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05.17.16

Links 18/5/2016: ReactOS 0.4.1, KWayland in KDE Frameworks

Posted in News Roundup at 11:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sweden’s insurer: open source maximises IT efficiency

    Open source’s inherent flexibility maximises IT value, says Mikael Norberg, CTO at Sweden’s Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan). Thanks to free software licences, information technology can be used effectively. Last year, Försäkringskassan completed its transition to open source in its data centre in Sundsvall, “driving down costs while increasing IT value”, the CTO says.

  • SL Adds Docker, MongoDB and Node.js to Open Source Monitoring Portfolio
  • RethinkDB’s Horizon Will Shave Months Off Your Development
  • RethinkDB unveils open-source JavaScript platform, Horizon

    RethinkDB, an open-source database, wants to help developers prototype and build cross-platform, real-time Web, mobile and IoT apps. The company announced Horizon, a new open-source JavaScript platform, is coming out of a closed developer preview today.

  • Leveraging IoT & Open Source Tools

    Though the data regarding connected devices is anything but cohesive, a broad overview of IoT stats affords a clear picture of how quickly our world is becoming a connected ecosystem: In 1984, approximately 1,000 devices were connected to the Internet; in 2015, Gartner predicted 4.9 billion connected things would be in use; and by 2020 analysts expect we’ll have somewhere between 26 and 50 billion connected devices globally. Said Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Cisco, “In 1984, there were 1,000 connected devices. That number rose up to reach a million devices in 1992 and reached a billion devices in 2008. Our estimates say… that we will have roughly 50 billion connected devices by the year 2020.”

  • ReactOS 0.4.1 Released To Advance “Open-Source Windows”
  • ReactOS 0.4.1 Operating System Released with Initial Read/Write Btrfs Support

    Ziliang Guo from the ReactOS project today announced the availability for download of the first maintenance release of the ReactOS 0.4 open-source operating system.

    While not a GNU/Linux distribution, ReactOS is an open source project whose main design goal is to offer users a computer operating system built from scratch that clones the design principles of Microsoft Windows NT’s architecture.

  • Google open sources its ‘most powerful’ AI SyntaxNet
  • Has Google’s Parsey McParseface just solved one of the world’s biggest language problems?
  • Google ‘Artificial Intelligence’ Free Update: Google Introduces ‘Parsey McParseface’ As Open Source Natural Language AI Tool [VIDEO]
  • Amazon Joins Tech Giants in Open Sourcing a Key Machine Learning Tool

    Among technology categories creating sweeping change right now, cloud computing and Big Data analytics dominate the headlines, and open source platforms are making a difference in these categories. However, one of the biggest open source stories of the year surrounds newly contributed projects in the field of artifical intelligence and the closely related field of machine learning.

  • Amazon opens up its product recommendation tech to all
  • VR for Good, Amazon open-sources DSSTNE, and the Google Spaces app—SD Times news digest: May 17, 2016
  • Amazon’s DSSTNE Is Now Open Source Software
  • Amazon’s DSSTNE machine learning tech is now open source
  • After Google, now Amazon open sources its machine learning engine DSSTNE
  • Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Open Sources Deep Learning Software

    The software is now available on Github where the tech giant hopes developers and researchers will expand its functionalities.

  • Blockchain open sources Thunder network, paving the way for instant bitcoin transactions

    Blockchain, the company behind the world’s most popular bitcoin wallet, has been quietly working on an interesting project called Thunder. The Thunder network is an alternative network of nodes that lets you make off-chain bitcoin payments in seconds and settle back to the bitcoin blockchain every now and then. And it makes me excited about bitcoin all over again.

    This sounds complicated but it’s quite neat and could be a powerful innovation for bitcoin transactions. But first, let’s take a step back.

    If you’ve ever tried sending a couple of bitcoins from one wallet to another, you know it can take ten or twenty minutes before the blockchain confirms the transaction.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Expands Its National Gigabit Project to Austin, TX

        When you couple lightning-fast Internet with innovative projects in the realms of education and workforce development, amazing things can happen.

        That’s the philosophy behind the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund, our joint initiative with the National Science Foundation and US Ignite. The Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund brings funding and staffing to U.S. cities equipped with gigabit connectivity, the next-generation Internet that’s 250-times faster than most other connections. Our goal: Spark the creation of groundbreaking, gigabit-enabled educational technologies so that more people of all ages and backgrounds can read, write, and participate on this next-generation Web.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • OSOps Gives Operators a Powerful Tool to Poke OpenStack Developers

      For JJ Asghar, senior partner engineer of OpenStack at Chef, there is one issue that continues to hamper OpenStack’s success: Operations. It’s no secret in the Ops community that there is a large barrier to entry involved in becoming a part of the OpenStack community. When it comes to submitting bugs, reporting issues, and ensuring one’s OpenStack cloud runs smoothly, operations teams find themselves facing an uphill battle.

    • Cisco’s Embrace of OpenStack Pays Network Dividends [VIDEO]

      When Lew Tucker, vice-president and CTO of cloud computing at Cisco first got Cisco involved with OpenStack, networking wasn’t even a separate project, it was just part of the Nova compute project. OpenStack has since evolved with the Neutron networking project and more recently, a large focus on Network Function Virtualization (NFV) with some of the world’s largest carriers supporting the effort.

    • OpenStack Player Platform9 Rolls Out Channel Partner Program

      As the OpenStack arena consolidates, there are still many business models evolving around it, and OpenStack-as-a-Service is emerging as an interesting choice. Platform9, which focuses on OpenStack-based private clouds, has announced a new release of its Platform9 Managed OpenStack, which is a SaaS-based solution with integration for single sign-on (SSO) solutions. The company also updated its private-cloud-as-a service offering from OpenStack Juno to OpenStack Liberty.

  • DevOps

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Why VCs Have Invested More Than $200M in Container Tech

      Last week alone, investors—aiming to profit from the new approach to building, deploying and managing apps—poured $63M into container vendors.
      The evolving market for application containers isn’t just about developer adoption anymore; it’s now very much about investors, too.

      The week of May 9, in particular, highlights the intense interest that venture capitalists (VCs) have in containers and the potential to profit from the new approach to building, deploying and managing applications at scale.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD 10.3′s new features

      FreeBSD is a venerable operating system, often deployed on servers due to the project’s focus on performance and stability. At the beginning of April the FreeBSD project released version 10.3 of their operating system. The release announcement for FreeBSD 10.3 mentioned several features and improvements which caught my attention. Specifically the availability of ZFS boot environments, 64-bit Linux compatibility and jail improvements were of interest to me. I was especially eager to try out FreeBSD’s new jails technology using the iocage front-end. The iocage software has been presented as an improvement on (and replacement for) Warden, a friendly front-end for handling jail environments.

      I already reviewed FreeBSD 10.0 when it was launched and so I plan to skip over most aspects of the new 10.3 release and focus on the key features I listed above, along with the notable changes I encounter. The new release is available in many different builds, ranging from x86 and ARM, to SPARC and PowerPC. For the purposes of my trial I downloaded the 2.6GB DVD image of FreeBSD’s 64-bit x86 edition.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Smartphone-based Robotic Rover Project goes Open Source

      The chassis is made to cradle a smartphone. Fire up your favorite videoconferencing software and you have a way to see where you’re going as well as hear (and speak to) your surroundings. Bluetooth communications between the phone and the chassis provides wireless control. That being said, this unit is clearly designed to be able to deal with far more challenging terrain than the average office environment, and has been designed to not only be attractive, but to be as accessible and open to repurposing and modification as possible.

