Europe make plans to exit months of lockdown aimed at curbing the virus outbreak, some parents worry that opening schools first might put the health of their children in danger. Following a one-month lockdown, Denmark allowed children between two to 12 years back in day cares and schools on April 15. Based on five weeks' worth of data, health authorities are now for the first time saying the move did not make the virus proliferate. "You cannot see any negative effects from the reopening of schools," Peter Andersen, doctor of infectious disease epidemiology and prevention ... said on Thursday. In Finland, a top official announced similar findings on Wednesday, saying nothing so far suggested the coronavirus had spread faster since schools reopened in mid-May. The number of infected children aged between one and up to 19 has declined steadily since late April, Andersen said, following a slight uptick immediately after the reopening of schools. But this was too early to have anything to do with the reopening, he said. "Based on preliminary experiences, it does not look like there has been a negative effect on the spread among school children or in the society in general," Andersen said and called Denmark's reopening strategy "prudent". A steady drop in daily infections, hospital admissions and deaths since early April has led Denmark to continue its reopening, with shopping malls, bars, restaurants allowed to reopen in May.
Deutsche Bank (DBK.DE) has agreed to pay $150m (Ł119m) over compliance failings in part linked to dealings with Jeffrey Epstein. New York’s Department of Financial Services said in a statement on Tuesday it had imposed the penalty on Deutsche Bank’s New York branch for “significant compliance failures in connection with the Bank’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein,” the accused child sex trafficker who died in police custody last year. The penalty also covers anti-money laundering failings linked to Danske Bank Estonia and Middle Eastern bank FBME. Epstein, who is believed to have been a billionaire, became a client of Deutsche Bank’s in 2013, five years after he pleaded guilty to procuring for prostitution a girl below age 18 in Florida. Despite coverage of the settlement and subsequent allegations against Epstein, investigators found Deutsche Bank failed to properly monitor his account. “Hundreds of transactions totalling millions of dollars” that raised red flags were missed, the New York Department of Financial Services said. These included payments to Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators, settlement payments with victims totalling $7m, payments to Russian models, payments for women’s school tuition and expenses, and payments to “numerous women with Eastern European surnames” that were “consistent with public allegations of prior wrongdoing.” Repeated “suspicious” cash withdrawals by Epstein — totally over $800,000 over four years — also failed to raise concerns.
Note: 60 Minutes Australia has produced an excellent segment on Jeffrey Epstein and his recently arrested sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell. How did Epstein get away with sexually abusing hundreds of teenage girls for decades? The government and multiple police departments knew what was happening, yet key officials in high positions of power protected him. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein and financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
A former friend of Jeffrey Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell said Tuesday she had a “secret stash” of tapes and photos allegedly showing Epstein engaging in sexual activity with various underage girls. The friend said they expect Maxwell to use the stash as her “insurance policy” to possibly avoid jail time. The friend, whose name has not been released, spoke with Daily Mail about the collection. “Ghislaine has always been as cunning as they come. She wasn't going to be with Epstein all those years and not have some insurance,” the friend said. “The secret stash of sex tapes I believe Ghislaine has squirreled away could end up being her get out of jail card if the authorities are willing to trade.” The friend said Epstein not only recorded everything he did, but also recorded several “rich and powerful men who took advantage of his sick largesse.” This gave Epstein something to “hold over” anyone else who partook in the alleged circle of trafficking and abuse between Florida and New York. Maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming several victims of Epstein’s alleged scheme since the early 1990s. Several victims, including Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said Maxwell would pay them to work at Epstein’s homes in either New York or Florida when they were teenagers. The pair would then begin grooming the victims for “sexual services,” which would allegedly be offered to many of Epstein’s associates and friends among the world’s elite.
Note: For more on this story which was hardly reported in the US, see this informative article. This New York Post article is an exception. 60 Minutes Australia has produced an excellent segment on Jeffrey Epstein and his recently arrested sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell. How did Epstein get away with sexually abusing hundreds of teenage girls for decades? The government and multiple police departments knew what was happening, yet key officials in high positions of power protected him.
Since June 19, when new cases in the United States went back over 30,000 in one day, we have been constantly bombarded with stories of how the virus is “spiking” in “record” numbers in many of the states (like California, Texas, Florida and Arizona) that were not hit hard in the “first wave.” Across the country, our number of new cases has indeed exploded to new levels during this time period ... and the news media, both at the national and local levels, have used these statistics to essentially create panic porn. The resulting public anxiety has caused several states to reverse their reopenings. Obviously the “new case” data point is both real and relevant, but it is also now extremely misleading. By incompetently using the same measure of what a “positive” virus test meant in April, to what it now means in July, the news media is in the process of, quite effectively, sabotaging America’s recovery from this crisis. The data ... now makes it overwhelmingly obvious that nowhere near as many people who recently tested positive for the virus are going to die as did when this nightmare began. While the development has gotten scandalously little news coverage, the daily numbers of deaths with/of COVID has been declining with remarkable consistency for well over two months now. Sweden, a country much maligned in the media because they dared to not lock down by government mandate, has “new case” and “death” charts which look remarkably similar to ours. Their daily death rate has recently been down to single digits.
Note: Don't miss this entire article which pulls back the curtain on media manipulations in these challenging times. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
Dr. Richard Bartlett works at various clinics around West Texas, and says he’s found a successful treatment for the coronavirus. “The treatment plan is inhaled, generic budesonide,” Bartlett said. “Using some generic antibiotics to protect from a secondary bacterial infection. Using zinc, which interferes with virus replication. It’s common sense. It’s intuitive.” Budesonide is a steroid, that can be inhaled directly to the lungs using a nebulizer. The drug has been used for decades to treat asthma and is approved by the FDA. However using it to treat COVID-19 is not. “I am not aware of any doctors anywhere that are using this specifically for COVID-19, yet,” Bartlett said. Bartlett said he treats people as soon as they show symptoms. “Early treatment is better with this disease,” he said. “And I’m having a 100% survival rate. I don’t even know how many I’ve treated...dozens. I have 14 that I’m treating right now.” Bartlett said that patients tell him they feel immediate relief. Bartlett said he’s currently writing a paper to submit to medical journals. Additionally, he said the National Institute of Health, as well as the countries of France and Spain will be looking into inhaled budesonide treatments.
