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Links 6/8/2021: PipeWire 0.3.33 is Out and Apple Admits Its Back Doors

Posted in News Roundup at 9:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • System76 Behind the Scenes: Production Team

        The Production Team is responsible for making our physical products a reality. In this week’s Spotlight, we talk with our Production Manager and 4th-generation machinist Chris Fielder.

    • Server

      • Pantabox offers easier frontend for Pantavisor Linux IoT container software

        Pantacor released an open source frontend called Pantabox for remotely managing IoT devices using the Pantavisor Linux framework with LXC containers. There is also a new Pantavisor.io community site.

        Pantavisor Linux, previously known simply as Pantavisor, is a device agent for building an embedded Linux project using the lightweight Linux Containers (LXC) userspace interface for Linux kernel containment. The Alpine Linux based Pantavisor Linux is built into the similarly open source PantaHub container software.

        These components are now joined by a self-contained frontend called Pantabox that has been integrated into Pantavisor Linux to provide a more intuitive interface. The open source Pantabox is said to be “inspired by” BusyBox.

      • Kubernetes 1.22: Server Side Apply moves to GA

        Server-side Apply (SSA) has been promoted to GA in the Kubernetes v1.22 release. The GA milestone means you can depend on the feature and its API, without fear of future backwards-incompatible changes. GA features are protected by the Kubernetes deprecation policy.

        What is Server-side Apply?

        Server-side Apply helps users and controllers manage their resources through declarative configurations. Server-side Apply replaces the client side apply feature implemented by “kubectl apply” with a server-side implementation, permitting use by tools/clients other than kubectl. Server-side Apply is a new merging algorithm, as well as tracking of field ownership, running on the Kubernetes api-server. Server-side Apply enables new features like conflict detection, so the system knows when two actors are trying to edit the same field. Refer to the Server-side Apply Documentation and Beta 2 release announcement for more information.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Noodlings 31 | Reflecting

        Tumbleweed Roundup

        6 snapshots during this week (0715, 0716, 0717, 0718, 0720, and 0721).

        The main changes included in those snapshots were:

        KDE Frameworks 5.84.0

        Mesa 21.1.5
        Mozilla Firefox 90.0 & Thunderbird 78.12.0

        Linux kernel 5.13.2

        GNOME 40.3

        libxcrypt 4.4.23: addition of CRYPT_SALT_METHOD_LEGACY

        meson 0.58.1

      • Ed Is The Standard Text Editor For Unix/Linux

        Anytime someone mentions any text editor (like Vi/m, Emacs, Nano, etc.), someone will make the joke that “ed is the standard editor.” While it’s a joke, ‘ed’ actually was the standard text editor for Unix in the early days of Unix. And while ‘ed’ has largely been supplanted with editors like Vi/m and Emacs, it is still worthwhile to know the basics of the original text editor for Unix-like operating systems.

      • Pushd Popd: The Power Of The Directory Stack

        I recently learnt about 2 really interesting tools known as pushd and popd as well how Linux doesn’t just remember it’s current directory but also maintains a directory stack and I thought it’d be fun to explore how it works.

    • Applications

      • PipeWire 0.3.33 Released with Some Small but Important Changes

        PipeWire 0.3.33 is here and comes with some notable new features and improvements to make the update noteworthy.

        Linux has no unified multimedia framework for exchanging multimedia content between applications or even devices. For those who are unfamiliar with PipeWire, it was originally created to only handle access to video resources and co-exist with PulseAudio, but ended up handling any kind of media, to the point of planning to completely replace PulseAudio.

        PipeWire can be used as an audio server, similar to PulseAudio and JACK. It aims to replace both PulseAudio and JACK, by providing a PulseAudio-compatible server implementation and ABI-compatible libraries for JACK clients.

        PipeWire 0.3.33 was released, marking a big step forward in the effort of making this emerging media service the core layer of all multimedia on Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Linux 101: How to understand the Linux directory structure – TechRepublic

        Learn what is housed in each directory found under the root directory in Linux.

      • Linux tutorial: How to disable the login banner – TechRepublic

        You’ll also learn why disabling the Linux login banner helps make your Linux servers more secure.

      • How to fix corrupt WAV files [Ed: Assumes Windows, but uses Audacity and VLC, which can be used on GNU/Linux similarly]

        Audio files come in many different formats. MP3 is one of the most popular audio file formats and one of the most commonly found ones. Windows users are also fairly familiar with the WAV format.

        WAV files tend to be much larger and they’re the audio format used by Windows for OS sounds/alerts. If you want to change a system sound, you will have to replace it with a WAV file.

      • How to Install MongoDB on Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux

        MongoDB is a high-performance, highly scalable document-oriented NoSQL database that is designed to handle high traffic and huge volumes of data. Unlike in SQL databases where data is stored in rows and columns inside tables, in MongoDB, data is structured in JSON-like format inside records which are referred to as documents.

        Thanks to its schema-less architecture, MongoDB is highly flexible, and provides both horizontal and vertical scaling highly scalable, and makes it possible to only store data that is required as required by an application. At its core.

      • How to Install Elementary Tweaks in elementary OS

        When it comes to elementary OS, it is very restrictive about what you can change in the looks and experience of the system.

      • How to check what’s taking up all the storage space on your Android phone – Dignited

        A couple of times, I’ve come across pals that have issues receiving Android messages (SMS) on their phones due to the “Insufficient Storage” challenge. Something’s eating up the storage space, but they can’t decipher what’s taking up the storage.

        For some, they don’t have the message-receiving challenge; they just can’t get off the insufficient storage notification from the notification window. Worse yet, friends can’t share music, videos and other files with them because of this barricade.

      • Designing ebooks with free software

        Bruce Byfield has written Designing ebooks with free software, which teaches several methods that help you to gain control over the creation of your ebooks. All it takes is two open-source tools that are free to download: LibreOffice and Calibre, plus some trial and error to get the precision and professionalism you want.

      • Four LibreOffice 7.1 user guides

        So far this year the LibreOffice Documentation Team has produced four user guides for version 7.1: Getting Started, Writer, Calc, and Draw. They are available in free PDF, ODT, or to read in a browser, as well as low-cost printed copies. Visit the Documentation page on the website for links.

      • Change your Linux Desktop Wallpaper Every Hour [Here’s How]

        This shell script styli.sh helps to change your Linux desktop wallpaper in every hour automatically and with several options.

      • How to install OSU! Lazer on Linux Lite 5.4

        In this video, we are looking at how to install OSU! Lazer on Linux Lite 5.4.

      • Web Server: What is it, How it Works, and What it is Used for

        Web servers are used for hosting websites and data for web applications. In this article, we explain what is a web server and how does it work.

        In 1989, the first web server, known as CERN httpd, was created with the objective to exchange an information, along with a browser called WorldWideWeb. By the end of 1990, the first web page was served on the open internet, and in 1991, people outside of CERN were invited to join this new web community.

        As people began to realize the effectiveness of transferring data across what is now known as the internet, multiple operating systems began to develop so that all could exchange data using computers.

      • How to deploy an easy to use chat server on your LAN – TechRepublic

        Your business has grown considerably, and it’s necessary to empower your employees to more easily communicate with one another. The problem is, you don’t want them using third-party tools and platforms for the task. So what do you do?

      • How to install Friday Night Funkin’ StarCatcher on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Friday Night Funkin’ StarCatcher on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • Linux 101: What are the benefits of using a tiling window manager? – TechRepublic

        If you want to improve your productivity and efficiency on the Linux desktop, discover what tiling window managers can do for you.

    • Games

      • Tonight’s Game On OpenPOWER: System Shock Enhanced Edition

        Shockolate requires CMake and SDL2, and FluidSynth is strongly advised. Don’t let Shockolate build with its bundled versions: edit CMakeLists.txt and change all “BUNDLED” libraries to “ON” (don’t forget the quote marks). Once set, building should work out of the box (tested on Fedora 34): [...]

      • AMD and Valve join forces to improve Linux gaming performance [Ed: Mostly recycled text]
      • A Monster’s Expedition gets a free upgrade with over 100 new puzzles | GamingOnLinux

        Quite possible the best puzzle game from 2020 just got much bigger with A Monster’s Expedition seeing a free Museum Expansion out now for all platforms.

        This is a major content expansion for the game with over 100 new puzzle islands to explore and solve, with over a dozen new exhibits to discover too. This is so big it could easily have been a paid DLC but it’s just released as a free patch which is pretty fantastic. The native Linux version is up to date and continues working smoothly too.

        A Monster’s Expedition is a thoroughly adorable and relaxing open world puzzle adventure “for monsters who love to learn about humans”. It’s an island hoping adventure, where you need to push trees around in the correct way to create paths between each island – doesn’t sound like much but the puzzles are incredibly well designed. It’s the perfect puzzle game to kick-back with.

      • Narrative-heavy adventure game Near-Mage announced from the dev of Gibbous | GamingOnLinux

        Time to adventure through Transylvania with the upcoming Near-Mage from the developer of Gibbous – A Cthulhu Adventure. Stuck In Attic are back with what looks like another high quality adventure, this time mixing in a little RPG mechanics too. Near-Mage is set in the same universe as Gibbous as well.

        “You have been invited to stay in Transylvania for the summer… Only to find out that you come from a long line of witches. Meet your new vampyre and strigoi classmates, embrace your destiny, and enroll in the Transylvanian Institute for Magick! A supernatural adventure made in Transylvania.”

      • Pokémon for adults? Monster Crown to release in full on October 12 | GamingOnLinux

        What is the game? Inspired by the retro Pokémon games, Monster Crown from Studio Aurum and publisher SOEDESCO puts you inside a “dark story as you create your own monster legacy”. Instead of capturing creatures, you enter a special pact with them to join together and become a team. It’s an interesting spin, along with a more mature story it’s nice to see a different direction for such a game that traditionally targets a much more casual family-friendly audience.

      • Extreme sports game Descenders added new bike parks, new customization options | GamingOnLinux

        Descenders, the extreme sports downhill freeriding game recently had another big free upgrade and after a delay the Linux version is back up to date.


        Recently the developer put up a big new update so it might be time to give it another run.

      • Hands On With The AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT – Phoronix

        After the AMD Radeon RX 6600 XT was announced last week and ahead of the retail availability next week, today AMD’s “unboxing embargo” has expired for this new RDN2 graphics card focused on delivering high 1080p frame rates. The card we have been testing out under Linux is the ASRock Phantom Gaming RX 6600 XT.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Krita brushes 2021 bundle

          My brushes are in constant evolution, and yesterday evening I thought it was time to pack the ones that survived more than a year of production without too much mutations. I collected this way a pack of 18 brushes, cleaned a bit the thumbnails, names and created the Krita bundle.

          These brushes are now classics for my practice and part of my vocabulary. Maybe they’ll help you too? To get an idea before installing them, here under is a set of pictures to present you the brushes and where I used them (you can click on the picture to enlarge them).

          Instructions to download the brush and install them comes after. A video will follow soon to describe them better.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Chris Lord: OffscreenCanvas update

          So, a year ago, OffscreenCanvas was starting to become usable but was missing some key features, such as asynchronous updates and text-related functions. I’m pleased to say that, at least for Linux, it’s been complete for quite a while now! It’s still going to be a while, I think, before this is a truly usable feature in every browser. Gecko support is still forthcoming, support for non-Linux WebKit is still off by default and I find it can be a little unstable in Chrome… But the potential is huge, and there are now double the number of independent, mostly-complete implementations that prove it’s a workable concept.

