The untold story of the Texas biker gang shootout

Last May, a shootout at a restaurant in Waco, Tex., left 9 dead, 20 wounded, and nearly 180 people in police custody. GQ interviewed 22 bikers involved and analyzed the events through the eyes of 22 bikers involved – all insist “they showed up that morning to make peace” and believe “the real blame for all the dead bodies belongs with the Waco police.”

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South America is safe haven for Catholic Church’s alleged child molesters

Catholic leaders have “allowed allegedly abusive priests to slip off to parts of the world where they would face less scrutiny from prosecutors and the media,” GlobalPost reports. The yearlong investigation found five priests who were permitted “to continue working for the church despite serious accusations against them,” serving in small communities in lesser-developed South American countries. Read the full story here

Exxon confirmed fossil fuel role in global warming decades ago

During the late 1970s, Exxon assembled a team of researchers “that would spend more than a decade deepening company understanding of an environmental problem that posed an existential threat to the oil business” before transitioning to a stance of “climate change denial” about a decade later, Inside Climate News reports. The results of the eight-month investigation tell an “untold chapter in Exxon's history, when one of the world's largest energy companies worked to understand the damage caused by fossil fuels.”

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Common solvent continues to kill workers, consumers

Methylene chloride, a chemical frequently used in paint strippers, can be lethal to workers and consumers using the products “in areas where the fumes can concentrate,” the Center for Public Integrity reports. The CPI’s investigation “identified at least 56 accidental exposure deaths linked to methylene chloride since 1980 in the U.S.” caused by asphyxiation or heart attack while using products containing the solvent. Read the full story here


Oil wastewater may be used to irrigate popular fruit and vegetable brands

California’s drought has devastated the state on multiple levels, and Mother Jones has revealed yet another that may even affect produce – such as citrus, almonds, apples, peaches, grapes, and blueberries – sold in grocery chains nationwide. Southern California farms have been increasing their recycling of wastewater generated as a byproduct of oil refining. Oil companies including Chevron provide water used to irrigate thousands of acres of farmland, which may leave traces of chemicals in the crops. “The State Water Resources Control Board requires periodic testing of oilfield water that is used for irrigation but has not set limits for many contaminants. Recent tests of irrigation water supplied by Chevron … turned up benzene, a carcinogen, at higher concentrations than what is allowed in California drinking water.”
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Four years after Hurricane Sandy, thousands of homeowners still displaced

New Jersey’s Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation program has made little progress in restoring thousands of homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy in 2012 because of bottlenecks in the reconstruction process caused by sluggish government agencies and programs, reports the Asbury Park Press. Nearly $96 million in  budgeted funds available to New Jersey  had not been released by the end of March, according to HUD reports. “Although more than 1,300 homes have been rebuilt through the state’s flagship rebuilding program, less than half of those have been elevated. Just 64 — out of 15,100 homeowners that originally sought help — are finished.”
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Federal safety officials want to outlaw ‘brain buckets’  – cheap helmets linked to motorcyclist deaths 

A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposal would shut down retailers selling novelty helmets  that don't meet Department of Transportation standards for motorcycle safety, reports FairWarning. Cheap and plentiful, the helmets — also known as “loophole lids” or “brain buckets” –  are imported from overseas and sold on the Internet. Retailers are able to legally sell them under the disclaimer that they are “not intended for highway use.”
"Federal officials have long been aware of the dangers of novelty helmets. In the Federal Register notice of the proposed rule, NHTSA cited a 2009 study of injured motorcyclists in Maryland. In the study, 56 percent of those wearing a novelty helmet had serious head injuries versus just 19 percent of riders wearing a DOT-certified helmet." Read the full story here. 

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Rape of aid worker in South Sudan not investigated by the U.N. 

Despite the United Nations policy of "zero tolerance" for sexual violence, Megan Nobert, a humanitarian worker based at the U.N.'s Bentiu, South Sudan camp, has been unable to get the agency to investigate evidence she was drugged and raped.  A Buzzfeed News narrative of Norbert's case reports that she has a letter from the alleged rapist apologizing for having sex with her and a toxicology report from the camp's medical clinic that found traces of cocaine, oxycodone, morphine, and codeine in her blood. “[The alleged rapist] disappeared from South Sudan, and Nobert’s case disappeared from the record. The U.N.’s 2015 statistics on sexual exploitation and abuse, which its website states are current through the end of May, do not include a single complaint against a vendor anywhere in the world.”
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Phantom schools linger in Medicare data

It appears the Medicare database needs a bit of updating. A Vice News and MedPage Today investigation discovered thousands of doctors and other providers were listed to have graduated from schools that have been defunct for about a century. Many professionals are unaware of the phantom schools and may not even know if they are listed as graduates. “In some cases defunct schools had names similar to the names of active schools, but many were far off the mark. Since all but one of these schools closed between 1864 and 1923, no doctor who graduated from one of them would still be practicing — or alive — today.

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Baltimore prosecutor of police in the Freddie Gray case tells how she learned ‘everyone makes mistakes’

Thrust into the national spotlight, the Baltimore prosecutor who charged six police officers in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, told the Baltimore Sun last week that she learned at an early age she “about the importance of taking responsibility for the choices and mistakes that we make.” The Sun’s backgrounder on State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby delves into  five generations of her family’s complex relationships with the Boston Police Department and the Massachusetts State Police. “Mosby's father, a Boston police officer, was accused of robbing a drug dealer — and for a time dismissed from the department. Her mother, also an officer at the department, was disciplined several times and served a 45-day suspension for violating a substance-abuse policy. An uncle was dismissed after he failed drug tests. Several other members of Mosby's family waged legal battles against their law enforcement agencies. Her grandfather, a founder of a minority law enforcement association, alleged racial discrimination in a lawsuit against the Boston Police Department and lost.