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Pam Rotella's Vegetarian FUN page -- News on health, nutrition, the environment, politics, and more!

Click to visit VeggieCooking.com NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012

News from the Week of 17th to 23rd of February 2013

Educational TV actually produces aggression in young children (23 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) Children who watch educational TV are more aggressive toward other children, according to a study conducted by researchers from Iowa State University, the University of Buffalo, and published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology.

"This study shows that children can learn more than one lesson out of a given program," researcher Douglas Gentile said. "They can learn the educational lesson that was intended, but they're also learning other things along the way."

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that children not be allowed to view any screen-based media, including television or computers, until at least the age of two. Research has demonstrated that such media exposure in toddlers can lead to worse mental, physical and social health later in childhood. The new study was conducted on children between the ages of two and five; however, it demonstrated that TV viewing carries risks even past the toddler years.

The researchers observed children interacting with each other in both playground and classroom settings for approximately two and a half hours, and also collected behavioral reports about each child from parents and teachers. They compared this with information collected from parents about how much television each child watched, and which programs they viewed.
[Read more...]

Caffeine during pregnancy lowers birth weight (23 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) Consuming caffeine while pregnant leads to low birth weights and longer pregnancies, according to a new study conducted by researchers from Norwegian Institute for Public Health and published in the journal BMC Medicine.

"As the risk for having a low birth weight baby was associated with caffeine consumption, pregnant women might be counseled to reduce their caffeine intake during pregnancy as much as possible," said lead researcher Verena Sengpiel, of Sahlgrenska University in Sweden.

Caffeine is able to cross the placental barrier, which is meant to supply nutrients to the developing child but keep out other chemicals. Because caffeine can be toxic and the human embryo cannot yet produce enyzmes to inactivate the substance, the World Health Organization recommends that pregnant women consume no more than 300 milligrams of caffeine per day. Some national governments recommend that intake be kept to 200 milligrams or fewer.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the average home-brewed, eight ounce cup of coffee contains between 95 and 200 milligrams of caffeine. Coffee purchased at coffee shops is typically much higher in caffeine, and often comes in much larger servings.
[Read more...]

State, federal officials mum on killing of whooping crane (23 February 2013)
There are only about 300 whooping cranes left in the wild, and they are protected by federal law.

In other words, it is a federal crime to kill one, a violation of the Endangered Species Act, and the feds take it seriously. Just this month, a young man in South Dakota pleaded guilty to killing one last April, and he was given an $85,000 fine, put on two years probation, ordered to surrender his rifle and banned from hunting, fishing or trapping anywhere in the country for two years.

Six weeks ago, down at San Jose Island, somebody shot and killed a young whooping crane. And, for now, that's the end of the story, because nobody at Texas Parks and Wildlife or U.S. Fish and Wildlife will talk about it. The only reason anyone else has any inkling about it is because a draft TPWD press release about the incident was accidentally posted to the Internet.

Don't bother looking. It's been taken down. "We messed up," says Lydia Saldaña, head of communications for TPWD. "It was never meant to be a press release. We posted something we shouldn't have."

All we know about the incident comes from the hedged language of the now-you-see-it, now-you-don't press release and a swirl of rumors, innuendo and coffee shop banter around Rockport, which is near San Jose Island and the winter home of the cranes.
[Read more...]

Talking with evil: My interviews with a serial killer, rapist and child molester (23 February 2013)
What surprised me most about Malvo was his eloquence. He was polite, refined, respectful. Ten years after he and Muhammad embarked on a 23-day killing spree that took at least 10 lives, a boy had grown into a man; rage and bloodlust had morphed into contrition and, strangely, optimism. He was expressive, even wise.

"I see opportunity everywhere," Malvo said. All he sees for 23 hours a day -- and will see every day for the rest of his life -- are the walls of a tiny cell. He interacts with almost no one. Opportunity?

He beamed, his hands doing a lot of the talking. He has studied psychology, history, philosophy and real estate, at one point working with a pen pal to help the man set up real estate deals in the Midwest. He is into yoga and practices Eastern meditation. He writes poetry, creates art.Malvo makes the most of a situation that he created.

Maybe more than 85,000 hours -- and counting -- to think about it helps. He darkened as he talked about the killings. There was no joy there, no boasting. It was horrible in the telling.

He and Muhammad scouted shooting locations, planned escapes, hid the gun near some of the outdoor sites so that, if questioned after a shooting, they would not have it with them. Malvo dissected for me what went well and what didn't; his recollections were excruciatingly detailed.
[Read more...]

Iran 'finds' mass uranium deposits, picks 16 new nuclear sites (23 February 2013) [Rense.com]
Iran has decided on 16 locations to build new nuclear power plants in a drive to boost the country's electricity output over the next 15 years. Tehran also announced the discovery of substantial uranium deposits to fuel the country's nuclear program.

Experts from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) chose the 16 sites across the country for their resistance to military airstrikes and earthquakes, among other factors, Tehran's State TV said Saturday.

Iran currently has one operational nuclear power plant, located outside the southern coastal city of Bushehr. The head of the AEOI said in December another plant is slated for construction next to the Bushehr plant.

The expansion plan comes on the back of the discovery of new uranium resources "in southern coastal areas" that will place the country's reserves at 4,400 tons -- nearly a threefold increase over previous estimates.
[Read more...]

Vatican dismisses reports linking pope's resignation to gay conclave discovery (23 February 2013)
The Vatican has attacked reports in the Italian media linking Pope Benedict XVI's resignation to the alleged discovery of a network of gay prelates as attempts to influence the cardinals in their choice of a new pontiff.

The Vatican secretariat of state said in a statement: "It is deplorable that as we draw closer to the time of the beginning of the conclave ... that there be a widespread distribution of often unverified, unverifiable or completely false news stories that cause serious damage to persons and institutions."

The statement was made as Pope Benedict XVI had his final meeting with senior clerics, lamenting the "evil, suffering and corruption" that have defaced God's creation in a final address to Vatican officials.

Benedict spoke on Saturday at the end of a week-long spiritual retreat coinciding with Lent, the period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) leading up to Easter. For the past week, Italian cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi has led the Vatican on meditations that have covered everything from the family to denouncing the "divisions, dissent, careerism, jealousies" that afflict the Vatican bureaucracy.
[Read more...]

Miracle grow: Indian farmers smash crop yield records without GMOs (22 February 2013)
Another Bihar farmer broke India's wheat-growing record the same year. They accomplished all this without GMOs or advanced seed hybrids, artificial fertilizer or herbicide. Instead, they used a technique called System of Rice [or root] Intensification (SRI). It's a technique developed in Madagascar in the 1980s by a French Jesuit and then identified and promulgated by Cornell political scientist and international development specialist Norman Uphoff.

SRI for rice involves starting with fewer, more widely spaced plants; using less water; actively aerating the soil; and applying lots of organic fertilizer. According to Uphoff's SRI Institute website [PDF], the farmers who use synthetic fertilizer with the technique get lower yields than those who farm organically. How's that for pleasant irony?

