03.30.21

Links 30/3/2021: FreeBSD 13.0 RC4, Kodachi 8.3

Posted in News Roundup at 12:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Linux Release Roundup #21.13: GNOME 40, Manjaro 21.0, Fedora 34 and More New Releases

      GNOME 40 is finally here after months of testing and fixing, it has been equipped with a lot of major improvements such as, a revamped Activities Overview screen, improved Workspaces, a Horizontal Dock and more.

    • Server

      • Best Economy Linux Hosting with cPanel

        If you take the time to build a website, chances are you will want the world to see it. That’s where web hosting comes in.

        Web hosting makes it possible for everyone on the internet to see your website. Web hosting is the space you buy on a web server that stores your website files.

        Most web hosting companies operate using the Linux OS. Linux web hosting supports everything you need or want in your website, from WordPress blogs to online stores and more. You don’t need to know too much about Linux to use Linux hosting. Linux hosting gives users access to cPanel, a very popular control panel that helps you manage your websites in any browser.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Late Night Linux – Episode 118

        Stallman is back and ruffling feathers, PHP moves to GitHub, AMP might be on its way out, Audacity’s latest update gives us pause, Fairphone delivers an unlikely update, online events, and more.

      • Destination Linux #219: All About Those Betas: Fedora 34, PinePhone, Ubuntu Testing Week Interview

        This week’s episode of Destination Linux is all about those Betas! We have Yousuf Philips of Xubuntu joining us to discuss Ubuntu Testing Week. We’re also going to be discussing the Beta release of Fedora Linux 34, with an inside scoop of the i3 Spin for Fedora. The new Pinephone Beta edition is ready for pre-orders. Plus we’ve also got our famous tips, tricks and software picks. All of this and so much more this week on Destination Linux. So whether you’re brand new to Linux and open source or a guru of sudo. This is the podcast for you.

    • Kernel Space

      • OpenZFS 2.1-rc1 Released With Distributed Spare RAID “dRAID” – Phoronix

        The first release candidate of the forthcoming OpenZFS 2.1 file-system for Linux and FreeBSD systems is now available for testing.

        Compared to the OpenZFS 2.0 release at the end of November, OpenZFS 2.1 is a much smaller feature release but still with a few significant changes.

        First up, OpenZFS 2.1 is bringing a new feature called Distributed Spare RAID (dRAID). OpenZFS’ Distributed Spare RAID is described as a “pool configuration [that] allows all dRAID vdevs to participate when rebuilding to a distributed hot spare device. This can substantially reduce the total time required to restore full parity to pool with a failed device.” In tests by the developers they found dRAID needed 25% less time to resilver compared to a traditional hot spare. OpenZFS 2.1 will allow a dRAID pool to be created using the new “draid” top-level type. This Distributed Spare RAID feature has been in the works for more than one year.

      • Linus Torvalds on Intel And AMDs New Approaches To Interrupt And Exception Handling – And Microkernels

        AMD and Intel are both working on new standards for handling interrupts and exceptions on x86-64 processors. AMD is proposing a set of new “Supervisor Entry” extensions as a band-aid to the current interrupt descriptor table event handling system. Intel wants to throw that whole legacy system away and start over with a fundamentally different “Flexible Return and Event Delivery” (FRED) system. Linux-architect Linus Torvalds weighted in on the merits of both approaches a few weeks ago.

        [...]

        AMD proposes several new processor instructions that would replace the old SYSCALL and SYSRET instructions with new “Enhanced SYSCALL” (ESC) instruction and new “Enhanced SYSRET” behavior when SYSRET is called following a “Enhanced SYSCALL”. The “Template:AMD 57115.pdf” document is just 18 pages long, 13 if you discount the “License Agreement” drivel and the front cover on the first five pages. It has some psudo-code illustrating how their new enhanced SYSCALL would work.

      • Patched Linux bugs nix Spectre mitigations

        Two Linux bugs patched this month could allow hackers to sidestep mitigations for the infamous Spectre vulnerability.

        “If left unpatched, the vulnerabilities mean that existing Spectre protections will not be sufficient to prevent some exploitation techniques,” wrote Symantec in a blog post.

        Spectre is a flaw in speculative execution in Intel, ARM and AMD processors that first came to light in 2018. The vulnerability could ultimately reveal the contents of memory.

      • Graphics Stack

        • NVIDIA Now Allows GeForce GPU Pass-Through For Windows VMs On Linux – Phoronix

          Along with today’s NVIDIA 465 series Linux beta an exciting shift at the company is they are now supporting accelerated GPU access by VMs with their GeForce consumer GPUs.

          Moving forward NVIDIA is now supporting GeForce GPU passthrough for Windows virtual machines running from a Linux host.

          This is a big win for those wanting to run Windows games from within a virtual machine while maintaining your Linux host/desktop and are using a GeForce graphics card. NVIDIA previously did not support this GPU passthrough for their GeForce graphics cards but that is now being supported.

        • NVIDIA 465.19.01 Linux Beta Driver Released – Phoronix

          While looking forward to the NVIDIA 470 series Linux driver for Wayland support improvements, before getting there NVIDIA is first introducing the 465 driver series. Today marks the first publicly available NVIDIA 465 Linux driver beta.

        • NVIDIA releases the 465.19.01 Beta driver for Linux, looks like more Wayland work coming

          Get ready to do some more testing NVIDIA users, as a fresh Beta just went up for their mainline Linux drivers with 465.19.01 now available. This is a Beta for a future stable release, so unlike the separate Vulkan Beta branch, this is actually targeting normal desktop users.

          What does this bring? A slightly refreshed nvidia-settings application, one that is “more consistent about displaying layout controls which are only applicable for some displays or GPUs connected to the system”.

          [...]

          In other NVIDIA news for Linux, their developer James Jones sent in a work-in-progress merge request to the Mesa git to enable the loading of alternative GBM backends. Looks like this is even more work coming in towards their improved Wayland and XWayland support for a future driver.

        • The Most Exciting Open-Source Graphics Driver News From Q1’2021

          Mesa this quarter saw the release of Mesa 21.0 with many OpenGL and Vulkan improvements, a lot of work continues building up around the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan implementation, Lavapipe continued advancing for software-based Vulkan, Intel and AMD continued with their stellar open-source hardware support, and performance optimizations in Mesa and lower down the stack are seemingly never-ending.

        • Linux 5.11.11
          I'm announcing the release of the 5.11.11 kernel.
          
          All users of the 5.11 kernel series must upgrade.
          
          The updated 5.11.y git tree can be found at:
          	git://git.kernel.org/pub/scm/linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-stable.git linux-5.11.y
          and can be browsed at the normal kernel.org git web browser:
          
          https://git.kernel.org/?p=linux/kernel/git/stable/linux-s...
          
          thanks,
          
          greg k-h
          
        • Linux 5.10.27
        • Linux 5.4.109
        • Linux 4.19.184
        • Linux 4.14.228
        • Linux 4.9.264
        • Linux 4.4.264
    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Core i5 11600K + Core i9 11900K Linux Performance Across ~400 Benchmarks

        Today’s the day that we can finally talk about the performance of Intel’s “Rocket Lake” processors under Linux. The past several weeks we have been extensively testing the Core i5 11600K and Core i9 11900K processors under Linux. Here is a look at the very exciting Gen12 Xe Graphics performance out of these new desktop CPUs, the Linux gaming performance, and then over 300 other benchmarks looking at the CPU/system performance of the i5-11600K / i9-11900K processors against the prior generation Comet Lake parts and the AMD Ryzen 5000 series competition.

    • Applications

      • 5 Best Free and Open Source Encrypted FUSE-Based File Systems

        The importance of security should never be underestimated. The consequences of losing data can be disastrous for any organization. For example, the loss of a single unencrypted laptop may have huge repercussions. This could include breaching data protection legislation with the risk of a significant fine, a loss in the confidence of an organization, as well as the risk that sensitive data may fall into the hands of a competitor or third party with malicious intent.

        Disk encryption is one method to help minimize the risks by preventing unauthorized access to data storage, to ensure safe information exchanges, safeguard against data leakage, and manage compliance. This form of security is useful for any computer that holds personal information, not only laptops. Disk encryption uses disk encryption software to encrypt the entire hard disk. The onus is therefore not on the user to determine what data should be encrypted, or to remember to manually encrypt files. By encrypting the entire disk, temporary files, which may reveal important confidential data, are also protected. Security is enhanced further when disk encryption is combined with filesystem-level encryption.

        Filesystem in Userspace (FUSE) is a software interface for Unix and Unix-like computer operating systems that lets non-privileged users create their own file systems without editing kernel code. This is achieved by running file system code in user space while the FUSE module provides only a “bridge” to the actual kernel interfaces.

        Here’s our verdict on the popular encrypted FUSE-based file systems.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How To Install Zip and Unzip on Linux – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Zip and Unzip on a Linux system. For those of you who didn’t know, Zip is a command-line utility tool used for compressing files and folders. Compression of files & folders enables faster and more efficient transfer, storage, and emailing of files and folders. On the other hand, unzip is a utility tool that helps you decompress files and folders. Both zip and unzip package contains programs to create a compressed file in Linux.

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

      • How To Install osTicket on CentOS 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install osTicket on CentOS 8. For those of you who didn’t know, os-Ticket is a widely-used and trusted open source support ticket system. It seamlessly routes inquiries created via email, web-forms, and phone calls into a simple, easy-to-use, multi-user, web-based customer support platform and generally used for Help Desk services. osTicket is a powerful alternative to a commercial ticketing system available in the market.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the osTicket commercial ticketing system on a CentOS 8.

      • How to Install Nextcloud With Docker [Beginner's Guide]

        Nextcloud is the perfect solution for a self-hosted Google Drive or Dropbox alternative.

        I am not going to tell you why you should use Nextcloud. Instead, I am going to show you how to install Nextcloud server with Docker containers.

        The tutorial uses Ngnix reverse proxy set up so that you can deploy your Nextcloud instance with SSL. This way, your Nextcloud deployment URL will be using HTTPS and you’ll be transferring files securely.

        Towards the end of the tutorial, I’ll share some tips for Linode cloud users for reducing the effort on Nextcloud deployment.

      • How to create Ubuntu 21.04 Hirsute Hippo Bootable USb drive

        There are a couple of good tools available to flash USB drives and make them bootable for installing various kinds of operating systems. Such as Rufus, Etcher, Universal USB creator, Ubuntu Startup Disk creator, and more… You can see our full list of best bootable USB creators.

        However, some of them only available for Windows while others are for Linux or macOS. Whereas Balena Etcher is the one that is not only cross-platform, which means it is available for Windows, Linux, and macOS but also offers good performance. It supports ISO and IMG image files. Here, we will use Balena Ethcer to create Ubuntu 21.04 bootable Pen drive.

      • How to try Gnome 40 OS on Ubuntu 20.04 using Virtual Machine
      • GIMP Image Editor 2.10.24 Available to Install in Ubuntu 20.04 & Higher | UbuntuHandbook

        Before the next major GIMP 3.0, a new maintenance update for the 2.10 series GIMP 2.10.24 now is available to install.

        Though it’s not officially announced at the moment of writing, GIMP has provided the 2.10.24 source tarball & Windows exe for downloading in its website.

        And both the Flathub repository and unofficial Ubuntu PPA have updated the packages for the new release.

      • HOWTO backdoor curl | daniel.haxx.se

        I’ve previously blogged about the possible backdoor threat to curl. This post might be a little repeat but also a refresh and renewed take on the subject several years later, in the shadow of the recent PHP backdoor commits of March 28, 2021. Nowadays, “supply chain attacks” is a hot topic.

        Since you didn’t read that PHP link: an unknown project outsider managed to push a commit into the PHP master source code repository with a change (made to look as if done by two project regulars) that obviously inserted a backdoor that could execute custom code when a client tickled a modified server the right way.

      • How to Generate Self-Signed SSL Certificates using OpenSSL

        Ideally, SSL certificates are issued by publicly trusted certificate authorities (e.g. Let’s Encrypt, Comodo, Verisign) to provide authentication and encryption on the internet. However, you could obtain an SSL certificate without going through a third-party certificate authority — this is what is referred to as a self-signed certificate.

        This tutorial describes how to generate a self-signed SSL certificate by using OpenSSL in Linux. OpenSSL is an open-source software library used to implement secure communications on the Internet.

      • How to install and use pandoc in Fedora/CentOS

        Pandoc is a Haskell library for converting from one markup format to another, and a command-line tool that uses this library.If you need to convert files from one markup format into another, pandoc is your swiss-army knife

        In this article, we will show you how to install and use pandoc in Fedora/Centos.

