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Showing posts from October, 2014

Nobel Laureate Malala Donates $50,000 to Gaza

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai announced Wednesday that she is donating $50,000 to rebuild schools in Gaza. The amount represents the full proceeds of the World’s Children’s Prize for the Rights of the Child, sometimes called the "Children's Nobel," which the 17-year-old education activist was awarded in Sweden on Wednesday.   Read more .

Beware the Fear Industrial Complex

Waging Nonviolence - Be Afraid. Be very afraid. That is the message to moms (and dads too, but they tend not to be as susceptible). Be afraid of strangers, as well as friends and family too. Be afraid of bugs and dirt outside, and snot and germs inside. Be afraid of cars and bikes and motorcycles and anything with wheels. Be afraid of stairs and cribs and co-sleeping and swaddles. Be afraid of plastic and lead and vaccines and un-vaccines and asbestos and bad things in the water, air and soil.   Read more .

Newly developed fiberoptic cable 2,500X faster than fastest internet - Imagine downloading your favorite flick in 31 thousandths of a second. Such insane internet speeds are now a reality, with researchers rolling out a 255 terabits per second fiberoptic network which could transport the entire Internet on a single cable. The cable, the joint effort of Dutch and US scientists, is 2,550 times faster than the fastest single-fiber links in commercial operation today.   Read more .

European recognition of Palestine will save the two-state solution

HAARETZ - To recognize the State of Palestine on the 1967 border is a moral step that should be taken by all states that claim to support the two-state solution. It is an investment in peace that sends the right message to both Israelis and Palestinians. To Israel, the occupying power, recognition of Palestine is a strong sign that their illegal colonization policies are null and void, but also that they don’t have a veto right over the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to freedom. To the Palestinians, recognition is a reaffirmation of their right to self-determination and a step in the right direction. It proves that diplomacy and international law are the way forward and that the international community will side with those who decide to respect its laws and principles.   Read more .

Israeli soldier says ‘IDF don’t see Palestinian people as people, children as children’ - Israeli troops serving in the occupied West Bank see Palestinians not as humans, and when they are ordered to arrest someone, it does not matter whether it is a child or an elderly person, former IDF soldier Nadav Bigelman, told RT’s In the Now show. On Sunday the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) arrested an 11-year-old mentally ill Palestinian boy living in the outskirts of Hebron, a Palestinian town in the West Bank, a video revealed by Israeli rights group B’Tselem revealed. The teenager was arrested for throwing rocks at military vehicles.   Read more .

Animals Die, Woman Cries, but We Are Unmoved

Lauren Gazzola @ Truthout - Animal rights activist Kelly Atlas unexpectedly became infamous last week as "The Chicken Lady" when video of a protest she conducted inside a Bay Area restaurant went viral, garnering international press attention and even sparking a feud with Glenn Beck. She also became yet another woman dismissed for being "emotional."   Read more .

‘Mumia Bill’ signed in Pennsylvania lets prisoners be sued over speech - Prisoners serving time in the state of Pennsylvania can now be sued for speaking up from behind bars after Governor Tom Corbett signed into law this week the Revictimization Relief Act that legislatures rushed to approve only days earlier. The bill, signed on Tuesday by Corbett, a Republican, allows victims of “a personal injury crime” to sue the perpetrator if that offender “perpetuates the continuing effect of the crime on the victim.” State Rep. Mike Vereb, a Republican and a co-author of the act, announced earlier this month that he’d be rallying lawmakers to support the bill after former death row inmate Mumia Abu-Jamal was allowed to record a commencement speech that was played for graduates of Goddard College during an October 5 ceremony.   Read more .

Washington Post Repeat: A 'Worthless and Whiny' Attack on a Genuine Journalistic Hero, Gary Webb

Peter Hart @ FAIR - In 1996, in the wake of his explosive "Dark Alliance" series for the San Jose Mercury News (8/18-20/96), the Washington Post was one of the major newspapers to attack Gary Webb (FAIR Blog,  10/21/14). It's 2014, and they're still at it. Since the release of the film Kill the Messenger, there has been renewed focus on Webb's story, which documented how CIA-linked drug traffickers were supplying US drug dealers with cheap cocaine that helped fuel the crack epidemic in the 1980s. For the Post, this means it's time to argue once again that Webb got the story wrong.  Read more .

Blackwater Founder Remains Rich and Free While His Former Employees Go Down on Murder Charges

Jeremy Scahill @ The Intercept - A federal jury in Washington, D.C., returned guilty verdicts against four Blackwater operatives charged with killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding scores of others in Baghdad in 2007. The jury found one guard, Nicholas Slatten, guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter: Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard. The jury is still deliberating on additional charges against the operatives, who faced a combined 33 counts... read more .

