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11.28.19

Links 28/11/2019: New PHP Release and RC of Mesa 19.3

Posted in News Roundup at 11:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 10 Best Linux Laptops of 2019

        With the provision of installation media formats like ISO images and Live CDs, running new installations of operating systems is as easy as a walk on the beach, especially in cases with our favorite open-source desktop operating system, GNU/Linux.

        Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Manjaro are readily downloadable from their official websites to be easily installed on dual-boot systems or as a complete replacement on some computers.

        One common issue, even though it is becoming less rampant, is driver/hardware incompatibility. Without going into any details, it suffices to say that there are several options you can choose from if you want to purchase a laptop that runs Linux from the factory or one on which it is extremely easy to install Linux.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S12E34 – Buggy Boy

        This week we’ve been in Vancouver and planning for Ubuntu 20.04. We respond to all your distro hopping feedback and bring you a command line love.

        It’s Season 12 Episode 34 of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

      • Certified BSD | BSD Now 326

        LPI releases BSD Certification, openzfs trip report, Using FreeBSD with ports, LLDB threading support ready, Linux versus Open Source Unix, and more.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Linux 5.2+ “Register Corruption” Bug / Golang Issue Was A One-Line Kernel Caching Issue

        Coming together just over a day ago was the Google folks working on Golang figuring out many Go issues stemmed from a bug on the Linux 5.2 kernel and newer that was worked out to be some sort of a register corruption issue. That issue is now sorted out and fortunately it’s a one-line kernel fix and boils down to being a caching issue.

        Kernel developer Sebastian Andrzej Siewior figured out the bug — since confirmed to address both the C test case and the Golang issues — from caching access to the fpu_fpregs_owner_ctx context. The context was being cached but as the kernel deferred loading the FPU registers on return to userland, fpu_fpregs_owner_ctx could change during preemption and shouldn’t be cached, per the patch devised to fix the issue.

      • Linux 5.5 Finally Doing Away With The SYSCTL System Call

        The Linux 5.5 kernel is set to finally eliminate the code backing the sysctl system call, which has been deprecated for about a decade and should have no impact on modern systems of any architecture.

        The Linux sysctl system call has long been deprecated and not advised for use with the sysctl interface being exposed via /proc/sys being the preferred means of reading/setting kernel system attributes. The change for Linux 5.5 isn’t touching the /proc/sys support but is just about finally removing the system call with the binary interface to sysctl on Linux having been unused now for years — well, the hope is there are no users left but they admit to possibly needing to reverting the patch should any real users come forward of this system call.

      • Intel Comet Lake Added To RAPL Driver With Linux 5.5, New “HMEM” Driver

        The ACPI and power management updates were sent in back on Tuesday for the Linux 5.5 kernel and punctually landed in the mainline tree.

        The Linux 5.5 power management code doesn’t bring any big changes on the Intel or AMD front this round, but there is Comet Lake mobile and desktop IDs added to the Intel RAPL (Run-time Average Power Limiting) driver used for scaling back the power-limit as well as monitoring it. That’s about it with no big CPUfreq or P-State changes, including nothing to report on the AMD CPPC front for newer processors.

      • The Big Graphics Driver Update Lands In Linux 5.5 With Exciting Changes For Intel + AMD

        The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) graphics/display driver updates were sent out last night for the Linux 5.5 kernel and quickly landed into the mainline tree.

        As usual, the DRM updates are exciting on the graphics front particularly if you are running recent generations of Intel or AMD Radeon graphics. There aren’t any prominent Nouveau (open-source NVIDIA) updates but at least Intel and AMDGPU remain quite eventful along with all of the ARM/embedded drivers.

    • Mesa

      • mesa 19.3.0-rc5
        Hi list,
        
        Mesa 19.3.0-rc5 is now available as the latest release in the 19.3 series. This
        is a pretty small release, likely due to tomorrow being a major US holiday. The
        majority of the changes are for radv, but there's a few other bits and pieces
        here too: v3d, r600, freedreno, and old intel, just to name a few.
        
        Dylan
        
        Shortlog
        ========
        
        
        Alejandro Piñeiro (1):
              v3d: adds an extra MOV for any sig.ld*
        
        Bas Nieuwenhuizen (2):
              radv: Do not change scratch settings while shaders are active.
              radv: Allocate cmdbuffer space for buffer marker write.
        
        Dave Airlie (1):
              llvmpipe/ppc: fix if/ifdef confusion in backport.
        
        Dylan Baker (1):
              VERSION: Bump version for -rc5
        
        Eric Engestrom (1):
              vulkan: delete typo'd header
        
        Gert Wollny (1):
              r600: Disable eight bit three channel formats
        
        Hyunjun Ko (1):
              freedreno/ir3: fix printing output registers of FS.
        
