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Top news: FAA bans news flights over Ferguson, oil key to US air strikes in Iraq

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Below are key excerpts of important news articles on the banning of news helicopters over the 'war zone' in Ferguson MO, the key role played by oil corporations in the US air strikes in Iraq, how unregulated fracking is destroying drinking water with chemicals, and more.

Read also wonderfully inspiring articles on a study showing running just five minutes a day can significantly prolong your life, one man's mission to restore India's forest and a university president who has taken a huge pay cut to fund a minimum wage increase for all employees. You can also skip to this section now.

Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails, see this page. 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: Watch a beautiful, six-minute video on acroyoga, an impressive form of yoga done on the legs of a supporter. Watch an enlightening video on psychedelic therapy for PTSD and support the cause. For those interested in the debate over the benefits to older people from taking an aspirin a day for health, read this article for evidence that this is a healthy practice.

Quote of the Week: "If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't been in bed with a mosquito." ~~ Anita Roddick

FAA Bans Flights Over Ferguson as Tensions Flare Between Police, Residents
August 12, 2014, Boston Globe
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/2014/08/12/faa-bans-flights-over-ferguson...

The Federal Aviation Agency has declared a no-fly zone over Ferguson, Missouri as tensions between police and protesters continued after last weekend’s police shooting of Michael Brown. The FAA issued a temporary flight restriction on Tuesday, prohibiting aircraft—including news helicopters—from entering the area. The agency listed the reason as “to provide a safe environment for law enforcement activities.” The extraordinary move comes days after the shooting of Michael Brown. The 18-year-old was shot multiple times and killed by police Aug. 9. Witnesses to the shooting said Brown had his hands up and was surrendering to police. Law enforcement officials, meanwhile, said the shooting occurred after a physical confrontation with Brown and a friend. The shooting and ensuing controversy has led to protests, looting and a strong police response in the St. Louis-area community.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.

Warrior cops on steroids: How post-9/11 hysteria created a policing monster
August 15, 2014, Salon
http://www.salon.com/2014/08/15/warrior_cops_on_steroids...

Sometime after 9/11 strange stories began to emerge about small town police agencies all over the nation receiving grants from the newly formed Department of Homeland Security to buy all kinds of high-tech equipment to fight “terrorism.” As Radley Balko thoroughly documented in his book Rise of the Warrior Cop the military industrial complex has created a new industry: the police industrial complex. Since 9/11 the United States has been spending vast sums of money through DHS to outfit the state and local authorities with surveillance and military gear ostensibly to fight the terrorist threat at home. What we have been seeing in Ferguson, Missouri, these past few days is largely a result of that program — and an entire industry has grown up around it. In less than a month a group of militarized police equipment vendors across the nation will be gathering for an annual confab called “Urban Shield” in Oakland, California. It features dozens of sponsors, from the Department of Homeland Security and police agencies all over the country to such vendors as Armored Mobility Inc. The Department of Homeland Security disburses somewhere in the vicinity of $3 billion a year for this sort of thing. Add in the loot that’s legally appropriated by police agencies in the war on drugs and you have a massive incentive to turn the streets of Ferguson, Missouri ... into a scene that looks more like the siege of Fallujah. We’ve been spending billions of taxpayer dollars for decades to turn the streets of urban America into a war zone at the merest hint of dissent. And now it’s here.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Oil a key motive for U.S. air strikes in Iraq
August 12, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/business/bottomline/article/Oil-a-key-motive...

This week's U.S. air strikes in northern Iraq are being accompanied with an undertow of "it's all about oil" talk. Take for example, Columbia School of Journalism Dean Steve Coll's observation in The New Yorker, that "Obama's defense of Erbil (capital of the semiautonomous Kurdish region) is effectively the defense of an undeclared Kurdish oil state." It's no secret that Iraqi Kurdistan has an abundance of oil reserves, nor that U.S. oil companies, like [Chevron] are busy exploring there. Chevron has three "production sharing contracts" with the Kurdish government, covering a combined 444,000 acres, north of Irbil, where it's in the early testing and drilling stage. And it likes what it sees. Asked for an update, a Chevron spokesman said Monday, "We continue monitoring the situation. We remain in regular contact with the Kurdistan Regional Government and are dedicated to supporting the (Kurdistan Region of Iraq) in developing its natural resources." A potentially bigger worry for both Chevron and the Kurds .. could be if Iraq did stabilize and unite, with Kurdistan under its umbrella. For Chevron ... a new arrangement in Iraq could entail the renegotiation of contracts it has with the Kurds, which by the way, Baghdad refused to recognize. Kurdistan's oil pipeline via Turkey continues to pump out oil - 120,000 barrels per day.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing military corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows
August 12, 2014, Los Angeles Times
http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-fracking-groundwater...

Energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water, according to research released [on August 12] by Stanford University scientists. Fracking involves high-pressure injection of millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals to crack geological formations and tap previously unreachable oil and gas reserves. Fracking fluids contain a host of chemicals, including known carcinogens and neurotoxins. Fears about possible water contamination and air pollution have fed resistance in communities around the country. Fracking into underground drinking water sources is not prohibited by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which exempted the practice from key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act. But the industry has long held that it does not hydraulically fracture into underground sources of drinking water because oil and gas deposits sit far deeper than aquifers. The study, however, found that energy companies used acid stimulation ... and hydraulic fracturing in the Wind River and Fort Union geological formations that make up the Pavillion gas field and that contain both natural gas and sources of drinking water. “Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and millions of gallons of fluids containing numerous inorganic and organic additives were injected directly into these two formations during hundreds of stimulation events,” concluded Dominic DiGiulio and Robert Jackson of Stanford’s School of Earth Sciences.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Billionaire Found in Middle of Bribery Case Avoids U.S. Probe
August 14, 2014, BloombergBusinessweek
http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-08-14/billionaire-found-in-middle-of-bribery...

In January, a unit of Alcoa Inc., the biggest U.S. aluminum producer, pleaded guilty to foreign bribery charges brought by the U.S. Justice Department. Alcoa also settled claims by the Securities and Exchange Commission and agreed to pay a $384 million fine -- the fifth-largest such penalty ever. The Alcoa subsidiary admitted to paying bribes to government officials in Bahrain for more than a decade to win contracts to sell alumina, a compound essential in making aluminum, to the Persian Gulf state’s processing plant. Not named and not charged in the case was the person who made those payments, whom the Justice Department identified in court only as “Consultant A.” In the thriving business of global bribery -- which the World Bank says amounts to $1 trillion in illicit payments annually -- guilty pleas like the one by Alcoa’s unit are rare. Rarer still are convictions against the people who actually arrange and deliver the payments. Most of the time, these brokers aren’t even named. The Alcoa guilty plea -- together with related cases in the U.K. and Norway -- provides an unusual window into the modus operandi of the middlemen who shuttle between companies and governments striking deals. Before the U.S. announced the fine against Alcoa, U.K. prosecutors in October 2011 charged Victor Dahdaleh, a London-based businessman, with laundering money and making improper payments to officials in Bahrain related to Alcoa contracts. Dahdaleh was acquitted in December after the prosecution dropped its case. While the U.S. plea agreement doesn’t identify Dahdaleh as Consultant A, it does show that a company owned by Dahdaleh played a role in the Alcoa unit payments to Alba.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing corporate corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Embracing flag, Snowden says he hopes to return to U.S.
August 13, 2014, USA Today
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2014/08/13/snowden-wired...

Development of a U.S. counterattack for cyberterrorism that could do more harm than good was one of the final events that drove Edward Snowden to leak government secrets, the former National Security Agency contractor tells Wired magazine. Snowden ... said the MonsterMind program was designed to detect a foreign cyberattack and keep it from entering the country. But it also would automatically fire back. The problem, he said, is malware can be routed through an innocent third-party country. "These attacks can be spoofed," he told Wired. MonsterMind for example ... could accidentally start a war. And it's the ultimate threat to privacy because it requires the NSA to gain access to virtually all private communications coming in from overseas. "The argument is that the only way we can identify these malicious traffic flows and respond to them is if we're analyzing all traffic flows," he said. "And if we're analyzing all traffic flows, that means we have to be intercepting all traffic flows. That means violating the Fourth Amendment, seizing private communications without a warrant, without probable cause or even a suspicion of wrongdoing. For everyone, all the time. You get exposed to a little bit of evil, a little bit of rule-breaking, a little bit of dishonesty, a little bit of deceptiveness, a little bit of disservice to the public interest, and you can brush it off, you can come to justify it," Snowden told Wired. "But if you do that, it creates a slippery slope that just increases over time. And by the time you've been in 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, you've seen it all and it doesn't shock you. And so you see it as normal."