      • How To Install RavenDB on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install RavenDB on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, RavenDB is a NoSQL database manager written in C#. With a RavenDB database, you can set up a NoSQL data architecture or add a NoSQL layer to your current relational database. RavenDB supports multiple databases, sharding, or partitioning the data across multiple servers. It has the ability to handle hundreds or thousands of databases on the same instance. RavenDB uses JSON to store documents and does not requires a schema to be declared and enables developers to work with data more naturally.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the RavenDB on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • APT Command in Linux – A Definitive Guide

        APT also know as the “Advanced Package Tool” is a package management tool for Debian-based distributions including, Ubuntu, Debian and Linux Mint. It is used for installing, removing, updating and managing packages on Debian-based operating systems. The APT command is introduced in a newer version of Ubuntu 18.04/20.04, Debian 10 and Linux Mint 20. It replaces the older utility called apt-get. However, apt-get utility is also compatible with a newer version of Ubuntu and Debian.

      • Creating a backup of data stored in a Linux virtual machine

        In this article, I cover what I’ve learned about backing up data stored in a Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) virtual machine (VM). During my first year of working with Linux, I had the idea of backing up data on a Linux VM deployed in the cloud.

        Backing up data is a major business issue. With an increasing number of cyber threats, user errors, and system failures, your data is not safe. Backing up data prevents the loss of important files and folders when there is a security breach, accidental deletion, or in the event of a system failure. Individuals and small-to-medium-sized businesses can backup data to external hard discs, or to backup servers, but for large enterprises where the amount of data is huge (Petabyte scale), data backup is complex and is often done, at least partially, on some form of cloud architecture.

      • Exploring the differences between sudo and su commands in Linux | Enable Sysadmin

        If you’re confused about what su and sudo commands do for you, this brief guide will help you sort them out.

      • Internet routing can now vary based on things you wouldn’t expect

        For myself, my lesson learned from this is that if I’m trying to check out the network path to some outside place, I should use ‘traceroute -T -p 443′ (or the applicable port, but HTTPS is the most likely). Once HTTP/3 becomes common, I’ll potentially also want to check with UDP port 443 (although that gets complicated fast). Plain ping and traceroute are not as trustworthy as they used to be any more.

      • Create a bootable USB drive from a Linux ISO image – PragmaticLinux

        So you want to install Linux on your PC. You eagerly downloaded the ISO image of your Linux distribution of choice. You realize your PC did not come with a CD or DVD drive anymore. No problem, because you found out that your PC can also boot directly from a USB drive. But how do you create a bootable USB drive from the downloaded Linux ISO image? Grab your USB drive, a beverage of choice and read on, as that is exactly the question I’ll answer in this article.

      • Linux: replace text string in file [Guide]

        Editing text files on Linux by hand can be tedious. That’s why it’s good to know how to replace text strings in files using the command line quickly. If you’re new to Linux and don’t know how to do it, we can help! Follow along as we show you how to replace a text string in a file on Linux!

      • How to install FNF TankMan Test by SaneBear on a Chromebook

        Today we are looking at how to install FNF TankMan Test by SaneBear, a fan-game, on a Chromebook. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

        If you have any questions, please contact us via a YouTube comment and we would be happy to assist you!

      • How To Install GNS3 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install GNS3 on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. For those of you who didn’t know, GNS3 (Graphical Network Simulator-3) is an open-source, free Network software emulator that is used by thousands of network professionals to emulate, design, build, configure, test, and troubleshoot the virtual and real complex networks.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you through the step-by-step installation of the GNS3 on Ubuntu 20.04 (Focal Fossa). You can follow the same instructions for Ubuntu 18.04, 16.04, and any other Debian-based distribution like Linux Mint.

      • How to use range and sequence expression in bash

        When you are writing a bash script, there are situations where you need to generate a sequence of numbers or strings. One common use of such sequence data is for loop iteration. When you iterate over a range of numbers, the range may be defined in many different ways (e.g., [0, 1, 2,..., 99, 100], [50, 55, 60,..., 75, 80], [10, 9, 8,..., 1, 0], etc). Loop iteration may not be just over a range of numbers. You may need to iterate over a sequence of strings with particular patterns (e.g., incrementing filenames; img001.jpg, img002.jpg, img003.jpg). For this type of loop control, you need to be able to generate a sequence of numbers and/or strings flexibly.

        While you can use a dedicated tool like seq to generate a range of numbers, it is really not necessary to add such external dependency in your bash script when bash itself provides a powerful built-in range function called brace expansion. In this tutorial, let’s find out how to generate a sequence of data in bash using brace exapansion and what are useful brace expansion examples.

      • How to Verify a Server for TLS Support on Linux

        TLS is an acronym for Transport Layer Security. TLS facilitates secure communication between computers on the Internet. As of this writing, TLS 1.3 is the latest version. This tutorial explains how you can check which versions of TLS your server or website supports from a Linux system, as well as the encryption algorithm (Cipher) that is being used.

      • How to Play DVDs on Fedora Linux [Quick Tip] – It’s FOSS

        Why do you see this error? Because the manufacturers of DVDs encrypt their disks using a Digital Rights Management system named Content Scramble System.

        You can get around it by installing the required software library. Videolan, creators of the VLC player, introduced a project named libdvdcss to get around this issue. According to its page, libdvdcss is a “simple library designed for accessing DVDs like a block device without having to bother about the decryption”.

        As an individual, you may use this software library and no company or FBI should be coming after you as an individual but Fedora or other distribution would avoid including it by default to avoid possible legal troubles at an organization level.

        Due to this legal reason, this library is not available in the Fedora repos. However, it is available on RPMFusion. You can only install it via the command line, but the instructions are simple.

    • Games

      • Eggcelerate! is an egg and spoon race with cars and it’s hilarious

        A bit of Easter silliness released today with Eggcelerate!, a pretty hilarious time-trial racer that’s basically an egg and spoon race with a car. Yup, it’s as ridiculous as it sounds but it’s also thoroughly entertaining.

        The developer provided us with a key and it’s been a total joy to play through. Does exactly what you expect it to: allow you to blow off a little steam in a simple but effective setting. Drive around tracks with cars that have some dubious handling and try to keep an egg from cracking on the ground. Very hard not to smile and laugh while playing it. Top marks for all the jokes and puns when you inevitably fail and crack it good on the floor.

      • Open-world single-player 2D space game Starsector has a big story expansion

        Starsector, originally named Starfarer, is an absolutely brilliant top-down 2D open-world space game that’s been going for years and a huge new release is finally out. The gameplay carefully mixes together RPG mechanics, open-world exploration, tactical and exciting space combat with lots of ship and weapon variety and economics.

      • Cyberpunk looter-shooter Danger Scavenger is out now with Linux support

        Danger Scavenger is a flashy run and gun looter-shooter from developer Star Drifters, it just recently left Early Access and with that came full Linux support. Note: key provided by the developer.

        What is it? Danger Scavenger is a thoroughly intense cyberpunk-themed shooter, that puts you up against ruthless enemies controlled by the soulless AI. No dungeon crawling here though, it’s a “skyline crawler” so you get to see the sights of the brutal future.

      • Good Idea: As Video Game Preservation Often Falls To Fan Groups, Release Every Game’s Source Code

        When it comes to the video game industry, there has been some recent recognition that copyright laws and the ways that publishers utilize them have hampered the ability to preserve this sort of art. In the olden days of a decade or so ago, the challenges around preserving video games centered around both the publisher’s unwillingness to allow a group access to source code to preserve a game and the deterioration of physical game media. But in these modern times, this has changed. Now, the challenges are the publisher copyright question… and that same publisher’s ability to simply stop supporting the online resources modern games and platforms require to run. Given the ongoing war on emulators by the likes of Nintendo and a rather insane industry stance that preservation is trumped by copyright concerns, there is a very real risk of losing the ability to preserve video game history at all.

      • Jazz-punk adventure Don’t Forget Me releases on April 20

        Developer The Moon Pirates has confirmed that their point and click adventure Don’t Forget Me releases on April 20 with full Linux support and it looks awesome.

        “Inspired by Her Story and The Red Strings Club, Don’t Forget Me combines classic adventure gameplay with an intricate puzzle system designed to test your observation and deduction skills. Enter the minds of patients, assign keywords to explore their memories, and decipher your knowledge of their history to reveal their secrets.”

      • Looks like Narita Boy from Studio Koba will now not be supported on Linux

        Studio Koba crowdfunded the impressive looking pixel-art action platformer back in 2017, along with a very clear advertisement of Linux support but that’s no longer happening.

        During their Kickstarter campaign that pulled in €160,946, they fully confirmed Linux support and it still has a fancy Linux logo on it even now. Their official website also listed Linux as a platform, as can be seen here but that was updated to remove mentions of Linux just recently.

      • Terraria makes modding even easier with Steam Workshop support

        Need to spice up your Terraria a little? It’s now easier than ever, if you have it on Steam that is, as Steam Workshop support is now hooked up with the latest upgrade. This was planned for some time now but we didn’t exactly know when they would do it, and then just like that on March 29 it was all put live.

        “That’s right – at long last, we are able to provide an easy-to-use system and location for Terrarians everywhere to showcase their creative energies in all new ways. Starting today, everyone will be able to create, upload, share, download, and play a variety of types of game modifications within the vanilla Terraria game. Let’s break down the new toys at your disposal!”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE Plasma 5.18.7 LTS Released with Better Support for Qt 5.12 and Recent Mesa Stacks

          Released last year in February, KDE Plasma 5.18 is the current LTS branch of the popular desktop environment used by numerous GNU/Linux distribution, and it is supported with maintenance updates for about one and a half years after its initial release.

          Some distros prefer to stick to an LTS branch of a major software as it is supposed to offer better stability and reliability. KDE Plasma 5.18.7 LTS is here six months after the previous update, KDE Plasma 5.18.6, and brings a handful of bug fixes.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK 4.2.0

          GTK 4.2.0 is now available for download in the usual places.

          This release is the result of the initial round of feedback from the application developers porting their projects to GTK4, so it mostly consists of bug fixes and improvements to the API—but we also added new features, like a new GL renderer; various improvements in how the toolkit handles Compose and dead key sequences; build system improvements for compiling GTK on Windows and macOS; and a whole new API reference, generated from the same introspection data that language bindings also consume.

          For more information, you can check the previous blog post about the 4.1 development cycle.

        • Cyberbully Molly de Blanc: Helping [Ed: Be nice? You’re attacking people, defaming them, calling for blood and collective punishment over a lie you spread.]

          Above all, just be nice. Be nice. It’s basically the best thing you can do for free software.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • Kodachi 8.3 The Secure OS

          Linux Kodachi operating system is based on Ubuntu 18.04.5 it will provide you with a secure, anti-forensic, and anonymous operating system considering all features that a person who is concerned about privacy would need to have in order to be secure.

          Kodachi is very easy to use all you have to do is boot it up on your PC via USB drive then you should have a fully running operating system with established VPN connection + Connection established + service running. No setup or knowledge is required from your side its all been automated for you. The entire OS is functional from your temporary memory RAM so once you shut it down no trace is left behind all your activities are wiped out.

      • BSD

        • FreeBSD 13.0-RC4 Now Available
          The fourth RC build of the 13.0-RELEASE release cycle is now available.
          
          Installation images are available for:
          
          o 13.0-RC4 amd64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC4 i386 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC4 powerpc GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC4 powerpc64 GENERIC64
          o 13.0-RC4 powerpc64le GENERIC64LE
          o 13.0-RC4 powerpcspe MPC85XXSPE
          o 13.0-RC4 armv6 RPI-B
          o 13.0-RC4 armv7 GENERICSD
          o 13.0-RC4 aarch64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC4 aarch64 RPI
          o 13.0-RC4 aarch64 PINE64
          o 13.0-RC4 aarch64 PINE64-LTS
          o 13.0-RC4 aarch64 PINEBOOK
          o 13.0-RC4 aarch64 ROCK64
          o 13.0-RC4 aarch64 ROCKPRO64
          o 13.0-RC4 riscv64 GENERIC
          o 13.0-RC4 riscv64 GENERICSD
          
          Note regarding arm SD card images: For convenience for those without
          console access to the system, a freebsd user with a password of
          freebsd is available by default for ssh(1) access.  Additionally,
          the root user password is set to root.  It is strongly recommended
          to change the password for both users after gaining access to the
          system.
          
          Installer images and memory stick images are available here:
          
          https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/ISO-IMAGES/13.0/
          
          The image checksums follow at the end of this e-mail.
          
          If you notice problems you can report them through the Bugzilla PR
          system or on the -stable mailing list.
          
