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08.22.16

Links 22/8/2016: Linux 4.8 RC3, Linux Mint 18 “Sarah” KDE Beta

Posted in News Roundup at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Philosophy of Open Source in Community and Enterprise Software

    Open source software is alive and well, backing most of the systems we take for granted every day. Communities like Github have paved the way for more open collaboration and increased contributions. More software today is branded with the marketing gimmick of being moved “into the cloud”, and into subscription models were people perpetually rent software rather than purchase it. Many of the websites we use are walled gardens of free services that are not open, and which make it intentionally difficult to move your data should you become unsatisfied with the service provider. Much of the opens source software being released today is backend technology or developer tools. We are still a far cry away from having the day to day software we use being truly free, not only in cost, but being able to modify it to our needs and run it anywhere we want.

  • Release management in Open Source projects

    Open source software is widely used today. While there is not a single development method for open source, many successful open source projects are based on widely distributed development models with many independent contributors working together. Traditionally, distributed software development has often been seen as inefficient due to the high level of communication and coordination required during the software development process. Open source has clearly shown that successful software can be developed in a distributed manner.

    The open source community has over time introduced many collaboration systems, such as version control systems and mailing lists, and processes that foster this collaborative development style and improve coordination. In addition to implementing efficient collaboration systems and processes, it has been argued that open source development works because it aims to reduce the level of coordination needed. This is because development is done in parallel streams by independent contributors who work on self-selected tasks. Contributors can work independently and coordination is only required to integrate their work with others.

    Relatively little attention has been paid to release management in open source projects in the literature. Release management, which involves the planning and coordination of software releases and the overall management of releases throughout the life cycle, can be studied from many different aspects. I investigated release management as part of my PhD from the point of view of coordination theory. If open source works so well because of various mechanism to reduce the level of coordination required, what implications does this have on release management which is a time in the development process when everyone needs to come together to align their work?

  • 5 reasons professors should encourage students to get involved in open source projects

    I’ve been supporting student participation in humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS) projects for over a decade. I’ve seen students get motivated and excited by working in a professional community while they learn and mature professionally. Out of the many reasons for supporting student participation in open source, here are five of the most compelling reasons.

  • When you wake up with a feeling

    One philosophy – Free software. Let me not explain it as a technical debt. Let me explain it as social movement. In age, where people are “bombed” by media, by all-time lying politicians (which use fear of non-existent threats/terror as model to control population), in age where proprietary corporations are selling your freedom so you can gain temporary convenience the term Free software is like Giordano Bruno in age of Inquisitions. Free software does not only preserve your Freedom to software source usage but it preserves your Freedom to think and think out of the box and not being punished for that. It preserves the Freedom to live – to choose what and when to do, without having the negative impact on your or others people lives. The Freedom to be transparent and to share. Because not only ideas grow with sharing, but we, as human beings, grow as we share. The Freedom to say “NO”.

  • Every Simplenote App Is Now Open-Source
  • What do we mean when we talk about software ‘alternatives’?

    OK, so alternative is a malleable term. But it’s bigger than that. It’s not just a question of life with The Munsters, it’s a question of who’s allowed in. With open source, there’s no exclusion; even in the worst case where you feel unwelcome by some community that is building an open source application, you still have access to the code. Then the barrier to entry is your own resolve to learn a new application.

    And that ought to be the standard, no matter what. My Rorschachian responses to application types default to open source, with the alternatives being the ones that you might choose to use if, for whatever reason, you find the ones available to everyone insufficient:

    Office: LibreOffice
    Photo: GIMP
    Video: Kdenlive
    Operating system: Slackware

    The list goes on and on. You define your own alternatives, but my mainstream day-to-day tools are not alternatives. They’re the ones that gets my seal of authenticity, and they’re open to everyone.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Databases

    • MariaDB open-source credentials take a hit

      The open-source credentials of MariaDB, the database company that was born as a fork from MySQL, have taken a hit after it announced that it would be releasing the new version of its MaxScale database proxy software under a proprietary licence.

      MaxScale is vital to monetising the MariaDB software as it enables the deployment of MariaDB databases at scale. Its new version, 2.0, is now available under what the man behind MariaDB, Michael “Monty” Widenius, calls a Business Source Licence. This will switch to the GNU General Public Licence in 2019.

      The licence terms state: “Usage of the software is free when your application uses the software with a total of less than three database server instances for production purposes.”

      Though there is now a fork of MaxScale, it is from the old version from which this was possible. None of the fixes that are in version 2.0 are present.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Parallel 20160822 (‘Og Nomekop’) released
    • Second release of eiffel-iup

      I’m glad to announce the second release of eiffel-iup. A wrapper that allow create graphical applications with Liberty Eiffel using the IUP toolkit. This second version add flat buttons and fix some errors. The main changes are in the names of some features, which now have names in the eiffel style. This is enough mature to create graphical interfaces. The package contains examples that show how use eiiffel-iup. So let me know if you have problems and Happy hacking!

    • diffutils-3.5 released [stable]
  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • How scientists are using digital badges

      The open source world pioneered the use of digital badges to reward skills, achievements, and to signal transparency and openness. Scientific journals should apply open source methods, and use digital badges to encourage transparency and openness in scientific publications.

      Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts know all about merit badges. Scouts earn merit badges by mastering new skills. Mozilla Open Badges is a pioneer in awarding digital merit badges for skills and achievements. One example of a badge-issuing project is Buzzmath, where Open Badges are issued to recognize progress in mathematics to students, or anyone wanting to brush up on their skills. Another example is IBM Training and Skills, which issues badges to validate credentials earned in their certification programs.

      The Center for Open Science went beyond validating skills and established badges for open data and open materials in 2013, and created guidelines for issuing these badges.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Nasa just made all its research available online for free

        Care to learn more about 400-foot tsunamis on Mars? Now you can, after Nasa announced it is making all its publicly funded research available online for free. The space agency has set up a new public web portal called Pubspace, where the public can find Nasa-funded research articles on everything from the chances of life on one of Saturn’s moons to the effects of space station living on the hair follicles of astronauts.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open Source Hardware Comes of Age

        Most people have at least heard of the term “open source” but the wide popularity of open source has been in software rather than hardware. Open source software is well known. Home computer users recognize it in downloads like Office Libre, GIMP, and the VLC media player. More serious computer users realize that much of the Internet itself was built on open source technologies like Linux and the Apache Web Server. Open source software can quickly be defined as source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.

