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01.16.18

Links 16/1/2018: More on Barcelona, OSI at 20

Posted in News Roundup at 12:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft in favour of open source software

    THE SPANISH CITY OF BARCELONA plans to replace its Microsoft software with open source alternatives including Linux, Libre Office and Open Xchange.

    Barcelona plans to invest 70 per cent of its annual software budget in open source this year, according to El Pais, with the aim of completing the transformation by spring 2019.

    Microsoft’s Outlook and Exchange Server email software is to be replaced by Open-Xchange, Microsoft Office will be ditched in favour of Libre Office, and Mozilla’s Firefox will be made the default browser across systems.

  • Barcelona becomes the poster child for Linux

    The City of Barcelona is migrating its computer systems away from Windows making it the poster child for Open Source rather than Munich which is frantically trying to migrate back.

    According to the Spanish newspaper El País, the City’s strategy is first to replace all user applications with open-source alternatives until the underlying Windows operating system is the only proprietary software remaining. Then the operating system will be replaced with Linux.

    Commissioner of Technology and Digital Innovation at Barcelona City Council, Francesca Bria, said the transition would be completed before the current administration’s mandate ends in spring 2019.

  • Barcelona gives Microsoft the boot in move to open source

    With this move Barcelona becomes the first city to join an initiative by Free Software Foundation Europe dubbed ‘Public code, public money’ which calls on public bodies to invest tax revenues in free reusable systems that are open to local businesses rather than proprietary licensed software.

  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft in favour of open source Linux software

    Catalan capital Barcelona is planning to ditch proprietary software products from Microsoft in favour of free, open source alternatives such as Open-Xchange email.

    That’s according to a report by Spain’s national paper El Pais, which reports that Barcelona plans to invest 70% of its annual software budget in open source this year.

  • Barcelona Aims To Oust Microsoft In Open Source Drive

    The city of Barcelona has embarked on an ambitious open source effort aimed at reducing its dependence on large proprietary software vendors such as Microsoft, including the replacement of both applications and operating systems.

  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft software for open source software

    Barcelona, one of the most popular cities in the Europe is now switching to open-source software by replacing Microsoft Windows, Office and Exchange with Linux, Libre Office and Open Xchange respectively. The city council is already piloting the use of Ubuntu Linux desktops along with Mozilla Firefox as the default browser. With this move, Barcelona city is planning to save money over the years by reducing software/service licensing fees. They are also planning to hire new developers to write open-source software. The open-source product will also be made available to other Spanish municipalities and public bodies further afield allowing them the opportunity to save money on software licences.

  • Barcelona to ditch Microsoft in favour of open source Linux software

    Catalan capital Barcelona is planning to ditch proprietary software products from Microsoft in favour of free, open source alternatives such as Open-Xchange email.

    That’s according to a report by Spain’s national paper El Pais, which reports that Barcelona plans to invest 70% of its annual software budget in open source this year.

  • Barcelona is moving to Linux; why not Dhaka?

    The Spanish city of Barcelona just announced a few days ago (https://www.itwire.com/open-source/81377-barcelona-plans-move-to-open-source-software.html) that it has successfully completed a pilot project of moving 1,000 desktops of municipality employees from Microsoft Windows and MS Office to free/open-source alternatives, Ubuntu Linux (www.ubuntu.com/desktop) and LibreOffice (www.libreoffice.org).

    The question is why countries like Bangladesh, which are much less wealthy than Spain, are not making similar moves to replace expensive Microsoft software with free/open-source alternatives.

    The simple fact is that there is almost no awareness of the real cost of Microsoft software in Bangladesh, as software piracy is so commonplace. Every market has shops stocking pirated MS Windows/MS Office DVDs; so the public can be forgiven for thinking that these are practically free of cost.

  • Barcelona abandons Windows and Office, goes with Linux instead
  • Windows vs Linux: Open source beats Microsoft to win Barcelona’s backing
  • Barcelona quits Windows and Office goes Linux
  • Adios Microsoft: We’re ditching Office and Outlook for open source, says Barcelona
  • Best Linux desktop of 2018

    The desktop is a critical aspect of your Linux experience, providing you with a user-friendly way to interact with your computer. Unlike Windows or Mac, Linux doesn’t tie you to a single desktop. Switching desktop environments is incredibly straightforward – just install a new one, log out and choose it from the login screen. You can install as many desktop environments as you like, although you can only use one at a time.

    In this guide, we’ve rounded up seven of the most popular desktops, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. Before you dive in, however, take some time to think about what you want from your desktop.

    A desktop environment is more than the wallpaper which appears when you log in. It also includes a window manager and usually a set of utilities. It may come in the form of a pre-assembled package, such as Gnome or KDE, or it may be assembled by the distro maintainer, such as CrunchBang++’s Openbox or Puppy’s JWM.

  • Best Linux distros 2018: the finest open source operating systems around

    Linux is widely-regarded as the discerning techie’s operating system of choice, and with good reason. The open source OS has an awful lot to recommend it, and it’s every bit as capable as Windows or macOS.

    One of the reasons Linux has proved to be so popular with developers, engineers and technical professionals is that it’s almost infinitely versatile, with a wealth of customisation options. It’s also got a reputation as being extremely secure.

    Linux doesn’t just cater to traditional desktop PCs, either. There are also distros designed to run enterprise-grade applications and servers as well as desktop clients.

  • Linux kernel mailing list back online; Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities; Mobile OS eelo; Barcelona now using Linux

    The popular Linux Kernel Mailing List website is back online after going down and staying down for several days due to a power outage to the home server where it was hosted. Upon reboot, a password (for dm-crypt) was required to mount the root device; however, that in itself was not the problem. The problem was the fact that the PC’s owner, Jasper, was on vacation when all of this occurred. Anyway, the site is now back up and continuing to operate as it always has.

    Speaking of the kernel mailing lists, Johannes Weiner issued a call for proposals for agenda topics to the upcoming annual 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem and Memory Management (LSF/MM) Summit. The deadline is January 31, 2018, and the summit will be held between April 23-25 At Deer Valley Lodges in Park City, Utah. For more information, visit the Linux Foundation Events page.

  • Documentary films on Linux!

    The Code & Revolution OS! Those are documentary films released in 2001. The Code is based on birth and journey of Linux & Revolution OS is based on 20 years journey of Linux, GNU, Open Source world.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Red Hat launches new podcast series, Command Line Heroes

      Technology has become so integrated into our daily lives that it can be easy to take it for granted. But we’ve only gotten to where we are today because of the command line heroes that shaped the industry – and continue to do so.

      Command line hero. What does that really mean? To us it’s the developers, programmers, hackers, geeks and open source rebels – the people who are on the front line, transforming technology from the command line up. The biggest technology advancements and innovations didn’t happen by accident. They were made possible through the passion, creativity and persistence of technologists around the world.

    • Command Line Heroes

      I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while, ever since it was announced: today, the first two episodes of Command Line Heroes were published. Command Line Heroes, or CLH for short, is a series of podcasts that tells the stories of open source. It’s hosted by Saron Yitbarek, of CodeNewbie fame, and sponsored by Red Hat.

  • Kernel Space

    • Retpoline Backported To Linux 4.9, Linux 4.14 Kernels

      Retpoline support for mitigating the Spectre vulnerabilities will soon be present in the Linux 4.9 and 4.14 stable kernels.

      Greg Kroah-Hartman has sent out the latest patches for the Linux 4.9 and 4.14 point releases, which now include the Retpoline support.

    • Retpoline Is Still Being Improved Upon For Intel Skylake/Kabylake

      While initial support for Retpoline was merged into the Linux 4.15 Git kernel last week and is now being backported to some supported Linux kernel series, there is still additional work ongoing for properly mitigating Spectre v2 on Intel Skylake CPUs and newer.

      It turns out Skylake CPUs and newer require additional patches to fully mitigate against the Spectre Variant Two vulnerability. These newer CPUs can fallback to a potentially poisoned indirect branch predictor when a return buffer underflows. Andi Kleen of Intel has sent out a new patch series dubbed “RETPOLINE_UNDERFLOW” that gets enabled by default for Skylake CPUs and newer.

    • VirtualBox Guest Driver Being Mainlined With Linux 4.16

      The upcoming Linux 4.16 kernel cycle will be mainlining the VirtualBox Guest “vboxguest” kernel driver.

      As part of an effort led by Red Hat, the VirtualBox guest drivers are finally working towards mainline in the Linux kernel and with 4.16 there is the vboxguest driver as a notable step following the VirtualBox DRM/KMS driver in Linux 4.13.

    • Linus Torvalds Is Hopeful for a January 21 Release of the Linux 4.15 Kernel

      The eighth and probably the last RC (Release Candidate) of the upcoming Linux 4.15 kernel series has been announced by Linus Torvalds over the weekend and it’s now ready for public testing.

      Coming a week after the seventh RC, Linux kernel 4.15 Release Candidate 8 is here with more patches against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities publicly disclosed earlier this month. Most specifically, it brings x86 “retpoline” support, a solution developed by Google and other security researchers to not allow speculation on the CPU.

    • LSFMM 2018 call for proposals

      The 2018 Linux Storage, Filesystem, and Memory-Management Summit will be held April 23-25 in Park City, Utah. The call for proposals has just gone out with a tight deadline: they need to be received by January 31.

    • Analyzing the Linux boot process

      The oldest joke in open source software is the statement that “the code is self-documenting.” Experience shows that reading the source is akin to listening to the weather forecast: sensible people still go outside and check the sky. What follows are some tips on how to inspect and observe Linux systems at boot by leveraging knowledge of familiar debugging tools. Analyzing the boot processes of systems that are functioning well prepares users and developers to deal with the inevitable failures.

    • BPF Getting Error Injection & More In Linux 4.16

      While BPF has been under the spotlight recently in light of Spectre, with the upcoming Linux 4.16 cycle this in-kernel virtual machine and originally packet filter will be picking up new features.

    • Jailhouse Guest Support Queued For Linux 4.16

      Yet more functionality to find with the upcoming Linux 4.16 kernel is the first bits of Jailhouse hypervisor functionality being mainlined.

      Since at least 2013 Siemens has been developing the Jailhouse hypervisor for Linux systems. This partitioning hypervisor aims to be lighter than KVM and Siemens has been designing it for “highly demanding real-time, safety or security” workloads.

    • Retpoline patch coming to Linux 4.9 and Linux 4.14

      Several Linux kernel versions, including 4.9, 4.14, and the upcoming 4.15, will have Retpoline support built in to mitigate against the Spectre vulnerability. Greg Kroah-Hartman, one of the head honchos overlooking kernel development, accepted the patch into the 4.9 and 4.14 kernels meaning Linux users everywhere should be secure from Spectre without any performance hits.

      The exact kernel versions to look out for are 4.9.77 and 4.14.14. Unfortunately, for those of us still on Linux 4.4 and 3.18, which are still supported, there is no sign of the Retpoline patch just yet despite getting receiving other updates. Hopefully it’ll be released in a subsequent update after they’ve had time to monitor for any problems in 4.9 and 4.14.

    • Retpoline Support Backport Lands In GCC 7

      The backporting of -mindirect-branch, -mindirect-return and -mindirect-branch-register, a.k.a. the GCC “Retpoline” patches, have been back-ported and merged into the GCC 7 branch.

      Given the severity of the Spectre vulnerability, these features for Retpoline support are being back-ported to GCC branches normally only reserved for bug/regression/documentation fixes.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Experimental XDG-Shell Support For Mir’s Wayland Support

        Mir’s Wayland support continues being hacked on and now being tackled is support for the XDG-Shell protocol.

