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posted by martyb on Saturday November 18 2017, @01:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the changing-tide dept.

Australians have voted 61.6% to approve of same-sex marriage, and the Turnbull-led government has said it would aim to pass legislation by Christmas:

Australians decisively support same-sex marriage

Australians have overwhelmingly voted in favour of legalising same-sex marriage in a historic poll. The non-binding postal vote showed 61.6% of people favour allowing same-sex couples to wed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said. Jubilant supporters have been celebrating in public spaces, waving rainbow flags and singing and dancing.

A bill to change the law was introduced into the Senate late on Wednesday. It will now be debated for amendments. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said his government would aim to pass legislation in parliament by Christmas. "[Australians] have spoken in their millions and they have voted overwhelmingly yes for marriage equality," Mr Turnbull said after the result was announced. "They voted yes for fairness, yes for commitment, yes for love."

The issue only went to a voluntary postal vote after a long and bitter debate about amending Australia's Marriage Act. The result on Wednesday brings an end to what was at times a heated campaign. The vote itself had been criticised by same-sex marriage supporters, many of whom said it was unnecessary when parliament could debate the issue directly.

Related: (U.S.) Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Same-Sex Marriage
One in Three People Globally Think Gay Marriage Should Be Legal
Taiwanese Court Invalidates Ban on Same-Sex Marriage


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posted by cmn32480 on Tuesday November 14 2017, @01:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the dissidents-beware dept.

Amos Yee is set to give his first ever public talk at Harvard.

Yee is a teenager from Singapore who has recently been granted political asylum in the US. He was in trouble with the Singaporean regime for repeatedly criticizing the country's late founder, Lee Kuan Yew. His treatment has been marginally better in the US. Although he was granted asylum by the US back in March, he was held in US jail until late September where he ran in to difficulties for his ongoing criticism of Islam. Currently, he is banned from Facebook for alleged, unspecified "community standards" violations. His videos are available on YouTube.


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posted by martyb on Monday November 13 2017, @02:06PM   Printer-friendly
from the cleaning-up dept.

Claiming a shortage of workers for the hospitality industry, Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club has requested and obtained permission to hire 70 foreign workers. The claim of a shortage of available workers is disputed:

'"We currently have 5,136 qualified candidates in Palm Beach County for various hospitality positions listed in the Employ Florida state jobs database," CareerSource spokesman Tom Veenstra said Friday.'

70 is a slight increase over last year, when 64 foreign workers were hired.

"Making America Great Again" by hiring foreigners? Perhaps what is required is higher pay, not foreigners.


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posted by takyon on Monday November 13 2017, @02:24AM   Printer-friendly
from the flame-on dept.

According to The Missoulian (archive):

Several of Missoula's top federal fire scientists have been denied permission to attend the International Fire Congress later this month, leading conference organizers to suspect censorship of climate-related research.

"Anyone who has anything related to climate-change research — right away was rejected," said Timothy Ingalsbee of the Association for Fire Ecology, a nonprofit group putting on the gathering. Ingalsbee noted that was his personal opinion, and that the AFE [Association for Fire Ecology] is concerned that a federal travel restriction policy may be more to blame.

The Missoulian also said (archive):

The scientists no longer attending include Matt Jolly, who was to present new work on "Climate-induced variations in global severe weather fire conditions," Karin Riley on "Fuel treatment effects at the landscape level: burn probabilities, flame lengths and fire suppression costs," Mike Battaglia on "Adaptive silviculture for climate change: Preparing dry mixed conifer forests for a more frequent fire regime," and Dave Calkin, who was working on ways to manage the human response to wildfire.

takyon: Also at Scientific American (thanks to another Anonymous Coward).


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posted by martyb on Monday November 06 2017, @04:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the cleaning-house dept.

Something is definitely going on in Saudi Arabia:

Saudi authorities arrested at least 11 princes, several current ministers and dozens of former ministers in a sweeping move reportedly designed to consolidate power for the son of King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud. According to media reports citing Saudi-owned television network Al Arabiya, an anti-corruption committee ordered the arrests hours after King Salman directed the creation of the committee, headed by his favorite son and adviser, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The committee was established by the royal decree, The Associated Press reports, "due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds." Billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is among those detained, The Wall Street Journal reports. Alwaleed holds stakes in some of the world's major companies, including Apple and Twitter.

Remember Prince Alwaleed? Bitcoin could outlive him.

It's unclear what those arrested are accused of doing, but Al-Arabiya reported that new investigations into the 2009 Jeddah floods and 2012 MERS virus outbreak have been launched.

Separately, the heads of the Saudi National Guard and Saudi Royal Navy have also been replaced.

BBC notes that the reform faction is in control here:

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says Prince Mohammed is moving to consolidate his growing power while spearheading a reform programme. [...] Prince Mohammed recently said the return of "moderate Islam" was key to his plans to modernise Saudi Arabia. Addressing an economic conference in Riyadh, he vowed to "eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon". Last year, Prince Mohammed unveiled a wide-ranging plan to bring social and economic change to the oil-dependent kingdom.

Some Soylentils have been skeptical of Saudi Arabia's recent moves towards liberalization (some listed below). Has this apparent purge of internal political opposition changed your mind about the viability of these reforms?

Also at NYT and Recode, which notes that the arrest of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is a potential setback for Saudi Arabia's tech ambitions (Alwaleed has had stakes in Apple, Twitter, and Lyft).

