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Click to visit VeggieCooking.com NEWS LINK ARCHIVE 2012

News from the Week of 5th to 11th of May 2013

Dangers found in lack of safety oversight for Medicare drug benefit (11 May 2013)
Ten years ago, a sharply divided Congress decided to pour billions of dollars into subsidizing the purchase of drugs by elderly and disabled Americans.

The initiative, the biggest expansion of Medicare since its creation in 1965, proved wildly popular. It now serves more than 35 million people, delivering critical medicines to patients who might otherwise be unable to afford them. Its price tag is far lower than expected.

But an investigation by ProPublica has found the program, in its drive to get drugs into patients' hands, has failed to properly monitor safety. An analysis of four years of Medicare prescription records shows that some doctors and other health professionals across the country prescribe large quantities of drugs that are potentially harmful, disorienting or addictive for their patients. Federal officials have done little to detect or deter these hazardous prescribing patterns.

Searches through hundreds of millions of records turned up physicians such as the Miami psychiatrist who has given hundreds of elderly dementia patients the same antipsychotic, despite the government's most serious "black box" warning that it increases the risk of death. He believes he has no other options.
[Read more...]

Charles Ramsey, who rescued Cleveland women held captive, enjoys fame in the District (11 May 2013)
Charles Ramsey, the Cleveland dishwasher who heard a scream, kicked in a door and rescued three women from horrific captivity, stepped out of a white Rolls-Royce on U Street NW Friday night and seconds later was on Alex Soto's Facebook page.

"You're kidding me," shouted Soto, who was strolling in front of Ben's Chili Bowl with his girlfriend when Ramsey miraculously emerged from the gleaming Rolls. "You're, like, a lifesaver. I've been watching this on the news all the time and here you are! This is Facebook material!"

Soto got the shot of his friend posing with a smiling hero and bid him farewell with a heartfelt, "Keep America safe!" Ramsey could barely take two steps before he was spun around to pose with a D.C. cop on a Segway.

It was day five of Ramsey's moment, and he had already morphed from hero to celebrity. Here he was in Washington, flown in, along with his instant entourage of three young brothers -- his neighbors and friends -- and their tough-guy uncle, by boxing promoter and radio talk host Rock Newman, for a 14-hour visit that started with two bites of a chili half-smoke at Ben's and continued with a private tour of the presidential yacht, the Sequoia; dinner at a bordello-red burlesque place; a visit to a club; a couple of hours of shut-eye at a hotel at National Harbor; and an appearance on Newman's Saturday morning radio show.
[Read more...]

Ohio prompts fears of other cases (11 May 2013)
The annals of criminal history are writ large with ordinary streets that hide dark secrets, but even so the peculiar horror believed to have been perpetrated by Ariel Castro on Seymour Avenue in the rust-belt city of Cleveland stands out.

He is accused of kidnapping three girls, keeping them captive for years in his suburban home and using them as sex slaves. The staggering joy at the rescue last week of Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight was tempered by the revelations of what they had endured in a busy, working-class Ohio neighbourhood. No one suspected a thing.

Castro, 52, was a school-bus driver; grilled ribs with his neighbours and was a friendly soul who played in a band. "He was a very good bass player, and I'd say a happy person," said Miguel Quinones, who managed the band Grupo Fuego with whom Castro played. "There was never anything that would let you imagine anything like this."

Yet his alleged crimes are far from unique, either in America or elsewhere. There was the case of religious fanatic Brian David Mitchell who kidnapped young Mormon girl Elizabeth Smart in Salt Lake City and kept her as a "wife" for nine months. Or Phillip Garrido who kidnapped Jaycee Dugard in California in 1991 when she was 11 and kept her for almost 20 years. Or Michael Devlin who abducted the young boy Shawn Hornbeck in 2002 in Missouri and kept him prisoner for five years. Further afield, Josef Fritzl kept his daughter, Elisabeth, a prisoner and sex slave in a dungeon in his Austrian home for 24 years -- all while her mother lived upstairs apparently oblivious. And Wolfgang Priklopil, also from Austria, kept Natascha Kampusch in a cellar for eight years.
[Read more...]

Minnesota firms go wild for oil equipment (11 May 2013)
In this Land of 10,000 Lakes, manufacturers that have spent a decade buying water treatment firms are now aggressively adding oil to the mix.

Companies ranging from Pentair and Ecolab to Graco and 3M are making big bets on the energy sector by acquiring specialty equipment makers or introducing new products that protect pipelines or thin, separate, store or decontaminate oil, gas and frac sand.

Ecolab just bought Champion Technologies, an oil and gas chemicals firm, while Graco rolled out a new line of industrial sprayers that insulate oil rigs with fire-resistant foam. Pentair recently doubled its size by merging with Swiss-based Tyco Flow Controls, which plays a significant role in oil and gas refineries.

"We like the long-term growth outlook for the energy industry," said Chuck Rescorla, vice president of manufacturing, distribution and information systems for Minneapolis-based Graco. "We like the fact that it's a global industry and not tied to just one regional area. ... We are looking to do more in it in the future."
[Read more...]

Va. woman has no regrets over role in burial (11 May 2013)
Tsarnaev, 26, was quietly buried Thursday at a small Islamic cemetery in rural Caroline County. His body had remained at a Worcester, Mass., funeral parlor since he was killed April 19 in a gunfight with police, days after the bombings that killed three and injured more than 260 in downtown Boston. Cemeteries in Massachusetts and several other states refused to accept the remains. With costs to protect the funeral home mounting, Worcester police appealed for help finding a place to bury Tsarnaev.

Mullen said she was at a Starbucks when she heard a radio news report about the difficulty finding a burial spot for Tsarnaev.

"My first thought was Jesus said love your enemies," she said.

Then she had an epiphany.

"I thought someone ought to do something about this -- and I am someone," Mullen said.

So Mullen, a mental health counselor in private practice and a graduate of United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, sent emails to various faith organizations to see what could be done. She heard back from Islamic Funeral Services of Virginia, which arranged for a funeral plot at the Al-Barzakh cemetery. "It was an interfaith effort," she said.
[Read more...]

Low-income U.S. students getting less college aid than better off ones: study (10 May 2013)
(Reuters) - Low-income students are increasingly bypassed when colleges offer applicants financial aid, as schools compete for wealthier students who can afford rising tuition and fees, according to a public policy institute's analysis of U.S. Department of Education data.

The study by The New America Foundation said that colleges, in their quest to advance their U.S. News & World Report rankings, are directing more financial aid to high-achieving applicants in a bid to elevate the profile of their student population.

"A lot of them (colleges) go for the same students from the rich suburban schools," said Stephen Burd, the foundation's education policy analyst who studied the data.

The U.S. News rankings of colleges and universities have become a popular gauge of the quality of an undergraduate and graduate institution's education and the prestige of its degrees.

As part of their strategy to compete for the best students, colleges use merit-based aid, which does not take into account financial need. Under this strategy, institutions may, for instance, give four $5,000 awards to lure four wealthy students rather than award $20,000 to one needy student, the organization said.
[Read more...]

Fashion isn't frivolous -- it's a matter of life and death (10 May 2013)
That's all important, but it wasn't until I tried to write about the recent collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory building in Bangladesh that I made the connection as to why this stuff matters so much to me. By last count, more than 1,000 people have died in Rana Plaza, making it the most deadly accident the garment industry has ever seen.

One-thousand. For comparison, the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist fire, which spurred safety and labor laws across the U.S., killed 146. Last November, 117 people died in the Tazreen Factory fire in Bangladesh. And while they were still pulling bodies out of Rana Plaza's rubble, another Bangladesh factory went up in flames on Thursday, killing eight.

It's easy to disconnect yourself from tragedies on the other side of the world. But the untold stories behind those body counts aren't pretty. "Deaths in modern garment factories tend to be different from plane crashes or many other catastrophic traumas in the slow-motion extravagance of their pain," writes Sarah Stillman in The New Yorker. "For minutes, or even hours, workers' lungs fill up with smoke. For days, even a week, workers struggle to survive under rubble until someone digs them out."

