04.29.21

Links 29/4/2021: Lubuntu 18.04 LTS EOL, Router Freedom

Posted in News Roundup at 11:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Collabora take another shot at futex2 Linux Kernel syscalls to help Linux gaming

        Collabora developers have been working for some time on back-end Linux Kernel improvements to help Linux gaming, and Wine / Steam Play Proton – the latest patches have now been posted for futex2. Available to read about on the Linux Kernel Mailing List, Collabora developer André Almeida introduced the latest set.

        What’s all this about then? Well, the original futex (more info) introduced in 2003 has certain drawbacks. Developers have been trying to improve it but it’s proven difficult to get new code and features added in given the legacy of it. Some of the new features just don’t fit into the existing futex, and it can be slow – so they’re working on an new version.

      • Concurrent TLB Flushing For Linux 5.13 Provide A Small Performance Benefit – Phoronix

        Linux 5.13′s x86 memory management work is bringing a minor performance optimization that is particularly beneficial in light of the CPU security mitigations in recent years that have an impact on the TLB.

        VMware engineers for the past two years were looking at concurrent TLB flushes for Linux to flush local and remote translation lookaside buffers concurrently.

      • AMD’s Crypto Co-Processor Driver Adds Green Sardine Support In Linux 5.13 – Phoronix

        The crypto subsystem updates have landed in the Linux 5.13 kernel.

        This time around on the cryptography side the ECDSA algorithm has been added and a number of other minor improvements to the different crypto accelerator drivers.

      • AMD Energy Driver Booted From The Linux 5.13 Kernel – Phoronix

        While a lot of new features and improvements have been accumulating for the Linux 5.13 kernel with the ongoing merge window, one of the unfortunate aspects of this new kernel is that the AMD Zen CPU energy driver “amd_energy” is indeed being removed.

        It’s not being removed as some superior driver is being introduced but rather a disagreement between the upstream kernel maintainer(s) and AMD over the handling of the exposed energy sensors. The situation was laid out earlier this month in AMD Energy Monitoring Driver Slated To Be Removed From The Linux Kernel. Long story short, since last year the AMD Energy sensor information has been limited to root due to the PLATYPUS security vulnerability. HWMON maintainer Guenter Roeck proposed slightly limiting and randomizing the sensor data so it couldn’t be used for nefarious purposes but still accurate enough for genuine use-cases and no longer needing to be root-only access. However, AMD engineers didn’t like that approach.

      • Btrfs Continues Ironing Out Zoned Mode Support, Some Performance Work

        Btrfs’ readahead for send handling has been improved to the extent that the run-time for a full send is faster by about 10% and then 25% for incremental send. Btrfs also has ironed out its zoned mode support that began appearing in Linux 5.12, reflinks now respect O_SYNC/O_DSYNC/S_SYNC flags, more graceful errors on 32-bit systems, automatic background reclaim of zones that have 75%+ of unusable space, and a wide variety of fixes.

    • Applications

      • 8 Command Line Tools for Browsing Websites and Downloading Files in Linux

        This article aims to make you aware of several other Linux command Line browsing and downloading applications, which will help you browse and download files within the Linux shell.

        That’s all for now. I’ll be here again with another interesting topic you people will love to read. Till then stay tuned and connected to Tecmint. Don’t forget to provide us with your valuable feedback in the comments below. Like and share us and help us get spread.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Automatic load balancing for PMD threads in Open vSwitch with DPDK – Red Hat Developer

        This article is about the poll mode driver (PMD) automatic load balance feature in Open vSwitch with a Data Plane Development Kit data path (OVS-DPDK). The feature has existed for a while but we’ve recently added new user parameters in Open vSwitch 2.15. Now is a good time to take a look at this feature in OVS-DPDK.

        When you are finished reading this article, you will understand the problem the PMD auto load balance feature addresses and the user parameters required to operate it. Then, you can try it out for yourself.

      • Enhance application security by rotating 3scale access tokens

        In Red Hat 3scale API Management, access tokens allow authentication against the 3scale APIs. An access token can provide read and write access to the Billing, Account Management, and Analytics APIs. Therefore, ensuring you are handling access tokens carefully is paramount.

        This article explains how to enhance security by making access tokens ephemeral. By the end of the article, you will be able to set up 3scale to perform access token rotation. An external webhook listener service performs the actual token revocation. The rotation takes place automatically after a specific event triggers a webhook.