Previously: SoftBank May Sell 25% of ARM to Vision Fund; Chairman Meets With Saudi King
Saudi Arabia, UAE to Donate to Women Entrepreneurs Fund
Saudi Arabia to Lift Ban on Online VoIP and Video Calling Services
Saudi Arabia Will Lift Ban on Women Drivers Next Year
Saudi Arabia Planning $500 Billion Megacity and Business Zone
Robot Granted "Citizenship" in Saudi Arabia, Sparking Backlash
Saudi Arabia Announced Plans to Extract Uranium for Domestic Nuclear Power Program


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posted by mrpg on Sunday November 05 2017, @11:59PM   Printer-friendly
from the the-web-is-misinformation dept.

According to The Daily Beast, Jenna Abrams was not a real person at all, but was part of a Russian plot to turn Americans against themselves:

Her opinions about everything from manspreading on the subway to Rachel Dolezal to ballistic missiles still linger on news sites all over the web.

[...] Her account was the creation of employees at the Internet Research Agency, or the Russian government-funded "troll farm," in St. Petersburg.

[...] Abrams' pervasiveness in American news outlets shows just how much impact Russia's troll farm had on American discourse in the run-up to the 2016 election—and illustrates how Russian talking points can seep into American mainstream media without even a single dollar spent on advertising.

While the the [sic] typical image of a Russian troll may be a hastily put together Twitter account blaring out non-stop political messages, Abrams' account went to great lengths to simulate a real, American person who existed outside of Twitter fights and amplifying racist disinformation.

Her Twitter account was created back in 2014. She had a personal website, a Medium page, her own Gmail, and even a GoFundMe page.

takyon: More Russia stuff follows:

SAN FRANCISCO — As many as 126 million people — or one-third the U.S. population — may have seen material posted by a Russian troll farm under fake Facebook identities between 2015 and 2017, according to planned testimony by Facebook's general counsel obtained by USA TODAY.

Source: USA Today

The weekend after Trump's election, thousands of people attended a left-wing anti-Trump protest in New York City that was secretly organized by Russian operatives, ads released by the House Intelligence Committee revealed.

More than 16,000 people RSVP'd on Facebook for the protest, which was titled: "Trump is NOT my President. March against Trump."

Also at Politico.

Finally, Facebook will require political advertisers to disclose their identities.


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posted by cmn32480 on Thursday November 02 2017, @02:28PM   Printer-friendly
from the queue-eeoc-audit dept.

The Democratic National Committee is hiring IT people for these positions:

The Daily Wire, a conservative blog, posted an e-mail purportedly from Madeleine Leader, the DNC's Data Services Manager, showing her announcing the openings and writing

I personally would prefer that you not forward to cisgender straight while males, since they're already in the majority.

The Daily Wire blogger posted a different screenshot of the e-mail on Twitter.

Also at The Hill


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posted by takyon on Monday October 30 2017, @07:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the "I-didn't-even-know-the-guy" dept.

Manafort and Gates, were charged with "conspiracy against the United States," "conspiracy to launder money" and other offenses. The two were expected in court in Washington by the afternoon.

The Justice Department indictment on Manafort and Gates contains 12 counts: "conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts."

Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI.

The Manafort and Gates indictment unsealed on Monday morning does not make any reference to Russia's influence campaign against the presidential election, but it does allege extensive financial ties between Manafort and Gates and powerful Ukrainians.

The Papadopoulos materials, on the other hand, detail the many contacts investigators say he had with Russian-linked operatives. He met at least two people, a man and a woman, who the FBI says were working for the Russian government and had boasted to him about the help it could offer the Trump campaign against Clinton.


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posted by mrpg on Monday October 30 2017, @12:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the Вы-говори́те-по-ру́сски? dept.

After RT published excerpts from Twitter's "limited offer" to spend millions on US election marketing, the company abruptly banned all advertising from the news network. This makes full disclosure and transparency imperative, so here goes.

On Thursday, the micro-blogging platform announced a policy decision to ban ads from RT and Sputnik, citing alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.

It followed Twitter's report implying that RT was trying to influence US public opinion, crucially without providing context that virtually all news media organizations spend money on advertising their news coverage.
...
RT was thereby forced to reveal some details of the 2016 negotiations during which Twitter representatives made an exclusive multi-million dollar advertising proposal to spend big during the US presidential election, which was turned down.

Having since been banned, and in order to set the record straight, we are publishing Twitter's presentation and details of the offer in full.

Lenin said it: "The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them."


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Sunday October 29 2017, @05:40AM   Printer-friendly
from the We-have-always-been-at-war-with-Eurasia dept.

The last step to render I:8:11 a dead letter is currently being debated in a federal appeal.

Trump Justice Department: Wars are off limits to court review

A Trump administration attorney said Friday that federal courts cannot evaluate whether a president is waging an illegal war, even if the war clearly has no grounding in a congressional authorization of force and someone directly impacted sues.

The claim was made during oral arguments in an appeal filed by Nathan Michael Smith, a now-former Army intelligence analyst who sued last year claiming former President Barack Obama was illegally fighting Islamic State terrorists without an authorization for use of military force, or AUMF, from Congress.

[...] "What if the president were to initiate hostilities with a nation or organization that wasn't plausibly within these AUMFs, would that be subject to review?" Griffith asked.

"No, I think, is the short answer. No," said Thomas Byron, an experienced Justice Department attorney.


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