        Ian Romanick (1):
              intel/fs: Disable conditional discard optimization on Gen4 and Gen5
        
        Jose Maria Casanova Crespo (1):
              v3d: Fix predication with atomic image operations
        
        Timothy Arceri (3):
              radv: add some infrastructure for fresh forks for each secure compile
              radv: add a secure_compile_open_fifo_fds() helper
              radv: create a fresh fork for each pipeline compile
        
        Yevhenii Kolesnikov (2):
              glsl: Enable textureSize for samplerExternalOES
              meson: Fix linkage of libgallium_nine with libgalliumvl
        
        Zebediah Figura (1):
              Revert "draw: revert using correct order for prim decomposition."
        
        
        git tag: mesa-19.3.0-rc5
        
      • Mesa 19.3-RC5 Brings RADV Secure Compile Update, Other Fixes

        Due to the holiday week already, the Wednesday Mesa 19.3-RC5 release is fairly uneventful. Arguably the most interesting changes of Mesa 19.3-RC5 are the RADV secure compile update being worked on by Valve that was back-ported from Mesa 20.0 Git to the 19.3 series for stable The changes result in lower shader compile times and other improvements.

        Besides the secure compile bits, there are a few other Radeon Vulkan fixes too plus a lone R600 driver fix and some V3D driver fixes along with other small items.

      • Gallium3D’s LLVMpipe Lands NIR Support Plus Radeon R600g NIR Support Is Forthcoming

        More Mesa drivers continue to be embracing NIR as the modern intermediate representation shared between these OpenGL and Vulkan open-source implementations.

        Besides the Intel drivers leading the NIR transition along with smaller drivers like Freedreno and VC4, RADV has been making use of NIR and now RadeonSI is working on transitioning to it while TGSI currently remains the default. The LLVMpipe Gallium3D software rasterizer is the newest in-tree Mesa driver making use of this IR.

    • Applications

      • Compiz Sees New Update Ahead Of The Holidays – But It’s Mainly Bug Fixing

        Over a decade ago all the Linux desktop rage was over the likes of Compiz, Beryl, Compiz Fusion, and the like… Ah the memories. But to much surprise, Compiz saw a new release today. Compiz 0.9.14.1 isn’t the most exciting update, but the project is still alive.

        Back in February marked the release of Compiz 0.9.14 as the first upstream release to the project in two years. Meanwhile today is a point release on top of that providing various fixes.

      • Compiz 0.9.14.1 released
        Yesterday I released Compiz 0.9.14.1.
        
        This is mostly a bug-fix release. The changes from 0.9.14.0 are:
        
        - Several bugs in CCSM have been fixed, including a crash when plugin
          descriptions contain non-ASCII characters.
        - Fixed build failure with GCC 9 because of format-truncation warning.
        - CCSM is now compatible with Python 3.8.
        - Fixed gtk-window-decorator crash with Cairo theme.
        - Removed MATE configuration. See the merge proposal [1] for details.
        
        Also, compiz is now translatable on Launchpad. Feel free to contribute on [2].
        The imported translation files are based on the previous work from Ubuntu.
        
        The tarball for the new release can be downloaded at [3].
        Please report any bugs you have found to our bug tracker [4].
        
        I want to thank Alberts Muktupāvels for his work on this release.
        
        [1]: https://code.launchpad.net/~muktupavels/compiz/+git/compiz/+merge/374783
        [2]: https://translations.launchpad.net/compiz
        [3]: https://launchpad.net/compiz/0.9.14/0.9.14.1
        [4]: https://bugs.launchpad.net/compiz/
        
        --
        Dmitry Shachnev
        
      • Cawbird – Native Linux Twitter Client for Gnome 3 (‘Corebird’ fork)

        Cawbird is a modern lightweight Twitter client for GNOME 3. It features inline image and video preview, creation of lists and favorites, filtering of tweets and full text search.

      • Productivity corner: free, versatile office suites in the Snap Store

        For the past few decades, the digital office formula has not changed much. It still revolves around three main components – text documents, data spreadsheets and visual slide decks, designed to convey a powerful business message.

        While simple in essence, this model is quite complex in practice, and choosing the best tools for the job is essential. In this article, we would like to help you make the right choice – and examine several modern, powerful and free office suites.

      • 5 Best VPNs for Ubuntu 2019 – The Best Ubuntu VPN Clients Reviewed

        VPNs are great privacy tools, they encrypt all the traffic going to and from your computer, therefore keeping your data secure at all times. A VPN will also let you unblock streaming services from all over the world.

        Not all VPNs support Ubuntu users. Along with Mint (which is forked from Ubuntu anyway), Ubuntu is widely regarded as the most newbie-friendly Linux distro available. It is also very popular as most Linux developers and Linux guides assume Ubuntu as the “default”, so Ubuntu users enjoy unparalleled levels of support (for the Linux world!).

