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06.18.19

Links 18/6/2019: CentOS 8 Coming Soon, DragonFly BSD 5.6 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Slimbook’s New All-in-One Linux PC Looks a Little Bit Familiar…

      Spanish Linux computer company Slimbook has unveiled its brand new all-in-one “Apollo” Linux PC — and it looks… Well, it looks familiar.

      The Apollo AIO swaps the curved screen of its immediate predecessor for a 23.6-inch IPS LED display running at a decent 1920×1080 resolution. The screen is apparently a “crystal coated panel” that improves the appearance of colours.

      Internally, the AIO is configurable according to needs. There’s a choice of Intel i5-8500 and Intel i7-8700 processor, up to 32GB RAM, integrated Intel UHD 630 4K graphics, and a veritable smorgasbord of storage options.

  • Server

    • Why Chefs Collaborate in the Kitchen

      In a large commercial kitchen, for example hotels or cafeterias, chefs collaborate to create the recipes and meals. Sure, there is more than enough work for one person, and tasks are divided into chopping, mixing, cleaning, garnishing; but the recipe is collaboratively created.

      Suppose one chef broke away and created his or her own recipe? How would the kitchen maintain standards, tastes and reputation? Developing software using open source principles follows a similar theory.

      [...]

      Red Hat is the second largest corporate contributor to the Linux kernel. This means Red Hat engineers and support staff are well versed and able to resolve customer issues involving the Linux kernel. Every application container includes part of the Linux distribution and relies on the Linux kernel, which is the center of the Linux Operating System.

    • CentOS 8 Status 17-June-2019

      Since the release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (on 07-May) we’ve been looking into the tools that we use to build CentOS Linux. We’ve chosen to use the Koji buildsystem for RPMs, paired with the Module Build Service for modules, delivered through a distribution called Mbox.

      Mbox allows us to run the Koji Hub (the central job orchestrator), and the Module Build Service in an instance of OKD that we maintain specifically for our buildsystem work. We have 2 instances of mbox; one for the primary architectures (x86_64, ppc64le, and aarch64), and one for the secondary architecture (armhfp). OKD lets us run those instances on the same hardware but in separate namespaces. The builder machines are separate from the OKD cluster, and connect back to the individual buildsystems that they’re assigned to.

    • CentOS 8.0 Is Looking Like It’s Still Some Weeks Out

      For those eager to see CentOS 8.0 as the community open-source rebuild of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0, progress is being made but it looks like the release is still some weeks out.

      There’s been the Wiki page detailing the state of affairs for CentOS 8.0. New today is a blog post summing up the current status. Progress is being made both on building the traditional RHEL8 RPM packages as well as the newer modules/streams. Koji is being used to build the RPMs while the Module Build Service with Mbox is handling the modules.

    • NVIDIA Brings CUDA to Arm, Enabling New Path to Exascale Supercomputing

      International Supercomputing Conference — NVIDIA today announced its support for Arm CPUs, providing the high performance computing industry a new path to build extremely energy-efficient, AI-enabled exascale supercomputers.

    • NVIDIA Delivering CUDA To Linux On Arm For HPC/Servers

      NVIDIA announced this morning for ISC 2019 that they are bringing CUDA to Arm beyond their work already for supporting GPU computing with lower-power Tegra SoCs.

    • Nvidia pushes ARM supercomputing

      Graphics chip maker Nvidia is best known for consumer computing, vying with AMD’s Radeon line for framerates and eye candy. But the venerable giant hasn’t ignored the rise of GPU-powered applications that have little or nothing to do with gaming. In the early 2000s, UNC researcher Mark Harris began work popularizing the term “GPGPU,” referencing the use of Graphics Processing Units for non-graphics-related tasks. But most of us didn’t really become aware of the non-graphics-related possibilities until GPU-powered bitcoin-mining code was released in 2010, and shortly thereafter, strange boxes packed nearly solid with high-end gaming cards started popping up everywhere.

    • At ISC: DDN Launches EXA5 for AI, Big Data, HPC Workloads
    • IBM Makes Takes Another Big Step To Hybrid Computing

      Today, IBM announced the ability to leverage its unique turnkey operating environment, IBM i, and its AIX UNIX operating systems on IBM Cloud. Both OSs debuted in the 1980s and have a long history with many IBM customers. In addition, IBM i remains one of the most automated, fully integrated, and low-maintenance operating environments. Extending both OSs to IBM Cloud will allow customers to expand their resources on-demand, to migrate to the cloud, to leverage the latest Power9 servers, and to leverage IBM’s extensive resources. IBM is rolling out the service first in North America for customers using IBM i or AIX on Power servers. In conjunction with the extension of the hybrid cloud platform, IBM also announced a program to validate business partners with Power Systems expertise.

    • Red Hat welcomes Oracle to the oVirt community

      On behalf of the oVirt community, its contributors and Red Hat, we welcome Oracle to the oVirt community. oVirt is the open source component that enables management of the Linux Kernel Virtual Machine (KVM), the hypervisor for virtualized environments running on the Linux kernel.

      At Red Hat, we believe that upstream collaboration drives innovation, even among competitors. To this end, Red Hat has a 10+ year tenure of thought leadership, contributions and collaboration in the oVirt and KVM communities. Our development and release processes are designed to ensure that Red Hat contributions to these communities are pushed upstream so the benefits gained from our efforts are available to the community at large and available for any and all to draw from.

    • IBM-Powered Supercomputers Lead Semi-Annual Rankings
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 5.1.11

      I’m announcing the release of the 5.1.11 kernel.

      All users of the 5.1 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.1.y git tree can be found at:
      git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.1.y
      and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:

      https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s…

    • Linux 4.19.52
    • Linux 4.14.127
    • Linux 4.9.182
    • Linux 4.4.182
    • AMD Posts 459 Linux Kernel Patches Providing Navi Support – 412k+ Lines Of Code

      As we’ve been expecting, AMD’s open-source developers today posted their set of patches enabling Navi (10) support within their AMDGPU DRM kernel driver. Bringing up the Navi support in kernel-space are 459 patches amounting to more than four-hundred thousand lines of code, not counting the work done to LLVM as part of their shader compiler back-end or the yet-to-be-published OpenGL/Vulkan driver patches.

      This big code addition is necessary given all the changes to Navi10/RDNA but, yes, a lot of the changes are automated register headers. This initial open-source Navi GPU support includes the core driver enablement, display support using their new DCN2 “Display Core Next 2″, GFX10 graphics and compute, SDMA5 system DMA, VCN2 “Video Core Next 2″ multimedia encode/decode, and power management.

    • Linux Plumbers Conference: Toolchains Microconference Accepted into 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference

      We are pleased to announce that the Toolchains Microconference has been accepted into the 2019 Linux Plumbers Conference! The Linux kernel may
      be one of the most powerful systems around, but it takes a powerful toolchain to make that happen. The kernel takes advantage of any feature
      that the toolchains provide, and collaboration between the kernel and toolchain developers will make that much more seamless.

    • A beginner’s guide to Linux permissions

      One of the main benefits of Linux systems is that they are known to be less prone to security vulnerabilities and exploits than other systems. Linux definitely gives users more flexibility and granular controls over its file systems’ security permissions. This may imply that it’s critical for Linux users to understand security permissions. That isn’t necessarily true, but it’s still wise for beginning users to understand the basics of Linux permissions.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Samuel Iglesias: My last VK-GL-CTS contributions

        Even if you are not a gamer, odds are that you already heard about Vulkan graphics and compute API that provides high-efficency, cross-platform access to modern GPUs. This API is designed by the Khronos Group and it is supported by a new set of drivers specifically designed to implement the different functions and features defined by the spec (at the time of writing this post, it is version 1.1).

      • Radeon Software for Linux 19.20 Brings RHEL 8.0 Support

        Quietly released last week was Radeon Software for Linux 19.20, the latest quarterly update to AMD’s packaged Linux driver that consists of their AMDGPU-PRO binary driver option as well as the AMDGPU-Open packaged components using a snapshot of Mesa.

        Radeon Software for Linux 19.20 only has a sole change listed: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 support and any other binary compatible downstream like the yet-to-be-released CentOS 8.0. That’s it in terms of the official changes but should be also pulling in a newer snapshot of Mesa and their binary OpenGL/Vulkan drivers, newer DRM kernel driver code, etc.

  • Applications

    • How to use MapTool to build an interactive dungeon RPG

      In my previous article on MapTool, I explained how to download, install, and configure your own private, open source virtual tabletop so you and your friends can play a role-playing game (RPG) together. MapTool is a complex application with lots of features, and this article demonstrates how a game master (GM) can make the most of it.

    • Stratos: A rich web based UI for managing and monitoring multi-cloud PaaS

      Stratos allows administrators and developers to monitor and manage SUSE Cloud Application Platform and the applications deployed to it. It supports management of multiple deployments of SUSE Cloud Application Platform and Cloud Foundry across different private and public cloud providers. It includes Prometheus for monitoring of both Cloud Foundry applications and the underlying Kubernetes environment on which SUSE Cloud Application Platform is deployed. Neil showcased the extensions to Stratos that take it beyond just a UI for Cloud Foundry to allow it to present metrics and data from Kubernetes.

    • Use Xournal++ to Take Handwritten Notes or Annotate PDFs on Linux

      Xournal++ (which goes by the package name xournalpp) is a free, open-source and fully featured note taking tool for Windows, macOS and Linux desktops.

      The app makes it easy to create new handwritten notes, draw diagrams and doodles, and sketch out thoughts. A variety of different paper types are available, including regular lined, squared/graph, and blank.

      As Xournal++ is designed for note-taking and sketching it’s best used with a graphics tablet or stylus, but you can use a regular keyboard and mouse too.

      Keen to learn more?

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Project Zero Deaths, a new free to play online platform shooter has Linux support

        A free game to start the day with, as the multiplayer platform shooter Project Zero Deaths recently entered Early Access and it includes Linux support.

      • The peaceful building RPG ‘Littlewood’ is now available in Early Access with Linux same-day support

        Littlewood from developer Sean Young arrived on Steam in Early Access today and it looks like a very promising and peaceful RPG. Funded thanks to the help of nearly four thousand people on Kickstarter, Littlewood is set after the world has been saved and you’re the hero tasked with rebuilding a town.

      • Ravenfield, the fun single-player FPS now has a built-in map editor and destructible object support

        The amount of content being added into Ravenfield is quite impressive and now anyone can easily make their own maps for it, without the need of Unity.

        Early Access Build 16 went live recently, with a custom-made map editor that works on Linux and it’s surprisingly easy to use. You no longer need the Ravenfield mod tools for Unity, making it far more accessible. It comes with all of the official Ravenfield props, meaning you can place down all sorts of things. When ready, it also has Steam Workshop support built in for you to publish it.

      • Science Fiction point-and-click Encodya has a demo released, will go to Kickstarter

        The background story of the upcoming science fiction point and click game Encodya is the Kickstarter campaign for the animation short movie Robot Will Protect You. Getting over 23.000€ from an initial target of 8.750€, it reached several stretch goals, the last one being “We’ll start developing a game!”. And so they did…

        The game, named “ENCODYA”, grabbed my attention in a Facebook group about point and click adventures. Drawn by the art, I asked if a Linux version would be possible. Indeed it was, and I was asked if I could test it. As it’s using Unity, I expected it to a) fail on trying to play a video, b) show graphical problems or c) just run like the Windows version. First a) it was. But the author was eager to make the Linux version and a fix was attempted. After struggling with finding the right output options for the studio’s intro video, we found that everything seems to be working just like on Windows. So Hooray for the game engines supporting the OS of our choice!

      • Overcooked! 2 – Night of the Hangry Horde extends one of the best co-op games even further

        Overcooked! 2, an absolutely brilliant game to play in co-op just recently got even bigger with the Night of the Hangry Horde DLC now available. You can either buy it directly or if you have the Season Pass, it’s another that’s included.

        Sounds like quite an amusing DLC, as it comes with a new Horde Mode which actually looks pretty good. More than just a silly name, it introduces some new game mechanics as you try to repel waves of undead ingredients across eight levels. On top of that there’s twelve additional levels, nine new kitchens, and four new chefs to pick from.

      • The Stimulating Simulator Sale at the Humble Store is live, some good Linux games are in

        Here’s a sale to start your week with! The Stimulating Simulator Sale is now live on the Humble Store until June 21st.

        As expected, there’s a rather varied selection as what makes a “Simulator” seems to have a pretty broad definition and some are pushing it a bit.

      • PyGamer open source handheld gaming starter kit $59.95

        Expanding their PyGamer offerings, Adafruit has now made available the PyGamer Starter Kit priced at $59.95 providing everything you need to create your very own fully functional open source pocket handheld games console that can run CircuitPython, MakeCode Arcade or Arduino games you write yourself. Equipped with a 1.8″ 160×128 color TFT display with dimmable backlight, dual-potentiometer analog stick and buttons.

        On the rear of the device Adafruit have also thoughtfully included a full Feather-compatible header socket set, enabling those interested to plug-in any FeatherWing to expand the capabilities of the PyGamer. There are also 3 STEMMA connectors – two 3-pin with ADC/PWM capability and one 4-pin that connects to I2C which can also be used for Grove sensors. Checkout the PyGamer Starter Kit in the video below.

      • Atari VCS Linux-powered gaming console now available for pre-order for $249

        At the E3 Expo, the largest video game trade event in the world, which took place recently in Los Angeles, US, Atari made a big announcement concerning advances of the Atari VCS. For those new to Atari VCS, it is a home gaming and entertainment system.

        Gamers can enjoy Atari’s world of all-new and classic games, including Atari games, streaming multimedia and personal apps; or can easily make their own.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Konsole and Wayland

        Wayland needs a different mindset when you are programming, you cannot just assume things works the same way as in as X11. One of my first patches to konsole was the rewrite of the Tab Bar, and a different way to deal with Drag & Drop of the tabs. In my mind – and how wrong I was – I could assume that I was dragging to a konsole main window by querying the widget below the mouse. Nope, this will not work. As Wayland has security by default, it will not give you anything global. What if I was a spy app trying to record another one to send to NSA? Security in Wayland is much stricter, and because of that I had to redo my drag & drop patch.

