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06.04.20

Links 4/6/2020: Proton 5.0-8 Release Candidate, GNU Linux-libre 5.7

Posted in News Roundup at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Improve Linux system performance with noatime

      

      Whenever I upgrade Linux on my home computer, I have a list of tasks I usually do. They’ve become habits over the years: I back up my files, wipe the system, reinstall from scratch, restore my files, then reinstall my favorite extra applications. I also make a few system tweaks. I’ve been making some of these tweaks for so long that I recently wondered if I still needed to do them.

      One tweak is atime, which is one of the three timestamps on every file on Linux (more on that later). Specifically, I wondered if it’s still worth it to disable atime in more recent Linux systems. Since atime is updated every time the file is accessed, my understanding was that it had a significant impact on system performance.

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Now You Can Buy Linux Certified Lenovo ThinkPad and ThinkStation (For the Best Possible Out of the Box Linux Experience)

        There was a time when ThinkPad was the preferred system for Linux users.

        But that was when ThinkPad was an IBM product. When Beijing-based Lenovo acquired New York-based IBM’s personal computer business in 2005, (I feel that) things started to change.

        ThinkPad was/is an amazing series of laptops, reliable, trustworthy and rock solid. Just ask a person who used it before 2010s.

        But around 2010, Lenovo ThinkPad started to lose its charm. It was filled with issues after issues and consumer complaints of poor performance.

        Things were even worse for Linux users. Its secure boot with UEFI created problems for Linux users. The controversy with Linux would just not end.

      • Lenovo Adds Linux Certification to Full ThinkPad P Series and ThinkStation Lineups

        It was almost exactly one year ago that we posted news of Lenovo’s 2019 ThinkPad P Series lineup, all of which featured Ubuntu as a configuration option. This week Lenovo is “…moving to certify the full workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions from Ubuntu and Red Hat – every model, every configuration”.

        As mentioned above, this Linux certification encompasses Lenovo’s entire P Series lineup, as well as all ThinkStation workstations.

      • Lenovo believes in the Linux desktop

        In the 2000s, if you wanted Linux on a laptop, your best choice without a doubt was an IBM. Later, Lenovo ThinkPad. Then, in 2008, Lenovo decided to no longer officially support Linux on the desktop. There’s been a lot of technological changes since, including that Lenovo went back to fully supporting the Linux desktop. There were some hitches, too. Lenovo blew it with Linux on its 2016 Signature Edition PCs. But now Lenovo wants to be desktop Linux’s best friend again.

        Lenovo is moving to certify the full workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions from Ubuntu and Red Hat — “every model, every configuration.” While that’s not every Lenovo PC — the Ideapad family isn’t included — that’s still an impressive move.

        Lenovo isn’t just certifying its high-end laptops and desktops for Linux; the company will also preload its entire portfolio of ThinkStation and ThinkPad P Series workstations with both Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Ubuntu Long Term Support (LTS).

      • Lenovo is certifying its entire workstation portfolio for Linux

        Lenovo says that more than 250 million computers are sold each year, and 2.87% of those, roughly 7.2 million machines, are running Linux. Lenovo says that Linux used to be thought of as a niche operating system for IT users, but it is increasingly being used by data scientists, developers, application engineers, scientists, and other users. With Linux use growing, Lenovo is working to certify its entire workstation portfolio for top Linux distributions from Ubuntu and Red Hat.

        [...]

        Historically Lenovo certified only certain products within a limited subset of hardware configurations to work with Linux. The new move will see the entire portfolio of ThinkStation and ThinkPad P Series workstations certified for both Red Hat Linux and Ubuntu LTS. The latter is a long-term enterprise-stability version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution.

        Lenovo says that its workstations will work intuitively with the host Linux OS and offer full end-to-end support. That support includes security patches and updates to better secure and verify hardware drivers, and firmware and BIOS optimizations. Lenovo also plans to upstream device drivers directly to the Linux kernel to help maintain stability and compatibility through the life workstation. It’s unclear when the certification of the workstations will be complete. Lenovo does have a Red Hat Fedora pilot program with a preloaded Fedora image on the ThinkPad P53 and P1 Gen 2 computers. Not long ago Lenovo unveiled a new Chromebook S340 notebook as another alternative to Windows.

      • Lenovo will pre-install Ubuntu and Red Hat systems on More ThinkPads, ThinkStations

        Lenovo is already well represented within the Linux hardware community having ‘certified’ a swathe of its devices for various different distros over the years.

        And the company recently revealed plans to sell laptops preloaded with Fedora and make more firmware updates available through the vendor-neutral Linux Vendor Firmware Service (LVFS).

        But now it’s going even further with the Linux love.

        Lenovo say ALL of its ThinkStation and ThinkPad P Series laptops will be available to buy with Ubuntu LTS pre-loaded and not just a few specific configurations stashed away on a hard-to-find store page somewhere.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Ubuntu Podcast from the UK LoCo: S13E11 – Inside out clothes

        This week we’ve been making podcasts and porting games to Scratch. We discuss Mint breaking Chromium, possible new features in Groovy Gorilla, GNOME defeating a patent troll, ZFS on Ubuntu, microk8s coming to Windows and macOS and Lenovo shipping Ubuntu or more laptops and workstations. We also round up some of our favourite stories from the tech world.

      • One is None | Self-Hosted 20

        You’re not a true self-hoster until you’ve lost your entire configuration at least once. Alex does a deep dive into cloud backup, plus we need your help to find the right Wifi solution for a listener.

      • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 860

        a walk down memory lane, games, toys, hardware

    • Kernel Space

      • AMD Zen/Zen2 RAPL Support Merged In Linux 5.8

        Complementing the new AMD Energy Driver in the hwmon subsystem for Linux 5.8 to provide per-socket/core reporting, the Linux perf subsystem in this new kernel version has run-time average power limiting (RAPL) framework integration for AMD Zen/Zen2 CPUs.

        This Zen RAPL integration is what a Google engineer posted last month for integrating in the current-gen AMD processor power data into the RAPL framework, including exposing this information via the PowerCap sysfs interface and perf tool.

      • More Scheduler Optimizations Land In Linux 5.8

        As part of the many areas of the kernel managed by Ingo Molnar, on Tuesday he submitted the pull request with all of the scheduler code updates for Linux 5.8.

        Like with most kernel cycles, much of the Linux 5.8 scheduler work was focused on optimizations. This cycle there is optimizations around task wakeup CPU selection logic for ideally improving scalability and reducing wakeup latency spikes.

      • The pseudo cpuidle driver

        The purpose of a cpuidle governor is to decide which idle state a CPU should go into when it has no useful work to do; the cpuidle driver then actually puts the CPU into that state. But, at the 2020 Power Management and Scheduling in the Linux Kernel summit (OSPM), Abhishek Goel presented a new cpuidle driver that doesn’t actually change the processor’s power state at all. Such a driver will clearly save no power, but it can be quite useful as a tool for evaluating and debugging cpuidle policies.

        Goel began by saying that this work was motivated by a performance problem encountered with high-latency idle states — deep CPU sleep states that take a long time to restart from. A GPU-oriented workload that generated lots of interrupts was involved; the time between those interrupts was just enough to cause the governor to choose a deep idle state. That created latency which added up over time as the workload progressed. The temporary workaround was to increase the target latency (the expected sleep time) for those idle states by a factor of three to five, biasing the idle-state choice toward the shallower states. It solved the problem, but is “not elegant”; others will undoubtedly find workloads that go wrong in other ways.

        Rafael Wysocki interjected to suggest using the pm_qos mechanism instead; its purpose is to address just this sort of latency issue, and he was curious to know why it didn’t work. Part of the problem, evidently, is that pm_qos will disable the deeper idle states entirely, but there can be value in having them remain available for the truly long idle periods. Parth Shah added that, on the Power architecture, this is even more true; without getting to those deeper idle states little energy will be saved.

      • Saving frequency scaling in the data center

        Frequency scaling — adjusting a CPU’s operating frequency to save power when the workload demands are low — is common practice across systems supported by Linux. It is, however, viewed with some suspicion in data-center settings, where power consumption is less of a concern and there is a strong emphasis on getting the most performance out of the hardware. At the 2020 Power Management and Scheduling in the Linux Kernel summit (OSPM), Giovanni Gherdovich worried that frequency scaling may be about to go extinct in data centers; he made a plea for improving its behavior for such workloads while there is still time.

        He started with a quote from a car-rally driver: “if in doubt, go flat out”. This may not actually be the best advice for drivers of motor vehicles, he said, but it may be the right approach for frequency scaling. Users in data centers often switch to the “performance” CPU-frequency governor, which is not frequency scaling. This governor, which simply runs at full speed all the time, reflects one outcome of the tension between energy efficiency and raw performance. Program managers tend to be interested in performance first, and performance is the first thing that customers see. The cost of power usage is only discovered later, resulting in attempts to hack efficiency into a data-center deployment as an afterthought. It would be better to have that efficiency there from the outset, he said.

        He asked the audience a question: assume you are a regional bank running an on-premises data center. Which CPU-frequency governor would you choose? The intel_pstate powersave governor would be the smart choice for now. But the intel_pstate performance governor beckons. The “schedutil” governor is the upcoming next generation. Would you pick one of those, or just go with whatever default the distribution picked? The choice is not obvious. Frequency scaling looks like a risk for a data-center user. Can the distribution vendor be trusted to have made the right choice? For distributors, the bank is a customer who must be catered to. Which governor would you set as the default?

      • The deadline scheduler and CPU idle states

        As Rafael Wysocki conceded at the beginning of a session at the 2020 Power Management and Scheduling in the Linux Kernel summit (OSPM), the combination of the deadline scheduling class with CPU idle states might seem a little strange. Deadline scheduling is used in realtime settings, where introducing latency by idling the CPU tends to be frowned upon. But there are reasons to think that these two technologies might just be made to work together.
        Why would one even bother to try to combine the deadline scheduler and CPU idle states? One should never miss opportunities to save energy, he said. Plus, on some systems, avoiding idle states is not really an option; without them, the CPU will overheat and thermal throttling will kick in. Meanwhile, the combination seems viable to him. In theory, at least, all of the information needed to select idle states is present; the scheduler has work estimates and deadlines for all tasks, and it has the idle-state properties for the CPU. It’s just a matter of using that information correctly.

      • Imbalance detection and fairness in the CPU scheduler

        In the 5.7 kernel, he began, the runnable_load_avg signal has been removed in favor of runnable_avg, which is the sum of the “runnable” time of every scheduler entity (either an individual task or a control group containing tasks) in a run queue. The runnable time is defined as the time a task actually spends running, but also the time it spends waiting to run. This change addresses a problem that had been seen in capacity tracking when a task is migrated from one CPU to another.

        Specifically, moving a task off of a CPU moves that task’s utilization with it, causing that CPU to appear to suddenly have a lot of spare capacity. But if other tasks on the CPU were spending a lot of time waiting to run, that capacity doesn’t really exist; the utilization of those tasks was artificially reduced by the fact that they couldn’t run as much as they needed to. Including the waiting time prevents that false capacity from appearing when one task moves away, giving the remaining tasks time to expand their actual utilization. The calculation of when a CPU (or set of CPUs) is overloaded now looks at runnable_avg, which must exceed the CPU capacity by a threshold before the scheduler will try to move tasks away.

        NUMA balancing is still not using this metric, though, so there is currently a mismatch between normal load balancing and NUMA balancing. That can lead to conflicting decisions at times. It might make sense to change the balancing at the NUMA level, but NUMA nodes can contain a lot of CPUs, and he worries about the impact of summing that many runnable_avg values. He has not started working on this problem, but it’s at the top of his list.

        Peter Zijlstra noted that developers are still “chasing the fallout” from the changes that have been made so far. Guittot acknowledged that, saying he’s not sure if the NUMA issues play into that or not.

      • Hibernation in the cloud

        Hibernation is normally thought of as a laptop feature — and an old and obsolete laptop feature at that. One does not normally consider it to be relevant in cloud settings. But, at the 2020 Power Management and Scheduling in the Linux Kernel summit (OSPM), Andrea Righi argued that there may actually be a place for hibernation on cloud-based systems if it can be made to work reliably.
        The core idea behind hibernation is powering the system down entirely, but restoring it to its previous state, including any running processes, when the system is powered up. To do that, the contents of memory, which will not survive loss of power, must be written to persistent storage before turning things off. The advantage of hibernation is that the system can retain its state indefinitely without power; the cost is a great deal of I/O at both hibernation and resume times.

        Hibernation was a hot topic back in 2004, when it was usually known as “software suspend”; see the LWN kernel index entry for software suspend to understand just how hot. Work in this area slowed around 2008, though, when suspend-to-RAM functionality (often just called “suspend”) became widely available. Support for hibernation was dropped entirely in Ubuntu 12.04. The Fedora 29 release included an experiment with suspend-then-hibernate functionality, but that “didn’t go well” and was dropped. Hibernation mostly seems like a dead topic, he said.

      • Linux 5.8 To Allow Swapping Fn / Ctrl Keys On Apple Keyboards

        While there have been out-of-tree Linux patches offering this support already, with the in-development Linux 5.8 kernel comes a mainline solution for allowing the Fn and left Control keys to be swapped on Apple keyboards.

        In the name of “people who want to keep PC keyboard muscle memory”, the Apple HID driver in Linux 5.8 has a new option to allow swapping the Fn and left Control keys. This works for all MacBook computers as well as external Apple wired/wireless keyboards.

      • Kernel 5.7: Forging ahead, despite COVID-19

        While the previous kernel was released at a time when many countries had already been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the work was actually completed before the spread of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. Kernel 5.7 development, on the other hand, took place after the lockdown measures were introduced.

        Despite these significant changes, the kernel community has remained strong, forging ahead thanks to remote working already being the de facto mode of collaboration. Of course, there are, and continue to be, many people in the kernel community directly affected by the pandemic, and by no means should we forget the hardships these last few months have brought.

        • Collabora’s Contributions to Linux Kernel 5.7

          Released last week by Linus Torvalds, Linux kernel 5.7 is here with a new and improved exFAT file system implementation, ARM64 Kernel Pointer Authentication, a new BPF-based Linux Security Module, new features for x86 CPUs, improved perf cgroup profiling, and much more.

          As usual, Collabora had an important part of the Linux kernel 5.7 development, adding much-needed encoding improvements to the Hantro JPEG driver, more work around the runtime bus format negotiation between elements of a DRM bridge chain, and support of automatic loading of i3c modules.

          They also addressed various bugs in the Virtual Media Controller Driver (VIMC) and Rockchip ISP V1 (rkisp1) driver, converted more Device Tree bindings to YAML, further improved support for Chrome OS devices, and added a trace event for the DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) scheduler.

        • GNU

          • GNU Linux-Libre 5.7 Released – Drops Intel iGPU Security Fix Over Arrays Of Numbers

            The GNU Linux-libre 5.7-gnu kernel was released following last weekend’s Linux 5.7 kernel release. But the info-gnu mailing list was slow and thus just hitting the wire today for the latest version of this sanitized version of the Linux kernel. One interesting change in GNU Linux-libre 5.7-gnu is dropping the Intel Gen7 “iGPU Leak” security mitigation over not liking the sources.

          • GNU Linux-libre 5.7-gnu
            GNU Linux-libre 5.7-gnu cleaning-up scripts, cleaned-up sources, and
            cleaning-up logs (including tarball signatures) are now available from
            our git-based release archive git://linux-libre.fsfla.org/releases.git/
            tags {scripts,sources,logs}/v5.7-gnu.
            
            Tarballs and incremental patches were still slowly getting compressed as
            I started writing this.  It took me so long to write this up that by now
            they are probably ready to be published, along with scripts and logs, at
            <https://www.fsfla.org/selibre/linux-libre/download/releases/5.7-gnu/>.
            
            We will not create or publish binary xdeltas any more: tarballs and
            patches are now created with git archive and git diff, respectively.
            So, even if you want a tarball, you don't have to wait for the
            compression to complete on our end.  Update the git repo, and run:
            
              git checkout logs/v5.7-gnu &&
              git archive --format tar --prefix=linux-5.7/ \
                sources/v5.7-gnu > linux-libre-5.7-gnu.tar &&
              gpg --verify linux-libre-5.7-gnu.tar.sign
            
            This will get you the same tarball and signature that, once compressed,
            will be published at the usual place.  Note that the --prefix= was
            maintained like that of the corresponding upstream release, so that
            anyone already used to downloading our tarballs and dealing with the
            unusual prefix doesn't have to make any changes.
            