      • The Opposite of the EOMA-68 Modular Laptop

        In the photos of the laptop that David exposed and is keeping functional, the complexity of the design is clearly apparent. Huge heat sinks and heat pipes, a densely populated and really quite large PCB on both sides (which is costly to manufacture). Chances of repair and ongoing maintenance: absolutely zero. The only reason that David is even considering keeping this machine going is down to years of experience with computers – something that most people simply do not have time to do.

        By contrast, the EOMA68 Laptop Housing is kept to a bare minimum out of pure necessity: it’s a simpler design that’s been made using tools that the average electronics engineer could conceivably imagine owning… so that they can make or repair these devices, for themselves, or for other people.

        The main PCB (PCB1) is only 6” square with a small extension for the USB ports, and is approximately only 30% populated with components, only on one side. PCB2 (for the keyboard and mouse) is very small and has around 30 components on it, and PCB3 likewise. Here are some pictures taken last year: the first shows the 3 PCBs wired together and assembled in the 3D-printed case, whilst the second is a partially-populated PCB (USB2 connectors in the top left corner to give an idea of scale).

      • Earth-friendly EOMA68 Computing Devices
  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • AMD crashes Intel’s party: Powerful Zen CPUs are coming next year

      A block away from Intel’s Developer Forum in San Francisco, AMD brought together a select group of media and analysts to make one thing clear: Its long-awaited Zen processor actually exists, and it’s on track to ship early next year for desktops. Surprisingly, the company is aiming directly at the high-end PC gaming market, whereas its last few chips appealed more to budget builders.

      “Our focus is on high-performance CPUs and GPUs,” AMD CEO Lisa Su said, as she listed off the company’s most recent accomplishments. Those include building the chips powering both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (as well as the One S and the upcoming Project Scorpio), and delivering a surprisingly powerful $200 video card in the Radeon RX480.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Valeant Pharmaceuticals Accused Of Vast Fraud By T. Rowe Price

      A U.S. mutual fund firm that used to be one of Valeant’s largest shareholders is suing the embattled Quebec drugmaker for allegedly pursuing “a fraudulent scheme” that ultimately cost investors billions of dollars.

      T. Rowe Price filed the lawsuit against Valeant, its former chief executive and several current and former executives.

      “This case arises from a fraudulent scheme by Valeant and its top executives to use a secret pharmacy network, deceptive pricing and reimbursement practices, and fictitious accounting to shield the company’s branded drugs from generic competition and artificially inflate the company’s revenues and profits,” said the 200-page statement of claim filed Monday in the United States District Court in New Jersey.

    • Life Itself Is Being Patented, Privatized and Re-engineered

      Capitalism is predicated on endless expansion. It is a socio-economic system that must grow indefinitely or cease to exist. And it has to grow at a compound rate, leading it to commodify and consume ever-greater portions of the planet at an accelerating velocity. Since we only have one planet, there is clearly a fundamental contradiction between our economic system and the environment upon which it, and all of humanity, ultimately depends. But since capitalism grows in a spatially uneven manner, some people can live obscenely affluent, insulated lives while other people face stark ecological catastrophe. But at some point, capitalism will take the entire planet past a point of ecological destruction from which there will be no return, at least on any time scale that is meaningful for human beings.

    • Americans Are Gorging on Meat in Amounts Not Seen in Decades

      Healthy eating and animal welfare campaigns haven’t been able to sway the carnivorous masses.

  • Security

    • Security and reproducible-build progress in Guix 0.11

      The GNU Guix package-manager project recently released version 0.11, bringing with it support for several hundred new packages, a range of new tools, and some significant progress toward making an entire operating system (OS) installable using reproducible builds.

      Guix is a “functional” package manager, built on many of the same ideas found in the Nix package manager. As the Nix site explains it, the functional paradigm means that packages are treated like values in a functional programming language—Haskell in Nix’s case, Scheme in Guix’s. The functions that build and install packages do so without side effects, so the system can easily offer nice features like atomic transactions, rollbacks, and the ability for individual users to build and install separate copies of a package without fear that they will interfere. Part of making such a system reliable is to ensure that builds are “reproducible”—meaning that two corresponding copies of a binary built on different systems at different times will be bit-for-bit identical.

    • VeraCrypt Audit Under Way; Email Mystery Cleared Up

      To say the VeraCrypt audit, which begins today, got off to an inauspicious start would be an understatement.

      On Sunday, two weeks after the announcement that the open source file and disk encryption software would be formally scrutinized for security vulnerabilities, executives at one of the firms funding the audit posted a notice that four emails between the parties involved had been intercepted.

    • Cryptocurrency Mining Virus Targets Linux Machines
    • Why The Windows Secure Boot Hack Is a Good Thing

      Most coverage of the subject has been written in that panicky, alarmist prose that makes for exciting news, but the problem is that the invalidation of Secure Boot is a very positive development for everyone concerned, except for Microsoft. Yes, it shows why backdoors for “the good guys” are a terrible idea — yes, it even has far-reaching implications for every piece of computing technology using the UEFI standard. However, I maintain that it will have a positive influence on the direction of security and tech standards moving forward.

    • Islamists Target Kali Linux: An Operating System Designed to Thwart Attacks

      The Kali Linux operating system may help tackle cyberterrorism, which has attracted Daesh, digital strategy consultant Lars Hilse told Sputnik.

    • Nasty Rex Linux Trojan Packs DDoS Attacks, Ransomware, And Bitcoin Miner
    • New Trojan Turns Linux Devices into Botnet
    • The cost of mentoring, or why we need heroes

      We may never have security heroes like we did. It’s become a proper industry. I don’t think many mature industries have new and exciting heroes. We know who Chuck Yeager is, I bet nobody could name 5 test pilots anymore. That’s OK though. You know what happens when there is a solid body of knowledge that needs to be moved from the old to the young? You go to a university. That’s right, our future rests with the universities.

    • Bounty hunters are legally hacking Apple and the Pentagon – for big money

      Now 21, it is his full time job. This month so far he has earned $21,150, in installments: he counted them out over the phone – “400, plus 400, plus 300, plus 100, plus 1,000, plus 3,000, plus 4,000…”

      Wakelam’s month-to-month profit varies considerably, but in an average year, he said, he can comfortably clear $250,000, working from his home in Melbourne or on his Macbook in coffee shops or nearby bars.