  • Distributions

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 Stable Release is out now and Check what’s new

        OpenMandriva team proudly announced the new release of OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 on 16 June, 2019.

        It is identical to OpenMandriva Lx 4.0 RC, which was released a month ago (12th May, 2019). It’s Code name is Nitrogen.

        OpenMandriva Lx is a Linux distribution forked from Mandriva Linux. OpenMandriva Lx is a cutting edge, desktop-oriented Linux distribution, which is featuring with KDE Plasma as the default desktop environment.

      • PCLinuxOS 2019.06 latest Stable Release is ready for Download

        PCLinuxOS team proudly announced the new release of PCLinuxOS 2019.06 on 16 June, 2019.

        It’s a free and beginner-friendly, desktop-oriented Linux distribution featuring with latest KDE Plasma 5.16 and MATE 1.22.1.

    • Fedora

      • Why it’s useful to use a deskop on ppc64le

        I want provide a short example what I’ve met in the past weeks when dog-fooding a ppc64le Fedora desktop environment on my OpenPOWER based Talos II. We have experienced segfaults coming from a smashed stack in some desktop components, although no one using the mainstream arches noticed them. The toolchain guys will be able to explain why eg. x86_64 is immune (or just lucky), but the problems were real issues in the projects’ source code. The common denominator was an incorrect callback signature for GTK+ based apps, the callbacks expected different parameters than were passed by their callers. And this kind of inconsistency can’t be found during compile time. IMHO it opens possibilities for some static analysis before producing the binaries by looking at the signal definitions in GTK+ and what functions/callbacks are then attached to them in the projects. Or for some AI that will analyze the crashes and look for the common pattern and recommend a solution. And what’s the conclusion – as usually, heterogenity helps to improve quality :-)

      • Stories from the amazing world of release-monitoring.org #6

        In the dungeons bellow the-new-hotness island was impenetrable darkness. It looks like somebody tried to destroy every source of light. Only my own levitating fireball was shedding some light around. Damage was still visible on walls and furniture, but most of it is now repaired to function properly. I’m glad that you are here with me, otherwise it will be a scary experience. But you probably want to hear what happened.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • DJI spices up Matrice drones with 2nd Gen Manifold computer running Ubuntu with snaps

            Canonical announced Ubuntu snaps support for DJI’s second-gen Manifold companion computer for its Matrice drones. The Manifold 2 offers a choice of Jetson TX2 or Intel Coffee Lake-U chips.

            DJI’s industry leading drones such as its Phantom and Matrice models are directed by flight controllers that run a proprietary operating system. Yet, in 2015, the company announced a Manifold development computer for its Matrice 100 drone that runs Ubuntu on an Nvidia Tegra K1. A few weeks ago, DJI unveiled a more powerful Manifold 2 computer with a choice of Nvidia Jetson TX2 and Intel Core i7-8550U processors (see farther below). Canonical has followed up by announcing that not only will Ubuntu 16.04 return as the pre-installed OS for the device, but that it will include support for Ubuntu snaps application packages.

          • The Fridge: Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 583
          • Debian’s Apt 1.9 Moves To Experimental, Coming To Ubuntu 19.10

            Debian’s Apt packaging system was tagged today as 1.9.0 experimental and is already in the process of being added to Ubuntu 19.10. Apt 1.9 is working towards the eventual Apt 2.0 release.

            The Apt 1.9 packaging system is a big update that does include API/ABI breakage, including necessary changes to the Python and Perl interfaces. Apt 1.9 is working towards an eventual Apt 2.0 release, but for now Apt 1.9 is what’s being targeted by Ubuntu 19.10 and will be available via Debian experimental.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cloudflare’s new open-source project helps anyone obtain truly random numbers

    Randomness sits at the heart of everything we do online

  • Algorand, a Proof-of-Stake Blockchain Company, Goes Open Source

    Algorand, a permission-less, proof-of-stake blockchain and technology company, announced that their node repository is now open source.

    Part of Algorand’s ongoing mission to develop and promote a decentralized blockchain, the company has made several of its projects open source over the past year, including a Verifiable Random Function and their Developer SDKs.

  • Embracing open source could be a big competitive advantage for businesses

    As companies chase the transformational technologies that will deliver exponential returns, they should turn their attention from the “what” to the “how.” One type of software underpins many of the most exciting, cutting-edge innovations today, including AI, cloud, blockchain, and quantum computing: open source.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFly BSD 5.6

      DragonFly version 5.6 brings an improved virtual memory system, updates to radeon and ttm, and performance improvements for HAMMER2.

      The details of all commits between the 5.4 and 5.6 branches are available in the associated commit messages for 5.6.0rc1 and 5.6.0.

    • DragonFlyBSD 5.6 Released With VM System, HAMMER2 In Good Shape

      DragonFlyBSD 5.6 is now available as the latest major update to this popular BSD operating system.

      DragonFlyBSD 5.6 brings the HAMMER2 file-system by default following numerous improvements this cycle to HAMMER2 to put it now in comparable/better standing than HAMMER1. HAMMER1 though remains available for those interested. I’ll have out some new HAMMER2 DragonFlyBSD benchmarks shortly.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • You Wouldn’t Download A Nuclear Reactor, But Could You?

        Scratching an exceptionally surprising entry off that list is Transatomic, who late last year uploaded the design for their TAP-520 nuclear reactor to GitHub. That’s right, now anyone with git, some uranium, and a few billion dollars of seed money can have their very own Molten Salt Reactor (MSR). Well, that was the idea at least.

        So six months after Transatomic dumped a little under 100 MB worth of reactor documentation on GitHub, is the world any closer to forkable nuclear power?

  • Programming/Development

    • Zato 3.1 Released – Open-Source Python-based API Integrations and Backend Application Server

      The newest version of Zato, the open-source Python-based enterprise API integrations platform and backend application server, is out with a lot of interesting features, changes and additions.

    • Extending Wing with Python (Part Two)

      To debug extension scripts written for Wing, you will need to set up a new project that is configured so that Wing can debug itself. The manual steps for doing this are documented in Debugging Extension Scripts. However, let’s use an extension script to do this automatically.

    • Robbie Harwood: Receiving Code Review

      From a maintainer’s perspective, that’s the primary role of code review: to ensure project quality and continued maintainability. But there’s an important secondary purpose as well: to help contributors (and potential contributors) learn and grow. In other words, receiving code review is a learning and growth opportunity, and should be approached as such.

      And so, first and foremost: code review is not a judgement on you. It’s a second set of eyes, and both of you are trying to make sure the changes are good. If they didn’t want the change in the project, they’d say so! Subtlety isn’t what’s happening here. And besides, if anyone were perfect, we would do code review.

      Which leads into: everyone needs code review. No change is too small for it, and no one is perfect. I’ve broken builds by changing only documentation, and flagged potential security issues from developers who have been coding almost as long as I’ve been alive. (And they’ve done the same to me!) That’s normal. That’s life. That’s code review.

      And it’s fine, because we don’t need it to be perfect on the first try. Contributing to open source isn’t a school exam where we get a single attempt and it’s most of the grade. We’re concerned only with improving our software, and if there’s grading at all, it’s externally imposed (e.g., by an employer).

    • Best Free Books to Learn about CoffeeScript

      CoffeeScript is a very succinct programming language that transcompiles into JavaScript, so there is no interpretation at runtime. The syntax is inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell, and implements many features from these three languages.

      CoffeeScript is closely related to JavaScript without having its eccentricities. However, CoffeeScript offers more than fixing many of the oddities of JavaScript, as it has some useful features including array comprehensions, prototype aliases and classes. It allows developers to write less code to get more done.

    • 10 PRINT Memorial in New Hampshire marks the birthplace of BASIC

      After just over 55 years, the birthplace of BASIC has been honoured with a memorial marker in New Hampshire, USA.

      Thanks to a campaign by local paper columnist David Brooks, the New Hampshire Historical Highway Marker was installed earlier this month.

      Professor John Kemeny, Maths professor Thomas Kurtz, and a group undergraduate students at Dartmouth College (pics) created BASIC (Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code). The first program ran on 1 May 1964.

    • Qt 5.12.4 Released with support for OpenSSL 1.1.1

      The update to OpenSSL 1.1.1 is important to note for users leveraging OpenSSL in their applications. We wanted to update now as the earlier version of OpenSSL runs out of support at the end of the year and some platforms, such as Android, need the new one even sooner. Unfortunately OpenSSL 1.1 is binary incompatible with 1.0, so users need to switch to the new one and repackage their applications. One important functionality enabled by OpenSSL 1.1 is TLS 1.3 bringing significant cryptography and speed improvements. As part of the change, some old and insecure crypto algorithms have been removed and support for some new crypto algorithms added. For the users not leveraging OpenSSL in their applications, no actions are needed. OpenSSL is not included in a Qt application, unless explicitly so defined by the developer.

      Going forward, Qt 5.12 LTS will receive many more patch releases throughout the coming years and we recommend all active developed projects to migrate to Qt 5.12 LTS. Qt 5.9 LTS is currently in ‘Strict’ phase and receives only the selected important bug and security fixes, while Qt 5.12 LTS is currently receiving all the bug fixes. Qt 5.6 Support has ended in March 2019, so all active projects still using Qt 5.6 LTS should migrate to a later version of Qt.

    • Qt 5.12.4 Released with support for OpenSSL 1.1.1

      Qt developers have announced the new release of Qt 5.12.4 on 17th June, 2019.

      Qt 5.12.4, the fourth patch release of Qt 5.12 LTS.

      It provides a number of bug fixes, as well as performance and other improvements.

      Also, it provides binaries build with OpenSSL 1.1.1, including the new TLS 1.3 functionality.

      Qt 5.12.4 provides around 250 bug fixes compared with the previous release of Qt 5.12.3.

      OpenSSL 1.1.1 has beenn updated since the older version of OpenSSL runs out of support at the end of the year.

      And some platforms requires OpenSSL 1.1.1 sooner like Android, etc.,

    • Building Apache Kafka Streams applications using Red Hat AMQ Streams: Part 2

      The Apache Kafka project includes a Streams Domain-Specific Language (DSL) built on top of the lower-level Stream Processor API. This DSL provides developers with simple abstractions for performing data processing operations. However, how one builds a stream processing pipeline in a containerized environment with Kafka isn’t clear. This second article in a two-part series uses the basics from the previous article to build an example application using Red Hat AMQ Streams.

      Now let’s create a multi-stage pipeline operating on real-world data and consume and visualize the data.

    • Clang “Interface Stubs” Merged For Offering Interface Libraries To ELF Shared Objects

      In addition to Clang-Scan-Deps being merged a few days ago, another new feature for LLVM’s Clang is called the Clang Interface Stubs and brings a concept from Windows/macOS over to Linux/ELF systems.

      Clang Interface Stubs allows generating stub files/libraries containing the mininal information needed to build against that library. The Clang Interface Stubs can be used for limiting access to a library’s internal systems or breaking up build dependencies thanks to the minimal approach.

    • Five Tech Companies Discuss Golang Advantages

      Since it first appeared at Google in 2009, thousands of developers (and entire businesses) have adopted the open-source coding language Go for key software-based products and services. Designed to mimic core features of C, Go’s authors sought to maximize brevity and simplicity. Today, the language’s clarity and lack of ambiguity around its syntax makes it a favorite with developers.

      We spoke with technologists at five tech companies about what they’ve built in Go, and why they chose it for those particular tools and services.

Leftovers

  • Hardware

    • US chip firms seeking to ease ban on Huawei: report

      American processor companies are lobbying the government to ease the ban on supplying components to Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technologies, a report claims.

    • U.S. chipmakers quietly lobby to ease Huawei ban: sources

      Executives from top U.S. chipmakers Intel and Xilinx Inc attended a meeting in late May with the Commerce Department to discuss a response to Huawei’s placement on the black list, one person said.

      The ban bars U.S. suppliers from selling to Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment company, without special approval, because of what the government said were national security issues.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • ‘The Story of Water’: New Video From Story of Stuff Team Delivers Short, Beautiful Smackdown of Water Privatization

      Water is a public good and belongs in public hands.

      That’s the message from a new video, The Story of Water: Who Controls the Way We Drink?, which highlights how profit-driven corporate entities leave a trail of broken promises—as well as higher costs and exacerbated inequality—when they snatch up public water systems.

      “It doesn’t have to be this way,” says the video, which was produced by The Story of Stuff Project in partnership with Corporate Accountability.

      Success stories from Philadelphia, South Bend, Indiana, and Baltimore show how municipalities can utilize different strategies to dodge privatization.

    • Interview With Oakley Shelton-Thomas On The ‘Fracking Endgame’ In The United States

      Rania Khalek and Kevin Gosztola interview Oakley Shelton-Thomas, researcher for Food and Water Watch. He was a lead author of the organization’s recent report, “Fracking Endgame: Locked Into Plastics, Pollution, and Climate Chaos.”

      The report describes how fossil fuel companies are building a “wave of new gas-fired power plants” and relying on the proliferation of plastics plants to prop up business. Industry is propping up the fracking industry.

      “Our latest research shows that their endgame is a world locked into plastics, pollution and climate chaos. In addition to the buildout of a growing pipeline network, we’ve discovered that more than 700 new facilities have been built or proposed to capitalize off a glut of cheap fracked gas,” according to the report.

      Shelton-Thomas said, “There are 364 new gas-powered plants in some point of planning and construction, and that’s underway right now. And that’s in addition 333 petrochemical facilities that are also going to become an outlet for this expansion.”

      There are around 50 liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities in development too.

    • Because ‘This Is a Public Health Crisis,’ Pennsylvania Gov. Urged to Investigate Link Between Fracking and Childhood Cancers

      More than 100 environmental groups and over 800 concerned citizens sent a letter on Monday urging Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to investigate the link between fracking and growing cancer diagnoses, citing recent reports of rare forms of childhood cancer emerging in counties located near fossil fuel development projects.

