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05.21.16

Links 21/5/2016: Manjaro Linux RC, Flock 2016 Schedule

Posted in News Roundup at 9:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • They take to it later, but when women FLOSS, they mean it

    Despite an extreme gender gap in the free/Libre and open-source software community – even more extreme than in general IT – women who work full time in FLOSS stick with it longer than men, according to a recent report.

    The gap between men and women in the IT industry is well known. The report, “Women in Free/Libre/Open Source Software: The situation in the 2010s”, estimates that women make up 25 to 30 per cent of the IT workforce. For women working in free and open-source software, however, this percentage drops dramatically to two to five per cent.

  • Moving on from ownCloud

    A few days ago, I published my last blogpost as ’ownCloud’ on our blog roll about the ownCloud community having grown by 80% in the last year. Talk about leaving on a high note!

    Yes, I’ll be leaving ownCloud, Inc. – but not the community. As the numbers from my last post make clear, the ownCloud community is doing awesome. It is growing at an exponential rate and while that in itself poses challenges, the community is healthy and doing great.

  • The most important skill you need as a leader

    “One of the most powerful tools you have as a leader is to be present.” Eric McNulty opened up the first day of Cultivate this year, the annual pre-conference event before OSCON, with this quote.

  • Geek of the Week: Timothy Crosley is a champion of open source technology

    When Timothy Crosley isn’t working on security solutions for DomainTools, he devotes his time to open source projects. He runs Simple Innovation, a software development business that builds apps on a contract basis, using open source technology.

  • Why Should Every Developer Contribute To Open Source Software?

    Since the beginning of the free and open source software movement, a lot has changed. Today, open technologies are being used by millions of individuals and companies to make their products better. Open source software development also brings numerous benefits to a developer and here we are going to talk more about the same.

  • Open source at your company? 6 questions your manager will ask

    Christian Grail gave a talk at OSCON 2016 titled: “How to convince your manager to go open source.”

    I thought the perspective was going to be from the user side but it was from the employee side, about convincing your manager to open source the projects at your company.

  • Yu set to take on Xiaomi, releases open-source code for developers to make its OS interesting!

    Micromax subsidiary brand, Yu Televentures has an official forum online, which has been an active space for communication for the company with its fans and followers. The company has now announced something special for developers and contributors.

  • The new open source: Money, corporations, and identity

    Danese Cooper, head of open source for PayPal, spoke to during the Day 2 OSCON morning keynotes about the sustainability of open source, mixing in some of the history of open source as well as her own sage advice.

  • Events

  • SaaS/Back End

    • It Takes a Village: Making Data Projects Work – Amy Gaskins, Big Data Project Director
    • It’s Surprising Who’s Using NFV MANO Code From Cloudify

      There’s been so much flurry around NFV management and network orchestration (MANO) in 2016 that GigaSpaces’ Cloudify Project kind of flew under the radar.

      GigaSpaces, a company that offers a data scalability platform, has created some MANO software named Cloudify, and the code is being used by Open-O, OPNFV, and AT&T.

      [...]

      GigaSpaces launched the NFV Lab during the OpenStack Summit last month, and it is demonstrating it in collaboration with Metaswitch at the Metaswitch Forum event this week in Scottsdale, Ariz.

    • Publisher’s cloud strategy improves uptime and agility with PaaS

      Despite this PaaS love, Otte is keeping his options open. As he told me, “We’re committed to operating in a multi-cloud environment that uses open source and cloud-based technologies in everything that we do.” This means, among other things, that the company will continue to use OpenStack to stand up private and public clouds, even as it uses Cloud Foundry’s container-based architecture to build portable images and then run them in any language.

    • MapR Report Shows Apache Drill Coming to Maturity

      MapR Technologies, focused on Hadoop, made the news this week as it rolled out a simple migration service for its Hadoop distribution that targets what it bills as growing demand for moving Big Data tool installations to its converged data platform. And, it was one year ago that we did an interview marking the company weaving Apache Drill into its Hadoop-centric distribution. Drill, which we’ve covered before, delivers self-service SQL analytics without requiring pre-defined schema definitions, dramatically reducing the time required for business analysts to explore and understand data. It also enables interactivity with data from both legacy transactional systems and new data sources, such as Internet of things (IOT) sensors, Web click-streams, and other semi-structured data, along with support for popular business intelligence (BI) and data visualization tools.

  • CMS

    • Phire CMS: A feature-rich, lightweight content management system

      By 2009, developer Nick Sagona had, over time, built quite a few custom, hand-rolled content management solutions for his specific client needs. He realized that having a standard, modular platform for all these custom bits would be useful, and Phire CMS was born.

      Phire CMS version 1.0 was released on November 1, 2010. Last October, version 2.0 was released, with a ground-up rewrite to utilize the Pop PHP Framework, also developed by Sagona at NOLA Interactive, a New Orleans-based web design firm. Both applications are available under the BSD 3-Clause License.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • It’s Possible To Run (X)Wayland On DragonFlyBSD

      It’s possible to get XWayland running on DragonFlyBSD if you want to experience Wayland/Weston outside of Linux.

      A DragonFlyBSD developer was successful in rebuilding the X.Org Server with XWayland support, used the i915 Intel DRM/KMS driver for display, and launched Wayland’s Weston with the Pixman renderer.

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Git 2.8.3 Source Code Management System Introduces over 20 Improvements

      Git, the popular and acclaimed source code management system, has received its third point release, version 2.8.3, bringing over 20 improvements and bug fixes to the current stable 2.8 branch.

    • Your project’s RCS history affects ease of contribution (or: don’t squash PRs)

      Github recently introduced the option to squash commits on merge, and even before then several projects requested that contributors squash their commits after review but before merge. This is a terrible idea that makes it more difficult for people to contribute to projects.

      I’m spending today working on reworking some code to integrate with a new feature that was just integrated into Kubernetes. The PR in question was absolutely fine, but just before it was merged the entire commit history was squashed down to a single commit at the request of the reviewer. This single commit contains type declarations, the functionality itself, the integration of that functionality into the scheduler, the client code and a large pile of autogenerated code.

Leftovers

  • Aiding Africa

    I realized that there are two Africas: one normally portrayed in the media, a land of poverty, disease and war. And another Africa: a vital, energetic continent of hard working men and women, a continent of beautiful children and young men and young women, a continent of humor and a continent of hope. Today, six of the ten fastest economies in the world are in Africa.

    Despite some progress, however, some important problems remain, such as unemployment, particularly among the young. It is estimated that 70 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa is under the age of 30, and that 60 percent of the unemployed are also young people. New policies should be developed to incorporate them into the labor force.

  • Eurovision as Politics

    This year’s Eurovision came with its usual cast of political baggage and implications, made spicier by the introduction of a “popular” vote that effectively neutralised usual judging patterns. But then again, the entire tournament was filled with such innovations, with Australia running a second time and winning the professional judge’s vote, only to lose by public vote to Ukraine.

    Even before the confirmation that Australia would feature again, eyebrows were raised as to what would be in store. A ridiculous competition, famed for its sublimated battles, was about to get even more peculiar. Were the Australians the shock absorbers in a polarised field?

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Hundreds of antibiotics built from scratch

      A 64-year-old class of antibiotics that has been a cornerstone of medical treatment has been dramatically refreshed by dogged chemists searching for ways to overcome antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

      In work described today in Nature[1], a team of chemists built molecules similar to the drug erythromycin, a key member of the macrolide class, from scratch. In doing so, they were able to generate more than 300 variations on erythromycin that would not have been feasible by merely modifying the original drug — the way that scientists would normally search for new variants of existing antibiotics.

    • Establishment Dems Fight to Defeat ‘Medicare-for-All’ in Colorado

      Pro-Clinton Democrats join Big Pharma and state Republicans in fighting to defeat first-in-the-nation ballot measure for statewide single-payer plan

    • Tobacco laws: Bid to overturn packaging rules dismissed

      Uniform packaging rules for tobacco will be introduced on Friday after a legal challenge against the new law was dismissed by the High Court.

