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10.02.18

Links 2/10/2018: Stratis 1.0 and Milestone for Alliance of Open Media

Posted in News Roundup at 3:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Introducing dav1d: a new AV1 decoder

    AV1 is a new video codec by the Alliance for Open Media, composed of most of the important Web companies (Google, Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, Mozilla…).

    AV1 has the potential to be up to 20% better than the HEVC codec, but the patents license is totally free, while HEVC patents licenses are insanely high and very confusing.

    The reference decoder for AV1 is great, but it’s a research codebase, so it has a lot to improve.

  • DAV1D: A New AV1 Video Decoder From The VideoLAN Developers

    The VideoLAN/VLC developers in conjunction with the FFmpeg crew while being sponsored by the Alliance of Open Media have announced a new AV1 video decoder.

  • 4 open source invoicing tools for small businesses

    No matter what your reasons for starting a small business, the key to keeping that business going is getting paid. Getting paid usually means sending a client an invoice.

    It’s easy enough to whip up an invoice using LibreOffice Writer or LibreOffice Calc, but sometimes you need a bit more. A more professional look. A way of keeping track of your invoices. Reminders about when to follow up on the invoices you’ve sent.

    There’s a wide range of commercial and closed-source invoicing tools out there. But the offerings on the open source side of the fence are just as good, and maybe even more flexible, than their closed source counterparts.

  • New Open Source Blockchain Project To Challenge Experian And Equifax

    Online reputation start-up, Traity, has just announced the release of its open-source blockchain project “The Reputation Network.” – an initiative which is part of the growing number of fintechs disrupting the monopoly of credit scoring through the use of social data and machine learning.

    These new technologies patch the lack of history in the data available to traditional credit scoring. Particularly where there is little other information about a person (young people who have yet to build up a credit history; international students/employees, immigrants and refugees).

  • Events

    • Tobias Mueller: Talking at OSDNConf in Kyiv, Ukraine

      I was fortunate enough to be invited to Kyiv to keynote (video) the local Open Source Developer Network conference. Actually, I had two presentations. The opening keynote was on building a more secure operating system with fewer active security measures. I presented a few case studies why I believe that GNOME is well positioned to deliver a nice and secure user experience. The second talk was on PrivacyScore and how I believe that it makes the world a little bit better by making security and privacy properties of Web sites transparent.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • You’ll Soon Have Granular Control of Chrome Extension Permissions

        Chrome extensions have been under heavy scrutiny over the couple of years due to security risks, but Google is looking to change that with upcoming granular permission control. This is a huge step forward for extension security.

        Basically, this is a similar take on Android’s granular permissions controls, just for Chrome browser extensions. The biggest problem with extensions—at least from a security standpoint—is their essentially universal ability to read, write, and change data on websites. With this upcoming feature, you’ll be able to control when and how extensions can read and write data.

      • Google’s Project Stream is Ready To Play AAA Console Games in Chrome

        Streaming full 3D games over a high-speed web connection is a fast growing trend. And with ridiculous amounts of infrastructure and remote computing power, Google is well equipped to join it.

        That’s the gist behind Project Stream, the web giant’s latest foray into the consumer market. Google will stream Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, the latest entry in Ubisoft’s long-running stab-em-up series, to Chrome browsers on desktops and laptops. Aside from a small client program, you won’t need the usual gigabytes of local storage or beefy PC hardware to play: it’s all running on Google’s remote systems. The beta test of the service will begin this Friday, October 5th, and it’ll be playable on Windows, macOS, and ChromeOS.

      • Google Launches Its Game Streaming Service: Now Play Games In Chrome With “Project Stream”

        After the much wait and speculation, Google has finally lifted the curtains off its under-development game streaming project. Called Project Stream, this service aims to bring the ability to stream games right inside the Chrome browser.

    • Mozilla

      • QMO: Firefox 63 Beta 10 Testday Results
      • Firefox Nightly: These Weeks in Firefox: Issue 46
      • October’s Featured Extensions
      • ndian Supreme Court rules on Aadhaar: Delayed scrutiny

        The Aadhaar judgment holds important lessons (and warnings) for how courts and the polity should respond to the technological vision of the state. The task before the Supreme Court was to evaluate the constitutionality of a specific choice and design of technology made by the government. Note that this choice, of a single biometric identifier for each resident linked to a centralised database, was made almost a decade ago. And decisions about this project have largely evolved within the closed quarters of the executive, including the one to roll it out, and the subsequent call to link Aadhaar to essential services. All this was done without any statutory backing, until its hurried passage as a money bill in 2016.

        As one reads through the decision of the three judges that formed the majority opinion, it becomes clear that there are limits to this delayed judicial scrutiny of a technology-driven project that has already reached scale (over 99% of the population is already enrolled). While the judgment does well to impose limits on its scope, it disappoints in its reluctance to engage with its underlying technical and evidentiary claims, and the application of weak legal standards.

  • SaaS/Back End

    • Handling real-time data operations in the enterprise

      Early on in projects, management and developers are responsible for the success of a project. As the project matures, the operations team is jointly responsible for the success.

      I’ve taught in situations where the operations team members complain that no one wants to do the operational side of things. They’re right. Data science is the sexy thing companies want. The data engineering and operations teams don’t get much love. The organizations don’t realize that data science stands on the shoulders of DataOps and data engineering giants.

      What we need to do is give these roles a sexy title. Let’s call these operational teams that focus on big data: DataOps teams.

  • CMS

    • [Older] Moving from WordPress

      I decided to go with Hugo, because back when I was experimenting with GitLab pages and a project page for Nautilus Hugo seemed to be the easiest and most convenient tech to create a static website that just works. Overall, it seems that Hugo is the most used static website generator for blogs.

      I also decided that I would get a theme based in the well known and well maintained bootstrap. Most themes had some custom CSS, all delicately and manually crafted. But let’s be honest, I don’t want to maintain this, I wanted something simple I can go with.

      So I chose the minimal theme wich is based in bootstrap and then applied my own changes such as a second accent (the red in the titles), support for centered images, the Ubuntu font (which I use it everywhere I can), some navbar changes, full content rss support, lot of spacing adjustments, softer main text coloring, etc.

  • Education

    • Learn Your Way With an Open Source LMS

      Is your learning management system (LMS) platform meeting your organization’s training objectives? Are you modifying your programs to fit the LMS rather than optimizing your LMS to deliver the best learning?

      With open source LMS solutions such as Totara Learn, you are empowered to shape the platform so it best fits your needs. Rather than one size fits all, open source LMS platforms ask, “What solution suits you?” That way you can have the flexibility and security of getting the features in addition to the analytics and support you need.

    • Free (and Open Source) Software for Colleges and Universities to Use in Their Strive for Digital Transformation

      In Liberia, many of our colleges and universities continue to struggle with the integration of ICTs in their institutions. This is primarily due to the lack of resources (financial and technical) and to some extent, the lack of will and vision on the part of some of our leaders. To address this (in my own way), I have invited a group of ten students to come to my training and development lab to apprise them of the thousands of free and open source academic resources, (especially educational software) that are available on the Internet. The second reason is to train them in the use and development of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and create an environment that allows them to test, develop, deploy and use open source software at their various colleges and universities. The third reason for inviting these kids is to build a team of evangelists who will go out and evangelize the need for the infusion of ICTs in our colleges, universities and the entire nation, so as to leapfrog social and economic development.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Integration of libc++ and OpenMP packages into llvm-toolchain

      A bit more than a year ago, we gave an update about recent changes in apt.llvm.org. Since then, we noticed an important increase of the usage of the service. Just last month, we saw more than 16.5TB of data being transferred from our CDN.

      Thanks to the Google Summer of Code 2018, and after number of requests, we decided to focus our energy to bring new great projects from the LLVM ecosystems into apt.llvm.org.

    • It’s Now Easier Using The Latest LLVM libc++ & libomp On Ubuntu/Debian

      If you want to experiment with using the libc++ standard library alternative to libstdc++ on Ubuntu/Debian or also the LLVM OpenMP library (libomp), the LLVM project is now producing binaries for these sub-projects.

      Via apt.llvm.org, the LLVM project has long been putting out compiler builds for recent versions of Debian and Ubuntu. That includes builds of stable branches as well as daily compiler toolchain snapshots. Those daily snapshots in particular are quite useful if wanting to try out the latest stable of the LLVM/Clang compiler without having to mess with the compiler build process, etc.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Rcpp 0.12.19: And more updates

      The next bi-monthly update in the 0.12.* series of Rcpp releases landed on CRAN early this morning. It was actually released on September 20, but I made a first cut (see #887 below) at a deprecation which CRAN and I decided to reverted for now, then CRAN was unusually busy and under an onslaught of false positives of a new checker, and finally we ran into a change in R-devel from the last two days. It is not easy as Rcpp is complex with over 1400 direct reverse dependencies so releases can take a moment. Hence, also releasing to the Rcpp drat repo as I did this time too may become the norm. In any event, and as usual, a big Thank You! to CRAN for all the work they do so well.

