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12.02.17

Links 2/12/2017: Linux Mint KDE and End of Linux Journal

Posted in News Roundup at 5:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux Journal Ceases Publication

    It looks like we’re at the end, folks. If all goes according to a plan we’d rather not have, the November issue of Linux Journal was our last.

    The simple fact is that we’ve run out of money, and options along with it. We never had a wealthy corporate parent or deep pockets of our own, and that made us an anomaly among publishers, from start to finish. While we got to be good at flying close to the ground for a long time, we lost what little elevation we had in November, when the scale finally tipped irrevocably to the negative.

  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Bash
  • Houston-based Linux Journal ceasing publication

    In a letter posted to the Linux Journal website and Facebook page, Publisher Carlie Fairchild said the magazine had run out of money and the November issue would be its last:

    The simple fact is that we’ve run out of money, and options along with it. We never had a wealthy corporate parent or deep pockets of our own, and that made us an anomaly among publishers, from start to finish. While we got to be good at flying close to the ground for a long time, we lost what little elevation we had in November, when the scale finally tipped irrevocably to the negative.

  • Years and Years of Linux Journal…

    I remember early on (1996?) they were based in Seattle… and it just so happened that my family and I would periodically visit Seattle for days and sometimes weeks at a time because my first son was born with kidney problems and the Seattle Children’s Hospital was his regional pediatric care facility. Staying in Seattle for periods of time you look for stuff to do… and I decided to find their offices and pay them a visit. In those days it wasn’t too far from the University district. On my first visit I was able to buy most all of the back issues that came out before I was a subscriber going back to issue #2. They had long sold out of issue #1 (dated March 1994) as it obviously had the lowest print run anyway… so I never actually saw a physical issue #1… but I saw all of the rest of them. I believe I visited their Seattle office at least 3 times. They had tee-shirts and various other branded items one could buy. I do remember getting one or two tee-shirts.

  • Desktop

    • System76 is disabling Intel’s flawed Management Engine on its Linux laptops

      LINUX PC FLOGGER System76 has announced that it’ll be disabling Intel’s flawed Management Engine on all its laptops.

      Earlier this month, Intel posted a security advisory warning manufacturers and users of its Management Engine of a number of firmware-level vulnerabilities and bugs found, which were also present in its Server Platform Services and the Trusted Execution Engine.

    • System76 Continues Refining Their Pop!_OS

      Besides working on disabling ME in all their laptops, the System76 team has also been busy working on their new Ubuntu-derived Pop!_OS operating system.

    • UX Updates and HiDPI! Aww yeah!

      Greetings Pop!_OS Fans! I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday for those in the U.S., we here at System76 each had a wonderful time. Yours truly took the opportunity to visit his family and got appropriately spoiled!

  • Server

    • Find the Perfect Kubernetes Distribution

      There are many different types of Kubernetes distributions in the container orchestration realm. They range from fully community produced to fully commercial and vary according to the tools and features they offer, as well as the levels of abstraction and control the provide. So which Kubernetes distribution is right for your organization?

      Your needs as a user — including the working environment, the availability of expertise, and the specific use case you’re dealing with — determine whether Containers as a Service (CaaS) or an abstracted platform is the right choice. No single, straightforward framework exists to guarantee a perfect decision. Still, the two charts we present below may be a start.

  • Kernel Space

    • Systemd 236 Is Being Prepped For Release This Month With Many Changes

      Lennart Poettering has begun his release wrangling process in getting systemd 236 ready for release this month.

    • Intel Releases New Linux Media Driver For VA-API

      While Intel has been supporting VA-API for years, basically since X-Video/XvMC became irrelevant, as its primary video API for video acceleration, they are now rolling out a new media driver.

      [...]

      Details and motivation on writing this new “Intel Media Driver” for Linux remain light and I have yet to see any official announcement out of Intel, but the code is available via intel/media-driver on GitHub with the initial public code drop having just occurred yesterday.

    • Intel Sends In The First Set Of Changes For Linux 4.16 i915 DRM
    • AMDGPU’s Scheduler Might Get Picked Up By Other DRM Drivers

      One of the benefits of open-source software is the ability for code re-use by other projects and that may now happen with the AMDGPU kernel driver’s scheduler.

      Prominent Etnaviv driver developer Lucas Stach who has long been working on this open-source reverse-engineered Vivante graphics driver is looking to make use of the AMDGPU DRM scheduler. This scheduler is responsible for scheduling command submissions, supports scheduling priorities, and other related functionality.

    • AMD Publishes More DC Patches, Disables FreeSync By Default

      If you have encountered some early fallout from using the AMDGPU DC display stack or just want to help in testing patches likely to be queued for Linux 4.16, AMD has sent out another patch of DC patches.

      Harry Wentland of AMD kicked off his Friday morning by sending out another 20 patches for this big display code-base.

    • Graphics Stack

      • XDG-Shell Promoted To Stable In Wayland-Protocols 1.12

        Jonas Ådahl of Red Hat has released a new version of Wayland-Protocols, the collection of protocols that extends/introduces new functionality not part of the core Wayland protocol.

        Wayland-Protocols 1.12 is the new release and promotes the latest work on the XDG-Shell protocol from unstable to stable. XDG-Shell is the Wayland protocol extension for defining more functionality around traditional Linux desktop environments that isn’t part of the core Wayland protocol. This includes work around window resizing/stacking/dragging and other functionality. Most (all?) Wayland desktop compositors now support XDG-Shell.

    • Benchmarks

      • Windows 10 WSL vs. Docker on Windows 10 vs. Bare Metal Linux Performance

        With the recent Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update there were some improvements to the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) particularly around boosting the I/O performance (though further WSL performance work is coming), so this week I’ve been carrying out some fresh benchmarks of Windows 10 WSL with its openSUSE and Fedora options. For additional perspective I also compared the performance to running benchmarks with Linux containers on Docker under Windows 10 and lastly the “bare metal” Linux performance.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 17.12 Linux Software Suite Up to RC State, Final in Two Weeks

        The KDE Applications 17.12 RC development snapshot is here two weeks after the Beta version and promises to further polish various of the applications included in the software suite, which are used on GNU/Linux distributions using the acclaimed KDE Plasma desktop environment, as well as other Open Source projects.

        “The KDE Applications 17.12 releases need a thorough testing in order to maintain and improve the quality and user experience. Actual users are critical to maintaining high KDE quality, because developers simply cannot test every possible configuration,” reads today’s announcement.

      • Sharing Files on Android or iOS from your Qt App

        It‘s a common usecase to share Files or Content from native Android or iOS Apps with other Apps on your phone. So I thought this would be an easy task to add sharing to my mobile Apps built with QtQuickControls2.

        Found the Blog from Eskil Abrahamsen Blomfeld about Intents with Qt for Android, part 1. Please read that Blog to learn about Android Intents, Qt Android Extras, JNI and HowTo use it from Qt. All of this was new to me – never did JNI before. Also I‘m not an experienced native developer for Android or iOS – that‘s the reason why I‘m using Qt for mobile App development.

        I also found Share on iOS and Android using QML, where I learned HowTo share Text and a URL and HowTo structure a QtCreator project for Android and iOS with native code integration.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK4 Lands More Vulkan, HTML5 Broadway & Win32 Improvements

        It’s been another busy week of development on the GTK4 tool-kit.

        Last week I wrote about GTK4 Broadway improvements with work on this HTML5 back-end to GTK+ being revived for allowing GTK applications to be rendered within modern web browsers via HTML5/canvas. The work on Broadway continued this past week.

        Broadway changes this week includes improved logging, introducing a texture cache, improved logging, and other changes by Alexander Larsson.

      • Product review: WASD V2 Keyboard

        I, too, bought a custom keyboard from WASD. It is quite nice to be able to customize the printing using an SVG file. Yes, my keyboard has GNOME feet on the super keys, and a Dvorak layout, and, oh yes, Cantarell font. Yes, Cantarell was silly, and yes, it means bad kerning, but it is kind of cool to know I’m probably the only person on the planet to have a Cantarell keyboard.

        It was nice for a little under one year. Then I noticed that the UV printing on some of the keys was beginning to wear off. WASD lets you purchase individual keycaps at a reasonable price, and I availed myself of that option for a couple keys that needed it, and then a couple more. But now some of the replacement keycaps need to be replaced, and I’ve owned the keyboard for just over a year and a half. It only makes sense to purchase a product this expensive if it’s going to last.

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • What does Linux’s 26 year journey means to Open source firm SUSE?

        Open source projects, according to Giacomo, can only be viable, if some of these projects turn into successful products and some companies can make profits out of it and then they can reinvest in the (Open source) communities.

        However, such engagements and involvements also comes with some amount of risks, which could dilute and impact the culture and values of Open source to an extent that the future ways of doing things might get bit changed.

        Having said that, such risks actually are quiet far from becoming any reality – all because of the number of Linux foundations or groups that are today like the Linux Foundation, the Apache Foundation and the Eclipse Foundation and others. They actually try to work on collaborative, collective agendas and decisions that would drive the future direction of Open source technologies.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • distribution-wide projects in Debian

        Assuming that there was Debian-wide consensus that this was a good idea, in theory it could be achieved. The main problem would be that many of the upstream authors of the software we package would not accept the change. Consequently, Debian would be left carrying the patches.

        We generally try to remain as close to upstream’s code as possible and shy away from carrying too many patches in too many packages. The ideal lifecycle for a patch is for it to be accepted upstream. Patches are a burden for packagers, and we don’t have enough packagers or packager time (or both).

      • Free software activities in November 2017
      • November 2017 report: LTS, standard disclosure, Monkeysphere in Python, flash fraud and Goodbye Drupal
      • Monthly FLOSS activity – 2017/11 edition
      • LOSS Activities November 2017
      • Debian LTS work, November 2017

        I was assigned 13 hours of work by Freexian’s Debian LTS initiative and carried over 14 hours from September. I worked all 17 hours.

      • Mini-DebConf Cambridge 2017

        Last week I attended Cambridge’s annual mini-DebConf. It’s slightly strange to visit a place one has lived in for a long time but which is no longer home. I joined Nattie in the ‘video team house’ which was rented for the whole week; I only went for four days.

      • Derivatives

        • First Raspberry Pi Desktop Release Based on Debian Stretch Is Out for PCs & Macs

          The company kicked off the month of December with a big announcement today, announcing that they’ve managed to rebase the Raspberry Pi Desktop OS for PCs and Macs on the latest stable Debian GNU/Linux 9 “Stretch” operating system, as well as to release a new version of the Raspbian Stretch distro for Raspberry Pi.

          “Today, we are launching the first Debian Stretch release of the Raspberry Pi Desktop for PCs and Macs,” said Simon Long, UX engineer at Raspberry Pi Foundation. “We’re also pleased to announce that we are releasing the latest version of Raspbian Stretch for your Pi today.”

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Big Unity Desktop Update Coming to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

            A sled load of Unity desktop bug fixes are on their way to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

            Ubuntu may have ditched Unity as its default desktop of choice but Canonical is committed to maintaining the desktop (and its related technology stack) for the duration of Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

            And as proof of that commitment they are currently preparing to a sizeable stable release update (SRU) for Xenial desktops, which should roll out to all users well before Christmas is upon us.

          • Ubuntu Unity Remix? Are We Going To Get A New Ubuntu “Unity” Flavor In Future?

