French bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

A 50-year mystery over the ‘cursed bread’ of Pont-Saint-Esprit, which left residents suffering hallucinations, has been solved after a writer discovered the US had spiked the bread with LSD as part of an experiment.

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An American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD

In 1951, a quiet, picturesque village in southern France was suddenly and mysteriously struck down with mass insanity and hallucinations. At least five people died, dozens were interned in asylums and hundreds afflicted.

For decades it was assumed that the local bread had been unwittingly poisoned with a psychedelic mould. Now, however, an American investigative journalist has uncovered evidence suggesting the CIA peppered local food with the hallucinogenic drug LSD as part of a mind control experiment at the height of the Cold War.

The mystery of Le Pain Maudit (Cursed Bread) still haunts the inhabitants of Pont-Saint-Esprit, in the Gard, southeast France.

On August 16, 1951, the inhabitants were suddenly racked with frightful hallucinations of terrifying beasts and fire.

Read moreFrench bread spiked with LSD in CIA experiment

Censorship: New Zealand’s Internet Filter Goes Live

The Department of Internal Affairs’ (DIA) internet filter is now operational and is being used by internet providers (ISPs) Maxnet and Watchdog.

Thomas Beagle, spokesperson for online freedom lobby Tech Liberty says he’s “very disappointed that the filter is now running, it’s a sad day for the New Zealand internet”.

He told Computerworld the filter went live on February 1 but DIA has delayed announcing that until it held a meeting with its Independent Reference Group. He says he’s disappointed the launch was conducted in such a “stealthy mode”.

The manager of the Department of Internal Affairs’ Censorship Compliance Unit, Steve O’Brien, denies any subterfuge in the launch, saying the trial has been going on for two years and that has been communicated to media for “quite some time”.

“The Independent Reference Group has met and the filter system processes were demonstrated as set out in the code of practice, that is that the website filtering system prevents access to known websites containing images of child sexual abuse,” says O’Brien.

Beagle says the DIA refuses to say which other ISPs will be joining the filter, claiming the right to negotiate in secret.

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US: Mass School Closures Approved in Kansas City, Mo.

In this photo taken Feb. 28, 2010, unused space is seen in the Board of Education building in Kansas City, Mo. The district will renew efforts to sell the administration building, which is less than half used, to help cut $50 million from next years budget. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
In this photo taken Feb. 28, 2010, unused space is seen in the Board of Education building in Kansas City, Mo. The district will renew efforts to sell the administration building, which is less than half used, to help cut $50 million from next years budget. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City school board narrowly approved a plan Wednesday night to close nearly half the district’s schools in a desperate bid to avoid a potential bankruptcy.

The board voted 5-4 after parents and community leaders made final pleas to spare the schools even as the beleaguered district seeks to erase a projected $50 million budget shortfall. The approved plan calls for shuttering 29 of 61 schools – a striking amount even as public school closures rise nationwide while the recession eats away at academic budgets.

“The urban core has suffered white flight post-the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. the Board of Education, blockbusting by the real estate industry, redlining by banks and other financial institutions, retail and grocery store abandonment,” Kansas City Councilwoman Sharon Sanders Brooks said to applause from a standing-room-only crowd of more than 200 people.

“And now the public education system is aiding and abetting in the economic demise of our school district,” she said. “It is shameful and sinful.”

Read moreUS: Mass School Closures Approved in Kansas City, Mo.

US: Study finds median wealth for single black women at $5

See also:

US: 43% Have Less Than $10k For Retirement

US: Wealth Disparities Approaching 1920s Levels


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Women of all races bring home less income and own fewer assets, on average, than men of the same race, but for single black women the disparities are so overwhelmingly great that even in their prime working years their median wealth amounts to only $5.

In a groundbreaking report released Monday by a leading economic research group, social scientists turned a spotlight on the grave financial challenges facing an often overlooked group of women, many of whom could not take an unpaid sick day or repair a major appliance without going into debt.

“It’s rather shocking,” said Meizhu Lui, director of the Closing the Gap Initiative based in Oakland, Calif., who contributed to the report “Lifting as We Climb: Women of Color, Wealth and America’s Future.”

Racial disparities in net worth pdf PDF

Among the most startling revelations in the wealth data is that while single white women in the prime of their working years (ages 36 to 49) have a median wealth of $42,600 (still only 61 percent of their single white male counterparts), the median wealth for single black women is only $5.

“Even for those of us who have been looking at the wealth gap for a while, we were shocked and amazed at how little women of color have,” Ms. Lui said.

