Eight billionaires 'as rich as world's poorest half'

The world's eight richest individuals have as much wealth as the 3.6bn people who make up the poorest half of the world, according to Oxfam.

The charity said its figures, which critics have queried, came from improved data, and the gap between rich and poor was "far greater than feared".

The richest eight include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett.

Mark Littlewood, of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said Oxfam should focus instead on ways to boost growth.

"As an 'anti-poverty' charity, Oxfam seems to be strangely preoccupied with the rich," said the director-general of the free market think tank.

For those concerned with "eradicating absolute poverty completely", the focus should be on measures that encourage economic growth, he added.

Ben Southwood, head of research at the Adam Smith Institute, said it was not the wealth of the world's rich that mattered, but the welfare of the world's poor, which was improving every year.

"Each year we are misled by Oxfam's wealth statistics. The data is fine - it comes from Credit Suisse - but the interpretation is not."...



Human Performance - MITRE [PDF]

Human Performance - MITRE Corporation by Cantankerous Buddha on Scribd

Why is this not news? Donald Trump pal Tevfik Arif busted in Turkey for Sexscapades

A New York real estate mogul with ties to Donald Trump is at the center of an international sex scandal – suspected of running a high-priced prostitution ring.

Tevfik Arif, 57, has been detained in Turkey on suspicion of setting up trysts between wealthy businessmen and Eastern European models – some underage – aboard a $60 million yacht once used by the nation’s founder, Mustafa Ataturk.

Arif, whose Bayrock Group co-developed the Trump SoHo and the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Fort Lauderdale, was among 10 people rounded up in Tuesday’s raid on suspicion of running a prostitution ring.

Prosecutor Yusuf Hakki Dogan said the Savarona yacht was used twice for sexcapades, the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet reported.

“This is the man who defiled the Savarona,” read the headline on the cover of the Turkish paper Milliyet, beside a photo of Arif. Ten models from Russia and Ukraine were detained, but one was released, Bloomberg News reported. Two of the women were underage.


No discipline for FBI agent accused of writing 9/11 report FBI now calls bogus

The FBI agent who wrote a powerful investigative report about 9/11 that the bureau later publicly repudiated faced no apparent discipline even though the FBI subsequently deemed his report to be “poorly written” and “wholly unsubstantiated.”

The April 16, 2002 report, approved by superiors in the FBI’s Tampa field office, said agents had determined that Saudis living in Sarasota had “many connections” to “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001” and requested a more urgent investigation be opened. The heavily redacted report, made public in 2013 after Florida Bulldog’s parent, Broward Bulldog Inc., sued the FBI for access to records of its once-secret Sarasota investigation, flatly contradicted earlier FBI public statements that the Sarasota Saudis had no involvement in the 9/11 plot.

The 2002 FBI report became a hot potato in 2015 when the 9/11 Review Commission, also known as the Meese Commission, recounted FBI criticism of the unidentified agent in its final report. It says that when the agent was questioned he “was unable to provide any basis for the contents of the document or explain why he wrote it as he did.”

The report does not explain how the agent could have made such a serious error, why its conclusions are cited in other released FBI documents or why the FBI made such flawed documents public...



Commentary: Reading news in the age of Trump? Think like a spy.

President-elect Donald Trump is clearly antagonistic toward the mainstream media. That attitude is unlikely to change after Inauguration Day. His disdain for journalists and reluctance to release details about his finances and business ventures may force journalists to rely increasingly on anonymous sources, a strategy that reputable news organizations have long frowned upon.

So in the age of Trump, how should a reader approach coverage that relies primarily on anonymous sources?

Read the news like a spy.

By not naming a source, a journalist asks you to trust them. Did they talk to an intern or a policymaker? Every source has an agenda; if we as readers don't know the source we have a hard time parsing out and then evaluating that motivation. Remember the way the press covereddecisions that led to the 2003 Iraq War via articles based on unnamed sources, all with tall tales of Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Anonymous sources certainly have their place. During the Watergate scandal, Washington Postreporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein used a contact named Deep Throat to verify details about U.S. President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters, theft of top-secret documents and bugging of phones. Legitimate sources need to be protected from retaliation in return for informing the public, especially where national security whistle-blowing is concerned.

