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04.26.19

Links 26/4/2019: Best GNU/Linux Laptops and More

Posted in News Roundup at 3:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux and the Multiverse

    What do Linux distributions and the Nobel Prize-winning work by Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess have in common? Well, Linux was originally the hobby project of one Linus Torvalds back in 1991 when he lived in Helsinki, Finland. Perlmutter, on the other hand, worked on the Supernova Cosmology Project at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California in Berkeley. Schmidt was part of the High-z Supernova Search Team at Australian National University, and Riess was also on the High-z Supernova Search Team but worked out of Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

    You see where I’m going with this? The supernova team won the 2011 Nobel Prize for physics for “the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae”. In short, they discovered that the universe is not only expanding, as Edwin Hubble observed back in 1929 when he noticed that everything seemed to be moving away from us, but that the expansion was accelerating. This is a big deal, because everyone assumed that gravity would eventually do its dirty work and slow the whole expanding mess down. That turns out not to be the case.

  • Desktop

    • The Year of the Linux Laptop – Darter Pro Review

      This review probably sounds overly critical, but I wanted to be honest about the warts and splinters, and prepare anyone else who’s thinking of taking the plunge back into the Linux world. For every flaw, there were two or three things that worked better than expected, or wowed me.

      I’ve had the laptop for about two months now. During the first two weeks, I switched often between the Darter and my macbook, depending on what I was doing. Then, one morning, I noticed that the macbook was sitting on a desk collecting dust, and hadn’t been opened in days. I now use this Linux laptop almost exclusively – for everything but image editing, and I’m still holding out hope on that one.

      It’s a weird little laptop, and I love it.

    • Best Linux Laptops

      Buying a Linux laptop is just like buying any other; you need to find one that fits both what what you need it to do and your price range. That’s a bit of a sticking point compared to Windows-powered laptops.

      Linux has been a niche “product” since its beginnings in 1991. Companies like Acer or Toshiba aren’t cranking out inexpensive sub-$500 laptops that run Linux and probably never will. Finding a great Linux laptop is easy; companies like Dell and Lenovo cater to the enterprise crowd, while small but very reputable companies like System 76 cater to the enthusiasts. In theory, you can install Linux on any laptop if you’re willing to go through the headache of finding the right configuration for the hardware inside, and that’s a good option if you’re technically inclined to do it. And lucky enough for it to work.

    • Compulab Airtop3 Linux Mint mini computer has fanless Intel Core i9 9900K and NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000

      The whir of a fan. This is a sound many computer enthusiasts know all too well. Whether it is a single fan in a laptop, or 12 fans in a gaming desktop, the noise can be distracting. While some folks learn to tune out fan noise (and some even end up liking it!), let’s be honest, a silent PC is preferable for most. Unfortunately, passively cooled computers are often under-powered, meaning you must decide between performance and silence.

      But what if you didn’t have to pick? What if I told you a company is selling a mini computer with a passively cooled Intel Core i9 9900K? Yeah, you would probably think I am telling lies, but actually, it is the truth! The Compulab “Airtop3,” as it is called, features that high-end processor (plus others) and does not have a fan! In addition, the edge server can be configured with an NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000 (or GeForce GTX 1660 Ti) and is loaded to the gills with connectivity options. Not to mention, the diminutive computer looks very beautiful too. Best of all, it can be configured to ship with Linux Mint!

  • Server

    • How to run FreedomBox as a VirtualBox VM

      You might have heard of FreedomBox. If not, it’s a $100 box you can buy, which allows you to take back control of your internet-based services (See: Put the internet back under your control with the FreedomBox).

    • Cumulus NetQ aimed at broader enterprise market

      Cumulus Networks has overhauled its data center tool set for network troubleshooting and change validation, adding a mainstream, enterprise-friendly graphical dashboard.

      The pure-play networking company launched the graphical user interface (GUI) this week as a component of Cumulus NetQ 2.0. The latest version of the network operations tool set also includes a new database for storing and managing more network telemetry data than the previous version.

      With the latest release, Cumulus has revamped NetQ to address the needs of a broader segment of the market for enterprise data center networking, said Brad Casemore, an analyst at IDC. Cumulus has three primary offerings: a Linux-based network operating system; branded hardware switches, called Cumulus Express; and NetQ.

    • K3OS: A Kubernetes OS Distro for Edge Computing

      On the heels of its release of k3s, a lightweight Kubernetes distribution designed for the edge, Rancher Labs has announced an accompanying operating system called k3OS.

      The k3OS preview release is available with support for x86 and ARM64. With k3OS, Kubernetes cluster configuration and the underlying OS configuration are defined with the same declarative syntax as other Kubernetes resources, meaning both can be managed together.

      Rancher has been working with a number of customers including wind turbine company Goldwind Smart Energy on using Kubernetes in resource-constrained environments.

      “These customers view Kubernetes less as an application layer, more of a foundational layer,” said Sheng Liang, CEO and co-founder of Rancher Labs.

      “Some of them came from Linux, but many of them actually came from embedded Windows, like Windows XP. They’d have Windows XP running some of these applications sort of like an embedded sort of thing. Running in energy platforms and that sort of thing … If you walk up to an ATM machine or a subway station.

    • IT’s future: Multicloud may soon become mix and match cloud [Ed: By Mike Evans, VP of Cloud Partner Strategy at Red Hat.]

      This example is not uncommon in today’s enterprise IT world. And as of now there isn’t one clear solution, but that is not to say there isn’t one coming. While multicloud is a growing trend, we could eventually see services beyond multicloud that better meet the needs of end users. Some elements of these services are already starting to appear in limited practice today, but we can expect to see full solutions emerge as the next logical step in cloud evolution as more and more enterprises run into multicloud challenges.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux and MS-Windows APIs for Custom Development of VQuad™ Applications

      Speaking to the press Mr. Robert Bichefsky, Director of Engineering at GL Communications Inc said, “Open source is ubiquitous, it’s almost unavoidable and Linux is the leader in open source. So, GL supports Linux Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for our flagship products!

    • KernelShark 1.0 Soon Being Released For Visualizing “Trace-cmd” Linux Kernel Tracing

      After being in development pretty much this entire decade, KernelShark 1.0 will soon be released as the visualizer around the trace-cmd that wraps Ftrace for internal Linux kernel tracing.

      KernelShark produces various visuals and makes it easier to analyze the trace data generated from the tracing tools to make it easier to understand the behavior going on within the kernel. It’s good to see this GUI utility still advancing as it’s been quite a while since last hearing anything about KernelShark.

    • VMware Working On Emulated Coherent Graphics Memory – Needed For GL 4.4 / Vulkan

      For ironing out the OpenGL 4.4+ support within their VMWGFX virtual graphics driver stack and/or for starting out work on bringing up Vulkan support to guest VMs running VMware virtualization products, their longtime graphics driver team is working on emulated coherent graphics memory support.

      Longtime Mesa contributor Thomas Hellstrom, who had been with Tungsten Graphics before being acquired by VMware, posted their latest code on Wednesday for emulating coherent graphics memory support as needed by the latest OpenGL revisions and Vulkan.

    • Linux Foundation

      • 43 New Members Join the Linux Foundation and Increase Their Participation in Open Source Innovation

        The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, announced the addition of 38 Silver members and five Associate members. Linux Foundation members help support the development of shared open source technology, while accelerating their own innovation through open source leadership. Linux Foundation member contributions help provide the infrastructure and resources developers need to grow and sustain many of the world’s most successful open source projects, including Hyperledger, Kubernetes, Linux, Node.js, and ONAP.

        “Successful large-scale, global open source communities require dedicated resources, support, and infrastructure, so it’s incredibly exciting to see 43 more organizations increase their commitment to open source,” said Jim Zemlin, executive director, the Linux Foundation. “We look forward to working with our new members to better support the developers who build, secure, and maintain the open source systems we rely on every day.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Intel Aiming For Their Gallium3D Driver To Be Viable By Mesa 19.2, Default By EOY 2019

        Following questions from our forum goers, there’s now an overview of the current state of Intel’s new “Iris” Gallium3D driver and its road-map for the remainder of the year in being the company’s next-gen OpenGL driver that should be in especially good shape by the time Icelake “Gen 11″ hardware arrives.

        The Intel Gallium3D driver was merged back in February and will be found in next month’s Mesa 19.1 release for the first time. With our testing of this “Iris” driver in Mesa 19.1 Git, the performance has become quite comparable recently to the existing i965 driver and in fairly good shape (and the performance is only getting better). With Mesa 19.1 it won’t be used though unless going for the environment variable override with the mature Intel classic driver being the default. But by the end of 2019, this Gallium3D driver might be the default for supported hardware — this driver supports Broadwell “Gen 8″ graphics and newer while older generations of Intel graphics will continue to see support via the i965 classic driver.

      • NVIDIA Working On New GLX Extension To Help PRIME GPU Offloading

        NVIDIA has been working on a new GLX extension to help the PRIME GPU offloading situation where multiple GPU vendors are involved and thus different OpenGL driver implementations. In particular, the proposed GLX_EXT_server_vendor_select is designed to better fit in to address PRIME GPU offloading obstacles introduced by their work on the now common GLVND OpenGL Vendor Neutral Dispatch library.

      • Mesa 19.1 To Expose EXT_gpu_shader4 Support

        While it’s not looking like Mesa 19.1 will end up exposing OpenGL 4.6 capabilities, it is picking up various other extensions including some prominent several year old extensions like EXT_texture_buffer_object and the decade old EXT_gpu_shader4.

        Presumably to satisfy some enterprise/workstation customer use-cases, prominent RadeonSI Gallium3D driver developer Marek Olšák of AMD merged a lengthy series of patches on Wednesday adding EXT_gpu_shader4 and EXT_texture_buffer_object. These new extensions will work with Mesa drivers supporting OpenGL 3.1 or higher.

      • How to Build a Network Video Recorder With an Nvidia Jetson Nano

        In the middle of working on an update to our articles on home video surveillance systems, I bought one of Nvidia’s new Jetson Nanos. While playing with the $99 board and using it to do object recognition using a variety of cameras, it suddenly occurred to me that it would be a pretty interesting starting point for a slick little Network Video Recorder (NVR) NAS device. It consumes very little power and is portable. Plus, the integrated GPU has more AI capacity than most larger NAS units, and the Nano comes with tons of AI tools pre-installed. So for those wanting to play with their own motion or person or package or pet recognition, it’d be ideal.

        [...]

        Nvidia makes it really easy to set up the Nano. All you need is a microSD card and a computer to flash the L4T (Linux For Tegra) image. Technically, all you need is 16GB, but the system takes most of that, so I used a high-speed 64GB card. Once you’ve attached a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, all you need to do is plug in a micro USB power supply and you’ll be running Ubuntu 18.04. A wide variety of AI tools and demo applications are pre-installed for you.

      • New AMD Navi Linux code confirms the GCN design of the new GPUs

        AMD has already started dropping Navi driver code out into the wider Linux ecosystem, with a few key code drops in place right now and full driver enablement for the new graphics architecture likely to drop soon. These first little bits of Linux code don’t really tell us a whole lot about the new graphics cards, but do at least seem to nix all the recent rumours about Navi being built on a different design to the current Graphics Core Next setup. So yeah, Navi looks set to be GCN.

        There had been earlier rumours that Navi would be the first post-GCN GPU design, and that would allow it to break past the 4,096 core limit supposedly imposed by the current macro-architecture, but it seems Navi is following the same overall path as previous GCN designs.

      • The Radeon “RADV” Driver Now Exposes Vulkan 1.1 On Android

        While the Mesa-based Radeon “RADV” Vulkan driver has been exposing Vulkan 1.1 since last year, the upcoming Mesa 19.1 will bring support for Vulkan 1.1 when this driver is active on Android systems.

        While the intersection of RADV driver usage on Android systems is quite low, this RADV Vulkan 1.1 support on Android comes following the merging of the YCbCr support into Mesa Git for the upcoming 19.1 release. Of the many additions to Vulkan 1.1 was YCbCr color formatted textures handling

      • Radeon Software for Linux 19.10 Adds Ubuntu 18.04.2 Support

        Radeon Software for Linux 19.10 was quietly released at the end of last week and seemed to go unnoticed until a Phoronix reader pointed out the existence of this updated hybrid driver featuring the AMDGPU All-Open and AMDGPU-PRO components.

        While being the first new release stream in quite a while to succeed the 18.50 series, the changes aren’t all that noteworthy for what has been made public. The main change of Radeon Software for Linux 19.10 is now supporting Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, the latest Ubuntu LTS point release pulling in the graphics/kernel components from Ubuntu 18.10. So this should also allow the AMDGPU-PRO driver to work on Ubuntu 18.10 thanks to the shared components. This new driver release does not support the newly-minted Ubuntu 19.04 with AMD not supporting the non-LTS releases at least until those bits end up being found in an Ubuntu LTS point release.

    • Benchmarks

      • ODROID-N2 Offer Six Cortex-A73/A53 Cores For $65~82, Good Performance In Linux Benchmarks

        Hardkernel’s newest single board computer is the ODROID-N2 that they sent over a few weeks ago for benchmarking. The ODROID-N2 is built around the Amlogic S922X SoC and features four Cortex-A73 cores and two Cortex-A53 cores, options for 2GB or 4GB of DDR4 system memory, eMMC connectivity, Gigabit Ethernet, and four USB 3.0 ports for starting out just above $60 USD.

        The ODROID-N2′s use of an Amlogic S922X big.LITTLE design makes for an interesting setup with the four Cortex-A73 cores clocking up to 1.8GHz and the two Cortex-A53 cores able to hit 1.9GHz. This SoC uses the Mali G52 Bifrost GPU, which eventually should see nice driver support via the open-source Panfrost graphics driver stack.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.34 Desktop Environment Development Kicks Off with First Snapshot

        GNOME 3.34 will be the next major release of the popular free and open-source desktop environment for Linux-based operating systems, expected to hit the streets later this year on September 11th. During its entire development cycle, GNOME 3.34 will be developed under the GNOME 3.33.x umbrella.

        Work on the GNOME 3.34 desktop environment begun a few weeks ago, after the launch of the GNOME 3.32 “Taipei” desktop environment, which is already the default desktop environment of the recently released Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) operating system and other GNU/Linux distributions.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

      • Ubuntu 19.04, My Review (And Why Most Users Should Avoid It)
      • Ubuntu 19.04 Installation Overview and Walkthrough
      • What’s New in Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo

        Ubuntu 19.04 Disco Dingo officially released and announced by Canonical , which will be supported for 9 months until January 2020 with security and software updates.

        This release, Ubuntu 19.04 uses GNOME 3.32 as a desktop environment, which brings smoother startup animations, higher frame rates, reduced CPU and GPU load, include a new icon theme, an improved default Yaru theme, new Safe Graphics Mode option in the boot menu to start the system with “nomodeset” parameter enabled on systems with unsupported graphics cards so you can install the appropriate drivers, and various desktop refinements to make your Ubuntu experience more.

        Ships with the latest Linux 5.0 kernel series, which enables support for recent hardware components like AMD Radeon RX Vega M GPUs, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, as well as Intel Cannon Lake graphics. Linux kernel 5.0 also adds significant USB 3.2 and Type-C, and power-savings improvements, along with KVM support for AMD Secure Encrypted Virtualization, support for the P-State driver for Skylake X servers, support for memory protection keys on POWER architectures, and zcrypt support on IBM Z systems.

      • Voyager Live 19.04 Run Through

        In this video, we are looking at Voyager Live 19.04.

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

    • Fedora

      • Flatpaking Terminals

        One thing Builder has done for a long time is make terminals work seamlessly even if distributed using container technologies. Because pseudo-terminals are steeped in esoteric UNIX history, it can be non-obvious how to make this work.

      • Moving Ask Fedora to Discourse phase 2: request for beta testing
      • Fedora 30 Is Currently Blocked By A Few Remaining Bugs As It Approaches The Finish Line

        Today was a Go/No-Go meeting for the final release of Fedora 30 but the Linux distribution in its current state isn’t ready to be released. Fortunately, a week delay hasn’t been set in stone yet but will be convening tomorrow to see if the latest release candidate is ready in the next 24 hours to be promoted as final.

        There has been last minute snags with Fedora 30 around Fedora upgrade issues with systems leveraging modular content, KSieve failing to start, and initial setup failing.

      • Python 2 & Its Packages Likely To Be Dropped For Fedora 32

        While Fedora 30 isn’t even out the door yet and Fedora 32 not coming out until roughly one year from now, we already know one big change on the table: dropping Python 2 and packages depending upon it.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian has a New Project Leader

        Like each year, the Debian Secretary announced a call for nominations for the post of Debian Project Leader (commonly known as DPL) in early March. Soon 5 candidates shared their nomination. One of the DPL candidates backed out due to personal reasons and we had four candidates as can be seen in the Nomination section of the Vote page.

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Buckle Up: Ubuntu 19.10 Daily Builds Are Live

            Oh, alright. I’ll throw out a couple of predicable provisos (even though I expect most you know what follows).

            Primarily intended for developers, testers and enthusiasts, the Ubuntu 19.10 daily build is the only route to sample Ubuntu 19.10 ahead of a single beta build, due sometime in September, and the final release, due sometime in October.

            Do not install a daily build as the primary OS on a mission critical machine (this includes your mums/boyfriend/boss’s laptop) unless you a) know what you’re doing and b) you know how you can undo it. Use a spare partition, a dev device, or a virtual machine.

            Do expect bugs, rough edges, and potential software and driver incompatibilities. Keep in mind that third-party repositories (such as PPAs) are unlikely to support ‘Eaon’ this early in the dev cycle.

          • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E03 – Wizball

            This week we’ve been to Moodlemoot, finished hanging doors and watched some Game of Thrones. We discuss the Ubuntu 19.04 (Disco Dingo) release for all the flavours and round up some news.

            It’s Season 12 Episode 03 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Ubuntu Studio 16.04 LTS reaches End Of Life (EOL)

              As of today, April 25, 2019, Ubuntu Studio 16.04 LTS has reached the end of its support cycle.

              We strongly urge all users of 16.04 to upgrade to Ubuntu Studio 18.04 and add the Ubuntu Studio Backports PPA for support through April 2020, which is when our next LTS release, 20.04, is expected.

            • What’s New In Xubuntu 19.04?

              April is one of the months awaited by Ubuntu fans. Because this month is the schedule for the release of the latest version. Usually, in every 2 years, we will find Ubuntu releasing the LTS version with longer support.

              Ubuntu has released version 19.04 with code name Disco Dingo. This distribution is not included in the LTS category, so it only gets support for the next 9 months. However, many features are added in this version. You can see the detailed features added in here!

              Besides Ubuntu, other variants such as Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Lubuntu also released 19.04. And in this article I want to discuss about Xubuntu 19.04.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Nextcloud 16 introduces machine learning based security and usability features, ACL permissions and cross-app projects

    We are excited to make the latest and greatest Nextcloud available for download! Nextcloud 16 is smarter than ever, with machine learning to detect suspicious logins and offering clever recommendations. Group Folders now sport access control lists so system administrators can easily manage who has access to what in organization-wide shares. We also introduce Projects, a way to easily relate and find related information like files, chats or tasks.

  • NS1 Creates Open Source Tool for Testing DNS Performance and Functionality

    NS1, the leader in next-generation DNS and traffic management solutions, today announced the availability of Flamethrower…

  • Databricks open sources Delta Lake for data lake reliability

    Databricks, a specialist in Unified Analytics and founded by the original creators of Apache Spark, has announced a new open source project called Delta Lake to deliver reliability to data lakes.

    Delta Lake is the first production-ready open source technology to provide data lake reliability for both batch and streaming data. This new open source project will enable organisations to transform their existing messy data lakes into clean Delta Lakes with high quality data, thereby accelerating their data and Machine Learning initiatives.

  • Huawei Could Rebuild Trust in Their Products Through Open Source

    Open source code for Huawei equipment would allow nations, companies, and individuals alike to verify that the code is free of malware, and that it contains no obvious security problems.

    Reproducible builds allow everyone to be reassured that the code running on the network devices matches the open source code that is reviewed by the public. This removes another layer of distrust.

    And if you want to protect against the advent of Chinese “malicious updates” you can use multi-party key signature schemes for firmware updates, to ensure that updates are approved by the government/company before they are rolled out.

  • The WIRED Guide to Open Source Software

    The open source software movement grew out of the related, but separate, “free software” movement. In 1983, Richard Stallman, at the time a programmer at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said he would create a free alternative to the Unix operating system, then owned by AT&T; Stallman dubbed his alternative GNU, a recursive acronym for “GNU’s Not Unix.”

    For Stallman, the idea of “free” software was about more than giving software away. It was about ensuring that users were free to use software as they saw fit, free to study its source code, free to modify it for their own purposes, and free to share it with others. Stallman released his code under a license known as the GNU Public License, or GPL, which guarantees users those four software freedoms. The GPL is a “viral” license, meaning that anyone who creates software based on code licensed under the GPL must also release that derivative code under a GPL license.

  • Events

    • KubeCon China Mini-Film
    • First Timer’s guide to Red Hat Summit

      For many people, Red Hat Summit is an annual ritual. A chance once again to catch up on Red Hat’s plans for the year, learn about new technologies, see colleagues and friends, and make new acquaintances. They’ve got the routine down, and are ready to get the most out of Summit from start to finish. New to Red Hat Summit? We want to help you do the same – so read on for some tips to help you get the most out of your first time joining us at Summit. Also puppies.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla WebThings takes IOT open source

        Mozilla, developer of the open source Web browser Firefox, has spent the past two years trying to make the Internet of things (IOT) as open as the Internet itself.

        Last week, it announced the launch of Mozilla WebThings, the graduation of its experimental Project Things to what it hopes will become the standard for IOT interoperability.

        Project Things first saw light two years ago as an open implementation of the World Wide Web Consortium’s (W3C’s) Web of things standard for monitoring and controlling connected devices.

        According to W3C CEO Dr Jeff Jaffe, the Web of Things Working Group was set up in an effort to counter the fragmentation of IOT, reduce the costs of development and lessen the risks to investors and users, as well as encourage growth in the market for IOT devices and services.

      • Firefox and Emerging Markets Leadership

        As a long time Mozillian, Dave joined Mozilla in 2006 to work on Gecko, building networking and security features and was a contributor to the release of Firefox 3. After a short stint at a startup he rejoined Mozilla in 2011 as part of the Firefox Developer Tools team. Dave has since served in a variety of senior leadership roles within the Firefox product organization, most recently leading the Firefox engineering team through the launch of Firefox Quantum.

        Under Dave’s leadership the new Firefox organization will pull together all product management, engineering, technology and operations in support of our Firefox products, services and web platform. As part of this change, we are also announcing the promotion of Marissa (Reese) Wood to VP Firefox Product Management, and Joe Hildebrand to VP Firefox Engineering. Both Joe and Reese have been key drivers of the continued development of our core browser across platforms, and the expansion of the Firefox portfolio of products and services globally.

        In addition, we are increasing our investment and focus in emerging markets, building on the early success of products like Firefox Lite which we launched in India earlier this year, we are also formally establishing an emerging markets team based in Taipei:

        Stan Leong appointed as VP and General Manager, Emerging Markets. In this new role, Stan will be responsible for our product development and go-to-market strategy for the region. Stan joins us from DCX Technology where he was Global Head of Emerging Product Engineering. He has a great combination of start-up and large company experience having spent years at Hewlett Packard, and he has worked extensively in the Asian markets.

        As part of this, Mark Mayo, who has served as our Chief Product Officer (CPO), will move into a new role focused on strategic product development initiatives with an initial emphasis on accelerating our emerging markets strategy. We will be conducting an executive search for a CPO to lead the ongoing development and evolution of our global product portfolio.

  • LibreOffice

    • [LibreOffice] Bugfixing [done]

      LibreOffice do organize the bugs into [META] bugs, which is great cause when you link the bug to different [META] bugs you can organize bugfixing over different groups. I care about BUG 106228 which is the Icon meta bug and as you can see most of the icon bugs need developer work. Everything I could fix myself is nearly done.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

  • BSD

    • NomadBSD, a BSD for the Road

      As regular It’s FOSS readers should know, I like diving into the world of BSDs. Recently, I came across an interesting BSD that is designed to live on a thumb drive. Let’s take a look at NomadBSD.

      [...]

      This German BSD comes with an OpenBox-based desktop with the Plank application dock. NomadBSD makes use of the DSB project. DSB stands for “Desktop Suite (for) (Free)BSD” and consists of a collection of programs designed to create a simple and working environment without needing a ton of dependencies to use one tool. DSB is created by Marcel Kaiser one of the lead devs of NomadBSD.

      Just like the original BSD projects, you can contact the NomadBSD developers via a mailing list.

    • Fun with funlinkat() | BSD Now 295

      Introducing funlinkat(), an OpenBSD Router with AT&T U-Verse, using NetBSD on a raspberry pi, ZFS encryption is still under development, Rump kernel servers and clients tutorial, Snort on OpenBSD 6.4, and more.

    • Snapshot Sanity | TechSNAP 402

      We continue our take on ZFS as Jim and Wes dive in to snapshots, replication, and the magic on copy on write.

      Plus some handy tools to manage your snapshots, rsync war stories, and more!

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSFE Newsletter – April 2019

      This month’s newsletter highlights the presence of the FSFE’s campaign”Public Money? Public Code!” in German media and its growing popularity across Europe.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • The mysterious history of the MIT License

      say “seemingly straightforward” because the MIT License is one of the most popular licenses used by open source software. The MIT License, Apache License, and BSD license are the main permissive licenses, a term that contrasts with reciprocal licenses like the GPL, which require source code to be made available when software is redistributed.

      Given its popularity, you’d think the license’s inception would be well-documented. I found various clues that added up to a date in the late 1980s but nothing definitive. However, Keith Packard and Jim Gettys jumped on the thread to offer first-hand accounts of the license’s creation. In addition to providing early examples of the license, their help also gave me the context to better understand how the license evolved over time.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Elsevier and Norway Agree on New Open-Access Deal

        After unsuccessful negotiations between a coalition of Norwegian organizations and the academic publisher Elsevier culminated in cancelled subscriptions earlier this year, the two have successfully established a new nationwide licensing agreement. The deal, which was announced yesterday (April 23), is a pilot program that covers a period of two years, during which articles with corresponding authors from Norway will be published open access in most of Elsevier’s journals.

  • Programming/Development

    • A Life of Learning | Coder Radio 354

      We celebrate the life of Erlang author Dr Joe Armstrong by remembering his many contributions to computer science and unique approach to lifelong learning.

    • Remembering Joe, a Quarter of a Century of Inspiration and Friendship

      I first came across the name Joe Armstrong in 1994, when I bought the first edition of Concurrent Programming in Erlang, a book he co-authored. Our first interaction happened in 1995, when I was looking for a company interested in sponsoring my Master’s thesis. I dialled the number for Ellemtel Utvecklings AB, home of the Ericsson computer science laboratory, asking to be connected to Joe Armstrong. Getting a Hello, my unprepared opening line was Skall jag ta det på Engelska, or would you prefer if I took it in Swedish? A silent pause was followed by laughter, the same laughter many of us have come to associate with Joe.

    • Evennia: Steaming on, eating jam

      The regular Evennia develop branch is now running completely in Python 3. Since we are using some new features of this Python release, we will be aiming for Python 3.7 as a minimum version once Evennia 0.9 goes stable. We will also use Django 2.1 and likely Twisted 19 – so we’ll be pretty much up-to-date on all our main dependencies.

      Now, while the release of Evennia 0.9 is still some time away (there are a bunch of regular bug fixes and minor features that I want to get in there too (see the progress here on the github 0.9 project page), it’s worth to consider how much work it’ll be for you to migrate and if you should wait or jump in right now.

      If you are new, I still recommend you use regular master branch Evennia (using Python 2.7). This is for which all wiki articles and documentation online is currently written after all. Once we move to python3, you’ll need to convert your code … but syntactically the two are really not that different and conversion should not be much of an issue.

      Not only are there automatic converters for most stuff, you should only need to do one pass to make sure things work and then you’ll be done. This article is pretty old but it serves well to identify the main differences. Later Py3 versions just adds new stuff which you would just not have had access to in Python2.7. Once 0.9 is released, we’ll also make guides for how you go about converting existing code (apart from the wealth of info on this topic online).

    • Facebook open sources C++ F14 hash table

      Hashing is used by developers to quickly identify a specific, unique object from a group of similar objects. For example, your driver license number is a hash, which can be used to pull your driver’s record when you’re pulled over for going a wee bit over the speed limit. In computing, where there are say tens of thousands of John Smiths on Facebook, anything you can do to help speed up finding the John Smith who’s your buddy is a good thing. Now, Facebook has open-sourced F14, a 14-way probing hash table within Folly, its open-source C++ library.

    • It’s Time to Stop Adding New Features for Non-Unicode Execution Encodings in C++

      Disclosure: I work for Mozilla, and my professional activity includes being the Gecko module owner for character encodings.

      Disclaimer: Even though this document links to code and documents written as part of my Mozilla actitivities, this document is written in personal capacity.

    • Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 1.1: Release notes

      We are pleased to introduce Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces version 1.1, which provides a cloud developer workspace server and browser-based IDE built for teams and organizations. Red Hat CodeReady Workspaces 1.1 includes ready-to-use developer stacks for most of the popular programming languages, frameworks, and Red Hat technologies.

    • List Of Top 7 YUM Third Party Repositories For RHEL And CentOS
    • EuroPython 2019: Launching our website
    • EuroPython 2019: Call for Proposals
    • Now Ponder Mistakes: NPM’s heavy-handed management prompts JS code registry challenger

      The recent management change and layoffs at JavaScript accessory outfit NPM Inc prompted several former employees to speculate that the company’s alleged union-busting push toward profitability may well spur the creation of competition.

      The Register was also told to pay attention to JSConf EU in June as a possible launchpad for an NPM Inc rival.

      There’s no need to wait that long. On Wednesday this week, Victor Bjelkholm, a Swedish developer based in Barcelona, introduced the Open-Registry, an “NPM registry replacement with a proper community governance.”

      It’s the first of what we’re told are several ventures born of blowback from NPM Inc’s attempted transition from investment crematorium to cash cow.

    • [GNOME Builder Nightly] Translucent Completion

      Sometimes completion windows get in the way of reading the surrounding code. With Builder Nightly, you can press and release Left Control to toggle translucency of the completion window.

    • Announcing Rust 1.34.1

      The Rust team is happy to announce a new version of Rust, 1.34.1, and a new version of rustup, 1.18.1. Rust is a programming language that is empowering everyone to build reliable and efficient software.

    • an unexpected benefit of standardizing on clang-cl

      I wrote several months ago about our impending decision to switch to clang-cl on Windows. In the intervening months, we did that, and we also dropped MSVC as a supported compiler. (We still build on Linux with GCC, and will probably continue to do that for some time.) One (extremely welcome) consequence of the switch to clang-cl has only become clear to me in the past couple of weeks: using assembly language across platforms is no longer painful.

      First, a little bit of background: GCC (and Clang) support a feature called inline assembly, which enables you to write little snippets of assembly code directly in your C/C++ program. The syntax is baroque, it’s incredibly easy to shoot yourself in the foot with it, and it’s incredibly useful for a variety of low-level things.

    • GCC 9.1-RC1 Is Being Assembled, GCC 10.0 Development Opens

      GCC 9 has reached zero “P1″ regressions that mark issues of the highest priority. With that list cleared, GCC 9.1 is moving towards release as the first stable version of GCC 9. GCC 9.1-RC1 will be out soon while GCC 10.0 is open on master.

      Red Hat’s Jakub Jelinek shared that the last 12 P1 regressions have been addressed and thus the current compiler code branched to the newly-created gcc-9-branch. That in turn marks the SVN/Git code opening up for GCC 10.0 development on master. GCC 10 will be developed over the next year culminating with the GCC 10.1 compiler release around this time next year.

    • Conditional Statements in Python (if/elif/else)
    • Twitter without Infinite Scroll

      I like reading stuff on twitter.com because a lot of interesting people write things there which they don’t write anywhere else.

      But Twitter is designed to be addictive, and a key mechanism they use is the “infinite scroll” design. Infinite scroll has been called the Web’s slot machine because of the way it exploits our minds to make us keep reading. It’s an unethical design.

    • Deep vs Shallow Copies in Python
    • PyCon: An update regarding PyCon 2019 sponsor DataCamp [Ed: PyCon still takes the most money from Microsoft (where sexual assaults are common and there are major lawsuits about it). Talking money from highly misogynistic firms like Microsoft (which effectively bought PyCon) while pretending to actually care about sexism etc. The hallmark of selective enforcement of principles.]

      The PyCon staff is saddened to hear that one of our sponsors, DataCamp, had an incident where one of their employees was sexually harassed. We were also distressed to find it was unclear if Datacamp had addressed this incident with the seriousness it requires. PyCon and the Python Software Foundation take this issue seriously and we want to emphasize—for Datacamp and everyone—that such behavior is not tolerated at PyCon or any Python Software Foundation affiliated event.

    • Python Bytes: #127 That Python code is on fire!

Leftovers

  • The psychology behind a blameless retrospective

    A retrospective is the act of dealing with past events and activities. The word comes from Latin, and it literally means “to look back.” In the business world, a retrospective is a practice agile teams commonly use to reflect on how their work is done to improve how they do it so they continuously become better at it.

    One of the Agile Manifesto’s principles suggests all teams regularly reflect on how to become more effective. The main goals of a retrospective are to promote self-improvement, improve processes, and advance team members’ skills.

  • The Next Step In The Podcast Wars: Two Companies Looking To Be The Netflix Of Podcasts Start Fighting

    A few months back, we wrote about the concern that Spotify buying Gimlet Media and supposedly betting big on podcasts could signify the end of the open era of podcasts. The fear was that Spotify would ramp up the effort to put many podcasts behind its paywall, and silo off certain podcasts. To be fair, Spotify would hardly be the first to do so. Stitcher has been doing something like that for years. But, of course, there are other players in the field as well. Over the last few months there’s been a lot of buzz around a company called Luminary which has raised somewhere around $100 million to, in its own words, become the Netflix of podcasting.

    The idea behind Luminary is that it would offer up an app that could access all the usual podcasts via RSS feeds, but that it would also push people towards a monthly subscription fee that would include some “premium” ad free podcasts that it would develop itself. Over the past few months, it’s been clear that Luminary has been putting that $100 million warchest to work, announcing premium podcasts from the likes of Trevor Noah, Malcolm Gladwell, Russell Brand, Adam Davidson, Manoush Zomorodi, Hannibal Burress, Conan O’Brien’s team and a lot more.