          Something I find I’m guilty of, and I think that a lot of systems programmers tend to be guilty of, is working on a feature but not using that feature. With that in mind, I’ve been spending some time in the last couple of weeks to try and bring together demos and information on the various features that the WebKit team at Igalia has been working on. With that in mind, I’ve written a little OffscreenCanvas demo. It should work in any browser, but is a bit pointless if you don’t have OffscreenCanvas, so maybe spin up Chrome or a canary build of Epiphany.

        • An “Apps for GNOME” website

          Something like an “Apps for GNOME” website might exist pretty soon. This changes nothing about existing pages. You can have a look at the current state of the website. Feedback and contributions are more than welcome.

          Currently, most apps in the GNOME ecosystem are represented by a wiki page or README at our GitLab instance. All the information in these wiki pages has to be updated manually in parallel to the other sources like the AppStream MetaInfo file, the screenshots or the DOAP file. I was no longer motivated to do this work manually for my app and started looking for alternative solutions. I quickly wrote a small script that generates an app page. After showing the generated page around, several people proposed to provide such app pages in a centralized fashion for GNOME.

    • Distributions

      • Reviews

        • Deepin DE review: The most beautiful Linux DE

          The Deepin Desktop Environment, or DDE for short, is one of, if not the best-looking Linux desktop environments out there. It brings a clean, elegant, modern, and professional-looking user interface. Not only will it woo anyone who looks at it, but it also provides a super intuitive and familiar user experience.

          We have put together a detailed overview of the Deepin Desktop Environment, going over all its various features, settings, and options for this read. By the end, you will have a thorough understanding of what DDE brings to the table and whether or not it’s the right distro for you.

          So with that being said, here’s our in-depth review of the Deepin Desktop Environment.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Kafka Monthly Digest – July 2021

          The release process for Kafka 3.0.0 continued. Code freeze happened on July 20. There are currently a handful of blocker JIRAs that need to be fixed. Once these are addressed, Konstantine Karantasis will start building the first release candidate.


          In this section, I will cover releases of some community projects. This only includes projects that are open source.

          None of the projects I follow have made a release in July. If you know a popular community project that I don’t cover, please let me know.

      • Debian Family

        • Debian 11 ‘Bullseye’ is headed to Chrome OS

          I’m honestly not sure if the Linux environment on Chromebooks is actually being embraced by the masses but the fact remains that “Crostini” adds an entirely new level of productivity and capability to the Chrome operating system. In March of last year, Google updated the Linux container on Chrome OS from Debian 9 to the current Debian 10 release which is codenamed, Buster. If you have a Chromebook and you’re using Linux, this is likely the version of Debian Linux that you are leveraging. The update to Debian 10 brought a variety of features such as better kernel support, newer package versions, and a number of “under the hood” changes.

          Today, I was tinkering around in the Canary Channel on an 11th Gen Tiger Lake device when I saw a new Crostini-related flag and it’s very good news for those tracking the next release of Debian Stable. Debian 11, a.k.a, Bullseye, isn’t technically slated for a full release until later this month but Google is already preparing the Chrome OS Linux container for the upgrade. The new flag will actually allow users to pick which Debian version they want to run on their devices.


          I’m still testing and therefore not positive if the update is related but after upgrading to Debian 11, I was able to finally get vkcube running on Chrome OS for the first time. Luke Short and I have been fiddling with this for quite some time as full Vulkan support is one of the keys to getting Steam running natively and sufficiently on a Chromebook. My next steps will be to revert back to Buster and see if Vulkan is being leveraged by Linux and then I’ll give Steam a go and see if the Proton compatibility tool can use Vulkan. If so, Steam gaming is very, very close to being ready for prime time. Stay tuned for my results.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Canonical’s Design and Web team summary – 30 July 2021

          My name is Scott Mason-Nash, and I’m a web engineer. I joined Canonical’s web and design team in May 2019; initially I worked in the web squad for a year, where I had the opportunity to work on a handful of big, interesting projects, one of them being the Ubuntu Advantage store.

          I have since joined the Vanilla squad, where I get to work on the team’s CSS framework. It’s been very satisfying to get to grips with the framework, and understand how a well maintained system like this can really help achieve a consistent look across a ton of different websites and apps.

          I’m very passionate about accessibility; it’s important to me that the work we do can be readily experienced by people from all walks of life, and though there continue to be – and will always be – ways we can learn and improve, it’s been great to be able to help push accessibility forward on the Vanilla squad.

          Outside of my work, I recently moved to Cardiff from London, where I am still getting used to the incredible scenery. I am also a proud dad who loves baking, climbing, movies, and video games.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • The Call For Papers and Call For Sponsors for PGConf NYC 2021 are now open!

          PGConf NYC is back! The first major PostgreSQL Community Conference in the US in 18 months will be in New York City, NY, December 2nd and 3rd!

          PGConf NYC is a non–profit, community–run conference series in the United States focused on PostgreSQL, the world’s leading open source database. Our conference delivers two days packed with presentations about PostgreSQL and related technologies, and the usual hallway and social track.

          If you are working with PostgreSQL or related technologies and interested in submitted a talk, please see our Call For Papers here!

          If you are an organization which uses PostgreSQL and/or wishes to support the PostgreSQL Community, please see our Call For Sponsors here! We have a number of levels available for this exciting 2-day event in downtown NYC!

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Use Firefox

            Via this week’s Security Now podcast (show notes) I came across the stat that Firefox has lost nearly 56 millions users in the last two years. Nothing surprising about it as everyone’s on Chrome or Chromium based variants, and while I have no vested interest in Firefox I am saddened by the decline in its usage. This reminds me of my childhood when Internet Explorer was the default and all websites were written for it; now everything’s written for the Blink rendering engine (which is what Chrome and all Chromium based browsers such as the new Edge, Brave, Opera, Vivaldi etc. use) and no one cares about the Gecko rendering engine (which is what Firefox uses). That’s not nice. You need competition, and having multiple rendering engines is important for that.

          • Mozilla slams post-cookie ad tech proposals SWAN and UID2 – needs much more work

            Mozilla on Wednesday published an assessment of two proposed ad tracking mechanisms intended to fill the void left by third-party cookies and found that both make web privacy worse.

            Third-party cookies – files deposited by code on websites to track people online and serve them targeted ads – are on their way out, eventually. Google and the rest of the online ad industry have been working feverishly to come up with replacement technology that allows the lucrative business of ad targeting to continue in a way that preserves user privacy, at least enough to satisfy regulators.

            Google and its ad tech allies are doing so through a set of proposals referred to as the Privacy Sandbox, which have suffered some setbacks.

          • Perseid meteor shower on your mind? Check out these online resources for newbie astronomers plus 6 Firefox themes for daytime stargazing.

            Every summer I say I’m going to go watch the meteor showers, but life always seems to get in the way. This year, however, I scored a last minute midweek campsite on the Washington coast so I can take in the Perseid meteor shower away from city lights. While the Perseids are ongoing from mid-July to the end of August, they are expected to peak on the night of August 11 all around the world. This year’s Perseid event is predicted to be extra special due to the waxing crescent moon, which is to say, the moon will be a mere sliver in the sky. Less moonlight means the sky is darker, which means meteor showers appear brighter.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Fixing an Interoperability Bug in LibreOffice: Missing Lines from DOCX (part 2/3)

          In LibreOffice, interoperability is considered a very important aspect of the software. Today LibreOffice can load and save various file formats from many different Office applications from different companies across the world. But, bugs are inevitable parts of every software: There are situations where the application does not behave as it should, and a developer should take action and fix it, so that it will behave as it is expected by the user.

          What if you encounter a bug in LibreOffice, and how a developer fixes the problem? In these series of articles, we discuss the steps needed to fix a bug. In the end, we will provide a test and make sure that the same problem does not happen in the future, again.

      • FSF

        • Licensing/Legal

          • The Free Software Foundation thinks GitHub Copilot should be illegal

            The open-source software advocate complains that Copilot requires closed source software such as Microsoft’s Visual Studio IDE or Visual Studio Code editor to run and that it constitutes a “service as a software substitute” meaning it’s a way to gain power over other people’s computing.

            The FSF felt there were numerous issues with Copilot which still needed to be tested in court.

            “Developers want to know if training a neural network on their software can be considered fair use. Others who might want to use Copilot wonder if the code snippets and other elements copied from GitHub-hosted repositories could result in copyright infringement. And even if everything might be legally copacetic, activists wonder if there isn’t something fundamentally unfair about a proprietary software company building a service off their work,” the FSF wrote.

      • Programming/Development

        • Unix and Microservice Platforms

          Greer’s argument is summarized by the following image. It shows a simulation of Ritchie and Thompson implementing Unix – represented by the two red dots on the right – as compared to the many blue dots on the left implementing Multics. The rows represent types of data and the columns represent features. The cells represent implementation progress. Unix’s approach to filesystems and pipes meant that they were able to “code the perimeter.” Richie and Thompson were therefore able to fill the area in O(N+M) effort instead of O(N*M).

        • How To Learn Matlab In 2021 – Emagazine.com [Ed: But it is proprietary; uses scilab or gnu octave instead]

          It’s also important to note that you don’t need extensive knowledge of programming languages if you’re using MATLAB; it’s straightforward and non-intimidating for those who are new to coding, but you should not intimidate yourself because it’s really easy to learn if you have the time and inclination.

        • Java

          • How to Install Java on Fedora Linux

            Love it or hate it, it is difficult to avoid Java.

            Java is still a very popular programming language taught in the schools and used in the enterprises.

            If you want to use a Java-based tool or program in Java, you’ll need to have Java on your system.

            This becomes confusing because there are so many technical terms around java.

            - Java Development Kit (JDK) for creating Java programs
            - Java Runtime Environment (JRE) or Java Virtual Machine (JVM) for running Java programs

            On top of that, you’ll come across OpenJDK and Oracle Java SE. OpenJDK is what is recommended because it is open source. If you have exclusive need then only you should go for Oracle Java SE.

            There is one more thing here. Even OpenJDK has several versions available. At the time of writing this article, Fedora 34 has OpenJDK 1.8, OpenJDK 11 and OpenJDK 16 available.

            It is up to you to decide which Java version you want.

  • Leftovers

    • ‘Like a Blowtorch’: Historic Dixie Fire ‘Catastrophically’ Destroys Greenville, California

      While the Western United States and other regions around the world endure intensifying wildfires that climate scientists have long warned of, the California town Greenville garnered global attention on Thursday after the Dixie Fire—now over 322,000 acres—”leveled” much of the tiny community.

      “I’m not going to say total [destruction] because not every structure is gone. But the town it’s catastrophically destroyed,” Dan Kearns, a volunteer firefighter, told USA Today.

    • Susan Collins, Master of Obfuscation

      Susan Collins likes to imagine that she serves in the independent-minded, country-over-party tradition of another Republican senator from Maine, Margaret Chase Smith.

