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Links 9/5/2019: Krita 4.2 Alpha, GNOME 3.32.2, Ubuntu Touch OTA-9

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  • Desktop

    • Entroware Ares Review: An Awesome And Affordable All-In-One Ubuntu Linux PC
      don't normally spoil the verdict in the lead paragraph of my reviews, but Entroware -- a European PC builder specializing in Linux machines -- has convinced me there's room for an All-in-One in my life. I've been using the company's Ares AIO for a few months, and it'll be a shame to ship it back as it's become a useful and attractive desk companion. The Ares is sleek, affordable and even with a "lowly" Intel Core i3 CPU it goes toe-to-toe with my trusty Dell XPS 13 9370.

      So let's talk about it.

      All-in-one PCs like the Ares consolidate the traditional computer tower into the monitor housing, meaning all the components are tucked behind the display. Designs like this are well-suited for the majority of more casual Linux users, or those who can get their working and playing accomplished without a dedicated GPU (the Ares' only weakness). For people short on space or simply craving a streamlined work environment, this is an elegant solution.

    • Every Chromebook sold this year will support Linux apps
      If the ability to run desktop Linux apps on Chromebooks is something that interests you, but you’re yet to bite on buying a device to do it, it sounds like your patience has paid off!

      Google has apparently said that every Chromebook launched in 2019 will support Linux apps out of the box, according to an Android Police update on Google I/O 2019 happenings.

      Linux Apps on Chrome OS (codenamed “Crostini”) made their formal debut last year when they entered beta with the release of ChromeOS 69.

      The feature is still in beta as of the most recent Chrome OS release, v75, but is already proving popular with users, with particular appeal amongst developers.

    • Linux-Ready Chromebooks To Launch This Year With Android Studio
      Google has confirmed that all laptops running Chrome OS this year will be Linux-Ready Chromebooks. The news comes after the main keynote at Google I/O which introduced a number of features to Google Search, Google Assistant and a lot more.

      Google also confirmed that Linux-Ready Chromebooks will have an easy time installing Android Studio. Earlier this wasn’t the case as developers struggled with developing Android apps on Chromebooks.

    • All Chromebooks launched this year will be Linux-ready
      Last year, Google brought Linux support to Chromebooks. It's a really nifty feature, and it's only been improving since I/O 2018. But this year, Google announced that all Chromebooks launched in 2019 will be Linux-ready right out of the box, which is great for developers, enthusiasts, and newbies alike.

      These announcements have been quick and brief, but at least this news is straight to the point, though every Chromebook I've tested recently had Linux support. As someone who regularly distro hops on my personal machines, the Linux installation process on Chrome OS is top-notch for ease of use, I must say.

  • Server

    • Red Hat Universal Base Image: RHEL containers for everyone
      love containers. You love containers. We all love containers. But making containers that do everything we want without problems… well, that's not so easy. At Red Hat Summit in Boston, Red Hat has an idea on how to fix that: Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI).

      This, as Ron Pacheco, Red Hat's RHEL's director of product management, explained, helps you build truly productive containers. After all, while it's beautiful to deploy applications in containers, "from a Linux perspective, it's complicated." He said, "You have user space and libraries in your container, you have Kubernetes and kernel interoperating in a way that was never done in the hypervisor world."
    • What to look forward to on Day 2 of Red Hat Summit
      If you thought day one was fun, just wait until you see what’s on the agenda for day two of Red Hat Summit 2019. We have not one, but two fantastic general sessions on the schedule, as well as a full day of breakouts, instructor-led labs, Open Source Stories, and puppies.

    • OpenShift Commons Gathering at Red Hat Summit Boston 2019 Recap [with Slides]
      The OpenShift Commons Gathering at Red Hat Summit brought together experts from all over the world to discuss the container technologies, operators, the operator framework, best practices for cloud-native application developers and the open source software projects that underpin the OpenShift ecosystem to help take us all to the next level in cloud-native computing. This gathering brought 1,000+ developers, project leads, cloud architects, DevOps professionals, sysadmins, and cloud-native practitioners together to explore the next steps in making container technologies successful and secure at scale.

    • Splunk Connect for OpenShift – Logging Part
      Red Hat OpenShift already provides an aggregated logging solution based on the EFK stack, fully integrated with the platform. But we also provide choice for companies that have settled on a different platform.

      Some companies have a Splunk logging platform to store and to aggregate the logs for all their environments and they want to send their container logs to the same platform.

      This post explains how to easily integrate Splunk with Red Hat OpenShift using the new Splunk Connect for Kubernetes. The first part is focused on how to use Splunk Kubernetes Logging.

    • New Kubernetes OperatorHub for Red Hat OpenShift to enable hybrid cloud flexibility for enterprises
      Today, Red Hat announces Red Hat OpenShift 4, the industry’s most comprehensive enterprise Kubernetes platform. With this, we celebrate a new capability to further enable the flexibility of hybrid cloud on any infrastructure: OperatorHub embedded for Red Hat OpenShift. We are also introducing Red Hat OpenShift Operator Certification to deliver to customers a trusted ecosystem of enterprise applications with consistent packaging, deployment and lifecycle management across all OpenShift footprints.

      Today’s achievement builds on the work we’ve done around Operators, starting with the introduction of the Operator concept in 2016. In 2018, we announced the Operator Framework to help others build and automate the lifecycle of Operators. Earlier this year we announced the community of curated Kubernetes Operators to make it easier to find and share Operators.

      With OperatorHub embedded on OpenShift 4, developers and administrators are empowered to automate and orchestrate complex tasks required to maintain an application across any cloud where Kubernetes runs. Kubernetes Operators implement cloud-like automation capabilities, such as self-service provisioning, self-tuning, data-replication, automated backups, and automated updates, for their respective services. Red Hat OpenShift has more than 40 Operators available in its embedded OperatorHub catalog, including both community and OpenShift Certified Operators. With Red Hat certified Operators, businesses can provide their developers with a toolbox of workloads "as-a-service," verified on OpenShift and backed by Red Hat and its partners.

    • Introducing Red Hat OpenShift 4: Kubernetes for the Enterprise
      Today at Red Hat Summit we celebrate the announcement of Red Hat OpenShift 4, which will be available in the next month.

      A big thank you to our customers from more than 1,000 worldwide organizations, our partners, the Kubernetes community at large, and our Red Hat teams for all of the progress we’ve made together on the platform.

      In this first major release since we completely rebased OpenShift 3 on Kubernetes four years ago, we’re going beyond Kubernetes and the fully integrated platform we deliver through OpenShift, and redefining Kubernetes for the enterprise through full stack automation.

    • Innovation’s rocket fuel: Linux and hybrid cloud
      50 years ago on July 20th, a computer deposited two men on the moon. The space race, driven by the two most powerful nations in the world at the time, was won with technology that possesses barely a fraction of the processing power of your mobile phone. But NASA did it - Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched the moon and came back.

      In order to expand beyond mankind’s known limits, space exploration required a wave of innovation, from advancements in computer technology to space suits, to achieve the bold goal of the moon landing. Most IT organizations aren’t trying to launch into low Earth orbit or land on a celestial body, but we have our own bold goals. We want to build better applications, faster. We want to have 100 percent uptime. We want to anticipate the needs of users before they even know what they want. We want to just be better.

    • Frontier: World’s Fastest Supercomputer Crunches 1.5 ExaFlops, Coming In 2021
      Frontier is ORNL’s fourth supercomputer following Jaguar, Titan, and Summit, each machine coming with capabilities that were ‘World’s fastest’ at the time of their launch.

      The development of Frontier followed by many supercomputers by the DOE will make the US a pioneer in supercomputers, ready to take on the world with a superfast performance.

      Currently, China has the world’s largest number of supercomputers. However, with the arrival of Frontier and Aurora supercomputers, the scale may start to tip in America’s favor.

    • Elastic Expands With Out-Of-The-Box End-To-End Monitoring
      With the introduction of smart phones and we’ve all gotten used to carrying computers in our pockets, has come the explosion of data. Just a few years ago we were in awe of a 1 terabyte (TB) hard drive, now software companies are casually talking about petabytes. Next up exabytes, or one quintillion bytes. It’s all cool until you want to find some useful information in that storm of data.

      Users need to see value from these massive data sets (e.g., at what point to customers drop out of the purchase process?). With event-driven architectures, engineers also need to capture data about data so they can figure out what’s going on internally in their systems as the data flows from one API to the next, out to the edge and back, at speeds previously thought not possible.

    • CloudLinux Around the World: Nikolay in Limassol
      When people ask me, “Nikolay, why did you leave the bleak, Russian interior for the warm, mediterranean beaches of Limassol?”, I normally chuckle and wait while they think about what they’ve just said. A few seconds later, they’ll smile. Then they’ll say, “Why here? Why not some other warm place?” Here’s what I tell them.

      Cyprus is a short flight from Kazan, my home city. I still have a house, family and friends, so it’s important to be able to hop back whenever I want to. Everyone here speaks a bit of English, so there’s not much of a language problem. In recent years, many Russians have moved to Limassol, perhaps 1 in every 10 are Russian, so I can still find the foods I miss, like grechka and some of our famous soups. It also means our 15-month-old daughter had no trouble finding playmates. It’s here she learned to walk, and she’s part of the reason for coming. Learning to walk in the snow isn’t much fun for a toddler. It seemed a shame to keep her indoors during this important phase in her life. So, my wife and I, we decided to spend some time somewhere else. Not long after we arrived in Cyprus, she (my daughter, not my wife!) was joyfully scampering around the garden, kicking up eucalyptus leaves and savoring the warm air. So, just to see that, it was worth coming.

    • Red Hat and Microsoft Fuel Hybrid Cloud Development with Azure Red Hat OpenShift
      Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world's leading provider of open source solutions, and Microsoft today announced the general availability of Azure Red Hat OpenShift, which brings a jointly-managed enterprise-grade Kubernetes solution to a leading public cloud, Microsoft Azure. Azure Red Hat OpenShift provides a powerful on-ramp to hybrid cloud computing, enabling IT organizations to use Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform in their datacenters and more seamlessly extend these workloads to use the power and scale of Azure services. The availability of Azure Red Hat OpenShift marks the first jointly managed OpenShift offering in the public cloud.

    • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella comes to Red Hat Summit
      If the mountain won't come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain. Or, in this case, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella came to Red Hat Summit to announce a new Microsoft/Red Hat partnership: Azure Red Hat OpenShift.
    • Red Hat Brings OpenShift To Microsoft Azure

    • The new application environment: engineered for excellence
      In the first part of this series, we looked at the role of containers as a fundamental enabler of fine-grained, microservices architectures that enable rapid, incremental, trial-and-error innovation. In the second part, we described in some detail the continuing importance of "middleware"—whether it's called middleware or something else—for development of enterprise applications in containerized, cloud-native environments. We arrived at the notion that not only must traditional middleware be substantially reimagined and refactored to optimally support cloud-native applications, it can also be substantially more powerful when it is "engineered together" in a way that creates a unified, coherent application environment. Let's unpack this a bit and understand the opportunities, benefits, and requirements.

    • Red Hat Shares ― Linux: The hybrid cloud foundation
      We talk a lot about hybrid cloud because we believe it’s important to the IT strategy of most enterprises. (We dedicate an entire track to it at Red Hat Summit, happening this week.) But equally significant is the foundation of your hybrid cloud―the operating system (OS).

      Clouds are made up of the same interoperable technologies: OSs, virtualization software, management and automation tools, and application programming interfaces (APIs). The quality of those connections depends on the consistency, reliability, and flexibility of your OS.

    • “Red Hat Will Remain Independent; I’m Not Buying Them To Destroy Them,” Says IBM CEO
      Ever since IBM announced that it’s going to acquire the open source giant Red Hat, Linux and open source enthusiasts have been voicing their concerns regarding the future of Red Hat? Is it going to become just another IBM subsidiary or is Red Hat going to adopt IBM’s corporate culture?

      At the Red Hat Summit in Boston, executives of both companies shared their thoughts and reiterated their commitments to move forward and drive more innovation. When asked if the Linux giant would remain independent, IBM CEO, chairman, and president Ginni Rometty said: “I don’t have a death wish for $34 billion.”

    • At Red Hat Summit, RHEL 8 Unveiled Under IBM's Cloud
      The unveiling of RHEL 8 would normally steal the show at Red Hat Summit, but this year the deal with IBM may overshadow that announcement.

    • What to look forward to on Day 3 of Red Hat Summit
      Two days are on the books, just one day left of Red Hat Summit 2019. We’re a bit sad, too, but don’t despair - there’s plenty left to do, see, and learn on Thursday. To cap it all off, we’re looking forward to Thursday night’s Red Hat Summit Party featuring Neon Trees and Fitz & the Tantrums. Let’s see what else is going on Thursday.

    • Inside the IT industry’s largest commercial open source software ecosystem
      longside this week’s product announcements at Red Hat Summit 2019, Red Hat delivers yet another major milestone in building an open hybrid cloud ecosystem with new certification offerings, a new approach to RHEL-based container images, better tools for Red Hat and partners to support customers as well as addressing the need for application portability.

      Red Hat’s vision of an open hybrid cloud is: any application, in any environment, on any cloud, portable and operated consistently - from public and private clouds to bare metal and virtual environments in traditional datacenters, the extended datacenter (edge) and end-user devices.

    • Journey to the hybrid cloud – it starts with the platform
      Organizations today are investing in new technologies and practices to transform the way they deliver value to their customers. This has become a critical investment area as we move into an era of disruption, and cloud computing plays a vital role in supporting both the technologies and processes driving the digital transformation imperative. Offering greater speed, cloud-based strategies leave more time for companies to focus on building and delivering innovation, value, and differentiation while creating financial efficiency.

      While moving to a single public cloud has many benefits, the reality is that for some workloads the public cloud simply doesn’t make sense, or meet requirements for things like control, security or regulatory compliance. As a result, a majority of today’s IT environments are inherently hybrid, comprising of applications deployed on-premises, and in both private and public clouds. Some highly optimized or secure workloads can continue to be deployed in bare metal and virtualized environments. As organizations embrace the public cloud, they may select multiple public clouds in order to take advantage of unique cloud capabilities as well as for optimizing vendors. According to IDC, 70 percent of customers already deploy multicloud environments and 64 percent of applications in a typical IT portfolio today are based in a cloud environment, whether public or private1. Therefore, many organizations are looking to embrace hybrid cloud strategies as the best way to achieve digital transformation.

    • Meet Red Hat Open Studio: An open community where creativity is the code
      As I prepare for my talk at Red Hat Summit 2019, I can’t help but think about what led to today.

      Since the moment you arrived at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center for Red Hat Summit (or watched the livestream if you couldn’t join us in person) you’ve experienced the efforts of Red Hat’s Marketing Communications team. This is the big game for us, and we work all year long to deliver an immersive, creative experience to showcase what Red Hat and the open source community are up to.

      But we don’t do it in a vacuum. It takes a multitude of internal teams, stakeholders, and external collaborators to bring this to life. It takes the Red Hat Open Studio.

    • Why open source holds the key to application portability in the hybrid cloud
      Gone are the days when IT decisions were black and white.

      The lines are blurred today. Virtualization and container platforms have started to converge. DevOps has taken on a central role as mediator between developers and system admins. Kubernetes has emerged as a platform for both infrastructure and applications. CIOs think in terms of on-prem and cloud deployments. Clearly, the operative word has changed from ‘or’ to ‘and’. This imperative is one of the drivers fueling the rise of hybrid cloud technologies.

      Recently, Joe Brockmeier wrote a great blog post on the value of enterprise open source technologies. I’d like to extend that discussion to the value of open source in the era of the hybrid cloud.

    • Red Hat Shifts Kubernetes Into High Gear as Linux Advances
      At Red Hat Summit, OpenShift version 4 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 are announced, as new foundations on which enterprise applications can be developed and delivered.

      When looking at the modern IT landscape, few if any technologies are as pervasive for enterprise application and cloud deployment as Linux. Leading the charge for enterprise Linux has long been Red Hat, which held its annual Red Hat Summit May 7- 9, announcing new Linux and Kubernetes container platform releases.

      Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8 (RHEL) is the first major release of Red Hat's flagship Linux platform since July 2014. The RHEL 8 release benefits from a new web console project that makes it easier for users to manage a system.

    • OpenShift 4: Red Hat's on ramp for the hybrid cloud
      Traditionally, a hybrid cloud runs simultaneously on a public and private cloud. Historically, that's been done with three models: Hybrid-cloud management software such as HPE Helion; vendor-native hybrid cloud platforms, such as Microsoft with Azure and Azure Stack; and Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) clouds, including Cloud Foundry, which can bridge over Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) clouds. Or, you can do what Red Hat announced at Red Hat Summit: Use Kubernetes container orchestration with Red Hat OpenShift 4.

    • Inspiration and Learning at SAS Global Forum
      As a technology partner with SAS, it is inspiring to see that real life challenges are being addressed with SAS Viya and other SAS products. SUSE plays an important role by providing open infrastructure which is reliable, secure, high performing, available on all major architectures and public clouds, with SUSE’s world class global support. We work closely with SAS to ensure an excellent platform for their applications, and a great experience for our joint customers. Masood Noori, solution architect at SUSE, worked closely with SAS R&D and SUSE’s performance experts to create a tuning guide for running SAS with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). This SUSE Linux Enterprise Server Tuning and Configuration for SAS guide was the basis of Masood’s session topic at the event. Along with covering the tuning recommendations and methodology, Masood also provided background about SUSE, including news of becoming independent (see blog from CEO Nils Brauckmann), and our partnership with SAS.

    • SUSE Expert Days – Your kind of Open
      SUSE Expert Days are free, one-day training sessions, full of technical conversations and demos that will provide you with the tools you need to keep pace with your evolving business. Sessions are delivered by SUSE engineers, experts, and IT professionals that realize that in today’s business environments, every company is a digital company. The content is curated knowing that you not only have to keep up, you need to be ready to transform in an agile and strategic way.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • WireGuard Didn't Make It Into Linux 5.2 Due To Windows Port, But That Is Now Available
      As for WireGuard not making it into the Linux 5.2 kernel, the lead developer of this secure network tunnel explained in an email into Phoronix that it was due to his focus on getting the WireGuard Windows support in order. But as of today that initial Windows port is now available and he'll be returning to focusing on the Linux code.

    • XFS In Linux 5.2 Gets "A Big Pile Of New Stuff"
      While EXT4 in Linux 5.2 sees (optional) case insensitive file-name/directory support, the XFS file-system is seeing "a big pile of new stuff" introduced albeit it's made up of a lot of fixes and some new functionality.

    • Linux 5.2 DRM Makes Icelake Production-Ready, Adds Lima & Panfrost Drivers
      The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem and driver updates have now been submitted and merged for the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel.

