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Links 30/11/2021: KDE Plasma 5.23.4, 4MLinux 38.0, Long GitHub Downtime, and Microsoft’s CEO Selling Away Shares

Posted in News Roundup at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Applications

      • Best Torrent Client For Linux Based Operating Systems

        The term “torrent” refers to file sharing through a decentralized, peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing network. Torrents are an excellent source to download large files. P2P file-sharing protocols allow users to exchange files without uploading them to the server. They transform your PC into part of a host where files are shared as it’s downloaded, so while you’re downloading files from another host, you’re likewise helping other people as they download the part of the files that you have downloaded from another host.

        In this article, we are going to discuss or list out the best torrent client for Linux-based operating systems. So, if you are a Linux user and looking for the best torrent client then you are at the right place.

      • What is Apache Cassandra | Introduction To Cassandra

        In this article, we are going to learn about NoSQL concepts in high level as it’s family plays vital role in the BigData market. We will also discuss what is Cassandra which is the market leading NoSQL DB, Cassandra architecture, key components and and its use cases in detail.

        In this article, we have gone through the overview of NoSQL database concepts and basic architecture of Cassandra. We will walk through the installation of Cassandra in upcoming articles.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to install Extreme Tuxracer on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install Extreme Tuxracer 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.

      • How To Install Google Cloud SDK on Linux Mint 20 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Google Cloud SDK on Linux Mint 20. For those of you who didn’t know, Google Cloud SDK (Software Development Kit) provides a set of tools that are used to manage resources hosted on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). Good Cloud SDK presents a number of important command-line tools such as gcloud, gsutil and bq that enable effective management of applications and other resources in the Google Cloud

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of a Google Cloud SDK on a Linux Mint 20 (Ulyana).

      • Shortcuts for adding multiple lines of text to files on Linux | Network World

        There are a number of ways to add text to files on Linux systems without having to open an editor, such as the echo and printf commands. On the other hand, when you need to add A LOT of text, the technique you use can make the job tedious or a piece of cake.

        This post describes some of the commands you can use and the problems and benefits you can expect.

    • Games

      • Party-based RPG Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness sees a huge update

        After entering Early Access in August, and then releasing a Linux native version in October, Black Geyser: Couriers of Darkness just got a nice big upgrade for all players.

        “Explore a land plagued by war, pestilence and mysterious abductions, and uncover the hidden legacy of your birth. Recruit powerful allies to your cause; achieve your goals through sorcery, stealth, a silver tongue or brute force; and discover the truth of the Black Geyser.

        Developed by a small indie team and inspired by cRPG classics like Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale, Black Geyser features challenging real time tactical combat with pause, deep lore and memorable companions, all set in a sprawling, unique fantasy world.”

      • Valve puts up official developer FAQ for the Steam Deck | GamingOnLinux

        With the Steamworks Virtual Conference: Steam Deck over now, Valve has put up their own official set of answers to various common questions.

        Plenty of it we’ve already covered and explained in previous articles like native versus Proton, and expanded details on what we learned from the conference. Still, it’s always good to have a few reminders for people that missed it.

      • Developing A Game Engine with Perl | Shawn [blogs.perl.org]

        To most in the know, coding a game engine with Perl would be a surprise. I’ve certainly been asked, “Why Perl?”. You see, unlike C++, C#, Java and others, which are well established languages in game engine design, Perl is not (well) known for it’s role in the development of games. Especially not as a game engine language. You are much more likely to see Perl managing the network infrastructure for the gaming industry then you are to see it powering your favourite video games.

      • NordicTrack Patches Out ‘God Mode’ In Treadmills That Allowed Users To Watch Anything On Its Display

        If you are a console gamer of a certain age, you will remember the bullshit Sony pulled when it patched its PS3 systems to remove useful features it had used as selling points for the console to begin with. Essentially, the PS3 had a feature that allowed you to install another operating system on it. This was used by hobbyists, companies, and the US Military alike to creatively use PS3s for purposes other than that for which they were built, such as research supercomputers and creating homebrew PS3 games. Sony later decided that those features could also be used for piracy or other nefarious actions and so patched it out. Sell the console with a feature, remove it later after the purchase… and then get sued in a class action, as it turned out.

      • GOG to go through some reorganization after suffering losses | GamingOnLinux

        While Steam continues to do well with it being the most popular games store, it seems CD PROJEKT Group’s store GOG is really starting to struggle.

        CD PROJEKT recently released their latest financial results, along with a call with investors that went over how the whole business is doing. It’s not all bad news for them, since they saw overall 38% more sales revenue compared to the third quarter of last year. On the GOG side though, it posted increasing losses and so it’s going to be restructured.

      • GOverlay for editing MangoHud gets a new Steam Deck friendly UI | GamingOnLinux

        GOverlay is an application that helps to manage Linux gaming tools like the MangoHud performance overlay, the Vulkan post-processing layer vkBasalt and the video capture tool ReplaySorcery.

        Over time GOverlay has supported an increasing amount of options, and the UI ended up pretty cluttered and confusing – not to mention it needing a lot of monitor space. GOverlay release 0.7 goes a long way towards fixing that, with a new tabbed interface to spread things out a bit.

      • Ubisoft suggest posting on their forum for Proton support in Rainbow Six Siege | GamingOnLinux

        Now that getting games that use BattlEye for anti-cheat working on Linux (either native or through Proton) is much easier, an Ubisoft rep suggests people post in their forum to show demand for it.

        In response to a post on their official forum asking about Ubisoft hooking it all up, the rep mentioned they can pass the feedback onto developers and that hopefully “other players will reply here in favor of Proton support and the development team may then look to implement it”. It’s not exactly much and a pretty bog-standard response but it’s a reply nonetheless and isn’t being ignored.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE developer suggests Plasma needs to be simpler by default

          KDE developer Nate Graham, the same person who recently said they may become the “Windows or Android” of the FOSS world is back again with more thoughts – this time about keeping it simple.

          The Plasma desktop is pretty darn powerful, that’s for sure and it has a massive amount of customization options for practically every little thing. For many people this is great, however it can also have a detrimental affect on the experience by new users and users less comfortable with computing. So what’s the answer? Graham thinks they need to keep things simpler out of the box.

        • Who is the target user?

          As a teenager, I played a lot of Vampire the Masquerade (VtM)–a tabletop role-playing game. One of the skills in which your character could become experienced was Computers, with ability measured from 0 to 5 dots…

          This little table has stayed with me over time. As simple and crude as it is, I think it provides a reasonable measurement scale that can be used to guide software development: you need to decide how many dots in Computers a user must have before they can use your software, which helps you organize the user interface and prioritize features.

          My sense is that currently most Linux-based software targets people with three dots in Computers or more, but is often usable for people with two dots. My wife is a solidly two-dot user who is happily using KDE Neon as her distro.

        • A Call For KDE To Fully Embrace Simplicity By Default, Appeal To More Novice Users
        • KDE Plasma 5.23.4, Bugfix Release for November

          Tuesday, 30 November 2021. Today KDE releases a bugfix update to KDE Plasma 5, versioned 5.23.4.

          Plasma 5.23 was released in October 2021 with many feature refinements and new modules to complete the desktop experience.

          This release adds three weeks’ worth of new translations and fixes from KDE’s contributors. The bugfixes are typically small but important and include…

        • KDE Plasma 5.23.4 Update Brings Back the Touchpad Applet, Fixes More Bugs

          KDE Plasma 5.23.4 is here three weeks after the KDE Plasma 5.23.3 update and it restores the Touchpad applet that was previously available in the Plasma 5.22 series. The applet is now available as a read-only status notifier that only shows when your laptop’s touchpad has been disabled.

          This point release also improves the Plasma Wayland session to allow users to run XWayland apps as a different user, improves the Media Frame applet to display images from folders that contain unusual characters like backticks in their names, and improves the notification about critical battery level to automatically disappear when you connect your laptop to its charger.