      The letter (pdf), which calls on Wolf to suspend drilling permits until a thorough investigation is conducted, comes after the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette documented nearly 70 cases of childhood and young adult cancer diagnoses in rural Pennsylvania counties.

      “This is a public health crisis that requires immediate and significant action,” reads the letter, which was signed by local and national environmental leaders, including 350.org founder Bill McKibben and Concerned Health Professionals of New York co-founder Dr. Sandra Steingraber.

      “Obviously, this high number of cancer cases among children in four counties in southwest Pennsylvania over the last eleven years is not only heartbreaking but extremely unusual,” the letter states. “Scientific evidence about the harmful toxic chemicals used in gas drilling and fracking activities strongly suggest a connection. Many of the chemicals used in these activities are known carcinogens.”

    • Skyrocketing Drug Prices Have Americans Taking Desperate Measures

      With the rising cost of health insurance premiums and prescription drugs, Americans are scrambling for ways to cover lifesaving care. Injuries and illness, whether due to freak accidents or as chronic issues, often come “at a staggeringly high financial cost,” writes Jeffrey Young in HuffPost.

      Sometimes this means Americans resort to crowdfunding their medical care. As Young explains, “more than 50 million donors contributed more than $5 billion to GoFundMe campaigns between 2010 and 2017.” For the 7.5 million Americans with diabetes who rely on insulin to survive, it might mean international travel. As Emily Rauhala reports in The Washington Post, Americans who can’t afford insulin here are making trips to Canada.

      “It felt like we were robbing the pharmacy,” said Quinn Nystrom, a Type-1 diabetic who joined a caravan driving from Minnesota to Fort Frances, Ontario. There, she paid $1,200 for a supply of insulin that would have cost $12,000 at home.

      The price of insulin has risen considerably from when Nystrom was diagnosed with diabetes as a child in the late 1990s. She told the Post that “her family paid about $15 to $20 a vial. Now, at 33, she sometimes pays more than $300 for the same amount.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Secret tripartite summit in Jerusalem

      A summit of the national security advisors from the USA, Israël and Russia has been announced in Jerusalem. The aim of this conference is to untangle the imbroglio around the Axis of Resistance, guarantee the security of all the States in the Middle East, and establish a shared suzerainty of the United States and Russia over all the actors, including Israël.

    • Where Are the Skeptics as the Drums Roll for War with Iran?

      Vijay Prashad challenges the media reality that Iran attacked the oil tankers, calling for a real investigation to uncover the truth

    • Trump Calls Newspaper Report on Russia Power Grid ‘Treason’

      President Donald Trump has lashed out at The New York Times, saying it engaged in a “virtual act of treason” for a story that said the U.S. was ramping up its cyber-intrusions into Russia’s power grid.

      The Times reported on Saturday that the U.S. has bored into Russian utility systems in an escalating campaign meant to deter future cyber activity by Russia. It comes as the U.S. looks for new ways to punish Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and prevent a recurrence.

      The Times, in its official public relations account, called Trump’s accusation “dangerous” and said it had told officials about the story before it was published and no security issues were raised.

    • U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage That Is Deadly, Illegal, and Ineffective

      While the mystery of who is responsible for sabotaging the two tankers in the Gulf of Oman remains unsolved, it is clear that the Trump administration has been sabotaging Iranian oil shipments since May 2, when it announced its intention to “bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.” The move was aimed at China, India, Japan, South Korea and Turkey, all nations that purchase Iranian oil and now face U.S. threats if they continue to do so. The U.S. military might not have physically blown up tankers carrying Iranian crude, but its actions have the same effect and should be considered acts of economic terrorists.

      The Trump administration is also committing a massive oil heist by seizing $7 billion in Venezuela’s oil assets–keeping the Maduro government from getting access to its own money. According to John Bolton, the sanctions on Venezuela will affect $11 billion worth of oil exports in 2019. The Trump administration also threatens shipping companies that carry Venezuelan oil. Two companies–one based in Liberia and the other in Greece–have already been slapped with penalties for shipping Venezuelan oil to Cuba. No gaping holes in their ships, but economic sabotage nonetheless.

      Whether in Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea or one of the 20 countries under the boot of U.S. sanctions, the Trump administration is using its economic weight to try to exact regime change or major policy changes in countries around the globe.

    • Iran Speeds Up Uranium Enrichment as Mideast Tensions Mount

      Iran will surpass the uranium stockpile limit set by its nuclear deal in the next 10 days, an official said Monday, raising pressure on Europeans trying to save the accord a year after the U.S. withdrawal lit the fuse for the heightened tensions now between Tehran and Washington.

      The announcement by Iran’s nuclear agency marked yet another deadline set by Tehran. President Hassan Rouhani already has warned Europe that a new deal needs to be in place by July 7 or the Islamic Republic would increase its enrichment of uranium.

    • The Broader View Reveals the Ugliest of Prospects

      Standing back a little and surveying the events of the last couple of weeks, gives a bleak view of the current state of western democracy.

      We have seen what appears to be the most unconvincing of false flags in the Gulf. I pointed out why it was improbable Iran would attack these particular ships. Since then we have had American military sources pointing to video evidence of a packed small Iranian boat allegedly removing a limpet mine from the ship the Iranians helped to rescue, which was somehow supposed to prove it was the Iranians who planted the alleged device. We also have had the Japanese owner specifically contradict the American account and say that the ship was hit by flying objects.

      The Iranians certainly have a strange method of bomb disposal if they carry it out using unarmoured personnel, with as many as possible crammed into a small boat in immediate contact with the “mine”. It is also hard to understand why the alleged “limpet mines” would be four feet above the waterline.

      [...]

      This blatant interference by a foreign power in the UK’s democracy is an absolute scandal. Compare the lack of media outrage at Pompeo’s intervention with the ludicrous claims made about much less high profile Russian attempts at influence. This incident provides incontrovertible proof that the world does indeed operate in the way that I have been explaining here for a decade. It is not a “conspiracy theory” that democracy is manipulated by hidden powers, it is fact. Pompeo’s description of Corbyn’s route to election as “running the gauntlet” is particularly revealing. Even more so is the cursory coverage this story was given, and I have seen no evidence to date of any MSM “journalist” attempting any follow-up investigation on the methods the US are planning to employ – or more likely already employing – against Corbyn.

      Everybody should be incandescent at this, no matter who they vote for.

      Something else which revealed the truth of the way the political world now operates, and which again did not get nearly the media attention it deserves, was Matt Kennard’s stunning revelation of the way the Guardian has been taken over by the security services. I have been explaining for years that the Guardian has become the security services’ news outlet of choice, and it is very helpful to have documentation to prove it.

    • Dominoes, Hegemonies and the Future of Humanity

      Hegemonies come in different sizes; small, medium and big; an amusing “pecking order” whose interaction can be observed on the daily news broadcasts. It also comes in different styles; softly spoken but treacherous, generous with economic assistance but containing hidden strings to hang you, belligerent with a viscous warmongering streak and lastly, schizophrenic; oscillating between all the previous styles. There are also the would-be-hegemons if given half a chance.

      More recently, the hegemony arena has, though knock-out matches, been narrowed down to one grand hegemon and a couple of runners-up, and the heat is now rising as the final tournament approaches – Let us hope it will not be too bloody and Armageddon-ish.

      Despite that, many nations continue to dream of becoming hegemons. But at the same time, they continue to concentrate on their ‘white dots’ and disregard the likelihood that they are already in the crosshairs of a bigger hegemon.

      They seem oblivious to the hegemonic ploys that undermine their political and economic structures through unending sanctions, onerous trade or military treaties, contemptuous disregard for local and international laws, negative and false news reporting, regime change tactics, false flag incidences, scaremongering, and outright threats that are occasionally translated into destructive military action. Like the proverbial deer, they are frozen in the headlights of the oncoming speeding car and wait until it is too late to save themselves.

      What happened in Yugoslavia, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Gaza, Lebanon, Somalia, Grenada, Venezuela, Argentine, Brazil, Cuba, Greece, Iran, North Korea and many other places are only the tip of the iceberg. What is likely to happen elsewhere is still being baked in the oven and will come out once done and ready. What is surprising is that, not only were the signs written on all the walls but, again, the victims failed to comprehend the messages and continued to stare at their ‘white dots’!

    • The Defense Department Is Worried About Climate Change — and Also a Huge Carbon Emitter

      cientists and security analysts have warned for more than a decade that global warming is a potential national security concern.

      They project that the consequences of global warming — rising seas, powerful storms, famine and diminished access to fresh water — may make regions of the world politically unstable and prompt mass migration and refugee crises.

      Some worry that wars may follow.

      Yet with few exceptions, the U.S. military’s significant contribution to climate change has received little attention. Although the Defense Department has significantly reduced its fossil fuel consumption since the early 2000s, it remains the world’s single largest consumer of oil — and as a result, one of the world’s top greenhouse gas emitters.

    • Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best

      The crackpot president of the United States of America has so snarled up the gangplank to truth these past 29 months that no matter how much “evidence” he and his crew produce to prove that the Iranians have been trying to blow up oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman – or not quite blow them up – the pictures have a kind of mesmeric quality about them.

      Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration photos were edited to “prove” that there were more supporters on the Washington Mall than actually went there. And now his administration, anxious to prove that the Iranians are attacking oil tankers, releases video footage of Iranians actually removing a limpet mine from the hull of a Japanese vessel.

      Well that proves it then, doesn’t it? Those pesky Iranians can’t even bomb their targets professionally – so they go back later to retrieve a mine because it probably says “Made in Iran” on the explosives.

      Because that would give them away, wouldn’t it? Then it emerges that the tanker crew believe they were attacked with airborne munitions – and mines don’t fly. The crew on another bombed ship suggest a torpedo. And on the basis of this, Washington is now “building a consensus” among its allies for the “decisive” response which Trump’s Saudi chums are demanding against Iran in revenge for these and earlier non-lethal attacks off the Emirates.

      And our own beloved foreign secretary, ever mindful that he needs a majority of the party’s most faithful 120,000 votes to make him the next Tory Ayatollah, is “confident” that those wretched Iranians were behind the mining attacks. Presumably the hojatoleslam – for so Jeremy Hunt must remain unless he becomes the Supreme Leader – also believed the doctored pictures of the crowds welcoming Trump’s presidency on the National Mall in Washington.

    • Navy Contaminates Local Groundwater and Sewer System in Maryland

      The U.S. Navy has contaminated the groundwater at Maryland’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station (NAS) with 1,137.8 parts per trillion (ppt) of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to a report published last July by the engineering firm CH2M Hill. PFAS have been associated with a variety of cancers and are known to jeopardize human reproductive health. The contamination was not reported on the Defense Department’s March 2018 report on PFAS.

      There are no restrictions currently on military or industrial PFAS discharges under either the federal Clean Water Act or the federal Clean Air Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a non-binding, non-regulatory advisory to states and municipalities of 70 ppt in drinking water. Neither the military nor chemical companies are currently required to report releases of PFAS through the federal Toxic Release Inventory. Some states, such as nearby New Jersey, have moved to fill the vacuum left by the EPA. However, Maryland does not regulate the carcinogens, and the Navy’s discharge of PFAS into Maryland’s groundwater is 87 times higher than what New Jersey allows.

      According to the CH2M Hill report, aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) containing PFAS has been extensively used in hangars and at multiple locations on the base in fire-training exercises. Much of the contamination is associated with Site 41, an old firefighting burn pad, as well as Site 34, a drum disposal area. Site 34 is located a quarter-mile from Rt. 235 near the southwest corner of the base. The area adjacent to the base is populated with many homes served by groundwater wells.

      The evaluation of the sites on base that have been identified as having known or suspected releases of PFAS was limited to “existing environmental restoration sites,” according to the CH2M Hill report. These areas were found “to have no complete exposure pathway to a potential drinking water source, hence no off-base drinking water sampling was initiated.”

    • Proposal to ‘Pave Paradise’ in Galapagos Islands for US Military Airstrip Met With Criticism in Ecuador and Beyond

      The Galapagos Islands archipelago in Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse regions in the entire world, home to a number of species found nowhere else on the planet, and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

      So, naturally, the U.S. military wants to use one of its islands as an airstrip.

      Ecuadorian defense minister Oswaldo Jarrín announced President Lenín Moreno’s administration’s decision to allow the Pentagon to expand an existing airfield on San Cristobal Island for U.S. spy planes targeting drug traffickers in comments to Telesur on June 12. The airport is at the southwest end of the island in the city of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

      According to The Independent, “a U.S. air force Boeing 707 plane carrying radar surveillance and a Lockheed P-3 Orion plane will patrol the Pacific Ocean, using the Galapagos as a launching off point.”

      The Ecuadorian National Assembly isn’t sold on the proposal. In a vote on June 13, El Universo reported, 106 of the assembly’s 137 members cleared the way for calling on Jarrín and environmental minister Marcelo Mata to appear before the chamber’s Commission of Sovereignty and International Relations.

      Carlos Viteri, an assembly member from the southern region of Sarayacu, Pastaza, and a member of the Revolución Ciudadana party, said that allowing the U.S. to operate off of the airstrip was “vassalage.”

    • Ousted President Morsi Dies in Court During Trial

      Egypt’s former president, Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who rose to office in the country’s first free elections in 2012 and was ousted a year later by the military, collapsed in court during a trial and died Monday, state TV and his family said.

      The 67-year-old Morsi had just addressed the court, speaking from the glass cage he is kept in during sessions and warning that he had “many secrets” he could reveal, a judicial official said. A few minutes afterward, he collapsed in the cage, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

    • How the Upheaval in Khartoum Affects One of Sudan’s Longest-Running Crises

      Blue Nile has been at war with Khartoum for decades. Hopes for a more peaceful future rest on the TMC being willing to negotiate on rebel demands for greater autonomy, and on the rebel leaders themselves resolving internal divisions.

      Delay will worsen an already deep humanitarian crisis in this remote southeastern corner of the country, where years of fighting has displaced more than 200,000 people and forced half a million into neighbouring countries, according to a March report by the rebels’ humanitarian wing, the Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Agency.