    • Playing the Field

      DiMaggio’s “vaudeville” lineup includes “Jimmy Dore, Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Joe Rogan, Caitlin Johnstone, and Krystal Ball, among others.” (I’ll call them the Left-Fielders, because it will economize words, and I like cute analogies, too, and they’re way out there.) According to DiMaggio all these players have, “for all intents and purposes, thrown their lot in” with the “neofascistic Trumpian movement.” They have “driven Democratic voters toward the Republican Party,” they “send Democratic voters to the right in general elections,” and they are, DiMaggio constantly asserts, “normalizing white supremacy and the right’s neofascistic politics.”

      Whew! Hell of an indictment.

    • When a Movement Fails to Uphold its Standards of Justice

      The conflict has reached a level of intensity that has prompted some activists to move out of Portland to safer spaces for their own healing. Such is the sad state of affairs that we have to report today.

      In a community that purports to fight for justice for all, that came together after the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, it is ironic that within the Portland protest community, we have turned the proverbial blind eye toward this predatory behavior against women and femmes.

    • ‘A Half Measure’: Critics Warn Biden’s Electric Vehicle, Auto Emissions Plan Insufficiently Bold

      The Biden administration was urged Thursday to pursue more ambitious climate goals ahead of an expected order calling for half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. by 2030 to be zero-emissions and other proposals to undo Trump administration rollbacks of tailpipe pollution regulations.

      “The science is clear,” said Union of Concerned Scientists president Johanna Chao Kreilick. “The climate is rapidly warming, and we urgently need to cut emissions to prevent even greater damage in the future. We need a national strategy, and strong clean-car standards must be one piece of that strategy.”

    • Opinion | Belief in America as the “Indispensible Nation” Is Bullshit—And Always Has Been

      “The thirty-year interregnum of U.S. global hegemony,” writes David Bromwich in the journal Raritan, “has been exposed as a fraud, a decoy, a cheat, [and] a sell.” Today, he continues, “the armies of the cheated are struggling to find the word for something that happened and happened wrong.”

    • ‘Fearless and Peerless’ Richard Trumka, AFL-CIO Leader, Dead at 72

      Condolences poured in for AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, who died Thursday at the age of 72.

      “The labor movement, the AFL-CIO, and the nation lost a legend today,” AFL-CIO communications director Tim Schlittner said in a statement. 

    • Opinion | Generation Equality Forum in Paris: A Missed Opportunity

      On 2 July 2021, the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) concluded in Paris. Headlines trumpeted the announcement of an unprecedented funding pledge of USD$40 billion and a new set of “revolutionary commitments” to accelerate efforts for gender equality across the globe. The 3-day gathering convened by UN Women and the French government under the theme, “Moving from Rhetoric to Action,” culminated the international conference that began in Mexico City in March.

    • Vaxing and Waning
    • We Can’t Log Our Way Out of Global Baking
    • Rio Tinto Goes to Serbia: The Jadar Lithium Project

      Eyes have shifted to the Balkans.  The company is promising $2.4 billion for the Jadar lithium-borates project in Serbia provided it gets the appropriate permits.  In the coming weeks, it will transport a pilot lithium processing plant in four 40-foot shipping containers, suggesting a sure degree of optimism.  From its science hub located on the outer parts of Melbourne, the company’s research team claim to have identified an economically viable method of extracting lithium from the mineral jadarite.

      A statement from the company outlined the importance of the Jadar project.  “Jadar will produce battery-grade lithium carbonate, a critical mineral used in large scale batteries for electric vehicles and storing renewable energy, and position Rio Tinto as the largest source of lithium supply in Europe for at least the next 15 years.  In addition, Jadar will produce borates, which are used in solar panels and wind turbines.”

    • Barack’s Mar-a-Vineyard Birthday Extravaganza
    • A Hard Rain Did Fall: a Big Win in Court for Hiroshima Victims

      Just weeks before the 2021 commemoration of the August 6, 1945 US atomic bombing of the city of Hiroshima, a Japanese court ruled that victims of the radioactive “black rain” who were living beyond the officially recognized contamination zone at the time, should be included in the group considered bomb “survivors” or “Hibakusha” and receive the same benefits.

      A Hiroshima high court acknowledged in its July 14, 2021 ruling that many more people suffered as a result of exposure to “black rain” than have hitherto been recognized as victims.

    • ‘Open Media,’ ‘MBK Media,’ and ‘Pravozashchita Otkrytki’ shut down citing risks for staff

      Two news outlets and a human rights rights group linked to exiled former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky have announced that they are shutting down following the Russian federal censor’s decision to add their websites to the government’s blocklist.

    • Don Cherry ‎– Om Shanti Om (1976)
    • Home Depot Tech Will Brick Power Tools If They’re Stolen. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

      We’ve noted more times than I can count how in the modern era, you no longer really own the things you buy. Thanks to internet connectivity, hardware you own can be bricked or downgraded to the point where you lose essential features. Or, just as often, obnoxious DRM means you have to jump through all kinds of bizarre hoops to actually use the thing you thought you owned, whether that’s Keurig using DRM to prevent you from using competing coffee pods, to printer manufacturers using DRM to keep you from buying cheaper cartridges.

    • Education

      • Despite Funding Threat, Florida Schools Defy DeSantis’s Ban on Mask Mandates

        Forced to make a choice between keeping schools fully funded and protecting children and educators, at least four school districts in Florida plan to defy Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’s order blocking mask mandates as the school year begins, citing the spread of the Covid-19 Delta variant.

        “The fact that we were able to achieve the creation of this vaccine—a very effective vaccine in the time frame that we did—has been absolutely amazing,” the essay reads. “It just blows my mind that we can receive such a great opportunity and then, as a society, fail to take advantage of it and cause hundreds of thousands of needless deaths. The scientific community really stepped up and has done amazing things during this pandemic to try and help people keep people safe, and we ended up seeing politicians just trying to counteract and fight against that at every turn.”

      • 640 Pages in 15 Months

        My book Crafting Interpreters on programming languages is done. OK, OK. I know I said it was done like fifteen months ago. But now it’s really done. And by that I mean, the print, ebook and PDF versions are done. You can buy it. You can hold it in your hands. And I do mean “hands” plural. Because this little “handbook” turned out way larger than I anticipated:

        Look at that thing. 640 pages, eight inches wide, ten inches tall. If you get tired of reading it, it can serve as a doorstop or protect you from small-arms fire.

        Remember back on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood when he would take you to a factory and show you how pencils or umbrellas are made? I love that stuff, so I thought maybe you might like to see what I spent the past year on. You can read this as a peek behind the curtain, or maybe a long apology for why it took so long.

    • Hardware

      • Plug and Pray

        Like the term multimedia, which I covered just a few weeks ago, plug-and-play had a real moment in the sun in the early 1990s, as manufacturers fell over one another trying to make clear that their peripherals could be installed into your computer without a whole bunch of extra headaches.

        But the roots of plug-and-play are a bit more interesting in that they highlight two separate stories—a linguistic evolution and a technical evolution. At some point the two came together to tell a single story.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Phylogeographic Mapping of Newly Discovered Coronaviruses Pinpoints the Direct Progenitor of SARS-CoV-2 as Originating from Mojiang, China

        The purpose of this hunt has been to find the viruses intermediate between SARS-CoV-2 and its coronavirus relatives found in bats (Luk et al., 2019).

        The closest known wild relative of SARS-CoV-2 was found by Zheng-li Shi of the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) in a bat in central Yunnan province, China. This virus, called RaTG13, is 96.1% similar to SARS-CoV-2. This genetic difference (3.9%) corresponds to about 1150 nucleotide differences between the two viruses; i.e. it is quite a large gap. Finding intermediate viruses would solve two puzzles. One is geographical: By what means or in what host animal(s) did the virus get to Wuhan? The second is genetic: what viruses were the evolutionary intermediates between RaTG13 and SARS-CoV-2?

      • Fears About Delta Variant Have Boosted Vaccination Numbers, Says White House
      • Biden White House Dismisses WHO Call for Moratorium on Vaccine Boosters

        The Biden White House on Wednesday rejected the World Health Organization’s call for a temporary moratorium on coronavirus booster shots, arguing that the provision of third doses for fully vaccinated people in rich countries is not in conflict with the U.N. body’s goal of urgently getting more jabs to poor nations.

        “We feel that it’s a false choice and that we can do both,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said during a media briefing. “We announced just yesterday that we hit an important milestone of over 110 million vaccines donated to the world. That is more than any other country has shared, combined.”

      • New COVID Variants Threaten to Make Pandemic Permanent
      • Biden Admin Rejects WHO Call for Moratorium on Vaccine Boosters in Rich Nations
      • Tell Us About Your Experience With Life-Sustaining Medical Devices

        Hundreds of thousands of people rely on lifesaving medical devices, from pacemakers and defibrillators to implanted prosthetics. The U.S. regulatory system is supposed to protect all of them from unsafe devices and unscrupulous actors.

        But our latest investigation into the $400 billion medical device industry showed that, thanks to ineffective oversight, vulnerable people may be getting hurt. We uncovered that the FDA took no decisive action as a heart pump was implanted inside thousands of people, even though the agency knew it didn’t meet federal standards.

      • Thousands of People Were Given Heart Pumps Despite FDA Warnings of Defects
      • Thousands of Patients Were Implanted With Heart Pumps That the FDA Knew Could Be Dangerous

        John Winkler II was dying of heart failure when doctors came to his hospital bedside, offering a chance to prolong his life. The HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device, or HVAD, could be implanted in Winkler’s chest until a transplant was possible. The heart pump came with disclaimers of risk, but Winkler wanted to fight for time. He was only 46 and had a loving wife and four children, and his second grandchild was on the way.

        So, in August 2014, Winkler had surgery to implant the device. A golf-ball-sized rotor was attached to his left ventricle to pump blood through a tube and into his aorta. A cable threading out of a small incision in his waist connected to a battery-powered controller strapped to his body. If something went wrong, an alarm as loud as a fire drill would sound.

      • Markey, Levin, and Bowman Unveil Bill to ‘Get Toxic Substances Out of Schools’

        Citing the high prevalence of toxic contaminants in U.S. schools—especially in low-income districts—a trio of congressional Democrats on Thursday introduced a bill that would authorize over $52 billion in funding over the next decade to remove dangerous substances from education buildings nationwide.

        “We need a revolution in how we invest in and prioritize our school infrastructure, and that starts with getting toxins out of schools.”—Rep. Jamaal Bowman

      • Farmer Offers Stark Time-Lapse Portrait Of His Family’s Land Over A Lifetime

        Pastoral Song, like his first bestselling memoir, The Shepherd’s Tale, enchants with lush descriptions of England’s Lake District and Cumbrian hills, where Rebanks’ family has worked the land for 600 years. But it is more than a paean to fells (hills), becks (streams), and flocks. Inspired by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Rebanks’ new book urgently conveys how the drive for cheap, mass-produced food has impoverished both small farmers and the soil, threatening humanity’s future.

      • Death by Disinformation: GOP Accomplices to Covid Apocalypse

        While talking heads and pundits dueled on television and social media over the CDC’s announcement, the real action was playing out elsewhere. The risks associated with the Delta variant largely depend on the proportion of your local population that is vaccinated and masked. That is, if your neighborhood, county, or state is undervaccinated and recommendations for mask wearing are ignored or discouraged, you’ve got a big problem: Delta is going to rip through your community like a California wildfire in August. In the US, public health decisions are made by governors and mayors, state legislatures and city councils. It’s not what the CDC says; it’s what your local leaders do.

