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03.19.18

Links 19/3/2018: Linux 4.16 RC6, Atom 1.25, antiX 17.1, GNU Mcron 1.1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • If you owned a ‘fat’ PlayStation 3 you could be entitled to $65 from Sony because of Linux option

    Cast your mind back to when Sony released the original PlayStation 3, and you may well remember claims that the console was also a “computer”. The claims were such that Sony suggested that owners could install Linux — which, technically speaking, they could.

    However, installing Linux on a PS3 also posed something of a security issue, and Sony backtracked on the “Other OS” feature, killing it will a firmware update. Unsurprisingly, a lawsuit followed, and the result of this is that you could in line for a pay-out.

  • PlayStation 3 Phat owners have a month left to claim ‘OtherOS’ class action settlement
  • If you bought an original PlayStation 3, you could be $65 richer
  • Original PlayStation 3 Owners Could Be Entitled To A $65 Check From Sony
  • In re Sony PS3 “Other OS” Litigation – www.OtherOSsettlement.com
  • Sony paying up to $65 to people who purchased the original PlayStation 3
  • If one owns an original PlayStation 3, he could be 65 dollars richer
  • PS3 OtherOS settlement claims end next month
  • Desktop

    • Ubuntu-Based Zorin OS Gets Better Support for Windows Apps, Desktop Improvements

      A new maintenance update of the Ubuntu-based Zorin OS GNU/Linux distribution arrived at the end of this week with a bunch of enhancements to its desktop environment, as well as the latest versions of core components and apps.

      Zorin OS 12.3 is here as the latest stable update of the Ubuntu-based operating system with a focus on improving the security, stability, and functionality of Zorin OS, which was always known as one of the most reliable open-source alternatives to Microsoft’s Windows operating system.

      Therefore, probably the most important change of the Zorin OS 12.3 release is the introduction of Wine 3.0, the latest stable version of the compatibility layer for running Windows programs on Linux and UNIX-like systems, which ensures better compatibility with more Windows apps and games on Zorin OS.

    • Microsoft tries forcing Mail users to open links in Edge, and people are freaking out

      Under the new rules, it doesn’t matter which browser you have selected as the default; if you use the basic Mail app within Windows, any link you click will open up Edge.

    • Google picks up another win for G Suite as Airbus grounds Microsoft Office

      With over 130,000 employees, Airbus uses a lot of office productivity software. It recently decided to make a big bet on Google’s G Suite software package after running the company for years on hosted versions of Microsoft Office, according to a report.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.18.100
    • Linux 4.4.122
    • Linux 4.9.88
    • Linux 4.15.11
    • Linux 4.14.28
    • More Spectre + Meltdown Updates Heading Into Linux 4.16

      Thomas Gleixner who has been wrangling all of the Spectre and Meltdown related patches for the Linux kernel tree has submitted another pull request of more changes to land for the Linux 4.16 cycle that is nearing the end of its development.

    • Linux 4.16-rc6

      This has been a nice quiet week, so rc6 is pretty tiny. Everything
      looks like we’re on a usual schedule – I’ll make an rc7, but hopefully
      that will be it.

      Mostly driver changes (usb, gpu, sound, scsi, md), but it’s all tiny.
      Some arch fixes (x86 and microblaze, tiny changes to others), and some
      filesystem fixes (a couple of small core vfs fixlets, and some btrfs
      and nfs fixes).

    • Linux 4.16-rc6 Released: Looking Good For Final Release In Two Weeks
    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation announces open source ACRN hypervisor for the Internet of Things

        ACRN’s small footprint is partly attributable to the fact that it takes a mere 25,000 lines of code for a hypervisor. There’s already involvement from the likes of ADLINK, Aptiv, Intel Corporation, LG Electronics and Neusoft Corporation, and it’s likely that many more names will join this list.

      • Linux Foundation Announces ACRN —Open Source Hypervisor for IoT Devices

        The Linux Foundation announced a new project called ACRN (pronounced “acorn”) that will provide generic code for the creation of hypervisors for IoT devices.

        A hypervisor is computer code for creating and running virtual machines. Project ACRN aims to provide a generic structure for an IoT-specific hypervisor component.

        The Linux Foundation says it built ACRN to be fully-customizable, and as such, the project is comprised of two main components: the hypervisor itself and a device model for interacting with the underlying hardware.

      • Linux Foundation backs new ‘ACRN’ hypervisor for embedded and IoT

        The Linux Foundation has announced a new hypervizor for use in embedded and internet of things scenarios.

        Project ACRN (pronounced “acorn”) will offer a “hypervizor, and its device model complete with rich I/O mediators.”

        There’ll also be “a Linux-based Service OS” and the ability to “run guest operating systems (another Linux instance, an RTOS, Android, or other operating systems) simultaneously”.

      • Linux Foundation LFCS: Ahmed Alkabary

        I always knew about Linux as an alternative to Windows, but never really got to experience it until 2011. I decided to buy a new laptop, and the laptop that stood out for me had Linux pre-installed on it. I remember well the pre-installed distribution was openSUSE. I was hesitant to buy it as I had no experience with Linux whatsoever, but I thought to myself, Well, I can just install windows on it if I don’t like it. Once I booted the system and saw how fast and neat everything was, I thought it is a message from the Linux gods.

        It’s really weird because on my first day I felt that Linux was meant for me not just as an operating system to use, but I felt my life will be centered around Linux from that day.

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMDKFD GPUVM Support Updated For Discrete Radeon GPUs, Adds Userptr Support

        Unfortunately the AMDKFD GPUVM support for discrete GPUs isn’t looking like it will make it for the Linux 4.17 kernel cycle.

        This past week brought the AMDKFD updates for DRM-Next, a.k.a. Linux 4.17. While it has much of the discrete GPU support landing that we have long been looking forward to seeing in the mainline kernel in order to run ROCm OpenCL out-of-the-box, unfortunately, the GPUVM support wasn’t part of that pull. The GPUVM support for discrete Radeon GPUs was still being discussed and not ready for pulling.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Dolphin Getting More Improvements For KDE Applications 18.04 & Other KDE Happenings

        KDE contributor Nathaniel Graham is out with another recap of the usability and productivity improvements made this past week by the KDE community.

        The Dolphin file manager has been seeing improvements recently. The latest Dolphin work includes help for installing Konsole if it’s not available when trying to launch the terminal pane, reporting of a symlink’s target fi

      • [Krita] Interview with Jennifer

        When I used Krita for the first time I already knew most of the tools, so it was easy to use. But I needed to learn more, then I watched a video that explained the basic tools and method to paint. I thought then that Krita was a good tool for painting. Today I can tell it’s a great tool for digital artists. My personal opinion: Krita is the best and I really can’t use a different program.

      • Akademy-es 2018 in Valencia – 11-13 May
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Here’s GNOME 3.28 – See What’s New

        The latest version of GNOME 3 has been released today. Version 3.28 contains six months of work and new features by the GNOME community and comes with many improvements and new features.

        One major new feature for this release is automatic downloading of operating systems in Boxes, which takes the work out of creating and running virtual machines – just pick the operating system that you want to create a virtual machine of, and Boxes will now download and install it for you.

        Other highlights include improvements to the Calendar and Contacts applications, the ability to star files and folders in the Files application, and improved support for Thunderbolt 3 and Bluetooth LE devices. GNOME’s default UI font has also been overhauled to be more attractive and easy to read, and the on-screen keyboard has been rewritten to be more reliable and has layouts for a number of different locales.

      • textures and paintables

        With GTK4, we’ve been trying to find better solution for image data. In GTK3 the objects we used for this were pixbufs and Cairo surfaces. But they don’t fit the bill anymore, so now we have GdkTexture and GdkPaintable.

      • Web Engines Hackfest 2014

        Last week I attended the Web Engines Hackfest. The event was sponsored by Igalia (also hosting the event), Adobe and Collabora.

        As usual I spent most of the time working on the WebKitGTK+ GStreamer backend and Sebastian Dröge kindly joined and helped out quite a bit, make sure to read his post about the event!