Former sweatshop worker and human rights advocate Kalpona Akter tells Stillman the story of a mother of one of the victims of the Tazreen Factory fire. Her 24-year-old son had time to call her during the fire, to describe all the ways he was trying to escape. He had time to tell her that his lungs were filling with smoke, and that he was tying a shirt around his waist so she could identify his body. He had time to apologize for dying.
[Read more...]

Are the FBI and IRS Secretly Reading Your Email Without a Warrant? (10 May 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: This comes as reports have emerged that the Obama administration is considering approving an overhaul of government surveillance of the Internet. The New York Times reported the new rules would make it easier to wiretap users of web services such as instant messaging.

Well, to talk more about this, we're joined by Ben Wizner, an attorney at the ACLU and director of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project.

We welcome you back to Democracy Now! What did you find out?

BEN WIZNER: I suppose we didn't find out anything that was all that shocking. A 1986 law called the Electronic Communications Privacy Act actually allows law enforcement to read emails that are stored for more than 180 days without a warrant. Now, of course, that law was enacted before there was a World Wide Web, before there was cloud storage of email, when in order to store an email that long you had to download it to your own computer. So it's an incredibly out-of-date law.

Now in 2010, a federal court said that it was unconstitutional for the FBI to obtain and read those emails without a warrant, which strikes us as absolutely correct. So we wanted to know: Is the FBI actually following this federal court decision? It's a federal court decision that covers four states, but it seems to state the law absolutely correctly. And so we filed FOIA requests with lots of government agencies. And what we learned is that some seem to be following this decision, and others don't. The FBI gave us a 2012 operations guideline that doesn't even mention that case and that says unequivocally that it can obtain stored email communications without a warrant, simply with a subpoena.
[Read more...]

Tamerlan Tsarnaev buried in Virginia cemetery, says suspect's uncle (10 May 2013)
Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been buried in a cemetery in Virginia, infuriating some members of the area's Islamic community who say they weren't consulted and flooring at least one neighbor who said she didn't even know she lived near a burial ground.

The secret interment this week at a small Islamic cemetery ended a frustrating search for a community willing to take the body, which had been kept at a funeral parlor in Worcester, Massachusetts, as cemeteries in Massachusetts and several other states refused to accept the remains.

Tsarnaev was killed April 19 in a getaway attempt after a gun battle with police. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured later and remains in custody.

Their uncle, Ruslan Tsarni of Maryland, took responsibility for the body after Tamerlan's wife, Katherine Russell, said she wanted it released to her in-laws. He said his nephew was buried in a cemetery in Doswell with the help of a faith coalition.

"The body's buried," he said. "That's it."
[Read more...]

Brooklyn police bust rooftop grow operation ... of heirloom tomatoes (10 May 2013)
If you can tell the difference between these two plants, it's not certain you'd be a good building superintendent -- but you are at least highly qualified for the part of the job that involves not calling one of the busiest police forces in the world to come over and bust some poor hipster who just wants to make a home-crafted marinara (sure, he or she probably smokes pot, too -- but not from plants they grow on the roof, like some idiot).

Anyway, the investigation is now closed, but the sad part is that the super is now locking the roof -- which means the tomato plant project is over. That's just stupid, because good tomatoes are a lot harder to get than good pot.
[Read more...]

$1.9 billion wind project coming to Iowa (10 May 2013)
America's wind energy boom is about to deliver the biggest economic investment in Iowa's history -- and blow a whole lot of cheap, clean electricity into the appliances and lightbulbs of the state's residents.

Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Co. announced it would spend $1.9 billion building new wind turbines in the state, increasing the amount of wind energy generated in Iowa to about 6,000 megawatts, up from 5,000 megawatts today, according to a report in the Des Moines Register. The state aims to have 10,000 megawatts of wind operating by 2020. From the article:

"The company said the project would 'be built at no net cost to the company's customers.' The added wind generation is expected to cut consumer rates by $3.3 million in 2015 and grows to $10 million annually by 2017, the company said. 'This is real money back in the pockets of Iowans,' [Lt. Gov. Kim] Reynolds [R] said. ...

"[Gov. Terry] Branstad [R] and [Midamerican CEO] William Fehrman said green energy has been critical to attracting companies like Facebook, the social networking giant that last month announced it would build a $300 million data center in Altoona. State leaders expect Facebook to push its investment to nearly $1 billion over six years."
[Read more...]

Companies won't face charges in condor deaths (10 May 2013)
Federal wildlife officials took the unprecedented step Friday of telling private companies that they will not be prosecuted for inadvertently harassing or even killing endangered California condors.

In a decision swiftly condemned by conservationists and wildlife advocates, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said operators of Terra-Gen Power's wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains will not be prosecuted if their turbines accidentally kill a condor during the expected 30-year life span of the project.

California condors were brought back from the brink of extinction a quarter-century ago and still cling precariously to survival. Federal law prohibits the harassment or killing of endangered species for any reason.

Fish and Wildlife also made an exception for the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch Co., saying that the government will not prosecute if construction of the company's controversial 5,553-acre development of luxury homes, hotels and golf courses violates the harassment ban in the endangered species law. The exception will last for 50 years. The project is expected to consume 8% of the critical condor habitat in the Tehachapis, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: California Condors are one of the most endangered birds in the world.

Feds demand 3D printed gun blueprints removed from Internet (10 May 2013)
The State Department has ordered ultra-libertarian group Defense Distributed to remove the files that provide instructions for building a 3D printed gun, until it has examined them for legality, says a report from BetaBeat.

A red banner appeared atop the group's website Thursday noting that the US government now controls the files.

Defense Distributed, the brainchild of 25-year old University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, has made a name in the past year by pushing the limits of what a 3-D printer can create: an assault rifle. Wired listed Wilson as one of the most dangerous people in the world in 2012 and earlier this week Forbes broke that the group had successfully built a gun printed entirely (except the firing pin) on a 3D printer.

While 3D printing -- adding layers of material from an inkjet-like nozzel to make an object -- has made great advancements in the past few years, many still believed such a feat would take Wilson far longer to accomplish.
[Read more...]

Science will destroy humanity, says team of scientists (10 May 2013)
(NaturalNews) One of the primary goals of science is to advance knowledge and understanding to improve the human condition, but all too often this noble field of study has devolved into a profit-seeking quest for power, at the expense of mankind.

Indeed, the science of technology is perhaps the worst culprit, a team of mathematicians, philosophers and scientists at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute is warning.

The team, in a forthcoming paper titled, Existential Risk Prevention as Global Priority, says humankind's over-reliance on technology could lead to its demise, and that human beings are facing a risk to our own existence.

What's more, the team says humankind's demise is not far off; it could come as soon as the next century.
[Read more...]

With Father and Sister Imprisoned, Exiled Bahraini Activist Maryam Alkhawaja Condemns Ongoing Abuses (10 May 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: Our next guest, Maryam Alkhawaja, is a leading Bahraini human rights activist. Her family has been highly critical of the U.S.-backed monarchy. They have paid a heavy price. Maryam's father is the well-known human rights attorney Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. He's serving a life sentence in prison in Bahrain. He's already spent two years in jail. And Maryam's sister, Zainab, who we have often interviewed on Democracy Now!, is also in prison now. A close family friend of the Alkhawajas, Nabeel Rajab, is also in jail. Rajab had been the head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights. Our guest, Maryam Alkhawaja, is now the group's acting president.

Maryam, welcome to Democracy Now! But you don't live in Bahrain.

MARYAM ALKHAWAJA: No, I don't. I'm in self-imposed exile in Copenhagen currently, for safety reasons.

AMY GOODMAN: What would happen if you went back?

MARYAM ALKHAWAJA: Well, I did go back a few months ago, in January, for a very short trip, but I went on my Danish passport, and I chose the right timing to try and make sure that they wouldn't arrest me. But that's not necessarily going to be the case if I decide to go back again. So I'm being very careful about the timing that I choose to go back, so as not to end up in prison like my colleagues and family.
[Read more...]

Prosecutor to seek aggravated murder charges against Ariel Castro, citing what he said were terminated pregnancies among captive women (9 May 2013)
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The man accused of kidnapping and imprisoning Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight in his home could face the death penalty, says Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty.