    • “Participatory budgeting: a silent democratic revolution”

      Citizens with a say — or even a vote — in their municipal budgets are part of a silent democratic revolution. Participatory budgeting started 25 years ago in Brazil and, since then, has been spreading slowly but steadily from South America to cities all over the world. At the moment, more than 1,500 municipalities involve their citizens in the budget-making process, according to an article on participatory budgeting recently published in the Dutch online newspaper ‘De Correspondent’.

    • Fifty shades of open

      Open source. Open access. Open society. Open knowledge. Open government. Even open food. Until quite recently, the word “open” had a fairly constant meaning. The over-use of the word “open” has led to its meaning becoming increasingly ambiguous. This presents a critical problem for this important word, as ambiguity leads to misinterpretation.

    • Open Data

      • “Panama Papers pushing open government”

        The publication of the so-called Panama Papers will only help to further the discussion on open government. “Things like hidden company ownership and strict secrecy have fuelled questions on links between world leaders and offshore jurisdictions,” write Koen Roovers, and Henri Makkonen, EU Advocacy Lead and EU Advocacy Intern, respectively, at the Financial Transparency Coalition (FTC).

      • “Governments need to enable the data-driven economy”

        Big Data is a game changer for businesses, Alla Morrison, International Development Specialist, Digital Economy and Solutions at the World Bank, recently wrote in a blog posting. She quoted Harvard professor Michael Porter, a globally recognised authority on competitiveness, who said: “Data now stands on par with people, technology, and capital as a core asset of the corporation and in many businesses is perhaps becoming the decisive asset.”

      • Open Government Research Exchange (OGRX) launched

        Earlier this month, the Open Government Research Exchange (OGRX) was launched. The portal brings together research on on government innovation, and already indexes hundreds of publications (though many of them are only available for purchase).

      • Central Greece creates dashboard to increase citizen awareness

        Basically, Smart Sterea can be seen as a set of technological tools. Central Greece deployed a data visualisation portal, which mixes data for budgets, political projects and public consultations. This “Open Dashboard of Central Greece” makes use of Open Data to allow citizens to monitor public revenue and expenditure, political programs and their progress, and allocations – among other types of information. Data are updated in real-time.

    • Open Access/Content

      • A call for open source textbooks

        Ninety dollars, sometimes over a hundred, even. Walking away from the bookstore with a full set of math textbooks for a calculus course can easily set a student back by over two hundred. Add in online components, and that number only grows. The College Board estimates that the average full-time student would have to spend $1,200 alone in books and materials. The textbook industry costs already financially overburdened students massive amounts of money, and the solution is clear: Open source textbooks must become commonplace in De Anza classrooms.

    • Environment

      • Moja Global: Creating Open Source Tools to Help the Environment

        To understand and address issues such as land degradation, deforestation, food security, and greenhouse gas emissions, countries need access to high-quality and timely information. As these challenges have become more urgent over the past decade, the need for more information has also increased. At the recent 2016 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, we introduced a new open source project called moja global, supported by the Clinton Foundation and the governments of Australia, Canada and Kenya, that aims to provide the tools necessary to help address these issues.

      • Open-Source Fabbing Gives Plastic Waste New Life

Leftovers

  • When TV Ads Go Subliminal With a Vengeance, We’ll Be to Blame

    For decades the annual television industry ritual known as the upfronts has gone the same way.

    Thousands of advertising and television executives trudge between New York’s great cultural centers — Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center — where network executives screen premieres of their hottest new shows (“24: Legacy” on Fox! “Designated Survivor” on ABC!); trot out their biggest stars (Jennifer Lopez! Kerry Washington!), and disclose which programs will go where on the prime-time schedules being set for the fall.

    After successive nights of upscale hedonism — steaks at Peter Luger, mango chili martinis at Tao and Nicki Minaj at Terminal 5 — the ad people and the TV people get down to the real business of cutting deals for the 30-second spots that run during prime time’s commercial breaks.

    But when the whole shebang kicks off in earnest on Monday morning, there will be an underlying sense of seasickness because of the inexorable, existential question that now faces television this time of year: How long can it go on like this?

    This queasiness was your doing.

  • Dear Politicians: At Least Close Those Porn Tabs Before Sending Out Your Campaign Screenshots

    We all know the internet is for porn, right? But the implication in that age-old internet commandment is that it’s for porn and nothing else. But that’s not true! The internet is also for cats, for business-ing, for Techdirt, and for political messages. But what you really shouldn’t do is mix any of those formers with the latter, which it appears is what congressional candidate Mike Webb did on his Facebook page.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • No, the UN has not given glyphosate a ‘clean bill of health’

      News headlines today suggest that a UN report on glyphosate residues has given the controversial herbicide a clean bill of health, writes Georgina Downs. But that’s seriously misleading: the panel concludes that exposure to the chemical in food is unlikely to cause cancer. But that does not apply to those exposed to it occupationally or who live near sprayed fields.

    • New Evidence About the Dangers of Monsanto’s Roundup

      John Sanders worked in the orange and grapefruit groves in Redlands, California, for more than 30 years. First as a ranch hand, then as a farm worker, he was responsible for keeping the weeds around the citrus trees in check. Roundup, the Monsanto weed killer, was his weapon of choice, and he sprayed it on the plants from a hand-held atomizer year-round.

    • US Beekeepers Lost 44 Percent of Honey Bee Colonies in 2015, and More

      US beekeepers lost 44 percent of honey bee colonies in 2015; microplastics might be contaminating the air we breathe; an atmospheric measuring station is picking up CO2 levels that are on the verge of breaking 400 parts per million for the first time in human history; and more.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • The Truth about Linux 4.6

      As anticipated in public comments, the Linux Foundation is already beginning a campaign to rewrite history and mislead Linux users. Their latest PR release can be found at: https://www.linux.com/news/greg-kh-update-linux-kernel-46-next-week-new-security-features, which I encourage you to read so you can see the spin and misleading (and just plain factually incorrect) information presented. If you’ve read any of our blog posts before or are familiar with our work, you’ll know we always say “the details matter” and are very careful not to exaggerate claims about features beyond their realistic security expectations (see for instance our discussion of access control systems in the grsecurity wiki). In a few weeks I will be keynoting at the SSTIC conference in France, where a theme of my keynote involves how little critical thinking occurs in this industry and how that results in companies and users making poor security decisions. So let’s take a critical eye to this latest PR spin and actually educate about the “security improvements” to Linux 4.6.

    • Major Remote SSH Security Issue in CoreOS Linux Alpha, Subset of Users Affected

      A misconfiguration in the PAM subsystem in CoreOS Linux Alpha 1045.0.0 and 1047.0.0 allowed unauthorized users to gain access to accounts without a password or any other authentication token being required. This vulnerability affects a subset of machines running CoreOS Linux Alpha. Machines running CoreOS Linux Beta or Stable releases are unaffected. The Alpha was subsequently reverted back to the unaffected previous version (1032.1.0) and hosts configured to receive updates have been patched. The issue was reported at May 15 at 20:21 PDT and a fix was available 6 hours later at 02:29 PDT.

    • Let’s Encrypt: The Good and the Bad

      By now, most of you have heard about the “Let’s Encrypt” initiative. The idea being that it’s high time more websites had a simple, easy to manage method to offer https encryption. As luck would have it, the initiative is just out of its beta phase and has been adding sponsors like Facebook, Cisco, and Mozilla to their list of organizations that view this initiative as important.

      In this article, I want to examine this initiative carefully, taking a look at the good and the bad of Let’s Encrypt.

    • SourceForge Tightens Security With Malware Scans

      After taking down the controversial DevShare program in early February, the new owners of popular software repository, SourceForge, have begun scanning all projects it hosts for malware in an attempt to regain trust that was lost by Dice Holdings, the site’s previous owners.