      • GStreamer’s playbin3 overview for application developers

        Multimedia applications based on GStreamer usually handle playback with the playbin element. I recently added support for playbin3 in WebKit. This post aims to document the changes needed on application side to support this new generation flavour of playbin.

      • GTK+ 4.0 Getting Audio/Video Playback Integration

        The GTK+ 4.0 tool-kit has just landed its GtkMediaStream / GtkMediaFile / GtkVideo / GtkMediaControls widgets for now having native multimedia stream playback support in the tool-kit that in turn is backed by GStreamer / FFmpeg.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Review: ArchMerge 6.4.1

        The distribution I have been asked most frequently to cover so far in 2018 is ArchMerge, an Arch-based project which runs the Xfce desktop environment and can be installed using the Calamares system installer. If the description sounds familiar, it should, as this summary could equally well apply to Archman, SwagArch and one edition of the Revenge OS distribution.

        There are two main features which set ArchMerge apart from its close relatives. First, ArchMerge is available in two flavours. The full featured desktop edition ships with three graphical user interfaces (Xfce, Openbox and i3). A second, minimal flavour is available for people who want to start with a text console and build from the ground up.

        The other point which helps ArchMerge stand out from the crowd of Arch-based distributions is its documentation. Arch Linux is famous for its detailed wiki, and rightfully so. ArchMerge takes a slightly different approach and, instead of supplying detailed pages for virtually every aspect of the distribution, the project supplies quick overviews and tutorials for common tasks and issues. These overviews are each accompanied by a video which shows the user how to perform the task.

        The ArchMerge website places a strong emphasis on learning and the tutorial pages guide visitors through how to install the distribution, how to configure the desktop, how to install additional software and how to set up file synchronizing through Dropbox. There is also a section dedicated to fixing common problems, a sort of FAQ for distribution issues. Since there are videos for the topics covered, we are shown where to go and what each step should look like, rather than just being given a written description.

    • New Releases

      • antiX-17.1 released

        antiX-17.1 (Heather Heyer) released

        This is primarily an upgrade of antiX-17 with a new Meltdown/Spectre patched kernel and a few new applications for users to enjoy.

        As usual we offer the following completely systemd-free flavours for both 32 and 64 bit architecture.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • [Mageia] Weekly roundup 2018, Week 11 and CLT!

        Very small Roundup this week, so there will be space for the CLT report and pics – thanks Marc for writing this up!

        Loads of updates through; as always, you can check for yourself on Mageia Advisories, the Mageia AppDB, PkgSubmit to see the last 48 hours, and Bugzilla to see what’s currently happening.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • GSoC and Outreachy: Mentors don’t need to be Debian Developers

        A frequent response I receive when talking to prospective mentors: “I’m not a Debian Developer yet”.

        As student applications have started coming in, now is the time for any prospective mentors to introduce yourself on the debian-outreach list if you would like to help with any of the listed projects or any topics that have been proposed spontaneously by students without any mentor.

        It doesn’t matter if you are a Debian Developer or not. Furthermore, mentoring in a program like GSoC or Outreachy is a form of volunteering that is recognized just as highly as packaging or any other development activity.

        When an existing developer writes an email advocating your application to become a developer yourself, they can refer to your contribution as a mentor. Many other processes, such as requests for DebConf bursaries, also ask for a list of your contributions and you can mention your mentoring experience there.

      • Derivatives

        • Tails 3.6.1 is out

          This release fixes several security issues and users should upgrade as soon as possible.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • UBports Continues Work On Moving From Ubuntu 15.04 Base To 16.04

            For those still holding out the dream for Ubuntu on phones/tablets, the UBports community continues their work in updating their Ubuntu Touch fork to riding off a 16.04 Xenial base rather than the existing Ubuntu 15.04.

            UBports is working on Ubuntu 16.04 support to eventually replace their 15.04 stable base. Ubuntu 18.04 isn’t being pursued yet due to the Mir changes around Wayland support, and just being a much different target than going from 15.04 to 16.04.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Linux Mint 19 ‘Tara’ Cinnamon will be faster

              Is Linux Mint slow? Hell, no! The operating system is plenty fast. Speed is in the eye of the beholder, however, and the Mint developers apparently thought app-launching seemed slow when using the Cinnamon desktop environment. They didn’t have any proof, but they felt that both Mate and Xfce were faster in this regard.

              Well, rather than allow their feelings to remain unproven, the Mint devs decided to come up with a speed test to see if they were correct. Guess what? They were! Windows build time was four times slower with Cinnamon compared to Metacity, while recovery time was nearly four times slower too. So yes, app-launching on Cinnamon — as of today — is slow comparatively. The big benefit to pinpointing a problem, however, is that it is the first step in solving it. And so, Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will be faster as a result.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS Will Ship with a New Default Layout Called “Familiar”

              Ubuntu MATE’s lead developer Martin Wimpress announced that the forthcoming Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver) operating system would sport a brand-new default layout for new installations.

              If you plan on installing or reinstalling Ubuntu MATE this spring, the upcoming 18.04 release sports a new default layout called “Familiar.” According to Martin Wimpress, the new layout is based on the Traditional layout with the menu-bar replaced by Brisk Menu, which was used in previous Ubuntu MATE releases.

              The decision to replace the Traditional layout with the Familiar one was taken due to some technical issues when the development team tried to update it for Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver). Traditional will still be available, but not enabled by default, and bears no changes.

              “I experimented with a change to the Traditional layout earlier in the 18.04 development cycle and this was met with some hostility and brought into question my commitment to community opinion because it strayed from something I’d previously communicated, that we would retain the Traditional layout as default,” explains Martin Wimpress.

            • Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS: What’s New?

              Ahead of the Ubuntu MATE 18.04 LTS release next month you may be wondering what new features and changes the update will bring.

              Well, wonder no more.

              In this post we round up all of the key information about the next release of one Ubuntu’s most popular community flavors.

            • Linux Mint 19 Cinnamon will open apps a lot faster

              The Linux Mint development team plans to launch the next version of the popular Linux distribution Linux Mint in the coming months.

              Linux Mint 19 will be offered in multiple flavors including MATE, Xfce and Cinnamon. If you have used Linux Mint Cinnamon in the past or plan to take it for a test drive in the future, you may benefit from application loading improvements in the upcoming version of Linux Mint.

              A new blog post on the official Linux Mint blog offers some insight. It all began with a perceived feeling; team members noticed that app loading “felt” faster on MATE or Xfce versions of Linux Mint and slower on Cinnamon versions.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Google Pixel 2 Portrait Mode Tech Is Now Open Source

    The tech behind the portrait mode on Google Pixel 2 has been made open source by the company. For those who not familiar with it, one of the main draw to the algorithm in the Pixel 2’s camera app is excellent subject isolation without needing additional apparatus such as specialized lens or second camera.

  • Xiaomi releases Oreo kernel source code for the Mi A1

    Xiaomi promised that the Mi A1 would receive Oreo by the end of 2017, and the company hit a buzzer-beater by rolling out Android 8.0 to the Android One device on December 30th. But the kernel source code was nowhere to be found, a violation of the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2), and an affront to the development and enthusiast community. It’s about two-and-a-half months late, but Xiaomi has finally released the Android 8.0 Oreo source code for the Mi A1.

  • Mi A1 Oreo Kernel source code released by Xiaomi

    Xiaomi’s first Android One phone, the Mi A1 was expected to receive Android 8.0 Oreo update by the end December, and the company did roll out the update to the device under the stipulated time. However, the kernel source for the upgrade was left covered with no access to it for third-party developers. This also violated the GNU General Public License, version 2 (GPLv2) and also hampered the advancement of developers who base their codes on source codes. Thankfully, after a delay of more than two months, Xiaomi has finally released the kernel source code of Android 8.1 for the Xiaomi Mi A1.

  • Events

    • 11th Open Source Day Conference

      On May 23rd, Warsaw will host the 11th edition of Open Source Day. OSD is the largest conference about open source in Poland and CEE region, gathering every year nearly 1000 participants. The programme of the upcoming edition is focused mainly on practical sessions devoted to the most important directions of IT market development. Registration for the event is already open. For the first 600 attendees, participation in the conference is free-of-charge.