The breadth of the results in Bihar have gotten international attention. The Guardian reports that economist Joseph Stieglitz, a Nobel laureate and international development aficionado, visited the area last month. After seeing their amazing results, he declared the farmers "better than scientists."

High praise aside, the technique is not without its detractors. Most western governments and agricultural scientists remain skeptical of the practice: Many challenge that the reported yields aren't verified, there's insufficient science behind the technique, and they worry it can't scale to larger farms.
[Read more...]

Earthquake deaths to reach 3.5 million by 2100 (22 February 2013)
The world's favorite places to live often owe their popularity to local geology that provides benefits, like earthquake faults that line up valleys and trap groundwater -- but that also pose a hazard to the nearby population.

With the planet's growing population crowding more and more into these earthquake-prone regions, a new study predicts that 3.5 million people will have died in catastrophic earthquakes between 2001 and 2100. The toll will add additional stress to strapped aid agencies, said study author Tom Holzer, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif.

"The more people [there are] on the planet, the higher the probability of more catastrophic earthquakes," Holzer told OurAmazingPlanet. "Most earthquakes don't actually kill anybody. What is required is a concentration of people in harm's way."

Massive population growth
Four catastrophic quakes (those that kill 50,000 or more people) have already hit since 2001. There was only one per century before 1900, and seven between 1900 and 2000. The total death toll from temblors so far this century is more than 700,000.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Better building codes in quake zones would help. A large portion of those deaths have occurred where buildings weren't designed to withstand earthquakes.

Safety Concerns Grow as Endangered Whooping Cranes Migrate Beyond Refuge (22 February 2013)
ARANSAS COUNTY, TX - Whooping cranes spend the winter season at the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge near Austwell, TX.

After one of the endangered cranes was accidentally shot and killed by a hunter on San Jose Island earlier this year, there's concern the cranes may be moving away from the refuge.

Out on a large and remote location in Aransas County is the 115,000 acre Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, a prime location for endangered whooping cranes that are wintering in the area.

Back into the 1940's the whooping crane numbers were only into the teens, but thanks to the efforts of the refuge, those numbers have grown past 200.

Due to the incident on San Jose Island, we asked wildlife officials if they're worried cranes are placing themselves at risk as they move outside the refuge.
[Read more...]

MSG and aspartame are the two leading causes of central nervous system damage in the United States (22 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) Excitotoxins, as they are appropriately named, are supposed to enhance flavor and excite your taste buds, but this "class" of chemicals overstimulate neuron receptors, which are what allow brain cells to communicate with each other. This causes a firing of impulses at such a rapid rate that they become completely exhausted, and several hours later, these depleted neurons die. This is true cell death, and the parts of the brain that are specifically targeted by excitotoxins are the hypothalamus and temporal lobes, which not only control behavior, emotions, and sleep cycles, but you guessed it, immunity. (http://experiencelife.com/article/excitotoxins/)

Aspartame and MSG stimulate the taste cells in the tongue, causing food flavor to be enhanced, especially in soups, snacks, sauces, gravies, low-fat processed foods, and now aspartame is found in 95 percent of breath mints and chewing gum, even when they're not "sugar free." If you regularly experience any or all of the following, it's about time to question the amount of "excitotoxins" that are swimming through your heart and brain. Do you suffer from migraine headaches, inflammation, unwarranted weight gain, rashes and "crawling skin?" It may all be spurred by genetically modified flavor enhancers.

Let's cover all of the bases. Monosodium glutamate (MSG) has at least 20 different names. There are many other products/additives that are simply "sisters" or "cousins" of MSG, but beware, because MSG is a macro-combination of these other "food" additives and chemically engineered flavor enhancers. Plus, the MSG "cousin" additives do not have to be labeled as MSG because they are not manufactured in tandem, so when enough of them add up in your daily intake, you may as well have eaten MSG on an empty stomach. (http://www.truthinlabeling.org/Proof_BrainLesions_CNS.html)

How do you avoid MSG, aspartame and their criminal cousins?
Stop buying and stop consuming the following: Glutamic acid, glutamate, monopotassium glutamate, calcium glutamate, autolyzed yeast, calcium caseinate, gelatin, anything "hydrolyzed," sodium caseinate, soy protein, soy protein concentrate, soy protein isolate, textured protein, whey protein, whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, yeast extract, yeast food, and yeast nutrient. (http://copingwithmsg.blogspot.com)
[Read more...]

The single most important nutrient for mental health (21 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) Did you know that a lack of omega-3's in the diet can cause irrational (even violent) behavior? Yet, conventional medicine and dumbed down news reporters remain clueless to the scientific data which suggests that most mental health issues are associated to nutritional deficiencies.

Can diet (alone) eliminate depression and violent behavior? The answer is a resounding - YES! Mounting scientific evidence suggests that nutritional deficiencies like a lack of omega-3 damage the brain and is responsible for many of the mental health issues in our society today. All of this is preventable - get the facts - don't miss our next show!

Could brain inflammation be the real cause of mental disease?
Essential Fatty Acids are nutritional cornerstones of human health. Two major families of fats are comprised under this designation, omegas 3 and 6. They are deemed 'essential' because we need them for proper health - much like certain vitamins and minerals - but we can't produce them on our own. We must consume these fats through diet or supplementation.

Most people associate omega-3s with cardiovascular health, but their benefits go far beyond the heart. The two main omega-3s eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) support healthy inflammatory levels, which are behind the relief of many chronic health conditions. Extensive research has documented the health benefits of EPA and DHA which include not only a healthy heart, but brain and cognitive function; joint mobility; eye health; pregnancy and lactation; healthy skin and hair; and a healthy immune system.
[Read more...]

Toronto declared 'sanctuary city' to non-status migrants (21 February 2013)
Toronto has made history by affirming itself as a "sanctuary city," the first Canadian city with a formal policy allowing undocumented migrants to access services regardless of immigration status.

On Thursday, City Council passed the motion by a vote of 37 to 3 that also requires training all city staff and managers to ensure Toronto's estimated 200,000 non-status residents can access its services without fear of being turned over to border enforcement officers for detention and deportation.

The vote puts Toronto in the same league with 36 American cities, including Chicago, New York City and San Francisco that already have such policies. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday and councillors Denzil Minnan-Wong and David Shiner are the only council members who voted against the motion.

"It is an enormous step for the city in the right direction. We are all contributing to the city, the well-being of Toronto. It's important that we are not making a distinction between those who don't have rights or access to services and those who do," said Harald Bauder, associate professor of Ryerson University's graduate program in immigration and settlement studies.
[Read more...]

Painful to watch (21 February 2013)
The governor has an annoying head bob whenever he makes a point that he wants the audience to cheer. I don't know if I have a head bob because I didn't agree with Walker on anything.