Note: Watch a fascinating interview with this doctor. And remember that the biggest sponsor of the major media is big Pharma. The don't want any cheap medicine like hydrochlorequine or budesonide to look good. There are other inexpensive treatments that are not being reported. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Forty lobbyists with ties to President Donald Trump helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid. The lobbyists identified Monday by the watchdog group Public Citizen either worked in the Trump executive branch, served on his campaign, were part of the committee that raised money for inaugural festivities or were part of his presidential transition. Many are donors to Trump’s campaigns. Trump pledged to clamp down on Washington's influence peddling with a “drain the swamp” campaign mantra. But during his administration, the lobbying industry has flourished, a trend that intensified once Congress passed more than $3.6 trillion in coronavirus stimulus. While the money is intended as a lifeline to a nation whose economy has been upended by the pandemic, it also jump-started a familiar lobbying bonanza. Shortly after Trump took office, he issued an executive order prohibiting former administration officials from lobbying the agency or office where they were formerly employed, for a period of five years. Another section of the order forbids lobbying the administration by former political appointees for the remainder of Trump's time in office. Yet five lobbyists who are former administration officials have potentially done just that during the coronavirus lobbying boom. Public Citizen's Craig Holman, who himself is a registered lobbyist, said the group intends to file ethics complaints with the White House. But he's not optimistic that they will lead to anything.
An online group called Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDOSecrets) released a nearly 270-gigabyte data trove called "BlueLeaks." The trove contains more than a decade's worth of "documents, reports, bulletins, guides and more" from "over 200 police departments, fusion centers and other law enforcement training and support resources." BlueLeaks' content ranges from August 1996 through June 19, 2020, and includes sensitive information such as names, suspect photographs, personal contact details and bank account information within its text, video, spreadsheet and compressed files. The BlueLeaks documents (which have been published in a searchable format on the DDOSecrets website) reveal that state and federal law enforcement agencies monitor social media posts and track financial transactions involving the recent protests against police brutality. Emma Best, founder of DDOSecrets, [said] that her group removed 50 gigabytes worth of files from BlueLeaks before releasing it out of "an abundance of caution." Best said DDOSecrets included sensitive financial information in hopes that it might allow the public to expose questionable police behavior in ways that serve the public interest. "It's the largest leak of US law enforcement data, and because of its nature, it lets people look at policing on the local, state and national levels," Best [said]. "It shows how law enforcement has reacted to the protests, it shows government handling of COVID, and it shows a lot of things that are entirely legal and ... horrifying."
Note: This group has now been banned from Twitter. For lots more, read this wired.com article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Ties between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon are deeper than previously known, according to thousands of previously unreported subcontracts published Wednesday. The subcontracts were obtained through open records requests by accountability nonprofit Tech Inquiry. They show that tech giants including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have secured more than 5,000 agreements with agencies including the Department of Defense, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the FBI. Tech workers in recent years have pressured their employers to drop contracts with law enforcement and the military. Google workers revolted in 2018 after Gizmodo revealed that Google was building artificial intelligence for drone targeting through a subcontract with the Pentagon — after some employees quit in protest, Google agreed not to renew the contract. Employees at Amazon and Microsoft have petitioned both companies to drop their contracts with ICE and the military. Neither company has. The newly-surfaced subcontracts ... show that the companies' connections to the Pentagon run deeper than many employees were previously aware. Tech Inquiry's research was led by Jack Poulson, a former Google researcher. "Often the high-level contract description between tech companies and the military looks very vanilla," Poulson [said]. "But only when you look at the details ... do you see the workings of how the customization from a tech company would actually be involved."
President Donald Trump has vetoed legislation that limited a president’s ability to wage war against Iran without the approval of Congress. Mr Trump said that he vetoed the Iran war powers resolution because it was “insulting” to the presidency. Congress passed the Iran war powers resolution in the aftermath of the US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, amid widespread concerns about tensions between the US and Iran. At the time, the resolution – which was introduced to Congress by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine – showed bipartisan support for reigning-in president Trump’s war-making powers. “The resolution implies that the President’s constitutional authority to use military force is limited to defense of the United States and its forces against imminent attack. That is incorrect,” Trump said. “We live in a hostile world of evolving threats, and the Constitution recognizes that the President must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response. That’s what I did!” Congress is not expected to override the president’s veto during a vote on Thursday, as Republicans hold a 53-to 47-seat majority in the US senate. Mr Kaine on Wednesday called on senators to vote with him to override the veto, saying on Twitter: “I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to override his veto—Congress must vote before sending our troops into harm’s way.” The resolution was passed by the House of Representatives in March and the Senate in April.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
A plus-size teenage ballerina has been dubbed an inspiration after a video of her practicing a stunning turn sequence took the internet by storm. Lizzy Howell, 15, from Milford, Delaware, shares plenty of photos and videos of herself dancing on her Instagram and Facebook pages, but footage of her nailing a series of fouetté turns has launched her into online stardom. Thousands of people have watched the mesmerizing clip, and many have hailed her a role model for women of all sizes because of her confidence and beauty. The video sees Lizzy wearing a maroon leotard and footless tights as she effortlessly does eleven fouettés in a row before ending the sequence with a series of pirouettes. Lizzy told Daily Mail Online that she started dancing when she was five-years-old and has been practicing ballet for the past 10 years. The ballerina, who also practices jazz and tap dancing, trains four days a week and participated in a local production of The Nutcracker last month. The sudden viral fame helped earn Lizzy more than 22,000 followers. Plenty of people took to the comments section of the post to tell Lizzy that she is 'amazing', while others were simply blown away by her skill. 'I enjoy most of the comments saying I'm an inspiration for people of all sizes,' Lizzy said. 'I really like being called an inspiration, it makes me feel better about my self and what I'm doing.' When asked what advice she would give to a young girl who has resisted pursuing her dreams because of her size, Lizzy stressed that 'stereotypes are made to be broken'.