      Awadallah Yacob, in the village of South Ulu in Blue Nile’s Bau County, is one of those in need. Squatting on a wooden stool in his yard he takes an aggressive bite out of a soggy baobab leaf. Sometimes it’s all he eats for days. “The situation is getting worse and no one’s coming to help us,” said the 30-year-old.

    • ‘Barreling Towards Another Catastrophic War,’ Trump Orders 1,000 More Troops to Middle East to Threaten Iran

      The Trump administration has claimed—on the basis of scarce evidence—that Iran carried out last week’s tanker attacks, but Japan and European nations have expressed deep skepticism and called for a thorough investigation. Iran has denied any responsibility for the attacks.

      While acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan insisted in a statement that the 1,000 additional troops are being deployed for “defensive” purposes, anti-war critics and members of Congress raised alarm that the Trump administration is rapidly moving closer to an all-out military conflict with Iran.

      “Rather than pursuing diplomatic off ramps to avert conflict with Iran, the Trump administration is in the left lane pushing the pedal to the floor, barreling towards another catastrophic war of choice,” Jon Rainwater, executive director of Peace Action, said in a statement.

      “War with Iran would be a historic disaster, imperiling countless U.S. and Iranian lives and further destabilizing the region,” said Rainwater. “We cannot allow the administration to play politics with our foreign policy at the expense of national security.”

      Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink, declared in response to the troop deployment, “This is the Trump administration’s march to war with Iran.”

      The Pentagon’s announcement came just hours after Iran said it may ramp up uranium enrichment in an effort to pressure European nations to provide relief from crippling U.S. sanctions and uphold their end of the nuclear accord, which President Donald Trump unilaterally violated last year.

      “None of this would be happening if Trump didn’t back out of the Iran nuclear deal,” Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said of the growing threat of war with Iran. “America’s response should be to return to the table and reinstate the Iran nuclear deal. Increasing tensions and threats of war serve nobody’s interests.”

    • Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame

      On Thursday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed Iran was responsible for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a version of events quickly challenged by Iran and the owner of the tanker. These accusations are reminiscent of similar charges lobbed at the Iranian regime in May, with some in the press naturally drawing parallels to the propaganda surrounding the Gulf of Tonkin incident, which in 1964 facilitated the disastrous American involvement in Vietnam.

      Alarmingly, Pompeo clarified he considers the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) valid for initiating war without congressional approval.

      Thursday’s potentially volatile situation follows months of belligerent war-mongering, reneging on international agreements, and enforcement of crippling sanctions against countries resisting American corporate interests and military expansionism, including Iran, Russia, Yemen, China and Venezuela, among other countries, as well as a long list of onslaughts on the global environment and civil liberties in the United States.

    • Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China

      The recent White House decision to speed the deployment of an aircraft carrier battle group and other military assets to the Persian Gulf has led many in Washington and elsewhere to assume that the U.S. is gearing up for war with Iran.

      As in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, U.S. officials have cited suspect intelligence data to justify elaborate war preparations. On May 13th, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan even presented top White House officials with plans to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East for possible future combat with Iran and its proxies. Later reports indicated that the Pentagon might be making plans to send even more soldiers than that.

      Hawks in the White House, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, see a war aimed at eliminating Iran’s clerical leadership as a potentially big win for Washington. Many top officials in the U.S. military, however, see the matter quite differently — as potentially a giant step backward into exactly the kind of low-tech ground war they’ve been unsuccessfully enmeshed in across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa for years and would prefer to leave behind.

      Make no mistake: if President Trump ordered the U.S. military to attack Iran, it would do so and, were that to happen, there can be little doubt about the ultimate negative outcome for Iran. Its moth-eaten military machine is simply no match for the American one. Almost 18 years after Washington’s war on terror was launched, however, there can be little doubt that any U.S. assault on Iran would also stir up yet more chaos across the region, displace more people, create more refugees, and leave behind more dead civilians, more ruined cities and infrastructure, and more angry souls ready to join the next terror group to pop up.

      It would surely lead to another quagmire set of ongoing conflicts for American soldiers. Think: Iraq and Afghanistan, exactly the type of no-win scenarios that many top Pentagon officials now seek to flee.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • John Pilger: Extradition Process a ‘Very Long Uphill Road’ for Assange

      Britain’s Home Secretary signed off on the U.S. request to extradite Julian Assange, and now UK courts will decide his fate.

    • Sources: US to question Assange pal jailed in Ecuador

      U.S. investigators have received permission from Ecuador to question a Swedish programmer close to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange who has been held in jail for more than two months on suspicion of hacking, The Associated Press has learned.

      The interview with Ola Bini is set for June 27, according to an Ecuadorian prosecutor’s order provided to AP by someone closely following the case.

      Spokespeople at the U.S. Justice Department declined to comment, but a person familiar with the case in the United States confirmed that U.S. authorities want to hear from Bini, who was arrested the same day that Ecuador evicted Assange from its embassy in London. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss an investigation that is in progress.

    • Assange judge refuses to step down, despite evidence of intelligence and defence links

      Accusations of a conflict of interest have emerged regarding the judge presiding over the pre-extradition hearings of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

    • First Five: New Assange charges raise two First Amendment alarms

      Two First Amendment alarms are sounding in the wake of new federal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but only one is being heard by most of us — for now.

      Initially, federal prosecutors charged Assange with just one crime: conspiring in 2010 with former Army Private Chelsea Manning to hack a government computer password, which allowed Manning access to a trove of classified information that she turned over to WikiLeaks.

      For weeks, free press advocates worried that the Department of Justice would go beyond prosecuting Assange for computer hacking and expand the charges into journalists’ territory —publishing classified information.

      These fears were not unfounded. On May 23, the unsealing of an 18-count indictment under the 1917 Espionage Act, accusing Assange of working directly with Manning to obtain secret government documents, set off Alarm #1 for most journalists. The new charges implicate the work of journalists, which often involves talking with sources and at times possessing and publishing secret documents.

    • Germany: Protest vigil in Dusseldorf demands release of Julian Assange

      On Wednesday last week, the “ Free Assange Committee Germany ” organized a protest vigil in front of the consulates of Britain and the United States in the North Rhine-Westphalian city of Düsseldorf to demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of Julian Assange.
      The US has now officially requested the extradition of the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks from the UK. Assange is being held in the Belmarsh maximum security prison for almost a year for breaching his bail conditions. The British government has already agreed to the extradition.

    • Two protesters arrested at Melbourne rally in defence of Assange

      Two protesters were violently arrested at a Melbourne rally in defence of Julian Assange last Friday, in the latest demonstration of the hostility of the Australian political establishment and state apparatus to any action demanding freedom for the WikiLeaks founder.
      The event was held outside the city’s UK consulate the same day as the first British hearing over a US request for Assange’s extradition. The Trump administration is seeking to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder on an unprecedented 18 charges over WikiLeaks’ role in the exposure of US war crimes and diplomatic conspiracies.
      The peaceful protest in Melbourne, organised by supporters of Assange and WikiLeaks, was attended by around two dozen people. They were met by a large contingent of police, including members of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), plain-clothed detectives and uniformed police officers.

    • Freeing Julian Assange: Part Two

      The public has been led to believe that the 2016 election and the resulting Mueller Report is the definitive evidence that WikiLeaks was somehow in cahoots with Russia, reinforcing the premise that they were in a political alliance with, or favoured, Donald Trump and his Presidential election campaign.

      Prominent Russiagate-skeptics have long pointed out the multitude of gaping holes inherent in those theories, including the advocacy group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) who have produced credible forensic work analysing the 2016 WikiLeaks releases, that resoundingly debunks officials claims.

      In the course of researching this article, I stumbled across a major discovery that augments that: the false notion of WikiLeaks being a front for Russian intelligence isn’t new – it has been pushed by media since 2009.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • Why Everybody Is So Excited About 23 Salmon

      For Chinook salmon, the urge to return home and spawn isn’t just strong—it’s imperative. And for the first time in more than 65 years, at least 23 fish that migrated as juveniles from California’s San Joaquin River and into the Pacific Ocean have heeded that call and returned as adults during the annual spring run.

      For thousands of years, spring-run Chinook were the most abundant salmon in central California. Every year beginning in March, thousands upon thousands of adult fish made their way from the Pacific Ocean into San Francisco Bay, then muscled upstream for nearly 370 miles through the Central Valley’s rich agricultural lands until they reached the cool waters of the high Sierra Nevada. Their counterparts, fall-run Chinook, would make the same journey in the autumn.

      Spring-run Chinook spent the summer near the river’s headwaters, spawned there in the fall, and then died, the nutrients from their decaying carcasses feeding insects and fertilizing aquatic and terrestrial plant life. Their offspring would make the perilous reverse trip, either swimming to sea during their first spring, when still small enough to fit in a human hand, or remaining in the river upland and migrating to the ocean as yearlings the following spring. Two to five years later, instinct would compel them to return to their natal grounds to spawn, continuing the cycle.

    • Pope Francis Declares Climate Emergency in Meeting With Big Oil Leaders

      Pope Francis declared a climate emergency Friday as he met with oil industry executives and some of their biggest investors to urge them to act on the climate crisis.

    • Landmark Coal Ash Bill Signals Hope for Midwest Communities

      Summers in the Midwest are great for outdoor activities like growing your garden or cooling off in one of the area’s many lakes and streams. But some waters aren’t as clean as they should be.

      That’s in part because coal companies have long buried toxic waste known as coal ash near many of the Midwest’s iconic waterways, including Lake Michigan. Though coal ash dumps can leak harmful chemicals like arsenic and cadmium into nearby waters, regulators have done little to address these toxic sites. As a result, the Midwest is now littered with coal ash dumps, with Illinois containing the most leaking sites in the country.

    • How These Farms Are Working to Fight Food Waste

      On a farm in upstate New York, a cheese brand is turning millions of pounds of food scraps into electricity needed to power its on-site businesses. Founded by eight families, each with their own dairy farms, Craigs Creamery doesn’t just produce various types of cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss and Muenster cheeses, sold in chunks, slices, shreds and snack bars; they’re also committed to becoming a zero-waste operation.

      Located on Noblehurst Farms, about 500 feet from dairy cows, this creamery is home to the only biodigester in the U.S. that uses cow manure and food scraps from the cheese-making process and local businesses to create electricity. Since 2014, Noblehurst Farms has recycled 20 million pounds of food scraps in its biodigester.

      “For many years, our farms have focused on producing high-quality milk while nurturing the land, but we wanted to know where our milk was going once it left our farms,” says farmer and Craigs Creamery partner Chris Noble. “The cheese brand was a way to do that and diversify our businesses by investing in something that wasn’t just focused on farming.”

      From ugly greens to zero-waste dinners to food scrap pizza, more and more consumers, businesses and nonprofits are looking for ways to repurpose food that would otherwise go to waste. On average, an individual American wastes one pound of food each day, which is enough to feed two billion people annually. Put another way, if food waste were a country, its greenhouse gas emissions would rank third in the world, after the United States and China. But while there has been increased attention on wasted food on plates, food waste happens at every stage of the supply chain, starting on the farm.

    • G20 environment ministers agree to tackle marine plastic waste

      The Group of 20 major economies agreed a deal to reduce marine pollution at a meeting of their environment ministers on Sunday in Karuizawa, Japan.

      The host nation “proposed a workable framework” on how to deal with ocean trash in emerging and less developed countries.

      “I am glad that we, including emerging countries and developing countries, were able to form a broad international framework,” Yoshiaki Harada, Japan’s environment minister, told a news conference.
      Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he wanted his country to be a leader in reducing marine plastic waste by using biodegradable material and other technological innovations.

      Images of plastic debris-strewn beaches and stomachs of dead fish full of plastic materials have sparked global outrage, with environmental activists calling for stricter action to deal with the environmental hazard.

    • 633 Divers Break Record for World’s Largest Underwater Cleanup

      Guinness officiator Michael Empric flew down from New York to sign off on the achievement.

      “I actually stood there and clicked off everyone as they got in the water … so we know immediately whether or not the record’s been broken,” he told the South Florida Sun Sentinel, as The Independent reported.

      In total, 633 people entered the water between 9 and 11 a.m. and stayed beneath the waves for at least 15 minutes. They succeeded in surpassing the previous record of 614, which was set in the Red Sea in 2015 by a team organized by Egyptian Army scuba diver Ahmed Gabr.

    • Divers set world record for cleaning debris from ocean floor

      Over 600 scuba divers have set a world record for the largest mass subaquatic clean-up of a section of seabed.

      Equipped with aqualungs, a total of 633 divers simultaneously picked up litter from the sea floor near the Deerfield Beach International Fishing Pier in Florida.

      The record was overseen by Guinness officiator Michael Empric, who arrived from New York to do the official head count between 9am and 11am, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.

      “I actually stood there and clicked off everyone as they got in the water … so we know immediately whether or not the record’s been broken,” he told the reporter, who described him as “sporting the dark blue Guinness blazer and teal tie in 87 degree heat (35C)”.

    • I Say No to Frack-Sand Mining Near My Home — for Myself and the Planet

      The “not in my backyard” or NIMBY crowd generally gets a bad rap. They most often raise their hackles in opposition to high–density housing being located in their neighborhoods. NIMBY restrictions on construction have been a major factor in soaring housing costs in New York, Los Angeles and other major cities.

      I am practicing a different sort of NIMBY-ism these days, however — taking part in a local resistance effort against a frac sand mining site — and make no apologies for it.

      Last summer, my wife and I moved out to southern Utah. We wanted to be near Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, where we had been volunteering on vacations for a decade. We also wanted to be in a beautiful part of the country. Our new home, Kanab, is located between Grand Canyon and Zion national parks, with the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument just to our east. The area gives us endless opportunities for exploring and hiking.

      It now looks like our plans are in danger. A start-up mining company, Southern Red Sands LLC, has plans to set up a frack sand mining operation in the hills just above the city. This facility would both mine and process sand to be used in hydraulic fracturing or fracking sites in various parts of the West.