In fact, I couldn't watch the entire budget speech. Common sense gripped my soul and I recorded "old-head bobber" and we watched Wisconsin beat Northwestern. I did tune in long enough to learn that he must have achieved a record number of guests called on to stand for applause by the governor.

All I can say is that I look forward to my $2.00 per week--the projected income tax cut--if I have any income.

Not a gifted orator, Walker struggled to keep his national GOP reputation going, but that was hard because he can't keep pace with more skilled demagogues like Paul Ryan and John Boehner. Walker settled for a couple of right jabs at Washington. And the marker of 250,000 new jobs in the private sector flew out the window before Mike Ellis, sitting behind "our friend the governor" could look bored by what can only be described as a pedestrian performance.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: OK, so Scott Walker's no John F. Kennedy or even Barack Obama with public speaking. But John Boehner? Paul Ryan? I don't agree that either has a good or even mediocre speaking style.

Ryan has a choppy delivery suited to evening news clips, not full length speeches of any kind, and he's constantly looking around in the crowd as if to beg for approval. Boehner's "style" (if he has one) is also suited to short clips of sound, and he also usually appears desperate for approval. If anything, Walker is a BETTER speaker than the both of them, even if the three rarely have anything inspiring to say.

NOTE: In the spirit of full disclosure, I occasionally work as a subcontractor for a division of the state of Wisconsin in a technical capacity only, but I have no contact with Walker on that job, and am not working in the city of Madison. The man is most likely unaware that I exist, and I wouldn't feel threatened for speaking my mind either way. There's always the press, including my own web site, if he ever gives me a hard time.

Tuberculosis outbreak in downtown L.A. sparks federal effort (21 February 2013)
Public health officials have launched a new, coordinated effort to contain a persistent outbreak of tuberculosis in downtown L.A.'s skid row, including searching for more than 4,500 people who may have been exposed to the disease.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have dispatched scientists to Los Angeles to help local health officials figure out why the disease is spreading and how to stop it.

Nearly 80 tuberculosis cases have been identified and 11 people have died since 2007, most of them homeless people who live in and around skid row.

Scientists have recently linked the outbreak to one tuberculosis strain that is unique to Los Angeles, with a few isolated cases outside the area.

"This is the largest outbreak in a decade," said Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. "We are really putting all of our resources into this."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: I had a problem with this page refreshing often, possibly from a bad advertisement. Hopefully it'll be corrected soon.

India plans $70 million mission to Mars in 2013 (21 February 2013)
India said on Thursday it will send a $70 million space mission to Mars this year to study the red planet's atmosphere.

The unmanned Mars orbiter mission, to be launched in October by the Indian Space Research Organisation, will undertake a 300-day journey to the planet to collect data about its climate and geology.

"The space programme epitomises India's scientific achievements and benefits the country in a number of areas," President Pranab Mukherjee told lawmakers in a speech opening a new session of parliament in New Delhi.

"Several space missions are planned for 2013, including India's first mission to Mars" and the launch of its first navigational satellite, he said.

India says the Mars mission will mark a significant step in its space programme, which has already placed a probe on the moon and envisages its first manned mission in 2016.
[Read more...]

Former owner of Virginia peanut company faces charges in salmonella case (21 February 2013)
On March 21, 2007, the owner of Virginia-based Peanut Corp. of America seemed impatient.

Informed that a customer's shipment might be delayed because the results of a salmonella test were not yet available, Stewart Parnell decided not to wait.

"S---, just ship it," he wrote in an e-mail, according to a newly released federal indictment. "I can't afford to loose [sic] another customer."

The company billed itself as "The Processor of the World's Finest Peanut Products" with a "remarkable food-safety record." In reality, its products had tested positive for salmonella contamination half a dozen times in recent years, and Parnell himself had given the green light to shipments despite containers that were partially "covered in dust and rat crap," according to court documents.

PCA's shipments kept heading out the door to customers across the country, from small family-owned businesses to multinational food corporations. The company's products ended up in ice cream, snack crackers, dog biscuits and peanut butter.
[Read more...]

Virginia Governor signs repeal of renewable energy incentives (21 February 2013)
Gov. Bob McDonnell today signed legislation repealing certain financial incentives for electric utility companies that use renewable energy sources.

The change means utilities, such as Dominion Virginia Power, will no longer be eligible for a bonus for obtaining a certain portion of their energy from renewable sources, such as solar power. Reduced incentives remain for nuclear and off-shore wind power.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli proposed repealing the "adders" after a study showed they were increasing consumers' bills without having the intended environmental impact.

"This legislation marks a victory for citizens and businesses across the Commonwealth," McDonnell said in a written statement. "By rolling back the adders put in place in 2007, customers will pay less for electricity than if this bipartisan group of Virginia leaders had not acted."

Opponents of the repeal, mostly environmental groups such as the Virginia Chapter Sierra Club, argued the law needed to be changed, not done away with altogether. They suggested making participation mandatory and requiring utility companies to obtain their renewable energy from within the state in order to receive the bonus. They've pledged to try again next legislative session.
[Read more...]

FBI, NOPD looking into alleged police brutality after Mardi Gras incident, councilwoman says (21 February 2013)
The FBI and the New Orleans Police Department are looking into an alleged case of police brutality captured on video in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras festivities, according to a statement Wednesday from New Orleans City Councilwoman Susan Guidry.

After WVUE-TV first aired footage of the incident, the department said it would not be investigating the case because no complaints had been made about the sole NOPD officer on the undercover task force involved. The other nine officers in the group, all white and in plain clothes, were from the State Police, shown in the video approaching two young black men and wrestling them to the sidewalk.

But in a statement Wednesday, Guidry said she has spoken with both Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas and Arlinda Westbrook, head of the NOPD's Public Integrity Bureau, who assured her that they are also conducting an internal investigation.

Guidry added, "I believe that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the matter as well."

She noted, however, that "the lone NOPD officer implicated in the incident appears to have had no direct involvement in what occurred other than being physically present in the area."
[Read more...]

Charge three officers, Derek Williams inquest jury recommends (21 February 2013)
In a historic verdict, an inquest jury recommended Thursday that three Milwaukee police officers be criminally charged in connection with the in-custody death of Derek Williams in July 2011.

"I feel like Martin Luther King. I feel like Malcolm X. I feel like Rosa Parks," Williams' aunt, Mayleen Jordan, said after she and other family members walked out of the courtroom chanting Williams' name. "I feel great today. I feel like a winner."

Thursday marked the first time an inquest jury in Milwaukee County has recommended charges against a police officer in at least 25 years.

Three of the officers involved in the arrest of Williams, who died after gasping for air in the back of a squad car, should be charged with failure to render aid by a law enforcement officer, a misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of nine months in jail, jurors concluded.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Milwaukee cops almost always get off, no matter how outrageous the conduct.

Georgia rushes to carry out executions before lethal drug supply expires (21 February 2013)
The state of Georgia is scrambling for legal permission to proceed with two scheduled executions before its supply of the drug that would be used to kill the prisoners reaches its expiration date on 1 March.

