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Tue, 05 Dec 2023
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5 Ways our lives are being violated by corporate greed

© Shutterstock.com/Artisticco
Congress' response to all this? They would like SNAP and Social Security recipients to go find a job.

We already pay dearly for energy, medicine, banking, and telecommunications services. But a little research reveals that we're paying more -- much more -- in a variety of ways that our business-friendly mainstream media won't talk about.

1. Drug Companies: The Body Snatchers

A report by Battelle Memorial Institute determined that the $4 billion government-funded Human Genome Project (HGP) will generate economic activity of about $140 for every dollar spent. Although that estimate iscontroversial, drug industry executives say it's just a matter of time before the profits roll in.

Big business is quickly making its move. Celera Genomics was first, as the company initiated a private version of the genome project, incorporating the public data into their work, but forbidding the public effort to use Celera data. Abbott Labs is developing products based on the HGP. Merck's automated biotechnology facility was made possible by the HGP. Two-thirds of the products at Bristol-Myers Squibb have been impacted by the HGP. Pfizer is starting to make big profits from its genome-based cancer treatments.

But the industry is going beyond profits, to the actual privatization of our bodies. One-fifth of the human genome is privately owned through patents. Strains of influenza and hepatitis have been claimed by corporate and university labs, preventing researchers from using the patented life forms to perform cancer research.

As if to mock us while taking over our public research, some of the largest drug companies haven't been paying much in taxes. Pfizer had 40% of its 2011-12 revenues in the U.S., but declared almost $7 billion in U.S. losses to go along with $31 billion in foreign profits. Abbott Labs had 42% of its sales in the U.S., but declared a loss in the U.S. along with $12 billion in foreign profits.


Massive gas pipeline explosion rocks Pettis County, Missouri

An overnight explosion at the Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Company near Hughesville, Mo., in Pettis County lit up the sky for miles early Friday morning. Fox 4 viewers from more than 30 miles away reported seeing the fireball in the sky.

A spokesperson from Panhandle Eastern says a 30-inch pipeline ruptured just before midnight, causing the explosion. Panhandle Eastern Pipeline Co. is about 90 miles from Kansas City.

No injuries were reported. Three homes were evacuated, but by mid-morning on Friday, the residents had been allowed back in.


Ryanair responds to customers: cuts fees and boosts baggage

Ryanair is getting rid of some of its most annoying practices with a pledge to be more flexible on cabin baggage, stop excessive charges for fixing minor spelling mistakes and reissuing boarding cards, halve late baggage fees and junk noisy adverts during early-morning and late-evening flights.

The low-cost champion says it has reacted to customer complaints as it aims to increase its passenger number from the 80million this year to 110m in five years.

Boss Michael O'Leary said: "We are actively listening and responding to our customers so that they can continue to expect low fares and on-time flights on Ryanair, but will now enjoy easier website access, 24 hour grace periods, a 2nd small carry-on bag, reduced airport bag fees and quiet flights.

"We hope that our passengers will enjoy these service improvements, while still enjoying Ryanair's low fares and on-time flights."

People 2

Snowy standoff in New Brunswick, Canada, as anti-fracking protesters fight for 'next seven generations'

New Brunswick fracking protest
© via Twitter: Stormy Ravenhawk /‏@StormyRavenhawk

'I think the community is standing up for the environment, and the police are protecting the company, and that's not right.'

A snowy standoff took place in New Brunswick between Canada's Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and anti-fracking protesters on Sunday as Elsipogtog community members and their allies continue the fight to protect their land from shale gas exploration.

Twitter users captured a lineup of "protectors" facing police along Highway 11 where energy company SWN Resources has trucks conducting seismic testing for shale gas.

A similar protest on Highway 11 on Friday blocked the road for hours, and several protesters were arrested for breaching a court injunction by SWN. CBC reports:


Yet another home is completely obliterated in the U.S., this time a ranch in Johnson County, Texas - One person dead, debris strewn across wide area

© Bryan Titsworth / WFAA
There is a wide debris field surrounding a rural home in Johnson County that exploded on November 30, 2013.
Johnson County emergency managers said a home that exploded late Saturday night is a total loss, and the search for its owners has yielded one body.

According to Sheriff Bob Alford, authorities in Johnson County first received calls about the explosion at about 10:58 p.m.

"The main thing is to locate the owners of the property," he told News 8, identifying them as Gary Wagner and Wanda Buckley Davis.

At a briefing Sunday afternoon, Alford confirmed that a body believed to be Davis, 62, was located in the rubble around noon.

"Sweet... caring... loving," is how niece Melanie Broyles described Davis. "She'd give you the shirt off her back."

Comment: How common is it for houses to completely explode in the U.S.? Let's look back at a few this past year...