Note: Read the cover story from Wired magazine with a deep inside report on Snowden.

For some firms, NSA eavesdropping means business
August 12, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/For-some-firms-NSA-eavesdropping...

To many Americans, online eavesdropping by the U.S. National Security Agency is an outrage, a threat to privacy and freedom. To some, it's a business opportunity. A small but growing number of companies have introduced Internet and communications services designed to shield users from the government's eyes. A few even advertise their products as "NSA-proof." Many of the companies have been offering encrypted online services for years, scrambling their customers' data and communications in ways that require the right computer-generated "key" to decode. They are at least as concerned with thwarting private hackers and corporate spies as they are with blocking federal agents. But some entrepreneurs in the field found motivation in the NSA, after learning that the agency has been collecting troves of Internet and phone data on ordinary citizens for years. "Privacy and democracy go hand in hand - that's why this is so important," said Jason Stockman, one of the creators of ProtonMail, which began offering an encrypted e-mail service in May. "Our goal is to protect people against mass surveillance." But most companies will quickly admit that if the NSA - or some foreign intelligence service - really wants your data, they can't guarantee protection. Since the NSA conducts its business in secret, its full capabilities remain a matter of speculation. Most companies that invoke the NSA in their marketing focus on encryption.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government surveillance news articles from reliable major media sources.

Human rights groups accuse US of war crimes
October 22, 2013, MSNBC
http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/human-rights-groups-accuse-us-war-crimes

The United States is facing increasingly harsh criticism over its use of lethal drone strikes to target suspected terrorists. American drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen may amount to war crimes, according to a pair of reports released by international human rights groups. Examining nine drone strikes in Pakistan, the Amnesty International report concludes that the attacks killed large numbers of innocent civilians, and accuses the U.S. of targeting rescuers who arrive in the aftermath of the strikes to aid the wounded. A report from Human Rights Watch states that the majority of people killed by six drone strikes in Yemen were civilians (57 out of the 82 killed). The groups’ findings that the United States has killed more civilians than it has admitted are bolstered by a UN report ... that stated U.S. drone strikes had killed as many as 400 civilians in Pakistan and almost 60 in Yemen. These reports clash with the U.S. government’s own assessment of the strikes. Officials have maintained that civilian casualties from drone strikes are minimal, even in the face of multiple third-party evaluations that state otherwise. Both groups are demanding that the Obama administration investigate allegations of civilian deaths, release more information about the legal basis for drone strikes on suspected terrorists, provide restitution to those unjustly harmed and reveal the identities of those who lost their lives in the attacks.

Note: If a single civilian in the US were killed by a foreign drone, the entire nation would be up in arms. Do we have a double standard here? For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing war atrocities news articles from reliable major media sources.

GOP suit claims a right to corruption
August 14, 2014, San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)
http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/article/GOP-suit-claims-a-right-to-corruption...

Wall Street is one of the biggest sources of funding for presidential campaigns, and many of the Republican Party's potential 2016 contenders are governors. And so, last week, the GOP filed a federal lawsuit aimed at overturning the ... law that bars those governors from raising campaign money from Wall Street executives who manage their states' pension funds. In this case, New York's and Tennessee's Republican parties are represented by two former Bush administration officials, one of whose firms just won the Supreme Court case invalidating campaign contribution limits on large donors. In their complaint, the parties argue that people managing state pension money have a First Amendment right to make large donations to state officials who award those lucrative money management contracts. With the $3 trillion public pension system controlled by elected officials now generating billions of dollars worth of management fees for Wall Street, Securities and Exchange Commission regulators originally passed the rule to make sure retirees' money wasn't being handed out based on politicians' desire to pay back their campaign donors. The suit comes only a few weeks after the SEC issued its first fines under the rule - against a firm whose executives made campaign donations to Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican, and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat. In a statement on that case, the SEC promised more enforcement of the pay-to-play rule in the future. The GOP lawsuit aims to stop that promise from becoming a reality.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

Medical Marijuana Research Hits Wall of U.S. Law
August 10, 2014, New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/10/us/politics/medical-marijuana-research...

