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11.20.17

Links 20/11/2017: Why GNU/Linux is Better Than Windows, Another Linus Torvalds Rant

Posted in News Roundup at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • A soft push for the fairer sex

      International Centre for Free and Open Source Software (ICFOSS), an autonomous institution under Government of Kerala and Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment (SPACE), an NGO promoting free software, have been conducting ‘Women Hackers,’ a project to bring more women into free software. The programme involves intensive residential workshops on college campuses.

      It was during one such hackathon that the idea for ‘I install’ was put forward by the students of LBS College of Engineering, Kasaragod. A GNU/Linux installation camp, the event aims to promote the idea of taking control over the technology that you use. Those students who received training at the hackathon will be part of ‘I install’ where they impart their learning to other students.

  • Server

    • 6 Reasons Why Linux is Better than Windows For Servers

      A server is a computer software or a machine that offers services to other programs or devices, referred to as “clients“. There are different types of servers: web servers, database servers, application servers, cloud computing servers, file servers, mail servers, DNS servers and much more.

      The usage share for Unix-like operating systems has over the years greatly improved, predominantly on servers, with Linux distributions at the forefront. Today a bigger percentage of servers on the Internet and data centers around the world are running a Linux-based operating system.

    • All the supercomputers in the world moved to Linux operating systems

      In the June 2017 Linux system stood at 498 computers from the list of TOP 500.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 4.15 Is A Huge Update For Both AMD CPU & Radeon GPU Owners

      Linux 4.15 is shaping up to be a massive kernel release and we are just half-way through its merge window period. But for AMD Linux users especially, the 4.15 kernel release is going to be rocking.

      Whether you are using AMD processors and/or AMD Radeon graphics cards, Linux 4.15 is a terrific way to end of the year. There are a number of improvements to make this release great for AMD customers.

    • The Linux Kernel Is Still Rectifying The Year 2038 Problem

      The Linux kernel is still working to rectify the Year 2038 problem whereby the time values stored as signed 32-bit integers will wrap around.

      If you somehow are not familiar with the Year 2038 “Y2038″ problem, you can learn more via Wikipedia.

      The Linux kernel has been receiving fixes and workarounds for years now through many Y2038 commits to work through the many different areas of the kernel that are relying upon 32-bit signed ints for storing time values. With Linux 4.15, this work has continued.

    • The Big Changes So Far For The Linux 4.15 Kernel – Half Million New Lines Of Code So Far

      We are now through week one of two for the merge window of the Linux 4.15 kernel.

      If you are behind on your Phoronix reading with the many feature recaps provided this week of the different pull requests, here’s a quick recap of the changes so far to be found with Linux 4.15:

    • Intel 2017Q3 Graphics Stack Recipe Released

      Intel’s Open-Source Technology Center has put out their quarterly Linux graphics driver stack upgrade in what they are calling the latest recipe.

      As is the case with the open-source graphics drivers just being one centralized, universal component to be easily installed everywhere, their graphics stack recipe is just the picked versions of all the source components making up their driver.

    • Intel Ironlake Receives Patches For RC6 Power Savings

      Intel Ironlake “Gen 5″ graphics have been around for seven years now since being found in Clarkdale and Arrandale processors while finally now the patches are all worked out for enabling RC6 power-savings support under Linux.

    • LVFS makes Linux firmware updates easier

      Traditionally, updating a BIOS or a network card’s firmware in Linux meant booting into Microsoft Windows or preparing a MS-DOS floppy disk and hoping everything would work correctly after the update. Periodically searching a vendor website for updates is a manual and error-prone task and not something we should ask users to do. A firmware update service makes it simpler for end users to implement hardware updates.

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu: -ENOFIRMWARE is now available

      GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu sources and tarballs are now available at
      http://www.fsfla.org/selibre/linux-libre/download/releases/4.14-gnu/ .
      It didn’t require any deblobbing changes since -rc6-gnu. Binaries are
      expected to show up over the next few days.

      The biggest change in this release is that the firmware subtree was
      removed upstream (thus the codename -ENOFIRMWARE), removing from the
      Linux kernel distribution a few pieces of Free firmware, and a number of
      non-Free ones. Alas, there are still a few pieces of non-Free firmware
      remaining in Linux 4.14; hopefully this problem will be addressed in a
      future release, and Linux will then be Free Software again. For the
      time being, it still requires some cleaning up to be Free Software, and
      plenty of additional cleaning up to meet the GNU Free Software
      Distribution Guidelines.

      The larger problem, that several drivers in Linux will not work at all
      unless you provide them with pieces of proprietary software, is not
      affected by this move: the drivers still refuse to work, a number of
      them for no good reason, and the non-Free firmware is still demanded by
      the upstream drivers, it is just distributed separately. This avoids
      legal problems for distributors of the kernel Linux, who refrain from
      distributing the non-Free firmware. However, that a number of drivers
      and corresponding firwmare are updated in lockstep suggests that they
      might actually be a single program, in spite of running on separate CPUs
      and having pieces distributed separately, and it might even be the case
      that the firmware happens to be a derivative work of the kernel. If
      that is so, those who distribute them together, or even just the
      firmware by itself, might be in violation of the terms of the GNU GPL,
      the Linux license, and thus losing their license to distribute Linux!

    • GNU Linux-libre 4.14-gnu Released, Still A Battle Deblobbing Driver Firmware
    • Linus Torvalds: ‘I don’t trust security people to do sane things’

      Linus Torvalds has offered his thoughts on Linux security approaches, branding some security professionals as “f*cking morons” for focusing on process-killing rather than debugging.

      Torvalds, the creator and principal developer of the Linux kernel, does not often pull his punches when it comes to the kernel’s behaviors and security.

      The engineer carried on the tradition over the weekend, as Google Pixel developer Kees Cook submitted a pull request for hardened usercopy changes for v4.15-rc1, which according to Cook, narrows areas of memory “that can be copied to/from userspace in the face of usercopy bugs by adding explicit whitelisting for slab cache regions.”

    • Linux creator slams security bods
    • Why Linus is right (as usual)

      Last year, some security “hardening” code was added to the kernel to prevent a class of buffer-overflow/out-of-bounds issues. This code didn’t address any particular 0day vulnerability, but was designed to prevent a class of future potential exploits from being exploited. This is reasonable.

      This code had bugs, but that’s no sin. All code has bugs.
      The sin, from Linus’s point of view, is that when an overflow/out-of-bounds access was detected, the code would kill the user-mode process or kernel. Linus thinks it should have only generated warnings, and let the offending code continue to run.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Kube-Node: Let Your Kubernetes Cluster Auto-Manage Its Nodes

        As Michelle Noorali put it in her keynote address at KubeCon Europe in March of this year: the Kubernetes open source container orchestration engine is still hard for developers. In theory, developers are crazy about Kubernetes and container technologies, because they let them write their application once and then run it anywhere without having to worry about the underlying infrastructure. In reality, however, they still rely on operations in many aspects, which (understandably) dampens their enthusiasm about the disruptive potential of these technologies.

        One major downside for developers is that Kubernetes is not able to auto-manage and auto-scale its own machines. As a consequence, operations must get involved every time a worker node is deployed or deleted. Obviously, there are many node deployment solutions, including Terraform, Chef or Puppet, that make ops live much easier. However, all of them require domain-specific knowledge; a generic approach across various platforms that would not require ops intervention does not exist.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Announcing Season of KDE 2018

        KDE Student Programs is pleased to announce the 2018 Season of KDE for those who want to participate in mentored projects that enhance KDE in some way.

