EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

07.06.16

Links 6/7/2016: KDE Plasma 5.7, DigiKam 5.0

Posted in News Roundup at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux: An Evolving Trend That Is High On Demand

    When we discuss the advancement of Linux, well then several companies along with developers are playing their part in bringing up the technology, especially desktop, the area where Linux strived hard to excel. Stack Overflow conducted a survey of more than 50,000 developers that stated that nearly 21.7% choose Linux, in particular to develop on the LAMP stack. In spite of the fact that 50% of developers use the same, the rate is steadily depleting, making the competition effortless for Linux.

  • When Linux is the face of kindness

    My late father, Lou Shapiro, was an early leader of UNICEF, so relief work was baked into the genetics of my family. His work was centered on emergency relief for the survivors of earthquakes and other natural disasters. Whenever there was an earthquake in the world, I knew dad would be coming home late from work—and I was so proud that some family experiencing trauma would be sleeping in a dry tent, with warm blankets and clean water, because of my dad’s work. Following in my father’s footsteps, my own relief work has been centered on digital inclusion—and open source is the tool I turn to most often.

    Let me share two stories with you in that regard. In April, a young dad visited the public library where I work. He appeared interested in using the public computers our library offers. It turns out someone had stolen his family’s only computer, a Macbook, and his tax return was due that day. When I learned about his predicament, I asked, “Would you like to borrow a Linux laptop until your family buys another laptop?” He perked up and asked, “Does this library lend laptops?” I replied, “The library doesn’t, but I do. You can bring this back to me after you’re done with it.”

  • 4 open source tools I used to write a Linux book

    I spent the past year or so writing Learn Linux in a Month of Lunches, which is designed to introduce desktop Linux to non-technical users. This is a rundown of the tools I used to create the book, with the HUGE caveat that tools are just that—tools. They don’t actually do any work or planning for you. However, the right tools make the work much easier. These are the tools that were right for me.

  • Desktop

    • Can Desktop Linux Conquer its Challenges?

      Despite countless inroads made by today’s best and brightest Linux distributions, it’s still difficult for the Linux desktop to get ahead. In this article, I’ll talk about the biggest challenges I’ve seen and what can be done to overcome them.

    • Windows 10 to Linux

      There is a lot of noise at the moment about Microsoft’s new operating system called Windows 10. Without repeating all the details you can have a look, say here or here or here. The essence of the story is that Microsoft is making it very difficult to avoid the new operating system. The advice being given is to not install the upgrade – which is anything but easy, since Windows 7 is supported until 2020.

    • A Windows zealot trashes Linux

      Linux has always been a fantastic alternative to Windows for many users. But there are some people who are so attached to Windows that the very idea of Linux offends them. So it was with one woman who became outraged when a Linux user tried to help her mother with some computer problems related to Windows 10.

    • The New Fullscreen Windows 10 Upgrade Nagging Reminder
    • Microsoft’s final Windows 10 nagware gets up close and personal
  • Server

    • LzLabs launches product to move mainframe COBOL code to Linux cloud

      Somewhere in a world full of advanced technology that we write about regularly here on TechCrunch, there exists an ancient realm where mainframe computers are still running programs written in COBOL.

      This is a programming language, mind you, that was developed in the late 1950s, and used widely in the ’60s and ’70s and even into the ’80s, but it’s never really gone away. You might think it would have been mostly eradicated from modern business by now, but you would be wrong.

      As we march along, however, the pool of people who actually know how to maintain these COBOL programs grows ever smaller by the year, and companies looking to move the data (and even the archaic programs) to a more modern platform could be stuck without personnel to help guide them through the transition.

    • Java on the Mainframe – on z/OS rather than Linux – An opportunity well worth researching, if you run a Mainframe

      There is suddenly new interest in monitoring Java on mainframes – I’m not talking about running lots of Java VMs on Linux but about running Java against big mainframe systems on z/OS. This might be about modernising legacy COBOL applications (Java skills are easier to find than COBOL skills these days) or about extending the legacy with new business functionality. JAVA is very flexible, you can use it in DB2 stored procedures, or in CICs, or even in IMS programming (yes, IMS database is still in active use). According to BMC’s 2015 Mainframe Survey, 46% of those surveyed say that Java usage on their mainframe has increased by over 10% in the past two years; and 70% of respondees reporting growth indicated that writing new applications in Java was a key factor in this.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE neon Adds KDE Games

        Are you feeling too productive in your day? Then try the latest addition to KDE Neon! I’ve added the KDE Games applications to our repositories.

      • digiKam 5.0.0 is published…

        After two year of work, the digiKam team is proud to announce the final release of digiKam Software Collection 5.0.0. This main version introduces a new cycle of releases, which will be shortly released to quickly include all the fixes reported by end users.

        This release marks almost complete port of the application to Qt5. All Qt4/KDE4 code has been removed and many parts have been re-written, reviewed, and tested. Porting to Qt5 required a lot of work, as many important APIs had to be changed or replaced by new ones.

      • DigiKam 5.0 KDE Photography Software Released

        After two years of development, DigiKam 5.0 has been released as the digital photography management software from the KDE camp that’s now been ported to Qt5.

        The Qt5 port alone makes this a huge release and it does remove around 80% of the KDE-specific dependencies as in the future the developers are looking at making it Qt5-only. The dropping of many KDE dependencies is being used to make it easier to port and maintain this digital photography software on Windows, OS X, and other operating systems.

      • digiKam 5.0.0 Powerful Image Editor Officially Released, Ported to Qt5

        Today, July 5, 2016, the development team behind the digiKam open-source and cross-platform image editor software proudly announced the final release of digiKam 5.0.0.

        digiKam 5.0.0 comes two years after the release of digiKam 4.0.0. During these years, it received numerous snapshots that brought various nifty features and improvements, all of which are now present in this final build, which is available for download right now for GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and Microsoft Windows operating systems.

      • KDE Neon 5.7 Lets You Taste the New KDE Plasma 5.7 Desktop Environment, Qt 5.7

        After informing us the other day about the availability of new ISO respins of the KDE Plasma Wayland images, ex-Kubuntu leader Jonathan Riddell has now announced the release of KDE Neon 5.7.

        For those behind on their KDE Neon reading, we’ll take this opportunity to inform them that the open-source initiative promises to offer ISO images as well as a repository that can be added on top of Kubuntu or any other Ubuntu flavor, with the most recent KDE Plasma, KDE Applications, and KDE Frameworks technologies.

      • KDE Plasma 5.7 Officially Released with Great Wayland Improvements, Many Changes

        Today, July 5, 2016, KDE has had the enormous pleasure of announcing the availability of the final KDE Plasma 5.7 desktop environment release.

        Yes, that’s right, the Beta testing phase is now over, and the final release of the highly anticipated KDE Plasma 5.7 desktop environment, which is used by default in numerous GNU/Linux operating systems, including openSUSE Leap, PCLinuxOS, Fedora, and many others, has hit the streets.

      • KDE Plasma 5.7 Officially Released
      • KDE Plasma 5.7
      • Animations on lock screen – Plasma Wallpaper support

        With Plasma 5.7 released I’m allowed to blog about new features in Plasma 5.8. One of the features missed by many users in the Plasma 5 series was the lack of animations in the lock screen architecture. With Plasma 5 we dropped support for the old XScreenSaver and went QtQuick only. Now technically it was always possible to have animations on the lock screen. Our lock screen architecture loads the QtQuick files through the lookandfeel package mechanism, which means that one could provide an animation in a lookandfeel package.

      • Synchronizing the X11 and Wayland clipboard
      • News from Randa, Café and next release
      • Interview with Matteo Pescarin

        It was a couple of years ago, I’ve grown disillusioned with the quality of the work I was able to get out of The GIMP from an artistic point of view until I started reading a couple of reviews of Krita online and decided to try it.

      • KDE Applications 16.08 Software Suite for KDE Plasma 5.7 to Land August 18, 2016

        Now that the release cycle of the KDE Applications 16.04 software suite is coming to an end, as the third and last maintenance update will arrive on July 12, it’s time for the KDE developers to concentrate their efforts on the next series.

        We’ve always wondered what will be the next version of the KDE Applications software suite for KDE Plasma 5.7, and now we know, as the release schedule of KDE Applications 16.08 has been published recently in the usual places.

      • Chakra GNU/Linux Users Can Now Test KDE Plasma 5.7, Qt 5.7 & KDE Frameworks 5.24

        The developers of the Chakra GNU/Linux rolling operating system are informing the community today, July 5, 2016, about the availability of the just released KDE Plasma 5.7.0 and Qt 5.7.0 in the testing repositories.

        As we reported earlier today, the KDE project has had the great pleasure of announcing the release of the final KDE Plasma 5.7 desktop environment, which already landed in the testing repos of the Arch Linux operating system, as well as today’s KDE Neon 5.7 User Edition Live ISO images. Now Chakra GNU/Linux devs have uploaded the latest KDE Plasma 5.7 packages, along with Qt 5.7 on their testing repositories.

      • KDE Plasma 5.7 released with more progress towards Wayland
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Shining design – available and yet as well to come!

        The current vibrant coloured bg/theme is not the final one we’re going to release in GA. It has been intended for celebrating the new (and great) Plasma5, the default OMLx3 desktop.

        As always, we do our best possible to provide the users with an overall nice and stylish look for our loved distro.

    • Slackware Family

      • Slackware 14.2

        Slackware was familiar. I could easily go back to using it. However, I have been spoiled by my experience with opensuse. With slackware, there are no configured repos. Any install of addition software takes additional effort, though perhaps just unpacking a tar file. And security updates require periodic checking for announcements and then manual installing.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Lenovo G50 & CentOS 7.2 KDE – Really nice and cool

        CentOS 7 is an excellent choice for home use, even on a laptop that’s not Linux friendly, and it does its work well despite the challenges, the likes of Realtek, UEFI and other buzz words. Now, if only different distros could blend the good elements from their peers. In this case, Ubuntu and friends are more media friendly, and you have better smartphone support. But CentOS does the basics much better, and this means stability, consistency, and weirdly, hardware support.

        It’s like being asked whether you want to lose an arm or a leg, and you can’t have both. In theory, Ubuntu is supposed to give you that LTS fun plus the latest and greatest software, but in reality, this is not happening with Xerus. Yes, Trusty is there, and it’s still the best overall candidate for desktops, in whatever guise. CentOS comes rather close. Yes, it does have its antiquities and enterprise idiosyncrasies, but the problems are solvable. That’s a really nice thing. You can actually fix issues, and there are no surprises waiting for you the next day.

