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.
Throughout the years that I've written about the potential health hazards of cell phone radiation, I've seen a lot of products promise protection from the radiofrequency (RF) signals that our wireless devices emit. They've ranged from the useless gold-lined radiation "shields" to Pong's more respectable line of phones cases that promise to refocus RF energy away from your head. At CES 2018, a company called Spartan grabbed that promise of protection and took it below the belt with a line of men's underwear. Spartan's boxer briefs claim to block 99 percent of cellphone and Wi-Fi radiation with pure silver fibers woven into the cotton fabric. That Spartan is focused on protecting your balls is significant. Though brain cancer tends to dominate the debate over whether wireless signals are safe, other studies have suggested that cell phones decrease male fertility. Some health advocates who have long been involved with the debate, and even some government agencies (most recently, the California Department of Public Health), recommend that men not carry their phones in a pants pocket to reduce radiation exposure to your nether regions. If the potential danger concerns you, most of the typical recommendations like using a headset, texting instead of making a call (a lot of us already do that) and not sleeping with your phone don't cost a penny.
Note: In 2017, after years of public pressure and a lawsuit, the California Department of Health released guidelines on the health risks of cell phone use. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
Estonian start-up Taxify is to go head to head with Uber in London’s highly competitive taxi-hailing market. Taxify said it will launch services across London on Tuesday after signing up 3,000 private hire taxi drivers, who have been vetted to ensure they meet local licensing requirements. In London, it enters a crowded market where the city’s famous black cab taxi drivers and private hire taxi firms such as Addison Lee compete with ride-hailing apps including Gett and Hailo, which is now part of Daimler’s MyTaxi. Uber counts 40,000 drivers and has 3 million London users, who take 1 million trips a week. Taxify is a fraction of Uber’s size - being active in just under 25 cities compared to Uber’s presence in nearly 600 cities worldwide - but runs on a lower cost business model, allowing passengers to pay marked-down fares and letting drivers retain a bigger share of the profits. Taxify said on Monday it would take a 15 percent commission on rides booked through its online platform, versus the 20-25 percent Uber charges in London. Taxify also said it will accept cash as well electronic payments from riders, unlike Uber. Uber has struggled over the past year with legal setbacks, workplace harassment scandals, driver protests and bitter disputes among directors.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
2017 was probably the very best year in the long history of humanity. A smaller share of the world’s people were hungry, impoverished or illiterate than at any time before. A smaller proportion of children died than ever before. The proportion disfigured by leprosy, blinded by diseases like trachoma or suffering from other ailments also fell. We journalists focus on bad news - we cover planes that crash, not those that take off - but the backdrop of global progress may be the most important development in our lifetime. Every day, the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than about $2 a day) goes down by 217,000, according to ... Max Roser, an Oxford University economist who runs a website called Our World in Data. Every day, 325,000 more people gain access to electricity. And 300,000 more gain access to clean drinking water. As recently as the 1960s, a majority of humans had always been illiterate and lived in extreme poverty. Now fewer than 15 percent are illiterate, and fewer than 10 percent live in extreme poverty. In another 15 years, illiteracy and extreme poverty will be mostly gone. After thousands of generations, they are pretty much disappearing on our watch. Steven Pinker, the Harvard psychology professor, explores the gains in a terrific book due out next month, “Enlightenment Now,” in which he recounts the progress across a broad array of metrics, from health to wars, the environment to happiness, equal rights to quality of life.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Iceland is the first country to make it illegal to pay men more than women. Equal pay policies is now mandatory for companies with 25 or more employees. Those that cannot show that they provide equal pay will be subject to fines. The law, which was passed last year, went into effect on Jan. 1. Iceland is already a leader in gender parity. The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked Iceland as the top country for gender quality for the last nine years based on criteria involving economics, education, health, and politics. For example, Icelandic women make up 48% of the country’s parliament - without a quota system. Despite this, wage inequality has persisted. In 2016, thousands of women in Iceland left work at 2:38 p.m., to protest pay disparity. The time was symbolic of when woman stop receiving pay during their 9 to 5 work day compared to men. The wage gap in Iceland was 72 cents to every man’s dollar. On International Women’s Day in 2017, the country moved to change that. The tiny country, pop. 323,000, aims to completely eliminate the wage gap by 2020.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