          If you would like to use Git to do a source based update of an existing
          system, use the "releng/13.0" branch.
          
          A summary of changes since 13.0-RC3 includes:
          
          o A fix affecting scripted installations has been addressed.
          
          o Several POWERPC fixes have been included.
          
          o A memory leak in NETMAP_REQ_PORT_INFO_GET has been fixed.
          
          o An issue with local-unbound and some IPv6 deployment has been fixed.
          
          o Historical output range from random(9) has been restored to previous
            behavior.
          
          o OpenSSL has been updated to version 1.1.1k.
          
          o A fix for validation of RDNSS options has been addressed.
          
          o Other miscellaneous items have been addressed.
          
          A list of changes since 12.2-RELEASE is available in the releng/13.0
          release notes:
          
          https://www.freebsd.org/releases/13.0R/relnotes.html
          
          Please note, the release notes page is not yet complete, and will be
          updated on an ongoing basis as the 13.0-RELEASE cycle progresses.
          
          === Virtual Machine Disk Images ===
          
          VM disk images are available for the amd64, i386, and aarch64
          architectures.  Disk images may be downloaded from the following URL
          (or any of the FreeBSD download mirrors):
          
          https://download.freebsd.org/ftp/releases/VM-IMAGES/13.0-RC4/
          
          The partition layout is:
          
              ~ 16 kB - freebsd-boot GPT partition type (bootfs GPT label)
              ~ 1 GB  - freebsd-swap GPT partition type (swapfs GPT label)
              ~ 20 GB - freebsd-ufs GPT partition type (rootfs GPT label)
          
          The disk images are available in QCOW2, VHD, VMDK, and raw disk image
          formats.  The image download size is approximately 135 MB and 165 MB
          respectively (amd64/i386), decompressing to a 21 GB sparse image.
          
          Note regarding arm64/aarch64 virtual machine images: a modified QEMU EFI
          loader file is needed for qemu-system-aarch64 to be able to boot the
          virtual machine images.  See this page for more information:
          
          https://wiki.freebsd.org/arm64/QEMU
          
          To boot the VM image, run:
          
              % qemu-system-aarch64 -m 4096M -cpu cortex-a57 -M virt  \
          	-bios QEMU_EFI.fd -serial telnet::4444,server -nographic \
          	-drive if=none,file=VMDISK,id=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-blk-device,drive=hd0 \
          	-device virtio-net-device,netdev=net0 \
          	-netdev user,id=net0
          
          Be sure to replace "VMDISK" with the path to the virtual machine image.
          
        • FreeBSD 13.0-RC4 Released With POWER Fixes, Other Bugs Addressed

          Last week saw FreeBSD 13.0-RC3 released as an “extra” build due to the fallout from the last minute WireGuard situation. Due to other bugs, FreeBSD 13.0-RC4 was issued today rather than going for the final release.

          FreeBSD 13.0-RC4 is now the second unplanned/as-needed release candidate ahead of the big FreeBSD 13.0 debut. FreeBSD 13.0-RC4 fixes an issue with scripted installations and also has several PowerPC fixes. FreeBSD 13.0-RC4 is also rounded out by a NETMAP memory leak fix, an issue with lock-unbound and some IPv6 deployments, updated to OpenSSL 1.1.1k over its recent security issues, and other various bug fixes.

      • Screenshots/Screencasts

        • A Quick Look At Manjaro 21.0 “Ornara” Xfce

          Manjaro just had big release so I thought I should take a look at one of their main editions (xfce). Manjaro has always been one of my favorite Linux distributions. In fact, long-time viewers of the channel will remember that I ran Manjaro on my production machine for over a year at one point.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • How Rocky Linux Aims to Fill the Gap Left by Red Hat’s CentOS Setback

          Gregory Kurtzer, the founder of CentOS, started the Rocky Linux project in December 2020. His goal is to fill the gap created by Red Hat when they announced a change in direction for CentOS Linux. This shift, from a stable operating system to a stream for testing pre-release code, left many organizations without a Linux distribution that suits their needs.

          Kurtzer originally founded the Caos Linux project, which the CentOS Project was born out of in 2003. InfoQ interviewed him about Rocky Linux and the goals for the project going forward.

        • First Look at Fedora Linux’s New i3 Spin: Heaven for Tiling WM Fans

          The i3 WM has been in Fedora Linux’s software repositories for some years now, so if you wanted to use the Red Hat sponsored distribution with the i3 tiling window manager, you had to install it on top of an existing flavor, such as Xfce, LXQt, LXDE, MATE, etc.

          But, with the upcoming Fedora Linux 34 release, due out in late April 2021, that will no longer be the case. Fedora Linux is getting its own, dedicated i3 spin featuring a pre-configured i3 tiling window manager by default.

        • First stable release of CentOS replacement AlmaLinux OS now available

          CloudLinux announced the general availability of AlmaLinux OS, the open source enterprise-grade Linux distribution created as a replacement for CentOS. The new operating system is released in a stable version and is ready for production workloads.

          The company also announced the formation of a non-profit organization that will take over responsibility for managing the AlmaLinux project going forward. CloudLinux has committed a $1 million dollars annual endowment to support the project.

          The AlmaLinux project named Jack Aboutboul as community manager of AlmaLinux. He brings more than 20 years of experience in open source communities as a participant, manager and evangelist, including nearly 10 years as a community engineer with the Fedora project while working at Red Hat as a community architect.

        • AlmaLinux gets a stable release and a foundation

          Today, AlmaLinux makes available the code for the stable release (a
          replacement for CentOS). At the same time, the company behind the initiative
          CloudLinux is putting AlmaLinux in the hands of the community establishing a
          foundation and naming noted open source advocate Simon Phipps to the
          governing board.

        • AlmaLinux OS Sees First Stable Release as a Drop-In Replacement for CentOS Linux 8

          About four months ago, when Red Hat announced that it’ll put an end to the CentOS Linux 8 operating system series at the end of 2021, focusing on CentOS Stream 8, several developers started working on CentOS Linux replacements.

          One of these is AlmaLinux OS, developed by the creators of CloudLinux OS, a popular Linux distribution based on CentOS Linux and marketed to shared hosting providers. It aims to be a 1:1 binary compatible drop-in replacement for CentOS Linux that’s forever-free, open-source, and enterprise-ready, with a very long support timeframe.

        • Fedora Council March 2021 meeting

          In a normal year, the Fedora Council would have held a one-day meeting in Brno the day after DevConf.CZ. Since this isn’t a normal year, we held a half day virtual face-to-face earlier this month. Unlike the longer November meeting, this meeting focused on catching up on a few things instead of larger strategy planning. As usual, the minutes have been fed to Zodbot.

      • Debian Family

        • Parrot OS 4.11: Secure Parrot with KDE Plasma, Mate and Linux 5.10

          All updates to the Debian test repository, including the upcoming Debian 11 (“Bulsey”), until March 2021 and already included in the new version 4.11, include the latest version of the desktop and the basic computer kernel Linux 5.10 LTS. The change to Linux 5.11 is immediate.

          Parrot OS 4.11 with Mate 1.24.1 (Image: Parrot Protection)
          Desktop and shell based Matte desktop environment The latest version is 1.24.1, a fork of the Gnome 2 created in 2011, and optionally KTE Plasma 5.20.5, which comes with Debian 11

          In addition to the latest updates to the new Linux kernel and Debian 11 (“Bulsey”), Click OS 4.11 includes a number of updated software packages for its security and penetration testing. Additionally, the system is offered as a replacement for the completely redesigned XFS Desktop 4.16.

        • Parrot OS, A Security Focused Linux Distro Released v4.11

          Parrot OS is a free and open source GNU/Linux distribution based on Debian Testing. It is designed for security experts, developers and privacy aware people. The new version 4.11 on this security focused Linux distro includes many important updates to make the distribution more reliable and more secure.

          Parrot OS 4.11 comes with its own arsenal of penetration testing and security-related tools. It is developed by a team of security experts, Linux enthusiasts, and open source developers.

        • Detecting At-Risk Software Infrastructure

          In the paper—coauthored with Benjamin Mako Hill—we describe a general approach for detecting “underproduced” software infrastructure that consists of five steps: (1) identifying a body of digital infrastructure (like a code repository); (2) identifying a measure of quality (like the time to takes to fix bugs); (3) identifying a measure of importance (like install base); (4) specifying a hypothesized relationship linking quality and importance if quality and importance are in perfect alignment; and (5) quantifying deviation from this theoretical baseline to find relative underproduction.

          To show how our method works in practice, we applied the technique to an important collection of FLOSS infrastructure: 21,902 packages in the Debian GNU/Linux distribution. Although there are many ways to measure quality, we used a measure of how quickly Debian maintainers have historically dealt with 461,656 bugs that have been filed over the last three decades. To measure importance, we used data from Debian’s Popularity Contest opt-in survey. After some statistical machinations that are documented in our paper, the result was an estimate of relative underproduction for the 21,902 packages in Debian we looked at.

          One of our key findings is that underproduction is very common in Debian. By our estimates, at least 4,327 packages in Debian are underproduced. As you can see in the list of the “most underproduced” packages—again, as estimated using just one more measure—many of the most at risk packages are associated with the desktop and windowing environments where there are many users but also many extremely tricky integration-related bugs.

        • Nitrux Linux Is Now Based on Debian, Latest Release Adds KDE Plasma Goodies

          The Nitrux 1.3.9 release isn’t your usual monthly updated installation image, but the distro’s first ISO built using a Debian rootfs! Yes, that’s right, Nitrux Linux is no longer based on the Ubuntu/KDE neon rootfs and no longer uses the software repositories from Devuan GNU/Linux.

          While Nitrux is now a Debian GNU/Linux-based distro, this major change applies only to new installations. Existing Nitrux Linux users will continue to receive updates from the previous Ubuntu/KDE neon/Devuan base.

        • Nitrux 1.3.9 is available to download

          We are pleased to announce the launch of Nitrux 1.3.9. This new version brings together the latest software updates, bug fixes, performance improvements, and ready-to-use hardware support.

          Nitrux 1.3.9 is available for immediate download.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Kubuntu General News: Kubuntu 21.04 Testing Week

          We’re delighted to announce that we’re participating in another ‘Ubuntu Testing Week’ from April 1st to April 7th with other flavours in the Ubuntu family. On April 1st, the beta version of Kubuntu 21.04 ‘Hirsute Hippo’ will be released after freezing all new changes to its features, user interface, and documentation. Between April 1st and the final release on April 22nd, all efforts by the Kubuntu team and community should be focused on ISO testing, reporting bugs, fixing bugs, and translations right up to final release.

          On social media, please use the #UbuntuTestingWeek hashtag if you write about your testing or want to spread the word about the event to your followers. Testers can visit the ISO tracker and read bug reporting tutorials.

          You can test without changing your system by running it in a VM (Virtual Machine) with software like VMWare Player, VirtualBox (apt install). Or run Hirsute from USB, SD Card, or DVD to test on your hardware.

          There are a variety of ways that you can help test the release, including trying out the various live session and installation test cases from the ISO tracker. If you find a bug, you’ll need a Launchpad account to file it against the package the app is bundled in, which you can find by asking around on the IRC/Telegram/Matrix Kubuntu channels or the user mail list.

        • Ubuntu Fridge | Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 676

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 676 for the week of March 21 – 27, 2021.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Thunderbird now Integrates with Encrypted Email Service ‘Mailfence’ – It’s FOSS News

            Thunderbird is a popular open-source desktop email client. While it offers several useful features to help you keep your emails private and secure, using it with an encrypted email service would be an absolute bliss, right?

            Well, in a recent announcement, Thunderbird announced a partnership with Mailfence, which happens to be one of the best secure email services.

            If you have a Mailfence account (or want to create one), you can manage that using Thunderbird’s integration.

          • Latest Mozilla VPN features keep your data safe

            Today, we’re launching two new features to give you an added layer of protection with our trusted Mozilla VPN service. Mozilla has a reputation for building products that help you keep your information safe. These new features will help users do the following…

            If you’re someone who keeps our Mozilla VPN service off and prefers to manually turn it on yourself, this feature will help you out. We’ll notify you when you’ve joined a network that is not password protected or has weak encryptions. By just clicking on the notification you can turn the Mozilla VPN service on, giving you an added layer of protection ensuring every conversation you have is encrypted over the network. This feature is available on Windows, Linux and Mac platforms.

      • Free Software

        • SD Times news digest: PHP moves to GitHub, OSI’s statement on Stallman, and Ian Kelling joins FSF board of directors

          In its ongoing effort to improve governance at the Free Software Foundation (FSF), the foundation’s union staff selected senior systems administrator Ian Kelling to the newly created seats on the board of directors and voting members.

