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03.17.19

Links 17/3/2019: Google Console and IBM-Red Hat Merger Delay?

Posted in News Roundup at 4:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Proposing a ‘Declaration of Digital Independence’

    THIS MESSAGE IS mainly for the leaders and enthusiasts of the broad-based movement toward decentralizing content, but especially social media. I’m not trying to start a new project or organization—after all, decentralization is what I am encouraging. I’m partly trying to start a conversation among individuals, to get them thinking and talking—but on a massive scale. But I’m also trying to inspire people to action, to come together and go the last mile to achieving robust and extremely widespread decentralization.

  • How To Get Started on Mastodon and Leave Twitter Behind

    Close your Twitter account, delete your old Tweets, pack your bags, and head over to Mastodon’s wild world of federated microblogging.

  • [SUSE:] Why the future of IT transformation is open source

    For many organisations, undergoing IT transformation means re-investigating and overhauling existing information technology to support various new technological aspects of the organisation such as digital transformation and changes in IT infrastructure. Today, open source technologies are providing viable, cost efficient and leading-edge solutions, with more organisations and businesses adopting open source to support their IT transformation goals.

    [...]

    Research by SUSE found that 95 percent of IT leaders believe SDI is the future for the data centre. Businesses that are focused on the future of their organisations and transformation strategies
    will need to address a multifaceted IT world which encompasses traditional data centres, SDI and cloud environments.

  • The secret sauce behind smart city efforts

    Why should technology be open source? Why is open source important?

    DP: Open source technology is developed by a community of developers, and benefits from collaborations among highly-skilled talents and professionals to facilitate more, and better ideas. More importantly, open source isn’t a company or a product. It’s a methodology that ensures greater innovation and collaboration.

    Today, open source is the preferred choice for organizations that want to become more agile and flexible. It offers a wide range of benefits, from improved security to freedom from vendor lock-in. Industries across the spectrum in the region – even those traditionally regarded as being very private and guarded such as the public sector and financial services – are now embracing open source approaches to realize innovation and drive transformation. Beyond its positive impacts on business, open source innovation has also led to greater citizen participation and contribution in government initiatives around the world. Open source methodologies have the potential to fundamentally transform how countries are run, and at the same, enrich the lives of citizens in so many ways, technologically and culturally.

  • How PC/GEOS found a 5th life as an open source DOS shell

    For those who cut their teeth on computers like the Apple II and Commodore 64, GEOS brought a Mac-like GUI to comparatively lower-powered, 8-bit home computers. The team behind GEOS developed GeoWorks for PC in 1990. GeoWorks was also the basis of America Online for DOS. Substantial amounts of GeoWorks were written in fine-tuned x86 Assembly, making it decently more performant on Intel 386-based computers than Windows 3.0, which was released the same year. This high performance in constrained environments gave GeoWorks a protracted lifespan.

  • MyEtherWallet launches an open-source blockchain explorer to promote innovation
  • MyEtherWallet (MEW) Launches Open Source ETH Blockchain Explorer on Testnet

    Popular Ethereum wallet service MyEtherWallet (MEW) has launched an open-source blockchain explorer named EthVM (virtual machine) on the Ropsten testnet. EthVM will compete directly with leading Ethereum block explorer Etherscan.io.

    According to a press release published on Monday, March 11th, MEW seeks to offer a comprehensive solution to Ethereum developers while at the same time designed to provide a seamless and simple interface for blockchain users (especially beginners).

  • Launches Open Source Blockchain Explorer for Ethereum
  • MyEtherWallet Launches New Open Source Ethereum Blockchain Explorer
  • Neha Narkhede: Open Source Isn’t A Business Model, It’s A Distribution Strategy [Ed: It's neither. It's about the software licence.]
  • A software market prediction: it’s all about open source

    Over the course of 2019, the big battleground in the software market is going to be around open source and specifically around how it’s used.

    “You’re starting to see the battle lines drawn up between the Mongos, the AWSs and Redis,” confirms Jim Rose, CEO at CircleCI.

    At the moment, you have these open source communities/companies that have built very valuable software that is “being taken off the shelf “and implemented for money by all of the cloud vendors.

  • The Year of Open RAN

    Mobile operators are seeking to transform their networks to keep up with the demands of Industry 4.0 – as wireless connectivity requirements evolve from connected devices to connected everything – people, places, and things. Navigating the open source landscape can be a challenge as there are a number of open ecosystems that have emerged to help define how next-generation networks will be built to support 50+ billion connected devices and new 5G services and applications.

  • Cincinnati Bell division CBTS bows new open source reference architecture

    C

    CBTS is putting elements of the Open Networking Foundation’s SEBA reference design into play with a new reference architecture called COI.

    [...]

    “One of the things is that R-CORD has been tough for the carriers to do themselves,” said Lee Doyle, principal analyst of Doyle Research, in an interview with FierceTelecom. “They’re (CBTS) trying to jump on a new market opportunity and we’ll see if there’s a substantial market for that or not.

    “The market is extremely nascent right now. There are a lot of people who are trialing R-CORD, but we’ve all seen that before with NFV. Just because you’re trialing it doesn’t mean you’re using it.”

  • Events

    • OpenStack Foundation Announces First Open Infrastructure Summit in…

      The 20th Open Infrastructure Summit—formerly known as the OpenStack Summit—is headed to the Shanghai Expo Center the week of November 4, 2019. China is the one of the largest markets for OpenStack based on the number and scale of users—including China Mobile, China UnionPay, China Railway, the State Grid Corporation of China—and developers who contribute to the open source software project. Contributors and users from 30 open infrastructure projects will attend and speak at the event.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Vivaldi vs. Firefox: A user’s perspective

        However, it has yet to win over the spot as my default browser. For that, I rely on Firefox. But why? I decided to use both browsers side-by-side for a few weeks to find out what it is about Vivaldi that prevents me from making the switch on a permanent basis. The end results, surprisingly, had me even more confused as to which I should be running (I’ll confess what tipped the scales in a moment.).

        [...]

        At this point, Vivaldi does a good job of mimicking the efficiency of Firefox. There’s little more customization to be done. And yet, Firefox is still my default. Why? What is it about Firefox that makes me select it over Vivaldi? Unfortunately, the answer lies in one particular aspect that is not likely to change.

        You see, as an advocate of open source software, with all things being equal I will always go with the open source option. Now, if Vivaldi had the upper hand over Firefox with a particular feature or usability that I couldn’t get with the open source equivalent, I’d happily set Vivaldi as my default (as I’m not a purist). But until said time, the open-source browser remains as my default.

        What does that say? Simple. With a few quick tweaks, Vivaldi is as efficient and solid a browser as Firefox. Outside of being open source, there is nothing Firefox can do that Vivaldi cannot mimic. Truth be told, if we’re looking at a feature-for-feature comparison, Vivaldi easily comes out on top.

        Now, if Vivaldi were to shift to an open source license, I’d kick Firefox off that “Default” curb and go about my day, humming Spring’s melody. Until then, Vivaldi will only come out to play for testing, or when Firefox Nightly (which is the version I use at the moment) has problems with a particular site.

      • Cameron Kaiser: TenFourFox FPR13 available

        TenFourFox Feature Parity Release 13 final is now available for testing (downloads, hashes, release notes). I added Olga’s minimp3 patch for correctness; otherwise, there are no additional changes except for several security updates and to refresh the certificate and TLD stores. As usual it will go live Monday evening Pacific time assuming no difficulties.

        I have three main updates in mind for TenFourFox FPR14: expanding FPR13′s new AppleScript support to allow injecting JavaScript into pages (so that you can drive a web page by manipulating the DOM elements within it instead of having to rely on screen coordinates and sending UI events), adding Olga’s ffmpeg framework to enable H.264 video support with a sidecar library (see the previous post for details on the scheme), and a possible solution to allow JavaScript async functions which actually might fix quite a number of presently non-working sites.

  • Databases

  • CMS

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • Well, it’s been a while – falling in love with OpenBSD again

      When the Mac laptop came out without an ESC key (it was on this gimmicky little one row display at the top of the keyboard that could be reconfigured based on your application), as a long-time VI user (the commands are programmed into my spinal cord, I really have no choice now) I was disgusted. That forced me to recognize that I wasn’t Apple’s target market. They wanted average computer users who didn’t care if they were on the latest and greatest chipset and they were getting more and more closed and “un-upgradeable” every day.

    • EuroBSDcon 2019: Lillehammer, Norway

      The Call for Talk and presentation proposals for EuroBSDCon 2019 is now
      open.

      EuroBSDcon is the European technical conference for users and developers
      of BSD-based systems. The conference will take place September 19-22
      2019 in Lillehammer, Norway. The tutorials will be held on Thursday and
      Friday to registered participants and the talks are presented to
      conference attendees on Saturday and Sunday.

      The Call for Talk and Presentation proposals period will close on May
      26th, 2019. Prospective speakers will be notified of accepteance or
      otherwise by June 3rd, 2019.

  • Licensing/Legal

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Stop Child Abuse Before it Happens with New Open Source Geospatial Machine Learning Tools
    • Orchestra | An Open-Source Robotic Process Automation System

      Orchestra is an open source workflow management system that uses the Robotics Process Automation to support teams and improve how people do analytical and creative work. By having the machines do repetitive parts of a project, developers can spend much more time working on some of the more engaging tasks.

    • Open Data

      • Open data needed to address agriculture’s problems
      • Exclusive: Meet the UK’s ‘Data Diplomat’

        “It’s not about what data can do for diplomacy. It is how diplomacy can possibly remain relevant unless we embrace data.”

        So says Graham Nelson, the founder of the UK Foreign Office’s Open Source Unit (OSU). He is fresh from delivering a seminar on data-driven policymaking at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

        It’s been a long day, but he becomes visibly more animated when talking about his work: helping governments around the world use data to solve their most defining challenges. “I am really excited by the potential for data to do so much good,” says the mathematician-turned-diplomat. He shares how data is an indispensable tool for governments today, and how it can help agencies examine the impact they are really making.

        [...]