            
            No changes were required to the cleaning up scripts since -rc7-gnu,
            already published under the new release procedure, though a little too
            late for it to be useful.
            
            The git repository is already populated with scripts, sources and logs
            for past releases since Linux-libre became a GNU project; earlier
            releases might be added at a later time.  The imported sources, scripts,
            logs and signatures are the result of long-time hard work by Jason Self,
            in the git repo https://jxself.org/git/linux-libre.git.  Nearly all of
            the branches, tags and commits in the new repo are taken directly from
            there, though I've verified all of the sources/ and scripts/ tags and
            corrected a few mismatches that AFAICT followed from errors in the SVN
            repository.  The main exception is the storage of logs and tarball
            signatures; he'd used git notes, but those didn't quite work for me, so
            I turned them into a separate tree of tags with logs and tarball
            signatures.  Alas, I failed to bring the .log signatures into it.  Will
            fix, and move the tags.
            
            
            The 5.7 upstream release removed the i1480 uwb driver, that we used to
            clean up, but added a crypto driver for the Marvell OcteonTX CPT, for
            Mediatek MT7622 WMAC, for Qualcomm IPA, for the Azoteq
            IQS620A/621/622/624/625 Multi-function device, for IDT 82P33xxx PTP
            clock, and a Modem Host Interface (MHI) bus driver, all of which
            required cleaning up.  Actually, the MHI bus one is tentative: I
            couldn't quite figure out what it is that it loads, so I've
            conservatively blocked it in the likely case it is a piece of non-Free
            Software.
            
            Some further adjustments were required on account of the introduction of
            the function firmware_request_platform to the firmware-loading
            interface, of the usual assortment of false positives all over, and blob
            adjustments in AMD GPU, Arm64 DTS files, Meson VDec, Realtek Bluetooth,
            m88ds3103 dvb frontend, Mediatek mt8173 VPU, Qualcomm Venus, Broadcom
            FMAC, Mediatek 7622 and 7663 wifi, silead x86 touchscreen; of the
            movement of the cleaned-up mscc phy driver (and new blob names in it)
            and wd719x documentation within the source tree; and of something very
            unexpected: the introduction of binary blobs as arrays of numbers in
            source code for gen7 i915 gpus.
            
            
            I unfortunately could not find correspoding sources for the new binary
            blobs introduced in such an old-fashioned way, and they're big enough
            and not regular enough that I could just assume them to be data rather
            than code, so I've removed them.  If you come across source code for
            those bits, or can explain to me how transparent and trivial they are
            once they're disassembled with existing Free tools, I'll be very glad to
            restore them.
            
            
            Other relevant changes were made to the deblob-check script:
            
            - its self-test now uses a safer $echo instead of echo to feed itself
            the test patterns, and to complain in case they fail; some of the
            patterns got mangled (unintended backslash transformations) by /bin/sh's
            echo in Trisquel 8.  That's a well-known shell portability issue that we
            had a fix for, but that somehow hadn't come up before in the context of
            the testsuite.
            
            - I moved the block of default suspicious patterns after the Linux- or
            patch-specific ones.  This enables these default patterns to be
            overridden by longer matches (e.g., cleaning up a trailing comma along
            with the new Intel presumed blobs).  In Non-Deterministic Automata-based
            regular expression engines, such as those in GNU awk and GNU sed, this
            doesn't make a difference, because the longest match is always
            preferred, but in engines that process alternatives left-to-right and
            take the first match, like Python's and Perl's, there was no way to
            override the blob sequence as needed.  Now there is.
            
            
            For up-to-the-minute news, join us on #linux-libre of irc.gnu.org
            (Freenode), or follow me (@lxoliva) on Twister <http://twister.net.co/>,
            Secure Scuttlebutt, GNU social at social.libreplanet.org, Diaspora* at
            pod.libreplanetbr.org or pump.io at identi.ca.  Check the link in the
            signature for direct links.
            
            
            Be Free! with GNU Linux-libre.
            
            
            What is GNU Linux-libre?
            ------------------------
            
              GNU Linux-libre is a Free version of the kernel Linux (see below),
              suitable for use with the GNU Operating System in 100% Free
              GNU/Linux-libre System Distributions.
            
            http://www.gnu.org/distros/
            
              It removes non-Free components from Linux, that are disguised as
              source code or distributed in separate files.  It also disables
              run-time requests for non-Free components, shipped separately or as
              part of Linux, and documentation pointing to them, so as to avoid
              (Free-)baiting users into the trap of non-Free Software.
            
            http://www.fsfla.org/anuncio/2010-11-Linux-2.6.36-libre-debait
            
              Linux-libre started within the gNewSense GNU/Linux distribution.
              It was later adopted by Jeff Moe, who coined its name, and in 2008
              it became a project maintained by FSF Latin America.  In 2012, it
              became part of the GNU Project.
            
              The GNU Linux-libre project takes a minimal-changes approach to
              cleaning up Linux, making no effort to substitute components that
              need to be removed with functionally equivalent Free ones.
              Nevertheless, we encourage and support efforts towards doing so.
            
            http://libreplanet.org/wiki/LinuxLibre:Devices_that_require_non-free_firmware
            
              Our mascot is Freedo, a light-blue penguin that has just come out
              of the shower.  Although we like penguins, GNU is a much greater
              contribution to the entire system, so its mascot deserves more
              promotion.  See our web page for their images.
            
            http://linux-libre.fsfla.org/
            
            What is Linux?
            --------------
            
              Linux is a clone of the Unix kernel [...]
            
            (snipped from Documentation/admin-guide/README.rst)
            
    • Benchmarks

    • Applications

      • Using AppImage for Linux package management



        A big part of administrating Linux machines—especially remote machines—is managing and installing software. When something goes wrong with a local application or when something on the filesystem breaks and needs fixing, you’re often going to want to push updates without having to travel many miles to sit down in front of a physical screen. As I explain in my Pluralsight course Linux system maintenance and troubleshooting, a lot of problems can be solved through Bash scripts of course, but there are still plenty of cases where there’s no alternative to a good, old fashioned binary.

        Imagine that some of your remote systems need new applications installed, so the team members using those computers will be able to perform some business function. Being able to leverage the integration and automation of one of the major Linux repository systems—like Debian or RPM—can make your administration tasks a whole lot easier.

      • Blender 2.83 is out as the first ever LTS, gains initial VR support

        Long-term support has come to Blender with the release of 2.83, meaning teams can stick to it for two years without major breakage worries or changes to their flow. This LTS system had been in discussion for some time now, part of Blender’s aim to really become the go-to free and open source application for all kinds of 3D creation from games to films.

        One of the massive new features is the inclusion of initial VR support, powered by OpenXR. This is what Collabora has been tinkering with while making their Monado Linux OpenXR runtime, which they showed it running Blender VR.

      • 3 Top Node.js Package Managers for Linux

        Node.js is one of the most popular programming languages rocking the software development industry in the world over. While developing and using Node.js applications, one common software that developers and general users will always find themselves relying on is a package manager.

        A Node.js package manager interacts with online package repositories (that contain Node.js libraries, applications, and related packages) and helps in many ways including package installation and dependency management. Some package managers also feature project management components.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Guacamelee! 2 | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.10 | Native
      • Monster Train: Review

        This is Monster Train, a roguelike deckbuilder where you draft cards to play spells and creatures to defend your 3 floor train from constant attack. The game combines the randomness, single life, and replayability of roguelikes with card games, but you face off against the computer rather than another human directly. As you progress in a playthrough (run) you are given options to upgrade and remove cards, constantly trying to make your deck better to survive each round of enemies and bosses.

        [...]

        A welcome addition is the lore, for each card and enemy. While this is optional and easy to ignore or disable, it provides context to the world and some of its history. Often when action games try too hard on story it falls very flat, when hints, lore, and atmosphere can go a long way (see Dark Souls and earlier Blizzard games vs Diablo 3 or most ARPGs). The lore of Monster Train paints the broad outlines of each clan, the origin of the railway and bosses, and hints at the narrator writing it all down. Did I mention there is a clan of melting wax people that get “reformed” after being melted down?

      • Side-scrolling rogue-like brawler Ascendant is now free on GOG

        It’s coming close to the weekend so how about trying out a new FREE game? During GOG’s current big Summer Sale which runs for another few days, they’ve made Ascendant free. Ascendant is an action-platformer that’s also a rogue-like brawler, with a very colourful and inviting style.

        You are a demigod who invades a plane controlled by your rivals. They will stop at nothing to eliminate you. Only the most impressive warriors will triumph over their armies of zealots and beasts. By exploring the world to discover new weapons, spells, and blessings, and learning how to survive in this brutal realm, you may have a small chance at winning.

      • Colourful cyberpunk adventure Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER coming to Linux

        Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER is the next mystery adventure set in the world of MidBoss’ previous game, the well received 2064: Read Only Memories and it will be coming to Linux at release.

        It was announced quite some time ago, which we missed, but thanks to it recently appearing on Steam we can see that it’s confirmed to be coming to Linux (their press info confirms this too). Read Only Memories: NEURODIVER will have you will return to the vibrant cyberpunk world of Neo-San Francisco from 2064: Read Only Memories, filled with friendly and familiar faces. NEURODIVER will introduce new characters, locations, and mechanics, including the ability to dive into and change other characters’ memories, as well as overhauled art and an unsolved case to crack with multiple endings.

      • The Zone: Stalker Stories blends exploration, card battles and an RPG

        Currently in development with an early demo due during the Steam Game Festival, The Zone: Stalker Stories sounds like a pretty special blend of gameplay features.

        Illuminated Games, whose last games The Next World and Golem Creation Kit also supported Linux, say they’re directly inspired by Slay the Spire, S.T.A.L.K.E.R and Darkest Dungeon with The Zone aiming to blend together exploration, card battles and RPG elements, with a rich story crafted by industry veterans (Mount & Blade, The Next World). Not only is it currently planned to release for Linux, I spoke to Illuminated Games who confirmed that they will have a “pre-alpha” demo available during the Steam Game Festival Summer Edition which starts on June 9.

        This is the Zone — a post-apocalyptic world where strangeness and confusion are the norm, filled with treasure, danger, exploration and strategic card battles. Advance through environments filled with deadly anomalies and twisted abominations. Unearth artifacts of incomprehensible power, and use them. Develop your psionic abilities to the limit and blow away your enemies with the power of your mind.

      • Theme Hospital game engine CorsixTH new release in testing

        CorsixTH is a brilliant free and open source game engine for Theme Hospital, enabling it to play smoothly on modern systems and other improvements. Theme Hospital is a true classic, one that absolutely should be kept alive. I may be a little biased there though, as it was a game I played a great many hours of in my youth.

        It’s been over a year since the last CorsixTH release but it’s coming soon! CorsixTH 0.64 has a first Release Candidate now up and in need of some testing. A big new experimental feature landed enabling ISO images of the game to be used as a data source. In addition many game bugs have been fixed, multiple of which were somewhat game-breaking with rooms being stuck and level errors. Memory leaks were also plugged up, some UI elements are now sized properly in all languages and Epidemic patients previously couldn’t be treated while they were seeking a room.

      • AMD Wattman-like open source app CoreCtrl adds NAVI support

        CoreCtrl, a free and open source Linux app that’s been compared to AMD’s official Wattman has a brand new release out. The application, made by developer Juan Palacios, has an aim to make tinkering with your hardware performance setup easy.

        It lets you setup application profiles to have your Linux PC automatically adjust hardware frequencies, voltage, fan speeds and more when something is launched (or globally). With the latest update released May 31 it adds in support for AMD NAVI, had a rework of advanced power management controls for newer hardware, there’s a workaround for high cpu load on some hardware plus French and Catalan translations.

      • WRATH: Aeon of Ruin to officially launch in February 2021

        WRATH: Aeon of Ruin, another popular retro-FPS throwback from KillPixel and 3D Realms now finally has a release date of February 25, 2021. Currently in Early Access, they also just recently release a second big content update.

        It’s not currently officially supported on Linux, however it will be releasing properly for Linux next year too. Although from what we’ve been told it might not be at the exact same time as the Windows version. Until then though, you can actually play it with open source as KillPixel use a modified version of the DarkPlaces Quake game engine which you can find right now on GitHub. Our contributor, Samsai, actually did this and took a look in a previous article and video where it runs well.

      • Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus adds gamepad support

        Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus just became more accessible than ever, thanks to Bulwark Studios adding full gamepad support and it appears to work great.

        Turn-based strategy games like this are a fantastic fit for gamepad support too. You don’t need super-fast responsive times or any kind of accuracy, as you’re not directly controlling actions but rather picking positions and executing plans. Warhammer 40,000: Mechanicus is an incredibly stylish and very well done strategy game too, one that does Warhammer well and controlling The Adeptus Mechanicus is certainly interesting.

      • Proton 5.0-8 Release Candidate Brings Game Fixes, Performance Improvements

        Valve and CodeWeavers have been preparing a new release of the Proton 5.0 series for powering Steam Play with running modern Windows games on Linux.

        Out this morning is the release candidate of the imminent Proton 5.0-8 release. Proton 5.0-8 RC is bringing:

        - Crash fixes for Detroit: Become Human, Planet Zoo, Jurassic World: Evolution, Unity of Command II, and Splineter Cell Blacklist.

      • Steam Play Proton 5.0-8 has a Release Candidate up for testing

        Today, CodeWeavers developer Andrew Eikum put up a first Release Candidate for Steam Play Proton 5.0-8.

        Need more info on what Steam Play is? See our dedicated page.

        With an aim for gathering feedback and finding issues in the new release, to then push it out for everyone later if testing goes well. It has some major improvements in it but like with previous Proton RC releases, it’s subject to change and some updates can be removed.

    • Distributions

      • Zorin OS 15 – An Ultimate Linux Desktop Designed for Windows and macOS Users

        In the advent of Linux’s grand entrance into the PC space back in 1993, has been an insurgency of operating systems and that time also happened to be the wake of a technological-oriented generation adopting computers at a much faster pace than ever before.

        In the light of this fact, Debian took off grandly (two years after Linux was born) and through it, a staggering 200 independent distributions have poured out – thanks to Ian Murdock.

        We can likewise say thanks to Canonical/Ubuntu for driving the concept of user-friendliness and usability for the “normal human” which other distros like Linux Mint et ‘al have perfected over the years to the extent at which it is more than reliable in this day and age.s

      • BSD

        • FreeNAS is coming to Linux

          The FreeNAS distribution implements network-attached storage on top of the ZFS filesystem; it was reviewed here back in 2015. FreeNAS has always been based on FreeBSD, but now iXsystems, the company behind this system, has announced a new version, called TrueNAS SCALE, that will be based on Debian. “Linux is a key requirement to achieve some of the SCALE project goals”. More information about those goals will evidently be forthcoming in the future.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Zero Copy Networking in UEK6

          Zero copy networking has always been the goal of Linux networking, and over the years a lot of techniques have been developed in the mainline Linux kernel to achieve it. This blog post highlights recent enhancements to zero copy networking 1. All of these enhancements are included in UEK6.

          [...]

          UEK6 delivers continued network performance enhancements and new technology to build faster networking products.

        • The road to Quarkus GA: Completing the first supported Kubernetes-native Java stack

          I’ve had many proud moments in my role here at Red Hat over the years. Examples include when we released the first version of WildFly, when we acquired the Camel team, when we worked with other vendors to create Eclipse MicroProfile, the great work the Strimzi team did to get into the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, our entire Red Hat Managed Integration effort, Kogito, and the list goes on. I feel like I add to this list of examples on an almost weekly basis.

          Well, I can now update this list with the first product release of Quarkus, formally called the Red Hat build of Quarkus. (You can also find more support options on the Quarkus project site.) It should come as no surprise that Quarkus is on this list. I suppose what might surprise some people is that Quarkus is only just a product now. Given all of the activities since we officially launched the Quarkus project in 2019, you could be forgiven for thinking it was already a product.

        • Aligning Cockpit with Common Criteria

          In the last few releases new features were delivered to make Cockpit meet the Common Criteria and thus making it possible to undergo the certification process in the near future. This certification is often required for large organizations, particularly in the public sector, and also gives users more confidence in using the Web Console without risking their security.