            With Ubuntu 17.10 release, Canonical made a move from Unity desktop environment to GNOME. Canonical tried to keep some Unity feel and gave the new GNOME edition a makeover. While many welcomed this step, many people expressed their concerns and support for Ubuntu Unity.

            It looks like some members of the Ubuntu family are making efforts to turn Ubuntu Unity into an official LTS distribution of Unity. Spotted by OMG Ubuntu, this proposal has already the backing of a former Compiz/Unity dev. Also, many Canonical employees are offering their support to the same.

          • Ubuntu Desktop Weekly Update: December 1, 2017

            GNOME Disk Utility If you have snaps installed and open the Disks utility, your snaps appear as loop devices. We found this to be confusing and a bit messy, so we have proposed a fix upstream and this should be merged soon.

          • Ubuntu Podcast: S10E39 – Hysterical Daffy Furniture
          • Ubuntu 17.10 Brings Back GNOME Desktop Environment

            Ubuntu is one of the most popular Debian-based Linux distributions, and it’s undergone a lot of changes. Most recently, Canonical, the developer collective behind Ubuntu, switched from the GNOME desktop environment to an in-house alternative called Unity. But the most recent version of Ubuntu, 17.10, brings back GNOME 3.26.

            With GNOME comes GDM (GNOME Display Manager), a tweakable settings menu that replaces Unity’s LightDM. GNOME’s ecosystem makes it arguably easier to customize than the latter — unlike previous versions of Ubuntu, for example, you can change the location of the Windows control buttons (minimise, fullscreen and close) in just a few button presses.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” KDE and Xfce Beta Editions Now Available to Download

              Incorporating pretty much the same improvements that the Linux Mint devs implemented in the final releases of the Cinnamon and MATE editions of Linux Mint 18.3 “Sylvia” earlier this week, today’s KDE and Xfce flavors are based on Ubuntu 16.04.3 LTS (Xenial Xerus) and powered by the Linux 4.10 kernel.

              “Linux Mint 18.3 is a long-term support release which will be supported until 2021. It comes with updated software and brings refinements and many new features to make your desktop experience more comfortable to use,” read the release announcements for Linux Mint 18.3 KDE and Xfce Editions.

            • Linux Mint 18.3 ‘Sylvia’ KDE and Xfce betas available for download, but don’t bother

              Linux Mint is a great operating system that I recommend highly. It is based on the rock-solid Ubuntu 16.04, meaning it is stable and compatible with many packages. For Windows converts in particular, Linux Mint with the Cinnamon desktop environment can be a very inviting first-time distribution that should offer a positive experience. The Mate DE variant is a solid choice too — if your hardware is a bit anemic, that is.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Apache Impala gets top-level status as open source Hadoop tool

    Born at Cloudera, an MPP query engine now known as Apache Impala just became a top-level project. One of its objectives is to bring SQL-style interactivity to big data analytics.

  • Nutanix CEO Turns to Open Source Software for Hybrid Cloud Stack

    After announcing a new software-centric approach on an earnings call with investors, Nutanix CEO Dheeraj Pandey told SDxCentral that open source code will be a major piece of the company’s pure software play.

    Pandey said Nutanix will further embrace Apache Software Foundation open source tools in 2018, 2019, and beyond as the company attempts to deliver consumer grade developer building blocks in Xi. Xi refers to the company’s public cloud service that allows customers to move on-premise workloads to Google’s public cloud. It is slated for release in 2018.

  • Launching an Open Source Project: A Free Guide

    Increasingly, as open source programs become more pervasive at organizations of all sizes, tech and DevOps workers are choosing to or being asked to launch their own open source projects. From Google to Netflix to Facebook, companies are also releasing their open source creations to the community. It’s become common for open source projects to start from scratch internally, after which they benefit from collaboration involving external developers.

    Launching a project and then rallying community support can be more complicated than you think, however. A little up-front work can help things go smoothly, and that’s exactly where the new guide to Starting an Open Source Project comes in.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • State of Mozilla 2016: Annual Report

        Mozilla is not your average company. Mozilla was founded nearly 20 years ago with the mission to ensure the internet is a global public resource that is open and accessible to all and the principles of the Mozilla Manifesto still guide our work today. Mozilla exists to protect the health of the internet and maintain the critical balance between commercial profit and public benefit.

        Today, we remain dedicated to the mission in all the work we do, products we develop, and the partnerships, allies, and investments we make.

        In a world with new and evolving threats to the open internet, innovation, user control, and our privacy and security, the Mozilla mission is more important now than ever before. There are billions of people online today who face these risks and every day thousands of Mozillians (employees, allies, volunteers, donors, supporters) fight to promote openness, innovation and opportunity online. We are proudly taking our place in the world to protect the free and open and open internet at a time when the fight needs a leader more than ever.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • The origin of Open source

      Revolution OS is a 2001 documentary which uncovers the realities of the software industry. It tells you a true tale of how once upon a time software that was free for all became a privilege for a few. It tells you about Richard Stallman who is the founder of free software movement and the history of GNU project. How through the GNU project and Free Source Foundation(FSF) led to the development of Linux and open source definition. It features several interviews with prominent hackers and entrepreneurs and hackers-cum-entrepreneurs, that included Richard Stallman, Michael Tiemann, Linus Torvalds, Larry Augustin, Eric S. Raymond, Bruce Perens, Frank Hecker and Brian Behlendorf.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • FFAR awards $1 million grant to create open source technology for gene discovery in plants

      The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a nonprofit established in the 2014 Farm Bill with bipartisan congressional support, awarded a $1 million Seeding Solutions grant to University of California, Davis to study the genetics of rice plants. Together with researchers at the University of North Carolina and collaborators, the team will develop and implement a chemistry-driven gene discovery approach to identify genes that modulate root traits. The FFAR grant has been matched with funding from the UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health, the Structural Genomics Consortium, AgBiome, and Promega for a total $2.3 million investment.

    • Paying it forward at Finland’s Aalto Fablab

      Originating at MIT, a fab lab is a technology prototyping platform where learning, experimentation, innovation, and invention are encouraged through curiosity, creativity, hands-on making, and most critically, open knowledge sharing. Each fab lab provides a common set of tools (including digital fabrication tools like laser cutters, CNC mills, and 3D printers) and processes, so you can learn how to work in a fab lab anywhere and use those skills at any of the 1,000+ fab labs across the globe. There is probably a fab lab near you.

  • Programming/Development

    • PHPUnit 6.5

      RPM of PHPUnit version 6.5 are available in remi repository for Fedora ≥ 24 and for Enterprise Linux (CentOS, RHEL…).

Leftovers

  • Home surveillance video shows Amazon contractor pooping in gutter

    Nemy Bautista said it happened around 3 p.m. Tuesday.

    Bautista got home to find what he thought was dog poop and checked his home surveillance to see if he could find the dog’s owner. Instead, Bautista says a woman driving a U-Haul van, delivering packages for Amazon, did the deed.

    Bautista told KTXL he contacted Amazon and a representative came to his home around 8:30 that evening. He said the Amazon representative was unprepared to clean up the mess and had to borrow a bag.

  • Science

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Dairy farming is polluting New Zealand’s water

      Government data suggests that 60% of rivers and lakes are unswimmable

    • NHS makes undisclosed settlement to Richard Branson’s Virgin Care after legal dispute

      The NHS has settled a legal dispute with private healthcare group Virgin Care for an undisclosed amount.

      The Labour Party said it was “scandalous” that the NHS had to defend a legal battle with the company, which is part of Richard Branson’s business empire. It also called on the Department of Health to disclose details of the settlement.

      Virgin Care sued the NHS last year after it lost out on an £82m contract to provide children’s health services across Surrey, citing concerns over “serious flaws” in the way the contract was awarded.

      The company filed proceedings at the UK High Court naming the six local NHS clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in Surrey, as well as Surrey County Council and NHS England.

    • VACC: Controversial anti-dengue program is worse than any heinous crime

      A group of anticorruption advocates appealed to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to launch an investigation into the government’s dengue immunization program that has potentially exposed children to a more serious health risk.

      The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said on Saturday that they would file a request to urge the DOJ to mobilize the National Bureau of Investigation in looking into the health issue.

      On Wednesday, pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Pasteur disclosed that children who have not yet been afflicted with dengue and have received the vaccine Dengvaxia are exposed to “more cases of severe disease.”

    • More States Hatch Plans to Recycle Drugs Being Wasted in Nursing Homes

      Other states, including Vermont, are exploring the idea as well.

      “All that medicine is perfectly good and perfectly safe,” said Rep. Nicholas Duran, D-Miami, who co-sponsored a bill in Florida modeled on the Iowa program. “Rather than being burned up, it could be put back to some great use.”

      ProPublica’s story detailed how the nursing home industry dispenses medication a month at a time, but then is forced to destroy it after patients pass away, stop using it or move out. Some send the drugs to massive regional incinerators or flush them down the toilet, creating environmental concerns.

      In Iowa, a program called SafeNetRx retrieves the excess medication, inspects it and dispenses it for free to needy patients. Almost 80,000 Iowans have used SafeNetRx to obtain medication — from cheap antibiotics to cancer drugs worth thousands of dollars per month.

    • Real wish or drunken regret? A “Do Not Resuscitate” tattoo throws doctors

      The patient, who had a history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes mellitus, and atrial fibrillation, continued to decline in health throughout the night. He died without further efforts of resuscitation, as requested.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Hacking suspect Lauri Love waits for extradition decision

      igh Court judges have said they will “take time” to decide whether an alleged computer hacker should be extradited from Britain to stand trial in the US.
      Lauri Love, 32, from Stradishall, Suffolk, is suspected of hacking into FBI, US Central Bank and Nasa systems.
      His lawyers are appealing against an earlier UK court decision that he should be extradited.
      The High Court judgement has been reserved until a date yet to be fixed.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • New study uncovers the ‘keystone domino’ strategy of climate denial

      Basically, if these bloggers can create the perception that the science underlying polar bear or Arctic sea ice vulnerability to climate change is incorrect, their readers will assume that all of climate science is fatally flawed. And blogs can be relatively influential – surveys have shown that blog readers trust them more than traditional news and information sources.

    • This Ingredient in Your Halloween Chocolate Could Be Linked to Deforestation

      Most of the world’s palm oil comes from Indonesia, where oil palm fruits are harvested to extract the oil. To make room for plantations, rain forests are cleared, often displacing communities from their homes and destroying habitats for tigers, elephants and rhinos.

    • New map helps track palm-oil supply chains in Borneo

      Indonesia and Malaysia are the world’s top two producers of palm oil. Their area of industrial plantations more than quadrupled in extent from 1990 to 2015. Over the same period, regional rates of forest loss rose to among the world’s highest. Forest clearance is driven by a number of factors — establishing plantations is one factor. The development of mills and associated infrastructure to extract and transport palm oil also impacts forests.

    • Toxic glowing organism poses new threat to Baltic Sea

      The Natural Resources Institute is developing new ways to combat Alexandrium ostenfeldii, a toxic organism now thriving due to climate change.

    • Cities at Crossroads: Perils of plastics waste

      The plastic menace for Indian cities is compounded because of their generally poor state of solid waste management and the poor infrastructure for sewerage and stormwater drainage. Developing eco-friendly consumption habits such as avoiding disposable catering items and using washable cups and plates instead, will make a difference, but plastics will continue to play an important role in our lives. A sustainable way forward is to minimise consumption of disposable/single use plastic items, create awareness about the use of appropriate grade of plastic for different purposes, and emphasise the importance of recycling and reusing plastic.

