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.
Johnson & Johnson must pay a $2.1 billion award to women who claimed its baby powder was contaminated with cancer-causing asbestos, after the U.S. Supreme Court left intact the largest verdict in the almost decadelong litigation over the iconic product. The top U.S. court without comment on Tuesday refused to consider J&J's objections to a St. Louis jury's 2018 finding that its talc-based powder helped cause ovarian cancer in 20 women. J&J prepared for the appeal's denial by announcing in February it was setting aside almost $4 billion to cover the St. Louis verdict. The company still faces more than 25,000 lawsuits blaming baby powder for causing cancers. J&J pulled the product off U.S. and Canadian shelves last year. Jurors in the St. Louis case awarded each woman $25 million in compensatory damages. The panel then added more than $4 billion in punitive damages, making the award the sixth-largest in U.S. legal history. The original verdict sparked a significant drop in J&J's shares. J&J has lost other cases at trial, with juries across the U.S. ordering it to pay hundreds of millions of dollars. Judges slashed some of those awards while others have been thrown out or are on appeal. J&J has won cases as well. Asbestos, which is often found where talc is mined, is a recognized carcinogen. The women also contended that J&J showed years of deceit about its product and disregard for the health of its customers and argued that warranted the punitive damage award.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Dr Fauci has been the face of the nation's Covid-19 response. But emails have raised questions on whether he backed Chinese denials of the theory that Covid-19 leaked from a lab. A trove of Dr Fauci's emails covering the onset of the coronavirus outbreak were released this week to media under a freedom of information request. Chinese authorities linked early Covid-19 cases to a seafood market in Wuhan. But recent US media reports have suggested growing evidence the virus could instead have emerged from a lab in Wuhan, perhaps through an accidental leak. The NIH, which is a US public health agency, gave $600,000 (Ł425,000) to the Wuhan Institute of Virology from 2014-19 via a grant to the New York-based non-profit group EcoHealth Alliance, for the purpose of researching bat coronaviruses. Peter Daszak, head of EcoHealth Alliance, emailed Dr Fauci in April 2020, praising him as "brave" for seeking to debunk the lab leak theory. Department of State officials ... were told not to explore claims about gain-of-function experiments at the Wuhan lab to avoid attracting unwelcome attention to US government funding of such research. Gain-of-function studies involve altering pathogens to make them more transmissible in order to learn more about how they might mutate. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that three employees at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill and were admitted to hospital in November 2019, just before the first reported Covid-19 cases.
Note: Read lots more important information on this not covered in the BBC article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Canada pressured to find all unmarked Indigenous graves after children's remains are found
June 3, 2021, NBC News
Canada has been dealt a somber reminder of one of the darkest chapters of its history over the past week. The remains of 215 children were found last month buried in unmarked graves at a former residential school, one of more than 150 institutions in a defunct system that for well over a century forcibly separated Indigenous children from their families to assimilate them into Canadian society. The school where the remains were found is in Kamloops. The institution, the biggest residential school in Canada, operated under the auspices of the Catholic Church from 1890 to 1969. The Canadian government then took over and oversaw the school until it closed in 1978. Enrollment peaked in the early 1950s at 500. There are official records of at least 51 children who died at the school from 1900 to 1971. The graves, which were discovered with ground-penetrating radar last month, are believed to be undocumented. Some of the children are believed to have been as young as 3. While the sheer number of children's remains found in Kamloops is shocking, it is just the tip of the iceberg, and the discovery is by no means an isolated incident. An estimated 150,000 First Nations, MĂ©tis and Inuit children were required to attend the state-funded residential schools from 1831 to 1996. Many never went home. In 2015, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission declared that the residential schools played a central role in Canada's "cultural genocide" of Indigenous people.
The wealthiest Americans – including Warren Buffett, Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos – paid little in federal income taxes at times in recent years despite soaring fortunes, according to Internal Revenue Service data obtained by ProPublica. The information published Tuesday shows how billionaires are able to legally reduce their tax burden, highlighting how the American tax system can hit ordinary wage earners harder than the richest people in the country. That's often because the richest Americans tend to have their wealth tied up in stocks and real estate, allowing them to avoid taxes on unrealized profits. The U.S. tax system focuses on income, not what is known as unrealized gains from unsold stocks, real estate or other assets. The records ... purport to show Buffett, head of Berkshire Hathaway, as having paid $23.7 million in federal income taxes on total income of $125 million from 2014 to 2018, which would indicate a personal income tax rate of 19 percent. ProPublica estimated that Buffett saw his wealth soar by $24.3 billion during that period and so his "true tax rate" was 0.10 percent. Musk, chief executive of Tesla, paid $455 million on $1.52 billion in income during the same period, when his wealth grew by $13.9 billion, accounting for a "true tax rate" of 3.27 percent. Bezos, chief executive of Amazon and the owner of The Washington Post, paid $973 million in taxes on $4.22 billion in income, as his wealth soared by $99 billion, resulting in a 0.98 percent "true tax rate."
Note: Learn about important facts this article leaves out in this excellent piece. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Sweden's economy returned to its pre-pandemic level in the first quarter as the recovery in the largest Nordic economy is outpacing most of its wealthy peers. The gross domestic product was unchanged in the first quarter from the year-earlier level, on a calendar-adjusted basis, according to the Stockholm-based statistics office. Like the rest of the Nordic region, Sweden has weathered the Covid crisis better than most thanks in large part to generous welfare systems and widespread digitalization that made working from home easier. Even as the 14-day infection rate is the highest in Europe, according to WHO, the government plans to go ahead with a gradual softening of Covid-restrictions starting next month. "Sweden is closing in at its pre-virus peak of activity quicker than most European countries, helped by a rebound in consumption and strong export growth. Data released on Thursday also showed overall confidence levels in the economy surged to an all-time high in April, in a surprise to economists.
Note: Sweden is doing better than the US and most of its European neighbors both economically and in number of deaths per million. Yet this article fails to mention that their government never required masks and had no lockdown even though they were hit hard by the virus in the beginning. The media and so many others were predicting Sweden would be a disaster. Could it be that masks and the lockdown were not as effective as many say? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
I consider myself a lay historian. But for all my study, I never read a page of any school history book about how, in 1921, a mob of white people burned down a place called Black Wall Street, killed as many as 300 of its Black citizens and displaced thousands of Black Americans who lived in Tulsa, Okla. My experience was common: History was mostly written by white people about white people like me, while the history of Black people – including the horrors of Tulsa – was too often left out. Until relatively recently, the entertainment industry, which helps shape what is history and what is forgotten, did the same. That includes projects of mine. I knew about the attack on Fort Sumter, Custer's last stand and Pearl Harbor but did not know of the Tulsa massacre until last year, thanks to an article in The New York Times. The truth about Tulsa, and the repeated violence by some white Americans against Black Americans, was systematically ignored. Our predominantly white schools didn't teach it, our mass appeal works of historical fiction didn't enlighten us, and my chosen industry didn't take on the subject in films and shows until recently. It seems white educators and school administrators (if they even knew of the Tulsa massacre, for some surely did not) omitted the volatile subject for the sake of the status quo, placing white feelings over Black experience – literally Black lives in this case. Should our schools now teach the truth about Tulsa? Yes, and they should also stop the battle to whitewash curriculums.
Note: The above was written by renowned actor Tom Hanks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Sinclair Media Group is the owner of the largest number of TV stations in America. "Sinclair's probably the most dangerous company most people have never heard of," said Michael Copps, the George W Bush-appointed former chairman of Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the top US broadcast regulator. The New York Times refers to the group as a "conservative giant" that, since the Bush presidency, has used its 173 television stations "to advance a mostly right-leaning agenda". Already the biggest broadcaster in the country, Sinclair is poised to make its biggest move yet. If the FCC approves Sinclair's $3.9bn purchase of an additional 42 stations, it would reach into the homes of almost three-quarters of Americans. Sinclair forces its local stations to run pro-Trump "news" segments. In 2004 ... as George W Bush faced criticism over the faltering war in Iraq, Sinclair ordered seven of its stations not to run an episode of Nightline in which host Ted Koppel read the names of every American soldier killed in the war, saying it "undermine[d] the efforts of the United States in Iraq". Meanwhile, with its 2015 purchase of Circa, a mobile aggregated news app, Sinclair has control for the first time of a national text-based news outlet.
Yeva Klingbeil, a senior at Shenendehowa High School who was diagnosed with cancer in November 2019, had help from a few of her teammates in crossing the finish line at a meet on Monday. "What a great moment to see Senior Yeva Klingbeil at today's girls track & field meet," the school's athletic department wrote, posting the video on Twitter. "Yeva's teammates help her across the line in the 4X1 relay," the post continued. "Yeva continues her fight with cancer and we continue to be amazed by her spirit!!" The video has been viewed more than 180,000 times and counting, showing Klingbeil walk arm-in-arm with three of her teammates as they helped her finish the race. The rest of the team and runners from other schools rushed to congratulate her after, chanting her name in unison. Klingbeil was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects muscle tissue, mostly in adolescents. She began chemotherapy in 2019 for a cancerous mass around her jaw, followed by radiation treatments, which damaged her brainstem. After weeks in the ICU and work with several specialists, she's regained some of her function, and the tumor has shrunk to half of its original size. "Yeva and her family pray her brain will continue healing and she'll be able to breathe, walk, and eat once again," her coach Rob Cloutier [said]. "While Yeva has gone through all of this and more, she has never stopped caring about her friends and family and has never given up hope of recovery."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Tasmanian devils have been born in the wild in mainland Australia, more than 3,000 years after they died out in the country. Seven baby Tasmanian devils - known as joeys - were born at the 988-acre Barrington Wildlife Sanctuary in New South Wales, Australian NGO Aussie Ark said. Tasmanian devils died out on the mainland after the arrival of dingoes - a species of wild dog - and were restricted to the island of Tasmania. However, their numbers suffered another blow from a contagious form of cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD), which has killed around 90% of the population since it was discovered in 1996. Last September, Aussie Ark introduced 11 of the creatures back into the wild in mainland Australia, following an earlier trial involving 15 of the marsupials, bringing the total of Tasmanian devils on the mainland to 26. And now, just months after their release, the creatures have successfully reproduced - and conservationists have identified the tiny marsupials, which they say are the size of shelled peanuts, inside the pouches of the mothers. Female Tasmanian devils give birth to between 20 and 40 joeys at once, according to Tourism Australia. The joeys race to the mother's pouch, which only has four teats. Those that make it to the pouch carry on living there for around three months. Tasmanian devils are the world's largest carnivorous marsupials. Their reintroduction will help control populations of feral cats and foxes that hunt other endangered species.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Earlier this month, U.N. Secretary-General AntĂłnio Guterres joined virtual visitors to Berlin at the 12th Annual Petersberg Climate Dialogue, where the German government hoped to further negotiate technical details of the Paris Agreement. During the event, German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged governments to continue investing into our shared climate despite budgetary shortfalls related to the COVID-19 crisis. Germany has walked that walk. Over the past two decades, it has embarked on a remarkable, expensive transition from coal and nuclear energy, to renewable energy sources. The set of policies to encourage this rise of green energy is known as energiewende–or "energy transition." Energiewende has its roots in the foundation of Germany's Green Party in the late 1970s and early 1980s and enjoys broad public support. It is one of the most ambitious green energy proposals in the global North, and represents a fundamental paradigm shift from the fossil fuel-obsessed status quo. Massive fossil fuel subsidies and planned expansions of natural gas means the United States has failed to embrace the same spirit of energiewende. But that doesn't mean it never can. One good way to start would be with a central component of German energiewende: a feed-in-tariff to promote less developed renewable technologies. It works through phase-out subsidies that provide a fixed price for every kilowatt hour for a specific period following a renewable plant's construction.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
With evidence mounting that the coronavirus might have escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, President Biden has reversed course and ordered the U.S. intelligence community to produce a report on the virus's origins within 90 days. Better late than never. For the past year, the media has scorned the idea of an accidental lab release as a far-flung conspiracy theory. In fact, it would have been an extraordinary coincidence for this virus to emerge in Wuhan – home to China's leading research laboratory studying bat coronaviruses – and have had no connection to the lab. Since April 2020 we have known that in 2018 U.S. diplomats warned of inadequate safety at the Wuhan lab. It turns out that [Anthony] Fauci's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) ... awarded a grant for studying bat coronavirus to the U.S.-based EcoHealth Alliance, which then subcontracted the research to the Wuhan lab. Fauci admits this, but insists that the money did not support gain of function research. But as Wade points out, that is exactly what the Wuhan institute was doing. Indeed, the grant proposals from Shi Zhengli – the "Bat Woman" at the Wuhan lab – which are a matter of public record specified that she planned to use the money for gain-of-function research. Fauci is on record supporting such research. And the NIAID was supporting research in Wuhan even though the U.S. government had placed a moratorium on gain of function research.
Note: Read more about the Wuhan Institute of Virology's risky research on bat coronaviruses. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A new study that checked American women's breast milk for PFAS contamination detected the toxic chemical in all 50 samples tested, and at levels nearly 2,000 times higher than the level some public health advocates advise is safe for drinking water. "These harmful chemicals are contaminating what should be nature's perfect food," said Erika Schreder, a co-author. PFAS, or per and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a class of about 9,000 compounds that are used to make products like food packaging, clothing and carpeting water and stain resistant. They are called "forever chemicals" because they do not naturally break down and have been found to accumulate in humans. They are linked to cancer, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, plummeting sperm counts and a range of other serious health problems. The peer-reviewed study ... found PFAS at levels in milk ranging from 50 parts per trillion (ppt) to more than 1,850ppt. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry ... recommends as little as 14ppt in children's drinking water. Studies of older children and adults have linked the chemicals to hormonal disruptions and suggests PFAS harm the immune system. Among steps that the authors recommend pregnant women and mothers take to protect themselves are avoiding greaseproof carryout food packaging, stain guards like ScotchGard, waterproof clothing that uses PFAS, and cooking products with Teflon or similar non-stick properties.
Note: PFAS may be partially responsible for sharply declining human fertility. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
U.S. government suspicions about microwave weapon attacks have apparently spread to the Department of Homeland Security. DHS Deputy Under Secretary for Management Randolph D. Alles sent a memo to department personnel encouraging them to report "unexplained health incidents" to medical officials within DHS or to the State Department. The memo suggests that concerns about "multiple symptoms following an unusual auditory or sensory event," in the past limited to the State Department and CIA, have spread to DHS, an agency unlike the other two in that its operations are primarily domestic. Claims of mysterious health problems, mostly neurological, first originated among several State Department diplomats in Cuba in 2016 – earning the broad range of symptoms the moniker "Havana Syndrome." The reported injuries ... are said to have affected over 130 people. The DHS memo itself notes, "The precise nature of the injuries suffered by affected personnel has varied and whether a common cause exists for all individuals, regardless of location, has not yet been established." A National Academies of Science report last year ... concluded that the symptoms are real, and the most plausible cause is "directed, pulsed radio frequency energy." Former CIA officials ... broadly agreed on the existence of Havana Syndrome but not on its perpetrator, which has been variously attributed in speculation to the Chinese, Russian, or Cuban governments.
Note: Sound weapons developed for war which are increasingly used against civilian populations are well-documented. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on non-lethal weapons from reliable major media sources.
The Biden administration is holding tens of thousands of asylum-seeking children in an opaque network of some 200 facilities that The Associated Press has learned spans two dozen states and includes five shelters with more than 1,000 children packed inside. The number of migrant children in government custody more than doubled in the past two months, and this week the federal government was housing around 21,000 kids, from toddlers to teens. A facility at Fort Bliss, a U.S. Army post in El Paso, Texas, had more than 4,500 children as of Monday. A few of the current practices are the same as those that President Joe Biden and others criticized under the Trump administration, including not vetting some caregivers with full FBI fingerprint background checks. Part of the government's plan to manage thousands of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border involves about a dozen unlicensed emergency facilities inside military installations, stadiums and convention centers that skirt state regulations and don't require traditional legal oversight. Inside the facilities, called Emergency Intake Sites, children aren't guaranteed access to education, recreational opportunities or legal counsel. Some of the facilities holding children these days are run by contractors already facing lawsuits claiming that children were physically and sexually abused in their shelters under the Trump administration.
Note: Could there be an agenda here with child sex slavery? 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.
The intimidation, disempowerment and humiliation of the "other" to maintain entitled rights has been a recurring narrative since the arrival of European colonizers in America. This is a lens through which to understand the significance of the ... 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, among the worst acts of violence in US history. Between 31 May-1 June, white residents, peace officers, and soldiers attacked the historical Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as the "Black Wall Street", killing an estimated 300 residents, displacing upwards of 1,000 more, and inflicting irrevocable economic damage to a thriving business district created by and for Black Americans. As Blacks were recklessly and wantonly raped, murdered and driven from hard-earned homes and businesses, the cover-up by local and state government representatives was chillingly efficient. A century later, thanks to the last three survivors of the Tulsa Massacre and the descendants of those who were killed or survived the violence, the full horror may finally be understood. White Americans in the south and the north saw Black strivers as an existential threat. They seized upon any reason, no matter how flimsy the excuse, to lay waste to their neighbourhoods and communities through physical attacks.
A video showing a mobile device snapping infrared images of an iPhone user is circulating around the internet. In the Tik Tok shared by user Brie Thomason, a digital camera using an infrared lens is seen filming an iPhone user observing their home screen. As the iPhone user stares blatantly at the device, Thomason's digital camera captures the iPhone snapping multiple infrared images every 5-10 seconds. While this discovery may cause some users to panic, Apple claims this is actually just an aspect of the iPhone that allows users to control their face ID and Animoji (the animated emoji function). According to Apple, this feature was first debuted as the iPhone X's most groundbreaking function; since it is not even discernible at first glance, even though it literally stares you in the face. The company calls this feature: the new TrueDepth IR camera. This camera, housed in the black notch at the top of the display, includes a number of high-tech components such as a "flood illuminator," infrared (IR) camera, and an infrared emitter. Officials say as an iPhone is used, the latter emits 30,000 infrared dots in a known pattern when a face is detected, enabling the iPhone X to generate a 3D map of a user's face. According to the team, this TrueDepth IR camera can also do this fast enough to support the creation of 3D motion data as well. So, yes, your iPhone is essentially taking "invisible" photos of you, but not for the reasons you would think.
All covid-19 vaccines currently in use in the US are available under emergency access only. None of the covid-19 vaccines in use are actually "approved." Through an emergency access mechanism known as Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA), the products being rolled out still technically remain "investigational." Factsheets distributed to vaccinees are clear: "There is no FDA approved vaccine to prevent covid-19." One key difference between EUA and approval (also called "licensure," and which for vaccines is known as a BLA (Biologics License Application)) was the expected length of follow-up of trial participants. Unlike its clear articulation of two months for an EUA, the FDA has not committed to a clear minimum for approval. Among the six "first in disease" vaccines approved by the FDA since 2006, pre-licensure pivotal trials were a median of 23 months in duration. Duration of protection is not the only question that longer, placebo controlled trials can address. They also address vaccine safety. The BMJ asked Moderna, Pfizer, and Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) what proportion of trial participants were now formally unblinded, and how many originally allocated to placebo have now received a vaccine. Pfizer declined to say, but Moderna announced that "as of April 13, all placebo participants have been offered the Moderna covid-19 vaccine and 98% of those have received the vaccine." In other words, the trial is unblinded, and the placebo group no longer exists.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
An Australian study has found that about one in five corporate executives are psychopaths – roughly the same rate as among prisoners. The study of 261 senior professionals in the United States found that 21 per cent had clinically significant levels of psychopathic traits. The rate of psychopathy in the general population is about one in a hundred. Nathan Brooks, a forensic psychologist who conducted the study, said the findings suggested that businesses should improve their recruitment screening. He said recruiters tend to focus on skills rather than personality features and this has led to firms hiring "successful psychopaths" who may engage in unethical and illegal practices or have a toxic impact on colleagues. "Typically psychopaths create a lot of chaos and generally tend to play people off against each other," he said. "Psychopaths ... don't mind if they violate morals. It is about getting where they want in the company and having dominance over others." The global financial crisis in 2008 has prompted researchers to study workplace traits that may have allowed a corporate culture in which unethical behaviour was able to flourish. Mr Brooks's research ... was based on a study of corporate professionals in the supply chain management industry across the US. The researchers have been examining ways to help employers screen for potential psychopaths. "We hope to implement our screening tool in businesses ... to hopefully identify this problem," Mr Brooks said.
Note: This study was retracted in 2018 following allegations of plagiarism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
At 106, Eileen Kramer seems more productive than ever. She writes a story a day from her Sydney aged-care facility, publishes books and has entered Australia's most prestigious painting competition. After decades living abroad, Ms Kramer returned to her home city of Sydney aged 99. Since then, she's collaborated with artists to create several videos that showcase her primary talent and lifelong passion: dancing. Ms Kramer still dances - graceful, dramatic movements mostly using the top half of her body. She has also choreographed. "Since returning to Sydney I've ... performed three big dance pieces at NIDA [the National Institute for Dramatic Art] and independent theatres. "I've participated in two big dance festivals ... I've been in a film, given many smaller performances, written three books, and today I'm having a free day!" she says. Something she often gets asked is where all her energy comes from - and whether there's a secret to dancing into old age. Her response is that she banishes the words "old" and "age" from her vocabulary. "I say: I'm not old, I've just been here a long time. I don't feel how people say you should feel when you're old. My attitude to creating things is identical to when I was a child." Ms Kramer trained as a dancer then toured Australia with the Bodenwieser Ballet for a decade. She travelled to India, and later settled in Paris and then New York - where she lived until she was 99. Her dance career spans four continents and one century, and it has always been her first love.
A teenager who attached uplifting messages to a bridge to help people facing a mental health crisis has helped save six lives, police said. Paige Hunter, 18, tied more than 40 notes to Sunderland's Wearmouth Bridge. One note says: "Even though things are difficult, your life matters; you're a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on." Northumbria Police Ch Supt Sarah Pitt said it was an "innovative way to reach out to those in a dark place". She said it was important to encourage people to speak out about mental health problems, adding: "Paige has shown an incredible understanding of vulnerable people in need of support. "For somebody so young, Paige has shown a real maturity and we thought it would only be right to thank her personally. She should be very proud of herself." The East Durham College student, who also works at Poundworld, was given a commendation certificate from the force. Paige said: "Since I put the messages up I've had a lot of comments from people. They've said it's been really inspiring. "It's just amazing, the response it has had. I wasn't doing this for an award; it was just something that I wanted to do." Since 2013, Northumbria Police's Street Triage service has seen a team of dedicated officers and mental health nurses work alongside each other to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis.
When Edward Martell went to court in 2005 to plead guilty to selling and manufacturing crack, he thought his life was over. However, Bruce Morrow, a Michigan judge decided to give him a second chance. Martell, then 27, had had several run-ins with the law until he was arrested in a counternarcotics operation. When he pleaded guilty to selling and manufacturing crack, he knew he could face 20 years in jail. Judge Morrow saw young Martell and understood the circumstances that had led the young man to life in crime. So he gave him a three-year probation sentence and a challenge: to return to that same court with an achievement. Last week ... Edward returned to the same courthouse as Bruce Morrow, but this time to fulfill his promise: to be sworn in as a lawyer in the same courtroom where he pleaded guilty. "It was kind of a joke, but [Edward] understood that I believed he could be whatever he wanted," Judge Morrow [said]. After his first meeting with the magistrate, Edward earned a high school degree and then a scholarship to study law. He always kept in touch with the judge who had inspired him. Martell underwent a strict background check in order to join the Michigan Bar Association, but the board determined that his past should not determine his future. That's how Martell, now 43, returned to court to become a lawyer. That is the power of mentoring.
A newly leaked Navy video appears to show an unidentified flying object disappearing into the water off California. The video was captured in July 2019 by Navy aircraft and recorded in the USS Omaha's Combat Information Center, according to the filmmaker, Jeremy Corbell. The clip appears to show a spherical object flying above the water for a few minutes near San Diego before it vanishes. "It splashed," military personnel can be heard saying in the video. The Defense Department confirmed that the clip was recorded by Navy personnel and said it will be reviewed by the Pentagon's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force, a panel established last year. The video was published a few days before "60 Minutes" aired an interview with two former Navy pilots who recalled having been dispatched to investigate "multiple anomalous aerial vehicles" that descended 80,000 feet in less than a second. Christopher Mellon, a top defense official in the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, said in an interview that there was "a lot of continuity" between recent reports of unidentified objects and reports dating back decades. "What we're seeing are a number of distinct and different things," he said. "Sometimes we're seeing a 50-foot object that can travel at hypersonic speeds and seemingly go into orbit or come down from altitudes of potentially above 100,000 feet." Mellon said the stigma associated with reporting such phenomena has long kept witnesses quiet.
Note: To learn how this is likely a controlled rollout of UFO information, see our two-page summary of testimony by top government officials of their personal involvement in a UFO cover-up over many decades. See also concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.
It's the story of the U.S. government's grudging acknowledgment of unidentified aerial phenomena – UAP – more commonly known as UFOs. After decades of public denial the Pentagon now admits there's something out there, and the U.S. Senate wants to know what it is. The intelligence committee has ordered the director of national intelligence and the secretary of defense to deliver a report on the mysterious sightings by next month. Luis Elizondo ... hadn't given UFOs a second thought until 2008. That's when he was asked to join something at the Pentagon called the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program, or "AATIP." AATIP was part of a $22 million program sponsored by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to investigate UFOs. When Elizondo took over in 2010 he focused on the national security implications of unidentified aerial phenomena documented by U.S. service members. AATIP's funding was eliminated in 2012, but Elizondo says he and a handful of others kept the mission alive until finally, frustrated, he quit the Pentagon in 2017, but not before getting ... three videos declassified. This past August the Pentagon resurrected AATIP, it's now called the UAP task force. After receiving classified briefings on UAPs, Senator Marco Rubio called for a detailed analysis. This past December, while he was still head of the intelligence committee, he asked the director of national intelligence and the Pentagon to present Congress an unclassified report by next month.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our UFO Information Center.
I am a 13-year-old in seventh grade, and this is what the pandemic has felt like for me. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I still got to go to school. Still, it felt like nobody was really there. Usually we sat in a dark room with the lights off and the blinds closed, all of us facing some sort of electronic device, procrastinating and not getting our work done. There are no sports teams. No music rehearsals. No drama club. When I'd get home, the first thing I wanted to do is lay down on my bed and just look up at the ceiling. Every single day. I keep saying to myself, "It's OK because next week will be better." But the next week was always the same. Occasionally, I would break down in tears and have to go to the school counsellor. Some of my classmates have done the same. We don't really need to talk to the counsellor, anyway. What we need is to hang out with our friends. The adults don't really understand. Whenever we'd talk, a teacher would tell us we were spreading spit particles across the room, and that could get someone sick. If we stood up, because we've been sitting for five hours straight, a teacher would tell us to sit back down because we weren't socially distancing. We have been told countless times that if we don't socially distance ... and stop doing the things that make us kids, that make us human beings, we will cause harm to others. Now, kids are scared. If they break these rules they feel like murderers, ungrateful people. But while following these rules we are killing ourselves.
Note: Children's hospitals have reported a sharp uptick in mental illness since the pandemic began. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The reported number of COVID-19 hospitalizations, one of the primary metrics for tracking the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, was grossly inflated for children in California hospitals. Two research papers ... both published in the journal Hospital Pediatrics, found that pediatric hospitalizations for COVID-19 were overcounted by at least 40 percent, carrying potential implications for nationwide figures. Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-diseases specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, and Amy Beck, an associate professor of pediatrics, also at UCSF, wrote a commentary for Hospital Pediatrics that accompanied the two studies. They wrote, "Taken together, these studies underscore the importance of clearly distinguishing between children hospitalized with SARS-CoV-2 found on universal testing versus those hospitalized for COVID-19 disease." The studies demonstrate, they said, that reported hospitalization rates "greatly overestimate the true burden of COVID-19 disease in children." The hospitalization numbers for children were already extremely low relative to adults – at the pandemic's peak this winter, it was roughly ten times lower than for 18-to-49-year-olds and 77 times lower than those age 65 and up. The findings arrive as parents have begun vaccinating children under the expedited "emergency-use authorization" against a virus that, these findings suggest, poses a dramatically lower incidence of pediatric hospitalizations than the data have shown thus far.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Over the past two weeks, Seychelles – which has been dubbed "the most vaccinated country in the world" – has seen a spike in coronavirus cases, causing alarm. The archipelago in the Indian Ocean, with a population of about 98,000, has fully vaccinated more than 60% of its population, but it's also seen its number of active COVID-19 cases nearly double over the past month. The country has closed schools and canceled activities to attempt to curb the spread. Though Seychelles has been called the world's "most vaccinated country," not all vaccines are created equal. The country used two vaccines to inoculate its population – Sinopharm, a Chinese state-owned vaccine, and Covishield, a version of the AstraZeneca vaccine, both of which have not been proven to be as effective as the Pfizer-BioNTec and Moderna vaccines. Just last week, the WHO expressed "very low confidence" in data provided by Sinopharm around its risk of severe side effects. Recent clinical trial data found the vaccine was about 78.1% effective after two doses, but the Seychelles outbreak could suggest that the efficacy is less than that. Places like Seychelles also didn't see huge COVID surges earlier in the pandemic, and have lower levels of natural immunity in their communities. Chile is another example of a country with a high vaccination rate that now is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases. Its number of new daily cases nearly doubled in April from the prior month, even though the country has vaccinated more than 45% of its population.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.
No vaccine provides perfect protection, and so-called breakthrough infections after coronavirus vaccination are rare. Federal health officials have told fully vaccinated people they no longer need to wear masks or maintain social distance because they are protected, nor do they need to be tested or quarantine after an exposure, unless they develop symptoms. Now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stopped investigating breakthrough infections among fully vaccinated people unless they become so sick that they are hospitalized or die. Earlier this year, the agency was monitoring all cases. Through the end of April, when some 101 million Americans had been vaccinated, the C.D.C. had received 10,262 reports of breakthrough infections from 46 states and territories, a number that was very likely "a substantial undercount," according to a C.D.C. report. On May 1, the agency decided to investigate only the most severe breakthrough infection cases, while still collecting voluntary reports on breakthrough cases from state and local health departments. The agency will carry out vaccine effectiveness studies that include data on breakthrough cases, but only in limited populations, such as health care workers and essential workers, older adults, and residents at long-term care facilities. But even relatively mild cases of Covid-19 can lead to persistent long-term health problems, and it will be difficult to know the full scope without tracking mild infections as well.
Note: This is a convenient way to make it look like case numbers are dropping more than they actually are, which makes the vaccines look more effective than they really are. Learn more on how the CDC is manipulating case figures in this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.
Covid-19 vaccines have created at least nine new billionaires after shares in companies producing the shots soared. Topping the list of new billionaires are Moderna CEO StĂ©phane Bancel and Ugur Sahin, the CEO of BioNTech, which has produced a vaccine with Pfizer. Both CEOs are now worth around $4 billion, according to an analysis by the People's Vaccine Alliance, a campaign group that includes Oxfam, UNAIDS, Global Justice Now and Amnesty International. Senior executives from China's CanSino Biologics and early investors in Moderna have also become billionaires on paper as shares skyrocketed. Moderna's share price has gained more than 700% since February 2020, while BioNTech has surged 600%. CanSino Biologics' stock is up about 440% over the same period. The company's single-dose Covid-19 vaccine was approved for use in China in February. Activists said the wealth generation highlighted the stark inequality that has resulted from the pandemic. The nine new billionaires are worth a combined $19.3 billion, enough to fully vaccinate some 780 million people in low-income countries. "These billionaires are the human face of the huge profits many pharmaceutical corporations are making from the monopoly they hold on these vaccines," Anne Marriott, Oxfam's health policy manager, said. "These vaccines were funded by public money and should be first and foremost a global public good, not a private profit opportunity," she added.
Note: You would hope that with all the suffering going on in our world, big Pharma wouldn't gouge and make huge profits on their vaccines. Sadly, this is far from the truth. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.
For years, the Gates Foundation has been steered by an unusually small board of trustees, made up of Bill, his estranged wife, Melinda, and the billionaire investor Warren Buffett. The larger the foundation became, the less anyone seemed willing to ask tough questions about its secretive management structure or its penchant for giving money to lucrative pharmaceutical and credit card companies such as Mastercard, despite the fact that giving away billions to wealthy corporations set an unusual and troubling precedent in the philanthropic sector. Billionaires who make their fortunes through corporate practices that undercut workers and deepen inequality – like corporate tax avoidance, insufficient sick pay and the immoral gap in pay between executives and low-paid workers – are not the solution to problems they generate. Asking Bill Gates to fix inequality is like asking an arsonist to hose down your house after he just set it on fire. In April last year, the University of Oxford was reportedly considering offering a Covid-19 vaccine developed by its scientists on a nonexclusive basis. But then, Kaiser Health News reported, "Oxford – urged on by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – reversed course. It signed an exclusive vaccine deal with AstraZeneca that gave the pharmaceutical giant sole rights and no guarantee of low prices." This dealmaking .. seemed to conflict with the Gates Foundation's stated mission to improve global access to medicines, but it's not surprising.
