<![CDATA[Link TV · Storify]]>https://storify.com/LinkTVNodeJS RSS ModuleMon, 22 May 2017 21:32:06 GMT<![CDATA[Earth Focus: Our Unbalanced Chemical Burden]]>

By Miles Benson

Storified by Link TV · Wed, Sep 24 2014 01:24:31

The year 2014 started with a claxon blare of emergency warnings: 300,000 West Virginians were given urgent instructions to not drink or even touch their own tap water. 
But 300 million other Americans could also hear the alarm's sound as the story grabbed nationwide media attention. That was appropriate. Not just because a ruptured storage tank had spilled its toxic contents into public water supplies in Charleston, West Virginia, but because the incident exposed the underlying failure in the safety of all Americans who assume they are protected by vigilant federal state and local agencies supposedly policing environmental threats.
Earth Focus Episode 59 - UNSAFE: The Truth Behind Everyday Chemicals · linktv
Surprise. We are all living amid constantly increasing exposure to tens of thousands of chemicals in combinations and in doses we would never encounter in nature.
Why? Because of modern science, coupled with the industrial impulse to make money by manufacturing more and more products to make life easier and more enjoyable for more and more people. We call this progress. 
Yes, there are laws on the books intended to protect us. Laws with huge loopholes demanded by special interests whose money and influence over lawmakers and lawmaking is hard to overstate. For example, when the Toxic Substances Control Act was passed in the 1970's, some 62,000 chemicals that were already in wide use were granted automatic approval under legislation that prohibited the Environmental Protection Agency from requiring them to be safety tested unless scientific evidence already existed showing them to be dangerous. And these days the EPA, the big bulldog guarding public health, has also been granting conditional licenses for pesticide makers to introduce new, untested chemical products for food crop treatment under fast-track authority also imbedded in the law. Conditional licenses can last up to 20 years.
Today 84,000 chemicals are in commercial use in manufacturing and agriculture. The number is growing, and the vast majority have never been tested and evaluated at all for safety by any regulatory authorities. The stuff is in our food and food packaging, cosmetics, in the clothes we wear and in household products of all kinds. So much for toxic substance control.
The Unregulated Wild West of Cosmetics Chemicals · linktv
Doctors and scientists are finding many links between chemicals widely in use and increases in leukemia, brain, breast and childhood cancers, asthma and certain birth defects. Chances of developing learning and development disorders, including autism, and endocrine disruption that effects development, metabolism, fertility and intelligence are increased at even extremely low doses. Whether that evidence is sufficient to satisfy the requirements of the law is subject to much debate but little or no action. And so it goes.
This is the way things work, because we believe so much in balancing interests and promoting a vigorous economy. Avoiding over-regulation is an important part of all that, as so many of those serving in elected office believe as they go about passing laws and blocking laws and collecting campaign contributions to help them remain in office. Most people know by now that much of that money comes from chemical companies and manufacturers who use those chemicals in their products and who of course employ many hard-working Americans who want to keep their jobs. Strictures on enforcement actions are in place not only in the EPA but also at the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers For Disease Control, and the Agriculture Department, where targeted budget constraints can cripple enforcement as effectively as can loopholes. And the conflict between public health concerns and private interests is even worse at many state and local agencies.
Since the effects of long term exposure to chemicals is slow and subtle, and because medical science is boosting life expectancy for so many of us, there is no sense of crisis, no emergency alarm. But look around. Not everyone is enjoying a longer life and good health.
Miles R. Benson had a long career as a political correspondent for the Newhouse Newspaper Group. He spent 16 years as a senior Congressional correspondent and 16 years covering the White House. Since 2007, he has served as the special correspondent for Link TV's Earth Focus.
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https://storify.com/LinkTV/earth-focus-our-unbalanced-chemical-burdenhttps://storify.com/LinkTV/earth-focus-our-unbalanced-chemical-burdenWed, 24 Sep 2014 01:24:31 GMT
<![CDATA[Peace Process Revealed]]>

Check here for the latest updates from Jerusalem on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resolution process being organized by Peacehub. Link TV’s broadcasts are supported by grants from the Esalen Institute and TRACK TWO: an Institute for Citizen Diplomacy.

Storified by Link TV · Tue, Jun 17 2014 21:51:04

MONDAY 6/16 -- The "Peace Process Revealed" programs on Link TV have been cancelled this week. The organizers of Peacehub announced today their decision to delay the negotiations for at least six weeks (until after the Muslim holiday Ramadan).

 

For those who have not been following the news from Israel:  on Thursday night there was an apparent kidnapping of three Jewish students near a settlement in the Palestinian West Bank near Hebron. It is not clear what happened but the Israeli media have been extremely agitated, more than 100 Palestinians have been arrested in a massive army search effort, Prime Minister Netanyahu is blaming Hamas and the recently reunified government of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leaders are denying involvement in the kidnapping and decrying the military crackdown, etc.

 

Not only is the climate for peace negotiations very bad, its difficult for Palestinian participants in the Peacehub activities to get past checkpoints to the location in Jerusalem where the talks were to be held. So the public events this week have been postponed. Meanwhile the Harvard negotiation team has arrived and will be meeting with both sides to keep things together for a future meeting.


Stay tuned for further updates from Jerusalem.

-- Kim Spencer, Link TV


TUESDAY 6/17


From Haaretz: "As concerns grow, efforts to rescue the three Israeli teens kidnapped on Thursday from the West Bank have entered their fifth day: About 200 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank since the operation began, and the security establishment believes the chase after the kidnappers is progressing. Israeli ministers decided on Tuesday to increase the military pressure on Hamas and to worsen the conditions of Hamas members held in Israeli prisons. In addition, the government is examining the option of expelling Hamas leaders from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas condemned the kidnapping and called on Israel and the Palestinians to avoid violence."


Meanwhile, the Link TV team has been interviewing some of the Israeli and Palestinian advisors to Peacehub and the international negotiation team, as background for future programs.


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http://storify.com/LinkTV/peace-process-revealedhttp://storify.com/LinkTV/peace-process-revealedTue, 17 Jun 2014 21:51:04 GMT
<![CDATA['The Power of Two' and the Power of Documentaries]]>

Documentaries capture glimpses of ordinary life for a family or a community, which may not be ordinary to viewers. Documentaries have power to teach viewers perspective, insight, cultural understanding, and appreciation of the human spirit. This film has the power to save lives.