        It certainly helps that governments today “have got much better access to commercial satellite data and meteorological data than we would have had before”. “There are some really easy ways that countries thinking about setting up on this journey of using data can start,” Nelson points out.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Healthcare Design Studio Releases Repo of Free, Open Source Visualizations

        GoInvo, a digital health design consultancy headquartered in Arlington, Massachusetts, today announced the release of a repo featuring over 20 open source health visualizations and graphics (https://www.goinvo.com/vision/health-visualizations) available to all for use or modification, under a Creative Commons Attribution v3 license or MIT license.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • HiFive1 Rev B wireless open source RISC-V development platform

        A new version of the HiFive1 wireless development platform has been rolled out via Crowd Supply this month announcing that the latest HiFive1 Rev B by SiFive is now powered by the FE310-G002 and offers wireless connectivity via the on-board Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module. Priced at just $49 the HiFive1 Rev B development board is now available to preorder and will start shipping during the middle of next month April 2019. The price includes free shipping throughout the United States and worldwide shipping is available for an additional $12.

        “The FE310 is the first open source, commercially available RISC-V SoC. SiFive has contributed the FE310 RTL code to the open source community. Now you can see what’s inside the chip. The USB debugger has been upgraded to Segger J-Link, with support for drag & drop code download. In favor of driving GPIO directly from the FE310, the HiFive1 Rev B supports 3.3 V I/O only.”

  • Programming/Development

    • Open source JTAG switcher improves multi-processor designs

      Debug tools supplier Lauterbach has released its JTAG Switcher VHDL source code into the public domain under the MIT Open Source License…

    • 5 Best Open Source IDEs for Java Programming Language

      Whether you are an experienced Java programmer or you are just getting into the game, you will definitely use an Integrated development environment (IDE). A Java IDE is software that houses all the necessary tools, libraries and other resources that are needed for Java programming.

    • 11 Free Resources For Learning C/C++ Programming

      C/C++ has been declared “dead” a million times over the years as Java and Python continue to grow in popularity, but still the language persists. It is one of the most widely used programming languages in most technical fields, powering backend systems that these other languages run on the front end and is also embedded into the programming of just about every machine and electronic device out there. Whether it’s engineering, high-end game programming, or robotics, C/C++ is a must, which is why we compiled 11 free resources for learning C/C++ programming to help you get started.

    • CIDLib C++ dev tool goes open source

      CIDLib, a general-purpose C++ development environment, is now open source. Note that it does use some third-party code, including a version of the Scintilla engine as the CML language source editor and parts of the standard JPEG libraries to provide JPEG file format support.

      CDLib is not based on standard C++/STL libraries but has a far lighter use of templates than what has been commonplace, making it more debuggable, developer Dean Roddey said.

    • SAP Open Sources Java SCA Tool
    • 5 Best Open Source IDEs For Python Developers

      Python is one of the best future-oriented programming languages out there. All thanks to its versatility and large developer community. Python allows you to solve complex problems in fewer lines of code. Either you want to make a career in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning or Data Science, you will always see python developers are being preferred over others.

      However, all these things are next to impossible in lack of a good Integrated Development Environment or IDE. If you are from a programming background, you definitely know how important it is to choose the right IDE. It doesn’t only enable you to write code faster but also helps in debugging. Today, I will share some best IDEs for Python developers that you can use to make your job simpler and easier.

    • Further modifying the Bollinger Bands features
    • ut the power bar on the game scene
    • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: (clxix) stackoverflow python report

Leftovers

  • The German capital wants drivers to stop killing cyclists

    Berlin’s population is growing and the economy is doing well. More workers mean that once-quiet streets are getting congested. Rising rents are pushing residents out of the centre, increasing the number of car-commuters and making trains and buses more crowded. More Berliners would no doubt like to get out and feel the breeze in their hair—if they were less worried about being mown down by motorists.

  • Science

    • Going Dark to Reconnect to the Night Sky

      Light pollution has raised increasing alarm in recent years. Research estimates that 99 percent of Americans live within its glare, and that 80 percent of us no longer experience the once-common view of the Milky Way. Health experts point out that excessive exposure to artificial lighting also disrupts the human circadian rhythm, increasing our susceptibility to obesity, depression, dementia, cancer, and other health problems.

    • Who invented the dishwasher, windshield wiper, caller ID? Women created these 50 inventions.

      On May 5, 1809, Mary Kies became the first woman to receive a patent in the United States. (It was for her technique of weaving straw with silk.)

      Of course, women inventors existed before this time, but the property laws in many states made it illegal for women to own property on their own. This led some women to apply for patents in their husbands’ names if they decided to apply at all.

      As of last year, only 10 percent of U.S. patent holders were women, although women account for half of doctoral degrees in science and engineering. This disparity is due in part to the the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office being more likely to reject patents with women as sole applicants.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • U.S. Hospitals And Insurers Might Be Forced To Reveal The True Prices They Negotiate

      Almost 60 percent of people with employer-sponsored health insurance carry plans with deductibles of more than $1,000. That means more people are exposed to high health care charges for hospital visits. In addition, patients complain frequently of surprise bills they receive after a hospital stay. Those surprise bills often arise when a patient is treated by out-of-network doctors who happen to be working in hospitals that do participate in the patient’s insurance network.

      Congress is already considering bills to address such surprise billing practices.

      Nickels, the representative of the hospital association, says consumers have no need to see the prices insurance companies pay hospitals, just as they don’t need to see what a grocery store pays for cases of Coca-Cola.

    • It costs less than $60 to have a baby in Finland. How?

      Finland’s healthcare system has helped give it the lowest maternal death rate in the world — and it’s available to everyone for next to nothing.

    • Finnish Commercial Gardeners seek Legalization of Medicinal Cannabis to make Finland a Leading Cannabis Export Hub

      Finnish gardeners want to tap into this new export opportunity. The executive director at Market Garden Association Jyrki Jalkanen said that the export potential for this growing cannabis industry is worth billions of euros globally. He added that they want to explore whether commercial gardeners can tap into this huge export market.

    • Teen who got vaccinated against parents’ wishes testifying before Congress
    • Millions in Nigeria Lack Access to Clean Water

      According to aid agencies, 60 million Nigerians, or 33 percent of the population, do not have access to clean water.

      But water and environmental experts like Joseph Ibrahim say that figure may have been underestimated.

    • Long-Term Fate of Agent Orange and Dioxin TCDD Contaminated Soils and Sediments in Vietnam Hotspots

      The soils, tropical climate, and network of canals and rivers of southern Vietnam have created one of the most diverse tropical jungles and intensely cultivated landscapes of Southeast Asia. This paradise has a long history of numerous wars, foreign occupations, and most recently the Second Indochina War (aka the Vietnam War 1965-1972) which defoliated rain forests and ancient wetland mangroves and left behind contaminated soil and sediment hotspots. During this war, the United States (US) military sprayed 80 million liters of Agent Orange contaminated with the dioxin TCDD in a guerrilla war against communist insurgents.

    • Monsanto’s Roundup Weed Killer Found In Top Beer And Wind Brands

      PIRG tested five wines, 14 beers and one hard cider for the study. The wine brands were Barefoot, Beringer, Frey (organic), Inkarri Estates (organic), and Sutter Home. The beers tested were from Budweiser, Coors, Corona, Guinness, Heineken, Miller, Peak (organic), Sam Adams, Samuel Smith (organic), Sierra Nevada, Stella Artois, Tsingtao and New Belgium. Ace Perry Hard Cider was also tested.

      The study determined that popular beers like Coors, Budweiser, and Corona Extra contained an average of roughly 28 parts per billion (ppb). Tsingtao, the outlier, contained a whopping 49.7 ppb.

    • Microplastics Have Been Found in Our Deepest Ocean Animals

      Though the trenches ranged in location from Japanese to Chilean waters, all of them were within the “hadal zone,” meaning they were at least 6,000 meters under the sea. The study even includes amphipods collected at Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, which is the lowest known point in the seabed at 10,890 meters below the ocean surface.

      Despite such remote habitats, Jamieson’s team found plastic and synthetic fibres such as nylon, polyethylene, and polyvinyl alcohol in the guts of most amphipods they examined. “Of the 90 individual amphipods examined, 65 individuals (approximately 72 percent) contained at least one microfibre or fragment,” the team concluded.

      [...]

      “Once the microplastics enter the hadal food chain, there is a strong possibility that they will be locked into a perpetual cycle of trophic transfer,” the team cautioned.

    • A New FDA Commissioner Could Be a Disaster for Reproductive Rights

      It isn’t very often that we find ourselves saddened when a member of the Trump administration decides to resign. But when FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb leaves his position, it could spell disaster for progressives — especially those who support reproductive rights.

      Unlike many of the government officials serving President Donald Trump, Gottlieb — while by no means a moderate — wasn’t totally unqualified for his job. And, even more importantly, he didn’t appear to be using his office to push forward the policies most important to zealous religious groups or letting his own personal dogma influence his work.

      In a Department of Health and Human Services full of far-right social conservative bigwigs, Gottlieb was surprisingly more interested in public health than pushing Christian dominionist ideology.

    • 5-pound bags of Pillsbury flour recalled

      Hometown Food Company has recalled certain Pillsbury Unbleached All-Purpose flour products which may be contaminated with salmonella.

    • Establishment Democrats Are Undermining Medicare for All

      The Democratic establishment — deep in the pockets of the health industry — wanted to make sure any blue wave election in 2018 would help sink, rather than support, the growing movement for a single-payer health care system. The recent decline in co-sponsors of the House Medicare for All legislation is, in part, a byproduct of this strategy and a reminder of the great obstacles corporate Democrats have put in front of the single-payer movement.

      In 2018, there were 124 cosponsors for the Medicare for All bill in the House (then H.R. 676), representing 66 percent of the Democratic Caucus. This was celebrated widely as a high-water mark for the legislation. So was the release of Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All bill in the Senate, which also got a record 16 co-sponsors, including prominent Democrats who are running for president.

      Given that the Democrats gained 35 seats in the 2018 midterm and Medicare for All has been polling extremely high among Democratic voters — a survey by Reuters from August 2018 showed around 85 percent of Democrats supported the policy — many were hopeful that the number of cosponsors would rise even higher in the current Congress.

      Despite this hope, when Rep. Pramila Jayapal introduced the new flagship Medicare for All bill (H.R. 1384), the amount of co-sponsors decreased considerably to 106, down to 47 percent of the caucus. So why, if Democratic voters are moving left on health care, is this not reflected in Congress? Where did all the co-sponsors go?

    • Unsafe levels of lead found in drinking water around S.C. ‘There’s no accountability’

      Small South Carolina water systems struggle to decrease the amount of lead in locally piped tap water. More than 40 small water systems have exceeded the lead standard since 2011.