        Every year since 2013, KDE Student Programs has been running Season of KDE as a program similar to, but not quite the same as Google Summer of Code, offering an opportunity to everyone (not just students) to participate in both code and non-code projects that benefits the KDE ecosystem. In the past few years, SoK participants have not only contributed new application features but have also developed the KDE Continuous Integration System, statistical reports for developers, a web framework, ported KDE Applications, created documentation and lots and lots of other work.

        For this year’s Season of KDE, we are shaking things up a bit and making a host of changes to the program.

      • [LabPlot] Improved data fitting in 2.5

        Until now, the fit parameters could in principle take any values allowed by the fit model, which would lead to a reasonable description of the data. However, sometimes the realistic regions for the parameters are known in advance and it is desirable to set some mathematical constrains on them. LabPlot provides now the possibility to define lower and/or upper bounds for the fit parameters and to limit the internal fit algorithm to these regions only.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • [GNOME] Maps Towards 3.28

        Some work has been done since the release of 3.26 in September. On the visual side we have adapted the routing sidebar to use a similar styling as is used in Files (Nautilus) and the GTK+ filechooser.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • MX 17 Beta 2
      • SparkyLinux 4.7 “Tyche” Out Now with Latest Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” Updates

        Powered by a recent kernel from the long-term supported Linux 4.9 series, version 4.9.51, SparkyLinux 4.7 is now available for download (see link below) with all the updates pushed upstream in the software repositories of the Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system series as of November 17, 2017.

        This version comes with the Xfce 4.12.3, LXDE 0.99.2, and Openbox 3.6.1 graphical environments, the latest Calamares 3.1.8 graphical installer, as well as Mozilla Firefox 52.5.0 ESR, Mozilla Thunderbird 52.4.0, LibreOffice 5.2.7, VLC Media Player 2.2.6, Pidgin 2.12.0, Transmission 2.92, HexChat 2.12.4, and DeaDBeeF 0.7.2.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat OpenStack platform 12 imminent, paves way for Kubernetes in platform 13

        Enterprise Linux vendor Red Hat is poised to release its OpenStack Platform 12. It’s the first step in a longer vision to ultimately deploy via Kubernetes.

        Red Hat released Fedora 27 last week offering containers and the latest GNOME, but for big business, it’s the next OpenStack release to watch out for.

        Red Hat announced OpenStack Platform 12 at the OpenStack Summit in Sydney earlier this month, with the release expected within weeks.

      • Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform 3.7 boosts AWS, Kubernetes integration

        Red Hat recently unveiled OpenShift Container Platform 3.7, the latest version of its Kubernetes container application platform, which includes native integrations with Amazon Web Services (AWS) Service Brokers.

        Modern applications made for digital transformation are dependent on a combination of component and microservices, making consistency across cloud providers difficult. The company said the newest platform is intended to address this challenge by allowing IT companies to connect any application running on OpenShift to a host of services, regardless of where the service runs.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Review: Fedora 27 Workstation

          On the whole there are several things to like about Fedora 27. The operating system was stable during my trial and I like that there are several session options, depending on whether we want to use Wayland or the X display server or even a more traditional-looking version of GNOME. I am happy to see Wayland is coming along to the point where it is close to on par with the X session. There are some corner cases to address, but GNOME on Wayland has improved a lot in the past year.

          I like the new LibreOffice feature which lets us sign and verify documents and I like GNOME’s new settings panel. These are all small, but notable steps forward for GNOME, LibreOffice and Fedora.

          Most of the complaints I had this week had more to do with GNOME specifically than Fedora as an operating system. GNOME on Fedora is sluggish on my systems, both on the desktop computer and in VirtualBox, especially the Wayland session. This surprised me as when I ran GNOME’s Wayland session on Ubuntu last month, the desktop performed quite a bit better. Ubuntu’s GNOME on Wayland session was smooth and responsive, but Fedora’s was too slow for me to use comfortably and I switched over to using the X session for most of my trial.

          Two other big differences I felt keenly between Ubuntu and Fedora were with regards to how these two leading projects set up GNOME. On Ubuntu we have a dock that acts as a task switcher, making it a suitable environment for multitasking. Fedora’s GNOME has no equivalent. This means Fedora’s GNOME is okay for running one or two programs at a time, but I tend to run eight or nine applications at any given moment. This becomes very awkward when using Fedora’s default GNOME configuration as it is hard to switch between open windows quickly, at least without installing an extension. In a similar vein, Ubuntu’s GNOME has window control buttons and Fedora’s version does not, which again adds a few steps to what are usually very simple, quick actions.

          What it comes down to is I feel like Ubuntu takes GNOME and turns it into a full featured desktop environment, while Fedora provides us with just plain GNOME which feels more like a framework for a desktop we can then shape with extensions rather than a complete desktop environment. In fact, I think that describes Fedora’s approach in general – the distribution feels more like a collection of open source utilities rather than an integrated whole. Earlier I mentioned LibreOffice can work with signed documents, but Fedora has no key manager, meaning we need to find and download one. Fedora ships with Totem, which is a fine video player, but it doesn’t work with Wayland, making it an odd default choice. These little gaps or missed connections show up occasionally and it sets the distribution apart from other projects like openSUSE or Linux Mint where there is a stronger sense the pieces of the operating system working together with a unified vision.

          The big puzzle for me this week was with software updates. Linux effectively solved updating software and being able to keep running without a pause, reboot or lock-up decades ago. Other mainstream distributions have fast updates – some even have atomic, on-line updates. openSUSE has software snapshots through the file system, Ubuntu has live kernel updates that do away with rebooting entirely and NixOS has atomic, versioned updates via the package manager, to name just three examples. But Fedora has taken a big step backward in making updates require an immediate reboot, and taking an unusually long time to complete the update process, neither of which benefits the user.

          Fedora has some interesting features and I like that it showcases new technologies. It’s a good place to see what new items are going to be landing in other projects next year. However, Fedora feels more and more like a testing ground for developers and less like a polished experience for people to use as their day-to-day operating system.

        • Mark McIntyre: How Do You Fedora?

          Mark McIntyre is a geek by birth and Linux by choice. “I started coding at the early age of 13 learning BASIC on my own and finding the excitement of programming which led me down a path of becoming a professional coder,” he says. McIntyre and his niece are big fans of pizza. “My niece and I started a quest last fall to try as many of the pizza joints in Knoxville. You can read about our progress at https://knox-pizza-quest.blogspot.com/” Mark is also an amateur photographer and publishes his images on Flickr.

    • Debian Family

      • MiniDebconf in Toulouse

        I attended the MiniDebconf in Toulouse, which was hosted in the larger Capitole du Libre, a free software event with talks, presentation of associations, and a keysigning party. I didn’t expect the event to be that big, and I was very impressed by its organization. Cheers to all the volunteers, it has been an amazing week-end!

      • DebConf Videoteam sprint report – day 0

        First day of the videoteam autumn sprint! Well, I say first day, but in reality it’s more day 0. Even though most of us have arrived in Cambridge already, we are still missing a few people.

