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Top news: Angelina Jolie's mastectomy unnecessary, NSA's industrial espionage

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Below are key excerpts of important news articles on industrial espionage by the NSA revealed by Edward Snowden, strong evidence Angelina Jolie's double mastectomy was not necessary, banks' facilitation of predatory lending, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on a lemonade stand to fight child slavery and the accomplishments of the organic small farm movement. To skip to the section on inspiring articles, click here.

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted. And don't miss the "What you can do" section below the summaries. By educating ourselves and spreading the word, we can and will build a brighter future.

Special note: Numerous individuals have done experiments after a recent record snowfall in the deep south of the US and discovered strange properties about the snow. Click here for more. To read a patent filed in 1967 which reads very much like an anti-gravity propulsion system (U.S. patent number 3322374 by James King, Jr.), click here. For a fascinating New York Times article on how corporations target human habits and weaknesses to market their goods, click here.

Quote of the Week: If you would be a real seeker after truth, you must at least once in your life doubt, as far as possible, all things. ~~ Descartes

Snowden: NSA conducts industrial espionage too
January 26, 2014, CBS News/Reuters
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/snowden-nsa-conducts-industrial-espionage-too/

The U.S. National Security Agency is involved in industrial espionage and will grab any intelligence it can get its hands on regardless of its value to national security, former NSA contractor Edward Snowden told a German TV network. ARD TV quoted Snowden saying the NSA does not limit its espionage to issues of national security and he cited German engineering firm, Siemens as one target. "If there's information at Siemens that's beneficial to U.S. national interests - even if it doesn't have anything to do with national security - then they'll take that information nevertheless," Snowden said. Snowden's claim the NSA is engaged in industrial espionage follows a New York Times report earlier this month that the NSA put software in almost 100,000 computers around the world, allowing it to carry out surveillance on those devices and could provide a digital highway for cyberattacks. The NSA planted most of the software after gaining access to computer networks, but has also used a secret technology that allows it entry even to computers not connected to the Internet, the newspaper said, citing U.S. officials, computer experts and documents leaked by Snowden. Frequent targets of the programme, code-named Quantum, included units of the Chinese military and industrial targets.

Note: For more on the realities of intelligence agency operations, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Gene genie
November 1, 2013, The Intelligent Optimist Magazine
http://theoptimist.com/gene-genie/#!t6R4o

Angelina Jolie won plaudits around the world when she announced in May that she’d had a pre-emptive double mastectomy once doctors told her she had a whopping 87 percent risk of developing breast cancer and a 50 percent chance of developing ovarian cancer. Jolie, who regularly leverages her fame for public good, said she chose to share her story in the hope that other women who may be living under the shadow of cancer “will be able to get gene-tested” and know about their “strong options” in the event they’ve been dealt some unlucky genetic cards. While Jolie’s decision to tell the truth about her situation was brave and extraordinarily well intentioned, how much of the truth was she told about her condition? Is her genetic history indeed an automatic death sentence? Here’s what doctors may not have told her. Most breast cancer develops in women without a family history of the disease. The vast majority of women who get cancer (eight out of every nine) don’t have a family history of the disease—and even with a family history, most women will never develop cancer. Four out of five women who have a mother and a sister with breast cancer will never develop the disease, and 12 out of 13 will not die from it. The danger increases with the number of close relatives who have the disease, but the risk may prove to be far less than that described to Jolie. For women who have one close relative with breast cancer, the lifetime risk is 8 percent, which increases to just 13.3 percent for those like Angelina Jolie, with two close relatives who had the disease. There is no solid evidence that just-in-case double mastectomies increase survival.

Note: For more on important health issues, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Let Banks Fail Is Iceland Mantra as 2% Joblessness in Sight
January 27, 2014, Washington Post/Bloomberg News
http://washpost.bloomberg.com/Story?docId=1376...