McGinty said Thursday that he will pursue charges against Ariel Castro "for each act of aggravated murder he committed by terminating pregnancies" during the women's decade of captivity.

Castro, 52, also could face charges of attempted murder, rape, sexual assault and felonious assault, McGinty said, adding that he will seek to charge Castro for each day the women were held captive and for each time they were raped.

"This child kidnapper operated a torture chamber and private prison in the heart of our city," McGinty said at a news conference in a park across from the downtown Justice Center, where Castro was being held.
[Read more...]

Behind the Cleveland Kidnappings, A Culture of "Toxic Masculinity" & Gender-Based Violence (9 May 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Jaclyn Friedman, your response when you hear of the role of the police department previously in this case, or the law enforcement in--with Ariel Castro having severely beaten his former wife, never--never being brought to justice for that case?

JACLYN FRIEDMAN: Well, it doesn't surprise me at all, right? There's a continuum of violence. And it's easy to put all the attention on this one case, and sometimes I think it's counterproductive, right? When we start paying attention to the fact that a man breaks his wife or his ex-wife's nose and there's all kinds of media and police attention to that, we'll be getting somewhere.

I think it's really notable that both Ariel Castro and Charles Ramsey, the man who intervened to free these women, both have histories of domestic violence. And--but Charles Ramsey got domestic violence intervention after a charge, right? And so, he actually did the right thing: He intervened. In a situation that we're taught to see as private, as not my business, he stepped in, and he intervened. But I think the fact that they both have it in their history shows exactly how common gender-based violence is and how we really don't treat it like a big deal at all, and that we can do all the bystander intervention training in the world, right--and in fact numerous of these neighbors seem to have tried to intervene at different points--if we don't have structures that remove impunity for this violence, it's not going to get anywhere, if the police don't take these allegations seriously, if they look the other way, if they act with less force than they would if, say, he was--Ariel Castro was alleged to be dealing drugs, right? Can you imagine the SWAT team that would have descended on his house if they thought he was a drug dealer?
[Read more...]

Did Police Negligence & Suspect Ariel Castro's Unpunished Domestic Abuse Prolong Victims' Captivity? (9 May 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But, Eric, first go back to this issue of the two brothers, because all three of their disheveled pictures were broadcast around the world, and now suddenly the police said that--and neither of the other two brothers lived in the particular house. So do you have any indication why the police arrested them, as well, initially?

ERIC SANDY: The one word that sort of came out from the police department was "chaos." Just in the chaos of Monday evening's events, they managed to take Pedro and Onil into custody, as well. You're right: They lived a few blocks away; they did not live at 2207 Seymour Avenue. And according to questioning at this point, they had no idea what was going on at their brother Ariel's home. Again, they are appearing in court on unrelated misdemeanor charges stemming from outstanding warrants, but they apparently have no connection to this kidnapping case.

AMY GOODMAN: Eric Sandy, you wrote the piece "The Long History of Ariel Castro, Cleveland Kidnapper and Monster." What is known about this suspect, about the former bus driver?

ERIC SANDY: Right. Well, he was a former bus driver. He was most recently fired from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District last November for making an illegal U-turn. But going back a few years reveals a bit of a fractured family history and at least one run-in with police in 2004 as a bus driver. He left a child on a bus and left the bus for several hours. The county's Department of Child and Family Services showed up at his home. This is 2207 Seymour. This is 2004, and at least two women were being held at the home at that time, allegedly. And they knocked on the door, and there was no answer, and that was that. He was suspended, stemming from that incident, but that was really the one interaction with any semblance of--with law enforcement.

More privately, he--at one point, him and his wife separated. And they have a very contentious relationship. She actually died recently. And she lived with another man, Fernando Colon, her husband, and Ariel Castro's children lived with them. Basically, throughout the past 10 years, no one was really allowed in 2207 Seymour. Ariel made sure of that. Again, his children lived with their mother and their stepfather. And at one point, Fernando Colon, their stepfather, was a suspect in the disappearance of at least Gina DeJesus, and quite possibly the other two women, as well. He was cleared following a polygraph test and questioning. And according to our sources and according to Fernando, he pointed to Ariel Castro as a suspect. Now, the FBI has admitted that Fernando was a suspect in the kidnappings, but they have said that he did not point to Ariel Castro. And regardless, there was no follow-up into Ariel Castro as a suspect at that time. There were also many accusations of domestic violence against Ariel Castro from his ex-wife.
[Read more...]

Facebook page promoting violence against female Marines reappears, mocking Congress (9 May 2013)
A Facebook page that glorified violence against women in the military was shut down after Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) publicly called it to the attention of the secretary of defense and the commandant of the Marine Corps.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Commandant of the Marine Corps James Amos and Principal Deputy Inspector General Lynne Halbrooks on Wednesday, Speier accused the page -- which called itself "F'N Wook" -- of denigrating women by promoting a "culture of misogyny and sexual harassment."

Included with the the letters were graphic photographs. One showed a woman with a black eye and and caption that read, "She burned the bacon only once." One photo was captioned, "This is my rape face." Another photo of a women with a gun and had the title, "I can 'bang' even when I'm not on my back."

And a photo of three female Marines had the caption, "Lesbian... still goes down on gunny for promotion."
[Read more...]

Military could learn from cops in sexual assault cases (9 May 2013)
If you need more evidence that much of the U.S. military treats sexual assault like one big frat house joke, look no further than what allegedly happened outside a Crystal City bar in the early morning hours of Cinco de Mayo.

That's where the 41-year-old lieutenant colonel in charge of the Air Force's sexual-assault-prevention program allegedly groped a woman's breasts and butt in a parking lot.

The Arlington County police report said he was drunk. And if you've been wondering why he had cuts on his face in the police mug shot, a witness told me that the woman pulled out a cellphone and started hitting him with it.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski was "removed from his position immediately" when the Air Force learned of his arrest, an Air Force spokeswoman said. But then something revealing happened. The military tried to take the case away from Arlington authorities.

Defense Department officials asked the Arlington commonwealth's attorney, Theo Stamos, to just turn it over to them. Don't bother with your little county court stuff. Why don't you just let us handle our boy over here at the Pentagon?
[Read more...]

California town of Sebastopol will require solar panels on all new homes (9 May 2013)
Vineyards won't be the only things flourishing when the sun shines on the fertile city of Sebastopol, Calif., in Sonoma wine country. The liberal stronghold of fewer than 8,000 residents this week became California's second city to require that new homes be outfitted with panels to produce solar energy.

A vote by the City Council on Tuesday evening came less than two months after a similar program was approved in Lancaster, Calif., a conservative desert city with 150,000 residents nearly 400 miles away.

From the Santa Rosa Press Democrat:

"Sebastopol's ordinance would require new residential and commercial buildings -- as well as major additions and remodelings -- to include a photovoltaic energy-generation system.

"The system would have to provide 2 watts of power per square foot of insulated building area or offset 75 percent of the building's annual electric load."
[Read more...]

Speedy gang stole $45M worldwide through ATMs after hacking into prepaid debit cards, feds say (9 May 2013)
NEW YORK -- A worldwide gang of criminals stole a total of $45 million in a matter of hours by hacking their way into a database of prepaid debit cards and then draining cash machines around the globe, federal prosecutors said Thursday -- and outmoded U.S. card technology may be partly to blame.

Seven people are under arrest in the U.S. in connection with the case, which prosecutors said involved thousands of thefts from ATMs using bogus magnetic swipe cards carrying information from Middle Eastern banks. The fraudsters moved with astounding speed to loot financial institutions around the world, working in cells including one in New York, Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said.

She called it "a massive 21st-century bank heist" carried out by brazen thieves.

One of the suspects was caught on surveillance cameras, his backpack increasingly loaded down with cash, authorities said. Others took photos of themselves with giant wads of bills as they made their way up and down Manhattan.
[Read more...]

Bangladesh 1,000 Deaths Recall Disasters From Triangle to Bhopal (9 May 2013)
The death toll from the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh swelled to more than 1,000 workers, cementing its place among a grisly lineup of the world's worst industrial disasters and reinforcing calls that the tragedy lead to lasting change.