    • Mozilla Issues Legal Challenge to FBI to Disclose Firefox Flaw
    • Judge In Child Porn Case Reverses Course, Says FBI Will Not Have To Turn Over Details On Its Hacking Tool

      Back in February, the judge presiding over the FBI’s case against Jay Michaud ordered the agency to turn over information on the hacking tool it used to unmask Tor users who visited a seized child porn site. The FBI further solidified its status as a law unto itself by responding that it would not comply with the court’s order, no matter what.

      Unfortunately, we won’t be seeing any FBI officials tossed into jail cells indefinitely for contempt of court charges. The judge in that case has reversed course, as Motherboard reports.

    • Judge Changes Mind, Says FBI Doesn’t Have to Reveal Tor Browser Hack

      In February, a judge ordered the FBI to reveal the full malware code it used to identify visitors of a dark web child pornography site, including the exploit that circumvented the protections of the Tor Browser. The government fought back, largely in sealed motions, and tried to convince the judge to reconsider.

    • Symantec antivirus security flaw exposes Linux, Mac and Windows

      Security holes in antivirus software are nothing new, but holes that exist across multiple platforms? That’s rare… but it just happened. Google’s Tavis Ormandy has discovered a vulnerability in Symantec’s antivirus engine (used in both Symantec- and Norton-branded suites) that compromises Linux, Mac and Windows computers. If you use an early version of a compression tool to squeeze executables, you can trigger a memory buffer overflow that gives you root-level control over a system.

    • Apache incubating project promises new Internet security framework

      The newly announced Apache Milagro (incubating) project seeks to end to centralized certificates and passwords in a world that has shifted from client-server to cloud, IoT and containerized applications.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Top Hizbullah Commander in Syria killed in Explosion; Radical Salafis blamed

      Mustafa Badreddine, the Hizbullah commander responsible for Syria, was killed Friday in an explosion near Damascus. It wasn’t clear whether he was hit by artillery fire or what.

      The US now has a tacit alliance of convenience with Lebanon’s Hizbullah against Daesh (ISIS, ISIL), but continues to keep the organization on a terrorism list.

    • Organized Misery is Fascism

      Just about one half of the year 2016 is in the world’s history books. The 16th year of the 21st Century, a century that was supposed to usher in a new era of democracy, opportunity, “green thinking”, and income for all, has thus far been a bust for much of the citizens of the world. Some 40.8 million displaced people roam the continents of the world due to the effects of climate change and the fallout from varying degrees of conflict/war ranging from the War on Terror and War on Drugs, to covert-overt regime changes in Brazil, Ukraine, Egypt, Paraguay, Iraq, Libya and Honduras. Syria remains a work in progress.

    • NATO & the Humanitarian Dismemberment of Yugoslavia

      The popular narrative is that is that the Western powers dropped these bombs out of humanitarian concern, but this claim falls apart once the distorted lens of Western saviourism is dropped and actual facts are presented. In truth, NATO intervention in Yugoslavia was predicated on the imperialist, colonialist economic and ideological interests of the NATO states, masquerading for the public as a humanitarian effort, that in fact served to dismantle the last remnant of socialism in Europe and recolonize the Balkans. This becomes apparent when the economic interests and actions of the NATO bloc in the decades leading up the breakup are analyzed, when what actually occurred during the intervention is further explored, and when the reality of life in the former Yugoslavia in the aftermath of the ‘humanitarian’ intervention is more closely examined. It becomes clear that the most suffering endured by the Yugoslav people since Nazi occupation was the result of the actions of NATO with the United States at its helm.

    • Wonky welds keep West Coast submarines stuck in port

      Canada’s troubled submarine fleet has been hit with another headache: hundreds of potentially dangerous welds

    • Hillary Clinton Wasn’t Always This One-Sided on Israel

      The text of Hillary Clinton’s speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in March runs 3,301 words, almost every one of them praising Israeli policy in one way or another, and expounding on taking the “U.S.-Israel alliance to the next level.”

      Only a single sentence — 15 words to the effect that “everyone has to do their part by avoiding damaging actions, including with respect to settlements” — could possibly be interpreted as criticism of Benjamin Netanyahu’s extremist right-wing government.

    • [Older, reposted] Muslim Memories of West’s Imperialism

      A century ago, Britain and France secretly divided up much of the Mideast, drawing artificial boundaries for Iraq and Syria, but Muslim resentment of Western imperialism went much deeper, as historian William R. Polk described in 2015.

    • Behind the Veil of Chinese Politics

      The first story concerns President Xi Jinping’s warning of cabals, cliques and conspirators which came to light in the first week in May. The speech, delivered in January, confirmed what many suspected.

      Xi chose his words carefully. “Some officials have been forming cabals and cliques to covertly defy the CPC [Communist Party of China] Central Committee’s decisions and policies,” which risked “compromising the political security of the Party and the country’’.

    • The Danger of Demonization

      As the West is sucked deeper into the Syrian conflict and starts a new Cold War with Russia, the mainstream U.S. news media has collapsed as a vehicle for reliable information, creating a danger for the world, writes Robert Parry.

    • Donald Trump vs. Sadiq Khan

      Donald Trump is on the record calling for the ban of all Muslims entering the United States until U.S. representatives can figure out what is going on. London’s new Muslim mayor, Sadiq Khan, says Trump is ignorant about Islam and assures that mainstream Islam and Western liberal values are compatible.

    • “Please Free Us”: EU’s Outsourcing of Refugees Drives Crisis to New Low

      Conditions for refugees seeking asylum in Europe descended to new depths this week, as residents of a Greek refugee camp launched a hunger strike to protest inhumane living conditions, the United Nations warned Greece to stop imprisoning refugee children in police cells, and deported Syrian refugees said they were being illegally detained in Turkey and stripped of their rights.

    • Brazil’s New Conservative Leadership Quietly Readies Neoliberal Onslaught

      Following the suspension of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff last week—in what some called a coup by conservative opponents—her supporters warned that the interim government, led by Vice President Michel Temer, may use the opportunity to push through neoliberal legislation.

      According to the advocacy group the Alliance of Leading Environmental Researchers and Thinkers (ALERT), they were right.

      The Brazilian Committee of the Constitution, Justice, and Citizenship on April 27 “quietly” passed an amendment known as PEC 65, which would ban any public works project from being cancelled or suspended, as long as the contractor has submitted an environmental impact study. Amid the political uproar, the measure is now poised to pass.

    • Noam Chomsky: Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff “Impeached by a Gang of Thieves”

      As protests continue in Brazil over the Legislature’s vote to suspend President Dilma Rousseff and put her on trial, Noam Chomsky notes that “we have the one leading politician who hasn’t stolen to enrich herself, who’s being impeached by a gang of thieves, who have done so. That does count as a kind of soft coup.” Rousseff’s replacement, Brazil’s former vice president, Michel Temer, is a member of the opposition PMDB party who is implicated in Brazil’s massive corruption scandal involving state-owned oil company Petrobras, and has now appointed an all-white male Cabinet charged with implementing corporate-friendly policies.

    • Noam Chomsky: The True ‘Center of Radical Islamic Extremism’ Is Close American Ally Saudi Arabia

      In an interview with Democracy Now, Chomsky says that Saudi Arabia is a “a source of not only funding for extremist radical Islam and the jihadi outgrowths of it, but also, doctrinally, mosques, clerics and so on, schools, you know, madrassas, where you study just Qur’an, is spreading all over the huge Sunni areas from Saudi influence.”

    • Senate Passes Bill Allowing Families of 9/11 Victims to Sue Saudi Arabia

      he Senate defied a veto threat by the Obama administration Tuesday, passing the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), which if signed into law would allow the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged involvement in the 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center that killed almost 3,000 people.

