760: VAWG

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 14m
September 27th, 2015
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Executive Producers: Pearce Delphin, Sir Black Balls of TWiT, Sir Dwayne Melancon, DrW00kie of the Medical Establishment, Sir Skits, Michael Gooch, Kevin Thomas, Chad Gertz, Zach, thespecialgoodness, Sir Christopher Dolan, Trevor Baxter

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Craig Allen Harms, David Hutchinson, Sir Pablo the Squirrel, Zander Wallachia, Kyle Clanney

Cover Artist: The_Mad_Arab

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Yellowstone a magnet for fast-growing ranks of Chinese tourists | Economy | bozemandailychronicle.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:56
WEST YELLOWSTONE '-- The haunting cowboy movie theme from Clint Eastwood's ''The Good, the Bad and the Ugly'' drifts out to the street from Yellowstone Big Gun Fun, the indoor shooting range that's a big hit with tourists, especially a growing number of tourists from China.
The thrill of shooting real handguns, rifles and machine guns attracts Chinese visitors by the busload '-- often 20 to 30 tour buses a day, says co-owner Eric Yarger.
Shooting firearms '-- at a cost of $25 to $350 '-- is something they can't do legally in China.
Chinese tourists make up about 80 percent of the range's summer business. A sign out front shows an AK-47, and below is a sign in Chinese characters, which has been translated as ''Soldier brothers shooting range. You can do it yourself, now here.'' The range's website also offers a price list in Chinese characters.
It's not unusual for Chinese customers ''to shoot every gun we have,'' Yarger said. ''They can spend over $1,000.''
Behind the counter, Jerry Liang, a university student from Hebing, is one of 11 Chinese-speaking assistants hired this year on work visas. Liang waits for after-dinner customers, ready to set them up with headphones and goggles and to explain ''how to play the gun '... safer.''
Chinese visitors come often on big tour buses, yet these aren't your retirees from Ohio traveling on a budget. Often they're millionaires, Yarger said. Some have paid cash from wads of $100 bills.
Big Gun Fun '-- West Yellowstone's No. 2 most popular attraction on TripAdvisor.com '-- is just one of the most visible and colorful examples of the growing trend of Chinese tourists traveling to the Yellowstone area.
In America, after New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, one of the big bucket-list destinations is Yellowstone National Park.
Walking by West Yellowstone's Dairy Queen, Xuequian Kong, 33, a chemistry professor from Hangzhou, said that he and his group came for three days.
''Because it's a famous place,'' Kong said. ''People all around the world know Yellowstone. Many people in China like to come here if they get the chance'.... Yellowstone is well-managed. It keeps its original, natural ecosystem.''
The influx of Chinese visitors to this country has grown five-fold since 2007, from 400,000 to 2.1 million travelers last year, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Travel and Tourism Office.
The trend is fueled by China's rising middle class and millionaire class, by a pent-up desire to see the world, and by the loosening of government visa rules.
In the past seven years, spending by U.S. visitors from China grew from $4 billion to $21 billion.
By 2019 China is projected to surpass every country sending tourists to the U.S., except the two biggest, Canada and Mexico. By 2020, says the National Travel office, the number of Chinese travelers here will double to 5.7 million.
Yarger and his wife, Beverly, opened the shooting range four years ago, largely because they saw the wave coming. Similar shooting ranges have been popular in places like Hawaii.
Asked if the recent devaluation of the Chinese yuan and drop in China's stock market hurt business, Yarger said there has been a little downturn.
''But you have to understand, the Chinese who come are usually very wealthy,'' Yarger said. ''One told me he lost $100,000. He didn't seem worried.''
Yarger said the scenic beauty of Yellowstone is a big attraction.
''They don't see blue sky,'' he said. ''They're lucky if they see a dog, let alone wild animals.''
West Yellowstone should do more to provide motel rooms, restrooms, garbage and other services, Yarger argued, because a lot more people are coming.
''Hold onto your hat,'' he said.
In June, Bozeman's Super 8 motel put up the first local billboards in Mandarin at Gallatin Gateway and Pray, to catch the eye of Chinese travelers driving out of Yellowstone National Park.
The phone number on the billboards rings a special line marked China, said Super 8 general manager Matt Sease.
The motel hired a Chinese graduate student last year to help with marketing, especially with ads on China's Facebook, and when that phone line lights up, she answers customers' questions.
This year, Chinese travelers made up 7 to 8 percent of Super 8's business, Sease said.
The market is evolving. Instead of seeing lots of tour buses, as in the last few years, now he's seeing more Chinese individuals and families traveling with mothers, fathers and grandparents. They fly into Seattle, Salt Lake City or Minneapolis and drive here. Increasingly they fly into Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.
''Occupancy has been sky-high this year in Bozeman'' in general, Sease said. That's not only because of Chinese travelers, but they're playing a role.
At the Days Inn in Bozeman, tour groups are driving in from Canada, ''all speaking Asian,'' said Victoria Short, front desk clerk. Tour groups sometimes occupy up to half the motel's 113 rooms.
''It feels good when we have a lobby full,'' Short said. ''They're very pleasant and loving Montana. They buy more postcards than anybody else. The children speak very good English.''
Often the guests walk across North Seventh Avenue to eat at Famous Dave's or Applebee's, lacking the transportation to check out downtown Bozeman eateries.
Daryl Schliem, Bozeman Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, said the chamber has been working to increase tourism to Bozeman overall, now up to 4.2 million people a year. He doubted most Bozeman residents are aware of the growth of visitors from China.
Changing the airport's name from Gallatin Field to ''Bozeman Yellowstone International'' will have an impact, he said.
A lot of the bus tours go from Yellowstone or Billings and then up to Glacier National Park, Schliem said.
''Sometimes they save a lifetime to come here,'' he said. ''So they spend up to 10 times what we spend.''
Chinese visitors are having a significant impact on the town's strengthening economy, said Jan Stoddard, marketing director for the West Yellowstone Tourist Business Improvement District and board president of the West Yellowstone Chamber of Commerce.
Resort tax collections from the town's sales tax have been growing steadily the last three years '-- last year by 11.5 percent. This July's collection set a new record.
Yet the Chinese market has been hard on a lot of retailers, Stoddard said.
If a Chinese tour leader walked into a shop, turned over a souvenir and found ''made in China,'' she said, ''Everybody would leave. They're looking for American or Native American or really unique'' souvenirs.
Chinese tourists really like high-end clothing and jewelry, Stoddard said, ''things you find in Rodeo Drive, not West Yellowstone.''
''They will buy magnets, Native American jewelry, bison jerky '-- not T-shirts,'' she said. ''For our community, it's a real learning experience.''
The reason Chinese tourists are coming to West Yellowstone goes back to 1996, when the first ''Fam Tour'' or familiarization tour, was hosted by the town and Montana Office of Tourism, Stoddard said. That brought in Chinese business leaders, who talked up the beauty of Yellowstone back home.
Then Chinese government travel agencies got involved. What really hit West Yellowstone two years ago was the change of visa rules, now ''wide open for leisure travelers,'' she said.
In the past, visiting the U.S. was a one-time experience for Chinese travelers. Now visa holders can visit as many times as they like over 10 years. Suddenly there was an influx of people on big tours. Now people are coming back as families.
Stoddard and her husband operate the Kirkwood Resort and Marina on Hebgen Lake, which rents out 11 cabins. About half their customers are independent Chinese travelers; the rest are hunters and fishermen.
Chinese travelers behave in ways that may seem off-putting to Americans, but actually are just cultural differences, Stoddard said. Americans line up at the front desk, Chinese tend to flock en masse at the desk.
If Chinese patrons talk louder in restaurants than Americans, as one culture guide pointed out, it may be because they come from cities with millions of people.
''You've got to realize they're not being rude to you,'' she said, they're just following their own cultural norms.
The Chinese are highly adept at using technology and smartphones, she said. Translation apps, like WeChat, are a big help when she's giving directions or settling credit card transactions. She said the Park Service now has a ranger at Old Faithful who speaks Mandarin.
Another cultural difference is food. West Yellowstone once had just one Chinese restaurant; today it has three. (The West Yellowstone News reported last month that the owner of the Red Lotus Restaurant was recently fined for illegally buying meat and gall bladders from two black bears, four pheasant and nearly a dozen wild trout.)
West Yellowstone's former KFC is now Chopstix Pho Noodles. Even some pizza restaurants have posted menus in Chinese at the door.
LingTao Zhang opened Tao's Inn last year, and added a sushi bar and teahouse. He plans to double the inn's eight rooms in coming weeks and hopes to keep expanding.
The 40-year-old entrepreneur from China came to the U.S. 17 years ago to study computer science, and switched to acupuncture and business. Zhang spent summers working in West Yellowstone's Chinese restaurant to earn tuition money. He was planning to return to China, but decided it would be ''such a pity'' to waste all the skills he'd learned here.
''I like it here in West Yellowstone,'' Zhang said. ''It's more like a village.'... Everybody knows everybody, everybody is so friendly. They don't avoid eye contact. My hometown has 14 million people.''
Zhang said he expects Chinese visitation to continue, but ''I don't think the Chinese will keep coming forever.'' After all, Japanese and German tourists were once very big in the 1980s.
Eventually there will be a Chinese version of Lonely Planet guides, Zhang said. More people will plan their own trips instead of taking big tours. Once they have options, he said, their destinations will likely be more diversified.
Haybina Hao, director of international development for the National Tour Association based in Kentucky, is a national expert on the Chinese tourist market. Beijing-born Hao has spoken in Montana twice to update the tourism industry on the potential of China.
Hao said she thinks the Yellowstone Park area will be ''very strong '... for quite some time'' for both Chinese tour groups and individual travelers.
''People are looking for something very unique,'' Hao said. ''Yellowstone itself is such a beautiful place. '... They all want to see Yellowstone Park.
''It has become a joy for them to explore the U.S.,'' she said. One reason: ''Chinese love to drive,'' she said. Unlike China, in America there are roads everywhere, gas stations everywhere, motels everywhere.
''Here they can have a driving thrill,'' she said. ''They can speed.''
In the end, travel will have a bigger impact on people than just economic, Hao said. ''Through all this travel, we help understand each other better.''
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Super Blood Moon tonight
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Trailer Names:
Raptor
Surveyor
Prowler
Cougar
Cheyenne
Wolverine
Columbus
Hideout
Sabre
White hawk
Redwood
Pioneer
Komfort
Qwest
Durango
Cyclone
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National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day '-- September 27, 2015
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:46
National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is observed each year on September 27 to direct attention to the ongoing and disproportionate impact of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) on gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States. MSM represent approximately 2% of the U.S. population (1). However, in 2013, MSM accounted for 67% of all new HIV diagnoses, including 3% who were also injection drug users (2).
In 2011, among all persons living with HIV infection, an estimated 647,700 (54%) were MSM (3). Of these MSM, an estimated 84% received a diagnosis of HIV, 38% were in HIV medical care, antiretroviral therapy was prescribed for 35%, and 30% achieved viral suppression.
CDC supports efforts to reduce HIV infection among MSM, including HIV prevention services that increase diagnosis of HIV infection, support the linkage and engagement of MSM in care and treatment, and reduce the risk for acquiring and transmitting HIV. Additional information about these efforts is available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/gender/msm. Additional information about National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is available at http://www.cdc.gov/features/ngmhaad.
ReferencesPurcell DW, Johnson CH, Lansky A, et al. Estimating the population size of men who have sex with men in the United States to obtain HIV and syphilis rates. Open AIDS J 2012;6:98''107.CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2013. HIV surveillance report 2015; 25. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2015. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/library/reports/surveillance/2013/surveillance_report_vol_25.html.Bradley H, Hall HI, Wolitski RJ, et al. Vital Signs: HIV diagnosis, care, and treatment among persons living with HIV'--United States, 2011. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2014;63:1113''7.Use of trade names and commercial sources is for identification only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
References to non-CDC sites on the Internet are provided as a service to MMWR readers and do not constitute or imply endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. CDC is not responsible for the content of pages found at these sites. URL addresses listed in MMWR were current as of the date of publication.
All MMWR HTML versions of articles are electronic conversions from typeset documents. This conversion might result in character translation or format errors in the HTML version. Users are referred to the electronic PDF version (http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr) and/or the original MMWR paper copy for printable versions of official text, figures, and tables. An original paper copy of this issue can be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), Washington, DC 20402-9371; telephone: (202) 512-1800. Contact GPO for current prices.
**Questions or messages regarding errors in formatting should be addressed to mmwrq@cdc.gov.
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CYBER
From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users' Online Identities Worldwide
Fri, 25 Sep 2015 15:13
THERE WAS A SIMPLE AIM at the heart of the top-secret program: Record the website browsing habits of ''every visible user on the Internet.''
Before long, billions of digital records about ordinary people's online activities were being stored every day. Among them were details cataloging visits to porn, social media and news websites, search engines, chat forums, and blogs.
The mass surveillance operation '-- code-named KARMA POLICE '-- was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom's electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.
The revelations about the scope of the British agency's surveillance are contained in documents obtained by The Intercept from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Previous reports based on the leaked files have exposed how GCHQ taps into Internet cables to monitor communications on a vast scale, but many details about what happens to the data after it has been vacuumed up have remained unclear.
Amid a renewed push from the U.K. government for more surveillance powers, more than two dozen documents being disclosed today by The Intercept reveal for the first time several major strands of GCHQ's existing electronic eavesdropping capabilities.
One system builds profiles showing people's web browsing histories. Another analyzes instant messenger communications, emails, Skype calls, text messages, cell phone locations, and social media interactions. Separate programs were built to keep tabs on ''suspicious'' Google searches and usage of Google Maps.
The surveillance is underpinned by an opaque legal regime that has authorized GCHQ to sift through huge archives of metadata about the private phone calls, emails and Internet browsing logs of Brits, Americans, and any other citizens '-- all without a court order or judicial warrant.
Metadata reveals information about a communication '-- such as the sender and recipient of an email, or the phone numbers someone called and at what time '-- but not the written content of the message or the audio of the call.
As of 2012, GCHQ was storing about 50 billion metadata records about online communications and Web browsing activity every day, with plans in place to boost capacity to 100 billion daily by the end of that year. The agency, under cover of secrecy, was working to create what it said would soon be the biggest government surveillance system anywhere in the world.
Radio radicalizationThe power of KARMA POLICE was illustrated in 2009, when GCHQ launched a top-secret operation to collect intelligence about people using the Internet to listen to radio shows.
The agency used a sample of nearly 7 million metadata records, gathered over a period of three months, to observe the listening habits of more than 200,000 people across 185 countries, including the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Mexico, Spain, the Netherlands, France, and Germany.
A GCHQ graphic illustrating how KARMA POLICE works
A summary report detailing the operation shows that one aim of the project was to research ''potential misuse'' of Internet radio stations to spread radical Islamic ideas.
GCHQ spies from a unit known as the Network Analysis Center compiled a list of the most popular stations that they had identified, most of which had no association with Islam, like France-based Hotmix Radio, which plays pop, rock, funk and hip-hop music.
They zeroed in on any stations found broadcasting recitations from the Quran, such as a popular Iraqi radio station and a station playing sermons from a prominent Egyptian imam named Sheikh Muhammad Jebril. They then used KARMA POLICE to find out more about these stations' listeners, identifying them as users on Skype, Yahoo, and Facebook.
The summary report says the spies selected one Egypt-based listener for ''profiling'' and investigated which other websites he had been visiting. Surveillance records revealed the listener had viewed the porn site Redtube, as well as Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, Google's blogging platform Blogspot, the photo-sharing site Flickr, a website about Islam, and an Arab advertising site.
GCHQ's documents indicate that the plans for KARMA POLICE were drawn up between 2007 and 2008. The system was designed to provide the agency with ''either (a) a web browsing profile for every visible user on the Internet, or (b) a user profile for every visible website on the Internet.''
The origin of the surveillance system's name is not discussed in the documents. But KARMA POLICE is also the name of a popular song released in 1997 by the Grammy Award-winning British band Radiohead, suggesting the spies may have been fans.
A verse repeated throughout the hit song includes the lyric, ''This is what you'll get, when you mess with us.''
The Black HoleGCHQ vacuums up the website browsing histories using ''probes'' that tap into the international fiber-optic cables that transport Internet traffic across the world.
A huge volume of the Internet data GCHQ collects flows directly into a massive repository named Black Hole, which is at the core of the agency's online spying operations, storing raw logs of intercepted material before it has been subject to analysis.
Black Hole contains data collected by GCHQ as part of bulk ''unselected'' surveillance, meaning it is not focused on particular ''selected'' targets and instead includes troves of data indiscriminately swept up about ordinary people's online activities. Between August 2007 and March 2009, GCHQ documents say that Black Hole was used to store more than 1.1 trillion ''events'' '-- a term the agency uses to refer to metadata records '-- with about 10 billion new entries added every day.
As of March 2009, the largest slice of data Black Hole held '-- 41 percent '-- was about people's Internet browsing histories. The rest included a combination of email and instant messenger records, details about search engine queries, information about social media activity, logs related to hacking operations, and data on people's use of tools to browse the Internet anonymously.
Throughout this period, as smartphone sales started to boom, the frequency of people's Internet use was steadily increasing. In tandem, British spies were working frantically to bolster their spying capabilities, with plans afoot to expand the size of Black Hole and other repositories to handle an avalanche of new data.
By 2010, according to the documents, GCHQ was logging 30 billion metadata records per day. By 2012, collection had increased to 50 billion per day, and work was underway to double capacity to 100 billion. The agency was developing ''unprecedented'' techniques to perform what it called ''population-scale'' data mining, monitoring all communications across entire countries in an effort to detect patterns or behaviors deemed suspicious. It was creating what it said would be, by 2013, ''the world's biggest'' surveillance engine ''to run cyber operations and to access better, more valued data for customers to make a real world difference.''
A document from the GCHQ target analysis center (GTAC) shows the Black Hole repository's structure.
GCHQ is able to identify a particular person's website browsing habits by pulling out the raw data stored in repositories like Black Hole and then analyzing it with a variety of systems that complement each other.
KARMA POLICE, for instance, works by showing the IP addresses of people visiting websites. IP addresses are unique identifiers that are allocated to computers when they connect to the Internet.
In isolation, IPs would not be of much value to GCHQ, because they are just a series of numbers '-- like 195.92.47.101 '-- and are not attached to a name. But when paired with other data they become a rich source of personal information.
To find out the identity of a person or persons behind an IP address, GCHQ analysts can enter the series of numbers into a separate system named MUTANT BROTH, which is used to sift through data contained in the Black Hole repository about vast amounts of tiny intercepted files known as cookies.
Cookies are automatically placed on computers to identify and sometimes track people browsing the Internet, often for advertising purposes. When you visit or log into a website, a cookie is usually stored on your computer so that the site recognizes you. It can contain your username or email address, your IP address, and even details about your login password and the kind of Internet browser you are using '-- like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.
For GCHQ, this information is incredibly valuable. The agency refers to cookies internally as ''target detection identifiers'' or ''presence events'' because of how they help it monitor people's Internet use and uncover online identities.
If the agency wants to track down a person's IP address, it can enter the person's email address or username into MUTANT BROTH to attempt to find it, scanning through the cookies that come up linking those identifiers to an IP address. Likewise, if the agency already has the IP address and wants to track down the person behind it, it can use MUTANT BROTH to find email addresses, usernames, and even passwords associated with the IP.
Once the agency has corroborated a targeted person's IP address with an email address or username, it can then use the tiny cookie files associated with these identifiers to perform a so-called ''pattern of life'' analysis showing the times of day and locations at which the person is most active online.
the agency was extracting data containing information about people's visits to the adult website YouPorn
In turn, the usernames and email and IP addresses can be entered into other systems that enable the agency to spy on the target's emails, instant messenger conversations, and web browsing history. All GCHQ needs is a single identifier '-- a ''selector,'' in agency jargon '-- to follow a digital trail that can reveal a vast amount about a person's online activities.
A top-secret GCHQ document from March 2009 reveals the agency has targeted a range of popular websites as part of an effort to covertly collect cookies on a massive scale. It shows a sample search in which the agency was extracting data from cookies containing information about people's visits to the adult website YouPorn, search engines Yahoo and Google, and the Reuters news website.
Other websites listed as ''sources'' of cookies in the 2009 document (see below) are Hotmail, YouTube, Facebook, Reddit, WordPress, Amazon, and sites operated by the broadcasters CNN, BBC, and the U.K.'s Channel 4.
In one six-month period between December 2007 and June 2008, the document says, more than 18 billion records from cookies and other similar identifiers were accessible through MUTANT BROTH.
The data is searched by GCHQ analysts in a hunt for behavior online that could be connected to terrorism or other criminal activity. But it has also served a broader and more controversial purpose '-- helping the agency hack into European companies' computer networks.
In the lead up to its secret mission targeting Netherlands-based Gemalto, the largest SIM card manufacturer in the world, GCHQ used MUTANT BROTH in an effort to identify the company's employees so it could hack into their computers.
The system helped the agency analyze intercepted Facebook cookies it believed were associated with Gemalto staff located at offices in France and Poland. GCHQ later successfully infiltrated Gemalto's internal networks, stealing encryption keys produced by the company that protect the privacy of cell phone communications.
Similarly, MUTANT BROTH proved integral to GCHQ's hack of Belgian telecommunications provider Belgacom. The agency entered IP addresses associated with Belgacom into MUTANT BROTH to uncover information about the company's employees. Cookies associated with the IPs revealed the Google, Yahoo, and LinkedIn accounts of three Belgacom engineers, whose computers were then targeted by the agency and infected with malware.
The hacking operation resulted in GCHQ gaining deep access into the most sensitive parts of Belgacom's internal systems, granting British spies the ability to intercept communications passing through the company's networks.
Cryptome surveillanceIn March, a U.K. parliamentary committee published the findings of an 18-month review of GCHQ's operations and called for an overhaul of the laws that regulate the spying. The committee raised concerns about the agency gathering what it described as ''bulk personal datasets'' being held about ''a wide range of people.'' However, it censored the section of the report describing what these ''datasets'' contained, despite acknowledging that they ''may be highly intrusive.''
The Snowden documents shine light on some of the core GCHQ bulk data-gathering programs that the committee was likely referring to '-- pulling back the veil of secrecy that has shielded some of the agency's most controversial surveillance operations from public scrutiny.
KARMA POLICE and MUTANT BROTH are among the key bulk collection systems. But they do not operate in isolation '-- and the scope of GCHQ's spying extends far beyond them.
GCHQ's logo for the SOCIAL ANTHROPOID system
The agency operates a bewildering array of other eavesdropping systems, each serving its own specific purpose and designated a unique code name, such as: SOCIAL ANTHROPOID, which is used to analyze metadata on emails, instant messenger chats, social media connections and conversations, plus ''telephony'' metadata about phone calls, cell phone locations, text and multimedia messages; MEMORY HOLE, which logs queries entered into search engines and associates each search with an IP address; MARBLED GECKO, which sifts through details about searches people have entered into Google Maps and Google Earth; and INFINITE MONKEYS, which analyzes data about the usage of online bulletin boards and forums.
GCHQ has other programs that it uses to analyze the content of intercepted communications, such as the full written body of emails and the audio of phone calls. One of the most important content collection capabilities is TEMPORA, which mines vast amounts of emails, instant messages, voice calls and other communications and makes them accessible through a Google-style search tool named XKEYSCORE.
As of September 2012, TEMPORA was collecting ''more than 40 billion pieces of content a day'' and it was being used to spy on people across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, according to a top-secret memo outlining the scope of the program. The existence of TEMPORA was first revealed by The Guardian in June 2013.
To analyze all of the communications it intercepts and to build a profile of the individuals it is monitoring, GCHQ uses a variety of different tools that can pull together all of the relevant information and make it accessible through a single interface.