District attorneys in Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco are teaming up on a pilot effort patterned after South Africa's post-apartheid truth and reconciliation commission to confront racism in the criminal justice system. Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner and San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin announced the initiative Wednesday in partnership with the Grassroots Law Project, which is leading the effort. It will tackle racial inequities and police violence and misconduct. “We need to confront our ugly past to create a more just and equitable future,” said Rollins, whose jurisdiction includes Boston. Organizers said the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will “process and address the injustices of the past that simply were not given the time, attention and dignity that they deserved.” “When marginalized people have needed to finally rely on this system for justice, it has routinely failed them in the worst ways imaginable. This isn’t a bug in the system, but a feature,” they said in a statement. In the 1990s, South Africa's own Truth and Reconciliation Commission took the nation on a painful path to air injustices perpetrated during more than 40 years of apartheid rule that included the torture, beatings and bombings of Blacks. Rather than hunt down and try people accused of atrocities, Nuremberg-style, the country's approach helped talk through grievances and heal divisions between Blacks and whites.
You call 911, you generally get the police. It's a one-size-fits-all solution to a broad spectrum of problems from homelessness to mental illness to addiction. Protesters are urging cities to redirect some of their police budget to groups that specialize in treating those kinds of problems. Now we're going to look at one model that's been around for more than 30 years. In Eugene, Ore., a program called CAHOOTS is a collaboration between local police and a community service called the White Bird Clinic. Ben Brubaker is the clinic coordinator, and Ebony Morgan is a crisis worker. "The calls that come in to the police non-emergency number and/or through the 911 system, if they have a strong behavioral health component, if there are calls that do not seem to require law enforcement because they don't involve a legal issue or some kind of extreme threat of violence or risk to the person, the individual or others, then they will route those to our team - comprised of a medic and a crisis worker - that can go out and respond to the call," [said Brubaker]. "I think policing may have a place within this system, but I also think that it's over-utilized as an immediate response because it just comes with a risk," [said Morgan]. "It's a risk that crisis response teams that are unarmed don't come with. In 30 years, we've never had a serious injury or a death that our team was responsible for. Models like this can help people have support in their community and feel safer within their community."
Federal authorities arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime confidant of Jeffrey Epstein, on Thursday in New Hampshire in connection with the late, accused sex trafficker. She was taken into custody at about 8:30 a.m. in Bedford, officials said, and hours later appeared, via video feed, before Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone in Concord. Johnstone ordered Maxwell, who did not enter a plea, to be sent to New York City and kept in federal custody there. Maxwell was charged with six counts for acts committed between 1994 and 1997 and then allegedly lying to investigators in 2016. Four counts are related to allegedly helping transport minors for sexual activity and two for perjury, according to the criminal complaint. "Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse," Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss [said]. "In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself.” Multiple young women have accused Maxwell ... of complicity in Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring. They say she either recruited them directly or provided logistical support, like scheduling visits to Epstein's home. The abuse allegedly happened at Palm Beach, Florida; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and at Epstein's home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, officials said. "Maxwell was the center of that sex trafficking ring. Now that the ring has been taken down, I know that I can’t be hurt anymore," Epstein victim Jennifer Araoz said in a statement.
Note: Watch the revealing documentary "Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?" For more on Maxwell, see this CNN article. More on her famous connections can be found in this article. A probing 16-episode program has incredibly revealing interviews with dozens who worked directly with Epstein. Incredibly detailed, it reveals the huge blackmail operation, connections with Israel, and much more. This series goes where others have not dared go. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.
In 2016, famed crime novelist James Patterson and co-authors Tim Malloy and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him. Patterson had heard about the story of the mysterious billionaire who’d gotten a sweetheart deal after having been charged with sex with underage girls, and he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Yet after the book came out, laying out the breadth of Epstein’s crimes and how a cadre of enablers and hangers-on enabled him for years, it got relatively little attention. By 2019, of course, that had obviously changed. The Miami Herald had published its bombshell investigation into the 13-month deal then-Florida attorney general Alexander Acosta had offered Epstein, allowing him to serve little hard jail time. A new Netflix series, Filthy Rich, based on Patterson’s book, documents all of the lurid details familiar to those who’ve been following the story — the Trump/Clinton connections, the bizarre relationship with British heiress and alleged procurer Ghislaine Maxwell. But it also includes heartbreaking interviews with the young women who say they were victimized by Epstein, adding humanity to the familiar tabloid story. "Initially, people just didn’t see this is as big a story as I thought it was," [said Patterson]. "I just couldn’t imagine anybody that is involved with news that wouldn’t say, 'Oh my God, this is a story.' This is unbelievable to me. Imagine if somebody out in the middle of the county had been with 50 underage girls. I mean ... are you kidding me?"
Note: Watch the revealing documentary "Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?" A probing 16-episode program has incredibly revealing interviews with dozens who worked directly with Epstein. Incredibly detailed, it reveals the huge blackmail operation, connections with Israel, and much more. This series goes where others have not dared go. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.
Jeffrey E. Epstein, the wealthy financier who is accused of sex trafficking, had an unusual dream: He hoped to seed the human race with his DNA by impregnating women at his vast New Mexico ranch. Mr. Epstein over the years confided to scientists and others about his scheme ... although there is no evidence that it ever came to fruition. Mr. Epstein, who was charged in July with the sexual trafficking of girls as young as 14, was a serial illusionist: He lied about the identities of his clients, his wealth, his financial prowess, his personal achievements. But he managed to use connections and charisma to cultivate valuable relationships with business and political leaders. He used the same tactics to insinuate himself into an elite scientific community. Mr. Epstein attracted a glittering array of prominent scientists. They included the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann, who discovered the quark; the theoretical physicist and best-selling author Stephen Hawking; the paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould; Oliver Sacks, the neurologist and best-selling author; George M. Church, a molecular engineer who has worked to identify genes that could be altered to create superior humans; and the M.I.T. theoretical physicist Frank Wilczek, a Nobel laureate. The lure for some of the scientists was Mr. Epstein’s money. He dangled financing for their pet projects. Some of the scientists said that the prospect of financing blinded them to the seriousness of his sexual transgressions.