          “This is an important step in the FSF’s effort to recognize and support new leadership, to connect that leadership to the community, to improve transparency and accountability, and to build trust. There is still considerable work to be done, and that work will continue,” Geoffrey Knauth, the FSF president wrote in a post.

          Kat Walsh has announced her resignation from the board.

        • Richard Stallman’s return to the FSF is going to cost it

          It looks like that if the Free Software Foundation wants to keep Richard Stallman on board it is going to lose a lot of support.

          For those who came in late, Stallman left the Foundation after he supported his chum Marvin Minsky’s, who happened to be a friend with sex pest Jeffrey Epstein and was believed to be involved in his sex trafficking antics.

          There are two letters circulating – one opposing Richard Stallman’s return to the FSF and one supporting it.

      • FSF

        • GNU Projects

          • Mike Gran: Guile Potluck 2021 Part 1: Genshou and Anguish

            Guile Potluck 2021 was an event where hackers got to advertise their exciting new projects. It wrapped up a few weeks ago, and at that time I was my intention to blog my way through the entrants right away. Well, I have not been expedient on that front.
            I’m so very sorry it has taken me so long to get back to Guile Potluck 2021. Somewhere between family, kids, the day job, actually working on Guile, and the vague depression that quarantine seems to instill in me, it all got away from me.

            [...]

            I am excited to see someone exercise Guile’s PEG parser, which is both powerful and under-utilized.

      • Programming/Development

        • [Old] How to debug Elixir/Erlang compiler performance

          Recently someone opened up an issue on Gettext saying compilation of Gettext modules got slower in Erlang/OTP 23. In this article, we are going to explore how I have debugged this problem and the three separate pull requests sent to the Erlang/OTP repository to improve compiler performance.

        • Rails waves goodbye to mimemagic, welcomes Marcel to fix GPL MIME drama

          The maintainers of Rails, a Ruby-based framework for making web apps, have released three new versions to resolve a software licensing conflict that surfaced last week.

          A Rails component called Active Storage included a dependency called mimemagic, which turned out to have been distributed under the wrong license. The mimemagic software library provided a component of Rails called Active Storage with mime type data – used to identify file formats – and was initially distributed under an MIT license.

          But mimemagic has a dependency of its own called shared-mime-info that is distributed under the GPLv2 license. Under the terms of the GPLv2 license, mimemagic should have been GPLv2 licensed as well.

          When the author mimemagic learned of the error, he withdrew the previous MIT-licensed version of his code, breaking many app build processes, and issued new versions under GPLv2.

        • Learn CSS Flexbox by Building 5 Responsive Layouts
        • What is JavaScript? A Definition of the JS Programming Language

          JavaScript is a dynamic programming language that’s used for web development, in web applications, for game development, and lots more. It allows you to implement dynamic features on web pages that cannot be done with only HTML and CSS.

        • How to Add Localization (l10n) to Your React App with react-i18next

          When you add localization to a website you’re making it available in multiple languages. This tutorial aims to teach you how to do that to a small react app using react-i18next.

        • Perl/Raku

  • Leftovers

    • Opinion | Every Person With a Conscience Is a Revolutionary Waiting to Be Born

      Revolutionaries sees the potential in human beings—they see our world’s potential to become something vastly better than it is today.

      A revolutionary is, of course, someone who wants to overthrow the existing order. We need such people. The current order is unsustainable. It is destroying the planet and creating inequality so severe that society is becoming unstable. It’s an engine for human misery on a massive scale.

    • Hostage Situation
    • Opinion | That Ship She Has Sailed
    • The Madness and Malady of Management Studies

      More than Fayol, it was the snake oil salesman Frederick Taylor who shaped our perception of management. To further legitimise an administration’s rule over workers, une idée fixe of Management Studies became a handy ideology backing anti-democratic authoritarianism, at least academically. Management gained even more legitimacy as the crypto-scholarly subject of Management Studies became part of business schools associated with universities.

      With that, Management Studies conjured up the hallucination of being similar to real academic subjects like geology, mathematics, philosophy and sociology. Much of this occurred even though many believe that most management research is rubbish. Others say it simply is bullshit, as Spicer writes in his Business Bullshit .

    • Law Firm Hoping To Add Legal Losses To Plaintiffs’ Gambling Losses By Suing Google, Apple Over Casino Apps

      There’s a new cottage industry of Section 230 lawsuits springing up from the law offices of Tycko & Zavareei in Washington, DC (with the assistance of Pearson, Simon & Warshaw of California, the state where the lawsuits are being filed).

    • Science

    • Education

      • The Louvre’s collections are online so I curated some good paintings for you

        The Louvre’s terms of use for their photos indicate that I can’t repost them from their site, and I would strongly prefer not to start a fresh fight with the French. Instead, I will describe a sampling of paintings for you and let you make the decision as to whether you’ll click through and marvel at them yourself.

      • Online Art

        For those of you interested in online art collections, I am a follower, here is a newly established free, online displayed collection from the Louvre: Below link takes you through to more detail and to the collection.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Universal Health Care is a Popular Idea in America, So Why Does Biden Seem Intent on Enriching Private Insurance Companies?

        The American Rescue Plan includes tens of billions of taxpayer dollars to substantially lower premiums for insurance options purchased through the ACA health exchanges. Additionally, it covers 100 percent of the cost of COBRA coverage for those who have been laid off during the pandemic. Even the New York Times characterized it with the headline, “Private Insurance Wins in Democrats’ First Try at Expanding Health Coverage.”

        Dr. Paul Song, co-chair of the Campaign for a Healthy California, and board member of Physicians for a National Health Program, explained to me in an interview that, “that’s money that’s just going to the private insurance industry.” He asked, “why not say to anyone who lost their job during the pandemic and lost their health care coverage, that you would automatically be enrolled in Medicare until you found your new job?” Such a move would cost significantly fewer taxpayer dollars but would have boosted the arguments in favor of a Medicare for All program, which centrist Democrats like Biden have vehemently railed against for years. Ironically, insurance industry loyalists cite high costs as central to their opposition to Medicare for All.

      • Ready or not How the coronavirus pandemic closed borders and made Russia a ‘big country’ for domestic tourism

        One year ago, in March 2020, countries around the world began closing their borders. Russia did so on March 18. In terms of the number of people crossing state borders to vacation and sightsee, year one of the COVID-19 pandemic saw world travel reduced to levels last seen in the late 1980s. And Russia has experienced a lot of domestic changes too. With the help of aerospace columnist Anastasia Dagaeva, Meduza’s “Ideas” section editor Maxim Trudolyubov studied the current degree of movement around the world and found that the coronavirus pandemic put Russian society in an unfamiliar position — one of insularity typical of the “big countries” for domestic tourism, like the United States and China. That said, in terms of infrastructure and its political system, Russia wasn’t ready for this development.

      • Medicare-for-All Could Save My Life

        In 2010, I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer that affects the bone marrow and makes it harder for my body to fight infections. Before I was diagnosed, I was an average 30-something guy who went to the gym and ate right. Today, after 11 years with this disease, I’m still fighting for my life.

        I’m fortunate to have amazing doctors and nurses who are doing everything they can to make sure I live long enough to celebrate more anniversaries with my wife. Last year, my doctor found a drug that worked far better than expected on my cancer — sending it into remission for the first time ever.

      • US EPA Ignores Data on Pesticide Classification – Validated Independent News

        The Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) claimed that an EPA report from February 4, 2020 used fraudulent data to downgrade the carcinogenic classification of Telone. In 1985, the National Toxicology Program found Telone caused lung and bladder tumors in rats and mice. The EPA classified Telone as a “probable human carcinogen” that same year and again in 1996, 2000, and 2005. Similarly, the CDC in the state of California and the National Toxicology Program have repeatedly found that Telone is a “likely human carcinogen.” PEER claims the EPA omitted the full name (1,3-dichloropropene) during their assessment. This omission allowed over 80 peer-reviewed reports showing the carcinogenic effects of Telone to be ignored, including a 2015 peer-reviewed study that linked Telone to DNA damage in rats. PEER also claims that in 2020, the EPA appointed members to its Cancer Assessment Review Committee (CARC) who did not understand how to assess Telone’s effects. PEER executive director and former EPA Enforcement Attorney, Tim Whitehouse said “this flawed finding puts both the public and applicators of the fumigant at needless risk.” A spokesperson for the EPA responded saying “EPA stands behind its career scientists and will follow the science and law in accordance with the Biden-Harris administration’s executive orders and other directives in reviewing all of the agency’s actions issued under the previous administration to ensure that they protect public health and the environment.”

      • Colorado’s ‘MeatOut Day’ Has Started a Meat War

        Polis is not the first major politician to promote this message to eat less meat; he joins governors and mayors in 40 additional states and cities who have signed similar proclamations in recent years. Originally conceived in 1985 as the “Great American Meatout” by the Farm Animal Rights Movement, an animal welfare nonprofit based in Bethesda, Maryland, to protest a U.S. Senate resolution proclaiming National Meat week, MeatOut Day has been proclaimed by state and national governments around the globe.

        “Removing animal products from our diets reduces the risk of various ailments, including heart disease, [high blood] pressure, stroke, various cancers, and diabetes; and… a plant-based diet helps protect the environment by reducing our carbon footprint, preserving forests, grasslands and wildlife habitats, and reduces pollution of waterways,” said Polis in his proclamation.

      • CDC Director Warns of ‘Impending Doom’ as Covid Cases Rise Across US

        “We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope, but right now I’m scared.”

        Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a pandemic task force briefing Monday that she feels a sense of “impending doom” as she watches Covid-19 cases rise across the country in the wake of state leaders’ premature moves to relax or completely lift coronavirus-related restrictions.

      • Pfizer Bullies South American Governments over COVID Vaccine – Validated Independent News

        As discussed in the BIJ report, officials from Argentina and another unnamed Latin American country have stated that Pfizer’s negotiators demanded legal immunity from any civil claims that could be filed by a citizen who experiences adverse effects to the vaccine. Regardless, officials from the unnamed country still had much to say on the negotiations, calling Pfizer’s demands “high-level bullying.” In their negotiations with Argentina and Brazil, Pfizer had asked that sovereign assets, such as military bases and embassy buildings, be used as collateral for any legal cost that could come in the future. While this is a fairly typical practice from pharmaceutical companies who administer vaccines during an epidemic, government officials in these Latin American countries feel that Pfizer’s demands have gone far beyond that of other vaccine companies. Pfizer’s demands would include legal immunity for its own acts of negligence, fraud, or malice. This would mean if Pfizer makes errors in the vaccine, they would not be held accountable.

      • Now ‘Do It,’ Progressives Demand as Biden Weighs Support for Lifting Covid Vaccine Patents

        “Vaccines must be treated as public goods available at affordable prices, available for all,” said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

        Under pressure from a growing chorus of Democratic lawmakers and progressive advocacy groups, President Joe Biden is reportedly considering throwing U.S. support behind an India and South Africa-let effort to temporarily waive patent protections for coronavirus vaccines—a move that would allow for a massive scale-up of global production and distribution.

      • “I’m Scared” — CDC Director Warns of New Possible COVID Surge

        Rochelle Walensky, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is deeply concerned about the climbing rate of daily COVID-19 diagnoses — enough to make her feel “scared.”

      • Smoking Will Disappear Within A Generation, Experts Say

        Philip Morris, for instance, signaled last summer that cigarette sales may grind to a complete halt. “I am convinced it is possible to completely end cigarette sales in many countries within 10 to 15 years,” CEO Andre Calantzopoulos wrote in a sustainability report at the time. The company is now hard at work switching its consumers over to smoke-free products. Its target: 40 million adult smokers to switch by 2025.

      • Green spaces aren’t just for nature – they boost our mental health too

        Our late arrival into cities might help explain our affinity with nature and green spaces. In 1984, biologist Edward O. Wilson made this connection explicit with his “biophilia” hypothesis. His idea was that the environment in which humans evolved has shaped our brain, priming it to respond positively to cues that would have enhanced survival for our ancestors, such as trees, savannah, lakes and waterways. This, Wilson argued, is why being in nature makes us feel good.

        Whether that is the reason or not, the past few years have seen an explosion of research finding concrete links between increased exposure to nature and not just improved physical health, but better mental health, too. Mental health issues are estimated to account for as much as a third of all years lived with disability, and account for around 13 per cent of disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) lost, similar to the toll of cardiovascular disease and circulatory disorders.

      • It might as well be winter all year long

        If you want bright evenings, wake up an hour later. If you want bright mornings, wake up an hour earlier.

        Just leave me out of it.

        Changing the time twice a year had a purpose, and some drawbacks.