Iceland let its banks fail in 2008 because they proved too big to save. Now, the island is finding crisis-management decisions made half a decade ago have put it on a trajectory that’s turned 2 percent unemployment into a realistic goal. While the euro area grapples with record joblessness, led by more than 25 percent in Greece and Spain, only about 4 percent of Iceland’s labor force is without work. Prime Minister Sigmundur D. Gunnlaugsson says even that’s too high. The island’s sudden economic meltdown in October 2008 made international headlines as a debt-fueled banking boom ended in a matter of weeks when funding markets froze. Policy makers overseeing the $14 billion economy refused to back the banks, which subsequently defaulted on $85 billion. The government’s decision to protect state finances left it with the means to continue social support programs that shielded Icelanders from penury during the worst financial crisis in six decades. Of creditor claims against the banks, Gunnlaugsson says “this is not public debt and never will be.” Successive Icelandic governments have forced banks to write off mortgage debts to help households. The government’s 2014 budget sets aside about 43 percent of its spending for the Welfare Ministry, a level that is largely unchanged since before the crisis. Inflation, which peaked at 19 percent in January 2009, ... was 4.2 percent in December. To support households, Gunnlaugsson in November unveiled a plan to provide as much as 7 percent of gross domestic product in mortgage debt relief. The government intends to finance the plan, which the OECD has criticized as being too blunt, partly by raising taxes on banks.

Note: Why is Iceland's major success in letting banks fail getting so little press coverage? For a possible answer, click here. For more on government responses to the banking crisis and their impacts on people, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Money made at others’ expense
January 28, 2014, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/harold-meyerson-money-made-at-others-expense...

The paths that many of today’s wealthiest Americans have taken on their road to riches have not bettered most people’s lives. Many have actually hurt most people’s lives. Their riches have come at most other people’s expense. Since the recession officially ended in June 2009, for instance, the wages for all private-sector jobs have fallen, on average, by 0.5 percent. The wages for jobs in financial services, however, have risen by 5.5 percent. Inasmuch as the recession was brought about by the financial services industry, it’s understandable that this disparity would strike most people as unjust. Or consider the mechanisms by which some CEOs earn huge salaries. Last week, the board of directors of JPMorgan Chase voted to raise chief executive Jamie Dimon’s annual pay to $20 million — up from $11.5 million — despite the fact that the bank paid the federal government around $20 billion last year to settle charges stemming from its multiple misdeeds. Laying off workers and depressing their pay has become the key factor in boosting corporate profits in recent years. With profits at a record high as a share of the nation’s gross domestic product and wages at a record low, it’s entirely proper that Americans question the legitimacy of the 1 percent’s wealth.

Note: For more on income inequality, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Justice Department Inquiry Takes Aim at Banks’ Business With Payday Lenders
January 26, 2014, New York Times
http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/justice-dept-inquiry-takes-aim-at-banks-business-with-payday...

Federal prosecutors are trying to thwart the easy access that predatory lenders and dubious online merchants have to Americans’ bank accounts by going after banks that fail to meet their obligations as gatekeepers to the United States financial system. The Justice Department is weighing civil and criminal actions against dozens of banks, sending out subpoenas to more than 50 payment processors and the banks that do business with them, according to government officials. In the new initiative, called “Operation Choke Point,” the agency is scrutinizing banks both big and small over whether they, in exchange for handsome fees, enable businesses to illegally siphon billions of dollars from consumers’ checking accounts. The critical role played by banks largely plays out in the shadows because they typically do not deal directly with the Internet merchants. What they do is provide banking services to third-party payment processors, financial middlemen that, in turn, handle payments for their merchant customers. The new, more rigorous oversight could have a chilling effect on Internet payday lenders, which have migrated from storefronts to websites where they offer short-term loans at interest rates that often exceed 500 percent annually. As a growing number of states enact interest rate caps that effectively ban the loans, the lenders increasingly depend on the banks for their survival. With the banks’ help, the lenders that typically work with a third-party payment processor that has an account at the banks are able, authorities say, to automatically deduct payments from customers’ checking accounts even in states where the loans are illegal.

Note: For more on financial corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

The anti-fracking activist barred from 312.5 sq miles of Pennsylvania
January 29, 2014, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/29/vera-scroggins-fracking-activist-pennsylvania

Vera Scroggins, an outspoken opponent of fracking, is legally barred from the new county hospital. Also off-limits, unless Scroggins wants to risk fines and arrest, are the Chinese restaurant where she takes her grandchildren, the supermarkets and drug stores where she shops, the animal shelter where she adopted her Yorkshire terrier, bowling alley, recycling centre, golf club, and lake shore. In total, 312.5 sq miles are no-go areas for Scroggins under a sweeping court order granted by a local judge that bars her from any properties owned or leased by one of the biggest drillers in the Pennsylvania natural gas rush, Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation. The ban represents one of the most extreme measures taken by the oil and gas industry to date against protesters like Scroggins, who has operated peacefully and within the law including taking Yoko Ono to frack sites in her bid to elevate public concerns about fracking. It was always going to be an unequal fight when Scroggins, now 63, made it her self-appointed mission five years ago to stop fracking in this, the richest part of the Marcellus Shale. The judge [granted] Cabot a temporary injunction barring Scroggins from all property owned or leased by the company. In court filings, Cabot said it holds leases on 200,000 acres of land, equivalent to 312.5 sq miles. That amounts to nearly 40% of the largely rural county in north-eastern Pennsylvania where Scroggins lives and where Cabot does most of its drilling.

