796: Bomb Denmark

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 53m
February 4th, 2016
Share at 0:00

Executive Producers: Dustin Marquess - Sir Jail Bird, Knight of the .45, Sir Denny Goad, Sir Ralf Nellessen, Sir Mike Rotch-Knight of the pseudonym, Phillip Rodokanakis, Sir Eric Halbritter, David Habidank, Douglas Kuhlman -> Sir Would_E of the Dakota Territory, Matk Workman

Associate Executive Producers: Loren Smudski, Michael Levin, Chris Perry, David Prince, Benjamin Vernooij, Desmond Lo, Sir Paul Schneider, Sir Brad Dougherty, Sir Jason Danierls, Sir Norman McDonough, Peter Scharmüller, John Robinette, Adam Barrett, Marv Santealla

Cover Artist: Spadez85

Chapters

0:00
Start of Show
Woodstock
Suggest a new chapter
TODAY
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Apple Guys
800th artwork
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PR
No Agenda Meetups!
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 00:35
Home >> News >> No Agenda Meetups!Posted in News By Editor On January 31, 2016No Agenda meet ups are now going full speed! Successful meet ups just happened in Albuquerque, NM and Dallas/Fort Worth (which Adam attended).
Setup at Meetups.com is the schedule of future meet ups put together by show producers and fans. We'll be listing a feed of the upcoming meet ups in the right rail from now. '--'-->
Here are the current ones planned:
Sunday, January 31Dinner & drinks while conversing about life the universe & everything Harrisburg
Saturday, February 6Meet, drink and be merry. Sandpoint, ID
Arkansas Meetup possibilities
Elections 2016
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Public has right to see sealed HSBC money-laundering report: judge | New York Post
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 09:31
HSBC will have to air its dirty-money laundry.
A Brooklyn federal judge ruled Thursday that the public has the right to see a sealed report that HSBC fought tooth and nail to keep private that details the bank's failures to catch and prevent money laundering, among other violations.
The 250-page report was prepared by an outside bank monitor as part of HSBC's settlement with the Justice Department in 2012 over money laundering for Mexican drug cartels.
The DOJ, as well as the monitor who prepared the report, former prosecutor Michael Cherkasky, had also opposed making it public.
''I find that the Report is a judicial record, and that the public has a First Amendment right to see the Report,'' US District Judge John Gleeson wrote in his opinion late Thursday.
The ruling should send shivers up and down Wall Street, where other big banks have struck deals with the government to keep such reports private.
In June, federal prosecutors said HSBC was ''under serious money-laundering and sanctions risk'' because it hasn't tightened up parts of its operations dealing with safeguarding the flow of money.
Since then, the DOJ and New York's Department of Financial Services have installed monitors at nearly every big Wall Street bank. That could mean that all their reports are essentially available for the public.
The decision is also a victory for Hubert Dean Moore Jr., a 52-year-old chemist from a Philadelphia surburb who had urged Gleeson to release the report.
''I'm struck, frankly,'' Moore told The Post. ''I'm extremely happy. It's been a long time. But I think we're still in the third quarter of the game.''
Moore first requested that Gleeson make the report public on Nov. 3 after the bank sold his mortgage without telling him '-- a violation of federal laws.
He filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but felt that the bank was stonewalling his claim.
Moore contends that the report, which says that the bank has operational problems in its mortgage operations, could be relevant to his claim with the CFPB.
''It is my contention that the report would (or will) validate my claims that HSBC is in direct violation of multiple sections of multiple Consent Decrees,'' he wrote in a letter to Gleeson.
HSBC, which noted that the DOJ and other regulators also opposed the release of the report, said in a statement, ''We regret this decision and are considering our next steps.''
Moore said the bank should stop fighting and start apologizing.
''I'm director of business development,'' he said. ''My job is to deal with people. If you make a mistake, you say sorry. They don't have that kind of humility at all.''
John Gleeson, Prominent Brooklyn Federal Judge, to Step Down - WSJ
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 09:32
U.S. District Judge John Gleeson, a Brooklyn federal judge who supports sentencing and other criminal justice reforms, is stepping down after 21 years on the bench.
Judge Gleeson, 62, is leaving on March 9 and would have been next in line to become chief judge for the Eastern District of New York, which includes Brooklyn and Queens. He will leave to practice law, but declined to say where.
The judge's departure was first reported by the New York Daily News.
Before becoming a judge, he was a federal prosecutor in the Brooklyn U.S. attorney's office, where he was best known for securing the conviction of the late mafia boss John Gotti. He was serving as chief of the office's criminal division when President Bill Clinton nominated him to the bench in 1994.
An advocate for alternatives to incarceration, Judge Gleeson helped create two programs in Brooklyn federal court aimed at reducing or eliminating prison time for non-violent drug offenders and younger defendants. The programs were among the first of their kind in the federal court system and provide counseling, treatment and other services.
The judge has criticized mandatory minimum sentences and plea negotiation practices, writing in a 2013 opinion that the government routinely abuses its power to extract guilty pleas from defendants. He called such tactics ''unsound and brutally unfair.''
In 2013,'‹ '‹Judge Gleeson'‹ '‹approved a'‹ '‹$1.9 billion'‹ '‹deal'‹ '‹between the government and '‹'‹HSBC Holdings PLC, which allowed the'‹ '‹bank to avoid prosecution for ignoring money laundering risks.'‹ '‹Though he blessed the deferred-prosecution agreement, Judge Gleeson put prosecutors on notice that courts can reject criminal settlements to protect themselves from'‹ '‹''lawlessness or impropriety.'‹'‹''
Last year, he expunged the 14-year-old fraud conviction of a woman who said her criminal record prevented her from holding on to jobs, in what legal experts described as an unprecedented ruling. Prosecutors have appealed the ruling, arguing that judges have no authority to erase valid convictions.
Judge Gleeson went to college at Georgetown University and then received his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to joining government as a prosecutor, he worked at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP as a litigation associate.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Army: No active investigation into Paula Broadwell | The Charlotte Observer
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 17:12
The Army says that Charlotte resident Paula Broadwell is not under investigation in connection with her affair with Gen. David Petraeus and her acceptance of highly classified material from the military hero who commanded U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When their relationship became public in 2012, Broadwell was researching and writing a biography about Petraeus, who soon resigned as director of the CIA with public disclosure that he faced an FBI investigation. The Army investigated Petraeus, and has never publicly acknowledged that Broadwell was also facing an inquiry.
However, Army spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said Tuesday: ''There's no active investigation against Broadwell,'' who is still an Army Reserve officer.
Paula Broadwell did not include any of the classified information in her biography of Gen. David Petraeus and was not criminally charged.
The disclosure lends credence to reports that Broadwell, like Petraeus, will escape disciplinary action from the military and is now free of government scrutiny. However, while the Pentagon notified members of Congress that Petraeus would not face disciplinary action, Pentagon officials declined to say Broadwell has been spared punishment.
Jill Westmoreland Rose, the Charlotte-based U.S. attorney, led a criminal investigation into Petraeus' conduct that resulted in his pleading guilty last March to a misdemeanor charge that he illegally possessed classified information. Petraeus was fined $100,000 and sentenced to two years' probation.
Broadwell did not include any of the classified information in her biography of Petraeus and was not criminally charged. But in early January, Rose told The Charlotte Observer an Army inquiry into Broadwell's conduct was still underway.
Last weekend, The Washington Post reported Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had decided against meting out any further punishment to Petraeus, who could have been demoted from his status as a four-star general and faced cuts in his pension.
Neither Broadwell nor her Washington attorney, Robert Muse, would comment.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bill O'Reilly and Megyn Kelly's rivalry felt in halls of Fox News February 01
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 05:53
The animosity between O'Reilly and Kelly is an open secret in the halls of Fox. People there disagree about its origins, but they agree the two prime time hosts are highly competitive with one another.
"He's never had a serious challenger like her before," said one high-ranking source at Fox.
The channel's ratings and brand haven't suffered as a result. But the tension between the two stars is a source of intrigue and sometimes a cause of headaches for Fox News chief Roger Ailes. Both hosts' contracts will come up for renewal next year.
The strained relationship was most recently visible on the air when O'Reilly interviewed Trump on Wednesday night. Trump had publicly pledged to skip Fox's GOP debate the next day -- a protest, he said, of Kelly's unfairness and Fox's defense of her. O'Reilly, who has been friends with Trump for decades, pleaded with him to reconsider.
The conversation stretched out over two blocks of O'Reilly's 8 p.m. show, so O'Reilly had plenty of time to stick up for his colleague, whom Trump had harshly criticized incessantly for nearly six months. But when Trump said he had "zero respect" for the "highly overrated" Kelly, O'Reilly was silent.
Kelly's own show started 45 minutes later. She didn't say a word about it. But inside Fox, others were buzzing. Ailes was not happy. One Kelly supporter went so far as to call it a "betrayal."
Outside Fox, the snub was widely noticed. O'Reilly "let all the attacks stand," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough said the next morning.
Scarborough's co-host Mika Brzezinski added: "O'Reilly should have said 'Excuse me? Excuse me? You're talking about her intellect? She's a lawyer. She's done this. She's done that. She's a mother of three. You do not, you do not undermine the credibility and the intellect of my colleague.' Where was that, Bill? Hello?"
Related: Fox News says Donald Trump is scared of Megyn Kelly
Asked for comment for this story, a Fox News spokesperson said, "We're thrilled to have the two biggest stars in cable news on one network."
The animosity between O'Reilly and Kelly -- what one source called a "serious rivalry" between them -- seems to come from the all-important ratings race.
The two hosts, by all accounts, had a collegial relationship for years. When Kelly was an afternoon news anchor, O'Reilly (encouraged by Ailes) raised her profile with weekly "Kelly File" segments on "The O'Reilly Factor." In October 2013, when she took over the 9 p.m. hour, the show was named "The Kelly File."
But the relationship went downhill after Kelly moved in next door.
Here's the thing: O'Reilly has by far the biggest audience of anyone on cable news. He remains the undisputed "king," as one of his allies put it, with a 16-year winning streak among total viewers that fuels Fox's day-in-day-out success. So any show that follows him on Fox has the benefit of his lead-in.
Related: Bill O'Reilly blows up at George Will: 'You're a hack'
Kelly has been able to hold onto more of O'Reilly's viewers than did the previous 9 p.m. host, Sean Hannity. And she has attracted new viewers.
There is one demographic group cable news bosses care most about: viewers between the ages 25 and 54. O'Reilly continues to do better than Kelly in that demo most of the time.
But Kelly has recently scored some prominent wins.
In November 2014, Kelly beat O'Reilly for the whole month. But the win came with an asterisk: Rioting broke out in Ferguson, Missouri, during her hour, which lifted her viewership, and the big ratings from that one night were enough to notch a win for the whole month.
She beat him again in June 2015, when Kelly's win was propelled by an exclusive interview with the Duggar sisters.
Then came Fox's GOP debate on August 6.
Kelly was a co-moderator, drawing the wrath of Donald Trump for her questioning, and the debate drew 24 million viewers. Her post-debate "Kelly File" had upwards of 10 million. That was enough to put her ahead of "The O'Reilly Factor" for the whole month and quarter.
According to a well-placed source, O'Reilly argued to Ailes that Kelly's post-debate show should be labeled (for ratings purposes) a special, not a regular edition of her show.
But it counted. And Kelly won again in November, the month of the attacks in Paris.
Related from September: Kelly beats O'Reilly's decade-long streak
On one level Ailes encourages this kind of competitiveness. He is proud of Kelly's meteoric rise -- and yet he knows O'Reilly is the "flagship," as O'Reilly called himself last week, of Fox's prime time schedule. How high would her ratings be without his?
O'Reilly and Kelly rarely see each other at Fox News HQ. He usually tapes his hour in the afternoons while she is busy preparing for her live hour. So the spat mostly plays itself out through intermediaries.
From Kelly's perspective, she has been nothing but kind to O'Reilly, while she thinks he lets jealousy get the best of him.
From O'Reilly's perspective, he helped make Kelly a star but now she's too eager to outshine him -- touting her own ratings successes without respecting his contributions.
The two hosts compete for big bookings, too.
O'Reilly famously tangled with liberal filmmaker Michael Moore many years ago. But it was Kelly, not O'Reilly, who nabbed an interview with Moore last week. Why? Moore told CNN that he only wanted to appear on Fox live, not in a pre-taped setting that could be edited, and Kelly's show is live while O'Reilly's show is usually taped.
The rivalry, while well known in cable news circles, rarely spills into public view. And there are limits to the hostilities.
An example came up on Monday, when CBS announced that Kelly is booked on Stephen Colbert's post-Super Bowl show, a coveted spot because tens of millions of people are likely to tune in.
O'Reilly is booked on Colbert's show the next day to promote a new book and Fox's New Hampshire primary coverage. The prospect of a smaller audience -- being upstaged by Kelly -- could have turned off O'Reilly, but both appearances are going forward.
In the press, much has been made of the fact that Kelly's contract will expire sometime in 2017. Vanity Fair's recent cover story about Kelly ended with her saying she wanted "longer, more in-depth interviews" in her future, at Fox or at another network.
What hasn't been noted as often is that O'Reilly's contract expires sometime after the presidential election, too.
"Of course Fox News wants to keep Megyn happy. I would argue that she is the brightest star on television right now," former Fox anchor Laurie Dhue said on Sunday's "Reliable Sources." But Dhue quickly added: "Bill O'Reilly helped make her a star."
CNNMoney (New York)First published February 1, 2016: 1:53 PM ET
Microsoft app used to tally votes at Iowa caucus fails in some areas
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 15:45
A graphic from a Microsoft video about its caucus vote counting app.(Photo: Microsoft)
As Republican and Democratic caucus voters used new Microsoft tallying apps during the Iowa caucuses, some took to Twitter to say the sites were crashing, while others complemented them on how swiftly they worked.
USA TODAY
Iowa caucuses: What's happening right now
Some users noted the system might simply be temporarily overwhelmed and suggested users wait a moment and then try again.
In an emailed statement, Microsoft said that the mobile apps for both parties worked without issue.
However national interest in the Iowa Caucuses overwhelmed the Democratic and Republican Party Iowa Caucus websites, which Microsoft was working to resolve, the company said.
Some online charged that Microsoft founder Bill Gates had donated ''millions'' to the Clinton Foundation, making the company's creation of the apps suspect. However Microsoft created apps for both the Republican and Democratic parties, so others said that seemed unlikely.
Columnist Matt Drudge tweeted, ''Watching the Iowa folks put their votes into Microsoft app is terrifying...''
Microsoft provided the free app in hopes of cutting down on errors and increasing speed in the reporting process, in response to issues at previous Iowa caucuses.
In a blog post in June, Microsoft's vice president for technology and civic engagement Dan'l Lewin, said the software company was "honored to support the 2016 Iowa caucus via a new, mobile-enabled, cloud-based platform that will facilitate accuracy and efficiency of the reporting process."
The secure system was meant to enable precincts "to report their results directly by party and will ensure that only authorized Iowans are reporting results. This announcement represents the first-of-its-kind major technology component to caucus reporting," he wrote.
Microsoft built apps for each political party in Iowa for all mobile and PC platforms, with the results to be securely stored and managed in Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform, he said.
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1SUQNWH
Bernie Sanders Tops His Rivals in Use of Outside Money - NYTimes.com
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 20:42
DES MOINES '-- As he swung through Iowa this week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont rarely passed up a chance to bash the rising tide of money in politics, a system he said on Tuesday was ''corrupt and undermining American democracy.''
At many of these stops, he was accompanied by members of National Nurses United, a seven-year-old union, fanning out from a bright-red bus in matching red scrubs to corral potential Sanders votes.
But the union is not just busing nurses into Iowa. The union's ''super PAC'' has spent close to $1 million on ads and other support for Mr. Sanders, the Democratic presidential candidate who has inspired liberal voters with his calls to eradicate such outside groups. In fact, more super PAC money has been spent so far in express support of Mr. Sanders than for either of his Democratic rivals, including Hillary Clinton, according to Federal Election Commission records.
''I do appreciate the irony,'' said RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of National Nurses United. ''All things being equal, we would rather not be doing this. On the other hand, we want to see Bernie as president.''
Mr. Sander's unlikely rise to super PAC pre-eminence is, in part, the story of an unusual alignment of strategies by different outside groups, including Republican ones eager to bloody Mrs. Clinton and lift Mr. Sanders, whom conservatives believe will be easier to defeat in a general election. While the nurses' super PAC is the biggest left-leaning outside spender in the Democratic primary, conservative organizations have also spent at least $4.3 million attacking Mrs. Clinton in recent months.
One recent online ad from the Republican super PAC American Crossroads has assailed Mrs. Clinton for her Wall Street speaking fees '-- echoing an argument Mr. Sanders often makes against her. Another conservative group, Ending Spending, bankrolled by the Wyoming billionaire Joe Ricketts, has begun a $600,000 campaign in Iowa highlighting Mr. Sanders's promises to raise taxes on the rich and provide free public college tuition, calling him ''too liberal for Iowa.'' But the ad's language and imagery, including a contented-looking superrich couple hugging in front of a mansion and expensive cars, has led some Democrats to believe it is actually meant to bolster Mr. Sanders.
But the super PAC spending by the nurses' union also underscores an aspect of the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that Mr. Sanders rarely dwells on in his campaign speeches attacking the ruling. The same decision that gave corporations the ability to ''buy and purchase the United States government'' '-- as Mr. Sanders put it on a visit to Grinnell College on Monday '-- bestowed the same rights on labor unions, freeing them to spend unlimited money from their treasuries on election advertising.
While the vast majority of super PAC money still comes from wealthy individuals, union cash '-- pooled from the dues and contributions of members '-- has become a critical source of money for outside groups on the left. In 2012 and 2014, unions gave more than $200 million to super PACs. More than half of it went to union-controlled groups that spent tens of millions of dollars on advertising, mailers and other ''independent expenditures.'' So far in 2016, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, seven of the top 20 organizational contributors to super PACs were unions or their affiliates, not corporations.
Graphic | 2016 Primary Calendar and Results The 2016 calendar is still fluid, with primary and caucus dates uncertain in more than a dozen states. Both parties are requiring all states but four to wait until March to hold their nominating contests or face delegate penalties.
''When you have hundreds of thousands or millions of dues-paying members, you can wield a significant amount of influence,'' said Robert Maguire, an investigator at the center. ''It's the flip side of a lot of other spending we're seeing this days.''
No union has spent as much money in the Democratic primary as National Nurses United, which was born out of a 2009 merger of three smaller unions and has unapologetically embraced liberal politics and movement-building. In 2011, union nurses provided health care at the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Lower Manhattan, and the organization has lobbied forcefully for single-payer health care and a financial transaction tax.
When most large labor organizations backed Mrs. Clinton, the nurses were among a handful to support Mr. Sanders, among them the Communications Workers of America and the postal workers' union. They are guided, the nurses' leaders say, by the principle that taking care of patients means taking care of the country, too.
''This sick government we have right now is killing our democracy,'' said Jean Ross, a Minnesota nurse now serving as one of the group's three co-presidents, at a Sanders event in Des Moines on Tuesday. The union's bus stood outside a steelworkers union hall, where the red scrubs worn by the nurses speckled a room full of Carhartt jackets and denim. At any given time, as many as 30 nurses from around the country are on the campaign trail helping Mr. Sanders, rotating in on vacation days and weekends.
Interactive Feature | Of the People: Voices From the Trail
''We have a bus, he has a bus,'' Ms. Ross said gaily. ''Nurses get on, nurses get off.''
The group's campaigning advocacy for Mr. Sanders has drawn charges of hypocrisy from Mrs. Clinton's supporters. While Mr. Sanders frequently declares that he has no super PAC of his own, he has not publicly called on the nurses to refrain from their efforts on his behalf. He has welcomed their help, thanking the nurses by name in campaign speeches and referring to the union in one recent appearance as a ''one of the sponsors'' of his campaign.
''This is one of the prime examples of Senator Sanders saying one thing and doing another,'' said Brian Fallon, a spokesman for Mrs. Clinton. ''For months he had criticized super PACs and pledged to shun them in his campaign, but all along he has benefited from hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent expenditures from one of those very organizations.''
Mr. Sanders insists there is no contradiction.
Interactive Feature | Sign Up for the First Draft Newsletter Subscribe for updates on the 2016 presidential race, the White House and Congress, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.
''The difference is a pretty simple difference,'' Mr. Sanders told reporters on Tuesday. ''Hillary Clinton goes out raising money for her own super PAC. I don't have a super PAC, and in the best of all possible worlds, which I hope to bring about, we will get rid of super PACs, we will overturn Citizens United.''
Mrs. Clinton has indeed helped raise money for a super PAC: Priorities USA Action, a group originally formed to help re-elect President Obama and now run by a former Clinton campaign aide. The group has raised more than $40 million since the beginning of last year, including seven-figure contributions from the kind of billionaire financiers Mr. Sanders delights in lampooning on the campaign trail. A research and rapid-response super PAC, Correct the Record, founded by the Clinton ally David Brock and funded by wealthy liberals, has also taken swipes at Mr. Sanders in recent days over his record on gun control.
Priorities USA has continued to husband most of its money for later in the campaign, however, in anticipation of a major general election battle with Mrs. Clinton as the nominee. Several other liberal groups have spent money on behalf of Mrs. Clinton, including Planned Parenthood's political arm and the League of Conservation Voters. But those expenditures totaled only $847,000, according to spending reported to the elections commission through Monday, less than the amount spent by the nurses' super PAC, National Nurses United for Patient Protection.
Ms. DeMoro, the nurses' union official, scoffed at any comparison between the two efforts, one by nurses, the other by a political operative.
''This is almost a morality play,'' Ms. DeMoro said. ''It's Clinton's David Brock versus Bernie's nurses.''
Correction: January 28, 2016
An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of an investigator with the Center for Responsive Politics. He is Robert Maguire, not McGuire.
New Cartoon ''Marcosoft'' by Ben Garrison | GrrrGraphics on WordPress
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 23:02
Something smelled fishy about Marco Rubio's surge in Iowa where he had been trailing in polls the last few weeks. Microsoft is Rubio's second largest donor.
''Microsoft, founded by leading H-1B/amnesty cheerleader Bill Gates, has been [Marco] Rubio's No. 2 corporate donor the past five years.''
As Breitbart News has previously reported, according to Open Secrets, Microsoft is the second largest contributor to Sen. Marco Rubio's campaign committee since 2011, donating $33,100.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates is a member of Mark Zuckerberg's immigration lobbying firm FWD.us and former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is a co-chair of the immigration lobbying firm the Partnership for a New American Economy'--along with Fox News's founder Rupert Murdoch.
Both immigration lobbying firms have endorsed and lobbied for Marco Rubio's 2015 immigration expansion bill'--known as the Immigration Innovation Act, or I-Squared'--which would have tripled the issuances of low-wage H-1B guest worker visas.
read more at Breitbart
Thanks for your support! GrrrGraphics and Ben Garrison cartoons are completely self funded by viewers like you. That means there is no MSM editor telling us what to draw or what not to draw because some #Crybully will be offended by a politically incorrect cartoon! You can help #KeepBenDrawing by becoming a Patron at our patreon page for as little as a dollar a month! You can buy a shirt, or purchase an original cartoon or print on ebay! If you want to make a once time donation to support cartoons, you can go to our support page on GrrrGraphics.com and use Paypal! Thank you again to all who have supported us! More cartoons to come! Stay tooned!
Donald Trump 'nominated for Nobel Peace Prize' for 'vigorous peace through strength ideology' | People | News | The Independent
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 16:44
Monday was not a good day for Donald Trump. His infamous phrase 'loser' came back to haunt him when he was forced to admit defeat to rival Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucus after weeks of being billed as the Republican frontrunner.
But on Tuesday, it emerged that Trump's name had reportedly made it on to a list of nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize - alongside figures such as Pope Francis and a campaigner for Isis rape survivors.
Trump's reported nomination comes after he made a number of inflammatory and divisive comments in the run-up to the caucus. The billionaire business magnate "endeared himself to millions by proposing Muslims be banned from entering the US and has been condemned for his comments about immigration and Mexican migrants, with one of his most infamous pledges being to build a ''big beautiful wall'' between the US and Mexico.
Kristian Berg Harpviken, a Nobel watcher and head of the Peace Research Institute in Oslo, told Reuters the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has also been tipped for an award, alongside Colombian peace negotiators, US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation.
He also a claimed to have seen a letter submitted by an unidentified US nominator who proposed Trump for ''his vigorous peace through strength ideology, used as a threat weapon of deterrence against radical Islam, Isis, nuclear Iran and Communist China''. He did not list Trump as one of the candidates who actually has a chance of winning.
Iowa Caucuses - Trump's post-result speech
Thousands of people are eligible to submit nominations for the Peace Prize. The Norwegian Nobel committee typically receives more than 200 nominations, according to the Associated Press.
War on Vaping
Lab tests of e-cigarettes demonstrate cellular harm -- ScienceDaily
Sun, 31 Jan 2016 15:34
Adding to growing evidence on the possible health risks of electronic cigarettes, a lab team at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System tested two products and found they damaged cells in ways that could lead to cancer. The damage occurred even with nicotine-free versions of the products.
"Our study strongly suggests that electronic cigarettes are not as safe as their marketing makes them appear to the public," wrote the researchers, who published their findings in the journal Oral Oncology.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate e-cigarettes like it does conventional tobacco products. But it has warned of possible health risks. So far, though, evidence is limited on what exactly e-cigarettes contain and whether those chemicals are safe, particularly in terms of cancer.
"There haven't been many good lab studies on the effects of these products on actual human cells," says Dr. Jessica Wang-Rodriquez, one of the lead researchers on the new study. She is a professor of pathology at the University of California, San Diego, and chief of pathology and laboratory medicine at the San Diego VA. She specializes in studying head and neck cancer.
Her team created an extract from the vapor of two popular brands of e-cigarettes and used it to treat human cells in Petri dishes. Compared with untreated cells, the treated cells were more likely to show DNA damage and die.
The exposed cells showed several forms of damage, including DNA strand breaks. The familiar double helix that makes up DNA has two long strands of molecules that intertwine. When one or both of these strands break apart and the cellular repair process doesn't work right, the stage is set for cancer.
The affected cells were also more likely to launch into apoptosis and necrosis, which lead to cell death.
In the main part of the experiment, the team used normal epithelial cells, which line organs, glands, and cavities throughout the body, including the mouth and lungs.
The scientists tested two types of each e-cigarette: a nicotine and nicotine-free version. Nicotine is what makes smoking addictive. There is also some evidence it can damage cells. The San Diego team found that the nicotine versions caused worse damage, but even the nicotine-free vapor was enough to alter cells.
"There have been many studies showing that nicotine can damage cells," says Wang-Rodriguez. "But we found that other variables can do damage as well. It's not that the nicotine is completely innocent in the mix, but it looks like the amount of nicotine that the cells are exposed to by e-cigarettes is not sufficient by itself to cause these changes. There must be other components in the e-cigarettes that are doing this damage. So we may be identifying other carcinogenic components that are previously undescribed."
She says her team is now trying to sort out those other substances and their specific effects.
Scientists already know of some troubling chemicals in the products. One is formaldehyde, a known carcinogen. Using the products at a low voltage setting may minimize the production of formaldehyde, research suggests. Another possible culprit is diacetyl, a flavoring agent that has been linked to lung disease. A Harvard study found it in more than three-quarters of flavored e-cigarettes and refill liquids, or "e-juice."
There are nearly 500 brands of e-cigarettes on the market, in more than 7,000 flavors. So scientists have their work cut out for them identifying all the potential problems.
"For now, we were able to at least identify that e-cigarettes on the whole have something to do with increased cell death," says Wang-Rodriguez. "We hope to identify the individual components that are contributing to the effect."
She notes that cells in the lab are not completely comparable to cells within a living person. The cells lines that scientists work with have been "immortalized because of certain cell changes," she says. So it could be that e-cigarette vapor has different effects than those seen in the lab.
Also, her team didn't seek to mimic the actual dose of vapor that an e-cigarette user would get.
"In this particular study, it was similar to someone smoking continuously for hours on end, so it's a higher amount than would normally be delivered," she says. "What we're looking at now is to dose-control these. We want to know at what dose it causes that critical switch-over to where we see the damage."
The overarching question is whether the battery-operated products are really any safer than the conventional tobacco cigarettes they are designed to replace.
Wang-Rodriquez doesn't think they are.
"Based on the evidence to date," she says, "I believe they are no better than smoking regular cigarettes."
Electronic cigarettes induce DNA strand breaks and cell death independently of nicotine in cell lines - Oral Oncology
Sun, 31 Jan 2016 15:35
FiguresFig. 1
E-cigarette exposure increases DNA damage as measured by neutral comet assay. (A) HaCaT, UMSCC10B, and HN30 were treated with 1% by volume vaporized e-cigarette liquid with brands V2 and VaporFi, and compared to untreated controls. HaCaT cells were treated for 8'…weeks, and UMSCC10B and HN30 treated for 1'…week each. E-cigarette containing nicotine at 1% by volume treatment was calculated to contain 0.5'…mM nicotine, so cells treated at 0.5'…mM nicotine directly are shown for comparison. Results are given as mean tail length'…±'…SEM, with at least 35 cells per sample. (B) representative images of cells captured following neutral comet assay. '—P'…
CYBER!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NORSE-SCAM-site:adam.curry.com norse - Google Search
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:03
site:adam.curry.com norse - Google SearchScreen reader users, click here to turn off Google Instant.
Please click
here if you are not redirected within a few seconds.
Google Instant is unavailable. Press Enter to search.
Learn moreGoogle Instant is off due to connection speed. Press Enter to search.
Press Enter to search.
Search settings
LanguagesTurn on SafeSearch
Advanced search
History
Search help
About 12 results (0.23 seconds)
My AccountSearchMapsYouTubePlayNewsGmailDriveCalendarGoogle+TranslatePhotosMoreShoppingWalletFinanceDocsBooksBloggerContactsHangoutsEven more from Google
Errata Security: Some notes on the Norse collapse
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:59
Recently, cybersec company "Norse Security" imploded. Their leaders and most the employees were fired, and their website is no longer available. I thought I'd write up some notes on this.All VC-funded startups are a scam
Here's how VCs think. They see that there is a lot of industry buzz around "threat intel". They'll therefore fund a company in that space. This company will spend a 5% of that money to create a cool prototype, and 95% in marketing and sales. They'll have fancy booths at trade shows. They'll have a PR blitz to all the reporters who cover the industry. They'll bribe Gartner to be named a Cool Vendor or Magic Quadrant Leader. They'll win industry kudos. They have some early sales 'wins' with some major customers. These customers will give glowing reviews of the product they bought -- even before turning it on.
In other words, it's a perfect "Emperor Has No Clothes" story, where neither customers, nor Gartner, nor the press is competent to realize the Emperor is not wearing clothes.
VCs know it's a scam, but they are hoping it'll become real. As a well-known leader in this space, employees with the needed expertise will flock to the company. Or, they'll find other another company (often started by engineers instead of sales/marketing) that has a real product, and buy it out. What was once snake oil thus becomes something real, eventually.
The entire tech industry is built this way, not just infosec. VCs invest in sales, marketing, and operations people who can build a brand, channels, and competently manage people and money flows. They see those skills as the rare ones, and technical expertise as more a fungible quantity that can be acquired later, for simple wages rather than large amounts of stock in the company.
Norse was especially scammy-looking, with their real time map of attacks on the Internet. It was really cool, and everybody enjoyed looking at it, but nobody could figure out what value it had. It quickly obtained a reputation of snake oil.It's rarely all snake oil As a tech expert, I've looked into the details of infosec products. I usually find something really cool, something great.
But that "thing" is narrow. The market for that thing is too small to build a large company. The 'snake oil' bit comes from trying to make this small thing appear larger than it really is, to sell to a wider market.
Indeed, all companies do this, regardless of product. A great example is anti-virus company. They each have great technologies, and are useful to some extent, but still cannot detect advanced viruses. Their hype overstates their efficacy. But it's not necessarily their fault. Their customers are unable to understand the technical features of their products, and use it properly, exploiting what makes their technology great. You can't expect companies to communicate better with customers when the customers are unable to understand.
I don't know what technology Norse had. I assume there was something great underneath it all -- but not something useful to the larger market.
Threat intel is particularly hard to productize All cybersecurity technologies are hard to productize, but threat intel even more so. The reality is that you can't see threats coming.
If it's somebody attacking the entire Internet, looking for low hanging fruit to exploit (mass port scanning, mass phishing attacks, etc.), then threat intelligence can certainly warn you of the impending attack. But the proper response to such intelligence is to ignore it. You can't get your underwear in a bunch over every such attack -- you'll just waste a lot of time and energy responding to attackers who aren't really a threat to you. I watch people get upset over my own mass scans, and I have to laugh, because they are doing infosec wrong. Scan yourself for low hanging fruit (indeed, use my tool), but ignore such attackers.