Georgia has death warrants currently served on Warren Hill and Andrew Cook, convicted murderers who have been on death row since 1991 and 1995 respectively. Hill's death warrant runs until 26 February and Cook's until 28 February -- the final day before the state's stock of pentobarbital runs out.

The attorney general of Georgia -- the state's chief prosecutor -- is hurriedly trying to overturn stays of execution that have been imposed this week on the Hill and Cook executions. The courts intervened after it was found that pentobarbital was being ordered by the corrections department for use as a lethal injection without a prescription from a doctor -- a breach of federal rules over the distribution of a controlled substance.

The attempt to execute Warren Hill, pictured, has provoked international condemnation because the prisoner has been diagnosed as intellectually disabled. A federal appeals court has also blocked the execution to allow time to consider the disability issue, and on Thursday the US supreme court denied Georgia's request to overturn the stay.
[Read more...]

Sequestration: What Do the Automatic Spending Cuts Mean for the Poor, Unemployed and Children? (21 February 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
IMARA JONES: Yeah, it's even hard to say. Thank you for having me.

Well, what it means is automatic, across-the-board cuts made in government spending. And as the president pointed out, they're indiscriminate because they are across the board. And they are the result of compromises in Washington that couldn't have been made in terms of finding a way to do our budget in such a way to get us to a long-term management of our debt without indiscriminate cuts. And so, that's what sequestration is, and that's what sequestration means.

And because of the way that the budget is set up, most of those cuts fall on areas that are called "discretionary spending," because they're not set by a formula with set revenues and set expenditures, like Social Security, Medicare and others. And those areas are the ones that target the programs that focus on economic opportunity, that help the working poor and that give average Americans a shot at making it in critical areas of, as you said, housing, food security, transportation, even unemployment insurance. And so, for communities of color and communities that have been hard hit by the recession, it's a nuclear bomb that's waiting to go off.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And in--specifically, I think you mentioned as many as 185,000 people would lose Section 8 housing subsidy certificates. What are some of the other immediate effects of if this goes into--this happens starting March 1 or March 15th or in the next few weeks?

IMARA JONES: I mean, it reads like a laundry list, and we could take up the rest of the time going through the list. But some of the critical areas are: 125,000 people will lose Section 8 housing, which is critical housing support for the working poor; 100,000 people who are homeless will not receive the support that they need without a place to go; there won't be 450,000 AIDS tests; something like 500,000 vaccines won't be manufactured; a million people won't be able to access community health centers; unemployment insurance for four million long-term unemployed will be cut by 10 percent; in terms of education, 70,000 kids won't have access to Head Start; another 30,000 in terms of child care assistance. And then, if the sequestration goes on, because, you know, it's a rolling--sort of a rolling storm, if it goes on through the summer and into the fall, the programs that support up to 20 million of the nation's poorest students will be cut and are in jeopardy.
[Read more...]

Thousands of workers might be forced into furloughs (20 February 2013)
More than half of the Department of Defense's 800,000 civilian employees - including tens of thousands in Hampton Roads - may be forced to take off one day a week without pay for almost half a year because of impending defense cuts, top Pentagon officials said Wednesday.

The furloughs could affect a range of military-related services provided by civilian workers that range from health care to commissaries to base maintenance, the officials said.

Defense officials outlined the possible effects from billions in defense cuts the same day that a major Norfolk shipyard said up to 1,625 of its employees could be laid off.

BAE Systems Ship Repair sent letters Wednesday to 5,000 employees in Norfolk and four other states saying that they might have to lay off more than 3,500 people if the Navy cuts $4.6 billion in ship repairs and other expenses this year. The layoffs would hit skilled workers and administrative staff here and in other Navy-heavy regions, including Mayport, Fla., San Diego and Hawaii.
[Read more...]

Throwaways: Recruited by Police & Thrown into Danger, Young Informants are Drug War's Latest Victims (20 February 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: We're joined right now by Rachel's mother, joining us from the Tampa studios, PBS studios of WEDU.

If you could tell us, Margie Weiss, what happened to your daughter. Go back to 2007.

MARGIE WEISS: 2008 is when she was murdered. And in 2007, she--just before she graduated FSU, and she also had a major in criminal justice as well as psychology--they stopped her because she had been driving eight miles over the speed limit. She went to FSU, Florida State University. And they arrested her because they found 25 grams of pot, which is less than an ounce. And the law is if you have over 20 grams, I believe, it's a felony. And she went into drug court. And she was to graduate in April, and--of 2008. But when she graduated and was ready to come home in August, her lawyer told her--told us--he called us two days before she was supposed to move home--that she had to stay in Tallahassee to get her--to be able to get her record expunged, which is what we wanted, because she was going to go on for her master's degree in counseling and be a--and work towards becoming a psychologist and work with kids.

And that never got to happen, because they raided her apartment, and apparently she was getting pot for her and her friends. And they found five ounces, which is less than what this cup would hold. And we, her father and I, were unaware of any of this going on. And when they raided her apartment, the officer said, "We can make all this go away if you work for us." And she said, "OK," because she did not want to shame her family.

The problem with--I want to digress and give you my opinion about it. But after that, they used--she called me, and I had just come back from Passover. She was supposed to come with me, but she was in a home at a funeral, and she missed a urine test. And they threw her in jail that weekend, which was the month before they raided her apartment. And I think it was like to scare her, so that later down the road, before her probation was complete, they could do something like this. I don't know. It's just--I became suspicious after she was murdered. And--
[Read more...]

It's not complicated: No one should have to sleep in the street (20 February 2013)
It was a juxtaposition that would have been funny were it not so damn sad: Last Friday, Mayor Rob Ford visited the car show, press gallery in tow. Some of the photos the reporters periodically tweeted out included Ford sitting in a $90,000 Dodge Viper, Ford sitting in a $360,000 McLaren Spyder, and Ford sitting in a $571,000 Rolls Royce. Meanwhile the anti-poverty group Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP) staged a sit-in outside his office at City Hall.

Ford took questions. About the cars, he said his favourite was the Rolls. About the OCAP protestors, he asked, "Why are they doing it?"

At City Hall, OCAP activists and homeless people gave some pretty clear indications, chanting, "No more homeless deaths!" Zoe Dodd, one of the protestors, told the National Post, "When people are dying on our streets [politicians] need to act like it's an emergency."

The contrast wasn't particularly remarkable in the news cycle of Toronto politics. There was Rob Ford, doing his Rob Ford thing of posing for photos. There was OCAP, doing their OCAP thing of protesting until the police forced them to move. All part of the routine, right?

That the answer to that question may be "yes" is the saddest part. Because here's what those protestors were upset about: There are approximately 5,000 homeless people in Toronto, according to the latest available statistics from the city. On any given night, about 400 of them actually sleep on the street. Since the start of 2012, at least 41 homeless people have died. And during these past few frigid weeks alone, six people have died on the street.
[Read more...]

