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05.31.16

Links 31/5/2016: Linux Lite 3.0, Alpine 3.4.0, Krita 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • ownCloud Mail 0.5 released

    Following the release early, release often philosophy when working on ownCloud Mail, we do releases quite often. The most important enhancement of this release is our first step towards tight integration with more community apps. Additionally, it marks the beginning of Tahaa’s GSOC coding period.

  • OwnCloud Forms A Foundation

    Markus Rex of ownCloud announced this morning, “Today we announced the creation of the ownCloud Foundation which will guarantee the viability and availability of free ownCloud now and in the future. We have made a commitment to open development in a blog recently and want to extend that further to ensure that the community is providing the direction, planning and atmosphere that is best for the project. The ownCloud community has matured a lot over the last few years and is certainly to play a bigger part in its own destiny.”

  • Quantifying Benefits of Network Virtualization in the Data Center

    Modern data centers have increased significantly in scale and complexity as compute and storage resources become highly virtualized. The rise of the DevOps style of application deployment means that data center resources must be agile and respond rapidly to changing workload requirements. Data center network technologies have been challenged to keep up with these rapidly evolving application requirements.

  • Apache Zeppelin Joins Several Other Projects Gaining Top-Level Status

    As we’ve been reporting, The Apache Software Foundation, which incubates more than 350 open source projects and initiatives, has been elevating a lot of interesting new tools to Top-Level Status recently. The foundation has also made clear that you can expect more on this front, as graduating projects to Top-Level Status helps them get both advanced stewardship and certainly far more contributions.

    Only a few days ago, the foundation announced that a project called TinkerPop has graduated from the Apache Incubator to become a Top-Level Project (TLP). TinkerPop is a graph computing framework that provides developers the tools required to build modern graph applications in any application domain and at any scale. Now, it has announced that Apache Zeppelin has graduated as well. Zeppelin is a web-based notebook that enables interactive data analytics.

  • 6 Open Source Operating Systems for the Internet of Things (IoT)

    Whether you are small to large enterprises, IoT is one of the useful technology that can help you to be connected on-the-go.

  • 6 open source architecture projects to check out

    The world of architecture doesn’t change as quickly as software, but architects are still finding new ways to share innovative designs and ideas.

    The open source architecture movement aims to make architectural designs, drawings, 3D renderings, and documentation freely available for integration into other projects under open source licenses. It owes much of its growth to the growing popularity of the maker movement, DIY culture, 3D printing, and CNC machines, as well as support from architects like Alejandro Aravana.

  • Yorubaname.com has gone opensource, codebase now on GitHub

    Online dictionary for yoruba names, YorubaName, has now made its backlog accessible to the public. In a post on their blog, the guys at YorubaName announced that the website codebase is now on GitHub.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet conference videos and slides online: Edward Snowden, Richard Stallman, Karen Sandler, and more

      Tuesday, May 31, 2016 – The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announces that recordings and slides from its LibrePlanet 2016 free software conference are now available online.

      LibrePlanet 2016: Fork the System was held in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Stata Center on March 19 and 20, 2016. Video for the opening keynote with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and dozens more sessions from the conference – over 25 hours of free software ideas – are available on the FSF’s instance of GNU MediaGoblin, a free software media publishing platform that is a decentralized replacement to sites like YouTube and Flickr.

    • Women Dominate 2016’s O’Reilly Open Source Awards

      In an illustration of the value of diversity, four out of five of the recipients presented with O’Reilly Open Source Awards at this year’s OSCON were women.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Here’s how you can make a career in OpenStack

      OpenStack is one of the biggest open source movements. It is a free and open-source software platform for cloud computing, mostly deployed as an infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). The software platform consists of interrelated components that control hardware pools of processing, storage, and networking resources throughout a data centre.

      According to the official website, hundreds of the world’s largest brands rely on OpenStack to run their businesses every day, reducing costs and helping them move faster. OpenStack has a strong ecosystem globally.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • ZFS Fault Management Daemon Added To FreeBSD

      The latest FreeBSD development code has integrated the zfsd daemon.

      ZFSD is the ZFS Fault Management Daemon. ZFSD deals with situations like drive faults in ZFS pools with hot-spares and replacements. This comes as the ZFS file-system support in FreeBSD continues to mature and is in quite a good state for ZFS outside of Oracle.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Astronomy Utilities is released

      The first public release of the GNU Astronomy Utilities (Gnuastro, version 0.1) tarball is now available for download, see below for more details. Gnuastro is an official GNU package consisting of a set of utilities, or executable programs (listed below), for astronomical data manipulation and analysis directly from the command-line (no mini-environment) and satisfying the GNU Coding Standards.

    • Gnuastro: GNU Gets Into Astronomy

      Gnuastro is the latest GNU Project.

      Gnuastro v0.1 was released today as the first public release of this package, which stands for the GNU Astronomy Utilities. Gnuastro contains utilities for astronomical data manipulation and analysis via the command-line.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The Oracle v. Google Suit is Still an Anti-Open Move That Shouldn’t Have Happened

      All the way back in 2010, when Oracle filed a complaint for patent and copyright infringement against Google regarding parts of the Java code found in Google’s Android mobile OS, I wrote a post calling the move “the anti-open move of the year.” Fast-forward to today, and in the Oracle v. Google trial that just concluded, a jury returned a verdict in Google’s favor. It basically concluded that Oracle’s suit against Google, claiming that the use of Java APIs in Android violated copyright law, was bunk.

      Now, in an op-ed piece for Ars Technica, Annette Hurst, an attorney who represented Oracle, equates the jury’s decision with the death of open source.

      [...]

      Hurst makes a good point that dual licensing models are increasing, with many open source projects available for free, while commercial versions, often including support, come at a cost. But the Oracle suit originated because Oracle essentially perceived itself as owning a moat around Java that didn’t really exist.

      [...]

      Indeed, one of the lasting images of this long running legal skirmish is going to be Oracle behaving in a decidedly anti-open fashion. It may have been wiser for Oracle to simply let this one go.

    • Here’s how to check if software license is open source

      The Open Source Initiative (OSI), the steward of the Open Source Definition (OSD), announced today it has created a machine readable publication of OSI approved licenses.

      According to the Initiative, the API will allow third parties to ‘become license-aware’, giving businesses everywhere means to determine if a license is Open Source or not.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Most Spanish cities fail to comply with law on transparency

      The survey, which covered 54 cities in Spain (including Málaga, Saragossa, La Corogne, Alicante, Lleida, Cantabria and Castilla la Mancha), analysed the website of city councils to see if essential data had been published, as required by the law. Those data include the remuneration of senior officials, the declaration of assets of the municipal councillor, budgets, inventory, property, contracts, agreements and grants.

    • Malta’s ICT agency reaches out to youth and NGOs

      Last Saturday, Malta’s Information Technology Agency (MITA) reached out to the country’s youth and non-governmental organisations. The agency organised a public workshop, demonstrating eGovernment services, to show how these can ‘revolutionise government interaction’.

    • Austria shares thoughts on citizen-centric government

      Citizens have strong ties with municipal administrations, the Bürgerzentriertes eGovernment (BUEGO) working group writes. They consult their administration’s websites expecting immediate answers to a range of questions, such as time tables for waste collection, and information about medical care. According to the working group, the way in which Austria’s municipalities offer this information is neither systematic nor universal.

    • Open Data

      • Luxembourg launches open data portal

        The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg officially launched its national open data portal data.public.lu on April 8th. This portal, supported by Digital Luxembourg, the government agency in charge of digital affairs in the country, was presented during the Game of Code hackathon.