    • Inventor of The Internet’s Most Terrifying Search Engine Shows Us How To Use It

      It’s called Shodan and it’s a great tool to find insecure devices, so that people can fix them and make the internet safer. Shodan crawls the internet and collects all kind of stuff connected to the internet, from mundane smart fridges to industrial control systems. It’s a powerful tool, and you don’t really appreciate it until you use it yourself, or, better yet, until its inventor shows you what it can do.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Could a Russian-Led Coalition Defeat Hillary’s War Plans?

      The representation of Russia as an “existential threat” to the U.S. is preposterous fantasy. Just like the depiction of Iran as a nuclear threat is preposterous, and the notion that Bashar al-Assad’s secular government in Syria is the cause for the emergence of ISIL is sheer delusion.

      Russia with 12% the U.S. military budget has military bases in precisely 8 foreign countries: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan (all nations bordering Russia, and former soviet socialist republics) plus Syria and Vietnam. Its only foreign naval facilities are in the latter two countries. The Sevastopol base in Crimea used to be on Ukrainian territory, but Russia has of course annexed the Crimean Peninisula to ensure continued control of the headquarters of its Black Sea fleet.

      The U.S. in contrast has over 650 military bases abroad, and five naval bases on the Mediterranean coast alone, in Spain, Italy and Greece. There are 10,000 sailors stationed at NSA Naples. In that same region the Russians have only their resupply station in Tartus, Syria operative by treaty since 1971, typically with a tiny garrison.

      The Russian air force base in Latakia, Syria is a modest operation, incapable of supporting those Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers used to bomb ISIL and al-Nusra targets a few days ago in Aleppo and elsewhere. Those took off instead from Sahid Nojeh air base near Hamadan, Iran, causing some Pentagon concern and (false) accusations that the mission somehow violated a UNSC resolution about arming Iran. Moscow is boasting of mission success. (Morning Joe’s upset about that true.)

      Russian forces have already done more damage to ISIL, dismissed in January 2014 by President Obama as a minor problem, than the U.S. The U.S. started its bombing of ISIL months before the Russians but Russian strikes have turned the tide of battle in Syria.

    • Trump Hypes a New ‘War on Terror’

      Donald Trump has urged a new “war on terror” that brings back torture and seeks revenge on terrorists’ families, but another problem with the Republican nominee’s approach is his exaggeration of the danger, writes ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • US Hawks Advance a War Agenda in Syria

      The U.S. government, having illegally sent American troops into Syria, is now threatening to attack the Syrian military if it endangers those troops, an Orwellian twist that marks a dangerous escalation, explains Daniel Lazare.

    • Can Russia Survive Washington’s Challenge?

      News services abroad ask me if President Erdogan of Turkey will, as a result of the coup attempt, realign Turkey with Russia. At this time, there is not enough information for me to answer. Speculation in advance of information is not my forte.

      Moreover, I do not know if it is true that Moscow warned the President of Turkey of the coup, and I do not know if Washington was behind the coup. Therefore, I do not know how to weigh the scales. As I see it, whether Turkey stays with Washington or realigns with Moscow depends first of all on whether or not Moscow warned Turkey and whether or not Washington was behind the coup. If this is what Erdogan believes, whether true or false, Erdogan is likely to align with Russia. However, other factors will also influence Erdogan’s decision. For example, Erdogan’s belief about how resolute Putin is to standing up to Washington.

    • Syria’s Horrors Visit Turkey Again as Bomber Attacks Kurdish Wedding

      The wedding on Saturday night was winding down, and some guests had already left. But the music was still playing and people were still dancing in the narrow streets of Gaziantep, a city not far from the Syrian border.

      Just then a child — no more than 14 years old, Turkey’s president said later — meandered into the gathering and detonated a vest of explosives.

      Suddenly, the most joyous of occasions became a scene of blood and gore, with body parts scattered all around. Once again, the horrors of Syria’s civil war had visited Turkey.

    • More Than 50 Dead in Turkey After Suicide Blast at Kurdish Wedding

      At least 51 people were killed and dozens more injured when a suicide bomber detonated explosives at a Kurdish wedding celebration in southeastern Turkey late Saturday night.

      Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday that the Islamic State (ISIS) was behind the attack, and that the suicide bomber was a child between 12 and 14 years old. No entity has claimed official responsibility.

    • Russia Teams Up With Iran to Continue to Bomb Syria

      And that brings us to this week, where Assad is still around, ISIS is still around, Iraq is still a sectarian mess, Iran more or less controls the Iraqi government and the powerful Shiite militias except for the ones who might just rebel and/or slaughter Sunnis to complete a slow-burn civil war, Turkey a newly-collapsing crappy Mideast-ish stinkhole run by a new dictator and Russia and Iran, always a bit wary of one another, are cooperating militarily to attack ISIS (U.S. thumbs up!) in support of Assad (U.S. thumbs down!)

      And that’s all before we get to the Kurds, who are well on their way to creating a confederacy of Kurdistan carved out of parts of Iraq, Syria and Turkey. That will be the impetus behind the next war inside the Middle East, with most of the same players now in Syria joining in. Figure maybe a year from now or so.

    • Merkel: Migrants did not bring Radical Terrorism to Germany

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel said at a campaign event on Wednesday evening, that there is no relationship between the influx of some one million migrants and refugees into Germany in the past year and the incidents of radical Muslim violence in the country.

      She pointed out that Muslim radicalism as a phenomenon pre-existed the rise of Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) and that even Daesh was there before the refugee crisis. She said that German authorities have been worried about Daesh for some years.

      To some extent she blamed social media rather the the influx of refugees.

    • Saudis bomb Sanaa during “Million-Person march”

      The Houthi Ansarullah Movement that controls most of north and west Yemen staged what was by all accounts an enormous demonstration in the capital of Sanaa on Saturday. It may have been the single largest demonstration in the country’s history. While it was unlikely actually to have involved a million people, it did probably tens of thousands, and it showed how strong grassroots support for the Houthis is in the north.

      The massive demonstration in Sab`in Park in downtown Sanaa was intended to send a signal to Saudi Arabia and its coalition that the Houthis are enormously popular in the north and that the General People’s Congress, the parliament of Yemen in its present form, shares in that popularity.

      If so, Saudi Arabia did not get that message. Its fighter-bombers targeted downtown Sanaa in the midst of the demonstration, which arguably was a war crime (you aren’t allowed to endanger large numbers of civilians in war if you don’t have to). The Saudis are at war with rebel supporters of the Houthis, whom Saudi Arabian inaccurately depicts as a cat’s paw of Iran.