Many readers feel they have only two options: take the reporter’s word for it, or not. The result is a steady flow of insider stories that get blasted through aggregated media, which simply repeat others’ work. They then abandon the story as online roadkill for us to Tweet about. We tend to either label what we read as bogus, or scream at people who label what we believe as bogus.

The unique circumstances of Trump’s business background mean legitimate anonymous sources will likely have to play a significant role in reporting over the next four years. At the same time, the echo-like nature of the web, coupled with partisan outlets and equally partisan readers, opens the door to more unscrupulous or mistaken use of anonymous sources.

So how can readers exercise intelligent skepticism?

One way is to apply some of the same tests intelligence officers use to help them evaluate their own sources. Since an article’s unnamed sources are fully unknown to you as the reader, not every test applies, but thinking backwards from the information in front of you to who could be the source is a good start on forming a sense of how credible what you are being told might be...


Record 95,102,000 Americans Not In Labor Force; Unemployment Rate More Like 30%

The “official” unemployment rate (U3) released each month is, to put it in the most straight-forward way possible, a completely misleading and politicized statistic.

The U3 unemployment rate, which is one of 6 ways the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the amount of people out of work, is defined as the “total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force.”

This is the 4.7% number which came out today and the statistic that soon-to-be former President Barrack Obama has boasted so proudly over.

You remember this, right? …

Obama: “I took an economy that was about to go into a Great Depression, and we’ve now had a little over six years of straight economic job growth, an unemployment rate that’s down below 5 percent, and incomes that have gone up and poverty that has gone down.”

Well, today we found out that a record number of Americans are not in the labor force and are not even looking for a job, the same way it was when Obama first stepped into office.

The final jobs report of Obama’s presidency revealed that the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased by 14,573,000 (18.09 percent) since January 2009...


MP's aide resigns over Israel plot to 'take down' Tory minister after diplomat is caught on video conspiring to smear UK minister

An MP's aide has resigned after being caught on video with a diplomat talking of Israel's plot to take down a Tory minister.

The Embassy made a shocking vow to ‘take down’ Foreign Office deputy, a secret film revealed.

The bombshell footage, covertly filmed in a London restaurant and obtained by The Mail on Sunday, shows Shai Masot making the astonishing threat to target Sir Alan Duncan.

Also captured in the footage seemingly egging him on is Maria Strizzolo, who has stood down from her post as a senior adviser to Minister of Skills Robert Halfon.

Ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom Mark Regev said the Embassy rejects the remarks

She has deleted her Twitter account, a source at the Department for Education told MailOnline: 'I understand she has resigned from her post.'

In the fallout of the scandal, the ambassador of Israel to the United Kingdom Mark Regev said the Embassy rejects the remarks and has spoken to Sir Alan to apologise and confirmed Masot's contract will soon be axed.

The Embassy of Israel released a statement, which said: 'The Embassy of of Israel rejects the remarks concerning Minister Duncan, which are completely unacceptable...


Wiki: Vaccine court

Vaccine court is the popular term which refers to the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, which administers a no-fault system for litigating vaccine injury claims. These claims against vaccine manufacturers cannot normally be filed in state or federal civil courts, but instead must be heard in the Court of Claims, sitting without a jury.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program (VICP) was established by the 1986 National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA), passed by the United States Congress in response to a threat to the vaccine supply due to a 1980s scare over the DPT vaccine. Despite the belief of most public health officials that claims of side effects were unfounded, large jury awards had been given to some plaintiffs, most DPT vaccine makers had ceased production, and officials feared the loss of herd immunity.[1]

Some parents of children with autism spectrum disorders have attributed the disorders' onset to vaccines, often citing the mercury-based preservative thiomersal as the cause, and some have filed suit for compensation from vaccine makers. The medical and scientific communities nearly unanimously deny a link between routine childhood vaccines and autism, as no evidence has been found to support this claim.[2]...