      The case was brought by four of the world’s biggest tobacco firms, Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco, Imperial Tobacco and Japan Tobacco International.

      But Mr Justice Green dismissed all their grounds of challenge.

      The government said it meant a generation would “grow up smoke-free”.

      Two of the companies have said they will appeal against the ruling.

    • Big Tobacco Lost to Australia over Plain Packaging – but That Doesn’t Mean Corporate Courts ‘Work’

      Late last year tobacco company Philip Morris International’s (PMI) attempted to sue the Australian government for billions over the introduction of plain packing of cigarettes. This court case happened in a secretive court system, just like the one that they are trying to introduce in the EU-USA trade deal, TTIP. PMI failed in their attempt and the case report has just been published.

      It is indisputably a good thing that PMI lost the case. But people who argue in favour of the same ‘corporate court’ system in TTIP (the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, or ISDS) are claiming this as proof that the system works, justice was done, and the ISDS system functions responsibly to make sure that corporations can’t abuse it.

      Here’s five reasons why that’s not true.

  • Security

    • “Robin Hood” Hacker Steals $11,000 In Bitcoin, Donates It To Help Fight ISIS

      The hacker who claimed to hack the Hacking Team and Gamma Group is back again. This time, he has sent about $11,000 of allegedly stolen Bitcoin to help fight ISIS.

    • Aqua Launches Container Security Platform

      Looking beyond just application vulnerability scanning, Aqua also provides a degree of runtime protections. Aqua uses a layered security approach to keep containers safe, according to Jerbi. The layered approach starts with running the container application images in learning mode, usually during functional testing. In the learning mode, Aqua examines a container’s behavior in the application context and uses that to set granular runtime parameters, based on which files, executables and network connections a container is using.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Noam Chomsky on Syria Conflict: Cut Off the Flow of Arms & Stop Bombing to Stem the Atrocities

      Today, the U.S. and Russia co-chair a meeting of the 17-nation International Syria Support Group aimed at easing the five-year conflict with a death toll that has reached close to half a million people. Just last month, President Obama announced the deployment of 250 more Special Operations troops to Syria in a move that nearly doubles the official U.S. presence in the country. Syria is only one of a number of ongoing deadly conflicts in the Middle East. Last year, a record 60 million people around the world were forced to flee their homes, becoming refugees. For more on these conflicts and the rise of ISIS, we continue our conversation with internationally renowned political dissident, linguist and author, Noam Chomsky. “The U.S. invasion of Iraq was a major reason in the development, a primary reason in the incitement of sectarian conflicts, which have now exploded into these monstrosities,” says Chomsky. He has written over 100 books, most recently, “Who Rules the World?” Chomsky is institute professor emeritus at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he’s taught for more than 50 years.

    • Israel and Saudi Arabia: Strange Bedfellows in the New Middle East

      On the surface, it would seem that Saudi Arabia and Israel would be the worst of enemies — and indeed, they’ve never had diplomatic relations.

    • America – the Most Frightened Nation on Earth

      America is exceptional alright. It is the most frightened nation on Earth, subjected to hysterical propaganda over decades warning about foreign enemies and ideologies. No wonder its supposed democratic freedom is in so appallingly bad shape, when the preponderant population is imprisoned by their rulers in a virtual cage of fear.

      [...]

      Clooney dismissed Trump as a demagogue sowing fear and divisive tensions along racial and xenophobic lines. Which is fair enough. Of interest here is not so much the actor’s views on Trump’s chances of political success. Rather, it is Clooney’s premise that Americans would not succumb to reactionary fear peddling.

      Seated at the press conference alongside his American co-star Julia Roberts and film director Jody Foster, Clooney told his Cannes audience: «Fear is not going to drive our country… we’re not afraid of anything».

      Well, sorry George, but you are dead wrong on that score. Fear is the paramount emotional driver in American politics since at least the Second World War, and probably decades before that too.

    • Pentagon Official Once Told Morley Safer That Reporters Who Believe the Government Are “Stupid”

      Morley Safer, who was a correspondent on CBS’s 60 Minutes from 1970 until just last week, died Thursday at age 84.

      There will be hundreds of obituaries about Safer, but at least so far there’s been no mention of what I think was one of the most important stories he ever told.

      In 1965, Safer was sent to Vietnam by CBS to cover the escalating U.S. war there. That August he filed a famous report showing American soldiers burning down a Vietnamese village with Zippo lighters and flamethrowers as children and elderly women and men cowered nearby.

    • The Dreadful Kagan Clan——Hillary’s Warmongers In Waiting

      The U.S. is heading straight for a fiscal calamity in the next decade. Even if you believe the CBO’s Rosy Scenario projections——-which assume that we will go 207 months thru 2026 without a recession or double the longest expansion on record and nearly 4X the normal cycle length—–we will still end up with $28 trillion of national debt and a $1.3 trillion annual deficit (5% of GDP) by 2026.

    • Obama Plays a Dove in NPR’s Historical Fiction

      So Clinton pushed for “safe zones” in Syria, which Obama did not create—and she advocated for US military intervention in Libya, which Obama carried out. So half the evidence presented for the claim that Clinton is more hawkish than Obama actually shows that Clinton is as hawkish as Obama.

      But what is the evidence that Obama is “reticent when it comes to deploying military force” in the first place? He’s bombed at least seven countries during his time in office—Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and Libya, and drone strikes continue in all of these but Libya. The deadliest airstrikes, those against ISIS-held territory in Iraq and Syria, have killed more than 25,000 people, according to US officials.

    • Pushing Russia Toward War

      NATO’s military pressure on Russia and the West’s economic sanctions have empowered Moscow’s hardliners…

    • Parallels Between Israel and 1930s Germany

      90 years ago was 1926, one of the last years of the German republic. 80 years ago was 1936, three years after the Nazis came to power. 70 years ago was 1946, on the morrow of Hitler’s suicide and the end of the Nazi Reich.

      I feel compelled to write about the general’s speech after all, because I was there.

      As a child I was an eyewitness to the last years of the Weimar Republic (so called because its constitution was shaped in Weimar, the town of Goethe and Schiller). As a politically alert boy I witnessed the Nazi Machtergreifung (“taking power”) and the first half a year of Nazi rule.

    • Death in a Shopping Aisle: Jonathan Sorensen’s Fatal Encounter with Kmart

      “We’re fighting a system that now includes Kmart, which has an unlimited amount of power,” said Dinah Vargas, Albuquerque human rights activist and producer of the independent media site Burquemedia.com. “They’re acting like agents of the State, like they’re police officers. They have no authority to arrest him,”

      Vargas added, “Our own state doesn’t do capital punishment. We don’t send anyone to death. I’m an American citizen, and I’ll be damned if a loss prevention officer is going to be judge, jury and executioner.”

    • Speaking To NRA In A Gun-Free Zone, Trump Pledges To Eliminate Gun-Free Zones

      Donald Trump vowed to get rid of “gun free zones” during the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville Friday, going a step further than his frequent promise to allow guns in schools and military bases.

      Despite the fact that many Trump hotels and the convention center where he spoke on Friday are all gun-free zones, the presumptive nominee said he went off his telepromter to promise the NRA members in attendance that he would eliminate gun-free zones altogether. Trump also earned the NRA’s endorsement at the event.

    • NSA Participated In the Worst Abuses of the Iraq War

      You know the CIA was involved with some of the least savory aspects of the Iraq War.

      But the NSA got its hands dirty, as well.

    • US Downplays a New Syrian Massacre

      The Obama administration claims Syrian rebels in Ahrar al-Sham deserve protection from government attack although they have close ties to Al Qaeda and joined its official Syrian affiliate in a slaughter of Alawites, writes Daniel Lazare.

    • Venezuela’s Crisis From Up Close

      As the political configuration of South America quickly shifts to the right and the global alignment of power is in active play , Venezuela is in the cross-hairs. The grave humanitarian crisis in Venezuela today is real and not an invention of the press. And the contributions to this crisis lie on multiple shoulders. And the solution to this problem needs to be determined by the Venezuelan people with support from other Latin American peoples.