The casualties in Bangladesh are greater than in the infamous Triangle Waist Co. fire in New York or the Texas City, Texas, ship explosion that ranks as the deadliest in the U.S., and move the collapse into a virtual tie with the worst such catastrophe in Europe.

Whether the Rana Plaza disaster leads to new rules may depend on companies and governments in the U.S. and Europe because Bangladesh itself lacks a strong union presence, said Harley Shaiken, labor professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

"What took place in the factory in Bangladesh was unspeakably horrific," said Shaiken, who focuses in part on labor history. "The horror was so extreme that I think it will galvanize the possibility of change. It doesn't mean it will happen, but we can point to historic moments where tragedies of this scale led to change."
[Read more...]

Air Pollution Raises Risk of Diabetes Precursor in Kids (9 May 2013)
Exposure to air pollution raises the risk of resistance to insulin, a typical warning sign of diabetes, according to a study of almost 400 German children.

Insulin resistance climbed by 17 percent for every 10.6 micrograms per cubic meter increase in ambient nitrogen dioxide and by 19 percent for every 6 micrograms per cubic meter increase in particulate matter in the study of 10-year-olds. The findings were published today in Diabetologia, the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The study adds to previous research that showed a link between traffic-related air pollution and the development of diabetes in adults. Those studies have shown that exposure to fine pollution particles that invade the breathing system and get into the heart and blood vessels increases inflammation, which may be linked to insulin resistance, said Joachim Heinrich of the German Research Center for Environmental Health, one of the study authors.

"Given the ubiquitous nature of air pollution and the high incidence of insulin resistance in the general population, the associations examined here may have potentially important public health effects," Heinrich said in the published paper.
[Read more...]

Cassava was supposed to help us survive climate change, and now it's dying (9 May 2013)
Climate change is fixing to make potatoes and wheat and rice plants less productive, but we were supposed to be able to count on cassava. If you're not familiar, cassava is that tree-branch-looking thing that usually gets grouped near the hot peppers, tomatillos, and other ingredients you might need for "Mexican night" in higher-end grocery stores. This one:

It can double for potatoes as a staple crop, and it's less sensitive to heat changes. But now, even this alt-tuber is being snatched away from us. The Associated Press reports that cassava crops are dying:

"Scientists say a disease destroying entire crops of cassava has spread out of East Africa into the heart of the continent, is attacking plants as far south as Angola and threatens to move west into Nigeria, the world's biggest producer of the potatolike root. ... Africa, which suffers debilitating food shortages, is losing 50 million tons a year of cassava to the cassava brown streak disease, said Claude Fauquet, a scientist and co-founder of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century."

This isn't just a problem for people in the climate-changed future. Millions of people in Africa depend on cassava right now. But it's also an indicator of troubled times ahead for other continents. The fewer climate-change ready crops we've got, the more likely we are to end up eating twice-baked bananas.
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Blockbuster documentary '$tatin Nation' reveals the great cholesterol cover-up (9 May 2013)
(NaturalNews) An amazing new film that questions the false medical narrative on statin drugs has just been launched on the Natural News video delivery platform. Called "$tatin Nation," the film features a dozen interviews with top medical doctors, authors and even patients who are now standing up and publicly questioning the medical myths we've all been taught about cholesterol and statin drugs.

Promising to expose the "Great cholesterol cover-up," $tatin Nation is a must-see film for anyone currently taking statin drugs or considering taking them.

Cholesterol drugs are based on the intentional misreprentation of medical evidence

$tatin Nation is the first film to publicly question the Big Pharma narrative on statin drugs. It explores these three shocking facts that are now emerging in the medical literature:

1) People with high cholesterol tend to live longer
2) People with heart disease tend to have low levels of cholesterol
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Again, I don't agree with everything I post. I do think that statin drugs are over-prescribed.

However, this article isn't specific enough to differentiate "bad" cholesterol (LDL) vs. "good" cholesterol (HDL). There's also a question of whether high LDL is a cause of disease, or yet another symptom of something else that causes disease, like an unhealthy diet.

Either way, for many years researchers have questioned whether the artificial lowering of cholesterol with drugs decreases negative health effects at all. Then there's the additional issue of whether healthier alternatives work better than statins.

Obesity Surgery in India Spurs J&J Stomach-Staple Sales (9 May 2013)
In India, where one-in-six people are undernourished, an unlikely business is booming: obesity surgery.

As economic growth averaging more than 7 percent a year helped shrink the number of chronically hungry, the population of overweight and obese Indians has climbed. In cities such as New Delhi and Mumbai, adult women are more likely to be too fat than too thin, studies show. The result is an epidemic of life-shortening diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, which is estimated to afflict 63 million Indians.

To counter the trend, about 400 surgeons operating in 250 hospitals are offering stomach-shrinking procedures. That's made India one of the fastest-growing centers in the $1.2 billion global market for bariatric devices. Covidien Plc (COV), which competes with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) in supplying titanium stomach staples, predicts obesity operations in India will double to 10,000 this year, with as many as 2 million Indians as suitable candidates.

"These companies are doing very well -- well beyond their targets in India," said Ramen Goel, a surgeon at Nova Specialty Surgery, a private hospital in Mumbai, who was one of the first to offer the treatment in India in 2000. "Diabetes is now surgically controllable. Not everybody can exercise to make themselves healthy, it's just not possible."
[Read more...]

Biotech firm with Madison operations is purchased by Japanese drug company (9 May 2013)
Takeda America Holdings, part of the Japanese drug giant Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., said Tuesday it will buy Inviragen, a Fort Collins, Colo., vaccine development firm with operations in Madison and in Singapore.

Takeda will pay $35 million at the outset, with future payments of up to $215 million based on progress reaching commercial milestones.

Inviragen is working on vaccines against infectious diseases worldwide. The company's leading product, currently in clinical trials, is a vaccine to protect against dengue, which the World Health Organization calls "the most important mosquito-borne viral disease in the world." Also in the pipeline is a possible vaccine for hand, foot and mouth disease.

Madison operations, at 6502 Odana Road, focus on vaccine testing, in collaboration with the UW-Madison. Ten of Inviragen's 50 employees are in Madison.
[Read more...]

Ancient Arctic was warm, wet, and green. What that says about the future. (9 May 2013)
Working with a continuous record of Arctic climate reaching back 3.6 million years, researchers have documented a period when the region was significantly warmer and wetter than it is today and when the atmosphere's inventory of carbon dioxide was comparable to today's levels.

The period the team has analyzed covers the first 1.4 million years of the record, when the region's climate shifted from warm and wet to conditions that signaled the start of ice ages.

This period is of interest in part because the warmth persisted despite periodic shifts in Earth's orbit that reduced the intensity of sunlight reaching the region.

Temperatures were high enough -- about 14 degrees warmer than today in the warmest month of the summer -- to suggest that the climate system is more sensitive to small changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations than the sensitivity estimates included in some climate models.

If that's the case, as other paleoclimate studies have indicated, the models may be underestimating the amount of warming likely to result from increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, the scientists say.
[Read more...]

83-year-old nun gets 20 year sentence for 'symbolic' nuclear facility break-in (9 May 2013)
An 83-year-old nun who broke into a Tennessee depleted uranium storage facility in 2012 and splashed human blood on several surfaces, exposing a massive security hole at the nation's only facility used to store radioactive conventional munitions, was convicted Wednesday and sentenced to a term of up to 20 years in prison.

The only regret Sister Megan Rice shared with members of her jury on Wednesday was that she wished 70 years hadn't passed before she took direct action, according to the BBC. She and two other peace activists, 64-year-old Michael Walli and 56-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed, were convicted of "invasion of a nuclear facility" in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, even though investigators admitted they did not get close to any actual nuclear material.

The three activists are part of a group called "Transform Now Plowshares," a reference to the book of Isaiah, which says, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares. They shall learn war no more." All three face individual sentences of up to 20 years, along with a litany of fines.