Note: Read more about the Gates Foundation's startling degree of media influence during the pandemic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the coronavirus vaccine from reliable major media sources.
Once upon a time a 7-year-old refugee living in a homeless shelter sat down at a chess board. Tanitoluwa Adewumi – better known as Tani – enjoyed chess as an escape from the chaos of the homeless shelter, and his skills progressed in stunning fashion. After little more than a year, at age 8, he won the New York State chess championship for his age group. I wrote a couple of columns about Tani at that time, and readers responded by donating more than $250,000 to a GoFundMe campaign for Tani's family, along with a year of free housing. This month, as a fifth grader, Tani ... emerged with a chess rating of 2223, making him a national master. When Tani won the state championship, several private schools offered him places, but the family decided to keep him in the public school that had nurtured him. The Adewumis also used the $250,000 contributed by readers to start a foundation that helps other homeless people and refugees. The larger lesson of Tani's story is simple: Talent is universal, while opportunity is not. In Tani's case, everything came together. His homeless shelter was in a school district that had a chess club, the school waived fees, he had devoted parents who took him to every practice, he won the state tournament (by a hair) and readers responded with extraordinary generosity. My challenge as a columnist is that readers often want to help extraordinary individuals like Tani whom I write about, but we need to support all children – including those who aren't chess prodigies.
Researchers achieved a breakthrough in brain-computer interface (BCI) technology. As outlined in a statement by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and published in a Nature journal article, scientists state that they have created a system to translate mental thoughts of handwriting into real-time text. HHMI investigator ... Krishna Shenoy is hopeful that this technology can, "with further development, let people with paralysis rapidly type without using their hands." If scientists can indeed innovate a way where thoughts and imagination alone could be used to effectively communicate, this would be [an] unparalleled resource to millions of individuals facing paralysis or a wide variety of other neurological conditions which may cause loss of speech or movement. Brain-computer/machine interface technology is potentially a significant boon for patients affected by neurological conditions. For many, it may become a source of improved mobility, communication, or expression. Although much work still remains to be done in this industry, if innovators are indeed able to create this technology in a scalable manner that prioritizes patient safety, it may potentially provide much-needed respite for millions of people.
Note: The Howard Hughes Medical Institute published a video outlining this experiment. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A collection of 50 "tiny" homes will begin sheltering some of St. Louis' homeless population as soon as next month, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced. The city plans a 29-month lease of property for the new community at 900 N. Jefferson Avenue on the edge of Downtown West. There the rows of colorful, simple homes ranging from 80 to 96 square feet will serve as transitional housing for residents for about four to five months while case workers try to find them permanent shelter. "Tiny houses are a lot safer, more secure and comfortable than living in a tent," Krewson said ... adding that the homes will create a "stronger foundation" for homeless people to rebuild their lives. The mayor will request $600,000 to fund the construction of the homes and the first year of the land lease from the approximately $35 million in federal coronavirus relief funding St. Louis received this spring to address the impact of COVID-19. "Folks are much more vulnerable to COVID if they're living on the street, if they are living in a group setting," Krewson said. "So this is assistance to prevent COVID transmission." Krewson's chief of staff, Steve Conway, said the city is also concerned that there may be an increase in the homeless population caused by the economic fallout from the pandemic. With the tiny homes included, the city has created 385 new beds to house the homeless population since the start of the pandemic. Each [tiny home] will have a bed, desk, chair, shelving unit, heat and air conditioning, and a charging unit for electronics.
By the time Melinda French Gates decided to end her 27-year marriage, her husband was known globally as a software pioneer. But in some circles, Bill Gates had also developed a reputation for questionable conduct. On at least a few occasions, Mr. Gates pursued women who worked for him at Microsoft and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. And then there was Jeffrey Epstein, whom Mr. Gates got to know beginning in 2011, three years after Mr. Epstein, who faced accusations of sex trafficking of girls, pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution from a minor. Ms. French Gates had expressed discomfort with her husband spending time with the sex offender, but Mr. Gates continued doing so. So, in October 2019, when the relationship between Mr. Gates and Mr. Epstein burst into public view, Ms. French Gates was unhappy. She hired divorce lawyers, setting in motion a process that culminated this month with the announcement that their marriage was ending. Mr. Gates [and] Mr. Epstein ... spent time together on multiple occasions, flying on Mr. Epstein's private jet and attending a late-night gathering at his Manhattan townhouse. "His lifestyle is very different and kind of intriguing although it would not work for me," Mr. Gates emailed colleagues in 2011, after he first met Mr. Epstein. For years, Mr. Gates continued to go to dinners and meetings at Mr. Epstein's home, where Mr. Epstein usually surrounded himself with young and attractive women.
A week ago, the Biden administration announced support for waiving intellectual property protection for Covid-19 vaccines. In response, Bio, a trade association representing biotechnology companies, issued a statement saying, "The United States has unfortunately chosen to set a dangerous precedent with these actions." Efforts to maintain intellectual property rights from life-saving drugs to vaccines have hindered the global response. The Biden administration surprised a lot of observers by coming out in favor of this ... temporary suspension of IP and patent enforcement on certain medications related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Right now, the way that wealthier countries – the U.S. and others – are confronting this crisis for the developing world is through voluntary agreements. There are really two ways to combat this crisis. There's a way to do it in a sense that maximizes profit for the healthcare companies, the pharmaceutical companies. And then there's the more collaborative, nonprofit approach. And early on, pharmaceutical companies were fighting this more collaborative approach. The pharmaceutical companies, in addition, have said they plan to increase prices once the pandemic quote-unquote ends. These companies are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to increase prices.
The pharmaceutical industry is distributing talking points, organizing opposition, and even collecting congressional signatures in an attempt to reverse President Joe Biden's support for worldwide access to generic Covid-19 vaccines. The behind-the-scenes moves ... come as the U.S. last week announced that it would support the World Trade Organization proposal, led by India and South Africa, to temporarily waive enforcement of intellectual property and patent rights on coronavirus vaccines. Without a radical expansion in vaccine manufacturing capacity, many developing countries will not achieve mass vaccination rates until 2023 or 2024. The waiver request, which was unexpectedly endorsed by Biden's administration on May 5, is designed to provide legal immunity for drug firms to copy the formulas of existing vaccines to supply low-cost vaccines to low-income countries. On Wednesday, Jared Michaud, a lobbyist with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group that represents Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, and other major drug firms, sent an email laying out the industry's role in coaxing lawmakers to push back against a waiver. One of the documents laid out potential national security concerns and suggested that lawmakers should argue the waiver could empower Russia and China. PhRMA ... spent over $24 million on federal lobbying last year and is one of the biggest corporate players in election spending.
In an important step toward medical approval, MDMA, the illegal drug popularly known as Ecstasy or Molly, was shown to bring relief to those suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder when paired with talk therapy. Of the 90 people who took part in the new study, which is expected to be published later this month in Nature Medicine, those who received MDMA during therapy experienced a significantly greater reduction in the severity of their symptoms compared with those who received therapy and an inactive placebo. Two months after treatment, 67 percent of participants in the MDMA group no longer qualified for a diagnosis of PTSD, compared with 32 percent in the placebo group. MDMA produced no serious adverse side effects. Some participants temporarily experienced mild symptoms like nausea and loss of appetite. Unlike traditional pharmaceuticals, MDMA does not act as a band-aid that tries to blunt symptoms of PTSD. Instead, in people with PTSD, MDMA combined with therapy seems to allow the brain to process painful memories and heal itself. Scott Ostrom, who participated in the study, had suffered from PTSD since returning home from his second deployment in Iraq in 2007. For more than a decade, he experienced debilitating nightmares. Mr. Ostrom's days were punctuated by panic attacks, and he dropped out of college. Therapy and medication did not help. But after participating in the trial, he no longer has nightmares. "Literally, I'm a different person," he said.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
It's been a long, strange trip in the four decades since Rick Doblin, a pioneering psychedelics researcher, dropped his first hit of acid in college and decided to dedicate his life to the healing powers of mind-altering compounds. Dr. Doblin's quest to win mainstream acceptance of psychedelics took a significant leap forward ... when the journal Nature Medicine published the results of his lab's study on MDMA, the club drug popularly known as Ecstasy and Molly. The study, the first Phase 3 clinical trial conducted with psychedelic-assisted therapy, found that MDMA paired with counseling brought marked relief to patients with severe post-traumatic stress disorder. The results, coming weeks after a New England Journal of Medicine study that highlighted the benefits of treating depression with psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in magic mushrooms, have excited scientists, psychotherapists and entrepreneurs. They say it is only a matter of time before the Food and Drug Administration grants approval for psychoactive compounds to be used therapeutically – for MDMA as soon as 2023, followed by psilocybin a year or two later. Last year, Oregon became the first state to legalize the therapeutic use of psilocybin. Denver, Oakland, Calif., and Washington, D.C., have decriminalized the drug, and several states, including California, are mulling similar legislation. Though the drugs remain illegal under federal law, the Justice Department has so far taken a hands-off approach to enforcement.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
There is clearly a psychedelic renaissance underway. These agents are now debated at medical conferences smirk-free, and my investment-obsessed friends predict a financial "'shroom-boom". During the 2020 US election ... Measure 109 asked voters in Oregon whether magic mushrooms should be allowed for medical purposes, and Initiative 81 asked Washingtonians about decriminalizing psychedelic plants and fungi. Research is also underway in institutions from Johns Hopkins to Imperial College London. Recently, Health Canada quietly ... allowed four terminally ill patients to take psilocybin under medical supervision. I have also been asked by several patients, at end-of-life, to prescribe a gram of mushrooms or a tablet of lysergic acid diethylamine (which my pharmacy cannot furnish), rather than a "bucket of fentanyl" (which the pharmacy readily can). The Default Mode Network (DMN) ... refers to interconnected brain regions that help us believe we are a distinct self, separate from others and the natural world. This drives self-reliance, but can make us feel isolated. Moreover, as it "matures," we respond in more habitual, predictable, rigid ways. The theory is that DMN overactivity leads to excessive introspection, hypercriticism, obsession, depression, and anxiety. Psychedelics might decrease the tyranny of the DMN, thereby allowing unfamiliar parts of the brain to go on a play-date. We should not throw out the scientific method, but psychedelics could increase the colors in our crayon set.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potentials of mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
The Institute for Policy Studies calculated that the average CEO compensation in 2020 was $15.3m, when looking at the 100 companies with the lowest median wage for workers in the S&P 500 index. The median worker pay was $28,187. This means that chief executives saw a 29% pay raise compared to 2019, while workers saw a 2% decrease. For all 100 companies, median worker pay was below $50,000 for 2020. The compensation hike came as companies gave their top leaders hefty bonuses and forgiving performance benchmarks during the pandemic, allowing the top executives to cash in while their low-wage employees were essential workers. Hilton's CEO, Christopher Nassetta, had a compensation package worth $55.9m in 2020, the highest of the executives analyzed in the report, while median pay at the company was $28,608, down from $43,695 in 2019. Since the pandemic affected the company's expected performance, and thus Nassetta's expected compensation, the company's board restructured its stock awards to give its CEO ample pay in 2020, according to the report. Other CEOs were met with friendly treatment from their respective corporate boards. Chipotle's board removed the company's poor financial results from the peak of the shutdown and excluded Covid-related costs when calculating CEO Brian Niccol's compensation. Niccol received $38m last year, which is 2,898 times more than the company's median worker pay of $13,127.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
The chemical additive aspartame is very potentially a cancer and brain tumor-causing substance that has no place in our food. The reasons and means by which [Donald] Rumsfeld helped get it approved are nefarious at best, criminal at worst. Dr. John Olney, who founded the field of neuroscience called excitotoxicity, attempted to stop the approval of aspartame with Attorney James Turner back in 1996. The FDA's own toxicologist, Dr. Adrian Gross told Congress that without a shadow of a doubt, aspartame can cause brain tumors and brain cancer. According to the top doctors and researchers on this issue, aspartame causes headache, memory loss, seizures, vision loss, coma and cancer. It worsens or mimics the symptoms of such diseases and conditions as fibromyalgia, MS, lupus, ADD, diabetes, Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue and depression. In 1985, Monsanto purchased G.D. Searle, the chemical company that held the patent to aspartame, the active ingredient in NutraSweet. Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president January 21, 1981. Rumsfeld, while still CEO at Searle, was part of Reagan's transition team. This team hand-picked Dr. Arthur Hull Hayes, Jr., to be the new FDA commissioner. One of Hayes' first official acts as FDA chief was to approve the use of aspartame as an artificial sweetener in dry goods on July 18, 1981. When Searle was absorbed by Monsanto in 1985, Donald Rumsfeld reportedly received a $12 million bonus, pretty big money in those days.
Note: Donald Rumsfeld also made millions on bird flu drugs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the food system from reliable major media sources.
As people across the globe grappled with higher levels of stress, depression and anxiety this past year, many turned to their favorite comfort foods. But ... the sugar-laden and high-fat foods we often crave when we are stressed or depressed, as comforting as they may seem, are the least likely to benefit our mental health. Instead, whole foods such as vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, beans and legumes and fermented foods like yogurt may be a better bet. Historically, nutrition research has focused largely on how the foods we eat affect our physical health, rather than our mental health. But ... a growing body of research has provided intriguing hints about the ways in which foods may affect our moods. A healthy diet promotes a healthy gut, which communicates with the brain through what is known as the gut-brain axis. Microbes in the gut produce neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which regulate our mood and emotions, and the gut microbiome has been implicated in mental health outcomes. "The gut microbiome plays a shaping role in a variety of psychiatric disorders, including major depressive disorder," a team of scientists wrote in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry. "Mental health is complex," said Dr. Jacka ... at Deakin University in Australia. "Eating a salad is not going to cure depression. But there's a lot you can do to lift your mood and improve your mental health, and it can be as simple as increasing your intake of plants and healthy foods."
Range anxiety, recycling and fast-charging fears could all be consigned to electric-vehicle history with a nanotech-driven Australian battery invention. The graphene aluminum-ion battery cells from the Brisbane-based Graphene Manufacturing Group (GMG) are claimed to charge up to 60 times faster than the best lithium-ion cells and hold three times the energy of the best aluminum-based cells. They are also safer, with no upper Ampere limit to cause spontaneous overheating, more sustainable and easier to recycle, thanks to their stable base materials. Testing also shows the coin-cell validation batteries also last three times longer than lithium-ion versions. GMG plans to bring graphene aluminum-ion coin cells to market late this year or early next year. Based on breakthrough technology from the University of Queensland's (UQ) Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, the battery cells use nanotechnology to insert aluminum atoms inside tiny perforations in graphene planes. GMG Managing Director Craig Nicol insisted that while his company's cells were not the only graphene aluminum-ion cells under development, they were easily the strongest, most reliable and fastest charging. "It charges so fast it's basically a super capacitor," Nicol claimed. "It charges a coin cell in less than 10 seconds." The new battery cells are claimed to deliver far more power density than current lithium-ion batteries, without the cooling, heating or rare-earth problems they face.
When Bunny, TikTok's beloved talking Sheepadoodle, stared at herself in a mirror and asked "who this?" using her augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device's buttons, many believed she was having an existential crisis. Since then, the Internet-famous dog has seemingly only become more interested in her own – dare we say – sense of self. The canine Bunny, who has 6.5 million followers on TikTok, is one of nearly 2,600 dogs and 300 cats enrolled in a project called "They Can Talk." The study's aim is to understand if animals can communicate with humans through AAC systems. AAC systems, such as Bunny's giant labeled buttons that speak a single word when pressed, were originally designed to help humans with communication disorders. Yet they have been adapted to be used in language experiments with animals, such as the study Bunny is enrolled in, which is led by Federico Rossano, director of the Comparative Cognition Lab at the University of California–San Diego. In Rossano's study, participants receive instructions on how to set up their AAC buttons for their pets; generally, pets begin with easy words like "outside" and "play." Pet parents set up cameras to constantly monitor the animals when they are in front of their boards, data which is sent to the lab so that researchers examine what they say. Now, Bunny's followers have become obsessed with the notion that her language-learning is making her develop some kind of self-awareness.
Birth and fertility rates in the United States dropped to record lows again last year, according to provisional data in a new report published Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The number of U.S. births in 2020 fell 4% from 2019. The figure is double the average annual rate of decline of 2% since 2014 and marks the sixth consecutive year that the number of births have dropped. Both the general and total fertility rates in 2020 also declined 4% from 2019, reaching record lows for the nation. Last year's total fertility rate "was again below replacement - the level at which a given generation can exactly replace itself," meaning there are more people dying every day than are being born, the report said. Birth rates dropped for women in nearly all age groups and of every major race and ethnicity: 8% for Asian Americans, 6% for Native Americans and Alaska Natives, 4% for whites and Blacks, and 4% for Hispanics. General fertility rates fell 9% for Asian Americans, 7% for American Indians or Alaska Natives, 4% for Blacks, whites and Hispanics, and 3% for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders. The findings are based on all birth records for the calendar year 2020 received and processed by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics as of Feb. 11.
Note: The above article fails to mention that chemicals in consumer products and the environment may contribute heavily to declining fertility. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Nearly 40% of US Marines are declining Covid-19 vaccinations, according to data provided to CNN on Friday by the service, the first branch to disclose service-wide numbers on acceptance and declination. As of Thursday, approximately 75,500 Marines have received vaccines, including fully vaccinated and partially vaccinated service men and women. About 48,000 Marines have chosen not to receive vaccines, for a declination rate of 38.9%. The declination rate at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, one of the prominent Marine Corps bases, was far higher, at 57%, according to another set of data. Of 26,400 Marines who have been offered vaccinations, 15,100 have chosen not to receive them. The military cannot make the vaccines mandatory now because they have only emergency use authorizations from the Food and Drug Administration, meaning service members who are required to receive a series of other vaccinations have the option of declining shots to protect against Covid-19. Officials say most of the vaccine hesitancy stems from concerns about the speed at which the vaccines were developed and fears over long-term effects. The Defense Department has approximately 2.2 million service members operating around the globe.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said a "shocking" amount of taxes was going uncollected by the federal government. "The gap between what we're collecting in taxes on current tax and what we should be collecting ... amounts to over $7 trillion over a decade," Yellen said. Yellen's remarks emphasize the Biden administration's efforts to collect tax revenue from the wealthiest Americans and multinational companies to finance $4 trillion in spending programs. At the center of Biden's planned revenue raisers is a provision to increase funding for IRS enforcement. He also wants to slap investors earning above $1 million with a hike in the capital-gains tax and raise the top marginal income-tax rate to 39.6% from 37%. The IRS's official estimate is that there is a tax gap of $441 billion a year. But Charles Rettig, the agency's commissioner, recently told Congress that number could be over $1 trillion. A recent study from IRS researchers and academics found that the top 1% of Americans failed to report about one-quarter of their income to the IRS. The research found income underreporting was nearly twice as high for the top 0.1%, which could account for billions in uncollected taxes. The number of agents devoted to working on sophisticated tax-evasion enforcement dropped by 35% over the past decade. The IRS's budget fell by 20% between 2010 and 2018. There was an 80% decline from 2011 to 2018 in the audit rate for those making over $1 million a year.
The pharmaceutical industry keeps turning up the dial on lobbying, setting massive new spending records in its intensive effort to influence Congress and the Biden administration. Yet this week, President Biden angered drugmakers when he said he supports the waiving of intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines. Drug and health product manufacturers, along with their national association, spent a combined $92 million to lobby the federal government from January through March. That puts the industry on track to break its spending record for the second year in a row. Not only that, but its first-quarter spending was more than double what was spent by the second-highest-spending industry, electronics companies. There are currently 1,270 registered lobbyists for pharmaceuticals and health products – more than two lobbyists for every member of Congress. Pfizer, maker of one of the three coronavirus vaccines approved for emergency use in the United States, was the biggest spender of any individual drug company. And last year, as it was developing its vaccine, the federal government agreed to pay the company $1.95 billion for the first 100 million doses it produced. The company reported it had $3.5 billion in revenue from sales of the vaccine so far this year. Pfizer was outflanked on lobbying spending only by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America – the national association that represents the interests of drugmakers.
Last year, racing to develop a vaccine in record time, Pfizer made a big decision: Unlike several rival manufacturers, which vowed to forgo profits on their shots during the Covid-19 pandemic, Pfizer planned to profit on its vaccine. On Tuesday, the company announced just how much money the shot is generating. The vaccine brought in $3.5 billion in revenue in the first three months of this year, nearly a quarter of its total revenue, Pfizer reported. The vaccine was, far and away, Pfizer's biggest source of revenue. The company did not disclose the profits it derived from the vaccine, but it reiterated its previous prediction that its profit margins on the vaccine would be in the high 20 percent range. That would translate into roughly $900 million in pretax vaccine profits in the first quarter. The company's vaccine is disproportionately reaching the world's rich – an outcome, so far at least, at odds with its chief executive's pledge to ensure that poorer countries "have the same access as the rest of the world" to a vaccine that is highly effective at preventing Covid-19. As of mid-April, wealthy countries had secured more than 87 percent of the more than 700 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines dispensed worldwide, while poor countries had received only 0.2 percent, according to the World Health Organization. In wealthy countries, roughly one in four people has received a vaccine. In poor countries, the figure is one in 500.
Hospitals are charging up to $650 for a simple, molecular covid test that costs $50 or less to run, according to Medicare claims analyzed for KHN by Hospital Pricing Specialists (HPS). Charges by large health systems range from $20 to $1,419 per test, a new national survey by KFF shows. And some free-standing emergency rooms are charging more than $1,000 per test. The insurance company passes on its higher costs to consumers in higher premiums. Gargantuan volume – 400 million tests and counting, for one type – combined with loose rules on prices have made the service a bonanza for hospitals and clinics. Lab companies have been booking record profits by charging $100 per test. Even in-network prices negotiated and paid by insurance companies often run much more than that. In some cases, hospitals and clinics have supplemented revenue from covid tests with extra charges that go far beyond those for a simple swab. Warren Goldstein was surprised when Austin Emergency Center, in Texas, charged him and his wife $494 upfront for two covid tests. He was shocked when the center billed insurance $1,978 for his test, which he expected would cost $100. His insurer paid $325 for "emergency services" for him, even though there was no emergency. "It seemed like highway robbery," said Goldstein. A World Health Organization cost assessment of running 5,000 covid tests on Roche and Abbott analyzers ... came to $17 and $21 per test, respectively.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on Tuesday to emphasize that "outdoor visits and activities are safer than indoor activities." After a year in which many of us have learned to dutifully wear masks and look askance at anyone who does not, it's understandable that people remain fearful when they cross paths with the unmasked. So how do you make the right decision about when to wear a mask outside? Whether a mask is needed outdoors depends on the circumstances, including local public health rules and whether you and the people you're with are vaccinated. Brief encounters with an unmasked person passing you on the sidewalk or a hiking trail are very low risk, said Linsey Marr, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech and one of the world's leading experts on viral transmission. Viral particles quickly disperse in outdoor air, and the risk of inhaling aerosolized virus from a jogger or passers-by is negligible, she said. Even if a person coughs or sneezes outside as you walk by, the odds of you getting a large enough dose of virus to become infected remain low, she said. To understand just how low the risk of outdoor transmission is, researchers in Italy used mathematical models to calculate the amount of time it would take for a person to become infected outdoors in Milan. If a person avoided crowds, it would take, on average, 31.5 days of continuous outdoor exposure to inhale a dose of virus sufficient to transmit infection.
We're giving more and more psychiatric drugs to children. What medicine and psychiatry have done is to take essentially behavioral problems - problems of conflict between adults and children - and redefine them as medical problems. I believe that there is no scientific reason or justification for giving psychoactive agents to children. Take a healthy animal, like a chimpanzee, who wants to groom its neighbor, wants to play, socialize, wants to explore, and particularly would like to escape - that's a normal animal. If you give the animal a stimulant drug, it loses all its spontaneous behavior. And instead, obsessive narrow behavior is enforced. These drugs make good caged animals. Now, if you get all that same behavior in a child, if you crush a child's desire to socialize, to play, to escape, to be full of stuff like kids are, and instead you enforce a narrow obsessive focus, teachers will see this universally as improved behavior. Parents have also been lied to: flat-out lied to. They've been told that children have a neurobiological disorder. On what basis? Physicians and the public grabbed on to what is essentially a PR campaign ... that if you have a mental disturbance, it's biochemical. Now they run into problems. Because the next drug that comes along affects a different neurotransmitter, and then the next one affects a different neurotransmitter. And they're all working, because they all cause certain disabilities of the brain that some people experience as an improvement.
Note: Learn about Dr. Breggin's key role in stopping lobotomies and much more in this informative interview. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
This past year, most management advice has focused on how to sustain productivity during the pandemic, yet the power of kindness has been largely overlooked. Practicing kindness by giving compliments and recognition has the power to transform our remote workplace. A commitment to be kind can bring many important benefits. First, and perhaps most obviously, practicing kindness will be immensely helpful to our colleagues. Being recognized at work helps reduce employee burnout and absenteeism, and improves employee well-being, Gallup finds year after year. Second, practicing kindness helps life feel more meaningful. For example, spending money on others and volunteering our time improves wellbeing, bringing happiness and a sense of meaning to life. Third, as we found in a new set of studies, giving compliments can make us even happier than receiving them. We paired up participants and asked them to write about themselves and then talk about themselves with each other. Next, we asked one of them to give an honest compliment about something they liked or respected about the other participant after listening to them. Consistently, we found that giving compliments actually made people happier than receiving them. When people receive an act of kindness, they pay it back, research shows – and not just to the same person, but often to someone entirely new. This leads to a culture of generosity. Simply knowing that one is appreciated can trigger the psychological benefits of kindness.
The world's biggest commercial rooftop greenhouse sits atop a former Sears warehouse in a semi-industrial northwestern quarter of Montreal. Early every morning, staff pick fresh vegetables, then bring them downstairs, where they get packed into heavy-duty plastic totes along with the rest of the day's grocery orders. Whatever Lufa doesn't grow in its four greenhouses comes from local farms and producers, mostly from within 100 miles. This is a modern foodie's dream: a tech-forward online shop full of locally grown, pesticide-free, ethically-sourced products at reasonable price points, delivered once a week to either your doorstep or a local pickup point in your neighborhood. Customers - Lufavores, as the company calls them - typically place their orders a few days before delivery through the online store, dubbed "the Marketplace," which Lufa built from scratch in 2012. That's how Lufa's suppliers know how much product to provide: They get forecasts first, then final order numbers, through their Lufa software. Technology is the underpinning of Lufa's success, and the owners know it. "We see ourselves as a technology company, in the sense that we solve with software," [cofounder Lauren] Rathmell, 32, says. "Nothing off-the-shelf can be applied to what we do, because it's so complex. We harvest food ourselves; we gather from farmers and food makers throughout the province; most of it's arriving just in time throughout the night to be packed in baskets for that day, and every order is fully unique."
In the year 2000, the International Energy Agency made a prediction that would come back to haunt it: by 2020, the world would have installed a grand total of 18 gigawatts of photovoltaic solar capacity. Seven years later, the forecast would be proven spectacularly wrong when roughly 18 gigawatts of solar capacity were installed in a single year alone. Ever since the agency was founded in 1974 to measure the world's energy systems and anticipate changes, the yearly World Energy Outlook has been a must-read document for policymakers the world over. Over the last two decades, however, the IEA has consistently failed to see the massive growth in renewable energy coming. Not only has the organization underestimated the take-up of solar and wind, but it has massively overstated the demand for coal and oil. Jenny Chase, head of solar analysis at BloombergNEF, says that, in fairness to the IEA, it wasn't alone. "When I got this job in 2005, I thought maybe one day solar will supply 1% of the world's electricity. Now it's 3%. Our official forecast is that it will be 23% by 2050, but that's completely underestimated," Chase says. "I see it as the limits of modelling. Most energy system models are, or were, set up to model minor changes to an energy system that is run on fossil fuel or nuclear. Every time you double producing capacity, you reduce the cost of PV solar by 28%. We've got to the point where solar is the cheapest source of energy in the world in most places."
Note: The complete article contains a fascinating history of the development of solar panels. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The first release of genetically modified mosquitoes in the United States began this week in the Florida Keys - the culmination of a decade-long effort by local mosquito control authorities to see if a genetically modified organism is a viable alternative to spraying insecticides in the region. For the first 12-week phase, blue-and-white boxes containing about 12,000 GMO eggs developed by a US-owned, British-based company called Oxitec have been placed in six small areas of Ramrod Key, Cudjoe Key and Vaca Key. When water is added, the mosquitoes hatch, mature and enter the environment over the next week or so. A small, vocal group of Florida Key residents have fought the release of what they call "mutant mosquitoes" since the project was announced - and they are incensed. "Our opposition has been long and strong," said Barry Wray, the executive director of the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition. "We live here, this our home, and they're forcing this down people's throats." The Florida Keys project, greenlit by the US Environment Protection Agency in May 2020, was approved to release up to 750 million genetically altered mosquitoes in 2021 and 2022. The program's target: Aedes aegypti, an invasive species of mosquito. Oxitec's solution to the problem is OX5034 - a 2.0 version of its original Aedes aegypti modification. Unlike version 1.0, designed to kill all offspring, the newer model has been genetically altered to pass along a lethal gene that only kills females.
New York's Mayor Bill de Blasio has ordered a controversial robotic dog undergoing trials with the city's police off the street, and a $94,200 contract with creator Boston Dynamics cancelled. The robot canine, named "Digidog", is to be returned to its manufacturer following outrage tied to calls to cut police funding and law enforcement access to military-developed or surplus hardware. De Blasio voiced that he is "glad the Digidog was put down." A city government spokesperson added: "It's creepy, alienating, and sends the wrong message to New Yorkers." The 70lb robot could run at three and a half miles per hour and climb stairs. It was primarily intended to go into situations deemed dangerous for officers, and had been undergoing trials in the Bronx since it was unveiled last December. But the dog sparked an immediate backlash, with critics noting police dogs have been traditionally used to suppress and intimidate communities of color. Some critics also pointed out it was reminiscent of robot dogs in the dystopian Netflix series Black Mirror.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
German prosecutors have broken up an online platform for sharing images and videos showing the sexual abuse of children, mostly boys, that had an international following of more than 400,000 members, they said. The site, named "Boystown," had been around since at least June 2019 and included forums where members from around the globe exchanged images and videos showing children, including toddlers, being sexually abused. In addition to the forums, the site had chat rooms where members could connect with one another in various languages. German federal prosecutors described it as "one of the largest child pornography sites operating on the dark net" in a statement they released on Monday announcing the arrest in mid-April of three German men who managed the site and a fourth who had posted thousands of images to it. The accused administrators of the "Boystown" site, aged 40 and 49, were arrested after raids in their homes. A third man accused of being an administrator ... has been detained. A fourth man, 64, was arrested in Hamburg on suspicion of uploading more than 3,500 images and videos of abuse to the site, as one of its most active members. He faces charges of belonging to the site and sharing material depicting child sexual abuse. Last month, the German Parliament passed a law to expand the authorities' abilities to pursue those suspected of harming children and increase the prison terms for anyone convicted of sexually abusing minors.
Note: To learn the dark meaning of "Boystown," explore on this webpage the Franklin cover-up and its involvement in child sex trafficking rings leading to the highest levels of government based out of Boystown in Nebraska. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
It's only when the tide goes out that you learn who's been swimming naked," the billionaire investor Warren Buffett has famously said. During the crash of 2008, the whole world learned just how dangerously nude Wall Street was. Now it may be happening again – this time not with residential mortgage-backed securities, based on loans for homes, but commercial mortgage-backed securities, or CMBS, based on loans for businesses. John M. Griffin and Alex Priest are, respectively, a prominent professor of finance and a Ph.D. candidate at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin. In a study released last November, they sampled almost 40,000 CMBS loans with a market capitalization of $650 billion underwritten from the beginning of 2013 to the end of 2019. "Overall," they write, "actual net operating income falls short of underwritten income by 5% or more in 28% of loans." This was just the average, however: Some originators – including an unusual company called Ladder Capital as well as the Swiss bank UBS, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley – were significantly worse, "having more than 35% of their loans exhibiting 5% or greater income overstatement." With almost every lender, including Ladder, the overstatement increased as time went on. These income overstatements might cause defaults under any circumstances. But it has been particularly dangerous in a severe economic downturn like the one caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
The main focus of the War Legacies Project is to document the long-term effects of the defoliant known as Agent Orange and provide humanitarian aid to its victims. Agent Orange – best known for its widespread use by the U.S. military to clear vegetation during the Vietnam War – is notorious for being laced with a chemical contaminant called 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-dioxin, or TCDD, regarded as one of the most toxic substances ever created. The use of the herbicide in the neutral nation of Laos by the United States – secretly, illegally and in large amounts – remains one of the last untold stories of the American war in Southeast Asia. Only in the last two decades has the United States finally acknowledged and taken responsibility for the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam. While records of spraying operations inside Laos exist, the extent to which the U.S. military broke international agreements has never been fully documented, until now. An in-depth, monthslong review of old Air Force records, including details of hundreds of spraying flights, as well as interviews with many residents of villages along the Ho Chi Minh Trail, reveals that, at a conservative estimate, at least 600,000 gallons of herbicides rained down on the ostensibly neutral nation during the war. Of the 517 cases of disabilities and birth defects so far documented by the War Legacies Project in Laos, about three-fourths, like malformed limbs, are identifiable to the untrained eye as ... linked to exposure to Agent Orange.