Storified by Link TV · Thu, May 23 2013 22:39:38

Well, the big day has come, and The Power of Two was finally broadcast on television across the country! I am very proud of the entire team at Link TV, who has embraced this film as an important social cause. We are also grateful to all of our community partners -- from organ donation groups to cystic fibrosis organizations to Asian American clubs -- who have all kindly offered to spread the word about the film on television. As of this writing, I'm not sure of how many people actually tuned in. But we've learned in our lives that quality is more important than quantity, and if the right people saw the film, and were educated and touched, then the film has done its job. What I do know is that our Facebook page is popping with countless people from around the country sharing comments about our story. I'm personally moved by posts from people who share that their lives have been touched by illness and organ donation. This experience is so much bigger than most people think. 
I'm sitting in a clinic waiting room as I write this blog. There are TV sets on both sides of the room. One has news coverage about the Oklahoma tornado disaster, the other about the Jodi Arias court trial. Every day, the television is filled with sad stories. People commit crimes, devastate our natural environment, or kill each other for limited resources. Our dysfunctional government can't get along. We uncover more corruption in corporate business. And, if we need a break from the real world, we turn on comedy, which consists of people insulting each other or acting in ways we'd never see in the real world. 
Isa, Marc & Ana · Power of 2
Our film is a piece of the real world. Our story has no huge drama, or no loud action scene that makes you flinch or your eyes pop out. This is an ordinary story of two sisters and friends like them, who just wanted to keep living. The generosity of three young people who died tragically have allowed Ana and me to keep living. Our story touches upon life and death, but, contrary to the typical news stories, ours reminds viewers of the positive side of humanity. Unlike what is mostly on TV, there are good people out there who try to make a difference in this world.
'Our Donors Are Here Too' - The Power of Two · linktv
I remember our very first film shoot at Breathe California's Bike for Breath in 2009. It was a sunny and windy July day. My friend Lara B. was there, who has since died. My friend Mari M. was there, just two months post-transplant and was interviewed on camera sporting her huge pink HEPA filter mask. This was our film crew's first time together, so five strangers worked hard at setting up the cameras, trying to capture B-roll, and trying to pause each time an airplane flew overhead. I remember a little boy, about age nine, who stood by our cluster of bikes on the ground as he watched Director Marc Smolowitz sit between two cameras and interview his subjects. During a break, I happened to stand by the child. He asked me, "What're you filming?" I told him, "We are interviewing people who had organ transplants. We're making a documentary." He said, matter-of-factly, "But nobody watches those." I had to smile at his lack of social graces. "Well," I said, "Some people are interested in real life stories."
PowerOfTwo_ProductionStill_91 web125 · Power of 2
I often see documentaries that inspire me to be a better person. And, to make a good documentary film, it does take a village. Though Ana and I are the centerpiece characters of The Power of Two, people like Anna Modlin, Mr. Tanaka, Akihiro, Mrs. Nakazawa, Robin, my mother, Mr. Kono -- each have circles of friends, family, supporters who validate their life stories that are touched by organ donation. Beyond the characters in our film, there are hundred and thousands of others who have been touched by cystic fibrosis, chronic illness, and organ donation. I recently received the email below, from the mother of an organ donor who I've never met before. She writes:
"I just want to say THANK YOU for all that you & your sister Ana are doing. Raising awareness about Organ & Tissue donation is one of things that has helped me with my Grief. Watching you two, only confirms that saying 'Yes' to organ & tissue donation was indeed the RIGHT thing to do. Keep up the good work. Huge ((Hugs))" -- Steph's Mom
These are the best emails I can ask for; they remind me why I'm still here and what I want to keep doing. This donor mother feels that our story tells part of her story. Though her daughter Steph has died, there are people living, breathing and giving thanks like us, because of Steph's gifts of life. 
Since it's debut in 2011, The Power of Two film has received over ten awards, has been screened at over 30 film festivals and several dozen more community screenings. We've been to Japan each year since 2009. We continue to travel all over the US for screenings and lectures. Now it's on TV. This proves that the little nine year old boy back in 2009 was wrong. People are watching our film. They are hungry for meaningful, hopeful, positive stories. They are touched by it; they are moved to action. Countless friends have shared that they signed up to be organ donors. That is the ultimate goal of this film. This film has the power to save lives. Thank you so much for your support and interest in The Power of Two.
-Isabel Stenzel Byrnes
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http://storify.com/LinkTV/the-power-of-documentary-filmhttp://storify.com/LinkTV/the-power-of-documentary-filmThu, 23 May 2013 22:39:38 GMT
<![CDATA[Organ Donation: It Takes a Village]]>

Last week my sister Isa and I had the privilege of meeting with the directors and producers of Link TV to film several PSAs and interviews in preparation for the television premiere of our documentary film, The Power of Two, on May 22, 2013.