      On the driver front, this is the kernel bringing the reverse-engineered, community-developed Panfrost and Lima DRM/KMS drivers. Panfrost is the driver for ARM Mali Bifrost and Midgard graphics processors while Lima is for the older Mali 400/450 series. Panfrost is in particularly great shape and pairs with the new mainline Mesa Gallium3D driver of the same name for offering decent OpenGL acceleration on a fully open-source driver stack. It's nice to see Arm Mali hardware finally being "freed" on the mainline Linux kernel by the community.

    • Legacy IDE Driver Now Deprecated, To Be Removed From Linux In 2021
      The Linux kernel's legacy IDE driver has been officially deprecated as of Linux 5.2 and is expected to be removed entirely in 2021.

      Christoph Hellwig and David Miller went ahead with officially deprecating the legacy IDE driver in the Linux kernel. With Linux 5.2+, a warning will now be emitted on registering IDE hosts using this driver over the deprecation.

    • Linux 5.0.14
      I'm announcing the release of the 5.0.14 kernel.

      All users of the 5.0 kernel series must upgrade.

      The updated 5.0.y git tree can be found at: git:// linux-5.0.y and can be browsed at the normal git web browser:

    • Linux 4.19.41
    • Linux 4.14.117
    • Linux 4.9.174
    • We Need to Save What Made Linux and FOSS Possible
      That's all necessary, but not sufficient. We need something more. Something big.

      I suggest we pick a fight. Because fights raise emotions and have goals.

      I just ran a playoff between many different fights on many tabs in a browser. The winner—the last tab standing—is "The Era of General Purpose Computers Is Ending", by Michael Feldman in The Next Platform website. It's a sad bookend to the history of a losing fight that Cory Doctorow forecast in 2011 with "Lockdown: the coming war on general-purpose computing" and a year later in "The Coming Civil War over General Purpose Computing". Read all three.

      I chose general-purpose computing as the winning fight—the one most worth having—because we wouldn't have Linux, free software or open source today if there weren't general-purpose computers to develop and use them on. General-purpose computing is the goose that laid all our golden eggs. The fight is to keep it alive.

    • Linux 5.2 Staging Adds New Subsystem/Drivers Yet Is 111k Lines of Code Lighter
      Linus Torvalds happily pulled in the staging subsystem updates today for the Linux 5.2 kernel. While new functionality was added to staging including two new "subsystems", the overall net change for the lines of code is being 111,641 lines of code less.

    • EXT4 Case Insensitive Support Sent In For The Linux 5.2 Kernel
      The EXT4 case-insensitive directories / file-name lookups were sent in yesterday for the mainline Linux 5.2 kernel.

      As covered in that aforelinked article, the case-insensitive file-name look-up support works on a per-directory basis and can be setup by flipping on the +F inode attribute on an empty directory. The functionality relies upon Unicode 12.1 case handling and will preserve the actual case of the directory/filename on-disk. This functionality is specific to the EXT4 file-system driver itself although the Unicode code is entering a common area of the file-system kernel code.

    • ARM64 To Finally Broadcast Its Spectre State Via Sysfs, Prep For Neoverse & SVE2
      Longtime Linux kernel developer Will Deacon sent in the 64-bit ARM (ARM64 / AArch64) architecture changes on Monday for the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel.

    • Networking Changes For Linux 5.2 Bring New Realtek Driver But No WireGuard
      David Miller sent in the networking subsystem changes on Tuesday night for the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel.

      There are some notable network changes for Linux 5.2, but sadly one feature didn't make it at least as part of this pull request... WireGuard still hasn't been queued for the mainline Linux kernel. Following the new WireGuard revision sent out for review in March there was some hope we could see this secure network tunnel finally merged for Linux 5.2, but it's not part of this networking pull.

    • Next-Gen AMD EPYC Changes To EDAC Driver Sent In For Linux 5.2 Kernel
      The notable change with the "EDAC" changes for Linux 5.2 comes down to the "Zen 2" support for the new AMD EPYC processors launching later this year.

      EDAC is for the kernel's subsystem of Error Detection And Correction device support to allow the collecting and reporting of events pertaining to ECC memory and other errors. With the in-development Linux 5.2 kernel, the EDAC feature pull adds in the Zen 2 support patches we originally wrote about back in February.

    • CEF on Wayland upstreamed
      CEF (Chromium Embedded Framework) provides a simple framework for embedded browser/web functionality in your application. It is built on top of Chromium and mitigates the issue of a fast-changing Chromium API with stable APIs.

      Over the past few years, Collabora has been involved in a number of customer projects to port/embed CEF on their platforms. One of the major projects related to this was to port CEF on Wayland.

      To give some background (see previous blog), Chromium supports multiple backends with its Ozone layer abstraction. Once Chromium is built with Ozone enabled, a specific backend (e.g Wayland, Headless, X11) can be chosen at runtime.

    • When x86 CPU Stacks Overflow, They Will Now Be More Pronounced With Linux 5.2+
      While the x86 IRQ changes to the Linux kernel during the merge window periods don't tend to be too interesting for end-users, there is a pleasant change introduced with the Linux 5.2 kernel.

      Beginning with Linux 5.2, should your system(s) encounter any low-level stack overflows on x86-based processors, they should now be more "clear-cut faults/crashes" as opposed to experiencing silent memory corruption and sporadic failures. This is more useful to those that may be more ambitiously testing the Linux Git code but at least now if anything goes awry, it will be much quicker to spot problems as opposed to potentially odd behavior creeping in with time.

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation’s Open Source Automotive Software Project Takes Off

        So far, AGL has deployed open-source software for instrument clusters, heads-up displays, and telematics. The organization’s software first appeared in the 2017 Toyota Camry but is now “shipping in millions of cars,” including other Toyota models and Mercedes vans.

        Cauchy says the next step is vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2X) applications that could connect cars to smart cities and smart grids. “We’re seeing large companies looking at open source as a way to improve the development process, time to market, and rapid innovation,” he continues. “They can focus on things that matter, things common to everyone.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • Radeon ROCm 2.4 Released With TensorFlow 2.0 Compatibility, Infinity Fabric Support
        AMD on Tuesday released a new version of the Radeon Open Compute "ROCm" OpenCL/compute GPU stack with two primary new features.

        ROCM 2.4 adds support for TensorFlow 2.0 and is able to support the new features of that update.

        Equally exciting is initial support for AMD Infinity Fabric Link for connecting Radeon Instinct MI50/MI60 boards via this Infinity Fabric interconnect technology. Infinity Fabric will become more important moving forward and great to see Radeon ROCm positioning the initial enablement code into this release.

      • KWin-LowLatency: An Effort To Yield Less Stutter & Lower Latency With The KDE Desktop
        The kwin-lowlatency project is an independent fork of the KWin window manager / compositor aiming to deliver less stutter and a more responsive KDE desktop experience.

        In seeking to address reported "heavy" stuttering and up to 50ms latency problems, KWin-lowlatency has been in development. The work isn't just fixes to be trivially upstreamed but rather a refactoring of the internal code for how KWin paints the screen. KWin currently relies upon a timer that isn't necessarily synchronized with the vblank interval of the display(s) and there are various workarounds to provide a better experience, but those workarounds can introduce input lag.

      • Android Q's ANGLE Offering OpenGL ES On Top Of Vulkan 1.1
        With the Google I/O conference happening this week, Android Q Beta 3 was released and it continues furthering along the company's Vulkan adoption.

        As outlined back in March, Google has been working to make Vulkan a requirement for all Android Q 64-bit devices and those plans are indeed panning out -- and around Vulkan 1.1 rather than the older 1.0 specifications. For any 32-bit Android devices, Vulkan support will still be treated as optional but the vendors are encouraged to provide support for this high-performance graphics/compute API.

    • Benchmarks

      • Initial Benchmarks Of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 On An Intel Xeon Cascade Lake Server
        Since yesterday's release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.0 we have been busy firing up benchmarks of RHEL8 on multiple workstations and servers. Over the next week or two will be some interesting benchmark results on multiple systems compared to multiple operating systems while for some preliminary RHEL8 performance data are benchmarks of the new Red Hat Linux distribution from the dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 "Cascade Lake" Gigabyte server compared to CentOS 7.6 (RHEL 7.6), Ubuntu 18.04.2 LTS, Ubuntu 19.04, Fedora Server 29, Fedora Server 30, openSUSE Leap 15, and Clear Linux 29250.

        Prior to the RHEL 8.0 GA announcement I had been working on some fresh Ubuntu 19.04 server and Fedora Server 30 benchmarks on this Cascade Lake server given their recent releases, so this article also offers a first glimpse of those new Linux distributions on this high-end Gigabyte Storage server. This server is equipped with dual Intel Xeon Platinum 8280 processors yielding a combined 56 cores / 112 threads, GIGABYTE MD61-SC2-00 motherboard, 384GB of DDR4-2933 ECC Registered memory, and Samsung 970 PRO 512GB NVMe SSD.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Krita 4.2.0-alpha Released
        We’re on track to release Krita 4.2.0 this month, and today we’re releasing the alpha!

      • Krita 4.2 Alpha Brings Performance Improvements, Other Digital Painting Enhancements
        Krita 4.2 is slated to be released later in May while today an alpha release is available for helping to test this release, which should be in largely good shape considering there were more than 200 bugs closed in the past month.

        Krita 4.2 brings improved drawing tablet support across the major platforms, HDR painting support is now possible but only under Windows for now (the work was sponsored by Intel; HDR support under Linux itself is still lacking), there are Docker improvements, a better artistic color selector, color gamut masking, multi-brush improvements, and various other drawing workflow improvements.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK 3.96 Released As Another Step Closer To GTK 4.0
        It's been quite a while since last hearing anything major about the overdue GTK4 tool-kit release but now available is GTK 3.96 as a test version that positions GNOME's tool-kit closer to where they want it for GTK 4.0.

        GTK 3.96 brings a number of bug fixes to the GTK Scene Kit (GSK), re-working GDK to use more Wayland-inspired APIs while removing or pushing back the X11-only APIs to its respective back-end, there's been a refactoring of the drag-and-drop support, the introduction of the new GtkLayoutManager widget, other widget changes, and an assortment of other lower-level work.
      • GNOME 3.32 Desktop Environment Gets Second and Final Point Release, Update Now
        Coming a month after the first point release, GNOME 3.32.2 is here to add a final touch of bug and security fixes, miscellaneous improvements, and translation updates to various of GNOME's core apps and components. Being a stability release, GNOME 3.32.2 is recommended to all users running the latest GNOME 3.32 desktop environment.

        "Another month, another bugfix release. GNOME 3.32.2 is now available. This is a stable release in the 3.32 series, all distributions shipping GNOME 3.32 are encouraged to upgrade," said Abderrahim Kitouni on behalf of the GNOME Release Team. "The [GNOME] 3.32 Flatpak runtimes on Flathub have been updated as well."
      • GNOME 3.32.2 released!

        Another month, another bugfix release. GNOME 3.32.2 is now available. This is a stable release in the 3.32 series, all distributions shipping GNOME 3.32 are encouraged to upgrade. The 3.32 flatpak runtimes on flathub have been updated as well.

        This is the final release in the 3.32 series, but the flatpak runtimes will still be updated.

        If you want to compile GNOME 3.32.2, you can use the official BuildStream project snapshot:
      • GNOME 3.32.2 Offers Up The Latest Batch Of Fixes
        GNOME 3.32.2 is now available as the latest (and final) stable release update for March's big GNOME 3.32 desktop.

        Some of the highlights for GNOME 3.32.2 include:

        - A lot of fixes to the Epiphany web browser.

        - Crash fixes for GJS JavaScript.

        - The many GNOME Shell 3.32.1 fixes addressing a wide range of bugs.

        - RPM-OSTree improvements for GNOME Software.

      • GDA 5.2.9 Released
        GDA is the GNOME Data Access library, able you to use GObject like API to access database provides like PostgreSQL, SQLite and MySQL, among others like JDBC, running queries and get data in data models for your application use.
      • Molly de Blanc: Free software activities (April, 2019)
        April was a very exciting month for my free software life. Namely, I switched jobs, sadly leaving the FSF and excitedly starting at the GNOME Foundation. No one was mean to me in April, which is exciting as always.


        Started at the GNOME Foundation as the Strategic Initiatives Manager! Attended and tables at Linux Fest Northwest on behalf of GNOME. Failed to determine if I want to pronounce the “g” in GNOME.
      • Of elitists and laypeople [Ed: Accusing technical GNU/Linux users of "Elitism" while using Microsoft stuff on the platform]
        I frankly don’t know the answer to the posed question, but I do know an analogy that prompted me to write this blog post. I am a humble contributor to the GNOME Project, chiefly as translator for Esperanto, but also miniscule bits and bobs here and there. GNOME faces a similar problem with detractors: They have their complaints about systemd, customisability, missing power user features, themes breaking, and so forth. And I’m sure they have some valid points, but GNOME remains the default desktop environment on many distributions, and many people use and love GNOME as I do. These detractors often run some heavily customised Arch Linux system with some unintuitive-but-efficient window manager, and don’t have any editor other than Vim installed. Or in other words: They run a system that the vast majority of people could not and do not want to use. And I understand these people, because in one aspect of my digital life, I have been one of them. For at least two years, I ran Spacemacs as my primary editor. For a while I even did my e-mail through that program, and I loved it. Kind of. Sure, everything was customisable, and the keyboard shortcuts were magically fast, but the mental overhead of using that program was slowly grinding me down. Some menial task that I do infrequently would turn out to involve a non-intuitive sequence of keys that you just simply need to know, and I would spend far too long on figuring that out. Or I would accidentally open Vim inside of the Emacs terminal emulator, and :q would be sent to Emacs instead of the emulator. Sure, if you know enough Emacs wizardry, you could easily escape this situation, but that’s the point, isn’t it? The wizardry involved takes effort that I don’t always want to put in, even if I know that it pays off. Kind of. These days I use VSCodium, a Free Software version of Visual Studio Code. I like it well enough for a multitude of reasons, but mainly because the mental overhead of using this editor is a lot lower. Even so, is Emacs a better editor? Probably. If I could be bothered to maintain my Emacs wizarding skills, I am fairly certain that it would be the perfect editor. But that’s a big if. So that’s why I settle for VSCodium. And the same line of reasoning can be extended to why I use and love GNOME.

      • Why crowdfunding freely licensed documentation is illegal in Finland
        On the Meson manual crowdfunding page it is mentioned that the end result can not be put under a fully free license. Several people have said that they "don't believe such a law could exist" or words to that effect. This blog post is an attempt to to explain the issue in English as all available text about the case is in Finnish. As a disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer, the following is not legal advice, there is no guarantee, even that any of the information below is factual.

        To get started we need to go back in time a fair bit and look at disaster relief funds. In Finland you must obtain a permit from the police in order to gather money for general charitable causes. This permit has strict requirements. The idea is that you can't just start a fundraising, take people's money and pocket it, instead the money must provably go to the cause it was raised for. The way the law is written is that a donation to charity is done without getting "something tangible" in return. Roughly if you give someone money and get a physical item in return, it is considered a sales transaction. If you give money to someone and in return get a general feeling of making the world better in some way, that is considered a donation. The former is governed by laws of commerce, the latter by laws of charity fundraising.

        A few years ago there was a project to create a book to teach people Swedish. The project is page is here, but it is all in Finnish so it's probably not useful to most readers. They had a crowdfunding project to finish the project with all the usual perks. One of the goals of the crowdfunding was to make the book freely distributable after publishing. This is not unlike funding feature work on FOSS projects works.

  • Distributions

    • Jeff Sheltren: Happy Birthday CentOS! 15 Years of Contributions
      We?re reminded this week of how long-lasting and impactful our contributions can be as we celebrate CentOS turning 15 years old this week!

      As a contributor to CentOS since the beginning, Tag1?s very own Jeff Sheltren was interviewed by TheCentOSProject to reflect on his involvement.

    • mintCast 308 – Encryption Part 2

    • What is the worst Linux Distro?

    • New Releases

      • ExTiX 19.5, Build 190508, with LXQt 0.14.1, Kodi 19 “Matrix”, Refracta Snapshot, Nvidia 418.74 and kernel 5.1.0-exton
        I have made a new version of ExTiX – The Ultimate Linux System. I call it ExTiX 19.5 LXQt/Kodi Live DVD. (The previous LXQt version was 19.1.2 from 190102). The best thing with ExTiX 19.5 is that while running the system live (from DVD/USB) or from hard drive you can use Refracta Snapshot (pre-installed) to create your own live installable Ubuntu system. So easy that a ten year child can do it! As an alternative to LXQt you can run Kodi 19 ALPHA1 Matrix . Just start Kodi like any other program while logged in to the LXQt Desktop as the ordinary user live. I have enabled a few addons in Kodi. Most important the Netflix addon. One other very good thing with this version of ExTiX is that it is quite light. The ISO file is of only 1220 MB, which means that you can run the system superfast from RAM. When the boot process is ready you can eject the DVD or USB stick. Use Boot alternative 2 or Advanced options… >> load to RAM.

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • OpenSUSE/SUSE

      • GNOME 3.32 Arrives in Month’s First Tumbleweed Snapshot
        This month has produced a total of three openSUSE Tumbleweed snapshot thus far and GNOME 3.32.1 was made available to Tumbleweed users in snapshot 20190505. The key packages that arrive so far this month are a newer Linux Kernel, a minor update for python-setuptools and the text editor GNU Nano fixed the spell checker from crashing.

        The latest Tumbleweed snapshot, 20190507, which delivered nano 4.2, had a large update of changes for ghostscript 9.27; the versatile processor for PostScript data extensively cleaned up the Postscript name space and will now focus on the next releases to make SAFER the default mode of operation. The Optimized inner loop Runtime Compiler, orc 0.4.29, added decorator command line argument to add function decorators in header files. The latest python-setuptools 41.0.1 version fixed issues with the PEP 517, which specifies a standard API for systems which build Python packages. Text editor vim 8.1.1282 was also released in the snapshot. The snapshot is currently trending at a 95 rating, according to the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

        Mozilla Firefox 66.0.4 fixed extension certificate chain in snapshot 20190506. There was an improvement to network status detection with Network Manager with the glib2 2.60.2 update. The asn1c-based parser was replaced by an openssl-based PKCS parser with the kmod 26 package. The openblas_pthreads 0.3.6 had some changes for POWER6, PowerPC 970 and ARMv7 and ARMv8. The 1.28 perl-YAML package offered a security fix and xfsprogs updated to the 5.0.0 version from 4.20.0. The snapshot is currently trending stable at a 92 rating on the Tumbleweed snapshot reviewer.

    • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Norbert Preining: TeX Live 2019 released
        The DVDs are already being burnt and will soon be sent to the various TeX User groups who ordered. The .iso image is available on CTAN, and the net installer will pull all the newest stuff. Currently we are working on getting those packages updated during the freeze to the newest level in TeX Live.

      • TeX Live 2019 in Debian
        All the changes listed in the upstream release blog apply also to the Debian packages, but we have rebuilt binaries from the sources in current svn, which means there are several fixes for dvipdfmx, and updates to the ptex family of engines.