    • Food Sovereignty in Rebellion: Decolonization, Autonomy, Gender Equity, and the Zapatista Solution

      One of the biggest threats to food security the world currently faces is neoliberalism. It’s logic, which has become status quo over the past 70 years and valorizes global ‘free market’ capitalism, is made manifest through economic policies that facilitate privatization, deregulation, and cuts to social spending, as well as a discourse that promotes competition, individualism, and self-commodification. Despite rarely being criticized, or even mentioned, by state officials and mainstream media, neoliberal programs and practices continue to give rise to unprecedented levels of poverty, hunger, and suffering. The consequences of neoliberalism are so acutely visceral that the Zapatistas called the 21st century’s most highly lauded free-trade policy, NAFTA, a ‘death certificate’ for Indigenous people.1 This is because economic liberalization meant that imported commodities (e.g., subsidized corn from the U.S.) would flood Mexican markets, devalue the products of peasant farmers, and lead to widespread food insecurity. As a response, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), primarily Indigenous peasants themselves, led an armed insurrection in Chiapas, Mexico on January 1, 1994—the day NAFTA went into effect.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • QC who worked on Julian Assange case jumped in front of West Hampstead train after being allowed out of private hospital

      CCTV footage of the death was not played to the court because coroner Mary Hassell said she thought it would be “too distressing” but that she had watched it, and was satisfied that “nobody else was involved”.

      Recording a narrative verdict, Ms Hassell said she could not be certain that Mr Jones intended to kill himself because the balance of his mind was affected.

      Ms Hassell said: “John Jones died instantaneously when he jumped in front of a moving train.

      “However, the state of his mental health at the time meant that he lacked the necessary intent to categorise this as suicide.”

      Mr Jones’ wife, lawyer Misa Zgonec-Rozej, told the inquest: “I feel horrified that he was allowed out so early in the morning, in such a fragile state and without having slept properly for days.

      “I genuinely believe that John did not want to die, and that he didn’t know what he was doing (when he jumped).”

    • DCCC Docs on Pennsylvania

      So, here are DCCC docs on Pennsylvania’s congressional districts. You may find a thing or two about the Democratic primaries in the state there.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • In Arctic, Ancient Diseases Reanimate and Highways Melt as Temperatures Hit “Frenzy” of Records

      By the time I’d reached the end of my 10 years of reportage on the impacts of the US occupation of Iraq in 2013, it was impossible for me to find an Iraqi who did not have a family member, relative or friend who had been killed either by US troops, an act of non-state sponsored terrorism or random violence spun off one of the aforementioned.

      Now, having spent the entire summer in Alaska, I’ve yet to have a conversation with national park rangers, glaciologists or simply avid outdoors-people that has not included a story of disbelief, amazement and often shock over the impacts of anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) across their beloved state.

      Whether it is rivers causing massive erosion after being turbo-charged by rapidly melting glaciers, dramatically warmer temperatures throughout the year, or the increasingly rapid melting and retreat of the glaciers themselves, everyone who is out there, seeing the impacts firsthand, has a grave experience to share.

      As just one small example, less than an hour’s drive from Anchorage, I visited an area where I’d climbed in the past. An old climbing partner had suggested I visit Byron Peak, which is situated not far from both Turnagain Arm and Prince William Sound, to witness how much Byron Glacier had retreated since I’d last been there.

    • The West’s ‘new normal’: Another long season of volatile wildfires

      The morning of July 23, the city of Los Angeles was covered in a dusting of ash. An apocalyptic haze muted the sun, and the sky was an eerie, unnatural pink. Just a day before, a wildfire had broken out on private land 30 miles northwest, near Santa Clarita. Within 24 hours, the Sand Fire scorched 20,000 acres, and in a week, it burned another 21,000 acres. At least 10,000 people had to evacuate before it was contained by early August.

      The most volatile fire activity in the West this year has occurred in Central and Southern California – from Big Sur to Carmel-by-the-Sea to San Bernardino – causing the closure of the Pacific Coast Highway, the destruction of hundreds of homes, and the death of at least six people. According to experts, these blazes – along with the 85 large fires currently burning across the country, many in the West – offer a glimpse into the West’s “new normal” wildfire season that has been intensified by climate change in recent years. Warmer temperatures, less snowfall and increased drought mean that fire season begins earlier in April and lasts longer, until November or December.

      Last winter, California breathed a sigh of relief during El Niño, expecting it to drench the parched landscape after four years of drought. Northern California got more rain and remains relatively wet, but El Niño didn’t deliver enough to prevent fires in the southern part of the state. “It’s the legacy effect of the long-term drought: these large, volatile, fast-moving wildfires in California,” says Crystal Kolden, fire science professor at the University of Idaho. By the first week of June, firefighters in the state had already tackled over 1,500 fires that burned almost 28,000 acres – twice as many acres burned as in the first half of 2015.

    • [Older] Tunisia: on the frontlines of the struggle against climate change

      Kerkennah islanders are faced with a double threat to their existence: rising sea water levels and the extractive operations of fossil fuel companies.

      [...]

      I visited Kerkennah in March 2016, after hearing there was simmering discontent about Petrofac’s refusal to honor its engagements in helping finance an employment fund. On the ferry to the island, I noticed a delegation headed by the Tunisia Minister of Environment accompanied by a TV crew was also on the same boat. I found myself asking: “Was the purpose of the delegation’s visit the same as mine? Were they also there to investigate the now two-month-long labor mobilization around Petrofac?”

    • The Earth Has Endured 14 Straight Months of Record-Breaking Heat

      The lower part of South America, the Beijing region, and a little patch of far-east Russia: These were the landmasses that experienced abnormally cool temperatures in June.

      The vast majority of the Earth’s surface, however, was either warmer than usual or scalding with record-breaking heat, according to NOAA’s latest global analysis. At 1.6 degrees above the 20th-century average of roughly 60 degrees, it was the warmest June in modern history and the 14th consecutive month of unprecedented hotness. That’s the longest streak of record-busting temperatures in observations dating back to 1880.

  • Finance

    • The politics of ethnic diversity: Scotland, Brexit and inequality

      This week the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a study demonstrating that people born into an ethnic minority household in Scotland are twice as likely to face poverty.

    • Do Unions Belong in the Fight Against Corporate School Reform? [Ed: Gates meddling]

      In the fight for public education, the forces of standardization and privatization are running scared.

      They’ve faced more pushback in the last few years – especially in the last few months – than in a decade.

      The Opt Out movement increases exponentially every year. Teach for America is having trouble getting recruits. Pearson’s stock is plummeting. The NAACP and Black Lives Matter have both come out strongly against increasing charter schools.