          This article provides a summary of these new changes with reference to the given CC norms.

        • Fedora CoreOS Test Day coming up on 2020-06-08

          Mark your calendars for next Monday, folks: 2020-06-08 will be the very first Fedora CoreOS test day! Fedora QA and the CoreOS team are collaborating to bring you this event. We’ll be asking participants to test the bleeding-edge next stream of Fedora CoreOS, run some test cases, and also read over the documentation and give feedback.

        • Richard W.M. Jones: nbdkit C script plugins
      • Debian Family

        • Debian Project Leader: DPL Activity logs for April/May 2020

          I survived my first month as DPL! I agree with previous DPLs who have described it as starting a whole new job. Fortunately it wasn’t very stressful, but it certainly was very time consuming. On the very first day my inbox exploded with requests. I dealt with this by deferring anything that wasn’t important right away and just started working through it. Fortunately the initial swell subsided as the month progressed. The bulk of my remaining e-mail backlog are a few media outlets who wants to do interviews. I’ll catch up with those during this month.

          Towards the end of the month, most of my focus was on helping to prepare for an online MiniDebConf that we hosted over the last weekend in May. We had lots of fun and we had some great speakers sharing their knowledge and expertise during the weekend.

        • Olivier Berger: Automate the capture a full BigBlueButton conference replay, with bbb-downloader

          BigBlueButton, aka BBB, is a webrtc conferencing solution, that among many features, allows to record a conference, for later replay.

          We have been working together with my colleague François Trahay, on a set of scripts (bbb-downloader) that will allow to easily (on Linux) download recordings of BBB conferences, for local backup, video editing, upload on video sharing platforms, etc. This is particularly useful in our distance learning contexts where students may have to catch up on a live session that was recorded.

          We have integrated a hackish solution to capture, as a single video, presentations that contained slide deck presentations. Let me explain why this was necessary.

        • Ben Hutchings: Introducing debplate, a template system for Debian packages

          For about two months I’ve been working on a new project, debplate, which currently lives at benh/debplate on Salsa. This is a template system for Debian packages, primarily intended to ease building multiple similar binary packages from a single source. With some changes, it could also be useful for making multiple source packages consistent (issue #9).

        • Ben Hutchings: Debian LTS work, May 2020

          I sent a request for testing an update of the linux package to 3.16.83. I then prepared and, after review, released Linux 3.16.84. I rebased the linux package onto that and sent out a further request for testing. I then backported some additional security fixes, but have still not made an upload.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Review of MODICIA O.S.

          When it comes to unpopular distros, people often question reliability as a factor. MODICIA O.S. is not a mainstream distro like RHEL, Debian, or SUSE Linux, etc., but is not backed by any large company. This leads many to believe that off-meta distros are just low-quality “discount” systems that will break apart after some time.

          Well, that is not the case with MODICIA O.S. The dev team behind Modicia Web Design and Development has been working to spread Linux since 1998. Devs use it themselves for their multimedia production. The distro is built to meet user demands with ease.

          The latest MODICIA O.S. 20.144 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. This gives MODICIA a solid base for stability and community support. As for the desktop environment, it comes with a modified version of Xfce. MODICIA also comes with various tools by default; for example, office-related tools, browsers, and others.

        • ZFS focus on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS: ZSys state collection



          In the past couple of articles, we explained the core state concept of ZSys, and when we create state saves in particular. A lot of those operations are automated either on a time-scheduled (user states save), on system changes (installation, upgrade or removal for system states) and also when you ask a revert to a previous states.

          Even if individually, the cost of a state save is really low, this creates more and more ZFS datasets over time that will take some disk space. We needed to shape a strategy to clean them up on the go, silently, for our users.

        • Greenie 20.04 Released: Ubuntu-Based Linux Distro For E-Book Readers And Authors


          Greenie Linux is a Ubuntu-based Linux distribution specially designed for e-book readers and writers. It originates from Slovakia and hence optimized for users in Slovakia and the Czech Republic. However, Greenie OS also supports the English language.

          Stanislav Hoferek, Greenie Linux developer, has recently released the new version Greenie 20.04. The latest release packs the power of both Ubuntu 20.04 LTS repositories and Kubuntu using KDE Plasma desktop 5.18. K Desktop Environment (KDE) is a new entry in Greenie Linux that replaces its previous MATE desktop.

        • Building a cross-framework UI with single-spa in MAAS 2.8

          In MAAS 2.8, we’re shipping a new machine list, built from the ground up in React and Redux. We’ve also implemented a few new features: persisting UI state for grouping, new grouping options, bookmarkable urls with filter and search parameters, and many performance improvements.

        • elementary OS 5.1.5 Released with AppCenter and Files Improvements, More



          The star of this release appears to be AppCenter, the graphical package manager of elementary OS, which will now let users install updates without administrator priviledges.

          In other words, there’s no need to authenticate yourself as with the administrator account when installing updates. This also applies when installing and updating Flatpak apps.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • he Glean SDK and iOS Application Extensions, or A Tale of Two Sandboxes

            Recently, I had the pleasure of working with our wonderful iOS developers here at Mozilla in instrumenting Lockwise, one of our iOS applications, with the Glean SDK. At this point, I’ve already helped integrate it with several other applications, all of which went pretty smoothly, and Lockwise for iOS held true to that. It wasn’t until later, when unexpected things started happening, that I realized something was amiss…

            [...]

            Well, that wasn’t ideal, to say the least, so we began an investigation to determine what course of action we should (or could) take. We went back and forth over the details but ultimately we determined that the Glean SDK shouldn’t know about processes and that there wasn’t much we could do aside from blocking it from running in the extensions and documenting the fact that it was up to the Glean SDK-using application to ensure that metrics were only collected by the main process application. I was a bit sad that there wasn’t much we could do to make the user-experience better for Glean SDK consumers, but sometimes you just can’t predict the challenges you will face when implementing a truly cross-platform thing. I still hold out hope that a way will open up to make this easier, but the lesson I learned from all of this is that sometimes you can’t win but it’s important to stick to the design and do the best you can.

      • CMS

        • Marco Zehe: My Journey To Ghost

          As I wrote in my last post, this blog has moved from WordPress to Ghost recently. Ghost is a modern publishing platform that focuses on the essentials. Unlike WordPress, it doesn‘t try to be the one-stop solution for every possible use case. Instead, it is a CMS geared towards bloggers, writers, and publishers of free and premium content. In other words, people like me. :-)

          After a lot of research, some pros and cons soul searching, and some experimentation, last week I decided to go through with the migration. This blog is hosted with the Ghost Foundation‘s Ghost(Pro) offering. So not only do I get excellent hosting, but my monthly fee will also be a donation to the foundation and help future development. They also take care of updates for me and that everything runs smoothly. And through a worldwide CDN, the site is now super fast no matter where my visitors come from.

        • Kiwi TCMS 8.4

          We’re happy to announce Kiwi TCMS version 8.4!

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Hack-a-Sat call for participation

            I’m chairing the GNU Radio Conference CTF this year (will be held in September, website is https://www.gnuradio.org/grcon/grcon20/), and amateur radio has traditionally been a very large part of this event in every way. Your ideas for amateur radio satellite themed challenges are welcome and I look forward to working with you.

          • How to edit multiple photos at once

            GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) – The biggest threat to Adobe Photoshop is this free, open-source desktop program. It has mostly everything you need to manipulate images, like cropping, color adjustment, adding effects, layers, and more. We highly recommend this software if you want to avoid Photoshop’s monthly subscription.

          • Here’s the best free software to keep everybody occupied

            There once was a time when you could spend a lot of money and buy Adobe PhotoShop outright, getting a perpetual licence with your box of discs. But in 2017, Adobe changed all that and moved to a monthly subscription through its Creative Cloud service. On one hand, you get the latest and greatest software; on the other, you never really own it as you did in the past. There are plenty of image-editing apps and software programs out there if you want to do some basic photo editing. However, what if you want the power of Adobe Photoshop but don’t want to pay out for the monthly subscription? GIMPShop is the answer. The GNU Image Manipulation Program is free and includes plenty of advanced editing features, from cloning and healing tools to filters and settings such as exposure and colour. You can alter colour and shadows, work with layers, turn your images into t cartoon or touch-up portraits.

            Because it’s open source, people can work with the code, so there are plenty of third-party plugins that act as extra features to the program. Or, if you are so inclined, you can come up with your own.

            If you are already experienced with photo editing software, GIMPShop won’t have too much of a learning curve even the interface looks familiar.

          • Andy Wingo: a baseline compiler for guile

            Greets, my peeps! Today’s article is on a new compiler for Guile. I made things better by making things worse!

            The new compiler is a “baseline compiler”, in the spirit of what modern web browsers use to get things running quickly. It is a very simple compiler whose goal is speed of compilation, not speed of generated code.

            Honestly I didn’t think Guile needed such a thing. Guile’s distribution model isn’t like the web, where every page you visit requires the browser to compile fresh hot mess; in Guile I thought it would be reasonable for someone to compile once and run many times. I was never happy with compile latency but I thought it was inevitable and anyway amortized over time. Turns out I was wrong on both points!

            The straw that broke the camel’s back was Guix, which defines the graph of all installable packages in an operating system using Scheme code. Lately it has been apparent that when you update the set of available packages via a “guix pull”, Guix would spend too much time compiling the Scheme modules that contain the package graph.

      • Programming/Development

        • Intel oneAPI DPC++ Compiler 2020-05 Released

          Intel has released oneAPI DPC++ Compiler 2020-05 as their latest snapshot for the current state of their LLVM-based Data Parallel C++ Compiler.

          Data Parallel C++ is Intel’s cross-architecture language for direct programming that is derived from C++. DPC++ leverages Khronos’ SYCL and the LLVM Clang compiler infrastructure so that the generated code in conjunction with the DPC++ run-time can run on hardware from CPUs to GPUs, FPGAs, and other specialized accelerators.

        • Testing in Go: philosophy and tools

          The Go programming language comes with tools for writing and running tests: the standard library’s testing package, and the go test command to run test suites. Like the language itself, Go’s philosophy for writing tests is minimalist: use the lightweight testing package along with helper functions written in plain Go. The idea is that tests are just code, and since a Go developer already knows how to write Go using its abstractions and types, there’s no need to learn a quirky domain-specific language for writing tests.

        • Learn at home #3: building resilience and problem solving skills
        • Python

          • Python App Development: Perfect Web Framework choice for Startups

            2020 is here, and so are new ideas for a startup. But how do you plan to handle the technical part of your startup? You obviously need an application if you want to reach the maximum customers. And if you’re going to hire people for developing your tech, Python app development should be their expertise. Not only because Python works for AI and ML, which are the future, but it enables web development unlike any other. If you’re looking to scale your startup this year, you should consider Python software development.

            Software development can be challenging. And if you have only a faint idea, you can face a serious setback. But Python for web development is extremely reliable for any startup. In fact, Python is going to compliment every startup in the near future. It offers functionalities and capabilities that provide integration with future tech. And every startup, even yours, would want to integrate with the future.

          • Some sessions from the Python Language Summit

            Mark Shannon shared his thoughts on a more formal definition of the Python language. It would not only help developers of alternative implementations understand the nuances and corner cases of the language, it would also help developers of the CPython reference implementation fully understand that code base. He noted that Java has a language specification and he thinks that Python could benefit from having one as well.

            Shannon proposed splitting the specification up into three parts: code loading (parsing, importing, and so on), execution, and the C API. For his presentation, he looked in more detail at the execution specification. For example, he broke down a function call into a series of steps: create a stack frame, move the function arguments from the current frame to the new one, save the instruction pointer, and push the frame onto the stack.

            Breaking things down that way will allow developers to rework how certain features are interrelated. The example he gave was that iterators came first, so generators were defined in terms of iterators, even though generators are the lower-level concept. If you were starting from scratch, it would make more sense to specify iterators as being built on generators. In his nascent formal semantics repository, Shannon made a start on defining iterators in terms of generators.

          • Using the Python sleep() Method

            If you want to set a time delay before executing any script, then you can use the sleep() function that is built into Python. This method exists under the time module. Generally, the sleep() function is used to halt the execution of the program for the given time period (in seconds). For example, if you are downloading a file from a location using a script that may require a certain time period, then you can use the sleep() method to inform the user to wait. This tutorial will show you some of the different uses of the sleep() function in Python 3.

          • How to Use maketrans in Python 3

            The maketrans() function is a built-in translate method in Python used to create character-mapping conversion tables. One character is translated into another character via this method. This function can be applied to string and dictionary data to map characters. Unicode representation of the character is used in the translation table. The translate() function is used to convert the data of the translation table into the string data. This tutorial will explain how the maketrans() method can be used in Python for character mapping.

          • Python List Sort

            Sorting data is one of the most common tasks when working with Python. For example, you may want to sort a list of team members by name, or a list of projects in order of priority.

  • Leftovers

    • Moses Sumney’s Songs of Freedom

      Moses Sumney has an arch relationship with loneliness. The guitarist and singer makes love songs about rifts between lovers, savoring their conflicts, relishing their discord. He pens odes to solitude that are as sullen as they are victorious, his voice quivering with sorrow and pride. His music has all the signifiers of lonerism—introversion, withdrawal, outer space—without the accompanying misanthropy. He’s a recluse for whom distance from people, from ideas, is not detachment. On his sophomore album, græ, he gives shape to this peculiar pose, voicing a self-possession that’s born of loneliness yet emboldened by it.

    • ‘There are probably literature lovers in the Kremlin’ Moscow’s annual ‘Red Square Book Festival’ goes forward despite ban on mass events

      This year, Moscow is hosting its annual Red Square Book Festival over the weekend of June 6–8, despite the fact that the capital has yet to lift lockdown restrictions. The festival’s visitors will have to undergo temperature checks, wear gloves and masks, and practice social distancing. Nevertheless, the majority of Russian publishers have refused to partake in the event, out of fear of the spread of COVID-19, and anticipation of small crowds.

    • Olympian Gwen Berry to the USOC: ‘Where’s My Apology?’

      The US Olympic and Paralympic Committee had something to say about the importance of fighting racism amid this national uprising against racist police violence, but Gwen Berry was absolutely not having it. Berry, a 2016 Olympian in the hammer throw, raised a clenched fist on the medal stand to protest racial injustice after earning the gold medal at the 2018 Pan Am Games. This was when sports protests had actually hit a lull and the gesture stood out, just as Berry wanted.

    • Science

      • Science without Validation in a World without Meaning

        Today, scientists are grappling with the problem of model uncertainty, as seen in areas like climate and medicine. These questions are increasingly challenging the basis of modern scientific knowledge itself, which is defined by a combination of mathematics and observation. Modern scientific knowledge, while rejecting commonsense conceptual models, has always depended upon mathematically expressed theories that could be validated by prediction and observation. But this approach is now under pressure from multiple sides, suggesting a deep crisis of scientific epistemology that has not been fully confronted. At the same time, political leaders find themselves increasingly impotent when faced with scientific issues. As we move further into the twenty-first century, humankind is presented with an existential paradox: man’s destiny is irrevocably tied to science, and yet knowledge of nature increasingly lies not only outside ordinary language but also outside the foundational epistemology of science itself.

    • Education

      • Minneapolis City Schools Are Cutting Ties With Local Police After Death of George Floyd

        On Tuesday night, the Minneapolis school board unanimously voted to cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) as a direct response to George Floyd’s death. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the school district had a decades-long relationship with the department, which provided school resource officers to the district’s campuses.

      • Hope for Other Cities to Follow After Minneapolis School Board Votes Unanimously to End Police Contract

        “Now that Minneapolis has showed you it’s possible…you know what to do.”

      • Public Education Job Losses in April Are Already Greater Than in All of the Great Recession

        Not only are these job losses devastating to those no longer getting a paycheck, but they negatively impact the education students receive.

      • Minneapolis School Board Votes to Terminate $1.1 Million Contract With Police

        In response to the killing last week of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers, Minneapolis Public Schools voted on Tuesday to end its $1.1 million contract with the city’s police department.

      • Minneapolis Public Schools terminates contract with Police Department over George Floyd’s death

        The Minneapolis and St. Paul school districts have long faced criticism over the use of school resource officers, with both seeking to transform the role to be more of a mentor than an enforcer. In 2018-2019, a Minneapolis Public Schools survey gave mostly positive marks to the officers, but the data also showed that school cops had more interactions with black students than their peers.

