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posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday August 20 2019, @12:47AM   Printer-friendly
from the and-then? dept.

Submitted via IRC for AndyTheAbsurd

The proposal is part of Sanders' broader plan for police reform.

Wait, they used WOODY HARRELSON as a template? And I'm not sure why facial recognition is the focus here, when I feel that the end of providing military equipment to police forces is much more impactful a change.


Original Submission

posted by janrinok on Sunday August 18 2019, @05:46AM   Printer-friendly
from the we're-not-listening....but-we-might dept.

Breaking a long silence about a high-profile National Security Agency program that sifts records of Americans' telephone calls and text messages in search of terrorists, the Trump administration on Thursday acknowledged for the first time that the system has been indefinitely shut down — but asked Congress to extend its legal basis anyway.

In a letter to Congress delivered on Thursday and obtained by The New York Times, the administration urged lawmakers to make permanent the legal authority for the National Security Agency to gain access to logs of Americans' domestic communications, the USA Freedom Act. The law, enacted after the intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden revealed the existence of the program in 2013, is set to expire in December, but the Trump administration wants it made permanent.

The unclassified letter, signed on Wednesday by Dan Coats in one of his last acts as the director of National Intelligence, also conceded that the N.S.A. has indefinitely shut down that program after recurring technical difficulties repeatedly caused it to collect more records than it had legal authority to gather. That fact has previously been reported, but the administration had refused to officially confirm its status.

[...] The executive branch had been internally divided over whether to push for an extension of the part of the Freedom Act that authorizes the phone records program. Months ago, the N.S.A. presented a bleak assessment of the program to the White House, saying it carried high costs and few benefits, but some officials argued that it made sense to keep the legal authority in case technical solutions emerged to make it work better, according to officials familiar with internal deliberations.

Trump Administration Asks Congress to Reauthorize N.S.A.'s Deactivated Call Records Program

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Friday August 16 2019, @09:27PM   Printer-friendly
from the it's-a-joke-son dept.

Denmark Offers to Buy U.S.

COPENHAGEN (The Borowitz Report)—After rebuffing Donald J. Trump's hypothetical proposal to purchase Greenland, the government of Denmark has announced that it would be interested in buying the United States instead.

"As we have stated, Greenland is not for sale," a spokesperson for the Danish government said on Friday. "We have noted, however, that during the Trump regime, pretty much everything in the United States, including its government, has most definitely been for sale."

"Denmark would be interested in purchasing the United States in its entirety, with the exception of its government," the spokesperson added.

A key provision of the purchase offer, the spokesperson said, would be the relocation of Donald Trump to another country "to be determined," with Russia and North Korea cited as possible destinations.

If Denmark's bid for the United States is accepted, the Scandinavian nation has ambitious plans for its new acquisition. "We believe that by giving the U.S. an educational system and national health care, it could be transformed from a vast land mass into a great nation," the spokesperson said.

Attention Denmark: at least our politicians are for sale, regardless of party affiliation, to purchasers both foreign and domestic.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday August 14 2019, @01:20PM   Printer-friendly
from the gunboats,-always-associated-with-diplomacy dept.

Hong Kong Airport Paralysed for a Second Day by Protesters:

The US is claiming its naval ships have been denied entry to Hong Kong, as Donald Trump suggests troops are “moving towards the border”.

A US Commander has confirmed China has blocked the Pacific Fleet’s naval ships from entering ports in Hong Kong.

Two US naval ships due to visit Hong Kong have been denied scheduled access to the city’s ports by China, the US Pacific Fleet confirmed today.

A US Navy spokesman today said two vessels had been blocked from entering the port, hours after President Donald Trump said China was moving its troops towards the border.

The president’s claims were made without specific evidence, according to The Australian

Commander Nate Christensen, the deputy spokesman for the United States Pacific Fleet, confirmed this morning the two US ships, USS Green Bay and USS Lake Erie, had been barred from entering the port. The first vessel, an amphibious dock landing ship, was due to stop in Hong Kong on Saturday, and the second was due in the city next month.

The last time the US Navy visited Hong Kong was in April.

Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2019

[...]Hong Kong’s 10-week political crisis, in which millions of people have taken to the streets calling for a halt to sliding freedoms, was already the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of the semi-autonomous city since its 1997 handover from Britain.

But two days of protests at the airport have again raised the stakes for the financial hub.

Beijing is sending increasingly ominous signals that the unrest must end, with state-run media showing videos of security forces gathering across the border.

[...]All check-ins were cancelled on Tuesday afternoon after thousands of protesters wearing their signature black T-shirts made barricades using luggage trolleys to prevent passengers from passing through security gates.

[...]Demonstrators say they are fighting the erosion of the “one country, two systems” arrangement that enshrined some autonomy for Hong Kong since China took it back from Britain in 1997.

While Hong Kong is a sovereign part of China, the former colony has significant differences to the mainland, including separate legal and political systems, distinct currency, national sporting teams and a greater tolerance for freedom of expression.

Hong Kong also retains many of its pre-colonial features, including driving on the same side of the road as Britain and Australia but not China, the retention of many British place names and statues of British monarchs and dignitaries.

Those two different systems are supposed to remain in place for at least 50 years.

However, Beijing has sought to erode these freedoms in recent years through changes to the law, attempts to not allow pro-independence politicians to take their seats in the region’s parliament and even the disappearance of booksellers critical of the Communist Party leadership.

See also: Navy Times, Business Insider, CNN.

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Wednesday August 14 2019, @03:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the are-you-"kid"ding? dept.

Anti-natalists: The people who want you to stop having babies

They believe humans shouldn't have children. Who are the anti-natalists - and how far are they willing to push their ideas?

