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Mainstream News Articles of interest

Matt DeHart, the alleged Anonymous hacker, deported to U.S. after Canada refused to grant him asylum from alleged torture

Matt DeHart, a former American soldier who sought asylum in Canada claiming torture by U.S. agents probing Anonymous hackers and WikiLeaks, was taken from his Ontario prison cell Sunday morning and delivered to U.S. agents at the border.

Screen-Shot-2014-08-16-at-5.53.21-PM Read our full, multi-part series on DeHart’s case

Mr. DeHart, 30, was allowed to make a quick phone call en route to his parents, who are living in Toronto facing their own removal order, said his father, Paul.

“He was peaceful and in good health,” Paul DeHart said in an interview but the family remains deeply worried.

“We are concerned about Matt’s safety as he transits,” he said. “We said a prayer together on the phone and gave him into God’s hands for protection.”

Matthew DeHart in April 2014. The former U.S. airman and alleged Anonymous hacker, who has been diagnosed with PTSD, was refused refugee status in Canada.

Peter J. Thompson/National PostMatthew DeHart in April 2014. The former U.S. airman and alleged Anonymous hacker, who has been diagnosed with PTSD, was refused refugee status in Canada.

His claim for refugee protection in Canada, on the basis of his torture claim, was rejected last month by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Read more: Matt DeHart, the alleged Anonymous hacker, deported to U.S. after Canada refused to grant him...

Mutiny! What our love of pirates tells us about renewing the commons: Kester Brewin at TEDxExeter


Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Obtained from Wastewater

Univ. Autonoma de Barcelona

Currently, there are treatments in which wastewater can flow out to the river or sea without causing any environmental problems. These technologies however entail high energy costs, mainly in aeration and pumping, and an elevated economic cost in treating the sludge left over from the treatment process.

Read more: Renewable Energy and Hydrogen Obtained from Wastewater

One fifth of Germans call for revolution, a third reject capitalism

Felicity Capon - Posted from Newsweek

One in five Germans believe that revolution, not reform, is the only way for living standards in Germany to be improved, a new study by the Free University of Berlin suggests.

The report, entitled 'Against state and capital – for the revolution' found among other trends that a staggering 62% of Germans quizzed by researchers believe they live in an imperfect democracy where the economy has more power than the electorate, and a third believe that capitalism leads to poverty and hunger.

The 650-page report revealed that 48% are concerned that a deep-rooted xenophobia exists in modern day Germany, a feeling possibly based on the rise of the anti-immigration organisation Pegida, which has gained worldwide coverage in the past few months. Marches by the movement, whose name stands for Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West, have taken place in several major German cities, although many were dwarfed by counter-protests. Despite this, around 20% of respondents fear that a new form of fascism will rise in Germany.


Raised fists, a symbol of revolution (Shutterstock)Raised fists, a symbol of revolution (Shutterstock)

Read more: One fifth of Germans call for revolution, a third reject capitalism

53 Admitted False Flag Attacks

Not Theory … Admitted Fact

There are many documented false flag attacks, where a government carries out a terror attack … and then falsely blames its enemy for political purposes.

In the following 42 instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admits to it, either orally or in writing:

Read more: 53 Admitted False Flag Attacks

Merck Has Some Explaining To Do Over Its MMR Vaccine Claims

MERCK SENIOR MANAGEMENT TRIED TO PAY OFF ITS OWN VACCINE SCIENTISTS TO REMAIN SILENT ABOUT SCIENTIFIC FRAUD


Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, is facing a slew of controversies over its Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR) vaccine following numerous allegations of wrongdoing from different parties in the medical field, including two former Merck scientists-turned-whistleblowers. A third whistleblower, this one a scientist at the Centers for Disease Control, also promises to bring Merck grief following his confession of misconduct involving the same MMR vaccine.

The controversies will find Merck defending itself and its vaccine in at least two federal court cases after a U.S. District judge earlier this month threw out Merck's attempts at dismissal. Merck now faces federal charges of fraud from the whistleblowers, a vaccine competitor and doctors in New Jersey and New York. Merck could also need to defend itself in Congress: The staff of representative Bill Posey (R-Fla) -- a longstanding critic of the CDC interested in an alleged link between vaccines and autism -- is now reviewing some 1,000 documents that the CDC whistleblower turned over to them.