      [...]

      The fight for public schools isn’t between grassroots communities and well-funded AstroTurf organizations, they say. Despite the evidence of your eyes, the fight isn’t between charter school sycophants and standardized test companies, on the one hand, and parents, students and teachers on the other.

    • How US Farm Subsidies Make Taxpayers Pay Twice (And How We Could Change That)

      Usually, when you buy something, you pay for it just once. But if you’re a US taxpayer, you’re paying twice for the food system you’re “buying” with your hard-earned tax dollars. An example: today’s massive federal farm subsidies encourage farming practices that lead to toxic algae blooms, drinking water pollution, and other costly problems we have to pay for again downstream. By contrast, modest investment in just one proven alternative farming system would achieve annual savings—in the form of water pollution averted—of $850 million.

    • Anti-Austerity Leftist Announces Challenge to French President Hollande

      Seeking to replace France’s increasingly unpopular President François Hollande, former industry minister and “left-wing firebrand” Arnaud Montebourg announced his candidacy for president on Sunday.

      The French election will take place in May 2017. Hollande, whom Jacobin notes has “force[d] his way though political institutions and democracy in order to implement his unpopular policies,” has not yet said whether he will run for re-election. In 2016, he faced a popular uprising under the banner “Nuit Debout,” a pro-democracy movement that grew out of protests against his anti-labor and authoritarian security policies.

      On Sunday, Montebourg urged Hollande not to run, calling his record “indefensible” and charging him with betraying the “ideals of the left.”

      According to Reuters, the candidate “said his project would include measures to end austerity while raising expenditure, reverse tax increases of the last five years, fight globalization and restructure the European Union which had ‘practically become a failed company’.”

    • Rio’s Olympic ruins

      The opening of Rio’s Olympic Village, on July 24, just two weeks before the beginning of the 2016 Summer Games sparked considerable criticism of the state of athletes’ accommodations. Reports of missing lights on staircases, gas leaks, dirty rooms and hallways, and unfinished facilities abounded in all four corners of the gated condominium comprised of thirty-one 17-story towers.

      Citing blocked toilets, leaking pipes and exposed wiring, the Australian delegation initially refused to move in to the Village, and checked into a hotel for two nights. The infrastructural crisis almost gave way to a diplomatic one, when Rio’s major Eduardo Paes commented he would get a kangaroo to jump around in the grounds of the Athletes’ Village if it would make Australians feel more at home. Australia’s response: “we do not need kangaroos, we need plumbers”.

    • Clinton and Trump Are Rich and Pals of the Rich—and That Could Be a Huge Problem for the Nation

      Unless you’ve somehow succeeded in living off the grid for the past year and a half, you’ve no doubt heard about the massive economic conflicts of interest Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would bring to the White House if either is elected president.

      As described in various articles and op-eds, Trump’s conflicts stem from his far-flung worldwide enterprises, while Clinton’s emanate from the global reach of her family foundation and her long-standing ties to Wall Street banks. Given their assets and business relations, questions of favoritism, self-dealing and compromised judgment would haunt either candidate’s tenure in office.

      But as so often happens with American news coverage, even at its best, either too much emphasis has been placed on personality, or too many details have been offered without placing the Trump and Clinton campaigns in a wider historical and political context. Indeed, the biggest conflict of interest of all has gone practically unmentioned in mainstream coverage—namely, that Trump and Clinton don’t just have personal conflicts of interest that would affect their ability to govern, but they represent different dimensions of a larger corporate oligarchy that dominates American democracy.

      When most reporters write about Trump’s and Clinton’s conflicts, they usually have in mind a more narrow concept imported from the United States criminal code, as set forth in Title 18, Section 208. That statute, as the Congressional Research Service has explained, embodies the “axiom ‘that a public servant owes undivided loyalty to the Government,’ and that decisions, advice, and recommendations made by or given to the government by its officers be made in the public interest and not be tainted, even unintentionally, with influence from personal financial interests.”

      Willful violations of Section 208 are felonies subject to as much as five years in prison. To guard against running afoul of the law, executive branch officers are instructed to follow the principles of “disqualification, disclosure, and divestiture.” Thus, the head of the Federal Aviation Administration is precluded from owning stocks or bonds in an aeronautical company, and no member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors can own stock in a bank.

      Some of the better reporters, such as Bloomberg’s Timothy O’Brien, have been quick to point out, however, that while Section 208 applies to other executive branch employees, officials and Cabinet officers, it does not cover the president and vice president. Congress, in drafting the legislation in 1962, exempted those offices because the powers of the chief executive were considered so vast that any decision he or she made could be open to attack on conflict grounds.

    • Sweden Warns U.K. Against Aggressive Tax Cuts Amid Brexit Talks

      The U.K. should avoid any drastic steps to cut corporate taxes, or similar measures, as it prepares to start talks on leaving the European Union, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said.

      The premier of the largest Nordic economy also said the U.K.’s exit from the 28-nation bloc “shouldn’t take longer than necessary.”

      “But if the U.K. wants some time to think about the situation, this will also give EU countries some time,” Loefven told Bloomberg after giving a speech in Stockholm on Sunday. “On the other hand, you hear about plans in the U.K. to, for example, lower corporate taxes considerably. If they, during this time, begin that kind of race, that will of course make discussions more difficult.”

      U.K. policy makers are now dealing with the fallout of the June vote backing a Brexit and are looking at the first part of next year to start formal talks. Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed starting Britain’s exit as she puts together a team and prepares for what will inevitably be tough negotiations.

    • China Is Grappling With Hidden Unemployment

      Cracks are starting to show in China’s labor market as struggling industrial firms leave millions of workers in flux.

      While official jobless numbers haven’t budged, the underemployment rate has jumped to more than 5 percent from near zero in 2010, according to Bai Peiwei, an economics professor at Xiamen University. Bai estimates the rate may be 10 percent in industries with excess capacity, such as unprofitable steel mills and coal mines that have slashed pay, reduced shifts and required unpaid leave.

      Many state-owned firms battling overcapacity favor putting workers in a holding pattern to avoid mass layoffs that risk fueling social unrest. While that helps airbrush the appearance of duress, it also slows the shift of workers to services jobs, where labor demand remains more solid in China’s shifting economy.

    • Japanese hedge fund robot outsmarts human master, passes Brexit test

      Yoshinori Nomura felt like weeping. It was the morning of June 24, Brexit day, and markets were moving against him.