  • Hardware

    • Samsung Plans $116 Billion Splurge on Chips to Take On Intel

      Samsung Electronics Co. intends to invest 133 trillion won ($116 billion) over the next decade or so to take on Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. in the business of making advanced chip processors, quickening an effort to take greater control of the global semiconductor industry.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • High lead levels found among children in Georgia

      Unlike previous small scale studies, the MICS, which visited over 1,500 Georgian house­holds and collected blood samples from children aged between two and seven, is rep­re­sen­ta­tive enough for the author­i­ties to act on.

      Georgia’s National Statistic Office, GeoStat, was respon­si­ble for carrying out the fieldwork for the survey, while the findings were the result of analysis conducted by the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS). According to UNICEF, the ISS used Induc­tive­ly Coupled Plasma Mass Spec­trom­e­try, ‘the most accurate method’ for testing lead levels.

    • WHO: Don’t Expose Babies to Electronic Screens

      Infants less than a year old should not be exposed to electronic screens, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday.

      Issuing its first such guidelines, the United Nations health agency said that older children, aged two to four, should be limited to one hour per day sedentary screen time.

    • Flint: 5 Years Later, and Our Water Is More Threatened Than Ever

      Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint’s water supply over from Detroit’s water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint’s children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease killed more than a dozen residents.

      Five years ago, we hoped this would be a rallying cry for federal investment in our water systems. But today, things aren’t better: they’re worse. Almost daily, there are new headlines about how vulnerable our water infrastructure has become. Martin County, Kentucky, has suffered a catastrophic failure of its water system that has led to higher water rates for discolored, toxic water; like residents in Flint, they don’t trust what comes out of the tap. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), have contaminated water in states across the country where military and industrial facilities have released this dangerous chemical associated with cancer risks. Testing has shown a widespread problem with lead in our schools. And on top of all of this, climate change is exacerbating many of our water problems, stressing water supplies, threatening critical infrastructure and overburdening our aging stormwater collection systems.

    • American Healthcare Horror Stories: An Incomplete Inventory

      The statistics demonstrating the scope of our nation’s healthcare crisis are appalling enough. Two of three Americans report skipping needed care each year due to cost, including not filling prescriptions or putting off doctor visits. Millions are forced to borrow money to pay medical bills, leading to crushing debt. Others can’t get the care they need even by borrowing, and suffer fatal consequences: physician researchers estimate tens of thousands of Americans die each year due to inability to afford care.

      Yet, as disturbing as these numbers are, they are abstractions. They mask the reality that every data point is someone’s mother or spouse or beloved child, enduring unrelenting, grinding pain and days and nights tortured by illness. So, on the eve of the first-ever Congressional hearing on Medicare for All legislation, this week’s issue of Faith in Healthcare is devoted to pulling together a few of the many reported stories of real people—all of whom have faces and names and loved ones. And all have been victimized by a healthcare system that excels at generating corporate profits, but fails at the basic task of caring for those in need.

    • Warren Wins Applause for Addressing High Black Maternal Mortality Rates, But Experts Say Plan to Fix Crisis Needs Work

      While Sen. Elizabeth Warren drew praise for calling attention to the high rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. and the disproportionate number of black women who die in childbirth, some progressives pushed the 2020 presidential candidate to ensure that inequities aren’t worsened through her plan to fight the crisis.

      At the She the People Presidential Forum in Houston late Wednesday, Warren spoke about her plan to reduce maternal mortality rates in hospitals through financial incentives.

      “I want to talk to the hospitals, where most births take place, and I want to talk to them in the language they understand: money,” said Warren. “Because here’s the deal. Right now the way that most medical procedures are treated, including those of childbirth, is that hospitals get fee for services…and they get it no matter what the outcomes are.”

      Under her plan, Warren said, using the “bundled payments” approach administered by the for-profit system, “the hospitals are just going get a lump of money and if they bring down those maternal mortality rates they’re going to get a bonus and if they don’t, they’re going to get it taken away from them.”

  • Security

    • Microsoft will block Windows 10 May 2019 Update installs on PCs with external storage

      A new support document on the Microsoft website explains: “Inappropriate drive reassignment can occur on eligible computers that have an external USB device or SD memory card attached during the installation of the May 2019 update,” the company said. “For this reason, these computers are currently blocked from receiving the May 2019 Update.”

    • G7 Comes Out in Favor of Encryption Backdoors

      There is a weird belief amongst policy makers that [cracking] an encryption system’s key management system is fundamentally different than [cracking] the system’s encryption algorithm. The difference is only technical; the effect is the same. Both are ways of weakening encryption.

    • In Push for 2020 Election Security, Top Official Was Warned: Don’t Tell Trump

      Ms. Nielsen left the Department of Homeland Security early this month after a tumultuous 16-month tenure and tensions with the White House. Officials said she had become increasingly concerned about Russia’s continued activity in the United States during and after the 2018 midterm elections — ranging from its search for new techniques to divide Americans using social media, to experiments by [attackers], to rerouting [Internet] traffic and infiltrating power grids.

    • WiFi hotspot app exposed two million passwords in plaintext

      It found that the database of over two million passwords had been left on a cloud server, publicly available and completely unprotected, meaning that anyone who found it could easily download the whole shebang.

      Despite repeated, failed attempts, the developer (Chinese – plus ca change) has not responded to questions on the matter, and in the end, the cloud host, DigitalOcean agreed to take the database down unilaterally.

    • Yubico Security Key: Local 2FA with PAM

      Some time ago, we compared the YubiKey 4C and the Nitrokey Pro which we both use on a daily basis. This time, we show you how you can use a Yubico Security Key with the pluggable authentication module (PAM) on Linux for local two-factor authentication (2FA).

    • GPS Hack Allows Hackers To Seize Control Of Your Car and Kill it

      A GPS hack present in navigation apps iTrack and Protrack makes it possible to remotely kill your car engines with the flick of a button.

      The hacker goes by the name of L&M and he is only using this exploit to show vulnerabilities in car security systems. He has no intention of causing any real-world harm.

    • Want To “Block” Windows 10 May 2019 Update? Simply Plug In A USB Drive

      very Windows 10 update comes with its own share of weird issues that are often hard to explain and funny at the same time. One such issue plaguing the upcoming Windows 10 May 2019 Update is related to the USB drive.

    • An introduction to AppArmor

      coming more sophisticated, attack frequency is on the rise, and the cost of cybercrime damage is projected to reach $6 trillion annually by 2021. Traditional defensive measures such as firewalls and intrusion detection systems that operate at the network perimeter are no longer enough to protect today’s distributed enterprise networks. Rather, a ‘defence in depth’ approach is required in order to protect all facets of an organisation’s digital infrastructure.

      In an ideal world, applications would be free from security vulnerabilities but, once compromised, even a trusted application can become untrustworthy. AppArmor provides a crucial layer of security around applications. By providing the capability to whitelist an application’s permissible actions, AppArmor enables administrators to apply the principle of least privilege to applications. Once in place, AppArmor can halt attacks and minimise or prevent damage in the event of a breach.

    • SELinux helped to find security bug in build system!
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Automate Software Security Checks to Find Open Source Software, SDK Perils
  • Defence/Aggression

    • Microsoft launches new Azure Govt Secret regions for US

      Microsoft has set up two new Azure regions in the US devoted to the hosting of government data at the defence department’s Impact Level 6, the highest classification for data.

    • The US Military is Blackballing Journalists

      Finally, to confuse things further, I learned that AFRICOM also maintains a double standard regarding my reporting. While my articles from the Intercept and TomDispatch are verboten, those from Vice News are not. “We are aware of your stories that appear in major news organizations (i.e., your VICE story of Dec 12, 2018). Those are included,” Manley wrote me about an article on the U.S. conducting more named military operations and activities in Africa than in the Middle East. “The VICE story appeared in the December 13, 2018 edition of the Daily Media Summary. I might add it was the first story in the Executive Summary, which highlights the five or six most impactful stories of the day.”

    • Man Who Threatened to Kill Boston Globe Employees Will Plead Guilty, Lawyer Says

      The man, Robert D. Chain, made a series of menacing phone calls to the Boston newspaper from his home in California last year, according to court documents. Transcripts of his comments during the calls show that Mr. Chain repeatedly threatened to shoot employees in the head, mentioned President Trump several times and used the phrase “enemy of the people,” which the president has frequently used to describe the news media.

    • Wisconsin Woman Used [Compromised] Facebook Accounts to Recruit for ISIS, Prosecutors Say

      She used a series of [compromised] Facebook accounts to pledge allegiance to ISIS, recruit new members for the terrorist group, encourage supporters who said they wanted to launch terrorist attacks, and share plans for building explosives, prosecutors said.

    • Giovanni Mascellani: Italy’s liberation day

      I am grateful to all the people that fought for a free country and for putting an end to the Fascist and Nazi regimes. I am also grateful to all the people that starting from those days and to the present time worked and work for building a united and peaceful Europe of friend countries and people.

    • Unprecedented Investigation Reveals US-led Coalition Killed More Than 1,600 Civilians in Raqqa ‘Death Trap’
    • US-Led Bombing Campaign in Syria Killed 1,600 Civilians and Left Raqqa ‘Most Destroyed City in Modern Times’: Study

      “I saw my son die, burnt in the rubble in front of me,” Ayet Mohammed Jasem, one of the few survivors of the later attack, told the investigators. “I’ve lost everyone who was dear to me. My four children, my husband, my mother, my sister, my whole family. Wasn’t the goal to free the civilians? They were supposed to save us, to save our children.”

      At the time of 2017 assault on Raqqa it was U.S. Lieutenant General Stephen J. Townswend, commander of the coalition, who said, “I challenge anyone to find a more precise air campaign in the history of warfare…The Coalition’s goal is always for zero human casualties.”

      But the researchers argue the evidence belies those claims and, as part of the report, both groups demanded accountability for what was done to the city and its people.

      [...]

      During their investigation, the groups also listened to the stories of survivors like nine year old Fatima Hussein Ahmad who lost her mother, Aziza, and three siblings in artillery strikes on their neighborhood. as well sustaining injuries that required the amputation of her right leg. “I was thrown over there by the explosion,” she told Amnesty during an interview from a burnt out home near where the attack took place. Almost two years later, she still cannot walk and uses a wheelchair donated by an NGO to get around. She told the researchers her only wish is to go back to school.

      The interactive website contains a whole section of stories from the ground, including one of 32 people, 20 children among them, who were killed in an air strike near a school and another where civilians were targeted as they crossed a river with no way to escape.

      The U.S. has claimed to have unleashed 30,000 rounds of artillery on the city during the offensive, while the U.K. and France helped to carry out thousands of air strikes. The U.S. strikes represent the equivalent of one strike every six minutes for four months.

      “Many of the air bombardments were inaccurate and tens of thousands of artillery strikes were indiscriminate, so it is no surprise they killed and injured many hundreds of civilians,” said Rovera.

    • Trump Plunges the US Deeper Into Forgotten Wars

      While Washington is consumed with reactions to the Mueller Report and the potential impeachment of President Donald Trump, America is descending deeper into largely forgotten wars.

      In the last month, the president has decided to sustain our involvement in the most
      unconscionable humanitarian crisis in the world in Yemen, and fueled even more violence in the civil war in Libya.

      Neither his actions, nor the wars on the other side of the world, get much attention.

      But, they reveal the true dangers of allowing a president complete license in questions of war and peace.

      Few Americans know that the United States is a participant in the bitter civil war in Yemen, a conflict that has savaged that impoverished country.

      Eighteen million people — of a total population of some 27 million — are now in need of humanitarian assistance. Three million have been displaced, and seven million have no idea where their next meal will come from. More than 14 million lack access to safe drinking water, and a deadly cholera epidemic has already begun.

      The U.S. has backed the Saudi-led intervention into the civil conflict, largely by providing direct support for brutal Saudi airstrikes — ordnance, targeting, aerial refueling and intelligence. The stated rationale provided for our participation is that the Saudi coalition is attacking rebels that it claims are backed by Iran.

    • All My Vexes Are in Texas

      Maya Linh’s war monument succeeds by its simplicity. The long tapering wall gradually rising to a delicate peak, falls equally away. Unencumbered, row upon row, by the tens of thousands the mute granite names speak to us, and we are filled with sorrow, rendered still. What more is there to say?

      [...]

      This uncritical sentimentalizing makes me sad for what is lost to fantasy, idealization, the received myths of patriotism. I’m not alone in my response. Several combat vet friends expressed similar thoughts. The students’ efforts were well intentioned, my friends said, but they just don’t get it. Hearts and flowers may comfort the living–but they also bury the truth of war, and make us complicit in its sequels.

      Several of the clips I viewed were of KIAs from the 101st Airborne Division. How man of those men were in Tiger Force, the notorious 101st Airborne unit which from September 1967 to February 1968 committed hundreds of atrocities? A lengthy Army investigation was covered up but in 2003 the Toledo Blade, a respected Canadian newspaper, ran a series of exposes. The New York Times and other national papers also reported the story. For a time readers were upset by the ferocity of war crimes revealed, the absence of punishment meted out.

    • Gunman outside Moscow subway station kills two people, including himself

      A man in Moscow’s southwestern district reportedly opened fire outside the Novye Cheryomushki subway station in Moscow on Thursday, before turning his weapon on himself, a source in the city’s police department told the Moskva news agency.

      “Outside, near the Novye Cheryomushki subway station, an unidentified man opened fire from an unknown weapon, injuring one person. Afterwards, the shooter killed himself,” the source told Moskva.

    • Putin Says Kim Is Ready to Denuclearize, With Conditions

      President Vladimir Putin says he’s willing to share details with the United States about his summit on Thursday with Kim Jong Un, potentially raising Russia’s influence in the stalemated issue of North Korean denuclearization.

      The two leaders’ first one-on-one did not indicate major changes in North Korea’s position: Putin said Kim is willing to give up nuclear weapons, but only if he gets ironclad security guarantees.

      However, Putin said Kim urged him to explain the nuances of North Korea’s position to President Donald Trump. Such an interlocutor role could be meaningful in light of Trump’s apparent admiration of the Russian leader.

      Trump has said he “fell in love” with Kim, possibly indicating a proclivity to being swayed toward accommodation with the North Korean leader, although that declaration came before the Trump-Kim summit in Hanoi in February that collapsed in disagreement.

    • Thanks to Putin, Donbas residents now have an expedited path toward Russian citizenship. What could go wrong?

      Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed an order allowing for an expedited citizenship process for residents of the self-styled Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (the DPR and LPR), which form Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Residents of the two breakaway regions may begin receiving Russian passports in the near future, and Putin’s move has drawn criticism and renewed calls for sanctions in Kyiv and the West. We asked how issuing passports to residents of the DPR and LPR aligns with Russian and Ukrainian law and what problems might arise as Russia begins accepting new citizens from both regions.

    • Navy SEALs Tried for Months to Report Superior for War Crimes and Were Told to “Let It Go”

      Navy SEALs who witnessed their platoon chief commit war crimes in Iraq were encouraged not to speak out, and told they could lose their jobs for reporting him at a private meeting with a superior officer last year, according to new reports from The New York Times. A confidential Navy criminal investigation obtained by the Times reveals that the commandos saw Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stab and kill an unarmed teenage captive, shoot to death a young girl and old man, and fire indiscriminately into crowds of civilians. But when the men on Gallagher’s team called a private meeting with their troop commander and demanded an investigation, they were told to stay quiet on the matter, and no action was taken. The group of seven SEALs eventually were able to force an investigation, and Chief Edward Gallagher was arrested in September on more than a dozen charges, including premeditated murder and attempted murder. The court-martial centers on a charge that Gallagher stabbed to death a teenage member of the self-proclaimed Islamic State while the unarmed youth was being treated by a medic. The trial begins May 28. If convicted, Gallagher could face life in prison. We speak with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and national correspondent for The New York Times Dave Philipps. His latest piece is headlined “Navy SEALs Were Warned Against Reporting Their Chief for War Crimes”

    • The Salty Curmudgeon and the BIC

      I’ve covered the military for more than a decade, and in that time I’ve been aboard many U.S. Navy ships. Although I never really, ahem, got my sea legs, I did gain a fairly good understanding of the service. Still, the military is a beast and there is always a new acronym to learn, technical details to be confused by and complicated dynamics to grasp.

      So the day I got the assignment to investigate the collisions of the USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain, I was grateful I had serendipitous visitors. My aunt and uncle were in town, and in addition to being two of my favorite people, they also happen to be retired Navy officers.

      Needless to say, they were intrigued by the story. And as I dove into the thousands of documents we had about the collisions, I knew right away their expertise would be a godsend. Both ended up spending hours with me at my kitchen counter that week hunched over a pad, sketching out answers to my myriad questions.

    • Yekaterinburg building evacuated due to bomb threat during LGBTQ roundtable
    • After ‘Wink’ From Trump When a Journalist Butchered, Says Iran’s Foreign Minister, ‘Not a Whisper’ When Saudis Behead 37

      Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif denounced U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration for their total silence after Saudi Arabia beheaded 37 people this week.

      “After a wink at the dismembering of a journalist,” Zarif tweeted Tuesday, referring to murdered reporter Jamal Khashoggi, “not a whisper from the Trump administration when Saudi Arabia beheads 37 men in one day—even crucifying one two days after Easter.”

      Zarif added that members of the so-called “B team”—which consists of U.S. national security adviser John Bolton, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu—are effectively above the law.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Appeals court rejects Chelsea Manning appeal of contempt order

      The order, issued Monday, rejected Manning’s argument that a judge improperly denied her request to say whether she was illegally electronically surveilled after she was convicted in 2013 for leaking classified material to WikiLeaks.

