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07.08.20

Links 8/7/2020: SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Btrfs as Default in Fedora, Qt Creator 4.12.4

Posted in News Roundup at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC – Running Linux – Week 1

      This is a weekly blog chronicling my experiences of running the AWOW AK41 Mini Desktop PC on Linux.

      The small-form-factor revolution began in the 2000s. Many desktops have reduced from half-size towers to compact cubes to, in their most extreme reduction, sticks not much larger than a USB flash drive. How’s that been viable? A significant factor has been graphics acceleration and other essential features being subsumed under the CPU.

      AWOW has sent us their AK41 Mini Desktop PC. It’s essentially a tiny full-featured computer. It retails at $239.99 / £239.99 and available to purchase from Amazon.

      Mini PCs typically ship with Windows 10. The AWOW AK41 is no exception. And there’s no option to have a different operating system pre-installed on this machine. That’s commonplace. There’s often a paucity of information available as to whether small-form-factor machines have any hardware issues running the machine on a different operating system. Sometimes, issues can take a while to surface, which often aren’t identified in a standard review. Rather than carrying out a typical review, this series aims to be an in-depth examination of the Mini PC purely from a Linux perspective.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • mintCast 338.5 – The Ripple Effect

        In our Innards section, we ask Owen how Linux is improving the lives around him.

        And finally, some feedback and a few suggestions

      • Buttery Smooth Fedora | LINUX Unplugged 361

        Fedora’s getting to work and reconsidering some long held-assumptions.

        Plus the best tool for getting things done on Linux, we take a look at openSUSE Leap 15.2, and breathe new life into an old Pebble.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Latest Linux – On a Floppy In a 486!

        If you have ever studied the early history of the GNU/Linux operating system in its many forms, you’ll have read that [Linus Torvalds] developed his first kernel for his Intel 386-based computer. Though the 386 architecture is now ancient, the current Linux kernel can still be compiled for it and many distributions still maintain an i386 branch to provide broad compatibility for later machines able to run i386 code. But what if you were to take a current Linux kernel and stick it on a floppy in a machine from the early 1990s, with meagre RAM? [Fozztex] did just that, with not a 386 but a 486, sporting what would have been an impressive for the time 36MB of RAM. You can watch it in action in the video below the break.

        A recent Linux kernel is rarely if ever compiled for something as small as a floppy disk, so getting one to boot from such ancient media appeared to be a challenge. It was possible though with the tinyconfig make option, and after finding a small enough root filesystem courtesy of Aboriginal Linux, a bootable floppy was created. It’s not entirely useful and its sole purpose was to see whether Linux could see a large hard drive on the 486, but it’s still a version 5.6 Linux kernel booting from floppy on an ancient computer. Never complain that your Raspberry Pi Zero is slow again, we’ve come a long way!

      • Intel Architectural LBR Support Going Into Linux 5.9

        Intel CPUs have long supported LBR for last branch records as a means of recording the branches to which software has taken along with exposing other control flow information. This has relied upon model-specific registers while with future Intel CPUs this is being folded into a more universal CPU architectural feature. Support for Intel “Arch LBR” is set to come later this year with the Linux 5.9 kernel.

        The Linux kernel has been working with the existing MSR-based LBR functionality where with the likes of the perf subsystem can be used for recording the branches taken and other control flow information exposed for analysis and profiling. Intel recently has been working on added this Architectural LBR support to the Linux kernel.

    • Applications

      • AviDemux 2.7.6

        Avidemux is a free video editor designed for simple cutting, filtering and encoding tasks. It supports many file types, including AVI, DVD compatible MPEG files, MP4 and ASF, using a variety of codecs. Tasks can be automated using projects, job queue and powerful scripting capabilities. Avidemux is available for Linux, BSD, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows under the GNU GPL license.

      • PTGui Panorama Photo Stitching Software Ported To Linux

        PTGui as one of the leading panorama photo stitching software programs on Windows and macOS has finally been ported to Linux.

        Last month the Linux port of the forthcoming PTGui 12 was quietly announced. This has been one of the leading feature requests for years to see the photo stitching program running natively on Linux while now it’s finally happening — including support for advanced features like OpenCL GPU acceleration

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Fragment’s Moonrise is a free Early Access open-world strategy game

        With some promising ideas that could be great when further developed, Fragment’s Moonrise is a new open-world real-time strategy game out now in Early Access.

        It’s a little weird but the basic idea is pretty interesting. You control groups like you would in a traditional RTS, or perhaps more like a real-time tactics game and then upgrade like in an RPG. The genre blending here is what’s interesting, while you explore a randomly generated world each time.

      • Boiling Steam Does Steam Summer Sale 2020

        There are certain constants of summer for the Boiling Steam staff: heat, humidity, and of course the Steam Summer Sale. After all, nothing says the changing of seasons like a new Steam sale. Below are a few quick thoughts on some games we’ve picked up, as well as others we’ve played recently that we can recommend while they are on sale (until July 9th, 10am Pacific). SteamDB, IsThereAnyDeal, or CheapShark can help you figure out if the sale price is the best you can get.

      • The 2020 Steam Summer Sale ends soon, here’s some final picks

        Stuck for what to pick up? With the huge Steam Summer Sale ending tomorrow at 5PM UTC, here’s a little helping hand for you on what’s good.

        I get why you might be stuck, with well over six thousand games on Steam alone that support Linux, it’s easy to get completely swallowed up in the vast sea of games. Especially true if you’re looking to pick up a game on sale, as there’s close to five thousand of those discounted!

      • Suns Out, Buns Out is another awesome Overcooked! 2 update

        Get your fire extinguishers ready and try not to set your kitchen ablaze in the latest free content update to the co-op cooking game Overcooked! 2 with Suns Out, Buns Out.

        One of the absolute best co-op games on any platform, Overcooked! 2 just keeps on giving. While the base game is good and they have some fun DLC expansions, it’s always nice to see some extra free content for everyone. In the Suns Out, Buns Out update which is out now you get more kitchens to play through, more recipes and a whole lot of fun.

      • Tropico 6 gets a few new features plus a Linux release on GOG

        Want to take on the role of El Presidente? Well if you’ve been holding out for a Linux release on GOG we’ve got good news, plus it continues to be updated.

        Tropico 6 was released back in March 2019 going onto receiving some pretty good reviews overall and I certainly enjoyed it (and quite a bit more than Tropico 5 too). Sadly the GOG release had been missing a Linux build but it seemed to get quietly rolled out towards the end of last month!

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Qt Creator 4.12.4 released

          We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 4.12.4 !

          In this release of Qt Creator we fixed C++ debugging on iOS devices, and adapted MCU support to the new Qt for MCU 1.3 release. Have a look at our change log for a more complete list of improvements.

          The opensource version is available on the Qt download page under “Qt Creator”, and you find commercially licensed packages on the Qt Account Portal. Qt Creator 4.12.4 is also available as an update in the online installer. Please post issues in our bug tracker. You can also find us on IRC on #qt-creator on chat.freenode.net, and on the Qt Creator mailing list.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • First powerpc64 snapshots available

          Since we reported the first bits of powerpc64 support going into the tree on 16 May, work has progressed at a steady pace, resulting in snapshots now being available for this platform.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Linux company SUSE outbids competitors for fast-growing start-up Rancher Labs

          SUSE, a Linux distribution company controlled by private equity firm EQT, has agreed to acquire Rancher Labs, a start-up with technology that helps organizations run software in virtual containers across many servers.

          The companies announced the deal Wednesday but didn’t disclose the terms. Two people familiar with the deal said SUSE is paying $600 million to $700 million.

          The transaction suggests that even during a recession, demand remains high for technology that can enable companies to operate more efficiently.

          Talks between the companies began in the spring, and the process became competitive with additional bids, Ursheet Parikh, a partner at Rancher backer Mayfield Fund, told CNBC on Tuesday. There were “lots of Zoom calls,” Parikh said.

          In the past few years, with the rise of start-ups such as Docker, containers became a trendy alternative to more traditional virtualization technology for running applications on each computer server in a company data center. Amazon, Microsoft and other cloud providers came out with services that developers can use to place code in containers, and in 2017 SUSE introduced its own service for managing containers. The companies haven’t finalized integration plans as the deal still faces regulatory approval.

        • SUSE to Acquire Rancher Labs, Creating World’s Largest Organization Exclusively Dedicated to Powering Digital Transformation With Open Source and Cloud Native Solutions

          Today, SUSE embarks on a new chapter in our incredible 28-year journey. I am thrilled to share that, SUSE has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Rancher Labs, a market-leading, Enterprise Kubernetes Management vendor based in Cupertino, California.   

          This is an incredible moment for SUSE and for our industry, as two open source leaders join forces to create the world’s largest independent organization dedicated exclusively to powering digital transformation with open source and cloud native solutions.

          I want to share my perspective on why we chose Rancher, and how this acquisition will benefit our customers, partners, and communities.

        • Catering for all of your software infrastructure management needs. Introducing SUSE Manager 4.1

          Catering for all of your software infrastructure management needs SUSE Manager 4.1 is a best-in-class open source infrastructure management solution for your software-defined or mode 2 infrastructure.

          Designed to help your enterprise DevOps and IT Operations teams to reduce complexity and regain control of IT and IoT assets, increase efficiency whilst meeting security policies and optimizing operations with automation to reduce costs.

        • End-to-End Retail IT Infrastructure Management: What’s new SUSE Manager for Retail 4.1

          Manage, Secure, Automate and Comply with the newest version of the SUSE Infrastructure Management Solution for the Retail industry.

          From Mainframe and HPC Clusters to bare metal servers and VMs down to point of service terminals, kiosks, self-service and reverse-vending system Linux deployments, SUSE Manager for Retail is designed to help you reduce costs, optimize operations, and ensure compliance across your retail IT infrastructure while reducing complexity and regaining control.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Btrfs by default, the compression option

          Hi,

          The change proposal has a ‘compression option’ and we kinda need to get organized. https://fedoraproject.org/wiki/Changes/BtrfsByDefault#Compression

          - Compression saves space, significantly reduces write amplification and therefore increases flash lifespan, and in some cases increases performance.
          - Desired but not a requirement of the change proposal.

          1. Goal: probably the goal performance wise is to perform as good or better than now. Is it OK if there’s a write time performance hit for a small percent of folks, for a high value target like usr that isn’t updated that often, and is also updated out of band (offline updates typically, but also isn’t something directly related to the daily workload)? How to decide this?

          2. Benchmarking: this is hard. A simple tool for doing comparisons among algorithms on a specific bit of hardware is lzbench. https://github.com/inikep/lzbench How to compile on F32. https://github.com/inikep/lzbench/issues/69 But is that adequate? How do we confirm/deny on a wide variety of hardware that this meets the goal? And how is this test going to account for parallelization, and read ahead? Do we need a lot of data or is it adequate to get a sample “around the edges” (e.g. slow cpu fast drive; fast cpu slow drive; fast cpu fast drive; slow cpu slow drive). What algorithm?

          3. Improvements and upgrades. We’ll do plan A, but learn new things later, and come up with plan B. How do we get the plan A folks upgraded to plan B? Or just don’t worry?

          4. The whole file system (using a mount option) or curated (using an XATTR set on specific “high value” directories)? This part is elaborated below.

          A. do this with a mount option ‘-o compress=zstd:1′
          - dilemma: it doesn’t always lead to equal or better performance. On some systems and workloads, write performance is slightly reduced. What about LZO?

          B. do this with per directory XATTR
          - dilemma: the target directories don’t exist at install time, depending on whether the installation is rsync, rpm, or unsquashfs based.

          C. do the install with ‘-o compres=zstd’, then set XATTR post-install
          - dilemma: the installed files won’t have XATTR set, only new files inherit; does a ‘dnf update’ overwrite files and therefore the XATTR is not inherited, or are they new files and do inherit the XATTR?