Leftovers

  • What to do about Africa’s dangerous baby boom
  • Sony Caves: The PS4 Will Soon Begin Supporting Cross-Console Play

    Back in June, we talked about a fun little bit of trolling that Xbox and Nintendo teamed up for at the expense of Sony and its PlayStation 4. At issue was Sony’s longstanding stance against inter-console play for multiplayer games that would otherwise allow for it, whereas Xbox and Nintendo players all over the world were happily playing MineCraft and Fortnite against one another. The end result of Sony’s stance has been both a decent level of frustration by gamers that expect modernity in their console’s features, and several YouTube videos and Twitter exchanges between Xbox and Nintendo highlighting that their own consoles had inter-console functionality.

  • Sony’s walled garden cracks open: Cross-console play comes to PS4
  • Science

    • The Lie Generator: Inside The Black Mirror World of Polygraph Job Screenings

      Commonly known as lie detectors, polygraphs are virtually unused in civilian life. They’re largely inadmissible in court and it’s illegal for most private companies to consult them. Over the past century, scientists have debunked the polygraph, proving again and again that the test can’t reliably distinguish truth from falsehood. At best, it is a roll of the dice; at worst, it’s a vessel for test administrators to project their own beliefs.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • World hunger on the rise for a third year

      One in nine people in the world is affected by hunger. That is what the latest report by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has found. Heavy droughts and conflict are some of the main drivers behind the rise. If the trend continues, the FAO warns, the world will fall far short of achieving the UN’s 2030 goal of eradicating hunger.

    • World hunger levels rise for third year running – U.N.

      Hunger appears to be increasing in almost all of Africa and in South America, with 821 million people – one in nine – going hungry in 2017

    • The Surprising Reach of FDA Regulation of Cannabis, Even after Descheduling

      The push for “descheduling” cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) often presumes that current herb-based medical cannabis providers would simply have greater freedom to do what they currently do. At the same time, some of these traditional providers are wary of pharmaceutical companies pulling medical cannabis into the regular small molecule drug development system that might ignore the holistic “entourage effect” of the full range of substances available from smoking or ingesting whole flower cannabis. These providers may see descheduling as helping them compete with the pharmaceutical industry by allowing unfettered promotion and sale of whole flower-based products. The reality is far more complicated. The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) is already ramping up both its enforcement and regulatory review processes for medical cannabis. And descheduling does not eliminate FDA authority over cannabis products. Considering the current state of medical cannabis research as well as the differing goals and philosophies of the traditional medical cannabis community and the conventional drug development community, we predict three pathways forward for medical cannabis after descheduling. The first is purely intrastate whole flower product providers regulated primarily by state law and not the FDA. The second is conventional drug development governed by the FDA. And the third is national brand dietary supplements, also regulated by the FDA. The relative distribution among these pathways will turn on factors such as perceived or clinically measured efficacy, price, time-to-market, side effects, and preferences for “holistic,” “natural,” and even “organic” remedies.

    • How life expectancy varies across America

      The researchers estimated life expectancies across every one of America’s 65,662 census tracts: geographical divisions containing a few thousand people each that cover the entire country and are used for census data collection. The median estimated life expectancy across all tracts in America is 78.5 years. But 1,656 tracts see life expectancy below 70 years, and 2,511 have expectancy above 85—a 15-year gap. At the extremes there are 64 census tracts where life expectancy is estimated to be above 90, while seven see expectancies more than 30 years lower than that.

    • For ‘Poisoned City’ writer, Flint water crisis continues to reverberate

      That was not the case three months ago when she was awaiting the release of her book, “The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy,” a deeply researched examination of what led to the Flint water crisis, a man-made disaster in the making for decades — from the city’s population drop to its financial emergencies to a long history of institutional racism. The book has received attention nationwide

    • Judge Mathis organizing water caravan and rally in Flint November 1st

      “We hear the democrats talk a lot about health care,” he said,”what is a bigger issue in health care than clean water?”

      “We hear a lot on the Republican side about tax cuts and other things that have no real bearing on saving the live and providing clean water for Flint,” he added.

    • Cancer Center’s Board Chairman Faults Top Doctor, Saying He “Crossed Lines”

      The chairman of the board of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center bluntly disparaged the hospital’s former chief medical officer on Monday, telling the hospital staff that he “crossed lines” and went “off the reservation” in his outside dealings with health and drug companies.

      The remarks by Douglas A. Warner III, the chairman of the center’s board of managers and overseers, as well as Dr. Craig B. Thompson, the chief executive, went beyond previous hospital statements about the former chief medical officer, Dr. José Baselga. Until Monday, the hospital had said he followed internal policies and had mainly just failed to disclose his industry affiliations in some medical journal articles.

      “I have to say, while we pushed back on a lot and discussed a lot, we were not as effective as we should have been,” Warner said, according to a preliminary transcript of a meeting with the hospital staff that was inadvertently emailed by the hospital to a reporter for The New York Times. “He crossed lines that we should have done more to stop.”

    • How Big Wireless Convinced Us Cell Phones and Wi-Fi are Safe

      A Kaiser Permanente study (published December 2017 in Scientific Reports) conducted controlled research testing on hundreds of pregnant women in the San Francisco Bay area and found that those who had been exposed to magnetic field (MF) non-ionizing radiation associated with cell phones and wireless devices had 2.72 times more risk of miscarriage than those with lower MF exposure. Furthermore, the study reported that the association was “much stronger” when MF was measured “on a typical day of participants’ pregnancies.” According to lead investigator De-Kun Li, the possible effects of MF exposure have been controversial because, “from a public health point of view, everybody is exposed. If there is any health effect, the potential impact is huge.” [For previous Project Censored coverage of this topic, see Julian Klein and Casey Lewis, with Kenn Burrows and Peter Phillips, “Accumulating Evidence of Ongoing Wireless Technology Health Hazards,” in Censored 2015: Inspiring We the People.]

      A March 2018 investigation for the Nation by Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie showed how the scope of this public health issue has been inadequately reported by the press and underappreciated by the public. Hertsgaard and Dowie reported that the telecom industry has employed public relations tactics, first pioneered by Big Tobacco in the 1960s and developed by fossil-fuel companies in the 1980s, to influence both the public’s understanding of wireless technologies and regulatory debates.

      The wireless industry has “war-gamed” science by playing offense as well as defense, actively sponsoring studies that result in published findings supportive of the industry while aiming to discredit competing research that raises questions about the safety of cellular devices and other wireless technologies. [On “war-gaming,” see, for example, a 1994 Motorola memo, now published online.] When studies have linked wireless radiation to cancer or genetic damage, industry spokespeople have pointed out that the findings are disputed by other researchers. This strategy has proven effective, Hertsgaard and Dowie reported, because “the apparent lack of certainty helps to reassure customers, even as it fends off government regulations and lawsuits that might pinch profits.” As Hertsgaard and Dowie concluded,

    • In Montana, a Tough Negotiator Proved Employers Don’t Have to Pay So Much for Health Care

      Marilyn Bartlett took a deep breath, drew herself up to her full 5 feet and a smidge, and told the handful of Montana officials that she had a radical strategy to bail out the state’s foundering benefit plan for its 30,000 employees and their families.

      The officials were listening. Their health plan was going broke, with losses that could top $50 million in just a few years. It needed a savior, but none of the applicants to be its new administrator had wowed them.

      Now here was a self-described pushy 64-year-old grandmother interviewing for the job.

      Bartlett came with some unique qualifications. She’d just spent 13 years on the insurance industry side, first as a controller for a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, then as the chief financial officer for a company that administered benefits. She was a potent combination of irreverent and nerdy, a certified public accountant whose Smart car’s license plate reads “DR CR,” the Latin abbreviations for “debit” and “credit.”

      Most importantly, Bartlett understood something the state officials didn’t: the side deals, kickbacks and lucrative clauses that industry players secretly build into medical costs. Everyone, she’d observed, was profiting except the employers and workers paying the tab.

    • A Surgeon So Bad It Was Criminal

      The pain from the pinched nerve in the back of Jeff Glidewell’s neck had become unbearable.

      Every time he’d turn his head a certain way, or drive over bumps in the road, he felt as if jolts of electricity were running through his body. Glidewell, now 54, had been living on disability because of an accident a decade earlier. As the pain grew worse, it became clear his only choice was neurosurgery. He searched Google to find a doctor near his home in suburban Dallas who would accept his Medicare Advantage insurance.

      That’s how he came across Dr. Christopher Duntsch in the spring of 2013.

      Duntsch seemed impressive, at least on the surface. His CV boasted that he’d earned an M.D. and a Ph.D. from a top spinal surgery program. Glidewell found four- and five-star reviews of Duntsch on Healthgrades and more praise seemingly from patients on Duntsch’s Facebook page. On a link for something called “Best Docs Network,” Glidewell found a slickly produced video showing Duntsch in his white coat, talking to a happy patient and wearing a surgical mask in an operating room.

  • Security

    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly report #179
    • The Devil Is in The Details Of Project Verify’s Goal To Eliminate Passwords

      A coalition of the four largest U.S. wireless providers calling itself the Mobile Authentication Taskforce recently announced an initiative named Project Verify. This project would let users log in to apps and websites with their phone instead of a password, or serve as an alternative to multi-factor authentication methods such as SMS or hardware tokens.

      Any work to find a more secure and user-friendly solution than passwords is worthwhile. However, the devil is always in the details—and this project is the work of many devils we already know well. The companies behind this initiative are the same ones responsible for the infrastructure behind security failures like SIM-swapping attacks, neutrality failures like unadvertised throttling, and privacy failures like supercookies and NSA surveillance.