Note: A probing 16-episode program titled "EPSTEIN: Devil in the Darkness" has incredibly revealing interviews with dozens who worked directly with Epstein. Incredibly detailed, it reveals the huge blackmail operation, connections with Israel, and much more. This series goes where others have not dared go. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein and corruption in science from reliable major media sources.
The maker of a drug shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries. Gilead Sciences announced the price Monday for remdesivir, and said the price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors. The price was swiftly criticized; a consumer group called it “an outrage” because of the amount taxpayers invested toward the drug's development. In 127 poor or middle-income countries, Gilead is allowing generic makers to supply the drug; two countries are doing that for around $600 per treatment course. The drug, given through an IV, interferes with the coronavirus’s ability to copy its genetic material. In a U.S. government-led study, remdesivir shortened recovery time by 31% — 11 days on average versus 15 days for those given just usual care. Peter Maybarduk, a lawyer at the consumer group Public Citizen, called the price “an outrage.” “Remdesivir should be in the public domain” because the drug received at least $70 million in public funding toward its development, he said. “The price puts to rest any notion that drug companies will ‘do the right thing’ because it is a pandemic,” Dr. Peter Bach, a health policy expert ... said. “The price might have been fine if the company had demonstrated that the treatment saved lives. It didn’t.”
Note: The March coronavirus package passed in the U.S. "not only omitted language that would have limited drug makers’ intellectual property rights, it specifically prohibited the federal government from taking any action if it has concerns that the treatments or vaccines developed with public funds are priced too high." While many suffer economically from the virus, big Pharma is raking in big bucks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Some 54 scientists have resigned or been fired as a result of an ongoing investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the failure of NIH grantees to disclose financial ties to foreign governments. For 93% of the 189 scientists whom NIH has investigated to date, China was the source of their undisclosed support. The new numbers come from Michael Lauer, NIH’s head of extramural research. Lauer had previously provided some information on the scope of NIH’s investigation, which had targeted 189 scientists at 87 institutions. But his presentation today to a senior advisory panel offered by far the most detailed breakout of an effort NIH launched in August 2018 that has roiled the U.S. biomedical community, and resulted in criminal charges against some prominent researchers, including Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology. In the vast majority of cases, Lauer reported, the person being investigated has been an Asian man in his 50s. Some three-quarters of those under investigation had active NIH grants, and nearly half had at least two grants. The 285 active grants totaled $164 million. Lauer also presented data on the nature of the violations that NIH has uncovered. Some 70% (133) of the researchers had failed to disclose to NIH the receipt of a foreign grant, and 54% had failed to disclose participation in a foreign talent program. In contrast, Lauer said, only 9% hid ties to a foreign company, and only 4% had an undisclosed foreign patent.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.
Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Minn., a physician in Minnesota, was interviewed by "The Ingraham Angle" host Laura Ingraham on April 8 on Fox News and claimed hospitals get paid more if Medicare patients are listed as having COVID-19 and get three times as much money if they need a ventilator. On April 19, he doubled down on his assertion via video on his Facebook page. Jensen said, "Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it's a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they're Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000. But if it's COVID-19 pneumonia, then it's $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000." He noted that some states ... specifically New York, list all presumed cases, which is allowed under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of mid-April and which will result in a larger payout. The coronavirus relief legislation created a 20% premium, or add-on, for COVID-19 Medicare patients. We rate the claim that hospitals get paid more if patients are listed as COVID-19 and on ventilators as TRUE. Hospitals and doctors do get paid ... three times more if the patients are placed on a ventilator to cover the cost of care and loss of business resulting from a shift in focus to treat COVID-19 cases.
Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has hit back at the World Health Organization after it included Sweden in a group of countries facing "a very significance resurgence" of coronavirus infections. Mr Tegnell, who has in recent months become one of the world's most high profile and divisive epidemiologists, said: "That is, unfortunately, a total misinterpretation of the data." "It's very unfortunate that people lump Sweden together with countries that earlier have had no problem at all and are now apparently at the start of their epidemic," he told Sweden's state broadcaster SVT. Hans Kluge, the WHO's Regional Director for Europe, on Thursday named Sweden in a list of eleven problem countries ... which are facing "accelerated transmission" of infection. Sweden has this month seen the daily number of confirmed cases more than triple from 60 on June 1st to 207 on Thursday. But Mr Tegnell argued that this has to do with increased testing rather than a resurgence in infection. "This is growing because we recently started offering tests to everyone with symptoms," he told Sweden's TT newswire. "We are doing twice as many tests as we were a few weeks ago. But the growth we are seeing is in mild cases, not hospital admissions." Mr Tegnell has drawn both admiration and criticism internationally for leading a coronavirus strategy that left schools for 14-16 year olds open throughout the pandemic, as well as bars, restaurants, gyms, and much else, relying instead on the public's willingness to follow social distancing guidelines.