Note: In 2012, Monsanto settled a lawsuit related to its manufacture of Agent Orange for $93 million. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Gov. Kate Brown of Oregon announced the members of the state's newly formed Psilocybin Advisory Board this week. Oregon is about to become the first state in the country to try to build a support infrastructure through which psychedelic mushrooms can be woven into everyday life. This framework is different from what we've seen before: not legalization, not medicalization, but therapeutic use, in licensed facilities, under the guidance of professionals trained to guide psychedelic experiences. The ... pressing case for psilocybin comes from research out of Johns Hopkins, U.C.L.A., N.Y.U. and elsewhere that has shown it to be a potentially effective treatment for major depression, end-of-life anxiety and drug addiction. "One of the things I've come to is that addiction medicine in 2021 is in desperate need of transformative technologies," Todd Korthuis, a ... member of Oregon's Psilocybin Advisory Board, told me. Studies ... are "showing dramatic change in people's lives – that's what we need for cocaine use disorder, methamphetamine use disorder, even alcohol and tobacco." A recent study on major depressive disorder, published in JAMA Psychiatry, found more than half of the subjects in remission four weeks later, after just two treatments alongside psychotherapy. A study on tobacco addiction, out of Johns Hopkins, found two-thirds of the subjects who received psilocybin in combination with cognitive behavioral therapy abstinent a year later.
We are now in the 20th anniversary year of 9/11, the worst terror atrocity the world has witnessed, the day when more than 2,600 people were killed in the Twin Towers and the surrounding area. At first, the Campbell family and [fiancee Caroline Burbank] were sure [Geoff Campbell] was alive. But one year later, fragments of a shoulder blade containing Geoff's DNA were found amid World Trade Centre rubble. It was then that they started to question the official account of the disaster. After examining the testimony of hundreds of eyewitnesses and forensically dissecting the scientific trail of the towers' collapse, down to analysing dust on the ground at the New York site, they have compiled a lengthy dossier. It is a document which, they claim, proves that controlled demolition explosives – not aircraft – brought the buildings down. Later this month they will formally ask the acting Attorney General for England and Wales, Michael Ellis ... to allow them to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into Geoff's death. Six other families who lost loved ones in the Twin Towers plane attacks on 9/11 plan to send their own statements in support of the Campbells. If Mr Ellis gives the go-ahead – as the Campbells think likely – they plan an attempt to dismantle the notion that the Twin Towers were brought down by raging fires caused by leaking jet fuel which melted their supporting metal girders. At any new inquest, they would call in ... scientists who insist the plane attacks could not have toppled the two buildings.
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.
Facebook is under fire for publishing a stomach-churning survey that asked users whether pedophiles should be allowed to solicit "sexual pictures" from underage girls. The cringeworthy poll surfaced at the top of Facebook's home page for an unspecified number of users this past weekend, according to a report. "In thinking about an ideal world where you could set Facebook's policies, how would you handle the following: a private message in which an adult man asks a 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures," one question in the survey reads. The disgusting multiple-choice poll gave users the option to condone the sick behavior, allowing them to vote that the "content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it." Another possible, nausea-inducing response was that "the content should be allowed on Facebook, but I don't want to see it." The twisted survey was spotted by an editor at the Guardian, who published screenshots. Yet another ... question asked users who should decide whether pedophilic content was allowed on Facebook – users, Facebook and users, just Facebook or an outside entity. On Monday, the social networking giant headed by Mark Zuckerberg admitted that it was a "mistake" to publish the survey, which appeared to suggest that Facebook execs were openly debating whether to allow pedophiles on the site. "We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies," Facebook vice president Guy Rosen said.
Optimism is essentially hopefulness about the future, a general belief that things will work out in your favor. A new study provides evidence that cultivating optimism might be worthwhile. According to the paper, which was published last month in the journal Emotion, optimism appears to be particularly useful when tackling challenges or approaching situations that could elicit high levels of stress. Researchers Heather Lench and Zari Carpenter explored the benefits of optimism. Over a thousand undergraduates completed a survey two weeks before taking their first psychology exam, which assessed their anticipated grade and their emotions about the exam. One day before the exam, participants were surveyed again about their expected grade and their study habits leading up to the exam. Two days after taking the exam, participants reported on the actual grade they received, as well as their emotional response. Indeed, they found that there is a likely connection between optimism and effort. Greater optimism two weeks prior to the exam predicted more study hours, greater overall satisfaction with the quality of their studying, and a better grade on the exam. If students lowered their expectations the day before the exam, they'd study less and get a worse grade. It's not just optimism that drives effort and results, but unflappable optimism that holds steady over a period of time. Optimism appears to fuel our efforts in achieving personal goals, and also improves the overall quality of our experiences while doing so.
A Georgia restaurant owner is making waves for choosing kindness after his popular establishment was the target of vandalism. After discovering Diablo's Southwest Grill had been broken into on Saturday, owner Carl Wallace took to Facebook with an unusual proposal; rather than calling the police, he extended an offer of employment to the unknown vandal. "To the would-be robber who is clearly struggling with life decisions or having money issues... please swing by for a job application," Wallace wrote. "There are better opportunities out there than this path you've chosen." In a report from WFLA, a man was caught on security footage throwing a brick through the glass door and entering the establishment. Once inside, he shook the cash register, but according to Wallace, he ran off when he realized the register was empty. The viral Facebook post has touched the hearts of viewers. "As a 30-year government/law enforcement retiree I want to say, Thank you!," wrote another. "I've always said...' you're only one bad decision away from a totally different life.' This morning you made me think that sometimes....'you're only one GOOD decision away from a totally different life.'" Wallace said he did not expect his post to go viral the way it did. "It was just a little bit different approach to, you know, a bad situation," he [said]. "Putting this person through incarceration to then get out to make it harder to find a good-paying job. It only makes it worse."
When Suzanne Simard made her extraordinary discovery – that trees could communicate and cooperate through subterranean networks of fungi – the scientific establishment underreacted. Even though her doctoral research was published in the Nature journal in 1997 ... the finding that trees are more altruistic than competitive was dismissed by many. Today, at 60, she is professor of forest ecology at the University of British Columbia and her research of more than three decades as a "forest detective" is recognised worldwide. In her new book, Finding the Mother Tree – a scientific memoir as gripping as any HBO drama series – she wants it understood that her work has been no brief encounter: "I want people to know that what I've discovered has been about my whole life." Would she go as far as to suggest a tree can feel pain or grief? "I don't know. Trees don't have a brain, but the network in the soil is a neural network and the chemicals that move through it are the same as our neural transmitters." She is currently collaborating on research to see whether trees can distinguish us as humans. She laments our lack of vocabulary for communication between trees and adds: "Western Canada's aboriginal people have known about the connection between trees for a long time." But she believes we can learn from the way trees interact: "Some trees have lived for thousands of years. They get along, develop sophisticated relationships and listen – they're attuned. Attunement is something we all need too."
The pharmaceutical industry is pouring resources into the growing political fight over generic coronavirus vaccines. Over 100 lobbyists have been mobilized to contact lawmakers and members of the Biden administration, urging them to oppose a proposed temporary waiver on intellectual property rights by the World Trade Organization that would allow generic vaccines to be produced globally. Pharmaceutical lobbyists working against the proposal include Mike McKay, a key fundraiser for House Democrats, now working on retainer for Pfizer, as well as several former staff members to the U.S. Office of Trade Representative, which oversees negotiations with the WTO. Several trade groups funded by pharmaceutical firms have also focused closely on defeating the generic proposal, new disclosures show. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, and the International Intellectual Property Alliance, which all receive drug company money, have dispatched dozens of lobbyists to oppose the initiative. The push has been followed by a number of influential voices taking the side of the drug lobby. Last week, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., released a letter demanding that the administration "oppose any and all efforts aimed at waiving intellectual property rights." Currently, only 1 percent of coronavirus vaccines are going to low-income countries, and projections show much of the world's population may not be vaccinated until 2023 or 2024.
Note: Has it ever been more clear that big Pharma places profits above health, even when it might cause huge numbers of people to die? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Something happened in Baltimore last year. The coronavirus pandemic hit, and State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby announced that the city would no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other minor charges, to keep people out of jail and limit the spread of the deadly virus. And then crime went down in Baltimore. A lot. While violent crime and homicides skyrocketed in most other big American cities last year, violent crime in Baltimore dropped 20 percent from last March to this month, property crime decreased 36 percent, and there were 13 fewer homicides compared with the previous year. This happened while 39 percent fewer people entered the city's criminal justice system in the one-year period, and 20 percent fewer people landed in jail after Mosby's office dismissed more than 1,400 pending cases and tossed out more than 1,400 warrants for nonviolent crimes. So on Friday, Mosby made her temporary steps permanent. She announced Baltimore City will continue to decline prosecution of all drug possession, prostitution, minor traffic and misdemeanor cases, and will partner with a local behavioral health service to aggressively reach out to drug users, sex workers and people in psychiatric crisis to direct them into treatment rather than the back of a patrol car. A number of big-city prosecutors have moved to decriminalize drugs, and Oregon voters decriminalized small amounts of drugs statewide.
Note: The fact that the rest of the US last year experienced a "Massive 1-Year Rise In Homicide Rates" makes this all the more impressive. A 2016 report by the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy found that the the war on drugs harmed public health. When Portugal decriminalized drugs, its addiction rates were cut in half.
In response to the high rate at which American police kill civilians, many on the left have taken up the call for defunding the police, or abolishing the police entirely. But some policing experts are instead emphasizing a different approach that they say could reduce police killings: training officers better, longer, and on different subjects. Police in the United States receive less initial training than their counterparts in other rich countries - about five months in a classroom and another three or so months in the field, on average. Many European nations, meanwhile, have something more akin to police universities, which can take three or four years to complete. European countries also have national standards for various elements of a police officer's job - such as how to search a car and when to use a baton. The U.S. does not. The 18,000 police departments in the U.S. each have their own rules and requirements. "Police officers, police chiefs, and everyone agree that we do not get enough training in a myriad of fields," Dennis Slocumb, the legislative director of the International Union of Police Associations [said]. Many policing experts recommend that officers be trained to slow down when they are able to do so, giving themselves time to decide the best course of action. "Police are taught in the academy [that] police always have to win," says Chuck Wexler, the executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum. But sometimes it's okay not to win, particularly if it means saving a life.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
A government study commissioned by Senator Bernie Sanders has revealed that Americans pay two to four times more on prescription medicine compared to other wealthy countries. Analysis released by the Government Acountability Office (GAO) found that US consumers and insurers paid 2.82 times more than in Canada, 4.25 times more than in Australia, and 4.36 times more than in France for 20 brand-named prescription drugs in 2020. France and Australia both operate on a universal, publicly funded healthcare system, which can explain some of the discrepancy in prescription drug prices. Canada, similar to the United States, does not provide prescription drug coverage to all of its residents. But the analysis found that US residents typically paid two to eight times more than Canadians when paying for the same prescription drug. For example, 30 tablets of Xarelto, which treats blood clots, costs $558.33 in the US but just $85.44 in Canada. When purchasing 28 tablets of Epclusa to treat Hepatitis C, an infection that attacks the liver, it costs $36,743 in the US compared to $17,023.63 in Canada, according to the analysis. But Mr Biden's $1.8tn infrastructure plan ultimately left out popular progressive initiatives that would alter the healthcare system in America, including lowering the Medicare eligibility age and allowing the federal government to directly negotiate prescription drug prices. These policy ideas were both left out despite receiving overwhelming approval from the US public.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
"I'm not going to change," Joe Biden said in his 2008 vice presidential debate. "I have 35 years in public office. I haven't changed in that time." The Intercept conducted an exhaustive analysis of Biden's political career, with a focus on his positions on dozens of U.S. wars and military campaigns, CIA covert actions, and abuses of power; his views on whistleblowers and leakers; and his shifting stance on the often contentious relationship between the executive and legislative branches over war powers. The picture that emerges is of a man who is dedicated to the U.S. as an empire, who believes that preserving U.S. national interests and "prestige" on the global stage outweighs considerations of morality or even at times the deaths of innocent people. Even in cases in which he passionately opposed U.S. military or CIA action, such as in President Ronald Reagan's 1980s campaigns to aid the Contra death squads in Nicaragua and the right-wing military junta in El Salvador, Biden sought ways to tweak U.S. policy in return for his political or legislative support. Throughout the 1990s, he pushed through harsh and punitive policies on crime, while spearheading sweeping surveillance legislation that would form the basis for the Patriot Act after 9/11. Biden would emerge, in the early stages of the "war on terror," as a leading legislative force supporting the most far-reaching aspirations of the Bush-Cheney White House. He was instrumental in the rushed passage of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
Note: Have you noticed that on the campaign trail, every US president from both parties has advocated for peace, while when they assume office they strongly support the military-industrial complex? So whose will are they serving, the people or the military machine? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Members of the U.S. special operations forces deployed to 154 countries, or roughly 80 percent of the world's nations, last year, but information about exactly where elite forces conduct missions, under what authorities they operate, who they've killed, and whether they're adhering to the laws of armed conflict is closely guarded, buried in obscure legal provisions, shrouded in secrecy, or allegedly unknown even to Special Operations Command. The command, known as SOCOM, will only name half the countries where its forces were active in 2020. It claims that its personnel – Navy SEALs, Army Green Berets, and Marine Corps Raiders among them – have captured or killed "thousands of terrorists" under one obscure program but also that it doesn't track such data. SOCOM refuses to provide even basic information about publicly acknowledged operations. Some of the least-known special operations missions are authorized under a provision known as "Section 1202 Authority," which first appeared in the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, and is "used to provide support to foreign forces, irregular forces, groups, or individuals" taking part in irregular warfare. Neither the Defense Department, SOCOM, nor any media outlet has ever revealed detailed information about 1202 missions, but based on what little is known about them, they are explicitly focused on so-called near-peer competitors such as China and Russia.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
FBI crime laboratory experts gave inaccurate testimony at the trials of defendants in the World Trade Center blast and the 1989 bombing of Avianca Flight 203 in Colombia, and lab scientists and technicians used shoddy analysis and did not follow procedures in scores of other cases, the Justice Department's inspector general concluded. Those findings, coupled with serious problems in the way lab officials conducted themselves in the Oklahoma City bombing and the O.J. Simpson case, are part of a sweeping, 18-month investigation into significant failures at the lab at FBI headquarters in Washington. In addition to conclusions about how lab officials have performed in court, the inspector general also found that the bureau's scientists and technicians did not properly document their test results and poorly prepared lab reports. Overall, in investigating work at the lab's three key sections - the chemistry-toxicology, explosives and materials analysis units - [Inspector General Michael] Bromwich said: "We found significant instances of testimonial errors, substandard analytical work and deficient practices." Investigators also discovered instances where dictation on lab reports was altered and lab supervisors did not properly manage their agents. Bromwich's report does not say when or why the problems began at the lab, but some of the cases studied date back to the 1980s. As early as 1991, top FBI management was alerted to failures at the lab.
Note: Read more about major issues with the Oklahoma City bombing investigation. More recently, the FBI has admitted to problems in its forensics unit leading to decades of flawed testimony in criminal trials. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Justice Department inspector general's office has determined that the FBI crime laboratory made "scientifically unsound" conclusions in the Oklahoma City bombing case, finding that supervisors approved lab reports they "cannot support" and many analyses were "biased in favor of the prosecution." The still-secret draft report, obtained by The Times, also concludes that FBI lab officials may have erred about the size of the blast and the amount of explosives involved and may not know for certain that ammonium nitrate was used for the main charge that killed 168 people and injured more than 850 others. The draft report shows that FBI examiners could not identify the triggering device for the truck bomb or how it was detonated on April 19, 1995, and it warns that a poorly maintained lab environment could have led to contamination of critical pieces of evidence, such as debris found on the clothing of defendant Timothy J. McVeigh. If entered into evidence at McVeigh's trial ... the draft report could provide a measure of doubt about whether bomb residue evidence was properly handled and professionally examined by experts at the Washington lab. The Justice investigation began after complaints were made by Frederic Whitehurst, an FBI chemist and the principal whistle blower on problems at the lab. While confirming many accusations made by Whitehurst and others, the report also knocks down a number of Whitehurst's charges.
Note: Read more about major issues with the Oklahoma City bombing investigation. More recently, the FBI has admitted to problems in its forensics unit leading to decades of flawed testimony in criminal trials. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Finland has been named the happiest place in the world for a fourth year running, in an annual UN-sponsored report. The World Happiness Report saw Denmark in second place, then Switzerland, Iceland and the Netherlands. New Zealand was again the only non-European nation in the top 10. Data from analytics researcher Gallup asked people in 149 countries to rate their own happiness. Measures including social support, personal freedom, gross domestic product (GDP) and levels of corruption were also factored in. The country deemed the most unhappy in the world was Afghanistan, followed by Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda and Zimbabwe. There was a "significantly higher frequency of negative emotions" in just over a third of the countries, the report authors said, likely pointing to the effects of the pandemic. However, things got better for 22 countries. Several Asian countries fared better than they had in last year's rankings, while China moved to 84th place from 94th "Surprisingly there was not, on average, a decline in well-being when measured by people's own evaluation of their lives," John Helliwell, one of the report's authors, said in a statement. "One possible explanation is that people see Covid-19 as a common, outside threat affecting everybody and that this has generated a greater sense of solidarity and fellow-feeling." Finland "ranked very high on the measures of mutual trust that have helped to protect lives and livelihoods during the pandemic", the authors said.
Portland joined Philadelphia and Amsterdam as the first cities to pilot the Thriving Cities Initiative. The Initiative is a collaboration between C40, the Amsterdam-based Circle Economy, which seeks to create zero-waste urban economies that support their residents, and the Doughnut Economics Action Lab, an organization mostly comprising volunteers working to implement systemic, society-wide economic change. At its most basic level, doughnut economics is a way of describing an economic system that extends beyond strictly financial measures, like gross domestic product, to include environmental sustainability and healthy, thriving communities. The Thriving Cities Initiative's model - and the expertise and resources it provided - dovetailed with Portland's existing momentum in tracking and reducing emissions that accounted for spending by government, businesses, and households. The model also pointed to ways to address the city's social issues, including more than 4,000 people in the metro area without stable housing. The pandemic ... forced Portland to scale back its Thriving Cities program. A five-year program that could have formed the basis for city council action was scaled back to a two-year in-house plan that the city's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability could follow on its own. Still, some existing programs already were in line with the goals of the Thriving Cities Initiative. In Amsterdam, the Doughnut Coalition and the city government are already looking toward next steps.
Whether you took up gardening during the pandemic or have been a lifelong cultivator, we have good news for you – a recent study found that the outdoor hobby may do wonders for your wellbeing, mental health, and overall life satisfaction. According to the study, conducted by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), people who garden daily have wellbeing scores 6.6 percent higher and stress levels 4.2 percent lower than those who do not garden at all. It takes only two to three gardening sessions per week to reap these healthy benefits. "This is the first time the 'dose response' to gardening has been tested and the evidence overwhelmingly suggests that the more frequently you garden – the greater the health benefits," said study lead author Dr. Lauriane Chalmin-Pui. "In fact gardening every day has the same positive impact on wellbeing than undertaking regular, vigorous exercise like cycling or running." As part of the study, the scientists researched why residents engaged in gardening. They monitored 5,766 gardeners and 259 non-gardeners through an electronic survey distributed within the UK. The results revealed that six in ten people garden because of the pleasure and enjoyment they get from it. Just under a third of the participants claimed they garden for the health benefits. The findings also indicated that gardening may boost mental health, with those with health issues stating that the outdoor hobby reduced feelings of depression, boosted energy levels, and reduced stress.
Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency - a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. The UK's pandemic response provides at least four examples of suppression of science or scientists. First, the membership, research, and deliberations of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) were initially secret until a press leak forced transparency. The leak revealed inappropriate involvement of government advisers in SAGE. Next, a Public Health England report on covid-19 and inequalities ... was delayed by England's Department of Health. Third, on 15 October, the editor of the Lancet complained that an author of a research paper, a UK government scientist, was blocked by the government from speaking to media because of a "difficult political landscape." Now, a new example concerns the controversy over point-of-care antibody testing for covid-19. 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.
Asked about the future of Parkinson's disease in the US, Dr Ray Dorsey says, "We're on the tip of a very, very large iceberg." Dorsey, a neurologist ... believes a Parkinson's epidemic is on the horizon. Parkinson's is already the fastest-growing neurological disorder in the world; in the US, the number of people with Parkinson's has increased 35% the last 10 years, says Dorsey, and "We think over the next 25 years it will double again." Researchers increasingly believe that one factor is environmental exposure to trichloroethylene (TCE), a chemical compound used in industrial degreasing, dry-cleaning and household products such as some shoe polishes and carpet cleaners. To date, the clearest evidence around the risk of TCE to human health is derived from workers who are exposed to the chemical in the work-place. A 2008 peer-reviewed study in the Annals of Neurology, for example, found that TCE is "a risk factor for parkinsonism." And a 2011 study echoed those results, finding "a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE)." While some countries heavily regulate TCE (its use is banned in the EU without special authorization) the EPA estimates that 250m lb of the chemical are still used annually in the US. TCE is currently estimated to be present in about 30% of US groundwater. Using activated carbon filtration devices (like Brita filters) can help reduce TCE in drinking water.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
A former Gestapo general who sent tens of thousands of Jews to their deaths was protected from prosecution by US and West German intelligence after the Second World War. SS-General Franz Josef Huber served as head of the Gestapo in Vienna and much of Austria following the Nazi takeover. He worked closely with Adolf Eichmann, the architect of the Holocaust, and personally ordered the deportation of Austrian Jews to concentration camps. Yet while Eichmann was captured by Israel and sentenced to death ... Huber was released by US forces following the war and spent the rest of his life as a free man in his native Munich, where he was a minor employee at a local business. That was a cover arranged for him by West German intelligence. It now appears Huber was protected by the US because it believed he could be a useful asset against the Soviet Union. "Although we are by no means unmindful of the dangers involved in playing around with a Gestapo general, we also believe, on the basis of the information now in our possession, that Huber might be profitably used by this organization," a CIA memo from 1953 obtained by the New York Times reads. Declassified files obtained by German ARD television's Munich Report show that US and West German intelligence conspired to hide Huber's past and protect him from prosecution. In the US, the CIA, FBI and other intelligence agencies recruited more than 1,000 ex-Nazis as agents in the years following the war.
Note: Read about the Nazi scientists secretly brought to the US to work after WWII. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
Thousands of scientists and health experts have joined a global movement warning of "grave concerns" about Covid-19 lockdown policies. Nearly 6,000 experts, including dozens from the UK, say the approach is having a devastating impact on physical and mental health as well as society. They are calling for protection to be focused on the vulnerable, while healthy people get on with their lives. The movement - known as the Great Barrington Declaration - mirrors some of the warnings in a letter signed by a group of GPs in the UK. Sixty-six GPs, including ... a number of medics who have held senior roles at the British Medical Association, have written to the health secretary, saying there is insufficient emphasis on "non-Covid harms" in the decision-making. They say keeping the lockdown policies in place until a vaccine is available would cause "irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed". The health harms cited include ... worsening care for heart disease and cancer patients. And they point out the risk from coronavirus is 1,000 times greater for the old and infirm, with children more at risk from flu than Covid-19. The declaration recommends a number of measures to protect the vulnerable. But: young low-risk individuals should be allowed to work normally, schools and universities should be open for in-person teaching, [and] sports and cultural activities could resume and restaurants reopen.
As millions of Americans woke up to $1,200 checks in their bank accounts, some of the nation's richest taxpayers learned they were about to receive a bit of relief as well – about $1.7m each, to be exact. Nearly 43,000 millionaires across the country would soon profit off a loophole adapted from the Republican tax code overhaul of 2017, which allows certain business owners to significantly reduce their tax liability by temporarily suspending the limit of deductions they can place against non-business income. The loophole was included as a provision in the sweeping $2.2tn Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to a report published by the Joint Commission on Taxation. Democrats who ordered the report have since accused Republicans of having "wrongly seized on this health emergency to reward ultrarich beneficiaries", and called for the tax break to be immediately repealed. The Joint Commission on Taxation said that a staggering "82 per cent of the benefits of the policy go to about 43,000 taxpayers who earn more than $1m annually". Those 43,000 taxpayers eligible for the loophole would receive an average windfall of nearly $1.7m. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) ... slammed his Republican colleagues over the tax break in a statement alleging the loophole was "so generous that its total cost is more than total new funding for all hospitals in America and more than the total provided to all state and local governments".
On Election Day 2016, Crystal Mason went to vote. When her name didn't appear on official voting rolls at her polling place in Tarrant County, Texas, she filled out a provisional ballot. Ms. Mason's ballot was never officially counted or tallied because she was ineligible to vote: She was on supervised release after serving five years for tax fraud. Nonetheless, that ballot has wrangled her into a lengthy appeals process after a state district court sentenced her to five years in prison for illegal voting, as she was a felon on probation when she cast her ballot. Ms. Mason maintains that she didn't know she was ineligible to vote. Her case is now headed for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, the highest state court for criminal cases. Ms. Mason unsuccessfully asked for a new trial and lost her case in an appellate court. This new appeal is the last chance for Ms. Mason, 46, who is out on appeal bond, to avoid prison. If her case has to advance to the federal court system, Ms. Mason would have to appeal from a cell. According to Tommy Buser-Clancy, a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas, Ms. Mason should never have never been convicted. If there is ambiguity in someone's eligibility, the provisional ballot system is there to account for it, he said. If her eligibility was incorrect, he said, "that should be the end of the story." 72 percent of [Texas attorney general, Ken] Paxton's voter fraud cases have targeted people of color.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
Filing for bankruptcy is often considered a worst-case scenario. And for many Americans who do pursue that last-ditch effort to rescue their finances, it is because of one reason: health-care costs. A new study from academic researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues – either because of high costs for care or time out of work. An estimated 530,000 families turn to bankruptcy each year because of medical issues and bills, the research found. Other reasons include unaffordable mortgages or foreclosure, at 45 percent; followed by spending or living beyond one's means, 44.4 percent; providing help to friends or relatives, 28.4 percent; student loans, 25.4 percent; or divorce or separation, 24.4 percent. The culprit ... was inadequate health-care insurance, according to a co-author of the research, Dr. David U. Himmelstein, a distinguished professor at Hunter College. Most families do not have enough saved for a simple emergency, let alone thousands of dollars in unexpected medical costs. A recent study ... found that only 40 percent of Americans have enough saved to cover a $1,000 emergency expense. To help combat this problem, Physicians for a National Health Program is advocating for a national Medicare for All program that would broaden insurance coverage for Americans.
It was a faustian bargain–and it certainly made editors at National Public Radio squirm. The deal was this: NPR, along with a select group of media outlets, would get a briefing about an upcoming announcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration a day before anyone else. But in exchange for the scoop, NPR would have to abandon its reportorial independence. The FDA would dictate whom NPR's reporter could and couldn't interview. This kind of deal offered by the FDA - known as a close-hold embargo - is an increasingly important tool used by scientific and government agencies to control the behavior of the science press. We only know about the FDA deal because of a wayward sentence inserted by an editor at the New York Times. But for that breach of secrecy, nobody outside the small clique of government officials and trusted reporters would have known that the journalists covering the agency had given up their right to do independent reporting. The two-tiered system of outsiders and insiders that undergirds the close-hold policy is also still enforced. Major press outlets such as Scientific American and Agence France-Presse have written to the FDA to complain about being excluded but have not received any satisfaction from the agency.
Gabriel Baron first heard about Crisis Kitchen through a call for support he saw on Facebook. The mutual aid group was providing free meals around Portland, Oregon, to combat food insecurity exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. "I'm a believer in local communities supporting local communities," Baron says. So he volunteered to deliver meals for the kitchen. As he did so, he started having conversations with folks in the organization. Baron, a filmmaker, decided to bring his camera to the Crisis Kitchen. He said he was interested in demystifying mutual aid for viewers. It's not an unwieldy and hierarchical institution. It was as simple as laid-off restaurant employees asking to use the kitchen to prepare food for people in their community. And the effort has snowballed from there. The group now delivers about 1,000 free, restaurant-quality meals around the city every week. Crisis Kitchen is one of a network of mutual aid groups in Portland working to build a more supportive and just community. In the film, Adrian Garcia Groenendyk, the co-founder of Crisis Kitchen, says mutual aid demonstrates what can be done to meet people's needs and help them thrive in our society. Long-term, he says this critical work shouldn't be dependent on community donations. The goal should be to take money out of institutions of violence and put it into institutions of care, like Crisis Kitchen. Baron continues to deliver meals for Crisis Kitchen every week.
For decades, Nepal's endangered rhino population has dwindled to near extinction. But recently, thanks in part to travel restrictions during the coronavirus pandemic, the population has soared. The nation's count of endangered one-horned rhinoceros has increased by more than 100 over the past six years. Officials are hailing the rise a "conservation milestone." The rhino population across four national parks in the southern plains rose to 752 – up from 645 in 2015, according to the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. That's the highest it's been in decades. The area was once dominated by thousands of one-horned rhinos, but rampant poaching and habitat loss reduced their numbers. In the 1960s, there were only about 100 left. Nepal has conducted a rhino census every five years since 1994 in an effort to conserve the species after it was listed as vulnerable. That year, the Himalayan nation recorded 466 rhinos. Ever since, the government has stepped up its anti-poaching and conservation initiatives. But this year, the lack of tourists in the country left the habitats undisturbed, allowing for even more growth. "Due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the tourist pressure was reduced drastically that resulted in the undisturbed habitat of rhinos," [information officer Haribhadra] Acharya told CBS News. "In that scenario, the wildlife recovery might have taken momentum." Last month, hundreds of enumerators, soldiers and veterinarians worked for about three weeks to count this year's rhino population.
The discovery of a newborn blue whale on West Australia's south coast is a "game changer", according to scientists studying the ocean giants, who say the species has no known breeding grounds in Australian waters. The juvenile was spotted with its mother just a few hundred metres off the coast near Bremer Bay, about 500 kilometres south-east of Perth, at the weekend. It may be the first blue whale born in Australian waters. Marine biologist Brodee Elsdon said the subspecies pygmy blue whales were often spotted migrating along the west coast, but rarely during this time of year, so close to shore or with a recently born calf. Pia Markovich, who was on board the vessel which spotted the pair, said the calf appeared to be very young. "Seeing a blue whale is one thing, but to have a mother and calf [is] next level," she said. "And for the calf to be so small, well that's like winning the wildlife lotto. "At first glance, puzzled passengers looked to the crew to understand the significance of this encounter. "Our faces would have said it all, jaws dropped and minds blown." Ms Elsdon said the sighting could help develop scientists' understanding of blue whale migration and breeding. There are no known breeding grounds for these giants in Australian waters. "We predict the breeding grounds for pygmy blue whale are all the way in Indonesia waters, so to have one born this early and in the Southern Ocean, changes everything we know," she said.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on marine mammals.
Pentagon scientists working inside a secretive unit set up at the height of the Cold War have created a microchip to be inserted under the skin, which will detect COVID-19 infection, and a revolutionary filter that can remove the virus from the blood when attached to a dialysis machine. The team at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) have been working for years on preventing and ending pandemics. One of their recent inventions, they told 60 Minutes on Sunday night, was a microchip which detects COVID infection in an individual before it can become an outbreak. The microchip is sure to spark worries among some about a government agency implanting a microchip in a citizen. Retired Colonel Matt Hepburn, an army infectious disease physician leading DARPA's response to the pandemic, showed the 60 Minutes team a tissue-like gel, engineered to continuously test your blood. 'You put it underneath your skin and what that tells you is that there are chemical reactions going on inside the body, and that signal means you are going to have symptoms tomorrow,' he explained. 'It's like a "check engine" light,' said Hepburn. Troops are likely to be highly skeptical of the new invention. In February, The New York Times reported that a third of troops have refused to take the vaccine, sighting concerns that the vaccine contains a microchip devised to monitor recipients, that it will permanently disable the body's immune system or that it is some form of government control.