    • Undeterred by Obama’s Veto Threat, Senate Passes 9/11-Saudi Bill

      Setting up a likely veto fight and opening a potential Pandora’s Box, the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that allows victims of 9/11 to sue Saudi Arabia for any role the government may have played in the attacks.

    • ‘Operation Popcorn’ Explores How U.S. Vietnam War Policy Shaped Allies’ Identities

      Although it sounds like something straight out of Hollywood, the story behind “Operation Popcorn” is not fiction. It is, in fact, a tale of violence and desperation spanning several generations.

      The feature-length documentary, directed by David Grabias, follows businessman-turned-activist Locha Thao as he embarks on a quest to help Hmong communities in Laos, eventually working with an arms dealer and a retired U.S. Army officer to supply weapons for a rebellion. Eventually, Thao, the Army officer and 10 other Hmong-American community leaders, including renowned Hmong war hero Gen. Vang Pao, are indicted on charges of conspiracy.

    • My cultural revolution: a child’s memory

      The purge of Mongolian ‘nationalists’ stopped in 1969. The official death-toll among Mongolians is 50,000, but many Mongols believe the true figure is much higher. To pacify the discontent of the Mongol victims of the purge, the authorities at the time gave various forms of compensation to their families. My parents received a family trip to Beijing and Shanghai for a health check and treatment. I spent a few months living with them in a hotel in Shanghai, where we met many other long-term resident guests, many of whom who, permanently maimed in industrial accidents, were on medical trips paid by the state. At the time, Shanghai was the only big city where the radical leftists had taken complete control, while in other places they were checked by the army. I remember walking past the Shanghai workers’ militia headquarters and seeing militia sentry standing outside holding automatic rifles with shiny bayonets.

    • Israeli mishap in Latin America?

      A diplomatic incident between Brazil and Israel shows how Netanyahu is prisoner of his extreme-right and ultra-nationalists coalition friends.

    • Elon Musk Just Exposed Billions in Corrupt Pentagon Spending to Weapons Monopoly — Here’s How

      Perhaps Elon Musk’s innovative venture into the cosmos through SpaceX finally exposes excessive waste so common in the Pentagon’s bloated budget — an enormous chunk of which remains unaccounted for. A report last June found the Pentagon has essentially ‘lost track’ of around $8.5 trillion — yes, trillion — in taxpayer funded programs granted by Congress, just since 1996. As it turns out, the Pentagon has simply never complied with audits required by the government since that time; but as its fealty to ULA’s bloated space contracts shows, taxpayers are getting the shafted at every turn.

    • 5 lessons America has failed to learn from the Iraq War [Ed: reposted again]
    • Obama is bullish on war, no matter how you spin it

      Barack Obama has now been at war longer than any president in United States history, as the New York Times pointed out on Sunday. Barring some sort of peace miracle in the next six months, he will be the only president who ever served two full terms in office while constantly being at war. And given how he has transformed how the US fights overseas, his wars will likely continue long after he leaves office.

      Anytime the media writes about Obama and war, it’s apparently a rule that the author must mention that Obama supposedly fights his wars more reluctantly than his predecessors. But in many contexts, this is misleading. Obama hasn’t attempted to avoid war; he has merely redefined it. In some ways, he has fought them in a far more aggressively than any president before him, just with different tools.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Sources: Arianna Huffington wants to find leaker of embarrassing Uber-related email

      In an early May meeting with top Huffington Post managers, founder Arianna Huffington expressed an interest in finding the person who leaked a troubling email relating to the website’s coverage of Uber, according to three informed sources. Leaking internal documents is unacceptable and doesn’t comport with company values, Huffington argued. Also: Those who do such things must be malcontents who would be better off leaving their jobs.

      The impression that Huffington imparted was that she was already pursuing the leaker and urged her colleagues to be mindful of problem employees, according to the sources.

      On April 28, this blog reported that Huffington Post executive features editor Gregory Beyer had killed a story pitch about an Uber driver who had turned over the controls to a passenger while he took a nap. The substitute driver then led police on a highway chase. The pitch came just after the Huffington Post had consummated a partnership with Uber to combat drowsy driving, of all things. “Let’s hold on this one please as we’re partnering with Uber on our drowsy driving campaign,” Beyer wrote in an email secured by this blog.

      Colleagues of Beyer later received this apology: “Hi everyone, just wanted to bump this because a few people have asked me about this email and I realize it gave off the wrong impression. Obviously our partnerships never affect our coverage, and I was moving quickly in the moment and sent the wrong message as I read it in hindsight. For any confusion or concern I caused with my note, I apologize.”

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Obama Mocks Politicians Who Think Cold Weather Disproves Global Warming

      It was unseasonably cold in New Jersey when President Obama delivered his commencement speech at Rutgers University in Pitscataway on Sunday. It was so cold that in some areas of the state, small pellets of ice fell from the sky.

      The cold weather, however, didn’t stop Obama from devoting a portion of his speech to human-caused global warming. In fact, Obama actually spent part of his speech rebuking politicians who deny climate science on the basis that sometimes it’s cold outside.

    • Can Green Banks Turn Renewable Energy Into A Financial Attraction?

      Last month, dignitaries from 175 countries applied the final seal of approval to the Paris Climate Agreement, setting a course for a low-carbon future. Experts say that, to meet the goals laid out in the pact, investors will need to funnel $1 trillion a year into clean energy and energy efficiency.

      It should come as no surprise that clean energy companies have become such hot properties. Last year saw historic investment in renewables worldwide. Tesla’s recently-announced Model 3 broke records by garnering $14 billion in promised sales in a single week.

    • Congress should pass much-needed Chemical Safety Bill

      In what seems like an earlier life, I majored in Chemistry in college. I enjoyed the subject but as it sometimes happens, my life took a different direction and I became a writer.

      But my Chemistry days taught me, among other things, the extent to which everything in and around us has a basis in Chemistry. What are our bodies but exquisitely balanced chemical factories (of sorts) under our skin? As science advances, we discover that our bodies, organ systems and mental faculties are sensitive to the chemicals we’re exposed to in our daily lives.

    • When Nuclear Plants Expire: Stick the Taxpayers With the Bill (and the Waste)

      Aging and dangerous nuclear power plants are closing. This should be cause for celebration. We will all be safer now, right? Well, not exactly.

      US nuclear power plant owners are currently pouring resources into efforts to circumvent the already virtually non-existent regulations for the dismantlement and decommissioning of permanently closed nuclear reactors.

      And sad to say, many on the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), the industry’s ever compliant lapdog, are trotting happily by their side.

      [...]

      Using Vermont Yankee (a relatively small 620 MWe reactor) as an example, the decommissioning cost estimate in 2015 was $1.2 billion and rising. At the same time, Entergy, the plant’s owner, had just $625 million on hand.

      In early May, Entergy was reprimanded (but not fined) by the NRC for violating “federal regulations last year when it prematurely took money out of the Vermont Yankee decommissioning trust fund to cover planning expenses associated with the handling of spent nuclear fuel at the closed reactor”, the Times Argus reported.

      Another factor in the current struggle to pay for decommissioning is rooted in a decades-long practice by utilities of omitting the costs of decommissioning from electricity bills in order to artificially lower rates and stay competitive in the market.

      Rather than preserve decommissioning trust funds for actual decommissioning work, utilities are now asking the NRC to let them raid the funds for activities outside the parameters of the reactor decommissioning process. These activities include the payment of taxes and the protracted management of orphaned nuclear waste left on site.