[There are many] obstacles and frustrations scientists face in trying to study the medical uses of marijuana. Dating back to 1999, the Department of Health and Human Services has indicated it does not see much potential for developing marijuana in smoked form into an approved prescription drug. In guidelines issued that year for research on medical marijuana, the agency quoted from an accompanying report that stated, “If there is any future for marijuana as a medicine, it lies in its isolated components, the cannabinoids and their synthetic derivatives.” Scientists say this position has had a chilling effect on marijuana research. Though more than one million people are thought to use the drug to treat ailments ranging from cancer to seizures to hepatitis C and chronic pain, there are few rigorous studies showing whether the drug is a fruitful treatment for those or any other conditions. A major reason is this: The federal government categorizes marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, the most restrictive of five groups established by the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Drugs in this category — including heroin, LSD, peyote and Ecstasy — are considered to have no accepted medical use in the United States and a high potential for abuse, and are subject to tight restrictions on scientific study. In the case of marijuana, those restrictions are even greater than for other controlled substances. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, though nearly half the states and the District of Columbia allow its medical use and two, Colorado and Washington, have legalized its recreational use.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.

NASA approves 'impossible' space engine design that apparently violates the laws of physics and could revolutionise space travel
August 4, 2014, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasa-approves-impossible-space-engine...

In a quiet announcement that has sent shockwaves through the scientific world, NASA has cautiously given its seal of approval to a new type of “impossible” engine that could revolutionize space travel. In a paper published by the agency’s experimental Eagleworks Laboratories, NASA engineers confirmed that they had produced tiny amounts of thrust from an engine without propellant – an apparent violation of the conservation of momentum; the law of physics that states that every action must have an equal and opposite reaction. NASA’s engineers have tested an engine known as a ‘Cannae Drive’, a machine [that] uses electricity to generate microwaves, bouncing them around inside a specially designed container that theoretically creates a difference in radiation pressure and so results in directional thrust. In an ordinary engine the rocket moves forward as fuel is flung backwards - the momentum of the rocket (a measure of both its mass and velocity combined) is 'conserved' because it is moved from the rocket to the fuel. However, with the Cannae Drive there is no fuel - the microwaves aren't expelled from the engine. NASA’s scientists tested a version of the drive designed by US scientist Guido Fetta and found that the propellantless engine was able to produce between 30 and 50 micronewtons of thrust – a tiny amount (0.00003 to 0.00005 per cent of the force of an iPhone pressing down when held in the hand) but still a great deal more than nothing.

Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing new energy technologies news articles from reliable major media sources.

Key Articles From Years Past

Iceland president: Letting banks fail helped recovery
December 13, 2012, CNN
http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/13/business/iceland-recovery

Four years after the country let its debt-ridden banks fail, and as the country's growth looks set to far outpace the eurozone, [Iceland's president Olafur Ragnar Grimsson] said the decision not to save the banks was "the most difficult I ever had to make," but maintained it was the right one. "Allowing the banks to fail is one of the fundamental reasons Iceland is now in a strong recovery with respect to other European countries," he said. Now, according to Grimsson, "Iceland is better placed to benefit by maintaining our present position, rather than to let the EU speak on our behalf." The 69-year-old president pointed to Norway and Greenland -- two other Arctic economies and non-European Union members -- as role models. However, Grimsson said he was not sure whether Iceland's strategy with its banks could have been replicated by other countries with similar problems, such as Ireland. "Being part of the eurozone, they couldn't devalue their currency. But they could have adopted our policy with respect to the banks," he said. The Icelandic krona fell sharply as a result of the financial collapse, helping the country recover by increasing demand for exports. "There are still scars," Grimsson said, "but on the whole, the will of the Icelandic people has enabled us to recover and move confidently towards the future."

Note: Watch a great video interview of Iceland's president discussing this matter. Iceland has gone through tremendous transformation that has greatly supported both the people and the economy of this nation. Why is this getting so little press coverage?