          D. Which directories? Some may be outside of the installer’s scope.
          /usr /var/lib/flatpak
          ~/.local/share/flatpak
          /var/lib/containers/
          ~/.local/share/containers/
          ~/.var
          ~/.cache

          (Plausible this list should be reversed. While compressing ~/.cache may not save much space, it’s likely hammered with more changes than other locations, hence more benefit in terms of reducing write amplification.)
          For reference, the above is mostly from the description in the RFE bug attached to the feature’s tracker bug. But I think it’s best to have most discussion here and leave the bug for implementing+testing the implementation details. https://bugzilla.redhat.com/show_bug.cgi?id=1851276

          Thanks,


          Chris Murphy

        • Fedora Developers Evaluating Compression Options For Btrfs-By-Default Proposal

          The proposal for using Btrfs by default on the Fedora desktop is gaining a fair amount of traction and interest from the community and could possibly move ahead but further testing and decisions are still to be made.

          First of all, today marks a Fedora Btrfs test day for those wanting to help in evaluating this change proposal. Check it out if you have spare system(s) and interested in helping make the decision whether Fedora desktop spins should transition from EXT4 to Btrfs by default.

        • Btrfs to be the Default Filesystem on Fedora? Fedora 33 Starts Testing Btrfs Switch

          While we’re months away from Fedora’s next stable release (Fedora 33), there are a few changes worth keeping tabs on.

          Among all the other accepted system-wide changes for Fedora 33, the proposal of having Btrfs as the default filesystem for desktop variants is the most interesting one.

        • Running Rosetta@home on a Raspberry Pi with Fedora IoT

          The Rosetta@home project is a not-for-profit distributed computing project created by the Baker laboratory at the University of Washington. The project uses idle compute capacity from volunteer computers to study protein structure, which is used in research into diseases such as HIV, Malaria, Cancer, and Alzheimer’s.

          In common with many other scientific organizations, Rosetta@home is currently expending significant resources on the search for vaccines and treatments for COVID-19.

          Rosetta@home uses the open source BOINC platform to manage donated compute resources. BOINC was originally developed to support the SETI@home project searching for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. These days, it is used by a number of projects in many different scientific fields. A single BOINC client can contribute compute resources to many such projects, though not all projects support all architectures.

          For the example shown in this article a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B was used, which is one of the tested reference devices for Fedora IoT. This device, with only 1GB of RAM, is only just powerful enough to be able to make a meaningful contribution to Rosetta@home, and there’s certainly no way the Raspberry Pi can be used for anything else – such as running a desktop environment – at the same time.

        • Leading the way for Open Transformation in APAC

          “Transformation isn’t something that happens for only a focused period of time, and then there’s no change after that.” – Anthony Watson, lead, Enterprise Domains, ANZ Bank

          The evolution and advancement of technologies grow to new heights every day, bringing unprecedented change in what individuals and corporations can create. To keep pace, organizations must continue to adopt, adapt, and advance their processes, but to acquire new technology is often not enough to bring a true change.

        • APAC Companies Prioritize Cultural Change and Technology Modernization to Accelerate Digital Transformation

          Red Hat, Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the results of a commissioned study by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, on behalf of Red Hat, exploring Asia Pacific’s (APAC) transformation and innovation trajectory against a global backdrop. The study, titled “Understanding APAC’s Success in Digital Transformation,” surveyed 143 business executives from APAC from various industries including financial services, IT and manufacturing sectors.

        • Introducing OpenShift cost management: A human-readable view into cloud-native application costs

          From dramatically increased telework demands to a surge in online services usage, IT teams are facing a new set of realities in managing their hybrid cloud environments. For IT decision-makers, this goes above and beyond just keeping infrastructure running and efficient; it’s about budget. Solving these new challenges often requires additional spending on infrastructure, something that IT teams simply may not have. This makes it critically important that IT teams can more quickly and easily see the totality of their IT costs across the hybrid cloud.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 19.10 is getting killed off on July 17 – so make sure you upgrade

          For anyone running the Ubuntu 19.10 Linux distribution, you have until July 17 to update to a newer version, as Canonical, the company behind the distro, has announced that after that date, version 19.10 (also known as “Eoan Ermine”) will enter its end of life.

          That means Ubuntu 19.10 will no longer receive important security patches, updates and fixes. Most installed applications won’t get updates, and you’ll won’t be able to install new apps either.

        • Ubuntu 19.10 set to reach end-of-life this month

          Canonical is set to pull the plug on Ubuntu 19.10 ‘Eoan Ermine’ some time this month. If previous release cycles are anything to go by, support could end anywhere between mid- to late-July so that gives you about a week to get ready to upgrade. If you do not upgrade, your system will not receive any new updates which could leave it open to exploitation.

          Canonical, helpfully, has put together a simple guide which will help you move from Ubuntu 19.10 to the recently released Ubuntu 20.04, while Ubuntu upgrades tend to be safe, be sure to heed the warning at the start of the tutorial about backing up your files as things could mess up, although it’s unlikely.

        • 10 Things to do After Installing Linux Mint 20

          Here is a curated list of items that you should try after installing Linux Mint 20 Ulyana.

        • What’s New In Linux Mint 20 “Ulyana”

          Linux Mint 20 is based on Ubuntu 20.04 “Focal Fossa” and Linux Kernel 5.4. Ulyana is a long-term support release, will receive security updates until 2025.

          The first big improvement in Ulyana is the better multi-monitor & HiDPI support. Linux Mint 20 supports fractional scaling. If you have connected multiple monitors, each monitor can have different scaling value from 100% to 200%. It is something that was not possible before.

          If the user connects a 4K monitor and enables HiDPI mode, it’s easier to adjust the scaling of the monitor to get everything sharp and crystal clear. At the same time, on non-HiDPI compatible monitors, set a different resolution to get applications windows fit into the screen.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • New Release: Tor Browser 9.5.2

            Tor Browser 9.5.2 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory. This is an Android-only release.

            This release updates Firefox to 68.10.1esr.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice community protests at promotion of paid-for editions, board says: ‘LibreOffice will always be free software’

          Vignoli also referred to a problem with LibreOffice Online, the browser-based, cloud version of the office suite. Community members would like a “full product, easy to deploy by everyone,” he said, but “ecosystem members are getting most of their revenue from LibreOffice online.” Differentiating between free and commercial versions, and delaying release of the free version, could satisfy both sides, the presentation suggests.

          According to Vignoli, two recent trends are running in favour of wider take up for LibreOffice. One is international concern about “digital sovereignty,” with, for example, the EU worried about being reliant on Microsoft or Google for its productivity. The other is COVID-19 and lockdown, which has stimulated (or required) greater interest in working from home.

          “I have tried to do my best by listening to everyone,” said Vignoli, also stating that he welcomes feedback and that there will be a future version which will be “the final marketing plan for the next five years.”

          Despite these statements, TDF and the LibreOffice team could have done better with their communications on this subject; but navigating a major open source project in such a way as to maintain its viability and growth while also meeting the insatiable demand for something for nothing is a difficult task.

          Vignoli said LibreOffice is the “only viable FOSS alternative to Microsoft Office,” and while the Apache OpenOffice folk might disagree, there is no doubting its importance to individuals or organisations who need an open source alternative.

        • LibreOffice Board Assures the Community That it Will Remain Free Software Forever

          LibreOffice 7.0 will be released in soon and you may see it labelled as Personal Edition. This labelling and its tagline have created a sort of controversy.

      • Programming/Development

        • against testing

          I really dislike writing tests. There’s some amount of discomfort I’d be willing to sustain if I felt it they were beneficial, but I also find they’re rarely worth the bother.

          In order to be effective, a test needs to exist for some condition not handled by the code. However, typically when the same mind writes the code and the tests, the coverage overlaps. Errors arise from unexpected conditions, but due to their unexpected nature, these are the conditions which also go untested.

        • I now think that blog ‘per day’ pages with articles are a mistake

          There’s a bit of me that’s sad about this shift in blog design and web usage; the per-day, per-month, and per-year organization had a pleasant regularity and intuitive appeal. But I think its time has passed. More and more, we’re all tending toward the kind of minimal URL structure typical of static sites, even when we have dynamic sites and so could have all the different URL structures and ways of accessing our pages that we could ask for.

  • Leftovers

    • Searching for the Ultimate Obstacle to Creativity

      I know that you can be a great creator. I believe in you. And you should too.

      Go do it.

    • FBI extradites Nigerian man who allegedly stole millions in business email compromise scams

      Raymon Abbas (pictured), known online as Hushpuppi, had 2.4 million Instagram followers at the time he was arrested, with the account showing various photos of him with luxury cars, designer clothes and traveling the world in private jets.

      That wealth was all gained illegally, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation criminal complaint filed in late June. It claims that Abbas financed his lifestyle through crime and that he’s one of the leaders of a transnational network that facilitates computer intrusions, fraudulent schemes including business email compromise or BEC schemes and money laundering. Abas is said to have participated in schemes that stole hundreds of millions of dollars from victims.

    • Jenny Zhang’s Goo Aesthetics

      “Goo,” in Jenny Zhang’s writing, is a noun, a verb, and an adjective. In her poems there is “goo goo water” and a “goo goo baby.” Bodies can leak and leave a “goo trail,” or mouths can “swear in goo goo.” Someone can feel “goo” or “feel so much” that they goo. Goo is what Zhang’s poetry—itself so much about feeling—feels like: viscous, sticky, thick. It reminds me of the monosyllabic elocution of babies playing with the joys of guttural sound for the first time. Goo perfectly describes the tactile viscidity of Zhang’s aesthetics—always a little disgusting, like all bodies are—and the indissoluble, gummed quality of the love that is at the heart of her fiction, essays, and poems. 

    • Education

      • In The Middle Of A Pandemic, ICE Says Foreign Students Must Attend Physical Classes If They Don’t Want To Be Kicked Out Of The Country

        I guess the cruelty is the point.

      • US bars foreign students from online-only tuition

        The position, announced by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, ends an emergency exemption that had allowed foreign college students to remain in the country as their institutions moved online this spring.

        The decision threatens significant economic damage for many US universities, given their heavy dependence on full-fee-paying international students, the growing number of institutions likely to remain with online-heavy or online-only formats in the autumn, and the relative willingness of foreign students to remain enrolled either way.

      • U.S. to withdraw visas for foreign students whose classes move online

        The United States said Monday it would not allow foreign students to remain in the country if all of their classes are moved online in the fall over the coronavirus crisis.

        “Nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States,” U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement said in a statement.

      • International students in US may be deported if universities switch to online classes due to Covid-19

        It further said that students attending schools adopting a “hybrid model”, which includes a mixture of online and in-person classes, will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online.

        These schools must certify to the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme that the course is not entirely online, that the student is not taking an entirely online course load for the fall 2020 semester, and that the student is taking the minimum number of online classes required to make normal progress in their degree programme.

        [...]

        On June 22, it issued a proclamation, dramatically curtailing legal immigration to the US till December 31. Under this, people with L-1, H-1B, H-2B and J-1 visas were affected.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • COVID-19 shifts Peru’s internal migration into reverse

        After welcoming nearly 900,000 Venezuelan migrants fleeing political and economic strife in recent years, Peru is now experiencing a migrant crisis of its own. Some 200,000 Peruvians have been trying to return to their original homes from Lima, since strict lockdown measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 cut them off from their jobs.

        In late April, after the first of several lockdown extensions that will now stretch till 7 September, thousands of jobless and newly homeless informal workers and their families filled the main roads out of the city. Most had moved to Lima, the capital, with the hope of bettering their lives. But now they were beginning journeys back to their former communities, sometimes thousands of kilometers away, many traveling by foot.

        Some are still in limbo, delayed along the way by muddled quarantine policies and a lack of aid. For those who did make it home, the scrambled response was compounded by some communities that were unwilling to welcome returnees for fear of infection.

