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.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States is experiencing around 400 covid deaths every day. At that rate, there would be nearly 150,000 deaths a year. But are these Americans dying from covid or with covid? Robin Dretler ... the former president of Georgia's chapter of Infectious Diseases Society of America, estimates that at his hospital, 90 percent of patients diagnosed with covid are actually in the hospital for some other illness. "Since every hospitalized patient gets tested for covid, many are incidentally positive," he said. A gunshot victim or someone who had a heart attack, for example, could test positive for the virus, but the infection has no bearing on why they sought medical care. If these patients die, covid might get added to their death certificate. But the coronavirus was not the primary contributor to their death and often played no role at all. Earlier in the pandemic, a large proportion of covid-positive hospitalizations were due to covid. But as more people developed some immunity through vaccination or infection, fewer patients were hospitalized because of it. During some days, [infectious-disease physician Shira Doron] said, the proportion of those hospitalized because of covid were as low as 10 percent of the total number reported. Both Dretler and Doron ... want the public to see what they're seeing, because, as Doron says, "overcounting covid deaths undermines people's sense of security and the efficacy of vaccines."
Note: Further explore the troubling inflation of COVID death numbers in this thought-provoking article, which shows how factual information and good science are being labeled as a "conspiracy" within mainstream culture. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Among the many surprising assets uncovered in the bankruptcy of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX is a relatively tiny one that could raise big concerns: a stake in one of the country's smallest banks. The bank, Farmington State Bank in Washington State, has a single branch and, until this year, just three employees. It did not offer online banking or even a credit card. The tiny bank's connection to the collapse of FTX is raising new questions about the exchange and its operations. The ties between FTX and Farmington State Bank began in March when Alameda Research, a small trading firm and sister to FTX, invested $11.5 million in the bank's parent company, FBH. At the time, Farmington was the nation's 26th-smallest bank out of 4,800. Its net worth was $5.7 million. FTX is a now bankrupt company that was one of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchanges. A judge allowed the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell to continue advising FTX on bankruptcy. It's unclear how FTX was allowed to buy a stake in a U.S.-licensed bank, which would need to be approved by federal regulators. Banking veterans say it's hard to believe that regulators would have knowingly allowed FTX to gain control of a U.S. bank. "The fact that an offshore hedge fund that was basically a crypto firm was buying a stake in a tiny bank for multiples of its stated book value should have raised massive red flags for the F.D.I.C., state regulators and the Federal Reserve," said Camden Fine, a bank industry consultant.
Note: An in-depth investigation by Whitney Webb and Ed Berger further unearths the mysterious connections between FTX and Farmington State Bank. Extending far beyond Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX, they make a case for a deeper criminal network at play, with troubling connections to this bank. Incidentally, the firm Sullivan & Cromwell has old connections with the CIA. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
A pair of attorneys defending FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried against one of the biggest white-collar prosecutions in decades are veterans of high-profile cases, including ones involving drug lord "El Chapo" and disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell. Mark Cohen and Christian Everdell, former federal prosecutors who are now partners in the New York-based boutique firm Cohen & Gresser ... are up against hard-charging Justice Department lawyers who moved quickly to indict Mr. Bankman-Fried after FTX's collapse and secured two of his former top lieutenants as cooperating witnesses. The Manhattan U.S. attorney's office this past month charged Mr. Bankman-Fried with stealing billions of dollars from FTX customers while misleading investors and lenders connected to his crypto-trading firm Alameda Research. He faces charges of fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and campaign-finance violations and pleaded not guilty last week. Messrs. Cohen, 59 years old, and Everdell, 48, have already navigated their client through a thorny extradition from the Bahamas, where Mr. Bankman-Fried had been jailed after the Justice Department requested that local police arrest him. The two lawyers worked with local counsel to secure his transfer to U.S. custody while negotiating with federal prosecutors his pretrial release under a $250 million bond. They are now tasked with combing through voluminous and technical discovery, including documents relating to FTX investors, debtors and political campaigns.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
After an exhaustive historical investigation into the barrels of DDT waste reportedly dumped decades ago near Catalina Island, federal regulators concluded that the toxic pollution in the deep ocean could be far worse ... than what scientists anticipated. In internal memos made public recently, officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined that acid waste from the nation's largest manufacturer of DDT – a pesticide so powerful it poisoned birds and fish – had not been contained in hundreds of thousands of sealed barrels. Most of the waste, according to newly unearthed information, had been poured directly into the ocean from massive tank barges. Other chemicals – as well as millions of tons of oil drilling waste – had also been dumped decades ago in more than a dozen areas off the Southern California coast. "That's pretty jaw-dropping in terms of the volumes and quantities of various contaminants that were dispersed in the ocean," said John Chesnutt ... who has been leading the EPA's technical team on the investigation. "This also begs the question: So what's in the barrels? There's still so much we don't know." These revelations build on much-needed research into DDT's toxic – and insidious – legacy in California. As many as half a million barrels of DDT waste have not been accounted for in the deep ocean. Women face greater risk of obesity, earlier menstruation and possibly breast cancer if their grandmothers were exposed to DDT during pregnancy, researchers say.
Note: Back in 2020, LA Times wrote an excellent investigative piece on the history and background of this unsettling issue. Consider watching a brief and shocking video of how the US government made the public believe DDT was so safe you could eat it and spray it on children. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
The situation for India's more than 260 million agricultural workers is dire. Nearly 30 people in the farming sector die by suicide daily, according to the most recent figures available, typically due to overwhelming debt. Indeed in 2020, more than 10,000 people in the agricultural sector ended their own lives, according to government data. India's economic backbone – its farmers and their families – is in collapse. They face crushing pressures: insurmountable debt, environmental degradation, and extreme rates of cancer linked to exposure to pesticides. This strain is compounded by climate change and extreme weather – from ground water depletion to water shortages and crop damage due to rising temperatures – effects which have been tied to increasing suicides in India. Many are subsistence farmers who are drowning in the volatility caused by the Green Revolution which began in the 1960s as a way of industrializing the agriculture sector with high yielding seeds, mechanized tools and pesticides. In some cases, farmers cannot work their land due to illness linked to the revolution's pesticides and fertilizers. They are dealing with deep-rooted battles against multinational corporations. And all the while having to take out loans each year to make the agricultural cycle possible. And then, when farmers are unable to get loans from legitimate banks, illegal moneylenders ... step in, charging exorbitant interest rates and creating an inescapable debt-trap for farmers, in some instances pushing them to suicide.
Note: Watch a compelling talk by food sovereignty advocate Vandana Shiva, who explains how the "Green Revolution" doesn't bring any gain in food security, and has done more harm than good in India. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Nearly half of Americans believe Covid vaccines have probably caused a significant number of unexplained deaths, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey. Rasmussen reported that a near equal proportion worry that Covid vaccines may have major side effects (57%) as believe they are effective (56%). The mRNA vaccines ... were authorized by the Food and Drug Administration on an emergency basis after only 10 months of testing. Vaccine trials usually take about 10 years. The FDA in December 2020 decided it couldn't wait for an exhaustive study and authorized the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines after two large randomized controlled trials showed they were nearly 95% effective against symptomatic infection. But patients had been tracked for only a few months. The trials included too few participants to identify relatively rare adverse effects, especially among those of different age groups or with particular medical conditions. Public-health officials couldn't conclude with any certainty whether the vaccines cause, for example, neurological symptoms in 1 of every 100,000 recipients or cardiac problems in 1 of every 10,000 young men. While the FDA later granted both vaccines full approval, boosters were never tested in large clinical trials. Nor has the government's recommended vaccine regimen, which for seniors has been five doses in less than two years. The internet is full of stories of unexplained deaths that follow vaccines, many of which may be coincidence but some of which may not.
Note: Media coverage is increasing about the questionable efficacy and safety of the COVID vaccines. If almost half of Americans believe COVID vaccines likely caused a significant number of unexplained deaths, why is the FDA now proposing annual COVID vaccinations? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Vaccine-makers sought to shape content moderation actions at Twitter. Stronger, a campaign run by Public Good Projects, a public health nonprofit specializing in large-scale media monitoring programs, regularly communicated with Twitter on regulating content related to the pandemic. The firm worked closely with the San Francisco social media giant to help develop bots to censor vaccine misinformation and, at times, sent direct requests to Twitter with lists of accounts to censor and verify. Internal Twitter emails show regular correspondence between an account manager at Public Good Projects, and various Twitter officials, including Todd O'Boyle, lobbyist with the company who served as a point of contact with the Biden administration. The content moderation requests were sent throughout 2021 and early 2022. The entire campaign ... was entirely funded by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a vaccine industry lobbying group. BIO, which is financed by companies such as Moderna and Pfizer, provided Stronger with $1,275,000 in funding for the effort, which included tools for the public to flag content on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for moderation. Many of the tweets flagged by Stronger contained absolute falsehoods. But others hinged on a gray area of vaccine policy through which there is reasonable debate, such as requests to label or take down content critical of vaccine passports and government mandates to require vaccination.
The US's transition to electric vehicles could require three times as much lithium as is currently produced for the entire global market, causing needless water shortages, Indigenous land grabs, and ecosystem destruction inside and outside its borders, new research finds. It warns that unless the US's dependence on cars in towns and cities falls drastically, the transition to lithium battery-powered electric vehicles by 2050 will deepen global environmental and social inequalities linked to mining – and may even jeopardize the 1.5C global heating target. But ambitious policies investing in mass transit, walkable towns and cities, and robust battery recycling in the US would slash the amount of extra lithium required in 2050 by more than 90%. In fact, this first-of-its-kind modeling shows it is possible to have more transport options for Americans that are safer, healthier and less segregated, and less harmful mining while making rapid progress to zero emissions. If Americans continue to depend on cars at the current rate, by 2050 the US alone would need triple the amount of lithium currently produced for the entire global market, which would have dire consequences for water and food supplies, biodiversity, and Indigenous rights. Lithium mining is, like all mining, environmentally and socially harmful. More than half the current lithium production, which is very water intensive, takes place in regions blighted by water shortages that are likely to get worse due to global heating.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The food served at the suburban San Francisco school system, Mount Diablo Unified, reflects a trend away from mass-produced, reheated meals. Its lunch menus are filled with California-grown fruits and vegetables, grass-fed meats and recipes that defy the stereotype of inedible school food. Among American schoolchildren, these students are in the lucky minority. Making fresh meals requires significant investment and, in many areas, an overhaul of how school kitchens have operated for decades. What's more, federal money to boost lunch budgets has declined. The government last year ended a pandemic-era program offering free school meals to everyone. A few states, such as California, have been paying to keep meals free for all students, but most states went back to charging all but the neediest kids for meals. Increases in money from California's state government have made it possible for Mount Diablo to buy fresher local ingredients and hire the chef, Josh Gjersand, a veteran of Michelin-starred restaurants. Local farms, bakers, creameries and fishermen now supply most ingredients to the district, which serves 30,000 students from wealthy and low-income communities east of San Francisco. Making food from scratch isn't just healthier, it's cheaper, many school nutrition directors say. In 2021, California committed to spending $650 million annually to supplement federal meal reimbursements – money for food, staff, new equipment and other upgrades.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Jacque Fresco is an inspiration to many, with his innovative ideas and blue prints for a sustainable society and planet that reject the current models of mass consumerism and self-destruction. His latest venture, called The Venus Project, advocates what Fresco has coined as a "resource-based economy", a society which runs on socio-cooperation and which utilizes the methodology of science and the advancements in technology in one of the cleanest and most energy efficient systems ever conceptualized. Located in Venus, Florida, The Venus Project is a research center which develops innovations in the fields of freelance inventing, industrial engineering, and conventional architectural modeling. The Venus Project aims to answer the question, how can we utilize technology wisely so that there is more than enough for everyone on our planet? To make this happen, Fresco proposes that a planning process must first occur, where the entire infrastructure of the planet is re-worked. This means the planet working together as one, eliminating the false borders that separate continents and countries and looking at our planet as an open trading highway system. The Venus Project works to showcase the amazing and inspiring potential of computers and technology, and to help people understand that it is not technology that is responsible for the deterioration of the planet and society, but rather it is the abuse and misuse of machines and automated technology for selfish benefits that we should be weary of.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Fifty years ago, Congress voted to override President Richard Nixon's veto of the Clean Water Act. It has proved to be one of the most transformative environmental laws ever enacted. At the time of the law's passage, hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage was dumped by New York City into the Hudson River every day. This filth was compounded by industrial contaminants emptied into the river along much of its length. The catch basin for all of this was New York Harbor, which resembled an open sewer. At its worst, 10 feet of raw human waste blanketed portions of the harbor bottom. Health advisories against eating fish from the Hudson remain, but its ecology has largely recovered, thanks to the law, which imposed strict regulations on what could be discharged into the water by sewage treatment plants, factories and other sources of pollution. Today people swim in organized events in New York Harbor, which would have been unthinkable in 1972 when the law was passed. Across the country, billions of dollars were also spent to construct and improve sewage treatment plants, leading to recoveries of other urban waterways. Cleaner water has made the harbor far more hospitable, and other steps have helped to rebuild life there, like fishing restrictions and the removal of some dams on tributaries in the Hudson River watershed. The bald eagle has made a strong comeback, taking advantage of the harbor's resurgent fish life. In December 2020 a humpback whale was seen in the Hudson just one mile from Times Square.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A new de-classified US government report on UFO sightings by US troops has revealed hundreds of new cases. The US National Intelligence office is now aware of 510 reported sightings, an increase over the 144 compiled in the spy agency's first 2021 assessment. Nearly half of the new sightings were deemed "unremarkable" and attributed to human origins, according to the report. However, more than 100 of the encounters remain unexplained. The report says that encounters with UFOs - which the government calls Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) - continue "to occur in restricted or sensitive airspace, highlighting possible concerns for safety" and national security. The report was issued in part to help "destigmatise" experiences with UFOs and improve air safety. And it says increased reports of encounters are indeed the result of "a concentrated effort to destigmatise the topic of UAP and instead recognise the potential risks that it poses as both a safety of flight hazard and potential adversarial activity", the report states. It goes on to say that 171 sightings still remain "uncharacterised and unattributed" - meaning, not enough information was collected to effectively identify them. "Some of these uncharacterised UAP appear to have demonstrated unusual flight characteristics or performance capabilities, and require further analysis," the report says. The reports are being examined by the All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), an office in the Pentagon created last year to review UAP incidents.
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.
A new Pentagon office set up to track reports of unidentified flying objects has received "several hundred" new reports, but no evidence so far of alien life. The All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) was set up in July and is responsible for not only tracking unidentified objects in the sky, but also underwater or in space – or potentially an object that has the ability to move from one domain to the next. The office was established following more than a year of attention on unidentified flying objects that military pilots have observed but have sometimes been reluctant to report due to fear of stigma. In June 2021 the Office of the Director of National Intelligence reported that between 2004 and 2021, there were 144 such encounters, 80 of which were captured on multiple sensors. Since then, "we've had lots more reporting", said anomaly office director Sean Kirkpatrick. When asked to quantify the amount, Kirkpatrick said "several hundreds". This May, Congress held its first hearing in more than half a century on the topic, with members expressing concern that – whether or not the objects are alien or potentially new technology being flown by China, Russia or another potential adversary – the unknown creates a security risk. So far, "we have not seen anything, and we're still very early on, that would lead us to believe that any of the objects that we have seen are of alien origin", said Ronald Moultrie, under secretary of defense for intelligence and security. "Any unauthorized system in our airspace we deem as a threat."
Note: Read an in-depth essay by former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Christopher Mellon questioning why this important topic is being dismissed by the major media when reported at all. 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.
Covid-19 is deadly, but so were the draconian steps taken to mitigate it. During the first two years of the pandemic, "excess deaths"–the death toll above the historical trend–markedly exceeded the number of deaths attributed to Covid. In a paper we just published in Inquiry, based on data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we found that "non-Covid excess deaths" totaled nearly 100,000 a year in 2020 and 2021. Even these numbers likely overestimate deaths from Covid and underestimate those from other causes. The official count of "Covid deaths" includes people who tested positive but died of other causes. What are non-Covid excess deaths? During the pandemic, deaths from accidents, overdoses, alcoholism and homicide all soared, as did deaths from hypertension, heart disease and diabetes. From April 2020 through December 2021, deaths from Covid averaged 350,000 a year for Americans 65 and older, 100,000 a year for those 45 to 64, and 20,000 a year for those 18 to 44. That produced excess deaths for these age groups of 16%, 19% and 11% respectively. The CDC data show the rate of non-Covid excess deaths in the first half of 2022 was even higher than 2020 or 2021. These deaths therefore likely already exceed 250,000, disproportionately among young adults. We now have more overdose deaths each year than all military deaths of the last 60 years combined. Homicides, accidents and alcohol deaths are collectively running tens of thousands per year above pre-pandemic norms.
Note: The above was written by Rob Arnott and Casey B. Mulligan. Mr. Arnott founded asset management firm Research Affiliates. Mr. Mulligan was chief economist for the White House Council of Economic Advisers. For more along these lines, watch an articulate interview discussing excess deaths since 2021 that aren't linked to COVID-19, yet are most likely associated with the rollout of the COVID vaccines.
Some vaccine advisers to the federal government say they're "disappointed" and "angry" that government scientists and the pharmaceutical company Moderna didn't present a set of infection data on the company's new Covid-19 booster during meetings last year when the advisers discussed whether the shot should be authorized and made available to the public. That data suggested the possibility that the updated booster might not be any more effective at preventing Covid-19 infections than the original shots. US taxpayers spent nearly $5 billion on the new booster, which has been given to more than 48.2 million people. "I was angry to find out that there was data that was relevant to our decision that we didn't get to see," said Dr. Paul Offit, a member of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, a group of external advisers that helps the FDA make vaccine decisions. The data that was not presented to the experts looked at actual infections: who caught Covid-19 and who did not. It found that 1.9% of the study participants who received the original booster became infected. Among those who got the updated bivalent vaccine ... a higher percentage, 3.2%, became infected. A 22-page FDA briefing document given to the advisers did not mention this infection data. Dr. Jerry Weir, director of the Division of Viral Products at the FDA's Office of Vaccines Research and Review, also did not mention the infection data in his presentation to the advisers.
Job growth and wages are slowing. This is music to the ears of Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell, because the Fed blames inflation on rising wages. The Fed has been increasing interest rates to slow the economy and thereby reduce the bargaining power of workers to get wage gains. But aren't higher wages a good thing? The typical American worker's wage has been stuck in the mud for four decades. Most of the gains from a more productive economy have been going to the top – to executives and investors. The richest 10% of Americans now own more than 90% of the value of shares of stock owned by Americans. Powell's solution to inflation is to clobber workers even further. But if the demand for workers exceeds the supply, isn't the answer to pay workers more? Not according to Powell and the Fed. Their answer is to continue to raise interest rates to slow the economy and put more people out of work, so workers can't get higher wages. The Fed projects that as it continues to increase interest rates, unemployment will rise to 4.6% by the end of 2023 – resulting in more than 1m job losses. The problem isn't that wages are rising. The real problem is that corporations have the power to pass those wage increases – along with record profit margins – on to consumers in the form of higher prices. If corporations had to compete vigorously for consumers, they wouldn't be able to do this. Competitors would charge lower prices and grab those consumers away.
Note: The above was written by former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week, the public relations juggernaut Edelman will publish the latest edition of its "trust barometer", an annual survey that purports to measure whether people around the world trust businesses, governments, NGOs and the media. There's just one problem: even as Edelman promotes its brand and pursues clients with stern warnings about the importance of trust, critics charge the company appears reluctant to follow its own advice. The firm's clients have ranged from ExxonMobil to the Saudi government and members of the Sackler family, the former owners of the opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma. Successful PR firms do more than simply promote and spin – they actually infuse the public discourse with their clients' perspectives. "These companies are trying not just to manage trust, but to make trust," [media studies professor Melissa] Aronczyk said. "And if they themselves are the owners of that survey, or barometer, or whatever it is, then, of course, they become the proprietors of that kind of value." Edelman's most effective case study might be the firm itself. It has managed to cultivate a reputation for trust even as its business model appears regularly to contradict its advice and its CEO's admonitions. Over the past four years Edelman has signed about $9.6m worth of deals with the government of Saudi Arabia and companies controlled by the regime, while simultaneously urging businesses to stand up for human rights.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Oxfam has called for immediate action to tackle a post-Covid widening in global inequality after revealing that almost two-thirds of the new wealth amassed since the start of the pandemic has gone to the richest 1%. In [a] report to coincide with the annual gathering of the global elite at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the charity said the best-off had pocketed $26tn (Ł21tn) in new wealth up to the end of 2021. That represented 63% of the total new wealth, with the rest going to the remaining 99% of people. Oxfam said extreme concentrations of wealth led to weaker growth, corrupted politics and the media, corroded democracy and led to political polarisation. The report called on governments to introduce immediate one-off wealth levies on the richest 1%, together with windfall taxes to clamp down on profiteering during the global cost of living crisis. Subsequently, there should be a permanent increase in taxes on rich. In support of its call for redistribution of wealth, Oxfam said: Food and energy companies had more than doubled their profits in 2022, paying out $257bn to wealthy shareholders at a time when more than 800 million people were going hungry. Only 4 cents in every dollar of tax revenue came from wealth taxes, and half the world's billionaires lived in countries with no inheritance tax. A tax of up to 5% on the world's multimillionaires and billionaires could raise $1.7tn a year, enough to lift 2 billion people out of poverty, and fund a global plan to end hunger.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
The US Food and Drug Administration announced the resignations of two top vaccine officials on Tuesday, and reports said the two were leaving in anger over the Biden administration's plan to roll out COVID-19 booster shots before officials had a chance to approve it. Dr. Marion Gruber, the director of the FDA's Office of Vaccines Research and Review, and her deputy, Dr. Philip Krause, plan to leave the FDA. Dr. Peter Marks, the director of the FDA's Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, praised the pair for their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. He didn't give a reason for their departures. But sources told ... Politico that Gruber and Krause were upset with Biden administration's booster-shot plan. One former senior FDA leader [said] that Gruber and Krause were leaving because they felt that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was making vaccine decisions that should have been left to the FDA and were upset with Marks, the leader of their division, for not insisting on the agency's oversight. The source said the final straw was the Biden administration's announcing the booster-shot plan before the FDA had officially signed off on it. A former FDA official told Politico that the resignations were tied to anger over the FDA's lack of autonomy in booster planning.
Note: We don't use Business Insider as a normal reliable source, but in this case, the major media (like this CNN article) avoids linking this decision to the boosters. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Luc, along with just about every able-bodied Rwandan aged 18 to 65, participates in the monthly activity known as "Umuganda," a Kinyarwanda word that means "coming together in common purpose." On the last Saturday of every month, from 8 to 11 a.m., Rwandans across the country gather together to partake in community improvement projects. In Luc's neighborhood, this has meant trimming back bushes that attract malaria-spreading mosquitoes, and making sure roads are clear. According to Luc, these monthly gatherings have helped his community recover from a long, devastating period of genocide, making it clean, innovative, loving and self-reliant. Across the country ... the tradition of Umuganda has unfolded in similar fashion, helping Rwanda to piece itself back together and recover from ruin. Though Umuganda is a national phenomenon, the mobilization of it takes place at the community level – specifically, in "cells" of at least 50 households called Umudugudu. Spearheaded by a community leader, members of a cell often use the mobile messaging service WhatsApp to work out the logistics. This small-scale organizational structure is key to making Umuganda work. Luc thinks Umuganda has value beyond the projects themselves, promoting self-reliance among Rwandans. "When you see something wrong within your surroundings, you do not wait for someone else to come and do it for you, you just go for it and do it," he says. "Do Umuganda. Solve the problem yourselves."
Here in the Kibera slum, life sometimes seems a free-for-all. Yet this is an uplifting slum. Kennedy [Odede] taught himself to read ... then formed a Kibera self-help association called Shining Hope for Communities, better known as SHOFCO. Let's just acknowledge that development is hard, particularly in urban slums that are growing fast around the world. Billions of dollars are poured into the poorest countries, and in Haiti and South Sudan one sees fleets of expensive white S.U.V.s driven by aid organizations; what's missing is long-term economic development. International aid keeps children alive, which is no small feat. But it has had less success in transforming troubled places. That's where SHOFCO is intriguing as an alternative model. "Development has been part of imperialism – you know better than anybody else because you're from America or Europe," Kennedy [said]. He thinks international aid sometimes is ineffective partly because it feels imposed by the outside. SHOFCO has spread through low-income communities across Kenya and now boasts 2.4 million members, making it one of the largest grass-roots organizations in Africa. It provides clean water, fights sexual assault, runs a credit union, coaches people on starting small businesses, runs libraries and internet hot spots, mobilizes voters to press politicians to bring services to slums, runs public health campaigns and does 1,000 other things. It exemplifies a partnership: local leadership paired with a reliance on the best international practices.
Zach Skow [is] a man on a mission to bring dogs into every US prison. Skow is the founder of Pawsitive Change, a rehabilitation programme that pairs rescue dogs with inmates. He began a pilot programme at California City Correctional Facility in January 2016, teaching inmates to become dog trainers, and it's now been rolled out to four more California state prisons and one female juvenile correction centre. To date more than 300 men have graduated from the programme and roughly 200 dogs from "high-kill" shelters have been rescued and adopted as a result of the inmates' work with them (the shelters accept any animal [and] euthanise a certain percentage if they can't rehome them). Seventeen of the programme's human graduates have been paroled and so far none has returned to prison (at a time when the US recidivism rate stands at 43%). Working with the dogs and seeing what the animals are going through prompts the men to speak of their own experiences. When one student relates how his dog didn't want to come out of the kennel in the first few days, another shares how he too didn't want to leave his cell when he first came to prison. Many of these men have been told repeatedly from a young age that they're not to be trusted, that they make a mess of things, that they're not fit to take charge of anything. This message is then reinforced ... through the penal system. This programme challenges the "branding" these men have had imposed on them from an early age. It allows them to create new narratives.
Note: Watch a beautiful 4-minute video of an inmate and his beloved pup. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Microplastics have been found to cross the placenta into unborn babies, a shocking study reveals. Scientists warn it is impossible to stop children ingesting the tiny plastic particles as well as even smaller nanoplastics, which can be found almost everywhere. Microplastics have also been found in newborn children, the researchers add. Infants ingest microplastics from baby bottles, toys, textiles and food packaging. When microplastics end up in household dust, children can ingest them by playing and crawling on the floor. Microplastics contain other harmful chemicals as well as plastic, such as phthalates and metals added for colour, stabilisation or as a biocide. When microplastics end up outdoors, for example as particles from car tires, this plastic core is often coated with air pollution and car exhaust. Study author Kam Sripada from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology said: "It's quite possible that children are more exposed to microplastics than adults, similar to children's greater exposure to many other environmental toxic chemicals. "No one knows exactly how much microplastic a child ingests, but several studies now suggest that today's children absorb microplastics in their bodies as early as at fetal age. "Children do not have a fully developed immune system and are in a very important phase of their brain development. "This makes them particularly vulnerable. Nano and microplastics are so miniscule that they can travel deep into the lungs and can also cross into the placenta."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
There has been a steady increase in the number of children who are seen in emergency rooms for suicidal thoughts, according to a new study. The study, published ... in the journal Pediatrics, used data from hospitals in Illinois. The researchers looked at the number of children ages 5 to 19 who sought help for suicide in emergency departments between January 2016 and June 2021. In that period, there were 81,051 emergency department visits by young people that were coded for suicidal ideation. About a quarter of those visits turned into hospital stays. The study found that visits to the ER with suicidal thoughts increased 59% from 2016-17 to 2019-21. There was a corresponding increase in cases in which suicidal ideation was the principal diagnosis, which rose from 34.6% to 44.3%. Hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts increased 57% between fall 2019 and fall 2020. "It just really highlights how mental health concerns were really a problem before the pandemic. I mean, we saw this huge increase in [emergency department] visits for kids of all ages, honestly, in 2019, and it's very concerning," said study co-author Dr. Audrey Brewer. Dr. Nicholas Holmes ... at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, said the increase in the number of kids seeking help in his health care system has been "profound." "Over the last nine years, where we would see about anywhere from one to two patients a day that were having a behavioral health crisis, now we're seeing 20-plus a day," said Holmes.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
A Journal article in 2021 cited internal [Facebook] research showing that steps to promote engagement had favored inflammatory material, with publishers and political parties reorienting their posts toward outrage and sensationalism. After the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Facebook parent Meta Platforms Inc. said it wanted to scale back how much political content it showed users. [Chief Executive Mark] Zuckerberg and [Meta's] board chose the most drastic, instructing the company to demote posts on "sensitive" topics as much as possible ... an initiative that hasn't previously been reported. Depending on the mix of suppression features deployed, projected Facebook traffic to Fox News, MSNBC, the New York Times, Newsmax, the Atlantic and The Wall Street Journal would initially fall by as much as 40% to 60% beyond the already enacted reductions. Suppressing civic content didn't appear likely to convince users that Facebook wasn't politically toxic. According to internal research, the percentage of users who said they thought Facebook had a negative effect on politics didn't budge with the changes, staying consistently around 60% in the U.S. Ravi Iyer, a former Meta data-science manager ... said there should be more focus on the way platforms allow certain content to go viral, rather than subjective decisions about what to leave up or take down. “Having employees judge good vs. bad speech often creates more problems than it solves,” he said. “Our goal should be fewer judgment calls.”
In April, authorities acting on a tip said they found charred piles of wood and bone on a five-acre patch of Logan County, opening one of the grisliest and most sensitive criminal investigations in Oklahoma's recent history. Behind the 10-foot metal walls of a compound with links to the Universal Aryan Brotherhood, a white-supremacist prison gang, officers found what they believe to be a body dumping ground where multiple people ended up dismembered and burned. "We're just trying to keep some people alive at this point," [an] official said, describing the struggle to protect potential witnesses. That level of danger is a jarring reminder of the unseen threat of white-supremacist prison gangs, whose leaders run crime syndicates from behind bars through a network of "enforcers" on the outside. The gangs have carried out hate-fueled attacks both in and out of prison, with the bulk of their free-world violence targeting rivals and informants. Because the gangs typically keep their business within the criminal underground, the attacks go largely undiscussed in the broader national conversation. The UAB is known to be a major player in Oklahoma meth trafficking, according to authorities and a 2018 federal indictment of 18 members on racketeering charges. The indictment, one of the most detailed public accounts of UAB operations, accused the gang of distributing an estimated 2,500 kilos of meth annually in Oklahoma, and laid out related crimes such as "murder, kidnapping, witness intimidation, home invasions."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
When police arrived on the scene, they found Ishmail Thompson standing naked outside a hotel. After they arrested him, a mental health specialist at the county jail said Thompson should be sent to the hospital for psychiatric care. However ... a doctor cleared Thompson to return to jail. With that decision, he went from being a mental health patient to a Dauphin County Prison inmate. Thompson soon would be locked in a physical struggle with corrections officers – one of 5,144 such "use of force" incidents that occurred in 2021 inside Pennsylvania county jails. An investigation by WITF and NPR looked at 456 of those incidents from 25 county jails in Pennsylvania. Nearly 1 in 3 "use of force" incidents involved a person who was having a mental health crisis or who had a known mental illness. Guards used aggressive – and distressing – weapons like stun guns and pepper spray to control and subdue such prisoners, despite the fact that their severe psychiatric conditions meant they may have been unable to follow orders – or even understand what was going on. For Ishmail Thompson, this played out within hours of returning to jail from the hospital. An officer covered Thompson's head with a hood and put him in a restraint chair. Thompson died. The district attorney declined to bring charges. "The vast majority of people who are engaged in self-harm are not going to die," [Attorney Alan] Mills says. "What they really need is intervention to de-escalate the situation, whereas use of force escalates the situation."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The former attorney general for the Virgin Islands, who recently secured a $105 million settlement from the estate of Jeffrey Epstein, was recently fired following months of friction between her and the U.S. territory's governor over the handling of the investigation into the disgraced financier, according to people briefed on the matter. Denise N. George, the former official, was dismissed by Albert Bryan Jr., the governor of the Virgin Islands, on New Year's Eve, four days after her office sued JPMorgan Chase in federal court in Manhattan for its dealings with Mr. Epstein, who died of an apparent suicide in 2019 while in federal custody. The timing of Ms. George's firing fueled media speculation in the Virgin Islands and beyond that the suit against JPMorgan was the immediate cause. In late December, Ms. George's office sued JPMorgan in federal court in Manhattan, claiming that bank was derelict in providing banking services to Mr. Epstein during the time he was charged with sexually abusing teenage girls and young women at Little St. James and elsewhere in the U.S. The lawsuit accused JPMorgan of facilitating and concealing wire and cash transactions that should have raised suspicions that Mr. Epstein was engaging in the sexual trafficking of teen girls and young women. The lawsuit contends the bank essentially turned a "blind eye" to Mr. Epstein's conduct because it was profitable. JPMorgan, the largest U.S. bank by assets, was Mr. Epstein's primary banker from the late 1990s to 2013.
Five years nearly to the day since the New York Times and the New Yorker published their explosive exposĂ©s on Harvey Weinstein and his myriad misdeeds – all of them leveraging his vaunted position in Hollywood to extract sex and force humiliation on hopeful actresses – Weinstein and several other men accused as part of the broader #MeToo movement are seeing the inside of a courtroom. Weinstein, who was already sentenced to 23 years in prison for rape and sexual assault in New York, now faces trial for similar crimes in California. Paul Haggis, who won an Oscar for directing the film Crash ... goes to trial next month in a civil suit filed by a film publicist who says he raped her. And Kevin Spacey is also facing a civil suit filed by actor Anthony Rapp, who says Spacey got on top of him and made a sexual advance when he was just 14 and Spacey was 26. All three men have a few things in common. They are (or were) among Hollywood's most powerful men. They are a tiny minority among men accused of assault as part of the #MeToo movement to actually see the inside of a courtroom. And they all demonstrate both the benefits and the limitations of the legal system adjudicating sexual assault claims. Is this justice? No, not for everyone; not even for most. It also probably doesn't give many feminists much pleasure to hear that men like Weinstein are now suffering the same cruelties and dehumanizing humiliations our criminal justice system has long leveled on more invisible men.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
In 2017, the CIA had plotted to kidnap or assassinate Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who had taken refuge five years earlier in the Ecuador embassy in London. A senior US counter-intelligence official said that plans for the forcible rendition of Assange to the US were discussed "at the highest levels" of the Trump administration. The informant was one of more than 30 US officials – eight of whom confirmed details of the abduction proposal – quoted in a 7,500-word investigation by Yahoo News into the CIA campaign against Assange. The plan was to "break into the embassy, drag [Assange] out and bring him to where we want", recalled a former intelligence official. Another informant said that he was briefed about a meeting in the spring of 2017 at which President Trump had asked if the CIA could assassinate Assange and provide "options" about how this could be done. The Trump-appointed head of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, said publicly that he would target Assange and WikiLeaks as the equivalent of "a hostile intelligence service". Top intelligence officials intended to decide themselves who is and who is not a journalist, and lobbied the White House to redefine other high-profile journalists as "information brokers", who were to be targeted as if they were agents of a foreign power. In 2013 ... a team of 120 counter-intelligence officers ... failed to find a single person in Iraq and Afghanistan who had died because of the disclosures by WikiLeaks.
Note: CIA interest in assassinating Assange coincided with Wikileaks' publication of leaked CIA hacking tools. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
Music, it turns out, is medicine for the mind. [A 2021 study] set out to see what happens in the brain when a person with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer's disease listens to their favorite playlist for an hour every day. The 14 participants had brain scans and took neuropsychological tests that involved memory exercises. At the end of the trial the participants showed a small but statistically significant improvement in memory – something that is extremely unusual. New connections had formed between different regions of the brain ... that actually changed brain plasticity and also improved function in relaying information. Thaut says the research shows that while music is in no way a cure for Alzheimers, it can provide a "cognitive boost." That's why a person with memory impairment may not recall their daughter's name but may remember all the lyrics to her favorite lullaby. "It's pulling from emotions, it's pulling from feelings, it's pulling from interpersonal associations, it's pulling from a date or time or period of one's life – historical things," [Concetta] Tomaino says. Music serves as a clue, coaxing the brain to fill in the blanks. "It is painful to watch your beloved slip away inch by inch," [Carol Rosenstein] says. "And if it weren't for the music, I wouldn't be sitting here today. As a caregiver and first responder, I can tell you, I would have never survived the journey."
On Dutch â€care farms,' aging folks tend to livestock, harvest vegetables and make their own decisions. Boerderij Op Aarde is one of hundreds of Dutch "care farms" operated by people facing an array of illnesses or challenges, either physical or mental. Today, there are roughly 1,350 care farms in the Netherlands. They provide meaningful work in agricultural settings with a simple philosophy: rather than design care around what people are no longer able to do, design it to leverage and emphasize what they can accomplish. Studies in Norway and the Netherlands found that people with dementia at care farms tended to move more and participate in higher-intensity activities than those in traditional care, which can help with mobility in daily life and have a positive impact on cognition. Dementia is often linked to social isolation, and care farms were found to boost social involvement. In traditional dementia care settings ... the focus tends to be on preventing risk. There's often a fixed schedule of simple activities, like games or movies, and the only choice attendees are given is whether to participate or not. In the course of his research, [Jan] Hassink has spoken to countless people with dementia. Common to many of them is a desire to not only participate in society, but contribute to it. "We don't focus on what's missing, but what is still left," says Arjan Monteny, cofounder of Boerderij Op Aarde, "what is still possible to develop in everybody."
For most New Mexico residents, college will now be officially tuition-free. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed on Friday Senate Bill 140, otherwise known as the New Mexico Opportunity Scholarship Act. First introduced in 2019, the plan will waive tuition for any students attending any in-state public school or tribal college, including community colleges. "For over a quarter of a century, New Mexico has been a national leader in providing free college to its residents. A fully funded Opportunity Scholarship opens the door for every New Mexican to reach higher, strengthening our economy, our families and our communities," Lujan Grisham said. "Signing this legislation sends a clear message to New Mexicans that we believe in them and the contributions they will make for their families and the future of our great state." Eligible students must enroll in a minimum of six credit hours and maintain a grade point average of at least 2.5 during their time in college. The scholarship has already been awarded to more than 10,000 students over the last two years, but now $75 million has been allocated to the fund. That could support up to 35,000 students this fall alone ... and allows part-time students and adult learners to take advantage, as well. Across the country, many states have moved to provide some sort of tuition-free college education, typically at the community college level. In 2019, California waived tuition for first-time, full-time students attending two years of community college.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has graduated from the hype stage of the last decade and its use cases are now well documented. Whichever nation best adapts this technology to its military – especially in space – will open new frontiers in innovation and determine the winners and losers. The US Army has anticipated this impending AI disruption and has moved quickly to stand up efforts like Project Linchpin to construct the infrastructure and environment necessary to proliferate AI technology across its intelligence, cyber, and electronic warfare communities. However, it should come as no surprise that China anticipated this advantage sooner than the US and is at the forefront of adoption. Chinese dominance in AI is imminent. The Chinese government has made enormous investments in this area (much more than Western countries) and is the current leader in AI publications and research patents globally. Meanwhile, China's ambitions in space are no longer a secret – the country is now on a trajectory to surpass the US in the next decade. The speed, range, and flexibility afforded by AI and machine learning gives those on orbit who wield it an unprecedented competitive edge. The advantage of AI in space warfare, for both on-orbit and in-ground systems, is that AI algorithms continuously learn and adapt as they operate, and the algorithms themselves can be upgraded as often as needed, to address or escalate a conflict. Like electronic warfare countermeasures during the Cold War, AI is truly the next frontier.
The government of the U.S. Virgin Islands alleges in a lawsuit filed this week that JPMorgan Chase "turned a blind eye" to evidence that disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein used the bank to facilitate sex-trafficking activities on Little St. James, the private island he owned in the territory until his 2019 suicide. In a more than 100-page complaint filed by U.S.V.I. Attorney General Denise George in the Southern District of New York in Manhattan on Tuesday, the territory alleges that JPMorgan failed to report Epstein's suspicious activities and provided the financier with services reserved for high-wealth clients after his 2008 conviction for soliciting a minor for prostitution in Palm Beach, Fla. The complaint says the territory's Department of Justice investigation "revealed that JP Morgan knowingly, negligently, and unlawfully provided and pulled the levers through which recruiters and victims were paid and was indispensable to the operation and concealment of the Epstein trafficking enterprise." It accused the bank of ignoring evidence for "more than a decade because of Epstein's own financial footprint, and because of the deals and clients that Epstein brought and promised to bring to the bank." "These decisions were advocated and approved at the senior levels of JP Morgan," it said. The bank allegedly "facilitated and concealed wire and cash transactions that raised suspicion of – and were in fact part of – a criminal enterprise whose currency was the sexual servitude of dozens of women and girls," according to the complaint.
Note: Just days after filing the lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase, the district attorney of US Virgin Islands was fired. 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.
Public-health experts are sounding the alarm about a new Omicron variant dubbed XBB. It isn't clear that XBB is any more lethal than other variants, but its mutations enable it to evade antibodies from prior infection and vaccines. Growing evidence also suggests that repeated vaccinations may make people more susceptible to XBB and could be fueling the virus's rapid evolution. Prior to Omicron's emergence in November 2021, there were only four variants of concern: Alpha, Beta, Delta and Gamma. Only Alpha and Delta caused surges of infections globally. But Omicron has begotten numerous descendents. "Such rapid and simultaneous emergence of multiple variants with enormous growth advantages is unprecedented," a Dec. 19 study in the journal Nature notes. The same study posits that immune imprinting may be contributing to the viral evolution. Vaccines do a good job of training the immune system to remember and knock out the original Wuhan variant. But when new and markedly different strains come along, the immune system responds less effectively. A Cleveland Clinic study that tracked its healthcare workers found that ... workers who had received more [vaccine] doses were at higher risk of getting sick. Those who received three more doses were 3.4 times as likely to get infected as the unvaccinated, while those who received two were only 2.6 times as likely. "This is not the only study to find a possible association with more prior vaccine doses and higher risk of COVID-19," the authors noted.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
For generations of most American families, getting children vaccinated was just something to check off on the list of back-to-school chores. But after the ferocious battles over Covid shots of the past two years, simmering resistance to general school vaccine mandates has grown significantly. Now, 35 percent of parents oppose requirements that children receive routine immunizations in order to attend school, according to a new survey released Friday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Forty-four percent of adults who either identify as Republicans or lean that way said in the latest survey that parents should have the right to opt out of school vaccine mandates, up from 20 percent in a prepandemic poll conducted in 2019 by the Pew Research Center. In contrast, 88 percent of adults who identify as or lean Democratic endorsed childhood vaccine requirements, a slight increase from 86 percent in 2019. The survey found that 28 percent of adults overall believed parents should have the authority to make school vaccine decisions for their children, a stance that in the 2019 Pew poll was held by just 16 percent of adults. The shift in positions appears to be less about rejecting the shots than a growing endorsement of the so-called parents' rights movement. Indeed, 80 percent of parents said that the benefits of vaccines for measles, mumps and rubella outweighed the risks, down only slightly from 83 percent in 2019. The latest survey was based on interviews with a nationally representative sample of 1,259 adults.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Richard Edelman, the CEO of the $1bn public relations firm Edelman, published a blogpost in June reflecting on his trip to the elite gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "I left Davos inspired by the bravery of the Ukrainians and Poles," Edelman wrote, "[and] more convinced than ever about the global rift between democracy and autocracy." Freedom House named Saudi Arabia as one of the "worst of the worst" nations in the world for human rights and civil and political liberties. The Saudi government "really restricts almost all political rights and civil liberties and engages in arbitrary imprisonment, torture, [and] execution of perceived opponents", said Michael Abramowitz, the president of Freedom House. "It's a pretty grim picture." For those on the receiving end of Saudi repression, that picture has improved little since the October 2018 assassination and dismemberment of the Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an operation that US intelligence concluded was "approved" by the Saudi crown prince. Over that same period, however, the picture presented by the Saudi government to influential American audiences has been brightened with the help of key contractors, including Edelman. Since Khashoggi's murder, the powerful PR firm has received or is contracted to receive $9.6m (Ł7.9m) in fees from Saudi government agencies and companies controlled by the regime. Most of Edelman's work for the regime has focused on rehabilitating its reputation in the United States.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The so-called Twitter Files, released ... by the independent journalist Matt Taibbi, set off a firestorm among pundits, media ethicists and lawmakers in both parties. It also offered a window into the fractured modern landscape of news, where a story's reception is often shaped by readers' assumptions about the motivations of both reporters and subjects. Mr. Musk teased the release of internal documents that he said would reveal the story behind Twitter's 2020 decision to restrict posts linking to a report in the New York Post about Joseph R. Biden Jr.'s son, Hunter. Mr. Musk, who has accused tech companies of censorship ... pointed readers to the account of Mr. Taibbi, an iconoclast journalist. Published in the form of a lengthy Twitter thread, Mr. Taibbi’s report included images of email exchanges among Twitter officials deliberating how to handle dissemination of the Post story on their platform. Skeptics of Mr. Taibbi seized on what appeared to be an orchestrated disclosure. “Imagine volunteering to do online PR work for the world’s richest man on a Friday night, in service of nakedly and cynically right-wing narratives, and then pretending you’re speaking truth to power,” the MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan wrote in a Twitter post. Mr. Taibbi clapped back on Saturday, writing: “Looking forward to going through all the tweets complaining about ‘PR for the richest man on earth,’ and seeing how many of them have run stories for anonymous sources at the FBI, CIA, the Pentagon, White House, etc.”
Note: Matt Taibbi is one of the few journalists who reports it as he sees it and is willing to look far beneath the surface. We subscribe to his excellent reports as one very useful source of unraveling the jumble of news that comes our way. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
In response to a 2017 request from the Pentagon, Twitter kept online a network of accounts that the U.S. military used to advance its interests in the Middle East, according to internal company emails that were made public on Tuesday by The Intercept, a nonprofit publication. A counterterrorism division at Twitter knew about the arrangement, but others did not, five people with knowledge of the matter said. The situation was unusual because Twitter normally removes and publicly discloses influence campaigns conducted by governments. The internal documents published by The Intercept were provided by Twitter under its new owner, Elon Musk. Mr. Musk has made an archive of documents available to select journalists to scrutinize the decisions of the company's previous leaders. The situation began in 2017 when an official working with U.S. Central Command requested that Twitter verify some of the military's accounts. The accounts had been flagged by a Twitter system used to automatically detect terrorist content and were not easy to find in searches. The Pentagon asked Twitter to "whitelist" the accounts, which would prevent the automatic tools from flagging them and make them more broadly visible on the platform. Twitter's counterterrorism team complied. While the company regularly disclosed other state-backed influence campaigns in transparency reports, executives ... feared they could violate national security laws by speaking publicly about the takedown of the campaign.
The internet has come a long way since Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web in 1989. Now, in an era of growing concern over privacy, he believes it's time for us to reclaim our personal data. Through their startup Inrupt, Berners-Lee and CEO John Bruce have created the "Solid Pod" – or Personal Online Data Store. It allows people to keep their data in one central place and control which people and applications can access it, rather than having it stored by apps or sites all over the web. Users can get a Pod from a handful of providers. Not only is user data safe from corporations, and governments, it's also less likely to be stolen by hackers, Bruce says. Launched in 2017, Inrupt reportedly raised $30 million in December 2021 and Berners-Lee says it will help deliver the next iteration of the web – "Web 3." Paul Brody, a blockchain expert for analysts Ernst and Young, believes Web 3 could change the way we use the internet. "You'll hear people talk about Web 3 and decentralization as being very similar in ideas and goals," he says. "Owning your own data and really controlling your own commerce infrastructure is something that Web 3 will enable. It will be ultimately really transformational for users." Berners-Lee hopes his platform will give control back to internet users. "I think the public has been concerned about privacy – the fact that these platforms have a huge amount of data, and they abuse it," he says. "You need to get back to a situation where you have autonomy, you have control of all your data."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the erosion of privacy from reliable major media sources.
In the next few weeks, tens of thousands of people in Cook County, Ill., will open their mailboxes to find a letter from the county government explaining that their medical debt has been paid off. Officials in New Orleans and Toledo, Ohio, are finalizing contracts so that tens of thousands of residents can receive a similar letter. In Pittsburgh on Dec. 19, the City Council approved a budget that would include $1 million for medical debt relief. More local governments are likely to follow as county executives and city councils embrace a new strategy to address the high cost of health care. They are partnering with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that aims to abolish medical debt by buying it from hospitals, health systems and collections agencies at a steep discount. About 18 percent of Americans have medical debt that has been turned over to a third party for collection. Cook County plans to spend $12 million on medical debt relief and expects to erase debt for the first batch of beneficiaries by early January. In Lucas County, Ohio, and its largest city, Toledo, up to $240 million in medical debt could be paid off at a cost of $1.6 million. New Orleans is looking to spend $1.3 million to clear $130 million in medical debt. The $1 million in Pittsburgh's budget could wipe out $115 million in debt, officials said. These initiatives are all being funded by President Biden's trillion-dollar American Rescue Plan, which infused local governments with cash to spend on infrastructure, public services and economic relief programs.
Near the southern border of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, a curved translucent roof peeks out a few feet above the dusty plains. Below ground, at the bottom of a short flight of stairs, the inside of this 80ft-long sleek structure is bursting with life – pallets of vivid microgreens, potato plants growing from hay bales and planters full of thick heads of Swiss chard and pak choi. This is an underground greenhouse, or walipini, and the harvesters are members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. It is one of at least eight underground greenhouses that, over the past decade, have been built or are being constructed on the reservation – which has one of the highest poverty rates in the US. Some hope they can help solve the interconnected problems of the lack of affordable, nutritious food and the difficulties of farming in the climate crisis. Today, more than half of the residents of Oglala Lakota county, one of three counties within the boundaries of the reservation, live below the poverty line. Food access is a huge problem. The 2.1m-acre reservation is classified as a "food desert" with only a handful of grocery stores. And health outcomes, including diet related diseases, are poor – about 50% of adults over 40 have diabetes. Neil Mattson, professor and greenhouse extension specialist at Cornell University's School of Integrative Plant Science, says underground greenhouses could help to usher in more year-round food production across the northern US but they are still fairly new in the country.
Beginning in the late 1990s, as landfills in the crowded capital area approached their limits, South Korea implemented a slate of policies to ease what was becoming seen as a trash crisis. The government banned burying organic waste in landfills in 2005, followed by another ban against dumping leachate – the putrid liquid squeezed from solid food waste – into the ocean in 2013. Universal curbside composting was implemented that same year, requiring everyone to separate their food from general waste. In 1996, South Korea recycled just 2.6% of its food waste. Today, South Korea recycles close to 100% annually. Ease-of-use and accessibility have been crucial to the success of the South Korean model. "South Korea's waste system, especially in terms of frequency of collection, is incredibly convenient compared to other countries," says Hong Su-yeol, a waste expert and director of Resource Recycling Consulting. "Some of my peers working at non-profits overseas say that disposal should be a little bit inconvenient if you want to discourage waste but I disagree: I think that it should be made as easy as possible as long as it goes hand-in-hand with other policies that attack the problem of reducing waste itself." National and municipal governments in South Korea have been actively investing in urban farming programs, which include composting courses. These sort of community-based efforts might be where the US can shine, increasing initial access to composting options in cities that presently have few other options.
Federal regulators fined Wells Fargo a record $1.7 billion on Tuesday for "widespread mismanagement" over multiple years that harmed over 16 million consumer accounts. Wells Fargo's "illegal activity" included repeatedly misapplying loan payments, wrongfully foreclosing on homes, illegally repossessing vehicles, incorrectly assessing fees and interest and charging surprise overdraft fees. The CFPB ordered Wells Fargo to pay the $1.7 billion civil penalty in addition to more than $2 billion to compensate consumers for a range of "illegal activity." CFPB officials say this is the largest penalty imposed by the agency. The misconduct described by the CFPB echoes previously reported revelations that have emerged about Wells Fargo since 2016 when the bank's fake-accounts scandal created a national firestorm. "Wells Fargo's rinse-repeat cycle of violating the law has harmed millions of American families," Rohit Chopra, the CFPB's director, said in a statement. Chopra noted that the settlement does not provide immunity for individuals at Wells Fargo, and the agency recognizes the $3.7 billion in fines and restitution will not fix the bank's problems. Although Chopra credited Wells Fargo with making some progress, he said it's not clear "they are making rapid enough progress" and said the agency is concerned that the bank's product launches, growth initiatives and profit-boosting efforts have "delayed needed reform."
Note: In 2016, Wells Fargo was caught opening millions of fake accounts in its customers' names. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The White House has set into motion a five-year outline for research into "climate interventions". Those include methods such as sending a phalanx of planes to spray reflective particles into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, in order to block incoming sunlight from adding to rising temperatures. Previous attempts at running experiments for what is known as solar radiation management (SRM) have faced staunch opposition. Last year, an exploratory flight in Sweden of a high-altitude SRM balloon, led by Harvard University researchers, was halted after objections by environmentalists and Indigenous leaders. This prospect horrifies opponents of solar geoengineering. An open letter signed by more than 380 scientists demands a global non-use agreement for SRM; it also says that growing calls for research in this area are a "cause for alarm", due to an unknown set of ramifications that will have varying consequences in different parts of the world and could scramble "weather patterns, agriculture and the provision of basic needs of food and water". Frank Biermann, an expert in global governance ... said he's also disturbed that solar geoengineering will create a sort of moral hazard where governments ease off efforts to cut emissions and fossil fuel companies use it as cover to continue business as usual. There isn't any international governance around solar geoengineering. Unilateral action to alter the climate could spark conflict if one part of the world benefits, while another suffers.