"I thought a plane hit": Another massive explosion obliterates house, this time in Connecticut - 17 September 2013

Massive explosion obliterates house in Ohio and kills 2- Debris scattered up to quarter-mile away, 17 September 2013

Corpus Christi, Texas house explosion injures 3 - 'damaging homes as far as three blocks away', 12 July 2013

More exploding houses? Westminster, Colorado house explosion linked to natural gas, 14 Jun 2013

Explosion levels house in Texas, 13 Jan 2013

Two killed, homes destroyed in huge Indianapolis explosion, 11 Nov 2012

Connecticut house explosion kills one, injures two, 30 Aug 2012

Eye 2

Arizona couple held three teen daughters captive, tortured and filmed them for two years in yet another 'house of horrors'


Sophia Richter, 32, and Fernando Richter, 34
Police in Arizona are investigating a "house of horrors" where three teenage girls were imprisoned for two years and abused by their mother and stepfather.

The three girls, aged 17, 13 and 12, were locked in their bedrooms, subjected to torture and fed only once a day. Described as malnourished and "extremely filthy" by police, they had not taken a bath for around four to six months, they told officers. They were forced to listen to intolerably loud music or white noise and were only allowed to go to the toilet if they had permission, which was not always granted. In order not to raise suspicion, their bedrooms and the whole house had been sound-proofed.

The girls escaped the house when the 12- and 13-year-old broke out of their bedroom window early on Tuesday morning and ran to a neighbour's home.

"We heard our doorbell ringing wildly and frantically and heard somebody knocking on our windows," one of the neighbours, who gave her name as Alice, told NBC news.

The girls, who Alice described as "distraught and hysterical", said they had run away from home because their stepfather had kicked in their bedroom door and was trying to assault them with a knife.

Evil Rays

German policeman allegedly murdered man he met through cannibalism website

Crime scene
© Reuters/Pawel Sosnowski
Police experts inspect the crime scene in Gimmlitztal near the town of Hartsmanndorf-Reichenau, south of Dresden.
This morning, police in the German city of Dresden announced they had arrested one of their own, identified as "Detlev G.," for the murder of a 59-year-old man from Hannover.

According to police, Detlev G. met his alleged victim in the same online cannibalism forum once frequented by Armin Meiwes, the so-called "Cannibal from Rotenburg." Detlev G. and his victim exchanged emails and text messages in which the victim expressed a desire to be killed and eaten.

After extensive communication, the two agreed to meet and "that the killing should take place immediately," according to the head of criminal investigations, Maik Mainda.

Police claim that Detlev G. murdered his victim within an hour of their first meeting, and had dismembered him and buried the body no more than four hours later.


Vatican charity arm turns pope's words into action

Pope Francis
Pope Francis salutes the crowd as he arraives for his general audience in St. Peter's square at the Vatican
Tucked away in a corner of the Vatican City, a team of priests is hard at work turning Pope Francis's social words into action with discreet daily rounds of charity-giving based on letters sent to the pontiff.

"We do first aid," Monsignor Konrad Krajewski, a 50-year-old Polish prelate who was appointed by Francis in August to the traditional post of "Almoner", or alms-giver, said in a rare meeting with journalists.

Krajewski's job has existed for centuries at the Vatican but he said Francis was taking a special interest in it and personally identified the people with most needs.

The pope picks out some of the many letters he receives and sends them on to Krajewski and his team with memos like "Call this person" or "You know what to do".

Comment: "If this is the best God can do, I'm not impressed." ~ George Carlin


Humor banned in the New World Order: Minnesota family fighting to get son out of Abu Dhabi prison for posting parody video to his YouTube account


Shezanne Cassim
He was put behind bars in April because the gov't didn't like a parody video

A Woodbury family is fighting to get their son out of a prison in Abu Dhabi. He's been living in Dubai for the last seven years working as a business consultant.

But 29-year-old Shezanne Cassim was put in prison because the government didn't like a parody video he posted on YouTube.

His family says he made it with some friends as a spoof about young people in Dubai.

United Arab Emirates officials say it violates cybercrimes law and poses a threat to national security.

The video was uploaded in October of last year. And then in April of this year, Cassim and four others who appear in it were thrown in jail.


On illegal immigration, more U.S. cities are rolling out a welcome mat

Tucson, a longtime foe of Arizona's 'papers, please' law, is modifying how it enforces SB 1070 to join a national trend that suggests the pendulum is swinging on illegal immigration.

Illegal Immigrants
© Ross R. Franklin/AP/File
Illegal immigrants prepare to enter a bus after being processed at Tucson Sector US Border Patrol Headquarters, August 9, 2012, in Tucson, Arizon.
The passage by conservative state lawmakers of Arizona's controversial immigration law SB 1070 in 2010 inspired copy-cat measures in several other states that made them similarly hostile to illegal immigrants.

But city leaders in this desert town, in an example of a growing national trend more hospitable to immigrants, are pushing back against Arizona's "papers, please" law in renewed repudiation of the measure and in a nod to immigrant integration.

Tucson, in liberal-leaning Pima County, is a longtime foe of the tough immigration law designed to push out of state those in the country illegally.

But now the city council is going a step further, voting this month to change how police implement the immigrations status inquiries during law enforcement stops, a provision upheld by the US Supreme Court when it struck down most of the rest of SB 1070 in June 2012. For instance, minors may not be questioned away from an attorney or guardian, and people who report a crime can do so without fear of having their immigration status checked.