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Cops And Lawmakers Exposed In Massive $800M Private Prison Bribery Conspiracy

By: The Free Thought Project   JACKSON, Miss. (CN) — Mississippi sued 10 people and 15 corporations this week to recoup more than $800 million in state money lost in a seven-year prison bribery scandal.

Defendants in the 11 lawsuits included former Mississippi Department of Corrections Commissioner Chris Epps, and former Republican state House Member Cecil McCrory, the key figures in the conspiracy. They and four other people pleaded guilty to their involvement in the conspiracy.

Attorney General Jim Hood says in the lawsuits that multiple corporations, including prominent private prison contractors, paid millions of dollars in bogus “consulting fees” to people who used the money to pay bribes and kickbacks to Epps.

Epps then steered approximately $800 million in public contracts to those private prison contractors.

“The state of Mississippi has been defrauded through a pattern of bribery, kickbacks, misrepresentations, fraud, concealment, money laundering and other wrongful conduct,” Hood said in a statement. “These individuals and corporations that benefited by stealing from taxpayers must not only pay the state’s losses, but state law requires that they must also forfeit and return the entire amount of the contracts paid by the state.”

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CNN Caught ‘Reminding’ ‘Objective’ Audience Members What Debate Questions To Ask

A recently surfaced photo purports to show the questions given to presidential candidates during town halls were pre-selected by CNN.

By:  Jack Burns / The Free Thought Project   There were two candidates for the presidency who both came out on the losing end of their party’s nomination: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT). Both men bore the blunt of some vicious attacks from members of their own party. Cruz fell victim to then candidate Donald Trump, who repeatedly referred to him as “Lying Ted.” The characterization seemed to stick, and Cruz eventually was forced to drop out of the race, unable to keep pace with Trump. Likewise, Sanders was targeted by members of the Democratic National Committee, all in an insider’s attempt to de-legitimize Sanders, leaving Hillary Clinton as the heir apparent to the Democratic Party nomination. Now, a recent photo of a debate between the two has surfaced, which purportedly demonstrates unwitting audience members were possibly involved in a larger scheme to make the two front-running candidates look worse than their competitors.

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Amazon Builds A Prototype Store Run Almost Entirely By Robots

by Jessica Murray, True Activist

The new store will sell food and drink items and as well featuring an in-store pharmacy.

There is currently a new prototype in place which demonstrates the future of online shopping giant, Amazon. According to a recent report by the New York Post the prototype is a near-future Amazon supermarket, called Go, and has no cashiers or checkouts. The convenience store will be 10,000 to 40,000 square feet on two stories, and will only employ a few real people. The rest of the workers will be a workforce of robots, who will bag all of the items for the customers who are browsing the store on the level below. Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, has claimed that he wants the new store to include a ground level where the shoppers can physically touch and select items themselves, according to recent

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Veterans Return To Standing Rock To Act As Human Shields Against Police

by Amanda Froelich, True Activist

This is a clear sign that the fight between water protectors and law enforcement is far from over.

Since April of 2016, “water protectors” who oppose the construction of the four-state Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) have been camped out near Cannon Ball, ND. Even throughout the harsh winter, they’ve remained on the plains, as they maintain the belief that the land which the DAPL passes through rightfully belongs to the tribe due to an 1851 treaty. Activists also believe that its development may potentially contaminate the Missouri river and uproot sacred burial ground.

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Hundreds Of Whales Are Currently Stranded On A Beach In New Zealand

by Jessica Murray, True Activist

After 100 whales were helped back into the ocean, a further 240 arrived and became stranded.

After 300 pilot whales were found dead on a New Zealand beach, with a further 140 found struggling for survival on the coast on Friday, a further 240 arrived the following day, making the situation even worse. Magazine writer and editor Cheree Morrison stumbled across the scene as she took a pre-dawn trip to capture the sunrise, accompanied by a photographer and guide. She described the scene before her, claiming that it was the sounds of soft sighs and cries that first struck her before she ventured closer and saw the full extent of what has been described as one of the worst whale strandings in the nation’s history. She said,

“You could hear the sounds of splashing, of blowholes being cleared, of sighing. The young ones were the worst. Crying is the only way to describe it.”