    • Michigan’s Lead in Drinking Water Protections Under Attack

      So, it is quite surprising that the Lead and Copper Rule is being challenged in court by Michigan water providers. Think about that: our lead in drinking water protections are being challenged by water system leaders who have seen the horrors of poisoned water in Flint and who know of ongoing lead releases in water systems throughout the state. Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan through the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, Mayor Dennis Wright through the City of Livonia, and the southeast Michigan regional body known as the Great Lakes Water Authority have banded together to try to overturn the new rule in court.

      Although NRDC didn’t secure everything we were looking for in the updated Lead and Copper Rule, we strongly supported the new rule. That is why we filed a friend of the court brief challenging key points being put forth in the lawsuit. The full brief is available here but the main takeaways are:

    • New study finds pollution inequity among races

      Hispanics breathe in 63 percent more than the pollution than they make, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For African-Americans the figure is 56 percent. White Americans are exposed to 17 percent less air pollution than they make.

    • Air Pollution Is Killing Millions More People Than We Thought

      Deaths caused by air pollution appear to have overtaken those caused by smoking, according to a study published in the European Heart Journal. In 2015, air pollution was thought to be responsible for 8.79 million deaths, compared with the 7.2 million caused by tobacco smoking, the study—which focused on Europe—found.

      An additional 790,000 deaths in Europe were likely caused by air pollution, with between 40 to 80 percent of those associated with cardiovascular disease, according to the study. Fine particulate matter could be shaving 2.2 years off the life of the average European, likely due to a combination of densely populated areas and poor air quality, the authors of the study warned.

  • Security

    • DARPA Builds Open Source Voting System
    • DARPA Is Building a $10 Million, Open Source, Secure Voting System

      The system will be fully open source and designed with newly developed secure hardware to make the system not only impervious to certain kinds of [intrusion], but also allow voters to verify that their votes were recorded accurately.

    • DARPA Is Building an Open Source Voting Machine
    • DARPA is building a $10 Million open-source voting system
    • DARPA is trying to build an unhackable open source voting system
    • A new rash of highly covert card-skimming malware infects ecommerce sites

      Group-IB has dubbed the JavaScript sniffer GMO after the gmo[.]il domain it uses to send pilfered data from infected sites, all of which run the Magento e-commerce Web platform. The researchers said the domain was registered last May and that the malware has been active since then. To conceal itself, GMO compresses the skimmer into a tiny space that’s highly obfuscated and remains dormant when it detects the Firebug or Google Developer Tools running on a visitor’s computer. GMO was manually injected into all seven sites, an indication that it is still relatively fledgling.

    • Nasty WinRAR bug is being actively exploited to install hard-to-detect malware

      Nasty code-execution bug in WinRAR threatened millions of users for 14 years
      The flaw, disclosed last month by Check Point Research, garnered instant mass attention because it made it possible for attackers to surreptitiously install persistent malicious applications when a target opened a compressed ZIP file using any version of WinRAR released over the past 19 years. The absolute path traversal made it possible for archive files to extract to the Windows startup folder (or any other folder of the archive creator’s choosing) without generating a warning. From there, malicious payloads would automatically be run the next time the computer rebooted.

    • How a wireless keyboard lets [intruders] take full control of connected computers

      The attacks can be carried out by anyone who is within range of an affected keyboard set and takes the time to build the hardware that exploits the replay and injection flaws. Normally, that distance is about 30 feet, but the use of special antennas could extend that range. That leaves open the possibility of attacks from hackers in nearby offices or homes.

      Friday’s SySS advisory said that there is currently no known fix for the vulnerabilities. It said company researchers privately reported the vulnerability to Fujitsu. The disclosure timeline is: [...]

    • Security researchers reveal defects that allow wireless hijacking of giant construction cranes, scrapers and excavators

      Using software-defined radios, researchers from Trend Micro were able to reverse-engineer the commands used to control massive industrial machines, including cranes, excavators and scrapers; most of these commands were unencrypted, but even the encrypted systems were vulnerable to “replay attacks” that allowed the researchers to bypass the encryption.

    • [Older] Attacks Against Industrial Machines via Vulnerable Radio Remote Controllers: Security Analysis and Recommendations

      In our research and vulnerability discoveries, we found that weaknesses in the controllers can be (easily) taken advantage of to move full-sized machines such as cranes used in construction sites and factories. In the different attack classes that we’ve outlined, we were able to perform the attacks quickly and even switch on the controlled machine despite an operator’s having issued an emergency stop (e-stop).

      The core of the problem lies in how, instead of depending on wireless, standard technologies, these industrial remote controllers rely on proprietary RF protocols, which are decades old and are primarily focused on safety at the expense of security. It wasn’t until the arrival of Industry 4.0, as well as the continuing adoption of the industrial internet of things (IIoT), that industries began to acknowledge the pressing need for security.

    • How Ethereum Applications Earn A+ Security Ratings

      More than 1.2 million ethereum applications have used a little-known security tool to help them avoid the costly errors arising from self-executing lines of code known as smart contracts.

      Launched by ethereum technology startup Amberdata back in October, the free tool is available for anyone in the general public to interpret the security of active applications on the ethereum blockchain. Smart contracts with bugs that have been exploited have led to huge losses, even to the tune of hundreds of millions.

      The automated service scans for common vulnerabilities found in smart contract code and generates a letter grade rating (e.g. A, B, or C) for the security of a decentralized application (dapp).

      The feature is one of the many tools encouraging best practice and increased transparency between dapp developers and end-users in the ethereum ecosystem.

    • How to protect your router

      Currently, there are a variety of open source and OpenVPN capable routers to choose from, but the most popular models are the Linksys AC3200 and the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900.

    • Fighting Crypto Hacks: Company Tackles Security Issues in Ethereum Smart Contracts

      A decentralized, open-source crypto platform based on the Ethereum protocol named Callisto Network offers users free-of-charge smart contract security audits. The company wants to support them in the battle against cyber criminals and help developers solve security issues in Ethereum codes.

    • Just Android things: 150m phones, gadgets installed ‘adware-ridden’ mobe simulator games

      Android adware found its way into as many as 150 million devices – after it was stashed inside a large number of those bizarre viral mundane job simulation games, we’re told.

      The so-called Simbad malware was built into mobile gaming titles such as Real Tractor Farming Simulator, Heavy Mountain Bus Simulator 2018, and Snow Heavy Excavator Simulator, according to infosec research biz Check Point today.

    • Google sinks more than 200 Android apps infected with SimBad adware

      The adware campaign made use of malware dubbed SimBad, which sits within a malicious software development kit called ‘RXDrioder’ and can perform actions after an infected Android device is booted. SimBad then connects back to a control and command server where it receives instructions from the malicious actors controlling it.

    • How To Secure Privileged Access In An Organisation
    • Open-source 64-ish-bit serial number gen snafu sparks TLS security cert revoke runaround
    • 25% of software vulnerabilities remain unpatched for more than a year [Ed: How about back doors in proprietary software? These can never be patched, they're there by design and the user cannot change the code ]
    • Shmoocon 2019, Conor Patrick’s ‘Building And Selling Solo: An Open Source Secure Hardware Token’
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Preventing Civil War and US Intervention in Venezuela

      For almost two months now, Venezuela has been caught in a tense stand-off between the incumbent government of Nicolás Maduro and the US-backed right-wing opposition leader Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed himself president in January and who has since been trying to force Maduro from office with the active support of the Trump administration and various right-wing regional leaders. Over the next weeks, ROAR will be publishing a series of interviews with Venezuelan activists and intellectuals to help share local perspectives on the origins of the current crisis, the risks of an escalation in the conflict, and possible ways out for radical-democratic forces.

      The first interview, published below, is with the Venezuelan sociologist and left-wing intellectual Edgardo Lander, who is a Professor Emeritus at the Central University of Venezuela and a Fellow at the Transnational Institute (TNI). Lander was a critically constructive supporter of former president Hugo Chávez, and served as a consultant to the Venezuelan commission negotiating the Free Trade Area of the Americas. He was one of the organizers of the 2006 World Social Forum, and is currently involved in TNI’s New Politics program. In this interview, he calls on the international left to recognize the complexity of the situation, and not to conflate the need for firm opposition to the ongoing US intervention with unconditional support for the Maduro government.

      As the perceptive reader will notice, Lander’s position differs in several important respects from the reading offered by the Venezuelan sociologist and former government minister Reinaldo Iturriza in our second interview, published here. We offer these different perspectives on the assumption that the critical and intelligent reader will be able to make up their own mind as to which reading they find most persuasive, and which position they are most comfortable to align themselves with. We are currently preparing two more interviews with Venezuelan activists that we hope to publish over the next weeks. We consider these grassroots perspectives particularly important in the present context, given the international media’s systematic inattention to (and active marginalization of) the voices of ordinary Venezuelans.

    • Demands That Trump End Economic War and Attempts at Regime Change at #HandsOffVenezuela March on Capitol Hill

      Denouncing the “strangling” of the Venezuelan economy via sanctions and demanding the Trump administration allow the South American country to determine its own fate, pro-democracy protesters marched through Washington, D.C. on Saturday to demand, “Hands Off Venezuela!”

      The demonstration came seven weeks after the Trump administration recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, rebuking President Nicolas Maduro, who won re-election last May.

      U.S. sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company followed, on top of the $30 million per day earlier U.S. sanctions have cost the country.

      Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin was among the prominent anti-war advocates who spoke at a rally on Capitol Hill before hundreds of protesters from all over the country began their march through the streets.

    • Lawyer: U.S. Navy Veteran Held in Iran Sentenced to 10 Years

      A U.S. Navy veteran from California has been sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran, his lawyer said Saturday, becoming the first American known to be imprisoned there since President Donald Trump took office.

      Though the case against Michael R. White remains unclear, it comes as Trump has taken a hard-line approach to Iran by pulling the U.S. out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.

      Iran, which in the past has used its detention of Westerners and dual nationals as leverage in negotiations, has yet to report on White’s sentence in state-controlled media. Its mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    • On This Day: Hundreds dead in My Lai massacre

      On March 16, 1968, about 300 Vietnamese villagers died at the hands of U.S. troops in what came to be known as the My Lai massacre.

    • Exposure of Another Pro-War Lie Doesn’t Make Media More Skeptical of Pro-War Claims

      Listeners will likely know by now, that the late February story, complete with vivid video footage, about the forces of elected Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro burning trucks that were trying to bring the besieged country food and medicine was false. Weeks later, the New York Times (3/10/19) reported that the humanitarian trucks were not set on fire by Maduro’s forces, but instead by anti-Maduro protestors who threw a Molotov cocktail. The Times outlined how the fake story took root, passing from US officials to media that simply reported their claims as fact with no investigation—and does any of this sound familiar?