        The state’s third-largest school district has contracted with Minneapolis police since 1967, a district spokeswoman said, except from 2004-2009, when it worked with park police. Under the current contract, the district was paying Minneapolis police $1.1 million annually for its services.

      • Some Colleges Are Closing Permanently Because of the Coronavirus Pandemic

        While elite institutions with billion-dollar endowments have been allocated millions in federal relief (with many, but not all, returning the money), the most financially at-risk institutions have been disproportionately left out of relief legislation. That disparity, in addition to years of declining overall undergraduate enrollment, state disinvestment, and tuition models incompatible with the realities of a pandemic, could level a fatal blow to some colleges and universities. The fallout has left students and faculty at the most affected schools in a miasma of uncertainty, forcing institutions to consider pivoting to new business strategies on the fly. The implications could drastically alter the higher education landscape — not to mention the rural economies and regional identities of America’s fading college towns.

        “The institutions that are most likely to be affected by this are small, tuition-dependent colleges with relatively low levels of endowment assets and/or low net revenue per student numbers,” Jon Boeckenstedt, a higher education expert and vice provost of enrollment management at Oregon State University, tells Teen Vogue via email. “Some of them are likely to have been running very lean operations or deficits, in some combination, for years, and this will likely be the crisis they can’t withstand.”

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Covid-19 Is Straining the Concept of the Family. Let’s Break It.
      • Proposals to Ease Covid’s Blow on the Hardest Hit All But Ignored by Corporate Media

        By sidelining those voices, media sideline real solutions to the inequality they feign to care about.

      • Jane Goodall Warns Humanity Will Be ‘Finished’ After Covid-19 Without Ending ‘Absolute Disrespect for Animals and the Environment’

        “Our disrespect for wild animals and our disrespect for farmed animals has created this situation where disease can spill over to infect human beings.”

      • Global Meat Giants Fuel Major Future Risk of Creating Next Pandemic, Investor Group Warns

        “Factory farming is both vulnerable to pandemics and guilty of creating them.”

      • Two plays during a pandemic A theater critic recounts an underground theatrical performance put on for a limited audience in Moscow

        Despite the coronavirus lockdown, directors Vasily Berezin and Vsevolod Lisovsky put on an underground theatrical performance of two plays in front of limited audiences in Moscow last month. The double bill featured Berezin’s play Eden, Eden Eden, based on the novel by French writer Pierre Guyotat, and Lisovsky’s play Sex as Utopia. The performance had an audience of about 20 people. In a special dispatch for Meduza, theater critic Alla Shenderova recounts how it went.

      • It’s the Worshippers Who Are “Essential”

        As the coronavirus death toll was about to reach 100,000, in a quick press announcement, President Trump declared, “Today I’m identifying houses of worship, churches, synagogues and mosques as essential places that provide essential services.” He moralized: “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential, but have left out churches and other houses of worship. . . . So,” he said, “I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.” Thus Trump called “upon governors to allow churches and places of worship-to open right now. . . . These are places that hold our society together and keep our people united.” He concluded, “We need more prayer, not less.”

      • Fire kills one patient at St. Petersburg infectious disease hospital

        A fire at St. Petersburg’s Botkin Infectious Disease Hospital has killed one patient, Interfax reports, citing the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations (MChS).

      • Proposals to Ease Covid’s Blow on the Hardest Hit All but Ignored by Corporate Media

        As rent deferrals are ending in many states, leaving renters on the hook for the back payments, nearly a quarter of all households are at risk of eviction or foreclosure, according to one estimate (Washington Post, 5/31/20).

      • Russia’s official coronavirus case count hits 432,000

        On the morning of June 3, Russian officials announced that the country recorded 8,536 new coronavirus infections in the past day (327 fewer new cases than the day before) bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 432,277 patients.

      • The UK Compared With Other Countries on the Pandemic

        As I write (the weekend of 30-31 May), the UK’s death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has reached 38,489. Even the rightwing Financial Times regards this figure as an under-estimate, and says the actual toll is 60,300.

      • Amazon Workers Sue Over Virus Brought Home from Warehouse

        But the plaintiffs, who accuse Amazon of violating public nuisance and employee safety laws by providing workers misinformation and setting “oppressive and dangerous” hourly quotas and discipline policies, are not seeking damages for illness or death. The lawsuit, which was jointly filed with advocacy groups including Towards Justice, Public Justice and Make the Road New York, is instead mainly asking for an injunction requiring the company to adhere to public health guidance.

      • Jails Are Coronavirus Hotbeds. How Many People Should Be Released To Slow The Spread?

        To try to understand just how big a role jails could play in spreading COVID-19 in the U.S., a team of researchers built a statistical model of how the virus moves in and around jails, simulating the spread from early April onward. Several epidemiologists we spoke to said the model, developed by researchers at Washington State University, the University of Pennsylvania, the American Civil Liberties Union, Tusculum University and the University of Tennessee, is the first they’ve seen that considers the effects of jails on the disease’s spread, which leading models of the virus have ignored. The study suggests common estimates are vastly undercounting the toll of COVID-19 because they fail to account for the flow of people into and out of jails; thousands could die inside facilities, and many more could die in the communities surrounding jails.

      • Electronic health records fail to detect up to 33% of medication errors

        Despite improvements in their performance over the past decade, electronic health records commonly used in hospitals nationwide fail to detect up to one in three potentially harmful drug interactions and other medication errors, according to scientists at University of Utah Health, Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

        In tests using simulated medical records, they found that EHR systems consistently failed to detect errors that could injure or kill patients. The findings appear in JAMA Network Open.

      • To Become Safer Amid Pandemic We Must Explore Our Responses to Abuse More Deeply

        Becoming safe from an abusive partner has most often been defined by the act of leaving the relationship. Leaving can cause hardship, including financial struggles, and is more difficult for survivors who are marginalized by race, gender identity, disability, language or immigration status. While leaving an abuser has been shown to increase danger in the short-term, it is still considered the gold standard for getting safe from abuse.

      • Russian court forcibly hospitalizes Yakut shaman in psychiatric clinic

        A Russian court has ruled in favor of forcibly hospitalizing Alexander Gabyshev, a shaman from the Siberian city of Yakutsk, who is best known for making multiple attempts to travel on foot to Moscow with the intention of exorcising President Vladimir Putin. 

      • Europe May Race the U.S. for Early Vaccine Access With Deals

        The European Union is looking to join the global race to secure early access to future coronavirus vaccines, seeking deals to share the cost of development with pharmaceutical companies.

        The EU’s executive arm has asked the bloc’s 27 governments for a mandate to negotiate with the companies for advance contracts and reservations for doses of promising candidates, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg. Health ministers will discuss details of the plan in a video conference next week.

      • How can policymakers encourage the expansion of at-home diagnostic testing for COVID-19?

        As we have previously discussed, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will require a massive expansion of testing. Diagnostic tests for who is currently infected are particularly important. Given a limited number of health-care providers and testing sites, at-home testing has emerged as an important route to expand diagnostic testing capability. But developing at-home diagnostic tests that are affordable, reliable, effective, and able to be administered by untrained individuals presents a number of challenges. How should policymakers encourage the development and deployment of such tests?

        [...]

        At-home testing requires something easier than nasopharyngeal swabs—either a nasal swab (i.e., something like a Q-tip about a centimeter up the nose rather than inches) or spit collection. Numerous efforts are underway to develop and validate such tests, which may be familiar to consumers from at-home spit kits offered by many consumer genetic testing companies. The FDA issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for at-home COVID-19 testing to LabCorp for its Pixel test on April 20, and in May, the agency issued five additional EUAs for at-home diagnostic testing to Rutgers, Everlywell, P23 Labs, Quest Diagnostics, and LetsGetChecked. The Rutgers and P23 Labs tests involve spit collection; the others use nasal swabs.

        Some of these tests are available right now to patients who report COVID-19 symptoms through a web form; for example, LetsGetChecked started selling its nasal test last Thursday, and Rutgers’s saliva-based test is available through outside partners including hims & hers or Vault Health. Others are available only through state programs. The tests range from $109 to $150 each, and the companies claim the ability to process hundreds of thousands of tests per week.

      • Are Patent Pools an Effective Solution to COVID-19’s IP Barriers?

        The COVID-19 pandemic has in many ways shown the benefits of collaborative research. Data is being released freely almost every day on preprint servers, which is proving to be crucial for understanding the biology of the virus and in the search for possible drugs and vaccinations. Research and discovery of genome structures too, which has traditionally been limited to private institutions is now being publicly shared on platforms such as GISAID to help researchers and scientists work with open access resources. One of the main proposals for promoting this type of unprecedented collaborative research is the endorsement of voluntary intellectual property pools, particularly patent pools for pharmaceutical drugs. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Union are strongly backing the same whereas the US and the UK have pushed against a resolution for the same in the 73rd World Health Assembly held virtually on 18-19 May 2020. The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP), an UN-backed public health organization that works for increasing access to life-saving drugs in low and middle-income countries, has been instrumental in pushing for the establishment of this pool and has also expanded its mandate to cover COVID-19 related health technologies. The idea of a patent pool may be particularly useful for a generic drug manufacturing major like India. The pool can help combine expertise and know-how to help with faster production of drugs found to be effective for the pandemic.

        [...]

        Patent pools have an effect on innovative and competitive behavior. The pandemic has brought out the need for collaborative research and the outlining of recognized outcomes with respect to patent pools is useful here. There are several benefits to the creation of patent pools. Amongst the benefits are efficiency and the reduction in transaction costs. Through the creation of patent pools and the subsequent sharing of available information, the production of goods speeds up. It allows for the development of technologies with the use of existing information and increases the chances of innovation than in instances of having to build a product from scratch. Further, instances where patents are complementary to each other, that is, when a particular technology can be built using existing patented products and the patent holders happen to be different parties, the existence of a patent pool helps in sharing not just use of the patented product but also the know-how that goes with it, thereby helping and speeding up innovation.

        Connected to this point is the reduction of transaction costs through patent pools. By facilitating usage of patented technologies readily, patent pools help overcome administrative hurdles by allowing licensing through membership to the pool instead of interested parties having to go through the process of seeking permissions, licensing, distributing royalties, etc., for the use of the technology. Over here, SEPs via patent pool licensing would prove to be particularly helpful for both SEP holders and SEPs licensees in reducing transaction costs. Also, the adoption of FRAND (fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory) compliant licensing practices that benefit SEP owners would amplify the possible success of patent pools.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • [Attackers] Target California University Leading Covid-19 Research

          UCSF confirmed it was the target of an “illegal intrusion” but declined to explain which portion of its IT network may have been compromised. Researchers at the university are among those leading American antibody testing and clinical trials for possible coronavirus treatments, including a recent study on anti-malarial drugs touted by President Donald Trump as a possible remedy, then refuted by scientists.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • Linux Foundation Offers 6-Month Cloud Engineer Certification Bootcamp
              • Linux Foundation Launches Cloud Engineer Bootcamp to Make You Job Ready for Cloud Industry

                Linux Foundation, the official organization behind Linux project, has launched a 6 months online training program to prepare more cloud engineers as the demand for cloud-skilled people grows in the IT industry.

                These days, when the IT infrastructure revolves around cloud computing, traditional Linux sysadmin knowledge is not sufficient anymore.

                Sysadmins need to know the newer technologies related to Linux containers, the backbone of cloud servers.

                No one understands the technology trend in this field better than Linux Foundation. They work closely with industry giants like IBM, Microsoft, Google, Cisco to lead, to guide and to set industry standards.

              • How CHAOSS Measures Open Source Community Health

                Here, we’ll look at the CHAOSS project, which takes a different approach in its advocacy and helps quantify the health of projects with specific tools and metrics. CHAOSS (which stands for Community Health Analytics Open Source Software) is a Linux Foundation project “focused on creating analytics and metrics to help define community health.” Since it was founded in 2017, the CHAOSS project has grown significantly and now includes various working groups, 40 defined metrics, a new metric platform called Augur, the CHAOSScon international conferences, and a brand-new podcast.

        • Security

          • NSA flags email vulnerability
          • Improve your security with two-factor authentication [Ed: But Google is not security but a MITM with close ties to NSA]

            Two-factor authentication (or simply 2FA) is a way of authentication where a user must provide additional verification after username and password login. The form of verification can be a string of characters delivered via text message or generated with TOTP client. Two-factor authentication improves security because compromised username and password are not enough to get the account breached.

            This article will explain how to use TOTP clients for two-factor authentication and why TOTP is better than many other two-factor methods. As an example, I will show how to enable and set up TOTP client Google Authenticator in Google’s services.

            [...]

            Next, I will show you how to enable two-factor authentication in Google services. After that, we will install Google Authenticator and enable 2FA with Google account. In this guide, I will log in to a Google account with a desktop browser, which is very similar to how the process works for other services.

            Login to your Google Account and proceed in the menu to Security> Signing into Google > 2-step verification.

            If two-step verification is enabled on your Google account, you should already see an option for Google Authenticator on this page, and you can continue to the next part of this article (Installing Google Authenticator). Otherwise, continue this part. Google has now opened a window where is introduced two-step verification. You can read it through and then click forward.

          • Linux security: Protect your systems with fail2ban

            Security, for system administrators, is an ongoing struggle because you must secure your systems enough to protect them from unwanted attacks but not so much that user productivity is hindered. It’s a difficult balance to maintain. There are always complaints of “too much” security, but when a system is compromised, the complaints range from, “There wasn’t enough security” to “Why didn’t you use better security controls?” The struggle is real. There are controls you can put into place that are both effective against intruder attack and yet stealthy enough to allow users to operate in a generally unfettered manner. Fail2ban is the answer to protect services from brute force and other automated attacks.

          • Security updates for Thursday

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (firefox-esr), Fedora (firefox and prboom-plus), Oracle (bind), Red Hat (firefox), and SUSE (osc).

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Many Think Internet Privacy Is Lost, But That’s Because You Can’t Sue Anyone Who Violates It

              Over 90% of Americans feel like they have no control over their online privacy. It is not hard to understand why so many of us feel so powerless when it comes to using the Internet, nor is the solution to such a pervasive feeling all that complicated.

            • DOJ grants DEA permission to conduct “covert surveillance” on protesters

              The DEA is now surveilling protesters in the United States. BuzzFeedNews has uncovered a memorandum that shows that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has been granted powers by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct covert surveillance on the ongoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd. This past Sunday, the interim head of the DEA received authorization to perform law enforcement activities for anything that they deem appropriate from Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer. While the DEA is supposed to – like the name suggests – only investigate drug-related crimes, the DOJ has now granted the agency a two week carte blanche to conduct surveillance, carry out arrests, and more in regards to the ongoing protests.

            • New paper warns of Cambridge Analytica type privacy risks in G Suite Marketplace Apps

              A new research paper presented at IEEE 41 calls attention to the fact that Google Suites App Marketplace – whose apps are able to tap into the powerful Google API to read contacts, emails, calendar, etc – allows unverified apps to ask for and oftentimes receive sensitive user data. The paper which is titled  “API Privacy: A Look at G Suite Marketplace Permissions and Policies,” delves into the risk that bad actors might be gaining access to private or sensitive information from Google users through the Google Suites App Marketplace. Granting a third party access to API data from a service you use a lot, be it Facebook or Google, could result in untold consequences – take the Cambridge Analytica example for instance. With Cambridge Analytica, Facebook’s API was misused to sweep up information from Facebook users and Irwin Reyes and Michael Lack of Two Six Labs went about this research. The paper goes into analyzing analogous risks in the Google Suites Marketplace Apps API access – imagine if there’s an app in the Google Suites App Marketplace like Cambridge Analytica right now?

            • To work together with law enforcement, Zoom won’t provide end-to-end encryption for free users

              Zoom CEO Eric Yuan has admitted that he won’t provide end-to-end encryption to free users in favor of being able to work with law enforcement. It has previously been discussed in Zoom’s announced move towards privacy and security that true end-to-end encryption would only be available for paid customers; however, at the time tech pundits hoped that Zoom’s move was merely for tier differentiation. Reuters reported as recently as last week that end-to-end encryption would only be available for paying business and enterprise users.  Now, from the horse’s mouth itself, we see what Zoom’s real priorities are. On their Q1 earnings call, Zoom CEO Eric Yuan commented:

            • Zoom Transforms Hype Into Huge Jump in Sales, Customers

              Corporate clients will get access to Zoom’s end-to-end encryption service now being developed, but Yuan said free users won’t enjoy that level of privacy, which makes it impossible for third parties to decipher communications.