Storified by Link TV · Thu, May 16 2013 23:41:12

On a foggy San Francisco morning, Isabel and I carpooled up to the Link TV studio to prepare for our interviews. A make-up artist met us and was able to work miracles with my face, which is ravaged by chemotherapy. We met Thuy Vu, a well-known newscaster who would be facilitating our interviews on camera. Through our connections, we were able to also invite several others from the transplant community who would offer valuable insight into the breadth of experiences that the Gift of Life can provide. Anna Modlin, our co-star in the film, was interviewed and shared how far she has come since recovering from her transplant over two years ago. Sydney Altano, the mother of the late 23-year-old Gianna Altano, spoke of losing her daughter just six weeks earlier. Gianna had cystic fibrosis and was waiting for a life saving lung transplant. Due to the lack of donors, she died before an organ was found. When the Altano family was told that death was near, Gianna made the decision to become a tissue and organ donor herself through donation-after-cardiac-death (DCD). She also donated her long beautiful brown hair to Locks For Love, which makes wigs for cancer patients. Up to her last labored breath, Gianna selflessly gave; through her act of giving she continues to be a role model and hero for many. Sydney courageously shared Gianna’s story in front of the camera. We are so grateful for her advocacy efforts for organ donation, even if Gianna was not fortunate enough to receive one.
Interview 7 · Power of 2
Also interviewed was Alfonso Garcia, a 19-year-old liver transplant recipient who is very active as an organ donation ambassador. Last New Year’s Day, Alfonso rode on the Donate Life Float with the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Link TV also interviewed Catherine Lan Tran, a wonderful Vietnamese-American donor family member. She lost both her son and her husband in two separate accidents and both times, she consented to donation, saving dozens of lives. Today, Ms. Tran is an advocate for organ donation, speaking to Asian American communities nationally. Lastly, Cathy Olmo, director of Community Affairs at the California Transplant Donor Network was interviewed. Cathy's 26-year-old daughter had a liver transplant at the age of two, and is still doing well decades later. As a result, Cathy has dedicated her life to the cause of organ and tissue donation.
'Our Donors are Here Too' - The Power of Two · linktv
We hope that by showing the audience a number of faces touched by organ donation and transplantation, we can demonstrate that our story is the story of many. All of us share a common gratitude for life, a respect for our donors and a celebration of everyday that life has to offer. The donation process takes a village; we all support and learn from one another. Though I do not know who my second donor is, I look at Sydney and Catherine as my surrogate donor mothers, and thank them with as much love and respect I can give. These are individuals who have faced immense pain and loss, yet still thought of others in the midst of crisis. We hope that the interviews, which will be shown between segments of our film, will elucidate to the audience the diverse community touched by organ donation. We can all become a part of this community; that is what makes organ donation so very human. Your neighbor, family, friends, classmates, or co-workers can at any point be in need of a life saving transplant, or can be a victim of a tragedy that may open up the door for them to become an organ donor.
Let us embrace our common humanity by signing up to help each other when our time is up. Save a life. Register to be an organ donor and be sure to tell your wishes to your family.
PowerOfTwo_ProductionStill_30 web64 · Power of 2
- Anabel Stenzel
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http://storify.com/LinkTV/organ-donation-it-takes-a-villagehttp://storify.com/LinkTV/organ-donation-it-takes-a-villageThu, 16 May 2013 23:41:12 GMT
<![CDATA[Living with Cystic Fibrosis: The Importance of Community]]>

Anabel Stenzel of "The Power of Two" (premiering May 22 on Link TV and online) talks about the importance of the closely-knit cystic fibrosis community in terms of living with the disease.

Storified by Link TV · Tue, May 07 2013 19:17:30

Like my sister, I share the excitement of witnessing plans unfold to premiere our documentary film, The Power of Two, on Link TV in May. May is National Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month, so the timing is perfect. Did you know that cystic fibrosis (CF) is the most common life-threatening genetic disorder in caucasian populations? Approximately one in 25 people of European background carry the gene for CF and could potentially have a child with it if they marry someone who is also a carrier. So it is more common than most think. My hope, like Isa's, is that we can use our film to inform the public about this illness (including the culture and lifestyle that comes with it) so it is less of a mystery. 
The Stenzel Twins · Power of 2
For the past five years, our lives have been full with book and film screenings, speaking engagements, and media opportunities. We have been so fortunate that our story has been of such intrigue to so many, even though we try to convey that our experience is not that different from many living with CF who have taught us everything we know. We are the benefactors of countless mentors, comrades and others who have come before us, and struggled much harder than we have. Not only did those with CF who we grew up with show us the joys of illness such as laughter, love and true friendship, but they also taught us about life in general. For some families, CF is only one part of their list of challenges. Some of my earliest CF friends struggled with poverty, divorce, alcoholism or abuse in the home. To such families, how could CF be center stage when there was so much other chaos? These friends taught me early to have perspective, appreciation and to realize the psychosocial impact on coping and surviving with chronic illness.
Paying Tribute to Organ Donors - The Power of Two · linktv
Isa and I recently spoke at a charity called Katie's Kause, based in Portland, Oregon, that raises money to help families with CF deal with the financial burdens of this disease. Such a group is a godsend to many, and I think how much this group could have helped my childhood friends years ago. Through the hospital environment and charitable groups such as Make-A-Wish Foundation or summer camps for CF kids, many kids with CF with rough home lives were somewhat rescued, raised by other adult mentors who became surrogate parents. Though our home life was far from broken, Isa and I still gained so much from our adult caregivers, camp counselors and healthcare team. I was raised by people of all ages, races, religions, sexual orientations and socioeconomic backgrounds. Without a doubt, that has made me a fairer, better, more open minded human being.  
PowerOfTwo_ProductionStill_43 web77 · Power of 2
Today, at 41, I am breathing well, loving life despite having another side effect of CF: bowel cancer. CF seems to be the gift that keeps on giving! Life is not easy on chemotherapy, but I wouldn't trade my present state of being for anything. I have been enriched by this experience and have met the best that humankind has to offer. In this tumultuous world where turning on the news makes me wonder what good is out there, I am in my cocoon of love and compassion through those around me. Just last Monday, one of the CF moms from our local CF charity brought me four bags of baked goods to help me maintain my weight during chemo. Her daughter, who had a rare liver transplant for CF years ago, is now facing lung challenges, yet she still thought of me. This is the kind of love I am blessed with every day.
PowerOfTwo_ProductionStill_91 web125 · Power of 2
I wish it was this fair for everyone. I know there is emotional pain, loneliness and discrimination for many facing illness. I know that meeting others going through similar struggles always eases that pain. Maybe that is what makes the CF community and the transplant community so amazing, or it's just been my experience locally being involved with Cystic Fibrosis Research Inc or California Transplant Donor Network. We take a bad situation and embrace it by supporting others, finding joy and gratitude in the present, and seeking beauty in even something as tough as CF and transplant. I have never met more people who love life and make the most out of it than those in the CF and transplant communities. These are our teachers.
May you embrace the good in your life, seek out the compassion and share the same. Thank you for reading.
- Anabel Stenzel
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http://storify.com/LinkTV/cystic-fibrosis-communityhttp://storify.com/LinkTV/cystic-fibrosis-communityTue, 07 May 2013 19:17:30 GMT
<![CDATA[A Childhood Dream Come True: Raising Awareness of Illness]]>

Link TV is proud to present on May 22 "The Power of Two," a story of twin sisters, two cultures, and two new chances at life. Isabel Stenzel Byrnes introduces the film about her and her twin sister Anabel Stenzel, and their lifelong fight to raise awareness about cystic fibrosis.

