03.24.22

Gemini version available ♊︎

Links 24/3/2022: Finnix 124 and Tor Browser 11.5a8

Posted in News Roundup at 6:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Applications

      • TorNew Alpha Release: Tor Browser 11.5a8 (Windows/macOS/Linux)

        Tor Browser 11.5a8 is now available from the Tor Browser download page and also from our distribution directory.

        This releases fixes bug tor-browser#40802 which caused some users to be unable to access client authorized onion services.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Sudo 1.9.10: using regular expressions in the sudoers file

        It has been possible to use wildcards in the sudoers file for many years. This can make configuration easier and more flexible, but it also introduces problems of its own. Regular expressions, introduced in in sudo 1.9.10, allow you to create more fine grained rules. From this blog you will learn about some of the problems when you use wildcards in your sudoers file, and how using regular expressions can resolve those problems.

      • KlaraShould I Upgrade to OpenZFS 2.1?

        When you upgrade an existing FreeBSD installation to 13.1, the new OpenZFS features are not yet available to existing pools and zpool status will indicate “Some supported features are not enabled on the pool.” This is by design as it allows the administrator to determine when the pools are “upgraded”—the assumption is that users will first research the new features and determine if any features will cause any compatibility issues within their environment.

        This write-up provides an overview of some of the new features in the OpenZFS 2.1 series. We’ll then discuss what to consider before upgrading your pools.

      • David RosenthalStorage Update: Part 2

        This is part 2 of my latest update on storage technology. Part 1, covering developments in DNA as a storage medium is here. This part was sparked by a paper at Usenix’s File And Storage Technologies conference from Bianca Schroeder’s group at U. Toronto and NetApp on the performanmce of SSDs at scale. It followed on from their 2020 FAST “Best Paper” that I discussed in Enterprise SSD Reliability, and it prompted me to review the literature of this area. The result is below the fold.

      • RachelSome people don’t deserve access to the machine room

        Let’s see. You have physical access to a bunch of servers that are not yours. You do something to your workstation. The next thing you know, you can’t reach some of those servers from that workstation. Do you undo what you did to your workstation? No. Do you find another machine? No. Do you ask someone else to also try hitting it? No. Do you try to hop into a machine that IS responding, and then try to poke one of the “dead” machines from it? No. Do you notice the difference between a host that truly is down and one that is just dropping your packets, i.e. ICMP host-unreachables from the router versus… you know, nothing? No.

        What do you do? You let yourself into the server room and start pushing front-panel reset buttons thinking it’ll do something useful.

        It takes a certain kind of individual to go and do things like that.

    • Distributions

      • BSD

        • OpenBSD Webzine: Shell tips

          It is easy to add autocompletion to commands in ksh, however they are limited because they have to be evaluated when the shell is starting.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Unicorn MediaFedora Plans to Party for 36 Like It’s 2022!

          If you’re a Fedora user, you might want to mark your calendar for May 12-14. It seems that the distro is planning a party for the release of Fedora 36.

          It wasn’t that long ago that Fedora was considered to be primarily a developers’ distro (“a distro designed by developers for developers,” I often heard), meaning it was popular among those who spent spent their days at the command line building software (therefore knowing “how radio works,” as Firesign Theater might say), but was a bit difficult for mere mortals who only wanted to do simple things such as rocket science (because computer science certainly ain’t that).

      • Debian Family

        • FinnixFinnix 124 released

          Today marks the release of Finnix 124, the original utility live Linux distribution. Expanding on Finnix 123 from six months ago, this release also celebrates the 22 year anniversary of the first public release of Finnix, version 0.03 on March 22, 2000.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Events

        • Unicorn MediaFree & Online: Open Source 101 on Tuesday (In-Person Meetup in April)

          If there’s one thing that Todd Lewis and the crew at All Things Open do better than present online open source events, it’s staging events that are live and in-person. With the latest omicron surge appearing to be rapidly receding, ATO was able to announce on Tuesday that live open source events will be returning to Raleigh — a city I like to call Silicon Valley East — on April 19.

          But first there’s a big one-day event coming up on Tuesday March 29 to rock your at-home world.

      • Web Browsers

        • ZimbabweScammers can now convincingly fake browser windows, including URL. You can protect against that

          A security researcher found that it is possible to create a Chrome window that looks legit, including a typo-free URL. The BitB attack simulates the browser windows that pop up asking you to log in to continue. We use Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and others’ authentication services to make it easier and safer to log into different websites. It is those pop ups that are being simulated by the BitB attack.

          Before the BitB attack was made public, one would have been comfortable with the pop up above. The URL looks legit, there is a padlock indicating a secure website and there are no other obvious warning signs – the page loaded up well and there are no graphic irregularities.

          Now, in the age of the BitB attack, that won’t be enough. That can all be faked. So, are we doomed? Not necessarily, there are still ways to ensure we don’t fall for attacks like these.

        • Hot HardwareBITB Phishing Technique Creates An Animated Window To Steal Your Passwords

          However, a security researcher has discovered a devious technique for thwarting attempts to detect phishing by analyzing the contents of the address bar. Many websites make use of the OAuth protocol, which enables users to login using extant accounts with major tech companies like Apple, Facebook, and Google.

          Once users click the “sign in” button, a new browser window opens where users can sign in. This new browser window isolates the sign in process so that the website using OAuth never sees users’ sign in credentials. Isolating the sign in process is a desirable security and privacy measure, but a security researcher has shown that bad actors can mimic this particular isolation technique to hide phishing attacks.

      • Programming/Development

        • Carl SvenssonTables and Strings in COBOL

          I recently came across a blog post dealing briefly with the concept of strings, tables and subscripting in COBOL. While the code in the blog post works just fine, I personally think it’s overcomplicating a very simple use case (subscripting a string) and underselling a powerful COBOL feature (tables). Since I’m a deeply demented man with a lot of free time on my hands, I decided to expand a bit on the subject – if only to give myself a chance of brushing up on my own very rudimentary COBOL knowledge. Feel free to point out any errors.

        • ButtondownI finally found a use for XML

          Changing the boilerplate sucks though. If I make any tweaks to the initial version of the code, I have to manually change every single file to keep them all in sync. With just a first and final version that’s not too bad, but if I have four intermediates that gets tiring really fast.

        • Aral BalkanUsing bound functions to unit test EcmaScript Modules

          Imagine you have the following EcmaScript module you want to unit test…

        • Perl/Raku

          • Ruben SchadeVersion of Perl I use, via @pinkopanterata

            I’m still on Perl 5. I had fun exploring Raku, but Perl 5 still does everything I want, and uses that familiar syntax. I haven’t touched Perl 7 yet, but that’s on the personal project pile.

        • Python

          • RlangHow to Use R and Python Together? Try These 2 Packages

            Data science is vastly different than programming. We use only four languages – R, Python, Julia, and SQL. Now, SQL is non-negotiable, as every data scientist must be proficient in it. Julia is still the new kid on the block. Many argue which is better – Python or R? But today, we ask a different question – how can you use R and Python together?

            It might seem crazy at first, but hear us out. Both Python and R are stable languages used by many data scientists. Even seasoned package developers, such as Hadley Wickham, borrow from BeauftifulSoup (Python) to make Rvest (R) web scraping packages. Reinventing the wheel makes no sense.

        • Shell/Bash/Zsh/Ksh

          • Python SpeedPlease stop writing shell scripts

            That’s when you realize your mistake: bash, and shell scripting languages in general, are mostly broken by default. Unless you are very careful from day one, any shell script above a certain complexity level is almost guaranteed to be buggy… and retrofitting the correctness features is quite difficult.

    • Standards/Consortia

      • EDRIA conversation about Interoperability and building digital public spaces

        Interoperability is one of the original design principles underpinning the internet, and largely responsible for its scale and unique properties. In recent years, it has also been increasingly seen as a policy measure that can introduce greater market competition and user choice. Important, and contentious interoperability proposals are included in key European digital regulations, including the Digital Markets Act and the Data Act.

      • WiredA Big Bet to Kill the Password for Good

        After years of tantalizing hints that a passwordless future is just around the corner, you’re probably still not feeling any closer to that digital unshackling. Ten years into working on the issue, though, the FIDO Alliance, an industry association that specifically works on secure authentication, thinks it has finally identified the missing piece of the puzzle.

        On Thursday, the organization published a white paper that lays out FIDO’s vision for solving the usability issues that have dogged passwordless features and, seemingly, kept them from achieving broad adoption. FIDO’s members collaborated to produce the paper, and they span chipmakers like Intel and Qualcomm, prominent platform developers like Amazon and Meta, financial institutions like American Express and Bank of America, and the developers of all major operating systems—Google, Microsoft, and Apple.

        The paper is conceptual, not technical, but after years of investment to integrate what are known as the FIDO2 and WebAuthn passwordless standards into Windows, Android, iOS, and more, everything is now riding on the success of this next step.

  • Leftovers

    • Counter PunchProgressive Caucus Urges Biden to Use 55 Tools in His Executive Action Toolbox
    • The NationThe Patience Euphoria Demands

      The second season of Euphoria, an HBO show created by Sam Levinson and adapted from an Israeli show of the same name, begins at a house party on New Year’s Eve. In separate rooms, self-contained dramas play out: a flirtation, a farce, a tragedy, a fight. In the living room, Lexi Howard (Maude Apatow) and Fez (Angus Cloud) shoot the shit about God; Lexi’s sister Cassie (Sydney Sweeney) hides in a bathtub, her hand clamped over her mouth, after nearly getting caught hooking up with the ex-boyfriend of her best friend Maddy (Alexa Demie). In the laundry room, Rue Bennet (Zendaya), the show’s narrator and protagonist, does an unidentified mix of drugs and nearly goes into cardiac arrest. Everyone’s looking for someone they can’t find—there are frenetic, disjointed shots of people dancing, drinking, just barely missing each other—until the party explodes in a sudden act of retribution and violence.

    • NBC‘Consciousness of guilt’: Fatal NYC shove suspect may face more legal jeopardy for deleting social media, experts say

      The woman accused of pushing an 87-year-old New York City voice coach to her death may have helped prosecutors by fleeing and deleting her social media and wedding website accounts, legal experts say.

    • Marian BoučekDigital feudalism and freedom

      What is the solution for the problem then, I asked myself? How can I get the ownership of my hardware, OS, data and apps back? The answer is surprisingly simple and the solution completely free – to use open source, open formats and store data offline. By using open source OS like FreeBSD, I’m no longer forced to update my hardware every time some big tech CEO decides it’s time to pay the price. I can even use a 10-year-old computer if I like. I’m still getting all the important apps I need – a modern browser, music player, text editor, etc. Also by storing my data offline, I can truly own it and control the access to it.

    • NBCStephen Wilhite, creator of the GIF, dies at 74

      The death was confirmed in an obituary, which said Wilhite, one the chief architect of America Online, died March 14 — just days after his 74th birthday on March 3. He died of Covid, his wife, Kathaleen, confirmed.