        A proof of concept implementation for the XDG Shell protocol has been posted for Mir. The XDG-Shell protocol as a reminder is used for managing surfaces under Wayland compositors for dealing with window dragging, resizing, stacking, and other actions.

      • Vulkan 1.0.68 Published

        Coming just over one week since Vulkan 1.0.67 is now the Vulkan 1.0.68 graphics/compute programming specification update.

        Given the short time from Vulkan 1.0.67 to 1.0.68, this updated version does not introduce any new extensions. Vulkan 1.0.68 just has documentation fixes: correcting some typos and making other clarifications for helping developers understand expected behavior of some elements of Vulkan.

      • Intel’s Mesa Driver Is A Step Closer To ARB_gl_spirv Support

        Igalia has sent out the fourth version of their patches for wiring in ARB_gl_spirv support into the Mesa OpenGL driver. This extension is the last main blocker from Intel having OpenGL 4.6 support and allows for SPIR-V ingestion support for better interoperability between OpenGL and Vulkan.

      • Mesa Gets Patches For EGL_ANDROID_blob_cache

        An Intel open-source developer has sent out a set of patches implementing the EGL ANDROID_blob_cache extension for Mesa.

      • GPU Voltage Control Support Coming To AMDGPU Driver

        Patches are being prepped to improve the OverDrive overclocking/underclocking support within the AMDGPU DRM driver and for allowing voltage controls.

      • Mesa 17.3.3 Is On The Way With Better Vega Support On Vulkan

        Mesa 17.3.3 should be released later this week with nearly three dozen fixes over the previous Mesa 17.3 point release.

      • Advanced DRI Configurator: A New Mesa GUI Project

        An independent open-source developer has announced “Advanced DRI Configurator” in what he’s hoping could eventually replace DriConf for configuring Mesa parameters.

        Developer Jean Hertel has announced his initial work on trying to write a DriConf replacement. The Advanced DRI Configurator, or “adriconf” for short, is this young project written in C++ and GTKmm.

      • Red Hat Developer Manages Full Clock-Gating For Kepler With Nouveau

        In improving the power-savings of NVIDIA GeForce 600/700 “Kepler” GPUs running on the open-source NVIDIA “Nouveau” driver, Red Hat developer Lyude Paul has published a set of patches allowing for full clock-gating with these older graphics cards.

        Following lots of reverse engineering, rewrites, and tracing the behavior of the NVIDIA proprietary driver, Lyude has implemented all known levels of clock-gating for Kepler1/Kepler2 GPUs. Lyude was also working on Fermi GPU support, but its clock-gating is being handled differently and currently that code isn’t yet ready.

    • Benchmarks

      • ADATA XPG SX6000: Benchmarking A ~$50 USD 128GB NVMe SSD On Linux

        While solid-state drives have generally been quite reliable in recent years and even with all the benchmarking I put them through have had less than a handful fail out of dozens, whenever there’s a bargain on NVMe SSDs, it’s hard to resist. The speed of NVMe SSDs has generally been great and while it’s not a key focus on Phoronix (and thus generally not receiving review samples of them), I upgrade some of the server room test systems when finding a deal. The latest is trying an ADATA XPG SX6000 NVMe SSD I managed to get for $49.99 USD.

      • 16-Way GPU Comparison With NVIDIA GPUs Going Back To Kepler

        Last week I provided a fresh look at the NVIDIA GeForce vs. AMD Radeon Linux gaming performance using the latest drivers at the start of 2018. That testing included the latest NVIDIA and AMD GPUs, but for those curious how these numbers compare for older NVIDIA GPUs, here’s a look with the Kepler and Maxwell graphics cards added to the comparison.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Flatpak Support Getting More Mature in KDE Plasma’s Discover Package Manager

        Those interesting in installing Flatpak universal Linux apps on their KDE Plasma-based GNU/Linux distros, should know that Flatpak support in the Plasma Discover package manager is now more mature and ready for production. It can handle multiple Flatpak repos, as well as installing of packages from the Flathub repository.

        With the upcoming KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS desktop environment, Plasma Discover will support different backends, including Flatpak and Snappy, allowing users to search, download and install Flatpak and Snap apps. However, such a backend doesn’t come installed by default, so you’ll have to add it manually.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.42 Open-Source Software Suite Released for KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS

        KDE Frameworks 5.42.0 is out now just in time for the soon-to-be-released KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS Beta desktop environment, and includes numerous improvements and bug fixes for various components like Baloo, Breeze icons, KActivities, KCoreAddons, KDeclarative, KDED, KDBusAddons, KConfig, KDocTools, KHTML, KEmoticons, KFileMetaData, KI18n, KIO, KInit, Kirigami, and KJobWidgets.

        It also improves things like KNewStuff, KNotification, KRunner, KWayland, KTextEditor, KWallet Framework, KWidgetsAddons, KXMLGUI, NetworkManagerQt, Plasma Framework, Prison, QQC2StyleBridge, Sonnet, syntax highlighting, KPackage Framework, as well as KDELibs 4 support and extra CMake modules. The complete changelog is available below for more details on the new fixes.

      • KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS Enters Beta, Brings Unified Look and Phone Integration

        Designed as the next long-term support (LTS) version of the popular desktop environment, replacing the KDE Plasma 5.8 LTS on users’ computers when it will be out early next month, KDE Plasma 5.12 is an important milestone that introduces numerous stability and reliability improvements, along with a bunch of new and long-anticipated features.

        One of the most important changes in KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS is the greatly improved support for the next-generation Wayland display server, with a long-term support promise as the KDE Project will continue to patch bugs and other issues until the end of life of the desktop environment next year.

      • KDE Plasma 5.12 Reaches Beta With Faster Start-Up Time, Better Wayland Support
      • This App Automatically Disables Compositing in KDE When Opening Steam

        Compositor Switcher for KDE is a small utility that can disable compositing on the KDE Plasma desktop when running a specific gaming client.

      • digiKam 5.8 Open-Source Image Manipulator Adds UPnP/DLNA Export, Improvements

        The digiKam 5.8.0 open-source cross-platform image editor, viewer, and organizer tool has been released over the weekend with numerous improvements and some new features.

        Coming four months after the previous release, digiKam 5.8.0 is here with another set of enhancements for fans of the applications. For starters, the new version introduces a new tool that allows users to export their image collections to UPnP/DLNA-compatible devices. It can be accessed in all of digiKam’s views through the Tools menu.

        “In September 2017, the digiKam team has been invited to take part in the Randa Meetings,” reads the release announcement. “We have focused the reunion on including the new media server dedicated to sharing collection contents on local networks with compatible DLNA devices or applications, such as tablets, cellulars, TV, etc.”

      • Season Of KDE

        After contributing for several months at GCompris, I applied for SoK 2018 and finally my proposal got selected among top 10 participants. I am very happy with the results I have got.

      • SoK Project – Week 1 & 2

        With all the happiness after being selected for SoK 2018, I was looking forward to start working on my project with whole dedication. My project aims to complete port of a brain-boosting memory activity called “Railroad” (in which kids have to observe the given train and memorize it within given time and then try to rebuild it) from Gtk+ to Qt version. It is a part of project GCompris(a high-quality educational software suite, including a large number of activities for children aged 2 to 10). My mentors are Timothée Giet and Rudra Nil Basu, along with them I’d like to thank a lot to Johnny Jazeix and Divyam Madaan for helping me with my project. My SoK proposal can be found here –> SoK Proposal. And my progress can be tracked at –> Railroad branch.

      • Reasons to Get Excited about KDE in 2018
      • Three old Plasma Weather applet TODO items gone for Plasma 5.12

        Just when I thought to have missed yet another Plasma feature freeze deadline with the one for Plasma 5.12 LTS and thus a good(?) excuse to re-decrease priority of some planned work on the Plasma Addons Weather applet (from the kdeplasma-addons repo, not to be mixed up with clearmartin’s one from github/store.kde.org) once more and thus delay things even further to a day that may never come, the Plasma team found they need to shift the deadline by some weeks to be after the KDE Frameworks 5.42.0 release.
        So excuse gone, no other quickly found… time to do a git pull and open the editor.

      • Plasma on ARM: State of the Union

        For the past year at Blue Systems my colleagues and I have been working on getting Plasma 5 ready for ARMv8 systems such as the Pinebook. If you were at QtCon this year, you might have also seen our awesome team demo’ing these systems at the KDE booth along with Plasma on ARMv7 systems such as the ODROID C1.

      • Sharing Files on Android or iOS from or with your Qt App – Part 2
      • KDE Plans to Introduce New Apps and Plasma Stability Improvements in 2018

        For starters, 2018 will bring KDE users a new, long-term supported Plasma desktop environment, version 5.12, which just entered beta stages of development the other day giving us a first glimpse into its new features and improvements.

        While it’s mostly focused on stability and speed improvements, the KDE Plasma 5.12 LTS release promises better, long-term Wayland support, smartphone integration, a unified look, infinite customizations, as well as integrated desktop widgets and search.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • How to Install GNOME Shell Extensions GUI / CLI

        GNOME Shell extensions are small and lightweight pieces of codes that enhance GNOME desktop’s functionality and improves the user experience. They are the equivalent of add-ons in your browser. For instance, you can have add-ons that download videos like IDM downloader or block annoying ads such as Adblocker.

        Similarly, GNOME extensions perform certain tasks e.g. Display weather and geolocation. One of the tools used to install and customize GNOME Shell extensions is the GNOME tweak tool. It comes pre-installed in the latest Linux distributions. This article we cover how to install GNOME Shell extensions from GUI and from the command line on various Linux distros.

      • Musings on bug trackers

        I love bugzilla, I really do. I’ve used it nearly my entire career in free software. I know it well, I like the command line tool integration. But I’ve never had a day in bugzilla where I managed to resolve/triage/close nearly 100 issues. I managed to do that today with our gitlab instance and I didn’t even mean to.

      • ABI stability for GXml

        I’m taking a deep travel across Vala code; trying to figure out how things work. With my resent work on abstract methods for compact classes, may I have an idea on how to provide ABI stability to GXml.

        GXml have lot of interfaces for DOM4, implemented in classes, like Gom* series. But they are a lot, so go for each and add annotations, like Gee did, to improve ABI, is a hard work.

      • GXml is near for ABI stability

        Today I managed to create a patch to provide ABI stability for GXml and any other Vala library.

        ABI is one of the more important aspect in a library; allows to produce binaries fixing issues and add features while the applications, depending on it, don’t need to be recompiled

  • Distributions

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • SLES 12 Toolchain Update Brings new Developer Tools
      • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 Updates Its Developer Toolchain to GCC 7

        SUSE’s Andreas Jaeger writes in a blog post about the updated toolchain of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 operating system and the new developer tools it brings.

        The article notes the fact that with the release of GNU Compiler Collection 7, the GCC team brought numerous improvements for developers, including better diagnostics, DWARF 5 support, as well as support for the C++ 17 standard.

        GCC 7 also contains improved optimization passes and takes advantage of some of the features of modern processors, and now it is available to all SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 customers with an active subscription.

      • Become a Google Summer of Code Mentor for openSUSE

        The application period for organizations wanting to participate in the Google Summer of Code is now and the openSUSE project is once again looking for mentors who are willing to put forth projects to mentor GSoC students.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • RHL’18 in Saint-Cergue, Switzerland

        In between eating fondue and skiing, I found time to resurrect some of my previous project ideas for Google Summer of Code. Most of them are not specific to Debian, several of them need co-mentors, please contact me if you are interested.