        Being one hour off has less of those drawbacks, but no purpose.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Windows MedusaLocker ransomware likely used in Nine attack for profit

          The network attack on Nine Entertainment, made public on Sunday, appears to have been carried out by unknown miscreants using a strain of Windows ransomware known as MedusaLocker which was discovered back in 2019.

        • SolarWinds [crackers] accessed emails from U.S. Department of Homeland Security

          [Attackers] suspected of working for Russia got access to an email account belonging to the former head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for cybersecurity, in the SolarWinds [attack], the Associated Press reported here on Monday.

          The AP report said the intelligence value of the [cracking] of Chad Wolf, the former acting secretary of the DHS, and of email accounts belonging to officials in the department’s cybersecurity staff, was not publicly known.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

        • Security

          • Microsoft warns even patched Exchange servers can still be attacked

            Microsoft’s analysis of the series of attacks that exploit the now-fixed zero-day vulnerabilities on Exchange servers reveals that the threat doesn’t end simply by applying patches.

            Chinese state-sponsored threat actor Hafnium was blamed for being the first to exploit the vulnerabilities known as ProxyLogon vulnerabilities. Utilities such as Microsoft’s one-click tool has helped ensure that over 90% servers, several at small business that lack dedicated IT and security teams, have now plugged the vulnerabilities. However, the threat is far from over.

            “Many of the compromised systems have not yet received a secondary action, such as human-operated ransomware attacks or data exfiltration, indicating attackers could be establishing and keeping their access for potential later actions,” the company warned.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • New York rolls out COVID-19 passports based on IBM blockchain technology

              Excelsior Pass is described as similar to a mobile airline boarding pass in that individuals will be able either to print out their pass or to store it in their smartphones using the app. Every business or venue can scan the pass using the QR code via a companion app to verify the COVID-19 negative results or proof of vaccination.

            • State of Surveillance: Online Safety Bill captures the bad stuff but Commissioner’s powers too broad

              While the powers are broad, so too is the scope of the content and services to which they apply. The Commissioner can order the removal of content categorised as Class 1 or Class 2 material, which, at its lowest, corresponds to anything deemed R18+ or above in the National Classification Code. This captures any sexual content, violent or not, or content that is “unsuitable for a minor to see”. These provisions apply to social media platforms as well as “relevant electronic” and “designated [Internet]” services, including email, SMS, instant messaging, online gaming or any service that allows users to access material using the [Internet].

            • Biden administration looks to organize ‘vaccine passport’ development

              The Biden administration is working on plans for how to manage credentials that would let people prove they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19, The Washington Post reported. Often referred to as “vaccine passports,” these credentials could be displayed on free smartphone apps or printed. Many companies say they’ll ask for proof of vaccination before letting people attend concerts or travel.

            • Attach Strings To Data Collection To Combat Surveillance Capitalism, Experts Suggest

              Laws addressing how much data can be collected should be among new regulations that must ensure data collection from big technology companies doesn’t harm Americans, according to a March 17 panel of academics at the South by Southwest conference.

              The era of corporate self-regulation is now up, said Marietje Schaake of the Standford University Cyber Policy Center and panelist at SXSW conference discussing the “techno-democratic” approach to Big Tech, including what to do about surveillance capitalism.

              Surveillance capitalism is an economic system centered on commodifying personal data with the core purpose of profit-making.

            • T-Mobile Cuts Its Own TV Cord, Moves to Partner With YouTube TV

              T-Mobile US Inc. will shut down its TVision live-TV service and offer Google’s YouTube TV at a promotional discount, ending a three-year effort to create a disruptive alternative to cable.

              Customers “don’t want more streaming services — they want help buying and navigating the services that already exist,” T-Mobile Chief Executive Officer Mike Sievert wrote in a blog post Monday.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • The Real Danger of the Pentagon’s New Indo-Pacific Plan

        With the US already ranking first in military spending worldwide and holding more than 290 military bases in the Asia-Pacific region alone, this aggressive buildup is being proposed at the most financially precarious moment in US history. According to the Congressional Budget Office report released this month, federal debt is projected to reach 102% of GDP by the end of 2021 before surpassing its historical high of 107% in 2031 and going on to nearly double to 202% by 2051. According to Doug Bandow, “Uncle Sam is headed toward insolvency.”

        How can the Biden administration sell such an expensive foreign policy proposal to the American public in these economically depressed times? By publicly stoking moral outrage and militarism in the US–as well as throughout the Asia-Pacific region–in the name of launching a crusade ostensibly in defense of human rights. This strategy was on full display when Secretary of State Blinken echoed bipartisan political rhetoric about the “Chinese threat” during his visit to Asia last week. In a stream of condescending self-righteousness, he unleashed a deluge of recrimination against China and North Korea while pontificating on American exceptionalism.

      • How Can Biden End Our Forever Wars? Here’s a Road Map.

        In the first two months of Joe Biden’s presidency, you could feel the country holding its breath. Sheltered in place, hidden behind masks, unsure about whether to trust in a safe-from-pandemic future, we are nonetheless beginning to open our eyes collectively. As part of this reemergence, a wider array of issues—those beyond Covid-19—are once again starting to enter public consciousness. Domestically, attempts to repress (or preserve) voting rights have been consuming activists and dominating headlines, along with this country’s missing infrastructure and a need to raise the minimum wage. The foreign affairs agenda isn’t far behind. From rising great-power rivalries, notably with China and Russia, to cyberattacks like the Solarwinds hack that affected agencies across the government, to the question of whether American troops will leave Afghanistan, a growing number of issues loom for the administration, Congress, and the public in the months to come.

        On the domestic front, the response to the new administration (and especially its $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief bill) has been a collective sigh of relief—as well as much praise, as well as fierce partisan Republican attacks—when it comes to the reform agenda being put in place domestically. In the realm of foreign affairs, however, criticism has been swift and harsh, owing to several early administration actions.

      • The NRA Can’t Stop Gun Safety Legislation This Time

        It’s become an all-too-familiar routine in America: A mass shooting in a public place that shakes our collective consciousness is quickly followed by thoughts and prayers, media attention, and calls to action. Then days go by, the news passes, and nothing changes in Congress.

        That ends now. This year is different. Not only did the American people send the strongest gun-sense trifecta in history to Washington, but the once-feared National Rifle Association is now desperately trying to stay relevant as its money and power run dry in Washington.

      • The President Has Not Ended the War on Yemen; Congress Must Do So

        The Democratic Party Platform of 2020 commits to ending the war on Yemen.

        But Congress has yet to act since the veto threat disappeared along with Trump. And every day that the war goes unended means more horrific death and suffering — from violence, starvation, and disease.

      • Myanmar: Death Toll Rising

        Myanmar is unusual. A real backwater for decades, it’s hotly strategic in the context of the China-India rivalry. Geopolitical pressures abound. Chinese and Russian ambassadors visited Min Aung Hlaing, the coup leader and head of the Tatmadaw, just before the putsch. It is widely suspected that China gave the green light to ensure a totally pliant regime in Myanmar. China is prioritizing their influence in nations bordering India.

        Yet the situation is nonetheless remarkable in its characteristics. A nation’s armed forces is attempting to subjugate an entire population. It’s not as if there are factions to play off. All are opposed. In 60 years, no one in the country has seen such unity among the ethnic armies. Those taking part in anti-anti-coup activities are Shanghaied army veterans whose pensions are dividends from Tatmadaw-owned companies; the generals can cut off anyone who disobeys. It might as well be called forced labour, because that’s what it is. You can even see the echo of it in raw footage. NCOs or police lieutenants pushing their men forward, pointing out targets for them to aim at.

      • Whistleblowers Challenge Official Narrative on Syrian Chemical Weapons Attacks – Validated Independent News

        The central whistleblower is Dr. Brendan Whelan, a 16-year veteran member of the OPCW. Aaron Maté from The Grayzone reports that Whelan was part of the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) that investigated Douma for traces of chemical weapons. Whelan has since revealed that the initial reports from the OPCW deviated from the FFM’s original findings. He argued that there was no direct evidence of chemicals being used on the attack’s victims. To support his claims, he cited reports from official NATO-member state toxicologists who found major inconsistencies with the reported cause of death being chlorine gas exposure— finding no evidence of alternative chemicals used on victims. Whelan, upset by the disregard and censorship of his team’s compelling findings, protested the matter by emailing higher up executives in the OPCW. Ultimately, Whelan’s dissent was met with his emails being both deleted from the servers and dismissed due to fears that his evidence may bolster a “pro-Russian narrative”. Whelan was then dismissed from the core Douma team and scheduled to leave the organization in early September of 2018. These events seriously called into question the legitimacy of claims about use of chemical weapons in the Douma attack, raising the possibility of it being purposefully staged.

      • Faced with ICC Investigation, Apartheid Israel Asserts Moral Superiority Over The Victims of Its Terror

        Israel’s army chief of staff, General Aviv Kochavi, recently commented on the International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to investigate Israel for war crimes. In his speech, General Kochavi said:

      • Opinion | America’s Long Wars Are Losers: No Bang, No Whimper, No Victory

        The siege of ancient Troy, which lasted a decade, inspired Homer to write the Iliad. Although the American war in Afghanistan has now gone on almost twice as long, don’t expect it to be memorialized in an epic poem.

        Ours is the cause of freedom. We’ve defeated freedom’s enemies before, and we will defeat them again… [W]e know our cause is just and our ultimate victory is assured… My fellow Americans, let’s roll.”

      • In Alarmist Turn, NATO Is Increasingly Positioning Itself in Opposition to China

        During the March 23-24 meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) council, Anthony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, encouraged NATO members to join the U.S. in viewing China as an economic and security threat to the U.S. as well as to NATO countries, thereby expanding NATO’s areas of focus to include the Pacific. This is a dangerous move that must be challenged.

      • Drone Operator Sues North Carolina Over Its First Amendment-Violating Surveyor Licensing Laws

        It’s always a problem when a private citizen starts horning in on the government’s racket. The government has plenty of rackets and likes them to stay in their possession, undisturbed and unthreatened.

      • Months After LAPD Officers Attacked A Journalist, Prosecutors Are Trying To Charge The Journalist For Failing To Disperse

        Cops have been using protests against police violence to engage in police violence against journalists. The addition of federal cops to the heated mix in Portland, Oregon made this worse. The new cops amped it up so much journalists had to seek a protective order telling cops to stop doing things they knew they shouldn’t be doing, like targeting journalists with things like pepper spray and rubber bullets.

      • Islamic State group claims control of northern Mozambique town of Palma

        The jihadist group’s claim came after thousands of survivors of coordinated jihadist attacks in the town fled on boats to the provincial capital, Pemba, according to sources in the city.

        International aid agency sources said between 6,000 and 10,000 people are waiting to be evacuated to safety following the raid on Palma that began last Wednesday.

      • Islamic State Claims Attack Killed 55 in Mozambique

        Attacks that killed 55 people in the northern Mozambique town of Palma have reportedly been claimed by Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) via its Amaq news agency. The area is worth billions of dollars in investments on a liquefied natural gas (LNG) project by Total, a French multinational.

      • Islamic State Claims Dayslong Attack on Mozambique Town

        On Sunday, Mozambique officials said they were fighting the rebels in several locations to regain control of the town.

        Islamist insurgents began a coordinated attack last Wednesday on the town, which is about 10 kilometers from a multinational gas project run by oil majors, including French energy company Total.

        Agence France-Presse reported Monday that the town was all but deserted after thousands of people fled the fighting.

      • Mozambique: Dozens dead after militant assault on Palma

        The town and beaches are strewn with bodies “with heads and without”, according to Col Lionel Dyke, whose private security firm, Dyck Advisory Group, is contracted by the Mozambique police in the area.

        The armed group is reported to have taken control of Palma, but those claims are hard to verify amid a communications blackout.

      • Briton among the dead in Islamists’ five-day assault on gas city in Mozambique

        Survivors said the man was a passenger in a convoy of vehicles that had attempted to escape Amarula Lodge in Palma, northern Mozambique, as the jihadists closed in.

      • Mozambique insurgency: Islamist militants ‘ambush workers fleeing hotel’

        Human Rights Watch said that witnesses described seeing “bodies on the streets and residents fleeing after the… fighters fired indiscriminately at people and buildings”.

        Northern Mozambique has been torn apart by an insurgency since 2017.

      • Fears grow for British man missing after Islamist massacre in Mozambique

        On Sunday night, around 1,400 survivors of the attack arrived in the provincial capital, Pemba, after being evacuated by boat. Witnesses had earlier spoke of Islamists going on the rampage in the town, leaving beheaded corpses on the streets.