    • The ‘lost 99%’ of microplastic ocean pollutants can now be identified

      The Warwick team has come up with a kind of dye that lights up plastics, making it easier for analysts to spot even the smallest piece of plastic in ocean waters. The scientists then proceeded to check waters using their new method and found a lot more particles than what was previously estimated.

    • Light pollution: Night being lost in many countries
    • Pigs to debut at new zoo in the Muslim-majority north

      However, an armed insurgency has plagued the state since 1990. There has been a major upswing of violence since the PDP-BJP coalition came to power. Struggling to overcome recent spells of deadly violence, the government has sought to use multiple resources to restore peace and prosperity.

    • Rohingya Influx Brings ‘Environmental Catastrophe’: Bangladesh Officials

      As many as seven reserve forests, totaling about 2,500 acres, have been wiped out in just over two months in Cox’s Bazar district as incoming Rohingya refugees cut down trees for firewood and to construct makeshift shelters, area forest officer Ali Kabir said.

    • Combating Wildlife and Forest Crime in the Danube-Carpathian Region

      Environmental crime is not a niche problem. It is now the fourth largest type of criminal activity in the world, and valued at anywhere between 91 and 258 billion USD every year. This colossal sum fuels organized crime, undermines the rule of law and robs us of the natural resources and ecosystems we need to survive.

    • Malaysia, Indonesia say EU palm resolution will affect millions

      In April, the European Parliament backed a call for greater vetting of palm and other vegetable oils used in biofuels to prevent the European Union’s renewable transport targets for post-2020 leading to deforestation.

    • What they don’t tell you about climate change

      Fully 101 of the 116 models the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses to chart what lies ahead assume that carbon will be taken out of the air in order for the world to have a good chance of meeting the 2°C target.

    • Don’t sneak Arctic oil drilling into tax bill

      Like a small tumor, the Arctic Refuge oil drilling provision needs to be immediately cut from the tax bill by amendment. The 1.5 million-acre coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is widely recognized as the biological heart of the refuge and is as important to our nation’s natural heritage as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

    • 200,000 Gallons of Oil Spill From the Keystone Pipeline

      The Keystone pipeline was temporarily shut down on Thursday, after leaking about 210,000 gallons of oil into Marshall County, South Dakota*, during an early-morning spill.

    • One photo shows how the Keystone pipeline is living up to activists’ biggest fears

      The Keystone pipeline has leaked far more oil than the Canadian company that operates the project initially predicted to regulators.

    • The Fight Over The Dakota Access Pipeline Continues!

      The Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux have filed court documents urging a federal judge to reject the recent arguments of federal officials and the pipeline developer that the tribes’ proposals aren’t needed.

    • Keystone oil pipeline leaks in South Dakota, as Nebraska weighs XL

      Opponents of TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline seized on the spill, saying it highlighted the risks posed by the XL project – which has become a symbol for environmentalists of fossil-fuel pollution and global warming.

    • Nebraska Approves Route for Keystone XL Pipeline

      On Monday, Nebraska officials approved a route for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, an expansion of the existing, 2,600-mile Keystone pipeline. The decision comes less than a week after a massive oil leak in the existing pipeline — which transmits oil from Canada to refineries in Illinois and Texas — leaked 210,000 gallons of crude oil in eastern South Dakota.

    • Even a tiny oil spill spells bad news for birds

      Ingesting even small amounts of oil can interfere with the animals’ normal behavior, researchers reported November 15 at the annual meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry North America. Birds can take in these smaller doses by preening slightly greasy feathers or eating contaminated food, for example.

    • State Department reviewing Keystone XL approval after Nebraska decision

      The Nebraska Public Service Commission voted 3-2 on Monday to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. But the commission will not allow developer TransCanada to build along its preferred path, instead rerouting the pipeline through an alternative corridor.

    • The Keystone XL Pipeline Fight Is Not Over Yet

      Today’s hearing represented the first time the PSC had used its new powers to regulate a pipeline, a right that TransCanada has repeatedly challenged. (Jim Smith, a state senator widely known as a TransCanada ally, proposed legislation earlier this year stripping the commissioners’ salaries.) The body’s decision was confusing, seeming to hand victories to both sides: The Canadian company had come before the commissioners with a specific route in mind, which tracks diagonally through the middle of the state, skirting the edge of the remote and vulnerable Nebraska Sandhills. This route, the company had argued was essential to completing the Keystone XL. The commissioners voted 3-2 to approve TransCanada for an entirely different route – offering them instead one which enters and exits the state in the same place as the company’s proposed route, but tracks many miles east along the existing Keystone One pipeline, an area for which they had not applied, and presumably do not control the leases on.

    • Albert Bender: The original genocide continues with the Dakota Access Pipeline

      The decision of this one rogue judge to let the oil continue to flow through the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer drags out a supplemental environmental analysis is nothing short of destroying the health of and robbing the livelihoods of the Standing Rock Sioux people. This is in keeping with a legacy connected to genocide that began 500 years ago against the Indigenous of this hemisphere.

    • Detroit kids’ lead poisoning rates higher than Flint

      Detroit had Michigan’s highest proportion of children test positive for lead poisoning in 2016 — 8.8 percent of kids tested — including one ZIP code where 22 percent were found to have lead poisoning.

    • Flint Water Committee Cancels Its Fourth Straight Meeting, Saying They Have Absolutely Nothing to Discuss

      The Flint Water Interagency Coordinating Committee, which Snyder formed in in the wake of the city’s lead-poisoned water crisis, has only met twice since March. On Monday, a notice sent to committee members announced the meeting scheduled for this Friday was canceled “due to no agenda items being received from FWICC members as of (Monday, Nov. 13).”

    • Flint council narrowly OKs 30-year water deal
    • What Thanksgiving looks like for Flint, the city without safe drinking water

      Thanksgiving Day will be the 1,308th day of the Flint water crisis. For residents, that’s 1,308 days without being able to drink from the tap. Flint’s presence has waned in the news, but it remains a very real crisis for those in the city that still stack pallets of water bottles in the corner of their kitchen and can’t turn on the faucet for a glass of water.

    • Miles From Flint, Residents Turn Off Taps in New Water Crisis

      Decades ago, Wolverine dumped sludge and leather from its tannery in the woods around here. For years, the company and the government stayed mostly silent about the trash piles, even as developers built houses and a golf course near them and even as researchers documented serious health risks from chemicals in the sludge.

    • Climate Crisis, ‘Smart’ Growth and the Logic of Calamity

      A few years back at a Leftish gathering a group of self-described Marxist economists channeled liberal Democrat Paul Krugman’s explanation of the Great Recession without apparently knowing of Mr. Krugman’s thesis. Basically, a self-perpetuating recession had a grip on the economy, Wall Street was a catalyst of the crisis but ultimately only a bit player, money is economically ‘neutral,’ and government spending could raise demand and end the recession.

      This is all standard fare in liberal economics. Within the circular logic of the genre, it circles just fine. What was odd was hearing it from self-described Marxists. Since Wall Street created the money that fueled the housing bubble and bust through predatory lending, how was its role not (1) pivotal and (2) political? If money is ‘neutral,’ why have financial asset prices responded so favorably (for their owners) to asset purchases by global central banks? And finally, where is the class analysis?

  • Finance

    • I’m a Depression historian. The GOP tax bill is straight out of 1929.

      “There are two ideas of government,” William Jennings Bryan declared in his 1896 “Cross of Gold” speech. “There are those who believe that if you will only legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea, however, has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up through every class which rests upon them.”

      That was more than three decades before the collapse of the economy in 1929. The crash followed a decade of Republican control of the federal government during which trickle-down policies, including massive tax cuts for the rich, produced the greatest concentration of income in the accounts of the richest 0.01 percent at any time between World War I and 2007 (when trickle-down economics, tax cuts for the hyper-rich, and deregulation again resulted in another economic collapse).

      Yet the plain fact that the trickle-down approach has never worked leaves Republicans unfazed. The GOP has been singing from the Market-is-God hymnal for well over a century, telling us that deregulation, tax cuts for the rich, and the concentration of ever more wealth in the bloated accounts of the richest people will result in prosperity for the rest of us. The party is now trying to pass a scam that throws a few crumbs to the middle class (temporarily — millions of middle-class Americans will soon see a tax hike if the bill is enacted) while heaping benefits on the super-rich, multiplying the national debt and endangering the American economy.

    • A hated tax but a fair one

      The case for taxing inherited assets is strong

    • PM Sipilä: Finland can’t afford for healthcare reform [sic] to fail

      The vision is in jeopardy after four municipalities in the south of Lapland, three of them controlled by the Centre Party, signed a long-term deal with the private firm Mehiläinen to outsource the Länsi Pohja hospital.

      That deal would tie the hands of an incoming Lapland provincial government—one of 18 regional bodies slated to take over responsibility for care services under the reform. The contract carries a 100 million euro penalty clause if the public sector backs out of the agreement.

    • The Link Between Non-Choosy Immigration Policies And Child Poverty

      No other country taking part in PISA has seen a steeper fall.

    • Financial Tyranny: “We The People” Are The New Permanent Underclass In America

      They can’t afford to live, and now they can’t afford to get sick or die, either.

    • Bitcoin loses over a fifth of its value in less than 24 hours

      Bitcoin slid to as low as $9,000 in volatile trade on Thursday, having lost more than a fifth of its value since hitting an all-time high of $11,395 on Wednesday. BTC=BTSP.

    • Senate Republicans are cutting health care to pay for a corporate tax cut

      Under the proposed changes, the bill’s tax cuts and benefits for individual Americans would almost all sunset by December 31, 2025. That includes the increased child tax credit, the doubled standard deduction, the estate tax cut, repeal of the alternative minimum tax, and even the tax break for pass-through business income. Some revenue raisers on the individual side, like abolition of deductions for state and local taxes and the elimination of personal exemptions, would expire at the end of that year too.

    • Bitcoin will hit $40,000 in a year! But beware, have small exposure
    • Get ready for a wave of Bitcoin forks

      On August 1, a dissident faction of the Bitcoin community created a new payment network called Bitcoin Cash. There are lots of Bitcoin-derived spinoff currencies, of course, but this was unusual because it branched off from the existing Bitcoin blockchain. The result was the cryptocurrency equivalent of a stock split: everyone who owned one bitcoin before the split suddenly owned a “cash” bitcoin after the split.

      Today, the value of Bitcoin Cash in circulation is about $20 billion. That makes it the third most valuable currency, after only the original Bitcoin and Ethereum. And this appears to be newly created wealth. The value of vanilla bitcoins didn’t fall significantly on the day of the split, and it has since zoomed upwards so that the value of all conventional bitcoins is now around $150 billion.

    • The first blockchain smartphone will come preloaded with mobile Ethereum client Status

      Blockchain technologies aren’t limited to the virtual world. The foundation of decentralized cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum is also being applied to hardware products.

      Sirin Labs — the company that created the $14,000 Solarin smartphone — earlier this year announced a smartphone named Finney, which it claims is the only smartphone in the world that’s entirely secure. That means it is safe enough to hold cryptographic coins.

    • There will soon not be enough time for a further referendum before 29 March 2019

      Here is some downbeat information for those who want a further referendum on Brexit before 29 March 2019, the day on which the United Kingdom leaves the European Union by automatic operation of law (unless something exceptional and not currently in view happens).

      There will soon not be enough time to get legislation in place.

      A further referendum, like the last one, would require its own legislation. There would also need to be a period for implementing regulations and (of course) for a campaign.