      Research on moving user-friendly security and authentication forward must be open and vendor- and platform-neutral, not tied to any one product, platform, or industry group. It must allow users to take control of our identities, not leave them in the hands of the very same ISP companies that have repeatedly subverted our trust.

    • Touch ID and Face ID Don’t Make You More Secure [Ed: Of course sharing biometrics with the state or the "security state" isn't about security but mere subjugation]

      Touch ID and Face ID area great. We like them, and we use them. But they’re convenience features, not security features, and you have fewer legal protections when using them in the US. When necessary, you can temporarily disable them.

      This also applies to Android phones with fingerprint sensors, iris scans, or other biometric features.

    • How Face ID could be a game-changer for aggressive US border agents

      Apple’s Touch ID is already on its way out. Just five years ago, iPhones began getting the famed fingerprint scanner that makes unlocking your phone dozens of times a day even easier.

      But all of the new iPhones released this year—iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR—only have Face ID. They do not have Touch ID.

    • Why Cops Can Force You to Unlock Your Phone With Your Face

      The question of whether cops can force someone to unlock their phone in the US for a search hinges on Fifth Amendment protections against self-incrimination—that no one “shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against” themselves. Privacy advocates argue that this extends to the act of unlocking a phone or generally decrypting data on a device. But while that line of thinking has succeeded as a defense against having to produce a passcode, it works less reliably in the context of Touch ID or other biometrics. Something you know, like a passcode, is easier to view as testimonial—legally speaking, a statement made by a witness—than something you have, like a physical attribute.

    • Equifax penalised $3.5 million for consumer law breaches

      Australia’s largest consumer credit reporting agency Equifax Information Services and Solutions is to pay penalties totalling $3.5 million for misleading and deceptive conduct and unconscionable conduct in relation to credit report services.

    • Canonical Outs New Linux Kernel Security Patch for All Supported Ubuntu Releases

      Canonical releases today a new major Linux kernel security update for all supported Ubuntu releases to fix various vulnerabilities discovered by security researchers lately.

      Available now for the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS (Bionic Beaver), Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus), and Ubuntu 14.04 LTS (Trusty Tahr) operating system series, the new Linux kernel security patches address a total of eleven vulnerabilities that affect the Linux 4.15, 4.4, and 3.13 kernels of the aforementioned Ubuntu releases and their derivatives.

      Among the fixes, we can notice a use-after-free vulnerability (CVE-2018-17182) discovered by Jann Horn in Linux kernel’s vmacache subsystem, which could allow a local attacker crash the system, as well as a stack-based buffer overflow (CVE-2018-14633) in the iSCSI target implementation, which lets a remote attacker crash the system.

    • India bars Huawei, ZTE from 5G trials

      India’s Department of Telecommunications has barred Chinese telecommunications providers Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation from participating in trials for developing 5G use cases in the country, the Economic Times has reported.

    • India dials Cisco, Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, says no to Chinese Huawei, ZTE

      The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has excluded Huawei and ZTE from its list of companies asked to partner it for trials to develop 5G use cases for India, indicating that New Delhi may well follow the US and Australia in limiting involvement of Chinese telecom equipment makers in the roll-out of the next-gen technology.

    • Symantec SSL certificates no longer trusted

      A browser will check the validity of a SSL certificate in order to confirm the validity of the web site being loaded. This is done by validating a chain of trust. Certificate Authorities (CAs) will guarantee the certificates they issue, along with the bona fides of any secondary issuing authority that is operating under their umbrella. Of course this will require a very rigorous process to validate any entity that wishes to obtain a certificate.

      In 2016 users became aware that Symantec (and their supported issuers) was issuing certificates in contravention of the established guidelines and posted their finding to a Mozilla security mailing list. After considerable discussion amongst the other CAs a decision was made to distrust Symantec and to remove it as a CA.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Filing: Mohamed Noor raised red flags among psychiatrists, training officers

      Roughly two months before the shooting, Noor put a gun to the head of a motorist pulled over for a minor traffic stop, according to the prosecution filing.

      Noor stopped his squad on 24th Street west of Nicollet Avenue and got out “with his gun pulled and pointed downward,” the court document read, citing squad car video. “When the defendant approached the driver’s side of the stopped car, the first thing he did was point his gun at the driver’s head.”

      [...]

      Noor is also the subject of two lawsuits wending through federal court, including a $50 million wrongful death suit filed by Damond’s family, alleging that Noor and Harrity conspired to cover up evidence by not turning on their body cameras during the encounter. Legal experts have said the Damond suit could produce a record payout.

    • Understanding World War III

      The events leading up to World War II and World War III are scarily similar.

      Acclaimed author Naomi Klein has often written about the 10 steps to fascism and warned that they apply to America. She lists the decline into fascism as being indicated by (paraphrasing); [...]

      This article will go beyond that, to look not just at the general trends and conditions but to compare the chronology of the specific acts of Nazi Germany with those of the modern day US Empire, in the context of World War II and the now well underway World War III.

    • Wikileaks: To Weaken Iran, US Undermined Democratic Elements of Syrian Opposition to Empower Radical Groups

      A recently uncovered U.S. government document published by WikiLeaks has revealed that the U.S. directly advocated for undermining “democratic” elements of the so-called Syrian “revolution” of 2011 in order to ensure the dominance of authoritarian, sectarian Sunni groups within the Syrian opposition.

      The document, written by the United States Marine Corps (USMC) Intelligence Department in late 2011, further asserts that empowering these radical Sunni groups over democratic and secular ones would be ideal for the United States and its regional partners, as ensuring the decline of the current Syrian government, and with it a secular Syria, would harm Iran’s regional clout.

      In other words, the U.S. openly supported undermining democratic opposition forces in Syria in order to challenge Iranian influence and, with it, the influence of the Middle East’s “resistance axis” that obstructs the imperialistic agendas of the U.S. and its regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and Israel.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Julian Assange’s Illegal Captivity Continues Despite Appointment of New WikiLeaks Editor

      This comes six months after the embassy cut his internet connection in March 2018, which determined the appointiment of a new editor-in-chief to run the website.

      Bringing back the Assange name in news headlines prompted debates between supporters and critics. The debate has always revolved around Assange’s right to freedom or be sent to jail.

    • Julian Assange appoints new WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief

      Following baseless allegations of sexual assault in Sweden, Assange was threatened with a series of bogus criminal charges in the US. He claimed political asylum in 2012, when he entered the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. He has since been illegally subjected to arbitrary detention by British authorities, who have threatened his arrest, and, therefore, certain extradition to the US, if he sets foot outside the embassy. The siege was escalated in March, when the Ecuadorian government, capitulating to enormous pressure from Washington, cut off Assange’s communication with the outside world and indicated it was preparing to evict him. This threat could still be enforced at any time.

      Kristinn Hrafnsson’s appointment is testament to WikiLeaks’ invaluable contribution to genuine journalism. It also points to the base of support that Assange still retains among a group of principled journalists, who have refused to either denounce the embattled journalist or remain silent as US government pressure mounts, as the majority of their colleagues within the global media establishment have done.

    • With Julian Assange unable to access Internet, WikiLeaks gets new editor-in-chief

      Assange has been stuck in the same building since the past half dozen years or so, since every time he tries to go our, he finds the London police waiting to cart him off. However, he has been operating WikiLeaks from within the embassy, continuing to have an impact on the world — for example, by releasing emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman that helped sway the presidential election against her. The US and Ecuador have also had some harsh exchanges over him, but the Latin American country has continued offering him sanctuary.

    • Roger Stone-Julian Assange intermediary plans to plead the Fifth before Senate Intelligence Committee

      The intermediary between longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has notified members of the Senate Intelligence Committee that he is planning to plead the Fifth Amendment so he would not self-incriminate himself by answering questions related to the committee’s probe on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

      New York radio personality Randy Credico’s lawyer notified the committee on Monday that Credico planned to plead the Fifth Amendment when he appears before the panel on Friday, according to a Politico report. The panel had previously subpoenaed Credico.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Climate change kills Antarctica’s ancient moss beds

      “They change from green to red to grey if they get really stressed.

      “The red pigments are the sunscreen and drought stress protective pigments they produce to protect themselves – antioxidant and UV screening compounds.

      “Grey means they are dying.”

    • Moody’s Pegs Florence’s Economic Cost at $38 Billion to $50 Billion

      Moody’s Analytics on Friday estimated the economic cost of Florence to be between $38 billion and $50 billion including damage to property, vehicle losses, and lost output. At the upper end of that range, Florence would rank seventh among the biggest storms, just after Hurricane Andrew in 1992, according to Moody’s estimates.

    • Four maps show how electricity generation has changed in the US

      Between 2007 and 2017, the number of states for which coal was the most-used energy source fell from 28 to 18. That change was accompanied by a growth in the number of states that mostly used natural gas from 11 to 16, hydroelectricity from four to six, and nuclear power from six to nine. That’s interesting because hydroelectricity and nuclear power power plant additions have been close-to-stagnant for decades. In some states, nuclear power plants benefitted from “uprating,” or changes that increase the plant’s capacity. Uprating was rarely enough to counteract the whole loss of coal capacity in any given state, which means retired coal is either not being replaced because of electricity efficiency gains, or it’s being replaced by more diverse energy sources, like wind and solar.