Note: There is much controversy around geoengineering, yet there is considerable evidence that reveals the possibility of its many applications. For more along these lines, explore revealing media articles on geoengineering and HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), a little-known U.S. military defense project that conducted investigations into weather control technologies, among many other concerning explorations.
The permissible exposure limit for ortho-toluidine is 5 parts per million in air, a threshold based on research conducted in the 1940s and '50s without any consideration of the chemical's ability to cause cancer. Despite ample evidence that far lower levels can dramatically increase a person's cancer risk, the legal limit has remained the same. Paralyzed by industry lawsuits from decades ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has all but given up on trying to set a truly protective threshold for ortho-toluidine and thousands of other chemicals. The agency has only updated standards for three chemicals in the past 25 years; each took more than a decade to complete. David Michaels, OSHA's director throughout the Obama administration, [said] that legal challenges had so tied his hands that he decided to put a disclaimer on the agency's website saying the government's limits were essentially useless: "OSHA recognizes that many of its permissible exposure limits (PELs) are outdated and inadequate for ensuring protection of worker health." The agency has also allowed chemical manufacturers to create their own safety data sheets, which are supposed to provide workers with the exposure limits and other critical information. OSHA does not require the sheets to be accurate or routinely fact-check them. As a result, many fail to mention the risk of cancer and other serious health hazards. Almost one-third of more than 650 sheets for dangerous chemicals contain inaccurate warnings.
After ProPublica and the New Yorker published an exposĂ© of hospice fraud, members of Congress have called on the Department of Health and Human Services to "immediately investigate this situation." The ... investigation described how the lucrative design of the Medicare benefit incentivizes many profit-seeking hospices to cut corners on care and target patients who are not actually dying. It chronicled the lack of regulation and the frustrated efforts of whistleblowers to hold end-of-life care conglomerates accountable. And it drew on state and federal data to reveal how, in the absence of oversight, the number of for-profit hospice providers in California, Texas, Arizona and Nevada has lately exploded. Hospice began more than 60 years ago as a countercultural charity movement to help patients die with comfort, support and as little pain as possible. After the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan authorized Medicare to cover the service, dying became a big business. In 2000, less than a third of all hospices were for-profit. Today, more than 70% are. Between 2011 and 2019, the number of hospices owned by private equity firms tripled. For profit-seeking providers, hospice is lucrative: Medicare pays a fixed rate per patient a day, regardless of how much help is offered. The aggregate Medicare margins of for-profit providers hover around 20% compared with just 5% for nonprofits. For-profit hospices are more likely than their nonprofit counterparts to have less skilled staff ... and fewer home visits.
Six news outlets across Alabama and Florida [have] financial connections to the consulting firm Matrix LLC. The firm, based in Montgomery, Alabama, has boasted clients including Alabama Power and another major U.S. utility, Florida Power & Light. Last year, Florida Power & Light wrote a bill that was passed by the Florida Legislature and that would have gutted the ability of homeowners to make money off solar panels. One state away, Alabama Power runs and owns a coal-fired power plant that is the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. In Alabama and Florida, Matrix sought to ensure much coverage was secretly driven by the priorities of its clients. Payments flowed as the utilities in Florida and Alabama fought efforts to incorporate more clean energy in electric grids – a fight they are still waging. [Floodlight and NPR investigations reveal] a complex web of financial links, in which the six outlets collectively received, at minimum, $900,000 from Matrix, its clients, and associated entities between 2013 and 2020. Matrix shrewdly took advantage of the near collapse of the local newspaper industry and a concurrent plunge in trust in media in propelling its clients' interests. Matrix founder Joe Perkins has long held an interest in the power of the media. As a doctoral student at the University of Alabama, he wrote his thesis about a specific quandary: How can journalists' choice of sources and anecdotes affect public sentiment?
Weeks before he was murdered, Victor Hugo Orcasita presented his wife with a letter describing his last wishes. Orcasita, a union leader, had been pushing for better conditions at his workplace, a mine in northern Colombia owned by a subsidiary of the Alabama-based coal company Drummond. Then the death threats started coming in. The miners’ union was convinced that Drummond was involved in the murders. To make the case that the company was complicit in the killings, the union turned to Terry Collingsworth, a lifelong human rights attorney. In March 2015, the case took a surprising turn. Drummond had returned fire in the legal fight with an unusual accusation. The company charged that Collingsworth – an advocate who recently brought a case before the U.S. Supreme Court – had led a "multifaceted criminal campaign" to extort Drummond into paying a costly settlement. This campaign, Drummond alleged, was in fact a racketeering conspiracy as defined by the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, better known as RICO. Drummond's charges represent a scorched-earth legal strategy in which corporations are turning the tables on attorneys and advocates who accuse them of wrongdoing. By shifting the spotlight to these attorneys’ conduct, corporations effectively sidestepped the original allegations against them. The true purpose ... is to send attorneys and activists a message: Going toe-to-toe with heavyweight corporations can lead to personal ruin.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
To encourage Congress to authorize the largest defense budget ever, the Pentagon just released its annual report on China, which dangerously misrepresents the country's defense strategy. Such deliberate lies about China to drum up justification for more US war spending need to be urgently addressed. The Pentagon reports that China may challenge the US in the international arena. It is true that China is taking the lead internationally in economic development, in technological innovation, and in fighting climate change. Other countries around the world are happy for its support in growing their capacities to be independent of United States hegemony in their regions. China builds relationships through economic cooperation and good diplomacy. In contrast, the United States asserts its global dominance through direct or proxy war, occupation, crippling sanctions, and regime-changing coups. The international order that the United States seeks to maintain is rooted in violence and destruction. While the United States is desperately pursuing its outdated policy of enforcing global hegemony, the rest of the world is already moving towards a multilateral sphere, which ensures the greatest chance for peace. Escalating tension with China was a mistake, and building a colossal military budget is doubling down on this mistake. We must be vigilant about the warmongering lies about China. "China is not our enemy" is not a hollow slogan but firm ground that peacemakers stand on.
Note: The US attempts to position itself as a global leader of democracy and peaceful diplomacy, while its policies continue to demonstrate just the opposite. Why aren't many media outlets questioning the aggressive efforts to escalate tension with China, including proposals for billions of dollars in military assistance to Taiwan? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. Army illegally ordered a team of soldiers specializing in "psychological operations" to manipulate visiting American senators into providing more troops and funding for the war. The orders came from the command of Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, a three-star general in charge of training Afghan troops – the linchpin of U.S. strategy in the war. Over a four-month period last year, a military cell devoted to what is known as "information operations" at Camp Eggers in Kabul was repeatedly pressured to target visiting senators and other VIPs who met with Caldwell. When the unit resisted the order, arguing that it violated U.S. laws prohibiting the use of propaganda against American citizens, it was subjected to a campaign of retaliation. "My job in psy-ops is to play with people's heads, to get the enemy to behave the way we want them to behave," says Lt. Colonel Michael Holmes, the leader of the IO unit, who received an official reprimand after bucking orders. "I'm prohibited from doing that to our own people. When you ask me to try to use these skills on senators and congressman, you're crossing a line." Those singled out in the campaign included senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Jack Reed, Al Franken and Carl Levin; Rep. Steve Israel of the House Appropriations Committee; Adm. Mike Mullen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ... and a host of influential think-tank analysts.
Note: Read more about military PsyOps used to manipulate populations. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Loretta J. Ross [identifies] the characteristics, and limits, of call-out culture: the act of publicly shaming another person for behavior deemed unacceptable. Civil conversation between parties who disagree has also been part of activism, including her own, for quite some time. "I am challenging the call-out culture," Ross said. "I think you can understand how calling out is toxic. It really does alienate people, and makes them fearful of speaking up." The antidote to that ... Professor Ross believes, is "calling in." Calling in is like calling out, but done privately and with respect. "It's a call out done with love," she said. That may mean simply sending someone a private message, or even ringing them on the telephone to discuss the matter, or simply taking a breath before commenting, screen-shotting or demanding one "do better" without explaining how. Calling out assumes the worst. Calling in involves conversation, compassion and context. “I think we overuse that word ‘trigger’ when really we mean discomfort,” she said. “And we should be able to have uncomfortable conversations.” Ross told the students ... “I think we actually sabotage our own happiness with this unrestrained anger. And I have to honestly ask: Why are you making choices to make the world crueler than it needs to be and calling that being woke?" She thought of what her organization’s founder, the Rev. C.T. Vivian ... told her: “When you ask people to give up hate, you have to be there for them when they do.”
Note: Watch Ross's powerful Ted Talk on simple, yet deeply inspiring tools for calling people in instead of calling people out.
In the year since Donna Bruce started working at the Baltimore public library's Penn North branch, she has connected more than 400 visitors to housing programs, food assistance and substance abuse recovery options – and saved a man from dying of a drug overdose by administering the emergency treatment Narcan. Poverty is pervasive in the neighborhoods around the Penn North library, and many people come in simply looking for heat or shelter. Bruce is leading a team of "peer navigators" in the library system trained to provide trauma-informed engagement and support to the public. All navigators have personal experience with mental health challenges or substance abuse disorders and act as role models in the community. Peer Navigators is the first city agency program that owes part of its origin story to Baltimore's 2020 Elijah Cummings Healing City Act. The goal of the groundbreaking legislation is to help departments reckon with and change policies that have caused – and continue to cause – trauma, while charting a new path rooted in healing. The act mandates that city employees receive training, to gain awareness and learn how to help those who have been harmed. At the same time, agency leaders must evaluate their practices and procedures to determine if they are causing trauma and how to change those that are to better serve Baltimore's communities. Evidence shows the approach can improve social environments, decrease violence, and reduce other negative encounters.
Underwater noise due to human activities at sea can harm marine biodiversity, leading for example to hearing impairment and behavioural disturbances. EU experts have adopted recommendations on maximum acceptable levels for impulsive (for example from oil and gas exploration and extraction) and continuous (such as from shipping) underwater noise. The new limits mean, that to be in tolerable status, no more than 20% of a given marine area, can be exposed to continuous underwater noise over a year Similarly, no more than 20% of a marine habitat can be exposed to impulsive noise over a given day, and no more than 10% over a year. These underwater noise pollution limits deliver on the Zero Pollution Action Plan and are the first of this kind at global level. The threshold values will contribute to set limits on where and for how long marine habitats can be exposed to underwater noise. Impulsive underwater noise, such as from oil and gas exploration, occurs in about 8 % of the EU's seas: it is particularly present in large areas of the Baltic, North and Celtic Seas, and the Mediterranean area. Maritime traffic is the main source of continuous underwater noise. With 27% of its area subject to shipping, the Mediterranean Sea sees the highest shipping traffic in the EU. This is followed by the Baltic Sea (19 % of the area). Overall, only 9% of the EU's sea area has no shipping traffic. EU Member States will now need to take these threshold values into account when they update their marine strategies.
President Joe Biden's administration released more than 13,000 records of President John F. Kennedy's assassination Thursday, but it fell short of fully complying with the spirit of a 30-year-old law demanding transparency by now. With Thursday's action, about 98% of all documents related to the 1963 killing have now been released and just 3% of the records remain redacted in whole or in part, according to the National Archives, which controls the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection. The records include more information on accused gunman Lee Harvey Oswald and his time spent in Mexico City. But about 4,300 records remain redacted in part. [CIA agent George] Joannides ... guided and monitored an anti-Fidel Castro group called Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil (Revolutionary Student Directorate) in 1963 that came into contact with Oswald in New Orleans in the months before the assassination, leading some to speculate about CIA-related complicity in the killing. As Oswald interacted with DRE and became known as an activist who supported President Castro, the Pentagon was formulating a plan called Operation Northwoods to stage a false flag attack in the United States to blame on Cuba and justify a military confrontation to make up for the aborted Bay of Pigs fiasco two years before. The records and the CIA's deceit over Joannides' ties to Oswald spans decades and came to light only after the records act began to unearth information about him.
Note: While the mainstream narrative points to the CIA being complicit in the killing of Kennedy by a Communist lone gunman, there is overwhelming evidence not often talked about, that reveals how Kennedy was murdered by rogue elements within US government agencies as a result of his efforts towards peacemaking strategies over nuclear weapon warfare, among other reasons. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the Kennedy assassination from reliable major media sources.
Among the intersections between [Lee Harvey] Oswald and the CIA, his time as a young Marine at the Atsugi naval air facility in Japan in 1957 is high among them. Atsugi was a launching pad for U-2 spy flights over the Soviet Union and was also a hub of the CIA's research into psychedelic drugs. "A CIA memo titled 'Truth Drugs in Interrogation' revealed the agency practice of dosing agents who were marked for dangerous overseas missions," wrote author David Talbot in "The Devil's Chessboard." A new document released in full last week relates directly to Oswald's time at Atsugi, revealing details about the CIA's response to testimony from a former agency accountant that the spy service had employed Oswald – who went on to be a gunman in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The CIA's claim to have had no contact with Oswald is undercut by the fact that George de Mohrenschildt, a CIA asset, became close friends with Oswald in the months before the assassination. According to documents found in the newly declassified files, at the same time as his trip, the CIA's Domestic Operations Division ran a search on de Mohrenschildt, "exact reason unknown," according to two documents created by a CIA analyst included in last week's declassification. The covert arm of the division was run at the time by E. Howard Hunt, a black ops specialist who confessed later in life to learning ahead of time of a conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy that involved high-level figures in the CIA.
Note: The CIA's MK-ULTRA program routinely administered drugs to unsuspecting victims. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the Kennedy assassination from reliable major media sources.
Former federal MP Dr Kerryn Phelps says she and her partner experienced vaccine injury, calling for tests for long COVID and vaccine injuries as well as more research on the long-term harms of the coronavirus and immunisation side effects. In a submission to an ongoing parliamentary inquiry on long COVID Phelps said she and her wife had both been injured after receiving COVID vaccinations. She said her wife, Jackie Stricker-Phelps, suffered long-term symptoms including ongoing nerve pain and fatigue following her first injection, while Phelps herself experienced symptoms including breathlessness and irregular blood pressure following her second shot. In an interview, the former Australian Medical Association president and medical practitioner said more research was vital to understanding both the disease and vaccine injury as the pandemic continues. "People who have vaccine injuries are not anti-vaxxers, because they have turned up to have vaccines ..." she said. She noted in her submission that for many vaccine-injured people, the symptoms were similar to long COVID, including brain fog and fatigue. More than 64 million vaccine doses have been administered across the country, as of November 16, and since December 2021 people injured by one have been able to make a claim for compensation through the vaccine claims scheme. A Services Australia spokesperson said as of November 23, the department has received 3100 applications, and 79 have been approved for claims totaling $3.9 million.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Two years into Biden's presidency, it is crystal clear that the Saudis have nothing significant to fear from the U.S. government. For decades, Democratic and Republican administrations have propped up the Saudi monarchy, lathering it with weapons sales and intelligence sharing, all while normalizing the draconian, antidemocratic grip on power held by the monarchy. When Donald Trump was president, a lot of Democrats were given political cover to finally come around to opposing the Saudi-led campaign of annihilation in Yemen. It was the Obama-Biden administration that gave the initial green light to the Saudi-led war in the first place. Barack Obama began bombing Yemen in December 2009 and continued to hit the country with drone strikes and cruise missile attacks throughout most of his presidency. In fact, by the time Obama left office, his administration had offered the Saudis more military support, $115 billion, than any in the history of the seven-decade U.S.-Saudi alliance. On the campaign trail, Biden pledged to continue the momentum and end U.S. bodyguarding of Saudi Arabia's crimes, particularly after the execution of Khashoggi, a permanent U.S. resident, inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. As president, Biden has greenlighted a series of U.S. weapons purchases by the Saudis, including $3 billion worth of Patriot missiles in August. Last week, Biden stated that there are currently 2,755 U.S. military personnel deployed in Saudi Arabia.
Note: When it comes to matters involving the ever-profitable war machine, both parties follow similar agendas. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been accused of bowing to drug industry pressure after releasing new guidelines that doctors say put lives at risk by rowing back on warnings about the dangers of opioid prescribing. The latest CDC guidelines have caused controversy after dropping specific limits on dosages and lengths of prescribing from a key summary of recommendations used by physicians. Dr Andrew Kolodny, president of Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing, sees the drug industry's hand behind the change. Kolodny has testified against opioid makers in legal actions over their part in driving the opioid epidemic by pushing sales with false claims about their safety and effectiveness. They include Purdue Pharma, manufacturer of OxyContin, a powerful narcotic pill that kickstarted the US's opioid epidemic alongside the company's marketing strategy to see the drugs widely prescribed. Kolody said ... that the drug industry calculated how much the 2016 CDC guidelines would cost it if doctors followed the recommendations to limit prescribing of high dosage pills. "The highest dosage products have had the highest profit margin. It only costs a few extra pennies to make the higher dosage pill, but retail it's almost double what they get per pill or prescription. So the industry fought very hard to block the release of the 2016 guideline and when that failed they did everything they could to make the guidelines appear controversial. And that worked," he said.
In one recent study of health care in 11 high-income countries, the nonprofit Commonwealth Fund found that 44% of Americans had out-of-pocket medical expenses that topped $1,000 in the previous year. Just 16% of Germans reported paying that much. The rates were even lower in France, at 10%, and Great Britain, where only 7% reported similar medical expenses. "Many Americans may not understand how affordable health care is for patients in other countries," said Reginald D. Williams II, who oversees international research at the Commonwealth Fund. "Medical debt is a largely U.S. phenomenon. It just doesn't happen in other countries." Germany, like the U.S., has a largely private health care system that relies on private doctors and private insurers. Like Americans, many Germans enroll in a health plan through work, splitting the cost with their employer. But Germany has long done something the U.S. does not: It strictly limits how much patients have to pay out of their own pockets for a trip to the doctor, the hospital or the pharmacy. This regulation occurs through a highly structured system in which insurers negotiate collectively with physician and hospital groups to set prices. American hospitals and other medical providers for decades have fiercely resisted limits on their prices, spending millions to fight government regulation. [Dr. Eckart] Rolshoven's patients pay nothing when they see him. That not only bolsters their health, he said. It helps maintain what Rolshoven called social peace.
One of the more unsettling discoveries in the past half a century is that the universe is not locally real. In this context, "real" means that objects have definite properties independent of observation–an apple can be red even when no one is looking. "Local" means that objects can be influenced only by their surroundings and that any influence cannot travel faster than light. Investigations at the frontiers of quantum physics have found that these things cannot both be true. Instead the evidence shows that objects are not influenced solely by their surroundings, and they may also lack definite properties prior to measurement. Blame for this achievement has now been laid squarely on the shoulders of three physicists: John Clauser, Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger. They equally split the 2022 Nobel Prize in Physics "for experiments with entangled photons, establishing the violation of Bell inequalities and pioneering quantum information science." From about 1940 until as late as 1990, studies of so-called quantum foundations were often treated as philosophy at best and crackpottery at worst. Today quantum information science is among the most vibrant subfields in all of physics. It links Einstein's general theory of relativity with quantum mechanics. It dictates the design and function of quantum sensors. And it clarifies the often confusing nature of quantum entanglement, a phenomenon that is pivotal to modern materials science and that lies at the heart of quantum computing.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the mysterious nature of reality from reliable major media sources.
The Devil's Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America's Secret Government [is] a new book by Salon founder David Talbot. As Talbot explains, “What I was really trying to do was a biography on the American power elite from World War II up to the 60s.” Dulles ... served as CIA director from 1953 to 1961. Dulles would have had no moral qualms about killing any politician, including Americans. He went on to wield far greater power than most elected officials ever have. The Devil's Chessboard ... includes detailed reexaminations of Dulles's most notorious failures, such as the Bay of Pigs in 1961 and the nightmarish mind control program MK-ULTRA, as well as his most notorious "successes," the CIA's overthrow of democratic governments in Iran in 1953 and in Guatemala in 1954. As the Swiss director of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II, Dulles – whose law firm had represented German corporations and many U.S. corporations with German interests – quietly attempted to undermine Franklin D. Roosevelt's demand that Germany surrender unconditionally, going so far as to order the rescue of an SS general surrounded by Italian partisans. Dulles also led the push to save Reinhard Gehlen, Nazi head of intelligence on the Eastern Front and a genuine monster, from any post-war justice. Dulles then made certain Gehlen and his spies received a cozy embrace from the CIA, and helped push him to the top of West Germany's Federal Intelligence Service.
Note: Read more about the CIA Nazi link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the Kennedy assassination from reliable major media sources.
A study published in Nature in February 2020 entitled "Power generation from ambient humidity using protein nanowires" discovered an interesting way to harvest energy from the environment, creating the potential for another clean power generating system that is self-sustaining. According to the authors, "Thin-film devices made from nanometre-scale protein wires harvested from the microbe Geobacter sulfurreducens can generate continuous electric power in the ambient environment. The devices produce a sustained voltage of around 0.5 volts across a 7-micrometre-thick film, with a current density of around 17 microamperes per square centimetre. We find the driving force behind this energy generation to be a self-maintained moisture gradient that forms within the film when the film is exposed to the humidity that is naturally present in air." The study also mentions that "connecting several devices linearly scales up the voltage and current to power electronics" and that their results "demonstrate the feasibility of a continuous energy-harvesting strategy that is less restricted by location or environmental conditions than other sustainable approaches." One of the electrical engineers, Jun Yao, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, stated that they are "literally making electricity out of thin air." They are calling it the "Air-gen" and it generates clean energy 24/7, thanks to the electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by Geobacter.
Note: As the article states, why do none of the truly "free" energy sources we keep hearing about never come to market? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
New research has shown that mushroom skins could provide a biodegradable alternative to some plastics used in batteries and computer chips, making them easier to recycle. Researchers from the Johannes Kepler University in Austria were working on flexible and stretchable electronics, with a focus on sustainable materials to replace non-degradable materials, when they made their discovery, published in the journal Science Advances. "There was a fair share of serendipity involved," Martin Kaltenbrunner ... co-author of the paper, told CNN. At the time, a member of the team had been looking at using fungus-derived materials for use in other areas. This work led to the latest study, which shows how Ganoderma lucidum mushroom skin could work as a substitute for the substrate used in electrical circuits. A substrate is the base of a circuit that insulates and cools the conductive metals sitting on top of it. Typically, they are made of non-degradable plastics, which are discarded after use. The mushroom ... forms a compact protective skin made of mycelium, a root-like network, to protect its growth medium (the wood). The skin has many properties that set it apart from other biodegradable materials, Kaltenbrunner said, "but most importantly, it can simply be grown from waste wood and does not need energy or cost intensive processing." "Our mycelium ... can last a long time if kept dry, but in just a standard household compost, it would degrade entirely within two weeks or less," he added.
In Wales, the average citizen uses almost three times their share of the world's resources. But Cassandra [Lishman] and her family are part of a groundbreaking scheme launched by the Welsh government in 2011 that aims to address that imbalance. The One Planet Development Policy (OPD) and its predecessor, Pembrokeshire's Policy 52, allow people to bypass tight planning laws and move to protected areas to live ecologically sustainable lifestyles. So far, 46 individual smallholdings have signed on to the programs, which require residents to sustain themselves using the resources available on land they inhabit. The policy aims to combat an array of problems: rising temperatures, soil degradation, rural depopulation, a rampant housing crisis and wasteful global supply chains. But ... by limiting consumption and allocating resources wisely, ecologically responsible development is possible, even in pristine environments. To qualify for the scheme, there are four requirements. First, each household must use only their global fair share of resources, which has been calculated by the Welsh government as equivalent to six acres of land. Second, applicants must show that within five years this land can fulfill 65 percent of their basic needs, including food, water, energy and waste. Third, they must come up with a zero-carbon house design using locally sourced and sustainable materials. Finally, they must set up a land-based enterprise to pay the sort of bills ... that can't be met with a subsistence lifestyle.
The Biden administration took a public stand last year against the abuse of spyware to target human rights activists, dissidents and journalists: It blacklisted the most notorious maker of the hacking tools, the Israeli firm NSO Group. But the global industry for commercial spyware – which allows governments to invade mobile phones and vacuum up data – continues to boom. Even the U.S. government is using it. The Drug Enforcement Administration is secretly deploying spyware from a different Israeli firm, according to five people familiar with the agency's operations, in the first confirmed use of commercial spyware by the federal government. The most sophisticated spyware tools – like NSO's Pegasus – have "zero-click" technology, meaning they can stealthily and remotely extract everything from a target's mobile phone, without the user having to click on a malicious link to give Pegasus remote access. They can also turn the mobile phone into a tracking and secret recording device, allowing the phone to spy on its owner. But hacking tools without zero-click capability, which are considerably cheaper, also have a significant market. Commercial spyware has been used by intelligence services and police forces to hack phones used by drug networks and terrorist groups. But it has also been abused by numerous authoritarian regimes and democracies to spy on political opponents and journalists. This has led governments to a sometimes tortured rationale for their use.
Note: Read about how NSO Group spyware was used against journalists and activists by the Mexican government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
Google and YouTube are pouring millions into over 100 fact-checking organizations as part of a new Global Fact Check Fund aimed at stomping out misinformation online. On Tuesday, Google and YouTube announced a $13.2 million grant to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at the left-leaning nonprofit Poynter Institute. The IFCN previously labeled YouTube as one of the "major conduits" of disinformation and misinformation across the world. In an open letter, the IFCN proposed a partnership with YouTube to curb the issue. The new Global Fact Check Fund is expected to support its network of 135 fact-checking organizations across 65 countries, covering 80 languages. It is the largest grant Google and YouTube have ever shelled out regarding fact-checks. "Helping people to identify misinformation is a global challenge. The Global Fact Check Fund will help fact-checkers to scale existing operations or launch new ones that elevate information, uplift credible sources and reduce the harm of mis- and disinformation around the globe," Google said in Tuesday's press release. Google also noted that fact-checking organizations can use their new funding in a variety of ways, including new technologies, the creation or expansion of their digital footprints, new verification tools, and deeper audience engagement through audio, video or podcast formats. Since 2018, the Google News Initiative has invested nearly $75 million to "strengthen media literacy" and "combat misinformation."
Note: Freedom of expression is being greatly limited with the excuse of battling misinformation, which is often valuable, easily verifiable information the elite don't want us to know. Read this informative article to see how what is labeled as fact is many times just opinion or questionable government policy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.
Trust Lab was founded by a team of well-credentialed Big Tech alumni who came together in 2021 with a mission: Make online content moderation more transparent, accountable, and trustworthy. A year later, the company announced a "strategic partnership" with the CIA's venture capital firm. The quiet October 29 announcement of the partnership is light on details, stating that Trust Lab and In-Q-Tel – which invests in and collaborates with firms it believes will advance the mission of the CIA – will work on "a long-term project that will help identify harmful content and actors in order to safeguard the internet." Key terms like "harmful" and "safeguard" are unexplained, but the press release goes on to say that the company will work toward "pinpointing many types of online harmful content, including toxicity and misinformation." It's difficult to imagine how aligning the startup with the CIA is compatible with [Trust Lab co-founder Tom] Siegel's goal of bringing greater transparency and integrity to internet governance. What would it mean, for instance, to incubate counter-misinformation technology for an agency with a vast history of perpetuating misinformation? Placing the company within the CIA's tech pipeline also raises questions about Trust Lab's view of who or what might be a "harmful" online, a nebulous concept that will no doubt mean something very different to the U.S. intelligence community than it means elsewhere. Trust Lab's murky partnership with In-Q-Tel suggests a step toward greater governmental oversight of online speech.
Newly released documents show an influential group that helps shape US food policy and steers consumers toward nutritional products has financial ties to the world's largest processed food companies and has been controlled by former industry employees who have worked for companies like Monsanto. The documents reveal the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has a record of quid pro quos with a range of food giants, owns stock in ultra-processed food companies and has received millions in contributions from producers of pop, candy, and processed foods linked to diabetes, heart disease, obesity and other health problems. The findings are a part of a recently published peer-reviewed study that examined a trove of financial documents and internal communications obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (Foia) request. "It's incredibly influential so if the Academy is corrupt then nutritional policy in the US is going to be corrupt," said Gary Ruskin ... a co-author of the study. The Academy accepted at least $15m from corporate and organizational contributors from 2011-2017, and over $4.5m in additional funding went to the Academy's foundation. Among the highest contributions came from companies such as NestlÄ‚©, PepsiCo, Hershey, Kellogg's, General Mills, Conagra, the National Dairy Council and the baby formula producer Abbott Nutrition. The Academy and its foundation also received food industry fundings via sponsorships, which are in effect quid pro quos.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Throughout the Trump and Biden administrations, the U.S. has been on an escalating trajectory toward a new Cold War featuring the prime adversaries from the original, Russia and China. The ratcheted-up rhetoric from U.S. politicians – combined with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the tensions between China and Taiwan, and Beijing's major advancements and investments in weapons systems and war technology – has heralded a bonanza for the defense industry. Congress will soon vote on a record-shattering $857 billion defense spending bill that authorizes $45 billion more than Biden requested. Included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023, finalized on December 6, is the establishment of a multiyear no-bid contract system through which Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, Boeing, and other weapons manufacturers are being empowered to expand their "industrial base" and business. The unprecedented flow of weapons to Ukraine has included a substantial transfer of weapons from the U.S. stockpile, amounting to approximately $10 billion worth of weapons. U.S. lawmakers have used this fact to push for expanding the scope of not only weapons procurements to "replenish" the arsenal, but also to maintain the pipeline of weapons to Ukraine and European-allied nations through at least the end of 2024. While Russia's invasion of Ukraine remains a central focus, the appetite for countering China's own expansive weapons and technology development is on track to grow for years to come.
Note: Another eye-opening article on this issue reports that the U.S. has spent more than $21 trillion on militarization since September 11, 2001." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The US government must drop its prosecution of the WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange because it is undermining press freedom, according to the media organisations that first helped him publish leaked diplomatic cables. Twelve years ago today, the Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, and El PaÄ‚s collaborated to release excerpts from 250,000 documents obtained by Assange in the "Cablegate" leak. The material, leaked to WikiLeaks by the then American soldier Chelsea Manning, exposed the inner workings of US diplomacy around the world. The editors and publishers of the media organisations that first published those revelations have come together to publicly oppose plans to charge Assange under a law designed to prosecute first world war spies. "Publishing is not a crime," they said, saying the prosecution is a direct attack on media freedom. Assange has been held in Belmarsh prison in south London since his arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy in London in 2019. He had spent the previous seven years living inside the diplomatic premises to avoid arrest after failing to surrender to a UK court on matters relating to a separate case. The then UK home secretary, Priti Patel, approved Assange's extradition to the US. Under Barack Obama's leadership, the US government indicated it would not prosecute Assange for the leak in 2010 because of the precedent it would set. The media outlets are now appealing to the administration of President Joe Biden ... to drop the charges.
Note: WikiLeaks exposed US war crimes and CIA hacking tools. The New York Times and others mentioned above published Assange's findings, so why aren't they being prosecuted for being accessories to Assange? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.
The director for the CDC publicly acknowledged in a CNN interview that the COVID-19 vaccine is not effective at preventing transmission of the virus. In a segment on CNN with Wolf Blitzer, Walensky said that while the vaccines are doing very well to protect against serious illness and death, what they cannot do anymore is stop transmission. "Our vaccines are working exceptionally well. They continue to work well for Delta with regard to severe illness and death. They prevent it," Walensky said. The following statement is more notable, however, as it is one of the only times the CDC has acknowledged that the vaccines are not capable of stopping the spread of the virus. "...what they can't do anymore is prevent transmission" ... Walensky stated.
Note: Why did many officials state emphatically early on that vaccines were the only thing that would stop the pandemic when they do not stop transmission of the virus? Doesn't this show the vaccine mandates were a sham? A BMJ (British Medical Journal) article states "Vaccines aren't preventing onward transmission by reducing the viral load–or amount of SARS-CoV-2–in your body." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
The Keller Independent School District, just outside of Dallas, passed a new rule in November: It banned books from its libraries that include the concept of gender fluidity. The change was pushed by three new school board members, elected in May with support from Patriot Mobile, a self-described Christian cellphone carrier. Through its political action committee, Patriot Mobile poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Texas school board races to promote candidates with conservative views on race, gender and sexuality – including on which books children can access at school. The issue has been supercharged by a rapidly growing and increasingly influential constellation of conservative groups. The groups have pursued their goals by becoming heavily involved in local and state politics, where Republican efforts have largely outmatched liberal organizations in many states for years. They have created political action committees, funded campaigns, endorsed candidates and packed school boards, helping to fuel a surge in challenges to individual books and to drive changes in the rules governing what books are available to children. The materials the groups object to are often described in policies and legislation as sensitive, inappropriate or pornographic. In practice, the books most frequently targeted for removal have been by or about Black or L.G.B.T.Q. people, according to the American Library Association.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
Co-Op City is amazing. A massive housing development on the eastern edge of the Bronx, it has its own schools, power plant, newspaper, even a planetarium. It was built by a clothing workers union and the United Housing Federation in the 1960s to provide affordable middle-class housing in New York City. From the beginning, it embraced a social justice mandate that included participatory self-government, ethnic diversity and a sharing of resources. Just 49 percent of New York City households have responded to the 2020 Census so far – well behind the national average of nearly 60 percent. At stake are potentially billions of dollars in desperately needed federal funds as well as seats in the House of Representatives. But not all Census tracts are created equal. In Co-Op City, the world's largest co-operative housing complex, with more than 15,000 apartments, residents are not only well ahead of the rest of the Bronx and of New York City – they also outpace much of the nation. Among Co-Op City's seven tracts, five exceed 70 percent in participating, and the others are not far behind – making "the city in a city" an outlier in the Bronx, where fewer than 40 percent in many tracts have responded to Census Bureau mailings. Noel Ellison, 67, general manager for Co-Op City's property management company, Riverbay Corporation, said the coronavirus crisis has galvanized residents, bringing an already tight community even closer. So did Co-Op City's unusual inclusiveness, he suggested.
Thomas Panek has completed 20 marathons, however, he made history on Sunday at the New York City Half Marathon. While visually impaired runners usually use human guides, Mr Panek became the first person to complete the race supported by guide dogs. A trio of Labradors - Westley, Waffle and Gus - each accompanied him for a third of the race. The team finished in two hours and 21 minutes. Mr Panek, who lost his sight in his early 20s, told CNN that while he appreciated the support of human volunteers, he missed the feeling of independence. "It never made sense to me to walk out the door and leave my guide dog behind when I love to run and they love to run," he said. "It was just a matter of bucking conventional wisdom and saying why not. In 2015, Mr Panek established the Running Guides programme which trains dogs to support runners. "The bond is really important. You can't just pick up the harness and go for a run with these dogs," Mr Panek told CNN. "You're training with a team no matter what kind of athlete you are, and you want to spend time together in that training camp." Each dog wears a special harness and set of running boots, to protect their paws. Before the race, Mr Panek told Time magazine that guide dogs give visually impaired people the freedom to "do whatever it is a sighted person does, and sometimes, even run a little faster than them".
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.
Chris Nikic became the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete the Ironman World Championship when he crossed the finish line during Thursday's event in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The Ironman involves three events: a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. Nikic finished in 16 hours, 31 minutes and 27 seconds. He completed the swim in one hour, 42 minutes, the bike ride in eight hours, five minutes and the run in six hours and 29 minutes, placing 2,265th out of 2,314 athletes that competed that day. Nikic, who celebrated his 23rd birthday after crossing the finish line with his volunteer guide, accomplished the feat during Down syndrome awareness month. Nikic's perseverance has won him many admirers and his dedication won him the 2021 Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the ESPYs after he became the first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman triathlon after completing the Florida Ironman in November 2020. In a video, Nikic explained his motivation in competing in the grueling events. "I rarely saw anyone who looks like me in mainstream sports. And now, we're changing that," Nikic said. "Running changed my life, but now I want everyone like me to see it's possible for them, too."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.
Researchers at Meta, the parent company of Facebook, have unveiled an artificial intelligence model, named Cicero after the Roman statesman, that demonstrates skills of negotiation, trickery and forethought. More often than not, it wins at Diplomacy, a complex, ruthless strategy game where players forge alliances, craft battle plans and negotiate to conquer a stylized version of Europe. It is the latest evolution in artificial intelligence, which has experienced rapid advancements in recent years that have led to dystopian inventions, from chatbots becoming humanlike, to generated art becoming hyper-realistic, to killer drones. Cicero, released in November, was able to trick humans into thinking it was real, according to Meta, and can invite players to join alliances, craft invasion plans and negotiate peace deals when needed. Its mastery of language surprised some scientists and its creators, who thought this level of sophistication was years away. But experts said its ability to withhold information, think multiple steps ahead of opponents and outsmart human competitors sparks broader concerns. This type of technology could be used to concoct smarter scams that extort people or create more convincing deep fakes. "It is a great example of just how much we can fool other human beings," said Kentaro Toyama, a professor and artificial intelligence expert ... who read the Meta paper. "These things are super scary" and "could be used for evil."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
It would no longer be "life as we know it" if a space war destroyed the satellites that the world now relies on, space commanders have warned, and China and Russia have demonstrated that they're capable of doing just that. Lt Gen Nina Armagno, staff director of the US Space Force, said Russia's destruction of one of their own satellites last year was a "stunning display". "We're interpreting that ... as a message and demonstration of capability," she said. She said China was openly documenting and describing its demonstrations of power in space. Asked what the end game could be, she said, "Life as we know it would no longer be as we know it." Attacks on satellites can take out GPS systems, banking systems, power grids, first responders' communications, and impact on military operations. "I don't want to be dramatic," Armagno said. "What does war in space look like? We probably won't see it with our naked eye but we will definitely feel the consequences from the moment it begins." She also described China's 2007 destruction of one of its own satellites as shocking, irresponsible and intentional. There are two ways attacks on satellites could take out communication networks. A direct attack – through anti-satellite missiles, grappling arms, or hacking or jamming a satellite – is one. The other is the debris created by a destroyed satellite. Armagno said the US was still tracking 600 pieces of debris from China's 2007 "demonstration".
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
A U.S. government panel quietly released a newly declassified summary of an Oval Office joint interview conducted with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney about the September 11 attacks. The interview, carried out by members of the 9/11 Commission, was not recorded and the summary document constitutes the only known official record of the meeting. The meeting took place on April 29, 2004. One of the most striking aspects of the declassified document is the apparent absence of even a glimmer of self-awareness by Bush about the significance of the death and destruction he was unleashing with his global war. Bush comes off as almost childishly simplistic in his insights and analysis. The lack of any sensitive information contained within the document should spur questions as to why it took more than 18 years to be made public. One of the 9/11 commissioners "asked if the President or the Vice President had been involved in permitting planes carrying Saudi nationals to leave after 9/11. No, the President said. He had no idea about this until he read about it in the papers." Several 9/11 commissioners raised the issue of the infamous Presidential Daily Briefing from August 6, 2001, titled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US." That document cites foreign intelligence indicating that Osama bin Laden "wanted to hijack US aircraft." It also stated that the FBI had information "that indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings."
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.
Many of the world's largest asset managers and state pension funds are passively investing in companies that have allegedly engaged in the repression of Uyghur Muslims in China, according to a new report. The report, by UK-based group Hong Kong Watch and the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice at Sheffield Hallam University, found that three major stock indexes provided by MSCI include at least 13 companies that have allegedly used forced labour or been involved in the construction of the surveillance state in China's Xinjiang region. In recent years, China has come under increased scrutiny over what the UN has called "serious human rights violations" against Uyghur Muslims in the region, including systemic discrimination, mass arbitrary detention, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence. The report includes a list of major asset managers, including BlackRock, HSBC and Deutsche Bank among others, exposed to index funds that include companies accused of engaging in labour transfers and the construction of repressive infrastructure in the region. It found public pension funds across the UK, Canada and the US and funds in New Zealand and Japan exposed by the investments. "So many people's pensions, retirement funds and savings are invested passively because, as average consumers, we don't have time to investigate each and every investment," said Laura Murphy, one of the report's authors and professor of human rights and contemporary slavery at Sheffield Hallam University.
Note: Read an eye-opening article about the shocking human rights violations happening to the Uyghur people under the auspices of the Chinese government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Beijing has set up more than 100 so-called overseas police stations across the globe to monitor, harass and in some cases repatriate Chinese citizens living in exile, using bilateral security arrangements struck with countries in Europe and Africa to gain a widespread presence internationally, a new report shared exclusively with CNN alleges. Madrid-based human rights campaigner Safeguard Defenders says it found evidence China was operating 48 additional police stations abroad since the group first revealed the existence of 54 such stations in September. Beijing has denied it is running undeclared police forces outside its territory. Instead, China has claimed the facilities are administrative hubs. Undeclared consular activities outside of a nation's official diplomatic missions are highly unusual and illegal. "What we see coming from China is increasing attempts to crack down on dissent everywhere in the world, to threaten people, harass people, make sure that they are fearful enough so that they remain silent or else face being returned to China against their will," said Safeguard Defenders Campaign director Laura Harth. "It will start with phone calls. They might start to intimidate your relatives back in China, to threaten you, do everything really to coax the targets abroad to come back. If that doesn't work, they will use covert agents abroad. They will send them from Beijing and use methods such as luring and entrapment," Harth said.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
[Chow Hang-tung] is one of the few activists who still openly challenge the legitimacy of China's Communist Party leaders, after Beijing launched a wide-ranging crackdown here in response to mass pro-democracy protests in 2019. She is facing two national security charges, including inciting subversion, a new offense in Hong Kong that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. Chow's arrest ... was further confirmation of Beijing's plan to fundamentally alter China's freest city by rolling back civil liberties and dismantling its once vibrant pro-democracy movement, say activists, rights lawyers and foreign diplomats. Authorities there have employed threats, disbarment, arbitrary detention, torture and imprisonment to crush legal and political challenges from hundreds of human rights lawyers and legal scholars since Chinese leader Xi Jinping took power a decade ago. Many activists, fearing long jail terms, have gone silent. Others have fled abroad. And dozens of civil rights groups have shut down, fearing retribution.When it comes to "the ability to cower and coerce, we are no match to the communist state," Chow said. But, she added: "Force can only achieve so much. The state can lock up people but not their thinking, just as it can lock up facts but not alter truth." Chow herself downplays her incarceration. "In a sense," she told Reuters, "isn't the authoritarian state itself a bigger prison?"
Note: In a separate case to Chow's, 47 pro-democracy campaigners are facing charges under the national security law. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Foreign investment firms, private equity, pension funds and businesses lodged in tax havens own more than 70% of the water industry in England, according to research by the Guardian. The complex web of ownership is revealed as the public and some politicians increasingly call for the industry to be held to account for sewage dumping, leaks and water shortages. Six water companies are under investigation for potentially illegal activities as pressure grows on the industry to put more money into replacing and restoring crumbling infrastructure to protect both the environment and public health. More than three decades after the sector was sold off with a promise to the public they would become individual small shareholders or "H2Owners", control of the water industry has become dominated by overseas investment vehicles, the super-rich, companies in tax havens and pension fund investors. The ownership structure is such that transparency and accountability are limited, according to Dr Kate Bayliss ... at Soas University of London. The Qatar Investment Authority is the third largest shareholder in Severn Trent, with a 4.6% holding, while almost 10% is held by the US investment company BlackRock and its subsidiaries. A subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority has a 9.9% stake in Thames Water, while 8.7% is owned by China, the analysis shows. At least 72% of the industry is controlled by firms in 17 countries, while UK firms own 10%. Ownership of 82% of the water industry was traced overall.
Twitter owner Elon Musk spoke out on Saturday evening about the so-called "Twitter Files," a long tweet thread posted by journalist Matt Taibbi, who had been provided with details about behind-the-scenes discussions on Twitter's content moderation decision-making, including the call to suppress a 2020 New York Post story about Hunter Biden and his laptop. During a two-hour long Twitter Spaces session, Musk said a second "Twitter Files" drop will again involve Taibbi, along with journalist Bari Weiss, but did not give an exact date for when that would be released. Musk – who claims to have not read the released files himself – said the impetus for the original tweet thread was about what happened in the run-up to the 2020 presidential election and "how much government influence was there." Taibbi's first thread reaffirmed how, in the initial hours after the Post story about Hunter Biden went live, Twitter employees grappled with fears that it could have been the result of a Russian hacking operation. It showed employees on several Twitter teams debating over whether to restrict the article under the company's hacked materials policy, weeks before the 2020 election. The emails Taibbi obtained are consistent with what former Twitter site integrity head Yoel Roth told journalist Kara Swisher in an onstage interview last week. Taibbi said the contact from political parties happened more frequently from Democrats, but provided no internal documents to back up his assertion.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption from reliable sources.
Social movements are stronger when they sing. That's a lesson that has been amply demonstrated throughout history, and it's one that I have learned personally in working to develop trainings for activists over the past decade and a half. In Momentum, a training program that I co-founded and that many other trainers and organizers have built over the last seven years, song culture is not something we included at the start. And yet, it has since become so indispensable that the trainers I know would never imagine doing without it again. We developed a session within Momentum devoted to reviving song culture. We named it "Why did we stop singing?" This module teaches how to bring more music to our movements by breaking down common barriers like self-consciousness, discomfort with vulnerability, and lack of a shared repertoire. Once Momentum began incorporating it into its curriculum, "Why did we stop singing?" quickly became one of the most popular parts of the training. Over several years, many of the organization's trainers and leaders worked to develop the module and, as they did, some important lessons emerged. Chief among them: Music is a powerful tool that we have too often neglected in our organizing–and members of our movements are hungry to bring it back. The training was designed to promote a more sustainable culture of direct action, as well as to put traditions of mass protest in dialogue with longer-term models of structure-based organizing.
Note: The above was written by Paul Engler, a co-founder of Momentum Training, which instructs hundreds of activists each year in the principles of effective protest. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
When Andy Johansen first visited Helsinki's Oodi Library in early 2020 he was struck with amazement by the elegant three-story mass of wood, steel and glass, and the labyrinth of wonders within it. "I think it's so creative and innovative," says Johansen. Two steel arches span over 100 meters to create a fully enclosed, column-free public entrance space; the timber facade is clad with 33-millimeter-thick Finnish spruce planks. There are all manner of curious, Alice in Wonderland-esque places to sit – or indeed, lie down – while leafing through a book. Among the vast number of amenities, what caught Johansen's attention were the library's 3D printers, laser cutters and equipment to digitally sculpt wood. But over time, he realized that there was a more radical and increasingly rare service that the library provides: a free and egalitarian public space. "Students can sit and study and just hang out," he explains. "Or you can have your kid walking around, playing around. I always spend time there with my daughter. It's more of a cultural space. You don't need to consume anything." Since opening in December 2018, Oodi has begun to write a new chapter in the history of public space. Instead of being merely a repository for books, it is an alternative working and learning space, a cultural and community center, and a platform for democracy and citizen initiatives. Anyone can enter and use the facilities, many of which are free, without needing to provide ID.
Against all odds, Jim Harris was walking. There he was, at a music festival, getting around with the assistance of a walker, eight months out from a spinal-cord injury that left him paralyzed from the chest down. In November 2014, a snowkiting accident in Chile changed how the mountaineering instructor turned adventure photographer moved through the world. His days ... were now filled with rehabilitation exercises. A friend and former physical therapist invited him to the High Sierra Music Festival. "The disability made me feel like an outsider," he says. Then someone offered him magic mushrooms, which are packed with the psychoactive compound psilocybin. He commandeered an acquaintance's padded knee scooter so he could rest one leg at a time and still sway to the music. In the middle of a switch, he discovered that he could pick up his right foot and pull it back toward his butt. He tapped his right hamstring with a finger and the muscle contracted - a muscle that had been completely unresponsive since his injury, even in the low-gravity environment of a pool, despite eight months of physical therapy. With wonder and some degree of hesitation, he showed his physical-therapist friend. They marveled together at what had been impossible for Harris earlier that day. The next morning, Harris woke up afraid he'd imagined the whole thing, or that he'd lost his newfound ability while he slept, but his hamstring was still firing. The neuromuscular connection that had formed the night before wasn't going anywhere.
Last week, an Israeli defense company painted a frightening picture. In a roughly two-minute video on YouTube that resembles an action movie, soldiers out on a mission are suddenly pinned down by enemy gunfire and calling for help. In response, a tiny drone zips off its mother ship to the rescue, zooming behind the enemy soldiers and killing them with ease. While the situation is fake, the drone – unveiled last week by Israel-based Elbit Systems – is not. The Lanius, which in Latin can refer to butcherbirds, represents a new generation of drone: nimble, wired with artificial intelligence, and able to scout and kill. The machine is based on racing drone design, allowing it to maneuver into tight spaces, such as alleyways and small buildings. After being sent into battle, Lanius's algorithm can make a map of the scene and scan people, differentiating enemies from allies – feeding all that data back to soldiers who can then simply push a button to attack or kill whom they want. For weapons critics, that represents a nightmare scenario, which could alter the dynamics of war. "It's extremely concerning," said Catherine Connolly, an arms expert at Stop Killer Robots, an anti-weapons advocacy group. "It's basically just allowing the machine to decide if you live or die if we remove the human control element for that." According to the drone's data sheet, the drone is palm-size, roughly 11 inches by 6 inches. It has a top speed of 45 miles per hour. It can fly for about seven minutes, and has the ability to carry lethal and nonlethal materials.
Note: US General Paul Selva has warned against employing killer robots in warfare for ethical reasons. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Scandals brought down Harvey Weinstein's movie studio and major opioid supplier Mallinckrodt. But their wealthy owners, directors and executives were granted lifetime immunity from related lawsuits in bankruptcy court – an overwhelmingly common tactic in major U.S. Chapter 11 cases, a Reuters review found. Such immunity grants have become a pervasive but little-understood feature of the U.S. bankruptcy system. The releases are now granted by judges in 9 of 10 major Chapter 11 cases. The lawsuit shields, requested by the company or organization in bankruptcy, are called "nondebtor" releases because they are bestowed on people and entities that never have to declare Chapter 11 themselves. The recipients effectively get the benefits of bankruptcy protection without the associated financial or reputational damage. Reuters ... examined 29 U.S. bankruptcies that were preceded by mass tort litigation against companies or other entities, many of which included allegations involving dangerous products or sexual abuse. The review found that about 1.2 million claimants in these cases have signed away their rights to sue related parties or face pressure to approve such releases in ongoing bankruptcy-court negotiations. The 29 bankruptcies included those of 14 Catholic dioceses or religious orders and the Boy Scouts of America amid lawsuits alleging child molestation; [and] the collapse of opioid suppliers Purdue Pharma LP and Mallinckrodt plc over their alleged roles in a deadly addiction epidemic.
Allegations by FBI Special Agent Steve Friend contained in a whistleblower complaint filed late Wednesday with the Department of Justice inspector general reveal a politicized Washington, DC, FBI field office cooking the books to exaggerate the threat of domestic terrorism, and using an "overzealous" January 6 investigation to harass conservative Americans and violate their constitutional rights. Friend, 37, a respected 12-year veteran of the FBI and a SWAT team member, was suspended Monday, stripped of his gun and badge, and escorted out of the FBI field office in Daytona Beach, Fla., after complaining to his supervisors about the violations. He was declared absent without leave last month for refusing to participate in SWAT raids that he believed violated FBI policy and were a use of excessive force against Jan. 6 subjects accused of misdemeanor offenses. "I have an oath to uphold the Constitution," he told supervisors when he asserted his conscientious objection to joining an Aug. 24 raid on a J6 subject. "I have a moral objection and want to be considered a conscientious objector." In his whistleblower complaint to DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz ... Friend lays out multiple violations of FBI policy involving J6 investigations in which he was involved. He says he was removed from active investigations into child sexual exploitation and human trafficking to work on J6 cases sent from DC. As a result, he believes his child exploitation investigations were harmed.
Note: Read how Facebook is silencing activity related to this whistleblower. Read also Matt Taibbi's reporting on this important case. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
On New Year's Eve 2005, Justin Rose headed to Camp Lemonnier's cantina for celebratory $2.50 beers with his fellow Marines before heading back to his "hooch" around 1:30 a.m. Sometime after daybreak, Rose woke up to find someone stroking his penis. Disoriented for a moment, he lept down from his raised bunk and gave chase as a man dressed in red dashed out of his quarters and into another tent. He found [Jase Derek] Stanton, dressed in red, feigning sleep in his bed; Rose was certain Stanton was the attacker. So Rose did what he had been trained to do. He went to his team leader, a young corporal, and reported the assault. The first question he heard was: "Are you sure you're not making this up?" Nearly 1 in 4 U.S. servicewomen reports being sexually assaulted – a rate far higher than that of men. But sexual assault of men in the military is also widespread and vastly underreported. Each day, on average, more than 45 men in the armed forces are sexually assaulted, according to the latest Pentagon estimates. For women, it is 53 per day, according to a September 2022 Pentagon report that uses a new euphemism "unwanted sexual contact" as a "proxy measure for sexual assault." Nearly 40 percent of veterans who report to the Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, that they have experienced military sexual trauma, or MST – sexual assault or sexual harassment – are men. 90 percent of men in the military did not report a sexual assault they experienced in 2021.
