Last Week in Review: 8 News Stories from the Last 7 Days

By Wes Annac, Editor, Openhearted Rebel

2017 has been eventful, and news stories (good and bad) emerge each week that prove we’re at a turning point in our evolution. Some stories exemplify the good in humanity, but others make it clear we’re headed in a wrong direction.

By highlighting the good things people have done, the positive stories show us that not everyone is apathetic or hateful. The negative stories show us we’re certainly not a peaceful civilization, and we still have a lot to learn.

I like to focus on news that shows both realities.

Some people prefer positive news stories and some prefer stories that are negative but bring the truth to light. I’m somewhere in the middle. I prefer a blend of stories that expose corruption with positive ones that focus on the kindhearted people in the world.

The intention of the “negative” news on this list is to bring awareness to the issue and (hopefully) inspire compassion. If any of these stories anger you, it’s because you’re compassionate. Use it as fuel.

  1. Trump Gave CIA Secret New Authority to Launch Drone Strikes

Jason Ditz at Anti War reports that the CIA’s use of drones for assassination campaigns began with the Obama administration. Obama “dramatically shifted focus” in his last two years as president, however, by limiting CIA drone activity to intelligence-gathering and assigning the authority to carry out drone strikes to the Pentagon. (1)

Reports from the Wall Street Journal, Jason writes, suggest Trump reversed Obama’s actions and is allowing the CIA to carry out drone strikes again. Syria seems to be the main target. The decision was apparently made “a long time ago” with the administration neglecting to tell anyone. The administration is still not commenting on it. (1)

The Pentagon must report on the use of drone strikes as well as provide reports with estimates of civilian deaths, Jason writes. The Pentagon underreports the real civilian death toll, but it’s a step up from the CIA’s undisclosed use of drones. The CIA cannot be held accountable for any specific number of strikes because they “refuse to confirm or deny carrying out any drone strikes”. (1)

This is clearly not the agency we want to entrust with this kind of power.

  1. Fracking Found Responsible for Blast that Severely Burned Entire Family – No One Charged

Claire Bernish at The Free Thought Project reports that in August 2014, Cody Murray’s pump house exploded unexpectedly while he and his family were visiting. This caused severe injuries to Cody, as well as his father, wife, and child. Now, evidence has surfaced blaming fracking for the explosion. (2)

Calling the evidence “incontrovertible”, Claire reports, Murray family attorney Christopher Hamilton told the Texas Tribune that the science “overwhelms”. Until now, it was only theorized that fracked gas and particulates could leak through horizontal fissures underground. The studies that came out of the Murray family lawsuit, however, substantiated that the methane which contaminated the well was from a drill site “hundreds of feet away”. (2)

According to Hamilton:

“The timing is undeniable, the location is undeniable, the chemistry of the gas is undeniable. This is not naturally occurring gas. This is gas that came from 4- to 6-thousand feet below the ground.” (2)

The second and third-degree burns Cody suffered left him “permanently disfigured and disabled”. (2)

Despite this, nobody will be charged for this latest disaster that provides ample evidence fracking is unsafe.

  1. Anarchists Fixing Potholes in Roads in Portland, Oregon

Vic Bishop at Waking Times reports that anarchists in Portland have established a group with the aim to fix potholes on public roads. As a statement on the true nature of anarchy (which is often misinterpreted), the group fixes the roads for free without using public taxes or notifying the government. (3)

The group, Portland Anarchist Road Care, states on their Facebook page that they believe not in relying on the state to solve problems in our communities, but in finding solutions together locally. (3)

Society, they write, portrays anarchists as rioters who only want destruction. Along with disproving this stereotype, the group wants to disprove that we’d have nobody to fix the roads without the government. They chastise the city of Portland for failing to fix their roads quickly enough in the aftermath of recent winter storms. (3)

The state, they write, is more interested in spending money militarizing its police force than caring for the roads. Throughout the city, the group is addressing this “negligence” and fixing the “active danger” to cyclists and automobiles it’s caused. Their goal is to gather crews to repair the streets, build a sense of community, and continue searching for solutions to various problems in a community-oriented way. (3)

  1. A New Flatpack Garden From Ikea Can Feed An Entire Neighbourhood

Alanna Ketler at Collective Evolution reports that for anyone who wants to grow their own food but has little outdoor space, Ikea recently released a flatpack vertical garden. This makes it possible to maintain an entire garden without needing the outdoor space it requires. (4)