      • Overwork Is Taking a Huge Physical and Mental Toll on Workers

        The statistics on overwork are grim: A global study from the World Health Organization (WHO) found that in 2016, 488 million people were exposed to long working hours, with more than 745,000 people dying that year from stroke and heart disease as a result of overworking. According to a 2019 report published by People’s Policy Project in collaboration with The Gravel Institute, in one year, the average American works more hours than the average worker in any peer nation. According to the WHO study, overwork is the single largest risk factor for occupational disease and has significant impacts on physical and mental health.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Three Problems with Two Factor Authentication

        Before you implement 2FA, think about how you are going to reset the 2F. People will lose phones. They will forget tokens at work/home and still need to get access to specific applications. This is a bit like the password reset problem but often more difficult. I have not seen a good implementation yet, and if anybody has any ideas, let me know. Most sites will create a “recovery code,” but that code may be lost as well (either for good or to an attacker). I once had a hardware token break that I use for a bank, and it came down to “answer these questions” before 2FA was disabled for my account and a new authenticator was sent. In some cases, it can help to allow the user to register multiple tokens.

      • Proprietary

        • Ransomware Gangs and the Name Game Distraction [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Cybercriminal syndicates also perform similar disappearing acts whenever it suits them. These organizational reboots are an opportunity for ransomware program leaders to set new ground rules for their members — such as which types of victims aren’t allowed (e.g., hospitals, governments, critical infrastructure), or how much of a ransom payment an affiliate should expect for bringing the group access to a new victim network.

          I put together the above graphic to illustrate some of the more notable ransom gang reinventions over the past five years. What it doesn’t show is what we already know about the cybercriminals behind many of these seemingly disparate ransomware groups, some of whom were pioneers in the ransomware space almost a decade ago. We’ll explore that more in the latter half of this story.

        • Black Hat: Microsoft’s Patch for Windows Hello Bypass Bug is Faulty, Researchers Say

          The vulnerability, tracked as (CVE-2021-34466, CVSS score: 5.7), was patched by Microsoft in July. However, according to research disclosed here at Black Hat USA 2021, the flaw still allows attackers – in some scenarios – to bypass Windows Hello and Windows Hello for Business, used for single-sign-on access to a user’s computer and a host of Windows services and associated data.

        • Step 1: Do a Google search. Ransomware [cracker] goes rogue, leaks gang’s plan. [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The files, posted to a forum frequented by Russian-speaking cybercriminals and reviewed by NBC News, include numerous instruction manuals allegedly belonging to Conti, a Russian-speaking [cracker] group that has attacked several hospitals, including health care chains in the U.S., and Ireland’s national system, the Health Service Executive.

          In one step-by-step guide, written in Russian, members are instructed how to identify and [crack] victims using Cobalt Strike, software that includes a number of known [cracking] programs. While built for defenders to test their own systems, Cobalt Strike has become a popular tool for criminal [crackers].

        • Hotcobalt – New Cobalt Strike DoS Vulnerability That Lets You Halt Operations [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Given its rampant adoption by red teams and attackers alike, we wanted to better understand the operational security of Cobalt Strike. This led us to discover the vulnerabilities reported in CVE-2021-36798 and which we describe below.

      • Security

        • Reproducible Builds: Reproducible Builds in July 2021

          Welcome to latest report from the Reproducible Builds project. In this post, we round up the important things that happened in the world of reproducible builds in July 2021. As always, if you are interested in contributing to the project, please visit the Contribute page on our website.


          Joshua also mentions our sister Bootstrappable Builds project, as well as number of other reproducible adjacent tools such as the Bazel build system.

        • Israeli Government Finally Decides To Start Looking Into NSO Group And Its Customers

          The NSO Group’s latest scandal is the gift that keeps on giving. The malware purveyor has always been controversial, thanks to its decision to sell powerful cellphone exploits to known human rights violators. That these exploits have been used to place world leaders, journalists, activists, and religious leaders under surveillance is just the expected result of choosing to do business with extremely shady governments.

        • Apple unveils plans to scan US iPhones for images of child sex abuse

          Apple will roll out an update later this year that will include technology in iPhones and iPads that allows the tech giant to detect images of child sexual abuse stored in iCloud, the company announced Thursday.

          The feature is part of a series of updates Apple unveiled aimed at increasing child safety, but security researchers and advocates are warning the scanning update — along with one that aims to give parents protective tools in children’s messages — could pose data and security risks beyond the intended purpose.

        • Apple to Scan US IPhones for Images of Child Sexual Abuse

          But in a blistering critique, the Washington-based nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology called on Apple to abandon the changes, which it said effectively destroy the company’s guarantee of “end-to-end encryption.” Scanning of messages for sexually explicit content on phones or computers effectively breaks the security, it said.

          The organization also questioned Apple’s technology for differentiating between dangerous content and something as tame as art or a meme. Such technologies are notoriously error-prone, CDT said in an emailed statement. Apple denies that the changes amount to a backdoor that degrades its encryption. It says they are carefully considered innovations that do not disturb user privacy but rather strongly protect it.

          Separately, Apple said its messaging app will use on-device machine learning to identify and blur sexually explicit photos on children’s phones and can also warn the parents of younger children via text message. It also said that its software would “intervene” when users try to search for topics related to child sexual abuse.

        • Apple’s Plan to “Think Different” About Encryption Opens a Backdoor to Your Private Life

          Child exploitation is a serious problem, and Apple isn’t the first tech company to bend its privacy-protective stance in an attempt to combat it. But that choice will come at a high price for overall user privacy. Apple can explain at length how its technical implementation will preserve privacy and security in its proposed backdoor, but at the end of the day, even a thoroughly documented, carefully thought-out, and narrowly-scoped backdoor is still a backdoor.

          To say that we are disappointed by Apple’s plans is an understatement. Apple has historically been a champion of end-to-end encryption, for all of the same reasons that EFF has articulated time and time again. Apple’s compromise on end-to-end encryption may appease government agencies in the U.S. and abroad, but it is a shocking about-face for users who have relied on the company’s leadership in privacy and security.

          There are two main features that the company is planning to install in every Apple device. One is a scanning feature that will scan all photos as they get uploaded into iCloud Photos to see if they match a photo in the database of known child sexual abuse material (CSAM) maintained by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). The other feature scans all iMessage images sent or received by child accounts—that is, accounts designated as owned by a minor—for sexually explicit material, and if the child is young enough, notifies the parent when these images are sent or received. This feature can be turned on or off by parents.

        • Apple builds a universal backdoor into the iPhone.

          WGN reports that Apple has now announced a universal backdoor into the iPhone for law enforcement.

          For now, they’re saying they’ll only use it for “child abuse” and have the phone automatically rat out the user to the police. But the same article then continues that “authoritarian” governments (which are actually most of them, and the US government is certainly authoritarian in some ways even though there certainly are many worse countries to be in) can then use the technology any way they please, and Apple is unlikely to tell them no.

        • Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt/Fear-mongering/Dramatisation

        • Privacy/Surveillance

          • Beware Free Wi-Fi: Government Urges Workers to Avoid Public Networks

            In a warning to all federal employees, leading defense contractors and the 3.4 million uniformed, civilian and reserve personnel serving in the military, the National Security Agency issued an unusually specific admonition late last week that logging on to public Wi-Fi “may be convenient to catch up on work or check email,” but it is also an invitation to attackers. In an eight-page document, the agency described how, in a year marked by ransomware attacks on pipelines, meatpackers and even the police force in Washington, D.C., clicking on to the local coffee shop’s network was asking for trouble.

          • When You’re Diagnosed with Autism—by TikTok

            In his 2013 book, Saving Normal: An Insider’s Revolt Against Out-Of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life, Frances identified two broad types of diagnostic changes that he found especially concerning. First, small revisions lowered the threshold for diagnosing a variety of conditions, including major depression, ADHD, and anxiety. Under the newly expanded definitions, Frances argued, the concept of mental illness could swell to encompass everything from grief to immaturity. Second, commonly exhibited behaviors such as forgetfulness, overeating, chronic pain, and temper tantrums were linked to psychiatric issues, thanks to the inclusion of over a dozen new disorders.

            Frances didn’t object to every DSM-5 change: Plenty of uncontroversial updates reflected widespread scientific consensus. But he maintained that the net effect would be overwhelmingly negative, blurring the line between illness and health. And while TikTok wasn’t yet around when Frances offered these warnings, its effects are consistent with his predictions.

          • Zoom has to pay $85 million to people for privacy issues. Here’s how to claim your money

            Zoom will pay to settle a lawsuit claiming it violated users’ privacy rights — and you might be eligible for payment.

          • Confidentiality

            • Data on 24,000 petition signatories published by accident

              As a result of this technical problem, the names and places of residence of more than 24,000 petition signatories would have been visible between June and August 2021 on the Chamber’s main website. This publication would probably have occurred without the consent of the individuals concerned. The error was corrected on 2 August, and a detailed analysis of the problem is still underway.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Opinion | The Pentagon Is Killing Us — and the Planet

      The dog days of summer are upon us —and the record high temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and bringing 118 degree heat to Siberia serve as a harbinger of even hotter, more dangerous days unless we address the elephant in the room.

    • Moral Injury and the Forever Wars

      But all the flag-waving, the homespun parades, the picnics and military bands, the flowery speeches and self-congratulatory messages can’t dispel a reality, a truth that’s right under our noses: all is not well with our military brothers and sisters. The starkest indicator of that is the rising number of them who are taking their own lives. A new report by Brown University’s Costs of War Project calculates that, in the post-9/11 era so far, four times as many veterans and active-duty military have committed suicide as died in war operations.

      While July 4th remembrances across the country focused on the symbols and institutions of war and militarization, most of the celebrants seemed far less interested in hearing from current and former military personnel. After all, less than 1% of Americans have been burdened with waging Washington’s wars in these years, even as we taxpayers have funded an ever-more enormous military infrastructure.

    • Canada Is Waging an All-Front Legal War Against Indigenous People

      Canadian politicians have said as much, adopting a motion in June calling for the government to stop fighting residential school survivors in court. A long-standing demand, it has been repeated by Indigenous advocates who have expressed amazement in the face of these horrific revelations that the Canadian government would nonetheless continue to fight Indigenous survivors of systematic child abuse by the state.

      To get a sense of the scope of Canada’s legal war on First Nations, I looked at a Canadian legal database containing decisions (case law) pertaining to First Nations. I also looked at the hearing lists of the Federal Court of Canada for ongoing cases. My initial goal was to identify where Canada could easily settle or abandon cases, bringing about a harmonious solution to these conflicts. Two things surprised me.

    • ‘We Need to Take Military Action’: Israeli Defense Minister Threatens War With Iran

      Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Wednesday that his country is prepared take military action against Iran in the wake of a reported drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian Sea last week—a deadly attack that Israel, the U.S., and the United Kingdom have blamed on Iran without offering a shred of supporting evidence or intelligence.

      “We are at a point where we need to take military action against Iran,” Gantz told local reporters. “The world needs to take action against Iran now.”