      Folks like CNN‘s Marshall Cohen noted the Times debunking as if it were just an interesting development—a “classic example of how misinformation spreads,” Cohen said in a tweet. Except, as The Intercept‘s Glenn Greenwald pointed out (3/10/19), it was Cohen’s own network, CNN, that led the way in spreading the lie around the world.

    • Isis jihadi ‘returned to Sweden to treat war wounds’

      An Isis jihadi fighter returned to his home in Sweden to have wounds to his shoulder treated for free at a state-run hospital, before returning to the front line in Syria, Sweden’s Expressen newspaper has reported.

    • ‘She said she’d blow herself up first’: Hope dims on Yazidis

      She was sold 17 times. One of her owners, a Swede, would lock her in the home for days without food while he went to fight. Another man, an Albanian, stomped on her hands in his military boots, after she scolded him for buying a 9-year-old slave girl.

    • Warped ISIS brides vow to raise a ‘generation of jihadis’ after fleeing terror group’s last stronghold

      A handful of captive Yazidis have also been released from Baghuz but hundreds more may still be inside as human shields.

    • Moroccan beats wife for living western-style life
    • Words Can Incite And Spread Violence – Asia Bibi Knows It Best

      In recent weeks, and in light of reports that Asia Bibi was to find refuge in Canada, a new phenomenon emerged of calls to violence wherever Asia Bibi is to be found.

    • Saudi Arabia: Women’s Rights Activists Charged

      Human rights organizations began reporting in November that Saudi interrogators tortured at least four of the women, including with electric shocks and whippings, and had sexually harassed and assaulted them.

      “The Saudi prosecution is bringing charges against the women’s rights activists instead of releasing them unconditionally,” said Michael Page, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Saudi authorities have done nothing to investigate serious allegations of torture, and now, it’s the women’s rights activists, not any torturers, who face criminal charges and trials.”

    • ULMWP Spokesperson: The UN must stop Indonesian military attacks in West Papua

      West Papuans beg for UN intervention as 2,650 Indonesian commandos hunt down freedom-fighters and the Jakarta government blocks emergency food water and medical supplies to highland villagers

    • More Indonesian troops sent to West Papua

      According to the United Liberation Movement for West Papua (ULMWP), an additional 650 Indonesian commandos were deployed along with an extra 2000 troops on March 12 to the Central Highlands of West Papua to fight the West Papua National Liberation Army.

      The Indonesian government has been blocking all emergency food, water and medicines supplied by local churches and NGOs to the central highland districts of Nduga, Kenyam, Yigi, Mbua, and Mapunduma for the past three months.

      The ULMWP said the 650 additional commandos have been deployed to “hunt and kill West Papuan freedom fighters” and “eliminate the independence movement”.

    • Humanitarian concerns grow as violent conflict worsens in West Papua

      But even elected Papuan leaders in government pushing for a de-escalation of military operations risk a reprimand or threat of prosecution from Indonesia’s military.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Australian winter will disappear by 2050, ANU team claims

      A tool that analyses climate data, developed by a team from the Australian National University School of Art and Design along with their colleagues from the ANU Climate Change Institute has shown that by 2050 winter, as we now know it, will no longer exist.

    • Trump Administration Shortcuts Science To Give California Farmers More Water

      Farmers will only get more water after federal biologists complete an intricate scientific analysis on how it would affect endangered species. But an investigation by KQED finds that analysis will be done under unprecedented time pressure, with less transparency, less outside scientific scrutiny, and without, say federal scientists, the resources to do it properly.

      [...]

      The internal emails also show the new environmental rules will receive less outside scientific review than before, which eliminates public involvement. Peer review, in which independent scientists assess other researchers’ work, is a core practice of science, and previous biological rules have received that scrutiny.

    • The US Is Only Decades Away From Widespread Water Shortages, Scientists Warn

      Thanks to advances in dams, tunnelling, and pipelines, stability in water usage has been maintained since then despite a growing population, the team says, but with reservoir construction peaking in the 1960s, those adaptations won’t keep delivering the same way in the future.

    • Norway’s wealth fund to divest from fossil fuels

      Egil Matsen, Deputy Governor said: “This advice is based exclusively on financial arguments and analyses of the government’s total oil and gas exposure and does not reflect any particular view of future movements in oil and gas prices or the profitability or sustainability of the oil and gas sector”.

    • Cambodian Farmers Struggle Against Changing Climate

      In this part of Banteay Meanchey province, farmers remark on the lack of rain, during the wet season as well as the dry season. Cambodian farmers grow rice in both seasons. Cambodia’s rainy season typically arrives in May and ends in October and dry season runs from November until April.

    • Every ninth species in Finland endangered, says new report

      The fifth in a series of assessments, the report determined that conditions are worsening for Finland’s flora and fauna, as 11.9 percent of the species examined can now be determined threatened. This number is an increase from the 10.5 percent that was concluded to be at risk in 2010.

    • New estimate – every ninth species in Finland is threatened

      A new assessment of threatened species indicates an increasing loss of biodiversity in Finnish nature. Of the 22 000 species evaluated, 11.9% were classified as threatened, compared to 10.5% in the previous assessment. All species groups include threatened species, and the highest proportion can be found among birds and bryophytes (mosses). The primary cause of threat is the decline and deterioration of natural habitat. Much can be done to stop this development, but urgent action is needed.

    • Finland Publishes the Most Comprehensive Red List of Ecosystems in the World

      The results of the extensive assessment for the Red List of all of Finland’s terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems were published in December 2018. The threat status of ecosystem or habitat types in Finland was now evaluated for the second time, using this time the new assessment methodology called IUCN Red List of Ecosystems Categories and Criteria.

    • Climate change and population growth are making the world’s water woes more urgent

      The first thing to recognise is that the 70% figure is largely irrelevant to the debate. The sea it represents is salty, accounting for 97.5% of all the water on Earth. A further 1.75% is frozen, at the poles, in glaciers or in permafrost. So the world has to rely on just 0.75% of the planet’s available water, almost all of which is subterranean groundwater, though it is from the 0.3% on the surface that it draws 59% of its needs (see chart). This report will argue that misuse of water may indeed lead to a series of catastrophes. But the means to dodge them are already known, and new technologies are constantly evolving to help.

    • We could have less than 5 years to save the North Atlantic right whale

      The North Atlantic right whale is not only one of the rarest whale species in the world, it is the one most at-risk. While the days of commercial whaling may be over, human activity remains their biggest threat. Once numbering in the tens of thousands, there are fewer than 415 right whales left alive today. Among remaining right whale, fewer than 100 are breeding females. At best, we have only five years to reverse this course before it’s too late. Without committed and immediate action, the species will become functionally extinct in just two decades.

    • Oceans Are ‘Spiking a Fever’ With Record Heat Waves

      Global warming is gradually increasing the average temperature of the oceans, but the new research is the first systematic global analysis of ocean heat waves, when temperatures reach extremes for five days or more.

      The research found heat waves are becoming more frequent, prolonged and severe, with the number of heat wave days tripling in the last couple of years studied. In the longer term, the number of heat wave days jumped by more than 50% in the 30 years to 2016, compared with the period of 1925 to 1954.

    • World Wildlife Day 2019: The 15 Biggest Threats to the World’s Oceans

      The news followed the revelation that over half the world’s oceans are being industrially fished. A 2018 study, published in the journal Science, found that commercial fishing covered a bigger area than global agriculture.

      This massive disruption to ocean ecosystems can be caused by such diverse threats as overfishing, agricultural chemical offspill and global warming driving up sea temperatures. While threats to rainforests and other land environments have long been known, public awareness about the precarious state of the ocean are a more recent revelation, thanks in part to cultural phenomena like the BBC’s Blue Planet series.

    • Zinke fingered in Bears Ears corruption probe over uranium mining interests

      An energy firm linked to ” When the review concluded, Trump shrank the monument by 85%. Some 100 uranium claims that were previously *inside* the monument’s protected boundary were suddenly on the outside.

      Now, House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul M. Grijalva (D-AZ) says Democrats plan hold a hearing on March 13, to look into that shady review.

    • On March 15, the Climate Kids Are Coming

      On March 15, tens of thousands of high-school and middle-school students in more than 30 countries plan to skip school to demand that politicians treat the global climate crisis as the emergency it is. Shakespeare made the Ides of March famous with his soothsayer’s warning in Julius Caesar, but ancient Romans actually saw it as a day for settling debts. What bigger debt is there than the theft of a livable future? At the March 15 School Strike 4 Climate, young people will call in that debt and, in the United States at least, demand real solutions in the form of the Green New Deal championed by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    • Bird extinctions ‘driven’ by global food trade

      About 100 bird species are predicted to go extinct based on current farming and forestry practices, according to a new global analysis.

      This number has increased by 7% over the first ten years of this century alone, say scientists.

    • Meet Alexandria Villaseñor, the Teen Activist Who’s Spent 12 Fridays Outside the United Nations Striking for the Climate

      All this work is leading to March 15, when activists around the world are hoping for a global student strike. Youth Climate Strike U.S., an organization Alexandria is affiliated with, has strikes already planned in dozens of states to support Fridays for Future and School Strike for Climate — some states already have multiple strikes in the works, Alexandria says.

    • Last year’s cereal harvest the smallest in 26 years

      The year 2018 was the second consecutive poor harvest year in Finland. Last year, drought reduced the total yield, particularly in Southwest Finland and surrounding areas. In addition to cereals, the broad bean harvest was much smaller than normal. In 2017, heavy rainfall reduced the total yield.

    • ‘Why Go to School When You Have No Future?’: A Q&A With a 13-Year-Old Climate Striker

      Now, Villaseñor is one of the leaders of the New York City climate strike—one of more than 1,000 strikes across at least 70 countries that will take place tomorrow. Inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager who began the #FridaysforFuture in front of the Swedish parliament building last year, children and teens like Villaseñor have started to call on adults to cut fossil-fuel emission in half within the next 10 years. While Villaseñor is often the only climate protester in front of the UN, she’s not not alone in her fight. Through social media, Villaseñor has connected with other student activists in Chile, the United Kingdom, Australia, Uganda, and elsewhere. This—as the March 15 strike will make clear—is a global movement.

    • What are the school climate strikes?