Two Confirmed Dead In Shooting Near Canadian Parliament

Common Dreams - Two people are confirmed dead from Wednesday's shooting. The Canadian soldier shot while guarding Canada's War Memorial has reportedly died from his injuries. Furthermore, a "male suspect" is confirmed dead. Police are reportedly searching cars leaving attempting to travel from Ottawa to Quebec and going door to door in downtown Ottawa, where schools remain on lockdown.   Read more .

In Ferguson, the Grand Jury Is Out and the Fix Is in

Akira Watts @ Buzzflash - Over the weekend, while a white riot occurred in New Hampshire over something to do with pumpkins, grand jury deliberations continued in Ferguson, Missouri, in the case of the killing of Michael Brown. A parallel federal civil rights investigation into the shooting continues. Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Brown, has offered his version of the story to both – and his testimony has now been leaked to the press. Unsurprisingly, it contradicts the eyewitness accounts that have thus far emerged in the case, and continues to paint Brown as the an aggressor who had to be killed in the incident.   Read more .

In Memory of Oscar de la Renta, dead at 82

Daily Beast - A fortnight ago, Michelle Obama wore a navy embroidered cocktail dress by the American designer Oscar de la Renta to a cocktail party for the Fashion Education Workshop she hosted at the White House. The dress was, of course, beautiful and elegant and tasteful—like everything de la Renta, who died on Monday at the age of 82, touched. But, more noteworthy, it marked the first time in her seven years as first lady that Obama donned one of the famed couturier’s designs in public. This was a big deal: Oscar de la Renta’s name is practically synonymous with “first lady” fashion—his obituaries identify him as someone who “dressed” president’s wives.   Read more .

Diane Von Furstenberg Remembers Oscar de la Renta, ‘Renaissance Man’

TIME Magazine - Oscar de la Renta was one of the greatest American designers ever. He adored women and made them beautiful. He loved flowers and he made women feel like flowers. He was a Renaissance man, the most elegant man, who befriended and was as beloved by queens and first ladies, as by seamstresses and gardeners. He was compassionate, generous and a great philanthropist. A leader in the industry, he connected with people of all ages. A skillful couturier trained in Europe and a passionate Latin man with an amazing optimism and love of life... read more .

Canadian Parliament on lockdown after shots fired at National War Memorial

USA Today - In Ottawa, police confirmed a man opened fire at the National War Memorial outside the government complex shortly before 10 a.m., hitting a soldier who was standing guard. Jason Kenney, an MP and Minister of Employment, Social Development & Multiculturalism, tweeted: "Condolences to family of the soldier killed, (and) prayers for the Parliamentary guard wounded," Kenney wrote. "Canada will not be terrorized or intimidated."   Read more .

U.S. jury convicts ex-Blackwater guards in 2007 Baghdad killings

Reuters - In a sweeping victory for the U.S. government, a federal jury on Wednesday found four former Blackwater guards guilty on nearly every count they faced in connection with the 2007 killing of 14 unarmed Iraqis at a Baghdad traffic circle. Jurors found three of the ex-guards guilty of manslaughter and weapons charges, and a fourth guilty of murder.   Read more .

The Shell Game of Contingent Employment

The Public Eye - In 2011, Host Hotels & Resorts, Inc., a corporate partner of the Marriott hotel chain, used a general contractor that it had hired to renovate guest rooms at the Host-owned Copley Marriott in Boston.   A convoluted web of subcontractors emerged, as the general contractor subcontracted the work to several other companies, and some of that subcontracted work was then further subcontracted, with more than a dozen firms working on the same project.   Read more .

How Germany managed to abolish university tuition fees

Barbara Kehm @ The Conversation - If Germany has done it, why can’t we? That’s the question being asked by many students around the world in countries that charge tuition fees to university. From this semester, all higher education will be free for both Germans and international students at universities across the country, after Lower Saxony became the final state to abolish tuition fees.   Read more .

Senator Bernie Sanders says US is failing as a democracy

Jon Queally @ Common Dreams - The Independent U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders was in the city of Richmond, California on Thursday and said local elections in the city have become prime examples of how U.S. politics, at all levels, have become corrupted by the unlimited amount of money wealthy corporations and individuals can spend on campaigns.   Read more .