        I did invest a significant amount of energy in making CentOS 7 work on the G50 machine. We can’t ignore that. But the yield is highly positive. The outcome is worth the effort. You need the right network support and some extra repos, but after that, you can add new software, codecs, bells and whistles, drivers for other filesystems and protocols, and anything else you fancy. Well, almost. All considered, this is far more than you’d ever expect. There’s still more work to be done. I will address all sorts of issues in follow up articles, including stuff like MTP, Flash performance, adblocking, volume control, and more. And I think you will be amazed how far you can take CentOS if you set your mind to it. Hint, Gnome edition perhaps?

        Which makes it a darn good candidate for your systems. For one reason only. It needs fixing only once. It does not regress. For me, this is a hugely important attribute for anything I may consider for my production setup. CentOS 7, the biggest and most pleasant surprise this awful spring testing season. Modern hardware, here you go. Off to you guys. Do it. Do it.

      • Red Hat Wants To Repeat The Magic of Linux With Containers

        At the recently held Red Hat Summit, Red Hat’s annual user conference, containers took the center stage. The keynotes emphasized the importance of containers, both for the company, and the broader open source ecosystem.

      • The State of Flatpak In GNOME Software

        Richard Hughes of Red Hat has written a post about Flatpak and GNOME Software. His new post covers the per-user and system-wide plugins for dealing with Flatpak packages, GNOME Software interoperates well with the Flatpak command-line utility, and various other details about the current state of Flatpak integration for GNOME Software.

      • Red Hat, Eurotech Team Up On IoT Platform

        Red Hat and Eurotech have announced a jointly sponsored Eclipse Foundation project: a multi-device IoT platform based on donated Eurotech code.

      • Flatpak and GNOME Software
      • Red Hat CEO: Avoiding bloody noses, hammering home open source participation, and why Microsoft is trying to stay relevant

        Whitehurst believes that virtually all of the newer innovations in technology are happening on Linux first.

        “If you look at Hadoop – Linux only, Microsoft paid Hortonworks to port it to Windows but I don’t know anybody who actually runs it on Windows, if you look at everything happening round SDN or containers, they are Linux containers,” said Whitehurst.

        Microsoft’s plays were described as a company that is effectively playing catch-up, chasing the pack and trying to re-ignite the domination of the 90s that came about because the Microsoft Developer Network started building on Windows, said the CEO.

        Whitehurst said: “I think they are recognising that all the developers, all the cool kids, are developing on Linux now, so there is a nexus of innovation happening there and they are trying to figure out how to work in that new system.”

        Microsoft has made a play to try and stay relevant with developers that are increasingly comfortable with open source tooling and Linux as the operating system.

      • A childhood’s dream

        I will be joining the Platform Operations Team at Red Hat as a System Administrator starting from mid-July! Being part of a great family which cares about Open Source and its values makes me proud and I would really like to thank Red Hat for this incredible opportunity.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 24 – It isn’t for everybody, but then, it doesn’t try to be

          On June 23, after installing Fedora for my first ever look at the distro for this review of Fedora 24, I pinged a friend who writes about Linux seeking help for a pesky configuration problem. I was trying to get GNOME to quit demanding a password every time I walked away from the computer for five minutes or so, which I thought should be easy, but wasn’t. After finding sort of a solution for the problem, I sent him another email.

          “I would expect Fedora to have an easy way to deal with this,” I wrote. “Actually, I find very few configuration tools in this installation of Fedora, which surprises me. This must be what you get when you have server people supervising the development of a desktop OS.”

          “Exactly,” he pinged back with record speed. “I’ve never cared much for it myself. Never really found it that compelling. Arch/etc I get; Ubuntu/Mint, I also see the appeal. But Fedora and SuSE always lost me. Nothing negative about them, rather, I fail to see the appeal unless you’re someone who uses these at work.”

        • Nvidia Drivers Install Fedora 24
        • Armadillo 7 and Nikola 7.7.9 now in Fedora 24

          A new update is available in Fedora 24 fedora-updates-testing repository. This is a major version change from version 6 to 7 and since this implies an .so (dynamic library) major number bump we had to rebuild all the packages that link with armadillo:

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Bullseye, More Obnoxious Windows 10, Slack 14.2 Notes

        Today in Linux news Debian announced version 10 codename at DebConf16 currently in session. In other news Microsoft was just kidding about that whole easier-to-decline thing and Li-f-e may be switching base from openSUSE to Ubuntu. Elsewhere, several reviews warrant a mention besides Neil Rickert’s and my own thoughts on Slackware 14.2.

      • twenty years of free software — part 8 github-backup
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • IBM SoftLayer Now Ubuntu Certified Cloud Partner

            IBM’s SoftLayer cloud infrastructure division has partnered with Ubuntu to offer users certified Ubuntu Linux images, giving access to all the latest Ubuntu features, compliance accreditations, and security updates to SoftLayer customers.

          • Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux Looks To Ditch 32-Bit

            Canonical is the latest software maker looking to end support for Intel’s once-great 32-bit platform

          • E-Shelter Offers Up Managed Ubuntu OpenStack Through Canonical

            Canonical and NTT Communications-owned data centre business e-shelter have launched a joint managed OpenStack private cloud service for e-shelter customers. Advertising.

          • Ubuntu 16.10 Unity 8 – Keyboard navigation
          • Fairphone 2 and OnePlus One Ubuntu Phones Receive Bluetooth, Voice Call Support

            Marius Gripsgård was happy to announce the biggest Ubports update ever for many of the unofficial Ubuntu Phone devices that he and other contributors to this project are maintaining.

          • Canonical Announces Snappy Sprint Event in Germany to Shape Up Universal Snaps

            Today, July 5, Canonical’s David Planella has informed Softpedia about an upcoming event that aims to gather together developers and contributors from various well-known projects to work on shaping up the universal Snaps.

            Last month, Canonical informed the media about Snaps becoming universal binary format for various GNU/Linux distributions that decide to adopt it in addition to various other similar formats, such as Flatpak or AppImage.

            Snaps are currently enabled by default in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) operating system, but Canonical made it possible for users of various other operating systems, including, but not limited to, Arch Linux, Debian, and elementary OS, to use it as well.

          • Linux distros look to drop 32-bit support
          • Linux distros to ditch 32-bit support
          • Flavours and Variants

            • First Thoughts on Linux Mint 18 “Sarah”

              I am a big fan of Linux Mint and I look forward to every release. This week Mint 18 “Sarah” was released. I decided to try it out on my Dell XPS 13 laptop since it is the easiest machine of mine to base and they really haven’t suggested an upgrade path. The one article I was able to find suggested a clean install, which is what I did.

              First, I backed up my home directory, which is where most of my stuff lives, and I backed up the system /etc directory since I’m always making a change there and forgetting that I need it (usually concerning setting up the network interface as a bridge).

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Goodwill is the source code at this open coder collective

    About a year ago, Gautam Rege decided that he wanted to do something to give back to the open source community.

    Rege, along with Sethupathi Asokan, is the cofounder of Josh Software, is among the top companies working on the Ruby on Rails framework in India.

    “With an experience of many years in the open source world, we realised that there is a need to build a platform for measuring the open source contributions, which coders make every day across the world,” Rege told ET.

  • Moving from a traditional product/release focused delivery model to a rolling model

    GDP was born as a “demo” project. The main goal was to provide a platform to show the software components for automotive that the different GENIVI Expert Groups were developing. This was done through a delivery model focused on publishing a stable and easy to consume version of the project every few months, a major release.

    Strictly speaking, GDP is a derivative. It is based on poky and uses Yocto tools to “create” the Linux based platform, adding the different components developed by the GENIVI Alliance together with upstream software. For the defined purpose, the release centric model works fine, especially if you concentrate your effort is very specific areas of the software stack with a small number of dependencies on the other areas, and a limited number of contributions and environments where the system should work.

    During this 2016, the GDP has grown significantly. We have more software, more contributors, more components and more target boards to take care of. Although the above model has not been not challenged yet, it was just a matter of time.

  • Why Google Stores Billions of Lines of Code in a Single Repository

    This article outlines the scale of that codebase and details Google’s custom-built monolithic source repository and the reasons the model was chosen. Google uses a homegrown version-control system to host one large codebase visible to, and used by, most of the software developers in the company. This centralized system is the foundation of many of Google’s developer workflows. Here, we provide background on the systems and workflows that make feasible managing and working productively with such a large repository. We explain Google’s “trunk-based development” strategy and the support systems that structure workflow and keep Google’s codebase healthy, including software for static analysis, code cleanup, and streamlined code review.

  • IoT Security: What IoT Can Learn From Open Source

    When personal computers were introduced, few manufacturers worried about security. Not until the early 1990s did the need for security become widely understood. Today, the Internet of Things (IoT) is following the same pattern — except that the need for security is becoming obvious far more quickly, and manufacturers should have known better, especially given the overwhelming influence of open source.

    The figures speak for themselves. In 2014, a study by Hewlett-Packard found that seven out of ten IoT devices tested contained serious security vulnerabilities, an average of twenty-five per device. In particular, the vulnerabilities included a lack of encryption for local and Internet transfer of data, no enforcement of secure passwords, and security for downloaded updates. The devices test included some of the most common IoT devices currently in use, including TVs, thermostats, fire alarms and door locks.

  • Nextcloud 9 update brings security, open source enterprise capabilities and support subscription, iOS app
  • ​Nextcloud adds enterprise support and iOS appliance

    The ownCloud fork, Nextcloud is aggressively seeking private cloud business customers.

  • Nextcloud Improves Security, Adds Enterprise Support

    A month ago, Frank Karlitschek, founder of the ownCloud project, forked the code to create a new company called Nextcloud. Now in its first platform release the company’s technology is getting enterprise support.

    In keeping with ownCloud’s numbering, the new release is Nextcloud 9, though the release brings more than what is available in the ownCloud 9 release that debuted in March.

    “Nextcloud is building open-source replacements for the ownCloud closed-source enterprise-only features,” Karlitschek told eWEEK. “With this release, 80 percent is done and the rest will be coming soon.”

    Nextcloud isn’t simply replicating features that already exist in ownCloud. Karlitschek said Nextcloud is also developing its own set of new and innovative features.

  • Project aims to store publicly available software

    A French organisation dedicated to computational sciences has started a project to collect, organise, preserve, and make easily accessible the source code of all publicly available software.