      • KDE Activities: How To
      • Everything You Need to Know About IP Addresses on Ubuntu

        Don’t know how to find your system’s IP address in Ubuntu? No problem. In this guide, we’ve covered everything related to IP addresses in Ubuntu for you. Apart from learning about IP addresses, we’ll also discuss how to find your system IP address along with a guide on setting a static IP address in Ubuntu.

      • Encrypting and decrypting files with OpenSSL | Opensource.com

        Secret-key encryption uses the same key for encryption and decryption, while public-key encryption uses different keys for encryption and decryption. There are pros and cons to each method. Secret-key encryption is faster, and public-key encryption is more secure since it addresses concerns around securely sharing the keys. Using them together makes optimal use of each type’s strengths.

      • LFCA: Learn Cloud Availability, Performance, and Scalability – Part 14

        In the previous topic of our LFCA series, we gave an introduction to Cloud computing, the different types and Clouds, and cloud services and walked you through some of the benefits associated with Cloud computing.

        If your business is still riding on the traditional IT computing environment, it’s time you leveled up and shifted to the cloud. It is estimated that by the end of 2021, over 90% of the total workload will be handled in the cloud.

      • How to Use Nmap Script Engine (NSE) Scripts in Linux

        Nmap is a popular, powerful and cross-platform command-line network security scanner and exploration tool. It can also help you get an overview of systems that connected your network; you can use it to find out all IP addresses of live hosts, scan open ports and services running on those hosts, and so much more.

        One of the interesting features of Nmap is the Nmap Script Engine (NSE), which brings even more flexibility and efficiency to it. It enables you to write your own scripts in Lua programming language, and possibly share these scripts with other Nmap users out there.

      • Install and Configure Fail2ban on Ubuntu 20.04

        Fail2ban is an open-source security framework written in Python that protects servers against brute force attacks. It scans log files and bans IP addresses that conduct unsuccessful login attempts. It works by updating the firewall to reject new connections from those IP addresses for a configurable period of time.

      • Exa – A Modern Replacement for ls Command

        exa is a tiny, fast, and modern replacement for the ordinary ls command that comes pre-installed on all Unix and Linux operating systems. It is an enhanced file lister that ships with more advanced features and a more user-friendly version of ls.

        It uses colors to determine the information of file types and metadata. It is also aware of symlinks, extended attributes, viewing git status, and recursing into directories with a tree view.

        The command exa is used by command-line users, system administrators, and programmers hundreds of times daily, as well as being helpful when writing automated scripts.

      • How To Install PHP 8 on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install PHP 8 on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor) is a popular scripting language that powers the dynamic content of millions of websites and apps such as WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla

        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 PHP 8 on an AlmaLinux 8.

      • Linux tips for using GNU Screen

        To the average user, a terminal window can be baffling and cryptic. But as you learn more about the Linux terminal, it doesn’t take long before you realize how efficient and powerful it is. It also doesn’t take long for you to want it to be even more efficient, though, and what better way to make your terminal better than to put more terminals into your terminal?

        One of the many advantages to the terminal is that it’s a centralized interface with centralized controls. It’s one window that affords you access to hundreds of applications, and all you need to interact with each one of them is a keyboard. But modern computers almost always have processing power to spare, and modern computerists love to multitask, so one window for hundreds of applications can be pretty limiting.

    • Games

      • Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition launches May 19 with a number of enhancements | GamingOnLinux

        Sunless Skies is simply awesome. A gothic-horror exploration RPG with flying-train combat. What more can you possibly ask for? How about a new upgraded version with Sunless Skies: Sovereign Edition.

        Now confirmed to be launching May 19 with Linux support, Failbetter Games worked to make this the best version possible. While a lot of it was towards the console releases, there’s plenty of PC enhancements too. Naturally this also means much better gamepad support, which no doubt many will appreciate. I certainly will, as it seems like such a great fit to play on one.

      • Dark Envoy is a non-linear sci-fantasy RPG coming in 2022 and it’s looking good | GamingOnLinux

        Founded in 2016, Event Horizon set off on a mission to develop memorable RPGs. They’ve since grown to 20 people after Tower of Time from 2018. Looks like Dark Envoy has much higher production values with motion-captured animation, scenic locations and all available in 4K. The good news is they still plan full Linux support too.

      • Google finally adds a search bar to Stadia, some big UI changes coming that look good | GamingOnLinux

        It’s hard to believe that Google, leader of the search engines took this long to implement search into Stadia but it’s finally here. The Stadia team also announced some good other changes coming.

