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11.16.17

Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Landmark study links Tory austerity to 120,000 deaths

      The Conservatives have been accused of “economic murder” for austerity policies which a new study suggests have caused 120,000 deaths.

      The paper found that there were 45,000 more deaths in the first four years of Tory-led efficiencies than would have been expected if funding had stayed at pre-election levels.

      On this trajectory that could rise to nearly 200,000 excess deaths by the end of 2020, even with the extra funding that has been earmarked for public sector services this year.

      Real terms funding for health and social care fell under the Conservative-led Coalition Government in 2010, and the researchers conclude this “may have produced” the substantial increase in deaths.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • After yesterday’s mass shooting Trump tweeted condolences to wrong victims

      Trump must’ve gotten an old memo, and apparently has a short memory to boot. The people of Sutherland Springs, TX – 26 of them – were massacred by a gunman on November 5, not yesterday.

    • Russian Foreign Ministry Accuses America Of Supporting ISIS With Video Game Footage

      The history of governments attempting to demonstrate either their own military prowess or the dastardly actions of others — usually America — is long and storied. South Korea used footage from war games to show off weapons I guess it must not have, Egypt attempted to pass off game footage as Russian airstrikes against ISIL/ISIS/whatever they’re supposed to be called, and North Korea attempted to show off its nuclear capability by pinching some Modern Warfare 3 footage. Even Russia has tried its hand at this, attempting to show that America was arming Ukrainian rebels with Stinger missiles with some stills from the game Battlefield 3. That any of these countries thought they would get away with these fakes is nearly as funny as their having not considered how much international egg they’d have on their faces once they were found out.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Special Report from the Occupied Forest: Meet Activists Fighting Europe’s Largest Open-Pit Coal Mine

      Reporting from COP23 in Bonn, Germany, Democracy Now! travels to the nearby blockade of the Hambach coal mine, the largest open-pit coal mine in Europe. Activists say the mine extracts an extremely dirty form of coal called lignite, also known as brown coal, which causes the highest CO2 emissions of any type of coal when burned. For more than five years, they have been fighting to shut down the mine and to save the remaining forest from being cut down to make way for the expanding project. Only 10 percent of the ancient forest remains.

    • African Activist Slams Trump for Reversing Ban on Elephant Trophies from Hunts in Zimbabwe & Zambia

      The Trump administration will allow American trophy hunters to import the bodies of elephants they kill in Zimbabwe and Zambia, reversing a ban put in place by President Obama. The Interior Department’s rule change comes even though African elephants are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The policy could affect President Trump’s two adult sons, Eric and Donald Jr., who are longtime trophy hunters who have repeatedly posed for photos with dead animals they killed in Africa. A 2012 picture of Donald Trump Jr. in Zimbabwe shows him standing in front of the corpse of an African elephant, holding a knife in one hand and a severed tail in the other. We speak with Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian environmental activist and director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation.

    • US to lift ban on elephant hunting trophy imports

      The Trump administration will allow American hunters to import elephant trophies to the US, reversing an Obama-era 2014 ban, US media report.
      A federal government agency said imports could resume on Friday for elephants that are legally hunted only in Zambia and Zimbabwe.

      The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) said hunting fees could aid conservation of the endangered animals.

      Experts say that populations of African elephants are plummeting.

  • Finance

    • SoftBank Plans Up to $25 Billion in Saudi Investments

      SoftBank aims to deploy up to $15 billion in a new city called Neom that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to build on the Red Sea coast, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. The Japanese company’s Vision Fund also plans investments of as much as $10 billion in state-controlled Saudi Electricity Co. as part of efforts to diversify the utility into renewables and solar energy, the people said. SoftBank also will have some of its portfolio companies open offices in Neom, they said.