    • SalonIt’s official. We’ve all been saying “GIF” wrong

      Stephen Wilhite, the inventor of the GIF, passed away last week from COVID at the age of 74. In his obituary page we learn some previously unknown bits of information about the inventor such as that he liked camping, traveling, and was known to be a humble and kind man. Left out of the obituary, but made abundantly clear in the majority of the write-ups pertaining to his passing, is that we’ve all been saying GIF wrong.

    • The VergeStephen Wilhite, creator of the GIF, has died

      Although GIFs are synonymous with animated internet memes these days, that wasn’t the reason Wilhite created the format. CompuServe introduced them in the late 1980s as a way to distribute “high-quality, high-resolution graphics” in color at a time when internet speeds were glacial compared to what they are today. “He invented GIF all by himself — he actually did that at home and brought it into work after he perfected it,” Kathaleen said. “He would figure out everything privately in his head and then go to town programming it on the computer.”

    • Science

      • OracWhy are so many clinical trials of homeopathy “positive”?

        I’m a bit tired of blogging about nothing but COVID-19; so I thought I’d take some time to “dunk on a 7′ hoop” and look at homeopathy. Obviously, I’m being sarcastic here, because, no matter how much the precepts of homeopathy violate multiple well-established laws of physics and chemistry, no matter how, for homeopathy to “work,” huge swaths of well-documented physics, chemistry, and biology would have to be not just wrong but spectacularly wrong, or how often clueless academics dismiss skepticism that debunks quackery as too easy and not worthy of their big brains, it’s often not at all easy to explain to the lay public why homeopathy is The One Quackery To Rule Them All, particularly when a homeopath starts touting what looks like a positive controlled randomized clinical trial of homeopathy for some ailment or other, saying something like, “If homeopathy is quackery, explain this, skeptic!”

      • The VergeNASA announces plans to develop second Moon lander, alongside SpaceX’s Starship

        NASA had originally wanted to pick two companies to develop human lunar landers for Artemis in order to inspire competition and keep down costs. The agency was going to pick the two winners from three finalists: SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics. But the agency ultimately chose one, primarily due to budget constraints. For the year 2021, NASA had requested $3.4 billion from Congress to fund the development of Artemis lunar landers but only received $850 million, just 25 percent of what was asked. As a result, NASA went with SpaceX, in part because the company had offered the most affordable bid.

        However, the decision to simply pick one company didn’t sit well with the losing finalists. Blue Origin proceeded to sue NASA in federal court over the selection, though the company ultimately lost its case. Despite the lawsuit, NASA administrator Bill Nelson expressed his desire to eventually have two lunar lander providers, with hopes that Congress would fund the initiative. And at one point, it looked as if Congress would direct NASA to make that happen. In October, the Senate Appropriation Committee introduced a bill that would direct NASA to pick a second company to develop a lunar lander for Artemis. However, the most recent budget bill that was signed for 2022 did not force NASA to do that, but it did give the space agency the full $1.195 billion it asked for to develop lunar landers.

    • Education

      • Times Higher EducationThe false market in degrees is ruining higher education

        UK universities compete to offer education as a service product in a market system. Metrics – league tables and National Student Survey scores – provide feedback, so that market forces can motivate efficient production and product excellence. What could go wrong with healthy competition to deliver a quality service to discerning and motivated customers? Unfortunately, quite a lot.

    • Hardware

      • HackadayAir Football Looks Pro

        If you are an American, you’d probably think of [Silas Hansen’s] project as “air soccer” but most people will prefer air football. Either way, it is like air hockey but more of a football field feel. The project looks great — if you saw this on the shelves of the local toy store, you wouldn’t think anything of it. You can see a video of the game in action, below.

      • HackadayFinally, A Mapping Tool For Addressable LED Strings

        Addressable LED strings have made it easier than ever to build fun glowable projects with all kinds of exciting animations. However, if you’re not going with a simple grid layout, it can be a little difficult to map your strings out in code. Fear not, for [Jason Coon] has provided a tool to help out with just that!

      • HackadayBrick And Motor Table Saw Delivers Paper Cuts On Demand

        Twenty Two Motors. Fifty gears. Eighty Two Hundred RPM. Hundreds of individual pieces, and one sheet of glossy paper cut into a disk. This isn’t a nightmare driven Rube Goldberg machine. Instead, it’s a Lego monstrosity created by [GazR] of [GazR’s Extreme Brick Machines!], and all of these parts are flying in formation for one Lego slicing purpose. In the video below the break, you can see what very well may be the worlds most powerful Lego and Paper table saw.

      • HackadayLego Car Demonstrates Proper Use Of Ball Wheels

        Wheels are typically just simple cylinders, though fans of I, Robot (2004) may have admired the handsome vehicle featuring ball wheels that was driven by the protagonist. YouTuber [Brick Technology] decided to evaluate the use of spherical wheels with a Lego car design.

      • Hackaday3D Printing Concept Car (Parts)

        When you want to fabricate something you either start with something and take away what you don’t want — subtractive manufacturing — or you start with nothing and add material, which is additive manufacturing that we usually call 3D printing. Popular Science recently took a look inside Vital Auto, the British lab that uses 3D printing for high-end concept cars from companies like Rolls-Royce, McLauren, Jaguar, and others. In the video below, [Anthony Barnicott], an engineer for Vital, says that the two technologies — additive and subtractive — work best when used together.

      • HackadayOld School Mechanical Pong Still Amazes

        [Tom], of the YouTube channel ThingsTomLike, found a very sweet little mechanical Pong clone at a thrift store. It came in broken, but in only fifteen minutes of your time, [Tom] manages a complete teardown and repair. (Video, embedded below.)

      • HackadayTwo-Dimensional Polymer Is A New Ultra-Strong Material

        Plastics, by and large, are well-understood materials. Not as strong as most metals, but often much lighter, these man-made polymers have found innumerable applications that have revolutionized the way we live. The properties of plastics have been improved in many ways over the years, with composite materials like fiberglass and carbon fiber proving to have strength and lightness far beyond the simple properties of basic polymers alone.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Counter PunchWhy, With More Treatment, Suicides and Mental Distress Have Increased? Former NIMH Director’s New Book

        Insel begins by comforting his fellow psychiatrists with his claim that current psychiatric treatments “are as effective as some of the most widely used medications in medicine,” but he then asks this unsettling question: “If treatments are so effective, why are outcomes so dire?”

        Psychiatry defenders and critics alike took notice when Insel candidly acknowledged in 2011: “Whatever we’ve been doing for five decades, it ain’t working. And when I look at the numbers—the number of suicides, number of disabilities, mortality data—it’s abysmal, and it’s not getting any better.” Reported by Gary Greenberg (The Book of Woe, 2013), Insel concluded this 2011 appraisal of psychiatry’s performance with this: “All of the ways in which we’ve approached these illnesses, and with a lot of people working very hard, the outcomes we’ve got to point to are pretty bleak.”

      • Counter PunchBiden is Not Building Back Better at the VA

        Biden accused Trump of trying “to privatize and dismantle the VA” and pledged that he would never “defund” the nation’s largest public healthcare system because its nine million patients get treatment that is “specialized, supportive, and second to none.”  Referencing his son Beau’s service on military bases with burn pits and his later death from brain cancer, Biden promised an expedited study of such toxic exposures and their possible impact on hundreds of thousands of other post-9/11 combat veterans.

        During his March 1 State of the Union address, the President introduced the widow of an Iraq war veteran from Ohio, who died of lung cancer after being stationed “just yards from burn pits the size of football fields” near Baghdad. He informed Congress that, under his leadership, the VA was now “pioneering new ways of linking toxic exposures to disease” and “helping more veterans get benefits” for respiratory conditions related to their military service. He proposed legislation to further insure that “veterans devastated by toxic exposures in Iraq and Afghanistan finally get the benefits and the comprehensive healthcare that they deserve.”

      • Common DreamsAs GOP Blocks Funds, Federal Agency Ends Covid Coverage for Uninsured

        A federal health agency tasked with covering Covid-19 testing and treatment for uninsured Americans officially stopped accepting claims on Wednesday because it is out of funding, a shortfall caused by congressional lawmakers’ failure to approve new coronavirus aid.

        Martin Kramer, a spokesperson for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), said in a statement Tuesday that “the lack of funding for Covid-19 needs is having real consequences.”

      • TruthOutFederal Agency Ends COVID Coverage for Uninsured After GOP Blocks Funds
      • TruthOutDisability Doesn’t Make Us Less Worthy of Life. COVID Policy Assumes It Does.
      • The NationA Brief Guide to Trip Sitting

        Text adapted from The Manual of Psychedelic Support, published by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies.

      • The NationHow the Netherlands Became a Global Cocaine Hub

        In February 2021, customs authorities at the port of Hamburg, Germany, received a tip from colleagues in the Netherlands about a container ship that had recently arrived from Paraguay on a stopover to Amsterdam. With flights grounded because of the pandemic and maritime supply chains backlogged for months, ports around the world were already dealing with unprecedented logistical challenges. In northern Europe, however, they were also under another kind of pressure. In less than a decade, cocaine seizures in the major Baltic ports had gone from being an occasional problem to a frequent phenomenon. When Hamburg officials inspected the Paraguayan containers, which were reported to hold more than 1,700 tins of construction putty, they stumbled upon 17.6 metric tons of cocaine. (By comparison, all the cocaine intercepted either in or en route to Europe in 2020 amounted to just over 100 tons. And in 2021, the US Border Patrol seized about 44 tons.) After Belgian authorities were notified that the same company had another shipment headed to Antwerp, police there found an additional 7.2 tons, bringing the total to 23 tons—the largest cocaine seizure in European history.1

        While the scale of the discovery was shocking, the fact of it was not. The number of cocaine seizures in Europe has been rising steadily, quadrupling between 2009 and 2019. With these hauls representing a fraction of what is actually being trafficked, Europe has become the “epicenter of the global cocaine trade,” in the words of the investigative nonprofit InSight Crime. Most of these shipments go through Antwerp and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, which boast two of the continent’s largest ports. (Antwerp became the main cocaine hub after Rotterdam started tightening security, but an estimated 80 percent of Belgium-bound cocaine still ends up in the hands of Dutch traffickers.) For criminal groups, the ports’ world-class transportation infrastructure makes servicing the nearly 500-million-person European Union market as convenient for them as app-based delivery services are for their customers.2

      • The NationBreaking Off My Chemical Romance

        About 19 years ago, at the age of 21, Mark Horowitz was very unhappy. He was studying to be a psychiatrist, but he felt his life was falling apart. Horowitz went to a family doctor and asked for a prescription for antidepressants. “She gave it to me in about 30 seconds,” he said. He cycled through a few different ones, each with its own side effects, before settling on escitalopram, known in the United States as Lexapro, a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, or SSRI.1

      • The NationMaking Mushrooms Legal

        In November 2020, voters in Oregon passed a pair of historic drug policy ballot measures. The first was Measure 110, a proposal to decriminalize low-level drug possession, with 58 percent in favor; the second was Measure 109, a proposal to grant legal access to psilocybin (the psychoactive component in magic mushrooms) for mental health treatment, with 56 percent in favor. It was an unprecedented turn of events in drug policy. But as always in the United States, businessmen were waiting in the wings.