        Not exactly a revolutionary feature a search bar, but a ridiculous thing for a store not to have. Do note though, the search bar is currently only for the Web – so mobile clients don’t have it (yet?). It’s funny really, such a simple feature has probably been the number 1 most requested feature by Stadia users. It’s rolling out to everyone across the week, so if you don’t have it yet – be patient.

      • Awesome looking voxel puzzler Bonfire Peaks releases later this year in Q3

        Developer Corey Martin (Pipe Push Paradise and Hiding Spot) and publisher Draknek (A Monster’s Expedition) have announced that Bonfire Peaks will see a release along with Linux support during Q3 this year. That means we should see it sometime between July and the end of September.

        “Move onwards, move upwards, and leave nothing behind: in Bonfire Peaks, players must climb to the top of a mysterious island ruin, burning everything they own along the way. Featuring hours of masterfully designed puzzle content, a breathtakingly lovely voxel overworld, and not a single second of filler content.”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Distributions

      • Proxmox VE 6.4 Released With Single-File Restore And Live Restore

        Proxmox VE 6.4 is based on Debian Buster 10.9, but using a newer, long-term supported Linux kernel 5.4. Optionally, the 5.11 kernel can be installed, providing support for the latest hardware.

        Proxmox VE (Proxmox Virtual Environment) is an open-source server management platform for your enterprise virtualization. It is a Debian-based Linux distribution with a modified Ubuntu LTS kernel and allows deployment and management of virtual machines and containers. Proxmox VE can be used also on a single node and on a cluster.

        With a centralized built-in web interface, users can run VMs and containers, manage software-defined storage and networking, clusters, etc.

        Proxmox may not be familiar to many, but it is gaining traction due to its smart combination of open-source KVM-based virtualization, software defined storage and containers.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • A brief overview of the Container Network Interface (CNI) in Kubernetes | Enable Sysadmin

          If you have worked with Kubernetes (K8s) and tried to learn some of its inner workings, either on the job or in a training course, you must have learned a bit about Container Network Interface (CNI). This article de-mystifies what CNI means and does.

        • Announcing Dates & CfP for Nest with Fedora

          As we celebrate Fedora Linux 34 with the upcoming Release Party, we are also looking forward to our next event: Nest with Fedora. As I mentioned in my last update, the 2021 edition of our annual contributor conference will again be virtual. I am happy to announce the dates for this year’s contributor conference: August 5th-8th, 2021. The Fedora Project has been thriving, and I am sure that this years event will be full of exciting content.

        • Fedora 34 Reviewed: A Great GNOME distro that’s worth checking out!

          I had a chance to check out Fedora 34 recently, and was impressed by the overall quality of the GNOME desktop and its implementation. There are a few rough edges, but overall, it’s a great distribution. In this video, I talk about the highlights and what makes it stand out.

        • Fedora Linux 34 available for download

          Woo-hoo! Today is officially the day many of us have been waiting for. Yes, Fedora Linux 34 is finally available for download. For many Linux users, Fedora is considered the best overall operating system to be based on that open source kernel. The distro focuses on truly free and open source software — a pure Linux experience. It is also fairly bleeding edge, but at the same time, it remains stable for everyday use.

          What makes Fedora 34 so exciting? Well, this version of the Linux-based operating system uses GNOME 40 as its default desktop environment, and version 40 is the most electrifying version of GNOME in years. GNOME 40 is notable for a horizontal workspace switcher and having the Dash (favorites launcher) moved to the bottom of the screen. Despite being released last week, Ubuntu 21.04 fails to comes with this version of GNOME.

        • The most popular Fedora Linux in years rolls out | ZDNet

          Red Hat’s community Linux distribution Fedora has always been popular with open-source and Linux developers, but this latest release, Fedora 34 seems to be something special. As Matthew Miller, Fedora Project Leader, tweeted, “The beta for F34 was one of the most popular ever, with twice as many systems showing up in my stats as typical.”

        • Recapping day two of Red Hat Summit Virtual Experience 2021

          It seems like just yesterday we were planning for Red Hat Summit 2021, and now the two days of our April Summit programming have just flown by. Let’s take a quick look back at what happened. And, if you missed something, don’t worry! Much of the Summit programming is still available on demand for you to watch at your convenience.

        • Red Hat boss on Linus Torvalds: ‘He’s changed the world’ | ZDNet

          Red Hat CEO Paul Cormier has continued his regional virtual tour this week, sharing with media in the Asia Pacific region on Thursday his thoughts on what the work Linus Torvalds has done over the last 30 years means for the world.