    • Distributions

      • elementary OS 6 Intros a Simpler Alt Tab Experience

        A recent update replaced the distro’s flashy (in both senses of the word) alt + tab experience with a simpler version. The new approach is more akin to the sort of switchers found in other Linux desktop environments and other desktop operating systems.

        To better illustrate the change here’s a gif that shows what window switching looked like in elementary OS 6 previously…

      • New Releases

        • OSMC’s November update is here with Kodi 19.3 – OSMC

          At the end of the Summer, we released our largest update ever delivering a new version of Kodi, an improved video stack, support for new Raspberry Pi models and a large number of improvements and fixes.

          Since then, we’ve been working hard to deliver another significant update. This update also features Kodi v19.3 which has a number of bug fixes. One of the more significant changes in Kodi v19.3 includes a fix which improves the playback of videos which have high-bitrate TrueHD tracks. This would previously result in drop-outs when playing back some titles with HD audio passthrough enabled.

        • elementary OS 6 Updates for November, 2021 ⋅ elementary Blog

          This past week was Thanksgiving in the US, which for my family means decorating for the holidays is in full swing. In a similar vein, we’ve spent some extra time over the past month focusing on both visual and functional polish to make sure elementary OS 6 looks as good and works as well as it can—read on for the details!

        • 4MLinux 38.0 Released with New Apps, Basic Support for 32-bit Apps, and a Games Pack

          Coming four months after 4MLinux 37.0, the 4MLinux 38.0 release is here to introduce basic support for 32-bit apps, as well as a new downloadable extension called 4MLinux GamePack that includes a big collection of classic Linux games, which you can download from here.

          It also comes with several new pre-installed apps, including the Audacity audio editor, Musique audio player, GQmpeg music player, Minitube player for YouTube, wxCam webcam app, xmp CLI module player, as well as the GRUB2 bootloader.

        • 4MLinux Releases: 4MLinux 38.0 STABLE released.

          The status of the 4MLinux 38.0 series has been changed to STABLE. Edit your documents with LibreOffice and GNOME Office (AbiWord 3.0.5, GIMP 2.10.28, Gnumeric 1.12.50), share your files using DropBox 133.4.4089, surf the Internet with Firefox 94.02 and Chromium 93.0.4577.82, send emails via Thunderbird 91.3.2, enjoy your music collection with Audacious 4.1, watch your favorite videos with VLC 3.0.16 and mpv 0.33.1, play games powered by Mesa 21.1.6 and Wine 6.19. You can also setup the 4MLinux LAMP Server (Linux 5.10.79, Apache 2.4.51, MariaDB 10.6.4, PHP 5.6.40 and PHP 7.4.25). Perl 5.32.1, Python 2.7.18, and Python 3.9.4 are also available.

      • Debian Family

      • AWS

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Raspberry Pi 4 PLC Industrial controller targets IIoT applications

        I’ve just noticed Boot&Work Corp was now offering an “Industrial Shields” branded PLC industrial computer powered by Raspberry Pi 4 SBC. We previously covered the company in 2017 at a time when they provided Arduino-based PLC modules optionally controlled with 10.1-inch panel PCs based on ARM Linux SBCs such as Raspberry Pi or Banana Pi.

        The “Raspberry Pi PLC Industrial Controller” is offered with either optoisolated outputs or relay outputs, and optional GPRS connectivity. The Linux PLC is equipped with up to 36 digital inputs, 16 analog inputs, 8 analog outputs, and 6 interrupts, as well as communication interfaces such as CAN bus, up to 2x Ethernet ports, dual RS-485, WiFi, and Bluetooth.

      • Programming/Development

        • Responsively App Is A Browser For Fast Responsive Web Development (Free And Open Source)

          The application had its first public release back in March 2020, and is already quite popular, but I’ve only recently stumbled upon it and thought I’d share it with you.

          Main Responsively App features…

          The application also includes a live CSS editor, touch mode, design mode that allows users to edit HTML directly without dev tools, network speed emulation options, zoom, disable SSL validation, and support for various protocols (file://, ftp://, etc.), and much, much more.

          Using Responsively App, you also get network proxy support, light and dark themes and shortcut keys.

        • Musings on the OWASP Top 10

          The recently released OWASP Top 10 – a summary of the primary attack vectors used by ne’er-do-wells has taken a somewhat different approach than in previous years. As the report states, “This instalment of the Top 10 is more data-driven than ever but not blindly data-driven. We selected eight of the ten categories from contributed data and two categories from the Top 10 community survey at a high level. We do this for a fundamental reason, looking at the contributed data is looking into the past. AppSec researchers take time to find new vulnerabilities and new ways to test for them. It takes time to integrate these tests into tools and processes. By the time we can reliably test a weakness at scale, years have likely passed. To balance that view, we use an community survey to ask application security and development experts on the front lines what they see as essential weaknesses that the data may not show yet.”

        • Spatial AI And CV Hack Chat | Hackaday

          A lot of what we take for granted these days existed only in the realm of science fiction not all that long ago. And perhaps nowhere is this more true than in the field of machine vision. The little bounding box that pops up around everyone’s face when you go to take a picture with your cell phone is a perfect example; it seems so trivial now, but just think about what’s involved in putting that little yellow box on the screen, and how it would not have been plausible just 20 years ago.

  • Leftovers

    • Giving Josephine Baker a Hero’s Grave Won’t Bury the Truth…

      As a student in Paris in the fall of 1990, my lodgings were the envy of my peers—even if the means by which I came about them were not. While fellow language students from my university in Edinburgh were stuck in soulless suburbs, I was ensconced in Rue des Fossés Saint-Jacques, a short walk from the Jardin du Luxembourg and around the corner from the Panthéon.1

    • Hardware

      • Scrolling Name Badge Is Sure To Break The Ice | Hackaday

        The badge runs on an ATtiny45 and uses three 8×8 ultra-bright LED matrices for scrolling [Madison]’s name. It’s powered by a tiny LiPo battery that is boosted to 5 V. This build really shows off a number of skills, especially design. We love the look of this badge, from the pink silkscreen to the the typography. One of the hardest things about design is finding fonts that work well together, and we think [Madison] chose wisely. Be sure to check it out in action after the break.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Opinion | Omicron Shows Corporate Media Critics of China’s Zero-Covid Strategy Are Way Off the Mark

        As the new Omicron variant of Covid-19 threatens to eviscerate the false sense of security that political elites in many rich countries have felt since vaccines were rolled out at the beginning of the year, critics of China’s zero-Covid strategy may want to carefully reflect on why they have been so quick to dismiss Beijing’s stringent containment measures.

      • Opinion | Omicron: Vaccine Nationalism Is Prolonging the Pandemic

        The United Kingdom and wealthy European nations are in a panic. Unsurprisingly, hoarding huge swaths of the global vaccine supply has enabled the emergence of dangerous new variants of COVID-19. And once again, rich countries are punishing the victims of global vaccine inequality by slamming shut the borders to anyone from southern African nations.

      • WHO Chief Urges Pandemic Treaty to Avoid Another ‘Crisis of Sharing and Solidarity’

        As the World Health Organization warned of a “very high” global risk posed by the Omicron variant of Covid-19, representatives from the body’s 194 member states gathered in Geneva to forge a treaty aimed at preparing the world for the next pandemic—with public health officials warning that the emergence of Omicron should push governments to embrace global solidarity to avoid another disastrous public health crisis.

        “Vaccine equity is not charity; it’s in every country’s best interests. No country can vaccinate its way out of the Covid-19 pandemic alone.”

      • Ireland’s two-tier health insurance system
      • Unnecessary and Complicated Transfers Are Spreading COVID in Federal Prisons
      • Capitalism Must Not Dictate Our Response to Omicron Variant
      • They Knew Industrial Pollution Was Ruining the Neighborhood’s Air. If Only Regulators Had Listened.