      • Quick recap of 2017

        After the Stretch release, it was time to attend DebConf’17 in Montreal, Canada. I’ve presented the latest news on the Debian Installer front there as well. This included a quick demo of my little framework which lets me run automatic installation tests. Many attendees mentioned openQA as the current state of the art technology for OS installation testing, and Philip Hands started looking into it. Right now, my little thing is still useful as it is, helping me reproduce regressions quickly, and testing bug fixes… so I haven’t been trying to port that to another tool yet.

        I also gave another presentation in two different contexts: once at a local FLOSS meeting in Nantes, France and once during the mini-DebConf in Toulouse, France. Nothing related to Debian Installer this time, as the topic was how I helped a company upgrade thousands of machines from Debian 6 to Debian 8 (and to Debian 9 since then). It was nice to have Evolix people around, since we shared our respective experience around automation tools like Ansible and Puppet.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 18.04 LTS Wallpaper Contest Welcomes Talented Photographers and Artists

            Announced today by Ubuntu member Nathan Haines, Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is now officially open for submissions, and since Ubuntu 18.04 it’s an LTS (Long-Term Support) version, which Canonical will support for the next five years with software and security updates, it’s more than a wallpaper contest.

            Well, of course, it’s not a contest, because you won’t win any prize besides the fact that your work will be showcased to millions of Ubuntu users worldwide. This time, besides wallpapers, Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase also looks for new video and music files that will be available in the Examples folder of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS’ live installation medium.

          • Introducing the Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase for 18.04

            Ubuntu’s changed a lot in the last year, and everything is leading up to a really exciting event: the release of 18.04 LTS! This next version of Ubuntu will once again offer a stable foundation for countless humans who use computers for work, play, art, relaxation, and creation. Among the various visual refreshes of Ubuntu, it’s also time to go to the community and ask for the best wallpapers. And it’s also time to look for a new video and music file that will be waiting for Ubuntu users on the install media’s Examples folder, to reassure them that their video and sound drivers are quite operational.

            Long-term support releases like Ubuntu 18.04 LTS are very important, because they are downloaded and installed ten times more often than every single interim release combined. That means that the wallpapers, video, and music that are shipped will be seen ten times more than in other releases. So artists, select your best works. Ubuntu enthusiasts, spread the word about the contest as far and wide as you can. Everyone can help make this next LTS version of Ubuntu an amazing success.

          • Ubuntu Core: A secure open source OS for IoT

            Canonical’s Ubuntu Core, a tiny, transactional version of the Ubuntu Linux OS for IoT devices, runs highly secure Linux application packages, known as “snaps,” that can be upgraded remotely.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Lubuntu 17.04 has reached End of Life

              The Lubuntu Team announces that as a non-LTS release, 17.04 has a 9-month support cycle and, as such, reached end of life on Saturday, January 13, 2018. Lubuntu will no longer provide bug fixes or security updates for 17.04, and we strongly recommend that you update to 17.10, which continues to be actively supported with security updates and select high-impact bug fixes.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source turns 20

    While open source software is ubiquitous, recognized across industries as a fundamental infrastructure component as well as a critical factor for driving innovation, the “open source” label was coined only 20 years ago.

    The concept of open source software – as opposed to free software or freeware – is credited to Netscape which, in January 1998, announced plans to release the source code of its proprietary browser, Navigator, under a license that would freely permit modification and redistribution. This code is today the basis for Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.

    The Open Source Initiative (OSI) regards that event as the point at which “software freedom extended its reach beyond the enthusiast community and began its ascent into the mainstream”.

  • Coreboot 4.7 Released With 47 More Motherboards Supported, AMD Stoney Ridge

    Coreboot 4.7 is now available as the latest release of this free and open-source BIOS/UEFI replacement.

    Coreboot 4.7 is the latest tagged release for this project developed via Git. This release has initial support for AMD Stoney Ridge platforms, Intel ICH10 Southbridge support, Intel Denverton/Denverton-NS platform support, and initial work on supporting next-gen Intel Cannonlake platforms.

  • Google’s Kelsey Hightower talks Kubernetes and community

    Google developer advocate Kelsey Hightower says that he always figured that the (now wildly successful) Kubernetes container orchestration platform “would get big on its own at some point.” He shared some of the reasons he sees for Kubernetes’ success in a podcast recorded in December at CloudNativeCon in Austin.

    The first is that Kubernetes is an effective platform on which to do other things. It provides “better primitives than I had before” as Hightower puts it. At the same time, he says that this is something people misunderstand about Kubernetes. “It’s not the end game,” he says. Rather, at some point, it increasingly becomes “the new platform for building other platforms.”

  • A FOSS Year Resolution

    It’s that time of year again. The time when some people are taking a long hard look at their lives and trying to decide what they want to change about themselves over the course of the next year. Some of us want to lose weight, or exercise more, or spend more time with our kids. The trouble is only about 9% of these resolutions actually happen.

  • Events

    • Dr. Lovesource: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the open

      I used to write code. I don’t anymore. There are lots of reasons for this, including the fact that I wasn’t very good at it. To clarify, I was, I think, good at writing code,1 but I wasn’t very good at writing code.2 It turns out that I’m quite good at a variety of other things, so my career3 moved in a different direction—or, in fact, a variety of different directions. After a number of roles ranging from “Electronic Information Controller” to “Product and Programme4 Manager” through software engineering and pre-sales, I finally settled into something called “architecture.” Which means that I mainly draw boxes and lines on whiteboards and expect people who are very good at writing code to make the boxes “real.”

    • Thank you CUSEC!

      Last week, I spoke at CUSEC (Canadian Undergraduate Software Engineering Conference) in Montreal. I really enjoy speaking with students and learning what they are working on. They are the future of our industry! I was so impressed by the level of organization and the kindness and thoughtfulness of the CUSEC organizing committee who were all students from various universities across Canada. I hope that you all are enjoying some much needed rest after your tremendous work in the months approaching the conference and last week.

    • Percona Announces Sneak Peek of Conference Breakout Sessions for Seventh Annual Percona Live Open Source Database Conference
    • Do not limit yourself

      The motto of Learn yourself, teach others is still very strong among us. We try to break any such stupid limits others try to force on our lives. We dream, we try to enjoying talking about that book someone just finished. We discuss about our favorite food. I will end this post saying one thing again. Do not bound yourself in some non existing limits. Always remember, What a great teacher, failure is (I hope I quoted Master Yoda properly). Not everything we will try in life will be a super successful thing, but we can always try to learn from those incidents. You don’t have to bow down in front of anyone, you can do things you love in your life without asking for others’ permissions.

    • Benjamin Mako Hill: OpenSym 2017 Program Postmortem

      The International Symposium on Open Collaboration (OpenSym, formerly WikiSym) is the premier academic venue exclusively focused on scholarly research into open collaboration. OpenSym is an ACM conference which means that, like conferences in computer science, it’s really more like a journal that gets published once a year than it is like most social science conferences. The “journal”, in iithis case, is called the Proceedings of the International Symposium on Open Collaboration and it consists of final copies of papers which are typically also presented at the conference. Like journal articles, papers that are published in the proceedings are not typically published elsewhere.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Bromite Is the New NoChromo — Open Source Chrome Port with Ad Blocking

        A while back, we told you about NoChromo, a no-root ad-blocking browser based on Google Chrome’s open source code base, Chromium. That browser was wildly successful, as it offered an identical interface to regular Chrome, but without any ads. Sadly, the developer abandoned NoChromo, but a new ad-blocking Chromium port called Bromite has been released to fill its void.

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 60 Product Integrity Requests Report

        Late last year I was putting out weekly reports on the number of requests Mozilla’s Product Integrity group was receiving and how well we were tracking toward our self-imposed service-level agreement (respond to 90% within 48 hours).

        The initial system we set up was only ever intended to be minimally viable and has not scaled well, although that’s probably to be expected. There’s been quite a lot of growing pains so I’ve been tasked with taking it to the next level.

      • Tab Warming: How Firefox Will Improve Web Browsing Experience? How To Get It Now?

        Mozilla developer Mike Conley described the details about Tab Warming in a post on his personal blog. It will improve tab switching by pre-loading the contents of a tab before it gets displayed in front of the users.

      • NVDA and Firefox 58 – The team is regaining strength

        A week before the Firefox 57 “Quantum” release in November, I published an Article detailing some bits to be aware of when using Firefox and the NVDA screen reader together. In Firefox 58, due on January 23, 2018, the reliable team is regaining strength in playing well together and offering you good and fast web accessibility.

        After the Firefox 57 release, due to many changes under the hood, NVDA and Firefox temporarily lapsed in performance. Statistics quickly showed that about two thirds of the NVDA user base stayed with us despite of this. So to all of you who stuck with us on this difficult release: Thank you! Many of the others moved to the extended support release of Firefox 52. Thank you to those of you as well, you decided to stick with Firefox! Also, statistics show that barely any of those of you who stuck with 57 decided to turn off multi-process Firefox, but instead used the new technology, and some of you even reported problems to us.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • The Universal Donor

      A few people reacted negatively to my article on why Public Domain software is broadly unsuitable for inclusion in a community open source project. Most argued that because public domain gave them the rights they need where they live (mostly the USA), I should not say it was wrong to use it.

      That demonstrates either parochialism or a misunderstanding of what public domain really means. It should not be used for the same reason code known to be subject to software patents should not be used — namely that only code that, to the best efforts possible, can be used by anyone, anywhere without the need to ask permission (e.g. by buying a patent license) or check it it’s needed (e.g. is that PD code PD here?) can be used in an open source project. Public domain fails the test for multiple reasons: global differences in copyright term, copyright as an unalienable moral rather than as a property right, and more.

      Yes, public domain may give you the rights you need. But in an open source project, it’s not enough for you to determine you personally have the rights you need. In order to function, every user and contributor of the project needs prior confidence they can use, improve and share the code, regardless of their location or the use to which they put it. That confidence also has to extend to their colleagues, customers and community as well.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 8.0 Moves On To Only Regression/Documentation Fixes

      The GCC 8 compiler is on to its last stage of development

    • Retpoline-enabled GCC

      There will be upstream backports at least to GCC 7, but probably pretty far back (I’ve seen people talk about all the way to 4.3). So you won’t have to run my crappy home-grown build for very long—it’s a temporary measure. :-)

      Oh, and it made Stockfish 3% faster than with GCC 6.3! Hooray.

  • Programming/Development

Leftovers

  • Nokia, Optus seal 5-year network deal

    Under the deal, Nokia will provide network operations and software services, and deploy robotics, artificial intelligence and extreme automation to help Optus standardise and scale its operations, while Nokia Field Services will manage all components of work associated with mobile base station equipment and facilities.

  • Science

    • Pollution is endangering the future of astronomy

      Three sources of pollution — space debris, radio interference and light pollution — already are particularly worrisome. And the situation is getting worse.

    • Novel 3-D printing technique yields high-performance composites

      Since ancient civilizations first combined straw and mud to form bricks, people have fabricated engineered composites of increasing performance and complexity. But reproducing the exceptional mechanical properties and complex microstructures found in nature has been challenging.

    • Blood-vessel-on-a-chip provides insight into new anti-inflammatory drug candidate

      One of the most important and fraught processes in the human body is inflammation. Inflammatory responses to injury or disease are crucial for recruiting the immune system to help the body heal, but inflammation can also cause an increase in the production of thrombin, which can lead to dangerous blood clots and other conditions. Activated protein C (APC) is a naturally occurring anti-coagulant protein with anti-inflammatory and other protective effects that has been used medically to treat severe blood infections and wounds; however, its use is limited because its inhibition of thrombin also impacts the blood’s ability to clot, increasing bleeding risk.