Hundreds of articles in medical journals claiming to be written by academics or doctors have been penned by ghostwriters in the pay of drug companies, an Observer inquiry reveals. The journals, bibles of the profession, have huge influence on which drugs doctors prescribe and the treatment hospitals provide. But The Observer has uncovered evidence that many articles written by so-called independent academics may have been penned by writers working for agencies which receive huge sums from drug companies to plug their products. Estimates suggest that almost half of all articles published in journals are by ghostwriters. While doctors who have put their names to the papers can be paid handsomely for 'lending' their reputations, the ghostwriters remain hidden. In the United States a legal case brought against drug firm Pfizer turned up internal company documents showing that it employed a New York medical writing agency. One document analyses articles about the anti-depressant Zoloft. Some of the articles lacked only one thing: a doctor's name. In the margin the agency had put the initials TBD, which Healy assumes means 'to be determined'. Dr Richard Smith, editor of the British Journal of Medicine, admitted ghostwriting was a 'very big problem'. 'We are being hoodwinked by the drug companies. The articles come in with doctors' names on them and we often find some of them have little or no idea about what they have written,' he said.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.
Child sexual abuse material has exploded since the dawn of the internet era, while child sex trafficking also has increased as a result of being made easier for traffickers. The number of child sexual abuse files exchanged online grew from 450,000 in 2004 to 25 million in 2015, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore cofounded Thorn to combat this problem. The non-profit’s mission is to build technology to defend children from sexual abuse online by eliminating all child sexual abuse material from the internet. Thorn partners across the tech industry, government and NGOs and leverages technology to combat predatory behavior, rescue victims, and protect vulnerable children. The non-profit’s products are used today in 35 countries and have helped identify more than 30,000 victims of abuse, 10,000 of whom were children. Recently, Thorn was one of eight recipients to share in an over $280 million grant from The Audacious Project by TED. As CEO of Thorn, Julie Cordua manages the Thorn Technology Task Force, the largest organization of its kind, uniting technology companies committed to fighting child exploitation. “We saw how technology was being used to exploit our children through child sex trafficking, the spread of child sexual abuse material, and online grooming and coercion. Yet there was no concentrated effort to use technology to fight back and stop this abuse,” Cordua says.
When an independently-owned grocery store in Kitchener, Ont. caught someone allegedly stealing, they decided to offer help. "Just witnessed a man caught stealing at our local grocery," Twitter user Drkradersma wrote in a post on Monday evening. That grocery store turned out to be Central Fresh Market in midtown Kitchener. The Twitter user says they heard the owner say, "we will feed you," and that, five minutes later, they saw a man walking through the parking lot with a bag full of groceries. Nearly 100 people took to Twitter to find out which grocery store it was and to offer their support. Thousands more liked the post. While Central Fresh Market declined to comment, they took to the platform as well to share their side of the story. "We were simply helping someone in need, many are very fortunate NOT to worry about their next meal," the company wrote on Twitter. The tweet calls food insecurity in the community "heartbreaking." The decision to help the person in question has had a far-reaching impact on the community. Twitter user Drkradersma says their 13-year-old son was watching, too. "This made a powerful impression on him." "Just witnessed a man caught stealing at our local grocery. Watched the owner confront him and pull fruits & vegetables out of his pack. Then heard the owner say, “we will feed you.” 5 minutes later saw the man walking thru the parking lot with a bag full of groceries," [wrote Drkradersma].
Whether you are directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 viral disease, you may be feeling down as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. There are many solutions out there to help lift your spirits, but not all are backed by research in behavioral science, nor specifically by evidence from the study of happiness and well-being. However, Professor Laurie Santos at Yale University has synthesized the science of well-being into a course for students at Yale, a course for students on Coursera, and has most recently transformed her work into a digital health program on Pattern Health ... that can be licensed by employers to provide to their employees. The recommendations that stem from the science of well-being are useful in normal times, but essential in coronavirus times, where the collective hit to well-being is being felt across the globe. There are 9 major insights that can be taken from Santos’ Science of Well-Being program [presented] here to help improve your quarantine well-being. They are: practice your signature strengths, savor life, be grateful, be kind, stay socially connected while physically distanced, exercise regularly, sleep well, meditate, and feel rich with time. With these nine strategies, you can successfully improve your quarantine well-being. Laurie Santos recommends daily journaling to track and raise your awareness about how each of these happiness-boosting strategies are going for you.
Bayer will pay more than $10 billion to resolve thousands of lawsuits regarding claims that its Roundup herbicide causes cancer, the company announced. Monsanto, bought by Bayer in 2018, lost a lawsuit that same year brought by a school groundskeeper who claimed its weedkiller had caused his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Since then, thousands of U.S. lawsuits have been filed against the company. The settlement, however, does not contain an admission of wrongdoing or liability. Bayer will pay $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to settle existing lawsuits and then another $1.25 billion that will cover any potential litigation in the future. Lawsuits allege that Monsanto ignored warnings that its herbicide contained potentially cancer causing chemicals, then concealed the threat to consumers. A jury awarded California groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson nearly $290 million in damages in August 2018 after they found Monsanto failed to warn Johnson and other consumers about the risks posed by its weed-killing products. A judge upheld the decision upon appeal, but lowered the damages to $78 million due to what she considered an overreach in punitive damages decided by the jury. And last year, a California jury awarded a husband and wife more than $2 billion in damages in a suit that claimed Roundup caused their illness. German pharmaceuticals and chemical giant Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018 just months before Johnson won his suit against the company. Bayer eliminated the Monsanto name, but maintained the brands.
Note: The negative health impacts of Roundup are well known. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Kentucky lawmakers have warned the state was heading towards a disastrous primary election this week, as ballot problems, voter confusion and a severe shortage of polling places threatened to suppress turnout amid the coronavirus pandemic. State officials ... released a joint statement condemning US District Court Judge Charles Simpson’s ruling against a case that argued having just one polling site in most of the state’s 120 counties would result in voter suppression. “We believe the judge disregarded evidence from our expert witness that one location will suppress the vote, particularly among African Americans,” read the statement, co-authored by Jason Nemes, a Republican state representative, and Keisha Dorsey, a Democratic councilwoman. The lawmakers were both behind the lawsuit, which demanded an increase in statewide polling locations. Voters throughout Kentucky received inaccurate absentee ballots ... that do not match their party affiliations. In Kentucky, voters must be members of a party to participate in its primary elections. In a typical election year, Kentucky has about 3,700 polling sites. When Election Day arrives ... there will be just 200 polling sites across the state. Ben Jealous, president of People For The American Way, described the situation as “Our Next Electoral Nightmare.” “Half Kentucky’s Black voters live in one county,” he wrote. “It will have one polling place ... for 616,000 registered voters.”