The first court case, United States v. Merck & Co., stems from claims by two former Merck scientists that Merck "fraudulently misled the government and omitted, concealed, and adulterated material information regarding the efficacy of its mumps vaccine in violation of the FCA [False Claims Act]."

According to the whistleblowers' court documents, Merck's misconduct was far-ranging: It "failed to disclose that its mumps vaccine was not as effective as Merck represented, (ii) used improper testing techniques, (iii) manipulated testing methodology, (iv) abandoned undesirable test results, (v) falsified test data, (vi) failed to adequately investigate and report the diminished efficacy of its mumps vaccine, (vii) falsely verified that each manufacturing lot of mumps vaccine would be as effective as identified in the labeling, (viii) falsely certified the accuracy of applications filed with the FDA, (ix) falsely certified compliance with the terms of the CDC purchase contract, (x) engaged in the fraud and concealment describe herein for the purpose of illegally monopolizing the U.S. market for mumps vaccine, (xi) mislabeled, misbranded, and falsely certified its mumps vaccine, and (xii) engaged in the other acts described herein to conceal the diminished efficacy of the vaccine the government was purchasing."

Read more: Merck Has Some Explaining To Do Over Its MMR Vaccine Claims

A closer look at flawed studies behind policies used to promote so called low-carbon biofuels

http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/22668-a-closer-look-at-the-flawed-studies-behind-policies-used-to-promote-low-carbon-biofuels

Nearly all of the studies used to promote biofuels as climate-friendly alternatives to petroleum fuels are flawed and need to be redone, according to a Univ. of Michigan researcher who reviewed more than 100 papers published over more than two decades.

Once the erroneous methodology is corrected, the results will likely show that policies used to promote biofuels—such as the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard and California's Low-Carbon Fuel Standard—actually make matters worse when it comes to limiting net emissions of climate-warming carbon dioxide gas.

The main problem with existing studies is that they fail to correctly account for the carbon dioxide absorbed from the atmosphere when corn, soybeans and sugarcane are grown to make biofuels, said John DeCicco, a research professor at U-M's Energy Institute.

"Almost all of the fields used to produce biofuels were already being used to produce crops for food, so there is no significant increase in the amount of carbon dioxide being removed from the atmosphere. Therefore, there's no climate benefit," said DeCicco, the author of an advanced review of the topic in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment.

Read more: A closer look at flawed studies behind policies used to promote so called low-carbon biofuels

Norway to cut climate pollution by 40% by 2030

Norway will cut its emissions of global warming gases by at least 40% by 2030, aligning itself with the target set by the European Union, the government said Wednesday.

The 40% reduction, compared to 1990 levels, will be Norway's pledge to the U.N. climate agreement that's supposed to be adopted in December in Paris, government officials said.

The EU, China and the U.S. have already presented their pledges for the new agreement, though they haven't formally submitted them to the U.N. Submissions are due by the end of March, though many countries say they need more time.

Read more: Norway to cut climate pollution by 40% by 2030

Palestinians to become ICC member from April 1, UN confirms

Palestine will join the International Criminal Court on April 1, announced UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday. The Palestinians will be able to sue Israel for war crimes, a move the Israeli administration has consistently opposed for decades.

The UN treaty website says that due to the court's procedures “the statute will enter into force for the State of Palestine on April 1, 2015.”

Along with the ICC application, the UN chief approved other sets of documents, enabling Palestine to join 16 international agreements, conventions and treaties.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed the ICC application documents on the last day of 2014, following the UN Security Council’s resolution on December 30, which rejected Palestine’s official bid for statehood, a document vetoed by the US in support of Israel.

READ MORE: Palestinian statehood bid submitted to UN

The Palestinian delegation submitted its ICC application on January 2.

READ MORE: Palestinian Authority submits documents to UN to join International Criminal Court

Israel’s immediate reaction was negative.

Read more: Palestinians to become ICC member from April 1, UN confirms

U.N. Rights Chief Says Hell Shine a Light on Coun

GENEVA — IN a 20-year career at the United Nations, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein has had more than a few opportunities to witness the human capacity for cruelty, but nothing seared his memory quite like two scenes from the Balkan wars of the 1990s.