      The strikes signal a shift in green activism, with those who will be particularly affected by climate change taking the lead. The protests take place amid a lawsuit that has been filed by a group of American children against the federal government, arguing that it was violating their constitutional right to life, liberty and property by allowing activities that contribute to climate change. Although some politicians have criticised the school strikes as disruptive, others, including Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, back them. This could be because children’s fears for the future carry a certain moral weight; last month Dianne Feinstein, a Democratic senator, was roundly criticised after a video of her lecturing a group of young climate activists went viral. For many, Greta Thunberg has become a beacon of hope. But as she told the Davos crowd in January, that was never her plan. “I don’t want you to be hopeful,” she said. “I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act.”

    • Tribes Accuse Corps of Withholding Pipeline Study Records

      Tribes battling the Dakota Access oil pipeline in court are accusing the Army Corps of Engineers of withholding dozens of documents that could bolster their case that the pipeline could unfairly impact them.

      Many of the records that attorneys for the four Sioux tribes allege are missing relate to the pipeline’s crossing beneath the Lake Oahe reservoir on the Missouri River in the Dakotas, which the tribes rely on for drinking water, fishing and religious practices. Fears of a spill into the river sparked prolonged protests in 2016 and early 2017 that drew thousands of pipeline opponents from around the world to southern North Dakota.

    • Climate Change Is Here—and It Looks Like Starvation

      This year, CARE highlighted the fact that almost all of these crises can be traced in large part to climate change. In Sudan, unpredictable rainfall has meant “frequent droughts,” occasional flooding, and “extreme hunger.” In the island nation of Madagascar, “at the frontline of climate change,” cyclones and drought have put 1.3 million people at risk of hunger and, according to UNICEF, a staggering 49 percent of the country’s children have been left stunted by malnutrition. In the Philippines, 2018’s fiercest storm, “super-typhoon” Mangkhut, fed by the heat of the warming oceans, displaced more than a million people. In Niger, desertification has spurred violence and displacement, just as it has in Chad, where nearly half the population is now chronically malnourished. The major source of fresh water in the region, Lake Chad, has shrunk to one-twentieth the area it once covered. In Haiti it was drought again, plus three devastating hurricanes over two consecutive years, leaving nearly 3 million people in need of immediate aid.

    • It’s Happening: Study Confirms Our Oceans Are Already Losing Vast Quantities of Fish

      Data collected from 1930 to 2010 has shown that sustainable fish stock declined 4.1 percent on average over that time period. In some regions, including the East China Sea and the North Sea, the drop was as high as 15-35 percent.

      Both climate change and overfishing are to blame, the team of researchers says. They did also find that a small number of fish populations actually increased – because previously colder waters became more habitable for them.

    • The World Is Losing Fish to Eat as Oceans Warm, Study Finds

      Scientists have warned that global warming will put pressure on the world’s food supplies in coming decades. But the new findings — which separate the effects of warming waters from other factors, like overfishing — suggest that climate change is already having a serious impact on seafood.

      Fish make up 17 percent of the global population’s intake of animal protein, and as much as 70 percent for people living in some coastal and island countries, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

    • Why We Should Not Be Surprised That Murdoch Tabloid’s Favorite Sydney School Pupil Didn’t Join Climate Strike

      Somewhere in the order of 150,000 students went absent from classes in Australia on Friday afternoon for the global “School Strike 4 Climate” marches.

      In what might be seen as an afternoon practical lesson in democracy, free speech, and civic engagement, students from cities and towns across the country and the world marched, chanted, and held placards aloft.

      One of the biggest marches in Australia saw 25,000 students on the streets of Sydney, the home of the Rupert Murdoch-owned The Daily Telegraph.

      But one student in particular caught eye of The Daily Telegraph — a 17-year-old, Year 12 pupil called Joanne Tran, who wrote an article for the newspaper explaining why she would not be marching.

    • A Future Without Fossil Fuels?

      “Kingsmill Bond” certainly sounds like a proper name for a City of London financial analyst. He looks the part, too: gray hair expertly trimmed, well-cut suit. He’s lived in Moscow and Hong Kong and worked for Deutsche Bank, the Russian financial firm Troika Dialog, and Citibank. He’s currently “new energy strategist” for a small British think tank called Carbon Tracker, and last fall he published a short paper called “2020 Vision: Why You Should See the Fossil Fuel Peak Coming.” It asks an interesting question: At what point does a new technology cause an existing industry to start losing significant value?

      This may turn out to be the most important economic and political question of the first half of this century, and the answer might tell us much about our chances of getting through the climate crisis without completely destroying the planet. Based on earlier technological transitions—horses to cars, sails to steam, land lines to cell phones—it seems possible that the fossil fuel industry may begin to weaken much sooner than you’d think. The British-Venezuelan scholar Carlota Perez has observed that over a period of twenty years, trains made redundant a four-thousand-mile network of canals and dredged rivers across the UK: “The canal builders…fought hard and even finished a couple of major canals in the 1830s, but defeat was inevitable,” as it later was for American railroads (and horses) when they were replaced by trucks and cars.

      Major technological transitions often take a while. The Czech-Canadian academic Vaclav Smil has pointed out that although James Watt developed the coal-powered steam engine in 1776, coal supplied less than 5 percent of the planet’s energy until 1840, and it didn’t reach 50 percent until 1900. But the economic effect of those transitions can happen much earlier, Bond writes, as soon as it becomes clear to investors that a new technology is accounting for all the growth in a particular sector.

      Over the last decade, there has been a staggering fall in the price of solar and wind power, and of the lithium-ion batteries used to store energy. This has led to rapid expansion of these technologies, even though they are still used much less than fossil fuels: in 2017, for instance, sun and wind produced just 6 percent of the world’s electric supply, but they made up 45 percent of the growth in supply, and the cost of sun and wind power continues to fall by about 20 percent with each doubling of capacity. Bond’s analysis suggests that in the next few years, they will represent all the growth. We will then reach peak use of fossil fuels, not because we’re running out of them but because renewables will have become so cheap that anyone needing a new energy supply will likely turn to solar or wind power.

    • Why Students of Color Are Stepping Up to Lead Climate Strikes

      Kawika Ke Koa Pegram has lived his entire life in island communities and is all too familiar with what sea level rise looks like firsthand. Pegram, a 17-year-old junior in high school, recently moved back to Hawai‘i—where he was born—from the Philippines. Two years later, Hurricane Walaka hit the state.

      “It was one of the worst storms the island has seen in modern history,” he remembers. “It had floods that went up to your knees and legs.” Pegram says he had seen that degree of flooding before, but this storm was different: It actually sunk an entire Hawaiian island.

      Pegram is one of more than 60 student leaders who have stepped up to lead climate strikes in cities and towns across the country on March 15 as part of a global school strike for climate action modeled after the example of Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. An estimated 50 percent of U.S. student leaders are students of color. This representative leadership is making the strike relatable and accessible to more students.

      Pegram first began environmental organizing just a few weeks ago. After seeing on Twitter that the global climate strike movement was coming to the United States, he tracked down the U.S. Youth Climate Strike website and emailed its leaders. “They got back within an hour. And within a few hours, I was in it,” he says. Pegram is now heading the state of Hawai‘i in staging school strikes and storming the Capitol in Honolulu on Friday.

    • ‘The Youth Have Spoken:’ Young New Yorkers Join Global Climate Strike (Photo Essay)
    • Organic Farms Are Under Attack From Agribusiness, Weakened Standards

      The certified organic label has helped save many generational farms and enabled people like me, who do not come from agricultural backgrounds, to become successful farmers. Organic farming has brought environmental benefits — healthier soils, freedom from toxic pesticides and herbicides — to 6.5 million acres in the U.S.

      Organic shoppers are willing to pay a little extra for food that is free from chemical residues. But the organic label is in trouble after reports of fraudulently labeled food made national news. On top of that, agribusiness pressures and National Organic Program (NOP) actions have weakened standards. Yet at a time when farms are in distress, family-scale farmers need a label with integrity. They need a label that provides public support from people who understand that small-scale farmers are an endangered species.

      In the 1980s, I was one of the organic farmers who helped launch organic certification. Farming and non-farming members of the Northeast Organic Farming Association worked together to write standards for a label that identified the real organic food that non-farmers wanted to buy — for which they were willing to pay enough to keep the small farms in business.

      In retrospect, it has become clear that we were very naïve. It did not occur to us to consider the many ways our clear, simple statements could be twisted by people who were willing to cut corners to increase their bottom line and steal markets by underselling the farmers who observed the standards faithfully.

    • Trump’s budget follows flurry of lobbying from fossil fuel, charter school and other interests

      Industries and organizations that stand to gain from the budget spend millions of dollars lobbying the U.S. government each year.

      From cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, to a 5 percent increase in the military budget, the Fiscal Year 2020 budget will delight economic conservatives wanting cuts to social spending and dismay liberals aiming to preserve environmental regulation and welfare programs.

      While the budget will likely gain no traction on Capitol Hill, the document unambiguously presents the priorities of the administration. It calls for a 31 percent cut in the EPA, an 11 percent cut at the Department of Energy, and a 12 percent cut at the Department of Education.

      At the Department of Energy, a 70 percent decrease in funds for the department’s office of renewable energy coincides with increased investment in nuclear energy, coal and fossil fuels. The budget for the Office of Fossil Energy Research and Development will increase by $60 million, and the Office of Nuclear Energy’s budget will surge by $67 million.

      The proposed cuts have received condemnation from liberal environmental groups such as the League of Conservation Voters, which spent tens of millions to elect Democrats in 2018

      “This isn’t a budget for a better America, it’s a budget for a sicker, dirtier America,” said Carol M. Browner, board chair of the League of Conservation Voters and a former EPA administrator.

    • Why Unions Must Bargain Over Climate Chang

      Union contract negotiations include mandatory and permissive subjects of bargaining. Employers are required by law to negotiate over mandatory subjects—wages, benefits and working conditions. Permissive subjects, such as decisions about which public services will be provided and how, have historically been the purview of management. We only negotiate over how managerial decisions affect members’ jobs. Employers may voluntarily agree to negotiate permissive subjects, but unions can’t legally strike over them.

      In recent years, some unions have embraced “bargaining for the common good,” which use the union campaign to win broad, righteous public benefits. The best current example of this is the Los Angeles teachers’ strike, which opposed the underfunding, privatization and overcrowding of schools—all of which hurt students. Common good goals often bump against the constraints of what is legally bargainable. For instance, does a demand from teachers’ unions that school districts use district-owned property to fund and build affordable housing for teachers affect working conditions? While shortages of affordable housing affect teachers very directly, how school districts use their land and invest their money is normally considered a managerial prerogative.