Conversely, when you are targeted, hackers come in low and slow, and will often evade the radar. As a pentester, I notice this. Even when they have "appliances" designed to detect me, I still get away with silent penetration. Defending the network isn't a product you can buy. You should be managing your network, like getting email and paged whenever a privileged domain-admin account is created. You shouldn't be buying magic pills that will somehow solve this "threat intelligence" problem for you. The intelligence you get from existing logs and firewalls is often enough.
I've been doing "threat intel" for 20 years. I still don't know how to make it into a product that will appeal to a large market, which is why I haven't founded a company trying to commercialize the technology.
All VC companies rush toward the cliff Norse spectacularly imploded, suddenly firing a bunch of people and taking their website offline.
From one perspective, this is normal. It's how VC funding works. When VCs give you money, they want you to spend it all. They don't want you to save the money.
It's the hardest thing for people to understand about startups. They think in terms of their own finances. They want to save money for a rainy day, in case things don't go as plan. That's not the purpose of venture capital. Instead, it's a "venture" that will either succeed or fail. If, in the end, you can't figure out how to create a business out of the venture, then shut it down and sell off what little assets remain.
A zombie company remaining barely alive is no different than a failed company from an investor's point of view. Either way, it's not going to generate profits that can pay back the original investment.
You think yea, but maybe after a few years of zombie existence, they'll eventually get lucky. No, this isn't how business works. In a few years, technology changes, and will require a new investment, a new venture to promote that new technology. You would never give that new investment to a zombie company, which is weighed down by other concerns. Instead, you'd give that investment to a new company that can focus on it.
In mature markets, market share doesn't change very fast. You see that in the car industry, for example. Ventures are land grabs in new markets, trying to establish market share before the new market becomes mature. If your zombie company failed to get market share, then it's never going to win more.
Thus, in a new market, the goal is to invest money as fast as possible to achieve size and market share. If you fail, then fail quickly and move on. Don't linger.
Destiny is acquisition, not implosion Norse imploded, abruptly firing their employees and shutting down their website. That's rare. It means the VCs weren't paying attention.
In the normal course of events, companies don't implode like this. If they run out of cash, they'll go back to the VCs for more -- enough to sell off the company to somebody else.
The VCs give companies a couple chances. The first chance will likely fail, but along the way, the company will have built up things like brand awareness and market share. A second round will come in, retool the company, replace the leadership, and try a second time.
Then the last round of investment comes. If the company was successful, then the last round is to pay for all the costs needed to take the company public. More often, the company has failed, run out of money. At this point, the VCs invest to slap a new coat of paint and sell it off to some sucker.
Acquisition aren't always for this reason. Sometimes is a fast growing company being wildly successful, so a larger company buys them out before their competitor can get bigger.
Sometimes companies are acquired for even stranger reasons. At larger companies, when an executive leaves, and a new executive takes power, they are always frustrated with the organization beneath them. The new executive is an outsider, and the organization underneath opposes their orders. Not outright, of course, but passive-aggressively. Therefore, what the executive does is buy a company, then use this "one time event" to replace the managers underneath them with managers from the new company. If you look at how a lot of acquisitions happen, it appears from the outside as if the smaller company acquired/hijacked the larger company.
The point is that companies should never actually implode. There's value there to be exploited. VCs should come in with a "down round" that takes the majority of ownership in the company, slap some lipstick onto the pig, and sell it off to some sucker.
By the way, as outsiders, we really can't see what's happening in acquisitions. Sometimes it's because the companies were successful, and it's an up-round where early employees profit heavily form their stock options. Sometimes it's a down-round, where except for the founders, the options are worthless. When the company your friend works for gets acquired, you don't know what happened. It's usually announced in such a way you think congratulations are in order, but in fact condolences are.
Conclusion As you can see, I have a low opinion of cybersecurity products in general, and threat intel in particular. I see them all going the way of Norse -- not actually imploding, but being gobbled up by bigger companies and disappearing form the landscape as separate entities.
Sources: Security Firm Norse Corp. Imploding '-- Krebs on Security
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:59
Norse Corp., a Foster City, Calif. based cybersecurity firm that has attracted much attention from the news media and investors alike this past year, fired its chief executive officer this week amid a major shakeup that could spell the end of the company. The move comes just weeks after the company laid off almost 30 percent of its staff.
Sources close to the matter say Norse CEO Sam Glines was asked to step down by the company's board of directors, with board member Howard Bain stepping in as interim CEO. Those sources say the company's investors have told employees that they can show up for work on Monday but that there is no guarantee they will get paid if they do.
A snapshot of Norse's semi-live attack map.
Glines agreed earlier this month to an interview with KrebsOnSecurity but later canceled that engagement without explanation. Bain could not be immediately reached for comment.
Two sources at Norse said the company's assets will be merged with Irvine, Ca. based networking firm SolarFlare, which has some of the same investors and investment capital as Norse. Neither Norse nor SolarFlare would comment for this story. Update, Feb. 1, 12:34 p.m. ET: SolarFlare CEO Russell Stern just pinged me to say that ''there has been no transaction between Norse and SolarFlare.''
Original story: The pink slips that Norse issued just after New Years's Day may have come as a shock to many employees, but perhaps the layoffs shouldn't have been much of a surprise: A careful review of previous ventures launched by the company's founders reveals a pattern of failed businesses, reverse mergers, shell companies and product promises that missed the mark by miles.
EYE CANDY
In the tech-heavy, geek-speak world of cybersecurity, infographics and other eye candy are king because they promise to make complicated and boring subjects accessible and sexy. And Norse's much-vaunted interactive attack map is indeed some serious eye candy: It purports to track the source and destination of countless Internet attacks in near real-time, and shows what appear to be multicolored fireballs continuously arcing across the globe.
Norse says the data that feeds its online attack map come from a network of more than eight million online ''sensors'' '-- honeypot systems that the company has strategically installed at Internet properties in 47 countries around the globe to attract and record malicious and suspicious Internet traffic.
According to the company's marketing literature, Norse's sensors are designed to mimic a broad range of computer systems. For example, they might pretend to be a Web server when an automated attack or bot scans the system looking for Web server vulnerabilities. In other cases, those sensors might watch for Internet attack traffic that would typically only be seen by very specific machines, such as devices that manage complex manufacturing systems, power plants or other industrial control systems.
Several departing and senior Norse employees said the company's attack data was certainly voluminous enough to build a business upon '-- if not especially sophisticated or uncommon. But most of those interviewed said Norse's top leadership didn't appear to be interested in or capable of building a strong product behind the data. More worryingly, those same people said there are serious questions about the validity of the data that informs the company's core product.
UP IN SMOKE(S)
Norse Corp. and its fundamental technology arose from the ashes of several companies that appear to have been launched and then acquired by shell companies owned by Norse's top executives '-- principally the company's founder and chief technology officer Tommy Stiansen. Stiansen did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
This acquisition process, known as a ''reverse merger'' or ''reverse takeover,'' involves the acquisition of a public company by a private company so that the private company can bypass the lengthy and complex process of going public.
Reverse mergers are completely legal, but they can be abused to hide the investors in a company and to conceal certain liabilities of the acquired company, such as pending lawsuits or debt. In 2011, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a bulletin cautioning investors about plunking down investments in reverse mergers, warning that they may be prone to fraud and other abuses.
The founders of Norse Corp. got their start in 1998 with a company called Cyco.net (pronounced ''psycho''). According to a press release issued at the time, ''Cyco.net was a New Mexico based firm established to develop a network of cyber companies.''
''This site is a lighthearted destination that will be like the 'People Magazine' of the Internet,'' said Richard Urrea, Cyco's CEO, in a bizarre explanation of the company's intentions. ''This format has proven itself by providing Time Warner with over a billion dollars of ad revenue annually. That, combined with the CYCO.NET's e-commerce and various affiliations, such as Amazon.com, could amount to three times that figure. Not a portal like Yahoo, the CYCO.NET will serve as the launch pad to rocket the Internet surfer into the deepest reaches of cyberspace.''
In 2003, Cyco.net acquired Orion Security Services, a company founded by Stiansen, Norse's current CTO and founder and the one Norse executive who is actually from Norway. Orion was billed as a firm that provides secure computer network management solutions, as well as video surveillance systems via satellite communications.
The Orion acquisition reportedly came with $20 million in financing from a private equity firm called Cornell Capital Partners LP, which listed itself as a Cayman Islands exempt limited partnership whose business address was in Jersey City, NJ.
Cornell later changed its name to Yorkville Advisors, an entity that became the subject of an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a subsequent lawsuit in which the company was accused of reporting ''false and inflated values.''
Despite claims that Cyco.net was poised to ''rocket into the deepest riches of cyberspace,'' it somehow fell short of that destination and ended up selling cigarettes online instead. Perhaps inevitably, the company soon found itself the target of a lawsuit by several states led by the Washington state attorney general that accused the company of selling tobacco products to minors, failing to report cigarette sales and taxes, and for falsely advertising cigarettes as tax-free.
COPYRIGHT COPS
In 2005, Cyco.net changed its name to Nexicon, but only after acquiring by stock swap another creation by Stiansen '-- Pluto Communications '-- a company formed in 2002 and whose stated mission was to provide ''operational billing solutions for telecom networks.'' Again, Urrea would issue a press release charting a course for the company that would have almost no bearing on what it actually ended up doing.
''We are very excited that the transition from our old name and identity is now complete, and we can start to formally reposition our Company under the new brand name of Nexicon,'' Urrea said. ''After the divestiture of our former B2C company in 2003, we have laid the foundation for our new business model, offering all-in-one or issue-specific B2B management solutions for the billing, network control, and security industries.''
In June 2008, Sam Glines '-- who would one day become CEO of Norse Corp. '-- joined Nexicon and was later promoted to chief operating officer. By that time, Nexicon had morphed itself into an online copyright cop, marketing a technology they claimed could help detect and stop illegal file-sharing. The company's ''GetAmnesty'' technology sent users a pop-up notice explaining that it was expensive to sue the user and even more expensive for the user to get sued. Recipients of these notices were advised to just click the button displayed and pay for the song and all would be forgiven.
In November 2008, Nexicon was acquired by Priviam, another shell company operated by Stiansen and Nexicon's principals. Nexicon went on to sign Youtube.com and several entertainment studios as customers. But soon enough, reports began rolling in of rampant false-positives '-- Internet users receiving threatening legal notices from Nexicon that they were illegally sharing files when they actually weren't. Nexicon/Priviam's business began drying up, and it's stock price plummeted.
In September 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission revoked the company's ability to trade its penny stock (then NXCO on the pink sheets), noting that the company had failed to file any periodic reports with the SEC since its inception. In June 2012, the SEC also revoked Priviam's ability to trade its stock, citing the same compliance failings that led to the de-listing of Nexicon.
By the time the SEC revoked Nexicon's trading ability, the company's founders were already working to reinvent themselves yet again. In August 2011, they raised $50,000 in seed money from Capital Innovators to jump-start Norse Corp. A year later, Norse received $3.5 million in debt refinancing, and in December 2013 got its first big infusion of cash '-- $10 million from Oak Investment Partners. In September 2015, KPMGinvested $11.4 million in the company.
Several former employees say Stiansen's penchant for creating shell corporations served him well in building out Norse's global sensor network. Some of the sensors are in countries where U.S. assets are heavily monitored, such as China. Those same insiders said Norse's network of shell corporations also helped the company gain visibility into attack traffic in countries where it is forbidden for U.S. firms to do business, such as Iran and Syria.
THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN
By 2014, Norse was throwing lavish parties at top Internet security conferences and luring dozens of smart security experts away from other firms. Among them was Mary Landesman, formerly a senior security researcher at Cisco Systems. Landesman said Norse had recently hired many of her friends in the cybersecurity business and had developed such a buzz in the industry that she recruited her son to come work alongside her at the company.
As a senior data scientist at Norse, Landesman's job was to discover useful and interesting patterns in the real-time attack data that drove the company's ''cyber threat intelligence'' offerings (including its eye candy online attack map referenced at the beginning of this story). By this time, former employees say Norse's systems were collecting a whopping 140 terabytes of Internet attack and traffic data per day. To put that in perspective a single terabyte can hold approximately 1,000 copies of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The entire printed collection of the U.S. Library of Congress would take up about ten terabytes.
Landesman said she wasn't actually given access to all that data until the fall of 2015 '-- seven months after being hired as Norse's chief data scientist '-- and that when she got the chance to dig into it, she was disappointed: The information appeared to be little more than what one might glean from a Web server log '-- albeit millions of them around the world.
''The data isn't great, and it's pretty much the same thing as if you looked at Web server logs that had automated crawlers and scanning tools hitting it constantly,'' Landesman said in an interview with KrebsOnSecurity. ''But if you know how to look at it and bring in a bunch of third-party data and tools, the data is not without its merits, if not just based on the sheer size of it.''
Landesman and other current and former Norse employees said very few people at the company were permitted to see how Norse collected its sensor data, and that Norse founder Stiansen jealously guarded access to the back-end systems that gathered the information.
''With this latest round of layoffs, if Tommy got hit by a bus tomorrow I don't think there would be a single person in the company left who understands how the whole thing works,'' said one former employee at Norse who spoke on condition of anonymity.
SHOW ME THE DATA
Stuart McClure, president and founder of the cybersecurity firm Cylance, said he found out just how reluctant Stiansen could be to share Norse data when he visited Stiansen and the company's offices in Northern California in late 2014. McClure said he went there to discuss collaborating with Norse on two upcoming reports: One examining Iran's cyber warfare capabilities, and another about exactly who was responsible for the massive Nov. 2014 cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The FBI had already attributed the attack to North Korean hackers. But McClure was intrigued after Stiansen confidentially shared that Norse had reached a vastly different conclusion than the FBI: Norse had data suggesting the attack on Sony was the work of disgruntled former employees.
McClure said he recalls listening to Stiansen ramble on for hours about Norse's suspicions and simultaneously dodging direct questions about how it had reached the conclusion that the Sony attack was an inside job.
''I just kept going back to them and said, 'Tommy, show me the data.' We wanted to work with them, but when they couldn't or wouldn't produce any data or facts to substantiate their work, we couldn't proceed.''
After that experience, McClure said he decided not to work with Norse on either the Sony report or the Iran investigation. Cylance ended up releasing its own report on Iran's cyber capabilities; that analysis '-- dubbed ''Operation Cleaver'' (PDF) '-- was later tacitly acknowledged in a confidential report by the FBI.
Conversely, Norse's take on Iran's cyber prowess (PDF) was trounced by critics as a deeply biased, headline-grabbing report. It came near the height of international negotiations over lifting nuclear sanctions against Iran, and Norse had teamed up with the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank that has traditionally taken a hard line against threats or potential threats to the United States.
In its report, Norse said it saw a half-million attacks on industrial control systems by Iran in the previous 24 months '-- a 115 percent increase in attacks. But in a scathing analysis of Norse's findings, critical infrastructure security expert Robert M. Lee said Norse's claim of industrial control systems being attacked and implying it was definitively the Iranian government was disingenuous at best. Lee said he obtained an advanced copy of an earlier version of the report that was shared with unclassified government and private industry channels, and that the data in the report simply did not support its conclusions.
''The systems in question are fake systems'....and the data obtained cannot be accurately used for attribution,'' Lee wrote of Norse's sensor network. ''In essence, Norse identified scans from Iranian Internet locations against fake systems and announced them as attacks on industrial control systems by a foreign government. The Norse report's claims of attacks on industrial control systems is wrong. The data is misleading. The attention it gained is damaging. And even though a real threat is identified it is done in a way that only damages national cybersecurity.''
FROM SMOKES TO SMOKE & MIRRORS?
KrebsOnSecurity interviewed almost a dozen current and former employees at Norse, as well as several outside investors who said they considered buying the firm. None but Landesman would speak on the record. Most said Norse's data '-- the core of its offering '-- was solid, if prematurely marketed as a way to help banks and others detect and deflect cyber attacks.
''I think they just went to market with this a couple of years too soon,'' said one former Norse employee who left on his own a few months prior to the January 2016 layoffs, in part because of concerns about the validity of the data that the company was using to justify some of its public threat reports. ''It wasn't all there, and I worried that they were finding what they wanted to find in the data. If you think about the network they built, that's a lot of power.''
On Jan. 4, 2016, Landesman learned she and roughly two dozen other colleagues at Norse were being let go. The data scientist said she vetted Norse's founders prior to joining the firm, but that it wasn't until she was fired at the beginning of 2016 that she started doing deeper research into the company's founders.
''I realized that, oh crap, I think this is a scam,'' Landesman said. ''They're trying to draw this out and tap into whatever the buzzwords du jour there are, and have a product that's going to meet that and suck in new investors.''
Calls to Norse investor KPMG International went unreturned. An outside PR firm for KPMG listed on the press release about the original $11.4 million funding for Norse referred my inquiry to a woman running an outside PR firm for Norse, who declined to talk on the record because she said she wasn't sure whether her firm was still representing the tech company.
''These shell companies formed by [the company's founders] bilked investors,'' Landesman said. ''Had anyone gone and investigated any of these partnerships they were espousing as being the next big thing, they would have realized this was all smoke and mirrors.''
Tags: American Enterprise Institute, Cisco Systems, Cornell Capital Partners, Cyco, Cyco.net, Cylance, fbi, Howard Bain, KPMG, Mary Landesman, Nexicon, Norse Corp., Oak Investment Partners, Operation Cleaver, Orion Security Services, Pluto Communications, Priviam, Richard Urrea, Robert M. Lee, Sam Glines, SolarFlare, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Stuart McClure, Tommy Stiansen, Yorkville Advisors
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 30th, 2016 at 8:51 am and is filed under A Little Sunshine. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a comment. Pinging is currently not allowed.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
National Security Agency plans major reorganization - The Washington Post
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 23:40
The National Security Agency, the largest electronic spy agency in the world, is undertaking a major reorganization, merging its offensive and defensive organizations in the hope of making them more adept at facing the digital threats of the 21st century, according to current and former officials.
In place of the Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance directorates '-- the organizations that historically have spied on foreign targets and defended classified networks against spying, respectively '-- the NSA is creating a Directorate of Operations that combines the operational elements of each.
''This traditional approach we have where we created these two cylinders of excellence and then built walls of granite between them really is not the way for us to do business,'' said NSA Director Michael S. Rogers, hinting at the reorganization '-- dubbed NSA21 '-- that is expected to be publicly rolled out this week.
''We've got to be flat,'' he told an audience at the Atlantic Council last month. ''We've got to be agile.''
Some lawmakers who have been briefed on the broad parameters consider restructuring a smart thing to do because an increasing amount of intelligence and threat activity is coursing through global computer networks.
''When it comes to cyber in particular, the line between collection capabilities and our own vulnerabilities '-- between the acquisition of signals intelligence and the assurance of our own information '-- is virtually nonexistent,'' said Rep. Adam B. Schiff (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. ''What is a vulnerability to be patched at home is often a potential collection opportunity abroad and vice versa.''
But there have been rumblings of discontent within the NSA, which is based at Fort Meade, Md., as some fear a loss of influence or stature.
Some advocates for the comparatively small Information Assurance Directorate, which has about 3,000 people, fear that its ability to work with industry on cybersecurity issues will be undermined if it is viewed as part of the much larger ''sigint'' collection arm, which has about eight times as many personnel. The latter spies on overseas targets by hacking into computer networks, collecting satellite signals and capturing radio waves.
''The NSA21 initiative will ensure the National Security Agency continues to be the preeminent signals intelligence and information assurance organization in the world,'' said Jonathan Freed, director of strategic communications at the NSA. ''These core missions are critical as we position NSA to face complex and evolving threats to the nation. Out of respect for our workforce, we cannot comment on any details or speculation before the plan is announced.''
Director's charge
The change comes about a year after the CIA did its own revamping, ending divisions that have been in place for decades and creating new centers that team analysts with operators. The NSA's new Directorate of Operations also will place analysts with operators.
[CIA plans major reorganization and a focus on digital espionage]
In a speech in December, Rogers characterized the change as ''among the most comprehensive'' at the NSA since the late 1990s. He began the effort about a year ago, giving a team of employees from across the agency what he called the ''director's charge.'' Among the major questions they were asked were: How can the agency better innovate? And how ''do we inculcate collaboration and integration'' in operations?
For instance, said one former U.S. official familiar with the plan, both information assurance and foreign intelligence gathering rely on similar processes for data analysis and depend on each other. ''But the challenge is they are very much two different cultures,'' the official said. ''Unless you've worked on both sides of the house, you don't inherently trust each other.''
The Information Assurance Directorate (IAD) seeks to build relationships with private-sector companies and help find vulnerabilities in software '-- most of which officials say wind up being disclosed. It issues software guidance and tests the security of systems to help strengthen their defenses.
But the other side of the NSA house, which looks for vulnerabilities that can be exploited to hack a foreign network, is much more secretive.
''You have this kind of clash between the closed environment of the sigint mission and the need of the information-assurance team to be out there in the public and be seen as part of the solution,'' said a second former official. ''I think that's going to be a hard trick to pull off.'' Both former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the details of the plan are not yet public.
Richard George, a former technical director for the IAD, said he saw how techniques that the defense side developed have helped the offensive operations and vice versa. ''It's got to be really useful to have those groups closer together where they'll be sharing ideas and techniques more frequently,'' said George, now a senior adviser on cyber issues at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
Combining defense, offense
Former NSA director Michael V. Hayden undertook one of the agency's other major reorganizations, creating the Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID) in 2000 by merging two directorates '-- of operations and technology. He said he opted not to fold in the IAD. ''From the outside perspective,'' he said, ''I needed an organization that was, and was seen to be, committed to defense.''
At the time, he added, the IAD needed to be strengthened and adapted to the cyber age. ''Keeping it separate allowed me more direct visibility into that,'' he said. ''That said, as the cyber mission matured, the operational and technological aspects of the SID and IAD missions merged more and more.''
By 2005, as cyberthreats were growing, Hayden decided to create a new organization that would enable the agency to leverage the intelligence it was getting from spying on overseas networks to help it defend against intrusions into the government's classified networks. The NSA Threat Operations Center was an experiment in combining offense and defense. ''It was wildly successful,'' the first former official said.
NTOC dispelled the myth, the official said, that one person cannot operate under two sets of legal authorities '-- offensive and defensive. ''I can actually sit at my desk and one minute be using sigint data and authorities .'‰.'‰. and the next minute I could be using IA data and authorities and my mission is not changing,'' the official said. ''You need checks and balances. You need to know what authority you're using at any given time, but it's possible.''
Still, some congressional aides briefed on the broad outlines of the plan have expressed concern about mixing funding for intelligence activities and that for cybersecurity activities.
One area where the sigint side is ahead of information assurance is in using ''big data'' analytical tools to manipulate large volumes of information quickly. ''What we want to do is take advantage of that knowledge, to apply it as needed to the IA analysis,'' the first former official said.
The reorganization plan also includes separate directorates of capabilities and research.
''One of the fundamental tenets you'll see us outline as we try to position NSA for .'‰.'‰. the environment I think we're going to see five, 10 years from now is a much more integrated approach to doing business,'' Rogers said at the Atlantic Council. ''I don't like these stovepipes of SID and IAD. I love the expertise. And I love when we work together. But I want the integration to be at a much lower level and much more foundational.''
Ellen Nakashima is a national security reporter for The Washington Post. She focuses on issues relating to intelligence, technology and civil liberties.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NA-Tech News
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Study says law enforcement can make do without encryption override
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 02:03
Critical Read
Study says law enforcement can make do without encryption overrideBy Mark RockwellFeb 01, 2016What: "Don't Panic: Making Progress in the 'Growing Dark' Debate" -- a report from Harvard University's Berkman Center's Berklett Cybersecurity Project, released Feb. 1.
Why: Law enforcement and intel agencies have warned that criminals and terrorists are "going dark" -- using increasingly strong, commercially available encryption for their communications to evade monitoring. Security and law enforcement agencies have ominously complained that commercial encryption is crippling their investigative and surveillance capabilities and, by extension, opening up a new world of mayhem.
But the rising alarm in the national intelligence and law enforcement communities over increasingly strong encryption capabilities on commercial networks and devices isn't justified, according to a new study.
The Berkman Center said it tapped the expertise of security and policy experts from academia, civil society and the U.S. intelligence community in debates on the encryption issue; the study was a distillation of the points made in those discussions.
Fears of a new world of undetectable communications and crippled government and law enforcement surveillance capabilities, it said, are overblown, and ignore other technological developments and the interplay of commercial market pressures.
The end-to-end encryption and other architectures that obscure user data aren't attractive to companies that provide communications services because those companies use that data for revenue. It also said complete end-to-end encryption is unlikely since "software ecosystems" are mostly fragmented and it would take "far more coordination and standardization than currently exists" to work.
Additionally, it said the fear of suspects and terrorists telecommunications "going dark" rendering surveillance impossible discounts the rise of the Internet of Things, where all manner of devices offer new paths for surveillance. The IoT, it said will make everyday objects capable of providing still images, video and audio, possibly enabling real-time intercept and recording with after-the-fact access.
Verbatim: "Thus an inability to monitor an encrypted channel could be mitigated by the ability to monitor from afar a person through a different channel."
Click here to read the full study.
About the Author
Mark Rockwell is a staff writer at FCW.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.
Google Will Soon Shame All Websites That Are Unencrypted | Motherboard
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:49
Google wants everything on the web to be travelling over a secure channel. That's why in the future your Chrome browser will flag unencrypted websites as insecure, displaying a red ''x'' over a padlock in the URL bar.
With this upcoming change in Chrome, Google makes it clear that the web of the future should all be encrypted, and all sites should be served over HTTPS, which is essentially a secure layer on top of the usual HTTP web protocol. Several companies and organizations have been pushing for more encrypted sites as part of a campaign to ''Encrypt All The Things,'' which consists of promoting more websites to abandon the traditional, less secure HTTP protocol and adopt HTTPS.
Currently, Chrome displays only an icon of a white page when the website you're accessing is not secured with HTTPS, a green locked padlock when it is, as well as a padlock with a red ''x'' on it when there's something wrong with the HTTPS page the user is trying to access. The change will draw even more attention to the sites that are potentially insecure.
''The goal of this proposal is to more clearly display to users that HTTP provides no data security.''The internet giant quietly announced this plan back in 2014, when one of the members of the Chrome Security Team sent out a proposal to mark all HTTP websites as ''non-secure.''
''The goal of this proposal is to more clearly display to users that HTTP provides no data security,'' Google's Chris Palmer wrote.
On Tuesday, during a presentation at the Usenix Enigma security conference in San Francisco, an engineer at security firm CloudFlare showed how this looks like today when the user enables a special feature in Chrome's settings, and presumably how it might look like in the future if it's enabled by default. (You can see the little red ''x'' on the padlock in the URL bar.)
Parisa Tabriz, who manages Google's security engineering team, tweeted that Google's intention is to ''call out'' HTTP for what it is: ''UNSAFE.''
The rationale is that on every website served over HTTP the data exchanged between the site's server and the user is in the clear, meaning anyone with the ability to snoop on the connection, be it a hacker at a coffee shop or a repressive government, could steal passwords, private messages, or other sensitive information.
But HTTPS doesn't just protect user data, it also ensures that the user is really connecting to the right site and not an imposter one. This is important because setting up a fake version of a website users normally trust is a favorite tactic of hackers and malicious actors. HTTPS also ensures that a malicious third party can't hijack the connection and insert malware or censor information.
Google's intention is to ''call out'' HTTP for what it is: ''UNSAFE.''Tech and privacy experts applauded Google's plan.
''Chrome pushing forward on marking plain HTTP as outright insecure is an incredibly strong and pro-user move,'' Eric Mill, a technologist who's been working on web encryption, told Motherboard. ''Despite how common plain HTTP can still be today, it *is* outright insecure, and a real and present danger to users and to the open web.''
Google already signaled its preference for HTTPS websites when it called for HTTPS to be ''everywhere'' on the web during its 2014 I/O conference, and when it announced that it would rank encrypted sites higher in search results. But the internet giant is far from the only big player on the web pushing for more HTTPS. Mozilla and Apple have both indicated that they want more web encryption. And even the US government has taken important steps in that direction, requiring all .gov websites to be HTTPS by default before the end of this year.
Google hasn't said when it will make the HTTP flag the default on Chrome, but a Google employee who asked to remain anonymous because he wasn't authorized to speak to the press told me that there will be an announcement "soon" and that the intention is to make it default ''someday, hopefully.'' (A Google spokesperson declined to comment.)
But if you want to see how it looks like, you can already turn it on by typing ''chrome://flags'' in your Chrome browser and then navigate to ''mark non-secure as'' and selecting ''mark non-secure origins as non-secure.''
This article has been corrected. A previous version of this story stated that Google gave a sneak peek of how it's going to flag insecure websites on Chrome during a presentation at the Usenix Enigma conference. But it was actually a CloudFlare engineer who gave the presentation.
Do privacy apps really keep me private? - Ask Leo!
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 12:25
//Do apps like HTTPS Everywhere, Disconnect and DuckDuckGo actually help keep your searches private?
It depends on what you mean by privacy, as the apps you're asking about actually do different things.
And it also depends on exactly who you do, or do not, trust.
It's that trust issue that everything pretty much hinges on.
HTTPS EverywhereHTTPS Everywhere is a browser plugin available for most popular browsers, with the exception of Internet Explorer. It's provided by and produced with support from the Electronic Frontier Foundation1.
Despite its name it does not make https work ''everywhere''.
Its job is very, very simple:
If you visit a site using http (no ''s'')AND that site actually supports httpsHTTPS Everywhere will THEN switch your connection to that site to httpsSince there's no real ''test'' for whether a site supports https, the plugin uses a database of known sites that is updated periodically, and to which you can make local modifications.
Note that if a site does not itself actually support https, then HTTPS Everywhere cannot force the https connection '' you connect via the normal http anyway.
HTTPS Everywhere: privacyThe privacy given by HTTPS Everywhere is simply that offered by making sure you use the https protocol wherever it is supported. That means your connection cannot be monitored by someone listening in2.
What https (the protocol) and HTTPS Everywhere (the add-on) do not control is what happens on your computer, and what happens at the service provider's servers. Your computer, including any malware that may be on it, can monitor what your browser does. The service you're contacting via https can do whatever it wants with the data you send it.
HTTPS Everywhere: trustHTTPS Everywhere is a browser add-on that can monitor all of your browser's activity. By using it you are trusting that the EFF, its development partners, and in fact the individual developers are not using this ability for purposes other than advertised. HTTPS Everywhere is an open-source project, and available for independent verification.