          “Oh, my gosh, where do you start?,” he began.

          “I mean, he’s changed the world. Just his vision of an open operating system.”

          It’s not just the operating system that came out of it, Cormier said.

          “That was the very beginning. Even when we got started with Linux 20-plus years ago, it really wasn’t — it was for hobbyists, but what Linus did was really show the world that open was a better way to develop new innovation,” the CEO said. “And I think where Red Hat took it from there, from an enterprise perspective, we showed the world that we really could run critical enterprise workloads on open source-developed software.”

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 21.10 ‘Impish Indri’ Opens for Development

          Call me a traditionalist, but after more than ten years of doing this I’m not sure a release cycle would truly feel “underway” if I didn’t squeeze out a 200 word post mentioning it.

          “As usual, we expect a large influx of builds and autopkgtests in this initial period, which will cause delays. Please help with fixing any breakage that occurs,” says Ubuntu’s Matthias Klose, in an email he shared to the Ubuntu development mailing list to kick off the cycle.

        • Don’t Upgrade to Ubuntu 21.04 Just Yet if You Have an Older System

          And, this is why you probably did not notice an update notification while using Ubuntu 20.10. Ubuntu developers have acknowledged the severity of this issue and decided not to prompt updates till this bug is fixed.

          As the bug report also mentions a solution where you download Ubuntu 20.04’s shim package to make amends.

          However, this is not a feasible solution for users.

          [...]

          Shim is a bit of code that is signed by Microsoft. So, they are waiting for the process to complete in order to include the new shim binaries for Ubuntu 21.04.

          Of course, it also affects some other official Ubuntu flavours like Kubuntu.

        • Lubuntu 18.04 LTS End of Life and Current Support Statuses

          Lubuntu 18.04 (Bionic Beaver) was released April 27, 2018 and will reach End of Life on Friday, May 30, 2021. This means that after that date there will be no further security updates or bugfixes released. We highly recommend that you re-install with 20.04 as soon as possible if you are still running 18.04.

          After May 30th, the only supported releases of Lubuntu will be 20.04 (until April 2023), 20.10 (until July 2021), and 21.04 (until January 2022). All other releases of Lubuntu will be considered unsupported, and will no longer receive any further updates (or support) from the Lubuntu team.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Martin Michlmayr: Research on FOSS foundations

        This primer covers non-technical aspects that the majority of projects will have to consider at some point. It also explains how FOSS foundations can help projects grow and succeed.

        [...]

        This research was sponsored by Ford Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The research was part of their Critical Digital Infrastructure Research initiative, which investigates the role of open source in digital infrastructure.

      • Events

      • FSFE

        • Router Freedom Activity Package +++ Fernanda Weiden +++ Spring Sales

          Router Freedom is the right that consumers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and router instead of equipment that the ISP provides. In the context of reform of telecommunications law, since June 2020 a new set of rules guides the implementation of Router Freedom in Europe.

          Check here the status of Router Freedom in your country
          Although the new rules will provide more clarity in several respects concerning end-users’ rights, the awareness of Router Freedom is low across Europe. Active participation of local communities in the legislative processes of laws impacting the ability of end-users to choose their network devices is crucial for leveraging the protection of Router Freedom in national jurisdictions.

          Therefore, we have prepared an activity package for individuals and organisations who want to communicate with regulators and decision makers of their countries and take a stand for Router Freedom. The package consists of an activity summary, a monitoring map and a wiki page with relevant information for local engagement.

      • Programming/Development

        • Color Maps and Conditional Formatting

          When visualizing the data, mapping of values to colors is one of essential steps. There is an extensive discussion in the literature about the proper selection of colors (see e.g. the publications mentioned here), and there are multiple publicly available collections of color maps that are designed to deliver best results in scientific visualization applications. For the coming release 2.9 we added some of the well-known collections to LabPlot.

        • Pete Zaitcev: Swift in 2021

          A developer meet-up for OpenStack, known as PTG, occurred a week ago. I attended the Swift track, where somewhat to my surprise we had two new contributors show up.

          I got into a habit of telling people that I did not want Swift to end like AFS: develop great software and dead, with nobody using it. Today I looked it up, and what do you know: OpenAFS made a release in June 2020 (and apparently they also screwed up and had to post an emergency release in October).