    Inria has dubbed the project Software Heritage and says it will adopt distributed infrastructure in order to ensure long-term availability and reliability.

  • Events

    • How to write an excellent event recap
    • HaL deadline extended

      There is this long-running workshop series Haskell in Leipzig, which is a meeting of all kinds of Haskell-interested folks (beginners, experts, developers, scientists), and for year’s instance, HaL 2016, I have the honour of being the program committee chair.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Support Public Education and Web Literacy in California

        Web literacy — the ability to read, write, and participate online — is one of the most important skills of the 21st century. We believe it should be enshrined as the fourth “R,” alongside Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. From our open source learning tools to our free educational curriculum, we are dedicated to empowering individuals by teaching Web literacy.

        In 2015, 65% of California public schools offered no computer science courses at all. Public schools should do more to expose students to Web literacy: a paucity of funding and the elimination of digital skills classes and curriculum are a disservice to students and the state’s future.

        On June 30, we submitted an amicus letter to the California Supreme Court urging review of the case Campaign for Quality Education v. State of California. The issue in this case is whether the California Constitution requires California to provide its public school students with a quality education. We wrote this letter because we believe that California students risk being left behind in our increasingly digitized society without a quality education that includes Web literacy skills.

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • Formula E championship drives on Intellicore & Basho Riak TS

      Basho Technologies has announced Intellicore’s adoption of its Riak TS to power its Sports Data Management Platform, used by the FIA Formula E Championship to provide real time race analysis to its customers.

    • MongoDB Sets Up Real-Time Analytics Muscle with Apache Spark Connector

      The MongoDB World meetup took place last week, and there were a lot of interesting announcements made, including ones related to connecting open source database functionality to Apache Spark. From cloud developers working to incorporate databases with their deployments to enterprises that want more flexibility from their data repositories, open source databases are flourishing, and MongoDB is a leader in this area.

      At last week’s event, the MongoDB Connector for Apache Spark was announced. It is billed as “a powerful integration that enables developers and data scientists to create new insights and drive real-time action on live, operational, and streaming data.”

    • Why object storage is eating the world

      The traditional file system-and-database web backend is no longer adequate, and must make way for storage systems that manage unstructured data. In this article we will learn about the differences between structured and unstructured data, and why web storage backends must evolve to manage unstructured data.

      Traditionally, web applications use file systems and databases to store user data. This is simple to manage, as web applications generate structured data by accepting text input in forms, and saving the input to a database. However, times are changing; with the advent of social media, cloud storage, and data analytics platforms, increasing quantities of unstructured data are being pushed onto the Internet.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Public Services/Government

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Japan Says Yes To Mirrorless Cars

      It’s clear that, at one point, glass mirrors will be a thing of the past, as companies will drop them in favor of video screens, but until then, they’ll have to wait for the legislation to change.

      Last month, however, the idea came closer to reality in Japan, which became one of the first countries to allow vehicles to use cameras instead of mirrors, as AutoNews reports.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Swedish politicians consider opening population’s medical-research DNA database for private insurance companies

      Since 1975, Sweden has taken a DNA sample from all newborns for medical research purposes, and asked parents’ consent to do so for this research purpose. This means that over time, Sweden has built the world’s most comprehensive DNA database over everybody under 43 years of age. But now, politicians are considering opening up this research-only DNA database to law enforcement and private insurance companies.

    • The Dutch & Pharma Policy: A Groundbreaking Presidency

      For the next steps, the European Commission seems rather hesitant to deliver on the tasks mandated by the Council. Drugmakers certainly feel uncomfortable with the debate around intellectual property and have even threatened to move their businesses out of Europe, should there be any changes to the IP regime. National governments, including the Netherlands, therefore will need to stand firm and prove that they are serious about what they signed off on June 17. They should guarantee that the European Commission delivers a bold and meaningful report and not another self-congratulatory inventory. And it remains to be seen how the political momentum will be maintained during the upcoming Slovak and Maltese Presidencies… In other words, June 17 was just the start rather than the end of the journey.

    • Celebrated eye hospital Moorfields lets Google eyeball 1 million scans

      Famous eye hospital Moorfields has agreed to give Google’s DeepMind access to one million anonymous eye scans as a part of a machine learning study intended to spot early signs of sight loss.

      Explicit patient consent is not required because the scans are historic, meaning the results won’t affect the care of current patients. Under the project, the hospital will also have access to related anonymous information about their eye conditions and disease management.

      DeepMind is a British AI company founded in London in 2010 and acquired by Google in 2014 for £400m. DeepMind Health was launched in February 2016 to work with clinicians in the NHS and other health services.

    • Google’s DeepMind AI to use 1 million NHS eye scans to spot common diseases earlier

      Google’s DeepMind division has announced a partnership with the NHS’s Moorfields Eye Hospital to apply machine learning to spot common eye diseases earlier. The five-year research project will draw on one million anonymous eye scans which are held on Moorfields’ patient database, with the aim to speed up the complex and time-consuming process of analysing eye scans.

      The hope is that this will allow diagnoses of common causes of sight loss, like diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, to be spotted more rapidly and hence be treated more effectively. For example, Google says that up to 98 percent of sight loss resulting from diabetes can be prevented by early detection and treatment.

    • VA Officials Pledge New Studies Into Effects of Agent Orange

      The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding its efforts to determine how Vietnam veterans and their children have been affected by exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange.

      The VA will conduct its first nationwide survey of Vietnam veterans in more than three decades and request an outside panel of experts to continue its work studying the health effects of Agent Orange on veterans, their children and their grandchildren. Both initiatives were discussed Thursday in Washington at a forum hosted by ProPublica and The Virginian-Pilot on the possible multi-generational impacts of Agent Orange.

      Vietnam veterans have argued for years that their exposure to the toxic herbicide has damaged their health as well as their children’s. From 1965 to 1970, some 2.6 million U.S. service members were potentially exposed to Agent Orange, which contained a dangerous strand of the chemical dioxin. While the VA has linked Agent Orange exposure to a host of diseases in Vietnam vets, experts and veterans advocates have criticized the lack of research into the effects on future generations.

      “I believe that these individuals deserve an answer,” Linda Spoonster Schwartz, the VA’s assistant secretary for policy and planning, said in response to a question about the lack of research. “I believe that we need to at least ask the question. … This is the right thing to do.”

    • Fate of Vermont’s Historic GMO-Labeling Law in US Senate’s Hands

      As the nation’s first GMO labeling law takes effect, food policy experts are warning that its benefits could be “fleeting,” should the U.S. Senate pass a so-called “compromise” bill this week that would nullify Vermont’s historic law as well as other state efforts in the works.

  • Security

    • Security updates for Tuesday
    • But I have work to do!

      There’s a news story going around that talks about how horrible computer security tends to be in hospitals. This probably doesn’t surprise anyone who works in the security industry, security is often something that gets in the way, it’s not something that helps get work done.

      There are two really important lessons we should take away from this. The first is that a doctor or nurse isn’t a security expert, doesn’t want to be a security expert, and shouldn’t be a security expert. Their job is helping sick people. We want them helping sick people, especially if we’re the people who are sick. The second is that when security gets in the way, security loses. Security should lose when it gets in the way, we’ve been winning far too often and it’s critically damaged the industry.

    • Lenovo ThinkPwn UEFI exploit also affects products from other vendors [Ed: Intel and Microsoft told us UEFI was about security but it wasn’t]

      A critical vulnerability that was recently found in the low-level firmware of Lenovo ThinkPad systems also reportedly exists in products from other vendors, including HP and Gigabyte Technology.

      An exploit for the vulnerability was published last week and can be used to execute rogue code in the CPU’s privileged SMM (System Management Mode).

      This level of access can then be used to install a stealthy rootkit inside the computer’s Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) — the modern BIOS — or to disable Windows security features such as Secure Boot, Virtual Secure Mode and Credential Guard that depend on the firmware being locked down.

      The exploit, dubbed ThinkPwn, was released by a security researcher named Dmytro Oleksiuk last week without sharing it with Lenovo in advance. However, since then Oleksiuk has found the same vulnerable code inside older open source firmware for some Intel motherboards.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Why the Sanders ‘Revolution’ Must Take on the Permanent War State

      The Sanders campaign never explicitly raised the issue of the permanent war state during the primary election contest, either. He did present a sharp contrast to Hillary Clinton when they debated foreign policy, effectively demolishing her position urging a more militarily aggressive policy in Syria. He called for a policy that “destroys ISIS” but “does not get us involved in perpetual warfare in the quagmire of the Middle East.”But he never talked about ending the unprecedented power that national security institutions have seized over the resources and security of the American people.

    • Is Coup Against Corbyn a Plot to Spare Blair from War Crimes Probe?

      In the tumultuous wake of Brexit, why has the Labour Party turned on leader Jeremy Corbyn for campaigning for the “Remain” camp, while the Conservatives have welcomed new leader Theresa Mays for doing exactly the same?

      Alex Salmond, former Scottish First Minister, has proposed one damning theory by suggesting that the Labour Party’s coup against Corbyn is an orchestrated attempt to stop him from “calling for Tony Blair’s head” when the Chilcot Report, the government’s official inquiry into the Iraq War, is published on Wednesday.

      In a blistering op-ed published Sunday in Scotland’s Herald, Salmond writes, “It would be a mistake to believe that Chilcot and current events are entirely unconnected. The link is through the Labour Party.”

    • Truth and Fiction in Elie Wiesel’s “Night”

      “According to Seidman’s account, published in the scholarly journal Jewish Social Studies”, Cohen wrote, “Wiesel substantially rewrote the work between editions — suggesting that the strident and vengeful tone of the Yiddish original was converted into a continental, angst-ridden existentialism more fitting to Wiesel’s emerging role as an ambassador of culture and conscience. Most important, Seidman wrote that Wiesel altered several facts in the later edition, in some cases offering accounts of pivotal moments that conflicted with the earlier version. (For example, in the French, the young Wiesel, having been liberated from Buchenwald, is recuperating in a hospital; he looks into a mirror and writes that he saw a corpse staring back at him. In the earlier Yiddish, Wiesel holds that upon seeing his reflection he smashed the mirror and then passed out, after which ‘my health began to improve.’)”

    • Report Shows How War Profiteers Are Now Refugee Profiteers, Too

      As Europe comes to terms with a Brexit vote fueled in large part by anti-immigrant hate-mongering, a new report exposes how war profiteers are influencing EU policy to make money from unending Middle East conflicts as well as the wave of refugees created by that same instability and violence.