You are also trusting that your computer is malware-free, and that the service you're contacting is secure, and not using your information maliciously (two different things).
HTTPS Everywhere: my bottom linePersonally, I trust the EFF. I also trust my machines, and I only use services that I trust. As a result I can recommend HTTPS Everywhere, and in fact have it installed myself. Just be aware of what it does, and does not do. All it does is enable https connections for those services that support https.
DisconnectDisconnect.me is a browser plugin available for most popular browsers, again, with the exception of Internet Explorer.
Its job is simply to block requests that are made by web pages to known advertising and other tracking services. It claims more and faster coverage than other blocking technologies. It also shows you graphically what requests have been blocked, and allows you to add exceptions as desired. It does not affect connections that are not blocked.
Disconnect: privacyAdvertisers and other web visit-based tracking technologies that are in Disconnect's database are prevented from providing their services, and thus are not informed when you visit web pages. Your activities are not shared with them.
Disconnect: trustDisconnect is a browser add-on that can monitor all of your browser's activity. By using it you are trusting that the company behind it is not using this ability for purposes other than advertised, and that it does what is advertised; since for many types of blocks there is no visible change. Disconnect is an open-source project, and available for independent verification.
Disconnect: my bottom lineI have enough faith in Disconnect to say that if you feel you must use a blocking technology it's a fine one to use.
However, that doesn't mean I don't have a problem with it.
The fundamental assumptions that Disconnect.me and apps like it make are simply that all advertising is bad, and all tracking is bad; and that both practices expose information of a personal nature to people that it shouldn't be exposed to.
I disagree.
As I've said elsewhere, advertising is a cornerstone of what keeps Ask Leo! and hundreds of thousands of websites like it viable. I can't speak for the other sites, but I can say that if enough people were to block ads Ask Leo! simply would not exist. Period. Ads are essential to keeping the information you and I rely on every day free. The fact that ads you see might be relevant to you reflects a certain level of tracking, it's true. But that tracking is used only by algorithms that provide relevant ads. No one is watching.
Similarly, other services that might be considered ''tracking'' are, in reality, key components of understanding exactly how my website is being used, or actually themselves adding functionality to the site. This is critical for me to continue to build a successful business around freely handing out valuable information. I can easily assume that the same is true for other sites.3
And finally, the assumption being made is that what tracking is happening is somehow personal. In my opinion this is simply wrong. As I've also said before, you and I are not, as individuals, all that interesting. In aggregate it's very valuable to see that ''a lot of people are reading this article'', or ''clicking on that ad''. No one cares that ''Leo's reading this article'', or that ''Leo just clicked on that ad''. Unfortunately, since information is collected at the individual level, too many people don't trust that it's only being used in aggregate, and somehow feel that they '' personally '' are being tracked.
So, no, I cannot in good conscience recommend this, or any blocking tools that interfere with honest website owners such as myself.
DuckDuckGoDuckDuckGo is an alternative search engine, created in response to the feeling that other search engines, most notably Google, are using individual search habits to track people and provide relevant advertisements. It claims not to track you in any way, and displays only a limited number of advertisements, clearly, in its search results. DuckDuckGo was, I believe, one of the first to automatically switch to an https connection regardless of how you arrive at the site.
DuckDuckGo: PrivacyTo the extent that they do what they say, they are indeed giving you an extra level of privacy. Your search activity is not being tracked.
DuckDuckGo: TrustWhen you use DuckDuckGo you are trusting that they will do what they say, and not track you.
DuckDuckGo: my bottom lineI tend to judge a search engine by the appropriateness and relevance of its results. To me the answer to a given search query is by far the most important thing. While I've tried alternate search engines from time to time, in my opinion Google search still wins that race. (DuckDuckGo actually gets its results from a variety of sources.)
So I stick with Google.
However there's nothing wrong with using alternatives like DuckDuckGo.
My bigger concern is in thinking that you're getting something significant when, in my opinion, you're not. As with blocking, above, I just don't agree that there's currently a significant threat to personal privacy when using mainstream search engines, including Google. Yes, aggregate information is collected and used for assorted reasons, but once again you and I just aren't that interesting as individuals. Even advertisements that seem to ''follow you'' as a result of previous searches simply reflect the technology's ability to try to present you with things that are in fact more relevant to you. That doesn't mean that someone cares or is watching; it means that somewhere a computer algorithm is working.
But as always, the choice remains yours, and that's one of the very wonderful things about the internet in general: choice. And as I said, I have no issues with choosing DuckDuckGo.
1: Full disclosure: Ask Leo! supports the EFF with occasional monetary donations.
2: For purposes of this article I won't debate the security of the https or ssl protocols. There are obscure ways that they can be compromised, particularly in corporate settings. In addition, the more paranoid may well believe that government agencies can crack https. This is a belief that I do not subscribe to.
3: Indeed, sometimes important functionality is disabled by Disconnect.me, such as the site search functionality here on Ask Leo!.
CLICKFRAUD-Google Moves Towards Complete Ad Encryption | InterWorx
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 12:03
Google, and many other large web service providers, believe that HTTPS Everywhere should be the goal of everyone who provides services and sites on the web. We live in an era of increased threats to privacy and security from criminals and others with less than noble motivations for wanting to see the content of our online communication. TLS / SSL encryption remains one of the best ways to ensure that our private communications remain private.
Most web users are familiar with the idea that their banking and other sensitive online interactions should be encrypted to protect them from prying eyes, but not many give much thought to the content of the advertising that they see on almost every page they visit, and which has often been a source of security vulnerabilities, including malware.
Given that Google is both a cheerleader for SSL Everywhere and the web's largest seller of advertising, it's something of a surprise that it doesn't already encrypt the content it sends over its ad networks, but in a recent announcement, the company has said that it intends to implement encryption on all the advertising it serves by the end of June this year.
''In addition to providing a secure connection on our own products, we've been big proponents of the idea of ''HTTPS Everywhere,'' encouraging webmasters to prevent and fix security breaches on their sites, and using HTTPS as a signal in our search ranking algorithm.
This year, we're working to bring this ''HTTPS Everywhere'' mission to our ads products as well, to support all of our advertiser and publisher partners. Here are some of the specific initiatives we're working on.''
SSL encryption provides secure connections, of course, but it also carries with it the benefit that the origin of advertising can be properly verified. Browsers and mobile applications will be able to determine that the server delivering encrypted advertising originates from a validated domain, rather than the malvertising server of online criminals.
Currently, all YouTube advertising is sent over an encrypted connection, and so is most advertising on Google.com. By the end of June, Google intends to encrypt all advertising served from Display Network, AdMob, and DoubleClick, which also covers mobile advertising and video advertising.
Google has recently drawn criticism over its efforts to make all web content encrypted, with some seeing tactics like using HTTPS encryption as a ranking signal in the SERPs, ''prematurely'' ending support for SHA-1 certificates ahead of the rest of the industry, and implementing warnings in the Chrome browser for unencrypted sites, as being an imperious use of the company's power. Not to mention the additional costs that these moves impose on web hosting providers, certificate authorities, and site owners who don't consider their content sensitive.
But, it looks like Google is prepared to put its money where its mouth is by ensuring that as much of possible of its own content is encrypted, including its major cash cow.
Whether or not you're a supporter of HTTPS Everywhere, there's no doubting that the encryption of advertising is a positive move towards a more secure web.
Image: Flickr/GotCredit
Google, Security,
Google asks devs to disable iOS 9 privacy feature 'to protect advertising' - CSO | The Resource for Data Security Executives
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:50
Apparently for advertising reasons, Google has asked developers to disable a key privacy feature in the forthcoming iOS 9 that aims to make apps encrypted by default.
Apple was applauded by privacy minded developers in June after announcing that iOS 9, due for release this autumn, would introduce App Transport Security (ATS). It was Apple's answer to apps that leak data about their users. ATS would by default prevent non-HTTPS connections between web services and apps installed on iPhones.
What wasn't obvious when Apple made the announcement is that one of ATS' main casualties would be mobile advertising, which has over the years become an equally important source of revenue to app developers as in-app purchases and direct app sales.
Apple of course has relatively little skin in the mobile advertising game compared to Google. Besides Apple making most of its money on hardware, iOS users are more willing to pay for apps than Android users. However in-app advertising is also helping shape the market for apps.
As Google pointed out on Wednesday, when a non-ATS compliant app attempts to serve an ad via HTTP on iOS 9, it will display to the developer the message: ''App Transport Security has blocked a cleartext HTTP (http://) resource load since it is insecure. Temporary exceptions can be configured via your app's Info.plist file.''
So Google has asked developers using its mobile ad SDK, AdMob, to disable the privacy feature. It also deflected blame for its request '-- which goes against its general push for HTTPS everywhere '-- on third-party networks that don't support HTTPS.
''While Google remains committed to industry-wide adoption of HTTPS, there isn't always full compliance on third party ad networks and custom creative code served via our systems,'' Google said on its ads developer blog.
''To ensure ads continue to serve on iOS9 devices for developers transitioning to HTTPS, the recommended short term fix is to add an exception that allows HTTP requests to succeed and non-secure content to load successfully.''
As Apple notes in iOS 9 technical documentation, developers can use an app's ''Info.plist file'' to specify exceptions to ATS or simply turn the feature off.
Read moreCrypto tells the bad guys what to target"You can specify exceptions to the default behavior in the Info.plist file in your app or extension. Use the keys in the property list for specific exceptions or to turn off App Transport Security. Table 1-1 shows the keys and their types, and uses indentation to indicate structure," Apple .
However, as some on Hacker News argue, it's the latter option that Google suggests, which seems to be what Google suggested in its blog.
''Publishers can add an exception to their Info.plist to allow any insecure connection,'' Google said, pointing to the following script:
NSAppTransportSecurity NSAllowsArbitraryLoads
Read moreWhite House orders all government websites be encryptedWhile Google's recommended workaround may seem self-serving, it also isn't the first to suggest it. Several other iOS developers have previously published the same snippet, which they noted Apple didn't document and lets developers disable ATS altogether.
A corollary to the issue Google is addressing is 'mixed content' on desktop browsers, for example, where a news website loads resources from a source that doesn't serve them over HTTPS. It can happen due to the need to serve resources from legacy publishing systems but more often than not it's due to ads that aren't served over HTTPS.
Particularly since Edward Snowden's leaks, Google has been one of the major proponents of encrypting the web and even before Apple announced ATS, it committed to encrypting the ''vast majority'' of mobile, video, and desktop display ads served to the Google Display Network, AdMob, and DoubleClick publishers. But while Google is a major force in online advertising, it can only lead by example in pursuit of an objective that really requires the entire advertising industry to follow suit.
Whatever Google's and Apple's motivations are, there's a healthy debate going on at Hacker News as to each companies intent.
Read moreHow to explain cyber security to your boardWant to know more?
Why not become a CSO member and subscribe to CSO's mailing list.
Get newsletters, updates, events and more right here
Read more:The 5 most important hacks of the last five yearsBrand Post'‹Cyber criminals are adapting to the changing times. Are you?More from ESETJoin the CSO newsletter!Error: Please check your email address.
Tags advertisingencryptedHacker NewsApp Transport Security (ATS)DoubleClicksdkiOS9 devicesiPhonesAppleGoogleEdward SnowdenAdMobInfo.plistHTTPSiOS 9 privacy
More about AppleCSODoubleClickGoogleNewsTransport
Firefox 2.0.x: tracking unsuspecting users using TLS client certificat
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:42
Alexander Klink 2007-09-07 12:13:06 GMT
While building the new OpenXPKI Live CD ...if you are looking for an (open source) enterprise-gradePKI system, consider OpenXPKI. You can now test development snapshots usingour new Morphix-based live CD.... I realised that you can do something with Firefox 2.0.x thatyou could not do with Firefox 1.5.x: track an unsuspecting userusing TLS client certificates.Here is how it works:- The user visits a websites and leaves behind some personal data (for example on a registration form).- The website uses SPKAC using the tag to create a private key for the user. This will pop up a dialog that says: "Key generation in progress ... This may take a few minutes ... Please wait ..." With a 1024 bit key on a modern machines, this only takes a few seconds, so it is barely noticable to the user.- Using the SPKAC data, the website creates a TLS client certificate for the user (which may contain just a unique identifier for the user and/or the personal data entered) and sends it to the user using the "application/x-x509-user-cert" MIME-type. Firefox will automatically install the certificate and pop up a dialog that says: "Your personal certificate has been installed. You should keep a backup copy of this certificate." This dialog may need some social engineering from the website to keep the user unsuspecting. But who has actually heard of a "personal certificate" except for the more technical users? One could even explain to the user what it really is without the user knowing that it will mean trouble for him.- Because Firefox's standard configuration is to automatically choose a TLS client certificate to be sent out, the certificate including the personal data will now be sent out to any website that requests it. Contrary to a typical cookie, this includes websites that are on a completely different domain. The user will not notice this at all.Caveats:- The user has to have saved a password in his password safe before. Otherwise, Firefox will ask the user to choose a password for the "software security device" during the SPKAC key generation.What other browsers do:- Firefox 1.5: Does not allow you to install a client certificate that is from a CA which you don't trust. I still believe this was a decent default setting.- Opera: During the key generation, it asks for "a master password to protect your client certificates in Opera". Note the wording, which is IMHO much more clear than the password for a "software security device". During installation, it asks whether you want to install the certificate and pops up another dialog "Are you sure you want to trust this issuer?". Before connecting via HTTPS, it pops up a dialog that says "The server requested a certificate. Please select one of these certificates or press [Cancel] to send none" and then requests the master password.- IE: Does not use SPKAC, but has a similar mechanism using the XEnroll control. With the default security settings, both requesting a certificate and installing one pop up confirmation dialogs explaining the situation and having a default of 'No'. Not that it does not have problems with certificates, though. Has anyone else ever noticed that if you have have more than a certain number of DNS subject alternative names, the certificate chain validation just breaks? This is actually a productive problem at $CUSTOMER, where they have a large webserver which has somewhere around 50 virtual hosts ...- Safari: Does not say a peep during the SPKAC request generation. Allows for 512 bit keys, btw - whoever would want a 512 bit key these days? I could not find the correct MIME type to send the certificate for installation (I'd be interested to know though if anyone has an idea), but I'd assume the installation uses keychain (at least under Mac OS X, no idea what they do on Windows), which hopefully does some prompting.- Konqueror: Pops up a 'KDE Certificate Request' wizard during SPKAC key generation which will ask for a password for the private key. I could not test this any further though, because my Konqueror installation did not create the request. Apparently, it sends 'deadbeef' though if it can now create correct SPKAC data ... Allows for 512 bit keys, too.Proof of Concept:- http://0x90.eu/ff_tls_poc.htmlBest regards, Alex---- Dipl.-Math. Alexander Klink | IT-Security Engineer | a.klink cynops.de mobile: +49 (0)178 2121703 | Cynops GmbH | http://www.cynops.de----------------------------+----------------------+--------------------- HRB 7833, Amtsgericht | USt-Id: DE 213094986 | Gesch¤ftsf¼hrer: Bad Homburg v. d. H¶he | | Martin Bartosch_______________________________________________Full-Disclosure - We believe in it.Charter: http://lists.grok.org.uk/full-disclosure-charter.htmlHosted and sponsored by Secunia - http://secunia.com/
HTTPS-tracking without cookies
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:38
$Id: tracking-without-cookies.html,v 1.4 2003/02/17 23:38:19 dean Exp $years ago i wrote a document about tracking with cookies. i included a section about tracking without cookies, which is now out of date. i'm too lazy to describe each of these techniques in detail, but i'll outline several methods which can be used to track without cookies.
first off let's classify three uses of cookies:
to customize a page with something like "Hello luser1234,". i'll refer to this use as page-customization. (page-customization is distinct from log analysis because of the real-time nature of page generation vs. the offline nature of log analysis.)to track user activity within a single browser "session". i'll refer to this use as intra-session tracking.to track user activity across browser "sessions" (i.e. across reboots of a computer, or restarts of a browser). i'll refer to this use as inter-session tracking.remember that none of these techniques are perfect -- but in concert these techniques provide a high degree of certainty that a set of accesses come from a particular user (or small group of users).
URL munging (page-customization, intra-session tracking)we've all seen godawfully ugly urls which contain crud which a human can't be expected to parse. it's trivial to include a tracking cookie in URLs which allows for intra-session tracking, and page-customization.
keepalive (intra-session tracking)clients tend not to close HTTP keepalive on their own (until the user wanders off to another website) -- the server tends to time them out and shut them down. but a properly architected server could hold a session open indefinitely. this provides a method for intra-session tracking. (additionally since the client will close the connection eventually after the user has wandered off to another website, this provides a method of knowing how long a user has been reading your pages.)
SSL session ID (intra-session tracking)public key operations are computationally expensive, and so the TLS/SSL protocols provide a mechanism whereby the server and client can select a session ID that will be used for all requests within a client session. it's now economically feasible (or it will be soon enough) to encrypt all traffic to a website.
this has the added irony that the user will see the nice little lock icon in their browser and feel all secure and snuggly, without realising their browser is happily giving away intra-session hints.
TCP timestamps, and IP id (intra-session tracking)all IP packets include a 16-bit id field which most hosts just increment from one packet to the next. this might be used to associate requests from a single client -- and has the added benefit that popular NATs don't touch this field. here's a paper describing the use of this technique for counting hosts behind a NAT.
the RFC1423 TCP timestamp field is also similarly predictable, and unmodified by popular NATs.
Last-Modified and ETag (inter-session tracking)other than cookies, there's typically only one other type of data a webserver can cause a browser to store on its local harddrive -- cacheable web content. this technique attempts to get the browser to store unique id information in its cache in a manner which will be communicated to the server at a later date. (the later communication will be via a GET If-Modified-Since, or If-None-Match.)
Last-Modified timestamps can be selected from a range of, say, 10 million seconds near the year 2038 (the end of time in current 32-bit unix time_t). this allows for tracking 10 million users. it's worth noting that 10 million seconds is only 116 days... and combined with other techniques you could get another order of magnitude easily in this representation without severely consuming too much of a time_t.
ETags have completely arbitrary content, and don't have the limitations that Last-Modified timestamps do. Newer browsers tend to implement ETags.
to use this technique simply include a reference to a 1x1 transparent gif somewhere in your page, and then combine it with one of the other intra-session techniques. you'll be able to recognize browsers across sessions by studying the timestamp and/or ETag they include in their requests.
Indirect Last-Modified and ETag (inter-session tracking)a variation on the previous method -- since many "privacy filters" will thwart 1x1 transparent gifs.
suppose your web page A includes a reference to a frameset or style-sheet B. the frameset or style-sheet B includes a URL munged reference to another resource (such as a background gif, or subframe) C.
when your server sees a request for B, respond in one of two manners:
if the request does not contain an If-Modified-Since or If-None-Match then construct a response which contains a URL munged reference to C; and include an indefinate Last-Modified and/or an ETag.if the request contains an If-Modified-Since or If-None-Match respond with 304 (Not Modified).every time the browser starts up it will request the URL munged C -- and because we've carefully arranged for a private copy of B for each client we can use the URL munging in C to track the client across sessions. combine with one of the intra-session methods for a complete solution.
Javascript (intra-session tracking, page-customization)i don't do javascript, but i'm pretty sure it can be used to do intra-session tracking and page-customization. in particular i believe it's possible to hide URL munging with javascript.
Statistical IP analysis (intra-session tracking)other than in the case of proxies and NAT, an IP address tends to be "sticky" to one user for a short window of time. and even if it's a dynamic dialup address, unless you're a hugely popular website, you won't tend to see distinct users from the same dynamic address within even a day of logs.
perhaps it's possible to use for tracking -- i haven't investigated this any further.
this is where i'd study the effect of various proxies and NATs on the above techniques, except that i'm too lazy. i feel confident that there are techniques which communicate per-client information even through proxies (SSL in particular is one such method -- combine it with some of the others for a full solution).
i would also need to consider the AOL proxy "spray" effect where the same client's requests are spread over multiple proxies.
Ads take a step towards ''HTTPS everywhere''
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 11:10
Since 2008 we've been working to make sure all of our services use strong HTTPS encryption by default. That means people using products like Search, Gmail, YouTube, and Drive will automatically have an encrypted connection to Google. In addition to providing a secure connection on our own products, we've been big proponents of the idea of ''HTTPS Everywhere,'' encouraging webmasters to prevent and fix security breaches on their sites, and using HTTPS as a signal in our search ranking algorithm.
This year, we're working to bring this ''HTTPS Everywhere'' mission to our ads products as well, to support all of our advertiser and publisher partners. Here are some of the specific initiatives we're working on:
We've moved all YouTube ads to HTTPS as of the end of 2014.Search on Google.com is already encrypted for a vast majority of users and we are working towards encrypting search ads across our systems. By June 30, 2015, the vast majority of mobile, video, and desktop display ads served to the Google Display Network, AdMob, and DoubleClick publishers will be encrypted.Also by June 30, 2015, advertisers using any of our buying platforms, including AdWords and DoubleClick, will be able to serve HTTPS-encrypted display ads to all HTTPS-enabled inventory. Of course we're not alone in this goal. By encrypting ads, the advertising industry can help make the internet a little safer for all users. Recently, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) published a call to action to adopt HTTPS ads, and many industry players are also working to meet HTTPS requirements. We're big supporters of these industry-wide efforts to make HTTPS everywhere a reality.
Our HTTPS Everywhere ads initiatives will join some of our other efforts to provide a great ads experience online for our users, like ''Why this Ad?'', ''Mute This Ad'' and TrueView skippable ads. With these security changes to our ads systems, we're one step closer to ensuring users everywhere are safe and secure every time they choose to watch a video, map out a trip in a new city, or open their favorite app.
Neal Mohan, VP Product Management, Display and Video AdsJerry Dischler, VP Product Management, AdWords
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Browser wars and the H TTP S scam Facebook browser ''Facebook: the New and Improved AOL? | John C. Dvorak | PCMag.com
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 23:43
Expect a future where Facebook, which I consider the modern AOL, ruins finding anything online, ever.
When you think about Google, Bing, and the future of search, you have to wonder if the mechanism can really survive much longer. Search is ridiculous.
A search system like Google essentially caches the entire Internet, every Web page and sub-page, into massive server farms around the world where they are indexed and used as targets for finding specific information. While this seemed like a good idea a decade ago, the enormity of the stored data now strains entire power grids. Server farms are ideally built next to massive hydro-electric plants just to operate.
All this so I can find a needle in a haystack reference.
Data Retention DilemmaThe amount of data on the net tends to languish forever on active servers that cannot afford the time to find and delete old garbage. Search engine providers instead buy more storage and leave everything active. This is what they mean when they say "once it is one the Internet it is on forever."
Every so often a large "site of sites," such as Geocities, shutters and removes scads of marginal little sites. But even that content is stored someplace to be passed around at a later date. The entire Geocities archive was released to the public as a 652GB file to be found on some Bitorrent indexes. Although not technically on the Internet, it's still out there.
The point is, Google and Bing and anyone else who wants to play this game have to cache a lot of data. But why should Google AND Bing and others have to duplicate the Internet over and over? A joint venture would be the way go and then run your own search algorithms on the data pile.
That would probably be illegal for competitive reasons, leaving the current mess intact.
There is no reasonable solution to the modern and developing Tower of Babel unless everything changes regarding how things are posted on the Internet itself.
Downhill BattleUnless protocols are developed that force every page on the net to be self-indexing, self-categorizing, and self-sorting, this chaos will remain. Search results will deteriorate. I already go to regional Google centers such as Google.fr in France to get proper results for certain searches that never come up with regular searches using Google.com.
One development that was a huge disappointment was the constant emergence and disappearance of new search technologies eventually bought out by either Yahoo or Google. Yahoo bought a slew of them and did nothing with them. Others, like FAST from Scandinavia, showed a lot of promise as the engineers toyed with new ways of looking at data stores.
No Real CompetitionEventually, with new ideas squashed by mergers and acquisitions, the Google brute force approach prevailed. But the model is old and tired and barely works.
Facebook was supposed to develop a Google killer with a so-called social search that would find desired pages through some sort of social networking scheme. The idea scared Google into creating Google+, but nothing major has happened except an apparent downturn in search activity overall. As reported in Quartz and elsewhere, search queries have actually peaked and may be on the decline.
This may have more to do with the nature of modern computer users. They gravitate towards a closed proprietary system (Facebook) where there is structure. While there is structure, there is also a stream of neverending albeit controlled information and entertainment. This has a dulling effect on the individual in much the same way the original AOL (with its keyword meme) used to have.
Facebook Changes EverythingI've always said that Facebook is the new and improved AOL. It's for people who do not want to get all confused by the crazy Internet. It is Internet enough for them.
If you survey many Facebook users, you'll find a majority of them cannot, in fact, do any sort of complex Google search. While Google is not about to go out of business any time soon, the company is aware of what looks to me like a sea change.
With a now mildly dwindling user base that could easily become a massively dwindling user base, how can Google rationalize building out more and more massive data centers to account for the still growing net?
If these trends are real, the answer is, that they cannot keep doing this.
Then what happens? Massive search deterioration that's what.
Once you can't find anything at all on the net maybe then the entire structure will be forced to change. It can't happen soon enough.
Back to top
Previous :Researchers Using Google Search Data to Track STD OutbreaksJohn Dvorak is a columnist for PCMag.com and the host of the weekly TV video podcast CrankyGeeks. His work is licensed around the world. Previously a columnist for Forbes, Forbes Digital, PC World, Barrons, MacUser, PC/Computing, Smart Business and other magazines and newspapers. Former editor and consulting editor for Infoworld. Has appeared in the New York Times, LA Times, Philadelphia Enquirer, SF Examiner, Vancouver Sun. Was on the start-up team for CNet TV as well as ZDTV. At ZDTV (and TechTV) was host of Silicon... More >>
Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
blog comments powered by
Why Google Should Fear A Potential Facebook Web Browser
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 23:50
When Facebook started out, their problem was getting more users. That goal is now evolving to a more mature one: getting users more engaged. In a recent talk with some Facebook people, they mentioned that an important metric for them is users that are active in 6 out of every 7 days. Facebook is constantly tweaking its experience to increase engagement and to drive people back into Facebook.
A major problem is that we're not on Facebook all the time. Stuff is happening in our social circles when we're not looking and we remain ignorant of it until we decide to look at our feed again. A Facebook web browser would go a long way towards solving this problem. Ever since Facebook announced the embeddable Like button in 2010 they've started a process of becoming a true Internet platform rather than just another destination website. A browser is their logical next step and would help them solidify their position as the ''window'' through which we interact with the online world.
A Facebook Web Browser
One easy example that will drive people back to Facebook is always-on notifications. Just like Google gives us Google Plus notifications in Gmail and their other apps, Facebook can give us notifications everywhere. They can also take this further and have always-on chat and a Like button that's always there on the toolbar, regardless of a site supporting it.
Their browser will also give Facebook a ton of control. They can provide a sleeker, speedier experience for Facebook itself and reduce their server costs as a by-product. Like Google and Apple, a popular browser gets Facebook a ''stake'' in the market and a significant say in what new technologies should be standardized. If Facebook needs a feature implemented in HTML, CSS or Javascript, they will have the clout to make it happen.
So what happens when Facebook releases this browser? The answer is that it will explode. People try Facebook's stuff all the time'--just look at the adoption rates for their iPhone and Android apps. Facebook users depend on accessing Facebook and are always looking for the best way to get their content. Of all the big tech companies, Facebook has the biggest chance of launching a browser that will be an overnight success. And with technologies like WebKit, it's easier than ever to build a standards-compliant, well-performing browser.
Facebook has the biggest chance of launching a browser that will be an overnight success
With Browsers, Search is king
Let's get into the heart of the issue. The main monetization for browsers is search partners (at least for Firefox and Opera, as Safari, Chrome and IE are products of larger companies). For example, Google pays Mozilla to be the default search engine for Firefox. The reason that they can do that is search advertising. When someone does a search, there's a chance they might click on an ad. Multiply this chance by the number of Google's users and you come up with 97% of Google's annual revenue, or about $28 billion.
Simply put, having a popular search engine would be a gold mine for a company like Facebook. And while it's a stretch for them to invent a new search engine and slowly watch it grow, a popular browser with that engine as the default would solve the adoption problem for them. Imagine that, within a year, a modest 25% of Facebook users use their browser. That would equate to about 200M users; all of which are using their search.
Why Facebook needs a search engine
So does Facebook need to write an engine from scratch? That proposition would probably not earn you any applause at a random Facebook board meeting. Search engines are costly and challenging to develop and maintain. Google and Microsoft have been at it for years. But wait '' Facebook already has a relationship with Bing. Bing results appear in Facebook searches (though not prominently) and Bing has social features built in, courtesy of Facebook. The natural path is to partner with Bing on this project as well, and use the engine to power Facebook Search.
Facebook is an excellent source of social data. They already use this data to target ads within Facebook. In theory, ads that are targeted at people with specific interests (like a wine ad for people who Like wine) seems like a phenomenal business. Sadly, this is far from true. The problem with Facebook ads is lack of intent. When people see an ad on Facebook, they're not really looking to leave Facebook, so they ignore the ad. Compare this with search ads: they have a ton of intent. If someone is searching for ''gourmet marshmallows'' and an ad pops up for a marshmallow delicatessen (or something real), then the user has a high probability of clicking on it.
When people see an ad on Facebook, they're not really looking to leave Facebook, so they ignore the ad.
Now, imagine what Facebook could do with a search engine. They get the intent, and they can do something that Google and the others can't do, which is sprinkle their social targeting on top.
REINVENTING SEARCH ADVERTISING
So the reason that socially targeted search ads are so interesting is because of how the ''Cost Per Click'' (CPC) model works. Here's a quick breakdown for those of you not well versed in Internet advertising:
A guitar store decides on an ad they want to run and a target demographic (let's say 16-25 year old males).The ad gets displayed randomly to that demographic for free.The store only pays when someone actually clicks on the ad, so the price they get is a cost-per-click price.Once someone clicks in, they get a page the store set up, called a ''landing page'', which is built to ''convert'' the viewer into a customer. If the ad is for a sale on guitars, a conversion would be the viewer buying a guitar. If the viewer flakes, then the store paid ''for nothing'', but that's fine, since it's a numbers game.SEARCH ADS WITH SOCIAL SPRINKLES
Here's an example of how social data can make CPC ads way more effective. Let's say it's Mother's Day and I'm out to buy a gift for my mom (as every good son should). I search Google for ''mother's day gifts''. Since people searching for this term likely have a strong intent on buying something, this is a highly coveted market (lots of different advertisers each paying a buttload).
Google doesn't know much about me (let alone my mom) so they'll probably give me a random crop of local businesses selling Mother's Day stuff. But a Facebook Search ad could look like this:
The difference is that Facebook knows that my mom likes Godiva chocolate. They have that info, so an advertiser could target ''people searching for 'Mother's day gifts' and whose mother likes Godiva''. They could also run separate ads for 5 other popular chocolate makers.
What ad do you think I'm more likely to click and convert on?
FRIENDS RECOMMEND AND OTHER TREATS
Another example that would work is a camera store running two ads: one for people who have friends that like Nikon, and another for people whose friends are Nikon aficionados. When people search for ''cheap dslr'' you can show that 5 of their friends like Nikon so they should probably go ahead and buy a Nikon camera. Again, much more effective than a random ad.