      • Denmark to accelerate government digitisation

        Open standards

        The existing shared solutions are to be adopted by all authorities and public sector institutions where relevant, according to a presentation in English. “Shared solutions need to be stable, secure and user-friendly, they will also be easy to implement because the infrastructure is based on open standards.”

        The strategy, an agreement involving the government, regions and municipalities, was announced on 12 May. It includes 33 initiatives, which among other things deal with ease of use, reuse of data, IT architecture, growth, security and digital skills, DIGST says.

  • Programming/Development

    • 3 Things Infrastructure as Code is Not

      The role of the network engineer is changing. This is not a result of DevOps, although some would claim it is. As DevOps takes center stage in organizations, it can seem like network engineers are being asked to become developers.

      There have been a number of talks discussing this, some of which have surfaced at Interop Las Vegas. The shift has been Infrastructure as Code (IaC), which was fundamental to the start of the DevOps movement. So maybe you could say this is caused by DevOps.

    • Introducing Blue Ocean: a new user experience for Jenkins

      While this project is in the alpha stage of development, the intent is that Jenkins users can install Blue Ocean side-by-side with the Jenkins Classic UI via a plugin.

      Not all the features listed on this blog are complete but we will be hard at work over the next few months preparing Blue Ocean for general use. We intend to provide regular updates on this blog as progress is made.

      Blue Ocean is open source today and we invite you to give us feedback and to contribute to the project.

Leftovers

  • Samsung: Don’t install Windows 10. REALLY

    Samsung is advising customers against succumbing to Microsoft’s nagging and installing Windows 10.

    The consumer electronics giant’s support staff have admitted drivers for its PCs still don’t work with Microsoft’s newest operating system and told customers they should simply not make the upgrade.

    That’s nearly a year after Microsoft released Windows 10 and with a month to go until its successor – Windows 10 Anniversary Update – lands.

    Samsung’s customers have complained repeatedly during the last 12 months of being either unable to install Microsoft’s operating system on their machines or Windows 10 not working properly with components if they do succeed.

  • Hardware

    • ARM Cortex-A73 core and Mali-G71 GPU target mobile VR

      ARM announced a 10nm Cortex-A73 architecture with 30 percent better sustained performance and efficiency than the Cortex-A72, plus a 32-shader Mali-G71 GPU.

      ARM unveiled a follow-on to the high-end Cortex-A72 mobile architecture, which was announced in Feb. 2015, and also unveiled a high-end Mali-G71 GPU to work with it (see farther below). The Cortex-A73 supports a 10nm FinFET process, compared to 16nm FinFET+ for the Cortex-A72. Using this process, Cortex-A73 cores would measure 0.65 x 0.65mm, making it the “smallest and most efficient ‘big’ ARMv8-A core” to date, according to ARM.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dow-DuPont Merger Will Cripple Farmers and Food Sovereignty, Groups Warn

      Public interest groups urged the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to block the mega-merger of chemical corporations Dow and DuPont, which the organizations argue is part of a larger effort to put a “corporate cabal” in charge of the nation’s food system.

    • WHO Boosts Efforts For Plain Packaging

      “Tobacco-related illness is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced,” according to the World Health Organization, and plain packaging of tobacco products can save lives, it said. The theme of this year’s no-tobacco day, today, is: Get ready for plain packaging, as the WHO is calling for countries to introduce plain packaging in their territories.

    • From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good

      In response, people are fighting back and resisting. From Ghana to India and from Europe to beyond, food sovereignty movements are demonstrating a deep-rooted resistance against neoliberal doctrine and its negative impacts on agriculture, health, communities and the environment. And they are armed with realistic alternatives to corporate dominated agriculture and the policies and framework which allows it to prosper at the expense of both people and the environment.

    • Zika and the Olympics

      Federal troops are spraying for mosquitoes, and neighborhood health inspectors have been tasked with eliminating standing bodies of water where they are known to breed, says the government. Do you really believe that the Brazilian government is capable of eradicating mosquitoes in Rio even temporarily?, asks anyone who has ever had contact with Brazilian bureaucracy. So the argument goes, back and forth, and it’s getting ugly.

    • Thousands Of Sexual Assault Victims In The Military Have Been Denied Veteran Health Care

      Liz Luras carried three American flags over her shoulder in a Memorial Day march this weekend. Each represented a veteran who committed suicide after leaving the military. To Luras, this honor is especially meaningful, since she knows it could easily be her flag waving beside theirs.

      Luras is one of the many soldiers featured in a new Human Rights Watch report who were “honorably discharged” from the military after being the victim of rape or other sexual assault.

    • These Women Stopped a Rape From Happening, and the Story Is Seriously Terrifying

      To make a long story short (although you really should read the whole post), Ulrich and her friends next told the woman’s server and the Fig’s manager what they’d seen. After 40 cringe-inducing minutes of the attempted rapist subtly trying to get her to drink by “chinking his glass to hers,” the two finished their dinner, the Fig staff checked security cameras to confirm that the man had, indeed, poured an unknown substance into the woman’s wine, and the Santa Monica police arrived.

    • The Battle Over Public Drinking Water Has Just Begun

      It’s easy to hate Nestle’s bottled water business.

      The multinational behemoth recently fought a case at the Maine Supreme Court to continue filling Poland Spring bottles — at the same rate the locals pay for tap water. Environmental groups and locals had challenged whether the water company had the authority to sign a 25-year, 603,000 gallon/day contract for public water. The groups lost.

    • A Shockingly Easy Way to Avoid Wasting Thousands of Gallons of Water a Year

      “Typically 20 percent of every shower, the duration, is essentially lost,” said Jonah Schein, technical coordinator for homes and buildings for the EPA’s WaterSense program. “The average shower is a little over eight minutes long, so that’s a good chunk of the shower that we’re not actually being able to utilize.”

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • Security challenges for the Qubes build process

      Ultimately, we would like to introduce a multiple-signature scheme, in which several developers (from different countries, social circles, etc.) can sign Qubes-produced binaries and ISOs. Then, an adversary would have to compromise all the build locations in order to get backdoored versions signed. For this to happen, we need to make the build process deterministic (i.e. reproducible). Yet, this task still seems to be years ahead of us. Ideally, we would also somehow combine this with Intel SGX, but this might be trickier than it sounds.

    • Katy Perry’s Twitter Account With 90 Million Followers Hacked

      Notably, with 90 million followers, Katy Perry is the most followed person on the platform.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • NRA Tells Parents To Keep Guns In Kids’ Rooms For Safety

      During a seminar on “home defense concepts” at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Louisville, an instructor encouraged gun owners to store firearms in their children’s bedrooms.

      Rob Pincus, who owns the popular firearm instruction company I.C.E. Training, paced across a conference room stage as he repeatedly warned against the threat of violent home invasions. After establishing that filling one’s home with weapons is the only solution, he then recommended that gun owners store firearms in their kids’ rooms for easy access.

    • Rules for TV News Anchors, on Memorial Day and Every Day

      These points should be obvious, but please observe the following basic conventions in your reporting.

      * Always refer to U.S. soldiers using the possessive pronoun “our.”

      * Always refer to all of our U.S. troops as “heroes.”

      * Always refer to their actions in war as “service.”

      * Always refer to their actions in war as “sacrifice” and their deaths in war the “ultimate sacrifice.”

      * Always refer to their actions anywhere as “defending our country (or Homeland)” and fighting for “us.” Acknowledge our “debt” to them.

      * Always, no matter what the cause or war theater, aver that the soldiers are always “defending our freedoms.”

      *Always express gratitude and appreciation; always thank U.S. soldiers from commanders on down for their “service,” whether in Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq or wherever.

    • Opinion: In Meme-Moriam

      This weekend, America will pause to honor the thousands of men and women who fought and died to preserve ExxonMobil’s First Amendment rights, and protect it from the tyranny of justice.