      But last fall’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a game-changer. It concludes that humanity has 12 years to cut greenhouse gas emissions enough to hold global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius—and avoid civilization-threatening consequences of climate change. There is a lot of space between projected best- and worst-case future scenarios. It’s the difference between bad and apocalyptic. That space represents hundreds of millions of people dying. Avoiding worst-case scenarios, in strictly scientific terms, requires everyone to do everything, immediately.

    • Native American Church Works to Conserve, Sustain Peyote

      “After Amada’s passing, the peyote distribution system lost heart and seemed to be about monetary compensation,” said Iron Rope, former chairman of the Native American Church of North America (NACNA) and today chairman of the NAC of South Dakota. He is concerned that the remaining three or four peyote dealers in Texas — all non-Native — don’t give “the medicine” the reverence they should.

      “They don’t make prayerful offerings when they harvest,” Iron Rope said. “We’ve heard reports about intoxicated harvesters. Sometimes, the medicine that comes to us was mushy or small, and the harvesting technique was not one that would allow regrowth.”

      Careless and sometimes illegal harvesting, along with increased land and resource development in Texas, has led to a decline in peyote’s quality and availability. Prices have gone up, and church members worry the cactus, now listed as a vulnerable species, could become endangered.

    • FDA allows genetically engineered ‘Frankenfish’ salmon to be imported to US

      The Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it is lifting an import alert that stopped genetically engineered salmon from entering the US.

  • Finance

    • Zimbabweans Go for Alternatives as Bread Becomes Unaffordable

      Bread in Zimbabwe now costs $2 a loaf, or higher, making it beyond the reach of many in the poverty-stricken country.

    • A fifth of Americans say they have zero savings

      About 21% of working Americans said they aren’t saving any money at all, Bankrate found in a survey. Among those who are saving, a majority are putting away less than 10% of their income.

      Over the past several decades, household savings in the US have been trending downward. By the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ measure, Americans were saving 7.6% of disposable income in December. Before the 1980s, that rate had mostly been in the double digits.

    • American prosecutors uncover a huge university-admissions scam

      There is also an entirely legal way to corrupt the elite admissions system, which for some reason generates less outrage. Mr Singer grasped this dynamic: There is a front door “which means you get in on your own” and a “back door” secured by multimillion-dollar donations to universities, he explained in a recorded call to a client. What Mr Singer did—for 761 buyers, he claimed—is create a “side door” by bribing university officials and faking test scores that would achieve the same result at one-tenth of the cost. In effect, his scheme granted mere multimillionaires access to the billionaires’ entrance.

    • China recruits Westerners to sell its “democracy”

      Finally, there is the odd experience of meeting supposed colleagues who are in fact complete strangers, meaning foreigners employed by Chinese state media, or by obscure Western news outlets that channel Chinese propaganda. Some ask planted questions at press conferences. Others pop up in the state media lauding China’s political system. Xinhua, China’s official news agency, this year put out a video entitled “Chinese democracy in the eyes of an American”. A fresh-faced young man from Chicago, Colin Linneweber, strolls around Tiananmen Square while opining that “it’s widely acknowledged that a key to China’s success is its system of democracy”, and praising the country’s “stability”. He then presents mini-profiles of delegates with such day jobs as farmer, migrant worker and postman, whose proposals for making China better became law. It is tempting to be quite cross with such Westerners. Ordinary Chinese who start praising democracy on the square, a ghost-haunted, massively policed spot, would be instantly arrested. Stability comes at a price, what is more. China’s one-party rule involves more than the absence of messy things like real elections or a free press. It requires active, unsleeping maintenance by state-security agents tasked with tracking, threatening or jailing any who challenge the Communist monopoly on power.

    • Donald Trump Touts Benefits of Trade Pact That Hasn’t Even Been Agreed Yet

      However, before the deal can go into effect from the U.S. side, it must be approved by Congress. Some representatives have voiced their objections to the international treaty, making its approval less than certain.

    • EU may hit Google with AdSense fine this week: report

      The European Union is likely to announce a third fine on Google this week, this one for alleged abuse of its AdSense advertising service, a fine that had been expected as far back as November 2017.

    • Google faces third EU antitrust fine next week: source

      The European Commission in 2016 opened a third case against the world’s most popular internet search engine by accusing Google of preventing third parties using its AdSense product from displaying search advertisements from Google’s competitors.

      It said that Google, which at that time had held 80 percent of the European market for search advertising intermediation over the previous ten years, had kept its anti-competitive practices for a decade.

    • Manchester council paid doomed Regent Road firm Dawnus almost half a MILLION pounds just days before collapse

      Manchester council paid doomed construction firm Dawnus almost half a million pounds just days before they went bust, the Manchester Evening News can reveal.

      The Welsh company went into administration on Friday owing creditors tens of millions of pounds.

      Dawnus has been the lead contract on the Regent Road project to improve junctions near the city centre and ease congestion.

    • Elite Restaurant Torched, Luxury Shops Smashed in Paris Riots

      French yellow vest protesters set life-threatening fires, smashed up luxury stores and clashed with police Saturday in the 18th straight weekend of demonstrations against President Emmanuel Macron. Large plumes of smoke rose above the rioting on Paris’ landmark Champs-Elysees avenue, and a mother and her child were just barely saved from a building blaze.

      The resurgent violence came as protesters are seeking to breathe new life into a movement that seemed to be fizzling, and get attention from French leaders and media whom they see as underplaying their economic justice cause and favoring the elite.

      Paris police appeared to be caught off guard by the speed and severity of the unrest. French police tried to contain the demonstrators with repeated volleys of tear gas and water cannon, with limited success.

    • Cries of ‘Shame!’ Heard at Arlington County, Va. Hearing As Officials Approve $23M in Incentives for Amazon

      Anti-Amazon protesters in Arlington County, Virginia were outraged Saturday after the county board dismissed outright their concerns over the corporate giant’s decision to build a headquarters in Crystal City—voting unanimously to approve $23 million in tax incentives for the company.

      The 5-0 vote followed hours of testimony by Amazon representatives, supporters, and opponents of the plan, with critics arguing that the trillion-dollar company has no need for financial incentives and that its presence in Crystal City will negatively impact lower-income residents and public services.

      One resident, Chelsea Yu, called attention to Amazon’s actions in its current hometown of Seattle, where in addition to contributing to skyrocketing housing prices, it has actively fought against a corporate tax that would have funded affordable housing.

      “You claim Arlington is a place for all, for immigrants, for equality, [and] clamor for the attention of a company that does the opposite,” said Yu. “Never have I seen a company so reviled by the city it occupies.”

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Beto O’Rourke outed as Cult of Dead Cow member, phreaker and writer of screeds

      Beto O’Rourke, the former Texas congressman and Senate candidate and recently declared Democratic candidate for president in 2020, has been outed as a former member of what has been described as America’s oldest hacking group—the Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC). O’Rourke admitted to his membership in an interview for an upcoming book, as Reuters reported in an exclusive based on the book.

      O’Rourke’s role in the group, starting in the late 1980s, was more focused on writing screeds for the CDC’s text-file essays than hacking. O’Rourke, like other teens of the time, did find ways to avoid paying for long-distance dial-up phone service time to connect to bulletin board systems (BBSs) of the day across the country with his family’s Apple IIe computer and 300 baud modem, which he often used to search of pirated games.

    • Beto O’Rourke was part of hacking group as a teen where he wrote story about running over children

      The Texas Democrat was a member of the Cult of the Dead Cow, called the CDC, one of the oldest groups of hackers in the United States, according to a Reuters investigation. The CDC is known for coining the phrase “hacktivism,” and releasing tools that allow less tech-savvy users to hack Windows computers.

      O’Rourke, 46, was a member of the group in the 1980s. He’s been involved in tech since: he co-founded the Stanton Street Technology Group, a web design company in El Paso.

    • Trump Cornered

      What does a megalomaniacal president of the United States do when he’s cornered? We’ll soon find out.

    • The Real Irish-American History Not Taught in Schools

      “Wear green on St. Patrick’s Day or get pinched.” That pretty much sums up the Irish-American “curriculum” that I learned when I was in school. Yes, I recall a nod to the so-called Potato Famine, but it was mentioned only in passing.

      Sadly, today’s high school textbooks continue to largely ignore the famine, despite the fact that it was responsible for unimaginable suffering and the deaths of more than a million Irish peasants, and that it triggered the greatest wave of Irish immigration in U.S. history. Nor do textbooks make any attempt to help students link famines past and present.

    • Stop Joe McCarthy-ing the ‘Socialist’ Bogeyman and Fix America’s Broken Capitalism

      President Trump actually almost got something right the other day. Americans should be worried about a return of “McCarthyism,” the kind of list-waving, name-calling, career-destroying mass hysteria that was pioneered in the 1950s by then-Wisconsin Sen. Joseph McCarthy, over his invented claims that the U.S. government was overrun with “card-carrying Communists.” But needless to say, the 45th president is looking for his “witch hunt” in all the wrong places.

      No, the place where I’m getting the “Are you now, or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” crazed vibe of the old House Un-American Affairs Committee is not from the Bob Mueller probe but by watching our elite (and elitist) Beltway pundits on cable TV or in the editorial pages, determined to rid the 2020 presidential campaign of any scourge of alleged “socialism” that might ruin the utopia that is modern American capitalism.

      It all came to a head recently when one of the 347 announced Democratic presidential candidates — a guy named John Hickenlooper, a former governor of Colorado — turned up for an interview on the Electronic Daily Diary of the American Dream, MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Hickenlooper is beyond a long shot for the White House, but the 10-minute slot on national TV was a great chance to ask him where he stands, or why he was such a fossil-fuel zealot that he once drank fracking fluid.

      But America got none of this. Instead, there was a kind of Spanish Inquisition to ruthlessly pressure Hickenlooper (who got in start in life as a brew-pub owner, with beer striking most people as something very good about capitalism) to look into the camera and declare, “I am a capitalist.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Don’t be fooled: the main beneficiary of Mark Zuckerberg’s apparent embrace of privacy is Facebook, not you

      If that sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. Despite the word “privacy” being used 33 times in the piece, what Zuckerberg lays out is not unalloyed good news for privacy or, indeed, for much else – except Facebook itself, which stands to benefit in important ways. The key idea is the following:

      [...]