Sweden, which has shunned the strict lockdowns that have choked much of the global economy, emerged from 2020 with a smaller increase in its overall mortality rate than most European countries, an analysis of official data sources showed. Infectious disease experts ... acknowledged [that the results] may indicate Sweden's overall stance on fighting the pandemic had merits worth studying. In the past week, Germany and France have extended lockdowns amid rising coronavirus cases and high death tolls, moves that economists say will further delay economic recovery. While many Europeans have accepted lockdowns as a last resort given the failure to get the pandemic under control with other methods, the moves have in recent months prompted street protests in London, Amsterdam and elsewhere. Sweden, meanwhile, has mostly relied on voluntary measures focused on social distancing, good hygiene and targeted rules that have kept schools, restaurants and shops largely open - an approach that has sharply polarised Swedes but spared the economy from much of the hit suffered elsewhere in Europe. Data from EU statistics agency Eurostat compiled by Reuters showed Sweden had 7.7% more deaths in 2020 than its average for the preceding four years. Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1% and 16.2% respectively. Twenty-one of the 30 countries with available statistics had higher excess mortality than Sweden.
Note: Read a balanced, detailed description of Sweden's response to COVID in this New Yorker article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Research Medical's owner, HCA Healthcare Inc., is a profitable, publicly traded network of 185 hospitals. Even in the year of Covid-19, 2020, the company generated $51.5 billion in revenue and increased its pretax earnings by 3.6 percent. That performance helped boost the total compensation HCA's chief executive, Samuel N. Hazen, received last year to $30.4 million, a 13 percent rise from 2019. The total worth of his compensation package equaled 556 times the compensation received by the median employee at HCA – $54,651. The figures highlight the growing CEO pay gap, a problem among many public companies according to some investors and workers and even a few CEOs. In 2019, for example, the average pay ratio among 350 large American companies was 320-to-1, according to research by the Economic Policy Institute. In 1989, the average was 61-to-1. Because [Jamelle] Brown, [an] emergency department worker, makes even less than the median, Hazen got roughly 1,000 times Brown's pay. Brown says he lives with his sister because he doesn't earn enough from his job at Research Medical to pay for his own apartment. HCA isn't alone in paying its chief executive vastly more than what rank-and-file workers earn. Acuity Brands, an industrial technology company, paid its CEO, Neil M. Ashe, $21 million last year, or 2,316 times the median employee's pay. Starbucks ... paid its CEO, Kevin Johnson, $14.7 million last year. That was 1,211 times the pay of its median employee.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
The number of newly minted and reissued billionaires soared last year, Forbes reported Tuesday in its annual ranking, a staggering accumulation of personal wealth that stands in sharp contrast with the widespread economic struggles unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of billionaires on Forbes' 35th annual ranking swelled by 660 to 2,755 – a roughly 30 percent jump from a year ago – and 493 of them are first-timers. Seven of eight are richer than they were before the pandemic. Forbes calculates net worth by using stock prices and exchange rates from March 5. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, with an estimated fortune of $177 billion, topped the list. Tesla chief executive Elon Musk came in at No. 2 at $151 billion. As a class, billionaires added about $8 trillion to their total net worth from last year, totaling $13.1 trillion. The United States had the most billionaires, at 724, extending a rapid rise in wealth that hasn't happened since the Rockefellers and the Carnegies roughly a century ago. China ... had the second highest number of billionaires: 698. Gabriel Zucman, an economist ... said in an email that the explosive acceleration of wealth among the richest of the rich has only accelerated during the pandemic. "In the United States, the top 400 wealthiest Americans now own the equivalent 18% of GDP in wealth, twice as much as in 2010 (9% of GDP). The pandemic has reinforced this trend, with a boom in top-end wealth despite the decline in economic activity," he wrote.
Major American cities saw a 33% increase in homicides last year as a pandemic swept across the country, millions of people joined protests against racial injustice and police brutality, and the economy collapsed under the weight of the pandemic – a crime surge that has continued into the first quarter of this year. Sixty-three of the 66 largest police jurisdictions saw increases in at least one category of violent crimes in 2020, which include homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault, according to a report produced by the Major Cities Chiefs Association. Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Raleigh, North Carolina, did not report increases in any of the violent crime categories. The increase in homicide rates across the country is both historic and far-reaching, as were the pandemic and social movements that touched every part of society last year. Experts point to a "perfect storm" of factors - economic collapse, social anxiety because of a pandemic, de-policing in major cities after protests that called for abolition of police departments, shifts in police resources from neighborhoods to downtown areas because of those protests, and the release of criminal defendants pretrial or before sentences were completed to reduce risk of Covid-19 spread in jails - all may have contributed to the spike in homicides. Covid-19 seemed to exacerbate everything - officers sometimes had to quarantine because of exposure or cases in their ranks, reducing the number of officers available.
Note: For why Baltimore fared so well and had a significant decrease in crime last year, see this inspiring CNN article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
John Geddert, the former USA Gymnastics coach, was found dead in February just hours after he had been charged with 24 felonies including human trafficking and sexual assault in relation to his decades of work with young gymnasts in his home state of Michigan. Teristi, 46, says she was 10 years old when Geddert's coaching style became verbally and physically abusive. She says she was 14 years old when Geddert started sitting in on training sessions with sports medicine physician Larry Nassar, Geddert's close friend and a serial sexual predator, as Nassar repeatedly sexually abused Teristi. Nassar may not be making national headlines since his sentencing hearing three years ago, but the women he abused have been fighting every day since for accountability from the systems that allowed his abuse to flourish. Most of these survivors have one straightforward demand: a complete and objective accounting of how Nassar was allowed to abuse children for nearly 40 years. Who knew about the abuse and did nothing? Why were there no safeguards in place to prevent this from happening? An independent, transparent investigation that answers these questions can ensure that a predator like Nassar will never again go undetected in the sport of gymnastics or at a college like Michigan State University. And yet, at every turn survivors have been met with institutional apathy, continued betrayal and negligence – a press statement with flowery sentences about change followed by little to no action.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Japan has approved a plan to release more than one million tonnes of contaminated water from the destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea. The water will be treated and diluted so radiation levels are below those set for drinking water. But the local fishing industry has strongly opposed the move, as have China and South Korea. Tokyo says work to release water used to cool nuclear fuel will begin in about two years. The final approval comes after years of debate. Reactor buildings at the Fukushima power plant were damaged by hydrogen explosions caused by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. The tsunami knocked out cooling systems to the reactors, three of which melted down. More than a million tonnes of water have been used to cool the melted reactors. Currently, the radioactive water is treated in a complex filtration process that removes most of the radioactive elements, but some remain, including tritium - deemed harmful to humans only in very large doses. It is then kept in huge tanks, but the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TepCo) is running out of space, with these tanks expected to fill up by 2022. About 1.3 million tonnes of radioactive water - or enough to fill 500 Olympic-sized swimming pools - are currently stored in these tanks. Environmental groups like Greenpeace have long expressed their opposition to releasing the water into the ocean. The NGO said Japan's plans to release the water showed the government "once again failed the people of Fukushima".
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Fukushima nuclear disaster from reliable major media sources.
Two weeks before Devani's second birthday, she was taken away from her parents in Tucson by a state child-welfare caseworker. The little curly-haired girl seemed to be well-fed and cared for, but the caseworker cited drugs in the home and alleged domestic violence in deciding that Devani would be safer, at least temporarily, in foster care. Instead, over the next four years – as her mother fought to get her back – Devani suffered an odyssey of mistreatment in a succession of foster homes. She was physically abused. She was placed with David Frodsham, a man subsequently convicted of child molestation, who investigators suspect repeatedly sexually assaulted her and other foster children while he ran a pedophilia ring. And that would not be the worst that Devani would face. Foster parents who harm children the state leaves in their care are tracked in only the broadest terms. The state handles verified allegations of neglect or abuse in foster families much as it does those in other families. But officials admit they don't really analyze the data for patterns of foster-care problems that could be prevented. And data shows caseworkers often don't talk privately with children to identify what happens to them in foster care. Those children's families say the problem is real. Of 42 families interviewed for this story who had children removed, 11 alleged that their children were physically or sexually abused, exposed to drugs or harmed in some other way while in foster care.
Note: More in this case available here. 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.
Sitting in a barrel chest-high in ice cubes seems more like torture than a birthday treat. But not for Wim Hof. His techniques, combining hypoxic breathing with ice baths and cold showers, have been adopted by a cult following. Scientists are studying his almost superhuman ability to eliminate fear and control his immune response. Now, a lot of regular people are taking his advice. Amanda Henry, a mother and sixth-grade teacher ... says the stress of distance learning pushed her into 5 a.m. cold showers and Wim Hof breathing. She says the practice helps her to keep her patience. For years, the Iceman, as Mr. Hof is called, gained publicity–and some ridicule–for daredevil feats such as sitting for hours on bare ice. In 2013, researchers ... found that 12 people trained by Mr. Hof and then injected with E. coli had milder flulike symptoms than an untrained control group. In 2019, tests indicated a significant decrease in inflammation in 13 people suffering spinal arthritis over eight weeks of training in breathing, meditation and cold exposure. Mr. Hof's career was born out of tragedy. He was in the Pyrenees working as a mountain guide when his wife died by suicide in 1995. "That's the way it actually began–the real trial of my life," he says. "We were left behind with broken hearts, four kids and no money." Swimming in icy cold water had for years been a pastime. Now, he found it stopped the rumination and pain. Cold water causes you to be in the moment, he says. "Going into the cold brought ... stillness in my mind."
Note: This article is available for free viewing on this webpage. Learn more and find an incredible documentary on Wim How on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A pilot project in a California town is paying homeless residents to tidy up their living areas, and it's changing the culture of the city. The idea stemmed from a conversation with one of the city's police sergeants, said Sarah Bontrager, the housing and public services manager for Elk Grove, a city of 174,000 people located 15 miles south of Sacramento. "We got together to talk about homelessness, and from my prospective I wanted to build better relationships with people who were experiencing homelessness, and he wanted to address some of the complaints that come to his officers," Bontrager told CNN. The number one complaint surrounding homelessness was the amount of trash. "Our public works staff were previously doing cleanups out at encampment sites ... and just spending a lot of time and money doing it. We also wanted a way to reduce interactions at the early stages of Covid," she said. So they came up with the idea to offer an incentive to those who live in the homeless encampments to clean up their area. "We distribute trash bags, and we go out every two weeks to pick up the trash, and if they have it bagged, they are eligible for up to $20 in gift cards to a grocery store," Bontrager said. The recipients can use the gift cards on anything but cigarettes and alcohol. Bontrager said that they usually use them for food or hygiene items. Many of the homeless residents have expressed how thankful they are to be able to go pick out items themselves instead of relying on shelters.
Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby says the city will no longer prosecute for prostitution, drug possession and other low-level offenses. Mosby made the announcement on Friday following her office's one-year experiment in not prosecuting minor offenses to decrease the spread of Covid-19 behind bars. "Today, America's war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore. We leave behind the era of tough-on-crime prosecution and zero tolerance policing and no longer default to the status quo to criminalize mostly people of color for addiction, said Mosby. The experiment, known as The Covid Criminal Justice Policies, is an approach to crime developed with public health authorities. Instead of prosecuting people arrested for minor crimes ... the program dealt with those crimes as public health issues and work with community partners to help find solutions. The program has led to decreases in the overall incarcerated Baltimore population by 18%. Violent and property crimes are down 20% and 36% respectively. Mosby said her office will no longer prosecute the following offenses: drug and drug paraphernalia possession, prostitution, trespassing, minor traffic offense, open container violations, and urinating and defecating in public. The state's attorney's office is also working with the Baltimore Police Department and Baltimore Crisis Response Inc. (BCRI), a crisis center dealing with mental health and substance abuse issue, to offer services instead of arresting individuals.
Just as the Biden administration is pushing to raise taxes on corporations, a new study finds that at least 55 of America's largest firms paid no taxes last year on billions of dollars in profits. The sweeping tax bill passed in 2017 by a Republican Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump reduced the corporate tax rate to 21% from 35%. But dozens of Fortune 500 companies were able to further shrink their tax bill – sometimes to zero – thanks to a range of legal deductions and exemptions that have become staples of the tax code. Salesforce, Archer-Daniels-Midland and Consolidated Edison were among those named in the report, which was done by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Twenty-six of the companies listed, including FedEx, Duke Energy and Nike, were able to avoid paying any federal income tax for the last three years even though they reported a combined income of $77 billion. Many also received millions of dollars in tax rebates. Publicly traded corporations are required to file financial reports. The institute used that data along with other information supplied by each company. The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief act ... contained a provision that temporarily allowed businesses to use losses in 2020 to offset profits earned in previous years. Tax avoidance strategies include a mix of old standards and new innovations. Companies, for example, saved billions by allowing top executives to buy discounted stock options in the future and then deducting their value as a loss.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
There literally are objects flying around that no one, including U.S. Navy pilots, can identify, and we have to puzzle out what that means. The U.S. government continues to tiptoe toward the normalization of the idea of unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Last year the Department of Defense released three videos (one recorded in 2004 and the other two in 2015) of U.S. Navy pilots seeing something and having no idea what it was. In its news release, the Pentagon said, "the aerial phenomena observed in the videos remain characterized as 'unidentified,'" putting the U in UFO. The Pentagon went further in August 2020, announcing the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force. The Pentagon explained, "The mission of the task force is to detect, analyze and catalog UAPs that could potentially pose a threat to U.S. national security." 10 days ago, former director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe went on Fox News and made a whole bunch of claims about what the U.S. intelligence community knew about UAPs, including that a Pentagon report would soon be released revealing even more information. If UAPs are extraterrestrials ... it is not humans contacting extraterrestrials but rather those extraterrestrials actively observing us. Furthermore, they seem to be doing so in a way that is not destructive. That is promising! Observation without the intent to destroy suggests a civilization that is much less violent than, say, Spanish conquistadors.
Note: The gradual roll out by government and media continues with this article. Where are those who are willing to talk about the major UFO activities which have been well known and established for decades in the UFO community? This two-page summary gives quotes and links for verification from well known astronauts, top military officials and others who have had personal experience with UFOs and ETs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
When West Virginia declared a state of emergency to arrest the coronavirus, the social network that aids the homeless froze along with everything else. Ordered to shelter in place, people without shelter died at an alarming rate. In a bad year here ... two to four of the unhoused die. Over the past year, they have tallied 22 deaths, a sevenfold increase. Only two of the deaths are suspected to be from COVID-19. But all occurred during the collapse of the safety net that in normal times addresses the complex mix of afflictions–trauma, medical conditions, addiction–that accompany homelessness, and worsened during the profound isolation of the pandemic. What happened in [West Virginia] is happening across the country. Even before the pandemic lockdowns that fell hardest on low-income Americans –– and stand to push more people out of their homes –– the Department of Housing and Urban Development reported U.S. homelessness at 580,466 people, up 7% from a year earlier. Deaths are rising even faster. In San Francisco, the department of public health says deaths tripled over the past year in an unhoused population of 8,035. In Los Angeles, home to a vast homeless population tallied at 41,290, deaths increased by 32%. Homeless deaths in Washington, D.C., soared by 54%. In New York City, the Coalition for the Homeless reported a death rate up 75%. And over the past year, they died ... at a rate many times higher than the rate of deaths from the virus.
For exactly a year during the pandemic, the United States did not see a single high-profile public mass shooting. But a surge in daily gun violence contributed to an estimated 4,000 additional murders throughout 2020, in what experts warn will probably be the worst single-year increase in murders on record. There were only two public shootings in 2020 that primarily targeted strangers, were not related to other crimes and killed at least four victims – one standard definition researchers use to classify "mass shootings" – according to two databases that track this kind of gun violence. That's the lowest annual count of high-profile mass shootings in America in nearly a quarter-century, according to Jillian Peterson, the founder of the Violence Project. At the same time, the number of people murdered in everyday violence last year surged in cities large and small. Early estimates suggest the US may have seen at least 4,000 more murders last year than in 2019, and potentially as many as 5,000 more, according to projections based on FBI data, though complete official statistics will not be available until the fall. The number of all murders rose 25% across the country in 2020, with double-digit increases in small, medium and large cities, according to preliminary data from a large subset of law enforcement agencies that the FBI released last week. That would be the highest single-year increase, both in the murder rate and in the total number of additional murders, going back to 1960, the earliest year national crime data is available.
Note: Listen to an excellent 10-minute statement by Edward Snowden on the underlying causes of this increase in violence. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
Bill Gates has never been a farmer. So why did the Land Report dub him "Farmer Bill" this year? Gates' achievement, according to the report, is that he's largest private owner of farmland in the US. A 2018 purchase of 14,500 acres of prime eastern Washington farmland – which is traditional Yakama territory – for $171m helped him get that title. In total, Gates owns approximately 242,000 acres of farmland with assets totaling more than $690m. To put that into perspective, that's nearly the size of Hong Kong and twice the acreage of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, where I'm an enrolled member. A white man owns more farmland than my entire Native nation! The relationship to land – who owns it, who works it and who cares for it – reflects obscene levels of inequality and legacies of colonialism and white supremacy in the United States, and also the world. Wealth accumulation always goes hand-in-hand with exploitation and dispossession. Our era is dominated by the ultra-rich ... and a burgeoning green capitalism. And Bill Gates' new book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster positions himself as a thought leader in how to stop putting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and how to fund what he has called elsewhere a "global green revolution" to help poor farmers mitigate climate change. What expertise in climate science or agriculture Gates possesses beyond being filthy rich is anyone's guess. Investment firms are making the argument farmlands will meet "carbon-neutral" targets for sustainable investment portfolios.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
A small group of scientists and others who believe the novel coronavirus that spawned the pandemic could have originated from a lab leak or accident is calling for an inquiry independent of the World Health Organization's team of independent experts sent to China last month. Officials with the W.H.O. have said in recent interviews that it was "extremely unlikely" but not impossible that the spread of the virus was linked to some lab accident. The open letter ... lists what the signers see as flaws in the joint W.H.O.-China inquiry. The letter emphasized that the team was denied access to some records and did not investigate laboratories in China. Dr. David A. Relman, a professor of medicine and microbiology at Stanford University [said] "the W.H.O. investigation appears to be biased, skewed, and insufficient." Richard Ebright, a molecular biologist at Rutgers University and one of the scientists who signed the letter, said it grew out of a series of online discussions among scientists, policy experts and others who came to be known informally as the Paris group. Many of those who signed the letter were based in France and Dr. Ebright, who has been outspoken about the need to investigate a possible laboratory leak, said such discussion had been less vigorous in the United States. He said that no one in the group thought that the virus had been intentionally created as a weapon, but they were all convinced that an origin in a lab through research or by accidental infection was as likely as a spillover occurring in nature from animals to humans.
Note: Read more about the controversial "gain-of-function" research that took place at the Wuhan Institute of Virology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
When thousands of New Yorkers poured into the city's streets last summer following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, they were met with the very police violence they had come to protest. New York police arrested hundreds of people, many with no probable cause. Over multiple incidents, police regularly and unjustifiably used force against peaceful protesters, with state investigators finding that they beat people with blunt instruments at least 50 times, unlawfully pepper-sprayed them in at least 30 instances, and pushed or struck protesters at least 75 times. Officers targeted and retaliated against people engaging in constitutionally protected activity, New York Attorney General Letitia James's office concluded, and "blatantly violated the rights of New Yorkers." Leading the violent crackdown was the New York Police Department's Strategic Response Group, or SRG, a heavily militarized, rapid-response unit of several hundred officers. Investigators found a disproportionate number of SRG officers accused of wrongdoing to have exceeded their legal authority, when compared with the wider department. The group earned a reputation among activists as the NYPD's "goon squad." Despite initial reassurances to the contrary, the SRG ended up policing protests far more than it did any "counterterrorism" work – already the job of the NYPD's Counterterrorism Bureau – but it brought its militarized mentality and tactics to the policing of civil unrest.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
A group of Harvard scientists plans to tackle climate change through geoengineering by blocking out the sun. The concept of artificially reflecting sunlight has been around for decades, yet this will be the first real attempt at controlling Earth's temperature through solar engineering. The project, called Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx), will spend $3 million to test their models by launching a steerable balloon in the southwest US 20 kilometers into the stratosphere. Once the balloon is in place, it will release small particles of calcium carbonate. As scientists, governmental agencies around the world, and environmental groups grow increasingly worried of our collective ability to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change, the idea of geoengineering a solution has become more accepted. The ultimate goal is to reduce the warming on Earth. This can be done by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, sucking CO2 from the atmosphere, or limiting the sunlight that reaches Earth's surface. Blocking out sunlight has been controversial in the scientific community. The controversy lies in the inability to fully understand the consequences of partially blocking out sunlight. There remain questions around this method's impact on precipitation patterns, the ozone, and crop yields globally. With funding in part by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the Harvard team will begin to answer the remaining questions.
Note: What is being proposed here is clearly a form of chemtrails. Thankfully, the first scheduled tests of this geoengineering technique have been canceled. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on climate change from reliable major media sources.
The number of American bald eagles has quadrupled since 2009, with more than 300,000 birds soaring over the lower 48 states, government scientists said in a report Wednesday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said bald eagles, the national symbol that once teetered on the brink of extinction, have flourished in recent years, growing to more than 71,400 nesting pairs and an estimated 316,700 individual birds. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, in her first public appearance since being sworn in last week, hailed the eagle's recovery. "The strong return of this treasured bird reminds us of our nation's shared resilience and the importance of being responsible stewards of our lands and waters that bind us together,'' said Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet secretary. Bald eagles reached an all-time low of 417 known nesting pairs in 1963 in the lower 48 states. But after decades of protection, including banning the pesticide DDT and placement of the eagle on the endangered species list in more than 40 states, the bald eagle population has continued to grow. The bald eagle was removed from the list of threatened or endangered species in 2007. The celebration of the bald eagle "is also a moment to reflect on the importance of the Endangered Species Act, a vital tool in the efforts to protect America's wildlife,'' Haaland said, calling the landmark 1973 law crucial to preventing the extinction of species such as the bald eagle or American bison.
A new documentary called Writing With Fire ... profiles Khabar Lahariya (Waves of News), India's only major news outlet run by women from marginalized communities. It focuses on rural reporting through a feminist lens and is led by chief reporter Meera Devi. Khabar Lahariya began as a small Hindi language newspaper in 2002 in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Many of its reporters are Dalits, formally called "untouchables" – people at the very bottom of India's ancient 4-level caste system, that are considered by higher castes to be so impure, they should not be touched. The Indian constitution bans discrimination on the basis of caste but it still persists. Two-thirds of rural women and about half of rural men practice untouchability. That could mean they refuse to eat with lower caste people or don't let them enter their kitchen. Untouchability is more common in rural India, where Meera and her colleagues live and report. The documentary ... follows Meera and two other colleagues as they find workarounds to challenges like power outages while reporting, interviewing unyielding, patronizing elected officials. And all the while, many of the reporters' families are pressuring them to marry because that is what is expected for many women in India. Meera says, "When future generations ask us, 'What were you doing when the country was changing and the media was being silenced?' Khabar Lahariya will be able to say proudly that we were holding the powerful to account."
We all have things we don't need. For Canberra resident Zoe Bowman, it is melon ballers. "Someone asked for a melon baller to make some melon balls for a kid's party, and I looked in the drawer and I had three," she says. "I don't need three melon ballers!" The request was made on a Facebook page that she manages, one of the thousands of local pages that make up the "buy nothing" movement. Part zero-waste movement, part community-building project, "buy nothing" has taken off in Australia's affluent inner-city suburbs as a way to rehome unwanted goods and avoid unnecessary purchases – like a third melon baller. The "buy nothing" project began in the United States as an attempt at creating a cashless economy. The aim was that communities would distribute goods according to need, which meant group members had to explain why they needed a particular item in order to receive it. It was a slightly problematic beginning, says Bowman, and the secret Facebook group where "buy nothing" page admins gather has since gone through a decolonisation and anti-racism process that led to it losing some of its original fans. In Australia the tone is lighter but the rules remain. Giving an item away to the first person who replies, like you would on a buy/swap/sell page, is far too transactional for the "buy nothing" community. "The whole aim of the thing is actually community building, not getting rid of stuff," Bowman says.
Note: Explore two other inspiring articles on this beautiful movement on this webpage and this one. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
When Covid cases were rising in the U.S., the news coverage emphasized the increase. When cases were falling, the coverage instead focused on those places where cases were rising. And when vaccine research began showing positive results, the coverage downplayed it, as far as [Dartmouth professor Bruce] Sacerdote could tell. He began working with two other researchers, building a database of Covid coverage from every major network. The researchers then analyzed it with a social-science technique that classifies language as positive, neutral or negative. The results showed that Sacerdote's instinct had been right. The coverage by U.S. publications with a national audience has been much more negative than coverage by any other source that the researchers analyzed, including scientific journals, major international publications and regional U.S. media. About 87 percent of Covid coverage in national U.S. media last year was negative. The share was 51 percent in international media, 53 percent in U.S. regional media and 64 percent in scientific journals. Notably, the coverage was negative in both U.S. media outlets with liberal audiences (like MSNBC) and those with conservative audiences (like Fox News). If we're constantly telling a negative story, we are not giving our audience the most accurate portrait of reality. As Ranjan Sehgal, another co-author, told me, "The media is painting a picture that is a little bit different from what the scientists are saying."
Note: Explore an inspiring article sharing some of the good news to come out of these challenging times. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mass media corruption from reliable sources.
The end of humankind? It may be coming sooner than we think, thanks to hormone-disrupting chemicals that are decimating fertility at an alarming rate around the globe. A new book called Countdown, by Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist ... finds that sperm counts have dropped almost 60% since 1973. Following the trajectory we are on, Swan's research suggests sperm counts could reach zero by 2045. Zero. Let that sink in. That would mean no babies. No reproduction. No more humans. Forgive me for asking: why isn't the UN calling an emergency meeting on this right now? The chemicals to blame for this crisis are found in everything from plastic containers and food wrapping, to waterproof clothes and fragrances in cleaning products, to soaps and shampoos, to electronics and carpeting. Some of them, called PFAS, are known as "forever chemicals", because they don't breakdown in the environment or the human body. They just accumulate and accumulate – doing more and more damage. Swan's book is staggering in its findings. "In some parts of the world, the average twentysomething woman today is less fertile than her grandmother was at 35," Swan writes. In addition to that, Swan finds that, on average, a man today will have half of the sperm his grandfather had. Given everything we know about these chemicals, why isn't more being done? Right now, there is a paltry patchwork of inadequate legislation responding to this threat.
In the coming months, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, President Joe Biden's ambassador to the United Nations, will hear from a growing chorus of developing nations about the foundering efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccine globally. The nations, many of which have not even begun vaccinating their populations, are demanding that the U.S. support proposals to temporarily waive certain patent and intellectual property rights so that generic coronavirus vaccines can be produced. The proposals have been fiercely opposed by American drugmakers, including Pfizer. ASG ... represents Pfizer. Many leading figures in Biden's administration, including key White House advisers, State Department leaders, and health care officials have financial stake in or professional ties to vaccine manufacturers, which are now lobbying to prevent policies that would cut into future profits over the vaccine. ASG in particular has unusual amounts of sway in the Biden administration. State Department officials Victoria Nuland, Wendy Sherman, Uzra Zeya, and Molly Montgomery previously worked at ASG, as did Philip Gordon, Vice President Kamala Harris's national security adviser. The pharmaceutical industry, in a bid to shield an expected financial windfall, has pressed the Biden administration not only to oppose the waiver, but also to impose trade-related sanctions on countries that back [a] proposal or move to manufacture coronavirus vaccines without permission from patent holders.
Pfizer expects to sell $15 billion worth of Covid-19 vaccines in 2021. That would make it the second-highest revenue-generating drug anytime, anywhere, according to industry reports. The maker of the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved for use in advanced markets has released its earning forecasts for 2021 today. Pfizer expects to earn between $59 billion and $61 billion - up from $42 billion it made in 2020. Sales of the vaccine are set to bring in about a fourth of Pfizer's total revenue this year. That would be nearly as much as its three best-selling products combined. The company is expecting profit margins for the vaccine to be between 25% and 30% which means profits from the vaccine could be around $4 billion. All of Pfizer's costs and profits from the vaccine are split evenly with BioNTech, the biotech company that helped develop the treatment. There are is only one drug in the world that sells more - Humira, a prescription medication for arthritis. Pfizer plans on selling 2 billion doses of the vaccine this year, but that demand should subside in coming years so the revenue of Covid-19 vaccine won't be stable, Pfizer's CEO Albert Bourla said on an call with analysts and investors. The company expects to continue profiting from it by selling booster doses, including ones required to shield against new variants of the virus, Bourla said. Further, Pfizer is pursuing more avenues to employ the mRNA technology underlying the vaccine, including a flu vaccine and other therapeutic applications.
Note: Read more in this revealing Reuters article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
AstraZeneca may have included "outdated information" in touting the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccine in a U.S. study, federal health officials said Tuesday in an unusual public rift that could further erode confidence in the shot. In an extraordinary rebuke, just hours after AstraZeneca on Monday announced its vaccine worked well in the U.S. study, an independent panel that oversees the study scolded the company for cherry-picking data, according to a senior administration official. The panel wrote to AstraZeneca and U.S. health leaders that it was concerned the company chose to use data that was outdated and potentially misleading instead of the most recent and complete findings. The NIH's Dr. Anthony Fauci told ABC's "Good Morning America" that the incident "really is what you call an unforced error" and that he expects the discrepancy to be straightened out. But that nitty-gritty seldom is seen by the public, something now exposed by the extraordinary microscope being applied to development of the world's COVID-19 vaccines. The vaccine is used widely in Britain, across the European continent and in other countries, but its rollout was troubled by inconsistent study reports about its effectiveness, and then last week a scare about blood clots that had some countries temporarily pausing inoculations. Company executives refused repeated requests from reporters to provide a breakdown of the 141 COVID-19 cases it was using to make the case for the shot's effectiveness.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. accounted for 37% of all global arms exports over the last five years, with Saudi Arabia – easily the world's top arms buyer – accounting for one-quarter of those sales, according to new data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. U.S. arms exports rose by 15% from 2011-2015 to 2016-2020, with 96 countries buying arms from America. Russia remained the second-largest exporter with 20% of the market, but supplied a smaller pool of 44 countries and saw sales fall by 22% from the previous five years due primarily to a decrease in sales to India. The next largest arms exporters were France (8% of the total), Germany (5%) and China (5%). China's sales also slid by 8% in the past five years, while exports from Europe increased significantly. Israel and South Korea both accounted for about 3% of the total after significantly increasing their exports over the past five years. Russia had four major clients that accounted for two-thirds of all exports – India, China, Algeria and Egypt – while Pakistan was by far China's biggest client. The U.S. had a diversified pool of major buyers: Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Korea, Japan, the UAE, Qatar, Israel and the U.K. Arms imports overall were flat between 2011–2015 and 2016–2020, but rose in the Middle East (+25%) while falling in the Americas (-43%), Africa (-13%), and Asia and Oceania (-8.3%).
In the summer of 1981, when he was 13, Grant crashed a trail motorbike. Grant hadn't given this childhood memory much thought in the intervening years, but one hot August day ... he suddenly understood it as a clue to his dangerously unhealthy relationship with alcohol. The day before, a team of specialists at the Royal Devon and Exeter hospital had given him an intravenous infusion of ketamine, a dissociative hallucinogen, in common use as an anaesthetic since the 1970s, and more recently one of a group of psychedelic drugs being hailed as a silver bullet in the fight to save our ailing mental health. To date, more than 100 patients with conditions as diverse as depression, PTSD and addiction have been treated in research settings across the UK, using a radical new intervention that combines psychedelic drugs with talking therapy. What was once a fringe research interest has become the foundation of a new kind of healthcare, one that, for the first time in modern psychiatric history, purports to not only treat but actually cure mental ill health. Under its influence, Grant had an out-of-body experience he struggles to put into words. "It was like I was sinking deeper and deeper into myself," he says. "Then I became whiteâ€¦ and I left my body. I was up on the ceiling, looking at myself, but I was just this white entity. I felt very serene and humbled; I finally understood my place in the universe, just a white speck of light, I wasn't the centre of everything and that was fine."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the healing potentials of mind altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
After closely guarding their secrets for centuries, Britain's Freemasons have spent the last decade trying to open up their organisation, and some of its rituals, to outside scrutiny. Public relations consultants have been hired ... and documentary makers have been allowed into lodge meetings. The unspoken message has been that the wider public has nothing to fear. Freemasonry's problem, however, is that there is a limit to its transparency. It remains a secret society, or "a society with secrets" as it prefers to put it. There will always be some on the outside, unable to peer in, who will assume the worst – that the fraternal ties of the brotherhood could encourage improper conduct in public life. Some of the rumours about the ancient initiation ceremony are true. Suspicion grew during the 1970s after journalists began unearthing evidence that a handful of police officers and criminals were members of the same lodges. The following decade, suspicion turned to paranoia after police in Italy began to investigate the notorious Propaganda Due lodge and its suspected links with a banking collapse and the murder of the banker and lodge member Roberto Calvi, who was found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London in 1982. As one mason put it: "The idea that there is an inner circle has a real allure, particularly for men working in a hierarchical situation: the police, the army, in business." As long as secrecy remains, Freemasonry's age-old problem – the suspicions of outsiders – will also persist.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on secret societies from reliable major media sources.