SAMUEL PEPYS is one such tool, built by the British spies to analyze both the content and metadata of emails, browsing sessions, and instant messages as they are being intercepted in real time.
One screenshot of SAMUEL PEPYS in action shows the agency using it to monitor an individual in Sweden who visited a page about GCHQ on the U.S.-based anti-secrecy website Cryptome.
Domestic spyingPartly due to the U.K.'s geographic location '-- situated between the United States and the western edge of continental Europe '-- a large amount of the world's Internet traffic passes through its territory across international data cables.
In 2010, GCHQ noted that what amounted to ''25 percent of all Internet traffic'' was transiting the U.K. through some 1,600 different cables. The agency said that it could ''survey the majority of the 1,600'' and ''select the most valuable to switch into our processing systems.''
Many of the cables flow deep under the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. East Coast, landing on the white-sand beaches of Cornwall in the southwest of England. Others transport data between the U.K. and countries including France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway by crossing below the North Sea and coming aground at various locations on England's east coast.
According to Joss Wright, a research fellow at the University of Oxford's Internet Institute, tapping into the cables allows GCHQ to monitor a large portion of foreign communications. But the cables also transport masses of wholly domestic British emails and online chats, because when anyone in the U.K. sends an email or visits a website, their computer will routinely send and receive data from servers that are located overseas.
''I could send a message from my computer here [in England] to my wife's computer in the next room and on its way it could go through the U.S., France, and other countries,'' Wright says. ''That's just the way the Internet is designed.''
In other words, Wright adds, that means ''a lot'' of British data and communications transit across international cables daily, and are liable to be swept into GCHQ's databases.
A map from a classified GCHQ presentation about intercepting communications from undersea cables.
GCHQ is authorized to conduct dragnet surveillance of the international data cables through so-called external warrants that are signed off by a government minister.
The external warrants permit the agency to monitor communications in foreign countries as well as British citizens' international calls and emails '-- for example, a call from Islamabad to London. They prohibit GCHQ from reading or listening to the content of ''internal'' U.K. to U.K. emails and phone calls, which are supposed to be filtered out from GCHQ's systems if they are inadvertently intercepted unless additional authorization is granted to scrutinize them.
However, the same rules do not apply to metadata. A little-known loophole in the law allows GCHQ to use external warrants to collect and analyze bulk metadata about the emails, phone calls, and Internet browsing activities of British people, citizens of closely allied countries, and others, regardless of whether the data is derived from domestic U.K. to U.K. communications and browsing sessions or otherwise.
In March, the existence of this loophole was quietly acknowledged by the U.K. parliamentary committee's surveillance review, which stated in a section of its report that ''special protection and additional safeguards'' did not apply to metadata swept up using external warrants and that domestic British metadata could therefore be lawfully ''returned as a result of searches'' conducted by GCHQ.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, GCHQ appears to have readily exploited this obscure legal technicality. Secret policy guidance papers issued to the agency's analysts instruct them that they can sift through huge troves of indiscriminately collected metadata records to spy on anyone regardless of their nationality. The guidance makes clear that there is no exemption or extra privacy protection for British people or citizens from countries that are members of the Five Eyes, a surveillance alliance that the U.K. is part of alongside the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
''If you are searching a purely Events only database such as MUTANT BROTH, the issue of location does not occur,'' states one internal GCHQ policy document, which is marked with a ''last modified'' date of July 2012. The document adds that analysts are free to search the databases for British metadata ''without further authorization'' by inputing a U.K. ''selector,'' meaning a unique identifier such as a person's email or IP address, username, or phone number.
Authorization is ''not needed for individuals in the U.K.,'' another GCHQ document explains, because metadata has been judged ''less intrusive than communications content.'' All the spies are required to do to mine the metadata troves is write a short ''justification'' or ''reason'' for each search they conduct and then click a button on their computer screen.
Intelligence GCHQ collects on British persons of interest is shared with domestic security agency MI5, which usually takes the lead on spying operations within the U.K. MI5 conducts its own extensive domestic surveillance as part of a program called DIGINT (digital intelligence).
''We think and behave differently based on the assumption that people may be watching.''
GCHQ's documentssuggest that it typically retains metadata for periods of between 30 days to six months. It stores the content of communications for a shorter period of time, varying between three to 30 days. The retention periods can be extended if deemed necessary for ''cyber defense.''
One secret policy paper dated from January 2010 lists the wide range of information the agency classes as metadata '-- including location data that could be used to track your movements, your email, instant messenger, and social networking ''buddy lists,'' logs showing who you have communicated with by phone or email, the passwords you use to access ''communications services'' (such as an email account), and information about websites you have viewed.
GCHQ headquarters in Cheltenham, England.
www.gchq.gov.uk
Records showing the full website addresses you have visited '-- for instance, www.gchq.gov.uk/what_we_do '-- are treated as content. But the first part of an address you have visited '-- for instance, www.gchq.gov.uk '-- is treated as metadata.
In isolation, a single metadata record of a phone call, email, or website visit may not reveal much about a person's private life, according to Ethan Zuckerman, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Center for Civic Media.
But if accumulated and analyzed over a period of weeks or months, these details would be ''extremely personal,'' he told The Intercept, because they could reveal a person's movements, habits, religious beliefs, political views, relationships, and even sexual preferences.
For Zuckerman, who has studied the social and political ramifications of surveillance, the most concerning aspect of large-scale government data collection is that it can be ''corrosive towards democracy'' '-- leading to a chilling effect on freedom of expression and communication.
''Once we know there's a reasonable chance that we are being watched in one fashion or another it's hard for that not to have a 'panopticon effect,''' he said, ''where we think and behave differently based on the assumption that people may be watching and paying attention to what we are doing.''
Light oversightA GCHQ spokesman declined to answer any specific questions for this story, citing a ''longstanding policy'' not to comment on intelligence matters. The spokesman insisted in an emailed statement that GCHQ's work is ''carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework, which ensures that our activities are authorised, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight.''
It is unclear, however, whether there are sufficient internal checks in place in practice to ensure GCHQ's spies don't abuse their access to the troves of personal information.
According to agency's documents, just 10 percent of its ''targeting'' of individuals for surveillance is audited annually and a random selection of metadata searches are audited every six months.
When compared to surveillance rules in place in the U.S., GCHQ notes in one document that the U.K. has ''a light oversight regime.''
The more lax British spying regulations are reflected in secret internal rules that highlight greater restrictions on how NSA databases can be accessed. The NSA's troves can be searched for data on British citizens, one document states, but they cannot be mined for information about Americans or other citizens from countries in the Five Eyes alliance.
No such constraints are placed on GCHQ's own databases, which can be sifted for records on the phone calls, emails, and Internet usage of Brits, Americans, and citizens from any other country.
The scope of GCHQ's surveillance powers explain in part why Snowden toldThe Guardian in June 2013 that U.K. surveillance is ''worse than the U.S.'' In an interview with Der Spiegel in July 2013, Snowden added that British Internet cables were ''radioactive'' and joked: ''Even the Queen's selfies to the pool boy get logged.''
In recent years, the biggest barrier to GCHQ's mass collection of data does not appear to have come in the form of legal or policy restrictions. Rather, it is the increased use of encryption technology that protects the privacy of communications that has posed the biggest potential hindrance to the agency's activities.
''The spread of encryption '... threatens our ability to do effective target discovery/development,'' says a top-secret report co-authored by an official from the British agency and an NSA employee in 2011.
''Pertinent metadata events will be locked within the encrypted channels and difficult, if not impossible, to prise out,'' the report says, adding that the agencies were working on a plan that would ''(hopefully) allow our Internet Exploitation strategy to prevail.''
'--'--'--
Documents published with this article:
Cyber problems at HealthCare.gov, cyber sharing at the Pentagon and more -- FCW
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:56
News in Brief
Cyber problems at HealthCare.gov, cyber sharing at the Pentagon and moreBy FCW StaffSep 24, 2015Audit finds cybersecurity lacking at HealthCare.govThe federal government stored sensitive personal information on millions of health insurance customers in a computer system that had basic security flaws, according to an audit conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services.
The Obama administration said it acted quickly to fix all the problems identified by the audit of the Multidimensional Insurance Data Analytics System (MIDAS), the electronic backbone and central storehouse for information collected under the 2010 health care law.
MIDAS does not handle medical records, but it does include the names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, phone numbers, passport numbers, employment status and financial account information of millions of customers on HealthCare.gov and state insurance marketplaces.
Among the problems uncovered:
Unencrypted user sessions, contrary to standard practices on financial websites.A shared read-only account for access to the database that contained individuals' personal information, a serious vulnerability if data is stolen.Failure to disable "generic accounts" used for maintenance or other special access during testing.Failure to conduct certain automated vulnerability scans that mimic known cyberattacks.GAO to Pentagon: Share more cyber resources with small businessesAs of July, the Defense Department's Office of Small Business Programs "had not identified and disseminated cybersecurity resources" in its outreach to small businesses, according to a Government Accountability Office report.
GAO identified 15 existing federal resources for doing so, including online training from the Defense Security Service and a planning tool for small businesses provided by the Federal Communications Commission.
The DOD office is considering including cybersecurity resources in its outreach to small companies, according to GAO. Doing so would be in line with the Pentagon's Cyber Strategy, which calls for more collaboration with the private sector to build layered cyber defenses, the report states.
Cyber Command official shares more on joint exerciseA joint cyber exercise that the Pentagon held in June gave defense officials clearer insight into how cyberthreats drive business operations in the private sector, according to a U.S. Cyber Command official.
This was the fourth year of the exercise but the first time it included private-sector participants. Rear Adm. Kevin Lunday, Cyber Command's director of exercises and training, shed a bit more light on the classified exercise at a Sept. 24 conference at Georgetown University. One of the nightmarish scenarios simulated in the exercise was the disruption of a major shipping port in Britain by a cyberattack, Lunday said at the conference, which was sponsored by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.
"This wasn't a prediction or a forecast of what might happen," he said. "It's simply a realization that there is a tremendous amount of uncertainty out there."
The three-week exercise was sponsored by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security and held at a Joint Staff J-7 facility in Suffolk, Va. Representatives of the energy, financial, IT and transportation sectors were on hand for the exercise, Lunday said.
During the exercise, teams from the Pentagon, other federal agencies, the National Guard and elsewhere work to repel simulated attacks on a closed, classified computer network.
Lunday said publicizing the exercise might serve as a deterrent for adversaries considering cyberattacks on U.S infrastructure.
State developing social media and analytics platformThe State Department is building a real-time, cross-platform content management and analytics system for its social media accounts, GCN reports.
Officials are working with the Winvale Group, a business management consultant, to develop a mobile-enabled platform that will allow them to communicate, contribute and collaborate in real time and schedule and publish content across multiple social media platforms.
About the Author
Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.
OPM says 5.6 million fingerprints stolen in cyberattack, five times as many as previously thought - The Washington Post
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:48
One of the scariest parts of the massive cybersecurity breaches at the Office of Personnel Management just got worse: The agency now says 5.6 million people's fingerprints were stolen as part of the hacks.
That's more than five times the 1.1 million government officials estimated when the cyberattacks were initially disclosed over the summer. The total number of those believed to be caught up in the breaches, which included the theft of the Social Security numbers and addresses of more than 21 million former and current government employees, remains the same.
OPM and the Department of Defense were reviewing the theft of background investigation records when they identified additional fingerprint data that had been exposed, OPM said in a statement.
Breaches involving biometric data like fingerprints are particularly concerning to privacy experts because of their permanence: Unlike passwords and even Social Security numbers, fingerprints cannot be changed. So those affected by this breach may find themselves grappling with the fallout for years.
''The fact that the number [of fingerprints breached] just increased by a factor of five is pretty mind-boggling,'' said Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology. ''I'm surprised they didn't have structures in place to determine the number of fingerprints compromised earlier during the investigation.''
Lawmakers, too, were upset about the latest revelation. "OPM keeps getting it wrong," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). " I have zero confidence in OPM's competence and ability to manage this crisis."
As fingerprints increasingly replace passwords as a day-to-day security measure for unlocking your iPhone or even your home, security experts have grown concerned about how hackers might leverage them.
But federal experts believe the potential for "misuse" of the stolen fingerprints is currently limited, according to OPM, but that could "could change over time as technology evolves." It also said an interagency working group including experts from law enforcement and the intelligence community will review ways that the fingerprint data could be abused and try to develop ways to prevent that from happening.
"If, in the future, new means are developed to misuse the fingerprint data, the government will provide additional information to individuals whose fingerprints may have been stolen in this breach," OPM said.
OPM says it is still in the process of notifying everyone caught up in the breach. But they will be offered free identity theft and fraud protection services, the agency said.
China is widely suspected of being behind the breaches, perhaps as part of move tobuild a massive databaseon Americans. But U.S. government officials have so fardeclinedto publicly blame the nation for the cyberattacks. Chinese President Xi Jinping is currently visiting the U.S. and described China as a strong defender of cybersecurity and a victim of hacking itself during aspeech in Seattle on Tuesday.
The hacks sparked an outcry on Capitol Hill where lawmakers criticized the government's response and said the agency should have done more to protect the information in the first place. Some called for the firing of OPM director Katherine Archuleta, who eventually resigned in July.
One lawmaker criticized OPM for releasing the new information during the Pope's visit to Washington: "Today's blatant news dump is the clearest sign yet that the administration still acts like the OPM hack is a PR crisis instead of a national security threat," said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) in a statement.
OPM spokesman Sam Schumach said the additional batch of compromised fingerprints wasn't identified until very recently and that the agency spent the past several days analyzing the data.
"Yesterday, we began informing members of Congress, as well as the OPM Inspector General, of these newly identified archived records, and disclosed that this would change the fingerprint number previously reported," he said in an e-mailed statement. The agency was able to confirm the new total population Wednesday morning and subsequently informed the public, Schumach said.
Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
Connecting the cyber and the physical -- FCW
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:24
Critical Read
Connecting the cyber and the physicalBy Mark RockwellSep 22, 2015What: ''Draft 6 Framework for Cyber-Physical Systems 7 Release 0.8,'' from the National institute of Standards and Technology.
Why: If you've been living in a cabin in the woods off the grid, you might be unaware that the Internet of Things keeps escalating. For the rest of us, an ever-increasing list of everyday items ranging from the esoteric -- unmanned vehicles and intelligent buildings '' to the mundane -- cell phones and fitness bracelets '' are part of the IoT. But they're also a special corner of that world called cyber-physical systems (CPS).
CPS integrates computational, networking, and physical processes to bridge the real world and the cyber world. CPS devices provide feedback on physical processes and vice versa. NIST wants to help manufacturers create new CPS for smart systems that allow more seamless interaction. The agency's draft CPS framework document is a step in that direction.
CPS tightly integrates physical and computing devices'--such as movement sensors that inform your fitness bracelet how far you have walked, or the computer controlling the transmission and antilock brakes in your car. Whatever the purpose of a given CPS, the draft framework outlines the common attributes that its subparts share with other CPS devices and systems, and indicates what it must do to interact successfully with the broader CPS environment.
NIST wants public comment within the next 45 days on the draft document, which was developed by NIST's CPS Public Working Group, which includes members from industry, academia and government.
The draft document, said NIST, reflects more than a year's effort by the public working group, adding that the framework is likely to undergo a second draft release for further public comment before a final version is published.
Verbatim: ''The impacts of CPS will be revolutionary and pervasive; this is evident today in emerging autonomous vehicles, intelligent buildings, smart energy systems, robots, and smart medical devices. Realizing the full promise of CPS will require interoperability among heterogeneous components and systems, supported by new reference architectures using shared vocabularies and definitions.''
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
More stolen fingerprints, an Einstein contract, an invisibility cloak and more -- FCW
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:21
News in Brief
More stolen fingerprints, an Einstein contract, an invisibility cloak and moreBy FCW StaffSep 23, 2015(Vectors: nrey & rudall30 / Shutterstock)
OPM: 5.6 million fingerprints stolenThe Office of Personnel Management revealed Sept. 23 that the agency's massive breach leaked five times as many fingerprints as investigators originally thought.
Initially, OPM reported that 1.1 million fingerprint sets were among the highly sensitive personal data exposed in the breach, which affected 21.5 million people. But in a Sept. 23 statement, the agency disclosed a revised figure: 5.6 million.
Officials said it's unclear what the impact might be. According to an OPM statement: "Federal experts believe that, as of now, the ability to misuse fingerprint data is limited. However, this probability could change over time as technology evolves."
OPM said an interagency working group that includes the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Defense Department and the intelligence community would research ways to block hackers that might try to take advantage of the fingerprints.
Security analysts on Twitter complained that the breach could undermine biometric security, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) hammered OPM.
"OPM keeps getting it wrong," he said. "I have zero confidence in OPM's competence and ability to manage this crisis. OPM's IT management team is not up to the task. They have bungled this every step of the way."
An OPM spokesperson told FCW that breach victims' notifications should indicate whether fingerprints were among their stolen data.
DHS signs $1 billion Einstein deal with RaytheonThe Department of Homeland Security has awarded Raytheon a contract with a $1 billion ceiling to develop, maintain and operate DHS' Einstein cybersecurity program. The contract award was first reported by Federal News Radio.
The Development, Operations and Maintenance contract "will provide services to operate and maintain existing Einstein capabilities and will also be used to design and develop new cybersecurity capabilities for the [National Cybersecurity Protection System]," DHS spokesman S.Y. Lee said in a statement emailed to FCW on Sept. 23.
Through NCPS, which includes Einstein, "DHS prevents known or suspected cyberthreats using an integrated system of intrusion detection, analytics, information sharing and intrusion-prevention capabilities," Lee added. "These combined capabilities provide a foundation for defending the federal civilian government's information technology infrastructure against cyberthreats."
Lawrence Berkeley and the Deathly Hallows: A real invisibility cloakResearchers at the Energy Department's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California have taken up where Harry Potter left off, saying they have found a way to make tiny cloaks that could be scaled up to make large objects invisible.
The ultra-thin "skin" cloak can conform to the shape of an object and conceal it from detection with visible light. In a paper published in the journal Science, researchers said the principles and technology behind the microscopic cloak "should enable it to be scaled up to conceal macroscopic items as well."
The cloaks are based on brick-like blocks of gold nanoantennas fashioned into a skin barely 80 nanometers thick, which researchers wrapped around a 3-D object about the size of a few biological cells and arbitrarily shaped with multiple bumps and dents. The skin's surface was engineered to reroute reflected light waves, thereby rendering the object invisible.
Suffrage, centralizedThe General Services Administration has unveiled a new one-stop shop for voting resources.
The vote.USA.gov website offers a streamlined, centralized connection to voter registration resources. It links would-be voters to online registration for the 23 states that offer it and provides registration information for residents of the remaining states.
Justice official: Old cyber vulnerabilities die hardA top Justice Department official warned that companies are falling victim to old and familiar cyber vulnerabilities.
Assistant Attorney General John Carlin cited Department of Homeland Security data when he said roughly 85 percent of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure providers stem from a list of 30 vulnerabilities.
The risks include "several software vulnerabilities that were disclosed years ago, including one as far back as 2006," Carlin said in a speech to the National Cyber-Forensics and Training Alliance on Sept. 23. "This means that companies are not falling victim to new and unidentified exploits but rather to vulnerabilities that have been known for almost a decade."
In his overview of government efforts to combat cybercrime, he expressed a concern that "terrorist groups are largely experimenting with hacking, but this could serve as the foundation for developing more advanced capabilities." He also called for an international agreement on "acceptable state behavior on the Internet."
About the Author
Connect with the FCW staff on Twitter @FCWnow.
Migrants
Germany in a state of siege after Angela Merkel opened floodgates to migrants | Daily Mail Online
Sat, 26 Sep 2015 16:31
Thousands of economic migrants are posing as refugees to reach EuropeDavid Cameron said this week that Europe must said failed asylum claimants back to their countriesDemands for Germany's 'open doors and windows' policy to be scrappedWomen said rape and child abuse were rife in Giessen's refugee campBy Sue Reid In Giessen, Germany
Published: 18:27 EST, 25 September 2015 | Updated: 19:29 EST, 25 September 2015
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On the busy shopping street in Giessen, a German university town twinned with Winchester, migrant Atif Zahoor tucks into a chicken dish with his brother and cousin at the curry restaurant Chillie To Go.
They have left good jobs back in Karachi, Pakistan, and now want to be Europeans.
In late July the three slipped into Germany with their wives and children, using illegal documents. They live together in a five-bedroom house, rented for them by Chancellor Angela Merkel's government, a 40-minute drive away from Giessen, which is home to the biggest migrants' camp in the country.
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Migrants and refugees pictured waiting for a bus outside the Migrant Receiving Camp on the outskirts of the German city of Giessen. Social workers and women's groups warned that facilities were hopelessly inadequate and security was a problem for female residents
Migrants and refugees queue at the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs as they wait for their registration. But there are warnings that millions more newcomers should be expected in the current migrant crisis
'We paid a trafficking agent for false visas to fly here to Germany,' says 34-year-old Atif. 'We claimed asylum and came to Giessen camp with other migrants. Three weeks ago, because we had families, they gave us a proper home.'
Atif is well-dressed and speaks perfect English. He used to be a transport manager at Karachi airport and is from a well-to-do family. Between mouthfuls of curry, he adds: 'But there is violence between political gangs in Karachi. Lots of people are leaving for Europe. The trafficker decided that Germany was the place for us because it is welcoming refugees.'
There is violence between political gangs in Karachi. Lots of people are leaving for Europe.
Atif, 34, from Pakistan
Yet the raw truth is that Atif is not fleeing war or persecution. He is one of thousands of economic migrants getting into Germany as the EU's immigration crisis grows bigger each day.
This week, David Cameron said Europe must send failed asylum claimants back to their own countries, while European Council president Donald Tusk has warned that millions more migrants are on their way and 'the policy of open doors and windows' must be scrapped.
They are tough words, but it's action that is needed. As Jens Spahn, a deputy finance minister in Chancellor Merkel's government, said this week: 'Not everyone can stay in Germany, or in Europe. If people are coming for poverty reasons... we have to send them back.'
Mrs Merkel's offer last month to accept all refugees from war-ravaged Syria opened the floodgates. More than a million migrants are expected this year alone, the bulk of them far from genuine asylum seekers. There is now deepening disquiet in this Christian country, dotted with churches, that it is being overwhelmed by people of a different religion and culture.
Refugees from Afghanistan and Pakistan inside a tent shared by more than 60 men at the refugee registration center for the German state of Hesse in Giessen, 40km southwest of Frankfurt
David Cameron said Europe must send failed asylum claimants back to their own countries, while European Council president Donald Tusk has warned that millions more migrants are on their way and 'the policy of open doors and windows' must be scrapped