In one, he is traveling in a United Nations convoy when the car of a Bosnian Serb paramilitary fighter pulls alongside, and on its hood is the severed head of a Bosnian Muslim child adorned with a United Nations peacekeeper’s blue helmet.

That episode and the plight of two young girls shot by a sniper in Sarajevo have left him decades later, as the new United Nations high commissioner for human rights, still asking, “How can you comprehend this?”

“I mean there’s a degree of villainy that is so disturbing and so beyond our ability to process it mentally that it leaves you asking questions,” he said in a recent interview. “It leaves you with the feeling that you’ve got to try and do what you can at some stage to prevent this.”


JAN. 30, 2015

Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the new United Nations high commissioner for human rights, is a member of the Jordanian royal family. CreditFabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A prince in Jordan’s reigning royal family, Mr. Zeid struck some human rights activists as an improbable choice for a job upholding the rights of the world’s downtrodden. It could be seen as an unusual outcome for someone who had started professional life as a policeman, with five years in Jordan’s desert police before joining the United Nations.

Yet those familiar with his career applauded the choice. “He had all the attributes we wanted,” Kenneth Roth, the Human Rights Watch executive director, remarked of the prince, who has agreed to drop his royal title in his new post. “He is a man of stature and principle with a long and demonstrated commitment to human rights.”

Read more: U.N. Rights Chief Says Hell Shine a Light on Coun

South African Death-Squad Leader, Eugene de Kock, Is Granted Parole

South Africa has granted parole to Eugene de Kock, the convicted death-squad leader widely known as Prime Evil because of his abuses of black activists during the apartheid era, after he served two decades in prison, the Justice Ministry said on Friday.

Mr. de Kock, 66, was arrested in 1994 on charges including murder and kidnapping related to his time as commander of a notorious police unit based at the Vlakplaas farm near Pretoria, the capital.

His crimes became emblematic of some of the worst abuses in the apartheid era, including the torture of black activists. One of the trademarks of the Vlakplaas unit was to bind a man with rope, place him over explosives and then blow him up, a technique that killed the victim and destroyed the evidence.

RELATED COVERAGE

Justice Minister Michael Masutha said that Mr. de Kock was to be freed “in the interests of nation-building,” and because he had shown remorse for his crimes. Mr. Masutha also said that Mr. de Kock had helped the authorities recover the remains of some of his victims.

PhotoEugene de Kock at a Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearing in Pretoria, South Africa, in 1998. He received a prison sentence of two life terms plus 212 years. CreditDenis Farrell/Associated Press

RELATED IN OPINION

The case laid bare South Africa’s struggle to balance justice and reconciliation, reflected in the hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the 1990s. The commission sought to foster unity after the trauma and divisiveness of the apartheid era by granting amnesty in some cases in which suspects were deemed to have shown remorse for their actions.

While Mr. de Kock has expressed contrition during his imprisonment, critics say that his ruthless brutality merits no forgiveness or mercy, and that he deserves to spend his life behind bars.

Mr. de Kock testified before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission after his conviction in 1996 on 89 charges that earned him a prison sentence of two life terms plus 212 years. Mr. de Kock was pardoned for some crimes, including his role in blowing up the headquarters of a Johannesburg church in 1988. But many of his other crimes did not escape punishment.

Read more: South African Death-Squad Leader, Eugene de Kock, Is Granted Parole

Smothered oceans: Extreme oxygen loss in oceans accompanied past global climate change

Seafloor sediment cores reveal abrupt, extensive loss of oxygen in the ocean when ice sheets melted roughly 10,000-17,000 years ago, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. The findings provide insight into similar changes observed in the ocean today.

In the study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers analyzed marine sediment cores from different world regions to document the extent to which low oxygen zones in the ocean have expanded in the past, due to climate change. 

From the subarctic Pacific to the Chilean margins, they found evidence of extreme oxygen loss stretching from the upper ocean to about 3,000 meters deep. In some oceanic regions, such loss took place over a time period of 100 years or less.