              “Free users for sure we don’t want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose,” Yuan said on the call.

            • Zoom’s Pledge to Work with Law Enforcement Spurs Online Blowback

              Zoom’s Chief Executive Officer Eric Yuan’s comments that the software company would work with law enforcement by not offering the strongest encryption for free calls using the popular video-conferencing service hit a nerve with some users, drawing criticism amid nationwide protests about the role of police in the U.S.

            • Zoom says free users won’t get end-to-end encryption so FBI and police can access calls

              Encryption is a key issue for Zoom, which has been attempting to beef up its privacy and security after heavy usage exposed weak points during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reuters reported last week that the company will only roll out high-security end-to-end encryption to paying customers, potentially with exceptions for dissident groups or nonprofits that require the added security.

            • California’s statehouse is considering a controversial facial recognition bill

              As protestors square off against police across the country, California is readying a bill that could expand the state’s use of facial recognition, including for law enforcement purposes.

              Introduced as Assembly Bill 2261, the bill would provide a framework by which companies and government agencies could legally engage in facial recognition, provided they give prior notice.

            • Surveillance Self-Defense: Attending Protests in the Age of COVID-19

              In the wake of nationwide protests against the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, we urge protestors to stay safe, both physically and digitally. Our Surveillance Self Defense (SSD) Guide on attending a protest offers practical tips on how to maintain your privacy and minimize your digital footprint while taking to the streets.

              These demonstrations have taken place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, so for many, public health concerns have added an extra dimension to the subtle calculus of when to stay inside and when to engage in street protest. This unique context provides us enough novelty to warrant a “reader’s guide” to our normal SSD post on attending a protest.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Militarization of ‘Officer Friendly’

        Militarization is a dangerous and ultimately deadly perversion of the honorable purpose of policing—and it is out of control.

      • Sanders Calls on Democrats to Embrace 8-Point Plan to End Police Brutality, Protect Communities

        “We have got to act boldly to eradicate systemic racism and police violence. I am calling for sweeping policy reforms to protect people—particularly communities of color—who have suffered violence for far too long.”

      • Trump Is Using the Military to Hide His Weakness

        In trying to use the military to quell nationwide protests, Trump has given the most ominous example yet of his authoritarianism. On Monday night, the world witnessed the disturbing scene of Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, decked out in uniform, accompanying Trump to a photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church, which had been cleared of protesters by the National Guard and law enforcement agents. Earlier that day, Defense Secretary Mark Esper made a troubling comment describing the American cities experiencing protests as a “battlespace” that the military needed to “dominate.” On Tuesday, there were the unsettling images of the military convoys filling the streets of Washington and a phalanx of uniformed soldiers standing guard outside the Lincoln Memorial.

      • As Trump Threatens to Send Military Into Cities, Some GIs Refuse to Comply

        Some National Guard and active-duty GIs are refusing to deploy to U.S. cities rising up against police-perpetrated killings, saying no to complicity in the repression of the American populace and that they have not been properly trained in riot response or de-escalation tactics on domestic soil.

      • NYT Rebuked for Tom Cotton Op-Ed Calling for US Military to Use ‘Overwhelming Show of Force’ Against Protests

        “This is the most openly authoritarian piece of writing I’ve read from an American politician who has been in power during my lifetime.”

      • Shane Burley Trump’s antifa tweet is right-wing catnip — with potentially troubling consequences

        According to the Anti-Defamation League, which tracks fascist and white nationalist organizations, the far right killed at least 42 people in the United States last year, 53 in 2018 and 41 in 2017. Despite what you might hear on Fox News, there is no proof that anti-fascist activists have killed anyone during the same period.

      • What are rubber bullets? Weapons used on George Floyd protesters can maim and kill

        A study published in 2017 in the BMJ found that 3 percent of people hit by rubber bullets died of the injury. Fifteen percent of the 1,984 people studied were permanently injured by the rubber bullets, also known as “kinetic impact projectiles.”

        Rubber bullets should be used only to control “an extremely dangerous crowd,” said Brian Higgins, the former police chief of Bergen County, New Jersey.

        “Shooting them into open crowds is reckless and dangerous,” said Dr. Douglas Lazzaro, a professor and expert in eye trauma at NYU Langone Health.

      • Trump’s Defense Secretary Distances Himself from President’s Strongman Antics

        Esper faced withering criticism for appearing alongside President Trump on Monday during staged photo op outside a church near the White House, and for potentially allowing the use of military personnel to perform law enforcement duties to respond to the protests. Mike Mullen, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in the Atlantic that he was “sickened” by the sight of security officers using force to remove protesters and criticized Esper’s use of the term “battlespace” during a call with governors about how to respond to protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd. On Tuesday evening, the Washington Post published the resignation letter of a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, former Undersecretary of Defense James Miller, who accused Esper of violating his oath of office when he participated in Trump’s photo op.

      • James Mattis Denounces President Trump, Describes Him as a Threat to the Constitution

        “When I joined the military, some 50 years ago,” he writes, “I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside.”

      • Islamic prayers to be held at Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia

        Greece boosted its border security in late February when Turkey began to allow thousands of refugees to travel freely toward Europe. Mock dogfights between Greek and Turkish fighter jets have been frequently reported over the Aegean Sea, and Turkey has sent drill ships to areas of the Eastern Mediterranean claimed by Greece and Cyprus.

        Okar suggested Erdoğan’s move was more domestically driven.

        “There’s not much left to rally the base anymore so building an Islamic narrative around the Hagia Sofia is electoral catnip,” he said.

      • Infiltrator who killed two US service members in insider attack released from Afghan prison

        But unbeknownst to the U.S. military, Saboor had left Afghanistan to study at a Pakistani madrassa prior to the attack, Coll wrote, citing Army investigators and witness testimony.

      • North Carolina woman who was the last person to receive a Civil War-era pension dies at age 90, WSJ says

        She received a pension of $73.13 a month from the Department of Veterans Affairs for her father’s service, which began more than 155 years ago.

      • An Unavoidable Recognition of Failure: Trump’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan

        In October 2001 I was standing on a hilltop 40 miles north of Kabul watching US aircraft bomb the Taliban front line. The night sky was lit up with the flash of explosions and the sparkle of ineffectual anti-aircraft fire. It was fairly obvious who was going to come out the winner.

      • Military Leaders Have an Extraordinary Choice to Make as the Nation Protests

        Modern warfare runs on PowerPoint. Even those in the military who roll their eyes at slides demand them, because their bosses demand them, as do their bosses above them. As an intelligence officer deployed abroad with special operations units, I was grudgingly responsible for more than my share of PowerPoint slides, always depicting in grainy imagery and bulleted text the situation on the ground in some remote village or compound somewhere. That’s how we understood places like Afghanistan: in pictures copied and pasted from Google Earth and finicky text boxes that never quite aligned with each other.

      • The Enemy Within

        Days of nationwide rioting finally has made absolutely clear in the starkest terms that Donald Trump is more a champion of violence than a peacemaker. There’s a madman in the White House, and he’s the president.

      • How Much Violence and Destruction is Enough for Depraved American Leaders and Their Subjects?

        What subcategory of human being takes a knee on a handcuffed man, mashed face down on the pavement and, ultimately, forces him to die? Such was the action of a psychopathic white Minneapolis, Minnesota, police-paramilitary officer named Derek Chauvin, that resulted in the death of a black man, George Floyd.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Analysing the (Alleged) Minneapolis Police Department “Hack”

        I want to be really clear about something at this point: events in the US at present are tragic and people should damn well be angry. But anger shouldn’t mean throwing logic and reason out the window and I cannot think of a time where fact-checking has ever been more important than now, not just because of the Minneapolis situation, but because so much of what we see online simply can’t be trusted. So by all means, be angry, but don’t spread disinformation and right now, all signs point to just that – the alleged Minneapolis Police Department “breach” is fake.

      • Fake news is fooling more conservatives than liberals. Why?

        Social media enable people to share true news as well as the fake sort. But the fabulists seem to be winning. A study published in Nature in May found that, although pro-vaccine Facebook users outnumber anti-vaccine ones, the anti-vaxxers are better at forging links with non-aligned groups like school parents’ associations, so their number is growing faster. Among Americans, exposure to social media is associated with a greater likelihood of believing that the government created the virus or that officials exaggerate its seriousness, according to a recent paper in the Harvard Kennedy School’s Misinformation Review.

      • Why Twitter’s Fact Check Of Trump Might Not Be Enough To Combat Misinformation

        Political scientists Ethan Porter and Thomas J. Wood conducted an exhaustive battery of surveys on fact-checking, across more than 10,000 participants and 13 studies that covered a range of political, economic and scientific topics. They found that 60 percent of respondents gave accurate answers when presented with a correction, while just 32 percent of respondents who were not given a correction expressed accurate beliefs. That’s pretty solid proof that fact-checking can work.

        But Porter and Wood have found, alongside many other fact-checking researchers, some methods of fact-checking are more effective than others. Broadly speaking, the most effective fact checks have this in common: [...]

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • ‘Should Be Bigger News’: Analysis Finds Nearly One Third of Owed Unemployment Benefits Have Not Been Paid

        Bloomberg found a $67 billion gap between the sum of benefits paid out by the Treasury Department and the amount that is owed to jobless Americans.

      • How Germany Saved Its Workforce From Unemployment While Spending Less Per Person Than the U.S.

        The global coronavirus pandemic threw Petra Hamann’s job into peril faster than just about any other. She is a physical therapist, a profession that is all about close proximity to others, with a clientele that leans toward older people, exactly the population most vulnerable to the virus. In March, she and the rest of the 10-person therapy group that employed her lost virtually all of their clients, first as a result of clients’ fears about coming in for appointments, then as a result of government stay-at-home orders.

        But neither Hamann nor anyone else in her group lost their job. Instead, they were kept on and, even while having zero clients, received 60% of their normal pay. As about half her clients gradually started to return in recent weeks, she began making 80% of her usual pay (including compensation for the clients who had not come back). And she was able to do so without having to negotiate any paperwork or online bureaucracy; she and her co-workers simply signed a form from their employer.

      • Debt Relief for Tyrants Is a Terrible Idea

        In May, Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Ilhan Omar, and more than 300 other lawmakers from around the world called on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to cancel the debts of the world’s poorest countries. Covid-19 is set to deepen poverty in already indebted African, South Asian, and Latin American countries, 64 of which were already spending more on debt service than health care before the pandemic hit.

      • Russia’s economic recovery plan will cost more than $72.7 billion

        The Russian government’s plan for restoring the economy after restrictions introduced during the coronavirus pandemic will cost five trillion rubles (more than $72.7 billion), says Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

      • We Really Need to Tax the Rich
      • Hard Fork Sets Stage for Ethereum Classic’s Second Major Departure From Ethereum
      • This Treasury Official Is Running the Bailout. It’s Been Great for His Family.

        Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have become the public faces of the $3 trillion federal coronavirus bailout. Behind the scenes, however, the Treasury’s responsibilities have fallen largely to the 42-year-old deputy secretary, Justin Muzinich.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Revolution, Not Riots: Prospects for Radical Transformation in the Covid-19 Era

        The murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police served as yet another wakeup call for a nation that has historically struggled with recognizing structural violence against people of color. The ensuing protests and riots represent a renewed effort to sensitize Americans to the reality of pervasive racism in their country. Recent events follow a familiar cycle:

      • ‘There’s nothing the Kremlin hasn’t tried’ How Russian election officials plan to secure 55-percent turnout in the upcoming constitutional plebiscite

        Having rescheduled Russia’s plebiscite on constitutional amendments for July 1, the Putin administration reportedly hopes at least 55 percent of eligible voters will participate in the special election. To increase turnout, they’ve introduced a raft of new rules, including staggering voting over a seven-day period, allowing voting from home, and introducing online voting for residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg. The pretense for all of these measures is public safety in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but these new regulations could also serve to increase official turnout figures and boost support for the amendments.

      • How the Washington Post Accommodates Disinformation

        The Washington Post has come up with a doozy of a pairing for its online interview series.  On Thursday, June 4th, the paper is featuring its senior diplomatic columnist David Ignatius and former deputy director of the CIA John McLaughlin in a talk titled “Fact or Fiction: Deepfakes & Disinformation.”  This is an ironic pairing in view of McLaughlin’s role in crafting much of the CIA’s disinformation in the run-up to the Iraq War and Ignatius’ role as the mainstream media’s leading apologist for the CIA.  Ignatius is well known to readers of Counterpunch, so I will highlight the background of a former colleague of mine at the CIA—John McLaughlin.  The Post could not have found a more experienced veteran to explain disinformation.

      • The Coup Against ‘The Most Loyal Ally’

        The Australian High Court has ruled that correspondence between the Queen and the Governor-General of Australia, her viceroy in the former British colony, is no longer “personal” and the property of Buckingham Palace. Why does this matter?

      • President Alexander Lukashenko dismisses Belarusian government

        Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed an order dismissing the country’s current government, reports the state-owned national news agency BelTA. 

      • Sen. Warren Demands Federal Probe Into Attorney General Barr’s Order to Tear-Gas Peaceful Protesters

        “These attacks on peaceful American protesters steps from the White House were sickening and appalling.”

      • No, the Public Fury Will Not “Move On” Prime Minister!

        It is quite clear from the last week that the majority of the public are furious.

      • Donald Trump Is No Longer President

        The sooner we stop treating him as if he were, the better.

      • Robin Andersen and Eleanor Goldfield – The Project Censored Show

        Notes: Robin Andersen teaches communications and media studies at Fordham University in New York. Her recent article “A Pandemic Is Not A War,” can be found at fair.org/home/a-pandemic-is-not-a-warEleanor Goldfield is a journalist, artist and organizer; her web site is www.artkillingapathy.comMusic-break information:1) “Gimme Some Truth” by John Lennon2) “Uncle Sam Goddamn” by Brother Ali3) “Fire In The Hole” by Hazel Dickens

      • Beware Donald Trump’s Electoral Cleansing

        Is U.S. President actually using a calculated strategy that COVID-19 is not an equal-opportunity killer?

      • After Nearly 10,000 Arrested During Week of Protest, Three Other Police Officers Finally Charged Over Murder of George Floyd

        “All you had to do was arrest three more.”

      • Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Buddy Used His “Shadow” Sway Over the VA to Promote His Comic Book Empire

        Two and a half years ago, top officials from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs rang the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange. Standing on the podium with them was a cheering, flexing Captain America. Spider-Man waved from the trading floor below.

        The event had been billed as a suicide prevention awareness campaign. No one could figure out what the Marvel characters were doing there. David Shulkin, the VA secretary at the time, said in a memoir about his tenure that he was as surprised as anyone.

      • ‘Yes, I Will Name Names’: AOC Leads Charge Against Empty Corporate Claims of #BlackLivesMatter

        “This moment calls for transformation,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Give people change.”

      • On TV, protesters are faceless rabble while cops are bestowed with humanity

        The common thread in all of this coverage is that countless hours of scripted content have been dedicated to valorizing these characters and connecting us with their humanity, each man and woman with his strengths and flaws. The casual “Law & Order: SVU” viewer can toss off a few of Olivia Benson’s defining character traits because her stories are ubiquitous; Mariska Hargitay even shows up in the odd sketch comedy skit. People have a similar passing familiarity with Mark Harmon’s Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the central protagonist of “NCIS.”

        And when I say people, I mean humankind. “NCIS” is the one of most-watched shows on Earth, exported to countries and cultures around the globe.

        The activist, on the other hand, has few such commensurately developed representatives. To be honest, I had to reach out to my friend and colleague Alan Sepinwall, a walking encyclopedia of TV, to get his help in finding series containing regularly featured characters who identify as activist or community organizers.

      • Read the transcript of Mark Zuckerberg’s tense meeting with Facebook employees

        On Tuesday morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg led a tense video call meeting with 25,000 of his employees to address the issue that’s divided his company and the public over the past week: How to handle Trump’s controversial Facebook posts that some see as a glorification of violence against American protesters.