Yesterday, the Mail reported how social workers and women's groups in Giessen wrote a letter to the local state parliament claiming that rape and child abuse were rife in the refugee camp. The allegations were corroborated by Atif over his curry. 'The camp is dangerous,' he agreed. 'Men of different nationalities fight and women are attacked.'
Many women have felt the need to sleep in their clothes... they won't go to the toilet at night because rapes and assaults have taken place on their way to, or from, there.
Letter written by social workers and women's groups in the Giessen camp
The letter says the camp, far from being a peaceful haven for those fleeing war, is a dangerous melting-pot, where there have been 'numerous rapes and sexual assaults, and forced prostitution'.
There are even reports of children being raped and subjected to sexual assault, it adds.
'Many women have felt the need to sleep in their clothes... they won't go to the toilet at night because rapes and assaults have taken place on their way to, or from, there. Even in daylight, a walk through the camp is fraught with fear.'
Controversially, the letter suggests that in the migrants' culture, women are viewed differently: 'It is a fact that women and children are unprotected. This situation is opportune for those men who already regard women as their inferiors and treat unaccompanied women as ''fair game''.'
Many migrant women have fled here to escape forced marriages or female genital mutilation, which are rife in some African and Middle Eastern countries. 'They believe they have found safety in Germany,' says the letter, 'and realise it's not the case.'
Turkish volunteers living in Berlin give away water bottles and snacks to migrants and refugees queuing at the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs
Locals in Giessen are appalled by the rape allegations. But many are also increasingly worried about the effect of the migrants '-- some 6,000 Syrians, Iraqis, Pakistanis, Kurds, Eritreans and others are housed in the camp, which was expanded last year '-- on their everyday lives.
Some complain that the migrants have taken over the town, which is famous for its botanical gardens and dotted with pretty boutiques and flower shops. You cannot miss the new arrivals, wandering the streets in large groups.
This situation is opportune for those men who already regard women as their inferiors and treat unaccompanied women as ''fair game''.
Letter written by social workers and women's groups in the Giessen camp
At the Lidl supermarket a few hundred yards from the camp, a well-dressed German woman packing her shopping into a Mercedes saloon rolls her eyes at me as a group of Middle Eastern youths walk by. 'What do we do?' she asks. 'It has happened now and it will never be the same again.'
Some of the tales being told in Germany may just be xenophobic scaremongering. But there is no doubt that the country is grappling with a major culture clash as migrants pour in at the rate of 100 an hour or more.
At other camps among the 2,000 that have sprung up in Germany, I hear various lurid complaints about the arrivals, 80 per cent of whom are Muslim, single and male.
At a former U.S. military base housing some 2,000 migrants in Bayernkaserne, on the outskirts of Munich, women's rights groups say there is forced prostitution and rape every day. Men, women and children sleep next to each other in tents and, according to one social worker interviewed on local TV, the camp is 'the biggest brothel in the city' where the price for sex with a female migrant is '‚¬10 (£7).
Migrants and refugees rest on beds at an improvised temporary shelter in a sports hall in Hanau, Germany, this week. EU border guard agency Frontex has warned a market in fake Syrian passports has sprung up, particularly in Turkey, to help migrants and refugees enter the EU
Refugees line up at a temporary shelter for asylum seekers in Giessen, western Germany. The United Nations is planning for the displacement of 500,000 people from the Iraqi city of Mosul if Iraqi forces launch an attempt to recapture it from Islamic State
The guards hired from a private company by the German government to provide security at the huge site were found by police to be trafficking drugs, guns and knives among the migrants as well as turning a blind eye to prostitution.
Yards from the camp, I talk to a Somali girl of 18, wearing a hijab. 'We are scared some nights,' she says solemnly, clutching her charity clothes in a white plastic bag.
They have their own culture. Because our school is directly next to where they are staying, modest clothing should be warn
Letter to parents from Pocking grammar school
In other parts of the country, Germans are being told to adapt their lifestyles when migrants arrive.
Police in the Bavarian town of Mering, where a 16-year-old girl was reportedly raped this month, have warned parents not to allow their children outside unaccompanied.
Girls and women have been told not to walk home alone from the railway station because it is near a migrant centre where the rapist may live.
At Pocking, another well-kept Bavarian town, the headmaster of the grammar school wrote to parents telling them not to let their daughters wear skimpy clothing. This was to avoid 'misunderstandings' with 200 migrants who were put up in the school's gymnasium over the summer, before being moved on this month.
The letter to parents said the migrants were 'mainly Muslim, and speak Arabic. They have their own culture. Because our school is directly next to where they are staying, modest clothing should be warn... revealing tops or blouses, short skirts or miniskirts could lead to misunderstandings.'
Refugees and migrants wait at the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs this week. A Berlin official today revealed they now think 30 per cent of those claiming to be from Syria are not telling the truth
Refugees queue at the compound outside the Berlin Office of Health and Social Affairs as they wait for their registration in Berlin this week. Germany has become Europe's top destination for asylum seekers
A 19-year-old waitress at a coffee bar in the town tells me: 'We saw them [the migrants] walking around and they saw us. Of course, we were worried. We were told to be extra careful when they were here.'
A local politician, who refuses to be named, is quoted in Die Welt, one of the most respected German newspapers: 'These Muslim teenage boys come from a culture where for women it is frowned upon to show naked skin.
These Muslim teenage boys come from a culture where for women it is frowned upon to show naked skin.
Unnamed local politician
'They will follow girls and bother them without realising it is not acceptable. Naturally, their behaviour generates fear.'
At yet another migrant camp in Detmold, a city in central Germany, a 13-year-old Muslim girl was raped by a fellow migrant. The child and her mother had fled to Europe to escape a 'culture of sexual violence' in their own country.
Astonishingly, police kept silent about the rape, which took place in June. Only this month, after a local newspaper revealed that it had happened '-- and claimed German authorities are not 'going public' about crimes involving migrants because they don't want to 'give legitimacy' to critics of mass migration '-- did they confirm it had taken place.
The area's police chief, Bernd Flake, insists the official silence was meant to protect the rape victim. But he adds: 'We will continue this policy (of not informing the public) whenever crimes are committed in migrant facilities.'
A young refugee waits at the rail station in Freilassing, southern Germany. The country now expects to welcome up to a million newcomers
Refugees rest in a former furniture factory after crossing the border from Austria in Freilassing, southern Germany. EU leaders have pledged at least 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) for Syrian refugees in the Middle East
Meanwhile, the migrants keep arriving. Many have deliberately thrown away their passports on their journey through Europe, so they can pretend to be Syrian refugees rather than economic migrants.
The authorities, now being urged by both the EU and Germany's leaders to return those who aren't genuine, are completely overwhelmed.
At Freilassing, on the border with Austria, I see hundreds of migrants waiting in teeming rain to reach Mrs Merkel's promised land. Wrapped in see-through charity macs, they queue excitedly for soup. Most have travelled for weeks, from Turkey by boat to Greece, then via Macedonia, Serbia and Croatia to Austria.
'We are nearly there,' says Arun Ari, 27, grinning. He comes from the Syrian town of Kobane, where Kurdish fighters have been battling Islamic State for two years.
He seems a deserving refugee among so many who are not, yet won't show me his identity papers.
Deserving or not, he faces a tough future. Arun will be processed in one of the camps set up all over Germany in former military bases, school gymnasiums, sports halls, even a former monastery. Yet, just like him, almost every male migrant I meet is optimistic.
Outside the Bayernkaserne camp, for instance, I meet Ali, who arrived eight days ago via Greece. He used to be a travel agent in Lahore, the cultural capital of Pakistan.
The greater number of asylum seekers reaching Europe, many on flimsy dinghies crossing the Mediterranean or on hazardous journeys hidden in trucks, are from Syria or Iraq
Migrants and refugees line up as they wait to cross the border from Austria to Germany, near Freilassing. Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany would admit all those fleeing Syria even if they had come via other EU countries
'When I lost my job, I set out with six friends,' he says. 'There is every nation in the camp '-- a lot from Pakistan, like me. I chose Germany because they want us here.'
I dare not tell Ali this is not entirely true. Unless he is lucky, he won't be given refugee status, as he is an economic migrant.
It is the same story when I meet Janaid Jamshad, a 25-year-old former student.
When I lost my job, I set out with six friends. There is every nation in the camp '-- a lot from Pakistan, like me. I chose Germany because they want us here.
Ali, from Pakistan
Also from Lahore, he has been here for ten days. 'I came to Germany first in 2013 and they pushed me out again,' he says with a laugh. 'I came back when I heard Mrs Merkel was opening the doors. I have claimed asylum and they are processing my application. Because I am young, I hope they will take me.'
Not that everything is rosy for him now. 'The camp is overflowing,' he says. 'I have just been to the doctor in the shopping centre because I have a headache. Even there, there are queues of migrants waiting. The doctors at the camp will only give one pill at a time. So we find other places for medical help, and pay for it.'
Back in the Giessen curry house, I continue talking to asylum claimant Atif. 'We think having children will help us,' he says. 'Our house is very big, and they give us money, too.'
I point out that Karachi, despite the political violence there, is not in a war zone.
He still hopes to persuade the authorities he is a genuine refugee, though, and hopes he won't be returned to Pakistan because he now has no official national identity '-- in a deal with the smuggling gang, he handed them his own passport and those of his family when they arrived in Germany. They were the 'payment' in exchange for the family's fake visas and will be used again to smuggle more customers into Europe.
'My children deserve a better life than in Pakistan,' says Atif. 'They will grow up happy in Germany.'
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Shut Up Slave!
U.N. Says Cyber Violence Is Equivalent to Physical Violence Against Women | TIME
Sat, 26 Sep 2015 22:54
Cyber violence is just as damaging to women as physical violence, according to a new U.N. report, which warns women are growing even more vulnerable to cyber violence as more and more regions gain internet access.
The report calls itself a ''wake-up call'' about cyber violence as a systemic concern, especially as technology is spreading across more regions. Presented by U.N. Women and the U.N. Broadband Commission, the report estimates that 73% of women have endured cyber violence, and that women are 27 times more likely as men to be harassed online. In Europe, nine million girls have already experienced some kind of cyber violence by the time they're 15. Anita Sarkeesian, a gamer and activist who has long agitated for more action against cyber violence, spoke at the launch of the new report, titled ''Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call.''
The U.N. defines violence against women as ''any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts.'' The report notes that cyber violence is an extension of that definition, that includes acts like trolling, hacking, spamming, and harassment.
The report also argues that ''cyber touch is recognized as equally as harmful as physical touch,'' suggesting that online harassment might be just as lethal as domestic violence or sexual abuse.
''Dead is dead,'' says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General of the U.N. and Executive Director of U.N. Women. ''Whether you are dead because your partner shot you or beat you up, or you killed yourself because you couldn't bear cyber-bullying, or you were exposed to many of the sites that lead people to suicide pacts'-- bottom line, we lose a life.''
Mlambo-Ngcuka explained that the report is intended to encourage governments to take action against cyber bullying, and U.N. Women is committed to making sure those efforts are sustainable and enforceable. She said the three most important ways to combat cyber violence are sensitization to the dangers, safeguards against harassment, and sanctions against those who perpetuate internet abuse. ''This is a 21st century challenge that needs us to have new ways of reacting,'' she says. Still, one in five female internet users live in countries where law enforcement are extremely unlikely to respond to internet violence, and only 26% of law enforcement agencies in the 86 countries surveyed are properly prepared to address the problem.
Even with her position at the U.N., Mlambo-Ngcuka says it's been difficult to convince some people that this is a problem to take seriously. She recalled some resistance from industry leaders, particularly in the gaming space, who seemed to think that cyber violence was not their problem. ''The attitude was like, 'this sells, this is a business we make money off it, so what are you asking us, to reduce profits?''' she says. ''This gentlemen said to me, 'Lady, you are so intense, chill!'''
She emphasized that cyber violence exists on a continuum with physical violence, and that both problems are byproducts of a society that is inherently unequal for women.
Even if women don't end up dead, the Under-Secretary-General said, cyber violence can still dramatically affect women's ability to participate in the modern world. With 450 million more women expected to come online in the next three years, more and more women are relying on the internet for educational and professional resources.
If the internet isn't a safe place for them, Mlambo-Ngcuka added, they risk swearing off it altogether. ''If the woman is tormented, she may then decide that 'I don't want to have anything to do with technology,'' she said. ''To be disconnected from technology in the 21st century, it's like having your freedom disrupted: your right to work, your right to meet people, your right to learn, your freedom of speech. So if women become so intimidated and traumatized from the experiences they may have, it's a whole world that will be lost to them for the rest of their life.''
How the American government is trying to control what you think - The Washington Post
Sat, 26 Sep 2015 22:53
NASA tweeting that Congress should give it more money so our astronauts won't have to ride on Russian rockets. Recovery.gov reporting overly optimistic statistics on jobs saved and created by stimulus funds. The Department of Health and Human Service Web site encouraging the public to ''state your support for health care reform'' during the congressional debate over Obamacare.
These are just some recent examples of the executive branch using our tax dollars to shape our opinions. Unlike the National Security Agency's personal data collection or the overuse of ''secret'' stamps to withhold information, this government-produced propaganda receives almost no attention. But that doesn't mean this ''third dimension'' of government information is not a problem. America becomes less democratic when the $3 trillion executive branch uses its resources to tilt the debate in its favor.
Of course, a democratic government has an obligation to inform and be transparent. Citizens need to know the government's policies and plans. We have a right to know which companies receive government contracts, how to collect insurance benefits and social security payments and what public school educational reform will look like. But too often, the government uses its information machinery to do more than simply inform us about a policy. Sometimes, it tries to persuade us to adopt a particular position, regardless of its efficacy.
Consider, for example, the Department of Labor's campaign to raise the minimum wage, a topic on which there is considerable debate. Raising the minimum wage, the Congressional Budget Office points out, will eliminate some jobs. Still, the government devotes a Web page to the topic that proclaims, ''See how raising the national minimum wage will benefit America's workers.'' Americans are invited to tell the Labor Department why they ''support raising the federal minimum wage.'' Twitter users can see a video of a squiggle of mustard spelling out ''#RaiseTheWage'' on a hot dog, a reference to the recent interest group advocacy to pay fast-food employers more money. The Labor Department's Web page treats raising the minimum wage as an unalloyed good and labels possible job losses a ''myth.''
Such aggressive communications are neither novel nor exceptional. Government agencies historically have made a habit of crossing the blurry line between informing the public and propagandizing.
Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton's 1791 report on manufacturing promoted policies to grow the nation into a commercial republic. President Woodrow Wilson's Committee on Public Information recruited 75,000 members of the public to give speeches in favor of such World War I measures as Liberty Bonds and the draft, blanketed the nation with pamphlets and posters, and generally set in motion the modern publicity apparatus that exists today
A decade ago, the Government Accountability Office faulted the second Bush administration's Department of Health and Human Services for overselling the benefits of the new Medicare law. Several years before, in 1997, the GAO caught the State Department paying a consultant to write op-ed pieces in support of the Clinton administration's policy on Central America.
As these revelations dribble out, they sometimes become fodder for vitriolic partisan political battles, and occasionally prompt congressional hearings. Just three years ago, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Republicans issued a report detailing various propagandizing efforts by the Obama administration. Democrat Rep. Henry A. Waxman leveled similar accusations during the second Bush administration. But the issue then gets forgotten until the next propaganda scandal erupts.
This cycle has been occurring for at least a century, and it repeats itself because no corrective mechanisms are in place. There is no systematic monitoring of government information. Inspectors general and the GAO do not regularly report on agency communications. No congressional committee has jurisdiction over government information.
The scope of the third dimension is difficult to assess. In 2014, the government spent $760 million to hire private advertising firms, according to USASpending.gov. The contracts purchased advertising space on all forms of media, marketing research and opinion polling, message-crafting assistance and more.
That figure does not include the salaries of the innumerable federal employees who promote their agencies' work in print, on air and online. It does not include the anti-drug media campaigns, or the cost of printing and publishing reports and government journals, such as the Federal Highway Administration's Public Roads magazine. Speaking of publishing, the Government Publishing Office, which costs $110 million to operate, has more than a million publications online.
The Internet has only exacerbated this problem by making it so easy to communicate with the public. Not long after President Obama arrived in office, his administration carried out an audit of federal government Web sites. They found 24,000 of them.
The Obama administration has made heavy use of social media, which was so successful during his run for president. The Department of Commerce has a YouTube channel. The Environmental Protection Agency '-- to name just one of the 120 government agencies '-- has about two dozen Twitter accounts. It uses a social media tool called Thunderclap, which spreads messages so widely that an agency communications official calls it a ''virtual flash mob.''
EPA communications to the public include both factual updates on the agency's response to the Gold King Mine spill and aggressive advocacy in favor of the EPA's Clean Power Plan. Presidential appointees spinning for an administration is unobjectionable. But using agencies as presidential messaging machines sullies the civil service, which is supposed to be nonpartisan.
Congress has tried to curb this behavior. In 1913 it passed legislation forbidding, without its expressed approval, the expenditure of appropriated funds on ''publicity experts.'' Several years later, it enacted its grass-roots lobbying ban, which forbids the executive branch from using tax dollars to whip up public pressure to influence law-making.
Each year appropriations bills forbid agencies from spending funds for ''publicity or propaganda purposes.'' But this has done little good. As noted by Mordecai Lee, one of the few scholars to pay any attention to this issue, agencies have given their communications staff different titles, such as ''public affairs specialist,'' and renamed their communications ''outreach'' and ''public education.''
The GAO defines ''propaganda'' very narrowly as government information that is not labeled as such. Unfortunately, it otherwise has proven all but impossible to write a law that absolutely differentiates information from advocacy.
Congress again is trying to do something about government information in a modest way. The Taxpayer Transparency Act of 2015 would force agencies to label their ads and media as government-produced, which agencies do not always do.
But this reform would be even more helpful if it required agencies to cite and share the sources for their ''facts.'' Where, for example, are the Department of Labor data that prove hot dog venders earn less than $9 an hour?
Congress should direct agencies to annually inventory the number of public communications they produce, the number of staff who assist in communications, and the approximate cost. These reports should additionally reference whatever laws authorize agencies to communicate with the public and for what purposes.
All these data should be submitted to the Government Accountability Office, which can audit the data, and then publish publicly an overall inventory of government public communications.
This is only a start, of course. But it would be a big step ahead of where we are now. Just as setting the federal minimum wage is a ripe subject for energetic political debate and decision-making, so too is the third dimension.
The United Nations has a radical, dangerous vision for the future of the Web - The Washington Post
Sat, 26 Sep 2015 22:50
It may not have intended to, precisely, but the United Nations just took sides in the Internet's most brutal culture war.
On Thursday, the organization's Broadband Commission for Digital Development released a damning ''world-wide wake-up call'' on what it calls ''cyber VAWG,'' or violence against women and girls. The report concludes that online harassment is ''a problem of pandemic proportion'' '-- which, nbd, we've all heard before.
[Men who harass women online are quite literally losers, new study finds]
But the United Nations then goes on to propose radical, proactive policy changes for both governments and social networks, effectively projecting a whole new vision for how the Internet could work.
Under U.S. law '-- the law that, not coincidentally, governs most of the world's largest online platforms '-- intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook generally can't be held responsible for what people do on them. But the United Nations proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post, and that government agencies only ''license'' those who agree to do so.
''The respect for and security of girls and women must at all times be front and center,'' the report reads, not only for those ''producing and providing the content,'' but also everyone with any role in shaping the ''technical backbone and enabling environment of our digital society.''
How that would actually work, we don't know; the report is light on concrete, actionable policy. But it repeatedly suggests both that social networks need to opt-in to stronger anti-harassment regimes and that governments need to enforce them proactively.
[Contrary Internet crybabies, online speech in the U.S. is really free, actually]
At one point toward the end of the paper, the U.N. panel concludes that ''political and governmental bodies need to use their licensing prerogative'' to better protect human and women's rights, only granting licenses to ''those Telecoms and search engines'' that ''supervise content and its dissemination.''
In other words, the United Nations believes that online platforms should be (a) generally responsible for the actions of their users and (b) specifically responsible for making sure those people aren't harassers.
Regardless of whether you think those are worthwhile ends, the implications are huge: It's an attempt to transform the Web from a libertarian free-for-all to some kind of enforced social commons.
This question, of course, mirrors other, larger debates playing out across the culture, including tiffs over academic ''trigger warnings'' and debates about Reddit's foggy future. Writing at Breitbart several weeks ago, the conservative columnist Allum Bokhari described a growing social movement that he dubs ''cultural libertarianism'': the rejection of any and all limitations on absolute free expression.
[How Reddit became the perfect illustration of free speech on the Web]
It's no coincidence that the ''cultural libertarians'' Bokhari cites are all leading figures in Gamergate, just as it's no coincidence that the U.N. report references Zoe Quinn, the first victim of that movement. Well over a year after Quinn's harassment became international news, we still haven't answered these fundamental questions about what values the Internet should protect and who is responsible for it.
This U.N. report gets us no closer, alas: all but its most modest proposals are unfeasible. We can educate people about gender violence or teach ''digital citizenship'' in schools, but persuading social networks to police everything their users post is next to impossible. And even if it weren't, there are serious implications for innovation and speech: According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, CDA 230 '-- the law that exempts online intermediaries from this kind of policing '-- is basically what allowed modern social networks (and blogs, and comments, and forums, etc.) to come into being.
As reports like this are making increasingly clear, however, these platforms were developed by people who never imagined the struggles that women face online. We're using tools that weren't designed for us; they had other people and values and priorities in mind.
Is a reckoning '-- or at least rebalancing '-- imminent? The United Nations suggests it has to be. But it certainly won't look like the model dreamt up in this report. For better or worse, that's several steps too revolutionary.
Liked that? Try these:
Caitlin Dewey is The Post's digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (tinyletter.com/cdewey)
The United Nations has a radical, dangerous vision for the future of the Web - The Washington Post
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 13:51
It may not have intended to, precisely, but the United Nations just took sides in the Internet's most brutal culture war.
On Thursday, the organization's Broadband Commission for Digital Development released a damning ''world-wide wake-up call'' on what it calls ''cyber VAWG,'' or violence against women and girls. The report concludes that online harassment is ''a problem of pandemic proportion'' '-- which, nbd, we've all heard before.
[Men who harass women online are quite literally losers, new study finds]
But the United Nations then goes on to propose radical, proactive policy changes for both governments and social networks, effectively projecting a whole new vision for how the Internet could work.
Under U.S. law '-- the law that, not coincidentally, governs most of the world's largest online platforms '-- intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook generally can't be held responsible for what people do on them. But the United Nations proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post, and that government agencies only ''license'' those who agree to do so.
''The respect for and security of girls and women must at all times be front and center,'' the report reads, not only for those ''producing and providing the content,'' but also everyone with any role in shaping the ''technical backbone and enabling environment of our digital society.''