      Apparently, the sand in the hills above Kanab is very well suited for fracking. It also is much closer to the western fracking sites than the current sources, which are mostly located in Wisconsin and Texas. For this reason, Southern Red Sands sees a real bonanza here.

      Many of the people in the town see it differently. Kanab’s primary industry is tourism, which depends both on its proximity to the national parks and monuments, and its own natural beauty. Its motto is “magically unspoiled.”

      That doesn’t fit well with an industrial sand mining plant located on the city’s outskirts. The mine and plant will be capable of operating around the clock. The noise is likely to carry for many miles on an otherwise quiet and beautiful plateau that includes well-known hiking trails and canyons such as Diana’s Throne and Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon.

    • Immediate Action Needed to Avoid Thousands of Heat-Related Deaths in U.S., New Study Says

      Extreme heat due to the climate crisis will cause thousands of deaths around the country unless immediate action is taken to stop global temperatures from rising over 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit. Already this month, San Francisco, typically cool in June, has seen triple digit temperatures, as the San Francisco Chronicle reported. And meanwhile, parts of India have seen scores of heat-related deaths from temperatures sizzling around 122 degrees Fahrenheit, according to CNN.

      “The more warming you have, the more heat waves you have,” said Michael Wehner, a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who was not involved in this study, as reported by the New York Times. “The more heat waves you have, the more people die.”

      By examining the effects extreme heat will cause in 15 U.S. cities, the study shows the pressing need for immediate action for nations around the world to ratchet up their efforts to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

      “Our results demonstrate that strengthened mitigation ambition would result in substantial benefits to public health in the United States,” the study’s authors concluded.

      In the absence of those efforts, the outlook is bleak. If the global average temperature rises 3 degrees Celsius, or 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels, a heat wave could claim 6,000 lives in New York City, 2,500 in Los Angeles and 2,300 in Miami, the study says, as NBC News reports. The greatest risks are in northern cities like New York, Boston and Philadelphia.

    • Can the Paris Climate Goals Save Lives? Yes, a Lot of Them, Researchers Say

      Summertime heat is forecast to become even deadlier without action to drastically reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, according to a new study.

      Under the Paris climate agreement, 195 countries pledged to cut their greenhouse gas in an effort to hold global warming to two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. They also promised efforts to limit the temperature increase even further, to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

    • Without swift action on climate change, heat waves could kill thousands in U.S. cities

      If global warming sometimes seems like a distant or abstract threat, new research casts the phenomenon in stark, life-or-death terms. It predicts that in the absence of significant progress in efforts to curb emissions of temperature-raising greenhouse gases, extreme heat waves could claim thousands of lives in major U.S. cities.

      If the global average temperature rises 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels — which some scientists say is likely if nations honor only their current commitments for curbing emissions — a major heat wave could kill almost 6,000 people in New York City. Similar events could kill more than 2,500 in Los Angeles and more than 2,300 in Miami.

      But the new research also indicates that if the U.S. and other nations take aggressive steps to limit warming, many of those deaths from extreme heat might be avoided.

    • At least 36 people dead in one of India’s longest heatwaves

      At least 36 people have died this summer in one of India’s longest heat waves in recent history, Anshu Priya, a spokeswoman for India’s National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), told CNN.

      Intense heat has scorched the country for more than 30 consecutive days, primarily in northern and central India. Temperatures reached 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit) in New Delhi on June 10 — the highest ever recorded in the capital in June.

    • Heat wave could sizzle Bay Area through Tuesday

      Dry heat is expected to persist for the first half of the week as a heat wave rolls through the Bay Area.

      Temperatures are likely to peak Monday, when thermostats could exceed 100 degrees in parts of the North, East and South Bay valleys, according to the National Weather Service.

      Record-high temperatures were tied or exceeded Sunday in downtown San Francisco and at San Francisco and Oakland airports, as well as in Half Moon Bay and Monterey, the National Weather Service said.

      The tarmac at SFO was so hot that the Jetway — the ramp-like bridge used to connect planes to terminals — created its own pothole and couldn’t come out to meet the plane. One United Airlines flight from Mexico City had to be towed to a different gate. In explaining the long delay, the pilot told the passengers, “If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed it.”

    • National Butterfly Center: Trump’s Border Wall Threatens Pollinators and Other Wildlife

      The National Butterfly Center is not only home to butterflies but also to various species of bees, including some only found around the Rio Grande in southern Texas and northern Mexico. A team of wildlife photographers and scientists documented the wild bees found in the butterfly center that will be displaced if the border wall is constructed. They photographed some species that have never been seen before in the U.S.

      “Many of these bees range no more than a few hundred yards from their nests in a lifetime, and so the National Butterfly Center is the only home they’ve ever known,” said Paula Sharp, a lead photographer on the project, to the Revelator. She noted that the butterfly center is safe zone for pollinators since it is ecologically pristine — that is, it is free from pesticides, erosion, invasive species and habitat destruction, which is found in nearby areas of the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

      “Bees are central to every habitat because they are the pollinators that sustain the plants that feed birds, mammals and other creatures,” Sharp said, according to the Revelator. “If you destroy the bees, you do irreparable harm to the environment.”

    • National Butterfly Center Warns of Effect of Border Wall on Pollinators

      The possible future construction of the border wall could threaten the butterfly population, according to the National Butterfly Center.

    • Current Farm Crisis Offers Opportunity For Change

      JFK, as it turns out, was not correct when he noted 60 years ago that the word ‘crisis’ is a combination of the Chinese brush strokes meaning danger and opportunity. While he was linguistically incorrect, we get what he was saying. A crisis situation can be the impetus for change, an opportunity to figure out a better way and in the spirit that Kennedy meant it, a better way for society in general.

      While unemployment rates are down and hourly wages are increasing slightly, the increased cost of living—up 14% over the last 4 years and stark economic inequality, no, the economy is not “the greatest economy in the history of our country”. Health insurance coverage is inadequate —if you can’t afford to live, if you are sick with no recourse, that is a crisis. And on top of that, the overarching threat of an increasingly variable and changing climate can be labeled as nothing other than a clear and growing crisis.

      Most any farmer, or rancher anywhere in the US, would nod in the affirmative if asked whether or not there is currently a crisis in agriculture. In the minds of farmers, fishers and ranchers the cause of the crisis can be easily summed up, low prices—pay prices below the cost of production.

      While many other farmers and I see unprecedented adverse weather as undeniable evidence of a changing climate which is a contributing factor to the current economic crisis, that is not a universally accepted idea among farmers. None would deny however, that prices are historically unfair with 2019 farm income predicted to be below the average seen for nearly the past century.

    • ‘The New Normal’: Ten of Thousands Flee Extreme Heatwave in India as Temperatures Topping 120°F Kill Dozens Across Country

      Nearly 50 people died on Saturday in one Indian state as record-breaking heatwaves across the country have caused an increasingly desperate situation.

      Officials in Bihar reported that as of Monday, 76 people in total had died of heat-related conditions as temperatures in the region hovered around 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Hospitals have increasingly overflowed with patients reporting heatstroke since the heatwave began in early June.

      Across the country in the city of Aurangabad, India Today reported, 22 died just on Saturday. The death toll that day in the northern city of Gaya was 20.

      About two-thirds of India is facing the heatwaves at the same time that roughly half of the country is struggling through its worst drought in six decades.

      Officials on Sunday asked Bihar’s 100 million people to stay inside Monday as fears of more fatalities grew.

    • Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada

      As we know, big lies can run free across borders with few joining the dots.

      For example, no media reports that China’s growing dispute with Canada is based on Canada’s enforcement of the Trump administration’s unilateral and illegal embargo against oil-competitor Iran. A cynical reply is that this is predictable. Canada attacks any designated US Enemy in junior partnership with global corporate command.

      But this time there is a new twist. Canada is attacking itself without knowing it.

      A US Big-Oil backed juggernaut of Conservative provincial governments and the federal Opposition are well advanced in a Canada campaign to reverse longstanding parliamentary decisions, environmental laws, climate action initiatives, Supreme Court directions, first-nations negotiations, and bring down the government of Canada. Yet no-one in public or media circles has joined the dots.

      Canada’s vast tar-sands deposits are world famous as surpassing Saudi Arabia oil-field capacities in total barrels of potential yield. Great Canada! Yet few notice that over two-thirds of the entire tar-sands operations are owned by foreign entities sending their profits out of Canada, and almost all its raw product is controlled for refining and sale in the US.

      What is especially kept out of the daily news is the incendiary fact that the infamous, election-interfering and oft-EPA-convicted Koch brothers have a dominant stake in the toxic crude of the Alberta tar-sands seeking a massive BC-pipeline out to their US refineries.

      Koch-owned industries have already extracted countless billions of their near $100-billion fortune from the tar-sands and deployed their well-known voter-manipulations to change the balance of power in Canada as they have done in the US.

    • Heathrow expansion consultation: Green Party says ‘no way’ is the only answer

      “Aviation clearly has to contract, not expand, while we need to promote and encourage cleaner options like train travel, which could replace many Heathrow flights.

      “Huge numbers of Londoners already suffer from the noise and air pollution from Heathrow, see their transport systems overloaded and their lives disrupted.”

      Jonathan Bartley, Green Party co-leader and Lambeth councillor said: “We are in a climate emergency.

    • The director of Russian TV’s upcoming ‘Chernobyl’ miniseries weighs in on the HBO smash hit

      In late May, director Alexey Muradov wrapped filming on a new Russian miniseries called “Chernobyl.” The new 12-episode project is expected to premiere this fall on the television network NTV. The show’s plot revolves around the Ukrainian SSR’s KGB discovering that a CIA agent named “Albert Lentz” has infiltrated Pripyat, the “nuclear city” built in 1970 to serve the nearby Chernobyl Power Plant. To prevent a possible terrorist attack, Soviet counterintelligence agent Andrey Nikolaev follows the American spy to the station, where the show unfolds. Meduza spoke to Muradov about this fictional plot and the differences between his show and the critically acclaimed series by the same name that recently aired on HBO.

    • Oregon Tackles Climate Change With Cap-and-Trade Proposal

      Oregon is on the precipice of becoming the second state after California to adopt a cap-and-trade program, a market-based approach to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions behind global warming.

      Supporters call it the United States’ most progressive climate policy, saying it not only cuts emissions but invests in transitioning the state economy and infrastructure to better prepare for more intense weather events as climate change worsens.

      “We have an opportunity to invest a substantial amount into low-income communities off the backs of the 100 or so major polluters that caused this problem,” said Shilpa Joshi, with the lobbying group Renew Oregon. Joshi has spent years working with dozens of organizations around the state to help shape the final legislation.

    • ‘Huge Victory’ for Grassroots Climate Campaigners as New York Lawmakers Reach Deal on Sweeping Climate Legislation

      Grassroots climate campaigners in New York applauded on Monday after state lawmakers reached a deal on sweeping climate legislation, paving the way for the passage of what could be some of the country’s most ambitious environmental reforms.

      The legislature reached an agreement just before midnight Sunday on the Climate and Communities Protection Act (CCPA), one of several climate bills state lawmakers have pushed in recent months since progressives gained momentum in their push for a federal Green New Deal.

      New York’s CCPA—like those passed in recent months in California, Hawaii, New Mexico, Nevada, and Washington—offers a path forward for the implementation of Green New Deal-like laws at the state level, proponents say.

      “This is going to be a huge victory for the environmental justice movement in New York,” author Naomi Klein tweeted, adding that some far-reaching parts of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal grew out of state legislation.

    • Paris treaty would cut US heat peril

      British scientists have identified a way in which President Trump could save thousands of American lives from the US heat peril. All he needs to do is honour the Paris Agreement of 2015 to keep global warming to “well below” 2°C above the planetary average that has endured for most of human history.

      If the global thermometer is kept at the lowest possible level of a rise of 1.5°C – rather than the average rise of 3°C of human-triggered heating that the planet seems on course to experience by the end of the century − then this simple decision would prevent up to 2,720 extra deaths in any city that experienced the kind of potentially-deadly heatwave that comes along every thirty years or so, according to a new study in the journal Scientific Advances.

      Researchers focused on 15 US cities from where records yielded reliable data that could answer questions about climate and health. These were Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, St Louis and Washington DC.

  • Finance

    • Amazon laid off ‘dozens’ of game developers amidst reorganization

      The layoffs game at the end of this week’s E3 in LA, and an Amazon spokesperson told Kotaku that “Amazon Game Studios is reorganizing some of our teams to allow us to prioritize development of New World, Crucible, and new unannounced projects we’re excited to reveal in the future.”

    • Instead of Death and Destruction, Poor People’s Moral Budget Shows What It Looks Like to ‘Invest in Life’

      “Refusal to properly use our resources to address these five interlocking injustices is economically insane, constitutionally inconsistent, and morally indefensible,” Rev. Dr. William Barber from Repairers of the Breach told reporters Monday.

      In the report’s foreword, Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis of the Kairos Center—the Poor People’s Campaign co-chairs—explain how the Poor People’s Moral Budget: Everybody Has a Right to Live (pdf) builds on the campaign’s Moral Agenda, which was unveiled last year ahead of a series of direct actions nationwide.

      “As Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has suggested, our state and national budgets prove that many of our elected leaders and their lobbyists treasure the military, corporate tax cuts, and welfare for the wealthy while they give rugged individualism, shame and blame, unfair wages, and a shredded social safety net to the poor,” write Barber and Theoharis.

      “This is a willful act of policy violence,” they explain, “at a time when there are 140 million poor and low-income people—over 43.5 percent of the population—in the richest country in the history of the world.”

    • Raising the Minimum Wage Must Be a Central Issue in 2020 Election

      As the 2020 election season nears, it’s a fair bet that wages will become a central focus of policy arguments both within the Democratic Party and also between Democrats and Republicans. In public forums, the leading Democratic candidates — pushed leftward on economic issues by candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as by grassroots campaigns such as Fight for $15 — have all come down in favor of a minimum wage that would, over a number of years, increase to at least $15 per hour. But some, such as Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, have in recent weeks gone beyond that and called for wages in high cost-of-living cities and states to reach $15 per hour sooner and to then rise beyond $15 as inflation adjustments kick in.