    • Iraq Mourns After Weekend Bombing Deathtoll Rises Above 200 People

      The deathtoll from a massive truck bomb detonated in a Baghdad shopping district over the weekend has climbed to over 200 people, with hundreds more injured and scores still missing, making it one of the deadliest such attacks in the recent history of war-torn Iraq.

    • Iraqis want crackdown on ‘sleeper cells’ after huge Baghdad bomb

      By Monday evening, the toll in Karrada stood at 175 killed and 200 wounded, according to police and medical sources. Rescuers and families were still looking for 37 missing people.

    • Poll Disputes Claim of Obama’s Weakness

      Democrats’ hawkishness is fed by fear that Republicans will attack them as doves, a concern heightened by the charge that President Obama is disdained globally for not using more military force, a point disputed by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • Iraq Inquiry: Chilcot says ‘careful analysis needed before war’

      The chairman of the UK’s inquiry into the Iraq war says he hopes future military action on such a scale will only be possible with more careful analysis and political judgement.

      His 12-volume report on the Iraq War is due to be released later – more than seven years after the inquiry began.

      Sir John Chilcot told the BBC it would criticise individuals and institutions.

      He said he hoped it would help families of the 179 Britons who died between 2003 and 2009 answer some questions.

    • Grandfather fears Iraq War report will be a cover-up

      The grandfather of a Devon soldier killed in Iraq fears the long-awaited report into Britain’s role in the conflict will just be a cover-up.

      Sir John Chilcot is due to publish his long-awaited report into the war today, seven years after hearing evidence from his first witness.

      David Godfrey, who runs a fundraising shop in Cullompton, can’t believe it’s taken so long. For him, the UK should never have gone to war in the first place.

    • Families of Iraq War dead hope British inquiry will criticise ex-PM Blair

      A British inquiry into the Iraq War delivers its long-awaited report on Wednesday, with critics of the U.S.-led invasion hoping it will condemn former Prime Minister Tony Blair while some families of slain soldiers fear it may be a whitewash.

      To be published seven years after the inquiry was set up when the last British combat troops left Iraq, the report runs to 2.6 million words – about three times the length of the Bible – and will include details of exchanges Blair had with then U.S. President George W. Bush over the 2003 invasion.

    • WikiLeaks publishes more than 1,000 Hillary Clinton war emails

      WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy website, has released more than 1,000 emails from Hillary Clinton’s private email server pertaining to the Iraq War.

      The website tweeted a link to 1,258 emails on Monday that Clinton sent during her time as secretary of state. According to the release, the emails were obtained from the US State Department after they issued a Freedom of Information Act request. The emails stem from a State Department release back in February, The Hill reports.

    • Wikileaks publishes Clinton war emails

      WikiLeaks on Monday published more than 1,000 emails about the Iraq War from Hillary Clinton’s private server during her time as secretary of State.

      The website tweeted a link to 1,258 emails that Clinton, now the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, sent and received. They stem from a trove of emails released by the State Department in February.

      WikiLeaks combed through the emails to find all the messages that reference the Iraq War.

    • For Hillary Clinton’s Campaign, “Extremely Careless” Is a Soundbite to Celebrate

      When Hillary Clinton first acknowledged in March 2015 that she had indeed used a private email account — and her own server — to conduct official government business as secretary of state, it would have been hard to imagine that her campaign would 16 months later pronounce itself “pleased” that an FBI investigation concluded that she and her aides “were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

    • Washington Has Been Obsessed With Punishing Secrecy Violations — until Hillary Clinton

      Secrecy is a virtual religion in Washington. Those who violate its dogma have been punished in the harshest and most excessive manner – at least when they possess little political power or influence. As has been widely noted, the Obama administration has prosecuted more leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined. Secrecy in DC is so revered that even the most banal documents are reflexively marked classified, making their disclosure or mishandling a felony. As former CIA and NSA Director Michael Hayden said back in 2000, “Everything’s secret. I mean, I got an email saying ‘Merry Christmas.’ It carried a top secret NSA classification marking.”

      People who leak to media outlets for the selfless purpose of informing the public – Daniel Ellsberg, Tom Drake, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden – face decades in prison. Those who leak for more ignoble and self-serving ends – such as enabling hagiography (Leon Panetta, David Petreaus) or ingratiating oneself to one’s mistress (Petraeus) – face career destruction, though they are usually spared if they are sufficiently Important-in-DC. For low-level, powerless Nobodies-in-DC, even the mere mishandling of classified information – without any intent to leak but merely to, say, work from home – has resulted in criminal prosecution, career destruction and the permanent loss of security clearance.

    • Misunderstanding Russia and Russians

      Western media has demonized Russia and President Putin with unrelenting propaganda that has dazed and confused many Russians, a condition that retired U.S. Col. Ann Wright encountered on a recent visit.

    • Chilcot Report: Parents of major killed in Iraq say Blair must now face legal action

      The parents of the 95th British serviceman to be killed in Iraq have said there would be “something terribly wrong with our political process” if the Chilcot Report did not produce grounds for the families of dead soldiers to take legal action over the Iraq war.

      Roger and Maureen Bacon lost their son Matthew, 34, a major in the Intelligence Corps, when his Snatch Land Rover was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Basra on 11 September 2005.

      Speaking to The Independent hours before the long-awaited publication of Sir John Chilcot’s report on the Iraq War, Mr and Mrs Bacon accused Tony Blair of betraying their son and misleading Britain into a war that was “a total and utter catastrophe”.

    • Blair Can Be Tried For War Crimes

      There is no requirement in international law for the appropriate jurisdiction of a tribunal – or even the tribunal itself – to be in place before a crime is committed, in order for it to try that crime. The most obvious evidence of this is the Nuremburg Tribunal, which did not even exist when the crimes which it tried were committed. But in fact international law has a long tradition of arbitration or judgement by bodies which were set up after the event, but judging by the law applicable at the time of the event. It is the crime itself which must be a crime at the time it is committed. The jurisdiction of the body which tries the criminal can be created after the crime itself.

      Total nonsense has been written widely that it would be retroactive law, and thus unacceptable, for Tony Blair to be tried at the Hague for the crime of waging aggressive war. But the crime itself was very plainly already in existence when Blair committed it.

    • The 179 British personnel who died during the Iraq war

      The invasion of Iraq led to the deaths of 179 British personnel between March 2003 and February 2009.

      Tony Blair told the Chilcot Inquiry into the conflict he had “deep and profound regret” about the loss of life suffered by British troops and the countless Iraqi civilians.

    • With Brexit, Israel Loses a Major Asset in the European Union

      Britain helped moderate and balance EU decisions about the peace process, blunt criticism and even harness the member states against anti-Israel moves at the UN; voices sympathetic to the Palestinian cause could now become more dominant.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Does Jim Comey Think Thomas Drake Exhibited Disloyalty to the United States?

      As you’ve no doubt heard, earlier today Jim Comey had a press conference where he said Hillary and her aides were “extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information” but went on to say no reasonable prosecutor would prosecute any of them for storing over 100 emails with classified information on a server in Hillary’s basement. Comey actually claimed to have reviewed “investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information” and found no “case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.”

      [...]

      I can only imagine Comey came to his improper public prosecutorial opinion via one of two mental tricks. Either he — again, not the prosecutor — decided the only crime at issue was mishandling classified information (elsewhere in his statement he describes having no evidence that thousands of work emails were withheld from DOJ with ill intent, which dismisses another possible crime), and from there he decided either that it’d be a lot harder to prosecute Hillary Clinton (or David Petraeus) than it would be someone DOJ spent years maligning like Sterling or Drake. Or maybe he decided that there are no indications that Hillary is disloyal to the US.

      Understand, though: with Sterling and Drake, DOJ decided they were disloyal to the US, and then used their alleged mishandling of classified information as proof that they were disloyal to the US (Drake ultimately plead to Exceeding Authorized Use of a Computer).

      Ultimately, it involves arbitrary decisions about who is disloyal to the US, and from that a determination that the crime of mishandling classified information occurred.

    • FBI Director Comey Preempts Justice Department By Advising No Charges for Hillary Clinton

      FBI Director James Comey took the unprecedented step of publicly preempting a Justice Department prosecution when he declared at a press conference Tuesday that “no reasonable prosecutor” would bring a case against Hillary Clinton for her use of a private email server.

      The FBI’s job is to investigate crimes; it is Justice Department prosecutors who are supposed to decide whether or not to move forward. But in a case that had enormous political implications, Comey decided the FBI would act on its own.

      “Although the Department of Justice makes final decisions on matters like this, we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case,” he said. Prosecutors could technically still file criminal charges, but it would require them to publicly disagree with their own investigators.

    • FBI Recommends “No Charges” Against Hillary Clinton

      In a surprising statement which concluded moments ago, FBI director James Comey announced that Federal officials have decided not to pursue federal charges against Hillary Clinton for her private email setup, an announcement that will send a shockwave throughout national politics.

    • FBI: Clinton ‘Should Have Known’ Private Email Server ‘No Way To Handle Classified Info’, But No Charges Will Be Sought

      But at the end of it all, the FBI found Clinton’s use of private email server to be severelty stupid, rather than criminal. Comey says the FBI found no signs of “intentional misconduct” by lawyers during personal email deletions or routine purges. Likewise, there was “no clear evidence of intentional misconduct by staffers,” but Clinton’s emails were “clearly mishandled.”

      The FBI’s final conclusion is damning, but only in terms of harsh words, not actual punishment. Clinton and her staff “knew or should have known” a private email server was “no way to properly handle classified email” — especially when housed on private server with “no full-time staff” or anything approaching the level of service one would equate with email services like Gmail. Comey also noted that Clinton used her personal domain “extensively” outside of the US, needlessly exposing sensitive information in the “presence of hostile actors.”

      James Comey also took a little time to bash her agency, stating that the FBI found the “security culture” of the State Department to be “lacking.”

    • ‘No Charges Are Appropriate’: Statement by FBI Director Comey on Clinton Email Probe
    • ‘Most Transparent’ President Signs Into Law FOIA Reform Bill That Won’t Affect His Administration

      While this is cause for some celebration, let’s not overlook what’s actually happened here. Obama has signed a bill he can saddle his successors with. Neither leading candidate seems particularly amenable to openness and transparency — not Donald Trump with his big ideas on how to change laws to make things better for him rather than for the nation, and not Hillary Clinton, who set up her own email server to route around FOIA requests.