    • Think Tanks and the US Power Elite

      The US power elite is involved in many ways in the dispute over global domination, its exercise and defense.

      The precarious balance of forces in the bipolar world in which we lived after World War II prevented US imperialism from imposing its absolute hegemony world-wide. That was based on the nuclear blackmail it threatened after its genocidal bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

      Later, a tense arms race would arrive, promoted by the so-called “balance of terror”. According to this notion, which the forerunner power in the production of weapons would cause an imbalance in the international arena. The one with the most and deadliest weapons would be able to destroy the other.

    • In Hiroshima, Obama and Abe Should Acknowledge Their Country’s Wrongdoing

      On May 27, as the first sitting president of the United States, Barack Obama, will visit Hiroshima, the city that his country attacked with an atomic bomb on August 6, 1945.

      Obama neither has a plan to apologize for the bombing nor to go back to the debate on the decision to drop the bomb. He has no plan to make a significant speech in Hiroshima comparable to his “Prague Speech” of April 5, 2009. There is not a plan yet for him to meet with Hibakusha (atomic-bomb victims).

      He received a Nobel Peace Prize for just talking about “a world without nuclear weapons” in Prague. Yet, Obama has been relentlessly allocating large budgets for modernization of nuclear weapons – $1 trillion over thirty years.

    • Saudi Arabia’s new best friend: India

      Fighting a sectarian air-war in Yemen, Saudis have made a mockery of humanitarian and human rights laws; from using indiscriminate cluster bombs to decimating hospitals and marketplaces. But the absence of formidable ground force means that they have not been able to achieve any of the set military objectives. Houthis still control much of the country, including the capital Sana’a. The Saudi-backed ousted government of Mansour Hadi faces opposition even in its stronghold of Aden. Al-Qaeda virtually rules over a state in the south-eastern port of Mukalla with a constant revenue stream and looted reserves worth $100 million. ISIS is also on the rise.

    • 2001 AUMF, Gitmo Restrictions Survive as House Passes Defense Policy Bill

      Last minute attempts to wind down trappings of the Bush-era Global War on Terror were thwarted Wednesday night before lawmakers in the House passed the annual defense bill.

      An amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) put forth by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) was defeated in a 285-138 vote. Fifty-seven Democrats joined Republicans to preserve the 15-year-old consent to war.

    • Trump Praised For Being ‘Consistent’ After Lying About His Record On Military Intervention

      During a Friday phone interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he “would have stayed out of Libya” back in 2011. Contrasting his own position with then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who pushed to get the United States more involved in the effort to take out Muammar Qaddafi, Trump said deposing the dictator led to “more destabilization” in the region. Trump also said he “would have stayed out of Iraq too.”

      Trump’s remarks won plaudits from host Joe Scarborough, who responded by saying, “There are a lot of people who say you have an inconsistent foreign policy, but it sounds pretty consistent.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • UN Assessment: Global Destruction of Mother Earth on Fast Track

      With no region of the Earth untouched by the ravages of environmental destruction, the state of the world’s natural resources is in a rapid downward spiral, a comprehensive assessment by the United Nations has found.

      Published Thursday, Global Environmental Outlook from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) involved the expertise of more than 1,200 scientists and over 160 governments, and exposes through reports on each of the world’s six regions that the rate of environmental deterioration is occurring faster than previously thought—and can only be halted with swift action.

    • Abandoning Doubt & Denial, School District Officially Embraces Climate Literacy

      In what may be a first in the nation, this week the Portland, Oregon school board passed a sweeping “climate justice” resolution that commits the school district to “abandon the use of any adopted text material that is found to express doubt about the severity of the climate crisis or its roots in human activity.” The resolution further commits the school district to develop a plan to “address climate change and climate justice in all Portland Public Schools.”

      The resolution is the product of a months-long effort by teachers, parents, students, and climate justice activists to press the Portland school district to make “climate literacy” a priority. It grew out of a November gathering of teachers and climate activists sponsored by 350PDX, Portland’s affiliate of the climate justice organization, 350.org. The group’s resolution was endorsed by more than 30 community organizations. Portland’s Board of Education approved it unanimously late Tuesday evening, cheered by dozens of teachers, students, and activists from 350PDX, the Raging Grannies, Rising Tide, the Sierra Club, Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, Climate Jobs PDX, and a host of other groups.

    • Agriculture Wasn’t Included In The Paris Climate Deal, But It Will Be Crucial To Meeting Its Goals

      In December, nearly 200 nations met in Paris and unanimously agreed, in historic fashion, to a shared goal of keeping the world well below 2 degrees Celsius of warming. In order to achieve that, the participating nations each put forth a broad set of goals, known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and agreed to a number of provisions included in the text of the Paris agreement itself.

    • After ‘Robbing Humanity’ of Better Future, Shareholders Targeted for Big Oil’s Charade

      When they gather in Texas and California, respectively, for their annual shareholder meetings next week, ExxonMobil and Chevron will face increasing pressure from shareholders, environmentalists, and impacted communities to act on climate change.

      The meetings, both taking place next Wednesday, come amid a concerted effort to hold Exxon and other fossil fuel corporations accountable for deceiving the general public and their shareholders about climate science.

      But if history is any indication, the Big Oil giants will remain as intractable as ever, even in the face of a growing climate crisis.

    • Here’s One Way The Media Confuses The Public About Climate Change

      The multi-decade disinformation campaign funded by the fossil fuel industry is certainly a key source of their confusion. And that confusion is amplified whenever the media disproportionately favors scientists who reject the basic scientific consensus on climate change. A 2014 study makes clear this false balance remains commonplace.

      But there is another more insidious source of confusion for the public, and that’s when the media’s language on climate science is itself ridiculously watered-down.

    • Tiny English Village Fights Fossil Fuel Industry To Avoid Becoming Ground Zero For British Fracking

      Through the decades, the English countryside has been known to American audiences as the background for classic, beloved shows: Brideshead Revisited, All Creatures Great and Small, Downton Abbey. The casual Netflix viewer today is familiar with Britain’s brick villages, hedgerows, and quaint, narrow streets.

      Kirby Misperton (pop. 370) is such a village. It has been perched in the gently rolling hills of northeast England for, literally, a thousand years. “New” houses here were built before the United States fought a civil war.

    • The Science Museum is free – so what is BP buying?

      “I’d prefer the wording not to focus on environmental damage” – those were the words used in an email by the company Shell, as it attempted to muscle in on the Science Museum’s curatorial decision making. In 2014, Shell had been a sponsor of the museum’s climate science exhibition but once that controversial email had been unearthed – as the result of a freedom of information request – there was no going back. The museum’s reputation was damaged and the end of Shell’s sponsorship became inevitable.

      Earlier this month, the campaign group, Art Not Oil, published a damning report into the “corrupting influence” of another fossil fuel giant – BP – on the museums and galleries it sponsors. Once again, it places the Science Museum in the spotlight.

      At its recent AGM, BP’s chief executive Bob Dudley insisted that the company gives money with “no strings attached” but documents cited in the report paint the opposite picture. Rather than furthering the understanding of science, BP appears to have been using the Science Museum in order to sharpen its spin and advance its strategic interests with policymakers.

      Curatorial independence is highly prized in the culture sector but for the Science Museum, BP has often been an exception to the rule. When the museum redeveloped its energy gallery in 2004, BP played a “hands-on” role. An article posted on BP’s website at the time (but now no longer available) described a “BP advisory board headed by Peter Mather, BP head of country, UK” with “10 experts from BP … to help with content for the exhibits.” And the Science Museum’s sponsorship liaison manager said: “We would like to help [BP] meet their objectives on different levels, including corporate responsibility, education strategy and global strategy.”

    • First Nations and Allies Vow to Fight Kinder Morgan Pipeline Approval

      Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) announced late Thursday that it has found oil giant Kinder Morgan’s planned expansion of a pipeline that transports tar sands oil to the British Columbia coast “in the public interest.”