      In January, a Hill-HarrisX poll found 55 percent of respondents favored a $15 minimum hourly wage; and another 27 percent favored raising it but not to $15. Only about 5 percent of those polled favored eliminating the minimum wage entirely.

      Yet, despite the popularity of living wage measures, in recent years the GOP in Congress has united against legislation to increase the earning power of those at the bottom of the economy. Last month, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta told Congress the administration opposed any increase in the minimum wage. Trump himself has been all over the map on the issue, at times seeming to tack toward supporting a small increase in the federal minimum wage, at other times seeming to want to entirely scrap the federal minimum and leave it to the discretion of the states.

      This isn’t just a technocratic tug of war, it’s a deeply moral issue. Low wages are locking millions of Americans into a debilitating poverty. Entire industries, from fast food to discount superstores, are built around low-wage models. And their workforces are playing a constant, unwinnable game of catch-up as a result.

    • ‘Shameful’ Milestone: Congress Goes Record 3,615 Days Without Raising Federal Minimum Wage

      That’s the longest period of stagnation since the federal minimum wage was enacted under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, HuffPost reported. The minimum wage was last raised on July 24, 2009, from $6.55 an hour to the current rate of $7.25.

      David Cooper, deputy director of the Economic Analysis and Research Network (EARN), noted in a blog post on Monday that while the federal minimum wage has remained the same, its purchasing power has eroded significantly due to inflation.

      “As the graphic shows, when the minimum wage was last raised to $7.25 in July 2009, it had a purchasing power equivalent to $8.70 in today’s dollars,” Cooper wrote. “Over the last 10 years, as the minimum wage has remained at $7.25, its purchasing power has declined by 17 percent. For a full-time, year-round minimum wage worker, this represents a loss of over $3,000 in annual earnings.”

    • How Teach for America Evolved Into an Arm of the Charter School Movement

      Teach For America has long maintained that it does not prefer charter schools. “We believe in public education,” the organization states on a webpage devoted to combating criticism. “We’re not concerned about whether kids (or teachers) go to traditional district schools or public charter schools or innovative magnet schools, and TFA takes no institutional position on school governance.”

      Marc Sternberg, a former corps member, now runs K-12 education for the Walton Family Foundation, which has given more than $100 million to Teach For America over the years. He said the foundation has a “bedrock partnership” with Teach For America. To Sternberg, the missions of the two organizations are intertwined: expanding educational opportunity, and options, for children.

      “I was placed in a school that was pretty dysfunctional,” said Sternberg, reflecting on his Teach For America experience at a traditional public school in the South Bronx in the late 1990s. “It lacked a leadership thesis that is necessary for organizational success. The entrepreneur walks into that environment, and sees all the great things, and develops an understanding of the problem statement and then wants to do something about it.”

      While Sternberg said that the Walton foundation is “agnostic” about the types of schools it funds, the foundation has been one of the most generous supporters of charter schools, having spent more than $385 million to help launch and sustain about a quarter of the nation’s charter schools since 1997. In 2016, the foundation announced that it would spend an additional $1 billion to support charter schools, expand school choice and develop “pipelines of talent.”

      The foundation’s 2013-15 grant paid more for placing TFA teachers in charter schools, Sternberg said in an email, because “we wanted to ensure that the growing number of charter schools had access to high-quality educators given increased demand from communities.” Its current grants to TFA provide equal funding for teachers at charter and traditional public schools, he said.

      Today, in most of the cities targeted by the 2013 grant, TFA partners with more charter schools than traditional public schools, according to AmeriCorps data. In Indianapolis and greater Los Angeles, about two-thirds of TFA’s partner schools are charters. In New Orleans, where nearly all of the schools are charters, all of TFA’s corps members are assigned to charter schools. In the past five years, the proportion of TFA teachers placed in charter schools has increased even as the raw numbers have gone down, reflecting an overall decrease in corps members.

    • Parity Releases Zebra, the First Alternative Zcash Client, to the Zcash Foundation

      Open-source and licensed under GPL v3.0, Zebra has already been handed over to the Zcash Foundation’s Github repo where it will continue to be developed into a full-featured Zcash client. Zebra was derived from Parity Bitcoin, which led to a quick turnover and fast roadmap after the announcement of the partnership several months ago.

    • Global Inequality in a Time of Climate Emergency

      If we had to choose one voice, one single slogan, to represent the pivot we’re now passing through, as Wen Stephenson suggests in the Nation, we might well pick the Czech playwright and ex-president Vaclav Havel and his notion of “living in truth.” More of us are choosing to live that life. We’ve become sick of the lies. Even the comforting lies.

      So where does this all leave us? Three key points.

      First, despair is looming, and for good reason. Take a look at Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene, the so-called “Hothouse Earth” paper, or at least know its bottom line: Our environmental “tipping points” have actually become “tipping cascades,” and these cascades, once they really get moving, will amplify each other in ways all but impossible to stop. By the time our global temperatures arrive at 2°C, if indeed they do, we will face a real risk of runaway feedback.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • The most unpopular presidential election winner ever could win again in 2020

      Donald Trump is the first president to ever be elected while being actively disliked by the majority of Americans. Trump was also the first person elected president who was significantly less popular than his counterpart.

      Most Americans have heard of presidents losing the popular vote but winning the election. But to win while the majority of Americans oppose you? How is that possible?

      At the time of the election, Trump had the highest unfavorability rating in history, with over 61% of Americans having an “unfavorable” view or “disapproving” of Trump. (There’s also an “undecided” option.)

      Luckily for Trump, he faced a historically unpopular opponent. Before 2016, no losing presidential candidate had had an unfavorable rating above 47%. But on election eve, Hillary Clinton’s was 52%, an unprecedented election in American history.

    • ‘All-Out Assault on Science’: Latest Executive Order by Trump Puts Expert Advice on the Chopping Block

      Experts accused the White House of escalating its war on science after President Donald Trump issued a Friday executive order slashing federal advisory committees by at least one-third.

      “It was death by a thousand cuts, now they are taking a knife to the jugular,” said Gretchen Goldman, a research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

      “Make no mistake,” added volcanologist Jess Phoenix. “This is an all-out assault on science.”

      Trump’s order sets a September 30 deadline for each agency to make the cuts to the bodies formalized under 1972′s Federal Advisory Committee Act.

    • GOP Mutters, Quietly, as Trump Sidesteps Senate for Top Aides

      President Donald Trump’s latest anointment of an acting head of a major federal agency has prompted muttering, but no more than that, from Republican senators whose job description includes confirming top administration aides.

      Their reluctance to confront Trump comes as veterans of the confirmation process and analysts say he’s placed acting officials in key posts in significantly higher numbers than his recent predecessors. The practice lets him quickly, if temporarily, install allies in important positions while circumventing the Senate confirmation process, which can be risky with Republicans running the chamber by a slim 53-47 margin.

      The latest example is Ken Cuccinelli, who last week was named acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He is an outspoken supporter of hard-line immigration policies and his appointment was opposed by some key Senate Republicans.

      Definitive listings of acting officials in Trump’s and other administrations are hard to come by because no agency keeps overall records. Yet Christina Kinane, an incoming political science professor at Yale, compiled data in her doctoral dissertation, “Control Without Confirmation: The Politics of Vacancies in Presidential Appointments.”

      Kinane found that from 1977 through mid-April of this year — the administrations of President Jimmy Carter through the first half of Trump’s — 266 individuals held Cabinet posts. Seventy-nine of them held their jobs on an acting basis, or 3 in 10.

    • A soccer player and an actor explain why they suddenly decided to join the same Moscow City Duma race as a high-profile opposition activist

      On June 15, the well-known Russian hospice advocate Nyuta Federmesser announced her decision to drop out of the race for a Moscow City Duma seat in the capital’s downtown. She had been planning to run in the city’s 43rd District, where she would have faced one of the area’s most prominent opposition activists: Lyubov Sobol is an attorney for the Anti-Corruption Foundation, which is run by opposition politician Alexey Navalny. Sergey Mitrokhin, the former chairperson of the opposition-leaning Yabloko party, is also running in the same district, but he is viewed as a more likely collaborator for Moscow City Hall than Sobol. Alexey Navalny had publicly called on Federmesser not to run for the seat so as not to draw votes away from Sobol, and Federmesser’s decision to run also met with harsh criticism on social media. Immediately after the palliative care advocate withdrew from the 43rd District race, however, two new candidates entered it: former soccer player and Russian national team member Dmitry Bulykin and actor Andrey Sokolov. We asked both why they have decided so suddenly to run for this particular Moscow City Duma seat.

    • Microsoft & Pentagon are quietly hijacking US elections (by Lee Camp)

      Good news, folks! We have found the answer to the American rigged and rotten election system.
      The most trustworthy of corporations recently announced it is going to selflessly and patriotically secure our elections. It’s a small company run by vegans and powered by love. It goes by the name “Microsoft.” (You’re forgiven for never having heard of it.)

      The recent headlines were grandiose and thrilling:

      “Microsoft offers software tools to secure elections.”

      “Microsoft aims to modernize and secure voting with ElectionGuard.”

      Could anything be safer than software christened “ElectionGuard™”?! It has “guard” right there in the name. It’s as strong and trustworthy as the little-known Crotch Guard™ – an actual oil meant to be sprayed on one’s junk. I’m unclear as to why one sprays it on one’s junk, but perhaps it’s to secure your erections? (Because they’ve been micro-soft?)

    • Trump Wasn’t the Only Candidate to Test Our Campaign Laws

      By now, anyone who pays the slightest attention to politics knows that Donald Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an Oval Office interview last week that he would “take” opposition research on his 2020 election rivals, even from a foreign source like Russia, China or (eyeroll) Norway. Trump also said that he might not notify the FBI about his receipt of such information, and that FBI Director Christopher Wray was “wrong” to suggest in a recent Senate hearing that the law requires the bureau to be alerted.

      Trump’s remarks sent howls of “collusion” across the landscape of cable news and the mainstream press. Pundits asked if the president had forgotten the lessons of 2016 and the Mueller probe. Had Trump gone, in the words of New Yorker columnist Susan B. Glasser, from proclaiming “no collusion” to admitting that he was, after all was said and done, “pro-collusion?”

      In a rare display of unity, leading Democrats and Republicans assailed the president for apparently opening the door to a new round of election meddling. Even Lindsey Graham—Trump’s most loyal congressional enabler—gave the president a thumbs down. Asked by reporters if he would take foreign opposition research, Graham replied: “A foreign government comes to you as a public official and offers to help your campaign giving you anything of value, whether it be money or information on your opponent, the right answer is no.”

      Graham was quick to add, however, that Democrats were just as culpable for paying ex-British spy Christopher Steele to prepare his much-ballyhooed dossier on Trump’s ties to Russia. “I hope my Democrat colleagues will be equally offended,” Graham said, “by the fact that this actually did happen in 2016 where a foreign agent was paid for by a political party to gather opposition research. All those things are wrong.”

    • ‘Virginia Voters Are Finally Getting Fair Maps’: Rights Advocates Celebrate US Supreme Court Ruling on Racial Gerrymandering

      Voting rights advocates celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court’s Monday ruling on a racial gerrymandering case that, as Common Cause put it, “means Virginia voters are finally getting #fairmaps!”

      “Today’s ruling from the Supreme Court is an important victory for African Americans in Virginia who have been forced since 2011 to vote in racially gerrymandered districts that unfairly diluted their power,” former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, chairman of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC), said in a statement Monday.

      “With a new, fair map in place, all Virginians will now—finally—have the opportunity this fall to elect a House of Delegates that actually represents the will of the people,” added Holder. An NDRC affiliate, the National Redistricting Foundation, supported voters in the case.

      In a 5-4 decision (pdf), the justices dismissed a challenge to a 2018 ruling (pdf) by a panel of federal judges from the Eastern District of Virginia which determined that 11 state legislative districts drawn after the 2010 census were racially gerrymandered by Republicans and must be redrawn by a nonpartisan expert for the 2019 election.

    • Wall Street Donors Are Swooning for Mayor Pete. (They Like Biden and Harris, Too.)

      Interviews with two dozen top contributors, fund-raisers and political advisers on Wall Street and beyond revealed that while many are still hedging their bets, those who care most about picking a winner are gravitating toward Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, while donors are swooning over Mr. Buttigieg enough to open their wallets and bundling networks for him. These dynamics raise the prospect of growing financial advantages for some candidates and closed doors for others.

    • Wall Street Has Its Top Democratic Hopefuls All Picked Out

      The Iowa caucus is still more than six months away and the Democratic Party has yet to hold its first primary debate, but Wall Street is already zeroing in on its favorites for 2020. To the surprise of nobody, Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are conspicuously absent from its list of preferred candidates.

      According to The New York Times, the financial industry is throwing its support behind South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, as well as Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and former Vice President Joe Biden. The article notes that the same New York donors have also given to the campaigns of local politicians Sen. Kirtsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

      “Interviews with two dozen top contributors, fund-raisers and political advisers on Wall Street and beyond revealed that while many are still hedging their bets, those who care most about picking a winner are gravitating toward Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris, while donors are swooning over Mr. Buttigieg enough to open their wallets and bundling networks for him,” writes the Times’ Shane Goldmacher. “These dynamics raise the prospect of growing financial advantages for some candidates and closed doors for others.”

      Goldmacher’s findings follow a separate Times report from April that revealed “long-time party financier” Bernard Schwartz had hosted a series of Democratic dinners in New York and Washington in which members of the party’s corporate wing actively discussed how to slow Sanders’ momentum. (At the time, the Vermont senator had raised more than $18 million from individual donors, and there was a “growing realization” among strategists that he could “end up winning this thing.”) Those gatherings included such prominent names as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden and Buttigieg himself.

