Thursday, April 8, 2010

Documents: Review of Major U.S. Court Rulings on Enemy Combatant Detentions

The U.S. Congressional Research Service has just issued a useful new report, Judicial Activity Concerning Enemy Combatant Detainees: Major Court Rulings. It reviews all rulings of the Supreme Court and some lower-court decisions regarding Al Qaeda and Taliban suspect detainees. Thanks to Secrecy News, a bulletin of the Federation of American Scientists, for publicizing this great resource.

Awards: IRE Winners

An investigation into how outdated U.S. legislation is failing to protect drinking water and a massive analysis of Florida's real-estate collapse are two of the winners of the 2010 Investigative Reporters and Editor awards. Congratulations to the winners! The stories are an excellent model for other journalists and give lots of ideas for investigations in our own communities.
Unfortunately, for some odd reason, the site doesn't include links to the actual stories, most of which are freely available on the Web. Catch up to 2010, IRE! :) What would DigiDave say? You have to Google the story title to read the actual piece - although the IRE site does include short descriptions to give you an idea if it'll be of further interest.

TAGS: awards

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interesting: Why Poland Rejected H1N1 Vaccine

Pharmaceutical companies and governments came under fire at a hearing into the H1N1 flu and vaccine conducted in Paris by European parliamentarians this week, reports the Center for Medical Consumers in this interesting item. The star of the hearing was Dr. Ewa Kopacz, Poland's health minister, who disclosed the secretive and unusual contract terms pharmaceutical firms imposed on governments to sell them the H1N1 flu vaccine.
Poland refused to do a mass vaccination of its citizens because of the onerous terms and doubts about the vaccine's safety, Kopacz said. The country wound up with relatively low flu rates compared to other countries, the item says.

The contract for the vaccine required Poland to pay two to three times more than for regular seasonal flu vaccines, even though the technologies to produce them are the same, Kopacz said. As well, Poland would have had to sign a contract absolving the drug-maker of responsibility for vaccine injuries, she said. Other countries, including Canada and the U.S., agreed to such terms. Click the tag links below for more coverage at this site on H1N1 and the flu vaccine. Also, see these blog posts (here, here and here).

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Investigation: Widely Used, Unregulated Nano-Particles Linked to Cancer, Other Major Diseases

A frightening report has come out on some of the nano-particles now present in close to 10,000 consumer products - everything from creams and cosmetics to icing, medicines, toothpaste and nutritional supplements. Mice that consumed the tiny particles suffered high levels of DNA damage and genetic instability associated with cancer, heart disease, neurological disease and aging, according to a study cited in a three-part AOL News investigation of nano-particles.
Nearly a million kilograms of nano-particles are produced and used each year in the U.S. alone, the story says - with virtually no government oversight. Labeling and safety compliance are generally left to manufacturers, while some government officials say they don't want to interfere in the industry's progress. The global market for the particles was $254 billion in 2005 and is expected to grow 10-fold by 2014. The 2011 U.S. federal budget has earmarked $1.8 billion in spending on nanotechnology.

TAGS: health

Monday, April 5, 2010

Investigations: Classified Footage Shows U.S. Attack on Journalists, Children in Iraq

WikiLeaks has broadcast dramatic and shocking classified footage of a U.S. Apache helicopter attacking and killing two Reuters journalists and civilians who come to help. Two girls were seriously injured and then denied access to U.S. military medical help. Reuters has spent two years trying to obtain the footage through a Freedom of Information request. Visit this special WikiLeaks page to see and hear the footage and read details of the incident.

TAGS: Iraq, military