    • On Memorial Day, US Troops at War with ISIL near Mosul

      On Memorial Day, it is as well to remember that US troops are still at war. Afghanistan is our nation’s longest such military engagement.

    • Modern Mongols: Sunni Arabs outraged at Iran role in Iraqi Gov’t Fallujah Campaign

      BBC Monitoring surveyed the Arabic press on 27 May for the issue of the Iranian role in the Iraq government campaign to take Fallujah from Daesh (ISIS, ISIL). Although Saudi and other newspapers say they want to see Daesh defeated, they are deeply critical of the Shiite militias or Popular Mobilization Forces, alleging that they use indiscriminate fire and create high numbers of civilian casualties when operating in Sunni Arab areas.

      Fallujah is a storied Iraqi Sunni stronghold of several hundreds of thousands of residents, the “city of minarets.” It fell to Daesh in January of 2014, and I think it is fair to say that there is much more angst in the Sunni Arab world about its liberation at the hands of Iran-backed Shiites than there has been about Daesh’s brutal occupation of the city.

    • Barack Obama’s Legacy: What Happened?

      Ever since Neocons de facto took over American foreign policy, after the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991, rejecting the ‘Peace Dividend’ that many had expected, the cry in Washington D.C. has been to impose an America-centered New World Order by military means.

    • A fond farewell to New York’s Peace Pentagon

      Nearly 20 years ago, as I left the War Resisters League, or WRL, offices in lower Manhattan for the first time, I noticed that my fingertips were covered in black soot and ink. My hands were full of tracts and leaflets, and I had been looking through nonviolence training materials for the last hour. I tried to rub the dirt off onto my jeans, but it wouldn’t budge and later even soap and water had to work really hard.

      A few weeks ago, I went back to 339 Lafayette Street to say goodbye to the appropriately nicknamed Peace Pentagon. The visit reminded me of that sooty, inky afternoon, when the late great and gentle Karl Bissinger gave me a tour of the WRL workroom — teeter-towered floor to ceiling with books, pamphlets, leaflets, posters and signs from every demonstration of the last half century (almost).

    • Forgetting the Crimes of War

      In the U.S. political culture, Memorial Day has become one more chance to glorify American wars and to exploit U.S. soldiers’ deaths to generate sentiment for more wars, a troubling tactic addressed by Gary G. Kohls and S. Brian Willson.

    • A Veteran’s Perspective On Memorial Day

      For 31 years, Veterans For Peace has been the only veterans organization that has rejected war, violence, nuclear weapons, the destruction of the environment created by war, the steady erosion of our civil liberties, the corporate greed that drives our wars and the systemic injustice it produces, here at home and abroad, all in the name of advancing the American empire.

      As veterans, we refuse to accept the notion that, in order to protect the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic, the Constitution that we swore to support and defend can be ignored, shredded and cast aside as an inconvenient nuisance standing in the way of American hegemony.

    • Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins

      Some 20,000 Iraqi soldiers, special forces, federal police and Shia paramilitaries are advancing on Fallujah, a Sunni Arab city held by Isis since early 2014. They are backed by the destructive might of the US-led coalition of air forces that have carried out 8,503 air strikes in Iraq and 3,450 in Syria over the last two years. Without such close air support, the anti-Isis forces in Iraq and Syria would not have had their recent successes.

    • Once Upon a Time, My Father Was a Soldier

      The rifle is a story in itself. It was a relic of the French war in Vietnam, the one we failed to learn from. When my father got the call to the “freedom bird” in 1970, he barely had time to pack his duffel and grab the rifle his friend had gifted him. He stepped off the plane to greet my mother at Dulles in his field greens, with the muddy tan and the mustache and the dirt of the war still stuck in the waffle of his boot. When they got to the baggage conveyor, down came the rifle, unboxed, the hard truth of the war right there in broad daylight.

    • Used & Betrayed – 100 Years of US Troops as Lab Rats

      On Memorial Day, politicians will speak at ceremonies all over the country and repeat their favorite mantra: “Support the troops.”

    • Two Men, Two Legs, and Too Much Suffering

      It took nearly 40 years for word of Nguyen Van Tu’s hardships at the hands of the United States to filter back to America. Perhaps a few more Americans will feel remorse as a result. But who will come forward to take responsibility for all this suffering? And who will give Pham Van Chap a new leg?

    • White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942

      In June 1942, a pair of German university students formed The White Rose, a German resistance movement that used a series of leaflets to decry Nazi militarism and call for an end to the war. Hans Scholl and Alexander Schmorell wrote the first four leaflets between the end of June and beginning of July. In the fall, Hans’ sister, Sophie Scholl, discovered that her brother was one of the authors of the pamphlets, and joined the group. Shortly after, Willi Graf, Christoph Probst, and Kurt Huber became members.

    • The Sailors of the USS Liberty: They, Too, Deserve to Be Honored

      On this 2016 Memorial Day, much like all Memorial Day commemorations since 1968, no official recognition or memorial services will be held to honor the 34 dead and the 167 wounded US Navy Men.

      In what has to be one of the most cowardly and expedient political decisions made by a Commander in Chief, politicians, and top brass to uphold the constitution of the United States and to defend American citizens, Lyndon Johnson and his underlings orchestrated a cover up of epic proportions.

      Today no one will hear about the Israeli June 8, 1967 assault on the USS Liberty, an attack so cowardly and so heinous that it exposes Israel’s penchant for manufacturing facts and its ability to manipulate American leadership and the media to gloss over its dastardly deeds.

    • Peter Dale Scott Re-Edit

      Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff devote the hour to a conversation with author Peter Dale Scott about his latest book, “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil and the Attack on U.S. Democracy.” This wide-ranging discussion examines the “deep state,” an evolving level of secret government separate from the elected government.

    • As Patriotic As Ever

      Of course, primary among those mindlessly calling for carnage he has never seen is Drumpf, “the bog monster of the American id, rising out of the masturbatory muck of our military fantasies in which the manly man slays his enemies.” In a claim that would be laughable if it weren’t so terrifying, he says he “will be so good at the military, your head will spin.” It already is. Perhaps he should read Ambrose Bierce on finding the grotesque bodies of the dead during the Civil War: “How repulsive they looked with their blood-smears, their blank, staring eyes, their teeth uncovered by contraction of the lips! The frost had begun already to whiten their deranged clothing. We were as patriotic as ever, but we did not wish to be that way.”

    • Memorial Day Should Make Us Rethink Platitudes About the US Military

      Since World War II, the US military has been used for imperial policing, not defending the country as the Constitution stipulates. Unfortunately, many of the recent military deaths that we are mourning have been unnecessary and even counterproductive – as new more radical groups are spawned from the ones US intervention helped create in the first place – al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq. Some would say that not running an activist foreign policy is naïve and dangerous. What is naïve is that many Americans seem to think that the 9/11 and other terror attacks just arise out of thin air, with no cause except perhaps pure evil in the perpetrators’ hearts. Terrorists are evil, but the ones that threaten the United States (and the ones that don’t should be left alone) are doing so for reasons that the American people and their politicians and media don’t care to examine – at their own peril.

    • Iraqi troops seize control of districts of Falluja from Isis

      Long-awaited assault backed by US-led coalition forces comes with fears militants might use civilians as human shields

    • Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima

      Here’s what he could have said to try to do so:

      Seventy-one years ago, on a bright cloudless morning, an American warplane unleashed the most horrific and inhuman weapon ever invented, immediately imperiling the survival of the entire human species. This act of terrorism was the ultimate crime: a crime of mass murder, a crime of war, and a crime against humanity.