        The white ranch house in Pascagoula, Mississippi, was supposed to be Barbara Weckesser’s retirement plan. In 2010, it was getting harder for the real estate agent and her husband to climb the stairs of their home on Dauphin Island, Alabama. She imagined a quiet existence of gardening and puttering around her porch. The Cherokee Forest subdivision seemed like just the place to do it. Rabbits wandered the lawns among the dozens of modest homes built in the 1960s and ’70s; families stayed put for decades. The ranch was a fixer-upper, so the couple tackled it together, installing drywall and hanging up new doors and cabinets.

      • Health Justice Advocates Say Vaccine Equity, Not “Racist” Travel Bans, Will Stop the Omicron Variant

        We go to Cape Town, South Africa, to speak with a leading health justice advocate about how scientists in the country have identified a new Omicron coronavirus variant, and the World Health Organization warns it could be more transmissible than previous variants. Against the advice of the WHO, several countries have closed their borders to foreign travelers. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa criticized the travel bans and called on wealthy nations to help poorer nations gain greater access to COVID vaccines. The bans are “actually quite racist,” says Fatima Hassan, founder and director of Health Justice Initiative. “We need to urgently … vaccinate as many people in Africa as possible.”

      • India’s Farmers Win on Many Fronts, Media Fails on All
      • Leonard C. Goodman lays down antivax tropes to argue against vaccinating children

        I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I spent three years at the University of Chicago in the late 1990s, which is why I’m familiar with The Chicago Reader. It’s one of those free alternative weekly newspapers that most large cities have. (In Detroit it’s the Metro Times.) Of course, things change, and I haven’t lived in Chicago for over 20 years. I do, however, frequently visit because I have family there and Chicago is a popular site for medical meetings; so I have read the Reader from time to time, although not recently. (Thanks to the pandemic, I haven’t visited Chicago since the summer of 2019, and I don’t often read the Reader online.) Even so, I never would have expected what a reader sent me, an article by a criminal defense attorney named Leonard C. Goodman entitled Vaxxing our kids. Let’s just say that if Mr. Goodman claims not to be “antivax,” he sure does have a funny way of showing it, given that he credulously parrots a lot of COVID-19 antivaccine tropes, producing a very high density of antivaccine misinformation for a relatively short article.

      • Dental care too expensive for almost half of the population

        Triinu Võlli would see all medical bills presented to the Health Insurance Fund and not the patients. While the benefits scheme has brought some clients to visit the dentist, dentists have noticed that a “some for all” approach still leaves some people aside.

      • South Dakota’s Governor Succeeds in Blocking Voter-Approved Marijuana Legalization

        The court’s 4–1 decision does not affect Measure 26, which authorizes medical use of marijuana and passed with support from 70 percent of voters last November. But unless the state legislature independently implements the policy embodied in Amendment A, the ruling means supporters of broader legalization will have to try again next year with an initiative that addresses the court’s legal objections.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Microsoft’s GitHub back online after two-hour outage

          Microsoft-owned open-source developer platform GitHub is back online after experiencing a more than two-hour-long outage, affecting thousands or potentially millions of developers that rely on its many services.

          GitHub started experiencing issues at around 3.45 p.m. ET on Saturday, with Git operations, API requests, GitHub actions, packages, pages, and pull requests all affected, reports The Verge.

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Apple Sues NSO Group For Targeting IPhone Users With Powerful Exploits

              NSO Group’s year from hell continues. Apple is now suing the Israeli exploit hawker for hacking its customers’ iPhones — customers who include not only the supposed terrorists and dangerous criminals NSO claims its customers target with malware, but also journalists, activists, lawyers, ex-wives, religious leaders, US citizens, and government officials NSO claims its customers don’t target.

            • Yuval Noah Harari: Lessons from a year of Covid

              Both Israel and the UK have subsequently been in the forefront of rolling out the vaccines, but their early misjudgments cost them dearly. In Britain, the pandemic has claimed the lives of 120,000 people, placing it sixth in the world in average mortality rates. Meanwhile, Israel has the seventh highest average confirmed case rate, and to counter the disaster it resorted to a “vaccines for data” deal with the American corporation Pfizer. Pfizer agreed to provide Israel with enough vaccines for the entire population, in exchange for huge amounts of valuable data, raising concerns about privacy and data monopoly, and demonstrating that citizens’ data is now one of the most valuable state assets.

            • China’s Twitter-like Weibo plans $547 million Hong Kong listing

              US-listed Chinese microblogging platform Weibo is seeking to raise up to $547 million in a share offer in Hong Kong, documents showed Monday, the latest China tech company to list closer to home as tensions with the United States rise.

              Several US-listed Chinese tech firms such as Alibaba have held initial public offerings in Hong Kong over the past two years as the United States has stepped up scrutiny of Chinese companies.

            • Is “KAX17” performing de-anonymization Attacks against Tor Users?

              As middle and exit relays are frequently changed the likelihood to use KAX17′s relays increases with tor usage over time. We have no evidence, that they are actually performing de-anonymization attacks, but they are in a position to do so and the fact that someone runs such a large network fraction of relays “doing things” that ordinary relays can not do (intentionally vague), is enough to ring all kinds of alarm bells.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The NRA Could be Winning its Long Game Even as it Appears to be in Dire Straits

        On the one hand, more states are allowing Americans to carry weapons in public without permits, and the gun-rights movement could be on the verge of a major Supreme Court victory. On the other, the National Rifle Association, which advocates on behalf of gun owners, faces an existential crisisthat’s mostly due to the NRA’s own missteps.

        As a political scientist who has studied gun politics and policy for over 30 years, I’m confident that there is no precedent for this contradictory situation. Moreover, there’s no reason to believe that the NRA’s problems will influence how the courts treat gun-rights cases.

      • ‘For the Sake of Peace,’ Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

        As negotiations regarding Iran’s nuclear program convened in Vienna on Monday, more than three years after the U.S. walked away from an international agreement, anti-war groups called on the Biden administration “to choose the proven path of peace” and re-enter the pact for the benefit of Iranians, Americans, and the global population.

        “We’ve delayed long enough,” said Sara Haghdoosti, deputy director of the U.S.-based Win Without War. “For the sake of peace, for the sake of prosperity, for the security of people in Iran and the United States alike, it’s time to put differences aside and return to the Iran nuclear deal.”

      • Lying NYPD Officers Cost Prosecutors Sixty More Criminal Convictions

        Fighting crimes is easier when it’s not being done by criminals. A bunch of cases are being tossed in New York City because misbehaving NYPD officers left their dirty handprints all over them.

      • Iran Says US Must Lift ‘Tyrannical and Illegal’ Sanctions to Return to Nuclear Deal

        With Iran, China, European powers, and the U.S. set to resume nuclear talks in Vienna on Monday, Iranian negotiators made clear that the Biden administration must lift crippling economic sanctions if it hopes to return to the multilateral deal that former President Donald Trump abandoned in 2018.

        “The Islamic Republic of Iran has entered the talks with a strong will and elaborate preparations in order to ensure the removal of unlawful and cruel sanctions,” Ali Baqeri-Kani, Iranian deputy foreign minister for political affairs and the nation’s lead negotiator in Vienna, said Monday in an interview with the IRIB News Agency.

      • BLM Co-Founder Alicia Garza: Ahmaud Arbery Should Still Be With Us; Biden Must Condemn Vigilantes

        After a Georgia jury reached a verdict of “guilty” in the closely watched trial of three white men who chased and fatally shot 25-year-old unarmed Black man Ahmaud Arbery, many activists and racial justice advocates following the case have expressed some relief in hearing the conviction. We speak with Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, who says while it might feel important that the murders were held accountable for their actions, “justice would be that Ahmaud Arbery would still be with us today.” Garza also discusses the broader context of other trials of white supremacists, like Kyle Rittenhouse, and the role the federal government can play. “Unfortunately, I think the Biden-Harris administration could have been a lot stronger in their condemnation of this kind of behavior and activity,” says Garza. “But what we saw was actually more of a milquetoast response, which is especially concerning in this political context of white nationalism and a rise in vigilantism.”