    • Putting a dollar value on one of oil’s biggest subsidies: military protection

      This week brought an excellent example, in the form of a new paper from Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE), a clean-energy advocacy group composed of retired military and business leaders. It attempts to put a number on one of the great, neglected implicit subsidies for oil: the costs to the US military of defending oil supplies, everything from guarding shipping lanes to maintaining troop commitments in key oil-producing nations.

      The number, it turns out, is high: $81 billion a year at the low end, which is almost certainly conservative.

    • What is the Northern Sea Route?

      In the past decade melting ice-sheets have opened up previously inaccessible Arctic shipping lanes. China’s state-owned shipping company, COSCO, is among the most active players. Since 2013 it has completed more than 30 journeys in the region. And China has poured money into the building of infrastructure along Russia’s Arctic coast and into its oil- and gas-wells there. But for China the Arctic is just one part of a bigger game. The stakes are higher for Russia: 30% of its GDP depends on the region. “Russia’s future lies in the Arctic,” says Malte Humpert, a senior fellow at the Arctic Institute. “It will become an essential corridor to extract and transport resources to Asia and Europe.” And for now Russia can set the rules. After all, it is through its territorial waters that the Arctic’s most trafficked shipping lane, the Northern Sea Route (NSR), passes.

    • First It Was a Hurricane. Then Pig Poop. Now It’s Coal Ash

      After the storm comes the flood. Hurricane Florence poured 8 trillion gallons of rain onto North Carolina, and now the landscape between the Cape Fear River and the barrier islands of the Carolinas is a waterworld. Because ecological disasters happen in irony loops, that means long-recognized hazards have now become add-on catastrophes. First the floodwaters found thousands of literal cesspools containing the waste of 6 million hogs, and on Friday the waters reached a pool of toxic coal ash.

    • Tanzania to switch to natural gas-powered buses

      Tanzania plans to shift to natural gas-powered buses on its rapid transit routes in Dar es Salaam, a move it says will cut fuel use by up to 50 per cent.

    • Economic Damage Wrought By Hurricane Florence Nearly 10 Times Worse Than Expected

      According to the Wall Street Journal, the ratings agency’s estimates put the total economic toll at somewhere between $38 billion and $50 billion – more than double an initial estimate of between $8 billion and $20 billion from Goldman Sachs and S&P. And nearly ten times CoreLogic’s initial estimate of between $3 billion and $5 billion.

    • Storms in America and the Pacific are evidence of climate change

      The link with climate change comes from the accumulation in the atmosphere of greenhouse gases produced by the industrial burning of fossil fuels and by deforestation. They create an imbalance in the energy flowing in and out of the planet, driving temperatures up. About 90% of that additional energy ends up stored in the oceans. Researchers who monitor sea temperatures down to 2,000 metres have plotted a steady rise since the 1950s, reaching a record high last year (see chart). So far, 2018 is on course to set a new record.

    • EU launches probe into alleged emissions collusion by German automakers

      Der Spiegel magazine first published the allegations in 2017.

      The probe is focused on diesel emission control systems involving the injection of urea solution into exhausts to remove harmful nitrogen oxides.

      The probe is also looking at possible collusion over filters for cars with gasoline engines.

    • Here’s How You Can Still Help Puerto Rico If You’re Not a Sitting U.S. President

      At the beginning of hurricane season, on June 1, a reported 11,000 Puerto Ricans were still without power. Ten months after the hurricane, Puerto Ricans in remote areas still didn’t have access to clean water, yet millions of bottles of water sit on a runway in Ceiba, Puerto Rico, untouched. It is clear this president will not right the wrongs of his administration, but there are concrete steps those of us who value all lives can take to help the Puerto Ricans still reeling from Hurricane Maria. We can, and must, turn our outrage into action, even without the power of a sitting U.S. president.

    • Monday’s papers: Åland boom, restaurant food labels and plogging

      “We were ploggers even before it became trendy,” Kaija Erkkilä says. Plogging is a combination of jogging with picking up litter, which started as an organised activity in Sweden around 2016.

    • On Waste Plastics at Sea, She Finds Unique Microbial Multitudes

      Pedrotti’s investigation of Great Pacific Garbage Patch microbes is ongoing, but her earlier study of garbage patches in the Mediterranean and elsewhere has already revealed certain distinct qualities of microbes that thrive on waste plastic. The plastic fragments that make up the patches’ confetti-like slurry, Pedrotti says, harbor large quantities of bacteria from the genus Vibrio, which includes human pathogens like cholera. Studies elsewhere have suggested other dangers brewing within the plastisphere. Earlier this year, researchers at Germany’s Leibniz Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries and elsewhere reported that bacteria living on microplastics have very high rates of gene exchange, perhaps due to the generous surface area the plastics give microbes to grow on. That rapid gene exchange facilitates the spread of antibiotic resistance, which could eventually affect land-dwellers like us.

    • Alaska Is Ready to Move Beyond Big Oil

      The $60 billion Alaska Permanent Fund could be sustainably tapped to fund state government—the first step in moving beyond oil. Alaska’s economy has diversified since the oil-pipeline boom that started in the 1970s. Its seafood industry is now considered the superpower of sustainable seafood. The construction trade is strong, with a positive outlook for growth. We now have a health-care industry and an air-cargo industry where there once were none.

  • Finance

    • ‘They want us to be robots’: Whole Foods workers fear Amazon’s changes

      Whole Foods workers across the United States are beginning to collectively organize in an attempt to push back on changes made to the supermarket chain operations since Amazon acquired the company in August 2017.

      On 6 September, a group of workers sent out a letter to Whole Foods stores across the country reaching out to fellow employees to discuss concerns with how Amazon has changed the company as part of the Whole Worker community.

    • How the SPLC, a Congressman, and a Cybersecurity Expert Track the Alt-Right’s Bitcoin Wallets

      The idea was to follow the money to see which hate groups and individuals had connections. Beirich’s team at the SPLC spent hours looking at accounts connected to the alt-right, noting when one known account started interacting with another and linking more and more names to bitcoin wallets. This ended up changing the way the SPLC perceived the affiliations of certain white supremacist groups.

    • World’s Richest One Percent Continue to Become Wealthier

      Tremendous concentration of wealth and the extreme poverty that results from it are problems that affect everyone in the world, but wealth inequalities do not receive nearly as much attention as they should in the establishment press. The few corporate news reports that have addressed this issue—including an August 2017 Bloomberg article and a July 2016 report for CBS’s MoneyWatch—focused exclusively on wealth inequality within the United States. As Project Censored has previously reported, corporate news consistently covers the world’s billionaires while ignoring millions of humans who live in poverty.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Shall We Study Amazon’s Pricing Together?

      This past July, I spent a quality week getting rained out in a series of brainstorms by alpha data geeks at the Pacific Northwest BI & Analytics Summit in Rogue River, Oregon. Among the many things I failed to understand fully there was how much, or how well, we could know about how the commercial sites and services of the online world deal with us, based on what they gather about us, on the fly or over time, as we interact with them.

      The short answer was “not much”. But none of the experts I talked to said “Don’t bother trying.” On the contrary, the consensus was that the sums of data gathered by most companies are (in the words of one expert) “spaghetti balls” that are hard, if not possible, to unravel completely. More to my mission in life and work, they said it wouldn’t hurt to have humans take some interest in the subject.

      In fact, that was pretty much why I was invited there, as a Special Guest. My topic was “When customers are in full command of what companies do with their data—and data about them”. As it says at that link, “The end of this story…is a new beginning for business, in a world where customers are fully in charge of their lives in the marketplace—both online and off: a world that was implicit in both the peer-to-peer design of the Internet and the nature of public markets in the pre-industrial world.”

    • Brazil court orders Twitter to hand over user data related to Bolsonaro attack

      A judge on Brazil’s top electoral court on Friday ordered Twitter to hand over data of 16 users who celebrated via tweets the near-fatal assassination attempt two weeks ago of far-right, poll-leading presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro.

    • Brazil’s Government Wants Twitter To Turn Over Data On Users Who Mocked Victim Of Assassination Attempt

      World governments continue to believe Twitter is the best conduit for oppression. Twitter is the main target of Turkish president Recep Erdogan’s loutish attempts to mute dissent and criticism. Other countries find Twitter’s speedy delivery of punchy content a constant threat to their power and routinely block their citizens’ access to the microblogging site.

      Twitter is too compliant too often, so the cycle of dissent-crushing continues. Twitter will push back now and then but, like other service providers, often places market share ahead of protecting users from their encroaching governments.

      Brazil’s government was hoping to speak to a more compliant Twitter when complaining about mean tweets, but the call appears to have been answered by the steelier side of its international relations unit.

    • Letting Information Go

      There’s a lot of information stored all over the Internet about me, about you, about everyone. At best, most of it can just go away because it’s useless, at worst it is potentially harmful.

      [...]

      The place that this is the most obvious is social media. I really liked this post on old tweets by Vicki Lai which talks about the why and how of deleting Tweets. It applies to all social media. But this all got me thinking about my blog.