“This is a global story that knits these regions together and shows that when you warm the planet rapidly, whole ocean basins can lose oxygen very abruptly and very extensively,” said lead author Sarah Moffitt, a postdoctoral scholar with the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory and formerly a Ph.D. student with the Graduate Group in Ecology.  

Read more: Smothered oceans: Extreme oxygen loss in oceans accompanied past global climate change

'Attack on journalism': WikiLeaks responds to Google's cooperation with US govt

Google’s willingness to surrender the private emails of WikiLeaks staffers to the United States government amounts to an “attack on journalism,” a representative for the whistleblower group says.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic journalist who joined WikiLeaks as the group’s spokesman in 2010, said he’s “appalled” that Google gave up his personal correspondence and other sensitive details to the US government in compliance with a search warrant served to the tech giant, apparently in an effort to bring charges against the anti-secrecy organization and its editor, Julian Assange.

“I believe this is an attack on me. As a journalist for now almost 30 years, I think this is an attack on journalism,” Hrafnsson said Monday at a press conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

Earlier that day, WikiLeaks announced that the Google accounts registered to three staffers – Hrafnsson, investigations editor Sarah Harrison and senior editor Joseph Farrell – had been the subject of federal search warrants served to the tech giant in March 2012.

READ MORE: WikiLeaks ‘astonished and disturbed’: Google gave its major staff data to US govt

According to Hrafnsson, the warrants compelled Google to give up the contents of the WikiLeaks staffers’ Gmail accounts, including deleted messages, draft emails, photo attachments and information about the IP addresses where those accounts had logged on from.

“I’m a little surprised to learn that Google keeps emails I have deleted,” Hrafnsson said. “That is what I read out of the documents.”

Michael Ratner, the US lawyer for WikiLeaks and Assange, said Monday that “essentially everything associated with the accounts of these three journalists” was seized by the government after Google was served in March 2012 and therefore ordered to give up all account data preceding that date by early April.

Read more: 'Attack on journalism': WikiLeaks responds to Google's cooperation with US govt

Melting glaciers have big carbon impact

As the Earth warms and glaciers all over the world begin to melt, researchers and public policy experts have focused largely on how all of that extra water will contribute to sea level rise.

But another impact lurking in that inevitable scenario is carbon.

More specifically, what happens to all of the organic carbon found in those glaciers when they melt?

That’s the focus of a new paper by a research team that includes Florida State Univ. assistant professor Robert Spencer. The study, published in Nature Geoscience, is the first global estimate by scientists at what happens when major ice sheets break down.

“This is the first attempt to figure out how much organic carbon is in glaciers and how much will be released when they melt,” Spencer said. “It could change the whole food web. We do not know how different ecological systems will react to a new influx of carbon.”

Glaciers and ice sheets contain about 70% of the Earth’s freshwater and ongoing melting is a major contributor to sea level rise. But, glaciers also store organic carbon derived from both primary production on the glaciers and deposition of materials such as soot or other fossil fuel combustion byproducts.

Spencer, along with colleagues from Alaska and Switzerland, studied measurements from ice sheets in mountain glaciers globally, the Greenland ice sheet and the Antarctic ice sheet to measure the total amount of organic carbon stored in the global ice reservoir.

It’s a lot.

Specifically, as glaciers melt, the amount of organic carbon exported in glacier outflow will increase 50% over the next 35 years. To put that in context, that’s about the amount of organic carbon in half of the Mississippi River being added each year to the ocean from melting glaciers.

Read more: Melting glaciers have big carbon impact

How the Ban on images of Muhammad came to be

January 19, 2015Posted without permission from NewsweekRepublish Reprint

In the wake of the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a flurry of articles have explored whether images of the Prophet Muhammad are “banned” in Islam. While some Muslim voices are adamant that this is strictly the case in Islamic law, others (both Muslim and non-Muslim) have cautioned that it is not so.

Most public discussions of this so-called ban have explored verses in the Koran andSayings by the Prophet, neither of which yield decisive results. What has been lost in the mix, however, is an exploration of the evidence found within Islamic law. Indeed, if one is to speak of a “ban,” then one must canvas a variety of Islamic jurisprudential sources in order to determine the legality or illegality of representing the Prophet in Islamic traditions. And if one carefully mines the sources, the results become much clearer — and much more nuanced and complex than one might anticipate.