      • Placing “Guardrails” on the US-China Nuclear Competition

        With the United States and China both speeding up the acquisition of new nuclear weapons, some analysts predicted that Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping would discuss limits on those munitions during their virtual summit on November 15. However, they barely touched on the matter, agreeing only that both sides should take steps to prevent the unintended escalation of future crises. As Biden told Xi during their three-hour exchange, the two sides need “commonsense guardrails to ensure that competition does not veer into conflict.” Yet no plans were made for negotiations leading to the adoption of such measures, so the US-China arms race will only gain further momentum.

      • Mosul, Destroyed by War, Waits to be Rebuilt While the Hunt for Hidden ISIS Treasure Goes On

        “A month ago, workers removing rubble from the ruins near my house found black plastic bags full of bank notes,” said Khalid, a 32-year-old resident of west Mosul, where the destruction is at its worst. “That is why reconstruction stopped temporarily.” The two workers who found the cash told him that the bags were splashed with mud and scorched by fire, but that the bank notes inside were undamaged.

        Khalid says that six months earlier $1.6m (£1.2m), along with gold and silver coins and ingots, were found by building workers excavating a bombed-out house. “Money and gold coins were found hidden in barrels and plastic bags buried three metres underground,” he said.

      • Democrats Push to Remove Boebert From Committees After Islamophobic Comments
      • Omar Hangs Up After Boebert Uses Call to Double Down on ‘Outright Bigotry and Hate’

        Congresswoman Ilhan Omar confirmed Monday that she promptly ended a call with Rep. Lauren Boebert because the Colorado Republican refused to publicly apologize for her recent remarks about the Minnesota Democrat and instead clung to her Islamophobic rhetoric.

        “Spewing this hate is as racist as it is dangerous.”

      • Where the Taliban Rule

        The Taliban’s own embrace of the media in recent years — placing opinion pieces in The New York Times and a cuddly representative in Doha during talks with the U.S. government — while no more self-serving than any other government’s, extends as far as it can benefit the group’s cause but not to independent outlets inside Afghanistan that threaten to challenge it.

      • British F-35 crashed into sea after failing to take off, leaked video reveals

        Given that the aircraft went down in about 1.24 miles of water, it is likely the search area on the sea bed will be a circle of about four miles in diameter. Royal Navy ships are remaining in the area to deter anyone else trying to recover the jet.

        However, defence sources said while the jet would have a locator device on board, the military would not want to activate this amid concerns it could alert rivals to its precise location.

      • With new Omicron variant looming, Republicans are now bribing people to avoid vaccination

        As Axios reported Monday morning, the concerted efforts to keep shots from going in arms have escalated in red states, with Republican politicians now openly bribing constituents not to get vaccinated. “Republican officials around the country are testing a creative mechanism to build loyalty with unvaccinated Americans while undermining Biden administration mandates: unemployment benefits,” the short piece explains. “Florida, Iowa, Kansas and Tennessee have changed their unemployment insurance rules to allow workers who are fired or quit over vaccine mandates to receive benefits.”

      • GOP courts anti-vaxxers with jobless aid

        The backdrop: On Sept. 8, President Biden announced a new rule requiring businesses with more than 100 employees to implement vaccine mandates, affecting roughly 80 million private-sector workers, as well as millions of federal workers and contractors.

      • Taliban and 9/11 Families Fight for Billions in Frozen Afghan Funds – The New York Times

        Nearly 20 years ago, about 150 family members of Sept. 11 victims sought a measure of justice for their losses by suing a list of targets like Al Qaeda and the Taliban. A decade later, a court found the defendants liable by default and ordered them to pay damages now worth about $7 billion.

        But with no way to collect it, the judgment seemed symbolic.

        Today, however, the Taliban are back in control of Afghanistan. The group’s leaders say their country’s central bank account at the Federal Reserve in New York, in which the former government accumulated about $7 billion from foreign aid and other sources, is rightfully theirs. And that in turn has raised a question: If the money is the Taliban’s, shouldn’t the plaintiffs in the Sept. 11 lawsuit be entitled to seize it?

        High-level officials in the Biden administration are now debating the answer to that question, which presents a complex knot of national security, legal, diplomatic and political problems — the latest example of how thorny issues stemming from the terrorist attacks remain unresolved more than two decades later.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • At COP 26, A Bigger, Stronger Climate Movement Made Its Mark

        This column is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration cofounded by Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

      • Opinion | Rich Nations’ COP26 Failures Are Modern Colonialism at Its Worst

        The refusal of the United States and fellow rich nations to compensate developing countries for the devastation wrought by air pollution and climate change smacks of a kind of modern colonialism at its worst.

      • Cyber Monday Report Reveals Climate-Wrecking Supply Chain of US Retail Giants

        As shoppers scoured the internet for holiday deals on Cyber Monday, a pair of environmental groups published a report that exposes the planet-heating maritime shipping practices of four major global retailers: Amazon, IKEA, Target, and Walmart.

        “Pandemic-fueled demand increases, record-breaking profits, and the supply chain crisis reveal the current maritime shipping system is ripe for transformation.”

      • New Research Finds Climate Emergency the ‘Overwhelming Factor’ Behind Australian Bushfires

        New research finds “a robust and multi-evidence link” between the climate crisis and Australia’s trend of worsening wildfires.

        “We need to be ready for more Black Summers—and worse.”

      • Shell Slammed for Plan to Blast South African Coastline for Oil and Gas During Whale Season

        Environmentalists responded with outrage to reports that oil giant Shell plans to spend the next several months conducting underwater explosions to search for deep-sea oil and gas reserves off South Africa’s coastline—a move that threatens to worsen the fossil fuel-driven climate crisis, undermine the livelihoods of fishers, and harm marine life.

        “Shell’s project has been allowed by our government, as if the threat of global heating from burning more and more fossil fuels doesn’t exist.”

      • Energy

        • Is the new crypto bill the end of the tunnel for crypto-trade in India?

          After a long-drawn debate regarding regulating cryptocurrency, the much-awaited “Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019″ draft was introduced in the Indian Parliament on 24th November, 2021.

          The legislation is a brief, a 17-pager draft with a slightly concerning title – with it being named “Banning of Cryptocurrency”, it, needless to say, dismayed many experts and crypto[currency]-enthusiasts.

          What does this draft Bill say?

        • Work set to begin on cross-border Finland to Sweden rail line

          The project will electrify the Laurila-Tornio-Haparanda section of the network, thereby opening up a cross-border rail connection between Finland and Sweden.

          Haparanda station reopened for passenger trains in March this year after a 29-year break, offering connections to long-distance trains in the south of Sweden.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • Behind the Science: How Do We Know How Many Shark Species Are at Risk?
        • Sen. Tester’s Wilderness Act Doesn’t Go Far Enough

          Paid pollsters with their surveys tell us it is a good thing. Businessmen looking for government handouts tell us the same fairy tale.  Yard signs in the well-healed, “smart” parts of university towns – “donor-class” neighborhoods — reinforce this narrow-minded, virtue-signaling, herd mentality. Tester’s collaborators pontificate, regurgitate.  It must be so. But is it so?

          “Stakeholders” (vested financial interests) proclaim their alleged “…love our mountains, valleys, rivers, fish, wildlife, and everything else available on our public lands.”  The difference between “love” and “available” is the difference between loving one’s spouse infinitely and loving a young beauty rented from an escort service for a one-night stand. Or if it is love, it is the kind that sentimentalizes desire and calls it love, where love is reduced to pity and an unconscious desire for exploitation.