      Blog posts tend to be more thought out (or at least I try) and seem to me to be part of the larger web. So just deleting them after a matter of time doesn’t feel the same as tweets. If someone was writing about the Unity HUD I would hope they’d reference my HUD 2.0 post, as I love the direction it was going. I have other posts that are… less significant. The ones that are the most interesting are the ones that are linked to by other people, so what I’m going to do is stop linking to old blog posts. That way posts that aren’t linked to by other people will stop being indexed by search engines and effectively disappear from the Internet. I have no idea if this will actually work.

    • “Open-Source” Intelligence Secrets Sold to Highest Bidders

      In March 2017, WikiLeaks released Vault 7, which consisted of some 8,761 leaked confidential Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) documents and files from 2013 to 2016, detailing the agency’s vast arsenal of tools for electronic surveillance and cyber warfare. [According to WikiLeaks, the first series of released CIA documents, titled “Year Zero,” introduced “the scope and direction of the CIA’s global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of ‘zero day’ weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple’s iPhone, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows and even Samsung TVs…”] Vault 7, which WikiLeaks described as the “largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency,” drew considerable media attention, including stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post, for example. However, as George Eliason of OpEdNews reported, while Vault 7 documented the tools at the CIA’s disposal, the “most important part” of the disclosure—“the part that needs to frighten you,” he wrote—is that “it’s not the CIA that’s using them.” Instead, the malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero-day” exploits, and remote-controlled systems detailed in Vault 7 are “unclassified, open-source, and can be used by anyone.” Eliason’s OpEdNews series reported how the CIA and other agencies came to rely on private contractors and “open source intelligence,” and considered the manifold consequences of these revolutionary changes in intelligence gathering.

      As Eliason explained in his first OpEdNews article, the CIA is limited by law in what it can do with these hacking tools—but subcontractors are not similarly restricted. (“If these tools were solely in the hands of a US agency,” he wrote, “you would be much safer.”) By using private contractors, the CIA and other government intelligence agencies gain access to intelligence gathered by methods that they are prohibited from using.

    • Travelers to New Zealand who refuse a digital strip search will be fined $5000

      New Zealand’s Customs and Excise Act 2018 went into effect today. That means travelers who refuse to give their phone or laptop password to customs officials will be fined NZ$5000. In addition, their devices will be confiscated and forensically searched.

    • Travellers refusing digital search now face $5000 Customs fine

      The updated law makes clear that travellers must provide access – whether that be a password, pin-code or fingerprint – but officials would need to have a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

    • Instagram is supposed to be friendly. So why is it making people so miserable?

      But, for a growing number of users – and mental health experts – the very positivity of Instagram is precisely the problem. The site encourages its users to present an upbeat, attractive image that others may find at best misleading and at worse harmful. If Facebook demonstrates that everyone is boring and Twitter proves that everyone is awful, Instagram makes you worry that everyone is perfect – except you.

    • Instagram names new chief after founders depart

      Instagram announced on Monday it has named Adam Mosseri, its previous current vice president of product, to be its new head.

      Mosseri replaces Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger who founded the app and led it even after Facebook acquired it in 2012 for $1 billion. The two announced that they would leave the company last week.

    • The Five Eyes Statement on Encryption: Things Are Seldom What They Seem

      There’s a bit of a backstory to the statement, which came out from the law enforcement ministers of the Five Eyes just as the Australian government was about to put forth a bill requiring companies to circumvent encryption protections in order to provide law enforcement and intelligence with lawful access to encrypted devices. U.S. law enforcement has pressed hard for such access, and the Australian bill may well be a stalking horse for the rest of the Five Eyes. Australia is the perfect candidate: the country’s lack of a comprehensive set of human rights protections means that Australia does not face the balancing requirements of privacy and civil liberties protections that the U.K. and U.S. do. And if the Australian bill moves forward, U.S. law enforcement may use their doing so to push forward their own legislation along similar lines.

      But the bill is not only highly invasive of privacy—it ignores technical realities as well as what is really needed for security. While the statement is an effort to show support from the Five Eyes for the legislation, this support is missing a crucial player: the intelligence agencies

    • Police super-database prompts Liberty warning on privacy

      Liberty claims the government is glossing over concerns that the database, the largest built for British law enforcement, threatens civil liberties. The group fears it gives massive power to the state at the expense of millions of Britons.

      [...]

      Liberty said in one meeting it was told the new database would include information the government and the police have no legal basis to hold but will do so anyway.

    • Zuckerberg now runs not a business but an empire. It’s time to strike back
    • Google Ad Chief Ramaswamy Exits; Search, AI Veteran Replaces Him

      Google is replacing its top advertising executive, Sridhar Ramaswamy, the first major management shakeup at the company’s most important business in half a decade.

      Prabhakar Raghavan, head of Google’s business-applications unit, will step into the role on Friday, the company said. A veteran of search technology and artificial intelligence research, Raghavan will now oversee product and engineering for the world’s largest digital-ads business, which is on course to generate more than $100 billion in sales this year.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Federal Judge Orders Dallas County To Cease Its Cash Bail System

      Prior to this decision, arrestees in Dallas County appeared before a judge for a bail hearing that took less time than it does to order a drink at Starbucks. A video produced as part of the discovery from the lawsuit shows the assembly-line justice that the lawsuit argues is unconstitutional. While the bail hearings are closed to the public—including faith groups and community leaders who have asked to observe the procedure—I was able to get permissions to observe a few rounds of bail hearings in the Lew Sterrett Justice Center.

    • ‘Last Lockdown’ sculpture is a Parkland father’s plea to voters

      The bronze-coated statue was created by Manuel Oliver, who lost his son Joaquin in the shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. The poignant statue depicts a young girl hiding for her life during a lockdown procedure. The statue is called “The Last Lockdown.”

    • French Muslim rapper calls off shows at Bataclan after protests

      The song, released just a week before the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris in January 2015, includes lyrics calling for “crucifying secularists” and putting “fatwas on the heads of these idiots”.

    • German police arrest Hambach Forest activists

      German police on Saturday arrested 30 environmentalists protesting plans to destroy Hambach Forest in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

    • Canadian-American Cleric Azhar Nasser: Husband Has Right To ‘Intimacy’ Whenever He Likes And May Strike His Wife ‘To Salvage The Marriage’

      During a September 15 lesson at Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre in Richmond, British Columbia, American Shi’ite cleric Azhar Nasser discussed the “wife-beating verse” in the Quran. He said that because a man provides for his wife, he has the right to “intimacy” whenever he pleases, and that some sources say that the wife is forbidden from denying or delaying intimacy lest “the angels ask Allah to deprive her of His mercy.” He also said that according to some scholars, a woman cannot leave the house without her husband’s permission because he might desire her while she is away. During his lecture, titled “Battered & Bruised,” Nasser said that in “extreme cases,” when the wife is “immodest,” the man must first admonish her, and if that does not work he must separate the beds to “show his discontent.” Then, if he feels that it may “rectify the problem and salvage the marriage,” he may strike his wife. Azhar Nasser, born and raised in Michigan and a graduate of the University of Michigan, currently resides in Richmond, B.C., Canada. The address was an installment in a series of lectures at Az-Zahraa Islamic Centre and was posted on its YouTube and Facebook pages.

    • You Can’t Have Peace With People Who Will Only Be Satisfied If You Are Annihilated
    • Open Borders Utopianism Vs. Psychological And Practical Reality
    • There’s Such A Thing As Way Too Much Respect For Other Cultures
    • Pretend Border Enforcement As An Excuse For Ignoring The Need For Probable Cause

      i The more we let our civil liberties be yanked from us, the more they’ll continue to be, especially as nifty new technologies for violating privacy are created.

      Why do we let border agents run checkpoints 100 miles from the border? “8 out of 10 people arrested for drug possession at checkpoints” in Big Bend, Texas area between 2005 and 2011 “were Americans traveling through the state, not smuggling drugs from Mexico,” notes the LA Times Editorial Board: [...]

    • Checkpoint USA Responds to Sheriff Napier’s Stonegarden Op-Ed

      In response to the Board’s vote, Sheriff Napier began speaking publicly on the subject to drum up future support for the program. This resulted in a published Op-Ed in the Arizona Daily Star on September 4, 2018. Given my personal experiences regarding Stonegarden, I wrote a response to Napier’s Op-Ed which was published in the Arizona Daily Star this weekend. I’ve also recreated the Op-Ed below with an additional quote the Arizona Daily Star left out of the original submission due to space limitations.

    • Cricketer Litton Das faces religious hatred after posting Durga Puja wishes on Facebook
    • Man accused of shooting in Roxbury held for mental evaluation

      The man told police Abdurrashid targeted him because he didn’t like how the mosque was being run, according to a police report. Abdurrashid was also angry because he believed the man was a sex offender, police said.

    • Multiculturalism killed the Swedish utopia

      The horrific statistics here show that Sweden, once a country where one could walk the streets at night safely, has become a crime-ridden country with no-go zones. But connect that with Muslim migrants at your own peril.

      [...]

      Yet, in Sweden it is a very risky to establish a link between immigrants and crime, according to Tino Sanandaji, the Swedish economist of Iranian-Kurdish origin who wrote “Mass Challenge”, a bestseller on how the country failed to integrate newcomers. Many public libraries blacklisted the book.

      “The attacks would have ended my career if I had been an ethnic white Swedish”, the economist said. Sanandaji’s numbers are impressive: 58 percent of welfare payments go to immigrants; 45 percent of children with low school scores are immigrants; immigrants earn 40 percent less than the Swedes; most of the people accused of murder, rape and robbery are first or second generation immigrants and “Sweden has the greatest increase in the inequalities of any OECD country”.