        • Discover Bottlenecks on QNX

          QNX is commonly the operating system of choice, when it comes to developing on embedded systems. However, the performance limits are exceeded quickly, especially if you’re working on low-end hardware. As a result, you’ll likely need to perform an investigation to find the bottlenecks that contribute to reaching these limits, in order to configure your application to fit the requirements of your system.

          There are many reasons why an application might be slow. Any number of bottlenecks could be causing the delays. In our experience, file reads and writes have been relevant factors, due to bandwidth limitations.

        • Network, learn and get inspired together – DEV/DES DAYS 2021

          The last year has been a roller coaster! As everything continues to be virtual, we wanted to create something special to bring people together and escape the reality.

        • Rust

          • Rustup 1.24.0 release incident report for 2021-04-27

            On 2021-04-27 at 15:09 UTC we released a new version of Rustup (1.24.0). At 15:23 UTC we received a report that we had introduced a regression in the part of the code which is responsible for proxying the rustfmt and cargo-fmt portions of Rust toolchains. At 15:27 UTC we had confirmed and identified the cause of the problem, and while we worked on a fix, we reverted the released Rustup to version 1.23.1 – an action completed by 15:56 UTC.

            This means that for approximately 47 minutes, CI jobs which used the code formatting features of Rust toolchains may have had spurious failures, and users who upgraded will have had to revert to 1.23.1. The revert process is designed to be as easy as upgrading was, meaning that users should not have had lingering issues.

  • Leftovers

    • Waiting for Catastrophes

      Chatting with a friend in Baghdad—I’ve been calling friends around the world to ask them how they are doing in the pandemic. Abbas, a veteran reporter in Baghdad, says that there have been over a million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Iraq, and he does not know anyone who has been vaccinated. Journalists, we joke, using Trump’s phrase, are “enemies of the people” and not essential workers. “Not sure when I’ll get a vaccine,” Abbas said.

    • Blake Bailey’s Life as a Man

      I wasn’t planning to read Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth anytime soon. Despite their (to me) obvious male narcissism, I’ve enjoyed some of Roth’s novels a lot—The Ghost Writer, The Counterlife, The Plot Against America, and The Human Stain are favorites. There is something liberatory about the intensity of his commitment to his own id—“the fantasy of purity,” he wrote, in The Human Stain, “is appalling.” But I don’t share the emotional identification with his work felt by numerous literary men of my acquaintance, much less 900 pages’ worth of curiosity about the man himself. Still, when Norton announced it was suspending publicity and shipments of the biography’s initial 50,000 print run, and had dropped its plans to print 10,000 more, I called up my local bookstore and reserved a copy. I figure I’m a grown-up, I can decide for myself.

    • The Art of the Memoir With Japanese Breakfast

      Twenty twenty-one will be a big year for Michelle Zauner, who is a writer, the host of a series of Vice videos about fusion cuisines, the director of a music video for Better Oblivion Community Center (the duo of rock artists Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers), and the soundtrack composer for an upcoming open-world video game. But Zauner is probably best known as Japanese Breakfast, the indie pop artist behind the critically acclaimed albums Psychopomp and Soft Sounds From Another Planet. Her third record, Jubilee, is slated for a summer release after coronavirus-related delays, and her memoir, Crying in H-Mart, was recently published by Knopf.

    • Science

      • Enemies of Science

        McCullough argues that cases of shingles outbreaks in people who had received recently received COVID vaccines cannot have been caused by the vaccines as early speculation had suggested (“Shingles is not caused by COVID-19 vaccines. Here’s the science”). “Science,” writes, McCullough, “is littered with post hoc fallacies.” The inference, she argues, from the fact that an outbreak of shingles followed closely upon a COVID vaccine to the conclusion that it was caused by the vaccine is an example of such a fallacy.

        A post hoc, or more correctly, a post hoc, ergo propter hoc fallacy refers to the inference from the fact that one event followed another event, to the conclusion that the first event caused the second event. More is necessary to support such a conclusion than mere temporal succession. McCullough is right about that. That’s about the only thing she gets right, however, in an otherwise very misleading article that is marred by its own equally egregious informal fallacy.

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Integrity/Availability

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Amid National Reckoning on Police Brutality, Omar Reintroduces Bold Reform Bills

        “History shows that the criminal justice system is not equipped to prosecute itself.”

      • Commission Finds Anti-Black Police Violence Constitutes Crimes Against Humanity
      • Connecting the dots Bulgaria suspects six Russian nationals in series of arms depot explosions

        Bulgaria is investigating six Russian nationals over their alleged involvement in a series of arms depot explosions dating back as far as 2011, the spokeswoman for the country’s Prosecutor General’s Office announced at a press conference on Wednesday, April 28. The explosions targeted weapons apparently destined for export to Georgia and Ukraine, which belonged to Bulgarian arms dealer Emilian Gebrev. Bulgarian prosecutors also believe there may be a connection between the blasts and the poisoning attempt on Gebrev in 2015.

      • Drug Laws and the Killing of Andrew Brown, Jr.

        Like George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Marvin Scott and Carlos Ingram Lopez and Daniel Prude and so many others, Andrew Brown Jr. would be alive today if it were not for the drug war. What was supposed to be a search and arrest warrant for drugs ended up being a death sentence.

        Holding one officer accountable does nothing to fix an inherently broken and racist system. This is a systemic issue that demands a systemic response. So long as the drug war remains and we continue to rely on police versus our public health systems to deal with drugs in this country, law enforcement will continue to exploit the premise of the drug war to excuse these deaths and shield themselves from accountability. And tragically, we will continue to see Black, Latinx and Indigenous people killed in horrible and unimaginable ways.

      • Chechen Supreme Court prolongs arrest of opposition activist after overturning his detention a month ago

        Chechnya’s Supreme Court has upheld the ruling of the court of first instance prolonging the arrest of activists Ismail Isayev and Salekh Magamadov — two brothers who ran the opposition Telegram channel Osal Nakh 95. This was reported to Meduza by the Russian LGBT Network.

      • US Department Of Education Now Investigating Florida Sheriff’s Student ‘Pre-Crime’ Program

        The Pasco County (FL) Sheriff’s Office decided to bring some of its predictive policing nonsense indoors. It also started looking for smaller targets. The program used to harass residents over things like uncut lawns and missing mailbox numbers was extended to schoolchildren, who were subjected to the same sort of spreadsheet bullshit. Low grades? Miss a few school days? Victim of domestic violence?

      • Amid Widespread Disease, Death, and Poverty, the Major Powers Increased Their Military Spending in 2020

        Even so, the disasters of 2020 were not shocking enough to jolt the world’s most powerful nations out of their traditional preoccupation with enhancing their armed might, for once again they raised their military spending to new heights.

        During 2020, world military expenditures increased to $1,981,000,000,000—or nearly $2 trillion—with the outlays of the three leading military powers playing a major part in the growth. The U.S. government increased its military spending from $732 billion in 2019 to $778 billion in 2020, thus retaining its top spot among the biggest funders of war preparations. Meanwhile, the Chinese government hiked its military spending to $252 billion, while the Russian government raised its military outlay to $61.7 billion.

      • America’s Ruinous Pursuit of Mission Impossible in Afghanistan

        In all that time, Washington has been fighting what, in reality, should have been considered a fantasy war, a mission impossible in that country, however grim and bloody, based on fantasy expectations and fantasy calculations, few of which seem to have been stanched in Washington even so many years later. Not surprisingly, Biden’s decision evoked the predictable reactions in that city. The military high command’s never-ending urge to stick with a failed war was complemented by the inside-the-Beltway Blob’s doomsday scenarios and tired nostrums.

        The latter began the day before the president even went public when, in a major opinion piece, the Washington Post’s editorial board distilled the predictable platitudes to come: such a full-scale military exit, they claimed, would deprive Washington of all diplomatic influence and convince the Taliban that it could jettison its talks with President Ashraf Ghani’s demoralized U.S.-backed government and fight its way to power. A Taliban triumph would, in turn, eviscerate democracy and civil society, leaving rights gained by women and minorities in these years in the dust, and so destroy everything the U.S. had fought for since October 2001.

      • The Russia/China Space Weaponization Treaty

        Fairlamb knows the weaponization of space issue. His background includes being International Affairs Specialist for the Army Space and Missile Defense Command and Military Assistant to the U.S. Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs. He is familiar with war first-hand: he was a company commander in Vietnam. He holds a doctorate on “Comparative Defense Policy Analysis.”

        “Given the implications for strategic stability, and the likelihood that such a decision [to deploy weapons in space] by any nation would set off an expensive space arms race in which any advantage gained would likely be temporary, engaging now to prevent such a debacle seems warranted,” wrote Fairlamb in his opinion column on February 4 in The Hill. 

      • George Floyd
      • US Role Behind the Defeat of Ecuador’s Leftist Presidential Candidate

        This setback for the Citizens Revolution movement, founded by Rafael Correa, will have profound implications for Ecuador and beyond, fortifying the US-allied reactionary bloc in Latin America.

        Former President Correa left office with a 60% approval rating. He had been twice elected president on the first round; unprecedented for Ecuador, which had a turnover of seven presidents in the previous decade. His Alianza País party had won fourteen elections, reflecting the popularity of their wealth redistributive programs, including reducing extreme poverty in half.

      • ‘Police Killed My Brother’: Video Shows Officers Kneeling on Mario Gonzalez’s Back for 5 Minutes

        The body camera footage released Tuesday conflicts with the account Alameda police officers gave earlier this month. 

      • Opinion | Amid Widespread Disease, Death, and Poverty, the Major Powers Increased Their Military Spending in 2020

        The existence of widespread poverty in the world’s mightiest military powers raises the question of what could have been done to alleviate or eliminate it, if during 2020 they had not poured nearly $1.1 trillion into preparations for war.

      • ‘It’s About Damn Time’: Advocates Welcome DOJ Hate Crimes Charges in Ahmaud Arbery Killing

        “It’s one step closer to justice,” Arbery’s mother said of the new federal indictments for the three men accused of murdering her son in Georgia last year. 

      • The End of the War in Afghanistan Is in Sight

        On May 1, the date Donald Trump signed onto for the withdrawal of the remaining 3,500 American troops from Afghanistan, the war there, already 19 years old, was still officially a teenager. Think of September 11, 2021—the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and the date Joe Biden has chosen for the same—as, in essence, the very moment when its teenage years will be over.

      • Human Rights Watch: Israel Is an Apartheid State

        In the summer of 2014, after an Israeli siege and bombing of Gaza left hundreds of Palestinian children dead, tens of thousands of South Africans took to the streets of their capital city to protest for the Palestinian people. There, addressing a crowd of South African workers, civil society organizations, trade unions, and political parties, the former president of South Africa Thabo Mbeki called for a boycott of Israeli goods, evoking the parallels between his people’s experiences of apartheid and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Credit Suisse Faces Renewed Push To Investigate Whistleblower Claims They Violated Plea Deal

        Credit Suisse, a financial services firm headquartered in Switzerland, violated the terms of a 2014 plea agreement, but the Justice Department under Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump declined to punish the investment bank.

        Former Credit Suisse bankers blew the whistle on the firm’s use of sham companies, foundations, and trusts to evade tax authorities in the United States. As Bloomberg noted, in May 2014, when the bank pled guilty, it “did not tell the Justice Department about a $200 million account held by an American client” named Dan Horsky.

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘It’s Important Americans Don’t Take for Granted They Can Exercise Their First Amendment Rights’
      • Malaysian Government Claims Insulting The Queen With A Spotify Playlist Is A Threat To National Security

        The government of Malaysia has never been shy about censoring uppity citizens for doing things like, say, exposing massive government corruption. But it also has some royalty to shield from the content created by disgruntled citizens. That’s why it recently welcomed a “fake news” law into the fold, giving the government (and the royalty it ultimately serves) yet another censorial weapon to deploy.

      • The Politics of Free Speech in Muslim Countries

        Many Muslim states stifle the free press, some more than others. Some states own the media and do not permit commercial press, while others allow commercial press but control them through censorship laws. In some cases, the military and intelligence agencies command the state-media and commercial press with hidden hands. In many Muslim countries, journalists disappear, face persecution, imprisonment, assault, torture, and murder. The 2018 assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist whose body was sawed into pieces in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, is the most dramatic example of state-sponsored revenge for exposing the government’s wrongdoings.

        The absence of the free press empowers governments to manipulate the information reaching the people.  Globally, the leading Muslim countries occupy the bottom of free press rankings. Out of 180 countries, ranked by Reporters without Borders, a non-governmental organization, Iran (174), and Saudi Arabia (170), the principal Shia and Sunni countries are at the world’s worst. Pakistan (145), Bangladesh (152), and Turkey (153), purportedly constitutional democracies, are slightly better than Egypt (166) suffering under the military dictatorship and Iraq (163) emerging from the U.S. invasion. Indonesia, the most populated Muslim country, trails at 113.

      • Months After Indian Gov’t Threatens To Jail Twitter Employees, Twitter Now Blocking Tweets That Criticize The Indian Government

        Back in February, we wrote about how the Indian government was threatening to jail Twitter employees if the company wouldn’t block various tweets that were critical of the government’s handling of farmer protests in that country. While Twitter pushed back, eventually it did block a bunch of content, though it appears it did so reluctantly, and only because it had no other choice.

      • Content Moderation Case Study: Apple Blocks WordPress Updates In Dispute Over Non-Existent In-app Purchase (2020)

        Summary: Apple controls what apps get onto iPhone and iPads via its full control over the iOS App Store. Every app (and its updates) need to be reviewed by Apple staff before it’s allowed in the store — and Apple puts in place its own rules for what is and what is not allowed.

      • Senator Marco Rubio: Speech I Disagree With Is Pollution

        Senator Marco Rubio keeps trying to act Trump-like, but he just can’t pull it off. He actually knows what he’s saying is bullshit and unlike some other politicians, it’s pretty obvious when Rubio is play-acting populist nonsense, rather than having any real conviction behind it. His latest is a NY Post opinion piece in which he takes on the new favorite punching bag of Republicans-who-have-no-principles-left: what is stupidly being referred to as “woke” corporations.. This is, of course, somewhat hilarious for anyone who followed decades of Republican politics in which over and over the politicians insisted that companies could do no wrong. But now that some companies are pushing back on Republican-inspired nonsense, suddenly they have to be labeled as “woke” and punished.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • ACLU Urges Biden to Shut Down Detention Facilities ‘Used to Abuse and Traumatize Immigrants’

        “It’s time to end our nation’s newest system of mass incarceration of Black and Brown people.”

      • At the St. Louis City Jail, Inmates Have Been Pushed to the Brink

        On Easter Sunday, about 60 people incarcerated at the St. Louis City Justice Center (CJC) jail in downtown St. Louis escaped from their cells and joined together in an uprising to demand their day in court and improved conditions inside the jail amidst the deadly pandemic. It was the second major uprising at the CJC since February, and at least the fourth coordinated protest there in the last five months. Across the country, the pandemic has catalyzed a year of unprecedented unrest inside jails and prisons. Researchers at Perilous Chronicle reported in November that there had been 119 acts of collective resistance in just the first 90 days of Covid-19 at facilities in the United States and Canada.

      • Opinion | Supreme Court: Let’s Make It Easier for Judges to Send Teenagers to Die in Prison

        The judicial counterrevolution to juvenile sentencing reform is here, arriving in a regressive decision about a teenager condemned to life without parole.

      • Preemptive intimidation Meduza looks into the violent police response at last week’s Navalny protest in St. Petersburg

        Across Russia last week, police arrested almost 2,000 people at solidarity rallies in support of Alexey Navalny. Though the demonstrations ended largely without incident in Moscow (where there were only about 30 arrests), police in St. Petersburg acted much more violently, resorting to clubs and stun guns as they arrested more than 800 protesters. What’s more, the police brutality continued after demonstrators were taken into custody. At Meduza’s request, local journalist Alexander Yermakov looks into why the St. Petersburg police acted the way they did.

      • Russian police arrest more than 100 people in the week after the Navalny solidarity protests

        Russian police have detained 115 people during the week after the protests in support of jailed opposition politician Alexey Navalny on April 21, reports the independent monitoring group OVD-Info. 

      • Hard knocks Moscow police arrested few demonstrators at last week’s Navalny protests, but now they’re coming for activists and journalists using facial recognition data

        Protests in Moscow in support of imprisoned opposition politician Alexey Navalny on April 21 ended relatively peacefully with just 60 or so arrests — far fewer than the 1,000 demonstrators police detained at similar rallies in January. A source close to the Russian government told Meduza that the decision to use minimal force against protesters in April was based on recommendations from the Kremlin. Another source close to the Putin administration confirms that the president’s advisers encouraged law enforcement to avoid a scene in Moscow that would displace news coverage of Putin’s state-of-the-nation speech, which took place hours earlier. An official in the Moscow Mayor’s Office confirmed these reports. Almost a week later, however, it’s become apparent that the authorities aren’t done policing the April 21 protests. Meduza explains how officials in Moscow and other cities are using new technologies to identify and intimidate the activists and even the journalists who attended the demonstrations.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Why Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s Own Department Officials Don’t Support His Claims on Regulating User Generated Content

        This isn’t complicated. The Liberals established exceptions for users and their content in Bill C-10. In fact, on the day he introduced the legislation, Guilbeault told the House of Commons that “user generated content will not be regulated.” With last week’s change, his own department acknowledges that the content will be regulated. No amount of spin will change the reality that Guilbeault committed to exclude user generated content, but caved to pressure from music industry lobbyists instead, tossing out freedom of expression in the process.

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