About fifty years ago, Dr. Bruce Greyson was eating pasta in the hospital cafeteria when his beeper went off. Greyson, a psychiatrist, was urgently needed in the ER to treat a college student who had overdosed. He called her name – "Holly" – and tried to rouse her. But she didn't stir. The next morning, Greyson returned to work at the hospital. Holly stirred. "I remember you from last night," she mumbled. "I saw you talking with Susan, sitting on the couch." Suddenly Holly opened her eyes, looked Greyson in the face and added, "You were wearing a striped tie that had a red stain on it." Greyson began studying these so-called near-death experiences (NDEs) from a scientific standpoint, collecting hundreds of stories from those who've had them. He discovered that ... many people who survive the jaws of death report strange out-of-body experiences. Since meeting Holly, Greyson has published hundreds of academic papers. His search for answers is chronicled in his new book "After: A Doctor Explores What Near-Death Experiences Reveal about Life and Beyond." Near-death experiences are fairly common. Some 10 percent to 20 percent of people who come close to death report them – about 5 percent of the population. So what is going on? Greyson, who grew up in a scientific household and is not religious, says he doesn't know. "But I think the evidence overwhelmingly points to the physical body not being all that we are," he says. "There seems to be something that is able to continue after the body dies."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on near-death experiences.
Two Maryland police officers are being credited for helping calm down a man having a behavioral health crisis. Hyattsville police received a call Saturday about an agitated, angry man inside the convenience store at a Sunoco gas station. Officers Edgar Andrickson-Franco and Mancini Gaskill responded. "When we first arrived, he appeared to be incoherent," Andrickson-Franco said. "He wasn't making much sense." "We engaged in conversation with him and we didn't want to be too overbearing," Gaskill said. Andrickson-Franco sat down on the floor with the man. He said at times the man became verbally abusive, but he refused to react. "Me reacting the way he was reacting wasn't going to get us anywhere," Andrickson-Franco said. "If anything, it would have worsened the situation." The officers were understanding, built trust, and the man calmed down. He eventually handed over his phone. The officers called his relatives, and they picked him up at the gas station. The encounter is an example of what the Hyattsville Police Department is teaching in their new pilot program called Mental Health and Wellness Program. "It feels really good to know that they were able to deescalate that situation," said Hyattsville police spokesperson Adrienne Augustus, a manager of the program. "Not everyday situation you have to arrest somebody, right?" said. "That's not our job. Our job is to help." Next month the department will have a Mental Health and Wellness Day focusing on mental health and domestic abuse training.
A team of scientists led by Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has developed a device that can deliver electrical signals to and from plants, opening the door to new technologies that make use of plants. The NTU team developed their plant 'communication' device by attaching a conformable electrode (a piece of conductive material) on the surface of a Venus flytrap plant using a soft and sticky adhesive known as hydrogel. With the electrode attached to the surface of the flytrap, researchers can achieve two things: pick up electrical signals to monitor how the plant responds to its environment, and transmit electrical signals to the plant, to cause it to close its leaves. Scientists have known for decades that plants emit electrical signals to sense and respond to their environment. The NTU research team believe that developing the ability to measure the electrical signals of plants could create opportunities for a range of useful applications, such as plant-based robots that can help to pick up fragile objects, or to help enhance food security by detecting diseases in crops early. Lead author of the study, Chen Xiaodong ... said: "Climate change is threatening food security around the world. By monitoring the plants' electrical signals, we may be able to detect possible distress signals and abnormalities. When used for agriculture purpose, farmers may find out when a disease is in progress, even before full blown symptoms appear on the crops."
Note: The pioneering Italian spiritual community Damanhur has been conducting sophisticated experiments on plant communication for decades with amazing results. Watch this amazing video showing how they have enabled plants to create music. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire yo to make a difference.
Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that an upcoming government report will show more unidentified flying object (UFO) sightings that are "difficult to explain." In an interview with Fox News on Friday, Ratcliffe spoke about hoping to release information about the UFOs for the American people. In December 2020, then-President Donald Trump signed a stimulus bill asking for federal agencies to publish a report on UFOs within 180 days. Ratcliffe said he'd wanted to declassify the information prior to his and Trump's departure from the White House in January, "but we weren't able to get it down into an unclassified format that we could talk about quickly enough." Ratcliffe appeared to reference some UFO footage that had been released by the Pentagon in April 2020. "Frankly, there are a lot more sightings than have been made public. Some of those have been declassified. When we talk about sightings, we're talking about objects that have been seen by Navy or Air Force pilots or have been picked up by satellite imagery that frankly engage in actions that are difficult to explain." The former intelligence director also explained what activities the objects engaged in to receive their UFO titles, including "movements that are hard to replicate" or "traveling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom. "The anticipated report ... is part of the the Intelligence Authorization Act for 2021.
Note: The media and government seem to be gradually putting out long-hidden information on UFOs which has been publicly available for decades. To see reliable, verifiable evidence of an ET presence, see the witness testimony of very high-level officials on this webpage. Watch an interesting documentary titled "The Strangest Encounters in Space." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
In late February, I walked into a Bigfoot trap in Siskiyou National Forest a few miles north of the California border with Oregon. Posing for a photo inside pretending to be an oversized cryptid, I raised my own overly large foot for effect. A year ago I moved to Arcata – a veritable epicenter of Sasquatch sightings – where Bigfoot-themed businesses, adornments and paraphernalia are commonplace and undoubtedly a tourist draw and economic boon to the area. A scrap metal Bigfoot sculpture stands on a walking path in my town. The sheer concept of Bigfoot is fascinating, which is why I hiked to that trap, and why, when a friend recently mentioned an "Intro to Bigfoot Studies" online class with an instructor from Humboldt State University's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, that seemed like fun. Here's something not fun: having to question your own grip on reality. And actually, that's part of why some people have a tough time acknowledging the possibility Bigfoot could be real, according to course instructor Steven Saint Thomas. "It's a natural human tendency to want to be comfortable," Thomas says. "So information that makes you uncomfortable is information you prefer to ignore." And here's what many Bigfoot enthusiasts do think proves the existence of the creature: the Patterson-Gimlin film. It was shot by two cowboys near Bluff Creek in 1967, capturing what appears to be a female Bigfoot striding across the forest, turning toward the camera in what has become an iconic stance, and disappearing forever.
Note: Watch the video footage which made bigfoot an international phenomenon on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the mysterious nature of reality from reliable major media sources.
Now that the 2020 figures have been properly tallied, there is still no convincing evidence that strict lockdowns reduced the death toll from COVID-19. But one effect is clear: more deaths from other causes, especially among the young and middle-aged, minorities and the less affluent. The best gauge of the pandemic's impact is what statisticians call excess mortality, which compares the overall number of deaths with the total in previous years. That measure rose among older Americans because of COVID-19, but it rose at an even sharper rate among people aged 15 to 54, and most of those excess deaths weren't attributed to the virus. Preliminary reports point to some obvious lockdown-related factors. There was a sharp decline in visits to emergency rooms and an increase in fatal heart attacks because patients didn't receive prompt treatment. Many fewer people were screened for cancer. Social isolation contributed to excess deaths from dementia and Alzheimer's. Researchers predicted that the social and economic upheaval would lead to tens of thousands of "deaths of despair" from drug overdoses, alcoholism and suicide. As unemployment surged and mental-health and substance-abuse treatment programs were interrupted, the reported levels of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts increased dramatically, as did alcohol sales and fatal drug overdoses. The number of excess deaths not involving COVID-19 has been especially high in US counties with more low-income households and minority residents.
In its final days, President Donald Trump's State Department made a series of highly controversial claims about the Wuhan Institute of Virology in Wuhan, China, and its possible connection to the covid-19 outbreak. Now, the Biden administration has reviewed those claims, and is confirming some of the facts within them. The controversy surrounds a Jan. 15 statement put out by then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that was accompanied by a "Fact Sheet" entitled: "Activity at the Wuhan Institute of Virology." That fact sheet alleged that the U.S. government had evidence that "several researchers inside the WIV became sick in autumn 2019 ... with symptoms consistent with both COVID-19 and common seasonal illnesses." The fact sheet further alleged that the WIV has not publicly disclosed all of its work on SARS-like coronaviruses and "has collaborated on publications and secret projects with China's military." In early 2018, U.S. diplomats who visited the WIV lab wrote two cables back to Washington warning that the lab's scientists had reported safety and staffing issues – and that the lab was doing risky research on bat coronaviruses and how they infect humans. The fact sheet ... doesn't specify which information is gleaned from public sources and which data points are derived from U.S. intelligence collection. Trump administration officials told me that the information about sick researchers at the WIV and the lab's secret work with the Chinese government and military comes from intelligence sources.
Deep in the Sahara, the C.I.A. is continuing to conduct secret drone flights from a small but steadily expanding air base, even as the Biden administration has temporarily limited drone strikes against suspected terrorists outside conventional war zones, such as Afghanistan. Soon after it set up the base in northern Niger three years ago, the C.I.A. was poised to launch drone strikes from the site. But there is no public evidence that the agency has carried out anything but surveillance missions so far. New satellite imagery shows that the air base in Dirkou, Niger, has grown significantly since The New York Times first reported the C.I.A. operations there in 2018, to include a much longer runway and increased security. The new imagery also shows for the first time what appears to be an MQ-9 Reaper drone taxiing to or from a clamshell hangar. Under a directive that Mr. Biden's national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, quietly imposed on Jan. 20, Inauguration Day, the military and the C.I.A. must now obtain White House permission to attack terrorism suspects in poorly governed places where there are scant or no American ground troops, such as Somalia, Yemen and Libya. Under the Trump administration, they had been allowed to decide for themselves whether circumstances on the ground met certain conditions and an attack was justified. A recent report by the International Crisis Group concluded that the military-first strategy of France and its allies, including the United States, has failed.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon made $35 trillion in accounting adjustments last year alone - a total that's larger than the entire U.S. economy and underscores the Defense Department's continuing difficulty in balancing its books. The latest estimate is up from $30.7 trillion in 2018 and $29 trillion in 2017, the first year adjustments were tracked in a concerted way. The figure dwarfs the $738 billion of defense-related funding in the latest U.S. budget. The Defense Department acknowledged that it failed its first-ever audit in 2018 and then again last year, when it reviewed $2.7 trillion in assets and $2.6 trillion in liabilities. While auditors found no evidence of fraud in the review of finances that Congress required, they flagged a laundry list of problems, including accounting adjustments. There were 546,433 adjustments in fiscal 2017 and 562,568 in 2018, according to figures provided by Representative Jackie Speier, who asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate. The GAO estimated based on a sample that at least 96% of 181,947 automatic adjustments made in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 "didn't have adequate supporting documentation." "In layman's terms, this means that the DoD made adjustments to accounting records without having documentation to support the need or amount for the adjustment," said Dwrena Allen, spokeswoman for the Pentagon's inspector general.
Note: $35 trillion is much more than the entire GDP of the US for 2020 ($21 trillion). A search shows that Bloomberg and Yahoo! News were the only ones to cover this shocking news. Why would that be? All businesses large and small are required to account for every dollar, while the Pentagon gets away with trillions of dollars of financial mismanagement. Explore what a top US general had to say about this on this webpage. You can also find this article on this webpage. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
In September 2004, Merck, one of America's largest pharmaceutical companies, issued a sudden recall of Vioxx, its anti-pain medication widely used to treat arthritis-related ailments. The recall came just days after Merck discovered that a top medical journal was about to publish a study by an FDA (Food and Drug Administration) investigator indicating that the drug in question greatly increased the risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes and had probably been responsible for at least 55,000 American deaths during the five years it had been on the market. It soon turned out Merck had known of potential lethal side effects even before launching Vioxx in 1999, but had brushed all such disturbing tests under the rug. A class-action lawsuit dragged its way through the courts for years, eventually being settled for $4.85 billion in 2007. [Researcher Ron] Unz makes the point that the users of Vioxx were almost all elderly, and it was not possible to determine whether a particular victim's heart attack had been caused by Vioxx or other factors. But he concludes: "Perhaps 500,000 or more premature American deaths may have resulted from Vioxx, a figure substantially larger than the 3,468 deaths of named individuals acknowledged by Merck during the settlement of its lawsuit. I'm just as astonished. From 2004 onwards, huge numbers of America's toughest trial lawyers were suing Merck for billions based on Vioxx casualties - didn't they notice the dramatic drop in the national death rate [after Vioxx was discontinued]?"
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
No single person has come to more represent the big questions about drug safety that emerged following the withdrawal of Merck's painkiller Vioxx than the Food and Drug Administration's David Graham. And now that a Texas jury has awarded the widow of one Vioxx patient $253 million, Graham, who works in the FDA's Office of Drug Safety, is more critical than ever. Of the drug, and his employer, for whom he doesn't speak. "If the judgment is that there's blood on Merck's hands," Graham says, "there's blood on the FDA's hands as well." Graham has estimated that Vioxx killed some 60,000 patients - as many people, he points out, as died in the Vietnam War. He says that fundamental problems at the FDA led to those deaths. "People should turn to Congress and demand a drug safety system that is free from corporate influence - and a distinct center for drug safety." In Graham's eyes, the problem at the FDA is that the same scientists who approve drugs are the ones charged with deciding whether or not they are safe enough to remain on the market when problems crop up. Graham says that he thinks there should be formal, periodic reviews of the safety of new medicines - and that the FDA should release documents that explain its reasoning. "The FDA does not think anything it did is a mistake," he says. "[Yet] none of its decisions are evidence-based." "Today Merck was on trial, and a judgment was rendered," he says. "But when will the public hold the FDA accountable for its role, its complicity, in this catastrophe?"
Note: Learn how Merck blatantly altered the death numbers in their drug trials in this Seattle Times article. This article persuasively argues the actual death numbers were around 500,000. WTK founder Fred Burks had a shocking encounter where he learned about intense corruption at the FDA. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
By his own assessment, Dick Hoyt wasn't in racing shape the first time his teenage son Rick, a quadriplegic with cerebral palsy, asked if they could participate in a 5-mile fund-raising race – father pushing son in a wheelchair. "I said, 'Yeah, let's go down there and try it.' I had no idea what would happen, and nobody else did, either," Mr. Hoyt later recalled. "Most people expected us to go down to the corner and come back, but we ended up doing the whole thing." From those first racing steps, the two became legends in running circles and inspirational worldwide as they participated in more than 1,000 competitions, including dozens of marathons and multiple triathlons. Mr. Hoyt ... was 80 when he died of heart failure Wednesday. Though Mr. Hoyt and Rick posted a best time of 2:40:47 in the Marine Corps Marathon – a pace many marathoners will never touch running alone – the teaming of father and son was, for both, more important than all else. "When we're out there," Mr. Hoyt told the Globe in 1990, "there's nothing I feel I can't do with Rick." "Dick started this whole movement of duos, and Team Hoyt inspired thousands of people around the world," said longtime Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray. "He helped open the door to people believing in themselves, and the walls of intimidation crumbled." Most runners would be too intimidated to even try what Mr. Hoyt did over and over again – push a wheelchair carrying a boy, who became a grown man, up and down hills for 26.2 miles.
Note: Don't miss the profoundly inspiring and beautiful story and video of this dynamic duo available on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.
Aki Ra thinks the bomb could have been lying in rural Siem Reap, Cambodia, for 40 years. If it hadn't been found, it may have added another death to the approximately 20,000 people killed by explosives laid in the country from the late 1960s to the 1990s. Ra, founder of Cambodian Self Help Demining (CSHD), and his team have found about 100 explosives in the two months they've been sweeping this 23-acre (9.5-hectare) site in Chi Kraeng district. Despite handling the devices every day since 2008, when the CSHD was formed, none of its workers have been injured by them. Ra's mine-clearing team offers basic medical help to poor villagers they work near, as an extra service to those who can't afford to travel to hospitals or buy medical equipment and medicine. With 40 employees working across 10 provinces, the CSHD, which says it has cleared 175 minefields in the country since forming in 2008, targets villages overlooked by larger NGOs and the government's Cambodian Mine Action Authority. "Another village needs us soon," says Ra, as his team breaks for a quick meal of rice and fish. "If we stay too long, other villagers aren't happy. So we have to move." Ra cleared mines with the UN when it sent peacekeeping forces to Cambodia in the early 1990s. "The UN showed me that the outside world has schools, hospitals, food. Then I understood. I threw out the bad things of the past. I wanted to make my country safe." With funding from US charity Landmine Relief Fund, Ra founded the CSHD.
To curb our climate crisis, we need to end our dependence on fossil fuels and power the world with renewables. That may have seemed far-fetched a decade ago given the cost of installing wind and solar at the time, but the price of renewables has been falling fast. In 10 years, the price of solar electricity dropped 89%, and the price of onshore wind dropped 70%. Clean energy has already passed its economic tipping point. A 2019 report from the nonprofit Rocky Mountain Institute found that it was cheaper to build and use a combination of renewables like wind and solar than to build new natural gas plants. A 2020 report from Carbon Tracker found that in every single one of the world's energy markets, it's cheaper to invest in renewables than in coal. And now, graphs recently published on Our World in Data, an online science publication, in partnership with Oxford University, starkly visualize that decline. Comparing the price of electricity from new power plants in 2009 and 2019, one graph shows how the price of solar photovoltaic power (from solar panels) plummets from $359 per megawatt hour to $40, the cheapest of any of the power options on the chart and an 89% decrease. In 2009, building a new solar farm was 223% more expensive than building a new coal plant. Now, it's flipped: Electricity from a new coal plant is 177% more expensive than electricity from new solar panels. What caused the switch? Huge leaps in technological advancement.
Sweden's novel approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic has drawn both praise and fierce criticism, not just inside the Scandinavian country, but across the Western world. The country has so far resisted going into lockdown, unlike the rest of Europe, even during the peak of its second wave over Christmas. Sweden may be faring comparably better in terms of excess deaths - those greater than the usual number of deaths expected in a certain time period. Experts say excess deaths can indicate whether policies intended to combat the pandemic have unintended consequences, such as delaying treatment for other ailments and is an important measure of the overall efficacy of policy. While still performing worse than other Nordic countries on data from Eurostat, the official European Union statistics agency, and the University of Oxford, shows that Sweden recorded 7.9% excess deaths last year compared to the years 2016-19, according to the independent health news site Dagens Medicin. That means that the country had the 23rd lowest annual excess deaths out of 30 European countries - lower than the U.K. (15.1%), France (10.4%) and Spain (18.9%). Sweden also has a lower number of coronavirus deaths per million than those countries, all of which have gone under strict lockdowns during the pandemic.
Note: The media has consistently compared Sweden to its immediate neighbors Finland and Norway, which have done much better than Sweden, but were not hit hard in the beginning as Sweden was. With the exception of this a a very few other articles, they almost always fail to compare Sweden to other European countries, as they don't won't people to know how well they have done with no lockdown. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Nearly a year after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the nation's first statewide shutdown because of the coronavirus, masks remain mandated, indoor dining and other activities are significantly limited, and Disneyland remains closed. By contrast, Florida has no statewide restrictions. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has prohibited municipalities from fining people who refuse to wear masks. And Disney World has been open since July. Despite their differing approaches, California and Florida have experienced almost identical outcomes in COVID-19 case rates. How have two states that took such divergent tacks arrived at similar points? "This is going to be an important question that we have to ask ourselves: What public health measures actually were the most impactful, and which ones had negligible effect or backfired by driving behavior underground?" said Amesh Adalja ... at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Though research has found that mask mandates and limits on group activities such as indoor dining can help slow the spread of the coronavirus, states with greater government-imposed restrictions have not always fared better than those without them. California and Florida both have a COVID-19 case rate of around 8,900 per 100,000 residents since the pandemic began, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The sudden death of a prominent anti-vaccination activist has led to a police probe. Brandy Vaughan, 45, was found dead on December 7. On Monday, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office announced an investigation into the circumstances surrounding her death. "The decedent has been positively identified and the death is believe [sic] to be a result of natural causes based on an autopsy exam conducted last week," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Public Information Officer Raquel Zick said. "The final cause and manner of death determination are pending toxicology screening which normally takes 4-6 weeks." Vaughan, a former Merck pharmaceutical representative, was an outspoken critic of mandatory vaccinations and pharmaceutical companies. She founded non-profit organization Learn The Risk in a bid to educate people "on the dangers of pharmaceutical products, including vaccines and unnecessary medical treatments." [Vaughan] once worked for Merck pharmaceutical as a sales representative for Vioxx, a painkiller eventually taken off the market."I realized that just because something is on the market doesn't mean it's safe," Vaughan writes. "Much of what we are told by the healthcare industry just simply isn't the truth." In a Facebook post dated December 4 of 2019, Vaughan asks: "Ever wonder why I speak out against Big Pharma and suffer the major consequences? Because I will fight for my son and humanity and I will educate people on pharmaceutical product dangers until my last breath!"
Note: This article fails to mention that the number of deaths due to Vioxx are estimated to be between 40,000 and 500,000. Read also an article titled "Mystery surrounds death of Tanzanian president who defied COVID lockdown." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
A great deal of conflicting information has emerged about the immune response that develops in patients who have recovered from Covid-19. The good news is that we are unlikely to be reinfected with Sars-Cov-2 repeatedly until it eventually wipes us all out. Most of the evidence ... shows that the immune response to this is quite typical for an acute viral infection. Initially, the body ramps up high levels of IgG antibodies, but after the infection is cleared, those antibodies drop to a baseline level, which may be below the limit of detection of some serological tests. Most people who recover from Covid-19 have detectable neutralising antibodies months after infection. This suggests that Sars-Cov-2 infection does produce an immune response that is protective, at least for several months. Furthermore, antibodies are not the only important part of the immune system. T-cells are also a key component to the immune response. They come in two flavours: helper T-cells, which coordinate immune responses and facilitate immunological memory, and killer T-cells, which kill infected cells. Previous studies have shown that Sars-Cov-2 infection induces robust T-cell responses. Interestingly, some people who have never had Covid-19 have memory T-cells from prior common-cold coronavirus infections that cross-react with Sars-Cov-2, suggesting that there may be some existing protection in the population. T-cells alone are unlikely to provide complete immune protection, but they are a key contributor to immune memory.
Note: The author of this article, Angela Rasmussen, is a virologist and affiliate of the Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands have joined the growing list of countries that have suspended the use of the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford over blood clot concerns. The Dutch government said Sunday that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would not be used until at least March 29, while Ireland said earlier in the day that it had temporarily suspended the shot as a precautionary step. On Monday, the German government also said it was suspending its use, with the vaccine regulator, the Paul Ehrlich Institute, calling for further investigations. The Italian medicines authority made a similar announcement on Monday afternoon and French President Emmanuel Macron also said the vaccine's use would be paused pending a verdict from the EU's regulator. Spain Health Minister Carolina Darias said Monday that the country will halt use of the shot for at least two weeks. Portugal and Slovenia also suspended the vaccine. Thailand has also halted its planned deployment of the vaccine. The move to pause its use by Dutch and Irish officials came shortly after Norway's medicines agency said it had been notified of three health workers being treated in hospital for bleeding, blood clots and a low count of blood platelets after receiving the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Norway has put its Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine program on hold.
Note: Many countries have resumed using this vaccine after Europe's medicines regulator concluded it was "safe and effective". For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Twenty-nine Nobel laureates have condemned alleged "judicial harassment" by Chevron and urged the release of a US environmental lawyer who was put under house arrest for pursuing oil-spill compensation claims on behalf of indigenous tribes in the Amazon. The open letter signed by scientists, authors, environmentalists and human rights activists said the treatment of lawyer Steven Donziger, whose movements have been restricted for more than 250 days, was one of the world's most egregious cases of judicial harassment and defamation. Donziger represents 30,000 indigenous people and small farmers who won a $9.5bn class action lawsuit against Chevron in Ecuadorean courts in 2013, as compensation for the contamination of their land by oil extraction activities. This judgment was one of the largest ever against an oil company, but not a cent of these damages has been paid to the plaintiffs. Donziger, who has been involved with the case for 27 years, has pressed for justice and payment of damages to his clients at increasing personal cost. His reputation, legal credentials and liberty have come under attack. Chevron has lobbied for his removal from bar associations and launched a countersuit accusing him of bribery and fraud, which was upheld by district judge Lewis A Kaplan in 2014. It was later reported that Chevron paid more than a million dollars for one of the key witnesses in the case – an Ecuadorean judge – to come to the United States. That witness later said he lied under oath.
Note: For lots more, read this Mother Jones article titled "How Did a Lawyer Who Took on Big Oil and Won End up Under House Arrest?." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch released a troubling report, which it has since walked back, about a phone application made by the Chinese government. The app provides law enforcement with easy, daily access to data detailing the religious activity, blood type, and even the amount of electricity used by ethnic minority Muslims living in the western province of Xinjiang. The app relies heavily on facial recognition software supplied by Face++, a division of the Chinese startup Megvii. The flurry of media reports this week about Face++ ... and the role of the private sector in building China's increasingly sprawling surveillance state, however, left out another prominent investor in the company: Hunter Biden. Hunter Biden's investment company in China, known as Bohai Harvest RST, has pooled money, largely from state-owned venture capital, to buy or invest in a range of industries. In 2017, Bohai Harvest bought into Face++. Bohai Harvest ... has brought Hunter Biden into close proximity to influential Chinese government and business figures. The investment fund has also partnered with a subsidiary of HNA Group. The HNA Group has made unusually extensive efforts to cultivate U.S. officials. The company floated an offer to buy out the hedge fund owned by former White House official Anthony Scaramucci; retained the legal services of Gary Locke, the former U.S. ambassador to China, shortly before his confirmation; and provided financing to a private-equity firm backed by Jeb Bush.
Note: This informative video delves into the shady dealings of Hunter Biden. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the corporate world from reliable major media sources.
The latest study to look at the long-term effects of Roundup, a popular weed killer developed by Monsanto in the 1970s, raises questions about the herbicide's possible contributions to poor health in certain communities. The study, published Tuesday in JAMA, tracked people over the age of 50 in southern California from 1993-1996 to 2014-2016, with researchers periodically collecting urine samples during that time. The percentage of people who tested positive for a chemical called glyphosate, which is the active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, shot up by 500% in that time period. The levels of glyphosate also spiked by 1208% during that time. One trial from the UK, in which rats were fed low levels of glyphosate throughout their lives, found that the chemical contributed to a higher risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, a condition in which fat accumulates in the liver and contributes to inflammation and scarring of the tissue. [Researcher Paul] Mills says that the levels of glyphosate documented in the people in his study were 100-fold greater than those in the rats. While Roundup was developed to eliminate most weeds from genetically modified crops – and thus reduce the amount of pesticides sprayed on them – recent studies have found that many weeds are now resistant to Roundup. That means growers are using more Roundup, which could only exacerbate potential negative health effects on people who consume those products.
Note: Bayer recently agreed to a $10 billion settlement over claims that its glyphosate-containing product RoundUp causes cancer. Meanwhile, Mexico is banning glyphosate and GMO corn. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption and GMOs from reliable major media sources.
Linda Tutt High School in Sanger opened up a grocery store inside the school. It's meant to help put extra food on the table for students and their families. But the store doesn't accept money, just good deeds. "How often can a school say they have a grocery store inside their walls?" said principal Anthony Love. With the help of local partners like Texas Health, Albertsons and First Refuge Ministries, the school was able to complete the grocery store in an extra room. Students can shop using a point system. "A lot of our students, they come from low socioeconomic families." Love said. "It's a way for students to earn the ability to shop for their families. Through hard work you can earn points for positive office referrals. You can earn points for doing chores around the building or helping to clean." Paul Juarez, the Executive Director of First Refuge Ministries said he hopes the idea is implemented in other rural areas. "These points were actually given by the students, so we walked through here and decided that a can of green beans was one point," said Juarez. "It gives us a picture of what can be. So if we can do this inside other schools it will do a whole lot to help other small towns." Students will learn about having sales when they have too much product, and of course, what to expect in their own first jobs. The store will also hold food drives weekly for the community and act as a supplement to other food insecurity programs in the area.
About 30 kilometers from Denmark's capital of Copenhagen, lies a small, but significant district called Musicon. Sit on a bench in Musicon, and you'll likely be sitting on slabs of concrete salvaged and repurposed from a demolition site nearby. Or bring your kids to the skatepark, and they'll be riding their scooters on concrete that used to be a basin and canals for collection of rainwater. Musicon was founded in 2007 on the premise that the old concrete factory that occupied the site should ... become the foundation for the new district's development. This meant that new construction projects would have to reimagine the old factory buildings in creative ways to create structures for living and working. This is one example of what is called a circular economy. To become fully circular means to avoid as much waste as possible, and to preserve as much value in what does go to waste. City planners have been cozying up to the idea of circularity in recent years, typically with the hope of combating climate change and resource scarcity, and many have begun embracing the approach. The CityLoops experiment ... aims to create sustainable city planning solutions based on the premise of circular economy. In several participant cities, including in Musicon, the circular economy takes the form of "banks" or "marketplaces," digital and physical, where salvaged materials are stored and offered up for use in other projects in the area, including anything from a birdhouse to an apartment block.
Five former Japanese prime ministers issued declarations that Japan should break with nuclear power generation on March 11, the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture. The "3.11 Declarations" were issued at the "Global Conference for a Nuclear Free, Renewable Energy Future: 10 Years Since Fukushima" held by the Federation of Promotion of Zero-Nuclear Power and Renewable Energy. Former prime ministers Morihiro Hosokawa, Tomiichi Murayama, Junichiro Koizumi, Yukio Hatoyama and Naoto Kan signed and released their declarations during the conference. In his declaration titled "Don't hold back on reversing a mistake: A zero-carbon emission society can be achieved without nuclear power plants," Koizumi said, "When it comes to the nuclear power plant issue, there is no ruling party or opposition party. Nuclear power plants expose many people's lives to danger, bring financial ruin, and cause impossible-to-solve nuclear waste problems. We have no choice but to abolish them." Before issuing his declaration, Koizumi reflected on his days as prime minister in a keynote speech, and said: "Japanese nuclear plants are safe and on budget; they offer clean energy that doesn't emit CO2, and are necessary for economic development. I was told all of this, and I believed it. But as I've gone about reading books on nuclear plants, I've realized I was wrong."
Mexico is sticking to a plan to stop importing genetically modified corn and a ban on a widely used herbicide, a senior official told Reuters, doubling down on a policy that has pleased green advocates but alarmed industry leaders. The plan announced late last year by executive order aims to replace some 16 million tonnes of yellow corn imported mostly from U.S. farmers and nearly all of it genetically modified, with new, local production by 2024. Victor Suarez, the deputy agriculture minister and a key architect of the order, argued that GMO corn and the herbicide glyphosate are too dangerous and that local output and sustainable "agroecological" practices must be prioritized. He cited studies linking glyphosate to cancer and saying that it harmed pollinators like bees and separately alleged that GMO corn contaminates Mexico's native strains of the grain. "We have to put the right to life, the right to health, the right to a healthy environment ahead of economic and business (interests)," said the former congressman. Mexico is mostly self-sufficient in white corn, used for the country's staple tortillas, but meat producers have for years relied on growing volumes of yellow corn imports to fatten cows, pigs and chickens. Asked if the Dec. 31 decree applied to animal feed as well processed foods that include GMO corn, Suarez said that the law covers all food that "will eventually reach human consumption."
Monsanto owner Bayer AG and industry lobbyist CropLife America have been working closely with US officials to pressure Mexico into abandoning its intended ban on glyphosate, a pesticide linked to cancer that is the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkillers. The moves to protect glyphosate shipments to Mexico have played out over the last 18 months, a period in which Bayer was negotiating an $11bn settlement of legal claims brought by people in the US who say they developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma due to exposure to the company's glyphosate-based products. The pressure on Mexico is similar to actions Bayer and chemical industry lobbyists took to kill a glyphosate ban planned by Thailand in 2019. Records show alarm starting to grow in the latter part of 2019 after Mexico said it was refusing imports of glyphosate from China. In denying a permit for an import shipment, Mexican officials cited the "precautionary principle", which generally refers to a policy of erring on the side of caution. Industry executives told US government officials that they feared restricting glyphosate would lead to limits on other pesticides and could set a precedent for other countries to do the same. Mexico may also reduce the levels of pesticide residues allowed in food, industry executives warned. "If Mexico extends the precautionary principle" to pesticide residue levels in food, "$20bn in US annual agricultural exports to Mexico will be jeopardized", [CropLife president Chris] Novak wrote to US officials.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Beside the ruins of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, more than 1,000 huge metal tanks loom in silent testament to one of the worst nuclear disasters in history, the meltdown of three nuclear reactors 10 years ago this month. The tanks contain nearly 1.25 million tons of cooling water from the 2011 disaster and groundwater seepage over the years – equivalent to around 500 Olympic-size swimming pools – most of it still dangerously radioactive. The government wants to gradually release the water into the sea – after it has been decontaminated and diluted – over the next three decades or more. The government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) have insisted that an ocean release is their preferred solution and that it is perfectly safe. The idea of releasing the water has infuriated Fukushima's fishing community. Also angry is South Korea, even though it is more than 600 miles away across the sea. When it comes to public trust, the Japanese government and TEPCO are on shakier ground. There has been a tendency to downplay bad news. For years, TEPCO claimed that the treated water stored at the plant contained only tritium, but data deep on its website showed that the treatment process had failed to remove many dangerous radionuclides. Finally, in 2018, it was forced to acknowledge that 70 percent of the water is still contaminated with dangerous radioactive elements – including strontium-90, a bone-seeking radionuclide that can cause cancer – and will have to be treated again before release.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster from reliable major media sources.