    • Device creates negative mass—and a novel way to generate lasers
    • Light may unlock a new quantum dance for electrons in graphene

      A team of researchers has devised a simple way to tune a hallmark quantum effect in graphene—the material formed from a single layer of carbon atoms—by bathing it in light. Their theoretical work, which was published recently in Physical Review Letters , suggests a way to realize novel quantum behavior that was previously predicted but has so far remained inaccessible in experiments.

      “Our idea is to use light to engineer these materials in place,” says Tobias Grass, a postdoctoral researcher at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) and a co-author of the paper. “The big advantage of light is its flexibility. It’s like having a knob that can change the physics in your sample.”

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Suppressing a sneeze can be dangerous, doctors warn

      Stifling a sneeze can rupture your throat, burst an ear drum, or pop a blood vessel in your brain, researchers warned on Tuesday.

      Many people – when they feel a sneeze coming on – block all the exits, essentially swallowing the sneeze’s explosive force.

      Just how dangerous this can be was illustrated when a 34-year-old man showed up at the emergency service of a hospital in Leicester, England recently, with a swollen neck and in extreme pain.

    • Trump’s new assistant Drug Czar: a 24-year-old campaign volunteer with no experience, in charge of billions to end the opioid epidemic

      In 2016, Taylor Weyeneth took a break from his studies as an undergrad law student at St John’s University and used the skills he’d acquired organizing a single golf tournament and working in his father’s chia seed factory (closed abruptly when his father went to jail for processing illegal Chinese steroids in the plant) to campaign for Donald Trump. Now Weyeneth, at 24 years old, is the deputy chief of staff for Office of National Drug Control Policy, in charge of billions of dollars in spending to curb the opioid epidemic and fight illegal drug use.

    • Peruvian herders use ancient technology to manage water for the future

      Dams, canals, and reservoirs dating back 3,000 years ago are being revived by alpine herders in partnership with The Mountain Institute in order to more efficiently manage water for pastures and animals.

    • Global drugmakers complain over violations of patent rights in Russia

      Multinational drugmakers operating in Russia have filed a complaint with the Russian Federal Antimonopoly…

  • Security

    • Beware! Fake Spectre & Meltdown Patches Are Infecting PCs With “Smoke Loader” Malware [Ed: Welcome to Microsoft Windows]

      One of the most common tactics employed by notorious cybercriminals involves taking advantage of the popular trends and creating fraudulent websites/apps to trick users. It looks like some of the players have tried to exploit the confusion surrounding Meltdown and Sprectre CPU bugs.

      Forget buggy updates which are causing numerous problems to the users, Malwarebytes has spotted a fake update package that installs malware on your computer. The firm has identified a new domain that’s full of material on how Meltdown and Spectre affect CPUs.

      [...]

      The fake file in the archive is Intel-AMD-SecurityPatch-10-1-v1.exe.

    • An update on ongoing Meltdown and Spectre work

      Last week, a series of critical vulnerabilities called Spectre and Meltdown were announced. Because of the nature of these issues, the solutions are complex and requires fixing delicate code. The fixes for Meltdown are mostly underway. The Meltdown fix for x86 is KPTI. KPTI has been merged into the mainline Linux tree and many stable trees, including the ones Fedora uses. Fixes for other arches are close to being done and should be available soon. Fixing Spectre is more difficult and requires fixes across multiple areas.

      Similarly to Meltdown, Spectre takes advantage of speculation done by CPUs. Part of the fix for Spectre is disallowing the CPU to speculate in particular vulnerable sequences. One solution developed by Google and others is to introduce “retpolines” which do not allow speculation. A sequence of code that might allow dangerous speculation is replaced with a “retpoline” which will not speculate. The difficult part of this solution is that the compiler needs to be aware of where to place a retpoline. This means a complete solution involves the compiler as well.

    • CPU microcode update code for amd64
    • Using a Yubikey for GPG and SSH
    • Inspect curl’s TLS traffic

      Since a long time back, the venerable network analyzer tool Wireshark (screenshot above) has provided a way to decrypt and inspect TLS traffic when sent and received by Firefox and Chrome.

    • Mageia Weekly Roundup 2018 – Week 2

      The year is definitely under way, with an astonishing 412 packages coming through commits – mostly for cauldron, but a few are the last remaining updates for Mageia 5, as well as important security updates for Mageia 6.

      Among those updates are all the kernel and microcode updates – our thanks to tmb and our untiring devs for these – to begin hitting Meltdown and Spectre on the head.

      A big hand for the upstream kernel team, as well as our own packagers, QA testers and everyone else that was involved in getting this tested and released.

    • Fedora Project Continues to Work on Mitigating Meltdown & Spectre Security Flaws
    • Black Lab Enterprise Linux Distro Gets Patches Against Meltdown and Spectre Bugs
    • Linspire and Freespire Linux OSes Now Patched Against Meltdown and Spectre Flaws
    • Gentoo-Based Porteus Kiosk 4.6 Linux OS Released with Meltdown and Spectre Fixes

      orteus Linux developer Tomasz Jokiel announced today the release and immediate availability for download of the Porteus Kiosk 4.6.0 Gentoo Linux-based operating system.

      Including all the upstream security and software updates from the Gentoo Linux repositories as of January 14, 2018, Porteus Kiosk 4.6.0 is powered by the Linux 4.14.13 kernel and includes the Mozilla Firefox 52.5.3 ESR and Google Chrome 63.0.3239.132 web browsers, protecting users against the Meltdown and Spectre security vulnerabilities that have been publicly disclosed earlier this month.

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Secure Contexts Everywhere

      Since Let’s Encrypt launched, the Secure Contexts specification has become much more mature. We have witnessed the successful restriction of existing, as well as new features to secure contexts. The W3C TAG is about to drastically raise the bar to ship features on insecure contexts. All the building blocks are now in place to quicken the adoption of HTTPS and secure contexts, and follow through on our intent to deprecate non-secure HTTP.

    • Linux and Windows Servers Targeted with RubyMiner Malware

      Security researchers have spotted a new strain of malware being deployed online. Named RubyMiner, this malware is a cryptocurrency miner spotted going after outdated web servers.

      According to research published by Check Point and Certego, and information received by Bleeping Computer from Ixia, attacks started on January 9-10, last week.

    • Virtual currency miners target web servers with malware
    • ZAP provides automated security tests in continuous integration pipelines

      Commonly, a mixture of open source and expensive proprietary tools are shoehorned into a pipeline to perform tests on nightly as well as ad hoc builds. However, anyone who has used such tests soon realizes that the maturity of a smaller number of time-honored tests is sometimes much more valuable than the extra detail you get by shoehorning too many tests into the pipe then waiting three hours for a nightly build to complete. The maturity of your battle-hardened tests is key.

    • BitTorrent users beware: Flaw lets hackers control your computer

      There’s a critical weakness in the widely used Transmission BitTorrent app that allows websites to execute malicious code on some users’ computers. That’s according to a researcher with Google’s Project Zero vulnerability reporting team, who also warns that other BitTorrent clients are likely similarly susceptible.

      [...]

      Among the things an attacker can do is change the Torrent download directory to the user’s home directory. The attacker could then command Transmission to download a Torrent called “.bashrc” which would automatically be executed the next time the user opened a bash shell. Attackers could also remotely reconfigure Transmission to run any command of their choosing after a download has completed. Ormandy said the exploit is of “relatively low complexity, which is why I’m eager to make sure everyone is patched.”

    • AMD Releases Linux and Windows Patches for Two Variants of Spectre Vulnerability

      AMD has published a press announcement on Thursday to inform its customers that it released patches for two variants of the Spectre security vulnerability disclosed to the public earlier this month.

    • ‘Shift Left’: Codifying Intuition into Secure DevOps

      Continuous delivery (CD) is becoming the cornerstone of modern software development, enabling organizations to ship — in small increments — new features and functionality to customers faster to meet market demands. CD is achieved by applying DevOps practices and principles (continuous integration and continuous deployment) from development to operations. There is no continuous delivery without implementing DevOps practices and principles. By that, I mean strong communication and collaboration across teams, and automation across testing, build, and deployment pipelines. But often achieving continuous delivery to meet market demands presents numerous challenges for security.

    • Purism patches Meltdown and Spectre variant 2, both included in all new Librem laptops

      Purism has released a patch for Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754, aka variant 3) as part of PureOS, and includes this latest PureOS image as part of all new Librem laptop shipments. Purism is also providing a microcode update for Intel processors to address Spectre variant 2 (CVE-2017-5715).

    • Intel Fumbles Its Patch for Chip Flaw

      Intel is quietly advising some customers to hold off installing patches that address new security flaws affecting virtually all of its processors. It turns out the patches had bugs of their own.

    • Wi-Fi Alliance announces WPA3 to secure modern networks

      The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is an odd place to announce an enterprise product, but the Wi-Fi Alliance used the massive trade show — which has more or less taken over where Comdex left off — to announce a major upgrade to Wi-Fi security.

      The alliance announced the Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3), a new standard of Wi-Fi security that greatly increases the security capabilities of the wireless standard. WPA2, which is the current standard in wireless security, has been around for 14 years, so this is way overdue.

    • More iOS 11 Jailbreak Tweaks Could Be Released by the Weekend

      The Electra jailbreak tool is better than LiberiOS because it comes with Substitute. This is the alternative to Cydia substrate that was first developed by Comex. This would allow users to install and use jailbreak tweaks compatible to iOS 11.

    • Hospital [sic] sent offline as hackers infect systems with ransomware, demand payment [iophk: "Windows"]
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #142
    • Spectre and Meltdown patches causing trouble as realistic attacks get closer

      Applications, operating systems, and firmware all need to be updated to defeat Meltdown and protect against Spectre, two attacks that exploit features of high-performance processors to leak information and undermine system security. The computing industry has been scrambling to respond after news of the problem broke early a few days into the new year.

      But that patching is proving problematic. The Meltdown protection is revealing bugs or otherwise undesirable behavior in various drivers, and Intel is currently recommending that people cease installing a microcode update it issued to help tackle the Spectre problem. This comes as researchers are digging into the papers describing the issues and getting closer to weaponizing the research to turn it into a practical attack. With the bad guys sure to be doing the same, real-world attacks using this research are sure to follow soon.

    • Finnish firm detects new Intel security flaw

      new security flaw has been found in Intel hardware which could enable hackers to access corporate laptops remotely, Finnish cybersecurity specialist F-Secure said on Friday.

      F-Secure said in a statement that the flaw had nothing to do with the “Spectre” and “Meltdown” vulnerabilities recently found in the micro-chips that are used in almost all computers, tablets and smartphones today.

      Rather, it was an issue within Intel Active Management Technology (AMT), “which is commonly found in most corporate laptops, (and) allows an attacker to take complete control over a user’s device in a matter of seconds,” the cybersecurity firm said.

    • What is RubyMiner? New malware found targeting Windows and Linux servers to mine cryptocurrency
    • BitTorrent flaw could let hackers take control of Windows, Linux PCs

      According to Project Zero, the client is vulnerable to a DNS re-binding attack that effectively tricks the PC into accepting requests via port 9091 from malicious websites that it would (and should) ordinarily ignore.