        A lot of VPN services offer manual setup guides for Ubuntu, but it can still be difficult to find a VPN service that offers customer Ubuntu VPN client. All the VPNs we recommend below, offer their own custom Ubuntu software, some of which have GUI clients for Ubuntu.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Google Stadia’s Claims For Streaming In 4K Seem… No, Just No

        Google’s Stadia product, the company’s bid to get gamers to give up their consoles and PC rigs and instead partake in Gaming as a Service, has had a rocky rollout to say the least. The service was already up against America’s pathetic broadband coverage and usage caps. Add to that the quite muted applause that came from press and public reviews, not to mention the Obamacare-like rollout of the product, and you have to wonder if this is the kind of hit to a product’s reputation that is at all recoverable. It’s nearly as though Google developed a list of things that are important to gamers specifically and went out of its way to ensure it would get failing grades on each item.

      • Checking up on the latest huge updates to sci-fi mining game, Rings of Saturn

        ΔV (pronounced DeltaVee), the top-down space mining game has been under constant development since its Early Access launch in August. In the last few weeks, however, a number of major updates were made to add places of interest, a crew roster, expanded upgrades and more.

        Liam has covered ΔV in quite a few articles recently, but as a reminder, this Godot-powered game is based on real science, applying thermal dynamics, pressure and realistic physics to each element of your ship as you mine minerals from the asteroid comprising Saturn’s rings. The term for this is “hard sci-fi”. The game itself isn’t “hard” as such, but the science is made as realistic as possible, given the fictional setting.

        So what’s new in the latest release? Well, when I first dropped around 8 hours into the game on release, the feeling of the ship and its mechanics blew me away. However, the rings themselves felt a bit empty. The desolation was quite atmospheric in fact, but it was hard to sustain interest in mining the same rocks on each run, with only an occasional other ship to break up the bleak asteroid belt.

      • Love the classics? The Atari Vault has added 50 more retro titles with a new DLC

        Sometimes you just can’t beat the classics, if you feel like that and love the old Atari games this is for you.

        The Atari Vault, said to be the “ultimate collection” of titles across old Atari systems includes around 100 games with the base package. It includes online and local Steam leaderboard support, online multiplayer, Steam Controller support and more wrapped in an easy to use interface.

      • The Shadow & The Blade pack announced for Total War: WARHAMMER II

        Total War: WARHAMMER II is set to expand again with another Legendary Lords Pack, this time it’s The Shadow & The Blade and it actually sounds like it includes quite a lot for one of their smaller packs.

        Feral Interactive, who ported Total War: WARHAMMER II to Linux have confirmed the Linux version will support the DLC “shortly after Windows” which releases on December 12.

        I must admit, showing a Dark Elf riding what’s pretty much a Dinosaur certainly got my attention. Just look at this below, that’s quite an awesome shot. Even if you’re not traditionally a WARHAMMER fan, that certainly does look like it could be fun to see in battle.

      • Tactical top-down shooter Police Stories now has online multiplayer on Linux

        After having a bit of a rough patch with the online support in Police Stories, the team at Mighty Morgan and HypeTrain Digital have now rolled out the feature in the Linux version.

        Released originally back in September, you can see some of my previous thoughts here. For a top-down shooter, it really does have a different gameplay feel to it. The slower, more tactical approach you need to take is a nice change of pace compared to other such shooters.

      • Heroes Of Avranche, a new action RPG is heading to Linux in early December

        The endless dungeons await in Heroes Of Avranche, an Early Access action RPG that’s going to appear on December 3 on Steam.

        According to the information from the developer, Heroes Of Avranche has gameplay that’s comparable to the likes of Diablo and Torchlight. Unlike certain others, your character isn’t locked into a specific class. You can easily swap between them and each class has two different stances changing their play-style too.

      • Lutris game manager 0.5.4 released with Python 3.8 support and lots of fixes

        Managing games across multiple stores, emulators and compatibility layers doesn’t need to be a hassle. Lutris takes the majority of that annoyance away and a big new release is now available.

        Included in Lutris 0.5.4 is support for Python 3.8, due to some distributions upgrading this caused some features of Lutris to not work and so now things should be smooth again. It also adds in config validation, support for NVIDIA PRIME off-load, a pop-up now appears when a game is successfully imported and they’ve added support for alacritty as a terminal option.

      • Steam Play Proton 4.11-9 is out with a few fixes, plus a new release of Proton GE

        First, the official Proton 4.11-9 release handled by Valve and CodeWeavers which is quite a small one. There’s a performance regression fix that affected 32-bit games using DXVK and D9VK, reporting to little GPU memory for certain GPUs was fixed and they fixed a crash when launching Crazy Machines 3 with certain GPUs. The only other improvement in this release is the restoration of force feedback for steering wheels.

    • Distributions

      • Kali Linux 2019.4 released with Xfce, a new desktop environment, a new GTK3 theme, and much more!

        Another significant new addition to the documentation is the use of BTRFS as a root file system. This gives users the ability to do file system rollbacks after upgrades.