    • Avoiding Assange

      The United States government is seeking to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for one reason: to punish him for publishing true and embarrassing information about US crimes and intimidate every journalist in the world from doing so again.

      If the US government succeeds in doing this, it will strike a devastating blow to the fundamental elements of democracy throughout the world—the freedom of the press and the related ability of citizens to know what their governments is doing.

      I say “throughout the world” because It’s important to understand that the US government in this case is asserting its prosecutorial authority over someone who is not an American and whose journalistic activity took place outside the United States. The United States is demonstrating its ability to get a foreign government to arrest and extradite journalists who are neither Americans nor citizens of its own country and send them off to the United States to face charges under American law. It’s not only a brazen attempt to quash press freedoms; it’s a further extension of the United States’ arrogant assertion of extra-territorial—indeed, universal—jurisdiction of its laws.

      As Jonathan Cook says, those who accept this have “signed off on the right of the US authorities to seize any foreign journalist, anywhere in the world, and lock him or her out of sight. They opened the door to a new, special form of rendition for journalists.”

      Whether anybody says it out loud or thinks it explicitly, and no matter how slight it might be right now, the sight of Julian Assange being dragged out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in handcuffs is already working in the minds of journalists throughout the world, engendering some pause or consideration about what’s worth the risk to report on. It cannot not be so. The consummation of his extradition and prosecution, the sight of him disappearing into the American prison system, will radically change that calculus of risk for every journalist in the world. The minute after sentence is pronounced, every journalist and citizen will open their eyes in a world where a lot of important things they could expect to reveal and see a minute ago will now stay hidden. And they will know it. At that moment, all the bullshit irrelevancies and avoidance mechanisms will instantly dissipate, and it will be clear to everyone what the only issue always was. Too late.

    • UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy conducts visit to Julian Assange and Doughty Street Chambers

      The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to privacy, Professor Joe Cannataci, has today conducted an official visit with Julian Assange at Belmarsh prison. As part of the official UN visit, the delegation also met with Jennifer Robinson at Doughty Street Chambers, counsel for Mr Assange.

      Mr Assange had raised concerns with violations of his right to privacy inside the embassy of Ecuador given the level of surveillance he was under, including of his legal meetings with Ms Robinson and other members of his international legal team.

    • UN Special Rapporteur on Privacy meets Assange in prison: “I will act on the videos of Assange’s meetings in the embassy”
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Why the US bears the most responsibility for climate change, in one chart

      What’s abundantly clear is that the United States of America is the all-time biggest, baddest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet.

      That’s true, despite recent gains in energy efficiency and cuts in emissions. These relatively small steps now cannot offset more than a century of reckless emissions that have built up in the atmosphere. Much more drastic steps are now needed to slow climate change. And as the top cumulative emitter, the US bears a greater imperative for curbing its carbon dioxide output and a greater moral responsibility for the impacts of global warming.

    • How Big Oil Tried (But Failed) to Capture the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

      A secretive fossil fuel lobby group undertook a decades-long campaign to undermine mainstream climate science while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and influence major scientific reports, a tranche of newly released documents shows.

      The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was a fossil-fuel backed lobby group active in the mid-90s and early 2000s. A collection of briefings, meeting minutes, notes, and correspondence from the group, released by the Climate Investigations Centre in collaboration with DeSmog and Climate Liability News, show how the GCC tried to manipulate the UN’s official scientific advisory body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    • Global Climate Coalition: Documents Reveal How Secretive Fossil Fuel Lobby Group Manipulated UN Climate Programs

      A fossil fuel–backed industry group was able to influence the process behind the United Nations climate assessments for decades, using lobbyists and industry-funded scientists to manipulate international negotiations, a cache of recently discovered documents reveals.

      The documents include hundreds of briefings, meeting minutes, notes, and correspondence from the Global Climate Coalition (GCC). They were released Thursday by the Climate Investigations Center in collaboration with DeSmog and Climate Liability News. The documents date from 1989 and continue through 2002, when the lobbying group disbanded as its fossil fuel industry backers succumbed to public pressure to disavow its tactics.

      The documents show how the GCC influenced international negotiations, manipulated the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) process, and undertook a disinformation campaign designed to cast doubt on mainstream climate science.

    • Life within The Wall keeps The Others at bay

      John Lanchester’s latest novel, The Wall, is pure fiction. Isn’t it?

      It has haves and have-nots battling each other in the aftermath of dramatic alterations in climate. Right now, ignored for the most part by the outside world, thousands of people are being held in appalling conditions in camps in Libya.

      Libya is a key setting-off point for migrants, mostly from countries in Africa, seeking a better life across the Mediterranean in Europe. Often they are fleeing from violence and persecution in their home countries. Many are escaping from hunger and the impact climate change is having on agricultural communities.

      The European Union, anxious to secure its borders, has been sending millions of euros to military forces in Libya to control the migrant flow.

    • Deadly Kissing Bug Spreads to Delaware, CDC Confirms

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed that the kissing bug, which can transmit a potentially deadly parasite, has spread to Delaware, ABC News reported Wednesday.

      The CDC had warned in September of last year that the bug was spreading north from South and Central America, and had already been sighted in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, The Delaware News Journal reported. But the agency confirmed last week that a bug that bit a child’s face in Kent, Delaware in July 2018 was indeed a kissing bug.

    • CDC confirms case of blood-sucking ‘kissing bug’ confirmed in Delaware

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed a 2018 case in which a blood-sucking insect known as a “kissing bug” bit a child in the face.

      In July 2018, the family requested help from the Delaware Division of Public Health and the Delaware Department of Agriculture to identify an insect that had bitten their daughter’s face while she was watching television in her bedroom at night because they were “concerned about possible disease transmission from the insect,” the CDC announced last week.

    • Cigarette Butts: The Most Littered Item in the World

      We’ve known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.

      These tiny bits of trash are a very big problem. Each year trillions of cigarette butts are tossed out around the world. Beach cleanups continually find that cigarette butts are the most-littered item — even more than plastic bags.

      Municipalities have started to take steps to curb plastic pollution, enacting bans on plastic straws, bags and other single-use items. Will similar efforts be undertaken to snuff out cigarette butt litter?

    • 7 Million More Americans Breathe Unhealthy Air Since Last ‘State of the Air’ Report

      Seven million more Americans lived in areas with unhealthy levels of air pollution between 2015 and 2017 than between 2014 and 2016, and climate change is partly to blame, Time reported Wednesday.

      The findings are part of the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2019 report, released Wednesday, which found that the number of days of record-breaking levels of particulate matter, or soot, pollution increased in many cities, as did the number of days of unhealthy ozone pollution, or smog, since its last report. In total, more than 141 million Americans live in counties that have recorded unhealthy levels of air pollution.

    • Buyer Beware: Hovercraft Ruling Deals a Major Blow to Land Conservation in Alaska

      In a major blow to conservation efforts in Alaska, including efforts to protect over 56 million acres of Wilderness in the state, the U.S. Supreme Court held that John Sturgeon, a moose hunter, can “rev up his hovercraft in search of moose” on the Nation River—a river that flows through the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in Alaska.

      The suit came after the Park Service told Sturgeon he could not use his hovercraft within the Yukon-Charley because Park Service regulations ban hovercraft within national preserves and parks. Sturgeon sued the Park Service, arguing that it had no authority to regulate activity on rivers in the preserve because the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) restricts Park Service authority to federally owned “public lands,” and the Nation River does not constitute federally owned public land under ANILCA.

      The Court agreed, noting, “If Sturgeon lived in any other State, his suit would not have a prayer of success” because the Park Service’s normal statutory authority would allow it to regulate both land and waters within parks and preserves, regardless of who owns the land and water. But, the Court found Alaska is “the exception, not the rule.”

    • Belarus estimates revenue losses from low-quality Russian petroleum at $100 million

      Vladimir Sizov, the deputy chair of the Belneftekhim trust, said that Belarusian companies have sustained about $100 million losses after they received subpar Russian petroleum that was unfit for processing and export. Sizov also said that Belarus partially renewed its exports of light petroleum products to Poland and Ukraine on April 25.

    • EPA Decides Not to Regulate Fracking Wastewater as Pennsylvania Study Reveals Recent Spike

      On April 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) told two environmental groups that it had decided it was “not necessary” to update the federal standards handling toxic waste from oil and gas wells, including the waste produced by fracking.

      State regulators have repeatedly proved unable to prevent the industry’s toxic waste from entering America’s drinking water supplies, including both private wells and the rivers from which public drinking water supplies are drawn, the Environmental Protection Agency concluded in a 2017 national study.

    • Ethics Investigations Opened into Actions of EPA Head Wheeler, Top DOI Officials

      The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials’ former clients or employers.

      “This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone,” Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. “When people come to work for government, they’re supposed to work on behalf of the public. It’s a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients.”

    • Ethanol Train Derails and Burns in Texas, Killing Horses and Spurring Evacuation

      Early in the morning on April 24, an ethanol train derailed, exploded, and burned near Fort Worth, Texas, reportedly destroying a horse stable, killing three horses, and causing the evacuation of nearby homes. According to early reports, 20 tank cars left the tracks, with at least five rupturing and burning.

      While specific details have not yet been released, it appears to be a unit train of ethanol using the federally mandated DOT-117R tank cars, based on the images showing tank car markings. This is now the third accident in North America involving the upgraded DOT-117R tank cars, all resulting in major spills of either oil or ethanol.

    • At least 3 horses killed, residents shaken by train derailment that ignited fire

      At least three horses were killed and homes were evacuated in southeast Fort Worth early Wednesday when 25 railroad cars derailed, and some exploded and caught fire, burning for several hours, fire officials said.

      Fewer than 20 homes were evacuated after the explosion ignited the tanker cars, which contained ethanol, fire officials said. The evacuation was not mandatory.

      The fire killed at least three horses, but more than a dozen were saved by residents who rushed to get the animals out of a stable near the crash site. No injuries to firefighters, residents or railroad employees were reported. The stable was the only structure destroyed, according to fire officials.

    • Endangered Species Act Saves Vast Majority of Species Under Its Protection

      The success of the Endangered Species Act is plain to the millions of Americans who have enjoyed seeing a bald eagle fly across the sky, heard the howl of wolves echo across the night or witnessed the splash of a breaching humpback whale.

      But this bedrock conservation law, the strongest of any nation, has saved far more species than these well-known examples.

      A new study, which I co-authored, found the Act has saved roughly 99 percent of protected species from extinction since the law was created in 1973.

      The Pecos sunflower, St. Andrew beach mouse, California condor and Peninsular bighorn sheep are among the hundreds of species that owe their existence to the Endangered Species Act.

      Of more than 1,700 species in the U.S. listed as threatened and endangered, just four have been confirmed as extinct following their protection, and another 22 are possibly extinct.

      For comparison, the study found that a total of 291 species would have been expected to go extinct without the Endangered Species Act.

      Species are not just being saved from extinction. Hundreds of endangered species are bouncing back thanks to the Act, including 39 that have been fully recovered and removed from the endangered species list.

    • Suicide Watch on Planet Earth

      As Notre Dame burned, as the flames leapt from its roof of ancient timbers, many of us watched in grim horror. Hour after hour, on screen after screen, channel after channel, you could see that 850-year-old cathedral, a visiting spot for 13 million people annually, being gutted, its roof timbers flaring into the evening sky, its steeple collapsing in a ball of fire. It was dramatic and deeply disturbing — and, of course, unwilling to be left out of any headline-making event, President Trump promptly tweeted his advice to the French authorities: “Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!” No matter that water from such planes would probably have taken the cathedral’s towers down and endangered lives as well — “the equivalent,” according to a French fire chief, “of dropping three tons of concrete at 250 kilometers per hour [on] the ancient monument.”

      Still, who could doubt that watching such a monument to the human endeavor being transformed into a shell of its former self was a reminder that everything human is mortal; that, whether in a single lifetime or 850 years, even the most ancient of our artifacts, like those in Iraq and Syria recently, will sooner or later be scourged by the equivalent of (or even quite literally by) fire and sword; that nothing truly lasts, even the most seemingly permanent of things like, until now, Notre Dame?

    • Thank These Climate Activists for Resisting Our Extinction

      At just 16 years old, Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has made waves all over the world for her plain-spoken, no-holds-barred chastising of world leaders over their inaction on climate change. Thunberg’s signature calm and the profound magnitude of her quietly delivered warnings were on full display this week as she addressed members of the U.K. Parliament after a weeklong series of militant actions by Extinction Rebellion. “Is my microphone on? Can you hear me?” she asked several times, with a palpable anger.

      Thunberg called out Britain for claiming that it has lowered its emissions but leaving out of its calculations major sources of carbon emissions. She also blamed lawmakers for championing such new fossil fuels as fracked oil and gas. “This ongoing, irresponsible behavior will no doubt be remembered in history as one of the greatest failures of humankind,” Thunberg said, as Members of Parliament watched and listened in silence. Secretary of State for Environment Michael Gove later said he felt “great admiration, but also responsibility and guilt.” Labour MP Ed Miliband admitted, “You have woken us up.”

      Thunberg is used to hearing such platitudes and reportedly “listened attentively, applauding only when a member of [the] audience criticized the government for pushing ahead with fracking.” She is correct that politicians have wasted decades of precious time with “beautiful words and promises.” The annual Conference of Parties climate meetings hosted by the United Nations routinely brings together thousands of delegates from hundreds of nations to take action on the climate. But until the 2015 Paris Accord, there was almost nothing to show, almost no progress made year after year. And even in Paris, the climate accord championed by world leaders lacked the necessary strong language urging drastic action and enforceable pledges to reduce or stop emissions. And even that modest agreement was then tossed out by the U.S.—one of the most egregious carbon-emitters in the world.

    • BLM Grazing Decision Will Damage the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness

      Proposing new range “developments” is a typical ploy of the BLM to avoid eliminating or reducing livestock numbers. The BLM has been modifying the natural landscape to accommodate livestock for decades. The proposed new range developments would add to the already existing 24 stock ponds, 32 developed springs, and 494 miles of fence on the allotments.

    • The Climate Rebellion Maybe Growing, but Big Oil Keeps on Drilling

      For many of us who have been working on oil and climate for years, the recent days, weeks and months have been inspiring, as we witness a surge in activism and awareness on climate change.
      Whether it be the Sunrise Movement, the youth climate strikes inspired by Greta Thunberg, the recent protests by Extinction Rebellion in London where over 1,000 were arrested, or the growing debate over the need for a Green New Deal, suddenly there feels like a seismic shift in public perception and political understanding of the climate emergency.
      Every non violent protest, march, speech, blockade, picnic and action slowly pushes climate change to the top of the political and news agenda, where it needs to stay until action reflects the crisis we are in.
      Today, on its final day of protest in London, Extinction Rebellion activists have targeted the City of London, with some activists gluing themselves to the London Stock Exchange.
      Others stopped trains or blocked buildings, unfurling one banner that read: “Business as usual = death.”
      The problem, though, is that even if some politicians pledge that business as usual will not continue, this is exactly what Big Oil is doing. Just carrying on drilling.
      For years, scientists and groups like Oil Change International (OCI) have warned that we cannot carry on drilling for oil and still have a safe climate.
      Back in 2016, OCI working with fourteen other organisations, produced a report entitled “The Sky’s Limit: Why the Paris Climate Goals Require a Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Production.” A key finding of the report was that the potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.

    • Emperors On Thin Ice

      In what researchers call a “catastrophic breeding failure,” a new study says the world’s second largest emperor penguin colony, at Antarctica’s Halley Bay in the Weddell Sea, has seen virtually no births since 2016 and is on the brink of collapse. “Emperors on Thin Ice,” published Wednesday in Antarctic Science, says the “unprecedented” decline stems specifically from a severe storm three years ago, when thousands of chicks drowned after an ice sheet collapsed, and more broadly from the rising seas and melting ice of climate change. Using satellite images, scientists found that in the last couple of years almost nothing has hatched in the colony, which once hosted as many as 25,000 pairs of penguins, or up to 9% of the world’s emperor population. “We’ve never seen a breeding failure on a scale like this in 60 years,” said study author Dr. Phil Trathan of the British Antarctic Survey.

    • Human Flourishing (Eudaimonia): an Antidote to Extinction?

      “It is not so clear… that the problems solved by modern science and engineering coincide nicely with the fulfillment of needs felt or unfelt in men and women,” he wrote.

      “The chances seem to be that the stream of new artifacts… will not fit… with the nature of human being…. There seems… to be a developing mismatch between our extending knowledge of what we can do with the materials and forces in the world around us and our older, but less certain, understanding of what we have to do to be ourselves. And in this mismatching – such is the power in our machinery and such is the confusion about our real needs – we are likely to come away losers– ground down, blown up, twisted out of shape, crammed into computer-designed compartments, bored to death,” he warned (page 137).

      Morison is right. Confusion of what it is to be human is causing deep trouble. Obsession with gadgets is obsession with nothingness. More than any other gadget, technology or machine, nuclear weapons deformed science – and everything else. Philosophy did not escape the fear of the nukes.

    • Groups Warn Against Trump Effort to Unleash ‘Fracking Frenzy’ by Unlocking Million+ Acres of Public Land for Drilling

      Over 1 million acres of California land will be opened to fracking if Donald Trump has his way according to a plan released just hours after his administration shelved efforts to expand offshore drilling.

      The president announced the plans in a draft released by the administration on Thursday afternoon. The proposal calls for opening 1,011,470 acres of public holdings in California to oil drilling and fracking.

      The new proposal comes on the same day as the administration pulled out of a controversial plan to expand offshore drilling was thrown out by a federal judge in Alaska.