      • The NationA Tale of Two Women Athletes: Why the GOP Wants to Erase Brittney Griner and Lia Thomas

        Brittney Griner is in a Russian jail, awaiting a May trial that could send her to prison for a decade on hashish-oil possession charges. That one of the most prominent basketball players on Earth has become a political prisoner as US-Russia relations disintegrate should be catnip for an opposition party. That fictional opposition party would be demanding information about Griner’s safety, decrying the Biden administration’s ineffectualness in bringing her home, and keeping her name in the headlines to increase pressure on Putin to not treat her like a bargaining chip. But the GOP has kept quiet, and anyone who thinks it is doing so in accordance with the wishes of Griner’s wife for privacy is huffing glue. Brittney Griner is a six-foot-nine Black, queer woman, someone whose identity the GOP seems to only know how to demonize. She also plays for the WNBA, which the GOP probably fears more than Biden himself, given the players’ history of tilting the entire US Senate in 2020 by backing the Rev. Raphael Warnock in his race against Republican white nationalist and WNBA franchise owner Kelly Loeffler. Griner’s identity, her very personhood, has earned her nothing but silence. Brittney Griner of UMMC Ekaterinburg, Satou Sabally of Fenerbahce Oznur Kablo during the Euroleague Women Final Four match between Fenerbahce Oznur Kablo and UMMC Ekaterinburg at Volkswagen Arena on April 16, 2021, in Istanbul, Turkey.

      • Counter PunchUSDA’s Wildlife Services Slaughters Over 400,000 Native Species in 2021

        The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s in-house wildlife killing program just released its 2021 Program Data Report clearly demonstrating its continued preference for lethal “management” of native carnivores like coyotes, wolves, bears, and cougars as well as the continued use of indiscriminate and cruel tools.

        Last year, Wildlife Services—a notoriously secretive program housed within the USDA—killed 404,538 native wild animals. While, for a second year in a row, the overall figure for native species killed by Wildlife Services is significantly lower than years prior to 2020, once again, this decrease is primarily due to the program killing only 3% of the blackbirds and cowbirds it killed in 2019 and earlier. However, much like 2020, the 2021 report revealed no significant decrease in kill statistics for historically persecuted native carnivores such as gray wolves, coyotes, foxes, black bears, cougars, as well as beavers.

      • Pro PublicaCongress Opens Investigation Into FDA’s Handling of a Problematic Heart Device

        A congressional oversight subcommittee is investigating the Food and Drug Administration’s regulation of a high-risk heart pump, citing safety issues detailed by ProPublica.

        The HeartWare Ventricular Assist Device, created to treat patients with severe heart failure, stopped meeting key federal standards as early as 2014. But the FDA took no decisive action even as those problems persisted, and thousands of Americans continued to be implanted with the pump.

      • Atlantic CouncilPutin’s invasion of Ukraine threatens a global wheat crisis

        Together, Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat exports. However, following Russia’s attack on its neighbor, both vital supply chains have been crippled. The war will impact global grain markets most acutely in the MENA region, with possibly devastating economic and political ripple effects.

        Following Russia’s invasion, Ukrainian port infrastructure has been destroyed and the Black Sea is now mined and blocked. The impact on Ukraine’s wheat trade has been severe. Nearly 80% of Ukraine’s grain exports flow through its southwestern ports of Odessa, Pivdennyi, Mykolayiv, and Chornomorsk into the Black Sea. Today, even if ships are able to find a place to dock and load bulk grain shipments (which most fail to do), insurance is either prohibitively expensive or unavailable to sustain a voyage.

      • ABCThe U.S. Still Doesn’t Know How To Track A Pandemic

        I attended that conference session, and remember feeling comforted by the country’s investments in scientific infrastructure compared to other countries. But two years on, it’s clear the Global Health Security Index had it wrong — the U.S.’s data systems weren’t standardized, its genomic surveillance was a mess and its inequitable healthcare system led to incomplete datasets.

      • Foreign Policy‘War in Ukraine Means Hunger in Africa’

        In the month since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, countries around the world have imposed historic sanctions to punish Moscow for flagrantly violating international agreements. Although it is technically still able to export oil and gas, many potential buyers are already boycotting energy supplies from Russia, the world’s largest exporter of oil, contributing to the highest global crude prices in a decade. Other commodity prices are soaring too: Wheat prices have jumped 60 percent since February, nickel prices are at their highest in more than a decade, and fertilizers and pesticides are now in short supply in global markets.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • The HillFBI ‘concerned’ about possible Russian cyberattacks on critical infrastructure [iophk: Windows TCO]

          FBI Director Christopher Wray on Tuesday warned the private sector to prepare for potential cyberattacks, saying U.S. agents were “particularly focused on the destructive cyber threat” from Russian agents.

          The FBI director spoke just a day after The White House warned companies to bolster defenses and prepare for potential cyberattacks while the Russian invasion of Ukraine intensifies as it approaches a month since forces entered the country.

          Speaking at the Detroit Economic Forum, Wray mentioned the attack on Colonial Pipelines last year, which shut down one of the largest pipelines on the East Coast for five days. A criminal group based in Russia was responsible for the cyberattack.

        • IT WireRansomware incidents in US much higher than number reported: claim [iophk: Windows TCO]

          The FBI has ranked ransomware outside the top six online threats to Americans in terms of cost in a 2021 report, but a ransomware researcher claims this is misleading as most ransomware attacks are not reported.

        • Broadband BreakfastAdelstein Departing WIA, Ransomware Still ‘Ongoing Threat,’ USCellular New Board Nominees [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Almost 80 percent of state and local information technology leaders say ransomware is an “ongoing threat,” but more than half of that 80 percent do not have a ransomware incident response plan, according to a national survey from Palo Alto Networks released Tuesday.

          The survey also found that only 31 percent know that they have a completed incident response plan.

        • Krebs On SecurityA Closer Look at the LAPSUS$ Data Extortion Group

          Microsoft and identity management platform Okta both this week disclosed breaches involving LAPSUS$, a relatively new cybercrime group that specializes in stealing data from big companies and threatening to publish it unless a ransom demand is paid. Here’s a closer look at LAPSUS$, and some of the low-tech but high-impact methods the group uses to gain access to targeted organizations.

        • The HillMicrosoft confirms breach by Lapsus$ [cracker] group

          Microsoft said in the post that Lapsus$, also known as DEV-0537, had breached one account, resulting in “limited access” but not to the data of any of the tech giant’s customers.

        • The VergeA teen is reportedly the mastermind behind the Lapsus$ [cracking] group

          The teenager is apparently based about five miles outside of Oxford University, and Bloomberg says it was able to speak to his mother for ten minutes through a “doorbell intercom system” at the home. The teenager’s mother told the publication she did not know of allegations against him. “She declined to discuss her son in any way or make him available for an interview, and said the issue was a matter for law enforcement and that she was contacting the police,” Bloomberg said.

          Lapsus$ apparently doesn’t just consist of the England-based teenager, though. Bloomberg reports that one suspected member is another teenager in Brazil and that seven unique accounts have been linked with the group. One of the members is apparently such a capable [cracker] that researchers thought the work was automated, one person involved in research about the group told Bloomberg.

        • Silicon AngleReports: Okta and Microsoft breached by LAPSUS$ [cracking] group

          Data breaches affecting the tech industry’s largest companies are fairly rare. Major tech firms make significant investments in cybersecurity: Microsoft, for example, spends about $1 billion every year on protecting its network from [crackers]. The recent data breaches targeting tech giants could lead the industry’s major players, as well as smaller companies such as startups, to further expand their cybersecurity operations.

        • India TimesMicrosoft accepts cybercriminal group Lapsus$ [acquired] its data

          Microsoft has confirmed that the [cracking] group Lapsus$ had gained “limited access” to the US tech giant’s data. Microsoft accepted the event of [cracking] in a security blog post by the company. The American tech giant has stated that the [cracking] group infiltrated “a single account.” However, Microsoft assured that no customer code or data was compromised in this cyberattack.

        • IT WireOkta knew about breach in January, kept mum until Lapsus$ post

          Identity services provider Okta took two months to reveal a breach at a third-party provider and waited until the data that leaked out was exposed by a group of attackers known as Lapsus$.

        • NVISO LabsCobalt Strike: Overview – Part 7

          This is an overview of a series of 6 blog posts we dedicated to the analysis and decryption of Cobalt Strike traffic. We include videos for different analysis methods.

        • Silicon AngleF-Secure announces name of corporate business ahead of company split

          F-Secure Corp. today revealed its new brand for its corporate security business ahead of a move to split its business into two companies later this year.

          The new company will be known as WithSecure. The name was picked to reinforce the belief that facing cybersecurity challenges together produces far better results than trying to protect anything alone and was created in collaboration with F-Secure employees, reseller partners and clients.

        • Bridge MichiganEx-Gov. Rick Snyder, 4 others charged in Flint water crisis must testify

          Snyder and the government officials will therefore have to testify in a civil trial brought by four children from Flint against two engineering companies involved in the water crisis. Attorneys for the officials had argued that the Fifth Amendment entitles them to blanket immunity from any questions during the civil trial.

        • Security

          • TechdirtWhite House Urges Companies To Protect Data From Russian Hacks With Encryption; While Congress Looks To Effectively Outlaw Encryption

            Earlier this week, the Biden administration urged companies to protect against potential cyberattacks from Russia, which seems like pretty good advice….

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • The HillSensitive health data of 50 million Americans [cracked] or breached last year: analysis

              The health data of almost 50 million Americans was breached last year, according to a Politico analysis of data from the Department of Health and Human Services.

              Health care organizations in every state except South Dakota reported data breaches in 2021. Half of states, as well as Washington, D.C., saw more than 1 in 10 of their residents have their health information accessed without authorization, Politico found in its analysis of more than six years of data from the department’s Office for Civil Rights.

            • TechdirtClearview Is Laundering Its Reputation By Offering Its AI To Ukraine’s Government

              Fresh off its fining by the Italian government for breaking privacy laws (which followed several similar actions by other governments), the facial recognition tech company, that is so odious other facial recognition tech companies want nothing to do with it, is claiming it’s pitching in on the Ukraine war effort. “It will (finally) be used for good,” CEO Hoan Ton That has proclaimed, offering the world a glimpse at how his product — one built by scraping everything possible from websites around the globe — could (theoretically) be used for something else other than helping cops misidentify minorities.

            • EDRIItalian DPA fines Clearview AI for illegally monitoring and processing biometric data of Italian citizens

              On 9 March 2022, the Italian Data Protection Authority fined the US-based facial recognition company Clearview AI EUR 20 million after finding that the company monitored and processed biometric data of individuals on Italian territory without a legal basis. The fine is the highest expected according to the General Data Protection Regulation, and it was motivated by a complaint sent by the Hermes Centre in May 2021 in a joint action with EDRi members Privacy International, noyb, and Homo Digitalis—in addition to complaints sent by some individuals and to a series of investigations launched in the wake of the 2020 revelations of Clearview AI business practices.