Even for the US, one of few countries that still uses the death penalty, last week was exceptionally violent, with four executions planned in the span of 48 hours. The killings were marred with errors, accusations of racism and discrimination, and claims of innocence. One was called off after officials took more than an hour and were unable to place an IV line. Officials can't seem to carry off an execution in which the right drugs are used, an IV is placed quickly and the inmate doesn't suffer ... but state officials disclose little about who conducts executions or how they are trained. "The recent spate of botched lethal injection executions have shown that, whatever the drug, whatever the protocol, condemned prisoners often spend their final moments in agonising pain and distress," Maya Foa, director of advocacy group Reprieve US, said. “With each gruesome scene in the death chamber, we are witnessing the consequences of persisting with a broken method of execution in real time.” Numerous people on death row suffer from severe mental illness, so [Kat Jutras of Death Penalty Alternatives for Arizona is] hoping mental health reform can limit the pipeline of people heading towards the execution chamber. "Mental health is not a political issue. There are people on both sides of the aisle who can identify with loved ones suffering from mental health issues," she said. "We can address why our death row has 110 people on it, starting with mental health."
A former Vatican financial auditor has filed suit against the Vatican Secretariat of State, demanding the Catholic Church pay for damage to his reputation that he alleges followed his unceremonious firing in 2017. Libero Milone was hired in 2015 by Pope Francis to look into the notoriously convoluted and troubled finances of Vatican departments, as part of continuing financial reforms begun by Pope Benedict XVI. Only two years later, the Vatican announced that Milone had resigned in the face of accusations of embezzlement and of spying. Cardinal Angelo Becciu told reporters that the auditor "went against all rules and was spying on the private lives of his superiors and staff, myself included." Milone called the cardinal "a liar." Now, Milone says, he is ready to share proof of the financial mismanagement he said he witnessed at Vatican-owned hospitals and in the church bureaucracy. Milone framed his firing as a battle between "the Middle Ages and modernity" and called out "the small mafia at the Vatican" that was offended by his findings of lapses in the Catholic institution's finances, including "many cases of rule violations, improper predisposition of accounting records, incorrect registrations." He said he has proof that several other Vatican offices concealed transactions or obstructed auditors' attempts to see real estate and investment portfolios. He also pointed to significant anomalies in the management of funds at the troubled Catholic pediatric hospital Bambino GesĂą.
Note: In 2012, leaked documents revealed that the Vatican Bank was used for money laundering. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Biden administration told a US judge last week that Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, should be granted immunity in a civil lawsuit over his role in the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. That decision effectively ends one of the last efforts to hold the prince accountable for Khashoggi's assassination by a Saudi hit team inside the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. In July, Biden swallowed his pride and traveled to Saudi Arabia, trying to reset his relationship with a regime he called a "pariah" as a presidential candidate. Biden greeted Prince Mohammed with an embarrassing fist bump, hoping that the photo op would convince the Saudis to increase oil production and lower gasoline prices. By October, the Saudi-led Opec+ cartel did the opposite of what the Biden administration asked – it decided to cut oil production by 2 million barrels a day, which will mean higher global fuel prices this winter. Thanks to the Biden administration's immunity decision, Prince Mohammed now has a level of protection from US legal actions that even Trump did not offer him. The prince's lawyers started seeking immunity in US federal courts in August 2020, when Saad Aljabri, a former top Saudi intelligence official, sued the crown prince in Washington. Aljabri alleged that the royal had dispatched a hit squad to kill him in Canada in 2018, just weeks after Khashoggi's murder. The Trump administration declined to grant Prince Mohammed immunity in that case, and the suit was ultimately dismissed.
Note: U.S. Presidents from both parties continue to coddle up to the Saudi regime -- one of the most repressive regimes in the world. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
India has just 144 police officers for every 100,000 citizens. In recent years, authorities have turned to facial recognition technology to make up for the shortfall. India's government now ... wants to construct one of the world's largest facial recognition systems. The project envisions a future in which police from across the country's 29 states and seven union territories would have access to a single, centralized database. The daunting scope of the proposed network is laid out in a detailed 172-page document published by the National Crime Records Bureau, which requests bids from companies to build the project. The project would match images from the country's growing network of CCTV cameras against a database encompassing mug shots of criminals, passport photos and images collected by [government] agencies. It would also recognize faces on closed-circuit cameras and "generate alerts if a blacklist match is found." Security forces would be equipped with hand-held mobile devices enabling them to capture a face in the field and search it instantly against the national database, through a dedicated app. For privacy advocates, this is worrying. "India does not have a data protection law," says [Apar] Gupta [of the Internet Freedom Foundation]. "It will essentially be devoid of safeguards." It might even be linked up to Aadhaar, India's vast biometric database, which contains the personal details of 1.2 billion Indian citizens, enabling India to set up "a total, permanent surveillance state," he adds.
Note: Read an excellent article by The Civil Liberties Union for Europe about the 7 biggest privacy issues that concern facial recognition technology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
America's biggest "food forest" is just a short drive from the world's busiest airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson. When the Guardian visits the Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill there are around a dozen volunteers working. Food forests are part of the broader food justice and urban agriculture movement and are distinct from community gardens in various ways. They are typically backed by grants rather than renting plots, usually rely on volunteers and incorporate a land management approach that has a focus on growing perennials. The schemes vary in how they operate in allocating food ... but they are all aimed at boosting food access. Organizers in Atlanta stress that they properly distribute the food to the neighborhoods that the food forest is intended to support and it's not open to the public beyond volunteer workers. Other schemes have areas where the public is free to take what they want. Celeste Lomax, who manages community engagement at the Brown Mills forest and lives in the neighborhood, believes education is key to the forest's success and beams like sunlight when sharing her vision for the fertile soil she tends. "We're using this space for more than just growing food. We have composting, beehives, bat boxes, and this beautiful herb garden where we're teaching people how to heal themselves with the foods we eat. We'll be doing walkthrough retreats and outside yoga. This is a health and wellness place. It's so much more than just free food."
A dad has left medics baffled after waking from a coma with extraordinary artistic talents he never had before - and he's now a professional carpenter and model maker. Moe Hunter, 38, spent more than a month in a coma where his heart even stopped after being diagnosed with a rare form of bacterial meningitis and tuberculosis in his brain. He awoke from brain surgery with no memory but soon left his friends and family gobsmacked when he started to display a special gift he didn't possess before. Moe suddenly discovered he had a newfound creative flair and an inexplicable talent for drawing, painting and model building - despite being 'rubbish' at art at school. He used his new skills to embark on a career as a self-employed carpenter and began building intricate life-size model replicas from the world of TV and film. Married dad-of-one Moe has since sold pieces of his artwork and has displayed his amazing creations at Comic-Con events. Moe said: "I really wasn't creative before in the slightest, in fact people used to laugh at my drawings. "Even to this day some of my family can't believe it. When I spoke to the neurologist he just said 'enjoy it' and said there's so much about the brain they still can't decipher and this is just a phenomenon. I look at all of my stuff now and I'm like 'never in a trillion years could I do this stuff'. I have no idea how it happened. "My doctor said that I was a walking miracle to be able to recover as quickly as I did - but when I started displaying these new artistic talents they were just stumped."
With breakfast finished and backpacks prepped for the day, children across Spain's Barcelona province strap on their helmets and, at around 8 a.m., head to school not by bus or car, but in a critical mass of bikes dubbed "bicibĂşs." As with traditional bus lines, each bicibĂşs route has stops where other cycling students can join along the way. Parents, teachers and other volunteer adults ride, too, to ensure the kids' safety. BicibĂşs is just a couple years old, but already more than 1,200 kids pedal 90-plus routes to more than 70 schools across 25 cities in Catalonia. (Barcelona is one of four provinces in the region, in addition to being a major city.) Biking in groups increases awareness of riders on the road, especially where dedicated infrastructure is lacking. And families around the world, from Portland, Oregon to Edinburgh, Scotland, have embraced this commuting alternative. "The idea for bicibĂşs came from the mix of my two passions: the bike and education," says Helena Vilardell, the elementary school teacher who started bicibĂşs in February 2020. She subsequently launched the nonprofit Canvis en Cadena ("change in chain") to widely promote bicycles as a healthier, more sustainable commute for all. Fewer gas-powered vehicles on the road decreases pollutants that contribute to unhealthy air. "I have been working as a teacher for many years. The children in my class who arrive by bike are more active during the first hours, more attentive and participatory," [Vilardell] says.
It's no longer a pandemic of the unvaccinated. As vaccination rates have increased and new variants appeared, the share of deaths of people who were vaccinated has been steadily rising. Fifty-eight percent of coronavirus deaths in August were people who were vaccinated or boosted, according to an analysis conducted ... by Cynthia Cox, vice president at the the Kaiser Family Foundation. It's a continuation of a troubling trend that has emerged over the past year. "We can no longer say this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated," Cox told [the Post]. At this point in the pandemic, a large majority of Americans have received at least their primary series of coronavirus vaccines. [Yet] vaccines lose potency against the virus over time and variants arise that are better able to resist the vaccines.
Note: The public was sold on vaccines with claims of 90 to 95% efficacy. Yet we were not told that they would not stop transmission or that they would lose much of their efficacy after several months. Meanwhile big Pharma rakes in billions in profits. Notice also that this article plays down this important news and focuses on dubious facts to support getting more boosters, thus ever bigger profits to big Pharma. This article continues to promote COVID-19 vaccines and boosters, despite blatant suppression of the many injuries, and deaths caused by them.
The push for a "green revolution" in Africa ... has spent $1 billion to date, much of it from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. As an annual African farming summit takes place this week in Rwanda, activists, farmers and faith leaders from Seattle to Nairobi are calling on the Gates Foundation and other funders to stop supporting an effort they say has failed to deliver on promises to radically reduce hunger and increase farmer productivity. Critics say the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, founded in 2006 with money from the Gates and Rockefeller foundations, has promoted an industrial model of agriculture that poisons soils with chemicals and encourages farmers to go into debt by buying expensive seeds, fertilizers and pesticides. As a result of that debt, some farmers have had to sell their land or household goods like stoves and TVs, said Celestine Otieno and Anne Maina, both active with organizations in Kenya advocating for ecologically friendly practices. "I think it's the second phase of colonization," Otieno said. A donor-funded evaluation last December ... found "AGRA did not meet its headline goal of increased incomes and food security." Peter Little, director of the global development program at Emory University, puts it another way: "I don't think it's come close to what it promised to do." The criticism ... has clearly stung. This week, AGRA is launching a rebranding that drops the term "green revolution" from the organization's name, to be known from now on by its acronym only.
Note: Read a sobering open letter to Bill Gates written by 50 food sovereignty organizations that reveals how the "Green Revolution" and genetic engineering technologies have done the opposite of reducing hunger and increasing food access. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Over the past 50 years, human sperm counts appear to have fallen by more than 50% around the globe, according to an updated review of medical literature. The review, and its conclusions, have sparked a debate among experts in male fertility. "I think one of the fundamental functions of any species is reproduction. So I think if there is a signal that reproduction is in decline, I think that's a very important finding," said Dr. Michael Eisenberg, a urologist with Stanford Medicine who was not involved in the review. "There is a strong link between a man's reproductive health and his overall health. So it could also speak to that too, that maybe we're not as healthy as we once were," he said. The new analysis updates a review published in 2017 and for the first time includes new data from Central and South America, Asia and Africa. It was published in the journal Human Reproduction Update. An international team of researchers combed through nearly 3,000 studies that recorded men's sperm counts and were published between 2014 and 2020. Overall, the researchers determined that sperm counts fell by sightly more than 1% per year between 1973 and 2018. The study concluded that globally, the average sperm count had fallen 52% by 2018. When the study researchers restricted their analysis to certain years, they found that the decline in sperm counts seemed to be accelerating, from an average of 1.16% per year after 1973 to 2.64% per year after 2020.
Note: There are strong links between sperm quality and motility, and environmental toxins like pesticides and endocrine-disruptors. Consider also reading an excellent collection of resources and studies that associate cell phone radiation with men's reproductive health issues. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Gargantuan profits continue to roll in at Europe's energy giants. London-based Shell reported adjusted earnings of $9.45 billion for the third quarter, its second-highest profit on record. On the same day, Paris-based TotalEnergies reported a profit of $9.9 billion. For both companies, the profits were more than double what they earned in the same period a year ago. Shell and Total, like other energy companies this year, are benefiting from high oil and natural gas prices partly stoked by the war in Ukraine, as Russia squeezes gas flows to Europe. For Shell, the profit was a step down from the record-breaking $11.5 billion it reported for the second quarter, when it received an average of just over $100 a barrel for oil, compared with $93 in the third quarter. Natural gas prices, however, increased in the third quarter. Shell is returning a large chunk of this bounty to shareholders. The company said that it planned to increase its dividend to shareholders for the fourth quarter by 15 percent, to about 29 cents a share. In what may provoke a political storm in Britain, Shell said it had not yet been obliged to pay the "windfall" tax on oil and gas profits enacted earlier this year by the British government. The tax allows companies to deduct capital expenditures.
Note: Once again mega-corporations rake in the cash and stick it to the consumers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
What if I told you that a multinational oil company allegedly polluted the Amazon for almost three decades? And that the oil company has spent even more years refusing to accept liability? Or that a US attorney who agreed to represent thousands of Ecuadorian villagers in a lawsuit against that oil company has lost his law license, income, spent hundreds of days under house arrest in New York, and in 2021 was sentenced to six months in prison? From 1964 to 1990, Texaco, which merged with Chevron in 2001, allegedly spilled more than 16m gallons of crude oil – "80 times more oil than was spilled in BP's 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster", according to Gizmodo – and 18bn gallons of polluted wastewater in the Amazon rainforest. The pollution allegedly contaminated the ground and waterways with toxic chemicals that the plaintiffs – mostly Indigenous people and poor farmers – say has caused cancer, miscarriages, skin conditions and birth defects. In 1993, [attorney] Steven Donziger ... began working on an environmental case on behalf of Ecuadorians. In 2011 ... an Ecuadorian court ruled that Texaco, which had been bought by Chevron at this point, was "responsible for vast contamination." PR advisers for Chevron promised to "demonize" Donziger in the public eye. The oil company "hired private investigators to track Donziger, created a publication" which smeared him, and "put together a legal team of hundreds of lawyers from 60 firms, who have successfully pursued an extraordinary campaign against him."
Public outrage over how police use force has fueled protests in the streets, spurred calls to cut their funding and ignited broad debates over how to reform law enforcement. Despite this intense focus on the present and future of policing, one key component has remained woefully inadequate, according to a report from a prominent policing think tank: how new officers are trained. Training for recruits "presents an immediate crisis for policing," according to the report from the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF). The report describes a system that, even after years of push and pull over change, is "built to train officers quickly and cheaply." That system then hurries the new officers onto streets across the United States without helping them develop vital skills, including crisis intervention and communication, that they will need on the job. Police in the United States typically spend about 20 weeks in the academy, the report said, while recruits in Japan might spend up to 21 months training. Their peers in many European countries spend two to three years training. The report also touches on why, despite all the pleas to rethink policing, training remains behind the times in many places. "At many academies," the report said, instruction "is based largely on what has been taught in the past." In many cases, the report continued, academies "seem to rely almost exclusively on current or retired law enforcement officers to develop their training curricula," even though these people lack backgrounds in designing course instruction.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Colorado is poised to become the second U.S. state to legalize medicinal psychedelics. Proposition 122, Access to Natural Psychedelic Substances, was supported by about 52% of the vote ... according to the Secretary of State's Office. The measure legalizes psilocybin and psilocin, two compounds found in "magic mushrooms," for use in therapeutic settings and paves the way for the establishment of "healing centers" where adults 21 years old and up can use the substances under the supervision of licensed professionals. Additionally, Proposition 122 decriminalizes the personal growing, use and sharing of psilocybin and psilocin, as well as ibogaine, mescaline and dimethyltryptamine, or DMT, for adults. Colorado follows Oregon, which legalized psilocybin in 2020. Natural Medicine Colorado lauded the results as a history-making win. "Colorado voters saw the benefit of regulated access to natural medicines, including psilocybin, so people with PTSD, terminal illness, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues can heal," said the measure's co-proponents, Kevin Matthews and Veronica Lightening Horse Perez, in a statement. Proposition 122 gives the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) until January 2024 to develop licensing criteria for psychedelic treatment centers, facilitators, and ancillary businesses.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
Key Articles From Years Past
[Pamela] McGhee and her neighbors are participating in a pilot program to build zero-waste systems for Detroit. It's something they say the city sorely needs. For decades, Detroit was home to one of the country's largest waste incinerators. East Side residents formed Breathe Free Detroit, one of several groups behind a successful campaign to shut down the incinerator; the plant closed in 2019. Now, that same group is working with the city to develop a composting system. Many ... see a direct line between composting and recycling and improving their community health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, food waste is the most common material found in landfills and sent to incinerators in the U.S., comprising 24% of landfill materials and 22% of combusted municipal solid waste. But Detroit organizers didn't have much experience with communitywide composting, so when they began developing a program, they turned to an unlikely mentor more than 8,000 miles away: the Mother Earth Foundation in the Philippines. Over the past 20 years, the organization has earned a reputation for training low-income communities, government agencies, civic organizations, and businesses in zero-waste practices. The two groups organized monthly calls, in which Mother Earth Foundation organizers offered advice based on their experiences setting up community composting systems. Members of Mother Earth Foundation and community organizers in Detroit plan to visit each other's cities early next year.
In May, India's Supreme Court ruled that sex work is a legitimate profession. Now, its older practitioners are finding ways to start their life anew. 47-year-old [Jyoti] is a former sex worker from the brothels of Delhi's biggest red light district ... who has left her previous life behind. "I was sold to a brothel by an aunt when I was only 12 years old, so there never was any time to learn anything else," she says. Now, Jyoti not only has a job, she is earning enough to give her children a promising future: $250 a month through Savhera, a women-led organization that connects and provides retired sex workers with jobs. As a result of the capacity building training by Savhera, the workers have successfully launched their own collective, WePower, with technical support from Shakti Vahini, an anti-trafficking NGO. The collective aims to manufacture handmade goods that provide ongoing employment and empowerment to the women. Savhera and similar organizations are helping aging and retired Indian sex workers transition into their new lives with jobs, bank accounts and ID cards. Now, as one of the core members of WePower, Jyoti makes handmade goods like candles, bags, and jewelry. She intends to use the money she earns to build a fund for her daughter's future education. Like Savhera, the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee (DMSC), a group of 67,000 sex workers in West Bengal, helps aging sex workers ... and even runs its own bank, USHA co-operative, for sex workers without ID cards.
A new rooftop wind harvesting device is capable of generating 50 percent more electricity than solar panels for the same cost, according to its inventors, a Texas-based startup called Aeromine Technologies. The new technology replaced the blades found in traditional wind turbines with an aerodynamic system that harvests energy from the airflow that's created above a building, which makes it silent and safe for birds and other wildlife. These units produce the same amount of power as up to 16 solar panels. As their company website states: "Aeromine's patented aerodynamic design captures and amplifies building airflow in wind speeds as low as 5 m.p.h., similar to the airfoils on a race car. Unlike turbines that require rotating rotor blades and many moving parts, making them prone to maintenance issues, the motionless and durable Aeromine solution generates more energy in less space." This is a game-changer ... helping corporations meet their resilience and sustainability goals with an untapped distributed renewable energy source. The Aeromine system can utilize a small footprint on a building's roof, leaving ample space for existing solar and utility infrastructure. It provides commercial property owners, who are facing increased energy costs and rising demand for features such as electric vehicle charging stations, with an effective new tool. Aeromine's patented technology was validated through joint research with Sandia National Laboratories and Texas Tech University.
In July 2021 the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) quietly disclosed findings of a potential increase in four types of serious adverse events in elderly people who had had Pfizer's covid-19 vaccine: acute myocardial infarction, disseminated intravascular coagulation, immune thrombocytopenia, and pulmonary embolism. Little detail was provided, such as the magnitude of the increased potential risk, and no press release or other alert was sent to doctors or the public. Eighteen days later, the FDA published a study planning document (or protocol) outlining a follow-up epidemiological study intended to investigate the matter more thoroughly. This recondite technical document disclosed the unadjusted relative risk ratio estimates originally found for the four serious adverse events, which ranged from 42% to 91% increased risk. More than a year later, however, the status and results of the follow-up study are unknown. The agency has not published a press release, or notified doctors, or published the findings ... or updated the vaccine's product label. Cody Meissner, a paediatrician and member of the FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, said ... "One of the great problems was the suppression of opposing voices to various recommendations and that’s going to cause extraordinary harm ... everyone is aware that there are going to be side effects from any vaccine and as time goes by, we’re going to find out more and more about those side effects."
The first research in the U.S. is underway, tracking adverse health effects – if any – that may appear in the years following a diagnosis of vaccine-associated heart problems. Early findings from the research could be published as early as next year, sources told NBC News. In October 2021, Da'Vion Miller was found unconscious in the bathroom of his home in Detroit a week after receiving his first dose of Pfizer's Covid vaccine. Miller was rushed to Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, where he was diagnosed with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, an inflammation of the outer lining of the heart. His doctor advised him not to receive a second dose of either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccines. In some cases, people who've developed myocarditis after a viral infection can suffer scarring along the heart's tissue, reducing its ability to pump blood and circulate oxygen around the body, said Dr. Leslie Cooper, the chair of the department of cardiology at the Mayo Clinic. "It could be 2%. It could be 0%. It could be 20%," he said, referring to the percentage of people with vaccine-associated myocarditis who could experience long-term heart consequences. "We don't know the answer." Scientists still don't have a clear explanation yet for why the vaccines cause the condition, according to Dr. Paul Burton, Moderna's chief medical officer. He expects the virus's spike protein, once produced in the cell after vaccination, may generate a reaction in the body that can cause inflammation in the heart.
Note: Leading medical journal JAMA published a study earlier this year showing that the risk of myocarditis "increased across multiple age and sex strata and was highest after the second vaccination dose in adolescent males and young men." Consider also watching an excellent video by Dr. Vinay Prasad at the University of California, San Francisco who discusses a revealing Switzerland study showing that myocardial injury is more common than previously thought, with concerning implications on the cumulative burden of myocardial injury from yearly boosters.
An offshore company that is trusted by the major web browsers and other tech companies to vouch for the legitimacy of websites has connections to contractors for U.S. intelligence agencies and law enforcement, according to security researchers, documents and interviews. Google's Chrome, Apple's Safari, nonprofit Firefox and others allow the company, TrustCor Systems, to act as what's known as a root certificate authority, a powerful spot in the internet's infrastructure that guarantees websites are not fake, guiding users to them seamlessly. The company's Panamanian registration records show that it has the identical slate of officers, agents and partners as a spyware maker identified this year as an affiliate of Arizona-based Packet Forensics, which ... has sold communication interception services to U.S. government agencies for more than a decade. TrustCor's products include an email service that claims to be end-to-end encrypted, though experts consulted by The Washington Post said they found evidence to undermine that claim. A test version of the email service also included spyware developed by a Panamanian company related to Packet Forensics. A person familiar with Packet Forensics' work confirmed that it had used TrustCor's certificate process and its email service, MsgSafe, to intercept communications and help the U.S. government catch suspected terrorists. The physical address in Toronto given in [TrustCor's] auditor's report, 371 Front St. West, houses a UPS Store mail drop.
In a cheerfully animated promotional video, a woman narrates Cubic Transportation Systems' vision for the future. Travelers will pay fares using a ticket-free mobile account. Real-time data will be aggregated, linked, and shared. "The more information that is gathered, the more powerful the system becomes," the narrator tells us. "The piece of the puzzle missing ... is you." Over the past decade, Cubic has taken the first steps toward actualizing its vision by snapping up contracts for the development of mobile-based, contactless fare collection systems in eight of America's 10 largest public transit networks. Transit authorities have embraced tap-to-pay technology for its convenience and speed, but privacy advocates are worried that the new fare collection systems pose serious surveillance and security risks. In addition to its transit operation, Cubic is a vast military contractor doing hundreds of millions of dollars in business with the U.S. military and sales to foreign militaries. The company supplies surveillance technologies, training simulators, satellite communications equipment, computing and networking platforms, and other military hardware and software. As Cubic's quiet grip on fare collection takes hold in more cities, the company's ability to process rider data grows with it, creating a sprawling corporate apparatus that has the extraordinary potential to gather up reams of information on the very people it is supposed to serve.
The United States has fought more than a dozen "secret wars" over the last two decades, according to a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice. Through a combination of ground combat, airstrikes, and operations by U.S. proxy forces, these conflicts have raged from Africa to the Middle East to Asia, often completely unknown to the American people and with minimal congressional oversight. These clandestine conflicts have been enabled by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, enacted in the wake of the September 11 attacks, as well as the covert action statute, which allows secret, unattributed operations, primarily conducted by the CIA. [The new] analysis is particularly illuminating in the case of Somalia, where the United States developed two key proxy forces, the Danab Brigade and the Puntland Security Force. The CIA began building the Puntland Security Force in 2002 to battle the Al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabab and later the Islamic State in Somalia, or ISS. The force was transferred to U.S. military control around 2012 and went on to fight alongside U.S. Special Operations forces for a decade. [The Brennan Center's Katherine Yon] Ebright notes that the proxy fighters were "largely independent of the Somali government, despite being an elite armed brigade and one of Somalia's most capable special operations units. And their relationship with U.S. forces was long kept secret, with U.S. officials disavowing the presence of military advisers in Somalia until 2014."
Note: Since 2008, the US has supported at least nine coups in five African countries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Authorities swiftly called the death a homicide. The victim was 44-year-old Michael Williams. Days later, law enforcement agencies announced they had arrested and charged a 31-year-old army veteran, Steven Vogel, with murder. Williams had been strangled, according to the medical examiner's office. Authorities arrested and charged three others with helping Vogel move the body. The case attracted national attention. Michael Williams was Black, and his body was burned and dumped in an almost-exclusively white part of Iowa. The four people arrested were white. These events occurred 15 weeks after Minneapolis police publicly murdered George Floyd. And yet, law enforcement immediately declared that no evidence suggested the murder had been motivated by racism. Williams's family and other members of central Iowa's Black community weren't convinced. The simple fact a white man hanged a Black man with a rope and then set him on fire in an easily visible spot – with three other white people helping cover up the murder – was telling. Data analyzed by the Guardian reveals this to be common: victims' loved ones clearly see racist motives, while law agencies often don't. From the outset, authorities rejected a racial motive. "They never pursued it," says Paula Terrell, Williams's aunt. "They just kept saying â€it's a love triangle.'" In fact, Williams's murder was one of several incidents in central Iowa that targeted Black people in short sequence.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Shanghai Disney has become the latest high-profile venue to shut its gates thanks to China's strict zero-Covid policy, trapping visitors inside. People have been told they will not be allowed out of the theme park until they can show a negative test. China's controversial zero-Covid policy has already seen millions of people repeatedly locked down, sometimes in unusual locations. The sudden nature lockdowns have seen people fleeing shops - including a Shanghai branch of Swedish furniture giant Ikea - and workplaces as they try to avoid being trapped inside. However, those awaiting their freedom at Shanghai Disney can console themselves with one positive: rides are continuing to operate for those trapped inside The Happiest Place on Earth. As well as the theme park, surrounding areas such as the shopping street were also abruptly closed. Videos posted on Chinese social media site Weibo showed people rushing to the park's gates following the announcement but finding them already locked. Posting on Chinese social media site WeChat, the Shanghai government said the park was barring people from entering and those inside could only leave once they had returned a negative test result. It added that anyone who has visited the park since Thursday must provide three negative test results over three consecutive days. Millions of people are under 200 different lockdowns in China, as of October 24, as the country of 1.45 billion consistently records more than 1,000 new Covid cases a day.
Note: By comparison, the U.S. had about 40,000 cases per day in late October. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
On April 17, 2018, Terry Albury appeared in a federal court in Minneapolis, where he pleaded guilty to charges of leaking classified information to the press. The allegations – that Albury downloaded, printed and photographed internal F.B.I. documents on his office computer, sending some of them electronically to a journalist and saving others on external devices found in his home – resulted from a 17-month-long internal investigation by the F.B.I., prompted by two Freedom of Information Act requests by a news organization ... in March 2016. Nine months after these FOIA requests were made, a trove of internal F.B.I. documents shedding new light on the vast and largely unrestricted power of the post-9/11 F.B.I. was posted on the investigative-journalism site The Intercept. The cache included hundreds of pages of unredacted policy manuals, including the F.B.I.'s byzantine rule book, the Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide, exposing the hidden loopholes that allowed agents to violate the bureau's own rules against racial and religious profiling and domestic spying as they pursued the domestic war on terror. In October 2018, he was sentenced to four years in prison. Albury says he felt a moral imperative to make his disclosures, motivated by his belief that the bureau had been so fundamentally transformed by Sept. 11 that its own agents were compelled to commit civil and human rights violations.
Note: Listen to Albury talk about his experiences in this podcast. 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.
Joost Bakker believes a house can be more than a place to live: it can be a self-sustaining weapon against the climate crisis. A new Australian documentary explores his bold blueprint. Bakker – a multi-disciplinary designer, no-waste advocate and the film's eponymous protagonist – has long been something of a provocateur. In 2020, the Dutch-born, Australian-raised designer's two decades of high-concept sustainability projects came to a head when he hit go on the construction of Future Food System. Erected in one of the busiest areas of Melbourne, the off-grid, three-storey house and urban farm produced all of its own power and food. Even the cooking gas was generated from human and food waste. "We can have it all," Bakker [says]. "We can have houses covered with biology, plants, ecosystems and waterfalls. It's not necessary for us to be destroying the planet or killing each other with materials that are making us sick. The infrastructure is already there. It's just about reimagining our suburbs and reimagining our buildings." Shadowing Bakker throughout the project from set-up to pack-down, was film-maker Nick Batzias ... who squeezes plenty of action into the pacy 90-minute documentary. The bulk of the film focuses on the building's green-thinking initiatives. Steam from the showers is used to grow mushrooms; the foundation-less building is anchored by self-watering garden beds filled with 35 tonnes of soil.
Voters in four states approved ballot measures that will change their state constitutions to prohibit slavery and forcing someone to work against their will as punishment for crime. The initiatives won't force immediate changes in the states' prisons, but they may invite legal challenges over the practice of pressuring prisoners to work under threat of punishment or loss of privileges if they refuse the work. The results were celebrated among anti-slavery advocates, including those pushing to further amend the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits enslavement and forced work except as a form of criminal punishment. Nearly 160 years after enslaved Africans and their descendants were released from bondage through ratification of the 13th Amendment, the slavery exception continues to allow jails and prisons to use inmates for low-cost labor. U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Representative Nikema Williams of Georgia, both Democrats, reintroduced legislation to revise the 13th Amendment to end the slavery exception. If it wins approval in Congress, the constitutional amendment must be ratified (approved) by three-fourths of the states. After Tuesday's vote, more than a dozen states still have constitutions that include language permitting slavery and forced labor for prisoners. Prison labor is a multibillion-dollar practice. Workers usually make less than $1 per hour, sometimes only pennies. Prisoners who refuse to work can be denied privileges such as phone calls and visits with family.
Though the people held at Sanganer open prison are technically incarcerated, they can leave the facility during the day and travel within the city limits. Almost immediately upon his arrival, Arjiram's sense of self-worth grew. "It didn't feel like I was in a prison," he says. "I could go out and work and come back, and the best thing was they trusted me." After being faceless and nameless for over a decade, he felt like a person again. According to the country's National Crime Records Bureau, there are about 88 open prisons in India, the largest share of which are in the state of Rajasthan, where the model is being pioneered. India's open prisons are defined by minimal security. They are run and maintained by the state, and those incarcerated within them are free to come and go as they please. At Sanganer, the prison is open for up to 12 hours each day. Every evening, prisoners must return to be counted at an end-of-day roll call. Designed to foster reform as opposed to punishment, the system is based on the premise that trust is contagious. It assumes – and encourages – self-discipline on the part of the prisoners. Letting incarcerated folks go to work also allows them to earn money for themselves and their families, build skills, and maintain contacts in the outside world that can help them once they're released. In addition to allowing inmates to support themselves, open prisons require far less staff, and their operating costs are a fraction of those in closed prisons.
The Department of Homeland Security launched a failed operation that ensnared hundreds, if not thousands, of U.S. protesters in what new documents show was as a sweeping, power-hungry effort before the 2020 election to bolster President Donald Trump's spurious claims about a "terrorist organization" he accused his Democratic rivals of supporting. An internal investigative report, made public this month by Sen. Ron Wyden ... details the findings of DHS lawyers concerning a previously undisclosed effort by Trump's acting secretary of homeland security, Chad Wolf, to amass secret dossiers on Americans in Portland attending anti-racism protests in summer 2020 sparked by the police murder of ... George Floyd. The report describes attempts by top officials to link protesters to an imaginary terrorist plot in an apparent effort to boost Trump's reelection odds, raising concerns now about the ability of a sitting president to co-opt billions of dollars' worth of domestic intelligence assets for their own political gain. DHS analysts recounted orders to generate evidence of financial ties between protesters in custody; an effort that, had they not failed, would have seemingly served to legitimize President Trump's false claims about "Antifa." The report describes the dossiers generated by DHS as having detailed the past whereabouts and the "friends and followers of the subjects, as well as their ... First Amendment speech activity."
Note: Read about the FBI's use of entrapment to manufacture terrorist plots. 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.
The Department of Homeland Security is quietly broadening its efforts to curb speech it considers dangerous, an investigation by The Intercept has found. The work, much of which remains unknown to the American public, came into clearer view earlier this year when DHS announced a new "Disinformation Governance Board": a panel designed to police misinformation (false information spread unintentionally), disinformation (false information spread intentionally), and malinformation (factual information shared, typically out of context, with harmful intent) that allegedly threatens U.S. interests. While the board was widely ridiculed, immediately scaled back, and then shut down within a few months, other initiatives are underway as DHS pivots to monitoring social media now that its original mandate – the war on terror – has been wound down. Behind closed doors, and through pressure on private platforms, the U.S. government has used its power to try to shape online discourse. Discussions have ranged from the scale and scope of government intervention in online discourse to the mechanics of streamlining takedown requests for false or intentionally misleading information. There is also a formalized process for government officials to directly flag content on Facebook or Instagram and request that it be throttled or suppressed through a special Facebook portal that requires a government or law enforcement email to use. How disinformation is defined by the government has not been clearly articulated.
Note: The Department of Homeland Security's Disinformation Governance Board has been paused, not stopped. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.
Earlier this year, Kik Messenger user "heyyyydude1" was selling a stash of videos he'd amassed of child sexual abuse. One customer, who said he was a 35-year-old father of two, offered to buy 200 videos for $45. "How do I pay?" he asked. "Cash App," heyyyydude1 responded, sending over his payment details and a code for a Cash App referral fee. With each transaction, and many more disturbing videos sent, the seller was unknowingly providing a pile of evidence to an undercover agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's child exploitation unit. Current and former police, as well as nonprofits working directly with cops to fight child exploitation, say that such crimes are often happening via Cash App, which brings in billions in gross profit every year for Block, Inc., the Jack Dorsey-run payments giant formerly known as Square. They say that whether it's to pay for sex with a minor, to send children funds in return for nude images or to traffic a young adult victim, Cash App is often the payment tool of choice. Though it recently launched a Cash App for Teens feature, the company is conspicuously absent from collaborative efforts to fight abuse, failing to provide any tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), America's national clearing house for sexual abuse material found on tech platforms. Hundreds of pages of court filings describe cases where law enforcement said Cash App was used to either pay for sexualized images or sex with minors and adults.
New scientific breakthroughs make it increasingly easy to identify dangerous viruses in nature, manipulate them in the lab and synthetically create them from genetic sequences. But some scientists have taken it further, adding "gain of function" mutations that make potential pandemic viruses more transmissible. The National Institutes of Health funded two research groups to increase the transmissibility of an earlier strain of avian influenza that had killed hundreds of people but could not efficiently spread from person to person. Both groups created viral mutants that could transmit in ferrets. The Obama administration was so alarmed that it halted gain-of-function work on potential pandemic influenza viruses in 2014, but the N.I.H. allowed it to restart by 2019. In my view, there is no justification for intentionally making potential pandemic viruses more transmissible. The consequences of an accident could be too horrific, and such engineered viruses are not needed for vaccines anyway. Natural viruses that haven't yet infected humans can also pose a risk if researchers try to find the most dangerous ones and bring them back to the lab for experiments. Suspicions about a lab-accident origin of SARS-CoV-2 have been fueled by the fact that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was involved in Chinese and international efforts to find and experiment with new high-risk coronaviruses. A final category of pandemic risk involves viruses that used to transmit in humans but became extinct long ago – like the 1918 influenza virus.
On Monday morning, 30 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to the White House that attempted to gingerly open a conversation about a potential diplomatic end to Russia's war on Ukraine. The door was slammed shut by the evening, met with enough fury to elicit a "clarification" in the form of a statement from caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal. "Let me be clear," Jayapal said in a statement issued just before 7 p.m., "We are united as Democrats in our unequivocal commitment to supporting Ukraine in their fight for their democracy and freedom in the face of the illegal and outrageous Russian invasion, and nothing in the letter advocates for a change in that support." On Tuesday afternoon, Jayapal followed the clarification by fully withdrawing the letter, saying it was "released by staff without vetting." That the letter was met with fierce opposition is a measure of the space available for debate among congressional Democrats when it comes to support for the war and how it might be stopped before it turns nuclear: roughly zero. "I have voted for every defense package to Ukraine and stand firmly for Ukraine's sovereignty," Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a letter signer, told The Intercept. "It should not be controversial to say we need to explore every diplomatic avenue to seek a just peace." "The alternative to diplomacy is protracted war, with both its attendant certainties and catastrophic and unknowable risks," the letter read.
Note: The powerful war machine can compromise even those with good intentions. Read an excellent article calling for urgent diplomacy on both sides of the political aisle to promote peaceful and democratic outcomes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
Ashwaq Abdel Kareem heard the roar of a jet plane that foretold an airstrike. It was near midnight on June 1, 2015. Ashwaq, her husband, and five children were in the backyard. Far above Ashwaq and her family, a Dutch F-16 fighter jet released a bomb that whistled down to hit a car-bomb factory in the center of Hawija's industrial district. The F-16's mission was coordinated by the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and was planned by the U.S. military. From 2014 to the present day, between 8,000 and 13,000 civilians have died as a result of bombing by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq, according to the monitoring organization Airwars; the coalition only acknowledges the deaths of 1,417 civilians. At the height of the bombing in 2017, as the coalition bombed tightly packed urban areas like Mosul, at least 9,000 civilians died. Yet only one civilian received compensation, although the U.S. military did distribute a limited number of condolence or "ex gratia" payments – which are voluntary payments and not an admission of legal liability – reportedly to the families of around 14 victims. Despite its involvement [with the Hawija bombing], the United States has not offered an apology or individual compensation. This is consistent with U.S. policy that has made compensation for civilians extremely rare. The only legal way for civilians to pursue compensation in the U.S. has been through the Foreign Claims Act, but that excludes compensation for death or injury during combat, making victims of the Hawija bombing ineligible.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
BBC reporter Marianna Spring ... created five fake Americans and opened social media accounts for them, part of an attempt to illustrate how disinformation spreads on sites like Facebook, Twitter and TikTok despite efforts to stop it, and how that impacts American politics. Spring worked with the Pew Research Center in the U.S. to set up five archetypes. Besides the very conservative Larry and very liberal Emma, there's Britney, a more populist conservative from Texas; Gabriela, a largely apolitical independent from Miami; and Michael, a Black teacher from Milwaukee who's a moderate Democrat. Emma is a lesbian who follows LGBTQ groups, is an atheist, takes an active interest in women's issues and abortion rights, supports the legalization of marijuana and follows The New York Times and NPR. These "traits" are the bait, essentially, to see how the social media companies' algorithms kick in and what material is sent their way. That's ... left Spring and the BBC vulnerable to charges that the project is ethically suspect in using false information to uncover false information. "By creating these false identities, she violates what I believe is a fairly clear ethical standard in journalism," said Bob Steele, retired ethics expert. "We should not pretend that we are someone other than ourselves, with very few exceptions." For a story last year, the Wall Street Journal created more than 100 automated accounts to see how TikTok steered users in different directions.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable sources.
Gov. Ron DeSantis ... held a news conference two months ago, announcing that the Florida Office of Election Crimes and Security had found roughly 20 people who voted illegally in 2020. DeSantis, surrounded by uniformed officers, assured the public that the suspects were in custody and would be prosecuted. The Tampa Bay Times published a report yesterday, highlighting the nature of those arrests, alongside a video of police bodycam footage that's painful to watch. Politico reported a week after the arrests that several of those taken away in handcuffs had been "notified by official government entities they were eligible to vote." Floridians ... seemed utterly baffled as to why they were being taken away in handcuffs, insisting they had cast perfectly legal votes – not only because Floridians approved a state constitutional amendment in 2018, restoring voting rights to many felons, but also because they'd been explicitly told by officials that they could legally cast ballots.
When floods devastated Bangkok more than a decade ago, Thai landscape architect Kotchakorn Voraakhom became determined to help her sinking hometown fight this deadly climate threat. The floods "changed my life," said Voraakhom. "I started using the tools of landscape architecture (to tackle) climate change." The 2011 floods killed hundreds and displaced millions. "For us, climate change is primarily a water crisis," she said. "Our people can feel its impacts in their daily lives, each year through worsening floods, rising sea levels, and severe drought." In many sinking cities, including Bangkok, the current urban infrastructure is not fit for purpose and is "reducing our ability to adapt," said Voraakhom, noting that many of Bangkok's waterways and canals have been destroyed or have fallen into disrepair. "For us, as a city of water, the only way is to go back to our amphibious culture and reclaim the relationship with water." The architect said she integrates nature and water into her designs to create landscapes that help alleviate flooding and add greenery to densely populated cities. Voraakhom also created Asia's largest rooftop farm, Siam Green Sky, transforming 22,400 square meters (241,000 square feet) into a lush haven. The farm, which recycles food waste from restaurants in the building below and uses it as plant fertilizer, also slows down, soaks up and stores large amounts of rainwater. It is then used to grow vegetables, herbs and fruit, as well as rice.
Imagine you're eating dinner on a ceramic plate and drinking water from a plastic cup while sitting in a brick house – a seemingly ordinary scenario except that your plate, cup, and your home are all fashioned in part from recycled feces. In my upcoming book, "Flush: The Remarkable Science of an Unlikely Treasure," I describe how the misunderstood byproduct of our daily living is a vastly undervalued natural resource. Try to reimagine wastewater treatment plants ... doubling as multipurpose resource recovery facilities. As an alternative to plastics made from fossil fuels, for example, researchers are making headway in producing safe and biodegradable bioplastics from existing waste streams. Creating planet-friendly bottles, containers, and other bioplastic products from what we leave behind is still a work in progress, said Zeynep Cetecioglu Gurol ... at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Developing an efficient and affordable method for recovering new products from wastewater could help offset the money, time, and effort spent by treatment plants to meet pollution limits in discharged water. "It's a win-win," she said. Engineers ... have focused on relieving the environmental problem of excavating clay soil for brick production, in part by exploring how to incorporate treated sewage solids, or biosolids, into fired bricks. Bricks with varying amounts of treated biosolids from Melbourne residents weren't quite as strong as traditional counterparts. But they were lighter and better insulators.
For the first time, adults with mild to moderate hearing loss in the US will be able to buy over-the-counter hearing aids. Those who are under 18 or who have severe hearing loss will still need a prescription. In July, President Joe Biden signed an executive order meant to promote competition; it encouraged the US Food and Drug Administration allow over-the-counter, prescription-free hearing aids, and the FDA announced the long-awaited rule change in August. The move ushers in options that should be cheaper and possibly even better. Now, instead of getting a prescription and having a custom fitting with a hearing health professional, adults can buy hearing aids directly from a store or online. Some doctors estimate that 90% of the population with hearing loss could benefit from these over-the-counter devices. Experts say the move is a "game-changer." The number of people with hearing loss is substantial. About 1 in 8 people in the US ages 12 and older has hearing loss in both ears. About a quarter of people 65 to 74 have hearing loss. On average, people spend at least $4,000 out of pocket for devices for both ears, according to a 2020 study published in the medical journal JAMA. Prices can vary: Large retailers may offer a pair for about $1,400, but some can cost as much as $6,000 per ear. Until now, five companies have controlled 90% of the global marketplace for hearing aids. That kind of consolidation meant there was little price competition.
Note: Why were these not available over the counter before? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The web browser used within the TikTok app can track every keystroke made by its users, according to new research that is surfacing as the Chinese-owned video app grapples with U.S. lawmakers' concerns over its data practices. The research from Felix Krause, a privacy researcher and former Google engineer, did not show how TikTok used the capability, which is embedded within the in-app browser that pops up when someone clicks an outside link. But Mr. Krause said the development was concerning because it showed TikTok had built in functionality to track users' online habits if it chose to do so. Collecting information on what people type on their phones while visiting outside websites, which can reveal credit card numbers and passwords, is often a feature of malware and other hacking tools. Apps sometimes use in-app browsers to prevent people from visiting malicious sites or to make online browsing easier with the auto-filling of text. But while Facebook and Instagram can use in-app browsers to track data like what sites a person visited ... TikTok goes further by using code that can track each character entered by users. As with many apps, TikTok offers few chances for people to click away from its service. Instead of redirecting to mobile web browsers like Safari or Chrome, an in-app browser appears when users click on ads or links embedded within the profiles of other users. These are often the moments people enter key information like credit card details or passwords.
Since Buzzfeed reported in June that employees of TikTok's Chinese parent company ByteDance had access to US consumer data, TikTok has been the focus of rare bipartisan calls for regulation and inquiry. Those inquiries became more pressing when in July, the FBI director, Christopher Wray, called Chinese espionage the "greatest long-term threat to our nation's ... economic vitality". TikTok is a relatively new player in the arena of massive global social media platforms but it's already caught the eye of regulators in Europe. New laws around child safety and general internet safety in the UK and the EU have forced the company to become more transparent about the way it operates and the way content spreads on its platform. In the US, moves to rein in the video platform have gained momentum only relatively recently, although there's little debate that the round of regulatory pressure is warranted. With 1 billion users, the platform, which uses an algorithmic feed to push users short-form videos, has had its fair share of run-ins with misinformation, data privacy and concerns about child safety. Experts the Guardian spoke with did not question the cybersecurity threat China posed. However, some said they worried regulators' hyper-focus on TikTok's China connection could distract from other pressing concerns, including TikTok's algorithm and how much user data the company collects, stores and shares. There are currently no federal regulations that protect such information.
Detroit's city council will soon vote on whether to spend millions in federal cash meant to ease the economic pains of the coronavirus pandemic on ShotSpotter, a controversial surveillance technology critics say is invasive, discriminatory, and fundamentally broken. ShotSpotter purports to do one thing very well: telling cops a gun has been fired as soon as the trigger is pulled. Using a network of microphones hitched to telephone poles, rooftops, and other urban vantage points, ShotSpotter is essentially an Alexa that listens for a bang rather than voice commands. Despite ShotSpotter's corporate claims of 97 percent accuracy, the technology's efficacy has been derided as dangerously ineffective – a techno-solutionist approach to public safety. ShotSpotter's opponents in Detroit agreed that gun violence is a serious problem but said Covid-19 relief money would be far better spent on addressing the social ills that form the basis of crime. "If people had jobs, money, after-school programs, housing, the things that they need, that's going to reduce gun violence," said Alyx Goodwin, a campaign organizer with Action Center on Race and the Economy. Snyder pointed to the fundamental irony of diverting public money billed as form of relief for the pandemic's downtrodden to surveil those very same people. ShotSpotter explicitly urges cities to tap funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, intended to salve financial hardship caused by the pandemic, to buy new surveillance microphones.
Chemical companies are dodging a federal law designed to track how many PFAS "forever chemicals" their plants are discharging into the environment by exploiting a loophole created in the Trump administration's final months, a new analysis of federal records has found. The Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act put in place requirements that companies discharging over 100lb annually of the dangerous chemicals report the releases to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But during the implementation process, Trump's EPA created an unusual loophole that at least five chemical companies have exploited. PFAS ... accumulate in humans and the environment. A growing body of evidence links them to serious health problems like cancer, birth defects, liver disease and autoimmune disorders. The Trump EPA gave PFAS an unusual exemption under the law that allows companies not to report discharges if the amounts are ... less than 1% of a total mixture. Companies discharging thousands of pounds of PFAS could have gotten their releases under the 1% threshold via several routes. Companies may have added water to PFAS to dilute it to the point that it is below 1%. However, the total amount of PFAS released is still high, and may present a threat once in the environment. Companies may also be using complex mixtures with multiple PFAS. If the companies keep any one PFAS compound below the 1% threshold, then they won't have to report it.
Note: Read more about the risks and dangers of these 'forever chemicals.' For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Federal Reserve, far from the independent institution it often touts itself as, is under intense pressure at all times from massive commercial banks and other financial institutions advocating for favorable regulations, according to federal lobbying disclosures reviewed by The Intercept, as well as interviews with former Fed and other finance employees. The Federal Reserve has come under scrutiny in recent months for its aggressive interest rate hikes. The Fed's own research has warned that its aggressive policy mirrors a similar one that caused a "severe recession" under Paul Volcker in the 1980s. Even the United Nations ... recently warned that the Fed's rate hikes risk "inflicting worse damage than the financial crisis in 2008 and the COVID-19 shock in 2020." Besides setting monetary policy, the Fed is also tasked with regulating commercial banks. The intense lobbying the Fed is subjected to is targeted at these banking regulations. Paid lobbyists make their case on behalf of massive financial corporations in the same fashion as K Street lobbyists hawking their wares to members of Congress. In 2022 alone, over 120 groups reported lobbying the Fed on issues ranging from credit card fees to cryptocurrency to sprawling monetary policy initiatives such as mortgage finance. Postings on the Federal Reserve website in the past year record meetings with Discover Financial, Student Loan Servicing Alliance, National Bankers Association, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Goldman Sachs.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Australia's Covid-19 response failed the nation's most vulnerable people and in many cases amounted to overreach, according to a new report. The report, Fault lines: an independent review into Australia's response to Covid-19, led by former public servant Peter Shergold and released on Thursday, found some lockdowns and border closures were not necessary and schools should have remained open. "For many of us, the story of Covid-19 will be one of inconvenience," the private- sector funded report says. "It will be a story of cutting our own hair, struggling to exercise, missed holidays ... and endless Zoom meetings. "For others, Covid-19 will be a story of trauma, isolation and terrifying uncertainty. "It will be a story of being locked in overcrowded housing, job loss and missing out on government supports. "It will be a story of more domestic violence, increased alcohol abuse, deteriorating mental and physical health. "It will be a story of loss and the brutal realisation of not being able to say final goodbyes to loved ones." The report says politically driven health orders and excessive lockdowns failed to protect the old, ignored the young and abandoned disadvantaged communities. While school closures were probably the right decision when the virus was little understood, "it was wrong to close entire school systems, particularly once new information indicated that schools were not high-transmission environments", the report says.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
MIT researchers have now developed a novel way to record a patient's vaccination history: storing the data in a pattern of dye, invisible to the naked eye, that is delivered under the skin at the same time as the vaccine. The researchers showed that their new dye, which consists of nanocrystals called quantum dots, can remain for at least five years under the skin, where it emits near-infrared light that can be detected by a specially equipped smartphone. The researchers designed their dye to be delivered by a microneedle patch rather than a traditional syringe and needle. Such patches are now being developed to deliver vaccines for measles, rubella, and other diseases. "It's possible someday that this â€invisible' approach could create new possibilities for data storage, biosensing, and vaccine applications that could improve how medical care is provided, particularly in the developing world," [study co-author Robert] Langer says. Tests using human cadaver skin showed that the quantum-dot patterns could be detected by smartphone cameras after up to five years of simulated sun exposure. The research was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Koch Institute Support (core) Grant from the National Cancer Institute.
Note: Could these quantum dots be used for tracking and monitoring people? This revealing article shows patents by Moderna suggesting their use in human vaccines. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
Suicides across the active duty U.S. military decreased over the past 18 months, driven by sharp drops in the Air Force and Marine Corps last year and a similar decline among Army soldiers during the first six months of this year, according to a new Pentagon report. The numbers show a dramatic reversal of what has been a fairly steady increase in recent years. The shift follows increased attention by senior military leaders and an array of new programs aimed at addressing what has been a persistent problem in all the services. The numbers provide a glimmer of hope that some of the recent changes – which range from required counseling visits to stress relief education and recreational outings – may be working. According to the data, the number of suicides in the Air Force and Marine Corp dropped by more than 30 percent in 2021 compared with 2020, and the Navy saw a 10 percent decline. The Army saw a similar 30 percent decrease during the first six months of this year, compared with the same time period last year. The National Guard and the Reserves both saw a small dip in suicides, from 121 in 2020 to 119 in 2021. And there were also fewer Guard deaths in the first half of 2022, compared with last year. The Guard has worked over the last year to reduce suicides through outreach and other changes, including policies to destigmatize getting mental health help and a program that provides firearms locks for service members who keep weapons at home.