      In a statement, Natural Resources Defense Council legislative director for the Nature Program Alexandra Adams said that the program should be completely ended.

      “President Trump’s wildly unpopular and risky offshore drilling plan needs to be more than sidelined,” said Adams. “It should be deep-sixed permanently.”

      Yet the California rule proposal is the kind of decision that could have disastrous effects on the environment, said Clare Lakewood, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

      “Trump’s plan would unleash a fracking frenzy that puts California’s people and wildlife in harm’s way,” said Lakewood. “This administration is dead set on letting oil and gas companies dig up every last drop of dirty fuel.”

    • “Where’s Your Plan?” Legalized Bribery and Climate Change

      Richard J. Daley, the late mayor of Chicago and one of the country’s last powerful political bosses, never took a bribe.

      That is a fact that even his critics recognized.

      Yet, his corruption was more insidious than simply pocketing a wad of bills for an occasional favor.

      Daley looked the other way when his health and building inspectors, in exchange for a fee, let landlords in poor neighborhoods run their properties into the ground while demanding high rents.

      If the owners never called exterminators to get rid of the rats that scurried around peoples’ flats, then that was fine. If they never hired plumbers to fix broken pipes and radiators in the winter, that was fine, too. If flaking lead paint was left right where it always was, that was no problem, either.

      These were, however, problems for children who lived in such places. They often became very ill and sometimes even died because of rodent bites, accidental poisonings, and generally unhygienic conditions.

  • Finance

    • Microsoft tops US$1 trillion market cap after 3Q results [Ed: Enron-style accounting at Microsoft as the company announces losses sometimes]

      Software giant Microsoft has become the third American company to hit US$1 trillion in market value after retailer and cloud provider Amazon and Apple, with the company’s third-quarter results, which were better than expected, pushing up its stock price.

    • Even Millionaires Are Ashamed of Their Absurdly Low Tax Bills

      They rushed there in 2017 with a passion hotter than high school love, spewing the pheromones of campaign cash into the Republican congressional caucus. Sure enough, the GOP Congress came through for the corporations, satisfying their lust to have their tax rate lowered from 35 percent to 21 percent — lower than a modest-income working stiff pays.

      Actually, the corporate elites hadn’t been paying anywhere near 35 percent, since they used dozens of loopholes to cut their average rate to about 13 percent. Yet Republican lawmakers coddled these privileged giants with a rate cut — plus, they kept intact most of those gaping loopholes. Thus, many corporate behemoths paid $0 in federal taxes this year. Or less!

      How is it possible to pay less than zero? By riddling the tax code with so many special deductions and gimmicks that the government owes you money.

      On tax day this year, the watchdog Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy issued a report documenting that 60 of America’s biggest corporations used the GOP’s tax cut and special breaks to avoid paying a dime in taxes on the $79 billion in profits they’d hauled in.

    • Notre Dame Shows the Unifying Force of Culture, Grenfell Reveals the Corruption of Government

      In the aftermath of the fire at Notre Dame last week, I was not surprised to see people highlighting the alleged hypocrisy surrounding how the Parisian cathedral’s fire was publicly handled, asking, “[W]here was the £600 million of donations within the first 24 hours for Grenfell???” Many, to include Katie Hopkins found the comparison bizarre, and as much as it pains me to say this, I rather agree with the critiques of the comparison. Moreover, these woke assertions which claim a connection between the two events ignore the problems that have plagued social housing in the UK long before the Grenfell tragedy while also using Notre Dame as a moment to purity posture about one’s wokeness. In short, these critiques serve no purpose to better the discussion around poverty and social housing which ought to be the focus of discussion, not which tragedy raised more funds.

      For instance, many people hold that a historical monument’s burning is not as important as the Grenfell fire because human life was not harmed. Obviously, the loss of 72 lives in the summer of 2017 is far more tragic than an 850-year-old old cathedral burning. But this is not what the critiques were contending. Instead, criticisms compared the funds raised after each tragedy and framed these events as if both buildings have similar importance to the world’s communities while pretending that people around the planet assume that the mechanisms which fund social housing are similar to those maintaining historical buildings. These are simple fallacies informed by cutting and pasting a capitalist model of more money means more important, rather than understanding how these two tragedies couldn’t be more different from top to bottom.

      What is missing from these comparisons are several factors beginning with how the government treats the poor, the homeless, and those living in council flats. Situated in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Grenfell was seated in the heart of one of the wealthiest local authorities in the UK surrounded by some of the most expensive houses in the world. Indeed, Kensington and Chelsea has one of the widest gaps between the rich and the poor where the median income in this borough is £140,000 but the average income for those living in certain council estates is £15,000. And according to the research published by the UK housing charity, Shelter, one in seven families living in Kensington and Chelsea are technically homeless.

    • Sen. Warren Wants to Jail Those Who Caused 2008’s Meltdown

      BIll Black examines the historical context of Warren’s bills for easier prosecution of banks and corporate leaders

    • Macron Offers Tax Cut to French Workers to Quell Anger

      French President Emmanuel Macron announced tax cuts for middle-class workers and plans for a more representative parliament Thursday as part of a promised response to the weekly yellow vest protests that damaged his presidency.

      In a nationally televised speech followed up by a news conference, the French leader also said France and Europe must do more to fight illegal migration.

      Macron spoke to the nation from the presidential Elysée Palace after he convened nationwide meetings where communities could debate how to address economic concerns raised by the yellow vest movement, including high taxes, unemployment and stagnant wages.

      He unveiled measures to boost pensions under 2,000 euros ($ 2,226) and said he would propose an overhaul of France’s retirement system during the summer. But he said the “best solution” for financial disparities is “to cut taxes for a maximum number of citizens and especially those who are working, especially the middle-class.”

    • High-ranking Russian FSB official arrested on suspicion of taking large bribe

      Kirill Cherkalin, who leads a branch of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), has been arrested after accusations that he accepted a large bribe, TASS reported. Two former employees of the same branch, Dmitry Frolov and Andrey Vasiliev, were also arrested on suspicions of major fraud. The FSB did not release any additional information about the purported crimes.

    • ‘Trump Lied to Wisconsin Workers’: Sanders Targets President With Front-Page Ad Ahead of Weekend Rally

      With Donald Trump set to hold a campaign rally in Wisconsin this weekend, Sen. Bernie Sanders took out a front-page ad in a local newspaper to send the state’s workers a simple message: The president’s promises were hollow.

      “Trump lied to Wisconsin workers,” reads the ad, which will run Friday in the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The ad was financed by Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign.

      “In a Bernie Sanders White House,” the ad says, “we will end the corporate greed behind the Shopko closures, Kimberly-Clark layoffs, and Foxconn scam.”

    • ‘A roughly painted, cheap fake’. The restoration of Moscow’s Stone Flower Fountain cost more than a billion rubles. Why?

      In early April, photos of the newly renovated Stone Flower Fountain began popping up on social media. The Moscow landmark is one of four historic fountains located in the VDNKh exhibition park, and a total of almost three billion rubles ($46.3 million) were spent to restore all four. Local activists expressed frustration at the fountain’s “coarse” new look, and restoration specialists advised the public to wait a few years for the elements to return the flower to a more natural-looking state. The company that renovated the fountain has won almost every major restoration contract in western Russia in recent years — and it has been involved in a string of corruption scandals. The company even offered to help the French government restore the Notre Dame cathedral.

    • Samsung Could Launch Its Own Ethereum-based Cryptocurrency

      Samsung launched its S10 series with an in-built cryptocurrency wallet that allows users to store popular cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, Etherium, and Cosmo Coin. It became one of the first major smartphone manufacturers to add a digital currency wallet.

      Now, it seems that it was a part of a bigger plan as Samsung is reported to be working on its own blockchain network and could soon launch “Samsung Coin,” an Ethereum-based cryptocurrency.

    • Lessons Learned From the Tiny House Movement

      What is the most surprising thing I’ve learned about the tiny house movement? My answer might surprise folks who get a daily dose of tiny houses through social media and reality television.

      These representations often convey aspects of the movement that are individualistic, such as people building a house by themselves or hankering to live off grid in the middle of the woods. Such stories are consistent with neoliberal ideals of self-sufficiency and isolating oneself from the larger world.

      While these may be some people’s experiences with tiny house building and living, they are not the only, or the most important ones. Instead, what I’ve learned from tiny house residents, builders, advocates and leaders, as well as trying out tiny house living with my family, is that what really matters is what a tiny house can help facilitate.

      On an individual level, that can mean downsizing (moving from a larger space to a much smaller one), debt reduction, increased savings, downshifting (the ability to work fewer hours in unfulfilling work in order to take part in meaningful work and activities), and creating meaning outside of shopping and consuming. But, on a more collective and structure-challenging level, tiny houses can champion community-building, counter poverty and housing insecurity, and even offer a challenge to capitalist industries that threaten peoples communities and way of life.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • What the YouTube and Facebook statistics aren’t telling us

      There’s more the figures do not show: How many unrelated videos have been wrongfully removed by automatic filters? Facebook says, for example: “Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities, we’re also removing all edited versions of the video that do not show graphic content.” This is information that is apparently not in violation of the rules of the platform (or even the law), but that is blocked out of deference to the next of kin.

      However empathetic that might be, it also shows how much our public debate depends on the whims of one commercial company. What happens to videos of journalists reporting on the events? Or to a video by a victim’s relative, who uses parts of the recording in a commemorative video of her or his own? In short, it’s very problematic for a dominant platform to make such decisions.

    • Indivisible Asks Candidates to Sign Pledge Promising a Democratic Primary Based on Exchange of Ideas Instead of Attacks

      The national grassroots group Indivisible set out Thursday to make sure the 2020 Democratic primary doesn’t devolve into a race characterized by negative attack ads, releasing a pledge for all the Democratic presidential candidates to sign which promises a “constructive” primary.

      The pledge calls on the 21 presidential candidates to treat the primary as an exchange of ideas while respecting their opponents and to immediately support the eventual nominee, working together to “do the work to beat Trump.”

      “We must defeat Donald Trump,” reads the We Are Indivisible Pledge. “The first step is a primary contest that produces a strong Democratic nominee. The second step is winning the general election. We will not accept anything less.”

    • Impeachment as Political Strategy

      The argument about impeachment continues, as it should.

      Earlier this week, I laid out the general case for impeachment. My argument was not ethical or legal, it was political: impeachment is a legitimate constitutional process that ought to be pursued not because it will remove Trump from office — Senate Republicans will surely prevent this — but because it is necessary given the mobilization surrounding the Mueller investigation, and it is a promising opportunity to publicly build the political case against Trump.

      In Tuesday’s Washington Post, Katrina vanden Heuvel made an intelligent case that “Congress should censure Trump for actions that violate the laws and offend the basic duties and dignity of his office. And then Democrats would be wise to move on, focus on how Trump is betraying the very voters who put him in office, and bring his misrule to an end by sweeping him out of office in the 2020 election.”

    • Allowing People in Prison to Vote Shouldn’t Be Controversial

      Bernie Sanders’s statement that people should be able to vote while in prison has sparked self-righteous, near-gleeful outrage from Republicans and Democrats alike. Fox News was aflutter with news of Sanders wanting to allow “terrorists” to vote, and played footage of the Boston Marathon bombing in response. GOP Chair Ronna McDaniel tweeted that it was “beyond extreme” and proved “how radical the Democrat Party has become.” Meanwhile Democratic candidate Pete Buttigieg outright condemned the idea, venturing that losing voting rights is a natural part of one’s punishment while incarcerated. Kamala Harris stated that “people who commit murder … should be deprived of their rights,” and even Elizabeth Warren, seen as a more progressive candidate, said she’s “not there yet.”

      Sanders’s statement was a response to a question about whether people incarcerated for murder or sexual assault should have access to the ballot. The person asking the question wondered, for example, whether people convicted of sexual assault should be able to vote, since their votes could impact women’s rights. Sanders answered that they should, because once you start “chipping away” at people’s voting rights, “you’re running down a slippery slope.”

      The mass disenfranchisement of incarcerated people has a racist past and a racist present, and has been used in particular as a tool to suppress the Black vote. And since police and the criminal legal system disproportionately target Black, Native, Latinx, trans, poor and disabled people, the denial of the vote to people behind bars takes a sharp toll on many marginalized communities, subjecting them to what many call “civil death” — depriving a person of all legal rights. Meanwhile, for redistricting purposes, incarcerated people are generally counted as part of the populations of the (often very white and rural) districts where they’re locked up, boosting the electoral advantage of those districts. (Some state-level efforts to change these policies are, thankfully, underway.)

    • Bernie Sanders and the Song of America

      On April 15 Bernie Sanders became the first candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination not named Joe Biden to lead in a national poll. His campaign later released internal polling showing him trouncing Donald Trump in the integral states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The countless outlets from left to right inclined to deride his candidacy and ideas were forced to admit that his performance at a Fox News town hall—doing the unimaginable thing of actually talking to voters who normally don’t vote for Democrats (or maybe that’s who don’t vote for normal Democrats)—was impressive, effective, and a sign of electability. For the icing on the cake, an array of wealthy donors, financiers, defense industry contractors, a wannabe reality star son of Bank of America’s former chairman, and leading party figures were exposed for meeting in secret over canapes to organize a stop Bernie campaign, “sooner, rather than later.” The fund-raising email wrote itself. The explicit confirmation that his campaign was threatening to people whose interests might not be exactly the same as most Americans was priceless.

    • Facebook Stories somehow hits 500 million daily users

      Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told listeners on the call that 3 million advertisers had made use of the Stories format across Facebook’s overall app ecosystem. So while we don’t have a financial breakdown of how lucrative those ads are, or whether a majority of them are placed on Instagram, it does seem to make perfect sense that Facebook took the concept and applied it across its entire mobile portfolio, including the main Facebook app and on Messenger.

    • White House ordered Trump administration officials to boycott WHCA Dinner

      The move marks yet another deterioration in relations between the White House press office and the press corps, though President Donald Trump had announced earlier this month that he would be skipping the annual dinner for the third year in a row. The President will instead hold a campaign rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the same evening.

    • In meeting with Twitter chief, Trump complains about lost followers

      In the email thread, first revealed by Motherboard, Dorsey himself explained, “As you know, I believe that conversation, not silence, bridges gaps and drives towards solutions.” Dorsey pointed out that he had met “with every world leader who has extended an invitation to me, and I believe the discussions have been productive, and the outcomes meaningful.” While Dorsey noted that some employees might be less than thrilled with him taking the meeting, “In the end, I believe it’s important to meet heads of state in order to listen, share our principles and our ideas.”

    • Twitter Is Not America

      As the platforms age, their devotees become more and more distinct from the regular person. For more than a decade now, many people in media and technology have been feeding an hour or two of Twitter into our brains every single day. Because we’re surrounded by people who live their lives like this—and, crucially, because so many of the journalists who write about the internet experience the internet in this way—it might feel like this is just how Twitter is, that a representative sample of America is plugged into the machine in this way.

      But it’s not. Twitter is not America. And few people who work outside the information industries choose to spend their lives reading tweets, let alone writing them.

    • Twitter shuts down 5,000 pro-Trump bots retweeting anti-Mueller report invective

      Most of the accounts had very few posts—as few as three. All of the accounts frequently retweeted content from the account @TheGlobus, previously named Arabian Veritas, according to information shared with NBC News by researchers who uncovered the network and analysis by Foreign Policy Research Institute senior fellow Clint Watts. Watts is also a non-resident fellow of the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund—the organization behind the Hamilton 68 project, an effort to track Russian disinformation campaigns on social media.

    • Jack Dorsey met with President Trump in private today to discuss the ‘health’ of Twitter

      These emails said that the meeting would last 30 minutes meeting and take place behind closed doors. A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge, “Jack had a constructive meeting with the President of the United States today at the president’s invitation. They discussed Twitter’s commitment to protecting the health of the public conversation ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections and efforts underway to respond to the opioid crisis.”

    • Trump and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey held a closed-door meeting

      Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey today met with noted Twitter user President Donald Trump.

      The meeting was scheduled to last 30 minutes, according to an email Dorsey sent around today to Twitter staff, and the two were to discuss “the health of the public conversation on Twitter.”

    • Donald Trump meets Twitter’s Jack Dorsey at White House

      In a statement, Twitter said the pair spoke about “protecting the health of the public conversation” ahead of the US 2020 general election.

    • Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey Attended Closed-Door Meeting With President Trump

      Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, along with other Twitter executives, is having a closed-door meeting with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, according to an internal Twitter email obtained by Motherboard from two independent sources. The meeting comes after an invitation from the White House, the email adds.

      The email does not detail what the meeting will specifically be about, but says the company anticipates it to be about “the health of the public conversation on Twitter,” according to the email written by Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety.

    • Netanyahu Is Not a “Savior” and Israel Is Not at Risk of Annihilation

      Many Israeli politicians have built their careers upon the fear that Israel faces the threat of imminent destruction. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stoked Israelis’ existential dread for decades, first whipping up crowds in opposition to the Oslo Accords in the 1990s, and then, as head of state, galvanizing domestic support for his aggressive bombing campaigns in Syria and crackdowns in the occupied Palestinian territories. During the campaign leading up to this month’s elections, Netanyahu exploited these fears by referencing how his opponent, former military chief of staff Benny Gantz, allegedly supported the Iran nuclear deal. By contrast, the Israeli prime minister could cite Trump’s exit from the nuclear deal as vindication for his alarmism about Iran’s nuclear program and as evidence of how Netanyahu had kept Israel safe and strong.