      • FOSSASIA OpenTechSummit 2019
        FOSSASIA brings together developers and users of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software). It is an organization developing software applications for social change using a wide-range of technologies. It was established 2009. Projects range from Free and Open Source software, to design, graphics and hardware.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • OASIS Launches Open Projects Program
    As the lines between open source and open standards begin to blur, OASIS is taking steps to create a more transparent and collaborative future for open source and standards development. In line with its vision to transform the open source and standards world,, the nonprofit consortium has launched Open Projects.

    The program empowers communities to develop what they choose–APIs, code, specifications, reference implementations, guidelines– in one place, under open source licenses, with a path to recognition in global policy and procurement.

    As part of the program announcement, OASIS is launching the first two Open Projects – Open Services for Lifecycle Collaboration (OSLC) and OpenDocument Format (ODF) Advocacy.

  • OASIS Introduces Open Projects Program to Bridge Open Source and Standards Development
    OASIS, a global nonprofit consortium, today announced the launch of Open Projects, the first-of-its-kind program that creates a more transparent and collaborative future for open source and standards development. Open Projects gives communities the power to develop what they choose–APIs, code, specifications, reference implementations, guidelines– in one place, under open source licenses, with a path to recognition in global policy and procurement.

    The lines between open source and open standards have been blurring for some time, and communities in both arenas have been calling for more flexibility and options for collaboration. Open Projects is a new approach that addresses the need for change in everything from handling IP to governance and decision-making, from funding to establishing trust and assuring quality.

  • Open Source Guide “Hello Xen Project” Asks for Contribution and Feedback
    Not too long ago, one of my LinkedIn contacts, Mohsen Mostafa Jokar, wrote a book about Xen which is called “Hello Xen Project”. Mohsen is a Linux administrator who works at the newspaper Hamshahri as a network and virtualization administrator. His interest in virtualization goes back to when he was at school and saw a Microsoft Virtual PC for the first time. He installed it on a PC with 256 MB of RAM and used it to virtualize Windows 98 and DOS.

    In addition to his fascination with virtualization, Mohsen is a translator and an author. He has translated and written books for IT beginners and professional users that focus on virtualization, security and Linux. A few books that he has worked on as a technical reviewer include “Elixir in Action,” “Learn Git in a Month of Lunches,” “Mesos in Action” and “Reverse Engineering for Beginners”.

  • Open Source Makes Kodi Add-ons Proliferate -- And Hard To Eradicate
    As Techdirt noted a year ago, the entertainment industry has been trying to convince the authorities around the world that "fully-loaded" Kodi boxes, which allow the viewing of unauthorized video streams, are the devil's spawn, and must be eradicated. That obsession has led to efforts to stop even vanilla Kodi boxes being promoted and sold, despite the fact that the open source software they run is perfectly legal. TorrentFreak has a report about the latest salvo in this war on Kodi, and its interesting consequences.

    It concerns a third-party Kodi add-on called "Exodus", which, like many others, allowed unauthorized streaming videos to be viewed with little effort. The excellent design and resulting popularity of Exodus meant that it was soon targeted by copyright companies. The pressure worked, and the development of the add-on was halted, leaving millions of happy users somewhat less happy. But Exodus had an important hidden feature: it was released under an open source license. That meant that anyone could pick up the code and continue its development independently of the original, without needing to ask permission from anyone. As TorrentFreak points out, that is precisely what has happened, and on a surprisingly large scale. The TVAddons site recently published an article that discusses 12 forks of Exodus, which is only part of the Exodus ecosystem: "Too many Exodus forks are out there to investigate them all."

  • Google quietly acknowledges Fuchsia during I/O 2019

    At Google I/O, some were looking forward to the potential for Google to announce Fuchsia as their next operating system for devices of all kinds. That admittedly outlandish dream has now been dashed, but not completely. Despite not being featured on the main stage, Google has publicly acknowledged Fuchsia OS in the middle of a Google I/O announcement.

  • A day in the life of an open source performance engineering team
    In today's world, open source software solutions are a collaborative effort of the community. Can a performance engineering team operate the same way, by collaborating with the community to address the confusion and complexity that come with working on a broad spectrum of products?

    To answer that question, we need to explore some basic questions:

    What does a performance engineering team do? How does a performance engineering team fulfill its responsibilities? How are open source tools developed or leveraged for performance analysis?

  • Events

    • Cloudy with a chance of chameleons
      This event saw the SUSE Spa pay Denver a visit. Our message was simple but powerful – software-defined infrastructure, and open infrastructure in particular doesn’t have to be stressful. This is something that SUSE have been doing for over 25 years now – starting with making Linux easier for enterprises, and since have extended into Ceph, OpenStack, Kubernetes, Cloud Foundry and more. All backed by SUSE Support, and with the knowledge that everything we offer is fully open source (as you’d expect from the open, open source company).

      John, Andrew and the team were demonstrating how easy it is to deploy SUSE CaaS Platform (Kubernetes) on top of SUSE OpenStack Cloud on a bare metal environment, and how you could then use SUSE Cloud Application Platform for application delivery across not just this platform, but others including public cloud, too.

      In addition to this, the SUSE Spa staff were giving away goodies to help relieve stress at your desk, ranging from USB massagers, to foot massagers, shiatsu back and shoulder massagers and even a massaging chair cover. We also had a massage therapist at our booth to give chair massages to attendees – this proved to be very popular, giving attendees the chance to get off their feet and to have a delightful back, shoulder and neck massage. The plush Geeko chameleons were also one of the prizes on the SUSE Spa, with attendees queueing to get hold of one to take home to their desk/child/pet!

    • First LibreOffice Latin America Conference: Call For Papers
      The Document Foundation invites all members and contributors to submit talks, lectures and workshops for this year?s First LibreOffice Latin America Conference in Asunci�n, Paraguay. The event is scheduled for mid July, from Friday 19 to Saturday 20. Whether you are a seasoned presenter or have never spoken in public before, if you have something interesting to share about LibreOffice or the Document Liberation Project we want to hear from you!

  • LibreOffice

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • TrueOS/FreeBSD-based Project Trident 19.04 Available
      Project Trident version 19.04 (based on TrueOS 19.04) is now available! If you experience an update error (code 150) before any packages are downloaded, please delete all Qt4 packages from your system before trying again: sudo pkg remove qt4-corelib This appears to be caused by a bug in pkg regarding the removal of flavor(s) from a package repo, and removing the Qt4 packages beforehand will allow the update procedures to work once again....

    • Dragonfly In The Wild | BSD Now 297
      FreeBSD ZFS vs. ZoL performance, Dragonfly 5.4.2 has been release, containing web services with iocell, Solaris 11.4 SRU8, Problem with SSH Agent forwarding, OpenBSD 6.4 to 6.5 upgrade guide, and more.

    • AsiaBSDCon2020 Mar.19-22 Tokyo

      Come as you are
      March 19-22, 2020, Tokyo University of Science, Tokyo, Japan


    • CSSC-1.4.1 released
      I'm pleased to announce the release of GNU CSSC, version 1.4.1. This is a stable release. The previous stable release was 1.4.0.

      Stable releases of CSSC are available from Development releases and release candidates are available from

      CSSC ("Compatibly Stupid Source Control") is the GNU project's replacement for the traditional Unix SCCS suite. It aims for full compatibility, including precise nuances of behaviour, support for all command-line options, and in most cases bug-for-bug compatibility. CSSC comes with an extensive automated test suite.

  • Programming/Development

    • Shared values of Travis CI and snaps enhance integration confidence for developers [Ed: Canonical is pushing Microsoft Github today]
      Travis CI is a hosted, distributed continuous integration (CI) service used to build and test software projects hosted on GitHub, and free for anyone working on open source projects. Often regarded as the home of open source testing, Travis CI enables developers to automate their build without the need to set up their own servers. At GitHub’s Satellite London event in 2017, members of the Travis CI team met with Canonical to talk snaps. Since then, conversations have progressed to how users build and test their snaps with Travis CI central to the CI process.

      Josh Kalderimis (Head of Product) and María de Antón (Product Manager) from Travis CI attended the Snapcraft Summit in London to discuss how snaps and Travis CI integration tools share a similar mission. “We also built our platform with an open source nature, and we are all about testing simplicity. A lot of what we want to offer developers is how to do tasks without repetition – in essence, improve the developer experience. That is exactly what snaps are aiming to achieve” explained Josh.

    • Top 25 Best Free Python Web Framework Software To Use In 2019
      In the era of dynamic web development, Python is a high-level object-oriented programming (OOP) language which is understandable to both machine and people. The focal area of the formation of this programme is the developer’s readability. Here, they emphasize the labor of the programmers rather than the labor of computer. To commence development with python, you will feel the necessity to have a framework to code. Based on the intricacy of the development application, the amount of time -consuming, the tasks or computations to simplify, the compilation features- Python Web Framework is gaining acceptance.

    • Dirk Eddelbuettel: x13binary 1.1.39-2
      An updated x13binary package 1.1.39-2 of the X-13ARIMA-SEATS program by the US Census Bureau (with upstream release 1.1.39) is now on CRAN, pretty much exactly two years after the previous release 1.1.39-1.

    • Next C++ workshop: Binary Trees, 9 May at 18:00 UTC
      Boost your C++ skills with the help of LibreOffice developers! We?re running regular workshops which focus on a specific topic, and are accompanied by a real-time IRC meeting. For the next one, the topic is Binary Trees. Start by watching this presentation:

    • EuroPython 2019: Early-bird ticket sales

    • Kotlin Is Google’s Favorite Programming Language For Android App Development

    • Google I/O 2019: Empowering developers to build the best experiences on Android + Play

    • “Python Workout” is Manning’s Deal of the Day!

    • How to Create and Serve Zipfiles from Django

    • This Week in Rust 285

    • Looking up a hash table library for caching in the 3scale Istio adapter
      In the end, we chose to go with the “concurrent-map” implementation and roll our own caching structure around this map. It outperformed the others consistently and in every area for the use case we provided.

      The additional features this implementation provides are minimal, but this is likely all we will need, with some additional sugar provided by a wrapper. It is in widely used and has plenty of contributors, with a nice simple API.

      We hope that, upon completion, we can then benchmark the finished module against the other implementations, to see if this decision was correct and to analyze and learn from the cost of rolling our own, both in terms of time spent and performance as opposed to using something off the shelf.

    • Creating GUI Applications with wxPython Now Available
      Creating GUI Applications with wxPython is a book that will teach you how to use wxPython to create applications by actually creating several mini-programs. I have found that while learning how the various widgets work in wxPython is valuable, it is even better to learn by creating a simple application that does something useful.

    • Overview of Classification Methods in Python with Scikit-Learn
      Are you a Python programmer looking to get into machine learning? An excellent place to start your journey is by getting acquainted with Scikit-Learn.

      Doing some classification with Scikit-Learn is a straightforward and simple way to start applying what you've learned, to make machine learning concepts concrete by implementing them with a user-friendly, well-documented, and robust library.

    • Python Community Interview With Bob and Julian of PyBites
      This week, I’m joined by Bob Belderbos and Julian Sequeira of PyBites fame. Bob is a Software Developer at Oracle, Spain. Julian is a Data Center Technician at Amazon Web Services, in Australia.

      Join us as we discuss how PyBites got started and what they have in store for its future. We’ll also look into Bob’s secret love of drawing and Julian’s not so secret love of a good pint.

    • Farewell, Python 3.4
      It's with a note of sadness that I announce the final retirement of Python 3.4. The final release was back in March, but I didn't get around to actually closing and deleting the 3.4 branch until this morning.


  • Coining New Words Key to Revitalizing Native American Languages

    In Massachusetts, linguist Jessie Little Doe Baird, a citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe in Massachusetts and co-founder of the Wopanaak Language Reclamation Project, is also working from old documents to restore a language that died out a century ago.

  • Hardware

    • CES unrevokes robotics prize to women's sex toy

      Today, four months after rescinding the award, CTA is giving it back.

    • Intel CEO Says Chipmaker Sees Low, Single-Digit Sales Growth

      While sales of the company’s data-centric products -- a term coined to include server and other chips such as artificial intelligence processors -- will expand at a percentage in the high-single digits, the unit’s growth won’t be enough to overcome the sluggish PC market, he said. Total revenue will increase by low, single-digit percentages over the next three years, Swan said.

      PC sales declined 4.6% globally in the first quarter, after a similar decline in the fourth quarter of 2018, [...]

    • Google’s head of hardware is betting big on ambient computing

      This year, Osterloh says that Google’s hardware sales numbers are “good, but not where we want to be at the end of five years.” Investors seem to agree, hammering CEO Sundar Pichai about how hardware hasn’t made much of a contribution to Google’s bottom line in the last quarterly call.

    • How the Apple Store Lost Its Luster

      In interviews, current and former Apple employees blame a combination of factors. They say the stores have become mostly an exercise in branding and no longer do a good job serving mission shoppers like Smith. Meanwhile, they say, the quality of staff has slipped during an 18-year expansion that has seen Apple open more than 500 locations and hire 70,000 people. The Genius Bar, once renowned for its tech support, has been largely replaced with staff who roam the stores and are harder to track down. That’s a significant drawback because people are hanging onto their phones longer these days and need them repaired.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Japan's toxic culture of overwork drove this 31-year-old woman to death — and it looks like there's no end in sight

      Japan is notorious for its non-stop work culture and rigid labor market, which has seen hundreds of people die from — also known as "karoshi" — every year over the past decade.

      This is the story of Miwa Sado, one of Japan's many victims of karoshi. She died in 2013 after working more than 150 hours in overtime in a single month.

    • Cambridge University report says Coca-Cola's academic research funding comes with a hitch. It can kill studies it doesn't like

      Cambridge's Department of Politics and International Studies discovered Coke's demands while examining research funding agreements between private corporations and public institutions. It reviewed some 87,000 documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

      Its report, released Tuesday, said Coke retained the right to "quash studies progressing unfavorably" or "pressure researchers using the threat of termination" in at least five agreements with various academic institutions between 2015 and 2016.

    • Contracts give Coca-Cola power to ‘quash’ health research, study suggests

      New study of FOI documents uncovers provisions that could allow the beverage giant to suppress findings from health science it funds at North American universities. Researchers argue that Coca-Cola’s contracts run counter to their public declarations of openness.


      The study, published today in the Journal of Public Health Policy, identified several clauses in legal documents that give the company early sight of any findings, combined with the right to “terminate without reason” and walk away with the data and intellectual property [sic].

    • Study Uncovers How Coca-Cola Influences Science Research

      The paper explains that Coca-Cola uses carefully-constructed contracts to ensure that the company gets early access to research findings, as well as the ability to terminate studies for any reason. Researchers say this gives the beverage company the ability to squash unfavorable research findings, such as studies that connect the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages to obesity.

    • How Coca-Cola Disguised Its Influence on Science about Sugar and Health

      Coca-Cola sought to use the institute to shift the dialogue on obesity away from calorie consumption and toward exercise by funding industry-friendly science. But when the institute’s motives and funding stream were exposed, Coca-Cola announced it would halt operations due to “resource limitations.”

    • Don’t Let Measles Hysteria Defeat Freedom
      As of May 3, the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Ministry of Health reported 1,510 cases of Ebola and 1,008 deaths to date in the country’s current outbreak. Partial blame for the government’s inability to contain the outbreak goes to armed attackers who believe that international health workers are there to intentionally spread the disease, not treat it. As of April 26, The US Centers for Disease Control reported 704 cases of measles and no known deaths in the country so far in 2019. Partial blame for the outbreak goes to Americans who decline (or simply overlook) vaccination for themselves or their children.

    • #CaravanToCanada: Facing Insulin Prices 10X Higher in US, Group Heads Across Border
      A group of Minnesotans faced with "astronomical prices for insulin" in the U.S. recently crossed the border into Canada to obtain affordable access to the life-saving drug.

      "We should not have to drive five hours to Canada to be able to afford #insulin!" said Quinn Nystrom, a diabetes advocate and one of those on the #CaravanToCanada Saturday.

      In tweets over the weekend, Nystrom highlighted the price difference the five-hour drive would mean. Insulin costs 10 times more in the U.S. than in Canada.

    • 'Bombshell' Report: Internal Memos Show Trump EPA Ignored Agency Scientists' Calls to Ban Asbestos
      EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement last month that the agency's new rule "gives us unprecedented authorities to protect public health" and block certain products from the market. However, environmental and public health advocates raised concerns at the time about loopholes that remain, with one critic calling the regulation "toothless."

    • 'Genuinely Really Scared for Women and Girls': Busy Philipps Shares Personal Abortion Story In Viral Video
      Busy Philipps, actress and host of Busy Tonight, took time out of her Tuesday night show to defend reproductive rights in response to Georgia passing a six-week abortion ban earlier in the day, which ACLU called a "near total ban on abortion."

      "I had an abortion when I was 15 years old," said Philipps. "I'm telling you this because I'm genuinely really scared for women and girls all over this country."

      "I know that people feel very strongly about abortion, but let me just say this; Women and their doctors are in the best position to make informed decisions about what is best for them. Nobody else, nobody," Philipps said. "The statistic is that one in four women will have an abortion before age 45."

    • Cecile Richards: Georgia’s New “Fetal Heartbeat” Bill Criminalizes Women Who Seek Abortions
      Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed into law Tuesday a six-week abortion ban, or so-called “fetal heartbeat law” that bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected—something that typically happens just six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women realize they’re pregnant. It is now one of the country’s most restrictive abortion laws. “It doesn’t just make abortion illegal,” says Cecile Richards, former head of Planned Parenthood. “It basically would allow women to be convicted and either sentenced to death or to life imprisonment in Georgia.” She notes the real medical crisis for women in Georgia and nationwide is maternal mortality.

    • Healthy MOMMIES Act Introduced to Tackle 'Unconscionable' US Maternal Mortality Crisis
      Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-Mass.), the lead sponsors, introduced the bill just a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released an "absolutely devastating" report that revealed the country's maternal mortality rate is rising, most of those deaths are preventable, and black and Native American women are three times more likely than their white peers to die of pregnancy-related causes.

      "It is unacceptable that the Unites States, the wealthiest country on Earth, has the highest maternal mortality rate [of] any developed nation in the world," Pressley said in a series of tweets. The congresswoman, a founding member of the new Black Maternal Health Caucus, called the racial disparities in maternal deaths "unconscionable."

    • Nurses Tell Big Pharma, “Put Patients Over Profits”
      Day in and day out, American nurses see the damaging fallout of a for-profit healthcare system. That’s why nurses have long been at the forefront of the fight for healthcare justice. Last week, that fight took them to the headquarters of PhRMA, the trade group that represents pharmaceutical industry companies. Members of National Nurses United, along with other Medicare for All advocates, used bandaids to plaster PhRMA’s walls with the GoFundMe pages of patients who’ve turned to crowdfunding to cover their healthcare expenses. The protest came just one day before Congress held its first-ever Medicare for All hearing. Registered nurses and NNU Presidents Jean Ross, Deborah Burger, and Zenei Cortez told about their spotlight on Big Pharma and their vision for a just healthcare system.

