Here are this week's top must-read stories from #MuckReads, ProPublica's ongoing collection of the best watchdog journalism. Anyone can contribute by tweeting a link to a story and just including the hashtag #MuckReads or by sending an email to MuckReads@ProPublica.org. The best submissions are selected by ProPublica's editors and reporters and then featured on our site and @ProPublica.
Federal center pays good money for suspect medicine, Chicago Tribune
A little-known corner of government gets taxpayer money to research dubious medical methods, including coffee enemas to cure cancer, smelling lemons or lavender to heal wounds, and distant prayer to cure AIDS.
Contributed by @katchicago
Victoria’s Secret Revealed in Child Labor, Bloomberg Markets Magazine
The lingerie company’s products are certified as fair trade, but there is forced labor and child labor at some farms where Victoria's Secret gets some of its cotton. The company says it is investigating, and the accusations “describe behavior contrary to our company’s values and the code of labor and sourcing standards we require all of our suppliers to meet.”
Contributed by @Brizzyc
Thousands of sugar cane workers die as wealthy nations stall on solutions, The Center for Public Integrity
Kidney failure has become a near epidemic among sugarcane workers in Central America. Since 2005, at least 2,800 men have died each year. Researchers suspect a toxin may be a trigger. But nobody knows for sure, in part because governments and international aid agencies have failed to investigate.
Contributed by @ericuman
Powerful Pipes, Weak Oversight, Philadelphia Inquirer
In Pennsylvania's booming natural gas fields, there are fewer safety regulations and oversight than in any other state. "No one - and absolutely no one - is looking," said Deborah Goldberg, a lawyer with Earthjustice, a nonprofit law firm focusing on the environment. A four-part series.
Contributed by @PhillyInquirer
Introducing StateImpact’s New Marcellus Shale App, StateImpact Pennsylvania
This interactive app tracks each Marcellus Shale gas well in Pennsylvania, with visual indicators of which wells have been committed violations.
Contributed by @scottdetrow
Coliseum finance director earned Visa points on stadium upgrade, Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Coliseum’s finance director charged $270,000 in upgrades to his personal credit card, allowing him to accrue his own reward points.The director defended the charged. "How does the agency get hurt?" he said.
Contributed by @palewire
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