        Recode obtained leaked audio of the meeting and transcribed it.

      • Former Facebook employees forcefully join the chorus against Mark Zuckerberg

        Pressure is mounting from all directions on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his refusal to take action against posts from President Donald Trump. The latest salvo comes from 33 former employees who worked at the company during its early stages, including some who helped create Facebook’s original community guidelines. The open letter was first published by The New York Times; we have republished the letter in full below.

      • Early Facebook Employees Disavow Zuckerberg’s Stance on Trump Posts

        The former employees said in an open letter that Mr. Zuckerberg’s position was a “betrayal” of Facebook’s ideals and urged him to reconsider it. They included Facebook’s first chief of communications, as well as designers, engineers and policy executives. Some had helped write the social network’s original community guidelines, which govern what can and cannot be posted.

      • Bolsonaro and Trump: Separated at Birth

        The tricks of Mother Nature

      • ‘This Must Stop’: Leading Journalism Groups Demand Law Enforcement Halt Attacks on Working Press

        “When you silence the press with rubber bullets, you silence the voice of the public.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • EFF Files Amicus Brief with Top French Court to Bring Down Controversial Avia Bill

        Legislative efforts to regulate online platforms are underway in many countries. Unfortunately, instead of reflecting about how to put users back in control of their online experiences and how to foster innovation, many governments are opting to make online platforms into the new speech police.

        The French Avia Bill is an example of such privatized enforcement: it forces social media platforms to take down content which could qualify as illegal hate speech within 24 hours, or as quickly as within an hour of its reporting, depending on the type of speech involved. The new legal act against hate speech will have a profound impact on freedom of speech of users,  and may inspire the EU’s ongoing work to reform the rules governing online platforms through the so-called Digital Services Act.

      • ACLU Lawsuit Accuses Police in Minnesota of ‘Targeting and Attacking Journalists’ Covering George Floyd Protests

        “We are facing a full-scale assault on the First Amendment freedom of the press,” said an ACLU attorney. “We will not let these official abuses go unanswered.”

      • Beijing proposes criminalizing “slandering” or “libeling” TCM

        I took a break from writing about COVID-19 with my last post, and this post will (sort of) be another departure over the unrelenting blogging about COVID-19 I’ve been doing since March. I say “sort of” because the post will be about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), and it is impossible to escape COVID-19 when you discuss TCM. Why do I say that? Just listen to Edzard Ernst, because, for whatever reason, this is an aspect to the quackery being advocated for COVID-19 is how TCM advocates, including acupuncturists and others, have glommed onto the pandemic as an excuse to peddle useless nostroms. I’ve touched on this a bit, but not nearly enough (perhaps in the future), but for now I want to focus on an article that was sent to me yesterday about TCM. It doesn’t really have anything to do with COVID-19, but it sure does reinforce themes that I’ve been writing about for years when it comes to TCM, particularly how the Chinese government has been relentlessly promoting TCM to the world ever since Chairman Mao. It comes from a website that publishes news and commentary about China in the form of a story, Beijing Seeks to Punish TCM Naysayers. The subtitle? “A new draft regulation would hold those who slander or defame traditional Chinese medicine criminally responsible but does not say how these terms would be defined.” Because of course it would. China is an authoritarian regime. Although the proposed regulation is a local one applying to Beijing, it’s not hard to imagine its wider adoption.

      • Lenny Dykstra Deemed ‘Libel-Proof’ In Defamation Suit Loss To Ron Darling And Publisher

        Defamation lawsuits often fail because of the high bar plaintiffs need to meet to prove defamation — especially of a public figure. But, while there are lots of ways to lose a defamation lawsuit as a plaintiff, my favorite must certainly be the concept of a libel-proof plaintiff. This would be the notion that a plaintiff cannot be libeled or defamed if that plaintiff’s reputation is so absolutely horrendous that further damage to it is impossible.

      • Morocco actor prosecuted over ‘blasphemy’ remarks against Islam

        The DGSN said in a statement published overnight that it had opened a judicial investigation after receiving “a number of complaints” and the actor was taken into custody Tuesday evening.

        A judicial official later said he had been charged over “blasphemous” remarks against Islam, and a prosecution spokesman said he had been freed on bail of 5,000 dirhams (450 euros) pending a July 14 court hearing.

      • Turkey: Where Criticizing Islam Can Land You in Prison

        According to the Koran and the recorded sayings (hadith) and biographies (sira) of Islam’s founder, “To leave Islam, to insult Muhammad or Allah, to deny the existence of Allah, to be sarcastic about Allah’s name, to deny any verse of the Koran” or to commit other acts of blasphemy are all punishable by death.

        More alarming is that these pressures and bans come not only from governments. Many of the people in the countries mentioned above also appear enthusiastically to support strict or even deadly blasphemy and apostasy laws.

      • Sinister Flatulence: Trump Versus Twitter

        Sawing off the branch you sit on can hardly be the best of policies. But that all depends on the nature of the branch. US President Donald Trump has huffed himself into another small historical moment, going on the offensive against social media companies using the very language his faux progressive opponents use against them. All seem to be in agreement on one point: the Silicon Valley giants have become too powerful, runaway monsters in the stakes of high influence. But sharp divergences and attitudes exist on how such companies are to be controlled, let alone disciplined.

      • In Russia’s Far East, a village sign was changed to read ‘Putin is a thief.’ This didn’t last long.

        In Russia’s Far Eastern region of Zabaykalsky Krai, located on the border with Mongolia and China, the village of Aginskoye has its name written across a hill in stones. During the night of June 1, however, the stones were rearranged to spell out “Putin vor,” a popular protest slogan meaning “Putin is a thief.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Writers Leave UAW, but Pledge to Keep Fighting for Freelancers’ Rights
      • A resolution campaign is being launched across the labour movement in solidarity with Assange

        A new call for solidarity with Julian Assange has been issued as his extradition hearing is set to resume in September. Following motions in support of Assange at Birmingham TUC and from the National Union of Journalists a resolution campaign is being launched across the labour movement. The comprehensive resolution adopted by the NUJ is to be circulated for other trade unions, Labour Party bodies, and campaign organisations to adapt for thier own use.  ‘Please put this resolution to your next meeting’, said John Rees from the Don’t Extradite Assange Campaign, ‘this is the defining free speech case of the 21st century. Freedom of information, free from government censorship, is the lifeblood of an effective labour movement. The NUJ have made a stand. Follow their example’.The NUJ resolution is reproduced in full below and can be found here.Please adapt it as required for your own organisation and let us know when it passes at: office@dontextraditeassange.comHere are four other useful campaigning tools. Our petition: https://www.change.org/p/release-julian-assange-from-belmarsh-prison-before-covid-19-spreadsWrite to your MP: https://dontextraditeassange.com/mp Donate: https://dontextraditeassange.com/donateFor the full breadth of support for Julian Assange: https://dontextraditeassange.com/statementsNational Union of Journalists’ resolution notes:1. That WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is held in Belmarsh prison awaiting United States extradition proceedings, a process that can take many years.2. If Assange is successfully prosecuted in the US he faces 175 years in prison.3. That the extraterritorial application of the Espionage Act in the indictment of Assange criminalises journalistic activities, in this case activities carried out on UK soil by a non-US national, in collaboration with numerous UK media (including The Guardian, Channel 4 and The Telegraph).4. That previous statements by the General Secretary of the NUJ, by the Australian Journalists Union MEAA, and by the International Federation of Journalists’ organisations have supported Assange. 5. That there is a political dimension to extraditions and that the ‘special relationship’ between the UK and US makes the extradition of Assange more likely to go ahead.Believes:1. That Assange’s indictment comes at a time of heightened threats to the press in Western countries in the form of raids on newspapers and broadcasters, government claims that the press are ‘the enemy of the people’, and actual prosecutions involving life-long sentences for publishing accurately.2. That Assange’s extradition to the United States would establish a dangerous precedent with regard to the prosecution of journalists in this country under the UK Official Secrets Act given the requirement for the UK courts to accept US arguments as to dual criminality for the extradition to go ahead. 3. That press freedoms in this country will be weakened if the courts accept that NUJ members’ publishing activities in this country can give rise to criminal liability in foreign states and to their consequent lawful extradition.4. That the publication of the Afghan and Iraq war logs and other material by WikiLeaks that are the subject of the US indictment revealed important information that has benefitted the public.5. Disclosing information to the public should never be equated with espionage Resolves: 1. To campaign to stop the extradition of Julian Assange to the US.2. To write to the Home Secretary, the Shadow Home Secretary, and the Shadow Justice Secretary making the union’s case on this issue.

      • The US Is Facing a Full-Scale Assault on the Press

        As police continue to attack reporters covering protests nationwide, this is why the ACLU is filing this class-action lawsuit today.

      • Police shove, make AP journalists stop covering protest

        An officer, using an expletive, orders them to go home. Bumsted is heard on video explaining the press are considered “essential workers” and are allowed to be on the streets. An officer responds “I don’t give a s—-.” Another tells Bumsted “get the f—- out of here you piece of s—-.”

      • VOA Journalist Hit as Police Fire Toward Press, Protesters in DC

        More than 200 journalists have reported being attacked, injured or detained or have had equipment destroyed while covering nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ‘We Need to Put Guardrails in Place’: Senator Unveils Plan to Bar Use of US Military Force Against Protesters

        “I thought that would seem obvious to everyone. But as we take up the NDAA next week, I’m going to be pushing to ensure the president can’t treat the U.S. military as his personal palace guard.”

      • The Sadism of American Power

        It was just a couple of weeks ago that President Trump was both inciting and praising anti-lockdown protesters around the country. These included armed white militia men who stormed state capitol buildings demanding an end to public health measures to curb the spread of the deadly Covid-19 virus. Many of them were filmed harassing nurses and blocking ambulances from reaching hospitals, but to Trump they were all just “good people.” He did this all while the deaths in the US from the pandemic lurched toward the 100,000 mark, the highest recorded death toll for any nation on the planet.

      • How White People Can Step Up—and Step Back—Right Now

        As someone who wrote the book What’s The Matter With White People?, I am often asked to weigh in on vexing questions about my race. Lately it’s the question of what they—we—should do in this crisis that goes by the shorthand of “George Floyd” but that extends back 400 years.

      • Could Covid-19 Mean the End of Asylum Law in the United States?

        The decision to flee one’s country is never made easily, and leaving is rarely simple. In northern Mexico, along the United States border, we’ve met Hondurans who spent years saving up the money to make the trip; Salvadorans who walked for months; Haitians who crisscrossed countries to make it to the border. Every year, thousands of asylum seekers from countries like Russia, China, Romania, and India travel tens of thousands of miles to try to cross the border in northern Mexico. One of the most established refugee routes starts further south: We’ve met people escaping ethnic violence in Cameroon who flew into Quito, the mountainous capital of Ecuador, and then trekked hundreds of miles north through swamp and jungle to make it to the United States.

      • McConnell Blocks Resolution Condemning Assault on Nonviolent Protesters

        As many Senate Republicans either refused to answer questions about the police assault on peaceful protesters in the nation’s capital Monday or openly praised President Donald Trump for the brutal crackdown, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday blocked the passage of a Democratic resolution condemning Trump for violating the constitutional rights of demonstrators by “ordering federal officers to use gas and rubber bullets” against them.

      • The President Wants You to Be Misinformed

        These days, teaching graduating college seniors has me, as the Brits would say in the London Underground, “minding the gap.” In my case, however, it’s not the gap between the platform and the train I’m thinking of, but a couple of others: those between US citizens and our government, as well as between different generations of Americans. The Covid-19 crisis has made some of those gaps far more visible than usual, just as my students leave school with many of their personal expectations in tatters.

      • “Mrs. America” Television Series Sidelines Black Feminists

        Race has been at the center of the long and circuitous struggle for gender justice since Sojourner Truth made the intersectional declaration “Ain’t I A Woman” at a Women’s Rights conference in Akron, Ohio, in 1851. The recent FX/ Hulu mini-series, “Mrs. America,” that concluded this week, chronicles one chapter in that long history: the decade long fight for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the 1970s, and the issue of Black women’s representation warrants both recognition and criticism. “Mrs. America” gives a tepid nod to inclusivity by incorporating the stories of women like Black Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and radical lawyer-activist, Flo Kennedy, but it ultimately errs more to the right than the left and marginalizes Black feminism yet again.

      • From Mississippi to Minneapolis: Leaving the ‘Abyss of Despair’

        In the early morning hours of August 28th, 1955, two white men burst into the Mississippi home of Moses Wright where 14-year-old Emmett Till slept. Till had come down from Chicago to visit his cousins and was accused of having flirted with a white woman, Carolyn Bryant, while at a local country store with some friends four days earlier.

      • “Total Domination”: Popular Rebellion in the Shadow of Trumpism-Fascism
      • Wisconsin Court Dumps Conviction Of Middle School Kid Who Drew A Picture Of A Bomb

        The intersection of school administration and law enforcement leads directly to insanity. All logic goes out the window when school administrators come across something that makes them feel slightly uncomfortable. Adding cops to the mix doesn’t help anything. It only serves to turn every mildly misbehaving student into a criminal.

      • Tales from the Dark Side of Customer Service, or “Christians” Giving Christians a Bad Name

        I used to teach Business Ethics. It was one of my favorite classes because I think it’s so important. Businesses impact every aspect of our lives. They not only provide goods and services, on which we crucially depend, and livelihoods for a huge portion of society. Whether they are run ethically and responsibly makes a huge difference to our quality of life.

      • It is Happening Here

        My thoughts about the historical moment…

      • Dallas PD Asks Residents To Snitch On Protesters, Gets A Load Of K-Pop Videos Instead

        Once again, the people that serve the public have failed to understand the public. Trying to turn citizens into narcs never works out as well as government agencies envision. The end result is almost always a useless waste of limited resources.

      • Let’s Stop Pretending Peaceful Demonstrations Will Fix The System. ‘Peace Officers’ Don’t Give A Shit About Peace.

        First off, I would like to thank Mike Masnick and Techdirt for publishing my post on the George Floyd killing and the (in my eyes) justifiable destruction of police property as an answer to years of injustice and “bad apple” excuses. Very few sites would have published such a post. Most would have rejected it after reading the title.

      • We Interrupt This Pandemic… With Demands for Justice and Healing

        The call to “reopen” society isn’t just about stores and bars; it’s about reopening ourselves to the reality of a system that is built on racism, violence, and injustice.

      • ‘One Racist Down. Hundreds in Office to Go’: Applause as Bigot Steve King Ousted in Iowa Primary

        “Goodbye, Rep. Steve King. You are certainly not the only white supremacist in federal government, but you were among the most prominent,” tweeted Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

      • Iowa Republicans Vote Out Rep. Steve King Amid Protests for Racial Justice

        Rep. Steve King, widely known as the most overtly racist member of Congress, was defeated Tuesday in the Republican primary battle for Iowa’s 4th district.

      • Masha Gessen on Trump’s ‘Autocratic Attempt’ on America

        Russian-American writer and journalist Masha Gessen is one of today’s fiercest critics of governmental power and authoritarianism. For over 20 years, Gessen worked in Moscow as a journalist, but, in 2012, they were fired as chief editor of Russia’s oldest magazine, Vokrug sveta, for refusing to cover a sham environmental awareness event featuring Putin releasing endangered Siberian cranes into the wild. Soon after, Gessen fled with their family to the United States, fearing, as an openly gay figure, that their children might be taken away.   Gessen’s best known book, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, won the National Book Award in 2017. Their other books cover a range of topics about Russian politics and culture (The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, 2012) (Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot, 2015), as well as science and genetics (Blood Matters: From Inherited Illness to Designer Babies, How the World and I Found Ourselves in the Future of the Gene, 2008). Gessen is a staff writer at The New Yorker and the distinguished writer in residence at Bard College.

      • ‘They’re Afraid’: GOP Ripped for Enabling Trump as McConnell Blocks Resolution Condemning Assault on Peaceful Protesters

        “They’re afraid of Donald Trump. And that leads to Donald Trump getting worse and worse and worse. It’s appalling.”

      • To the White People Who Keep Asking How to ‘Help’

        Like nearly every black person in America, I’ve fielded a lot of messages from white friends and acquaintances over the past week. Well wishes, I guess. Hallmark should make some kind of card: “Hoping Your Windpipe Hasn’t Been Crushed by Racism Today.”