Bills to tighten voter rules draw anger from Democrats (19 February 2013)
Alarmed by long lines and waits at the polls last November, Republicans and Democrats this year proposed an array of bills to ease voting, accommodate senior citizens voters, and restore voting rights to ex-felons.

One by one, those proposals fell by the wayside in the General Assembly.

Yet a few high-profile election proposals have survived that would cost the state money, all while making it harder to cast a vote, critics say.

Democrats on Monday took aim at two of bills, both from Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, to require photo identification to vote, and have state election officials check the citizenship status of voters against federal records.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: The problem in this country is that not enough people vote.

Japan traces Boeing 787 problem to improper wiring, report says (20 February 2013)
Japan's investigation into a burning lithium-ion battery aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight found it was improperly wired, according to an Associated Press report.

The country's Transport Safety Board had been looking into the circumstances that led the All Nippon Airways flight to make an emergency landing in southwestern Japan.

All 137 passengers and crew were evacuated from the aircraft and slid down the Dreamliner's emergency slides. Video of the event captured by a passenger has been viewed worldwide.

According to the AP, the Transport Safety Board's report said "the battery of the aircraft's auxiliary power unit was incorrectly connected to the main battery that overheated, although a protective valve would have prevented power from the APU from doing damage."
[Read more...]

Astronomers discover smallest planet ever (20 February 2013)
The discovery of a strange new world about the size of Earth's moon has shattered the record for the smallest known alien planet, scientists say.

The newfound alien planet Kepler-37b is the first exoplanet discovered to be smaller than Mercury. It whips around its parent star every 13 days and has a roasting surface temperature of about 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 Celsius), researchers said. It not a promising contender for life, they added.

Astronomers found Kepler-37b and two other, larger planets (called Kepler-37c and Kepler-37d) orbiting a star about 215 light-years from Earth using NASA's prolific Kepler space telescope. Finding such a small exoplanet with the Kepler spacecraft was a stretch, but some attributes of Kepler-37b's parent star made the discovery possible.

The star has few sunspots and is bright relative to its planet, making it easier for the Kepler spacecraft to spot the telltale dimming that takes place when a planet passes in front of its star, which scientists call a transit. That method revealed not just the presence of Kepler-37b, but its two siblings in orbits farther from the parent star than 37b.
[Read more...]

Justice Department deal reduces BP's Deepwater Horizon fine by $3.4bn (20 February 2013)
The case was set to be the costliest to date for BP, which has already spent billions on cleanup costs, and settling thousands of claims arising from the 2010 disaster.

But the oil company got a break when the Justice Department agreed not to hold BP accountable for 800,000 barrels of oil which were captured at the site of the broken well.

District judge Carl Barbier, who is hearing the case in New Orleans, accepted the agreement on Tuesday night. "The 'collected oil' ... never came into contact with any ambient sea water, and was not released to the environment in any way," he said in the ruling.

The deal reduces BP's potential exposure to the civil trial from $21bn to $17.6bn.
[Read more...]

Cooking up toxic air pollution (20 February 2013)
When UC Davis scientists collected air pollution particles in Fresno and then exposed laboratory mice to them, they found that one of the most toxic sources was the backyard grill.

Along with particles from vehicle and wood-burning emissions, particulates from residential cooking had the greatest measurable impacts on mice lung function.

"That was like, wow!," said Anthony Wexler, the study's coauthor and director of the Air Quality Research Center at UC Davis. "It's not that you're cooking; it's how you're cooking. We think it's the [charcoal] briquets that are the problem."

The health effects of particulate pollution are well known, with the smallest particles considered the most harmful. Scientific studies have linked inhalation to heart and lung problems, including the premature death of those with heart or lung disease.
[Read more...]

Documentary on meat tries to gather differing perspectives (20 February 2013)
We've heard it 38,942,038,417 times* before: The system we use to produce meat in the U.S. is really eff-ed up. Feedlots = horror movies, all this carnivory is making us fat, and to make matters worse, meat consumption contributes to climate change. Right, all good arguments for eating less meat.

What we rarely hear is a fair, honest conversation with the actual farmers raising the animals that produce the meat that most of America consumes. That's what Graham Meriwether wanted to do with his documentary, American Meat. The film explores meat production from the farmer's perspective -- and not just those who do it the free-range, organic, grass-fed way.

Meriwether initially set out to make a movie just about the alternative farms springing up across the country. He started off by talking to Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm, made famous by Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma. But when he started using stock footage of slaughterhouses, something didn't feel right.

"I think the most important decision we made in the production of the film was not to put any hidden camera footage in the film," Meriwether says, "because then that set us off on a journey where we got to talk to [conventional farmers], the people that, for the most part, feed most of our country."
[Read more...]

After China's multibillion-dollar cleanup, water still unfit to drink (20 February 2013)
(Reuters) - China aims to spend $850 billion to improve filthy water supplies over the next decade, but even such huge outlays may do little to reverse damage caused by decades of pollution and overuse in Beijing's push for rapid economic growth.

China is promising to invest 4 trillion yuan ($650 billion) - equal to its entire stimulus package during the global financial crisis - on rural water projects alone during the 2011-2020 period. What's more, at least $200 billion in additional funds has been earmarked for a variety of cleanup projects nationwide, Reuters has learned after scouring a range of central and local government documents.

That new cash injection will be vital, with rivers and lakes throughout China blighted by algae blooms caused by fertilizer run-off, bubbling chemical spills and untreated sewage discharges. Judging by Beijing's cleanup record so far, however, the final tally could be many times higher.

Over the five years to 2010, the country spent 700 billion yuan ($112.41 billion) on water infrastructure, but much of its water remains undrinkable. The environment ministry said 43 percent of the locations it was monitoring in 2011 contained water that was not even fit for human contact.
[Read more...]

Uganda: Why Are Hippos Dying of Anthrax? (28 January 2013)
Anthrax is a perennial problem in the Queen Elizabeth National Park. In 2004 to 2005 and in 2010 a number of hippos were reported dead in the Kyambura River and Kazinga Channel, which supplies water to fishing communities and to wild and domestic animals.

Kyambura Gorge harbors a diversity of wild animals that are easily exposed to anthrax outbreaks, making it a possible hub for anthrax spillover into livestock and humans. But little is known of the cycles that allow anthrax to persist in the hippos' environment.

"We know the hippos die," said Celsus, "and we know they die of anthrax. We know that the soil is the reservoir for the bacteria, but probably, without water collecting, concentrating and distributing the spores, there would be no anthrax. And that is all we know.

The outbreaks in the hippos mostly occur right after the rainy season, so the water plays a crucial part in the anthrax cycle. I want to see how it collects and disperses anthrax spores, and learn to model future outbreaks." It is important to relate stagnant water and free flowing water with the physico-chemical nature of the landscape, water flow pattern, presence/absence of anthrax spores in the environment, and geospatial distribution of ecological risk determinants.