Storified by Link TV · Fri, Apr 26 2013 18:10:14

When my twin sister and I were young teenagers and spent many weeks of our lives in the hospital for tune-ups related to cystic fibrosis (CF), we encountered numerous ignorant comments about our disease. After about the tenth time someone asked, "How did you catch your CF?," we were exasperated. The option of a Make-A-Wish Foundation grant was offered to us. Ana and I together wished more than anything that we could spread the word about CF. If more people knew about CF, then there could be more compassion, more understanding, and hopefully more mobilization for a cure. We asked to be on television as patients with CF.
PowerOfTwo_ProductionStill_22 web56 · Power of 2
Well, fast forward nearly 30 years, and after a long, hard fight against cystic fibrosis, and three miraculous double lung transplants between us, we are still alive, at 41. Our wish to spread the word about cystic fibrosis, coupled with the life-saving act of organ donation, has remained strong. In 2007, we published our memoir, "The Power of Two: A Twin Triumph over Cystic Fibrosis," and in 2011, the memoir inspired a documentary film also called "The Power Of Two." Ana and I have toured the country and my mother's country of Japan to educate the public about CF and organ donation. Just last month, I attended a Detroit MOTTEP (Minority Organ and Tissue Transplant Education Program) conference to give a lecture on Asian American issues in organ donation. I went to Kansas City to lecture to social workers about resilience in chronic illness. Next weekend, Ana and I are going to Portland to support a cystic fibrosis fundraiser. Early in May, we'll give a TEDx lecture on the theme of time. Wherever we go, our message remains the same: that every breath is a gift and that everyone has a stake in the conversation about organ donation.
PowerOfTwo_ProductionStill_19 web53 · Power of 2
Well, our childhood dreams are coming true once again next month. We are pleased that our documentary film will be premiering in May on Link TV, a satellite television station with over 25 million viewers. The film will be broken into three segments, with short live interviews following each segment. Because we remain highly connected to the CF and transplant communities, we're reaching out to other people to share their stories. Life continues to unfold, and our stories are repeated with varying outcomes. One of our 23-year-old friends with CF just lost her battle on March 17th, after waiting for several months on the waiting list for lungs. One of our other friends just celebrated two years of deep breathing, thanks to her gift of life. We are grateful that there has been so much interest in our lives, but I want more than anything that our story moves people to action: to support CF research and to sign up to be an organ donor. Only then, will all our storytelling play a small part in making life easier for the next generation of CF patients, and all those with terminal illnesses who are awaiting the gift of an organ transplant. 
- Isabel Stenzel Byrnes
PowerOfTwo_ProductionStill_118 web30 · Power of 2
The Power Of Two -- Official Theatrical Trailer · thepoweroftwomovie
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http://storify.com/LinkTV/the-power-of-two-introhttp://storify.com/LinkTV/the-power-of-two-introFri, 26 Apr 2013 18:10:14 GMT
<![CDATA[#NCMR13: Tracking the Latest in Media Reform]]>

Link TV's blog from the 2013 National Conference for Media Reform in Denver. We covered the latest policies and actions on how to reform corporate media, specifically as it relates to the new film airing on Link TV, "Shadows of Liberty."

Storified by Link TV · Tue, Apr 09 2013 23:15:21

Covering Race in the Time of Obama
Incredible panel expertly moderated by Laura Washington of the Chicago Sun-Times and featuring Eric Deggans of the Tampa Bay Times, Colorlines.com publisher Rinku Sen, Cuban-American writer Achy Obejas, and radio host Davey D. Their main points are summarized and paraphrased below. 
- Eric Deggans has found that when people discuss race in the media, they are branded a "race-baiter" by the mainstream media, and journalists must resist the impulse to be silenced. The fractured media landscape allows you to find like minds across the world, and make alliances and build bridges. Advice to journalists: make sure your sources are diverse, and have those sources bring you into that community to hear those voices. 
- Rinku Sen believes that there has been more coverage of race and race issues in the US since Obama was elected, and his election opened up space in the media and started a conversation. There has been more coverage in the demographic shift in the country, and mainstream news outlets now care that there's a voting public of color. Yet racism as defined in the press has not changed. Racism is still defined as overt and individual, not structural or institutional. A narrow definition of racism creates false equivalencies, and limits our ability to solve society's race problems. Online media allows Colorlines.com to intervene in the racial discourse, how race policy is lived, on a daily basis. 
- Achy Obejas made the point that more nonwhite voices are left out of the mainstream media as newsrooms shrink and print dies. More media is available, yet there are less opportunities for voices from people of color to reach the masses. Don't surrender major media to white people and corporations. Create our own media, but don't give up on major networks.
- Davey D stated that even though in 2013 there are almost infinite media outlets, people have lost focus and aren't thinking critically. Presentation is trumping content, people respond to attention-grabbing headlines and overlook the systems in play. Because people focus on attention-grabbing issues, they overlook policy and systems of racism. Dehumanizing black and brown people is big business, and hasn't changed. Even in the new media landscape, people in underserved communities still mostly experience corporate media. We need to break down the silos between communities and come together. 
Independent Journalism on War, Conflict and Human Rights
All-star panel moderated by Jeff Cohen, featuring Amy Goodman, Norman Solomon, Sonali Kolhatkar, and Marjorie Cohn. Some of each speaker's main points paraphrased below. 
- Jeff Cohen: The decline in mainstream media can be seen in the different reactions to Daniel Ellsberg and Bradley Manning. Major newspapers fought for their right to publish the Pentagon Papers, yet none will touch Manning. 
- Sonali Kolhatkar: Journalists shouldn't ask what will happen when the US leaves Afghanistan, they should investigate what is happening while the US occupies Afghanistan. President Obama broke many promises, but he kept his promise to expand the Afghan war. The nature of journalism changed when journalists became able to connect with each other easier. Web-based strategies blur the line between advocacy and journalism, and connect activists on a deeper level. 
- Norman Solomon: One major political party has given faith a bad name, the other gave hope a bad name. Acceptance of perpetual war is essential to what mainstream media is about. War as an abstraction is based on two tiers of grief: theirs and ours. The media needs to have a single standard of human rights and a single standard of grief. What happens to the body politic without a functioning media is the same thing that happens to the human body without proper circulation.  
- Amy Goodman: The mainstream media isn't mainstream anymore, it is extreme because it doesn't reflect or represent the country's mainstream beliefs. Independent media represents the mainstream in America today. A journalist's job is to go where the silence is. Let people speak for themselves, and tell their stories when they cannot. If American media showed the images of war, Americans would say no, war is not the answer to conflict. 
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http://storify.com/LinkTV/ncmr13http://storify.com/LinkTV/ncmr13Tue, 09 Apr 2013 23:15:21 GMT
<![CDATA[Fracking Hell? How Poland's Dash for Gas Turned Sour]]>

Poland is about to open its doors to an unprecedented gas boom. With multinational energy companies circling and controversial fracking (hydraulic fracturing) about to begin, people and the environment are in the firing line. Andrew Wasley reports from Gdansk, Poland, for Link TV and The Ecologist.