There exist many handbooks of Islamic law that compile opinions on a number of matters. In regard to image making, the earliest and most synthetic source is the medieval law book of Ibn Qudama (died 1223), a towering Sunni theologian of the medieval period. In his handbook, Ibn Qudama discusses the various possible “abominations” that can occur at wedding ceremonies, including the playing of music and backgammon, the consumption of liquor, and the presence of images. As for the legality of images, he notes that the question is complicated because it depends on what the images depict and where they are situated. (See footnote 1.) 

He thus concludes that images are not prohibited per se; rather, their legality depends on content and context.

Read more: How the Ban on images of Muhammad came to be

MIT Alumnus Larry Linden to speak on his “journey

Founder of Linden Trust for Conservation to speak at MIT this week.
 

Poll: Americans support labeling genetically modified foods

By Mary Clare Jalonick - Associated Press - Associated Press

A large majority of Americans support labeling of genetically modified foods, whether they care about eating them or not.

According to a December Associated Press-GfK poll, 66% of Americans favor requiring food manufacturers to put labels on products that contain genetically modified organisms, or foods grown from seeds engineered in labs. Only 7% are opposed to the idea, and 24% are neutral.

Fewer Americans say genetically modified ingredients are important to them when judging whether a food is healthy. About four in 10 said the presence of such ingredients was very or extremely important to them.

That's higher than the share who say it's important to know whether a food is organic, and about on par with the share saying they consider the amount of protein in a food an important factor.

Genetically modified seeds are engineered to have certain traits, such as resistance to herbicides or certain plant diseases. Most of the country's corn and soybean crop is now genetically modified, with much of that becoming animal feed. Modified corn and soybeans are also made into popular processed food ingredients such as corn oil, corn starch, high-fructose corn syrup and soybean oil.

Read more: Poll: Americans support labeling genetically modified foods

Estimated social cost of climate change not accurate

Tue, 01/13/2015 - 11:41am
Ker Than, Stanford Univ.


The economic damage caused by a ton of carbon dioxide emissions—often referred to as the "social cost" of carbon—could actually be six times higher than the value that the U.S. now uses to guide current energy regulations, and possibly future mitigation policies, Stanford Univ. scientists say.

A recent U.S. government study concluded, based on the results of three widely used economic impact models, that an additional ton of carbon dioxide emitted in 2015 would cause $37 worth of economic damages. These damages are expected to take various forms, including decreased agricultural yields, harm to human health and lower worker productivity, all related to climate change.

But according to a new study, published online in Nature Climate Change, the actual cost could be much higher. "We estimate that the social cost of carbon is not $37 per ton, as previously estimated, but $220 per ton," said study coauthor Frances Moore, a graduate candidate in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources in Stanford's School of Earth Sciences.

Read more: Estimated social cost of climate change not accurate

Fox News host calls for mass murder of Muslims ... by Militaristic Islamist States!?!

Updated by  on January 12, 2015, 5:30 p.m. ET 

You know that sinking feeling you get when a Fox News analyst advocates the use of death squads as a solution to the problem of radical Islamism? No?

You're about to.

Cartoon villain and weekend Fox News host Jeanine Pirro did a segment on Saturday in which she explained her views on radical Islamists quite clearly: "We need to kill them. We need to KILL THEM":

http://www.vox.com/2015/1/12/7533159/fox-news-pirro-rant#ooid=lubnNxcjrNVz2eLTx8FNF46qXDYkemCp

Apparently other Muslims should be the ones responsible for accomplishing this mass murder. "Our job is to arm those Muslims to the teeth, give them everything they need to take out these Islamic fanatics, let them do the job, and when they do, we need to simply ... look the other way."

Read more: Fox News host calls for mass murder of Muslims ... by Militaristic Islamist States!?!

CO2 warming effects felt just a decade after emitted

by Institute of Physics

It takes just 10 years for a single emission of carbon dioxide to have its maximum warming effects on the Earth.

This is according to researchers at the Carnegie Institute for Science who have dispelled a common misconception that the main warming effects from a carbon dioxide emission will not be felt for several decades.

Read more: CO2 warming effects felt just a decade after emitted

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