      The victims, those who died incinerated in a flash, and those who died slowly and painfully over years from chemical poisoning, were never able to see justice served. Sadly, there is no way the criminals who carried out this heinous and barbaric act will ever face justice for their crimes.

    • This Is What Happens When You Make Trump Commander In Chief

      Former senior national security leaders from across the political spectrum have said they would “fear for the Republic” in a Trump presidency, that he is “crazy,” “a gamble for the future,” and would have “dangerous consequences for the United States.” The U.S. military is the most powerful fighting force the world has ever known and has hundreds of nuclear warheads on hair-trigger alert, ready to be launched in a matter of minutes.

    • Obama and the Myth of Hiroshima

      With rare exception, the question of whether the atomic bombs were necessary to end World War Two is debated only deep within the safety of academic circles: could a land invasion have been otherwise avoided? Would more diplomacy have achieved the same ends without the destruction of two cities? Could an atomic test on a deserted island have convinced the Japanese? Was the surrender instead driven primarily by the entry of the Soviets into the Pacific War, which, by historical accident, took place two days after Hiroshima—and the day before Nagasaki was immolated?

    • Milestones (Or What Passes for Them in Washington)

      Toward victory? Peace? Reconciliation? At the very least, toward the prospect of the violence abating? Merely posing the question is to imply that U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan and elsewhere in the Islamic world serve some larger purpose.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Big Oil’s “Long Twilight”

      All eyes this morning will be on the half-yearly OPEC meeting in Vienna.

      Although pundits are not expecting a production freeze, the oil price is creeping towards $50, up 80 per cent since its slump of $30 in January.

    • Hillary, Honduras, and the Murder of My Friend Berta

      Flush with tens of millions of our tax dollars for “security assistance,” the Honduran army and national police have acted with impunity since U.S.-trained generals overthrew Manuel Zelaya, the elected president of Honduras, seven years ago. As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton toed the White House line that this wasn’t really a “military coup” worthy of near unanimous condemnation by the Organization of American States. The United States was more concerned about maintaining its own military presence in Honduras than objecting to local human rights abuses that have increased ever since.

    • Heat recedes from wildfires fears

      Despite extremes of heat, extended drought and greater hazards from human carelessness, wildfire is not on the increase.

      Two separate studies, in two journals, using different ways to assess the evidence, conclude that the area of scrub, forest or grassland burned to cinders every year is more or less the same, or may even be getting smaller.

    • Malaysia just established a one million hectare marine park

      Malaysia has just established the biggest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the country. The Tun Mustapha Park (TMP) occupies 1m hectares (2.47m acres) of seascape off the northern tip of Sabah province in Borneo, a region containing the second largest concentration of coral reefs in Malaysia as well as other important habitats like mangroves, sea grass beds and productive fishing grounds.

    • Scientists Say Canada’s Proposed LNG Port Threatens Paris Climate Accord

      Ninety climate change experts from around the world urged Canadian government officials to “take urgent action” and reject a proposed, “unjustified” liquid natural gas (LNG) export terminal to be built on the British Columbia coast, joining with fierce local Indigenous opposition to the controversial project.

    • Brazil: Rules protecting Amazon under threat in new political fight

      Renewed attempts by top lawmakers to remove environmental licensing requirements for “strategic” development projects in Brazil have been stalled.

      The latest twist comes amidst rising concerns amongst environmentalists that that the new government in Brazil will move undermine environmental protections and may support the licensing move.

      Under a long-proposed constitutional amendment, PEC65/2012, environmental licensing would be “auto-approved” once an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been submitted.

    • Summer Break for Polluters: Congress Bows to the Chemical Lobby on Toxics Regulation

      To the applause of the chemical industry lobby, Congress is sending a new Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) bill to President Obama. Anyone familiar with this law knows that it is the weakest of all U.S. environmental statutes, leaving the majority of the 85,000 chemicals in our toys, clothes, homes, schools, and workplaces unregulated and untested for their health effects.

      And if Congress and the chemical lobby have their way, none of that will change.

    • Memorial Day: Trump’s War On Climate Action Would Ensure A World Of Wars

      On Thursday, Donald Trump declared that if elected President, he would wage an all-out war against national and global climate action. On Friday, he went so far as to to deny the reality of California’s devastating drought.

    • Threatened By Climate Change, National Parks And World Heritage Sites Draw Millions

      With spring now in full gear throughout most of the United States, it’s a good bet that Memorial Day Weekend will again be the busiest of the whole year at many national parks, including the Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Utah’s Mount Zion. Last year, 305 million people visited National Park Service-administered sites, signifying the parks’ appeal to millions of Americans and world tourists.

    • How the Obama Administration Is Protecting America’s Wildlife

      Since taking office, President Obama has protected more land and water — over 265 million acres — than any President before him. But his conservation efforts have extended far beyond our natural landscape. In addition to protecting some of our nation’s most iconic and special places, President Obama’s conservation efforts have included wildlife from all across the country.

    • With Endangered Species Act Under Attack, Obama Manages to Score 99 Wildlife Wins

      As part of a final-year push to tackle major environmental challenges, the Obama Administration appears to be doubling down on its efforts to slow and reverse the declines in American wildlife populations.

      Though the United States has enacted and implemented some of the world’s most effective wildlife conservation laws, one in five animal and plant species in the United States — nearly 1,300 total species — is at risk of extinction.

    • As One of Its Chief Sources of Water Dries Up, California Eases Restrictions on Use Nonetheless

      A single relatively wet winter has led California officials to relax in a way some water experts fear is reckless.

    • ‘That Is Unbelievable’: Bernie Sanders Shocked by California’s Water Woes, Compares Crisis to Flint’s

      “I’ll tell you something I did not know before I came here,” Bernie Sanders told the crowd at a rally on Sunday in San Joaquin Valley, Calif.

      “I was in Flint, Michigan a few months ago and as all of you know, the children in Flint, Michigan were poisoned by the lead in the water they drank. And in Flint, Michigan, people cannot turn on their taps and use the water in their homes. Now, I thought that was Flint, Michigan. I did not know that there were thousands of homes right around here [in the same situation]. That is unbelievable … that people have got to go out and buy bottled water… is that the case?” Sanders asked incredulously. San Joaquin Valley’s water system is contaminated with nitrates from agriculture, and has been linked in studies to spina bifida, cleft palate and missing limbs.

    • Gold Mining Has Devastated The Peruvian Amazon

      When Meraldo Umiña moved to the Madre De Dios region of Peru in 1983, the toxic gold rush that’s destroyed swaths of Amazon rainforest there was in its infancy. There were no laws regulating informal or illegal mining, and artisanal miners like him were few.

      “Gold was cheap,” Umiña, 59, told ThinkProgress in Spanish — “a gram was about $12.” Using simple but still harmful chemical methods, miners worked just by the rivers then, and the gold was easy to get, he said. There was no need to encroach on the jungle, and no financial incentive to use machine-intensive techniques of extraction.

  • Finance

    • A new campaign to hold Wall Street accountable emerges

      Wall Street’s big banks remain too big to fail and its bankers apparently too big to jail. If Wall Street is ever once more to serve Main Street rather than sabotage it, citizens will have to do the heavy lifting. Last week, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit overturned a verdict against Bank of America for falsely peddling lousy mortgage loans, showing yet again that the Justice Department and courts have offered no remedy for what the FBI once warned was an “epidemic of fraud.” At the same time, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) called out Wall Street lobbyists who were “swarming this place,” pressing Congress to slip bank-friendly riders into must-pass legislation.

    • Fighting for CA Workers, Sanders Slams NYT for Ignoring ‘Real Issues’

      In an interview with Chuck Todd on Meet the Press on Sunday, Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders had harsh words for media more interested in stoking candidates’ antagonism toward each other instead of focusing “on the real issues” of a shrinking middle class and rising wealth inequality in America.