How that would actually work, we don't know; the report is light on concrete, actionable policy. But it repeatedly suggests both that social networks need to opt-in to stronger anti-harassment regimes and that governments need to enforce them proactively.
[Contrary Internet crybabies, online speech in the U.S. is really free, actually]
At one point toward the end of the paper, the U.N. panel concludes that ''political and governmental bodies need to use their licensing prerogative'' to better protect human and women's rights, only granting licenses to ''those Telecoms and search engines'' that ''supervise content and its dissemination.''
In other words, the United Nations believes that online platforms should be (a) generally responsible for the actions of their users and (b) specifically responsible for making sure those people aren't harassers.
Regardless of whether you think those are worthwhile ends, the implications are huge: It's an attempt to transform the Web from a libertarian free-for-all to some kind of enforced social commons.
This question, of course, mirrors other, larger debates playing out across the culture, including tiffs over academic ''trigger warnings'' and debates about Reddit's foggy future. Writing at Breitbart several weeks ago, the conservative columnist Allum Bokhari described a growing social movement that he dubs ''cultural libertarianism'': the rejection of any and all limitations on absolute free expression.
[How Reddit became the perfect illustration of free speech on the Web]
It's no coincidence that the ''cultural libertarians'' Bokhari cites are all leading figures in Gamergate, just as it's no coincidence that the U.N. report references Zoe Quinn, the first victim of that movement. Well over a year after Quinn's harassment became international news, we still haven't answered these fundamental questions about what values the Internet should protect and who is responsible for it.
This U.N. report gets us no closer, alas: all but its most modest proposals are unfeasible. We can educate people about gender violence or teach ''digital citizenship'' in schools, but persuading social networks to police everything their users post is next to impossible. And even if it weren't, there are serious implications for innovation and speech: According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, CDA 230 '-- the law that exempts online intermediaries from this kind of policing '-- is basically what allowed modern social networks (and blogs, and comments, and forums, etc.) to come into being.
As reports like this are making increasingly clear, however, these platforms were developed by people who never imagined the struggles that women face online. We're using tools that weren't designed for us; they had other people and values and priorities in mind.
Is a reckoning '-- or at least rebalancing '-- imminent? The United Nations suggests it has to be. But it certainly won't look like the model dreamt up in this report. For better or worse, that's several steps too revolutionary.
Liked that? Try these:
Caitlin Dewey is The Post's digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (tinyletter.com/cdewey)
Urgent action needed to combat online violence against women and girls, says new UN report Urgent action needed to combat online violence against women and girls, says new UN report
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 07:53
Millions affected globally, but most countries still failing to effectively address growing problem
Date : 24 September 2015
New York, 24 September 2015 '' A new report released today by the United Nations Broadband Commission reveals that almost three quarters of women online have been exposed to some form of cyber violence, and urges governments and industry to work harder and more effectively together to better protect the growing number of women and girls who are victims of online threats and harassment.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka speaks at the launch of the new UN report on cyber violence against Women and Girls on 24 September. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
The report notes that despite the rapidly growing number of women experiencing online violence, only 26 per cent of law enforcement agencies in the 86 countries surveyed are taking appropriate action.
Entitled Cyber Violence Against Women & Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call, the report was released earlier today at an event at United Nations Headquarters in New York by the Commission's Working Group on Gender, which is co-Chaired by UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark, and UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Working Group members, which also include representatives from the tech sector and civil society, hope the report will mobilize the public and private sectors to establish concrete strategies aimed at stemming the rising tide of online violence against women.
Without concerted global action to curb the various escalating forms of online violence, an unprecedented surge of 'cyber violence against women and girls (cyber VAWG)' could run rampant and significantly impede the uptake of broadband by women everywhere, the report contends. It notes that cyber VAWG already exists in many forms, including online harassment, public shaming, the desire to inflict physical harm, sexual assaults, murders and induced suicides.
Anita Sarkeesian, a survivor of cyber violence, speaks at the launch of the new UN report titled Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls: A Worldwide Wake-Up Call. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
The rapid spread of the Internet means that effective legal and social controls of online anti-social and criminal behaviours continue to be an immense challenge. And in the age of the social Internet and 'anywhere, anytime' mobile access, cyber violence can strike at any time, and can relentlessly follow its targets everywhere they go.
''In this report we're arguing that complacency and failure to address and solve cyber violence could significantly impede the uptake of broadband services by girls and women worldwide,'' said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, who serves as co-Vice Chair of the Broadband Commission, alongside UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. ''The Net is an amazing resource for personal empowerment, and we need to ensure that as many girls and women as possible benefit from the amazing possibilities it offers.''
Key findings of the report include:
An estimated 73 per cent of women have already been exposed to, or have experienced, some form of online violence.Women in the age range of 18 to 24 are uniquely likely to experience stalking and sexual harassment in addition to physical threats.Nine million women in the European Union's 28 countries alone have experienced online violence as young as 15 years old.One in five female Internet users live in countries where harassment and abuse of women online is extremely unlikely to be punished.In many countries women are reluctant to report their victimization for fear of social repercussions.Cyber VAWG puts a premium on emotional bandwidth, personal and workplace time, financial resources and missed wages.U.K. filmmaker and director of the film 'In Real Life' about teen experiences online, Baroness Beeban Kidron, speaks at the launch of the new UN report on cyber violence against Women and Girls on 24 September. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
''Violence against women and girls is never acceptable anywhere, no matter whether it is committed on the streets, in the home, or on the information highway,'' said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. ''To achieve sustainable development for all, we must build a world where women and girls can live their lives free of violence and fulfil their potential as valued and equal members of society.''
''Online violence has subverted the original positive promise of the Internet's freedoms and in too many circumstances has made it a chilling space that permits anonymous cruelty and facilitates harmful acts towards women and girls,'' said UN Women's Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. We want to reclaim and expand the opportunities it offers. That means recognizing the scale and depth of the damage being done '' and taking strong, concerted steps to call it '' and stop it. Abuse online is still abuse, with potency and very real consequences.''
The report presents a set of Key Recommendations, proposing a global framework based around three 'S's '' Sensitization, Safeguards and Sanctions.
Sensitization '' Preventing cyber VAWG through training, learning, campaigning and community development to promote changes in in social attitudes and behavior.Safeguards '' Implementing oversight and maintaining a responsible Internet infrastructure through technical solutions and more informed customer care practicesSanctions '' Develop and uphold laws, regulations and governance mechanisms to deter perpetrators from committing these acts.A new report, launched by the United Nations Broadband Commission on 24 September, reveals that nearly three quarters of women online have been exposed to some form of cyber violence. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
The report argues that rigorous oversight and enforcement of rules banning cyber VAWG on the Internet will be an essential foundation stone if the Internet is to become a safe, respectful and empowering space for women and girls, and, by extension, for boys and men.
You can watch an on-demand webcast of the launch event at: http://webtv.un.org
Download a free copy of the report along with Report Highlights in all six UN languages:
http://www.broadbandcommission.org /events/Pages/4th-WG-G-Meeting.aspx.
Broadcast-quality video soundbites in English, French and Spanish are available at:
https://youtu.be/SMw-x7-EncA (English)
https://youtu.be/7VxoI6Gv5co (French)
https://youtu.be/yyQnrIjXtgg (Spanish)
Broadcast-quality audio soundbites in all three languages can be downloaded at: https://soundcloud.com/ituproduction.
Photos of the report cover and the launch event are available here.
Follow the discussion over Twitter: #endVAW #cyberviolence
For more on the Broadband Commission, visit: www.broadbandcommission.org
Follow the Broadband Commission on Facebook: www.facebook.com/broadbandcommission
Follow the Broadband Commission on Twitter: https://twitter.com/UNBBCom
For more information, please contact:
At Ogilvy Public Relations: Tara MullinsE-mail: tara.mullins[@]ogilvy.comMobile: +1 646 520 6468Tel: +1 212 880 5243
At ITU: Sarah ParkesChief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITUE-mail: sarah.parkes[@]itu.intMobile: +41 79 599 1439
At UN Women: Sharon GrobeisenMedia & Communications OfficerE-mail:sharon.grobeisen[@]unwomen.orgMobile: +1 646 781 4753
F-Russia
Will US Grasp Putin's Syria Lifeline?
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:43
Exclusive: The neocons' obsession with ''regime change'' in Syria is driving another one of Official Washington's ''group thinks'' toward rejecting Russia's offer to help stabilize the war-torn country and stem the destabilizing flood of refugees into Europe, writes Robert Parry.
By Robert Parry
Russian President Vladimir Putin has thrown U.S. policymakers what amounts to a lifeline to pull them out of the quicksand that is the Syrian war, but Official Washington's neocons and the mainstream U.S. news media are growling about Putin's audacity and challenging his motives.
For instance, The New York Times' lead editorial on Monday accused Putin of ''dangerously building up Russia's military presence'' in Syria, even though Putin's stated goal is to help crush the Sunni jihadists in the Islamic State and other extremist movements.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (left) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Sept. 13, 2013. (Photo credit: Press TV)
Instead, the Times harrumphs about Putin using his upcoming speech to the United Nations General Assembly ''to make the case for an international coalition against the Islamic State, apparently ignoring the one already being led by the United States.''
The Times then reprises the bizarre neocon argument that the best way to solve the threat from the Islamic State, Al Qaeda and other jihadist forces is to eliminate Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his military who have been the principal obstacles to an outright victory by the Sunni terrorist groups.
The dreamy Times/neocon prescription continues to be that ''regime change'' in Damascus would finally lead to the emergence of the mythical ''moderate'' rebels who would somehow prevail over the far more numerous and far better armed extremists. This perspective ignores the fact that after a $500 million training project for these ''moderates,'' the U.S. military says four or five fighters are now on the battlefield inside Syria. In other words, the members of this U.S.-trained brigade can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
But rather than rethink Official Washington's goofy ''group think'' on Syria '' or provide readers a fuller history of the Syrian conflict '' the Times moves on to blame Putin for the mess.
''No one should be fooled about Russia's culpability in Syria's agony,'' the Times writes. ''Mr. Putin could have helped prevent the fighting that has killed more than 250,000 Syrians and displaced millions more, had he worked with other major powers in 2011 to keep Mr. Assad from waging war on his people following peaceful antigovernment protests. '... Mr. Assad would probably be gone without the weapons aid and other assistance from Russia and Iran.''
This ''group think'' ignores the early role of Sunni extremists in killing police and soldiers and thus provoking the harsh retaliation that followed. But the Syrian narrative, according to The New York Times, is that the ''white-hat'' protesters were simply set upon by the ''black-hat'' government.
The Times' simplistic storyline fits neatly with what the influential neoconservatives want the West to believe, since the neocons have had Syria on their ''regime change'' list, alongside Iraq and Iran, since the list was compiled as part of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu's 1996 political campaign. The Times' narrative also leaves out the crucial role of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other U.S. ''allies'' in supporting Al Qaeda and its Islamic State spinoff.
Bush's Unaccounted-for Cash
Further complicating Official Washington's let's-blame-Putin Syrian narrative is the unintended role of President George W. Bush and the U.S. military in laying the groundwork for these brutal Sunni extremist movements through the invasion of Iraq last decade. After all, it was only in reaction to the U.S. military presence that ''Al Qaeda in Iraq'' took root in Iraqi and then Syrian territory.
Not only did the ouster and execution of Sunni leader Saddam Hussein alienate the region's Sunnis, but Bush's desperation to avert an outright military defeat in Iraq during his second term led him to authorize the payment of billions of dollars to Sunni fighters to get them to stop shooting at American soldiers and to give Bush time to negotiate a U.S. troop withdrawal.
Beginning in 2006, those U.S. payments to Sunni fighters to get them to suspend their resistance were central to what was then called the ''Sunni Awakening.'' Though the program preceded Bush's ''surge'' of troops in 2007, the bought-and-paid-for truce became central to what Official Washington then hailed as the ''successful surge'' or ''victory at last.''
Besides the billions of dollars paid out in pallets of U.S. cash to Sunni insurgents, Bush's ''surge'' cost the lives of another 1,000 U.S. soldiers and killed a countless number of Iraqis, many just going about their daily lives until they were blown apart by powerful American munitions. [See, for example, the ''Collateral Murder'' video leaked by Pvt. Bradley/Chelsea Manning]
But what the U.S. intelligence community is only now assessing is the collateral damage caused by the bribes that the Bush administration paid to Sunni insurgents. Some of the cash appears to have become seed money for the transformation of ''Al Qaeda in Iraq'' into the Islamic State as Sunnis, who continued to be disenfranchised by Iraq's Shiite-dominated government, expanded their sectarian war into Syria.
Besides the Iraqi Sunnis, Syria's secular government, with Assad and other key leaders from the Alawite branch of Shiite Islam, also was set upon by home-grown Sunni extremists and foreign jihadists, some of whom joined the Islamic State but mostly coalesced around Al Qaeda's Nusra Front and other radical forces. Though the Islamic State had originated as ''Al Qaeda in Iraq'' (or AQI), it evolved into an even more bloodthirsty force and, in Syria, split off from Al Qaeda central.
Intelligence Reporting
U.S. intelligence followed many of these developments in real time. According to a Defense Intelligence Agency report from August 2012, ''AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. '... AQI declared its opposition of Assad's government because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.''
In other words, Assad's early complaint about ''terrorists'' having infiltrated the opposition had a basis in fact. Early in the disorders in 2011, there were cases of armed elements killing police and soldiers. Later, there were terrorist bombings targeting senior Syrian government officials, including a July 18, 2012 explosion '' deemed a suicide bombing by government officials '' that killed Syrian Defense Minister General Dawoud Rajiha and Assef Shawkat, the deputy defense minister and Assad's brother-in-law.
By then, it had become clear that Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and other Sunni-ruled countries were funneling money and other help to jihadist rebels seeking to oust Assad's regime, which was considered a protector of Christians, Shiites, Alawites and other minorities fearing persecution if Sunni extremists prevailed.
As the 2012 DIA report noted about Syria, ''internally, events are taking a clear sectarian direction. '... The salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria. '... The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime.''
The DIA analysts already understood the risks that AQI represented both to Syria and Iraq. The report included a stark warning about the expansion of AQI, which was changing into the Islamic State or what the DIA referred to as ISI. The brutal armed movement was seeing its ranks swelled by the arrival of global jihadists rallying to the black banner of Sunni militancy, intolerant of both Westerners and ''heretics'' from Shiite and other non-Sunni branches of Islam.
As this movement strengthened it risked spilling back into Iraq. The DIA wrote: ''This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi [in Iraq], and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters [apparently a reference to Shiite and other non-Sunni forms of Islam]. ISI could also declare an Islamic State through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.''
Facing this growing Sunni terrorist threat '-- which indeed did spill back into Iraq '-- the idea that the CIA or the U.S. military could effectively arm and train a ''moderate'' rebel force to somehow compete with the Islamists was already delusional, yet that was the ''group think'' among the Important People of Official Washington, simply organize a ''moderate'' army to oust Assad and everything would turn out just great.
On Oct. 2, 2014, Vice President Joe Biden let more of the cat out of the bag when he told an audience at Harvard's Kennedy School: ''our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria '... the Saudis, the emirates, etc., what were they doing? They were so determined to take down Assad and essentially have a proxy Sunni-Shia war, what did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of military weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad, except the people who were being supplied were Al Nusra and Al Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world.'' [Quote at 53:20 of clip.]
In other words, much of the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition actually has been involved in financing and arming many of the same jihadists that the coalition is now supposedly fighting. If you take into account the lost billions of dollars that the Bush administration dumped on Sunni fighters starting in 2006, you could argue that the U.S.-led coalition bears primary responsibility for creating the problem that it is now confronting.
Biden made a similar point at least in reference to the Persian Gulf states: ''Now all of a sudden, I don't want to be too facetious, but they have seen the lord. '... Saudi Arabia has stopped funding. Saudi Arabia is allowing training [of anti-Islamic State fighters] on its soil '... the Qataris have cut off their support for the most extreme elements of terrorist organizations, and the Turks '... [are] trying to seal their border.''
But there remain many doubts about the commitment of these Sunni governments to the cause of fighting the Islamic State and even more doubts about whether that commitment extends to Al Qaeda's Nusra Front and other jihadist forces. Some neocons have even advocated backing Al Qaeda as the lesser evil both vis a vis the Islamic State and the Assad regime.
Blaming Putin
Yet, the Times editorial on Monday blamed Putin for a big chunk of the Syrian mess because Russia has dared support the internationally recognized Syrian government in the face of vicious foreign-supported terrorism. The Times casts no blame on the United States or its allies for the Syrian horror.
The Times also hurled personal insults at Putin as part of its equally one-sided narrative of the Ukraine crisis, which the editorial writers have summarized as simply a case of ''Russian aggression'' or a ''Russian invasion'' '' ignoring the behind-the-scenes role of neocon Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in orchestrating the violent overthrow of Ukraine's elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.
In Monday's editorial, the Times reported that President Barack Obama ''considers Mr. Putin a thug,'' though it was President Obama who boasted just last month, ''I've ordered military action in seven countries,'' another inconvenient fact that the Times discreetly leaves out. In other words, who's the ''thug''?
Yet, despite all its huffing and puffing and calling Putin names, the Times ultimately concludes that Obama should test out the lifeline that Putin has tossed to Obama's Syrian policy which '' with all its thrashing and arm waving '' is rapidly disappearing into the quicksand. The editorial concluded:
''Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in London on Friday, made it clear that America would be looking for 'common ground' in Syria, which could mean keeping Mr. Assad in power temporarily during a transition. The Russians should accept that Mr. Assad must go within a specific time frame, say six months. The objective is a transition government that includes elements of the Assad regime and the opposition. Iran should be part of any deal.
''America should be aware that Mr. Putin's motivations are decidedly mixed and that he may not care nearly as much about joining the fight against the Islamic State as propping up his old ally. But with that in mind there is no reason not to test him.''
Kerry's apparent willingness to work with the Russians '' a position that I'm told Obama shares '' is at least a sign that some sanity exists inside the State Department, which initially mounted an absurd and futile attempt to organize an aerial blockade to prevent Russia from flying in any assistance to Syria.
If successful, that scheme, emanating from Nuland's European division, could have collapsed the Syrian regime and opened the gates of Damascus to the Islamic State and/or Al Qaeda. So obsessed are the neocons to achieve their long-held goal of ''regime change'' in Syria that they would run the risk of turning Syria over to the Islamic State head-choppers and Al Qaeda's terrorism plotters.
However, after the requisite snorting and pawing of hooves, it appears that the cooler heads in the Obama administration may have finally asserted themselves '' and perhaps at The New York Times as well.
Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book,America's Stolen Narrative,either in print here or as an e-book (fromAmazonandbarnesandnoble.com). You also can order Robert Parry's trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includesAmerica's Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer,click here.
John Kerry: Russian Support For Syrian President Bashar Assad Could Raise Risk Of Confrontation
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:08
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday Russia's military support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could raise the risk of confrontation with coalition forces fighting Islamic State there.
In an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Kerry said he had told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the United States was worried by Moscow's military backing for Assad in Syria's civil war, now in its fifth year.
"These actions could provoke a further escalation of the conflict and lead to the loss of more innocent lives, increasing the flow of refugees and risking a confrontation with the anti-ISIS (Islamic State) coalition operating in Syria," Kerry said.
He did not spell out what he meant by the coalition. But the United States and allies have been launching air strikes against positions held by the Islamist militant group in Syria, and in neighboring Iraq.
Israel has also raised concerns that Russian involvement on Assad's side in the conflict in Syria could accidentally lead to confrontations between Russian and Israeli forces there.
Russia has built up naval infantry forces and heavy equipment including tanks and helicopters at Syria's Latakia airbase, U.S. officials say, raising the possibility of air combat missions in Syrian airspace.
Related On HuffPost:
F-Germany
Readout of the President's Call with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:10
The President spoke today by phone with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany regarding the European response to the refugee crisis. The two leaders agreed on the need for a Europe-wide solution in which all European Member States accept their fair share of refugees. They also discussed how to alleviate the root causes of the refugee flow, in particular by facilitating a political transition that can unite Syrians. The President and Chancellor Merkel underscored the importance of resolving the crisis in eastern Ukraine and emphasized the need for Russia and the separatists it backs to uphold their commitments under the Minsk agreements.
Report: BMW X3 Diesel Also Emits More Than Legal Limit
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:43
Volkswagen's unfolding diesel emissions crisis may prove to involve other automakers as well: German magazine Autobild reports that '‹a German-market, diesel-powered BMW X3 xDrive 20d put out 11 times the legal limit of pollution in a test commissioned by the magazine.
Automotive News, which translated the Autobild report, explains that the BMW was tested by the International Council on Clean Transportation, the same group whose findings led U.S. regulators to investigate Volkswagen's U.S. diesel models.
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Over at Jalopnik, Mt(C) Petrny reports that the Euro-spec X3 tested by the magazine put out 11.88 times the Euro 6 limit for NOx emissions'--slightly worse than a U.S.-spec Passat TDI tested by the magazine, but almost half of the emissions produced by a U.S.-spec Jetta TDI and a Euro-spec Audi A8 3.0 TDI included in the test.
BMW denied the report, saying in a statement that "there is no function to recognize emissions testing cycles at BMW. All emissions systems remain active outside the testing cycle." BMW shares dropped nearly 10 percent in European trading as a result of the report.
In the wake of the ongoing diesel emissions crisis, the European Union urged all 28 member-countries to open investigations into real-world vehicle emissions. The German transport ministry vowed to conduct spot-checks on Volkswagens and other manufacturers alike, Bloomberg Business reports.
Meanwhile at Volkswagen, the resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn seems to be only the first executive-level departure: Bloomberg reports that Audi development chief Ulrich Hackenberg and Porsche development head Wolfgang Hatz will leave the company. The VW Group will announce Winterkorn's replacement tomorrow.
VW emissions scandal could snare other firms, whistleblower claims | Business | The Guardian
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:41
Volkswagen shares went into reverse on Monday, falling by 19% in Frankfurt. Photograph: Reuters
The emissions-fixing scandal that has engulfed Volkswagen in the US could extend to other companies and countries, one of the officials involved in uncovering the alleged behaviour has told the Guardian.
Billions of pounds have been wiped off the value of global carmakers amid growing concerns that emissions tests may have been rigged across the industry.
''We need to ask the question, is this happening in other countries and is this happening at other manufacturers? Some part of our reaction is not even understanding what has happened exactly,'' said John German, one of the two co-leads on the US team of the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT), the European-based NGO that raised the alarm.
Related:When it comes to carmakers, vehicle emissions are not the only concern | Letters
Shares in Volkswagen fell by almost a fifth after the world's second biggest carmaker issued a public apology in response to US allegations that it used a defeat device to falsify emissions data.
South Korea said on Tuesday it would investigate emissions of VW Jetta and Gold models and Audi A3 cars produced in 2014 and 2015. If problems are found, South Korea's environment ministry said its probe could be expanded to all German diesel imports, which have surged in popularity in recent years in a market long dominated by local producers led by Hyundai.