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#NoDAPL Last Stand: Final Construction Could Begin Today As Army Corp Grants Easement

Final construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline could begin now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers filed a notice of intent on Tuesday to grant Energy Transfer Partners the easement necessary to drill under the Missouri River’s Lake Oahe reservoir.

By: Claire Bernish / The Free Thought Project   Cannon Ball, ND — Final construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline could begin as soon as today, now that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers filed a notice of intent on Tuesday to grant Energy Transfer Partners the easement necessary to drill under the Missouri River’s Lake Oahe reservoir.

In short, the Army Corps failed to uphold a December announcement it would complete a full environmental impact assessment as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe had requested, and has instead abruptly sided with the Trump administration for Big Oil over environmental concerns and treaty rights.

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Yemen Withdraws Permission For US Ground Operations

By: Jason Ditz / AntiWar   The Trump Administration’s claims that a January 29 ground raid in Yemen was a “success” appear to be on increasingly flimsy ground, with the Yemeni government announcing it has revoked permission for all future US ground operations on their soil.

Though US officials downplayed the move, saying it doesn’t apply to drone strikes, it is still a nasty black eye for the administration, as the US has long managed to keep the Yemeni government unquestioningly supportive, irrespective of a string of fairly plain blunders.

The January 29 raid was particularly bad, with officials saying everything that could’ve gone wrong did, and that the raid was carried out without sufficient intelligence. Though the Pentagon says 14 “combatants” were killed, so were dozens of civilians, including a substantial number of children, and the raid destroyed most of a village.

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Hemp Is Set To Overtake The Production Of Tobacco In Kentucky

by Jessica Murray, True Activist

The variety of cannabis has been used for centuries and has a huge array of health benefits.

The production of hemp is continually increasing within the southeastern state of Kentucky, where production originated. Following decades of prohibition, hemp is now becoming a common agricultural commodity throughout America. Hemp is not a recreational drug but in fact a variety of Cannabis that does not contain the psychoactive component that is present in Marijuana. According to Real Farmacy, hemp was first grown back in 1775 in Kentucky, where nearly all of the hemp production during the Post-Civil-War times originated from the Bluegrass state.

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BP Moves To Drill Near Newly Discovered Coral Reef Despite Warnings From Scientists

by Whitney Webb, True Activist

A recently discovered coral reef located at the mouth of the Amazon river is now in danger as oil companies, including BP, are set to drill for oil nearby.

A coral reef described by National Geographic as “one of the most surprising finds in modern sea research” is under imminent ecological danger as big oil companies like BP and Total have announced their plans to begin drilling operations in the area. Together, the companies own five licenses allowing drilling around the Amazon river delta and are waiting to be granted permits to begin exploratory drilling this year. The Brazilian government, under the leadership of the right-wing and notoriously corrupt Michel Temer, is expected to comply. Total and BP told Greenpeace’s Energydesk that “the existing environmental studies acknowledge the reef and said they plan to proceed without further risk assessments”.

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Asia’s First-Ever Vertical Forest Will Produce 132 Pounds Of Oxygen Each Day

by Amanda Froelich, True Activist

The two towers will clean the air of Nanjing, China, with 1,100 trees and 2,500 shrubs and plants.

When Stefano Boeri Architetti presented the idea of installing a vertical forest in Milan, people were beyond thrilled with the idea. Following the success of that introduction, the architecture firm now seeks to construct similar, but in Nanjing, China.

Inhabitat reports that two towers which overlook the Nanjing Pukou District will be completed by the end of 2018. Overflowing with 1,100 trees from 23 local species, as well as 2,500 cascading shrubs and plants, the installation will clean the city’s air by producing 132 pounds of oxygen every day. Additionally, passersby and tourists will be greeted with a breathtaking view.

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