            • EDRIThe European Commission might put a stop to end-to-end encryption

              And that’s the essence of end-to-end encryption: no-one but the sender and the intended receiver can read the message. Of course, you may haggle over the details. If your phone shows notifications, and you’re in a bar with your phone on the table, someone else might read my message when it arrives. If you decide to publish my message on Instagram, the whole world can read it. And if my phone’s been hacked, the message is compromised as well. But the essence remains: by using end-to-end encryption, you prevent anyone but the sender and the intended receiver from reading your message.

            • The VergeZoom is making it easy to plug your meeting directly into Twitch

              Zoom says the feature is meant to “streamline the process of sharing content within” communities, which definitely sounds like it expects this to be used for things like company webinars. There are a lot of use cases I can think of for this kind of thing, though — it’d be an easy option for people who want to do a live podcast, share a sermon, or make something like a town hall meeting publicly available. Or heck, just stream your 8AM stand-up if you’re really excited about sharing what you’re working on with the world (though you’d probably want to check company policy to make sure that’s okay).

            • Confidentiality

              • Modernization of crypto isn’t the core mission for DoD and the IC, it’s what enables the mission

                In this Q&A with Brian Morrison, Cyber Systems vice president and general manager for General Dynamics Mission Systems, we discuss cost-effective strategies for crypto mod, how Layer 2 encryption will enable missions such as the Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability, and how organizations can keep cryptographic systems compliant with NSA requirements.

                Breaking Defense: Let’s set the scene. What is the steady state right now in cryptographic solutions? Where is modernization needed?

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Common DreamsRussian Climate Envoy Reportedly Resigns Over Ukraine Invasion

        A top adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin has reportedly resigned over his opposition to Russia’s war on Ukraine. 

        Bloomberg reports Anatoly Chubais has stepped down as Russian climate envoy, making him the highest-ranking member of Putin’s government to resign over the war.

      • Common DreamsUS High Schooler’s Answer Listing Zero ‘Positive Effects of Imperialism’ Goes Viral

        A Massachusetts student’s response to a homework assignment went viral Tuesday after the high schooler refused to list “positive effects of imperialism” but included a long list of its negative impacts on communities throughout history.

        Cece Walsh, a 15-year-old student at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, a public high school outside Boston, thought of numerous harmful effects of governments which expanding their influence and power by force, including the “genocide of Indigenous peoples,” slavery, “destruction of cultures and traditions,” “forced religion,” and the exploitation of the planet.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | From Moscow to Washington, the Barbarism and Hypocrisy Don’t Justify Each Other

        Russia’s war in Ukraine—like the USA’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq—should be understood as barbaric mass slaughter. For all their mutual hostility, the Kremlin and the White House are willing to rely on similar precepts: Might makes right. International law is what you extol when you aren’t violating it. And at home, rev up the nationalism to go with the militarism.

      • Common DreamsNobel Winner Chastises Normalization of ‘Small’ Nuclear Weapons as ‘Pathetic’

        The head of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons on Tuesday sharply criticized people suggesting that use of so-called “smaller” or “tactical” nuclear weapons could be anything other than catastrophic as she reiterated the urgent need for global disarmament.

        “Yes, even a ‘small’ nuclear bomb would be that bad.”

      • Common DreamsRussia Says NATO Peacekeepers Inside Ukraine Would Be ‘Dangerous and Reckless’

        Top Russian officials on Wednesday condemned Poland’s proposal to send NATO “peacekeeping forces” into Ukraine as a “very reckless and extremely dangerous” idea that would risk a full-scale war between the alliance and Moscow.

        “This will be the direct clash between the Russian and NATO armed forces that everyone has not only tried to avoid but said should not take place in principle,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in remarks to students and staff at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations as Russia’s deadly assault on Ukraine entered its 28th day.

      • Counter PunchCold War 2.0: Much Worse Than the Original Cold War

        The original Cold War, which lasted from the Berlin airlift in 1948-1949 to the Cuban missile crisis in 1962, eventually found Soviet and American leaders, particularly Leonid Brezhnev and Mikhail Gorbachev along with Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, who understood the importance of arms control and disarmament.  Their successes, particularly the Non-Proliferation Treaty (1969); the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty(1972) and the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (1987), paved the way to a detente between Moscow and Washington that enabled the collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union to take place without any threat of serious violence or confrontation.

        In the wake of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, however, a series of U.S. presidents took fateful actions that gratuitously worsened relations with Russia.  President Bill Clinton enlarged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and abolished the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency in the 1990s; George W. Bush incorporated former Soviet republics into NATO and abrogated the ABM Treaty; Barack Obama supported deployment of a missile defense in Poland and Romania; and Donald Trump’s abrogated the INF Treaty.  Trump’s fundamental ignorance and indifference toward arms control played a key role in the gradual unwinding of Russian-American relations.  Trump also scuttled the Iran nuclear accord, which promised a measure of predictability to the Middle East, and walked away from the Open Skies Treaty that had a history dating to the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s.  In creating a Space Force, Trump moved toward an arms race in space.

      • Counter PunchUkrainians Took to the Streets to Avert a Nuclear Disaster, Will Americans Do the Same?

        They stood solemnly in the street, waving Ukrainian flags against a backdrop of assorted parked tankers and trucks surrounded by buffers and sandbags — all while the Russian military advanced on the site.

        Just over 24 hours later, an auxiliary building at Zaporizhzhia was engulfed in flames, as Russian troops reportedly fired on — and eventually took control of — the plant.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | War Crimes and the Lie of American Innocence

        The branding of Vladimir Putin as a war criminal by Joe Biden, who lobbied for the Iraq war and staunchly supported the 20 years of carnage in the Middle East, is one more example of the hypocritical moral posturing sweeping across the United States. It is unclear how anyone would try Putin for war crimes since Russia, like the United States, does not recognize the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But justice is not the point. Politicians like Biden, who do not accept responsibility for our well-documented war crimes, bolster their moral credentials by demonizing their adversaries. They know the chance of Putin facing justice is zero. And they know their chance of facing justice is the same.

      • Common DreamsOpinion | We Must All Rise Together Against Crimes Fueled by Hate

        GuiYing Ma was assaulted as she swept up the sidewalk in front of her Queens home, her head beaten with a rock so that she ended up in a coma for weeks. Christina Yuna Lee was fatally stabbed more than 40 times by a stalker who followed her to her apartment in Chinatown. Michelle Alyssa Go was pushed to her death at a Times Square subway station. In Atlanta last March, eight people were killed at mass shootings at three Asian spas.

      • TruthOutSanctions Against Wealthy Russians Are Largely Symbolic and Won’t End the War
      • TruthOutA New Cold War Won’t Help the People of Ukraine or Anyone Else
      • VOA NewsPutin Tells Europe to Pay for Natural Gas in Rubles

        Putin ordered Russia’s central bank to implement the new payment system within a week, saying it must be transparent and will involve the purchase of rubles on Russia’s domestic market.

        Putin also hinted that other Russian exports may be affected.

        Later Wednesday the Russian space agency Roscosmos announced it too will insist its international partners pay it in rubles.

      • Defence WebUS general says China is seeking a naval base in West Africa

        Elsewhere in Africa, China holds a large percentage of foreign debt and also has extended leases on critical infrastructure, including ports and airports, he said.

      • RSFChilling account of Radio France fixer who was kidnapped and tortured by Russian soldiers in Ukraine

        “Nikita has given us a chilling testimony that confirms the intensity of the war crimes perpetrated by the Russian army against journalists,” RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said. “Passing his testimony on to the ICC prosecutor is the least we can do for this courageous young fixer.”

      • ANF NewsJailed Corsican nationalist Yvan Colonna died after being attacked by jihadist

        According to prosecutors, he was working out in the prison gym when Franck Elong Abé, 35, a former jihadist serving time for terror offences, allegedly launched his attack.

        Abé tried to suffocate Colonna with a bin bag after hearing him “blaspheming” and mocking the prophet Muhammed, investigators say.

      • MeduzaSnapshots from underground A photographer captures life in Kharkiv’s subway station bomb shelters as shelling continues

        Before the war came to Kharkiv, Pavel Dorogoy specialized in documentary and archival photography, and captured his hometown’s architecture. Today, Pavel mainly works as a volunteer, but he continues to document life in the city during the war. In early March, he started taking photos and videos in the subway stations in one of Kharkiv’s outlying neighborhoods, where thousands of local residents hide during air raids. According to Pavel, a single station can shelter up to 500 people in the evenings — volunteers prepare food (serving children and women first) and, when not taking turns sleeping under piles of blankets, people try to catch a few moments to themselves. Pavel has been living in the subway throughout the war, along with his wife (a station worker) and their two children. With his permission, Meduza shares Pavel Dorogoy’s photos and videos of life in Kharkiv’s underground.

      • MeduzaSergey Shoigu, where are you? Amid war against Ukraine, Russia’s defense minister hasn’t been seen in public for 12 days

        It’s been 28 days since Russia went to war against Ukraine. And it’s been 12 days since the public has laid eyes on Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. Indeed, as first pointed out by Mediazona journalist Dmitry Treshchanin, Shoigu hasn’t appeared in public or in the press since March 11. 

      • Meduza‘These aren’t our stories’: Meduza asks the Kremlin’s spokesman about the growing number of civilian casualties in Ukraine

        Russia’s war against Ukraine has been raging for almost a month. In that time, the UN Human Rights Office has recorded more than 2,510 civilian casualties in Ukraine: 953 people killed and 1,557 injured. The UN says the actual toll is much higher. During a press briefing on Wednesday, March 23, Meduza’s correspondent asked Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov about the Russian military’s role in the growing number of civilian casualties in Ukraine. He replied as follows. 

      • Meduza‘We’ve never been in this situation before’: The Kremlin wants to know what Russian people are most concerned about. Their solution: focus groups.

        Russia’s war against Ukraine has gone on for almost a month now. As pressure from sanctions and other restrictions on the Russian economy grows, Russia’s domestic situation is looking worse and worse — despite the authorities’ successful repression of the anti-war movement through threats and arrests. Meduza has learned of recent efforts by the Russian presidential administration to determine which problems concern the population most. Unfortunately for them, the hard part will be solving them.

      • MeduzaHolocaust survivor killed by Russian shelling in Kharkiv 96-year-old Boris Romanchenko survived four Nazi concentration camps. On March 18, he was killed in his home.

        On March 18, 96-year-old Kharkiv resident Boris Romanchenko, who survived four Nazi concentration camps, died when his apartment was hit by a Russian shell. Romanchenko lived in North Saltovka, a district that’s been under fire since the earlier days of the war. According to his granddaughter, his apartment building “burned down completely.”

      • Meduza‘I’d rather lose my life than my freedom’: A mathematician from Ukraine died by suicide in Moscow after trying and failing to escape from Russia.

        On March 20, mathematician Konstantin Olmezov died by suicide in Moscow. Originally from Donetsk, Olmezov moved to Russia to pursue a career as a mathematician. After Russia invaded Ukraine, Olmezov tried to leave the country, but was arrested and sentenced to administrative detention; after being released, he died by suicide. In his suicide note, he wrote, “For me, not being free is worth than death.”