        Helicopters from the Dyck Advisory Group, a South African mercenary firm hired by the Mozambican government to fight the Islamists, have braved gunfire from the militants to fly rescue sorties of both foreigners and locals, some of them hiding in the bush. DAG is already thought to have rescued around 50 people.

      • Newlywed suicide bombers identified in Indonesia church attack

        Two suicide bombers who attacked an Indonesian cathedral on Palm Sunday were newlyweds who joined a pro-Islamic State extremist group, police said Monday, as they arrested others suspected in the plot.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • Half a billion people may face heat of 56°C by 2100

        Take today’s heat, apply mathematical logic and consider a murderously hot future, 56°C by 2100, for hundreds of millions.

      • ‘Vraie Loi Climat!’: Tens of Thousands March in France to Demand Much Stronger Climate Law

        French President Emannuel Macron, said one demonstrator, “is going backwards—he’s performing a moonwalk, he’s an artist who pretends to go forward but in fact he’s only going backwards.”

        Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Paris and other cities on Sunday to demand the French government deliver much more far-reaching action on climate than exhibited in a new piece of legislation now under consideration in the nation’s parliament.

      • Progressives Unveil $10 Trillion Green Infrastructure, Climate Justice Bill

        Congressional progressives on Monday unveiled a new bill to invest $10 trillion in renewable energy, green infrastructure and climate justice initiatives over the next decade. The Transform, Heal and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy (THRIVE) Act, counters President Joe Biden’s yet-to-be-unveiled $4 trillion infrastructure package.

      • San Carlos Apache Lose Land to Big Copper – Validated Independent News

        The NDAA became law earlier this year, however, the land transfer has yet to happen. As a last-resort, Apache people led by Wendsler Nosie Sr. and his coalition Apache Stronghold took to the courts, filing a lawsuit that aimed to repeal section 3003. However, on February 13, 2021, Phoenix Judge Steven Logan ruled that the lawsuit had no standing as Oak Flat was “not a sovereign nation.” If the 9th Circuit in San Francisco upholds Judge Logan’s decision, this sacred land reservation will be destroyed for the sake of corporate interests.

      • No right to rock the vote Scientists in Siberia decide to conceal pollution research ahead of September’s elections, fearing a ‘political bombshell’

        The Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences (SO RAN) recently decided to withhold public access to new research on atmospheric and soil pollution in cities throughout the region, according to journalists at Taiga.info who obtained streamed footage of the conference where scientists shared their findings. The academy later hid the video on YouTube, after several senior Presidium members cited political concerns about influencing election outcomes this fall.

      • Opinion | If the US Wants to Tackle the Climate Crisis Equitably, It Should Support UNRWA in Gaza

        Climate equity has no borders, and in the Gaza Strip, the primary force mitigating these devastating consequences and protecting and ensuring the wellness of the most vulnerable—Palestine refugees—is UNRWA.

        Through  his climate plan, President Joe Biden has signaled to the world that the United States not only wishes to be a global leader in addressing the damaging effects of the climate crisis, but that the response must be equitable, acknowledging that those most deeply impacted are often also the most impoverished and vulnerable. Climate justice is a global issue, and it is in American interests to pay attention to what is happening beyond our borders.

      • Energy

        • Understanding the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Legacy of White Supremacy

          The firm was alluding to an October tweet by Tabuchi that she’d “been thinking a lot about fossil fuels and white supremacy recently,” noting that nearly every oil industry official she’d encountered as a reporter was white and male. ExxonMobil complained the tweet was a “baseless claim alleging industry links to white supremacy,” and Tabuchi later deleted it. But according to University of Notre Dame historian Darren Douchuk, Tabuchi’s tweet reflected something real.

        • Finnish Nuclear Company Fired Whistleblower Over Safety Concerns

          The Fennovoima nuclear firm’s parent company, Voimaosakeyhtiö SF (VSF), fired one of its executives because he expressed safety concerns to the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK). VSF admitted this to Yle after initially denying it.

        • Navies must reduce their carbon emissions in the face of climate change

          The Royal New Zealand Navy recently launched its own journal, which aims to build the service’s professionalism and ‘engage and exchange views with all those who have an interest in naval and maritime affairs’. The most eye-catching contribution in the inaugural edition is by the RNZN’s chief naval architect, Chris Howard, with the provocative title ‘Toward a zero carbon navy’. It’s a fascinating read.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

      • Minimum Wage Would Be $44 Today If It Had Increased at Same Rate as Wall St. Bonuses: Analysis

        “Since 1985, the average Wall Street bonus has increased 1,217%, from $13,970 to $184,000 in 2020.”

        A new analysis released Monday by the Institute for Policy Studies shows that the U.S. federal minimum wage would currently be just over $44 an hour—more than six times higher than the current wage floor—if it had increased at the same rate as Wall Street employee bonuses between 1985 and 2020.

      • Blaming the Homeless for San Francisco’s Homelessness Crisis – Validated Independent News

        Shaw focuses on HSH’s Adult Coordinated Entry program (ACE), which is intended to help homeless individuals navigate through the system to fill vacancies through San Francisco’s nonprofit master lease single room occupancy housing, which would provide permanent supportive housing for these individuals. However, bureaucratic roadblocks in the implementation of ACE have worked to prevent homeless individuals from receiving housing units, creating a glut of vacancies that should be available for housing the unhoused. HSH identifies a number of reasons for the problem. HSH claims that housing providers place significant barriers, including document requirements and an extensive leasing process. In addition, HSH points to a high number of units in supportive housing buildings that are currently “offline,” or unavailable. The mechanisms for tracking vacancies in supportive housing are inadequate, and clients already housed in shelter-in-place hotels are refusing offers for ACE housing units.

      • Bowman Blames Decades of US Capitalism, Imperialism for Flow of Asylum-Seekers

        “The best we can do is implement a 21st century Marshall Plan and help to rebuild Central America in the same ways that we have destroyed it.”

        New York Democratic Congressman Jamaal Bowman appeared on CNN’s “Inside Politics” Sunday evening and said decades of U.S. imperialism and capitalist interests in Central America are largely responsible for those now seeking asylum at the nation’s southern border.

      • Capitalism Without Accountability Is at Root of Suez Canal Shipping Crisis, Says Scholar Laleh Khalili

        A Suez Canal service firm now says the huge container ship blocking the canal has been refloated and is on the move. The 200,000-ton ship, the Ever Given, got stuck on March 23, blocking one of the world’s most important trade routes, which is used for about 12% of all global trade. The impact of the canal shutdown has raised new questions about global trade practices, including the reliance on massive cargo ships, the conditions of workers on the vessels, and environmental degradation. “As years have gone by, the ships have gotten bigger and bigger and bigger,” says Laleh Khalili, professor of international politics at Queen Mary University of London. She notes that it was an earlier closure of the canal, during the Suez Crisis in the 1950s, that led shipping companies to build ever larger “megaships” like the Ever Given.

      • ‘Getting Nervous’? Bezos Told Amazon Execs to Hit Back at Critics Amid Historic Union Drive

        “He’s afraid that if Amazon workers in Alabama vote to unionize, it’ll give workers all over America the courage to take on his greed and win economic justice.”

        With the closely watched and potentially seismic union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama nearing an end, new reporting indicates that CEO Jeff Bezos was the driving force behind a recent effort by company representatives to stave off progressive critiques of the corporation’s well-documented maltreatment of employees.

      • Report Reveals Large Landlords’ Profits During Coronavirus Pandemic

        The new analysis came on the same day that the CDC extended the federal eviction moratorium—which has protected around 20 million households during the pandemic—through June 30.

        Although many large landlords have complained that the federal eviction moratorium—which on Monday was extended through the end of June—harms them financially, an analysis published by CBS MoneyWatch revealed that major property owners have largely realized profits, some of them massive, during the coronavirus pandemic. 

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Belarus opens terrorism case against exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya

        The Belarusian Attorney General’s Office has opened a criminal case against exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya) for allegedly preparing terrorist acts. Former Belarusian law enforcement officers belonging to Warsaw-based the organization By_Pol have also been charged in the case.

      • Top Navalny aide Ivan Zhdanov reports his father’s arrest on criminal charges

        On Monday, March 29, Ivan Zhdanov, the director of Alexey Navalny’s anti-corruption non-profit, wrote on Facebook that a criminal case had been opened against his 66-year-old father, Yuri.

      • Culture of Violence

        Which is to say, when it comes to cultures, here in the USA, we’re lucky enough to be able to take our pick.

        Even a cursory scan of history reveals that we have a vast variety of options.

      • Representative of prison watchdog group accuses Navalny of feigning health problems

        The deputy head of a prison watchdog group in the Vladimir Region has accused imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny of faking his health problems.

      • In Georgia, Republican Dumbness Whets Democrats’ Thirst for Victory

        Among the bill’s dumbest provisions: Making it a crime to “give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of … food and drink” to someone waiting in line to vote.

        How dumb is that?

      • ‘Revolutionary Moment’: Biden White House Announces Major Boost for Offshore Wind

        “As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice, and the climate crisis, we must transition to a brighter future for everyone.”

        Climate action groups and ocean defenders issued strong praise Monday after the Biden administration announced its intention to boost the nation’s offshore wind capacity with a number of steps including preparing forfede leases in an area off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

      • Navalny accused of repeatedly violating prison rules during first two weeks in Pokrov penal colony

        During his two weeks in custody in Pokrov’s Penal Colony No. 2 (IK-2), opposition politician Alexey Navalny has received six reprimands for violating prison rules, according to a post published on his Facebook page on his behalf on Monday, March 29.

      • As Biden Prepares to Unveil Infrastructure Plan, Progressives Push $10 Trillion Investment

        “The THRIVE Act is the agenda that establishes the pillars for economic renewal in our country,” says Sen. Ed Markey.

        With President Joe Biden set to start unveiling his two-part infrastructure plan later this week, congressional progressives on Monday officially announced their proposal to invest $10 trillion over the next decade in renewable energy, green buildings, and environmental justice initiatives while creating over 15 million well-paying union jobs.

      • Schumer Digs Up Obscure Budget Rule That Could Allow Dems to Bypass Filibuster

        The filibuster rule in the Senate threatens to curtail a number of legislative priorities for Democrats and President Joe Biden — but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) may have found a loophole to move some bills forward.

      • Opinion | President Biden Must Fire Andrew Saul and David Black Immediately for Sabotaging Social Security

        Just because a new president is in the White House doesn’t mean these two holdovers have stopped acting as Donald Trump’s agents.

        President Harry S. Truman famously had a sign on his desk that read “the buck stops here.” If Andrew Saul, the man Donald Trump put in charge of the Social Security Administration (SSA), had a sign on his desk, it would say “it’s never my fault.” 

      • Georgia Hit With Pair of Lawsuits Over Sweeping Voter Suppression Law

        “The Georgia NAACP will continue to fight until every voter is able to freely and confidently participate in democracy,” vowed the state president.

        Two voting rights coalitions have filed separate lawsuits against a sweeping voter suppression law approved last week by Georgia Republicans that critics say “constitutes intentional discrimination” in violation of the U.S. constitution.

      • Noam Chomsky: Biden’s Foreign Policy Is Largely Indistinguishable From Trump’s

        President Joe Biden’s domestic policies, especially on the economic front, are quite encouraging, offering plenty of hope for a better future. The same, however, cannot be said about the administration’s foreign policy agenda, as Noam Chomsky’s penetrating insights and astute analysis reveal in this exclusive interview for Truthout. Chomsky is a world-famous public intellectual, Institute Professor Emeritus at MIT and Laureate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona.

      • As Union Drive Heated Up, Jeff Bezos Orchestrated Twitter War on Bernie Sanders

        Last week, the official Amazon News Twitter account fired off several tweets criticizing Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts), and it turns out those tweets were on order from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself.

      • Opinion | Neoliberalism Is a Killer

        Biden’s recent characterization of Putin applies to this dominant ideology as well.

        The presidents who control more than 90 percent of the world’s nuclear arsenal had a bit of a spat the other day. Though the exchange ended indecisively it serve to highlight important moral issues in both foreign and domestic policy. In an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, President Joe Biden—asked to characterize his Russian counterpart—labeled him “a killer.” Soon thereafter President Vladimir Putin shot back with a comment to the effect of takes one to know one.

      • Across the Country, Republican Legislatures Are Keeping Trump’s Agenda Alive

        GOP state lawmakers across the country are pushing a tidal wave of anti-progressive bills addressing cracking down on voting, protesting, pandemic management, Medicaid expansion, and transgender protections.

