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Digital Subscriptions > Nexus Magazine > Dec 2015 - Jan 2016 > PROJECT CENSORED’S TOP 25 NEWS STORIES

PROJECT CENSORED’S TOP 25 NEWS STORIES

Continuing an initiative that dates back to 1976, the Project Censored team has selected and judged the most important American and international news stories of 2014–2015 that were underreported or ignored by the US corporate media.

Compiled by

Project Censored © 2015

Professor Mickey Huff

Director, Project Censored

Media Freedom Foundation

PO Box 571, Cotati, CA 94931, USA

Website: http://www.projectcensored.org

1. Half of Global Wealth Owned by the One Per Cent

In January 2015, Oxfam, an international non-profit organisation that aims to eliminate poverty, published a report stating that one per cent of the global population will own more wealth than the rest of the 99 per cent combined by 2016. The Oxfam report provided evidence that extreme inequality is not inevitable but is the result of political choices and economic policies established and maintained by the power elite—wealthy individuals whose strong influence keeps the status quo rigged in their own favour.

In addition to reporting the latest figures on global economic inequality and its consequences, the Oxfam study outlined a nine-point plan that governments could adopt in creating new policies to address poverty and economic inequality.

According to the report, the proportion of global wealth owned by the one per cent has increased from 44 per cent in 2009 to 48 per cent in 2014 and is projected to reach 50 per cent in 2016.

An October 2014 Oxfam report, "Even It Up: Time to End Extreme Inequality", revealed that the number of billionaires worldwide had more than doubled since the 2009 financial crisis, showing that, although those at the top have recovered quickly, the vast majority of the world’s population are far from reaping the benefits of any recent economic recovery. Even more staggering, the world’s richest 85 people now hold the same amount of wealth as half the world’s poorest population.

"Failure to tackle inequality will leave hundreds of millions trapped in poverty unnecessarily," the report’s authors warned.

Through its reports and the "Even It Up" campaign, Oxfam described how to address economic inequality, identifying nine specific actions:

1. Make governments work for citizens and tackle extreme inequality.

2. Promote women’s economic equality and women’s rights.

3. Pay workers a living wage and close the gap created by skyrocketing executive rewards.

4. Share the tax burden fairly to level the playing field.

5. Close international tax loopholes and fill holes in tax governance.

6. Achieve universal free public services by 2020.

7. Change the global system for research and development and pricing of medicines so everyone has access to appropriate and affordable medicines.

8. Implement a universal social protection floor.

9. Target development finance at reducing inequality and poverty, and strengthening the compact between citizens and their government.

Oxfam, in its "Even It Up" report, calculated that a "1.5 percent tax on billionaires’ wealth over $1bn in 2014 would raise $74bn", which would be "enough to fill the annual gaps in funding needed to get every child into school and deliver health services in the poorest 49 countries".

2. Oil Industry Illegally Dumps Fracking Wastewater

California state documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity in October 2014 revealed that the oil industry had illegally dumped almost three billion gallons of wastewater from fracking (hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas) into central California aquifers. According to the Center for Biological Diversity report, the leaking occurred through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of contaminated waste.

The affected aquifers supply water for human consumption and for irrigation of crops for human consumption. The documents also revealed that water supply wells located close to wastewater injection sites were tested and found to have high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitrates, all toxic chemicals linked to the oil industry’s wastewater.

In June 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its study of the impacts of fracking on drinking water supplies. Although the EPA’s assessment identified "important vulnerabilities to drinking water resources", it concluded that "hydraulic fracturing activities…have not led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources".

In response, Food & Water Watch issued a press release by executive director Wenonah Hauter, who wrote: "Sadly, the EPA study…falls far short of the level of scrutiny and government oversight needed to protect the health and safety of the millions of American people affected by drilling and fracking for oil and gas." Noting that the oil and gas industry refused to cooperate with the EPA on a single "prospective case study" of fracking’s impacts, Hauter concluded: "This reveals the undue influence the industry has over the government and shows that the industry is afraid to allow careful monitoring of their operations."

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In the December 2015 - January 2016 issue we have articles covering: PROJECT CENSORED’S TOP 25 NEWS STORIES; TRIALS & TRIBULATIONS: CLINICAL RESEARCH; HOW TO MANAGE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM; SACRED SOLIDS IN THE ATOMIC NUCLEUS—Part 2; NAN MADOL, CITY OF SPIRITS; SHADOW OF NEMESIS—Part 2; and SCIENCE NEWS, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, GLOBAL NEWS and more.
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