        In cases when users are in a VM and about to try something new, they will often take a snapshot in case things go wrong. However, running Kali bare metal is not easy. There is also a manual clean up included. With BTRFS, users can have a similar snapshot capability on a bare metal install!

        NetHunter Kex – Full Kali Desktop on Android phones

        With NetHunter Kex, users can attach their Android devices to an HDMI output along with Bluetooth keyboard and mouse and get a full, no compromise, Kali desktop from their phones.

        To get a full breakdown on how to use NetHunter Kex, check out its official documents on the Kali Linux website.

        Kali Linux users are excited about this release and look forward to trying the newly added features.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Skia branch merged to master

          So, the branch implementing VCL drawing based on the Skia graphics library has been merged in.

          All(?) the necessary info about how to enable it etc. are in this mail, but there are things that better fit a blog post than a mail, and in this case that’s going to be a table and a picture showing how well it may perform. Note that these results are from running visualbackendtest, which is not really a benchmark, so these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s just a test that draws a gradient, several big polygons (each circle is actually 720 lines) and short text.

      • CMS

        • My thoughts on Gutenberg Accessibility

          Gutenberg, or the new WordPress block editor, is the next generation writing and site building interface in the WordPress blogging platform. WordPress has evolved to a full content management system over the years, and this new editor is becoming the new standard way of writing posts, building WordPress pages, and more.

          The idea is that, instead of editing the whole post or page in a single go, and having to worry about each type of element you want to insert yourself, WordPress takes care of much of this. So if you’re writing an ordinary paragraph, a heading, insert an image, video or audio, a quotation, a “read more” link, or many other types of content, WordPress will allow you to do each of these in separate blocks. You can rearrange them, delete a block in the middle of your content, insert a new block with rich media etc., and WordPress will do the heavy-lifting for you. It will take care of the correct markup, prompt you for the necessary information when needed, and show you the result right where and how it will appear with your theme in use. It is a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor, but in much more flexible form. You can even nest blocks and arrange them in columns nowadays.

          Gutenberg also supports a rich programming interface so new blocks can easily be created, which then blend in with the rest of the editor. This is supposedly less complex than writing whole plugins for a new editor feature or post type. Imagine a block that adds a rich podcast player with chapter markers, show notes and other information, and you can easily embed this in your post or page where needed. Right now, this is a rather complex task. With Gutenberg, designing, arranging and customizing your content is supposed to become much easier and flexible.

      • Public Services/Government

        • Germany’s CDU, Angela Merkel’s Party Of Fuddy-Duddies, Decides To Join The Cool Kids: Backs Open Standards, Open Source, Open Data, Open APIs — Open Everything

          The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) of Germany is Angela Merkel’s party. She led it for 18 years before resigning last year as leader, but remaining as Chancellor of Germany until 2021. It is a party that has often held the reins of power in Germany, but has seen a steady decline in membership over the last 30 years. From a peak of nearly 800,000 in 1990, it is now down to around half that. According to figures on Wikipedia, in 2012, the members’ average age was 59 years, and 6% of the Christian Democrats were under 30 years old. In other words, it is German’s party of old fuddy-duddies. Against that historical background, the following passage from its “Digital Charter”, agreed during its recent party conference, is noteworthy (original in German pdf)…

      • Programming/Development

        • PHP 7.4.0 Released!

          The PHP development team announces the immediate availability of PHP 7.4.0. This release marks the fourth feature update to the PHP 7 series.

        • PHP 7.4 Released With FFI, Typed Properties, Arrow Functions, Better Performance

          PHP 7.4 is out this US Thanksgiving day as the newest feature release for the PHP scripting language. PHP 7.4 comes with a number of prominent language additions while, yes, also having even better performance on the PHP series.

        • Let’s Go! – Installing the Go programming language on Debian

          Go, also referred to as Golang, is an open-source, lower-level, statically typed programming language created by Google.

          A team of Google programmers (Robert Griesemer, Rob Pike, and Ken Thompson) developed Go in 2007. Go’s primary purpose is building fast, simple, efficient, and reliable server-side and web-based applications.

          Some commonly known open source applications written with Go include Dockers, Lime, InfluxDB, Kubernetes, etcd, and Terraform. Go keeps growing and increasing in popularity as it evolves, leaving many to wonder if it is the eventual replacement of programming languages such as Python, Java, C++, and others.

  • Leftovers

    • Hardware

      • Exclusive: Amazon’s cloud unit readies more powerful data center chip – sources

        Amazon.com Inc’s (AMZN.O) cloud computing unit has designed a second, more powerful generation of data center processor chip, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, the latest sign that the company is pouring money into custom silicon for its fastest-growing business.

        [...]

        In cloud computing, businesses rent out servers from Amazon instead of running their own data centers. Analysts expect Amazon’s cloud unit to generate $34.9 billion in sales in 2019, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

        Cloud computing has become big business for data center chip makers. Intel controls more than 90% of the server processor market, with AMD controlling most of the remainder. Intel’s data center group generated almost of half of the company’s overall operating profit last year.