        Last year we decided to sprint in Paris because most of our video gear is stocked there. This year, we instead chose to sprint a few days before the Cambridge Mini-Debconf to help record the conference afterwards.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sustainable Open Source is About Evolution as a Group

    The role of a CMO in a software company is fundamentally different from that in any other category. We have a really interesting role in marketing and technology, and it’s one of education and guidance. There used to be a place 20 years ago where, as a marketer, you would come up with a simple pithy message and buy a bunch of advertising and people would believe it.

    That’s not true anymore. Now we have to position ourselves alongside the architectures and the thought leadership that our customers are interested in to prove our value.

  • Reveal.js presentation hacks

    Ryan Jarvinen, a Red Hat open source advocate focusing on improving developer experience in the container community, has been using the Reveal.js presentation framework for more than five years. In his Lightning Talk at All Things Open 2017, he shares what he’s learned about Reveal.js and some ways to make better use of it.

    Reveal.js is an open source framework for creating presentations in HTML based on HTML5 and CSS. Ryan describes Gist-reveal.it, his project that makes it easier for users to create, fork, present, and share Reveal.js slides by using GitHub’s Gist service as a datastore.

  • Font licensing and use: What you need to know

    Most of us have dozens of fonts installed on our computers, and countless others are available for download, but I suspect that most people, like me, use fonts unconsciously. I just open up LibreOffice or Scribus and use the defaults. Sometimes, however, we need a font for a specific purpose, and we need to decide which one is right for our project. Graphic designers are experts in choosing fonts, but in this article I’ll explore typefaces for everyone who isn’t a professional designer.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • The Fox Hunt – Firefox and friends compared

      So what should you use? Well, it depends. You want extensions, the entire repertoire as it’s meant to be? Go with Pale Moon, but be aware of the inconsistencies and problems down the road. However, another piece of penalty is less than optimal looks. If you are more focused on speed and future development, then it’s Firefox, as it offers the most complete compromise. The add-ons will make it or break it. Waterfox makes less sense, because the margins of benefit are too small.

      My take is – Firefox. It’s not ideal, but Pale Moon does not solve the problem fully, it combines nostalgia with technicals, and that’s a rough patch, even though the project is quite admirable in what it’s trying to do. Alas, I’m afraid the old extensions will die, and the new ones won’t be compatible, so the browser will be left stranded somewhere in between. But hopefully, this little comparison test gives you a better overview and understanding how things work.

      Finally, we go back to the question of speed. We’ve seen how one flavor of Fox stacks against another, but what about Chrome? I will answer that in a follow-up article, which will compare Chrome to Vivaldi, again based on popular demand, and then we will also check how all these different browsers compare using my small, limited and entirely personal corner of the Web. Stay tuned.

    • Firefox Private Browsing vs. Chrome Incognito: Which is Faster?

      Firefox Quantum is the fastest version of Firefox we’ve ever made. It is twice as fast as Firefox 52 and often faster than the latest version of Chrome in head to head page load comparisons. By using key performance benchmarks, we were able to optimize Firefox to eliminate unnecessary delays and give our users a great browsing experience.

      Most browser performance benchmarks focus on the use of a regular browsing mode. But, what about Private Browsing? Given that Private Browsing use is so common, we wanted to see how Firefox’s Private Browsing compared with Chrome’s Incognito when it came to page load time (that time between a click and the page being fully loaded on the screen).

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Intel Icelake Support Added To LLVM Clang

      Initial support for Intel’s Icelake microarchitecture that’s a follow-on to Cannonlake has been added to the LLVM/Clang compiler stack.

      Last week came the Icelake patch to GCC and now Clang has landed its initial Icelake enablement too.

  • Public Services/Government

    • 2018 is Year for Open Source Software for Pentagon

      The US Pentagon is set to make a major investment in open source software, if section 886 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 is passed.

      The section acknowledges the use of open source software, the release of source code into public repositories, and a competition to inspire work with open source that supports the mission of the Department of Defense.

  • Programming/Development

    • How startups save buckets of money on early software development

      Moving along, we have to segue with a short modularity lesson. More specifically, how modularity applies to software.

      Essentially, all products and services become cheaper and more plentiful when all the processes involved in production become modularised.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 has a power problem

      Microsoft’s Surface Book 2 has a power problem. When operating at peak performance, it may draw more power than its stock charger or Surface Dock can handle. What we’ve discovered after talking to Microsoft is that it’s not a bug—it’s a feature.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • 15 dead, 5 hurt in a stampede for food aid in Morocco

      Moroccan state TV channel 2M reports that at least 15 people have died and 5 others have been injured in a stampede as food aid was being distributed in a southern village.

      It said the stampede took place Sunday in the village of Sidi Boulalam, in the southern province of Essaouira.

      Distributions of food aid are common in the North African nation, notably in remote parts of the country. They are organized by private sponsors and groups as well as by the authorities.

    • The lobbies of glyphosate: a danger to the health of Europeans and of their democracy

      On November 9, nine citizens were summoned before a Brussels tribunal for a peaceful action to denounce the European lobbies of the agro-chemical sector and their overweening influence in the EU negotiations on the ban on glyphosate, a carcinogenic pesticide notably commercialized by Monsanto. The report by the NGO “Corporate Europe Observatory” shows that these lobbies of the agro-chemical sector have been particularly active in the debates during the last 6 months.

      A bunch of Belgian activists decided to face down the powerful lobbies through symbolic non-violent actions. Their affinity group was named the “Zoological Assemblage for the Liberation of Nature”, better known by its French acronym “EZLN” in a clear reference to the Mexican Indigenous rebel “Zapatista Army for National Liberation” that has the same acronym in Spanish (“Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional”). While the context and the causes are much different, the Belgian EZLN activists have been inspired by the Mexican rebels. They borrow the poetic language of their communiqués, as well as their determination in the struggle from below against those in power, building from below “a world in which many worlds fit”.

      On March 9, 70 activists held a hilarious action denouncing the power of these lobbies. They entered the corridors of the European Crop Protection Association’ headquarter in Brussels, disguised as animals with the ecological slogan “We are the nature that defends itself”. This 5-minute tour of the building left some straw, stickers and some red water paint on the windows, but nothing was broken. Eight months later, nine of these activists faced trial in the main tribunal of Brussels.

    • Compulsory licencing proposed in the Netherlands to enforce lower prices for medicines

      ‘For rare conditions, this monopoly on medicines is strongly exacerbated by the European regulations that came into force in 2000 for orphan drugs. These are medications for conditions that occur in the European Union in less than five out of every 10,000 inhabitants. In addition to protection by patents, a company has additional protection such as ten years’ market exclusivity after licensing. This means that no medicines based on the same mechanism of operation for the disease in question may be put on the market during that period. The regulation has strongly encouraged the development of new orphan drugs. It has however also had the perverse effect of medicines being investigated and licensed for narrow and restricted indications in order to obtain the status of an orphan drug, while the study results indicate that its efficacy is broader.’

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Undercounting the Civilian Dead

      During the “war on terror,” the U.S. government has understated the number of civilians killed (all the better to manage positive perceptions back home). But a new report underscores the truth, says ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

    • With Trump Silent, Sanders and Dems Demand Aid for Iranian Earthquake Victims

      As the death toll from the “horrific” earthquake that struck the Iran-Iraq border earlier this week climbs above 500, and as President Donald Trump remains entirely silent on the matter, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and four Democratic senators sent a letter on Thursday to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson demanding that the White House waive certain sanctions on Iran and allow aid to reach those desperately in need.