Inspiring Articles

Study: Running 5 Minutes a Day Could Add Years to Your Life
July 29, 2014, Time Magazine
http://time.com/3053081/running-daily/

According to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, running five minutes per day can reduce an individual’s risk of premature death by about three years. Researchers found that people who ran less than an hour per week also saw an increase in lifespan, not just a decrease in risk of premature death. The study took place over the course of 15 years, testing participants ranging in age from 18-100. Separate research found that running more than 20 miles per week could take years off an individual’s life, providing further evidence that less can be more with regard to exercise. According to that research, individuals who exhibit consistent but moderate workout patterns are likely to live the longest.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Kentucky State president to share his salary with school’s lowest-paid workers
August 5, 2014, Washington Post
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/on-leadership/wp/2014/08/05/kentucky-state-president...

This summer, [Raymond Burse,] the interim president at Kentucky State University, made a large gesture to his school's lowest-paid employees. Burse announced that he would take a 25 percent salary cut to boost their wages. The 24 school employees making less than $10.25 an hour, who mostly serve as custodial staff, groundskeepers and lower-end clerical workers, will see their pay rise to that new baseline. Some had been making as little as $7.25, the current federal minimum. Burse, who assumed the role of interim president in June, says he asked the school's chief financial officer how much such an increase would cost. The amount: $90,125. "I figured it was easier for me to forgo that amount, rather than adding an additional burden on the institution," Burse says. The school ratified his employment contract on the spot — decreasing it from $349,869 to $259,744. He has pledged to take further salary cuts any time new minimum-wage employees are hired on his watch, to bring their hourly rate to $10.25. Burse describes himself as someone who believes in raising wages, and who also has high expectations and demands for his staff. "I thought that if I'm going to ask them to really be committed and give this institution their all, I should be doing something in return," Burse says. "I didn’t have any examples of it having been done out there and I didn’t do it to be an example to anyone else," Burse says. "I did it to do right by the employees here."

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

Indian Man Single-Handedly Plants 1,360 Acre Forest In Assam
April 3, 2012, Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/indian-man-jadav-molai...

More than 30 years ago, a teenager named Jadav "Molai" Payeng began planting seeds along a barren sandbar near his birthplace in India's Assam region. It was 1979 and floods had washed a great number of snakes onto the sandbar. When Payeng -- then only 16 -- found them, they had all died. "The snakes died in the heat, without any tree cover. I sat down and wept over their lifeless forms," Payeng told the Times Of India. "It was carnage. I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me." Now that once-barren sandbar is a sprawling 1,360 acre forest, home to [many] varieties of trees and an astounding diversity of wildlife -- including birds, deer, apes, rhino, elephants and even tigers. The forest, aptly called the "Molai woods" after its creator's nickname, was single-handedly planted and cultivated by one man -- Payeng, who is now 47. Payeng has dedicated his life to the upkeep and growth of the forest. Accepting a life of isolation, he started living alone on the sandbar as a teenager -- spending his days tending the burgeoning plants. Today, Payeng still lives in the forest. He shares a small hut with his wife and three children and makes a living selling cow and buffalo milk. According to the Assistant Conservator of Forests, Gunin Saikia, it is perhaps the world’s biggest forest in the middle of a river. "[Locals] wanted to cut down the forest, but Payeng dared them to kill him instead. He treats the trees and animals like his own children. Seeing this, we, too, decided to pitch in," Saikia said.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

63% of Americans Actively Avoid Soda
July 29, 2014, Time Magazine
http://time.com/3053000/63-of-americans-actively-avoid-soda/

The soda craze is going flat–at least, according to a new Gallup poll, which found that almost two-thirds of Americans actively avoid soda in their diet. While 41% percent of those polled in 2002 said that they try to steer clear of soda, that number has now jumped to 63%. Gallup’s poll shows that generally Americans are making more effort to have healthier diets. More than nine out of ten Americans try to include fruits and vegetables in their diets, and 52% said that they are trying to avoid sugars. Don’t start pouring one out for the dying soda business just yet, though. A 2012 Gallup poll also found that 48% of Americans drink at least one glass of soda a day.

Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.

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:

  • Contact your media and political representatives to inform them of the important news articles above. Urge them to study and bring publicity to this vital news. Invite them to read these articles and explore the links included.
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