    • BitTorrent critical flaw allows hackers to remotely control users’ computers

      A critical flaw in the popular Transmission BitTorrent app could allow hackers to remotely control users’ computers. The flaw, uncovered by Google Project Zero security researchers, allows websites to execute malicious code on users’ devices. Researchers also warned that BitTorrent clients could be susceptible to attacks as well if the flaw is leveraged.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Army Strategist Exposes The Disturbing Parallels Between US Domestic Policing & Military Tactics Abroad

      Nonetheless, take a moment to consider the ways in which counterinsurgency abroad and urban policing at home might, in these years, have come to resemble each other and might actually be connected phenomena

    • There are indicators of one other India-China border spat

      India considers Arunachal Pradesh, lying east of Bhutan, to be one of its 29 states, but China claims the area as part of southern Tibet. The territory, a key focus of a 1962 war fought between the Asian giants, lies along the Sino-Indian border, which is represented by a demarcation line called the Line of Actual Control.

    • The Pope welcomes Sunni migrants while Sunni Islamists seek to cleanse Egypt, Iraq, and Syria of Christians

      Even when the Pope went to Bangladesh and Myanmar he failed to mention the plight of Buddhists and Hindus throughout history and the ongoing reality of mass Bengali Muslim migration that is overwhelming indigenous Buddhists and Hindus in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. Likewise, in Rakhine, it seems that the deaths of Buddhists, Hindus, the Mro, and others, in this part of Myanmar don’t count to the current Pope – and the same applies to other Christian denominations and the mass media.

    • From Pakistan with hate: Hindus murdered, converted, forced to flee

      “Families of weaker communities specially Meghwals which comprise 40% of the town’s population are the most vulnerable ones. Young girls are kidnapped and forced to marry Muslims in this village and Saeed’s outfit provide financial help to the perpetrators,” said Rajesh Maheshwari (name changed), who had fled from Mithi leaving behind all his fortune.

    • Isis executioner who threw gay men off buildings bribed his way out of prison in ‘minutes’

      Human rights watch group the Clarion Project described the escape as a “remarkable failure of the Iraqi justice system – [an] Isis religious leader was arrested and released just minutes later after paying a $7,500 [£5,500] bribe.”

    • Finland: Police investigate gay politician once again for posting about Islam…….

      The trial of Finns party chairman, Jussi Halla-aho, cemented the fact that in Finland, truth is not a defense, that in Finland, we have lost the fundamental right to not only defend ourselves, but to speak our minds.

    • Investigation claims terror suspect visited Glasgow to ‘call for jihadis’

      The Times say a BBC documentary may have uncovered proof that Hafiz Saeed visited Scotland in the years before 9/11 and ‘called for jihad’ while speaking at a mosque in Glasgow.

    • Yazidi Children Rescued From IS Getting Psychological Help

      At Qadiya refugee camp near the Iraqi Kurdistan Region’s northern city of Duhok, more than 100 Yazidi boys and girls aged between 4 and 13, who were kidnapped by IS in August 2014, are getting assistance to recover from the psychological harm they sustained under IS control.

    • In North Korea Talks, Tillerson Needs Women at the Negotiating Table

      Secretary Rex Tillerson will be sitting at a table with 20 foreign ministersTuesday discussing how to resolve the North Korean nuclear crisis. These ministers were chosen due to their nations involvement in the Korean War, not their expertise in North Korea. In fact, many of them have never even stepped foot in North Korea.

      Across the street, at the same time, I, along with an international delegation of 16 women representing feminist peace movements from Asia, Europe, and North America, will convene to share their experience, knowledge, and wisdom garnered by working towards achieving peace and genuine security on the Korean Peninsula.

      Drawing upon their collective expertise on militarism, nuclear disarmament, economic sanctions, and the human, social, and ecological costs of the unresolved 65-year Korean War, the delegation will recommend steps that can ensure a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula. And yet, we can be sure no one at the official table will ever hear what we have to say.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Assange standoff

      The ongoing standoff with the UK has revealed as much. There is no other wanted individual – who lives within plain sight – on whom over $11 million dollars spent in constant police presence in case he tries to escape. When the rape investigation was shut in May 2017 by Swedish investigations, there was hope that Assange could finally leave the UK. That hope was dissipated with the UK government insisting that he was still a wanted man for evading bail conditions. For the last six months, the UK government has kept the same position, despite Ecuador offering a way out by offering Assange diplomatic status as an Ecuadorian citizen. On its part, Ecuador itself has found itself frustrated with the standoff, with the new Ecuadorian leadership less enamoured with the WikiLeaks head, who has continued to make headlines with new leaks. With WikiLeaks now declared an official media organisation within the UK, the UK government has enough space for being able to back out of the desire to arrest Assange. It must be noted that the UN has declared this to be involuntary detention. Why the UK government is insisting that Assange must face arrest for violating bail conditions is seen by many activists as a disturbing sign. There are fears are that the US has issued a secret extradition order which the UK government wishes to comply with. Holed up in the Ecuador embassy, Assange is a VIP guest who deserves to have his freedom returned and to be able to continue his work.

    • Assange’s New Citizenship ‘Bad Remedy Which Can Prove Worse Than Illness’– Prof.

      Ecuador has recently granted citizenship to WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange – a move which is sure to trigger legal political repercussions in the country, argues Andres Mejia Acosta, a professor of international politics at King’s College London, in an interview to Sputnik.

    • Did FPF Board Members Sell Out to Money and Power?

      When the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) was established at the end of 2012, Wikileaks had already faced a barrage of attacks from both the U.S. and Swedish governments, media outlets and movie studios, former Wikileaks volunteers, and banking and financial services institutions like PayPal, Visa and MasterCard who initiated a financial blockade against Wikileaks in December, 2010. When Julian Assange and John Perry Barlow decided to create the FPF it was in direct response to the blockade which was illegal and eating up most of Wikileaks’ revenue. Surprisingly, after its creation three FPF board members were offered cushy journalism and tech jobs courtesy of Pierre Omidyar whose company, PayPal, was directly involved in the financial blockade. Shockingly, they accepted.

    • Why truth has nothing to do with the WikiLeaks upload of Fire and Fury [Ed: Aussie MSM maintains that idea that Wikileaks -- by promoting an anti-Trump book -- is actually helping Trump. How laughable.]

      If ever evidence was needed that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have lost their bearings, it was their recent action in releasing a free download of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury that should have made their state plain to everyone. There was nothing noble or principled about this action: it was petty and vindictive, done to reduce paid sales of the book, and therefore to deny the author and his publisher some income from it.

      It spoke of Assange’s continuing alignment with Donald Trump and his administration, and of his hostility to the Democrats. It may even have been an attempt to curry further favour with Trump, given that Assange is still desperately trying to avoid the risk of being shipped by a third country to America, where he faces serious legal proceedings.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Warming ocean water is turning 99 percent of these sea turtles female

      The sex ratio in the overall population is “nothing out of the ordinary,” with roughly one juvenile male for every four juvenile females, says study coauthor Michael Jensen, a marine biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in La Jolla, Calif. But breaking the data down by the turtles’ region of origin revealed worrisome results. In the cooler southern Great Barrier Reef, 67 percent of hatched juveniles were female. But more than 99 percent of young turtles hatched in sand soaked by warmer waters in the northern Great Barrier Reef were female — with one male for every 116 females. That imbalance has increased over time: 86 percent of the adults born in the area more than 20 years ago were female.

    • Elephants are irreplaceable seed dispersers

      Wild animals play specific roles in the ecosystem, but what happens when they disappear? Using a combination of field data and theoretical modelling, scientists find that no herbivore can replace Indian elephants as the optimal seed dispersers of three large forest trees in West Bengal.

    • When wildlife conservation meets war

      The researchers from 2016 concluded that we need better, more fine-grained data on the impacts of conflict, and a new paper in this week’s Nature drills into historical data to provide just that. Authors Joshua H. Daskin and Robert M. Pringle report that “even low-grade, infrequent conflict is sufficient” to cause harm to wildlife. But they also conclude that the mere presence of conflict doesn’t mean that the wildlife in that region should be written off.

    • In early push into Papua, palm oil firms set stage for massive forest plunder

      All of this has been allowed to happen with the blessing of the government, which is already resented by much of the Papuan population following decades of exploitation of the region’s riches with little of that wealth being invested back into the community. Papua and West Papua today have the highest levels of poverty in Indonesia and score lowest on human development parameters such as education, literacy, and maternal and infant mortality.

    • Cargill takes rare step of cutting business with Guatemalan palm oil supplier

      In late November, Cargill suspended business with Reforestadora de Palmas del Petén S.A. (REPSA), saying it would not enter any new purchase contracts until the Guatemalan company can meet the “requirements of our sustainable palm oil policy,” said a Cargill review laying out the decision.

    • Coral reefs head for ‘knock-out punch’

      A study of 100 reefs, published in Science Magazine, shows the interval between bleaching events in recent decades has shortened dramatically.

      It has gone from once every 25-30 years in the early 1980s to an average of just once every six years today.

      Bleaching is caused by anomalously warm water, which prompts coral polyps to eject their symbiotic algae.

    • Study: Honeybees’ Attraction to Fungicide ‘Unsettling’ for Food Output

      Tests carried out by a team from the University of Illinois showed bees preferred to collect sugar syrup laced with the fungicide chlorothalonil over sugar syrup alone.

    • Quarter of British honey contaminated with bee-harming pesticides, research reveals

      Although the contamination rate has fallen from a half since a partial EU ban the insecticides remain in the farmed environment posing a serious risk to bees

    • Accidental Discovery Could Save Bees From Their Greatest Threat

      German scientists primarily based out of the University of Hoffenheim have stumbled upon a simple solution that could deal a blow to honeybees’ greatest threat. They’ve found that a tiny dose of the compound lithium chloride kills Varroa destructor mites without harming bees.

      The scientists detailed their incredible findings in the January 12th publication of Scientific Reports.

    • The Buzz Fades

      Under-resourced in an overworked agricultural system, honeybee colonies are gradually failing in most temperate regions.

    • California’s Owls Being Exposed to Rat Poison

      Researchers suspect the source of the toxins may be some of the state’s 50,000 or so marijuana farms.

    • Trump’s offshore oil drilling plans ignore the lessons of BP Deepwater Horizon

      Our panel concluded that the immediate cause of the blowout was a series of identifiable mistakes by BP, the company drilling the well; Halliburton, which cemented the well; and Transocean, the drill ship operator. We wrote that these mistakes revealed “such systematic failures in risk management that they place in doubt the safety culture of the entire industry.” The root causes for these mistakes included regulatory failures.

    • On its 100th birthday in 1959, Edward Teller warned the oil industry about global warming

      And so, at its hundredth birthday party, American oil was warned of its civilization-destroying potential.

    • World could run out of chocolate by 2050 but there might be a way to save it

      The cacao plant responsible for producing these seeds is having trouble surviving and is likely to become extinct in the next 40 years, according to a report by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

      These plants grow in very specific conditions and areas – within 10 degrees north and south of the equator – featuring nitrogen-rich soil, lots of humidity and abundant rainfall. Typically, more than half of the world’s chocolate comes from Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia.

    • Five demands for climate change justice

      Two years on from the Paris Agreement, what should governments be doing to take climate change seriously?

      In the run-up to the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement and in parallel to the UN Climate Convention in Bonn, climate justice campaigners and lawyers from six continents met to co-ordinate five clear legal demands for local, regional and national governments.

    • Expect EPA chief Scott Pruitt’s reckless spending to continue in 2018

      Regarding EPA, and according to this White House, fossil fuel energy lobbyists are in, and federal scientists and engineers are out.

    • The terrible power of plastic is that it quickly becomes useless but never goes away

      It isn’t just plastic, of course. Broken glass and rusted metal are also common landscape pollution, but plastic is the ugliest; the terrible power of plastic is that it quickly becomes useless but never goes away.

    • Iceland supermarket chain aims to be plastic free by 2023

      Supermarket chain Iceland has said it will eliminate or drastically reduce plastic packaging of all its own-label products by the end of 2023.