      “After earthquakes in 2003 and 2012, the United States demonstrated its compassion and goodwill by offering assistance to the Iranian people and allowing private relief donations,” the senators wrote. “This time should be no different.”

      While the 7.3 magnitude quake affected both Iran and Iraq, Iran bore the brunt of the overall destruction and casualties.

    • The Breakthrough: Used as ‘Guinea Pigs’ by the U.S. Military, Then Discarded

      Soldiers are shown racing through a smoke screen, to which tear gas had been added by surprise to test their powers at detecting its presence, during a drill at Fort Dix, New Jersey, in 1941. They also were given a sniff of four world war gases — phosgene, chloropicrin, mustard and lewisite. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

      When we think of the harm that befalls soldiers during wartime, specific images come to mind. The fallout from scientific experiments — especially those carried out by our own government — isn’t one. But that was the reality of tens of thousands of military men in the 1940s, who were poisoned with mustard gas by the U.S. government to see how their bodies would react. It took decades to bring to light the vast scope of the experiments, and it couldn’t have been completed without the work of two NPR journalists.

      For years, veterans were sworn to secrecy about the tests, prohibited from even discussing them with doctors. While this curtain was lifted in the 1990s, and Congress and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs promised medical care and services, many vets didn’t get it. NPR reporter Caitlin Dickerson and research librarian Barbara Van Woerkom found records for and called hundreds of vets who were used in these experiments, and their work paved the way for the men — who are now well into their 80s — to receive the care and recognition they needed.

    • Yemen’s Collective Starvation: Where Money Can’t Buy Food, Water or Medicine

      Yemen is in the grip of the world’s worst famine and public health crisis, with all aid to Sana’a and the north presently blocked by the closure of the aiport and closest port, al-Hodeidah. The airport of Sana’a has been closed to all except aid flights since August 2016 and even to aid since the renewed Saudi blockade in retribution for the Houthi (Al-Ansar) missile directed at Riyadh. For good measure, the Saudi Coalition then struck the radio navigation tower of Sana’a airport, eliminating the possibility of any aid traffic, with the brave and hypothetical exception of relying solely on the pilots’ sight, as the runways and terminal still are intact. Al-Hodeidah, the Red Sea port with the closest and most direct route to Yemen’s capital Sana’a, has been ceremonially “re-opened,” but no aid ships have as yet received permission to dock and unload their cargoes. International aid groups, for most of the millions in Yemen, are their only hope for food, clean water, medicine, and other essentials for life.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Trump and WikiLeaks: Five things to know

      The revelation this week that Donald Trump Jr. corresponded with WikiLeaks during the presidential campaign has added a new wrinkle to the competing probes into Russian interference.

      Legal experts say the development is likely to intensify scrutiny of Trump’s eldest son, who is already under the microscope for a controversial June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.

      Separately, a pair of senators revealed Thursday that Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had received correspondence about WikiLeaks prior to the election. They said Kushner has not yet turned over those documents to congressional investigators.

    • Journalism Made Possible Because of the Freedom of Information Act

      If the Freedom of Information Act were a person, who would it be? That’s a real question I asked our newsroom this week, because that’s the kind of thing I randomly think about.

      Really, though, I asked this of our newsroom because I genuinely want you to care about FOIA. And I thought that if I could get inside our reporters’ heads — to understand what they envision when that acronym comes up, be it Dwight from “The Office” or whoever — I could help you put a metaphorical face on a law that is not only fundamental to the work we do as investigative journalists but is also essential to our democracy. Plus, if you have a face to associate with FOIA, maybe that would help it stick in your brain.

      If you’re unfamiliar, the Freedom of Information Act is a law that allows anyone — yes, including you — to request records and documents from the government. This could mean, for example, a homeowner filing a request for records of government spending in their town, a lawyer filing for environmental assessments of a property or a journalist filing for records of incident reports in a prison. Although filing a FOIA request seems pretty straightforward — technically, all you need to do is send a letter or email to the FOIA officer detailing your request — we can vouch for the fact that, sometimes, the process can be anything but.

    • Why progressives should support wikileaks

      Some rights reserved.History is replete with disquieting figures, it is often difficult to know whether they deserve our support or mistrust. Julian Assange seems increasingly to be one of these figures. When I started writing about whistleblowers a few years ago, there was genuine sympathy for whistleblowers across international public opinion, and one sensed a common feeling of indignation at the repression whistleblowers suffered. But during the last few months, something seems to have changed. There now seems to be a real mistrust – if not outright hostility – with regard to Assange. The same cannot be said for Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning: they each continue to receive widespread support from journalists, academics, and various advocates for human rights and freedom of the press. But what little support remains for Assange is now much more distanced and qualified.

      Indeed, I get the impression that a kind of “WikiLeaks bashing” has taken hold: journalists, academics, and intellectuals have not only begun to distance themselves from Assange; they now question, attack, and discredit him on the slightest pretext.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Manitoba NDP floats idea of loans to help switch to electric vehicles

      The Manitoba NDP is pitching a plan to encourage people to ditch their fossil-fuel burning vehicles and switch to electric.

      The plan was included in the opposition NDP’s alternative throne speech, released Friday ahead of the Progressive Conservative government’s throne speech, which Lt.-Gov. Janice Filmon is expected to read on Tuesday.

      The NDP plan includes a zero-interest, government-backed loan for the purchase of electric vehicles, which would be paid back over the life of the vehicle. Under the plan, the province would pool revenue from its upcoming carbon tax, which would then be doled out to Manitobans as repayable loans.

    • Scientists Issue Dire Warning on Climate Change & Key Researcher Urges “Changes in How We Live”

      At COP23, the International Energy Agency predicts U.S. oil production is expected to grow an an unparalleled rate in the coming years—even as the majority of scientists worldwide are saying countries need to cut down on fossil fuel extraction, not accelerate it. Meanwhile, a group of 15,000 scientists have come together to issue a dire “second notice” to humanity, 25 years after a group of scientists issued the “first notice” warning the world about climate change. We speak with the co-author of this report, Kevin Anderson, one of the world’s leading climate scientists. Anderson is deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and professor of energy and climate change at the University of Manchester in Britain. The report is entitled “Can the Climate Afford Europe’s Gas Addiction?”

  • Finance

    • Aussies increasingly turn away from retail stores to online shopping: report

      Australians are turning to online shopping after disappointing experiences with bricks and mortar stores and the inability to find a product while shopping instore, according to a new study.

    • Some Instacart workers to strike over pay that can be as low as $1 per hour

      Seated at a dimly-lit bar, a gregarious man dressed in a scarf and beanie of his favorite local sports team, explained to Ars last week why he and some of his fellow Instacart shoppers plan on not working this Sunday and Monday.

      “We’re going to sign up for shifts and then when it’s time, if I’m working from 10am to 1pm on [November 19], the first order, I’m going to decline it, not accept the batch,” he said, using Instacart’s term for multiple pickups at a single retail location. “They’ll kick us off and we’ll continue to do that until they kick us off [for the day].”

      The man, who goes by Ike, declined to let Ars use his full name for fear of reprisal—he also doesn’t want unwanted scrutiny from his colleagues at his full-time public sector job.