      • D.C. Statehood Is the Answer to Trump’s Abuse of Washington

        In arguably the most outrageous act of an outrageous presidency, Donald Trump has just used Washington, D.C., as the backdrop for a political stunt that looked like a campaign ad for his 2020 reelection campaign. Stung by reports that he had been hiding in an underground bunker in the White House as the streets of the nation’s capital city filled with mass protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police, Trump tried to present himself as a strongman on Monday by threatening to invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807 and deploy the US military to states where protests over police brutality have grown in size and fervor. As he made the early evening announcement, federal law enforcement officers rushed peaceful demonstrators and used tear gas in order to clear the way for the president to stroll to a nearby Episcopal church and pose for campaign-style pictures with a Bible.

      • Injustice

        Check out all installments in the OppArt series.

      • ‘The People Capturing Police Violence on Video Are the Ones Enhancing Public Safety’
      • In Trump’s America, Gun-Toting Anti-Quarantine Activists Called “Very Good People,” But Unarmed Protesters Denouncing Police Brutality Are “Thugs”

        What the president and others don’t realize is that we’re not just protesting the death of George Floyd (or Breonna Taylor, or Ahmaud Arbery, or Eric Garner, or Alton Sterling, or Philando Castile). We are also protesting the racist culture embedded in police precincts throughout the nation—and the brutality that comes with it.

      • From Fallujah to Minneapolis: Trump Brings the US Military ‘Battlespace’ Home

        A significant part of the American elite was shaped by Bush’s wars to think about dissidence as the equivalent of insurgency and to see challenges to the status quo as illegitimate.

      • Beyond Prisons: Reflecting On The Protests

        Kim and Brian sit down for an extended conversation on the current Black Lives Matter protests, policing and police reform, media literacy, and more.

        Created and hosted by Kim Wilson and Brian Sonenstein

      • Protest Song Of The Week: ‘I Can’t Breathe’ By Chloë Nixon

        The post was originally published at Ongoing History Of Protest Songs. On May 25, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis by a white police officer who placed his knee on Floyd’s neck. He uttered the words, “I can’t breathe.” Three other police officers served as accomplices to the murder.

        In the aftermath, there were countless protests throughout America and other countries. The ongoing protests and the differing responses to them call further attention to the racial divide that exists.

      • Remembering “Big Floyd”: Houston Friends of George Floyd Describe Him as a “Man of Peace”

        As historic protests against police brutality continue nationwide, we go to Houston, Texas, the longtime home of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police last week. More than 60,000 people took to the streets Tuesday to honor his memory. We hear Floyd in his own words and speak to two of his friends about his work mentoring young men in one of the city’s historically Black communities, the Third Ward. He was “already preaching peace, love, God, unity, advocating against gun violence,” says Corey Paul, Houston hip-hop artist and entrepreneur, who ministered with Floyd alongside Patrick “P.T.” Ngwolo, pastor of the church Resurrection Houston.

      • Racist War Criminal Bush’s Thoughts on George Floyd Are More Salt in the Wound

        I’ve been dutifully checking my Book of Revelation apocalypse boxes as this year has unfolded. A pestilence upon the land? First horseman, check. A spreading hunger as food banks run dry and federal aid is denied? Second horseman, check. War in the streets as police and soldiers brutalize peaceful protesters under the bloodshot gaze of a failed pretender-king? Third horseman, check.

      • Raleigh Cops Fire Flash-Bangs at Gay Bar Offering First Aid, Water to Protesters

        The owner of an LGBTQ bar in downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, and his employees were yelled at, followed by, and targeted with what appeared to be flash-bang shots earlier this week, after law enforcement demanded they remove themselves from the premises of their own establishment.

      • Legal Battle Reopened Over 2011 Police Shooting of Elderly Black Ex-Marine in NY

        This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

      • Killed at Home: Legal Battle Reopened over 2011 Police Shooting of Elderly Black Ex-Marine in NY

        We look at a major development in the case of Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., a Black man killed in his own apartment in White Plains, New York, during a police confrontation in 2011, after he accidentally triggered his medical alert pendant. On Monday, the 2nd Circuit of Appeals ruled a federal judge was wrong to dismiss parts of a lawsuit against the police for excessive use of force. “My family and I are extremely overjoyed that the original ruling was vacated,” says Kenneth Chamberlain Jr. “I think that people are now coming together, and they’re saying that extrajudicial killings and summary executions of unarmed Black men, women and children is no longer going to be tolerated.” We also speak with the family’s attorney. “Most people would be able to agree that when you’re at home sleeping and you haven’t committed any crime, that you wouldn’t expect that the police are going to break your door down and kill you — in particular if they’re responding for a medical call where you think that they’re there to help you,” says Mayo Bartlett.

      • ‘Deplorable Monument to Racism’ Gone After Philadelphia Removes Statue of Former Mayor Frank Rizzo

        “While we are glad that the symbol is removed, we will continue to fight until the white supremacy that allowed Rizzo to come to power in the first place is eradicated.”

      • The Police Are The Out-Of-Towners Provoking Violence

        Since protests of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis began on May 26, authorities at every level have blamed “outsiders” for provoking violence. On May 30, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter claimed that the large majority of protesters who had been arrested the previous night were from outside the state, a claim which turned out to be false.

      • The Murder of George Floyd is Normal for an Abnormal Society

        There is no need to wonder why George Floyd (age 46) was murdered in broad daylight in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25, 2020. The script of his death is written deep in the ugly drama of U.S. history.

      • Majority of Americans Believe Actions and Anger of George Floyd Protesters Justified, Polling Shows

        “The current findings represent a marked change in public opinion from prior polls.”

      • I’m Outraged By Trump’s Church Photo-Op

        As a Catholic sister, I think Trump should read his Bible, not pose with it.

      • Ella Jones Elected to Serve as Ferguson’s First Black Mayor

        Ella Jones, who has served on the Ferguson City Council since 2015, was elected to become mayor of the city on Tuesday night, becoming its first Black mayor as well as the first woman to ever serve in the role.

      • Trump’s Military Response to Protests Highlights His Authoritarianism

        The words “authoritarian regime” or “dictatorship” perhaps call to mind Adolf Hitler’s “Final Solution” or George Orwell’s fictional 1984. Yet some Americans may still have trouble seeing the authoritarian tactics on display today from President Donald Trump.

      • ‘Justice Does Not Equal Convictions’

        Atlanta—Christian Wise Smith’s earliest memory of police is watching helplessly as officers arrested his mother when he was 5 years old. Two years later, he witnessed his grandmother being strip-searched after she was caught shoplifting.

      • Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective wins legal victory in face of hostile Obama-appointed judge & govt prosecution

        The sentencing of the final four from the Venezuelan Embassy Protection Collective marked another defeat for Juan Guaidó and his DC-based coup administration. Prior to handing it down, however, an Obama-appointed judge delivered an unhinged law-and-order tirade denigrating the defendants.

      • A Practical Guide to Defunding the Police

        Defunding the police does not mean stripping a department entirely of its budget, or abolishing it altogether. It’s just about scaling police budgets back and reallocating those resources to other agencies, says Lynda Garcia, policy campaign director at the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “A lot of what we advocate for is investment in community services — education, medical access… You can call it ‘defunding,’ but it’s just about directing or balancing the budget in a different way.”

      • Chaotic scene in Minneapolis after second night of protests over death of George Floyd

        Community activists who have sought change following incidents such as the fatal shootings of 24-year-old Jamar Clark in 2015 and 40-year-old Justine Damond in 2017 describe a familiar refrain. There are community protests and support from officials before the old patterns set back in.

        “The city council members and the mayor and police chief constantly bemoan what they can’t do because their hands are tied by the [police union] contract,” said Dave Bicking, vice president of the police accountability and reform group Communities United Against Police Brutality. “But every three years when the contract comes up, they rubber stamp it.”

      • The Pentagon Distances Itself from Trump

        “When I joined the military, some 50 years ago, I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Never did I dream that troops taking that same oath would be ordered under any circumstance to violate the Constitutional rights of their fellow citizens—much less to provide a bizarre photo op for the elected commander-in-chief, with military leadership standing alongside,” Mattis, a former Marine general, said in the statement to reporters. “Militarizing our response, as we witnessed in Washington, D.C., sets up a conflict—a false conflict—between the military and civilian society.”

      • How the Credibility Gap Became a Chasm in the Age of Trump

        …and a new generation gap grew wider.

      • Amy Cooper is Christian Cooper’s Lost, Younger Sister

        This week – like most weeks – James Baldwin has been on my mind. The man Malcolm X called “the poet” of the civil rights revolution died over three decades ago, but his ideas are as relevant as ever. As I sat today thinking about the recent lynching of Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, the state-sponsored terrorism that killed Breonna Taylor in Louisville and George Floyd in Minneapolis, and dogwalker Amy Cooper’s racist attempt to weaponize the state against the body of birdwatcher Christian Cooper in Central Park, I kept circling back to Baldwin.

      • Tear-Gassed Clergy To Blasphemous Trump: Your Hands Are Too Small To Box With God
      • Time to Fundamentally Rethink What Trump Means by Security

        With American cities in flames, over 100,000 struck down by the pandemic, and more than 40 million losing their jobs, President Trump decided now is the perfect time to announce the United States’ withdrawal from the World Health Organization. “The U.S. government has gone rogue at a time of humanitarian emergency,” summarized the editor of the medical journal The Lancet. The minority of Americans who elected Trump wanted someone who would shake things up. The challenge for his successor will be how to dig out from the rubble.

      • No Justice, No Peace, No Leader at the Top

        At a time for healing, Donald Trump pokes at the wound.

      • To Provide Safety and Solidarity, DC Residents Open Doors to Protesting Teens Cornered by Police Crackdown

        “I hope that they go out there today, peacefully as they did yesterday, and not blink,” said Rahul Dubey, who sheltered dozens of people, “because our country needs them.”

      • Black Lives Matter, Tribute to Breonna Taylor
      • Moscow law enforcement arrest protesters opposing police violence

        Law enforcement have begun arresting protesters for participating in single-person demonstrations opposing police violence outside of the police headquarters in Moscow, OVD-Info reports. 

      • The Absurdity of Hope

        Of all the evils released by Pandora from her jar, the evil that was left behind, HOPE, is obviously the worst of all.

      • Demands for Trump Removal Grow as ‘Fascist’ Speech Condemned as Declaration of War Against US Public

        “Trump needs to be removed now, because after the massacre it will be too late.”

      • ‘This Isn’t a Healthy Democracy’: Warnings of Domestic Military Threat as Top US General Walks DC Streets in Combat Fatigues

        “The commander of the joint chiefs is surveying the streets of D.C. in uniform like he’s planning a military assault.”

      • In Defense of Antifa

        Since Donald Trump and his sycophantic henchman Bill Barr decided to label the movement known as Antifa a terrorist organization, people across the political spectrum are resurrecting their antipathy towards the phenomenon. This cacophony of charges and misconceptions has once again put this amorphous manifestation in the spotlight. The last time most people had even heard of them was after some of its adherents shut down one of the last speeches by an alt-right luminary on a college campus. It was because of Antifa’s success in chasing fascists and their allies from colleges that it faded into the ether where all dead news stories go. Because police in the US don’t seem to be able to stop killing unarmed Black people and the Trumpists decision to go after anti-fascists again, Antifa is back. Along with their return comes aa chorus of criticism.

      • The FBI Finds ‘No Intel Indicating Antifa Involvement’ in Sunday’s Violence

        The FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31 during the D.C.-area protests over the murder of George Floyd, according to an internal FBI situation report obtained exclusively by The Nation. That same day, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he would designate “Antifa” a terrorist organization, even though the government has no existing authority to declare a domestic group a terrorist organization, and antifa is not an organized group. Following the president’s tweet, Attorney General William Barr said in a statement, “The violence instigated and carried out by Antifa and other similar groups in connection with the rioting is domestic terrorism and will be treated accordingly.”

      • Beating Swords to Plowshares

        Inscribed on a wall across from the United Nations in New York City are ancient words of incalculable yearning…

      • U.S. Urban Riots Revisited

        What follows is an updated essay on the “perennial nature of U.S. urban riots” which I wrote a little over five years ago. The original version appeared on my blog on 9 May 2015 following racial rioting in the city of Baltimore. The murder of George Floyd, an African American, by police in Minneapolis on 25 May 2020, coming as it did within days of the killing of two other African Americans, largely replays events of five years ago.

      • “Failed State” Status Here We Come

        Americans have at various times in our past battled horrific bouts with infectious disease. And Americans have lived through times of sheer economic desperation. But we’ve never — until this corona spring — experienced both at once.

      • The Suburban Commute Is a Soul-Crushing, Environment-Destroying Invention
      • The Lottery

        Birthright citizenship is the foundation of American democracy. The birthright principle, rooted in common law and the Reconstruction era’s 14th Amendment, guarantees citizenship to the children of US citizens and to everyone born within the country’s borders. The grant of citizenship at birth has a powerful egalitarian effect, making every American—at least in theory—an equal stakeholder in the political community. Yet it brings about this desirable result through what can only be described as arbitrary means. One inherits citizenship from one’s parents or acquires it based on the happenstance of one’s place of birth. Our democracy of equal-born citizens is therefore built on a fundamental inequality: the unearned privilege of winning what the scholar Ayelet Shachar has called “the birthright lottery.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Net Neutrali-what? AT&T’s New Streaming Service Won’t Count Against Its Broadband Caps. But Netflix Will.

        For a long time, we’ve noted how broadband usage caps are bullshit. They don’t actually help manage congestion, they have nothing to do with “fairness,” and are little more than glorified price hikes on the backs of captive customers in uncompetitive markets. Worse, they can be abused anti-competitively by incumbent broadband providers, one of the major triggers of the net neutrality debate.

      • The Oligopoly That Controls Our Digital Infrastructure Has Deepened Economic and Racial Divides

        As we rebuild, let’s remove control of wireless spectrum, cloud infrastructure, and broadband internet from corporate hands and put it under public, democratic control.

      • When the Senate Talks About the Internet, Note Who They Leave Out

        In the midst of pandemic and protest, the Senate Judiciary Committee continued on with the third of many planned hearings about copyright. It is an odd moment to be considering whether or not the notice-and-takedown system laid out by Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is working or not, but since Section 512 is a cornerstone of the Internet and because protestors and those at home trying to avoid disease depend on the Internet, we watched it.

        There was not a lot said at the hearing that we have not heard before. Major media and entertainment companies want Big Tech companies to implement copyright filters. Notice and takedown is burdensome to them, and they believe that technologists surely have a magic solution to the complicated problem of reconciling free expression with copyright that they simply have not implemented because Section 512 doesn’t require them to.

    • Monopolies

      • Global Patent Strategy over Vaccine Nationalism

        ‘Vaccine nationalism’ could slow the search for a cure for Covid19. [1] The nationalism that prevails in the fight for a Covid19 vaccine is not only overshadowed by the geopolitical tensions between the United States and China, but also by individual nations seeking to find a cure on their own. In the UK the government bets on a collaboration between Oxford University and the British Pharmaceutical Company Astra Zeneca. Germany backs BioNTech, China focuses on Fosun Pharma and the US support Pfizer. In this race, nations also cautiously prevent take overs of firms in their countries by firms in other countries.

        While I remain fairly indifferent when nations compete against each other to conquer space, I doubt that nationalism is the best innovation strategy to find a cure for Covid19. That the first man on the moon was American and not Chinese or Russian had no larger impact on humanity. In this global crisis situation however, working in silos and without adequate international linkages is simply not the best strategy to find a cure for Covid19.

        [...]

        While approaching patents under an Open Innovation paradigm can speed up the search for a cure, patent nationalism risks having the opposite effect. Unfortunately, patents lend themselves well to nationalism. Patents are territorially limited rights in an invention that can only take up international character with the support of WIPO’s Patent Cooperation Treaty. As such, they are not intrinsically structured to promote borderless innovation strategies.

        However, the adequate management of IP relies not on the technical features of the patent tool itself, but on a smart patent strategy. As such, weary patent managers should explore how to cluster, group and aggregate patents in the spirit of Open Innovation. This promises higher chances of innovation success than research nationalism.