    • Pledging to Treat Opioid Epidemic 'Like the Public Health Crisis That It Is,' Warren Unveils CARE Act
      Vowing to hold to account the billionaire family whose pharmaceutical company fueled the opioid epidemic, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Elijah Cummings on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping plan to help end the crisis which kills tens of thousands of Americans per year.

      The Democratic presidential candidate detailed the plan in a Medium post, as she has with her other policy proposals, but made it clear that she aims to pass the legislation "immediately" rather than waiting for a potential presidential term.

      The plan, known as the Comprehensive Addiction Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, would make $100 billion in federal funds available to state and local governments as well as non-profit groups which provide prevention, treatment, and harm reduction services.

      Like a number of Warren's other plans, the senator said the CARE Act would be funded by her proposed Ultra-Millionaires Tax, under which the assets of families with more than $50 million would be taxed at two percent annually, raising $2.75 trillion over a decade.

      By taxing the richest Americans, Warren plans to hold the Sacklers—the family which owns Purdue Pharma, the maker of one of the most widely-prescribed opioids—accountable for fueling a crisis which has killed 685,000 Americans.

      "This crisis has been driven by greed, pure and simple," Warren wrote. "It's about money and power in America — who has it, and who doesn't. And it's about who faces accountability in America — and who doesn't."

  • Security

    • IPFire 2.23 - Core Update 131 has been updated
      I would like to let you know that we have updated the latest Core Update in the testing branch. Some bugs have been found and fixed because of the help of you, but now you need to make sure that they are also fixed on your systems.

    • Security updates for Wednesday

    • Firefox issues fixes for extensions problem

    • Commvault Extends Comprehensive Data Recovery Support to Nutanix Files 3.5

    • BeyondTrust Privilege Management for Unix & Linux 10.2 Introduces Fine-Grained Policy Control Over Privileged Access

    • Retefe banking trojan returns, takes aim at both Windows and Mac
      A banking trojan named Retefe that targeted Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, routing online banking traffic through a proxy instead of the usual Web injects that other trojans use, has made a comeback, with more regular attacks on Swiss and German victims in April, the security firm Proofpoint claims.

      In a blog post,the company said the trojan now had a version which worked on Windows and one that could attack macOS. When Retefe first appeared it was delivered using a zipped JavaScript file or within Microsoft Word documents.

    • Why open source firmware is important for security

      [...] I hope this gave you some insight into what’s being built with open source firmware and how making firmware open source is important! If you would like to help with this effort, please help spread the word. Please try and use platforms that value open source firmware components. Chromebooks are a great example of this, as well as Purism computers. You can ask your providers what they are doing for open source firmware or ensuring hardware security with roots of trust. Happy nerding! :)

    • Amazon Hit by Extensive Fraud With [Attackers] Siphoning Merchant Funds

      Amazon believes it was the victim of a "serious" online attack by [fraudsters] who broke into about 100 seller accounts and funneled cash from loans or sales into their own bank accounts, according to a U.K. legal document. The [attack] took place between May 2018 and October 2018, Amazon’s lawyers said in a redacted filing from November that can now be made public.

    • Chinese Spies Intercepted NSA [Windows] Malware Attack, Weaponized It Against Targets Around The World
      You don't own the exploits you've created. That's the lesson the NSA has learned over the past few years as its hacking tools have made their way into the public domain via leaks. Of course, the harshest parts of this lesson have been felt by the general public, rather than the NSA, however. The leaked tools were swiftly repurposed to generate a new strain of ransomware, which took down dozens of businesses and government services around the world.

      But it's not just a random assortment of internet baddies wreaking havoc with NSA hacking tools and exploits. It's also state-sponsored hackers making use of these tools. A report from Symantec shows other nations are more than willing to turn our state-sponsored attacks against us -- demonstrating the danger of engaging in a cyberwar using weaponized code.

    • How Chinese Spies Got the N.S.A.’s Hacking Tools, and Used Them for Attacks
      You don't own the exploits you've created. That's the lesson the NSA has learned over the past few years as its hacking tools have made their way into the public domain via leaks. Of course, the harshest parts of this lesson have been felt by the general public, rather than the NSA, however. The leaked tools were swiftly repurposed to generate a new strain of ransomware, which took down dozens of businesses and government services around the world.

      But it's not just a random assortment of internet baddies wreaking havoc with NSA hacking tools and exploits. It's also state-sponsored hackers making use of these tools. A report from Symantec shows other nations are more than willing to turn our state-sponsored attacks against us -- demonstrating the danger of engaging in a cyberwar using weaponized code.


      The N.S.A. used sophisticated malware to destroy Iran’s nuclear centrifuges — and then saw the same code proliferate around the world, doing damage to random targets, including American business giants like Chevron. Details of secret American cybersecurity programs were disclosed to journalists by Edward J. Snowden, a former N.S.A. contractor now living in exile in Moscow. A collection of C.I.A. cyberweapons, allegedly leaked by an insider, was posted on WikiLeaks.

      “We’ve learned that you cannot guarantee your tools will not get leaked and used against you and your allies,” said Eric Chien, a security director at Symantec.

      Now that nation-state cyberweapons have been leaked, hacked and repurposed by American adversaries, Mr. Chien added, it is high time that nation states “bake that into” their analysis of the risk of using cyberweapons — and the very real possibility they will be reassembled and shot back at the United States or its allies.

      In the latest case, Symantec researchers are not certain exactly how the Chinese obtained the American-developed code. But they know that Chinese intelligence contractors used the repurposed American tools to carry out cyberintrusions in at least five countries or territories: Belgium, Luxembourg, Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong. The targets included scientific research organizations, educational institutions and the computer networks of at least one American government ally.

    • Unless you want your payment card data skimmed, avoid these commerce sites

      More than 100 e-commerce sites around the world are infected with malicious code designed to surreptitiously skim payment card data from visitors after they make purchases, researchers reported on Wednesday. Among those infected are US-based websites that sell dental equipment, baby merchandise, and mountain bikes.

      In total, researchers with China-based Netlab 360 found 105 websites that executed card-skimming JavaScript hosted on the malicious domain magento-analytics[.]com. While the domain returns a 403 error to browsers that try to visit it, a host of magento-analytics[.]com URLs host code that’s designed to extract the name, number, expiration date, and CVV of payment cards that are used to make purchases. The e-commerce sites are infected when the attackers add links that cause the malicious JavaScript to be executed.

    • 21 Best Kali Linux Tools for Hacking and Penetration Testing
      Here’s our list of best Kali Linux tools that will allow you to assess the security of web-servers and help in performing hacking and pen-testing.

      If you read the Kali Linux review, you know why it is considered one of the best Linux distributions for hacking and pen-testing and rightly so. It comes baked in with a lot of tools to make it easier for you to test, hack, and for anything else related to digital forensics.

      It is one of the most recommended Linux distro for ethical hackers. Even if you are not a hacker but a webmaster – you can still utilize some of the tools to easily run a scan of your web server or web page.

      In either case, no matter what your purpose is – we shall take a look at some of the best Kali Linux tools that you should be using.

      Note that not all tools mentioned here are open source.

    • Alpine Linux Docker Image root User Hard-Coded Credential Vulnerability
      Versions of the Official Alpine Linux Docker images (since v3.3) contain a NULL password for the root user. This vulnerability appears to be the result of a regression introduced in December t2015. Due to the nature of this issue, systems deployed using affected versions of the Alpine Linux container that utilize Linux PAM, or some other mechanism that uses the system shadow file as an authentication database, may accept a NULL password for the root user.

    • Alpine Linux Docker images ship a root account with no password
      Alpine Linux Docker images distributed via the official Docker Hub portal for the past three years and a half have been using a blank (NULL) password for the root account, security researchers from Cisco have revealed today.

      All Alpine Linux Docker images, since v3.3, are impacted, Cisco Talos said today in a security alert.

      The issue was first discovered back in August 2015, patched in November, then accidentally re-opened three weeks later, in December 2015, only to be re-discovered again by a Cisco Umbrella researcher in January this year. The issue was initially thought to impact only the Glider Labs Alpine Linux Docker image, but it was later discover to impact the official image as well.

    • Dharma Ransomware Installs Antivirus On [Windows] PC Only To Encrypt Files Later
      The two malicious files are taskhost.exe and Defender_nt32_enu.exe. The first file activates the Dharma Ransomware itself as RANSOM.WIN32.DHARMA.THDAAAI.

    • Dharma Ransomware Uses AV Tool to Distract from Malicious Activities
      The downloaded file is a self-extracting archive named Defender.exe, which drops the malicious file taskhost.exe as well as the installer of an old version of ESET AV Remover renamed as Defender_nt32_enu.exe. Trend Micro identifies taskhost.exe as a file connected to the Dharma ransomware (detected as RANSOM.WIN32.DHARMA.THDAAAI)

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Infantalising Memes: Ending Subscriptions to PewDiePie
      It should have been just another cheap and sordid episode best respected by being ignored. But this is a time which has embraced without qualification the Marshall McLuhan message about the medium being the irrepressible message, we are left with discussions about the vacuous rather than the substantial; the obtuse rather than the subtle. The way we serve the dish is far better than the dish itself, and all errors that follow within it matter most.

      PewDiePie, an addictive Swedish YouTuber by the name of Felix Kjellberg, is the dandruff of online publicity. He exists because social media junkies and tech creators, in their lack of care, don’t moisturise. He profits because dry scalps are not tended to. The result is negligent indulgence more than anything else: he mastered a medium, drawing it out and straining it for as much as it would give him. “PewDiePie,” observed The Guardian in April 2018, “is not only the biggest celebrity on YouTube, but probably the entire internet.”

      His leap to fame followed the YouTube script, with its admixture of playfulness, agitation and aggravation. Those wishing to be provoked watched his efforts and duly felt offended; others became fans and sharing obsessives. His fan base duly grew, many taken that this rabblerouser was being attacked for using new media against Jurassic old. Not only is he of the Internet, he has often been its critic, taking issue with various efforts in such shows as Meme Review.

      Kjelllberg has not merely confined himself to gaming and comedy. He has also experimented, going farther afield from the lit confines of his studio box. He established a book club, tackling, on the way, American Psycho and The Picture of Dorian Gray. And there was that tome of tomes, Moby Dick.

    • "Saudis using Belgian weapons in Yemen"
      It has emerged that Belgian weapons and military technology play a greater role in the conflict in Yemen than previously established. The investigative project #BelgianArms discovered that Saudi Arabia is deploying Belgian weapons and technology in ground and air offences.

    • Are the Days of U.S. Hegemony Finally Numbered?
      Markets are reeling from Trump's declaration via Twitter that tariffs will be increased from 10 percent to 25 percent on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. This is happening in the same week in which U.S. Navy destroyers sailed near islands in the South China Sea claimed by China, and as the Pentagon published the 2019 China Military Report. The report says China is building an army capable of global intervention and accuses China of conducting espionage in order to accumulate military knowledge.


      Peries added that Chinese-Russo relations are expanding. Russian President Vladimir Putin was recently invited to be the guest of honor at a recent OBOR forum, and at many of the sessions, Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping entered the sessions together. It speaks to a nuanced and limited alliance—one much of the West underestimates.

      “The Russo-Chinese alignment is not an alliance, and it's not a bloc, and it's certainly not a military alliance. But Russo-Chinese alignment is far deeper and far more extensive than many Westerners have yet caught on,” Sakwa said. “It's an alignment in which Russia and China will not do each other any harm. They will support each other when it's in their interests—and it's a game changer.”

      Meanwhile, U.S. relations with China are deteriorating. Sakwa explained that neither China or Russia will be provoked by U.S. “sabre-rattling.” As is typical, he said, the current situation is a Trump miscalculation based on his tendency to go into negotiations heavy-handed and hope a deal works out, which has massively failed due to his tariff tweets.

    • Corporate Media Target Gabbard for Her Anti-Interventionism—a Word They Can Barely Pronounce
      Presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard has not garnered much press coverage since announcing her bid on February 2; she’s the 13th-most-mentioned Democratic candidate on TV news, according to FAIR’s most recent count (4/14/19).

      But when corporate media do talk about the Hawaii congressmember, they tend to reveal more about themselves than about her.

      A veteran of the Iraq War, Gabbard is centering her presidential campaign around anti-interventionism (2/3/19): the belief that US interference in foreign countries, especially in the form of regime-change wars, increases the suffering of the citizens in those countries.

      When corporate outlets talk about this anti-interventionist position, they primarily use it to negatively characterize the candidates who espouse it. Few in establishment media seem interested in going any deeper or considering the veracity of arguments raised by anti-interventionists.

    • Pompeo in Baghdad to Pressure Iraq to join Press against Iran; Iraq declines
      US secretary of state Mike Pompeo made a surprise four-hour visit to Baghdad on Tuesday in connection to the panic he is trying to trump up, along with US national security adviser and Sheldon Adelson plant John Bolton about Iran supposedly planning to attack US troops in the Middle East.

      For his part, Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said in remarks to the press that Iraq will undertake to ensure the safety of the some 5,000 US troops in Iraq, who are helping the Iraqi army mop up ISIL remnants.

      At the same time, Abdul Mahdi insisted that Iraq would not participate in any economic boycott of any country, which is to say that he declined to cooperate with the Trump administration’s attempts to squeeze Iran.

    • Russia Blames U.S. for Endangering Iran Deal
      Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the situation surrounding the fate of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord has been complicated by “irresponsible behavior” from Washington.

      Lavrov is meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, in Moscow on Wednesday. The nuclear deal will be at the top of their agenda after Iran announced it would suspend some of its commitments in response to U.S. sanctions.

      Lavrov says they will discuss the “unacceptable situation” that has been exacerbated by the United States. Russia appears poised to stand by Tehran and cast blame on Washington, which withdrew from the nuclear deal last year. Moscow is a signatory to the deal, along with the European Union, Britain, France, Germany and China.

    • Iran Urges Diplomacy as Trump White House Ramps Up 'Wildly Reckless' Threats of War
      "The path we have chosen today is not the path of war, it is the path of diplomacy," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a speech Wednesday, which marks the one-year anniversary of U.S. President Donald Trump's violation of the nuclear agreement.

      "It is not us who has left the negotiation table," Rouhani added.

      Rouhani's announcement came just days after U.S. national security adviser John Bolton used the routine deployment of an American aircraft carrier and bomber task force to threaten Iran with "unrelenting force"—a move critics denounced as a dangerous step in the direction of all-out war.

      The Iranian president said European signatories of the nuclear accord have 60 days to negotiate new terms that would mitigate the impact of crippling sanctions imposed by the U.S. If the 60-day deadline is not met, Rouhani said, Iran will end limits on uranium enrichment.

      Matt Duss, foreign policy adviser for Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), said that while American war hawks often characterize Iran as "a crazy irrational regime that can't be negotiated with," Iran "is responding pretty rationally to Trump's wildly reckless and irrational Iran policy."

    • March For Our Lives Demands End to 'Generation Lockdown' Following Latest School Shooting
      March For Our Lives, the gun violence prevention movement, called for an end to #GenerationLockdown following the latest school shooting.

      Two suspects opened fire at the Denver-area STEM School Highlands Ranch Tuesday. Kendrick Castillo, 18, died. He was just days away from graduation. Eight others were injured.

      It was the fourth school shooting in Colorado since the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, the Denver Post reported.

      March For Our Lives, which was formed in the wake of the Parkland, Florida mass shooting last year, demanded an end to such violent acts. The group said people must not to "grow numb" to the tragedies and urged political leadership tackle the gun violence epidemic.

    • Ukrainian government announces that it will consider Russian passports issued to Donbas residents invalid
      Ukraine’s federal ministers have announced that their government will reject the legality of Russian passports issued to residents of the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. The announcement came as passport offices began to act on an order issued by Russian president Vladimir Putin that granted an expedited citizenship process to those living in both regions.

      Specifically, the Ukrainian government will not recognize passports issued in the Russian village of Pokrovskoye and the city of Novoshakhtinsk after April 24, the date Putin’s order was signed. That list of cities may be expanded in the future should additional passport offices begin processing applications from Ukraine’s Donbas region.

    • North Korea launches second projectile in less than a week
      For the second time in less than a week, North Korea launched suspected short-range missiles, according to South Korea's military.

      The projectiles were fired Thursday from near a military base about 50 miles from North Korea's capital Pyongyang. There were few other details immediately available.

      State media in North Korea said that on Saturday the nation held a short-range ballistic missile test as part of a regularly scheduled defensive military exercise. It was the country's first such test in more than a year and came amid what appear to be stalled denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Law Being Used to Prosecute Julian Assange Is Broken

      The First Amendment and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act collided last month when the UK arrested WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on, among other things, a US extradition request for computer crime. He has since been sentenced to 50 weeks in a British prison. For roughly seven years before his arrest, he’d been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, but on April 11, the Ecuadorian government withdrew his asylum. Now the UK courts will evaluate the US’s request to send Assange to Virginia to stand trial in federal court for a single felony charge of conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to a government computer, a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA).

    • Shooting the Whistleblowers
      It has just been announced that Facebook is banning some “dangerous people” from its platforms, particularly those promoting and allowing “hate speech” of various colours, but also including “conspiracy theorist” Alex Jones. This action follows on from measures taken after the Christchurch gunman used Facebook to screen his incendiary Islamophobic attack, and the sudden recognition of the threat posed by “White Supremacist” ideology.

      At that time I wrote an article for the Australian blog “Pearls and Irritations”, which drew an uncomfortable comparison between “two Australians abroad” – the “Firearm terrorist” Brenton Tarrant, and the “Cyber terrorist” Julian Assange. It’s not of course that I think Assange is a terrorist of any description – but given the treatment he has been afforded by the Australian government he may as well be.

      The reason I made this comparison, aside from the fact that the two men are both Australian citizens in prison for offences committed abroad, was because there is something else that connects their perceived crimes, and which sprang to mind following the Christchurch massacre – the live vision of men being gunned down in Baghdad by US soldiers, screened around the world thanks to Wikileaks.

      It was not immediately after the massacre of unarmed Muslims in the Christchurch mosques that this similar show of White Man’s brutality some 12 years earlier came to mind, but rather following the draconian legislation rushed through the Australian Parliament shortly afterwards. The circumstances around this, described in more detail in my article, were frankly suspect – though it was dangerous to say so.

    • Chelsea Manning: Despite Heartbreak And Hardship, Cooperation With WikiLeaks Grand Jury Not An Option
      The following declaration from Chelsea Manning was filed in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, on May 6. It is part of her defense attorneys’ ongoing efforts to free her from the William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. Shadowproof is republishing the statement to help bring further attention to what Manning has endured. Throughout her declaration, Manning makes it abundantly clear she will never testify before the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. “I can either go to jail or betray my principles. The latter exists as a much worse prison than the government can construct,” she declares.

      Manning outlines the physical and mental risks posed to her health by her jailing, including how it may cause serious medical complications since she had gender confirmation surgery in October, as well as the impact prolonged solitary confinement had on her in the first month she was jailed.

