by Christina Sarich

What’s a recipe for environmental mayhem and the destruction of human health? The approval of genetically modified organisms by governments worldwidewithout any scientific safety studies. A new study published by the risk-assessment journal Environment International states that of the GM crops approved for planting and marketing globally, 81% were not studied for possible health and environmental safety risks.

Nevertheless, the biotech industry keeps touting GMO ‘benefits’ like a narcissistic madman on steroids. This chest beating continues – despite a complete lack of published, peer-reviewed research supporting the safety of genetically modified organisms.

The researchers of the risk-assessment study looked at GM crops engineered either for tolerance to the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) or engineered to produce pesticides in their tissues due to the expression of cry1Ab or cry3Bb1 genes. Of all the bioengineering tricks up Monsanto and Syngenta’s sleeves, these are the most commonly used in commercial GM crops.

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by Julia Marsh

Avengers” star Mark Ruffalo has a warning for NYU: You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.

The actor and West Villager, who is a big green activist off-screen and a big green Hulk on-screen, is leading the charge to the state’s highest court to overturn the approval of the university’s $6 billion expansion plan saying it robs the neighborhood of parks.

“As a longtime advocate of our green spaces, I find it alarming that these public parks, which Villagers have been enjoying for decades, can just be handed over to a private corporation for its own financial gain.

“That decision must be overturned,” he seethes in a statement supporting an appeal of a suit brought by 20 Greenwich Village activists to block the plan.

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by Steve Jimenez

Steve Jimenez challenges the watchdog organization to a public debate about the facts in his book about the Matthew Shepard murder case

Media Matters recently published another smearing of me and my work, this one under the title, “The GuardianPromotes Discredited, Debunked Book About Matthew Shepard’s Murder.” By repeatedly suggesting in 10 purported “research” articles that The Book of Matt: Hidden Truths About the Murder of Matthew Shepard has been “discredited” and “debunked,” Media Matters, a self-styled misinformation watchdog, is spreading libel. The article to which Media Matters refers, by the way, appeared in The Observer, not The Guardian. The Observer is a separate, Sundays-only newspaper purchased in 1993 by the Guardian Media Group. Media Matters’ mistake is not surprising for an outfit that disseminates “rapid response items” backed up primarily by information its “researchers” find by trolling online.

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A New Jersey lawmaker is calling for a review of a state university’s purchase of a $219,000 custom-built, multimedia conference table from a company in China, where it has a campus it hopes to expand.

Kean University did not put the project out to bid and picked a company in Shanghai, The Record (http://bit.ly/1xThtNo ) newspaper reported. The northern New Jersey school recently opened a branch campus in China that university President Dawood Farahi hopes to expand.

“Whether or not this is legal, it’s certainly not ethical and it’s a waste of taxpayer money,” Assemblyman Joe Cryan said in a statement. “The time to reform higher education in New Jersey is long past. I don’t need a study to know a university shouldn’t be spending up to $219,000 for a conference table. I already know it’s wrong. So do the students and families struggling to afford a higher education.”

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by Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers

There is a growing movement for labeling of GMO crops, and many would go further and ban GMOs completely. Currently there is a close vote in Oregon on a GMO labeling initiative, with advocates for labeling 0.3% behind and raising money to check ballots (we urge your support) [3]. Those who profit from GMOs spent $20 million to prevent labeling in Oregon. Several states in the Northeast [4] have put in place laws that will require labeling.

Vermont is about to be sued [5] to prevent GMO labeling. GMO profiteers have an unusual marketing strategy. While most companies brag about their product, the GMO industry spends hundreds of millions to hide their product. The US does not requiring labeling of GMOs despite the fact that 64 countries around the world label GMO foods [6].

Millions have marched against Monsanto [7] urging labeling or the banning of GMO products. There is a national consensus in favor of labeling [8] but the government has been unable to respond. Indeed, President Obama’s food czar is a former Monsanto executive [9]. The deep corruption of government is putting the health of the American people at serious risk.

 

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BERKELEY (KTVU and Wires) – Friday is the third day of a student sit-in against tuition increases at UC-Berkeley’s Wheeler Hall. The students have been sleeping there and say they won’t leave until their demands are met.

The students issued their set of demands early Thursday including a no vote by regents on a proposed tuition hike.

Raj Bhargva, a student spokesman, also asked that all charges be dropped against 21-year-old UC Berkeley student Jeff Noven, who was arrested on Wednesday at the regents meeting in San Francisco….


by Christina Sarich

Why won’t Fox, NBC, CNN, or ABC cover the TPP? These media empires (even Facebook has boosted news feeds of the top 100 media outlets, owned by only six mega-corporations to control public opinion) have decided that the public should be kept in the dark about ‘NAFTA on steroids’ so that biotech corporations can completely take over ‘free-trade’ with Pacific Rim nations.