    • Tencent Rises After Posting Fastest Revenue Growth in 7 Years

      By getting WeChat onto almost a billion smartphones in China, Tencent has leveraged the instant message service into an entertainment and gaming platform that is driving advertising sales. Although the Shenzhen-based company remains largely absent overseas, it’s built a 12 percent stake in Snapchat-owner Snap Inc. and is exploring new sources of growth in the cloud, financial services, movies and music.

    • We should all be working a four-day week. Here’s why

      Imagine there was a single policy that would slash unemployment and underemployment, tackle health conditions ranging from mental distress to high blood pressure, increase productivity, help the environment, improve family lives, encourage men to do more household tasks, and make people happier. It sounds fantastical, but it exists, and it’s overdue: the introduction of a four-day week.

      The liberation of workers from excessive work was one of the pioneering demands of the labour movement. From the ashes of the civil war, American trade unionism rallied behind an eight-hour day, “a movement which ran with express speed from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from New England to California”, as Karl Marx put it. In 1890 hundreds of thousands thronged into Hyde Park in a historic protest for the same demand. It is a cause that urgently needs reclaiming.

    • Republican Sen. Ron Johnson comes out against tax bill

      Johnson also told The Wall Street Journal that he is not able to vote for the bill as it’s currently written.
      “If they can pass it without me, let them,” Johnson told the WSJ. “I’m not going to vote for this tax package.”
      Johnson has previously expressed concerns about how small businesses are treated in the Senate bill, but he had not formally announced his opposition until Wednesday.

    • US Stock-market Bubble Is About To Burst

      Instead, the Trumpists decide to give the wealthy a huge tax break permanently, ordinary people a short-term tax-break mostly but some will get an increase in taxes, and to reduce the increase in the debt they will cut out another leg from under ObamaCare causing still larger increases in premiums and loss of insurance which people need and appreciate.

    • ‘Why aren’t the other hands up?’ A top Trump adviser’s startling response to CEOs not doing what he’d expect

      President Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, looked out from the stage at a sea of CEOs and top executives in the audience Tuesday for the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council meeting. As Cohn sat comfortably onstage, a Journal editor asked the crowd to raise their hands if their company plans to invest more if the tax reform bill passes.

      Very few hands went up.

      Cohn looked surprised. “Why aren’t the other hands up?” he said.

    • Trump and his family could save more than $1 billion under House tax bill

      President Donald Trump has insisted, for months, that the Republican tax plan he supports won’t benefit him.

      “It’s not good for me. Believe me,” he said at a Sept. 27 event in Indiana to sell the plan. “My plan is for the working people, and my plan is for jobs. I don’t benefit,” he also said that day.

      And earlier this month, according to NBC News, Trump told a group of Democratic senators in a phone call, “My accountant called me and said ‘you’re going to get killed in this bill.’”

    • U.K. Orders Urgent Brexit Traffic Plans as Border Tailbacks Loom
    • Mashable Agrees to Sell to Ziff Davis for Around $50 Million

      One-time digital media darling Mashable has agreed to sell itself to trade publisher Ziff Davis for around $50 million, according to people familiar with the matter, a fraction of the site’s valuation less than two years ago.

      The price is approximately one-fifth of the company’s $250 million valuation based on its last investment round in March 2016.

      It is a troubling sign for the broader outlook for digital publishers, particularly those that have embraced the “pivot to video” strategy in an effort to lure more lucrative video ad sales.

    • UK government set to reverse plan on specific Brexit date

      The UK government is on the verge of giving up on its plan to put a specific date for Brexit into domestic law, after facing a rebellion of pro-EU MPs from within prime minister Theresa May’s Conservative party.

      The government had proposed that March 29 2019 — at 11pm London time — be inserted into the EU withdrawal bill, which sets out the legal framework for Brexit. But pro-EU MPs, including more than a dozen Conservatives, opposed the idea, saying it would remove the government’s ability to extend talks with Brussels.