    • Sanders, Brown Speak Out On Gunboat Diplomacy For Corporations

      Members of Congress are weighing in against the U.S. government’s use of “gunboat diplomacy”-style intimidation of Colombia against that country allowing a generic version of an ultraexpensive cancer drug named Gleevec in order to protect the public’s health.

    • Capitalists of the world, unite!

      Capitalism is not a form of government. It is a system of wealth management. It does not create wealth, but only allocates it. It is indifferent to the welfare of people. It has no social purpose. Private profit is everything.

      Over several decades, as millions in Asia and elsewhere have seen living standards rise, tens of millions of Americans have seen theirs fall dramatically – low wages, and lost jobs – in a massive re-allocation of wealth abroad from the once large and prosperous American middle class.

    • Michigan Lawmakers Target Homeless With Ban On “Aggressive” Panhandling

      In Michigan, people who continue begging for money from the same person after receiving a “no” could face up to $100 in fines—money they often simply don’t have. This week the Michigan House Criminal Justice Committee approved House Bill 5103, the “Aggressive Solicitation Prohibition Act.”

      The bill would forbid a variety of behaviors when people panhandle, such as making physical contact, blocking the path of the person they are soliciting, and “approaching or following a person in a manner intended to cause bodily harm.”

    • The Elites and the Rise of Donald Trump

      If you want to see “privilege,” look to the CEO making $20 million a year as they turn in a mediocre performance managing a major corporation. Or talk to a cardiologist, an occupation with a median annual salary of more than $420,000 a year.

    • Anthony Barnett in conversation with Yanis Varoufakis

      openDemocracy founder Anthony Barnett discusses DiEM25, Brexit and European democracy with Yanis Varoufakis. Recorded at the Another Europe is Possible event in London, 28 May 2016.

    • The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?

      A substantial number of Americans are interested in redistributing wealth and making government work for the 99 percent

    • The Sociology of War

      Mises had long struggled to intellectually combat the Marxist class warriors who sought to introduce Bolshevism to Austria. For example, his 1920 explication of the socialist calculation problem demonstrated the fatal flaw in Soviet-style planning. Soon Mises found himself also hounded by race warriors. As a Jewish liberal, he was compelled to flee the rise of the Nazis: first to Switzerland, and then to America.

      The events of World War II proved to Mises that warfare sociology had won the hearts and minds of the west.

    • Husbandry: a feminist reclamation of men’s responsibility to care

      But if you’re like me, you want to make the economy work in the service of the things that we care about, like human and planetary well-being. That’s tough if we imagine that people in their economic lives are solely self-interested and motivated by monetary rewards. It’s also problematic if people think that men, if they want to be caring, have to compromise their masculine gender identity.

      If you try to combine ‘economy’ and ‘care’ using images found on Google, no cogent narrative emerges. A man in a suit sitting on a pile of money…while holding a baby? A woman in nursing scrubs sitting with an elderly person…while engaged in a power handshake? Those images don’t work.

    • Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA

      The 18th round of negotiations on a secret deal to limit public oversight over the services economy starts this week at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, and negotiators will have a new item on their agenda: how to deal with the onslaught of leaks of proposals that were supposed to remain locked away in secret until five years after the deal was concluded or abandoned.

      That’s because WikiLeaks released draft texts on three previously unpublished cross-cutting annexes of the proposed Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) yesterday: disciplines on the way governments can regulate State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs); Professional Services, and New Provisions Applicable to All Services.

    • Billionaires Eager To Sue Outlets That Criticize Them Would Thrive In A Trump Presidency

      Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Media was about more than Hogan’s payout from the beginning.

      Now, reporting from Forbes alleges that Silicon valley billionaire and pledged Trump delegate Peter Thiel — who has referred to Gawker writers as “terrorists” — has been secretly backing the suit. The New York Times also reports that Thiel is bankrolling the case. The revelation adds a twist to a case already tied up in questions over freedom of speech, and has big implications for how critical press functions in an age of billionaires.

    • Donald Trump in 2006: I ‘sort of hope’ real estate market tanks

      Two years before the housing market collapsed in 2008 and millions of Americans lost their homes, Donald Trump said he was hoping for a crash.

      “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” Trump said in a 2006 audiobook from Trump University, answering a question about “gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash.”

      The U.S. housing bubble burst two years later, triggering the stock market crash of 2008 that plunged the U.S. economy into a deep recession, leaving millions of Americans unemployed.

    • Elizabeth Warren Slams ‘Small, Insecure Money Grubber’ Trump For Profiting Off Housing Crisis

      In a 2006 Trump University audiobook, Trump was asked about “gloomy predictions that the real estate market is heading for a spectacular crash.” He responded by saying the prospect was actually something he was looking forward to.

      “I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy,” Trump said. “If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know you can make a lot of money… If you’re in a good cash position — which I’m in a good cash position today — then people like me would go in and buy like crazy.”

    • GOP Congressman Tries To Hijack Civil Rights Movement Language To Destroy Anti-Poverty Programs

      Conservatives who want to weaken anti-poverty programs are a lot like black civil rights protesters who put their lives and freedom on the line to defeat Jim Crow laws in the heart of Ku Klux Klan country, according to Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL).

      Roskam made the comparison at a Ways and Means Committee hearing on Tuesday, moments after Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) had spoken of his own impoverished upbringing on farmland in rural Alabama.

    • World’s Low-Cost Economy Built on the Backs of 46 Million Modern Day Slaves

      Close to 46 million men, women, and children are enslaved across the world, according to a harrowing new report from the Australia-based Walk Free Foundation.

      Many of them, the analysis notes, are in fact ensnared providing “the low-cost labor that produces consumer goods for markets in Western Europe, Japan, North America, and Australia.”

      The organization’s 2016 Global Slavery Index—based on 42,000 interviews conducted in 53 languages, covering 44 percent of global population—found there to be 28 percent more “modern slaves” than previously estimated.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • ‘Rigged’ 2016 Election Has Voters Feeling Helpless, Unheard, and Ashamed

      The survey, conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research and published Tuesday, reported that a full 90 percent of voters lack confidence in the country’s political system while 40 percent went so far as to say that the two-party structure is “seriously broken.”

      Seventy percent of voters, including equal proportions of Democrats and Republicans, said they feel frustrated about the 2016 presidential election and 55 percent reported feeling “helpless.”

    • Democrats at a Clinton-Sanders Crossroad

      Please don’t commit suicide by nominating Hillary Clinton. Allow me to explain. I have been a Democrat since birth. My first political memory was Robert Kennedy’s assassination. I remember thinking that perhaps the best politician that ever was had died and being terribly sad from that thought.

    • How Democracies Are Subverted

      The repeated indicators of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian tendencies bring to mind that Erdogan once said, “Democracy is like a streetcar. When you come to your stop, you get off.”

    • Clinton Scrambles for California as Sanders Challenges for Nation’s Biggest Prize

      As Bernie Sanders launched a campaign blitz in California on Monday ahead of the state’s June 7 primary, his presidential rival Hillary Clinton found herself cancelling appearances in New Jersey to catch up with him.

      Clinton skipped out on plans to campaign in the Garden State on Wednesday and Thursday in favor of a five-day tour through California, where some recent polls have seen her lead on Sanders shrink to a dead heat—though others have put her a few points ahead.

      California will be the nation’s biggest primary, where 475 delegates are at stake.

    • Establishment Democrats Courting Disaster

      In the 1964 film classic, Dr. Strangelove, Slim Pickens is seen riding a nuclear bomb down to his certain death – and perhaps to the end of us all – while he calmly inventories his survival equipment.