        • Scientists peered into an octopus’ brain — and were astonished at what they saw

          Among the smartest animals on Earth, octopuses are unique for being utterly weird in their evolutionary path to developing those smarts. Philosopher Peter Godfrey-Smith has called the octopus the closest thing to an alien that we might encounter on Earth, and their bizarre anatomy speaks to this: An octopus’ mind isn’t concentrated in its head but spread throughout its body. Their tentacles are packed with neurons that endow each one with a hyperaware sense of touch, as well as the ability to smell and taste. Marine biologists have remarked that each tentacle sometimes seems like it has a mind of its own. Every octopus is a tactile thinker, constantly manipulating its surroundings with a body so soft it almost seems liquid.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Political Marriage of Todd Gitlin and Bill Kristol
      • Opinion | These So-Called “Moderate Centrists” Are Nothing But Corporate Extremists

        Long ago, in a United States that now seems far, far away, the coming-to-America story of Saule Omarova would be hailed as a stirring endorsement of our nation as a beacon for democracy seekers. Born in 1966 under the Communist dictatorship of the USSR, and raised under her Kazakh grandmother who’d lost the rest of her family to Stalinist purges, she grew up with a passion for Pink Floyd and political dissent that caused her to stay here in the U.S. after the Soviet regime collapsed while she was a grad student in Wisconsin.

      • Paperwork Keeps People Poor

        Months of negotiations over the Democrats’ agenda in Congress keep boiling down to one thing: What will Joe Manchin agree to? Since his vote is necessary to pass the party’s Build Back Better package, which includes funding on climate change, health care, housing, and caregiving, the conservative West Virginia senator has been calling many of the shots.

      • ‘Triumph for Democracy’: Socialist Candidate Takes Commanding Lead in Honduran Election

        Leftist presidential candidate Xiomara Castro took a decisive lead in Honduras’ election on Sunday, setting her up to defeat the right-wing incumbent party’s candidate—though progressive observers stressed the need to remain vigilant as ballots continue to be counted and reactionary forces ramp up misinformation following an apparently unsuccessful attempt to suppress voting.

        “Xiomara Castro’s likely victory is a testament to the will of the Honduran people to have their voices heard and their votes counted.”

      • How Steve Bannon Has Exploited Google Ads to Monetize Extremism

        Almost a year ago, Google took a major step to ensure that its ubiquitous online ad network didn’t put money in the pocket of Steve Bannon, the indicted former adviser to Donald Trump. The company kicked Bannon off YouTube, which Google owns, after he called for the beheading of Anthony Fauci and urged Trump supporters to come to Washington on Jan. 6 to try to overturn the presidential election results.

        Google also confirmed to ProPublica that it has at times blocked ads from appearing on Bannon’s War Room website alongside individual articles that violate Google’s rules.

      • Matthew McConaughey Says He Won’t Run for Governor of Texas Next Year
      • Trump May Win in 2024 If Democrats Keep Derailing Their Own Agenda
      • Facebook (Again) Tells Law Enforcement That Setting Up Fake Accounts Violates Its Terms Of Use

        Law enforcement agencies routinely engage in surveillance of social media accounts. Some of this is accomplished with third-party tools that use keywords and geofences to give cops info that may be relevant to investigations. These tools also give cops a lot of garbage data that law enforcement is free to sift through for officers’ own entertainment or to bypass constitutional protections surrounding speech and warrantless searches.

      • The Republicans Have Become the Party of Organized Violence

        On November 12, while promoting his new book, Betrayal, ABC News reporter Jonathan Karl released an audio recording of a conversation with Donald Trump. Responding to a question about the Capitol rioters who’d chanted “Hang Mike Pence,” Trump said those words were just “common sense,” given the fraudulence of the 2020 election. Two days later, Wyoming Republican Senator John Barrasso, who ran as a moderate but has since swung to the right, was asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos about Trump’s comment. Despite repeated prodding, Barrasso kept dodging the issue, emphasizing the need to move on and suggesting that there had been voting irregularities in the 2020 election that merited further investigation.

      • Now He Tells Us: David Brooks Suggests That the Republican Party Has Embraced Fascism

        These US Rightist “intellectuals” have in fact manufactured a “Left” that they can hate. It has almost nothing to do with any historical Left but is a convenient label for their fascistic attacks. It seems tailored to take advantage of some of the more divisive ideas of the Democrats, especially their “identity politics.” (More on this below). David Brooks points none of this out.

        Brooks’ focus is on the fact that these current younger “conservatives” have abandoned any idea that political differences can or should be worked out with rational or practical assessment of policies. What once might have been seen in our two-party system as political disagreements about how best to serve the American people, have been turned into irreconcilable antagonisms that cannot be compromised. Brooks quotes their spokesperson, Rachel Bovard: “Woke elites – increasingly the mainstream left of this country – do not want what we want. What they want is to destroy us.” Who are these “woke elites”? They are a “totalitarian cult of billionaires and bureaucrats….” Thus, the Right’s target is constructed for broad appeal to a mass of generally poorly informed individuals. Anyone who is concerned with racism and police murder, and who might have considered the long history of these tools of rule is “woke.” Billionaires and bureaucrats – who doesn’t abhor these people? Yet there is no mention that their new leader, Donald Trump, is an authoritarian billionaire who fits this bill, and has constructed a cult around himself.

      • Microsoft CEO Nadella sells off nearly $300 million in shares of the company

        Nadella disclosed the sale in an SEC filing.

        “Satya sold approximately 840,000 shares of his holdings of Microsoft stock for personal financial planning and diversification reasons. He is committed to the continued success of the company and his holdings significantly exceed the holding requirements set by the Microsoft Board of Directors,” a Microsoft spokesman said in a written statement to the Journal.

      • Ex-Pentagon chief says Defence Department censoring ‘tumultuous’ details of Trump presidency

        The former head of the Pentagon has sued the Department of Defence, accusing the government of blocking the publication of a new book revealing the “tumultuous” consequences of Donald Trump’s presidency.

        Mark Esper filed a lawsuit against his former employer for allegedly blocking the release of large swathes in his upcoming memoir, A Sacred Oath.

      • Digital group says govt troll move will not decrease hate online

        The Australian arm of a global initiative working to counter digital threats to democracy says the Federal Government’s proposed new rules to expose online trolls will not solve the problem on online hate on social media.

      • Govt promises new rules to force online firms to unmask trolls

        The Federal Government will put in place new rules to force technology companies to identify anonymous online trolls, or be exposed to the risk of defamation payouts.

      • India-born Parag Agrawal replaces Jack Dorsey as Twitter CEO

        Agrawal, an IIT-Bombay and Stanford University alumnus, was the chief technology officer of Twitter before the elevation that caught investors by surprise. Twitter stock went up by as much as 10% with the news in opening trade. The two most powerful people at Twitter will now be India-born—the other being Vijaya Gadde, its policy and safety lead director.

      • Twitter’s Jack Dorsey Steps Down From C.E.O. Role

        Jack Dorsey is stepping down as chief executive of Twitter, the social media site he co-founded in 2006 and guided through the tumultuous years of the Trump administration.

        Twitter announced Mr. Dorsey’s departure on Monday. He is being replaced by Parag Agrawal, the company’s current chief technology officer. Mr. Dorsey’s plans were first reported by CNBC. A Twitter spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

      • Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to leave social media company

        Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is going to leave the company and is stepping down as chief executive office (CEO) of the social media platform, he announced on Monday. He will be succeeded by Twitter’s current chief technology officer (CTO), Parag Agrawal.

      • New Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal is central to Jack Dorsey’s plans to revamp social media

        Agrawal has been Jack Dorsey’s closest partner in thinking about the future of the Twitter platform and decentralizing social media, a former company executive told CNBC.

