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.
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.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
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.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.