China is suspending the production of more than 500 car models and model versions that do not meet its fuel economy standards, several automakers confirmed Tuesday, the latest move by Beijing to reduce emissions in the world’s largest auto market and take the lead in battling climate change. The suspension, effective Jan. 1, would affect both domestic carmakers and foreign joint ventures ... in China, where 28 million vehicles were produced in 2016. China has dozens of small-scale automakers - some producing just a few hundred cars a year. Cui Dongshu, the secretary general of the China Passenger Car Association, said that the ban would affect at most 1 percent of the Chinese market. But the government’s decision to cite fuel economy in the deregistration of so many versions at the same time is nonetheless a signal of the government’s commitment to fuel economy. The country, which for years prioritized economic growth over environmental protection ... has emerged as an unlikely bastion of climate action. “They’re sending a signal to everybody,” said Michael Dunne, president of ... a Hong Kong-based consultancy on China’s clean car market. “This shows their emissions standards have teeth.” The Chinese government has already become the world’s biggest supporter of electric cars, offering automakers numerous incentives for producing so-called new energy vehicles. Those incentives are set to decrease by 2020, to be replaced by quotas for the number of clean cars automakers must sell.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
More than half of the electricity generated in the UK in 2017 came from low-carbon sources for the first time ever. Renewables and nuclear provided more electricity than all fossil fuels combined, with wind generation alone supplying twice as much energy as coal, according to analysis by Carbon Brief, a website that tracks climate change and energy policy. Wind made a greater contribution to the country’s electricity needs than coal in every month apart from January. The share from low-carbon sources doubled between 2008 and 2017, Carbon Brief said. The UK has also added wind and solar power generation rapidly, as costs have fallen. Future development will increasingly be possible without the Government subsidies that have aided the industry’s development until now. The UK also passed a series of other milestones last year, including its first day without coal power since 1882, the most electricity produced from solar power at any one moment and the most wind power produced in a day. Wind saw the biggest increase of any energy source, with supply up 31 per cent for the whole of 2017 on 2016’s level. The electricity sector has been the primary focus of renewable power generation as that power can then be used to revolutionise the other sectors, for example through the electrification of transport. Britain’s power system is the fourth cleanest in Europe and the seventh cleanest in the world.
The Obama administration was demanding that I reveal the confidential sources I had relied on for a chapter about a botched CIA operation in my 2006 book, “State of War.” I had also written about the CIA operation for the New York Times, but the paper’s editors had suppressed the story at the government’s request. It wasn’t the only time they had done so. My case was part of a broader crackdown on reporters and whistleblowers that had begun during the presidency of George W. Bush and continued far more aggressively under the Obama administration, which had already prosecuted more leak cases than all previous administrations combined. I started covering the CIA in 1995. Success as a reporter on the CIA beat inevitably meant finding out government secrets, and that meant plunging headlong into the classified side of Washington, which had its own strange dynamics. I discovered that there was, in effect, a marketplace of secrets in Washington, in which White House officials and other current and former bureaucrats, contractors, members of Congress, their staffers, and journalists all traded information. This informal black market helped keep the national security apparatus running smoothly, limiting nasty surprises for all involved. The revelation that this secretive subculture existed, and that it allowed a reporter to glimpse the government’s dark side, was jarring. It felt a bit like being in the Matrix.
Note: Article author James Risen is a courageous hero who shared two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting around 9/11 and massive government surveillance. If you read the entire article at the link above, you will learn in detail how the New York Times and other media bow to government pressure and filter what information reaches the public. They also have a strong, but secretive agenda to support war and the military-industrial complex. You will also see how government keeps the media from reporting some of the most important stories.
Television advertisements for prescription drugs ... have been running for 20 years. [Yet] it is not your imagination if you think you are seeing more of them these days. Lots more. 771,368 such ads were shown in 2016 ... an increase of almost 65 percent over 2012. “TV ad spending by pharmaceutical companies has more than doubled in the past four years, making it the second-fastest-growing category on television during that time,” Jon Swallen, Kantar’s chief research officer, said. The ads ... have turned to more serious ailments in the last few years. And when the ads come on, [the] audience is also listening intently to all that can befall them if they take a certain drug. An unexpected side effect of ad agency compliance with the drug administration’s regulation, it turns out, is enhanced credibility. “It’s counterintuitive, but everything in our research suggests that hearing about the risks increases consumers’ belief in the advertising,” said Jeff Rothstein, the chief executive officer of Cult Health, an ad agency that specializes in health care.