      Well, not against him, exactly. It was the hedge fund manager’s self-learning computer program that had placed the bet, selling Japanese stock-index futures before a sizable market advance. Nomura had anticipated a rally, but decided not to interfere, and his fund was paying the price.

      Then, in an instant, everything changed. When new vote counts signalled Britain was going to leave the European Union, a burst of selling sent Japanese shares to their biggest drop in five years. By luck or design, Mr. Nomura’s Simplex Equity Futures Strategy Fund ended the day with a 3.4-per-cent gain, one of its best results in three months of trading.

      “The machine was right after all,” said Mr. Nomura, who spent more than three years refining his trading program and now oversees about ¥3.5-billion ($44-million) in the fund, one of the first in Japan to utilize artificial intelligence technology.

      Mr. Nomura doesn’t have the assets or name recognition of computer-savvy giants such as Renaissance Technologies or Two Sigma Investments. But in his own way, the Tokyo-based physics buff has become a compelling test case for what some say is the future of money management. If Mr. Nomura can succeed in Japan – where central bank stimulus has upended markets, hedge funds are trailing global peers and institutional investors are notoriously risk averse – it would offer hope for fledgling AI traders around the world.

    • Massachusetts to tax ride-hailing apps, give the money to taxis

      Massachusetts is preparing to levy a 5-cent fee per trip on ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft and spend the money on the traditional taxi industry, a subsidy that appears to be the first of its kind in the United States.

      Republican Governor Charlie Baker signed the nickel fee into law this month as part of a sweeping package of regulations for the industry.

      Ride services are not enthusiastic about the fee.

      “I don’t think we should be in the business of subsidizing potential competitors,” said Kirill Evdakov, the chief executive of Fasten, a ride service that launched in Boston last year and also operates in Austin, Texas.

      Some taxi owners wanted the law to go further, perhaps banning the start-up competitors unless they meet the requirements taxis do, such as regular vehicle inspection by the police.

    • The Wat on Cash

      Several months ago I stayed in an offbeat Amsterdam hotel that brewed its own beer but refused to accept cash for it. Instead, they forced me to use the Visa payment card network to get my UK bank to transfer €4 to their Dutch bank via the elaborate international correspondent banking system.

      I was there with civil liberties campaigner Ben Hayes. We were irritated by the anti-cash policy, something the hotel staff took for annoyance at the international payments charges we’d face. That wasn’t it though. Our concern was an intuitive one about a potential future world in which we’d have to report our every economic move to a bank, and the effect this could have on marginalised people.

      ‘Cashless society’ is a euphemism for the “ask-your-banks-for-permission-to-pay society”. Rather than an exchange occurring directly between the hotel and me, it takes the form of a “have your people talk to my people” affair. Various intermediaries message one another to arrange an exchange between our respective banks. That may be a convenient option, but in a cashless society it would no longer be an option at all. You’d have no choice but to conform to the intermediaries’ automated bureaucracy, giving them a lot of power, and a lot of data about the microtexture of your economic life.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Top DNC staffer resigns in wake of massive hack

      Another top official has left the Democratic National Committee in the wake of an email hack last month the revealed embarrassing messages.

      Jordan Kaplan, the party’s national finance director for more than three years, stepped down, becoming the scandal’s fifth casualty. The first to go was DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

      Kaplan’s resignation email, obtained by The Associated Press, makes no mention of the leaked emails. He says he is returning to consulting and in that capacity will continue to manage party fundraisers featuring the Obamas. Kaplan is a longtime Obama supporter, having first worked for him years ago during Obama’s Illinois Senate campaign.

    • Trump, Clinton ‘Have Not Earned Our Vote,’ says Jill Stein

      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said Republican Party nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton “have not earned our vote” for president.

      “Politicians do not have a new form of entitlement,” Stein told ABC’s “This Week.” “They are not entitled to our vote. They have to earn our votes.”

      “People are being thrown under the bus and they’re tired of it,” Stein said. “They’re tired of a rigged economy, and they’re tired of a rigged political system.”

      A poll by ABC News/Washington Post this month found that 57 percent of voters are dissatisfied with the choice between Trump and Clinton. Stein polled at 4 percent in the same survey, well ahead of the one half of 1 percent of votes she won in the 2012 presidential election.

      But, according to a new ABC/SSRS online poll released today, 59 percent of voters worry that casting a ballot for a third-party hopeful could cause their least-preferred candidate to win the presidency. Of the 59 percent, 35 percent said they were somewhat worried, 15 percent very worried, and 9 percent extremely worried.

    • Stein & Baraka to Bernie Sanders Supporters: Vote Green & Abandon the Party of War and Wall Street

      For months, Jill Stein of the Green Party attempted to push Bernie Sanders to join the Green ticket. While he ignored the call, Stein is now reaching out to Sanders supporters for their votes in November. But is Stein afraid of tipping the election toward Donald Trump? We get response from her and running mate Ajamu Baraka.

    • Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka Urge Trump and Clinton to Back Open Debates With Greens, Libertarians

      In the spirit of democracy, we are writing to ask that you support open debates in 2016 that include all of the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates who are on enough ballots to win at least 270 electoral college votes.

      There will only be four campaigns on enough state ballots to win the election: your campaigns, the Libertarians, and our Green Party campaign. All candidates should be included in the series of Presidential debates, so that voters can be informed about all of their choices. We propose four open debates, three for the Presidential candidates and one for the Vice Presidential candidates.

      The US electorate is changing rapidly and is no longer limited to Republicans and Democrats. The number of eligible voters who identify as Republican or Democratic has steadily dropped from approximately 80% in 1958 to 50% today. A majority of US voters do not identify with either of your parties.

    • Jill Stein: ‘Democracy needs a moral compass’

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      Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein doesn’t want voters to think a vote for her is a vote for Donald Trump.

      “What we have seen over the years is that this politics of fear actually delivered everything that we were afraid of,” Stein said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.” “That’s actually what we’ve gotten because we, the people, have allowed ourselves to be silenced. Democracy needs a moral compass. It needs a vision, an affirmative vision of what we are about and an agenda that we can actually put forward.”

    • No, Jill Stein Supporters, You Are Not Crazy

      The primaries were rigged. The mainstream media is obscenely biased. The progressive vote is actively being dismissed, ignored and marginalized as the Democratic party moves further into bed with neoliberal policies of imperialism and corporatism. And there most certainly is a deliberate attempt from the Democrats to attack, undermine and obliterate the support for your candidate, who is most certainly a very sane voice in an extremely corrupt political environment.