      Open Source Day is the biggest event in Poland and CEE region dedicated to open source. Over 6,000 people took part in previous editions, and several thousand followed the event online. Open Source Day is the knowledge exchange platform about open software, as one of the most important trends in the development of modern technologies, enabling creation of high-quality, stable IT solutions, which today are the basis for all branches of the economy.

  • Web Browsers

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Programming/Development

    • 6 common questions about agile development practices for teams

      You’ve probably heard a speaker ask this question at the end of their presentation. This is the most important part of the presentation—after all, you didn’t attend just to hear a lecture but to participate in a conversation and a community.

      Recently I had the opportunity to hear my fellow Red Hatters present a session called “Agile in Practice” to a group of technical students at a local university. During the session, software engineer Tomas Tomecek and agile practitioners Fernando Colleone and Pavel Najman collaborated to explain the foundations of agile methodology and showcase best practices for day-to-day activities.

Leftovers

  • The US Navy’s newest submarine comes with an Xbox controller
  • Elon Musk says The Boring Company’s Loop will prioritize pedestrians, cyclists

    A system of small tunnels could bypass some of the aesthetic concerns that communities might have, but it may not eliminate some of the structural concerns. Of the California High Speed Rail project, the Times wrote: “The cost of environmental reviews jumped from a projected $388 million in 2010 to more than $1 billion. The rail authority found that nobody could be sure what was under the ground in Fresno [a California city through which the bullet train would pass], driving up the cost of relocating sewers, water lines, communications cables, and electrical conduits by hundreds of millions of dollars.”

  • Elon Musk’s Boring Company Is Now All About Public Transit, and It’s Confusing

    Now, Musk seems to have heard the criticism. Well, at least part of it. In a series of Twitter posts on Friday, the CEO announced his company’s work would “prioritize pedestrians and cyclists over cars,” emphasizing public transit over private transportation.

  • Hardware

    • Apple Is Secretly Developing Its Own Screens for the First Time

      The technology giant is making a significant investment in the development of next-generation MicroLED screens, say the people, who requested anonymity to discuss internal planning. MicroLED screens use different light-emitting compounds than the current OLED displays and promise to make future gadgets slimmer, brighter and less power-hungry.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Deadly superbug just got scarier—it can mysteriously thwart last-resort drug

      It’s the first time researchers have seen colistin-heteroresistant germs in the US.

    • 7 Years on, Sailors Exposed to Fukushima Radiation Seek Their Day in Court

      “All of the sudden, this big cloud engulfs us,” Torres said. “It wasn’t white smoke, like you would see from a steam leak,” he explained, but it also wasn’t like the black smoke he saw from the burning oil fields during his deployment in Kuwait in 1991. “It was like something I’d never seen before.”

    • EPA inspector general says Flint water crisis report expected in summer

      A report on how Flint’s water was contaminated and how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded isn’t expected to be completed until summer, a spokesman for the EPA Office of Inspector General says.

    • Transnational beer corporation creates water crisis in northern Mexico

      Just in its initial phase, it is calculated that the plant will use 81 percent of the total water currently used by Mexicali’s industries. If Constellation Brands is allowed to operate at full capacity, the company’s Mexicali plant would consume more water than all industries in Mexicali and the neighboring city of Tijuana combined. The company has stated that it plans to stay in Mexicali for at least 50 years, with the plant’s opening date set for 2019 or 2020.

      The water situation in the municipality of Zaragoza, with a population of 8,000, has already reached crisis levels because of the company’s operations. “We have no more water for human consumption,” stated mayor Leoncio Martínez Sánchez. “We are worried because we are being affected by this extraction of 1,200 liters of water per second by this beer manufacturer. It does not make sense that while Constellation Brands has industrial amounts of water to make beer, the municipality does not even have 100 liters for people to drink or use in their homes.”

    • Save water for future generations: Kavinder to people

      Kavinder Gupta said that Water is the most important element in human life and called for a need to find out a comprehensive strategy to save the portable drinking water for the future generations. The Speaker said that there is only 3 percent of portable water available for the people and providing portable drinking water to every household is emerging as a tremendous challenge for both state and central governments.

    • First case in Finland: [Moose] dies due to chronic wasting disease

      CWD is a type of transmissible spongiform encephalopathy like BSE (‘mad cow disease’), but no cases of transmission to humans have been confirmed. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns hunters in areas where the illness has been found not to consume parts of deer and elk that may harbour the disease, including the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes.

    • ‘We Must Protect the Water’: Indigenous Leaders and Allies Stage Sit-In to Protest Kinder Morgan Pipeline

      Building on the massive march against the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline that brought 10,000 people to the streets of British Columbia last weekend, Indigenous leaders and their allies staged a sit-in on Saturday at a pipeline construction site on Burnaby Mountain, kicking off a wave of civil disobedience that is set to continue through next week.

  • Security

    • Google Says Android Is as Secure as Apple’s iOS and Wants You to Know That

      Google’s Android security chief David Kleidermacher told CNET today that the Linux-based Android mobile operating system the company develops for a wide range of devices is now as secure as Apple’s iOS.

      Google recently published its “Android Security 2017 Year In Review” report where the company talks about how Android security has matured in the last few years and how it fights to find new ways to protect Android users from malware and all the other nasty stuff you obviously don’t want to have on your mobile phone or tablet.

    • Behind the scenes with the Bitwarden password manager

      Having to remember passwords for web applications, email, banking, and more begat the password manager. And that begat such popular and proprietary services like LastPass and 1Password.

      A little over two years ago, software developer Kyle Spearrin decided the open source world needed its own web-based password manager. His company, 8Bit Solutions, develops and markets an open source alternative to services like LastPass and 1Password called Bitwarden.

      Recently I had the opportunity to ask Spearrin some questions about Bitwarden’s origins, how it secures user information, where he sees Bitwarden going, and more.

    • Episode 88 – Chat with Chris Rosen from IBM about Container Security
    • Feds: Russian [Crackers] Are Attacking U.S. Power Plants

      The targets of these attacks include the country’s electric grid, including its nuclear power system, as well as “commercial facilities, water, aviation, and critical manufacturing sectors,” the statement said.

      The report is damning confirmation of what has for months been suspected: that [crackers] in Russia are capable of infiltrating and compromising vital systems relied on by millions of Americans. According to the new report, the attacks began at least as early as March 2016, thriving on vulnerabilities in these systems’ online operations.

    • Firefox’s Weak Master Password Encryption Can Be Cracked In Just 1 Minute [Ed: If you have physical/remote access to a machine and an account, then you have a lot more power over it than just a list of passwords]

      You might rest assured after setting a Master Password in the Firefox web browser, but it’s not as secure as you think. Last year, Mozilla did a major overhaul of their browser in the form of Firefox Quantum. But the non-profit forgot to fix the security holes that exist in their ‘very fast’ web browser for nine years.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • US moves to soothe Turkey, endangering ties with Kurdish allies

      Beyond quarreling over the Kurds, the US and Turkey have also traded diplomatic volleys in the aftermath of a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stoked anti-American sentiment at home, and American policymakers have explored the possibility of imposing sanctions on Turkey in response to Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian policies.

    • Targeting Midanki dam caused water crisis ,municipality seeks to resolve crisis

      Due to inability of the Water Corporation to cover all of the city’s neighborhoods with water, hundreds of families suffer from lack of water. Some neighborhoods do not reach the water for 5 to 7 days.

    • U.S.-Funded Afghan Military Units Accused Of Child Sexual Abuse, Report Says

      NPR’s David Greene talks to Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont about a new report that details the Pentagon’s refusal to end military aid to Afghan military units who commit “gross human rights abuses.”

      [...]

      The abuses include the routine enslavement and sexual abuse of underage boys by Afghan military commanders. Senator Patrick Leahy wrote a law requiring the Pentagon to stop funding foreign military groups who commit human rights abuses. But in Afghanistan, that has not happened.