The Disturbing Expansion of the Military-Industrial Complex

Mairead Maguire @ Inter Press Service - How can we explain that in the 2lst century we are still training millions of men and women in our armed forces and sending them to war?  There are more choices than war or peace, there are multi-optional choices and a civilian-based non-military diplomatic-political policy has more chance of succeeding in solving a violent conflict.   Read more .

The Guantanamo Bay Prison Murders

Ray McGovern @ Consortium News - There’s more of a mystery to how three Guantanamo detainees died on June 10, 2006, than I realized when I described their deaths as suicides in a recent article about force-feeding methods at the notorious US prison. Some very experienced investigators who have examined the evidence suspect the three were victims of homicides amid the torture regime employed by President George W. Bush’s underlings.   Read more .

Who Benefits from Billions Pledged for Gaza Reconstruction?

Electronic Inifada - A donor conference hosted in Cairo on Sunday to raise funds for the reconstruction of war-devastated Gaza has boasted $5.4 billion in pledges from various Western and Arab governments. Yet Israel is the true beneficiary of this aid money. The self-declared international community has once again footed the reconstruction bill as it arms Israel with the weaponry and ensures it the impunity that only rewards its brutal onslaught on Gaza and essentially guarantees its repetition.   Read more .

Pesticide Use by Farmers Linked to High Rates of Depression, Suicides

Environmental Health News - On his farm in Iowa, Matt Peters worked from dawn to dusk planting his 1,500 acres of fields with pesticide-treated seeds. “Every spring I worried about him,” said his wife, Ginnie. “Every spring I was glad when we were done.” In the spring of 2011, Ginnie Peters' “calm, rational, loving” husband suddenly became depressed and agitated. “He told me ‘I feel paralyzed’,” she said. “He couldn’t sleep or think. Out of nowhere he was depressed.”   Read more .


The Intercept - The National Security Agency has had agents in China, Germany, and South Korea working on programs that use “physical subversion” to infiltrate and compromise networks and devices, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. The documents, leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, also indicate that the agency has used “under cover” operatives to gain access to sensitive data and systems in the global communications industry... read more .

“It breaks my heart”: How a SWAT team upended my baby’s life — and got away with it

Salon Magazine - My son will be 2 years old next week. He’s recovering from a total of eight surgeries, one of which was to reattach his nose to his face. For those who don’t know, it’s been over five months since the night a SWAT team broke into the house in which we were staying. It was the middle of the night, and even though our minivan with car seats inside was parked in the driveway and our children’s toys were in the yard, the SWAT officers claimed they had no way of knowing there were kids inside.   Read more .

Asset seizures fuel police spending

Washington Post - Police agencies have used hundreds of millions of dollars taken from Americans under federal civil forfeiture law in recent years to buy guns, armored cars and electronic surveillance gear. They have also spent money on luxury vehicles, travel and a clown named Sparkles. The details are contained in thousands of annual reports submitted by local and state agencies to the Justice Department’s Equitable Sharing Program, an initiative that allows local and state police to keep... read more .

Christopher Columbus and the US Holocaust: Nightmare that Lives On

Jeffery McCord @ Truthout - As we observe the 522nd anniversary of Columbus landing in the "New World," we might pause amid parades, football games, hot dogs and beer to consider the nearly lost tale of Columbus' first landing on what is now United States soil. It began a conflict lasting 400 years. The Taino Native Americans, who once populated Caribbean islands, are the virtually anonymous authors of several nouns used in daily conversations across our globe, for example: hurricane, canoe, barbecue, tobacco and hammock.  Yet, beyond unwittingly expanding world language, these aborigines played a key role in ... read more .

Same Sex marriage ban overturned in North Carolina

CBS News - A federal judge in North Carolina struck down the state's same sex marriage ban Friday, opening the way for the first same-sex weddings in the state to begin immediately. U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn, Jr., in Asheville issued a ruling shortly after 5 p.m. declaring the ban approved by state voters in 2012 unconstitutional.   Read more .

Michael Brown Redux: Police Officer Fatally Shoots Black Teen in Saint Louis, Missouri

New York Magazine - Angry and hurt protesters took to the streets in St. Louis on Wednesday night after a police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old in the Shaw neighborhood, near where 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot in August. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police and protesters have wildly different versions of how the shooting occurred. Police say four pedestrians fled after they were stopped by an off-duty officer on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.   Read more .

Same-sex marriage legal in more than half the states

CNN - Same-sex marriage became a reality on Thursday in Nevada, creating a nationwide majority of states allowing gays and lesbians to legally wed. West Virginia is expected to start soon. In Nevada, a private group that had led the legal fight to defend the voter-approved ban suddenly withdrew its pending appeal for a stay with the U.S. Supreme Court.   Read more .