In a major legal setback for President Donald Trump on a high-profile consumer issue, a federal appeals court has ruled that his administration lacks the legal authority to force drug companies to disclose prices in their TV ads. Where most plans to overhaul the cost of drugs are complex, mandating that companies disclose prices is something any consumer can relate to. Separate from the court case, legislation that would lower drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries with high bills is stuck in Congress. There's also a separate bill that would mandate drug companies to disclose their prices in consumer advertising. On TV ads, the unanimous decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit did not address a core argument of the pharmaceutical industry, that forcing companies to disclose their prices in advertising violates their free speech rights. Instead the three-judge panel ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services overstepped its legal authority by requiring disclosure under the umbrella of its stewardship of Medicare and Medicaid. When the disclosure rule was announced last year, administration officials were confident that it would be in effect by now. Drug pricing details were expected to appear in text toward the end of commercials.
Prof Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the Policlinico San Martino hospital in Italy, told The Telegraph that Covid-19 has been losing its virulence in the last month and patients who would have previously died are now recovering. The expert in critical care said the plummeting number of cases could mean a vaccine is no longer needed as the virus might never return. "The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity," said Prof Bassetti. "In March and early April the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult to manage illness and they needed oxygen and ventilation, some developed pneumonia. "Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed. There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically. Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before. "I think the virus has mutated because our immune system reacts to the virus and we have a lower viral load now due to the lockdown, mask-wearing, social distancing. "Yes, probably it could go away completely without a vaccine." Prof Karol Sikora ... at Rutherford Health previously said it is likely the British public has more immunity than previously thought and Covid-19 could end up "petering out by itself".
Confidence levels jumped in Sweden as consumers and businesses started to leave the worst of the Covid-19 crisis behind them. The overall economic tendency survey rose to 75.2 in June, from a revised 64.4 in May, the National Institute of Economic Research said Wednesday. Sentiment had plunged to an all-time low in April, and despite June’s jump remains depressed, as values below 90 are equivalent to a much weaker than normal economy. The reading comes as economists and policy makers revise up their forecasts in light of better-than-expected consumer spending and unemployment data. According to Manuel Oliveri, an FX strategist at Credit Agricole, the rebound in confidence levels “continues to keep the risk for additional policy action low, irrespective of Riksbank members leaving all options open.” But Bloomberg economist Johanna Jeansson was less sanguine, while agreeing that “the most acute phase of the crisis has abated.” “Today’s survey is yet another sign that the most acute phase of the crisis has abated. But with both demand and supply below pre-pandemic levels, we expect the Riksbank and the Ministry of Finance will have to do more,” [said] Johanna Jeansson. Unlike its neighbors, Sweden avoided a strict lockdown as the coronavirus spread, keeping shops, schools and restaurants open. The lax strategy appears to have mitigated some of the economic damage caused by the pandemic, but at the cost of a relatively high death toll.
Note: Meanwhile the IMF states that worldwide, economic contraction and soaring debt levels and unemployment are worse than earlier predicted. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests have been double-counted in the Government’s official tally, public health officials have admitted. Diagnostic tests which involve taking saliva and nasal samples from the same patient are being counted as two tests, not one. The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England each confirmed the double-counting. This inflates the daily reported diagnostic test numbers by over 20 per cent, with that proportion being much higher earlier on in the crisis before home test kits were added to the daily totals. Almost 350,000 more tests have been reported in Government data than people tested since the start of the pandemic. It is not the first time the Government has been caught massaging the testing data. It was accused last month of including thousands of home tests which had been posted but not completed in a bid to reach its target of 100,000 tests. Jon Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Ministers have already received an embarrassing slap on the wrists for their dodgy spin on testing figures. It seems they haven’t learnt their lesson.” The Government announced at the beginning of May that it would be extending its target from 100,000 tests per day to 200,000 tests per day. But so far it has only hit the 100,000 target nine times in the 20 days since its introduction. Global health experts said the Government should stop fixating on its arbitrary targets and instead focus on making testing work to drive down Covid-19 infections in the UK.
Warren D. Ward, 48, was in high school when the swine flu threat of 1976 swept the U.S. A relative died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and the 1976 illness was feared to be a direct descendant of the deadly virus. “The government wanted everyone to get vaccinated,” Ward said. “But the epidemic never really broke out. It was a threat that never materialized.” The episode began in February 1976, when an Army recruit at Ft. Dix, N.J., fell ill and died from a swine flu virus thought to be similar to the 1918 strain. Several other soldiers at the base also became ill. The CDC ... called on President Ford and Congress to begin a mass inoculation. The $137-million program began in early October, but within days reports emerged that the vaccine appeared to increase the risk for Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological condition that causes temporary paralysis but can be fatal. More than 40 million Americans ... received the swine flu vaccine before the program was halted in December after 10 weeks. More than 500 people are thought to have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving the vaccine; 25 died. Only about 200 cases of swine flu and one death were ultimately reported. No one completely understands the causes of Guillain-Barre, but the condition can develop after a bout with infection or following surgery or vaccination. The federal government paid millions in damages. The pandemic, which some experts estimated at the time could infect 50 million to 60 million Americans, never unfolded.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Louis Pasteur, one of the legendary figures in the history of science, lied about his research, stole ideas from a competitor and was deceitful in ways that would now be regarded as scientific misconduct if not fraud, according to a revisionist history published this month. "The Private Science of Louis Pasteur," by Dr. Gerald L. Geison of Princeton University, is based on an examination of Pasteur's 102 laboratory notebooks. Pasteur ... tried to reduce the virulence of microbes by exposing them to oxygen in order to make them suitable for vaccination. But in developing a vaccine against anthrax ... Pasteur adapted a method he had used a year earlier to produce a vaccine against chicken cholera. To head off competitors, Pasteur had purposely withheld reporting the simple method he used to prepare the chicken cholera vaccine. Pasteur impulsively accepted a public challenge to carry out the world's first public trial of any experimental vaccine. Pasteur's assistants injected his formula into 25 sheep, left another 25 unprotected and then injected all 50 with virulent anthrax bacteria. Only the vaccinated sheep survived. But, the notebooks show, Pasteur lied when he suggested publicly that his dramatically successful vaccine had been developed by exposing anthrax bacteria to oxygen. In fact he ... made his vaccine by secretly relying on a technique used by a rival, Jean-Joseph Toussaint. Eventually, Pasteur's oxygen method did produce an anthrax vaccine, but only after he had won a monopoly to produce the vaccine.