    • The Real Way the 2016 Election Is Rigged

      Hillary Clinton has put the Electoral College into checkmate. She’s closer to Donald Trump in many red states like Kansas and Texas than he is to her in key swing states.

      As her lead swells, naturally, fired-up Democrats and a restless media have turned their attention to a more exciting story: Can Democrats retake the House of Representatives? But the outcome there is not really in doubt, either.

      It’s not going to happen. Democratic House candidates will likely get many more votes than Republican ones – as they did in 2012, when Democrats received 1.4 million more votes nationwide, but Republicans maintained a 234-201 advantage. Indeed, Trump is more likely to rebound in swing states than Democrats are to capture the 30 congressional seats they need to pry the speaker’s gavel from Paul Ryan.

    • Empty Promises About the Clinton Foundation

      The Clinton Foundation is an unprecedented abomination to American democracy. Under the pretenses of charitable work, the foundation has furthered the interests of the Clintons and their corporate and wealthy donors across the globe. It has also blurred the lines between donations and off-the-record political favors, while providing the Clintons with plausible deniability of auctioning off access to the most politically powerful couple in modern U.S. history.

      The Clinton Foundation has accepted large contributions from foreign dictatorships and corporations which have never shown any other interest in supporting the charitable causes the foundation cites as its focus. As a means to obscure its list of donors, the foundation has created branches of initiatives, such as the Clinton Global Initiative, and a Canadian affiliate, the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership. These subsidiaries failed to disclose over 1,000 foreign donations, violating Hillary Clinton’s promise to the White House Administration to annually disclose contributors to the Clinton Foundation. Despite this promise, Hillary Clinton appointed a Clinton Foundation donor to an intelligence board upon his request when he had no qualifications for the position. She abided instructions from one of her prominent donors, billionaire George Soros, to intervene in Albanian politics.

    • Quora Question: Has Trump Lost the Ability to Capitalize on Outrage?
    • Quora Question: Does the NSA Have All of Clinton’s Deleted Emails?

      For the NSA to be in possession of Hillary Clinton’s deleted e-mails, the NSA would not only have to violate intelligence community protocols regarding surveillance on US citizens (which, without a FISA warrant, is expressly forbidden) but they would have to have been spying and collecting intelligence on the civilian government charged with overseeing them.

    • Trump’s Empire: A Maze of Debts and Opaque Ties

      On the campaign trail, Donald J. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, has sold himself as a businessman who has made billions of dollars and is beholden to no one.

      But an investigation by The New York Times into the financial maze of Mr. Trump’s real estate holdings in the United States reveals that companies he owns have at least $650 million in debt — twice the amount than can be gleaned from public filings he has made as part of his bid for the White House. The Times’s inquiry also found that Mr. Trump’s fortunes depend deeply on a wide array of financial backers, including one he has cited in attacks during his campaign.

    • Huma Abedin worked at a radical Muslim journal for a dozen years

      Hillary Clinton’s top campaign aide, and the woman who might be the future White House chief of staff to the first female US president, for a decade edited a radical Muslim publication that opposed women’s rights and blamed the US for 9/11.

      One of Clinton’s biggest accomplishments listed on her campaign Web site is her support for the UN women’s conference in Bejing in 1995, when she famously declared, “Women’s rights are human rights.” Her speech has emerged as a focal point of her campaign, featured prominently in last month’s Morgan Freeman-narrated convention video introducing her as the Democratic nominee.

      However, soon after that “historic and transformational” 1995 event, as Clinton recently described it, her top aide Huma Abedin published articles in a Saudi journal taking Clinton’s feminist platform apart, piece by piece. At the time, Abedin was assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs working under her mother, who remains editor-in-chief. She was also working in the White House as an intern for then-First Lady Clinton.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Federalism and the European left

      An important question arises: what conditions would enable progressive policy to come about again in Europe? I want to suggest that these conditions are not primarily political but institutional. The left may have lost most of its former capacity to organize the working class. It may have surrendered some of its core values to third-way or related projects. But what if these are the consequences of a far more fundamental difficulty? What if progressive policies – broadly understood as a counterweight to capitalism ­– are unlikely to emerge in any of the institutional structures now operative in Europe, that is, nation states and the EU in its present form?

    • Turkey warns travelers at airport of high ‘rape rate’ in Sweden amid underage sex scandal

      Turkey has posted its own “travel warning” amid an ongoing international scandal linked to Turkey’s underage sex law, placing ads at Istanbul Airport alleging that “Sweden has the highest rape rate worldwide.”

      The “warning” apparently appeared at the international Ataturk airport, in the form of a banner, by the Turkish Gunes newspaper, The Local reported on Friday.

    • Ryan Lochte, Donald Trump and the Steep Decline of American Democracy

      Trump and Lochte are amazingly American, no doubt. Taken together, they effectively provide the answer to Brooks’ incoherent question. The disgraced American swimmer and the disgraced American candidate found themselves in similar predicaments this week. It’s a marriage made in hell, or at least in purgatory: These two clowns epitomize the disordered state of the American psyche, circa 2016, almost too perfectly.

      Lochte and Trump are a pair of arrogant, ignorant jerks who believe that neither conduct nor character actually matters, and who feel entitled to rescue themselves from any sticky situation through the strategic application of lies and money. They’re the white men who give white men a bad name (which is, of course, deeply unfair). They’d almost be comical, if one of them weren’t endangering the future of the republic and if they weren’t working so hard to reinforce the entire world’s negative stereotypes about Americans. (Which are, of course, deeply unfair … no, I’m sorry, I can’t say it with a straight face.)

    • Blame It On The Bossa Nova: Lochte and Brazilian Police

      The travails of the Ryan Lochte gang of American Swimmers has been playing out for a full week now. The result has been almost universal scorn, if not hatred, for Lochte et. al, and almost complete credulous acceptance of the somewhat dubious, if extremely strident, pushback and claims of the Brazilian Police.

      Frankly, neither side’s story ever sat quite right with me. But Lochte’s story, among other exaggeration/fabrication, always, from the start, indicated that the swimmers were pulled from a taxi at gun point, by people in uniform with badges, who pointed guns at them, and took money from them.

      And then came the dog and pony show press conference staged by the Brazilian Police for a worldwide audience during mid-day on Thursday August 18. It was a bizarre and rambling presser, that was nearly comical in its staging during its opening portion. It did, however, make clear that there was a lot more to the full story than Lochte had told, and that some of his story was flat wrong. But, if you listened carefully, as I am wont to do with cops making self serving statements, it, along with previous statements made by the police, also pretty much confirmed the swimmers were pulled from a taxi at gun point, by people in uniform with badges, who pointed guns at them, and took money from them.