      The legislation for the last referendum was the European Union Referendum Act 2015.

      A look at its parliamentary stages shows that it took from May to December 2015 to get through parliament: seven months.

    • U.S. consumer financial watchdog official defies Trump from within agency

      Two days after a federal court endorsed President Donald Trump’s deregulatory pick for a consumer watchdog, a rival official was encouraging agency staff to keep up the pressure on the lending industry, several current and former officials said on Friday.

    • Guillotine watch: The executives who bankrupted Toys R Us this year want $16M-$32M in bonuses for their performance

      Toys R Us was taken over in a debt-loading act of financial engineering in 2005; over the years, despite turning a profit, the service on that debt dragged Toys R Us lower and lower until the management team picked by the financial engineers finally bankrupted the company.

      The top 17 execs at the company received $8.2 million in “retention bonuses” mere days before they took the company into bankruptcy. Now they want millions more — $16M-$32M just to stay with the company while it “restructures.”

    • Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump: Joseph Stiglitz on Shared Prosperity Without Protectionism

      In the updated edition of Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s new book, “Globalization and Its Discontents Revisited: Anti-Globalization in the Era of Trump,” he argues that when Trump became president, he “threw a hand grenade into the global economic order.” We speak with Stiglitz about the impact of free trade agreements that Trump has criticized.

    • Don’t be a stranger: offshore finance and the UK’s balance of payments

      There are also a group of smaller central American countries who own £549bn of assets in the UK and a group of smaller non-EU European countries who hold £452bn — which collectively includes the UK’s crown dependencies like the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

      [...]

      Of the £764.4bn of FDI into the UK during 2015, £82.8bn was originally from UK companies, according to this analysis. That’s about 11 per cent of the total and is likely an underestimate as the ONS also found that the ultimate controlling parent companies of many of the companies investing in the UK through Luxembourg include Gibraltar, Panama and the Cayman Islands, who may themselves be pass-throughs for UK investors.

      Foreign direct investment is not the only kind of investment made into the UK. Much of the investment, from Ireland and Luxembourg in particular, comes in the form of portfolio investment, the name for purchases of shares and securities. After the US they are the two biggest sources of portfolio investment into the UK.

    • Carried Interest Reform Is a Sham

      Donald Trump isn’t exactly shy when it comes to denouncing things he doesn’t like. And there’s one particular part of the tax code that he denounced over and over both during the campaign and after taking office.

      He said that the people benefiting from this portion of the code were “getting away with murder.”

      So you’d think that the tax bill being pushed through Congress with Trump’s eager backing would be closing this loophole. But you’d be wrong. As you’ll see in a bit, talking about closing the loophole isn’t the same as closing it.

      The loophole is called “carried interest.” That’s tax jargon for the share of investors’ profits that goes to the managers of private equity funds, venture capital funds and hedge funds. The standard rate is 20 percent of a fund’s profits, although there’s wide variation, both up and down.

    • On Shame and Rot

      At the end of a freakish day in D.C., Democratic lawmakers received and furiously savaged the most freakish indignity of so many: Finally, a copy of the multi-billion-dollar GOP tax scam for the rich, all 479 pages of it, complete with scribbled, last-minute, hand-written goofs and adds and changes – this, a scandalous couple of hours before the scheduled vote on a bill that could cost millions of Americans massive pain and loss, making it virtually impossible for them to even read the friggin’ thing. Virginia’s Mark Warner on the chicken-scratch muddle inflicted on them and us: “This is how we’re writing legislation now?” See a livid, incredulous Elizabeth Warren, trying to decipher the mess, echo and answer him: “This is how the Republicans make tax policy.” Robert Reich: “Never before in history has Congress worked so quickly, affecting so much of the economy and so many of our people, with so little deliberation. This is a travesty of democracy.” That travesty, notes Paul Krugman, reflects “the outright lies” and the moral rot that “spreads wide and runs deep” of the entire Republican Party, which has exhibited “a level of bad faith we haven’t seen in U.S. politics since the days when defenders of slavery physically assaulted their political foes on the Senate floor.” The solution: Get ‘em all out.

    • Why we can no longer worship at GDP’s altar

      Larry Elliott (Opinion, 30 November) is absolutely right to question a fixation on growth at all costs. We know that infinite economic growth simply isn’t compatible with a planet of finite resources, and we also know that the treatment of environmental concerns as “externalities” in pursuit of never-ending GDP increases is incredibly damaging. So if we know that growth is environmentally damaging, and not a guarantee of increased wellbeing, how do we shift our focus towards a new measure of a good society?

      We need a new set of indicators that better reflect genuine wellbeing. For a start I would suggest we should aim to share out paid work more widely and evenly, and increase the amount of positive leisure time people have, giving them more choice about time with their communities, friends and family. The Green party’s calls for a shorter working week are often attacked as being anti-growth, but that misses the point of policymaking that should surely be to serve people rather than worship at the altar of GDP.

    • What the future of work will mean for jobs, skills, and wages

      The technology-driven world in which we live is a world filled with promise but also challenges. Cars that drive themselves, machines that read X-rays, and algorithms that respond to customer-service inquiries are all manifestations of powerful new forms of automation. Yet even as these technologies increase productivity and improve our lives, their use will substitute for some work activities humans currently perform—a development that has sparked much public concern.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • England’s top religious authority says he doesn’t understand Christian support for Trump

      “I really genuinely do not understand where that is coming from,” he said of Trump’s support among Christian [sic] fundamentalists.

    • Susan Sarandon: ‘I thought Hillary was very dangerous. If she’d won, we’d be at war’

      But it’s upsetting that they’re still feeding the same misinformation to people. When Obama got the nomination, 25% of [Hillary’s] people didn’t vote for him. Only 12% of Bernie’s people didn’t vote for her.”

    • Why Can’t We Just Burn Gerrymandering To The Ground?
    • Citing Trump, Philippines dictator declares himself to be a “fascist” and vows to persecute peaceful left-wing opposition groups

      Duterte attributed his embrace of fascism to Trump and the shift in US politics, stating “I will follow America, since they say that I am an American boy. OK, granted, I will admit that I am a fascist. I will categorize you already as a terrorist.”

    • Philippines: March on Presidential Palace Condemns Duterte “Dictatorship”

      And in the Philippines capital Manila, police opened fire with water cannons on more than 1,000 activists Thursday as they marched to the presidential palace demanding the resignation of President Rodrigo Duterte. The activists blasted Duterte for welcoming President Trump to the Philippines last month, saying he’s presided over a bloody so-called war on drugs that’s seen police and vigilantes carry out more than 7,000 extrajudicial killings. This is protester Vencer Crisostomo.

    • Duterte Admits ‘Fascism,’ Ends Peace Talks With Communists and Vows Crackdown on Left

      “The threat of a terrorist listing may also be used by Duterte to force the revolutionary forces to surrender, but that won’t likely happen. In any case, if he does push through with it, it has the effect of terminating talks.”

    • David Davis threatens to quit if Damian Green is sacked unfairly

      David Davis has come to the defence of Damian Green, indicating that he may resign if the first secretary of state is forced to quit as a result of the Cabinet Office investigation into inappropriate behaviour.

      The Brexit secretary believes his cabinet colleague is the victim of a police vendetta and made it clear to Theresa May that he would be willing to leave the government if he felt Green had been unfairly treated.

      The threat emerged only hours after a former Metropolitan police detective came forward with fresh claims implying that Green himself had been viewing pornography found on his workplace computer when police raided his Commons office in November 2008.

    • Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty To Lying In The Russia Investigation And Will Cooperate With Prosecutors

      Michael Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general who briefly served as President Trump’s national security adviser, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI during the Russia investigation and has agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors.

      Flynn entered his guilty plea at federal court in Washington, DC, on Friday morning, becoming the fourth person charged in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe.

      Flynn agreed to cooperate with Mueller’s team as part of a plea deal. If prosecutors conclude Flynn provided “substantial assistance,” they’ve agreed to ask the judge to reduce his sentence. The single count of making false statements carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, but according to court filings he likely faces an estimated range of zero to six months.

      No sentencing date was set at his hearing. Prosecutors will file an update with the court in three months, by Feb. 1. Flynn’s cooperation with Mueller’s team could include interviews, providing sworn written statements, taking a polygraph exam, and “participating in covert law enforcement activities,” according to the plea agreement.

    • Mueller Socks It To Trump

      The news of the day, besides the wallowing tax bill in the Senate of the USA, is that Michael Flint has made a deal with Mueller and that he was doing all this Russian work for the campaign. Chuckle. Now, Trump is trying to back the bus up over Flint saying Flint was acting on his own… Oh, yes. I have a bridge I’d like to sell too…

    • Stocks fall on report that Michael Flynn was directed by Trump to talk to Russians

      Stocks fell Friday on a report that Michael Flynn was directed by President Trump to talk to Russians.

      ABC News reported that Flynn, the former national security adviser, would testify that he was directed to make contact with Russians during the presidential campaign in 2016. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his postelection contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

    • Why Is There No “Saudi-Gate”?

      Imagine if Russia — instead of doing what it has been accused of doing last year — had funded and facilitated an attack on US soil that killed thousands of Americans. Then imagine that US policymakers, rather than punish the Kremlin by cutting diplomatic ties, imposing sanctions, seeking legal recourse, or all of the above, covered up its involvement in the attack and continued to treat it as a loyal ally.

      Imagine if the president who presided over that attack had decades of intimate personal and financial ties to members of the Russian elite and subsequently spirited dozens of Russian nationals out of the country before law enforcement could interrogate them.

      Imagine if, despite full knowledge of the Kremlin’s once and ongoing anti-American activities, successive presidents heaped praise on Russia’s authoritarian government, sold it weapons, and made regular pilgrimages to wine and dine with its leaders.

      Imagine if an army of Russian lobbyists operated on Capitol Hill to ensure Washington’s pro-Kremlin line, eventually pressuring American leadership into actively assisting it in carrying out one of this decade’s worst war crimes.

    • Don’t Stop the Presses! When Local News Struggles, Democracy Withers

      Thomas Peele’s friend keeps bugging him. “Are you going to win?” the friend writes over Facebook. “I think you’re going to win.” “What are you going to do when you win?” “Shut up,” Peele thinks. He’s an old-school watchdog reporter. Blue eyes that bore into you. Fewer words, better.

      It’s a Monday in April, and Peele and his colleagues at the East Bay Times, a newspaper in Oakland, California, are waiting to find out whether they’ve won the biggest award in journalism. For five months the paper has been reporting on the fallout of a fire that killed 36 people when it ripped through an Oakland warehouse known as the Ghost Ship. Illegally converted into artist residences, the building had a tangled layout that made it hard to escape. The Times’ coverage has painted the tragedy—Oakland’s deadliest fire—as symptomatic of the city’s lax fire-code enforcement and its affordable-housing crisis.

      Peele wonders if he should have bought a case of champagne; he saw a sale at the grocery store over the weekend. No, best he didn’t. You don’t want to jinx these things. They probably won’t win anyway. He tells himself the newsroom would have gotten a heads-up, right? While he sits in his cubicle, psyching himself down for defeat, two colleagues, David DeBolt and Matthias Gafni, busy themselves with a story about another fire, one that killed four people.

    • Roy Moore is still in the running because “values voters” would support Satan himself if he was anti-abortion and homophobic

      The term “values voter” is taken to mean someone who votes for politicians on the basis of their personal integrity and values; in reality, polls and studies show that evangelicals who identify as “values voters” support candidates they know to be repugnant or even monstrous, if they believe that those politicians will promise to take away abortion rights and persecute queers.