    • Tar Sands Operations Shut Down, Work Camps Evacuated as Fire Jumps North

      Major Alberta tar sands facilities have been shut down and 19 work camps are under a mandatory evacuation order, after weather conditions caused Canada’s uncontrolled Fort McMurray wildfire to surge northward on Monday.

      The order, which covers about 8,000 people and was issued late Monday evening, came due to the “unpredictable nature” of the fire and the fact that those camps could be isolated if the road was jeopardized, said Scott Long, executive director of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency.

      The evacuation zone, stretching about 30 miles north of Fort McMurray to just south of Fort MacKay, included Syncrude and Suncor facilities, along with several smaller operations. As such, the Wall Street Journal reported, the order “is a setback for large oil-sands producers such as industry leader Suncor Energy Inc., which had said last week that it was in the process of planning to resume production at its oil sands sites.”

    • Everything You Need To Know About Why The DC Circuit Delayed Arguments On Obama’s Climate Plan

      The Clean Power Plan will get its day in court, but in September, not June — and by the full en banc D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, not the court’s normal three-judge panel that was scheduled to hear it in just over two weeks.

      West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency is one of the most important environmental cases in almost a decade. The case will decide whether the EPA violated the law when it finalized its carbon rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector under the Clean Air Act.

    • Koch Candidates? Where Is the Koch Machine Spending in 2016 So Far

      Recent articles in the national media, such as yesterday’s piece in the National Review, suggest that Charles and David Koch are less interested and less involved in national politics in the 2016 election cycle than in previous years.

      This latest PR effort comes despite the fact that $400 million of the $889 pledge by the Kochs through their “Freedom Partners” network has already been invested in the outcome of the 2016 elections, with more money to be spent.

      A close examination of recent campaign finance disclosures and other data reveals that Team Koch has already identified some of their candidates for 2016 and in many cases has already started spending big on behalf of candidates in races for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, state Governorships and state Attorney General races–as the presidential tickets remain unsettled and controversial.

      For example, the Center for Media and Democracy/PRWatch (CMD) looked at disclosed donations by Koch Industries’ KochPAC. This is limited to the donations that are required to be disclosed under federal and state law but, as the Nation and others have documented, Koch Industries also attempts to indoctrinate its employees on who and what to vote for or against, as documented here.

    • Declining Deer Population: Blame the Mountain Lions?

      This is the time of year with Spring in full bloom that here in Colorado, we are likely to see more wildlife. It has been my good fortune to see a fair amount these past few weeks – beaver (which I had never seen until now), muskrat, avocets and then a few days ago a herd of seven mule deer grazing on the side of a slope above Clear Creek just beyond the entrance to Clear Creek Canyon. We had been hiking. Nancy went on a bit; as usual, I waited behind and took a seat on an inviting rock, looked up; there were all seven of them making their way down along a stream bed not far from me.

    • There’s No Time to “Debate” Climate Change: We Need Global Transformation

      Corporate mainstream media outlets are missing something very important as the general election draws closer and both Democrats and Republicans start freaking out that it’ll be the end of the world if the other party gets into the White House. Media are completely ignoring the fact that unless we do something right now to fundamentally change what fuels our economy, it actually will be the end of the world as know it.

    • Kochs’ Grassroots Leadership Academy Training Astroturf Army

      With no clear favorite in the 2016 U.S. presidential primary race–following Gov. Scott Walker’s early exit and Trump’s march toward the nomination–the Koch brothers have turned their attention (and opened their wallets) to races for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and state governorships.

      But with the Kochs having already spent at least $400 million of $889 million committed to the 2016 election cycle, according to news reports, where is that money being spent?

      An under-covered arm of the Koch political operations is a likely recipient of some of that cash and it’s called Americans for Prosperity’s “Grassroots Leadership Academy.”

    • Exxon Gets Sued by Conservationists and Legal Help from Conservatives

      As attorneys general of Texas and Alabama pledge to assist oil giant with fraud probe, conservation group files first lawsuit since cover-up revealed

    • Texas Thinks The Investigation Into Exxon Is ‘Ridiculous’

      If you didn’t know better, you might think the State of Texas favors oil companies.

      On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed for the second time in two weeks on the side of an oil company — this time Exxon, which is challenging a subpoena in the Virgin Islands’ Attorney General’s investigation over what the oil and gas giant knew about climate change, and when.

      Paxton called the Virgin Islands’ investigation “ridiculous” in a statement Monday.

    • Massachusetts Court Sides with Teenagers in ‘Historic’ Climate Victory

      ‘This is an historic victory for young generations advocating for changes to be made by government,’ said 17-year-old plaintiff Shamus Miller.

    • Youth Climate Advocates Secure Victory in Massachusetts Climate Change Lawsuit
  • Finance

    • Protests Rise Against World Economic Forum’s Implausible ‘Africa Keeps Rising’ Meme

      As reality dawns, even the continent’s oldest retail bank, Barclays, has just announced it will sell its African operations.

      The most gloomy reason to fear Africa’s for future, climate change, was distorted beyond recognition at the Kigali WEF last week. Referring to the December 2015 UN climate summit in Paris, the director of the Africa Progress Panel (founded by Blair in his prime a decade ago), Caroline Kende-Robb, pronounced that the “COP 21 in Paris was an unambiguous success [because] African nations seized the chance to shift the climate narrative from one of dependence to one of opportunity and transformation.”

    • Investigators Target Dangerous Housing Finance Practice With Deep Ties To America’s Racist Legacy

      Investigators in New York will probe the resurgence of a dangerous housing finance practice that was historically used to target low-income black families who dreamed of owning their own home, the state’s Department of Financial Services announced Monday.

      Investigators have sent subpoenas to at least four separate companies that are helping drive a boom in a long-dormant alternative to a traditional mortgage, the Wall Street Journal reports.

    • New York Banking Regulator Investigates ‘Seller-Financed’ Home Sales

      Financial regulators in New York have opened an investigation into housing deals marketed by investment firms to low-income buyers who don’t qualify for mortgages.

    • EU referendum: Boris Johnson accused of ‘dishonest gymnastics’ over TTIP U-turn

      The grandson of Winston Churchill has accused Boris Johnson of “fundamentally dishonest gymnastics” for reversing his position on the planned multibillion-pound TTIP trade agreement between the US and the EU.

      The former Mayor of London had previously called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership “Churchillian” in its brilliance.

    • Challenging a Wall Street Giant on Pay

      A prominent shareholder activist is fed up with money manager BlackRock over the firm’s practice of rubberstamping obscenely large executive compensation packages at thousands of U.S. corporations.

    • Privatizing America’s Public Land

      It goes without saying that in a democracy everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions. The trouble starts when people think they are also entitled to their own facts.

      Away out West, on the hundreds of millions of acres of public lands that most Americans take for granted (if they are aware of them at all), the trouble is deep, widespread, and won’t soon go away. Last winter’s armed take-over and 41-day occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Oregon is a case in point. It was carried out by people who, if they hadn’t been white and dressed as cowboys, might have been called “terrorists” and treated as such. Their interpretation of the history of western lands and of the judicial basis for federal land ownership — or at least that of their leaders, since they weren’t exactly a band of intellectuals — was only loosely linked to reality.

      At least some of them took inspiration from the notion that Jesus Christ wrote the Constitution (which would be news to the Deists, like James Madison, who were its actual authors) and that it prohibits federal ownership of any land excepting administrative sites within the United States — a contention that more than two centuries of American jurisprudence has emphatically repudiated.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Chomsky: Today’s Republican Party is a Candidate for Most Dangerous Organization in Human History

      We speak with world-renowned political dissident Noam Chomsky about the Republican party, the rightward shift in U.S. politics and the 2016 election. “If we were honest, we would say something that sounds utterly shocking and no doubt will be taken out of context and lead to hysteria on the part of the usual suspects,” Chomsky says, “but the fact of the matter is that today’s Republican Party qualify as candidates for the most dangerous organization in human history. Literally.”