    • Detroit’s Iraqi Christians Voted For Trump Then Faced Deportation

      Assyrian is a term used to represent the now nationless people’s ethnicity, and the term Chaldean commonly represents the group’s affiliation with the Catholic Church. They are sometimes grouped with Arabs, but that’s a distinction Assyrians try to make. While many Assyrians learn to speak Arabic at a young age, their mother tongue is Aramaic, which is similar in sound to Hebrew with its “khh’s” and other difficult throaty tones.

      The ICE detainments of Assyrians began June 11, 2017, but Naoum saw warning signs much earlier. “I rang the alarm bell in May, and people laughed at me,” Naoum says. He noticed Arab immigrants were becoming a larger focus for the Trump administration, which was enacting the immigration ban for majority-Muslim countries; he also noticed Iraq was left off the second ban list and wondered what bargaining chip was used to remove it.

    • Where Are the Syrians Kidnapped by ISIS?

      Amer tells me that the process of identifying DNA in mass graves may take years. In addition to the graves, he informs me, “there are dead bodies still buried under the rubble from the US-led military campaign.” He adds, “Sadly, these families, including mine, can’t do anything but wait.” The only thing they can do now, he says, is to prepare, collect evidence, and preserve it until human-rights organizations can provide further assistance.

    • China and India flex muscles over tiny Maldives

      A Chinese naval combat force that entered the Indian Ocean for the first time in four years may have helped deter an Indian intervention in the Maldives after its pro-China president imposed a state of emergency, according to military and diplomatic sources and analysts.

    • Taliban urge religious scholars to boycott peace conference
    • Teenage girl left for dead for resisting gang rape in Nawabshah

      They said that police had first refused to register the case and lodged it only after the news was flashed in electronic media. Police had not yet arrested the main suspect while influential people of the area were pressurising them to accept compensation money and withdraw the case, they said.

    • Boris Johnson Attempt to Refute My Sources on Porton Down the Most Hilarious Fail

      The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a statement to refute my report from well-placed FCO sources that the British government continually re-uses the phrase “of a type developed by Russia” because its own scientists refused government pressure to say the nerve agent was made by Russia, and as getting even agreement to “of a type developed by” was bloody, the government has to stick to precisely that rather odd choice of phrase.

    • Craig Murray Radio 5 Interview on Skripal Attack
    • Boris Johnson Issues Completely New Story on “Russian Novichoks”
    • Portonblimp Down – A Tale By Boris Johnson

      If you harbour any doubts at all about the plausibility of Mr Johnson’s story, you are a crazed conspiracy theorist and a traitor. Plus you will never, ever get employed in the BBC or corporate media.

    • McCabe: A War on (or in) the FBI?

      Andrew McCabe’s claim that his firing amounts to a “war on the FBI” doesn’t make sense considering it was the FBI’s own internal affairs office that recommended he be fired, as FBI whistleblower Coleen Rowley explains.

    • In #CallForPeace Address, Sanders Takes on Endless War and Global Oligarchy

      “Increasingly, in the United States and around the world, we see an economic and political system in which a small number of multi-billionaires and corporate interests have increased control over the world’s economic life, our political life, and our media,” Sanders said. “Inequality, corruption, oligarchy, and authoritarianism are inseparable. They must be understood as part of the same system, and fought and opposed in the same way.”

    • Cambodia Joins China for Military Drills as US Relations Cool

      Hundreds of Cambodian and Chinese soldiers began a 15-day joint military exercise in central Cambodia this week, involving live-fire rocket launches from helicopters, mock tank battles, and anti-terrorism and emergency relief training. China will reportedly also donate tanks and armored personnel carriers on the occasion.

      The unprecedented show of military cooperation, dubbed “Golden Dragon,” is the latest sign that the long-ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) is relying on Beijing to further shore up its control of the country through growing diplomatic, economic and military support, according to analysts.

      They say increased Chinese military support will also aid the Cambodian army’s balance of power with its neighbors. But some warn that Cambodia’s suspension of planned joint exercises with the U.S. military last year signals Phnom Penh’s growing divide with Washington and its regional allies, as well as other Asian countries that seek to counter China’s aspirations for regional primacy.

    • US Empire on Decline

      US empire is in decline. Reports of the end of the US being the unitary power in world affairs are common, as are predictions of the end of US empire. China surpassed the United States as the world economic leader, according to Purchasing Power Parity Gross National Product, and Russia announced new weapons that can overcome the US’ defense systems.

      What is happening in the United States, in response, is to do more of what has been causing the decline. As the Pentagon outlined in its post-primacy report, the US’ plan is more money, more aggression and more surveillance. Congress voted nearly unanimously to give the Pentagon tens of billions more than it requested. Military spending will now consume 57% of federal discretionary spending, leaving less for basic necessities. The Trump administration’s new nominees to the State Department and CIA are a war hawk and a torturer. And the Democrat’s “Blue Wave” is composed of security state candidates.

      The US is escalating an arms race with Russia and China. This may create the mirror image of President Reagan forcing Russia to spend so much on its military that it aided in the break-up of the Soviet Union. The US economy cannot handle more military spending, worsening austerity when most people in the US are in financial distress.

      This is an urgent situation for all people in the world. In the US, we carry an extra burden as citizens of empire to do what we can to oppose US imperialism. We must be clear that it is time to end wars and other tools of regime change, to become a cooperative member of the world community and to prioritize the needs of people and protection of the planet.

    • Iraq +15: Accumulated Evil of the Whole

      Robert Jackson, the Chief United States Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, once denounced aggressive war as “the greatest menace of our time.” With much of Europe laying in smoldering ruin, he said in 1945 that “to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime: it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of whole.”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Pruitt: California ‘can’t dictate to the rest of the country’ on fuel emissions

      Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt said that when it comes to determining new federal vehicle emission standards, California doesn’t have the right to lead.

    • Poaching for trophies poses threat to Big Cats

      Uganda is home to three famous Big Cats; the Leopard, Lion, and Cheetah. Two of these are members of the Big Five. Most of them are located in Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth and Kidepo Valley National Park. Unlike the other big cats, the Cheetah is found only in Kidepo Valley. In his speech at the World Wildlife Day celebrations in Kasese, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities(MTWA) Prof Ephraim Kamuntu indicated that the lion population had declined from more than 1,000 individuals in the 1990’s to the current estimated 420 individuals nationwide. Cheetahs and leopards are under assessment but Dr Akankwasah Barirega, a board member at Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) estimates the leopard and cheetah population at 2500 and less than 100 respectively. Out of the wild, the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC), a rescue, rehabilitation, conservation, and education centre boasts of eight lions, one leopard, and two cheetahs.
      Conservationists are worried about survival of the big cats in the wild. Unless this trend is reversed, the cats could become extinct in Uganda.

    • India lost 40% of its mangroves in the last century. And it’s putting communities at risk

      Mangroves provide excellent nesting and breeding habitats for fish and shellfish, migratory birds and sea turtles, underlining their importance to coastal fishing communities. An estimated 80% of the global fish catch relies on mangrove forests either directly or indirectly, a 2008 paper in the Journal of Sea Research claims.

      [...]

      Mangroves are also great carbon sinks. They isolate carbon at two to four times the rate of tropical forests like the Amazon and store three to five times more carbon per equivalent area than tropical forests.

    • Greenland is melting

      Greenland is melting. As it melts, it adds roughly 1 millimeter of water per year to global sea levels. And the pace of melting is quickening.

      If all the ice covering the world’s largest island were to thaw, sea levels would rise roughly 6 meters. Scientists don’t know how fast, or how likely, that is to happen. East GRIP is looking for evidence to inform both those questions.

    • Research hints at tipping point in the Atlantic’s currents

      A new study, however, suggests that there’s a tipping point for the Atlantic conveyor that could be reached much sooner. It only relies indirectly on warm temperatures; instead, it is driven by the melting of the Greenland Icecap. And the new research suggests we’ve already gone nearly halfway to the tipping point.