    • Muslim convert from Carlton in court on charge of inciting terrorism
    • Netherlands police arrests foil ‘major terrorist attack’
    • Most Indonesian Muslims Opposed to Non-Muslims in Political Leadership: Survey
    • Church in Jambi closed over rejection by Muslim residents

      Before the sealing of the Methodist church, a letter widely circulated in Jambi stated that some 1,000 residents would gather at a nearby mosque to demonstrate against the three churches.

    • Burkina Faso botched FGM leaves 50 girls in hospital

      One recent case, in which 30 girls were cut, led to the arrest of a cutter and 14 others, including family members who had assisted or failed to report the crime. The cutter was eventually sentenced to four years’ imprisonment.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan to open Cologne mosque in controversial state visit

      Cologne’s central mosque is run by DITIB, which operates over 900 mosques in Germany and has ties to the Turkish government. Some DITIB imams are accused of following orders to spy on Erdogan opponents in Germany.

    • Meet the in-laws: the Anglos whose son married the mufti’s daughter

      In an interview on Cairo Today on Egyptian television last week, Sheik al Hilaly said: “Anglo-Saxons came here in chains while we paid our way and came in freedom. We are more Australian than them. Australia is not an Anglo-Saxon country – Islam has deep roots in Australian soil that were there before the English arrived.”

      The mufti was invited on to the popular Egyptian program, which screens in Australia on the Orbit satellite network, to explain comments he made during a Ramadan sermon last year comparing scantily dressed women to “uncovered meat”.

    • Terrorism in Kashmir is Pakistan-sponsored: Rajnath
    • Kerala preacher slams Muslims for offering prayers at temples, churches

      A Salafi preacher has lashed out at Muslim organisations for cleaning up temples and offering prayers there as well as in churches during the recent Kerala floods, describing such acts as among the most detested in Islam.

    • How British prisons became a breeding ground for Islamist extremism

      “Experts and those working in prisons have raised significant concerns with me about the spread of extremist ideas and behaviours among serving prisoners,” she told The Independent.

      “This includes the risk that individuals are becoming more extremist in prisons. There are also fears about what happens when prisoners who advocate extremist beliefs and behaviour – whether Islamist or far-right supporters – are released into our communities.”

    • Egyptian woman Amal Fathy jailed for sexual harassment video

      Mohamed Lotfy, Fathy’s husband and the head of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms – who was barred from the courthouse during sentencing, said: “The sentencing is an appalling verdict that contains a message for every harasser, that he is free to harass without fearing punishment, and to every victim of harassment that if she speaks out, she will be jailed.”

    • Douglas Todd: Would Saudi Arabia’s jailed blogger be accused of ‘Islamophobia’ in Canada?

      But how does that jibe with the federal Liberals also pushing through Motion 103, which urges all-out war against “Islamophobia?” The Liberal politicians behind M-103 refused to respond to requests to define Islamophobia. And their deceptive gamesmanship would end up jeopardizing Badawi’s right to free expression if he were to ever to come to Canada.

      Among other things Badawi has equated a host of Saudi Arabian Muslims with terrorists, which many Canadians think is an offensive and Islamophobic accusation to make.

    • India bans instant divorce by Muslim men

      India’s government on Wednesday approved an ordinance to implement a top court ruling striking down the Muslim practice that allows men to instantly divorce.

      [...]

      Most of the 170 million Muslims in India are governed by the Islamic law for family matters and disputes.

    • Teenage girl, boyfriend beheaded by father and uncle in Attock village

      The legislation mandates life imprisonment for honour killings, but whether a murder can be defined as a crime of honour is left to the judge’s discretion.

      That means the culprits can simply claim another motive and still be pardoned, according to Dr Farzana Bari, a widely respected activist and head of the Gender Studies Department at Islamabad’s Quaid-i-Azam University.

    • MoJ seizes control of Birmingham prison from G4S

      The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has been forced to take immediate control of HMP Birmingham from its contractor G4S, after a damning inspection found that prisoners used drink, drugs and violence with impunity and corridors were littered with cockroaches, blood and vomit.

      [...]

      The state of the category B prison is likely to raise significant questions in the coming days about private sector involvement in the prison system. G4S was awarded a 15-year contract to run the prison in 2011.

    • Christian Group Asks for Prayer for UK Girl Who Was Abducted & Raped by Muslim Grooming Gang for 12 Years

      The woman, identified as Sarah, was abducted and repeatedly raped for 12 years by her attackers who forced her to have eight abortions.

    • Why Can’t I Criticize My Religion?

      The more you conceal or disregard constructive criticism of Islam, the harder you are making it for reforms to occur and the easier you are making it for Muslim radicals to prevail. There are currently, around the world, atrocities being committed every moment of every day in the name of Islam; your goal should not be to be politically correct or fiercely protect this religion, but to heal its wounded and offer support to those that want to eliminate the abuses. Glossing over the often unspeakable acts to which sharia can lead will only empower those individuals who have malevolent intentions, while subjugating the most vulnerable to their cruelty.

      If, as you claim, your core values are upholding freedom of speech, freedom of press and open discussions about Christianity and Judaism, these values should apply to Islam as well. Support the voices of those who have experienced sharia law first-hand, and call for reform.

    • Swedish Watchdog Rings Alarm Over ‘Sharia Banks’ After Reported Daesh Transfer

      The informal banking system, which has roots in middle-age Islamic beliefs, is notoriously hard to supervise, which makes the exact extent of terrorism financing almost impossible to calculate, a senior Swedish terrorism researcher noted.

    • Global Decline in Rule of Law as Basic Human Rights Diminish

      A 2018 survey conducted in response to global concerns about rising authoritarianism and nationalism shows a major decrease in nations adhering to basic human rights. As the Guardian reported, the World Justice Project (WJP)’s “Rule of Law Index 2017–2018” examined legal systems around the world by documenting the experiences of 110,000 households and 3,000 experts and comparing the data with results from previous years. The WJP’s Index tabulated these results to calculate scores in eight different categories, including constraints on government powers, absence of corruption, open government, regulatory enforcement, and civil justice, providing an overview of changes in the rule of law since the previous Index was published in October 2016.

      In summarizing the WJP’s findings, the Guardian’s report quoted Samuel Moyn, a professor of law and history at Yale University: “All signs point to a crisis not just for human rights, but for the human rights movement. Within many nations, these fundamental rights are falling prey to the backlash against a globalising economy in which the rich are winning.”

    • Before the Vote, What I Saw at the Kavanaugh Confirmation Hearings

      There never could be any physical evidence nor was any suggested to exist to investigate. Ford admitted not remembering specifics that could have formed the basis of exculpation, including how she got home from the party, that driver being in a key position to assess Ford’s condition after the alleged assault and thus support or weaken her story. By not providing an exact date and location for the alleged assault, Ford did not allow for Kavanaugh to present an alibi, proof he was somewhere else. Ford in fact couldn’t say where they both were supposed to be to begin with, apart from “a suburban Maryland house.”

      The attorney speaking for the Republicans gently pointed out multiple inconsistencies and inaccuracies between Ford’s previous statements and today’s testimony, walking Ford back from assertions to assumptions. The questioning was consistent with what is done in sexual assault prosecutions to help evaluate the credibility of witnesses. Ford in the end presented a dramatic, heartfelt but ultimately general accusation, backed by the hashtag of #BelieveWomen that precluded any serious questioning of her key assertions, and nothing more.

    • Kavanaugh proposed graphic questions for Bill Clinton during Starr probe

      A memo Brett Kavanaugh wrote two decades ago containing graphic detail about President Bill Clinton’s conduct with Monica Lewinsky became public Monday, showing the Supreme Court nominee was adamant that independent counsel Kenneth Starr’s team had a responsibility to “make his pattern of revolting behavior clear.”

      Two days before Clinton testified to a grand jury via a video feed from the White House, Kavanaugh urged Starr and other lawyers on his staff to take a tough line regarding the president’s behavior, according to the memo released by the National Archives and Records Administration.

    • If the Senate Applies the Jeff Flake Standard, Brett Kavanaugh Must Be Rejected

      The Republican senator says evidence of lying to the Judiciary Committee should prevent confirmation of Trump’s pick.

    • Malaysian State to Cane a Third Woman for Infringing Islamic Law
    • Mom Fears Her Autistic Son Is Being Abused at School. District Does Nothing.

      A Northern California school district is creating a hostile environment for a Black student with disabilities in violation of the law.

      School just got back in session, but one school district in Northern California already needs a lesson in how to create a welcoming and safe environment for Black students with disabilities.

      A 5-year-old Black student with autism and speech and language impairments suffered for months, including suffering injuries that needed to be treated by a hospital, all because of the inadequate oversight of Hayward Unified School District’s staff. In a time when Black students are regularly pushed out of classrooms for discipline and other subjective criteria, being Black with disabilities creates a unique and even more troubling set of problems that many school districts fail to adequately address.

      As outlined in our letter to the school district, in April 2018, E.E. moved with his mother from Inglewood and started at Helen Turner Children’s Center in the Hayward Unified School District. Within a month of E.E. arriving, it became clear that E.E.’s teacher was not creating a safe environment for E.E., which would ultimately lead to physical injury and missed class time for E.E. — the only Black student in a classroom with other students with disabilities.