Note: For more on government corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

The Koch Party
January 26, 2014, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/opinion/sunday/the-koch-party.html

Democrats have been staggered by a $20 million advertising blitz produced by Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group organized and financed by the Koch brothers, billionaire industrialists. The ads take aim at House and Senate candidates for re-election who have supported the health law, and blame them for the hyped-up problems with the law’s rollout that now seem to be the sole plank in this year’s Republican platform. In 2012 ... the Koch network raised $407 million, which was secreted among 17 groups with cryptic names and purposes that were designed to make it impossible to figure out the names of donors the Kochs worked with. As one tax expert told [The Washington Post], “it’s designed to make it opaque as to where the money is coming from and where the money is going.” The Democrats have smaller versions of these operations, though they are more focused on building a super PAC to collect unlimited donations supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016, and they lack the resources to compete with the Kochs at this stage. The clandestine influence of the Kochs ... would be much reduced if they were forced to play in the sunshine. The Internal Revenue Service and several lawmakers are beginning to step up their interest in preventing “social welfare” organizations and other tax-sheltered groups from being used as political conduits, but they have encountered the usual resistance from Republican lawmakers. Considering how effectively the Koch brothers are doing their job, it’s easy to see why.

Note: For more on major flaws in the US electoral system, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

North American monarch butterfly migration falls to record lows, report says
January 29, 2014, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/monarch-migration-falls-to-record-lows...

One of North America’s most dazzling natural phenomena, the annual winter migration to central Mexico by millions of monarch butterflies from the northern United States and Canada, has shrunk to record lows and is in danger of ending. The monarch migration has been documented in books and movies and attracts thousands of tourists to a nature preserve about 100 miles west of Mexico City. The black-and-orange butterflies hang from the trees there like shaggy beards. In the 20 years since environmentalists began keeping detailed records of the monarch’s winter habitats, the butterflies have covered as much as 45 acres of forest in the Mexican state of Michoacan. But the most recent winter count showed how far the migrating monarch population has fallen: As of December, they blanketed just 1.6 acres of forest, the smallest area yet. The butterflies face numerous threats across North America. In Michoacan, illegal logging has cut into their winter habitat in the oyamel fir trees, although government conservation efforts have slowed the rate of deforestation. In the United States and Canada, herbicides used in industrial-scale farming have destroyed the milkweed plants where they lay their eggs. Omar Vidal, the director of the World Wildlife Fund’s Mexico office, said he wants North American leaders to agree on a plan to protect the monarch, saying the migration “symbolically unites our three countries.”

Note: For more on mass animal deaths, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Australian panel told of sexual abuse of boys at Salvation Army homes
January 28, 2014, CNN
http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/28/world/asia/australia-salvation-army-abuse-hearing

An Australian commission is hearing allegations of the physical and sexual abuse of boys in the care of the Salvation Army over several decades. The shocking treatment at some of the organization's boys homes included rape, beatings, locking boys in cages and, in one case, forcing a boy to eat his own vomit, the commission was told. The public hearings, taking place in Sydney, are part of a wide-ranging investigation into how Australian institutions responded to cases of child sexual abuse. The current phase is focusing on the Salvation Army's response to abuse that took place in four of its boys homes in the states of Queensland and New South Wales in the 1960s and '70s. The four homes at the heart of the hearings were identified by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as those where the most complaints of abuse were made to The Salvation Army. The homes ... were all closed by 1980. Allegations of widespread sexual assault carried out by Salvation Army officers and some of the boys under their supervision were also outlined. At the Bexley home, members of the public also abused boys, [said Simeon Beckett, the counsel assisting the commission], possibly with the knowledge of Salvation Army staff members. "These persons had access to the boys' dormitories at night and would access the dormitories and sexually assault the boys," he said.

Note: If you are ready to see how investigations into a massive child sex abuse ring have led to the highest levels of government, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence," available here. For more articles on sexual abuse, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy protection
January 31, 2014, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/01/31/catholic-diocese-files-for-bankruptcy-protection...