Psychedelic therapy is the use of psychedelic substances, often alongside traditional talk therapy (psychotherapy), as a treatment for mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, suicidality and PTSD. Michael Mithoefer, M.D. ... at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), likens psychedelic therapy to applying a cast to a broken bone. "[Psychedelic]-assisted therapy engages the mind's innate power to heal itself–the participants' â€inner healing intelligence,'" claims Dr. Mithoefer, going on to explain that "the source of the healing process is the person themselves–the psychedelic and therapists are catalysts." In the U.S., psychedelics continue to undergo medical trials, with some being granted a "breakthrough therapy" designation by the FDA, indicating that preliminary clinical evidence has shown the drug can demonstrate substantial improvement over currently available therapy. COMPASS Pathways, a mental health treatment company, received the designation for its psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression in 2018. In 2019, Usona Institute ... received the designation to continue its testing of psilocybin as a treatment for major depressive disorder. Psilocybin-assisted therapy is also being tested as a treatment for various addictions ... as well as certain conditions such as anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), cluster headaches, migraines and chronic pain.
Aaron Rodgers and Kenny Stills are among the few who have spoken publicly about their use of psychedelics for mental health purposes. But a future where the treatment is more widespread across sports may not be so far away. "Some people still ... don't recognize these as legitimate, life-saving medical medicines," [NBA agent Daniel] Poneman says. "There are athletes that I know who have had life-changing experiences with these medicines, but only a few of them are brave enough to speak out for fear of being stigmatized." There's still stigma around taking medication of any kind for mental illness, but it's slowly lessening. Aaron Rodgers said on a recent podcast that he has taken psychedelics to improve his mental health. The Packers' quarterback said he does not identify as having a mental illness like depression or anxiety, but that his most recent psychedelic experience–with ayahuasca, in March 2020, in Peru–has helped increase his "self-love." Before Rodgers spoke out, NFL free-agent wide receiver Kenny Stills was thought to be the only active professional athlete vocal about his psychedelic use. Stills, who last season played for the Saints, says his case of depression in 2016 felt like a "permanent cloud." Last year he went to a clinic run by Field Trip Health, a for-profit that provides people with ketamine-assisted psychotherapy–meaning they have to take the medication under supervision of a licensed therapist and debrief with them afterward.
The digital Covid vaccination certification, or "passport," is a mobile app that instantaneously affirms the vaccinated status, Covid test results, birth date, gender, and/or other identifiers of its holder. The information is usually mosaicked in a QR code, read by a proprietary scanner, and linked to a government registry. Led by New York, California, and Louisiana, as many as 30 states are rolling them out. The Biden administration announced last spring that it would wrangle them under national standards but so far it hasn't. Internationally, the EU and a growing number of countries are adopting them, from repressive regimes like Bahrain to democracies like Denmark. Twenty U.S. states have banned the passes, and hashtags like #NoVaccinePassports are proliferating on both sides of the Atlantic. "Spoiler alert," tweeted British DJ ... Lange. "They are not planning on removing vax passports once introduced. This is just the first step to get you conditioned to accepting government restrictions in your daily life via your mobile phone. This digital ID is going to expand to all aspects of your life." Evidence supports the detractors' suspicions. Every government introducing a vaccine certification vows that their use is voluntary and no personal information will be held beyond its necessity. But governments are far from unanimous even on such basics as ... how long and by whom our intimate information will be held, owned, or overseen. New York, for one, is not expecting to mothball the technology when Covid wanes.
"We have a system that forces people to work and not only forces them to work but does not give them an adequate living wage," said [prison reformer Johnny] Perez. "Slavery by any name is wrong. Slavery in any shape or form is wrong." Perez is now part of a nationwide movement that hopes to reform what some have called the "slavery loophole" that allows incarcerated people to be paid tiny sums for jobs that – if they refuse to do them – can have dire consequences. The 13th amendment of the US constitution, ratified in 1865, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude. But it contained an exception for "a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted". This exception clause has been used to exploit prisoners in the US as workers, paying them nothing to a few dollars a day to perform jobs ranging from prison services to manufacturing or working for private employers where the majority of their pay is deducted for room and board and other expenses. A report published by the American Civil Liberties Union in June 2022 found about 800,000 prisoners out of the 1.2 million in state and federal prisons are forced to work, generating a conservative estimate of $11bn annually in goods and services while average wages range from 13 cents to 52 cents per hour. Five states – Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas – force prisoners to work without pay. The report concluded that the labor conditions of US prisoners violate fundamental human rights to life and dignity.
Note: The #EndTheException coalition is working to end slavery. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The city of Philadelphia issued an apology Thursday for the unethical medical experiments performed on mostly Black inmates at its Holmesburg Prison from the 1950s through the 1970s. The move comes after community activists and families of some of those inmates raised the need for a formal apology. It also follows a string of apologies from various U.S. cities over historically racist policies or wrongdoing in the wake of the nationwide racial reckoning after the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. The city allowed University of Pennsylvania researcher Dr. Albert Kligman to conduct the dermatological, biochemical and pharmaceutical experiments that intentionally exposed about 300 inmates to viruses, fungus, asbestos and chemical agents including dioxin – a component of Agent Orange. The vast majority of Kligman's experiments were performed on Black men, many of whom were awaiting trial and trying to save money for bail, and many of whom were illiterate, the city said. Many of the former inmates would have lifelong scars and health issues from the experiments. A group of the inmates filed a lawsuit against the university and Kligman in 2000 that was ultimately thrown out because of a statute of limitations. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in the apology that the experiments exploited a vulnerable population and the impact of that medical racism has extended for generations. Last year, the University of Pennsylvania issued a formal apology.
Note: Read about the long and disturbing history of people being treated like guinea pigs in science experiments. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science and in the prison system from reliable major media sources.
Earth's wildlife populations have plunged by an average of 69% in just under 50 years, according to a leading scientific assessment, as humans continue to clear forests, consume beyond the limits of the planet and pollute on an industrial scale. From the open ocean to tropical rainforests, the abundance of birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles is in freefall, declining on average by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 2018, according to the WWF and Zoological Society of London's (ZSL) biennial Living Planet Report. Two years ago, the figure stood at 68%, four years ago, it was at 60%. Many scientists believe we are living through the sixth mass extinction – the largest loss of life on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs – and that it is being driven by humans. The Living Planet Index combines global analysis of 32,000 populations of 5,230 animal species to measure changes in the abundance of wildlife across continents and taxa, producing a graph akin to a stock index of life on Earth. Latin America and the Caribbean region – including the Amazon – has seen the steepest decline in average wildlife population size, with a 94% drop in 48 years. Land use change is still the most important driver of biodiversity loss across the planet, according to the report. Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF-UK, said: "At a global level, primarily the declines we are seeing are driven by the loss and fragmentation of habitat driven by the global agricultural system and its expansion into intact habitat."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mass animal deaths from reliable major media sources.
Pfizer's plan to as much as quadruple U.S. prices for its COVID-19 vaccine next year is beyond Wall Street's expectations and will spur its revenue for years despite weaker than anticipated demand for the new booster shot so far, analysts said. The drugmaker, which developed and sells the vaccine with Germany's BioNTech, said on Thursday evening that it is targeting a range of $110 to $130 a dose for the vaccine once the United States moves to a commercial market next year. Analysts said the move could lead to price hikes by rivals. The companies have varied the pricing during the pandemic, with wealthy countries paying the most for the shots and the poorest countries the least. Wells Fargo analyst Mohit Bansal said the new pricing range for the vaccine could add around $2.5 billion to $3 billion in annual revenue for Pfizer. "This is much higher than our assumption of $50 per shot," Bansal wrote in a research note. Global vaccine access group the People's Vaccine Alliance, which has pushed for Pfizer to allow cheaper copies of the vaccine to be made, called the proposed price hike "daylight robbery." The price range announced by Pfizer represented a more than 10,000% markup over what experts have estimated it costs the vaccine makers to produce the shots.
The Dallas-based biotechnology company Colossal Biosciences has a vision: "To see the Woolly Mammoth thunder upon the tundra once again." Founders George Church and Ben Lamm have already racked up an impressive list of high-profile funders and investors, including Peter Thiel, Tony Robbins, Paris Hilton, Winklevoss Capital – and, according to the public portfolio its venture capital arm released this month, the CIA. Colossal says it hopes to use advanced genetic sequencing to resurrect two extinct mammals – not just the giant, ice age mammoth, but also a mid-sized marsupial known as the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, that died out less than a century ago. In-Q-Tel, its new investor, is registered as a nonprofit venture capital firm funded by the CIA. On its surface, the group funds technology startups with the potential to safeguard national security. In addition to its long-standing pursuit of intelligence and weapons technologies, the CIA outfit has lately displayed an increased interest in biotechnology and particularly DNA sequencing. "Biotechnology and the broader bioeconomy are critical for humanity to further develop. It is important for all facets of our government to develop them and have an understanding of what is possible," Colossal co-founder Ben Lamm wrote. The embrace of this technology, according to In-Q-Tel's blog post, will help allow U.S. government agencies to read, write, and edit genetic material, and, importantly, to steer global biological phenomena that impact "nation-to-nation competition."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
Some 477 pilot whales have died after stranding themselves on two remote New Zealand beaches over recent days, officials say. None of the stranded whales could be refloated and all either died naturally or were euthanized in a "heartbreaking" loss, said Daren Grover, the general manager of Project Jonah, a nonprofit group which helps rescue whales. The whales beached themselves on the Chatham Islands, which are home to about 600 people and located about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of New Zealand's main islands. The Department of Conservation said 232 whales stranded themselves Friday at Tupuangi Beach and another 245 at Waihere Bay on Monday. The deaths come two weeks after about 200 pilot whales died in Australia after stranding themselves on a remote Tasmanian beach. Mass strandings of pilot whales are reasonably common in New Zealand, especially during the summer months. Scientists don't know exactly what causes the whales to strand, although it appears their location systems can get confused by gently sloping sandy beaches. Grover said there is a lot of food for the whales around the Chatham Islands, and as they swim closer to land, they would quickly find themselves going from very deep to shallow water. "They rely on their echolocation and yet it doesn't tell them that they are running out of water," Grover said. "They come closer and closer to shore and become disoriented. The tide can then drop from below them and before they know it, they're stranded on the beach."
Note: What so many articles on the mass whale strandings fail to mention is military devices which are known to damage echolocation abilities. As this article states, "The low frequency active sonar (LFA sonar) used by the military to detect submarines is the loudest sound ever put into the seas. Yet the U.S. Navy is planning to deploy LFA sonar across 80 percent of the world ocean. At an amplitude of 240 decibels, it is loud enough to kill whales and dolphins and has already caused mass strandings and deaths in areas where U.S. and/or NATO forces have conducted exercises."
In 1967, Israel attacked a US spy ship, killing 34 men and injuring many more. The Israelis claimed it was an accident, the Americans backed them up. Both governments concealed the horrific truth. As the [USS] Liberty sat within eyeshot of El Arish, eavesdropping on surrounding communications, Israeli soldiers turned the town into a slaughterhouse, systematically butchering their prisoners. In the shadow of the El Arish mosque, they lined up about 60 unarmed Egyptian prisoners, hands tied behind their backs, and then opened fire with machine guns until the pale desert sand turned red. This and other war crimes were just some of the secrets Israel had sought to conceal since the start of the conflict. An essential element in the Israeli battle plan seemed to have been to hide much of the war behind a carefully constructed curtain of lies: lies about the Egyptian threat, lies about who started the war, lies to the US. Into this sea of deception and slaughter sailed the USS Liberty, an enormous spy factory loaded with the latest eavesdropping gear. The order was given to kill her and at 12.05pm, three motor torpedo boats from the port of Ashdod, about 50 miles away, departed. Israeli air force fighters, loaded with 50mm cannon ammunition, rockets and napalm, followed. According to information, interviews and documents obtained, for nearly 35 years the NSA has hidden the fact that one of its planes - a Navy EC-121 ferret - was overhead at the time of the incident, eavesdropping on what was going on below.
Note: Watch an excellent documentary on this cruel attack. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
It came to be known as the Sunflower movement, a sudden three-week stand-off in 2014 between the government and Taiwanese protesters. Months later, government officials arrived at a ... university campus to ask for the help of a group that few knew even existed: the civic hackers. Taiwan's civic hackers were organized around a leaderless collective called g0v (pronounced "gov zero.") Many believed in radical transparency ... and in the idea that everyone who is affected by a decision should have a say in it. They preferred establishing consensus to running lots of majority-rule votes. These were all principles, incidentally, that parallel thinking about how software should be designed – a philosophy that g0v had begun to apply to the arena of domestic politics. As g0v saw it, the problem of politics was essentially one of information. They needed a way not to measure division, but construct consensus. The hackers' answer was called vTaiwan. The platform invites citizens into an online space for debate that politicians listen to and take into account when casting their votes. As people expressed their views, rather than serving up the comments that were the most divisive, it gave the most visibility to those finding consensus. Soon, vTaiwan was being rolled out on issue after issue, especially those related to technology, and each time a hidden consensus was revealed. The system's potential to heal divisions, to reconnect people to politics, is a solution made for the problems of our age.
Tucked away in the mountains of Japan's Shikoku island, a town of about 1,500 residents is on an ambitious path toward a zero-waste life. In 2003, Kamikatsu became the first municipality in Japan to make a zero-waste declaration. Since then, the town has transformed its open-air burning practices for waste disposal into a system of buying, consuming and discarding with the goal of reaching carbon neutrality. Now, the town estimates it is more than 80 percent of its way toward meeting that goal by 2030. The Zero Waste Center is the town's recycling facility, where residents can sort their garbage into 45 categories – there are nine ways to sort paper products alone – before they toss the rest into a pile for the incinerators. Residents clean and dry dirty items so they are suitable for recycling. The town offers an incentive system in which people can collect recycling points in exchange for eco-friendly products. There are signs depicting what new items will be made out of those recycled items, and how much money the town is saving by working with recycling companies rather than burning the trash. It's a way to remind them of their social responsibility. Attached to the Zero Waste Center is a thrift shop where residents can drop off items they don't want anymore, and others can take them free. All they need to do is weigh the item they take from the shop and log the weight in a ledger so the shop can keep track of the volume of reused items. In January alone, about 985 pounds' worth of items were rehomed.
Michigan is a battleground state, in every sense of the word. Here, purple doesn't mean moderate; it means the 50-50, Red/Blue split is a chasm. On a recent Saturday in Traverse City, Mich., people gathered – half of them Red, the other half Blue – brought together by Braver Angels, a not-for-profit attempting to narrow the divide. "I'm here out of concern for our country, and our democracy," said one attendee, Jane. Started in 2016, Braver Angels now holds sessions nationwide. It was shaped by Bill Doherty, who teaches relationships at the University of Minnesota. He's also a marriage counselor. Correspondent Martha Teichner asked Doherty, "Is it a proper analogy: Reds and Blues in America, and couples on the brink of divorce?" "There is an analogy to couples on the brink," Doherty replied. "A big difference is that divorce is not possible in America." In Traverse City, participants arrived uneasy at first, defensive. Task #1 at a Red/Blue workshop: stereotypes. Reds and Blues, seated in separate rooms, are asked to list what "they" call "you." Facilitators then ask each side if there's is a kernel of truth in those stereotypes. Tim said, "The passion for the pro-life cause sometimes seems not to hear women." And so it goes, for three hours, peeling back the onion of opinion, looking for common ground. No trying to change anybody's mind. Divided they were, but they showed up, because they wanted to know each other not by label, but by name. Braver Angels has held more than 2,000 workshops and is growing.
Not long after the rollout of coronavirus vaccines last year, women around the country began posting on social media about what they believed was a strange side effect: changes to their periods. Now, new research shows that many of the complaints were valid. A study of nearly 20,000 people around the world shows that getting vaccinated against covid can change the timing of the menstrual cycle. Vaccinated people experienced, on average, about a one-day delay in getting their periods, compared with those who hadn't been vaccinated. The data for the study, published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal, was taken from a popular period-tracking app called Natural Cycles and included people from around the world, but most were from North America, Britain and Europe. The researchers used "de-identified" data from the app to compare menstrual cycles among 14,936 participants who were vaccinated and 4,686 who were not. The data showed that vaccinated people got their periods 0.71 days late, on average, after the first dose of vaccine. However, people who received two vaccinations within one menstrual cycle experienced greater disruptions. In this group, the average increase in cycle length was four days, and 13 percent experienced a delay of eight days or more. Many people on social media have complained of longer, heavier and more-painful periods after getting vaccinated. Preliminary findings from a different study suggest that getting a coronavirus vaccine sometimes may cause heavier periods.
Note: This news article states, "men who contract COVID-19 may experience a temporary reduction in fertility." Yet this Guardian article, titled "No data linking Covid vaccines to menstrual changes, US experts say" quotes an expert claiming, "I suspect the awful people who invented this lie saw the reports of menstrual irregularities post Covid-19 vaccine online and decided to warp it for their campaign of chaos. No, the Covid-19 vaccine is not capable of exerting reproductive control via proxy. Nothing is. This is because it is a vaccine, not a spell."
No, you're not crazy. Yes, they claimed the vaccines would prevent transmission. One of the most bizarre lies being told this week in response to Pfizer executive Janine Small's testimony to EU Parliament is that, actually, the Covid vaccines were never supposed to stop the spread of the virus. Asked by Dutch MEP Rob Roos whether the company had tested its vaccine on "stopping the transmission of the virus" before it rolled out globally, Ms Small said "no" because "we had to really move at the speed of science to really understand what is taking place in the market". In a viral Twitter video which has now been viewed more than 12 million times, Mr Roos described the response as "scandalous", arguing "millions of people worldwide felt compelled to get vaccinated because of the myth that â€you do it for others'". Mr Roos said the admission removed the entire basis for vaccine mandates and passports which "led to massive institutional discrimination as people lost access to essential parts of society". The public was told repeatedly, for months, both explicitly and implicitly, that the vaccines would prevent transmission. They're all on tape saying it. US President Joe Biden, for example, said in July 2021 that "you're not going to get Covid if you have these vaccinations". CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in March 2021 that "vaccinated people do not carry the virus". In Australia, politicians ... held millions of people hostage for months, lecturing and threatening them to get vaccinated to regain their "freedoms".
Thousands of officials across the government's executive branch reported owning or trading stocks that stood to rise or fall with decisions their agencies made, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found. More than 2,600 officials at agencies from the Commerce Department to the Treasury Department, during both Republican and Democratic administrations, disclosed stock investments in companies while those same companies were lobbying their agencies for favorable policies. That amounts to more than one in five senior federal employees across 50 federal agencies reviewed by the Journal. A top official at the Environmental Protection Agency reported purchases of oil and gas stocks. The Food and Drug Administration improperly let an official own dozens of food and drug stocks on its no-buy list. A Defense Department official bought stock in a defense company five times before it won new business from the Pentagon. The Journal obtained and analyzed more than 31,000 financial-disclosure forms for about 12,000 senior career employees, political staff and presidential appointees. The review spans 2016 through 2021 and includes data on about 850,000 financial assets and more than 315,000 trades. More than five dozen officials at five agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, reported trading stock in companies shortly before their departments announced enforcement actions, such as charges and settlements, against those companies.
Note: You can read the entire article free of charge on this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, facing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeking a vast trove of data about the safety and side-effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, made a pledge in August. The agency in court papers said that on or before Sept. 30, it would post on its website a "public use" set of data from about 10 million people who signed up for its "v-safe" program -- a smartphone-based system that periodically sends people text messages and web surveys to monitor potential side effects from the Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. But the CDC missed its deadline. In the meantime, the CDC handed over the v-safe data (minus personal identifying information) to the plaintiff in the FOIA case, the Informed Consent Action Network, or ICAN, a Texas-based nonprofit. ICAN crunched the numbers on its own and came up with some statistics that its lawyer says appear to be "alarming." According to ICAN, 7.7% of the v-safe users - 782,913 people - reported seeking medical attention via a telehealth appointment, urgent care clinic, emergency room intervention or hospitalization following a COVID-19 vaccine. About 25% of v-safe users said they experienced symptoms that required them to miss school or work or prevented them from doing other normal activities, according to ICAN's "dashboard" that summarizes the results. In addition to the dashboard summary, ICAN on its website has made the underlying dataset available for public download.
Note: These are very significant numbers, yet other than this Reuters report, the media is largely silent about this very important data. For lots more on this important development with access to the data, see this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
In response to a lawsuit filed by Siri & Glimstad LLP on behalf of the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), the CDC has released the first set of data from its v-safe program. V-safe is a smartphone-based program created by CDC specifically for Covid-9 vaccines. It allows users to register and provide health check-ins after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Out of the approximate 10 million v-safe users, 782,913 individuals, or over 7.7% of v-safe users, had a health event requiring medical attention, emergency room intervention, and/or hospitalization. Another 25% of v-safe users had an event that required them to miss school or work and/or prevented normal activities. There were also 71 million symptoms reported in the pre-populated fields. This is an average of more than 7 symptoms reported per v-safe user. Reported symptoms include, for example, over 4 million reports of joint pain. While around 2 million of these joint pain reports were mild, over 1.8 million were for moderate joint pain and over 400,000 were for severe joint pain. There were also around 13,000 infants under 2 years of age registered in v-safe. Among these infants, over 33,000 symptoms were reported, with the most common symptoms being irritability, sleeplessness, pain, and loss of appetite. The data also reflects a disproportionate amount of negative health impacts, including medical events, following the Moderna vaccine versus the Pfizer vaccine and shows a disproportionate number of negative events reported by women versus men.
Note: For lots more on this important development with access to the data, see this webpage. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
More than 500 retired U.S. military personnel – including scores of generals and admirals – have taken lucrative jobs since 2015 working for foreign governments, mostly in countries known for human rights abuses and political repression, according to a Washington Post investigation. In Saudi Arabia, for example, 15 retired U.S. generals and admirals have worked as paid consultants for the Defense Ministry since 2016. The ministry is led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom's de facto ruler, who U.S. intelligence agencies say approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a Post contributing columnist, as part of a brutal crackdown on dissent. Saudi Arabia's paid advisers have included retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones, a national security adviser to President Barack Obama, and retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, who led the National Security Agency under Obama and President George W. Bush. Others who have worked as consultants for the Saudis since Khashoggi's murder include a retired four-star Air Force general and a former commanding general of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. All the while, the gulf countries' security forces have continued to commit human rights abuses at home and beyond their borders. With shared intelligence, aerial refueling and other support from the U.S. government and contractors, Saudi Arabia and the UAE have intervened in Yemen's civil war to disastrous effect, triggering a global humanitarian crisis and killing thousands of civilians.
The Saudi government has sentenced a 72-year-old U.S. citizen to 16 years in prison for tweets he posted while inside the United States, some of which were critical of the Saudi regime. His son, speaking publicly for the first time, alleges that the Saudi government has tortured his father in prison and says that the State Department mishandled the case. While the Biden administration has gone to considerable effort to secure the release of high-profile Americans from Russia, Venezuela and Iran, it has been less public and less successful in securing the release of U.S. citizens held in Saudi Arabia. In fact, despite that Saudi Arabia is supposedly a U.S. ally, the Saudi government under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is dealing with its U.S.-citizen critics more harshly than ever. Saudi American Saad Ibrahim Almadi ... is not a dissident or an activist; he is simply a project manager from Florida. But last November, when he traveled to Riyadh to visit family, he was detained regarding 14 tweets posted on his account. Almadi was charged with harboring a terrorist ideology, trying to destabilize the kingdom, as well as supporting and funding terrorism. The State Department told [his son] Ibrahim not to speak publicly about the case, but he no longer believes that staying quiet will secure his father's freedom. And he says that State has handled his father's case with neglect and incompetence. Ibrahim said that Saudi jailers threaten to torture prisoners who involve foreign governments in their cases.
October was a good month for Gilead Sciences, the giant manufacturer of antivirals. On 8 October, the company inked an agreement to supply the European Union with its drug remdesivir as a treatment for COVID-19–a deal potentially worth more than $1 billion. Two weeks later, on 22 October, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved remdesivir for use against the pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in the United States. Both decisions baffled scientists who have closely watched the clinical trials of remdesivir unfold. At best, one large, well-designed study found remdesivir modestly reduced the time to recover from COVID-19 in hospitalized patients with severe illness. A few smaller studies found no impact of treatment on the disease whatsoever. Then ... the World Health Organization's (WHO's) Solidarity trial showed that remdesivir does not reduce mortality or the time COVID-19 patients take to recover. Both [the] FDA's decision and the EU deal came about under unusual circumstances that gave the company important advantages. FDA never consulted a group of outside experts that it has at the ready to weigh in on complicated antiviral drug issues. The European Union, meanwhile, decided to settle on the remdesivir pricing exactly 1 week before the disappointing Solidarity trial results came out. Gilead, having donated remdesivir to the trial, was informed of the data on 23 September and knew the trial was a bust.
Note: Remdesivir had never been approved by the FDA for use before Oct. 2020, yet was rushed through the approval process, while Nobel-prize winning drug Ivermectin was all but banned, even though there was minimal evidence of harm. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A plump larva the length of a paper clip can survive on the material that makes Styrofoam. The organism, commonly called a "superworm," could transform the way waste managers dispose of one of the most common components in landfills, researchers said, potentially slowing a mounting garbage crisis that is exacerbating climate change. In a paper released last week in the journal of Microbial Genomics, scientists from the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, showed that the larvae of a darkling beetle, called zophobas morio, can survive solely on polystyrene, commonly called Styrofoam. The findings come amid a flurry of research on ways bacteria and other organisms can consume plastic materials, like Styrofoam and drinking bottles. Now, the researchers will study the enzymes that allow the superworm to digest Styrofoam, as they look to find a way to transform the finding into a commercial product. Industrial adoption offers a tantalizing scenario for waste managers: A natural way to dispose and recycle the Styrofoam trash that accounts for as much as 30 percent of landfill space worldwide. Among plastics, Styrofoam is particularly troublesome. The material is dense and takes up a lot of space, making it expensive to store at waste management facilities, industry experts said. The cups, plates and other materials made from it are also often contaminated with food and drink, making it hard to recycle. Polystyrene fills landfills, where it can often take 500 years to break down.
Enzymes that rapidly break down plastic bags have been discovered in the saliva of wax worms, which are moth larvae that infest beehives. The enzymes are the first reported to break down polyethylene within hours at room temperature. The discovery came after one scientist, an amateur beekeeper, cleaned out an infested hive and found the larvae started eating holes in a plastic refuse bag. The researchers said the study showed insect saliva may be "a depository of degrading enzymes which could revolutionise [the cleanup of polluting waste]". Polyethylene makes up 30% of all plastic production and is used in bags and other packaging that make up a significant part of worldwide plastic pollution. The only recycling at scale today uses mechanical processes and creates lower-value products. Chemical breakdown could create valuable chemicals or, with some further processing, new plastic, thereby avoiding the need for new virgin plastic made from oil. The enzymes can be easily synthesised and overcome a bottleneck in plastic degradation, the researchers said, which is the initial breaking of the polymer chains. That usually requires a lot of heating, but the enzymes work at normal temperatures, in water and at neutral pH. Previous discoveries of useful enzymes have been in microbes, with a 2021 study indicating that bacteria in oceans and soils across the globe are evolving to eat plastic. It found 30,000 different enzymes that might degrade 10 different types of plastic.
Note: This research was published in the journal Nature Communications. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Australia will set aside at least 30% of its land mass for conservation in a bid to protect plants and animals in the island continent famed for species found nowhere else in the world, Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek said. Australia has lost more mammal species than any other continent and has one of the worst rates of species decline among the world's richest countries, a five-yearly environmental report card released in July by the government showed. That report showed the number of species added to the list of threatened species or in a higher category of risk grew on average by 8% from the previous report in 2016. "The need for action to protect our plants, animals and ecosystems from extinction has never been greater," Plibersek said in a statement. By prioritising 110 species and 20 places, Plibersek said the areas managed for conservation will be increased by 50 million hectares. Australia ... is home to unique animals like koalas and platypus although their numbers have been dwindling due to extreme weather events and human encroachment into their habitats. Koalas along much of the east coast were listed as endangered in February. Australia has been battered recently by frequent extreme weather events including the devastating bushfires in 2019 and 2020 in the east that killed ... billions of animals and burned an area nearly half the size of Germany.
By next year, half of Medicare beneficiaries will have a private Medicare Advantage plan. Most large insurers in the program have been accused in court of fraud. The health system Kaiser Permanente called doctors in during lunch and after work and urged them to add additional illnesses to the medical records of patients they hadn't seen in weeks. Doctors who found enough new diagnoses could earn bottles of Champagne, or a bonus in their paycheck. Anthem, a large insurer now called Elevance Health, paid more to doctors who said their patients were sicker. And executives at UnitedHealth Group, the country's largest insurer, told their workers to mine old medical records for more illnesses. Each of the strategies – which were described by the Justice Department in lawsuits against the companies – led to diagnoses of serious diseases that might have never existed. But the diagnoses had a lucrative side effect: They let the insurers collect more money from the federal government's Medicare Advantage program. A New York Times review of dozens of fraud lawsuits, inspector general audits and investigations by watchdogs shows how major health insurers exploited the program to inflate their profits by billions of dollars. Eight of the 10 biggest Medicare Advantage insurers – representing more than two-thirds of the market – have submitted inflated bills, according to the federal audits. And four of the five largest players – UnitedHealth, Humana, Elevance and Kaiser – have faced federal lawsuits alleging ... fraud.
President Biden announced major steps toward decriminalizing marijuana possession Thursday, offering mass pardons for anyone convicted of a federal crime for simply possessing the drug, and urging governors to do the same. He also directed his administration to expedite a review of whether marijuana should continue to be listed as a Schedule I substance, a classification reserved for the most dangerous drugs, including heroin, LSD and ecstasy. "Too many lives have been upended because of our failed approach to marijuana," Biden said in a video statement. "It's time that we right these wrongs." He added: "There are thousands of people who were convicted for marijuana possession who may be denied ... opportunities as a result." While no one is currently serving time in federal prison solely for the crime of simple marijuana possession, officials said, about 6,500 people have such convictions on their records. Those convictions would be pardoned, and the offenders' records cleared, under an administrative process. Thousands of additional people who are residents of the District, which is subject to federal law, could also be pardoned, officials said. Others affected could be those arrested in places such as airports and federal parks, which are under federal law enforcement jurisdiction. Biden's actions, however, do not directly affect the vast majority of marijuana-related convictions, which are pursued under state law.
Harry Truman became President in April, 1945. Two years later, he signed the National Security Act, which established the C.I.A.. It was supposed to do what its name suggested: centralize the intelligence that various agencies gathered. "It was not intended as a â€Cloak and Dagger' Outfit!," Truman later wrote. In its charter, the C.I.A. was banned from domestic spying. There was no mention of covert action in the law that chartered the C.I.A., but Presidents–starting with Truman–began using it that way. One of the agency's first operations involved meddling in the 1948 Italian election. During the Vietnam War, the C.I.A. had discouraging intelligence to offer, and, when successive Administrations didn't want to hear it, focused on being helpful by providing ... supposedly quick fixes. That meant abetting a coup in 1963, spying on antiwar protesters, and launching the Phoenix Program, an anti-Vietcong campaign marked by torture and by arbitrary executions. More than twenty thousand people were killed under Phoenix's auspices. The C.I.A. has had a "defining failure" for every decade of its existence–sometimes more than one. In the nineteen-nineties, it was the lack of foresight about the Soviet Union; in the two-thousands, it was the phantom weapons of mass destruction, followed by torture and, in still evolving ways, by the drone-based program of targeted killings, with its high toll of civilian deaths. It's difficult to know, at this point, what the C.I.A.'s next defining failure ... will be.
Note: Read more about the CIA's Phoenix Program, which included the kidnapping, torture, and murder of civilians during the Vietnam War. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
The main U.S.-based scientific organization at the center of the controversy over the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic has won a new grant from the National Institutes of Health for risky bat coronavirus surveillance research, despite losing a previous award for failing to provide records essential to an investigation into that origin. The grant was awarded September 21 to EcoHealth Alliance, helmed by Peter Daszak, and is titled "Analyzing the potential for future bat coronavirus emergence in Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam." The new grant comes despite an open congressional investigation into the organization, which has two other ongoing NIH grants and a third in negotiation. The aim of the new research is to identify areas of potential concern for future pandemic emergence in order to help public health authorities suppress an outbreak before it breaks containment. But the process of performing the research introduces the risk of sparking an outbreak that would not otherwise have occurred, a concern highlighted by The Intercept last year: "Virtually every part of the work of outbreak prediction can result in an accidental infection. Even with the best of intentions, scientists can serve as vectors for the viruses they hunt – and as a result, their work may put everyone else's lives on the line along with their own." "It is disturbing that additional funding continues to be awarded for the same high-risk research that may have caused the current pandemic," said [molecular biologist] Richard Ebright.
Note: Watch an excellent interview in which a former EcoHealth Alliance VP turned whistleblower reveals blatant law-breaking and lies committed by Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
More than eight in 10 kids under the age of 17 have antibodies from a past COVID-19 infection, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The analysis shows that as of August, 86% of children between 6 months and 17-years-old have had at least one COVID infection since the pandemic began. That number is an increase from data in April, when the public health agency found 75% of people under the age of 17 had been infected with the virus. "What we have to recognize is this is more of an indication that there's been broad spread of this virus in the pediatric community," said Dr. John Brownstein, an ABC News contributor. "And that, you know, the kids are not sheltered from this virus. And we know that in a small number of cases, there's severe impacts." What the findings don't mean is that 86% of children and adolescents are now protected against COVID reinfection because they've had COVID before. Experts have noted that they don't know exactly how long protection from infection lasts after contracting the virus. "What we should not take away from this data is that that the kids are now immune from infection," Brownstein said. "As we know, immunity wanes, variants evolved to evade prior immunity."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Biden administration bought $290 million of anti-radiation drugs this week as the president warned of "the prospect of Armageddon" being sparked by warmongering Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed that the major supply of Nplate was part of "ongoing efforts to be better prepared to save lives following radiological and nuclear emergencies." The drug – which can be used on kids as well as adults – is "approved to treat blood cell injuries that accompany acute radiation syndrome [ARS] in adult and pediatric patients," the department said. Such radiation sickness "occurs when a person's entire body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation, reaching internal organs in a matter of seconds," the alarming HHS release noted. Nplate, made by California-based Amgen, stimulates the body's production of platelets "to reduce radiation-induced bleeding." The $290 million funding came from Project BioShield, the 2004 law that provides investment that encourages companies to "develop the medical countermeasures that are critical to national security." The initial announcement did not detail how ... the drug would be distributed. An HHS spokesperson insisted that the investment was part of "ongoing" nuclear prep, and had "not been accelerated by the situation in Ukraine." However, it was approved just days before President Biden publicly admitted that Putin was "not joking when he talks about the use of tactical nuclear weapons."
Note: Is it any surprise that the US government is giving a gift of $290 million (US taxpayer money) to big Pharma? Remember that like previous huge purchases of drugs that were never used, these drugs have expiration dates after which they must be tossed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Anybody who works in Washington knows that think tanks play an important role in advising the government on policy. One organization in particular has dramatically increased its influence over the past decade. The policy shop in question is McKinsey, a global – and highly profitable – consulting firm. In the foreign policy community, think tanks are widely viewed as the traditional brokers in the marketplace of ideas. But this is changing. Whether based in investment banks like Goldman Sachs, management consultancies like McKinsey or political risk firms like the Eurasia Group, private-sector institutions have started to act like policy knowledge brokers. Consultants have been key advisers to the government for decades, but recent trends have caused their star to rise at the same time that traditional think tanks face new challenges. The University of Pennsylvania's annual think tank report has stressed "the fierce competition think tanks are facing from consulting firms" in recent years. And think tank officials have acknowledged the sway of donors. Bill Goodfellow, the executive director of the Center for International Policy, told the Times: "It's absurd to suggest that donors don't have influence. The danger is we in the think tank world are being corrupted in the same way as the political world." The irony is that the nonprofit actors, in trying to expand their base of support, have been accused of compromising their independence, while the explicitly for-profit world of consultants has avoided the charge.
Even before he became director of the FBI, [J. Edgar] Hoover was conducting secret intelligence operations against U.S. citizens he suspected were anarchists, radical leftists or communists. After a series of anarchist bombings went off across the United States in 1919, Hoover sent five agents to infiltrate the newly formed Communist Party. "From that day forward, he planned a nationwide dragnet of mass arrests to round up subversives, round up communists, round up Russian aliens," [author Tim] Weiner says. On Jan. 1, 1920, Hoover sent out the arrest orders, and at least 6,000 people were arrested and detained throughout the country. "When the dust cleared, maybe 1 in 10 was found guilty of a deportable offense," says Weiner. Hoover, Attorney General Mitchell Palmer and Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt all came under attack for their role in the raids. Hoover started amassing secret intelligence on "enemies of the United States" – a list that included terrorists, communists, spies – or anyone Hoover or the FBI had deemed subversive. Later on, anti-war protesters and civil rights leaders were added to Hoover's list. "Hoover saw the civil rights movement from the 1950s onward and the anti-war movement from the 1960s onward, as presenting the greatest threats to the stability of the American government since the Civil War," [Weiner] says. "These people were enemies of the state, and in particular Martin Luther King [Jr.] was an enemy of the state."
Note: Read more about the FBI's COINTELPRO program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
She gave birth to Tsunamika, the doll that brought hope to hundreds of women who had lost everything in their life to the devastating 2004 tsunami that hit the southern India coast. Fifteen years down the line, she, again through Tsunamika is giving hope to the same ocean that once took away much from many. Uma Prajapati, 50, an entrepreneur-cum-social activist, who built the fashion garment company Upasana Design Studio in Auroville, now plans to carry out her business to sustain the future of the planet. Prajapati's mission is now to protect the environment and promote sustainable living for those dependent on it. Her fashion garments only uses khadi, organic cotton and handloom. "When I visited the tsunami-affected fishing villages in Puducherry, I saw the women staring emptily and silent. It suddenly struck me to ask them whether they would like to make dolls. My idea was to make them to focus on something else and ignite the fire of hope in their minds." When the fisherwomen agreed, Prajapati brought loads of garment waste from Upasana and taught them how to make tiny dolls - these were named 'Tsunamika'. She took the doll idea to several fishing villages in Puducherry and soon had thousands of dolls on hand giving rise to the concept of a 'gift economy'. The Tsunamika dolls are not sold but given as gifts. The recipient of the gift or others can make a donation as per their capacity. Donations received were used for making more dolls and payments made to the fisherwomen.
For only the second time, a U.S. president has officially recognized Indigenous Peoples' Day. President Biden issued a proclamation on Friday to observe this Oct. 10 as a day to honor Native Americans, their resilience and their contributions to American society throughout history, even as they faced assimilation, discrimination and genocide spanning generations. The move shifts focus from Columbus Day, the federal holiday celebrating Christopher Columbus, which shares the same date as Indigenous Peoples' Day this year. The idea was first proposed by Indigenous peoples at a United Nations conference in 1977 held to address discrimination against Natives. But South Dakota became the first state to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples day in 1989. Ten states and Washington, D.C., now recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day via proclamation. More than 100 cities celebrate the day, with many of them having altogether dropped the holiday honoring Columbus to replace it with Indigenous Peoples' Day. Oregon marked its first statewide recognition of Indigenous Peoples' Day, in place of Columbus Day, in 2021 after its legislature passed a bill brought by its Indigenous lawmakers. Rep. Tawna Sanchez, one of those lawmakers, said the movement to recognize the day is an ideal time to capitalize on the momentum of political recognition. "History is always written by the conqueror," said Sanchez. "How do we actually tell the truth about what happened?"
Recent research suggests that plants are far from the stationary automatons that most of us think of them as. And though they don't have brains in the same way most animals do, plants seem to possess a different set of evolutionary tools that suggest they may experience consciousness, albeit in a radically different way from us. Dr. Paco Calvo has an upcoming book, co-authored with Natalie Lawrence, called "Planta Sapiens: Unmasking Plant Intelligence." Calvo works at the MINT Lab (Minimal Intelligence Lab) at the University of Murcia in Spain. "Sentience, we may say, makes sense for life, as an essential underpinning to the business of living," Calvo explained. "And it is very unlikely that plants are not far more aware than we intuitively assume." To the "skeptics" who insist that consciousness must be tied to a central nervous system, and that plants would not need to evolve consciousness in the first place, "even if 'consciousness', as understood in vertebrates, is generated by complex neuronal systems, there is no objective way of knowing that subjective experience has not evolved with entirely different kinds of hardware in other organisms," Calvo argued. "We have no evidence to conclude that no brain means no awareness. It is certainly true that we cannot yet know if plants are conscious. But we also cannot assume that they are not." Calvo added, "Plants ... might well have significant conscious experience, although there is no way for us to intuit it nor for them to communicate it to us."
When the U.S. government released a much-anticipated report on UFOs a year ago, many were perplexed that it couldn't explain 143 of the 144 sightings it examined. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the study, provided no details about who had investigated the cases. Last week, however, a former Department of Defense (DOD) astrophysicist and reality TV personality named Travis Taylor asserted that he was the â€chief scientist' for the congressionally mandated study. The revelation shocked UFO skeptics in the science community. They note that Taylor has made extraordinary claims during TV appearances, including to have "seen more UFOs than I can count," and that he's been tracked by supernatural entities that caused his car and appliances to malfunction. In fact, Taylor did serve in a lead role with the government's Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force, which produced 2021's fuzzy UFO report, Pentagon spokesperson Susan Gough confirmed. In recent statements to George Knapp, a TV journalist in Las Vegas, Taylor said he was asked to be the government's lead scientist on UFOs in 2019 by Jay Stratton, whom he counts as a long-time DOD colleague and friend. At the time, Taylor was with the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, where he was employed from 2007 until retiring 2 months ago. Stratton was based at the Office of Naval Intelligence before retiring recently. Both men now work for Radiance Technologies.
Note: If you've ever had the feeling your soul might not be from this planet, you might enjoy this interview. 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.
A U.S. senator is pressing the FBI for more information after a whistleblower alleged that an internal review found 665 FBI personnel have resigned or retired to avoid accountability in misconduct probes over the past two decades. The whistleblower told the office of Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley ... that the Justice Department launched the review of the FBI's disciplinary database in 2020 following an Associated Press investigation into sexual misconduct allegations involving at least six senior FBI officials. The follow-up review found 665 FBI employees, including 45 senior-level officials, resigned or retired between 2004 and 2020 following a misconduct probe but before a final disciplinary letter could be issued, according to a letter this week from Grassley to FBI Director Christopher Wray and Attorney General Merrick Garland. It was not clear how many of those cases involved sexual misconduct. Grassley's office, which declined to make the whistleblower or underlying documents available to protect the person's identify, said that was the kind of information it was still seeking but estimated the number could be in the "hundreds." The AP investigation in December 2020 identified at least six sexual misconduct allegations involving senior FBI officials over the prior five years ranging from unwanted touching and advances to coercion. It found that several senior FBI officials have avoided discipline – quietly transferring or retiring with full benefits – even after claims of sexual misconduct against them were substantiated.
The US has few ways to track the substantial supply of anti-tank, anti-aircraft and other weaponry it has sent across the border into Ukraine, sources tell CNN, a blind spot that's due in large part to ... the easy portability of many of the smaller systems now pouring across the border. In the short term, the US sees the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of equipment to be vital to the Ukrainians' ability to hold off Moscow's invasion. But the risk, both current US officials and defense analysts say, is that in the long term, some of those weapons may wind up in the hands of other militaries and militias that the US did not intend to arm. "We have fidelity for a short time, but when it enters the fog of war, we have almost zero," said one source briefed on US intelligence. "It drops into a big black hole." In making the decision to send billions of dollars of weapons and equipment into Ukraine, the Biden administration factored in the risk that some of the shipments may ultimately end up in unexpected places, a defense official said. The Biden administration and NATO countries say they are providing weapons to Ukraine based on what the Ukrainian forces say they need, whether it's portable systems like Javelin and Stinger missiles or the Slovakian S-300 air defense system that was sent over the last week. For decades, the US sent arms into Afghanistan. Inevitably, some weapons ended up on the black market including anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, the same kind the US is now providing to Ukraine.
Note: CBS released a documentary revealing that most weapons sent to the Ukraine never made it to their intended destination. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and his wife's net worth grew by $5 million during the COVID-19 pandemic as thousands of US residents struggled financially, according to a government spending watchdog group. The combined wealth of the 81-year-old retiring director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and his bioethicist wife, Christine Grady, soared from $7.5 million in 2019 to $12.6 million at the end of 2021, according to a report from the non-profit OpenTheBooks. "Despite becoming a figure of controversy, the system has rewarded Dr. Fauci handsomely," the group's CEO, Adam Andrzejewski, [said]. "Fauci's soaring net worth was based on career-end salary spiking, lucrative cash prizes awarded by non-profit organizations around the world and an ever-larger investment portfolio. He is the top-paid federal employee, his first-year golden parachute retirement pension is the largest in federal history, and he's accepting $1 million prizes from foreign non-profits." Last year, Fauci raked in lucrative awards from nonprofits, including $1 million from the Dan David Foundation for "speaking truth to power" and "defending science" during the Trump Administration. He kept $910,400 of that award, while roughly 10% went to scholarship winners. His total compensation was $456,028 last year, up from the $434,312 he earned in 2020. Overall, the couple's investments also increased by more than $900,000 in 2021 while their portfolios – which included trust, retirement and college education accounts – jumped $800,000 in 2020.
Note: Why is Anthony Fauci paid more than the U.S. president? Could it be a reward for gifting big Pharma with many billions in profits? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
We are keeping many people in prison even though they are no danger to the public, a jaw-dropping new statistic shows. That serves as proof that it's time to rethink our incarceration policies for those with a low risk of reoffending. To protect those most vulnerable to covid-19 during the pandemic, the Cares Act allowed the Justice Department to order the release of people in federal prisons and place them on home confinement. More than 11,000 people were eventually released. Of those, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported that only 17 of them committed new crimes. That's not a typo. Seventeen. That's a 0.15 percent recidivism rate in a country where it's normal for 30 to 65 percent of people coming home from prison to reoffend within three years of release. Of those 17 people, most new offenses were for possessing or selling drugs or other minor offenses. Of the 17 new crimes, only one was violent (an aggravated assault), and none were sex offenses. This extremely low recidivism rate shows there are many, many people in prison we can safely release to the community. These 11,000 releases were not random. People in low- and minimum-security prisons or at high risk of complications from covid were prioritized for consideration for release. The federal Cares Act home confinement program should inspire similar programs across the country. Virtually all states have programs available to release elderly or very sick people from prison, but they are hardly used and should be expanded.
A new peer-reviewed Danish study finds that a mother's exposure to toxic PFAS "forever chemicals" during early pregnancy can lead to lower sperm count and quality later in her child's life. PFAS – per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – are known to disrupt hormones and fetal development, and future "reproductive capacity" is largely defined as testicles develop in utero during the first trimester of a pregnancy, said study co-author Sandra SĂ¸gaard TĂ¸ttenborg. PFAS are a class of about 12,000 chemicals typically used to make thousands of products resistant to water, stains and heat. They are called "forever chemicals" because they accumulate in humans and the environment and do not naturally break down. A growing body of evidence links them to serious health problems such as cancer, birth defects, liver disease, kidney disease and decreased immunity. The study ... examined semen characteristics and reproductive hormones in 864 young Danish men born to women who provided blood samples during their pregnancies' first trimesters between 1996 and 2002. Mothers with higher levels of exposure more frequently raised adult men with lower sperm counts, as well as elevated immotile sperm levels, meaning their sperm did not swim. This exposure also increased the amount of non-progressive sperm – sperm that do not swim straight or swim in circles. Both issues can lead to infertility. The ubiquitous chemicals are estimated to be in 98% of Americans' blood.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Democratic strategists have spent millions of dollars to aid extremists. In the current election cycle ... Democrats across the country spent millions of dollars to boost the candidacies of right-wing Maga candidates in the Republican primaries, on the theory that those extremists would be easier to defeat in the general election. The Washington Post found that Democrats had spent close to $20m in eight states on ads meant to elevate the profile of far-right candidates and election deniers running for governorships and for Congress. A number of those candidates, like the maniacal Christian zealots Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Darren Bailey in Illinois, did in fact win their primaries, setting up, in theory, easier races for the Democrats in those states to win, because, in theory, swing voters prefer not to vote for lunatics. It is not hard to see why it is dumb to dedicate resources to making Maga Republicans more visible and viable within their own party. You are promoting an awful ideology in hopes of winning votes – but in the long run, politics is a battle of ideology. The votes follow the ideology. The consultants are fighting on the wrong battleground, and no matter how many polls they have, they are not clever enough to predict the chaotic long-run effects of fueling a movement that is the opposite of the movement we should be trying to build. Spending money to try to dupe hapless Republican voters into backing the goofiest fascist is not just stupid; it goes against justice.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
A shadowy world government. Political kingmakers. A capitalist cabal looking to impose its will across the globe. For decades, conspiracy theorists have tried to decode the secretive Bilderberg Group, an annual gathering of the some of the world's most powerful figures. Since 1954, the Bilderberg Group has been gathering in secret to discuss everything from the rise and fall of communism to nuclear warfare to cybersecurity. The group began as a way to create more cooperation between Europe and North America during the Cold War, and Bilderberg releases an annual list of the people who will attend and the topics they'll discuss, but beyond that, little leaves the walls of the meeting rooms. Theorists also cite the inclusion of Bill Clinton at the meetings in 1991 before he was president and Tony Blair's presence in 1993 before he became the British prime minister as examples of the group's power. Past attendees have included former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (who will also be attending this year), former Chase Manhattan chief executive David Rockefeller, and British Prime Minister David Cameron. Two-thirds of this year's attendees are from Europe while a third are from the U.S., including Sam Altman, president of the tech seed accelerator Y Combinator; NBC News's Richard Engel; Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina; LinkedIn CEO Reid Hoffman; and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on secret societies from reliable major media sources.
Most of the companies participating in a four-day workweek pilot program in Britain said they had seen no loss of productivity during the experiment, and in some cases had seen a significant improvement, according to a survey of participants. Nearly halfway into the six-month trial, in which employees at 73 companies get a paid day off weekly, 35 of the 41 companies that responded to a survey said they were "likely" or "extremely likely" to consider continuing the four-day workweek beyond the end of the trial in late November. All but two of the 41 companies said productivity was either the same or had improved. Remarkably, six companies said productivity had significantly improved. Talk of a four-day workweek has been around for decades. In 1956, then-Vice President Richard M. Nixon said he foresaw it in the "not too distant future," though it has not materialized on any large scale. But changes in the workplace over the coronavirus pandemic around remote and hybrid work have given momentum to questions about other aspects of work. Are we working five days a week just because we have done it that way for more than a century, or is it really the best way? More than 3,300 workers in banks, marketing, health care, financial services, retail, hospitality and other industries in Britain are taking part in the pilot, which is one of the largest studies to date. Experiments similar to the one conducted in Britain are being conducted ... in the United States, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia.
Belgium is the latest country to announce plans to offer employees the option to request a four-day workweek, as the government seeks to boost flexibility in the workplace amid the coronavirus crisis after what Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said had been two "difficult years." The overhaul of the country's labor laws will give workers more freedom – and the right to ignore their bosses and work emails after working hours, another growing trend in the coronavirus era. The agreement, which was struck by the seven-party coalition federal government, aims "to be able to make people and businesses stronger," De Croo said during a news conference Tuesday, adding that the country was seeking to become "more innovative, sustainable and digital." De Croo said his administration aims to incentivize more people to work. The employment rate in Belgium stood at roughly 71 percent at the end of last year, and the government hopes to increase that proportion to 80 percent by 2030. If trade unions agree, employees can opt to work for a maximum of 10 hours a day to accrue hours that will help them earn a three-day weekend. Previously, workdays were capped at eight hours. They can also choose to work more during one week and less the next. Employees will not be paid any less, and the decision will be theirs to make. "This has to be done at the request of the employee, with the employer giving solid reasons for any refusal," Labor Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne said.
An experimental drug has slowed the rate of decline in memory and thinking in people with early Alzheimer's disease. The cognition of Alzheimer's patients given the drug, developed by Eisai and Biogen, declined by 27% less than those on a placebo treatment after 18 months. This is a modest change in clinical outcome but it is the first time any drug has been clearly shown to alter the disease's trajectory. "This is a historic moment for dementia research, as this is the first phase 3 trial of an Alzheimer's drug in a generation to successfully slow cognitive decline," said Dr Susan Kohlhaas, the director of research at Alzheimer's Research UK. "Many people feel Alzheimer's is an inevitable part of ageing. This spells it out: if you intervene early you can make an impact on how people progress." In the study, which enrolled roughly 1,800 patients with early stage Alzheimer's, patients were given twice-weekly infusions of the drug, called lecanemab. It was also shown to reduce toxic plaques in the brain and slow patients' memory decline and ability to perform day-to-day tasks. The results offer a boost to the "amyloid hypothesis", which assumes that sticky plaques seen in the brains of dementia patients play a role in damaging brain cells and causing cognitive decline. A series of previous drug candidates had been shown to successfully reduce levels of amyloid in the brain, but without any improvement in clinical outcomes, leading some to question whether the research field had been on the wrong track.