    • In Barcelona, Being a Fearless City Mayor Means Letting the People Decide

      Losing Barcelona. That was the headline on the story in Jacobin this week. A local vote in a far-off city; had I not just returned from Barcelona, I might have left it at that. possibilitiy

      The truth is, US media give us so little coverage of goings-on elsewhere, and so little context as to why Americans should care, there’s little incentive to keep up; but Barcelona’s different. For close to a decade now, it’s been what my friend Sol Trumbo Vila calls a beacon for the possibilities of transformative change at the city level.

      [...]

      But Losing Barcelona? Maragall and Colau actually stood neck and neck in council seats when the Jacobin article appeared. They were both left of center parties. Colau could have teamed up with him to stay in government but lose the Mayor’s post, or she could have partnered with more left-of-center winners—Pedro Sanchez’s socialist party (PP), which came in second after a high profile surge in national elections earlier in the month. In the end, Colau was re-elected mayor by the city council with the support of the Socialists and the backing of former French prime minister, Manuel Valls.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • EFF’s Recommendations for Consumer Data Privacy Laws

      We have long sounded the alarm against federal legislation that would wipe the slate clean of stronger state privacy laws in exchange for one, weaker federal one. Avoiding such preemption of state laws is our top priority when reviewing federal privacy bills.

      State legislatures have long been known as “laboratories of democracy” and they are serving that role now for data privacy protections. In addition to passing strong laws, state legislation also allows for a more dynamic dialogue as technology and social norms continue to change. Last year, Vermont enacted a law reining in data brokers, and California enacted its Consumer Privacy Act. Nearly a decade ago, Illinois enacted its Biometric Information Privacy Act. Many other states have passed data privacy laws and many are considering data privacy bills.

      But some tech giants aren’t happy about that, and they are trying to get Congress to pass a weak federal data privacy law that would foreclose state efforts. They are right about one thing: it would be helpful to have one nationwide set of protections. However, consumers lose—and big tech companies win—if those federal protections are weaker than state protections.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Daily Dose of Protest: Killer Whale and Sadfluid – Dark Smith

      The white supremacists rallying cry expresses a paranoia that the white male Christian power structure is under attack. Racists, homophobes and misogynists want to preserve the oppressive status quo, which benefits them at the expense of the marginalized.

      The Seattle-based queer dreampunk band Dark Smith tackles these narrow-minded bigoted views on their latest album Degressive.

      Two tracks that challenge these racists and patriarchal power structures are “Killer Whale” and “Sadfluid.”

      “Killer Whale” directly addresses the “You will not replace us” crowd with the counter-point argument, “I’ve got a message for the master race. You’re about to be replaced.”

    • ‘Everybody Has the Right to Live’: The Visionary Budget at the Heart of Our Moral Uprising

      As we have traveled around these yet to be United States of America, from Appalachia to Alabama, California to the Carolinas, Mississippi to Maine, the delta of the south to the coal miner’s home in Kentucky, we have seen the pain and heard the cry of every race, creed, color, and sexuality that our moral values and economic policies are out of sync. Indeed, as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has suggested, our state and national budgets prove that many of our elected leaders and their lobbyists treasure the military, corporate tax cuts, and welfare for the wealthy while they give rugged individualism, shame and blame, unfair wages, and a shredded social safety net to the poor.

      This is a willful act of policy violence at a time when there are 140 million poor and low-income people – over 43.5% of the population – in the richest country in the history of the world. This includes 39 million children, 74.2 million women, 60.4% or 26 million Black people, 64.1% or 38 million Latinx people, 40.8% or 8 million Asian people, 58.9% or 2.14 million Native and Indigenous people, and 33.5% or 66 million White people. Increasing the harm on these 140 million, since 2010, there has been an onslaught of attacks on voting rights in state legislatures: racialized voter suppression and gerrymandering have helped to smuggle state leaders into office, who then turn around and pass policies that hurt the poor and marginalized. Life-giving social programs are being eviscerated to make way for increased spending on war, militarizing our border, and tax payouts to Wall Street.

    • “16 Shots”: Chicago Police Killing of Laquan McDonald Exposed a System Built on Lies

      The documentary “16 Shots” examines the 2014 murder of African-American teenager Laquan McDonald in Chicago and the attempt by the city’s police department to cover up the events. McDonald, who was 17, was shot 16 times by former police officer Jason Van Dyke. Van Dyke was found guilty in 2018 of second-degree murder and sentenced to six years and nine months in prison for McDonald’s murder. He was also found guilty on 16 counts of aggravated battery—one count for each of the 16 bullets he fired at McDonald. The film is screening on Showtime. We speak with Rick Rowley, director of “16 Shots.”

    • Teens in Cage Protest Trump Immigration Policies Outside UN, Demanding Action From Human Rights Council

      While an audio recording of detained migrant children crying played in the background, teenagers in T-shirts that read #ClassroomsNotCages stood in a metal cage outside the United Nations European headquarters in Geneva Monday to protest the Trump administration’s “cruel” immigration policies.

      The action was part of a demonstration that aimed to draw attention to the U.N. Human Rights Council’s consideration of a complaint (pdf) filed last year by unions, faith organizations, and human and civil rights groups about the “inhumane [U.S.] policy of tearing immigrant children from their families who come to our borders seeking asylum and protection.”

    • Report: ORG Regulation Report II

      There is a legacy of Internet regulation in the UK that does not comply with due process, fairness and fundamental rights requirements. This includes: bulk domain suspensions by Nominet at police request without prior authorisation; the lack of an independent legal authorisation process for Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) blocking at Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and in the future by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), as well as for Counter-Terrorism Internet Referral Unit (CTIRU) notifications to platforms of illegal content for takedown. These were detailed in our previous report.

      The UK government now proposes new controls on Internet content, claiming that it wants to ensure “the same rules online as offline”. It says it wants “harmful” content removed, while respecting human rights and protecting free expression.

      Yet proposals in the DCMS/Home Office White Paper on Online Harms will create incentives for Internet platforms such as Google, Twitter and Facebook to remove content without legal processes. This is not “the same rules online as offline”. It instead implies a privatisation of justice online, with the assumption that corporate policing must replace public justice for reasons of convenience. This goes against the advice of human rights standards that government has itself agreed to and against the advice of UN Special Rapporteurs.

    • Crying Children In Cages: This Is Not Somewhere Else

      Over 3,000 poor, brown children remain penned like animals in cages, sleeping alone under 68-cent blankets in freezing cells thanks to this regime’s “purposefully cruel” family separations. In recent days, as protesters from Florida to Geneva called for an end to the barbarity and the cretins in charge considered the new atrocity of replicating Japanese internment camps “layered in trauma,” things got real in New York City: Last week, immigrant rights advocates put up two dozen startling guerrilla art installations in two dozen carefully chosen landmark locations featuring a chain-link cage, a foil-wrapped “child,” and harrowing audio of real-life kids sobbing. The kick-in-the-gut art project by ad agency Badger & Winters, about 10 street artists and RAICES, the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, is part of the group’s No Kids In Cages campaign. Arguing that “walking by is no longer an option,” RAICE’s campaign homepage urges viewers to “SHARE their stories online. ACT by telling Congress to pass Bill HR-541 – Keep Families Together Act. And SUPPORT organizations that are fighting to save and reunite children separated at our border. “This is not history,” they write. “This is happening now.”

    • Appeals Court To Cops: There’s Nothing Inherently Suspicious About Running From The Police

      The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just handed down a refresher [PDF] on a few legal issues, most notably what is or isn’t “reasonable” when it comes to suspicion. Police officers thought an anonymous tip about a man carrying a gun and someone running away from them created enough suspicion to chase down Daniel Brown, stop him at gunpoint, and search him for contraband.

      Contraband was found, leading to Brown’s motion to suppress. The lower court said this combination — an anonymous report of a gun and Brown’s decision to run when he saw the police cruiser — was reasonable enough. Not so, says the Ninth Circuit, pointing out the obvious fact that a person carrying a gun can’t be inherently suspicious in a state where carrying a gun in public is permitted.

    • ‘Brink of Catastrophe’ as Trump Muslim Ban Keeps Refugees in Limbo

      President Donald Trump’s near-total ban on immigration to the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries, known colloquially as the “Muslim ban,” is having widespread negative effects on refugees in the Middle East, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

      In the new report, The Mountain is in Front of Us and the Sea is Behind Us, Amnesty interviewed nearly 50 refugees stuck in Lebanon and Jordan due to the Trump administration’s Muslim ban. Hundreds of families from war-torn regions of the Arab world, from Sudan to Syria, are “locked in an impossible limbo” waiting for the U.S. government to act either way on their asylum applications.

      “These are families who put their trust in the United States at their most desperate hour, and now find themselves on the brink of catastrophe through absolutely no fault of their own,” Amnesty researcher Denise Bell said in a statement.

      One refugee interviewed by Amnesty, named in the report as “Malik,” has been waiting to go to the U.S. from Beirut after fleeing Baghdad with his family for fear of religious persecution due to their Christian faith.

    • Massive Hong Kong Protests Demand Withdrawal of Extradition Bill, Leader’s Resignation

      As many as 2 million protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong Sunday demanding the withdrawal of a bill that would allow the extradition of Hong Kong residents to mainland China. Protesters also called for the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, and other top officials who pushed for the extradition bill. Lam has apologized for her handling of the legislation and indefinitely delayed a vote on the bill; however, the bill has not been fully withdrawn. Critics of the extradition bill say it would infringe on Hong Kong’s independence and the legal and human rights of Hong Kong residents and visitors. Just a few days ago, police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray at tens of thousands of demonstrators. We speak with Nathan Law, a pro-democracy activist who helped lead the Umbrella Movement, and Minky Worden, director of Global Initiatives at Human Rights Watch.

    • After Serious 911 Mishaps, Rhode Island Will Now Pay for Better Training

      Rhode Island lawmakers are moving forward on a spending plan that includes money to train all 911 call takers to respond to cardiac arrests and other medical emergencies.

      The $220,000 earmarked in the budget for the 2020 fiscal year, which begins July 1, follows an investigation by The Public’s Radio and ProPublica that raised questions about whether the lack of training for the state’s 911 call takers is costing lives.

      The funding would, among other things, pay to train all 911 call takers to provide guidance over the phone on how to perform CPR on a person whose heart has stopped. The House Finance Committee approved the full budget by a vote of 12 to 3 shortly before midnight Friday, and it will be taken up by the full House later this week.

      “It’s gonna save peoples’ lives, without question,’’ said Dr. Joseph R. Lauro, an emergency physician and member of the Rhode Island chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, which helped lead the push to improve training.

    • [Older] Request for Names of CIA Torturers Gets Boost From Ninth Circuit

      A Freedom of Information Act request for the identities of CIA agents who engaged in torture isn’t dead yet, the Ninth Circuit said May 1.

      The district court originally said it didn’t have jurisdiction over Stephen Yagman’s request because he didn’t reasonably describe the records requested. But in 2017, the Ninth Circuit sent the case back to the lower court to give Yagman a chance to work with the CIA to craft an accurate request.

    • [Older] Guantánamo lawyers see issues in torture exhibit at spy museum

      Defence lawyers and critics say Washington museum’s display on US use of torture in wake of 9/11 sanitises the punishments.

    • [Older] Guantanamo defence lawyer calls Spy Museum torture exhibit ‘CIA propaganda’

      Last week, a group of defence lawyers working on the military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay visited a new exhibit at the Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., about the use of torture by the U.S. after the Sept. 11 attacks.

      It wasn’t a fun field trip.

      “In what seems to be an effort to provide a balanced account of an issue that doesn’t require balance … I believe the Spy Museum has tilted way too far to include CIA propaganda about the torture program,” defence lawyer Alka Pradhan told As It Happens host Carol Off.

      The Spy Museum did not respond to As It Happens’ request for comment.

      Pradhan represents Guantanamo prisoner Ammar al-Baluchi, who has been charged with helping facilitate the Sept. 11 attacks. The torture he has faced in Guantanamo has been widely publicized.

      She first heard about the Spy Museum’s new exhibit on social media. After attending the exhibit in person, her concerns were not assuaged.

    • [Older] Theresa May told to ask Donald Trump for CIA torture flights report

      Theresa May is facing calls to ask Donald Trump for Scottish investigators to be given access to a classified intelligence report that may hold the key to whether secret CIA flights broke UK laws against torture.

      Police Scotland has spent six years examining whether planes used Scottish airports to transport terror suspects to be tortured or held at Guantanamo Bay.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Write more accessible Markdown images with this one simple trick

      Sometimes the people we exclude are the ones we did not realize were there. Screen readers are an essential tool for blind and visually-impaired people to use software and browse the Internet. In open source projects and communities, Markdown is a lightweight markup language used to format text. It is also used in many other places. Often you need to embed an image into whatever you are writing (a picture, a diagram, or some useful visual aid to get your point across). One of the lesser-known and used features of Markdown are alt tags for images.

    • Shockingly, Cable TV and Broadband Customer Satisfaction Is Still The Worst In America

      Every few years or so, giant cable and broadband companies like Comcast will proclaim that they’ve finally seen the light, and will be spending time shoring up their terrible customer service. Like a few years ago, when Comcast proclaimed it had hired a “Customer Experience VP” who would finally make addressing the company’s historically terrible customer service a top priority. CEO Brian Roberts also can be found at least once a year claiming that the company is going to finally address the problem by hiring better people, improving support systems, and generally revisiting the company’s policies.

      But year after year, big cable and broadband companies fail to deliver. Case in point: the latest American Consumer Satisfaction Index was recently released, and ISPs and cable providers continue to see the worst customer satisfaction scores in America. These companies are so bad at what they do, they’re routinely bested by even everybody’s favorite punching bag: the IRS.

    • The 9 Best Search Engines to Explore the Invisible Web

      Can we imagine a life without Search Engines? Think about it for the next two minutes.. you still will have no answer! The fact is that only because of Search Engines our life has become smoother and the internet has become dearer!

      But, here comes a twist! Would you feel betrayed when I tell you that these search engines, in fact, show you a very small percentage of data that is dumped on the web! Well, that’s right, the data that is visible to us is called the Surface Web and that which is not visible is called the Invisible Web.