      That is, an increased emphasis on private messaging among small groups of people, rather than posting to Facebook for hundreds of people to see. WhatsApp is central to this strategy, but in his essay Zuckerberg also promises to make private messaging work between all of Facebook’s services. He calls that “interoperability”, but in truth it is more like an integration. Bringing together the different parts of Facebook offers some advantages for users, but it gives the company something much more important. It makes any future efforts to break it up – an idea that is steadily gaining ground – much harder, because there will be no separate pieces, just different ways of communicating with Facebook’s common database of users.

      Facebook says it will use end-to-end encryption for its private messaging – certainly good news for people living in countries with repressive governments that spy on their citizens. Encryption might seem a problem for Facebook’s business model, since it will be unable to track what people are writing and sharing.

    • Epic says its Game Store is not spying on you [We: Well, proprietary software is almost always spying on you and its (or its vendor’s) denials are often false; they know you cannot verify these claims because the code is secret.]

      This week, certain corners of the gaming Internet have been abuzz with a bit of self-described “amateur analysis” suggesting some “pretty sketchy,” spyware-like activity on the part of the Epic Game Store and its launcher software. Epic has now stepped in to defend itself from those accusations, while also admitting to an “outdated implementation” that can make unauthorized access to local Steam information.

    • Russia Plans to Block Pirate Sites Without Trial & De-Anonymize Their Operators

      Russia’s Ministry of Culture has tabled new amendments to copyright law that will allow rightsholders to order web hosts to block pirate sites without trial, if they are unresponsive to takedown demands. Site owners will also be forced to publish their names and addresses on their platforms but it’s not yet clear how this can be enforced.

    • Tinder says it no longer uses a ‘desirability’ score to rank people

      Of course, Tinder is also Match Group’s greatest moneymaker, so it gives users the option to fully skip over any of these algorithm rankings with an in-app purchase. That can be in the form of a Super Like, which automatically moves a card toward the top of a person’s profile stack (and visually indicates to him or her that they’ve been Super Liked), or a profile boost, which Tinder says brings a profile closer to the top of many other users’ profile stacks for 30 minutes.

    • Dropbox limits free accounts to three devices

      The company has announced that from now on, free accounts will be limited to just three devices – if you go beyond that, you’ll need to deauthorise a different one.

    • Facebook owes us an explanation

      In light of Facebook’s long list of wrongdoings, a temporary service outage might not seem like a big deal. It’s even good material for jokes about Facebook. But what if we took Facebook seriously? What if, as an experiment, we charitably assumed all of the things Facebook says about itself are true? Here’s a brief list of some of Facebook’s beliefs about itself: [...]

    • Facebook faces criminal probe over its dodgy data-sharing deals

      The investigation was triggered by it coming to light, via another NYT report, that partnerships with the social network allowed some services to access the personal data of Facebook users; for example, the Bing search engine could see the names of Facebook users’ friends without their consent, and Spotify and Netflix could read a Facebook user’s private messages.

      At the time, Facebook said the partnerships with other companies only allowed access to information users had consented to give it.

      But this response didn’t seem to placate federal investigators, and now Facebook is facing a criminal probe.

    • Facebook’s Sloppy Data-Sharing Deals Might Be Criminal

      For the past 15 years, Mark Zuckerberg has pushed Facebook to be the most innovative, influential, fast-growing, and profitable company in the world—to move fast and break things. It worked great, as we all know. It also broke a lot of things Facebook didn’t anticipate. And the cleanup bills are piling up.

      The new investigation, by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York, is related to deals with more than 150 partners, including many big tech companies. Those deals allowed the partners to see Facebook user data, sometimes without user consent. The New York Times, which broke the news on Wednesday night, reported on these partnerships in December. While Facebook phased out almost all the deals more than two years ago, it accidentally left some of the data connections open into early 2018, the paper said then.

    • Facebook is reportedly under criminal investigation over deals that gave Apple, Amazon, and other companies access to user data

      According to the New York Times report, a grand jury in New York has already subpoenaed information on these types of deals from at least two smartphone and other device manufacturers involved.

    • Govt data stored by US firms ‘not subject to CLOUD Act’

      Australian Government data stored by American companies who have been certified as Protected cloud providers is not subject to the US CLOUD Act, which allows Washington to obtain data stored overseas by American companies in the event that it is deemed to be needed by law enforcement authorities.

    • Facebook’s Head of Product Leaves After Privacy Pivot

      Just last spring, Chris Cox, the chief product officer of Facebook, was promoted to also oversee WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram. It seemed at the time almost like succession planning. If Mark Zuckerberg were to ever leave the company, Cox, his longtime confidante and a represen­tative of the engineering and product side, would be set up to run it.

      But Cox announced today that, after 13 years at the company, he’s leaving. “For over a decade, I’ve been sharing the same message that Mark and I have always believed: Social media’s history is not yet written, and its effects are not neutral. It is tied up in the richness and complexity of social life. As its builders, we must endeavor to understand its impact—all the good, and all the bad—and take up the daily work of bending it towards the positive, and towards the good. This is our greatest responsibility,” he wrote.

    • Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox & WhatsApp VP Chris Daniels are leaving
    • Mark Zuckerberg loses two key Facebook executives

      The departures follow the resignations of Instagram founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger and WhatsApp’s co-founder Jan Koum last year.

      However, the latest exits are potentially more troubling, as Mr Cox and Mr Daniels were members of Mr Zuckerberg’s tight-knit group of allies.

    • The Hottest Chat App for Teens Is … Google Docs

      Teens told me they use Google Docs to chat just about any time they need to put their phone away but know their friends will be on computers. Sometimes they’ll use the service’s live-chat function, which doesn’t open by default, and which many teachers don’t even know exists. Or they’ll take advantage of the fact that Google allows users to highlight certain phrases or words, then comment on them via a pop-up box on the right side: They’ll clone a teacher’s shared Google document, then chat in the comments, so it appears to the casual viewer that they’re just making notes on the lesson plan. If a teacher approaches to take a closer look, they can click the Resolve button, and the entire thread will disappear.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Death Row Becomes “Life In Prison Row” In California, And I Absolutely Approve
    • Elder says medicine pouch ‘desecrated’ by Halifax airport security despite asking for X-ray scan

      She said that despite requesting twice that the item be X-rayed instead of handled by officers, the supervisor told her to open the pouch or she would be escorted out of the airport.

    • Facing Wrongful Detention and Threats, Afro-Colombian Women Call for Justice

      It was late February, and around 30 Afro-Colombian human rights defenders from around the country had gathered in the western Colombian city of Cali for a conference. They were taking stock of their efforts toward meaningful peace and security, and toward racial and gender justice in a country still experiencing violence despite being in a post-peace accord context.

      The conference was organized by the Black Communities’ Process (PCN), a national network that has advocated for protections and rights for Afro-descendant Colombians for more than 20 years, and my organization, MADRE, an international women’s rights organization.

      At the conference, the human rights defenders strategized how to move forward under the right-wing administration of Iván Duque Márquez, which rose to power last year on promises of undoing key provisions of the government’s 2016 peace deal with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Afro-descendant regions of Colombia, heavily impacted by conflict, overwhelmingly supported the peace deal. Advocates, including women leaders from those communities, helped secure inclusion of a chapter protecting and promoting Afro-descendant and Indigenous rights, including gender rights.

    • Gallup: More U.S. Catholics questioning whether to stay with church

      There are more U.S. Catholics questioning whether to remain in the church than there were 17 years ago amid a stream of sexual abuse allegations against priests, a new Gallup poll indicates.

      Some 37 percent of Catholics polled said they have personally questioned whether they should remain with the church compared to 22 percent in 2002. The survey, published Wednesday, said 62 percent said they have not questioned changing faith, compared to 76 percent in 2002.

    • Pa. Judge Sentenced To 28 Years In Massive Juvenile Justice Bribery Scandal

      A Pennsylvania judge was sentenced to 28 years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that roiled the state’s juvenile justice system. Former Luzerne County Judge Mark Ciavarella Jr. was convicted of taking $1 million in bribes from developers of juvenile detention centers. The judge then presided over cases that would send juveniles to those same centers. The case came to be known as “kids-for-cash.”

    • Community and Family Reacted to No Charges Being Filed Against the Cops Who Shot and Killed Stephon Clark

      On March 18, 2018, 22-year-old Stephon Clark was in his backyard when two police officers responding to a report of someone breaking car windows near his home fired 20 shots at him, killing him. The officers claimed they thought Clark’s cell phone was a gun, but he was unarmed.

      Nearly a year later, on Saturday, March 2, Sacramento County district attorney Anne Marie Schubert announced that the officers who shot and killed Stephon Clark last year will not be charged.

    • International Women’s Day Rally in Turkey Turns Violent

      They were seeking to draw attention to women’s issues in Turkey, which ranks 77th out of 138 countries on a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) index of gender equality. The government frequently faces criticism for its handling of women’s issues, including the failure to stem high rates of violence and low female participation in the workforce.

      [...]

      Plainclothes police began shoving members of the group, and many women fled the square when riot police fired rubber bullets into the crowd.

    • Turkey’s Erdogan accuses International Women’s Day marchers of disrespecting Islam

      Several thousand women had gathered in central Istanbul on Friday evening for a march to celebrate International Women’s Day but police fired tear gas to disperse them.

    • No more foreign money for mosques in Denmark

      A new law proposal from the government and Dansk Folkeparti would make it illegal for foreign governments and authorities to give money to religious bodies in Denmark.

      The law would come into play if it is decided that the purpose of the donation is to undermine the fundamental rights of freedom and democracy in Denmark, reports Kristeligt Dagblad.

    • ‘Everyone is Worried’: Asia Bibi ‘Very Unwell’ in Pakistani Safe House, Being Denied Medical Care

      Asia Bibi, the mother of five who spent almost a decade on death row for a crime she did not commit, is reported to be in dire physical condition as she continues to be held in a safe house in the Pakistani city of Karachi. Bibi, 53, was acquitted of blasphemy last October after the Supreme Court ruled that the accusations had no evidential basis. Since then, Bibi has been granted asylum in Canada, but as yet has not been released from her home country.

    • Asia Bibi’s Daughter Pleads for Reunion With Mother in Canada – Reports

      Despite the total acquittal having been granted to the Christian woman, now aged 53, and the across-the-board rejection of all appeals issued by Muslim hardliners, the family fears that the risk of her being attacked right in the street is hardly on the wane.

    • El Salvador Kills Women as the U.S. Shrugs

      The United States shares blame for the violence against women in El Salvador. It was the U.S.-supported civil war in the late 1970s and ’80s, in which rape was weaponized as a war tactic by militaries, that has left a legacy of violence against women. What began as the Salvadoran civil war expanded into a proxy war between the United States and Russia, in which Washington was fueling government-led militias and death squads with up to $2 million a day in aid and weapons.