        And most server chips go to the cloud. In 2018, almost 65% of Intel’s data center chip sales were from cloud and communications service providers, its executives have said.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • ‘Their Secret Agenda Today Is Exposed’: Corbyn Says Leaked Trade Docs Show Tory Plan to Privatize NHS With Trump’s Help

        The U.K. Labour leader said the move, if successful, “could lead to runaway privatization of our health service.”

      • This Doctors Group Is Owned by a Private Equity Firm and Repeatedly Sued the Poor Until We Called Them

        After nine visits to the emergency room at Baptist Memorial Hospital in 2016 and 2017, Jennifer Brooks began receiving bills from an entity she’d never heard of, Southeastern Emergency Physicians.

        Unsure what the bills were for, Brooks, a stay-at-home mother, said she ignored them until they were sent to collections. She made payment arrangements, but when she was late, she said the collection agency demanded $500, which she didn’t have.

      • New Orleans Forum Explores Industrial Pollution, Environmental Impact and Community Action

        Eve Miller has lived in the historic rural settlement of Freetown in St. James Parish, Louisiana, for most of her life, and her family has been there for more than 100 years. “My grandparents had fruit trees all over the place. We had like eight or 10 different types of pecan trees,” she said at an event last week at Tulane Law School about the impacts of industrial emissions in Louisiana. “This time of year, the levy would be black with birds passing through for migration. You don’t see any of that now.”

        Miller believes that these environmental changes are the result of industrial emissions from the chemical plants and oil storage tanks that have been built in the area. Even worse, she says, are the effects on her community’s health. “In my community, I run across people all the time who have cancer,” said Miller, a community activist and a breast cancer survivor herself. “My neighbor up the street has woken up in the morning at 2 o’clock and coughed not knowing what caused it, but she left her windows open. I know ladies in my community who are having miscarriages when they are diagnosed with breast cancer. You have children that are getting sick. So we have a very serious problem in my neighborhood.”

      • Just One Week After Trump Rolled Back Safety Measures, Chemical Plant Explosion Rocks Texas Town

        “This facility has a track record of violating the Clean Air Act.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Splunk warning over Y2K-style bug set to hit all versions on 1st January 2020

          Splunk has disclosed a flaw in its platform that would cause timestamp recognition of dates with two-digit years to fail – starting on New Year’s Day.

          The issue affects all unpatched Splunk instances, including Splunk Light, Enterprise, and Cloud, on all operating systems. According to Splunk, it would keep users from getting correct results when they query threat data for crucial information.

          “Beginning on January 1, 2020, un-patched Splunk platform instances will be unable to recognise timestamps from events where the date contains a two-digit year,” the company warned in an advisory released this week.

        • Security

          • More Kaspersky vulnerabilities: uninstalling extensions, user tracking, predictable links

            I’m discuss three more vulnerabilities in Kaspersky software such as Kaspersky Internet Security 2019 here, all exploitable by arbitrary websites. These allowed websites to uninstall browser extensions, track users across Private Browsing session or even different browsers and control some functionality of Kaspersky software. As of Patch F for 2020 products family and Patch I for 2019 products family all of these issues should be resolved.

          • Security updates for (US) Thanksgiving

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (haproxy and libvorbis), Fedora (mod_auth_mellon and xen), Oracle (389-ds-base, kernel, and tcpdump), SUSE (bsdtar, java-11-openjdk, java-1_7_0-openjdk, and libxml2), and Ubuntu (nss and python-psutil).

    • Defence/Aggression

      • ‘The Bloodshed Must Stop’: Sanders, Khanna, and Schumer Demand Passage of Measure to End US Complicity in Yemen Slaughter

        “Without U.S. support, the Saudi bombings on innocent civilians could not continue,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

      • How Belfast Prepared Me for the Middle East

        Compared to the Middle East, Northern Ireland was a safe assignment. Tragic, sectarian, brutal, hypocritical; the little civil war – for that is what it was – was what the British army’s intelligence people called a “low-intensity” conflict. We journos did our stories. Then we went home to our rented accommodation in Belfast. And we lived – or thought we did – in the United Kingdom.

      • Popes Against Nuclear Weapons

        The Vatican comes with its ills, contradictions and blatant hypocrisies in the field of moral theology and human existence, but on the issue of atomic and nuclear weapons, the position has been fairly consistent, if marked by gradual evolution. On February 8, 1948, Pope Pius XII held an audience with members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. “What misfortunes,” he asked, “should humanity expect from a future conflict, if it should prove impossible to arrest or curb the use of ever newer and more surprising scientific inventions?”

      • Investigative journalists ask Russian officials to prosecute mercenaries who tortured and killed Syrian soldier

        The independent Russian-language newspaper Novaya Gazeta has sent letters to the Kremlin, the Russian Investigative Committee, and the Prosecutor General’s Office demanding that officials open a criminal case to investigate the brutal killing of a Syrian army deserter. A scanned copy of a passport belonging to one of the alleged perpetrators was attached to each letter.