      Iceland says the move will affect more than a thousand own-label products.

      New ranges will be packaged using a paper-based tray, rather than plastic.

      It follows recent outcries over the packaging of cauliflower “steaks” and coconuts, and Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet programme, which showed vivid images of plastic pollution.

    • Wild Whale Rushes To Save Diver From Giant Shark

      Back in October, Hauser was diving off near the Cook Islands, in the South Pacific, with a camera crew who wanted to film her in the water alongside humpback whales. In an unusually persistent manner, one whale swam right up and began nudging her with his mouth and chin, seemingly trying to tuck her underneath his pectoral fin.

  • Finance

    • Bid to block cryptocurrency regulation in South Korea

      The South Korean Government’s attempts to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies has led to mounting support for a petition seeking to stop the efforts at curbing use of such currencies.

    • The success or failure of Brexit hinges on the next two and a half months

      In terms of Brexit, 2018 starts with a sense of cautious optimism. The confidence and bluster that prevailed in early 2017 was gradually replaced with a conciliatory approach from the UK and the ruling out of a no-deal scenario. But it’s difficult to shake the sense that we’re experiencing the calm before the storm.

      Considering that the next phase of negotiations will not formally begin until late March – when new guidelines will have been discussed by member states and adopted by the European Commission – the actual trade talks will last no longer than six months. The time from autumn 2018 to March 2019 will be put aside for the ratification of the deal by the European parliament, the European Council, and, potentially, member states’ national parliaments.

      This means that, in practice, this next phase of talks will not contain a great level of detail but will cover the ‘framework for the future relationship’ between the UK and the EU, and will therefore be critical.

    • Facebook Execs Sold $4bn in Stock Last Year

      Facebook’s top executives sold company shares worth more than $4bn in 2017, over double the amount of other execs at some of the largest technology firms in the US.

    • Kentucky the first state to fulfill Trump’s vision of a nation of uninsured poor people

      Remember when Kentucky was the big success story, along with Arkansas, in healthcare? When it was leading the nation in reducing the number of uninsured people? Well, thanks to the Republican takeover of the governorship there and the White House, that’s all over now. So’s the $820 million the state was expected to save by 2021 in reducing the number of uninsured and making full use of the Medicaid expansion funds available to it.

      On Friday, Kentucky’s Republican governor Matt Bevin was granted a waiver by Trump’s Department Health and Human Services, allowing him to impose new work requirements on people receiving or applying for Medicaid in his state.

    • The three-stage plan to stop Brexit

      In early June 2016, a few weeks before the EU referendum, the board members of the Stronger In campaign sat around a table to discuss how the campaign was going. As usual we were presented with evidence from polling and focus groups showing that ‘swing voters’ would respond to warnings about the financial impact of Brexit on their lives. On polling day, people wouldn’t vote against their own self-interest, we were assured.

      But they did.

      As the post-referendum months roll by, and the stark reality of what Brexit means becomes increasingly clear, we’re given almost daily reminders of the profound failure of the Remain campaign to tell a story convincing enough to persuade people to vote against economic disaster. The Brexit vote has already cost the UK economy £300m a week. Food prices are growing at their fastest rate in four years. Inflation is over three per cent for the first time in nearly six years. Applications from EU nurses to work in the UK have fallen by 89% since the referendum.

    • What next for Labour’s factions?

      As expected, the Momentum slate swept the board again at Labour’s NEC elections. This means they now hold all nine constituency positions as well as controlling other internal bodies such as the Conference Arrangements Committee. It all sounds incredibly boring, largely because, for the most part, it is.

      You have to be a truly dedicated political activist to care much about internal elections. Even party members don’t very much, which is why turnout (other than for leadership contests) is always so low. You will probably hear a lot from the losing factions about turnout numbers, but then you always do. Whoever happens to be the losing faction at that time will always make that argument. When they start winning again they’ll do naff-all to change it.

      [...]

      I suspect deselections will turn out to be a damp squib with a few symbolic victories but not enough to truly alter the overall shape of the Parliamentary party or more than a handful of councils. But opening up policy-making to the membership may well come back to haunt a leadership that finds itself at odds with their most enthusiastic supporters over Brexit.

    • Britain can still stop Brexit and change its mind, EU Council President Donald Tusk declares

      Donald Tusk made the startling comments just days after a shock poll found Remain would win by 10 points in a re-run of the EU referendum .

      He told MEPs in Strasbourg: “If the UK Government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality – with all its negative consequences – in March next year unless there is a change of heart among our British friends.

      “Wasn’t it David Davis himself who said ‘if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy’?”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • A brief history of how the rich world brutalized and looted Haiti, a country the US owes its very existence to

      Haiti (then called Saint-Domingue) was France’s most brutal, most profitable colony, a tiny island that supplied 75% of the world’s sugar, sending more wealth to France than the all 13 of the original US colonies combined.

    • Without Haiti, the United States Would, in Fact, Be a Shithole
    • Sweden to create new authority tasked with countering disinformation

      The new “psychological defence” (psykologiskt försvar) authority was announced by Prime Minister Stefan Löfven during his speech at the annual ‘Folk och försvar’ security conference in Sälen. It is based on a proposal by the cross-party parliamentary Defence Commission (Försvarsberedningen).

    • Reps. Maxine Waters and John Lewis Are Boycotting Trump’s State of the Union Speech

      President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address is scheduled to take place on January 30, 2018, but several notable politicians will not be in attendance. As noted by The Hill, Rep. Maxine Waters (D), Rep. John Lewis (D), and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D) have all vowed to boycott Trump’s speech — and there are likely to be more names to follow.

      On Friday, January 12, Waters appeared on MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes, where she explained her decision to stay home from the event. “Why would I take my time to go and sit and listen to a liar?” she said, referring to the many statements Trump has said that are proven to be false. “Someone who lies in the face of facts, someone who can change their tune day in and day out. What does he have to say that I would be interested in?” Waters added that she doesn’t trust or appreciate Trump, adding that he “does not deserve my attention.”

    • Facebook’s Adam Mosseri on Why You’ll See Less Video, More From Friends

      Facebook on Thursday announced sweeping changes to the way it plans to manage the newsfeed, the front door to the service for its 2 billion monthly users. Under the new regime, Facebook says users will see more content from friends and family, and less from brands and publishers. The new algorithm also will favor content that draws a lot of comments over posts that are popular, but don’t elicit comments.

    • I was Mark Zuckerberg’s mentor. Today I would tell him: your users are in peril

      Users can have significant influence on internet companies, but only if they stop using the platform. More than 2 billion people worldwide use social media; two-thirds of them use Facebook every day. A scary percentage of smartphone owners exhibit signs of addiction. They can’t quit.

    • Democrats and the End(s) of Politics

      The Democrats’ failure of political understanding regarding Mr. Trump isn’t that voters are crass (deplorable?) but rather that conflating technocracy with intelligence and sophistication confuses style with substance. Donald Trump is the prototypical, iconic if you will, beneficiary of the national Democrats’ policies. As was said of George W. Bush, Mr. Trump was born on third base but believes he hit a home run. But if he is undeserving of the Democrats’ largesse, who precisely, are the deserving kleptocrats?

    • South Africa to formally protest Trump’s ‘s—hole’ comment

      South Africa is planning to formally protest President Trump’s reported remarks referring to Haiti, El Salvador and some African nations as “shithole countries.”

      South Africa’s government on Monday is expected to issue a diplomatic protest to the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, CNN reported.

      “The Department will provide an opportunity to the Charges de Affaires to explain the statement that African countries, alongside Haiti and El Salvador, constitute ‘shitholes’ from where migrants into the United States are undesirable,” the South African Department of International Relations said in a statement.

    • Warren-Sanders Democrats vs Oprah: “One billionaire president in a decade is going to be plenty for us”
    • Norwegians suffer from desperate shortage of parking, will come to America in droves

      The President of the United States, discussing immigration, recently said “We should have more people from Norway.” This is a wonderful gesture; he must have been spending his executive time watching the shocking Streetfilms documentary Oslo: The Journey to Car-free and learned about the tragic destruction of parking spaces there.

    • Intel underfoot: Floor sensors rise as retail data source

      In this photo taken Dec. 5, 2017, Scanalytics co-founder and CEO Joe Scanlin holds a smart floor sensor his company creates that track people’s movements in Milwaukee. The sensors are among the tools retailers are using to gain insights on consumer habits.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Hardline Muslims Rally Outside Facebook’s Indonesian HQ
    • Narayanganj man held for posting images defaming Quran on Facebook
    • Facebook: Championing Blasphemy Laws
    • Activist detained in Lahore to prevent her from commemorating Salman Taseer

      The agents prevented her from organising a prayer vigil to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the assassination of Salman Taseer, a Punjab governor killed by his bodyguard in 2011 for defending Asia Bibi and challenging the “black law” on blasphemy.

    • Maldives activist ‘fears for life’ amid blasphemy investigation

      Shahindha Ismail, executive director of Maldives Democracy Network (MDN), told Al Jazeera that anonymous accounts on Twitter and Facebook have been calling for her death, after a newspaper article and religious scholars accused her of advocating for secularism in the Sunni Muslim state.

    • Publisher Defied Trump to ‘Defend the Principles of the First Amendment’

      “Though your letter provides a basic summary of New York libel law, tellingly, it stops short of identifying a single statement in the book that is factually false or defamatory,” an outside lawyer for Henry Holt wrote. “Instead, the letter appears to be designed to silence legitimate criticism. This is the antithesis of an actionable libel claim.”

    • Facebook announces major plan to censor news content

      Facebook is currently a major source of news for hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. The number of global Facebook users has increased from 100 million in 2008 to more than 2 billion. According to a Pew Research poll last November, 45 percent of Americans use Facebook for news content, more than any other social media platform. It has become a significant mechanism for the organization of protests and the spread of information outside of the control of the major media conglomerates. It is this that Facebook, working closely with the major capitalist states, wants to end.

    • Facebook’s new policy on posts may make ads more expensive

      Facebook’s decision to prioritise posts made by users and their friends over those from publishers and brands is likely to make it more expensive for marketing agencies to push their clients’ products.

    • Palace: No media censorship on Rappler

      THE decision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to revoke the license to operate of online news organization Rappler because it allegedly violated the Constitution on ownership is not media censorship, Malacanang said on Tuesday.

      Palace spokesman Harry Roque was referring to the SEC ruling that found Rappler in violation of the provision requiring 100 percent Filipino ownership of a mass media entity.

    • SEC revokes Rappler’s registration

      In a blow to press freedom in the Philippines, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked the registration of news organization Rappler allegedly for violating the Constitution and the Anti-Dummy Law.

      SEC accused Rappler of violating constitutional restrictions on ownership and control of mass media entities because of funds coming Omidyar Network, a fund created by eBay founder and entrepreneur Pierre Omidyar. (READ Rappler’s statement: Stand with Rappler, defend press freedom)

      “The En Banc finds Rappler, Inc. and Rappler Holdings Corporation, a Mass Media Entity and its alter ego, liable for violating the constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restriction in Mass Media, enforceable through laws and rules within the mandate of the commission,” the SEC en banc said in its decision dated January 11 but published on its website Monday, January 15.

    • Facebook blocks sharing of WSWS anti-censorship video

      Facebook has blocked users from sharing a social media video promoting the January 16 online meeting “Organizing resistance to Internet censorship,” featuring World Socialist Web Site International Editorial Board Chairman David North and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges. The initial post of the video, uploaded Friday, cannot be shared by any user. Those who attempt to do so receive an error message that seems to imply a technical failure.