    • “They Killed Us from the Inside”: U.N. Inquiry Demanded into Officials’ Culpability in Beirut Blast

      One year after the Beirut port explosion, a new Human Rights Watch report implicates senior Lebanese officials in the disaster that killed 218 people, wounded 7,000 others and destroyed vast swaths of the city. The blast on August 4, 2020, was one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history. It resulted from the detonation of hundreds of tons of ammonium nitrate, which had been sitting in a hangar at the port for years while multiple government officials who knew about the highly explosive chemicals did nothing. “We didn’t find any Lebanese official who took any responsibility for securing the port and removing the ammonium nitrate,” says Human Rights Watch researcher Aya Majzoub. “The levels of corruption and negligence that we found through this documentation was really just shocking.” We also speak with Nisreen Salti, economics professor at the American University of Beirut, who says the port explosion is part of a decades-long pattern of “negligence and corruption and collapse” in Lebanon. “What the port explosion has done, instead of being a turning point or a moment of reckoning, has just pushed us further into the abyss of total economic freefall.”

    • Rwanda Troops in Mozambique Claim Progress Against Jihadists

      The town, from where the first Islamist attacks were staged in October 2017, has since last year become the de-facto headquarters of the IS-linked extremists.

      Mozambican military forces have been struggling to regain control over the province, which is home to one of Africa’s biggest liquefied natural gas projects.

    • Eyewitness from Raqqa: ‘Isis plundered our lives’

      I sent her questions about what it was like living in the capital of the caliphate. She answered but also wrote that it was not easy to speak about. The nightmares persisted despite the fact that sixteen months had passed since she fled to Sweden.

      Later I got in touch with her to know more about what happened in Syria and to ask if I could include her story in my book.

    • Daniel Hale Went to Prison for Telling the Truth About US Drone Warfare

      Under any circumstances, such conditions of confinement are abhorrent. No society that values the inherent dignity of human beings would subject anyone to them, regardless of what they were convicted of. That Hale’s “crime” is telling the truth about US war crimes compounds the outrageousness of the situation. Even the federal judge who sent Hale to prison acknowledged that Hale had shown great courage in his attempts to alert the public to the drone war’s human toll.

    • How the War on Terror Undermined American Democracy

      These two attacks on the Capitol, separated by approximately two decades, bookend Spencer Ackerman’s Reign of Terror. But what connects them? In the wake of Trump’s election, two principal explanations for his victory emerged: one centered on the divisions and wounds of race, another on the divisions and wounds of economic inequality. Ackerman offers a third explanation—or perhaps, more precisely, a way of tying various threads together. “The War on Terror,” he writes, “was by no means the only factor enabling Trump’s rise.” But it created ways for the other factors, such as racism, to find powerful forms of expression: “It revitalized the most barbarous currents in American history, gave them renewed purpose, and set them on the march, an army in search of its general.” It has also misled us. The threat to democracy comes not from terrorism but the apparatus of counterterrorism, at the level of the state and at the level of politics. The book argues powerfully that the open-ended War on Terror has been an exceptionalist fantasy, a bipartisan failure, and a profound risk to American democracy. Whether ending the War on Terror would be enough to diminish that threat now is another matter.

    • ‘We’ll be extinct,’ warns West Papuan churches, call for halt to ‘racist’ Otsus

      It appealed to the Pacific and international community to stop the Indonesian government’s racism toward the West Papuans which was being perpetuated by the Otsus Law, widely condemned by Papuans.

    • Fulani Herdsmen Kill Pastor in North-Central Nigeria

      “One of his children who was kidnapped along with him was released on Sunday, July 25, and he informed us that his father died a day before his release by the herdsmen,” Shekwolo told Morning Star News by text message. “The pastor’s captors are yet to release his corpse to his family, and two of his family members are still being held captive.”

      Pastor Yakwoi’s family paid a ransom for the release of his son, Shekwolo said.

    • Streatham terror attacker said was ‘not finished with non-believers’ days before release from prison, inquest hears

      It came 10 days after he was released from prison after serving a sentence for terror offences, having encouraged his girlfriend to behead her parents and declared his own wish to carry out an attack.

      Detective Superintendent Dominic Murphy, of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, said Amman “appeared to retain his extremist mindset and wish to carry out an attack” while in prison.

    • Herdsmen behead father, son in fresh Plateau attack

      Spokesman for Miango Youth Development Association, Zongo Lawrence, who confirmed the Tafigana village killing, also said the hoodlums went to a nearby village in Hukke and destroyed farm produce worth millions of naira.

      “Seventeen of our people have been killed by Fulani herdsmen this year,” Lawrence said in a statement.

      “The international community should come to our aid; we are under heavy siege.”

    • Christian father and son beheaded on their way home from choir practice

      Thomas Wollo, 46, and his young son, Nggwe Thomas, were beheaded by radical Fulani herdsmen, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Surprising Origins Of Those Racist England Soccer Posts

      The English Premier League’s own experts on digital abuse estimate only about 30% of the average derogatory comments Premier League players receive on a regular basis can be definitively traced to British people. Outside analysts evaluating abuse in European leagues find far more abusive posts in Spanish or French, and many are linked to “inauthentic accounts,” suggesting the possible work of astroturfing shit posters looking to whip up panic with the help of bots purely for the fun of it while keeping their real identities anonymous. Now, who does that sound like?


      So why bring all this up? Because the creepiest part is that this is fueling a truly insane movement to force every person in the UK to surrender their digital rights and personal information (in essence, forcing all users to prove their identity to get a blue checkmark) to a third party in order to maintain the right to social media accounts.

  • Environment

    • Flood risk will rise as climate heat intensifies

      A warmer world will be a wetter one. Ever more people will face a higher flood risk as rivers rise and city streets fill up.

    • ‘Unimaginably Catastrophic’: Researchers Fear Gulf Stream System Could Collapse

      While heatwaves, fires, and floods produce warnings that “we are living in a climate emergency, here and now,” a scientific study suggested Thursday that a crucial Atlantic Ocean current system could collapse, which “would have severe impacts on the global climate system.”

      “The likelihood of this extremely high-impact event happening increases with every gram of CO2 that we put into the atmosphere.”—Niklas Boers, PIK

    • Energy

      • ‘Stand With Us’: Indigenous Line 3 Opponents Seek Allies to Fight Tar Sands Pipeline

        As state and local law enforcement in Minnesota intensify their violent repression of water protectors resisting Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands pipeline, Indigenous leaders on Thursday appealed for allies in their effort to pressure the U.S. government to honor Native American treaty rights and protect the environment and climate by stopping the toxic project.

        “We are running out of time to do the right thing for future generations.”—Chase Iron Eyes,Lakota People’s Law Project

      • APPG report opposing petrol and diesel car ban is paid for by freight and haulage industry

        A new report by backbench MPs opposing the UK government’s ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 is funded by the freight and haulage industry, DeSmog can reveal. 

        The report out today by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Fair Fuel for UK Motorists and UK Hauliers attacks the cost of the ban, questions the science behind it, and warns of public unrest if it goes ahead. 

      • Bulgarian Coal-Fired Power Plant May be Under-Reporting Its Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Investigation Finds

        The heart of Bobov Dol power plant is a hot, dark, noisy chamber. Lumps of coal litter the floor beside pools of oil and water leaking from decades-old machinery, relics of the Soviet era when workers flocked to build one of Bulgaria’s largest coal-fired facilities.

        Stay up to date with DeSmog news and alerts

      • New Poll Shows Pennsylvania Voters Want a ‘Crackdown’ on Fracking

        Pennsylvania voters have become increasingly disillusioned with the fracking industry, with weak and declining support across all demographics, according to a new poll. By wide margins, voters in the Keystone State want “a serious crackdown on fracking operations.”

        The poll, conducted by Data for Progress for the Ohio River Valley Institute (ORVI), an Appalachian-focused think tank, shows that large majorities of voters in Pennsylvania — including from large swathes of Republicans — are concerned about pollution from fracking, oppose subsidies to the industry, and support a range of new regulations.

      • Biden to Set Goal for Half of All Vehicle Sales to Be Electric by 2030
      • Oil and Gas Inundated Facebook With Election Season Ads After Biden Released Climate Plan

        Ads promoting fossil fuels reached Facebook users in the U.S. at least 431 million times in 2020, a new analysis by watchdog organization InfluenceMap finds, with the bulk arriving after the release of then-candidate Joe Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan and in the lead up to the presidential election. Ads specifically focused on marketing fossil fuels as clean, green, or part of a climate change “solution” were viewed more than 122 million times by Facebook users in the U.S., the report finds.

        The 25 oil and gas companies and advocacy groups covered in the report paid Facebook a total of $9.6 million to share the ads with social media users.

    • Wildlife/Nature

      • No animal left behind: Kenya holds first national wildlife census

        The preliminary data are already “very worrying,” says Fred Omengo, a scientist with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), explaining that many of the animals were spotted around watering holes close to people’s homes, a sign of extensive human encroachment into wildlife territory.

        “The little (food) that is available is basically a competition between domestic and wild animals,” he tells AFP.

    • Overpopulation

      • Hawaii Fishermen Concerned Over Growing Chinese Presence

        “You have one player that doesn’t seem to have any controls on the expansion of its fishing fleet and on its capacity to extract these renewable resources. It’s of great concern to us,” Fitchett said.

        The U.S. Coast Guard report, citing a U.N. statistic, says 93% of the world’s marine fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or significantly depleted. Fitchett says principal tropical tuna stocks that Pacific fisherman target — bigeye, yellowfin, skipjack and albacore — are not now overfished, but “they’re shared resources and they’re not inexhaustible.”

  • Finance

    • ‘Time Is Running Out’: Progressives Press Biden to Extend Student Loan Moratorium

      Following this week’s victory by progressives, led by Rep. Cori Bush, who pressured the Biden administration to extend the federal eviction moratorium by 60 days, lawmakers are now turning their attention to the student loan payments which have been paused for nearly a year and a half—demanding that the White House act now to avoid creating a new financial hardship for millions amid the ongoing pandemic.

      The Biden administration has signaled in recent weeks that it could announce another extension of the student loan moratorium, but Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) called on officials to avoid “[going] to the last minute.”

    • What to Expect in the July Jobs Report

      Lower Unemployment

      We should also see a drop in the unemployment rate of 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points. The household survey is always erratic, but on average, it does track the establishment survey. Last month, the establishment survey showed the economy added 850,000 jobs, while the household survey showed a loss of 18,000 jobs and an increase in the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent. It will be very surprising if we don’t see a substantial drop in the unemployment rate in July.

    • “We Don’t Want to go Back to the City”: India’s Migrant Workers, Settling for Less Work and Lesser Pay
    • The New Committee on Inequality: a Fresh Look at Economic Disparity
    • Opinion | Make the People Happy: Erase Student Debt

      House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi recently stated that President Joe Biden can’t cancel student debt. This is incorrect; he can. All he needs to do is sign an executive order. The Debt Collective, a group I serve as organizing director for, even drafted an executive order for him to sign.

    • Real Estate Groups Have So Far Poured Millions Into Stopping Eviction Moratorium
    • Predatory Banks at Walmarts Made Over 100 Percent of Profits From Overdraft Fees
    • As Right-Wing Dems Balk at Price Tag, Poll Shows 66% of US Voters Support $3.5 Trillion Package

      As conservatives in the Senate Democratic caucus gripe about the $3.5 trillion price tag of an emerging reconciliation package, a new poll released Thursday shows that two-thirds of U.S. voters support the sweeping proposal, which is expected to include historic investments in climate action, an expansion of Medicare benefits, universal pre-K, and higher taxes on the rich.