      While touting his administration as the Openest Place on Earth, FOIA responsiveness actually took several steps backward during his tenure. His administration also spent several years fighting FOIA reform, something that was ironically uncovered by documents obtained via a FOIA request.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • How the Great Lakes Observing System Supports Regional Health, Safety, Economy

      The Great Lakes are a vital shipping channel for the U.S., annually carrying billions of dollars of cargo to and from the Atlantic. They also contain 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, have 10,000 miles of coast, and—much like the ocean—the waters of the Great Lakes heavily influence the climate in the region. Knowing what’s happening and forecasting what’s to come in Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario keep us safer, healthier, and economically sound.

  • Finance/Brexit

    • Despite What Media Says, TPP Isn’t About Free Trade — It’s About Protecting Corporate Profits

      The news media and advocates of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement have repeatedly described opponents of the deal as “protectionist” or opposed to trade itself.

      For instance, after Donald Trump pressed Hillary Clinton to swear off passage of the deal, the New York Times reported that Trump was embracing “nationalistic anti-trade policies.” The Wall Street Journal said Trump expressed “protectionist views.” President Obama warned that you can’t withdraw “from trade deals” and focus “solely on your local market.”

      But opposition to the TPP is not accurately described as opposition to all trade, or even to free trade.

      In fact, the deal’s major impact would not come in the area of lowering tariffs, the most common trade barriers. The TPP is more focused on crafting regulatory regimes that benefit certain industries.

      So the most consequential parts of the deal would actually undermine the free flow of goods and services by expanding some protectionist, anti-competitive policies sought by global corporations.

      “We already have trade agreements with six of the 11 countries. Canada and Mexico — our two biggest trading partners — are in there. The tariffs are almost zero [with those countries] anyhow,” Dean Baker, an economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told The Intercept. “What’s in the deal? Higher patent and copyright protection! That’s protectionism.”

    • More in hope, less about immigration: why poor Britons really voted to leave the EU

      A popular Brexit narrative is that those left out of rising prosperity lashed out at the establishment because they could take no more punishment. They had suffered years of recession and austerity exacerbated by a Dutch auction – in which the asking price is lowered until there’s a buyer – driven by rising immigration.

      The latest NatCen British Social Attitudes Survey shows the true extent of concerns about immigration. Clear majorities thought migrants were having a net negative effect on British schools and the NHS. This was an area where there was substantial agreement between people with different levels of education. Another area in which the public was even more of one mind was in their awareness that the NHS has a funding problem.

      To find out where those left out of rising prosperity differed from the rest, however, we need to look at other survey questions. These introduce two important caveats to the popular narrative: that at least until the eve of the referendum campaign, poor Britons were not sure that leaving the EU would reduce immigration; and that it wasn’t just rising prosperity that they felt excluded from.

    • Like imperialists of old, Nigel Farage blundered ignorantly in and nicked our country from under our noses

      So farewell, for now and for a while, to the anti-Martin Luther King.

      With his charming poster of Syrians queuing forlornly in that distant corner of the UK that will forever be Slovenia, Nigel Farage reminded us that he too has a dream, albeit the reverse of Dr King’s.

      Nigel dreamed of a land where people are judged not by the content of their character, but by the colour of their skin. He also dreamed of taking this country back to the Fifties, and he has doubled out splendidly on that.

      We are transported back to the mid-1950s, of course, after the end of bread rationing but before large scale immigration from the former colonies. That mythical Elysium, sun-dappled age of innocence when Pop Larkin thought everything “perfick”, and boarding house owners had no need to express their absolute right as Her Britannic Majesty’s free born subjects to announce which potential guests they found undesirable.

    • How Nigel Farage pocketed a £7,500 pay rise after Brexit

      Shameless Nigel Farage has pocketed a whopping £7,500 pay rise by getting Britain to leave the EU.

      The outgoing UKIP chief has seen the value of his MEP wages soar since we voted for Brexit , because he is paid in euros by the Brussels Parliament.

      The shock result sent the pound plunging in value, and as of Tuesday it was down almost 9% against the Euro since the June 23 poll.

      As Mr Farage lives in leafy Kent it means his salary has effectively rocketed from £75,295 to £82,707 in just 11 days.

    • How remain failed: the inside story of a doomed campaign

      On Friday 10 June, five men charged with keeping Britain in the European Union gathered in a tiny, windowless office and stared into the abyss.

      Just moments before, they had received an email from Andrew Cooper, a former Downing Street strategist and pollster for the official remain campaign, containing the daily “tracker” – the barometer of support among target segments of the electorate. It had dropped into the defeat zone. The cause was not mysterious. “Immigration was snuffing out our opportunity to talk about the economy,” Will Straw, the executive director of Britain Stronger In Europe, recalled.

    • Canada, Europe trade deal at risk as EU gives 38 parliaments a binding say

      The European Union put its landmark free-trade accord with Canada on a slow track for approval, increasing the risk of a veto amid an anti-globalization backlash across Europe.

      The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, proposed that its first trade agreement with a fellow member of the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries face ratification by national parliaments in the 28-member bloc. A total of 38 different national parliamentary chambers, including in some cases regional assemblies, will have a binding say.

    • [Old] ‘France is totally bankrupt’: French jobs minister Michel Sapin embarrasses Francois Hollande with shocking statement on state of the country’s economy

      France’s employment minister Michel Sapin has admitted the country is “totally bankrupt”.

      The unexpected news came during a radio interview yesterday and is thought to have sent the country’s business leaders into a state of shock.

      “There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr Sapin said. “That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

      Mr Sapin’s “totally bankrupt” statement is likely to cause huge embarrassment for President Francois Hollande, who will be left to undo the potential damage to his socialist government’s reputation.

    • About 100 BBC Monitoring jobs to be axed amid £4m cuts

      At least 98 jobs at the BBC Monitoring department are to be cut ahead of a £4m reduction in funding.

      The department, which has 320 staff, analyses local media from 150 countries in 100 different languages, but the operation is to be scaled down.

      The World Service said the Mazar-i-Sharif bureau in Afghanistan will be closed and new bases will open in Istanbul and Jerusalem.

      The team will relocate from Caversham Park in Reading, its base since 1942.

      The BBC said it would begin consultations with unions shortly.

      The loss of jobs will mean a reduction of nearly a third.

    • Aviva Investors says suspends UK property trust

      Aviva Investors, the fund arm of insurer Aviva (AV.L), has suspended its UK Property Trust with immediate effect, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

      “The extraordinary market circumstances, which are impacting the wider industry, have resulted in a lack of immediate liquidity in the Aviva Investors Property Trust. Consequently, we have acted to safeguard the interests of all our investors by suspending dealing in the fund with immediate effect,” a spokesman said.

      The suspension of the 1.8 billion pound fund comes a day after Standard Life Investments, the fund arm of insurer Standard Life (SL.L), suspended its 2.9 billion pound UK real estate fund.

    • EU rivals vie to wrest drug and banking agencies from London

      Milan’s new mayor Giuseppe Sala will fly into London on Wednesday, stepping up a battle between European cities competing to wrest two prestigious European Union agencies from London in the wake of Britain’s vote to leave the bloc.

      The European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Banking Authority (EBA) together employ more than 1,000 skilled staff from across the EU. Both are expected to relocate as a result of the so-called Brexit decision.

      The agencies are prized not only for jobs but also for their potential to act as hubs for finance and pharmaceuticals, two of Europe’s most important industries.

      That has set off a battle from Madrid to Stockholm to Warsaw as EU members seek to grab one or other organisation, in the knowledge that banks and drugmakers will want to maintain close ties with key regulators.

    • Universities take a knock post-Brexit

      European academic bodies are pulling back from research collaboration with UK academics, amid post-Brexit uncertainty about the future of UK higher education.

      While post-Brexit Britain might remain inside the European research funding system, academics in other countries are nervous about collaborating with UK institutions.

      UK-based academics are being asked to withdraw their applications for future funding by European partners.

      BBC Newsnight is aware of concerns raised by academics at Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Exeter and Durham.

      Chris Husbands, the vice-chancellor at Sheffield Hallam, says that his researchers are already seeing significant effects.

    • Hillary’s National Security Alliance for Quivering Over Bank Prosecutions

      Again, I’m okay if Hillary wants to spend her time fearmongering about the dangers of Trump.

      But to do so credibly, she needs to be a lot more cognizant of the dangers her own team have created.

    • So long, Nigel Farage, the latest rat to jump from the sinking Brexit ship

      Hot on the heels of ‘Don’t Be A Quitter’ Dave and ‘Stabbed In The Back’ Boris, another politician leaves us to deal with the mess they created

    • ‘Brexit’ and the Democracy Myth

      There’s a theory going around that referenda are the ultimate in direct democracy. There’s something about masses of people voting for or against some major issue that causes would-be populists to go weak in the knees. But the theory is pure myth, as the Brexit debacle shows. Rather than raising democracy to a new level, referenda often drag it down.

      The classic example occurred in the early 1850s when Napoleon III, nephew of the more famous Napoleon I, engineered back-to-back plebiscites that allowed him to institute a dictatorship for nearly 20 years. Instead of democracy, France got the opposite – political prisoners by the thousands, foreign adventures, and a disastrous war with Germany.

    • Swimming Against the Loan Sharks

      Federal regulators have proposed new rules to rein in payday lenders, and those of us who’ve been fighting these legalized loan sharks for years are bracing for a major backlash from the industry while also pushing for tougher standards.

      Issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the proposal comes after years of grass roots pressure – in the face of nasty opposition by loan predators.

    • Britain needs to hire foreign experts to redo all the trade deals it voted to ditch

      Now that Britain has voted to leave the European Union, it faces the daunting task of renegotiating a long list of trade deals as a newly independent entity: all the deals the EU already has with other countries, the ones the EU is currently negotiating, and a deal with the EU itself after it leaves the bloc.

      This work will require millions of hours of work by seasoned negotiators with experience of the complex, high-stakes art of top-level government deal-making.

    • Brexit: Dual nationality on the table for Britons?

      It is more than a week since Britain voted to leave the European Union, and there is still little certainty regarding the future status of EU citizens currently living in the UK, or of British people living elsewhere in the EU.

      While many British citizens are happy to potentially wave goodbye to freedom of movement within the EU, some Britons would like to hold on to the opportunity to live and work in the other 27 countries that make up the union.