      On Thursday David Lidington, the justice secretary, said there had been “various constructive suggestions” on the issue, and the government would “listen to ideas”. It was the clearest hint yet that the government would climb down on the measure, which is due to be voted on next month.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Rot Inside the Republican Party

      Exhibit A of right-wing decay is Rupert Murdoch, who, more than any single individual, has plotted the course of the GOP for the past 20 years.

    • We Knew Julian Assange Hated Clinton. We Didn’t Know He Was Secretly Advising Trump.

      “The allegations that we have colluded with Trump, or any other candidate for that matter, or with Russia, are just groundless and false,” the staffers wrote then. “We were not publishing with a goal to get any specific candidate elected.”

      It is not surprising that Brown felt personally betrayed by Assange, since, as he explained on Facebook Tuesday night, “I went to prison because of my support for WikiLeaks.” Specifically, Brown said, the charges against him were related to his role in “operations to identify and punish members of the government and members of private companies that had been exposed by Anonymous hackers of my acquaintance, via email hacks, as having conspired to go after Assange, to go after WikiLeaks.”

      That sort of activism, dedicated to making public secret wrongdoing, Brown argued, is very different from “colluding with an authoritarian presidential campaign backed by actual Nazis while publicly denying it.”

      “Plainly,” he observed with bitterness, “the prospect of a Clinton in the White House was such an unimaginable nightmare scenario that all normal standards of truth and morality became moot and it became necessary to get people like Sebastian Gorka into the White House to establish order.”

      Before his private messages to Trump Jr. were leaked, Assange himself had categorically denied that he or WikiLeaks had been attacking Hillary Clinton to help elect Donald Trump. “This is not due to a personal desire to influence the outcome of the election,” he wrote in a statement released on November 8 as Americans went to the polls.

      Even though Assange had by then transformed the WikiLeaks Twitter feed into a vehicle for smearing Clinton, he insisted that his work was journalistic in nature. “The right to receive and impart true information is the guiding principle of WikiLeaks — an organization that has a staff and organizational mission far beyond myself,” Assange wrote. “Millions of Americans have pored over the leaks and passed on their citations to each other and to us,” he added. “It is an open model of journalism that gatekeepers are uncomfortable with, but which is perfectly harmonious with the First Amendment.”

    • Texas sheriff is on the hunt for driver with profane anti-Trump window sticker

      A sheriff in Texas is looking for a truck bearing a profanity-laced anti-Trump sticker and said authorities are considering charging its owner with disorderly conduct — a threat that immediately raised alarm among free speech advocates.

      Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy E. Nehls posted a photo of the truck Wednesday on Facebook after, he said, he’d received several complaints about the display from unhappy people in the Houston-area county.

      A graphic on the rear window of the GMC Sierra reads: “F‑‑K TRUMP AND F‑‑K YOU FOR VOTING FOR HIM.” (The profanity is spelled out on the sticker.)

    • The most respected Supreme Court reporter of her generation slams media “objectivity”

      “The opposite of objectivity isn’t partisanship, or needn’t be,” Linda Greenhouse writes in her new book Just a Journalist: On the Press, Life, and the Spaces Between. “Rather, it is judgment, the hard work of sorting out the false claims from the true and discarding or at least labeling the false.”

    • Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It

      In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.

      [...]

      I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.

      I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.

      How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?

      I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture.

    • BBC accused of ‘clear manipulation’ and ‘selective editing’ over interview with John McDonnell [AUDIO]

      People who listened to Thursday morning’s Today programme on BBC Radio 4 heard Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell set out his five budget priorities. But they noticed a gap between what McDonnell said on the show and how the show reported it on Twitter.

    • More Women Accuse Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore of Sexual Misconduct

      Two more women have come forward to accuse Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct or making sexual advances toward them when they were teenagers. This brings the total number of women to nine. One woman said, “I’ve known for over 20 years that he was a predator, that he preyed upon girls in the mall. It’s common knowledge.” As Moore’s approval ratings continue to fall, Republican Party leaders met Wednesday to discuss what to do about the growing crisis.