      Conducted by progressive polling outfit Data for Progress on behalf of the advocacy group Invest in America Now, the survey (pdf) finds that 66% of U.S. voters—85% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and 47% of Republicans—have a favorable view of the $3.5 trillion proposal.

    • To Stop ‘Life-Threatening Injustice’ of Shutoffs, Tlaib Unveils Bill to Cancel $40 Billion in Utility Debt

      To protect low-income households from utility shutoffs as the ultra-contagious Delta variant drives another surge in Covid-19 infections, Rep. Rashida Tlaib introduced a bill Thursday that would erase nearly $40 billion in water, power, and broadband debt that has accumulated throughout the U.S.

      “It’s outrageous that private fossil fuel utilities control access to these public goods.”—Jean Su, Center for Biological Diversity

    • 16 Civil Society Organizations Call on Congress to Fix the Cryptocurrency Provision of the Infrastructure Bill

      The fast-moving, must-pass legislation is over 2,000 pages and primarily focused on issues such as updating America’s highways and digital infrastructure. However, included in the “pay-for” section of the bill is a provision relevant to cryptocurrencies that includes a new, vague, and expanded definition of what constitutes a “broker” under U.S. tax law. As EFF described earlier this week, this vaguely worded section of the bill could be interpreted to mean that many actors in the cryptocurrency space—including software developers who merely write and publish code, as well as miners who verify cryptocurrency transactions—would suddenly be considered brokers, and thus need to collect and report identifying information on their users.

      In the wake of heated opposition from the technical and civil liberties community, some senators are taking action. Senators Wyden, Loomis, and Toomey have introduced an amendment that seeks to ensure that some of the worst interpretations of this provision are excluded. Namely, the amendment would seek to clarify that miners, software developers who do not hold assets for customers, and those who create hardware and software to support consumers in holding their own cryptocurrency would not be implicated under the new definition of broker.

      We have already seen how digital currency supports independent community projects, routes around financial censorship, and supports independent journalists around the world. Indeed, the decentralized nature of digital currency is allowing cryptographers and programmers to experiment with more privacy-protective exchanges, and to offer alternatives for those who wish to protect their financial privacy or those who have been subject to financial censorship. 

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • America Faces Cascading Crises. Democrats Must Act.

      Will America finally begin to address the cascading crises it faces? This week will provide an initial test. First up is the Senate’s vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. Too many media voices have already begun celebrating the “courage” of the negotiators, with Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) taking plenty of bows. Progressives in the House and Senate are warning, however, that the infrastructure bill won’t get to the president’s desk unless Sinema and Senator Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) help pass a budget reconciliation bill that addresses vital unmet needs. This is portrayed as a conflict pitting the left against the center but, in this battle, progressives represent the real center—the broad majority of Americans demanding action—and carry the last best hope for Democrats, and perhaps democracy itself to survive the next elections.

    • Richard Trumka, 1949–2021

      In one of his early moves as the new president of the United Mine Workers of America, Richard Trumka established a solidarity program with Black mine workers in South Africa. It was the mid-1980s. The apartheid regime was tightening its brutal grip on South Africa, and then-President Ronald Reagan was refusing to align the United States with the global movement to put economic pressure on the racist regime. As the thirtysomething leader of a union that was fighting plenty of its own battles at home, Trumka responded to the call from the National Union of Mineworkers in South Africa for a boycott of Royal Dutch Shell, a multinational oil conglomerate that had invested heavily in mining and other South African industries.

    • Democrats Introduce Right to Vote Act to Beat GOP Voter Suppression Blitz

      Amid ongoing nationwide Republican voter suppression efforts, a trio of congressional Democrats on Wednesday introduced a bill described by its lead Senate sponsor as the “first-ever affirmative federal voting rights guarantee for all U.S. citizens.”

      “In recent years, states like Georgia have launched an all-out assault on our democracy. The Right to Vote Act would stop this attack and prevent a new era of Jim Crow.”—Rep. Mondaire Jones

    • Most Voters Think Trump Running in 2024 Would Be Bad for the Country, Poll Finds
    • “This Is What America Looks Like”: Ilhan Omar on Her Refugee Journey from Mogadishu to Minneapolis

      We speak with Minnesota Congressmember Ilhan Omar about her memoir “This Is What America Looks Like,” the Biden administration’s recent airstrikes in her birth country of Somalia and why the U.S. must remain a country of refuge for people fleeing war and poverty like she did. Omar adds that the Biden administration must stop enforcing Trump-era immigration rules that allow for expedited deportations of asylum seekers. “These policy choices have consequences. We have a moral imperative in this country to get our immigration policy right and make it a more humane system,” she says.

    • Rep. Ilhan Omar: We Need to Cancel the Rent, Not Just Postpone Evictions

      Minnesota Congressmember Ilhan Omar was among the progressive Democrats who camped outside the U.S. Capitol to pressure the Biden administration into passing a new eviction moratorium after the previous moratorium lapsed July 31. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new two-month moratorium earlier in the week that covers areas of the country where there is “substantial” or “high” spread of the coronavirus. “As lawmakers, we have a responsibility to protect those that sent us to legislate on their behalf,” says Omar, adding that she has personal familiarity with housing precarity. “I certainly have experienced severe aspects of that as someone who not only slept on the side of roads, on beaches … but also spent a lot of time in a refugee camp.”

    • Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott Calls Another Special Session to Attack Voting Rights

      Just weeks after Texas Democrats defeated a sweeping voter suppression bill by fleeing the state to deny Republican lawmakers the quorum necessary to proceed to a vote, far-right Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday announced another special session, prompting pro-democracy advocates to denounce the Lone Star State GOP’s relentless assault on voting rights.

      “The decision to call a second special session is nothing more than a partisan power grab to distract us from the real challenges our communities face.”—Stephanie Gómez, Common Cause Texas

    • To the Right, to the Right: Media’s Special Election Lesson

      When establishment-backed Shontel Brown defeated Bernie Sanders surrogate Nina Turner in the Ohio special election primary to replace Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, it wasn’t hard to find media voices quick to draw the usual conclusion: Voters prefer moderate over progressive policy platforms.

    • Federal cyber agency kicks off collaborative to defend the U.S. against cyberattacks

      The new Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC) will design and implement national cyber defense plans, share insights on cyber defense, help coordinate operations to reduce the impact of cyberattacks and support joint exercises to strengthen cyber defense measures.

      Groups participating in the JCDC include both private sector and government groups, such as Amazon Web Services, AT&T, Google Cloud, Microsoft, FireEye Mandiant and Verizon, along with the FBI, the departments of Defense and Justice, the National Security Agency and several others.

    • Erdogan’s mosque near Washington is a Trojan horse for Turkey’s interests

      The Center is affiliated with Pres. Erdogan and his ruling political party AKP. DCA’s website states that it “works in full coordination with the [Directorate of] Religious Affairs of the Republic of Turkey (Diyanet)” which receives a huge amount of funding from the Turkish government under the title of “Representation and Promotion Expenses,” an odd category for a religious institution. The Diyanet’s annual budget is $2 billion, exceeding that of most Turkish ministries. It is an official governmental institution that directs 85,000 mosques throughout the country and over 2,000 mosques overseas. It prepares a weekly sermon that must be read by imams in all mosques inside and outside of Turkey. It imposes odd practices on the Turkish public, such as bans “on feeding dogs at home, celebrating the western New Year, lotteries, and tattoos.” The Diyanet’s imams are instructed by the government’s intelligence services to monitor the activities of members of the Gulen movement and PKK (Kurdish Workers’ Party). The agency has created multiple Diyanet mosques or field offices in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, United Kingdom and the United States.

    • All the Ways America Failed to Stop the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks

      “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center,” Condoleezza Rice famously said after the attacks. But in the month and six days preceding the attacks, just such a scenario was being discussed within the FBI. The arrest of Minneapolis-based Zacarias Moussaoui on August 16, a man who was trying to learn how to fly Boeing 747′s and whom the FBI concluded was a radical Muslim, alarmed the intelligence community and the FAA—but prompted no airline or public warnings. No laws or policies stood in the way of searching Moussaoui’s computer and belongings: the FBI simply chose not to pursue a criminal search warrant. And while various offices within the FBI fought with each other about what to do, no one outside the Bureau ever stood in their way. They just failed.

  • Misinformation/Disinformation

    • FTC Official Blasts Facebook Over Revoking Researchers’ Access

      A top Federal Trade Commission official blasted Facebook Inc. over its decision to disable the personal accounts of a group of New York University researchers studying political ads on the social network — and blaming the consent decree with the agency to justify the action.

    • Facebook’s ban of third-party researchers ‘deeply concerning’

      Facebook is being criticized by politicians and researchers for banning the accounts of academics who analyzed political ads and misinformation on the social network.

      In press statements, Senator Mark R. Warner (D-VA) said the company’s actions were “deeply concerning,” while Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) said she was “deeply troubled” by the news. Creator of the Firefox browser, Mozilla, which conducted a privacy audit of the academics’ work, said Facebook’s justification for banning the researchers was “wrong.”

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • From a High-School Cheerleader, a Lesson in Free Speech

      The rhetoric around the First Amendment tends to be incredibly misinformed. On one side are the First Amendment absolutists who act like proscribing any speech—even hate speech, or even when the prohibition is made by a private company—is tantamount to an assault on the very concept of freedom and liberty. Usually, these absolutists are screaming at people on the other side who haven’t actually thought through how wide-reaching government restrictions on speech—“Ban Fox News!” “Ban people who lie!”—would lead to an utter dystopia.1

    • Man Who Sued Apple For Failing To Save Him From Porn Now Suing US Attorney General To Strike Down Section 230

      Batshit litigant and armchair legislator Chris Sevier is back! The man who once sued Apple because he could access porn from his laptop (entendre intended) is still vexing courthouses with his attempts to sue his way back into the good graces of social media platforms after being asked to leave because [taps "batshit" in opening sentence].

    • Sanitising Censorship: The Twitter-AP-Reuters News Partnership

      Bringing aboard these news giants is no guarantee that the text and information provided will be authoritative, credible or reliable. News wires are not immune to being disseminators of inaccurate information, or information that is slanted in favour of a power or interest. Often, they hide behind their reputations even as they ventriloquise different interests and planted narratives.

    • Iran Internet Censorship Plan: State Media Warn About Its Consequences

      The regime is trying to approve the [Internet] censorship plan. At the same time, protest “Gatherings that do not have a definite beginning and end,” “However, they are formed under different pretexts,” According to the state-run Arman.

    • Nobel laureates accuse China of attempting to censor Taiwanese chemist

      The NAS confirms that it received communication from the Chinese embassy in Washington DC requesting that Lee and the Dalai Lama – a Nobel Peace Prize recipient – be removed as speakers at the summit. The Chinese embassy made this request to a senior NAS official in late March and again in early April, according to the Nobel laureates. After being told twice that the two would still attend, they say the embassy emailed the NAS again immediately before the summit to make the same request and it was denied again.