    • Why I Still Have Hope In The American Dream That Failed Me

      I am in a federal prison in Colorado. While here, I have read Ta-Nahesi Coates’ award-winning book Between the World and Me. Though my background is different from Coates’ (I did not grow up in the mean streets of a large city), I enjoyed reading Between the World and Me because I identify with so much of it. It is also those commonalities which make it rather difficult for me to read. Between the World and Me serves as a reminder and a warning. But most importantly Coates’ book forces us to think about the American Dream, and what hope we have in it. Coates’ book struck a chord with me particularly with his emphasis on the black body. “In America,” he tells his son, “It is traditional to destroy the black body — it is heritage.”

      I have long known that physical violence to the black body is an ever present specter. My indoctrination came over 35 years ago, when one of my brothers was in a drug-induced stupor in the street in front of my childhood home in small-town Missouri. The police had been called and they showed up in force. My mother was in a fretful state, pleading for my brother to return to safety inside the house. Someone attempted to calm her down by saying that everything was going to be all right, that the police would help. Her answer was so emphatic. “No! They’ll kill him!” My brother was not hurt, but I cried that night. I don’t know if the tears were from the emotions of the night or from the lesson I learned that my body and my brother’s body, our bodies, were subject to “official” physical violence.

      I would soon learn that official violence against black bodies comes in many guises. Even if not overtly physical, it is without question destructive. In my case, discrimination, arrest and imprisonment has robbed my black body of a sense and identity by disparate treatment, silencing, erasure, and exclusion from the American Dream.

    • When King came up against Chicago racism

      SOME FIVE months after the Watts uprising, King arrived in Chicago in January 1966 and announced “the first significant Northern freedom movement ever attempted by major civil rights forces.” King declared the focus of the movement would be the “unconditional surrender of forces dedicated to the creation and maintenance of slums.”

      King came to Chicago by the invitation of activists who formed the core of the Chicago Freedom Movement (CFM). They had been the key organizers of boycotts and campaigns in 1963 for the struggle against public school apartheid in the city.

      Chicago activists debated whether to focus on job discrimination or racism in public schools. Eventually, King, organizers from SCLC and local activists agreed on a target: slum conditions in housing on the West Side of Chicago. They concluded that the problems in housing were closely tied to problems of access to jobs and good schools. To dramatize the point, King moved into a shabby apartment on the city’s segregated West Side as the campaign began to set up.

      The campaign was to lead to the creation of “Unions to End Slums” across the city. This was part of a collaborative effort between the AFL-CIO and SCLC to use the “union model” to organize tenants and expose conditions of poverty in cities across the country.

      For their part, union leaders were attempting to regain favor among a growing layer of African American workers who were bitter about racism in the labor movement. Black workers often held the most physically difficult and worst-paid jobs in union shops–and growing numbers of them were critical of union officials. The civil rights agenda of unions like the United Auto Workers were intended to offset criticism of the internal politics of the organizations.

    • Argentina’s Mapuche Community Stands Up to Benetton in Struggle for Ancestral Lands

      The Mapuche have begun to reshape history by moving back onto the Patagonian land in the Chubut Province of Argentina that has been part of their ancestral history for more than 1,400 years. The transnational fashion company Benetton claims ownership to the land and force has repeatedly been used against Mapuche people who have sought to move back onto it.

    • Chris Hedges Interviews CounterPuncher Rob Urie
    • Team Refugee and the Normalization of Mass Displacement

      It was after midnight when the small refugee Olympic team strode into the stadium in Rio, the very last before host country Brazil’s huge contingent danced in to the samba-driven opening ceremonies. Ten amazing athletes, originally from four separate countries but sharing their status as unable to return home, marching under the Olympic flag.

    • The last Russian prisoner at Guantánamo Bay does not want to go home

      Fourteen years after arriving at Guantánamo, Ravil Mingazov is now due to be released. But returning to Russia could bring harassment, torture and the threat of further imprisonment.

    • Worthy and Unworthy Victims of Child Abuse

      In recent weeks surveillance footage has broken in the Australian media of institutional abuse at the Don Dale juvenile detention facility just outside of Darwin. Needless to say this has been deeply shocking the Australian public — the graphic footage of teenagers being savagely beaten and forcibly restrained in chairs with bags over their heads all too reminiscent of the human rights abuses in Abu Ghraib. The effect of these images has not been much diminished by the fact that it took the story years to break in the face of protracted institutional resistance and willingness to turn a blind eye to what were clearly the same kinds of abuse.

    • Nearly Half Of All Women In The Australian Federal Police Have Reported Sexual Harassment

      A new report investigating the culture of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has found that 46 percent of women and 20 percent of men reported being sexually harassed in their workplace over the past five years. Two-thirds of men and women also reported being bullied in the workplace. The AFP’s commissioner has apologised to employees who have been victims of sexual harassment and bullying, but the report has called for further “immediate action”.

    • A man who was almost killed by Anders Breivik explains how he keeps re-living it to prevent others from becoming radicalised

      As Anders Breivik conducted his act of terror on the usually-picturesque Norwegian island of Utøya, methodically slaughtering 69 people and injuring dozens more at the hands of his shotgun, 20-year-old Bjørn Ihler lay low on the far southern tip of the island and somehow struck up a conversation about Christmas.

      On the morning of July 22, 2011, Ihler had slept in. He only arrived to the island the night before and stayed up all night catching up with old friends.

      The island played host to Norwegian Labour Party-affiliated Worker’s Youth League summer camp and Ihler had travelled over from England, where he was studying theatre at Liverpool University, to “learn something about how politics was going in Norway,” he told Business Insider.

    • Philippines Drug-War Deaths Double as President Duterte Lashes Out at U.N.

      The number of drug-related killings since President Rodrigo Duterte took power and declared war on drugs in May has jumped to about 1,800, police said Monday, a day after the new leader lashed out over United Nations criticism of the deaths.

      Duterte said in a bizarre and strongly worded late-night news conference Sunday that the Philippines might leave the U.N. and invite China and others to form a new global forum, accusing it of failing to fulfill its mandate.

      However, Foreign Minister Perfecto Yasay said Monday the Philippines would remain a U.N. member and described Duterte’s comments as expressions of “profound disappointment.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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  27. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  28. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  29. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  30. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences


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