    • Judiciary Sens: Kushner was contacted about WikiLeaks, Russia ahead of election

      Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and ranking member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Thursday disclosed that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner received an email about WikiLeaks in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election.

      The two senators sent a letter to Kushner’s lawyer Thursday demanding additional documents from Trump’s son-in-law as part of the committee’s ongoing investigation of Russia’s election interference. In the letter, Grassley and Feinstein say Kushner received an email about WikiLeaks in September 2016 that he passed on to an official within President Trump’s campaign, in addition to communication about a “Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite.”

    • Cambodia top court dissolves main opposition CNRP party

      Cambodia’s Supreme Court has dissolved the country’s main opposition party, leaving the government with no significant competitor ahead of elections next year.
      The Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) is accused of plotting to topple the government – charges it denies, and describes as politically motivated.
      More than 100 party members are now banned from politics for five years.
      Cambodia’s Prime Minister, Hun Sen, has ruled for 32 years.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • This is why everyone is upset about Twitter’s blue check mark verification policy
    • Now universities police speech off campus

      In the old days, universities tended to deal with the ‘problem’ of controversial meetings on campus by simply banning them. Then legislation was passed in 1986 to protect free speech on campus, and this rightly made such outright bans more difficult. However, as anyone familiar with campus debates in recent years will be aware, the problem of censorship at universities hasn’t gone away. It simply takes a new form. One form is universities micromanaging what their students and staff say on and also off campus. Consider events over the past year involving Sheffield University.

    • The Honest Ads Act: Censorship or Security?

      On October 19, the bill proposed by Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Amy Klobuchar, and later supported by Republican Senator John McCain, attempts to regulate online ads in a way that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has done with TV, radio and print for generations. The FCC stated that the internet is “a unique and evolving mode of mass communication and political speech that is distinct from other media in a manner that warrants a restrained regulatory approach.”

    • China cyber watchdog rejects censorship critics, says internet must be ‘orderly’

      China’s top cyber authority on Thursday rejected a recent report ranking it last out of 65 countries for press freedom, saying the internet must be “orderly” and the international community should join it in addressing fake news and other cyber issues.

    • China downplays criticism of its internet rights squeeze

      China has slammed a report criticising its tightening laws on internet censorship and control.

      The country’s government lashed out following a report that ranked it among the worst countries in the world for internet freedom.

      The country’s cyber security authority is apparently unhappy with the fact it was recently ranked as the worst country for online freedom of speech.

      According to Reuters, the country believes that the internet must be organised in an “orderly” fashion and that the international community needs to do more to tackle cyber security.

    • Ninth Circuit Lets Us See Its Glassdoor Ruling, And It’s Terrible

      Well, I was wrong: last week I lamented that we might never know how the Ninth Circuit ruled on Glassdoor’s attempt to quash a federal grand jury subpoena served upon it demanding it identify users. Turns out, now we do know: two days after the post ran the court publicly released its decision refusing to quash the subpoena. It’s a decision that doubles-down on everything wrong with the original district court decision that also refused to quash it, only now with handy-dandy Ninth Circuit precedential weight.

      Like the original ruling, it clings to the Supreme Court’s decision in Branzburg v. Hayes, a case where the Supreme Court explored the ability of anyone to resist a grand jury subpoena. But in doing so it manages to ignore other, more recent, Supreme Court precedents that should have led to the opposite result.

    • Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar: ‘S Durga’ was without censorship, ‘Nude’ not a complete film

      The controversial dropping of the two movies from the festival’s Indian Panorama section has resulted in the head of jury Sujoy Ghosh resigning from his position. The Congress has also accused the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of trying to “interfere with jury decisions”.

    • IFFI 2017: Nude is not a complete film, doesn’t have censor certificate says Goa CM Manohar Parrikar

      Goa chief minister Manohar Parrikar stood by the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry’s decision to exclude director Ravi Jadhav’s Nude and Sanal Sasidharan’s S Durga from being screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) 2017.