      • Is Netanyahu Ready to Inflame War to Escape His Legal Troubles?

        The decision to indict Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on three separate criminal counts pushes the country’s already unprecedented electoral stalemate into the entirely uncharted territory of a constitutional crisis.

      • Indonesia: Free Peaceful Papua Activists

        Indonesian authorities should drop treason charges and release at least 22 activists detained since August 2019 for peaceful acts of free expression concerning Papua, Human Rights Watch said today.

      • Ukraine’s Maidan Victims Still Await Justice

        A lawyer who represents families of activists killed during Maidan protests in Kyiv in the winter of 2013 to 2014 has gone on a hunger strike.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Chile Despertó! Chile Has Woken Up! The Rising Fight Against Neo-Liberalism in Chile

        These are some the powerful chants that have echoed throughout the streets of cities small and large in Chile during mass protests that began in October 2019. Poor, working and oppressed people and students have united to demand dignity and human rights – in one word, an end to neo-liberalism in Chile.

      • How the Food Sovereignty Movement Helped Bring Down the World Trade Organization (WTO)
      • Should We Have Billionaires?

        The Democratic presidential campaign has taken a strange twist in recent days, with candidates being asked whether we should have billionaires. While there may be some grand philosophical questions at stake here, I will stick to more mundane economic ones. The real question is; how do you want the economy to work?

      • An Opportunity Zone Group Called Our Story About a Yacht Club Getting Tax Breaks “Lurid.” We Respond.

        Last week, the Economic Innovation Group, a think tank dedicated in large part to supporting the tax break program known as opportunity zones, wrote an article questioning ProPublica’s recent story about how wealthy donors to then-Gov. Rick Scott got his administration to include their long-planned investment projects in the program in Florida.

        In our story, we uncovered previously unreported state and local government documents that showed two sets of wealthy donors in West Palm Beach and Tampa lobbied Scott to have census tracts where they owned property and planned to build luxury developments included in the lucrative tax break that’s in President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul.

      • “Spreading Corruption Is a Russian Government Foreign Policy”

        For Wednesday’s “Trump, Inc.” episode, we spoke to a person who has a lot to say about business corruption and Russian influence in the U.S. He’s also become a central figure in the very story he’s been researching for years. He’s Glenn Simpson.

        Simpson first came to these issues as an investigative journalist at The Wall Street Journal. Then in 2010, he co-founded Fusion GPS, a research firm. During the 2016 campaign, he began to research Donald Trump for two clients: first for a Republican opposed to Trump and then for a lawyer for Democrats.

      • Trump Tax Records Reveal New Inconsistencies — This Time for Trump Tower

        Donald Trump’s business reported conflicting information about a key metric to New York City property tax officials and a lender who arranged financing for his signature building, Trump Tower in Manhattan, according to tax and loan documents obtained by ProPublica. The findings add a third major Trump property to two for which ProPublica revealed similar discrepancies last month.

        In the latest case, the occupancy rate of the Trump Tower’s commercial space was listed, over three consecutive years, as 11, 16 and 16 percentage points higher in filings to a lender than in reports to city tax officials, records show.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Amid National Surge, New Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Top Democrat in New Hampshire

        “Bernie is in the pocket of #BigUs,” supporters are saying. “Pass it on.”

      • Multiple Women Recall Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation by Gordon Sondland

        Three women say they faced sexual misconduct by Gordon Sondland before he was the U.S. ambassador to the European Union and at the center of the presidential impeachment inquiry. They say he retaliated against them professionally after they rejected his advances.

        In one case, a potential business partner recalls that Sondland took her to tour a room in a hotel he owns, only to then grab her face and try to kiss her. After she rejected him, Sondland backtracked on investing in her business.

      • ‘Only Did the Right Thing When He Got Caught’: Trump Reportedly Knew of Whistleblower Complaint When He Unfroze Ukraine Aid

        “It was only until he felt that he was being exposed that he actually stepped up and actually released the funds.”

      • Defeat or Impeach? The (Il)Logic of Impeachment

        I’ve had the displeasure to watch some hours of the House Intelligence Committee’s impeachment inquiry. It’s an excruciating spectacle, alternately boring, confusing, and infuriating.

      • When Progressives in Congress Let Us Down, We Should Push Back

        Last week, the Democratic leadership put an extension of the Patriot Act into a “continuing resolution” that averted a government shutdown. More than 95 percent of the Democrats in the House went along with it by voting for the resolution. Both co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Pramila Jayapal and Mark Pocan, voted yes. So did all 11 of the CPC’s vice chairs.

      • Why Obama Is Just Plain Wrong About Democrats Moving ‘Too Far Left’

        Last-minute presidential candidates such as billionaire Michael Bloomberg and former Massachusetts Gov.