    • This Man Can’t Vote Today Because Kentucky’s GOP Governor Reversed A Major Voting Rights Victory

      “Seeing the struggle of those folks to vote, I was reminded of my dilemma and not being able to vote,” he said, referring to the film and the movement that led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

      Malone is one of more than 140,000 Kentuckians who are permanently disenfranchised because of felony convictions. The commonwealth is one of three states with the strictest felon disenfranchisement laws. Just over five percent of Kentucky’s voting-age population cannot vote because of a felony convictions, but for African Americans, that number is 16.7 percent.

    • Top Aide Explains Why Sanders is Fighting the Good Fight
    • Sanders Urges Democrat Leaders to Welcome ‘Real’ Fighters for Change

      ‘The Democratic Party has a choice,’ says senator. ‘It can open its doors and welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change… Or the party can choose to maintain its status quo structure.’

    • Bernie Sanders Looks for High Turnout to Fuel Kentucky, Oregon Upsets

      “Needless to say, what I hope we’ll be seeing is a very large voter turnout,” Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders told an Oregon newspaper over the weekend ahead of the state’s closed primary on Tuesday.

      It seems the Vermont senator may get his wish, with Oregon Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins saying Monday that voters are on track to cast more than one million votes in a primary election for only the second time in state history. The first time, according to The Oregonian, was in 2008 and “was driven most acutely by Obama-crazed voters wanting a say in the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama primary show-down.”

    • Live Blog: Both Parties Hold Oregon Primaries, Democrats in Close Race in Kentucky
    • Hillary and the Corporate Elite

      “Mainstream” U.S. media is struck by the “strange bedfellows” phenomenon whereby a number of right wing foreign policy neoconservatives and top business elites – including at least one of the notorious hard right-wing Koch brothers – are lining up with Democrat Hillary Clinton against the Republican Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential race. But what’s so strange about it? Trump is off the elite capitalist and imperial leash. He channels some nasty things that have long been part of the Republican Party playbook: frustrated white nationalism, racism, nativism, and male chauvinism.

      At the same time, however, he often sounds remarkably populist in ways that white working class voters appreciate. He has been critical of things that elite Republicans (and elite corporate Democrats) hold dear, including corporate globalization, “free trade’ (investor rights) deals, global capital mobility, cheap labor immigration. He questions imperialist adventures like the invasion of Iraq, the bombing of Libya, the destabilization of Syria, and the provocation of Russia. He’s a largely self-funded lone wolf and wild card who cannot be counted to reliably make policy in accord with the nation’s unelected and interrelated dictatorships of money and empire. And he’s seizing the nomination of a political organization that may have ceased to be a functioning national political party.

    • The Conservatives Will Be Protected From Their Election Fraud

      It is hard to think of bigger news than that the Electoral Commission is taking the governing party to court over alleged fraud in its election accounts, with possible disqualifications that could cost the government its majority. Yet the issue has received remarkably little coverage apart from the very dogged work of Channel 4 News. Why is that?

      There are a number of reasons. The first is that the media has a major pro-Tory bias and minimises bad news for the Tories as a matter of course. The most remarkable example of this is the continual playing down of divisions within the Conservative Party over Europe, which run to extreme levels of personal hatred and abuse. But you do not see that hatred and abuse reflected, whereas divisions within the Labour Party are reported daily in extreme detail.

      If you doubt what I say, consider the fact that it is quite openly acknowledged that, under pressure from No.10, the media are organising the televised debates for the EU referendum so that Conservatives are never seen to be debating each other. That is the most extraordinary piece of media connivance, and even entails the media excluding the official Leave campaign from at least one national debate. What is deeply worrying is that the UK has become a country where nobody is surprised or concerned at this kind of blatant state propaganda manipulation.

    • The Mainstream Media and Its Discontents

      Throughout the 2016 primary elections season to date, the “mainstream media,” both “liberal” and “conservative,” along with the establishments of both the Republican and Democratic parties, have been desperately working — at times in a state of barely-concealed panic — to contain, divert, coopt and otherwise neutralize a tsunami of discontent among the “uneducated,” “working class” masses, many of whom are “stubbornly” refusing to cooperate with the extremely expensive simulation of democracy that the corporate plutocracy is forced to stage for us every four years.

      These “discontents” have already handed the Republican presidential nomination to Donald Trump, a buffoonish billionaire real estate mogul whose incoherent demagogic ramblings make George W. Bush sound articulate in comparison, and are “childishly” dragging out the coronation of Democrat Hillary Clinton by continuing to vote for a 74-year-old self-proclaimed “socialist” who has had the audacity to talk about Clinton’s shady ties to Wall Street, and the rest of the transnational corporate elite that more or less rules the world at this point, and things like that.

    • British PM Cameron’s tiff with Trump over Muslims: The Hypocrisy Factor

      When Donald Trump announced his monstrous and yet daffy plan to exlude Muslims from the United States (what with being, himself, both monstrous and yet daffy), British Prime Minister David Cameron called him out. The plan, he said, is “divisive, stupid and wrong.”

      Trump gave an interview with Piers Morgan on British TV on Monday in which he threatened the United Kingdom with retaliation.

      [...]

      But what shouldn’t be lost in all this is that Cameron himself hasn’t exactly been good on Muslim issues in the UK. He’s been supercilious, condescending, and tone deaf. And he’s made some stupid and divisive proposals, as well.

    • More Mexican Immigrants Are Returning to Mexico Than Coming to the U.S.

      If you listen to Donald Trump and his legions of supporters—a task you undertake at your own peril—you will inevitably hear about hordes of invading Mexicans arriving in the United States daily, and the border wall the billionaire presidential candidate has proposed to keep them out. Variously described by Trump as a “gorgeous wall,” a “great, great wall,” and the “greatest wall that you’ve ever seen,” this magnificent would-be eighth wonder of the modern world has become a cornerstone of the GOP presidential contender’s campaign, a majestic concrete testament to America’s renewed Trumpian greatness.

    • The BBC White Paper show

      The run up to last week’s government white paper was filled with scare stories about a war against the BBC. The final document could scarcely have been more pleasing for the corporation.

    • Poll: Trump Closing in on Clinton, as Sanders Remains Formidable

      Donald Trump has reduced Hillary Clinton’s national lead to just three points—down from five last week—underscoring the grim prospects of the presidential election, a new poll released on Tuesday reveals.

      The NBC News/SurveyMonkey poll finds that Clinton now leads Trump nationally 48 to 45 percent, an unsettling development as the candidates enter their final stretch of primaries, two of which are taking place Tuesday in Kentucky and Oregon. Last week, Clinton and Trump were found to be in a dead heat in three swing states.

    • Poll: Trump narrows Clinton’s lead nationally to 3 points

      In the Democratic primary, Clinton leads Sanders nationally by 14 points, 54 percent to 40 percent. But it’s the Vermont senator who beats Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head by a wider margin, 53 percent to 41 percent.

    • Establishment Democrats and the Next March of Folly

      The March of Folly Defined: In 1984, Barbara W. Tuchman wrote the much acclaimed book, The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam in which she documented four cases where governments pursued policies contrary to their own interests, despite the availability of feasible alternatives, and despite evidence that the chosen courses of action would have devastating consequences.

      Still Marching Toward Folly: Since 1984 we have piled up a lot more marches of folly – the Iraqi invasion and regime change in general; the deregulation of banking leading to the Great Recession of 2008; an anti-terrorist strategy that generates more terrorists; an energy policy that advocated an “all of the above energy strategy” and discounted the threat of climate change; and a trade and tax policy that shifted wealth to the very few at the expense of the many, to name a few. (Extra credit question – which Democratic presidential candidate supported all of these follies)?