      She also reaffirms her righteous dissent against an abusive grand jury process that the government is carrying out disingenuously or maliciously. Since the subpoena will never accomplish its goal, Manning essentially makes a case that she should be set free immediately.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • U.S. Dismisses Climate Change at Arctic Council Summit: Pompeo Says Melting Sea Ice Brings ‘New Opportunities for Trade’
      For the first time since it was founded in 1996, the Arctic Council didn't release a joint declaration outlining its priorities after a summit in Rovaniemi, Finland Monday and Tuesday. The reason? The insistence by the U.S. that the statement not mention climate change or the Paris agreement designed to combat it, The New York Times reported.

    • U.S. Pressure Blocks Declaration on Climate Change at Arctic Talks
      Under pressure from the United States, the Arctic Council issued a short joint statement on Tuesday that excluded any mention of climate change.

      It was the first time since its formation in 1996 that the council had been unable to issue a joint declaration spelling out its priorities. As an international organization made up of eight Arctic countries and representatives of indigenous groups in the region, its stated mission is cooperation on Arctic issues, particularly the protection of the region’s fragile environment.

      According to diplomats involved in the negotiations, at issue was the United States’ insistence not to mention the latest science on climate change or the Paris Agreement aimed at averting its worst effects. The omission is especially notable because scientists have warned that the Arctic is heating up far faster than the world average because of rising greenhouse gas emissions.

    • US climate objections sink Arctic Council accord in Finland
      US objections to wording on climate change prevented Arctic nations signing a joint statement at a summit in Finland, delegates said. It is the first time such a statement has been cancelled since the Arctic Council was set up in 1996. A Finnish delegate, Timo Koivurova, said "the others felt they could not water down climate change sentences". There is international concern that Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast as in the rest of the world. On Monday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the forum in Rovaniemi, northern Finland, with a speech welcoming the melting of Arctic sea ice, rather than expressing alarm about it.

    • New orchards offer life to wild species
      New orchards are appearing across the UK to stop the widespread decline of rare insects and birds, and to slow down climate change.

      The National Trust, Britain’s largest conservation organisation, which owns hundreds of miles of coastline as well as country houses and farms, already looks after 200 orchards, but is to create another 68 across England by 2025 to try to halt a national decline.

      There are still 25,350 hectares (62,650 acres) of orchards in the country − but that is 63% less than in 1950. Many are commercial monocultures. As a result, many rare types of apple are in danger of being lost and plum, pear and damson production is in decline.

      Apart from saving endangered species of fruit from old orchards, the Trust is keen to preserve the bees that thrive on the springtime blossom and many other rare species of insect that live only on fruit trees. Unlike commercial growers, the Trust will be managing its new orchards without pesticides, and specifically for wildlife.

    • Germany proposes $2,800 fine for parents skipping measles vaccination
      German parents who fail to vaccinate their children against measles could face fines of up to €2,500 ($2,800), as part of draft legislation from the country's health minister.

      "I want to eradicate measles," Health Minister Jens Spahn told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag on Sunday, according to a transcript of the interview published by the Health Ministry. "Anyone going to a kindergarten or school should be vaccinated against measles," he said, adding that parents would need to show proof of vaccination or could face fines and exclusion from daycare.

    • Germany Considers $2,800 Fine for Parents Skipping Measles Vaccination
      Germany, like the U.S., is in the midst of a measles outbreak. The country has seen 651 cases of the disease between March 2018 and February of this year, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the sixth most of any country in the EU.

    • EU election launch: Greens are the strongest pro-EU party
      It is time to say Yes to Europe and investing in communities and No to climate chaos

      The Green Wave is growing in strength after spectacular local election results

      The Green Party of England and Wales has today formally launched its campaign for the EU election on the 23rd of May, setting out its position as the strongest pro-EU party.

      Co-leader Sian Berry told a packed press conference: "Our message to the people is very simple: It’s time to say Yes to Europe, Yes to investing in communities, and No to climate chaos.

      "It’s also about saying a very loud No to the failed Brexit project, and yes to transforming our society to one that puts people first.

      "The Brexit project led by Nigel Farage has capitalised on the neglect of our communities and unleashed the darkest elements onto our nation, bringing them dangerously close to the mainstream.

      "The far-right are now a sickness in our politics. But the Greens, full of hope and with a vision of the future that has faith in people’s best instincts - we are the cure.

      "The Greens are the strongest pro-EU party."

    • ABC, NBC and MSNBC Prime-Time Shows Ignored Landmark UN Report on Biodiversity
      The major broadcast and cable news networks largely neglected to cover a landmark United Nations (UN) report on a devastating decline in biodiversity.

      On the day the report was released, three of the networks — ABC, NBC and MSNBC — aired no prime-time coverage of it, while the other three networks each aired one prime-time segment. Out of 26 total prime-time news programs on the networks, only three reported on the UN assessment.

    • Adult Lifestyles Sentence Kids to 1,000 Years of “Deadly” Heat Waves
      Sixteen year old Greta Thunberg’s School Strike for Climate generation seems likely to witness the beginnings of a grueling, traumatizing, brutal, heat-driven reversal of the human population boom. Why? Because we’ve continued to pack the atmosphere with a little more CO2 with almost every move we make in utterly normal daily routines, thus forcing heat higher and higher day after day after day.

      And we’ve collectively waited too long before taking the situation seriously. Now it’s irreversible. A study led by Susan Solomon found that the CO2 we add to the atmosphere every day remains there for centuries, “so that atmospheric temperatures do not drop significantly for at least 1,000 years.”

      Kids thus face an array of heat-driven risks for the next 1,000 years, and the risks are certain to escalate with every next new day of using the atmosphere as a carbon dump.

      But the risks can be reduced. Will that be too much to ask?

      As of 2016, even before we collectively forced the heat 1C higher than pre-industrial times, EPA had already reported that, “Children are particularly vulnerable to heat-related illness and death, as their bodies are less able to adapt to heat than adults, and they must rely on others to help keep them safe.”

    • 7-Mile ‘Bee Corridor’ of Wildflowers Will Feed London’s Pollinators This Summer
      It's a scary time for the world's pollinators. A study published in February warned that more than 40 percent of the world's insects could go extinct within the next 30 years. Another study published in Nature in March found that a third of wild pollinator species in the UK had declined since 1980.

    • Climate Change May Wipe Out Bengal Tigers, UN Analysis Finds
      Climate change may wipe out the world's only mangrove-living Bengal tiger population in just 50 years, according to a new analysis conducted by the United Nations.

    • Tackling Plastic Pollution With Trash Art ... A Look at Our Waste Habits
      Amid the growing plastic pollution crisis, we see people rising up and taking a stand in a lot of different ways. Plastic pollution protests can range from marching in the streets to more unorthodox methods, such as protest art. Protest art is an important way to create public awareness for issues such as the single-use plastics problem.

      Creative consultant, activist and artist, Katie Williams uses art as a way to raise awareness of consumer habits regarding single-use plastics. Her "trash art" with Jen Fedrizzi is publicly staged on the busy streets of San Francisco and forces passersby to take a closer look.

    • Africa Must Raise Taxes to Better Fight Climate Change
      Mozambique is on its knees. Hit by what is considered the worst cyclone in the southern hemisphere, it saw its fourth city, Beira, practically wiped off the map. And since tropical storms know no borders, Idai has also killed in Zimbabwe and Malawi. More than a thousand people died and two million were affected, including 1.8 million in Mozambique alone. The damage caused by floods and wind gusts is expected to cost the region more than US $2 billion, according to the World Bank.

      For researchers, there is no doubt that the alternation of cyclonic episodes and droughts that has hit the region in recent years is directly linked to the impressive temperature variations resulting from climate change. The irony is that Mozambique and its neighboring countries produce only a tiny fraction of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, Africa is the continent least responsible for global warming: barely 3.8% of greenhouse gas emissions are produced there, compared to 23% in China, 19% in the United States, and 13% in the European Union.

      Beira is not an isolated case. Prolonged droughts, repeated floods, declining agricultural yields, increasingly limited access to water, global warming is already taking its toll in Africa. These natural disasters increase the risk of food insecurity and health crises. The cholera cases that have emerged in Mozambique since Idai and Kenneth passed through clearly show it.

      In rural areas, survival is at stake, due to the disappearance of entire crops. Urban populations are also on the front line. High birth rates and rural exodus mean that 86 of the world's 100 fastest growing cities are in Africa. And at least 79 of them - including 15 capitals - are facing extreme risks due to climate change, according to the risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft.

    • Save the Planet—With Good Union Jobs
      Across the country, you’ll find millions of working families whose wages haven’t budged in a generation, even as the cost of living has skyrocketed.

      Many of these same communities are now getting hit hardest by floods, droughts, storms, and other climate disasters. How are workers going to withstand rising climate risks if their paychecks don’t even cover the bills, while corporate polluters rake in profits?

      Our communities don’t experience climate change and inequality as two isolated issues, but as interlinked crises.

      A Green New Deal offers an immense opportunity to tackle both crises at the speed and scale that justice and science demand. It’s the only plan out there to transition to a clean energy economy built on good, union jobs that leaves no worker — or community — behind.

      It’s a roadmap rooted in solid, realistic changes that are already happening. From the Midwest to the South to the coasts, communities are retrofitting buildings to save energy, replacing lead pipes to ensure clean water, and restoring green spaces to reduce climate-related flooding.

      Meanwhile, broad local coalitions are pushing for investments in local wind and solar manufacturing, clean and affordable light rail, wetlands restoration, smart electric grids, and sustainable family farming.

    • Soviet composer Yevgeny Krylatov dies, leaving behind beloved children’s songs about polar bears, snowflakes, and bright futures
      Krylatov first gained widespread recognition when he began working in cinema, especially after the release of two 1969 cartoons, one about a bear cub named Umka and one about Grandfather Frost’s journey in search of summer.

    • Who contaminated the petroleum supply in the Druzhba pipeline and caused Russian oil exports to be unusable for weeks? ‘Meduza’ investigates.
      On May 7, a court in the Russian city of Samara ordered four suspects in the contamination of the Druzhba oil pipeline to be jailed for two months. The transport of petroleum through Druzhba for export out of Russia was practically brought to a halt on April 20 due to a large batch that was contaminated with organic chloride compounds. Russia’s losses are estimated at half a billion dollars, and energy companies have been asked to decrease their petroleum production by 10 percent until May 7. The head of Transneft, the state-owned monopoly in charge of the Russian portion of the pipeline, told Vladimir Putin that the contamination was a result of “diversion”: in other words, that a private company in Samara Oblast intentionally transferred contaminated petroleum into the pipeline. Meduza learned that Transneft itself evidently allowed a situation to take shape in which unknown manufacturers have been able to add petroleum to Druzhba by the cistern. Since the end of 2018, one junction in the pipeline system has been entirely uncontrolled because its previous owner was largely bought out by Absolut Bank, which divided the property among multiple nominal owners. Those owners were ultimately the ones who landed in a pretrial detention center in the contamination case.

    • US Public Among the Most Likely in the World to Deny Climate Crisis, Global Survey Shows
      Two days after the Trump administration blocked a global declaration from even mentioning the term "climate change," a new survey out Wednesday shows the U.S. public continues to lead internationally when it comes to denying the scientific reality of the planetary crisis.

      As The Guardian reported, a YouGov/Cambridge Globalism Project poll of 23 countries found that 13 percent of American respondents agreed with the statement, "human activity is not responsible at all” for the climate crisis.

      The U.S. was behind just two countries in the poll, with 18 percent of Indonesians and 16 percent of Saudis saying human activity has nothing to do with the fact that average global temperatures have risen by 0.8€° Celsius (1.4€° Fahrenheit) since 1880.

      Respondents in other Western countries, including almost every European country, were far less likely than Americans to deny that the climate is changing and that humans are responsible. Fewer than 10 percent in most countries across Europe denied the statements.

      Seventeen percent of Americans polled told YouGov/Cambridge Globalism Project that they believed the concept of a human-caused climate crisis is "a hoax that was invented to deceive people."

    • U.S. Has the Most Climate-Change Deniers of Any Rich Country: Survey
      In the same week the United Nations released a shocking report showing that a million species are about to go extinct, in large part due to climate change, a YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project survey added insult to injury. According to the global survey, the U.S.—the wealthiest country in the world—has the largest number of climate-change deniers among the world’s richest countries. Or, as The Guardian puts it, “The US is a hotbed of climate science denial.”

      Perhaps it’s unsurprising that 13% of the U.S. population—about 42 million people—think the climate crisis has nothing to do with human activity, while another 5% believe climate change doesn’t exist when the country’s leader, and several high-ranking officials in his administration, consider it a Chinese hoax. The same leader pulled the U.S. out of the Paris Accord, is expanding offshore oil drilling, is leasing territory once designated part of national monuments to fossil fuel companies, is freezing car emissions standards—the alarming list goes on and on.

    • What Losing 1 Million Species Means for the Planet — and Humanity
      The United Nations this week released a powerful report on the state of nature around the planet. Among its disheartening conclusions, the report — by hundreds of experts from 50 countries — estimates that a staggering 1 million species are at risk of extinction in the next few decades due to human-related causes.

      Let’s unpack that a bit.

      The report bases its estimate on the number of known species on the planet — about 8 million — and what we know about how many of those species are already at risk of extinction.

      For example, more than 40 percent of the planet’s amphibian species are threatened with extinction, along with about a third of the shark family and a third of marine mammals. The report also estimates that about 10 percent of insect species are at risk, a fact highlighted by all of the recent news about the impending “insect apocalypse.”

    • More Evidence of Undisclosed Carcinogens at Site of Enbridge’s Proposed Greater Boston Gas Project
      Newly uncovered air quality samplings by the State of Massachusetts showed elevated levels of carcinogens and other pollutants at Enbridge’s proposed natural gas compressor station in a densely populated site near Boston.

      The data, revealed in written testimony this week by a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) official responding to an appeal over the Weymouth station’s air permit, joins other samplings showing toxics in the area, which DeSmog exclusively reported last month.

    • Arctic soils may produce huge methane leak
      The permafrost may be about to spring an unwelcome surprise, with Arctic soils thought to be thawing faster than anyone had predicted. This threatens to release vast quantities of frozen methane into the atmosphere and transform the northern landscape.

      One-fourth of all the land in the northern half of the globe is defined as permafrost. This long-frozen soil is home to the detritus of life over many thousands of years: the remains of plants, animals and microbes. The permanently frozen soils of the region hold, so far in a harmless state, 1,600 billion tonnes of carbon: twice as much as exists in the atmosphere.

      And as the Arctic warms, this could release ever-greater volumes of a potent greenhouse gas, to accelerate global warming still further, and the consequent collapse of the soil, the flooding and the landslides could change not just the habitat but even the contours of the high latitudes.

  • Finance

    • Bitcoin is worth $6,000 for the first time this year

    • [Interuders] nick $41m worth of Bitcoin from Binance exchange

      That's some serious thieving, which Binance has said the theft was carried out in a variety of ways from the use of malware to phishing attacks aimed at grabbing security credentials.

    • Open Forum: Drivers for ride-booking services deserve better pay and job protections

      We can no longer accept a situation in which a tiny handful of Americans become extraordinarily wealthy by paying their workers starvation wages. Today, the median worker at these ride-booking services makes between $8.55 and $10 an hour. And yet in 2017, Lyft’s CEO made more than $41 million and Uber’s CEO was paid $45 million last year. Additionally, Uber executives this week are expected to become instant millionaires from the company’s multibillion-dollar initial public offering on Wall Street.

      In the world’s wealthiest nation, we must take a stand: We must declare that people who work for multibillion-dollar companies should not have to work 70 or 80 hours a week to get by.

      And yet we must also understand that these workers are not merely being poorly paid, like so many other workers in America. These so-called “gig economy” workers are also being denied basic workplace protections and a fighting chance to obtain higher wages. That is because they are among the nearly 16 million workers who are paid as “independent contractors,” even though they are working full time.

      These are what we used to call “employees” — but in many cases, their employers are deliberately misclassifying them as contract workers, which exempts them from labor protections under federal law. [...]

    • Lyft’s First Results After I.P.O. Show $1.14 Billion Quarterly Loss

      In its first financial results as a public company, Lyft posted a loss of $1.14 billion for the first quarter, compared with a loss of $234.3 million in the same period a year earlier. The widening loss was driven by a $894 million charge for its stock-based compensation. Excluding that expense, the loss was $211.5 million. The company’s revenue rose 95 percent to $776 million.

    • Australians want to talk to people, not bots

      New research commissioned by CRM and RPA vendor Pegasystems suggests Australians want to talk to people rather than bots for all but the simplest customer service tasks.

    • TV Pitches for Prescription Drugs Will Have to Include Price
      TV pitches for prescription drugs will soon include the price, giving consumers more information upfront as they make medication choices at a time when new drugs can carry anxiety-inducing prices.

      Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Wednesday the Trump administration has finalized regulations requiring drug companies to disclose list prices of medications costing more than $35 for a month’s supply.

      “What I say to the companies is if you think the cost of your drug will scare people from buying your drugs, then lower your prices,” Azar said. “Transparency for American patients is here.”

      Drug companies responded that adding prices to their commercials could unintentionally harm patients.

      “We are concerned that the administration’s rule requiring list prices in direct-to-consumer television advertising could be confusing for patients and may discourage them from seeking needed medical care,” said the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the main trade group.

    • All Hail the Ride-Share Strike
      The ride-hailing company Uber is making its initial public offering (IPO) on Friday. Executives are hoping for a whopping $91 billion valuation, which The New York Times said would be one of the largest in tech-industry history. Uber says it has set aside about 3% of its shares for its drivers and will also be handing out “driver appreciation awards,” an obvious ploy to whitewash the poor conditions and wages under which drivers say they are forced to work.

      Uber and Lyft drivers have been agitating for years to be recognized as direct employees rather than independent contractors. Los Angeles drivers have organized a 25-hour strike for May 25 to protest the 25% pay cut Uber recently announced. Workers in such cities as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and San Francisco are building on that action with a one-day strike on Wednesday, timed within days of Uber’s IPO.

      James Hicks, a driver and organizer with Rideshare Drivers United-Los Angeles, told me in an interview that “we’re striking again because our demands were not met by Uber or Lyft, and so we’re going to put more and more pressure on them.”

      The idea behind a strike—whether it is done by union or nonunion employees—is that workers use the greatest leverage they have to make their demands, which is the withholding of their labor. The point is inconvenience and a loss of profits for the employer. Hicks said that on March 25, there were longer wait times for rides because fewer drivers were on the roads.