Another dimension of his project is the place of humans in the anthrax cycle. In this rural region of Africa, hippo meat is revered, and the local people cannot resist an easy meal of fresh dead hippo meat. As a consequence, many people die of anthrax from eating the hippos.
[Read more...]

100% of electric capacity added in U.S. last month was renewable (19 February 2013)
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the agency which informed us that almost half of all new electricity generating capacity added in the U.S. in 2012 was renewable, has released its data for the month of January. You ready for this?

...That's right: Every single megawatt of new generating capacity added in the U.S. last month was renewable. Every single one.

The full dataset from FERC is here [PDF], outlining the constituent additions: 958 megawatts of wind, 267 of solar, and 6 little megawatts of biomass. In total, 1,231 megawatts of capacity were added in January of this year compared to 1,693 in January 2012. The amount of wind and solar added last month was greater than the amount of coal and natural gas added a year ago.
[Read more...]

"Brave Miss World": Raped Before Winning '98 Title, Linor Abargil Campaigns Against Sexual Violence (19 February 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: Linor Abargil's story is told in the new film Brave [Miss] World. Last week, I sat down with the film's director and producer, Cecilia Peck and Inbal Lessner. I started by asking Cecilia, the daughter of the legendary actor Gregory Peck and now a filmmaker and actress herself, to talk about Linor Abargil's story.

CECILIA PECK: Linor was only 18 when she became Miss Israel, and she was sent to Milan to model. But she was homesick, and she didn't--she wasn't comfortable modeling in Milan, so she tried to get a ticket home. And her modeling agency introduced her to a Hebrew-speaking travel agent, who said there were no flights, but he could drive her to Rome for a night flight. So he got her in his car. Two hours later, they were on a secluded road, and he took out a knife and tied her up, put a gag in her mouth, a bag over her head, and stabbed and raped her repeatedly.

She managed to escape, the story of which--how she did that is told in the film. And she made it to Rome. She pressed charges against him. She went to the hospital. She flew home to Israel and very quickly had to go represent her country in the Miss World pageant. And to her complete shock, because she was in such trauma, she won the Miss World crown.

That year, she fought to put him in prison. And he turned out to be a serial rapist. She was the one who finally got him behind bars. And then she retreated for a period of healing. But all that time, she wanted to reach out to other women. So, 10 years later, she came to find a filmmaker who would document her journey, to talk about her experience and urge other women not to stay silent.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to go back to that moment when you said she actually brought charges. So, before she leads a global campaign or just tries to reach out to women to tell them to tell their own stories of sexual abuse, she is known, because she brought charges. She went public early, isn't that right? It is not common that a woman will stand up and go to court.

CECILIA PECK: Linor credits her mother, when she called her from Italy that night, who said, "It's not your fault. Go to the police. Go to the hospital. Don't take a shower. And we'll support you." Linor says that's the reason she felt confident enough to pursue justice, because when the assailant is known to the victim, even when there's DNA evidence, they'll so often say it was consensual. And that's what Linor's rapist's lawyers said. They claimed that she seduced him. But she fought and battled to put him behind bars.
[Read more...]

Rapist used ChristianMingle.com to find victims (19 February 2013)
LA MESA, Calif. (AP) -- A Southern California man has been arrested on suspicion of raping a woman he met on a Christian dating website.

La Mesa police Lt. Matt Nicholass says 37-year-old Sean Banks, of Del Mar, was taken into custody Monday and booked for investigation of rape and residential burglary. He is accused of assaulting a woman in her La Mesa home in October.

Police say the two first met on ChristianMingle.com and that the October assault occurred when they met in person for the first time.

Investigators believe that Banks may have assaulted other women he met through the website and other dating sites, where he may have used false names.
[Read more...]

Presidents' Day card to readers; art based on Lincoln statue overlooking Lake Michigan in Milwaukee

U.S. ranks first in healthcare spending but last in life expectancy (18 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) If you think pharmaceutical drugs, vaccines, and various other instruments of modern Western medicine are responsible for improving quality of life and increasing the average lifespan in America, think again. A report recently issued by the National Research Council (NRC) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reveals that the U.S. spends up to 250 percent more on healthcare than most other developed nations, and yet has the lowest life expectancy rate among all these same nations.

Entitled U.S. Health in International Perspectives: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health, the report compares the latest available data on mortality and health outcomes in the United States with that of 16 other so-called "peer" nations, including Japan, Switzerland, Australia, and Canada. Each of these other countries is considered to be roughly on par with the U.S. in terms of income and government structure, and each represents an important cross-section of the collective welfare of the developed world.

Based on the figures, the U.S. far outspends all other developed nations on healthcare expenditures, ranking in at a whopping $8,233 annually per person, on average. The only nation that even comes close to this figure is Norway, which spends roughly $5,388 annually per person on medical expenditures, or roughly 65 percent of what the U.S. spends. Iceland, whose economy recently made a huge comeback after its citizens forcibly dismantled the nation's corrupt central bank, only spends about $3,309 annually per person.

With all this extra money being spent on healthcare, it might be assumed that Americans are extremely healthy, and are living far longer than people from other countries. But this assumption could not be further from the truth. According to the data, the U.S. ranks last among its developed peers in terms of average lifespan, with women bearing the brunt of this disparity -- and according to the experts, life expectancy in America is only continuing to decrease.
[Read more...]

Would you like germs with that? Why food workers need paid sick days (18 February 2013)
This week, food-labor advocate Saru Jayaraman is releasing her new book, Behind the Kitchen Door, which relates heartbreaking stories of just some of the 10 million restaurant workers in the U.S. In a chapter called "Serving While Sick," she tells the disturbing tale of a fast-food worker who had no choice but to come to work with a bad cold since she couldn't afford to go unpaid. When this worker tried to explain to her manager how perhaps handling food while coughing and sneezing was not such a good idea, she was laughed at. She later wondered how many customers she got sick that day because she couldn't leave the counter every time she needed to wipe her nose.

As Jayaraman explains, this story is all too typical. Because most restaurant workers do not receive paid sick days, they are coming to work when they should stay home. Remember all the times that, as a full-time salaried worker, you stayed home with a cold, or to take care of a sick child, or just needed a "mental health day"? It's a perk many of us take for granted, but for workers who handle our food, in jobs where spreading germs is the most risky, calling in sick is not even an option.

That's in large part thanks to the massive lobbying machine the National Restaurant Association (aka the other NRA). In 2012 alone, the group (designated as a "heavy hitter" by the Center for Responsive Politics, among the 140 biggest donors since 1990) spent more than $2.7 million lobbying at the federal level, and donated more than a million dollars to federal candidates. (State restaurant associations are also very powerful.) The NRA also benefits nicely from the revolving door syndrome: Last year, 31 out of 40 NRA lobbyists previously held government jobs. Among the top issues on NRA's agenda? Tips and sick leave.
[Read more...]

Dogs seized last week may be part of larger fight ring (18 February 2013)
The owner has not been charged nor his name released, Webb said. Charges may come later, he added.

