AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1801472 times)

Offline knarf

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Across the UK, young people strike for action on climate change
« Reply #12405 on: April 12, 2019, 05:09:45 PM »

Another Friday, another strike. Young people across the UK took to the streets on Friday to demand action to fix the climate change crisis, according to the Guardian.

Protestors in London were spotted carrying a green banner asking for a Green New Deal, an American proposal to transform the country's energy infrastructure and reduce carbon emissions.

This student-led protest comes in the wake of a government report showing that the UK will miss its 2025 and 2030 emissions targets.

Thousands of young people participated. They marched in cities like London, Cambridge, and Birmingham, according to the UK Student Climate Network.

"This is my future not yours, that’s why I care ... We’re striking today on our school holiday, which shows that we’re willing to take time off our holiday to protest because it’s such an important cause," Aida Freij, 13, told the Guardian.

This demonstration is part of an ongoing campaign called #FridaysForFuture, which was started by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg.

The climate activist began the movement in August 2018, when she skipped school for three weeks and sat on the steps of the Swedish parliament building. She's continued protesting and leading strikes since September.

On March 15, Thunberg and kids from around the world went on strike, carrying powerful signs that called for action on climate change. It goes to show, young people really are the future.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline K-Dog

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Re: Knarf's Knewz Channel
« Reply #12406 on: April 12, 2019, 10:17:45 PM »
Miss Muffet?
Under ideal conditions of temperature and pressure the organism will grow without limit.

Offline knarf

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As India plays host to the biggest democratic election in history, the country’s rampant anti-Christian sentiment has being coming to the fore. Some 900 million people are eligible to vote in the election, which has been dubbed as something of a referendum on current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Burning a Thousand Bibles

According to Open Doors USA, India is the tenth most-persecuted nation on Earth in which to live as a Christian. The predominant religion, Hinduism, has within it a radical sect that is fiercely anti-Christian. Many instances of beatings, public humiliation and even murder have been reported over the last few years.

“Driven by a desire to cleanse their country from Islam and Christianity, nationalists do not shy away from using extensive violence to achieve their goals,” Open Doors USA noted in its factsheet.

More recently, however, an incident of desecration was caught on camera — the public burning of a thousand Bibles.

“Radical Hindus seized and burned these Bibles and threatened the Christians who were legally distributing them,” International Christian Concern wrote in its report of the incident. “Satan, is committed to silencing God’s Word, and he will use people to fit his agenda. Please join with us in praying for those who destroy Bibles even as we replace Scripture!”

You can help replace the Bibles that were lost by clicking here.

Despite this blatant show of intolerance and anti-Christian bias, the faithful community of Jesus-followers in this region continue to stay strong.

“Persecution is like a blessing for me,” said one pastor close to the Bible burning incident. “Everybody does not get this privilege, to suffer for His name sake.”

Despite the archaic “caste system” and systemic religious persecution, India actually has one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Since Prime Minister Modi was last elected in 2014, almost $200 billion has been invested by foreign companies such as Amazon, Apple and Walmart.

Do continue to pray for all those around the world who suffer for their faith in Jesus.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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At $6.99 a month, Disney+ will start a streaming price war
« Reply #12408 on: April 13, 2019, 04:36:49 AM »

The Disney+ home screen

New York (CNN Business)Disney just showed everyone how it plans to beat Netflix: Create an exclusive home for some of the world's most popular movies, shows and characters, and charge a shockingly low price for it.
The company on Thursday unveiled its long-awaited streaming service, Disney+. It will cost just $6.99 per month — about half the price of a standard Netflix subscription.
Disney+ has already sent waves through the media and entertainment world.
"I'm sure this was a signal to Netflix and everybody else out there that's charging $4, $5, $6 more than this," said Trip Miller, a Disney shareholder and managing partner at Gullane Capital Partners. "They're here to take market share and eyeballs away from the competition."

At the company's investor day in Los Angeles, Disney (DIS) said it expects the new service to have 60 to 90 million global subscribers by 2025. By that year, the company plans to be investing more than $2 billion in cash on original programming.
Those subscriber targets explain why Disney is offering its service at what one expert called a "fire sale" price.
"This is a big meteor dropping into the middle of [the media industry], and it's going to have ripple effects," said Larry Downes, project director at Georgetown's Center for Business and Public Policy. He studies telecommunications and streaming services.