Storified by Link TV · Sat, Mar 02 2013 01:21:03

Chris Faulkner is an oil man. From Dallas, Texas. And his company, Breitling Oil and Gas, is a major player in the burgeoning shale gas sector. 

Faulkner is in London to give a presentation on whether Europe is the next shale gas hotspot, and to ask whether -- if so -- it has the necessary infrastructure to cope with a US style 'dash for gas'. 

But he's also here to explain how the controversial process for extracting underground shale gas reserves -- hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' as it has become known -- can be green. 

Contrary to the myths spread by environmentalists and parts of the media, the oil man contends, injecting -- at high pressure -- a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to release gas reserves is not in itself bad for the environment. 

Instead, Faulkner believes, the oil and gas industry has done a poor job in marketing itself and in managing its public relations. This has, he argues, enabled others to speak for the industry, to capture the media agenda, and to spread alarm. 

"The image of lighting your water faucet on fire [a key sequence in the anti-fracking film Gasland] has become the viewpoint or the image of fracking around the world. Now the reality is the media loves sensationalism and that has now transcended the entire scientific evidence that says that fracking is safe," he says. 

The Breitling CEO does acknowledge that fracking has impacts. But he claims to have developed a programme -- Envirofrac -- to evaluate environmentally safe fracking procedures, thus helping to combat the problem.   

"Fracking can be green. The environmental impacts of fracking can be effectively curtailed through a combination of technology innovation and smart regulation," Faulkner says in the press release sent out ahead of his London visit.  

"The focus must be on water conservation, earth preservation, and air quality monitoring."

But these are not terms environmentalists normally associate with fracking. 

In the US, the issue has become a key battleground between green campaigners and the energy industry. One of the biggest -- and most bitter -- such scraps of recent years in fact. 

Advocates say fracking is safe (for people and the environment), secures a domestic gas resource to help boost energy security, provides jobs, and helps bring prosperity to sometimes impoverished communities.   

Critics say fracking is dangerous (for people and the environment), unnecessary, and the latest example of corporate America trampling over the rights of ordinary people.  
      
They argue -- supported by a growing body of evidence, it seems -- that fracking involves an unacceptable level of water usage, contaminates water supplies and spills potentially toxic waste fluids into the environment. 

They also say the process uses an unsavoury mix of chemicals -- including known carcinogens -- and is a cause of air pollution, traffic congestion, noise, and a host of other problems.    

Campaigners fear too that the shale gas boom will divert attention away from the search for alternatives to fossil fuels, thus potentially derailing efforts to tackle climate change. 

Most recently, media reports have linked fracking to illnesses in livestock in a number of US states, including Pennsylvania, raising fears about food safety.  
Fracking Poland · Link TV Media
Phamplets and brochures and slick talk

Thousands of miles from Pennsylvania, in a tiny hamlet called Ogonki, in an area of northern Poland known as Kashubia, it is reports such as this which worry Edward Sawicki. 

Sawicki is a farmer. A small scale organic producer with less than a dozen cows. 

His farm sits in a picturesque, rural area of rolling hills, pristine woodland and winding country lanes. 

The fields and forests give way occasionally to tiny villages, farms, and manicured churches. The kind of place where shops don't open on Sundays. 

Kashubia isn't officially independent from the rest of Poland, but many of its inhabitants would like to think it is, with their own dialect, flag and fiercely independent spirit. It's where some Poles take their vacation. The area has many summer houses and lakes, used for swimming or fishing. 

Sawicki is worried because the ground underneath him contains shale gas, and gas companies want to drill for it. 

In late 2011, industry representatives began visiting inhabitants in the region, Sawicki says, trying to secure permission to carry out geological surveys. 

The gas men came armed with pamphlets and brochures and slick talk, trying to persuade people that fracking was safe. 

But whilst some farmers in the region were quick to allow access to their land, Sawicki refused, worried by what he had read. 
 
"I mean, the first threat when it comes to hydraulic fracturing and numerous drillings regards our water, what will be done to test our drinking water..,? the farmer asks. 

"Secondly, how the air that we breathe is going to be treated, I mean, how the gas is going to be treated, the remains from the mining, not, as the government says green gas, but all the mess that will stay here."

Keen to illustrate what he believes is at stake, Sawicki takes us down through the freezing fields to the shoreline of a healthy-looking lake. 

There's lots of trees and greenery all around, and some log cabins nearby, some wild birds floating on the water -- the sort of place in summer where you could idle away an afternoon.     

"I am the owner of this land, here, in this direction and that," he asserts. "The forest and meadows belong to me. My property border is at the lake that is behind me. The lake is quite big, it stretches for 7 km. One of the fishermen I know fishes here in the lake, so it is still quite clean.

"My fear is that oil stains may appear on the surface if some trucks that carry chemical stuff... [lose their] content deliberately in our forests or in our watercourses here, and the lake might disappear altogether."

Back at the farmhouse, Sawicki tells us his opposition to the exploratory drilling has come at a price. 

"It all started when seismic companies, the ones who have been commissioned by the [gas] exploitation companies, started [to] intrude on us last year... and it was not only intrusion, it was harassment and terrorising, threatening with expropriation, financial fines, different things."

He says no more -- it is too complicated to go into any detail, he explains -- but our interpreter later tells us there's been phone calls and threats.   

Sawicki shows us an anti-fracking mural he's had painted on the side of a barn. 