US Congress confirmed it is investigating the scandal on Monday. House energy and commerce committee chairman Fred Upton and oversight and investigations subcommittee chairman Tim Murphy announced that the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a hearing.
The US Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of Volkswagen admission, according to Bloomberg, which cited two officials familiar with the inquiry.
The company could face a fine of up to $18bn (£11.6bn), criminal charges for its executives, and legal action from customers and shareholders. The US law firm Hagens Berman has already launched a class-action law suit on behalf of customers who bought the affected cars.
VW shares fell by 19% in Frankfurt, wiping almost '‚¬15bn (£10.8bn) off its value. Shares in Renault, Volkswagen's French rival, also dropped by 4%, while Peugeot was down 2.5%, Nissan 2.5% and BMW 1.5% amid concerns they could be caught up in investigations.
Related:VW scandal must change how we think about transport and the environment | Letters
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Friday that VW had installed illegal software to cheat emission tests, allowing its diesel cars to produce up to 40 times more pollution than allowed. The US government ordered VW to recall 482,000 VW and Audi cars produced since 2009.
In response, Martin Winterkorn, chief executive of VW, said on Sunday he was ''deeply sorry'' for breaking the trust of the public and ordered an external investigation.
German tipped off regulators at the California Air Resources Board (Carb) and the EPA after conducting tests that showed major discrepancies in the amount of toxic emissions some VW cars were pumping out compared with the legal limits.
Max Warburton, an analyst at the financial research group Bernstein, said: ''There is no way to put an optimistic spin on this '' this is really serious.''
A British expert in low-emission vehicles claimed the manipulation of air pollution data could be ''very widespread'' and that tests in Europe are ''much more open to this sort of abuse''.
Greg Archer, a former government adviser and head of clean vehicles at the respected Transport & Environment thinktank, said: ''I am not surprised. There has been a lot of anecdotal evidence about carmakers using these defeat devices. All credit to the EPA for investigating and finding the truth.''
Archer, the former managing director of the UK's Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and non-executive director for the government's Renewable Fuels Agency, said the scandal could spread into petrol cars and CO2 levels. ''It is probably not limited to diesel and not limited to emissions,'' he added.
The devices are thought to work by injecting more urea '' an exhaust fluid '' into the car when it is being tested. This limits nitrogen oxide emissions. The car detects it is being tested because devices such as the anti-collision systems have to be turned off when it is in the laboratory. The extra urea is not injected into the car when it is on the road because it would quickly run out.
Archer claims European tests are more open to abuse because they are conducted before the car goes into mass production and by companies that have been paid by the carmakers. These testing companies have been verified by regulators in each country, such as the Vehicle Certification Agency, but in the US the tests are conducted by an independent body.
Industry leaders in Britain claimed there was ''no evidence'' that manufacturers are cheating the system in Europe but admitted it needs to be reformed.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, the industry trade body, said: ''The EU operates a fundamentally different system to the US '' with all European tests performed in strict conditions as required by EU law and witnessed by a government-appointed independent approval agency. There is no evidence that manufacturers cheat the cycle.
''The industry acknowledges, however, that the current test method is outdated and is seeking agreement from the European Commission for a new emissions test that embraces new testing technologies and is more representative of on-road conditions.''
The US allegations involve a series of diesel cars produced by VW and the brands it owns, such as Audi. These include the Audi A3, VW Jetta, Beetle, Golf and Passat models. VW has halted sales of these models.
Jochen Flasbarth, a senior environment official in the German government, accused Volkswagen of ''blatant consumer deception'' over the scandal. The country's economy minister, Sigmar Gabriel, also warned it could damage the reputation of the country's vital automotive industry.
''That this is a bad case, I think is clear,'' Gabriel said. ''You will understand that we are worried that the justifiably excellent reputation of the German car industry and in particular that of Volkswagen suffers.'' The German government has launched its own investigation into VW and held talks with executives.
The scandal puts the future of Volkswagen chief Winterkorn in serious doubt. Earlier this year he won an internal power struggle with Ferdinand Pich, who stepped down as chairman. The board of the company is due to meet on Friday to discuss extending Winterkorn's contract.
Winterkorn has been at the helm of VW since 2007 and has been directly responsible for research and development since then.
Guido Reinking, a German automotive analyst, told German television station n-tv: ''It's almost impossible to imagine that he didn't know about this special way of programming the engine.''
David Bailey, professor of industrial strategy at Aston University in Birmingham, said: ''If it is the case that they have been trying to hoodwink regulators, it's a really dumb thing to do. Regulators will look at this more closely now. There has been growing concern about diesel cars and nitrous oxide emissions. The industry has been trying to make the case that the latest regulations largely deal with that issue but regulators will now look more closely at whether they have.''
In the wake of the scandal two senior VW executives cancelled a planned appearance at a media event in New York with rock star Lenny Kravitz scheduled for Monday evening.
Herbert Diess, chairman of the VW brand's management board, and Heinz-Jakob Neusser, VW's board member in charge of technical development, had planned to attend the event to introduce the latest version of the Passat mid-size sedan.The chief executive of VW's US arm, Michael Horn, was still due to attend the event. He is expected to provide a statement about the situation.
Robocalls
Google Files Suit Against SEO Firm Accused Of Robocalling, Launches Complaint Center For Users
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 03:55
No fluff - just the best news in paid search marketing every week.
After years of near inaction, Google is stepping up to take on robocallers that claim affiliation with the company in order to prey on small businesses. In addition to launching a new page for users to report call scams, Google filed suit on Wednesday against a search engine optimization firm for making robocalls.
''Our office is beseiged [sic] daily by phone calls asking to update our Google listing. The calls said we could push a number to be removed from their database, but the calls continue even after we did so. How do we get those calls to stop??''. That complaint from 2013 is just one of many that come up in a search for ''robocalls'' on the Google My Business help forum.
In its first legal move to combat robocallers claiming to work for or with the company, Google My Business Operations Manager Brad Wetherall announced in a blog post that ''today we're filing an action in California against one search engine optimization company for making these robocalls and confusing our users.'' The name of the firm had not been released at the time of publication but will be updated here when available.
Update 9/16: Google filed suit in the Norther District of California against Local Lighthouse Corp (site here), based in Tustin, California, which promotes paid search and SEO services. Search Engine Land has received a copy of the filing, it is embedded below.
The suit claims that Local Lighthouse Corp ''sales agents have made and continue to make various false and misleading claims during Defendant's telemarketing calls to confuse consumers regarding the true source or nature of Defendant's services and the relationship between Google and Defendant'' and ''exploits such confusion to induce consumers to enter into contracts costing hundreds of dollars in recurring monthly bills.''
As an example, the Google claims Local Lighthouse ''sales agents have made statements such as: 'We're a Google subcontractor,' 'we're working for Google,' 'the $100 fee [to initiate Defendant's services] goes to Google,' and Defendant's customers' webpages 'will show up multiple times on the front page and get what's called 'Front Page Domination.'''
Local Lighthouse has a least five other civil cases pending against it for violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act which makes placing robocalls without consent illegal. Two of the cases were filed in California courts, the others were filed in North Carolina, Washington and Oregon.
In tandem with filing legal action, Google also launched a new Safety Center page on Wednesday for users who receive robocalls from companies purporting to be affiliated with the search giant. The page explains steps users should take to protect themselves from further calls and offers links to a report the callers to Google, as well as the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) or FCC (Federal Communications Commission).
Typically, the calls start with a recording that prompts recipients to press a button in order to speak with a representative about claiming or updating their Google My Business Listings or to hear how they should be performing better in Google search or AdWords. The aim may be to sell local search optimization services or to get login information to hijack business listings or spam Maps listings. These types of automated calls are illegal in the United States because the recipients haven't given written consent to get sales calls from the company doing the calling.
Despite the fact that businesses have been complaining about getting bombarded with robocalls for years, and Google's own reputation has suffered when recipients believe that Google is involved with the calls, until now, the company has hung back from taking direct action, instead directing users to go to the National Do Not Call Registry or to file complaints with the FCC or FTC.
Perpetrators are hard to go after, Google says, because they often use untraceable phone numbers, fake company names and a global network of intermediaries to execute the calls. The graphic below from the FTC maps what happens during a typical illegal robocall.
Source: FTC
Google may call users to verify business listings, maps details, AdWords and other products, but the company says these calls are always from live representatives and never automated, unless specifically requested by the user. The best thing to do if you receive a robocall from any entity (not just Google impersonators) is to immediately hang up. Do not press any button because once you do, they've got your number, literally, and you'll likely just keep getting more illegal calls. The FCC says it received more than 214,000 complaints about unwanted calls in 2014.
Google's actions Wednesday signal that it will be more active in addressing the robocalls that have been inundating local businesses.
About The AuthorAs Third Door Media's paid media reporter, Ginny Marvin writes about paid online marketing topics including paid search, paid social, display and retargeting for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She provides search marketing and demand generation advice for ecommerce companies and can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
Earon
PressTV-Tasnim: First Microsoft Store opens in Iran
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 08:05
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A Microsoft Store has opened in Tehran for sales of mobile phones produced by the multinational US technology giant, an Iranian news agency says.
If confirmed, it will be the first US company to open a presence in Iran, coming on the heels of a landmark nuclear agreement reached in July to lift all trade sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
According to the Tasnim news agency on Thursday, ''the American company of Microsoft stole a lead to open a mobile phone sales store in Iran''.
''This five-unit store has been opened by Pars Samtel, the exclusive agent of Microsoft mobile phones, at Iran Mobile Marketplace on Hafez Avenue in Tehran, with the company's banner ad clarifying that the store is the first in Iran,'' it said.
Microsoft has been long eyeing the huge Iranian market of 80 million people where over 90% of computers use a version of the company's Windows.
Like other American companies, Microsoft wanted to sell mobile phones, software, and other communication technology to Iranians but was fearful of running foul of the US sanctions regime.
Pars Samtel says it is the exclusive agent of Microsoft mobile phones in Iran. (C)Tasnim Apple was among the first US firms to push the envelop on Iran, allowing sales of its Mac and iPhone range to Iranian customers and granting them access to its App Store.
Apple is said to be in contact with Iranian distributors about the possibility of entering the country when the sanctions are lifted.
However, no other US company has raised more controversy than McDonald's after putting a franchising application form for Iran on its website.
The move set off a chorus of anti-American voices from some quarters in Iran, prompting the fast-food chain to say it had not set a firm date for development of McDonald's restaurants in Iran though, in the future, they "may take steps to do so".
US media are criticizing ''strict, decades-old restrictions'' that will continue to prohibit trade with Iran even after sanctions against the country are lifted.
The Wall Street Daily has warned in an article that US corporations are set to lose big to their European and Asian rivals once the gates to the Iranian market open in a post-sanction period.
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EuroLand
Has the Problem of Youth Unemployment Become a Secondary Issue?
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:52
The second week of September was chosen by the European Commission as the European Week of Sport '' a new initiative aimed at promoting healthier lifestyle and regular exercise.
While pioneered by the European Commission, the European Week of Sport was largely geared towards local grass root initiatives across the EU. One of these initiatives was the Project 668's Run for Employment that European Public Affairs was a partner of.
Run for Employment took place in Brussels on the 13 September with the aim of highlighting the link between sport and employment.
Europe is still ravaged by high levels of unemployment and those without a job face an increased risk of mental health problems. Physical activity has undoubtedly a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing. Therefore, sport is one 'weapon' to fight the negative ramifications of Europe's youth unemployment crisis.
It is against this backdrop that 11 teams met in Brussels' Parc Leopold two weeks ago to become part of a sporting event that offered a positive response to youth unemployment '' a problem that continues to pose serious threat to the sustainable development of Europe into the future.
Yet, on the face of it, it seems that the issue of youth unemployment has disappeared from our public discourse.
This perception is also supported by the recent and highly anticipated State of the Union speech that the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker delivered on 9 September in the Plenary of the European Parliament.
In a speech that lasted for over an hour (77 minutes to be precise) and one that contained almost 10,000 words there was no specific reference to youth unemployment as such and only a brief mention of the problem of unemployment in general.
Of course, in the age of soundbite driven media and at the time when Europe's attention is dominated by the humanitarian and refugee crisis on its doorstep as well as within it, it is understandable that not all issues can be given the same prominence.
However, while the situation is slowly improving, the levels of youth unemployment remain excessively high. Some 7.5 million Europeans under 25 are neither employed nor in education or training.
Youth unemployment should therefore feature high on the list of the EU's and national governments' priorities. It is not as if the European Commission has done nothing in this regard. It has a track record, albeit limited, that it can build on.
Among other things and as part of the EU's response to joblessness the EU has introduced the Youth Employment Package which includes measures such as the so called Youth Guarantee scheme designed to ensure that 'all young people under 25 get a good-quality, concrete offer within 4 months of them leaving formal education or becoming unemployed'.
To then reinforce these measures the Commission proposed in 2013 the Youth Employment Initiative (relaunched in May 2015) the purpose of which is to offer help to those young people who are most vulnerable i.e. those neither in employment or training. Furthermore, in order to speed up implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative the EU institutions agreed in May of this year to frontload '‚¬1 billion. According to the EU Commission this decision will help up to 650,000 young people find jobs, apprenticeships, traineeships or continued education across Europe.
Only last week (17 September) the European Commission proposed guidance to Member States to better help long-term unemployed return to work.
Notwithstanding the achievements of the recent past and accepting that the Juncker's Commission has invested political capital into focusing a great deal of its activities into boosting the EU's economy and job creation (also via the previously announced European Fund for Strategic Investments) it is important that we do not take our eye of the ball.
Grass root initiatives such as that of Project 668, important as they are, cannot deliver structural changes without the will of Europe's political elites and businesses that will play a crucial role in delivering long-lasting solutions.
It is important to bear in mind that as the EU's overall job market situation slowly improves, many young people will continue to struggle with and suffer from the consequences of the economic crisis. The European Commission, other EU institutions, national governments, private sector as well as the third sector should not only continue to implement existing schemes, but also to step up the efforts to introduce new and more effective ones so that the economic recovery is felt across all corners of Europe, as well as by all demographic groups.
This text was co-published with Project 668, located here.
Frank MarkovicI am a European citizen and Slovak national. I have obtained a BA degree in politics at the University of Exeter and an MA degree in European Public Affairs at Maastricht University in the Netherlands. I am currently working in Brussels and the areas of interest that I like to blog about include EU citizens and human rights, the UK and Central and Eastern Europe.You can contact me at frank.markovic@europeanpublicaffairs.eu oryou can find me on linkedin or Twitter, @FrankMarkovic .
Pope
Congressman Bob Brady steals Pope Francis' glass to sip remaining liquid with his wife | Daily Mail Online
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 07:58
Representative Bob Brady, a devout Catholic and Democrat from Pennsylvania took Pope Francis' water glass on Thursday After Pope Francis addressed congress, Rep. Brady made his way to the podium to get the leftover liquid so he could drink itHe also shared the water with his wife Debra and his staff, and plans to use the rest to sprinkle on his grandchildren Brady poured the liquid into the mouths of others rather than letting them hold the glass and had his staff send out the photosHe did the same thing at President Obama's inauguration with his water glassBrady also plans to have police dust the cup for fingerprints to prove it was used by Pope Francis By Chris Spargo For Dailymail.com
Published: 13:09 EST, 25 September 2015 | Updated: 06:45 EST, 26 September 2015
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A congressman stole the water glass Pope Francis was drinking out of during his address at the White House on Thursday.
Representative Bob Brady, a devout Catholic and Democrat from Pennsylvania immediately made his way to the podium after Pope Francis finished speaking and grabbed the glass that was still filled with water.
He then drank the water, gave some of the water to his wife Debra, and saved the rest for his grandchildren.
Representative Brady took photos as well, and had his staff send them out to the press.
Scroll down for video
Sipping: Representative Bob Brady (above), a devout Catholic and Democrat from Pennsylvania took Pope Francis' water glass on Thursday
Sharing: Rep. Brady shared with his wife Debra (above), and plans to use the rest to sprinkle on his grandchildren
Thief: After Pope Francis addressed congress (above), Rep. Brady made his way to the podium to get the leftover liquid so he could drink it
'The congressman is a Catholic and has immense respect for the Holy Father,' Chief of Staff Stan White told ABC News.
White added that Representative Brady 'was immensely moved by the speech. He thought the Holy Father spoke to issues he cared deeply about ... especially caring about the poor and the Holy Father's concern about our environment.'
He also shared some of the water with members of his staff and assistant, also a devout Catholic.
As for the saved water, he plans to sprinkle it on his grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Messiah: Brady poured the liquid into the mouths of others rather than letting them hold the glass and had his staff send out the photos (above with constituent Ernie DeNofa)
Helping hand: Brady shares the water with Colleen Carlos (above), his assistant
Representative Brady may also get the chance to nab another one of Pope Francis' water glasses too, as he will be heading to Brady's district of Philadelphia over the weekend.
The congressman plans to attend Holy Mass and hear the Pope Francis speak in the city.
The Philadelphia trip begins Saturday morning, with Pope Francis flying out of JFK in New York at 8:40am.
This is not the first time Brady has pulled a stunt like this, with the Philadelphia Daily News reporting he did the same thing after President Obama's inauguration, though he just saved that glass and did not drink from it.
They also spoke to Representative Brady who said he had saved the cup and would have police dust it for fingerprints to prove it was used by Pope Francis.
He also had police dust President Obama's glass as well.
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Rubbleize!
Hajj tragedy: another crime by House of Saud
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:48
Here is what my colleague, Gwenn Okruhlik, wrote on Facebook this morning (I cite with her permission): "The hajj tragedy is not about excessive heat or excessive emotions or the logistical challenges of managing so many pilgrims. It is about the unbridled capitalist expansion of the mosque beyond its capacity and the destruction of historical Mecca. In its essence, hajj is about equality across class, gender, nationality, color. We are all equal before God. Two thin white towels and cheap flip flops. No make up, no jewelry, no briefcase. Just equality before God. Now, it is five star hotels vis a vis tents. Hajj was homogenized in 1979. And the birthplace of the prophet, his first school, his mosque - all turned into parking lots...Some of my richest interviews are from old men in the Hejaz. Who weep openly when remembering Mecca in the day. When the Grand Mosque was a home for curiosity, questions, tolerance among mathabs and sects. They used to used to share lunch in Mecca and argue about life and beliefs and then break bread."
MIC
How a $2.7 billion air-defense system became a 'zombie' program - Los Angeles Times
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 07:29
JLENS was billed as the answer to an ever-expanding list of threats, from cruise missiles to explosive-laden trucks. But the blimp-borne radar system has yet to perform as promised.
Sept. 24, 2015 | Reporting from Washington
Unknown to most Americans, the Pentagon has spent $2.7 billion developing a system of giant radar-equipped blimps to provide an early warning if the country were ever attacked with cruise missiles, drones or other low-flying weapons.
After nearly two decades of disappointment and delay, the system '-- known as JLENS '-- had a chance to prove its worth on April 15.
That day, a Florida postal worker flew a single-seat, rotary-wing aircraft into the heart of the nation's capital to dramatize his demand for campaign finance reform.
JLENS is intended to spot just such a tree-skimming intruder, and two of the blimps were supposed to be standing sentry above the capital region. Yet 61-year-old Douglas Hughes flew undetected through 30 miles of highly restricted airspace before landing on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
At a congressional hearing soon afterward, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) demanded to know how ''a dude in a gyrocopter 100 feet in the air'' was able to pull off such an audacious stunt.
The rotary-wing aircraft that Douglas Hughes landed near the U.S. Capitol on April 15. (Paul J. Richards / AFP/Getty Images) Read the story''Whose job is it to detect him?'' Chaffetz asked.
It was JLENS' job, but the system was ''not operational'' that day, as the head of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Adm. William E. Gortney, told Chaffetz. The admiral offered no estimate for when it would be.
Seventeen years after its birth, JLENS is a stark example of what defense specialists call a ''zombie'' program: costly, ineffectual and seemingly impossible to kill.
In videos and news releases, Raytheon Co., the Pentagon's lead contractor for JLENS, has asserted that the system is ''proven,'' ''capable,'' ''performing well right now'' and ''ready to deploy today.''
A Los Angeles Times investigation found otherwise:
In tests, JLENS has struggled to track flying objects and to distinguish friendly aircraft from threatening ones.A 2012 report by the Pentagon's Operational Test and Evaluation office faulted the system in four ''critical performance areas'' and rated its reliability as ''poor.'' A year later, in its most recent assessment, the agency again cited serious deficiencies and said JLENS had ''low system reliability.''The system is designed to provide continuous air-defense surveillance for 30 days at a time, but had not managed to do so as of last month.Software glitches have hobbled its ability to communicate with the nation's air-defense networks '-- a critical failing, given that JLENS' main purpose is to alert U.S. forces to incoming threats.The massive, milk-white blimps can be grounded by bad weather and, if deployed in combat zones, would be especially vulnerable to enemy attack.Even if all those problems could be overcome, it would be prohibitively expensive to deploy enough of the airships to protect the United States along its borders and coasts.These findings emerged from a review of reports by the Pentagon testing office and the U.S. Government Accountability Office and from interviews with defense scientists and active and retired military officers.
Despite the system's documented shortcomings, Raytheon and other backers of JLENS have marshaled support in Congress and at the highest levels of the military to keep taxpayer money flowing to the program.
They have done so in part by depicting JLENS as the answer to an ever-evolving list of threats: cruise missiles, drones and other small aircraft, ''swarming'' boats, even explosives-laden trucks.
Army leaders tried to kill JLENS in 2010, The Times learned. What happened next illustrates the difficulty of extinguishing even a deeply troubled defense program.
Raytheon mobilized its congressional lobbyists. Within the Pentagon, Marine Corps Gen. James E. ''Hoss'' Cartwright, then vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came to JLENS' defense, arguing that it held promise for enhancing the nation's air defenses.
At Cartwright's urging, money was found in 2011 for a trial run of the technology '-- officially, an ''operational exercise'' '-- in the skies above Washington, D.C.
Cartwright retired the same year '-- and joined Raytheon's board of directors five months later. As of the end of 2014, Raytheon had paid him more than $828,000 in cash and stock for serving as a director, Securities and Exchange Commission records show.
The Times sought comment from Raytheon and an opportunity to interview company officials about JLENS. In response, spokeswoman Keri S. Connors said by email that Raytheon ''declines to participate in the story.''
Cartwright, who remains a Raytheon director, did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Philip E. Coyle III, who oversaw assessments of dozens of major weapons systems as the Pentagon's director of operational testing from 1994 to 2001, said Congress should closely examine whether JLENS deserves any more taxpayer dollars.
The cost of a blimp-borne radar network extensive enough to defend the nation against cruise missiles ''would be enormous,'' Coyle said in an interview.
''When you look at the full system '-- all the pieces that are required '-- that's when it gets really daunting,'' he said.