        “All we want is to go back to our homes and our family,” said Susan Chota Cora, speaking with The New Humanitarian via WhatsApp in June. She spoke from the site of the 2019 Pan American Games, in Lima, where she was in quarantine with other workers from Loreto – a region in Peru’s Amazon basin accessible only by plane – who had tested positive for the virus and were not permitted to fly.

        “We want to be able to work there, and stay in our place of origin,” she added. “Over there we have a home that we do not have to pay for, we can live off of nature. Those are all things we cannot do here.” Her group had been shuffled among various quarantine facilities since late April, she said.

      • ‘Neal Is in Trouble’: $300,000 Ad Campaign Targets Powerful Congressman Over Stonewalling of Anti-Surprise Medical Billing Proposal

        “All of a sudden taking corporate money and crafting policy to benefit monopolies can now get you in trouble back home.”

      • Will the New NAFTA Make the Pandemic Worse for Mexicans?

        For Mexican workers, farmers, and the poor, the pandemic and the new treaty replacing NAFTA are a devastating one-two punch.

      • “They Don’t Care About Our Health”: Hunger Striker at Otay Mesa ICE Jail Speaks Out as COVID Spreads

        As COVID-19 infections continue to rise behind bars, we go inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center in California to speak with Anthony Alexandre, a longtime U.S. resident of Haitian descent, who describes conditions at the for-profit jail, run by private prison company CoreCivic, which has seen a mass outbreak of COVID-19, leading to at least 167 infections and one death. “Basically, CoreCivic is telling us they do not care about our health,” says Alexandre. “They do not care about anything else but their bottom line.”

      • Hunger Strikers at COVID-Infected ICE Jail Were Pepper-Sprayed in Retaliation

        As COVID-19 infections continue to rise behind bars, we go inside the Otay Mesa Detention Center in California to speak with detainee Anthony Alexandre, a longtime U.S. resident of Haitian descent, who describes conditions at the for-profit jail, run by private prison company CoreCivic, which has seen a mass outbreak of COVID-19, leading to at least 167 infections and one death. “Basically, CoreCivic is telling us they do not care about our health,” says Alexandre. “They do not care about anything else but their bottom line.”

      • Natural Disaster Survivors Still Fighting for Relief Now Face Delays From COVID

        For the first few weeks after a natural disaster, media and nonprofits swarm the affected area, giving much-needed attention to survivors and their needs. But for natural disaster survivors, the nightmare continues long after the media has left the area. Eight years after Hurricane Sandy, Staten Island is still feeling the effects of the storm; 15 years after Hurricane Katrina, much of the Lower Ninth Ward remains razed, and many of the areas that were rebuilt were completely changed forever.

      • FCC’s Assault On Low-Income Broadband Program Is Making The COVID-19 Crisis Worse

        While FCC boss Ajit Pai is best known for ignoring the public and making shit up to dismantle FCC authority over telecom monopolies, his other policies have proven to be less sexy but just as terrible. From neutering plans to improve cable box competition to a wide variety of what are often senseless handouts to the industry’s biggest players, most of the administration’s policies are driving up costs for the rural Americans and small entrepreneurs he so breathlessly pledges fealty to.

      • 60+ Environmental Justice Advocates and Groups Issue Coronavirus Call to Action Demanding End to ‘Sacrifice Zones’

        “Underserved and environmentally overburdened communities are now… experiencing disproportionate Covid-19 infections and deaths.”

      • ‘A Shameful Moment’: Trump Announces Formal Withdrawal From WHO as Covid-19 Cases Climb

        “This won’t protect American lives or interests—it leaves Americans sick and America alone.”

      • Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro Tests Positive for Covid-19

        The announcement comes three days after the right-wing leader was photographed without a mask with the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil.

      • Anthony Fauci: The Last American Hero?

        Apart from the conspiracy-crazed Trump hardcore eager to burn him at the stake, Dr. Anthony Fauci generally basks in the admiration of a frightened public desperate for truthful leadership. For liberals, in particular, he personifies science in shining armor battling the mad dragon in the White House. But his real role during the first six months of the pandemic has been more ambiguous and far less heroic.

      • Donald Trump’s Many Pandemic Blunders

        Support independent cartooning: join Sparky’s List—and don’t forget to visit TT’s Emporium of Fun, featuring the new book and plush Sparky!

      • Trump Gives Official Notice of Withdrawal From the World Health Organization

        The Trump administration officially announced on Tuesday that the United States would be withdrawing from the World Health Organization (WHO), giving formal notice to the United Nations secretary-general about its intention to do so.

      • Physicists who study fluids say toilet-flushing could be major way coronavirus spreads

        The paper, which was published in the journal Physics of Fluids, points out that the violent turbulence caused by flushing a toilet expels enough aerosols into the air to spread diseases. Because “the main transmission routes of SARS-CoV-2 are droplets and direct contact” and coronaviruses in humans are notable for spreading via a fecal-oral transmission route, co-authors Yun-yun Li, Ji-Xiang Wang and Xi Chen argue that toilets present a self-evident risk of spreading the coronavirus.

      • Former Healthcare executive: Medicare for All could have helped the coronavirus outbreak in the US

        Potter, a former health executive, said that the idea that nations such as Canada with socialized health systems ration care ”is just a myth that regrettably I and my former colleagues used to spread about the Canadian health care system.”

      • US Formally Starts Withdrawal From WHO

        Under WHO rules, any country leaving the organization must give one year’s notice. If Trump loses the November election, the next president could decide to remain.

      • SARS-CoV-2 seroprevalence in COVID-19 hotspots

        In light of these findings, any proposed approach to achieve herd immunity through natural infection is not only highly unethical, but also unachievable. With a large majority of the population being infection naive, virus circulation can quickly return to early pandemic dimensions in a second wave once measures are lifted. In addition, the geographical variability and the dynamic of weekly increasing seroprevalence rates during the early phase of the pandemic highlight that these studies are only snapshots in time and space, and reflect the circumstances of the period in which they were done. As we are still in the midst of an unprecedented global health crisis, such seroprevalence data will continue to be necessary for public health authorities to estimate exposure rates, especially in areas with little testing capacity for acute cases. If and when a vaccine is widely available, ongoing seroprevalence studies will be able to provide information about the extent and duration of vaccine-induced herd immunity.

      • Poisons are being used to beautify food on sale in African markets

        Toxic chemicals are being used by food sellers across Sub-Saharan Africa to improve the look of meat and fish, scientists and food inspectors say, putting the health of millions at risk.

        Weak government testing capacities and informal food supply chains means there is little oversight of traders and fishermen, and almost no protection for unwary consumers.

        However, veterinary specialists say there are techniques that can help people identify contaminated food before they buy it.

      • ‘Hunger Clock’ Billboards Blast McConnell and GOP Senators for Blocking $16 Billion in Food Aid

        “Let’s be clear: this delay in food aid may lead to even more Americans unnecessarily dying.”

      • Can This Montana Governor Deliver the Senate to the Democrats?

        On June 24, Governor Steve Bullock stood at a podium in the east wing of the Montana State Capitol preparing for his weekly press conference on the pandemic. With its red carpet and oak walls, the room is a favorite spot to celebrate bill signings and entertain political delegations. On this hot summer day, however, the crowd was thin and the mood sober. A few masked reporters stood at a distance behind their television cameras, and a handful of staffers swiped at their phones at the back of the long room.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • KeePassXC 2.6.0 Free Password Manager Released With New Light And Dark Themes, Password Checks

            KeePassXC 2.6.0 was released recently with improvements like an overhauled user interface with new light and dark themes, new offline password health check, check passwords against the Have I Been Pwned online service, and more.

            KeePassXC is a free and open-source password manager started as a community fork of KeePassX (which itself is a fork of KeePass), which is not actively maintained. The application is built using Qt and runs on Linux, Windows and macOS.

            The application uses the KeePass 2.x (.kdbx) password database format as its native file format in versions 3.1 and 4 using AES encryption with a 256 bit key; version 2 of the database can be opened, but it’s upgraded to a newer format when opened, while KeePass 1.x (.kdb) databases can be imported into a .kbdx file as a one-way process.

            For easily entering passwords in a web browser, KeePassXC comes with browser extensions for Mozilla Firefox and Chrome-based web browsers (Google Chrome, Chromium, Vivaldi).

          • F5 BigIP vulnerability exploitation followed by a backdoor implant attempt

            While monitoring SANS Storm Center’s honeypots today, I came across the second F5 BIGIP CVE-2020-5902 vulnerability exploitation followed by a backdoor deployment attempt. The first one was seen by Johannes yesterday [1].

          • Understanding Open Source Technology & US Export Controls
          • Understanding US export controls with open source projects

            One of the greatest strengths of open source development is how it enables collaboration across the entire world. However, because open source development is a global activity, it necessarily involves making available software across national boundaries. Some countries’ export control regulations, such as the United States, may require taking additional steps to ensure that an open source project is satisfying obligations under local regulations.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Federal Case Shows Cops Still Have Plenty Of Options When Dealing With Device Encryption

              If no one’s going to give you an encryption backdoor, maybe you just need to inconspicuously prop open the front door. That’s what one cop did in this case discussed by a federal court in Minnesota. (via FourthAmendment.com)

            • Court Shoots Down AT&T, Comcast Attempt To Crush Maine Privacy Law

              Over at our Tech Policy Greenhouse, former FCC official and consumer advocate Gigi Sohn just got done discussing a landmark privacy case in Maine that hasn’t been getting enough attention. The short version: back in 2017, the GOP killed some pretty modest FCC broadband privacy rules at the telecom lobby’s behest. Despite a lot of whining from telecom giants, those rules weren’t particularly onerous — simply requiring that ISPs be transparent about what data they’re collecting and who they’re selling access to, while requiring that users opt in to the sharing of more sensitive financial data.

            • A Near-Ultrasound (NUS) Data Link

              We were requested to investigate “near ultrasound” (NUS) links as part of our research on developing the Simmel reference design for a privacy-preserving COVID-19 contact tracing device.

              [...]

              I imagine one use for this would be a way to provision IoT devices: the “how do I get wifi credentials into an IoT device that lacks both screen and keyboard?” problem. With the addition of a ~$1 microphone to a Cortex-M4 class device, you get a short-range data link to a host device, such as a phone. You can use a web page (via Javascript) to generate the modulated audio directly (relevant example), thus bypassing a host of multi-platform issues, or you can generate a file off-line and send it to any standard music player.

              The TL;DR on the link is it uses a 20,833Hz carrier modulated with BPSK. We use PSK31 coding, so our baud rate is ~651 symbols per second (this is the 1/0 symbol rate before Varicode encoding). This isn’t breaking any speed records, but it’s good enough to send a UUID and some keys over the air in a couple seconds. Tests show decent performance over a distance of 1 meter with about 60dB ambient noise (normal conversation or background music playing at the same time).

            • Social Distancing for Mega-Million Fun and Profit

              For the world’s super rich, the thrills don’t come cheap. But they do keep coming — even amid a pandemic. Case in point: this past Monday night’s historic Sotheby’s art auction, the first-ever “hybrid” sale of high-end artwork. On site in London, Hong Kong, and New York, socially distanced Sotheby’s specialists took in phone and online bids for four-and-a-half hours of often breathless auctioneering.

            • Unbridled Surveillance Will Not Save Us From COVID-19

              We all share the fervent desire to reopen society, to hug our friends and loved ones, to jump start the economy, and to return to the many activities that have been off limits since COVID-19 engulfed our communities.

            • Face Recognition Risks Chilling Our Ability to Participate in Free Speech

              Janine Jackson: Robert Williams, an African-American man in Detroit, was falsely arrested when an algorithm declared his face a match with security footage of a watch store robbery. Boston City Council voted recently to ban the city’s use of facial recognition technology, part of an effort to move resources from law enforcement to community, but also out of concern about dangerous mistakes like that in Williams’ case, along with questions about what the technology means for privacy and free speech. As more and more people go out in the streets and protest, what should we know about this powerful tool, and the rules—or lack thereof—governing its use?