      The Democratic Party Establishment’s commitment to Hillary Clinton is a lot like that.

      As Hillary falls behind Trump, the Establishment is doing all it can to to continue to discredit Sanders — who beats Trump handily — and chase him out of the race. Meanwhile, they comfort themselves with self-deluding lies to justify backing the only candidate Trump could beat.

    • No, I Won’t Work for Hillary Clinton: A Response to Robert Reich

      I don’t know Robert Reich personally, but I greatly respect and appreciate his work; his voice is an important one in the fight against inequality.

      He has, however, repeatedly come down on the wrong side of one crucial issue, an issue that has serious implications for the future of American politics broadly, and for the future of the American left in particular.

    • In Estonia, we should be careful not to overstate the impact of the information war

      The Baltic States are now seen as the next frontline in Russia’s hybrid war. But the political preferences of ethnic Russian communities are more complicated than meets the eye.

    • A pay-to-play pick for the Democratic Party platform committee

      In a rare move, both remaining contenders for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination will pick some of the party’s platform drafting committee members, while the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, will choose the rest.

    • 58 Donald Trump Conspiracy Theories (And Counting!): The Definitive Trump Conspiracy Guide

      Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump not only surrounds himself with conspiracy theorists, he has spent years pushing conspiracy theories himself, much to the delight of his supporters.

      At times, Trump tries to remain evasive about whether he actually believes these conspiracy theories, insisting that he simply “heard” or “read” them somewhere or is just asking a question.

    • Another Big Lie From Trump: His Supporters Are the ‘Silent Majority’

      Unlike Nixon’s famous “silent majority,” Trump’s backers are loud—and growing in volume.

    • Why Bernie Sanders Is Still Standing

      One big reason, undoubtedly, is that Clinton is a weak candidate, damaged by her insider status, history of scandal (the email controversy is only the latest in a long line) and the public’s grave doubts about her honesty.

      Her unfavorability ratings—along with those of Donald Trump, her front-running GOP counterpart—sit at historic highs.

      But Clinton’s deficits are only part of the overall picture.

      Another reason Sanders remains in the fight is that the Red-baiting tactics directed against him largely have failed. Those tactics—which have been deployed in both overt, traditional forms and in coded, latter-day garb—have been continuous and unrelenting. They have come from Democrats and Republicans as well as from the mainstream media.

    • North Korean State Media Calls Trump A ‘Far-Sighted’ And ‘Wise Politician’

      In perhaps the most interesting praise of Donald Trump yet, North Korean state media has described the likely Republican presidential nominee as a “far-sighted” and “wise politician.”

      According to NK News, on Tuesday, an editorial in the state outlet DPRK Today noted that “there are many positive aspects to the Trump’s ‘inflammatory policies,’” like his proposal to stay out of the conflict between North and South Korea.

    • North Korea praises Trump and urges US voters to reject ‘dull Hillary’

      North Korean state media has praised US presidential hopeful Donald Trump, describing him as a “wise politician” and “far-sighted candidate” who could help unify the Korean peninsula.

      An editorial in DPRK Today, an official media outlet, welcomed the Republican presidential candidate’s proposal to hold direct talks with Kim Jong-un, saying he could help bring about Pyongyang’s “Yankee go home” policy.

    • Trump v. Clinton: Judging ‘the Lesser Evil’

      The mainstream U.S. media rightly criticizes Donald Trump for his bigoted remarks about Mexicans and Muslims – and his know-nothing-ism on global warming – but wrongly ignores Hillary Clinton’s role in futile and bloody wars, Gilbert Doctorow notes.

    • Lame Duck TPP Push Hands Trump A Powerful Issue Against Clinton

      More and more the word is getting out that President Obama, along with the giant multinational corporations and Wall Street, will launch a push in Congress to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during the “lame duck” legislative session following the election.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Apple, Arbiters Of Art, Say Game About Surviving The Gaza Strip Isn’t A Game, Even Though It Is

      Search for stories about Apple’s App Store in the Techdirt archives and you will quickly notice a theme. That theme is that Apple routinely appoints itself as the arbiter of artistic quality and morality when it comes to content within the app store, particularly gaming content, and that its application of these standards swings like some kind of absurd pendulum. Ban a game over here for telling a bible story that includes violence against children, but allow the actual bible to be sold as well. React to the South Carolina massacre by pulling down games about the Civil War because they include images of the Confederate flag. Reject a wargaming simulation, then approve it, and nobody knows how the company might decide to react tomorrow. You often hear that stability breeds a good ground for business, whereas Apple runs its App Store like some kind of experiment in chaos.

      And in order to apply its standards in a way that apparently makes the folks at Apple feel all warm and fuzzy inside, it occasionally has to truly lower its explanations to absurd levels of outright lying. For instance, Apple recently disallowed a game about surviving on the Gaza Strip in its store, claiming it wasn’t a game at all, but a news publication, even though the briefest review of the app reveals that it’s obviously a game.

    • Court Says MuckRock Must Take Down Smart Grid Company’s Documents Because Judge Has ‘No Time’ To Review Case Properly

      Last week, we covered a multinational corporation’s attempt to force MuckRock to take down documents supplied by the city of Seattle to Phil Mocek. Landis+Gyr, which was awarded the contract to supply the city with “smart meters” in conjunction with the publicly-owned utility, claimed the documents released — along with documents the city was planning to release — would be a boon to competitors and terrorists, although it didn’t specify which of these it was more worried about.

    • Pakistani Newspaper Alters Readers Comments to make Censorship Point

      Pakistan’s Daily Times, an English-language newspaper, changed online commenters’ posts to make a point on press freedom, Ad Week reported.

      The newspaper and ad agency Grey Singapore created a “Free My Voice” campaign that included “an algorithm that automatically flipped the meaning of commenters’ posts, and applied it to comments beneath a controversial article about the Islamic country’s blasphemy law,” according to Ad Week.

    • Column: Shining light on campus censorship

      Something weird is happening in higher education. Although liberal ideology has controlled the campuses for generations, some liberals seem to be suffering a crisis of faith. In the New York Times (May 7), columnist Nicholas Kristoff, for instance, wonders about the campus’ rather peculiar view of diversity: “We progressives believe in diversity, and we want women, blacks, Latinos, gays and Muslims at the table – er, so long as they aren’t conservatives. We’re fine with people who don’t look like us as long as they think like us.”

    • Reject Censorship at Conference on Refugees. The “Dirty War on Syria” is the Cause of the Refugee Crisis [Ed: more context in the item below]

      Unfortunately the organizers have been pressured to censor discussion and debate. A campaign was launched to disinvite keynote speaker Dr. Tim Anderson (University of Sydney). His book “The Dirty War on Syria” exposes the role of the USA and its allies in destabilizing Syria, funding and promoting the conflict that has led to the current refugee crisis. As they have in the past, some groups and individuals who support the armed opposition in Syria are trying to prevent a broader discussion.

    • Video: The Dirty War on Syria – Prof. Tim Anderson on GRTV

      The Dirty War on Syria has relied on a level of mass disinformation not seen in living memory. In seeking ‘regime change’ the big powers sought to hide their hand, using proxy armies of ‘Islamists’, demonising the Syrian Government and constantly accusing it of atrocities. In this way Syrian President Bashar al Assad, a mild-mannered eye doctor, became the new evil in the world.

      The popular myths of this dirty war – that it is a ‘civil war’, a ‘popular revolt’ or a sectarian conflict – hide a murderous spree of ‘regime change’ across the region. The attack on Syria was a necessary consequence of Washington’s ambition, stated openly in 2006, to create a ‘New Middle East’. After the destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Syria was next in line.