    • India Records Highest Temperature Ever As Drought Drives Despair

      India recorded its hottest day on the books on Thursday amid a scorching heatwave and “staggering” number of farmer suicides.

      Sizzling at 51 degrees Celsius (123.8 degrees F), the temperature in the city of Phalodi in the western state of Rajasthan topped the nation’s previous record of 50.6 Celsius set in 1956.

    • India records its hottest day ever as temperature hits 51C (that’s 123.8F)

      A city in northern India has shattered the national heat record, registering a searing 51C – the highest since records began – amid a nationwide heatwave.

      The new record was set in Phalodi, a city in the desert state of Rajasthan, and is the equivalent of 123.8F.

      It tops a previous record of 50.6C set in 1956.

    • Over A Third Of North America’s Bird Species Need ‘Urgent Conservation Action’

      The report, released by the governments of Canada, the United States, and Mexico, is the first to look at the threats facing all 1,154 migratory bird species native to North America. Taking into account population sizes and trends, extent of habitats, and severity of threats, the report found that 37 percent of migratory birds in North America qualify for the conservation watch list, “indicating species of highest conservation concern based on high vulnerability scores across multiple factors.”

    • Fukushima Flunks Decontamination

      The Abe government is desperately trying to clean up and repopulate as if nothing happened, whereas Chernobyl (1986) determined at the outset it was an impossible task, a lost cause, declaring a 1,000 square mile no-habitation zone, resettling 350,000 people. It’ll take centuries for the land to return to normal.

    • Drought be Dammed

      The water crisis in the West has renewed debate about the effectiveness of major dams, with some pushing for the enormous Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River to be decommissioned.

    • House Republicans Are Going After The Exxon Investigation

      Not content to let the House Committee on Space, Science, and Technology’s reputation for hating science rest for even a moment, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) has now subpoenaed the New York attorney general over his investigation into Exxon’s role in sowing climate denial.

      Calling the investigation a “coordinated attempt to deprive companies, nonprofit organizations, and scientists of their First Amendment rights and ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and the threat of prosecution,” Smith’s letter calls for documents and communication between the attorney general’s office and environmental groups, the EPA, and the Justice Department, and internally, regarding any climate change investigations.

    • The ALEC Attack on Solar Power

      It seems almost every week a new report comes out touting the growth of renewable electricity, especially wind and solar. Whether it is new milestones in installed generation capacity or low prices sold into the electricity markets, wind and solar are the certain future of electricity generation. But the future prospects of truly clean energy depend on a variety of government policies that have incentivized that growth. Net metering is one of those policies—which is why it has come under attack.

      Net metering is a billing arrangement in which the owner of a rooftop solar system can send electricity they don’t use back into the grid, and receive credit for it on their bill. While there is no national net metering policy, net metering programs have traditionally paid the owners the “retail” electricity rate. In other words, the owners have gotten a one-for-one credit for each kilowatt-hour of electricity sent into the grid.

    • Trump cannot derail global climate deal

      Even if he wins the US presidency, Donald Trump will be unable to halt international progress towards a low-carbon economy, a British expert says.

    • The world’s largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problem

      As Harmony of the Seas sets sail from Southampton docks on Sunday she will leave behind a trail of pollution – a toxic problem that is growing as the cruise industry and its ships get ever bigger

    • Warnings of Food Safety Threats as Canada Green Lights ‘Frankenfish’

      Despite a sustained effort from public health and climate activists, genetically modified (GM or GMO) salmon has been officially sanctioned for sale in Canada.

      And if that wasn’t foreboding enough, a pending trade deal between Canada and the European Union means the country’s first approved GMO food animal, known colloquially as the “Frankenfish,” could soon be sold and eaten internationally.

      Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced their approval of the U.S.-based biotechnology company AquaBounty’s salmon—which will be shipped as eggs from Prince Edward Island to laboratories in Panama, where they will be grown to their adult full size and sent back to Canada for sale and consumption—on Thursday.

  • Finance

    • Central Asia, the Panama Papers and the myth of the periphery

      Regarding the potential for a mobilisation of public outrage, the anonymous source behind the Panama leak stated that “a new global debate has started” in a manifesto for Süddeutsche Zeitung.

      In tune with the usual refrain that bribing is rife outside the west, David Cameron referred to Afghanistan and Nigeria as “fantastically corrupt” during an embarrassing microphone slip-up on 10 May ahead of the London Anti-Corruption Summit. In response, corruption experts at Transparency International were quick to brand Cameron’s government as “extraordinarily inept” for its lax regulation and transparency requirements across British-controlled offshore dependencies such as the Cayman and Virgin Islands (BVI).

      These developments suggest two market logics in play. Whereas oligarchs from outside the west operate from a logic of “demand-side” corruption seeking discreet locations to launder money, the west operates from a logic of “supply-side” corruption.

    • Response to Human Rights Watch’s letter on minimum-age standards with respect to child labour

      As the UN considers its position on child labour, a group of academics and practitioners have engaged in open debate with Human Rights Watch over the utility of minimum age rules. This is the third letter in a series.

    • Donald Trump Says ‘I Don’t Settle,’ But We Found 13 Times He Did.

      The lawsuits touch many facets of his real estate and entertainment empire: Complaints were filed against his television production company, his now mostly defunct chain of casinos, and his hotel and resort management businesses. Each of the companies were owned and/or directly controlled by Trump at the time of the suits.

    • Francis: Employers not offering health insurance are ‘true leeches’

      Pope Francis has condemned employers who exploit their workers by offering only temporary contracts or not providing health insurance, calling them “true leeches [that] live on the bloodletting of the people they make slaves to work.”

      Reflecting Thursday on the day’s Mass readings during his homily at Casa Santa Marta, the pontiff also said that Christians err when they think there is a “theology of prosperity” in which God “sees that you are just and gives you much wealth.”

    • Pope Francis To Employers Who Don’t Offer Health Care: You Are ‘True Leeches’
    • Austerity as a failed experiment

      Austerity is a failed experiment, it is an elite narrative that informs a set of policies whose outcomes are not yet fully known – they are contingent, contested and uncertain.

    • Many of America’s Leading Economists Are Not Even Remotely Grappling With America’s Systemic Problems

      The ferocious reaction to my assessment that Senator Bernie Sanders’ economic and health care proposals could create long-term economic growth shows how mainstream economists who view themselves as politically liberal in America have abandoned progressive politics to embrace a political economy of despair. Rationalizing personal disappointment and embracing market-centric economic theories according to which government can do little more than fuss around the edges, their conclusions—and the political leadership that embraces them—have little to offer millions of angry ordinary people for whom the economy simply isn’t working.

    • University of Chicago Students Protest The ‘Corporatization’ Of Their School

      University of Chicago students plan to stage a sit-in on Thursday afternoon to demand several actions from the administration, including putting an end to racist policing practices and paying university workers $15 an hour.

      Student activists say they plan to have 30 students and alumni go into the administration building and drop a banner from the windows that will read “Democratize UofC.” A group of 250 protesters — including students, adjunct faculty, and community members — will walk through the streets and block traffic before marching through the quad and staging a sit in in front of the administration building.

      The list of demands also includes expanding student disability services and disabled students’ access to buildings and divesting from fossil fuels. When asked about what ties together the list of demands, Anna Wood, a second-year student and university worker, told ThinkProgress that the “corporatization” of the university is the reason why all of these issues remain unaddressed.

    • #NuitDebout Protests Are Part of a Global Movement Challenging a Broken Economic System

      Over the last two month France has been rocked by mass protests, occupations and strikes, as a new generation takes to the streets to expresses its rage at labor reforms and growing inequality. Over a million people have mobilized across the country to say on vaut mieux que ça — “we are worth more than this.”

      Similar to the Occupy Wall Street, Indignados and the Gezi Park movements, #Nuitdebout (“Night on our Feet”) is part of a new global movement that seeks to challenge the rule of the 1 percent by taking back public space. Thousands gather every night in Place de la République to discuss and debate how to construct a more participatory form of politics.