And we've just explored the tip of the social iceberg. Think about social coupons (5% off for people who Like us) and social referrals (get $50 store credit when you refer a friend). Facebook can even track status updates like ''I'm in the market for a new car'' to find people with a high intent of buying cars.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Chrome is working for Google. It gets people to use Google services more. Why shouldn't Facebook do the same? People will be more engaged. It frees Facebook from dependency and gives them a player in the lucrative browser space. Best of all, it will be a stepping stone for them to enter the search advertising market. The ads will be more effective (and thus less annoying), Facebook gets more money, Bing gets more traction. Everyone wins, right?
Well, everyone except Google. If I were them right now, I would start worrying.
Gilad AvidanOpinionated hacker with feelings. Product addict and purist. Co-founder of Fireplace which is a TechStars Seattle 2011 company. Fireplace makes Smore, which is a website that creates beautiful online flyers. Follow him on twitter
Facebook is testing a new browser that will make sure you never leave the app
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 23:47
Another day, another feature being tested at Facebook. This time around, it looks like the company is working on a seriously improved in-app browser.
Here's the old one that most people are used to seeing:
And here's the new one:
It's worth noting the company has been testing it for at least a couple of months; the earliest mention we can find is around December 4.
Aside from the aesthetic shift, there seem to be a several new features to help it approximate a real browser. Not as if that were a difficult task; the old browser didn't do much beyond loading the page you wanted to read and following hyperlinks to other sites.
Up top, it looks you can now actually input your own URL should you want to check another page without leaving the Facebook app. You might want to fact-check a detail on an article you read, for instance, or define a word you didn't understand.
Meanwhile a new bar on the bottom tells you how popular a post is, includes back and forward buttons (finally), lets you bookmark pages, and has a menu button which likely includes a few more features too (unfortunately we can't access the new browser ourselves yet).
Just about the only big feature that appears to be missing now is tab support. It's obviously a huge omission, but it might only be a matter of time given all the other features the company is adding.
It's also an interesting contrast to Instant Articles. While those are bare-bones renderings of publications in order lessen load times, the new browser is instead quite close to approximating a full-fledged app.
Still, both options have the same goal: make sure you never need to leave the Facebook app. With a good enough browser, the Facebook app could essentially become a self-contained ecosystem of its own.
Who knows, it might even be a sign a dedicated Facebook browser could pop up somewhere along the road. Until there are tabs, it wouldn't stand a chance, but given how many people already load articles from Facebook (read: a lot), improving the browsing experience is a sensible move for the company.
Don't be surprised if you don't see the browser yet. It's only available to a small subset of users (iOS only, as far as we can tell), but most public test features end up receiving a wider roll-out a few months later. We've contacted Facebook for more information and will update this post if we hear back.
'ž¤ @Henry Wilmer [Twitter]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dear US Government: Please Don't Kill the Small WebcastersDigital Music News
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:23
Dear US Government: Please Don't Kill the Small WebcastersDigital Music News
Forgot PasswordRegister
The imminent death of Live365 probably marks the end of small webcasting in the United States. But the scrappy group that started internet radio in the 90s has largely survived because of preferential, smaller webcasting rates, a 'startup rate' that is now being removed.
Part of the reason for the removal of the 'Small Webcaster Settlement Act' is that the incubator stage is well, completely over. The scrappy pioneers of internet radio have largely been replaced by streaming radio giants like Pandora, not to mention Apple, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and a number of well-financed players. Meanwhile, a podcasting resurgence has started to replace smaller internet stations, many of whom delivery clunky, hard-to-navigate collections that are less convenient to use.
Those bigger players are paying a lot more to content owners, even if they're not profitable. All of which raises the question: should the US Government and Congress save this embattled group, or would that simply represent a subsidy for an older, revenue-challenged technology?
The following is a petition to Congress being distributed by the Independent Small Webcasters, a group ardently fighting for lowered royalty rates (and their own survival):
Opposition to Copyright Royalty Board's decision on webcasting ratesPetition published by Independent Small Webcasters and their listeners.
Petition Background (Preamble):
The Copyright Royalty Board has handed down a decision after meeting behind closed doors with Pandora and coming to an agreement in reference to royalty rate increases that literally cripples any small webcaster anywhere in the United States of America!
In this agreement, it states that the rate is $0.17 per 100 songs, per listener, raising rates so high that it makes it unaffordable by any broadcaster anywhere.
While this bill HR1733 is good to force terrestrial radio to finally pay royalties which they had never done since the beginning of internet broadcasting, the original ''Small Webcaster Settlement Act'' ( SWSA ) has been eliminated making no provision whatsoever for hobbyist broadcasters who have no revenue to pay the outlandish fees that would be incurred upon them by the elimination of this agreement.
It also creates a monopoly which according to US law has been deemed illegal in the United States of America, allowing only major corporations like Pandora and iHeart Radio to control what is being heard on the internet.For years, small webcasters have been paying royalty fees when terrestrial was not! And as a thank you for all the years of trying to do what was right, to be lawful and pay royalties that artists worldwide have worked so hard for and deserve, the Copyright Royalty Board has decided only the wealthy should be allowed to broadcast, thus ending small broadcasters tiny businesses all over the USA.
Finally, this bill does not only affect the small broadcaster , but affects many businesses that small webcasters have supported as well thus eliminating literally MILLIONS of dollars of spending in business such as:
* Streaming Servers* Chatrooms and servers* Messengers* Communities and servers* Games* Webhosting and servers* Banner Hosting services and many other services!
For years small broadcasters have been paying licensing fees to stay legal on the internet, paying dues in appreciation for the hobby they so love. They have all had a dream of one day climbing that ladder to make a name for themselves, to achieve success. Some didn't have that dream, they just wanted to enjoy what they loved to do. Now that dream has been stomped on, spat on, and kicked to the curb by the very people we entrust to treat us fairly. It's shameful, unjust and should be considered criminal because of the results of this decision being made.
It should not be allowed.
Petition:We the undersigned oppose the decision of The Copyright Royalty Board to not include a provision such as the Small Webcaster's Settlement Act of 2002 which allows for small webcasters to have the ability to pay affordable royalty rate fees.The rates set are totally unfair to those who do not have the revenue such as the larger broadcasters like Pandora and iHeart.We the undersigned ask that a provision be included in this decision so that thousands of small webcasters and their listeners and services they do business with may continue to enjoy the music and environment they have created and not be crippled by the Fair Pay bill, as it is not fair at all!Sign the petition, here.
Comments (21)
LALAKERThursday, January 28, 2016Aren't you tired of these corporate prostitutes known as politicians that are ruining everything? They are the ones responsible for deregulating corporations so they could become monopolies and create massive amounts of poverty. We are reaching a point in time where paychecks and entertainment aren't going to exist. Now they are planning to lower the drinking limit which is also going to help dissolve the music, bar, and ENT business. http://freebeacon.com/issues/feds-want-to-lower-legal-driving-limit-to-one-drink/
Paul ResnikoffThursday, January 28, 2016Drunk driving enforcement is actually a complicated topic, though the issue seems to be improving in the 2000s. For starters, I think as a society we agree that drunk driving creates serious hazards on shared roadways, and is something we want to enforce against and stiffly penalize.
Complicating the issue is that drunk driving is a major revenue-generator for many municipalities, which has led to moral hazard problems including extremely large fines that may not be appropriate, and a resistance to programs and systems that dramatically reduce drunk driving. There are very few programs that I know of that aim to reduce the sale of alcohol, which of course must be consumed before 'drunk driving' can commence.
A unexpectedly great solution to all this is Uber (and Lyft), which have collectively helped to lower drunk driving incidents in many areas, according to the scattered reports I'm hearing. I've even heard of dramatically lowered rates in some regions, which sounds amazing.
In a twisted way though, that's actually bad news for municipal finances, which could be the reason for the more stringent law proposals.
But at this stage, if I hear anyone getting a DUI, I immediately think: why the hell didn't you just take an Uber you idiot!
LALAKERThursday, January 28, 2016I'm not referring to people who plan on getting drunk I'm talking about the people that want to go out socially for a few drinks and stay within the current limit. They are the ones that just aren't going to go out as much because they'll lose their freedom to drive within reason. Most people don't even want to consider taking a taxi unless they are planning on getting drunk and that probably ain't gonna change.
boo hoo - more people who don't want to pay...Thursday, January 28, 2016So more people who don't want to pay musicians and songwriters'... shocking'...
Please Educate YourselfThursday, January 28, 2016Webcasters pay their share. Terrestrial radio pays NOTHING to the performer! Yeah'...that's fair.
Big WallyThursday, January 28, 2016''Part of the reason for the removal of the 'Small Webcaster Settlement Act' is that the incubator stage is well, completely over. The scrappy pioneers of internet radio have largely been replaced by streaming radio giants like Pandora, '....''
Yep. And that sucks. REAL radio dies and it's goodbye real jocks and diversity'...''>hello corp. conglomerate voice tracked tripe and algorithm machines.
Big WallyThursday, January 28, 2016The ''incubator stage'' is FAR from over! Without a fair percentage of revenue category for existing as well as up and coming small webmasters; how will there ever be ''the next big thing''. There simply should *not* be such a humongous barrier to entry that this recent ruling allows for'...EVER!
If nothing is done or offered to the small webcasters, then the ladder has been pulled up and the public at large loses big time.
Give Em A BreakThursday, January 28, 2016Author asked, ''All of which raises the question: should the US Government and Congress save this embattled group, or would that simply represent a subsidy for an older, revenue-challenged technology?
Answer = Yes! Congress and/or SoundExchange (if allowed) should make a distinction/allowance for ''revenue challenged'' small webcasters.
Subsidy? Huh? Paul, that's just plain insulting considering that terrestrial AM/FM stations continue to be granted a 100% subsidy on performance royalties! But hey, they only raked in over 20 billion last year so I guess they really can't afford it'....like so many small webcasters WERE able to do the past 13 years. #eyeroll
Paul ResnikoffFriday, January 29, 2016Huh? Paul, that's just plain insulting considering that terrestrial AM/FM stations continue to be granted a 100% subsidy on performance royalties!
Terrestrial radio exemptions are a complicated discussion, with major differences between catalog tracks and newer releases. Mainstream radio has a major impact on artist and song popularity, which must be considered, while catalog tracks largely help the station (especially if the audience is older and already familiar with the older tracks).
That said, I'd argue that if you forced major terrestrial radio stations to pay performance royalties, they'd start to immediately figure out ways to reduce that expenditure. We're already seeing all-inclusive deals between major artists and radio conglomerates, but radio giants could decide to create and promote their own superstars (while controlling copyright over them).
Or, shifting to talk radio! So, I'd be careful with this one if I were the recording industry.
Give Em A BreakFriday, January 29, 2016''Terrestrial radio exemptions are a complicated discussion, with major differences between catalog tracks and newer releases. Mainstream radio has a major impact on artist and song popularity, which must be considered, while catalog tracks largely help the station (especially if the audience is older and already familiar with the older tracks).
There's nothing complicated about it at all Paul. ''Major differences''? ''Catalog tracks vs. newer releases''? That's utter nonsense. Why should you pay royalties for listening via a web stream or app, but none at all for listening via the FM airwaves? You're delivering the identical experience to both listeners. Does that really make sense to you?
As for ''major impact'' on artists, the exemption for US broadcasters (successfully lobbied for decades ago by the NAB) is very much the exception to the rule globally, and prevents US performers from receiving reciprocal payments from European & Asian licensing agencies.
Do your homework, rather than reflexively defending the status quo.
Paul ResnikoffFriday, January 29, 2016I'm all for having a global outlook, but we're a very large country with lots of unique differences. We should make laws that make the most sense for the United States, not because Sweden enacted it or 'every other country' has a law. And please don't use the 'North Korea' card here, it's just rhetoric that obscures that unique, actual issues at play here (theoretical, practical, and ethical).
And if you choose to ignore the absolutely massive impact the terrestrial radio has on newer content, then you're depriving yourself of a critical component of this debate.
Now, yes, there are absolutely critical differences between catalog and current songs, and even more pronounced differences between current and deep catalog. Playing the Temptations on an oldies soul station largely benefits the station, because the audience is largely familiar with the track. These are songs the audience knows and loves, and substitutes for a CD-changer (yes, older people use CD changers). That's not to say there aren't subsequent purchases and interest, there are, but these listeners are, for the most part, not getting introduced to this content. You can even make the case that tightly-programmed, oldies radio playlists cannibalize actual purchases of, yes, CDs (or downloads), though these are very complicated analyses that have only partial data to apply.
Now, shift over to a hip-hop station that starts playing 'Hotline Bling' when it first comes out. That has a very big impact on the success of that track, it's introductory in nature. That impact is far higher around an unknown artist, with a new song. In this context, radio stations can be absolutely be make-or-break for certain songs and artists.
Just look at the data. Traditional radio is one of the biggest places where people discover new music. It's not what tech-focused, so-called 'progressive' people in this industry want to believe, but it's factual. (The other big one is word of mouth). That's not to say that internet radio doesn't have an impact, but it's not as substantial. It's a different platform.
Give Em A BreakFriday, January 29, 2016What does any of this have to do with making a differentiation between radio towers and cell towers? It's the same content'...it's the same oldies station'...it's the same hip hop station! Please tell us, what's the difference between a radio DJ in a Clear Channel studio vs. a radio DJ in his basement studio playing the same programming? Same content..same impact.
You are aware that terrestrial broadcasters pay performance royalties for their simulcasts right? Using your stance and logic, how do you square that one Paul?
Paul ResnikoffTuesday, February 2, 2016I'll try to remember what I wrote last week'... it was along these lines.
Same content, same impact
Not true. Both stations might be playing 'Hotline Bling,' but the impact is dramatically different. For example, if that it played on a major LA-based terrestrial radio station, you'd better believe the impact is hundreds of thousands of times greater (at least) than someone broadcasting from their Mac in Grand Rapids. It's not even a comparison'...
And it's not a comparison because they are totally different things! The platforms only share the name 'radio' in them, but the differences are dramatic. One is massively large and market-driven, with a blanket broadcast that goes over a massively large, heavily populated area; the other is selected by a small number, most of whom don't care about a mainstream track anyway. I could go on and on.
So, if they are different things, why should they be treated the same? Why not charge the small webcaster terrestrial radio minimum licensing fees, if you want parity so badly? Works both ways, my friend.
Give Em A BreakSaturday, January 30, 2016Why did you delete your most recent rebuttal Paul? Interesting'.....
Paul ResnikoffMonday, February 1, 2016Ha, no I definitely didn't delete it, though yes it did get wiped. We've switched our entire backend server system this past weekend, and the db synch caused some recent entries to disappear. I'll try to find it, or at least re-construct it later.
Jeff RobinsonThursday, January 28, 2016Wait, Pandora has money?
Since when?
Paul ResnikoffFriday, January 29, 2016Obviously you didn't go to their Christmas party'...
JoshFriday, January 29, 2016Sign here too, https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-u-s-senate-save-net-radio-we-need-your-help-to-petition-congress-100-000-stations-will-perish
Is some sort of change even possible still though?
Rick ShawFriday, January 29, 2016Yeah, sure, it's the government that's doing it. Please.
Brad HillSunday, January 31, 2016This petition means well, but is infested with inaccuracies which detract from its credibility and effectiveness.
''The Copyright Royalty Board has handed down a decision after meeting behind closed doors with Pandora'...''
The CRB does not meet behind closed doors with any of the Webcast IV participants.
'''...raising rates so high that it makes it unaffordable by any broadcaster anywhere.''
A careless overstatement '... terrestrial broadcasters, for instance, received a discount from previous rates. Even some small Internet-only webcasters are coping with the new rates in various ways. Besides this, the new rates aren't the point. It's the expiration of the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 which hurts small webcasters.
''While this bill HR1733 is good to force terrestrial radio to finally pay royalties'...''
HR1733 has nothing whatsoever to do with this. It is unrelated legislation which addresses royalties for over-the-air radio. It should not be mentioned in this petition.
''It also creates a monopoly'...''
It is not a monopoly. The author apparently does not know what a monopoly is.
'''...allowing only major corporations like Pandora and iHeart Radio to control what is being heard on the internet.''
This is untrue, even as a rhetorical generalization. IN addition, Pandora and iHeart don't control anything about this. If they did, they would have made the rates go down, not up. (They tried!)
'''...the Copyright Royalty Board has decided only the wealthy should be allowed to broadcast, thus ending small broadcasters tiny businesses all over the USA.''
The Copyright Royalty Board has nothing to do with the expiration of the Webcaster Settlement Act, or the category of small webcasters. The CRB is not empowered to make side deals. The CRB did exactly what it was created to do '-- define a rate for commercial webcasting as a whole industry. The only entities that can propose side deals for special webcaster groups are SoundExchange and the music labels.
''It's shameful, unjust and should be considered criminal'...''
There is nothing criminal here. Fanatical rhetoric does not get results.
''We the undersigned oppose the decision of The Copyright Royalty Board to not include a provision such as the Small Webcaster's Settlement Act'...''
The CRB did not make any such decision, and is not authorized to make such a decision. The law was created by SoundExchange, and it expired. The CRB has nothing to do with it.
'''...so that thousands of small webcasters and their listeners and services they do business with may continue to enjoy the music and environment they have created and not be crippled by the Fair Pay bill'...''
Again, the Fair Pay bill has ZERO to do with this.
''The rates set are totally unfair to those who do not have the revenue'...''
This isn't exactly inaccurate, but it is wrong to invoke unfairness. Many industries have supply-side costs that prevent entry by hobbyists. In fact, most industries do. The point isn't fairness. The point is what's good for a vibrant, diversified listening ecosystem which pays more to labels than terrestrial radio.
David HTuesday, February 2, 2016+1
Dear US Government: Please Don't Kill the Small WebcastersDigital Music News
Forgot PasswordRegister
The imminent death of Live365 probably marks the end of small webcasting in the United States. But the scrappy group that started internet radio in the 90s has largely survived because of preferential, smaller webcasting rates, a 'startup rate' that is now being removed.
Part of the reason for the removal of the 'Small Webcaster Settlement Act' is that the incubator stage is well, completely over. The scrappy pioneers of internet radio have largely been replaced by streaming radio giants like Pandora, not to mention Apple, Spotify, iHeartRadio, and a number of well-financed players. Meanwhile, a podcasting resurgence has started to replace smaller internet stations, many of whom delivery clunky, hard-to-navigate collections that are less convenient to use.
Those bigger players are paying a lot more to content owners, even if they're not profitable. All of which raises the question: should the US Government and Congress save this embattled group, or would that simply represent a subsidy for an older, revenue-challenged technology?
The following is a petition to Congress being distributed by the Independent Small Webcasters, a group ardently fighting for lowered royalty rates (and their own survival):
Opposition to Copyright Royalty Board's decision on webcasting ratesPetition published by Independent Small Webcasters and their listeners.
Petition Background (Preamble):
The Copyright Royalty Board has handed down a decision after meeting behind closed doors with Pandora and coming to an agreement in reference to royalty rate increases that literally cripples any small webcaster anywhere in the United States of America!
In this agreement, it states that the rate is $0.17 per 100 songs, per listener, raising rates so high that it makes it unaffordable by any broadcaster anywhere.
While this bill HR1733 is good to force terrestrial radio to finally pay royalties which they had never done since the beginning of internet broadcasting, the original ''Small Webcaster Settlement Act'' ( SWSA ) has been eliminated making no provision whatsoever for hobbyist broadcasters who have no revenue to pay the outlandish fees that would be incurred upon them by the elimination of this agreement.
It also creates a monopoly which according to US law has been deemed illegal in the United States of America, allowing only major corporations like Pandora and iHeart Radio to control what is being heard on the internet.For years, small webcasters have been paying royalty fees when terrestrial was not! And as a thank you for all the years of trying to do what was right, to be lawful and pay royalties that artists worldwide have worked so hard for and deserve, the Copyright Royalty Board has decided only the wealthy should be allowed to broadcast, thus ending small broadcasters tiny businesses all over the USA.
Finally, this bill does not only affect the small broadcaster , but affects many businesses that small webcasters have supported as well thus eliminating literally MILLIONS of dollars of spending in business such as:
* Streaming Servers* Chatrooms and servers* Messengers* Communities and servers* Games* Webhosting and servers* Banner Hosting services and many other services!
For years small broadcasters have been paying licensing fees to stay legal on the internet, paying dues in appreciation for the hobby they so love. They have all had a dream of one day climbing that ladder to make a name for themselves, to achieve success. Some didn't have that dream, they just wanted to enjoy what they loved to do. Now that dream has been stomped on, spat on, and kicked to the curb by the very people we entrust to treat us fairly. It's shameful, unjust and should be considered criminal because of the results of this decision being made.
It should not be allowed.
Petition:We the undersigned oppose the decision of The Copyright Royalty Board to not include a provision such as the Small Webcaster's Settlement Act of 2002 which allows for small webcasters to have the ability to pay affordable royalty rate fees.The rates set are totally unfair to those who do not have the revenue such as the larger broadcasters like Pandora and iHeart.We the undersigned ask that a provision be included in this decision so that thousands of small webcasters and their listeners and services they do business with may continue to enjoy the music and environment they have created and not be crippled by the Fair Pay bill, as it is not fair at all!Sign the petition, here.
Comments (21)
LALAKERThursday, January 28, 2016
Aren't you tired of these corporate prostitutes known as politicians that are ruining everything? They are the ones responsible for deregulating corporations so they could become monopolies and create massive amounts of poverty. We are reaching a point in time where paychecks and entertainment aren't going to exist. Now they are planning to lower the drinking limit which is also going to help dissolve the music, bar, and ENT business. http://freebeacon.com/issues/feds-want-to-lower-legal-driving-limit-to-one-drink/
Paul ResnikoffThursday, January 28, 2016
Drunk driving enforcement is actually a complicated topic, though the issue seems to be improving in the 2000s. For starters, I think as a society we agree that drunk driving creates serious hazards on shared roadways, and is something we want to enforce against and stiffly penalize.
Complicating the issue is that drunk driving is a major revenue-generator for many municipalities, which has led to moral hazard problems including extremely large fines that may not be appropriate, and a resistance to programs and systems that dramatically reduce drunk driving. There are very few programs that I know of that aim to reduce the sale of alcohol, which of course must be consumed before 'drunk driving' can commence.
A unexpectedly great solution to all this is Uber (and Lyft), which have collectively helped to lower drunk driving incidents in many areas, according to the scattered reports I'm hearing. I've even heard of dramatically lowered rates in some regions, which sounds amazing.
In a twisted way though, that's actually bad news for municipal finances, which could be the reason for the more stringent law proposals.
But at this stage, if I hear anyone getting a DUI, I immediately think: why the hell didn't you just take an Uber you idiot!
LALAKERThursday, January 28, 2016
I'm not referring to people who plan on getting drunk I'm talking about the people that want to go out socially for a few drinks and stay within the current limit. They are the ones that just aren't going to go out as much because they'll lose their freedom to drive within reason. Most people don't even want to consider taking a taxi unless they are planning on getting drunk and that probably ain't gonna change.
boo hoo - more people who don't want to pay...Thursday, January 28, 2016
So more people who don't want to pay musicians and songwriters'... shocking'...
Please Educate YourselfThursday, January 28, 2016
Webcasters pay their share. Terrestrial radio pays NOTHING to the performer! Yeah'...that's fair.
Big WallyThursday, January 28, 2016
''Part of the reason for the removal of the 'Small Webcaster Settlement Act' is that the incubator stage is well, completely over. The scrappy pioneers of internet radio have largely been replaced by streaming radio giants like Pandora, '....''
Yep. And that sucks. REAL radio dies and it's goodbye real jocks and diversity'...''>hello corp. conglomerate voice tracked tripe and algorithm machines.
Big WallyThursday, January 28, 2016
The ''incubator stage'' is FAR from over! Without a fair percentage of revenue category for existing as well as up and coming small webmasters; how will there ever be ''the next big thing''. There simply should *not* be such a humongous barrier to entry that this recent ruling allows for'...EVER!
If nothing is done or offered to the small webcasters, then the ladder has been pulled up and the public at large loses big time.
Give Em A BreakThursday, January 28, 2016
Author asked, ''All of which raises the question: should the US Government and Congress save this embattled group, or would that simply represent a subsidy for an older, revenue-challenged technology?
Answer = Yes! Congress and/or SoundExchange (if allowed) should make a distinction/allowance for ''revenue challenged'' small webcasters.
Subsidy? Huh? Paul, that's just plain insulting considering that terrestrial AM/FM stations continue to be granted a 100% subsidy on performance royalties! But hey, they only raked in over 20 billion last year so I guess they really can't afford it'....like so many small webcasters WERE able to do the past 13 years. #eyeroll
Paul ResnikoffFriday, January 29, 2016
Huh? Paul, that's just plain insulting considering that terrestrial AM/FM stations continue to be granted a 100% subsidy on performance royalties!
Terrestrial radio exemptions are a complicated discussion, with major differences between catalog tracks and newer releases. Mainstream radio has a major impact on artist and song popularity, which must be considered, while catalog tracks largely help the station (especially if the audience is older and already familiar with the older tracks).
That said, I'd argue that if you forced major terrestrial radio stations to pay performance royalties, they'd start to immediately figure out ways to reduce that expenditure. We're already seeing all-inclusive deals between major artists and radio conglomerates, but radio giants could decide to create and promote their own superstars (while controlling copyright over them).
Or, shifting to talk radio! So, I'd be careful with this one if I were the recording industry.
Give Em A BreakFriday, January 29, 2016
''Terrestrial radio exemptions are a complicated discussion, with major differences between catalog tracks and newer releases. Mainstream radio has a major impact on artist and song popularity, which must be considered, while catalog tracks largely help the station (especially if the audience is older and already familiar with the older tracks).
There's nothing complicated about it at all Paul. ''Major differences''? ''Catalog tracks vs. newer releases''? That's utter nonsense. Why should you pay royalties for listening via a web stream or app, but none at all for listening via the FM airwaves? You're delivering the identical experience to both listeners. Does that really make sense to you?
As for ''major impact'' on artists, the exemption for US broadcasters (successfully lobbied for decades ago by the NAB) is very much the exception to the rule globally, and prevents US performers from receiving reciprocal payments from European & Asian licensing agencies.
Do your homework, rather than reflexively defending the status quo.
Paul ResnikoffFriday, January 29, 2016
I'm all for having a global outlook, but we're a very large country with lots of unique differences. We should make laws that make the most sense for the United States, not because Sweden enacted it or 'every other country' has a law. And please don't use the 'North Korea' card here, it's just rhetoric that obscures that unique, actual issues at play here (theoretical, practical, and ethical).
And if you choose to ignore the absolutely massive impact the terrestrial radio has on newer content, then you're depriving yourself of a critical component of this debate.
Now, yes, there are absolutely critical differences between catalog and current songs, and even more pronounced differences between current and deep catalog. Playing the Temptations on an oldies soul station largely benefits the station, because the audience is largely familiar with the track. These are songs the audience knows and loves, and substitutes for a CD-changer (yes, older people use CD changers). That's not to say there aren't subsequent purchases and interest, there are, but these listeners are, for the most part, not getting introduced to this content. You can even make the case that tightly-programmed, oldies radio playlists cannibalize actual purchases of, yes, CDs (or downloads), though these are very complicated analyses that have only partial data to apply.
Now, shift over to a hip-hop station that starts playing 'Hotline Bling' when it first comes out. That has a very big impact on the success of that track, it's introductory in nature. That impact is far higher around an unknown artist, with a new song. In this context, radio stations can be absolutely be make-or-break for certain songs and artists.
Just look at the data. Traditional radio is one of the biggest places where people discover new music. It's not what tech-focused, so-called 'progressive' people in this industry want to believe, but it's factual. (The other big one is word of mouth). That's not to say that internet radio doesn't have an impact, but it's not as substantial. It's a different platform.
Give Em A BreakFriday, January 29, 2016
What does any of this have to do with making a differentiation between radio towers and cell towers? It's the same content'...it's the same oldies station'...it's the same hip hop station! Please tell us, what's the difference between a radio DJ in a Clear Channel studio vs. a radio DJ in his basement studio playing the same programming? Same content..same impact.
You are aware that terrestrial broadcasters pay performance royalties for their simulcasts right? Using your stance and logic, how do you square that one Paul?
Paul ResnikoffTuesday, February 2, 2016
I'll try to remember what I wrote last week'... it was along these lines.
Same content, same impact
Not true. Both stations might be playing 'Hotline Bling,' but the impact is dramatically different. For example, if that it played on a major LA-based terrestrial radio station, you'd better believe the impact is hundreds of thousands of times greater (at least) than someone broadcasting from their Mac in Grand Rapids. It's not even a comparison'...
And it's not a comparison because they are totally different things! The platforms only share the name 'radio' in them, but the differences are dramatic. One is massively large and market-driven, with a blanket broadcast that goes over a massively large, heavily populated area; the other is selected by a small number, most of whom don't care about a mainstream track anyway. I could go on and on.
So, if they are different things, why should they be treated the same? Why not charge the small webcaster terrestrial radio minimum licensing fees, if you want parity so badly? Works both ways, my friend.
Give Em A BreakSaturday, January 30, 2016
Why did you delete your most recent rebuttal Paul? Interesting'.....
Paul ResnikoffMonday, February 1, 2016
Ha, no I definitely didn't delete it, though yes it did get wiped. We've switched our entire backend server system this past weekend, and the db synch caused some recent entries to disappear. I'll try to find it, or at least re-construct it later.
Jeff RobinsonThursday, January 28, 2016
Wait, Pandora has money?
Since when?
Paul ResnikoffFriday, January 29, 2016
Obviously you didn't go to their Christmas party'...
JoshFriday, January 29, 2016
Sign here too, https://www.change.org/p/u-s-house-of-representatives-u-s-senate-save-net-radio-we-need-your-help-to-petition-congress-100-000-stations-will-perish
Is some sort of change even possible still though?
Rick ShawFriday, January 29, 2016
Yeah, sure, it's the government that's doing it. Please.
Brad HillSunday, January 31, 2016
This petition means well, but is infested with inaccuracies which detract from its credibility and effectiveness.
''The Copyright Royalty Board has handed down a decision after meeting behind closed doors with Pandora'...''
The CRB does not meet behind closed doors with any of the Webcast IV participants.
'''...raising rates so high that it makes it unaffordable by any broadcaster anywhere.''
A careless overstatement '... terrestrial broadcasters, for instance, received a discount from previous rates. Even some small Internet-only webcasters are coping with the new rates in various ways. Besides this, the new rates aren't the point. It's the expiration of the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 which hurts small webcasters.
''While this bill HR1733 is good to force terrestrial radio to finally pay royalties'...''
HR1733 has nothing whatsoever to do with this. It is unrelated legislation which addresses royalties for over-the-air radio. It should not be mentioned in this petition.
''It also creates a monopoly'...''
It is not a monopoly. The author apparently does not know what a monopoly is.
'''...allowing only major corporations like Pandora and iHeart Radio to control what is being heard on the internet.''
This is untrue, even as a rhetorical generalization. IN addition, Pandora and iHeart don't control anything about this. If they did, they would have made the rates go down, not up. (They tried!)
'''...the Copyright Royalty Board has decided only the wealthy should be allowed to broadcast, thus ending small broadcasters tiny businesses all over the USA.''
The Copyright Royalty Board has nothing to do with the expiration of the Webcaster Settlement Act, or the category of small webcasters. The CRB is not empowered to make side deals. The CRB did exactly what it was created to do '-- define a rate for commercial webcasting as a whole industry. The only entities that can propose side deals for special webcaster groups are SoundExchange and the music labels.
''It's shameful, unjust and should be considered criminal'...''
There is nothing criminal here. Fanatical rhetoric does not get results.
''We the undersigned oppose the decision of The Copyright Royalty Board to not include a provision such as the Small Webcaster's Settlement Act'...''
The CRB did not make any such decision, and is not authorized to make such a decision. The law was created by SoundExchange, and it expired. The CRB has nothing to do with it.
'''...so that thousands of small webcasters and their listeners and services they do business with may continue to enjoy the music and environment they have created and not be crippled by the Fair Pay bill'...''
Again, the Fair Pay bill has ZERO to do with this.
''The rates set are totally unfair to those who do not have the revenue'...''