    • Peterloo
      The British empire defeated Napoleon in 1815 on the field of battle at Waterloo (Belgium) and smashed the universal principles of the French Revolution – liberty, equality, and fraternity. Furthermore, it expropriated communities from their commons all over the world by Parliamentary enclosure acts in England and military acts of conquest elsewhere. At this post-war moment in 1819 of high prices, failed strikes, declining wages, unemployment, empty stomachs, and disaffection, a remarkable, but incomplete, coalition of reformers and revolutionaries met in St Peter’s Field in Manchester, U.K., on 16 August two hundred years ago. The class struggle is in the open. The ruling class of landlords, merchants, bankers, and factory owners are arrayed against a working class of handworkers, factory workers, plantation workers, home workers, ship and sail workers, and workers without work. A massacre ensues. Surveying the carnage afterwards a clever journalist came up with the equation: Waterloo + St Peter’s Field = Peterloo.

      Mike Leigh’s film of this name is a major representation of a major battle in the history of class struggle. Eighteen (18) were killed, six hundred fifty (650) were wounded. The massacre was effectuated by sabres, swords, and horses hooves, not gunpowder. That’s why so many were wounded. It was a bloody butchery. At a minimum the film does the event justice, but, as we shall see, more than a minimum is required.


      The “gilded reptiles” of the ruling class meanwhile are also divided – among nobles, the military, lawyers, and the bourgeoisie; we hear them debate in magistrate’s court, House of Commons, the Home Offices, where they open mail, hire spies, instruct provocateurs, and issue orders to regiments of the local yeomanry or the national hussars. Shall they hang one or two? Shall they raise wages a pittance? Or, shall they attempt to awe the rabble as a whole, and if so is mass terror required? Part of statecraft is the management of class struggle. The tools of repression are several: censorship of the press, imprisonment of leaders, criminalizing the poor, policing the unpropertied, the military against all. Statesmanship is shown to be hypocritical trickery. Government looks for an excuse, then produces one – massacre. The noose tightens, sabres are sharpened.

      Three people appear before the sitting magistrate, “a loose, idle, and disorderly” woman, a thief of a silver watch won at a game of dice, and a man who took a coat rather than stoleit, a self-described “reformer” who propounded an economy of “sharing.” These bring loud guffaws from the vulpine magistrate. With lip-slurping glee the magistrate hands out his punishments – a public whipping, transportation to Botany Bay, and a hanging. Albion’s fatal tree.
    • Reading the Tea Leaves on Ukania’s Local Quasi-Referendum on Brexit
      Last week elections were held for town, city, and county councils in England (London apart) and the north of Ireland. No local elections took place in Scotland and Wales.

      More than 8,400 seats in 248 councils, part of a 4-year election cycle, were contested in England, and 462 seats in Northern Ireland.

      The elections were perceived to be important because they were deemed by the media to be a quasi-referendum on the current Brexit negotiations.

      The election result was a setback for both main parties, and especially disastrous for the Tories.

      The Tories received a drubbing, losing control of nearly a third of the councils they had after the 2015 election, and losing 1334 seats in the process.

      Labour had hoped to gain at the expense of the hugely unpopular Tories, but failed to advance. Labour lost 82 seats and 6 councils—not an absolute failure, but very far from being the success it had wished for in the face of the Tory party’s staggering record of incompetence and sheer nastiness since it took over from Labour in 2010.

      The biggest winner this time round was the Lib Dems, who managed to gain 676 councillors. The Lib Dems had been coalition partners with the austerity-imposing Tories from 2010 to 2015, and, deservedly, were wiped-out electorally in the 2015 general election.
    • Protesting 'Poverty Wages' and Exploitation, Uber and Lyft Drivers Go on Strike Across the Globe
      "We don't want our wages to stay just minimum. We want Uber to answer to us, not to investors," Sonam Lama, an Uber driver and member of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance (NYTWA), said in a statement ahead of Wednesday's strike. "The gig economy is all about exploiting workers by taking away our rights. It has to stop. Uber is the worst actor in the gig economy."

      "I'm striking for my kid's future," Lama said. "I have a five-year-old son, and I drive for Uber to support him. But it's becoming harder and harder."

      According to the NYTWA, drivers plan to strike in major cities across the United States as well as in Brazil, Australia, Chile, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Nairobi, and other nations.

      "This is an act of solidarity with drivers across the country, and really across the world, who are suffering with poverty wages," said NYTWA executive director Bhairavi Desai.

      Todd Wolfson, a Rutgers University professor who studies the gig economy, told The Philadelphia Inquirer that Wednesday's action is the largest-ever global work stoppage by ride-hailing drivers.
    • How Accurate Are the US Jobs Numbers?
      While the Current Establishment Survey (CES) Report (covering large businesses) shows 263,000 jobs created last month, the Current Population Survey (CPS) second Labor Dept. report (that covers smaller businesses) shows 155,000 of these jobs were involuntary part time. This high proportion (155,000 of 263,000) suggests the job creation number is likely second and third jobs being created. Nor does it reflect actual new workers being newly employed. The number is for new jobs, not newly employed workers. Moreover, it’s mostly part time and temp or low paid jobs, likely workers taking on second and third jobs.

      Even more contradictory, the second CPS report shows that full time work jobs actually declined last month by 191,000. (And the month before, March, by an even more 228,000 full time jobs decline).

      The much hyped 3.6% unemployment (U-3) rate for April refers only to full time jobs (35 hrs. or more worked in a week). And these jobs are declining by 191,000 while part time jobs are growing by 155,000. So which report is accurate? How can full time jobs be declining by 191,000, while the U-3 unemployment rate (covering full time only) is falling? The answer: full time jobs disappearing result in an unemployment rate for full time (U-3)jobs falling. A small number of full time jobs as a share of the total labor force appears as a fall in the unemployment rate for full time workers. Looked at another way, employers may be converting full time to part time and temp work, as 191,000 full time jobs disappear and 155,000 part time jobs increase.

      And there’s a further problem with the part time jobs being created: It also appears that the 155,000 part time jobs created last month may be heavily weighted with the government hiring part timers to start the work on the 2020 census–typically hiring of which starts in April of the preceding year of the census. (Check out the Labor Dept. numbers preceding the prior 2010 census, for April 2009, for the same development a decade ago).

    • Krugman on Sanders on Medicare for All
      To back up this position, Krugman notes Sanders’ unwillingness to support a bill that would improve the Affordable Care Act.

      Actually, it is wrong to claim that Sanders has seen single-payer as an all or nothing proposition. He voted for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, when his vote was essential for the bill’s passage.

      Sanders was also a supporter of Bill Clinton’s health care reform bill that never even made it to the floor in Congress. He has often told a story of apologizing to Clinton for his conduct on the bill.

      According to Sanders, Clinton said, “what do you mean Bernie, you were with me all the way.”

    • A Permanent, Soylent-Based Solution to Capitalism
      The architects of “regime change” in Venezuela and Iran know only too well that their interventions never bring about anything beyond chaos, destruction and death. Our Overlords are not deluded, pie-in-the-sky dreamers but clear-sighted, rational merchants of nightmares. Where we see endless despair and violence as a result of their meddling, they see a surge in share prices.

      Blackwater CEO Erik Prince will unlikely get his wish to send 5,000 of his mercenaries to Caracas, but his re-named and re-branded companies are benefiting nevertheless from the constant media exposure. The murderers-for-hire on his payroll will always find employment in ‘hot spots’ specifically created to attract further investment in armaments, and the logistics necessary to convey them wherever a superpower or an oil rich Gulf state requires an armed response to the peasantry, or one of its leaders.

      Capitalism’s internal logic of growth at any cost means that demand for the products and services corporations provide are not only met with an endless production of surplus, but created (often violently) where a lack of demand for them threads to impede its cancerous spread. It’s the logic of Big Pharma with its stake in the junk and fast food industries: Funnel feed them breadsticks and cheesecake so that they seek out your advertised medication during a cardiac event while watching ‘The View’. Human misery is a growth industry. The short-term gains that come with worsening it override any long-term benefits fo ameliorating avoidable suffering with sustainable, non-violent solutions.

      Even if US weapons and personnel have so far been prevented from entering Venezuela, their merchants will profit from Wall Street speculators cashing in on the headlines. After all, they dictated them to the media corporations whose parent companies also have a stake in the creation of failed states and the weaponry they need to sustain them.

    • Trump in 1985-94 Claimed $1.17 Billion Business Loss
      The New York Times reported Tuesday that Donald Trump’s businesses lost more than $1 billion from 1985 to 1994, based on tax information the newspaper acquired.

      The Times said it has acquired printouts from the future president’s official IRS tax transcripts, including figures from his federal tax form.

      The newspaper said Trump reported business losses of $46.1 million in 1985, and a total of $1.17 billion in losses for the 10-year period.

      After comparing Trump’s information with that of other “high-income earners,” the Times concluded that Trump “appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.” Because of his business losses, the newspaper reported, Trump did not pay income taxes for eight of the 10 years.

    • Wall Street Drives Racial and Gender Inequality
      The people who sell fancy sports cars and high-end Swiss watches look forward to the time of year when the big Wall Street banks hand out their annual cash bonuses.

      According to new figures, those bonuses added up a whopping $27.5 billion last year. That’s a lot of Rolexes.

      Unfortunately, this huge payout also means the reckless bonus culture that crashed our economy in 2008 is still flourishing.

      And there’s another reason we should be disturbed: These Wall Street payouts drive racial and gender inequality.

      That’s because the people pocketing Wall Street bonuses are overwhelmingly white and male, while the people stuck with stagnating wages at the bottom of the pay scale are disproportionately women and people of color.

      A new Institute for Policy Studies report I co-authored found that if the minimum wage had increased at the same rate as the average Wall Street bonus since 1985, it would be worth $33 today, instead of just $7.25.

    • Will A Green New Deal Save the Climate, or Save Capitalism?
      After decades of neoliberal torment it’s easy to yearn for capitalism’s tranquil past, a simpler time that delivered stability, fairness, and progress. This mythology around a golden age of U.S. capitalism is regularly conjured up by Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who reference the New Deal-era programs that delivered democratic reforms and a massive investment in infrastructure.

      Rooting herself in this myth, Ocasio-Cortez promotes a Green New Deal that, while still largely conceptual, strives to combine a massive jobs and green infrastructure project that will pivot the economy off the path of climate destruction towards a sustainable future with jobs for all.

      It’s a breath of fresh air after decades of inaction. But actually achieving the vision is another thing, and the most immediate threat is the Democratic Party. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has derided the idea as the “the green dream or whatever they call it”, while dismissing Ocasio-Cortez’s political collaborators as “five people”. And although dozens of Democrats initially signed on to the concept, the Republicans realized the rhetoric wasn’t real, and called the Democrats bluff by bringing the resolution to the Senate floor for a vote on March 26th.

      Not one Democrat actually voted for “their” idea. They shamefully abstained in order to shield the majority of their members who were actually against the idea. And although they accused the Republicans of orchestrating a “stunt” vote, it was the vote that exposed the stunt. This setback was minimized by many but should have set off alarm bells.

    • It 'Was Sport' to Dodge Taxes, Admits Trump, After NYT Details Epic Business Failures
      In response to a bombshell New York Times report detailing that President Donald Trump posted higher losses on his tax filings during certain years in the 1980s and 90s than perhaps "any other individual" in the country—more than a $1 billion over a decade—the president himself confirmed Wednesday morning that what he was really up to at the time was creating a massive "tax shelter"—something he said "was sport" that wealthy developers like him played with their tax returns and financial dealings.

      While simultaneously calling the reporting "a highly inaccurate Fake News hit job," the president offered no evidence to refute the Times' story, which reporters Ross Buettner and Susanne Craig explain was based on pain-staking investigative work and a copy of a federal tax transcript of the president's tax returns spanning nearly a decade.

    • Billion Dollar Loser: NYT Report on Trump’s Taxes & Massive Losses May Prompt Fraud Investigation

    • New York State Senate Passes Bill to Make Trump's Tax Returns Available to Congress
      Dreams of obtaining President Donald Trump's tax returns may be a bit closer for House Democrats—the New York state Senate passed a bill Wednesday clearing the way for their release by the state's Department of Taxation and Finance.

      The TRUST Act passed the state senate by a 39 to 21 vote and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, has said he will sign it. The bill goes to the state Assembly for discussion and a vote Monday.

      In a statement, advocacy group Stand Up America said it hoped that the assembly passes the bill quickly.

      "Now that it has passed the Senate, it's time for the Assembly to immediately act and make this bill law," the group said. "We urge Assembly members to send this bill to Governor Cuomo's desk and ensure that Donald Trump's numerous conflicts of interest come to light."

    • Billion Dollar Loser: NYT Report on Trump’s Taxes & Massive Losses May Prompt Fraud Investigation
      We look at a major exposé from The New York Times, which obtained tax information on Donald Trump that shows his businesses lost $1.17 billion from 1985 to 1994. While Trump continues to refuse to release his tax returns, printouts from his official IRS tax transcripts for a 10 year period ending in 1994 show that in multiple years during that stretch, Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual taxpayer in the country and paid no federal income taxes for eight of the 10 years. “Almost every two cents of every dollar reported as losses one year, by everyone in the United States, were recorded by Donald Trump,” notes our guest, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston, an investigative reporter previously with the Times, now founder and editor of DC He has been reporting on Donald Trump since the 1980s and his new piece for the Daily Beast is headlined “Trump’s Tax Leak Hints at Potential Fraud Investigations.”

    • Most of America’s rural areas are doomed to decline
      Since the Great Recession, most of the nation’s rural counties have struggled to recover lost jobs and retain their people. The story is markedly different in the nation’s largest urban communities.

      I’m writing from Iowa, where every four years presidential hopefuls swoop in to test how voters might respond to their various ideas for fixing the country’s problems.

      But what to do about rural economic and persistent population decline is the one area that has always confounded them all.

      The facts are clear and unarguable. Most of the nation’s smaller urban and rural counties are not growing and will not grow.

    • 'Historical Step': Bernie Sanders's 2020 Campaign Staffers Ratify Union Contract
      Bernie Sanders's 2020 campaign workers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement.

      The development, announced by the workers Wednesday, comes roughly two months after they made history by becoming the first presidential campaign staffers to unionize.

    • The Shocking Tale of Two Generations
      It’s easy to feel fatalistic, accepting as “just the way things are” an America in which the top one-tenth of 1 percent controls as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent, while roughly a fifth of American children live in poverty, and half of American infants are so poor they depend on public aid to eat.

      But wait.

      What if we were to acknowledge — to really let sink in — that we have arrived at this tragic place in no time at all, historically speaking? Might we even feel entitled to hope and thus motivated to work for transformational shift of the kind the Green New Deal now envisions? One in which we effectively address climate change as we also tackle economic inequity?

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • 'This Kind of Obstruction Is Dangerous': Ahead of Barr Contempt Vote, DOJ Threatens Executive Privilege to Block Full Mueller Report
      Hours ahead of the House Judiciary Committee's scheduled vote to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress, the Justice Department late Tuesday threatened to ask President Donald Trump to invoke executive privilege in a last-ditch effort to block the release of the unredacted Mueller report.

      "In the face of the committee's threatened contempt vote, the Attorney General will be compelled to request that the president invoke executive privilege with respect to the materials subject to the subpoena," assistant attorney general Stephen Boyd wrote in a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) Tuesday night.
    • Trump Asserts Executive Privilege Over Full Mueller Report

    • Trump declares “Executive Privilege” to obstruct congressional oversight

    • A Peculiar Request
      Quite a number of people have very kindly sent me the result of internet searches. These are 99% photos taken after I left the FCO. Remember, when I was removed as Ambassador to Uzbekistan Facebook was three months old. For all except the end of my career photos were not electronic and not stored on the internet. Furthermore the need is not just for old photos of me, but photos in context of my career. I have of course been searching diligently myself but not so far found much of any use. I was rather more hoping that the appeal would be read by someone who took a photo personally that they can scan and send me.

    • Trump is Not a Tyrant, He Just Admires Them
      President Trump is not a tyrant, but he doesn’t shy away from admiring them. And, that should give one pause in feeling secure that our nation’s leader is committed to sustaining the world’s longest running democratic republic. For those who don’t see his lack of understanding how a democracy functions, they should consider his statements flattering those leaders who have corrupted or demolished their own democratic institutions, by denying open and unfettered public elections or not allowing media to distribute uncensored information.

      For instance, Trump suggested that our country should form with Russia a “Cyber Security unit to guard against election hacking,” even though our intelligence services at that time said Russia, most likely on Putin’s orders, had been hacking of our elections in order to swing the election to someone whom they preferred. This accusation was later confirmed in Special Investigator Mueller’s report. Meanwhile Putin has, in practice, ended free elections in Russia.

      Trump flat out congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping on his National Congress, which only meets for a week every year, allowing him to serve as president for life. He told the National Republican Congressional Committee at a spring dinner that he referred to Xi as “king” not president because of that change. “He liked that. I get along with him great.” Trump’s largess in bestowing admiration on anti-democratic leaders extends to even countries that are not world powers.

      The New York Times (Feb 2, 2018) quoted Trump as saying Egyptian Pres Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is a “fantastic guy”, although El-Sisi got elected by jailing or threatening them with prosecution, leaving only an obscure ardent supporter of his as an opponent. According to the NYT, “most other Western leaders have been largely silent.”

    • As Trump Goes 'Full Nixon,' Democrats Vote to Hold Attorney General Barr in Contempt
      The vote came as the White House asserted executive privilege to block the report's release, a decision that Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, called Tuesday evening "the behavior of this lawless administration." Nadler subpoenaed the full report in mid-April.

      The 24 to 16 vote came down on party lines, with one abstention.

      After the vote, Nadler told reporters, "We are now in a constitutional crisis."

    • Biden Says Trump Is an “Aberration” From the GOP. He’s Wrong.
      “Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience,” reported The New York Times. “The local Democratic Party pleaded with Mr. Biden to repair what it saw as a damaging error, to no avail. On Nov. 6, Mr. Upton defeated his Democratic challenger by four and a half percentage points.”

      Biden, it should be noted, was paid $200,000 for his appearance at the event, neither the first nor the last time he has enjoyed the comforts of Republican money. Last I heard, Michigan is pretty important to any candidate who hopes to become president. To quote the Starks of Winterfell: The North remembers, Mr. Biden.

      Biden ran his Republican Party problem across the sky in lights this weekend in Iowa. Speaking to a crowd in Dubuque about the need to defeat Donald Trump in 2020, he said, “History will treat this administration’s time as an aberration. This is not the Republican Party.” It is a campaign theme he introduced in his announcement video: “I believe history will look back on four years of this president and all he embraces as an aberrant moment in time.”

    • Biden spends $1.4 million on digital ads in less than 2 weeks
      Former Vice President and current 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden is bolstering his front-runner status in the Democratic primary with a flurry of digital ad spending.

      Although he declared his candidacy just two weeks ago, Biden has already surpassed most 2020 Democrats in online ad spending — shelling out more than $1.4 million between Facebook, Google and Twitter. Just two weeks in, Biden’s online political advertising spending already accounts for more than one in every $10 spent on digital ads by all major Democratic presidential contenders combined.

      On the campaign trail, Biden often pitches himself opposing President Donald Trump rather than his Democratic primary opponents. It’s no different online. While some 2020 Democrats publicly lament being outraised by their primary opponents in fundraising appeals, Biden is keeping his focus on Trump.