      • If Democrats Don’t Go Bold With Social Reform Right Now, Then When?

        “Too radical, impractical, too costly, impossible, can’t pass the Senate.” Those are the terms centrist Democrats use to describe the bold reform ideas put forth by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic presidential primaries.

      • For Billionaire Bloomberg, Trying to Buy the Presidency Is Just a Sound Investment

        Gracie Mansion, the official residence of New York’s mayors since 1942, hosted billionaire Michael Bloomberg for three terms.The first of these terms began after Bloomberg, then the Republican candidate for mayor, spent an incredible $74 million to get himself elected in 2001. He spent, in effect, $99 for every vote he received.

      • ‘Both Sad and Funny on a Whole New Level’: The President of the United States of America Just Tweeted This Image of Himself

        Trump, quipped one observer, “just sent this out, as perfectly normal national leaders often do.”

      • Labor’s UK General Election Manifesto

        Those of us who attended the Labour Party annual conference in September knew from the resolutions passed there that the party’s manifesto for the next election would offer a vision of socialism not seen since the immediate postwar Labour government.

      • A new star on a new stage How Irina Shikhman made a popular, liberal YouTube talk show on the Moscow government’s dime

        At the end of December 2017, the YouTube channel Let’s Talk (or, in Russian, A pogovorit?) posted its very first video, an interview with the blogger Nikolay Sobolev that has accrued almost 670,000 views. Since then, the channel’s host, Irina Shikhman, has spoken with journalist Tina Kandelaki, bestselling author Boris Akunin, rock star Andrey Makarevich, actress Chulpan Khamatova, comedian Yekaterina Varnava, and a range of other major celebrities in the Russian-speaking world. In the fall of 2018, Shikhman released her first documentary: It followed the students and mentees of Kirill Serebrennikov, a celebrated film and theater director who is among the defendants in a drawn-out embezzlement case his supporters say is politically motivated. That documentary was followed by a two-part film on the Russian prison system whose sources included Oleg Navalny (the brother of opposition leader Alexey), renowned prisoners’ rights advocate Olga Romanova, and Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina. In August, Let’s Talk released yet another documentary, this time on the wildfires sweeping Siberia. Despite the notable disparity between Shikhman’s subject matter and that of traditional Russian state media channels, she and her colleagues have made no effort to hide the fact that their work is financed by Moscow Media, a conglomerate run on Moscow government money. Meduza special correspondent Sasha Sulim spoke with the people behind Let’s Talk and asked what purpose the unexpectedly independent YouTube channel serves for Moscow City Hall.

      • Leaked US Trade Talks Show How Trump Is Dictating Johnson’s Approach to a Hard Brexit

        The cat is out of the bag: Boris Johnson is dancing to Donald Trump’s tune, regardless of the damage this might cause to Britain. His promises to maintain Britain’s ‘high standards’ after Brexit are not worth the paper they’re written on.

      • Impeachment’s Authoritarian End

        Following just a few days of Congressional testimony, it is clear that Trump will, at most, be impeached but certainly not convicted. This would be nothing new, for although such proceedings have now been brought against four presidents in U.S. history, not a single one has been removed in office. Republicans in the Intelligence Committee have already outlined the basis of Trump’s defense, that not only has he done no wrong, but seemingly that he can do no wrong, period. The genius of this move also gets to the core of why Trump’s base loves him, for when critics call out his abuses, he can claim that he is simply doing what all presidents do. This may be deflection and projection, perhaps, but also a keen observation of the decades long pattern of presidential abuses. In other words, Trump is able to use the corruption of D.C. as his justification for his own corruption. Of course, this is partially correct, for much of the outrageous authoritarian behavior of Trump in office has been consistent with past administrations, though done more brazenly and in plain sight. Even when things look darkest for Trump, this ‘swamp’ allows him an easy scapegoat by playing to the justifiable cynicism many Americans have towards government. Trumpians, in rhetoric and in action, prefer to fight fire with fire, or in this instance, fight the ‘swamp’ with more swampiness.

      • Will Impeachment Affect Trump’s Reelection Chances?

        One of the hallmarks of a democratic political system is that voters change their minds. In North Korea, 100 percent of voters support the ruling party coalition in election after election. In South Korea since 1998, voters backed 10 years of progressive candidates followed by 10 years of conservative candidates.

      • ‘The Naked Pravda’ premiere trailer: Meduza’s new English-language podcast

        “The Naked Pravda” highlights how Meduza’s top reporting intersects with the wider research and expertise that exists about Russia.

      • Founder of Russian investigative journalism group attacked in Moscow

        The founder of the Russian-language investigative news outlet Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) has posted on Facebook saying he was physically attacked in Moscow. The CIT specializes in using open-source methods to report on covert Russian or Russian-supported military, intelligence, and mercenary activity.