This isn't exactly inaccurate, but it is wrong to invoke unfairness. Many industries have supply-side costs that prevent entry by hobbyists. In fact, most industries do. The point isn't fairness. The point is what's good for a vibrant, diversified listening ecosystem which pays more to labels than terrestrial radio.
David HTuesday, February 2, 2016
+1
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No Tesla for you! Elon Musk hits back over 'banning' outspoken customer - MarketWatch
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:10
Elon Musk is drawing a lot of flak for canceling a disgruntled customer's Tesla order '-- but he's not backing down.
With a tweet overnight, the Tesla Motors Inc. TSLA, -5.09% CEO signaled contempt for all of the attention paid to his ''No Soup for You''-style move. He suggested it's just a case of a business deciding not to serve a crank:
The would-be customer '-- Silicon Valley venture capitalist Stewart Alsop '-- said in a Medium post titled ''Banned by Tesla!'' that Musk had nixed his order for a Model X.
That post this week followed an earlier one in September, in which the VC argued Musk should be ashamed of himself for failing to apologize over glitches at a Model X launch event. Alsop complained that Tesla wasted its customers' time at the event. His gripes? It started late, there were too many people there, and the food wasn't good enough.
British newspaper The Guardian has accused Musk of being ''unbelievably petty'' in his response to Alsop's moaning. Is it a teachable moment? The possible lesson here is you shouldn't criticize Musk or make him mad if you want to buy a Tesla, as The New York Post and The Silicon Valley Business Journal put it.
Alsop still seems to be a big fan of Tesla's electric vehicles '-- even though it looks like he might have to use a go-between to get one, rather than turn up with the check himself.
''I am mostly sorry not to be able to participate in the automobile revolution that Tesla started,'' the outspoken investor wrote in his post from this week. ''You have innovated on user experience, battery technology, autonomous operation, and virtually every other aspect of the automobile experience today.''
Alsop's not the only one throwing shade on Tesla right now. Analysts at Berenberg started coverage of the electric car maker with a negative take, rating Tesla's stock as a sell.
In a note dated Tuesday, the analysts warned the car industry's ''sleepy giants are waking up,'' and Tesla's competitive advantages ''may not be quite as large or long-lasting as many assume.'' They have a 12-month price target of $165 for the stock, which closed around $183 on Tuesday.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vaccine$
Zika virus ATCC ® VR-84'
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 17:14
CommentsAgglutinates goose and chicken RBC. Non-pathogenic for hamster, guinea pig or rabbit. Accidental infection has occurred in laboratory personnel
The lyophilized culture is stable at 4°C, and should be stored at -70°C or colder once rehydrated
CDC confirms 6 cases of Zika virus in Texas | FOX25
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 13:19
by:Cox Media Group National Content Desk Updated: Jan 31, 2016 - 6:35 PM
A female Aedes aegypti mosquito acquires a blood meal on the arm of a researcher at the Biomedical Sciences Institute in the Sao Paulo's University, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The Aedes aegypti is a vector for transmitting the Zika virus. (AP)
There are six confirmed cases of the Zika virus in Texas, according to the Department of Health Services.
Those infected contracted the virus while traveling abroad. There still are no locally transmitted cases in the U.S.
Zika is a mosquito-borne virus that is especially dangerous for pregnant women. The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and headache.
The little-known virus re-emerged in Brazil in 2015. Cases have been confirmed throughout South and Central America as well as Puerto Rico.
In the U.S.,cases have been confirmed in 11 statesincluding three women in Florida; two women in Illinois and a woman in Hawaii who gave birth to a child who contracted the virus and was born with an unusually small head.
CDC Endorses A More Effective HPV Vaccine To Prevent Cancer : Shots - Health News : NPR
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 09:20
Some doctors have been hesitant to recommend the HPV vaccine for boys and girls. iStockphotohide caption
toggle captioniStockphotoSome doctors have been hesitant to recommend the HPV vaccine for boys and girls.
iStockphotoThe updated childhood immunization schedule, released today from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, includes a couple tweaks to vaccine recommendations for older children and teens.
One officially moves the recommendation for the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine a few years earlier for children with a history of sexual abuse and officially recommends the HPV-9 vaccine over other HPV vaccines. Another offers all older teens the option of a meningitis vaccine previously recommended only for high-risk children.
The HPV vaccine is currently recommended for girls and boys ages 11to 12. The HPV-9 protects against nine strains of HPV, an infection that can lead to cervical and other cancers, including mouth and throat cancers. Though HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection, it sometimes can be transmitted without sexual contact.
"More than 80 percent of the population will be infected at least once in their lifetime," said Cody Meissner, a professor of pediatrics at Tufts University School of Medicine who was involved in discussions about the new schedule.
The new vaccination schedule recommends that 9- and 10-year-olds receive the HPV vaccine if they have a history of sexual abuse. Studies estimate that one in four girls and one in 20 boys will experience sexual abuse before age 18.
"It is an ubiquitous, tragic and unfortunate reality," said Mark Schleiss, director of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. Age-appropriate sexual abuse screening questions are already incorporated into well-child visits, he added.
"Perhaps this language will help remind primary care physicians that they need to be asking their patients about sexual abuse," Schleiss said. "These perpetrators are usually someone the child knows and trusts and even loved ones, so it's a very delicate issue, but we just have to get past the denial that these things don't happen to young children."
Child victims of sexual abuse have a higher risk of sexually transmitted infections for several reasons, Meissner said. They may be infected during the first assault or during continuing abuse, and they initiate sex sooner than their peers.
"If a child's been sexually abused, she or he tends to engage in sexual activity at an earlier age and more frequently with a greater number of partners than someone who wasn't abused," Meissner said.
One third of child victims of sexual abuse are younger than age 9, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau. But 9 is the earliest age the vaccine is licensed for, explained Anna Giuliano, director of the Center for Infection Research in Cancer at Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, and a researcher who led HPV vaccine clinical trials.
"They're going as young as the license will allow them to go," Giuliano said. "Otherwise they're going off label, and ACIP will not allow them to go off label." ACIP is the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which makes vaccine recommendations at the CDC.
Parents might wonder how long the vaccine's effectiveness lasts, Guiliano said, but more than 10 years of followup data from clinical trials show it has long-term staying power.
"When we look at how the antibodies have sustained, we anticipate the vaccine will protect out to 30 years or more post-vaccination," Guiliano said. "We have no reason to believe that the protection will wane over time."
Studies have also shown that the immune response to the HPV vaccine is better in children ages 9 to 15 than in those ages 16 to 24, said Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician and executive director of digital health at Seattle Children's Hospital.
"Every vaccine in the schedule is designed around giving it as early as it can be used so it can protect as long as possible," she said. "You don't get any less side effects by waiting for the vaccine, so it makes no sense to wait until they're older."
Yet HPV vaccine uptake has lagged '-- about 60 percent of girls and 42 percent of boys received at least one dose in 2014 '-- in part because of doctors' hesitancy.
"We need to help providers to make a strong cancer prevention recommendation for vaccinating 11- and 12-year-old boys and girls with the HPV vaccine," Guiliano said. "If all the pediatricians and family practice doctors were making that strong recommendation, I think we would see a strong increase in the rate of uptake in that vaccine."
Despite finally having a vaccine that can prevent cancer, Meissner said, HPV vaccination rates fall below those of several African countries.
"It's one of the safest vaccines we've got, and it's such a shame that our uptake has been so low," he said.
The other change adds a vaccine against serotype B of meningococcal disease, which causes meningitis, an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It is now recommended at age 10 for children with increased risk of catching or not effectively fighting the disease. That includes individuals with a missing or damaged spleen, sickle cell anemia or other problems with the body's complement system, which helps the immune system recognize and kill bacteria, Schleiss said.
ACIP also added the meningitis serotype B vaccine as an option for teens ages 16 to 18, an unusual recommendation because it is optional but not universally recommended, unlike other vaccines on the CDC schedule.
"ACIP and CDC are saying, it should be funded, it's safe to give, it's effective in preventing in the short-term infections that are caused by meningitis B, but we're leaving this decision up to the pediatrician and the parents to discuss," Swanson said. "We don't see significant life-threatening side effects from this vaccine, but the risk of your child getting meningitis serotype B is also really low."
Though very rare '-- the U.S. had about 160 cases in 2012 '-- the disease is also very lethal, Swanson said: 10 to 15 percent of kids who get meningitis will die even with treatment.
"I'd recommend it for anyone who's a parent of a teenager because this disease is so devastating," Schleiss said.
But Meissner, a member of the CDC meningococcal vaccines working group, said the risk-benefit balance does not justify recommending the vaccine for all teens.
"The burden of diseases is so low that I don't think that's the way the country should be spending its money," Meissner said. "The likelihood of having an anaphylactic reaction to the vaccine may in fact be greater than the odds of deriving benefits."
According to a CDC study last year, a routine meningitis B vaccine recommendation for all teens would prevent approximately 15 to 29 cases and two to five deaths each year. Vaccinating all college freshmen, in light of recent outbreaks on college campuses, would prevent about nine cases and one death a year.
"To immunize an entire population would be expensive and maybe overkill, but it's a safe vaccine and it's really effective, so we want parents and pediatricians who want it to have it," Swanson said.
zika in texas!
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 09:17
DALLAS (AP) -- Health officials on Tuesday reported that a person in Texas has become infected with the Zika virus through sex in the first case of the illness being transmitted within the United States amid the current outbreak in Latin America.The unidentified person had not traveled but had sex with a person who had returned from Venezuela and fallen ill with Zika, Dallas County health officials said. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control issued a statement saying lab tests confirmed the non-traveler was infected with Zika.The virus, which has been linked to birth defects in the Americas, is primarily spread through mosquito bites, but investigators had been exploring the possibility it could be sexually transmitted. There was a report of a Colorado researcher who picked up the virus in Africa and apparently spread it to his wife back home in 2008, and it was found in one man's semen in Tahiti."It's very rare, but this is not new," Zachary Thompson, director of the Dallas County Health and Human Services, told WFAA-TV in Dallas. "We always looked at the point that this could be transmitted sexually."The CDC says it will issue guidance in the coming days on prevention of sexual transmission of Zika virus, focusing on the male sexual partners of women who are or may be pregnant. The CDC has already recommended pregnant women postpone trips to more than two dozen countries with Zika outbreaks, mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Venezuela. It also said other visitors should use insect repellent and take other precautions to prevent mosquito bites.In the epidemic in Latin America and the Caribbean, the main villain identified so far is called Aedes aegypti - a species of mosquito that spreads other tropical diseases, including chikungunya and dengue fever. It is found in the southern United States, though no mosquito-borne transmission has been reported in the continental United States to date. There have been about 30 cases in the U.S. in the last year, all travelers who brought it into the country.The World Health Organization on Monday declared a global emergency over the rapidly spreading Zika virus, saying it is an "extraordinary event" that poses a threat to the rest of the world. The declaration was made after an emergency meeting of independent experts called in response to a spike in babies born with brain defects and abnormally small heads in Brazil since the virus was first found there last year.WHO officials say it could be six to nine months before science proves or disproves any connection between the virus and babies born with abnormally small heads.The CDC said that in the recent Texas case, there's no risk to a developing fetus.Zika was first identified in 1947 in Uganda. It wasn't believed to cause any serious effects until last year; about 80 percent of infected people never experience symptoms.The most common symptoms are fever, rash, joint pain and red eyes. The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting several days to a week. Symptoms usually start two days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito.While Thompson told the television station that the case of sexual transmission is "a game-changer," he added that he didn't want people in Dallas County to overreact. Health officials and Thompson noted that sexual partners can protect themselves by using condoms to prevent spreading sexually transmitted infections.---Associated Press writer Mike Stobbe in New York contributed to this report.
Higher Temperatures Make Zika Mosquito Spread Disease More - ABC News
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 17:01
The mosquito behind the Zika virus seems to operate like a heat-driven missile of disease. The hotter it gets, the better the mosquito that carries Zika virus is at transmitting its buffet of dangerous illnesses, scientists say.
Although it is too early to say for this outbreak, past outbreaks of similar diseases involved more than just biology. In the past, weather has played a key role, as have economics, human travel, air conditioning and mosquito control. Even El Nino sneaks into the game. Scientists say you can't just blame one thing for an outbreak and caution it is too early to link this one to climate change or any single weather event.
As the temperature rises, nearly everything about the biology of the Aedes aegypti mosquito '-- the one that carries Zika, dengue fever and other diseases '-- speeds up when it comes to spreading disease, said entomologist Bill Reisen of the University of California Davis.
"With higher temperatures you have more mosquitoes feeding more frequently and having a greater chance of acquiring infection. And then the virus replicates faster because it's hotter, therefore the mosquitoes can transmit earlier in their life," Reisen said. The thermodynamics of mosquitoes are "driven by temperature."
The hotspots for this Zika outbreak also have been temperature and drought hotspots recently. Recife, Brazil, the largest city in the Zika-struck region, saw its hottest September-October-November on record, about 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal, according to NASA data. The state of Pernambuco had its hottest and driest year since 1998, according to the state weather agency. And globally, last year was the hottest on record.
Scientists have studied Zika far less than other mosquito-borne diseases, so for guidance they often look at dengue fever or chikungunya, which are transmitted by the same species of mosquito. Dengue infects as many as 400 million people a year, with a quarter of them sick enough to be hospitalized.
Zika was just declared a global public health emergency after being linked to brain deformities in babies in South America. Several thousand cases of microcephaly have been reported in Brazil since October, although researchers have so far not proven a definitive link to the virus. No vaccine exists for Zika.
In general, mosquitoes don't live long, maybe 10 to 12 days on average, said Tom Scott, a University of California Davis professor of both entomology and epidemiology. That's also about how long it takes a virus to grow in the mosquito gut, making the bug infectious and able to spread the disease. Often the insect will die before it can get a chance to spread the disease.
Warmer air incubates the virus faster in the cold-blooded mosquito. So the insect has more time to be infectious and alive to spread the disease, Scott said.
Warmer temperatures also make the mosquito hungrier, so it takes more "blood meals" and can spread the disease to more people, Scott, Reisen and others said. And warmer temperatures generally increase the mosquito population.
Kristie Ebi, a professor of global health at the University of Washington, calls it "a temperature-driven eruption."
That's not the only role of weather.
El Nino, a natural warming of parts of the central Pacific Ocean that changes weather worldwide, usually puts northeastern Brazil into a drought, as it did last year. Aedes aegypti does well in less-developed regions in droughts, because it lives in areas where poorer people store water in outdoor containers, said Jonathan Patz, director of the global health institute at the University of Wisconsin.
"As with all mosquito-borne viruses, climate is one of many factors that influence Zika transmission," said Andy Monaghan, a scientist who works on public health impacts of climate change at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "I think it is too early to say anything about the role of climate change in the ongoing Zika outbreak."
However, Monaghan earlier this year presented a paper to the American Meteorological Society's annual convention that predicts that eventually Aedes aegypti "will move northward in the U.S. due to future warming, which would expose people to the mosquito on a regular seasonal basis in states like Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and D.C."
'--'--'--
Mauricio Savarese in Recife, Brazil, contributed to this report.
'--'--'--
Follow Seth Borenstein at http://twitter.com/borenbears and his work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/seth-borenstein
Earon
The Jewish Press >> >> When It Rains It Pours: Hague Claims Tribunal Orders US to Pay Iran $1.7 Billion
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 06:25
The Jewish Press >> >> When It Rains It Pours: Hague Claims Tribunal Orders US to Pay Iran $1.7 Billion$gJD = gregoriantojd(date('n'),date('j'),date('Y'));list($hebrewMonth, $hebrewDay, $hebrewYear) = split('/',jdtojewish($gJD)); $hebrewdate = "$hebrewDay ".jdmonthname( $gJD,4 ).", $hebrewYear"; $hebrewdate = preg_replace('/Adar/','Adar ',$hebrewdate);$hebrewdate = preg_replace('/Iyyar/','Iyar',$hebrewdate);?>February 4, 2016 / 25 Shevat, 5776
At a Glance '–¼
News & Views
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/when-it-rains-it-pours-hague-claims-tribunal-orders-us-to-pay-iran-1-7-billion/2016/01/17/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online:
IPT: Terror Victims' Lawsuit Seeks to Block Iran Deal's Sanctions Relief |
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 06:17
An image of Iranian leaders is projected on a giant screen in front of demonstrators during a rally opposing the US's nuclear deal with Iran in Times Square on 22 July. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters
THE INVESTIGATIVE PROJECT ON TERRORISM '' A deal to provide Iran with as much as $150 billion in sanctions relief over its nuclear weapons program should be blocked until the Islamic Republic pays court-awarded damages to American victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, a lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York federal court said.
The plaintiffs, victims of attacks by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, have judgments worth $152 million that they have been unable to collect. Similar lawsuits in U.S. courts have generated billions of dollars more in damages. Iran, the lawsuit said, should not see a dime of sanctions relief until those victims are compensated.
By law, the lawsuit said, Iran should not be granted any relief until there is ''a certification by the President that Iran is no longer a financier and sponsor of terror. That terrorism condition has not been satisfied.''
Even the White House admits that Iran continues to sponsor international terrorism.
The lawsuit, facilitated by Shurat Hadin, or Israel Law Center, names the departments of State and Treasury, along with their respective secretaries, John Kerry and Jacob Lew. The two departments are responsible for enacting and enforcing the sanctions against Iran.
Releasing the frozen Iranian assets strips victims of ''their last remaining opportunity to pressure Iran to satisfy their judgments,' the lawsuit said. And it violates terms of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, passed by Congress in 2002. The law aimed to help victims enforce their judgments by pursuing blocked assets belonging to terror sponsors. It contains the phrase ''Notwithstanding any other provision of law,'' which should prevail over the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal name of the Iran deal, negotiated by the U.S. and the P5+1 allies, the lawsuit said.
The Iran deal therefore undermines ''both (i) the intent of Congress to allow Plaintiffs, who are victims of Iranian terrorism, to enforce their judgments against a broad range of blocked assets and (ii) Plaintiffs' judgments themselves, each of which was issued by a United States federal court, the lawsuit said.
The victims recently investigated funds held in foreign banks which belong to the Central Bank of Iran, one of the many financial institutions which stand to gain sanctions relief. But discovery efforts have been difficult, the lawsuit said. Once the sanctions are lifted, victims' hopes of securing any of the money owed to them likely disappear.
Wednesday's lawsuit comes as the Justice Department considers intervening in a separate case that resulted in as much as $655 million in damages against the Palestinian Authority for terrorist attacks that killed or wounded Americans between 2001 and 2004.
Read the full lawsuit about Iran's sanctions here.
Kerry: Iran's Frozen Assets Are Far Less Than $150 Billion | The Fiscal Times
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 06:04
In attacking the Obama Administration's nuclear non-proliferation agreement and prisoner swamp with Iran that was concluded last weekend, Republicans renewed their complaint that Iran will be flush with cash to fund global terrorism with the help of $150 billion of unfrozen assets.
Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump '' the consummate deal maker -- complained that Iran won clemency for seven Iranians charged or imprisoned for sanctions violations and $150 billion of freed up funds to boot in exchange for the release of four Americans including Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian. ''Doesn't sound too good,'' Trump told reporters in Portsmouth, N.H.
Related:Is Obama's 'Good Day' with Iran the First of Many?
Former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee, another GOP presidential contender, angrily charged that President Obama was a fool for trusting Iran, one of the chief sponsors of terrorism around the globe, not to use that $150 billion against the interests of the United States. ''Empowering Iran with sanctions relief is like Neville Chamberlin writing a $150 billion check to Adolph Hitler hoping he will play nice and behave,'' Huckabee said.
For months, media reports and political speculation pegged the potential economic benefit to Iran of a lifting of international economic sanctions on its oil sales and other assets anywhere from $100 billion to $150 billion in the coming years. For example, on Sunday, The New York Times wrote, ''It was unclear how [Iran] would spend upward of $100 billion in newly unfrozen funds '' on long-delayed social welfare projects or on the proxy wars that have expanded Iranian influence.''
But on Monday, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said in an interview that the GOP's long-standing claims of $150 billion of sanction relief to Iran were fanciful and that the actual number is $55 billion '' or roughly a third of the amount being claimed by critics.
''That is a fictional number [and] I don't know where it comes from,'' Kerry said during an interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe, where he vigorously defended the final agreement with Iran as making the world safer. ''They will get about $55 billion over a period of time.''
Related:Lew: Iran Not Getting the Full $100 Billion of Frozen Assets
Kerry is one of the chief architects of the agreement requiring Iran to shelve its nuclear weapons development program for the coming decade or more in return for a lifting of sanctions that have stifled Tehran's economy. During the interview, he also downplayed the notion that Iran would use the freed up funds to promote terrorism instead of meeting urgent domestic needs.
''Iran has well over five hundred to seven, eight hundred million dollars of requirements just to build its oil drilling capacity back, just to begin to build its infrastructure back,'' Kerry said. ''They have massive needs within their country, and we will be able to track where this money is going, what's happening with it.''
The controversy over how much Iran stood to gain financially by the nuclear deal '' and how that money would be used '' dates back to last summer, when Kerry and the administration were trying to convince the Republican controlled Congress to accept the deal.
With estimates ranging from $50 to $150 billion or more from oil sales and assets currently frozen around the world, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) warned administration officials in late July that Iran would go from being ''a rogue nation that had a boot on its neck'' to a country reaping a windfall from sanctions relief.
Related: Kerry Accuses Critics of Iran Deal of Believing in 'Fantasy'
Kerry and others argued that the agreement would allow Iran to begin repairing its economy crippled by decades of punishing sanctions dating back to 1979, after revolutionaries overthrew the government of Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, an ally of the U.S., and took Americans hostage. But precisely how much money in assets had been tied up over the decades remained largely a guessing game until recently.
During testimony before Corker's committee July 25, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sought to deflate the Republicans' speculation about a massive financial windfall for the Iranians. ''We estimate that after sanctions relief, Iran will only be able to freely access around half of these reserves, or about $50 billion,'' Lew testified, seated with Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
Lew indicated that at one point, the total was in the neighborhood of $100 billion. But he noted that $20 billion of the original $100 billion estimate is committed to development projects with China, which cannot be spent for other purposes, while ''tens of billions in additional funds'' constitute unpaid or ''non-performing loans'' that somehow must be accounted for by the Iranian government.
''Let's be clear what those assets are,'' Lew concluded. ''It's not money we are giving to Iran. It's Iranian money that sits in other countries that was locked up because of international nuclear sanctions that were designed to bring them to the table to negotiate a nuclear agreement.''
Treasury: No, Iran Is Not Getting $150 Billion From The Nuclear Deal
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:57
WASHINGTON -- Iran will receive approximately $55 billion in sanctions relief once the nuclear deal is implemented, said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew -- a fraction of the $150 billion that critics of the agreement have claimed will go to the country.
''There is a lot of discussion out there that Iran is going to somehow get $150 billion as soon as sanctions are lifted. That is incorrect,'' said Lew, speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday. He explained that Iran will not be able to access much of its money that has been locked up overseas due to sanctions because the money has already been committed elsewhere.
Last week, Lew told a group of senators that over $20 billion of Iran's frozen assets has already been committed to infrastructure projects with China, and that Iran owes an additional "tens of billions" of dollars on nonperforming loans to its energy and banking sectors.
On Wednesday, Lew estimated that Iran's demand for domestic investment surpasses $500 billion, and that it will cost between $100 billion and $200 billion to restore production levels in its oil and gas sector.
''I have never argued that a penny can't be put to a malign purpose,'' Lew said. ''But this is not going to change the shape of Iran's resources for good or bad purposes.''
Lew's remarks came just before he headed to Capitol Hill, where he, along with State Secretary John Kerry and Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, will brief lawmakers on the merits of the nuclear accord for the third time since it was finalized on July 14.
Members of Congress have until mid-September to review the nuclear agreement negotiated between Iran, the U.S. and five world powers, and vote on the deal. If a vote against the deal has the support of two-thirds of the House and the Senate, the president will lose his ability to temporarily waive some sanctions against Iran, which would likely sink the agreement.
On Wednesday, Lew said there was growing support in Congress from the lawmakers who are listening to the administration's arguments on the merits of the accord. He declined to share the number of lawmakers he would include in that group, but has showed growing frustration with some members' staunch opposition to the nuclear deal.
During Lew's last congressional testimony on Tuesday, several lawmakers used the bulk of their allotted time to state their problems with the agreement, leaving little time for Lew, Kerry and Moniz to answer. ''If we got a minute or two to respond, it might actually be helpful for people who want to understand the agreement,'' Lew said at one point during the four-hour-long briefing.
Despite the administration's efforts to win over Congress, there's a sizable group of lawmakers who are immovable in their conviction that the agreement guarantees Iran nuclear weapons and funding to ramp up its support for Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis. Within this group, several members have floated the idea of passing new sanctions against Iran, targeting its human rights abuses and support for terrorist groups.
While the nuclear deal does not prohibit the implementation of new sanctions that are unrelated to Iran's nuclear program, it does include a clause that commits all parties ''to refrain from any action inconsistent with the letter, spirit and intent of this [agreement] that would undermine its successful implementation." Iran has already told the U.N. that it would reconsider its own commitments under the deal if it were hit with new sanctions similar or identical to those already in place, even if they were imposed for non-nuclear reasons.
This does not mean that the Obama administration has precluded itself entirely from imposing new sanctions on Iran, Lew insisted. ''We reserve all of our rights to impose sanctions based on acts of terrorism, based on human rights violations, and based on regional destabilization,'' he said. ''What I think does present an issue is if either Congress or [the executive] take all of the sanctions that are being lifted, put a new label on them, and say they are being reimposed.''
Caliphate!
'Ž25 Ways to Enter Jannah (Paradise) Orbit Islam
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 04:37
We all want to enter Jannah but are we sincerely striving for it? There are multiple ways to attain the pleasure of Allah SWT and enter His Jannah. Allah SWT has made it easy for us to enter His Jannah but some of us forget this due to an 'attachment' to this temporary worldly life!
Following are some hadiths which will show us 25 ways or good deeds to enter the Jannah. Remember, these are not the 'only' 25 ways and there should be 'sincerity' and 'consistency' in these acts to get Jannat-ul-Firdause InshaAllah
Whoever meets Allah without ascribing anything to Him will enter Jannah. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Whoever believes (has Imaan) in Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), and establishes the prayer and fasts in the month of Ramadan, it is incumbent upon Allah that He enters him in Jannah. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Whoever says: ''I am pleased with Allah as my Rabb, and with Islam as my Deen, and with Muhammad (peace be upon him) as my Prophet, Jannah would be mandatory for him. (Sunan Abu Dawud)Whoever asks Allah for Jannah three times, Jannah will say: ''O Allah, enter him into Jannah.'' (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)Whoever says ''SubhanAllah al-Adthim wa Bihamdihi (Glorified and Exalted is Allah, The Great, and with His Praise), a date-palm tree will planted for him in Jannah. (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)Visit: 99 Names of Allah
Allah has Ninety Nine Names, one hundred minus one, and whoever believes in their meanings and acts accordingly, will enter Jannah. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Indeed, truthfulness leads to righteousness and indeed righteousness leads to Jannah. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Whoever builds a Masjid seeking by it the Pleasure of Allah, Allah will build for him a similar place in Jannah. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Whoever repeats after the Mu'adthin (the caller to prayer) from his heart (i.e., sincerely) will enter Jannah. (Sunan an-Nasa'i)Whoever calls the Adhan for 12 years, Jannah will become mandatory for him. (Sunan Ibn Majah)Whoever prays the two cool prayers (Asr and Fajr) will go to Paradise. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Allah will prepare for him who goes to the mosque (every) morning and in the afternoon (for the congregational prayer) an honorable place in Paradise with good hospitality for (what he has done) every morning and afternoon goings. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Any one performs the ablution perfectly and then offers 2 rak'ahs of prayers concentrating on them with his heart and face, paradise will necessarily fall to his lot. (Sunan Abu Dawud)Whoever prays 12 Rak'ah in the day and night, a house in Jannah will be built for him. (Sunan an-Nasa'i)Whoever takes a path in search of knowledge, Allah will make easy for him the path to Jannah. (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)I saw a man going about in Jannah (and enjoying himself) as a reward for cutting from the middle of the road, a tree which was causing inconvenience to the Muslims. (Muslim)Whoever can guarantee (the chastity of) what is between his two jaw-bones and what is between his two legs (i.e. his tongue and his private parts), I guarantee Paradise for him. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Anyone whose soul leaves his body and he is free of three things, will enter Jannah: Arrogance, stealing from the spoils of war, and debt. (Sunan Ibn Majah)Whoever raises two girls then I and he will enter Jannah like these two (Prophet indicated with his two fingers). (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)Whoever visits an ailing person or a brother of his to seek the Pleasure of Allah, an announcer (angel) calls out: ''May you be happy, may your walking be blessed, and may you be awarded a dignified position in Jannah''. (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)Allah guarantees him who strives in His Cause and whose motivation for going out is nothing but Jihad in His Cause and belief in His Word, that He will admit him into Jannah. (Sahih al-Bukhari)O people, spread the Salaam (greetings), feed the hungry, and pray while the people are asleep, you will enter Jannah in peace. (Sunan Ibn Majah)(The performance of) Umrah is an expiation for the sins committed between it and the previous Umrah; and the reward of Hajj Mabrur (i.e., one accepted) is nothing but Jannah. (Sahih al-Bukhari)Whosoever last words are: La ilaha illa Allah, will enter Paradise. (Sunan Abu Dawud)O Allah, You are my Lord, none has the right to be worshipped except You, You created me and I am Your servant and I abide to Your covenant and promise as best I can, I take refuge in You from the evil of which I committed. I acknowledge Your favor upon me and I acknowledge my sin, so forgive me, for verily none can forgive sin except You (Allāhumma anta rabbÄ lā ilāha illā anta, khalaqtanÄ wa ana `abduka, wa ana `alā `ahdika wa wa`dika ma-staá¹­a`tu. A`Ådhu bika min sharri ma á¹£ana`tu, wa abÅ'u ilayka bini`matika `alayya wa a`tarifu bidhunÅbÄ faghfirlÄ dhunÅbÄ innahu lā yaghfirudh-dhunÅba illā ant). If somebody recites this invocation during the day, and if he should die then, he will be from the people of Jannah. And if he recites it in the night, and if he should die on the same day, he will be from the people of Jannah.'' (Jami` at-Tirmidhi)May Allah SWT forgive all our sins, help us to stay on the right path and unite us in His Jannat-ul-Firdause. Ameen.
Special Ops Demands Pentagon Stop Exposing Operations
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:02
Gen. Joseph Votel: Publicity makes it harder for forces to do their jobs
Gen. Joseph Votel in Afghanistan in 2007 / AP
BY:Morgan ChalfantJanuary 27, 2016 5:16 pm
President Obama's nominee to head U.S. Central Command recently penned a memo to Defense Secretary Ash Carter demanding that the Pentagon stop discussing the operations of elite American troops.
Foreign Policy, which obtained an excerpt of the memo, reported that Gen. Joseph Votel, currently the chief of U.S. Special Operations Command, wrote the December 8 memo to express concern about the Obama administration's exposure of special operations forces' activities.
''I am concerned with increased public exposure of SOF activities and operations, and I assess that it is time to get our forces back into the shadows,'' Votel wrote to Carter.
While it remains unclear to what public comments Votel was referring, the memo was sent just days after the White House revealed that it was sending approximately 200 special operations forces to Iraq to combat ISIS.
According to the defense official who provided the excerpt of the memo, Votel further wrote that publicizing the operations makes it more difficult for U.S. forces to conduct them. He also ''requested the department support him with an approach to avoid public discussion of SOF activities,'' the defense official said.