    • Environment

      • RTLAround 100 groundwater resources currently unusable

        World Water Day has been celebrated annually on 22 March since 1993. Over 50 percent of Luxembourg’s drinking water comes from groundwater. It remains a limited resource, which is continually under threat from a variety of sources, one of which is climate change, says Carole Dieschbourg, Minister for the Environment:

        “We experiencing increased droughts over the past years. We’ve had one slightly more normal year, but previous years were extremely dry. In addition, the rainfall we have had often came at the wrong time and was absorbed by vegetation, so that groundwater sources could not adequately refill.”

        Another threat are nitrate and pesticide residues in the ground. This leads to some groundwater sources being unusable over longer periods of time. As a result, the government has designated special protection areas which are designated by signage or are closed off.

      • Deutsche WelleCan Spain become a European energy powerhouse?

        Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, has been to Madrid several times and agrees. She is also interested in reviving the MidCat Pipeline (Midi Catalonia) project, a gas link between Spain and France. After building 80 kilometers (49.7 miles) of the pipeline on Spanish territory, construction work stopped in 2019. If completed, the pipeline would have a capacity of 7.5 billion cubic meters of gas and could be the start of something bigger. By comparison, Nord Stream 1 can handle 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year.

      • Digital First MediaBreak-in by protesters shut down 4 pipelines across Michigan

        Police said they’ve identified 10 of 18 people they believe were involved in the Oct. 19 break-in at the Vassar area valve station in Michigan’s thumb region — an illegal entry that was broadcast on social media while law enforcement scrambled to find the location. No one has been charged, but local and federal agencies stress the investigation is far from over.

      • Teen VogueRadical Climate Action: From Hunger Strikes to Lawsuits to Community Care

        In the spring of 2021, Amokwandoh and three other UK residents sued the government, arguing that the failure to act on climate change was a violation of their “rights to life” as young people. In response, the government said that the claimants “provide no evidence whatsoever that climate change represents a ‘real and immediate risk’ to their lives” and that because of this, the government “cannot be under any positive obligation” to address their concerns.

      • FAIR‘She Intended Not to Ignore Things Related to Climate, as There Is Pressure to Do’
      • Counter PunchAntarctica Crushes Records

        But, they do tweet: “Antarctic climatology has been rewritten,” tweeted Stefano Di Battista, Antarctic researcher (Source: It’s 70 Degrees Warmer Than Normal in Eastern Antarctica. Scientists are Flabbergasted, The Washington Post, March 18, 2022).

        “This event is completely unprecedented and upended our expectations about the Antarctic climate system,” said Jonathan Wille, a researcher studying polar meteorology at Université Grenoble Alpes in France, in an email,” Ibid.

      • The NationWho Drives the Climate Train?

        Snow began falling on December 24, big fluffy flakes that made lace on mittens before melting. Within hours it had coated the ashes, the brick chimneys that the flames had left behind, and the jagged remains of roofs strewn across my burned-out town. White mounds soon softened the look of charred cars that are everywhere, while even the scorched trees that stretch to the hilltops were coated in a forgiving winter wonder.

      • Energy

        • Common DreamsFossil Fuel CEOs Making ‘Unconscionable Profits’ Amid Ukraine Crisis: Analysis

          While consumers are getting pummeled by skyrocketing gas prices and energy bills, a new analysis out Wednesday found the value of shares held by the CEOs of just eight fossil fuel corporations has surged by nearly $100 million since the start of the year—further evidence, experts say, that oil and fracking executives are capitalizing on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine to consolidate their wealth.

          The executives of fracking and liquefied natural gas (LNG) companies Cheniere, EQT, and EOG Resources; pipeline giants Kinder Morgan and Enbridge; and industry powerhouses Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil see Russia’s deadly assault, which began on February 24, as a “goldmine” and “are in a mad dash to profit” from it, according to researchers at Food & Water Watch.

        • Common DreamsOpinion | Exposed: The Biggest Non-Profit Funders of Climate Denial

          In its recently released report on climate impacts and adaptation, a working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change points out the very real danger of climate misinformation—for the first time since its annual assessments began in 2017.

        • Common DreamsOpinion | Climate Art vs. Wall Street

          In just a couple of weeks, between April 2 and April 10, dozens of climate movement groups are coming together to organize the #DefundClimateChaos Week of Arts Action.  

        • The NationBig Oil in the Mackinac Straits Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen

          “Native American sovereignty supersedes Big Oil’s authority.” This was the thought that occurred to me as I made my way home from Lansing, through the Mackinac Straits, the body of water that connects Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, last month. I had just made a presentation to the Mackinac Straits Corridor Authority (MSCA) as part of the Indigenous community’s ongoing battle to shut down a 1950s-era oil pipeline built and operated by the Canadian company Enbridge. 

        • Mr PogsonSolo EV Update…

          Well, they wouldn’t sell me one and now they’ve published a manual. So, I will never buy one. Key takeaways:

          “The vehicle will not operate at ambient temperatures below -4°F (-20°C).” Give me a break. This is Canada. We go months below -20ºC. How could this be a commuter-car in/near Winnipeg? They say they have a battery management system with both heating and cooling but it can’t handle winter???!

        • VarietyPussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova Talks Raising Millions for Ukraine: ‘The Goal Is to Become Putin’s Biggest Pain in the Ass’

          Pussy Riot’s Nadya Tolokonnikova has long been averse to the idea of national borders. Although the Russian-born punk rocker’s career spans roles as a performance artist, musician and activist, the 32-year-old has become known for her activism against the Putin regime — and is what landed her in a prison outside of Moscow for two years in 2012 after she and Pussy Riot denounced the Russian leader during a guerilla music performance. Most recently, it’s even thrown her into the arms of the globalized Web 3.0 world of crypto and NFTs – technology that she sees as a new tool she can use to help spread her fight the power on a larger scale.

        • DeSmogThe Oil and Gas Industry is Using the War in Ukraine to Profit and Push Its Interests

          Editor’s Note: This is part of a new column, Gaslit, which will navigate society’s dysfunctional relationship with fossil fuel disinformation. Have a tip or idea? Get in touch.

          When Russia invaded Crimea, the EU and United States issued a joint statement stressing the importance of promoting U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports for Europe. It was 2014 and “American gas” would save Europe from being dependent on Russian gas imports.

      • Wildlife/Nature

      • Overpopulation

        • OverpopulationNine strategies to stop short of 9 Billion – ten years on

          In 2012, as the human population reached 7 billion, Robert Engelman, President of the Worldwatch Institute, advanced 9 strategies to halt global population growth. He suggested that humanity had to stop short of 9 billion to accomplish environmentally sustainable prosperity. Ten years later, we have added 800 million people, corresponding to an annual increase of 80 million, the size of the German population. It is time to assess what we have achieved on his points during this 10-year period, and suggest new ways forward.

    • Finance

      • Common Dreams‘Jaw-Dropping’: Wall Street Bonuses Have Soared 1,743% Since 1985

        A new analysis out Wednesday estimates that if the federal minimum wage had grown at the same rate as Wall Street bonuses over the past three and a half decades, it would currently be $61.75 an hour instead of $7.25.

        “Millions of essential workers continue to earn poverty wages, while the reckless bonus culture is alive and well on Wall Street.”

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Twelve Years Later, Surviving Cancer, and Attacks on the Affordable Care Act

        About five years ago, I walked into a doctor’s office with a cough and walked out with a stage four cancer diagnosis. Without the Affordable Care Act, today I would be bankrupt or dead.

      • Common DreamsUnless Biden Acts, Student Loan Freeze That’s Saved Borrowers $195 Billion Will End Soon

        Since the moratorium on federal student loan payments was enacted two years ago at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 37 million borrowers have saved a combined $195 billion, but if President Joe Biden refuses to extend the freeze past May 1—or use his executive authority to cancel student debt—many are likely to struggle with monthly bills, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

        “We can do more than pause loans, we can wipe them away.”

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Let’s Not Stop With the Russian Oligarchy

        No sooner had Roman Abramovich, newly targeted by the United Kingdom’s sanctions on Russian oligarchs, announced that he was selling Chelsea Football Club than the feeding frenzy began. An athletics icon, City grandees, and even a respected Times columnist, each representing different American multi-billionaires, descended on London in a race to buy the club. Meanwhile, a host of London properties belonging to Russian oligarchs entered a long-overdue process of liquidation. What took so long?

      • The VergeGoogle will test letting Android developers use their own billing systems, starting with Spotify

        Google is introducing a pilot to let “a small number of participating developers” offer a payment system in addition to Google Play’s. Spotify will be the first and will use both Google Play’s billing system and its own.

      • Hollywood ReporterGoogle to Reduce App Commission Fees for Spotify Under Expanded Pact

        Users who download the Spotify app from the Google Play store will soon be able to decide whether to subscribe to the audio streaming service using Google Play or Spotify’s separate payment services, the companies said Wednesday.

        The updated payment feature will roll out later this year and will essentially allow Spotify to lose less in commission fees to Google, should users choose to subscribe to the streaming service via Spotify’s payment service.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Counter PunchCommercial Defrauding of Uncle Sam—Biggest Booming Business

        Before getting to the real big stuff, start with how much was stolen or not delivered by the contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just in one program, John Spoko—Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), estimated that $30 billion of the $100 billion repairs project was purloined. Despite his many damning reports on what was also wasted—like the $40 million natural gas-powered fueling station (there were no natural gas-powered cars in Afghanistan)—no one was indicted, no one was fired, no one missed a promotion. This is according to author Andrew Cockburn, who interviewed Spoko extensively for his new book The Spoils of War: Power, Profit and the American War Machine. In fact, Cockburn writes: “They were giving bonuses to people for stealing our money.”

        Of the $360 billion in annual billing fraud by the health care industry, over $100 billion is fraud on Medicare and Medicaid.

      • Counter PunchRadical Elders to Organizational Meeting Next Saturday, March 26

        We all know American is moving into a dangerous period of reaction, the world climate is careening out of control threatening human and perhaps all life on earth, wars and US military spending besides also threatening the planet, are sucking up all funding that should be going to address social needs. Meanwhile, elders in this country are under attack as never before as Medicare gets rapidly privatized, Social Security faces major cuts and privatization or phase-out, and even our ability to vote is threatened by racist voter suppression measures being enacted in a majority of states — measures that impact most elder voters or all colors too.

        A group of several dozen of us radical elder activists have for the past year or more been meeting on what to do about the crisis facing Elders, as well as to figure out how to both bring Elders’ issues to the attention of the many movements for social change, peace, labor rights, voting rights, climate crisis, etc., and also to get these organizations and movements take advantage of the half century or more of organizing experience our generation of organizers has to offer.

      • Counter PunchThe Election Fraud Clown Show Rolls On

        Why any single political party that won all the seats in any state would do anything except celebrate their victories is an unfathomable mystery to most thinking individuals. I mean, when your favorite team wins “the big game” do their coaches immediately call for an investigation into the referees? Of course not — they high five, pour Gatorade over the coaches, and appreciate the applause from the stands.