Lego Ends Shell Contract After Greenpeace 'Save the Arctic' Campaign

Nadia Prupis @ Common Dreams - Lego announced on Thursday that it would not be renewing its marketing contract with Shell, after Greenpeace campaigned for several months for the Danish toy maker to end its decades-long partnership with the oil giant. As part of its push to call on Lego to end the contract, Greenpeace created a video that depicted a pure, wholesome Arctic landscape, built from Legos, that slowly flooded with oil as various characters wept and drowned.   Read more .

New Report Shows Voter ID Laws Are 'Intended to Discourage Voting'

Andrea Germanos @ Common Dreams - Laws that require voters to present identification at the polls reduced voter turnout in the 2008 and 2012 general elections, according to a report released Wednesday from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Further, voter ID laws decreased turnout to a greater degree among new, young, and African-American voters.   Read more .

California aquifers contaminated with billions of gallons of fracking wastewater - Industry illegally injected about 3 billion gallons of fracking wastewater into central California drinking-water and farm-irrigation aquifers, the state found after the US Environmental Protection Agency ordered a review of possible contamination. According to documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, the California State Water Resources Board found that at least nine of the 11 hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, wastewater injection sites that were shut down in July upon suspicion of contamination were in fact riddled with toxic fluids used to unleash energy reserves deep underground. The aquifers, protected by state law and the federal Safe Water Drinking Act, supply quality water in a state currently suffering unprecedented drought.   Read more .

"Have F---ing Beliefs, Not Teams": Citizen Radio's Hosts Talk #NEWSFAIL

Joe Macare @ Truthout - When they started podcasting in 2008, Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein "were living out of our car," says Kilstein. "Allison hadn't been published yet as a writer, and I wasn't getting stand-up gigs because of my politics - and I probably wasn't funny as well, but the political thing makes me sound like Lenny Bruce."   Read more .

Marriott's Shameful Hotel Tipping Scam

Jim Hightower @ Buzzflash - As an old popular song from the 1970s asks, what do you get if you "work your fingers right down to the bone"? Boney fingers. As the hardworking housekeepers for the sprawling Marriott chain of hotels know, that's more than a cute song lyric; it's the truth. Mostly women, these "room attendants," as they're called, are paid a poverty wage of barely $8 an hour by this hugely profitable lodging conglomerate to preform a very hard, physical job.   Read mor e.

Another Fiery Derailment Puts Spotlight on Hazardous Train Shipments

Lauren McCauley @ Common Dreams - The fiery derailment of a train carrying petroleum products and other hazardous chemicals in Saskatchewan on Tuesday puts yet another "spotlight" on the dangers posed to people and planet by transporting oil and other hazardous materials, environmental groups charged on Wednesday. Residents described the scene as a "flash of light," after 26 of the train's 100 cars went off the rails.   Read more .

ISIS and America’s Soundtrack of Hysteria

TomDispatch - It happened so fast that, at first, I didn’t even take it in.  Two Saturdays ago, a friend and I were heading into the Phillips Museum in Washington, D.C., to catch a show of neo-Impressionist art when we ran into someone he knew, heading out.  I was introduced and the usual chitchat ensued.  At some point, she asked me, “Do you live here?” “No,” I replied, “I’m from New York.” She smiled, responded that it, too, was a fine place to live, then hesitated just a beat before adding in a quiet, friendly voice: “Given ISIS, maybe neither city is such a great place to be right now.”  Goodbyes were promptly said and we entered the museum.   Read more .

Federal judge rules Ferguson police violated citizens' rights

USA Today - A federal judge ruled Monday that a tactic police used to control protesters in Ferguson, Mo., is unconstitutional and issued a preliminary injunction halting the practice. U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry in St. Louis ordered law enforcement agencies to stop enforcing a requirement that protesters keep moving rather than stand still.   Read more .

Fear Incorporated: Terrorism as Thorazine

John Atcheson @ Common Dreams - In 2003 we invaded Iraq with no real reason being offered.  Hundreds of thousands protested. We’re in the process of doing it again, and again, no credible reasons are being offered, but no one is taking to the streets.  We are as amiable sheep, heading to slaughter.   Read more .