    • Why what we eat is crucial to the climate change question

      Did you know that what’s on your plate plays a larger role in contributing to climate change than the car you drive? When most wealthy people think about their carbon footprint, or their contributions to climate change, they’ll think about where their electricity and heat come from or what they drive. They’ll think about fossil fuels and miles per gallon, about LED lights and mass transit – but not so much about combine harvesters or processed meals or food waste. Few consider the impacts of the food they eat, despite the fact that globally, food systems account for roughly one quarter of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than the entire transportation sector, more than all industrial practices, and roughly the same as the production of electricity and heat.

    • Wanna limit global warming to 1.5°C? Get cracking

      One surprise in the international Paris Agreement on greenhouse gas emissions was the addition of the aspirational goal of limiting global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius. Nations have long stated that their aim was to avoid exceeding 2-degree warming (though they’ve largely failed to follow through with actions that would make that possible), and so scientists have studied that scenario in great detail. But nobody had been promising to keep this a 1.5-degree world, so the information was lacking.

    • Sea Level Rise in the SF Bay Area Just Got a Lot More Dire

      Sea level rise threatens to wipe out swaths of the Bay’s densely populated coastlines, and a new study out today in Science Advances paints an even more dire scenario: The coastal land is also sinking, making a rising sea that much more precarious. Considering sea level rise alone, models show that, on the low end, 20 square miles could be inundated by 2100. But factor in subsiding land and that estimate jumps to almost 50 square miles. The high end? 165 square miles lost.

    • Almost four environmental defenders a week killed in 2017

      The slaughter of people defending their land or environment continued unabated in 2017, with new research showing almost four people a week were killed worldwide in struggles against mines, plantations, poachers and infrastructure projects.

      The toll of 197 in 2017 – which has risen fourfold since it was first compiled in 2002 – underscores the violence on the frontiers of a global economy driven by expansion and consumption.

    • Climate of Fear

      Now, we are the people of the gulf and of the islands who fear for every ripple on the water, every puff of wind, and every drop of rain. We are the people of the drought who fear for every day without moisture. We are the people of the temperate lands who fear the extremes of heat and cold. We are the people of the tropics who fear the cold, and of the polar landscapes who fear the melting of the ice. We are the people of the burned lands who fear for every wisp of smoke. We are the people of the debris flows who fear for every rivulet and rill. We are the people of the flood lands who fear for every rise in the water; we are the people of the tide who fear its every incoming, and we are the people of the storm who fear its every surge.

    • Ahtium, former Talvivaara Mining, files for bankruptcy

      A state-owned firm, Terrafame, is now running the mine that previously faced bankruptcy under the Talvivaara name. After extensive environmental problems with the company’s production process, the Finnish state stepped in to take over mining operations through Terrafame in 2015.

    • Standing Rock is everywhere: one year later

      In the protection of Mni Woc’oni, it is more than oil pipelines threatening the well-being and future of our water. Near the native territory of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, concentrated animal feeding operations or “CAFOs” are draining and degrading the land and water. As a result, the air is toxic, swamps have dried up, and aquifers, to which the people are supposed to have water rights, are being drained. Residents have mortgaged their homes to fight these threats in court and lost. In other places — in mining spills across South America and Africa and at Fukushima — man has gone too far.

      Water is a source of life, not a resource.

  • Finance

    • Bernie Sanders Wants to Tell the Story That Corporate Media Fails To Tell
    • Twitter is reportedly planning to ban cryptocurrency ads
    • As Brexit Britain heads for the rocks what does Corbyn’s Labour stand for?

      The diminished global status of Britain and our future post-Brexit has been on display in the last few days. The attempted murder of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia and the possible role of Russian authorities; the visit of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince, and the continued saga of Donald Trump’s unpredictable, erratic Presidency from trade wars to his state visit, all illustrate the challenges a diminished UK will face in the aftermath of Brexit.

      Twenty-one months on from the Brexit vote we have no clear plan or detail from the UK Government. Indeed, the kind of Brexit and Britain which the UK Government represents is nothing more than a sketch and vague principles, much to the increasing consternation of the EU and the remaining 27 nation-states.

      Brexit is full of contradictions, tensions and paradoxes. Can the fabled Tory Party with its reputation for statecraft really be reduced to its current incompetence and divisions? Decades of Tory appeasement of Euroscepticism culminated in David Cameron’s pledge in 2013 to hold an in/out referendum – a pledge he thought he would never have to deliver. His subsequent failed attempts to secure renegotiated terms of EU membership – echoes of Harold Wilson in 1975 – were followed by the subsequent referendum campaign and Brexit triumph.

    • Cable’s confusion – on Brexit imperial “nostalgia” and what it means to be English

      Vince Cable’s swipe at Leave voters ‘nostalgic for a world where passports were blue, faces were white, and the map was coloured imperial pink’ sounds like the latest proof that most Remainers would rather abuse their opponents than engage with them. But, let’s assume for a moment that Vince was on to something. What if Leavers did yearn for an older if irrecoverable, idea of greatness? Why should that be, and why in England in particular?

      It wasn’t Britain that voted Leave. It was England, and above all it was England outside London, that chose to take the UK out of the EU. Within England, it is those who felt most English who gave Leave their strongest support. If it was simple nostalgia for the British empire, then the British would have been Leavers too. But residents of England who identified as British rather than English were strongly in favour of Remain.

      For all its historic resentment of its larger southern neighbour, Scotland was as invested in the British Empire as any part of England. From the financial elites to the active colonialists and administrators to the working classes in the shipyards and the protected textile industries, Scots appear to have as much reason to be nostalgic for Empire as most in England. Yet Scotland voted strongly for Remain, as did Northern Ireland. True, Wales voted narrowly for Leave, but much less than England outside London. London, significantly, also voted Remain.

    • Could Britain’s Labour Party Under Corbyn Hold the Answer to Europe’s Woes?

      For over 40 years, Britain has pushed extreme, free-market policies in the European Union (EU). While the EU has delivered, for Britain, better workers’ rights, cleaner air and water, and more enforceable human rights, Britain has consistently argued against the regulation of big business and big finance and against better social protection.

      While enjoying special privileges and rebates, Britain consistently argued for opt-outs, believing it was an exceptional member of the EU, too good for the rules that apply to everyone else. David Cameron’s pre-referendum negotiations wanted more exemptions, which would have allowed it to crack down on migrants’ rights, protect the City of London’s financial excesses and drive deregulation.

      [...]

      They urge Corbyn to commit to remaining in the EU if he wins the next election, and working with allies to push a series of dramatic reforms to transform the EU.

    • Northern Irish party donors finally published – but source of DUP Brexit money remains secret

      While all major political donations in the rest of the UK have been public since 2000, yesterday’s data release marks the first modicum of transparency for Northern Irish politics.

      The Electoral Commission’s disclosure comes after a long-awaited change in the law in Northern Ireland – and after additional pressure for transparency was triggered by openDemocracy’s revelation that the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) had taken a controversial £435,000 donation for its Brexit campaign. The source of that money is still a secret, because the UK government reneged on its previous commitment to publish details of donations from January 2014 onwards.

      But the data – which only goes back to July 2017 – does include some interesting details.

    • Donald Trump Is Determined to Privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs

      Aaron Hughes, who was deployed to Kuwait and Iraq in 2003 and 2004, now has a serious, very rare lung condition. But he told In These Times he gets “really outstanding care” at the nearby Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. “The doctors are at the top of their class,” he said.

      Because his condition is so rare, Hughes has been sent to a hospital outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for specific tests. And his taste of the private healthcare system has been sour. “As soon as I went there, all hell broke loose,” he said said, explaining there were problems with sharing records between the two institutions. “With the VA system, when you do tests, it’s all integrated.” Every doctor Hughes sees is aware of all the other treatment he gets, from vision to mental health. The private hospitals, on the other hand, often refuse to send the records back to the VA. “The private sector isn’t about sharing your information,” Hughes explained. “It’s not about healthcare, it’s about ownership of care.”

    • Statistics: Nearly 12% of Finnish residents at risk of “living in poverty”

      One-third of individuals who were at risk of living in poverty in 2016 were young adults between the ages of 18-34.