      At the weekend, German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said the remaining members should not “pull up the drawbridge” for young Britons, who largely voted to remain, and so should consider offering dual nationality to young British citizens “who live in Germany, Italy or France, so that they can remain EU citizens in this country”.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Theresa May wins more than half of MPs’ votes as Stephen Crabb pulls out and Liam Fox is eliminated

      Theresa May has taken pole position in the race to succeed David Cameron, with a comfortable advantage after securing the backing of more than half of Conservative MPs in the first round of voting.

      If the Home Secretary can repeat her triumph by winning the support of Tory members, she will be installed in September as Britain’s second female Prime Minister, after Margaret Thatcher.

      Stephen Crabb, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pulled out of the race on Tuesday evening after finishing second last with 34 votes. He backed Mrs may for leader.

      Former Defence Secretary Liam Fox was eliminated from the contest after winning the support of just 16 MPs when the results were revealed at 6.30pm on Tuesday.

    • Theresa May is bad, but the other Tory candidates are worse

      Imagine Britain’s membership of the European Union as a cat. The cat is sealed in a box with an unstable radioactive element, “Article 50”. At some point the toxicity of A50 will kill the cat – an outcome that is confirmed on opening the box. But as long as the box is sealed, moggy is simultaneously dead and alive. This state is known as Schrödinger’s EU membership, after the Austrian physicist who described something similar in 1935 to elucidate the mysteries of quantum mechanics.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Censorship Crusade: Far-Right Politician, Parents Team Up To Ban Books In Va. Public Schools

      Some parents in a Virginia county are upset about a few books on public school summer reading lists – so much so that they’re calling for censorship.

      Chesterfield County, which is just south of Richmond, has been besieged for a second-straight year by a group that is clearly under the influence of the Religious Right.

      Last year, Shannon Easter and her allies protested the inclusion of multiple titles on the Chesterfield County summer reading lists for middle and high schoolers after Easter consulted materials she found online, which were produced by organizations affiliated with a prominent far-right group: Focus on the Family (FOF).

      In 2015, Easter and her allies made enough noise that four books were removed from the summer reading list, even though librarians in the county have noted that the books on the list are merely suggestions to encourage reading – no one is required to read any of them.

    • David Stratton on censorship, ‘Sandra’ and the Sydney Film Festival

      What I proposed to the Sydney Film Festival was that if any cuts were demanded in festival films they should be publicised. There should be a press release issued and interviews given and make as much noise about it as possible, because when something is done in secrecy you can get away with a lot more.

      The director of the festival at the time felt that he could not implement that motion, and there was a valid reason for it, actually. The festival had an agreement with the Customs Department, which allowed the festival to import films without paying customs duty.

    • How one filmmaker is battling censorship in Lebanon and encouraging others to do the same

      In making her short film I Say Dust, Darine Hotait wanted to explore Arab American identity from her perspective as a New York-based American Lebanese writer and director. It just so happened that her two lead characters would be women in their 20s who share a kiss. That kiss, however, has put I Say Dust at the centre of a long-standing discussion about censorship after it was recently banned from two film festivals in the Middle East.

    • SA sides with censorship countries, says DA

      The Democratic Alliance has expressed shock at South Africa’s move to vote against a UN resolution promoting Internet freedom.

      Last week, UN member states voted on the resolution which affirms political commitment to protecting human rights online.

      It also seeks to condemn the intentional disruption of Internet access to the public.

      South Africa voted against it, together with China and Russia amongst others.

    • South Africa’s ruling party condemns its own national broadcaster for censoring political violence

      South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC), has condemned its own public broadcaster for practicing censorship by not broadcasting images of violent anti-state protests.

      The South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was initially accused by opposition parties of pro-government bias when it brought in a policy of self censorship when violence flared as local elections approached.

    • ANC condemns broadcaster for censorship

      South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said on Tuesday the public broadcaster, accused by opposition parties of pro-government bias as local elections approach, was exercising censorship by not broadcasting images of violent anti-state protests.

    • ANC does not condone SABC censorship – Mthembu
    • ‘ANC just as clueless as the public over SABC censorship’

      The African National Congress (ANC) says it believes the South African Broadcasting Corporation’s (SABC) failure to consult it on policy changes being introduced is a sign of disregard.

      Speaking at Luthuli House, ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu addressed developments at the public broadcaster and media freedom.

      The ANC says it believes it should have been notified about changes made at the broadcaster, because it’s the ruling party.

    • ANC Slams Censorship at South African Public Broadcaster

      South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said it hasn’t sought to influence news coverage at the national broadcaster, countering a claim by its former acting chief executive officer, and described its current leadership as “lacking.”

    • South Africa’s ruling ANC condemns public broadcaster for censorship

      South Africa’s ruling African National Congress said on Tuesday the public broadcaster, accused by opposition parties of pro-government bias ahead of local elections, was practicing censorship by not broadcasting violent anti-state protests.

      The comments by party chief whip Jackson Mthembu represent a U-turn and may point to schisms in the ANC, which in May welcomed the broadcast ban by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) as the “best decision.”

      “When property is burnt, people of South Africa need to be shown those images, that is the ANC view. Because when you don’t show those images, that amounts to censorship,” Mthembu said in a televised media briefing.

    • Media censorship is back in all its glory!

      Now since the SABC’s COO is above the law, and at the same time the person who single handedly decide what should and should not be shown on the local media, one can only assume the he is yet another deployed cadre not fit for the job!

      Now although education may not be the alpha and omega in Africa, most people in executive positions hold some sort of tertiary qualification!

      [...]

      Lest not forget, the SABC is there to serve all people of South Africa and not only the ANC leadership with their dysfunctional policies!

    • The reality of life under Turkey’s internet censorship machine

      Turkey, the world champion in Twitter censorship, presents a tough challenge for regular internet users thanks to its growing blacklist of 100,000 banned websites.

      But determined Turks are tough. After all, they are the ones who placed the #TurkeyBlockedTwitter hashtag on world’s top trends list—while Twitter was blocked nationwide.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • These Maps Show What the Dark Web Looks Like

      What does the dark web actually look like? Well, new research maps out the relationships between a load of Tor hidden services, and shows that many dark web sites, rather than being isolated entities, are perhaps more intimately intertwined than commonly thought.

      “The dark web is highly connected,” reads the latest OnionScan report published on Sunday. Made by security researcher Sarah Jamie Lewis, OnionScan is a tool for probing Tor hidden services for vulnerabilities and issues that might reveal identifying information about the site.

    • Ron Wyden: Obtaining ECTRs without a Warrant Is Almost Like Spying on Someone’s Thoughts

      The other thing obtaining ECTRs with NSLs would do, though, is avoid a court First Amendment review, which should be of particular concern with web search history, since everything about web browsing involves First Amendment speech. Remember, a form of emergency provision (one limited to Section 215’s phone chaining application) was approved in February 2014. But in the September 2014 order, the FISC affirmatively required that such a review happen even with emergency orders. A 2015 IG Report on Section 215 (see page 176) explains why this is the case: because once FISC started approving seeds, NSA’s Office of General Counsel stopped doing First Amendment reviews, leaving that for FISC. It’s unclear whether it took FISC several cycles to figure that out, or whether they discovered an emergency approval that infringed on First Amendment issues. Under the expanded emergency provision under USAF, someone at FBI or DOJ’s National Security Division would do the review. But FBI’s interest in avoiding FISC’s First Amendment review is of particular concern given that FBI has, in the past, used an NSL to obtain data the FISC refused on First Amendment grounds, and at least one of the NSL challenges appears to have significant First Amendment concerns.

    • UK Police Accessed Civilian Data for Fun and Profit, New Report Says

      More than 800 UK police staff inappropriately accessed personal information between June 2011 and December 2015, according to a report from activist group Big Brother Watch.

      The report says some police staff used their access to a growing trove of police data, which includes personal information on civilians, for entertainment and personal and financial gain.

      The report, which is based on Freedom of Information requests sent to all UK police forces, raises questions about the police’s ability to protect civilian data. Specifically, privacy advocates are concerned about access to Internet Connection Records, which is the new type of data that would be collected under the UK’s Investigatory Powers Bill.

      In several notable incidents, one Metropolitan Police officer found the name of a victim so funny that he attempted to take a photo of the driving license and send it to his friend over Snapchat. A Greater Manchester Police officer tipped someone off that they would be arrested, and one from North Yorkshire Police conducted a check on a vehicle on his phone whilst off-duty.

    • Paris attacks: Call to overhaul French intelligence services

      French intelligence services should be overhauled following last year’s terror attacks in Paris, a parliamentary commission of inquiry has recommended.

      Commission president Georges Fenech said all the French attackers had been known to authorities, but these had not communicated with each other.

    • 2015 Wiretap Report Doesn’t Have Much To Say About Encryption, But Does Show Feds Run Into Zero Judicial Opposition

      Whatever the government is doing with these other options can’t easily be examined by the general public because there are no reporting requirements tied to these, unlike wiretap warrants. So, the number of times where encrypted communications (not contained in locked phones) are holding up law enforcement cannot be nailed down with any certainty. The DOJ could collect and disseminate this data, but it would certainly prefer to keep its reporting requirements to a minimum, even if this data would back up Comey’s encryption histrionics.

      What hasn’t changed, however, is what wiretaps are used for: drugs. 3,367 or 4,148 issued in 2015 were for narcotics investigations. And for those of you who have followed the explosion of possibly illegal wiretaps originating from a single county courthouse in California, it’s no surprise the state issuing the most federal wiretap orders is that particular coastal “drug corridor.”

    • Thomas Jefferson’s Ghost Visits the White House

      “And so we pretty much trashed the Fourth Amendment and now spy on all Americans 24/7. The First Amendment, especially the right to free speech part, that hasn’t held up well, either,” said Obama. “And you have to take your shoes off at the airport but none of us remember why that is anymore.”

      “But Barack, a well-informed citizenry, secure in their persons and papers, who can assemble to speak truth to their government is essential,” Jefferson said. “Actually, that’s kinda the whole thing.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • To Find Out Why Schools Are Sending In Cops To Bust Third Graders, Ask The Local Prosecutor

      Who’s leading the installation of police officers inside schools and the implementation of zero tolerance policies? In New Jersey, the answer is the local prosecutor’s office.

      A little background: police were called to a third-grade class party because a nine-year-old allegedly made a racist remark when discussing the brownies they were eating. NO. REALLY.