As they invaded the Y-12 National Security Complex at Oak Ridge, a perimeter fence was cut, several surfaces were spray-painted, banners were hung and activists read from the Bible. They also spread human blood on several surfaces, saying its use was symbolic, meant to remind people "of the horrific spilling of blood by nuclear weapons."
[Read more...]

Student unrest made for an exceptional year in Montreal policing (9 May 2013)
MONTREAL - Crime was down in most categories in Montreal last year -- from burglaries to auto theft to sexual assault.

The Montreal Police Service made its annual report public on Thursday, revealing that the total number of crimes and misdemeanours declined by five per cent in 2012.

Police Chief Marc Parent noted, however, that student unrest made the year exceptional.

"Although demonstrations related to the student cause were organized throughout Quebec, Montreal quickly became the hub of popular discontent, he explains in the report. "We had to ensure the safety of citizens, motorists and police officers during the 700 or so demonstrations that occurred in our territory."

The report noted no "Canadian or even American city has ever experienced so many daily demonstrations, and as intensely, over such a short period."
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Enjoi skateboard firm pulls anti-women ads after thousands sign petition (9 May 2013)
A skateboard company has withdrawn advertisements which appeared to promote domestic violence and rape after a female skateboarder led a backlash against the images.

Enjoi, which makes skateboards, clothes and accessories and sponsors a professional team, pulled the offending images from its website on Thursday after an online campaign mobilised protest.

One of the ads was in the form of a T-shirt titled "The ex-girlfriend", which depicted a woman with tears and an arm in a sling saying: "He really does love his skateboard more than me." A different poster showed a male skateboarder with his finger over the mouth of a female mannequin head, as if hushing her, and the slogan: "Where no means yes."

A photograph of the T-shirt remained on Enjoi's Facebook page on Thursday but it appeared to be no longer on sale.

The company initially stood firm, insisting the images were harmless fun, but backtracked after 1,800 people signed the petition this week and after the organiser, Ginae Klasek, threatened to lead a march on its Los Angeles distributor, Dwindle.
[Read more...]

Pentagon Study Finds 26,000 Military Sexual Assaults Last Year, Over 70 Sex Crimes Per Day (8 May 2013)
AMY GOODMAN: How many convictions are we talking about?

ANURADHA BHAGWATI: We've just gotten the report, and so we're working through a couple thousand pages right now, so...

NERMEEN SHAIKH: What do you think accounts for the rise, almost 40 percent, you said? Is it because more were reported or more occurred, or a combination?

ANURADHA BHAGWATI: I think, honestly, it has to do with this groundswell of support from the outside, from outside of the military, from congressional leadership over the last year or two, the groundswell of media attention on this issue. The military can't hide this issue anymore, and therefore victims inside the military feel a little bit safer that there's a community out there that is going to support them and that finally believes them. I mean, this has been happening for decades. But finally there's a sense that, "OK, I'm not alone. People believe me. They say I'm a liar, but I'm not. People believe me out there."

AMY GOODMAN: I want to turn to Tuesday's Senate hearing, particularly the comments of U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh. He dismissed senators who suggested sexual assault cases should be handled by trained prosecutors rather than by commanders, who have overturned verdicts in the past.
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Cleveland Hero Was A Repeat Domestic Abuser (8 May 2013)
MAY 8--The Cleveland man credited with helping free female captives from a house of horrors is a convicted felon whose rap sheet includes three separate domestic violence convictions that resulted in prison terms, court records show.

Charles Ramsey, whose 911 call and subsequent TV interviews have made him a microcelebrity, was once a repeat spousal abuser whose marriage ended in divorce following a 2003 felony conviction for battering his wife.

Ramsey, 43, has said that when he heard captive Amanda Berry screaming and trying to escape from neighbor Ariel Castro's home on Monday, "I figured it's a domestic violence dispute." Ramsey has also reportedly said that he went to help Berry because he "was raised to help women in distress."

Ramsey's first domestic violence charge came in February 1997. He entered a no contest plea a year later and was found guilty of the count by a Cleveland Municipal Court judge. While waiting to be sentenced, Ramsey was again arrested for domestic violence.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: He can't be all bad -- he did the right thing when the women next door needed help.

Peru bans GMOs: Will America take the hint and follow suit before it's too late? (8 May 2013)
(NaturalNews) The only other country in the Americas besides Ecuador to completely ban genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) from being cultivated within its borders, the South American nation of Peru has taken charge to help protect not only its own citizens but also the people of the countries to whom it exports food crops from the horrors of biotechnology. As reported by CSMonitor.com, Peru has successfully implemented a 10-year moratorium on GMOs while extensive, long-term safety tests are conducted.

Accomplishing what practically no other country in North, Central, or South America has yet had the willingness or boldness to even attempt, Peru has essentially told the biotechnology industry to take its untested "Frankencrops" and shove them where the sun does not shine. Not only are GMOs dangerous for the environment and humans, agree many local experts and farmers, but they also threaten to decimate the rich biodiversity that has sustained the many civilizations of Peru for millennia.

"They're a big monoculture, which is why people usually end up using GMOs," says Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino about the detriments of factory farming, as quoted by CSMonitor.com. Schiaffino owns two restaurants in Lima that serve clean, native foods, including many unique varieties found only in the Amazon rainforest. "[W]hen you have monocultures, the crops end up getting diseases, and you have to look for these extreme ways to fix them."

So to prevent the complete loss of a farming tradition that has long incorporated the diverse cultivation of a plethora of native and indigenous crops, Peruvians have decided to simply disallow the raping and pillaging of their rich soils with toxic GMOs. And in the process, this embargo will help perpetuate the native biodiversity practices that have sustained Peruvians since the days when the Incan Empire reigned supreme.
[Read more...]

'The policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster': Stephen Hawking pulls out of conference hosted by Shimon Peres, backs academic boycott of Israel (Updated) (8 May 2013) [WhatReallyHappened.com]
The pro-Israel website CiF Watch has published this statement from Tim Holt, Acting Director of Communications at Cambridge, confirming Hawking's decision was out of support for the academic boycott:

"We have now received confirmation from Professor Hawking's office that a letter was sent on Friday to the Israeli President's office regarding his decision not to attend the Presidential Conference, based on advice from Palestinian academics that he should respect the boycott.

"We had understood previously that his decision was based purely on health grounds having been advised by doctors not to fly."

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has published a part of the letter Hawking sent to conference organizers:

"I have received a number of emails from Palestinian academics. They are unanimous that I should respect the boycott. In view of this, I must withdraw from the conference. Had I attended I would have stated my opinion that the policy of the present Israeli government is likely to lead to disaster."
[Read more...]

Mother who narrowly escaped death after contracting deadly virus spread through rodent feces on trip to Yosemite park sues for $3.5m (8 May 2013) [WhatReallyHappened.com]
A wife and mother who faced death after her visit to Yosemite National Park is now suing the park for $3.25 million.

Cathy Carrillo, a Southern California woman, is speaking out about the terrifying experience she went through after contracting the hantavirus at the park last June, the AP reports.

"I couldn't walk at all, I couldn't move my arms or anything," Carrillo said in the ABC video . She said nearly a year after becoming ill, she's still struggling with her speech, her lung capacity is reduced, and her energy level is nothing like it was before. Carrillo also said her medical bills total close to a million dollars.
"The doctors at the hospital said I was a miracle because they didn't know if I was going to pull through," she said.

Last summer, the virus killed three Yosemite visitors and sickened seven others. In 2011, half of the hantavirus patients in the U.S. died from the disease, although human cases of the virus remain extremely rare, ABC reports.

People contract the disease by inhaling the virus contained in mice feces and urine, and investigators determined deer mice were living in the double-wall tents at Yosemite, the Los Angeles Times reports. The park has since replaced the tents with single-wall tents, set 18,000 mouse traps and printed hantavirus warnings in the park newspaper and in reservation confirmation letters.
[Read more...]

Jamestown Colonists Resorted to Cannibalism (8 May 2013)
Archaeologists have discovered the first physical evidence of cannibalism by desperate English colonists driven by hunger during the Starving Time of 1609-1610 at Jamestown, Virginia (map)--the first permanent English settlement in the New World.