      Of course, Netanyahu is far from the only Zionist today who exploits Jewish Holocaust trauma in service of his political agenda. Fellow travelers in Netanyahu’s recently dissolved right-wing coalition employ these fear-mongering tactics as well. For example, in an interview with the Forward late last year, former Education Minister Naftali Bennett used the word “annihilate” in reference to the Jewish state five times. Indeed, zooming out and looking back in time, we can observe that this perennial anxiety about a coming “second Holocaust” has lingered near the heart of the Zionist consciousness since the founding of the Jewish state itself.

      While we should never deny the fact of this trauma, honest analysts also have a responsibility to check these fears against material reality. The truth is, Israel today faces no threats to its basic security. This is not to deny the occasional stabbings, car rammings and the rudimentary rocket fire from Gaza that endangers some Israelis, but no one can seriously argue that either these lone-wolf attackers, or Hamas and Islamic jihad, represent truly existential threats to the state of Israel. Such a claim is too absurd to merit serious discussion. By contrast, the status of regional threats to Israel does require some explanation, especially considering the predominance of the second Holocaust narrative.

    • Joe Biden Formally Enters the 2020 Presidential Race
    • With Biden Now Officially in the Running, A Look at the Democrats’ Do-Si-Do

      The entrance of Joe Biden into the arena ushers the 2020 Democratic primary contest into a new phase. It ends the opening round, or what seasoned politicos call the “money primary,” in which the aspirants introduce themselves to the public and lay out their campaign themes while courting donors behind closed doors and hoping to gain positive media exposure and momentum. Barring the unexpected arrival of additional heavyweights, the field is now complete and the dynamic of the race is about to change dramatically.

      It’s all been rather well-mannered so far. It’s clear to everyone that 2020 will be a do-or-die year for Democrats—and for U.S. democracy. It’s going to require a big lift to rescue the republic nineteen months from now, and we’re going to need each other. The eventual Democratic nominee will have to muster the broadest and most enthusiastic support among the entire electorate. That includes independents, registered Republicans, and many millions of off-the-sidelines voters, as well as Democrats who voted for, worked for, and donated to opposing candidates during the primaries. Every campaign wants to start the proverbial prairie fire, and many of us recall the excitement of feeling a certain burn four years ago, but we can’t afford to burn bridges between factions of the party.

    • From Crime Bill to Iraq War Vote, Biden’s Legislative History Under Scrutiny as He Enters Race

      Former Vice President Joe Biden has entered the 2020 race for the White House, becoming the 20th Democrat to seek the nomination in the largest and most diverse field of Democratic candidates ever to run for president. Biden will face scrutiny for his long and checkered record in the coming weeks, including his 1994 crime bill, that helped fuel mass incarceration with financial incentives to keep people behind bars, and his handling of Anita Hill’s sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court justice nominee Clarence Thomas in 1991. Biden is also known for close ties to the financial industry and voting to authorize the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. In the weeks before Biden announced his bid for the presidency, at least seven women stepped forward to accuse him of inappropriate touching. We speak with Andrew Cockburn, Washington editor for Harper’s magazine, about Biden’s record. His recent piece is headlined “No Joe! Joe Biden’s disastrous legislative legacy.”

    • Hours After Entering 2020 Race, Biden to Attend Big-Money Fundraiser Hosted by Comcast, Blue Cross Execs

      Hours after officially entering the 2020 Democratic presidential field Thursday morning, former Vice President Joe Biden is expected to head to the Philadelphia home of Comcast executive David Cohen for a big-dollar fundraiser that will reportedly be attended by Democratic lawmakers, the CEO of insurance giant Independence Blue Cross, and other high-powered party players.

      Biden launched his presidential bid with a video condemning President Donald Trump’s response to the 2017 neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville and calling the 2020 election “a battle for the soul of this nation.”

      “The core values of this nation, our standing in the world, our very democracy, everything that has made America America is at stake,” Biden said. “That’s why today I’m announcing my candidacy for president of the United States.”

    • Democratic Refusal to Impeach Could Be Disastrous

      “The general sentiment of mankind is that a man who will not fight for himself, when he has the means of doing so, is not worth being fought for by others, and this sentiment is just,” Frederick Douglas said in 1857. “The poet was as true to common sense as to poetry when he said, ‘Who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.’”

      Do not call for a battle for which you are not willing to fight yourself. To do otherwise is to earn contempt.

      For three years Congressional Democrats repeatedly took to the nation’s airwaves and prose media outlets to tout the Mueller Report and their certainty that the former FBI director’s team would uncover proof that Donald Trump and his team were traitors because they conspired with a foreign adversary, the Russian Federation, to steal the 2016 presidential election from Hillary Clinton. Mueller would provide the evidence needed to justify impeachment.

      Though Democrats dropped the I-word from their rhetoric near the end of the campaign, Democratic voters’ support for impeaching Trump motivated voter turnout in the 2018 midterms and led to Democratic gains. A June 2018 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 70% of Democratic voters wanted Democrats to retake the House of Representatives so they could hold impeachment hearings.

    • Florida GOP Condemned for Undermining Hard-Won Voting Rights for Felons With ‘Modern Day Poll Tax’

      Florida state lawmakers are under fire for passing legislation critics call a “modern day poll tax” on the state’s newly re-enfranchised felon voters.

      The legislation, H.B. 7089, would undermine last year’s successful ballot initiative to restore voting rights for more than a million Floridians who have completed felony sentences by requiring them to pay all court fines and fees before they can participate in elections.

      The bill passed Florida’s Republican-controlled state House 71-45 Wednesday, largely along party lines. Though it still needs final approval from state senators and Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, progressive politicians, voting rights advocates, and civil liberties groups are speaking out against it.

      Kara Gross, the ACLU of Florida’s legislative director, warned that “disturbingly, this legislation will cause de facto lifetime disenfranchisement for large swaths of formerly incarcerated individuals who have completed their sentences—precisely the opposite of the entire purpose of Amendment 4.”

    • Obstructiongate!

      owe the corporate media an apology. For the last few years, I’ve been writing all these essays explaining how they were perpetrating an enormous psyop on the American public … a psyop designed to convince the public that Donald Trump “colluded” with Russia to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton. Up until a few days ago, I would have sworn that they had published literally thousands of articles and editorials, and broadcast countless TV segments, more or less accusing him of treason, and being a “Russian intelligence asset,” and other ridiculous stuff like that. Also, and I’m still not sure how this happened, I somehow got the idea in my head that the investigation that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was meticulously conducting had something to do with Donald Trump conspiring or “colluding” with Russia, or being some kind of “Manchurian president,” or being blackmailed by Putin with a pee-tape, or something.

    • Khodorkovsky’s investigative journalists say advisers hired by ‘Putin’s chef’ spent a year trying to save Sudan’s longtime dictator

      According to data from Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s investigative news project Dossier Center, as reported by the former oligarch’s website MBKh Media and the American TV network CNN, businesses linked to the Russian catering tycoon Evgeny Prigozhin spent the past year trying to save Omar al-Bashir’s regime in Sudan.

    • Impeaching Trump Shouldn’t Mean Abandoning Other Key Battles

      Senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) participated in a five-candidate CNN town hall on Monday night. When asked about the push to impeach Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Mueller report, Senator Sanders sounded an appropriately cautious note.

      “[I]f for the next year, year-and-a-half, going right into the heart of the election, all that the Congress is talking about is impeaching Trump,” said Sanders, “and Trump, Trump, Trump, and Mueller, Mueller, Mueller, and we’re not talking about health care, we’re not talking about raising the minimum wage to a living wage, we’re not talking about combating climate change, we’re not talking about sexism and racism and homophobia, and all of the issues that concern ordinary Americans, what I worry about is that works to Trump’s advantage.”

      He is absolutely correct about those issues, along with others such as immigration and the deliberate cruelty being inflicted at the southern border, being important to the electorate. The question of Trump’s serial lawbreaking as depicted in the Mueller report is also important, not only to the electorate but to the continued existence of the rule of constitutional law in the United States. Impeaching Trump is not about “want to,” but “have to.” Otherwise, we’re placing the entire point of this national exercise in democracy in mortal peril.

      I argued yesterday that, in order to be successful in both fulfilling their obligations to the constitution and in defeating Trump next year, Democrats “need to walk the impeachment process while chewing the campaign gum.” They have to do both, not because it is politically expedient, but because the alternative is not merely an invitation to defeat, but to disaster.

      I have to ask: Really, just how difficult do they think this two-pronged approach would be? Robert Mueller and his investigators have already done most of the heavy lifting on gathering impeachment-related evidence, and the agencies Mueller handed matters beyond his purview to are still busily working away. Yes, the Trump administration will fight subpoenas from House committees, but that is also a fight worth having. The White House is not Camelot castle, and we must stop treating it as such. Oversight in this republic is an imperative, full stop.

      Besides, the 2020 presidential election is a full 558 days away. House Democratic leadership and the elected officials following their tepid lead have an enormous swath of time to use all the weapons they have been handed, including the necessity of impeachment. There are many grounds for impeachment that span well beyond the Mueller investigation. If Democrats can’t or won’t figure out how to do so, they have the option of resigning and finding gigs at a petting zoo or someplace similarly benign where they won’t do any more damage through their glaring cowardice.

    • BRI Forum Shanghai: How Western “Reports” Smear China

      It is expected to be an event of tremendous proportions and importance: leaders from 37 countries will participate, including Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and President Duterte of the Philippines. Beijing will host 5,000 guests from 150 countries, as well as 90 international organizations.

      The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has already been reshaping the world, fundamentally. Previously at the mercy of the Western imperialist powers, their armies, propaganda apparatuses and brutal financial institutions; Africa, the Middle East, Central and Southeast Asia have suddenly discovered that they have alternatives and choices. For various parts of the world, decades and centuries of stagnation and humiliation under colonialist and post-colonialist regimes have begun to come to an end. Entire nations have been freeing themselves, realizing their great hidden potential.

      All this because of BRI; because of China as well as its close ally, Russia.

      Entire huge railroad projects in East Africa as well as in the once devastated Laos (devastated by the insanely brutal Western carpet-bombing campaigns, which are still called a “Secret War”) are now connecting continents. Along the railway lines, schools are growing, and so are medical facilities, community learning centers and cultural institutions.

      The BRI is not only about the economy, not only about infrastructure and development, it also about the well-being of the people, about the culture, health and knowledge. It is aiming at connecting people of different races, life philosophies, and beliefs.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Jack Dorsey called Ilhan Omar after Trump tweet that prompted death threats: report

      The Washington Post, citing a Twitter source, reported that Dorsey told Omar in a Tuesday phone call that the president’s tweet did not violate the company’s rules. Dorsey reportedly made the comment after Omar pressed him on why the company did not remove the tweet from the site, a person familiar with the conversation told the newspaper.

    • Twitter pushes back on report about white supremacist content

      “Cracking down on white nationalists will therefore involve removing a lot of people who identify to a greater or lesser extent as Trump supporters, and some people in Trump circles and pro-Trump media will certainly seize on this to complain they are being persecuted,” Berger said.

    • Great News For TikTokers! TikTok Ban Lifted In India

      Marking a moment of joy for TikTok users in India, the Madras High Court in India has revoked the TikTok ban in the country.

      The lifting of the TikTok app ban in India would mean that the app will soon return to the Google Play Store and the App Store.

    • TikTok is no longer banned in India

      Technically, TikTok’s existing 120 million active monthly users weren’t affected by the ban, because India’s court order only kept new customers from downloading the app from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. But that didn’t stop TikTok developer ByteDance from claiming it was suffering up to $500,000 in financial losses each day the ban stayed in effect, according to a court filing spotted by Reuters yesterday.

    • Exclusive: China’s Bytedance says India TikTok ban causing $500,000 daily loss, risks jobs

      TikTok allows users to create and share short videos with special effects and is one of the world’s most popular apps. It has been downloaded by nearly 300 million users so far in India, out of more than 1 billion downloads globally, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower.

      Earlier this month, an Indian state court ordered the federal government to prohibit its downloads, saying the app was encouraging pornography. Acting upon instructions from the federal IT ministry, Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google last week removed TikTok from their India app stores.

    • Facebook while black: Users call it getting ‘Zucked,’ say talking about racism is censored as hate speech

      Many of these users now think twice before posting updates on Facebook or they limit how widely their posts are shared. Yet few can afford to leave the single-largest and most powerful social media platform for sharing information and creating community.

      So to avoid being flagged, they use digital slang such as “wypipo,” emojis or hashtags to elude Facebook’s computer algorithms and content moderators. They operate under aliases and maintain back-up accounts to avoid losing content and access to their community. And they’ve developed a buddy system to alert friends and followers when a fellow black activist has been sent to Facebook jail, sharing the news of the suspension and the posts that put them there.

      They call it getting “Zucked” and black activists say these bans have serious repercussions, not just cutting people off from their friends and family for hours, days or weeks at a time, but often from the Facebook pages they operate for their small businesses and nonprofits.

    • Julia Angwin Is Out as Editor of New Tech Watchdog Site The Markup

      Ms. Angwin said in a letter to Craig Newmark, the Craigslist founder and the site’s biggest donor, that she was being pushed out by Sue Gardner, The Markup’s third founder, who is also its executive director and was the head of the Wikimedia Foundation until 2014.

      Ms. Gardner wanted to change the site’s mission to “one based on advocacy against the tech companies” instead of “producing meaningful data-centered journalism about the impact of technology on society,” Ms. Angwin wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The New York Times.

      Ms. Gardner disputed that characterization.

    • New Zealand and France to Seek Pact Blocking Extreme Online Content

      Ms. Ardern left it unclear exactly what she and Mr. Macron planned to ask the social networks to do. She said that while the “Christchurch call to action” — her name for the pledge she is preparing with Mr. Macron — would include “specific expectations on governments and internet companies,” it would not include new regulations.

      Analysts cautioned that any agreement that did not outline specific consequences for failing to halt extremist content would be unlikely to significantly alter tech companies’ behavior.

    • Sri Lanka Blocks Social Media, Fearing More Violence

      Sri Lanka blocked several social media networks in the wake of terrorist attacks on Sunday, including Facebook and the messaging service WhatsApp. The extraordinary step reflects growing global concern, particularly among governments, about the capacity of American-owned networks to spin up violence.

      YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and Viber were also inaccessible, according to [Internet] monitoring groups.

    • Sri Lanka social media ban leaves tough questions

      Sri Lanka’s decision to block all social media following deadly bombings on Easter Sunday is reigniting the debate over how to combat online disinformation.

    • Social media blocked in Sri Lanka following church and hotel bombings

      Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, YouTube, Viber, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger have been blocked in Sri Lanka following a series of scheduled bombings targeting churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, according to NetBlocks network measurement data. The incident is ongoing at time of writing.

      [...]

      “Most people in America would laugh at the idea of a river being treated as a person, yet we don’t bat an eye over concepts of corporate personhood,” Freid said. “That’s really reflective of our culture, if you think about it.”

    • Sri Lanka Banned Social Media, But the Problem Is Bigger

      Sri Lanka’s ban on social media carries an implicit, and crucial, assumption: that the [Internet] can produce good and ill effects, but its fundamental structure—a global information network that works more or less the same anywhere on Earth—is an unimpeachable given. But what if it’s not? What if the very fact of a global social network is impossible?

    • Non-Profit Hilariously Claims It Can Sue Change.org For ‘Flagging’ Its Petition

      So this post is going to touch on some issues that people get very emotional about, and I’m going to ask (probably pointlessly) that folks not focus on those issues, but on the issue that this post is actually trying to address: which is the ridiculous claim that Change.org can be sued for notifying users that statements in a petition “may be contested.” A group called “Stop Antisemitism” put a petition on Change.org making a bunch of claims about CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Many of those claims are ones that I would personally label as “highly questionable,” or in some cases “downright misleading,” and which some might say are simply “pure bullshit.” The actual petition is supposedly a call to have Attorney General William Barr investigate CAIR. Not surprisingly, a bunch of people have complained to Change.org about this particular petition.

    • Russian Culture Ministry recommends delaying screenings of film on clerical sexual abuse until after Orthodox Easter

      François Ozon’s Grâce à Dieu (By the Grace of God) won the Jury Grand Prize at the Berlin International Film Festival. However, because it depicts a court battle between Catholic priests and victims of sexual abuse, the film’s distributor told Meduza, Russia’s Culture Ministry has requested that screenings be delayed until after Orthodox Christians celebrate Easter.

      The distributor, A-One Films, reported that while an agreement to screen the film had not yet been signed, the company was certain enough of an April 25 start date that some theaters had already screened the movie this morning. However, the company explained to Meduza that Culture Ministry representatives had made “spoken recommendations” to delay the film until April 29. The Ministry has not yet commented on the matter.

    • Why Twitter Won’t Ban White Nationalists

      Facebook announced in March that it would ban white nationalist and white supremacist content on its social media platforms, a departure The New York Times describes as “[bowing] to longstanding demands from civil rights groups who said the tech giant was failing to confront the powerful reach of white extremism.” Twitter did not follow suit, despite being a platform that white supremacists use “with relative impunity,” as a 2016 study from George Washington University’s Program on Extremism found.

      Experts who study online extremism, including the authors of the 2016 George Washington University study, have observed Twitter’s success with using artificial intelligence to suspend ISIS-linked accounts—approximately 360,000 by 2016—and its unwillingness to use the same methods to combat white nationalism. A new story from Motherboard by Joseph Cox and Jason Koebler suggests that Twitter fears those algorithms risk catching Republican politicians.