    • Donald Trump’s Trick Spokesperson Play

      The mystery of whether Trump masqueraded as his own spokesman while owner of the New Jersey Generals endures.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Teacher fired from Christian school after reporting shocking rape of her daughter

      A former teacher at a private Christian Science high school in St. Louis claims she was fired from her job as part of a cover-up after reporting to police that her underage daughter had been sexually assaulted multiple times by a school employee.

    • CIA ‘Mistakenly’ Destroys Torture Report
    • Appeals Court Declines to Release Full ‘Senate Torture Report’

      The D.C Circuit Court today ruled against releasing the entire contents of the so-called “Senate torture report,” which describes the Central Intelligence Agency’s controversial post-9/11 interrogation and detention program.

      A three-judge panel decided unanimously to deny a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union under the Freedom of Information Act requesting release of the 6,000-plus page investigative report by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

    • CIA Watchdog “Mistakenly” Destroys Its Sole Copy of Senate Torture Report

      The years-long battle to force the Obama administration to release the nearly-7,000-page Senate Intelligence Committee’s report detailing the CIA’s post-9/11 torture program just took an absurd new turn.

      According to exclusive reporting from Yahoo News correspondent Michael Isikoff, the CIA inspector general’s office says it “mistakenly” destroyed its sole copy of the mass document “at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved.”

    • Senate report on CIA torture is one step closer to disappearing

      The CIA inspector general’s office — the spy agency’s internal watchdog — has acknowledged it “mistakenly” destroyed its only copy of a mammoth Senate torture report at the same time lawyers for the Justice Department were assuring a federal judge that copies of the document were being preserved, Yahoo News has learned.

      While another copy of the report exists elsewhere at the CIA, the erasure of the controversial document by the office charged with policing agency conduct has alarmed the U.S. senator who oversaw the torture investigation and reignited a behind-the-scenes battle over whether the full unabridged report should ever be released, according to multiple intelligence community sources familiar with the incident.

    • Leaked NSA newsletter says working at Guantanamo Bay is fun and awesome

      There’s little to laugh about in the 166 documents from Edward Snowden’s treasure trove of NSA leaks The Intercept released to the public on Monday. As one might imagine, there’s a lot in there about how our government knowingly committed horrific human rights abuses and violated international law. But connoisseurs of the absurd could do worse than to read the leaked NSA newsletter from 2003 that made working at Guantanamo Bay sound like a fun Caribbean vacation. SCUBA diving and torture: Two great tastes that taste great together?

    • Kidnapped and coerced: this is Liliana’s story

      Many women who end up transporting drugs are co-opted by networks that use similar methods to those employed in human trafficking crimes. That is what happened to Liliana, a Venezuelan woman with two children who agreed to transport drugs under the threat that her family would be harmed if she refused. She is incarcerated at an Argentine federal prison and her children remain in Venezuela.

    • Red Hat is the Winner of Mintigo’s Data Super Hero Award

      Iran has arrested eight people working for online modelling agencies deemed to be “un-Islamic”, the prosecutor of Tehran’s cybercrimes court has said.

      The arrests are part of an operation that has seen women targeted for posting photos showing them not wearing headscarves on Instagram and elsewhere.

      Women in Iran have been required to cover their hair in public since 1979.

      The eight unnamed people were among 170 identified by investigators as being involved in modelling online.

      They included 59 photographers and make-up artists, 58 models and 51 fashion salon managers and designers, according to a statement from the court.

    • Indefinite prison for suspect who won’t decrypt hard drives, feds say

      US federal prosecutors urged a federal appeals court late Monday to keep a child-porn suspect behind bars—where he already has been for seven months—until he unlocks two hard drives that the government claims contain kid smut.

      The suspect, a Philadelphia police sergeant relieved of his duties, has refused to unlock two hard drives and has been in jail ever since a judge’s order seven months ago—and after being found in contempt of court. The defendant can remain locked up until a judge lifts the contempt order.

    • Michael Ratner, Champion for Human Rights

      Michael Ratner, who died last week, was a champion on behalf of the world’s oppressed, giving the phrase “human rights” real meaning and defying its current propaganda application to justify endless war, as Marjorie Cohn explained at Truthdig.

    • In Sweden, Children are Citizens… Not Overheads

      We all know about the obvious examples of Swedish social democracy in relation to kids, such as the generous parental leave and the subsidized daycare. Loved or hated, these aspects are almost always discussed (at least in popular terms) in relation to the parents and how they enable successful careers or boost the economy. Rarely, however, do we think of how these programs send a long-term message to children that they are valuable members of society who, at this precise moment in time, simply cannot fend for themselves. So, the state steps in to make sure that their rights and well-being are respected, just as the rights and well-being of their larger fellow citizens are respected.

    • Left Cover for Hoffa? The Rise and Fall of a Model Teamsters Local

      After Hoffa was jailed in 1967 for jury tampering, attempted bribery, and fraud, he left Frank Fitzsimmons in charge of the IBT. Gibbons did not fare well under Fitz, as he was known. To Gibbons’ credit, he was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War and played a key role in Labor for Peace, hosting its founding conference in St. Louis. He even joined a trade union delegation to Hanoi during the war, met with top North Vietnamese officials, and conducted Washington briefings on his trip when he returned.

    • What does the newly announced Euro 2016 team tell us about the state of multicultural England?

      The backpages will be full of hopeful optimism after the announcement of England’s provisional squad for Euro 2016. A squad full to bursting with youthful promise, it is the England fan’s lot to believe for 50 years it can never be as bad as the last time, but never as good as the first and only time either.

    • African American Unemployment, Hillary Clinton and Political Insanity!

      In reality, the black unemployment rate topped out at 30…

    • France erupts in defiance of employer-friendly labour reforms

      France is continuously rocked by debates around the meaning of the Enlightenment ideals of liberty, equality and solidarity that predate the French Revolution.

      Some important notions are widely shared. Most French citizens expect governments to meet the basic needs of all and promote individual expansion of talents and abilities.

      It is generally agreed France should offer educational, cultural and recreational facilities to every child.

      How the Enlightenment ideals should apply in the workplace is a matter of fierce dispute.

      Unlike Canada, the U.K. or the U.S., France has not consistently favoured employers over labour.

    • ‘An Entire Neighborhood Was Defamed’

      Few events have gone from fact to fable as quickly and decisively as that of the 1964 killing of Kitty Genovese. For decades we’ve heard references to the poor young woman stabbed again and again on a New York City street while some 38 people—Genovese’s neighbors—watched from their windows without making a move to help. In some tellings, some of them pulled up chairs for a better view. But in all tellings, the community’s apathy was the reason for Genovese’s death, almost as much as her killer, Winston Moseley, whose death in prison last month brought the story briefly back into the headlines.

    • Women and Children First: Homeland Security Targets “Family Units” for Deportation in May and June

      After January’s raids that tore teens from their families and plucked them off buses on their way to school, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is about to embark on a renewed quest to arrest and deport Central Americans who applied for refugee status in the United States in the summer of 2014. According to sources reported by Reuters on May 12, 2016 and confirmed by DHS a day later, the agency is sending Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents out on a second wave of raids against immigrants, this time with the specific aim of apprehending and imprisoning Central American women and their children, or “family units”, and unaccompanied minors.