The Justice Department is failing to adequately and efficiently collect data about deaths in state prisons and local jails, with at least 990 incidents going uncounted by the federal government in fiscal year 2021 alone, according to a newly released bipartisan Senate report. The report's findings were the focus of a hearing ... which took the federal Bureau of Prisons and then-Director Michael Carvajal to task this summer over accusations of unsanitary and unsafe conditions at a penitentiary in Atlanta and other allegations of misconduct across the federal prison system. Now, the conclusion of a 10-month investigation into how the Justice Department oversees the federal Death in Custody Reporting Act accuses the agency of missing death counts that are readily available on public websites and in arrest-related databases. The law requires that states and federal agencies report in-custody death information to the attorney general. The information was due at the end of 2016, but the Senate report says it won't be completed until 2024. "DOJ's failure to implement DCRA has deprived Congress and the American public of information about who is dying in custody and why," the report says. "This information is critical to improve transparency in prisons and jails, identifying trends in custodial deaths that may warrant corrective action – such as failure to provide adequate medical care, mental health services, or safeguard prisoners from violence – and identifying specific facilities with outlying death rates."
In 2018, senior executives at one of the country's largest nonprofit hospital chains, Providence, were frustrated. They were spending hundreds of millions of dollars providing free health care to patients. It was eating into their bottom line. The executives, led by Providence's chief financial officer at the time, devised a solution: a program called Rev-Up. Rev-Up provided Providence's employees with a detailed playbook for wringing money out of patients – even those who were supposed to receive free care because of their low incomes, a New York Times investigation found. If patients did not pay, Providence sent debt collectors to pursue them. More than half the nation's roughly 5,000 hospitals are nonprofits like Providence. They enjoy lucrative tax exemptions; Providence avoids more than $1 billion a year in taxes. In exchange, the Internal Revenue Service requires them to provide services, such as free care for the poor, that benefit the communities in which they operate. But in recent decades, many of the hospitals have become virtually indistinguishable from for-profit companies, adopting an unrelenting focus on the bottom line and straying from their traditional charitable missions. And, as Providence illustrates, some hospital systems have not only reduced their emphasis on providing free care to the poor but also developed elaborate systems to convert needy patients into sources of revenue. The result ... is that thousands of poor patients were saddled with debts that they never should have owed.
Last year, Michel Goldman, a Belgian immunologist and one of Europe's best-known champions of medical research, walked into a clinic near his house, rolled up his sleeve, and had a booster shot delivered to his arm. Michel was having night sweats, and he could feel swollen lymph nodes in his neck. It was cancer of the immune system–lymphoma. Michel understood this meant he'd soon be immunocompromised by chemotherapy. He had just a narrow window of opportunity in which his body would respond in full to COVID vaccination. Having received two doses of Pfizer the prior spring, Michel quickly went to get his third. Within a few days, though, Michel was somehow feeling even worse. His night sweats got much more intense, and he found himself–quite out of character–taking afternoon naps. Most worryingly, his lymph nodes were even more swollen than before. Scans ... showed a brand-new barrage of cancer lesions. It looked like someone had set off fireworks inside Michel's body. More than that, the lesions were now prominent on both sides of the body, with new clusters blooming in Michel's right armpit in particular, and along the right side of his neck. When Michel's hematologist saw the scan, she told him to report directly to the nearest hospital pharmacy. He'd have to start on steroid pills right away. Such a swift progression for lymphoma in just three weeks was highly unusual. As he followed these instructions, Michel felt a gnawing worry that his COVID booster shot had somehow made him sicker.
Note: A study of this case was published in Frontiers in Medicine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
All but one scientist who penned a letter in The Lancet dismissing the possibility that coronavirus could have come from a lab in Wuhan were linked to its Chinese researchers, their colleagues or funders, a Telegraph investigation can reveal. The influential journal published a letter on March 7 last year from 27 scientists in which they stated that they "strongly condemned conspiracy theories" surrounding Covid-19. It effectively shut down scientific debate into whether coronavirus was manipulated or leaked from a lab in Wuhan. Researchers who tried to investigate a link but were stonewalled and branded conspiracy theorists called it an "extreme cover-up". Despite declaring no conflicts of interest at the time, it has since emerged that the letter was orchestrated by British zoologist Peter Daszak, president of the US-based EcoHealth Alliance, which funded research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, where the leak was suspected. However, The Telegraph can disclose that 26 of the 27 scientists listed in the letter had connections to the Chinese lab, through researchers and funders closely linked to Wuhan. While Mr Daszak eventually declared his involvement in the EcoHealth Alliance, he failed to mention that five other signatories also worked for the organisation. A further three of the signatories were from Britain's Wellcome Trust, which has funded work at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the past. Out of 27 signatories, only Prof Ronald Corley, of Boston University, appears to have no links to funders or researchers.
Note: Watch an excellent interview in which a former EcoHealth Alliance VP turned whistleblower reveals blatant law-breaking and lies committed by Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A controversial British-born scientist has recused himself from an inquiry into the origins of the Covid pandemic. Dr Peter Daszak, president of the US-based EcoHealth Alliance, has "recused himself" from the inquiry by leading medical journal the Lancet after he failed to declare ties to the Wuhan Laboratory of Virology, which was conducting research into coronavirus in bats. Dr Daszak was also a member of the WHO investigation into the source of the pandemic that issued its report earlier this year. In February 2020 Dr Daszak, who has strongly condemned any suggestion that the virus came from the institute, co-authored a letter published in the Lancet with 26 other experts "in support of scientists, public health professionals and medical professionals combating Covid-19 in China". Dr Daszak has worked closely with Shi Zhengli, known as "batwoman", who leads work into bat viruses at the institute. And the EcoHealth Alliance, which has been a world leader in the hunt for animal viruses, has channeled some of its funding towards the institute, which involved collecting samples from bats and people at risk of infection from bat viruses. That grant was stopped in April 2020 on the orders of then president Donald Trump but was reinstated later in the year. Before he recused himself from the Lancet commission, which is supported by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Dr Daszak was one of a 12-strong international team looking at the origins of the pandemic.
Note: Watch an excellent interview in which a former EcoHealth Alliance VP turned whistleblower reveals blatant law-breaking and lies committed by Peter Daszak and EcoHealth Alliance. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In early 2018, former National Security Agency chief Keith Alexander worked out a deal with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the cyber institute led by one of his closest aides, Saud al-Qahtani, to help the Saudi ruler train the next generation of Saudi hackers. The agreement between IronNet, founded by Alexander, and the cyber school ... faced no scrutiny for its association with Qahtani, after the brutal killing of Jamal Khashoggi he reportedly orchestrated just a few months later. Alexander officially inked the deal with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman College of Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, and Advanced Technologies – a school set up to train Saudi cyber intelligence agents – at a signing ceremony in Washington, D.C.. Saudi Arabia's agreement with IronNet was part of a host of moves to step up its cyber capabilities, coinciding with a campaign against the kingdom's critics abroad. Khashoggi, then a Washington Post columnist and prominent Salman critic, received a series of threatening messages, including one from Qahtani, warning him to remain silent. Khashoggi, whose family and close associates discovered listening malware electronically implanted on their smartphones, was then lured to the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul. It was there that a team dispatched by Qahtani detained and tortured the Saudi government critic. Qahtani, according to reports, beamed in through Skype to insult Khashoggi during the ordeal. Khashoggi was then dismembered with a bone saw.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
A few weeks ago, I mentioned to a friend that I was interested in learning more about psychedelics, especially how they might help me with depression and anxiety. That's a broad category of plant medicines including psilocybin ("magic") mushrooms, MDMA (ecstasy), DMT (Dimitri or the Businessman's Trip), ketamine ("special K") and some others. My friend told me he'd recently taken his first "trip," which he described as life-changing. I asked him – a real estate developer living in Northern California, married with kids – why he decided to try a psychedelic substance. "My work felt increasingly stale and meaningless," he explained to me over a beer. "Despite a massive amount of reflection and coaching around how to break the rut, I felt as though I was still off track." When I confided my interest in psychedelics to a few other friends, several said they had tried the drugs and experienced several benefits: from easing anxiety to finding spiritual insights to combating depression and, among some with cancer, helping to reduce the fear of dying. They are hardly outliers. According to a new YouGovAmerica study, "one in four Americans say they've tried at least one psychedelic drug," amounting to some 72 million U.S. adults. When I queried my psychiatrist about participating to help improve my mental health, he was supportive, with two caveats: Do it with a trained therapist or guide, and do your best to ensure that the substance is what it's said to be.
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 drug maker Merck drafted dozens of research studies for a best-selling drug, then lined up prestigious doctors to put their names on the reports before publication, according to an article ... in a leading medical journal. The article, based on documents unearthed in lawsuits over the pain drug Vioxx, provides a rare, detailed look in the industry practice of ghostwriting medical research studies that are then published in academic journals. The article cited one draft of a Vioxx research study that was still in want of a big-name researcher, identifying the lead writer only as "External author?" Vioxx was a best-selling drug before Merck pulled it from the market in 2004 over evidence linking it to heart attacks. Last fall the company agreed to a $4.85 billion settlement to resolve tens of thousands of lawsuits. The lead author of Wednesday's article, Dr. Joseph S. Ross ... said a close look at the Merck documents raised broad questions about the validity of much of the drug industry's published research, because the ghostwriting practice appears to be widespread. "It almost calls into question all legitimate research that's been conducted by the pharmaceutical industry with the academic physician," Dr. Ross said, whose article ... was published Wednesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association. Although the role of pharmaceutical companies in influencing medical journal articles has been questioned before, the Merck documents provided the most comprehensive look at the magnitude of the practice.
Note: Vioxx may have been responsible for 500,000 premature deaths. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
In late August, Erin Alexander, 57, sat in the parking lot of a Target store in Fairfield, Calif., and wept. Her sister-in-law had recently died, and Ms. Alexander was having a hard day. A barista working at the Starbucks inside the Target was too. The espresso machine had broken down and she was clearly stressed. Ms. Alexander – who'd stopped crying and gone inside for some caffeine – smiled, ordered an iced green tea, and told her to hang in there. After picking up her order, she noticed a message on the cup: "Erin," the barista had scrawled next to a heart, "your soul is golden." The warmth of that small and unexpected gesture, from a stranger ... moved her deeply. New findings, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology in August, corroborate just how powerful experiences like Ms. Alexander's can be. Researchers found that people who perform a random act of kindness tend to underestimate how much the recipient will appreciate it. And they believe that miscalculation could hold many of us back from doing nice things for others more often. "People tend to think that what they are giving is kind of little, maybe it's relatively inconsequential," [study co-author Amit] Kumar said. "But recipients are less likely to think along those lines. They consider the gesture to be significantly more meaningful because they are also thinking about the fact that someone did something nice for them." What skills and talents do you already have? And how can you turn that into an offering for other people?"
Performing random acts of kindness increases happiness in both givers and receivers, but we find that givers systematically undervalue their positive impact on recipients. In both field and laboratory settings (Experiments 1a through 2b), those performing an act of kindness reported how positive they expected recipients would feel and recipients reported how they actually felt. From giving away a cup of hot chocolate in a park to giving away a gift in the lab, those performing a random act of kindness consistently underestimated how positive their recipients would feel, thinking their act was of less value than recipients perceived it to be. Givers' miscalibrated expectations are driven partly by an egocentric bias in evaluations of the act itself (Experiment 3). Whereas recipients' positive reactions are enhanced by the warmth conveyed in a kind act, givers' expectations are relatively insensitive to the warmth conveyed in their action. Underestimating the positive impact of a random act of kindness also leads givers to underestimate the behavioral consequences their prosociality will produce in recipients through indirect reciprocity (Experiment 4). We suggest that givers' miscalibrated expectations matter because they can create a barrier to engaging in prosocial actions more often in everyday life (Experiments 5a and 5b), which may result in people missing out on opportunities to enhance both their own and others' well-being.
People are fundamentally social beings and enjoy connecting with others, sometimes reaching out to others–whether simply to say hello and to check in on how others are doing with a brief message, or to send a small gift to show that one is thinking of the other person. Yet despite the importance and enjoyment of social connection, do people accurately understand how much other people value being reached out to by someone in their social circle? Across a series of pre-registered experiments, we document a robust underestimation of how much other people appreciate being reached out to. We find evidence compatible with an account wherein one reason this underestimation of appreciation occurs is because responders (vs. initiators) are more focused on their feelings of surprise at being reached out to; such a focus on feelings of surprise in turn predicts greater appreciation. We further identify process-consistent moderators of the underestimation of reach-out appreciation, finding that it is magnified when the reach-out context is more surprising: when it occurs within a surprising (vs. unsurprising) context for the recipient and when it occurs between more socially distant (vs. socially close) others. Altogether, this research thus identifies when and why we underestimate how much other people appreciate us reaching out to them, implicating a heightened focus on feelings of surprise as one underlying explanation.
The Pentagon has ordered a sweeping audit of how it conducts clandestine information warfare after major social media companies identified and took offline fake accounts suspected of being run by the U.S. military in violation of the platforms' rules. The takedowns in recent years by Twitter and Facebook of more than 150 bogus personas and media sites created in the United States was disclosed last month by internet researchers Graphika and the Stanford Internet Observatory. U.S. Central Command is among those whose activities are facing scrutiny. Some [takedowns] involved posts from the summer that advanced anti-Russia narratives. One fake account posted an inflammatory tweet claiming that relatives of deceased Afghan refugees had reported bodies being returned from Iran with missing organs. The tweet linked to a video that was part of an article posted on a U.S.-military affiliated website. In 2020 Facebook disabled fictitious personas created by Centcom to counter disinformation spread by China suggesting the coronavirus responsible for covid-19 was created at a U.S. Army lab in Fort Detrick, Md.. The pseudo profiles ... were used to amplify truthful information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Congress in late 2019 passed a law affirming that the military could conduct operations in the "information environment" to defend the United States. The measure, known as Section 1631, allows the military to carry out clandestine psychological operations.
A Malaysian businessman at the heart of the worst scandal to hit the US Navy in modern times has escaped house arrest, the US Marshals Service has said. Leonard Glenn Francis, known as "Fat Leonard", cut his ankle bracelet off before disappearing from his home in San Diego, California. His escape comes three weeks before he was due for sentencing after pleading guilty in 2015 to bribing senior US Navy officers. Francis had been the key figure behind a sprawling multi-million dollar bribery scheme that he operated by way of his Singapore-based company which serviced the US Navy's Pacific fleet. The US justice department describes it as a colossal fraud that cost the navy tens of millions of dollars. Francis ... used his influence with senior commanders to secure lucrative military contracts often involving the Indo-Pacific based 7th Fleet - the largest of the Navy's forward deployed fleets. Prosecutors say he overcharged the navy to the tune of $35m (Ł30m) and plied navy officers with cash, gourmet meals, expensive cigars, rare liquor and wild sex parties in upscale hotels to procure the contracts. Arrested in 2013 he pled guilty in 2015 to offering $500,000 in bribes to US Navy officers in an attempt to funnel official work towards his shipyards. Dozens of navy officials have been ensnared in the case, with four officers having been found guilty, and 28 others, including contractors and naval officials, having pleaded guilty so far. Francis [was] placed under house arrest while acting as a co-operating witness.
Note: At one point, Francis bribed officials to redirect an aircraft carrier. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
The British government targeted the American civil rights leader Stokely Carmichael and sought to weaken the Black Power movement with covert disinformation campaigns, recently declassified documents have revealed. The effort was the work of a secret unit known as the Information Research Department, based in London and part of the Foreign Office, which created and distributed literature from fake sources as part of a broader effort to destabilise cold war enemies. The effort against Carmichael, a firebrand orator who travelled to west Africa in part to escape harassment by US law enforcement agencies, aimed to portray the prominent Black Power leader as a foreign interloper in Africa who was contemptuous of the inhabitants of the continent. Based mainly in Guinea from July 1969, the 28-year-old activist had became a vocal advocate of socialist, pan-Africanist ideologies, which worried British officials. The IRD was particularly worried by the movement's potential influence in the Caribbean. In 1969, the IRD also created a new fake group: The Organisation of African Students for African Power. This was supposedly based in East Germany and adopted contemporary radical New Left ideas, "proclaiming a plague on both" the capitalist west and the Soviet bloc. The IRD felt this provided a better platform to "damage opponents" than the dated nationalist approach, while being difficult to trace back to Britain because many similar groups had genuinely sprung up in the late 1960s.
The FBI spent years surveilling the "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin, trying to gauge how involved she was with the civil rights movement, communism and the Black Power movement, a 270-page document shows. Franklin, who died in 2018, was monitored ahead of several performances and attendances she made for civil rights groups, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, whose first president was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Informants mentioned Franklin, a Detroit native, in separate memos for possibly appearing at the SCLC's 1967 and 1968 national conventions, in Atlanta and Memphis, respectively. The FBI mailed several copies of "The Atlanta Voice" newspaper, which reported on her visit to town, to FBI offices around the country, as well as the U.S. attorney general and the Secret Service. During this time, Franklin was, in fact, actively involved in the civil rights movement through her music and personal connections. She was identified in a 1969 memo titled "Possible Racial Violence, Urban Areas, Racial Matters" when, in the year before, Denver concertgoers rioted after she refused to perform at the Red Rocks amphitheater due to not being properly paid. In 1971, memos named the Black Panther Party of Los Angeles and the Boston Young Workers Liberation League as organizations who intended to book her for rallies.
The most important economic and political issues facing this country are the extraordinary levels of income and wealth inequality, the rapidly growing concentration of ownership, the long-term decline of the American middle class and the evolution of this country into oligarchy. We know how important these issues are because our ruling class works overtime to prevent them from being seriously discussed. We now have more income and wealth inequality than at any time in the last hundred years. Wages ... are lower today than they were almost 50 years ago. When I was a kid growing up, most families were able to be supported by one breadwinner. Now an overwhelming majority of households need two paychecks to survive. Since 1975, there has been a massive redistribution of wealth in America that has gone in exactly the wrong direction. Over the past 47 years, according to the Rand Corporation, $50tn in wealth has been redistributed from the bottom 90% of American society to the top 1%, primarily because a growing percentage of corporate profits has been flowing into the stock portfolios of the wealthy and the powerful. During this terrible pandemic ... some 700 billionaires in America became nearly $2tn richer. Just three Wall Street firms (Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street) control assets of over $20tn and are the major stockholders in 96% of S&P 500 companies. In terms of media, some eight multinational media conglomerates control what we see, hear and read.
Note: The above was written by Sen. Bernie Sanders. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Where community activists, use-of-force victims and city officials have failed to persuade police departments to change dangerous and sometimes deadly policing practices, insurers are successfully dictating changes to tactics and policies. The movement is driven by the increasingly large jury awards and settlements that cities and their insurers are paying in police use-of-force cases, especially since the 2020 deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Those cases led to settlements of $12 million and $27 million, respectively. Insurance companies are passing the costs – and potential future costs – on to their law enforcement clients. Larger law enforcement agencies – like the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department or the New York Police Department – handle it in different ways, often by creating a special fund to finance settlements or by paying those costs from the county's or city's general fund. This insulates them from external demands by insurers. Departments with a long history of large civil rights settlements have seen their insurance rates shoot up by 200 to 400 percent over the past three years, according to insurance industry and police experts. Even departments with few problems are experiencing rate increases of 30 to 100 percent. Now, insurers also are telling departments that they must change the way they police. A Post investigation in March documented more than $3.2 billion spent over the past decade to resolve nearly 40,000 claims at 25 of the nation's largest police and sheriff's departments.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
During its summer meeting over the weekend, the Democratic National Committee quietly amended its bylaws, giving the narrower body power to override decisions made by its members at its quadrennial convention. The national committee approved language requiring that it must ratify any bylaw amendments that the convention, a broader body, wants to adopt. "No such Bylaw or amendment shall be effective unless and until it is subsequently ratified by a vote of the majority of the entire membership of the Democratic National Committee," the amended measure from the Rules and Bylaws Committee states. "These decisions are made to move ultimate power from the members of the convention into the hands of the committee, and that can become a dangerous precedent," Nevada Democratic Party Chair Judith Whitmer [said]. "These seem to us as increasingly anti-democratic decisions." The amendment removes the authority over DNC decisions from the national convention, which includes thousands of members, and places it instead with the smaller national committee of just under 500. Democratic National Committee Member Jessica Chambers ... called the DNC "the least democratic organization that I'm involved with," in part because paid staff whip votes against members. The recent attempt to suppress dissent is an example of how committee staff undermine elected members "for someone else's agenda," she added. "And I don't know whose agenda it really is."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on elections corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Book of the Law [is] an obscure prose poem written 100 years ago by Aleister Crowley, often described as the key to the notorious Magus's vast pantheon of writings. A multi-layered template of a magickal system ... The Book of the Law made Crowley one of the 20th century's hidden prophets. Hysterical press accounts of sex, drugs and sacrifice at his Abbey of Thelema, in Sicily in the early 1920s, remain the core of the myth of Crowley as evil incarnate. It was also Crowley who gave Churchill his famous victory sign, a magickal gesture to counteract the Nazi's use of the swastika. Indeed, his hand appears in many unexpected places ... but his hidden influence was not restricted to the British war effort. In the 1940s, one of his closest followers was a young Californian adept, Jack Parsons, one of the founding fathers of the American space programme. His work at the fledgling Jet Propulsion Laboratories lay the groundwork for the Apollo moon missions. Rocket fuel, space exploration and Crowley's brand of ceremonial sex magick was a powerful mix. Working with Parsons was none other than L Ron Hubbard, who later founded the cult of Scientology, which now attracts so many Hollywood stars. Hubbard would also abscond with Parsons' money and wife, but not before Parsons had written a fourth "chapter" of The Book of the Law. His immediate following may have been small, but his influence on modern culture is as pervasive as that of Freud or Jung.
Note: Read more about Jack Parsons in this LA Times article titled, "Life as Satanist Propelled Rocketeer." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on secret societies from reliable major media sources.
While dozens of New Yorkers lined up outside in the rain, shopping carts at the ready as they waited for free food, Sofia Moncayo led her team in prayer. During the coronavirus pandemic, Moncayo has led the food distribution program through Mosaic West Queens Church in the Sunnyside neighborhood. The initiative began in March; Moncayo took charge a month later, as it expanded to serve hundreds of people. Since then, Moncayo has had her own struggles. She was furloughed from her job at a construction company and remains unemployed. And she also owes five months of rent for the martial arts studio that she owns with her husband in the neighborhood. But she has continued to lead fundraisers and coordinate dozens of volunteers who distribute more than 1,000 boxes of food to families twice a week. "I think helping others has to do something to your brain chemically because if we had not being doing everything that we're doing, I think this would have been a much scarier time," she said. "Being able to dig in and help others, it really gives you perspective and helps you believe that you're going to be OK too. One of the things that we wanted to make sure is that we don't look at people on the pantry line as people that need food, and really focus on, â€hey, these are our neighbors.'" Carol Sullivan lost her stage manager job when Broadway theaters closed because of the virus. She was hesitant at first about receiving food from a pantry, but she said that Moncayo and the other volunteers made her feel welcome.
Note: Enjoy a wonderful compilation of inspiring stories from the pandemic times on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, his spouse and two adult children are giving away their ownership in the apparel maker he started some 50 years ago, dedicating all profits from the company to projects and organizations that will protect wild land and biodiversity and fight the climate crisis. The company is worth about $3 billion. In a letter about the decision, published on the Patagonia website on Wednesday, Choiunard wrote of "reimagining capitalism," and said: "While we're doing our best to address the environmental crisis, it's not enough. We needed to find a way to put more money into fighting the crisis while keeping the company's values intact. One option was to sell Patagonia and donate all the money. But we couldn't be sure a new owner would maintain our values or keep our team of people around the world employed. Another path was to take the company public. What a disaster that would have been. Even public companies with good intentions are under too much pressure to create short-term gain at the expense of long-term vitality and responsibility. Truth be told, there were no good options available. So, we created our own." The privately held company's stock will now be owned by a climate-focused trust and group of nonprofit organizations, called the Patagonia Purpose Trust and the Holdfast Collective respectively, the company said in a statement, noting "every dollar that is not reinvested back into Patagonia will be distributed as dividends to protect the planet."
From Hawaii to Bali and the ski-slopes of Perisher, 26-year-old Jimmy Antram has seen plenty of the world. But it has all been from the vantage point of his mother's back. Fulfilling a promise she made to herself as a 17-year-old first-time mum to give her disabled son the best life she possibly could, Niki Antram has spent years travelling the globe with Jimmy clinging to her shoulders. Jimmy was born with physical and mental disabilities, including blindness, and requires round the clock care from Ms Antram and his support workers. He has a wheelchair, but Ms Antram has never enjoyed using it. She's content to carry him while she's physically able and helps him walk short distances on his own. Incredible photographs taken around the globe show him clinging on as they hike through mountains and rainforests. 'Planning big holidays, I always make sure I have plenty of nappies, clothes, and even bed pads, sheets and pillowcases,' she [said]. Ms Antram plans a meticulous itinerary and calls ahead for every venue she wants to visit - whether it be a restaurant, hotel or daredevil adventure. 'Even if I know we will be okay I like to inform the companies to give them a heads up about us to make sure they understand and are okay with having us there,' she says. Sometimes, they can't accommodate. This is usually because of risks associated with Jimmy's condition or logistical difficulties. Ms Antram said the exception to this was in Hawaii, where 'everyone wanted [Jimmy] to join'.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles.
The updated Covid vaccine boosters, a reformulated version targeting the BA.5 omicron subvariant [will] be the first Covid shots distributed without results from human trials. Because the Biden administration has pushed for a fall booster campaign to begin in September, the mRNA vaccine-makers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna have only had time to test the reformulated shots in mice, not people. That means the Food and Drug Administration is relying on the mice trial data – plus human trial results from a similar vaccine that targets the original omicron strain, called BA.1 – to evaluate the new shots. Federal health officials hope that the new vaccines will provide stronger protection over the existing booster shots, which still target the original coronavirus strain. But the lack of data in humans means officials likely won't know how much better the new shots are – if at all – until the fall booster campaign is well underway. The FDA's decision to move forward without data from human trials is a gamble, experts say, threatening to further lower public trust in the vaccines should the new boosters not work as intended. The U.S. is still on its first iteration of the Covid vaccines, and the mRNA technology has only been in widespread use since late 2020. The agency is making "huge assumptions" in its consideration of the new Covid boosters, [Dr. Paul] Offit said, adding that it's possible the new shots may not be any more effective than the existing vaccines.
Note: Read a revealing article with critical information about the new mRNA boosters. To further inquire into this complex topic, explore concise summaries of news articles on coronavirus vaccines and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Diet-related deaths outrank deaths from smoking, and about half of U.S. deaths from heart disease – nearly 900 deaths a day – are linked to poor diet. The pandemic highlighted the problem, with much worse outcomes for people with obesity and other diet-related diseases. Providing prescriptions for fruit and vegetables can spur people to eat better and manage weight and blood sugar. The idea is for health care systems or insurers to provide or pay for healthy groceries, combined with nutrition education, to help patients change their eating habits. [Nancy] Brown says federal food assistance programs have helped to address hunger. "However, many U.S. food policies and programs focus on improving access to sufficient quantities of food," she says. Instead, it's time to modernize these policies and focus on the quality of food. The Affordable Care Act mandates that diet counseling be covered by insurers as a preventive care benefit for those at higher risk of chronic disease. Too often ... doctors prescribe drugs for conditions before recommending or trying lifestyle changes. The task force recommends that Congress create a Farmer Corps to support new farmers, building on the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Development Program. "What we need to sustain agriculture is to incentivize restoring healthy soils and train more farmers to be successful doing that," [David Montgomery at University of Washington] says.
Note: For more information on general health and well-being, check out our Health Information Center. To further explore diet-related concerns, consider reading news articles on food corruption to understand how unhealthy diets may also be impacted by the politics of industrial agriculture, leading to contaminants and loss of nutrients in our food.
The faulty coronavirus testing kits developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the early weeks of the pandemic were not only contaminated but had a basic design flaw, according to an internal review by the agency. Health officials had already acknowledged that the test kits were contaminated, but the internal report ... also documented a design error that caused false positives. In January 2020, the C.D.C. developed a polymerase chain reaction, or P.C.R., test for the virus. P.C.R. tests, which are performed in laboratories, can detect the virus at very low levels. Problems emerged soon after the C.D.C. had begun shipping its test kits out to public health laboratories in early February. Within days, many labs were reporting that the tests were generating inconclusive results. In mid-February, the agency acknowledged that the kits were flawed, and in April, officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that poor manufacturing practices had resulted in contamination of the test kits. Test kits had been contaminated with synthetic fragments of the virus's genetic material. These synthetic sequences ... were manufactured at the same C.D.C. lab where the test kits were undergoing a quality analysis. It is "likely" that the test kits were contaminated there, the agency concluded. The contamination suggests that the agency violated standard manufacturing protocols. Rather than relying on the C.D.C. to be the sole test developer, officials could also enlist clinical and commercial labs to create and deploy tests.
Internal memos show Meta [the parent company of Facebook and Instagram] deemed attacks on Ukrainian civilians "newsworthy." No such carveouts were ever made for Palestinian victims of Israeli state violence. During the recent Israeli attacks on Gaza, between August 5 and August 15, [civil society group] 7amleh tallied nearly 90 deletions of content or account suspensions relating to bombings. In an expanded, internal version of the Community Standards guide obtained by The Intercept, the section dealing with graphic content includes a series of policy memos directing moderators to deviate from the standard rules or bring added scrutiny to bear on specific breaking news events. Meta directed moderators to make sure that graphic imagery of Ukrainian civilians killed in Russian attacks was not deleted on seven different occasions. At the outset of the invasion, the company took the rare step of lifting speech restrictions around the Azov Battalion, a neo-Nazi unit of the Ukrainian military previously banned under the company's Dangerous Individuals and Organizations policy. Reuters reported that Meta temporarily permitted users to explicitly call for the death of Russian soldiers. Critics charge that the company's censorship policies ... tidily align with U.S. foreign policy interests. [Omar] Shakir of Human Rights Watch [states that] "by silencing many people arbitrarily and without explanation, Meta is replicating online some of the same power imbalances and rights abuses we see in the real world."
Note: Read about the increasing issue of censorship that undermines democracy in our Mass Media Information Center. Furthermore, watch a 14-minute interview with a Facebook whistleblower that exposes Facebook censorship techniques.
The US National Security Agency (NSA) tried to persuade its British counterpart to stop the Guardian publishing revelations about secret mass data collection from the NSA contractor, Edward Snowden. Sir Iain Lobban, the head of Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) ... rebuffed the suggestion that his agency should act as a censor on behalf of its US partner in electronic spying. British refusal to shut down publication of the leaks ... caused rifts within the Five Eyes signals intelligence coalition [according to] a new book ... by Richard Kerbaj. Kerbaj reports that the US-UK intelligence relationship was further strained when the head of the NSA, Gen Keith Alexander, failed to inform Lobban that the Americans had identified Snowden ... leaving the British agency investigating its own ranks in the search for the leaker. The Five Eyes allies were outraged that a contractor like Snowden, working as a computer systems administrator, could get access to their secrets, and that because of US government outsourcing, there were 1.5 million Americans with top security clearance like Snowden. Allies were not prepared to challenge the Americans out of anxiety that they could be cut off from the flow of intelligence. British officials also decided to bite their tongues ... because of the value of the intelligence and funding provided by the NSA. Sir Kim Darroch, the former UK national security adviser, is quoted ... saying: "The US give us more than we give them so we just have to basically get on with it."
Note: Read more on how US and UK spy agencies undermine privacy and security in this news article reported by The Guardian. For a guide from The Guardian on how to remain secure against NSA surveillance, click here.
Russia's war on Ukraine has wreaked havoc on global commodity markets, driving up energy and food prices and exacerbating hunger emergencies around the world. But while disastrous for the global poor ... the chaos has been a major boon for Wall Street giants. "The 100 biggest banks by revenue are set to make $18 billion from commodities trading in 2022," Bloomberg reported Friday. "The prediction is the latest evidence that the wild swings in energy prices triggered by the war in Ukraine are delivering a boon to commodity traders, even as they push European nations into crisis," Bloomberg added. "Vali, an analytics firm that tracks trading business, compiled data that includes the leading five banks in commodity trading: Macquarie Group Ltd., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., and Morgan Stanley." "People's misery makes capitalists' superprofit," Salvatore De Rosa, a researcher at the Lund University Center for Sustainability Studies. The World Food Program estimates that "as many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night" and ... "those facing acute food insecurity has soared–from 135 million to 345 million–since 2019." "It's too easy to say the war in Ukraine has unbalanced all these markets, [or that] supply chains and the ports are shot, and that there's a supply and demand reason for these prices going up," [Michael] Greenberger added. "My own best guess is anywhere from 10% to 25% of the price, at least, is dictated by deregulated speculative activity."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise news summaries revealing banking corruption from reliable major media sources. You can also visit our Banking Information Center to further explore corruption in the financial industry.
Tech billionaires are buying up luxurious bunkers and hiring military security to survive a societal collapse they helped create, but like everything they do, it has unintended consequences. Their extreme wealth and privilege ... make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us. What, if anything, could we do to resist it? A former president of the American chamber of commerce in Latvia ... JC Cole had witnessed the fall of the Soviet empire, as well as what it took to rebuild a working society almost from scratch. He believed the best way to cope with the impending disaster was to change the way we treat one another, the economy, and the planet right now. JC's real passion wasn't just to build a few isolated, militarised retreat facilities for millionaires, but to prototype locally owned sustainable farms that can be modelled by others and ultimately help restore regional food security in America. Investors not only get a maximum security compound in which to ride out the coming plague, solar storm, or electric grid collapse. They also get a stake in a potentially profitable network of local farm franchises that could reduce the probability of a catastrophic event. His business would do its best to ensure there are as few hungry children at the gate as possible when the time comes to lock down.
Note: Read about a Cold War U.S. government missile silo that was transformed into a luxury bunker to prepare for the apocalypse in this previously reported news article. You might also consider exploring revealing news articles on food system corruption impacting our economy and environment.
The recent use of armed, unmanned drones in Afghanistan and Yemen has shown that America's armed forces have become good at applying new weapons technology in the field. [Electromagnetic] weapons are able to destroy electronic systems and temporarily incapacitate people, all without the mess of explosions and gunfire. Using different types of electromagnetic energy (the same stuff as radio waves, X-rays and light) ... they could disrupt a variety of enemy systems, from missile targeting and launch electronics, to command-and-control systems. So-called "active denial" technology (which earns its moniker by actively herding people out of its path) works by using a beam of millimetre-length microwaves to heat up a person's skin. The marines are planning to put a version of the weapon on to a jeep. Range and properties are classified, but military newspapers say it can heat a person's skin to 55°C (130°F) at distances of up to 750 metres. David Fidler, a law professor at Indiana University, says that, because these weapons are most likely to be used on civilians, it is not clear that using them is legal under the international rules governing armed conflict. Steve Goose of Human Rights Watch ... says that too much secrecy still surrounds them. Weapons such as the active denial system could cause severe trauma, or even death, if fired at close range or held on a target for too long. Is it acceptable to shoot or bomb somebody if you have the option only to disable them?
Note: You can read the full article free of charge on this webpage. Did you know that non-lethal weapons have already been developed and used on people, as evidenced in these news articles from the mainstream media? Investigate the series of mysterious attacks on US diplomats in recent years which are likely electromagnetic in nature. To explore even further, read about the history and scope of non-lethal weapons, along with a revealing study of the US Intelligence's use and abuse of these weapons.
A violent week of fistfights at a Louisiana high school led to the arrests of at least 22 students last month. So a group of concerned fathers decided enough was enough. They formed a volunteer group, Dads on Duty, and began roaming the halls of Southwood High School in Shreveport to calm students, spread positivity and keep the peace. So far it's working. The group of about 40 fathers, wearing Dads on Duty T-shirts, patrol the campus every weekday on different shifts, working as community leaders and liaisons. Since they started the initiative, there's been no fighting at the school. "I immediately knew that [this violence] ... isn't the community that we're raising our babies in," said Michael LaFitte, [one] of the dads. The dads showed up at the school at 7:40 a.m., balancing their work schedules to patrol the campus in the morning, during lunch and after school. Shreveport has seen an uptick in violence and crime in recent months [as a consequence of] socioeconomic issues made worse by the lingering pandemic. The city's mayor, Adrian Perkins, credits the fathers with helping to combat violence involving local youth. He turned up at the school for a Dads on Duty shift when the fathers first started, and said he was impressed by their commitment. Dads on Duty has been working closely with the Caddo Parish School Board and local law enforcement, LaFitte said. The dads say their focus is not criminal justice - they let sheriff's deputies handle that - but an additional layer of parenting. "We are armed with love," LaFitte said.
Throughout high school and college, Jennifer Rocha would plant strawberries with her parents from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Then she'd sleep a few hours and get ready for school. On June 13, Rocha graduated from the University of California, San Diego, and she wanted to honor her parents' hard work. So she coordinated a photo shoot in the strawberry fields they worked night after night. "Through drops of sweat, tears, back aches, they were able to get their three daughters through college. They deserve all the recognition in the world and for them to be an inspiration to other immigrant parents ... that it is not impossible for their kids to chase their dreams," Rocha [said]. In her college career, when she felt like quitting Rocha said she'd think back to her work in the fields and what her degree would mean to her family. Rocha hopes her photos bring awareness to the farmworker community and the impact of their work. She said it's easy for Americans to pick up vegetables and fruits from the grocery store without appreciation for the workers who made it possible. "Farmworkers do not deserve to be paid minimum wage. They worked throughout the whole pandemic risking their health and risking the health of their families not knowing if they would come home with something," Rocha said. "No matter if your parents work in domestic labor jobs where the pay is minimum wage, with hard work, sacrifice, discipline, and dedication it can be done."
The environmental benefits of using electricity rather than fossil fuels to power our world goes without saying– however, the process of electrifying everything has its obstacles. Many in the tech world are excited about the new A1-S battery ... declaring that "MIT has produced yet another breakthrough technology that is set to change the world for the better." Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently innovated batteries that are made of cost-effective and abundant materials. Instead of using lithium, [MIT Professor Donald] Sadoway and the team ... selected aluminum for one electrode, which he asserted is "the most abundant metal on Earthâ€¦ no different from the foil at the supermarket." He combined the aluminum with ... sulfur, which he said is "often a waste product from processes such as petroleum refining." Both the charging and discharging cycles generate enough heat that the battery can heat itself and doesn't require an external source. On top of being a fraction of the price of conventional batteries, they can also be charged very quickly with no risk of forming dendrites. It's important to note that this new battery isn't without problems. For instance, the process of extracting alumina out of bauxite is not the easiest or cleanest, and ... researchers are concerned that we may one day run out of [sulfur]. That said, Sadoway made it clear that these issues don't compare to the problems that come with sourcing ingredients for lithium-ion batteries.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles.
National test results showed ... the pandemic's devastating effects on American schoolchildren, with the performance of 9-year-olds in math and reading dropping to the levels from two decades ago. Since the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests began tracking student achievement in the 1970s ... scores in reading fell by the largest margin in more than 30 years. The declines spanned almost all races and income levels and were markedly worse for the lowest-performing students. While top performers in the 90th percentile showed a modest drop – three points in math – students in the bottom 10th percentile dropped by 12 points in math, four times the impact. The setbacks could have powerful consequences for a generation of children who must move beyond basics in elementary school to thrive later on. "The biggest reason to be concerned is the lower achievement of the lower-achieving kids," [said Susanna Loeb at Brown University]. Being so far behind, she said, could lead to disengagement in school, making it less likely that they graduate from high school or attend college. The federal government has budgeted $122 billion to help students recover, the largest single investment in American schools, and at least 20 percent of that money must be spent on academic catch-up. Yet some schools have had difficulty hiring teachers, let alone tutors, and others may need to spend far more than 20 percent of their money to close big gaps.
Note: This article fails to mention that it was not the pandemic, but rather the lockdown policies that caused this debacle. Sweden, which never closed it's elementary schools, did not have this problem. Read more about the challenging impacts of lockdown policies in an essay written by a caring school teacher who presents solid evidence that the lockdowns in the U.S. and worldwide had tragic effects not only on low-income and homeless children, but on huge numbers of people around the world.
The EARN IT Act [is] a bill designed to confront the explosion of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) online. EARN IT would help address what is, disturbingly, a common experience for young users: routine exposure to predatory targeting, grooming, sexual violence, prostitution/sex trafficking, hardcore pornography and more. A New York Times investigation revealed that 70 million CSAM images were reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in 2019–up from 600,000 in 2008–an "almost unfathomable" increase in criminality. The EARN IT Act restores privacy to victims of child sexual abuse material and allows them to sueĂ˘â‚ŹĹ»those who cause them harm online, under federal civil law and state criminal and civil law. It also creates a new commission to issue guidelines to limit sex trafficking, grooming and sexual exploitationĂ˘â‚ŹĹ»online. CSAM still exists because tech platforms have no incentive to prevent or eliminate it, because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (passed in 1996, before social media existed) gives them near-blanket immunity from liability. While some in the technology sector [are] claiming EARN IT is a threat to encryption and user privacy, the reality is that encryption can coexist with better business practices for online child safety. We can increase security and privacy while refraining from a privacy-absolutism that unintentionally allows sexual predators to run rampant online.
Note: To understand the scope of child sex abuse worldwide, learn about other major cover-ups in revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
MJ was just 5 years old, when her father admitted to his bishop that he was sexually abusing her. The father, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [of the Bisbee, Arizona ward], was in counseling with his bishop when he revealed the abuse. The bishop ... followed church policy and called what church officials have dubbed the "help line" for guidance. Lawyers for the church, who staff the help line ... told Bishop John Herrod not to call police or child welfare officials. Instead he kept the abuse secret. The Associated Press has obtained nearly 12,000 pages of sealed records from an unrelated child sex abuse lawsuit against the Mormon church in West Virginia. Families of survivors who filed the lawsuit said ... church leaders divert abuse accusations away from law enforcement and instead to church attorneys who may bury the problem, leaving victims in harm's way. "Child abuse festers and grows in secrecy," said [lawyer] Lynne Cadigan. Laws in more than 20 states [assert] that clergy who receive information about child neglect or sexual abuse during spiritual confessions "may withhold" that information from authorities ... under church doctrine. [Survivors and their families are trying to] change church policy so that any instance of child sexual abuse is immediately reported to civil authorities. Inaction by the church have raised ethical issues. "What aspect of your religious practice are you advancing if you don't report something like this?" [investigator Gerard Moretz] asked.
Note: To understand the scope of child sex abuse worldwide, learn about other major cover-ups in revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources. Furthermore, watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse rings reach to the highest levels of government. Then watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which also leads directly to the highest levels of government.
While Epstein's ties to former presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump, as well as Prince Andrew and Bill Gates, have been well publicized, his connection with [Les] Wexner flew under the radar until Epstein's 2019 arrest on sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. For nearly two decades, Epstein was Wexner's personal money manager, but few people understood just how close the two were. The Ohio-born Leslie "Les" Wexner is the billionaire founder of L Brands Inc., the one-time parent company of The Limited, Bath & Body Works, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Victoria's Secret, the crown jewel of his retail holdings. Epstein was named the billionaire's power of attorney in 1991, which gave Epstein "unmitigated control over all of [Wexner's] assets," according to Washington Post reporter Sarah Ellison. He could sign checks, buy and sell property, and borrow money on Wexner's behalf. "There wasn't a part of Wexner's empire that Epstein didn't have access to and didn't have some ability to control," Ellison says in the docuseries. Anti-trafficking advocate Conchita Sarnoff makes the case that Epstein was able to "legally bring girls from all over the world into the United States under the guise of modeling thanks to his position as Wexner's financial advisor. The documentary details a culture of complicity at Victoria's Secret, which allowed Epstein to hide in plain sight with Wexner's help. For years, Wexner managed to keep his relationship with Epstein hidden from public view, but now people are looking for answers.
Note: Watch an eye-opening video on the top 10 shocking reveals of this Hulu documentary. For more along these lines, see the timeline of Epstein's case. You can also explore major cover-ups in high places in deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
"Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons" [is a] fairly standard look at Wexner's business acumen in acquiring the lingerie outfit and transforming it into a multi-billion-dollar enterprise, inspiring cultish devotion among employees while facing ever-escalating pressure to make the marketing more provocative. Yet Wexner's success also brought Epstein into his orbit, eventually leading to allegations that the latter leveraged his affiliation with the company as part of his predatory behavior. As for what Wexner might have known, the executive (who declined to be interviewed for the docuseries) and his representatives staunchly denied any awareness. The hardest-to-explain aspect of the story involve Wexner granting Epstein power of attorney over his assets. With so many projects devoted to the Epstein scandal, including docuseries from Investigation Discovery and Netflix, the emphasis on his role, while understandable, feels like well-trodden territory. Indeed, it tends to obscure insights having to do with Wexner's retail strategy and its broader implications -- turning something as mundane as underwear into a premium item, manufacturing in China to slash costs and from a cultural perspective, feeding unrealistic expectations about women's bodies with heavily photoshopped catalogue spreads. In the final chapter, however, director Matt Tyrnauer deftly weaves the pieces together, conveying how the key men behind Victoria's Secret were blind to the changes sweeping over society while allegedly engaging in their own questionable behavior.
Note: Watch an eye-opening video on the top 10 shocking reveals of this Hulu documentary. For more along these lines, see the timeline of Epstein's case. You can also explore major cover-ups in high places in deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
The audit rate for Americans earning more than $5 million a year plunged to just over 2% in 2019 from over 16% in 2010, according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog. The report estimated that taxpayers underreported their income tax by a combined $245 billion a year between 2011 and 2013, and said that "taxpayers are more likely to voluntarily comply with the tax laws if they believe their return may be audited." The main reason for the decline, according to the report, is a lack of IRS funding. In fiscal year 2021, the agency's budget was $11.9 billion – $200 million less than its 2010 budget. The IRS also has seen its staffing levels fall to the same levels as 1973. The decline in funding and auditors means that taxpayers, and especially the top earners, are far less likely to get caught underpaying their taxes than a decade ago. Overall audit rates for American taxpayers fell to 0.2% in 2019 from 0.9% in 2010. The wealthy are still audited at a higher rate than the general taxpayer population. Yet their audit rates have declined at a much higher rate. The audit rate for taxpayers earning between $5 million and $10 million fell to 1.4% from 13.5%. Those earning more than $10 million saw their audit rate fall to 3.9% in 2019 from 21.2% in 2010, while audit rates for $10 million-plus earners ticked up slightly for the 2017 and 2018 tax years due to a Treasury Department mandate to impose audit rates of at least 8% on those making $10 million or more.
Note: For more along these lines, see key news articles on the financial industry from reliable major media sources.
The biggest thing the federal government now does with businesses is subsidize them. The Clean Air Act of 1970 authorized the government to regulate air pollution. The Inflation Reduction Act, which Joe Biden signed into law ... allocates more than $300bn to energy and climate reform, including $30bn in subsidies for manufacturers of solar panels and wind turbines. Notice the difference? This shift from regulation to subsidy has characterized every recent administration. Today it's politically difficult, if not impossible, for government to demand that corporations (and their shareholders) bear the costs of public goods. Spending by corporations on lobbying increased from $1.44bn in 1999 to $3.77bn in 2021 and is on track to exceed $4bn this year. This tidal wave of corporate money has occurred at the same time large American corporations have globalized ... demanding government subsidies in return for creating jobs and doing their cutting-edge research in America. The question [is] whether the government should subsidize certain industries that generate large social benefits in the form of new technologies. I argued that the government was already engaged in a hidden industrial policy, disguised, for example, as grants to the aerospace and telecom industries by the Department of Defense and to the pharmaceutical industry by the National Institutes of Health. It would be far better to do industrial policy in the open, so that the public could assess what it was paying for and what it was getting in return.
Note: This article was written by former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich. For more revealing information on the government sponsoring corporate, financial interests without public input, see concise summaries of news articles on corporate corruption, and corruption in government and the financial industry.
School librarians [will] have less freedom to choose books and schoolchildren [will have] less ability to read books they find intriguing, experts say. In the past two years, six states have passed laws that mandate parental involvement in reviewing books, making it easier for parents to remove books or restrict the texts available at school, according to a tally kept by nonprofit EveryLibrary. Policies are proliferating at the district level, too. A Texas system will divide its library into "juvenile," "young adult" and "adult" sections, with parents choosing the "level" their child can access. "This is a state-sponsored purging of ideas and identities that has no precedent in the United States of America," said John Chrastka, EveryLibrary's executive director. "We're witnessing the silencing of stories and the suppressing of information [that will make] the next generation less able to function in society." A flurry of parent-staffed websites reviewing books for inappropriate content have appeared – including "Between the Book Covers," whose website says "professional review sites cannot be entrusted," and BookLook.info, "a place for taking a closer look at the books in our children's hands." There are also Facebook groups like Utah's "LaVerna in the Library," which "collects naughty children's books." As states and districts adjust their reading rules, parents and students are working to change things, too. Teens in Texas, for example, have formed "banned book clubs" – while in Missouri, students are suing their district to restore eight pulled books.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of the disappearance of privacy in our society. Whether in our schools, on social media, or in our news, read about the increasing issue of censorship that undermines democracy in our Mass Media Information Center.
In an effort to combat the devastating drought conditions hitting California, the Golden State will become the first in the nation to install solar panel canopies over canals. It will consist of an estimated 8,500 feet of solar panels installed over three sections of Turlock Irrigation District (TID) canals in Central California. According to TID, the project aims to use water and energy management hand-in-hand. The project is designed to increase renewable power generation, while reducing water evaporation and vegetative growth in canals. A 2021 University of California, Merced study [revealed] that covering all of the approximately 4,000 miles of public water delivery system infrastructure in the state with solar panels could save an estimated 63 billion gallons of water annually, as well as result in significant energy and cost savings. "According to the study, the 13 gigawatts of solar power the panels would generate each year would equal about one-sixth of the state's current installed capacity," TID wrote on its website. TID also says the project will also support California Gov. Gavin Newsom's call for 60% of the state's electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030. California has taken multiple steps to combat drought conditions and climate change impacting the state [including moving] forward with a plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035. Officials [also] announced that California would receive $310 million in federal funding to address the drought.
Up to 99,000 hectares of land in England, from city fringes to wetlands, will be focused on supporting wildlife in five major "nature recovery" projects, the government has said. The five landscape-scale projects in the West Midlands, Cambridgeshire, the Peak District, Norfolk and Somerset aim to help tackle wildlife loss and the climate crisis, and improve public access to nature. They will share an initial Ĺ2.4m pot from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Natural England, for work to create new habitats, manage land for nature and carbon storage and increase footpaths and connect with communities, with further funding expected from other sources and partners. Work in the projects will range from converting farmland into chalk grassland to restoring "dewponds" and managing wetlands and other land sustainably. Projects will also develop plans to work with communities in cities and deprived areas to improve their access to nature, including creating new green areas and improved footpaths and bridleways. The environment minister Rebecca Pow said: "These five projects across England are superb examples of exciting, large-scale restoration that is critically needed to bring about a step-change in the recovery of nature in this country. "They will significantly contribute to achieving our target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030 and our commitment to protect 30% of our land by 2030, enabling us to leave the environment in a better state than we found it."
It was supposed to be a secret. But word got out about what North Charleston High School Principal Henry Darby was doing – and the state has now presented him with its highest civilian honor. Darby took on a part-time job at Walmart, stocking shelves from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m., three nights every week. He's been using the paychecks from that work to help make sure kids from his school have food and basic supplies, or help their families pay their bills. Some money has also gone to former students who need help, or to teachers at his school who need a boost. "Principal Darby personifies the best of South Carolina, a selfless person who goes above and beyond for others," Gov. Henry McMaster said on Tuesday. "It was an honor to present him with the Order of the Palmetto yesterday," the governor added. In addition to being a principal, he serves on the Charleston County Council. "I decided to get another job because the kids, they really need help," Darby told the paper, which noted that despite Darby's efforts to stay under the radar, one of his students recognized him on the first night he worked at Walmart. His shifts ended just in time for him to drive to North Charleston High before morning classes started. In the weeks since people realized how much Darby was doing to help others, many have stepped forward both to praise him and to help him raise money for families who need it. Walmart gave his school a $50,000 check. Together, two crowdfunding pages devoted to his cause have raised more than $195,000.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles.
Some of the nation's largest retailers have been using soaring inflation rates as an excuse to raise prices and rake in billions of dollars in additional profit, a corporate watchdog group charged. The new figures comes as companies enjoy their most profitable year since the 1950s. Pre-tax profits last year soared 25% from 2020, far outpacing the increase in consumer prices. The report highlights an ongoing debate about the causes of inflation, with some consumer advocates arguing that corporations are using inflation as a justification for passing on even higher price hikes to consumers. Accountable.US said it examined the financial statements of the nation's top 10 retailers over the past two years – including Lowe's and Target – and found that they collectively increased their profits by $24.6 million for a grand total of $99 billion. The report notes, among other examples, that Lowe's recorded $8.4 billion in profit in its most recent quarter as it touted its "new pricing strategies." TJX, parent company of TJ Maxx, Marshalls and Home Goods, saw last year's profits soar to $3.3 billion as the CEO spoke about the company's "aggressive" price increases. "It's time corporations finally help shoulder the burden average Americans have taken on throughout the health crisis," [Accountable.US President Kyle] Herrig said. "Corporations can start by stabilizing prices for consumers instead of pursuing even higher profits – on top of finally paying their fair share in taxes."
Note: Just like big Pharma with COVID, the major corporations are profiting hugely from our misery. Here's another revealing report shows major food producing corporations marking up prices while raking in huge profits. You might also explore key excerpts of news articles on corporate corruption from reliable media sources.