    • The House Just Voted to Bankrupt Graduate Students

      Republicans in the House of Representatives have just passed a tax bill that would devastate graduate research in the United States. Hidden in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is a repeal of Section 117(d)(5) of the current tax code, a provision that is vital to all students who pursue master’s degrees or doctorates and are not independently wealthy.

    • Working for former masters in Madagascar: a ‘win-win’ game for former slaves?

      Despite being formally illegal since the 1970s, sharecropping is one of the more common working agreements between landowners and their labourers in the highlands of Madagascar. Sharecropping agreements are often represented as a sort of win-win game by both landowners and tenants, particularly for rice cultivation, the main agricultural sector of the island. They have allowed otherwise landless families to install themselves in fertile regions for anywhere from a few years to several generations while keeping two-thirds of the production for themselves. At the same time, landowners, without moving a finger, obtain rice to satisfy domestic consumption or to resell, prevent others from illegally occupying their land, and maintain a strong emotional and economic link to the land of their ancestors (tanindrazana) and their family tombs, a crucial benefit if they have moved to urban areas.

    • Fund Local News to Fight Inequality

      After the reporters in New York decided to unionize, Ricketts took just a week to decide that the entire venture —including the local newsrooms in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. — was no longer worth it for him. The decision to shut down the sites reminded reporters of what they know all too well: there’s a crisis in funding journalism, especially the local kind. And many times, the money that does come in is dictated by whims of the ultra-wealthy.

    • Capitalism Is Not the Only Choice

      Since the breakup of the Soviet bloc and China’s turn toward free markets, many economists have pronounced an “end of history,” where capitalism reigns supreme as the ultimate form of economy. Perhaps “there is no alternative” to a globalized neoliberal economy, as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher often said. Indeed, free markets in which individuals compete to get what they can while they can are glorified in popular culture through reality shows such as Shark Tank.

      [...]

      Economy is not just something that happens to us, a sea in which we swim or sink. Rather we are all part of multiple economies, some in which we are the main actors—such as our household economies—and others in which we are the extras—such as venture capital markets.

    • TPP, Indo Pacific, QUAD: What’s Next to Contain China’s Rise?

      After throwing Obama’s TPP out of the window, Asia experts in Washington were busy looking for alternatives to TPP which excluded China. Lo and behold, they found the term “Indo Pacific”! Trump dutifully brandished the term like a new toy before leaving for his longest tour to Asia. Indo Pacific became vogue in the media overnight. To spice up the alphabet soup, QUAD (comprising the US, Japan, India and Australia) was served up as a new strategy to slow, if not thwart, China’s rise as the predominant economic powerhouse in Asia Pacific.

      There are two problems with that geostrategy. One, Trump is agnostic about multilateral trade arrangements, to put it mildly. Two, Australia, Japan and India, the other three co-conspirators in QUAD, have China as their largest trade partner. They aren’t about to jeopardize their trade relations with China by ganging up with America to antagonize Beijing. As one commentator put it : “Whatever their problems with China, America will not be the answer.”

    • House to vote on giving Amazon $53 billion deal to become main Pentagon supplier

      Members of the US House of Representatives and Senate Armed Services committees announced Wednesday that they have reached agreement on the proposed $700 billion National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual defense spending bill. This astronomical figure—an $80 billion increase over spending in 2016 and roughly $26 billion more than was requested by President Donald Trump—is a clear signal that the US will expand its ongoing wars around the world and is preparing to engage in far broader conflicts potentially involving North Korea, Iran, Russia, and China.

      The NDAA will now be voted on by the House of Representatives, where it has been rubber-stamped every year since 1961, before being signed into law by Trump. While reporting by the bourgeois press on the NDAA has been limited overall, a key section of the bill, titled “Procurement Through Commercial E-Commerce Portals,” has been almost entirely overlooked. This section establishes the framework whereby Amazon will be able to corner the market for Defense Department procurements worth roughly $53 billion, and its inclusion in the NDAA is a product of the direct links connecting Amazon with the state and military-intelligence apparatus.

    • Bitcoin Price Crosses $8,000 To Reach A New All-time High
    • Live blog: EU agencies leaving London after Brexit

      The EU27 countries today decide the new homes of the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Authority, with multiple rounds of voting behind closed doors in Brussels.

      The EMA is the biggest prize and the first to be decided, with 16 countries bidding to host the drugs regulator. Attention then turns to the banking authority, with EU officials picking between eight bidders sometime after 7 p.m.

      National governments have been promising anything in exchange for votes behind closed doors — from support for the new Eurogroup presidency to NATO troops.

    • London loses EU agencies to Paris and Amsterdam in Brexit relocation

      London is losing the European Medicines Agency to Amsterdam and the European Banking Authority to Paris, in one of first concrete signs of Brexit as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.

      The two cities were selected to host the agencies after tie breaks that saw the winner selected by drawing a name from the ballot box.

      The Dutch capital beat Milan when lots were drawn after three rounds of Eurovision-style voting on Monday had resulted in a dead heat.

      Paris won the race to take the European Banking Authority from London, after the favourite Frankfurt was knocked out in the second round.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Tech beefs up lobbying amid Russia scrutiny

      Facebook, which disclosed that Russian groups bought over 3,000 ads on its platform, recently hired Luke Albee to lobby on matters of “election integrity,” according to a lobbying disclosure form this month.

    • My fear and fury in the eye of the Russia-Leave storm

      Last week, nearly one year on from the first stories about possible collusion between Donald Trump and the Kremlin, Theresa May stood up and finally talked about Russia. The country had “weaponised” information, she said. It had planted “fake stories and photoshopped images”, and it had our society and institutions in its sights.

      It was a watershed moment. Finally, the government was acknowledging that Britain is not uniquely insulated from what is a global firehose of disinformation, lies and fake news – from Russia and other actors.

      And then, just a few hours later, I clicked a link on Twitter. It was from Leave.EU’s official account – the Ukip-allied Brexit campaign headed by Nigel Farage. “WATCH @carolecadwalla takes a hit as the Russian conspiracy deepens.”

      Leave.EU is now the subject of two Electoral Commission investigations into potentially illegal sources of funding, the first of which followed an article I wrote in March. They’ve been calling me crazy for months and I thought this would be more of the same. But it wasn’t. The video was a clip from the film Airplane!, in which a “hysterical” woman is told to calm down and then hit, repeatedly, around the head. The woman – my face photoshopped in – was me. And, as the Russian national anthem played, a line of people queued up to take their turn. The last person in the line had a gun.

      [....]

      It was clearly unacceptable. And yet it was accepted. It remained on a “public” forum – beyond the reach of any law enforcement agency, immune to public opprobrium – for 42 hours. And it did its job: Leave.EU launders extremist content. It tests the ground. It gets unpalatable ideas out into the mainstream – racism, islamophobia, homophobia, death threats to journalists – and it normalises them.

    • ‘Grab-Em-by-the-Pussy’ President Slammed for Grand Hypocrisy as Trump Goes After Franken

      Critics were quick to label President Donald Trump a hypocrite late Thursday after the president—who’s been accused by more than a dozen women of sexual misconduct—took to Twitter to take aim at Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who has been accused of groping a woman without her consent.

    • Bill Maher: Al Franken Is Not Like Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, Donald Trump

      The late-night comedian said Franken “did a bad thing” but shouldn’t be “lumped in” with other high-profile figures.