            • Pompeo Says US May Ban TikTok; It’s Not Clear That It Can

              New day, new nonsense. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did his Pompeo thing and went on Fox News saying that the US is looking at banning apps from China in the US, with a focus on TikTok, the incredibly popular social media app that is owned by the Chinese firm ByteDance:

            • The US government is considering a TikTok ban, says secretary of state

              Over the last few years, US lawmakers have grown increasingly concerned over TikTok’s handling of user data and the relationship between its parent company — the Beijing-based ByteDance — and the Chinese government. Lawmakers allege that TikTok could be pressured into handing over data or other intelligence to the Chinese Communist Party.

            • Supreme Court says government debt collectors can’t robocall your cell anymore

              The ruling concerns the 1991 Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), which prohibited “almost all robocalls to phones.” A 2015 amendment to the TCPA grants an exception to robocalls made solely to collect debt on behalf of the US government.

              The plaintiffs, a group of organizations that included the American Association of Political Consultants, argued that the ban violated the First Amendment by favoring debt collection speech over other forms of speech. The court agreed — but instead of striking down the TCPA, it did away with the 2015 exemption. That means the TCPA now applies to debt collection calls again.

            • Civil Rights Groups Denounce Facebook Over Hate Speech

              “They lack the cultural sensitivity to understand that their platform is actually being used to cause harm. Or, they understand the harm their platform is causing and they’ve chosen to take the profit,” said NAACP President Derrick Johnson.

            • Facebook Scorned by Advocacy Groups After Zuckerberg Meeting

              Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg also met with members of the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and Color of Change, who have organized a boycott of the company’s advertising products in seeking to prompt change. The executives didn’t “commit to a timeline” to remove disinformation and hate speech, Gonzalez said, but instead “delivered the same old talking points to try to placate us without meeting our demands.”

              “The meeting we just left was a disappointment,” said Rashad Robinson, president of Color of Change, on a call with reporters.

            • Civil rights groups behind ad boycott slam Facebook leaders after meeting

              The coalition of civil rights groups calling for an advertising boycott of Facebook on Tuesday condemned the company’s leadership following a meeting that was meant to address its content moderation policies and efforts to police hateful speech.

              Leaders of the NAACP, Color Of Change, Free Press and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said in a statement that a meeting conducted on Zoom with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other members of Facebook’s leadership left them unconvinced that the platform is committed to tackling issues surrounding “vitriolic hate.”

              The representatives said that Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg and Chief Product Officer Christopher Cox failed to commit to addressing the majority of their recommendations on how to handle misinformation and hate speech on the platform.

            • The Mullah’s Spies and Assassinations in the West

              According to Roskilde District Court, in Denmark, Loloei had collected information on a dissident, so far unnamed, and given it to Iran’s intelligence service, who planned to murder the man. The information included photos of the target’s house, street and surroundings. “The court found that the information was collected and passed on to a person working for an Iranian intelligence service, for use by the intelligence service’s plans to kill the exile,” the court’s statement read.

              The public prosecutor, Soeren Harbo, pointed out that the Iranian spy has received a permanent entry ban and would also be expelled from Denmark after serving his sentence. Harbo added that “It’s a historic case. And it’s a powerful message to (foreign) intelligence services: they have to handle their conflicts among themselves and stop involving us.”

            • Latest U.S. ‘Anti-Encryption’ Bill Threatens Security of Millions

              The problem is the only way for companies to comply would be to build backdoors into their products and services, or not use encryption at all, making everyone more vulnerable to the same crime we are all trying to prevent. To be clear – we’re talking about the same encryption used to keep activities like online banking, working from home, telehealth, and talking with friends secure online.

              The Internet Society raised its concerns in an open letter to the co-sponsors of LAEDA in the Senate, which was signed by over 75 global cybersecurity experts, civil society organizations, companies, and trade associations. According to signatories, the bill “is too technically flawed to be effective and will force companies to make their products less secure.”

              To make matters worse, the proposed LAEDA is only the most recent attack on end-to-end encryption from a member of the Five Eyes alliance (the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand).

            • Millions of records from dating sites found on misconfigured cloud storage

              Data found on the exposed databases included real names, billing addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, private messages and more. In the cases of SPYKX, a South Korean dating site and CharinCharin from Japan the databases also included clear text passwords. The amount of data exposed across the identified sites ranged from 3,700 records for SPYKX through to 102 million records for CharinCharin.

              Six databases discovered by the researchers included similar data but were unable to be properly identified. The researchers note that the data could have been scraped from other sites, but some of the data does not appear to be from internet-facing pages. At least some of the data in these databases was linked to users on dating sites Zhenai, Say Love, Netease, Love Chat and Companion.

            • Researcher Buys Axon Cameras On eBay, Finds They’re Still Filled With Recordings

              Data isn’t secure just because nothing happened to it when it was still in your possession. It can still “leak” long after the storage device has gone onto its second life in someone else’s hands.

            • New EARN IT Act Creates An Insane New Dilemma: Either Encrypt All Or Spy On All

              Last week, as predicted, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to replace the original EARN IT Act, with a new one. As part of the markup, they also voted to approve Senator Patrick Leahy’s amendment which some might read to say that EARN IT cannot be used to block encryption — but the reality is a lot more complicated. As I’ll explain, this new bill is terrible in a different way than the old bill: it will create a new dilemma in which internet services will either feel compelled to encrypt everything or in which the only way you’ll be able to use any internet service is if you hand over a ton of personal information to the service provider — potentially putting your privacy at extreme risk.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Our Nation Needs a Wake-Up Call to the Nuclear Threat

        In 1982, the nuclear arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union had reached a fever pitch. That June, as many as 1 million people braved the New York City summer, flooding Central Park and the streets outside the United Nations as it hosted a special session on disarmament. I was there. The energy was palpable and urgent as protesters called for a nuclear freeze. And the event, the largest political demonstration in US history to that point, commanded the world’s attention.

      • If Governments Believe So Much in Nonviolence, They Should Try It

        There’s something rather baffling about hearing politicians and high-level government officials condemn the usefulness of violence and extol the virtues of nonviolence.

      • Fallacious Arguments Employed to Justify the Revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s Autonomy and Its Bifurcation

        The throes of pain, palpable on the face of the 3-year old child whose grandfather was killed in an exchange of fire between militants and Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Sopore, can lacerate the most hardened person.

      • The Racist Underpinnings of the American Way of War

        The U.S. military command’s pushback against President Donald Trump’s attempt to use the military against people demanding racial justice has received a lot of good press.

      • The Racist Underpinnings of the American Way of War

        The deadly interplay of racism, genocide, and denial at the heart of American white society has been reproduced in the country’s wars.

      • A Summer of Reckoning—for American Racism and Israeli Aggression

        “In fourteen hundred ninety-two, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” So began the innocent nursery rhyme I and so many others learned in elementary school about how this land was “discovered,” conveniently leaving out the bit about the horrors Columbus inflicted on the indigenous peoples of this land.

      • Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?

        In the past, there have been many attempts at holding accused Israeli war criminals accountable. Particularly memorable is the case of the late Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, (known, among other nicknames, as the ‘Butcher of Sabra and Shatila’) whose victims attempted to try him in a Belgian Court in 2002.

      • The War on Logic: Contradictions and Absurdities in the House’s Military Spending Bill

        The House Armed Services Committee just passed a defense appropriations bill filled with moral contradictions and illogical absurdities. Consider:

      • The War on Logic: Contradictions and Absurdities in the House’s Military Spending Bill

        There is simply no logic to it—other than the inexorable logic of war profiteering and global control.

      • How the Pentagon failed to sell Afghan government’s bunk ‘Bountygate’ story to US intelligence agencies

        Another New York Times Russiagate bombshell turns out to be a dud, as dodgy stories spun out by Afghan intelligence and exploited by the Pentagon ultimately failed to convince US intelligence agencies.

      • Private: Why the High Dudgeon over Alleged Russian Bounties for Taliban Slaying of US Troops

        Democratic politicians like presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden and House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi and liberal media pundits are all screaming for “action” against Russia based on an article in the New York Times that relies on anonymous sources in the “military” and “US intelligence.” The article, picked up by most major media unquestioningly, asserts base on no real evidence other than coerced “confessions” from Taliban captives, that Russian GPU agents have been offering cash to Taliban fighters for the killing US troops in that country.

      • Why Canada—and the World—Deserve a Better Foreign Policy in Ottawa

        Why are Canadians so confused about their country’s place in the world and how do we overcome the stark democratic deficit in international affairs?

      • Syria conflict: ‘Flagrant’ war crimes committed in Idlib battle, UN says

        The bombardment of the towns of Maarat al-Numan, Ariha, Atareb and Darat Izza foreseeably led to the mass displacement of civilians, which the report says may amount to the crimes against humanity of forcible transfer and murder.

        The report accuses militants from the jihadist alliance that dominates the opposition stronghold – Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), a UN-designated terrorist group – of detaining, torturing, and executing civilians expressing dissenting opinions.

        HTS also pillaged the homes of displaced civilians and indiscriminately shelled densely populated government-held areas “with no apparent legitimate military objective”, spreading terror among civilians living there, the investigators found.

      • Central Mali Seeks Protection Following Deadly Attacks

        The conflict in Mali began in 2012 when a separatist uprising in the north was largely taken over by al-Qaida affiliates. Since then, thousands of civilians and military personnel have been killed.

        Violence reached central Mali in 2015 when Islamist militant groups moved from north to central Mali.

        The U.N. has a peacekeeping mission in the country, while France maintains an ongoing military campaign against the insurgents.

      • A New Tonkin Gulf Incident in the Making?

        For China’s leaders, especially President Xi Jinping, this represents both a crude dismissal of China’s ability to defend itself and a harsh repudiation of its claim to having achieved “great power” status—something that can only produce immense anger and dismay. How Beijing will respond to this is unclear, but it is obvious that the leadership must evince some muscularity in response to such taunts or lose credibility in the eyes of China’s increasingly nationalistic population.

      • Turkey Deporting Protestant Christians

        Dozens of Protestant Christian families, according to the Association of Protestant Churches, have been asked to leave Turkey or have not been allowed to enter the country — all based on trumped-up charges, such as “being a threat to national security”.

        “According to the court, Turkey’s intelligence agency has a classified file on me that even our lawyer has been unable to review. According to this file, I am considered a threat to public order and security despite the fact that there is no legal complaint or court action against me.” — Carlos Madrigal, spiritual leader, the Istanbul Protestant Church Foundation.

      • Turkey continues to threaten to blackmail the EU

        At a joint press conference with Çavuşoğlu, Borrell stated that relations between Turkey and the EU “are not currently experiencing their best phase”. Çavuşoğlu accused the EU of failing to meet its obligations under the EU-Turkey deal. The Turkish government’s main concern is that not aid organisations, but the regime itself should have control over the EU’s billions in payments. Çavuşoğlu did not shy away from threatening with “consequences” if the EU Commission happens to “make new decisions against Turkey”. In this context, the main issue was Turkey’s oil drilling in the eastern Mediterranean, directly in the Greek sea area.

      • The Army will soon allow users to access classified info from home

        The new capability will allow remote users to access non-classified but sensitive information as well as classified information up to the secret level from remote locations, including at home, Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett, the commander of Network Enterprise Technology Command, told C4ISRNET in a statement.

        The Army will be onboarding the first 500 users in the next 30 days, and it plans to eventually scale up to 2,000 users, according to Barrett. NETCOM is working with the Army CIO/G-6 and 7th Signal Command — which is responsible for defending Army networks in the United States — to gather “user requests for prioritization,” Barrett said, adding that the environment is “currently operational with initial onboarding and testing.”

        “Based on location, the service will likely work better for [contiguous United States] users; it is our intention to test performance with [outside contiguous United States] users before issuing this as an offering [outside the contiguous United States],” Barrett said.

        She added that the “majority” of the devices accessing information will be virtual desktops with no data stored on the end user device, though some will have data storage capabilities to allow users to work offline.