"Wouldn't it just be better to blow a hole in the side of the earth and just have done with everything?" Thomas, 29, lives in the east of England, and although his idea of blowing up the world is something of a thought experiment, he is certain about one thing - humans should not have babies, and our species should gradually go extinct.

It's a philosophy called anti-natalism. While the idea dates back to ancient Greece, it has recently been given a huge boost by social media. On Facebook and Reddit, there are dozens of anti-natalist groups, some with thousands of members. On Reddit, r/antinatalism has nearly 35,000 members, while just one of the dozens of Facebook groups with an anti-natalist theme has more than 6,000.

They are scattered around the world and have a variety of reasons for their beliefs. Among them are concerns about genetic inheritance, not wanting children to suffer, the concept of consent, and worries about overpopulation and the environment. But they are united in their desire to stop human procreation. And although they are a fringe movement, some of their views, particularly on the state of the earth, are increasingly creeping into mainstream discussion. While not an anti-natalist, the Duke of Sussex recently said he and his wife were planning to have a maximum of two children, because of environmental concerns.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday August 13 2019, @11:57AM   Printer-friendly
from the he-said-she-said dept.

China said on Friday the joint declaration with Britain over Hong Kong, which laid the blueprint over how the city would be ruled after its return to China in 1997, was a historical document that no longer had any practical significance.

In response, Britain said the declaration remained in force and was a legally valid treaty to which it was committed to upholding.

The stark announcement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, that is sure to raise questions over Beijing’s commitment to Hong Kong’s core freedoms, came the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Hong Kong the “one country, two systems” formula was recognized “by the whole world”.

It was not immediately clear if Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang was attacking just the idea of continued British involvement in Hong Kong, which marks the 20th anniversary of Chinese rule on Saturday, or the principles in the document.

Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Tuesday August 13 2019, @10:25AM   Printer-friendly
from the don't-do-drugs-eh dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Canadians are in a kerfuffle over the Trump administration's preliminary plan to allow Americans to import lower-cost prescription medications from Canada.

The plan was announced July 31 and is part of the administration's long-sought effort to drag down the US's skyrocketing drug prices. But it's a long way from being a reality. Even if the plan does pan out, it will likely be years before regulators review, approve, and scale up efforts to import drugs.

Still, Canadians are infuriated by the idea and already brainstorming ways to toss it down the garburator, according to a report by health-news outlet STAT. Many fear that American importation would exacerbate current drug shortages in Canada.

"You are coming as Americans to poach our drug supply, and I don't have any polite words for that," Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa told STAT. Prof. Attaran went on to refer to the plan as "deplorable" and "atrociously unethical." "Our drugs are not for you, period."

[...] On Monday, August 12, Canada's Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor was set to meet with pharmacists, patients, and industry officials to discuss a response to the US plan, according to STAT. Petitpas Taylor has pledged to "ensure there are no adverse effects to the supply or cost of prescription drugs in Canada."

In order to protect Canadians, some advocates and policy experts suggested that Canada could begin controlling the export of pharmaceuticals, pass new laws simply banning exporting drugs meant for Canadians, or impose new tariffs.

-- submitted from IRC

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Tuesday August 06 2019, @09:57PM   Printer-friendly
from the Cool-It! dept.

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters: Don't 'Play With Fire'

Amid weeks of mass anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong that have frequently turned violent, Beijing on Tuesday issued a stark warning to protesters: "those who play with fire will perish by it."

The remarks, at a news conference in Beijing, were made by Yang Guang, a spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council. He said China has "tremendous power" to put down the protests and warned that anyone who engages in "violence and crimes ... will be held accountable."

Asked if he could rule out the use of military force in Hong Kong, Yang told journalists: "We will not let any acts attacking the principle of 'one country, two systems' go unpunished." "I warn all those criminals: Don't misjudge the situation or take restraint as a sign of weakness," he said.

Yang's comments came a day after Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, vowed to restore order in the city after nine weeks of nearly uninterrupted demonstrations. Speaking on Monday, the embattled Lam said the Chinese territory was "on the verge of a very dangerous situation" — words repeated verbatim by Yang.

See also: Hong Kong Strike Sinks City Into Chaos, and Government Has Little Reply
Hong Kong's Stock Rout Enters 10th Day, Worst Streak Since 1984
Hong Kong Protests Broaden Despite Police Crackdown

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Saturday August 03 2019, @04:04AM   Printer-friendly
from the if-you-can't-fix-it,-break-it dept.

U.S. pulls out of Soviet-era nuclear missile pact with Russia

The United States formally withdrew from a landmark nuclear missile pact with Russia on Friday after determining that Moscow was in violation of the treaty, something the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.

Washington signalled it would pull out of the arms control treaty six months ago unless Moscow stuck to the accord. Russia called the move a ploy to exit a pact the United States wanted to leave anyway in order to develop new missiles.

The 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) was negotiated by then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

INF treaty.

Also at BBC and NPR.

Previously: President Trump Warns That the U.S. Will Pull out of Nuclear Forces Treaty and Build Up its Arsenal

Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday July 26 2019, @11:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the just-looking? dept.

Russian hackers probed election systems in all 50 states, a new Senate report confirmed Thursday.

The report comes one day after former special counsel Robert Mueller told Congress that the Russian government is working to meddle in U.S. elections "as we sit here."

"It wasn't a single attempt," Mueller said Wednesday of Russia's 2016 election interference. "They're doing it as we sit here. And they expect to do it during the next campaign."

The bipartisan report by the Senate Intelligence Committee released Thursday confirmed previous comments by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Russian hackers scanned election systems in all 50 states ahead of the 2016 presidential election. DHS initially acknowledged Russian attempts to hack into election systems in just 21 states.

Russia targeted all 50 states in 2016 election hacking campaign, Senate report confirms

Original Submission