    • Atheist sacked by West Midlands Trains for Muslim jibe ‘is protected by law’

      A train conductor who was sacked after posting on social media that he did not want to live in a “Muslim alcohol-free caliphate” is protected by equality law, a judge has ruled.

  • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Inside the Fight for Press Freedom in Pakistan

      Islamabad—Pakistan’s press, once a fertile breeding ground for reporters and activists, has become a graveyard of murdered careers. Such is the case of Asad Ali Toor, a journalist and vlogger based in the capital who is known as an outspoken critic of the military.

    • Russian Defamation Trial Threatens British Press Freedom: Activists

      Press freedom advocates say the courts are being used to silence journalists.

      “The concern here is that this could lead to — and it’s intended to lead to — a climate of fear which would inhibit investigative journalism, which would inhibit the questioning of those who exercise huge power and wealth and influence. It’s about Russia. It’s about Russian money, but it’s also about Russian influence in the U.K,” said Seamus Dooley, assistant general secretary of Britain’s National Union of Journalists, in an interview with VOA.

    • Support for Craig Murray

      Without getting into the details, Murray was said to have published enough information that it would become possible to identify said accusers. It was exactly as contrived as it sounds, and was nothing but an exercise in singling out one of the few voices a) defending Salmond, and b) reporting the obvious political machinations behind the trial in the first place.

      The eventual (unprecedented) conviction – as in all cases where the state is exerting power for its own sake – was a foregone conclusion. And Mr Murray is on his way to reside at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for eight months. The first time a British court has jailed a journalist for contempt in over fifty years.

      And he has already been denied the right to launch an appeal.

    • The end game: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is slowly dying in a UK prison, as the US maintains its fight to have him die in theirs – but there is hope

      It’s a shocking precedent: the judgement accepted US prosecutors’ arguments that national-security journalism can be considered a form of espionage no matter where it occurs, leaving other publishers and journalists open to being charged as spies.

      This chilling finding had a catch: the magistrate recognised that burying people alive in the US prison system could kill them. “I am satisfied that, in these harsh conditions, Mr Assange’s mental health would deteriorate causing him to commit suicide with the ‘single-minded determination’ of his autism spectrum disorder … I find that the mental condition of Mr Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America.”

    • Daphne Caruana Galizia: Malta responsible for journalist death – inquiry

      A public inquiry into the assassination of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has found the state responsible for her death.

      The report said the state had failed to recognise risks to the reporter’s life and take reasonable steps to avoid them.

      Caruana Galizia died in a car bomb attack near her home in October 2017.

    • Craig Murray’s eight-month prison sentence is vindictive and a sad day for Scottish justice – Kenny MacAskill

      It’ll be no surprise that I view Craig Murray’s imprisonment as harsh and oppressive, as their Lordships would opine. That this happened in Scotland and the government and its supporters have been silent speaks volumes. Imagine the outrage from the usual suspects had this been Catalonia?

    • Zambian radio station transmitter damaged in arson attack

      The fire did not damage the inside of the radio station, but the damage to the transmission cables prevented them from broadcasting for two days, he said.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • If Roe v. Wade Is Overturned, the Future Will Be Worse Than the Past

      If they are shrewd, the six antichoice justices on the Supreme Court will resist the urge to overturn Roe v. Wade when they decide next term on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. At issue is a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of gestation in explicit defiance of Roe, which protects abortion rights until around 24 weeks. Why hand the Democrats an issue that has worked well for them in purple states like Virginia? An attempt in 2012 to force women seeking abortions to have transvaginal ultrasounds backfired against Republicans so powerfully the state is now entirely under Democratic control.

    • Dial Down the Panic Over Critical Race Theory

      If you want your concerns to be heard, first of all, start by listening. What is your school actually teaching? It probably is not actually critical race theory. It almost certainly is not Marxism.

      Despite the red-baiting you may have heard on Fox News, you’d be hard pressed to find an American anywhere who actually advocates “the abolition of private property,” as one unhinged guest recently said critical race theory was advocating.

    • A new kind of ‘foreign agent’ Russian journalists risk a dreaded designation for reporting on army hazing, space-agency corruption, and much more. Felony liability looms, as well.

      In July, the Federal Security Service (FSB) published a draft order outlining what kinds of information could be used to “threaten the security of the Russian Federation.” This document is also meant to explain in which circumstances Russian citizens and foreign nationals are expected to self-report to the Justice Ministry and register as “foreign agents.” Failure to comply with these rules risks felony charges. Meduza breaks down what’s required here and what’s at stake for potential “foreign agents.”

    • Murmansk election officials reject Violetta Grudina’s candidacy due to links to Team Navalny

      Election officials in Murmansk have refused to register opposition politician Violetta Grudina as a candidate in the upcoming elections. Grudina, who was formerly the head of Alexey Navalny’s Murmansk campaign office, said the election commission cited her links to Team Navalny as the grounds for rejecting her candidacy. 

    • ACLU Sues Over ‘Illegal and Inhumane’ Migrant Transportation Order in Texas

      The ACLU on Thursday filed a federal lawsuit challenging an executive order issued last week by Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott restricting the ground transportation of certain migrants and directing state officials to “stop any vehicle upon reasonable suspicion of a violation,” citing the Covid-19 pandemic and the highly contagious Delta variant.

      “The order creates the perfect storm for racial profiling.”—Kate Huddleston, ACLU of Texas

    • Tlaib & Raskin Demand Answers From DHS About Rampant Racism Among Michigan CBP
    • ‘We Can’t Fight for Racial Justice if We Can’t Learn About Racial Injustice’

      Janine Jackson interviewed African American Policy Forum’s Luke Harris about critical race theory for the July 31, 2021, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript.

    • Rep. Ilhan Omar Backs Ballot Initiative That Would Abolish Minneapolis Police
    • Rep. Ilhan Omar Backs Ballot Initiative to Abolish Minneapolis Police & Create New Public Safety Department

      Congressmember Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, whose district includes Minneapolis, says she supports a ballot initiative to abolish the city’s police department and replace it with a new “Department of Public Safety.” Local activists have already gathered tens of thousands of signatures for the move. “We’ve had a very incompetent and brutal police department for a really long time,” says Omar, who adds that while much of the world associates the city’s cops with the murder of George Floyd, local residents have witnessed the department’s violence for much longer.

    • ‘In Belarus, it’s dangerous to be human’ How civil society organizations became the Lukashenko regime’s latest target

      In late July, the Belarusian authorities shut down 50 nonprofit organizations simultaneously, targeting human rights activists, as well as environmental, educational, and cultural groups. Dozens of other organizations are facing liquidation, but their members continue working despite police raids and criminal cases. Alexander Lukashenko (Alyaksandr Lukashenka) has openly accused human rights defenders, journalists, and environmentalists of organizing opposition protests — and even boasted to Vladimir Putin that his regime has started “actively” targeting civil society organizations and independent media. Meduza looks into why the Belarusian authorities are still carrying out large-scale repressions, despite the fact that there haven’t been mass protests in Belarus for some time now.

    • SpyCops: How the UK Police Infiltrated Over 1,000 Political Groups
    • Guns, Desperate Migrants, and Dangerous Drugs

      Mexico has tried just about everything to stop the flow of firearms from the north – passing strict gun control laws, imposing stiff penalties on traffickers, and pleading with U.S. authorities to stop the trafficking – but nothing has worked. So now it’s doing what any litigious American would do: it’s suing.

    • The Murder of Anna Politkovskaya Is Still Not Solved

      Whenever the Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya was asked if she feared losing her life as a result of the dangers of her job, the courageous war reporter said she’d rather not answer. Politkovskaya was superstitious and (even if half-heartedly) believed that voicing her fear of dying in the line of duty would make it a reality.

    • ED’S DESK: Newsbot At Murdoch Tabloid Helps Sum Up Quality Of #BLM Hit Piece Better Than Any Human Ever Could

      A few months ago, Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post rolled out a hit piece that even by its own appalling standards, stunk like sh*t. Literally. Chris Graham reports.

    • We Have Questions for DEF CON’s Puzzling Keynote Speaker, DHS Secretary Mayorkas

      If you’re less than optimistic about getting satisfying answers to these from the Secretary, here are some organizations who are actively working to protect the rights of people targeted by the Department of Homeland Security:

    • Low income leaves 35 million without holiday

      While access to holidays has grown over the last decade, the majority of low income families remain excluded. Overall, 28% of EU citizens can’t afford a one week holiday away from home – but that rises to 59.5 for people whose income is below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold (60% of the median).

    • Amazon Unlawfully Confiscated Union Literature, NLRB Finds

      Amazon illegally prohibited an employee from giving workers pro-union literature, confiscated that literature, and gave workers the impression that their organizing activity was being surveilled at the company’s Staten Island fulfillment center in New York, according to National Labor Relations Board charges and other documentation reviewed by Motherboard.

      An NLRB investigation found that Amazon illegally prohibited Connor Spence, a Staten Island employee involved in union organizing, from distributing pro-union literature in a break room on May 16—and then confiscated the literature—also in violation of U.S. labor law, according to evidence provided by the NLRB to the union’s attorney.

    • He was locked up and drugged in hospital for 2 years. Police got the wrong guy

      “Yet, the more Mr. Spriestersbach vocalized his innocence by asserting that he is not Mr. Castleberry, the more he was declared delusional and psychotic by the H.S.H. staff and doctors and heavily medicated,” the petition said.

      “It was understandable that Mr. Spriestersbach was in an agitated state when he was being wrongfully incarcerated for Mr. Castleberry’s crime and despite his continual denial of being Mr. Castleberry and providing all of his relevant identification and places where he was located during Mr. Castleberry’s court appearances, no one would believe him or take any meaningful steps to verify his identity and determine that what Mr. Spriestersbach was telling the truth — he was not Mr. Castleberry.”

    • Iran Sentences German And British Dual Nationals To More Than 10 Years In Prison

      In recent years, Iranian authorities have jailed dozens of dual nationals, including journalists, academics, and human rights defenders.

      Rights activists accuse Iran of trying to win concessions from other countries through such arrests. Tehran, which does not recognize dual nationality, denies holding people for political reasons.

      “The noticeable accumulation of cases in which dual nationals are imprisoned without specific allegations of offenses indicates that the intent is to put pressure on the governments concerned,” said Dieter Karg, an Iran expert at Amnesty International in Germany, in February.

    • Indonesian army set to remove gender-based health checks, end so-called ‘virginity testing’

      “Health checks on prospective soldiers of the Women’s Army Corps must be the same as medical examination requirements for male TNI AD soldiers,” he said in a video uploaded to the military’s official YouTube channel.

    • Zola and the Limits of the Internet Movie

      Zola was anticipated. This is in part because the film, based on a viral 2015 Twitter thread written by blogger and stripper A’Ziah (“Zola”) King, faced delay after delay. Its original director, James Franco, dropped out in 2017 and was replaced by Janicza Bravo, who rewrote the script with playwright Jeremy O. Harris. After the film finally premiered at Sundance in January 2020, its theatrical release was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Zola is also something of a test case. As a cinematic adaptation of a story first told on social media, it features at its center unresolved questions about how to translate into film true-ish stories of contemporary life, particularly life online. What do writers and actors owe to their characters’ real-life analogues? When can embellishments bring a story closer to communicating truth? And, most important for understanding Zola, how can a movie depict the dizzying feeling of falling in love with an augmented persona, and then the disappointment in discovering its falseness?