The factory that Pfizer Inc. plans to use to boost production of its covid-19 vaccine for the massive U.S. inoculation effort was cited by federal inspectors last year for repeated quality-control violations. Food and Drug Administration inspectors visited the McPherson, Kansas, plant at the end of 2019 into January 2020, according to an inspection report. They found the drug giant released medications for sale after failing to thoroughly review quality issues that arose in routine testing, the report shows. Additionally, the report says inspectors found bacteria and mold in supposedly sterile areas, an issue seen in previous visits to the facility. And the plant failed to properly sample drug products to ensure they didn't have excessive levels of certain toxins, the inspectors wrote. The FDA sent Pfizer a warning letter, the agency's strongest rebuke, concerning the factory in 2017 after the agency detected issues similar to those it found in 2020. The FDA concluded that Pfizer had addressed the violations in June 2018, a month before it returned to the facility and found more problems. The company plans to supply the U.S. with 200 million doses of its two-shot vaccine regimen by the end of May. The FDA halted all inspections of drugmaking facilities at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, though it has since resumed some domestic visits. Pfizer's plant in Kansas is also authorized to make the Covid-19 treatment remdesivir.
President Joe Biden's administration is being asked to punish Hungary, Colombia, Chile, and other countries for seeking to ramp up the production of Covid-19 vaccines and therapeutics without express permission from pharmaceutical companies. The sanctions are being urged by the drug industry, which has filed hundreds of pages of documents to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative outlining the alleged threat posed by any effort to challenge "basic intellectual property protections" in the response to the coronavirus pandemic. The drug industry has sharply criticized any attempt to share vaccine patents or the technological knowledge needed to manufacture them, despite global need. The strident corporate opposition to any intellectual property flexibility has rankled public health advocates, many of whom note that much of the vaccine technology has been financed by the public sector. The Pfizer vaccine, noted Prabhala, was developed in partnership with the European firm BioNTech, which received $445 million from the German government to help accelerate vaccine development and manufacturing. The U.S. government provided about $1 billion for the research and testing by Moderna to create its coronavirus vaccine. Johnson & Johnson received over $1.45 billion in funding from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for its recently approved Covid-19 vaccine.
China last winter censored doctors who shared "dangerous" misinformation about the novel coronavirus on social media. Now America's self-anointed virus experts and social-media giants are also silencing doctors with contrarian views in an apparent effort to shut down scientific debate. Facebook this week appended a Wall Street Journal op-ed "We'll Have Herd Immunity by April" by Johns Hopkins surgeon Marty Makary (Feb. 19) with the label "Missing Context. Independent fact-checkers say this information could mislead people." According to Facebook, "Once we have a rating from a fact-checking partner, we take action by ensuring that fewer people see that misinformation." The Facebook label links to the third-party site Health Feedback ... an affiliate of the nonprofit Science Feedback that verifies scientific claims in the media. Another Science Feedback affiliate fact-checks climate-related articles in predominantly conservative media. Dr. Makary ... made a projection, much like the epidemiologists at Imperial College and University of Washington do. But the progressive health clerisy don't like his projection because they worry it could lead to fewer virus restrictions. Facebook's fact-checkers "cherry-pick," to borrow their word, studies to support their own opinions, which they present as fact. Facebook's fact checkers are presenting their opinions as fact and seeking to silence other scientists whose views challenge their own.
In the trove of documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden is a treasure. It begins with a riddle: "What do the President of Pakistan, a cigar smuggler, an arms dealer, a counterterrorism target, and a combatting proliferation target have in common? They all used their everyday GSM phone during a flight." This riddle appeared in 2010 in SIDtoday, the internal newsletter of the NSA's Signals Intelligence Directorate, or SID, and it was classified "top secret." It announced the emergence of a new field of espionage that had not yet been explored: the interception of data from phone calls made on board civil aircraft. In a separate internal document from a year earlier, the NSA reported that 50,000 people had already used their mobile phones in flight as of December 2008, a figure that rose to 100,000 by February 2009. In a 2012 presentation, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ ... disclosed a program called "Southwinds," which was used to gather all the cellular activity, voice communication, data, metadata, and content of calls on board commercial aircraft. To spy on a telephone, all that was required was that the aircraft be cruising at an altitude above 10,000 feet. Today, approximately 100 companies permit in-flight use of telephones. This will further extend the scope of espionage by providing a pool of potential targets comprising several hundreds of thousands of people. This implies a population that goes far beyond terrorist targets.
More than six years after the FBI crime laboratory was rocked by controversy, the Justice Department has identified about 3,000 criminal cases that could have been affected by flawed science and skewed testimony. Government officials told The Associated Press they are aware of between 100 and 150 cases in which prosecutors have alerted defendants of problems they concluded were material to verdicts. None has resulted in overturned convictions, they said. The identification of cases and prosecutorial reviews are the final stages of a scandal that shook the FBI during the mid-1990s when a senior chemist at the famed crime lab went public with allegations of shoddy work, tainted evidence and skewed testimony. A Justice Department internal investigation concluded in 1997 that 13 lab technicians made scientific errors in cases or slanted testimony to help prosecutors. Several were reprimanded, but none was fired or prosecuted. Some criminal defense lawyers are concerned by the Justice Department's decision to let federal, state and local prosecutors decide whether to notify defendants of problems. "That's like asking the fox to guard the hen house," said former federal prosecutor Neal Sonnett. He is past president of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. "If there is a possibility that evidence has been tainted, then the Department of Justice or prosecutors should not be the arbiter of whether it's material," Sonnett said.
Note: In 2015, the FBI admitted its scientists used flawed evidence for decades to help prosecutors wrongfully convict defendants. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
When a dormant pecan farm in the neighborhoods of south Atlanta closed, the land was soon rezoned and earmarked to become townhouses. But when the townhouses never came to fruition and with the lot remaining in foreclosure, the Conservation Fund bought it in 2016 to develop an unexpected project: the nation's largest free food forest. Thanks to a US Forest Service grant and a partnership between the city of Atlanta, the Conservation Fund, and Trees Atlanta, you'll find 7.1 acres of land ripe with 2,500 pesticide-free edible and medicinal plants only 10 minutes from Atlanta's airport. The forest is in the Browns Mill neighborhood of southeast Atlanta, where the closest grocery store is a 30-minute bus ride away. "Access to green space and healthy foods is very important. And that's a part of our mission," says Michael McCord, a certified arborist and expert edible landscaper who helps manage the forest. The forest is part of the city of Atlanta's larger mission to bring healthy food within half a mile of 85% of Atlanta's 500,000 residents by 2022, though as recently as 2014, it was illegal to grow food on residential lots in the city. Resources like the food forest are a rarity and necessity in Atlanta as 1 in 6 Georgians face food insecurity, 1 in 3 Browns Mill residents live below the poverty line, and 1 in 4 Atlantans live in food deserts. The forest is now owned by the parks department and more than 1,000 volunteers and neighbors are helping to plant, water and maintain the forest.
At 70 years of age, Wisdom the Laysan albatross has hatched another chick. Regarded as "oldest known wild bird in history", Wisdom has outlived previous mating partners as well as the biologist Chandler Robbins, who first banded her in 1956. Wisdom hatched the chick on 1 February in the Midway Atoll national wildlife refuge in the North Pacific, where more than a million albatross return to nest each year. Wisdom's long-term mate, Akeakamai, who she has been with since 2010 according to the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), fathered the chick. The USFWS also stated that albatross find their mates through "dance parties". "We believe Wisdom has had other mates," US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Dr Beth Flint said. "Though albatross mate for life, they may find new partners if necessary – for example if they outlive their first mate." USFWS estimated Wisdom has hatched more than 30 chicks over the course of her lifetime. Sean Dooley, national public affairs manager for BirdLife Australia, was excited about the news of Wisdom's latest chick. "Because she only nests every two years, the international bird community looks forward to see if she's been able to come back and nest," Dooley said. "The odds are stacked against them so much, whenever it happens it's always a cause for celebration."
There's a new "village" in Los Angeles – and it's filled with tiny homes. Earlier this month, nonprofit Hope of the Valley Rescue Mission opened its first "Tiny Home Village," to help combat homelessness. The first village ... has 40 tiny homes and 75 beds that Hope of the Valley will be offering to people who are trying to find permanent housing. Each of the tiny homes is 64 square feet and has two beds, heating, air conditioning, windows, a small desk and a front door that locks, according to the website and a video tour of the village led by Hope of the Valley founder and CEO Ken Craft. Residents will also have access to a hygiene trailer, with five showers, five toilets and five sinks and a laundry facility, which has five washers and dryers. Residents will also be given three meals a day and some of the tiny homes are even wheelchair accessible. The village is also pet-friendly and has a dedicated dog run, according to Craft's video tour. Support services such as case management, housing navigation, mental health help, job training and placement will be provided to residents onsite. "This is an incredible community where people will live together, but they all have something in common: they're trying to exit homelessness," Craft said during the tour. "They're trying to overcome the obstacles and barriers that are keeping them unhoused." The Chandler Boulevard village is the first of its kind in the Los Angeles area. However, Hope of the Valley is planning to open another village in April.
North of the border, the .50-caliber sniper rifle is the stuff of YouTube celebrity. It is among the most destructive weapons legally available in the United States. But every week, those rifles are trafficked across the border to Mexico. After years of failed U.S. and Mexican efforts to curb arms trafficking, groups such as the Jalisco New Generation and Sinaloa cartels are showcasing the military-grade weapons in slick propaganda videos and using them to defeat security forces in battle. Roughly 2.5 million illicit American guns have poured across the border in the past decade, according to a new Mexican government study. The cartels are using trafficked weapons to kill record numbers of police officers – 464 in the first nine months of 2020 alone – and smaller armed groups are fueling historically high homicide rates. Mexican officials, in rare public criticism, are now venting their frustration at what they say is the U.S. failure to stop the flow of .50-caliber rifles. At a time when the United States is pushing Mexico to target cartels more aggressively, U.S. laws that make .50-calibers and other destructive weapons easy to buy ... are enabling those groups to expand their influence and activities in the country. A decade after "Operation Fast and Furious," in which U.S. agents allowed thousands of firearms to flow south in a botched attempt to track them, and despite $3 billion in U.S. aid to Mexico to fight narco-traffickers, the two countries have not curbed the flow of weapons.
Note: American officials allowed thousands of illegal guns to be trafficked into Mexico during Operation Fast and Furious. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, typically lives in the streams and ponds of sub-Saharan Africa. In January, researchers at the University of Vermont and Tufts University published a report that gave the amphibian a different lot in life. They harvested its embryonic skin and heart cells and reassembled the living matter into robotic devices – transforming Xenopus into xenobot. Xenobots are the first robots made completely of living materials. They're designed on a supercomputer running software that emulates natural selection: Algorithms determine possible effective tissue configurations for a xenobot to perform a specified task, such as moving through fluids or carrying a payload. The most promising designs are sculpted with tiny forceps and cauterizing irons, then set free in petri dishes, where the specks of amphibian flesh live for about a week before decomposing. There are no electronics involved. Behaviors are programmed entirely through the structural arrangement of the pulsating heart cells held in a matrix of rigid skin cells. Although xenobots can't yet do much more than crawl or swim, the researchers see great potential for them to aid in fields like medicine and environmental remediation. In the future, xenobots could be engineered to deliver drugs through the human body or to gather up microplastics in oceans, politely biodegrading when the job is done.
Note: Is humanity mature enough to be playing with life like this? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.
A nursing home accused of illegally "dumping" patients onto city streets and into ill-equipped homes in order to take in more lucrative COVID-19 patients will nearly double its nursing staff, allow increased oversight and pay $275,000 in penalties and costs to settle a lawsuit brought by the Los Angeles city attorney's office. City Attorney Mike Feuer on Monday announced the legal agreement with the Lakeview Terrace skilled nursing facility, which he had accused of "sustained" and "intentional" misconduct in failing to adequately tend to some patients, while pushing others out of the 99-bed home. The city alleged in its lawsuit that the facility west of downtown had an incentive to discharge long-term residents in order to make room for COVID-19 patients, who brought Lakeview Terrace much higher reimbursement payments from Medicare. In one instance, the lawsuit said, an 88-year-old man with dementia was transferred from the nursing home in the Westlake neighborhood to a boarding house in Van Nuys, only to be found a day later wandering the streets, profoundly confused. Health care experts have warned that the money skilled nursing facilities are paid under a plan by the federal government to care for people stricken by the coronavirus would lead to patient-dumping by unscrupulous operators. The reimbursement plan pays more than four times more for COVID-19 patients than homes can charge for long-term residents with relatively mild conditions.
The Bahamian pleasure palace featured a faux Mayan temple, sculptures of smoke-breathing snakes and a disco with a stripper pole. The owner, Peter Nygard, a Canadian fashion executive, showed off his estate on TV shows ... and threw loud beachfront parties, reveling in the company of teenage girls and young women. Next door, Louis Bacon, an American hedge fund billionaire, presided over an airy retreat. Lawyers and investigators funded in part by Mr. Bacon claim that Mr. Nygard raped teenage girls in the Bahamas. This month, a federal lawsuit was filed by separate lawyers in New York on behalf of 10 women accusing Mr. Nygard of sexual assault. The lawsuit claims that Mr. Nygard used his company, Nygard International, and employees to procure young victims and ply them with alcohol and drugs. He also paid Bahamian police officers to quash reports, shared women with local politicians and groomed victims to recruit "fresh meat," the lawsuit says. Over months of interviews with The New York Times, dozens of women and former employees described how alleged victims were lured to Mr. Nygard's Bahamian home by the prospect of modeling jobs or a taste of luxury. "He preys on poor people's little girls," said Natasha Taylor, who worked there for five years. Mr. Nygard ... had employees sign confidentiality agreements and sued those he suspected of talking. Multiple women said he had handed them cash after sex, helping to buy silence.
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.
Ghislaine Maxwell reportedly asked a "room of underage girls" to dance for Jeffrey Epstein. Ms Maxwell, 58, was charged last summer with six counts of recruiting and grooming girls and young women to be sexually abused by both her and Epstein, her former business partner and boyfriend. On Wednesday, 112 legal documents totaling thousands of pages were made public in the US. The documents included redacted witness testimony accusing Ms Maxwell of preying on underage girls and forcing them to perform sexual favours for Epstein's gratification. "Maxwell direct a room full of underage girls to kiss, dance, and touch one another in a sexual way for defendant and Epstein to watch," the statement said. A separate witness claimed that Ms Maxwell recruited her from a school campus to have sex with Epstein, by initially informing her that she would be hired as a personal assistant. While another released document alleges that "ample evidence in this case establishes that not only did Defendant [Maxwell] recruit underage girls for massage and sexual activities with Epstein, but that she participated in calling the girls; getting other people to bring girls; talking to the girls; taking massages from and leaving messages about the girls; and scheduling the girls to come over".
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the Jeffrey Epstein scandal from reliable major media sources.
Carlos is a Mexican businessman. Two associates accompanied him as he travelled [to] India. There, [he] met Manu Gupta, a businessman active in a variety of sectors. On 25 September 2018 he was arrested in the city of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, along with a Mexican associate and an Indian chemist. The three men were wearing masks and gloves – and were in possession of more than 10kg of fentanyl – an ultra-potent synthetic opioid. The case sheds light on the international networks which Mexican cartels have built up – and the business methods they employ to dominate the lucrative fentanyl market. Fentanyl increasingly displaced heroin on the underground market, causing record numbers of overdoses around the world. In 2018, fentanyl and similar synthetic drugs accounted for nearly half of the 67,367 drug overdose deaths in the US. This year, overdoses have rocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 40 US states reporting an increase in drug mortality rates – particularly from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. In theory, sales of precursors are highly regulated. In reality, the extent of the problem is revealed with a simple Google search. Entering keywords for fentanyl precursors quickly leads you to the social network Pinterest, where – nestled between wedding moodboards and home decor inspiration – are posts from Chinese companies offering fentanyl precursors for export – many directed towards Mexico.
Note: Pharmaceutical executives have been caught bribing doctors to prescribe fentanyl-containing painkillers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Justice Department has been building a national database to track in real time the movement of vehicles around the U.S., a secret domestic intelligence-gathering program that scans and stores hundreds of millions of records about motorists. The primary goal of the license-plate tracking program, run by the Drug Enforcement Administration, is to seize cars, cash and other assets to combat drug trafficking, according to one government document. But the database's use has expanded to hunt for vehicles associated with numerous other potential crimes, from kidnappings to killings to rape suspects. Officials have publicly said that they track vehicles near the border with Mexico to help fight drug cartels. What hasn't been previously disclosed is that the DEA has spent years working to expand the database "throughout the United States,'' according to one email reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Many state and local law-enforcement agencies are accessing the database for a variety of investigations ... putting a wealth of information in the hands of local officials who can track vehicles in real time on major roadways. The database raises new questions about privacy and the scope of government surveillance. The existence of the program and its expansion were described in interviews with current and former government officials, and in documents obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union through a Freedom of Information Act request. It is unclear if any court oversees or approves the intelligence-gathering.
From 2008 to 2010, as Edward Snowden has revealed, the National Security Agency (NSA) collaborated with the British Government Communications Headquarters to intercept the webcam footage of over 1.8 million Yahoo users. The agencies were analyzing images they downloaded from webcams and scanning them for known terrorists who might be using the service to communicate, matching faces from the footage to suspects with the help of a new technology called face recognition. In attempting to find faces, the Pentagon's Optic Nerve program recorded webcam sex by its unknowing targets–up to 11 percent of the material the program collected was "undesirable nudity" that employees were warned not to access. And that's just the beginning of what face recognition technology might mean for us in the digital era. The U.S. government is in the process of building the world's largest cache of face recognition data, with the goal of identifying every person in the country. The creation of such a database would mean that anyone could be tracked wherever his or her face appears, whether it's on a city street or in a mall. Today's laws don't protect Americans from having their webcams scanned for facial data. "If cameras connected to databases can do face recognition, it will become impossible to be anonymous in society," [attorney Jennifer] Lynch says. That means every person in the U.S. would be passively tracked at all times.
For Eric Nshimiyimanain, who owns two small electronic repair shops in Kigali, Rwanda, the startup chime of an old Windows laptop is the sound of a business opportunity. He refurbishes broken PCs, laptops, phones and secondhand gadgets classified as electronic waste, or "e-waste" that would otherwise end up as trash in Nduba, Rwanda's only open-air dump. "Sometimes we even use computer screens as TVs," Nshimiyimanain says. Converting those screens to televisions then becomes a cheaper option, he adds, for "citizens who have low incomes and cannot afford buying a brand-new TV." According to the UN-affiliated Global E-Waste Monitor report, nearly 54 million metric tons of e-waste was generated around the world in 2019. It includes everything from phones and computer monitors to larger appliances like refrigerators. Rwanda is one of only 13 countries in Africa that have passed national legislation regarding e-waste regulation, according to the report. And it has led to the first official recycling and refurbishing facility in the country. Operational since early last year, this public-private partnership between the government and Dubai-based Enviroserve became a source of pride for Rwanda. The state-of-the-art plant near Kigali can process up to 10,000 metric tons of e-waste per year. Enviroserve has already repaired and refurbished more than 5,000 computers, which were sold to public schools. To date, it has processed more than 4,000 tons of e-waste and created more than 600 jobs.
Nzambi Matee hurls a brick hard against a school footpath constructed from bricks made of recycled plastic that her factory turns out in the Kenyan capital. It makes a loud bang, but does not crack. "Our product is almost five to seven times stronger than concrete," said Matee, the founder of Nairobi-based Gjenge Makers, which transforms plastic waste into durable building materials. "There is that waste they cannot process anymore; they cannot recycle. That is what we get," Matee said, strolling past sacks of plastic waste. Matee gets the waste from packaging factories for free, although she pays for the plastic she gets from other recyclers. Her factory produces 1,500 bricks each day, made from a mix of different kinds of plastic. These are high density polyethylene, used in milk and shampoo bottles; low density polyethylene, often used for bags for cereals or sandwiches; and polypropylene, used for ropes, flip-top lids and buckets. The plastic waste is mixed with sand, heated and then compressed into bricks, which are sold at varying prices, depending on thickness and colour. Their common grey bricks cost 850 Kenyan shillings ($7.70) per square metre, for example. Matee, a materials engineer who designed her own machines, said her factory has recycled 20 tonnes of waste plastic since ... 2017. Matee set up her factory after she ran out of patience waiting for the government to solve the problem of plastic pollution. "I was tired of being on the sidelines," she said.
Jennifer Drouin, 30, headed out to buy groceries in central Amsterdam. Once inside, she noticed new price tags. The label by the zucchini said they cost a little more than normal: 6˘ extra per kilo for their carbon footprint, 5˘ for the toll the farming takes on the land, and 4˘ to fairly pay workers. The so-called true-price initiative, operating in the store since late 2020, is one of dozens of schemes that Amsterdammers have introduced in recent months as they reassess the impact of the existing economic system. In April 2020, during the first wave of COVID-19, Amsterdam's city government announced it would recover from the crisis, and avoid future ones, by embracing the theory of "doughnut economics." The theory argues that 20th century economic thinking is not equipped to deal with the 21st century reality of a planet teetering on the edge of climate breakdown. Instead of equating a growing GDP with a successful society, our goal should be to fit all of human life into what Raworth calls the "sweet spot" between the "social foundation," where everyone has what they need to live a good life, and the "environmental ceiling." By and large, people in rich countries are living above the environmental ceiling. Those in poorer countries often fall below the social foundation. The space in between: that's the doughnut. Amsterdam's ambition is to bring all 872,000 residents inside the doughnut, ensuring everyone has access to a good quality of life, but without putting more pressure on the planet than is sustainable.
Sperm counts have been dropping; infant boys are developing more genital abnormalities; more girls are experiencing early puberty; and adult women appear to be suffering declining egg quality and more miscarriages. It's not just humans. Scientists report genital anomalies in a range of species, including unusually small penises in alligators, otters and minks. In some areas, significant numbers of fish, frogs and turtles have exhibited both male and female organs. Experts say the problem is a class of chemicals called endocrine disruptors, which mimic the body's hormones and thus fool our cells. This is a particular problem for fetuses as they sexually differentiate early in pregnancy. Endocrine disruptors can wreak reproductive havoc. These endocrine disruptors are everywhere: plastics, shampoos, cosmetics, cushions, pesticides, canned foods and A.T.M. receipts. They often aren't on labels and can be difficult to avoid. Chemical companies ... lobby against even safety testing of endocrine disruptors, so that we have little idea if products we use each day are damaging our bodies or our children. Still, the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society, the President's Cancer Panel and the World Health Organization have all warned about endocrine disruptors, and Europe and Canada have moved to regulate them. But in the United States, Congress and the Trump administration seemed to listen more to industry lobbyists than to independent scientists.
Ghislaine Maxwell reportedly told a journalist that Jeffrey Epstein recorded tapes of former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, who were former acquaintances of the disgraced sex offender. Ms Maxwell, who awaits trial on charges she assisted Epstein's crimes in the 1990s, reportedly told a CBS "60 minutes" producer that she would not release tapes of Mr Trump without those of Mr Clinton before the 2016 presidential election. The apparent revelations were made by Ira Rosen, an ex-producer for the CBS show, who released a memoir called "Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes," which reveals details about his time on the award-winning programme. As reported by The Telegraph, Mr Rosen wrote that he was acting on a "hunch" that secret recordings of Epstein's former acquaintances existed – although the theory was never confirmed, and no tapes have been forthcoming. Mr Rosen allegedly told Ms Maxwell: "I want the tapes. I know he [Epstein] was videotaping everyone." Ms Maxwell was said to have ... "pointed a finger" at Mr Rosen, who theorized that Epstein secretly recorded those who visited his properties in Florida and New York in the 1990s, which included the former presidents. Ms Maxwell reportedly told Mr Rosen: "I am the daughter of a press baron. I know the way you people think. If you do one side, you must do the other. If you get the tapes on Trump you have to do Clinton'." Mr Trump previously remarked that he met Ms Maxwell "numerous times" ... while Mr Clinton has previously said his friendship with Epstein ended before [he] was convicted.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein's child sex ring from reliable major media sources.
Dr. Monica Gandhi is not your typical epidemiologist in the era of COVID-19. While the vast majority of experts in her field call for the most stringent business closures and other mitigation measures, Gandhi – a professor of medicine at UCSF – has called for a "harm reduction" approach that also considers other risks beyond COVID-19 infection when making public policy. That view has not been a popular one among policymakers and experts in her city and state. But Gandhi is confident that one day, she'll be vindicated. "I have been surprised by the party lines that were drawn in terms of how to respond to pandemic, as opposed to having everyone take in new data as it comes, incorporate the data and then make decisions that can change over time," [said Gandhi]. "It seems that we decided early on that there's only one way to respond, and any dissent from standard messaging was met with dismay and criticism. For example, in terms of the winter lockdown in California, I was dismayed by the degree of profound shutdowns for outdoor playgrounds, outdoor dining and also this idea that no one from two households could see each other." And when I spoke out about that, I took a lot of criticism. My impulse in speaking out came out of a concern for the economic situations of the working class and the impacts on health that come from economic insecurity. And those questions of, "How are they going to feed their families?" were met by scientific community with, "We'll deal with that later."
In a year that witnessed a crackdown on civil liberties in Hong Kong, China has detained more journalists in 2020 than any other country, extending a role it assumed last year, two leading media rights groups say in studies published this week. The reports, published on Tuesday by the Committee to Protect Journalists and on Monday by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), found Asia and the Middle East to be the most challenging regions of the world for journalists to operate freely. According to RSF ... the top five countries for imprisoning journalists in 2020 were China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Vietnam and Syria, which collectively accounted for 61% of the 387 journalists they had documented behind bars as of Dec. 1. RSF said at least 117 journalists were detained in China this year. Meanwhile, CPJ reported a record number of detained journalists – 274, according to its report, adding that China, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia imprisoned journalists at the highest rates. Officials from both organizations said the coronavirus pandemic even provided cover for some governments to more openly target the press in retaliation for critical COVID-19 coverage. "Fourteen journalists were arrested in connection with coverage of the pandemic," RSF Editor-in-Chief Pauline Ades-Mevel says, in response to what their governments called unfair or imprecise coverage. We've seen a backlash around the world against journalists reporting on the pandemic itself as well as government responses to the pandemic.
Note: Explore more on this and on censorship around questioning the official story of COVID-19. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and media manipulation from reliable sources.
The Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) efforts to infiltrate governments around the world have been at turns remarkable and remarkably calculated. While readers might expect that China's ambitions have been met with resistance from Western countries, the CCP's rise in Europe has been welcomed, if not enabled, by respected European leaders, authors Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg argue in a new book, Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World. "Long seen by the CCP as the irrelevant junior partner of the United States, Europe is now viewed as the great prize. By winning over Europe, the CCP hopes to convince the world that China is the 'champion of multilateralism' and a much-needed counterweight to U.S. hegemony and unilateralism," Hamilton and Ohlberg write. The CPP is effectively manipulating global players like the EU to advance its larger geopolitical goals. The CCP provides financing to the EU-China Friendship Group, which counts 45 members of the European Parliament (seven political parties) as members. In the same way that no entity can use the term Royal in the United Kingdom without the crown's permission, the words "People" or "Friendship" are regulated by the CCP and require party approval for use in an organization's name. Universal human rights, democratic practice and the rule of law have powerful enemies, and China under the CCP is arguably the most formidable.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
It's not often that a place like Harvard Medical School gets an F – particularly when rivals Stanford, Columbia and the University of Pennsylvania are pulling A's and B's. But that's what happened recently when the members of the increasingly influential – and increasingly noisy – American Medical Student Association (AMSA) decided to grade 150 med schools on just how much money and gifts they're collecting from drug companies. The more goodies a school is vacuuming up from the industry, the worse its grade. It turns out that many professors and instructors are, legally, on the dole as well, and students are beginning to worry that what they're being taught is just as one-sided as what patients are being prescribed. Harvard, at the moment, is at the center of it. Of Harvard's 8,900 professors and lecturers, 1,600 admit that either they or a family member have had some kind of business link to drug companies – sometimes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – that could bias their teaching or research. Additionally, pharma contributed more than $11.5 million to the school last year for research and continuing-education classes. And while Harvard might be the highest-profile name that was posted on AMSA's grade list, it was hardly the only one that flunked: 40 out of the 150 schools surveyed received F's; only 22 got an A or B. Harvard has convened a 19-member committee ... to review its pharma policy, though the university is hedging on whether it actually plans to change the way it operates.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
"My daughter, who had been completely normal until getting nine vaccinations in one day, was suddenly no longer there," said Terry Poling, mother of 9-year-old Hannah. Hannah Poling appeared to be like many children. At 19 months, her pediatrician noted she was "alert and active" and "spoke well." At that same visit, she got five shots - nine doses of vaccines. She almost immediately developed fever, seizures and severe health problems. Eight years later, the government has quietly conceded that vaccines aggravated a cell disorder nobody knew Hannah had, leaving her with permanent brain damage and autistic-like symptoms. Rep. Dave Weldon, R-Fla., is also a doctor. Weldon has long been pushing the government to aggressively work to develop ways to screen for children who might be the most susceptible to ill effects from vaccines. The government has been telling the public for more than a decade that there's absolutely no reason to be concerned about any link. "I wouldn't recommend they say something like that in light of the Poling case and the admission on the part of the government," Weldon said. A CBS News investigation uncovered at least nine other cases as far back as 1990, where records show the court ordered the government compensated families whose children developed autism or autistic-like symptoms in children including toddlers who had been called "very smart" and "impressed" doctors with their "intelligence and curiosity" ... until their vaccinations.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
A group of people who believe in UFOs held a press conference this morning that established beyond the shadow of a doubt - that reached levels of credibility so high as to constitute actual proof - that there really do exist people who believe in UFOs. This was the big day for the Disclosure Project, an attempt to incite the government to admit that UFOs are piloted by creatures from another world. The organizer, a Virginia emergency room physician and UFOlogist named Steven Greer, announced that this was a moment of historic, indeed planetary, significance: "This is the end of the childhood of the human race. It is time for us to become mature adults among the cosmic civilizations that are out there." He had arranged an impressive venue, the main ballroom of the National Press Club. Upwards of a hundred people filled the room, and a phalanx of more than a dozen TV cameras documented the proceedings. At the front of the room, in a line, sat the 20 witnesses, most of them gray-haired men who had retired years ago from the military. At one point a witness flashed two black-and-white photos of a saucer-shaped craft. The tales were set, for the most part, in the Forties, Fifties and Sixties; there was no talk of alien abductions, or ... any of the extremely intimate Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind that have dominated the UFO mythology in recent years. Greer says he has conducted interviews with 400 people with intimate knowledge of the cover-up of the alien phenomenon. Many are afraid to come forward.
Note: The best UFO documentary available with great UFO video footage is the astounding Sci-Fi Channel UFO documentary Out of the Blue, available for free viewing on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
The idea came to Cai Yinzhou in 2013 after he played a game of badminton with a group of foreign workers at a back alley behind his house. One of them told Cai that he had not gone for a haircut in six months as he could not afford it. His father had an accident and he had to send money home to pay for medical bills. The worker's moving account inspired Cai to give free haircuts to those who could not afford them. A year later, Cai and two other volunteers started running Backalley Barbers out of a small alley behind Yong He Eating House in Geylang. The initiative was cut out for success – it has grown to a roster of 25 barbers, in their twenties to fifties, including students, a housewife, a musician, and a property agent. To date, Cai, now 29, along with his roving team, has given close to 1,700 free haircuts over 97 sessions, not just in the back alley in Geylang but also in nursing homes and migrant worker shelters. For their efforts, Backalley Barbers under Geylang Adventures was one of 14 ground-up movements and individuals to be inducted into the Singapore Kindness Movement's Kindred Spirit Circle in May last year. And 2019 will mark another major milestone for the initiative. A "convertible" barbershop-office, to open in March, will give the team a permanent space to provide free haircuts daily. "We also hope to train people from different backgrounds, including ex-convicts, those with disabilities or at-risk youthsâ€¦to be barbers to volunteer with us as well as to work full-time as a barber," said Cai.