    • Trump Called Elizabeth Warren ‘Pocahontas’ at an Event Honoring Navajo Code Talkers

      On November 27, the president of the United States made a racist comment at an event intended to honor Native American veterans.

      During a ceremony at the White House, President Donald Trump met with three Navajo code talkers who served in World War II to thank them for their service, but added a familiar jab at Senator Elizabeth Warren in his comments. “You were here long before any of us were here,” he said to the veterans, according to NBC. “Although we have a representative in Congress who they say was here a long time ago. They call her Pocahontas.” He made the remark in front of a portrait of President Andrew Jackson, who signed the Indian Removal Act in 1830, a law that enabled the forced removal of Native Americans from their homelands, resulting in thousands of deaths during resettlement.

    • White House Defends Trump ‘Pocahontas’ Comment

      The White House is denying President Donald Trump uttered a racial slur during an Oval Office event Monday honoring some Native American military veterans.

      “I don’t think that it is and that certainly not was the president’s intent,” replied Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders when asked about Trump again referring to Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” the name of the famous reputed daughter of an early 17th century tribal chief.

    • The One Good Thing That Could Come From The NYT Nazi Piece

      The New York Times wrote an article profiling a Nazi this weekend, and man, did that not go over well. Seems like when you share little anecdotes about muffin trays and lunch at Panera Bread with a guy who described Hitler as “kind of chill” in regards to his desire to kill homosexuals and Slavs, a lot of people will dislike it.

    • What a moment to cut ourselves off from friends in Europe

      Theresa May is reviled for her weakness. But, as so often, cliches deceive. No British prime minister has found the strength to condemn an American president as she condemned Donald Trump since the Anglo-American alliance began in the Second World War. Anthony Eden maintained a public silence as Eisenhower destroyed his premiership, and Britain’s imperial pretensions, when he stopped the Suez adventure of 1956.

      Harold Wilson ignored Lyndon Johnson’s pleas to send British troops to Vietnam. But he infuriated the radicals of the 1968 generation by diplomatically refusing to speak out against the war. Thatcher and Reagan, Major and Clinton had their private arguments about Grenada and the IRA. Nothing they said matches the forcefulness of May’s out, loud and proud denunciation of Trump for sharing the “hateful narratives” of British fascists.

    • Stop romanticising the royal family

      It’s hard to write about the British royal family and its affairs without feeling a sense of despair. I mean, we’re told that this is the motherland of liberal democracy, of parliamentarianism as we know it. So how can it be, that in 2017, when this country is under the grip of a shambolic government, and on the verge of a constitutional crisis following Brexit, the front pages of every single mainstream newspaper today were taken over by pictures of two wealthy individuals announcing their upcoming nuptials? Indeed, how can it be that the British taxpayer is footing the bill for this sort of nonsense? Her income has just been raised to £82 million to cover the cost of refurbishing the palace – all whilst the NHS is starved of cash. Not only that, but their right to cream cash off their subjects includes ownership of some of the most expensive real estate in Europe. The Crown Estate owns most of Regent Street and large tracts of St James’s, not to mention thousands of acres of countryside. Last year up to march, they made £328.8 million profit. All because their ancestors’ were squeezed out of the right womb. All because they could curry feudal favours and kick peasants off the land.

    • Trump Tweets He Knew Flynn Lied to FBI When He Asked Comey to ‘Let Flynn Go’

      A day after Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with special prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investigating the Trump team’s alleged ties to the Kremlin, Trump tweeted about Flynn:

      “I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide!”

      Whether the president remembered it or not, he has never before stated that Flynn lied to the FBI. Whether the president realized it or not, conceding that he knew about Flynn’s FBI lie – to which Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday – opens Trump up to a world of legal hurt. Trump had asked James Comey, the former director of the FBI, to drop an inquiry into a man Trump now says he knew lied to the bureau.

    • Trump Tweet About Surveillance Undercuts FBI’s Glomar Responses In FOIA Lawsuits

      There’s no precedent for the volatility of our current president. That seems to be working out just fine for many, many plaintiffs engaged in lawsuits against the government. Attorney Brad Moss, currently suing the FBI over denied FOIA requests related domestic surveillance of Trump administration personnel, just had a 276-character gift dropped in his lap by the Commander-in-Chief.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Russia warns of retaliation over RT credential withdrawal

      The move came days after Putin signed off on a law allowing Russian authorities to label non-Russian media outlets as “foreign agents” — a measure intended as retaliation for the U.S. making RT register as such.

    • Israel and US Hide Names of Companies Supporting Israeli Settlements

      In December 2016 the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution reaffirming that Israel’s Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) are illegal and calling on Israel to stop settlement activities in the OPT. Resolution 2334 says the settlements have “no legal validity,” calls them “a flagrant violation under international law,” and demands Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities.”

      Nine months earlier, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), in Resolution 31/36, had ordered the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights to “produce a database of all business enterprises” that “directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements.”

      The database was scheduled for release in December 2017. Meanwhile, the Israeli and US governments have been trying to prevent that list — which reportedly includes at least 150 local and international companies — from becoming public. “We will do everything we can to ensure that this list does not see the light of day,” Israel’s UN ambassador Danny Danon told The Associated Press. US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said, “We just view that type of blacklist as counterproductive.”

    • Censorship of scientists is ramping up, but hostility is nothing new

      It’s been well-chronicled how federal agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency are taking unprecedented steps to silence climate scientists — preventing researchers from speaking, burying some climate research, and ignoring or minimizing other research.

      But, as Professor of Geology Mike Retelle points out, hostility to climate science is nothing new.

      Last month, Retelle joined Professor of Geology Beverly Johnson, Associate Professor of History Joseph Hall, and Professor of Physics John Smedley for a current-events discussion in Pettengill Hall, and he described the travails of climate researchers such as Jim Hansen.

    • ACLU Joins Facebook Censorship Lawsuit Against Loudoun Supervisors

      The American Civil Liberties Union has filed arguments in Brian Davison’s lawsuit against county Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) and the Loudoun Board of Supervisors and asked to make oral arguments.

      Davison and Randall have both appealed a federal court decision ruling that Randall violated Davison’s First Amendment protections under the U.S. Constitution by temporarily blocking him on Facebook.

    • Starting this weekend, China celebrates its “open” internet after a year of unprecedented censorship

      On Dec. 3, researchers, business leaders, and government officials from all over the world will head to the scenic town of Wuzhen in east China for the three-day World Internet Conference. Past attendees include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, Facebook vice president Vaughan Smith—and high-level officials from Russia, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.

      Despite its global implications, the name “World Internet Conference” is a bit of a misnomer—the event will showcase the internet not as the world sees it, but as China and its ideological peers see it. And while representatives from China’s government will likely hail the “openness” of the country’s internet, the past year made it all too clear that China’s cyberspace is more restricted than ever.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Here’s the NSA Agent Who Inexplicably Exposed Critical Secrets

      A series of leaks has rocked the National Security Agency over the past few years, resulting in digital spy tools strewn across the web that have caused real damage both inside and outside the agency. Many of the breaches have been relatively simple to carry out, often by contractors like the whistleblower Edward Snowden, who employed just a USB drive and some chutzpah. But the most recently revealed breach, which resulted in state secrets reportedly being stolen by Russian spies, was caused by an NSA employee who pleaded guilty Friday to bringing classified information to his home, exposing it in the process. And all, reportedly, to update his resume.

    • NSA employee pleads guilty of taking classified info that was later stolen by hackers

      Former National Security Agency employee Nghia H. Pho said in a Baltimore courtroom today he’d illegally taken home classified documents from NSA that are understood to have later “been stolen from his home computer by hackers working for Russian intelligence,” the NYT reports.

    • Former NSA employee pleads guilty to taking sensitive information

      A former National Security Agency employee pleaded guilty Friday to taking sensitive national defense information from his workplace and storing it at his residence.

    • Guilty: NSA bloke who took home exploits at the heart of Kaspersky antivirus slurp row
    • Former NSA employee kept top secret information at home
    • Former N.S.A. Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Information
    • Ex-U.S. NSA employee pleads guilty to taking classified documents
    • NSA employee pleads guilty after stolen classified data landed in Russian hands
    • NSA employee pleads guilty to removing classified information
    • Leaked NSA Ragtime files hint at spying on U.S. citizens

      Exposed data included new information on the NSA Ragtime intelligence gathering program, but it is unclear if the evidence proves Americans were targeted.

    • Seattle Newspaper Files Petition To Peel Back Layers Of Court-Aided Surveillance Secrecy

      A Seattle newspaper is looking to bring some more transparency to law enforcement surveillance tactics. Working with the EFF, The Stranger is making a First Amendment argument about sealed court dockets. The government loves to seal dockets related to criminal cases, especially if agencies have deployed certain surveillance tech or have issued warrants to compel tech company assistance under the Stored Communications Act. (It also loves to shut tech companies up by appending indefinite gag orders to warrants and subpoenas.)

    • Deep Dive: DHS and CBP Nominees’ Unsatisfying Responses to Senators’ Questions on Border Device Searches

      Two of President Trump’s top homeland security nominees faced tough questioning from Sens. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rand Paul (R-KY) about the civil liberties implications of border searches of digital devices during their confirmation processes. In this deep-dive legal analysis, we dissect the written responses of Kirstjen Nielsen and Kevin McAleenan to “questions for the record” submitted by Sens. Wyden and Paul.

    • EFF Supports the Adoption of Berkeley’s Surveillance Technology Use and Community Safety Ordinance

      Across the nation, much of the American public remains unaware of the risks to privacy and freedom of expression posed by steadily advancing surveillance technologies. Automated license plate readers, cell-site simulators, and face recognition equipment—once confined to the imagination of science fiction authors—have all become common tools for police surveillance. Spy tech is often marketed to local law enforcement agencies with claims (often unsubstantiated) of enabling crime reduction without the need to expand police department personnel. However, the adoption of this equipment and failure to establish critical policies regarding its use presents substantial risks to privacy, as well as civil rights.

      Since 2016, we’ve worked with a range of local and national partners on empowering communities to take control of surveillance equipment policy and acquisition. These coalitions have supported cities across the United States in proposing ordinances that would provide consistent transparency, accountability and oversight measures.

    • House panel advances NSA surveillance bill as parties feud

      The House Intelligence Committee passed a bill Friday to restrain the government’s access to data collected under a powerful authority to collect foreign intelligence on U.S. soil, weighing in on what has become a wide-ranging debate, just days before Congress must act to keep the surveillance program from expiring.

    • House Intel Panel Advances NSA Spying Bill Despite Privacy Concerns

      The House Intelligence Committee on Friday approved legislation that would renew the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, despite objections from Democrats and civil liberties groups over inadequate privacy protection.

    • Navy Officer Working For The NSA Caught Trying To Search Her Boyfriend’s Son’s Phone

      The NSA discovered the violation during an audit and reported it. This is good, but it’s also limited to what the NSA chooses to report.

      The Inspector General has noted in the past it is limited in its oversight abilities by the NSA and its reporting systems. The IG often has trouble compiling the information needed to make a determination about potential violations and there have been times where the NSA has actually destroyed information the IG has needed for investigations.