    • Revenge Is a Rotten Way to Run a Country

      Yielding to one of the basest of human impulses, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are subverting Western society and democracy.

    • Stacking the Bench

      Talley is only 36 — and extraordinarily unqualified. He was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week for a lifetime position on the Alabama federal bench and will be voted on by the full Senate as early as this week. As The New York Times reported, Talley has never tried a case, has practiced law for just three years and was unanimously deemed “not qualified” by the American Bar Association — a distinction given to only four nominees since 1989. Talley also provides plenty of media-distracting fodder: He’s a horror novel writer, once belonged to a ghost-hunting group and is a right-wing blogger who has disparaged “Hillary Rotten Clinton.” Talley also pledged his “financial, political and intellectual” support to the NRA after the Newtown shooting. Even so, he refused during questioning by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), to say he would recuse himself from cases involving guns.

      The subplot to this story, however, began to unfold Monday when The New York Times reported that Talley failed to disclose in his Senate questionnaire, or during his hearing, or when specifically discussing his contact with White House lawyers, that he happens to be married to Ann Donaldson, the chief of staff to White House counsel Donald McGahn. Talley told the senators in his testimony that he regularly advised judicial candidates in his current role as deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Policy. He should know better than most that he is expected to be transparent. This is not a small oversight.

    • Sanders: Trump Spewing ‘Total Nonsense’ Over GOP Tax Giveaway for Billionaires

      “Democrats,” Sanders told Jake Tapper on CNN’s Face The Nation, “have been shut out of this process just as they were shut out of the healthcare legislation process.”

      Going further, Sanders said that Trump “should understand” exactly what’s going on and why Democrats, as well as a large majority of the U.S. public, do not like or trust what the Republicans in Congress are attempting to do with what they call “tax reform” but which progressive critics have identified—and numerous analyses have shown—as nothing more than a “tax scam” that gives to the rich at the expense of the lower- and middle-classes.

    • Under GOP Plan, Wealthy Foreign Investors Benefit Nearly Three Times More Than US Taxpayers

      If the Senate Republicans’ latest version of their tax overhaul bill passes, foreign investors will receive a financial benefit nearly three times larger than all U.S. taxpayers combined, according to a new analysis released Saturday.

      In its updated analysis, the non-partisan Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) found that while U.S. households would receive $8 billion in net benefits from the plan, wealthy overseas investors would capture an astonishing $22 billion.

      “By 2027,” the anlysis states, “foreign investors would benefit more than American households overall under the bill as written. While some households would pay more and others would pay less, in 2027 the average net effect for U.S. households would be a tax cut of $8 billion, which is much smaller than the $22 billion benefit to foreign investors.”

    • When Will Democrats Stop Being Losers?

      Much was made of the “blue wave” some saw on November 7th. Blue ripple is more like it. Don’t expect those results to translate into a 2018 landslide for Democrats, unless the Party figures out what it’s for, not simply what it’s against.

      Most of the Party leaders are only too eager to tell you what an idiot Trump is, or how mean Ryan, McConnell and the rest of the conservative wrecking crew is. But they are loath to tell you what, exactly, they, themselves stand for.

      Oh, yes, you will hear some vaguely progressive platitudes, especially around election time, but in terms of real, specific and substantive stands on behalf of the middle class and poor Americans, there’s more rhetoric than substance.

      And yes, the Democratic Party Platform is one of the most progressive since the New Deal. But it’s also the greatest story never told, and you won’t hear many of those progressive ideals pushed by or embraced by the Party’s leaders. The fact is, much of what is progressive found its way in there from the Bernie delegates, and—as politicians know—Party platforms are where popular, but inconvenient ideas go to die.

    • Mugabe agrees to stand down as Zimbabwe president: source

      Robert Mugabe agreed on Sunday to resign as Zimbabwe’s president hours after the ruling ZANU-PF party fired him as its leader following 37 years in charge, a source familiar with the negotiations said.

    • ‘Russiagate’ Zealots (Mainly Democrats) Have Become a Major Threat to US National Security

      Cohen argues that America is now in unprecedented danger due to two related crises. A new and more dangerous Cold War with Russia that is fraught with the real possibility of hot war between the two nuclear superpowers on several fronts, including Syria. And the worst crisis of the American presidency in modern times, which threatens to paralyze the president’s ability to deal diplomatically with Moscow. (To those who recall Watergate, Cohen points out that, unlike Trump, President Nixon was never accused of “collusion with the Kremlin” or faced reckless, and preposterous, allegations that the Kremlin had abetted his election by an “attack on American democracy.”)

      What Trump did in Vietnam last week was therefore vitally important and courageous, though uniformly misrepresented by the American mainstream media. Despite unrelenting “Russiagate” attempts led by Democrats to impeach him for “collusion with the Kremlin” (still without any meaningful evidence), and perhaps even opposition by high-level members of his own administration, Trump met several times, informally and briefly, with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Presumably dissuaded or prevented by some of his own top advisers from having a formal, lengthy meeting, Trump was nonetheless prepared. He and Putin issued a joint statement urging cooperation in Syria, where the prospects of a US-Russian war had been mounting. And both leaders later said they had serious talks about cooperating on the crises in North Korea and Ukraine.

      What Trump told the US press corps after his meetings with Putin was even more remarkable—and defiantly bold. He reiterated his longstanding position that “having a relationship with Russia would be a great thing—not a good thing—it would be a great thing.” To this Cohen adds that it would be an essential thing for the sake of US national security on many vital issues and in many areas of the world, and should be the first foreign-policy principle of both political parties. Trump then turned to “Russiagate,”saying that Putin had again denied any personal involvement and that in this Putin seemed sincere. Trump quickly added that three of President Obama’s top intelligence directors—the CIA’s John Brennan, Office of National Intelligence’s James Clapper, and the FBI’s James Comey—were “political hacks,” clearly implying that their declared role in “Russiagate” had been and remains less than sincere. He also suggested that Russia had been too “heavily sanctioned” to be the national-security partner America needs, a point Cohen reminded listeners he himself had made many times.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Radio Free Asia Cambodian journalists charged with providing information to foreign nation

      The two former RFA reporters were detained for questioning last Tuesday after police discovered they had rented a hotel room in Phnom Penh, which they were suspected of using as an office in continuing to provide news about the country

    • Censorship packaged as cyber transparency in China’s new website

      China’s military on Sunday launched a website inviting the public to report leaks and fake news, as well as illegal online activities by military personnel, the latest step in a push to ensure Communist Party control over the internet.

      Beijing has been ramping up measures to secure the internet and maintain strict censorship, a process that accelerated ahead of the party’s five-yearly National Congress that took place in October.

    • The Chinese Communist Party’s guide to moral living

      The censorship order handed down from the Chinese Communist Party earlier this year reads like a decree from a Puritan: depictions of underage drinking, gambling and extreme violence are not permitted online; images of scantily clad people and portrayals of homosexuality are off-limits; spiritual figures and beliefs cannot be satirized.

      [...]

      Some of Xi’s measures build on existing tools of control: The official state news agency issued an update to its style guide in July, banning the use of crude language and online slang in news reporting; internet censors shut down scores of blogs in June for their sensationalist coverage of celebrity gossip; other information channels, including school textbooks and street billboards, promote traditional virtues like honesty, obedience and filial piety, which are hailed as the foundation of a good society.