In general, we rely on organizations like the CDC to conduct surveillance and monitoring of diseases in the United States. Unfortunately, case reporting, which we are relying on now to understand COVID-19 in the United States is the weakest type of surveillance for an ongoing pandemic. Case counts meant something very early on in the epidemic when each case reliably was associated with a certain risk of severe disease, hospitalization or death. Once there was a substantial number of people with immunity to severe outcomes due to recovery or vaccination those case counts became disconnected from expected outcomes. Test positivity also used to be a reliable measure of the community burden of infection with increased positivity correlating with increased spread of infection and hospitalization. But because now many only seek medical testing to confirm a home-based positive test for employment sick-leave or other purposes, the frequency of those testing positive through medical testing is artificially high. Remember the days of "flatten the curve," the idea that we had to preserve hospital capacity through efforts to reduce the spread of infection? That curve was the number of hospital admissions due to COVID-19 and reasonably reflected the number of people admitted to hospitals severely ill with COVID-19. Now, however, due to the continued universal screening of all hospital admissions, a majority of reported COVID-19 hospitalizations are not hospitalized "for" COVID-19 but "with" COVID-19.
Note: The author of this article, Jeffrey D. Klausner, MD, MPH, is a clinical professor of Medicine and Infectious Diseases at the the University of Southern California. He is a also a former U.S. Centers for Disease Prevention and Control medical officer. For more along these lines, visit our coronavirus news articles collection from reliable major media sources. Then explore the resources provided in our Coronavirus Information Center.
A group of whistleblowers has provided evidence that the Environmental Protection Agency has not adequately assessed the health risks posed by several new chemicals on the grounds that they are corrosive. Those harms include cancer, miscarriage, and neurotoxicity, according to the whistleblowers, who work as health assessors in the division. In some cases Ă˘â‚Ź¦ the risks were calculated, found to be significant, and later deleted from official documents. In March 2020, Gallagher, the human health assessor, found that another chemical presented risks to workers. Information [about the hazards] was included in a version of the assessment. But a month later, a manager in the New Chemicals Division created a new assessment [that] explained: "Risks were not evaluated for workers via repeated dermal exposures because dermal exposures are not considered likely due to the corrosivity of the new chemical substance." According to the whistleblowers, this statement is false. "It is intentionally misleading for EPA to put into a report that we did not calculate risk when we did," said Martin Phillips, a chemist and human health assessor who works in the EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. "It's lying about what we did. It's not just that we did the calculations. We did the calculations and found risks, and then they got rid of them and said that we didn't calculate them. It's fundamentally inaccurate."
Whether dodging taxes or legal peril, wealthy Americans often succeed in concealing assets from the government by hiding their money in offshore bank accounts. Research from the IRS and a group of economists last year found that the top 1% of earners in the U.S. neglect to report 20% of their income – and that random audits almost never detect offshore accounts. Tax havens like Switzerland or the Cayman Islands have traditionally offered Americans a place to hide their assets because they fiercely guard financial privacy and have minimal to no taxes. Often, they also have laws that inhibit scrutiny from foreign tax officials. Prior to his latest book, [author Patrick Radden] Keefe published "Empire of Pain," which chronicled the billionaire Sackler family's connection to the nation's opioid epidemic. The Sacklers, the notorious family that owned the now bankrupt Purdue Pharma, reportedly have much of their wealth hidden in offshore accounts. An audit commissioned by Purdue showed the family withdrew more than $10 billion from their company during the opioid crisis, CNN reported in October 2020. They began drawing especially large amounts of money from the firm after paying $600 million in a 2007 plea deal with the Justice Department for misleading physicians and consumers about the opioid OxyContin, CNN reported. "The kind of sophistication of the whole industry of financial dissimulation ... such that nobody can put their hands on the money, is really interesting." Keefe told Yahoo Finance.
Note: A 2015 Guardian newspaper article further describes how the US helps the super-rich hide assets. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of financial industry corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Eating ultraprocessed foods for more than 20% of your daily calorie intake every day could set you on the road to cognitive decline, a new study revealed. "Fifty-eight percent of the calories consumed by United States citizens ... come from ultraprocessed foods," [Dr. Claudia] Suemoto said. Studies have found they can raise our risk of obesity, heart and circulation problems, diabetes and cancer. In fact, men and women who ate the most ultraprocessed foods had a 28% faster rate of global cognitive decline and a 25% faster rate of executive function decline compared with people who ate the least amount of overly processed food, the study found. "The new results are quite compelling and emphasize the critical role for proper nutrition in preserving and promoting brain health and reducing risk for brain diseases as we get older," said Rudy Tanzi, professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the genetics and aging research unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Tanzi said the key problem with ultraprocessed foods is that they are usually very high in sugar, salt and fat, all of which promote systemic inflammation, perhaps the most major threat to healthy aging in the body and brain. "They also replace eating food that is high in plant fiber that is important for maintaining the health and balance of the trillions of bacteria in your gut microbiome," he added, "which is particularly important for brain health and reducing risk of age-related brain diseases like Alzheimer's disease."
Note: For more information on health and well-being, including major cover-ups that affect your health, visit our Health Information Center and explore key news articles from the major media related to health.
[Very few know about] the 1933 "Wall Street putsch" against newly elected Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt's bold New Deal experiments inflamed the upper class, provoking a backlash from the nation's most powerful bankers, industrialists and Wall Street brokers. Against the backdrop of charismatic dictators in the world such as Hitler and Mussolini, the sparks of anti-Rooseveltism ignited into full-fledged hatred. Many American intellectuals and business leaders saw nazism and fascism as viable models for the US. There is much evidence that the nation's wealthiest men – Republicans and Democrats alike – were so threatened by FDR's policies that they conspired with antigovernment paramilitarism to stage a coup. The final report by the congressional committee tasked with investigating the allegations ... concluded: "There is no question that [fascism] attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient." [US Marine Corps Maj Gen Smedley Darlington] Butler demanded to know why the names of the country's richest men were removed from the final version of the committee's report. "Like most committees, it has slaughtered the little and allowed the big to escape," Butler said.
A former intelligence contractor who was imprisoned for leaking a report about Russian interference in the US presidential election that Donald Trump won in 2016 has insisted she acted out of love for a nation that was "being lied to". The 30-year-old ... decided to leave her National Security Agency contractor's office at the Fort Gordon army base in Georgia with an intelligence report about Russian attempts to meddle in the election that saw Trump beat Hillary Clinton for the White House. Working for NSA contractor Pluribus International Corporation, Winner printed the document – labeled "TOP SECRET" – that explained how Russian military intelligence officials hacked at least one supplier of voting software and tried to break into more than 100 local election systems before the polls closed in 2016. The Trump administration had her charged under the Espionage Act, which was initially created during the first world war as a means to punish people spying on the US during times of foreign conflict. Winner pleaded guilty ... to be sentenced to five years in prison. Authorities said the sentence was the longest ever handed down by a US federal court to someone convicted of providing government information to the media without permission. Winner said she broke her oath to protect classified material because Americans were being intentionally deceived about Russia's efforts to sow chaos in the presidential election that vaulted Trump into the Oval Office.
Note: Elections fraud and manipulation is by no means a partisan issue. We are very clear that all major political parties in all countries have at times committed elections abuses for many years, if not centuries. Explore top news articles on election fraud, and visit our Elections Information Center for more information from reliable news sources.
Maybe you hear it. A low frequency hum, almost a vibration, just on the threshold of human hearing. Maybe it keeps you awake. Maybe it causes you headaches, dizziness, even nosebleeds. If you do hear it, you're among the roughly 4% of the world's population affected by "the Hum", a frequently reported but little understood global phenomenon. The earliest reliable reports of the Hum date from the UK in the mid-1970s. Numerous reports of the Hum have been made across the UK, usually clustered around specific towns or cities: Hythe, Plymouth and, as recently as last month, Swansea. The fact that the Hum seems to have only really emerged as a documented concern in the past half-century suggests it could be a byproduct of technological advances. As much as our innovations have the capacity to nurture and sustain us, they also have the capacity to assail us. It always comes as a small surprise to remember we are constantly beset by high- and low-pitched frequencies, which our brain actively tunes out. Could the Hum be the background thrum of electricity, gas lines or cell towers? One theory even posits ultra-low frequency radio signals used to communicate with submarines in the depths of oceans might be interacting with soft tissue in our skulls that stimulate the auditory nerve – a phenomenon known as the "microwave auditory effect", which, incidentally, has been studied by the Pentagon for use as a sonic weapon.
Soon after giving birth to a daughter two months premature, Terri Logan received a bill from the hospital. She recoiled from the string of numbers separated by commas. Then a few months ago Ä‚ËĂ˘â€šĹą¦ Logan received some bright yellow envelopes in the mail. They were from a nonprofit group [RIP Medical Debt] telling her it had bought and then forgiven all those past medical bills. The nonprofit has boomed during the pandemic, freeing patients of medical debt, thousands of people at a time. Its novel approach involves buying bundles of delinquent hospital bills – debts incurred by low-income patients like Logan – and then simply erasing the obligation to repay them. It's a model developed by two former debt collectors, Craig Antico and Jerry Ashton, who built their careers chasing down patients who couldn't afford their bills. RIP buys the debts just like any other collection company would – except instead of trying to profit, they send out notices to consumers saying that their debt has been cleared. A surge in recent donations – from college students to philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who gave $50 million in late 2020 – is fueling RIP's expansion. To date, RIP has purchased $6.7 billion in unpaid debt and relieved 3.6 million people of debt. RIP is one of the only ways patients can get immediate relief from such debt, says Jim Branscome, a major donor. "As a bill collector collecting millions of dollars in medical-associated bills in my career, now all of a sudden I'm reformed: I'm a predatory giver," Ashton said.
Note: To understand the corruption in healthcare that results in expensive medical bills, read this revealing 10-page summary of medical doctor Marcia Angell's book The Truth About Drug Companies. To further explore stories that help create the world we want to live in, check out our inspiring news articles collection and our Inspiration Center.
In 2011, [Ropert Kapen] suffered a brain stem stroke that left him paralyzed. Doctors told his family that he had a 1% chance of survival, and that if he lived, he'd likely be in a vegetative state. Kapen beat those odds. His mental faculties were unscathed, and he slowly regained some movement and speech through therapy. Eventually, he was able to communicate, eat, operate a motorized wheelchair and write a book. He had another big dream, too. "Growing up, I fell in love with hiking, being outdoors and the beauty of nature," he says. That was taken away from him for 10 years, Kapen says, but very recently, a new set of wheels has allowed for his return. It's called the AdvenChair [which] recently enabled Kapen to visit Machu Picchu. The orange, "all-terrain" wheelchair is human-powered and designed to help people with mobility challenges to venture into the wild. Its wheels, tires, brakes and handlebars are all premium mountain bike parts, and the large tires and suspension system offer a comfortable ride. Thanks to a versatile system of pulleys, bars and straps, teams of one to five people can assist in navigating the AdvenChair over just about any landscape. "It's rejuvenating to be outside, especially as a person with a disability, because these resources are not exactly the most accessible," [Isaac] Shannon says. "So when there is a tool that allows a person to be able to experience life in the most average way possible, I think it's healing, and it's nice to be out in nature where you're not around people."
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of inspiring news articles, including ones specifically on disabled people who have made their mark in our world.
Last month, the Smithsonian approved the return of 29 exquisite bronze sculptures from the Kingdom of Benin that were looted by the British military in 1897. The attack remains one of the most painful in the long history of colonialism and the return of the priceless objects has become a symbol of the global effort to push museums to face their ugly pasts. [Smithsonian Secretary Lonnie] Bunch was referring to a new collections policy that requires Smithsonian museums to collaborate with the communities represented by their holdings and to return or share ownership of items that might have been previously stolen or acquired under duress. It directs them to make their collections publicly accessible and to fully vet future acquisitions to prevent items with questionable provenance from entering the collection. The updated policy does not require its museums to systemically review their collections, said Undersecretary for Museums and Culture Kevin Gover. A complete review would be a powerful gesture, [university professor Tracy] Ireland said, even as she acknowledged the burden on staff and budget that it would cause. "It means they are still in charge of the narrative," Ireland said. "[A review] is important for source communities who simply do not know what's in these collections, what's missing, what has been buried away. Real ethical action puts the power back in the hands of the communities." While not the first, the Smithsonian's actions still resonate.
Note: To further explore stories that help create the world we want to live in, check out our inspiring news articles collection.
A Saudi court has sentenced a doctoral student to 34 years in prison for spreading "rumors" and retweeting dissidents. Activists and lawyers consider the sentence against Salma al-Shehab, a mother of two and a researcher at Leeds University in Britain, shocking even by Saudi standards of justice. So far unacknowledged by the kingdom, the ruling comes amid Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's crackdown on dissent. Al-Shehab was detained during a family vacation on Jan. 15, 2021, just days before she planned to return to the United Kingdom, according to the Freedom Initiative, a Washington-based human rights group. Al-Shehab told judges she had been held for over 285 days in solitary confinement before her case was even referred to court. The Freedom Initiative describes al-Shehab as a member of Saudi Arabia's Shiite Muslim minority, which has long complained of systematic discrimination in the Sunni-ruled kingdom. "Saudi Arabia has boasted to the world that they are improving women's rights and creating legal reform, but there is no question with this abhorrent sentence that the situation is only getting worse," said Bethany al-Haidari, the group's Saudi case manager. Judges accused al-Shehab of "disturbing public order" and "destabilizing the social fabric" – claims stemming solely from her social media activity, according to an official charge sheet. They alleged al-Shehab followed and retweeted dissident accounts on Twitter and "transmitted false rumors."
Note: Why does the US government seem to hate Iran so much yet love Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Ask questions or post content about COVID-19 that runs counter to the Biden administration's narrative and find yourself censored on social media. That's precisely what data analyst and digital strategist Justin Hart says happened to him. And so last week the Liberty Justice Center, a public-interest law firm, filed a suit on his behalf in California against Facebook, Twitter, President Joe Biden and United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy for violating his First Amendment right to free speech. Hart had his social media most recently locked for merely posting an infographic that illustrated the lack of scientific research behind forcing children to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID. In fact ... study after study repeatedly shows that children are safer than vaccinated adults and that the masks people actually wear don't do much good. The lawsuit contends that the federal government is "colluding with social media companies to monitor, flag, suspend and delete social media posts it deems â€misinformation.'" It can point to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki's July remarks that senior White House staff are "in regular touch" with Big Tech platforms regarding posts about COVID. She also said the surgeon general's office is "flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread." "Why do we think it's acceptable for the government to direct social media companies to censor people on critical issues such as COVID?" Hart asks. The Post has been targeted repeatedly by social media for solid, factual reporting.
Note: Read about another lawsuit alleging collusion between government and big tech companies to censor dissenting views on pandemic policies. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.
The new documentary-exposĂ© Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons [reveals] that the multibillion-dollar lingerie chain that marketed its models as the last word in hotness and glamour was a ruthless capitalist enterprise dogged by accusations of harassment, corruption and abuse. We meet old friends from the modern sexual abuse and violence documentary circuit. Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, of course, but also Jean-Luc Brunel, whose predations against the girls and women he met as the head of Karin Models Agency and MC2 Model Management (financed, would you believe, by Epstein) were recently outlined in Sky documentary Scouting for Girls – alongside those of fellow agents John Casablancas, Claude Haddad and GĂ©rald Marie, the last of whom vehemently denies all sexual abuse allegations against him from several women. The new guy in the mix is Leslie Wexner, owner of the eponymous lingerie firm. He became acquainted with Epstein in the 1980s when Wexner needed an entrĂ© into New York society. It was Wexner who sold him the townhouse that would become infamous as the spycam site of his abusive operations, and who sold him the private jet that would become known as the "Lolita Express" as it ferried underage girls wherever Epstein and his fellow predators needed them to go. Wexner gave Epstein power of attorney over his entire estate – worth hundreds of millions of dollars – and didn't revoke it until 2007, well after Epstein's first arrest in 2006.
Note: Watch an eye-opening video on the top 10 shocking reveals of this documentary. 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.
For decades, mallgoers, slightly confused teenage girls and horny teenage boys have wondered what secret this mysterious Victoria is hiding. The new three-part Hulu docuseries "Victoria's Secret: Angels and Demons" explores these secrets and, well, they are less "she only wears thongs (wink)" and more "wait, was this brand just a lot of pink thongs covering up the very real exploitation of underage girls?" The business was sold to Les Wexner [in 1982]. With Victoria's Secret in about 100 stores across America, Les Wexner hired Jeffrey Epstein as an investment advisor. Then Wexner quite suddenly gave him power of attorney in 1991, the most expensive home in New York City in the mid-'90s and sold Epstein his private jet well below market value. That private jet became known in the press as the Lolita Express, aka the jet where Epstein is accused of taking underage girls to be abused and exploited. Epstein allegedly began describing himself to women he'd meet as a recruiter for Victoria's Secret models in 1993. Wexner claims he cut all ties with Epstein after his first arrest, and he would go on to publicly condemn Epstein after his death in 2019, but the documentary alleges that L Brands directly paid for Epstein's legal defense, which was never publicly reported. There [was] a reported instance where Epstein, while staying in the guest house on Wexner's property, held a woman hostage for 12 hours after he and Ghislaine Maxwell allegedly assaulted her, leading her to call the police for help.
Note: Watch an eye-opening video on the top 10 shocking reveals of this documentary. 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.
White House COVID-19 Response Team Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said during a virtual discussion Tuesday that the way we used to think about social distancing is "not actually the right way" to think about COVID-19 mitigation. The response came when U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Suzanne Clarke asked Jha what prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to update their COVID-19 guidance, and to clarify exactly what that guidance is now. "The CDC guidance sort of relaxes a lot of the restrictions we've had," Jha responded. "Tells us that there's a really new way of thinking about who is going to get infected. We used to spend a lot of time talking about six feet of distance, 15 minutes of being together. You know, we realize that's actually not the right way to think about this, that's not the kind of – most accurate way to think about this." Jha said that, instead ... it's really about the quality of air you're breathing around you. "A crowded indoor space with poor ventilation, you can get infected within minutes," Jha continued "If you're outdoors, with obviously by definition good ventilation, you can be outside for long periods of time and not get infected. So, context matters, crowds matter, ventilation matters." The latest CDC guidance says social distancing is "just one component of how to protect yourself and others" from COVID-19. The deemphasis on social distance marks a shift in the CDC's messaging, which had long prioritized social distancing as a critical mitigation strategy.
Note: If anyone made these comments in 2021, they would likely have been censored. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday said the agency must make drastic changes to respond better and faster to public health emergencies, following missteps during the Covid pandemic. The agency has faced widespread criticism throughout the pandemic for its slow responses and often confusing messaging on masking and other mitigation measures. "In our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations," [Dr. Rochelle] Walensky said. Dr. Richard Besser, former acting CDC director and current president of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said overhauling the agency's public messaging is "absolutely essential." "A lot of the scientists at CDC are really good at doing science, and a lot of the responders are really good at doing response," he said. "But that doesn't mean they're good at explaining it in ways that will be useful to the general public." That's potentially a lasting problem for an agency that's often been lagging in its public outreach, said Dr. Mario Ramirez, an emergency physician and former pandemic and emerging threats coordinator under President Barack Obama. "The real challenge that faces CDC," Ramirez said on NBC News Now, "is that it is extremely difficult to communicate complex scientific issues at a speed that is so fast, faster than the Twittersphere." "The margin for error is so small. If you make a mistake in public health, it takes a very long time to regain public trust," he said.
Big Pharma spent more than any other industry to lobby Congress and federal agencies this year, a Reuters analysis shows, but is still on course for a major defeat by failing to stop a bill that allows the government to negotiate prices on select drugs. The $430 billion Inflation Reduction Act to change climate, health, and tax policies cleared its largest hurdle last week when Democratic lawmakers passed it in the Senate. The U.S. House of Representatives is also expected to pass it on Friday, allowing President Joe Biden to sign it into law. A Kaiser Family Foundation poll in October found that 83% of Americans, including 95% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans, want the federal Medicare health plan for seniors to negotiate prices. The industry's powerful trade association, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), urged senators in a public letter to reject the bill. A Reuters analysis ... shows that the pharmaceutical industry has spent at least $142.6 million on lobbying Congress and federal agencies in the first half of 2022, more than any industry, and at least $16.1 million on campaign contributions during the current mid-term election cycle. Almost two thirds of the money spent on lobbying ... came from PhRMA and its member companies. The bill's provision for drug price negotiations was scaled back in November, allowing Medicare to focus on an annual maximum of 20 of the costliest medicines by 2029, instead of an initial proposal to help reduce prices for 250 treatments.
Global capitalism is an incredible machine for extracting fossil fuels from our planet, refining them, shipping them to every corner of the Earth and making staggering amounts of money doing so. Unfortunately the machine is also poisoning us all. But one of its exquisitely evolved functions is to make it almost impossible to turn it off. Oil and gas profits in the most recent quarter were astounding. Exxon Mobil made $18bn in profits in the past three months. Shell and Chevron each made nearly $12bn. Those are all record numbers. A recent study showed that for the past 50 years, the oil industry has made profits of more than $1tn a year, close to $3bn a day. These profits are driven [by] cartels, mega-corporations and the regulatory capture of governments, conspiring to create a market free of both competition and of a price that reflects the actual cost to the world of the product that is being sold. These profits are illusory. They are plagued by an externality large enough to outweigh a trillion dollars a year – the costs that the climate crisis will impose on billions of people who are alive now and many generations to come. The fossil fuel industry as a whole is not just another business, providing a service to meet a demand; it is a predatory drug dealer that works every day to keep the world addicted to its poisonous product, knowing full well that it will eventually prove fatal. It fights to keep the population fooled. It is a problem to be solved.
We are learning just how smart insects can be. As I show in my new book, "The Mind of a Bee," the latest research indicates that even tiny-brained bees are profoundly intelligent creatures that can memorize not only flowers but also human faces, solve problems by thinking rather than by trial and error, and learn to use tools by observing skilled bees. They even appear to experience basic emotions, or at least something like optimism and pessimism. Bees have a "dance language" by which they can inform others in the hive of the precise location of a rewarding flower patch. The symbolic language involves repeating the motor patterns ("dances") of a knowledgeable bee on the vertical honeycomb. The movements make reference to gravity and the direction of the sun; since it's dark in the hive, bees that want to learn from the dancer need to touch its abdomen with their antennae. Sometimes, such dances are displayed at night, when no foraging takes place: The dancer appears to think about locations visited on the previous day, without an obvious need to do so at the time. The observation that bees are most likely sentient beings has important ethical implications. Many species of bees are threatened by pesticides and wide-scale habitat loss, and that this spells trouble because we need these insects to pollinate our crops. But is the utility of bees the only reason they should be protected? I don't think so. Bees have a rich inner world and unique perception, and, like humans, are able to think, enjoy and suffer.
Note: Watch an amazing, highly educational PBS documentary on the life of bees. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
"Shady Pines, Ma!" If that quip sounds familiar, it's probably because you spent some happy half hours laughing at the hit Golden Girls sitcom. The character played by Bea Arthur was related to one other roommate – her mother Sophia. The other two characters, Rose and Blanche, were, like Dorothy in their late 40s to mid-50s. Why were these women sharing a single family house? What are the housing alternatives for older and middle-aged singles? For many, it's co-living, which provides advantages well beyond the financial. "The number one benefit ... is the social aspect of shared housing," explains Maria Claver [of] California State University. "More than any other lifestyle factor (including smoking, diet and exercise), we know that having social support is the most important predictor of morbidity (or illness) and mortality. Having housemates is not the ideal living arrangement for everyone. For those wanting their own space, but seeking the benefits of community and camaraderie, cohousing is a viable alternative. Cohousing offers all of the benefits of living in community – connection, common meals, frequent activities, knowing your neighbors – but with the added benefit of privacy that isn't always available in shared homes. When we have access to a social safety net, neighbors who care about us, people who can drive us to doctor's appointments or bring us meals during a difficult time in life, we are more likely to experience stability and wellbeing.
The amount of coral in some areas of the Great Barrier Reef is at its highest in 36 years, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Marine Science. From August 2021 to May 2022, the central and northern regions of the Great Barrier Reef had hard coral cover levels of 33% and 36%, respectively. Coral cover decreased by 4% in the southern region, due to an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish. The Australian agency found that 87 coral reefs generally had low levels of acute stress from things such as cyclones and increases in the crown-of-thorns starfish population. The area surveyed represents two-thirds of the Great Barrier Reef. Almost half of the reefs studied had between 10% and 30% hard coral cover, while about a third of the reefs had hard coral cover levels between 30% and 50%, the report said. While higher water temperatures led to a coral bleaching event in some areas in March, the temperatures did not climb high enough to kill the coral, the agency said. Coral in the Great Barrier Reef is resilient, and has been able to recover from past disturbances, the Institute said. But the stressors impacting it have not gone away for long. The agency's outlook shows more frequent and long-lasting heatwaves, cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish. "Therefore, while the observed recovery offers good news for the overall state of the [Great Barrier Reef], there is increasing concern for its ability to maintain this state," the report said.
China's ambition to collect a staggering amount of personal data from everyday citizens is more expansive than previously known. Phone-tracking devices are now everywhere. The police are creating some of the largest DNA databases in the world. And the authorities are building upon facial recognition technology to collect voice prints from the general public. The Times' Visual Investigations team and reporters in Asia spent over a year analyzing more than a hundred thousand government bidding documents. The Chinese government's goal is clear: designing a system to maximize what the state can find out about a person's identity, activities and social connections. In a number of the bidding documents, the police said that they wanted to place cameras where people go to fulfill their common needs – like eating, traveling, shopping and entertainment. The police also wanted to install facial recognition cameras inside private spaces, like residential buildings, karaoke lounges and hotels. Authorities are using phone trackers to link people's digital lives to their physical movements. Devices known as WiFi sniffers and IMSI catchers can glean information from phones in their vicinity. DNA, iris scan samples and voice prints are being collected indiscriminately from people with no connection to crime. The government wants to connect all of these data points to build comprehensive profiles for citizens – which are accessible throughout the government.
Note: For more on this disturbing topic, see the New York Times article "How China is Policing the Future." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
Even if you have never set foot in China, Hikvision's cameras have likely seen you. By 2017, Hikvision had captured 12 percent of the North American market. Its cameras watched over apartment buildings in New York City, public recreation centers in Philadelphia, and hotels in Los Angeles. Police departments used them to monitor streets in Memphis, Tennessee, and in Lawrence, Massachusetts. London and more than half of Britain's 20 next-largest cities have deployed them. A recent search for the company's cameras, using Shodan, a tool that locates internet-connected devices, yielded nearly 5 million results, including more than 750,000 devices in the United States. Among the policies that Hikvision's products have supported is China's wide-ranging crackdown against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other minority groups in the western province of Xinjiang. Far from being appalled by Hikvision's role in China's atrocities, however, plenty of foreign leaders are intrigued. They see an opportunity to acquire tools that could reduce crime and spur growth. Of course, the authoritarian-leaning among them also see a chance to monitor their domestic challengers and cement their control. The use of military language ... heightens the sense that these tools can easily become weapons. Cameras can be set to "patrol." "Intrusion detection" sounds like a method for defending a bank or a military base. Hikvision's cameras do not check identities. They "capture" faces.
Note: For more, see this Bloomberg article titled "Blacklisted Chinese Tech Found Inside Top Secret UK Lab." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
More than 80% of urine samples drawn from children and adults in a US health study contained a weedkilling chemical linked to cancer, a finding scientists have called "disturbing" and "concerning". The report by a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that out of 2,310 urine samples, taken from a group of Americans intended to be representative of the US population, 1,885 were laced with detectable traces of glyphosate. This is the active ingredient in herbicides sold around the world, including the widely used Roundup brand. Almost a third of the participants were children. [Lianne] Sheppard co-authored a 2019 analysis of people highly exposed to glyphosate, which concluded there was a "compelling link" between glyphosate and an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Both the amount and prevalence of glyphosate found in human urine has been rising steadily since the 1990s when Monsanto Co. introduced genetically engineered crops designed to be sprayed directly with Roundup, according to research published in 2017. The weedkiller is sprayed directly over genetically engineered crops such as corn and soybeans, and also over non-genetically engineered crops such as wheat and oats as a desiccant to dry crops out prior to harvest. It is considered the most widely used herbicide in history. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a unit of the World Health Organization ... classified glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen in 2015.
Note: Instead of relying on independent science, the EPA used industry studies to determine that glyphosate was safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs and health from reliable major media sources.
One in three people across America have detectable levels of a toxic herbicide linked to cancers, birth defects and hormonal imbalances, a major nationwide survey has found. Human exposure to the herbicide 2,4-D has substantially risen amid expanding use among farmers despite a multitude of health and environmental concerns, according to the first nationally representative study evaluating the footprint of the chemical. Researchers from George Washington university examined the urine samples of 14,395 people (aged six and older) from all walks of life who take part in the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. They looked for biomarkers to the pesticide, and compared the exposure levels detected with the use of 2,4-D from 2001 until 2014. As the pesticide grew in popularity among farmers and gardeners, so did evidence of human exposure, rising from a low of 17% in 2001-02 to a high of almost 40% a decade later. Exposure to high levels of 2,4-D, an ingredient of Agent Orange used against civilians during the Vietnam war, has been linked to cancers including leukemia in children, birth defects and reproductive problems among other health issues. The study, published online in Environmental Health, found exposure was not uniform, with several subgroups including children aged six to 11 and women of childbearing age showing substantially higher levels of 2,4-D in their urine. Overall, the amount of 2,4-D applied in agriculture increased 67% between 2012 and 2020.
Today it's my great pleasure to introduce two Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post journalists, Sari Horwitz and Scott Higham, who are going to discuss their new book, "American Cartel." We're talking about companies that create and fuel the opioid crisis. We've heard this story about the Sacklers and indeed the Sacklers have been identified, and if criminal charges haven't been brought at least they've been vilified in the press. But ... this goes way beyond the Sacklers. This is not just the story of one bad apple. "It's so much bigger than that," [said Horwitz]. "We found, in our two-year investigation ... a constellation of companies that fuel the deadliest epidemic, drug epidemic, in American history. Some of these companies are some of the largest in this country. Some we've heard of. They are household names - Walgreens, Walmart, Johnson & Johnson. We found internal emails from these companies where the people in the companies were laughing at the addicts. They were mocking them. Meanwhile, the drug companies, they are smart. They decide to lure away the best and the brightest if they can from the DEA and the Justice Department to help them as they are selling opioids, and they are very successful. They hired dozens of people from DEA and the Justice Department to work for these companies. So again, these are the people who are trying to protect us, working for the DEA and the Justice Department. They are lured away to the companies who are selling addictive painkillers that are killing people."
Bashing Saudi Arabia during a presidential election season is almost a tradition in the United States, and President Biden made no exception. Emboldened by domestic outrage over the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi and the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen, Mr. Biden went further than his predecessors by calling Saudi Arabia a "pariah" state. Mr. Biden sought to justify his visit to Saudi Arabia this week in a Washington Post opinion essay, saying his aim was to "reorient," not "rupture," relations. Yet no justification for his visit to the kingdom this week can erase the truth: It is a defeat for Mr. Biden and a personal and political triumph for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, or M.B.S., as he is popularly known. The United States needs Saudi Arabia: The kingdom remains the oil market's major swing producer and is the main buyer of U.S. arms globally. By virtue of geopolitics and economics, Saudi Arabia's cooperation with the United States is consequential when it comes to Washington's efforts to counter Iran, end the war in Yemen and normalize Israel's relations with the Arab world, as well as limit Russia's and China's influence in the region. All of this was true before Russia's invasion of Ukraine upended global oil markets and sent gasoline prices skyrocketing in the United States and Europe. So the Biden administration had to come up with a solution to its Saudi problem, especially in a critical election year, as Mr. Biden's job approval ratings have dropped and gas prices have soared.
Note: With their big oil, big money, and involvement in mind control and sex trafficking worldwide, the Saudis are a powerful force that politicians fear going up against despite the horrific treatment of women and major human rights violations there. Why does the US government seem to hate Iran so much yet love Saudi Arabia, one of the most repressive regimes in the world? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
What happens when government leaders leave Washington for cushy jobs on corporate boards? Former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is just the latest administration official to go through the revolving door after his second tour at the FDA. Gottlieb recently resigned from his spot as the top federal drug regulator to take on a role at Pfizer–the top drug producer in the United States. But Gottlieb's hiring is just the latest in a long line of moves to fortify the industry's influence in Washington. Big Pharma spending on lobbying eclipses every other industry according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Current Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar - Gottlieb's former boss - used to be president of Lilly USA, the U.S. branch of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly. Trump lauded his appointment by calling Azar a "star for better healthcare and lower drug prices," but during his time there the company raised the brand's insulin prices threefold creating a crisis and drawing public outrage. A study last year found more than 160 former lobbyists serving in the Trump administration - and those industry ties point to an administration that puts the priorities of large corporations over those of the American people. Corporate executives and industry lobbyists cannot be effective regulators of the industries that have made them millions. The revolving door is an age-old problem in Washington but the scope and volume of the conflicts in the current administration ... is unprecedented.
Note: For lots more on the revolving door between government and big Pharma, see the "Revolving Door Project" and read this revealing article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Glyphosate, an herbicide that remains the world's most ubiquitous weed killer, raises the cancer risk of those exposed to it by 41%, a new analysis says. Researchers from the University of Washington evaluated existing studies into the chemical – found in weed killers including Monsanto's popular Roundup – and concluded that it significantly increases the risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), a cancer of the immune system. "All of the meta-analyses conducted to date, including our own, consistently report the same key finding: exposure to GBHs (glyphosate-based herbicides) are associated with an increased risk of NHL," the authors wrote in a study published in the journal Mutation Research. In 2015 ... the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." Moreover, the chemical has triggered multiple lawsuits from people who believe that exposure to the herbicide caused their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. In 2017 ... more than 800 people were suing Monsanto; by the following year, that figure was in the thousands. The authors of the University of Washington report analyzed all published studies on the impact of glyphosate on humans. Co-author ... Rachel Shaffer said: "This research provides the most up-to-date analysis of glyphosate and its link with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, incorporating a 2018 study of more than 54,000 people who work as licensed pesticide applicators." The scientists also assessed studies on animals.
Note: Instead of relying on independent science, the EPA used industry studies to determine that glyphosate was safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health from reliable major media sources.
Nepal has nearly tripled its wild tiger population, officials announced Friday, in a victory for the Himalayan country's efforts to help the big cats claw their way back from extinction. Deforestation, human encroachment on habitats and poaching have devastated tiger populations across Asia, but Nepal and 12 other countries signed a pledge in 2010 to double their numbers by this year. The Himalayan republic is the only country to meet or beat the target and a survey in 2022 counted 355 of the creatures, up from around 121 in 2009. "We have succeeded in meeting an ambitious goal... I thank everyone involved in conservation of tigers," Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba said at an event unveiling the figures in Kathmandu. Conservationists surveyed the population with thousands of motion-sensitive cameras set up across a vast stretch of Nepal's southern plains, where the majestic predators roam. Wildlife experts combed through thousands of images to identify individual animals by their unique stripes. More than 100,000 tigers roamed the world at the turn of the 20th century, but that number fell to an all-time low of 3,200 in 2010. The 2010 Tiger Conservation Plan signed by Nepal is backed by several celebrities, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio. The plan quickly began bearing fruit, and in 2016 the World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum announced that the wild tiger population had increased for the first time in more than a century.
Growing evidence for the safety and efficacy of psychedelics could lead to better treatments for anxiety, depression, pain, and other often intractable conditions. Jerry Rosenbaum was intrigued when he first heard about the effect that psilocybin–the hallucinogenic compound found in certain species of mushrooms–was purported to have on the brain's "resting state," what neuroscientists call the default mode network. The default mode network encompasses any neural function that has some bearing on our autobiographical tendencies. When people take psilocybin at low doses, the default mode network becomes less active. That is, the drug appears to tame self-reflection and all but ruin rumination, that obsessive mental state characterized by excessive, repetitive thoughts. Rumination is a hallmark cognitive symptom of depression. Neuroscientists are observing that, when taken in a controlled setting, these substances are beneficial to the brain, especially for people who have certain psychiatric disorders. Landmark studies in 2014 and 2016 showed that LSD and psilocybin alleviated existential anxiety in patients with life-threatening illnesses for up to a year after beginning the treatment. Other studies have shown that ketamine may strengthen neurons against the damage from chronic stress by preventing synapses from being flooded with glutamate, an amino acid that, in excess, withers dendrites. And researchers continue to investigate whether psychedelics are useful as anti-inflammatory agents.
The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has announced that Cartography of the Mind: A Curated NFT Sale raised $1,569,960. Proceeds of the auction, presented by Christies in collaboration with Ryan Zurrer, founder of Dialectic and Vine Ventures, will benefit MAPS. Throughout the week, the physical exhibition at Christie's new gallery on 6th Avenue drew impressive crowds of enthusiastic visitors. With competitive bidding, the sale realized over $1.5 million. It was 100% sold, and 130% sold hammer over low estimate. Beeple, David Choe, Sarah Meyohas, Refik Anadol, Mad Dog Jones, IX Shells, and more donated art to support MAPS. The research, education, and advocacy organization ... remains the leading body at the vanguard of research into potentially life-saving psychedelic-assisted therapies. Psychedelic Healing is an artistic interpretation of the MAPS logo by renowned artist Alex Grey to celebrate MAPS' 35th anniversary in 2021. It was purchased by Ryan Zurrer and donated back to MAPS for additional fundraising. Founded in 1986, MAPS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and educational organization developing medical, legal, and cultural contexts for people to benefit from the careful uses of psychedelics and marijuana. MAPS is sponsoring the most advanced psychedelic therapy research in the world funded primarily by philanthropic donors and grantors who have given more than $130 million for research and education.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, other Biden administration officials and five social media companies have 30 days to respond to subpoenas in a lawsuit alleging collusion to suppress freedom of speech. Discovery requests were served to ask for information and documents from ... NIAID, CDC, ... Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Nina Jankowicz, who led the DHS Disinformation Governance Board until it was disbanded. Also requested were any communications to any social media platform relating to the "Great Barrington Declaration," [which] was published in response to COVID-19 policies that recommended "focused protection," an approach to reaching herd immunity by allowing those at minimal risk of death to live normal lives by building up immunity through natural infection while protecting those at highest risk. A media release from [Missouri Attorney General Eric] Schmitt ... stated information requested was identifying all communications with any social media platform relating to content modulation and/or misinformation. It requests all communications with Mark Zuckerberg from Jan. 1, 2020, to the present. "In May, Missouri and Louisiana filed a landmark lawsuit against top-ranking Biden Administration officials for allegedly colluding with social media giants to suppress free speech on topics like COVID-19 and election security," Schmitt said. "Earlier this month, a federal court granted our motion for expedited discovery. We will fight to get to the bottom of this alleged collusion and expose the suppression of freedom of speech by social media giants at the behest of top-ranking government officials.”
Note: For more details, see this informative article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and media manipulation from reliable sources.
It's estimated that more than 107,000 people in the United States died due to opioid overdoses in 2021. Washington Post journalist Scott Higham notes it's "the equivalent of a 737 Boeing crashing and burning and killing everybody on board every single day." In the new book, American Cartel, Higham and co-author Sari Horwitz make the case that the pharmaceutical industry operated like a drug cartel, with manufacturers at the top; wholesalers in the middle; and pharmacies at the level of "street dealers." The companies collaborated with each other – and with lawyers and lobbyists – to create legislation that protected their industry, even as they competed for market share. "It really is the companies that run the show," Higham says. "People were dying by the thousands while these companies were lobbying members of Congress ... to pass legislation and to lobby members of the Department of Justice and try to slow down the DEA enforcement efforts." Big pharma fought to create legislation that would limit the DEA's ability to go after drug wholesalers. The efforts were effective; more than 100 billion pills were manufactured, distributed and dispensed between 2006 and 2014. Meanwhile, both federal and state DEA agents are frustrated by the ways in which their enforcement efforts have been curtailed. Right now there are 40,000 Americans who are in jail on marijuana charges. And not one executive of a Fortune 500 company involved in the opioid trade has been charged with a crime.
This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), announced his retirement effective January 2025. By then, he will have turned 85 years old and served in the federal government for 59 years. Our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com crunched Fauci's cash pension payout as of his anticipated retirement date. Today, Fauci earns a federal salary of $480,654 per year. However, by 2024, Fauci will likely be making $530,000 in salary – an increase of nearly $200,000 since 2014. Therefore, we estimate that Fauci's first year pension payout will exceed $414,000 – more than the salary for the President of the United States ($400,000). In 2021, in my then-column at Forbes, we first reported that Fauci was the most highly compensated federal employee making $417,608 (2019, last available salary) and then earned $434,312 in 2020. For both years, Fauci was the top-paid federal employee, out earning "the president, four star generals, and roughly 4.3 million of his colleagues." Fauci's salary then increased to $456,028 (2021) and he makes $480,654 today. We estimate he'll make $504,686 (2023) and then $529,921 (2024). Bureaucrats who have worked in government as long as Fauci are able to retire on the vast majority of their annual earnings.
Lowering prescription drug prices is among the Biden administration's most urgent priorities. But the drug industry is spending big to keep that from happening. A new compromise on Capitol Hill would offer some relief from high prices by gradually allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices similar to private insurers for the first time, while capping out of pocket costs at $2,000 and setting limits on the cost of insulin. The pharmaceutical industry has spent nearly $263 million on lobbying so far this year, employing three lobbyists for every member of Congress, according to OpenSecrets, which tracks money in politics. Millions of those dollars are in the form of campaign donations. "They have really endless resources to throw at shaping the outcomes of legislation," said Sheila Krumholz, the executive director of OpenSecrets. Congressman Scott Peters, a Democrat, sparked protests outside his San Diego district office when he came out against a plan to cut drug costs for seniors earlier this year. He's received nearly $130,000 from the industry this year. About $100,000 has been donated to Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema this year. Senator Robert Menendez, also a Democrat, has taken nearly $80,000 in 2021. "Bottom line is I'm supporting a price negotiation bill that has been worked out," ... Menendez said when asked what message he's sending by taking money from the pharmaceutical industry.
Note: This article fails to mention that big Pharma spends more than any other sector on lobbying and also is the largest sponsor of advertising in the major media. Do you think the media and Congress are biased by this? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the pharmaceutical industry from reliable major media sources.
Jeff Smith, a partner with the influential consulting firm McKinsey & Company, accepted a highly sensitive assignment in December 2017. The opioid manufacturer Purdue Pharma ... sought out Dr. Smith. His team reviewed business plans and evaluated new drugs that Purdue hoped would help move the company beyond the turmoil associated with OxyContin, its addictive painkiller that medical experts say helped to spark the opioid epidemic. But the corporate reorganization was not Dr. Smith's only assignment. He was also helping the Food and Drug Administration overhaul its office that approves new drugs – the same office that would determine the regulatory fate of Purdue's new line of proposed products. A review ... of internal McKinsey documents found that the firm repeatedly allowed employees who served pharmaceutical companies, including opioid makers, to also consult for the F.D.A., the drug industry's primary government regulator. And, the documents show, McKinsey touted that inside access in pitches to private clients. In an email in 2014 to Purdue's chief executive, a McKinsey consultant highlighted the firm's work for the F.D.A. and stressed "who we know and what we know." McKinsey also allowed employees advising Purdue to help shape materials that were intended for government officials and agencies, including a memo in 2018 prepared for Alex M. Azar II. References to the severity of the opioid crisis in a draft version of the memo ... were cut before it was sent to Mr. Azar.
They waved signs that read "Defeat the mandates" and "No vaccines." They chanted "Protect our kids" and "Our kids, our choice." "I wish I'd woken up to this cause sooner," said one protester, Lisa Longnecker, 54. "But I can't think of a single more important issue. It's going to decide how I vote." Longnecker and her fellow objectors are part of a potentially destabilizing new movement: parents who joined the anti-vaccine and anti-mask cause during the pandemic, narrowing their political beliefs to a single-minded obsession over those issues. Their thinking hardened even as Covid-19 restrictions and mandates were eased and lifted, cementing in some cases into a skepticism of all vaccines. Nearly half of Americans oppose masking and a similar share is against vaccine mandates for schoolchildren, polls show. But what is obscured in those numbers is the intensity with which some parents have embraced these views. While they once described themselves as Republicans or Democrats, they now identify as independents who plan to vote based solely on vaccine policies. The extent of activity is evident on Facebook. Since 2020, more than 200 Facebook groups aimed at reopening schools or opposing closings have been created in states including Texas, Florida and Ohio, with more than 300,000 members. Another 100 anti-mask Facebook groups dedicated to ending masking in schools have also sprung up in states including New Jersey, New York and Connecticut, some with tens of thousands of members.
In early days of America's space program, two men met over a bottle of Jack Daniel's. It was roughly 1959, when the future of America's young space program was clouded by technological disagreements. On one side of the bottle was Wernher von Braun, the engineering genius who had developed the world's first ballistic missile for Adolf Hitler during World War II. He had once been a member of Hitler's Schutzstaffel, or SS, but now ran NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. On the other side was Abraham Silverstein, who had grown up in a poor Jewish family in Indiana. He was NASA's space flight chief. One former Nazi, one American Jew. Little more than a decade separated them from the Holocaust. Looming before two of America's top rocket engineers were many critical decisions, including what kind of fuel would be needed to blast off astronauts to the moon. The collaboration between Von Braun and Silverstein was not unique. During the Apollo program, which landed Americans on the moon six times between 1969 and 1972, NASA was filled with both Jewish scientists and a large group of Germans who had worked for Hitler before and during World War II. In recent years, a deeper analysis has focused on America's decision to bring 125 German rocket scientists and engineers to the U.S. after World War II under a secret program approved by President Truman and code-named Operation Paperclip. Much of the history of the underground factory was held secret from the American public until the 1970s.
Note: Learn more about Operation Paperclip which secretly brought hundreds of Nazi scientists to the U.S. And more in a New York Times article about the Nazis given safe haven in the US. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
More than a quarter of the Food and Drug Administration employees who approved cancer and hematology drugs from 2001 through 2010 left the agency and now work or consult for pharmaceutical companies, according to research published by a prominent medical journal. [Dr. Vinay] Prasad and his colleague Dr. Jeffrey Bien ... tracked 55 FDA reviewers in the hematology-oncology field from 2001 through 2010, using LinkedIn, PubMed and other publicly available job data. The researchers found that of the 26 reviewers who left the FDA during this period, 15 of them, or 57 percent, later worked or consulted for the biopharmaceutical industry. Put another way, about 27 percent of the total number of reviewers left their federal oversight posts to work for the industry they previously regulated. Prasad and Bien published their findings as a research letter in The BMJ, formerly The British Medical Journal. "If you know in the back of your mind that your career goal may be to someday work on the other side of the table, I wonder whether that changes the way you regulate," Prasad said. "There's a lot of room for interpretation in deciding whether or not a cancer drug should be approved," he said, because so many studies of cancer drugs rely on what's called a "surrogate endpoint." But ... there isn't always evidence that surrogate endpoints are linked to better health outcomes for patients, suggesting that some approved drugs aren't as beneficial as they appear.
For many travelers, setting a budget marks one of the first steps of a journey. But for Leon Logothetis' globe-trotting adventure, his allowance was simple, and stark: $0. Logothetis, 40, instead relied on the generosity of strangers for food, transportation and lodging – a journey documented in the Netflix series "The Kindness Diaries." Though the show's travels took place in 2013, Logothetis is comfortable on the open road, having quit his job as a London broker back in 2005. So far, he's visited nearly 100 countries. "I started doing this because I was in a lot of pain – emotional pain," he told TODAY. As someone who worked in finance, Logothetis appeared to have everything he could possibly want, but it was a different story on the inside. "I was wearing a mask, as many of us do," he said. "I felt very alone, very depressed, (with) no real sense of purpose." One of the most emotional moments on Logothetis' journey involved a homeless man named Tony. Though he had almost nothing, Tony shared what little he did have, including his shelter and some of his belongings. "The greatest lesson I learned was that we're all the same," said Logothetis. "It doesn't matter what religion you are, doesn't matter what color you are, doesn't matter where you live. Each person wants to be seen, wants to be loved, wants to be valued, wants to be heard." He added, "The most important thing is what you give to another human being and what you give to yourself: how you treat others and how you treat yourself."
When Paul McCartney wrote "Get Back," he never would have predicted how useful or relevant the song would become for music therapists. In new research, Psyche Loui, an associate professor of music ... found that for older adults who listened to some of their favorite music, including The Beatles, connectivity in the brain increased. Specifically, Loui–and her multi-disciplinary team ... discovered that music bridged the gap between the brain's auditory system and reward system, the area that governs motivation. "There's something about music that is this functional connectivity between the auditory and reward system, and that's why music is so special and able to tap into these seemingly very general cognitive functions that are suddenly very engaged in folks with dementia who are hearing music," said Loui. The original idea for this research came out of Loui's own experiences playing music in nursing homes. She recalled how people who couldn't finish a sentence or thought would suddenly harmonize and sing along to a song she was playing. "[Music] seems to engage the brain in this way that's different than everything else," Loui said. What the researchers found was striking: Music was essentially creating an auditory channel directly to the medial prefrontal cortex, the brain's reward center. Music that was both familiar and well-liked tended to activate the auditory and reward areas more. The music that participants selected themselves provided an even stronger connection.
As twin mental health and drug misuse crises kill thousands of people per week, the potential of psychedelic-assisted therapies "must be explored," urges a federal letter on behalf of the U.S. health secretary. President Joe Biden's administration "anticipates" that regulators will approve MDMA and psilocybin within the next two years for designated breakthrough therapies for PTSD and depression, respectively. The administration is "exploring the prospect of establishing a federal task force to monitor" the emerging psychedelic treatment ecosystem, according to the letter sent by Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use. The move followed [the] introduction of a bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., to force the DEA to stop barring terminally ill patients from trying controlled drugs which have passed early trials. The right to try experimental therapies has been enshrined in federal law since 2018, but the DEA currently blocks its use among people with late-stage cancer who wish to be treated with psilocybin, a Schedule I controlled substance. "Studies have shown that psilocybin produces substantial and sustained decreases in depression and anxiety among patients with life-threatening cancer," Booker wrote. "While typically terminally ill patients are allowed to access drugs that are in FDA clinical trials, they are barred from accessing Schedule I drugs, despite their therapeutic potential."
John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and former White House national security adviser, said on Tuesday that he had helped plan attempted coups in foreign countries. Bolton made the remarks to CNN after the day's congressional hearing into the Jan 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. The panel's lawmakers ... accused former President Donald Trump of inciting the violence in a last-ditch bid to remain in power after losing the 2020 election. Speaking to CNN anchor Jake Tapper, however, Bolton suggested Trump was not competent enough to pull off a "carefully planned coup d'etat," later adding: "As somebody who has helped plan coups d'etat - not here but you know (in) other places - it takes a lot of work. And that's not what he (Trump) did." Tapper asked Bolton which attempts he was referring to. "I'm not going to get into the specifics," Bolton said, before mentioning Venezuela. "It turned out not to be successful. Not that we had all that much to do with it but I saw what it took for an opposition to try and overturn an illegally elected president and they failed," he said. "I feel like there's other stuff you're not telling me (beyond Venezuela)," the CNN anchor said, prompting a reply from Bolton: "I'm sure there is." Many foreign policy experts have over the years criticized Washington's history of interventions in other countries, from its role in the 1953 overthrowing of then Iranian nationalist prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and the Vietnam war, to its invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan this century.
On June 28, Ghislaine Maxwell was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiring with Jeffrey Epstein to recruit, groom and abuse underage girls. In Maxwell's defense, lawyer Bobbi C. Sternheim said that Ms. Maxwell's life had been clouded by two men: "her narcissistic, brutish father" Robert Maxwell, wealthy British media tycoon and former member of parliament, and "the controlling, demanding, manipulative" Jeffrey Epstein. What [Maxwell] could not say was that she was the one to take the fall for a sexual blackmail operation sponsored by Western intelligence agencies. That operation appears to have originated with her father Robert back in the 1980s. Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli intelligence official, claimed to have seen Jeffrey Epstein in Robert's office in the early 1980s. Robert was a long-time operative for Israeli intelligence. Ben-Menashe [said] that Epstein "was the simple idiot who was going around providing girls to all kinds of politicians in the United States. He was taking photos of politicians fucking fourteen year old girls. They would just blackmail people like this." Maxwell ... claims she has copies of everything that Epstein had and a secret stash of pedophile sex tapes that could implicate the world's most powerful and will try to use them to save herself. The flight logs from [Epstein's] Lolita Express reveal a "who's who" of early 1990s high society, including ... lawyer Alan Dershowitz, conservative billionaire David Koch; and politicians such as Tony Blair.