A train driver in the Netherlands has had a lucky escape thanks to a fortuitously placed art installation. A metro train in Spijkenisse, near the city of Rotterdam, crashed through a barrier at the end of the tracks shortly before midnight on Sunday. But rather than plummeting 10m (32ft) into the water below, the train was left suspended dramatically in the air. It ended up being delicately balanced on the large sculpture of a whale's tail at the De Akkers metro station. "We are trying to decide how we can bring the train down in a careful and controlled manner," one official [said]. The driver, who has not been named, was able to leave the empty train by himself. He was taken to hospital for a check-up and is not believed to have suffered any injuries. The sculpture, titled Whale Tails, is the work of the architect and artist Maarten Struijs, and was erected in the water at the end of the tracks in 2002. Mr Struijs told NOS that he was surprised the structure did not break. "It has been there for almost 20 years and... you actually expect the plastic to pulverise a bit, but that is apparently not the case," he said. "I'll make sure that I get a few photos," he added. "I could never have imagined it that way."
Note: Don't miss the photos of this amazing miracle. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Kamal Singh did not even know what ballet was when he turned up nervously at the Imperial Fernando Ballet School, in Delhi, during the summer of 2016. But the 17-year-old, known as Noddy, whose father was a rickshaw driver in the west of the city, had been transfixed by ballet dancers in a Bollywood film, and wanted to try it for himself. Four years on Singh is now one of the first Indian students to be admitted to the English National Ballet school. He started this week. The school fees and London living expenses totalling about Ł20,000 were far beyond the reach of Singh's family, but a crowdfunding campaign, backed by some of Bollywood's biggest names, managed to raise all the funds needed in less than two weeks. "I cannot explain how it feels, it is all my dreams come true" said Singh, 21. "It's amazing, I'm enjoying every day. My family do not know much about ballet but they are very happy and very proud that I am at the English National Ballet. I am the first in my family to come to London." Viviana Durante, artistic director of the English National Ballet School, said the year-long programme would provide Singh with "intense training in classical and contemporary techniques", and he would be taught how to adapt to a dance world drastically altered by Covid-19. "Talk about passion, optimism and education. That's what you need in these times and the students have it, including Kamal," she said. He is one of only ten male dancers and ten female dancers who were selected this year.
The pandemic has punished people of all ages. But the emotional fallout for teenagers has been uniquely brutal. At just the age when they are biologically predisposed to seek independence from their families, teens have been trapped at home. Friends – who take on paramount importance during adolescence – are largely out of reach, accessible mostly by social media, which brings its own mix of satisfying and toxic elements. A June survey by the Centers for Disease Control found that a staggering 26 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds reported having serious suicidal thoughts in the past 30 days, compared with 16 percent of 25- to 44-year-olds and less than 4 percent of people ages 45 and older. And mental health visits to emergency rooms by 12- to 17-year-olds increased 31 percent in 2020 compared with the previous year. Other research shows teens have been getting more sleep and feeling less taxed by their formerly frenetic schedules. But the academic pressure cooker hasn't disappeared; it's moved online, where students are forced to manage much of their own time and learning, with less access to teacher assistance. Milestone moments like graduation and homecoming have been erased. "So much of their social lives and social development revolves around being at school, interacting with people," says Michelle Carlson, executive director of Teen Line, a Los Angeles based non-profit. "So they're having a hard time."
The reminders of pandemic-driven suffering among students in Clark County, Nev., have come in droves. Since schools shut their doors in March, an early-warning system that monitors students' mental health episodes has sent more than 3,100 alerts to district officials, raising alarms about suicidal thoughts, possible self-harm or cries for care. By December, 18 students had taken their own lives. The spate of student suicides in and around Las Vegas has pushed the Clark County district, the nation's fifth largest, toward bringing students back as quickly as possible. This month, the school board gave the green light to phase in the return of some elementary school grades and groups of struggling students. Over the summer ... Dr. Robert R. Redfield, then the C.D.C. director, warned that a rise in adolescent suicides would be one of the "substantial public health negative consequences" of school closings. Mental health advocacy groups warned that the student demographics at the most risk for mental health declines before the pandemic – such as Black children and L.G.B.T.Q. students – were among those most marginalized by the school closures. But given the politically charged atmosphere this summer, many of those warnings were dismissed as scare tactics. Parents of students who have taken their lives say connecting suicide to school closings became almost taboo.
Comparing the severity of various lockdown measures across Europe is complicated, with many factors at play. However, it is safe to say they have varied greatly. In France, citizens had to print out certificates before stepping foot outside, whereas in Sweden, everyday life appears to have carried on relatively unchanged. When we look at the number of Covid deaths per capita in these countries ... France and Sweden are almost neck-and-neck [see graph]. And Spain's draconian measures didn't save it from recording far more fatalities than Austria, where the lockdown was comparatively relaxed. The health effects of these lockdowns will most likely exceed the death rate of a virus. In Spain, the economic consequences of the 2008 banking crisis contributed to the 40,000 deaths in excess of the five years prior. Covid-19 has already led that country into an economic state worse than that of their collapse in the mid-17th century. 50 percent of all Covid deaths across Europe have been within care homes. The budget for those in the UK is Ł16 billion. Meanwhile, the hospitality industry, which has been effectively shut down, is the fourth biggest employer in the UK ... as well as generating over Ł73bn of Gross Value Added directly to the UK economy, and a further Ł87bn indirectly. So perhaps, say, tripling the budget for care homes to make them Covid-secure would have been a better way of spending some of the eye-watering Ł400 billion ... since last April to facilitate lockdowns.
A congressional report found many of the products made by the country's largest commercial baby food manufacturers contain significant levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium and mercury, which can endanger infant neurological development. The report ... from the House Oversight Committee's subcommittee on economic and consumer policy found heavy metals in rice cereals, sweet potato puree, juices and sweet snack puffs made by some of the most trusted names in baby food. Gerber, Beech-Nut, HappyBABY (made by Nurture) and Earth's Best Organic baby foods (made by Hain Celestial Group) complied with the committee's request to submit internal testing documents. Campbell Soup, which sells Plum Organics baby foods, Walmart (its private brand is Parent's Choice) and Sprout Foods declined to cooperate. Although there are no maximum arsenic levels established for baby food ... the FDA has set the maximum allowable levels in bottled water at 10 ppb of inorganic arsenic. Hain ... used many ingredients in its baby foods with as much as 309 ppb of arsenic. Lead levels in baby foods should not exceed 1 ppb. Beech-Nut used ingredients containing as much as 886.9 parts per billion of lead. In addition, Gerber used carrots containing as much as 87 ppb of cadmium and Nurture sold baby foods with as much as 10 ppb of mercury. And even when baby foods tested over companies' internal limits for these heavy metals, they were sold anyway.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Detective Michael Pezzelle spent his last seven years on a suburban police force here amassing a body count. He was involved in shootings that wounded two people and killed five. Pezzelle faced no public consequences. He retired in 2018. Today, he trains police officers around the country to follow the kind of advice he shared on Instagram: "Be polite, be professional, have a plan to kill everyone you meet." During most of the years in question, [Pezzelle] was assigned to task forces run by the U.S. Marshals Service, an arm of the federal Justice Department. In recent years ... marshals have been acting like local police – only with more violence and less accountability, according to an investigation by The Marshall Project and the USA Today Network. In cities and towns across the country, the Marshals Service has set up task forces largely staffed by local law enforcement officers who get deputized as federal agents. About two-thirds of the agency's arrests since 2014 were of people wanted on local warrants, not federal ones. On average, from 2015 to late 2020, marshals shot 31 people a year, killing 22 of them. By comparison, Houston police reported shooting an average of 19 people a year, killing eight. Philadelphia officers shot an average of nine people a year, killing three. Both departments employ roughly 6,000 officers, about the same number who serve in the Marshals Service and on its task forces. No marshal has ever been prosecuted after a shooting.
The possibility of a super soldier is not so outlandish and one that not just China is interested in. Enhancement is nothing new - since ancient times, troops have been bolstered by advancements in weaponry, kit and training. But today, enhancement could mean much more than merely giving an individual soldier a better gun. It could mean altering the individual soldier. In 2017, Russia's President Vladimir Putin warned that humanity could soon create something "worse than a nuclear bomb". "One may imagine that a man can create a man with some given characteristics, not only theoretically but also practically. He can be a genius mathematician, a brilliant musician or a soldier, a man who can fight without fear, compassion, regret or pain." Last year, the former US Director of National Intelligence (DNI), John Ratcliffe, went further with a blunt accusation against China. "China has even conducted human testing on members of the People's Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities. There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing's pursuit of power," he wrote. Prof [Patrick] Lin said "a key challenge is that nearly all of this is dual-use research. For instance, exoskeleton research was first aimed at helping or curing people of medical conditions, such as to help paralysed patients walk again. But this therapeutic use can be easily weaponised. It's not obvious how to regulate it, without overly broad regulation that also frustrates therapeutic research."
Note: A New York Post article titled "France, China developing biologically engineered supersoldiers" describes how "France has joined the fray in creating terminator troops that can be 'bred to kill." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
In 2019, an Army laboratory at Fort Detrick that studies deadly infectious material like Ebola and smallpox was shut down for a period of time after a CDC inspection, with many projects being temporarily halted. ABC7 has received documents from the CDC outlining violations they discovered during a series of inspections that year, some of which were labeled "serious." Earlier that year, the US Army Medical Research Institute had announced an experiment at the Fort Detrick laboratory that would involve infecting rhesus macaque monkeys with active Ebola virus to test a cure they were developing. Several of the laboratory violations the CDC noted in 2019 concerned "non-human primates" infected with a "select agent", the identity of which is unknown – it was redacted in all received documents, because disclosing the identity and location of the agent would endanger public health or safety, the agency says. In addition to Ebola, the lab works with other deadly agents like anthrax and smallpox. Select agents are defined by the CDC as "biological agents and toxins that have been determined to have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety, to animal and plant health, or to animal or plant products." The CDC notes that the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases had "systematically failed to ensure implementation of biosafety and containment procedures commensurate with the risks associated with working with select agents and toxins."
Harvey Pass, the chief of thoracic surgery at the National Cancer Institute, in Bethesda, Maryland, was sitting in his laboratory one spring afternoon in 1993 when Michele Carbone ... strode in with an unusual request. Carbone was asking Pass for his help in proving a controversial theory he had developed about the origins of mesothelioma, a deadly cancer. Mesothelioma was virtually unheard of prior to 1950. Pass, one of the world's leading mesothelioma surgeons, knew, like other scientists, that the disease was caused by asbestos exposure. But Carbone ... told Pass that he wondered if the cancer might also be caused by a virus - a monkey virus, known as simian virus 40, or SV40, that had widely contaminated early doses of the polio vaccine, but that had long been presumed to be harmless. In 1961 federal health officials ordered vaccine manufacturers to screen for the virus and eliminate it from the vaccine. Worried about creating a panic, they kept the discovery of SV40 under wraps and never recalled existing stocks. For two more years millions of additional people were needlessly exposed - bringing the total to 98 million Americans from 1955 to 1963. Since 1994 Carbone has written more than twenty studies and reviews investigating SV40's link to human cancer. "There is no doubt that SV40 is a human carcinogen," he says. Carbone suggests that the virus works in tandem with asbestos or by itself to transform healthy mesothelial cells into cancerous ones.
Linda Herring always wanted a big family. But she never imagined that she would foster more than 600 children and turn her home into a safe haven where every child was given shelter, food, clothing, and most importantly, endless amounts of love. Now 75 years old, Herring has been fostering children for nearly five decades in Johnson County, Iowa. "My best friend was doing foster care for teenage girls and I thought, 'Well, that would be nice to do the same,' but I wanted little kids," Herring told CNN. "So, I talked to the Department of Human Services and agreed to take kids with medical needs." Herring is not just a foster mom. For her eight children, three of which were foster children she and Bob adopted, she was just "Mom." One of those children is 39-year-old Anthony Herring. He was 6 months old when he was placed in the Herring household. When he was 3 years old, the Herring family officially adopted him. "I appreciate being adopted even more today as a parent then I did when I was a child," Anthony Herring told CNN. "I'm forever grateful for the life I was given. She and Dad have both taught me that family isn't determined by blood, it's who you have in your life to love." He said that his mom taught him how to appreciate and understand children with special needs. When it comes to Herring's inspiration to foster children, she had one explanation: love. "I would just love (my foster kids) just like they were my own, probably more than I should," Herring said.
Growing rapidly within the socially responsible investing landscape is the world of so-called impact investing, which deploys your money more directly toward solving societal problems. Largely executed through direct investing platforms, this approach addresses specific problems, such as alleviating poverty in certain communities or reducing pollution. These investments are designed to generate specific, positive and measurable environmental, social and/or good governance outcomes, oftentimes with market-rate financial returns, said Michael Kramer, managing partner of Natural Investments in Kona, Hawaii. Furthermore, outcomes can have a local or a societal focus. "It's very solution focused, very proactive – often investing in innovations, and supporting social entrepreneurs and socially focused start-ups," he said. Retail investors do have some opportunities to participate in impact investing, along with their accredited counterparts. Two of the most accessible, according to Kramer, are direct debt – i.e., investing in certificates of deposit and other loan instruments sponsored by socially focused lending institutions, such as community development financial institutions (privately owned banks that invest in struggling communities) – and peer-to-peer micro-lending platforms such as Kiva, which enable individuals to invest directly in small businesses worldwide. Another option for the retail market is to use Calvert Impact Capital's Community Investment Notes instead of traditional CDs.
The hole in the Earth's ozone layer is expected to fully heal within 50 years, climate change experts predict in a new UN report. A fragile shield of gas around the planet, the ozone layer protects animal and plant life from the powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. When the ozone layer is weakened, more UV rays can get through, making humans more prone to skin cancer, cataracts and other diseases. Scientists discovered huge damage to the layer in the 1980s and identified chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, as the main culprit. CFCs used to be common in refrigerators, aerosol cans and dry-cleaning chemicals, but they were banned globally under the Montreal Protocol of 1987. The decline in CFCs in our atmosphere as a result of those measures now mean the ozone layer is expected to have fully recovered sometime in the 2060s, according to the report by the UN Environment Programme, World Meteorological Organization, European Commission and other bodies. In parts of the stratosphere, where most of the ozone is found, the layer has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000, the authors state. At the recovery rates projected by the UN report, the northern hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s, followed by the southern hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060. Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, described the Montreal Protocol as "one of the most successful multilateral agreements in history."
In the first week of January, scientists representing the World Health Organization (WHO) were due to arrive in China to trace the origins of Covid-19. Beijing denied entry to the investigators. China ... relented and allowed the group to enter the country this week. The brief standoff highlights a more serious problem: the inadequacy of WHO's current investigative framework for exploring all plausible origins of Covid-19. The world needs an inquiry that considers not just natural origins but the possibility that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, escaped from a laboratory. The WHO team, however, plans to build on reports by Chinese scientists rather than mount an independent investigation. Responding to whether the WHO team will investigate lab origins, Dr. Peter Ben Embarek, the leader of the team, told us, "If our studies point to a possible lab accident, then other international mechanisms would be involved to document such an event. It would take time and additional types of expertise." Then-deputy U.S. national security adviser Matthew Pottinger told international leaders late last year that the latest intelligence points to SARS-CoV-2 having originated from the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). This intelligence has not been made public. China has denied that the virus came from a lab.
U.S. intelligence reports ... suggest the Chinese People's Liberation Army was conducting secret animal research with highly contagious viruses at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, without notifying the World Health Organization even after the pandemic began. [This raises] new questions about the possible laboratory origins of COVID-19 that must be addressed. If sloppy biolab security or reckless military experimentation followed by a coverup were the proximate cause, we need to prioritize developing rules and safeguards to make a global pandemic less likely to happen again. If the origins are revealed to be more innocent - a virus jumping naturally from mammals to humans - we will need to prioritize monitoring and containing future zoonotic outbreaks. But while evidence of a zoonotic jump in the wild, or at a market, or farm has been starkly absent, the case that COVID-19 might have reached humans through an accidental leak from the Wuhan Institute of Virology seems like an ever-greater possibility. We know that many viruses at the Institute were manipulated using "gain of function" research to develop hybrid viruses to test their ability to infect human lung cells and humanized mice. Is it just coincidental that SARS-CoV-2 appears to have emerged in late 2019 already adapted for transmission to humans and that the COVID-19 outbreak occurred ... in the only Chinese city with a high-level virology institute that was experimenting with novel and diverse bat coronaviruses?
Thanks to The Black Vault, an online archive of declassified government documents, you can now dig through a massive trove of information the CIA has collected on UFOs over the years. The Black Vault's John Greenewald Jr. posted the contents of a CD full of 2,780 pages of documents last week, the result of Greenewald's many Freedom of Information Act requests. The CIA has occasionally declassified UFO-related documents over the years and even made a reading collection available online covering information from the 1940s through the early 1990s. Last year, the US Navy declassified documents and video connected to a 2004 UFO encounter. It seems public interest in UFOs hasn't waned. Greenewald tweeted on Wednesday that over 622,000 people generated more than 30.7 million hits on his servers and downloaded nearly 26 terabytes of data over the course of just 24 hours. This could be a fun year for UFO enthusiasts. The COVID-19 relief bill signed by President Trump in late December 2020 included a requirement for the director of national intelligence to submit a report on "unidentified aerial phenomena" within 180 days to the congressional intelligence and armed services committees. The request is for an unclassified report, but it may include a classified supplement. The search for definitive answers isn't over. "Although the CIA claims this is their 'entire' collection, there may be no way to entirely verify that," Greenewald wrote. "Research by The Black Vault will continue."
Note: In response to a FOIA request, the Pentagon has acknowledged that is has UFO debris. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
Government figures show the proportion of children who arrived in emergency departments with mental health issues increased 24% from mid-March through mid-October, compared with the same period in 2019. Among preteens and adolescents, it rose by 31%. Anecdotally, some hospitals said they are seeing more cases of severe depression and suicidal thoughts among children, particularly attempts to overdose. The increased demand for intensive mental health care that has accompanied the pandemic has worsened issues that have long plagued the system. In some hospitals, the number of children unable to immediately get a bed in the psychiatric unit rose. Others reduced the number of beds or closed psychiatric units altogether to reduce the spread of COVID-19. "It's only a matter of time before a tsunami sort of reaches the shore of our service system, and it's going to be overwhelmed," said Jason Williams ... at Children's Hospital Colorado. Children's hospitals in New York, Colorado and Missouri all reported an uptick in the number of patients who thought about or attempted suicide. Clinicians also mentioned spikes in children with severe depression and those with autism who are acting out.
Back in November, Ajeet Jain felt like he was living a nightmare. The large public hospital where he works in India's capital was full of covid-19 patients, hundreds of them so ill they required intensive care. Three months later, the situation is unrecognizable. The number of coronavirus patients at the hospital can be counted on one hand. Out of 200 ventilators, only two are in use. Hospitals treating covid-19 patients around the country report similar experiences. "It's a big, big relief," Jain said. The apparent retreat of the coronavirus in India, the world's second-most populous nation, is a mystery that is crucial to the future course of the pandemic. Epidemiologists in India say that there is only one likely explanation for the decrease in new cases: The virus is finding it harder to spread because a significant proportion of the population, at least in cities, already has been infected. The results of a nationwide antibody survey ... indicated that more than 1 in 5 Indians – about 270 million people – had been exposed to the virus as of early January. In major cities, infection rates are even higher. A recent study of 28,000 people in India's capital found 56 percent had coronavirus antibodies. By comparison, a study published last month estimated that more than 14 percent of the population in the United States had coronavirus antibodies as of mid-November. India has recorded 155,000 deaths, or about 112 per 1 million of population, compared with 1,362 per million in the United States.
Note: Could it be that India's usage of Hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin are also playing a role? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
On Jan 13, Dr Yvonne Doyle, the medical director at Public Health England (PHE) issued an alarming statement claiming that Britain had reported the highest number of coronavirus deaths on a single day since the pandemic began. She also alleged that there have now been more deaths in the second wave than the first. Dig a little deeper and the narrative that the second wave is more deadly than the first begins to unravel. According to the Continuous Mortality Investigation (CMI) ... there were 72,900 excess deaths from the start of the pandemic in March to the end of December. Some 60,800 of those occurred in the first wave, but just 12,100 in the second. In a bad winter flu season, around 22,000 excess deaths would be expected. It means that, unlike the first wave, many people included in the coronavirus death figures would have been expected to die of other causes in the past few months. The mortality rate in December 2020 was 1,339.8 deaths per 100,000 males, compared with 1,674.7 in December 2003, and 950.4 deaths per 100,000 females, compared with 1,217.4 in December 2003. The ONS estimates that there were 50,882 more deaths in England in 2020, and 71,110 were due to coronavirus. This means that at least 20,000 people who died from coronavirus last year would have been likely to have died from something else. The figure is likely to be higher because many more people have died from the impact of lockdown.
Rep. Katie Porter on Friday published a damning report revealing the devastating effects of Big Pharma mergers and acquisitions on U.S. healthcare, and recommending steps Congress should take to enact "comprehensive, urgent reform" of an integral part of a broken healthcare system. The report, entitled Killer Profits: How Big Pharma Takeovers Destroy Innovation and Harm Patients, begins by noting that "in just 10 years, the number of large, international pharmaceutical companies decreased six-fold, from 60 to only 10." While pharmaceutical executives often attempt to portray such consolidation as a means to increase operational efficiency, the report states that "digging a level deeper 'exposes a troubling industry-wide trend of billions of dollars of corporate resources going toward acquiring other pharmaceutical corporations with patent-protected blockbuster drugs instead of putting those resources toward' discovery of new drugs." Big pharmaceutical companies are not responsible for most major breakthroughs. Rather, innovation is driven in small firms, which are often spun off of taxpayer-funded academic research. These small labs are then purchased by giant firms. Instead of producing lifesaving drugs for diseases with few or no cures, large pharmaceutical companies often focus on small, incremental changes to existing drugs in order to kill off generic threats to their government-granted monopoly patents. Mergers in the pharmaceutical industry have had an overall negative effect on innovation.
Note: The major media, sponsored largely by Big Pharma, completely failed to report on this important study. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
I am guilty of violating the Espionage Act, Title 18, U.S. Code Sections 793 and 798. If charged and convicted, I could spend the rest of my life in prison. This is not a hypothetical. Right now, the United States government is prosecuting a publisher under the Espionage Act. The case could set a precedent that would put me and countless other journalists in danger. I confess that I – alongside journalists at The Guardian, The Washington Post and other news organizations – reported on and published highly classified documents from the National Security Agency provided by the whistle-blower Edward Snowden, revealing the government's global mass surveillance programs. This reporting was widely recognized as a public service. Last year ... the Justice Department indicted Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, with 17 counts of violating the Espionage Act. None of the architects of the "war on terror," including the C.I.A.'s torture programs, have been brought to justice. Mr. Assange is facing a possible sentence of up to 175 years in prison. I spoke to one of the best First Amendment lawyers in the country. He read the Espionage Act out loud and said it had never been used against a journalist, but there is always a first time. It is impossible to overstate the dangerous precedent Mr. Assange's indictment under the Espionage Act and possible extradition sets: Every national security journalist who reports on classified information now faces possible Espionage Act charges.
Note: The above was written by award-winning journalist Laura Poitras. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.
Genius" dogs learn new words after hearing them just four times, a study has found - making them as quick as three year olds. Dogs which have a special talent for remembering verbal cues can rapidly expand their vocabulary simply by playing with their owners, according to the research. Whisky, a four-year-old female Border Collie from Norway, and Vicky Nina, a nine-year-old female Yorkshire terrier from Brazil, were able to fetch the correct toy after being exposed to the object and its name just four times, despite not receiving any formal training. Scientists say these highly intuitive dogs are therefore able to learn new words at the same speed as toddlers aged two and three. To test whether most dogs would be as successful as Whisky and Vicky Nina at learning new words, 20 others were tested in the same way - but none showed any evidence of understanding the new toy names. This confirms that only very few dogs which are especially gifted are able to learn words quickly in the absence of formal training, the scientists concluded. However, the study did reveal that Whisky and Vicky Nina's memory of the new toy names decayed over time due to them only hearing the names a few times.
A grandfather has become the oldest person to row 3,000 miles solo and unassisted across the Atlantic Ocean, raising more than Ĺ640,000 for dementia research. Frank Rothwell, 70, from Oldham, set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands on 12 December and crossed the finish line in Antigua in the Caribbean on Saturday – reuniting with Judith, his wife of 50 years, in good time for Valentine's Day. He said crossing the finish line was a "completely euphoric moment" as he raised more than Ĺ648,000 for Alzheimer's Research UK in tribute to his brother-in-law Roger, who died with Alzheimer's aged 62 during his journey. Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation has pledged to double the first Ĺ500,000 of donations. Rothwell went on: "I felt quite emotional approaching the finish. It took six long weeks to row the Atlantic, but the challenge itself has taken over 18 months of training and preparation, so I'm very proud of what I've achieved and the unbelievable journey I've been on. The adventurer has previously spent five weeks on a deserted island for a Bear Grylls TV programme, and rowed in a boat nicknamed Never Too Old. Hilary Evans, chief executive of Alzheimer's Research UK, said: "We're incredibly moved by Frank's determination to raise Ĺ1m for dementia research. He has helped to spread awareness and inspired people of all ages to take on their own challenges. Fundraising efforts from ordinary people like Frank and his supporters provide a crucial lifeline to the progression of our research."
Batteries capable of fully charging in five minutes have been produced in a factory for the first time, marking a significant step towards electric cars becoming as fast to charge as filling up petrol or diesel vehicles. Electric vehicles are a vital part of action to tackle the climate crisis but running out of charge during a journey is a worry for drivers. The new lithium-ion batteries were developed by the Israeli company StoreDot and manufactured by Eve Energy in China on standard production lines. StoreDot has already demonstrated its "extreme fast-charging" battery in phones, drones and scooters and the 1,000 batteries it has now produced are to showcase its technology to carmakers and other companies. Daimler, BP, Samsung and TDK have all invested in StoreDot, which has raised $130m to date. "The number one barrier to the adoption of electric vehicles is no longer cost, it is range anxiety," said Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot. "You're either afraid that you're going to get stuck on the highway or you're going to need to sit in a charging station for two hours. But if the experience of the driver is exactly like fuelling [a petrol car], this whole anxiety goes away." "A five-minute charging lithium-ion battery was considered to be impossible," he said. "But we are not releasing a lab prototype, we are releasing engineering samples from a mass production line. This demonstrates it is feasible and it's commercially ready."
In the depths of the ocean, and out of sight for most of us, there's a quiet miracle happening. Many humpback whale populations, previously devastated by commercial whaling, are making a comeback. A recent study on humpbacks that breed off the coast of Brazil and call Antarctic waters home during the summer has shown that these whales can now be found in the sort of numbers seen before the days of whaling. Records suggest that in the 1830s there were around 27,000 whales but, after heavy hunting, by the mid-1950s only 450 remained. It is reassuring to see what happens when we leave nature to follow its course. The ban of commercial whaling in 1986 led to a strong recovery and now this population is thought to be around 93% of its original size. By taking away the threat of hunting, and having safe spaces to survive and thrive, humpback numbers in many areas have recovered. This is great news for the whales, of course, but also for the climate. Keeping carbon out of the atmosphere is key to tackling the climate crisis and the contribution that a single whale can make is something we need to take seriously. On average a single whale stores around 33 tonnes of CO2. If we consider only the Antarctic humpback whales that breed in Brazil, protecting this population alone has resulted in 813,780 tonnes of CO2 being stored in the deep sea. That's around twice the yearly CO2 emissions of a small country like Bermuda or Belize, according to 2018 emissions data.
Lots of homeless people may end up having to sleep on the streets and Winter time can be particularly tough. A German-based team is trying to tackle this head on. It's installed sleeping pods across the German city of Ulm to provide the homeless with emergency shelter at night. The team ... consists of six business people from Ulm with expert knowledge in designing and developing products. The pods, which are known as Ulster Nests, are made from wood and steel and are both windproof and waterproof. They're designed to keep up to two people protected from the elements, including rain, frost and humidity. However, the creators have stressed that the capsules aren't an alternative to staying in proper overnight accommodation, especially as the city of Ulm can reach very low temperatures. The sleep pods have also been fitted with solar panels and they even come complete with enough room to house users' belongings. They've been fitted with sensors which can monitor temperature, humidity, smoke and carbon dioxide levels and an electronic verification system so those using it can lock the capsule from the inside. They also have lighting, an alarm signal buzzer and a ventilation system. There are no cameras in the pods to protect people's privacy. However, when the doors are opened, this triggers a motion sensor which lets social workers who check the pods know they've been used so they can get them cleaned, and so they can also provide help to those who might need it.
Google's YouTube has ratcheted up censorship to a new level by removing two videos from a U.S. Senate committee. They were from a Dec. 8 Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on early treatment of Covid-19. One was a 30-minute summary; the other was the opening statement of critical-care specialist Pierre Kory. Dr. Kory is part of a world-renowned group of physicians who developed a groundbreaking use of corticosteroids to treat hospitalized Covid patients. His testimony at a May Senate hearing helped doctors rethink treatment protocols and saved lives. At the December hearing, he presented evidence regarding the use of ivermectin, a cheap and widely available drug that treats tropical diseases caused by parasites, for prevention and early treatment of Covid-19. He described a just-published study from Argentina in which about 800 health-care workers received ivermectin and 400 didn't. Not one of the 800 contracted Covid-19; 58% of the 400 did. Before being removed from YouTube and other websites, Dr. Kory's opening statement had been viewed by more than eight million people. Unfortunately, government health agencies don't share that interest in early treatment. A year into the pandemic, NIH treatment guidelines for Covid patients are to go home, isolate yourself and do nothing other than monitor your illness. The censors at YouTube have decided for all of us that the American public shouldn't be able to hear what senators heard.
Note: You can access the entire article free of charge on this webpage. Can it be any more blatant that facebook is in cahoots with big Pharma in not wanting cheap, effective treatments for COVID-19? Watch an excellent, eye-opening 14-minute interview with a facebook insider revealing how censorship works. Read about how Silicon Valley is shutting down even live streams by legitimate journalists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
The pandemic has worsened income inequality, with the world's richest people regaining their losses from COVID-19 shutdowns in nine months while the number of people living in poverty has doubled to more than 500 million, according to a new report from the anti-poverty group Oxfam. Almost 9% of total working hours were lost last year when compared with the levels of employment at the end of 2019, before the pandemic shuttered the economy, according to a separate report from the International Labour Organization (ILO), a United Nations agency. That's the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs lost across the globe, or about four times greater than the impact from the Great Recession of 2009. The world's poorest could take a decade to regain their financial footing. Oxfam describes the pandemic's impact as "the greatest rise in inequality since records began." The International Labour Organization said the crisis has been the most severe on work since the Great Depression in the 1930s. "Its impact is far greater than that of the global financial crisis of 2009," said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. America's richest people have seen their wealth soar during the pandemic by more than $1 trillion, thanks to a booming stock market and a K-shaped recovery that has benefited the rich, while poorer people have struggled with lost wages and jobs and future opportunities. It's a rich vs. poor phenomenon that is replicating across the globe.
Note: The media continue to blame the pandemic for these dire consequences when it is clearly not the virus, but the lockdown policies that are the main reason for this huge increase in poverty and income inequality. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
$13,000,000,000. If all those 000s are making your eyes go funny, I'll spell it out: thirteen billion. That's how much Jeff Bezos added to his net worth in one day last July after the pandemic caused Amazon's stock price to surge. Bezos's $13bn (Ł10bn) payday set a record for the largest single-day increase in individual wealth ever recorded; however, he was far from the only billionaire getting that corona cash. According to a report by Oxfam, the combined wealth of the world's 10 richest men has increased by $540bn since March 2020. How much money is half a trillion dollars? Enough to vaccinate everyone in the world and ensure no one is pushed into poverty by the pandemic, Oxfam's report, The Inequality Virus, claims. Oxfam releases a report on inequality, timed to coincide with the Davos summit, every year. If there is one upside to the pandemic, it's that some ideas formerly dismissed as "radical" are now anything but. The idea of wealth taxes (levies on assets rather than income) is ... gaining global momentum. The British government has been urged to levy a one-off wealth tax on the value of household assets above Ł1m. Wealth taxes are also being pushed by progressive politicians in Germany and the US. A system in which 10 men can see their collective wealth increase by half a trillion during a global crisis can't be fixed with a one-off wealth tax – we need greed taxes that prevent people amassing that much in the first place.
Over the weekend, protests against Covid-19 lockdowns rocked the Netherlands, Denmark and Spain, just as several European governments began the new year by stepping up restrictions on movement amid concerns over more contagious variants of the coronavirus. On Saturday, Netherlands began its first nighttime curfew of the pandemic, said to be the country's first since World War II. Saturday evening, protesters set afire a Covid-19 testing centre. Protests rocked capital Madrid on Saturday as 1,300 gathered at the city center, leading police to fine 216 people with penalties of up to 700 euros. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace experts Thomas Carothers and Benjamin Press have categorized the anti-lockdown protests seen in several parts of the world in recent months into three types. The first are libertarian "pro-citizen" movements ... where participants have taken issue with governments restricting their personal freedoms. These attract large crowds– an example being the August 29 protest in Germany, when 38,000 protested in front of the national parliament in Berlin. The second type is seen taking place in developing economies with large informal sectors, where agitators target the impact of lockdowns on their livelihoods. Such protests were seen in Mexico, South Africa and Belgium. The third kind of protests are those objecting to how the lockdown restrictions are being enforced, accusing authorities of acting arbitrarily or of using excessive force.