    • This week, Russian citizens have been arrested for intolerance towards Cossacks

      Ukrainian film director Oleg Sentsov, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for preparing (non-existent) acts of terrorism in Crimea, has spent the past two weeks in solitary confinement. Sentsov had been moved to the White Bear prison colony in the Labytnangi settlement (in Yamalo-Nenetsky autonomous district) where he was immediately placed in solitary confinement. This is how the prison carried out a decision by the pre-trial detention centre in Irkutsk, where Sentsov had formerly been held, who had decided the prisoner had been in serious violation of regulations, but had not had time to punish him.

      In Chelyabinsk, environmental activist Irina Mochanova is under criminal investigation for using violence against a representative of the authorities while holding a one-person protest in front of president Putin’s car as it drove past. The activist was protesting against the construction of the Tomino copper mining plant.

      [...]

      Russian law enforcement haven’t forgotten about the dangerous criminals who exploit the internet for their nefarious purposes. Krasnodar blogger Leonid Kudinov has again been jailed for posting a video containing a swastika. In the video, Kudinov urges the police to stop using Article 20.3 of the Administrative Law Code against activists, and to take into account the context in which Nazi symbols may be used.

    • Removal of statues is not intolerance or censorship

      They are laudable reappraisals of what persons, values, ideas and events we wish to honor and affirm publicly and officially.

      The purpose of removing a statue to a museum (or qualifying its presence with additional information) or of renaming a building is not to rewrite or deny history, to change the past, or to prevent people from affirming, discussing, or propagating the ideas and values represented by the memorial.

    • Atul Kasbekar: “We don’t have any censorship issue so we can push the envelope more”

      “We don’t have any censorship issue so we can push the envelope more. Although we are not making a controversial series but people on this forum are enjoying the fact that they can use bad language and just insert sex scenes, even if it doesn’t need it. After going through so much of repressed censorship people have just gone berserk with the freedom.”

    • Nick Cave reject Israel boycott calls

      Nick Cave, the dark poet of rock, says he’s taking a “principled stand” against activists working to ostracise the Jewish state and people who tried to boycott his performances in the country.

      At a press conference on Sunday, the Australian spoke about the logistical challenges of playing in Israel then said musicians also endure pressure from an international movement known as BDS that seeks to ostracise Israel by lobbying corporations, artists and academic institutions to sever ties with the Jewish state.

    • Nick Cave playing Israel shows to “take a stand” against censorship

      Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds end their European tour with a pair of controversial shows in Israel, on November 19-20, at Tel Aviv’s Menorah Arena. Roger Waters, Thurston Moore, and Tunde Adebimpe spoke out against Cave’s decision to play Israel in an open letter, saying “don’t go – not while apartheid remains.” Radiohead’s Israel show back in July attracted similar furor and protests from Waters and Moore, among others, and was also defended by Michael Stipe.

    • Fighting Censorship … With Trigger Warnings

      She was talking about a class she taught, Representations of Rape in Literature, and how her syllabus’s trigger warnings on the course’s violent content also called for an inclusive classroom — and specifically welcoming the inclusion of straight, cisgender men — in order to encourage debate and make sure every student felt welcome to share their opinions. The idea of calling for a safe space in the classroom and using trigger warnings, Spampinato said, wasn’t to stifle debate, as conservative pundits often charge, but quite the opposite: to foster “a diversity of opinions,” the same phrase that conservatives often use when claiming feminism or liberalism is intolerant of their views.

    • Iranian Official Threatens “Restrictions” on Social Media Networks That Reject State Censorship Policies

      A senior official representing Iran’s top internet regulation body has threatened to take action against social media applications that refuse to comply with the country’s strict censorship rules.

    • Chinese tech groups duel over violent video games
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Bug Or Feature? — Facebook Removes Delete Post Option From Desktop Website

      As Facebook enjoys an unchallenged position in the world of social networks, it keeps trying out new features in its web interface and mobile without any fear of losing the user base. Who can forget the company’s act of removing Messenger from the mobile apps and pushing it down the throat of users as a separate app!

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Democrats Missed A Chance To Draw A Line In The Sand On Sexual Misconduct
    • How algorithms are pushing the tech giants into the danger zone
    • School threatens to sue parents after they used Facebook to accuse teachers of failing to stop bullying
    • Wisconsin Police Gun Down Young Teen on Reservation

      According to multiple news reports, Pero — an 8th grader – was home from school with the flu when he left his house and encountered Deputy Brock Mrdjenovich. The Wisconsin Department of Justice stated that the Ashland County police department received a phone call just prior reporting that a male matching Pero’s description was walking down the street with a knife — a call that Department says that Pero made himself.

      When Mrdjenovich confronted Pero, the boy allegedly refused to drop the knife and even lunged twice at Mrdjenovich, causing Mrdjenovich to eventually shoot Pero twice — including at least once in the chest.

      [...]

      “Be clear,” writes The Root’s Kirsten West Savali, “Even if this child were holding a knife—which has not been proved—he did not deserve a bullet through his heart. But that is the state’s instinct when they see children of color as neither children nor human beings worthy of protection.”

      [...]

      Pero’s community is reeling from the violence he faced at the hands of those who are supposed to be trusted to keep the peace, and it is not surprising that they appear so far to doubt the details released by the Department of Justice on Pero’s motive, his alleged attack on an officer and the other actions leading to his murder. They aren’t wrong to be dubious, either: This isn’t an isolated incident, but a steady pattern of violence against communities of color.

    • This Is Where Hate Crimes Don’t Get Reported

      On Monday, the FBI released its latest tally of hate crimes in the U.S. Despite a 1990 law that mandates data collection on hate crimes, the FBI’s count remains only a fraction of what an annual national crime victims survey estimates the real number to be.

      The above map shows some of the gaps that remain in the data. It marks every law enforcement agency serving at least 10,000 residents that failed to report at all in 2016, that reported zero hate crimes, or that reported fewer than one hate crime per 100,000 residents.

      ProPublica’s reporting has shown that local jurisdictions often fail to properly recognize, investigate or prosecute hate crimes, and thus do not report them to the FBI.

    • The CIA’s House of Horrors: the Abominable Dr. Gottlieb

      The death (or possibly murder) of Frank Olson was but a hint of the enormous secret CIA program of research into techniques of mind alteration and control. The whole enterprise was assigned the code-name MK-ULTRA and was run out of the CIA’s Technical Services Division, headed in the 1950s by Willis Gibbons, a former executive of the US Rubber Company. In the division’s laboratories and workshops researchers labored on poisons, gadgets designed to maim and kill, techniques of torture and implements to carry such techniques to agonizing fruition. Here also were developed surveillance equipment and kindred tools of the espionage trade. All of these activities made the Technical Services Division a vital partner of the covert operations wing of the Agency.

      Within Technical Services MK-ULTRA projects came under the control of the Chemical Division, headed from 1951 to 1956 by Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, a New York Jew who received his doctorate in chemistry from California Tech. Born with a clubfoot and afflicted with a severe stammer, Gottlieb pushed himself with unremitting intensity. Despite his physical affliction he was an ardent square dancer and exponent of the polka, capering across many a dance floor and dragging visiting psychiatrists and chemists on terpsichorean trysts where appalling plans of mind control were ruminated amidst the blare of the bands.