      The streets and squares of Paris are alive with democracy, and if the Spanish and US examples are anything to go by, this participatory and chaotic movement could play an important part in creating transformative change.

      The link between these movements is clear. On May 15th they jointly organized #GlobalDebout – over 300 actions across the world demanding real democracy, economic justice and sustainability. There were major demonstrations in Madrid, a general assembly in Mexico, a free orchestra in Brussels and occupations across Italy.

    • Economic Update: Poverty and the US Economy

      This episode provides updates on an Alabama prison strike, Greece’s economy, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and Yale’s taxes. We also interview Joan Berezin and Kip Waldo on revolutionary change.

    • How Rudy Giuliani Helped Landlords Get a Tax Break With No Strings Attached

      In June 1995, a proposal to revitalize the ghostly New York neighborhood near Wall Street was poised to pass the state Senate. The bill offered developers multimillion-dollar tax breaks if they were willing to turn aging office buildings into apartments. Landlords, in turn, would agree to limit rent increases, a standard provision for such programs.

      However, just hours before the Senate was scheduled to adjourn for the summer, Joseph L. Bruno, the Republican leader of the Senate, surprisingly slammed the brakes and pulled the bill off the calendar. He later said the reason was simple: He wanted time to consult New York City’s mayor, Rudolph Giuliani.

    • New rule means millions more U.S. workers can qualify for overtime pay

      Millions of workers in the U.S. who currently don’t qualify for overtime pay despite putting in more than 40 hours a week will soon see a spike in their paycheck. After years of resistance from powerful business lobbies, the Department of Labor announced new rules Tuesday. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.

    • Fighting for an Alternative to Big Banks

      We’ve heard a lot about Wall Street reform in this presidential primary season. Most of the attention has been on the need to break up the “too big to fail” banks, curbing short-term speculation, and reining in executive bonuses.

      But we also need to create a financial system that serves the everyday need for accessible, affordable financial services. Nearly 28 percent of U.S. households are at least partially outside the financial mainstream, or underserved by traditional banks. A shocking 54 percent of African-American and 47 percent of Latino households are underserved.

    • Is Your Local Public Library Run by Wall Street?

      What do 82 public libraries, a Texas beef processing company, and a string of Pizza Huts across Tennessee and Florida have in common?

      They’re all managed by the same private equity firm.

      Fifteen of those libraries are in Jackson County, Oregon, where public officials are starting to raise concerns over the firm’s ownership of the private contractor that manages them. Facing budget issues in 2007, the county contracted with Library Systems and Services (LS&S), the country’s largest library outsourcing company, to try to save money—but LS&S is owned by Argosy Private Equity, whose mission is to “generate outstanding returns” and “substantially grow revenues and profits” for the businesses it owns.

      Now Jackson County is learning the hard way. LS&S’s claim to do more with less while still making a profit really meant that corners would be cut. Before privatization, most of the county’s libraries were open more than 40 hours per week—after taking over, the company cut the operating times in half and closed branches on Sundays. They also cut benefits for the staff, which were no longer unionized.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Nefarious Surveillance State Dangerously Inhibits Self-Expression and a Healthy Democracy

      The nefarious brilliance of the surveillance state rests, at least in part, in the fact that it conveys omniscience without the necessity of omnipresence. Since even its verifiable actions are clandestine and shadowy, revealed not through admission but by whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Jeremy Hammond, its gaze can feel utterly infinite. To modify an old phrase, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not watching you—especially given that you now have proof. But if you never know precisely when they’re watching or exactly what they’re looking for, can you ever be paranoid enough?

    • American Democracy Is in Crisis Mode and We’re All Complicit: Here’s What Needs to Happen

      And here we are. Conservatives blame liberals for summoning “movements” that turn citizens into “takers.” Liberals blame conservatives for turning them into stupefied consumers and mobs. Each side is only half right—right only about how the other side is wrong. Let’s stop listening to such one-sided thinking. The novelist D.H. Lawrence wrote that “it is the business of our Chief Thinkers to tell us of our own deeper desires, not to keep shrilling our little desires in our ears.” The founders understood that a republic needs an open, circulating elite of “disinterested” citizen-leaders who rise above private interests in wealth and power and tribal loyalties to inspire and, yes, support others in looking beyond narrow self-interest to accomplish things together that they couldn’t achieve alone.

    • Why Voters Might “Respectfully Disagree” With Clinton’s Declaration of Victory

      The Bernie Sanders campaign struck back at Hillary Clinton on Thursday for her statement that the Democratic presidential nominating process was “already done,” pointing to not only the nine remaining contests, but also poll after poll showing Sanders outperforming Clinton in hypothetical match-ups against presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump.

      Clinton told CNN on Thursday: “I will be the nominee for my party. That is already done, in effect. There is no way that I won’t be.”

      But Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs, in a strongly worded statement issued late Thursday afternoon, begged to differ.

    • After Distancing Herself From Bill Clinton’s Economic Policies, Hillary Wants Him as Mr. Economic Fix It

      After having institutionalized the neoliberal economic policies that have enriched the 1% and particularly the 0.1% at the expense of everyone else, Hillary Clinton wants to give the long-suffering citizenry an even bigger dose.

    • Bernie Comes to Vallejo

      Sanders delivered his speech saying:

      * the campaign finance system is corrupt and undermining democracy

      * the economy is “rigged” with the rich taking it all

      * the infrastructure is collapsing with school children in Flint Michigan poisoned by tap water

      * corporations have taken away good jobs by moving manufacturing outside the USA

      * the criminal justice system is broken, with the government spending $80 billion locking up 2.2 million people

      * police departments have been militarized

      * graduating students are saddled with monstrous debts

      * why does the government always have money for wars but not to rebuild inner cities?

      * we are destroying the planet – what kind of legacy is that?

      * healthcare should be a right not a privilege – we need medicare for all

      * workers needs a living wage which is $15 per hour minimum

      * we need immigration reform and end to deportations

    • Five things people should stop saying about Bernie Sanders

      Establishment Democrats want him to stop criticizing Clinton, they want him to lay off the party, they want him to drop out. Here’s why they’re utterly wrong

    • Trump’s Rasputin: What the Donald Learned From Roy Cohn

      Trump was a mere stripling of 27, the son of a racist real estate tycoon, when crooked, always-under-indictment lawyer Cohn got his claws on him. As Donald and his dad Fred faced federal charges of racial discrimination at the Trumps’ New York rental properties, young Trump turned to Roy Cohn, the city’s most notorious fixer, to fix it. Trump’s staff lawyers advised we’re guilty so settle; Cohn said tell the Justice Dept. to go to hell.

    • Sanders Takes Case to California

      Despite calls from many pundits and pols for him to quit, Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to rally thousands of Americans to a program of profound social and economic change, reports Rick Sterling.

    • Establishment Collectively Stunned To See Citizens Reject Rigged Democratic Primary

      Democratic Party leaders accuse Bernie Sanders and his presidential campaign of inciting “violence” among supporters by promoting allegations that the primary process is rigged in favor of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Surrogates for Clinton and pundits, who favor Clinton, have ramped up their attacks on Sanders for maintaining a robust campaign, even though the last votes have yet to be cast in the primary.

      Much of the pressure to rein in supporters stems from a belief that Sanders no longer has a right to run in the primary, and that he is now a spoiler candidate in the race. The pressure has ramped up in the aftermath of the chaos at the Nevada State Democratic Party’s convention, which was largely provoked by how it was handled by chairwoman Roberta Lange.

      For example, The New York Times published a report with the incendiary headline, “Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch.” It suggests Sanders intends to inflict a “heavy blow” on Clinton in California and “wrest the nomination from her,” despite the reality that she has not clinched the nomination.

    • Why Bernie Sanders Is Our Best Chance to Beat Donald Trump

      Hand-wringing over party unity misses the point. No one cares about your precious parties.