At the start of December, Carter told lawmakers that the U.S. would deploy a ''specialized expeditionary targeting force'' to Iraq to fight ISIS. It followed an October announcement from the White House that a small number of special operations forces''less than 50''would be deployed to Syria to fight the terror group there.
An anonymous defense official questioned about the memo told Foreign Policy that Carter ''shares Gen. Votel's concerns about the public disclosure of SOF operations, especially any reporting that could expose our personnel to additional risk and undermine their chances for success.''
He further stated, however, that the Pentagon is obligated to keep the public informed.
French schools cite 'terrorism' as reason to lift smoking ban
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:13
you've reached a subscriber-only article.Take the trial to enjoy one month access for $1.00Sign up now and access the full breadth of The Daily Star content in minutes.
subscribe nowunrestricted access$1 for this month then $12 per month.Existing users can login here or register for a new account.
Advertisement
Migrants
Austria To Pay Migrants '‚¬500 To Go Back Where They Came From
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 17:51
Late last month, we noted that Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was set to cut social benefits for refugees who failed to attend ''special integration training courses.''
Austria, like Germany and multiple other countries in the Schengen zone, is struggling to cope with the influx of asylum seekers fleeing the war-torn Mid-East. Of particular concern is the ''integration'' process whereby those hailing from ''different cultures'' are having a decidedly difficult time blending into polite Western society.
Austria has sought to ameliorate the problem by providing helpful flyers featuring cartoons that depict acceptable and unacceptable behavior and by offering classes designed to teach migrants ''laws and social norms.''
Still, policymakers are skeptical. "Let's not delude ourselves," Kurz said in January. "We have an intensive long lasting integration process ahead of us."
That ''intensive, long lasting process'' will be mitigated by a plan to deport some 50,000 refugees. ''Last year Austria had 90,000 asylum applications,'' Kurz told Aargauer Zeitung. ''This number is too high for a small country, and measured in terms of population, it is the second highest in Europe after Sweden.''
Yes, ''the second highest after Sweden'' - and we all know how things are going in Sweden.
''We have reached the limit of feasibility,'' Kurz explained, in an interview with APA. "I think 50,000 is realistic [in terms of a number to deport]."
As a reminder, Austria has already suspended Schengen, so the deportation announcement doesn't exactly come as a surprise, especially in light of similar announcements from Sweden and Finland.
What was surprising (not to mention sadly amusing) is Austria's plan to boost voluntary repatriations. According to a summary of an agreement between the interior, defense and integration ministries published on Sunday, the country will now pay migrants '‚¬500 to leave. "Now the government has decided to carry out at least 50,000 deportations over the next four years," Reuters reports. "It will also offer up to 500 euros ($542) to migrants whose asylum applications have been turned down if they agree to be deported."
"We are already among the countries with the most deportations," said Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner. "But we will increase the rate further."
As for how the deportations will be carried out, Austria will reportedly load migrants up on C-130 Hercules military aircraft and drop them off in their home countries. Hopefully after landing.
Kurz also says Austria will place an upper limit on the number of asylum seekers it accepts. The cap will amount to no more than 1.5% of the population. "Anything else would overwhelm our country," Kurz says.
Meanwhile, Angela Merkel is proposing a modified Marshall Plan in an attempt to cope with the problem. "German Chancellor Angela Merkel seeks to raise money for refugee camps in Syria's neighboring states to add jobs in strategy similar to the Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Germany after World War II," Bloomberg reports, citing Handelsblatt. "Refugees would get cash for work in camps."
Countries bordering Syria "like the plan," Handelsblatt says.
Clearly, the desperation is kicking in. Even if viable, Merkel's idea will take months (at best) to implement and Austria's plan to give migrants '‚¬500 to take a voluntary C-130 trip back where they came from reeks of desperation.
There was no immediate word on whether refugees could negotiate for larger sums in exchange for an agreement to go back home.
Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 5(5 votes)
Finland To Follow Sweden In Expelling Nearly 20,000 Migrants
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 16:49
One day after Sweden disclosed plans to deport up to 80,000 migrants, a senior official said Finland expects to expel nearly 20,000 migrants out of the 32,000 who sought asylum there last year.
Interior Ministry Secretary Paivi Nerg said the Nordic nation expects to reject the asylum applications of nearly two-thirds of those who applied in 2015, compared with a 56 percent rejection rate in 2014.
"In previous years around 60 percent [of applicants] received a negative decision but now we have somewhat tightened our criteria for Iraqis, Afghans, and Somalis," she told AFP.
In 2015, Finland made it more difficult for migrants from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia to get asylum, concluding that the security situation had eased in those countries.
About 20,000 of Finland's asylum-seekers in 2015 came from Iraq.
Nerg said two charter flights to deport Iraqis are planned within months. She said the deportations will take place gradually, as immigration authorities process applications.
The ministry will set up separate transit centers for those who leave voluntarily and those who must be forced out, she said.
About 4,000 asylum seekers have already withdrawn their applications, she said.
Swedish officials told Swedish media on January 27 that they expect to deport up to half of last year's record 163,000 asylum seekers. Many of those expulsions also will be forced by the authorities, although they are seeking voluntary compliance.
Finland is currently in negotiations with neighboring Russia to stop migrants from entering Finland via the Arctic region.
After Norway barred migrants from entering the country on its Arctic border crossing with Russia in December, the flow of migrants turned toward Finland.
With reporting by Reuters and AFP
Agenda 2030
Leonardio DiCaprio Producing 'Sandcastle Empire' Movie for Paramount | Variety
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:55
Paramount Pictures has optioned the YA novel ''The Sandcastle Empire'' with Leonardo DiCaprio on board to produce.
Jennifer Davisson, DiCaprio's partner at Appian Way, is also attached to produce through their production banner.
The novel was written by Kayla Olson and is set in 2049 when the Earth is at a breaking point due to climate change, coastal flooding and overpopulation. A radical faction known as the Wolfpack overthrows the government and takes control.
The story centers on a young woman named Eden who escapes a Wolfpack labor camp, joining three others fleeing to an island. During her journey, she will find clues as to what happened to her missing father and find out that she is the key to bringing down the Wolfpack.
The book's theme of climate change is an important one for DiCaprio, as he's been vocal about the environmental issue, speaking out on it as recently as Saturday's SAG Awards.
Appian's Nathaniel Posey identified the book and brought it into the company.
DiCaprio can currently be seen in Fox's ''The Revenant'' and just won SAG award for his role in the film. He is repped by LBI Entertainment.
The news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Shut Up Slave!
U.K. Town Moves Forward with Fluoridated Milk for Children
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:53
By Derrick Broze
On Monday January 18, the Blackpool Council approved a plan to introduce fluoridated milk to school children via the town's free breakfast program. The Council is attempting to tackle a dental health problem that has caused nearly half of all 12-year olds in Blackpool to have at least one decayed, missing, or filled tooth.
The Blackpool Gazette reports:
Coun Graham Cain, cabinet secretary for Blackpool Council, said: ''Unfortunately the state of Blackpool's dental health is very poor.
However, where some parts of the country can benefit from fluoride naturally appearing in their daily drinking water, in Blackpool we cannot.
What we do have is a method through the free breakfast programme that allows us to reach all primary school children as they are growing up and make the fluoride milk available to them there.
The proposal will allow for children to opt out and requires the schools to provide non-fluoridated milk. First proposed in 2013 the plan was delayed while studies were conducted. The studies found that children in the town have ''lower than normal'' levels of fluoride.
The Blackpool Council's website states,
a proposal to introduce fluoridated milk, which contains fluoride to help reduce the risk of tooth decay, was approved by the Council's Executive on Monday 18 January. The milk, which is recommended by the World Health Organisation, is the latest in Blackpool Council's plans to tackle poor dental hygiene amongst children in the town.
Around 400 children in Blackpool are also admitted to hospital every year to have teeth extracted under general anaesthetic, at a cost to the NHS of thousands of pounds.
The Council also states that the fluoridated milk plan will come at no extra cost to the taxpayer thanks to the free breakfast program. They estimate that 8,400 students currently receive milk on a daily basis and many of them will now be drinking fluoridated milk. The plan would add .8 mg Fluoride per 189 ml of milk, or 4.2 parts per million. In April 2015 the U.S. government lowered the recommended levels of fluoride to 0.7 parts per million.
Interestingly, under a section titled ''Ethical Considerations'' the Blackpool council writes ''none.'' The reason I find that interesting is because a simple search of studies on fluoridation will show that there are many health issues associated with the practice and thus dosing children with the chemical through their milk does raise some ethical questions.
The Blackpool Council also writes that the benefits of fluoridated milk have been proven by the European Union and the World Health Organisation. ''This is why fluoride is widely used in many ways for example water or toothpaste and mouth washes. A well mineralised tooth is what everyone is trying to achieve to prevent decay,'' the Council writes.
However, critics have long argued that any benefits of fluoride are only effective when applied topically, directly to the teeth. This would make water and milk fluoridation largely a waste of resources. Moreover, exposing the internal organs to fluoride might actually be harmful to health. The possibility of harmful side effects from water fluoridation is still heavily debated.
In 2015 Truth In Media reported that the Cochrane Collaboration, a global independent network of researchers, professionals, and patients, narrowed the review down to the most comprehensive, well-designed and reliable papers, before analyzing and publishing their conclusion.
According to Newsweek:
The review identified only three studies since 1975'--of sufficient quality to be included'--that addressed the effectiveness of fluoridation in the population at large. These papers determined that fluoridation does not reduce cavities to a statistically significant degree, says study co-author Anne-Marie Glenny, a health science researcher at Manchester University in the United Kingdom.
The scientists also found ''insufficient evidence'' that fluoridation reduces tooth decay in adults (children excluded). ''From the review, we're unable to determine whether water fluoridation has an impact on caries levels in adults,'' Glenny says.
Trevor Sheldon, dean of the Hull York Medical School in the United Kingdom, conducted a review of water fluoridation in 2000. Sheldon concluded that the process is not effective. ''I had assumed because of everything I'd heard that water fluoridation reduces cavities but I was completely amazed by the lack of evidence,'' he told Newsweek. ''My prior view was completely reversed.''
Sheldon points out that some studies have actually shown that when water fluoridation was ceased, cavities went down a small percentage among schoolchildren. This includes a 2001 study of two British Columbia communities that was included in the Cochrane review.
The Cochrane team also found that most studies confirming the effectiveness of fluoridation were completed prior to the widespread use of dental products such as mouth rinses and toothpastes. The study did find evidence that fluoridation was linked to a 26 percent decrease in cavities. However, this study was also done before the growth of modern dentistry. The researchers write, ''We have limited confidence in the size of this effect due to the high risk of bias within the studies and the lack of contemporary evidence.''
In early June, the Health Research Board (HRB) completed an in-depth review of the effects of water fluoridation. The review was conducted at the behest of the U.S. Department of Health. After examining all internationally peer-reviewed papers on the topic of fluoride and health effects from 2006 to 2014, the HRB ''found no definitive evidence that community water fluoridation is associated with positive or negative systemic health effects.''
Image Credit
Derrick Broze is an investigative journalist, community activist, gardener and promoter from Houston, Texas. He is the co-founder of The Houston Free Thinkers, and co-host of Free Thinker Radio. Broze also hosts and produces a weekly podcast under the name the Conscious Resistance Live. His writing can be found on TheConsciousResistance.com, The Liberty Beat, Activist Post, and other independent media sources.
This article may be freely reposted in part or in full with author attribution and source link.
A Yahoo Employee-Ranking System Favored by Marissa Mayer Is Challenged in Court - NYTimes.com
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 16:08
SAN FRANCISCO '-- One of Marissa Mayer's signature policies as chief executive of Yahoo has been the quarterly performance review, in which every employee at the company is ranked on a scale of 1 to 5. The ratings have been used to fire hundreds of employees since Ms. Mayer joined the company in mid-2012.
Now, as Ms. Mayer prepares to announce a streamlining plan on Tuesday that is likely to involve even more job cuts, one former manager who lost his job is challenging the entire system as discriminatory and a violation of federal and California laws governing mass layoffs.
In a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, Gregory Anderson, an editor who oversaw Yahoo's autos, homes, shopping, small business and travel sites in Sunnyvale, Calif., until he was fired in November 2014, alleges that the company's senior managers routinely manipulated the rating system to fire hundreds of people without just cause to achieve the company's financial goals.
Mr. Anderson said the cuts, including what his boss said was the firing of about 600 other low-performing Yahoo employees at the time of his termination, amounted to illegal mass layoffs.
Document | Complaint Against Yahoo In a lawsuit filed in Federal District Court in San Jose, Calif., Gregory Anderson, an editor at Yahoo who was fired in November 2014, alleges that the company's senior managers routinely manipulated the rating system to fire hundreds of people without just cause to achieve the company's financial goals.
Under California law, the layoff of more than 50 employees within 30 days at a single location like Yahoo's Sunnyvale headquarters requires an employer to give workers 60 days of advance notice. A similar federal law, known as the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, requires advance notice for a layoff of 500 or more employees.
Yahoo has never provided such notices. But it did cut 1,100 employees over a period of months in late 2014 and early 2015, ostensibly for performance reasons.
If the court finds that Yahoo violated either law, it could be forced to pay each affected employee $500 a day plus back pay and benefits for each day of advance notice it failed to provide.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing is also investigating the use of ratings in the firing of another Yahoo employee, according to Jon R. Parsons, Mr. Anderson's lawyer.
Fahizah Alim, a spokeswoman for the California agency, confirmed that such an inquiry was underway, but said she could not provide further information because of confidentiality rules.
In a statement, Yahoo defended its rating system. "Our performance review process also allows for high performers to engage in increasingly larger opportunities at our company, as well as for low performers to be transitioned out," the company said.
Yahoo also said that Mr. Anderson's specific claims had no merit and that he had sought a $5 million settlement from the company just before filing the suit.
Ms. Mayer has steadfastly refused to use the word ''layoff'' to describe the thousands of jobs eliminated since she joined the company. She even forbade her managers from uttering what she called ''the L-word,'' instructing them to use the term ''remix'' instead.
The lawsuit comes as Yahoo morale hits new lows. More than one-third of the company's work force has left voluntarily or involuntarily over the last year.
Ms. Mayer, who has presided over a continued decline in Yahoo's financial performance, faces pressure from activist investors to sell the company's Internet businesses or otherwise radically restructure the business. She has promised to unveil a new strategy on Tuesday, when Yahoo reports its financial results for the fourth quarter of 2015, although people with knowledge of her thinking say that the changes she will announce will be modest.
Mr. Anderson's suit provides a peek inside Yahoo's controversial quarterly performance review system, which Ms. Mayer adopted on the recommendation of McKinsey & Company, a management consulting company. Similar systems were once widely used in corporate America, and companies like Amazon.com still employ analogous methods.
But others, like General Electric and Microsoft, have dropped such rankings as a tool for routine firings because of their corrosive effect on productivity and employee morale.
At Yahoo, the program, known internally as Q.P.R., has been a sore spot among managers and employees since it began. The court filing said that managers were forced to give poor rankings to a certain percentage of their team, regardless of actual performance. Ratings given by front-line managers were arbitrarily changed by higher-level executives who often had no direct knowledge of the employee's work. And employees were never told their exact rating and had no effective avenue of appeal.
''The Q.P.R. process was opaque and the employees did not know who was making the final decisions, what numbers were being assigned by whom along the way, or why those numbers were being changed,'' the lawsuit says. ''This manipulation of the Q.P.R. process permitted employment decisions, including terminations, to be made on the basis of personal biases and stereotyping.''
Mr. Anderson said that in his case, he had received high ratings and a promotion before taking a leave of absence in the summer of 2014 to study at the University of Michigan on a Knight-Wallace Fellowship. Although the fellowship leave was approved by two top Yahoo executives, Kathy Savitt and Jackie Reses, who have since left the company, Mr. Anderson said that his boss's boss, Megan Liberman, called him on Nov. 10 to inform him that he was in the bottom 5 percent of the company's work force, all of whom were being fired.
In the suit, Mr. Anderson said he was fired for several reasons unrelated to performance. He said he had complained to management about the impact of the Q.P.R. process on the people he supervised and had reported an attempted bribe by one employee who wanted him to reduce another employee's rating.
He also alleged gender discrimination, claiming that the media group, which was overseen by Ms. Savitt and Ms. Liberman, systematically favored women in hiring, promotions and layoffs.
Mr. Anderson, who had worked at Yahoo's headquarters, said he was ''stranded'' in Michigan with his family because of the firing.
Brighton school children asked to choose from list of 23 terms to describe their gender (From The Argus)
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:45
SCHOOLCHILDREN are being asked to define their gender by a list of more than 20 different terms.
Pupils at Blatchington Mill School in Brighton were given the survey as homework and asked to choose from a list of 23 terms to say how they would describe their sex.
As well as girl and boy, the list includes a catalogue of other labels - including "non-binary", "demi-boy" and "gender fluid".
Parents have described the survey as "unnecessary" and "confusing" to teenagers going through some of the most difficult years of their lives.
However trans campaigners suggested offering children struggling with their gender the opportunity to put a name to their feelings could help them overcome some of the difficulties.
The question was part of a national survey from the Office of the Children's Commissioner and sent to every school in Brighton and Hove.
Children's Commissioner for England Anne Longfield OBE who released the survey said: "We want to know how gender matters to young people: what does gender mean to them; how does it affect their lives; what do they want to change?
"To explore these important questions, we have constructed a survey, and hope to hear from as many young people (13-18 years old) as possible."
The survey says that children's answers "may be used in Government reports, presentations and publications."
The report stipulates that children under 16 years old should "check whether your parents/carers are happy for you to complete this survey".
However parents of Blatchington Mill pupils said the school had not sought their permission before setting the task.
The school says they were not told it should seek parental permission.
Blatchington Mill head teacher Ashley Harrold said: "We're incredibly passionate about ensuring that every student feels safe and welcome at our school. When it comes to gender identity it is a real and valid concern for a number of students.
"For us, anything that prevents students feeling happy, from feeling confident in themselves and from feeling accepted by their peers is something we feel the curriculum should address.
"Raising students awareness of the wider spectrum of gender identity is important in building an inclusive and tolerant society."
Brighton and Hove City Council said it had forwarded the survey to secondary school at the request of the Office of the Children's Commissioner.
A council spokesman said: "The survey is designed to explore young people's experiences of gender.
"We think the findings from this survey will be useful in our work helping all our children and young people feel good about themselves, achieve their potential and challenge gender stereotyping and sexism.
"Blatchington Mill has a well-deserved national reputation as a beacon of best practice for the work it does on LGBT related issues as part of its personal, social and health education curriculum.
"We want all our young people to feel comfortable with who they are, to understand that the notion of gender can go beyond the traditional idea of simply being either male and female, and to recognise that people can use a range of terms to describe their gender identity."
IT'S IMPORTANT CHILDREN SUFFERING GENDER DYSPHORIA ARE SUPPORTED
By Sophie Cook Transgender photographer and activist
I THINK it is really important that young people are given the opportunity to express themselves.
Society can still be very harsh.
I knew from age seven I was transgender, but because there was no information out there I had no idea what was going on so I attempted suicide aged 12.
I think it is good for children to be given the opportunity to discuss things openly and honestly.
It is so important that children who are going through gender dysphoria are given all the support they can get.
The teenage years are terrible for all of us, but if you are battling gender dysphoria as well you can feel so isolated and alone and confused.
I really think it could help young people who are going through this to be given a list of terms that they may find relate to what they are going through.
It is important that the support is out there, but it also important what is done with that information.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT DEMI-BOY, TRI-GENDER OR GENDER FLUID MEAN?
By Katy RiceArgus columnist
WHY does it worry me as a mother that schools are asking teenagers aged 14 and 15 to identify their gender by giving them multiple bizarre choices?
Those choices include terms I've never heard of: do you know what a demi-boy is? Or tri-gender? Gender fluid? Agender? Non-binary? Intersex? No, me neither.
As a middle-aged woman (and I definitely tick the plain boring 'woman' box, by the way), I'm confused by all of these terms and this is just a small selection of those on a questionnaire for pupils to complete for homework at Brighton and Hove schools.
So what on earth does this do to teenagers, in the throes of discovering their sexuality for the first time?
The majority of teenagers should feel secure in the knowledge that they are simply boy or girl, but by pandering to a minority with gender issues, schools are introducing confusion and insecurity, unnecessarily making all teenagers question their basic identity.
Surely it's parents who should be dealing with their children's sexuality, not schools.
Ministry of Truth
The Intercept Says Reporter Falsified Quotations - NYTimes.com
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 09:29
The news website The Intercept said on Tuesday that a former reporter had fabricated quotations in some of his articles and impersonated other people by using email accounts in their names.
Betsy Reed, the news organization's editor in chief, said that the first evidence appeared in late December and that the reporter, Juan Thompson, was fired on Jan. 4. In an online note to readers, she listed four articles that had been corrected and one that had been retracted.
Ms. Reed wrote that an internal investigation turned up instances in which Mr. Thompson quoted people who later said he had never interviewed them, could not remember speaking with him or whose identities could not be confirmed. She added that he had also quoted unnamed people he claimed to have met at public events whose words could not be verified and that he had used an email account in someone else's name to impersonate a source.
The note also said he had created an account in her name.
''We apologize to the subjects of these stories; to the people who were falsely quoted; and to you, our readers,'' Ms. Reed wrote. ''We are contacting news outlets that picked up the corrected stories to alert them to the problems.''
The retracted article was based on an interview with someone presented as Scott Roof, the cousin of Dylann Roof, who is accused of murdering nine people in a racially motivated attack in a church in Charleston, S.C., last June. In the article, Scott Roof is quoted saying that Dylann Roof's hatred may have stemmed from a girl who chose to date a black man rather than him.
''After speaking with two members of Dylann Roof's family, The Intercept can no longer stand by the premise of this story,'' the retraction on top of the article says. ''Both individuals said they do not know of a cousin named Scott Roof.''
The Intercept was founded in 2014 with the financial backing of Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder of eBay. Its best-known writer is the Pulitzer Prize winner Glenn Greenwald, who most prominently covers national security issues.
Ms. Reed said in the note that Mr. Thompson ''wrote mostly short articles on news events and criminal justice.''
Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Thompson sent The New York Times an email addressed to Ms. Reed. In it he said he was undergoing radiation treatment for testicular cancer and had not had the time or energy to review his notes. He attributed the errors in his articles to poor reporting and the unwillingness of some of his subjects to go on the record, rather than to intentional prevarication.
''If I couldn't obtain a quote from the person I wanted, I went somewhere else, and must've forgot to change the names '-- clearly,'' Mr. Thompson wrote. ''Also, yes, I encouraged some of my interviewees to use another name; they're poor black people who didn't want their names in the public given the situations'' and that was the only way, he said, ''of convincing them otherwise.''
In an email on Tuesday, Ms. Reed wrote that she had received an email from Mr. Thompson but that it was not identical to other versions that were being circulated online.
''This is a case of a troubled individual,'' Ms. Reed wrote. ''We have corrected the problems we found in his journalism in a transparent manner, and will continue to strive for the highest standards in our reporting.''
Correction: February 2, 2016
An earlier version of this article misstated the status of the case against Dylann Roof on charges of murdering nine people in a Charleston, S.C., church. He is awaiting trial; he has not been convicted.
EuroLand
Germany plans EUR130 billion military investment
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 16:35
German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen presented a major defence equipment spending package to the German parliament on 27 January, setting out EUR130 billion (USD142 billion) in defence procurement over the next 15 years.
'...
Von der Leyen's package includes not only the procurement of more systems and platforms, but also the overhaul and modernisation of existing platforms. In total the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) has identified about 1,500 individual measures it wants to take by 2030.
Instead of treating the plans as a temporary budgetary spike to cover immediate investment requirements, the BMVg is looking for this to be set out as a permanent increase of the country's defence budget (EUR33 billion in 2015). This seems likely to happen, as Von der Leyen stated her spending plans had met with general approval from the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Von der Leyen's plan calls for an immediate increase of land systems numbers, including increasing Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) numbers from 225 to 320; Fennek reconnaissance vehicles from 217 to 248; Boxer 8—8 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) from 272 to 402; and PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers from 89 to 101. Additionally, up to 192 Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) could be retained in service alongside the already planned 342 Puma IFVs.
Full article:Germany plans EUR130 billion military investment (IHS Jane's 360)
Like this:LikeLoading...
Related
. Bookmark the
.
Out There
B.o.B. and Neil deGrasse Tyson's fight over Flat Earthism, explained - Vox
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 01:24
In 2010, humankind allowed a man by the name of B.o.B. to capture our ears and hearts. In collaboration with the tiny, golden-voiced human known as Bruno Mars, B.o.B. created "Nothin' on You," a soothing rap ode to the stylish, tax-paying, 'fro-sporting girl of his dreams:
We bopped our heads to the three-quarter tempo. We gave B.o.B. the benefit of the doubt and let him rhyme "plastic" with "fantastic" and "it." Everything seemed fine.
But now it appears the gentle rapper of 2010 was harboring a secret that literally affects his worldview: According to B.o.B. himself, he believes the Earth is flat.
Why does B.o.B. believe the Earth is flat?The reason we're aware of B.o.B.'s belief in a flat Earth is that he posted a series of tweets asking users to show him the curvature in the planet's surface, because he couldn't see it:
And when people began pointing out to B.o.B. that the Earth's non-flatness was proven more than five centuries ago, he began citing more elaborate memes, with dashes of Microsoft Paint, to prove his point:
He also posted what appeared to be screenshots from a guidebook for flat Earth truthers in trying to prove his point:
While some people are busy looking for beauty or inspiration or deeply moving sadness in our world, B.o.B. has a much simpler request. Here is a man standing in front of a planet asking to see its curvature '-- even though he believes it's an impossible request because that curvature does not exist.
B.o.B. isn't the only person to feel this wayThien Thanh Thi Nguyen, who goes by the name Tila Tequila, was a huge MySpace celebrity in the 2000s and parlayed that into a show on MTV in 2007. She's also a flat Earth believer. Earlier this month, she was rambling on Twitter about flat Earth, using the same kind of language B.o.B. used:
Her Twitter rant was very popular '-- so popular that people were talking about Tila Tequila for the first time in years. She also suggested that her strong faith in the Earth's flatness would get her killed by the government:
There are also people on the fence, like Sherri Shepherd. Shepherd, while she was a host on The View in 2007, was known for her Christian faith and her disregard for the theory of evolution. When asked about what she would teach her son, specifically about whether the Earth was flat, Shepherd was not sure:
"I never thought about it, Whoopi. Is the world flat? I never thought about it," she told moderator Whoopi Goldberg.
It's unclear if Tequila and B.o.B. are part of the same group of Flat Earthers, but their arguments are very similar. As Gawker points out, there is an organization called the Flat Earth Society, and its members believe in a complicated conspiracy theory that posits the Earth is a flat disc. They insist that Russian and American space programs discovered this during the Space Race that began in the '50s and have, with the help of the entire world, kept this a secret.
(The Flat Earth Society)Tequila and B.o.B. and other Flat Earthers believe that the world shuns them because they have found the truth. And because they believe the government is so willing to lie about stuff like the Earth being flat, they assume it must also be lying about other stuff (more on this in a bit).
A challenger named Neil deGrasse Tyson appearsWhile many people were too busy laughing at the strange activity on B.o.B.'s Twitter feed (namely, presenting "facts" about Earth and denying universal truths), there was actually one person who tried to reason with B.o.B. using science. Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist and part-time "actually" man, stepped up to the plate and tried to explain to B.o.B. that the Earth's curvature exists, but that one of B.o.B.'s examples of a flat Earth '-- the Manhattan skyline '-- is an outlier:
Tyson also tried to explain why you can't actually see Polaris, a.k.a. the North Star, from below Earth's equator:
Tyson even tried to ease the situation by telling B.o.B. that although he's subscribing to a theory that was proven wrong centuries ago, Tyson appreciated B.o.B.'s music.
In doing so, Tyson was getting at the important idea of being able to separate artists' behavior and beliefs from the art they create. It's a situation that comes into play when there's something acutely off-putting about an artist's behavior or beliefs, like Roman Polanski's rape of a underage girl or Mel Gibson's alarming anti-Semitism. Obviously B.o.B.'s insistence that the Earth is flat is nowhere near on that level, but Tyson's assertion that it's okay to like B.o.B.'s music in spite of his incorrect belief is as much a reprieve for fans of "Nothin' on You" as it is a balm for B.o.B's savage, flat-Earth-related burns.
With science and Neil deGrasse Tyson pushing him into a corner, B.o.B. did what anyone who believes the Earth is flat and has the power of gentle rap would do: He recorded a soft diss track to discredit Tyson.
The song, titled "Flatline," has since been deleted from SoundCloud, but its lyrics still live on, and they offer real insight into B.o.B.'s psyche. The rapper clearly sees himself as someone who is shunned by the world because he threatens to break the Matrix with his flat Earth belief. He also thinks that "neck" rhymes with "Malcolm X":
Yo, you ain't seen my best
Checkmate, ain't a game of chess
Globalists see me as a threat
Free thinking, got the world at my neck
Hah, am I paranoid? Picture Malcolm X
But if you put aside the strange phonics pattern, there's a strange "aha" moment in B.o.B.'s diss track that pretty much explains everything. "Flatline" goes from dissing Tyson's square sartorial decisions ("Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest") to anti-Semitism ("That's why the POTUS gotta wear a Kipper/Kippah/Kippa") so fast and violently that it will make your iPhone restart and install all the updates you've been putting off:
Woo, use your, use your common sense
Why is NASA department of defense?
['...]
Fuck you and your team, you could sit on the bench with 'em
But before you try to curve it, do your research on David Irving
Stalin was way worse than Hitler
That's why the POTUS gotta wear a Kipper/Kippah/Kippa
I'm a man first 'fore an artist
B.o.B.'s strange defense of Hitler and reference to David Irving, a Holocaust denier, might seem disconnected from the flat Earth argument. But it makes sense when you examine the mentality of Flat Earthers. They believe that if the government is capable of lying about something as fundamental as the shape of our planet, then who's to say it can't lie about things like Hitler?
Tequila, B.o.B.'s prominent fellow flat Earth believer, also had the same strange apologist feelings about Hitler. In 2013, she dressed up as a Nazi and wrote a Facebook status update about how Hitler was misunderstood.
"I never said I hated anyone, but just because I feel sympathy, compassion, and forgiveness for others such as Hitler means I am now a monster?" Tequila wrote. "All for trying to open your eyes to the truth that Hitler was NOT as bad as he was painted out to be?"
Is it possible that B.o.B. is claiming the Earth is flat simply to generate publicity?In one last flailing attempt to get B.o.B. to see the light, Neil deGrasse Tyson (with the help of his nephew Steve Tyson) released a diss track called "Flat to Fact" to try to talk some sense into B.o.B.:
Still, B.o.B. was unconvinced:
There is, of course, a bigger, grander conspiracy theory here. This could all just be a massive publicity stunt for B.o.B., who has yet to rekindle the kind of success he had with his hits "Nothin' on You" and "Airplanes." It's possible that someone on his team saw the massive amounts of attention Tila Tequila got with her unhinged rant and decided to try to replicate it.
After all, we're now talking about B.o.B. in a way we haven't in many years. And it just so happens that an EP was uploaded to his SoundCloud account four days ago. Getting some much-needed publicity might be a little more believable than B.o.B.'s love for a flat Earth.
Be sure to subscribe to Vox on YouTube for more explainer videos
CLIPS AND DOCS
VIDEO-The travel industry infected by Zika and Alphabet bets on the future with moonshots | euronews, Business Line
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:10
The Zika virus is a global public health risk requiring a united response, according to the World Health Organisation, an alert that puts Zika in the same category of concern as Ebola.
The virus has already spread to dozens of countries and the number is growing. It has also infected the travel industry, as many of the places on the danger list are popular tourist destinations.
In this edition of Business Line we discover how Zika has created a surge in purchases of 'Cancel For Any Reason' travel insurance for trips to Latin America and posed refund problems for airlines and cruise lines.
And in the IT section of the programme we learn how moonshots are costing Google's parent company Alphabet a fortune '' but are really an investment for the future.