        That would be what normal people would do — but not the right-wing Trump puppets who are still bemoaning the loss of their Great Leader, the guy the American people were smart enough to send packing in what has been called the most secure national election in history.

      • Counter PunchWhat To Do With Russiagate in 2022?

        Bringing in our collective death a generation earlier, especially when one is an older person who watches cable news, doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. Saying this out loud gives me the shivers. But it’s even worse that no one is talking about this death cult. So let’s just call it what it is. The ruling class is not afraid to end all of life on earth. Preferably not today, but yes, within the century.

        Why then talk about the left and Russiagate if we’re all about to die? Because it’s fun. We love the left and we want to talk about the left before we die. Why not? To be clear I don’t see nuclear apocalypse as inevitable or even that likely. A major accident is extremely likely and the harm caused by that will be historical. However, let’s assume just for a moment that no one is crazy enough to wipe the entire planet out yet.

      • Counter PunchAn Engagement Moment for the US and China

        Political Distancing

        Two days before Russia’s invasion, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi said the “sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of any country should be respected and safeguarded,” adding, “Ukraine is no exception.” Nor did China recognize the two “people’s republics” proclaimed by Putin in eastern Ukraine. Right after the invasion, according to China’s ambassador to the United States, Xi called Putin to urge peace talks. The ambassador claimed Xi “received a positive response.” If so, that was obviously a lie. China then abstained from voting on two UN resolutions that condemned Russia’s invasion, one in the UN Security Council and another in the General Assembly.

      • Common DreamsNY Prosecutor Who Resigned Believes Trump Is ‘Guilty of Numerous Felony Violations’

        The New York Times on Wednesday published the full resignation letter of a prosecutor who abruptly quit last month over the new Manhattan district attorney’s refusal to bring charges against former President Donald Trump.

        “I fear that your decision means that Mr. Trump will not be held fully accountable for his crimes.”

      • Common DreamsWatch: Bernie Sanders and Barbara Lee Hold Town Hall on War in Ukraine

        U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Barbara Lee are among the speakers participating in a virtual Wednesday night town hall about “the progressive response on foreign policy and the war in Ukraine.”

        The event, scheduled for 8:00 pm ET, will also feature Jewish Currents editor-at-large and City University of New York journalism professor Peter Beinart; former White House staffer Ben Rhodes, who co-hosts the foreign policy podcast Pod Save the World; and Georgia State University professor Maria Repnikova, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

      • Common DreamsCalls for Senate to Act Grow as Idaho Governor Signs ‘Heinous’ Anti-Choice Law

        Advocates on Wednesday called on the U.S. Senate to codify reproductive rights nationwide after Idaho’s Republican governor signed into law a six-week abortion ban that incentivizes citizens to collect bounties on healthcare providers.

        “It’s clear that anti-choice lawmakers across the country are more emboldened than ever in advancing their draconian attacks on abortion rights and access.”

      • Common Dreams‘Extraordinary Allegation’: Mo Brooks Claims Trump Personally Asked Him to ‘Rescind’ 2020 Election Results

        Critics hit at Rep. Mo Brooks on Wednesday after the Republican from Alabama claimed that former President Donald Trump personally asked him to “rescind the 2020 elections” and keep President Joe Biden out of the White House.

        The public admission—which government watchdog group CREW called “an extraordinary allegation against Donald Trump,” especially given his silence of the exchange until now—came in a statement on Brooks’ U.S. Senate campaign site and followed news that the former president yanked his endorsement of Brooks earlier in the day.

      • Common Dreams‘Take the Next Step’: Progressives Mark ACA Anniversary With Calls for Medicare for All

        Progressives on Wednesday marked the 12th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act by praising the landmark legislation while calling for the implementation of Medicare for All in order to ensure that everyone in the United States receives the healthcare coverage they need.

        “Millions remain uninsured, and that’s unacceptable. Healthcare should be a right, not a privilege. The next step is Medicare for All.”

      • Common DreamsCritics Blast ‘Absolutely Shocking’ Supreme Court Decision on Wisconsin Voting Maps

        In a move that shocked progressive political observers, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected Wisconsin legislative districts drawn by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers and sent the case back to the state’s highest court, which previously approve the voting maps.

        “It appears to dramatically alter the law of redistricting to make it much harder for states to draw majority-Black districts—all through a cryptic shadow docket ruling.”

      • HungaryThe father is male, the mother is female, and the government is protecting families – Hungary’s foreign minister gives a speech in Hungarian at the UN Human Rights Council
      • HungaryUkrainian Deputy Prime Minister: The Hungarian government’s rhetoric barely differs from an openly pro-Russian stance
      • TruthOutOklahoma’s Near-Total Abortion Ban Surpasses Even Texas’s Six-Week Ban
      • CoryDoctorowFacebook’s genocide filters are really, really bad

        Facebook’s attacks were truly shameless. They told easily disproved lies (for example, claiming that the plugin gathered sensitive personal data, despite publicly available, audited source-code that proved this was absolute bullshit).

      • Marcel KolajaRussia demonstrates how AI can be abused

        The forthcoming Artificial Intelligence Act (AI Act) is one step closer to its adoption. In mid-March, as the opinion rapporteur I presented the draft opinion of the Committee on Culture and Education (CULT). Remote biometric recognition, e-proctoring, and artificial intelligence in media. These are priorities for the upcoming negotiations that must not be forgotten in the proposal.

      • NewsweekAnonymous [Breaks] Into Russian Printers to Deliver Resistance Information

        The materials sent to the printers in Russia include a message telling citizens that President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin, and Russian media have been lying to them about the invasion. It also includes instructions to help them access a free browser that will allow them to bypass state censorship and view “real media.”

      • Why Stop at the Russian Oligarchs?

        At a time when Russian bombs are destroying Ukrainian cities, there is good reason to focus on the oligarchs supporting the Kremlin. But do American multi-billionaires and Saudi princes enjoy less political clout, stash less money abroad, and use their influence any better?

      • Democracy NowZelensky May Have to Make “Painful Compromises” to End the War, Says Ukrainian Scholar Volodymyr Ishchenko

        As the U.S. and its allies ramp up punitive sanctions on Russia and military support for Ukraine, they must be combined with active peace talks, says Ukrainian sociologist Volodymyr Ishchenko. This comes as Russian President Vladimir Putin refuses to rule out the possibility of using nuclear weapons in what has turned into a long, costly war. We also speak with Ishchenko about the rise of pro-Russian political parties in Ukraine, as well as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to suppress these parties and consolidate Ukrainian media.

      • Common Dreams1,000+ Public Defenders Say Jackson’s Background Would Be ‘Incalculable Asset’ to Court

        More than 1,000 former and current public defenders from across the country are calling on the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court, saying her experience working as a public defender would bring a “sorely needed” perspective to the nine-judge panel.

        “Too often, past presidents have communicated through their Supreme Court nominations that in order to be appointed to the nation’s highest court, a lawyer should spend his or her career working at a corporate law firm or as a prosecutor.”

      • Counter PunchGOP Senators’ Case Against Ketanji Brown Jackson: She Did Her Job

        “Do you support, then, the idea that indefinite detention of an enemy combatant is unlawful?” asked US Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), referring to Jackson’s representation of detainees held at the US prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In the course of that representation, Jackson signed an amicus brief asserting — correctly — that the detainees were entitled to challenge their indefinite detention without trial.

        Before storming out of the hearing like one of the kids in Animal House — “you can do whatever you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America” — Graham informed Jackson that according to the brief, the government “would have to release these people or try them and some of them, the evidence we can’t disclose because it’s classified.”

      • Common DreamsOpinion | Jackson Confirmation Hearing Proves GOP Has No Interest Whatsoever in Making America a Better Place

        It’s somewhere between comical and tragic watching the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. 

      • The NationThe Looming Influence of State Supreme Courts

        While all eyes are on the confirmation hearings for President Biden’s Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, 86 state supreme court battles are quietly brewing across the country. These races rarely receive coverage on cable news, but they could have an even greater impact on Americans’ lives—and on the future of our democracy.

      • Democracy NowGOP Senators Grill Ketanji Brown Jackson over Critical Race Theory, Child Sexual Abuse Cases

        Republican senators grilled Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson over her views on critical race theory on the second day of her confirmation hearing to become the first Black woman on the U.S. Supreme Court. “The Republicans are mischaracterizing, misquoting, taking out of context words and speeches that Judge Jackson has made,” says Alexis Hoag, professor at Brooklyn Law School. The non sequiturs create a distraction for “a woman who is overqualified for this position,” Hoag adds. Hoag is a former federal public defender and also discusses the significance of Jackson’s background as a federal public defender.

      • Democracy NowKetanji Brown Jackson: I Was Standing Up for the Constitution by Representing Guantánamo Prisoners

        To begin our coverage of day two of the historic nomination hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, we discuss the attacks by Republicans on her work defending suspects at Guantánamo Bay prison. Given that Jackson was one of hundreds of legal professionals in a project that exposed the lies and brutality undergirding Guantánamo, “to criticize her work in that project is nonsensical to me,” says Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center of Constitutional Rights, who has represented people held at Guantánamo and defended their rights. “Her work should be valorized.”

      • TruthOutCruz Asks Ketanji Brown Jackson About Critical Race Theory, Anti-Racist Books
      • TruthOutGOP Attacks Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Work Defending Guantánamo Prisonsers
      • The NationThe GOP Goes Down the QAnon Rabbit Hole to Trash Ketanji Brown Jackson

        Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is brilliant, but she’s exceptionally gifted in the art of the long pause. Whenever Republican senators asked ridiculous, offensive questions during two grueling days at her Supreme Court confirmation hearing, questions that might have made a lesser jurist explode, Jackson took her time. A long time, after Senator Ted Cruz brandished almost a dozen books, including Antiracist Baby, to claim that anti-white critical race theory is being taught at Georgetown Day School, where Jackson is on the board and her kids went to school.

      • The NationHere’s the Real Reason Ted Cruz Waved My Book in Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Face

        I was rather surprised to see my book The End of Policing being used as a prop by Senator Ted Cruz during the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson on March 22. Given that Judge Jackson has impeccable credentials and abilities, the strategy of the GOP has been to use her nomination to tar the Democratic Party broadly with the brush of “reverse racism” rather than speak to her actual qualifications.

      • ZimbabweYou can now book e-passport applications online. Here’s how you do it
    • Misinformation/Disinformation

      • NewYorkTimesHow Russia and Right-Wing Americans Converged on War in Ukraine

        As war has raged, the Kremlin’s talking points and some right-wing discourse in the United States — fueled by those on the far right — have coalesced. On social media, podcasts and television, falsehoods about the invasion of Ukraine have flowed both ways, with Americans amplifying lies from Russians and the Kremlin spreading fabrications that festered in American forums online.

        By reinforcing and feeding each other’s messaging, some right-wing Americans have given credibility to Russia’s assertions and vice versa. Together, they have created an alternate reality, recasting the Western bloc of allies as provokers, blunderers and liars, which has bolstered Mr. Putin.