    • China’s 50 Cent Party: The Other Side of Censorship

      Russia has its famed “troll factories” – shadowy organizations quietly supported by the Kremlin to flood Internet comment sections with vitriolic anti-U.S. posts intended to provoke the worst sorts of responses.

      Iran may boast of its “halal Internet,” a giant nationwide web only for those inside Iran supposedly being built to keep out “unclean” or anti-Islamic content, as well as critical comments about the government.

      But when it comes to altering or censoring the web, the worldwide leader by far is China. For decades, Beijing has celebrated what it calls the Golden Shield, what the rest of the world has come to know as the “Great Firewall of China.”

    • Minister backs SABC protest censorship
    • Cosatu rejects SABC “censorship”
    • Communications minister welcomes SABC protest ‘censorship’
    • SA editors slam SABC decision to ban coverage of violent protests
    • We Spoke With That Utah Mormon Republican Who Wants to Institute Porn Filters
    • Duo held for posting obscene images of Goddess Kali, PM on FB; may be tried under NSA
    • MP govt slaps NSA on duo for Facebook post
    • NSA invoked against two for ‘liking’ FB post on Kali
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • ‘Europe, This is Unbearable’: Deadly Crossings Drive Migrant Fatalities to New Heights

      Describing a heartbreaking and horrific scene of hundreds of bodies floating on the surface of the Mediterranean, the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) confirmed Sunday that more than 700 asylum seekers drowned last week, capping off the deadliest period for those fleeing war and violence in over a year.

      “The casualties happened in three separate incidents on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after more than 13,000 people set sail from Libya for Italy in an eight-day period,” the Guardian reported.

      UNHCR spokeswoman Carlotta Sami said that with 700 dead, last week was the deadliest since April 2015, when roughly 1,300 refugees were killed in two fatal shipwrecks off the coast of Libya. Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) Sea, the Doctors without Borders’ Mediterranean migration team, estimated that as many as 900 might have drowned.

    • More than 700 migrants feared dead in three Mediterranean sinkings

      More than 700 people are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean last week, the deadliest seven days for Europe-bound asylum seekers in more than a year.

      The casualties happened in three separate incidents on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday after more than 13,000 people set sail from Libya for Italy in an eight-day period.

    • Surprise Ruling In Favor Of Labor Opens Up New Options For Workers Looking To Sue Their Employers

      Workers cannot be prohibited from bringing class-action lawsuits against their employers, an appeals court panel ruled Thursday, even if the boss makes them sign away that right in order to keep their job.

      The case involves Epic Systems, one of the largest medical software companies in America. Founded in the late 1970s, the billion-dollar business only recently began making workers agree to so-called “forced arbitration” clauses in which they forswear their rights to go to court either individually or collectively.

      By doing so, the judges found, Epic violated its workers’ federal labor rights to take collective action, making the clauses unenforceable.

    • Child abuse inquiry turns to Kincora home and claims of MI5 blackmail

      An inquiry into child abuse across a range of institutions in Northern Ireland will focus on Tuesday on the Kincora boys home scandal including allegations that MI5 blackmailed a paedophile ring which operated there in the 1970s.

      The historical institutional abuse inquiry will hear evidence from men who were abused at Kincora when they were children and their allegations that the perpetrators were protected because they were state agents spying on fellow Ulster loyalists.

      A number of Kincora abuse victims have tried through the courts to force the scandal to be included in the national investigation into allegations of establishment paedophile rings operating in Westminster.

    • The Center Doesn’t Hold

      That does not explain Lieberman, whose party consists of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, about a million and a half, generally called “Russians”. Why are so many of them extreme rightists, racists and Arab-haters?

      A class by themselves are young leftists, who refuse to support any party. Instead, they turn towards non-party activism, regularly founding new groups for civil rights and peace. They support the Palestinians in the occupied territories, fight for the “purity of our arms” in the army, and do wonderful work for similar causes.

    • Senate Republicans Further Complicate Obama’s Efforts To Close Guantanamo

      Senate Republicans put forward a bill Wednesday that would send ISIS fighters to prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The legislation, presented by Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Steve Daines (R-MT), is the latest attempt by Republicans to derail President Obama’s attempts to fulfill a campaign promise to close the notorious prison.

      “Instead of closing the prison, the Administration should transfer detained ISIS fighters to Guantánamo Bay,” the senators said in a statement.

    • Time to begin to disarm more and more officers.

      Time to repeal the Stupid Second Amendment so the citizens of the US can slowly lose their lethal firearms and police will not have as much justification for packing guns everywhere they go, shooting everyone who might make them twitch.

      Time to retrain police to resolve conflict without violence.

      Time to begin to disarm more and more officers.

    • How We Decided to Test Racial Bias in Algorithms

      In 2014, former Attorney General Eric Holder wrote a letter to the U.S. Sentencing Commission asking them to study racial bias in risk scores. It never did the study. So ProPublica did. The team of reporters, led by Julia Angwin, found that an algorithm being used across the country to predict future criminals is biased against black defendants. And what’s more, the algorithm is not very good. Only 20 percent of the people predicted to commit violent crimes actually have actually been found to have done so. I spoke with Julia about the investigation and how her team is uncovering machine bias.

    • A Call to Reopen Investigation of Terror Campaign Against Journalists

      An advocacy group says ProPublica and Frontline’s reporting on the murders of Vietnamese-American reporters requires a renewed probe by the FBI.

    • The Bill Clinton-Era Law That Could Put The Charleston Shooter On Death Row

      That changed in 1994, when President Bill Clinton’s Federal Death Penalty Act greatly expanded the list of offenses for which federal defendants can face the death penalty. There are currently 54 people on federal death row, sentenced after Clinton’s expansive crime bill. Roof would bring that number up to 55 if convicted.

    • Congress Boosts Rehab but Gives Opioid Pushers a Pass

      The legislation focuses on treating addiction and does nothing to limit the role of pharmaceutical companies in fueling the opioid crisis. In fact, it instructs the federal government to review and potentially undo sweeping new guidelines that recommend less prescribing of highly addictive opioid painkillers such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin.

    • What Big Pharma Does Not Want You to Know About the Opioid Epidemic

      The Pharma-driven opioid epidemic may be as big a con as the mortgage housing bubble collapse.

    • Democratic Leadership Is Missing In Action on Mass Incarceration

      Even though it now looks like Americans will be deprived the drama of a contested Republican convention, the gathering in Cleveland could hold at least one surprise.

      The Republicans are set to vote on an RNC resolution to reduce mass incarceration. The measure asks for “reforms for nonviolent offenders at the state and federal level” and urges “state legislators and Congress to…provide substance abuse treatment to addicts, emphasize work and education, and implement policies that cut costs while obtaining better outcomes.”

      Finally, Democrats may say, Republicans have woken up to mass incarceration as a 21st-century civil-rights struggle, joining what has for years been a progressive fight.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • EDRi and Access Now withdraw from the EU Commission IT Forum discussions

      Today, on 31 May, European Digital Rights (EDRi) and Access Now delivered a joint statement on the EU Commission’s “EU Internet Forum”, announcing our decision not to take part in future discussions and confirming that we do not have confidence in the ill considered “code of conduct” that was agreed.

    • Bulgaria to complete plans for broadband expansion

      The government of Bulgaria aims to finalise its plans to connect its broadband networks to those in neighbouring Romania and Serbia. A meeting is set for June, and will involve experts from the three countries, the European Investment Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Commission, announced Bulgaria’s Ministry for ICT.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Mahamedi IP v. Paradice & LI: DTSA Between Patent Lawyers

      With that in mind, a new Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) lawsuit has been filed by the patent attorney Zurvan (Van) Mahamedi against his former partner William (Trip) Paradice. The Mahamedi-Paradice firm split in April 2016 and both lawyers reached-out to firm clients (including Qualcomm) claiming to be the successor firm.