VIDEO-Passenger jet lands safely after hole blown in fuselage | euronews, world news
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:07
Investigators believe a bomb probably caused an onboard explosion that forced an Airbus A321 to return to Mogadishu and make an emergency landing.
One man was killed in the blast on the Daallo Airlines jet on Tuesday.
Two passengers were injured.
Local authorities north of the Somali capital say the body of a 55-year-old man was found in the area.
He is thought to have been sucked out through the hole in the fuselage.
Somalia's deputy UN ambassador Awale Kullane filmed the drama on his smartphone:
''I heard a big bang and the smoke erupted, so we did not see anything for a few seconds.''
''It was scary and everyone was a bit traumatised in those few seconds.''
Experts have praised the actions of the crew in landing the plane with so few casualties.
There has been no immediate comment from al Shabaab, the Somali Islamist group that is engaged in an insurgency in the country.
It has carried out regular attacks on officials, government offices and civilian sites.
In tweets and video
VIDEO-'One document to fit all' '' police push for coordinated migrant registration | euronews, world news
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:04
As the European Union struggles with trying to agree a common policy on the refugee crisis, several western Balkan countries have unilaterally agreed to establish common registration procedures for migrants who pass through their territories.
Police chiefs from the former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia along with Austria stressed it would be a coordinated approach.
Goranco Savkovski, FYROM's Public Security Director explained:
''What we need is a standardisation of the document (issued to migrants) and we have agreed on what exactly this document must contain. But it is important that it originates from the countries which will be receiving the migrants (Germany, Austria).''
If the destination countries including Germany agree, the move should alleviate bottle-necks of migrants at different borders. Police say the creation of a document with information entered on a database shared and accepted by all EU member states will also help speed up security checks.
VIDEO-WHO concerned over Zika sexual transmission reports | euronews, world news
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:00
"Every European country in which Aedes mosquitoes are present can be at risk for the spread of Zika virus disease."
The World Health Organization (WHO) has voiced its concern over reports that a case of the Zika virus contracted in the US state of Texas was transmitted sexually.
As the outbreak quickly spreads across the Americas, health ministers from South America gathered in Uruguay to discuss how the region could coordinate its fight against the virus.
''Studies by the region's health ministries confirms there is cause for concern,'' Uruguay's health minister Jorge Basso told reporters. ''The Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) estimates there will be 4 million additional cases of infection from the Zika virus in the Americas region by the end of 2016.''
Brazil's health ministry said the number of suspected microcephaly cases in newborn babies that may be linked to Zika was up.
A number of drug developers are trying to produce a vaccine to combat the virus .. but experts say that would take months or years to develop.
Warning for EuropeThe WHO has warned EU member states that the risk of the virus spreading into Europe increases with the onset of spring and summer.
''Now is the time for countries to prepare themselves to reduce the risk to their populations,'' said the WHO's Europe chief, Zsuzsanna Jakab. ''Every European country in which Aedes mosquitoes are present can be at risk for the spread of Zika virus disease.''
VIDEO-Syria: world leaders ask for massive aid donation | euronews, world news
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 14:56
UN asks for more than 8 bn eurosEducation and employment are top prioritiesUK, Germany and Norway pledge moneyWorld leaders have gathered in London for a major conference aimed at raising money for Syria.
Sixty countries are represented at the conference, including 30 world leaders.
An urgent plea has gone out for more than eight billion euros to help refugees from the war-torn country.
The conference will focus particularly on the need to provide an education for displaced Syrian children and job opportunities for adults.
This reflects growing recognition that the fall-out from the Syrian conflict will be long term.
Young Syrian refugee Mazoun Almellehan told those assembled that youth education must be a priority.
''One day, when I am a journalist, there is a story I want to write. I want to write the story of how all Syrian children want to come home to lift up their country. I hope that story begins today with you.''
The European angleBritain, Germany and Norway have already pledged more than four billion euros.
For European nations, improving the humanitarian situation in Syria and neighbouring countries is seen as critical to reducing incentives for Syrians to travel to the continent.
A huge refugee crisis has put many countries under severe strain.
Syria in numbers250,000 '' people killed6 million '' internally displaced4 million '' externally displaced in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and beyond7.73 billion '' US dollars needed this year5 billion + '' US dollars needed by UN1.2 billion '' needed by host governmentsWho has pledged whatAid agencies are appealing for more than seven billion euros (eight billion US dollars) to cope with the humanitarian situation caused by the conflict in Syria.
Britain and Norway have pledged an additional two billion euros (2.9 billion US Dollars) in aid for Syrians by 2020Germany has pledged to give 2.3 billion euros in aid to Syria by 2018. Chancellor Angela Merkel says 1.1 billion will be given this year alone.What they are saying''We can provide the sense of hope needed to stop people thinking they have no option but to risk their lives on a dangerous journey to Europe.'' '' British Prime Minister David Cameron
''If we fail to take decisive action now, the situation for civilians and Syria's neighbouring countries will only get worse. This will affect the whole of the international community.'' '' Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg
VIDEO-'Please clap': Jeb Bush begs crowd to applaud after speech is met with total silence
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 13:50
'Please clap': Jeb Bush begs crowd to applaud after speech is met with total silence
Misogynist pro-rape group cancels planned international meet-up after heavy criticism
Watch Bernie Sanders' refreshing answer about faith and religion during New Hampshire town hall
Trevor Noah hammers Cruz over scrap with Ben Carson: He's 'the slimiest person in the world'
Grand jury indicts 16 people in connection with Oregon militant occupation
Fox panel: Ban everyone named 'Mohammed' because Muslims have 'infested' our homes
Jimmy Kimmel imagines a hilarious fantasy world where Jeb Bush wins fourth place in a primary
Church tells 84-year-old woman she can't be buried next to husband because she missed services
Jailed Oregon militants have extensive criminal histories '-- many aren't even allowed to carry guns
'I would bomb the sh*t out of them': Here's what it would sound like if Jesus talked like a Republican
VIDEO-Diplomatic failure as UN suspends Syrian peace talks | euronews, world news
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 07:10
The UN has suspended peace talks aimed at ending Syria's five-year civil war.
Special envoy Staffan de Mistura made the announcement citing a lack of progress as the reason to postpone the talks until February 25.Despite the suspension de Mistura insisted the Geneva talks had not failed,
''This is not the end and it's not the failure of the talks. Why? They came and they stayed. Not only. But both side insisted on the fact that they are all interested in having the political process started. The whole matter is, again: 'Are we here in order to have another Geneva conference without any results for the Syrian people, or are we serious about what we've been saying?.''
The talks looked doomed from the start with the Syrian opposition refusing to speak directly to the Syrian government and the Syrian government unaware of the makeup of the opposition team or the agenda.
To add to the gloom the Syrian government has announced it may not even attend the rescheduled peace talks.
More than 250,000 people have been killed in almost five years of conflict and eleven million have been forced to leave their homes.
VIDEO-John Kerry: 'The world is safer today' | MSNBC
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 06:12
Mich. Gov. Not Invited To Hearing On Flint
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) was outraged today at the House of Representatives' investigation into the crisis in Flint saying, ''I want everybody who's responsible for this fiasco to be held accountable.'' Lawrence talks to Lansing, Michigan, Mayor Virg Ber
The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell
02/03/16
Duration: 2:38
VIDEO-CNN Bests ABC, NBC By Raising 'Big Deal' E-Mail Scandal With Hillary | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:46
[More in the cross-post on the MRC's NewsBusters blog.]
The 1 February 2016 edition of CNN's New Day put ABC and NBC's morning newscasts to shame by actually raising the ongoing e-mail scandal during their interview of Hillary Clinton. Alisyn Camerota pointed out "the issue that has bedeviled your campaign," and noted that "your opponents have said that this is...a big deal." She asked, "How do you convince voters today not to be concerned about this?" When Mrs Clinton asserted that "there is nothing new" with the controversy, Camerota underlined that "several media outlets have said that their sources in the FBI say...'something's going to happen.' What does that mean to you?"
VIDEO-Speaking for Establishment, Nicolle Wallace Touts Trump Campaign | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:38
[See NewsBusters for more.] Speaking for the establishment on Monday, MSNBC analyst Nicolle Wallace announced that D.C. political types have decided they can ''live with a President Trump.'' But not, apparently, a President Cruz. Wallace, who previously worked for the McCain/Palin ticket, derided, ''Ted Cruz's lack of civility toward his colleagues....He was not a very collegial person.'' The former View co-host marveled, ''Trump has turned Cruz's ideological purity" into a "vulnerability.'' She enthused, ''...You have to give Trump credit for creativity.'' Liberal MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow appeared shocked at this concession: ''I mean, really? Like, him [Cruz] not being a nice guy is a bigger deal than policy differences between these two?''
VIDEO-CNN-SO EXCITING!
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:32
See more in the cross-post on the NewsBusters blog.
Grasping for straws in the early going of the vote tallying for Monday night's Iowa caucuses, CNN correspondent Brian Todd exclaimed to viewers about the seemingly simple sorting and counting of votes at one Republican caucus site that he hyped as being beamed ''live on international television.''
Todd was reporting from Ankeny, Iowa and admitted at the start of his live shot around the 8:53 p.m. Eastern mark that ''[t]he first moment of truth is at hand right now'' as the last call for votes had been called with the caucus officials placing ballots ''into these popcorn baskets and people are still putting them into these baskets over here.''
VIDEO-F-Bomb Dropped on Live MSNBC Election Coverage | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:29
[See NewsBusters for more.] During live coverage of the Iowa caucus, Monday, MSNBC featured the F-word as voters debated who would be best for the military. A young woman talking to a Bernie Sanders fan complained, ''I am a vet. My mom's a vet. How is he [Sanders] going to fix it?...The fact I haven't gotten benefits in three months because the VA is so fucked up really makes me concerned.'' Live coverage host Brian Williams tried to protect his audience from bad language: ''Well, you know, you listen in to caucus, you take the good with the bad....And people speak the way they do out on the street. We apologize. I know Jacob apologizes. We all join him in apologizing for a bit of French that snuck into our English language translation.''
VIDEO-Maddow, Williams: Democrats Move About at Caucuses Like 'Herds' | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:25
Read more at NewsBusters | Explaining the difference between how Republican and Democratic caucuses are conducted in Iowa, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow noted that while Republicans tally votes statewide on a one person/one vote system, Democratic caucuses are more complicated and involve physically moving caucus-goers around the caucus room.
"In herds," NBC's Brian Williams helpfully offered by way of analogy.
Yes, agreed the host of The Rachel Maddow Show, exactly, "in herds."
VIDEO-Whoopi Goldberg Trashes PC Culture: Don't Hyphenate America! | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 05:19
[See NewsBusters for more.] View co-host Whoopi Goldberg on Monday took a surprisingly strong stand against political correctness and what she saw as the hyphenating of America. Discussing diversity in Hollywood, she explained, ''I went from being colored to being a Negro to being black to African-American. I figured I would land on African-American.'' She forcefully argued, ''Every time... you hyphenate American, anytime you put something in front of it, it's like you're not a real American. Well, I'm a whole lot of all American!'' To her liberal critics, Goldberg preemptively declared, ''This is my country and I'm American! You know, save your tweets and save your hate mail because you know in this case I don't care.''
VIDEO-Seriously? Brian Williams Proclaims to Be the 'Purveyor of Truth and Justice' | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 04:57
[See NewsBusters for more.] A totally clueless Brian Williams on Monday night warned MSNBC viewers to not fall for false information as Iowa caucus results rolled in. The man who became known for spinning vast numbers of falsehoods while anchor at NBC News ominously began, ''There's going to be some data floating around, especially the internet tonight.'' He continued, ''The first wave of that data is notoriously suspect. So don't believe everything you see and hear tonight.'' As though he was doing standup comedy, Williams proclaimed, ''We hopefully will be the purveyors of truth and justice here.''
VIDEO-Obama: 'We Do Not Suppress Islam' | MRCTV
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 04:39
In a speech at a mosque in Baltimore, Md., on Wednesday, President Barack Obama said the best way to fight terrorism is to show that the U.S. does not "suppress Islam" and to deny legitimacy to terrorist organizations like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISI) also known as ISIL.
VIDEO-Jeb Bush: "Please clap" - YouTube
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:48
VIDEO-MSNBC Co-Host Confronts Ted Cruz Spokesman Over Allegations of 'Dirty Tricks' in Iowa: 'Why Do That?' | TheBlaze.com
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:33
MSNBC's ''Morning Joe'' co-host Mika Brzezinski confronted a Ted Cruz spokesman this morning about some of the ''dirty tricks'' that have been attributed to the Texas senator's presidential campaign. The interview came the day after Cruz won the Republican Iowa caucus.
Brzezinski pressed Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler about ''the mailers that really seem totally off-color in terms of how to win, and also putting it out there that Ben Carson had dropped out, with your top surrogate even tweeting it. Why do that?''
Image source: MSNBC
Tyler assured viewers that there was nothing unethical about the controversial mailer, which told voters they had committed a ''voting violation'' if they weren't out caucusing for Cruz. He noted that the Iowa Republican Party has used similar methods in the past.
''The mailer, wasn't it very deceptive?'' Brzezinski asked. ''Wouldn't you consider that dirty politics if that was done to your candidate?''
''I could show you lots of mailers that I would consider deceptive,'' Tyler said. ''It was reminding people it was their obligation and duty to vote.''
Tyler called it ''false'' to say it was ''dirty'' of the Cruz campaign to suggest Carson was dropping out.
Carson, however, seemed to think it was. He cited Joseph Stalin in a speech Monday night, noting him as a politician that wanted to destroy America by undermining its spirituality, patriotism and morality.
''We are in the process of collapsing from within '... if we continue to accept deceit and dirty tricks and lies,'' Carson said in his speech. ''And people who do that are still viable candidates for president of the United States and we accept it and that's the problem.''
''We repeated what Ben Carson said in his own words,'' Taylor asserted. ''He said after Iowa he was going back to Florida for a couple of days then to D.C. for the prayer breakfast. That told us he was not going to New Hampshire. That was not a dirty trick.''
(H/T: Mediaite)
VIDEO-AUDIO-Trump Says He'll Probably Sue Over Iowa Results, Accuses Cruz Of "Voter Fraud" - BuzzFeed News
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 22:08
Your Post Has Been Launched!
Fabulous! Don't forget to share with your friends on Twitter and Facebook.
Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Donald Trump says he will probably sue over the results of the Iowa caucuses, accusing Ted Cruz of committing voter fraud to win.
In an interview on Boston Herald Radio on Wednesday, Trump criticized the Cruz campaign for spreading a CNN report saying Ben Carson would not travel to New Hampshire and South Carolina after the Iowa caucuses, suggesting Carson was getting out of the race. Cruz apologized to Carson on Tuesday for his campaign not sending out updates that Carson was doing laundry and not dropping out.
''One of the most disgusting things I've ever seen. They said he was quitting the race and to vote for him,'' said Trump.
Asked if he would sue, Trump said, ''I probably will; what he did is unthinkable. He said the man has left the race and he said it during the caucus. And then when the clarification was put out by Ben Carson saying it's untrue, they got the statement and they didn't put it out.''
''They apologized after the caucus was over; how does that help?'' added Trump.
Trump, echoing accusations he made earlier on Wednesday in a series of tweets, called Cruz's action ''total voter fraud.''
''It's a total voter fraud when you think of it and he picked up a lot of those votes and that's why the polls were so wrong, because of that,'' continued Trump. ''I couldn't understand why the polls were wrong.''
Trump also attacked Cruz for sending out a controversial mailer claiming voters had committed a ''voter violation'' by not voting.
''I think everybody is'...he did another thing which was almost as bad. He put a voter violation certificate. I don't know if you got to see that and it looked just like it was sent by a government. It talked about you're in violation. It says voter violation up top on very official-looking stationery. The way you clear it up is go and vote for Cruz. The whole thing is incredible.''
Trump stated, again, Cruz was ''a nasty guy.''
''I'm pro-life. He told everybody I was pro-choice. He also said I was totally in favor of Obamacare and it's the exact opposite.''
''This guy is really fraudulent,'' Trump concluded.
Check out more articles on BuzzFeed.com!
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Facebook Conversations
I know, right? Will your friends agree?
Share this Link
Trump Says He'll Probably Sue Over Iowa Results, Accuses Cruz Of "Voter Fraud"
http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/trump-s..."This guy is really fraudulent," Trump says of Cruz.Your link was successfully shared!Facebook Conversations
Are you sure you want to remove this item? You can\'t restore it with "Cancel" button!
This Post Is Locked
has been editing this post since .
Unlock and edit anywayUh Oh!
took your lock at .
Refresh the postSuper Uh Oh!
Something's wrong, a mini-history of this post:
Reload the pageView Draft
What type of post are you making?
VIDEO-New Planned Parenthood Video: How They Hide Sales of Baby Parts >> Louder With Crowder
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 15:42
Steven CrowderWednesday February 3 2016
We live in a world where people get more upset over someone calling out Planned Parenthood for selling baby parts'...than we do for Planned Parenthood selling baby parts.
Thankfully, a little thing like a trumped up indictment isn't scaring away these filmmakers from exposing the truth. They're still coming. And they're coming in hot'...
''Planned Parenthood's self-interested political maneuvers will never silence free speech or the citizen press,'' Daleiden said in a statement. ''The new video released today shows that no amount of half-baked barratry can conceal Planned Parenthood's barbaric harvesting and profiting off baby body parts.''
In the new video released by the pro-life group, Melissa Farrell, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast's director of research, said that ''we get requests a lot for fetal tissue.''
''We had two levels of invoicing for them,'' Farrell said. ''We had it worded as 'per consent,' because the consent process was the administrative part that we had to do. Then we had an overall 'administrative fee' for basically working it into um, the clinics themselves. And at the time, 'per consent' was 25 dollars.''
In a separate clip, when asked by the filmmakers about ''renumeration,'' Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast CEO Melaney Linton said that Farrell will ''work on all of that with you.''
To view some of their past work, you can click here, here, and here.
I've got to say, on a personal note, this is incredibly inspiring. Here you have someone who might face jail-time on a trumped up indictment. One that was created to protect the government and destroy the life of a citizen who dares to stand up against it. What does said person fighting the government do? Start fighting harder.
This is a David vs. Goliath story if I've ever seen one. But don't expect Hollywood to buy the screen rights anytime soon. They're too busy praising Erin Brockovich and her war against tap water. Because Hollywood only covers the real scandals yo. The truth here is that even if you're a leftist, even if you're a radical abortionist who adores Planned Parenthood, there should still be that little nagging voice in your head saying, ''man, if the government can go after them'...''
This can happen to you. Maybe it happens when a war-hawk Republican comes into office and you're ''Code Pink'' buddies get indicted. Maybe it happens when you protest the Patriot Act and the NSA jails your sorry ass. The point is, regardless of your personal view on abortion, this kind of selective prosecution and unfettered government power should terrify you. It should also turn your stomach as a freedom-loving American.
So what do we see with the warriors at the Center for Medical Progress? Not bumper stickers. Not empty slogans like, ''don't retreat! Reload!!'' (followed by immediately retreating), but action. Because that is what defines you. Especially when find yourself directly in the fire. Make no mistake, these kids are directly in the fire. But right before our very eyes, they've decided to keep going.
I get it. They may not win. But at least they showed up to the fight. And by God, did they show up'... and are making it one hell of a fight.
NOT SUBSCRIBED TO THE PODCAST? FIX THAT! IT'S COMPLETELY FREE ON BOTH ITUNES HERE AND SOUNDCLOUD HERE.
VIDEO-AUDIO-Coin-Toss Fact Check: No, Coin Flips Did Not Win Iowa For Hillary Clinton : NPR
Wed, 03 Feb 2016 09:13
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a caucus night rally at Drake University in Des Moines on Monday night. Patrick Semansky/APhide caption
toggle captionPatrick Semansky/APDemocratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a caucus night rally at Drake University in Des Moines on Monday night.
Patrick Semansky/APHillary Clinton got lucky Monday night. Very lucky.
But not for the reasons some are alleging.
Some have attributed her squeaker of a victory over Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Democratic presidential caucuses to an improbable lucky streak of tiebreaking coin tosses.
It's been reported that there were as many as six sites where ties were decided by the flip of a coin '-- and Clinton won every single one. The odds of that happening are 1 in 64, or less than 2 percent. What's more, that gave her just slightly more than her margin of victory over Sanders '-- four delegates.
Things that make you go hmm. Indeed.
Here's proof: Watch one of these coin-toss tiebreakers in this video, taken by Univision reporter Fernando Peinado at a caucus precinct:
Except that doesn't tell the whole story. In fact, there were at least a dozen tiebreakers '-- and "Sen. Sanders won at least a handful," an Iowa Democratic Party official told NPR.
Gone unmentioned so far is that even if Clinton won that Miracle Six '-- and there were no other coin tosses '-- it would make little difference in the outcome. That is, in part, because of the complicated way Iowa Democrats allocate their delegates '-- and what was being reported on election night and what wasn't.
Domenico Montanaro and Meg Kelly/NPRDomenico Montanaro and Meg Kelly/NPR
Let's step back and explain that for a second; and this is tricky, so stay with us.
First, understand that the state party reported a grand total of 171,508 caucusgoers, the second-highest turnout in Iowa caucus history behind 2008. And no raw vote was '-- or is ever '-- broken out by candidate and recorded at the Democratic caucuses.
That's because in Iowa, it's a delegate game.
Iowa has a multistep process for picking delegates. Monday night was just Step 1. Here's how it works:
1. There were 1,683 precinct caucuses on Iowa caucus night.
2. Those precinct caucuses elected 11,065 delegates to the county conventions, which take place March 12.
3. That universe of 11,065 delegates is whittled down to 1,406 who will attend congressional district (April 30) and state conventions (June 18).
4. And here's the root of what's causing all the confusion: The breakdown of those 11,065 is not reported on caucus night.
5. What IS reported, what Clinton's 49.9 to 49.6 percent tracing-paper-thin lead is based on, is "state delegate equivalents."
6. Those are ESTIMATES of how many of those 11,065 will attend the congressional district and state conventions.
So ... when those coin tosses are happening, they are elected delegates in that larger universe.
That means, for Clinton to have picked up the four delegates, she would have had to have won not six in a row, but more like 47.
A coin flip? Really?
Yes, Iowa '-- and it's not alone '-- uses coin tosses to break ties in precincts that award an odd number of delegates.
For example: Let's say five delegates are set to be awarded in Precinct 1. There are 30 people for Clinton and 30 people for Sanders '-- and no one on either side can be swayed.
The result: Clinton and Sanders get two delegates apiece. What happens to the final delegate? The caucuses revert to, you guessed, it, a coin toss.
Does this happen often?
It's pretty rare in a normal race, but this was no normal race. Clinton and Sanders were separated by a razor-thin 0.3 percentage point, or four "state delegate equivalents" '-- 701 for Clinton, 697 for Sanders and eight for Martin O'Malley. It was the closest result in 40 years of the Iowa Democratic caucus.
What was that about 60 missing caucusgoers and a coin flip?
As NPR's Jessica Taylor reports, the Des Moines Register explained how a tie happened at one precinct: After 60 registered caucusgoers were missing since the initial tally, and O'Malley's supporters had been redistributed, Clinton was assigned four delegates and Sanders got three. But one remained unassigned based on the initial count:
"Unable to account for that numerical discrepancy and the orphan delegate it produced, the Sanders campaign challenged the results and precinct leaders called a Democratic Party hot line set up to advise on such situations.
"Party officials recommended they settle the dispute with a coin toss. A Clinton supporter correctly called 'heads' on a quarter flipped in the air, and Clinton received a fifth delegate."
Could this happen again this year?
It's pretty unlikely, but not impossible. Again, as Taylor reports, seemingly unusual tiebreak methods are not new in politics. According to the National Council of State Legislatures, Wyoming uses coin tosses to break ties. Last year in Mississippi, the winner of a seat in the state Legislature was determined by drawing straws.
Brett Neely also contributed to this report.
VIDEO-L. TODD WOOD: Russia deploys frontline fighter jets to Syria amid Turkish tension - Washington Times
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 13:29
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said Monday that Su-35 fighters have been deployed to Hemeimeem air base in Syria. The Su-35 is Russia's most advanced fighter that is fielded in significant numbers. NATO designates the aircraft as the SU-35S Flanker-E.
''Starting from last week, super-maneuverable Su-35S fighter jets started performing combat missions at Khmeimim airbase,'' Maj. Gen. Konashenkov told the Russian state news agency, TASS.
Overall, U.S. defense officials are quite impressed with this latest Flanker variant. ''It's a great airplane and very dangerous, especially if they make a lot of them,'' one senior U.S. military official with extensive experience on fifth-generation fighters told me some time ago. ''I think even an AESA [active electronically scanned array-radar equipped F-15C] Eagle and [Boeing F/A-18E/F] Super Hornet would both have their hands full,'' reported National Interest.
In addition to providing hi-tech protection for its ground attack aircraft in theater, the Syrian conflict will allow Moscow to test the new weapon system in combat conditions. Currently at least four of the new aircraft are in theater and will also allow Moscow to market the system to China and other militaries as a combat proven weapon system.
The deployment also sends a message to Turkey that, in combination with the S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, Russia can defend its aircraft anywhere in theater with weapon systems equal to or even more capable than NATO can field.
VIDEO-John Cleese: Political Correctness Will Lead To An Orwellian Nightmare | Zero Hedge
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 06:39
John Cleese says political correctness has gone too far, especially on America's college campuses, where he will no longer go to perform. As BigThink reports, the very essence of his trade '-- comedy '-- is criticism and that not infrequently means hurt feelings. But protecting everyone from negative emotion all the time is not only impractical (one can't control the feelings of another), but also improper in a free society.
Cleese, having worked with psychiatrist Robin Skynner, says there may even be something more sinister behind the insistence to be always be politically correct.
"If you start to say we mustn't, we mustn't criticize or offend them then humor is gone. With humor goes a sense of proportion. And then as far as I'm concerned you're living in 1984."
157 seconds of Python-esque reality from Mr Cleese on just how silly all this PC-ness really is...
">
Average:Your rating: NoneAverage: 4.8(22 votes)
VIDEO-Clinton voter fraud Polk County Iowa Caucus | Video | C-SPAN.org
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 06:15
Created by an anonymous useron February 1, 2016
Caucus chair and Clinton precinct captain do not conduct actual count of Clinton supporters and deliberately mislead caucus
Javascript must be enabled in order to access C-SPAN videos.
*This transcript was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
Hosting OrganizationSeriesClips from This VideoRelated VideoOctober 24, 2015Presidential Candidates at the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson DinnerCandidates for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O'Malley,'...
October 24, 2015Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton Meet-and-Greet at the Iowa Jefferson-Jackson DinnerFormer Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a candidate for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination, mingled with'...
February 1, 2016Martin O'Malley Caucus Night SpeechFormer Maryland Governor and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley delivered remarks at his Iowa'...
January 30, 2016Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly Campaigning for Hillary ClintonFormer U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, campaigned for former'...
VIDEO-Alphabet to overtake Apple in market cap
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 00:05
Hard times in Atlantic CityThu, Jan 28, 2016 -(1:54)
What is Zika?Thu, Jan 28, 2016 -(0:53)
Fifth aniversary of Egypt's 2011 uprisngTue, Jan 26, 2016 -(2:15)
Famous Faces of the World Economic Forum 2016Fri, Jan 22, 2016 -(1:18)
Gaza's parkour teamThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(0:44)
Kicking the habit in KabulThu, Jan 21, 2016 -(1:27)
The hottest year everWed, Jan 20, 2016 -(0:29)
Young Syrians dream of homeTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(2:15)
Martin Luther King Jr. DayTue, Jan 19, 2016 -(1:47)
Turn and face the strange: David Bowie dies...Mon, Jan 11, 2016 -(1:03)
Swimming in SiberiaThu, Jan 07, 2016 -(0:45)
One year anniversary of Charlie HebdoThu, Jan 07, 2016 -(1:37)
Federal government in armed stand-off with...Wed, Jan 06, 2016 -(1:22)
Images of DecemberTue, Jan 05, 2016 -(1:00)
Algeria's Tattooed womenMon, Jan 04, 2016 -(1:01)
What did you Google in 2015?Thu, Dec 31, 2015 -(0:35)
The stories of Japan's wartime ''comfort women''Wed, Dec 30, 2015 -(1:47)
Hundreds of fighters and civilians escape...Wed, Dec 30, 2015 -(0:59)
A look at the strangest scenes from 2015Wed, Dec 23, 2015 -(0:43)
A world of Christmas treesTue, Dec 22, 2015 -(1:36)
Reuters most captivating animal pictures of...Tue, Dec 22, 2015 -(0:46)
Santa Claus is coming to townMon, Dec 21, 2015 -(1:27)
The year in 60 seconds: 2015Wed, Dec 02, 2015 -(1:01)
Being Darth VaderWed, Dec 16, 2015 -(0:54)
Chelsea sack 'Special One' MourinhoFri, Dec 18, 2015 -(0:44)
Serena Williams wins SI Sportsperson of the...Thu, Dec 17, 2015 -(0:51)
Behind The Scenes of 'The Nutcracker'Mon, Dec 14, 2015 -(0:48)
Talking Climate COP21Sun, Dec 13, 2015 -(1:48)
Reuters Pictures of the Year 2015Wed, Dec 09, 2015 -(1:33)
The disappearance of Aletsch GlacierThu, Dec 03, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of NovemberMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:01)
The disappearance of Lake PowellMon, Nov 30, 2015 -(1:14)
The Utmost Bliss Dharma AssemblyFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(1:06)
The universe in false color imageryFri, Nov 27, 2015 -(0:41)
Images of OctoberMon, Nov 02, 2015 -(1:00)
Images of SeptemberFri, Oct 02, 2015 -(1:00)
VIDEO-LouisCK.net | Horace and Pete: Episode 1
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:28
LouisCK.net | Purchase 'Horace and Pete: Episode 1'HTTP/1.1 200 OK Cache-Control: max-age=0 Content-Encoding: gzip Content-Type: text/html; charset=UTF-8 Date: Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:28:01 GMT Expires: Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:28:01 GMT Server: Apache Set-Cookie: louisck=yXwYcJ1ccErOctnIKRlW5iKGhBUyaBPK4ja1YH0bQHX994QS28Cn0Gui685G_tfCPuMVw-zgVrFm8BWsz--qjloCmo--EBM16TDkO9Wn0UTBEz0c1q9KQGo1YitkXMDldQo4ahPEW1DMeNDOXcmAblW9WWDxbnfVhiJcNUH-7xp6Z9Yohshcqm8asZ7Kc64Qr7XREtAxsiiig8oJvn-6_ljNid0S5PqduJiJ-2_eZgKaPq_rGi76w9RO8CiQlLM6Y7gEl7T4-TGJGj1yJcayZ24g_V3_OxGPWdm6Sik5s7yRzr_LJ0evj-_u_LXfBFZrmY86qu3pVp30OuMqwHSbCKhijH3CljQI_5QYqLsposWD0jniOSIinsEGKofsklEXPI16CEEku9OqlaxHZAIU7HIAgr24D5wz-cIZdwIdQEFN0unD3bCQ2nn7bVM_fNJzC7X-k4f05Rlq5C-aCqKHr1eopabVNMzLFI9Dl8mp_Z4fT45uV10_LI10OItdCyE6gPB6BpZ68bhNaQsvaLUglnM3VjUyOHBlQWI5aVlialVkaGpWYndTenl6OFJoQk9VLWd0Yk1NOVQyRE0; expires=Tue, 02-Feb-2016 03:28:01 GMT; Max-Age=14400; path=/; secure Strict-Transport-Security: max-age=31536000; includeSubDomains Vary: Accept-Encoding X-Content-Type-Options: nosniff X-Frame-Options: DENY X-UA-Compatible: IE=edge X-XSS-Protection: 1; mode=block Content-Length: 5638 Connection: keep-alive
VIDEO-Sarah Palin explodes after 'Today' anchors force her to explain why she blamed Obama for son's arrest
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 20:20
Sarah Palin explodes after 'Today' anchors force her to explain why she blamed Obama for son's arrest
US 'make rape legal' group plans worldwide anti-woman event in 43 countries
Experts: Christian doctrine is causing the Zika virus outbreak to explode
Cops use Taser on cleaning woman after mistaking her for burglar '-- then charge her with evading arrest
Texas pastor begs God to smite UFC fighter 'with a lightning bolt' because he threatened to punch Jesus
Even Ted Cruz's family thinks he's creepy '-- and here are four ways we know that
Vicious Sandy Hook truther won't get probation '-- so he'll try to prove slain teacher never existed
Texas Supreme Court sides with Bible-thumping cheerleaders in church vs. state battle
Hacker defaces Bernie Sanders' Reddit forum ahead of Iowa caucus
Fox guest: Republicans shouldn't 'bother' with blacks because they vote like Democratic slaves
VIDEO-Why Gyroscopes Proves Flat Earth - Case Closed - YouTube
Mon, 01 Feb 2016 13:22
VIDEO-President Obama's Sore Throat Consistent With Acid Reflux, Doctor Says - ABC News
Sun, 31 Jan 2016 22:16
The sore throat that sent President Obama to the hospital for tests today is consistent with acid reflux and will be treated accordingly, his doctor said today.
The tests came after Obama made an unusual and unexpected trip to Walter Reed medical center for a CT scan recommended by his doctor to check out inflamed tissue in hiss throat.
The results of the scan were normal, Dr. Ronny Jackson, Obama's physician, said.
"The president's symptoms are consistent with soft tissue inflammation related to acid reflux and will be treated accordingly," Jackson said in a written statement released by the White House.
Jackson recommended the scan after an ear, nose, and throat specialist from Ft. Belvoir Medical Center conducted a fiber-optic exam of the president's throat Saturday morning, under Jackson's supervision, "based on symptoms of a sore throat over the past couple weeks.
After that exam revealed swelling in Obama's throat, Jackson recommended "further evaluation with a routine CT scan," the doctor said.
"There's a lot in this story that didn't seem to hold true with what you'd normally see," ABC News Chief Medial and Health Editor Dr. Richard Besser said. "Normally for a sore throat, initially you'll do a test for strep. If it goes on for a couple of weeks, you might do a scope, but not a CT. It may be that he is a former smoker, he's the president of the United States -- you'll often see presidents get extra testing."
With nothing on Obama's schedule for the day, the presidential motorcade departed hastily just after 2 p.m., catching reporters off guard, for a rainy, 30-minute ride to the military hospital in Bethesda, Md.
It's unusual for a president to seek medical care outside the White House, but Press Secretary Josh Earnest insisted to reporters via email, during the president's visit to Walter Reed, that Obama's condition was not serious and that the president "has been complaining of a sore throat" and that Jackson had recommended some "diagnostic tests."
It was a quick visit: Obama's motorcade pulled out of the Walter Reed parking lot fewer than 30 minutes after it pulled in.
What treatment the president will receive depends on the severity of the symptoms and how long he has been experiencing them, Besser said.
"If this is the start of the symptoms for him, you would take a slow approach," Besser said. "You would have him raise the head of his bed, stop smoking, if he's still smoking, cut down on alcohol, and cut back on those foods that are causing problems. Only if those things don't work do you go with the medication."