      • TechdirtAlaska State Senator Introduces Bill To Ban Fact Checking And Content Moderation. For Freedom

        Let me introduce you to Alaska state Senator Lori Reinbold, who insists in her profile that she believes “in smaller government, and an economy based on free market principles.” She also says that she takes her oath to defend the Constitution “seriously and will fight to protect our inalienable rights.” And apparently, the way she does that is by outlawing fact checking. Senator Reinbold recently introduced a bill in the Alaska Senate that is such a batshit crazy attack on free speech as to be almost a parody. Now, I know, I know that it’s become fashionable among Trumpist legislators to pretend that “free speech” means forcing private companies to host speech that violates their own policies (which seems pretty anti-free market and anti-private property).

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • EDRIPropaganda cannot be silenced with censorship, freedom of expression can

        What Russia is doing is unacceptable. The invasion of Ukraine is a massive and tragic humanitarian crisis. Citizens in both countries and beyond are bearing the brunt of it. Virtually every country in the world is responding to Russia’s military aggression with sanctions and measures. You can read the full regulation here. One of these measures was announced two weeks ago: a total blockade of the Russian state media. RT, formerly Russia Today, has since been blocked throughout Europe. This applies to internet access providers but also to social media. RT’s Twitter account is blacked out. RT is not longer found on Google (however, Google references Wikipedia which still includes a link). And even if the link would still be there, internet access provider in Netherlands, Belgium and Poland are now blocking the website.

      • RFATibetan writer released from prison in China after serving 13 years

        A Tibetan writer jailed for 15 years for writings deemed separatist by Chinese authorities has been released two years before finishing his sentence, with no word immediately available regarding his present state of health, Tibetan sources say.

      • ANF NewsOne artist detained after Aydın Newroz, 5 released on judicial control

        Artists Veysel Ciwan and Serhat Kural, as well as 5 other members of the group performing at the Newroz celebration in Aydın on Saturday, were taken into custody right after the celebration.

        Some of the artists were detained at the bus station and at the airport where they had gone to return to their cities. They were taken into custody because of some songs they sang, which police said were ‘forbidden’.

      • Irish TimesRussian police arrest man for holding up blank sheet of paper
      • CBSTaliban detains journalists over report on censoring of TV shows

        Kabul, Afghanistan — Taliban intelligence men arrested three staff members of TOLO TV, one of Afghanistan’s largest television stations, a channel executive said Friday.

        The country’s new rulers apparently didn’t like a story the broadcaster aired on their decision to ban foreign drama series from local television, said Khpalwak Sapai, head of TOLONews, who was among the three arrested.

      • The ConversationOnline safety bill: ambiguous definitions of harm could threaten freedom of speech – instead of protecting it

        The UK government’s much anticipated online safety bill has now been released. The bill seeks to impose a duty of care on companies, such as social media platforms, to remove illegal content, and in some cases, “legal but harmful” content, quickly.

        Failure to comply will result in heavy fines or, in extreme circumstances, company executives facing prosecution. Yet what is considered “legal but harmful” content remains unclear.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Counter PunchRussia’s War on Journalists

        The latest developments, including: – Popular Russian journalists facing criminal charges – The “fifth columnists” propaganda – Hypocrisy of Putin’s fan club on censorship – Russia losing 150,000 IT specialists by April – Dagestan as recruiting ground for Putin’s war – More than 15,000 arrests in Russia for antiwar activities since invasion

      • RSFRSF relate two years of government assault on Hong Kong’s press freedom

        Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has reconstructed an exclusive timeline of two years of government assault on Hong Kong’s press freedom following the adoption of the National Security Law in 2020 by the Chinese regime.

      • Family of Indian photojournalist killed by Taliban moves ICC for justice

        The family alleges that the photographer was “the victim of crimes against humanity and war crimes, at the hand of anti-government forces, identifying themselves as ‘Taliban’.”

      • NPRFamily of killed photojournalist Danish Siddiqui take Taliban leaders to ICC

        The family of Pulitzer Prize-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, who was killed last year in Afghanistan, filed a formal complaint with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday to investigate his killing and bring to trial the Taliban’s leadership for “committing war crimes.”

      • NetzpolitikRussian exile medium Meduza:

        The independent publication Meduza is no longer easily accessible in Russia. Meduza has been reporting from Latvia in Russian and English since 2014. Last year they were classified as a „foreign agent“ by the Russian Government.

        Also, the journalists themselves are in danger because of their work. Meduza staff who has reported from Russia had to leave the country. In Russia, journalists face up to 15 years in prison if they report independently about the war. It is forbidden to name the war as such.

      • Il Fatto QuotidianoDaniel Ellsberg: “It is outrageous that Biden has continued to pursue Julian Assange’s prosecution”

        The lawyers who were following this at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), were predicting that Donald Trump would prosecute journalists. No president had done that yet, it’s a blatant violation of the First Amendment. It’s obviously unconstitutional, which of course doesn’t slow down Trump, and it is outrageous that Biden has continued to pursue that prosecution. He should have withdrawn the appeal Trump made for extradition of Julian, for prosecution. Biden could just drop it any time, he could do it the next hour. It was very arguably unconstitutional even in my case: I was the first to be indicted under those charges, for leaking, but I had been a former official. I was a source, not a journalist – they don’t regard sources as journalists. You could argue either side in my case, as to whether it was constitutional. In Julian’s [case] there is no argument on the other side: it’s obviously unconstitutional, in America, under our First Amendment. Obama had considered indicting Julian, but had backed off for that very reason, that if they went after Julian on those grounds, they would have no excuse for not going after the New York Times. And they didn’t want to take that on, in part because the New York Times is extremely useful to them, to successive administrations. It basically supports the empire, and doesn’t object to endless amounts of money for so-called defense. It’s a very useful outlet for them, even though it occasionally prints things they would rather not have out.

      • NewYorkTimesTop Editors to Leave BuzzFeed News Ahead of Newsroom Cuts

        The head of BuzzFeed News and two other top editors are departing the company ahead of cuts to the newsroom.

        Mark Schoofs, who became the editor in chief in 2020, said in a staff email on Tuesday that he would be stepping down. He said Tom Namako, the deputy editor in chief, and Ariel Kaminer, the executive editor of investigations, would also leave the company. Mr. Namako said on Twitter that he was joining NBC Digital as executive editor.

        Mr. Schoofs said in the email that BuzzFeed had subsidized the news division for many years and that the “next phase” for BuzzFeed News was to reach profitability in its own right.

      • Counter PunchThey Just Want the Bombs to Stop Falling

        On the contrary, Bush’s image was rehabilitated from war criminal to statesman by a sycophantic media that adores the myths of American exceptionalism far more than they honour the truth. A grandfather who paints portraits, goes to football games with Ellen DeGeneres, and gets hugs from Michelle Obama. How quickly the focus shifted from the mountains of corpses and rivers of blood he was responsible for.

        His partner in crime across the pond, Tony Blair, would receive a similar makeover. His crimes were rewarded with knighthood. In fact, the only ones punished in this tale of corruption and brutality have been those who revealed it all to the public. Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange. And now Assange sits in a gulag awaiting a terrible fate of extradition to the US.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Counter PunchWhy Women Weren’t Allowed to Act in Shakespeare’s Plays

        Numerous English theatergoers considered seeing women on the public stage for the first time a pivotal moment, including the civil servant and diarist Samuel Pepys. It was just one month after the first female actress played Desdemona that Pepys recorded “the first time that ever [he] saw Women come upon the stage.”

        King Charles subsequently issued a royal proclamation to make it official: “Wee doe … permit and give leave That all the woemens part to be acted in either of the said two Companies for the time to come maie be performed by woemen.”

      • Common DreamsBernie Sanders Backs Federally Contracted Call Center Workers on Strike

        U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders joined other labor rights advocates Wednesday in supporting workers at a pair of Maximus call centers in Louisiana and Mississippi who are on strike to demand livable wages, paid sick leave, and freedom to organize a union without interference from the federal contractor.

        “I stand in solidarity with Maximus workers walking out of federal call centers across the country today,” tweeted Sanders (I-Vt.), chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “To my mind, we should not allow greedy corporations to privatize public services or profit from robbing workers of fair pay and benefits.”

      • Counter PunchWhat About the Workers? Notes on Class and Class Consciousness

        More recently, Melrod has been a lawyer for people messed up by the police. The murder, in 2013, by a Sonoma County sheriff of a 13-year-old Latino named Andy Lopez—who was carrying a toy gun—was the catalyst that brought Melrod back to the courtroom after a long absence. He has also helped political asylum seekers.

        Like me, Melrod belonged to Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the organization that opposed the war in Vietnam, and that came apart in 1969, with one faction going into factories to organize workers, and the other faction going underground to make bombs, or to lend support to the bomb makers. For a time, I supported the bomb makers, who were known as the Weather Underground. I used to say “I’m married to the underground.”

      • Counter PunchThe P&O Ferries Mass British Sackings

        The Tory government has been generous to the Dubai-owned P&O Ferries, who were given £33m/$43.4m in emergency funding by the government to ensure freight kept being transported. The government also paid P&O for the furlough of 1,100 British staff during the pandemic.

        Crew were told by P&O to disembark passengers and freight before being sent the video message telling them P&O “vessels will be primarily crewed by a third-party crew provider … Your final day of employment is today”.

      • TechdirtQualified Immunity Denied To Officer Who Tased Man In The Genitals

        A Glendale (AZ) police officer (now former police officer… more on that in a bit) isn’t going to be able to walk away from a civil rights lawsuit stemming from excessive force he deployed during a routine traffic stop. An Arizona federal court says there’s enough in dispute that Officer Matt Schneider will have to continue to face the lawsuit filed against him by Johnny Wheatcroft, the vehicle passenger he tased eleven times, including one shot to the groin after Wheatcroft was handcuffed and restrained face down on 108-degree parking lot pavement by two other officers.

      • TechdirtSinclair Seattle Reporter Makes Proud Boys Gathering Sound Like Cub Scouts

        Generally, when you talk about disinformation or propaganda, “big tech” companies like Facebook, or media giants like Fox News get the lion’s share of the attention. But as we’ve long noted, local news outlets in the U.S. were hollowed out years ago and replaced with something that looks like news, but is generally just gibberish and propaganda.

      • EFFEFF Director of Investigations Dave Maass Honored With Sunshine Award For Driving Public Disclosure of Government Surveillance Records

        Maass’ expertise in the use of police tech like automated license plate readers, drones, and camera networks, and his work pushing governments to be more transparent, has earned him accolades by reporters, researchers, and citizens. Today, Maass will receive the Sunshine Award from the San Diego Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SD-SPJ) in recognition of this important work.

        Maass is the driving force behind the EFF-led Atlas of Surveillance project, the largest-ever collection of searchable data on police use of surveillance technologies. Built using crowdsourcing, data journalism, and public records requests in partnership with Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, the Atlas of Surveillance documents the alarming increase in the use of unchecked high-tech tools that collect biometric records, photos, and videos of people in their communities, locate and track them via their cell phones, and purport to predict where crimes will be committed. San Diego County was one of early communities examined in work on the Atlas.