      As Hillary Clinton joylessly stumbles her way to the Democratic nomination, calls have increased for Bernie Sanders to either drop out of the race altogether or, at least, to stop fighting so darn hard. We’re told that Bernie should drop out for the good of the party. Bernie should drop out so that Hillary can make her general election “pivot” (which presumably means she can be free of the burden of pretending to be a liberal). Bernie should drop out so that Hillary can focus on Trump. According to this logic, Bernie and his band of loyalists need to get pragmatic, face the music, have a reality check. Hogwash. Doesn’t anyone see what I see? Bernie Sanders is our best chance to beat Donald Trump and to prove to the young voters backing him that the Democratic party actually stands for something.

    • Why Not Hillary?

      For those who have had enough of the neoliberal turn and of liberal imperialism, and who have no liking for endless wars and for an economy organized around war and preparations for war, the question answers itself. Or, rather, it would, if reason were in control.

    • Hillary Clinton’s Neocon Resumé

      Liberal Democratic Hillary Clinton supporters get defensive when they hear that Mrs. Clinton is favored over Donald Trump by right-wing billionaires like Charles Koch and (with much more enthusiasm) by leading arch-imperial foreign policy Neoconservatives like Robert Kagan, Max Boot, and Eliot Cohen. But an honest look at Hillary’s record should make the support she is getting from such noxious, arch-authoritarian “elites” less than surprising.

      My last essay reflected on Hillary’s deeply conservative, neoliberal, and pro-Big Business career in domestic U.S. politics and policy. This article turns to her foreign policy history, showing why it makes perfect sense that top imperial Neocons prefer Hillary over the at least outwardly “isolationist” and at anti-interventionist Trump.

    • Clinton to Californians: Your Votes Will Not Affect the Democratic Primary Whatsoever

      It’s hard to take Clinton’s first comment as anything but a statement that nothing California could possibly do in its primary could change the outcome of the Democratic race — even though it’s now widely accepted that Clinton can’t win the primary with pledged delegates alone. This means that the Democratic nomination will be decided by super-delegates, who don’t vote for more than two months — at the Democratic National Convention, to be held in Philadelphia on July 25th. As the DNC has repeatedly advised the media, those super-delegates can and often do change their minds — and are free to do so up until they actually vote this summer.

      CNN analyst Carl Bernstein noted several times Wednesday night that between mid-May and late July countless things could happen that would cause super-delegates to move toward Sanders en masse.

    • Why Hillary Clinton’s Camp Should Be Scared

      The Democratic Party machine, along with the Clinton campaign wants voters to believe the nomination is a sure thing, and while it may be all but clinched barring a miracle for the Sanders campaign. Mathematically speaking it’s pretty locked in for Clinton. The obstacles Bernie Sanders must overcome to secure the nomination are seemingly insurmountable, needing to win nearly 80 percent of the remaining delegates and then convincing Super Delegates to swap from the party elite to his revolutionary comparing.

      Yet, with all air of confidence coming from the Clinton camp, they have descended upon a strange campaign strategy; convince voters that the Sanders campaign and supporters are inseparable from the Trump campaign.

      They are accomplishing this by exploiting the inexcusable actions of a small number of individuals in Nevada who apparently sent threatening voicemails and text messages to Nevada Democratic Party Chair, Roberta Lang. Sanders quickly condemned these actions, writing in a press release, “I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals.”

      However, the Democratic Party elite continue to tell the media and voters that Sanders has yet to condone these actions and apologize for them. These comments come in the form of comparisons to what voters have seen from Trump rallies, and wonder why Sanders would allow such a thing to happen, as if he has any control over these individuals.

    • Bernie fan Robert Reich urges voters to ‘work like hell for’ Hillary if she gets nod — and all hell breaks loose

      There have been few more eloquent supporters of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders’ drive for the Democratic presidential nomination than former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who is precisely on the same page as Sanders when it comes to income inequality and the oppressive influence of money in politics in the U.S.

    • Hillary Clinton and Political Violence

      In broader understanding, the German philosopher Wilhelm Dilthey developed the ‘telos of becoming’ to describe life-purpose as it unfolds historically. In contrast to passive theories of pre-ordination, Dilthey’s purposiveness is brought into being through the act of living. In a social sense this theory places the policies and practices of Bill and Hillary Clinton on the path to those of George W. Bush as necessary precedents. In more straightforward terms, Mr. Bush’s crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan were preceded by the Clinton’s sanctions and bombing that killed 500,000 innocent Iraqis. And Mr. Bush’s capacity to wage war was facilitated by the political cover provided by both Clintons.

      The American relationship with political violence has always been schizophrenic as the storyline of ‘benevolent’ violence overseas is met by the facts as lived by what remains of the indigenous population and the descendants of slaves whose forebears were kidnapped and held as chattel when not being raped and / or murdered. Thanks in large measure to the economic and carceral policies of Bill and Hillary Clinton, the portion of the population that isn’t currently incarcerated lives with the ‘passive’ violence of outsourced jobs, privatized public services and generally diminished lives. And lest this idea of passive violence seem effete, the suicides, drug addiction, divorces and domestic abuse that accompany economic stress are demonstrably real.

      When Black Panther and all-around lovely human being Angela Davis was asked in 1972 by a Swedish film crew about the alleged penchant of the Panthers toward revolutionary (political) violence, she made the point back that Black people in America have lived with three centuries of political violence not of their making. Those old enough to remember the murder of Black Panther and all-around lovely human being Fred Hampton at the hands of the Chicago police as he slept next to his pregnant wife likely cringed knowingly when permanent Clinton confidant and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel covered up the vicious murder of Laquan McDonald by the very same Chicago Police Department four decades later. Depending on one’s class and race, political violence in America is either an everyday occurrence or something that doesn’t affect you.

    • ‘I Will Be the Nominee for My Party,’ Hillary Clinton Declares (Video)
    • First, Do Some Harm: How to Smear a Disfavored Candidate on NYT’s Front Page

      As a bonus, you get to make a front-page allusion to violence on the part of Senator Sanders, which bolsters the idea—advanced by phantom chair-throwing incidents—that the Sanders campaign is a dangerous menace. (Note that the story’s original headline was the less-inflammatory “Bernie Sanders’s Campaign Accuses Head of DNC of Favoritism“—which became the more slanted “Bernie Sanders’s Defiance Strains Ties With Top Democrats” before settling on the final smear.)

      The real problem that the Times has with the Sanders campaign, I would suggest, is revealed at the end of that lead, where Healy et al. write that Sanders plans on “amassing enough leverage to advance his agenda at the convention in July—or even wrest the nomination from her.”

      Yes, the New York Times has the scoop: Bernie Sanders is secretly hoping to win the election!

      Healy is one of the Times reporters who wrote, back in October, about “Hillary Rodham Clinton emerging as the unrivaled leader in the Democratic contest.” The Times will not forgive Sanders for proving them wrong.

    • Ralph Nader’s Democracy Crusade

      Nader did not do it through the Green Party after he ran for President. But neither, to be fair, did Barack Obama, whose Organizing for America became not a progressive pressure group, as it was originally conceived, but a mere fundraising vehicle for the national Democratic Party. The Bernie Sanders campaign just might grow into something more lasting. Naturally, Nader himself has some thoughts on Sanders’s next steps.

      “What Bernie Sanders should do if he doesn’t win is turn himself into a civic mobilizer,” Nader says.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Real Reason Why All The People Trump Wants To Put On The Supreme Court Are White

      Wednesday afternoon, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump released a list of 11 conservative judges that he would consider nominating to the Supreme Court if elected president. All are them are white.

      To a certain extent, this is a window into Mr. Trump’s priorities. In May of 2001, President George W. Bush announced his first 11 nominees to the federal bench. The nominees included two African-Americans and one Latino, in an apparent nod to the fact that the optics of diversity matter, even in a Republican administration. Trump, by contrast, does not appear to see the value in making even a token appeal to racial diversity.

    • Did Francis Just Blindside Conservatives on Women’s Ordination?