The oil and gas industry has delivered $2.8bn (Ł2.3bn) a day in pure profit for the last 50 years, a new analysis has revealed. The vast total captured by petrostates and fossil fuel companies since 1970 is $52tn, providing the power to "buy every politician, every system" and delay action on the climate crisis, says Prof Aviel Verbruggen, the author of the analysis. The huge profits were inflated by cartels of countries artificially restricting supply. The analysis, based on World Bank data, assesses the "rent" secured by global oil and gas sales, which is the economic term for the unearned profit produced after the total cost of production has been deducted. The study has yet to be published in an academic journal but three experts at University College London, the London School of Economics and the thinktank Carbon Tracker confirmed the analysis as accurate, with one calling the total a "staggering number". It appears to be the first long-term assessment of the sector's total profits, with oil rents providing 86% of the total. Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have driven the climate crisis and contributed to worsening extreme weather. Oil companies have known for decades that carbon emissions were dangerously heating the planet. The average annual profit from 1970-2020 was $1tn but [Verbruggen] said he expected this to be twice as high in 2022. The fossil fuel industry also benefits from subsidies of $16bn a day, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The CEO of the biggest power company in the US had a problem. A Democratic state senator was proposing a law that could cut into Florida Power & Light's (FPL) profits. Landlords would be able to sell cheap rooftop solar power directly to their tenants – bypassing FPL and its monopoly on electricity. "I want you to make his life a living hell ... seriously," FPL's CEO Eric Silagy wrote in a 2019 email to two of his vice-presidents about state Senator JosĂ© Javier RodrĂguez, who proposed the legislation. Within minutes, one of them forwarded the directive to the CEO of Matrix, LLC, a powerful but little-known political consulting firm that has operated behind the scenes in at least eight states. RodrĂguez was ousted from office in the next election. Matrix employees spent heavily on political advertisements for a candidate with the same last name as RodrĂguez, who split the vote. That candidate later admitted he was bribed to run. Hundreds of pages of internal documents – which are only coming to light now because Matrix's founders are locked in an epic feud – detail the firm's secret work to help power companies like FPL protect their profits and fight the transition to cleaner forms of energy. The Matrix saga illustrates the political obstacles policymakers and experts face as they attempt to cut climate pollution from the power sector. Matrix affiliated groups have also worked to advance power companies' interests in Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, and in front of the Environmental Protection Agency, public records show.
Note: A telling analysis shows a 235% profit jump for big oil funded by us at the gas pumps. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the energy industry from reliable major media sources.
The US's biggest oil companies pumped out record profits over the last few months as Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other basic necessities. On Friday, ExxonMobil reported an unprecedented $17.85bn (Ł14.77bn) profit for the second quarter, nearly four times as much as the same period a year ago, and Chevron made a record $11.62bn (Ł9.61bn). The sky-high profits were announced one day after the UK's Shell shattered its own profit record. The record profits came after similarly outsized gains in the first quarter when the largest oil companies made close to $100bn in profits. High energy prices are one of the leading factors driving inflation to a four-decade high in the US. Gas prices have fallen slightly in recent weeks but are now averaging $4.25 a gallon across the US, more than $1 a gallon higher than a year ago. Soaring energy prices are being baked into delivery costs, which is driving up the cost of everything from apples to toilet paper. In addition to oil company executives, shareholders also reaped the benefits of high energy prices during the quarter. Since the start of 2022, Exxon and Chevron shares have risen close to 46% and 26%, respectively.
Note: A telling analysis shows a 235% profit jump for big oil funded by us at the gas pumps. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and the energy industry from reliable major media sources.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) is recommending Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine carry a warning of the possibility of two types of heart inflammation. The heart conditions - myocarditis and pericarditis - should be listed as new side effects in the product information for the vaccine, Nuvaxovid, based on a small number of reported cases, the EMA said. Novavax said no concerns about heart inflammations were raised during the clinical trials of Nuvaxovid and that more data would be gathered. "We will work with the relevant regulators to assure our product information is consistent with our common interpretation of the incoming data," U.S. vaccine developer Novavax added. In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration flagged a risk of heart inflammation from the Novavax vaccine. Myocarditis and pericarditis were previously identified as rare side effects, mostly seen in young men, from groundbreaking messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines made by Moderna and the Pfizer and BioNTech alliance. The EMA said on Wednesday it had asked Novavax to provide additional data on the risk of these side effects. Last month, the EU agency identified severe allergic reactions as potential side effects of the vaccine. Novavax was hoping that people who have opted not to take Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines would favour its shot because it relies on technology that has been used for decades. However, only around 250,000 doses of Nuvaxovid have been administered in Europe.
Among the more than 1.2 million Americans imprisoned in federal and state prisons, two out of three are forced to work while imprisoned. The 13th amendment of the US constitution abolished slavery or involuntary servitude, but included an exception for prisoners; critics have called prison work modern-day slavery. [Susan] Dokken's pay started at 12 cents an hour and prisoners have the ability after positive reviews to increase their pay to 24 cents an hour, while they're charged full price when they buy basic necessities through the commissary. Dokken explained that if prisoners refused to work, they would have privileges revoked and possibly get written up, which would follow them on their record to parole and probation. According to a June 2022 report published by the American Civil Liberties Union, prison labor generates more than $11bn annually, with more than $2bn generated from the production of goods, and more than $9bn generated through prison maintenance services. Wages range on average from 13 cents to 52 cents per hour, but many prisoners are paid nothing at all, and their low wages are subject to various deductions. The ACLU report said 76% of workers surveyed reported they were forced to work or faced additional punishment, 70% said they could not afford basic necessities on their prison labor wages, 70% reported receiving no formal job training and 64% reported concerns for their safety on the job. Prison workers are also excluded from basic worker protections.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Nearly one third of people killed by US police since 2015 were running away, driving off or attempting to flee when the officer fatally shot or used lethal force against them, data reveals. In the past seven years, police in America have killed more than 2,500 people who were fleeing, and those numbers have slightly increased in recent years, amounting to an average of roughly one killing a day of someone running or trying to escape, according to Mapping Police Violence, a research group that tracks lethal force cases. In many cases, the encounters started as traffic stops, or there were no allegations of violence or serious crimes prompting police contact. Some people were shot in the back while running and others were passengers in fleeing cars. Despite a decades-long push to hold officers accountable for killing civilians, prosecution remains exceedingly rare, the data shows. Of the 2,500 people killed while fleeing since 2015, only 50 or 2% have resulted in criminal charges. The majority of those charges were either dismissed or resulted in acquittals. Only nine officers were convicted, representing 0.35% of cases. The data, advocates and experts say, highlights how the US legal system allows officers to kill with impunity and how reform efforts have not addressed fundamental flaws in police departments. US police kill more people in days than many countries do in years, with roughly 1,100 fatalities a year since 2013. The numbers haven't changed since the start of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Note: Explore the database of the Washington Post on police killings. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Social scientists have made it a priority in recent years to understand upward mobility. Money itself is ... important. Other factors – like avoiding eviction, having access to good medical care and growing up in a household with two parents – may also make upward mobility more likely. Now there is another intriguing factor to add to the list, thanks to a study ... in the academic journal Nature: friendships with people who are not poor. "Growing up in a community connected across class lines improves kids' outcome," [said] Raj Chetty ... one of the study's four principal authors. The study ... compares two otherwise similar children in lower-income households – one who grows up in a community where social contacts mostly come from the lower half of the socioeconomic distribution, and another who grows up in a community where social contacts mostly come from the upper half. The average difference between the two, in terms of their expected adult outcomes, is significant. It's the same as the gap between a child who grows up in a family that makes $27,000 a year and one who grows up in a family that makes $47,000. There seem to be three main mechanisms by which cross-class friendships can increase a person's chances of escaping poverty. The first is raised ambition: Social familiarity can give people a clearer sense of what's possible. The second is basic information, such as how to apply to college and for financial aid. The third is networking, such as getting a recommendation for an internship.
Robin Williams brought a lot of great characters to life on screen. But it's his role as the titular character in the award nominated 1998 biographical film Patch Adams that helped bring attention to a (then) relatively young therapeutic field: medical clowning. In early 19th century France, a famous clown trio by the name of "the Fratellini Brothers" began visiting hospitalised children to improve their moods. It wasn't until 1986 when the presence of professional clowns as members of hospital health care teams started. This happened when professional clown Michael Christensen of â€Big Apple Circus' founded â€Big Apple Circus Clown Care' in New York; a program with the aim of preparing professional clowns to use humour and clowning skills in visits to hospitals to assist in patient healing. By parodying the work of medical doctors, "clown doctors" made young patients less afraid of what the doctors were doing. These clowns were able to bring smiles and laughter to patients using their circus skills, tricks, and improvisation. Since [then], other clown care units have been formed across the United States ... and beyond. In 2020 there were at least 40 Healthcare Clowning Organisations operating in 21 countries in Europe. The aim of the medical clown goes beyond humour. Clown doctors have therapeutic relationships with patients and on top of reducing the negative effects associated with illness, medical clowns contribute to patients' well-being and help create a lighter atmosphere in the hospital.
The U.S. Postal Service pledged Wednesday to electrify at least 40 percent of its new delivery fleet, an increase that climate activists hailed as a major step toward reducing the government's environmental footprint. The Postal Service had been set to purchase as many as 165,000 vehicles from Oshkosh Defense, of which 10 percent would have been electric under the original procurement plan. Now it will acquire 50,000 trucks from Oshkosh, half of which will be EVs. It will also buy another 34,500 commercially available vehicles, with sufficient electric models to make 4 in 10 trucks in its delivery fleet zero-emission vehicles. The announcement comes after 16 states, the District of Columbia, and four of the nation's top environmental groups sued the mail agency in the spring to prevent the original purchase plan, or compel it to buy more electric trucks. The mail agency's combined purchase of 84,500 trucks – which begin hitting the streets in late 2023 – will go a long way toward meeting President Biden's goal for the entire government fleet to be EV-powered by 2035. The Postal Service's more than 217,000 vehicles make up the largest share of federal civilian vehicles. Congress in March also passed a $107 billion agency overhaul, freeing up money that postal leaders had long sought for capital improvements. Lawmakers ... pointed to the agency's need for new trucks – its fleet now is 30 years old, and has neither air bags nor air conditioning – to keep up with private-sector EV investments in approving the legislation.
The number of kids in America living with autism is apparently growing at a considerable rate, according to a new study. Published in JAMA Pediatrics ... the new study reveals a nearly 52% increase in autism spectrum disorder diagnoses among children in the United States between 2017 and 2020. The National Institute of Mental Health says that "autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects how people interact with others, communicate, learn, and behave." One out of every 30 kids in America has that developmental disorder. ASD rates in American kids have been rising since 2014, only dipping slightly in 2016 and 2017 before resuming the increasing pattern all the way to 2020. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducts the National Health Interview Survey every year. The survey data shows that about 2.24% of kids were diagnosed with ASD in 2014, which climbed all the way to 2.76% before dipping to 2.29% in 2017. As of 2020, the percentage of American youth who have been diagnosed with ASD has reached 3.49%. Around 4.64% of boys were diagnosed with ASD, while only 1.56% of girls received the same diagnosis.
Note: Such a huge problem, yet almost no studies comparing non-vaccinated children with those vaccinated. One of the few studies conducted show unvaccinated children were healthier. An investigation of Amish children found practically no cases of autism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been heavily criticized by those on the Left for fighting back against mask and vaccine mandates. He was censored by Big Tech and vilified by Democratic politicians. Consider the recent admission by Dr. Deborah Birx regarding the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines. Birx, the former White House COVID response coordinator, stated in an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox News that she knew the vaccines wouldn't stop infections. Birx's comments align with what Paul was saying last year regarding the vaccines and the sycophantic nature in which Democrats were pushing them on the public. "I knew these vaccines were not going to protect against infection," Birx said. "I think we overplayed the vaccines, and it made people then worry that it's not going to protect against severe disease and hospitalization. It will. But let's be very clear: 50% of the people who died from the omicron surge were older, vaccinated." Consider Paul's comments in an exchange with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra last September. Paul challenged Becerra on the efficacy of vaccines compared to natural immunity. At the time, Paul was one of only a few people who challenged those in charge. Some even claimed Paul's words were causing people to die. As it turns out, Paul was right, and they were wrong. "The science is against you on this. The science is clear. Naturally acquired immunity is as good as a vaccine," Paul said.
Note: Watch the revealing interview where Dr. Birx makes these comments. Note that Birx is promoting Paxlovid for which the gov't pays $530 per person and is offering free of charge. So who do you think pays for this ultimately? And who profits? The official narrative on COVID is falling apart as shown in the evidence in this great article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
Pfizer made nearly $37bn (Ł27bn) in sales from its Covid-19 vaccine last year – making it one of the most lucrative products in history – and has forecast another bumper year in 2022, with a big boost coming from its Covid-19 pill Paxlovid. The US drugmaker's overall revenues in 2021 doubled to $81.3bn. The bumper sales prompted accusations from campaigners of "pandemic profiteering". The group Global Justice Now said the annual revenue of $81bn was more than the GDP of most countries. Pharmaceutical companies have been accused of not sharing the recipe for their vaccines, which would enable drugmakers in poorer countries to produce cheaper versions of them. Global Justice Now pointed out that Pfizer's Covid-19 jab was invented by BioNTech, supported by â‚Ź100m (Ł84m) in debt financing from the publicly owned European Investment Bank and a â‚Ź375m grant from the German government. Tim Bierley, a pharma campaigner at the group, said: "The development of mRNA vaccines should have revolutionised the global Covid response. "But we've let Pfizer withhold this essential medical innovation from much of the world, all while ripping off public health systems." According to Reuters, Pfizer has sold the vaccine to African countries at $3 to $10 a shot. It has indicated that a non-profit dose costs just $6.75, or Ł4.98, to produce, but it has reportedly charged the NHS Ł18 a dose for the first 100m jabs bought and Ł22 a dose for the next 89m, totalling Ł3.76bn ... amounting to an eye-watering 299% mark-up.
Note: If big Pharma really cared about public healthy, don't you think they'd be willing to sacrifice some of their huge profits and charge much less for their injections? Unfortunately, it's the old story of the rich get richer and the rest are left behind. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Medicare's drug program could have saved up to $3.6 billion in 2020 by mirroring the pricing strategy of entrepreneur and Shark Tank judge Mark Cuban's online pharmacy, according to a new study. Cuban's Cost Plus Drug Co. offers a selection of generic drugs at the cost of manufacturing them plus a flat 15% markup. The direct-to-consumer pharmacy does not accept insurance. The study's authors suggest that Medicare is overpaying for many generic drugs and could save billions a year if it purchased them directly from Cuban's online pharmacy. "The lower prices from a direct-to-consumer model highlight inefficiencies in the existing generic pharmaceutical distribution and reimbursement system, which includes wholesalers, pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies, and insurers," wrote researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in a brief published ... in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Cuban and his pharmacy did not fund or have any involvement in the study. Cost Plus Drug Co. says it engages in price negotiations with drugmakers. Medicare's drug program, Part D, however, prohibits the government from directly negotiating pharmaceutical prices. Researchers compared 2020 Medicare spending for a total of 89 drugs ... to their prices at Cost Plus Drug Co. in February. They estimate that Medicare overpaid for 77 generic drugs, spending $8.1 billion compared with $4.5 billion if the federal agency had purchased at the same prices as Cost Plus Drug Co. charges.
On September 19, 2019, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act. The bill ... would allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare, a right assumed by the governments of every other major economy. Polls showed support ranging from 80 to an eye-popping 90-plus percent. H.R. 3 was delivered stillborn into Mitch McConnell's Senate in November of 2019. Two years later, when Joe Biden released the massive social-spending and climate-change bill dubbed Build Back Better, H.R. 3's reforms were nowhere to be found. And at every level of government, Pharma's endless river of money continues to flow, the widest, steadiest current of lobbying largesse the capitol has ever known. In 2021, the industry reported spending $124 million on a fleet of 846 lobbyists, roughly two for every member of Congress. Sixty-five percent were former government employees. Pharmaceutical manufacturers are part of a larger coalition that includes the insurance, medical-device, and hospital industries. Its combined resources flow downstream through dozens of lobbying firms, communications shops, and front groups. "If a freshman Democrat so much as signs a letter related to drug prices, the lobby hammers them with phone calls and meeting requests, completely locking up the calendar," says Alex Lawson, executive director of Social Security Works. "The calls come in from ex-Democratic officials and staffers, so they have to take the meetings."
Why have so many smart, well-trained doctors stood by as American healthcare descended into a state of profound dysfunction? The answer lies in the gradual, nearly invisible commercial takeover of the medical "knowledge" that doctors are trained to trust. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan slashed government support of university-based medical research. Following the 1980 passage of the University and Small Business Patent Procedures Act, nonprofit institutions and their researchers were allowed to benefit financially from the discoveries made while conducting federally funded research. Over the past few decades, the drug companies have taken over most of our clinical research. In 1991, academic medical centers (AMCs)–hospitals that train doctors and conduct medical research–received 80 percent of the money that industry was spending to fund clinical trials. But by 2004, the percentage of commercially funded clinical trials conducted by AMCs had fallen from 80 to just 26 percent. That ... allowed the commercial funder to own, and thus control, the data from jointly conducted research. Unbeknownst to almost all doctors, peer reviewers are not granted access to the underlying data that serves as the basis for the reported findings. The drug companies own that data and keep it confidential. Reviewers must rely on brief data summaries. Peer reviewers at even the most prestigious medical journals cannot possibly attest to the accuracy and completeness of the articles they review.
Small teams of U.S. Special Operations forces are involved in a low-profile proxy war program on a far greater scale than previously known. While The Intercept and other outlets have previously reported on the Pentagon's use of the secretive 127e authority in multiple African countries, a new document obtained through the Freedom of Information Act offers the first official confirmation that at least 14 127e programs were also active in the greater Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region as recently as 2020. In total, between 2017 and 2020, U.S. commandos conducted at least 23 separate 127e programs across the world. Separately, Joseph Votel, a retired four-star Army general who headed both Special Operations Command and Central Command, which oversees U.S. military efforts in the Middle East, confirmed the existence of previously unrevealed 127e "counterterrorism" efforts in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Basic information about these missions – where they are conducted, their frequency and targets, and the foreign forces the U.S. relies on to carry them out – are unknown even to most members of relevant congressional committees and key State Department personnel. Through 127e, the U.S. arms, trains, and provides intelligence to foreign forces. 127e partners are then dispatched on U.S.-directed missions, targeting U.S. enemies to achieve U.S. aims. "If someone were to call a 127-echo program a proxy operation, it would be hard to argue with them," [said a former senior defense official].
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
When the Federal Reserve needed Wall Street's help with its pandemic rescue mission, it went straight to Larry Fink. The BlackRock cofounder, chairman, and chief executive officer has become one of the industry's most important government whisperers. The company's new assignment is a much bigger version of one it took on after the 2008 financial crisis, when the Federal Reserve enlisted it to dispose of toxic mortgage securities. This time it will help the Fed prop up the entire corporate bond market by purchasing, on the central bank's behalf, what could become a $750 billion portfolio of debt. One part of the Fed's plan is to buy bond exchange-traded funds. BlackRock itself runs ETFs under the iShares brand, and could end up buying funds it manages. "BlackRock is acting as a fiduciary to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York," says a spokesman for the company. "As such, BlackRock will execute this mandate at the sole discretion of the bank." The arrangement is bringing new attention to the company's scale and ubiquity. "It's impossible to think of BlackRock without thinking of them as a fourth branch of government," says William Birdthistle, a professor at the Chicago-Kent College of Law. BlackRock's growth raises questions over how big and useful a company can become before its size poses a risk. And then there are the potential conflicts. One arm of BlackRock knows what the Fed is buying, while other parts of the business participating in credit markets could benefit from that knowledge.
Note: Watch an excellent documentary showing how BlackRock, Vanguard, and several other institutions are the largest shareholders in almost every major corporation you can think of. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in the financial industry from reliable major media sources.
Doramise Moreau toils long past midnight in her tiny kitchen every Friday – boiling lemon peels, crushing fragrant garlic and onion into a spice blend she rubs onto chicken and turkey, cooking the dried beans that accompany the yellow rice she'll deliver to a Miami church. She's singlehandedly cooked 1,000 meals a week since the pandemic's start – an act of love she's content to perform with little compensation. Moreau, a 60-year-old widow who lives with her children, nephew and three grandchildren, cooks in the kitchen of a home built by Habitat for Humanity in 2017. Her days are arduous. She works part-time as a janitor at a technical school, walking or taking the bus. But the work of her heart, the reason she rises each morning, is feeding the hungry. As a little girl in Haiti, she often pilfered food from her parents' pantry – some dried rice and beans, maybe an onion or an ear of corn – to give to someone who needed it. Her mother was furious, constantly scolding and threatening Moreau, even telling the priest to refuse to give her communion. But she was not deterred. Decades later, Moreau is still feeding the hungry. She borrows the church truck to buy groceries on Thursday and Friday and cooks into the wee hours of the night for Saturday's feedings. Notre Dame d'Haiti Catholic Church pays for the food, relying on donations. Moreau prepares the meals singlehandedly, while church volunteers serve or deliver them to shut-ins.
Note: Enjoy a wonderful compilation of inspiring stories from the pandemic times on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Spain has announced it will make some short- and middle-distance train journeys completely free as the government seeks to combat the impact of the cost-of-living crisis. Spanish prime minister Pedro SĂˇnchez said on Tuesday that all CercanĂas (commuter trains), Rodalies (commuter routes in Catalonia) and Media Distancia routes (mid-distance regional lines which cover distances less than 300km) run by the national rail system will be free from 1 September 1 to 31 December this year. The 100% discount will only apply to multi-trip tickets. The new scheme comes in addition to the government funding a discount of between 30-50% on all public transport - including metros, buses and trams. Spanish inflation has accelerated in the past few months and surpassed 10% for the first time in 37 years during the 12 months to June. Sanchez said soaring inflation was the biggest challenge for Spain, likening it to "a serious illness of our economy that impoverishes everyone, especially the most vulnerable groups". He also announced 100 euros a month in complementary scholarships for students older than 16 years who already receive scholarships. "I am fully aware of the daily difficulties that most people face. I know that your salary is getting less and less, that it is difficult to make ends meet, and that your shopping basket is becoming more and more expensive", SĂˇnchez said. On Thursday, the European Commission warned inflation could hit historic highs of 7.6%, up from last month's prediction of 6.1%.
Why is physical activity so good for us as we age? According to a novel new theory about exercise, evolution and aging, the answer lies, in part, in our ancestral need for grandparents. The theory, called the "Active Grandparent Hypothesis" and detailed in a recent editorial in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that in the early days of our species, hunter-gatherers who lived past their childbearing years could pitch in and provide extra sustenance and succor to their grandchildren, helping those descendants survive. The theory also makes the case that it was physical activity that helped hunter-gatherers survive long enough to become grandparents – an idea that has potential relevance for us today, because it may explain why exercise is good for us in the first place. Early humans had to move around often to hunt for food, the thinking goes, and those who moved the most and found the most food were likeliest to survive. Over eons, this process led to the selection of genes that were optimized by plentiful physical activity. Evolution favored the most active tribespeople, who tended to live the longest and could then step in to help with the grandchildren, furthering active families' survival. In other words, exercise is good for us ... because long ago, the youngest and most vulnerable humans needed grandparents, and those grandparents needed to be vigorous and mobile to help keep the grandkids nourished.
Note: Learn more about the importance of grandparents in this Smithsonian article. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Over the past decades, regulatory agencies have seen large proportions of their budgets funded by the industry they are sworn to regulate. In 1992, the US Congress passed the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), allowing industry to fund the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly through "user fees." The FDA moved from a fully taxpayer funded entity to one supplemented by industry money. Net PDUFA fees collected have increased 30 fold–from around $29m in 1993 to $884m in 2016. In Europe, industry fees funded 20% of ... the European Medicines Agency (EMA), in 1995. By 2010 that had risen to 75%; today it is 89%. Australia had the highest proportion of budget from industry fees (96%) and in 2020-2021 approved more than nine of every 10 drug company applications. But for decades academics have raised questions about the influence funding has on regulatory decisions, especially in the wake of a string of drug and device scandals–including opioids, Alzheimer's drugs, influenza antivirals, pelvic mesh, joint prostheses, breast and contraceptive implants, cardiac stents, and pacemakers. An analysis of three decades of PDUFA in the US has shown how a reliance on industry fees is contributing to a decline in evidentiary standards, ultimately harming patients. A BMJ investigation last year found several expert advisers for covid-19 vaccine advisory committees in the UK and US had financial ties with vaccine manufacturers–ties the regulators judged as acceptable.
Note: For more on this massive legal corruption, see this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.
Lockdowns had "little to no effect" on saving lives during the pandemic – and "should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy," according to a controversial meta-analysis of dozens of studies. A group led by the head of Johns Hopkins Institute for Applied Economics analyzed studies from the first surge of the pandemic to investigate widely pushed claims that stringent restrictions would limit deaths. Instead, the meta-analysis concluded that lockdowns across the US and Europe had only "reduced COVID-19 mortality by 0.2% on average." Worse, some of the studies even suggested that limiting gatherings in safe outdoor spots may have been "counterproductive and increased" the death rate, the authors noted in the non-peer-reviewed preprint. "While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted," the professors wrote in the journal Studies in Applied Economics. In fact, the early lockdowns "have had devastating effects," the authors insisted. "They have contributed to reducing economic activity, raising unemployment, reducing schooling, causing political unrest, contributing to domestic violence, and undermining liberal democracy," the damning report insisted. "Such a standard benefit-cost calculation leads to a strong conclusion: lockdowns should be rejected out of hand as a pandemic policy instrument," the authors said of the "ill-founded" measures.
"It's like a horror movie I'm being forced to watch and I can't close my eyes," one senior FDA official lamented. That particular FDA doctor was referring to two recent developments inside the agency. First, how, with no solid clinical data, the agency authorized COVID vaccines for infants and toddlers, including those who already had COVID. And second, [how] the FDA bypassed its external experts to authorize booster shots for young children. That doctor is hardly alone. At the NIH, doctors and scientists complain to us about low morale and lower staffing: The NIH's Vaccine Research Center has had many of its senior scientists leave over the last year, including the director, deputy director and chief medical officer. The CDC has experienced a similar exodus. "There's been a large amount of turnover. Morale is low," one high level official at the CDC told us. "Things have become so political, so what are we there for?" Another CDC scientist told us: "I used to be proud to tell people I work at the CDC. Now I'm embarrassed." Why are they embarrassed? First, they demanded that young children be masked in schools. On this score, the agencies were wrong. Compelling studies later found schools that masked children had no different rates of transmission. Next came school closures. The agencies were wrong – and catastrophically so. Poor and minority children suffered learning loss with an 11-point drop in math scores alone and a 20% drop in math pass rates. Then they ignored natural immunity. Wrong again.
Note: Why are so few media reporting on this most important news? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Pension funds, investment firms and Wall Street banks are snapping up family homes in Europe and the United States at a rapid pace as prices rocket higher. At the same time, the soaring cost of home ownership means that growing numbers of younger Americans and Brits renting rather than buying houses as they start families. Some of them may find their next landlord is based on Wall Street or in London's financial district. Analysts argue that this will improve standards in the rental sector. But some tenants who rent from corporate landlords dispute this, alleging substandard services and excessive rent increases. If investors are hoovering up existing properties that would otherwise have been sold to individuals, that could squeeze out first-time buyers. Household incomes in the United States and United Kingdom have not kept pace with rising home values in recent years, a trend made worse by the pandemic, which has sent average house prices in both markets to record highs. Invitation Homes, America's biggest single-family home leasing company with some 81,000 houses, is currently facing two lawsuits brought by tenants in California and Maryland who claim that the company's late rent fees constitute illegal penalties under state laws. Current and former tenants of the company ... painted a picture of an uncaring landlord, slow to make repairs and quick to threaten eviction when rent payments are overdue or withheld because of unresolved maintenance issues.
The US Supreme Court let stand an $87 million award against Bayer AG, rejecting the company for the second time in a week as it tries to fend off tens of thousands of claims that its top-selling Roundup weedkiller causes cancer. The justices, making no comment, on Monday left in place a jury's finding in favor of Alva and Alberta Pilliod in a California case. Bayer argued that a federal law precluded the suit and that the $70 million punitive damages award was so large it violated the Constitution. The court last week rejected Bayer's appeal in a case the company was trying to use to scuttle billions of dollars in potential claims. The company's liability could be the full $16 billion it has set aside to resolve the litigation, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Holly Froum. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ordered the US Environmental Protection Agency to take another look at whether glyphosate - Roundup's active ingredient - is a carcinogen. Studies have linked it to some cancers. The German chemicals giant said it "is fully prepared to manage the litigation risk associated with potential future claims in the US as previously communicated in July 2021, including a voluntary claims program, transition of active ingredients for glyphosate-based products in the US." Bayer inherited the legal mess in 2018 when it acquired Monsanto Co., the herbicide's maker. Bayer has won four of seven Roundup trials so far, with all its losses occurring in California courts. The case is Monsanto v. Pilliod, 21-1272.
Note: Instead of relying on independent science, the EPA used industry studies to determine that glyphosate was safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health from reliable major media sources.
California will begin making its own low-cost insulin in an effort to make the essential diabetes treatment more affordable, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday. "Nothing epitomizes market failures more than the cost of insulin," the governor said in a video posted on Twitter, "Many Americans experience out-of-pocket costs anywhere from three hundred to five hundred dollars per month for this life-saving drug." With a budget of $100 million, California plans to "contract and make our own insulin at a cheaper price, close to at cost, and to make it available to all," Newsom said. It's unclear exactly how inexpensive California's insulin will be or when the low-cost drugs will be available. Insulin in the U.S. costs almost $100 per unit, on average. That's nearly four times the price in Chile, which has the second-highest prices among the 34 countries analyzed by the nonprofit Rand Corporation, at less than $25 per unit. Currently, four in five Americans in need of insulin have incurred thousands of dollars in credit card debt to pay for the medication, according to a recent survey commissioned by health care organization CharityRx. The average debt among all survey participants was $9,000. California's program will allot $50 million toward the development of cheaper insulin products and $50 million on an in-state insulin manufacturing facility, Newsom said, adding that the facility "will provide new, high-paying jobs and a stronger supply chain for the drugs."
Note: The unethical corruption of big Pharma is so clearly seen in the ridiculously inflated prices of drugs in the US compared to other countries. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
There's a hidden ingredient used as a whitener in an array of foods, from candies and pastries to cheeses and gum. It's called titanium dioxide, and while commonly used in the US, it's being banned in the EU as a possible carcinogen. The additive, also known as E171, joins a host of other chemicals that are banned in foods in the European Union but allowed in the US. These include Azodicarbonamide, a whitening agent found in food such as breads, bagels, pizza, and pastries in the US, which has been banned in the EU for more than a decade. Known as the "yoga mat'' chemical because it is often found in foamed plastic, the additive has been linked to asthma and respiratory issues in exposed workers and, when baked, to cancer in mice studies. Potassium bromate, an oxidizing agent often found in bread and dough and linked in animal studies to kidney and thyroid cancers, has been banned in the EU since 1990 but is still commonly used in the US. Brominated vegetable oil is also banned in the EU but is used as an emulsifier in citrus sodas and drinks in the US. Long-term exposure has been linked to headaches, memory loss and impaired coordination. The Food and Drug Administration classifies these food chemicals, and many others prohibited by the EU, as "generally recognized as safe". Chemical safety processes in the EU and US work in starkly different ways. Where European policy tends to take a precautionary approach – trying to prevent harm before it happens – the US is usually more reactive.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on food system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Nightmare stories of nurses giving potent drugs meant for one patient to another and surgeons removing the wrong body parts have dominated recent headlines about medical care. Lest you assume those cases are the exceptions, a new study by patient-safety researchers provides some context. Their analysis, published in the BMJ ... shows that "medical errors" in hospitals and other health-care facilities are incredibly common and may now be the third-leading cause of death in the United States – claiming 251,000 lives every year, more than respiratory disease, accidents, stroke and Alzheimer's. Martin Makary, a professor of surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine ... led the research. Makary's research involves a ... comprehensive analysis of four large studies, including ones by the Health and Human Services Department's Office of the Inspector General and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that took place between 2000 to 2008. His calculation of 251,000 deaths equates to nearly 700 deaths a day – about 9.5 percent of all deaths annually in the United States. Although all providers extol patient safety and highlight the various safety committees and protocols they have in place, few provide the public with specifics on actual cases of harm due to mistakes. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn't require reporting of errors in the data it collects about deaths through billing codes, making it hard to see what's going on at the national level.
Note: Read lots more about this disturbing fact. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health from reliable major media sources.
India on Friday imposed a ban on single-use plastics on items ranging from straws to cigarette packets to combat worsening pollution in a country whose streets are strewn with waste. Announcing the ban, the government dismissed the demands of food, beverage and consumer goods companies to hold off the restriction to avoid disruptions. Plastic waste has become a significant source of pollution in India, the world's second most populous country. Rapid economic growth has fueled demand for goods that come with single-use plastic products, such as straws and disposable cutlery. But India, which uses about 14 million tons of plastic annually, lacks an organized system for managing plastic waste, leading to widespread littering. India's ban on single-use plastic items includes straws, cutlery, ear buds, packaging films, plastic sticks for balloons, candy and ice-cream, and cigarette packets, among other products, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government said. PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, India's Parle Agro, Dabur and Amul had lobbied for straws to be exempted from the ban. In a relief to consumers, the government has for now exempted plastic bags but it has asked manufacturers and importers to raise the thickness to promote reuse. Some experts believe that enforcing the ban might be difficult. The government has decided to set up control rooms to check any illegal use, sale and distribution of single-use plastic products.
Claes Nordmark, mayor of Boden, steps out into a vast clear-cut area. He ... motions toward an electrical substation nearby. "Listen to that," he says. "The atmosphere in Boden is crackling, just like that switchgear." If all goes to plan, in July start-up H2 Green Steel (H2GS) will start building the world's first "fossil-free" steelworks in this Swedish town of 17,000, just below the Arctic Circle. It's a multibillion-dollar project that would make a multimillion-ton impact on the climate, cutting over 90 percent of a regular steel factory's carbon dioxide emissions. A boom of renewable-powered industries has given rise to what has been dubbed a "green revolution." A massive revamp is underway to decarbonize the state-run mines. Besides steel mills, the region hosts Europe's first battery mega factory, called Northvolt Ett, along with fossil-free fertilizer and aviation biofuel factories. In the coming two decades, an estimated $100 billion to $150 billion will be invested and up to 100,000 jobs created in this sparsely populated and often overlooked region. Put together, this is the centerpiece of Sweden's 2045 net-zero carbon pledge and the country's ambitions to become a front-runner in the quest for a fossil-free economy. "We need a shift from an administrative mind-set to a courageous one," says CEO Henrikkson, a gust of wind rearranging his hair while he walks near the H2GS office in Stockholm. Nowadays, Henriksson says, major projects often grind to a halt because politicians and bureaucrats fear making mistakes.
A former Boston police officer who was beaten more than 25 years ago by colleagues who mistook him for a shooting suspect will be the new leader of the city's police department, Mayor Michelle Wu announced. Michael Cox, 57, will return to his hometown of Boston after working as the police chief in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to lead the same force he once brought a civil rights case against over his beating by fellow cops. Cox, who is Black, will take over as commissioner next month. Before becoming chief in Ann Arbor in 2019, Cox was part of the Boston police force for 30 years, where he rose through the ranks after fighting for years to get justice over his beating that left him seriously injured. Cox was working undercover in plainclothes as part of the gang unit in January 1995 when officers got a call about a shooting. Cox, dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt, spotted the suspect. The suspect started to scale a fence and Cox was struck from behind just as he was about to grab the man. He was kicked and punched by fellow officers, suffering head injuries and kidney damage. Cox has described facing harassment in an effort to silence him after the beating became public despite efforts by his colleagues to cover it up. A department injury report said Cox lost his footing on a frozen puddle, causing him to fall and crack his head. Cox chose to stay in the police force after what happened to him and try to improve things instead of walking away from a job he loved.
The Environmental Protection Agency is warning that two nonstick and stain-resistant compounds found in drinking water are more dangerous than previously thought and pose health risks even at levels so low they cannot currently be detected. The two compounds, known as PFOA and PFOS, have been voluntarily phased out by U.S. manufacturers, but there are a limited number of ongoing uses and the chemicals remain in the environment because they do not degrade over time. The compounds are part of a larger cluster of "forever chemicals" known as PFAS that have been used in consumer products and industry since the 1940s. The EPA on Wednesday issued nonbinding health advisories that set health risk thresholds for PFOA and PFOS to near zero, replacing 2016 guidelines that had set them at 70 parts per trillion. The chemicals are found in products including cardboard packaging, carpets and firefighting foam. The toxic industrial compounds are associated with serious health conditions, including cancer and reduced birth weight. The revised health guidelines are based on new science and consider lifetime exposure to the chemicals, the EPA said. Officials are no longer confident that PFAS levels allowed under the 2016 guidelines "do not have adverse health impacts," an EPA spokesman said. PFAS chemicals have been confirmed at nearly 400 military installations and at least 200 million people in the United States are drinking water contaminated with PFAS.
Guardian analysis of water samples from around the United States shows that the type of water testing relied on by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is so limited in scope that it is probably missing significant levels of PFAS pollutants. The undercount leaves regulators with an incomplete picture of the extent of PFAS contamination and reveals how millions of people may be facing an unknown health risk in their drinking water. The analysis checked water samples from PFAS hot spots around the country with two types of tests: an EPA-developed method that detects 30 types of the approximately 9,000 PFAS compounds, and another that checks for a marker of all PFAS. Seven of the nine samples collected showed higher levels of PFAS in water using the test that identifies markers for PFAS, than levels found when the water was tested using the EPA method – and at concentrations as much as 24 times greater. PFAS ... are often called "forever chemicals" because they don't fully break down, accumulating in the environment. Some are toxic at very low levels and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, kidney disease, liver problems, decreased immunity and other serious health issues. The limitations of the test used by state and federal regulators, which is called the EPA 537 method, virtually guarantees regulators will never have a full picture of contamination levels as industry churns out new compounds much faster than researchers can develop the science to measure them.
Hundreds more people than usual are dying each week in England and Wales with Covid not to blame for the majority of deaths. Latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show there were 1,540 excess deaths in the week ending June 24 but only around 10 per cent were due to coronavirus. Health experts have called for an urgent investigation into what is behind the excess mortality, with fears that the pandemic response, lack of access to healthcare and even the cost of living crisis, may be to blame. Prof Paul Hunter ... at the University of East Anglia, said some of the excess could be people whose health was weakened by Covid. But he warned that there may be other more complex factors at play. "Some might also be down to other impacts of the pandemic, such as problems in accessing health care, delayed referrals for treatment and then things related to the restrictions we lived under, such as reduced activity and sedentary lives," he said. "I think the reality is going to be quite complex but it's something we do need to be aware of and actually try and understand." The ONS reported 752 excess deaths in the home in the latest week, 30 per cent more than usual, and more than hospitals and care homes put together.
Note: Not one word in this article about an obvious suspect in this excess mortality - the COVID injections. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines and health from reliable major media sources.
A police officer armed with a rifle watched the gunman in the Uvalde elementary school massacre walk toward the campus but did not fire while waiting for permission from a supervisor to shoot, according to a sweeping critique ... on the tactical response to the May tragedy. Some of the 21 victims at Robb Elementary School, including 19 children, possibly "could have been saved" on May 24 had they received medical attention sooner while police waited more than an hour before breaching the fourth-grade classroom, a review by a training center at Texas State University for active shooter situations found. The report is yet another damning assessment of how police failed to act on opportunities that might have saved lives in what became the deadliest school shooting in the U.S. since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The report ... follows testimony last month in which Col. Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told the state Senate that the police response was an "abject failure." McCraw said police had enough officers and firepower on the scene of the Uvalde school massacre to have stopped the gunman three minutes after he entered the building, and they would have found the door to the classroom where he was holed up unlocked if they had bothered to check it. In the days and weeks after the shooting, authorities gave conflicting and incorrect accounts of what happened.
Note: It is just by chance that the police made this many deadly errors and lied in their reports? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
A new wave of anger swept through Uvalde on Tuesday over surveillance footage of police officers in body armor milling in the hallway of Robb Elementary School while a gunman carried out a massacre inside a fourth-grade classroom where 19 children and two teachers were killed. The video published Tuesday by the Austin American-Statesman is a disturbing 80-minute recording of what has been known for weeks now about one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history: that heavily armed police officers, some armed with rifles and bulletproof shields, massed in the hallway and waited more than an hour before going inside and stopping the May 24 slayings. But the footage, which until now had not surfaced publicly, anguished Uvalde residents anew and redoubled calls in the small South Texas city for accountability and explanations. The footage from a hallway camera inside the school shows the gunman entering the building with an AR-15 style rifle and includes 911 tape of a teacher screaming, "Get down! Get in your rooms! Get in your rooms!" Two officers approach the classrooms minutes after the gunman enters, then run back amid the sounds of gunfire. As the gunman first approaches the classrooms a child whose image is blurred can be seen poking their head around a corner down the hallway and then running back while shots ring out.
The spate of shooting attacks in communities such as Highland Park, Ill.; Uvalde, Tex.; and Buffalo has riveted attention on America's staggering number of public mass killings. But the rising number of gun deaths in the United States extends beyond such high-profile episodes, emerging nearly every day inside homes, outside bars and on the streets of many cities. The surge in gun violence comes as firearm purchases rose to record levels in 2020 and 2021, with more than 43 million guns estimated to have been purchased during that period. At the same time, the rate of gun deaths in those years hit the highest level since 1995, with more than 45,000 fatalities each year. Guns are used in most suicides and are almost entirely responsible for an overall rise in homicides across the country from 2018 to 2021. Data shows that gun sales increase in the wake of violence, political events and uncertainty. Large spikes occurred after the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting; amid coronavirus shutdowns, racial justice protests and the presidential election in 2020; and after the Jan. 6, 2021, siege of the U.S. Capitol. Mass killings, particularly those in which a gunman opens fire in a crowded public space, tend to draw much more attention than daily violence. Defining a mass shooting as four or more people killed ... such cases account for fewer than 1 percent of all people killed by firearms. They are very rare. About 60 percent of the gun deaths in the United States each year are suicides.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles from reliable major media sources.
If a summer COVID surge, a monkeypox outbreak, inflation and a continuing war in Europe weren't enough to worry about – how about preparing for a nuclear attack? Mayor Eric Adams defended New York City's newest PSA on Tuesday, saying a nuclear attack preparedness spot from the Office of Emergency Management was a "great idea" born out of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine. The campaign launched Monday and features a short PSA outlining three steps that New Yorkers can take "as the threat landscape continues to evolve." There are no imminent nuclear threats to New York City, Adams emphasized, but there will be a series of emergency management ads highlighting preparedness efforts. Emergency management officials say it's important to know the steps to stay safe even if the likelihood of a nuclear attack in NYC in the immediate future is quite low. Still, many New Yorkers were left asking, "Why now?" Some of a certain age saw the PSA as a sort-of blast from the past, something not seen in this country since the 1970s when messages showing cartoon turtles softening the then-very real looming threat of nuclear annihilation. In the event of a nuclear incident, the PSA advises the following actions: Get inside: Move indoors and away from any windows. Stay inside: Close all doors and window, and move into the basement if you have one. Stay tuned and stay put: Follow media for latest details and watch for officials alerts when its safe to go outside.
Note: Fear mongering, anyone? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
A peculiar granite monument that some have dubbed "America's Stonehenge" but a conservative politician condemned as "satanic" has been torn down by authorities in rural Georgia hours after it was heavily damaged in a bombing by vandals. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) later tweeted a video clip of the blast caught on surveillance camera and separate footage of a car speeding away from the scene. It said the remainder of the structure was deliberately demolished later in the day "for safety reasons", with a photo showing the entire monument reduced to rubble. The initial damage was attributed to "unknown individuals" who detonated an explosive device at the site. Before it was vandalised, the 6-metre-high (19ft) monument consisted of one upright slab at the centre of four larger tablets arranged around it, with a large rectangular capstone placed atop the others. The collection of gray monoliths was erected in 1980. The slabs were engraved with an enigmatic message in 12 languages calling for the preservation of humankind by limiting the world's population to fewer than half a billion people to live "in perpetual balance with nature", according to official translations of the text. But the monument drew occasional controversy from some who tied its message to far-right conspiracies or religious blasphemy.
Note: The above article doesn't mention the possibility that this monument was connected to a secret society.
For the first time in 30 years, legislation has been put forward to address catastrophic wildlife loss in the EU. Legally binding targets for all member states to restore wildlife on land, rivers and the sea were announced today, alongside a crackdown on chemical pesticides. In a boost for UN negotiations on halting and reversing biodiversity loss, targets released by the European Commission include reversing the decline of pollinator populations and restoring 20% of land and sea by 2030, with all ecosystems to be under restoration by 2050. The commission also proposed a target to cut the use of chemical pesticides in half by 2030 and eradicate their use near schools, hospitals and playgrounds. Frans Timmermans, executive vice-president of the commission, said the laws were a step forward in tackling the "looming ecocide" threatening the planet. Around â‚Ź100bn (Ł85bn) will be available for spending on biodiversity, including the restoration of ecosystems. The target of 2030 to cut the use of pesticides will give farmers time to find alternatives. The proposals, which campaigners have hailed as a potential milestone for nature, could become law in around a year. Member states would have to create restoration plans to show the commission how they would reach the targets set, and if they fail to follow through they would face legal action. Priority ecosystems include those with the greatest power to remove and store carbon, as well as buffer the impacts of natural disasters.
Thousands of potentially harmful chemicals could soon be prohibited in Europe under new restrictions, which campaigners have hailed as the strongest yet. The EU's "restrictions roadmap" published on Monday was conceived as a first step to transforming this picture by using existing laws to outlaw toxic substances linked to cancers, hormonal disruption, reprotoxic disorders, obesity, diabetes and other illnesses. Industry groups say that up to 12,000 substances could ultimately fall within the scope of the new proposal, which would constitute the world's "largest ever ban of toxic chemicals", according to the European Environmental Bureau (EEB). Tatiana Santos, the bureau's chemicals policy manager, said: "EU chemical controls are usually achingly slow but the EU is planning the boldest detox we have ever seen. Petrochemical industry lobbyists are shocked at what is now on the table. It promises to improve the safety of almost all manufactured products and rapidly lower the chemical intensity of our schools, homes and workplaces." The plan focuses on entire classes of chemical substances for the first time as a rule, including all flame retardants, bisphenols, PVC plastics, toxic chemicals in single-use nappies and PFAS, which are also known as "forever chemicals" because of the time they take to naturally degrade. All of these will be put on a "rolling list" of substances to be considered for restriction by the European Chemicals Agency. The list will be regularly reviewed and updated.
China has reduced air pollution nearly as much in seven years as the US did in three decades, helping to bring down average global smog levels in the process. The amount of harmful particulates in the air in China fell 40% from 2013 to 2020, according to the University of Chicago's Energy Policy Institute, which would add about two years to average life expectancy if sustained. While smog in large swathes of the country still significantly exceeds safe levels, its experience shows how quickly progress can be made, researchers including Professor Michael Greenstone said in a report. About 97% of the world's population live in areas where air quality is usually worse than World Health Organization guidelines, according to the researchers. Smog reduces global life expectancy more than cigarette smoking, alcohol or poor sanitation. "China's success in reducing pollution is a strong indication of the opportunities that could lie ahead for other nations if they were to impose strong pollution policies," they said. Even in the US and Europe ... more than 90% of people live in areas that don't meet WHO guidelines, which were tightened last year. China's success, led by restrictions on car use and coal burning in major cities, has been rapid, with its 40% decline in seven years nearly equaling a 44% drop in US pollution over 30 years from 1970, after the landmark Clean Air Act was passed. Without China's declines, the world would have seen average pollution levels increase since 2013 instead of drop.
One woman carried a ruler at FBI headquarters so she could smack James Hendricks' hands when he reached for her legs and breasts. Another went home shaken after he tugged on her ear and kissed her cheek during a closed-door meeting. And when Hendricks went on to lead the FBI's field office in Albany, New York, in 2018, colleagues described him as a "skilled predator" who leered at women in the workplace, touched them inappropriately and asked one to have sex in a conference room, according to a newly released federal report. Hendricks quietly retired last year as a special agent in charge after the Office of Inspector General – the Justice Department's internal watchdog – concluded he sexually harassed eight female subordinates in one of the FBI's most egregious known cases of sexual misconduct. Hendricks was among several senior FBI officials highlighted in an AP investigation last year that found a pattern of supervisors avoiding discipline – and retiring with full benefits – even after claims of sexual misconduct against them were substantiated. The details of Hendricks' sexual harassment [were] outlined in a 52-page report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. The OIG blacked out Hendricks' name in the report, but he was identified by law enforcement officials familiar with his case. Drawing on interviews with more than a dozen FBI officials, the report traces Hendricks' harassment to his time at FBI headquarters, where he served as a section chief in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and President Biden's chief medical adviser, recently revealed he is experiencing a rebound of his Covid-19 infection after taking the antiviral medication Paxlovid. Fauci described the "interesting course" his own infection had taken on Tuesday during an appearance at Foreign Policy's Global Health Forum. "I turned positive about two weeks ago, with very minimal symptoms. When they increased, given my age, I went on Paxlovid for five days," Fauci said. Fauci, 81, credited the drug with keeping him out of the hospital. After five days on the drug, he tested negative. He had three consecutive days of negative tests. On the fourth day he tested positive again. "It was sort of what people are referring to as a Paxlovid rebound," he said. The CDC issued a health alert to doctors on May 24, advising that Covid-19 symptoms sometimes come back, and that may just be how the infection plays out in some people, regardless of whether they're vaccinated or treated with medications like Paxlovid. In Fauci's case, he said his symptoms got worse when they returned after treatment. "Over the next day or so I started to feel really poorly, much worse than in the first go around," he said. His doctors prescribed another course of Paxlovid. "I went back on Paxlovid, and right now I am on my fourth day of a five-day course of my second course of Paxlovid. Fortunately, I feel reasonably good. I mean, I'm not completely without symptoms, but I certainly don't feel acutely ill."
Note: So two Pfizer shots and two boosters couldn't keep Fauci from getting COVID not once, but twice. And he says the reason he managed to avoid the hospital is not because of the four shots, but because of the new antiviral he is promoting. This certainly is an "interesting course" as he himself describes it. So how effective are these many injections so strongly promoted by Fauci, the CDC and others. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
After 14 years of legal battles, a federal court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to take actions that will likely force the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos off the market. The federal agency has for years been considering mounting evidence that links the pesticide to brain damage in children – including loss of IQ, learning difficulties, ADHD, and autism – but, as the court acknowledged, has repeatedly delayed taking action. "Rather than ban the pesticide or reduce the tolerances to levels that the EPA could find were reasonably certain to cause no harm, the EPA sought to evade through delay tactics its plain statutory duty," Judge Jed S. Rakoff wrote in his decision. "During that time, the EPA's egregious delay exposed a generation of American children to unsafe levels of chlorpyrifos," he wrote, and ordered the EPA to issue a final regulation within 60 days. More than 5 million pounds of chlorpyrifos were applied to crops in 2017, according to the most recent data. The EPA was poised to ban chlorpyrifos in 2016, but the Trump EPA changed course. The reversal, made under EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, has been tied to a $1 million contribution to President Donald Trump's inaugural fund from Dow Chemical Company, now known as Corteva, which was the primary producer of chlorpyrifos. Patti Goldman, an attorney at Earthjustice who has been overseeing the chlorpyrifos litigation since 2014, said the disparity between the science and the EPA's refusal to act reached new heights during the Trump years.
Human rights activists, journalists and lawyers across the world have been targeted by authoritarian governments using hacking software sold by the Israeli surveillance company NSO Group, according to an investigation into a massive data leak. The investigation by the Guardian and 16 other media organisations suggests widespread and continuing abuse of NSO's hacking spyware, Pegasus. Pegasus is a malware that infects iPhones and Android devices to enable operators of the tool to extract messages, photos and emails, record calls and secretly activate microphones. The leak contains a list of more than 50,000 phone numbers that, it is believed, have been identified as those of people of interest by clients of NSO since 2016. The numbers of more than 180 journalists are listed in the data, including reporters, editors and executives at the Financial Times, CNN, the New York Times, France 24, the Economist, Associated Press and Reuters. The phone number of a freelance Mexican reporter, Cecilio Pineda Birto, was found in the list, apparently of interest to a Mexican client in the weeks leading up to his murder, when his killers were able to locate him at a carwash. He was among at least 25 Mexican journalists apparently selected as candidates for surveillance. The broad array of numbers in the list belonging to people who seemingly have no connection to criminality suggests some NSO clients are breaching their contracts with the company, spying on pro-democracy activists and journalists.
Note: Read more about how NSO Group spyware was used against journalists and activists by the Mexican government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
The U.N. climate report released Monday presents a major leap forward in predicting how geoengineering to limit global warming might affect the planet, although scientists said the greatest hurdle remains deciding whether to use the controversial methods. Geoengineering involves large-scale interventions that shift the climate, generally with an aim of cooling the earth. The United Nations panel addressed two types of geoengineering in the report - solar radiation management and greenhouse gas removal. Solar radiation management techniques generally control how much sunlight is reflected back out into space. For example, humans could spray sulfate aerosols - tiny reflective particles - into the stratosphere ... to reflect more sunlight back into space, which lowers global temperatures. But sulfate aerosols have the side effect of also lowering average precipitation. While some regions could gain in an artificially cooler world, others could suffer by, for example, no longer having conditions to grow crops.
Note: Chemtrails anyone? Explore evidence that Spain is spraying chemtrails as part of a secret UN program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on climate change from reliable major media sources.