It’s a DIY project called “The Growroom”, Alanna reports. Once complete, it’s a 9-ft. tall spherical garden space in which you can grow fruits, vegetables, herbs, etc. You can sit inside of it alone or with friends and family. The purpose and design of the Growroom is to be a low-cost, easy-to-assemble option for those who want to start a garden but lack the space or resources. (4)

The website, Alanna reports, states that the amount of food the Growroom can produce could feed an entire neighborhood. Interestingly, it’s designed for plants to receive the sunlight and water they need without anyone inside getting wet. The designers, Sine Libndholm and Mads-Ulrik Husum, created it to cater to a future when people grow their own food and break away from big corporations. (4)

Alanna reports that although the Growroom is too big for anyone with an apartment or no backyard space at all, its purpose is to help you produce your own food in a small, manageable area. (4)

Imagine how many people we could feed if half of everyone with a small outdoor space started using this. We’d have enough to give to the hungry, and those growing the food would have a nice nature spot to sit in and enjoy.

  1. UN Chief Warns That Women’s Rights Are Under Attack Worldwide

Huffington Post reports that United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a speech to the Commission on the Status of Women on Monday night that women’s rights are being threatened globally. (5)

He warned that women around the world are “facing new assaults on their safety and dignity”, Huffington Post reports. He named no governments or groups, but spoke of the challenges that arise from “violent extremism, human rights violations, xenophobia and other threats”. (5)

He also acknowledged the role of all men in making the world safer for women, Huffington Post reports. He said the world needs more women leaders and more men standing up for gender equality. Executive Director of U.N. Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, spoke after Guterres and commented on the economic consequences of discrimination against women. (5)

She described women as “under-the-radar and under-valued cogs in the bigger wheels of the formal economy”, Huffington Post reports. Advancing women’s equality in total could bring a potential boost of 28 trillion U.S. dollars to the global annual GDP by 2025, she said. (5)

  1. Man Saves Scraps for Decades to Raise $400K for Children’s Home

Good News Network reports that since 1985, Johnny Jennings has saved every penny he could to donate to a children’s home that cares for kids from abusive families and trafficking rings in the state. So far, he’s raised over $400,000. (6)

GNN reports that Jennings, 86, earns extra money for the children’s home by collecting recyclables (paper, cardboard, and cans). He’s collected $20,000 in pennies and saved 79,000 trees by reselling 9 million pounds of paper. He donates every dollar he collects to the Georgia Baptist Home for Children  near Ringgold, Georgia. (6)

Jennings first visited the home as an 18-year-old, GNN reports. Inspired by the compassion he felt for the young children, he devoted himself to ensuring the home had the financial help it needed. Despite two strokes in the last month, he continues to make “paper runs” around town and bring recyclables to the Chattanooga Recycle Center. (6)

One of Jennings’ acquaintances, Shay Drennan-Love, describes him as “the last of a dying breed”. (6)

  1. Canadian Journalist Eva Bartlett Exposes Corporate Media For Reporting Syria Misinformation

Brandon Turbeville at Activist Post reports that Canadian journalist Eva Bartlett has been subjected to a smear campaign by the media after refuting a mainstream journalist’s claims of a source inside Aleppo, Syria witnessing the Assad government committing “atrocities” against its citizens. (7)

Brandon reports that Eva, who traveled to Syria to report on what’s happening there, witnessed mainstream journalists skewer the truth of what they saw. Other independent journalists had the same experience with mainstream journalists; the latter’s stories were different from what they all witnessed. (7)

Mainstream media, Brandon reports, has branded Eva a “Russian agent”, a “Syrian agent” and a racist for her claims that western powers initiated the revolution in Syria and subsequently funded the rebels. According to the media, this makes her a racist for implying Arabs are incapable of revolution. (7)

Brandon writes that accusations Eva is a Russian agent don’t hold water given that she’s an independent journalist for alternative media outlets with little money to hire contributors and travel to dangerous areas like Syria. The whole idea is laughable. An advanced Russian disinformation spy would probably have more money, better equipment, and a better team. (7)

Brandon also points out that Eva has spent her career speaking out for people of other colors hurt and killed by Western powers. It wouldn’t make much sense for her to be a white supremacist. Rather than addressing her claims or debating her directly, mainstream media resorts to accusations and name-calling. (7)

Brandon reports that Eva told Global Research in an interview that she as well as other mainstream and alternative news journalists witnessed atrocities committed not by Assad, but Western-backed forces. (7)

The mainstream journalists, Brandon writes, did not report the truth about the attacks. Instead, they stuck with the narrative that Assad was massacring his people and the attacks could be traced to no definitive source. They backed up these reports with “fantastical claims by pro-terrorist websites and organizations”. (7)

By refuting the reports of mainstream journalists with her own first-hand experience, Eva put herself in the crosshairs of the propaganda outlet we know as the mainstream media. The media vilifies her because she speaks truth.