    • U.S. Military And CIA Leaders May Be Investigated For War Crimes

      On November 3, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) informed the court’s Pre-Trial Chamber, ”[T]here is a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity have been committed in connection with the armed conflict in Afghanistan.”

      In what Amnesty International’s Solomon Sacco called a “seminal moment for the ICC,” Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court for authorization to commence an investigation that would focus on US military and CIA leaders, as well as Taliban and Afghan officials.

      Bensouda wrote in a November 14, 2016, report that her preliminary examination revealed “a reasonable basis to believe” the “war crimes of torture and ill-treatment” had been committed “by US military forces deployed to Afghanistan and in secret detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency, principally in the 2003-2004 period, although allegedly continuing in some cases until 2014.”

      The chief prosecutor noted the alleged crimes by the CIA and US armed forces “were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” but rather were “part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract ‘actionable intelligence’ from detainees.” She added there was “reason to believe” that crimes were “committed in the furtherance of a policy or policies … which would support US objectives in the conflict of Afghanistan.”

    • A ‘Routine’ Stop Almost Ended My Career Before It Started

      BEING RANDOMLY STOPPED and questioned by the police is par for the course for black men in America. It’s an injustice so familiar that it barely registers as an injustice. That’s something I knew intellectually. Still, I was stunned when officers stopped me while walking on my law school campus back in the spring of 2011.

      From that stop and my subsequent complaint came a series of events that changed my life forever. That interaction led to the ruin of my reputation as a student and it almost ended my legal career before it started. Moreover, it confirmed for me, not just how unfairly people of color are treated by police, but the tremendous risk that comes with speaking up about that mistreatment.

      The law gives police officers incredible leeway when it comes to stops. Ever since Terry v. Ohio, the watershed 1968 Supreme Court case, officers have been permitted to stop and search anyone without probable cause, so long as the officer has a “reasonable suspicion” that the person is armed, or that he or she has committed, or is about to commit, a crime.

    • How (Not) to Cross the Street in Jacksonville

      Jacksonville, Florida, issues more tickets to pedestrians than all but five Florida counties. And it issues those tickets disproportionately to black pedestrians.

      The city’s population is 29 percent black, but black pedestrians received 55 percent of the pedestrian tickets issued from 2012 to July 2017. Looking at each type of ticket issued reveals even bigger disparities.

    • Infosec star accused of sexual assault booted from professional affiliations

      A well-known computer security researcher, Morgan Marquis-Boire, has been publicly accused of sexual assault.

      On Sunday, The Verge published a report saying that it had spoken with 10 women across North America and Marquis-Boire’s home country of New Zealand who say that they were assaulted by him in episodes going back years.

      A woman that The Verge gave the pseudonym “Lila,” provided The Verge with “both a chat log and a PGP signed and encrypted e-mail from Morgan Marquis-Boire. In the e-mail, he apologizes at great length for a terrible but unspecified wrong. And in the chat log, he explicitly confesses to raping and beating her in the hotel room in Toronto, and also confesses to raping multiple women in New Zealand and Australia.”

    • Exclusive: NYT White House correspondent Glenn Thrush’s history of bad judgment around young women journalists

      Sexual harassment claims against yet another powerful man in media inspired New York Times White House correspondent Glenn Thrush to post an impassioned note on his Facebook page in October, calling on his fellow journalists to stand by women entering the field.

      In the post, which linked to an article about the latest accusations against political journalist Mark Halperin, Thrush wrote, “Young people who come into a newsroom deserve to be taught our trade, given our support and enlisted in our calling — not betrayed by little men who believe they are bigger than the mission.”

      It was a noble statement — but some Washington journalists I spoke to say it rings hollow, given Thrush’s own behavior with young women in the industry.

      [...]

      The downfall of Hollywood titan Weinstein, has been a catalyst for a movement to stamp out workplace harassment, particularly the variety to pits powerful men against much-less-powerful women. They are facing consequences for their behavior like never before, including men in media. Halperin lost a coveted book deal. NPR news chief Michael Oreskes resigned. Leon Wieseltier lost funding for his new magazine. And Lockhart Steele, the editorial director of Vox Media, Vox’s parent company, was fired for misconduct.

      Thrush wasn’t my boss at Politico. He was a reporter and I was an editor. We were on different teams and hardly crossed each other’s paths. But he was an incredibly influential person in the newsroom and in political journalism, a world I was still trying to break into in a meaningful way at the time.

      It wasn’t that Thrush was offering young women a quid pro quo deal, such as sex in exchange for mentorship. Thrush, just by his stature, put women in a position of feeling they had to suck up and move on from an uncomfortable encounter.

    • Fascist salutes in Madrid mark anniversary of Spain’s dictator General Francisco Franco’s death

      Far-right supporters giving fascist salutes have held rallies to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Spain’s former dictator Generalissimo Francisco Franco, who died on 20 November 1975. Franco supporters gather every year to mark his death and that of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the nationalist Falange Española party, 42 years earlier. He was executed by the republican government on 20 November 1936, during the Spanish Civil War.

    • Libya: Enslaved Migrants Sold at Auction

      In Libya, human rights groups are accusing the government of looking the other way as migrants are sold at auction in a modern-day slave trade. New video obtained by CNN shows men at an unknown location in Libya auctioning off enslaved sub-Saharan African migrants. One grainy cell-phone video shows two enslaved men sold for 1,200 Libyan dinars—or about $800—as a man off-screen promises, “big strong boys for farm work”. The CNN investigation comes after the United Nations warned the EU over its support for Libya’s coast guard, as it turns back migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean and forces them into migrant camps, where they face “appalling” conditions.

    • Trump calls for Lynch suspension if anthem protest continues

      U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch should be suspended by the NFL if he continues to protest during the national anthem after Lynch sat during a rendition of the song before Sunday’s game in Mexico City.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • DRM/Antifeatures

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • “The Commercial Usenet Stinks on All Sides,” Anti-Piracy Boss Says

        Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has responded to last week’s Usenet related raids. The Hollywood-backed group describes Usenet as a refuge for pirates of all ilks, with uploaders, site owners and resellers working in tandem to facilitate copyright infringement. “It’s stinking on all sides,” Kuik says.

      • The Truth Behind the “Kodi Boxes Can Kill Their Owners” Headlines

        This week, tabloid headlines screamed that so-called “Kodi Boxes” are a threat not only to the entertainment industries, but also to life itself. Claiming that devices could kill their owners due to electrical safety standards failures, we took a look at the actual report. Forget just throwing set-top boxes in the trash, it looks like anything electrical without a brand name needs to be discarded immediately.

      • Danes Deploy ‘Disruption Machine’ to Curb Online Piracy

        Danish anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen is taking a scattered approach to combat piracy. The piracy ‘disruption machine,’ as they call it, distributes a list of hundreds of pirate sites to ISPs, ad-brokers, search engines, payment processors and other intermediaries, who all expected to take action in response. In the future, this could expand to social media sites and web browsers, the group envisions.

      • Kodi Addon Dev Says “Show of Force” Will Be Met With Defiance

        Cease-and-desist letters, hand-delivered this week to several Kodi developers by the world’s most powerful entertainment companies, were designed to intimidate. That’s the belief of an as-yet-untouched Kodi dev who informs TF that while many people in the scene are simple “one man bands”, most won’t be intimidated by these multi-billion dollar rivals.

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