    • Zola: How a road trip became a viral story of sex trafficking

      Despite its serious undertone, the original story – now deleted on Twitter, but preserved elsewhere on the [Internet] – was told with such humour that the thread went viral and was retweeted by celebrities including Missy Elliott and Solange Knowles. Bravo, the director, also became aware of it – and immediately saw it as a film.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Why Community Broadband Matters

      It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning, health care, and to stay connected. Yet, by one definition, more than 30 million Americans live in areas where there is no broadband infrastructure that provides minimally acceptable speeds.

      Going further, it warned, “Americans in rural areas and on tribal lands particularly lack adequate access.”

  • Monopolies

    • Patents

      • Australian Court Ridiculously Says That AI Can Be An Inventor, Get Patents

        There have been some questions raised about whether or not AI-created works deserve intellectual property protection. Indeed, while we (along with many others) laughed along at the trial about the monkey selfie, we had noted all along, that the law firm pushing to give the monkey (and with it, PETA) the copyright on the photo was almost certainly trying to tee up a useful case to argue that AI can get copyright and patents as well. Thankfully, the courts (and later the US Copyright Office) determined that copyrights require a human author.

      • [Old] British American Tobacco burnt by Patents Court judgment on heat-not-burn devices

        We review the High Court’s decision in Philip Morris Products, SA & Philip Morris Limited v Rai Strategic Holdings, Inc & Nicoventures Trading Limited [2021] EWHC 537 (Pat). The court conducted an assessment of the validity of two patents held by British American Tobacco for heat-not-burn (“HNB”) tobacco products. The court held that the patents were invalid both for lack of inventive step and for added matter.

      • [Old] If You Can’t Build it, They Won’t Come: No Obviousness Based on Fanciful Engine Design

        Reaffirming that a person of ordinary skill in the art must have been able to actually create a disclosure at the time of invention in order for it to serve as an obviousness reference, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit reversed a decision by the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (the Board) in an inter partes review (IPR), concluding that a patent covering certain turbofan engine technology was not rendered obvious by a prior art publication that could not be realized into practice. Raytheon Techs. Corp. v. General Electric Co., Case No. 20-1755 (Fed. Cir. Apr. 16, 2021) (Chen, J.)

    • Trademarks

      • Oatly Loses Trademark Suit Against Glebe Farm Foods’ PureOaty Product

        A couple of months back, we discussed something of a silly lawsuit overseas between Oatly, a large oat-milk manufacturer, and Glebe Farm Foods over its own PureOaty drink. At issue were Oatly’s own trademarks and its claims that PureOaty infringed on those marks. As we noted at the time, because the word “oat” is descriptive of the products in both cases, and with PureOaty using the “pure” as a differentiator among other things, this was a trademark claim that essentially came down to the letter “y”. And, yes, that is dumb. Especially when you consider that there are significant differences when it comes to PureOaty’s trade dress.

    • Copyrights

      • Same Old Spin: Why Access Copyright Needs a Reality Check on Canadian Copyright

        Access Copyright and its allies owe it to their members to provide them with a reality check but instead they simultaneously downplay the decision and immediately lobby for legislative reform. Here’s the reality: the Supreme Court says in this case that “increasing public access to and dissemination of artistic and intellectual works, which enrich society and often provide users with the tools and inspiration to generate works of their own, is a primary goal of copyright”, the copyright review already rejected reforms, and the world is moving on with more licensing choices and greater flexibility. This leaves Access Copyright increasingly irrelevant without an effort to compete in the marketplace alongside a failed litigation and lobbying strategy. Rather than going back to the same playbook yet again, it should consider that its legal theories have been rejected by the Supreme Court in multiple cases and a new approach based on legal realities is long overdue.

      • New License Enforcement Principles for Public Comment

        There are several elements to our plans, but the centerpiece today is a draft Statement of Principles Around License Enforcement. We recognize that these principles have limited legal “bite,” given that CC does not hold the copyright to community works. However, we believe there is value in articulating what CC believes is license enforcement that upholds the spirit and intent of the licenses. We also foresee other possible mechanisms for these principles to be useful, including integration of the principles into community codes of conduct and adoption by major rights holders. 

      • Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit has unearthed a huge problem with streaming

        But with the shift to streaming, things have had to change. Actors and producers working with a streamer like Netflix are typically paid a set fee, an industry attorney who negotiates contracts for top-level talent told The Verge. (The attorney asked not to be named so as to speak freely about the topic.) If they’re lucky enough to have significant leverage, they could also potentially secure a bonus premium fee that’s a contractual dollar amount paid out over months or quarters. But it’s not performance-based like box office bonuses are. Netflix often pays out this prenegotiated sum in eight quarterly installments following a title’s release, the attorney said, while Apple tends to pay out a little quicker over 12 months.

        Because the space is changing so quickly, part of this attorney’s role in contract negotiations now is to “read the tea leaves and project where the deals are going to go.”

        The old way of negotiating talent earnings has changed rapidly. According to Johansson’s complaint, terms of her Black Widow release were initially finalized in 2017 — early enough that Disney Plus hadn’t been announced, and Johansson’s team evidently didn’t think it was necessary to negotiate terms around streaming. Her contract specified Black Widow would debut with a “wide theatrical release,” but that it would be exclusively theatrical appears to have been only an understanding.

      • Record Labels Sue Charter Again For Failing to Disconnect Pirating Subscribers

        A group of major music publishing companies has filed another copyright infringement lawsuit against Charter Communications. The companies argue that, despite repeated warnings, the ISP still fails to take action against pirating subscribers. The new lawsuit covers more recent infringements that started in 2018.

      • Olympics Piracy: Taiwan Lawmakers Criticize Public Figures For Set-Top Box Use

        In common with many countries, Taiwan is hoping to deter its citizens from using piracy-configured set-top boxes. In recent days, however, public figures including the former mayor of New Taipei City and the CEO of the country’s first professional basketball league have been accused of using pirate devices to view the Olympics. Lawmakers are not impressed.

      • Olympics Copyright Insanity Rules Again: Gold Medal Winner Blocked From Sharing Her Own Victory

        Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica won both the women’s 100 meter and 200 meter gold medals at the Olympics this year, and then did the super piratey thing of… excitedly posting snippets of her victories to Instagram, which responded by blocking her account for copyright violations. She wrote the following in a now deleted tweet:

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  1. The GUI Challenge

    The latest article from Andy concerns the Command Line Challenge

  2. Links 17/1/2022: digiKam 7.5.0 and GhostBSD 22.01.12 Released

    Links for the day

  3. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 16, 2022

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 16, 2022

  4. Links 17/1/2022: postmarketOS 21.12 Service Pack 1 and Mumble 1.4 Released

    Links for the day

  5. [Meme] Gemini Space (or Geminispace): From 441 Working Capsules to 1,600 Working Capsules in Just 12 Months

    Gemini space now boasts 1,600 working capsules, a massive growth compared to last January, as we noted the other day (1,600 is now official)

  6. [Meme] European Patent Office Space

    The EPO maintains a culture of illegal surveillance, inherited from Benoît Battistelli and taken to a whole new level by António Campinos

  7. Gemini Rings (Like Webrings) and Shared Spaces in Geminspace

    Much like the Web of 20+ years ago, Gemini lets online communities — real communities (not abused tenants, groomed to be ‘monetised’ like in Facebook or Flickr) — form networks, guilds, and rings

  8. Links 16/1/2022: Latte Dock 0.11 and librest 0.9.0

    Links for the day

  9. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

    In an overt attack on the people who actually did all the work — the geeks who built excellent software to be gradually privatised through the Linux Foundation (a sort of price-fixing and openwashing cartel for shared interests of proprietary software firms) — is receiving more widespread condemnation; even the OSI has been bribed to become a part-time Microsoft outsourcer as organisations are easier to corrupt than communities

  10. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

    The António Campinos-led EPO works for imperialism, it not only protects the rich; sadly, António’s father isn’t alive anymore and surely he would blast his son for doing what he does to progress his career while lying to staff and European citizens

  11. Links 16/1/2022: Tsunami and Patents

    Links for the day

  12. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 15, 2022

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 15, 2022

  13. Links 16/1/2022: Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop and Catch-up With Patent Misinformation

    Links for the day

  14. Patrick Breyer, Unlike Most German Politicians, Highlights the Fact That Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent Are Incompatible With EU Law

    A longtime critic of EPO abuses (under both Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos leadership), as well as a vocal critic of software patents, steps in to point out the very obvious

  15. Links 15/1/2022: Flameshot 11.0 and Libvirt 8.0

    Links for the day

  16. Blogging and Microblogging in Geminispace With Gemini Protocol

    Writing one’s thoughts and other things in Geminispace — even without setting up a Gemini server — is totally possible; gateways and services do exist for this purpose

  17. Links 15/1/2022: Raspberry Pi in Business

    Links for the day

  18. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 14, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 14, 2022

  19. Gemini Clients: Comparing Moonlander, Telescope, Amfora, Kristall, and Lagrange (Newer and Older)

    There are many independent implementations of clients (similar to Web browsers) that deal with Gemini protocol and today we compare them visually, using Techrights as a test case/capsule

  20. 2022 Starts With Censorship of Christmas and Other Greetings at the EPO

    The nihilists who run the EPO want a monopoly on holiday greetings; to make matters worse, they’re censoring staff representatives in their intranet whilst inconsistently applying said policies

  21. Links 14/1/2022: FFmpeg 5.0 and Wine 7.0 RC6

    Links for the day

  22. White House Asking Proprietary Software Companies That Add NSA Back Doors About Their Views on 'Open Source' Security

    The US government wants us to think that in order to tackle security issues we need to reach out to the collective 'wisdom' of the very culprits who created the security mess in the first place (even by intention, for imperialistic objectives)

  23. Links 14/1/2022: EasyOS 3.2.1 and Qt 6.3 Alpha

    Links for the day

  24. Scientific Excellence and the Debian Social Contract

    The Debian Project turns 30 next year; in spite of it being so ubiquitous (most of the important distros of GNU/Linux are based on Debian) it is suffering growing pains and some of that boils down to corporate cash and toxic, deeply divisive politics

  25. Links 14/1/2022: openSUSE Leap 15.2 EoL, VFX Designers Are Using GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  26. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 13, 2022

  27. 2022 Commences With Microsoft-Themed (and Microsoft-Connected) FUD Against GNU/Linux

    A psychopathic Microsoft, aided by operatives inside the mainstream and so-called 'tech' media, keeps spreading old and invalid stigma about "Linux" and Free software; few people still bother responding to these fact-free FUD campaigns, which boil down to ‘perception management’ PR/propaganda

  28. Between January 2021 and January 2022 the Number of Active Gemini Capsules Nearly Quadrupled Based on Publicly-Available Catalogue of Capsules

    Geminispace has grown to about 2,000 known capsules and 1,600 of them are active, permanently online, fully accessible; in January last year these numbers were about 4 times smaller

  29. Links 13/1/2022: NetworkManager 1.34 and Everett 3.0.0

    Links for the day

  30. Links 13/1/2022: Sparky 5.16, Fwupd 1.7.4, and KDE Plasma 5.24 Beta Released

    Links for the day

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