It is unknown whether this set of dogs is connected to the 80 dogs found in the past two weeks at sites in Elizabeth City and in Pasquotank, Perquimans and Camden counties. Two men -- Desmond B. White, 35, and Maurice Baum, 37, both of Pasquotank County -- could face federal dog fighting charges.

Pasquotank County Sheriff Randy Cartwright said Monday he expects to find more dogs as the investigation continues.

The Elizabeth City ring is among the largest found so far around the country and likely crosses state lines, said Chris Schindler, manager of the Animal Fighting Investigations of the Humane Society of the United States.
[Read more...]

Amazon fires German security firm amid probe over mistreatment of temporary workers (18 February 2013)
BERLIN -- Online retailer Amazon reacted to mounting criticism Monday by firing a security company named in a German television documentary about alleged mistreatment of foreign temporary workers.

An Amazon spokeswoman in Germany said the company had ended its relationship with Hensel European Security Services "with immediate effect."

A documentary shown on German public television channel ARD last week showed staff of the security company -- whose initials spell out the surname of Adolf Hitler's deputy Rudolf Hess -- wearing clothes linked to Germany's neo-Nazi scene. It also interviewed people claiming they were intimidated by the security guards, who were stationed at a holiday camp where the temporary staff were housed.

The company, hired by one of Amazon's subcontractors, last week denied it supported far-right opinions. "We employ Christians, Muslims and Buddhists," the company said in a statement Friday. "The allegations of far-right sympathies can't be reconciled with that."
[Read more...]

Russian official demonizes U.S. for 'inhumane torture' of adopted children (18 February 2013)
A woman in the US state of Texas has killed her adopted Russian son, the Kremlin's envoy for children said Monday, outlining the latest alleged abuse of an adopted Russian child by American parents.

"A three-year-old Russian child has been murdered by his adoptive mother in the state of Texas," ombudsman Pavel Astakhov said on his office's Twitter feed @RFdeti.

"Three-year-old Maxim was beaten (according to the investigators) by his adoptive mother, who fed him psychoactive drugs over a long period of time," he said, expressing dismay that the US State Department kept silent about the case.

"He died before the arrival of the ambulance called by his adoptive mother. According to the autopsy report, the boy had many injuries."

Russia has long complained about the treatment of Russian orphans adopted by American parents and in December controversially passed a law banning adoptions of Russian children by Americans.
[Read more...]

Jerry Brown administration digs in against unions on pensions (18 February 2013)
SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Jerry Brown's administration is pushing back against labor union efforts to roll back some of the pension changes made by state lawmakers last year.

The governor has vowed to fight any legal or legislative effort that he views as softening the law, which requires current employees to pay more of their own retirement costs and increases the retirement age for public workers.

In Contra Costa County, the local pension system has sued the state over the law's benefit cuts that it says are illegal. Brown said recently his administration would vigorously defend the law in court.

A statewide transit workers union asked the U.S. Department of Labor to find that the restrictions passed by state lawmakers violated federal labor law. Last week, the Brown administration responded with a letter from state Labor Secretary Marty Morgenstern to acting U.S. Labor Secretary Seth Harris and a legal opinion saying the retirement changes adopted last year complied with federal standards.
[Read more...]

The Question of Clarence Thomas (18 February 2013)
In just a few days, it will be seven years since the court's now third-longest serving justice has asked a question at oral arguments. That's why Thomas's joke from the bench last month hit with the surprise and impact of a Russian meteor, thrusting Thomas and The Streak back into the national conversation.

But the notion of a silent Thomas has never been exactly as it seems. For one thing, he apparently does get some of his questions answered, even if he doesn't ask them.

Some justices have told others that Thomas sometimes jots down inquiries and urges Justice Stephen G. Breyer, his friend and seatmate on the bench, to pose them.

The two often confer during oral arguments, and Thomas confirmed during a recent appearance at Harvard Law School that the talkative Breyer sometimes throws in a Thomas question.
[Read more...]

For some stranded U.S. adventurers, rescues come at a cost (18 February 2013)
(Reuters) - After an all-terrain vehicle accident in the Utah desert last spring, 53-year-old Mikki Babineau expected a long recuperation for collapsed lungs and 18 broken ribs.

What the Idaho woman didn't expect was a $750 bill from the local Utah sheriff's office for sending a volunteer search and rescue unit to her aid, a service for which the sheriff in that county regularly charges fees.

Just a handful of states, including Oregon, Maine and Babineau's home state of Idaho, have laws authorizing local agencies to bill for rescues when factors such as recklessness, illegal activity or false information led to the predicament.

Lawmakers from the Rockies to the Appalachians periodically question why adventurers who incur costs should not have to pay the price - literally. That debate has heated up this year as legislators in at least two states have sought, so far unsuccessfully, to enact laws to allow fees for rescues.
[Read more...]

At least 3,000 native children died in residential schools (18 February 2013)
At least 3,000 children, including four under the age of 10 found huddled together in frozen embrace, are now known to have died during attendance at Canada's Indian residential schools, according to new unpublished research.

While deaths have long been documented as part of the disgraced residential school system, the findings are the result of the first systematic search of government, school and other records.
[Read more...]

1-week-old infant dies in Indonesia after 10 hospitals refused to treat her (18 February 2013)
A one-week-old baby in Indonesia has died from respiratory complications after being turned away from 10 hospitals, her street vendor father said Monday, adding he could not pay what some demanded.

Dera Nur Anggraini was born prematurely with her twin sister Dara on February 10, with a throat deformity that obstructed her breathing, said father Elias Setya Nugroho.

He said his family searched for treatment but was turned away from 10 hospitals, with some claiming not to have the right equipment and others saying they were fully occupied.

"Dera was buried yesterday, on Sunday, not far from our home," Nugroho said, adding the baby died after being taken back to the Zahira Hospital in Jakarta where she was born.
[Read more...]

Keystone XL pipeline takes centre stage at Washington protest (17 February 2013)
WASHINGTON--Canada's carbon-intensive oilsands industry was the guest of dishonour in Washington on Sunday, where the largest in a series of nationwide climate rallies demanded President Barack Obama call a halt to the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

Though precise numbers were in dispute -- organizers claimed upwards of 50,000 supporters, with other media assessments suggesting half as many -- activists appeared to have met their target of achieving the country's largest-ever climate rally.

But there was no disputing TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline was the anti-star of the Forward On Climate protests, which included companion rallies in more than 20 U.S. cities from here to San Francisco.

"Keystone XL is the flashpoint," said Carl Whiting of Madison, Wis., who marched in a Grim Reaper costume. "I recognize that it's clearly not enough to just to stop a single pipeline from Canada. But it will be a huge first step."

Whiting's words were echoed in chants, placards and speeches in front of the Washington Monument, where a series of speakers including Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, connected the climate dots between oilsands and Superstorm Sandy.
[Read more...]