    • Forget about GDP: it’s time for a wellbeing economy

      GDP doesn’t capture the value of non-monetized or non-marketed work, like housework, raising children, caring for the elderly, or volunteering.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The Koch Brothers Get Their Very Own Secretary of State

      After serving for a little more than a year as Donald Trump’s top yes-man at the Central Intelligence Agency, Pompeo is Trump’s pick to replace Rex Tillerson, the administration’s listless placeholder at the Department of State.

    • Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary

      MSNBC prides itself for progressive reporting on national security issues but continues to use apologists for the Central Intelligence Agency in reporting on key intelligence issues. The network’s reliance on former deputy director of the CIA John McLaughlin is an excellent example of the skewed and tailored information that it offers to viewers on matters dealing with CIA. McLaughlin, a former colleague of mine at the CIA who I remember as an amateur magician, regularly pulls the wool over the eyes of such MSNBC veterans as Andrea Mitchell.

      The most recent example took place over the past several days, when McLaughlin made the case for confirmation of Gina Haspel as the first woman to become director of the CIA. McLaughlin and former CIA directors Leon Panetta and John Brennan referred to Haspel as a “seasoned veteran” who had the support of senior CIA leaders. Perhaps MSNBC should acknowledge the fact that Deputy Director McLaughlin was Haspel’s boss during this terrible period in American history.

    • The Mad King

      Now he’s either fired or is in the process of removing the adults. He’s replacing them with a Star Wars cantina of toadies and sycophants who will reflect back at him his own glorious view of himself, and help sell it on TV.

    • ‘Trump Must Be Desperate’: President’s Lawyers File to Move Stormy Daniels Suit to Federal Court, Out of Public View

      “Attorney Charles Harder—best known for representing Hulk Hogan in his lawsuit against Gawker, which resulted in its bankruptcy—is handling the case on the President’s behalf,” CNN reported.

      The moves by the Trump legal team came just a day after it was reported that CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview with Clifford and her attorney will air March 25.

      As Common Dreams reported on Friday, Clifford’s lawyer Michael Avenatti said his client has been physically threatened to remain silent about her alleged affair with Trump.

      “I think it will become apparent to people when they tune in to ’60 minutes’ on March 25 as to the details relating to the threat,” Avenatti added.

    • Former CIA Chief Brennan Running Scared

      This blame game turned out to be a hugely successful effort to divert attention from the content of the emails, which showed in bas relief the dirty tricks the DNC played on Bernie Sanders. The media readily fell in line, and all attention was deflected from the substance of the DNC emails to the question as to why the Russians supposedly “hacked into the DNC and gave the emails to WikiLeaks.”

      This media operation worked like a charm, but even Secretary Clinton’s PR person, Jennifer Palmieri, conceded later that at first it strained credulity that the Russians would be doing what they were being accused of doing.

    • Edward Snowden: “How the Deep State Shapes Presidents”

      When Edward Snowden emerged from the shadowy world of American intelligence contractors five years ago to reveal the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, he immediately became one of the most wanted men on earth. A hero for public opinion, an enemy of the state for governments and secret services. In fact he asked twenty-one countries for protection, mostly European nations, and they completely shut their doors to him. In a newly published book “Women, Whistleblowing, WikiLeaks” by Renata Avila, Sarah Harrison and Angela Richter (Or Books), fresh details of this global manhunt emerge, revealing what was happening behind the scenes as the social networks, reporters and TVs pursued Edward Snowden alongside the US government.

      Yes, because as soon as Snowden handed the top-secret NSA documents to journalists Laura Poitras, Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, the United States government immediately charged him, using a draconian law created in 1917: the Espionage Act. “A law which has been around for a hundred years that doesn’t distinguish between leaks to the press in the public interest and selling secrets to foreign enemies for a personal profit”, explains Snowden’s US lawyer, Ben Wizner, to Repubblica, elaborating on the serious impact of this law on journalistic sources: “There is no investigative journalism without unauthorized sources”, says Wizner. Today Snowden lives in exile in Russia, where he only has a temporary residence permit.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • How a Norwegian comment section turned chaos into order—with a simple quiz

      Commenters offered a variety of ideas, which included everything from comment voting to more active moderation. The staff mulled over what they could implement that would be low cost and low impact to its community, and Grut had his own eureka moment while showering before biking to the office: why not a quiz? A WordPress plugin could force users to correctly answer a few multiple-choice questions before the page’s comment field would appear. Once he got to the office, he and fellow staffers spent three hours building the plugin, which Grut reminded the crowd is wholly open source.

    • European Commission’s expert group tackling fake news misses the point

      Monique Goyens, Director General of The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) and appointed expert to the Commission’s fake news group, has voted against the final report which was presented in Brussels today. Monique Goyens deplores that the report does not tackle the root causes of fake news.

    • Deleted, suspended, demoted: Censorship, Silicon Valley-style

      When Google launched almost 20 years ago, its corporate motto was “Don’t be Evil”. And until last year, Facebook’s official mission was to “make the world more open and connected”.

      Things have changed since the two tech giants first came online. Both companies have been accused of working behind the scenes to silence or de-emphasise certain kinds of voices.

      “Censorship has changed completely and dramatically because of the internet and because of particularly these big tech companies which are basically monopolies. They can end your existence online,” says Robert Epstein, research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioural Research & Technology.

    • College Warns Saying “God Bless You” is Islamophobic

      That bit of information is tucked inside the college’s Anti-Oppression Library Guide – an exhaustive collection of words and phrases that could trigger perpetually offended collegiate snowflakes.

      Islamomisia is a fairly new malady that until recently was known as Islamphobia.

    • Is it now a thoughtcrime to hate Islam?

      Few will shed tears over Fransen and Golding. Britain First is an odious group. Its loathing of Muslims is bizarre and obsessive and highly prejudiced. But here’s the question, the question that cuts to the heart of whether or not we want to live in a free society: shouldn’t people have the right to loathe Islam?

      [...]

      There is a dark irony to what happened yesterday. Fransen and Golding are referred to by many as far right and extremist, and there is little doubt that is true. But I would say that having laws that in some situations allow for the punishment of thought is more extreme, and more worrying.

    • RIP Matt Damon, who Terry Gilliam says has been ‘beaten to death’ by internet mobs

      Decent human being Matt Damon, 47, has supposedly perished in an untimely death brought about by mobs of angry #MeToo supporters, according to director Terry Gilliam. In an interview with AFP, Gilliam boldly shines a spotlight on the horrifying plight of the powerful and popular actor. “I feel sorry for someone like Matt Damon, who is a decent human being,” Gilliam says of those original statements. “He came out and said all men are not rapists, and he got beaten to death. Come on, this is crazy!”

      Despite his wife’s sensible advice to “keep [his] head a bit low” when it comes to saying the least useful thing at the worst possible time, Gilliam continues to spew complaints about the survivors of assault and abuse who have stepped forward as part of the #MeToo movement. After insisting that “people have got to take responsibility for their own selves,” and that “I know enough girls who were in Harvey’s suites who were not victims and walked out,” he simultaneously compares the increasing sense of accountability and intolerance for the endemic problem of sexual abuse and assault to a crazed, pitchfork-wielding mob attacking innocent monsters.

    • Don’t Censor Lil Yachty

      This debate is not only about the censorship of the word “Columbine.” It brings up a larger question of whether or not censorship of any offensive words is acceptable. If we were to allow censorship in this case, it could justify the censorship of other words or phrases that offend, disrespect or make people feel uncomfortable. Censorship of this nature could result in countless works being altered and a society with mechanisms reminiscent of the “thought-police” depicted in George Orwell’s “1984.”

    • China ramps up social media censorship

      The stranglehold on freedom of expression, particularly online, in mainland China is “a potent tool of repression” as digital rights continue to plummet under the government’s control, according to a rights group.

      PEN America released a report on March 13, “Forbidden Feeds,” documenting the rising censorship of social media, which the organization said is ruthlessly enforced and leaves little space for dissent.

      The report found through both extensive interviews and research that under President Xi Jinping the scope and severity of censorship has significantly expanded.

      “We were concerned by how the government’s regulatory power, technological capacity for censorship and willingness to censor increasingly large areas of speech are all expanding in tandem,” James Tager, senior program manager for PEN, told ucanews.com.