Note: 25 years ago drug advertising was illegal, as it was believed drugs should sell themselves on their own merits. Now Big Pharma is raking in profits hand over fist by inundating us with fear-based advertising. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
Prices for a cancer drug called lomustine have skyrocketed nearly 1,400 percent since 2013, putting a potentially life-saving treatment out of reach for patients suffering from brain tumors and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Though the 40-year-old medication is no longer protected by patents, no generic version is available. According to the Wall Street Journal, lomustine was sold by Bristol-Myers Squib for years under the brand name CeeNU at a price of about $50 a capsule for the highest dose. The drugmaker sold lomustine in 2013 to a little-known Miami startup called NextSource, which proceeded to hike lomustine's price nine times since. It now charges about $768 per pill for the medication. According to an analysis done for the Journal ... NextSource this year raised prices for the drug, which it rebranded as Gleostine, by 12 percent in November following a 20 percent increase in August. Soaring prices for cancer drugs are a concern for both patients and doctors because financial pressures can lead to delays in seeking treatment that can easily surpass six figures per year. A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found prices for 24 patented injectible Medicare Part B drugs rose an average of 18 percent annually over the past eight years on an inflation-adjusted basis. Prices continued to rise even when generic versions of the drug became available.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing Big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
Half-a-dozen 2017 releases of long-secret documents about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have given plenty of new leads to those who don’t believe alleged gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. The 34,963 documents ... have fed the fire tended by researchers and others who believe there is much more to the story how a U.S. president was assassinated in Dallas 54 years ago. One particular document from the August release has created much buzz. It that shows that Earle Cabell, mayor of Dallas at the time of the Nov. 22, 1963, shooting, became a CIA asset in late 1956. Another revelatory JFK document released in full on Dec. 15 was the transcript of a 1978 interview by the House Select Committee on Assassinations with Orest Pena. According to Pena, a bar owner in New Orleans, Lee Harvey Oswald was a U.S. government agent or informant. How did he know? Because Pena himself was an informant. He had given details to the Warren Commission in July 1964 but, as the new document shows, later revealed much more detail about Warren de Brueys, an FBI agent in New Orleans to whom Pena said he reported. Oswald, he claimed, frequented a breakfast place regularly not only with de Brueys but with agents from U.S. Customs and Immigration. Pena believed Oswald had an office in the same government complex. Pena also testified to the House panel that de Brueys had threatened him if he shared with investigators details of their meetings and training of anti-Castro instigators.
Note: Watch an excellent five-minute segment of the History Channel's "Men Who Killed Kennedy," For more along these lines, see our excellent resource center filled with reliable information questions what really happened in the JFK assassination.
The Federal Reserve’s little-known role housing the assets of other central banks comes with a unique benefit to the United States: It serves as a source of foreign intelligence for Washington. Senior officials from the U.S. Treasury and other government departments have turned to these otherwise confidential accounts several times a year to analyze the asset holdings of the central banks of Russia, China, Iraq, Turkey, Yemen, Libya and others, according to more than a dozen current and former senior Fed and Treasury officials. The U.S. central bank keeps a tight lid on information contained in these accounts. But according to the officials interviewed by Reuters, U.S. authorities regularly use a “need to know” confidentiality exception in the Fed’s service contracts with foreign central banks. Some 250 foreign central banks and governments keep $3.3 trillion of their assets at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, about half of the world’s official dollar reserves, using a service advertised in a 2015 slide presentation as “safe and confidential.” Other major central banks and some commercial banks offer similar services. But only the Fed offers direct access to U.S. debt markets and to the world’s reserve currency, the dollar. In all, the people interviewed by Reuters identified seven instances in the last 15 years in which the accounts gave U.S. authorities insights into the actions of foreign counterparts or market movements, at times leading to a specific U.S. response.
Note: It's quite telling that no other major media picked up this important piece. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption and the disappearance of privacy.
The world’s richest individuals increased their wealth by a weighty $1 trillion, or about Ł750bn, in 2017. Most of us here in the UK battled stagnant wages [and] rising shop prices. In fact, the figures are quite startling. Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, which measures the wealth of the world’s top 500 people, shows that the richest of the rich controlled a total of $5.3 trillion in 2017, up from an already staggering $4.4 trillion at the same point in 2016. For context, the United States of America - the world’s largest economy - has a gross domestic product of somewhere around $19 trillion. So all in all, not a bad year to be a billionaire. But what does it mean for the rest of us? Back in 2016 ... a group of academics from such esteemed institutions as the University of Oxford, London School of Economics and Cornell University found that as the rich get richer the rest of us get grumpier. The findings were quite clear: in societies where the richest control the majority of the country’s income, the population as a whole is more likely to report feeling “stressed”, “worried” or “angry”. As the rich get richer, they are responsible for pricing certain goods and services out of the reach of the rest of the population – think top schools, the best hospitals and property in particularly desirable locations. And then there’s also a crucial psychological factor that may play a part: seeing the most prosperous becoming even more affluent might make you feel like your chances of moving up the ladder are fluttering away.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing income inequality news articles from reliable major media sources.