        Dr Roya Ghafele is the Managing Director of Oxfirst Ltd, a law and economics consultancy She has held Lectureships (Assistant Prof. in the US Academy) in international IP law and international political economy with Oxford and Edinburgh University and served as an economist to the United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organization, the OECD and McKinsey.

      • USPTO News Briefs

        Noting that the pandemic has had a significant negative impact on the global economy, the two Offices also pointed out that the pandemic has served as a reminder of the importance of innovations that support our society.

      • Patents

        • Supreme Court Roundup June 2020

          The Supreme Court is wrapping up its 2019-2020 term within the next couple of weeks. The one IP case to be decided is Google LLC v. Oracle America, Inc. (copyrightability and fair-use for programming language function calls). However, the court postponed oral arguments until next term (October 2020). In addition, the court’s actions suggest that it may dismiss the case on procedural right-to-jury-trial grounds. In particular, the court asked for additional briefing on the standard-of-review for a jury determination regarding fair use.

        • Another Communication Method – Not Patent Eligible

          In a short nonprecedential decision, the Federal Circuit has again affirmed a FRCP 12(b)(6) dismissal of an infringement lawsuit based upon a finding that the patent improperly claims an abstract idea. The district court decision was written by Federal Circuit Judge Bryson sitting by designation.

          Here, the claims walk through a step-by-step method of using a user’s geo-location to match the user with a short-list of relevant information sources and push those out to the user’s device. U.S. Pat. No. 6,397,040 (1997 priority date).

          [...]

          Slip Op. Quoting Berkheimer v. HP Inc., 881 F.3d 1360 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The odd aspect of the court’s citation of Berkheimer is that the patentee had relied upon the same portion of Berkheimer for its argument that claim 1 cannot simply be assumed to be a representative claim if the patentee argues that limitations in the other claims “bear on patent eligibility and never agreed to make claim 1 representative.” Berkheimer.

        • NAI & IPO Release List of Top 100 Universities Receiving Patents in 2019

          Today, the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) and the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) published a list of the top 100 worldwide universities that received the most U.S. utility patents during the 2019 calendar year. The NAI is a member organization comprising U.S. and international universities, and governmental and non-profit research institutions, with over 4,000 individual inventor members and Fellows spanning more than 250 institutions. The organization was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage inventors with patents issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, enhance the visibility of academic technology and innovation, encourage the disclosure of intellectual property, educate and mentor innovative students, and translate the inventions of its members to benefit society. The joint effort by the NAI and IPO is based on data obtained from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For this report, the NAI and IPO defined a university as an institution that grants undergraduate-level degrees, and when a patent is assigned to one or more entities, credit was given to the first named entity. The report indicates that the number of patents granted to a particular university does not necessarily indicate the value of a university’s technology, the effectiveness of its research, or whether its patents will be successfully licensed and/or brought to market.

        • No Rehearing on Question of whether Fed. Reserve Banks are People

          The Federal Circuit has denied Bozeman’s petition for en banc rehearing in this case – confirming the holding that the Federal Reserve Banks are permitted to petition the PTO for inter partes review proceedings despite the Supreme Court’s decision in Return Mail barring the US Postal Service (USPS) from taking such action.

          The AIA indicates that any “person” other than the patentee can petition for inter partes review (IPR). However, in Return Mail, the Supreme Court held that the U.S. Gov’t does not qualify as a “person” under the statute and thus cannot files such petitions. Since USPS is a branch of the US Gov’t, its petition was improperly filed.

        • Sword Group: New Win

          Sword Technologies S.A., a Sword Group (Euronext Paris: SWP) company, as member of the I(P)NNOVATE consortium, has signed the Software Development and Maintenance (SDAM) framework contract of the
          European Patent Office (EPO) with a budget of €300 million.

          Sword Technologies S.A., in a consortium with Everis Spain, has competed with worldwide leading IT services providers and has subsequently been awarded a 5-year framework contract worth €300 million for the Software Development and Maintenance (SDAM) of all the European Patent Office (EPO) IT applications and systems. Sword Technologies foresees a revenue of circa €100 million for this 5-year contract.

      • Trademarks

        • The Italian “Historic Trademark of National Interest” is now available, but no one knows its real purpose

          Few ideas and confused”. This was a frequent comment from high school professors reviewing our test results which seems strangely apt to describe this latest attempt by the Italian Government to protect Italian companies and the so called “made in Italy”, using trade mark rights. The Ministerial Decree of 10 January 2020 set the final rules concerning the procedure of registration in the special Register of the “Historic trademark of national interest” (Art. 11-ter of the Italian Intellectual Property Code), which was inserted back in 2019 in the legislation aimed at the protection of “made in Italy”. In a nutshell, the owner (or exclusive licensee) of any trademark which has been registered (or used) for at least 50 years by an Italian “company of excellence” historically connected with the national territory, may obtain the right to use the Historic Logo and the inclusion in the “Register of historic trademark of national interest”. However, the purpose of this “thing” is, well, unclear. The law expressly says that “it is not an IP right” (art. 6 of the Ministerial Decree), so what it is? In addition, while the TM Office should carry out the examination of the requisites for the inclusion in the “Register of historic trademark of national interest”, no one knows how this examination will be carried out, and there is no definition or explanation of what “company of excellence, historically connected with national territory” actually means and which its characteristics should be. For instance, does “excellence” refers to objective factors such as a broad economic success or is dependent upon subjective factors like consumers/critics reviews? And does being “connected with the national territory” also include companies which, although being based in Italy, have delocalized part of the production abroad, or is it necessary for the entire production cycle to be within the Italian borders (and possibly also by Italian workers)? Or could there be a connection with the national territory if the company was founded in Italy and sources its raw material from Italy but is now located elsewhere? In addition, what if during the 50 years the original registration has gone through some restyling and the original registration, no longer used, has been abandoned? Would that still count? No one knows. And no one knows what difference it makes. Even conceding that some consumers might notice and be swayed by the presence of the Historic Logo on a product (we are aware that some other commentators have also speculated that this “thing” might be useful in oppositions or lawsuits, but, mildly put, we are unconvinced), one may wonder what the usefulness of this “thing” is and what the real deal is. Indeed, lurking in the convoluted language of the law, a perfect Trojan horse seems to have been hidden. As a matter of fact, Article 185-bis of the Italian IPC says that any company which might have a trademark eligible to be an Historic Trademark (and regardless of whether or not the company has requested it) and intends to close its main factory by ceasing production or by delocalization, must inform (with a penalty from 5,000 to 50,000 euro) the Ministry of Economic Development so that it may intervene with the resources of a public Fund. However, the information must include the economic and technical reasons of the closure and of the delocalization, the actions adopted to minimise the layoffs, the efforts to find a buyer and the provision of a takeover bid, i.e. information which are by their nature quite sensitive and usually confidential. So, one might not want to tell the Ministry. So what this is all about? All for a mere 50,000 euro fine? And how is this idea of “keeping things at home” to be reconciled with the idea of free movement within the EU? Few ideas, and confused.

        • Court Shoots Down Rolex, La Californienne Settlement Over “Counterfeit” Custom Watches

          Rolex and La Californienne say that they have settled the trademark infringement, counterfeiting, and unfair competition lawsuit that the Swiss watch-making titan filed in November 2019, but a federal court in California has essentially said, no so fast. On the heels of the two watch companies filing a joint Stipulation for Entry of Judgment and Permanent Injunction, and a Proposed Stipulated Judgment by Consent and Permanent Injunction, a judge for the U.S. District Court Central District of California has sent them back to the drawing board.
          In the two filings dated May 21, Rolex and La Californienne – the latter of which is in the business of customizing authentic, pre-owned luxury watches, including Rolex models – alerted the court to the fact that they have “agreed to settle and resolve this matter in full, pursuant to the terms of a confidential settlement agreement.”
          The settlement agreement comes six months after Rolex filed suit against La Californienne, alleging that despite not being or “ever [having] been, associated, affiliated, or connected with, or endorsed or sanctioned by, Rolex,” the 4-year old company “manufactures, offers for sale and sells altered Rolex watches that bear one or more of Rolex’s registered trademarks.” Because the “customized” watches – which La Californienne sells for between $6,500 and $14,000-plus by way of retailers, such as Browns, Galeries Lafayette, Goop, Maxfield, The Webster, and Farfetch, among others – include “refinished dials (some with diamonds) from which one or more of Rolex’s registered trademarks have been removed and reapplied,” Rolex claims that La Californienne has transformed otherwise authentic watches into counterfeits, and thereby, is running run afoul of the law by selling them.

      • Copyrights

        • No Time to Laugh – The Parody Defence is Unavailable under Hungarian Copyright Law

          Hungary is one of those EU Member States that did not implement the parody exception of the InfoSoc Directive. In the first ever court of appeals level decision on parody (reference No 8.Pf.20.424/2019/5), the Municipal Court of Appeals has confirmed that the parody defence is unavailable under Hungarian copyright law due to the lack of an express statutory recognition.

          The plaintiff holds the IP rights to the Superman character. The defendant (HVG) is the publisher of a weekly journal. The 18 September 2016 issue was published with an image imitating Superman’s ‘S’ logo as a dollar sign ($) and the character had a big fat belly popping out of his shirt. The title of the image was ‘Strawman – Sham Billionaires and True Wealth’ (‘STRÓMAN – Álmilliárdosok és valódi vagyonok’). This was a reference to the article that discussed the enrichment of businessmen, who were closely connected to the innermost political circles. The plaintiff claimed that the use of the Superman character was an unauthorized adaptation of the Superman character.

          The Municipal Court of Appeals upheld the trial court decision by confirming that the original work’s main characteristics remained noticeable, while the secondary work differed from the original one. Those differences were not aimed at distinguishing the two works, but rather sought to create a contraposition of the two works to reach critical, humorous effects. The court concluded that the cover image lacked any individual, independent meaning, and failed to keep the necessary distance from the source material. The court also noted that the defendant would be unable to escape liability based on parody, as the Hungarian Copyright Act includes no such exception.

        • Project Gutenberg Public Domain Library Blocked in Italy For Copyright Infringement

          Project Gutenberg, the world’s oldest digital library, has been blocked by ISPs in Italy under the orders of the Court of Rome. The platform, which focuses on public domain books, appears to have been erroneously labeled a pirate site in an action targeting 28 domains and several Telegram channels.

        • Massive Piracy Damages Award Against Cox is Not Excessive, Court Rules

          Cox Communications’ request to lower the massive piracy liability verdict issued by a Virginia jury has failed. The request for a new trial was denied as well. However, the court does agree that the damages should be issued per work if there are multiple copyrights involved, which means that the $1 billion figure may go down.

        • The US Copyright Office Section 512 Study: Why the Entertainment Industry Is Claiming Victory

          Is there anything that online service providers (OSPs) should be cheerful about from that Study? Perhaps it will be a relief that the Study didn’t recommend that Congress adopt the notice-and-staydown mandates that some copyright industry groups wanted and that the EU’s Digital Single Market Directive now requires. Nor did it recommend that OSPs be generally required to use automated content recognition technologies to prevent copyright infringement (or even “best efforts” to ensure that infringing materials are not uploaded to its site, although the Study’s interpretation of “red flag” knowledge may mean that large hosting platforms would have to do this). Despite the Study’s extensive discussion of site-blocking injunctions in other countries, the Study did not endorse changing the DMCA rules to confer on US courts power to issue them. (The Office did, however, recommend further study of both site-blocking and notice-and-staydown rules).

          According to the Office, the basic framework of the DMCA safe harbors should remain intact. However, anyone who reads this report carefully will realize that the Office has done as much as it can to erode the limits built into § 512 and place ever more responsibility on OSPs (and risks of terminated accounts for users accused, rightly or wrongly, of infringement). While not recommending specific legislative changes, the Study often suggests that Congress “clarify” certain DMCA provisions that the copyright industries don’t like.

          A basic premise underlying the Study is this: “the fact that one of the two principal groups whose interests Congress sought to balance is virtually uniform in its dissatisfaction with the current system suggests that some of the statute’s objectives are not being met.” This premise is false given that copyright industry groups never wanted the safe harbors to be adopted in the first place. They much preferred the recommendation in the Clinton Administration’s 1995 Intellectual Property and the National Information Infrastructure report that asserted that OSPs were and should be strictly liable for any copyright infringement that happened on their sites or through their computer networks.

          (The Study’s assumption that OSPs and copyright industries are the only stakeholders whose views on the DMCA safe harbors should be heeded is disturbing. What about, for instance, the user-creators who depend on OSPs such as Etsy or Ravelry to make their creations available? What about Internet users more generally?)

        • [Guest post] “The art is the wall”: Picasso, Nesjar, and the moral rights of the artists in Oslo’s Y-Block

          When the celebrated sculptures embedded in the walls of downtown Oslo’s Y-Block government buildings were damaged in an infamous terrorist attack in 2011, the city’s leaders faced the difficult task of how best to address the harm. The sculptures were designed by Pablo Picasso and executed on this concrete surface by his long-time collaborator, Norwegian artist Carl Nesjar. “The Fisherman” is located on an exterior wall of the building, while “The Seagull” is a smaller work in the lobby. After the attack, questions arose about the feasibility of conserving the sculptures on site, where the safety of the damaged building needed to be assessed.

          By 2014, the government had decided to demolish the building and relocate the sculptures elsewhere. This was followed, in 2017, by plans to redevelop the area. However, these proposals unexpectedly met with a surge of public resistance. The sculpture, and the site on which it stood, had become a powerful symbol, not only of Norway’s cultural heritage, but also, of memory and resilience in the face of violence. Indeed, in the eyes of some Norwegians, destroying the building would effectively complete the terrorist attack – a “cruel irony,” as noted by Mari Hvattum, professor of architectural history and theory at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design.

          Public opposition to the demolition plans gained the support of cultural heritage experts and advocacy groups in Norway, and around Europe and the world. Nevertheless, in March of 2020, the government began taking concrete steps to move forward with the demolition, arguing that the delay was becoming expensive and would only postpone the inevitable. Redevelopment plans for the site were already in place. As of early May, the building has been fenced off and initial demolition operations have begun – even as Carl Nesjar’s daughter voiced her concerns about the possibility of damage to the murals while dismantling them. “Nobody has explained how they will do it,” she says. “The art is the wall.”

        • (Live) streaming of sound recordings in Kenya: what is the appropriate question?

          If we now go back to the clarification presented by KECOBO, we may rightly conclude that KECOBO is responding to the question of who is engaging in the public performance of a sound recording in a digital venue (i.e. the platform for the DJ’s (live) streaming). KECOBO says it is the DJ involved in the (live) stream and that such activity is outside KECOBO and CMOs’ jurisdiction, ergo no CMO licence required. Instead, KECOBO observes that owners of rights in sound recordings have arrangements (rights management information monitoring technology) with digital platforms that may lead to blockage of the streams.

        • Book review: The Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti

          The Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti, edited by Enrico Bonadio (City University of London), is the first book to bring together a comprehensive analysis on the issues of copyright and street art, providing a timely volume of various perspectives.

          Graffiti has taken on a new image in recent years; where it can be defined as criminal activity it is also now recognised as an artistic undertaking and commercial opportunity. Within the book, the terms street art and graffiti are used interchangeably. Bonadio recognises in the introduction that there is a difference between the two artistic movements, although the line between them is often blurred. He states that graffiti refers to the technique of stylishly painting names and letters on urban surfaces, such as railway lines or walls. Street art, on the other hand, refer to more elaborate forms of art such as images or murals.

        • Italian Public Prosecutor Says Project Gutenberg’s Collection Of Public Domain Books Must Be Blocked For Copyright Infringement

          Back in 2013, we made clear our concerns with the Italian communications watchdog AGCOM setting up new administrative copyright enforcement powers that would allow them to simply up and declare sites to be infringing, at which point ISPs would be ordered to block websites. Soon after that Italy’s public prosecutor seemed to decided that part of his job was also to order websites blocked based solely on the public prosecutor’s say so.

        • Copyright Blocks Interview Of Protesters Because Marvin Gaye’s ‘Let’s Get It On’ Was Playing In The Background

          Another day, another example of copyright acting as censorship. The folks over at Unicorn Riot have been covering the protests around the country, but apparently they can’t do that as they’d like because copyright is getting in the way. Unicorn Riot announced on Twitter that video interviews they had conducted and posted have been pulled down from both Facebook and YouTube due to copyright claims such as this one:

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