The University of California has agreed to pay $243.6 million to settle allegations that hundreds of women were sexually abused by a former UCLA gynecologist. The settlement covers about 50 cases involving 203 women who said they were groped or otherwise abused by Dr. James Heaps over a 35-year career. Each will receive $1.2 million. The lawsuits said that UCLA ignored decades of complaints and deliberately concealed abuse. Two women who said Heaps abused them spoke at an afternoon news conference. "I've been waiting 20 years for this day," said Julie Wallach, who said she was abused by Heaps in the late 1990s – but when she reported it to UCLA and the state medical board, "no one listened." Kara Cagle said she was assaulted by Heaps eight years ago at a time when she'd been undergoing grueling treatment for a rare form of breast cancer. "I could never have imagined that someone would have taken such despicable advantage of me during that time. It was so traumatic that I left in tears," she said. The University of California, Los Angeles, began investigating Heaps in 2017 and he retired the next year after the school declined to renew his contract. Heaps also was criminally charged last year with 21 counts of sexual offenses involving seven women. He has pleaded not guilty and denied wrongdoing. John C. Manly, one of the plaintiffs' attorneys ... said there are thousands of practicing doctors nationwide who have administrative and criminal convictions for molesting their patients.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse by doctors from reliable major media sources.
Within minutes of receiving a complaint from four Environmental Protection Agency whistleblowers in late June, an agency official shared the document with six EPA staffers, including at least one who was named in it, according to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The records – more than 1,000 pages of internal emails – also show that within 24 hours EPA officials sent the whistleblowers' complaint to other staff members who had been named in it. Two days later, the named employees met to discuss it. The scientists' disclosure laid out allegations of corruption within the EPA's New Chemicals Division and provided detailed evidence that managers and high-level agency officials had deliberately tampered with numerous chemical assessments, sometimes deleting hazards from them and altering their conclusions. The four scientists who worked in the division decided to speak up about the behavior they had witnessed because they feared it could have public health consequences. And they hoped that by carefully documenting and making public their allegations they would spark a thorough investigation and bring an end to the problems. While the sharing of the disclosure widely within the agency was not a violation of law, several experts in the handling of whistleblower complaints said it was troubling. "Sending it around to everybody who's mentioned in it, that's insane," said Adam Arnold ... at the Government Accountability Project.
The Pentagon is spending more and more research-and-development dollars on weapons that stun, scare, entangle or nauseate – anything but kill. The U.S.'s nonlethal-weapons programs are drawing their own fire, mostly from human-rights activists who contend that the technologies being developed will be deployed to suppress dissent and that they defy international weapons treaties. Imagine a cross between a microwave oven and a Star Trek phaser: a tight, focused beam of energy that flash-heats its target from a distance. Directed energy beams do not burn flesh, but they do create an unbearably painful burning sensation. The Air Force Research Laboratory has already spent $40 million on a humvee-mounted directed-energy weapon. Further out on the horizon, the line between weapons development and science fiction becomes perilously thin. Even their supporters agree that "nonlethal weapons" is a dangerous misnomer. Any of these devices has the potential to injure and kill. A chemical-weapons watchdog organization called the Sunshine Project has obtained evidence that the U.S. is considering some projects that appear to take us beyond the bounds of good sense: bioengineered bacteria designed to eat asphalt, fuel and body armor, or faster-acting, weaponized forms of antidepressants, opiates and so-called "club drugs" that could be rapidly administered to unruly crowds. Such research is illegal under international law and could open up terrifying scenarios for abuse.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on non-lethal weapons from reliable major media sources.
A professional diver has revealed how she uses a little known technique to placate sharks so she can remove hooks from their mouths. Italian-born Cristina Zenato, 47, who is known as 'the shark dancer' is often filmed on the ocean floor with 8ft sharks playing around her and nestling into her knees. The conservationist, who lives on Grand Bahama, has perfected the technique of relaxing the sharks, which is part of her efforts to save them by removing hooks that are caught in their fins. She induces the 'tonic' state in the shark using a little-known technique of rubbing the ampullae of Lorenzini - the name given to hundreds of jelly-filled pores around the animal's nose and mouth. A 'tonic' state is where a shark enters a natural state of paralysis, often by being turned upside down, for up to 15 minutes. The pores act as electroreceptors detecting prey moving in the electromagnetic field around the shark - but also for some reason rubbing them turns 'Jaws' into a sleeping baby. This gives Cristina the time she needs to remove the hooks. 'The first time I put a shark to sleep was my second dive with them,' Cristina [said]. 'This big female swam straight into my lap. The most amazing thing was this 8ft shark just swimming into me and resting her head on me. 'I started crying into my mask because it was so amazing, so unique.' Over the years Cristina has collected more than 200 hooks that have been caught in sharks, and has built up so much trust she's been able to put her whole arm into a shark's mouth to pull out a hook.
Note: Don't miss this awesome 3-minute video of Cristina removing hooks from the sharks who then snuggle her. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
For years, scientists have warned that monarch butterflies are dying off in droves because of diminishing winter colonies. But new research from the University of Georgia shows that the summer population of monarchs has remained relatively stable over the past 25 years. Published in Global Change Biology, the study suggests that population growth during the summer compensates for butterfly losses due to migration, winter weather and changing environmental factors. "There's this perception out there that monarch populations are in dire trouble, but we found that's not at all the case," said Andy Davis, corresponding author of the study. "It goes against what everyone thinks, but we found that they're doing quite well. In fact, monarchs are actually one of the most widespread butterflies in North America." The study authors caution against becoming complacent, though, because rising global temperatures may bring new and growing threats not just to monarchs but to all insects. This study represents the largest and most comprehensive assessment of breeding monarch butterfly population to date. The researchers compiled more than 135,000 monarch observations from the North American Butterfly Association between 1993 and 2018 to examine population patterns and possible drivers of population changes, such as precipitation and widespread use of agricultural herbicides. The team found an overall annual increase in monarch relative abundance of 1.36% per year.
When Jonathan Tiong was an infant, a neurologist told his parents that he wouldn't live past the age of two. He was diagnosed with type two spinal muscular atrophy, a rare genetic condition that causes muscles to become weak and break down. It is also a progressive disease, meaning he has become ... weaker with time. But in October, the same day he turned 24 years old, he was crowned valedictorian for the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Class of 2021, with the equivalent of a first class honours. He has also landed a prestigious job at sovereign wealth fund GIC, where he currently works full-time as an editorial writer. Speaking to CNA in his home, Mr Tiong candidly described himself as "a very plain and average student" throughout university. In his spare time, he immerses himself in the online game Runescape and watches Twitch streams. He regularly pens columns and blogposts, owing to a love of writing sparked in recent years. "I didn't think I'd be valedictorian for the simple reason that I was not a typical valedictorian. I didn't lead a (co-curricular activity), I wasn't the captain of some sports team, that kind of thing. "I studied a lot, got good grades, but so did a lot of other people. So I didn't really feel outstanding." This is despite the extra challenges he had to grapple with throughout school – namely, fatigue and accessibility in a world mostly built for able-bodied people. Poking fun at NUS' infamously hilly terrain, Mr Tiong joked that the university is also known as the "National University of Stairs".
The Supreme Court has rejected Bayer's appeal to shut down thousands of lawsuits claiming that its Roundup weed killer causes cancer. The justices on Tuesday left in place a $25-million judgment in favor of Edwin Hardeman, a California man who says he developed cancer from using Roundup for decades to treat poison oak, overgrowth and weeds on his San Francisco Bay Area property. Hardeman's lawsuit had served as a test case for thousands of similar lawsuits. The high court's action comes amid a series of court fights over Roundup that have pointed in different directions. On Friday, a panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an Environmental Protection Agency finding from 2020 that glyphosate does not pose a serious health risk and is "not likely" to cause cancer in humans. The appellate court ordered the EPA to reexamine its finding. At the same time, Bayer has won four consecutive trials in state court against people who claimed they got cancer from Roundup. The latest verdict in favor of the pharmaceutical company came last week in Oregon. The EPA says on its website that there is "no evidence that glyphosate causes cancer in humans." But in 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, classified glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." The agency said it relied on "limited" evidence of cancer in people and "sufficient" evidence of cancer in study animals.
Note: Instead of relying on independent science, the EPA used industry studies to determine that glyphosate was safe. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and health from reliable major media sources.
A feminist advocacy organization sued the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Wednesday, accusing the agency of putting female prisoners at risk by housing biological males in women's prisons. The Women's Liberation Front lawsuit ... argues that the state department of corrections of is violating the First, Eighth and 14th amendments with a new law known as the Transgender Respect, Agency, and Dignity Act, or SB 132. Plaintiff Krystal Gonzalez says she was sexually assaulted by a biological male who was transferred to Central California Women's Facility under the law. According to the suit, when Gonzalez filed a complaint and requested to be housed away from men the prison's response called her alleged attacker a "transgender woman with a penis." "Krystal does not believe that women have penises and the psychological distress caused by her assault is exacerbated by the prison's refusal to acknowledge the sex of her perpetrator," the lawsuit says. [The law] requires the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to "house transgender, gender-nonconforming and intersex (TGI) individuals in a manner that matches their gender identity while supporting health and safety." Under the law, the prison system must house the individual in a "correctional facility designated for men or women based on the individual's preference." A total of 295 inmates who were housed in an institution for males had requested to be moved to a women's facility.
Note: Read lots more on the irony and unfairness of this case in this Matt Taibbi article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on prison system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Justice Department opened a civil rights investigation Thursday of the Louisiana State Police, launching the review after a series of videos showed officers brutally beating Black motorists. One particularly violent video showed state troopers punching, stunning, and dragging an unarmed man, Ronald Greene, as he apologized for failing to stop during a high-speed chase in 2019. He died shortly after, but state police initially told his family that he was killed when his car hit a tree. "We find significant justification to investigate whether Louisiana State Police engages in excessive force and in racially discriminatory policing," said Kristen Clarke, the assistant attorney general in charge of the civil rights division. State Police Superintendent Lamar Davis has said he would welcome the Justice Department investigation. Two-thirds of his agency's uses of force have been directed at Black people, he [said]. Greene's arrest was one of least a dozen over the past 10 years in which state police troopers or their superiors ignored or concealed evidence of beatings. Under Attorney General Merrick Garland, the Justice Department has opened similar investigations of police departments in Minneapolis after the death of George Floyd and in Louisville, Kentucky, following the death of Breonna Taylor.
More than 90 women who say they were sexually assaulted by Lawrence G. Nassar, the former doctor for U.S.A. Gymnastics who was convicted on state sexual abuse charges, filed lawsuits on Wednesday against the F.B.I. for its failure to investigate him when it received credible information about his crimes. The lawsuits come two weeks after the Justice Department decided not to prosecute two former F.B.I. agents accused of bungling the bureau's 2015 investigation into Mr. Nassar, allowing him to assault more than 70 girls and women for over a year before Michigan authorities arrested him. The agents were accused by the Justice Department's own watchdog of making false statements about the matter. In the fall, Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, testified to Congress that "there were people at the F.B.I. who had their chance to stop this monster back in 2015 and failed." The plaintiffs include the Olympic gymnastics gold medalists Simone Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney. "My fellow survivors and I were betrayed by every institution that was supposed to protect us – the U.S. Olympic Committee, U.S.A. Gymnastics, the F.B.I. and now the Department of Justice," Ms. Maroney said. "It is clear that the only path to justice and healing is through the legal process," she added. Mr. Nassar, who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison, was accused of molesting hundreds of girls and women, including many members of the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams.
Facebook prohibits gun sales on its service. But buyers and sellers can violate the rule 10 times before they are kicked off the social network, according to internal guidance obtained by The Washington Post. The policy, which has not previously been reported, is much more lenient than for users who post child pornography, which is illegal, or a terrorist image, which prompts immediate removal from the platform. A separate, five-strikes policy extends even to gun sellers and purchasers who actively call for violence. Facebook's gun policies have long been a source of contention among the company's senior leadership and policymaking teams, who have been torn between the platform's support of free speech and public pressure to curtail weapons sales. Gun sellers have seized on loopholes within Facebook's policy. Journalists have repeatedly uncovered strategies sellers use to evade bans while reaching potential customers in dedicated Facebook groups or on Facebook Marketplace, the company's classified services. One tactic is advertising gun accessories, like holsters or cases, which are permitted for sale on the platform; once a customer contacts the seller, a gun can be sold in Facebook's private messages. After responding to several listings for gun cases, a Post reporter received three private messages with offers to purchase a gun. Joel Kaplan, vice president of global public policy ... said that banning transactions of a product that was both legal and highly popular would alienate the political right.
Jose Martinez, a former Army gunner whose right arm and both legs were blown off by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan, has a new calling: He's become one of the most effective lobbyists in a campaign to legalize the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs across the country. On a Zoom call ... with Connie Leyva, a Democratic legislator in California who has long opposed relaxing drug laws, Mr. Martinez told her how psilocybin, the psychoactive ingredient in "magic" mushrooms, had helped to finally quell the physical pain and suicidal thoughts that had tormented him. Ms. Leyva says she changed her mind even before the call ended, and she later voted yes on the bill, which is expected to become law early next year. In the two years since Oregon, Washington, D.C., and a half-dozen municipalities decriminalized psilocybin, vets have become leading advocates in the drive to legalize psychedelic medicine, which they credit with helping ease the post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression that are often tied to their experiences in the military. The campaign has been propelled by the epidemic of suicides among veterans ... but also by the national reckoning over the mass incarceration of people on drug charges. More than 30,000 service members have taken their own lives in the years since Sept. 11 – four times the number of those who died on the battlefield. "I will not be told no on something that prevents human beings from killing themselves," Mr. Martinez 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.
Mr. McCourry, a former U.S. Marine, had been crippled by post-traumatic stress disorder ever since returning from Iraq in 2004. He could not sleep, pushed away friends and family and developed a drinking problem. The numbness he felt was broken only by bouts of rage and paranoia. He was contemplating suicide when his sister heard about a novel clinical trial using the psychedelic drug MDMA, paired with therapy, to treat PTSD. Desperate, he enrolled in 2012. PTSD is a major public health problem worldwide and is particularly associated with war. In the United States, an estimated 13 percent of combat veterans and up to 20 to 25 percent of those deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan are diagnosed with PTSD at some point in their lives, compared with seven percent of the general population. There is growing evidence that MDMA – the illegal drug known as Ecstasy or Molly – can significantly lessen or even eliminate symptoms of PTSD when the treatment is paired with talk therapy. Last year, scientists reported in Nature Medicine the most encouraging results to date. The 90 participants in the study had all suffered from severe PTSD for more than 14 years on average. Each received three therapy sessions with either MDMA or a placebo, spaced one month apart and overseen by a two-person therapist team. Two months after treatment, 67 percent of those who received MDMA no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis, compared with 32 percent who received the placebo. As in previous trials, MDMA caused no serious side effects.
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.
In October 1995 ... the Scottish Office commissioned a research project from the Aberdeen-based Rowett Research Institute into the effect of GM crops on animal nutrition and the environment. This included, for the first time, feeding GM potatoes to rats to see if they had any harmful effects on their guts, bodies, metabolism and health. A former senior Scottish Office official involved in commissioning the project told the Guardian there was "little regard" at the time for research into the human nutritional and environmental consequences of GM foods. Dr Arpad Pusztai, a senior research scientist at the Rowett, beat off 28 other tenders to coordinate the project. The preliminary results of Dr Pusztai's work had begun to show unexpected and worrying changes in the size and weight of the rats' bodily organs. The team found liver and heart sizes were decreasing. Worse still, the brain was getting smaller. There were also indications of a weakening of the immune system. Granada TV's World in Action approached Dr Pusztai and ... with the institute's consent he gave an interview. Dr Pusztai told ITV viewers that he would not eat GM food. He found it "very, very unfair to use our fellow citizens as guinea pigs. We have to find [the results] in the laboratory," he insisted. Two days later Dr Pusztai was summarily suspended and forced to retire by the Rowett Institute's director, Professor Philip James, who had personally cleared the interview with Granada.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs from reliable major media sources.
It's no secret that exercise, even in small doses, can improve your mood. Researchers even have a name for it: the feel-better effect. And while any physical activity – a walk, a swim, a bit of yoga – can give you an emotional boost, we wanted to create a short workout video specifically designed to make people happy. What would a "joy workout" look like? I'm a psychologist fascinated by the science of emotion. I've also taught group exercise classes for more than 20 years. To design a happiness workout, I turned to the research I leverage in those classes, to maximize the joy people get from moving their bodies. Imagine fans erupting when their team clinches a playoff spot. Researchers have identified several movements like this that are recognizable in many cultures as inspired by joy: reaching your arms up; swaying from side to side, like concertgoers losing themselves in the music; other rhythmic movements, such as bouncing to a beat; or taking up more space, like dancers spinning, arms outstretched. These physical actions don't just express a feeling of joy – research shows they can also elicit it. The resulting eight and a half–minute Joy Workout lets you test these effects yourself. It leads you through six joy moves: reach, sway, bounce, shake, jump for joy and one I named "celebrate" that looks like tossing confetti in the air. I based these moves on research and on the movements that produce the most joy in my classes, among people of all ages and abilities.
Note: Watch a video of the the Joy Workout at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A handful of people were living in tents and cardboard lean-tos. As a vice president of Houston's Coalition for the Homeless, Ms. Rausch was there to move them out. For more than a month, Ms. Rausch and her colleagues had been coordinating with Harris County officials, as well as with the mayor's office and local landlords. They had visited the encampment and talked to people living there, so that now, as tents were being dismantled, the occupants could move directly into one-bedroom apartments, some for a year, others for longer. In other words, the people living in the encampment would not be consigned to homeless shelters, cited for trespassing or scattered to the winds, but, rather, given a home. During the last decade, Houston, the nation's fourth most populous city, has moved more than 25,000 homeless people directly into apartments and houses. The overwhelming majority of them have remained housed after two years. The number of people deemed homeless in the Houston region has been cut by 63 percent since 2011. Even judging by the more modest metrics registered in a 2020 federal report, Houston did more than twice as well as the rest of the country at reducing homelessness. "Before I leave office, I want Houston to be the first big city to end chronic homelessness," Sylvester Turner [commented]. Mr. Turner, who is serving his final term as mayor, joined Harris County leaders in unveiling a $100 million plan that would ... cut the local homeless count in half again by 2025.
Barrister Lincoln Crowley QC will become the first Indigenous judge to preside over an Australian superior court, after he was appointed to the supreme court of Queensland. Colleagues said Crowley, a well-regarded barrister and former crown prosecutor who was made Queen's Counsel in 2018, had broken a significant barrier for First Nations people. "It has taken a long time for Indigenous people in Australia to be appointed to any superior court and it's very significant that Lincoln Crowley is the first such appointment," said Tony McAvoy, who in 2015 became the first Indigenous Australian appointed senior counsel. "It is a matter of some significant shame and embarrassment for the legal professional in Australia that there are not more First Nations judicial officers through all levels of the court. "I have watched Lincoln rise through his career and he's always struck me as a very compassionate person and a fantastic lawyer and it comes as no surprise to me that the attorney-general of Queensland has appointed him to this position." Crowley, a Warramunga man ... was expelled from a private school in year 11 after a run-in with a teacher. "The deputy principal called me into the office one day and said to me: â€Your family is Aboriginal aren't they? They're the type that end up in jail'," he said. "He was picking on me and trying to put me down, basically saying I had no prospects in the future and that's where I was going to end up. "I remember thinking, â€you wait and see, mate'."
Nasa is launching a study of UFOs as part of a new push toward high-risk, high-impact science. The space agency announced on Thursday that it was setting up an independent team to see how much information is publicly available on the matter and how much more is needed to understand the unexplained sightings. The experts will also consider how best to use all this information in the future. Nasa's science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, acknowledged the traditional scientific community may see Nasa as "kind of selling out" by venturing into the controversial topic, but he strongly disagrees. "We are not shying away from reputational risk," Zurbuchen said. "Our strong belief is that the biggest challenge of these phenomena is that it's a data-poor field." Nasa considers this a first step in trying to explain mysterious sightings in the sky known as UAPs, or unidentified aerial phenomena. The study will begin this fall and last nine months, costing no more than $100,000. It will be entirely open, with no classified military data used. Nasa said the team will be led by astrophysicist David Spergel, president of the Simons Foundation for advancing scientific research. Spergel said the only preconceived notion going into the study is that the UAPs will probably have multiple explanations. "We have to approach all these questions with a sense of humility," Spergel said. "I spent most of my career as a cosmologist. I can tell you we don't know what makes up 95% of the universe. So there are things we don't understand."
Note: Once again we see evidence of a planned roll-out to get people used to the idea of UFOs when undeniable evidence of significant ET involvement has been available for decades. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
Uvalde city officials are using a legal loophole and several other broad exemptions in Texas to prevent the release of police records related to last month's mass shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead, according to a letter obtained by NPR. Since the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School, law enforcement officials have provided little and conflicting information, amid mounting public pressure for transparency. The Texas Department of Public Safety, which is leading the state investigation, previously said that some accounts of the events were preliminary and may change as more witnesses are interviewed. The City of Uvalde has hired a private law firm to make its case, which cited the "dead suspect loophole," to deny the release of information because the gunman died in police custody. The legal exception bars the public disclosure of information pertaining to crimes in which no one has been convicted. The Texas Attorney General's Office has ruled that the exception applies when a suspect is dead. The maneuver has been used repeatedly by Texas law enforcement agencies to claim they're not required to turn over the requested information because a criminal case is still pending, even though the suspect is dead. The loophole was established in the 1990s to protect people who were wrongfully accused or whose cases were dismissed, said Kelley Shannon, executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. "It is meant to protect the innocent," Shannon said.
Nearly a month after a gunman killed 19 students and two teachers inside Robb Elementary School, shattering a West Texas community, a litany of key questions about the police response remain unanswered. The shifting narrative from state and local leaders in the massacre's aftermath could threaten to exacerbate the trauma for those affected. "These types of tragedies can tear communities apart," said John Cohen, a former senior Homeland Security official who is now an ABC News contributor. "One of the ways the healing process can begin is for the community to have a clear understanding of what happened, and of what will be done to prevent something similar from happening again." As families of the victims lay their loved ones to rest, residents of Uvalde continue to hope for answers. They may start to get some on Tuesday, when a Texas House panel convenes to hear testimony regarding the shooting. Since the very first days after the attack, law enforcement officials have said their response was stymied by ... a locked door. But now surveillance video shows that police never tried to open the door. Two months before the mass shooting, the Uvalde school district hosted an all-day training session for local police and other school-based law enforcement officers that was focused on "active shooter response." But basic training protocols - including those involving communication channels and chain of command - went unheeded.
Security footage shows cops at the Uvalde, Texas school massacre waited 77 minutes before even trying to open the doors to two classrooms where the shooter killed 19 children and two teachers last month, a new report said. The latest revelation, published Saturday by The San Antonio Express News, is the latest detail that shows a botched police response to the massacre, which is now under investigation by the Texas Department of Public Safety. Video shows that gunman Salvador Ramos, 18, was able to open the door to classroom 111 on May 24, even though it was supposed to lock automatically when shut. Once inside the classroom, Ramos was able to access classroom 112 through another interior door. It was unclear if the door was locked while Ramos conducted the shooting spree, but police did not even check or try to open it, despite having access to a Halligan tool which could have broken the lock. Uvalde school district police Chief Pete Arredondo was in charge of the operation. He previously told The Texas Tribune that he waited for 40 minutes for keys from the custodian to try to open the classroom door. Finally, at 12:50 p.m., police breached the door and shot and killed the suspect who had first broken into the school at 11:33 a.m. through an exterior door that had also failed to automatically lock. Texas investigators say Arredondo mistakenly treated the shooting as a barricaded suspect incident instead of an active shooter situation.
Two Uvalde city police officers passed up a fleeting chance to shoot a gunman outside Robb Elementary School before he went on to kill 21 people inside the school, a senior sheriff's deputy told The New York Times. That would mean a second missed opportunity for officers to stop Salvador Ramos before the May 24 rampage inside the school that killed 19 children and two teachers. Officials said that a school district police drove past Ramos without seeing him in the school parking lot. The unidentified officers, one of whom was armed with an AR-15-style rifle, said they feared hitting children playing in the line of fire outside the school, Chief Deputy Ricardo Rios of nearby Zavalla County told the newspaper. Rios said he had shared the information with a special Test House committee investigating the school massacre. Uvalde police officials agreed Friday to speak to the committee investigating, according to a Republican lawmaker leading the probe who had begun to publicly question why the officers were not cooperating sooner. "Took a little bit longer than we initially had expected," state Rep. Dustin Burrows said. On Thursday, Burrows signaled impatience with Uvalde police, tweeting that most people had fully cooperated with their investigation "to help determine the facts" and that he didn't understand why the city's police force "would not want the same." He did not say which members of the department will meet with the committee, which is set to continue questioning witnesses in Uvalde on Monday.
A federal judge in Texas on Thursday ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make public the data it relied on to license Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, imposing a dramatically accelerated schedule that should result in the release of all information within about eight months. That's roughly 75 years and four months faster than the FDA said it could take to complete a Freedom of Information Act request by a group of doctors and scientists seeking an estimated 450,000 pages of material about the vaccine. The court "concludes that this FOIA request is of paramount public importance," wrote U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman. The FDA didn't dispute it had an obligation to make the information public but argued that its short-staffed FOIA office only had the bandwidth to review and release 500 pages a month. While Pittman recognized "the â€unduly burdensome' challenges that this FOIA request may present to the FDA," in his four-page order, he resoundingly rejected the agency's suggested schedule. Rather than producing 500 pages a month – the FDA's proposed timeline – he ordered the agency to turn over 55,000 a month. That means all the Pfizer vaccine data should be public by the end of the summer rather than, say, the year 2097. Aaron Siri of Siri & Glimstad, who represents the plaintiffs, in an email said the decision "came down on the side of transparency and accountability." His clients ... have pledged to publish all the information they receive from the FDA on their website.
Note: Why did almost no major media pick up this important article? And read this revealing article on 800 individuals who Pfizer reported withdrew from their vaccine studies, some because of health problems which could have been caused by the vaccine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus vaccines from reliable major media sources.
New York City teachers want a third federal judge off their pandemic vaccine case over potential stock ownership conflicts, this time for what they say are stakes in Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. The teachers asked Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in the Southern District of New York to recuse herself from their challenge to the city's Covid-19 vaccine mandate for education workers after she was assigned to the case. Two other judges at the Manhattan court were off the case after the teachers requested they recuse themselves for similar holdings. The moves come as judicial stock holdings are under increased scrutiny. A Wall Street Journal report that found at least 131 judges heard cases in which they or a family member had a stock conflict prompted a new federal law requiring judicial financial disclosures be publicly accessible online. Judge Valerie E. Caproni, the initial judge on the case, recused after the teachers asked her to disqualify herself because of investments in Pfizer. According to her financial disclosure, the teachers said Caproni held between $50,000 and $100,000 in Pfizer stock at the end of 2020. The case was reassigned to Judge Edgardo Ramos, who the teachers also asked to recuse for his holdings in Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and other companies. The case was then reassigned to Buchwald after one day. Buchwald held Pfizer stock and Johnson & Johnson stock at the end of 2020, the teachers said, citing her financial disclosure.
Suffering from U.S. and EU sanctions, Russia made a surprise move–its central bank fixed the price of 5,000 rubles to a gram of gold. Few Western investors or executives noticed. Then, Russia ... announced that it would require payment for oil, natural gas and other of its significant exports in rubles. "What the Russians did was a genius," explains Jack Bouroudjian, former president of Commerce Bank in Chicago. "It forces people to go to the Russian central bank and pay gold to get rubles to make the transactions." The ruble had been trading in the range of 70 to 80 for a U.S. dollar. After the sanctions, it plummeted to 120. "Now the ruble basically recovered, trading 80 rubles to the dollar. And it's because of the way they pegged the ruble to gold." U.S. companies that have either international suppliers or customers could be jolted by Russia's golden move. Overseas business partners may need to barter gold for rubles to pay for inputs, like energy, minerals or fertilizers, and therefore demand that their U.S. counterparts pay in rubles or bullion. Additionally, American firms may need to acquire a stack of rubles to pay for their own inputs for foreign-based factories, warehouses or raw materials. Russia isn't alone in its desire. "China has been explicit" in its desire to displace the dollar and make the yuan more central. China is taking preliminary measures to defend their state-owned assets against financial sanctions similar to those the U.S. launched against Russia.
Dan Stevenson is neither a Buddhist nor a follower of any organized religion. The 11th Avenue resident in Oakland's Eastlake neighborhood was simply feeling hopeful in 2009 when he went to an Ace hardware store, purchased a 2-foot-high stone Buddha and installed it on a median strip in a residential area at 11th Avenue and 19th Street. He hoped that just maybe his small gesture would bring tranquility to a neighborhood marred by crime: dumping, graffiti, drug dealing, prostitution, robberies, aggravated assault and burglaries. What happened next was nothing short of stunning. Area residents began to leave offerings at the base of the Buddha: flowers, food, candles. A group of Vietnamese women in prayer robes began to gather at the statue to pray. And the neighborhood changed. People stopped dumping garbage. They stopped vandalizing walls with graffiti. And the drug dealers stopped using that area to deal. The prostitutes went away. I asked police to check their crime statistics for the block radius around the statue, and here's what they found: Since 2012, when worshipers began showing up for daily prayers, overall year-to-date crime has dropped by 82 percent. Robbery reports went from 14 to three, aggravated assaults from five to zero, burglaries from eight to four, narcotics from three to none, and prostitution from three to none. To this day, every morning at 7, worshipers ring a chime, clang a bell and play soft music as they chant morning prayers.
She didn't say a word – and that only made her message resonate more powerfully. Valedictorian Elizabeth Bonker recently delivered the commencement speech at Rollins College in Florida, urging her classmates to serve others and embrace the power of sharing. Bonker, who is affected by nonspeaking autism, hasn't spoken since she was 15 months old. But thanks to an accepting attitude from her peers and teachers and help from technology, she has overcome many challenges and graduated at the top of her class at the Orlando-area school. Bonker used text-to-speech software to deliver the commencement address – an honor for which she was chosen by her fellow valedictorians. "I have typed this speech with one finger with a communication partner holding a keyboard," she said. "I am one of the lucky few nonspeaking autistics who have been taught to type. That one critical intervention unlocked my mind from its silent cage, enabling me to communicate and to be educated like my hero Helen Keller." In her speech, Bonker also evoked another hero: Fred Rogers, the Florida college's most famous alumnus. Last year, the school unveiled a statue of the man widely known as Mister Rogers. And it has long embraced his lessons. "When he died, a handwritten note was found in his wallet," Bonker said. "It said, 'Life is for service.'" She urged her classmates to rip off a piece of paper from their program, write those words down, and tuck the message away in a safe place.
An Israeli orchestra has performed in Egypt for the first time in 40 years, surprising locals by playing Egyptian classics from the 50s and 60s. The event took place as part of Israel's 74th Independence Day celebrations at the Israeli embassy in Cairo, according to a Tuesday report by public broadcaster Kan. Ariel Cohen, the conductor and co-founder of the Firqat Alnoor orchestra, described the excitement of being able to perform in the Arab country, which signed a peace deal with Israel in 1979, but has seen relations remain frosty. "I couldn't believe it," Cohen said during an interview with the Kan public broadcaster. "I couldn't hold in my tears," he added, noting the warm welcome the group received wherever they went. "Egyptian music has always been a big part of my artistic life. Personally, performing there for me was a dream come true," Cohen said. "The Egyptian audience that attended the event were astonished to see an [Israeli] orchestra performing Egyptian music, and not pop or fusion, but the DNA of Egyptian musicâ€¦ and to play it as it was played in Egypt in the 50s or the 60s – they really appreciated it and complimented us. It was a great pleasure to perform in front of such an audience," he said. And while Cohen said he wasn't sure if music alone could create a warm relationship between Egyptians and Israelis, he said that "music, when it's done properly, can bring people together, and that's what we saw when we performed there."
US presidential candidate Robert F Kennedy was murdered in June 1968. It was less than five years after his older brother, President John F Kennedy, was also assassinated. Sirhan Sirhan was convicted of the crime, but many - including Kennedy's friend Paul Schrade - suspect another gunman was involved. Schrade was also shot that night. He's campaigning for the case to be reopened. [After speaking at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles], Kennedy left the platform quickly. He went through a side door into a pantry next to the hotel kitchen. He came in alone. He didn't have his three bodyguards with him. A number of shots rang out and Kennedy fell to the ground, wounded in the head. "And then I started shaking and I didn't know what was happening, I thought I'd been electrocuted or something, and I fell," [said Schrade]. "I'd been shot. I was in and out of consciousness. Most people in the pantry saw Sirhan firing at Kennedy. He was shot by somebody else, because at the same time, the second gunman fired behind Kennedy, four bullets at a very close range, at point blank range. The bullets taken from Kennedy were from a different gun. There were two different guns, two different bullets, two different shooters. The cover-up has lasted for years. Nobody knows who shot Robert Kennedy. They still say Sirhan is the lone gunman when he was not the lone gunman, based upon their own evidence. But we could never convince any district attorney or any police chief to reopen the case."
Note: In 2006, BBC described new evidence that placed "three senior CIA operatives at the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination" and reported that Sirhan may have been a Manchurian Candidate programmed to act as a decoy for the real assassin. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on assassinations from reliable major media sources.
Matt Litrell, a 22-year-old Amazon employee, was distributing union fliers outside the warehouse where he works this month when the cops showed up. An Amazon manager had called the sheriff's office in Campbellsville, Ky., that afternoon to report that protesters trying to start a union were trespassing on company property. While the officers eventually determined that Litrell wasn't on Amazon's property and left, Litrell plans to add the incident to the illegal-intimidation charge he filed with the National Labor Relations Board in May. Employees at Amazon facilities around the country whose union hopes were buoyed by the labor victory at a warehouse in Staten Island in April say in labor board filings and interviews that the company has been calling police, firing workers and generally cracking down on labor organizing since that historic win. Amazon has been accused of illegally firing workers in Chicago, New York and Ohio, calling the police on workers in Kentucky and New York, and retaliating against workers in New York and Pennsylvania, in what workers say is an escalation of long-running union-busting activities by the company. It's a sign that, even as lawmakers demand Amazon drop its objections to the union win in Staten Island ... the nation's second-largest private employer will continue to put up fierce opposition to any wave of union momentum. Eric Milner, a lawyer representing the Amazon Labor Union, called the company's objections to the election "a frivolous sideshow."
Two weeks ago, with no outcomes data on COVID-19 booster shots for 5-to-11-year-olds, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) vigorously recommended the booster for all 24 million American children in that age group. The CDC cited a small Pfizer study of 140 children that showed boosters elevated their antibody levels–an outcome known to be transitory. When that study concluded, a Pfizer spokesperson said it did not determine the efficacy of the booster in the 5-to-11-year-olds. But that didn't matter to the CDC. Seemingly hoping for a different answer, the agency put the matter before its own kangaroo court of curated experts, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). Committee members ... emphasized the importance of a universal booster message that applies to all age groups. Most remarkably, it didn't seem to matter to the CDC that 75.2 percent of children under age 11 already have natural immunity, according to a CDC study. Natural immunity is certainly much more prevalent today, given the ubiquity of the Omicron variant since February. CDC data from New York and California demonstrated that natural immunity was 2.8 times more effective in preventing hospitalization and 3.3 to 4.7 times more effective in preventing COVID infection compared to vaccination during the Delta wave. These findings are consistent with dozens of other clinical studies. Yet natural immunity has consistently and inexplicably been dismissed by the medical establishment.
Public health initiatives in the United States are suffering from a crisis of trust. Recent polls show that only a third of the public trusts insurance and pharmaceutical companies, while just 56 percent trust the government health agencies that are meant to regulate these industries. Another survey during the COVID-19 pandemic showed that only around half of Americans have a "great deal" of trust in the CDC, while a mere third have such trust in the Department of Health and Human Services. When the mRNA vaccines for COVID-19 were made available to the public free of charge, a national conversation began about "vaccine hesitancy"–the phenomenon of Americans choosing not to be vaccinated even when incentivized and, in some cases, coerced. Americans had watched public health experts lie, misdirect, ignore evidence and yield to professional pressure. Few wanted to be their guinea pigs. Not all the COVID-19 gaslighting was the fault of the media or politicians - much was implemented by experts abusing their apolitical position of trust. The experts ... including Drs. Deborah Birx and Anthony Fauci, insisted on the most asinine and evidence-free preventative measures, including facial coverings, lockdowns and social distancing. Their insulated role as health advisers enabled them to manipulate health policy in ways that benefited only themselves. The most stark example was the corruption of data collection at the Center for Disease Control–a scandal that crashed public trust to a new low.
The prices of new drugs in the U.S. have climbed for more than a decade, a study published Tuesday finds. According to a research letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the launch prices of new brand-name drugs increased by nearly 11 percent every year from 2008 through 2021. "These prices are increasing far out of proportion to other health care services," said the lead author, Dr. Benjamin Rome. Rome, and his colleagues observed price increases for all types of drugs, including cancer drugs, non-cancer drugs, pills and injections, he said. "Ultimately," he said, "all health care costs are borne by consumers – either direct out-of-pocket costs, higher premiums or taxes in the case of public health insurance." He added, "Insurance companies can also require prior authorization for expensive new drugs or not cover the drugs at all." The researchers calculated the negotiable sticker prices for new drugs on the market, or the net price. Such prices, which were adjusted for inflation, were calculated in light of rebates many drugmakers offer for the drugs. The researchers limited their scope to drugs sold by public companies; the net price averages included nearly 400 new drugs in total. Median drug prices for a year's supply increased from $2,115 in 2008 to more than $180,000 in 2021. The greatest increases were for cancer drugs and therapies used to treat rare diseases. In 2008, 9 percent of drugs cost $150,000 or more a year, compared to 47 percent in 2021.
Note: For a more detailed and eye-opening analysis, see this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma profiteering from reliable major media sources.
Survivors of sexual assault in church settings and their advocates have been calling on churches for years to admit the extent of abuse in their midst and to implement reforms. In 2017 that movement acquired the hashtag #ChurchToo, derived from the wider #MeToo movement, which called out sexual predators in many sectors of society. In recent weeks #ChurchToo has seen an especially intense set of revelations across denominations and ministries, reaching vast audiences in headlines and on screen with a message that activists have long struggled to get across. "For us it's just confirmation of what we've been saying all these years," said Jimmy Hinton, an advocate for abuse survivors. "There is an absolute epidemic of abuse in the church, in religious spaces." Calls for reform will be prominent this week in Anaheim, California, when the Southern Baptist Convention holds its annual meeting following an outside report that concluded its leaders mishandled abuse cases and stonewalled victims. The May 22 report came out the same day an independent church in Indiana was facing its own reckoning. Moments after its pastor, John B. Lowe II, confessed to years of "adultery," longtime member Bobi Gephart took the microphone to tell the rest of the story: She was just 16 when it started, she said. Emily Joy Allison, whose abuse story launched the #ChurchToo movement, said the sexual ethic preached in many conservative churches – and the shame and silence it breeds – are part of the problem.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Bilderberg is back with a vengeance. After a pandemic gap of two years, the elite global summit is being rebooted in ... Washington DC, with a high-powered guest list that includes the heads of Nato, the CIA, GCHQ, the US national security council, two European prime ministers, a healthy sprinkle of tech billionaires, and Henry Kissinger. Back in 2019, the last time Bilderberg met in the flesh, the conference kicked off with the optimistic topics "A Stable Strategic Order" and "What Next For Europe?" This year however, the agenda reeks of chaos and crisis. Top of the schedule is the blandly terrifying item "Global Realignments", followed by "Nato Challenges", the biggest of which is obviously Ukraine. To be sure, the Washington conference is a high-level council of war, headlined by the secretary general of Nato, Bilderberg veteran Jens Stoltenberg. He's joined at the luxurious Mandarin Oriental hotel by the Ukrainian ambassador to the US, Oksana Markarova, and the CEO of Naftogaz, the state-owned Ukrainian oil and gas company. Many consider it an older, less flashy Davos, staged annually by the World Economic Fund. The two events have a good bit in common. Klaus Schwab, the grisly head of Davos, is a former member of Bilderberg's steering committee. Formed in the mid-1950s as a joint project of British and US intelligence, the conference has kept its cards so close to its chest that the world's press has given up trying to get a glimpse of them.
Note: For more on this secretive, powerful group, explore this article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
It was the evening of June 9, 2006. Three [GuantĂˇnamo Bay] detainees were declared dead. The Navy says the men killed themselves by hanging, in separate nonadjoining cells, in the same way, at the same time, under video surveillance, with no guards noticing and no prisoners calling for the guards to intervene. They tell us that each of the men had bound their wrists and ankles with fabric and shoved fabric down their own throats – and then ask us to believe that they hung themselves. Despite explosive reporting by Scott Horton for Harper's Magazine in which multiple sources ... refuted the official narrative and gave evidence that a cover-up had taken place, no independent official investigation of the incident was ordered. This disturbing episode quickly turned unspeakably dark: Independent autopsies ordered by the families of the dead were useless since the bodies, which showed signs of torture, had been sent home with missing parts. The men's throats – the larynx, the hyoid bone, and the thyroid cartilage – had been removed. Even after this shocking finding ... there would be no investigations. The narrative that these men did something terrible and deserved to be imprisoned for it defines the very nature of the post-9/11 response. It doesn't matter that the original accusations against many of them were flimsy and easily disproved. Due process and the presumption of innocence, the defining values of the American ideal of justice, would be forever denied them.
Note: Read a troubling letter by Sharqawi Al Hajj, a Yemeni citizen detained at Guantanamo Bay. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources.
It was a small trial, just 18 rectal cancer patients, every one of whom took the same drug. But the results were astonishing. The cancer vanished in every single patient, undetectable by physical exam, endoscopy, PET scans or M.R.I. scans. Dr. Luis A. Diaz Jr. of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, an author of a paper published Sunday in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the results ... said he knew of no other study in which a treatment completely obliterated a cancer in every patient. "I believe this is the first time this has happened in the history of cancer," Dr. Diaz said. Dr. Alan P. Venook, a colorectal cancer specialist at the University of California, San Francisco, who was not involved with the study, said he also thought this was a first. A complete remission in every single patient is "unheard-of," he said. These rectal cancer patients had faced grueling treatments – chemotherapy, radiation and, most likely, life-altering surgery that could result in bowel, urinary and sexual dysfunction. Some would need colostomy bags. They entered the study thinking that, when it was over, they would have to undergo those procedures because no one really expected their tumors to disappear. But they got a surprise: No further treatment was necessary. "There were a lot of happy tears," said Dr. Andrea Cercek, an oncologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and a co-author of the paper. Another surprise, Dr. Venook added, was that none of the patients had clinically significant complications.
Note: Will this amazing treatment be suppressed, like so many others before it? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Bees may soon be able to take some of the sting out of cancer by detecting it early and getting patients into treatment sooner. Honeybees are known for their exquisitely sensitive sense of smell. They don't have noses, but their feet, tongues and antennae are packed with olfactory glands. They can also be quickly trained to do their "waggle dance" when they associate a specific smell with a food source. Taking advantage of these facts, Portuguese scientist Susana Soares has invented a two-chambered glass dome that uses bees to snuff out cancer. "The glass objects have two enclosures: a smaller chamber that serves as the diagnostic space and a bigger chamber where previously trained bees are kept for the short period of time necessary for them to detect general health," Soares wrote on her website. "People exhale into the smaller chamber, and the bees rush into it if they detect on the breath the odor that they were trained to target." Soares said she could train bees in 10 minutes to identify cancer and other diseases, such as tuberculosis and diabetes in their early stages. By exposing the insects to the odor molecules produced by an illness and then feeding them sugar, they learn to associate the smell with a food reward. Soares said that her bee chamber was an inexpensive, sustainable and highly accurate diagnostic tool. And, she points out, bees, as well as wasps, are already used regularly to sniff out land mines and illegal drugs.
About 70 companies are taking part in what is thought to be the world's biggest pilot scheme into the working pattern over the next six months. The experiment has been organised by a group campaigning for a shorter working week, but for no loss in wages. During the trial, employees will get 100% pay for 80% of the hours they would usually work, with the aim of being more productive. Academics from Oxford and Cambridge universities, as well experts at Boston College in the US, will manage the experiment in partnership with the think tank Autonomy. Companies ranging from office-based software developers and recruitment firms to charities and a local fish and chip shop are taking part. "The UK trial is historic", said Juliet Schor, the lead researcher on the Global 4-day week project. "The basis of this movement is that there's activity going on in many workplaces, particularly white collar workplaces, that's low-productivity and that you can cut without harming the business." She said the trouble with the five-day week is that work can simply expand to fit the time available. "Sticking to a rigid, centuries-old, time-based system doesn't make sense," Ms Schor added. "You can be 100% productive in 80% of the time in many workplaces, and companies adopting this around the world have shown that." Even if workers are just 10% more productive the economics can still stack up, she argued, if it leads to lower sickness rates, fewer staff leaving and making it easier to attract new recruits.
In nearly 300 pages, a third-party investigator has produced the Warren Commission report, the 9/11 Commission report, of Southern Baptist Christianity. At issue is sexual predation by Southern Baptist pastors and the further abuse of victims by indifferent and hostile church officials. According to the "Report of the Independent Investigation," credible accusations of sexual abuse that came to Southern Baptist leaders were routinely ignored to avoid legal liability or were referred back to unprepared local congregations. Survivors' calls and emails, the report asserts, were "met, time and time again, with resistance, stonewalling, and even outright hostility." When victims organized to draw attention to their suffering, some church officials treated them as instruments of Satan. The main responses of the SBC, described in the report, have been to minimize allegations and undermine victims. The Southern Baptist Convention must have realized it was dealing with highly explosive information. For years, it denied keeping a list of abusers. That turned out to be a lie. Staff at the Executive Committee had a file of 585 possible abusers. But the purpose of that internal list was institutional self-protection from lawsuits. "Their main concern," the report says of the SBC's leaders, "was avoiding any potential liability for the SBC." Consider that for a moment. Their main concern was not women and children who were violated by sexual predators. It was the limitation of their legal exposure.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Top administrative leaders for the Southern Baptist Convention, the largest Protestant denomination in America, said Tuesday that they would release a secret list of hundreds of pastors and other church-affiliated personnel accused of sexual abuse. An attorney for the church's executive committee announced the decision during a virtual meeting called in response to the release of a scathing investigative report detailing how the committee mishandled allegations of sexual abuse and stonewalled numerous survivors. The 288-page report by Guidepost Solutions ... contains several explosive revelations. Among those were details of how D. August Boto, the executive committee's former vice president and general counsel, and former church spokesman Roger Oldham kept their own private list of abusive pastors. Gene Besen, the committee's interim counsel, said during Tuesday's virtual meeting that releasing the list is an important step toward transparency. The names of survivors, confidential witnesses and any uncorroborated allegations of sexual abuse will be redacted from the list that will be made public. After the report's release, more sexual abuse survivors have been contacting the executive committee to tell their stories, Besen said. Survivors and advocates have long called for a public database of abusers. The creation of an "offender information system" was one of the key recommendations in the report.
The more details that emerge about how police responded to the massacre in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, the clearer it is that the already well-funded, heavily armed and amply trained law enforcement officers on the scene failed to save the lives of 19 children and two of their teachers. Salvador Ramos murdered 21 people. Despite earlier, misleading claims from law enforcement officials, it appears that no police officers engaged with the shooter before he entered the school. Instead of rushing in to protect the children and staff when reports of a gunman approaching the school were made at 11:30 a.m., police instead waited outside and aggressively confronted parents who were begging them to enter. The parents were threatened with arrest – one cop brandished a Taser – as they attempted to access the school to save their kids themselves. The police failed at protecting the schoolchildren, yes, but we should not be under the illusion that this is an example of the cops failing at their jobs. As far we can tell from reports, police at the scene acted as they usually do, in accordance with standard policing practice: Rather than risk a hail of gunfire to stop the killer, they kept themselves safe. It is disgusting, not shocking, that police officers would sooner harass and handcuff parents – parents begging them to save their children from a massacre – than they would run in and put themselves in the line of fire.
The Covid-19 pandemic has been good for the wallets of the wealthy. Some 573 people have joined the billionaire ranks since 2020, bringing the worldwide total to 2,668, according to an analysis released by Oxfam on Sunday. That means a new billionaire was minted about every 30 hours, on average, so far during the pandemic. The report, which draws on data compiled by Forbes, looks at the rise of inequality over the past two years. It is timed to coincide with the kickoff of the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, a gathering of some of the wealthiest people and world leaders. Billionaires have seen their total net worth soar by $3.8 trillion, or 42%, to $12.7 trillion during the pandemic. A large part of the increase has been fueled by strong gains in the stock markets, which was aided by governments injecting money into the global economy. Much of the jump in wealth came in the first year of the pandemic. It then plateaued and has since dropped a bit. At the same time, Covid-19, growing inequality and rising food prices could push as many as 263 million people into extreme poverty this year. Billionaires in the food and agribusiness sector have seen their total wealth increase by $382 billion, or 45%, over the past two years, after adjusting for inflation. Some 62 food billionaires were created since 2020. Forty new pandemic billionaires were created in the pharmaceutical industry, which has been at the forefront of the battle against Covid-19 and the beneficiary of billions in public funding.
After her longtime partner died of kidney cancer, federal agents knocked on Gail Deckman's door outside Chicago and told her she was in trouble: She had kept thousands of dollars in Social Security disability benefits that should have stopped when he died. The inspector general's office, which investigates disability fraud and tries to recoup money for the government, ultimately charged her $119,392 – nearly three times what she received in error. The inflated fees were set in motion during the Trump administration, when attorneys in charge of a little-known anti-fraud program run by the inspector general's office levied unprecedented fines against Deckman and more than 100 other beneficiaries without due process. The escalating penalties created a giant jump – at least on paper – in the amount of money the inspector general could show lawmakers it was bringing in. A Chicago woman was fined $132,000 after wrongly receiving as much as $10,618 in benefits. A Denver woman was sanctioned $168,000 after cashing as much as $14,960 in wrongly received checks. The remarkable penalties led to tumult inside the Office of Inspector General Gail Ennis, where a whistleblower was targeted for retaliation, according to a ruling this month. [Deborah] Shaw testified that she was shocked when she was directed in early 2019 to issue a penalty of $176,000 to a woman who had already written a check for $26,000 to repay the government the entire amount she had wrongly received in disability benefits.
The wage gap between chief executives and workers at some of the US companies with the lowest-paid staff grew even wider last year, with CEOs making an average of $10.6m, while the median worker received $23,968. A study of 300 top US companies released by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) on Tuesday found the average gap between CEO and median worker pay jumped to 670-to-1. The ratio was up from 604-to-1 in 2020. Forty-nine firms had ratios above 1,000-to-1. At more than a third of the companies surveyed, IPS found that median worker pay did not keep pace with inflation. The report ... comes amid a wave of unionization efforts among low wage workers and growing scrutiny of the huge share buyback programs many corporations have been using to inflate their share prices. US companies announced plans to buy back more than $300bn of their own shares in the first quarter of the year and Goldman Sachs has estimated that buybacks could top $1tn in 2022. Share-related remuneration makes up the largest portion of senior executive compensation and as buybacks generally boost a company's share price, they also boost executive pay. The biggest buyback firm was home improvement chain Lowe's, which spent $13bn on share repurchases. That money could have given each of its 325,000 employees a $40,000 raise. Instead, median pay at the company fell 7.6% to $22,697. IPS noted that many of the companies in its sample were also the recipients of large federal government contracts.
Looking Glass Factory, a company based in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, revealed its latest consumer device: a slim, holographic picture frame that turns photos taken on iPhones into 3D displays. Looking Glass received $2.54 million of "technology development" funding from In-Q-Tel, the venture capital arm of the CIA, from April 2020 to March 2021 and a $50,000 Small Business Innovation Research award from the U.S. Air Force in November 2021 to "revolutionize 3D/virtual reality visualization." Across the various branches of the military and intelligence community, contract records show a rush to jump on holographic display technology, augmented reality, and virtual reality display systems as the latest trend. Critics argue that the technology isn't quite ready for prime time, and that the urgency to adopt it reflects the Pentagon's penchant for high-priced, high-tech contracts based on the latest fad in warfighting. Military interest in holographic imaging, in particular, has grown rapidly in recent years. Military planners in China and the U.S. have touted holographic technology to project images "to incite fear in soldiers on a battlefield." Other uses involve the creation of three-dimensional maps of villages of specific buildings and to analyze blast forensics. Palmer Luckey, who founded the technology startup Anduril Industries ... has received secretive Air Force contracts to develop next-generation artificial intelligence capabilities under the so-called Project Maven initiative.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on intelligence agency corruption from reliable major media sources.
Professor John Lorber ... was not jesting totally when he addressed a conference of pediatricians with a paper entitled "Is your brain really necessary?" "There's a young student at this university," says Lorber, "who has an IQ of 126, has gained a first-class honors degree in mathematics, and is socially completely normal. And yet the boy has virtually no brain." The student's physician at the university noticed that the youth had a slightly larger than normal head, and so referred him to Lorber, simply out of interest. "When we did a brain scan on him," Lorber recalls, "we saw that instead of the normal 4.5-centimeter thickness of brain tissue between the ventricles and the cortical surface, there was just a thin layer of mantle measuring a millimeter or so. His cranium is filled mainly with cerebrospinal fluid." Startling as it may seem, this case is nothing new to the medical world. A substantial proportion of p