The announcement was made by a team of researchers from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Historic Jamestowne, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation at a press conference May 1 in Washington, D.C.

There are five historical accounts written by or about Jamestown colonists that reference cannibalism, but this is the first time it's been proven, said William Kelso, director of archeology at Historic Jamestowne.

"This is a very rare find," said James Horn, vice president of research for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. "It is the only artifactual evidence of cannibalism by Europeans at any European colony--Spanish, French, English, or Dutch--throughout the colonial period from about 1500 to 1800."

Portions of the butchered skull and shinbone of a 14-year-old girl from England, dubbed "Jane" by researchers, were unearthed by Jamestown archaeologists last year. They found the remains about 2.5 feet (0.8 meters) down in a 17th century trash deposit in the cellar of a building built in 1608 inside the James Fort site.
[Read more...]

How Canada is winning the race in recruiting skilled immigrants while the U.S. lags behind (7 May 2013)
The recruiter sent Thomas an e-mail loaded with video links describing the company, the owner's charity projects and the city of Prince George, dubbed the "Northern Capital" of British Columbia. "My wife and I were excited," Thomas, 45, said. "Auto mechanics don't get approached by recruiters, so it was sort of nice being catered to."

The dealership, specializing in heavy-duty trucks, paid for him to visit the area. He was hired last March under a skilled worker program and in a month had a work permit. With a contract paying up to $100,000 a year and government-provided health care, a job in Canada was like "I scratched a lottery ticket," he said.

Canadian governments, at both the national and provincial levels, are courting skilled workers such as plumbers, pipefitters, electricians and others from the U.S. and elsewhere. In addition to the program under which Thomas was hired, a category for specific trades began in January to address labour shortages while easing the path to residency, the federal government said. That program is forecast to admit up to 3,000 applicants in its first year.

'Global Competition'
"It is a global competition and Canada's design will lead to success perhaps at the expense of other countries like the U.S.," said Richard Kurland, a Vancouver-based immigration lawyer and policy analyst for large companies. "Canada creates a separate fast track to lure quickly desired occupations." In 2012, Canada granted more than 38,000 skilled workers permanent residency under already existing programs.
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Breaking News: Mississippi Supreme Court Issues Stay of Execution of Willie Jerome Manning (7 May 2013)
The Mississippi Supreme Court has blocked the execution of Willie Jerome Manning just hours before he was scheduled to die. The court voted 8-to-1, with Justice Michael Randolph objecting. The case attracted national attention after the FBI admitted that its original analysis of the evidence in Manning's case contained errors. Just last week, the Mississippi Supreme Court refused to allow new DNA testing that could prove Manning's innocence.

Manning was convicted of murdering Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, two white college students, in 1992. The Justice Department sent a letter saying one analyst's testimony at trial "exceeded the limits of the science and was, therefore, invalid." Manning's attorneys argue that no physical evidence ties him to the murders and that testing hair samples and other evidence could identify a different killer.

The Innocence Project hailed today's court ruling. In a statement, the group said, "Hopefully, Manning, who has spent 20 years on death row maintaining his innocence in the deaths of Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, will now have the opportunity to do DNA testing that could prove his innocence. This past week, the FBI notified the state that there were flaws in both the hair and ballistics evidence that was used to convict Manning."

Earlier today, Democracy Now! discussed the case with Vanessa Potkin, senior staff attorney at the Innocence Project.
[Read more...]

Obama delivers blunt message on sexual assaults in military (7 May 2013)
The estimated number of military personnel victimized by sexual assault and related crimes has surged by about 35 percent over the past two years, the Pentagon reported Tuesday, as the White House and lawmakers expressed anger with the military's handling of the problem.

The sobering statistics, along with several recent sexual-abuse scandals in the armed services, prompted President Obama to bluntly warn the Defense Department that he expected its leaders to take tougher action against sex offenders and redouble their efforts to prevent such crimes.

"The bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this," Obama told reporters. "If we find out somebody's engaging in this stuff, they've got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged -- period."

Members of Congress likewise signaled a loss of patience, introducing a flurry of bills in recent days that would revise military law to bolster the prosecution of sexual-assault cases and give more legal support to victims.

Senators also grilled Air Force leaders about the weekend arrest of the Air Force's chief for sexual-assault prevention on charges that he groped and attacked a woman in Northern Virginia. Some lawmakers called it an example of a cultural problem within the military that commanders have been unable to change.
[Read more...]

FDA, FBI raid natural cancer treatment clinic in Tulsa without due cause; force patients to leave without medicine needed for survival (7 May 2013)
(NaturalNews) A medical clinic in America's heartland that utilizes natural rather than toxic methods to treat cancer patients is under attack by the American police state oligarchy, according to new reports. As publicized by Tulsa, Okla.-based NewsOn6.com, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently sent agents to the Camelot Cancer Care center in Tulsa to conduct an unprovoked raid, upon which these agents temporarily shut down the clinic and stole medicine that had already been purchased by patients for treatment.

Camelot Cancer Care describes itself as an alternative cancer care clinic that harnesses the power of Dimethyl Sulfoxide (DMSO), vitamin C, vitamin B12, vitamin D3, glutathione, methylglyoxal, and various other vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes in the treatment of patients with cancer. All of the clinic's treatment methods are non-toxic - and even though it is not stated on the center's website, these natural treatment methods far outperform the conventional model of loading cancer patients up with chemotherapy chemicals and toxic radiation for supposed "treatment."

Even though the FDA and FBI have thus far refused to give a legitimate explanation as to why they raided Camelot around 11 a.m. on April 23, 2013, without due cause, NewsOn6.com says an insider source revealed to the station that the clinic's alleged use of a substance known as vitamin B17, or Laetrile, was what prompted the federal government to flex its authoritarian muscles by terrorizing the clinic.

As explained in a 2011 blog posting on Camelot's website, vitamin B17 (Laetrile) is a natural molecule that contains the simple sugar glucose, hydrogen cyanide, and benzaldehyde. When cancer cells intake Laetrile and try to metabolize it, the cyanide and benzaldehyde kill it naturally without causing side effects. And the best part about Laetrile is that it is completely non-toxic to healthy cells, which means it is in a therapeutic class of its own.
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Again, just because I post an article excerpt here doesn't mean that I agree with it. In the 1970s, mainstream medicine tried to work Laetrile into cancer treatment, but some of those patients died anyway. Eventually conventional medicine dropped it as a treatment, although I haven't researched whether mainstream medicine's chemo drugs have a better or worse survival rate than Laetrile. I also haven't researched whether Laetrile combined with other cancer-fighting substances works any better than Laetrile alone.

I have a page on the combination of alternative cancer treatments that I trusted with my own life, although I can't say how well it might work for other people in similar circumstances. It does combine some of the most powerful options from alternative medicine, though.

I don't think all alternative cancer treatments are created equal. I also think it's a good idea for everyone to research my method along with other options, and decide for themselves.

Evidence suggests that up to 90 percent of landmark cancer research may be false (7 May 2013)
(NaturalNews) The vast majority of the published scientific literature on cancer and cancer research is inherently flawed and non-reproducible, reveals a new review published online in the journal Nature. Researchers C. Glenn Begley and Lee Ellis found that a mere 11 percent of 53 papers on cancer published in reputable, peer-reviewed journals was solid, while the other 89 percent could not be reproduced, implying that it may be false or at the very least misleading.

Preclinical studies are the basis upon which the scientific community at large determines how best to develop treatments for disease, including potential new approaches to treating cancer. But such studies, though sure to contain some minor flaws from time to time, appear to be missing the boat in major ways on a regular basis. And the end result of this intrinsic failure is a cancer treatment system that is not only outdated but potentially completely misguided.

"The scientific community assumes that the claims in a preclinical study can be taken at face value - that although there might be some errors in detail, the main message of the paper can be relied on and the data will, for the most part, stand the test of time," wrote the authors about their findings. "Unfortunately, this is not always the case."