Researchers at the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, based in Oakland, Calif., analyzed data from the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances, a voluminous report the Federal Reserve Board issues every three years that examines household finances in this country.

Read moreUS: Study finds median wealth for single black women at $5

US: ID Card for Workers Is at Center of Immigration Plan

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(Wall Street Journal) — Lawmakers working to craft a new comprehensive immigration bill have settled on a way to prevent employers from hiring illegal immigrants: a national biometric identification card all American workers would eventually be required to obtain.

Under the potentially controversial plan still taking shape in the Senate, all legal U.S. workers, including citizens and immigrants, would be issued an ID card with embedded information, such as fingerprints, to tie the card to the worker.

The ID card plan is one of several steps advocates of an immigration overhaul are taking to address concerns that have defeated similar bills in the past.

The uphill effort to pass a bill is being led by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), who plan to meet with President Barack Obama as soon as this week to update him on their work. An administration official said the White House had no position on the biometric card.

“It’s the nub of solving the immigration dilemma politically speaking,” Mr. Schumer said in an interview. The card, he said, would directly answer concerns that after legislation is signed, another wave of illegal immigrants would arrive. “If you say they can’t get a job when they come here, you’ll stop it.”

The biggest objections to the biometric cards may come from privacy advocates, who fear they would become de facto national ID cards that enable the government to track citizens.

“It is fundamentally a massive invasion of people’s privacy,” said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We’re not only talking about fingerprinting every American, treating ordinary Americans like criminals in order to work. We’re also talking about a card that would quickly spread from work to voting to travel to pretty much every aspect of American life that requires identification.”

Read moreUS: ID Card for Workers Is at Center of Immigration Plan

Gendercide: The Worldwide War On Baby Girls

Technology, declining fertility and ancient prejudice are combining to unbalance societies

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XINRAN XUE, a Chinese writer, describes visiting a peasant family in the Yimeng area of Shandong province. The wife was giving birth. “We had scarcely sat down in the kitchen”, she writes (see article), “when we heard a moan of pain from the bedroom next door…The cries from the inner room grew louder-and abruptly stopped. There was a low sob, and then a man’s gruff voice said accusingly: ‘Useless thing!’

“Suddenly, I thought I heard a slight movement in the slops pail behind me,” Miss Xinran remembers. “To my absolute horror, I saw a tiny foot poking out of the pail. The midwife must have dropped that tiny baby alive into the slops pail! I nearly threw myself at it, but the two policemen [who had accompanied me] held my shoulders in a firm grip. ‘Don’t move, you can’t save it, it’s too late.’

“‘But that’s…murder…and you’re the police!’ The little foot was still now. The policemen held on to me for a few more minutes. ‘Doing a baby girl is not a big thing around here,’ [an] older woman said comfortingly. ‘That’s a living child,’ I said in a shaking voice, pointing at the slops pail. ‘It’s not a child,’ she corrected me. ‘It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it. Around these parts, you can’t get by without a son. Girl babies don’t count.'”

In January 2010 the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) showed what can happen to a country when girl babies don’t count. Within ten years, the academy said, one in five young men would be unable to find a bride because of the dearth of young women-a figure unprecedented in a country at peace.

Read moreGendercide: The Worldwide War On Baby Girls

The 21st-century African land grab by rich countries facing global food and water shortages

Highly recommended article.


An Observer investigation reveals how rich countries faced by a global food shortage now farm an area double the size of the UK to guarantee supplies for their citizens

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A woman tends vegetables at a giant Saudi-financed farm in Ethiopia.

We turned off the main road to Awassa, talked our way past security guards and drove a mile across empty land before we found what will soon be Ethiopia’s largest greenhouse. Nestling below an escarpment of the Rift Valley, the development is far from finished, but the plastic and steel structure already stretches over 20 hectares – the size of 20 football pitches.

The farm manager shows us millions of tomatoes, peppers and other vegetables being grown in 500m rows in computer controlled conditions. Spanish engineers are building the steel structure, Dutch technology minimises water use from two bore-holes and 1,000 women pick and pack 50 tonnes of food a day. Within 24 hours, it has been driven 200 miles to Addis Ababa and flown 1,000 miles to the shops and restaurants of Dubai, Jeddah and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world with more than 13 million people needing food aid, but paradoxically the government is offering at least 3m hectares of its most fertile land to rich countries and some of the world’s most wealthy individuals to export food for their own populations.

The 1,000 hectares of land which contain the Awassa greenhouses are leased for 99 years to a Saudi billionaire businessman, Ethiopian-born Sheikh Mohammed al-Amoudi, one of the 50 richest men in the world. His Saudi Star company plans to spend up to $2bn acquiring and developing 500,000 hectares of land in Ethiopia in the next few years. So far, it has bought four farms and is already growing wheat, rice, vegetables and flowers for the Saudi market. It expects eventually to employ more than 10,000 people.