      • Opinion | Republicans Fabricate “Crisis” of Violent Immigrants Crossing the Border

        The “surge” has been fabricated by Republicans in order to stoke fear—and, not incidentally, to justify changes in laws they say are necessary to prevent non-citizens from voting.

        Republicans are outraged—outraged!—at the surge of migrants at the southern border. The House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, declares it a “crisis … created by the presidential policies of this new administration.” The Arizona congressman Andy Biggs claims “we go through some periods where we have these surges, but right now is probably the most dramatic that I’ve seen at the border in my lifetime.”

      • Trump Could Face Defamation Lawsuit From Dominion, Company Lawyer Says

        An attorney for Dominion Voting Systems suggested over the weekend that the company may take legal action against former President Donald Trump for falsely claiming that it helped now-President Joe Biden win the 2020 election race.

      • Republicans Can’t Figure Out How to Get People to Dislike the For the People Act

        Republicans are concerned that the Democrats’ voting rights bill is too popular, according to a leaked call between a senior policy adviser to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and members of prominent conservative groups.

      • What Bernie Sanders Taught Democrats About Labor Solidarity

        When Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker attacked labor unions a decade ago, tens of thousands of workers rallied in defense of the right to organize and collectively bargain. While many national Democrats were cautious about jumping into the fight, Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, went all in with the workers and their unions.

        “This is part of the concerted attack on the middle class and working families of this country by the very wealthiest people in America,” warned Sanders in 2011. Ripping into Walker, Ohio Governor John Kasich, and other anti-union Republicans, Sanders declared, “These guys want to return us to the 1920s when working people had virtually no rights to organize or to earn a decent living.”

      • The Port Huron Statement

        The Port Huron Statement is short and direct. Here’s a link to the text. This excellent article by Louis Menand suggests there are two main influences. John Dewey’s focus on participatory democracy as a moral force is one. The other is C. Wright Mills, primarily The Power Elite, written in 1956. The Port Huron Statement opens with a discussion of values, then turns to critiques of education, politics, and the economy. This post focuses on values. [1]

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Appeals Court Actually Explores ‘Good Faith’ Issue In A Section 230 Case (Spoiler Alert: It Still Protects Moderation Choices)

        Over the last couple years of a near constant flow of mis- and disinformation all about Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, one element that has popped up a lot (including in our comments) especially among angry Trumpists, is that because Section (c)(2)(A) of the law has a “good faith” qualifier, it means that websites that moderate need to show they did so with “good faith.” Many seem to (falsely) assume that this is a big gotcha, and they can get past the 230 immunity barrier by litigating over whether or not a particular moderation choice was done in “good faith.” However, as we’ve explained, only one small part of the law — (c)(2)(A) mentions “good faith.” It’s this part:

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Pope Francis Conveys a Message To Julian Assange

        Pope Francis sent a personal message to Julian Assange, his partner Stella Moris revealed on Monday as the press freedom activist remains in a maximum-security prison in the U.K. trying to avoid extradition to the U.S.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Our Biggest Tax Evaders have been Living High on the Hog

        So we’re learning from a new surge of scholarship and research from academics, activists, and veteran tax attorneys. Our richest aren’t just paying a smaller share of their income and wealth in taxes than average Americans. Many of our rich, the data show, are barely paying any tax at all.

        How could this be? The simplest reason: Budget and staffing cuts, report researchers at the Syracuse University TRAC project, have left the IRS “incapable of fairly and effectively auditing” the over 637,000 Americans who last year pocketed incomes over a sweet $1 million.

      • Abolition Is a Collective Vision: An Interview With Mariame Kaba

        Long before becoming a published writer, Mariame Kaba had already left an imprint on contemporary prison abolitionist thought. Raised in New York by a father who was a former Guinean independence fighter and a mother who took part in what some might now call mutual aid, Kaba moved to Chicago to pursue an education and stayed to organize with sexual violence survivors, young people, and formerly incarcerated people. As the founder of Project NIA, which works to end young people’s incarceration, and as an organizer of the Chicago Torture Justice Memorials reparations campaign, Kaba helped make Chicago a hub for abolitionist organizing. 1

        In the past decade or so, Kaba has also become increasingly well-known as a writer. On her widely read blog, Prison Culture , in articles published in venues like The New York Times, and through interviews with abolitionist thinkers, Kaba has argued that prisons do not end violence; they simply concentrate it among the most marginalized members of society. As a result, both survivors of interpersonal harm and state harm concerned with ending violence ought to support prison abolition, the ongoing movement to end surveillance, police, and prisons and to produce alternative modes of providing justice. 2

      • UN and US Remain Unaccountable for Civil Unrest in Haiti – Validated Independent News

        On February 7, 2021, protests in Haiti resulted in the arrest of more than twenty people, including a judge and a detective in the national police force. The protest was directed at the Haitian president, Jovenel Moïse, whom they accuse of ignoring public sovereignty in the country. The 2020 presidential elections were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This enabled Moïse to remain in power, which angered citizens. Since last year, as civil unrest grew, the rate of kidnappings has risen at an alarming rate, according to a United Nations document, reaching a 200 percent increase between January 1st and May 31st in 2020. For many Haitians, the common denominator behind the crisis is the United States and United Nations’ involvement in Haiti whom they view as having destabilized the Haitian government for decades. For many citizens, a dictator is now running their country and they are being policed by police squads brought in from other countries.

      • The Worst Attack on Voting Rights Since Jim Crow

        Expanded voting by mail, no-excuse absentee voting, curbside voting, and early voting made the ballot box more accessible. But now, Republican lawmakers in 43 states are introducing hundreds of restrictive “voting rights” bills to roll back these measures.

        In my home state of Georgia, Republicans have introduced a package of restrictive bills to increase red tape, roll back voting rights, and silence the voices of millions of voters. These attacks are unmistakably in response to the state’s record voter turnout to elect President Joe Biden and Senators Rafael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.

      • Robin D.G. Kelley on Derek Chauvin Murder Trial, Reparations in Evanston & Cornel West Tenure Fight

        As opening statements begin in Minneapolis for the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, we speak with UCLA historian and author Robin D.G. Kelley, who says a guilty verdict alone would not represent justice for George Floyd. “The real victory would be to end policing as we know it, to end qualified immunity, to end the conditions that enabled Derek Chauvin to take George Floyd’s life and his colleagues to kind of stand there and watch,” says Kelley.

      • Robin D.G. Kelley: Amazon Union Drive Builds on Decades of Black Radical Labor Activism in Alabama

        As thousands of Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, decide whether to form the company’s first union, historian Robin D.G. Kelley says it could be a watershed moment for labor organizing in the United States. “This is definitely the most significant labor struggle of the 21st century, no doubt,” he says. “The South has been the epicenter of the country’s most radical democratic movements, which is why it’s completely unsurprising that Bessemer, Alabama, would be the place where you’d have a renewed labor movement.”

      • ‘Just Look at the Torture Video,’ Says George Floyd’s Family Lawyer as Chauvin Trial Begins

        “America, the whole world is watching. Do we really have equality and justice for all?”

        With George Floyd’s family and attorney, members of the media, and protesters gathered outside the courthouse, the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin—who stands accused of murdering the unarmed Black man last May—began Monday with opening statements from the prosecution and defense.

      • Torturing the Scapegoat
      • The Chauvin Trial Matters, But Real Victory Would Mean Divestment From Policing

        As opening statements begin in Minneapolis for the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin, we speak with UCLA historian and author Robin D.G. Kelley, who says a guilty verdict alone would not represent justice for George Floyd. “The real victory would be to end policing as we know it, to end qualified immunity, to end the conditions that enabled Derek Chauvin to take George Floyd’s life and his colleagues to kind of stand there and watch,” says Kelley.

      • “The Ball Was Dropped by All”: How Cops Got More Than $400,000 in Unlawful Sick Day Payouts

        In 2010, New Jersey lawmakers wanted to put a stop to the six-figure payouts police officers and other public employees could get by cashing in their unused sick days at retirement. They capped the sellbacks at $15,000 for anyone hired after the law took effect.

        Six years later, Vernon Township, a small town in northern New Jersey, changed its police contract to allow officers to cash in their sick days annually, in addition to at retirement. Over the years 2017 and 2018, officers hired after the 2010 law took effect were paid more than $13,000, according to town payroll records.

      • Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism

        The Jerusalem Declaration on Antisemitism is a tool to identify, confront and raise awareness about antisemitism as it manifests in countries around the world today

      • Women in Turkey rally against Erdogan decision to exit domestic violence treaty

        World Health Organization data shows 38% of women in Turkey are subject to violence from a partner in their lifetime, compared with 25% in Europe.

        Estimates of femicide rates in Turkey, for which there are no official figures, have roughly tripled over the last 10 years, according to a monitoring group. So far this year 87 women have been murdered by men or died under suspicious circumstances, it said.

      • Jennifer Bates on Organizing Amazon’s Alabama Union Drive and Taking on Jeff Bezos

        A few months later, Bates and a few of her coworkers reached out to the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Stores Union, and in November they announced their intention to make the 5,800 employees in Bessemer the first Amazon workforce to unionize. The campaign has received national media attention, drawn nods of approval from celebrities and politicians (including President Biden), and ignited a new conversation around the exploitation of the working class in an era of rampant inequality. (Meanwhile, Amazon’s profits have nearly doubled as the pandemic has ravaged the country.) If the Bessemer employees vote to unionize this week, it will mark one of the biggest victories in the modern labor movement’s history, and set the stage for other Amazon workforces around the nation to take similar action.

      • Voter Suppression Is Violence

        Yes, “violence” is a fitting term for S.B. 202, and not merely because it criminalizes the distribution of food and water to those voters waiting in Georgia’s traditionally interminable lines. In the essay published in The New York Times shortly after his death, the late John Lewis deemed voting to be “the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society.” I would agree, but there first needs to be a democratic society. Republicans understand better than most the threat that equal voting rights pose to their political survival, and neither they nor their supporters are responding with nonviolence to Joe Biden’s election and the Democratic takeover of the U.S. Senate. The deadly January 6th Capitol attack was merely the first salvo. The next one is here, in the form of S.B. 202, as well as bills like the one Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed earlier this month, cutting her state’s early voting period and closing the polls one hour earlier on Election Day. New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice has counted more than 250 bills like those proposed this year alone, in 43 states.

      • “Eat the Buddha”: Why Tibetans Are Setting Themselves on Fire?

        Did the self-immolators achieve something? They made more difficult for foreigners, including journalists, to visit Ngaba, where Demick reports the presence of 50,000 Chinese security personnel watching a population of 15,000 in the city and 73,000 in the county. Demick believes that the international embarrassment caused by the self-immolations did achieve some good results. Immigration of Han Chinese to Ngaba County was slowed down, and plans for a water diversion that would have dried up the Ngaku River and caused what the locals described as an ecological catastrophe have been cancelled.

        On the other hand, nothing stops the repression of Tibetan identity and culture. In March 2020, Ngaba #3 Primary School switched its language of instruction from Tibetan to Chinese. And in 2019, students from all schools were required to participate in a musical competition where they were expected to “express their infinite love for the CCP.”

        In the end, Ngaba County is not better than North Korea. “The level of fear among Tibetans is comparable to what I’ve seen in North Korea,” Demick concludes.

      • Mainstream Media is Erasing Middle Eastern Christians | Opinion

        The Christians of the “Muslim world” take little solace in being portrayed as outsiders in the region they’ve inhabited since before the time of Christianity. Nor are they particularly delighted at their portrayal as a homogenous entity of “Iraqi Christians”—a reductionist mischaracterization of a diverse community that was propounded by Ba’athist and later Kurdish authorities to enforce the assimilation and disappearance of their distinct ethnic and cultural identities.

      • Nike condemned for putting hijab on Iranian mathematician who chose not to wear one

        ike has been condemned for depicting a celebrated mathematician in a hijab, despite the fact she chose not wear the garment while she was alive.

        Maryam Mirzakhani, who died of breast cancer in 2017, was the only woman to date to have won the Fields Medal, one of the highest awards in the field of mathematics.

        She left Iran after graduating university in 1999 and moved to the US, where she chose not cover her hair.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Wireless Industry Eyes Nontransparent ‘Trust Score’ To Determine Who Can Market Via Text Message

        Though text messaging is starting to look somewhat archaic in the WhatsApp era, it’s still the most effective way for political campaigns and nonprofits to reach their target audience, in part because 90 percent of text messages are read within 3 minutes. But the collision between wanting to allow these organizations to market their candidates and campaigns — and protecting consumers from an ever-steady array of scammers, spoofers, and text messaging spammers — has proven to be a cumbersome dance of dysfunction.