      • The dangers of anarchy in space

        I can’t think of a more dramatic illustration of how reckless actions in space put all at grave risk than Russia’s recent anti-satellite (ASAT) test blowing up one of its own defunct satellites and creating a cloud of more than 1,500 pieces of space debris.

        Even small pieces of debris, when traveling at some 17,000 miles per hour, can cause horrific damage to satellites, disrupting the space infrastructure that is the nervous system of modern life. Moscow’s test forced astronauts (including its own cosmonauts) on board the International Space Station (ISS) to take emergency safety measures for fear of collision. Moscow’s test followed a similarly dangerous Chinese ASAT test in 2007, and a U.S. ASAT test (though designed to minimize debris) in 2008.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Frances Haugen will testify before Congress again this week

        House Democrats announced that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen will testify before Congress a second time on Wednesday to discuss possible legislative changes to tech’s controversial legal liability shield, Section 230.

        The House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on communications and technology will hold the upcoming hearing to discuss what Democrats are referring to as “targeted reforms” to Section 230. Several committee members have already introduced bills that would create carve-outs in the law that would make big tech companies like Facebook and Google legally liable for algorithms that amplify content that leads to offline violence.

      • Communist Party cancel culture targets internet celebrities

        There appear to be two targets. The first is a business model with 4.9trn ($767bn) of annual revenues, the fan economy, that has sprung up around internet celebrities, fan groups and streaming platforms. In the most recent set of rules, issued in late November, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said that brand campaigns featuring celebrities will be allowed to show advertisements only in designated ad spaces. And from now on, China’s huge fan groups, often with millions of fans apiece, are to come under close monitoring by the authorities.

      • An introduction to Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s new CEO

        Agrawal isn’t the most well-known of names either inside or outside of Twitter. He’s been with the company for over a decade, though, working his way up from an engineer to become its top executive (and a close friend of Dorsey’s). Agrawal first started at Twitter back in October 2011 with a focus on ad products, and he became the first recipient of the company’s “Distinguished Engineer” title. He was later appointed chief technology officer in October 2017, during which time he’s jumped in to address high-profile problems (like a large-scale password security issue) and take on some of the company’s bolder initiatives (like decentralization). But despite that long tenure, Agrawal, who is 37, hasn’t spent much time in the public eye — something that will immediately change with his new role.

      • ‘Could offend students’: Canada school board cancels book club event with Yazidi Nobel laureate

        The event was supposed to carry discussion on two books in presence of their authors — Marie Henein’s ‘Nothing But the Truth: A Memoir‘ and Nadia Murad’s ‘The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State‘.

        The board said it has withdrawn support to hold the October event with Henein, the daughter of Egyptian immigrants and one of Canada’s most prominent lawyers, because her book was “problematic” as she “defended” former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi when he was accused of sexual assault.

        For Murad’s event, which was to be held in February 2022, the board said the book written by her could “promote Islamophobia” and “offend” their Muslim students.

        Murad, a Yazidi human rights activist, was 19 when she was taken as a sex slave in 2014 by the Islamic State militants who invaded her village in northern Iraq.

      • Disney+ appears to censor episode of The Simpsons in Hong Kong referencing Tiananmen Massacre

        Online video streaming service Disney+ appears to have censored an episode of The Simpsons in Hong Kong which references the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre.

        The 12th episode of the 16th season was first broadcast in 2005 and sees the family visit China, where the cartoon family visits the mummified body of ex-leader Mao Zedong. The newly-launched Disney+ platform skips from episode 11 to 13.

      • Disney+ Drops ‘Simpsons’ Episode in Hong Kong Because of Tiananmen Square Joke

        The 16th season of the iconic Fox animated show jumps from episode 11 to 13 when viewers in the city browse the flagship Disney streaming service. The missing episode 12, first broadcast in 2005, happens to be the one where Homer takes his family to China, where they visit Tiananmen Square and come across a placard that reads: “On this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”

        It appears the episode has suffered precisely the kind of the censorship it was written to ridicule.

      • Disney+ Omits ‘The Simpsons’ Tiananmen Episode in Hong Kong

        In the missing episode, “Goo Goo Gai Pan,” the cartoon family visits the Beijing square where a character confronts a line of tanks — a reference to the famous Tank Man photograph — and a sign reads “Tien An Men Square: on this site, in 1989, nothing happened.”

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • When The FBI Shows Up At Your Door About Your Reporting, That’s Intimidation

        Having the government show up at your door to ask some questions about your reporting can be extremely unnerving. Zack Whittaker, the top notch cybersecurity reporter for TechCrunch got to experience the fun of that when the FBI showed up at his door over a year after he had published a story about a hacker dumping thousands of Mexican embassy documents from Guatemala after the Mexican embassy left the data exposed online.

      • China surveillance of journalists to use ‘traffic-light’ system

        Documents seen by BBC News describe a system that classifies journalists into a “traffic-light” system – green, amber and red.

        Journalists in the “red” category would be “dealt with accordingly”, they say.

        The Henan Public Security Bureau has not responded to a request for comment.

        The documents, discovered by the surveillance analyst firm IPVM, also outline plans to surveil other “people of concern”, including foreign students and migrant women.

        Human Rights Watch said: “This is not a government that needs more power to track more people… especially those who might be trying to peacefully hold it accountable.”

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Calls Grow to Drop Murder Charges Against Black Teen Chrystul Kizer in Kenosha
      • Off to the Solomon Islands: Australia’s Civilizers Get Busy

        In the Solomon Islands, Australian interventionism was originally cloaked in shining dress, justified as humanitarian and utterly noble.  By the time some 2,000 troops, police officers and support personnel, mostly Australian, were deployed in 2003, the country had already mounted regional interventions in Bougainville in Papua New Guinea (1997) and East Timor, the latter as part of a UN-mandated mission.

        The Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was given a rhetorical flourish of preventing a “failed state” while easing Australian anxieties in a region marked by a supposed “arc of instability”.  In a conscious nod to making sure the mission would be seen benevolently, the PR pen pushers came up with the pidgin named Operation Helpem Fren.

      • A Place of Freedom

        Upon its publication in 1975, Gayl Jones’s literary debut, Corregidora, was met with great acclaim. Jones’s mentor and teacher, the poet Michael Harper, had introduced her work to his friend, the editor and novelist Toni Morrison, who published Corregidora and also Jones’s second novel, Eva’s Man, the following year. Still in her mid-20s, Jones was immediately heralded for her genius by readers as diverse as James Baldwin and the New York Times critic Raymond Sokolov. Part of what drew them was what Sokolov referred to as her “nonchalance” and “ease” of style, which served as her fiction’s “consummate deception.” Writing with a clarity and matter-of-factness that quietly understated her work’s difficulty, Jones often relayed moments of intense brutality with a kind of quotidian ordinariness.

      • In An Even Marginally Healthy Society

        He understood perfectly! All forms of encompassing, emphatic, and egalitarian justice certainly are the most reasonable things of all. And, as such, they always have within themselves the possibility of being understood and lived by people in just this way. Yet, there are so many deeply sedimented socio-historical, socio-economic, and socio-existential structures that keep some people from the exclamation of my nephew that day. A realized egalitarian and equitable social formation that has maximized justice and goodness to the fullest extent possible by our very imperfect species that will always be entwined with social antagonisms, would truly be the most reasonable social formation of all—civilizationally, historically, and anthropologically.

        I have, subsequent to the moment when my nephew made his exclamation, taken pleasure in narrating this episode because there was something special in what he said and how he said it and it immediately linked his statement with another extremely resonant statement, the one in which Kwame Ture in his book, Ready For Revolution: The Life And Struggles Of Stokely Carmichael, described the Freedom Rides of l961 (at 19 years of age Ture—Stokely Carmichael at the time—was the youngest of the Freedom Riders): “The plan, however, was simplicity itself. In any sane, even half-civilized society it would have been completely innocuous, hardly worth a second thought or meriting any comment at all. CORE would be sending an integrated team–black and white together–from the nation’s capital to New Orleans on public transportation. That’s all. Except, of course, that they would sit randomly on the buses in integrated pairs and in the stations they would use waiting room facilities casually, ignoring the white/colored signs. What could be less harmless…in any even marginally healthy society?”