      • UN says attacks by Islamist militia in Congo may be war crimes

        Systematic and brutal attacks by Islamist militants in the Democratic Republic of Congo over the last 18 months may amount to war crimes, the United Nations said on Monday.

        The Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a Ugandan armed group operating in eastern Congo, have killed more than 1 000 civilians since the start of 2019, according to a report by the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO).

        “In the majority of cases, the means and the modus operandi of the attacks indicate a clear intention to leave no survivors. Entire families have been hacked to death,” it said.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Online Propaganda of Islamic State calls for Jihad in India

        Through its online publications and propaganda material, the Islamic State has made multiple clarion calls to its supporters for carrying out terror attacks in India. The major source among these is ‘The Voice of Hind’, an English-language magazine published and distributed online by the ISIS supporters in India. Al-Qitaal Media Center, a pro-ISIS media outlet, and Junudul Khilafah al-Hind were behind the launch of this magazine.

        The first issue of ‘The Voice of Hind’ was released in late February to coincide with President Donald Trump’s visit to India. It featured Mahmood Paracha, a senior lawyer accused of inciting communal hatred in the past, on its cover page. The first issue of the magazine also stated that there is no place for nationalism in Islam, and that India’s Muslims should join the Caliphate instead. The issue eulogised few alleged IS fighters from India who have died, including one Huzaifa al-Bakistani, whose name (as a pseudonym) appeared in investigations conducted by Indian law enforcement agencies as that of an online recruiter, followed by Shafi Armar (known as Yusuf al-Hindi), a former Indian Mujahideen member.

      • Michigan ammo dealer markets to ‘Boogaloo,’ which awaits second civil war

        The Trace has identified 35 more dealers and manufacturers of firearms or tactical supplies across the country that have posted references to the boogaloo on social media. They range from small town stores to multi-million dollar manufacturers of AR-style weapons, like the South Carolina-based Palmetto State Armory.

        We also reviewed the online presence of 548 federally licensed firearms dealers in Michigan, where armed protesters converged on the state Capitol, and identified 48 with active social media profiles. Six of those posted memes or hashtags referencing the boogaloo. Eight promoted insignia from militia groups like the Three Percenters, an armed anti-government group with chapters around the country. Another six promoted coronavirus conspiracy theories or encouraged disobedience against state lockdown measures. Three made suggestive posts about shooting looters during the protests

        Instagram no longer allows searches for #boogaloo and some related hashtags on its site. However, as of June 24, if you typed #boogaloo into the search bar, it still autofilled suggestions of related hashtags. After being asked about this by The Trace, a spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram and has been criticized for its failure to rein in boogaloo content, said, “The hashtag #boogaloomemes was already blocked and we’ve since further blocked #boogalooboys, #boogaloocrew, and #boogalootime given the amount of content using these hashtags that violated our policy.” The spokesperson added, “we continue to remove content using boogaloo and related terms when accompanied by statements and images depicting armed violence. We are also preventing these pages and groups from being recommended on Facebook.”

        Boogaloo marketing isn’t limited to social media. Some companies, like Fenix, sell boogaloo-themed merchandise. For instance, in February, Palmetto State Armory sold a limited run of custom boogaloo-themed AK-47-style guns, finished with Hawaiian patterns, mimicking the shirts boogaloo supporters have adopted as an unofficial uniform. They also advertise boogaloo T-shirts on Facebook. Palmetto State Armory CEO Jamin McCallum did not respond to multiple requests for an interview.

    • Environment

      • As Arctic Burns, New Data Shows June 2020 Capped Off Year Tied for Hottest on Record

        “So I ask again: where are the breaking news?” tweeted teen climate activist Greta Thunberg. “Where are the front pages? Where are the emergency meetings? Where are the adults?”

      • Intense Arctic Wildfires Set a Pollution Record

        The Arctic is warming at least two and a half times faster than the global average rate. Soils in the region are drier than before. Wildfires are spreading across a large swath. In June, fires released 59 million metric tons of planet-warming carbon dioxide, greater than all the carbon emissions produced by Norway, an oil-producing country, in a year.

        The last time fires in the Arctic were this intense or released such a large volume of emissions was last year, which itself set a record.

      • Drought-hit forests may worsen climate change

        Forests help to slow the challenge of climate change, don’t they? Only if climate change doesn’t fell the forests first.

      • Why Trump Wants To Kill The Biggest Environmental Law You’ve Never Heard Of

        NEPA is one of the biggest federal policies ever enacted to protect our environment. But Trump is out to gut it—here’s why.

      • Energy

        • How Black & Indigenous Groups Won the Fight to Stop the Atlantic Coast Pipeline

          Anti-pipeline activists are celebrating after Duke Energy and Dominion Energy announced they are dropping plans to build the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, a 600-mile pipeline that would have carried fracked gas from West Virginia to North Carolina and threatened rural Indigenous, Black and Brown communities. “There was an awful lot of opposition to this,” says Donna Chavis, senior fossil fuel campaigner for Friends of the Earth and an elder of the Lumbee Nation, whose territory the pipeline would have crossed. She says the communities that would have suffered “irreparable harm” from the pipeline “now have that cloud lifted from them.”

        • ’24 Hours. 3 Dirty Pipelines Delayed’: Supreme Court Rejects Trump Effort to Greenlight Keystone XL Construction

          “The movement to put people before profits, and Indigenous rights before oil companies, is winning.”

        • Supreme Court Rejects Trump Effort to Greenlight Keystone XL Construction

          The Supreme Court late Monday upheld a federal judge’s rejection of a crucial permit for Keystone XL and blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to greenlight construction of the 1,200-mile crude oil project, the third such blow to the fossil fuel industry in a day—coming just hours after the cancellation of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and the court-ordered shutdown of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

        • “A Dream That Comes True”: Standing Rock Elder Hails Order to Shut Down DAPL After Years of Protest

          Following years of resistance, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Indigenous organizers across the country scored a massive legal victory Monday when a federal judge ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline to be shut down and emptied of all oil, pending an environmental review. “You ever have a dream, a dream that comes true? That is what it is,” responds LaDonna Brave Bull Allard, an elder of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and founder of Sacred Stone Camp, where resistance in 2016 brought tens of thousands of people to oppose the pipeline’s construction on sacred lands. We also speak with Ojibwe lawyer Tara Houska, founder of the Giniw Collective.

        • Report: Global Climate Lawsuits Against Governments and Polluters on the Rise

          Lawsuits demanding accountability and action on the existential threat of climate change continue to take hold across the world with some significant new developments and new cases emerging over the past year, according to a new report on trends in global climate change litigation.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Of Fire and Fish

          One of the many excuses used to justify “thinning” and logging today is to preclude massive wildfires. Notwithstanding, there is considerable evidence that such actions do not impede large fires, which only occur during extreme fire weather; people still use this as an excuse. To generate even more public support, one often hears dire warnings that a large fire will decimate the river ecosystem. In particular, if the river is a popular sport fishery, then “obviously” we need to stop large fires or suffer the consequences of ruined fishing opportunities.

        • Killing Koalas: the Promise of Extinction Down Under

          The British conservationist Gerald Durrell once remarked that the koala was “the most boring of animals”. Its brain size, proportionally the smallest of any mammal, evolved to cope with its slow metabolism. But the spectacle of these singed, toasted animals was a terrifyingly cruel one to behold. As good stretches of Australia burned over the last bushfire season, the sheer scale and intensity of this otherwise regular occurrence suggested something beyond remedy. Fires bring with them bold destruction and vigorous promise. What is taken can be renewed.

        • Racial and Environmental Justice: Our Coverage
      • Overpopulation

        • The bitter dispute over Africa’s largest dam

          Nor does Mr Sisi have much room to compromise. Egypt is already short of water. The UN sets the threshold for scarcity at an annual 1,000 cubic metres per person. In 2018 Egyptians had just 570 cubic metres; even without the dam, that could drop to 500 cubic metres within five years. Ethiopia has blocked proper studies of how the dam will affect downstream countries.

          The shortage is partly Egypt’s own fault. It uses almost 80% of its water, which it subsidises, for agriculture. (In Jordan and Israel, two nearby countries with limited freshwater resources, the figure is closer to 50%.) Irrigation canals, most of them decades old, are notoriously ill maintained and leaky. Farmers grow thirsty crops like bananas, rice and sugar cane, despite government plans meant to deter the practice. All this for a limited pay-off: Egypt still imports half its food. Supplies are further pinched by farm projects in Sudan, where Gulf states have bought large tracts of arable land to help feed their own people.

    • Finance

      • Back to School in Rural India: Digital Divide to Digital Partition

        It took a down payment of Rs. 2,500 for Rajesh Andhare to get his hands on a smartphone for the first time in his life. Two years later, he still can’t operate it. “It was a gift for my older child Dinesh, who had passed out of school,” says 43-year-old Rajesh. “We paid the remaining amount in five instalments of Rs. 1,000. The phone cost around Rs. 7,500.”

      • Gimme Shelter: the Brief And Strange History of CHOP (AKA CHAZ)

        The end has come for CHOP—or CHAZ. At first the six-block area just east of downtown Seattle was called CHAZ. The area was occupied by protesters on June 8th after it was reluctantly ceded to them by Seattle Mayor Jennie Durkan and the police. That was the day that the Seattle Police Department vacated and locked up its East Precinct building on 12th Avenue. When the police left, the occupiers painted “People” over the “Police” in the sign, “Seattle Police Department, East Precinct.” Then they declared the surrounding area the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, soon referred to simply as CHAZ. Whatever exactly it was, it had a name. Then some black community leaders suggested it be called Capitol Hill Organize Protest. Hence, CHOP, although CHAZ was still being used. Whatever you call it, as of the First of July it was no more.

      • ‘Historic Victory for Working People’: Seattle City Council Passes Progressive Tax on Big Business to Fund Relief

        “Working people and our movement have to unapologetically claim victory for what we’ve won, because we want to spread these victories to other cities.”

      • ‘Dangerous Complacency’: UN Expert Issues Scathing Report Denouncing Global Failures to Tackle Poverty Even Before Covid Pandemic

        “Poverty is a political choice and it will be with us until its elimination is reconceived as a matter of social justice.”

      • Cooperative Ownership: A Covid Recovery Strategy

        The aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis is full of lessons about what not to do in the face of the ongoing pandemic. Some policy lessons seem to have caught on (like why we need to send money directly to struggling people), while others have been quickly forgotten (like why we need to stop propping up the inflated financial sector). Last time around, Black Americans lost half their wealth within a few years, further enabling the impunity of police violence and exacerbating the fragility of Black life. As Michelle Alexander recently wrote, “We cannot achieve racial justice and create a secure and thriving democracy without also transforming our economic systems.” African Americans from W.E.B. Du Bois to the leaders of the Movement for Black Lives have pointed to a vital strategy for this transformation: community ownership.

      • Disaster Looms as the Coronavirus Disrupts the Garment Supply Chain

        When the coronavirus pandemic shuttered storefronts around the world, fashion outlets abruptly canceled factory orders. Piles of new clothes now sit idly in the warehouses of Western retailers. Meanwhile, garment workers across Latin America and Asia face factory shutdowns, mass unemployment, and assaults on their unions.

      • New House Bill Would Tax Wall Street Windfalls to Guarantee Good Jobs

        The pandemic has claimed nearly 15 million U.S. jobs. Meanwhile, high flying financial traders are making a killing off the market volatility caused by the crisis. A new House bill would tax Wall Street windfalls to guarantee good jobs for people in high unemployment areas.

      • Jared Kushner, Trump’s Golf Buddy and McConnell’s In-Laws Cashed In on PPP Loans

        The White House released figures this week detailing which businesses received funds from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), revealing a number of controversial payments made to lobbyists, political organizations, and Trump-linked businesses.

      • Pandemic Capitalism

        Pervasive inequality is a chosen catastrophe. It’s time for a rethink.