Based on a review of 53 published papers on cancer, Begley and Ellis discovered that only six of them could be reproduced and confirmed in a clinical setting. And the worst part was that the 53 papers were considered to be "landmark," which means they are generally recognized as having had a significant impact on cancer research due to presenting some new cancer treatment approach or novel therapy for targeting cancer cells.
[Read more...]

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson: 3 women who escaped captivity face long road home (7 May 2013)
CLEVELAND, Ohio -- When Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson received a text message from a city official Monday evening, notifying him that three longtime missing women had been found, his single word response summed up the astonishment of an entire community.

"Alive?" he inquired.

In an interview Tuesday, Jackson recounted the moment he heard the news that Amanda Berry, 27, Gina DeJesus, 23, and Michelle Knight, 32, had been rescued from at least a decade of captivity in a Seymour Avenue home.

Jackson said he first experienced a wave of relief and gratitude -- quickly followed by the solemn understanding of the challenges the women will face, assimilating back into society and reclaiming a normal life.

"A person cannot survive a horrible situation like that without the proper time to heal, stabilize and readjust," Jackson said. "They will have a new life. But, in some respects, that could be traumatic too. So what can we, as a city, do to help them in that transition? Give them room."
[Read more...]

Cleveland missing women hero: Neighbor Charles Ramsey kicks in door to help woman escape 10-year captivity (7 May 2013)
While eating McDonald's in Cleveland on Monday night, this ordinary citizen did what police failed to do for 10 years.

He stumbled upon Amanda Berry after hearing her cries, and helped her escape from a house on Seymour Avenue after she had been held captive for nearly 10 years.

Two other women also escaped once police arrived.

On Tuesday afternoon, McDonald's applauded Ramsey with this tweet: "We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy. Way to go Charles Ramsey- we'll be in touch."
[Read more...]

Authorities tried earlier visit to house where Ohio women found (7 May 2013)
(Reuters) - Three Cleveland women, found alive after vanishing for about a decade in their own neighborhood, were freed from a house that authorities tried to visit several years ago, police said on Tuesday.

Three brothers, one of them a school bus driver who owns the house in Cleveland, Ohio where three women and a child were found on Monday, are under arrest, police said at a news conference.

Police identified them as Ariel Castro, 52, Pedro Castro, 54, and Onil Castro, 50.

Amid jubilation over the discovery, authorities and residents quickly questioned whether the women had been held inside the house for years without anyone noticing. All three young women vanished separately - in 2002, 2003 and 2004 - within a few blocks of the house where they were found.
[Read more...]

Grow your own glow-in-the-dark rose (7 May 2013)
One day in the future, instead of creating machines to work for us, we'll tinker with living creatures until they do exactly what we want. This is already happening on a small scale; scientists are using synthetic biology techniques to program algae that produce biofuels more efficiently. And now, they're dreaming of the day when we can use glowing trees instead of streetlights.

Wild, right? If you're into the idea of using genetics to turn nature to human service, you can get in on the ground floor by funding the researchers who fantasize about glowing trees. They've already made smaller plants that glow, and for $40, you can get some of the seeds. For a little more, they'll grow the thing for you. They've raised more than $245,000 so far, and if they get to $400,000 they won't just grow boring old Arabidopsis plants, but also glowing roses.

FastCoExist has more about the technical workings of this research, but here's the part we're interested in -- the measures that these researchers are taking to ensure that they don't accidentally make all the plants in the world glow:

"Arabidopsis was chosen for a number of reasons: it's not native to the U.S., so there is little risk of cross-pollination; it doesn't survive well in the wild (again, reducing risk of cross-pollination), it self-pollinates, and up until recently, it was thought to have the shortest genome of any plant. That means the protocols for Arabidopsis plant transformation work are well-established. Roses (the stretch goal plant) have also been studied extensively, and they carry little risk of cross-pollination, according to Evans."
[Read more...]

The Formosan clouded leopard has been declared extinct (7 May 2013)
The Formosan clouded leopard, a subspecies of clouded leopard native to Taiwan, has probably been extinct for decades. But in the weird red-tape world of species extinction, it doesn't count until scientists make it official. After 13 years of searching with no leopards in evidence, though, researchers are having to reluctantly conclude that this Taiwanese subspecies is no more.

There are still clouded leopards in the world -- the main species is considered vulnerable, but there are around 10,000 in the wild and a couple hundred in zoos. Of course, it never pays to underestimate humanity's ability to wipe out beautiful creatures, even the ones we haven't gotten around to yet. But for now, at least, we have pictures like this one, to ease the blow of having to say goodbye to yet another type of animal.
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Coal companies have gotten good at wrangling their way out of federal fines (7 May 2013)
Back in high school, I had a great strategy for dealing with parking tickets I couldn't afford to pay: I went down to city hall and challenged them -- sometimes with a legitimate excuse, sometimes not ("The two-hour sign was obscured by a flowering cherry tree!"). I had figured out that bureaucrats cared less about the reliability of my sob story than they did about getting on with their day, so often they'd just roll their eyes, reduce the fine, and shoo me out the door.

Turns out the same tactic works for coal companies facing fines for safety infractions. A Cleveland Plain Dealer investigation found that when federal regulators fine mine operators for violating safety standards, those companies "are fighting significant fines as a matter of course and getting them reduced, if not dropped," which means "clogging up the appeals process and wearing down a system that lacks resources to match the challenge." You know, just like a privileged teenager exploiting an overburdened traffic court -- except with hundreds of thousands of dollars, not to mention miners' lives, at stake.

The Plain Dealer reports:

"Reviewing [Mine Safety and Health Administration] data dating to 2007, the Plain Dealer examined the agency's practice of levying large fines and the Ohio mines' practice of challenging the fines. The newspaper found repeated success for mine owners. Just counting four years in which nearly every case is now resolved -- 2007 through 2010 -- the government wanted $1.59 million from Murray Energy for citations at its two Ohio underground mines. Murray wound up paying $1.05 million, saving more than $531,000, according to an analysis of the federal data. It did so by seeking negotiations and, if that failed, filing appeals. ..."
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NHS hospitals robbed dead people organs (7 May 2013) [Rense.com]
Several British hospitals have been exposed as involved in a body organs' scandal in which NHS hospitals have kept hundreds of dead people's body parts without relatives' permission for up to 20 years.

The stolen organs include brains and other vital parts of the dead bodies, an investigation by The Sun revealed.

Guy's and St Thomas' Hospitals in London are now contacting relatives of the deceased from across Britain telling them that they can take back the organs that could repeat the gruesome 1990's scandal in Bristol and Liverpool that led to second funerals.

The scandal is especially embarrassing for the government because the organs had been unlawfully removed from the bodies under police or coroners' authorization to be stored for tests at forensic medicine department of King's College, London.
[Read more...]

"Over the Line": U.S. Agents Shooting Dead Innocent Mexicans Across the Border With Impunity (7 May 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: Tell us more about José, but also put this in this bigger context of the number of Mexicans who have been killed as U.S. border guards shoot across the border.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: This is a strange and recent phenomenon. We actually have U.S. federal agents who are firing their weapons into a sovereign country. And in the past couple of years, they've actually killed six people. They've actually shot 10 times into Mexico, wounding a couple of others, and in some cases we don't even know what happened. So, we're talking about Mexico, our neighbor, our friend to the south, basically receiving arms, bullets from federal agents.

And the insidious part of all of this is that the U.S. public knows nothing about this. Elements about the cases, the histories, the details of these incidents are kept from the public. We don't know the agents' names. We don't know why. We don't know anything about the incidents. So I traveled up and down the border talking to as many people as I could for the report.

AMY GOODMAN: Tell us some of the stories you learned.

JOHN CARLOS FREY: There's one instance in a park where a husband and wife were celebrating the birthday of their two daughters. The husband got shot and killed, shot in the heart.
[Read more...]

Congressman Fred Upton: Palisades nuclear plant must stay offline until leaking tank is permanently fixed (7 May 2013)
COVERT TOWNSHIP, MI -- U.S Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, called Tuesday for the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant to remain offline until a leak in its tank that apparently led to diluted radioactive water being released into Lake Michigan is permanently repaired.

"This situation is not acceptable and demands full accountability," said Upton, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in a statement. "I have been in contact with both the NRC and Entergy and am demanding a permanent solution."