Although it cannot have been seen by many people in person -- Ogonki is isolated, with few, if any, folk passing through -- the mural has been filmed and photographed by all the visiting journalists here.  

The painting, via this unexpected route, has thus reached thousands, perhaps millions.      

Jobs and prosperity 

There should be lots of people living in Kashubia, and indeed across Poland, worried like Edward Sawicki.

But Poland has embraced the US 'dash for gas', and its own shale gas potential, in an enthusiastic manner not seen elsewhere in Europe. 

Both the authorities and, according to some polls, a significant portion of the public, are in favour of gas development. They hanker after the promised foreign investment, the jobs, and the prosperity which will follow -- it is claimed -- the expected gas boom.    

The country is certainly sitting on a vast shale gas reserve -- initial figures put this at over 5 trillion cubic meters, later massively downgraded but huge all the same -- and the government knows it is valuable. 

So far, just over a hundred exploratory concessions have been awarded to energy firms (both Polish ventures and joint Polish-overseas partnerships) to drill and help ascertain for certain just how much gas is available -- and where. 

Officials have carved up vast swathes of the countryside and made it available to the circling prospectors.   

Exploratory drilling has not yet begun at the majority of sites however. Legislation expected to be finalised later this year will provide the necessary framework for full scale extraction to begin -- the "green light" for the gas rush as it is being seen by some. 

The government wants laws in place to tackle the thorny issues of environmental protection and taxation, particularly after several EU reports warned of the potential risks associated with fracking.      

Breitling Oil and Gas has recently explored potential investments in Poland's shale gas sector. Although Chris Faulkner says the future "looks bright," he is cautious about whether the country is yet ready, believing it to only have a "very rudimentary" framework in place. 

"Poland and other countries need to build a regulation framework that we know as oil and gas companies," he says. 

"What are the requirements to go into Poland and drill a gas well and frack it? What are the permitting requirements? What are the assessments? The environmental assessment requirements? What are the emergency assessments if we were to have a spill or if some kind of issue happens, you know, what are those procedures?"

A growing body of green campaigners, including big guns from Food and Water Watch and Friends of the Earth, are gathering in opposition too. They downplay the assertion that Poland will benefit, economically or otherwise, and point to the environmental red flags being waved from across the water in the US.  
 
"Despite the Polish government's glossy propaganda Polish people have not bought the alleged benefits of shale gas and, like the rest of Europe, are rightly sceptical about the benefits the gas industry claims it will bring," Antoine Simon, from Friends of the Earth Europe, says.  

"The European Parliament and European Commission recently questioned the European dash for gas and highlighted the numerous high risks associated with the extraction of shale gas. Concerned communities in Poland and across Europe are taking action against this dangerous experiment on health and the environment."

Livelihoods and future under threat  

In the village of Nowy Dwor Bratianski, deep in the bleak Polish countryside a long, twisty drive from the city of Gdansk, Barbara Grzybowska and Mieczyslaw Rutowski have found themselves on the sharp edge of the country's looming gas boom. 

Like Edward Sawicki, they are farmers, and worry how the arrival of an exploratory drilling rig nearby will affect their environment, particularly if water usage surges. 

"If it turns out that there is [a] shortage in water supply, our animal farming, our existence is really in danger," says Rutowski, looking out across the hillside.         

They explain in passionate detail how they sow crops at certain times of the year to maximise retention of valuable water resources, and ensure the best output from the unforgiving soil. 

These are people who know the land and its natural cycle, and fear that meddling by outsiders could damage, irrevocably, their livelihoods and future.  

What has alarmed the farmers most however is just how little information they say they have been given about the drilling. 

"We, the local residents are not a party in this deal. We haven't been informed at all about the planned construction... even on the village bulletin board where all ads are customarily published there was no information about building the drilling rigs," says Rutowski. "There was some information about construction of the access road but it was not stated that there will be a drilling rig."

The farmers accuse the local authorities -- as well as the gas company involved -- of effectively steamrollering the development through by allowing just two weeks for objections to be filed. Even then, only two people directly backing onto the gas rig were officially entitled to register objections, the farmers claim. Neither did. 

Not everyone in the region shares their views, as the farmers admit, but they say this is only because the facts have not been disseminated. Those that are aware are against the drilling, they say. But any information has had to come from the Internet. Or scattered public meetings. 

In the village of Niesiolowice, in Kashubia, Hieronim Wicek, a community leader, tells a similar tale. 

He says that in 2011, when the community learnt that exploratory drilling was earmarked to begin, residents were forced to look towards the western media for details on the possible impacts. 

"We found out... that hydraulic fracturing is not so good, that leakage to the ground water may appear after some time," says Wicek. "We saw it in Gasland, in Pennsylvania, and [learnt that] it is not so good neither for the natural environment nor for people."

Wicek acknowledges that there was a public meeting addressed by gas company representatives, but claims a video presentation showed a one sided view of fracking, with pipes being "cemented [and stating] that there is no way any liquid could leak through and pose a hazard to the ground waters."  

"They said it [Gasland] was a PR film and it is not true and we should not take it into consideration," he says.  

But the gas industry rejects the complaints that communities have been misinformed or ignored. 

"I've been to Poland, I've attended meetings in villages where oil and gas companies [...] have sat with people and explained to them what is happening, what the process is, and how it's going to impact the community," says Chris Faulkner. 

"I don't believe that every single person is being left in the dark; some folks feel like that but the information is being disseminated."

A passing Niesiolowice resident offers a slightly different perspective, saying she isn't opposed to gas, but is opposed to the method being used to get it. "Surely, gas is needed but should the price be paid by nature and people who live here?” she tells us. 

Asked whether the local authorities will protect the community from the the gas rush, she is unequivocal: "No, on the contrary, the authorities are for [gas]. Unfortunately they have coins in their eyes. Money rules nowadays and it is overwhelming."        

Small features in a big landscape

Without seeing a gas drilling rig -- or 'frack pad' as they are often known -- close up it's difficult to picture quite what having one in your back yard would feel like. 

Visit a disused one (during exploratory drilling the life cycle for frack pads is short, perhaps three months) and you'd probably wonder what all the fuss is about. 

A levelled off, concrete flooring. A fence surrounding a sealed hole where the drilling took place. The odd bit of piping, some bricks. Plastic fittings that could have come from any building site.      