      • Europe’s War on Woke

        Paris—On my 32nd birthday, I agreed to appear on Répliques, a popular show on the France Culture radio channel hosted by the illustrious Alain Finkielkraut. Now 72 and a household name in France, Finkielkraut is a public intellectual of the variety that exists only on the Left Bank: a child of 1968 who now wears Loro Piana blazers and rails against “la cancel culture.” The other guest that day—January 9, less than 72 hours after the US Capitol insurrection—was Pascal Bruckner, 72, another well-known French writer who’d just published “The Almost Perfect Culprit: The Construction of the White Scapegoat,” his latest of many essays on this theme. Happy birthday to me.1

      • Self-Defense? After Rittenhouse, Calls to Drop Murder Charges Against Black Teen Chrystul Kizer

        Since Kyle Rittenhouse was acquitted under claims of self-defense for fatally shooting two people and wounding a third during racial justice protests last year in Kenosha, Wisconsin, another case in the city is drawing new national attention. Human rights advocates are calling for charges to be dropped in the case of Chrystul Kizer, who faces homicide and other charges for killing her white sex trafficker in 2018 after he drugged her and tried to rape her when she was just 17-years-old. Court records show police knew Randall Volar had a history of sexually abusing underage Black girls. Although the court initially ruled Kizer could not use a self-defense argument, an appellate court reversed the decision and the Wisconsin Supreme Court will now consider the ruling. “It has huge ramifications for her, but it also has a huge potential impact for other victims of trafficking,” says reporter Anne Branigin. “We have a very clear case where we are not receiving the same support, the same outcry from folks who got behind Kyle Rittenhouse to defend this young Black woman,” says Wisconsin state representative David Bowen. “She was trying to defend herself to get out of the sex trafficking she was being abused with.”

      • Cornel West Moments of Interruption
      • Digital ID expert says reducing cyber crime will need new thinking

        H. Daniel Elbaum, chairman and joint chief executive of VeroGuard, said the Joint Policing Cybercrime Co-ordination Centre, announced by the Federal Government on Monday, was a welcome initiative.

        But, he added, PwC modelling had estimated the direct costs to business from cyber incidents to be about $10.1 billion annually, with projections of a total GDP loss of $114.9 billion by 2031.

      • He stole a rug and a car. Why did he spend 25 years bouncing between prison and parole?

        In America, a person under supervision – either as an alternative to prison (probation) or a condition of their release from one (parole) – can face as many as 30 rules that range from vague to “bizarrely specific”, according to a 2017 law-review article by a lawyer at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). These provisions include observing a curfew, refraining from being around guns or anything that looks like a gun, disclosing monthly bank-account statements, avoiding other people with criminal records (including family members), not having more than $100 cash in your wallet, keeping a job, supporting one’s family, getting approval to use knives at work from a parole agent and carrying those knives only while at work or travelling to and from work.

        The net effect of these rules is a “nearly impossible burden”, the ACLU lawyer wrote. People have to navigate the narrow strait between “the Scylla of failure to check in and the Charybdis of unemployment”. More pointedly, as civil-rights scholar Michelle Alexander wrote: “Today a criminal freed from prison has scarcely more rights, and arguably less respect, than a freed slave or a black person living ‘free’ in Mississippi at the height of Jim Crow.”

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Monopolies

      • What’s at Stake at WTO

        One would think that every global institution, and particularly one whose rules govern trade in vaccines, medicines, and other medical products necessary to end COVID-19, would be doing everything in its power to contribute towards ending this horrendous pandemic.

        Unfortunately, we are talking about the WTO, where the protection of billionaires’ intellectual property monopolies, intended to reduce supply and increase prices, are sacrosanct. Developing countries introduced a proposal to waive certain provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) in order to ensure vaccines, treatments, diagnostics, and medical products necessary for the treatment and containment of the COVID-19 pandemic are accessible to all. More than a year after its introduction, members have still not agreed to start negotiations on the waiver.

      • Patents

        • Africa: patenting against the clock [Ed: This fluff from Inventa International mentions the PACE program of EPO, which is likely illegal; after it was exposed in the media the EPO engaged in creative revisionism to make it seem acceptable, but it’s just more of the usual corruption]

          Considering this background, several patent offices offer to the applicant legal provisions that are configurated to provide a faster prosecution of a patent application. There are several embodiments of accelerated examination procedures, wherein the simplest ones comprise a mere request by an applicant for an accelerated examination for a specific patent application, as the PACE programme, established by the European Patent Office (EPO).

        • EPO voted best for patent quality once more [Ed: IAM will continue to receive bribes from the EPO as long as it helps perpetuate lies like these; it is a propaganda mill/PR industry]
        • Strategic patent countries: evidence from EPO oppositions [Ed: Bad metrics which want us to assume litigation is the goal, not science]

          IP-savvy organisations not only file their own patents but also keep close tabs on the competition. Tony Afram and Gianluca Tarasconi at ipQuants reveal exclusive statistics on EPO oppositions, which provide invaluable insight into which countries are making the most of this data

          Companies that file the the highest number of patent applications are often singled out as being exceptionally innovative. In fact, even rankings that purport to classify countries based on their innovation power usually include the patent filing activity of applicants originating from each country as a proxy for innovative activity.

          However, filing activity alone fails to tell the full story. A true corporate patent strategy needs not only to align with business objectives, but also to monitor patent activity and occasionally take action against third-party patents.

        • Patents: key updates and developments for in-house teams [Ed: Unable to make money, Lexology increasing experiments with paywalls; EPO is now shamelessly extending an illegal practice, which it rigged courts to approve]

          The German Patent Court rejects inventorship for machines, the UK updates it guidance on UK-China Cooperation on IP, and Brazil and Japan renew the Patent Protection Highway – plus other key updates.


          On 24 November 2021, the European Patent Office (EPO) announced that its pilot project for conducting oral proceedings in opposition by…

        • EPO: Enlarged Board endorses video hearings in appeal proceedings [Ed: Convenient revisionism “Sponsored by By Jakob Pade Frederiksen”; this was an astounding act of EPO corruption and court-rigging]

          On October 28 2021, the Enlarged Board of Appeal (EBA) issued its reasons for decision G 1/21 on the legality of the conduct of oral proceedings in the form of a videoconference (ViCo). The decision lays down that during a general emergency impairing the parties’ possibilities to attend in-person oral proceedings at the EPO premises, the conduct of oral proceedings before the boards of appeal by way of ViCo is compatible with the European Patent Convention even without the consent of all parties to the proceedings. The decision is specifically concerned with oral proceedings at the appeal stage only and is therefore not immediately applicable to oral proceedings at the first instance.

        • EPO revokes key Intellectual Ventures mobile phone patent [Ed: EPO admits it was granting fake patents to Microsoft patent trolls]

          After three days of hearings, the EPO Opposition Division around chairman Thomas Pieper revoked a patent owned by Intellectual Ventures. At least one ground for opposition was held as the company prejudicing the maintenance of European patent EP 21 46 439, after Art. 101(2) EPC.

          Specifically, the patent specification contained further elements not included in the original application. In the past, the EPO has applied this strictly as grounds for revocation. Now this approach has brought down the 20-year-old Intellectual Ventures patent. The parties did not discuss novelty and inventive step during the hearing.