      “We’re off to an incredible start – but we still have a ways to go to catch up. The Trump campaign already has $40 million in the bank. Can you help us close the gap with a $5 donation today?” Biden asks in one Facebook ad.

    • Invoking Privilege, Trump Blocks Access to Full Mueller Report
      The White House invoked executive privilege Wednesday, claiming the right to block lawmakers from the full report from special counsel Robert Mueller on his Trump-Russia probe and escalating the battle between President Donald Trump and Congress.

      The administration’s decision was announced just as the House Judiciary Committee was gaveling in to consider holding Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over failure to release the full report.

      Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York declared the action by Trump’s Justice Department was a clear new sign of the president’s “blanket defiance” of Congress’ constitutional rights. “Every day we learn of new efforts by this administration to stonewall Congress,” Nadler said. “This is unprecedented.”

    • Joe Biden Might as Well Be a Republican
      Recent criticism of Joe Biden for praising Dick Cheney as “a decent man” and Mike Pence as “a decent guy” merely scratches the surface of what’s wrong with the current frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination. His compulsion to vouch for the decency of Republican leaders — while calling Donald Trump an “aberration” — is consistent with Biden’s political record. It sheds light on why he’s probably the worst Democrat running for president.

      After several decades of cutting corporate-friendly deals with GOP legislators — often betraying the interests of core Democratic constituencies in the process — Biden has a big psychological and political stake in denying that the entire GOP agenda is repugnant.

      At the outset of his Senate career, Biden lost no time appealing to racism and running interference for huge corporate interests. He went on to play a historic role in helping to move the Supreme Court rightward and serving such predatory businesses as credit card companies, big banks and hedge funds.

      Biden’s role as vice president included a near-miss at cutting a deal with Republican leaders on Capitol Hill to slash Medicare and Social Security. While his record on labor and trade has been mediocre, Biden has enjoyed tight mutual alliances with moneyed elites.

      The nickname that corporate media have bestowed on him, “Lunch Bucket Joe,” is wide of the mark. A bull’s-eye is “Wall Street Joe.”

    • Let's Re-fund America
      We must create a politics that directly confronts the narcissistic nabobs who're knocking down our people and our country

    • Mitch McConnell, gravedigger of democracy: Majority leader's shocking power grab
      On Monday I wrote about the GOP's long-term plan to turn the presidency into a (Republican) unitary executive office. You might think that it makes no sense that members of Congress would go along with such a thing, seeing as it directly interferes with their own constitutional prerogatives. That was certainly what the founders assumed would be the case. They assumed that human egos would demand that people jealously guard their own branches of government, thus preserving the checks and balances that would keep any one branch from gathering too much power unto itself. But it turns out that the modern Republicans are loyal to their party above all else, and no one personifies that dedication more than Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

      When the history of this bizarre era is written, it may very well be said that McConnell was the man behind the curtain who made it all happen. Depending on who does the writing, he could also go down as one of America's most notorious senators. No, he's not like those traitors who abandoned the Senate to join the Confederacy, nor is he a crude segregationist like the 20th century's Theodore Bilbo or James Eastland of Mississippi. He's no demagogue like Wisconsin's Joe McCarthy or Louisiana's Huey Long either. But there are elements of all of those men in McConnell, who holds a very special place in that pantheon as what historian Christopher R. Downing called "the gravedigger of democracy."

    • Nancy Pelosi Is Not a Progressive
      Why did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) not defend Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) by name recently when she was attacked by President Trump? Why did Speaker Pelosi attend a dinner with Democratic donors where they discussed how to thwart Senator Sanders, arguably the most progressive person in Congress? Why did Pelosi minimize the progressives in Congress by saying there are just five of them?

      I’ll solve the big mystery for you: She isn't a progressive. Not even close. In fact, she works against every progressive priority in Congress. The only people who still buy into the fiction that she is a progressive are her friends in the Democratic Party and the Washington media.

      Republicans often run campaign ads featuring Pelosi that sometimes are so effective that the Democratic candidate in the race has to denounce her. The mainstream media makes the mistake of thinking this is because the American people find her to be too liberal. In reality, they have a completely different problem with her — they find her to be too elitist. That’s why it was so tone-deaf of her to answer, when asked why she should be House speaker, that she is “the biggest fundraiser in the country.” Yes, that’s exactly the problem: To regular people, that signals she’s working with the elites to rip them off.

    • With Protest Outside Big-Dollar Fundraiser, Healthcare Union Members Call on Biden to Back Their Fight Against Kaiser
      Workers with a California healthcare union gathered Wednesday to voice their disapproval as 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden attended a big-dollar fundraiser at the Los Angeles home of a Kaiser Foundation board member.

      As HuffPost reported, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) "is locked in a bitter, yearslong fight with Kaiser over mental health staffing levels in the healthcare provider's California facilities."

      Union representatives called on Biden—who is presenting himself on the campaign trail as a "union man"—to cancel the event, which was hosted by Kaiser Foundation board member Dr. Cynthia Telles. The Kaiser Foundation is a subsidiary of the healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente.

      NUHW president Sal Rosselli said he never heard back from Biden's team.

      "Kaiser, Kaiser, you can't hide, we can see your greedy side!" union members chanted outside of Telles's home.

    • Why Does Trump Like Communist Vietnam? Because It’s Capitalist.
      Before Donald Trump’s February summit with Kim Jong Un in Hanoi, Vietnam, The Washington Post ran an article headlined, “The US wants North Korea to follow the ‘miracle’ of Vietnam’s path.”

      “In light of the once-unimaginable prosperity and partnership we have with Vietnam today, I have a message for Chairman Kim Jong Un: President Trump believes your country can replicate this path,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, as quoted in The Post article.

      In 2019, the evolution of Vietnam toward capitalism, praised by the Trump administration, is not without irony. A ruinous and brutal U.S. war against North Vietnam and its Viet Cong supporters in the south ended with the U.S. withdrawal of military troops in 1973, followed by a complete end to the conflict in 1975.

      Indeed, it was a little under 45 years ago that the U.S. military departed Vietnam with more than 58,000 soldiers dead and its tail between its legs. In the end, the North Vietnamese forces had won a decisive victory against the United States and the South Vietnamese army (the Army of the Republic of Vietnam). The North and South Vietnamese combatants lost nearly 1.5 million soldiers and at least 2 million civilians. According to The Balance, “Vietnam was the most heavily bombed country in history.”

    • Unless Democrats Refute the Myth of a "Good Economy," Trump Likely to Win Second Term
      Many in the mainstream media are telling us that the “good economy” favors Trump in 2020, and the Democrats are mostly mum on the subject, with Nancy Pelosi and the neoliberals hoping an anti-Trump campaign will win the day in the next election.

      But simply running against Trump won’t work. Democrats have to refute the myth of a “good economy,” then talk about what they’re for, what their values are, and what they are going to do for the American people. Sadly, the party’s leadership seems loathe to advocate progressive values, and incapable of explaining why the economy isn’t so great.

      The reason an anti-Trump campaign won’t work is because the 2020 election will be determined by turnout. Anything less than 60 percent risks a Trump victory; and failing to embrace the progressive values embraced by the majority of Americans will likely keep turnout below that.

    • Trump’s Troubling Rebuke of Congressional Oversight
      As Congress’ investigations into the Trump administration heat up, the White House has responded by refusing to comply with many of the subpoenas and oversight requests from the House Democratic majority. Citing House Democratic sources, Politico reports that the Trump administration has at least 30 times refused or delayed the release of information requested House committees and half a dozen officials have refused to appear before House panels. Notably, the Trump administration has ignored a deadline for releasing President Donald Trump’s tax returns and attempted to block subpoenas for current and former officials to appear before Congress, including former White House counsel Don McGahn, former White House personnel security director Carl Kline, and senior policy adviser to the president Stephen Miller.

      Victoria Bassetti, fellow at the Brennan Center who worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee for eight years, spoke with staff writer Tim Lau to discuss the context behind the House’s investigations, how they differ from the Mueller inquiry, and what must be done to strengthen constitutional norms related to congressional oversight.

    • Interning for a Centrist Democrat Pushed Me to Democratic Socialism
      In March 2017, a legislative assistant for Congressman Don Beyer (D-Virginia) summoned me and the other interns for a talk. “Can you all meet me in the boss’s office in five minutes?” she asked. After completing the mundane work we had been doing, answering constituent inquiries and concerns by phone mostly, we meandered to the sophomore Democrat’s office. It was during this formative meeting, two months into an unpaid internship, that the glaring contradictions between the policy aspirations of Democratic voters and the status quo hard lines pushed by party leadership became clear to me.

      After the legislative assistant sat us down, she began to brief us on how Rep. Beyer had been receiving an uptick in the number of calls and correspondence in support of H.R. 676, or Medicare For All. She began to explain why the Congressman wasn’t a cosponsor for the single-payer proposal and suggested talking points we should regurgitate if a constituent asked for rationale: For one, the bill would, she said, repeal and replace Obamacare with what she described as an impractical and expensive policy. Secondly, the Congressman supported single-payer, she said, just not H.R. 676, because of “problems with the bill,” a phrase that was never expanded upon.

      H.R 676 had no chance of passage in the Republican-controlled 115th Congress, anyway, especially with Donald Trump in the White House. But if the Congressman did support turning single-payer from pipe dream to reality, he should have backed the legislation without qualifications to advance the debate.

      Something didn’t add up. I suspected that the bill’s “problems” were actually centered around the fact that “health professionals” have given Beyer more than $100,000 throughout his career. As the legislative assistant began to rationalize the Congressman’s positions, I held my tongue, thinking back on how some of her language reminded me of my conservative Virginia college, and its partial Koch Industry funding. Even with an undergraduate education from a conservative university, I saw the proven effectiveness of single-payer and wasn’t dissuaded by her rhetoric. Still, I “put personal politics aside,” as most rank-and-file Congressional aides are told to do, and simply stewed as my higher-up gave lackluster justifications for Beyer not supporting 676.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Instagram Can Find Misleading Posts—but Won’t Take Them Down

      Instagram has begun using image recognition and other tools to identify posts and stories that may contain misinformation and send them to Facebook’s fleet of fact-checking partners for review. If they’re determined to be false, Instagram will not recommend the posts to new users in the Explore tab or hashtag pages, as first reported by Poynter.

      But the Facebook-owned image-sharing network won’t remove the misleading posts; nor will it demote them in users’ main feeds, leaving millions of people vulnerable to misinformation.

    • Russian Education Ministry to develop instructions for teachers on using social media following firing threats
      Andrey Yemelyanov, the press secretary to Russia’s Minister of Education, announced that the ministry intends to develop a set of recommendations on Internet behavior for the country’s teachers, Interfax reported. Yemelyanov said the instructions would be ready for the start of the coming academic year and that they would be sent to all of Russia’s regions. He added that similar practices are widespread internationally.

    • It's One Thing For Trolls And Grandstanding Politicians To Get CDA 230 Wrong, But The Press Shouldn't Help Them
      There's an unfortunate belief among some internet trolls and grandstanding politicians that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act requires platforms to be "neutral" and that any attempt to moderate content or to have any form of bias in a platform's moderation focus somehow removes 230 protections. Unfortunately, it appears that many in the press are incorrectly buying into this flat out incorrect analysis of CDA 230.
    • Coin Center’s Report Explores Privacy Coins, Decentralized Exchanges, and the First Amendment
      Coin Center’s Peter Van Valkenburgh published a report exploring the potential Constitutional concerns should aggressive regulators attempt to crack down on the coders developing ideas for cryptocurrencies and decentralized exchanges.

      For long-time readers of the EFF blog, some of these ideas will seem familiar. EFF has been asserting that publishing code for cryptocurrency is a form of protected speech since 2014, when we argued to the New York State Department of Financial Services that “government action triggers First Amendment protections when it regulates computer programs such as digital currency protocols—a fact that is especially true given the open source nature of these programs, which allows users to view, share, and develop ideas based upon the code itself.” We also sent a stern letter to the SEC in February over their action against a decentralized exchange, reminding them that writing and publishing code is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and that the courts don’t take kindly to government agencies requiring people to obtain licenses before exercising their free speech rights.

    • FBI And Half The World Bust Operators Of A Site That Made The Dark Web Searchable
      That may have been who effected the arrests, as cops say. But the United States had its hand in this action. Deep Dot Web's landing page has been defaced by the FBI and its multitude of task force logos, indicating the investigative agency now controls the site.

      The wording on the FBI's new landing page says something about money laundering, but that seems to a stretch. As Whittaker describes it, the site made money with referral links, connecting users with other sites. What it didn't do was offer any illegal items itself, even if it made it possible for users to find and purchase those items on their own.

      Of course, if the site was taking a cut of the profits from illegal sales, that's a completely different thing. A percentage of contraband is just contraband. It doesn't seem to add up to money laundering, though, but that's what's alleged in the FBI's site seizure notice.

    • Feds take down dark web index and news site Deep Dot Web

      Deep Dot Web provided links to dark web marketplaces, as well as news on the subject, activity that, by itself, doesn’t violate US law. The takedown is only the most recent FBI action related to the dark web. Last week, Europol authorities arrested suspects believed to be the behind Wall Street Market, described as the second-largest dark web marketplace.

      A spokesperson for the Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the takedown.

    • [Older] Feminist journalist sues Twitter for banning her ‘Women aren’t men’ tweet

      According to Murphy, Twitter banned her in November, “presumably for violating Twitter’s new rules on ‘misgendering,’ though no one from the company has ever explained the reason for my ban, as certainly I have never engaged in ‘hateful conduct’ on the platform, which were never made known to users.”

      The first news report on Twitter’s new rules was published just 20 minutes after she was banned, she said, and “Twitter is not going to get away with this hypocritical, dishonest, entirely sketchy and unlawful behavior. We cannot allow multi-billion dollar companies to dictate free speech!”

    • BBC Fires Radio Host Accused of Racism for Comparing Royal Baby to Chimp
      The BBC doesn’t mess around when it comes to the royal baby. One of its leading radio hosts has been fired after he tweeted a picture mocking the royal family. A now-deleted tweet from Danny Baker showed an image of an old-timey couple holding hands with a chimp dressed in clothes with the caption: “Royal Baby leaves hospital.” Critics claimed he was comparing Harry and Meghan’s new mixed-race baby, Archie, to a chimpanzee. Following a backlash, the broadcaster insisted he didn’t mean to be racist, saying it was just “a joke about royals vs circus animals in posh clothes.” He went on: “Sorry my gag pic of the little fella in the posh outfit has whipped some up. Never occurred to me because, well, mind not diseased. Soon as those good enough to point out it’s possible connotations got in touch, down it came. And that’s it.” However, the BBC confirmed Thursday that Baker had been fired from his Saturday morning radio show.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • New Data On London Metro Police Facial Recognition Tech Shows It's Still Wrong 96 Percent Of The Time
      The Metro Police are continuing to use the tech despite its relative uselessness. The Met does claim its deployments over the last couple of years have led to eight arrests, but it needs far more than that to offset the system's apparent desire to see the innocent punished.

      As the Metro Police continues beta testing its tech on the general public, it's continuing to amass a collection of non-criminal faces in its facial recognition database. This has drawn some attention from Parliament members who have called this "unacceptable." There has been some improvement in one area since the last time the Metro Police were queried about its facial recognition tech. It used to hold onto all images for a year. Now, it only holds watchlist images for 30 days and deletes all non-hit images immediately.

      Unfortunately, this spectacular run of failure hasn't moved Parliament to, you know, discourage use of the tech. And it appears those who publicly refuse the privilege of being misidentified as a criminal will have their complaints addressed by being turned into criminals.

    • Shareholders Demand To Know How Northrop Grumman Will Protect Human Rights While Building Massive DHS Database
      Over the next few years, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) plans to implement an enormous biometric collection program which will endanger the rights of citizens and foreigners alike. The agency intends to collect at least seven types of biometric identifiers, including face and voice data, DNA, scars, and tattoos, often from questionable sources, and from innocent people.

      But DHS isn’t building all of the technology: Northrop Grumman, a defense contractor, won the nearly 100 million-dollar, 42-month contract to “develop increments one and two” of the project, named HART (Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology). Now, a group of concerned investors are demanding that the Board of Directors of the company explain how they will protect human rights while building the tech behind the massive, privacy-invasive database.

      It’s unsurprising that shareholders are recognizing the serious harm to civil and human rights the company will be linked to through its work on this project.

    • Consumer Data Privacy Advocates to Senate Committee: Here's How to Protect Consumers
      One of the biggest issues surrounding a potential federal consumer data privacy law is preemption. More specifically, will Congress write “one national standard” that wipes out state legislation like California's Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), Illinois' Biometric Privacy Act, and Vermont's Data Broker Act, or will the federal bill create a minimum standard that still allows states to build additional protections on top of it?

      This is a recurring topic in all the consumer data privacy hearings so far, but unlike previous hearings, all of the witnesses today had "serious concerns with broad federal preemption,” concerns that EFF shares. As Guliani says, “The last thing we want to do is weaken the ability of [state governments] to have a seat at the table to enforce and create new laws.” Steyer agreed, saying that he has “deep skepticism about preemption if there’s going to be a watered-down federal law” compared to the California Consumer Privacy Act. We agree.

    • GDPR Penalties Prove Why Compliance Isn't Enough—And Why Companies Need Clarity
      The legal uncertainty created by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is becoming so common, it’s starting to go unnoticed. In yet another recent example, Poland’s data protection authority (DPA), UODO (“UrzÄ…d Ochrony Danych Osobowych” in Polish), fined a European company over €220,000 for failing to comply with a GDPR requirement that companies provide individuals with privacy notices. While it hasn’t drawn considerable attention, this case could have considerable implications for many other European companies. The sanction cuts through expectations that data protection authorities (DPAs) will play a constructive role of both regulators and advisors under the GDPR, and it illustrates that the need to clarify the European privacy law is ever more urgent.

      Bisnode, a European digital marketing company that specializes in data analytics, had collected and processed personal data from publicly available registers on six million individuals to provide creditworthiness scores to banks. The company used its access to the email addresses of about 679,000 users to inform them of the processing of their personal data—to which, out of a sample of 90,000 users, only 10 percent objected. But the operational costs of sending letters to the remaining 5.7 million users whose emails were unavailable would amount to €8 million of postal charges, an estimate which did not even include the related administrative costs. As a result, the company decided to publish a general statement on its website to alert the remaining data subjects. However, the Polish DPA decided that Bisnode did not go far enough in upholding its obligations under the GDPR.

    • Detroit Police Spent More Than Half Million Dollars On Cell-Site Simulator To Track People’s Locations
      Detroit police purchased surveillance technology that allows police to actively track people’s locations through their cell phones, according to documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

      In October 2017, the Detroit Police Department (DPD) obtained a cell-site simulator, which is a type of surveillance technology that locates and tracks phones by mimicking cell phone towers. Also known as IMSI catchers and Stingrays (a specific model of cell-site simulator made by Harris Corporation), cell-site simulators are increasingly used by law enforcement to locate suspects in investigations across the country.