    • ‘Fake news’ law raises censorship concerns in France

      Can a democratic country outlaw fake news?
      France is about to find out, after President Emmanuel Macron ordered a law to quash false information disseminated around electoral campaigns.

      Criticism is pouring in from media advocates, tech experts — and Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT. They say the law smacks of authoritarianism, would be impossible to enforce and is sure to backfire.

    • Commentary: From Fake News to Censorship

      Fake news may be a new term in the realm of politics, but radical animal activists have been using it for years. They sneak onto livestock farms, take undercover video, and then edit it together to tell a story of animal abuse that is not true. With this, they have destroyed the good reputation of many livestock farms, caused serious financial harm, and impacted consumer perception of livestock production. When farmers have tried to get laws passed to stop this tactic, these groups cry censorship and hide behind the first amendment. Yet, now these groups are using censorship as a new weapon against the animal industry.

      The web site TripAdvisor provides ratings and reviews of hotels, resorts, restaurants, cruises, and entertainment destinations. You can even book reservations and tickets to many of these destinations. Starting in 2017 TripAdvisor entered into an alliance with PETA. TripAdvisor is no longer selling tickets for certain attractions that involve animals, such as elephant rides or swimming with dolphins. This obvious move toward censorship comes despite very high ratings for many of these venues. Many animal attractions are rated highly on TripAdvisor, with travelers reporting the conditions firsthand. In fact, TripAdvisor itself awards a number of venues that have elephants rides or swim-with-dolphins activity a “Certificate of Excellence,” which is awarded to attractions that “consistently earn great reviews from travelers.”

    • MOPPAN, censorship board differ on Rahama Sadau ban

      The leadership of Motion Pictures Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) Kano state chapter has disagreed with the decision of state censorship board over the fate of the Kannywood actress, Rahama Sadau back into the indigenous Hausa movie industry.

      The board, through its executive director Isma’ila Na’abba Afakalla had last week declared willingness to censor Rahama Sadau’s films in what many perceived as a move towards recalling the ace actress into the industry after her ban about two years ago by MOPPAN.

    • ‘One Piece’ Fans Are Confused About Its Latest Censorship

      Censorship and anime have a complicated history. Over the years, dozens of shows have been altered to suit broadcasting regulations in Japan and abroad, but One Piece fans are a bit puzzled about its latest censorship.

    • Play tells ‘Story’ of censorship, segregation

      The real-life incident Jones based his play on is the stuff of drama. When an Alabama senator demanded that “The Rabbit’s Wedding” by Garth Williams be pulled from all libraries in the state on the grounds that it promoted racial integration—one rabbit is black, the other white—Emily Wheelock Reed, director of the Alabama Public Library Services Division, refused. Instead, she had libraries place the book, intended for children ages 3-7, on their reserve shelves.

      “Alabama Story,” which opens Jan. 18 at San Jose’s City Lights Theater Company, follows the confrontation between Reed and the senator (E.O. Eddins in real life, E.W. Higgins in the play) at subsequent library budget hearings. But Jones also created a parallel fictional story line about Joshua and Lily, a black man and a white woman who were childhood friends and are reunited as adults in 1959, when the Civil Rights Movement was just catching fire in the South.

    • Censorship and Appointment Cause Turmoil in Film and Theatre Communities

      A recent attempt to ban a Croatian film from the national public broadcaster and an appointment in the national theatre have brought numerous reactions.

      Reactions keep coming to an attempt by war veterans’ associations to ban the film “The Ministry of Love” (Ministarstvo Ljubavi) from Croatian Radio Television (HRT), as well as to recent statements given by former Culture Minister Zlatko Hasanbegović, who once again called the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC), which partly financed the film, a clientelist association financed by the citizens who have the right to know which movies are being funded, reports N1 on January 15, 2018.

    • Chinese institute at UMass Boston is accused of promoting censorship

      A group of students, professors, and alumni at UMass Boston has accused a campus academic center with ties to the Chinese government of promoting censorship abroad and undermining human rights and academic freedom.

      The organizer of the objectors said she hopes to convince the university to shut down the campus Confucius Institute altogether.

      “Though marketed as benign language and culture schools, Confucius Institutes use their foothold in prominent academic institutions to influence and steer academic discourse and ultimately take aim to shape public opinion on key political and human rights issues,” the group said in a recent letter to interim Chancellor Barry Mills, asking for a meeting to discuss their concerns.

    • Sir Richard Branson tells Virgin Trains to re-stock Daily Mail after decision criticised as ‘censorship’
    • Richard Branson orders Virgin Trains to restock Daily Mail amid ‘censorship’ accusation
    • Sir Richard Branson tells Virgin Trains to re-stock Daily Mail following ‘censorship’ row
    • PR pros react to Virgin Trains’ reinstatement of Mail: ‘Mature and wise’ – but who really made the decision?
    • Daily Mail to return to Virgin trains after Branson intervenes
    • Sir Richard Branson instructs Virgin Trains to re-stock the Daily Mail after its decision to stop selling the newspaper was blasted as ‘censorship’
    • Virgin Trains will stock Daily Mail newspapers, says Richard Branson in U-turn decision
    • Branson orders UK’s Virgin Trains to re-stock Daily Mail after censorship spat
    • ‘Seen as censorship’: Richard Branson lifts Virgin Trains’ ban on Daily Mail
    • Daily Mail newspaper returns to Virgin Trains after censorship outcry
    • Microsoft and Amazon Enable Censorship Circumvention Tools in Iran. Why Doesn’t Google? [Ed: Stop portraying Microsoft as against censorship. Unlike Google, it appeased China by censoring search!]
    • Statement by Julian Assange opposing Internet censorship will be read at WSWS “Organizing Resistance” Webinar

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has sent the World Socialist Web Site an important statement warning of government and corporate efforts to curtail the democratic exchange of information. He has requested that it be read during the WSWS Webinar, “Organizing Resistance to Internet Censorship.”

    • 6 Tales of Censorship in the Golden Age of Free Speech

      An African American writer calls out racist hate speech—and gets suspended from Facebook. A young adult author watches her unpublished novel ignite a firestorm on Twitter before anyone has even read it. A Muslim civil rights attorney self-censors, and then finds herself hoping that a white man will say what she was thinking. A well-known conservative firebrand suddenly becomes one of the biggest targets of far-right trolls. A Google engineer writes a controversial memo, and instantly becomes a villain to one army of online readers and a hero to another.

    • China disrupts global companies’s web access as censorship bites
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Teacher’s arrest in Louisiana: Another day, another outrage

      The statement by the middle school teacher that “We are doing the work” and “You are making our jobs more difficult” resonates with the daily experiences of working class people in the US and around the world.

      What gives school board officials the right to siphon off resources and shut down protests? Their petty larceny is inspired by far greater larceny, their authoritarian disposition gains sustenance from a broader social environment.

    • Trump’s first year has been the private prison industry’s best

      Here is how the private prison industry fared during Trump’s first year. Today, 65 percent of detainees held by the Department of Homeland Security are housed in privately run facilities. With the administration’s plans to increase the capacity to hold undocumented immigrants behind bars, the private prison industry’s revenues will surely follow suit. And in an unprecedented move, in late 2017, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asked for information from contractors who can provide additional immigration detention space in the interior of the nation, in major cities such as Salt Lake City, Chicago, Detroit and St. Paul, along with an expected request for information on contractors who can provide additional capacity along the southern U.S. border in Texas.

    • In America, prisoners with money can pay their way to a nicer stay

      A collaborative investigation by the Los Angeles Times and the Marshall Project found that for $100 a night, inmates in Seal Beach’s pay-for-stay program had access to “amenities that included flat-screen TVs, a computer room and new beds.” The cost also affords inmates “semi-private rooms, single showers and the ability to… make phone calls whenever they want.” In addition to creature comforts, the program lets those with resources buy their way out of serving time in the Los Angeles and Orange County jails, where overcrowding, violence and inhumane conditions are often baked into every jail sentence.

    • Paying a little extra upfront is better than tipping

      In Australia we don’t tip. And if we do, it’s for excellent service only. And the reason we don’t tip is because we respect hospitality workers and believe they should be paid accordingly. Explaining this concept recently to an American friend, I was met with incredulity. But I’m adamant: a culture of expected tips means you’re hurting the very people you’re intending to help.

    • Justice Is “Justice” When It’s Something Wealthy And Connected People Can Buy

      This leads to unequal justice — to people pleading out just to get out of jail when they can’t pay, even when they aren’t guilty:

    • Official Turkish body said it was OK for girls to marry at 9, claims it was only following Islam

      In an online religious glossary intended for the public released earlier this week, Diyanet, as the body is known, stated that these are the earliest ages for children to reach adolescence, and once the threshold of emotional and physical maturity is crossed, they must be allowed to marry “to save themselves from adultery.”

    • UP: Muslim woman given triple talaq over dowry demand
    • Kerala govt orders closure of Kochi school for promoting, teaching communal content
    • Has rape become a weapon to silence atheists in Bangladesh?

      Nirala rejected both Islamism and Hindutva. She co-administered a secular community blog site which she said was shut down by the Bangladeshi government in 2013 following an irrational demand by Islamist groups for the state to execute all atheist bloggers.

    • HASSAN: Iranian protesters are shunning the hijab – let’s join them

      It is only women who have lived under an oppressive Islamic government who know that true progressives should shun the hijab.

      Islamists and their naive supporters have worked hard to portray the hijab as an Islamic symbol and imposed it on Muslim women wherever there is strict sharia law. Yet it is not a symbol of Islam but of Islamism.

    • Greece is limiting the power of sharia law

      Sharia law has applied to Thrace, a poor northern region home to most of Greek’s Muslim minority, for close to a century. This is down to the 1920 treaty of Sevres, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, sparking population movements between Greece and Turkey; and the 1923 treaty of Lausanne, which recognized the boundary of modern Turkey. The treaties required that Islamic customs and Islamic religious law apply to thousands of Muslims who remained in Greece and suddenly became Greek citizens.

    • French Secularism Is in Crisis. What Does That Mean for Muslim Youth?

      Three years after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, students in the banlieues debate secularism and the state.

    • Free-range kids are the norm in Germany — are American parents over-protective?
    • Where Is West Papua’s Struggle for Independence From Indonesia Headed?
    • Morning Star badge embroils West Papuan activist
    • Saudi Arabia’s Chance to Create a Liberal Kingdom

      On June 17, 2012, Raif was detained on charges that included apostasy, cybercrime and disobeying his father. According to Saudi law, children can be separated from their parents if they are accused of apostasy. I feared that Raif’s father or my family might deprive me the custody of my children. Raif and I decided that I should leave the country to ensure that our children stay with me. Along with my children, I sought asylum in Canada.

      In May 2014, Raif was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes, and fined a million Saudi Arabian riyal for creating an online forum for public debate and “insulting” Islam. On Jan. 9, 2015, Raif was struck with 50 lashes in a public square in Jeddah, but the lashing was stopped on medical advice. He remains in prison. Only a pardon from King Salman can get him released.

    • Marriott sacks employee who ‘liked’ Twitter post from Tibet independence group

      Similarly, international fashion brand Zara and medical equipment maker Medtronic were ordered by Shanghai’s internet regulator to update their websites after they too were found to have to referred to Taiwan as a country.

    • Tibetan language campaigner Tashi Wangchuk faces up to 15 years in jail for ‘inciting separatism’

      Tashi Wangchuk, 32, has been detained for nearly two years after being taken away from his home in January 2016, two months after the campaigner spoke to foreign media about his advocacy of Tibetan language education.