        • Benchmarking the IP5 [Ed: IAM, bribed by the EPO, once again spreads propaganda about EPO patent “quality”]

          Once again, the EPO has taken the crown as the patent office with the best reputation for quality among IAM readers. More than a quarter of respondents describe its output as ‘excellent’ placing it well ahead of the pack (the JPO comes closest with just 14%). Only a miniscule percentage of survey takers told us that EPO quality was ‘poor or adequate’.

        • Benefits and Considerations for Patent Prosecution under Patent Prosecution Highway in the U.S., Europe, China, and Singapore [Ed: When litigation zealots' agenda matters more than actual due process or examination of patents]

          Patent Prosecution Highway or PPH is a set of initiatives promulgated by participating patent offices around the world to accelerate patent prosecution in countries of the participating patent offices. PPH allows the participating patent offices to share information and to benefit from work performed by other participating patent offices, and thereby reducing examination workload and improving quality of patents.

          Under PPH, prosecution of a patent application previously filed with a participating patent office can be fast-tracked in another participating patent office if the patent application meets certain requirements. This article provides a brief overview of benefits of filing patent applications under PPH and requirements by which the patent applications must satisfy in order to participate in PPH.

        • 2.5 Million Nurses Demand UN Probe Into Rich Countries Blocking Patent Waivers
        • ‘That’s for Them to Decide’: UK Secretary Rebuked for Claiming Vaccine Patent Waiver Won’t Be ‘Helpful’ to Global Poor

          As 200 million workers on Monday demanded rich nations drop their continued opposition to a proposed waiver of intellectual property protections on coronavirus vaccines at the World Trade Organization, U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid faced sharp criticism for asserting that lifting such rules would not “be helpful” because it would disincentivize the industry from creating life-saving medicines in the future.

          “The health secretary can side with Big Pharma billionaires or he can put public health first, he can’t do both.”

        • 2.5 Million Nurses Demand UN Probe Into ‘Covid-19 Criminals’ Blocking Patent Waiver

          More than two million nurses from 28 countries across the globe filed a complaint Monday calling on the United Nations to investigate the rich countries that are blocking a proposed patent waiver for coronavirus vaccines, an appeal that came as public health experts raced to understand the newly detected Omicron variant.

          “Continued opposition to the TRIPS waiver is resulting in the violation of human rights of peoples across the world.”

        • Our Patent Review System is Ten Years Old. It’s Time to Make It Stronger.

          Thousands of patents get issued each year that never should have been issued in the first place. This is a particular problem in software, which is a bad fit for the patent system. That’s why it’s so critical that we have a robust patent review system. It gives companies that get threatened over patents the opportunity to get a second, more in-depth review of a patent—without spending the millions of dollars that a jury trial can cost. 

          Our patent review system is ten years old now, and unfortunately patent trolls and other aggressive patent holders have learned to game the system. Unfortunately, the USPTO has let them get away with it. A recently introduced bill, the Restoring the America Invents Act (S. 2891) will close some of the loopholes that patent owners have used to dodge or weaken reviews. 

          Congress recognized the need for such a system when it passed the 2011 America Invents Act, and created a review system called “inter partes review,” or IPR. The IPR process lets a particular department of the patent office, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), hold a quasi-judicial process in which they take a second look to decide if a patent really should have been granted in the first place. 

        • Software Patents

          • Software Patent Eligibility Practice At The EPO [Ed: Software patents are not legal, but patent litigation companies are celebrating criminals who took over the EPO and now compel examiners to grant such illegal patents, giving them tips in how to dodge the law and get away with it]

            In common with many patent offices around the world, some inventions that are implemented in software may be patented before the EPO.

            In this chapter, we explore software patentability covering why only some software inventions are patentable before the EPO, the requirements for an invention to be patentable and how patent practice before the EPO with respect to software inventions may evolve in the future.


            EPO tests

            At the EPO, every patent application is also examined with respect to novelty and inventive step, among other requirements. The EPO’s inventive step requirement corresponds to the USPTO’s requirement for non-obviousness. However, the inventive step requirement differs in some aspects from the non-obviousness requirement.

            The first hurdle to overcome before the EPO is also a form of eligibility test, but one with a relatively low bar, only excluding subject matter that is entirely devoid of any technical character. A claim that includes any technical means is said to clear the first hurdle to be considered as an invention. This test is often referred to as the ‘any hardware’ or ‘any technical means’ approach. This determination is made without reference to the prior art. Therefore, a first step to considering whether a claim is likely to be patentable before the EPO is to assess whether the claim recites a technical entity, particularly hardware. In practice it can be surprising how many claims, particularly method claims, can be found at the initial prosecution stage, which on close inspection do not actually refer to any hardware whatsoever. One relatively easy way of ensuring that the first hurdle is cleared can be to recite “a computer implemented method”. In other words, if any hardware (eg, a computer, storage or microprocessor, among other things) is mentioned in the claim, it will pass the first hurdle.

            At the second hurdle, the requirement for an inventive step over the prior art is examined. The examination for inventive step is simultaneously subject to a limitation that only aspects of the claimed invention that are technical can be considered. In other words, any matter in the claim that is not considered technical cannot give rise to an inventive step over the prior art. Therefore, at the EPO, the test whether the claimed subject matter fulfils the requirement of ‘technicality’ is assessed simultaneously with the evaluation of whether the subject matter of the patent application has an inventive step.

            Problem-solution approach

            The EPO has developed a special process for assessing inventive step, known as the ‘problem-solution approach. The problem-solution approach was modified by the EPO for assessing ‘computer implemented inventions’ (CIIs), which is the term used by the EPO for inventions that are usually realised by means of software and are colloquially called ‘software patents’.

            Under the modified problem-solution approach, features of the claim under examination are assessed as to whether they contribute to the solution of a technical problem. Only features of the claimed invention are considered that provide such a technical contribution. In some ‘mixed type’ inventions, being a mix of technical and non-technical claim elements, features can be considered that are non-technical, such as pure software steps, but only if they are said provide a contribution to the formulation of the technical problem solved by the invention.

            CII case law

            During its existence, the EPO has twice reviewed its case law relating to CIIs in the form of decisions of its Enlarged Board of Appeal. The first decision (G 03/08) from 2010 contains an overview of previous case law on CIIs, which confirmed the two-hurdle test and made no changes to the EPO’s approach going forward.

            The second decision of the Enlarged Board (G 01/19) was issued in 2021 and concerns the patenting of computer-aided simulations. On the one hand, the principles of the first decision were confirmed and, on the other hand, specific comments were made on the legal problems that arise when patenting computer-aided simulations.

            Computer-implemented simulations use a numerical model that is fed with input data and in turn produces data as an output indicative of the result of the simulation. Therefore, only data is processed without directly influencing the physical world. In this sense, a computer-implemented simulation could be considered a purely mathematical process. Mathematical methods as such are excluded from patentability and it could be concluded that computer-implemented simulations are, in principle, not patentable.

            In this decision, however, the Enlarged Board of Appeal came to a different conclusion and stated that computer-implemented simulations are not fundamentally excluded from patentability. Instead computer-implemented simulations can be patented if they relate to a technical invention according to the above principles.

      • Copyrights

        • MPA Seeks Person to Investigate Online Pirates & Their Technical Infrastructure

          Whether they supply content, technical infrastructure or even coding skills, those involved with the online distribution of pirated movies or TV shows can expect to get noticed by the Motion Picture Association. How the Hollywood group goes about its investigations isn’t public knowledge but for one talented individual, becoming a member of the team is now on the horizon.

        • Cheat Seller AimJunkies Accuses Destiny 2 Creator Bungie of “Sharp Practices”

          Earlier this year, game developer Bungie filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against AimJunkies.com, which offered a popular ‘Destiny 2 Hacks’ suite. Soon after, the parties began negotiating a potential settlement deal. To AimJunkies’ surprise, however, Bungie sneakily went ‘behind its back’ by requesting the court to enter a default.

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DecorWhat Else is New

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