      • ‘Prolonged Recession’ Could Be on Horizon as Covid Economic Crisis Leads to State and Local Budget Shortfalls

        “We know from the experience of the recovery following the Great Recession just how powerful the economic drag from state and local austerity can be.”

      • ‘Alarming’: Some Small Businesses Received Just $1 in Covid-19 Relief Loans as Kushner Family, Wall Street Investors Raked in Millions

        “Serious questions remain about whether PPP funds were equitably distributed to minority-owned businesses, and there is an alarming rate of small-dollar loans.”

      • Unemployment Benefits Should Depend on the Pandemic

        In recent weeks many members of Congress have been arguing against extending the $600 weekly supplement to unemployment insurance benefits that was put into the original pandemic relief package. Some members of Congress have even argued for extra payments to encourage unemployed workers to return to work.

      • ‘Brazen Abuse of Taxpayer Dollars’: Katie Porter Accuses Airlines of Using Covid-19 Bailout Funds to Fight Consumer Protections

        “Airlines took taxpayer-funded bailout money, then turned around and started lobbying to weaken consumer protections. Is this really their top priority during a pandemic?”

      • CFPB Director Urged to Resign Over New Rule Exposing Consumers to Predatory ‘Debt Traps’ in Middle of Pandemic

        “Kraninger just stamped an official seal of approval on one of the worst practices of payday lenders.”

      • The Airline Bailout Loophole: Companies Laid Off Workers, Then Got Money Meant to Prevent Layoffs

        Three airline industry companies slated to receive $338 million in public money designed to preserve jobs in the hard-hit industry have laid off thousands of workers anyway, according to Treasury disclosure filings and public layoff data.

        The largest company, Gate Gourmet, is a global preparer of airline meals and part of a Swiss conglomerate owned by the private equity firm of wealthy Malaysian businessman Richard Ong. Gate Gourmet is scheduled to get $171 million from the federal program to bail out the airline industry even after it reported laying off thousands of workers at airports in half a dozen states, including California, Georgia, New York and Illinois, in recent months, according to public filings. The exact number of workers who lost their jobs is not clear.

      • Monopoly Mayhem: Corporations Win, Workers Lose

        That’s true even during a severe downturn. For the last decade, most profits have been going into stock buybacks and higher executive pay rather than new investment. The declining share of total U.S. income going to the bottom 90 percent over the last four decades correlates directly with the decline in unionization. Most of the increasing value of the stock market has come directly out of the pockets of American workers. Shareholders have gained because workers stopped sharing the gains. So, what can be done to restore bargaining power to workers and narrow the widening gap between corporate profits and wages?For one, make stock buybacks illegal, as they were before the SEC legalized them under Ronald Reagan. This would prevent corporate juggernauts from siphoning profits into buybacks, and instead direct profits towards economic investment. Another solution: Enact a national ban on “right-to-work” laws, thereby restoring power to unions and the workers they represent. Require greater worker representation on corporate boards, as Germany has done through its “employee co-determination” system. Break up monopolies. Break up any bank that’s “too big to fail”, and expand the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to find monopolies and review and halt anti-competitive mergers. Designate large technology platforms as “utilities” whose prices are regulated in the public interest and require that services like Amazon Marketplace and Google Search be spun off from their respective companies. Above all, antitrust laws must stop mergers that harm workers, stifle competition, or result in unfair pricing. This is all about power. The good news is that rebalancing the power of workers and corporations can create an economy and a democracy that works for all, not just a privileged few.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Trump’s Niece Says He Paid a Friend to Take the SAT For Him in High School

        Mary Trump, niece to President Donald Trump, is set to publish a book chronicling her life in the Trump family later this month.

      • Racism at the Polls: It Takes a Long Time to Vote

        One way to encourage people to vote during the work day could be for employers to give workers paid time off to go to the polls.

      • Eight lakh Indians may be forced to leave as Kuwait approves expat quota bill

        A total of eight lakh Indians could be forced to leave Kuwait as its National Assembly committee has approved a draft expat quota bill seeking to reduce the number of foreign workers in the Gulf country.

        The National Assembly’s legal and legislative committee has determined that the expat quota bill is constitutional.

        According to the bill, Indians should not exceed 15% of the population. This could result in 8,00,000 Indians leaving Kuwait, as the Indian community constitutes the largest expat community in the country, totalling 1.45 million, the Gulf News reported, citing a Kuwaiti newspaper.

      • Police Unions Wield Massive Power in American Politics — For Now

        That dysfunction has in large part been enabled by police unions. “I can’t recall the last police department where I went in and someone said, ‘The union isn’t an obstacle in making meaningful reform.’ It’s always an obstacle,” says Phillip Atiba Goff, the CEO of the Center for Policing Equity, a police reform research organization.

        In a time of dwindling union membership in the United States, police unions have only grown in sheer size and power. Over decades of savvy political alliances, lobbying, advertising blitzes, and contract negotiations with obliging city officials, the unions have engineered an environment where accountability is fleeting, and where numerous hurdles make it exceedingly difficult to punish officers who abuse their power.

        “You have really politically powerful police unions that lobby, that are organized, that donate and give to major political candidates,” says Stephen Rushin, an associate law professor at Loyola Chicago University.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • China’s Great Firewall partially erected in Hong Kong as Article 43 takes effect

        From July 7, Hong Kong residents will no longer be able to enjoy the online freedoms they hold dear. The new rules stipulate that the police can order publishers, platforms, or network service providers to remove or to block access to messages they unilaterally decide pose a threat to national security. In cases where these are not immediately deleted, the police can get a warrant to seize the relevant electronic devices and forcibly decrypt the offending messages.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Jailed journalist Ivan Safronov suspected of passing information to Czech intelligence

        Former investigative journalist Ivan Safronov stands accused of passing classified information to Czech intelligence, stated his lawyer Ivan Pavlov from the human rights organization “Team 29.”

      • Journalist Ivan Safronov is jailed for two months as treason case moves forward

        The prosecution in the treason case against investigative journalist and communications adviser to the head of the Russian space corporation “Roscosmos,” Ivan Safronov, is requesting that he be jailed for two months.

      • ‘For Vanya, work is a matter of honor’ ‘Meduza’ special correspondent Andrey Pertsev recalls his time working alongside Ivan Safronov

        On July 7, federal agents in Moscow arrested Ivan Safronov, a former investigative journalist for the respected Russian business newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti, who had recently started working as a communications advisor to the head of the Russian space corporation “Roscosmos.” While the Kremlin maintains that Safronov’s arrest isn’t linked to his previous journalistic activistes, many of his former colleagues from the media industry think otherwise. Meduza special correspondent Andrey Pertsev — who worked alongside Safronov at Kommersant’s politics desk from 2014 to 2019 — talks about Ivan Safronov, his work at Kommersant, and his professional principles.

      • How does Russia define high treason and state secrets?
      • Journalism is not a crime ‘Meduza’ demands public access to the treason case against reporter Ivan Safronov

        On Tuesday, July 7, our colleague, journalist Ivan Safronov, was arrested in Moscow. Ivan worked for many years at Kommersant, where he became one of Russia’s best specialists on the military-industrial complex, following in the footsteps of his father, who died tragically in 2007. Ivan is now accused of high treason. He supposedly transmitted certain secret information to a NATO member state.

      • Russian journalist charged with treason is arraigned in court
      • Ivan Safronov’s reporting Russian federal agents have filed treason charges against a journalist who wrote extensively on the space and defense industries. Here are excerpts from some of his most important stories.

        On the morning of July 7, federal agents arrested Ivan Safronov, a longtime journalist who recently took a job as a communications adviser to Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. Safronov is being charged with treason and faces up to 20 years in prison. Roscosmos says the case is unrelated to Safronov’s work with the state corporation, where he apparently had no access to classified information. The newsroom at Kommersant, the business newspaper that employed Safronov for nearly a decade, quickly published an editorial in support of its former correspondent, and numerous Russian journalists have publicly denounced the treason allegations. Meduza reviews some of Ivan Safronov’s most important stories during his 10 years as a reporter.

      • Eight journalists arrested during protests in support of colleague Ivan Safronov

        At least eight journalists have been arrested near the Federal Security Service (FSB) headquarters in Moscow for conducting single-person demonstrations in support of journalist Ivan Safronov, who was arrested on treason charges earlier in the day on Tuesday.

      • ‘They’re persecuting Vanya for his journalism’ Ivan Safronov’s colleagues on his work, his arrest, and the treason charges

        On July 7, federal agents arrested Ivan Safronov, a communications adviser to the head of the Russian space corporation “Roscosmos” — a role he’s had for just two months. For the previous 10 years, Safronov worked as an investigative journalist at Vedomosti and Kommersant, two of Russia’s best-respected business newspapers, reporting on national defense and the military-industrial complex. According to a statement released by the Federal Security Agency, Safronov collaborated with an intelligence agency in a NATO member state to collect and transmit classified information about Russian military-technical cooperation and national defense and security. If convicted of treason, Safronov could be imprisoned for up to 20 years. Meduza spoke to a handful of Safronov’s former colleagues and editors to find out what they think of his arrest and the serious charges against him.

      • The Ivan Safronov case Here’s what we know so far about the arrest of a Russian journalist on treason charges

        On Tuesday, July 7, the authorities in Moscow arrested former Kommersant and Vedomosti correspondent Ivan Safronov, now an adviser to the head of the Russian space corporation “Roscosmos,” on suspicion of treason. The first media outlet to report the incident was the Telegram channel Life Shot, which also published video footage of the arrest. A source told the news agency TASS that agents from the Federal Security Service arrested Safronov. Roscosmos has confirmed Safronov’s arrest, but insists that the charges are not related to his work for the state corporation. Officials searched the journalist’s home and — according to a source with ties to the FSB who spoke to Open Russia — also seized Safronov’s documents at his Roscosmos office. Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin says Safronov did not have access to classified data in his role as his adviser.

      • Officials raid the home of former ‘Meduza’ correspondent Taisiya Bekbulatova

        On Tuesday, July 7, law-enforcement officials in Moscow raided the apartment of journalist Taisiya Bekbulatova, the editor-in-chief of Holod Media and a former Meduza special correspondent. She managed to contact human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov before she stopped responding to calls and text messages, says Mediazona. Lawyer Nikolai Vasilyev later arrived outside Bekbulatova’s home, but officers did not permit him inside.

      • Russian LGBTQ activist faces ‘gay propaganda’ charges for the third time

        Law enforcement in the Far Eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur have launched yet another administrative case against LGBTQ activist and artist Yulia Tsvetkova for “promoting non-traditional sexual relationships among minors.” Tsvetkova already has one case against her for violating Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda law,” and is facing up to six years in prison for the criminal distribution of pornography, over drawings she posted on social media.

      • Russia Holds Space Agency Aide, Ex Journalist on High Treason Charge

        Safronov, who started his current job in May, used to work for leading Russian newspapers Kommersant and Vedomosti.

        He was fired from Kommersant last year after writing an article about the possible resignation of Valentina Matviyenko, the chairwoman of the Russian parliament’s upper chamber.

        His dismissal led to a crisis at the paper after all of the journalists in Kommersant’s politics department resigned in protest.

      • Russia Arrests Space Agency Official, Accusing Him of Treason

        What information that could be, however, was unclear. Mr. Safronov only started working at the space agency, Roscosmos, in May. Before that, he worked for more than a decade as a well-regarded journalist for Kommersant and then Vedomosti, both privately owned business newspapers with no obvious access to state secrets.

        Outraged at what was widely viewed as another example of overreach by Russia’s sprawling and often paranoid security apparatus, journalists and ordinary Muscovites gathered in small groups outside the headquarters of the F.S.B. to protest the arrest. Several were detained for holding up signs in support of Mr. Safronov.