Note: For more on how scientific myths are perpetuated, see this fascinating article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.
The Vatican urged Catholics on Thursday to disinvest from the armaments and fossil fuel industries and to closely monitor companies in sectors such as mining to check if they are damaging the environment. The calls were contained in a 225-page manual for church leaders and workers to mark the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical “Laudato Si” (Praised Be) on the need to protect nature, life and defenseless people. The compendium suggests practical steps to achieve the goals of the encyclical, which strongly supported agreements to contain global warming and warned against the dangers of climate change. The manual’s section on finance said people “could favor positive changes ... by excluding from their investments companies that do not satisfy certain parameters.” It listed these as respect for human rights, bans on child labor and protection of the environment. Called ‘Journeying Towards Care For Our Common Home’, one action point called on Catholics to “shun companies that are harmful to human or social ecology”. Another section called for the “stringent monitoring” of extraction industries in areas with fragile ecosystems to prevent air, soil and water contamination. Last month, more that 40 faith organizations from around the world, more than half of them Catholic, pledged to divest from fossil fuel companies. The Vatican bank has said it does not invest in fossil fuels and many Catholic dioceses and educational institutions around the world have taken similar positions.
In April, as the coronavirus was ravaging New York, Susan Jones learned her older brother had been diagnosed with a blood cancer. His supervisor at work launched a GoFundMe page to help with costs, and Jones shared it on Facebook. What happened next stunned her. While Jones ... was confident her closest friends would help, she was stunned to see scores of colleagues — some she didn't even know that well, and didn’t even know she had a brother — donating, despite their own economic challenges. Jones found herself asking: Would the response have been the same just two months earlier, before the pandemic? She's fairly certain it wouldn't. Instead, she thinks the instinct to help shows, along with simple kindness, how people are striving to make a difference. At a time of helplessness, she says, helping others makes a mark on a world that seems to be overwhelming all of us. That helping others can feel good is not just an anecdotal truth but an idea backed by research, says Laurie Santos, psychology professor at Yale University and teacher of the school's most popular course to date: “Psychology and the Good Life." “The intuition that helping others is the key to our well-being right now fits with science,” Santos says. “There’s lots of research showing that spending our time and money on other people can often make us happier than spending that same time or money on ourselves. Taking time to do something nice for someone else ... is a powerful strategy for improving our well-being.”
In 1847, the Choctaw people collected $170 to send to people in Ireland who were starving during the potato famine. The struggles experienced by the Irish were familiar to the tribal nation: Just 16 years earlier, the Choctaw people had embarked on the Trail of Tears and lost thousands of their own to starvation and disease. Now, donations are pouring in from people across Ireland for a GoFundMe campaign set up to support the Navajo Nation and Hopi reservation during the coronavirus pandemic. "From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned!" a message from one donor reads. "To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship." The donations from Ireland seem to have started after The Irish Times journalist Naomi O'Leary shared the Navajo and Hopi fundraiser on Twitter. "Native Americans raised a huge amount in famine relief for Ireland at a time when they had very little," O'Leary wrote. Ethel Branch, the fundraiser's organizer, estimated on Tuesday that Irish people had donated about half a million dollars to the relief efforts so far, which goes toward food, water and other necessary supplies for Navajo and Hopi communities. "It's just incredible to see the solidarity and to see how much people who are so far away care about our community and have sympathy for what we're experiencing," Branch told CNN. The Navajo Nation has seen more than 2,400 confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 70 deaths. The Hopi reservation ... has reported 52 positive cases.
Can the mind-blowing effects of psychedelics help heal our traumas? The scientific community [says] it's an increasingly hopeful thumbs up. Despite the fact that psychedelics are illegal, the last decade has seen an explosion of research, with results so intriguing that governments are greenlighting studies around the world. Scientists are busily exploring the role of hallucinogens on treatment-resistant depression, post traumatic stress disorder, cancer-related anxiety, addictions, and even anorexia. During the '40s and early '50s tens of thousands of patients took LSD and other psychotropics to study their effects on cancer anxiety, alcoholism, opioid use disorder, depression, and ... PTSD. Researchers began to see psychedelics as possible "new tools for shortening psychotherapy." In the 1950s UK psychiatrist Dr. Humphry Osmond began giving LSD to treatment-resistent alcoholics: 40% to 45% of those who took LSD were still sober after a year. [Then] in 1970, President Richard Nixon ... classified hallucinogenics as Schedule I drugs -- the most restrictive category. [Fast forward to today and] MAPS is in the final phase of a gold-standard study administering MDMA [Ecstasy] to 300 people with severe PTSD. Results of the second phase showed 68% of the people no longer met the criteria for PTSD at a 12-month follow-up; before the study they had suffered from treatment-resistant PTSD for an average of 17.8 years. The results are so positive that in January the FDA declared MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD a "Breakthrough Therapy." Perhaps one day soon a trip to the therapist will include a trip into your mind, and hopefully, a quicker path to healing.