You likely haven’t heard of the TPP or Trans Pacific Trade Agreement for this reason, but it hasn’t slowed the rising opposition to its sinister ‘fast-track’ plans among our elected officials, which would bypass many of the legal requirements for a normal trade agreement, and allowing the implementation of TPP with minimal debate. More than 550 groups, representing millions of people, have urged President Obama to vote against the TPP, but so far, those requests have fallen on deaf ears.

The US government touts the TPP as “an ambitious, 21st century trade agreement” with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. “When complete, TPP will unlock opportunities for American workers, families, businesses, farmers, and ranchers by providing increased access to some of the fastest growing markets in the world.”

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by William D. Cohan

By now, most Americans are familiar with the sad story of Aaron Swartz, the self-styled “hacktivist” and political organizer, and the Justice Department’s terribly ill-conceived prosecution of him, in which it claimed that Swartz repeatedly violated the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in 2011 when he downloaded without authorization millions of academic articles from JSTOR, the digital library. On January 11, 2013, facing a plea bargain that would force him to spend six months in prison and plead guilty to thirteen felony charges, Swartz committed suicide in his Brooklyn apartment. He was 26 years old.

Now the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, or CFAA, is once again at the center of an ill-advised prosecution, except this time a private corporation is using the law against working journalists and their sources.

The proceedings in this little-noticed case, which has alarming implications for press freedom, were set in motion a year ago in a federal court in Rochester, New York, when an entity known as NXIVM Corporation (pronounced nex-ee-um) filed a civil lawsuit against two journalists—Suzanna Andrews, a contributor to Vanity Fair, and James Odato, of the Albany Times Union—and a blogger, John Tighe, creator of the now-defunct “Saratoga in Decline” blog. An examination of the court filings reveals the lawsuit to be a thinly veiled attempt to retaliate against journalists for writing accurate but hard-hitting stories that were critical of NXIVM and the strange behavior of its principals. In the same lawsuit, NXIVM also sued two of their sources—Toni Foley (formerly known as Toni Natalie) and Joseph O’Hara—but did not sue either Condé Nast, Andrews’s deep-pocketed employer, or the Hearst Corporation, which owns the Times Union. (The conclusion that NXIVM is being retaliatory is bolstered by the fact that it also sued fifty-nine unnamed “John Does” but only named Andrews, Odato, Tighe, Foley and O’Hara.) The case remains in the procedural stage but if NXIVM prevails, an unprecedented new front will have been opened in the war against the press in this country.

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by Jon Queally

Those are the calls being voiced in the streets of London on Wednesday as thousands of students marched for publicly-funded (“free”) education nationwide. The protest was also billed as a direct challenge to austerity cuts to higher education imposed by the conservative government led by David Cameron.

Organizers said the march is just the beginning of “a major wave of action” ahead of the nation’s next general election. “We are determined,” the students said in a joint letter, “to build a movement too big to ignore that puts free, accessible and public education back on the political agenda.”

In a tweet, the anti-austerity group UK Uncut declared, “No cuts! No fees! No debt! Education is a right not a privilege. The students are back on the streets demanding #Free Education.”

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It takes at least three days to test for the Ebola virus—but not in
New York City, where they test ‘em negative in minutes.
Wednesday, Nov. 19, 8:10 a.m.: 
 
Gawker reports that “the body of a 40-year-old woman who died of an apparent heart attack Tuesday afternoon at the African Queen Hair Braiding hair salon in Brownsville, Brooklyn is being tested for Ebola ‘as an abundance of caution,’ city health officials announced.”
http://gawker.com/body-of-brooklyn-woman-to-be-tested-for-ebola-1660546991
Wednesday, Nov. 19, 9:20 a.m. (70 minutes later):  
 
The New York Daily News reports that the woman’s body “was tested for the diseasebut the results were negative.
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/woman-died-brooklyn-salon-ebola-article-1.2015944
Thursday, Nov. 20, 2:12 p.m.:
 
The New York Post reports that “a Brooklyn man, who recently returned from West Africa, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital with Ebola-like symptoms Thursday, police sources said.” The piece included a tweet from NYC Health& Hospitals: “A patient is in isolation at HHC Bellevue Hospital & is being tested for Ebola.”
http://nypost.com/2014/11/20/brooklyn-man-rushed-to-bellevue-with-ebola-like-symptoms/
 
Thursday, Nov. 20, 12:20 p.m. (1 hour and 52 minutes earlier):
 
The New York Daily News reports the story with this headline: “Bedford-Stuyvesant man, recently returned to New York from Mali, tests negative for Ebola: city Health Department”
 
http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn-man-tested-ebola-article-1.2017659

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