      Much of what we know about the NSA’s violations is self-reported. But this relies on the agency being forthcoming — something it’s not particularly known for. The gap between what’s discovered and what’s handed over by the agency has been noticed by its Congressional oversight and the FISA court. The latter, in particular, has noted the agency often delivers notification of violations months or years after the violations occur and has been routinely unwilling to clarify technical issues when discussing violations with the court.

    • NSA Surveillance Bill Sparks Lawmaker Debate Over ‘Unmasking’

      Legislation to extend a major U.S. surveillance program that’s about to expire became a forum Friday for partisan debate over President Donald Trump’s allegation that the Obama administration “wiretapped” Trump Tower last year.

      The House Intelligence Committee ultimately approved along party lines its version of a bill to renew Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for four years. The program, which is set to lapse at the end of this month, lets the National Security Agency intercept calls or emails from suspected foreign terrorists outside of the U.S.

    • U.S. House intel panel advances NSA spying bill despite privacy objections

      A U.S. House panel on Friday approved legislation that would renew the National Security Agency´s warrantless internet surveillance program, despite objections from the technology sector and civil liberties groups over inadequate privacy protection.

    • House Intelligence Committee Advances a Deeply Flawed NSA Surveillance Bill

      A bill to extend one of the NSA’s most powerful surveillance tools, and further peel back American civil liberties, was approved today by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in a strict party line vote (12-8), with Republican members voting in the majority.

      The committee and the public had less than 48 hours to read and discuss the bill. Democratic committee members openly criticized the short timeframe, amongst other problems.

      “This bill was shared with my office less than 24 hours ago, and here we are marking up legislation that has incredibly profound constitutional implications for all Americans,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA). She continued: “We could be sitting here, thoughtfully debating the precarious balance between security and civil liberties and the best path forward, but instead, the majority has decided to do otherwise.”

      The bill is the FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017, and it was introduced on the evening of November 30 by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA). It is the latest legislative attempt to reauthorize Section 702, one of the NSA’s most powerful surveillance authorities that allows for the targeting and collection of communications of non-U.S. persons not living in the United States. The NSA also uses Section 702 to justify the “incidental” collection of American communications that are predictably swept up during foreign intelligence surveillance, too.

    • Australian government upholds dismissal of sneaky golfer who shielded his employer-issued tracking device in a chip-bag

      Tom Colella worked for 20 years as an Instrument Electrical Tradesperson for Aroona Alliance in Western Australia, until he was fired in on Sept 20, 2016 for sneaking off to play golf every Wednesday afternoon and hiding his absences from his employer by putting the PDA that he was obliged to carry — in order to track his movements — in a mylar potato-chip bag that acted as a Faraday cage and prevented it from receiving GPS signals and other location-identifying beacons and storing or communicating his location for his employer.

    • Former N.S.A. Employee Pleads Guilty to Taking Classified Information
    • Activist Max Schrems sets up non-profit to defend individual privacy under GDPR

      Schrems, whose complaint against Facebook’s practices of transferring European citizens’ personal data to the US led to the downfall of the Safe Harbour agreement, is seeking to take advantage of the strengthened enforcement mechanisms that are written into the EU GDPR data protection legislation, which allows non-profit organisations to defend individual’s privacy rights in the courts.

      The new organisation is called NOYB (none of your business) and describes itself as a ‘European privacy enforcement organisation that enforces your rights in a systematic and effective way’.

      While it is the job of the Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) such as the UK’s Information Commissioners Office to enforce privacy rights, in practice the website says “there are legal, political and factual reasons (e.g. limited resources) that limit the desire and ability of DPAs to do their job”.

    • Ex-NSA Hackers Worry China And Russia Will Try to Arrest Them

      Earlier this week, US prosecutors charged three Chinese nationals for allegedly hacking into several companies in the span of six years. The three hackers worked for a Chinese cybersecurity company and their alleged crimes were not apparently part of a government operation, according to the US Department of Justice. But two anonymous US government officials told Reuters that the company the hackers worked for is affiliated with the Chinese military’s hacking unit, and that “most if not all its hacking operations are state-sponsored and directed.”

      In light of this latest round of indictments against foreign hackers some ex-NSA hackers are starting to worry they might get the same treatment from China or Russia in the future.

      “It’s not a question of if, it’s just a question of when and how bad,” Jake Williams, a cybersecurity consultant who used to work at the NSA’s elite hacking unit Tailored Access Operations (TAO), told Motherboard in a phone call. “What goes around comes around.”

    • NSA Breach Spills Over 100GB Of Top Secret Data

      Earlier this week it was reported that NSA suffered a breach that revealed top secret data. A virtual disk image belonging to the NSA — essentially the contents of a hard drive — was left exposed on a public Amazon Web Services storage server. The server contained more than 100 gigabytes of data from an Army intelligence project codenamed “Red Disk”. Leo Taddeo, Chief Information Security Officer at Cyxtera commented below.

    • Once again: If you carry a sensor of any kind, you must assume it to be active and collecting data, you can’t trust pinky promises

      As Quartz revealed, Google has been tracking your location since the start of 2017. At this point, the story should not be about why Google did this, but why, with all the experience at hand, anybody expected otherwise. Privacy is your own responsibility today.

    • UK gov’s plans to restrict police snooping powers slammed as ‘half-baked’

      “Half-baked concessions dressed up as a public consultation cannot fix a law that fundamentally undermines free speech, our free press and everybody’s privacy.

      “This is window dressing for indiscriminate surveillance of the public, when ministers should be getting on with changing the law.”

    • Unprivate Ryan

      Contrary to your girlfriend’s notion that “relationship” is just another way of saying “two-person surveillance state,” you have a right to privacy. This is a fundamental human right, explained Louis Brandeis and Samuel Warren in the Harvard Law Review in 1890, and it comes out of our right to be left alone. So, yes, you are entitled to pick the “privacy settings” on your own life, because the information about your thoughts, emotions, and romantic interactions belongs to you. Nobody gets to dispense that info publicly without your permission — even if this means they have to keep part of their life (the part with you) under wraps.

    • Growing private sector use of facial scanners worries privacy advocates

      Schwartz and other privacy advocates worry that the increased collection of biometric data, especially through facial recognition software, poses a danger to the public.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Eliminating Police Bias When Handling Drug-Sniffing Dogs

      Seven years ago, a researcher named Lisa Lit published a study that she now calls “a real career-ender.”

      On the surface, the study tested the abilities of fourteen certified sniffer dogs to find hidden “targets.” In reality, the dogs’ human handlers were also under the magnifying glass. They were led to believe there were hidden target scents present, when in fact there were none. Nevertheless, the dogs “alerted” to the scents multiple times — especially in locations where researchers had indicated a scent was likely.

    • Drug Dog Testing Process Eliminates Handler Bias. Unsurprisingly, Cops Don’t Like it.

      When a cop needs an excuse to search something (but can’t manage to talk the citizen into consenting) there’s almost always a four-legged cop waiting in the wings to give the cop permission to do what he wanted to do anyway. You will rarely hear testimony given in any court case where a K9 hasn’t “alerted” to the smell of drugs. Once this “alert” is delivered, officers are free to override objections to warrantless searches under the theory that a dog’s permission is all that’s needed.

      What’s willfully ignored by law enforcement officers is the nature of the beasts they deploy: dogs like pleasing handlers and will react to unconscious cues and/or do the thing they’re expected to do: “find drugs.” If the dog knows it can perform an act for a reward, it will perform that act, whether or not drugs are present. Unfortunately, there’s a deliberate dearth of data when it comes to drug-sniffing dog fallibility. Tracking this data would undercut the dogs’ raison d’etre: to act as probable cause for warrantless searches. This lack of data makes challenging drug dog “alerts” in court almost impossible.

    • Finnish hacker [sic] Lauri Love appeals against extradition to US

      A verdict in the case is expected early next year.

      [...]

      The electrical engineering student’s previous extradition order was overturned by then-Minister of the Interior, Theresa May in 2012.

    • “Believe All Women”? No. Believe In Due Process To Sort Things Out — If They Are Sortable

      We may not always be able to punish the guilty, but that is the cost of having a society where we take great care to avoid punishing the innocent, with laws supporting due process.

    • 6 Things You Learn After Shooting A Cop (In Self-Defense)

      The home, they condemned the home and then sold it. The city sold it. This is his family home. And it’s by no means beautiful, but it’s what they owned. I think they got, like, $17k for the family home.”

    • Police commissioner: Slain Baltimore detective was to testify in case of indicted officers

      The revelation brings together two cases that have sent shock waves through the Police Department and the city as a whole: the federal prosecutions of eight members of the department’s elite gun task force, who are accused of shaking down citizens and conspiring with drug dealers, and the killing of Suiter last week in West Baltimore, the first of an on-duty officer by a suspect in 10 years.

    • Closing down a country: the Islamabad stand-off

      The Islamabad High Court in its proceedings on Monday morning criticised the Interior Minister for giving the military the role of “mediator”, especially since the military had turned down the civilian government’s request to intervene earlier. The judge asked: “Where does the law assign this role to a general?” The rather brave judge said that this was “proof of the military’s involvement”.

      Even this tiny incident in Islamabad allows one to make a number of observations about the political economy of Pakistan: religious groups and parties are far better organised and committed than their liberal cousins, and civil society;

    • U.S. Coast Guard operating secret floating prisons in Pacific Ocean

      In an effort to staunch the flow of cocaine and other hard drugs from South America to Central America and points north, Coast Guard cutters have been deployed farther and farther from the shore in the Pacific Ocean. When these cutters capture a boat carrying drugs, the smugglers are brought onto the ships and kept shackled to the deck, sometimes outside in the elements, until the Coast Guard makes arrangements for them to be transported back to the U.S. for trial.

    • The disappeared

      The men, who CNN spoke to in detail over the course of the last 12 months, describe being forcibly taken from their homes, detained for weeks, sometimes months, in secret prisons, denied communication with family and legal representation, strong-armed into making videotaped confessions, and ultimately released without being convicted of a single crime.

    • 3 Muslim clerics with human parts arrested in Oyo
    • Female Genital Mutilation Happening to an Alarming Number of U.S. Girls
    • Butter knife or sharp blade? Either way, FGM survivors in Sri Lanka want it to stop
    • Should Americans excuse FGM as a minority cultural practice?
    • Survivors’ group writes to Modi seeking ban on FGM

      Mumbai: We Speak Out, a group of female genital mutilation (FGM) survivors, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to declare FGM as illegal in India. The group said their plea is in keeping with the United Nation’s sustainable development goal of eradicating FGM in all countries by 2030.

    • Mosque gives University of Cincinnati $1M to teach more about Islam
    • Beating wives if they refuse sex is OK, according to books in Britain’s Islamic schools
    • It’s OK to beat your wife, says Islamic school book
    • Pakistan Islamists claim victory after law minister resigns

      Under the deal, the Islamists also agreed not to issue a fatwa, or Muslim edict that could endanger Hamid. The minister’s home in eastern Punjab province was twice attacked by Islamists in recent days though he was not there at the time.

    • Army, religious extremists return to centre in Pakistan

      Leave alone the minorities in Pakistan, this deal firmly puts an end to any wayward hopes the Ahmadiya Muslim community in Pakistan may have begun to entertain of being equal to their fellow Muslims.

    • Pakistan army negotiates deal with mullah brigade, undermines govt

      It was the beginning of the end of the Pakistani state as we know it this weekend, as the mullah brigade and the Army joined hands to assert their power over the state.

    • Pakistan army called on to stop ‘blasphemy’ clashes in Islamabad

      The protesters have been blocking the highway for several weeks, demanding the sacking of Law Minister Zahid Hamid whom they accuse of blasphemy.