      The question of why Twitter won’t use the same methods to target white nationalists as it does for ISIS members came up in an all-hands meeting on March 22, Motherboard reports. After a staff member, who remains anonymous, asked the question, an executive answered that Twitter simply follows the law.

    • Civil Rights Group Demands Facebook Take Down Content Showing Far-Right Militants Holding Migrants Hostage

      Tech giant Facebook must remove videos of right wing militias kidnapping migrants, a civil rights group demanded this week.

      The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sent a letter to the company on Wednesday calling for it to remove content –from– posted by members of the New Mexico-based extremist group the United Constitutional Patriots (UCP) that is in “flagrant” violations of the platform’s terms of service.

      UCP members have uploaded material to the social media site that shows the far-right militant group holding migrants at the border hostage.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Which Documents to Shred to Keep Your Identity Safe

      Even in today’s digital age, there is no going around receiving hardcopies of important documents. From purchase receipts to bank statements, we are all guilty of misplacing and throwing out official papers containing sensitive information. In turn, one of the biggest risks for identity theft is right there in plain sight – the documents we should be shredding.

      At this point, you must be thinking back to all those times you threw out documents containing your Social Security Number or bank account details. Fortunately, it’s quite unlikely that you chucked anything that’s likely to compromise your identity, credit, etc. Still, it helps to be sure – so in this article, we’ll cover some document types that are risky to throw out and should be shredded.

    • India Will Soon Get A One-Stop Data Storage By ISB

      With an aim to take all public data online, India will soon get one-stop data storage, which will be developed by the Indian School of Business (ISB).

      Known as India Data Portal, the data repository for public data will initially be based on sectors such as agriculture, rural development, and financial inclusion.

    • Skip the Surveillance By Opting Out of Face Recognition At Airports

      Government agencies and airlines have ignored years of warnings from privacy groups and Senators that using face recognition technology on travelers would massively violate their privacy. Now, the passengers are in revolt as well, and they’re demanding answers.

    • It’s Now Even Easier To Spot the Surveillance With Updates to EFF’s VR App

      To make it easier for everyone to recognize surveillance “in the wild,” EFF is fighting back with Spot the Surveillance, a virtual reality (VR) experience that teaches people how to identify the various spying technologies that police may deploy in communities. And with a major update to the software released today, spotting the surveillance has gotten even easier!

      After demonstrating the app to nearly 500 users in person, many of whom offered feedback and suggestions, today we’re releasing Spot the Surveillance v 1.2. The latest version brings with it several enhancements and fixes based on that feedback and additional accessibility testing (Spot the Surveillance was created with accessibility in mind, so is entirely gaze-based for people with mobility challenges, and audio is also used to assist low-vision users.) This version also includes upgraded code logic and performance thanks to the Mozilla A-frame team.

    • NoScript extension officially released for Google Chrome

      Starting today, the NoScript Firefox extension, a popular tool for privacy-focused users, is also available for Google Chrome, Giorgio Maone, NoScript’s author, has told ZDNet.

      The NoScript Chrome port, on which Maone has worked for months, is now available from the official Chrome Web Store, via this link.

    • NoScript Chrome Extension To Finally Launch by End Of June

      The NoScript Chrome extension, a much-awaited feature by privacy-focused fans, will finally arrive by the end of June. A report from ZDNet confirms that the popular Mozilla Firefox feature will see the light of day on Chrome very soon.

      The author of the NoScript extension, Giorgio Maone, faced a number of issues while developing it for Chrome. NoScript comes with a built-in Tor browser based on Firefox. Currently, 1.5 million users rely on NoScript to stay safe from malicious Java scripts when browsing.

    • Xiaomi Is Openly Defying Indian Laws By Sending Data To Foreign Parties

      Data breaches are the hot new thing in the tech town! Each day a new data infringement case is reported, and this time it’s Xiaomi to join the bandwagon.

      It is reported that Xiaomi is sharing users’ data with third parties outside of India and it’s not doing it secretly. The Chinese company has mentioned the same in its rules and regulations saying that it will share users’ data with Xiaomi’s subsidiaries as well as third parties related to it.

    • NSA Recommends Dropping Phone-Surveillance Program

      The National Security Agency has recommended that the White House abandon a surveillance program that collects information about U.S. phone calls and text messages, saying the logistical and legal burdens of keeping it outweigh its intelligence benefits, according to people familiar with the matter.

    • NSA: Mass Phone Surveillance Programme Isn’t Worth The Effort Now

      ccording to a report by the Wall Street Journal, the National Security Agency (NSA) has recommended the White House to discard the notorious mass phone surveillance programme owing to logistics and legal challenges. However, the NSA used to defend its surveillance programme fervently, saying it was vital for national security.

    • Facebook just hired a Trump admin official who helped craft the Patriot Act

      Facebook has announced that it has roped in a former Trump administration official, Jennifer Newstead, as its new general counsel. Newstead will replace Colin Stretch, the social media giant’s former VP and general counsel, who announced his retirement last year.

      “Jennifer is a seasoned leader whose global perspective and experience will help us fulfill our mission,” said Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, said in a statement.

    • Where are the cameras in your car and what are they looking for?

      Where are the cameras?

      Almost everywhere.

      [...]

      Where do images, videos and data end up?

      Some go straight to the manufacturer.

    • Medical records, but on the blockchain — the history of a bad idea

      I won’t go into great detail — but almost everything about blockchain proposals for medical records is laughably illegal under almost any health information privacy law.

    • Teen sues Apple for $1bn over ‘Orwellian’ in-store surveillance tech

      The lawsuit notes that the arrest warrant included a photo which did not resemble Bag, who claims that he could not have carried out the theft in Boston since it took place while he was attending his senior prom in Manhattan.

    • Facebook Could Face Up To $5 Billion Fine For Privacy Violations

      Facebook has been in negotiations with the Federal Trade Commission following concerns that the company violated a 2011 consent decree. Back then, company leaders promised to give consumers “clear and prominent notice” when sharing their data with others and to get “express consent.”

    • Facebook expects up to $5 billion FTC fine over privacy

      $5 billion is about one month’s revenue for Facebook.

    • Facebook Expects to Be Fined Up to $5 Billion by F.T.C. Over Privacy Issues

      But some lawmakers said a fine would not suffice in punishing Facebook. Representative David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island, said that “a fine in the low billions of dollars would amount to a slap on the wrist for Facebook” and that Congress needed to act.

      “Facebook must be held accountable — not just by fines — but also far reaching reforms in management, privacy practices and culture,” Senator Richard Blumenthal, Democrat of Connecticut, added in a tweet.

    • Ireland sits idly by as GDPR goes unenforced

      Politico shares an investigation into why the GDPR’s lead regulator Ireland has failed to bring a single enforcement action against the big tech companies it is supposed to watchdog.

    • NSA recommends ending mass phone data collection program: report

      Sources told the Journal that the NSA has concluded that the program, which gathered metadata on domestic text messages and phone calls, is too burdensome to maintain.

    • Facebook expects $3B-$5B fine over Cambridge Analytica

      The agency said it would be looking into whether Facebook violated a 2011 consent agreement that required it to implement a strong privacy program and to be more transparent about what was being done with user data.

      Under that agreement, Facebook could theoretically be subject to fines upwards of a trillion dollars.

    • Facebook sets aside $3bn for privacy probe

      Facebook was labelled “morally bankrupt pathological liars” by New Zealand’s privacy commissioner this month after hosting a livestream of the Christchurch attacks that left 50 dead.

    • Facebook sets aside $3 billion ahead of record FTC fine over privacy violations

      Hampering the company’s finances is a staggering increase in headcount, represented mostly by the influx of new contractors Facebook is bringing on to try and curb abuse on the platform and sift through the deluge of content that gets uploaded every day. Facebook says it’s increased year-over-year employee count by 36 percent, to nearly 37,800 total employees. The amount of money it spends on such “general and administrative costs” has multiplied nearly six times over, to more than $4 billion from a little under $800 million this time a year ago.

    • Facebook Surges After Sales Beat Estimates

      The better-than-expected revenue indicates that users and advertisers haven’t been turned off by a series of privacy breaches, scandals and questions about the company’s influence on political discourse. Facebook’s business has remained resilient mostly on the strength of its sprawling network of 2.7 billion average monthly users and its ability to let marketers precisely target them with ads.

    • If You Use Alexa, Amazon Employees Probably Know Where You Live

      The Alexa team at Amazon, which reviews users’ Alexa commands, has access to location data of customers and they can easily find a user’s home address if they want to.

      The revelation was made in a Bloomberg report where five unnamed employees familiar with the program confirmed the same to the publication.

    • Amazon’s Alexa Team Can Access Users’ Home Addresses

      Team members with access to Alexa users’ geographic coordinates can easily type them into third-party mapping software and find home residences, according to the employees, who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program.

    • Private daycare kids outfitted with fitness trackers

      “In eastern and northern Finland, for example, students travel long distances to school and cannot walk or cycle there. Organised sports activities are not as commonly available [to kids] in some places as they are in others,” she explained.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Harvard Business prof calls on US unions to be more hands-on role with workers
    • ICE, CBP Want To Sit With The Adults, Angling For Entrance Into The Intelligence Communit

      That’s what part of the letter states. The rest of it, however, isn’t nearly as clear. As Woodruff points out, Glawe’s answer is filled with jargon, making it difficult to parse ICE/CBP’s links to the IC. But there’s enough contained in the letter to make it appear as though ICE/CBP are doing exactly the thing David Glawe says they’re not doing. The letter refers to ICE’s “enhanced intelligence capabilities,” which include “collection.” This could be referring to some unreported programs ICE is running or new tech it’s deployed. But it also could mean what it says literally: that ICE is tapping into the IC’s collections.

      This densely-worded flow of contradictions has raised concerns in the civil liberties community. (It should raise concerns elsewhere, but it almost always starts here.) What it sounds like is potentially-unlawful domestic surveillance.

    • We’re Investigating How Insurance Gaps Endanger Mothers. This Is Why.

      As many as 13% of these deaths occur six or more weeks after a woman gives birth, and a rising number are linked to chronic conditions such as cardiac-related illnesses and mental health disorders.

      It’s no coincidence that many American mothers lack adequate health insurance during this critical period of their lives, when access to medical care can mean the difference between life and death.

      Nowhere is this more apparent than with Medicaid, the publicly funded health insurance program that pays for nearly half of all births in this country. The federal government requires every state to offer Medicaid to low-income women during pregnancy. But hundreds of thousands of mothers every year are kicked off the program just 60 days after giving birth, turning the safety net into a cliff.

    • In 10 Years, Half Of Middle-Income Elders Won’t Be Able To Afford Housing, Medical Care

      In 10 years, more than half of middle-income Americans age 75 or older will not be able to afford to pay for yearly assisted living rent or medical expenses, according to a study published Wednesday in Health Affairs.

      The researchers used demographic and income data to project estimates of a portion of the senior population, those who will be 75 or older in 2029, with a focus on those in the middle-income range — currently $25,001 to $74,298 per year for those ages 75 to 84.

      And it doesn’t look good for that group because of the rising costs of housing and health care. The researchers estimated that the number of middle-income elders in the U.S. will nearly double, growing from 7.9 million to 14.4 million by 2029. They will make up the biggest share of seniors, at 43%.

      By 2029, more than half of the middle-income seniors will have annual financial resources of $60,000 or less, even if the equity in their homes is included. Projections put the average annual assisted living and medical expenses cost in 10 years at $62,000, meaning that a majority of the middle-income seniors then will not be able to afford an assisted living facility.

      Middle-income seniors are a group that Beth Burnham Mace, one of the study’s authors, said has been often overlooked when policymakers and legislators think about housing and care for aging Americans.

      “The low-income cohort has been taken care of by tax subsidies, while the high-income cohort is largely self-sufficient. But the middle-income seniors have been ignored,” said Mace, who is chief economist at the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care, a nonprofit research group.

    • Trump administration forces UN to water down anti-rape resolution after veto threat

      The United Nations was forced to water down a resolution on combating rape in conflict-torn nations after the Trump administration threatened to veto the measure over language referring to reproductive health.

      [...]

      UN officials fought the move. Primila Patten, the UN special representative on sexual violence in conflict, told The Guardian Monday that it would be a “huge contradiction that you are talking about a survivor-centered approach and you do not have language on sexual and reproductive healthcare services, which is for me the most critical.”

      But the Trump administration won out, leaving European allies furious.

      “We deeply regret the language on services for survivors of sexual violence, recognizing the acute need for those services to include comprehensive reproductive and separate sexual healthcare,” Tariq Ahmad, the United Kingdom’s special representative on preventing sexual violence in conflict, told The Guardian. “If we are to have a survivor-centred approach, we cannot ignore this important priority.”

      French permanent representative to the UN Francois Delattre said the country was “dismayed by the fact that one state has demanded the removal of the reference to sexual and reproductive health … going against 25 years of gains for women’s rights in situations of armed conflict.”

    • Criminalizing Sex Workers Drives Rape and Gender-Based Police Violence

      When talking about sex workers and their occupation, even self-proclaimed feminists look to the police as a way to “serve and protect” those who may be vulnerable. In reality, the use of police violence against sex workers is rampant and often rooted in racism, transphobia, homophobia and misogyny. In this excerpt of Revolting Prostitutes: The Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights, we learn where and how sex work is criminalized and how it keeps marginalized people vulnerable to those in power.
      Mainstream feminism too often puts ‘police violence’ and ‘male violence against women’ into different conceptual categories — if, indeed, it considers police violence to be a topic of feminist concern at all. This is especially the case for the violence that is ‘normalised’ as part of policing: arrests, most obviously, but also violations such as intimate searches, and harassment such as stop-and-frisk. The result is that police violence gets left out of mainstream feminist anti-violence work. However, when we think of police violence not only as state violence but also (often) as male violence against women, the criminalisation of prostitution comes into focus in a new way: as a key driver of male violence against women.

      The infrastructure of criminalisation saturates our political consciousness. It is the bobby on the beat, the jail on the Monopoly board, the crime-drama TV show (with its inevitable murdered prostitute), the car-chase footage on the news. In this saturation, such images are rendered mundane, sidelining questions of the legitimacy or purpose of these modes of control. As Angela Davis writes, the prison ‘is one of the most important features of our image environment,’ yet it functions ideologically as an abstract site into which undesirables are deposited, relieving us of the responsibility of thinking about the real issues afflicting those communities from which prisoners are drawn in such disproportionate numbers. This is the ideological work that the prison performs — it relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism and, increasingly, global capitalism.

    • What Happens When Judges Police Themselves In Secret? Not Much

      Over the past two decades, more than 1,000 ethics complaints have been lodged against South Carolina judges who handle the state’s major cases in circuit court.

      Beyond mere courtroom disputes, the complaints contain serious concerns about abuse of office, including allegations of influence peddling or judges mishandling conflicts of interest.

      The number of judges punished publicly as a result: zero.

      A judicial ethics watchdog created in 1997 is supposed to aggressively monitor misconduct on the bench. But instead, the system run largely by judges shields the accused and buries complaints, an investigation by The Post and Courier and ProPublica found.

      The Commission on Judicial Conduct shares its work with no one — not even complainants, who receive brief letters telling them when a case has been closed. In thin annual reports, it acknowledges the number of complaints and the type of alleged offenses, but it offers no details.

      Unlike in other states, including South Carolina’s neighbors, it’s nearly impossible for the public to know how seriously allegations against the state’s judges are taken.

    • Trump’s Crusade Against Women Goes Global

      Before he became president, Donald Trump described himself as pro-choice. Now, he can’t do enough to deny women control of their own bodies. Marching in lockstep with Vice President Mike Pence and some of the most anti-choice members of his right-wing coalition, Trump has gone global in his crusade, watering down a United Nations Security Council resolution aimed at stopping rape and sexual violence in war. His acting U.N. ambassador threatened to veto any resolution containing language referring to “reproductive health.” The goal of the demand, most observers agree, is to ensure that women who are raped in war should not receive any help terminating pregnancies. This episode is just the most recent in the accelerating and increasingly successful campaign to criminalize abortion, waged by a vocal, well-funded minority in this country.

      For close to half a century, the right to a safe, legal abortion has been guaranteed by the Supreme Court’s landmark Roe v. Wade decision. For many years, the divided court consistently reaffirmed Roe v. Wade. With the surprise retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, though, and his replacement with controversial, conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the balance on the court has shifted markedly to the right, and the future of Roe is entirely uncertain.

      Confident that the current Supreme Court would now overturn Roe v. Wade if given a chance, anti-choice activists and their allies in Republican-controlled state legislatures are pushing a new wave of anti-abortion bills. This will set the stage, they hope, for a Supreme Court decision eliminating a woman’s right to privacy and to make her own health care decisions, enshrined in Roe v. Wade.

    • Maryland’s Terrible Cyberbullying Law Gets Worse With The Addition Of Jail Sentences For Inducing Suicide Attempts

      Well, let’s hope it’s not a “template for national legislation.” It’s a bad law, as laws named after dead people often are. No matter how many minors are locked up, it won’t make her death any less of a senseless tragedy.

      The law [PDF] won’t just target kids, of course. But it’s built around the death of a child, so it will most often be wielded against children. The alteration of an existing cyberharassment law comes with a possible ten-year jail sentence attached.

      This critical alteration is added to a cyberbullying law that’s already filled with vague terms and allows prosecutors to decide what’s harassing or annoying — or in the case of the add-on, what has pushed someone to commit suicide. The original “Grace’s law” already created a hotline of sorts for state government employees to directly pressure Facebook to remove posts deemed to have “no societal value.” This amendment has been added solely to create a lengthier sentence for electronic communications tied to someone’s suicide. The existing vague definitions haven’t been altered, which means there’s a lot of grey area prosecutors can explore.