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena [Montana] planned to file for bankruptcy protection [on January 31] as part of a proposed settlement of $15 million for hundreds of victims who say clergy members sexually abused them over decades while the church covered it up. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Montana would be responsible for approving and supervising the disbursement of $15 million to compensate the 362 victims identified in the two lawsuits. In addition, at least $2.5 million will be set aside for victims who come forward later, [Diocese spokesman Dan] Bartleson said. Molly Howard, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said she believes the bankruptcy process will resolve the case more quickly than years of litigation and trials with uncertain outcomes. The Helena diocese is the 11th in the nation to seek bankruptcy protection in the face of sex-abuse claims. In one of the lawsuits, the plaintiffs said they were repeatedly raped, fondled or forced to perform sexual acts while at school, on the playground, on camping trips or at the victims' homes. The second lawsuit, filed a week after the first in 2011 ... alleged that nuns at the Ursuline Academy in St. Ignatius abused dozens of Native American children.

Note: If you are ready to see how investigations into a massive child sex abuse ring have led to the highest levels of government, watch the suppressed Discovery Channel documentary "Conspiracy of Silence," available here. For more articles on sexual abuse, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.

If Anybody Ever Tells You It's Too Expensive To Solve The World's Problems, Show Them This
January 29, 2014, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/29/solve-worlds-problems_n_4655690.html

The world's problems are so staggering that they sometimes feel completely unchangeable. Every day seems to leave more suffering, disease and tragedy in its wake. There's no question that our problems are vast, but what would it really cost to solve some of greatest human tragedies we face? Here are some stats that put the world's problems in perspective: 1. For $26 billion more a year, we could provide a basic education to every child in the world by 2015. That's according to a UNESCO study published in Sept. 2013. That might seem like a lot, but let's consider that... The U.S. drops an annual $25 billion on golf. 2. For $990, a farmer can get training in dairy production and four milk-producing animals. A Heifer International "Cheeses of the World" basket provides a goat, a sheep, a water buffalo and a heifer so that a family living in poverty can produce and sell dairy products. That certainly isn't chump-change, but in the U.S... Families spend an average of $1,139 on [a] prom. 3. For $190 billion a year, we could cut the number of people without access to clean water and basic sanitation facilities in half. In 2012, the World Health Organization predicted that its Millennium Development Goal of providing access to clean water and basic sanitation for half of those who currently lack it would require a $190 billion annual investment for five years. At the time of the report, 783 million people had subpar drinking water, and 2.5 billion people lacked access to proper sanitation facilities. Meanwhile, the U.S. loses $190 billion in annual federal and state revenue due to offshore tax dodges.

Inspiring Articles

Vivienne Harr's lemonade stand story a movie
January 27, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Vivienne-Harr-s-lemonade-stand-story-a-movie-5179948.php

When Eric Harr was a kid, he made $9 one day from selling lemonade. He thought that was totally cool. Thirty years later, his daughter Vivienne set up a lemonade stand ... and did considerably better. Over 173 consecutive days, she took in $101,320. Vivienne, a 10-year-old with a penchant for bouncy princess dresses and the color pink, had a motive. Alarmed by photos she'd seen of Nepalese children hauling enormous rocks down a mountain, she decided in May 2012 to raise money to stop child slavery. When people stopped at her lemonade stand to ask how much she was charging, Vivienne said, "Whatever's in your heart." She donated the $101,320 to Not for Sale, a nonprofit that works to eradicate human trafficking around the world. But she wasn't finished. During the last year and a half, her campaign morphed into a corporation. Make a Stand Lemon-Aid, which her father oversees, sells fair-trade, organic lemonade at 137 stores and is expected to gross $2 million this year. Along the way, Vivienne became a bit of a celebrity. In November, she joined "Star Trek" actor Patrick Stewart to ring the opening bell for Twitter's IPO at the New York Stock Exchange - a distinction bestowed because she and her dad, a social-media professional, had made extensive use of the microblogging service. In a new documentary, "#Standwithme," Portland, Ore., filmmakers Patrick Moreau and Grant Peelle show how Vivienne and her parents were drawn to their cause and set their story in a larger context of global efforts to halt human trafficking.