      [...]

      The protesting Islamists, from the hardline Tehreek-i-Labaik Ya Rasool Allah Party, want the law minister to be sacked for omitting a reference to the Prophet Muhammad in a new version of the electoral oath.

    • Amnesty Decries ‘Gruesome’ Torture Tool Find at Paris Fair

      Human rights group Amnesty International says its staff have found torture equipment for sale at a military and police trade fair in Paris in contravention of European Union laws.

    • Black men get longer prison sentences than white men for same crimes: study

      The group’s analysis of sentencing data for whites and blacks between the years 2008 and 2016 revealed that black men serve sentences that are on average 19.1 percent longer than the average length of sentences for white men.

    • Islamic radical protesters take to the street: “Put Asia Bibi to death”
    • Swedish city of Oskarshamn, now offers armed police to escort joggers after dark
    • Swedish Minister of Justice: Men rape – not immigrants

      A report released by BRÅ in 1996 showed that people from certain immigrant groups, especially from the Arab world, are very over-represented as perpetrators in rapes. Some of them have an over-representation of 20. The number of men with a background in the Arab world has risen sharply in Sweden in recent decades – but the issue has become taboo and BRÅ has since the 1990s chosen not to follow up the connection between ethnic background and the inclination to rape.

    • Men are not a different species

      Yet gender determinism is curiously back in fashion (as is racial determinism, with the rhetoric about the ‘problem with whiteness’). It has become normal to talk of ‘men’ as a problematic category, as if all ‘men’ are potential or actual sexual predators, as if we are a coherent category of automatons, confined by those inverted commas. When Caitlin Moran concluded her Times column on Saturday speaking about ‘the problem of men’, she summed up a mainstream sentiment. It’s astonishing that it needs saying these days that this is no different to talking about the ‘problem of women’ or the problem of ‘the blacks’.

    • Crimes reach record high in Sweden years after refugee crisis – report

      The 2016 crime rate is said to be the highest one recorded since the Bra started conducting its annual crime surveys. The report went on to say that the number of harassment, sexual offenses and fraud cases saw the biggest increase over recent years.
      Out of six types of offenses mentioned in the survey, five rose to their highest level on record in 2016. The number of assault cases reached its second-highest level over a decade, the report shows.

    • Many cybercrime cases not investigated

      Illegal gain (5,987 incidents) and revenge (1,056) were the two top motives that accounted for cybercrimes. Sexual exploitation (686), insulting the modesty of women (569) and causing disrepute (448) constituted 13% of the crimes.

      [...]

      There were 6,818 cases registered under various sections of the Information Technology Act that pertains to sending offensive and false information.

    • Video Reveals Alleged Slave Market in Libya
    • People for sale: Where lives are auctioned for $400

      “They fill a boat with 100 people, those people may or may not make it,” Hazam says. “(The smuggler) does not care as long as he gets the money, and the migrant may get to Europe or die at sea.”

    • ‘We are going to kill you’: Villagers in Burma recount violence by Rohingya Muslim militants

      Shortly thereafter, a group of Saudi-based Rohingya expatriates formed the militant Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, or ARSA, according to a December report from the International Crisis Group. Its leaders eventually traveled to the area to recruit and surreptitiously train villagers in guerrilla war tactics, the report said.

    • In Saudi Arabia a man was arrested for talking to a woman
    • Gangs ‘using TASERS on schoolgirl rape victims as Birmingham faces tsunami of child sexual exploitation’
    • Child rapes up 82% in 2016, UP records a 400% jump
    • Nine-year-old girls in Iraq could be forced to marry under new Muslim laws

      Human rights activists are warning that a new Iraqi law could legalise marriage for children as young as nine and set women’s rights back 50 years.

    • Indonesia’s Orang Rimba: Forced to renounce their faith

      This clash of cultures began in the 1980s, when then-President Suharto gave land and incentives to migrants from overcrowded Java to move and open up the jungles of Sumatra.

    • Writing to survive: Baha’i woman’s poetry was her best friend in Iranian jail

      Iranian authorities released Sabet from her jail cell a day ahead of schedule at a little after 5 p.m., the deadline for prisoners to make their last phone calls of the day. The move was deliberate, she believes, to keep her homecoming quiet and largely removed from media glare. She had become, after all, internationally known.

    • French academic: ‘Introduce Sharia law, create Muslim state to avoid civil war’
    • Germany, Austria: Imams Warn Muslims Not to Integrate

      “While outside the mosque there is constant talk of integration, the opposite is preached inside. Only in rare instances are parts of the sermon — or even more rarely, all of the sermon — translated into German…” — Constantin Schreiber, author of Inside Islam: What Is Being Preached in Germany’s Mosques.

    • Interrogators Blast Trump’s ‘Clueless’ CIA Pick Tom Cotton

      The Central Intelligence Agency is set to receive an advocate of waterboarding, sweeping surveillance powers, jailing journalists, and conflict with Iran as its next director.

      A combat veteran and first-term Arkansas GOP senator, Tom Cotton has wasted little time building his twin reputations as one of the Senate’s hardest hardliners and friendliest Donald Trump allies. In one of his earliest Senate soundbites, he rebuked a Pentagon official in 2015 for the failed plan to close Guantanamo Bay, saying its detainees should “rot in hell.”

    • Arizona: Border Patrol Kills Migrant on Tohono O’odham Reservation

      In Arizona, a Border Patrol agent shot and killed an undocumented migrant in a remote mountainous region on the Tohono O’odham Nation on Wednesday. The shooting occurred about 20 miles away from the U.S.-Mexico border. The Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson sector is claiming, without evidence, that the shooting occurred after the man grabbed the gun of one of the agents. Migrant justice groups are demanding the killing be investigated.

    • ‘We never thought we’d be believed’

      For the last several years, Morgan Marquis-Boire was widely considered a rock star of the cybersecurity world. He was known as one of the “good guys,” an activist committed to progressive causes and the protection of digital privacy and human rights. Within the goth scene in Auckland, New Zealand, he DJed at goth events, where his bombastic personality and good looks earned him popularity and notoriety within a small and insular subculture.

      But for me, and for many people in that scene, he also had a very different reputation: as a man who liked to sexually assault young women.

    • Garrison Keillor: ‘I put my hand on a woman’s bare back’

      Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) said a colleague on Keillor’s former show, A Prairie Home Companion, had accused him of inappropriate behaviour.
      Mr Keillor told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the claim stems from an occasion when he put his hand on a woman’s bare back to console her.
      The station said it did not know of any allegations involving any other staff.

    • French Secularists Push Back: Street Prayer Confrontations Are Growing

      In fact, things are getting so testy that Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has intervened. In a move meant to quell secularist anger over religion creeping into society, France announced an immediate halt to street prayer in the Paris suburb of Clichy-la-Garenne. “They will not have prayers on the street, we will prevent street praying,” Collomb told Questions Politics. (Source: French Muslims in Paris suburb left with nowhere to pray as street worshipping is banned, The National, November 20, 2017.)

    • Islam: A giant step backwards for humanity
    • Hadiya Is No Longer A Person, But An Issue: ‘Political Hindus Vs Political Muslims’

      Hadiya’s win is definitely a win for herself and a victory of constitutional rights; but the unfortunate aspect is that it is also a victory of Islamic fundamentalists as well as the Hindutva forces.

    • Towards Nazi Australia

      The international trend in first world countries towards right wing populist politics is symptomatic of rising insecurity and inequality. Each context has its own specific topography whilst there are underlying dynamics that seem common to all. It may surprise you to learn how far down this trajectory Australia has gone this century. Observers of international human rights know about this, as do figures like Donald Trump who looks on Australia’s inhumane treatment of “illegal” refugees with envy. Alas, the story needs to be told such that hopefully Australians will develop a conscience and the rest of the world might be warned.

      The title I gave this piece – Nazi Australia – was deliberately provocative. This is a function of desperation, but, alas, also of reality. For there are hundreds of men on Manus Island (PNG) whom the Australian government has placed in interminable limbo, and psychological and physical danger, so as to maintain an absolute deterrence against “illegal” asylum seekers. The Australian government simply stonewalls all calls by outraged citizens for humane action. So, there is need to call out this stonewalling in very shrill terms. Even so, the claims I am making are very serious, and this will require me to set the argument up carefully.

    • Facebook Can’t Clean Up Ad Discrimination on Its Own

      Facebook has admitted a serious problem with the platform’s advertising function that is allowing racial discrimination on its site. But there is a way to fix it — if the company is willing.

      In the spring of 2016, Facebook rolled out its “ethnic affinity” feature, which allowed advertisers to target Facebook users labeled as African American, Latino, or Asian American based upon their behavior on Facebook. Advertisers could opt to include or to exclude users in these categories. Facebook said that these labels were not equivalent to race because they were based not on users’ actual racial identities, but on whether they engaged with Facebook pages associated with those racial communities. Nonetheless, it identified the categories as “demographics” in its options for advertisers.

      The system made it easy to exclude users marked as African American from seeing ads for anything, including job postings and credit or housing opportunities. Yet civil rights laws like the Fair Housing Act make this kind of discriminatory advertising illegal.

      In October 2016, ProPublica was able to place a housing-related ad that targeted house hunters and those likely to move, excluding users marked as African American, Asian American, or Hispanic. The story prompted an immediate outcry. The Congressional Black Caucus contacted Facebook, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which enforces fair housing laws, said the revelations raised “serious concerns.”

      Make no mistake, this is not simply an advertising problem — this is a civil rights problem made all the more dangerous by social media’s technological advances. Online personalization opens up significant possibilities for discrimination against marginalized communities, including people of color and other members of protected classes. In the offline world, we have thankfully moved past the era of housing advertisements that explicitly stated that people of certain races, religions, or ethnicities could not apply. But with behavioral targeting online, discrimination no longer requires that kind of explicit statement. Instead, a property manager can simply display ads for housing only to white people, or Christians, or those without disabilities.

    • The Trump Administration Just Admitted a Secretly Detained American Has Asked for a Lawyer – But It Won’t Give Him One

      An American being held without charges by the U.S. military in Iraq has asked for an attorney, the ACLU finally learned last night following an extraordinary court hearing. The government is resisting our efforts to make contact with the man so he can challenge his detention, in an outrageous violation of the basic rights guaranteed to every American by the Constitution.

      The military has held the “unnamed detainee” — as the government refers to him in its filings — somewhere in Iraq since mid-September as an “enemy combatant” for allegedly fighting in Syria with ISIS (although the government hasn’t presented any evidence of that). The Pentagon and Justice Department ignored our initial request to offer him legal assistance. We then filed a habeas corpus petition on his behalf in court in Washington, demanding that the government justify the man’s detention.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • ISPs Are Already Using The FCC’s Planned Net Neutrality Repeal To Harm Consumers

      So if you’ve been reading Techdirt, you know that the FCC’s myopic assault on net neutrality is just a small part of a massive, paradigm-shifting handout to the uncompetitive telecom sector that could have a profoundly negative impact on competition, innovation, privacy, and consumer welfare for the next decade.
      The government telecom industry’s plan goes something like this: gut nearly all FCC oversight of giant ISPs (including the modest privacy protections killed earlier this year), then shovel any dwindling remaining authority to an FTC that lacks the authority or resources to actually protect competition, businesses and consumers. If any states get the crazy idea to step in and try to fill in the consumer protection gaps, the FCC (again, at Comcast and Verizon’s lobbying behest) has clearly stated it will try and use federal authority to slap them down (so much for that dedication to “states rights” applied only when convenient).
      You should, hopefully, see how this could pose problems for anybody other than Charter, Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. In fact, Charter lawyers this week are already providing us with a look at precisely what this is going to look like in practice.
      You might recall that earlier this year, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sued Charter for effectively ripping off consumers. Among the numerous charges levied in the complaint (pdf) was the fact that Charter falsely advertised speeds it couldn’t deliver, used all manner of misleading fees to jack up the cost of advertised services (something it’s facing other lawsuits over), and may have manipulated peering point capacity to force content and transit operators into paying more money.