Visit an active one and its a starkly different story, particularly at night. 

A vast crane-like machine periodically sliding up and down deep into the earth. It looks like a fairground ride from the future. 
Fracking Poland · Link TV Media
Floodlights. A checkpoint. Keep out signs. Security men with crackling walkie talkies. Workers in hard hats. The constant roar of trucks. Unmarked lorries fitted with cylindrical containers holding who knows what liquid.   

At one site, an open gas flare shoots flames high into the sky. Nearby, a vast man-made lagoon foams water -- and what else? 

In the pamphlets and brochures distributed by the gas men it doesn't look like this. There, the frack pads are usually photographed from above, the drilling sites neatly fitting into the patchwork of fields and forests -- just a small feature in a big landscape. 

It has been reported that each exploratory drilling well in Poland costs its operators some $10 million. Not much of that finds its way to those on whose land the drilling takes place. 

One farmer we meet claims he was approached by a company wanting to build a road across his land. This road, it turned out, was to carry the heavy traffic required to construct a major gas drilling site. 

Although the farmer declines to be specific, he says he receives around 200 Euros a month as part of a year-long contract leasing almost 5 hectares of farmland to the gas company. 

He's not worried, although says the terms of the contract mean he can't change his mind about allowing the exploration, even if he wants to. The gas firm can pull out at any time. 

The farmer tells us he isn't aware of any issues surrounding water usage, and seems unconcerned about any environmental issues linked to fracking. He has his own well right here on the farm.             
  
A toxic threat

Dr Wlodzimierz Zgoda, an eminent chemist from the University of Gdansk, has been monitoring the Polish gas debate as it has unfolded, and has deep concerns about the scale of development. 

"The greatest threat, which people do not realise and treat lightly, is that only one [gas] well is shown to them. [If shale gas] is found, there are going to be many wells, so many it is hard to imagine," he says.   

"It is said, five, ten or 15,000 wells over ten years [could come], plus a huge movement of [an] entire fleet of trucks, cisterns, huge amounts of water, pipelines that will be built, gas treatment plants, gas tanks... it will become a mining landscape."    

The chemist also says that that the arrival of fracking could in fact damage parts of the economy. "People, certainly, will experience loss, especially those who [have] invested in tourism, and [the potential] threat of spills or pollution of the environment will discourage buyers from buying agricultural produce."

He's worried too about what chemicals will actually be used in the fracking process. 

In the US, it is this issue that has proved among the most controversial. The gas industry is quick to point out that only a small percentage of the frack fluid being pumped into the ground -- less than 1 per cent overall -- consists of chemicals, and consistently plays down the use of toxic substances.  

But environmental campaigners reel off an alarming sounding list of additives they say are added to frack fluid, including some linked to cancer. 

They say that kerosene and diesel fuel, which can contain benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, naphthalene -- and other substances -- are reportedly used, as are methanol and formaldehyde, ethylene glycol, hydrochloric acid and sodium hydroxide, among many others. 

Lead, crystalline silica and naphthalene have also been cited as ingredients in frack fluid.  

And even if the percentages used are small, say critics, with so many drillings taking place -- in Pennsylvania alone, government estimates have predicted that 3,000-4,000 new gas wells will be drilled each year for the next 30 years -- the total chemical count is dangerously high.  

Campaigners also point out that it could only take a relatively small amount of chemical to pollute a much larger area of land or water.  

Although there is -- as yet -- little evidence of any contamination connected to Poland's exploratory gas drilling, activists say it is only a matter of time.  

"Fracking is a dangerous American export that should be viewed critically by countries just starting to engage in the practice," Wenonah Hauter, the head of Food and Water Watch, recently warned. 

"Modern drilling and fracking have caused widespread environmental and public health problems, as well as posed serious, long-term risks to vital water resources... while the oil and gas industry is profiting off of this technology, it has been a disaster for Americans exposed to its pollution."

But for Breitling's Chris Faulkner such comments are part of the sensationalism he says has developed around fracking. 

He accuses campaigners of having an agenda which is "sometimes based on misinformation, misinterpretation, misspoke concerns," and says that their passion "sometimes weaves a story that maybe is based on fear mongering or actual non-fact."

But he admits there are risks -- as with any energy mechanism: "It's not fracking that is unsafe. It's not the procedures that are unsafe, but if someone makes a mistake, anything can happen," he says. 

"We're foolish to think that there's some form of energy... that pops out of the ground, powers the plug in the wall and produces energy that has no consequences. [That's] just not realistic."   

Winning hearts and minds

Back in Nowy Dwor Bratianski, Barbara Grzybowska and Mieczyslaw Rutowski want to tell us about one additional concern they have. 

The farmers say that in order to help win hearts and minds in this deeply religious community the gas industry brought in a local priest. He in turn, they claim,  'blessed' a gas rig during an opening ceremony attended by local people. 

"Yes, I was surprised," says Rutowski. "The parish priest came to bless the work... I smile at this and rather consider it to be a pact with the devil, not [a] blessing of the rig site."  

Dr Zgoda says he has noted a wider marketing drive being undertaken by the gas companies to sway local communities. 

"It is standard for them [gas companies] to be giving out small gifts, inexpensive ones, to schools, to kindergartens... municipal councils and mayors are taken on tours supposedly to show them some drilling sites, plus there are some attractions such as dinners with performances and champagne."

We track down the priest understood to be involved in the 'blessing' of the rig. 

Unwilling to be interviewed formally, he admits his involvement but denies there were any strings attached. No donations or gifts from the gas company to the church. Just a small sum for children, he says, who were about to go to a summer camp.       

Andrew Wasley is a UK-based investigative journalist specializing in the environment and consumer affairs. He was editor of the Ecologist magazine between 2010 and 2012, is a co-founder of the Ecologist Film Unit and a director of the ethical research agency Ecostorm. He regularly reports from Link TV's Earth Focus program. 

To learn more about the impacts of fracking, visit Link TV's ISSUE: Fracking page, and watch this Earth Focus report about the dash for gas in Poland, a program supported by Food and Water Watch and Friends of the Earth Europe.
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http://storify.com/LinkTV/fracking-hell-how-poland-s-dash-for-gas-turned-souhttp://storify.com/LinkTV/fracking-hell-how-poland-s-dash-for-gas-turned-souSat, 02 Mar 2013 01:21:03 GMT
<![CDATA[Detroit - The Renaissance of America]]>

Welcome to 21st century Detroit. The city has taken a major economic hit, but in a new film, explore.org's Charlie Annenberg shows that grassroots art and culture will lead Detroit's renaissance. Get a behind-the-scenes look at the organizations that are driving the city's rebirth.