    • A Judge Just Reminded CBP That the Border Isn’t a Rights-Free Zone

      A federal court ruled in favor of an American family suing over their abusive detention at the U.S.-Canada border.

      An American family that underwent a harrowing detention at the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection can now seek some measure of justice. That’s the result of a recent ruling by the federal judge presiding over the lawsuit we filed on behalf of Abdisalam Wilwal, Sagal Abdigani, and their four young children after a brutal experience at the U.S.-Canada border.

      The Wilwal-Abdigani family was on the way home to the Minneapolis area from a trip to visit relatives in Canada when they pulled up to the border station at Portal, North Dakota. Shortly after they handed over their passports and birth certificates, CBP officers swarmed the family’s minivan with guns drawn, forced the father out of the car, and handcuffed him.

      The officers held Abdisalam captive in the station for nearly 11 hours — handcuffed for the entire time. At one point during the detention, he passed out from lack of food or water, requiring medical attention. The officers held the rest of the family in the station for the same period of time, prompting Sagal to use her son’s phone to try to call 911 and report that she and her family were being held against their will at the border. The entire family was terrified, bewildered, and humiliated.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Trump admin claims Calif. net neutrality law causes “irreparable harm” to US

      The DOJ’s motion for a preliminary injunction claims that implementation of the law would cause “irreparable harm” to the United States. It isn’t realistic for ISPs to comply with different net neutrality standards in different states, the DOJ argued, so the California law would effectively govern the entire nation.

    • Google wants to change URL? Proposal.

      You may have heard about this. Google is considering an idea of changing how people interact with websites. More specifically, how people interact with URLs, the human-readable Web addresses by which we largely identify and remember websites we go to. The ripple effect around this proposal has been quite interesting, to say the least. And it got me thinking.

      One, the actual backlash against the change is more revealing than the change itself. Two, is there really any real merit in trying to make URLs somehow more meaningful and/or useful than their current form? To that end, you are reading this article.

    • California’s Net Neutrality Law: What’s Happened, What’s Next

      Over the weekend, Governor Jerry Brown signed S.B. 822, which guarantees strong net neutrality protections for citizens of California. Within hours, however, the federal government announced its intention to sue California for stepping in where the feds have abdicated responsibility. What happens next is going to be full of procedural issues and technicalities.

      First, some background. Millions of Americans opposed the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to abandon its authority to enforce net neutrality, competition, and privacy under its Restoring Internet Freedom Order. An expected response to a widely condemned federal act is for the states to take action themselves. And they did.

      To date, thirty state legislatures have introduced bills that would require their Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to maintain net neutrality as a matter of law. Four of those states (Washington, Oregon, Vermont, and now California) have passed laws with strong bipartisan majorities, and more are promising to follow suit in 2019. Six state governors (Montana, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, Vermont, and Rhode Island), led by Governor Bullock of Montana, have issued Executive Orders declaring that the state’s government will not do business with ISPs that violate net neutrality.

      California’s law represents a tremendous victory, by real people, over a few giant corporations. ISPs such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon poured millions into the fight in Sacramento, and, for a moment, it even looked like the bill had been eviscerated. But Californians who believe in a free and open Internet spoke out and strong net neutrality protections were restored. And they kept speaking out, getting the bill passed in the State Senate, the State Assembly, and, finally, getting it signed by the governor.

      Now the FCC and Department of Justice (DoJ) have stepped in to quell the rebellion. Just hours after California’s Governor Brown signed into law S.B. 822, the DoJ and FCC filed their lawsuit to block its implementation.

    • Web Founder Charts a Solid Future for the Internet

      Nearly 30 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web as a new way to distribute information and knowledge. Now in 2018, Berners-Lee is concerned the web he helped to create has become increasingly centralized and puts user information at risk.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ITC: No Public Interest In Excluding Qualcomm Competitors

      The judge’s reasoning isn’t available yet, but a summary (the Notice of Final Initial Determination) is. And in that summary, Judge Pender says he’s determined that the public interest weighs Qualcomm’s request to ban iPhone imports. Until we see Judge Pender’s detailed reasoning (likely some time in the next few weeks), we won’t know for sure why he made this recommendation, but there are a few possibilities I can think of.
      Excluding iPhones Will Result In Unavailability Of Phones

      At its core, this is a simple question of economics. iPhones represent a significant proportion of U.S. smartphone sales. If those phones are unavailable, would consumers be able to replace them with other comparable phones?

      I suspect that Judge Pender (correctly) believes the answer is no. If 20% of the U.S. smartphone market disappears, the remaining vendors won’t be able to replace that portion of the market overnight. That would result in phones becoming harder to obtain and likely result in price increases due to the reduced supply.

    • Qualcomm’s Import Ban Plea for Apple iPhone Faces Dismissal

      The judge acknowledged that iPhones infringed a Qualcomm patent related to power management technology. However, the judge refused to accept Qualcomm’s petition to seek a ban on the import of these phones into the United States, citing broader public interests. Although the verdict is set to be reviewed by other judges, there is no denying the fact that it is a moral victory of sorts for Apple. The company, in its official statement, thanked the judiciary for thwarting efforts to damage competition and encouraging innovation.

    • Cross-Licensing Of Patents [Ed: The 'rich boys' club': how to form a cartel of nonaggression among the rich while leaving the small companies terrified and vulnerable]

      The progress and development of any industry depends on how the players within the industry interact with each other by sharing knowledge. Cross-licensing agreements serve the purpose of creation of developed superior products by ensuring that the respective patent rights of the parties are protected. However, with the increasing number of these agreements and eventual formation into patent pools it becomes pertinent to ensure that they don’t foster any anti-competitive practises that defeat the whole purpose of IP sharing networks.

    • Entire market rule only when infringed feature constitutes sole basis for consumer demand

      The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit recently issued a ruling that should provide clarity in calculating patent infringement damages. More specifically, the decision emphasizes that applying the entire market rule (recovery of damages based on the value of an entire apparatus containing several features) may only be applied when the infringed feature constitutes the sole basis for consumer demand. See Power Integrations, Inc. v. Fairchild Semiconductor Int’l., No. 16-2691, 17-1875, (Fed Cir. Sep. 20, 2018) (Before Dyk, Clevenger, and Chen, Circuit Judges) (Opinion for the court, Dyk, Circuit Judge).

    • Strict Priority Claims: Unforced Errors in Priority Claiming — Results in Invalid Patents

      The problem for the patentee here an unforced error in its chain of priority.

      The patent at issue (applied for in 2011) is the last in a chain of eight U.S. patent applications plus one provisional and an original UK application originally filed in 1996. The new applications were filed in series just before the prior application’s issuance — such that the whole chain of priority needed to remain intact in order for the 1996 date to be effective.

    • Patenting Therapeutic Use of a Natural Compound

      I wrote earlier about a Natural Alternatives decision regarding priority. A separate Natural Alternatives was also the subject of the annual patent law moot court competition in my 2017 Patent Law course at the University of Missouri.

      In that case, Natural Alternatives v. Creative Compounds, the district court dismissed the lawsuit on the pleadings (12(b)(6)) — finding that the claims were improperly directed toward the natural phenomenon – beta alanine. The amino acid is apparently useful in muscle building.

    • GM files patent application for a ‘clutch-by-wire’ system

      The clutch system in a manual transmission is one of those components that doesn’t necessarily see much innovation. Every once in a while a manufacturer will do something big and wild with it, but it’s rare. Last time it was Porsche with the tiny carbon clutch in the Carrera GT — and now it might be General Motors with an electrically actuated slave cylinder, covered in a recently filed patent application.

    • Apple patent details plans for ‘indestructible’ iPhones and MacBooks

      When the iPhone 6 Plus was released in 2014, photos of the phone bending surfaced, resulting in what was called BendGate. Then there are the scratches you see on your MacBook Pro body or on the Jet Black iPhone 7.

      [...]

      Called “Abrasion-Resistant Surface Finishes On Metal Enclosures”, the patent describes a the finish as having two layers – a lower metallic layer, with a harder outer layer coated in what could either be a ceramic material or a carbon-based substance with similar hardness to diamond.

    • East Coast Scientists Win Patent Case Over Medical Research Technology
    • NY court overturns $115 million patent judgment against Samsung

      The New York State Court of Appeals on Thursday overturned a $115 million judgment against Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (005930.KS) over television patents.

    • What 13,000 Patents Involving the DNA of Sea Life Tell Us About the Future

      What they share, beyond the possession of remarkable traits, is that their DNA is included among thousands of patents owned by BASF, which calls itself “the largest chemical producer in the world.” The German company has acquired nearly half of the 13,000 patents derived from 862 marine organisms genetic sequences, according to a study published in June.

      Whether a single private entity should be able to set the direction of how the genes of so many living things are used was a piece of a broader debate at the United Nations this month. There, delegates from across the world were discussing the development of a global legal framework for genetic resources in the high seas, a vast realm outside any one nation’s control.

      For those interested in the future of innovation, inequality and even dairy alternatives, a closer look at what exactly is being patented offers intriguing hints.