      Three years, two synods, dozens of bishop attendees, hundreds of pages of documents, innumerous small committee meetings, and endless amounts of angst went into Pope Francis’ decision to more or less keep the status quo on the question of whether divorced and remarried Catholics should be admitted to communion.

    • Trump Isn’t Bluffing, He’ll Deport 11 Million People

      During the run-up to America’s war against Iraq, I told audiences that Bush would certainly win reelection. Some people broke down in tears.

      That’s my job: telling people things they prefer not to hear, especially about the future. Being Cassandra isn’t much fun. Because we live in a nation in decline and yielding to incipient fascism, the more I’m right — i.e., most of the time — the more I annoy my readers.

    • Suyapa Portillo on Central American Refugees, Michael Ratner on Alberto Gonzalez
    • Ibsen and Whistleblowers

      As a result, over the last 15 years we have seen scandal heaped upon intelligence scandal, as the spies allowed their fake and politicised information to be used make a false case for an illegal war in Iraq; we have seen them descend into a spiral of extraordinary rendition (ie kidnapping) and torture, for which they are now being sued if not prosecuted; and we have seen that they facilitate dodgy deals in the deserts with dictators.

    • Despite Confession, CIA’s Role in Mandela’s Capture Can Still Hardly Be Told

      Now we have news, from the Sunday Times of London (5/15/16), that shortly before his recent death, Donald Rickard himself admitted it, and proudly. It was righteous because Mandela was believed to be a Communist, Rickard told a British filmmaker. “Mandela had to be stopped. And I put a stop to it.”

    • The Widening Cracks in Zionism

      What happens when ideologically driven leaders start to lose their following? Well, they get very upset because those who are supposed to affirm everything the movement stands for are now having doubts. Such doubters are dangerous to the supposed true faith and so are usually dealt with in one of two ways: (1) the ideologues in charge attempt to marginalize the disaffected by denigrating them and then casting them out of the fold or (2) if we are dealing with totalitarian types, they send the dissenters off to a gulag, or worse.

    • Racism from above in Appalachia

      There’s been buzz since Bernie Sanders won West Virginia’s primary last week about the nature of the white working class. Touching it off were a series of polls showing high support for Trump among the voters who handed Sanders a nearly 16 point lead in the 97.3 percent white state. Almost 40 percent of Sanders supporters said they would vote for Trump in November, compared with a third of primary voters overall. The same night, Trump won 77 percent of the vote. For liberal pundits, the upshot seemed clear: Even when they dress up as socialists, white working-class voters are more committed to white supremacy than economic populism.

      [...]

      In few places has that statement been more true than in Appalachia. As the lines of today’s two-party system continue to shift into uncertain territory, movements eager to continue the political revolution — and win over white working class voters, away from Trump — might do well to pick up Haney-López and McGhee’s call.

    • Explosive Report Shows How Oklahoma Used The Wrong Drug In Charles Warner’s Execution

      Charles Warner was executed in January 2015 by a three-drug cocktail: a sedative, a paralytic, and a drug that stopped his heart. According to approved protocol — and the state’s official post-execution records — the last, lethal drug was supposed to be potassium chloride. However, Warner was mistakenly executed with potassium acetate, a mistake that wasn’t discovered until the scheduled execution of Richard Glossip in September 2015.

    • Pakistan’s Senate Gets Smart About Terrible Cyber-Crime Bill

      Over the last few months, Pakistan’s Internet community has been fighting to stop the passage of one of the world’s worst cyber-crime proposals: the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill (PECB). Thanks in part to the hundreds of messages sent to Pakistan’s senators, they secured a major victory this week—public assurances from key members of Pakistan’s Senate that they will oppose the bill in its entirety. There’s still work to be done, but it’s a strong sign that public opposition is working.

    • Journalists Arrested In Ferguson Promise Not To Promote The Settlement

      Back in 2014, as the protests in Ferguson, Missouri were the main story everyone was following, we noted a troubling pattern of police in the area arresting journalists on no basis whatsoever. This happened even after a court told them to knock if off. And yet, the fallout from this is still happening. For reasons that still don’t make any sense at all, prosecutors have charged two journalists — Ryan Reilly and Wesley Lowery — with trespassing, after they failed to leave a McDonald’s fast enough (they were leaving, just apparently not fast enough).

      [...]

      Meanwhile, some other journalists who had been detained had already filed a lawsuit over the unlawful detention and, on Wednesdsay, it was announced that a settlement has been reached in which law enforcement officers will receive more training.

    • Bill Clinton to Poland and Hungary: Do As We Say on Immigration, You Dirty Little Putins!

      Shortly after World War II, after the Soviet Red Army liberated Hungary from Nazi occupation, the Hungarians held their first election in six years. The November, 1945 vote resulted in an overwhelming victory for a coalition led by the agrarian, anti-communist Hungarian Smallholders Party. This victory at the ballot box infuriated Hungary’s Communist Party and Hungary’s new occupying Soviet overlords. Little by little, in what became known as “salami tactics,” the Hungarian communists chipped away at the ruling coalition – slicing off one piece of salami (coalition partner) at a time until nothing was left. Once accomplished, a new election was held in which the Communists captured power and ruled for 40 years from the barrel of a Soviet tank (literally in 1956).

    • Occupied Canada: Indigenous & Black Lives Matter Activists Unite to Protest Violence & Neglect

      We host a roundtable discussion in Toronto about how indigenous and Black Lives Matter activists in Canada are working together to address state violence and neglect, and media coverage of their efforts. Last month, First Nations people occupied the offices of Canada’s indigenous affairs department to demand action over suicides as well as water and housing crises in their communities. The protests came after the Cree community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency over attempted suicides. Protesters set up occupations inside and outside the offices of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in Toronto, Regina, Winnipeg and Gatineau, Quebec. Among those who took part in the occupation of the office here in Toronto were local Black Lives Matter activists who just weeks earlier had launched a 15-day encampment outside police headquarters following news there would be no criminal charges for the police officer who fatally shot a South Sudanese refugee named Andrew Loku last July. Among those who turned out in force at the encampment outside Toronto police headquarters were First Nations activists. We are joined by Erica Violet Lee an indigenous rights activist with the Idle No More movement and a student at the University of Saskatchewan; Hayden King, an indigenous writer and lecturer at Carleton University’s School of Public Policy in Ottawa; LeRoi Newbold, a member of the steering committee for Black Lives Matter Toronto and director of the Black Lives Matter Toronto Freedom School Project; and Desmond Cole, a journalist and columnist for the Toronto Star and radio host on Newstalk 1010.

    • San Francisco Police Chief Forced Out After Killing of Black Woman by Police Officer

      San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr was forced to resign by the city’s mayor on Thursday after an officer fatally shot a Black woman who crashed a stolen car.

      For months, Suhr and Mayor Ed Lee have faced mounting criticism—including an internationally publicized hunger strike demanding Suhr’s resignation—after the city police kept repeating a pattern of shooting and killing non-white San Franciscans in confrontations with the cops.

    • Israeli Defense Minister Resigns, Citing Extremism & Racism in Israel

      The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya’alon, has resigned, saying, “I fought with all my might against manifestations of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society.” His resignation comes only days after Ya’alon’s deputy chief of staff, Major General Yair Golan, compared modern-day Israel to “nauseating trends” in Nazi-era Germany. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now offered the position of defense minister to the right-wing, ultranationalist politician Avigdor Lieberman. Lieberman is considered to be one of the most hawkish politicians in Israel.

    • How the Mainstream Media’s Islamophobia Fuels Endless War

      Longtime advocates for peace say their work has gotten a lot harder ever since ISIS (also known as Daesh) became a household name, and that has a lot to do with how the media covers violent extremism, according to a new report by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC).

      AFSC researchers looked at 600 news stories published by 20 national outlets in the United States last year and discovered a pervasive tendency toward painting violent extremism as an inherently Islamic problem that is only solvable with the use of force.