Art

Image
Load image
Image
Load image

Caliphate!

Passenger jet lands safely after hole blown in fuselage.mp3

Earon

Jews vs Kerry on Iran Deal.pdf
KERRY IN DAVOS-IRAN ONLY 55B CHINA THE REST WTF?.mp3
Kerry on Morning Joe about Iran only $%% Billion.mp3

Elections 2016

Brian Williams Proclaims to Be the Purveyor of Truth and Justice.mp3
CNN 'Big Deal' E-Mail Scandal With Hillary.mp3
CNN'S BRIAN TODD Marvels at Real Time Voting and Counting Live on International Television.mp3
Cruz preaching over Iowa win.mp3
F-Bomb Dropped on Live MSNBC Election Coverage.mp3
frank_gaffney_dan_bongino_hillary_email.m4a
Jeb Bush-Please clap-ISO.mp3
Jeb Bush-Please clap.mp3
Maddow, Williams-Democrats Move About at Caucuses Like 'Herds'.mp3
Morning Joe-Trump-Iowa spending 300 pv vs Jeb 5200pv.mp3
MSNBS'S Nicolle Wallace Speaking for Establishment, Touts Trump Campaign.mp3
Oreilley-Krauthammer-Biden-Warren 2016 Meme On Fox.m4a
Sarah Palin defends agains TODAY show ptsd lie.mp3
Load image

JCD Clips

aussies shipping refugees to island.mp3
cruz douchebad ONE.mp3
cruz douchebag TWO.mp3
germany versus russia wweirdness.mp3
gilean hep c and the VA.mp3
google in the EU and Snowden.mp3
hillary and the big lie about Doldman.mp3
hillary ISO conversation.mp3
hillary wild sentence.mp3
saudi pot beheading.mp3
weird farage clip.mp3
zika in florida.mp3
zika lindmeyer who.mp3

Migrants

‘One document to fit all’ – police push for coordinated migrant registration.mp3
Diplomatic failure as UN suspends Syrian peace talks.mp3
Syria- world leaders ask for massive aid donation.mp3

Obama Nation

Obama At Islamic Society of Baltimore.mp3
Obama- We Do Not Suppress Islam.mp3

Shut Up Slave!

Armed Svc CMte-Sen McCaskil-US Military Leaders Agree- Women Should Register for the Draft.mp3
Whoopi Goldberg Trashes PC Culture- Don’t Hyphenate America!.mp3

Vaccine$

WHO concerned over Zika sexual transmission reports.mp3
Loading troll messages...