    • Triggering Article 50 will plunge the UK into turmoil – and the EU with it. It’s mutually assured destruction

      With the rise of so many far-right parties across Europe, we could be seeing the return of fascism to the continent

    • Former Donald Trump Adviser Calls Racial Profiling “Common Sense”

      A former adviser to Donald Trump on Wednesday endorsed racial profiling and warned that mainstream Muslim American organizations are waging a covert war of cultural subversion against the United States.

      Sebastian Gorka teaches at Marine Corps University and advises law enforcement and national security officials on terrorism and irregular warfare. Last fall, he was paid $8,000 for policy consulting with the Trump campaign. On Wednesday, he spoke at the Family Research Council, a social conservative advocacy group, touting his new book Defeating Jihad: A Winnable War.

    • The Revolt Against Globalism

      There was William Galston at the European Council on Foreign Relations, listening to his fellow elitists and foreign policy honchos caviling about the rise of Donald Trump and bemoaning the fate of the European Union (EU) at the hand’s of Britain’s Euro-skeptics. As the assembled luminaries had a collective sad in their five-star hotel, wondering how the proles could’ve gotten so far out of hand, Galtson – longtime Democratic party hack, former domestic advisor to Bill Clinton, and a senior fellow at the “centrist” Brookings Institution – heard a call to arms. It was almost as if Cecil Rhodes, the British imperialist and original founder and financier of the Council on Foreign Relations, had spoken to him from on high – or, rather, from below – and commanded him to spread the Word far and wide:

    • MPs From All Parties Tell Theresa May: EU Citizens In The UK Must Not Be Kicked Out

      London Mayor Sadiq Khan, Lib Dem leader Tim Farron and Green MP Caroline Lucas are among those who have signed a statement urging protection for 3million EU citizens living in the UK.

      In a statement to HuffPost UK, representatives of Labour, the Conservatives, Lib Dems, SNP, Ukip and the Greens called on whoever takes over as Prime Minister to vow not to force EU nationals in the UK to leave the country.

      The future of EU migrants settled in the UK has been thrown into doubt after the front-runner for the Tory leadership, Theresa May, said their status could be part of any Brexit negotiation.

      Leadership rival Liam Fox has put forward the same view.

    • Theresa May under fire for threatening to deport EU migrants after Brexit

      The Government believes it would ‘unwise’ to guarantee EU migrants can stay in the UK

    • In Response to Trump, Another Dangerous Movement Appears

      Last week’s Brexit vote prompted pundits and social media mavens to wonder aloud if allowing dumb people to vote is a good thing.

      [...]

      In “How American Politics Went Insane,” Brookings Institute Fellow Jonathan Rauch spends many thousands of words arguing for the reinvigoration of political machines, as a means of keeping the ape-citizen further from power.

      He portrays the public as a gang of nihilistic loonies determined to play mailbox baseball with the gears of state.

      “Neurotic hatred of the political class is the country’s last universally acceptable form of bigotry,” he writes, before concluding:

      “Our most pressing political problem today is that the country abandoned the establishment, not the other way around.”

      Rauch’s audacious piece, much like Andrew Sullivan’s clarion call for a less-democratic future in New York magazine (“Democracies end when they are too democratic”), is not merely a warning about the threat posed to civilization by demagogues like Donald Trump.

      It’s a sweeping argument against a whole host of democratic initiatives, from increased transparency to reducing money in politics to the phasing out of bagmen and ward-heelers at the local level. These things have all destabilized America, Rauch insists.

    • TSA Scores Another PR Win With Assault Of Nineteen Year Old Brain Tumor Patient On Her Way To Treatment

      Rather than chalk this up to a big, bloody misunderstanding, the TSA and local authorities worked together to lock Hannah up overnight while her and her family’s baggage continued on to Chattanooga without them. Charges were dropped, but that’s not going to be the end of it. Cohen has filed a lawsuit against the TSA and Memphis law enforcement agencies.

      The TSA, meanwhile, took immediate steps to mitigate the damage by stating that Hannah’s parents should have called ahead if it didn’t want their child terrorized and tackled.

      [...]

      No apology. No admission that this might have been handled better. No recognition that the agents’ failure to listen to Hannah Cohen’s mother might have resulted in a brain tumor patient covered in less blood and fear. Just a bit of victim blaming where the TSA implies that agents may not have reacted so badly to a metal detector beep if only they’d been informed ahead of time that the alarm would go off and Hannah Cohen would react badly to swiftly escalating screening efforts.

      The most ridiculous thing about the spokesperson’s comment is that we’re supposed to believe the TSA will listen to parents of disabled travelers if they call ahead — when it’s plainly apparent they won’t listen to them when they’re STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO THEM.

    • The Death Penalty Is Largely Driven by a Small Number of Overzealous Prosecutors

      “Cowboy” Bob Macy was a legendary — and infamous — prosecutor in Oklahoma City. Elected the top law enforcer in his county five times, Macy, who died in 2011, was known for his wide-brimmed cowboy hat, his classic western bowtie, and carrying his gun in court. He was also known for his passionate advocacy in support of the death penalty. During his 21 years in office, Macy was personally responsible for sending 54 individuals to death row, an accomplishment that earned him the dubious distinction of deadliest prosecutor in America.

      Also part of Macy’s legacy was the high rate of misconduct allegations levied against him — misconduct was alleged in 94 percent of the death cases he prosecuted and substantiated in one-third of them. Courts overturned nearly half of the death convictions Macy obtained; three of those defendants were ultimately exonerated.

      The numbers paint a grim portrait of a prosecutor who once told members of a jury it was their “patriotic duty” to sentence a defendant to death. But Macy isn’t alone. He belongs to a small club of five so-called deadliest prosecutors identified in a new report released today by Harvard Law School’s Fair Punishment Project. Together, the five prosecutors, only one of whom is still in office, secured 440 capital convictions — the equivalent of 15 percent of the nation’s current death row population.

    • The Fire Sprinkler War, State by State

      From New York to Minnesota, how homebuilders headed off mandatory fire sprinklers with help from friendly legislators.

    • Turkey’s cautionary tale

      The case of Academics for Peace in Turkey shows us academics trapped between authoritarianism and precarity, and why international solidarity has become crucial.

    • Theresa May and the love police

      Our country has failed Ahmed and many like him. And in one of the most worrying developments of all, there is increasingly little we can do about it. In recent years in a Europe-wide trend known as the ‘criminalization of solidarity’, we as ordinary citizens have lost our right to care about and help other people like him. In a seismic shift that has barely made the morning papers, we have lost our right to love certain categories of migrants.

    • Donald Trump Doesn’t Seem to Understand What Rape Is

      Donald Trump likened backers of international trade agreements to rapists on Tuesday. “The Trans-Pacific Partnership is another disaster done and pushed by special interests who want to rape our country, just a continuing rape of our country,” he said. “That’s what it is, too. It’s a harsh word: It’s a rape of our country.”

      It wasn’t the first time he’d used the word that way. He accused China of rape last month: “We can’t continue to allow China to rape our country,” he said. “And that’s what they’re doing. It’s the greatest theft in the history of the world.”

      But looking at how Trump uses the word rape, and whom he accuses of it, reveals a pattern. He uses it to demonize his political targets. At the same time, he seems to lack empathy or understanding of what rape actually is.

      “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists,” he said last year about Mexican immigrants. He defended the statement by citing a Fusion report that an estimated 80 percent of Central American women coming across the border are raped. “I use the word rape and all of a sudden everyone goes crazy,” he said last July.

    • Iceland’s Soccer Team Is Great, Its Treatment of Asylum Seekers Less So

      Some of the facts of the men’s case were in dispute, like whether the younger of the two was 16 or 19, but the legal grounds for their detention and expulsion from the country was clear. The men, identified in the local press by their first names, Ali and Majed, had arrived in Iceland seven months ago after first applying for asylum in Norway. So, despite asking for permission to stay in Reykjavik, where there is a small community of Iraqi refugees, they were deported in accordance with a European agreement known as the Dublin Regulation, which requires anyone fleeing persecution in another part of the world to stay in the first European country they reach. The terms of that agreement excuse Iceland from having to even investigate the claims of those who say they are fleeing persecution in their home countries.

      [...]

      Toshiki Toma, the Lutheran Church of Iceland’s pastor for immigrants, told The Intercept by phone that the two men, who had converted to Christianity last week, were jailed on their return to Norway, and now expect to be returned to southern Iraq, which is considered safe by Norwegian authorities.

      Toma, a native of Japan who has lived in Iceland for more than 20 years, said that he and Kristín Tómasdóttir, the parish priest at Laugarneskirkja church in Reykjavik, had received permission from the Bishop of Iceland to offer shelter the two men, in the hope that the police would respect the ancient tradition of treating houses of worship as places of sanctuary.

    • Swedish politician: Migrant rape isn’t as bad

      Swedish Left Party politician Barbro Sörman has suggested that it’s “worse” when Swedish men rape women, than when immigrants do so.

      “The Swedish men who rape do it despite the growing gender equality. They make an active choice. It’s worse imo [in my opinion],” Sörman tweeted.

      Sörman, a self-described socialist and a feminist, made the observation in response to what she claimed was excessive media focus on the fact that most of the rapes in Sweden are committed by immigrants.

    • Saudi Arabia arrests two for holding ‘dog beauty contest’ in Jeddah

      Two men have been arrested in Saudi Arabia for trying to organise a beauty contest for dogs.

      The pair had been planning a show which would find the most beautiful dog in Jeddah, a port city on the Red Sea coast.

      According to local media, three awards had already been dished out in the competition’s early stages.

    • Appeals Court: A Bunch Of Mostly-Irrelevant Information Is Not ‘Probable Cause’

      A drug conspiracy with no drugs. A house searched because a car carrying no drugs was registered to the address. It’s little things like these that add up to a successfully suppressed evidence, even if it took defendant Ricky Brown a trip to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals to achieve it.

      The DEA, working with Michigan State Police, pulled over two vehicles that had left a house they had under surveillance, apparently on their way to a heroin buy set up by an informant. One vehicle, a Chevy Silverado driven by Steven Woods, was searched after a MSP traffic stop and approximately 565 grams of heroin were recovered. The other vehicle, a GMC Yukon in which Brown was a passenger was stopped as well. However, there were no drugs in this vehicle, just four cell phones.

    • Directive on Terrorism: The EU on a Securitarian and Post-Democratic Drift?