        Andrei A. Soldatov, an investigative reporter who has written extensively about Russia’s security services, said Mr. Safronov’s arrest on suspicion of treason marked “an absolutely new level of repression against journalism.” While journalists have often been accused of crimes, he said, accusations of treason had been “inconceivable.”

      • Other voices: Will Voice of America now lose credibility?

        In fact, we agree with Joel Simon, the executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, who recently said, “It is outrageous that the White House is attacking Voice of America, which has a tradition of reporting stories that challenge the narratives of authoritarian regimes around the world.”

        Yet President Donald Trump has used even harsher language, calling the VOA “disgraceful” and saying, despite decades of valuable and accurate reporting and editorials supporting freedom, human rights and democracy abroad, “They’re not the voice of America. They’re the opposite of the voice of America.”

        From our perspective, it’s clear that this attack on the journalistic integrity and loyalties of the VOA was orchestrated to stir up controversy and set the stage for the June 10 firing of the heads of the VOA’s cornerstone broadcasters: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, the Middle East Broadcasting Network and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. Also fired was the chief executive of the Open Technology Fund, a nonprofit corporation that supports newsgathering technologies and internet freedom around the world.

        In what some are calling the “Wednesday massacre,” Michael Pack, President Trump’s newly confirmed chief of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which oversees the VOA and its affiliates, sacked all the top executives at the five federally funded agencies and disbanded their separate bipartisan advisory boards, replacing them with Trump administration political appointees.

        Since then, a lawsuit has been filed by members of those advisory boards arguing that the VOA outlets’ “independence from political interference is protected by a strict ‘firewall’ embodied in statutes, regulations and binding contract provisions.” The lawsuit goes on to claim that Pack’s VOA firings “constitute the most egregious breach of that firewall in history.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Police, Prisons, and the Pentagon

        Defunding America’s wars at home and abroad.

      • Trump’s ‘Heroes’ Garden Is a Nationalistic Nightmare
      • Black Lives Matter, Every Day
      • Lawsuit Claims Louisville Gentrification Plan Led to Breonna Taylor’s Death

        The shooting death of Breonna Taylor was part of a police operation to clear out a block in connection with a gentrification effort in western Louisville, according to an amended lawsuit filed by her family.

      • A Statue of Hatuey

        If you look at a US $20 bill, you might notice Andrew Jackson nervously watching statues of Columbus and Robert E. Lee coming down and wondering if his face is going to disappear from currency. As Democrats ponder which militarist they wish to glorify in the next round of monuments, it is critical to realize that statues which go up are at least as important as the ones that come down. Perhaps the best nominee for a new statue is Hatuey.

      • Can We Compare the George Floyd Protests to the Vietnam War Protests? Maybe, But the Analogy is Imperfect

        At the outset, I would argue it is paramount to emphasize the centrality of radical BIPOC organizers in this discussion. There undeniably are BIPOC-led local formations and organizations that have been fighting for racial justice for decades active in many cities, ones that cannot be given anything but high praise, support, and made into the center of this narrative. I currently do activism in solidarity with some of these organizations in Providence and cannot emphasize enough the centrality of their leadership in the Greater Providence struggle for racial justice.

      • Trump’s War

        President Donald Trump chose a national holiday traditionally intended for joy and unity to deliver dark, combative harangues against a “radical ideology” that is no more than “violent mayhem” designed to overthrow law and order.

      • Trump’s Racism May be Blatant, But the Culture He Defends Comes Out of the Civil War and Goes Well Beyond Racial Division

        President Trump is making plain the degree to which the country remains divided by the American Civil War. His threat to veto the $718bn Defence Bill if it renames military bases called after Confederate generals harks back to 1861. His stand highlights the bizarre way that the US military has named its biggest bases, like Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Fort Hood in Texas, after Confederate generals like Braxton Bragg and John Hood who fought a war to destroy the US.

      • State prosecutor seeks 15 years imprisonment for ‘Memorial’ human rights activist

        A state prosecutor has requested a 15 year prison sentence for 64-year-old Gulag historian and human rights activist Yuri Dmitriev, who stands accused of sexually abusing his adopted daughter.

      • The Burning of Newgate Prison: a Glyph
      • How pandemics past and present fuel the rise of mega-corporations

        While the Black Death resulted in short term economic damage, the longer-term consequences were less obvious. Before the plague erupted, several centuries of population growth had produced a labour surplus, which was abruptly replaced with a labour shortage when many serfs and free peasants died. Historians have argued that this labour shortage allowed those peasants that survived the pandemic to demand better pay or to seek employment elsewhere. Despite government resistance, serfdom and the feudal system itself were ultimately eroded.

        But another less often remarked consequence of the Black Death was the rise of wealthy entrepreneurs and business-government links. Although the Black Death caused short-term losses for Europe’s largest companies, in the long term, they concentrated their assets and gained a greater share of the market and influence with governments. This has strong parallels with the current situation in many countries across the world. While small companies rely upon government support to prevent them collapsing, many others – mainly the much larger ones involved in home delivery – are profiting handsomely from the new trading conditions.

      • US Restricts Visas on Chinese Officials Over Tibet

        The Tibet action comes under a 2018 law passed by Congress that aims to pressure China over its tight restrictions in the Himalayan region.

        Human rights groups say that Tibetans live under strict surveillance with the threat of jail or abuse for any signs of a non-Chinese identity, including possessing images of the Dalai Lama, their exiled spiritual leader.

        Beijing has largely barred foreign journalists from visiting Tibet since 2008, when the region saw a wave of self-immolations as protests, and has not responded to U.S. requests to set up a consulate in the regional capital Lhasa.

      • Cops Seize Server that Hosted BlueLeaks, DDoSecrets Says

        Authorities in Germany have seized a server used by the organization that published a trove of US police internal documents commonly known as BlueLeaks, according to the organization’s founder.

        On Tuesday, Emma Best, the founder of Distributed Denial of Secrets or DDoSecrets, a WikiLeaks-like website that has published the police data, said that prosecutors in the German town of Zwickau seized the organization’s “primary public download server.”

      • Russians, Saudis top UK sanctions list for rights violators

        Britain on Monday identified 49 “notorious” individuals and organisations, 25 of them Russian and 20 Saudis, to be sanctioned under its first post-Brexit targeting of accused human rights violators.

        The Russians are listed for their alleged involvement in the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and the Saudis for suspected roles in the death of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Foreign Office said.

        One notable name on the list is Saud al-Qahtani, who it is believed oversaw the team that killed Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Turkey in 2018.

      • Religious intolerance

        However, a story that began with an admirable decision soon took a dark turn. A group of clerics opposed the building of the temple, threatening action if authorities went ahead with the work. The construction was also opposed by political parties, including the JUI-F and PML-Q. Alas on Friday, the Capital Development Authority stopped the construction of the boundary wall on the plot meant for the temple, citing ‘legal reasons’. Although ‘legality’ and ‘fine print’ are being cited as the basis for which the construction of the temple wall was stopped, it is evident that the decision to stop building was taken after pressure was exerted by the groups that have so vocally opposed it.

      • Slavery Still Exists. Where’s Black Lives Matter?

        If they did actually care about the lives of black people, Black Lives Matter would today be drawing international attention to statements made recently by the Mauritanian anti-slavery activist Maryam Bint Al-Sheikh of the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA). According to the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Maryam Bint Al-Sheikh stated in a June 18 interview: “Unfortunately, there is still slavery in Mauritania. More than 20% of people in Mauritania suffer from slavery – a situation where a person owns another person and does whatever he wants with him at any given moment. This situation exists here in Mauritania, unfortunately.”

        Al-Sheikh further explained that slaves are often even “bequeathed from father to son. A person can own a slave and when that person dies, his children inherit the slave, who is later bequeathed to the grandchildren. This thing exists in Mauritania, unfortunately.” Even worse, “anyone who speaks out is considered a criminal whose natural place in in jail. Until not so long ago, [whoever spoke up] would have been killed.”

      • Slavery Rampant in Africa, Middle East; The West Wrongly Accuses Itself

        Today slavery still exists in many parts of Africa and Middle East, but the self-flagellating Western public is obsessively focused only on the Western past of African slavery rather than on real, ongoing slavery, which is alive and well — and ignored. For today’s slaves, there are no demonstrations in the streets, no international political pressure, and virtually no articles in the media.

        “We must not forget that Arab-Muslims have been champions in this field,” Kamel Bencheikh, a Muslim poet, wrote in Le Matin d’Algerie.

      • [Old] Slave markets found on Instagram and other apps

        An undercover investigation by BBC News Arabic has found that domestic workers are being illegally bought and sold online in a booming black market.

        Some of the trade has been carried out on Facebook-owned Instagram, where posts have been promoted via algorithm-boosted hashtags, and sales negotiated via private messages.

        Other listings have been promoted in apps approved and provided by Google Play and Apple’s App Store, as well as the e-commerce platforms’ own websites.

      • This Map Crowdsources Police Brutality Data

        The interactive site is pretty straight forward: there are hotspots on a map of the United States that show how many incidents have been recorded in each state. You can click on the hotspot and it’ll zoom in on the geographic locations where each act of police brutality was documented. Each act comes with the date, a short description, and sources ranging from video recordings to multiple tweets and news reports confirming police violence.

      • Kidnapping Kids: As American as the Fourth of July

        It’s been two hundred forty-four years since the declaration of independence was sent by horseback to the peasants, city dwellers and plantation owners in the colonies on North America’s eastern coast. Britain’s subjects across the ocean took up their cry.  “Damn the English and their East Indies Tea Company and damn their taxes, too.” The colonists’ determination to take the mountains, valleys, swamps and beaches from the British crown was now a war. A war between white skinned folks over lands robbed from humans considered savages with no right to anything, not even their children.

      • Learning Not to Look Away

        When those of us who are white are asked to engage with anti-racism, we are being asked to do something emotionally difficult: understand how we have benefited from a system that disadvantages and hurts others, so we can help dismantle it.

      • Antiracism Must Be a Priority in Every Newsroom

        As journalists in the United States reported on racial injustice and police brutality amid the murder of George Floyd, there was another story about racism brewing in the newsroom. In this case, journalists became the story.

      • Conversations With ‘The Nation’: Chase Iron Eyes, Takota Iron Eyes, and Madonna Thunder Hawk

        Chase Iron Eyes, Takota Iron Eyes, and Madonna Thunder Hawk join Nation contributing writer Zoë Carpenter in conversation at noon on Wednesday, July 8, to talk about the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on Native America, shutting down the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the protests at Mt. Rushmore. Register now to join us for $10—and check out the schedule of upcoming Nation virtual events.

      • ‘To Stand Up for What Is Morally Right’: Progressive Insurgent Dr. Arati Kreibich Makes Case to Voters Before Tuesday’s NJ Primary

        “Our grassroots campaign has put in the work to talk to voters about why we need real change in this election.”

      • On Disposability and Rebellion: Insights From a Rank-and-File Insurgency

        Unfolding in the pages of Mike Stout’s new political memoir, Homestead Steel Mill: The Final Ten Years, is the radical history of a people too commonly believed to have none. It is a history largely absent from popular records of the political tumult of the 1960s and ’70s, though its energy, militance and imagination grew out of that era and extended, like so many fierce but near-forgotten political projects, into the 1980s. It is a story of class struggle in a society whose official scribes are mostly stupid about class when they aren’t willfully deceptive. It is a story of the built world – of some of the men and women who made it, and who, in one extraordinary moment in time, strove not just to halt their own unmaking but to dream something different and beautiful.

      • As Colleges Resort to Online Learning, ICE Issues ‘Needlessly Cruel’ Rule Pushing International Students Out of US

        “The Trump administration is using ICE to threaten universities into teaching in person by threatening international students with deportation if they’re all online.”