      • The Law Bytes Podcast, Episode 82: Jonathan Curtis on the CRTC’s Push to Block Botnets

        Credits: Kaspersky, What is a Botnet?

      • Universal Internet Access, But Few Willing To Pay Taxes For It: Study

        A key reason [Internet] has been considered to be as important as basic utilities is that fact that approximately 21 million people lack [Internet] access in the country, with some estimating it’s double that.

        Even if Americans think [Internet] access should be a right for all citizens, the study points out that not everyone agrees it should be at high speeds. Ninety five percent believed [Internet] access was a right, but only 87 percent thought high-speed [Internet] access was a right.

      • Facebook and Google Fund Subsea Cables to Link Singapore to U.S.

        Connecting Singapore to Indonesia and North America, the projects will be done in collaboration with local partners including XL Axiata Tbk PT and Singapore-based Keppel Corp. The pair of transpacific conduits, which Facebook says will expand capacity across the ocean by 70%, come in the wake of a similar project linking Hong Kong to the U.S. getting canceled in August following objections from the Trump administration.

    • Monopolies

      • U.S. Abandons Four-Year Antitrust Battle Against Qualcomm

        The decision formally ends litigation that began in January 2017 when the FTC, in the closing days of the Obama administration, sued Qualcomm. The agency won at trial but the decision was reversed by a three-judge panel on the U.S. appeals court in San Francisco, which found Qualcomm’s aggressive competition didn’t amount to illegal behavior and credited the company for its “disruptive role” in cellular service. The full court declined to reconsider the decision.

        FTC Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, who wasn’t on the commission when the lawsuit was filed, said in a statement that although she agreed with the trial court decision that Qualcomm violated antitrust laws, the FTC is facing “significant headwinds” in trying to overturn the appeals court ruling.

      • Amazon started a Twitter war because Jeff Bezos was pissed

        Recode has learned that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressed dissatisfaction in recent weeks that company officials weren’t more aggressive in how they pushed back against criticisms of the company that he and other leaders deem inaccurate or misleading. What followed was a series of snarky and aggressive tweets that ended up fueling their own media cycles.

        The timing was likely not coincidental. Bezos and other Amazon leaders are on edge as the company is facing the largest union election in its history at its Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse. Election results will be tallied early this week, and Amazon officials understand that if a majority of the employees vote to unionize, it could set off a chain reaction at other facilities — potentially forcing the e-commerce giant to overhaul how it manages its hundreds of thousands of front-line US workers.

      • FOSS Patents: Will the FTC/DOJ divide over antitrust enforcement against standard-essential patent abuse persist under President Biden?

        Yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission’s Acting Chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter issued a statement on the fact that the FTC did not file a petition for writ of certiorari (Supreme Court review) in the Qualcomm case. On the decision itself I had already commented a few days ago, with a particular emphasis on the fact that Qualcomm’s lawyers are now representing Epic Games against Apple and Google.

        The FTC’s press release is now the first high-profile statement by a federal government agency on standard-essential patent (SEP) matters since President Biden took office, deserving a closer look.

        I totally agree with Mrs. Slaughter that the agency’s “staff did an exceptional job presenting the case” at the trial stage. And it’s a good thing to give Judge Lucy H. Koh credit. It obviously looks strange that the trial court agreed with the FTC all the way (except for a duty-to-deal theory that the FTC didn’t defend on appeal) while the appeals court reversed everything it could and vacated the remainder (the FRAND contract interpretation) as moot. Judge Koh deserved better. The Trump presidency was really bad for her. She had already been nominated to the Ninth Circuit, but her confirmation got derailed by the 2016 presidential election. And then the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, under Trump appointee Antitrust Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, fought hard against her ruling–and against the FTC.

        It’s often easy to be wise after the event, but if there’s only one aspect of trial management that Judge Koh could have done better in retrospect, it’s that she could have allocated more time to a discussion of the law with counsel. This was a complex case with multiple claims and theories. After all the witnesses had been heard, some more extensive back-and-forth between judge and counsel, partly in writing perhaps, might have helped to reach more solid conclusions–maybe the same result in the end, even on the duty to deal (for a component-level license), but on a more appeals-proof basis. Instead, the parties were basically just viewed as delivery boys: they had to present the facts, but the judge thought she knew all about the law. Then, I also sometimes disagreed with Judge Koh in the Apple-Samsung context (as did the appeals court, the Fedreal Circuit in that case), but all in all she is and remains an impressive judge especially on technology industry issues.

      • Patents

        • Ocado and Autostore expand robot-assisted technology war to Europe

          Ocado, a UK-based supplier of automated grocery warehouses, has filed patent infringement suits against Autostore in Norway, Poland and Germany. Ocado is accusing three Autostore companies of infringing its property rights.

          Autostore uses “cube-storage automation” that involves storage bins stacked vertically in a grid, allowing robots positioned at the top to retrieve the bins when needed. Ocado has developed a system where robots move around a vertical grid, which it calls a “Smart Platform.”

          In Germany, the UK company sued the Norwegian manufacturer of automated storage and retail systems on the basis of three utility models. Ocado filed two suits in Mannheim (case ID: 2 O 27/21 and 7 O 36/21). Two proceedings are also pending in Munich (case IDs 7 O 3904/21 and 7 O 3905/21). In both courts, the property rights are identical.

        • Industry Coalition Supports Continued Efforts to Oppose Waiver Proposal [Ed: Greedy corporations want to kill people with COVID-19 just to protect their patent monopolies; it remains to be seen how many millions will die needlessly for monopoly profits]

          Earlier today, a group of fifteen industry and trade organizations sent a letter to five members of the Biden Administration, to express their strong support for the Administration’s work to leverage international mechanisms to help address COVID-19 and also for the Administration’s continued efforts to oppose “a problematic proposal at the World Trade Organization to waive IP global protections,” which would “remov[e] patent, industrial designs, copyright, and trade secret protection for any products and services so long as they can be tied to COVID-19.”

          The letter’s signatories included the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), Incubate Coalition, Latino Coalition, National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC), National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), National Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE), Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA), Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), U.S. Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Council for International Business (USCIB), and U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC). The coalition’s letter was addressed to Gina M. Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce; Katherine C. Tai, U.S. Trade Representative; Brian Deese, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy; Jeffrey Zients, Coordinator of the COVID-19 Response and Counselor to the President; and Jacob Sullivan, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs.

        • New PatentlyO Law Journal Article: Covid-19 Pandemic’s Impact on the U.S. Patent System Through November 2020

          The Covid-19 pandemic has had and continues to have a major impact on people and countries across the globe. The pandemic has not only affected people, it has affected many facets of life including the economy. The United States government has passed two measures in an effort to address the issues Covid has introduced. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $2.2 trillion in economic stimulus. Both the CARES Act and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) have provided relief to stakeholders with regard to patents and applications.

          This essay examines patent abandonment rates and application rates to determine if they can shed light on how the Covid-19 pandemic affected innovation. While the results show temporary perturbations, the pandemic has had minimal effect on overall trends. This may suggest that abandonment rates and application rates may be surprisingly resistant to economic downturns or that the measurements are simply not good proxies for innovation. Part II of this paper describes the data available from the USPTO and the methods used to work with the data. Part III examines the data as well as offer theories about the results obtained from the data.

        • Software Patents

          • Stupid Patent of the Month: Telehealth Robots Say Goodbye

            The term “telehealth” includes any way of using electronic information and telecommunications technology to provide or administer healthcare and services related to health care, like electronic recordkeeping. It’s broader than “telemedicine,” which refers only to ways of using telecommunications to replace clinical care, like videoconferencing can. Both have become increasingly essential in the wake of COVID-19. According to one recently-published study, telemedicine services grew by more than 1000% in March and more than 4000% in April of 2020. Although people are going to doctors in person again, the demand for telemedicine is still expected to grow.

            Though the urgent need for telehealth is relatively new, the ability to make and use it is not. Our government has been developing and deploying these technologies for more than sixty years with early projects through the U.S. Space Program, including one involving the Tohono O’odham Indian Nation that demonstrated the feasibility of providing medical care via telecommunication in the 1970s. 

            With so many pioneering advances in the past, it should be challenging to get new telehealth patents today. It should be even more challenging since the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Alice v. CLS Bank that generic computer technology cannot make an abstract idea eligible for patent protection. Unfortunately, our latest Stupid Patent of the Month shows the Patent Office is not doing its job. Instead of granting patents on new and useful inventions, it is rubber-stamping applications on anything under the sun without regard for the requirements of patent law or needs of the public during the present health crisis.

          • Context Directions patent challenged

            On March 26, 2021, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 10,142,791, owned by Context Directions, LLC, which is affiliated with Jeffrey Gross. The ‘791 patent relates to the use of hierarchical sensor groups in mobile devices. It has been asserted against Samsung and LG in district court.

            View district court litigations by Context Directions. Unified is represented by in-house counsel Michelle Aspen and Ashraf Fawzy.

          • Judge Albright’s popularity among patent trolls: an unsustainable situation for the Western District of Texas and the Austin area economy

            ValueWalk, a website for financial investors, mentioned a potential scientific explanation for why trees don’t grow to the sky: “[T]heir height is limited by their ability to pull water from the roots to the leaves.” Gravity is a reality not only in biology, but also in patent litigation. Even in Waco, TX, gravity is a force.

            The patent docket of the Western District of Texas has grown eight-fold in only about two years. As Lex Machina reports, 793 new patent infringement cases were assigned to Judge Alan D. Albright of the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas in the year 2020–19.5% of all U.S. patent cases filed that year, and more than three times as many as to Judge J. Rodney Gilstrap in the Eastern District of Texas. For example, eight patent complaints were filed yesterday with Judge Albright’s court, versus 18 in all other (roughly 100) federal judiciary districts combined.

            A local newspaper article quotes Judge Albright as saying that “[t]here is nothing [he] enjoy[s] more than working on patent cases” (he was a patent litigator before being appointed to the bench) because “the lawyers are exceptional and the issues before me are always intellectually challenging.” And he feels “unbelievably lucky” about this institutionalized excess.

            The recent record patent damages verdict in VLSI v. Intel ($2.175 billion) may attract even more patent holders to the Western District. Whether it’s Caltech suing Microsoft or a newly-founded patent assertion entity claiming Samsung infringes its LED patents, they all contribute to the Western District’s “market leadership” because they seek windfall profits from Judge Albright’s exceedingly patentee-friendly rules and decisions.

          • Sound View ’860 patent challenged

            On March 30, 2021, Unified Patents filed an ex parte reexamination proceeding against U.S. Patent 8,135,860, owned by Sound View Innovations, LLC. The ‘860 patent relates to data processing that transforms web content into a format suitable for display by a client device, and has been asserted against Facebook.

            View district court litigations by Sound View. Unified is represented by in-house counsel Ellyar Barazesh, Ashraf Fawzy, and Jessica L.A. Marks.

            To view any documents for the reexamination proceedings on PAIR, go to https://portal.uspto.gov/pair/PublicPair, enter 90/014,713, and click on the “Image File Wrapper” tab.

      • Trademarks

      • Copyrights

        • Yes, Music Streaming Platforms Heavily Favor Major Label Artists — Now There’s a Study to Prove It

          Boston-headquartered antitrust-policy platform Competition Policy International (CPI) addressed the subject with a roughly 5,700-word report, entitled “Music Streaming: Is It a Level Playing Field?” And as initially mentioned, the study explored the advantages that today’s top streaming services present to artists who are signed to major labels, with an emphasis on the industry-leading Spotify.

          Worth noting at the outset is that the inquiry focused specifically on the UK streaming market – possibly due to recent investigations into per-stream royalty rates as well as criticism from high-profile British artists. But the core takeaways presumably hold true for artists in the U.S. and other major music industries.

        • TuneIn Infringed Labels’ Copyrights, Court of Appeal Rules

          US-based streaming audio service TuneIn has failed in its bid to have a High Court judgment overturned in the UK. The Court of Appeal found in favor of plaintiffs Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, ruling that when TuneIn facilitated access to radio stations unlicensed for use in the UK, the aggregator service breached the labels’ copyrights.

        • British MP’s Old Domain Name Targeted in Million Dollar Piracy Lawsuit

          Media giant ABS-CBN has filed a new lawsuit accusing several websites of offering pirated copies of its movies and TV-shows. One of the mentioned domain names, craigwhittakermp.co.uk, was previously used and promoted by British Member of Parliament Craig Whittaker. The new owner turned it into a pirate site and faces millions of dollars in damages.

        • Book Review: Copinger & Skone James on Copyright

          Each section contextualises the application of copyright as well as discussing key issues and challenges, including the impact of the COVID pandemic, such as the inclusion of pandemic-specific contract clauses.

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