    • 14 States Still Have Laws Meant to Limit Poor Families’ Sizes

      The first time Rachel Mulroy had to turn to Massachusetts’s cash welfare program, known in the state as Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), her first daughter was two-and-a-half months old and Mulroy was fleeing an abusive relationship. She had been relying on family for financial support. “At some point, people had their own bills that they had to pay and I still couldn’t find any work,” she told Truthout. So she enrolled in TAFDC. The aid money wasn’t much — just the “bare minimum” to cover her needs, she said — but it got her through until she found a job a few months later.

      However, since Mulroy’s new job was only a seasonal minimum wage retail position with a fluctuating schedule, it wasn’t enough. The lack of steady financial resources pushed her back to her former partner, who said he would only support her if she got back together with him. She decided it was better for her daughter if she went back to him and avoided raising her in “extreme poverty.” About a year later she had her second daughter.

      Yet the abuse only escalated and ended up worse than the first time around. Mulroy once again made the difficult decision to leave a violent situation, but knew she would need TAFDC’s support to get by. She didn’t want to “stay on the system” — she just needed something until she could get a job, she said.

    • Ex-Officer Sentenced to 25 Years in Black Motorist’s Killing

      A former Florida police officer was sentenced to 25 years in prison Thursday for the fatal on-duty shooting of a black musician whose SUV had broken down after a late-night concert.

      Former Palm Beach Gardens officer Nouman Raja was the first person in Florida in nearly 30 years to be convicted and sentenced for an on-duty killing — and one of only a few nationwide.

      The 41-year-old defendant was sentenced by Circuit Judge Joseph Marx as family and friends of the 31-year-old victim, Corey Jones, looked on in a hushed courtroom jammed with supporters on both sides.

      Raja was convicted last month of manslaughter and attempted murder in Jones’ death. Marx on Thursday imposed a sentence of 25 years on each count, to be served concurrently.

    • Trump’s Attacks on Census Go Well Beyond Citizenship Question

      This week, the Supreme Court heard arguments as to whether or not the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the decennial census. The malicious intent of this question ought to be glaringly apparent. When a nativist administration — which has from the get-go hammered at the rights of immigrants, especially those who are poor and of color, and which has unleashed federal agencies to do their worst against vast numbers of people — asks such a question, it does so in the hope that it will scare immigrants away from participating in the census. Why is that important? Because both political representation and the flow of federal resources are largely dependent on population estimates. If an immigrant-heavy state such as California ends up with fewer residents participating, its official population suddenly dips, it is awarded fewer congressional seats, and fewer tax dollars flow toward its infrastructure investments and an array of other public expenditures. Scare enough immigrants into invisibility, and you can thus dramatically shift the political dynamics of the country.

      But while the citizenship question is now in the spotlight, it is actually only one of several ways in which the Trump team, with active help from the GOP in Congress, has deliberately sought to undermine the functioning of the Census and the reliability of its findings.

    • Appeals Court: Chalking Tires For Parking Enforcement Violates The Fourth Amendment

      A rather surprising conclusion has been reached by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals: a common parking enforcement tool of the trade may be unconstitutional.

      Not everyone who’s been ticketed multiple times for parking violations has made a federal case of it. Alison Taylor did, though, arguing that Saginaw, Michigan’s practice of “chalking” tires was a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. Taylor had been ticketed fifteen times when she decided to sue. The court sides with her, finding that marking tires to determine whether a vehicle has been parked too long constitutes not just a search, but an unreasonable one, under the Fourth Amendment.

    • Alavaro Bedoya Highlights the Critical Connection between Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

      Earlier this month, Georgetown Law Professor Alvaro Bedoya delivered the U.S. Senator Dennis Chavez Memorial Lecture in Law & Civil Rights at The University of New Mexico School of Law, titled “Privacy and Civil Rights in the Age of Facebook, ICE, and the NSA.” His remarks neatly encapsulated many of the reasons why we at EFF work to challenge state surveillance. Put simply, privacy is a public value that enables freedom of expression. Without it, our democracy stands at risk, as do communities that have long confronted bias and discrimination.

      Professor Bedoya’s comments trace the historical arc of the resistance to the McCarthy era in Congress, which he suggests started with the support of free speech shown by Senator Dennis Chavez (D-NM) in the face of McCarthy’s crackdown on freedom of expression. The very first U.S.-born Latino member of the Senate, Chavez argued in defense of dissent and challenged McCarthy at a crucial time when others were unwilling.

    • Economists Warn Trump’s Sanctions Targeting Venezuela ‘A Death Sentence for Tens of Thousands of People’

      Two American economists warn that U.S. sanctions targeting Venezuela “are a death sentence for tens of thousands of people” and that the nation’s humanitarian crisis will worsen as long as the sanctions continue.

      Since August of 2017, President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions that “have inflicted, and increasingly inflict, very serious harm to human life and health, including an estimated more than 40,000 deaths from 2017–2018,” write Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs.

      Their paper—entitled Economic Sanctions as Collective Punishment: The Case of Venezuela (pdf)—was published Thursday by the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), and comes as Trump continues to back opposition leader Juan Guaidó’s effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Why Turning on HTTP/2 Was a Mistake.

      Remember how I said HTTP/2 adds multiplexing? Well, with HTTP/2, the browser can now send all HTTP requests concurrently over a single connection. From the web client’s perspective, this is great. In theory, the client should get all the resources it needs quicker since it no longer has to wait for responses from the server before making additional requests. However, in practice, multiplexing substantially increased the strain on our servers. First, because they received requests in large batches instead of smaller, more spread-out batches. And secondly, because with HTTP/2, the requests were all sent together—instead of staggered like they were with HTTP/1.1—so their start times were closer together, which meant they were all likely to time out.

    • Why They Use curl

      You most probably already know why you would use curl and if I’m right, you’re also a fan of using the right tool for the job. But do you know why others use curl and why they switch from other solutions to relying on curl for their current and future data transfers? Let me tell you the top reasons I’m told by users.

    • AT&T Settles Lawsuit Over ‘Fake 5G,’ Won’t Change A Thing

      Big wireless carriers haven’t been exactly honest when it comes to the looming fifth-generation wireless standard (5G). Eager to use the improvements to charge higher rates and sell new gear, carriers and network vendors are dramatically over-hyping where the service is actually available, and what it can actually do. Some, like AT&T, have gone so far as to actively mislead customers by pretending that its existing 4G networks are actually 5G. AT&T took this to the next level recently by issuing phone updates that change the 4G icon to “5GE” on customer phones, despite the fact that actual 5G isn’t really available.

    • An Author-Optimized Social Network Approach

      When Facebook turned away from “the Facebook Wall”, its earliest iteration, I was fascinated by this innovation. It was no longer a bunch of different profile destinations interlinked by notifications of what people said about each other. It became an atomized webpage that looked different to everyone who saw it, depending on the quality of contributions of the linked users. The outcome was a mixed bag because the range of experiences of each visitor were so different. Some people saw amazing things, from active creators/contributors they’d linked to. Some people saw the boredom of a stagnant or overly-narrow pool of peer contributors reflected back to them. Whatever your opinion of the content of Facebook, Twitter and Reddit, as subscription services they provide tremendous utility in today’s web. They are far superior to the web-rings and Open Directory Project of the 1990s, as they are reader-driven rather than author/editor driven. 


      The experimental approach I’m going to suggest for advancement of next-generation social networks should probably happen outside the established platforms. For when experimentation is done within these services it can jeopardize the perceived user control and trust that attracted their users in the first place. 


      In a brainstorm with an entrepreneur, named Lisa, she pointed out that the most engaging and involved collaborative discussions she’d seen had taken place in Ravelry and Second Life. Knitting and creating 3D art takes an amazing amount of time investment. She posited that it may be this invested time that leads to the quality of the personal interactions that happen on such platforms. It may actually be the casualness of engagement on conventional public forums that makes those interactions more haphazard, impersonal and less constructive or considerate. Our brainstorm spread to how might more such platforms emerge to spur ever greater realization of new authorship, artistry and collaboration. We focused not on volume of people nor velocity of engagement, but rather greatest individual contribution. 


  • DRM

    • Streaming services will eclipse TV subscribers in 2020, report predicts

      Convergence Research Group says the growing popularity of an array of streaming options — ranging from Netflix and Crave to sports platform DAZN — is leading to a gradual shift in where viewers invest their entertainment dollars.

      Brahm Eiley, president of Convergence Research, suggested those changing habits will cross a benchmark by the end of 2020 as more streaming companies launch in Canada. He outlined the details in his Couch Potato report on industry trends, released Monday.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • LG offered Nokia privateer Conversant less than 1% of the standard-essential patent license fees it demands–and even that turns out unwarranted

      Privateering–the practice of large patent holders formally transferring patents to non-practicing entities that will assert them on their behalf (practically, those deals amount to agency-like arrangements in many cases)–is an issue that has been facing the mobile device industy for a number of years. Nokia and Ericsson are particularly active in that way.

      A couple of particularly aggressive privateers–Unwired Planet (mostly fed by Ericsson) and Conversant (a Nokia patent assertion partner)–are parties to a UK Supreme Court proceeding I blogged about earlier this week. One of them, Conversant, was dealt a real blow last week by the Cour d’Appel de Paris–the appeals court for the Paris region, to which all patent rulings by the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) de Paris are appealed. A panel of three appellate judges under Presiding Judge David Peyron ruled against Conversant’s appeal of a TGI ruling on several standard-essential patent (SEP) assertions by Conversant (formerly known as Core Wireless) against LG Electronics (this post continues below the document)…

      Conversant’s appeal related to a handful of patents. But for three of them, the appeals court held that Conversant failed to provide the information required to make an essentiality determination. While the appeals court declined to declare the French parts of the remaining three patents invalid, it also determined that EP0978210 on “connecting a multimode terminal to the network in a mobile communication system” nor EP0950330 on a “user terminal for mobile communications” are not standard-essential. With respect to EP’210, the court’s claim construction is so narrow that the patent can be worked around by performing a measurement of signals periodically as opposed to only in situations of poor network coverage. In any event, the 3G/4G standard specifications say that such measurement should be performed, but also state that devices may simply not do so. EP’330 was found non-essential on two different grounds, either one of which would be sufficient on its own. There choice of high-level protocols (IPv4 and IPv6) is not explicitly required by the specifications of the telecommunications standard, and it’s debatable whether IPv4 and IPv6 constitute alternative protocols as opposed to simply different versions of one protocol (the Internet Protocol = IP).

    • Trademarks

      • My new mark: “TRADEMARK 2.0”

        ersaTop sued its competitor Georgia Expo for its use of the “2.0” mark along with a longer version “PIPE & DRAPE 2.0.” These companies compete in the “pipe & drape” market, and so the only unique or distinctive part of the mark is the “2.0.” In my mind, this is like claiming ownership of “Internet Services 2.0” or “House Building 2.0.” Rights are possible, but I’d want some clear proof of distinctiveness.

        I’ll note here that the registration application was filed back in October 2015. Two days later VersaTop filed the infringement lawsuit asserting rights to the unregistered marks.

        What appears to have happened here is that VersaTop created a new connector that it called Pipe & Drape 2.0. The new approach was popular and Georgia Expo (allegedly) copied the design and also used the same name. At the time, there was no generic name for this new style and so Georgia Expo free-rode on the familiarity already created by VersaTop. See Georgia Expo’s brochures below that includes both the “PIPE & DRAPE 2.0” words and also – it turns out – photos of the VersaTop product being passed-off as those of Georgia Expo.

    • Copyrights

      • Malibu Media Wants to Dismiss Piracy Case Against IT Experts, Says They Can Hide Infringing Activity

        Adult entertainment company Malibu Media has informed the court that it wants to drop one of its piracy cases because the defendants are sophisticated IT professionals who can hide infringing activity. The defendants disagree. They want the case to continue so they can clear their names and take a good look at Malibu’s technical evidence.

      • NCSoft Has A Great Opportunity To Be Awesome And Human To ‘City Of Heroes’ Enthusiasts

        You will hopefully recall a few posts we had previously written about Blizzard pointing its considerable legal guns at fan-run World of Warcraft servers. In 2016, and again in 2018, Blizzard issued takedown notices and legal threats for two fan-run servers that were running the “vanilla” version of WoW that came out way back in 2004. With the nostalgia fad in full swing, fans of the game were interested in going back to its roots. Blizzard does not offer any vanilla experience of this sort, so fans of the game got together and offered one for themselves. Blizzard got both instances shut down.

        But in those cases, Blizzard argued that the vanilla product competed with the current iteration of the game. What if there had been no current iteration? What if World of Warcraft had simply shut down, with Blizzard no longer offering any way to play any version of it?

      • Watch: The Latest Avengers Movie Is Already On Torrent Sites, But That Won’t Stop A Torrent Of Sold Theater Tickets

        Way back in 2012, the Washington Post published an article entitled ‘Why Hollywood Is Doomed’. The thrust of the post is that the major movie studios were entirely too focused on restrictive copyright laws and draconian enforcement efforts when any simple look at Hollywood revenues would show that great movies make great amounts of money. That is the correlation that Hollywood should be focused on, not imaginary stances that every instance, or even a majority of instances, of piracy represents lost ticket revenue. The author’s example of this was the original The Avengers movie, which is nearly universally accepted as just a fantastic flick, but which was also heavily pirated. Despite the piracy, the box office take worldwide for the movie was $1.5 billion, on a budget of $220 million. It was such a triumph, in fact, that it solidified the MCU series of movies that have made so much money that throwing actual numbers around at this point is pointless.

        Fast forward to today, when Avengers: Endgame is set to release in America this week, but where it was initially released in China. The strategy behind releasing to China first was explicitly to minimize the effects of piracy in that country. That strategy doesn’t appear to have worked all that well, as the film is already on torrent sites ahead of the US release, due to several cam-versions of the film being created in China.

      • German Federal Court of Justice refers new case on communication to the public

        Is framing and displaying protected content lawfully hosted on a third-party website an act of communication to the public under Article 3 of the InfoSoc Directive if done by circumventing measures against framing taken or introduced by the rightholder?

        This, in a nutshell on which Germany’s Federal Court of Justice is seeking guidance from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in a new referral announced today. The reference number for the background national proceedings is I ZR 113/18.

        As explained in the press release [translated with the help of Google Translate], the First Civil Division of the Federal Court of Justice must decide whether a collecting society may make the conclusion of a contract on the use of digital copies of copyright works on the internet dependent on the user taking effective technical measures against so-called framing, ie against the embedding of the content stored on the server of this user and posted on its website on the website of a third party.

      • Piracy Tracking Firm MUSO Secures Additional £3.5m in Funding

        UK-based piracy tracking firm MUSO has raised an additional £3.5 million in funding from venture capital firm Harwell. The company plans to use the funds to broaden its market share while continuing to focus on the message that piracy audiences are untapped pools of wealth that should be embraced.

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    The EPO's Albert Keyack (Team Battistelli) is now in Team UPC as Vice President of Kilburn & Strode LLP; he already fills the media with lies about the UPC, as one can expect



  20. Microsoft Targets GNU/Linux Advocates With Phony Charm Offensives and Fake 'Love'

    The ways Microsoft depresses GNU/Linux advocacy and discourages enthusiasm for Software Freedom is not hard to see; it's worth considering and understanding some of these tactics (mostly assimilation-centric and love-themed), which can otherwise go unnoticed



  21. Proprietary Software Giants Tell Open Source 'Communities' That Proprietary Software Giants Are 'Friends'

    The openwashing services of the so-called 'Linux' Foundation are working; companies that are inherently against Open Source are being called "Open" and some people are willing to swallow this bait (so-called 'compromise' which is actually surrender to proprietary software regimes)



  22. Microsoft Pays the Linux Foundation for Academy Software Foundation, Which the Linux Foundation is Outsourcing to Microsoft

    Microsoft has just bought some more seats and more control over Free/Open Source software; all it had to do was shell out some 'slush funds'



  23. Links 14/9/2019: SUSE CaaS Platform, Huawei Laptops With GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  24. Links 13/9/2019: Catfish 1.4.10, GNOME Firmware 3.34.0 Release

    Links for the day



  25. Links 12/9/2019: GNU/Linux at Huawei, GNOME 3.34 Released

    Links for the day



  26. Links 12/9/2019: Manjaro 18.1 and KaOS 2019.09 Releases

    Links for the day



  27. EPO: Give Us Low-Quality Patent Applications, Patent Trolls Have Use for Those

    What good is the EPC when the EPO feels free to ignore it and nobody holds the EPO accountable for it? At the moment we're living in a post-EPC Europe where the only thing that counts is co-called 'products' (i.e. quantity, not quality).



  28. Coverage for Sponsors: What the Linux Foundation Does is Indistinguishable From Marketing Agencies' Functions

    The marketing agency that controls the name "Linux" is hardly showing any interest in technology or in journalism; it's just buying media coverage for sponsors and this is what it boils down to for the most part (at great expense)



  29. Watch Out, Linus Torvalds: Microsoft Bought Tons of Git Repositories and Now It Goes After Linux

    Microsoft reminds us how E.E.E. tactics work; Microsoft is just hijacking its competition and misleading the market (claiming the competition to be its own, having "extended" it Microsoft's way with proprietary code)



  30. Links 11/9/2019: Acer in LVFS, RawTherapee 5.7 and Qt 5.12.5 Released

    Links for the day


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