As fear mongering about the Zika epidemic runs rampant, separate organizations of doctors from Brazil and Argentina are directly challenging the notion that the Brazilian Zika virus outbreak is at the root of the recent increase in microcephaly birth defect cases.
After the dramatic increase in congenital malformations, the Brazilian Ministry of Health moved quickly to link the phenomena to the Zika virus epidemic. Microcephaly is a congenital condition in which a baby’s head develops abnormally small.
In spite of all the media hype surrounding the mosquito-borne Zika virus and microcephaly, there has yet to be a scientific link proven between the two.
— Nature News&Comment (@NatureNews) February 10, 2016
In a recent report by the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns (PCST), the group revealed that the area in which most of the afflicted persons live had been sprayed with a larvicide known to cause birth defects.
The chemical, pyriproxyfen, was added to the state of Pernambuco’s drinking-water reservoirs in 2014, by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, in an effort to stop the proliferation of the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito.
The report by PCST revealed that the pesticide, sold under the commercial name SumiLarv, is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese subsidiary of Monsanto.
“Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects).
“Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen to drinking water is not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on Zika virus for this damage, while trying to ignore its responsibility and ruling out the hypothesis of direct and cumulative chemical damage caused by years of endocrine and immunological disruption of the affected population,” according to the report by Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns.
(keep reading at thefreethoughtproject.com)
In the weeks since the shooting death of patriot rancher LaVoy Finicum and the arrest of Ammon Bundy, Ryan Payne, and others, numerous eyewitness testimony and independent reporting has completely debunked the notion that the FBI released unedited footage of the now infamous violent confrontation on an Oregon highway.
Amid a massive public outcry throughout social media, the FBI took the extraordinary step of releasing footage of the shooting and arrests just two days after they originally took place. Many saw this as proof that the feds weren’t trying to hide anything and that the killing of Finicum was indeed legal and justified.
While the footage released by the FBI did totally destroy the claim by Mark McConnell that LaVoy had charged at police, it more importantly left out key portions of what actually happened.
In other words, the FBI straight up LIED to every single American by releasing footage they claimed was complete and unedited when we now know that there are key parts, verified by multiple eyewitnesses and independent reporting, that are nowhere to be found in the official video released on the FBI YouTube channel.
(keep reading at intellihub.com)
While the world economy struggles to recover from the 2008 financial crisis, most of the bankers who caused the collapse are still collecting massive salaries and have faced few, if any, consequences.
Except in Iceland.
In one of the countries hit hardest by the collapse, 29 bankers have now been sentenced to prison for their roles in the crash. According to, Stefan Simanowitz, writing for The Huffington Post on Jan. 5, “Just before Christmas, the former CEO of Iceland’s Glitnir bank and two other senior bankers were sentenced to jail terms of up to five years for market manipulation and breach of fiduciary duties.”
Simanowitz questioned why the United States and the United Kingdom, for example, have been far more lenient on their banks.
“[N]ot a single senior banking executive in the US or the UK has been jailed for their role in the financial crisis. Whilst banks — such as the five found to be rigging the Libor rate — have been hit with substantial fines, the individual bankers behind the fraud, market rigging and irresponsible lending that led to the economic meltdown have all avoided time behind bars.”
In October, Alan Pyke, the deputy economic policy editor for ThinkProgress, outlined some of the ways Iceland’s approach differed from that of other countries:
“Like other countries with a large financial industry presence, Iceland spent a lot of money on bailouts after the crisis. But it bailed out workaday citizens instead of bankers, forgiving mortgage debts that exceeded 110 percent of the actual value of the home linked to the loan. The banks, which had swarmed to the north Atlantic island after aggressive deregulation of Icelandic finance law around the turn of the century, were allowed to fail and go bankrupt.”
(keep reading at mintpressnews.com)
New documents released (PDF) on Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of California show that for the last several years, police in the city of Anaheim, California—home of Disneyland—have been using an invasive cell phone surveillance device, known as a “dirtbox.” The ACLU obtained the 464 pages of documents after it sued the Anaheim Police Department last year over the agency’s failure to respond to its public records request concerning such surveillance-related documents.
The DRTBox has been described by one Chicago privacy activist as a “stingray on steroids,” referring to the controversial cell-site simulator that spoofs cell towers to locate phones and intercept calls and texts.
Last year, both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice (which oversees the FBI) said that they would require a warrant during stingray deployments. A new law that took effect in California on January 1, 2016 would also require use of a warrant for a cell-site simulator.
“If a city of a few hundred thousand can have this kind of arsenal, it raises questions as to what similar cities across America might have it as well,” Matt Cagle, an ACLU lawyer, told Ars.
(keep reading at arstechnica.com)