    • EU anti-“fake news” authority prepares mass censorship

      The European Union (EU) is launching the construction of an authority to monitor and censor so-called “fake news.” It is setting up a High-Level Expert Group on the issue and soliciting criticisms of “fake news” by media professionals and the public to decide what powers to give to this EU body, which is to begin operation next spring.

      An examination of the EU’s announcement shows that it is preparing mass state censorship aimed not at false information, but at news reports or political views that encourage popular opposition to the European ruling class.

      The term “fake news” is taken from the campaign in the United States promoting unsubstantiated accusations that Donald Trump’s victory was attributable to Russian manipulation of the 2016 US presidential elections that publicized material harmful to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. This campaign has developed into ever more aggressive demands for censorship of the Internet to prevent the expression of critical views and social protests.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • HOW THE GOVERNMENT IS TURNING PROTESTERS INTO FELONS

      “It’s crazy, a few windows got smashed,” 23-year-old Olivia Alsip said, two months after her arrest on felony riot charges. “Why are 214 people looking at ten years in prison?”

      Alsip only knew one other person at the protest march that day. The political science graduate student from the University of Chicago had met her partner in November, when the two had joined the camps at Standing Rock opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline. When they heard about calls to protest Donald J. Trump’s inauguration in D.C. on January 20th under the banner “Disrupt J20,” they felt they had to be there. “I identify as an anarchist, and I’ve been an activist for women’s and queer rights since the 8th grade,” Alsip told me over the phone from Chicago.

      [...]

      Anarchists and anti-fascist activists across the country have responded to Trump’s ascendancy, and particularly the attendant emboldening of white supremacists, with confrontational protest. Rivers of digital ink were spilled approving and denouncing the meme-friendly punch delivered to neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, as well as the militant demonstrations that prevented far right troll Milo Yiannopoulos from waxing hateful at UC Berkeley. But while scattered vandalism and punching (a neo-Nazi) were deemed headline-grabbing militancy, the media relegated the most extreme incidents involving anarchists and antifascists—namely, recent treatment of them—to footnotes.

    • US: Trial begins for first group of J20 defendants

      A trial that could send independent journalist Alexei Wood and six others to prison for decades started on Wednesday.

      When Wood, 37, travelled from his hometown of San Antonio, Texas, to Washington, DC, to cover the anti-fascist bloc demonstration against the inauguration of US President Donald Trump on January 20, he did not imagine he would wind up with a slew of felonies.

      But on that day, Wood, who livestreamed the march on his Facebook page, was kettled and arrested by police with more than 230 others, including protesters, bystanders, legal observers and medics.

      “I feel righteous in my innocence,” he told Al Jazeera the day before the trial, “but a lot is riding on it: the future of journalism and protesting.”

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T Lawyers Investigating Whether Trump Had Undue Influence On DOJ Merger Review

      Given the Trump administration’s rubber stamping of every mono/duopolist desire (killing net neutrality, broadband privacy rules, media consolidation limits), most expected the AT&T Time Warner merger to see approval without much fuss. After all, while the problems caused by vertical integration deals like Comcast NBC Universal are very real, it didn’t seem likely that an administration running rough shod over consumer protections would give much of a damn. Especially given that Trump DOJ antitrust boss Makan Delrahim had already been on record stating he saw no problems whatsoever with the deal.

      That’s why leaked reports that the DOJ was suddenly considering blocking the deal came as such a surprise. Said reports indicated that the DOJ was considering a lawsuit to thwart the deal unless AT&T was willing to divest either CNN-owner Turner broadcasting, or DirecTV — which AT&T acquired last year.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Swedish Data Authority Investigates Piracy Settlement Letters

        Letters being sent out to Internet account holders in Sweden accusing them of copyright infringement are under investigation by Sweden’s Data Protection Authority. Since the letters demand a cash payment, they could be considered a debt collection measure. If that’s indeed the case, they must comply with strict legislation.

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