    • By banning Russian propaganda, the UK will help Putin in his campaign against press freedom

      The poisoning of Sergey Skripal has led to a sharp deterioration in UK-Russia relations. For now, London’s official moves, such as deporting 23 Russian diplomats and searching planes inbound from Russia, look moderate. But Boris Johnson’s statement on 16 March was likely unexpected for Moscow. The British foreign minister came to the conclusion that Vladimir Putin sanctioned the attack on Skripal too quickly, though the Kremlin has, for now, merely commented that Johnson’s tone was “unacceptable”.

    • “Censorship is the worst it has ever been”

      There are no standards. Thatʹs the biggest problem of the Egyptian censor board. When it comes to censorship, there simply are no rules. Itʹs often left up to one particular censor dealing with a specific movie. And then there are some films, where you just know beforehand, that they wonʹt ever make it to a cinema. Mostly because thereʹs a direct message of dissent against the government. In that respect, itʹs the worse it has ever been. A lot of films are being censored at the moment. I donʹt just mean that certain scenes are cut out. I mean that they arenʹt even shown at all.

    • Orange is the New Black’s Turkish adaptation faces censorship over terror propaganda

      The US TV series Orange is the New Black’s Turkish version, Avlu [the Yard] faces censorship over some of its scenes considered making propaganda on behalf of terror organizations.

      Starring Turkish actress Demet Evgar as the lead character, the new TV series is set to make its debut on March 29.

      Cumhuriyet newspaper reported Monday that Justice Ministry officials has asked the Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) to “take necessary measures” against some scenes that allegedly make prison officials look like torturers and prisons like torture centers.

    • Can SESTA Be Fixed?

      It appears that sometime this week (or even possibly today), the Senate is unfortunately likely to vote (perhaps by an overwhelming margin) for SESTA, despite the fact that it’s a terribly drafted bill which no one can explain how it will actually stop sex trafficking. Indeed, it’s a bill that many victims advocates are warning will not just make problems worse, but will put lives in danger. And that’s leaving aside all of the damage it will do to free speech and tons of websites on the internet.

      Much of this could have been avoided if anyone in Congress were actually interested in understanding how the internet worked, and how to write a bill that actually addressed problems around sex trafficking — rather than buying into a false narrative (pushed mainly by Hollywood) that the liability protections of CDA 230 were magically responsible for sex traffickers using the internet. Two academics who are probably the most knowledgeable experts on intermediary liability, Daphne Keller at Stanford and Eric Goldman at Santa Clara University, have each posted thoughts on how to “salvage” SESTA. If Congress were serious, it would listen to them. But that’s a big “if.”

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • U.K. Alleges Facebook-Linked Data Firm CEO Made False Statements

      Damian Collins, chair of the U.K. Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said he will ask Nix to explain his comments and answer further questions about the company’s connections to the Facebook data. He also plans to ask Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to have a senior executive of the social networking giant answer the panel’s questions.

    • Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data was a ‘grossly unethical experiment’

      On Friday, Facebook announced that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and its political data analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its Terms of Service, by collecting and sharing the personal information of up to 50 million users without their consent. The incident is demonstrative of ways that Facebook’s core business model — delivering individualized ads to users — can be exploited, while raising uncomfortable questions about how such data might have been used to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.

      Cambridge Analytica is owned in part by hedge fund billionaire Richard Mercer, and first aided Senator Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign in 2015, before helping the Trump campaign in 2016. [...]

    • Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Under Pressure Over Data Breach

      “It’s clear these platforms can’t police themselves,’’ Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, said Saturday on Twitter. “They say ‘trust us.’ Mark Zuckerberg needs to testify before Senate Judiciary.’’ Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey also separately launched an investigation.

    • New York professor sues Cambridge Analytica to find out what it knows about him

      Last year, David Carroll, a professor at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, used a British data protection law to ask Cambridge Analytica’s branch in the United Kingdom to provide the data it had gathered on him.

    • NY professor sues Cambridge Analytica

      David Carroll, a professor at the New School’s Parsons School of Design, filed a request on Friday with a British court asking them to order Cambridge Analytica, a data firm used by the Trump campaign, to turn over all the data they’ve collected on the professor, and the source of that data.

    • Self-described whistleblower suspended by Facebook after Cambridge Analytica reports

      On Sunday, Wylie shared a screenshot of an “account disabled” message that he said came from Facebook. He said the company suspended him for revealing something that they had already known for two years.

      [...]

      Roughly 30 million of the profiles Kogan gave the firm had enough information to create psychographic profiles but only 270,000 people had given permission for their data to be collected.

    • Cambridge Analytica working to stop undercover report on its practices from airing: report

      Reporters for Channel 4 posed as prospective clients and secretly filmed a number of meetings with the firm.

    • Mark Zuckerberg Told to ‘Stop Hiding Behind his Facebook Page’ After Reports of Data Breach

      A British lawmaker accused Facebook on Sunday of misleading officials by downplaying the risk of users’ data being shared without their consent.

    • Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: ‘We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles’ – video

      Christopher Wylie, who worked for data firm Cambridge Analytica, reveals how personal information was taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Donald Trump’s key adviser, Steve Bannon. Its CEO is Alexander Nix

    • Thanks to the CIA, Issues of the Agency’s Most-Hated Magazine Are Now Online

      Long before Wikileaks was promoting “radical transparency” in the digital age, CounterSpy was publishing a magazine that named CIA station chiefs and exposed covert operations. Now, 23 issues from its 32-issue run have been pulled from the CIA’s own archives and digitized for your perusal. We can neither confirm nor deny that the agency is happy about this.

      CounterSpy started publishing from its headquarters in Washington, DC in 1973. Its staff and contributors were made up of journalists and former intelligence agents who wanted to expose the CIA and other intelligence apparatuses as corrupt organizations. It ran stories about subjects like the CIA’s efforts to undermine labor movements around the world and psychological warfare conducted under COINTELPRO. The spooks at Langley weren’t fans but were certainly readers.

    • Mossad starts funding sociopathic startups aiming to deprive people of liberty

      Mossad has started funding the worst of the worst of IT startups. Normally, a headline such as this would only be seen on very questionable websites, but the source for this story is the Israeli Jerusalem Post itself – and further: the Israeli Mossad are far from the only ones.

    • Raleigh cops are investigating crime by getting Google to reveal the identity of every mobile user within acres of the scene

      Public records requests have revealed that on at least four occasions, the Raleigh-Durham police obtained warrants forcing Google to reveal the identities of every mobile user within acres of a crime scene, sweeping up the personal information of thousands of people in a quest to locate a single perp.

      The warrants came with gag orders that banned Google from disclosing their existence; in their requests for the warrants, local prosecutors say that they don’t even believe that warrants are needed to get this information, but since Google insists, they’re willing to get them.

      The cops insist that this approach balances the public’s Fourth Amendment rights with their need to fight crimes. Only one of the crimes in which police used this dragnet technique has had an arrest; it’s not clear if this arrest was the result of data from Google.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Why Is No One Demanding an Explanation for the Torture of Doyle Hamm?

      While the execution of Eggers itself raises serious constitutional questions, an equally critical question remains, which has neither been asked nor addressed: How can Alabama, without having answered at all for its botched and torturous execution of Doyle Hamm a mere three weeks ago, be permitted to simply move on to execute the next man on its death row? Why is no one demanding an explanation? And why is Alabama not at least publicly explaining that what happened three weeks ago was not a systematic breakdown of its death-penalty system?

    • My story of detention in Yarl’s Wood
    • Tina Fontaine Is Further Proof That Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Need Justice
    • It’s Time to Abolish ICE

      Canon has also defended clients swept up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, and fought a Kafkaesque deportation system that, at one point, wouldn’t even disclose the location of his client. Now Canon believes ICE should be abolished entirely.

    • Abolishing ICE is the radical idea America needs to be talking about | Will Bunch

      After all the stories and viral videos — the screaming mom dragged away from her horrified young children, the 10-year-old with cerebral palsy who got busted in her ambulance after emergency surgery, the pillars of their local communities who showed for a routine check-up and ended up in detention, the stepped-up raids, and all the arrests in courtrooms, outside schoolhouse doors, and behind churches — Americans are right to wonder if our out-of-control immigration cops have any limits at all.