Note: The full article at the link above gives a concise, yet thorough survey of the use of psychedelics for healing and growth over the years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the powerful healing potentials of some psychedelics from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump says he’s heard some interesting things about Roswell, but he’s not sharing even with his eldest child. Trump made the comments Thursday in a Father’s Day-themed interview with his son. Don Jr. wound down his interview by jokingly asking his Dad/President if he would ever divulge more information about Roswell, the New Mexico city known for its proximity to arguably most famous UFO event — “and let us know what’s really going on.” Trump responded, “I won’t talk to you about what I know about it, but it’s very interesting.” In 1947, a rancher discovered unidentifiable debris in his sheep pasture outside Roswell. Air Force officials said it was a crashed weather balloon, but skeptics questioned whether it was in fact an extraterrestrial flying saucer. Decades later the U.S. military acknowledged the debris was related to a top-secret atomic project. Still, the UFO theory has flourished. After his father offered that he heard some “interesting” things about Roswell, Trump Jr. asked [if] the president might declassify that information someday. “Well, I’ll have to think about that one,” the president responded.
Note: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, stated publicly that UFOs did crash in Roswell, the town where he grew up, and it was all covered up. Dozens of high level military and government officials have gone public about their experience of a huge cover-up around UFOs. Read an excellent analysis of what's going on now with the UFO situation and the new Space Force. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on a major UFO cover-up from reliable major media sources.
The Internal Revenue Service is letting hundreds of thousands of high-income individuals duck tax obligations, according to a government watchdog report. The Treasury inspector general for tax administration found that 879,415 high-income individuals who didn’t file returns cumulatively failed to pay $45.7 billion in taxes from 2014 to 2016 and that the agency hasn’t tried to collect from many of those taxpayers. The IRS didn’t input 326,579 of the cases into its enforcement system, and it closed 42,601 of the cases without ever working on them. “In addition, the remaining 510,235 high-income nonfilers, totaling estimated tax due of $24.9 billion, are sitting in one of the Collection function’s inventory streams and will likely not be pursued as resources decline,” the report, released Monday, found. The report defines high-income taxpayers as those earning at least $100,000. The IRS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but agency management in the report agreed with a recommendation to prioritize collecting from people who didn’t file tax returns.
Attorney General William P. Barr oversaw the deployment of a show of military force in the District in response to protests in recent days. His “flood the zone” strategy included the use of men in military tactical gear without any markings to indicate their names or agencies where they work. He thus took a page from the dictator’s handbook, threatening force without any accountability. Why did these unmarked troops refuse to identify themselves when asked by journalists and protesters? Some of the mystery forces in the District were “special operations teams from the Bureau of Prisons.” The bureau confirmed this in a statement to NBC, saying the “crisis management teams” were sent to Washington and Miami at Mr. Barr’s request, and carry badges but were “not wearing BOP specific clothing as they are serving a broader mission.”. Mr. Barr also personally authorized the clearing of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square on Monday so President Trump could walk to his photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Two U.S. Park Police officers have been put on administrative leave after video showed Australian reporter Amanda Brace and cameraman Tim Myers being assaulted while reporting live on that melee. Was Mr. Barr in control of the Park Police, too? The Justice Department’s inspector general and Congress ought to seek answers. In a democracy, where law enforcement works for the people and not against them, it must be identifiable — and accountable.
Note: Read a related, incisive article on politico.com. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
In 1994, Congress enacted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which ... required the attorney general to “acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers” across the nation and to “publish an annual summary of the data acquired.” Congress effectively ordered the Justice Department to document how often police kill unarmed private citizens. Two years later, a Justice Department report raised the white flag: “Systematically collecting information on use of force from the nation's more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies is difficult given ... the sensitivity of the issue.” Instead of requiring local and state law enforcement agencies to comply with the new federal law, the Justice Department expanded its "police-public contact survey". Police killings became a hot topic nationwide after a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014. The Washington Post and The Guardian began tracking individual shootings by local police. The Guardian [revealed] that police killed 1,134 people across the nation in 2015. This was 2 1/2 times higher than the death toll the FBI reported the previous year. The Ferguson protests spurred Congress to enact another law in December 2014, the Death in Custody Reporting Act, compelling states and federal agencies to fully report fatalities of people they had sought to arrest or detain. However ... an inspector general report revealed that the agency did not even intend to attempt to garner such data until this year.
How accurate are the coronavirus tests used in the U.S.? Months into the outbreak, no one really knows. When the new virus began spreading, the Food and Drug Administration used its emergency powers to OK scores of quickly devised tests, based mainly on a small number of lab studies showing they could successfully detect the virus. That’s very different from the large patient studies that can take weeks or months, which experts say are needed to provide a true sense of testing accuracy. There have been more than 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 115,000 deaths. Cases in nearly half of U.S. states are rising. Most COVID-19 tests in the U.S. don’t give data on real-world performance, including how often the tests falsely clear patients of infection or falsely detect the virus. That information is lacking for all but a few of the roughly 80 commercial screening tests available. Last month, the FDA warned doctors of a potential accuracy problem with Abbott Laboratories’ rapid ID Now test, which delivers results in roughly 15 minutes. The test has been lauded by President Donald Trump and used to screen the president, his staff and visitors to the White House. The FDA alert followed a preliminary report by New York University that found Abbott’s test missed between a third to one-half of infections caught by a rival test in patients screened for the virus. Dr. Colin West of the Mayo Clinic worries doctors and patients have put too much confidence in the current crop of tests.
Remember the coronavirus? We were told by public health experts ... that we could not go outside for any reason. Roughly two weeks ago, everything changed. We all watched as mass stay-at-home orders and self-isolation gave way to massive street protests, where tens or hundreds of thousands of people gathered together in the U.S. and around the world. Virtually no prominent experts have denounced any of this on the ground that it will spread the coronavirus and ultimately kill more people. To the contrary, many infectious disease experts have done the exact opposite: they have endorsed and encouraged these mass street protests, claiming not that their support for them is grounded in their political values but in their health and scientific judgment. Perhaps the most egregious a