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Solar industry job growth jumped 20% in 2013
January 27, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Solar-industry-job-growth-jumped-20-in-2013-5180260.php

Job growth in 2013 stayed sluggish for much of the American economy. But for solar companies, it was a banner year. Employment in the U.S. solar industry jumped 20 percent in 2013 to hit 142,698. The number of solar jobs across the country has grown 53 percent since 2010. Last year, the industry added 56 U.S. jobs per day, on average. "That growth is putting people back to work and helping local economies," said Andrea Luecke, executive director of the Solar Foundation. Her research and advocacy group has issued its National Solar Jobs Census every year since 2010. Nearly half of all U.S. solar workers counted in the most recent survey install systems, rather than make the equipment. Installation employed 69,658 people across the country last year, up from 57,177 in 2012. Solar manufacturing, in contrast, employed 29,851 people in the United States, a slight increase from 29,742 the previous year. In 2012, California had 43,700 solar jobs, 37 percent of the nationwide total. The Golden State is the nation's largest solar market, and many of the country's biggest solar companies - including SolarCity, SunPower and Sunrun - call it home. The survey found that the average installer earned about $20 per hour in 2013.

Note: For more on exciting energy developments, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

School ditches rules and loses bullies
January 26, 2014, TVNZ (New Zealand's national broadcasting company)
http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/school-ditches-rules-and-loses-bullies-5807957

Ripping up the playground rulebook is having incredible effects on children at an Auckland school. Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don't cause bedlam, the principal says. The school is actually seeing a drop in bullying, serious injuries and vandalism, while concentration levels in class are increasing. Principal Bruce McLachlan rid the school of playtime rules as part of a successful university experiment. "We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over." Letting children test themselves on a scooter during playtime could make them more aware of the dangers when getting behind the wheel of a car in high school, he said. "When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult's perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don't." Swanson School signed up to the study by AUT and Otago University just over two years ago, with the aim of encouraging active play. However, the school took the experiment a step further by abandoning the rules completely, much to the horror of some teachers at the time. When the university study wrapped up at the end of last year the school and researchers were amazed by the results. Mudslides, skateboarding, bullrush and tree climbing kept the children so occupied the school no longer needed a timeout area or as many teachers on patrol. "The kids were motivated, busy and engaged. In my experience, the time children get into trouble is when they are not busy, motivated and engaged. It's during that time they bully other kids, graffiti or wreck things around the school."

Note: For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

The Elders of Organic Farming
January 25, 2014, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/business/the-elders-of-organic-farming.html

For nearly a week, two dozen organic farmers from the United States and Canada shared decades’ worth of stories, secrets and anxieties [at California's Esalen Institute]. During their meetings, some of the farmers worried that their children would not want to continue their businesses and that they might have to sell their homes and land to retire. [Conference organizer Michael] Ableman, the author of Fields of Plenty, is writing a book about the gathering. Deborah Garcia, the widow of Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and a filmmaker whose previous films include “The Future of Food” and “The Symphony of the Soil,” is making a documentary. The grandfathers and grandmothers of organic farming should be joyous, but they are not. Some of today’s organic farmers have thousands of acres of single crops, which are flown to supermarket shelves, where they are sold at lower prices than many small organic farmers can afford to sell their produce. Generally, the farmers at Esalen have less acreage and sell dozens or hundreds of varieties of fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets, to upscale restaurants and through so-called community-supported agriculture. C.S.A.’s, as these arrangements are known, consist of consumers who pay before the harvest for weekly deliveries of seasonal fruits and vegetables. The sustainable agriculture these farmers practice goes beyond farming without synthetic fertilizer and pesticides. They adhere to a broader political and ecological ethos that includes attention to wildlife, soil, education and community. For most of them, the bottom line has never been their bottom line.

Note: Don't miss the eye-opening documentary "Future of Food" at this link. For a treasure trove of great news articles which will inspire you to make a difference, click here.

Please note that most of the summarizing of the revealing news articles in the above summary was done by Tod Fletcher of WantToKnow.info. Many thanks to Tod for all the time and skill he puts into this. The section below provides several ideas on what you can do to spread the news.

What you can do:

  • Inform your media and political representatives of any or all of important news articles above. For information on how to contact those close to you, click here.
  • See an index of the most revealing media articles ever sorted by topic at this link.
  • Learn more about how some of the most vital news is censored by corporate major media ownership in this powerful lesson from the free Insight Course.
  • Read excerpts of the most revealing major media articles ever reported at this link.
  • Spread this news to your friends and colleagues, and bookmark this article on key news websites using the "Share This" icon on this page, so that we can fill the role at which the major media is sadly failing. Together, we can make a difference.
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