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Genentech, Inc. v. Immunex Rhode Island Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The opinion expressly relied on the Supreme Court’s decision in Sandoz v. Amgen that construed the licensing requirement Section 262(l)(8)(A) narrowly to merely mean that the biosimilar product must be licensed on the date of first commercial marketing. (It could be argued, of course, that in that case the word is surplusage because no drug can be marketed without FDA approval.) But the Court had been clear that “Section 262(l)(8)(A)’s notice requirement is separate from Section 262(k)’s licensure requirements” and the Federal Circuit’s opinion applied the law in the same way here, stating “[a] biosimilar applicant that has already provided Section 262(l)(8)(A) notice regarding its biological product need not provide another notice for each supplemental application concerning the same biological product.”

          There has been discussion elsewhere regarding the unconventionality (if not the potential procedural impropriety) of the Federal Circuit hearing the appeal on denial of a motion for a temporary restraining order (this being the first time the Court has done so), especially in view of precedent where the Court denied such relief, see, Nikken USA, Inc. v. Robinson-May, Inc., 217 F.3d 857 (Fed. Cir. 1999). While that decision was consistent with Supreme Court precedent, see Office of Personnel Management v. American Fed’n of Gov’t Employees, AFL-CIO, 473 U.S. 1301 (1985) (and arguably this one is not), the Nikken decision was nonprecedential. Under such circumstances, it is unlikely that policy concerns did not play a role. After all, the decision was consistent with facilitating an early appearance of Amgen’s Mvasi biosimilar on the market which should reduce pubic drug costs, which has been the policy goal and justification for the biosimilar licensing provisions of the BPCIA since its inception. An argument could be made that refusing to take the appeal would have led to the same result, but by speaking to the issue the Court made it less likely that any such attempts to delay marketing would occur for other biosimilars in future. That outcome in itself might be sufficient justification for the Court to resolve this issue here.

        • Software Patents

          • Fraunhofer’s new H.266 codec promises to cut the cost of streaming 4K video in half

            The codec’s full name is H.266/Versatile Video Coding, as Fraunhofer says it’s designed to be a successor to the industry-standard H.264/Advanced Video Coding (AVC) and H.265/High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) formats that combined make up about 90 percent of global digital video transmission and compression on the market today. While HEVC was first released in 2013, the codec has proved controversial due to aggressive patent disputes from its various stakeholders. That’s why AVC, the predecessor to HEVC, still remains the more dominant standard, despite first releasing back in 2003.

            But Fraunhofer says VVC could be a path forward for the industry, as almost every major hardware and software company is currently tied up in a messy patent royalty system that dictates how much various stakeholders must pay to use different compression and transmission standards for devices, websites, and apps. With VVC, Fraunhofer says you can get something far better than AVC and HEVC without any of the licensing headaches.

      • Copyrights

        • The development of Canadian literature and the Anglo-US copyright wars of the 19th century

          Canadian writers are certainly well- known internationally, ranging from Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro to two-time Booker Prize winner Margaret Atwood and Booker winners Michael Ondaatje and Yann Martel. Although Canadian publishing houses are facing the same financial and business challenges as publishers elsewhere–especially during COVID-19, it can be said that Canadian literature is alive and well. But this was not always the case. The question is–“why”?

          As an emerging country living in the shadow of its former imperial master, Britain and its much larger republican neighbour to the south, the United States, 19th century Canada faced nation-building challenges, including developing its own culture and literature. Among these challenges was the development of a viable printing and publishing industry without which, it can be argued, it is difficult for an indigenous literature to blossom and thrive.

        • The Pirate Bay: OVPN Responds to Movie Companies’ Court Injunction

          OVPN has responded to a court injunction requiring it to hand over information relating to The Pirate Bay. The Swedish VPN provider has rejected the demand on the grounds that it does not have the information requested and can’t be classified as an electronic communications service under local law.

        • U.S. Copyright Office: Disconnecting Persistent Pirates is Not Always Preferred

          In a letter to US Senators, the Copyright Office comments in detail on the ‘repeat infringer’ issue, stressing that a one-size-fits-all approach is not ideal. It may not always be appropriate to terminate the Internet accounts of persistent pirates. Instead, ISPs could also limit their bandwidth, the Office suggests.

        • Sci-Hub Downloads Boost Article Citations — And Help Academic Publishers

          Techdirt readers know that Sci-Hub is a site offering free online access to a large proportion of all the scientific research papers that have been published — at the time of writing, it claims to hold 82,605,245 of them. It’s an incredible resource, used by millions around the world. Those include students whose institutions can’t afford the often pricey journal subscriptions, but also many academics in well-funded universities, who do have institutional access to the papers. The latter group often prefer Sci-Hub because it provides what traditional academic publishers don’t: rapid, frictionless access to the world’s knowledge. Given that Sci-Hub does the job far better than most publishers, it’s no wonder that the copyright industry wants to shut down the service, for example by getting related domains blocked, or encouraging the FBI to investigate Sci-Hub’s founder, Alexandra Elbakyan, for alleged links to Russian intelligence.

Yes, Master

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Master of ceremony

Master the game

Zemlin's master plan

Zemlin masters

Summary: When the Linux Foundation tells us to tone down our language we ought to remember what kind of hypocritical stance these people have (note: the above have nothing to do with slavery, either)

Fraunhofer is Again Evergreening Software Patents to Maintain Its Codecs Cartel, Forcing Everyone to Pay to View/Stream Multimedia Files

Posted in Europe, Patents, RAND, Standard at 5:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fraunhofer

Summary: The roller-coaster of software patents on multimedia isn’t stopping; we know the culprits who can be named for perpetuating this injustice

THE links below [1,2], which were included or will be included in Daily Links, show that little has changed for the better. Old multimedia formats are being phased out in favour of ones that have newer (not yet expired) software patents on them. This is a big problem for Free software. In the past, for instance, Mozilla paid millions of dollars to “license” some patents for Firefox. Even patents that 35 U.S.C. § 101 likely rendered obsolete and invalid (but the USPTO grants such patents anyway). They’re of course leveraged in bulk, in order for legal challenge of them all to be impractical. It’s an extortion racket; it is not only facilitated by the US but also the ‘European’ Patent Office (EPO), where a large majority of the patents aren’t even European. António Campinos and Benoît Battistelli defend those rackets and even occasionally meet the people behind those rackets.

Regarding Fraunhofer, there’s a lot worth condemning, e.g.:

Days ago Fraunhofer, a Microsoft ally, also published an anti-Linux ‘study’ which the media was quick to exploit for FUD.

“It’s already embraced by DRM giants like Google and Netflix (the same ones that pushed for DRM on the Web and EME in Web standards).”OIN, a proponent of software patents, had the audacity to publicly defend Fraunhofer. That said a lot about OIN and what it really stands for. So here we are in 2020 and the cartel goes on, even without the media studying the subject and blasting MPEG-LA the way it did a decade ago. Puff pieces like the ones below (pure fluff) are a symptom of the death of journalism. They make it sound like Fraunhofer has just given us a gift when in fact we already know that Fraunhofer did intentionally counter-productive things (making codecs less efficient, performance- and storage/compression-wise) just so that they can stockpile more patents. This cartel ought to be rejected, not embraced. It’s already embraced by DRM giants like Google and Netflix [2] (the same ones that pushed for DRM on the Web and EME in Web standards). It reinforces monopolies.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Fraunhofer’s new H.266 codec promises to cut the cost of streaming 4K video in half

    The codec’s full name is H.266/Versatile Video Coding, as Fraunhofer says it’s designed to be a successor to the industry-standard H.264/Advanced Video Coding (AVC) and H.265/High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) formats that combined make up about 90 percent of global digital video transmission and compression on the market today. While HEVC was first released in 2013, the codec has proved controversial due to aggressive patent disputes from its various stakeholders. That’s why AVC, the predecessor to HEVC, still remains the more dominant standard, despite first releasing back in 2003.

    But Fraunhofer says VVC could be a path forward for the industry, as almost every major hardware and software company is currently tied up in a messy patent royalty system that dictates how much various stakeholders must pay to use different compression and transmission standards for devices, websites, and apps. With VVC, Fraunhofer says you can get something far better than AVC and HEVC without any of the licensing headaches.

  2. Fraunhofer HHI H.266/Versatile Video Coding (VVC) Halves the Data Requirements of H.265

    There’s a lot of hype around AV1 royalty-free video codec since it has backing from large companies, better characteristics than H.265 or VP9, and is already used by YouTube and Netflix.

[Humour/Meme] Focusing on the Bombings and Who’s Included in the Bombings

Posted in Deception at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Star Trek Swearing: You are bombing my people for our natural resources. It's totally tolerant and inclusive because our general is a middle-aged Muslim black lesbian with disabilities.

Summary: Supremacist agenda disguised as “tolerant and inclusive” is still objectionable supremacist agenda

Manners Are a Good Thing. The Yardstick or the Standard of Manners Changes Over Time.

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Kernel at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Greg knows his ‘true masters’

Greg master

Summary: Entirely legitimate grievances of African-Americans are being exploited by people who aren’t even African-American (and usually don’t speak for African-Americans) to warp the debate from one about software ethics and technical issues, not to mention war crimes of companies that employ many programmers, to something which is unlikely to really help African-Americans (also, they don't employ any African-Americans)

WORDS change over time. The meaning, the connotation, the nuance. Words are dynamic, not static (not just choice thereof). Their usage too changes over time (e.g. “gay” and “pussy”). Many years ago the “n word” was said openly (it’s still considered OK for African-Americans to say it out loud). The point is though, what was once seen as normal is nowadays seen as unacceptable and if people are judged for their past actions (things they said and/or did a very long time ago), especially using today’s standards, the consequences may be severe. We’ve seen politicians or celebrities being ‘canceled’ that way. Whether they deserved it or not is a separate question.

“The whole thing sometimes feel like a deliberate distraction piggybacking legitimate grievances.”People’s lifespan changes over time. Life expectancy (longevity) improved a lot in just a few hundreds of years, changing from something in the range of 30 to 40 to nearly 80 (depending on the country, as different countries have different levels of access to health, general wealth and genetics). This means that nowadays, in 2020, some people can still be judged for things they said and did, even as grown-ups (adults), in Nazi Germany and perhaps the Bolshevik revolution if one is extremely old.

We recently compared the campaign to remove allegedly offensive words to what Russia and what China had done as recently as a few years ago in the name of “Stability…”

The point is, those looking to ban words aren’t necessarily well-meaning and benign.

As Britannica puts it, regarding Mao: “There is no single accepted measure of Mao and his long career. How does one weigh, for example, the good fortune of peasants acquiring land against millions of executions and deaths? How does one balance the real economic achievements after 1949 against the starvation that came in the wake of the Great Leap Forward or the bloody shambles of the Cultural Revolution? It is, perhaps, possible to accept the official verdict that, despite the “errors of his later years,” Mao’s merits outweighed his faults, while underscoring the fact that the account is very finely balanced.”

State violence like carpet-bombings is hardly being questioned by those who push to ban words right now. And yet worse — some of those people work for the very same companies that facilitate bombings, executions, internment camps and so on. As we noted yesterday, some put malicious features in the Linux kernel. What they want us to be bothered by are words; not technical offence, such as TPM and DRM.

Here in Techrights we’d rather deal with technical issues; we don’t think “shell” is offensive because of shellshock trauma (war, bombings) or that all “puppetmaster” machines need to be renamed/removed; it would cause chaos not just in the documentation sense but also backward compatibility, general robustness etc. It can crash entire systems and for so little gain. So little gain. Have you ever met someone who said he or she was offended by the word “grandfathering”? Many grandparents are proud to be grandparents. They’re not oversensitive about it.

The whole thing sometimes feel like a deliberate distraction piggybacking legitimate grievances. Considering the driving forces behind it — Linux Foundation staff and people who are salaried by bombing allies — we’re hardly impressed. They don’t have much authority or moral high ground. They don’t speak from a position of ethics but a position of Public Relations for their employer. All those who dare or find the courage to disagree, however politely, risk being painted “zealots” (which is a big accusation in the era of Donald Trump).

IRC Proceedings: Tuesday, July 07, 2020

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:23 am by Needs Sunlight

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