Pope Benedict XVI's leaked documents show fractured Vatican full of rivalries (16 February 2013)
VATICAN CITY -- Guests at the going-away party for Carlo Maria Viganò couldn't understand why the archbishop looked so forlorn. Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Viganò ambassador to the United States, a plum post where he would settle into a stately mansion on Massachusetts Avenue, across the street from the vice president's residence.

"He went through the ordeal making it very clear he was unhappy with it," said one former ambassador to the Vatican, who attended the Vatican Gardens ceremony in the late summer of 2011. "And we just couldn't figure out, us outsiders and non-Italians, what was going on."

There was no such confusion within Vatican walls. Benedict had installed Viganò to enact a series of reforms within the Vatican. But some of Rome's highest-ranking cardinals undercut the efforts and hastened Viganò's exile to the United States.

Viganò's plight and other unflattering machinations would soon become public in an unprecedented leak of the pontiff's personal correspondence. Much of the media -- and the Vatican -- focused on the source of the shocking security breach. Largely lost were the revelations contained in the letters themselves -- tales of rivalry and betrayal, and allegations of corruption and systemic dysfunction that infused the inner workings of the Holy See and the eight-year papacy of Benedict XVI. Last week, he announced that he will become the first pope in nearly 600 years to resign.
[Read more...]

Shaken Baby Syndrome often just a cover story for children who are brain damaged by vaccines (14 February 2013)
(NaturalNews) Child abuse comes in many forms, and can result in serious and permanent health conditions such as Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), a type of brain damage that typically afflicts children younger than one-year-old. But the cause of such abuse is not always physical trauma as many experts claim -- pediatricians, doctors, and government officials routinely abuse children by injecting them with toxic vaccines, which are often the real cause of SBS and other brain damage-related conditions inappropriately blamed on physical abuse allegedly caused by parents and guardians.

It is not something the mainstream media likes to talk about, or that mainstream health authorities will likely ever admit to, but vaccine-induced brain damage is prevalent in today's society, especially as an increasing number of vaccines are added to the childhood vaccination schedule. And based on the available evidence, as well as many years' worth of lengthy investigation into the matter by prominent truth-seekers, SBS in particular appears quite often to be nothing more than a cover condition for brain damage caused by vaccine injections.

SBS, a convenient cover for vaccine-induced brain injuries
The concept of SBS as a legitimate, trauma-induced form of brain damage was first popularized back in the 1970s when it was hypothesized that babies with serious brain injuries that could not be directly linked to external signs of cranial trauma must have been shaken violently by another person. Physical child abuse was essentially declared to be the sole cause of SBS, and eventually became the go-to diagnosis when dealing with inexplicable types of brain damage observed in children.

As time went on; however, those paying attention to the situation began to observe a curious pattern with SBS and its relation to vaccine injections. Many children who had been developing normally and growing at a healthy rate prior to receiving routine childhood vaccines, for instance, suddenly stopped progressing and their health actually began to deteriorate. And typically after the second and third round of injections, some children began to develop symptoms similar to those commonly associated with SBS.
[Read more...]

Whooping crane flock size estimated smaller than last year (16 February 2013)
After weeks of waiting, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has issued its first count of the whooping crane flock using a new estimation technique.

The preliminary analysis estimates the flock to be made up of about 257 birds with a 95 percent confidence interval that ranges between 178 and 362 whoopers, according to a release issued Friday.

This is a disappointing development for longtime whooping crane enthusiasts, Chester McConnell, a trustee emeritus with the Whooping Crane Conservation Association, said.

"We watch these numbers religiously, and we were hoping the flock would reach 300 birds in the next few years, but now they're saying there are 40 less birds," McConnell said.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: This article requires you to answer a question to continue reading.

Also, the "February 15, 2013 Whooping Crane Update" that they probably used to write this article is located here.

'Super mega-pod' of dolphins spotted off San Diego coast (17 February 2013)
Thousands of dolphins spanning across seven miles of ocean were sighted off the coast of San Diego on Thursday, a boat captain told NBC 7 San Diego.

Capt. Joe Dutra of Hornblower Cruises said he saw a "super mega-pod" of common dolphins Thursday around noon while he was on his daily tour. He said the pod was more than seven miles long and five miles wide.

Dutra said the boat tour followed the pod for more than an hour and said he's never seen anything like it.

"When you see something that is honestly truly beyond belief," the captain said.

Guests aboard the boat started screaming and pointing when they first saw the school of adult and juvenile common dolphins. Dutra estimated there were about 100,000 dolphins swimming in the area.
[Read more...]

Horse-wary Britons spurning ready-meals, all meat (17 February 2013)
A poll out Sunday found that almost a third of adults in Britain have stopped eating ready-meals as a result of the horsemeat scandal, while seven percent have stopped eating meat altogether.

The ComRes survey, for the Sunday Mirror and The Independent on Sunday newspapers, found that 31 percent have given up eating ready-meals as the discovery of horse flesh in products labelled beef spreads across Europe.

The poll also found a 53 percent to 33 percent majority in favour of banning the import of all meat products "until we can be sure of their origin".

Some 44 percent agreed that the British government had responded well to the crisis, while 30 percent disagreed.
[Read more...]

PETA to name HQ after "The Simpsons" co-creator (17 February 2013)
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has been in the building, off Brambleton Avenue and on the Elizabeth River, since 1996. It will be named the Sam Simon Center on March 1.

Simon, who will attend the ceremony, is co-creator of the long-running cartoon comedy "The Simpsons" - though he said he hasn't worked on the show for roughly 20 years.

Simon, 57, said Friday that he's been a vegetarian since he was 19 ("I didn't want to kill animals just so I could eat") and a vegan for about eight years. The foundation Simon created provides free spaying and neutering of cats and dogs, and it trains dogs from animal shelters to help veterans and people who are hard of hearing.

Simon said he has supported PETA for 10 years. Newkirk declined to say how much he has given, but Simon is listed in the group's "president's circle," which requires a minimum annual contribution of $100,000. She said he's also hosted a "magnificent party and fundraiser" for PETA at his home in California.
[Read more...]

Vast legal rights at stake in U.S. gay marriage cases (17 February 2013)
(Reuters) - As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to take up same-sex marriage next month, laws barring recognition of such unions are not the only issue hanging in the balance. The very question of whether gay people constitute a vulnerable group that needs the court's help in asserting equal rights is also at stake.

Ahead of two high-profile oral arguments in March, backers of gay rights and defenders of more traditional marriage are zeroing in on whether courts should be wary of any laws that target gay people.

The underlying question is whether bans on gay marriage violate the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

The Obama administration is due to weigh in by Friday, its deadline for written submissions in a case questioning the constitutionality of a central part of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage under federal law as being between a man and a woman.
[Read more...]

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Sources (if found on major news boards):
[AJ] - InfoWars.com, PrisonPlanet.com, or other Alex Jones-affiliated sites
[BF] - BuzzFlash.com
[DN] - DemocracyNow.org
[R] - Rense.com
[WRH] - WhatReallyHappened.com


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