      The technology was purchased for $622,000 from KeyW Corporation in 2016, but DPD did not take possession of the equipment until the fall of 2017.

      DPD’s cell-site simulator was deployed at least 66 times between January 1, 2018, and October 31, 2018.

      Cell-site simulators allow police to collect the cellphone location information of anyone in the vicinity of the device. This is not limited to the targets of police investigations and includes passersby suspected of no wrongdoing.

    • Google Atones For Overlooking Privacy For Years. It Still Needs To Do More.
      We’ve seen Google becoming more and more conscious about how it collects and stores data from users in the past few years. One can only be too cautious after facing a record fine of $57 billion and leaking data of 52.5 million users via Google+.

    • Human Rights Watch Reverse-Engineers Mass Surveillance App used by Police in Xinjiang
      For years, Xinjiang has been a testbed for the Chinese government’s novel digital and physical surveillance tactics, as well as human rights abuses. But there is still a lot that the international human rights community doesn’t know, especially when it comes to post-2016 Xinjiang.

      Last Wednesday, Human Rights Watch released a report detailing the inner workings of a mass surveillance app used by police and other officials. The application is used by officials to communicate with the larger Integrated Joint Operations Platform (IJOP), the umbrella system for collecting mass surveillance data in Xinjiang.

    • San Francisco: Stop Secret Spy Tech, and Face Surveillance
      Government use of many surveillance technologies, and especially face surveillance, can invade privacy and chill free speech. It also disproportionately harms already marginalized communities: it increases the likelihood that they will be entangled with police, ICE, and other agencies with a history of abuse, bias, and unlawful violence.

      San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors will soon have an opportunity to join several Bay Area communities—and cities across the country—in requiring Board control of whether city departments may acquire new surveillance technologies. Most importantly, the proposal would ensure robust community input, and the opportunity to advocate against new spy tech before its adoption.

    • Facebook contractors are perusing private posts to feed data hungry AI

      But the issue here is that it would appear that the Facebook contractors got access to both the public and private posts of Facebook and Instagram users, which could be seen as a breach of privacy.

      And the use of personal information to train smart systems to better serve up adverts and other money-making services could leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many.

    • [Older] China’s Big Brother Social Control Goes to Australia

      Australia is preparing to debut its version of the Chinese regime’s high-tech system for monitoring and controlling its citizens. The launch, to take place in the northern city of Darwin, will include systems to monitor people’s activity via their cell phones.

      The new system is based on monitoring programs in Shenzhen, China, where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is testing its Social Credit System. Officials on the Darwin council traveled to Shenzhen, according to NT News, to “have a chance to see exactly how their Smart Technology works prior to being fully rolled out.”

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Amazon fired these 7 pregnant workers. Then came the lawsuits

      CNET reviewed seven lawsuits against Amazon filed by pregnant warehouse workers who were fired over the last eight years and who've alleged that the company failed to accommodate their needs. The requests included longer bathroom breaks and fewer continuous hours on their feet, according to the lawsuits, but in all of the cases the expectant mothers were fired after telling their managers they were pregnant. Six of the cases were settled out of court.

      These cases fuel the perception that Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos have created grueling conditions at their US fulfillment centers in the rush to build the online marketplace for everything. [...]

    • EFF to Tenth Circuit: First Amendment Protects Right to Record Police
      The First Amendment protects the public’s right to use electronic devices to record on-duty police officers, EFF argued in an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. The case, Frasier v. Evans, was brought by Levi Frasier against five Denver police officers for interfering with his First Amendment right to record them while arresting another man.

      EFF’s amicus brief argues that people frequently use modern electronic devices to record and share photos and videos, especially on social media. These often include newsworthy recordings of fatal police shootings and other police misconduct. Such recordings facilitate police accountability and enhance the public discussion about police use of force and racial disparities in our criminal justice system.

      The facts of this case demonstrate why protecting the right to record police officers is essential to local journalism and civilian oversight of police activity. Frasier recorded Denver police officers punching a suspect in the face to get drugs out of his mouth as his head repeatedly bounced off the pavement, and tripping his pregnant girlfriend. The police officers retaliated against Frasier by seizing his tablet without a warrant and apparently deleting the video. Frasier was able to retrieve the video by syncing his tablet with his backup cloud storage.

    • Remembering the Woman Who Renovated the House that RBG Built
      Lenora Lapidus led the ACLU's Women's Right Project for nearly two decades. She died on Sunday, May 5.

      On the 50th anniversary of Selma’s Bloody Sunday, one of the darkest stains in our nation’s civil rights history, President Obama spoke with hope and confidence about Americans who were “unencumbered by what is, because you're ready to seize what ought to be.” Lenora Lapidus lived her life by this principle.

      Public servants come in many forms. They’re elected officials, politicians, activists, lawyers, organizers, students, ordinary citizens, and steadfast patriots. Our beloved Lenora represented the very best of us, as a stalwart champion of gender equality and incomparable litigator for the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project.

      It’s painful to write this. It’s painful to memorialize and grapple with the reality of losing someone who not only established a global legacy for herself as a civil rights leader, but showed to be a compassionate, caring, kind, selfless, and inspiring friend. Our heart breaks for her family.

      Lenora was a pillar of the ACLU. She began here as an intern in 1988, served as legal director of the ACLU of New Jersey, and led the Women’s Rights Project since 2001. She furthered equality in employment and education, held institutions accountable for perpetuating sexual violence and gender discrimination, and defended the most marginalized among us.

    • Bail Reform Should Include Efforts to End Pretrial Incarceration
      Bail reform is a struggle at the very center of criminal legal reform, but recent proposals to reform bail have failed to effectively address the pervasive problems wrapped up in pretrial detention. Bail reform measures generally seek to reduce the number of people held on pretrial incarceration, and to dismantle the $2 billion-annual-for-profit bond industry that the cash bail system is built on. Some proposals are well-meaning but don’t go far enough. While eliminating cash bail, as some have attempted, would address the second concern, it does not sufficiently curb the practice of routinely locking up people who have not yet been convicted of any crime for months or even years. Real bail reform would address the problem of having 458,600 unconvicted people languishing in local jails.

      Discretionary choices to reduce bail do not go far enough. For example, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner directed his office to stop seeking bail for a list of 25 low-level crimes. The problem is that this still leaves the ultimate decision of whether to grant bail to judges who may hesitate to release individuals for fear that they might break the law while out on bail. Moreover, Krasner’s decision is nonbinding, limited in scope and is not a permanent solution. When Philadelphia elects a new district attorney, the policy could revert entirely.

      Likewise, the Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act, which was introduced to Congress by Senators Rand Paul and Kamala Harris, does not go far enough. The bill would set aside $10 million in federal grant money to incentivize states to replace bail systems that use payment of money as a condition of pretrial release in criminal cases, and it would implement a program to collect data on how people are processed. The bill is overly modest because a $10 million carrot used to incentivize states to eliminate cash bail does not address the need to dramatically reduce pretrial incarceration. For example, California’s SB 10 proposal would potentially qualify for some of this grant money, but its focus is on eliminating cash bond rather than on reducing pretrial incarceration. Moreover, SB 10 faced opposition from both the ACLU and Human Rights Watch for relying on risk algorithms that depend on racialized factors. For instance, Black people were 77 percent more likely to be categorized as more likely to commit a future violent crime by one risk assessment algorithm. Even algorithms that are race-neutral on their face often contain racial bias by considering factors like a prior arrest, even without a conviction, which Black people are significantly more likely to have for certain crimes due to the over-policing of communities of color.

    • Pussy Riot member arrested in Moscow with little explanation for the second time in one month
      Moscow police have arrested Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina. According to Pyotr Verzilov, a journalist and fellow member of the group, police officers arrived at the home of the activist’s friends, where Nikulshina was also located at the time.

      The officers explained that Nikulshina was needed for questioning because “a group of young people have damaged a piece of government property.” Both Nikulshina and her friends were taken into custody.

    • New Police Misconduct Database Shows Thousands Of Violations, Very Little Accountability
      USA Today has scored a coup. It has partnered with police accountability nonprofit Invisible Institute to obtain misconduct records from around the nation. These paint a pretty bleak picture of American policing -- not just in the number of incidents, but in the number of incidents that go unpunished.

      Public records requests have resulted in thousands of documents detailing at least 200,000 incidents of alleged misconduct, along with more than 100,000 internal investigations. The database is completely searchable and leads readers, reporters, researchers, etc. directly to the underlying documents.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • The Super 'Transparent' Pai FCC Is Still Trying To Hide Details On Those Fake Net Neutrality Comments
      We've long discussed how the Pai FCC's net neutrality repeal was plagued with millions of fraudulent comments, many of which were submitted by a bot pulling names from a hacked database of some kind. Millions of ordinary folks (like myself) had their identities used to support Pai's unpopular plan, as did several Senators. Numerous journalists have submitted FOIA requests for more data (server logs, IP addresses, API data, anything) that might indicate who was behind the fraudulent comments, who may have bankrolled them, and what the Pai FCC knew about it.

      But the Pai FCC has repeatedly tried to tap dance around FOIA requests, leading to several journalists (including those at the New York Times and Buzzfeed) suing the FCC. Despite the Times' lawyers best efforts to work with the FCC to tailor the nature of their requests over a period of months, the agency continues to hide behind FOIA exemptions that don't really apply here: namely FOIA exemption 6 (related to protecting privacy) and 7E (related to protecting agency security and law enforcement activity).

    • Kentucky’s $1.5 Billion Information Highway to Nowhere
      The internet arrived in some parts of eastern Kentucky’s Jackson and Owsley counties on the back of a mule named Old Bub.

      Nine years ago, Old Bub trudged between the rugged counties’ most remote utility poles, hauling the high-capacity fiber-optic cable intended to help bring Appalachian residents into the information age.

      Today, Old Bub symbolizes something else — a poor state plodding along the information highway. Despite spending hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars, Kentucky still lags behind other states in providing high-speed internet access to its residents.

    • US Bandwidth Consumption Surges As Usage Caps Pose A Looming Threat
      It should be noted that Charter is one of the only major broadband providers that doesn't impose usage caps and overage fees. Why? It was banned from doing so for six years as a condition of its 2016 merger with Time Warner (read: in four years it probably will). Many DSL providers (AT&T, Centurylink) impose caps as low as 150 GB per month, with overage fees as high as $10 per each additional 50 gigabytes consumed. Elsewhere, I've seen caps as low as 50 GB per month.

      Initially, ISPs tried to claim these limits were necessary to manage congestion. After that claim was repeatedly debunked, you'll find most don't even try to justify the move. But again, the fact that these caps are completely technically unnecessary just kind of falls by the wayside as the practice has expanded.

      A home full of heavy gamers and streamers can already eat through these limits in pretty short order. A recent study by OpenVault found that Internet customers are using an average of 268.7GB per month. Those numbers are about to change dramatically with the launch of game streaming services like Google Stadia, which eliminate your local game console and shift all computing power to the cloud. Such services will need at least 25 Mbps to stream games at 60 FPS, and are certain to drive users toward costly restrictions and overages.

      Of course this was all by design. Usage caps aren't just glorified price hikes, they're increasingly used by incumbent ISPs to harm competitors. In a functioning market, these behaviors would be restricted by either healthy competition (users would just switch to an uncapped ISP) or regulators (who'd clearly note such limits are misleading, unnecessary, and often anti-competitive). But since most broadband consumers have few if any real broadband options and regulatory capture is so totally hot right now, its a problem that remains stuck in neutral for the foreseeable future.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • 102(f), Where have you Gone?
      Obviousness is a tough issue to appeal because its flexible fact-heavy analysis lends itself to giving deference to the fact-finder. This is a case-in-point.

      Endo is the exclusive licensee of Mallinckrodt’s U.S. Patent 8,871,779 covering a form of the opioid oxymorphone. Claim 1 is directed to a highly pure form of “oxymorphone” with “less than 0.001% of 14-hydroxymorphinone.”

      Actavis argued that the claims were invalid as obvious. However, following a bench trial the Delaware district court sided with the patentee — holding that the claims had not been proven invalid with clear and convincing evidence.

      The district court did make a major legal mistake — holding that confidential communications between the FDA and oxymorphone producers (including the patentee) were not prior art. In the communications, the FDA “mandated that opioid manufacturers reduce ABUK impurities in oxycodone and oxymorphone to below 0.001%” — the exact result claimed by Mallinckrodt. On appeal, the Federal Circuit found the communications prior art under pre-AIA €§ 102(f) (“A person shall be entitled to a patent unless (f) he did not himself invent the subject matter sought to be patented.”). Note that 102(f) was eliminated by the AIA and so this type of confidential communication will likely not be counted as prior art in future cases.

      On appeal, the Federal Circuit held that the FDA communication – despite being prior art – did not show that the claims were obvious. Although the communications expressly set out the low-impurity goal and was the motivational force for the research, it did not set out the solution created by the patentee.

    • Thermolife Int'l LLC v. GNC Corp. (Fed. Cir. 2019)
      Next the Court held that the District Court's consideration of the inadequacy of plaintiffs' pre-filing investigation also occasioned no abuse of discretion, particularly the lower court's restriction to considering only claim 1 of the '459 patent. Nor was there error in the District Court finding that infringement required administering L-arginine (or its hydrochloride salt) at dosages of 1 gram. This determination the opinion bases on "science," not claim interpretation, finding support in trial testimony regarding the amount of L-arginine (or its hydrochloride salt) required to have the claimed effect. And thus the failure of the accused infringing articles to provide this dosage constituted a failure to perform an adequate pre-filing investigation when plaintiffs accused the non-infringing articles (and their use) of infringement. This conclusion was supported both by the concentration and dosage amounts recited on the labels of the accused infringing articles and the failure of plaintiffs to perform any of the publicly known analytical techniques that would have shown that the 1 gram dosage was not administered according to defendants' formulations and instructions (including the absence of arginine in any form in one of the accused products).

      With regard to the District Court's findings regarding litigation (mis)conduct, the opinion asserts that standing alone these would not be sufficient per se to support the award of attorneys' fees, particularly with regard to the number of suits and defendants and the (generally small) size of the awards. But these activities were considered in the context of the rest of the evidence considered by the District Court, and in toto the award of attorneys' fees was not an abuse of discretion.

      Finding no abuse of discretion by the District Court, the Federal Circuit affirmed.

    • Trademarks

      • Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. Keeps Telling Licensees Its Trademarks Are Valid While Courts Keep Insisting They Are Not
        As many of you will be aware, there is a small town in South Dakota, Sturgis, that turns into the place to be if you're into motorcycle rallies. Many of you may not be aware, however, that this rally and town have become the center of a years-running trademark dispute. Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Inc. (SMRI), which helps put on the rally, moved to trademark the name of the town and the rally, and then began bullying local Sturgis businesses for daring to use the town's name or the name of the event. This was done, according to SMRI, for the purpose of protecting the event and town, which makes little to no sense. In the end, the two trademarks in question were one that was a geographical name and one that was almost purely descriptive of a social event.

    • Copyrights

      • 17 Free Movie Download Sites For 2019 [Comparison Of Legal Sources]
        We are here with a list of some free movie download websites where you can get some quality entertainment without paying any money. This list includes the likes of The Internet Archive, Pluto TV, Public Domain Torrents, Retrovision etc. So, let’s talk about them in detail and discuss their strengths

        We love movies and we love them even more if they are for free. Right? If you open your web browser and type free movie download websites, you’ll be presented with a long list of illegal websites promising to grab your favorite blockbuster in a matter of seconds.

      • YouTube Copyright Filters Suck: The 'Beat Saber' And 'Jimmy Fallon' Edition
        At this point, it's plainly obvious that YouTube's ContentID platform for doing automated takedowns of videos that supposedly infringe on copyrights is a full on mess. That mess is multi-pronged. The filters themselves suck at identifying actual infringement, and throw up all kinds of false positives. The filters are also so broadly applied that building any nuance into what is blocked and what isn't is basically impossible. Finally, the whole system is so wide open for abuse that it's laughable.

        The latest iteration of this concerns Beat Saber, a virtual reality rhythm game where you essentially wield two lightsabers to match the beats and rhythms that go along with the music. The game has become so wildly popular that it was recently featured on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. That's where things went sideways.

      • Judge: IP-Address Doesn’t Locate or Identify a BitTorrent Pirate
      • Meet CC: The 2019 Creative Commons Global Summit Scholarships
        Every year, Creative Commons invites community members from around the world to join us at our Global Summit. It is crucial that we come together as a community, celebrate each other, light up the commons, and collaborate. In order to reach the largest number of community members possible, we invest a significant amount of resources into our scholarship program, which this year supports 150 participants, or 38% of all Summit attendees. Summit scholarship recipients come from 59 countries and represent every world region. CC has invested more money and supported an increasing number of participants over the past few years, providing an average gift of over $600 to give $90,700 in total in 2019.

        This year, we’re welcoming representatives from organizations including: Derechos Digitales, Global Voices, Kenya Copyright Board, Jordan Open Source Association, Aga Khan University, Jamlab, Visualizing Palestine, Communia, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, ANSOL – Portuguese Association for Free Software, Karisma Foundation, SPARC Africa, and Open Culture Foundation. These professionals are experts in their fields and leaders in their communities. While the majority of our scholarship recipients come from Europe (39%), we have a relatively even spread of world regions represented, with 66% joining us from the Global South.

        Below, hear from eleven scholarship recipients about their experience and background, their sessions, and what they are most looking forward to at the CC Global Summit.
      • NBA and UFC Urge U.S. Lawmakers to Criminalize Streaming Piracy

        Two major players in the US sports industries, the NBA and the UFC, have informed lawmakers that illicit online streaming hurts their business. Both urge Congress to criminalize streaming piracy, which is currently only punishable as a misdemeanor. The organizations stressed that casual users should be left alone, although a Game of Thrones-loving Senator feels that some penalties for users are warranted.

      • MPAA “Dramatically Expanding” ACE Global Anti-Piracy Coalition

        The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, the huge anti-piracy coalition that already boasts 33 of the world's largest entertainment companies as members, is about to get bigger. According to MPAA chief Charles Rivkin, the global initiative is about to get a "dramatic" expansion, which is likely to place further pressure on pirates worldwide.

      • Cox Will Share Names of ‘Pirating’ Business Subscribers With Record Labels

        As part of an ongoing lawsuit against several record labels, Internet provider Cox Communications has agreed to share the names and addresses of business subscribers who've been accused of sharing pirated material. The disclosure is cemented in a stipulated court order. What the labels plan to do with the information is currently unknown.

      • Ukraine Cyberpolice Raid Pirate Sites, Detain Government Employee

        As Ukraine continues its crackdown on pirate sites, the government has netted itself a surprise suspect. After shuttering four illegal streaming platforms, authorities detained two men - one of whom works for the State Fiscal Service, a high-level government department handling taxes and customs while tackling fraud.

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