    • Copyrights

      • German Constitutional Court sends sampling saga into another loop

        In 1997, German music producer Moses Pelham took a two second sample from Kraftwerk’s 1977 song “Metall auf Metall” and used it as a continuous loop for the song “Nur mir” performed by Sabrina Setlur. In 2004, Kraftwerk sued Pelham for violation of their phonogram producers’ rights and obtained an injunction against the distribution of “Nur mir”. The case went all the way to the Federal Court of Justice (BGH), which held in 2008 that even sampling the “tiniest sliver” (“kleinste Tonfetzen”) of a record infringed the record producer’s right (§ 85(1) German Copyright Act). The defence of Article 24 Copyright Act (Freie Benutzung) was in principle applicable, but required that it was not possible to recreate the sampled sound without copying from the original recording. The BGH sent the case back to the lower court for the factual determination whether it was possible to recreate the sampled sound in the specific case.

      • European Commission Consultation: More Panorama, Less Neighbouring Rights

        On 23 March, the European Commission launched a consultation on the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and on the ‘panorama exception’. While this consultation reflects the will of the Commission to tackle possible exemptions to copyright, it is far less progressive than the recommendations made by the European Parliament through the Reda report. Even worse, the questionnaire is directed towards creating a new kind of “editor’s right”, at the expense of authors and users, a path that the Parliament rejected at the time.

      • Sorry not sorry – Justin Bieber and Skrillex deny copying vocal loop to produce ‘Sorry’

        Justin Bieber and Skrillex have been accused of copyright infringement by artist Casey Dienel, aka White Hinterland. The suit probably does not come as a complete surprise to the duo as Dienel claimed that she contacted Bieber’s lawyers when “Sorry” was initially released, but did not receive a response.

        Dienel alleged that Bieber and Skrillex, whose 2015 hit single ‘Sorry’ has received 1.4 billion hits on YouTube, copied her vocal loop from her 2014 song ‘Ring the Bell’. The allegedly copied segment can be heard in the first five seconds of each song. Skrillex and Bieber have both denied the claims on their Twitter accounts.

      • Independent Musician Sues Justin Bieber & Skrillex For Copyright Infringement… Over A Sample They Didn’t Use

        Late last week, the press had a bit of a frenzy with the news that indie musician Casey Dienel, who releases music as White Hinterland, had sued Justin Bieber and Skrillex (along with some others) for copyright infringement, claiming that the pair used a sample from her song “Ring the Bell” that was released in 2014. The accusation is that Bieber’s 2015 hit “Sorry” uses the same sample of a female musical riff. You can read the lawsuit here, which might be useful since most of the rest of the media didn’t link to it.

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  6. Europeans Still Need to Save the European Patent Office From Those Who Attack Its Patent Quality

    Patent quality is of utmost interest; without it, as we're seeing at the EPO and have already seen at the USPTO for a number of years, legal disputes will arise where neither side wins (only the lawyers win) and small, impoverished inventors or businesses will be forced to settle outside the courts over baseless allegations, often made by parasitic patent trolls (possessing low-quality patents they don't want scrutinised by courts)



  7. We Never Accepted and Will Never Accept Corporate Money

    Corporate money is a unique problem because of its magnitude and the fact that it's impersonal; shareholders can only ever accept its supposed justifications if they're receiving something in return (of proportional worth to the payment/transaction)



  8. IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, December 03, 2019

    IRC logs for Tuesday, December 03, 2019



  9. Links 3/12/2019: elementary OS 5.1 Hera, Plasma 5.17.4, Firefox 71

    Links for the day



  10. Laundering the Reputation of Criminals: That's an Actual Job

    An important reminder that the manufactured, paid-for (media is being bribed) image of Bill Gates is the product of the PR industry he enlisted to distract from his endless crimes



  11. 'Priceless' Tickets to the EPO's Back End and Team UPC

    CIPA's and the EPO's event (later this week) is more of the same; the EPO exists not to serve European businesses but a bunch of law firms and their biggest clients (which usually aren't even European)



  12. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 02, 2019

    IRC logs for Monday, December 02, 2019



  13. New EPO Leak Shows That the Rumours and Jokes Are Partly True and We Know Who 'Runs the Show'

    Europe’s second-largest institution is so profoundly dysfunctional, a reprehensible kakistocracy of tribalism, money-grabbing career-climbing autocrats and possibly major fraud; today’s leak looks at what motivated and enabled the formation and latest incarnation of “Team Campinos”



  14. Links 2/12/2019: Linux Mint 19.3 Beta, DPL Sam Hartman Talks About SystemD

    Links for the day



  15. What Former Debian Project Leader (Second to the Late Ian Murdock) Thinks About SystemD in Debian GNU/Linux

    Now that Debian is debating and voting on diversity in the technical sense the thoughts of Bruce Perens merit broader audience/reach



  16. Free/Libre Software Will Eventually Become the Norm, 'Open Source' is Just Proprietary Software Trying to 'Buy Time'

    More people are starting to ask questions about Free software while “Open Source” languishes (people can see it’s just a mask for proprietary software); it was a two-decade delaying tactic that’s wearing off (people see GitHub and the OSI/Linux Foundation for what they really are)



  17. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 01, 2019

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 01, 2019



  18. Richard Stallman is Active and Doing Well

    The rumour mill may still be humming along; but against all odds — as Chief GNUisance of the GNU Project — Stallman keeps fighting the good fight (in the face of growing resistance)



  19. Banning Former Microsoft Employees Who Complain About Microsoft Lies, Abuses and Crimes

    The official account of Windows Insider is banning people whom it never even spoke to; this seems like a way of 'punishing' people who are not 'true believers' in Microsoft



  20. Wikileaks: Thierry Breton May Have Misused Regulatory/Government Positions to Attack His Competition (in the Market)

    Thierry 'revolving doors' Breton as seen by the United States government



  21. 13 Years of UPC Promises

    The anatomy of UPC 'fake news' or lobbying tactics along the lines of self-fulfilling prophecies and false predictions



  22. Is Water Wet?

    The criteria for patent eligibility reduced only to this question: will allowing these patents increase ‘production’ (number of patent grants)?



  23. The EPO's President Admits He's Illegally Granting Software Patents (CII, 4IR, IoT, AI and Blockchain Mean Software Patents at the EPO)

    The EPO's chief liar is openly and proudly promoting software patents using buzzwords and hype waves (and mysterious acronyms that are rather meaningless but spread by the media in exchange for money received from the EPO)



  24. Tone Policing and the Linux Foundation

    A timely example of situations where the Linux Foundation can seemingly 'cancel' people (using the Code of Conduct) for political opinions



  25. It EEEsn't Just a Microsoft Thing Anymore

    The EEErosion of Python's independence is a known problem and Microsoft is not the sole culprit



  26. Links 1/12/2019: KDE's GTK CSD Support, Skrooge 2.21.0

    Links for the day



  27. Links 1/12/2019: Genode OS 19.11 Release, Sam Hartman (DPL) Speaks Out on SystemD

    Links for the day



  28. Maximalists Cherry-Picking the So-Called 'Corbyn' 'Leak' for Their Patent Agenda While the US Lobbies Britain for Software Patents and Worse

    A quick look at what last week's media coverage may have missed and what patent maximalists don't want to tell us about confidential trade-related documents



  29. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, November 30, 2019

    IRC logs for Saturday, November 30, 2019



  30. Microsoft Loves Linux Because It Pays for It

    Microsoft cannot ‘buy’ Linux itself, so it has been buying (bribing) all the ‘right’ people while telling them (and then they tell us, too!) they “love Linux” (which they don’t even use!)


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