  1. China Is Building A National Park 60% Larger Than Yellowstone To Protect Siberian Tiger

True Activist reports that China is preparing to build a 5,600-sq. mile national park. The purpose: to protect the Siberian tiger, Amur leopard, and other species from extinction. The park, which will be 60% larger than Yellowstone, will be constructed in the Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces of Northeast China. (8)

True Activist reports that the project was approved to protect Siberian tigers endangered due to poaching and habitat loss caused primarily by logging. The Shanghaiist reports conservation efforts, including a logging ban, helped increase the wild Siberian tiger population in the area from 6-9 in 1998 to 27 in 2015. (8)

Despite this, True Activist reports, the current reserve for tigers is too small for the species to “thrive”. Therefore, they’re constructing a new park that’ll cover 14,600 sq. kilometers (5,600 sq. miles). They expect to complete it by 2020. (8)

True Activist reports that most Siberian tigers live in Russia, with around 400 estimated to live in the country. Apparently, traditional Chinese medicine relies heavily on these creatures’ fur and body parts. Thus, people poach them despite that China considers using their body parts unlawful. Along with Amur leopards and Siberian tigers, the park will shelter giant pandas, the Tibetan antelope, and the Asian elephant. (8)

The global population of Amur leopards, True Activist reports, was less than 30 in 2007. This was mainly caused by hunting and “other human activities”. According to 2015 statistics, the efforts of conservation groups like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have since doubled the Amur leopard population. (8)

The news in the world will always display the regression and evolution of society. Although we’re moving backward in some ways, in others we’re discovering what it takes to make a positive change: compassionate action.

It’s a bumpy road, but still we move forward. With love and compassion, we can take steps to ensure the road is smoother from here on out. Maybe then, the news each week will be overwhelmingly positive and we can rejoice.

I wrote the following for the 241st issue of the Weekly Awareness Guide, a written document distributed weekly via email that I offer for $11.11 a month.

Income from the guide helps me get by and ensures I can continue to offer free content, and every subscription is appreciated. The option to subscribe is given at the bottom of this post (learn about subscribing with cash/check here).

$11.11 monthly subscription via credit, debit, or PayPal.


  1. Jason Ditz, “Trump Gave CIA Secret New Authority to Launch Drone Strikes” Anti War, March 13, 2017 –
  2. Claire Bernish, “Fracking Found Responsible for Blast that Severely Burned Entire Family – No One Charged”, The Free Thought Project, March 13, 2017 –
  3. Vic Bishop, “Anarchists Fixing Potholes in Roads in Portland, Oregon”, Waking Times, March 14, 2017 –
  4. Alanna Ketler, “A New Flatpack Garden From Ikea Can Feed An Entire Neighbourhood”, Collective Evolution, March 13, 2017 –
  5. Jenavieve Hatch, “UN Chief Warns That Women’s Rights Are Under Attack Worldwide”, Huffington Post, March 14, 2017 –
  6. “Man Saves Scraps for Decades to Raise $400K for Children’s Home”, Good News Network, March 12, 2017 –
  7. Brandon Turbeville, “Canadian Journalist Eva Bartlett Exposes Corporate Media For Reporting Syria Misinformation”, Activist Post, March 13, 2017 –
  8. Amanda Froelich, “China Is Building A National Park 60% Larger Than Yellowstone To Protect Siberian Tiger”, True Activist, March 14, 2017 –

(Other sources embedded in article)

Featured image credit

About the author: 

I’m a twenty-something writer & blogger with an interest in spirituality, revolution, music and the transformative creative force known as love.

I run Openhearted Rebel, a daily news blog dedicated to igniting a revolution of love by raising social and spiritual awareness.

I also have a personal blog, Wes Annac’s Personal Blog, in which I share writings related to spiritual philosophy, creativity, heart consciousness and revolution (among other topics).

I write from the heart and try to share informative and enlightening reading material with the rest of the conscious community. When I’m not writing or exploring nature, I’m usually making music.

Follow me on Facebook (Wes Annac, and Twitter (Wes Annac,

Recent articles:

No copyright. Share freely with attribution to Wes Annac and Openhearted Rebel.



Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.