    • Offshoring Patent Law

      We received invaluable support from international research organizations and patent attorneys working for top-tier law firms. Notably, the Global IP Project, which is a multinational research group spearheaded by the leading global intellectual property (“IP”) law firm, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, as well as Darts-ip, an international organization dedicated to the study of global IP litigation, provided proprietary data, enabling us to explore whether firms optimize value by placing research and innovation in countries with “better” patent laws. To verify our models, we interviewed notable patent attorneys practicing in the United States, Europe, and Asia.

    • Recent U.S. Court Decisions and Developments Affecting Licensing [Ed: Patent maximalists from Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP writing 'scholarly' papers by which to push their agenda, which is financial alone]

      The patent statute safe harbor provision prevents liability for mere clinical testing. So a defendant may challenge a patent owner’s choice of venue for litigation if the acts of infringement in that venue are covered by the safe harbor provision for clinical testing.

    • Copyrights

      • Terrarium TV Dev Says He Could Hand User Info to Authorities

        Last week NitroXenon, the developer of popular ‘pirate’ app Terrarium TV, announced he was shutting the project down for good. While that was a big enough blow to fans around the world, the developer has worrying news for former users. NitroXenon informs TorrentFreak that if required, he’ll give up user data to the authorities.

      • CC submits proposed Amicus Brief to 9th Circuit on Proper Interpretation of BY-NC-SA 4.0

        Creative Commons (CC) has asked a U.S. appeals court for permission to file an amicus brief in a lawsuit brought by Great Minds against Office Depot, to aid the court in its proper interpretation of the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

        This case involves a dispute between Great Minds, the creator of educational materials paid for with public funding and licensed under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license, and Office Depot, a commercial copyshop hired to make copies of those materials by public school districts. Great Minds claims here, and in an almost identical lawsuit brought against FedEx Office, that the schools cannot hire outside help to make the copies they need to use the materials for their non commercial purposes in the classroom. Notably, Great Minds explicitly did not object to the idea of a school board employee going to an Office Depot and using a self-serve copier (where copies are sold to customers at a profit). It was only when they engaged an Office Depot employee to make the copies that GM objected.

      • Did France Just Make It Effectively Impossible To Use Twitter?

        Europe really seems to have it in for the internet these days — from the GDPR to antitrust actions to the Copyright Directive to the Right to be Forgotten, almost every legal issue popping up in Europe is coming out terribly for innovation and the public’s ability to communicate freely with one another. The latest may seem a bit more narrowly focused, but it could be super important. As described on the always wonderful IPKat blog, the Paris Tribunal heard a complaint brought against Twitter by the French Consumers’ Association challenging the validity of Twitter’s terms of service for a whole long list of reasons.
        But just to keep this more focused we’ll discuss the part that matters to us: the copyright license. We’ve discussed the “copyright license” terms (that basically every online platform has somewhere in the terms) a few times in the past — mainly because every so often someone totally misreads or misunderstands it and a huge, viral, and totally misleading freakout occurs. That’s because basically any service that hosts user content has some basic term that effectively says “when you’re posting something to our site, you are granting us a perpetual license to host it on this and future iterations of our site, and that extends to other sites where our stuff might appear.” That’s the plain language version of it, but some people act as if it’s an outrage that a platform is claiming that it can have such a broad license to include the content on future sites or with partners. Many — incorrectly — claim that this means that the sites are planning to “sell” your content to third parties. That’s not the case. The clause really just allows for things like “embedding” where the same content will appear on other sites, and that alone shouldn’t be seen as an infringement. So you’re licensing the content for such uses.

      • EU Joins WIPO Marrakesh Treaty For Visually Impaired, Boosts Available Books

        The European Union has ratified the global treaty establishing copyright exceptions for visually impaired people today at the World Intellectual Property Organization, bringing the total rapidly growing membership to 70 and increasing the number of available books. Accessing the treaty is just part of the work, according to a global librarian association, as implementation of the treaty is key to accessibility for visually impaired people. The group published its 2018 monitoring report of the treaty implementation.

      • Court Shoots Down Record Label’s Attempt To Expand The Definition Of ‘Vicarious’ Infringement

        While there has been plenty of attention paid to the BMG v. Cox case, in which Cox was found not to be protected by the DMCA’s safe harbors in dealing with repeat infringers, it’s increasingly looking like the ruling in that case (which eventually led to a “substantial” settlement) was fairly unique to Cox’s situation. Specifically, while much was made of Cox’s “13 strikes” repeat infringer policy, in the end the nature of the policy wasn’t what sunk Cox: it was the fact that Cox didn’t follow its own policy. In other cases, courts seem willing to grant much more latitude to the ISPs to make their own calls. We wrote about the 9th Circuit and its ruling in the Motherless case, which made it clear that a platform gets to set its own policy, and that policy need not be perfect.

        Meanwhile, down in Texas, there’s the UMG v. Grande Communications case, which many had seen as a parallel case to the BMG v. Cox case. This was another case that involved an ISP being bombarded with shakedown (not takedown) notices from Rightscorp, in which Righscorp and its clients felt that ISP was not willing to pass on those notices (thus denying Rightscorp and its clients the ability to collect money in exchange for a promise not to sue). As we noted back in April, while still in the district court, the Grande case wasn’t going nearly as smoothly as the Cox case for those wishing to copyright troll. The magistrate judge was quite skeptical, and had tossed out entirely the claims of vicarious infringement (while somewhat skeptically allowing the claims of contributory infringement to move forward).

        Vicarious and contributory infringement are often lumped together, but they are different. For there to be vicarious infringement, you have to show that the party being sued both had the right and ability to supervise the activity, and that it would directly financially benefit from the infringement. The court rejected that in the case of Grande, noting that just because Grande makes money from its subscribers, that’s not enough to show that it was profiting from the infringement.

      • ‘NAFTA’ Replacement Extends Canada’s Copyright Term to Life +70 years

        After months of negotiations, Canada, the United States and Mexico have agreed on the final text of a new trade deal. The new agreement is set to replace NAFTA and comes with various copyright-related changes. Canada will have to extend its copyright term by 20 years, for example. The agreement also provides a safe harbor for ISPs who will have to help deter piracy.

        [...]

        The agreement specifies that ISPs should have legal incentives to work with ISPs to ensure that copyright infringements are properly dealt with.

Nellie Simon Expected to Join the ‘Club Med’ of Battistelli and Campinos

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nellie SimonSummary: Speculation about the new management team that will surround António Campinos and will quite possibly be announced in less than 10 days

Yesterday we wrote about António Campinos giving or leaving his job to Archambeau, who had worked for the EPO.

“As we reported,” wrote one among a couple of related sites that covered it yesterday, “Archambeau has been the acting executive director of the office since July 1, and began his tenure as permanent executive director yesterday. He was previously the EUIPO’s deputy executive director under António Campinos, who joined the European Patent Office (EPO) as president back in July. In all, he’s been worked at the EUIPO’s Alicante office since 2010. Given the significance of the leadership position, we sought out reaction from those across the community. We reached out to key associations, national IP offices in the European Union and some of the leading trademark filing law firms in the EU for their response to the move. We present the responses we received in full below (we’ll add any more we receive to the end of this article)…”

“Why does the media of trademark/copyright/patent maximalists hail Campinos as some sort of heroic manager?”In his later days at EUIPO Campinos made a lot of people redundant, even needlessly so. Why does the media of trademark/copyright/patent maximalists hail Campinos as some sort of heroic manager? Based on what substantial accomplishment?

Referring to our article from last night, one reader wrote to say this:

Today’s post about Mr Archambeau’s EUIPO appointment has prompted this response to let you know that some interesting information has been discovered recently about the EPO’s Club Med and its internal intrigues and favourite games of “musical chairs” and “revolving doors”.

To jog your reader’s memories, “Club Med” refers to the Franco-Iberian clique which is suspected to have masterminded a secret behind-the-scenes “takeover” of key European IP institutions.

The kingpins of this Club are reported to be a “triumvirate” comprising or consisting of the Corsican “padrone” Battistelli, his faithful Galician squire Alberto “Sancho Panza” Casado and the Franco-Lusitanian chameleon Antonio Campinos, former crown prince of EUIPOtania who was recently enthroned as the new king of EPOnia. “Club Med” is also rumoured to have close links with the “Le Grande Cirque du Balkan” directed by the infamous Bosnian-Croatian ringmaster Željko Topić.

Research into these matters is still ongoing so it is probably best not to say too much at this point.
But as they say “Watch this space …” because some interesting revelations are likely to follow over the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, don’t be surprised if some key EUIPO staff follow Ms Nellie Simon from Alicante to Munich.
For those who may have missed it Ms. Simon “coincidentally” appeared alongside Campinos at the 2018 IP Executive Week held in July in Munich and is tipped by EPO insiders to become Topić’s successor as the new Vice-President in charge of “human resources”.

The appointment of the new Vice Presidents (Christoph Ernst, Nellie Simon and Philip Cadre) which has already been agreed “behind-the-scenes” is expected to be announced following the upcoming Administrative Council meeting on 10 and 11 of this month.

Ms. Simon was mentioned by EUIPO and EPO (in passing) back in July and the source/context of the photo (there’s very little public information about her) makes one wonder to what degress she is qualified, e.g. experienced, for the said job. EPO workers have already seen the impact of the grossly improper appointment of Ms. Bergot — a subject we wrote a great deal about three years ago.

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