    • Political Judiciary in Argentina

      The parallels with the right-wing opposition strategy in Brazil are striking. In Brazil, the right-wing coalition has just formed a new government while they impeach President Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party (PT). Like the Kirchners in Argentina, the PT also presided over a large improvement in living standards in Brazil, most of which have not been lost in the last couple of years of recession. Dilma is being impeached for an accounting maneuver that is not a crime, and had been done by previous presidents as well as governors. In both Brazil and Argentina, a hostile, oligopolized, anti-government mass media has been used to make these non-crimes look like they are somehow tied to corruption. In both countries, the investigation is led by a blatantly partisan judge (Sergio Moro in Brazil). And the smearing of Lula da Silva, who was perhaps the most popular president in the history of Brazil, is also meant to prevent his candidacy in the next presidential election (2018).

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Once Again With Feeling: Cord Cutting Is Not A ‘Myth’

      For years we’ve noted how the cable industry (and companies that feed off of it like Nielsen) have been in stark, often comic denial about the changes happening in the legacy cable sector. But every few months or so, a select rotation of news outlets also feel compelled to pooh pooh the entire notion of cord cutting, broadly declaring that the idea is a “myth” perpetuated by a select cadre of mean bloggers hellbent on confusing the public for some unfathomable reason. More often than not it’s the editors trotting out the “myth” headline to gain hits, despite the story itself doing a piss poor job actually debunking the concept.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ICTSD: Specialised Intellectual Property Courts – Issues And Challenges

      Professor Jacques de Werra (University of Geneva) wrote the lead article of this second issue. As highlighted by the author, under the TRIPS Agreement countries have the option to create specialised intellectual property courts and on this basis, countries are free to decide what types of judicial body or bodies have the jurisdiction to hear disputes. In this respect, the experience in both developed and developing countries varies. Jacques de Werra concludes that how advantageous or necessary it is to establish specialised courts in a given jurisdiction depends on a number of factors that go beyond intellectual property. Rather, this determination should take into account more general factors, including economics, the legal system and societal characteristics. Thus, the creation of specialised IP courts cannot be recommended in all circumstances.

    • Tackling OEM infringement in China

      Huang Hui and Paul Ranjard of Wan Hui Da discuss the implications of the recent PRETUL decision of the Supreme People’s Court in China

    • Can Patents Ever Be “Ever-Greened”? The Answer…They Are “Never-Greened”

      Let’s assume a molecule has been patented in a country by Patent No.1. Let’s further assume that a derivative of the said molecule is patented by Patent No.1A and that a device to dispense the said molecule is patented by Patent 1B in the same country. It is further assumed that the patent office has granted the three patents after the due process of examination as per the Patent Law in that country. The figure illustrates that every patent expires at the end of its term [or at the end of the term extension if any]. It is obvious from the figure that the claims of Patent No.1 are not enforceable after its patent term. Similarly the claims of Patent No.1A are not enforceable after the patent term of Patent No.1A, and similar is the case of the claims of Patent No.1B. It is fallacious to conclude that the protection via the claims of Patent No.1 are so called “ever-greened” till the term of Patent No.1B as has been surprisingly concluded by several authors. A generic player would be free to use the claims of Patent No. 1 immediately after the expiry of Patent No.1. Claims of Patent No. 1A and/or Patent No.1B would not come on the way of the user to exploit the claims of Patent No. 1 under such circumstances. The only requirement of any person wishing to enter the market with a product based on claims of Patent No. 1 would be to satisfy the regulatory requirement of that specific country. The claims of Patent No. 1 do not get ever-greened. Further, a generic player would not be permitted to exploit the claims of Patent No. 1A or Patent No. 1B during their respective patent terms though nothing stops the generic player from exploiting the claims of Patent No. 1 which has expired.

    • IPOPHL Interview: The view from the Philippines

      It is four years since the Philippines joined the Madrid Protocol, and the Director General has observed an annual increase of 20% to 30% in the number of overseas filings with IPOPHL. New filers account for 80% among the Madrid filers in the past four years. “The figures are likely to infer that accession to the Madrid Protocol has had a positive impact on Philippine ­business,” she says.

    • Trademarks

      • Zendesk and the Art of Trademark Trolling

        Zen. The word has come to be associated with simplicity, intuition, and a sense of enlightenment. It originates from a branch of Buddhism that emphasizes meditation and self-reflection as the way to achieve enlightenment.

        Naturally, given the cultural cachet of the word, it’s been adopted to various degrees by businesses and other organizations. One of these is Zendesk, maker of customer helpdesk software that businesses use to answer and resolve customer questions and complaints.

        Zendesk is quickly becoming famous for another activity: bullying small companies into changing their name if it contains the word “zen.”

        We recently became aware of Zendesk’s tactics via the ordeal of a WordPress plugin called Comet Cache, formerly known as ZenCache. To put it very simply, Comet Cache allows websites running on the WordPress platform to create a temporary storage area where users visiting the site can quickly find the information they’re looking for, rather than fetching the data every time from the database, which can be quite expensive when accounting for computing power and other resources.

      • Appeals Court Muddies Trademark Nominative Fair Use Doctrine

        The nominative use doctrine allows third party references to trademark owners using the trademarks they chose as their preferred descriptors. Without a robust and well-functioning nominative use doctrine, trademark owners can have too much control over their brands — they can shut down the advertisement of complementary or competitive offerings and potentially even critical scrutiny of the brands. Unfortunately, Congress never adopted a statutory nominative use doctrine for trademark infringement, and the doctrine seemingly baffles the courts. As a result, the circuits have created a patchwork of nominative use doctrines. A ruling this week from the Second Circuit exacerbated this problem.

    • Copyrights

      • Chile’s New Copyright Legislation Would Make Creative Commons Licensing Impossible For Audiovisual Works

        Techdirt has written many times about the way in which copyright only ever seems to get stronger, and how different jurisdictions point to other examples of excessive copyright to justify making their own just as bad. In Chile, there’s an interesting example of that kind of copyright ratchet being applied in the same country but to different domains. It concerns audiovisual works, and aims to give directors, screenwriters and others new rights to “match” those that others enjoy. Techdirt has already written about this bad idea in the context of the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances.

        [...]

        According to Villarroel, the legislation is being promoted by the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers — and by Chilean collecting societies. By an amazing coincidence, the new licensing fees will all be administered by the latter. Villarroel first wrote about this move last year, when the legislation was approved in Chile’s House of Representatives. Despite the delay, it is apparently back on the agenda, and will be considered by the Senate, the country’s upper house, soon.

      • Dallas Buyers Club Demands Accused Pirate Take Polygraph, Asks For Judgment When He Agrees Anyway

        Anyone who has spent time with us here at Techdirt will be familiar with Voltage Pictures, the movie studio that perhaps is more famous now for being a copyright settlement troll than it is for having produced the movie Dallas Buyers Club. The studio has quite the reputation for sending settlement letters to those it accuses of having pirated the movie, typically with offers to settle for amounts in the thousands, and armed with the evidence of an IP address and nothing else. The frightened masses too often fork over the demanded settlement, not realizing that having an IP address is not evidence enough to prove guilt. It’s a bullying business model that drips of sleaze.

      • EFF at Copyright Office Roundtables Tuesday and Wednesday in San Francisco

        San Francisco—On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 24-25, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Staff Attorney Kit Walsh and Senior Staff Attorney Mitch Stoltz will participate in public roundtable discussions about the impact of U.S. copyright law on freedoms to investigate and improve the software embedded in everyday products, devices, and appliances.

      • John McCain, Forgetting His Own Support Of Fair Use On YouTube, Tries To Use Copyright To Take Down His Own Ad

        You may recall that, back during the 2008 Presidential election, the Presidential campaign of John McCain sent YouTube a letter, complaining that the video site did not take fair use into account when deciding to pull down videos after receiving copyright complaints. Apparently, some people had been issuing copyright claims on videos related to his campaign that he believed were fair use, and he was quite upset about it. In particular, McCain was upset about videos his campaign had uploaded that included news clips that were taken down. He insisted this was not just fair use, but that YouTube was an important platform for political speech, and should be much more careful before pulling down political videos.

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