Upton said that he plans to visit Palisades with one of the five members of Nuclear Regulatory Commission in the "very near future."

"When it comes to nuclear energy, safety must always come first, and without that assurance by the NRC, the facility needs to stay offline," said Upton.

On Monday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission reported that 79 gallons of diluted radioactive water drained into Lake Michigan Saturday after the rate of a leak in a tank at Palisades accelerated. The event did not represent a health or safety risk to the public, both Palisades and the NRC said. Palisades was shut down on Sunday to identify the leak and make repairs.
[Read more...]

Michael Pollan on How Reclaiming Cooking Can Save Our Food System, Make Us Healthy & Grow Democracy (6 May 2013) [DemocracyNow.org]
AMY GOODMAN: I want to read a quote from your book, Cooked. We're talking to Michael Pollan, well-known food writer, thinker, really challenging food policy in this country. Michael, you write, "Today, the typical American spends a mere twenty-seven minutes a day of food preparation, and another four minutes cleaning up. That's less than half the time spent cooking and cleaning up in 1965." You also note that market research shows more than half of the evening meals an American eats are "cooked at home," but that number may be misleading.

MICHAEL POLLAN: Yeah, well, how do they define "cooking"? It's pretty loose. Basically, cooking, in the marketers' terms, is just any food that has more than one element, that's assembled. So, for example, if you took some prewashed bagged lettuce and put a little bit of dressing on it, you're cooking. Or if you took some cold cuts and put them on bread, you're--and made a sandwich, you're cooking. You know, my definition of cooking would be a little more strenuous than that, a little more rigorous--not that I think you always need to cook from scratch. I use, you know, canned tomatoes all the time and canned chickpeas and frozen spinach. And there is a kind of first-order processed food that I think is a real boon to us. These are these one- or two-ingredient processed foods. I think they're wonderful. You know, I don't want to have to mill my own flour if I want to bake. But there's another kind of processing that's become much more common in the last decade or two, and that is what's often referred to as hyper- or ultra-processed food. These are processed foods that are meant to be entire meal replacements. They're called home meal replacements. And this is where we get into trouble, because corporations don't cook the way humans do. They really don't. All you--and to know that, all you have to do is read the ingredient labels. Those home meal replacements are full of ingredients that no normal human ever has in their pantry. Polysorbate 80, do you have that in your pantry? I don't think so. Soy lecithin? Carboxylated--I forget the other two words. I mean, all these--

AMY GOODMAN: No, because the exterminator came and [inaudible].

MICHAEL POLLAN: So, the--so, they cook differently. They also use lots--as you said, lots of salt, fat and sugar to disguise the fact that they're using the cheapest possible raw ingredients--and to press our buttons.
[Read more...]

US air force sexual assault prevention unit chief charged with sexual battery (6 May 2013)
An officer who led the US air force's sexual assault prevention and response unit has been charged with groping a woman in a northern Virginia parking lot, authorities said on Monday.

Arlington county police said Lt Col Jeffrey Krusinski faces a misdemeanour charge of sexual battery following an alleged assault at about 12.30am on Sunday in the Crystal City area of the county.

A police report says the 41-year-old Krusinski was drunk and grabbed a woman's breast and buttocks. Police say the woman fought him off and called for help.

Air force spokeswoman Natasha Waggoner said Krusinski was removed from his post in the sexual assault unit after the air force learned of his arrest. He had started in the job in February.
[Read more...]

A Brief History of Advertising (6 May 2013) [Rense.com]
Since so much of this business centers around advertising, I thought this was a nice piece to post on the History of Advertising. [Read more...]

One nuke plant in Wisconsin will shutter, another in California might not be switched back on (6 May 2013)
Americans worried by the threat of a nuclear meltdown could soon have two fewer reasons to fret.

A nuclear power plant in Wisconsin will be powered down on Tuesday and the owner of a trouble-plagued plant in California is considering shutting it down for good.

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

"Kewaunee [Power Station] owner Dominion Resources Inc. has announced it will shut the plant on May 7, a move that is expected to result in the loss of hundreds of jobs.

"The reactor is closing because the Wisconsin utilities that had purchased its electricity declined to continue buying it, citing the low price of natural gas. Dominion put the power plant up for sale in 2011, but no buyer emerged."
[Read more...]

PAM COMMENTARY: Wisconsin has productive wind farms, too.

Radioactive water was released into Lake Michigan before Palisades nuclear plant shutdown Sunday (6 May 2013) [InfoWars.com]
COVERT TOWNSHIP, MI -- Before Sunday's shutdown of Palisades Nuclear Power Plant, about 79 gallons of diluted radioactive water were released into Lake Michigan, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday, May 6.

But by the time the water reached the lake, the level of radioactivity had been diluted to the point where it did not represent a health or safety risk, a spokeswoman for the NRC said.

"There was no danger to the public. It did occur. It is not anything to be alarmed about," said the NRC's Viktoria Mitlyng. Palisades does planned releases of diluted radioactive water into the lake at regular intervals, she said.

Over the weekend, the water, which leaked from a 300,000-gallon storage tank, went down a drain and into a basin, where what Mitlyng characterized as "an extreme dilution factor" occurred.
[Read more...]

New rosy estimates fuel optimism at North Dakota oil boom (5 May 2013)
WILLISTON, N.D. -- Two days after a rosy government report doubled the estimate of how much oil is tucked beneath North Dakota, four men hop out of their vehicles into the soft dusk light atop a rock-strewn hill north of town.

They point at the barren, rolling landscape dotted with cattle, an oil well and a pond as a half-mile-long train of oil tank cars silently snakes past in the distance.

One is a former hedge fund manager who flew in from Connecticut. Another is a real estate investor who drove his pickup from Spokane, Wash. There's a local civil engineer and a homebuilder who moved out here when business dried up on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

They're planning to buy the 70 acres of farmland for a 56-home subdivision on one-acre lots, envisioning a bedroom community as the area's oil boom reality of man camps and crowded RV parks morphs into something more permanent. "This new estimate tells people looking to invest here that, hey, there is enough oil to drill here for 20 years instead of five," Williston Mayor Ward Koeser said. "Now there's scientific proof that we have twice as much oil as they said five years ago, and that gives us a little more stability, reliability and credibility."
[Read more...]

Nature's Toll Road (5 May 2013)
Highway 12 down North Carolina's Outer Banks isn't much to look at: 110 miles of asphalt with sand or buildings pressed up against it.

On hot summer days, it can seem invisible, covered by an endless column of vehicles carrying vacationers to beach houses. But on chilly, wind-tossed days, sometimes it really does disappear, broken and drowned by water from the ocean and from Pamlico Sound.

In the 65 years since it was first paved, N.C. 12 has become indispensable to the 4,300 residents of Hatteras Island, whose economy is built on tourism.

But the road also hurts the island, blocking the natural transport of sand from front to back and causing it to shrink.
[Read more...]

Israel carries out second air strike in Syria (5 May 2013)
Israel has carried out a second air strike on Syria, hitting targets in and close to Damascus in what briefings by unnamed western intelligence sources reportedly claimed was an attempt to stop a shipment of advanced, Iranian-made missiles heading to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Syria's state news agency, Sana, reported explosions at the Jamraya military and scientific research centre near Damascus, saying: "Initial reports point to these explosions being a result of Israeli missiles." The agency spoke of an unspecified number of casualties.

While Israel made no comment, Lebanon's al-Mayadeen TV reported several apparent strikes, including one on a military position in a village west of Damascus, about six miles from the Lebanese border.

Hezbollah's al-Manar TV said the Jamraya facility was not hit and that it was an army supply centre which had been targeted. The station quoted Syrian security officials as saying three sites, including military barracks, arms depots and air defence infrastructure, were targeted. Amateur video footage said to have been shot early on Sunday in the Damascus area showed fire lighting up the night sky.
[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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All original content including photographs © 2013 by Pam Rotella. (News excerpts copyright by their corresponding authors, news organizations, or other copyright holders, and quoted here typically as "fair use" or "teaser" paragraphs to generate interest in the full articles.)