      • Expect More Voting Machine Headaches in 2020

        Still-incomplete explanations of problematic aspects of new voting systems that debuted in November 2019 and will be used in 2020 suggest that voters will likely see random delays in voting and vote counting during next year’s presidential primaries and fall election.

      • If Medicare for All ‘Too Risky,’ How Would NYT Have Reported Push for Social Security, Abolition, or the Overthrow of King George III?
      • Americans Must Choose Between Life and Death in 2020

        If you’re following the presidential race, you’ve heard plenty of sniping about Medicare for All and whether we can afford it. But when it comes to endless war or endless profits for Pentagon contractors, we’re told we simply must afford it — no questions asked.

      • Without Dialing for Dollars or Lobbyist Meetings, Ocasio-Cortez Raised More Money Than Any Other House Democrat in Third Quarter

        “While many try to belittle a progressive agenda that centers working people and the public good, in truth it’s more powerful than ever.”

      • ‘Massive Criminal Enterprise’: Giuliani Reportedly Sought Ukraine Business Deals as He Worked to Dig Up Dirt on Biden for Trump

        “Giuliani sought a payments of $200,000 from the recently dismissed prosecutor general of Ukraine earlier this year. So, Mr. President, about that corruption in Ukraine you said you were so worried about…”

      • The DNC: Finding Your Perfect Match! (Video)
    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Cable Execs Now Falsely Claiming Cord Cutting Is Slowing Down

        At no point has the cable industry or its executives been particularly keyed in to the “cord cutting” threat. As streaming video has chipped away at their subscriber bases, most cable giants like Spectrum and Comcast have responded by raising prices. And when confronted by growing evidence that cord cutting (defined as cutting the TV cord but keeping broadband) was a growing trend, most of these same executives spent years first denying cord cutting was happening, then trying to claim the only people doing so were lame man-children living in their moms’ basements.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • The End Of Ownership, Military Edition: Even The US Military Can’t Fix Its Own Equipment Without Right To Repair Laws

        We’ve written many times about the right to repair and how various companies have basically destroyed the concept of ownership by putting all sorts of post-purchase restrictions on what you can do with the products you supposedly “bought.” This began with copyright, but has morphed into other areas as well, including abusive and illegal claims about “warranty void if removed.” I still believe that excessive copyright law is to blame for all of this, as physical goods manufacturers looked at the post-sale restrictions enabled by copyright law and immediately began to think of ways to use that on physical items.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Filing patent applications in Japan to obtain patents in India fast

          On November 21 2019, Japan and India signed an agreement to start a Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pilot program. The PPH is a cooperative program to facilitate an acquisition of a patent by utilizing search and examination results at other patent office. Japan is the world’s first country that corporates with India for such a patent acceleration program.

          In India, it reportedly takes about 7 years to obtain a patent. However, under the PPH program, it is expected to be able to obtain a patent within a year and a half for the corresponding Japanese patent.

          In this agreement, the technical fields of applications eligible for Indian patent office are limited to computer science, information technology, machinery, automobiles etc., and not include medical or biotechnology (cf. There’s no limitation for the Japan Patent Office). Also, the Office of First Filing must be Japan or India.

      • Copyrights

        • Copyright protection of fictional characters: is it possible? how far can it go?

          Last year, I was fortunate enough to be invited by Associate Professor Yann Basire (Director-General of CEIPI) to participate in a great (and cool!) conference he organized in Strasbourg on Pop Culture and IP. The topic I was asked to discuss was trade mark protection of fictional characters, and the contribution will be published in 2020 as part of a collection edited by Yann and entitled Propriété Intellectuelle et Pop Culture (LexisNexis, coll. IRPI).

          But what about copyright protection of fictional characters: is it possible? how far could it go?

          Copyright protection is available to any work in a Berne and, now, EU sense. While no particular issues arise in relation to the literary, artistic or dramatic works that feature certain characters, in that they are regarded as ‘traditional’ copyright subject matter, whether copyright also vests in fictional characters as such has occasionally proved controversial.

          Difficulties are linked to the fact that, first, one might wonder whether a character is to be considered a ‘work’ in a copyright sense and, secondly, assuming that it is, what type of work a character is. While the latter appears to be less fundamental question than the former, it might still be a problematic one to answer in those European jurisdictions that envisage an exhaustive list of protectable works.

        • Copyright Troll Mathew Higbee Demands ~$1,000 For Image Only His Team Viewed

          Copyright troll Mathew Higbee and lawyer Paul Levy, described as “the web bully’s worst enemy”, have been battling back and forth ever since Paul wrote up a thorough trashing of Higbee’s trollish behavior nearly a year ago. Levy recently noted that more and more Higbee victims are coming to him, and that Higbee has actually told Levy that he “enjoys” that Levy is flooded with requests from Higbee’s victims. Levy also notes that, in some cases, there is actual infringement happening, and then the question comes down to what is a reasonable amount to pay, and what will Higbee accept.

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