News StoriesExcerpts of Key News Stories in Major Media
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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seized on this health emergency to reward ultrarich beneficiaries", and called for the tax break to be immediately repealed.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.
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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.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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."
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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.
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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.
Important Note: 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.