But Ethiopia is only one of 20 or more African countries where land is being bought or leased for intensive agriculture on an immense scale in what may be the greatest change of ownership since the colonial era.

An Observer investigation estimates that up to 50m hectares of land – an area more than double the size of the UK – has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies. The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.

The land rush, which is still accelerating, has been triggered by the worldwide food shortages which followed the sharp oil price rises in 2008, growing water shortages and the European Union’s insistence that 10% of all transport fuel must come from plant-based biofuels by 2015.

Read moreThe 21st-century African land grab by rich countries facing global food and water shortages

Vatican Hit By Gay Sex Scandal

Vatican chorister sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for papal gentleman-in-waiting

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Pope Benedict XVI greets cardinals in the Clementine Hall at the Vatican. Photograph: Max Rossi/AFP/Getty Images

The Vatican was today rocked by a sex scandal reaching into Pope Benedict’s household after a chorister was sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting.

Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness, was caught by police on a wiretap allegedly negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Vatican chorister, over the specific physical details of men he wanted brought to him. Transcripts in the possession of the Guardian suggest that numerous men may have been procured for Balducci, at least one of whom was studying for the priesthood.

The explosive claims about Balducci’s private life have caused grave embarrassment to the Vatican, which has yet to publicly comment on the affair.

While Catholicism does not condemn homosexuality outright, its teaching is that homosexual acts “are intrinsically disordered”. The Catechism of the Catholic church states unequivocally: “Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

Balducci was arrested on 10 February, suspected of involvement in widespread corruption. A senior Italian government official, he is alleged to have to steered public works contracts towards favoured bidders. He has not been charged.

It was during this investigation into corruption that wiretaps revealed his alleged sexual activity. In one conversation, Ehiem tells Balducci: “I saw your call when I was in the Vatican, because I was doing rehearsals … in the choir … in St Peter’s.” He then suggests Balducci meet a man who he describes is “two metres tall … 97 kilos … aged 33, completely active.”

Balducci is also a senior adviser to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the department that oversees the Roman Catholic church’s worldwide missionary activities.

Read moreVatican Hit By Gay Sex Scandal

Greek Workers Shut Down Transport And Tried To Storm Parliament As Lawmakers Passed 4.8 Billion Euros Budget Cuts

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Empty rail tracks are seen at at the entrance to the Thision underground railway in Athens on March 5, 2010. (Bloomberg)

March 5 (Bloomberg) — Striking Greek workers shut down transport and tried to storm parliament as lawmakers passed 4.8 billion euros ($6.5 billion) in budget cuts, including wage reductions, needed to trim the region’s biggest budget deficit.

Police with riot shields fired tear gas as demonstrators wearing biker helmets and ski masks pelted them with stones outside parliament in Athens where lawmakers approved the measures. Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told parliament the cuts will show European Union allies and investors that Greece is making good on its deficit pledges.

“We didn’t create this crisis but now we have to pay for it,” said Manthos Adamakis, who was protesting with other catering workers outside the five-star Grande Bretagne Hotel on Syntagma Square in downtown Athens.

Read moreGreek Workers Shut Down Transport And Tried To Storm Parliament As Lawmakers Passed 4.8 Billion Euros Budget Cuts

US Gun Owners Buy 14 Million Plus Guns In 2009 – More Than 21 of the Worlds Standing Armies Combined

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Firearms Manufactures Working Hard To Keep Up

Washington, DC –(AmmoLand.com)- Data released by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for the year reported 14,033,824 NICS Checks for the year of 2009, a 10 percent increase in gun purchases from the 12,709,023 reported in 2008.

So far that is roughly 14,000,000+ guns bought last year!

The total is probably more as many NICS background checks cover the purchase of more than one gun at a time by individuals.

To put it in perspective that is more guns than the combined active armies of the top 21 countries in the world. countries by number of troops

Of the NICS background checks preformed less than and average .005% were denied, showing, overwhelmingly, that law abiding American citizens are the ones buying guns and that criminals are getting their guns elsewhere.

14,033,824,000 billions rounds of Ammo

Assuming each gun buyer bought 1000 rounds of ammo for each purchase, and you and I know that it is way, way more than that, that would be easily 14,033,824,000+ billions rounds of ammo fired by USA gun owners.

Read moreUS Gun Owners Buy 14 Million Plus Guns In 2009 – More Than 21 of the Worlds Standing Armies Combined