The competition won't have much time to adjust. Disney+ will be available in the United States on November 12, and it will roll out worldwide over the next few years.
It's unclear how long Disney will be able to hold to its $6.99 price point. Other streaming competitors, including Netflix, continue to raise prices. But right now, Disney is mostly concerned with gaining customers in a crowded field, so it set its price to accomplish that.
"What they really want to do is buy subscribers and get them hooked on the service," Downes said.
A library of exclusives
Other than the price, Disney has another killer feature: its content.
Disney executives wasted no time explaining how much content is going to be exclusive to the service. There's the company's extensive back catalog of animated Disney movies, including "Bambi," "The Jungle Book" and "Aladdin." The service will also have Pixar, Marvel and "Star Wars" films — including the original "Star Wars" trilogy, which suggests the company bought back the rights to those films from CNN's parent, WarnerMedia.
Disney flaunted a few movies and TV series it picked up when it acquired most of 21st Century Fox, too, including "The Simpsons." All 30 seasons of the beloved animated comedy will be available on Disney+ from day one.
Disney plans to have more than two dozen original series and several original movies during the platform's first year of release. Within five years, that number is expected to double.

The competition
Disney isn't just in a battle with Netflix. It's fighting against Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN) and AT&T's (T) WarnerMedia. Some competitors, including Netflix, have pointed out that other forms of entertainment like the video game Fortnite are vying for people's attention spans, too.
But Disney has some serious advantages over many of its other streaming peers, according to Miller.
Netflix may have a big head start on subscribers, but that service is losing licensed content from former partners, including Disney. Netflix is trying to hedge against those losses by investing billions of dollars in original content, but it's tough to predict how much staying power that content will have.
"I think it's pretty hard to just invent brands that everyone is going to love," he added.
Netflix is also a business that is built on streaming, and its bottom line reflects that. The company is burning through billions of dollars in cash every year as it cements its worldwide foothold.

Disney, meanwhile, has an empire that is built on a lot more than just a streaming service. There are Disney theme parks and Disney Princess branded merchandise. New Marvel and "Star Wars" movies come out every year — since 2006, the company has made $37 billion at the box office, it said Thursday.
"They can miss on this streaming delivery platform," Miller said. "They can stumble and mess this up for a few years."
Still, it's a safe assumption that Disney will market its new service as much as possible. Executives on Thursday repeatedly pointed out that the company's slate of major theatrical releases, including "Dumbo" and "Frozen 2," will be exclusive to Disney+ when they are ready for home release.
Disney also has the technological infrastructure in place when "Frozen"-obsessed children start begging their parents for a subscription. Two years ago, the company acquired a majority stake in BAMTech, which provides streaming video technology. That company, now called Disney Streaming Services, created the infrastructure for Disney+ and its streaming cousin, ESPN+.
"It's not like they are creating some sort of interface that no one's ever done before," Miller said. "I think Disney's got the technology in place ... to satisfy and service the demand."
A tightrope to walk
Disney needs to strike a delicate balance. It's essentially telling people that it is holding all of their favorite movies and TV shows hostage for $6.99 a month. That may or may not be a viable strategy.
"Relying on exclusivity as a way to get subscribers is a risk," Downes said. Putting everything on one platform can close off other sources of revenue.

Licensing shows to Netflix — and its 139 million worldwide subscribers — is a way to generate a lot of income. For example, Netflix reportedly paid WarnerMedia at least $80 million for the rights to stream "Friends" this year.
"You're trading that income for the expectation of big subscriber growth. That's the gamble that they are taking," Downes said of Disney.
Disney also has major relationships with cable companies that it can't ignore. Downes said that Disney will want to keep its streaming audience as separate as possible from the group of people who subscribe to cable packages, which include Disney-owned channels like ESPN and Freeform.
"If it starts to blur too much, then they have to reconsider," he added.
At Thursday's event, Disney executives assured investors that the company remains committed to traditional cable packages.
"I'm actually not sure this will have an effect on the trajectory of the current bundle," CEO Bob Iger said.
Wall Street's 'leap of faith'
Wall Street loved Disney+. Investors sent the stock soaring 10% Friday, on pace for Disney stock's best single-day performance in a decade.
But it will take some time before the world knows whether Disney's strategy will succeed. Disney's streaming ambitions don't just revolve around Disney+ — there's also ESPN+, the sports service, and Hulu, which has more adult programming. Disney has majority control over Hulu, but Comcast (CMCSA) and WarnerMedia also share ownership.
Disney executives talked Thursday about potentially bundling all three services together for people who want them. But it also set individual subscriber targets, with plans to reach profitability across streaming within five years.
Downes described the current media landscape as a period of "intense experimentation" — one in which all of the major players are forced to participate.
"Can anyone guarantee who's going to survive or what's going to work? No," he added.

For Disney, success might just all come down to execution.
"They've got something that everybody wants," Miller said. "This is all about them getting the delivery right."

« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 04:40:13 AM by knarf »
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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Facebook spent $22.6m to keep Mark Zuckerberg safe last year
« Reply #12409 on: April 13, 2019, 04:51:01 AM »
Security costs for the tech billionaire and his family more than doubled last year, as an outcry over Facebook’s practices grew

Mark Zuckerberg out running with bodyguards in Berlin in 2016. Personal security topped his 2018 security costs.

Facebook more than doubled the money it spent on top executive Mark Zuckerberg’s security in 2018 to $22.6m, a regulatory filing has showed.

Zuckerberg drew a base salary of $1 for the past three years, and his “other” compensation was listed at $22.6m, most of which was for his personal security.

Nearly $20m went toward security for Zuckerberg and his family, up from about $9 million the year prior. Zuckerberg also received $2.6m for personal use of private jets, which the company said was part of his overall security program.

Facebook in the past few years has faced public outcry over its role in the spread of disinformation and political propaganda online, data breaches and privacy concerns.

It includes Russia’s alleged influence on the 2016 US presidential election and revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy hired by Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, obtained personal data from millions of Facebook profiles without consent.

Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg took home $23.7m in 2018 compared to $25.2m last year.

Separately, Facebook said Netflix chief executive officer Reed Hastings would vacate his seat on the social media company’s board and not be nominated for re-election.

Hastings’ departure comes as the Menlo Park-based company beefs up its push into videos. Hastings has served on Facebook’s board since 2011.

The company also said it would nominate PayPal’s senior vice president of core markets, Peggy Alford, to its board in place of University of North Carolina President Emeritus Erskine Bowles, who will also not be re-nominated.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline Ashvin

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Money is essentially any fungible resource that can be used as a medium of exchange. Therefore it can't be eradicated.

That is ridiculous.  Numerous societies have functioned through history without money.  Besides that, fungibility is only one aspect of money in working as a medium of exchange.  Generally speaking though, money is the extension of credit to access resources.  Before tokens were added, money was simply counting notches on sticks.  It's just an abstraction to allocate resources.


What historical society functioned without some means of allocating resources?

Anyway, even without money however we define that, various hierarchies will necessarily develop in society and there will be inequality.

I never said they didn't have a means of allocating resources.  You are writing falsehoods again.  I said they didn't use money.

Hierarchies do develop, it's the spread between the lowest and the highest that causes problems when it becomes too wide.


Yes, of course. In my original post, I made clear that the evolution of competence hierarchies which increasingly realize the variable talents of its members comes at the price of disproportionately increasing inequality. And I made clear the question becomes what inequality price we are willing to pay (and this question is best resolved by unimpeded dialogue between the left and right).

You seem to be one of the people, who I also mentioned in my OP, that is not willing to pay any inequality price or a very small one. You would rather have everyone subsist at a very low standard of living than have everyone subsist at higher standards of living but also wide disparities in standards of living. Even the standard of living you are at now is only made possible by a high inequality price, especially since it involves computer technology.

Offline knarf

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Head of counterterror policing says there will not be an 'explosion in arrests'

New counterterror laws likened to “thought crime” by a United Nations inspector have come into force.

A raft of new measures mean people can be jailed for viewing terrorist propaganda online, entering “designated areas” abroad and making “reckless expressions” of support for proscribed groups.

The government also lengthened prisons sentences for several terror offences, ended automatic early release for convicts and put them under stricter monitoring after they are freed.

Sajid Javid said the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act 2019 gives “police the powers they need to disrupt terrorist plots earlier and ensure that those who seek to do us harm face just punishment”.

“As we saw in the deadly attacks in London and Manchester in 2017, the threat from terrorism continues to evolve and so must our response, which is why these vital new measures have been introduced,” the home secretary added.

MPs had urged the government to scrap plans to criminalise viewing “information useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism”, which goes further than much-used laws that made physically collecting, downloading or disseminating the material illegal.

A report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights said the offence, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, “is a breach of the right to receive information and risks criminalising legitimate research and curiosity”.

A United Nations inspector accused the government of straying towards “thought crime”.

Professor Joe Cannataci said: “It seems to be pushing a bit too much towards thought crime…the difference between forming the intention to do something and then actually carrying out the act is still fundamental to criminal law.”

Original proposals said people would have to access propaganda “on three or more different occasions” to commit a terror offence, but the benchmark was removed meaning a single click is now illegal.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of UK counterterror policing, previously told The Independent the law accounted for changes in online behaviour.

“Five years ago everyone would download stuff and keep it on their hard drive – now they don’t,” he said in January.

“The law has been controversial but it has come out of good, practical cases … we’re talking about people who are a serious threat here, not people who are researching academics or writing treaties trying to help us solve the problem.”