      Yesterday evening, the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament (Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs) adopted the draft Directive on Combating Terrorism proposed by the European Commission by 41 votes to 4 with 10 abstentions. The EPP (conservative) Rapporteur Monika Hohlmeier had turned the directive into a text that will give credence to the worst anti-terrorism and surveillance laws from across the European Union. She clearly bowed under pressure from the French Government (FR), who is seeking to whitewash its own controversial laws regarding surveillance and websites censorship at the European level. La Quadrature du Net denounces this “europeanisation” of extrajudicial surveillance and censorship, all the more considering that the process surrounding the directive is in and of itself a staggering denial of democracy: Indeed, the draft Directive will be further discussed in secret “trilogue” negotiations, which will preclude any substantial amendment during the plenary debate of the European Parliament. Under the guise of security, the European Union is undermining its own fundamental values.

    • ‘They’re Making Racism and Xenophobia Into a Legitimate Voice’

      The story of masses of Britons googling “What’s the EU?” seems to be apocryphal, unsurprisingly. But it is fair to say many people were shocked by referendum results calling for Britain to leave the European Union.

      In the wake of the vote, some say many proponents of a so-called Brexit didn’t really expect it to happen. So how did it? And what is there to be learned from the echoes between the racism and nativism demonstrated and exploited by some Leave campaigners, and certain stokers of those same sentiments closer to home?

    • Voting Rights for 70,000 Louisiana Felons Sought in Constitutional Challenge

      Kenneth Johnston, 67, served in Vietnam and attended University of New Orleans before becoming addicted to heroin in part to address the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he acquired in Vietnam. He spent 22 years in prison after a felony conviction and has been out for 23 years. Because he is on parole for life he will never be allowed to vote.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Frontier Backs AT&T’s Lawsuit To Keep Google Fiber Out Of Louisville

      Earlier this year, we noted how companies like AT&T and Time Warner Cable were engaged in incessant whining about Google Fiber’s planned entry into Louisville, Kentucky. More specifically, the ISPs were upset that Louisville passed “one touch make ready” fiber rules that dramatically speed up fiber deployment times by letting licensed third-party contractors move other ISPs’ equipment when necessary. Such reforms generally help all ISPs by dramatically reducing the time it takes to deploy fiber infrastructure, often by as much as half a year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ‘Just’ 5% of UK Internet Users are Hardcore Pirates

        A report published by the Intellectual Property Office has revealed that around a quarter of all UK media consumers pirated at least one item during a three-month period earlier this year. Infringement of movies and TV shows are both up in 2016, but music has shown a marked decrease.

      • Internet piracy falls to record lows amid rise of Spotify and Netflix

        Internet streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix have resulted in online piracy falling to its lowest rate in years, an official report claims.

        Research commissioned by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), which is tasked with fighting copyright infringement, found that 15pc of internet users illegally accessed films, music and other material between March and May.

        This is down from 18pc a year ago and was the lowest recorded rate in the five years the study has been carried out.

      • Documentary About Freeing Happy Birthday From Copyfraud Comes Out The Day After Happy Birthday Officially Declared Public Domain

        You may recall that last fall, a judge ruled that Warner/Chappell did not hold the copyright on the song “Happy Birthday,” as the company had alleged for decades (and which it used to take in approximately $2 million in licenses per year). Of course, while many in the press immediately claimed the song was in the public domain, we noted that was not what the court actually said, and the song had actually become something of an orphan work, and theoretically, someone else could claim the copyright. Indeed, the heirs of Mildred and Patty Hill (who are often cited as the creators of the song) stepped up to claim the copyright. In December, all the parties agreed to settle the case with Warner agreeing to pay $14 million to go to some of the people who had falsely licensed the song. But, part of the settlement agreement was a stipulation that the song, finally, officially be declared in the public domain.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part II: António Campinos at Banco Caixa Geral de Depósitos

    A look at the largely-hidden banking career of the next President of the EPO and the career of the person who competed with him for this position



  2. SUEPO to the Media, Regarding Campinos: “No Comment, It’s Too Dangerous”

    António Campinos, who is Benoît Battistelli's chosen successor at the EPO, as covered by German media earlier this month



  3. Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) Willing to Work With Campinos But Foresees Difficulties

    New message from SUEPO regarding Battistelli's successor of choice (Campinos)



  4. Links 18/10/2017: GTK+ 3.92, Microsoft Bug Doors Leaked

    Links for the day



  5. The Darker Past of the Next President of the EPO - Part I: Introduction

    Some new details about Mr. Campinos, who is Battistelli’s successor at the EPO



  6. Confessions of EPO Insiders Reveal That European Patents (EPs) Have Lost Their Legitimacy/Value Due to Battistelli's Policies

    A much-discussed topic at the EPO is now the ever-declining quality of granted patents, which make or break patent offices because quality justifies high costs (searches, applications, renewals and so on)



  7. Patent Firms From the United States Try Hard to Push the Unitary Patent (UPC), Which Would Foment Litigation Wars in Europe

    The UPC push seems to be coming from firms which not only fail to represent public interests but are not even European



  8. In the Age of Alice and PTAB There is No Reason to Pursue Software Patents in the United States (Not Anymore)

    The appeal board in the US (PTAB) combined with a key decision of the Supreme Court may mean that even at a very low cost software patents can be invalidated upon demand (petition) and, failing that, the courts will invalidate these



  9. IAM is Wrong, the Narrative Isn't Changing, Except in the Battistelli-Funded (at EPO's Expense) Financial Times

    The desperate attempts to change the narrative in the press culminate in nothing more than yet another misleading article from Rana Foroohar and some rants from Watchtroll



  10. The Federal Circuit Continues Squashing Software Patents

    Under the leadership of Sharon Prost the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) continues its war on software patents, making it very hard to remember the last time it tolerated any



  11. SUEPO Representatives Like Elizabeth Hardon Vindicated as Battistelli's Detrimental Effect on Patent Quality is Widely Confirmed

    Feedback regarding the awful refusal to acknowledge patent quality crisis at the EPO as well as the appointment of a President so close to Battistelli (who most likely assures continuation of his policies)



  12. Links 17/10/2017: KDE Frameworks 5.39.0, Safe Browsing in Epiphany

    Links for the day



  13. Judge Bryson Rules Against Allergan After It Used Native American Tribes to Dodge Scrutiny of Patents (IPRs); Senator Hatch Does Not Understand IPRs

    Having attempted to dodge inter partes reviews (IPRs) by latching onto sovereign immunity, Allergan loses a key case and Senator Hatch is meanwhile attempting to water down IPRs albeit at the same time bemoaning patent trolls (which IPRs help neutralise)



  14. Rumours That António Campinos Initially Had No Competition at All (for Battistelli's Succession) Are Confirmed

    Succession at the EPO (mostly French) shows that there's little room for optimism and Battistelli's people are too deeply entrenched in the upper echelons of the EPO



  15. EPO Stakeholders Complain That the New Chairman Does Not Grasp the Issues at the EPO (or Denies These)

    Some information from inside the EPO’s Administrative Council, whose Chairman is denying (at least to himself) some of the core issues that render the EPO less competitive in the international market



  16. Another Misleading Article Regarding Patents From Rana Foroohar at the Financial Times

    In an effort to promote the agenda of patent maximalists, many of whom are connected to the Financial Times, another deceiving report comes out



  17. Monika Ermert's Reports About the Crisis at the EPO and IP Kat's Uncharacteristically Shallow Coverage

    News from inside the Council shows conflict regarding the quality of European Patents (granted by the EPO under pressure from top-level management)



  18. Patent Troll VirnetX a Reminder to Apple That Software Patents Are a Threat to Apple Too

    VirnetX, a notorious patent troll, is poised to receive a huge sum of money from Apple and Qualcomm is trying to ban Apple products, serving to remind Apple of the detrimental impact of patents on Apple itself



  19. Links 16/10/2017: Linux 4.14 RC5, Debian 9.2.1, End of LibreOffice Conference 2017

    Links for the day



  20. The Systematic Erosion of Workers' Rights and Holidays at the EPO Goes Years Back

    The legitimacy of the staff's concerns at the EPO, having seen basic labour safeguards being shredded to pieces by Battistelli for a number of years (predating even the escalation of the conflict)



  21. Articles in English and German Speak About the Decline in Quality of European Patents (Granted by the EPO)

    Heise and The Register, two sites that have closely watched EPO affairs for a number of years, speak about the real problem which is declining patent quality (or rushed examination) -- a recipe for frivolous litigation in Europe



  22. Software Patents and Patent Trolls Not a Solved Issue, But the US is Getting There

    A media survey regarding software patents, which are being rejected in the US in spite of all the spin from law firms and bullies such as IBM



  23. US Patent Trolls Are Leaving and the Eastern District of Texas Sees Patent Cases Falling by More Than Half

    The decline of patent aggression in the US and the patent microcosm's response to Justices, having ruled in TC Heartland, curtailing patent trolls



  24. Qualcomm's Nightmares Are Getting Worse as Antitrust Questions Are Raised and Assessed

    Qualcomm is getting itself deeper in trouble as fines pile up and its multi-billion dollar dispute with Apple isn't getting it anywhere



  25. Forget About Apple; Two of the Leading Phone Makers (Samsung and Huawei) Are Bickering Over Patents

    Massive Android OEMs, Huawei and Samsung, are in a big patent dispute and this time, for a change, China is a legal battleground



  26. Tim Heberden From the Glasshouse Advisory is Throwing Stones in a Glasshouse to Create Patent Litigation

    IAM's latest lobbying, aided by the patent microcosm, for a climate of feuds and disputes (to line the pockets of the litigation 'industry')



  27. Access to Medicine is More Important Than Patents

    Some of the latest news about patents that impede/deny access to crucial medication; strategic litigation from the generics sector, seeking to invalidate patents and then offer low-cost alternatives



  28. Links 14/10/2017: Windows Breaks Dutch Law, Wine 2.19 Released

    Links for the day



  29. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Supported by Congress, a Federal Judge, Soon to be Supported by the Supreme Court Too?

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board is still widely defended, except by the patent microcosm which likes (and profits from) patent trolls and litigation Armageddon



  30. Patents Are Turning BlackBerry and Nokia, Which Used Android, Into Anti-Android Fronts That Tax Android OEMs

    The Canadian BlackBerry has sued BLU in the US only to compel it to pay 'protection' money; Nokia's patents are being scattered to trolls, which are doing something similar (without risking litigation themselves)


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts