2019-01-01 00:00:00 ..
2019-04-18 10:57:46 UTC
2019-04-18 12:24:09 UTC
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From the insides of Business Insider
As a huge fire took hold of Paris' Notre-Dame Cathedral on Monday evening, alt-right figures were in no time spreading rumours and disinformation on social media linking the blaze to Muslims and hinting at a sinister cover up.
French officials on Monday night were quick to say that arson was unlikely to be the cause of the blaze as it engulfed the roof of the 12th century cathedral, but far-right activists and propagandists were already all over social media channels pushing conspiracies.
Conspiracy theorist Jack Posobiec compared the blaze to 9/11, despite no link having made to terrorism by French officials, while alt-right activist Faith Goldy falsely claimed that three days previously "a Muslim jihadis [sic] in Paris was arrested for planning a terrorist attack at Notre-Dame Cathedral.
Funny, there was this little AC scurrying about here on SN yesterday, saying things like this.
...but well countered here, also by an AC:
Police have begun questioning workers who were carrying out renovations at the cathedral. The Paris prosecutor's office has opened an inquiry into "involuntary destruction by fire", indicating they believe the cause of the blaze was accidental rather than criminal.
The Paris prosecutor's office said it was treating the fire as an accident, ruling out arson and possible terror-related motives, at least for now.
Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang revealed this week that he's planning to use a 3D hologram to hold campaign rallies in multiple cities at the same time. Yang discussed the hologram during an appearance on TMZ Live. The segment showed off a hologram version of Yang dancing and performing with the famous Tupac hologram that appeared at Coachella in 2012.
[...] Yang plans to use the hologram, broadcast from the back of a truck, to deliver a recorded version of his stump speech to crowds in battleground states. Yang would set up in a studio and remotely beam into the rally to answer questions live and in real-time after the speech finished. The technique could save Yang, a longshot for the Democratic nomination at this point, a considerable amount of travel costs while helping to rally supporters and generate interest in key areas.
In the future, all politicians will attend events exclusively as holograms, beamed from their studios in Elysium.
Australian Cate Faehrmann may be the world's first politician to admit to having used the illicit drug MDMA. The reaction in Australia, and globally, has surprised her, she tells Gary Nunn in Sydney.
Ms Faehrmann's admission, made in January, has come amid a fierce debate about introducing "pill testing" services in New South Wales (NSW). Five music festival-goers have died from suspected drug overdoses in NSW since September. It has prompted passionate calls for action - but state lawmakers are divided on what should be done.
Ms Faehrmann, 48, from the Greens party, argues that her opponents have a "limited understanding of the people they're needing to connect with". She says she has taken MDMA (known as ecstasy when in pill form) "occasionally" since her 20s. "I'm sitting here as a politician with more experience than anyone else in the building," she says, adding: "Maybe not - maybe I'm the only one being honest."
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is opposed to pill testing. She has said that "no evidence [has been] provided to the government" that it saves lives, and that testing would give drug users "a false sense of security".
[*] MDMA: 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine:
3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), commonly known as ecstasy (E), is a psychoactive drug primarily used as a recreational drug. The desired effects include altered sensations and increased energy, empathy, and pleasure. When taken by mouth, effects begin after 30–45 minutes and last 3–6 hours.
Jon Brodkin at Ars Technica reports that the House Energy And Commerce committee approved the Save The Internet Act, which rolls back the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC)* 2017 repeal of its 2015 order on network neutrality[PDF].
The Ars Technica article states:
Democrats in the US House of Representatives yesterday rejected Republican attempts to weaken a bill that would restore net neutrality rules.
Commerce Committee Republicans repeatedly introduced amendments that would weaken the bill but were consistently rebuffed by the committee's Democratic majority. "The Democrats beat back more than a dozen attempts from Republicans to gut the bill with amendments throughout the bill's markup that lasted 9.5 hours," The Hill reported yesterday.
Republican amendments would have weakened the bill by doing the following:
- Exempt all 5G wireless services from net neutrality rules.
- Exempt all multi-gigabit broadband services from net neutrality rules.
- Exempt from net neutrality rules any ISP that builds broadband service in any part of the US that doesn't yet have download speeds of at least 25Mbps and upload speeds of at least 3Mbps.
- Exempt from net neutrality rules any ISP that gets universal service funding from the FCC's Rural Health Care Program.
- Exempt ISPs that serve 250,000 or fewer subscribers from certain transparency rules that require public disclosure of network management practices.
- Prevent the FCC from limiting the types of zero-rating (i.e., data cap exemptions) that ISPs can deploy.
[amendment links above are all PDF]
Another Republican amendment [PDF] would have imposed net neutrality rules but declared that broadband is an information service. This would have prevented the FCC from imposing any other type of common-carrier regulations on ISPs.
The committee did approve a Democratic amendment [PDF] to exempt ISPs with 100,000 or fewer subscribers from the transparency rules, but only for one year.
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) claimed that the Democrats' bill "is not the net neutrality that people want" and is "actually more government socialism," according to The Hill.
But the primary opponents of the FCC's net neutrality rules were broadband providers and Republicans in Congress, not the people at large. Polls showed that the FCC's repeal was opposed by most Americans: "Eighty-six percent oppose the repeal of net neutrality, including 82 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democrats," the Program for Public Consultation at the University of Maryland reported last year after surveying nearly 1,000 registered voters.
"It's embarrassing watching telecom shills in these committee votes attempt to turn this into a partisan issue when it's actually quite simple: no one wants their cable company to control what they can see and do on the Internet, or manipulate where they get their news, how they listen to music, or what apps they can use," Deputy Director Evan Greer of advocacy group Fight for the Future said.
The now-repealed net neutrality rules prohibited ISPs from blocking or throttling lawful content and from charging online services for prioritization. The Democrats' bill would reinstate those rules and other consumer protections that used to be enforced by the FCC. For example, Pai's repeal vote also wiped out a requirement that ISPs be more transparent with customers about hidden fees and the consequences of exceeding data caps.
*The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the United States government that regulates communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. The FCC serves the public in the areas of broadband access, fair competition, radio frequency use, media responsibility, public safety, and homeland security.
Submitted via IRC for Bytram
In 2017, criminals stole the personal data of about 143 million people from the credit rating system Equifax. It was a huge embarrassment for the company and a headache for the millions of people affected. Equifax's then-57-year-old CEO Richard Smith retired in September 2017, weeks after the breach was discovered, with a multi-million dollar pay package.
Massachusetts US Senator turned Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren wants to make sure that CEOs who preside over massive data breaches in the future don't get off so easily. On Wednesday, she announced the Corporate Executive Accountability Act, which would impose jail time on corporate executives who "negligently permit or fail to prevent" a "violation of the law" that "affects the health, safety, finances or personal data" of 1 percent of the population of any state.
A CEO could get up to a year in prison for a first offense. Repeat offenders could get three years.
The penalty only applies to companies that generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue—Equifax had $3.4 billion in revenue in 2017. It also only applies to companies that are either convicted of violating the law or settle claims with state or federal regulators. Equifax may qualify on this score, too, since the company signed a consent decree with state regulators last year.
With that said, it seems that most data breaches probably wouldn't trigger criminal penalties under the proposed new law. A CEO would only face jail time if a data breach was the result of illegal activity by the company and if prosecutors can show that the CEO was negligent in failing to prevent it. And under current law, merely being the victim of a data breach isn't a crime.
April 2, 2019
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, announced today that he would soon release a proposal to eliminate massive tax breaks enjoyed by the wealthy on their capital gains income. If successful, the proposal would ensure that income from wealth is taxed just like income from work.
His plan, which he has promised to flesh out in a white paper in the coming weeks, would tax the appreciation of assets owned by the very wealthy as income each year, an approach known as mark-to-market taxation. It would also subject that income to ordinary tax rates rather than special, lower income tax rates that apply to capital gains.
Step by step over the years, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey sought to ensure nobody could challenge him. He marginalized adversaries. He purged the army, the police and the courts. He cowed the press. He strengthened his powers in the Constitution. And he promised Turks a bright economic future.
So it was a huge surprise when the outcome of weekend municipal voting showed on Monday that Mr. Erdogan's party had not only lost control of Ankara, the political center, but maybe Istanbul, the country's commercial center, his home city and longstanding core of support. Even if the results were not final, they amounted to the most momentous political earthquake to shake Mr. Erdogan in nearly two decades of basically uncontested control at the helm of Turkey, a NATO ally and critical linchpin of stability in the region.
What was different this time was the rapidly tanking economy and a highly disciplined opposition. It deployed monitors to not only scrutinize the vote tallies but also sleep on sacks of sealed counted ballots to guard against possible tampering by members of Mr. Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party, the AKP. "We think they were not able to rig the election," said Ilayda Kocoglu, 28, vice president of the Istanbul branch of the opposition Republican People's Party, or CHP, who slept on some sacks herself. "They were not expecting us to be that organized, or that resolved."
The results do not mean that Mr. Erdogan, whose term as president lasts for four more years, will change his behavior, which includes promoting Islamic religious values over secularism, closer ties to Russia and chillier relations with NATO. But the election showed Mr. Erdogan has weaknesses. "It's a catastrophe for him," said Asli Aydintasbas, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. "We now know he is not invincible."
Japan has revealed the name of its next imperial era to be "Reiwa," set to begin May 1 as Crown Prince Naruhito is expected to take the throne.
Yoshihide Suga, Japan's chief cabinet secretary, announced the name at a press conference Monday morning local time, unveiling a board with the two kanji characters written on it. While there was some deliberation over the exact meaning, the two characters that make up the new name, or the "gengo," translate roughly to "good fortune" and "peace" or "harmony," according to The Japan Times.
"We hope [the era name] will be widely accepted by the people and deeply rooted as part of their daily lives," Suga told reporters.
The announcement comes as the current "Heisei" era draws to a close after three decades, with Emperor Akihito set to step down on April 30 in the first abdication of the throne in over 200 years.
[...]Announcing the name one month in advance gives companies and government entities time to incorporate the name into paperwork and computer systems, The Guardian reports. Even as the Western calendar has become more widespread in Japan, the era name is still used frequently, including on newspapers, coins and official documents like driving licenses. Under the system, 2019 is known as Heisei 31, or the 31st year of Akihito's reign.
Also at BBC.
Previously: MonarchyNews: The King is My Co-Pilot and Japanese Succession "Crisis"
Japan Clears Way for Emperor to Step Down in 1st Abdication in 200 Years
Big Tech Warns of 'Japan's Millennium Bug' Ahead of Akihito's Abdication
A group calling itself the Cheollima Civil Defense (CCD) says it was behind a raid on a North Korean embassy in the Spanish capital of Madrid last month in which staff were reportedly shackled and beaten.
According to a Spanish High Court document, the group entered the building on 22 February armed with machetes, knives, metal bars and cable ties and left with two computers, hard drives, USB pen drives and a mobile phone - items said to have been handed to the FBI.
But the organisation, a self-styled human rights group, disputes reports that this was a violent attack, saying that "no weapons were used" and embassy staff were "treated with dignity and necessary caution".
Despite having a website and YouTube channel, the group has made almost no contact with the world's media, and it remains somewhat in the shadows.
Farmers have been getting screwed by a combination of DRM linked to DMCA legalisms that effectively make farmers into criminals if they modify their own farming equipment, forcing them to choose between breaking the law or paying extortionate fees to equipment manufacturers for both hardware and software fixes.
Elizabeth Warren recently announced a new broad policy agenda focused on helping farmers. But buried in it is something everybody here can get behind too - the right to repair:
Consolidation is choking family farms, but there’s a whole lot of other ways in which big business has rigged the rules in their favor and against family farmers. I will fight to change those rules.
For example, many farmers are forced to rely on authorized agents to repair their equipment. Companies have built diagnostic software into the equipment that prevents repairs without a code from an authorized agent. That leads to higher prices and costly delays.
That’s ridiculous. Farmers should be able to repair their own equipment or choose between multiple repair shops. That’s why I strongly support a national right-to-repair law that empowers farmers to repair their equipment without going to an authorized agent. The national right-to-repair law should require manufacturers of farm equipment to make diagnostic tools, manuals, and other repair-related resources available to any individual or business, not just their own dealerships and authorized agents. This will not only allow individuals to fix their own equipment — reducing delays — but it will also create competition among dealers and independent repair shops, bringing down prices overall.