    • Bogus Emails and Bee Movie: Digging Into the FCC’s Broken Net Neutrality Comments

      The Pew researchers detected other unusual behavior, like the fact that on June 19, nearly 500,000 comments were submitted in a single second. In that case, nearly all were identical and associated with battleforthenet.com, suggesting its organizers bulk-uploaded all of the comments to the FCC’s site at that time. But on May 24, they found more than 86,000 comments submitted in a single second. They all conveyed the same sentiment, but this time, the language different slightly, following a pattern that other researchers recently told WIRED may have been generated by bots.

    • How to Make Sense of Net Neutrality and Telecom Under Trump
    • Net Neutrality Needs You as Much as You Need It

      The battle for net neutrality is ramping into high gear, as we anticipate an FCC vote on December 14 to either confirm or reject Chairman Pai’s draft order to undermine the 2015 Open Internet Order. With the future of the Internet, its capacity to continue fostering innovation, and freedom of expression online hanging in the balance, EFF encourages Internet users to speak out–both online and in the streets–to defend net neutrality.

    • AT&T wants you to forget that it blocked FaceTime over cellular in 2012

      AT&T’s push to end net neutrality rules continued yesterday in a blog post that says the company has never blocked third-party applications and that it won’t do so even after the rules are gone.

    • Net neutrality activists just took over Reddit with protest posts

      If you visit the reddit.com home page today expecting to see the usual mix of news stories and entertaining cat memes, you’re likely to see something very different: a wall of posts naming and shaming members of Congress—mostly Republicans—who have taken money from the telecommunications industry.

      “This is my Senator, Ron Johnson,” reads the headline for the top post when we checked reddit.com on Friday afternoon. “He sold me, my fellow Wisconsinites, and this nation, to the telecom lobby for the price of $123,652.”

      Posts further down shame John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Todd Young (R-IN), and other members of Congress using virtually identical language.

    • Comcast to customers: Just trust us about changed net neutrality pledges

      Comcast is defending its changed net neutrality pledges in the face of criticism from Internet users.

      The deletion of a net neutrality promise immediately after the Federal Communications Commission started repealing its net neutrality rules is just a “language” change, the company says. Comcast is telling customers that it still has no plans to institute paid prioritization—while avoiding a promise that it won’t do so in the future.

      We wrote a story Monday about recent changes to Comcast’s net neutrality promises and followed up on Wednesday with further details.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Epic Sues 14 Year Old It Accuses Of Cheating In Videogames After He Counternotices a DMCA On His YouTube Video

        We called it. When Blizzard decided several years ago to try to twist copyright law into one hell of a pretzel in the name of going after video game cheaters, we said it was going to open the the door to other developers and publishers abusing the law in the same way. Blizzard’s theory is that using a cheat in its games, particularly in its multiplayer games, was a violation of the EULA and created a copyright violation when the cheater continued to play the game he or she only “licensed.” A deep dive into the actual substance of the copyright claims reveals them to be laughable, except Blizzard is rarely joined in court by its defendants, so no challenge to its pretzel-theory of copyright is ever put forward. Shortly after all of this, Riot Games joined in on this fun, deciding to apply the well-salted pretzel copyright logic to groups making cheats for League of Legends.

      • Europe Needs to Save Itself From Internet Upload Filters

        Upload filters would chip away at the internet’s role as a public space for everyone. The internet would increasingly come to resemble cable TV, where it’s up to a few big companies to decide what goes on air.

        It’s time to speak up against these plans—while we can still do so unfiltered.

      • Seven Years of Hadopi: Nine Million Piracy Warnings, 189 Convictions

        French anti-piracy agency Hadopi has just released its latest results revealing that since its inception, nine million piracy warnings have been sent to citizens. Since the launch of the graduated response regime in 2010, more than 2,000 cases have been referred to prosecutors, resulting in 189 criminal convictions. But with new forms of piracy under the spotlight, there’s still plenty to be done.

      • European Commission Steps Up Fight Against Online Piracy

        The European Commission is determined to step up the fight against online piracy and counterfeiting. To achieve this, it will support voluntary agreements to cut off revenue to piracy sites, while also exploring new blockchain-based anti-piracy technologies. In addition, the Commission provides detailed guidance on how current legislation should be interpreted.

      • YouTube Begins Blocking Music in Finland Due to Licensing Failure (Updated)

        Internet users in Finland are waking up to a degraded YouTube experience this morning, with many videos displaying a message explaining that they cannot be played in the country. According to YouTube, this is because the company couldn’t reach a licensing deal with local performance rights organization Teosto.

        [...]

        Like other groups in the same position, Teosto is looking to obtain more revenue for its members. That seems to be the basis for the dispute with YouTube

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    Links for the day



  6. German Media Helps Cover Up -- Not Cover -- the Latest EPO Scandal

    EPO-Handelsblatt attention diversion tricks may be effective as German media barely shows interest in one of the EPO's biggest scandals to date



  7. PTAB Haters Fail to Guard Bogus Patents, But They Still Try

    Three Affiliated Tribes probably won't enjoy sovereign immunity from PTAB, Dennis Crouch won't manage to slow down PTAB, and patent litigation will stagnate as bad patents perish before they even land in a lawsuit



  8. Team UPC's Tilmann Defends Rogue Vote at 1 AM in the Morning With Just 5% of Politicians (Those With Vested Interests) Attending

    Just when German democracy is being stolen by a legislative coup (in the dead of night when 95% of politicians are absent/asleep) there's someone 'courageous' enough to rear his ugly head and attempt to justify that coup



  9. The Mask Falls: Lobbyist David Kappos Now Composes Pieces for the Patent Trolls' Lobby (IAM)

    David Kappos, a former USPTO Director who is now lobbying for large corporations that derive revenue from patent extortion, is writing for IAM even if his views are significantly biased by his aggressive paymasters (just like IAM's)



  10. The EPO Protest Tomorrow Isn't Just About Judge Corcoran But About the EPO as a Whole

    PO staff is about to protest against the employer, pointing out that "Battistelli is still showing a total and utter lack of respect not only for his staff and their rights but also for the Administrative Council and for the Tribunal"



  11. Claim: Judge Corcoran to Be Put Under Benoît Battistelli's Control in DG1

    Benoît Battistelli, who openly disregards and refuses to obey judges (while intervening in trials and delivering 'royal decrees' whenever it suits him), may soon gain direct control over the judge he hates most



  12. The European Patent Organisation Refrains (For Nearly a Week) From Speaking About Battistelli's Abuses as Judged by ILO Tribunal

    The EPO's silence on the matter of Patrick Corcoran is deafening; to make matters worse, the EPO continues to pollute media and academia with money of stakeholders, with the sole intention of lobbying and misleading news coverage (clearly a disservice to these stakeholders)



  13. Carl Josefsson Lets Judge Patrick Corcoran Come Back to Work at the EPO

    After initial reluctance to obey/respect the rulings from the ILO (security staff declining access) there is official permission for Patrick Corcoran to enter and resume work (following 3 years of injustice against him)



  14. Bristows is Being Hammered With Negative Comments For Its Unitary Patent (UPC) Lies

    The Unified Patent Court (UPC) is practically dead in the UK and Ireland; Bristows, nevertheless, continues with its desperate spin



  15. Links 11/12/2017: Linux 4.15 RC3, Debian 8.10 and Debian 9.3

    Links for the day



  16. Judge Corcoran Turns to His Government for Help and EPO 'House Ban' is Finally Lifted

    Sources that are very reliable say that Patrick Corcoran is coming back to work, however it's now clear when and how long for



  17. Raw: Battistelli's Control/Domination Over the Boards of Appeal

    An old EPO document internally voicing concerns about the lack of independence at the Boards of Appeal



  18. Raw: Conflicts of Interest of EPO Vice-President

    An old EPO concern regarding structural collisions and mixed loyalties



  19. Microsoft-Connected Patent Trolls Are Increasingly Active and Microsoft is Selling 'Protection' (Azure Subscriptions)

    There are several indications that Microsoft-connected shells, which produce no products and are threatening a large number of companies, are inadvertently if not intentionally helping Microsoft sell "indemnification" ("Azure IP Advantage," which echoes the Microsoft/Novell strategy for collecting what they called "patent royalties" one decade ago)



  20. Yes, RPost is Definitely a Patent Troll and Its Software Patents Are at Risk Thanks to Alice

    The latest whitewashing (or reputation-laundering) pieces from Watchtroll, which tries to justify patent-trolling activities with software patents, typically in the Eastern District of Texas



  21. The Latest Scams in the Patent World

    Examples of 'dirty laundry' of the patent microcosm, which it understandably does not like covering (as it harms confidence in their services/advice)



  22. Patents Are Becoming a Welfare System for the Rich and Powerful

    A culture of litigation and more recently the patenting of broad industry standards may mean that multi-billion dollar corporations are cashing in without lifting a finger



  23. Unlike the Mobile Domain, When it Comes to Cars Patent Lawsuits Remain Rare

    An optimistic note regarding the relatively low-temperature legal landscape surrounding advanced automobiles, even though patents are being amassed on software in that domain



  24. The Federal Circuit Rules (Again) in Favour of Section 101/Alice, Koch-Funded CPIP Tries to Overturn Alice at the Supreme Court

    The US Supreme Court's decision on Alice continues to have a profoundly positive impact (except for trolls) and Koch-funded academics try hard to compel the US Supreme Court to reverse/override Alice (so far to no avail)



  25. Next Director of the USPTO Parrots Talking Points of Patent Extremists and Their Lobbyists

    The next USPTO boss (still subject to official confirmation) may be little more than a power grab by the litigation and patenting 'industry', which prioritises not science and technology but its own bottom line



  26. Raw: Three Years for 'Justice' (to be Disregarded by Benoît Battistelli) at ILO and Over a Decade at the EPO

    The delays associated with ‘justice’ at the EPO (usually neither justice nor compliance with rulings) have become so extraordinary that immunity should long ago have been stripped off and Battistelli et al been held accountable



  27. Raw: Scuttling of the General Advisory Committee and Battistelli Stacking the Deck to Have 'Yes Men' as Representatives

    How the EPO broke down resistance to Battistelli’s oppressive policies not only at the Council, disciplinary committees and auditory divisions but also staff representation (symptomatic of Battistelli’s notion of justice)



  28. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board Will Endure Supreme Court Test and Overcome the Tribal Immunity “Scam”

    The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), based on the latest news, is still winning the argument and justifying its existence/importance



  29. Phones/Mobility (Trillion-Dollar Market) May Have Become Infested and Encumbered by Aggressive, Dying Companies

    The tough reality that new entrants/entrepreneurs are facing now that a few dying giants look to "monetise" their patents rather than create anything



  30. Links 9/12/2017: Mesa 17.3, Wine 3.0 RC1, New Debian Builds

    Links for the day


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