      Invisible Web is also known as Deep Web and they are not easily accessible through the normal Search Engine.

    • Comcast Forgets To Delete Evidence It’s Using Evil Fansubs In Its Streaming Service

      The war on fan-made subtitles waged by the entertainment industry has been going on for a long, long time. While fansubs could, and probably should, be viewed as a potential boon to the entertainment industry, allowing those in far-flung lands to suddenly enjoy its products, fansubs have instead been painted as an aid to pirated content overseas or, in some cases, as copyright infringement themselves, given that they essentially copy parts of the content scripts.

      If nothing else is clear as a result of this introduction, it should be that major industry players absolutely hate fansubs.

      … Except when they can make use of them, apparently, as Comcast-owned Swiss broadcaster Sky had been found using fansubs in its streaming service in the dumbest way possible.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Patent case: Bauteilverbindungsvorrichtung, Germany

      The Federal Court of Justice held that introducing only selected features of an example into a claim is allowable if the resulting combination in the claimed generality is derivable from the application as originally filed. Further, a general incentive from the prior art does not render the specific embodiment of an invention obvious.

    • Huawei Now Using Patent Claims To Demand $1 Billion From Verizon, As The US Tries To Chase Huawei Out Of The US Market

      This one combines a few stories that we’ve covered a lot over the years, showing how they’re intersecting. For some time now we’ve been covering the US’s evidence-free attacks on Huawei, the Chinese telco equipment giant. Basically, for years, there have been stories insisting that Huawei is too closely linked to the Chinese government, leading to fear mongering stories saying that the company should be effectively barred from the US. However, multiple attempts to find security flaws in Huawei’s products have failed to show any kind of backdoors, and the fact that US-based Huawei competitors often seem to be making the loudest noises about the Chinese giant should raise some eyebrows.

      The other story we’ve covered a lot is around China and patents. For years and years, US companies (and policymakers) would go on and on about how Chinese companies didn’t respect US patents, and demanding that China “must respect our IP.” As we’ve highlighted for years, the Chinese government realized a decade or so ago that since the US kept trying to apply diplomatic pressure to “respect patents,” China realized it could just start using patents as an economic weapon. The number of patents granted in China started to shoot up, and (surprise surprise) suddenly in legal disputes, Chinese companies were using patents to block American competitors. And the US couldn’t really complain since it was the US that demanded China “respect patents” so much.

    • Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property Holds Hearings on Proposed Revisions to 35 U.S.C. § 101 [Ed: The patent maximalist (he profits from patent lawsuits) Michael Borella promotes the rigged ‘panels’ that merely discredited Senate]

      On June 4, 5, and 11, the Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property held hearings on its recent proposal to revise 35 U.S.C. § 101, and in particular the current draft bill to do so. Chairman Tillis and Ranking Member Coons (with an occasional third senator in the room) heard testimony from 45 individuals representing a broad swathe of patent expertise including industry executives and groups, inventors, a former Federal Circuit judge, former U.S. Patent and Trademark Office officials, and law professors. Notably absent were representatives of high-tech companies, though a software industry association representing many of these organizations sent an envoy.

      The motivation behind the bill and these hearings was the widespread understanding that a series of Supreme Court decisions in the last decade (most recently Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int’l) had “made a hash” of patent eligibility. The intent behind the draft bill was to offer clarity with regard to what technologies and scientific discoveries are eligible for patenting.

    • Trademarks

      • The slow disappearance of disclaimers: the CJEU decision in Hansson, C-705/17

        As readers might remember, a disclaimer consists of a note recording a statement of waiver which accompanies the registration of a trade mark when it is composed of more elements and it contains descriptive or general words. The aim of the disclaimer is to make it clear that the descriptive element is not covered by exclusive rights.

        The European trade marks system has permitted the use of disclaimer until the repealing of Regulation 207/2009 (as for 23 March 2016). According to the Study on the overall functioning of the European Trade Mark System, only few national trade marks systems envisage(d) [read on] disclaimers. More precisely, Sweden, Ireland and Latvia have (had) them.

    • Copyrights

      • Once More With Feeling: There Is No Legal Distinction Between A ‘Platform’ And A ‘Publisher’

        Amusingly, this actually reminded me of articles I had written over a decade ago, talking up why Google and Facebook needed to become a new kind of internet platform — which I meant in the same manner as Madrigal describes above and which most people talking about “platforms” meant in the mid-aughts. It meant a system on which others could develop new applications and services. I have to admit that I don’t know quite how and when the world switched to calling general internet services “platforms” instead, and I’m just as guilty of doing so as others.

        I have two quick thoughts on why this may have happened before I get back to Madrigal’s piece. First, many of the discussions around these big internet companies didn’t really have a good descriptive term. When talking about the law, things like Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act refer to them as “interactive computer services” which is awkward. And the DMCA refers to them as “service providers,” which is quite confusing, because “internet service provider” has an existing (and somewhat different) meaning, as the company who provides you internet access. Ideally, those company should be called “internet access providers” (IAPs) rather than ISPs, but what’s done is done. And, then of course, there’s the equally awkward term “intermediary,” which just confuses the hell out of most non-lawyers (and some lawyers). So “platform” came out in the wash as the most useful, least awkward option.

        And if Madrigal’s piece had just stuck with that interesting historical shift, and maybe dug into things like I did in the previous paragraph, that might be really compelling. Unfortunately, Madrigal goes a step or two further — and one that goes right up to the line (though it doesn’t totally cross it) of suggesting that there’s some legal significance to calling oneself a platform. This is something we’ve seen too many reporters do of late, spreading a false impression that internet “platforms” somehow get magic protections that internet “publishers” don’t get.

        As we’ve explained there is literally no distinction here. Usually people are making this argument with regards to CDA 230′s protections, but as we’ve discussed in great detail that law makes no distinction between a “platform” and a “publisher.” Instead, it applies to all “interactive computer services” including any publisher, so long as they host 3rd party content. Madrigal’s piece doesn’t call out CDA 230 the way others have, but, unfortunately, his piece absolutely can be read in a misleading way to suggest that there is some magical legal distinction here that matters. Specifically this part:

      • The ‘Platform’ Excuse Is Dying

        Technology companies have long had a simple answer to anyone who did not like what was happening on, in, or through them: Services like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter were platforms, which merely provided the tools for free expression, and not publishers or broadcasters responsible for the content they distributed. It was in that spirit that the head of policy at Facebook, Monika Bickert, defended leaving up a misleadingly altered video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “We don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,” Bickert said.

        In the same vein, YouTube initially defended the YouTuber Steven Crowder’s ability to post videos taunting Carlos Maza, a Vox video producer who is gay, with homophobic slurs. “As an open platform, it’s crucial for us to allow everyone—from creators to journalists to late-night TV hosts—to express their opinions w/in the scope of our policies. Opinions can be deeply offensive, but if they don’t violate our policies, they’ll remain on our site,” YouTube’s official account tweeted. “Even if a video remains on our site, it doesn’t mean we endorse/support that viewpoint.”

      • Polish Government’s Legal Challenge To EU Copyright Directive’s Article 13/17 Remains Shrouded In Mystery, But Details May Not Matter

        The awful Article 13/17 of the EU’s Copyright Directive only seems to have passed thanks to some MEPs voting for it by mistake. But the European Parliament was not the only arm of the European Union where there was strong resistance to the awful ideas contained in the upload filter proposal. Some individual governments were also against aspects of the law. For example, right at the end of the legislative process, in April 2019, no less than seven EU nations expressed their serious concerns.

        [...]

        Those criticisms are made even more pointed by the reference to ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that Polish citizens played an important part in helping to defeat in 2012. Using the hashtag #ACTA2 is a clear attempt to frame the Copyright Directive as more of the same bad stuff — with the hope that it will suffer the same fate.

        And yet despite that tantalizing tweet, the Polish government failed to provide any more details about what exactly its legal challenge against the Copyright Directive at the EU’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union, (CJEU), involved. We do know that the complaint has been submitted, because the action has been assigned an official case number, C-401/19, but with all the fields containing placeholders at the time of writing.

        Tomasz Targosz, from the Institute of Intellectual Property Law, Jagiellonian University Kraków, has written an interesting post on the Kluwer Copyright Blog about the Polish move. In it, he provides invaluable information about the political context for this unexpected development. He points out that the failure to publish the official complaint may indicate that the argument it employs is weak, and unlikely to stand up to expert scrutiny. B

      • Sharing community and breaking the fast: CC Jordan’s 2019 Iftar

        Just last month, Muslims all over the world celebrated the holy month of Ramadan, the month of prosperity, sharing and spiritual healing. Since 2010, Arab world–based Creative Commons communities have celebrated Ramadan by organizing “Creative Commons Iftars” (CC Iftar) across the region.

        A CC Iftar is a social event, organized by the CC chapter’s community members, where members gather to break the fast, share the table and food, engage in conversations and discuss innovation, technology, and their community’s role as a CC Chapter. The Iftars are built around the basis of CC’s vision of sharing and giving from the community to the community. The Iftar has different goals depending on the chapter’s priorities, but the main objective of the CC Iftar is to share a meal with the CC community, friends and partners.

      • Prenda Mastermind Gets 14 Years In Prison, Told To Pay Back Just $1.5 Million

        The process may have taken forever, but Paul “welcome to the big leagues” Hansmeier, who was the apparent mastermind behind the Prenda copyright trolling scam has finally been sentenced to 14 years in prison, and told to repay $1.5 million to 704 victims of his scam. We’ve been covering the actions of Hansmeier and his partner in crime, John Steele, going back many, many years now. None of us have the time to recount all of the many scams they’ve pulled, but they took copyright trolling to new lows. They tried using Florida’s “pure bill of discovery” rules to try to abuse the system to get names to shakedown based on IP addresses. They sent totally unqualified and unprepared “associates” into courts to try to hide their own involvement in cases, they abused the CFAA by pretending movies they uploaded themselves were “hacked” in an attempt to get around restrictions on copyright trolling, they got someone they threatened to sue to basically take a dive in order to get access to other people to shake down (and then they went after that guy anyway). Oh, and then there was the whole thing about setting up their own fake movie production house, creating their own porn films to upload themselves, and then pretending in court that they were not the owners of the company in questions. And we don’t even have much time to get into the time Steele tried to forge the signature of his housekeeper to pretend he was the actual officer of one of those fake shell companies.

      • After RIAA Targets DJ & Producer Site Mixstep, Site Shuts Down

        A site created to allow DJs and producers to upload their work has shut itself down after being targeted by the RIAA. The operator of Mixstep informs TorrentFreak that despite banning errant users, tackling allegedly-infringing uploads is too much for the no-profit service.

      • Namecheap ‘Suspends’ Domain of File-hosting Service Nofile.io

        Namecheap has suspended the domain of file-hosting service Nofile.io. The suspension follows a few weeks after the RIAA targeted the site and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the music group’s inquiry directly or indirectly spurred the domain registrar into action.

      • ‘Pirating’ Cox Business Subscriber Can Remain Anonymous, Court Rules

        ISP Cox Communications recently agreed to identify thousands of business subscribers accused of sharing pirated material. The disclosure, part of the piracy liability lawsuit filed by several music labels, was protested with success by a lone business subscriber. The identities of thousands of other subscribers who didn’t object will be revealed nonetheless.

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  17. Consultation About Direction and Future Focus for Techrights

    We invite ideas and recommendations for the future of the site, notably which topics and aspects are worth covering as a matter of higher priority



  18. European Media Continues to Ignore the EPO Crisis While Law Firms and EPO Management Cover Things Up

    The EPO crisis silently deepens because serious problems are lied about, not acknowledged, and the legitimacy of European Patents is greatly diminished, not to mention the EPO's ability to attract talent



  19. Links 12/7/2019: Alpine 3.10.1 is Out and Red Hat Loses Oliva

    Links for the day



  20. Links 11/7/2019: KDE Plasma 5.16.3 and Verifying Gentoo Election Results

    Links for the day



  21. Campinos is Already Widely Seen as Battistelli the Second, Even Among EPO Stakeholders

    The Frenchmen in charge of the EPO may have a taste (and waste) for wine, but they have no clue how to run a patent office (except into the ground); patent application numbers are meanwhile falling (a reduction in demand)



  22. The EFF Responds to IBM's Liars and Lobbyists for Software Patents Just a Day After Red Hat is Officially Absorbed

    IBM's unacceptable stance and abominable actions on the patent front continue to haunt it; IBM must quickly dissociate and reconsider its patent strategy so as to not alienate thousands of workers (the real asset of Red Hat) it has just spent a fortune on



  23. Microsoft Putting Patent Traps Inside Linux While Blackmailing Companies Using Patents Associated With These Traps

    In an effort to make exFAT (a patent trap) the 'industry standard', even inside Linux, Microsoft now wants exFAT inside the very heart of Linux and people are pushing back



  24. Links 11/7/2019: Cockpit 198, Librem Updates

    Links for the day



  25. More People Are Coming Out: Microsoft Tried to Get Them Fired for Standing in Microsoft's Way (the 'One Microsoft Way')

    Microsoft's bullying tactics aren't "old news"; the same tactics carry on to this date and they're the moral or corporate equivalent of doxing



  26. Links 10/7/2019: Sparky 4.11 and Sculpt OS 19.07

    Links for the day



  27. Links 10/7/2019: Septor 2019.4, Tails 3.15, FreeBSD 11.3 and Microsoft 'Morality Police' (Censorship of FOSS) in GitHub

    Links for the day



  28. EPO Further Harms Justice and Quality by Weakening Processes Associated With the EPO’s Boards of Appeal

    The priorities of EPO management reveal the sheer misunderstanding if not malice; either they do not know how to run a patent office or they intentionally try to make it fail (where it matters most)



  29. Links 9/7/2019: Goodbye Red Hat (IBM Takeover Finalised), Mesa 19.1.2, D9VK 0.13

    Links for the day



  30. IBM Has Just Wiped Clean Red Hat's Position on Software Patents

    Proprietary software giant buying Red Hat is not good news; but now it is confirmed and damage limitation may be in order


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