      Amazingly, they do. When it came out a couple of weeks ago that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was on the brink of deporting the wife of an Army Special Forces veteran — planning to send her back to Honduras, where drug dealers might seek violent revenge for her husband’s past drug-interdiction work there with the U.S. military — the public outcry was so great that even this tone-deaf federal agency backed down, for once.

    • Iran jails woman for removing headscarf in public
    • Saudi Crown Prince Plans Meetings With Apple, Google

      Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman plans to meet top global executives, including the heads of Apple Inc. and Google, during his first trip to the U.S. since becoming heir to the throne of the world’s largest oil exporter, according to a person briefed on the trip’s details.

    • No Dancing, No Swaying: Saudi Pop Concert Comes With Warning

      Many Saudi conservatives are deeply uncomfortable with Prince Mohammed’s reforms, although they have mostly kept quiet, fearing arrest. Many of the online posts about Mr. Hosny’s concert condemned the concert, not the rules governing it.

    • Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions

      Businessmen once considered giants of the Saudi economy now wear ankle bracelets that track their movements. Princes who led military forces and appeared in glossy magazines are monitored by guards they do not command. Families who flew on private jets cannot gain access to their bank accounts. Even wives and children have been forbidden to travel.

    • Now we know why defense attorneys quit the USS Cole case. They found a microphone.

      Lawyers for the alleged USS Cole bombing mastermind quit the capital case after discovering a microphone in their special client meeting room and were denied the opportunity to either talk about or investigate it, the Miami Herald has learned.

      [...]

      The court filing is an attempt by prosecutors in the USS Cole case to get the review panel to order a military judge to resume the case. Nashiri, a Saudi, is charged with engineering al-Qaida’s suicide bombing of the warship off the Yemen post of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000. Seventeen U.S. sailors died in the blast, and the prosecutor is seeking a death sentence. Air Force Col. Vance Spath, the judge, abruptly abated the case Feb. 16, saying he wanted a higher court to clarify his authority as a judge in the Guantánamo war court.

    • Telangana: Angry at teen watching porn on mobile, father chops off his hand with butcher’s knife

      According to police, 43-year-old Mohammed Qayyum Qureshi, who is an electrician by profession, was angry at his son Khaled as the latter was addicted to his smartphone.

    • 5 Ways We’re Fighting Crime (And Making Everything Worse)
    • Christian asylum seekers in Sweden face violent attacks, warns Swedish Evangelical Alliance

      They point out: ‘There are many studies focusing on hate crimes against Jews and Muslims in Sweden but few on hate crimes against Christians, even though statistics from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention show that police reports of the latter have risen in recent years.’

    • Illegal Minaret Calls Divide Inhabitants in Sweden’s ‘Most Tolerant Town’

      An Islamic center in the town of Växjö has been reported to the police after it was disclosed that it has been broadcasting prayer calls without permission for several years. The notification is based on a breach of the public order act, and the police are serious about the incident, Swedish Radio reported.

    • A Women’s Rights March in Turkey Has Ended With Tear Gas and Arrests

      Women’s rights marchers in Ankara met with tear gas and arrests Sunday as they gathered for a protest ahead of International Women’s Day later this week.

    • Bangladesh police say writer was attacked as ‘enemy of Islam’

      Saturday’s attack on Zafar Iqbal in the northern city of Sylhet was just the latest in a series of stabbings of secular or atheist authors and bloggers in Muslim-majority Bangladesh.

      Iqbal, a longstanding champion of free speech and secularism, remains in stable condition in hospital where he is being treated for stab wounds to his head.

    • Syrian man in Germany appears on air with blood on his face after killing wife

      In an attempt to justify the crime, Abu Marwan said that his actions were a message to all women who irritate their husbands saying “this is how you’ll end.” The man and his son urged viewers to share the video.

    • Ten men deny sex abuse of care home runaway girls

      Ms Melly told the court: “Frustrated at the lack of coverage… her partner contacted Look North, telling them the abuse was ‘much wider than Rotherham’.”

    • Husband divorces wife on honeymoon for not enough sex

      The couple appealed to a sharia court in Dubai, where the man said his new wife did not allow him to touch her or have sex with her during the honeymoon.

    • In Sweden, Christians Fleeing Persecution Face Violence All Over Again

      More than half of all participants in the survey, 53 percent, reported that they had been attacked violently at least once because of their Christian faith. Almost half, 45 percent, reported that they had received at least one death threat, and 6 percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted.

    • University of Auckland worker fired after trying to force female Muslim student to shake hands

      A University of Auckland academic has been fired after trying to shake a female Muslim student’s hand and then accusing her of sexual discrimination when she refused.

    • #MeToo Behind Bars: When the Sexual Assaulter Holds the Keys to Your Cell

      In January, Strawberry Hampton, a trans woman incarcerated in Illinois, settled a lawsuit about repeated sexual and physical abuse she’d experienced by prison staff in the state’s men’s prisons. What she endured isn’t limited to Illinois prisons, or to men’s prisons. Across the country, thousands of incarcerated people face sexual harassment, abuse and assault, frequently at the hands of staff. In the face of these attacks — and the reality of retaliation — incarcerated people have come forward to file complaints and lawsuits, fighting back against system-wide abuse.

    • Women barred from Sidi Saiyed mosque

      They got a red-carpet welcome last September. Situation changed later with four notice boards put up at the mosque banning women entry. They read, “Lady visitors are not allowed to enter the masjid premises under any circumstances. They should see the site from the water hoj (tank for ablutions) or garden side only.”

    • Egypt struggles to end female genital mutilation

      A 2016 survey by the U.N. Children’s Fund showed that 87 percent of women and girls aged 15-49 in Egypt have undergone the procedure.

    • Delhi: Father slits throat of girl over ‘friendship’ with boy in suspected honour killing
    • Students Aren’t Waiting for March or April. They’re Protesting Now

      Every day since February 21, high-school and middle-school students across the country have protested for stronger gun laws, often by walking out of class.

    • YouTube stopped hiring white men in attempt to boost diversity, lawsuit claims

      YouTube stopped hiring white and Asian men in a blunt attempt to make the company more diverse, a lawsuit claims.

      Arne Wilberg, a former recruiter at the Google-owned video website, said he was fired for speaking out against the company’s practices last year when it cancelled interviews with candidates who were not female, black or Hispanic for technical jobs.

    • United Airlines kills another pet

      Last year the carrier killed nine times as many animals as American and Delta

    • Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel

      With the not-entirely-unexpected departure of United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the brightest light in the Trump administration is now extinguished. Not that the illumination caused by that light was particularly bright, but when one is operating in total darkness, even a small candle is something for which to be grateful.

      The former ExxonMobile executive supported the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action); sought a diplomatic solution with North Korea, and not only tried to delay the move of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, but also skipped visiting Apartheid Israel during a year-end tour of the Middle East. In each of these significant ways, Tillerson differed from his erratic, trigger-happy boss, who brooks no disagreement with his ever-changing thoughts. Add to that the fact that Tillerson was quoted in October as calling Trump a moron, and he basically issued his own pink slip.

    • ‘Testilying’ by Police: A Stubborn Problem

      Police lying persists, even amid an explosion of video evidence that has allowed the public to test officers’ credibility.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Founder of Fan-Made Subtitle Site Lose Copyright Infringement Appeal

        The founder of a site that provided fan-created subtitles has lost his appeal against a conviction for copyright infringement. In 2017 a Swedish court found that the unauthorized distribution of movie subtitles is a crime, sentencing the then 32-year-old to probation and a fine. The Court of Appeal has now largely upheld that earlier verdict.

      • Canadian Pirate Site Blocking Plan Triggers Thousands of Responses

        A group of prominent Canadian ISPs and movie industry companies have asked the local telecom regulator CRTC to establish a local pirate site blocking program. Before making any decisions, CRTC launched a public consultation which has already received thousands of responses. It appears that most people argue against the plan, fearing widespread censorship, but there is support as well.

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