        “San Diego County has long been a hot spot for law enforcement surveillance tech, from handheld face recognition devices to extreme drone ‘first responder’ programs,’” Maass said. “Over the last few years, it’s been a pleasure to help journalists across numerous regional news outlets probe these new technologies, be it through sharing knowledge or documents EFF has collected or elevating the work these reporters have produced. San Diego journalism has not only helped start a dialogue over surveillance tech, it has also helped shape the conversation in favor of accountability, privacy, and civil rights.”

      • The NationBlack Women’s Voices
      • TruthOutStarbucks Workers Unanimously Vote to Form Union in Seattle, Company’s Hometown
      • Teen VogueKetanji Brown Jackson Hearing — Ted Cruz Makes ‘The End of Policing’ Book a Best Seller

        During Cruz’s tense exchange with Jackson, where he listed books he claimed were teaching CRT, he pulled out a copy of sociology professor Alex Vitale’s The End of Policing. Since 2020’s racial justice protests, the book has been embraced as a clear-eyed introduction to the abolitionist movement. As AOC jokingly implied in a tweet, the pristine condition of Cruz’s copy suggested that he had never actually read the book, but he took the time to make sure the press got a picture of him holding it aloft, cover visible.

        In a statement to the media, Vitale wrote, “While I’m honored to be included in Sen. Cruz’s list of Critical Race Theory texts, this seems to be just another example of the Senator’s intentional confusing of a specific school of legal scholarship and the broader effort to shed light on the nature and history of racism in America.” Vitale continued, “I can only hope that the Senator’s misguided efforts to suppress this history will backfire and inspire a generation of young people to seek out these ideas that are all too often absent in American schools.”

        And backfire it has. Less than 24 hours since the hearing, the book has rocketed to the #1 best-seller spot in its genre on Amazon. Vitale has been celebrating the kerfuffle on his Twitter account, calling Cruz’s statement “the best endorsement yet for The End of Policing.” And of course, there were memes.

      • EDRIPrivate communications are a cornerstone of democratic society and must be protected in online CSAM legislation

        People around the world rely on their private communications for everything from chatting with friends and family, to contacting doctors and lawyers, to blowing the whistle with journalists and organising for social change. What’s more, children in vulnerable positions may actually suffer from weakened technological protections which may prevent them from having confidential communications needed to escape abusive situations. Both UNICEF and the United Nations have issued reports and comments on the importance of privacy and data protection for young people.

      • RTL‘What have we done wrong?’ Afghan school girls forced home

        The Islamists claimed that schools needed to be adapted so girls and boys could be segregated, despite the vast majority in conservative Afghanistan already operating separate classrooms.

        The Taliban’s education ministry days ago announced that girls’ secondary schools would reopen for the start of the new academic year on Wednesday.

        But an 11th hour U-turn by the Taliban leadership was a devastating blow for students, parents and even teachers.

      • CBCTaliban cancels girls’ higher education despite promise

        Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers decided against opening schools to girls above the sixth grade, reneging on a promise and opting to appease their hardline base at the expense of further alienating the international community.

        The unexpected decision, confirmed by a Taliban official Wednesday, came at the start of the new school year in Afghanistan. It is bound to disrupt Taliban efforts to win recognition from potential international donors, at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.

      • VOA NewsTaliban Renege on Promise to Allow All Afghan Girls Back in School

        The Taliban reopened schools in Afghanistan after the winter break Wednesday but continued a ban on grade seven to 12 girls, saying they still need time to draw up a plan for them in line with Islamic law or Sharia.

        The move swiftly drew domestic and international criticism of the Islamist group for backtracking on its commitment that all girls around the country would be allowed to return to school March 23, which also marks the start of the school year for most Afghan provinces.

      • NYPostTaliban cancels girls’ higher education despite pledges

        The unexpected decision, confirmed by a Taliban official Wednesday, came at the start of the new school year in Afghanistan. It is bound to disrupt Taliban efforts to win recognition from potential international donors, at a time when the country is mired in a worsening humanitarian crisis.

      • NDTVTaliban Orders Afghan Girls’ Schools Shut Hours After Reopening: Report
      • Saudi ArabiaTaliban orders Afghan girls schools shut hours after reopening: Spokesman

        The international community has made the right to education for all a sticking point in negotiations over aid and recognition of the new Taliban regime.

      • France24Girls’ schools in Afghanistan ordered shut just hours after reopening

        The Taliban had insisted they wanted to ensure schools for girls aged 12 to 19 were segregated and would operate according to Islamic principles.

        The Taliban have imposed a slew of restrictions on women, effectively banning them from many government jobs, policing what they wear and preventing them from travelling outside of their cities alone.

        They have also detained several women’s rights activists.

      • BBCAfghanistan: Taliban backtrack on reopening high schools for girls

        This chaotic and last-minute policy reversal makes clear the divisions within the group – and underlines how out of touch with the aspirations of modern Afghan society parts of the leadership are.

        Activist Mahouba Seraj, founder of the Afghan Women’s Network, was bemused by the U-turn.

        “The excuse they gave was ‘you don’t have the proper hijab on’. There was no ruling, they just decided this morning that the hijab was not proper, for whatever reason,” she told the BBC.

      • EDRIPromoting human rights in the digital era

        Digital rights organisation and EDRi member IuRe, in cooperation with other Czech non-profit and public sector partners, has launched a new project, Promoting Human Rights in the Digital Era. The project’s purpose is to alert the public about how digital technologies can encroach on their human rights. In a first for the Czech Republic, the consortium will carry out in-depth research amongst journalists to measure their level of awareness on the issue. The findings will be used to develop specialised, bespoke training for media professionals.

      • US Navy TimesPosting POW footage on social media may constitute human rights violation

        Showing videos of POWs, regardless of the content or under what conditions it is obtained, is a violation of international law, experts say.

        “Articles 13 and 14 of the third Geneva Convention protect POWs from insult and from becoming the object of public curiosity,” Leila Sadat, special adviser on crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court, told Military Times.

      • QuilletteA Suicide Foretold: How Social Justice Rhetoric is Turning People off Human Rights

        Since the adoption of the Universal Declaration, in 1948, human rights have made their way into mainstream discourse. Irrespective of their political leaning, people who read the news know at least some human rights terminology: presumption of innocence, arbitrary detention, freedom of expression, the right to food, etc. From a linguistic perspective, these terms are clear.

        “The clearer your message, the better chance you have to convince your audience” says a basic rule of advocacy. Yet a look at contemporary human rights paints a disturbing picture. After 75 years of efforts, human rights folks are switching to a new, vaguer rhetoric.

      • ShadowproofProtest Song Of The Week: ‘Gotterdämmerung’ By Zeal & Ardor

        The article originally appeared at Ongoing History of Protest Music.Zeal & Ardor is the brainchild of Swedish musician Manuel Gagneux. It started as an online project,where Gagneux sought feedback on blending two musical genres that don’t traditionally gotogether. He ultimately paired black metal with spirituals and that led to three studio albums, including a recently released self-titled album.“Lyrically, it’s a continuation of the alternate history narrative we have going on—what if American slaves had turned to Satan instead of God?” Gagneux said. “‘Where ‘Devil Is Fine’ was about life in captivity and ‘Stranger Fruit’ was about the escape, this record is about the many things that come after—being on the run, clandestine ruminations, and grand plan.”As in his previous efforts, the lyrics touch upon themes of religious hypocrisy and race relations. Eventhough it might be written from the perspective of the African American experience, as a black man in apredominately white country and music genre, racism is something that Gagneux has routinely dealt with.One of the album’s more aggressive tracks is “Götterdämmerung.” “This is the title of a movement in a Wagner opera, and Wagner was heavily used by not-so-great people in the ’30s and ’40s in Germany. So I wanted to re-appropriate and reclaim Wagner, even though he himself was a huge dick, too—but dude wrote brilliant music,” Gagneux shared.Politicians co-opting music for their agenda is a trend. For example, back in the 1980s, Bruce Springsteen spoke up when politicians such as Ronald Reagan tried to adopt “Born in the USA” as a campaign theme (missing the point of the lyrics). During Donald Trump’s presidency, many opposed his use of their music at his rallies. Neil Young in particular composed an open letter voicing his displeasure over Trump using his political protest anthem, “Rockin’ in the Free World.”Listen to Zeal & Ardor’s “Gotterdämmerung”:

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Internet SocietyWhat Is the Splinternet? And Why You Should Be Paying Attention

        This is the Splinternet. Where the addresses you normally use on the open Internet can take you to completely different places—or sites can be blocked entirely. It’s where you can’t trust the names and addresses to take you to where they’re supposed to. It’s where borders are added to a borderless system. It’s where the free flow of information becomes restricted and suppressed.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • TechdirtApple Cripples Its Own Streaming App In Stand Off With Google

        As the battle for streaming market share accelerates, the fighting between companies has increasingly gotten dumber. Such as when AT&T’s streaming TV app was pulled from Roku customer hardware because the two companies couldn’t agree on data sharing parameters. Or when Google TV customers almost lost access to NBC content because those companies couldn’t negotiate like adults either.

      • The VergeHBO Max adds a shuffle button to help you find something to watch

        HBO Max said the button is one of its most requested features. Streaming rivals like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, among others, have similarly experimented with shuffle functions on their apps. Currently, the shuffle feature is available for 45 series on HBO Max, meaning you have 45 options for mindless streaming next time you’re having trouble finding something to watch.

      • Hollywood ReporterNetflix Tries to Monetize Password Sharing, But Will It Work?

        On March 16, Netflix said it was testing a new feature in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru that would allow primary account holders to add up to two users outside their households for a small fee. Like past supposed crackdowns on password sharing, it’s not clear whether this new fee structure will ultimately be rolled out wide, but it does serve as another low-lift opportunity for Netflix — whose subscriber growth has stalled in recent quarters — to boost its revenue.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • Creative CommonsCC welcomes adoption of AIDA

          On Tuesday, the European Parliament’s (EU) Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA) adopted its final recommendations for a Roadmap, laying the groundwork through 2030.

        • Torrent FreakIllegal IPTV Streaming: Four Receive Prison Sentences Totaling 10+ Years

          Four individuals connected to the illegal streaming of copyrighted content have been handed prison sentences in the UK totaling more than 10 years. Three men and a woman were convicted of fraud and money laundering for offenses against broadcasters including Sky and BT Sport. Assets have also been seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

        • Torrent FreakRuTracker Found Itself Unblocked in Russia So Immediately Blocked Itself

          Infamous Russian torrent site RuTracker is one of many pirate sites that are permanently blocked by the Russian authorities for failing to remove copyrighted content. However, when the site suddenly became accessible again this month, RuTracker took its own measures to block Russian users.

        • TechdirtDestiny Community Plagued By Copyright Takedowns, Bungie Insists It Isn’t Them

          We’ve been making the point for years that the way copyright is currently enforced in online platforms is wide open for abuse and error. Between all the collateral damage created by automated copyright bots and all of the chicanery used to silence critics or to baselessly collect revenue on the work of others, there is simply more of this nonsense going on than most people realize.

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