A 2012 report by the Pentagon's operational testing office faulted the airborne radar system in four ''critical performance areas'' and rated its reliability as ''poor.'' A year later, in its most recent assessment, the agency again cited serious deficiencies. (Raytheon)JLENS is short for Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor System '-- Pentagon-speak for airborne radar that is linked, or ''netted,'' to the nation's air-defense network.
The radar is kept aloft by pilotless, helium-filled airships, each 242 feet long. At the blimps' maximum altitude of 10,000 feet, the radar can see 340 miles in any direction, far beyond the limits that Earth's curvature imposes on land- or sea-based radar.
The blimps are designed to operate in pairs. One searches widely for threats. The other is supposed to focus narrowly on airborne objects and transmit ''fire control'' data on their location, speed and trajectory.
If JLENS were working as intended, U.S. fighter jets or ground-based rockets would use the fire-control data to intercept and destroy an intruder.
The 7,000-pound airships are anchored to the ground by high-strength, 1-1/8-inch-thick Kevlar tethers, which also hold wiring for electricity. A ground crew of about 130 is needed to operate a pair of blimps around the clock.
Military planners have long been intrigued by the idea of hovering surveillance platforms that would allow radar to see beyond the horizon and stand guard for long periods.
The Army awarded the first JLENS contract in 1998 to a joint venture led by Raytheon, for an estimated $292 million.
Raytheon, headquartered in Waltham, Mass., assembled the radar. The blimps and ground equipment were built by TCOM L.P., based in Columbia, Md. Numerous subcontractors provided other components and services.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, seemed to validate the Army's decision, demonstrating the potential for unconventional airborne attacks anywhere in the world, including the nation's capital.
On that day, Al Qaeda operatives commandeered four commercial airliners, flying two into the World Trade Center in New York and a third into the Pentagon.
The hijackers intended to steer the fourth plane into the U.S. Capitol or the White House, but passengers rebelled and tried to break into the cockpit, according to the 9/11 Commission. The airliner nose-dived into a field in southwestern Pennsylvania, 20 minutes' flying time from Washington.
In November 2005, the Army added $1.3 billion to Raytheon's JLENS contract, and the government committed to buy 28 of the blimps.
But problems emerged with the software for the fire-control radar, causing repeated delays in testing and production.
Doubts also grew within the Army about whether JLENS '-- even if it could ever be made operational '-- would serve a real need.
Its original selling point was that it could be swiftly moved around within a battle theater. But that became implausible, given the extensive ground facilities required to support JLENS '-- including power generators and reinforced concrete pads to anchor the airships.
A more serious problem, from the standpoint of Army leaders, was that even a fully functioning JLENS would not be much use against the weapons that were killing and maiming U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan: crude rockets, artillery and improvised explosive devices.
JLENS was designed chiefly to defend against cruise missiles, which were not a threat in those battle zones. And the U.S. already had radar-equipped planes that could detect cruise missiles.
A mishap at a test facility in Elizabeth City, N.C., operated by TCOM, further soured Army leaders on JLENS.
Army Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli saw JLENS as ineffective. (Susan Walsh / AP Photo)During a storm on Sept. 30, 2010, a civilian balloon broke loose from its mooring, destroying a grounded JLENS blimp that had cost about $182 million.
By then, the Pentagon had poured more than $2 billion into JLENS and did not have an operational system to show for it. Planners estimated it would take billions more to deliver JLENS as originally promised.
At the insistence of Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, then the Army's vice chief of staff, officials canceled plans to buy the full complement of 28 blimps and prepared to kill the program.
Chiarelli wanted the money spent on technologies that would defend against RAM '-- Army shorthand for rockets, artillery and mortar.
''I tried to kill it,'' Chiarelli, now retired, said in an interview. ''I did not see JLENS as an effective RAM counter-surveillance. I wanted somebody to realize that what was killing our soldiers was RAM and not cruise missiles.''
Raytheon sent into action a team of lobbyists that included former U.S. Sens. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and John Breaux (D-La.), as well as two of their former Senate aides.
The company put forth an expanded rationale for JLENS, asserting that it could be used to protect not just troops in combat, but also American cities and towns.
The company put forth an expanded rationale for JLENS, asserting that it could be used to protect not just troops in combat, but also American cities and towns.
The list of threats to which JLENS was the answer grew as well. To missiles, drones and small aircraft,Raytheon added boats and ''moving ground targets,'' including tanks and trucks.
Inside the military, Cartwright and other JLENS supporters sought to overcome the Army's opposition by arguing that the system could bolster ''situational awareness'' of airborne threats, adding a valuable capability to existing early-warning networks.
A 2011 Raytheon video echoed the point, saying that JLENS ''provides revolutionary enhancements to ground and situational awareness.''
The video said the system would stand watch against ''today's real and persistent threats,'' including planes and ''rotary wing aircraft.'' (Postal worker Douglas Hughes would fly just such a craft to the doorstep of Congress four years later.)
The military backers of JLENS also tapped into the lingering post-Sept. 11 concern that Washington remained vulnerable.
They proposed basing JLENS at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, an Army installation about 60 miles northeast of Washington, for a three-year trial run during which the system would protect the capital area and a surrounding swath of the eastern United States.
This offered members of Congress the prospect of increased surveillance of the region where they work and live.
It won the backing of Maryland's senior senator, Barbara A. Mikulski, a Democrat who was head of the Senate Appropriations Committee and whose state was home to TCOM, the maker of the blimps.
The system's backers depicted JLENS as a bargain, not a burden. They said it could provide continuous aerial surveillance at a fraction of what it would cost to keep the military's radar planes in the air around the clock.
The rescue effort was fortified by JLENS' broad economic footprint: The program has supported hundreds of blue- and white-collar jobs in Southern California, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, Texas, Alabama, New Mexico, Utah, Oregon and Virginia.
Nevertheless, Army leaders pushed back. They said that if Cartwright and others wanted to keep JLENS going, the Army should not be required to pay for it.
JLENS advocates responded by seeking some of what would be needed for the three-year test exercise from Defense Department research and development funds.
By the spring of 2011, the system's supporters had prevailed in the Pentagon. Soon thereafter, Congress approved the funding.
JLENS would live on.
So would its stubborn technical problems.
In videos and other promotional materials, Raytheon has claimed that JLENS can provide nonstop protection.
''JLENS is always on. It provides 360 degrees of continuous surveillance '-- 24/7, 30 days at a time,'' says the narrator of a 2012 video. ''JLENS is proven, capable, cost-effective and ready.''
In fact, equipment malfunctions and weather conditions had prevented JLENS from operating continuously for as long as 30 days, as of the end of last month, according to Pentagon documents and defense specialists.
The Pentagon testing office's 2012 report gave JLENS low marks, including for its ability to find and track a target '-- and to distinguish friendly aircraft from real threats.
The report also cited ''software stability'' problems affecting the all-important fire-control radar.
The deficiencies emerged during tests conducted at a range in Utah, about 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.
The report said JLENS had remained airborne and functional for an average of just 21 hours per launch.
It rated the system's overall reliability as ''poor.''
In its 2013 report, the operational testing office said JLENS had demonstrated ''a potential capability'' to relay radar data to U.S. forces during four experimental flights. In one of the tests, data from JLENS enabled a missile to destroy a target drone.
The flights, however, were made in an ''operationally unrealistic test environment'' and relied on ''equipment that is not part of the JLENS system,'' the report said.
The Pentagon specialists again noted that JLENS had been deficient in locating and consistently tracking targets '-- and in distinguishing friendly from potential enemy aircraft.
In addition, military personnel needed ''significant contractor support'' from Raytheon to run the system during tests, the report said. Troops would not have that luxury in combat.
Among the report's conclusions: ''JLENS system level reliability is not meeting program reliability growth goals. Both software and hardware reliability problems contribute to low system reliability.''
The report also said tests of the system's ability to perform in the face of expected electronic interference from radios and other radars during an attack ''revealed several anomalies affecting mission-critical systems.''
Referring to that vulnerability, the authors wrote: ''JLENS did not demonstrate the ability to survive in its intended operational environment.''
Army personnel at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, about 60 miles northeast of Washington, site of a three-year trial run in which JLENS is supposed to stand sentry over the capital region. ( Kim Hairston/The Baltimore Sun )The three-year operational exercise above the Washington area is costing taxpayers about $50 million a year.
Nearly $20 million was spent just to pour the massive concrete footings needed to anchor the airships, according to a congressional analyst who has tracked the program.
In announcing the test exercise in December, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) said the first blimp would be deployed that month, ''followed approximately six weeks later by the second.''
A Raytheon news release dated Dec. 27, 2014, said JLENS ''is strategically emplaced to help defend Washington, D.C., and a Texas-sized portion of the East Coast.''
The first blimp went aloft in December. But software problems with the fire-control radar have kept the required second airship on the ground for most of this year.
That is how Douglas Hughes was able to fly his gyrocopter through Washington airspace, undetected.
A military spokeswoman, Army Maj. Beth R. Smith, said the difficulty in launching the second blimp involved ''software issues'' affecting the integration of JLENS data ''into the NORAD air defense network.''
Smith was interviewed in late July. As of then, she said, JLENS was still not linked, or ''netted,'' to NORAD.
The second airship was briefly sent aloft Aug. 18 and again Aug. 22. Each flight lasted only about an hour, according to another spokeswoman, Air Force Maj. Katrina G. Andrews.
JLENS is now in a ''testing and system checkout phase,'' she said this month. Asked whether the system had yet been integrated into the NORAD network, Andrews declined to elaborate.
Robert M. Stein, a radar engineer and former Raytheon executive who serves on the Pentagon's Defense Science Board, expressed doubt that JLENS would ever be feasible for broad-scale use.
Deploying the blimps widely enough to protect the country against cruise missiles would be impractical, he said in an interview. It would make more sense, Stein said, to invest in improved intelligence so that the U.S. could anticipate an attack and take preemptive action.
''It's awfully expensive to be able to deal with a bolt out of the blue,'' he said. ''That's almost an impossible job.''
Additional Credits: Development: Lily Mihalik. Lead image: JLENS blimps are intended to provide U.S. forces with early warning of cruise missiles or other low-flying enemy aircraft. Technical problems have prevented the system from performing reliably. (Raytheon)
More L.A. Times Special Reports
FacePage
Facebook Daughter's Day Hoax Is A Sign Of The Times
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 08:00
My daughter and me
Yesterday was National Daughter's Day! I know this because Facebook told me so; well, maybe not Mark Zuckerberg himself, but all my friends on Facebook were posting pictures of their daughters and celebrating National Daughter's Day so it must be true, right?
Actually, I Googled it, and guess what??? September 24 is NOT National Daughter's Day'...According to Wikipedia, National Daughter's Day is August 11th. This little snippet in Wikipedia also stated that National Daughter's Day originated from the Bible. I have done some more digging, and honestly, I can't find proof for either the day or the fact that the Bible calls for it. So it got me to thinking'...
How did a day, which didn't actually exist, go viral in just a few hours on Facebook? There has to be a need which something like this fills or else the entire Facebook population wouldn't have jumped on it so quickly.
Then it hit me. We love our daughters! It really is that simple. We love our daughters so much that we felt we needed to tell them so publicly on Facebook. I saw some of the cutest baby pictures and some of the sweetest words of love scroll through my Facebook feed yesterday. Mothers and fathers discussing how sweet their little girls were and exclaiming pride in the women they had become. All ages were represented. It was really quite moving, and it was a wonderful change from the politics and hatred I normally see there.
My question is, why did we need to create a fictitious holiday to say these things. We all know our society is in desperate need of love, but yesterday also proved that our society is desperate to show love. It is OK to tell the world you love your daughter, or for that matter, your son, your wife, your husband, your life partner, your best friend, your ex, your mailman, your mother, your dog, or your local friendly hardware store worker. You don't need a special occasion or an official day. We don't have to all agree it is OK to do it on that particular day.
Just love. Show it openly. Tell the world and Facebook. Do it every day. It's in your DNA. You need it.
I declare today National I Am Going To Post About Who I Love Day'...every day.
By the way'... My daughter, Mallory, is intelligent, beautiful, and compassionate, and I am blessed that she calls me Mom. Just thought I would throw that in since it is National I Am Going To Post About Who I Love Day!
Now faith, hope, and love remain'--these three things'--and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13
User:Daughters day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 08:00
Daughters day is on the 11 August. It's a day that mothers and fathers show how much they love and care for their daughter. It's a tradition in England that got lost over the last 150 years. It is becoming more popular again in the last few years. It originated from the bible. On this day you should treat your daughter like a princess for the day.
Party City allegedly banned a woman from its Facebook who asked for better girls' costumes
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:39
What's This?
By Andrea Romano2015-09-22 20:38:42 UTC
Big brands and retailers have been recently pushing to be more gender inclusive when marketing their products to kids (and their parents). Apparently, Party City is not one of those brands.
One woman decided to call out Party City's categorization of girls' Halloween costumes on its website in an open letter. Many people use social media to voice their opinions or air their grievances against companies, but she says her particular complaint ended up getting her banned from the company's page altogether.
While shopping online for a Halloween costume for her 3-year-old daughter, Lin Kramer noticed that the retailer not only had a relatively sparse offering of "Career Costumes" for young girls compared to young boys, but also the costumes seemed like unnecessarily feminized versions of their male counterparts.
Kramer wrote an open letter to Party City on the company's Facebook page, explaining her point. Her entire letter is now posted on her personal Facebook page.
An open letter to #PartyCity:Dear Party City, Having just finished perusing your website for Halloween costumes for...
Posted by Lin Kramer on Monday, September 14, 2015
"30% of the costumes you market to boys are based on occupations, while just under 7% of the costumes you market to girls are based on occupations," she wrote in her letter, pinpointing how the company skewed career costume options toward boys. Options for girls were, instead, limited to the realms of fantasy.
While she noted that Halloween is undoubtedly about dressing up and make-believe, Kramer went on to discuss how these career costumes were unrealistic, using the site's cop costume as an example.
"Generally speaking, real life uniformed female police officers do not wear short skirts and low cut shirts, but instead wear exactly the same slacks and shirts as their male counterparts," she wrote.
She also voiced concern that the girls' costumes subtly genderize and possibly sexualize the wearer, writing, "when describing the girl costume, your marketing team elected to use language like 'cute cop' and 'sassy and sweet,' while for the boy costume, they chose to note the 'realistic scaled-down police shirt' and assert that 'this protector of the peace has it all under control!'"
Kramer's final point was that Party City, "could EASILY include many, if not all, of the costumes you have in the boys' section as options in the girls' section as well! And in so doing, you would not only improve the message you are sending to society, but you might actually help your bottom line by selling more costumes."
Her solution isn't unprecedented. Recently, Disney made the decision to remove gender labels from Halloween costumes on its website, labeling them as "for Kids." Back in August, Target removed gender labels from its children's toy sections as well.
Party City responded to Kramer's letter with a somewhat canned response. According to Kramer, her letter and the store's response to was quickly deleted from the company's Facebook page, and she was banned from commenting on it. She then posted her entire letter on her personal Facebook page.
Since posting, she says her abilities to comment have been restored, but she has made no attempt to contact the company or vice versa.
Other people have been copying and pasting her open letter to the Party City Facebook page on Kramer's behalf, especially in the comments of posts that advertise costumes for girls.
"When I initially penned this letter, I never dreamed more than a handful of people would take the time to read it, but then I also never dreamed Party City would respond by deleting it," Kramer told Mashable, adding, "in so doing, they unwittingly ignited not only the passion of people who have an interest in seeing *this* particular change happen."
As for Kramer and her family, she probably won't be opting for a Party City costume after all. "My daughter has recently taken an interest in Mary Poppins, so my husband and I... began attempting to acquire the items to make her a Mary Poppins costume. My daughter has requested that my husband dress as Bert, while I am seriously considering going as Mrs. Banks '-- ''Votes for Women'' sash and all," she said.
Your little Minnie will be picture-perfect just in time for trick-or-treating with Minnie Mouse costumes from Party City. http://bit.ly/MinnieMouse_CostumesFB
Posted by Party City on Sunday, September 20, 2015
Bring the girl power to Halloween with Party City's Spidergirl costumes. http://bit.ly/SpidergirlGIF_FB
Posted by Party City on Friday, September 18, 2015
Your little dreamer will look adorable in our red, white and blue American Dream Halloween costumes. Shop now to mix it, match it and make it their own! http://bit.ly/AmericanDream_FB
Posted by Party City on Friday, September 18, 2015
Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments.
Topics: Business, Conversations, Facebook, party city, U.S., U.S., Watercooler, women
NA-Tech News
Apple's App Store Got Infected With the Same Type of Malware the CIA Developed
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:31
Last week, Chinese app developers disclosed that an Apple programming tool had been hijacked to trick developers into embedding malicious software into apps for Apple devices.
The malware, called XcodeGhost, works by corrupting Apple's Xcode software, which runs on Mac computers and compiles source code into apps that can run on iPhones, iPads, and other devices, before submitting them to the App Store. If a developer has XcodeGhost installed on their computer, apps that they compile include malware without the developer realizing it.
Although XcodeGhost is the first malware to spread this way in the wild, the techniques it uses were previously developed and demonstrated by Central Intelligence Agency researchers at the CIA's annual top-secret Jamboree conference in 2012. Using documents from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, The Intercept's Jeremy Scahill and Josh Begley described the CIA's Xcode project in a story published in March.
Security firm Palo Alto Networks has published detailedtechnicalanalyses of the malware. At least 50 apps have made it into the App Store with this malware, including WeChat, one of the world's most popular messaging apps, with hundreds of millions of users, primarily in Asia. Apps infected with XcodeGhost malware are capable of popping up fake alerts asking for credentials, such as the user's iCloud password; reading what has been copied to the clipboard, such as passwords from password manager apps; and exploiting other parts of iOS. It's not clear who is behind the malware or if they are based in China.
The CIA's campaign to attack the security of Apple devices included creating a malicious version of Xcode to sneak malware into apps, without the developer realizing. As we reported in March:
The researchers boasted that they had discovered a way to manipulate Xcode so that it could serve as a conduit for infecting and extracting private data from devices on which users had installed apps that were built with the poisoned Xcode. In other words, by manipulating Xcode, the spies could compromise the devices and private data of anyone with apps made by a poisoned developer '-- potentially millions of people.
Today, Apple has published instructions for developers to verify that the version of Xcode they have installed is the official one.
Malware XcodeGhost Infects 39 iOS Apps, Including WeChat, Affecting Hundreds of Millions of Users - Palo Alto Networks BlogPalo Alto Networks Blog
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:24
Yesterday we posted an analysis report on a novel malware XcodeGhost that modifies Xcode IDE to infect Apple iOS apps. In the report, we mentioned that at least two popular iOS apps were infected. We now believe many more popular iOS apps have been infected, including WeChat, one of the most popular IM applications in the world.
After we posted the report, some security companies like Qihoo 360 scanned popular apps in App Store by code analysis; and some iOS developers analyzed some more apps using crowd-sourcing techniques. Several Internet companies such as Tencent, NetEase, and Jianshu, have made statements on their respective affected products..
We checked these apps and list them below in this report. As of this writing, we see 39 iOS apps being infected, some of which are extremely popular in China and in other countries around the world, comprising hundreds of millions users.
The infected iOS apps include IMs, banking apps, mobile carrier's app, maps, stock trading apps, SNS apps, and games. Among the more well-known apps are WeChat (developed by Tencent); Didi Chuxing (developed by Didi Kuaidi) the most popular Uber-like app in China; Railway 12306, the only official app used for purchasing train tickets in China; China Unicom Mobile Office, which is in use by the biggest mobile carrier in China; and Tonghuashun, one of most popular stock trading apps.
Figure 1. WeChat 6.2.5 is also infected
Some apps are also available from the App Store in other countries. For example, CamCard, developed by a Chinese company, is the most popular business card reader and scanner in many countries (including the US) around the world. (Update Sept. 21: We've verified that, while CamCard v6.5.1 in Chinese App Store was infected by XcodeGhost, the older version of CamCard, v5.5.2 found in the U.S. App Store, is not infected.).
WeChat is the most popular IM app not only in China but also in many countries or regions in Asia Pacific. Version 6.2.5 of WeChat is what we have verified to be infected. Tencent has updated to 6.2.6, which removed the malicious code.
Palo Alto Networks is cooperating with Apple on the issue and we also suggest all iOS developers be aware and take necessary actions.
Infected iOS apps网æ'云éŸ"乐 2.8.3
å¾®ä 6.2.5
讯飞è¾'入æ"• 5.1.1463
æ>>´æ>>´å‡ºèŒ 4.0.0.6-4.0.0.0
æ>>´æ>>´æ‰'è½... 3.9.7.1 '' 3.9.7
é'è·¯12306 4.5
下厨æ 4.3.2
51åä'é(C)ç®± 5.0.1
中äé'¶èŒåŠ¨åç(C)ºé—´ 3.3.12
中国è--éšæ‰‹æ'ºè¥ä¸šåŽ… 3.2
éå¾·å'°å›¾ 7.3.8
ç®ä¹... 2.9.1
å¼ç'¼ 1.8.0
Lifesmart 1.0.44
网æ'公å¼è¯¾ 4.2.8
é(C)¬æ‹‰é(C)¬æ‹‰ 1.1.0
药ç>>力 1.12.1
å–'é(C)¬æ‹‰é›… 4.3.8
口è‹è®°è´... 1.6.0
åŒèŠ±éº 9.60.01
åéŸé—®åŒ>>ç--Ÿ 7.73
æ‡'人周æ'
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豆ç'£é…è¯>>
CamScanner
CamCard v6.5.1
SegmentFault 2.8
ç‚'è‚å…¬å¼è¯¾
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新三æ'
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OPlayer 2.1.05
ç--µè¯'å½'属å'°åŠ(C)手 3.6.5
æ¤æ'çšå°é¸Ÿ2 2.1.1
å¤å...>>床头è¯' 1.2
ç(C)·æ¸¸ 6.6.6
æ‘åMT 5.0.1
æ‘åMT 2 1.10.5
自ç--±ä¹‹æ 1.1.0
Fox-IT (fox-it.com), a Netherlands based security company, checked all C2 domain names from our reports in their network sensors and has found thousands of malicious traffic outside China. According to their data, these iOS apps were also infected:
WinZip
Musical.ly
PDFReader
guaji_gangtai en
Perfect365
网æ'云éŸ"乐
PDFReader Free
WhiteTile
IHexin
WinZip Standard
MoreLikers2
CamScanner Lite
MobileTicket
iVMS-4500
OPlayer Lite
QYER
golfsense
同花éº
ting
installer
下厨æ
golfsensehd
Wallpapers10000
CSMBP-AppStore
礼包åŠ(C)手
MSL108
ChinaUnicom3.x
TinyDeal.com
snapgrab copy
iOBD2
PocketScanner
CuteCUT
AmHexinForPad
SuperJewelsQuest2
air2
InstaFollower
CamScanner Pro
baba
WeLoop
DataMonitor
ç±æŽ¨
MSL070
nice dev
immtdchs
OPlayer
FlappyCircle
éå¾·å'°å›¾
BiaoQingBao
SaveSnap
WeChat
Guitar Master
jin
WinZip Sector
Quick Save
CamCard v.6.5.1
Facebook uses RSS for Instant Articles
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:02
Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 7:26 AM
Late yesterday Facebook released docs explaining how Instant Articles works for publishers. It's good news. They have, as I speculated earlier, built their system around RSS. This means there can be interop between all the big companies --Twitter, Google, Apple, Facebook -- now building new news systems.
This comes with a caveat. I haven't yet been able to test Facebook's RSS support. Once I have, I will be able to say that Facebook is a fantastic company for having the guts to use an open format for their new publishing system.
To publishers and bloggers -- this is a big deal because it means that the same feeds you generate to post stories to Facebook can be used for other sites. It's a very strong statement. No publishing silos. Let news flow where it wants to. And let competitors arise who may do more interesting and useful things with news than the big companies can.
By betting on RSS, Facebook says bring on the innovation. Startups, news corps, open source developers, kids in Dallas high schools, anyone can experiment. It's too early to lock down innovation in the flow of news.
New editing tools that publish to all the systems can come about. Finally! Let's get some new life in blogging software.
The same feeds you that provide data to Feedly, and tomyrivers, can be used for Facebook.
I wrote about this in my piece about balkanization last week. It's possible, even likely, that we'll avoid the mess that seemed likely only a week ago.
Stay tuned for more news.
PS: Cross-posted on Facebook.
By Dave Winer, Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 7:26 AM. Yeah well, that's just, you know, like, your opinion, man.
Obama Nation
LAIR-Presidential Memorandum -- Establishment of the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable | whitehouse.gov
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:53
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
SUBJECT: Establishment of the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, and in order to increase the availability of meaningful access to justice for individuals and families and thereby improve the outcomes of an array of Federal programs, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy. This Nation was founded in part on the promise of justice for all. Equal access to justice helps individuals and families receive health services, housing, education, and employment; enhances family stability and public safety; and secures the public's faith in the American justice system. Equal access to justice also advances the missions of an array of Federal programs, particularly those designed to lift Americans out of poverty or to keep them securely in the middle class. But gaps in the availability of legal aid -- including legal representation, advice, community education, and self-help and technology tools -- for America's poor and middle class threaten to undermine the promise of justice for all and constitute a crisis worthy of action by the Federal Government.
