Latest News and Views

Cause of oil spill probed as cleanup of Calif. coast continues


This article by Michael Winter and Robert Hanashiro links to

It's the second time in a year that a pipeline operated by Houston-based company has ruptured in California. Last May, a stretch of a 130-mile pipe spilled about 19,000 gallons of crude through the streets of Atwater Village in Los Angeles County, forcing nearby buildings to be evacuated. This time at least 9 miles of pristine coastal waters were inundated with oil, with over 100,000 gallons spilled.

Nigeria Says It Rescued Hundreds of Girls from Boko Haram

Photo: Sunday Alamba

This article by Adam Nossiter links to

The Nigerian army offered few details, but said those rescued do not include the hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok more than a year ago. Human Watch claims that Boka Haram has probably abducted thousands in the past five years. And many of the rescued girls are pregnant, facing rejection from their families and the stigma of rape as they return home.

Court Rules NSA Bulk Data Collection is Illegal

Edward Snowden

This article links to

A U.S. appeals court has ruled that bulk collection of telephone metadata by the National Security Agency is illegal. First brought to light by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, the program is currently being debated by Congress as part of the so-called Patriot Act, which is up for renewal.

Report: American Psychological Association Bolstered C.I.A. Torture

Democracy Now

This article by James Risen links to

The report claims the AMA's actions to keep psychologists involved in the interrogation program coincided with efforts by Bush administration officials to salvage the program after the public disclosure in 2004 of graphic photos of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Nepal's PM says quake death toll could reach 10,000


This article links to The Guardian, UK website.

Over 200 climbers have been rescued around Mount Everest, which was struck by deadly avalanches following the 7.8-magnitude quake. Aid flights are arriving in Katmandu, Nepal, and foreign aid workers have set out to help local hospitals overwhelmed by victims seeking medical attention.

Vatican Ends Battle With U.S. Catholic Nuns' Group

Osservatore Romano

This article by Laurie Goodstein links to

With a visit by Pope Francis to the United States scheduled next fall, the Vatican has ended an episode seen by many Catholics as a vexing and unjust inquisition of American nuns who run many of the church's schools, hospitals and charities. Although the article doesn't mention it, some commentators writing in the Catholic News Reporter and elsewhere claimed the Vatican takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious back in 2012 was a money and land grab, and that one of the new overseers and his sister were involved in personal conflicts of interest. For its part, the official Catholic News Agency gives a much different account of the outcome reported by NYT, claiming that censorship of publications by "competent theologians" has been instituted, along with many other measures to keep LCWR on a tighter leash. Meanwhile, Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of NETWORK, a catholic social justice lobby, has written an opinion piece in Time magazine.

After Warmest Winter, Drought-Stricken California Limits Water But Exempts Thirstiest Big Growers

This video and transcript links to

Amy Goodman interviews environmental reporter Mark Hertsgaard, author of the book, "Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth." Studies show the current drought, which has intensified over the past four years, is the worst California has seen in at least 120 years. Moreover, the state recently witnessed the warmest winter on record.

Kamala Harris seeks to block 'kill the gays' ballot measure

This article by Christopher Cadelago links to

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has asked a court to intervene and allow her to block an incendiary planned ballot measure authorizing the killing of gays and lesbians. Called the "Sodomite Suppression Act", Harris argues that readying the proposed initiative for circulation would waste state resources and mislead the public.

More than money at stake in University of California budget negotiations

This article by Alexei Koseff links to

As UC President Janet Napolitano continues to battle state lawmakers for funding of the nearly 150-year-old system, Gov Jerry Brown has dispatched accounting auditors to some campuses. Meanwhile, new legislation removing the power of UC Regents to operate autonomously is sure to set up an epic showdown in the coming months.

Cal Fire scandal widens to prostitution, unwanted sexual advances

This article by Jon Ortiz links to


According to recently released documents by the state's leading fire suppression agency, a "fire apparatus engineer" named Timothy L. Edgmon was fired after claims that he sexually assaulted a woman at a bar during a cadet graduation celebration in April, 2014. Meanwhile, Assistant Chief Scott A. Henry was demoted to batallion chief for using his state-issued phone to book appointments with prostitutes and for using his state-issued vehicle to travel to their locations. Fourteen other CalFire employees have suffered suspensions or demotions after a sweeping investigation sparked by a homicide last year.

Jon Stewart Attacks Marin Parents for Opting Out of Vaccines

This article links to

Two outbreaks of measles have been reported - one at Disneyland - just ahead of the release of a documentary film, Trace Amounts, which exposes vaccine makers for their continued use of Thimerosal, the mercury based preservative tied to autism. Now comedian Jon Stewart is helping out drugmakers by satirizing Marin County "liberals" who don't vaccinate their children. Today, one in 60 children is diagnosed with some form of autism-related malady. In 2007, The City Edition reported on Robert F. Kenney's crusade to get Thimerosal banned.

Greece Is a Crime Scene, and Vulture Funds Are to Blame - An Interview with Greg Palast

This article by Michael Nevradakis links to

Investigative reporter and bestselling author Greg Palast discusses the results of his investigation into the actions of so-called vulture funds and their role in the destruction of the Greek economy. According to Palast, "I've been investigating the causes of Greece's collapse; it's a crime scene; it's not something that was a matter of Greeks living beyond their means or being lazy, olive pit-spewing slackers, as the Germans would have it. In fact, I actually looked it up: The average Greek worker works 400 hours more a year than the average German worker."

On the Trail of Yosemite's Monopoly Concessionaire

It happens only once every 15 years or so, and the last time it drove environmentalists into a state of apoplexy. That would be the award of the big contract to run Yosemite's lodgings, restaurants and other tourist services. It turns out, the Sierra Club and other nonprofits have cause to be concerned. In 1993, the Department of Interior may have secretly maneuvered to place the contract into the lap of Delaware North Companies, which is run by a billionaire with former ties to notorious gangsters. Bidding on the new contract was supposed to take effect in September 2011, but has been delayed again and again. Which begs the question: Is DNC the Halliburton of the National Park Service?

Filaments of ebola attached to a cell.

Ebola 'Secret Serum': Small Biopharma, The Army, And Big Tobacco

This article links to

The experimental Ebola drug ZMapp is the product of a "convoluted convergence of U.S. and Canadian federal agencies and industrial partners that's typical for treatments of potential value against biowarfare and bioterrorism," according to this 8/5/14 article in Forbes. "The U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) has been a critical driver of much of this work as they maintain biosafety level-4 facilities in Frederick, Maryland, and have extensive expertise with non-human primates as a model for human infectious diseases." The research and development of ZMapp and related drugs described here calls to mind Leonard Horowitz's 1996 book, Emerging Viruses: AIDS and Ebola - Nature, Accident or Intentional. (A video broadcast from Dr. Horowitz took place in August.) For more background, see also The City Edition's 2006 article about Liberia and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, "Sometimes You Win."


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