    • Iran Arrests Models Over Instagrams Without Headscarves, Alleges Kim Kardashian Is A Secret Agent

      In a crackdown on “un-Islamic dress,” Iranian authorities arrested eight individuals involved in Instagrams of women without headscarves. A former model was also questioned by the authorities on live state television as part of the operation which “targets Iran’s fashion elite for their use of social media.”

      Prosecutor Javad Babei made the arrests public on TV, saying the operation was zeroing in on “threats to morality and the foundation of family.” A total of 29 people were notified about their allegedly problematic social media presence, but most had modified that behavior and, as a result, “did not face any judicial action,” Babei said. According to the BBC, the eight people who were arrested were among 170 identified by investigators as “being involved in modeling online”; in their ranks were 59 photographers and make-up artists, 58 models and 51 fashion salon managers and designers.

    • Private Groups, Not Government, Lead the Charge on Prison Issues

      The ethics panel of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) is considering prohibiting members from designing “execution chambers and spaces intended for torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.”

      Although no final decision has been announced, the proposal has been lauded by Architects/Designers/Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR), an architectural ethics and human rights group, as a huge leap forward on human rights,

      A ban would reverse the AIA’s position from 2014, when it rejected a similar proposal, and put it in line with other professional groups’ decisions related to human rights.

      The American Pharmacists Association and the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists, for instance, voted last year to prohibit members from “providing medical drugs to be used for executions.”

      More dramatically, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced Friday that it would ban the sale of drugs that could be used in executions, and the American Psychological Association (APA) recently voted to prohibit member psychologists from participating in national security interrogations. The United Nations has declared the practice of solitary confinement in the United States a form of torture.

    • For Second Year in a Row, HPSCI Tries to Gut PCLOB

      As I reported, during the passage of Intelligence Authorization last year (which ultimately got put through on the Omnibus bill, making it impossible for people to vote against), Congress implemented Intelligence Community wishes by undercutting PCLOB authority in two ways: prohibiting PCLOB from reviewing covert activities, and stripping an oversight role for PCLOB that had been passed in all versions of CISA.

    • Make America Less Smart Again! We Know Words! Obama Is A Joke! Sad!

      Oh man. We can’t even. So Obama gave a commencement speech at Rutgers where he actually praised “Facts. Evidence. Reason. Logic. An understanding of science,” claiming, “These are good things. These are qualities you want in people making policy. These are qualities you want to continue to cultivate in yourselves as citizens.” He went on, “So class of 2016, let me be as clear as I can be: in politics and in life, ignorance is not a virtue. It’s not cool to not know what you’re talking about. That’s not keeping it real or telling it like it is. That’s not challenging political correctness, that’s just not knowing what you’re talking about.”

    • France Rises Up Against Anti-Labor Reforms

      Union members joined pro-democracy activists in widespread protests against new law that makes it easier to fire workers and move jobs offshore

    • Donald Trump faces June deposition in restaurant lawsuit

      Expected Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears likely to be forced off the campaign trail in June to be deposed under oath in at least one of two lawsuits he filed after prominent chefs backed away from plans to open restaurants at the luxury Trump International Hotel under development in Washington.

      A D.C. Superior Court judge approved a plan Tuesday to briefly extend court deadlines to allow Trump to give testimony June 16 in the case Trump’s development company filed against a firm set up by restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian to open a dining establishment called “The National.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Cable Lobbying Group Claims More Competition Would Hurt Consumers

      The FCC recently voted 4-1 to approve Charter’s $79 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The agency just released its full order (pdf) pertaining to the deal, outlining the various conditions the FCC hopes to enforce to keep Charter from simply becoming another Comcast. Among them are a seven-year ban on usage caps, a seven-year ban on charging for direct interconnection (the heart of the telecom industry’s battle with Netflix last year), and a ban on any attempt to pressure broadcasters into refusing deals with streaming video providers.

      [...]

      If history is any indication the ACA really doesn’t need to worry all that much. Traditionally in telecom, FCC conditions requiring that an ISP “expand to X number of additional homes” are usually conditions that the merging companies volunteer themselves. Why? It’s most frequently because that expansion either already happened (and the paperwork hasn’t been filed yet) — or was slated to happen as a matter of course. Or it may not happen at all; such expansion promises are usually never really independently audited by the FCC, which lets companies string the FCC along with an endless flood of expansion promises that more often than not aren’t even real.

      In other words, the ACA’s decision to insult the intelligence of an already annoyed customer base by pretending competition would be bad for them — only adds insult to injury. Instead of whining about competition, how about just competing? Better yet, how about competing with Charter using a strange, outdated idea known as better customer service?

    • La Quadrature du Net leaves the state of emergency

      When faced with a wall, you need to know when to stop banging your head against it. After years of legal violence, defeats and steady erosion of fundamental rights, and confronted with an elected political body whose only logic is to reinforce the security apparatus, La Quadrature du Net has decided to stop wasting time trying to appeal to the reason of those who won’t listen, and is now taking a new direction for its actions.

    • Add Philadelphia To The Long List Of Cities That Think Verizon Ripped Them Off On Fiber Promises

      Verizon’s modus operandi has been fairly well established by now: convince state or local leaders to dole out millions in tax breaks and subsidies — in exchange for fiber that’s either only partially delivered, or not delivered at all. Given this story has repeated itself in New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York City and countless other locations, there’s now a parade of communities asking somebody, anybody, to actually hold Verizon’s feet to the fire. Given Verizon’s political power (especially on the state level) those calls go unheeded, with Verizon lawyers consistently able to wiggle around attempts to hold the telco to account.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Extra-Territorial Application of the Defend Trade Secrets Act

      The Economic Espionage Act (EEA) includes a provision regarding its “applicability to conduct outside the United States.” 18 U.S.C. § 1837. Section 1837 was left unchanged with DTSA’s amendments to EEA, but seemingly applies to the new private civil cause of action for trade secret misappropriation. The provision offers important insight on how the new cause of action can be applied in the foreign context. Most importantly, a (1) U.S. corporation or citizen can be held liable for trade secret misappropriation under the DTSA regardless of whether the misappropriation occurred abroad; and (2) an entity can be held liable under the DTSA for foreign misappropriation if “an act in furtherance of the offense was committed in the United States.”

    • Alibaba membership of IACC suspended amid turmoil

      The International AntiCounterfeiting Coalition (IACC) board of directors sent a letter to members on May 13 saying it would like to address an anonymous letter that has been recently circulated that expressed concerns about the IACC President Bob Barchiesi, and the organisation’s operations and governance.

    • Trademarks

      • Earnhardt Family Fighting Over Whether One Earnhardt Son Can Use His Own Last Name

        You may not be aware of this, but apparently Teresa Earnhardt, widow of Dale Earnhardt Sr., the NASCAR driver who died mid-race in 2001, is a staunch protector of her deceased husband’s name. I was one of those not aware of this, primarily because NASCAR is every bit as foreign to me as curling (hi, Canadians!). Her latest attempt to block the use of the Earnardt name is particularly interesting, since those she is opposing are her dead husband’s son and his son’s wife.

        [...]

        It’s also a strain to understand how much confusion is going to be caused by Kerry using his last name for a home and furniture business. Teresa’s filing attempts to assert that there will be plenty, but the USPTO didn’t buy it.

      • “Simply” invalid: French trade mark win for M&S in the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris

        M&S responded that there was no likelihood of confusion, and counterclaimed for invalidity of both trade marks, and requested that both trade marks be revoked for lack of use.

      • Belmora seeks en banc reconsideration in Flanax trade mark case

        In March, the Fourth Circuit reversed the Eastern District of Virginia’s dismissal for lack of standing and found that use of the Flanax mark is not a prerequisite to sue for unfair competition or false advertising under Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act or for cancellation under Section 14(3). The case was remanded to the district court.

    • Copyrights

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