The majority of Americans who come to court do so without legal aid. They may be left by their economic circumstances to face life-altering events -- such as losing a home or custody of children, or escaping domestic violence or elder abuse -- on their own. More than 50 million Americans qualify for federally funded civil legal aid, but over half of those who seek assistance are turned away from legal aid organizations, which lack the funds and staff to meet the demand.
When people come into contact with or leave the criminal justice system, they are likely to face a range of legal issues. A victim of abuse may need a protective order, or a formerly incarcerated individual may need a driver's license reinstated in order to get a job. Access to legal aid can help put people on a path to self-sufficiency, lead to better outcomes in the civil and criminal justice systems, and enhance the safety and strength of our communities. Increased legal resources in a community can also help courts process cases more effectively and more efficiently, saving time and money.
Federal programs that are designed to help the most vulnerable and underserved among us may more readily achieve their goals if they include legal aid among the range of services they provide.
By encouraging Federal departments and agencies to collaborate, share best practices, and consider the impact of legal services on the success of their programs, the Federal Government can enhance access to justice in our communities.
Sec. 2. Establishment. There is established the White House Legal Aid Interagency Roundtable (LAIR).
Sec. 3. Membership. (a) The Attorney General and the Director of the Domestic Policy Council, or their designees, shall serve as the Co-Chairs of LAIR, which shall also include a representative from each of the following executive departments, agencies, and offices:
(i) the Department of State;(ii) the Department of the Treasury;(iii) the Department of Justice;(iv) the Department of the Interior;(v) the Department of Agriculture;(vi) the Department of Labor;(vii) the Department of Health and Human Services;(viii) the Department of Housing andUrban Development;(ix) the Department of Education;(x) the Department of Veterans Affairs;(xi) the Department of Homeland Security;(xii) the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission;(xiii) the Corporation for National and CommunityService;(xiv) the Office of Management and Budget;(xv) the United States Agency for International Development;(xvi) the Administrative Conference of theUnited States;(xvii) the National Science Foundation; and(xviii) such other executive departments, agencies, and offices as the Co-Chairs may, from time to time, designate.
(b) The Co-Chairs shall invite the participation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Trade Commission, Legal Services Corporation, and Social Security Administration, to the extent consistent with their respective statutory authorities and legal obligations.
Sec. 4. Mission and Function. (a) The LAIR shall work across executive departments, agencies, and offices to:
(i) improve coordination among Federal programs that help the vulnerable and underserved, so that those programs are more efficient and produce better outcomes by including, where appropriate, legal services among the range of supportive services provided;(ii) increase the availability of meaningful access to justice for individuals and families, regardless of wealth or status;(iii) develop policy recommendations that improve access to justice in Federal, State, local, tribal, and international jurisdictions;(iv) assist the United States with implementation of Goal 16 of the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; and(v) advance relevant evidence-based research, data collection, and analysis of civil legal aid and indigent defense, and promulgate best practices to support the activities detailed in section 4(a)(i)-(iv).
(b) The LAIR shall report annually to the President on its success in achieving its mission, consistent with the United Nation's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report shall include data from participating members on the deployment of Federal resources that foster LAIR's mission.
Sec. 5. Administration. (a) The LAIR shall hold meetings at least three times a year and engage with Federal, State, local, tribal, and international officials, technical advisors, and nongovernmental organizations, among others, as necessary to carry out its mission.
(b) The Director of the Office for Access to Justice in the Department of Justice, or his or her designee, shall serve as Executive Director of LAIR and shall, as directed by the Co-Chairs, convene regular meetings of LAIR and supervise its work. The Office for Access to Justice staff shall serve as the staff of LAIR.(c) The Department of Justice shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, provide administrative services, funds, facilities, staff, equipment, and other support services as may be necessary for LAIR to carry out its mission.(d) The LAIR members are encouraged to provide support, including by detailing personnel, to LAIR.(e) Members of LAIR shall serve without any additional compensation for their work.
Sec. 6. General Provisions. (a) This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(b) Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department, agency, or the head thereof; or(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(c) This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
BARACK OBAMA
Elite$
Just imagine the world reaction if he were a Syrian and not a Saudi: another sex crime by a Saudi prince
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:59
"A Saudi Arabian prince has been arrested in Los Angeles for allegedly forcing a worker at a Beverly Hills mansion to perform a sex act on him.Los Angeles police said Majed Abdulaziz al-Saud, 28, was arrested on Wednesday and released the following day after posting a $300,000 (£197,000) bond . He is scheduled to appear in court on October 19 to face a charge of "forced oral copulation".Al-Saud does not have diplomatic immunity, police said. The Los Angeles Times reported a neighbour had spotted a bloodied woman calling for help and trying to climb over a wall surrounding the $37m (£24.3m) estate.The Saudi Arabian embassy is yet to comment on the case."
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Sues Petrobras, Auditor for Fraud - WSJ
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:04
RIO DE JANEIRO'--The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is suing Brazil's Petr"leo Brasileiro SA and its auditor in a New York court, claiming a vast corruption scheme centered on the state-run oil company caused the charitable organization to lose tens of millions of dollars.
The foundation, started by the billionaire co-founder of Microsoft Corp. and his wife, joins a long list of plaintiffs seeking to recoup money they lost as the scandal hammered the value of their investments in Petrobras shares. It is just the latest...
Agenda 2030
About the Campaign | Connect4Climate
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 06:56
Launched by the World Bank, the Italian Ministry of Environment, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) in collaboration with more than 150 knowledge partners, Connect4Climate is a global partnership program dedicated to climate change communication. Our main sponsors are:
The World Bank Group
The Italian Ministry of Environment
The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development
The Global Environment Facility
About the Campaign | Connect4Climate
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 06:56
Connect4Climate is connecting to take on climate change.
Launched by the World Bank and the Italian Ministry of Environment, Connect4Climate (C4C) is a global community that takes on climate change by promoting solutions and empowering people to act.
The Connect4Climate community connects more than 200 partners around the world including civil society groups, media networks, international organizations, academic institutions, youth groups, and the private sector.
With a million individuals participating on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, and other social media channels, Connect4Climate interacts with a global audience of more than a million individuals who participate on C4C's social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr, and Instagram.
See more about our activities...
Communicate change and accelerate real world solutions through partnerships, competitions, events, and knowledge sharing.
Take on climate change. Ending extreme poverty is impossible without tackling climate change. Now is the time to face the defining challenge of our generation.
Collaborate for impact. Forge creative partnerships to advance solutions and bring new audiences into the climate change movement. Share experiences and knowledge.
Communicate for action. Join an ever-growing community. Hear how others are taking on climate change and inspire by sharing your own stories. Contribute online and in person to grow the climate movement.
Contribute by adding your voice to our our guest blogs, follow our team knowledge, and add your climate change content to our Connect4Climate Facebook Knowledge Group and our Facebook Student Group.
Get involved. Play your part in the global climate change movement by sharing your experiences, resources and knowledge. Have your say.
Talk to us about developing innovative campaigns that will inspire, enthuse and reach new audiences.
Go social. Contribute on our blogs and post to our Facebook page. Tweet your thoughts and ideas. Taken some good pictures or video? Upload on Instagram, Vimeo or YouTube, then tag us to let us know.
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Page updated: December 2014
The AP will no longer use ''skeptics'' to describe people who don't believe in climate change - Quartz
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 13:54
Those who refuse to acknowledge that climate change is caused by human activity will no longer be called ''skeptics'' by the Associated Press, after the newswire service decided the term was too scientifically rigorous.
The AP explained their decision in a blog post:
Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics'--who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry'--complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren't skeptics because ''proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.'' That group prefers the phrase ''climate change deniers'' for those who reject accepted global warming data and theory. But those who reject climate science say the phrase denier has the pejorative ring of Holocaust denier so The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science.
More than 90% of peer-reviewed scientific literature supports the view that, as a result of humans burning fossil fuels, a buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is changing the earth's climate.
The AP cited a 2014 joint publication by the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom, which describes the effects of global warming as follows:
Since 1900, the global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit). This has been accompanied by warming of the ocean, a rise in sea level, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and many other associated climate effects. Much of this warming has occurred in the last four decades.
But some environmentalists were displeased with the AP's decision to opt for the term ''climate change doubter'' instead of outright ''denier''.
Ronald Lindsay, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, said in a statement:
Referring to deniers as ''doubters'' still imbues those who reject scientific fact with an intellectual legitimacy they have not earned. The general public, we fear, will still not get a clear picture of which public figures are basing their positions on reality, and which are not.
The Huffington Post's Ryan Grim asked his Twitter followers for alternative suggestions to ''doubters'' and was offered the following: Armageddon advocates, Canadian land speculators, climate itsallrightists, death cult members, drought enthusiasts, and grandchildren haters.
LGBBTQQIAAP
WLBT: Clerk Kim Davis switching parties to become a Republican
Fri, 25 Sep 2015 20:04
WLBTClerk Kim Davis switching parties to become a Republican
Posted: 09/25/2015 3:57 PM
By ADAM BEAM and CLAIRE GALOFAROAssociated PressLOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, a longtime Democrat, says she is switching to the Republican Party because she feels abandoned by Democrats in her fight against same-sex marriage.
Davis made the announcement while in Washington, D.C., to attend the Family Research Council's Value Voters Summit, said Charla Bansley, a spokeswoman for Liberty Counsel, which represents Davis in her legal battles.
"I've always been a Democrat, but the party left me," Davis said, according to Bansley.
Davis wasn't immediately available for an interview but will address the conservative group Friday night.
Davis sparked a national firestorm by refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June. Davis was ordered by a federal judge to issue the licenses but refused, and spent five days in jail for continuing to defy the order, propelling her to folk hero status among some on the religious right. Full Story
Vladimir Putin Calls Elton John, This Time for Real - NYTimes.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:45
MOSCOW '-- This time, the Russians said, it really happened.
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia telephoned the singer-songwriter Elton John, who had asked for a meeting with him to discuss the status of gay rights in Russia.
Mr. John announced in an Instagram post last week that Mr. Putin had called him. But the story that circulated on social media turned out to be a hoax: Mr. John had been the victim of a prank call by two satirists, Vladimir Krasnov and Alexey Stolyarov, who posed as Mr. Putin and an interpreter.
Evidently, the Kremlin decided it was a good idea after all.
''Putin spoke with Elton John,'' the president's spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, told reporters on Thursday after Mr. Putin held a meeting at Russia's agro-industrial complex in Semikarakorsk. ''Putin called and said: 'I know that you were pranked by the telephone guys. Don't be upset with them. They're harmless, although that, without doubt, does not justify them.' ''
Mr. Peskov added: ''Putin said that he knows what a popular performer Elton John is, and in the future, if their schedules coincide, he will be ready to meet with him and discuss any questions that are of interest.''
The pranksters took a little bit of credit for themselves. ''We are very proud that we hastened the meeting between the president and Elton John, for which Elton John was ready, but everything was resolved much faster,'' Mr. Krasnov told the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.
Gary Farrow, a spokesman for Mr. John, declined to comment on Thursday.
In an interview during a visit to Ukraine earlier this month, Mr. John told the BBC's diplomatic correspondent that he wanted to meet Mr. Putin in person, calling the Russian president's approach toward gay people ''isolating and prejudiced.''
Russia has, among other actions, moved to classify gay ''propaganda'' as pornography and barred same-sex couples from adopting Russian children.
Words Matter
twigged - Google Search
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 06:52
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twig2
twiÉ/
past tense: twigged; past participle: twigged
understand or realize something.
"it was amazing that Graham hadn't twigged before"
archaic
perceive; observe.
"nine days now since my eyes have twigged any terra firma"
Origin
mid 18th century: of unknown origin.
Translate twigged to
Use over time for: twigged
Translations, word origin, and more definitions
Show less
Urban Dictionary: Twiggedwww.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Twiggedtwigged. to be poked, stabbed, or jabbed in the face with a twig. - why does the cat hate you? - i twigged it in the face for like 5 minutes straight.Twig | Definition of twig by Merriam-Websterwww.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/twiga small shoot or branch usually without its leaves. 2. : a minute branch of a nerve or artery. '-- twigged \Ëtwigd\ adjective. '-- twig·gy \Ëtwi-gÄ'\ adjective.twig Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionarydictionary.cambridge.org/.../t...Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
Email this entry. 'º to '‹suddenly '‹realize something: [+ question word] Then he twigged what I '‹meant. She's six '‹months '‹pregnant, and he still hasn't twigged.TwiggedAbout Us · Shop · Weddings · Corporate · Classes · Enquiries. TN_368. Are you following us on Instagram? @TWIGGEDFLOWERS.twig - Wiktionaryhttps://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/twigtwig (third-person singular simple present twigs, present participle twigging, simple past and ... He hasn't twigged that we're planning a surprise party for him.twig - Dictionary Definition : Vocabulary.comwww.vocabulary.com/dictionary/twig''The lightning bolt twigged in several directions''. Type of: branch, fork, furcate, ramify, separate. divide into two or more branches so as to form a fork. 2 ...
Discordance | Define Discordance at Dictionary.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 06:51
British Dictionary definitions for discordanceExpand
/dɪsËkÉ--ːdÉns/
noun1.(geology) an arrangement of rock strata in which the older underlying ones dip at a different angle from the younger overlying ones; unconformity
2.lack of agreement or consonance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition(C) William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 (C) HarperCollinsPublishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012Cite This SourceWord Origin and History for discordanceExpand
discordance in Medicine Expand
discordance dis·cor·dance (dÄ­-sk´r'dns)n.The presence of a given genetic trait in only one member of a pair of identical twins.
dis·cor'dantadj.The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical DictionaryCopyright (C) 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.Cite This SourceDiscover our greatest slideshowsBrowse more topics on our blog
Big Pharma
Less Pain, Less Joy: A New Look at Acetaminophen - WSJ
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 13:54
Sept. 23, 2015 10:39 a.m. ET Consider this trade-off the next time you have a headache: Would you take a medicine that didn't just ease the pain but muffled your happiness too?
A recent study suggests that acetaminophen'--found in Tylenol, Excedrin and a host of other medications'--is an all-purpose damper, stifling a range of strong feelings. Throbbing pain, the sting of rejection, paralyzing indecision'--along with euphoria and delight'--all appear to be taken down a notch by the drug.
For most people, this over-the-counter palliative doesn't demand much thought: Take the right dose and the pain goes away. But it may not be that simple.
In 2010, the psychologists Naomi Eisenberger and Nathan DeWall discovered that a three-week course of acetaminophen soothed social pain, like feelings of exclusion or ridicule. The drug also assuaged the agony of indecision, Dr. DeWall found earlier this year.
Building on this research, a new study, published in June in the journal Psychological Science, shows that acetaminophen affects not just how we perceive physical and psychological pain but how the brain processes strong feelings in general. Though the study was small and limited to college students as subjects, the researchers designed it to meet the high standards of pharmaceutical testing and were able to replicate it.
Led by Ohio State University doctoral candidate Geoffrey Durso, the study compared reactions to 40 photos. Some were run-of-the-mill, some pleasant, others shockingly aversive'--including images of fighting in a ravaged city and malnourished children.
A photo can elicit gut-wrenching emotions'--or enchant and captivate us. The researchers' goal was to test the painkiller's effects on such reactions. Half of the 85 subjects took 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen'--a standard ''extra strength'' dose. The rest took a look-alike placebo. Neither the participants nor the researchers knew who had taken what. After allowing time for the medication to take effect, the researchers then asked participants to rate 40 photos using a standardized test.
''Compared to the placebo, acetaminophen blunted the extremity of their reactions,'' said Mr. Durso. And the more intense the emotions, the more acetaminophen muted them. How much did the painkiller dial down the participants' reactions? ''For extremely pleasant stimuli, acetaminophen blunted their emotions by 20%,'' Mr. Durso said, and muted reactions to extremely unpleasant photos 10%.
If acetaminophen muffles all kinds of emotional experience, many of our assumptions about mind-body distinctions and how to treat different types of distress may be wrong. ''It's long been thought that positive emotions are one system and negative emotions are another,'' said psychologist Baldwin Way of Ohio State, one of the study's authors. ''But if acetaminophen blunts both positive and negative emotions, it's probably working through the same pathways.''
Like a built-in volume control in the brain, acetaminophen alters the neural circuits that govern our emotional responses in general. Whereas ibuprofen and aspirin inhibit pain by acting right at the site of inflammation, Prof. Way said that acetaminophen acts globally, modifying our reactions to the incoming pain signal. ''If you take a painkiller before a run, ibuprofen reduces the pain coming from your knees, whereas acetaminophen reduces how your brain responds to that pain,'' he said.
The researchers are now looking at ibuprofen, used in such medicines as Advil and Motrin, to see if it also has psychological effects. What they find may shift how reflexively we reach for pain relief. ''Stay tuned,'' said Mr. Durso.
VIDEO-CLIPS-DOCS
VIDEO-New video shows extent of haj disaster (graphic images) | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 15:04
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VIDEO-Launch of the Broadband Working Group on Gender Report - YouTube
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 14:19
VIDEO-Switzerland suspends sales of VW diesel vehicles | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 13:58
Images of AugustWed, Sep 02, 2015 -(0:59)
The legacy of Hurricane KatrinaFri, Aug 28, 2015 -(2:38)
Images of JulyFri, Jul 31, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of JuneThu, Jul 02, 2015 -(0:59)
Images of MayThu, Jun 04, 2015 -(1:00)
TIMELAPSE: Disney's 60th anniversary parade of...Wed, May 27, 2015 -(1:22)
Images of AprilFri, May 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of MarchWed, Apr 01, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of FebruaryFri, Feb 27, 2015 -(0:30)
TIMELAPSE: On the Grammy red carpetWed, Feb 11, 2015 -(2:58)
Images of JanuaryFri, Jan 30, 2015 -(0:30)
Images of DecemberTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(0:30)
Tsunami - unclaimed possessionsTue, Dec 23, 2014 -(2:23)
Images of NovemberTue, Dec 02, 2014 -(0:30)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
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Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
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World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
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VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
New cookbook seeks to turn tide on insect...Thu, May 15, 2014 -(2:13)
VIDEO-Gender Report Launch: Combatting Cyber Violence Against Women & Girls: A Worldwide Wake-up Call - YouTube
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 13:37
VIDEO-NSA Rogers Clinton Email Server | Video | C-SPAN.org
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 07:48
Created by an anonymous useron September 24, 2015
From Intel cyber hearing
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VIDEO-spies dont want spied | Video | C-SPAN.org
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 07:42
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VIDEO-Ex-NYT's Frank Rich: Ben Carson Appealing to 'Racist, Bigoted,' 'Muslim Is the New Black' | MRCTV
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 06:59
Video cross-posted here at NewsBusters. Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's CNN Tonight, former New York Times columnist Frank Rich - now of New York magazine - accused GOP presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson of receiving support from a "racist, bigoted part of the Republican base," in the aftermath of Dr. Carson's comments opposing the election of a Muslim president.
VIDEO-CNN's Amanpour: 'Republican Candidates...Decided to Make A War On Moslems' | MRCTV
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 06:50
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
CNN's Christiane Amanpour wildly claimed that "top" Republican presidential candidates "have decided to make a war on Moslems...1.5 billion members of another faith." Amanpour didn't name any names, but since she pointed out how Pope Francis referenced "Thomas Merton, a Cistercian friar" during address to Congress, who, in her words, "had tolerance and interreligious dialogue as his leitmotif;" and because Dr. Ben Carson was among the attendees at the pontiff's speech; she likely had him in mind when she made that accusation.
VIDEO-Why VW scandal could spell death of diesel | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:50
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VIDEO-EU pledges $1.1 billion refugee aid | Reuters.com
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VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
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VIDEO-Film pushes U.S. to take action on school bullying | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 05:05
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Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
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A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
New cookbook seeks to turn tide on insect...Thu, May 15, 2014 -(2:13)
VIDEO-Warner Bros inks film production tie-up in China | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:54
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View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
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Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
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A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
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VIDEO-Shakira says children should not pay the price of war | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:45
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Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
New cookbook seeks to turn tide on insect...Thu, May 15, 2014 -(2:13)
VIDEO-Texas student goes from handcuffs to celebrity | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:40
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View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
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Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
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VIDEO-Intelligent car seat detects driver's stress level | Reuters.com
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Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
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Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
New cookbook seeks to turn tide on insect...Thu, May 15, 2014 -(2:13)
VIDEO-Triumphant Tsipras embarks on second term | Reuters.com
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Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
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Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
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Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
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Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
New cookbook seeks to turn tide on insect...Thu, May 15, 2014 -(2:13)
VIDEO-VW CEO under pressure as scandal spreads | Reuters.com
Sun, 27 Sep 2015 04:13
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Images of OctoberMon, Nov 03, 2014 -(0:57)
The world in a cityFri, Oct 31, 2014 -(1:30)
Real-life superheroesTue, Oct 28, 2014 -(1:44)
View from the hill: Covering Kobani from afarThu, Oct 23, 2014 -(0:59)
Dance of the northern lightsMon, Oct 20, 2014 -(1:08)
Beating addiction with the world's hardest...Sun, Oct 12, 2014 -(2:34)
Images of SeptemberWed, Oct 01, 2014 -(1:00)
Still missing '' MH370Fri, Sep 05, 2014 -(2:05)
Burning TogetherMon, Sep 01, 2014 -(2:23)
Mending dolls, teddies and heartsFri, Aug 22, 2014 -(3:12)
Images of AugustFri, Aug 29, 2014 -(1:00)
"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake BayMon, Aug 11, 2014 -(2:27)
Burned memoriesFri, Aug 08, 2014 -(3:02)
Images of JulyThu, Jul 31, 2014 -(1:20)
Syrian refugee longs to 'kiss the dirt I used...Tue, Jul 15, 2014 -(3:07)
World Cup: passion on the pitchFri, Jul 11, 2014 -(1:00)
World Cup: Photographers' favorite images from...Sat, Jul 12, 2014 -(2:57)
A refugee in America gives backThu, Jul 03, 2014 -(3:25)
A long search for refugeFri, Jun 20, 2014 -(3:04)
World Cup: Around the globe in 50 goalsFri, Jun 06, 2014 -(1:08)
VIVID '' Sydney's spectacle of lightFri, May 30, 2014 -(1:37)
New cookbook seeks to turn tide on insect...Thu, May 15, 2014 -(2:13)
VIDEO-SSSS-Watermelon Time Bomb with Olivia Wilde - YouTube
Sat, 26 Sep 2015 22:51
VIDEO-Bill Clinton: Trump is a "master brander" - CNN Video
Sat, 26 Sep 2015 22:45
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Agenda 2030