Housing Rights Group Says HUD Program Helps Wall Street, Hurts Homeowners

Rebecca Burns @ Truthout - After learning that his home was in foreclosure in July 2013, James Cheeseman received an even more unpleasant surprise when he showed up in court the following January. He was told that his mortgage loan had been sold by JP Morgan Chase and purchased by a company he had never heard of before - LVS Financial. Cheeseman had already applied for a loan modification from Chase and says he was still awaiting a response when the loan sale occurred - a move that he and his attorney argue violates New York State foreclosure laws.   Read more .

Salmon people pray for sacred fish to return to historic home

Al Jazeera - Along a rocky shore where his ancestors gathered for millennia at once thundering but now flooded rapids, Richard Armstrong stepped into the Columbia River to pray. With eyes closed, Armstrong, a member of the Okanagan Nation Alliance, pounded a rhythm on a small hide drum and prayed and sang in a Salish-language dialect. His prayers urged the U.S. and Canada to renegotiate the Columbia River Treaty, which has cut salmon off from this stretch of water.   Read more .

JP Morgan Says 76 Million Households Affected By Data Breach

Forbes Magazine - JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest bank by assets, has revealed the scope of the cyber-attack that compromised its data in mid-August. And while the number of households affected doesn’t surpass the 110 million accounts that were compromised in the Target TGT +0.8% data breach in late 2013, it does comprise more than half of all U.S. households.   Read more .

Half the World’s Animal Population Vanished Since 1970

Eco Watch - The just-released tenth biennial edition of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Living Planet report found that between hunting, habitat destruction, environmental degradation and the effects of climate change, the world’s animal populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish has dropped 52 percent since 1970. The study, produced in partnership with the Zoological Society of London, Global Footprint Network and Water Footprint Network, measured 10,000 species.   Read more .

Sweden to recognize Palestine as a State - Washington will not be the one to decide Sweden’s policies, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said after the US criticized Stockholm’s plans to officially recognize Palestine as a sovereign state. “It's not the US that decides our politics,” Wallström said, adding that the new Swedish authorities expected to “get criticism” after their announcement on Palestinian statehood.   Read more .

Philadelphia becomes largest US city to decriminalize marijuana - Philadelphia has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana in the city, reducing penalties for possession and public use to minor fines and community service. The move makes Philadelphia the largest city in the United States to decriminalize pot. Mayor Michael Nutter signed the legislation on Wednesday, making the possession of 30 grams or less a civil offense. Though the law, which will go into effect on Oct. 20, does not legalize marijuana in the city.   Read more .

The FBI and the Shattering of Students for a Democratic Society

Aaron Leonard @ Truthout - This past August, when protests in response to the police killing of Michael Brown did not abate after the first few days, instead attracting forces such as the New Black Panthers and the Revolutionary Communist Party, first the right-wing blogosphere, then other media, started reporting on "outside agitators." What was remarkable - leaving aside what one thinks of the particular actors being "outed" - was the way such media seemed focused on and effectively worked to undermine, a certain kind of protest. Such press behavior in Missouri along with such things as revelations of spying on Muslim-American leaders, the making an example of Occupy activist Cecily McMillan, and other such repressive phenomenon, point to the omnipresence in 2014 of ubiquitous police-state measures in play. Sometimes covert, sometimes just the normal operation of things... read more .

Police departments nationwide retalate against "Cop Watch" organizations

Candice Bernd @ Truthout - When communities attempt to police the police, they often get, well... policed. In several states, organized groups that use police scanners and knowledge of checkpoints to collectively monitor police activities by legally and peacefully filming cops on duty have said they've experienced retaliation, including unjustified detainment and arrests as well as police intimidation.   Read more .

Empty Nests of the North: "Massive Chick Deaths" in Seabird Colonies

Environmental Health News - When the days grew long, seabirds flocked to this hamlet on the edge of the Arctic to rear their chicks under the midnight sun. “Kria,” shrieked the terns, calling summer up from the slumbering ground. Black cliffs were transformed into snowbanks of white kittiwakes. Puffins whirred between land and sea. Murres plied the shoreline, fulmars patrolled the skies. Everywhere sounded their vibrant chorus. These days, a scatter of stubborn holdovers streaks the sky and paddles the bay, but the legions are gone. The chicks have perished, their bereft parents have returned to sea.   Read more .

What 35,000 Walruses Forced to the Beach Tell Us About Global Warming

Sarah Lazare @ Common Dreams - Federal biologists have discovered an unusual phenomenon on a beach in northwest Alaska: a massive gathering of walruses—35,000 of them—crowded onto a small strip of shore. This swarm, which was sighted in a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration aerial survey on Saturday, is a direct result of a warming climate and declining sea ice, say scientists.   Read more .