There’s no more ubiquitous feature of modern life than smartphones. Convenience, necessity and plain fun make the devices a near requirement, but it all comes with a ... doubt: Is there a health risk to a device that’s become almost a human appendage? The California Department of Public Health [has published] guidelines that come close to suggesting that there’s uncertain harm. As people use the devices, more often and at an earlier age, health risks could eventually show up. A Kaiser Permanente study ... found a higher rate of miscarriage for those exposed to radiation emitted by cell phones, power lines and wireless networks. Health dangers indicated in other studies include brain tumors, lower sperm count and impacts on memory, learning and sleep. State health officials are flashing a yellow light. If people want to take steps to minimize risk, the agency has suggestions. On the list is parking a smartphone away from the bedside table at night, storing the device in a purse or backpack instead of a pocket during the day, and generally keeping the phone at a distance from the body. Ease back on phone use when the signal is weak. Such advice sounds easy to accept. But coming from a major state agency, the idea of preventive steps to decrease exposure is sending a message. There are hundreds of millions of phones in this country, and California’s top health experts aren’t convinced there’s no human risk.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources.
In her new "spiritual memoir" titled Finding Magic, veteran journalist Sally Quinn ... the widow of legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee ... describes her lifelong belief in the occult and worries that hexes she once put on three people may have worked. "My family were Scots," [said Quinn]. "They all believed in Scottish myths and mysticism and the stones and psychic behavior and ghosts and astrology and palmistry and all that. And then of course we all went to church. So I had this kind of two-pronged religious upbringing. I would say my prayers to God and Jesus every night ... but I also believed in all this other stuff. When I was in my late 20s and early 30s, there were three people who hurt me in some way, or (hurt) somebody I loved, and so I decided to put a hex on them. I had never done it before. What I wanted to have happen was for them to feel what I had felt. I didn’t mean for them to die." One person died right away, another person got fired immediately and then died, and then the other one died. I’ve never done it again. And believe me, since (Donald) Trump was elected, and since the election, I can’t tell you how many friends have asked me to put a hex on Donald Trump, and I won’t do it. I just said no. I don’t do that anymore." The environment right now is more toxic and more poisonous than I’ve ever seen....(But I have) still been able to pull away and still find a sense of faith and joy and magic in the world."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the nature of reality from reliable major media sources.
A South Florida law professor, running to unseat Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is calling for a federal investigation into the destruction of all ballots cast in the August 2016 Democratic primary in Broward County. The challenger, Tim Canova, has made repeated public-records requests and filed a lawsuit seeking access to paper ballots cast in his unsuccessful race last year against the former Democratic National Committee chair in Florida’s 23rd congressional district. A statistical analysis of the primary conducted last year suggested the election results were “potentially implausible.” the Broward supervisor of elections, Brenda Snipes, has taken no action on requests ... to examine the ballots. Instead, Dr. Snipes has urged a judge to throw Canova’s lawsuit out. Despite the pending records requests and the ongoing litigation, Snipes ordered the ballots and other election documents destroyed. The lack of a paper trail verifying voter choices undercuts the ability to identify systemic election fraud and might make such fraud impossible to detect. The Aug. 30 Democratic primary in Broward was being closely watched across the country. A month earlier ... Wasserman Schultz was ousted as chairwoman of the DNC. She was removed over allegations that she and other party officials had rigged the Democratic presidential primary process to favor Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. The pro-Clinton fix was first divulged in DNC emails ... released to the public in the months leading up to the election.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing elections corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Lorry driver Abu Fawzi thought it was going to be just another job. He drives an 18-wheeler ... in northern Syria. But this time, his load was to be human cargo. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters opposed to IS, wanted him to lead a convoy that would take hundreds of families displaced by fighting ... to a camp further north. [He was told] the job would take six hours. He and his fellow drivers ... had been lied to. Instead, it would take three days of hard driving, carrying a deadly cargo - hundreds of IS fighters, their families and tonnes of weapons and ammunition. The deal to let IS fighters escape from Raqqa ... would spare lives and bring fighting to an end. But it also enabled many hundreds of IS fighters to escape from the city. At the time, neither the US and British-led coalition, nor the SDF, which it backs, wanted to admit their part. Has the pact, which stood as Raqqa’s dirty secret, unleashed a threat to the outside world - one that has enabled militants to spread far and wide across Syria and beyond? Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. Publicly, the SDF said that only a few dozen fighters had been able to leave, all of them locals. But one lorry driver tells us that isn't true. "We took out around 4,000 people including women and children," [the lorry driver said]. The convoy was six to seven kilometres long. In light of the BBC investigation, the coalition now admits the part it played in the deal. Some 250 IS fighters were allowed to leave Raqqa, with 3,500 of their family members.