Moby on Climate Change-VEGAN!.mp3

Antebellum 2.0

Ex-NYT's Frank Rich- Ben Carson & GOP!! Appealing to 'Racist, Bigoted,' 'Muslim Is the New Black'.mp3

Caliphate!

CNN-Al Qaeda ISIS Fued!-Reality Show!.mp3

Clock Boy

Clock Boy goes to Google.mp3

CYBER!

Adm Rogers-2-clinton email server.mp3
Painfully ironic. NSA employes don't like being monitored.-Adm Michael Rogers.mp3

Elections 2016

CNN tees up Fiorina Trump showdown.mp3
CNN's Amanpour- 'Republican Candidates...Decided to Make A War On Moslems' AHA!!.mp3

F-Germany

Switzerland suspends sales of VW diesel vehicles.mp3
VW Scandal hurting german auto industry worldwide.mp3
Why VW scandal could spell death of diesel.mp3

Hillary 2016

CNN's Zakaria- confirms CLinton SMILE advise.mp3

Japan / NK

BK threatens Nukes at any time -ABE!!!.mp3

JCD Clips

ABC push for Bush.mp3
David Muir quess what is wrong cruise control.mp3
Diesel in the EU FINAL.mp3
Diesel long history great clip.mp3
Diesel Scam known in 2014.mp3
john Boehmner quits his job.mp3
Katy Tur versus Trump part 3.mp3
KRA 2.mp3
kra canal.mp3
tech deals with China.mp3
Trump CBS does not like lies.mp3
WTF 2 trump on ABC.mp3
WTF clip about Trump using the word shrill ABC.mp3

Migrants

Assad on bogus refugee crisis.mp3
EU pledges $1.1 billion refugee aid.mp3

Out There

Secret Space Program Conference Austin promo.mp3

Shut Up Slave!

Film pushes U.S. to take action on school bullying.mp3
Intelligent car seat detects driver's stress level.mp3
ITU-Doreen Bogdan-Martin on UN CYber VIolence.mp3
SJW Zoe Quinn at UN on broadband working group violence against women-EFFECTIVE TOS.mp3
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