    • Nasrin Sotoudeh: Iran human rights lawyer jailed for 38 years, say family

      Ms Sotoudeh is known for representing women who have protested having to wear the headscarf.

    • The false equivalence of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism

      I have been traveling in the Middle East for the last few weeks and slightly regret returning to the maelstrom of ancient animosities and unbridgeable sectarianism that is modern Britain. But in my absence I see that one of the worst tropes of our time has been stalking unhindered across the land. That is, of course, the latest push to make an equivalence between anti-Semitism and the crock term ‘Islamophobia’.

      It is not just in the UK that this play has been made. In America over recent days people have been able to follow the progress of the new Muslim Congresswoman Ilhan Omar who has decided to deflect attention from her weekly expressions of anti-Semitism by claiming ‘Islamophobia’. Where this would once have been a fringe play, this time it has been adopted by the Democratic party itself. So we are no longer talking about a harmless misunderstanding here. This is an equivalence that has developed legs.

    • Dutch Prof Warns No Western Society Has Managed to Fully Integrate Muslims

      According to Koopmans’ data, around 65 percent of the Turkish and Moroccan Muslims in six European countries consider religious rules to be more important than the secular law of the country in which they live. Muslims consider themselves separate from other non-Muslim groups, and refrain from broader interaction with those outside their religion. For instance, almost 60 percent of the Muslims surveyed rejected the idea of maintaining friendships with homosexuals, and 45 percent said the same thing about Jews.

    • Pakistan: 13-y-o Christian girl abducted, forced to convert to Islam and marry captor

      ICC notes that abductions and forced conversions to Islam are common for religious minorities in Pakistan, as an estimated 1,000 women from Pakistan’s Christian and Hindu communities are abducted, raped, and forcefully converted to Islam each year. Pakistan ranks as the fifth worst nation in the world when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s World Watch List.

    • Sharia law horror: Women unable to walk after public whipping in Indonesia

      Four received seven lashes after being simply being found in a room with a member of the opposite sex who was not a relative.

    • Muslim activist guilty of assaulting pro-Israel activist in Australia

      “This is someone who has come to Australia to build a better life and spends most of his days taking high-profile Australians to human rights commission for offending Islam,” said Yemini.

      “He’s found a way to manipulate the Australian judicial system to enforce Islamic blasphemy laws.”

    • Heroic British Transport Police officer slammed for not being ‘proper Muslim’ – because she wears uniform

      In a post, uploaded to the BTP London account last night, the force wrote: “Yesterday one of my officers was accused of not being a ‘proper’ Muslim because she wears the uniform.

    • Selangor Sultan dismayed by insults against Prophet Muhammad, Islam

      According to Hanafisah, despite the fact that insulting Prophet Muhammad and tarnishing the sanctity of Islam were offences under the law and the legal action and punishment had been imposed on those who committed them, the irresponsible act still occurred, as if the legal punishment bore no effect on the group.

    • Outrage as Swedish Greens Blame Swedes for Migrants’ Crime, Failure to Integrate

      The Green Youth members reminded the public that there had been a total of 100 shootings in Stockholm in 2018 alone, a record high. Of them, 11 ended with fatalities. From this, the duo drew the conclusion that the problem rests with the Swedes themselves.

    • Man shot to death at busy Stockholm train station

      A man in his 20s was shot and killed at Stockholm’s Älvsjö commuter train station on Saturday evening.

    • Sharia-compliant deal includes Amherst student-housing complex

      What’s unusual is that the joint venture between Vie Management of Miami and the foreign asset manager is structured to comply with Islamic laws governing finance, which prohibits payment of traditional interest. That’s a growing but still lesser-known area of specialty in the United States that has become increasingly important as Muslim investors become more active around the world.

    • Police arrest man for murdering wife, daughter

      He revealed that the accused strangled the victims to death over ‘honour’.

    • Saudi Arabia sisters pass Hong Kong deportation deadline

      The women, aged 18 and 20, say they do not want to return home because they fear punishment or even death on their return.

      Speaking to the BBC’s Chinese service, the sisters said they had hatched a plot to flee because they had “no dignity” in their lives in Saudi Arabia.

    • Socialism and the Self-Made Woman

      O.K., this was world-class lack of self-awareness: It doesn’t get much better than being lectured on self-reliance by an heiress whose business strategy involves trading on her father’s name. But let’s go beyond the personal here. We know a lot about upward mobility in different countries, and the facts are not what Republicans want to hear.

      The key observation, based on a growing body of research, is that when it comes to upward social mobility, the U.S. is truly exceptional — that is, it performs exceptionally badly. Americans whose parents have low incomes are more likely to have low incomes themselves, and less likely to make it into the middle or upper class, than their counterparts in other advanced countries. And those who are born affluent are, correspondingly, more likely to keep their status.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Some Democrats Are Ready to Water Down Their Own Net Neutrality Bill

      During Tuesday hearings on the proposal in the House Communications Subcommittee, some Democrats, like Florida Rep. Darren Soto, stated the bill was simply an “opening offer” and that Democrats would be open to amendments for the bill. Others, like Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, insisted that additional “compromise” would be needed to ensure passage.

      Normally, compromise is a healthy part of the legislative process. But activists at consumer groups like Fight For the Future told Motherboard that at this juncture in the net neutrality fight, they’re only likely to weaken the popular proposal.

    • Inventor of World Wide Web Has Mixed Feelings About It Today

      Tim Berners-Lee said on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web that the internet is a “mirror of humanity”

    • The responsibility for a sustainable digital future

      In just 30 years, this flagship application of the internet has forever changed our lives, our habits, our way of thinking and seeing the world. Yet, this anniversary leaves a bittersweet taste in our mouth: the initial decentralized and open version of the Web, which was meant to allow users to connect with each other, has gradually evolved to a very different version, centralized in the hands of giants who capture our data and impose their standards.

    • WWWorries? Inventor of Web laments coming-of-age woes
  • DRM

    • Corporations Are Co-Opting Right-to-Repair

      As an advocate, organizer, and campaigner for preschool access, tax fairness, plastic pollution and other causes for the last 14 years, I’ve heard this saying many times. You tell it to your volunteers when it looks like your movement has hit a wall or when it looks like your opposition has the upper hand, and you want to show your teammates that many people have faced obstacles before, and overcome them.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • With USPTO Denial, Perfect’s Lawsuit Against Drop Moves to Trial

      At its center, the dispute is over patents around the use of smart scales for weighing ingredients that communicate with apps for guided cooking. Perfect Company products include: Perfect Drink app-controlled bartending system, Perfect Bake app-controlled baking system and Perfect Kitchen PRO app-controlled smart kitchen system. The company also licenses out its technology for products include the Vitamix Perfect Blend and the NutriBullet Balance.

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court Denies Kim Dotcom Permission to Appeal

        In 2016, Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom filed an eight-point statement of claim for judicial review in an effort to attack the underpinnings of the extradition process. A year later, the High Court struck out the first seven and a subsequent appeal by Dotcom failed. In a judgment handed down today, Dotcom was denied permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

      • Scammers Use Fake Copyright Notices to Steal Instagram Accounts

        Scammers are using fake copyright notices to obtain login credentials from Instagram users, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky reveals. The recipients are told that their account will be suspended for copyright infringement within 24 hours. They can, however, “verify” their account if they believe it’s a mistake.

      • Spotify just painted a big target on Apple’s back, and the iPhone maker should worry if antitrust regulators start aiming at it

        If history is any guide, Spotify’s complaint could lead to a similarly large fine against the iPhone maker. It might also lead to restrictions that could hamper Apple’s services business, which the electronics giant has been touting as its future. And the complaint could spur a parallel antitrust investigation here in the US.

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    Links for the day



  21. Freedom is Not a Business and Those Who Make 'Business' by Giving it Away Deserve Naming

    Free software is being parceled and sold to private monopolisers; those who facilitate the process enrich themselves and pose a growing threat to freedom in general — a subject we intend to tackle in the near future



  22. Concluding the Linux Foundation (LF) “Putting the CON in Conference!” (Part 3)

    Conferences constructed or put together based on payments rather than merit pose a risk to the freedom of free software; we conclude our series about events set up by the largest of culprits, which profits from this erosion of freedom



  23. “Mention the War” (of Microsoft Against GNU/Linux)

    The GNU/Linux desktop (or laptops) seems to be languishing or deteriorating, making way for proprietary takeover in the form of Vista 10 and Chrome OS and “web apps” (surveillance); nobody seems too bothered — certainly not the Linux Foundation — by the fact that GNU/Linux itself is being relegated or demoted to a mere “app” on these surveillance platforms (WSL, Croûton and so on)



  24. The European Patent Office Does Not Care About the Law, Today's Management Constantly Attempts to Bypass the Law

    Many EPs (European Patents) are actually "IPs" (invalid patents); the EPO doesn't seem to care and it is again paying for corrupt scholars to toe the party line



  25. The US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Once Again Pours Cold Water on Patent Maximalists

    Any hopes of a rebound or turnaround have just been shattered because a bizarre attack on the appeal process (misusing tribal immunity) fell on deaf ears and software patents definitely don't interest the highest court, which already deemed them invalid half a decade ago



  26. Links 17/4/2019: Qt 5.12.3 Released, Ola Bini Arrested (Political Stunts)

    Links for the day



  27. Links 16/4/2019: CentOS Turns 15, Qt Creator 4.9.0 Released

    Links for the day



  28. GNU/Linux is Being Eaten Alive by Large Corporations With Their Agenda

    A sort of corporate takeover, or moneyed interests at the expense of our freedom, can be seen as a 'soft coup' whose eventual outcome would involve all or most servers in 'the cloud' (surveillance with patent tax as part of the rental fees) and almost no laptops/desktops which aren't remotely controlled (and limit what's run on them, using something like UEFI 'secure boot')



  29. Reader's Claim That Rules Similar to the Code of Conduct (CoC) Were 'Imposed' on LibrePlanet and the FSF

    Restrictions on speech are said to have been spread and reached some of the most liberal circles, according to a credible veteran who opposes illiberal censorship



  30. Corporate Media Will Never Cover the EPO's Violations of the Law With Respect to Patent Scope

    The greed-driven gold rush for patents has resulted in a large pool of European Patents that have no legitimacy and are nowadays associated with low legal certainty; the media isn't interested in covering such a monumental disaster that poses a threat to the whole of Europe


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