Storified by Link TV · Mon, Jul 29 2013 16:18:06

Even before Detroit became the largest American city ever to declare bankruptcy, negative news about the city had been rampant for years. But chances are you've never heard of the Heidelberg Project. And if you haven't, then there's a whole world of positivity waiting to be discovered in the heart of one of America's greatest cities. Charlie Annenberg and the explore.org team traveled to Detroit to meet artists and community activists, and observe firsthand how they are revitalizing their city. Artist Tyree Guyton, founder of the Heidelberg Project are literally transforming the hard-hit neighborhoods by turning abandoned houses into living pieces of art. 
The Heidelberg Project · heidelbergproject
The twenty-six-year-old Heidelberg Project is an open-air art environment, a community organization that uses art to improve people's lives and the neighborhoods in which they live. Guyton uses found objects and discarded materials to create sculptures, installations, paintings, and design elements as a way to use art to bring the community together. 
As budget cuts cut deeper and deeper into arts education, the Heidelberg Project has established itself as a presence in Detroit's public schools. Students from all over the city come to the 3600 block of Heidelberg Street to tour the art environment and be introduced to the importance of art as a way to reshape their communities. The Project has several programs within the city's schools as well, supplementing the lack of arts education and nurturing emerging artists.  
Turning a block of one of the most dangerous cities in the world into an art installation removes fear from people's minds and gives them a reason to visit the area. Showing youth that the city around them can offer something other than violence gives them the confidence and knowledge to pursue their dreams. Says Guyton, "[We're] opening up young minds, doors of creativity, and putting something in there that will live with them for a lifetime. I want to be part of the comeback of the great city of Detroit, and I do believe it's going to come back. If I could do just one little small thing to help the city to come, I've done my job." 
The organization, for all it has done, is still fighting an uphill battle. Art installations have been bulldozed by the city. Guyton's goal of transforming the abandoned Brewster-Douglass Towers into a massive art project looks to be dead in the water, as the city has just announced plans to tear down the historic towers in 2013. 
Yet the Heidelberg Project keeps looking towards the future. Their next goal is to renovate one of the buildings on Heidelberg Street and create an on-site place of operation for the organization, a learning center for youth and a meeting place for the community to be centered around.
As important as it is, the Heidelberg Project is just one of many grassroots community organizations working to transform the city of Detroit. During his trip to Detroit, Charlie Annenberg met with legendary community organizer Yusef Shakur, who took Annenberg on a tour of some of Detroit's historic landmarks and neighborhoods. In building community and stopping violence in Detroit's hardest neighborhoods, Shakur is working to replicate his own personal transformation on a citywide scale.
Detroit's Native Son: Yusef "Bunchy" Shakur OFFICIAL DOCUMENTARY TRAILER · bunchy4
"Detroit has taken a lot of hard knocks," says Reverend Barry Randolph, pastor of the Church of the Messiah. "We were too dependent on manufacturing and didn't spend enough time to reinvent ourselves. Our greatest resource is our people. We're going to become the city of entrepreneurs."
You can watch the film that came out of Annenberg's trip, Detroit - The Renaissance of America, online today at explore.org
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http://storify.com/LinkTV/detroit-the-renaissance-of-americahttp://storify.com/LinkTV/detroit-the-renaissance-of-americaMon, 29 Jul 2013 16:18:06 GMT
<![CDATA[Introducing the Digital Tool for Global News & Documentary Junkies]]>

The New LinkTV World News App for iPad is HERE!

Storified by Link TV · Tue, Oct 30 2012 20:58:00

LinkTV World News for the iPad: Reshaping How the World Watches News · linktv
Within the warp-speed changes of the past few years, revolutions have begun and ended. A group of Russian punk rockers caught the attention of the world in a debate over freedom of expression. Tsunamis, earthquakes and famine have captured our emotions and empathy. And the shooting of a 14-year-old girl in Pakistan has elevated a conversation about the right of girls everywhere to have equal access to education. 
Our ability to connect with global issues – and one another – has never been greater. And Link TV has provided unique perspectives, global news and programming through all of it – because we believe in the ability of independent media to provide access to voices and stories you can't find anywhere else.  
And that's why we're thrilled to announce the launch of our new free iPad app TODAY, created in partnership with The Bertha Foundation. We're calling the new LinkTV World News app "a reinvention of world news in the digital age," and we’re not exaggerating – it's a digital home to deeper access to unfiltered news and information about the top global stories, the untold stories, ways to take action on issues you care about, and much more.
Learn more and download the app RIGHT NOW: News.LinkTV.org/Apps (Like what you see? After you download, please consider writing an App Store review and giving us five stars.)
A few highlight features of LinkTV World News: 
• Watch the world's most EYE-OPENING NEWS VIDEOS, selected by a team of international editors from more than 125 mainstream, state-run, and alternative outlets, including BBC, Reuters, CNN, France 24, The Guardian, The New York Times, Democracy Now!, and more.
• Go behind the news with relevant user-generated RAW VIDEOS related to stories of the day.
• Use an interactive WORLD MAP to explore the world's video news and find out where stories are happening.
• Dive deeper by checking out related articles from more than 50,000 INTERNATIONAL NEWS SOURCES – from major newspapers to small local blogs that you can't get somewhere else.
• Watch FEATURE DOCUMENTARIES from around the world—providing the bigger picture behind breaking news.
• Learn more about global issues and trends through comprehensive IN-DEPTH SECTIONS featuring VIDEO TIMELINES, and up-to-the minute Twitter updates.
• PERSONALIZE GLOBAL NEWS FEEDS of world news and topics to follow.
• TAKE ACTION on world issues you care about.
Still reading? Start downloading! Enjoy.Sincerely yours,
Link TV 
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http://storify.com/LinkTV/free-world-news-ipad-apphttp://storify.com/LinkTV/free-world-news-ipad-appTue, 30 Oct 2012 20:56:55 GMT