    • Nigerian Slaves Beaten, Tied Up With Barbed Wire and Forced to Drink From Toilet in Libya

      The Nigerians, who spent years in Libya trying to buy their way to freedom and across the Mediterranean to Europe, told the BBC how they were raped, starved, beaten and sold as slaves in the war-ravaged country.

    • From former Muslims who became Catholics, and their friends, to His Holiness Pope Francis, about his attitude towards Islam

      Many of us have tried to contact you, on many occasions and for several years, and we have never received the slightest acknowledgement of our letters or requests for meetings. You do not like to beat around the bush, and neither do we, so allow us to say frankly that we do not understand your teaching about Islam [...]

    • Iran Protester Arrested for Taking Off Hijab

      Hailed as sign of liberation amidst silence from feminists on the Left

    • 2 friends who helped Muslim man ‘forcibly convert’ Kerala woman held

      The woman had alleged that Riyaz pretended to be in love with her when she was studying in Bengaluru in 2014 and forced her to convert to Islam and married her.

    • Religious teacher suspended by mosque after arrest on suspicion of inciting child to engage in sexual activity
    • Muslim trainee lawyer beat up girlfriend over fear pregnancy would be revealed

      She added that Mr Imran’s parents, who live in Dubai, told him he had “brought shame to his family and had disowned him” over his relationship with the woman, from Stockton.

    • Ending Mass Incarceration Is a Winner for Politicians

      For decades, politicians competed to see who could push the most draconian criminal justice policies. Jeff Sessions’s announcement this month that he would authorize federal prosecutors to go after pot even in states where it is legal seems ripped straight from that playbook. But the “tough on crime” attorney general may be in for a surprise. In 2018, it turns out, demagoguery about crime no longer packs a political punch. In fact, support for reform may prove to be a sleeper issue in 2018 and 2020.

      This would be a big change. Candidates most prominently began to compete on crime in the tumultuous 1960s. Richard Nixon won with ads showing burning cities and scowling young men, ads crafted by an unknown aide named Roger Ailes. Ronald Reagan launched a “war on drugs.” George H.W. Bush won in 1988 with notorious ads telling the story of Willie Horton, who was allowed out of prison under a weekend furlough program. Bill Clinton in 1992 bragged of his support for the death penalty. These chest-thumping themes were echoed in hundreds of campaigns down the ballot each year.

      Politics driven by fear of crime had direct, destructive social costs. Today, with just under five percent of the world’s population, the U.S. has nearly 25 percent of its prisoners. Black communities bear the brunt, with one in four Black men serving time during their lifetimes.

    • Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence

      I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. I join with you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization which has brought us together: Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam. The recent statement of your executive committee are the sentiments of my own heart and I found myself in full accord when I read its opening lines: “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.

      The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover when the issues at hand seem as perplexed as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty; but we must move on.

    • Animal Cruelty Is a Clear Predictor of Future Violence, So Why Are Perpetrators Merely Slapped on the Wrist?

      But on Nov. 28, 2017, Gallagher received a distressingly light sentence, amounting to a mere slap on the wrist. After pleading guilty to felony animal cruelty charges, Gallagher was sentenced to just four months in county jail, plus five years probation and a ban on owning animals for two decades.

      As District Attorney Singas said in response: “These types of inhumane actions against animals are heinous and unjustifiable, and should serve as a rallying cry for the state to finally enhance penalties for those convicted of felony animal abuse.”

      We at the Animal Legal Defense Fund could not agree more. Animal cruelty must be taken more seriously and the penalties should reflect that seriousness. This is both for the sakes of the animal victims and for the safety of our communities more broadly.

    • ‘Ignorant infidels‘ in U.S. could should be ‘pressured‘ to just accept Islam

      The only reason the public knows what was said inside the Nov. 18 conference at a Holiday Inn in Springfield, Virginia, is because the gathering was infiltrated by Ehsan Rehan, the brave Pakistani-born journalist and editor of who went undercover and captured video and audio.

    • Turkey: 1,000 could be falsely accused of links to cleric

      Turkey has arrested some 50,000 people since the coup and purged 110,000 others from government jobs.

    • “Swatting” didn’t kill a man, police did

      As much as “swatting” is a waste of public resources and an atrocious prank that deserves attention, it’s irresponsible and disingenuous to leave police accountability out of the conversation about the case in Kansas.

    • Mother of “swatting” victim wants cop criminally charged for shooting

      The letter says police have yet to return the family’s front door as well as a computer, two cell phones, and other items that were taken in the wake of last week’s shooting.

    • Attorney: Family of ‘swatting’ victim wants officer charged

      “Justice for the Finch family constitutes criminal charges against the shooting officer and any other liable officers as well as damages against the city of Wichita for the policies and practices of its Police Department,” Stroth said.

    • Enraged off-duty NYPD cop pistol-whips, beats driver in Brooklyn

      Sources said Baror, 24, jumped out of the SUV waving and pointing a gun and shouted, “Don’t you know who the f— I am? I’m NYPD! You don’t f— with the NYPD.”

      Baror then allegedly punched Nacimas and his girlfriend Jaclyn Araiza, 27.

    • Now even refugees are afraid in Sweden: Want to leave Malmö in droves

      Another resident of Malmö sees a connection between violence against women and the image of women in Islam. She is a teacher and says Islamisation is indeed taking place: More girls wear a hijab and more students prefer [assimilate into]the Islamic culture.

    • Mohammed most popular name for newborn boys in the Netherlands for second year in a row

      The name Noah was putatively considered the most popular boy’s name for 2017, having been given to 635 new-born boys in the Netherlands. A journalist from broadcaster Powned did some research into the database, however, and noticed that another name, a non-traditional Dutch name, was slightly more prevalent.

    • FUREY: Hijab hoax girl, family owe Canadians an apology

      On Monday, Toronto Police issued the following brief statement. “After a detailed investigation, police have determined that the events described did not happen,” it read. “Our investigation is concluded and we don’t expect anything further.”

    • Toronto police say hijab-cutting incident didn’t happen

      The story made international headlines and drew public condemnation from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

    • Washington State AG Sues Motel 6 For Handing Over Guest Registry Info To ICE

      At some point in the recent past, Motel 6 owners decided they were deputized law enforcement personnel. So what if people paid for a night’s worth of uninterrupted sleep and expected that visits from federal and local officials would be kept to a minimum. These owners — which the Motel 6 corporation takes great pain to point out are “independent” owner/operators — have decided to ingratiate themselves with untrustworthy organizations like ICE… or the local PD.

      Some Motel 6s decided to fax guest lists to police departments every night. Others decided they’d turn over every name that looked slightly non-Caucasian to ICE. In both cases, Motel 6 (the corporation) brought the hammer down, swearing it had never given franchisees the permission to turn guest lists into tip sheets for law enforcement. The post-facto corporate rollback wasn’t enough for Washington’s Attorney General. The state looked into local policies after hearing about rogue ICE relationships in Arizona. It found more of the same occurring in Washington, resulting in a state lawsuit against company for turning guests list into ICE fodder.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Tickbox Clearly Promotes and Facilitates Piracy, Hollywood Tells Court

        The owner of TickBox TV, a Kodi-powered streaming device, is being sued for copyright infringement by a group of major Hollywood studios plus Amazon and Netflix. The box seller previously argued that it’s operating legally but in a scathing reply the movie companies counter this assertion.

      • US Govt Brands Torrent, Streaming & Cyberlocker Sites As Notorious Markets

        Keeping its annual tradition, the office of the United States Trade Representative has targeted some of the world’s most famous ‘pirate’ sites in its latest report on copyright infringing venues. In addition to torrent sites like The Pirate Bay, RARBG, and RuTracker, hosting sites 4Shared and Openload come in for criticism. Again this year, a list of sites hosted in Switzerland are under attack.

      • Copyright Week 2018: Join Us in Fighting for Better Copyright Law and Policy

        Copyright law shapes the world we live in. It is supposed to encourage progress and creativity, enriching our culture and contributing to the growth of knowledge. However, the law is often used as a blunt instrument by a few prominent actors to preserve their cultural dominance. Less obviously, governments and other large industries have taken to using the law to hide information they don’t want us to see and use or to limit functionality and ownership of software and devices we buy and use. The law shouldn’t work this way. It should serve us all.

        It doesn’t matter if you are a creator or simply someone who enjoys media; an inventor or someone who just wants to use, fix, or tinker with your devices; a researcher or someone who wants to look up information—copyright law impacts all of these things. And, right now, the law is out of whack. It’s balanced in favor of people who want to control things, instead of people who want to share things.

      • EIFL – Libraries: A Trio Of European Court Rulings

        In recent years, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), Europe’s highest court, has made three important rulings concerning digital library activities in Europe, write Vincent Bonnet and Barbara Stratton.

      • Movie Coalition Ramps Up Fight Against TV Streaming Devices

        The movie studios brought similar claims against the maker of the TickBox in October. The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment said it was planning more such actions. The TickBox and the Dragon Box are devices known as Kodi boxes, named after the open source software used by many of the systems.

      • Is Copyright Term Extension Finally Done?

        Today’s topic for Copyright Week is Public Domain and Creativity: Copyright policy should encourage creativity, not hamper it. Excessive copyright terms inhibit our ability to comment, criticize, and reworkour common culture.

        Copyright always builds upon the past. The public domain is our shared cultural commons, a near limitless trove of creativity that’s been reused, remixed, and reimagined over centuries to create new works of art and science. The value of the public domain is impossible to overestimate. Contemporary copyright policy should strive to promote, and not diminish, a robust, accessible public domain.

      • Don’t Let Upload Filters Undermine the Public Domain

        We now call that conceptual and legal space the public domain, since works hitherto locked down by private copyright monopolies become freely available to everyone, to enjoy and to re-use as they wish. In doing so, the Statute of Anne fashioned an immensely rich artistic resource that could be drawn upon by later creators. Since all art builds to a lesser or greater degree on the ideas and achievements of those who have come before – nothing emerges in a vacuum – the steady accretion of works in the public domain has formed an ever-larger reservoir from which creators could draw as they wished, with resultant benefits for both them and their audiences.

        Despite the evident power of adding works to this universal resource, the public domain has been under repeated attack. The most direct assault has come from the extension of copyright’s term. All around the world, the length of government protection has moved in one direction only: upwards. From the basic 14 years provided by the Statute of Anne, the copyright ratchet has now brought about a widespread 70 years over and above for the whole lifetime of the creator.

      • The Public Domain Starts Growing Again Next Year, and It’s About Time

        Have you ever wondered how it’s possible for there to be two Jungle Book movies to be in development at the same time? Why everything seems to be based on a work by Shakespeare? Or why it always seems like someone is telling a version of The Wizard of Oz? The answer is that these works are in the public domain, meaning that copyright law no longer prevents other artists from adapting them to create new works.

        One major rationale for copyright is supposedly that, by giving an exclusive set of rights to artists for their work, we incentivize creativity by making it possible for artists to benefit from releasing works to the public. But copyright protection is supposed to be limited, and once it expires, a work enters the public domain, where anyone can use it.

        In the United States, the length of the copyright term has been steadily extended so that published works are effectively copyrighted for 95 years (for corporate works) or until 70 years after an author’s death (for individual works). This has resulted in a public domain that saw increasingly less materials being added to it, limiting the ability of artists to build on works that came before them. The last time Congress changed the law in the 1998 Copyright Term Extension Act, it was applied retroactively. Effectively, it meant that nothing has entered the public domain in the United States for years. January 1, 2019 will mark the end of this dry spell as works first published in 1923 will finally enter the public domain. That mean works like Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments and Universal’s silent version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, two movies released in 1923, will be eligible to join the public domain.

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