Note: Why are virtually no major media in the US reporting on these large demonstrations against the lockdowns? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Pentagon failed its comprehensive audit in fiscal 2020, the third year it has failed since the first audit was conducted in 2018, reflecting system and accounting problems across its vast bureaucracy that could persist until 2027, the department's comptroller said. "The process of getting to a clean opinion for federal agencies, it can take a long time," said Thomas Harker, who is also undersecretary of defense and chief financial officer. After the first audit of the Pentagon's nearly $3 trillion worth of assets in fiscal 2018, then-Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said the department received an opinion of "disclaimer," a term used by auditors for findings that do not meet accounting standards. Harker said the Department of Homeland Security took a decade to pass a comprehensive audit, and the Pentagon could take just as long, making the possible date for its first clean audit somewhere around 2027. Coronavirus-related travel restrictions hampered the auditing process this year as auditors had to resort to video feeds or photographs to execute due diligence, Harker said. Around 1,400 auditors tested the systems and record-keeping processes on weapons systems, military personnel and property around the world in 100 site visits, 530 virtual visits and samples. The process resulted in 24 standalone audits, comprising the overall audit. Fees for the audit were $203 million this year.
Note: Every business in the U.S. is required to account for every dollar in their budget, yet the Pentagon cannot account for trillions of dollars in violation of the US Constitution Article I Section 9 Clause 7. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The nursing home industry has been devastated by the coronavirus, with outbreaks killing thousands of elderly residents. But the health crisis presents operators with a potential financial upside. Patients with COVID-19 could be worth more than four times what homes are able to charge for long-term residents with relatively mild health issues. Some patient advocates and industry experts fear the premium pay available for coronavirus patients – and a simultaneous easing of regulations around transfers – could tempt some home operators to move out low-paying residents to bring in more lucrative COVID-19 patients, despite the obvious health risks to residents and staff. "There are probably some unscrupulous operators who would jump at this," said David Grabowski, a professor of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School. A new Medicare reimbursement system that went into effect last fall pays nursing homes substantially more for new patients – including those released from a hospital – particularly for the first few weeks. Under those guidelines, COVID-19 patients can bring in upward of $800 per day. By contrast, facilities collect as little as $200 per day for long-term patients with dementia. Nursing homes have always had a financial incentive to attract the short-term patients ... Grabowski said. But the health risks for existing residents and staff are so high with COVID-19, Grabowski said, "I'd be a little suspicious of a low-quality nursing home that's jumping to the head of the line for this."
Note: Another excellent article presents more important questions on how this might skew death statistics for the coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A little more than a third of nursing home workers have been getting COVID-19 vaccines when the shots are first offered, U.S. health officials said Monday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave a national accounting of a problem that's been reported anecdotally – many nursing home workers are not getting the shots. The CDC looked at more than 11,000 nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities that had at least one vaccination clinic between the middle of December and the middle of January. The researchers found that while 78% of residents got at least one shot, only 37.5% of staff members did. Data previously showed that people who work in nursing homes and long-term care facilities get flu vaccines at lower rates than other health-care workers. Surveys suggest that long-term care workers are skeptical the shots work and don't think viruses spread easily from them to the people they care for. The CDC released a second report Monday that offered a larger national look at who has been getting the vaccine. The CDC study found that of the people who got at least one shot between mid-December and mid-January, 63% were women, and 55% were age 50 or older.
The goal of this project is to improve the quality of vaccination programs by improving the quality of physician adverse vaccine event detection and reporting to the national Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). Restructuring at CDC and consequent delays in terms of decision making have made it challenging despite best efforts to move forward. Adverse events from drugs and vaccines are common, but underreported. Although 25% of ambulatory patients experience an adverse drug event, less than 0.3% of all adverse drug events and 1-13% of serious events are reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Likewise, fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events are reported. Low reporting rates preclude or slow the identification of "problem" drugs and vaccines that endanger public health. New surveillance methods for drug and vaccine adverse effects are needed. Barriers to reporting include a lack of clinician awareness, uncertainty about when and what to report, as well as the burdens of reporting: reporting is not part of clinicians' usual workflow, takes time, and is duplicative. Unfortunately, there was never an opportunity to perform system performance assessments because the necessary CDC contacts were no longer available and the CDC consultants responsible for receiving data were no longer responsive to our multiple requests to proceed with testing and evaluation.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
The first-ever treaty to ban nuclear weapons entered into force on Friday, hailed as a historic step to rid the world of its deadliest weapons but strongly opposed by the world's nuclear-armed nations. The Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons is now part of international law, culminating a decades-long campaign aimed at preventing a repetition of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II. But getting all nations to ratify the treaty requiring them to never own such weapons seems daunting, if not impossible, in the current global climate. When the treaty was approved by the U.N. General Assembly in July 2017, more than 120 approved it. But none of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons – the United States, Russia, Britain, China, France, India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel – supported it and neither did the 30-nation NATO alliance. Nonetheless, Beatrice Fihn, executive director of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize-winning coalition whose work helped spearhead the treaty, called it "a really big day for international law, for the United Nations and for survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." As of Thursday, Fihn told The Associated Press that 61 countries had ratified the treaty ... and "from Friday, nuclear weapons will be banned by international law" in all those countries.
The end of 2020 brought the sharpest rise in the U.S. poverty rate since the 1960s, according to a new study. Economists Bruce Meyer from the University of Chicago and James Sullivan of the University of Notre Dame found that the poverty rate increased by 2.4 percentage points during the latter half of 2020 as the U.S. continued to suffer the economic impacts of COVID-19. That percentage-point rise is nearly double the largest annual increase in poverty since the 1960s. This means an additional 8 million people nationwide are now considered poor. Moreover, the poverty rate for Black Americans is estimated to have jumped by 5.4 percentage points, or by 2.4 million individuals. The scholars' findings, released Monday, put the rate at 11.8% in December. While poverty is down from readings of more than 15% a decade earlier, the new estimates suggest that the annual Census Bureau tally due in September will be higher than the last official, pre-pandemic level of 10.5% in 2019. Black Americans were more than twice as likely to be poor than their white counterparts in December – an improvement from the summer months when they were nearly three times more apt to live in poverty – but an increase from before the pandemic, when the differential was under two. Despite improvements in the overall poverty rate since the middle of the 20th century, Black Americans had been about three times as likely to be poor as white Americans for most of the past 60 years.
Note: Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reported on Jan. 1, 2021, "billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began." The CDC also reports overdose deaths hit a record high last year. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
All around the world, the coronavirus and its restrictions are pushing already hungry communities over the edge, cutting off meager farms from markets and isolating villages from food and medical aid. Virus-linked hunger is leading to the deaths of 10,000 more children a month over the first year of the pandemic, according to an urgent call to action from the United Nations shared with The Associated Press ahead of its publication in the Lancet medical journal. Further, more than 550,000 additional children each month are being struck by what is called wasting, according to the U.N. – malnutrition that manifests in spindly limbs and distended bellies. Over a year, that's up 6.7 million from last year's total of 47 million. Wasting and stunting can permanently damage children physically and mentally, transforming individual tragedies into a generational catastrophe. From Latin America to South Asia to sub-Saharan Africa, more families than ever are staring down a future without enough food. The analysis published Monday found about 128,000 more young children will die over the first 12 months of the virus. In April, World Food Program head David Beasley warned that the coronavirus economy would cause global famines "of biblical proportions" this year.
Note: Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reported on Jan. 1, 2021, "billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
More Americans are going hungry now than at any point during the deadly coronavirus pandemic, according to a Post analysis of new federal data – a problem created by an economic downturn that has tightened its grip on millions of Americans and compounded by government relief programs that expired or will terminate at the end of the year. Experts say it is likely that there's more hunger in the United States today than at any point since 1998, when the Census Bureau began collecting comparable data about households' ability to get enough food. One in 8 Americans reported they sometimes or often didn't have enough food to eat in the past week, hitting nearly 26 million American adults, an increase several times greater than the most comparable pre-pandemic figure. That number climbed to more than 1 in 6 adults in households with children. Nowhere has there been a hunger surge worse than in Houston, with a metro-area population of 7 million people. More than 1 in 5 adults in Houston reported going hungry recently, including 3 in 10 adults in households with children. The growth in hunger rates has hit Hispanic and Black households harder than White ones, a devastating consequence of a weak economy that has left so many people trying to secure food even during dangerous conditions. Yet the hunger crisis seems to have escaped widespread notice in a nation where millions of households have weathered the pandemic relatively untouched.
Note: Meanwhile, as the Washington Post reported on Jan. 1, 2021, "billionaires as a class have added about $1 trillion to their total net worth since the pandemic began." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
The need for touch exists below the horizon of consciousness. Before birth, when the amniotic fluid in the womb swirls around us and the foetal nervous system can distinguish our own body from our mother's, our entire concept of self is rooted in touch. As adults, we may not comprehend the importance of touch even when it disappears. "We might begin to realise that something is missing, but we won't always know that it's touch," says Prof Francis McGlone, a neuroscientist. "But when we talk about the problem of loneliness, we often ignore the obvious: what lonely people aren't getting is touch." As the pandemic continues, many of us will be trying to cope with profound stress without the comfort of touch. The total absence of touch ... contravenes the hardwiring that regulates us from our preverbal years. In these times of touch deprivation there is no real substitute for what we get from other humans, but there are ways to soothe ourselves. We may be able to experience touch vicariously. Researchers have found that seeing touch (on TV or in films, for example) – particularly social, affective or pet touch – can give us some of the benefits of feeling touch. This is not a permanent or complete substitute, but a partial one. A hunger for touch is a signal that a primitive need is not being met. But evolution is on our side. Every scientist I spoke to was hopeful that, once we can come together again, we will adjust quickly.
A study evaluating COVID-19 responses around the world found that mandatory lockdown orders early in the pandemic may not provide significantly more benefits to slowing the spread of the disease than other voluntary measures, such as social distancing or travel reduction. The peer reviewed study was published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation on January 5, and analyzed coronavirus case growth in 10 countries in early 2020. The study compared cases in England, France, Germany, Iran, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the U.S. – all countries that implemented mandatory lockdown orders and business closures – to South Korea and Sweden, which instituted less severe, voluntary responses. The researchers used a mathematical model to compare countries that did and did not enact more restrictive lockdown orders, and determined that there was "no clear, significant beneficial effect of [more restrictive measures] on case growth in any country." "We do not question the role of all public health interventions, or of coordinated communications about the epidemic, but we fail to find an additional benefit of stay-at-home orders and business closures," the research said. Mandatory lockdown orders have also been a highly politicized issue across the U.S. Some Republican leaders ... have vehemently opposed state or nationwide closures. In Democratic states, including New York and California, lockdown orders have been a consistent part of the coronavirus response.
There are a few reasons why I supported lockdowns at first. Initial data falsely suggested that the infection fatality rate was up to 2-3%, that over 80% of the population would be infected, and modelling suggested repeated lockdowns would be necessary. But emerging data showed that the median infection fatality rate is 0.23%, that the median infection fatality rate in people under 70 years old is 0.05%. In addition, it is likely that in most situations only 20-40% of the population would be infected before ongoing transmission is limited (i.e., herd-immunity). Emerging data has shown a staggering amount of so-called Ă˘â‚Źcollateral damage' due to the lockdowns. This can be predicted to adversely affect many millions of people globally with food insecurity [82-132 million more people], severe poverty [70 million more people], school closures for children [affecting children's future earning potential and lifespan], and intimate partner violence for millions of women. In high-income countries adverse effects also occur from delayed and interrupted healthcare, unemployment, loneliness, deteriorating mental health ... and more. A formal cost-benefit analysis of different responses to the pandemic was not done by government. Once I became more informed, I realized that lockdowns cause far more harm than they prevent. The costs of lockdowns are at least 10 times higher than the benefits. Lockdowns cause far more harm to population wellbeing than COVID-19 can.
Note: The above was written by Dr. Ari Joffe, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases at the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Domestic violence homicides are on the rise in many cities around the country, according to preliminary data from local law enforcement. In at least two major counties, they have doubled – a reversal of multi-year declines. Experts attribute much of the alarming increase to the social and economic pressures of the coronavirus pandemic. Annual national data on domestic violence murders is not released until well into the following year, but violent crime and homicides have increased this year in cities from Milwaukee to New York, and some cities are already reporting spikes in domestic violence homicides. In Memphis, Milwaukee and Jefferson Parish, a New Orleans suburb, domestic violence homicides had equaled or surpassed last year's total by Oct.13, NBC News found. In Tarrant County, Texas ... they had more than doubled. In the Seattle area, there were 14 domestic violence homicides in 2020 through Oct. 8, equal to the combined total for 2018 and 2019, according to the King County District Attorney's office. All but one of the 2020 homicides occurred after the governor issued a Covid-19 state of emergency. Domestic violence lawyers and advocates in eight cities told NBC News that anecdotal information supports their belief that during lockdowns victims have had fewer opportunities to report abuse or seek help. The reports that do come in are more violent and dangerous. The very conditions that keep us safe in the public health pandemic are creating greater danger for victims of domestic violence.
Note: It is not the pandemic which is causing these homicides. It is the lockdown measures that are negatively impacting the emotional and spiritual lives of billions of people around the globe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
At the end of 2020, Chicago police reported more than 750 murders, a jump of more than 50% compared with 2019. By mid-December, Los Angeles saw a 30% increase over the previous year with 322 homicides. There were 437 homicides in New York City by Dec. 20, nearly 40% more than the previous year. New Orleans-based data consultant Jeff Asher studied crime rates in more than 50 cities and says the crime spikes aren't just happening in big cities. With the numbers of homicides spiking in many places, Asher expects the final statistics for 2020 to tell a startlingly grim story. "We're going to see, historically, the largest one-year rise in murder that we've ever seen," he says. Asher says it has been more than a half-century since the country saw a year-to-year murder rate that jumped nearly 13%. "We have good data that the rise in murder picked up in the early stages of the summer," Asher says, "and we also have good data that the rise of murder picked up again in September and October as some of the financial assistance started to wear off." Chicago minister the Rev. Marshall Hatch Sr. says the spike in violence is sadly not surprising. His church is located in a west side Chicago neighborhood hard hit by both poverty and the pandemic. "COVID has had a disproportionate impact and people are increasingly desperate," Hatch says. "And people, because of the concentration of poverty, tend to turn on each other."
Note: It is not the pandemic which is causing these homicides. It is the lockdown measures that are negatively impacting the emotional and spiritual lives of billions of people around the globe. The CDC also reports overdose deaths hit a record high last year. And poverty had the sharpest rise in 50 years. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
The leader of the far-right Proud Boys group was a "prolific" informer for federal and local law enforcement, reports say. Enrique Tarrio worked undercover for authorities after he was arrested in 2012, according to a 2014 federal court document obtained by Reuters. During a Miami court hearing a federal prosecutor, an FBI agent and Mr Tarrio's lawyer described his work for law enforcement and said that he had helped convict more than a dozen people in drugs, gambling and human smuggling cases. He has become an increasingly high-profile figure as his violent group gained an elevated profile during the Trump administration. The ex-president infamously told the group to "stand back and stand by" when asked to denounce them during a presidential debate last September. They have been involved in a string of high-profile clashes in Washington DC, including the 6 January pro-Trump Capitol riot. [Mr Tarrio] was arrested in Washington DC in January two days before the riot and charged with possession of two high-capacity rifle magazines, and setting fire to a Black Lives Matter banner during a December pro-Trump demonstration in the city. Mr Tarrio was ordered to leave the city and has a June court date. During the 2014 court case Reuters says that Mr Tarrio's lawyer and prosecutors asked a judge to reduce his prison sentence after he and two defendants pleaded guilty in a fraud case related to stolen diabetes test kits. The prosecutor told the judge that Mr Tarrio had provided information that resulted in the prosecution of 13 people.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
Electric cars are, in just about every quantifiable way, superior to gasoline vehicles. They accelerate with the speed of exotic supercars. They can run off clean, green power. And with fewer moving parts, electric cars are remarkably durable, with low maintenance costs. However, you still have to charge them. But what if you didn't need to plug in at all? That's the promise of the Aptera EV. It's a three-wheeled, two-passenger "Never Charge Vehicle" priced from $25,900 to $46,000. The car is available to preorder now for $100 down and is expected to ship in 2021. Instead of relying on electricity to charge, the vehicle can get substantial power via solar panels. And thanks to an extremely aerodynamic shape built out of strong, lightweight materials including carbon, Kevlar, and hemp, it needs less energy than competitors to drive, so the solar panels can generate meaningful miles on the road, whereas they barely move the needle on most electric cars. Aptera's newest vehicle can soak up 5 miles of charge every hour it's in bright sun, or about 40 miles of free range per day. With extra panels that can be attached to the hood and hatch during charging, that figure bumps to a full 64 miles of range per day. Given that the average person drives around 15 miles to work, the Aptera EV could be a viable commuter car for the week. The Aptera EV has some impressive overall performance stats, zooming from 0 to 60 in as few as 3.5 seconds, and featuring a fully charged range of up to 1,000 miles.
President Joe Biden ordered his Department of Justice on Tuesday to phase out its contracts with private prisons, one of multiple new planks of Biden's broad-focused racial justice agenda. Biden signed four additional executive actions after laying out his racial equity plan at the White House. The actions are aimed at combating discriminatory housing practices, reforming the prison system, respecting sovereignty of Tribal governments and fighting xenophobia against Asian Americans, especially in light of the Covid pandemic. "I ran for president because I believe we're in a battle for the soul of this nation," Biden said before signing the actions. "And the simple truth is, our soul will be troubled as long as systemic racism is allowed to persist." "For too many American families, systemic racism and inequality in our economy, laws and institutions, still put the American dream far out of reach," domestic policy advisor Susan Rice said at a press briefing preceding Biden's speech and signings. "These are desperate times for so many Americans, and all Americans need urgent federal action to meet this moment," Rice said. "Building a more equitable economy is essential if Americans are going to compete and thrive in the 21st century." Rice noted in the briefing that Biden's order to the DOJ does not apply to private-prison contracts with other agencies, such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. That order is "silent on what may or may not transpire with ICE facilities," she said.
The automotive industry is set for yet another big leap next year, as Toyota is reportedly on the verge of rolling out its "game-changing" solid-state battery. The Japanese carmaker plans to be the first to sell solid-state battery-powered EVs this decade, and that it will be unveiling a prototype in 2021. Toyota promises that the new battery will "be a game-changer not just for electric vehicles, but for an entire industry." Solid-state batteries are expected to become a viable alternative to the usual lithium-ion units that we see in most electric vehicles today. These new power packs offer greater energy density as well as lower risks of fire. Toyota claims that its newly developed batteries can also enable a maximum EV range of 500km in one full charge and a zero to 100% charging time of just 10 minutes, "all with minimal safety concerns." The carmaker adds that with these new batteries, its EVs will boast a maximum range that's double of what it would have been able to achieve with a traditional lithium-ion battery–and this is achieved without legroom being compromised to accommodate a larger battery pack. Toyota has yet to specify when exactly we'll be seeing the new battery ... in action. Other automotive manufacturers that are looking to use solid-state battery technology include Nissan and Volkswagen.
Millions of Americans have lost their jobs. They've watched helplessly as their meager savings dwindled away, as they were confined to their homes–prohibited from interacting with friends, attending church, temple or music and sporting events due to restrictions enacted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. This resulted in a profound impact on the mental health and emotional well-being of people–leading to a significant increase in cases of anxiety, depression and deaths by suicide. The CDC conducted a survey of 5,412 people between June 24 and 30 and the collected data on suicides is alarming. Roughly 25% percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 say they've considered suicide because of the pandemic. About 30.9% of the respondents said that they "had symptoms of anxiety or depression" and about 26.3% reported trauma and stress-related disorders caused by the outbreak. Over 13% said that they have used alcohol, prescription and/or illegal drugs to deal with their pandemic-induced stress and anxiety. The amount of Americans reporting anxiety symptoms is triple the number of this time last year. The CDC reported that 11% of adults surveyed had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days. The study showed "19% of Hispanics reported suicidal ideation" and "15% of Blacks reported suicidal thoughts." As it relates to young adults, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, said, "We're seeing, sadly, far greater suicides now than we are deaths from [Covid-19]."
Note: What this article glaringly failed to mention is that the large majority of these tragic problems are not caused by the virus, but rather by the lockdown policies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Health authorities in Norway sought to allay safety concerns raised by the death of some elderly patients after they were vaccinated against Covid-19, saying there's no evidence of a direct link. The initial reports from Norway raised alarm as the world looks for early signs of potential side effects from the vaccines. Although doctors say it's possible that vaccine side-effects could aggravate underlying illnesses, they were expecting nursing-home residents to die shortly after being vaccinated because deaths are more common among the frailest and sickest elderly patients. In Norway, 33 people aged 75 and over died following immunization, according to the [Norwegian Medicines Agency]'s latest figures. All were already seriously ill, it said. The Scandinavian country has already inoculated almost all of its nursing home population, with more than 48,000 people vaccinated. The reported fatalities are well under 1 out of 1,000 nursing-home patients to be vaccinated, [Steinar Madsen, medical director at the Norwegian Medicines Agency] said. The side effects of immunization can, in some cases, "tip the patients into a more serious course of the underlying disease," Madsen said. "We can't rule that out." Other countries, including Germany and Israel, have also reported deaths in people who recently were vaccinated. Until Friday, Norway had only used the vaccine provided by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE. The companies are now working with the Nordic country to look into the deaths.
Note: For more details on these and other deaths from the vaccines, see this webpage. Are all these deaths shortly after vaccination simply coincidence? Read about many problems with these vaccines based on reports from reliable sources. For more, 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.
Health authorities are investigating the case of a Florida doctor who died from an unusually severe blood disorder 16 days after receiving the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine. Dr. Gregory Michael, a 56-year-old obstetrician and gynecologist in Miami Beach, received the vaccine at Mount Sinai Medical Center on Dec. 18 and died 16 days later from a brain hemorrhage, his wife, Heidi Neckelmann, wrote. Shortly after receiving the vaccine, Dr. Michael developed an extremely serious form of a condition known as acute immune thrombocytopenia, which prevented his blood from clotting properly. About nine million people in the United States have received at least one shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna coronavirus vaccine, the two authorized in the United States. So far, serious problems reported were 29 cases of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction. Dr. Jerry L. Spivak, an expert on blood disorders at Johns Hopkins University, who was not involved in Dr. Michael's care, said that based on Ms. Neckelmann's description, "I think it is a medical certainty that the vaccine was related." "This is going to be very rare," said Dr. Spivak, an emeritus professor of medicine. But he added, "It happened and it could happen again." Dr. Paul Offit, an expert in vaccines and infectious diseases ... said that the measles vaccine and measles itself have been known to cause this same clotting problem, but it is usually transient and not serious. It occurs in about one of every 25,000 measles shots
Note: The supposed experts are claiming the numerous deaths of people within hours to weeks after the vaccine are just coincidental. This article examines these deaths and raises many questions. And why are so few of these being reported? Read about many problems with these vaccines based on reports from reliable sources. For more, 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 coronavirus pandemic is emerging as an existential threat to the nation's small businesses. Already, economists project that more than 100,000 small businesses have shut permanently since the pandemic escalated in March, according to a study by researchers at the University of Illinois, Harvard Business School, Harvard University and the University of Chicago. Their latest data suggests at least 2 percent of small businesses are gone. The carnage has been even higher in the restaurant industry, where 3 percent of restaurant operators have gone out of business, according to the National Restaurant Association. Analysts warn this is only the beginning of the worst wave of small-business bankruptcies and closures since the Great Depression. "We are going to see a level of bankruptcy activity that nobody in business has seen in their lifetime," said James Hammond, chief executive of New Generation Research. "This will hit everyone, but it will be harder for small businesses." Many small-business owners say Congress' financial rescue isn't designed well to help very small businesses, known as micro firms, that have large overhead costs such as rent. "It wouldn't be surprising if well over 1 million of these micro firms ultimately fail," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, wrote in a recent note to clients, referring to firms with fewer than 10 employees.
Note: These numbers have likely tripled or more since the article was published. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In the exquisitely constructed, deeply unnerving "MLK/FBI," filmmaker Sam Pollard takes viewers behind the looking glass into the shadowy world of governmental surveillance during the mid-century civil rights movement, a program of spying, infiltration and harassment that reached its perverse apotheosis with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with Martin Luther King, Jr. In this meticulously constructed narrative, which centers on FBI files that are scheduled to be declassified in 2027, Pollard reminds viewers that, at the time of his death, King was anything but universally admired. By the time he came out against the Vietnam War and began linking race and class via the Poor People's Campaign, Hoover's years-long campaign to peg King as a Communist had taken hold. Archival footage [shows] anti-King demonstrators spouting lies they've uncritically accepted about the Baptist minister. Pollard delves into the history of Hoover's career with the federal law enforcement agency, his quest to root out Communists and the path that took him to King's door and, eventually, bedroom. Once Hoover discovered that King was having extramarital affairs, he became even more single-minded, tapping the activist's phone lines, bugging his house and placing informants in proximity. When King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, Hoover redoubled his efforts, culminating in the notorious tape and anonymous letter sent to Coretta Scott King, obliquely suggesting that her husband kill himself.
Note: Read more about the controversy surrounding King's assassination. Then watch an eye-opening six-minute video report on a 1999 court trial that found the U.S. government guilty for assassinating King, yet the media almost universally refused to report on this important trial. 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.
Donald Trump, in one of his final acts as president, released current and former members of his administration from the terms of their ethics pledge, a move that once again laid bare his failure to fulfil his 2016 campaign promise to "drain the swamp." Trump won the presidency, in part, on a pledge to take on entrenched special interests in Washington, and his ethics policy was one of his first acts after assuming office. But in practice it proved to be little more than bluster. Trump instituted a major loosening of ethics standards when compared with the administration of his predecessor, Barack Obama, as well as the rules that will govern President Joe Biden's White House. By rescinding his ethics executive order before leaving office, Trump freed former officials from lingering concern that they could face consequences for running afoul of the ethics policy as they return to the private sector. Many of them will now try to leverage their experience to secure high-paying jobs in Washington's influence industry. "The first rule of ethics enforcement is you need to have strong standards. Then you need to back them up with intense transparency. And you also need to reinforce the whole thing with tone from the top. Trump did the opposite on all three," said Norm Eisen, Obama's former ethics czar. "He made a mockery of it by having a corrupt tone at the top." Unlike his predecessors, Trump refused to divest from his sprawling business empire. That set the tone for his tenure.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Americans are taking more medications than ever before. Nearly 60 to 70 percent of us take at least one prescribed drug. Meanwhile, new drug approvals have reached a 19-year high. There's no formal process for quantifying injuries, hospitalizations or even deaths caused by therapeutic drug use – which excludes overdose or misuse. "Risk management begins with measuring things accurately, so you know what the threats are and the ones where you should be paying attention," says Thomas J. Moore ... at the Institute for Safe Medication Practices. But he notes that there's no system in place or accepted methodology for developing these tallies for prescription drugs, unlike with overdoses. Health providers and consumers are encouraged to report adverse drug reactions to the Food and Drug Administration. But the FDA says it's unable to use the incomplete adverse event reporting data to quantify overall deaths that result from therapeutic drug use. A ... recent analysis estimates 128,000 Americans die each year as a result of taking medications as prescribed. "By far the greatest number of [prescription drug-related] hospitalizations and deaths occur from drugs that are prescribed properly by physicians and taken as directed," says Donald Light ... lead author of a 2013 paper that detailed the estimate, entitled "Institutional Corruption of Pharmaceuticals and the Myth of Safe and Effective Drugs." "About 2,460 people per week are estimated to die from drugs that were properly prescribed," says Light.
Note: According to some studies, medical errors including adverse drug reactions may be the third leading cause of death in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Throughout my career as a psychiatrist, I have found, on a clinical and scientific basis, psychiatric drugs do much more harm than good. My professional website (www.breggin.com) began as an attempt to present my scientific research. At the time that I started my reform efforts in the early 1970s, I was nearly alone among psychiatrists or any other professionals in standing up to the pharmaceutical industry, the electroshock industry, the American Psychiatric Association, the AMA, and other members of what I defined as the "psychopharmaceutical complex." When taken for months or years, all psychiatric drugs can seriously damage the brain, prevent recovery, and ruin the individual's quality of life. The psychiatric model of human suffering has caused untold damage to hundreds of millions of victims of involuntary treatment, psychiatric hospitals, drugs and electroshock. It has also set back civilization by undermining Western traditions of individuality, personal responsibility, and love. It has convinced modern society that emotional suffering is based in so-called biochemical imbalances when in reality it is rooted in a complex combination of human nature, individual experience and choice-making, and societal influences. This flawed biological model ignores all the important realities in human life from the dreadful effects of childhood trauma and adult disappointment and loss to the importance of living by worthwhile principles and ideals.
Note: Learn about Dr. Breggin's key role in stopping lobotomies and much more in this informative interview. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
As a child, Suzanne Simard often roamed Canada's old-growth forests. Simard noticed that up to 10 percent of newly planted Douglas fir were likely to get sick and die whenever nearby aspen, paper birch and cottonwood were removed. The reasons were unclear. The planted saplings had plenty of space, and they received more light and water than trees in old, dense forests. So why were they so frail? Simard suspected that the answer was buried in the soil. Underground, trees and fungi form partnerships known as mycorrhizas: Threadlike fungi envelop and fuse with tree roots, helping them extract water and nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen in exchange for some of the carbon-rich sugars the trees make through photosynthesis. Research had demonstrated that mycorrhizas also connected plants to one another and that these associations might be ecologically important. By analyzing the DNA in root tips and tracing the movement of molecules through underground conduits, Simard has discovered that fungal threads link nearly every tree in a forest – even trees of different species. Carbon, water, nutrients, alarm signals and hormones can pass from tree to tree through these subterranean circuits. Before Simard and other ecologists revealed the extent and significance of mycorrhizal networks, foresters typically regarded trees as solitary individuals that competed for space and resources. This framework is far too simplistic. An old-growth forest is ... a vast, ancient and intricate society.
Note: If you are interested in cutting edge work on tree and plant consciousness, this long article is worth reading in full. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Nearly two years ago, researchers from X, the experimental "moonshot factory" at Alphabet, sat down with the head of a food bank in Arizona to begin to better understand one of the conundrums of hunger in the U.S.: As much as 40% of the food supply is wasted, but millions of Americans don't have enough to eat. "We probably have two to four times as much food as we need in the world, but we're not doing a very good job of distributing it to people who really need it," says Emily Ma, the leader of the X team, called Project Delta, which announced today that two early tools it developed will be moving to Google to be fully built. The X team built a prototype of a new matching platform that could automatically consider ... the shelf life of donated food, how it's packaged, what transportation is available, and where it's needed and wanted. Another tool uses computer vision and machine learning to identify food as it's being thrown out so that a restaurant or supermarket deli can better plan future buying decisions to reduce waste: If you're throwing out a lot of onions every week, the software will alert you so you can stop buying as many. Eventually, similar technology could also be used to identify surplus food available for donations, so that information doesn't have to entered manually. "What we're looking to do is, in the automating of this, actually make food much more accessible to everyone," says Ma. "I believe that in the next 10 to 30 years, it is possible to actually almost perfectly match supply and demand," she says.
Eighteen astronauts – nine men and nine women – have been selected to begin training for upcoming Artemis missions to the moon, NASA announced Wednesday. The list includes the as-yet-unnamed next man and first woman who will set foot on the lunar surface later this decade. The announcement came at the end of a meeting of the National Space Council, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. After reading off the names and welcoming five of the Artemis cadre who were present at the space center for the announcement, Pence said it "really is amazing to think that the next man and the first woman on the moon are among the names that we just read, and they may be standing in the room with us right now." NASA has been working toward a schedule imposed by the Trump administration calling for astronauts to return to the moon by the end of 2024 using the SLS, an Orion capsule and a commercially developed lunar lander that has not yet been built. The 18 astronauts named Wednesday are among the most diverse groups NASA has ever put together: nine men, including four with space flight experience, and nine women, including five space veterans. Nine of the 18 have not yet flown in space. Two astronauts on the list – Kate Rubins and Victor Glover – are currently aboard the International Space Station.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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, '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.
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.
Note: This report is from June 2020, early in the pandemic. How many more bankruptcies occurred after that? This astoundingly blunt 10-minute interview from 2006 by the Street's James Altucher of CNBC's Jim Cramer telling his secrets is amazingly revealing. A Harvard-educated former hedge fund manager, Cramer shows just how depraved and heartless some stock market trading is and how corrupt hedge funds traders are in particular. For more, 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: As of early October 2020, 1.5 million people had reportedly died from the virus, yet 135 million had 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.
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."
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.
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 '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 articl