Note: The rise of Islamic State militants was a predicted outcome of a CIA and MI6 program to transfer weapons from Libyan stockpiles to Syrian rebels in 2012. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war news articles from reliable major media sources.
Most pharmaceutical companies have sworn off ghostwriting, the practice of writing "research" papers for doctors and then paying them to add their names as authors even when they had little involvement or the results were trivial. Merck (MRK), Forest Labs (FRX), and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have all been caught doing it. But what happens to the articles that have been disavowed by companies or discredited by lawyers? Not much, it turns out. They sit inside prestigious online archives of academic material, unretracted, where they look just like real studies with robust results. Ghostwriting doesn't look good in lawsuits, either. Pfizer (PFE) must now pay $9.5 million to a woman who claimed menopause drug Prempro gave her breast cancer; Wyeth - the company that made the drug and was later acquired by Pfizer - commissioned ghostwritten articles about the drug. So it's interesting to note that many of those pay-for-play articles are still sitting in scholarly archives such as PubMed, notching up bibliography references and footnotes, even though they shouldn't be. You can search for more ghostwritten papers here.
Note: Big Pharma giant Merck created a fake medical journal and created a list of doctors to discredit in order to popularize a dangerous drug that may have killed as many as 500,000 people before it was finally recalled. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing pharmaceutical corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States. The program, run out of the Central Intelligence Agency and overseen by the Treasury Department ... is a significant departure from typical practice in how the government acquires Americans' financial records. Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records. That access to large amounts of confidential data was highly unusual, several officials said, and stirred concerns inside the administration about legal and privacy issues. "The capability here is awesome or, depending on where you're sitting, troubling," said one former senior counterterrorism official who considers the program valuable. While tight controls are in place, the official added, "the potential for abuse is enormous." The program is separate from the National Security Agency's efforts to eavesdrop without warrants and collect domestic phone records, operations that have provoked fierce public debate and spurred lawsuits against the government and telecommunications companies.
British designers are using the power of gravity to generate electricity, bringing safe and affordable light to people living off-grid. The kerosene that fuels most off-grid lamps is very expensive. Kerosene is also dirty and dangerous. In 2009 ... designers Martin Riddiford and Jim Reeves were challenged to create a safe, affordable, and sustainable lamps for low-income families living off-grid. Looking beyond solar and battery power, they had a lightbulb moment about gravity. Lifting a weight creates a potential energy store which is turned into kinetic energy as the weight descends. Through the GravityLight’s innovative gear train, this kinetic energy spins a generator that produces enough electrical energy to power an LED bulb. When the light goes out, the weight is simply hoisted back up to begin again. GravityLight has been piloted in Kenya where kerosene lamps are used extensively, especially in rural areas. A 50-night roadshow, supported by International celebrities, saw GravityLight engage with communities and organizations across the country. The results were impressive, with 90% of people saying they were happy to switch from kerosene. Little wonder, as the benefits quickly stack up. The GravityLight pays for itself in just seven weeks, and delivers an immediate improvement in the air quality of the home. It is clean, robust, renewable, reliable, and safe—as well as being better for the environment, giving off no CO2 or black carbon emissions.
Note: Watch a great two-minute video on this ingenious invention.
Germany has spent $200 billion over the past two decades to promote cleaner sources of electricity. That enormous investment is now having an unexpected impact - consumers are now actually paid to use power on occasion, as was the case over the weekend. Power prices plunged below zero for much of Sunday and the early hours of Christmas Day on ... a large European power trading exchange, the result of low demand, unseasonably warm weather and strong breezes that provided an abundance of wind power on the grid. Such “negative prices” are not the norm in Germany, but they are far from rare, thanks to the country’s effort to encourage investment in greener forms of power generation. Prices for electricity in Germany have dipped below zero ... more than 100 times this year alone. Several countries in Europe have experienced negative power prices, including Belgium, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. But Germany’s forays into negative pricing are the most frequent. At times, Germany is able to export its surplus electricity to its neighbors, helping to balance the market. Still, its experiences of negative prices are often longer, and deeper, than they are in other countries. In one recent example, power prices spent 31 hours below zero during the last weekend of October. At one point, they dipped as low as minus €83, or minus $98, per megawatt-hour, a wholesale measure. Anyone who was able to hook up for a large blast of electricity at that time was paid €83 per unit for the trouble.
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.