Mr Basu said he did not expect “an explosion in arrests and charges” as a result of the changes, which target “precursor offending” to terror attacks.

It is now illegal to recklessly express support for, or publish images of flags, emblems or clothing in a way which suggests people are a member or supporter of a proscribed organisation.

The law has extended extra-territorial jurisdiction for a number of terrorism offences, including inviting support for a banned group and making explosives.

It will also see people entering “designated areas” abroad without a reasonable excuse jailed for up to 10 years.

The areas are yet to be defined by the government, but are expected to include territory controlled by terrorist groups and war zones.

The Independent understands that because the law exempts people who remain in such areas involuntarily, it cannot be applied to British Isis members captured in Syria.

It also cannot be applied retrospectively to hundreds of Isis supporters who have already returned to the UK. Only one and 10 have so far been prosecuted.

The government accepted amendments to create specific exemptions including humanitarian work, journalism and funerals after NGOs raised human rights concerns.
The full provisions that have commenced today:

    create an offence of reckless expressions of support for a proscribed organisation;
    create an offence of publication of images, and a police power to seize items as evidence, related to a proscribed organisation;
    create an offence of obtaining or viewing terrorist material over the internet;
    create an offence of entering or remaining in a designated area;
    amend the offences of encouragement of terrorism and dissemination of terrorist publications;
    extend extra-territorial jurisdiction for certain offences including inviting support for a proscribed organisation;
    increase maximum sentences for terrorism offences;
    make extended sentences available for terrorism offences – ending automatic early release and allowing a longer period on licence;
    strengthen notification requirements on convicted terrorists, and introduce greater powers to enter and search their homes;
    extend Serious Crime Prevention Orders for terrorism offences;
    introduce further traffic regulations; and
    provide for a statutory review of Prevent

Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline RE

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You would rather have everyone subsist at a very low standard of living than have everyone subsist at higher standards of living but also wide disparities in standards of living.

Everyone can't subsist at a higher standard of living.  That's the problem.

Save As Many As You Can

Offline knarf

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Canada Joins the World in a Social Media Crackdown
« Reply #12413 on: April 13, 2019, 05:19:31 AM »
Unlike the last American presidential election, there was no obvious cybermeddling when Canadians voted in 2015 (nor, for that matter, are there signs of it in Alberta, where I’m writing this week’s newsletter as residents get ready to vote on Tuesday).

This week, however, Canada’s digital security and spy agency reiterated its warning that the country won’t be immune from foreign online interference in the federal election this October.

Canada’s federal government has been on to this for some time. It recently passed a law regulating foreign election interference through the social media giants Facebook, YouTube (which is owned by Google) and Twitter.

But when Karina Gould, the minister for democratic institutions, released the Communications Security Establishment’s report this week, she said she was frustrated by an apparent lack of willingness by those companies to take the issue seriously.

“I’m not feeling great about where we are right now,” Ms. Gould said.

For a government that has otherwise courted those companies to set up engineering centers, particularly around A.I., it was an extraordinary rebuke. And Ms. Gould doubled down. Given that lack of cooperation, Ms. Gould said that the government is scouring its existing laws to see what it can use to force compliance, and that it is looking around the world for examples of additional laws and regulations to introduce.

Here’s a quick guide as to how other governments are regulating social media or steps they are proposing:

• With a sweeping data privacy bill that went into effect almost a year ago, the European Union is widely seen as the world’s leader in regulating social media. It’s also encouraging other countries to match its measures, recently signing a data agreement with Japan. Adam Satariano wrote this definitive overview of how the regulations work.

Using the law, regulators in France fined Google 50 million euros this year, in part for not making it clear how it uses people’s data to sell advertising.

• After the horrific shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand, the Australian government rushed through a bill that would jail executives of social media and impose staggering fines if they fail to quickly remove “abhorrent violent material.” But my colleague Damien Cave, who also writes the Australia Letter, reported that Australia’s haste, with little in the way of consultations about the law, may leave it vulnerable to legal challenges.

In light of Australia’s actions, Damien also wrote a superb global overview on dealing with tech monoliths.

• On the same day that Ms. Gould spoke in Canada, a parliamentary committee in Britain released proposals for reining in social media companies, something that embattled Prime Minister Theresa May has said is a key priority.

• Singapore unveiled draft legislation this month to stop the spread of false information. Critics fear it may be used to stifle opponents of the government.

• In India, the government has proposed giving itself sweeping powers to remove internet content. Vindu Goel, one of my colleagues based there, found that many people are drawing comparisons with China’s internet censorship.

• Last year Germany started a crackdown on digital hate speech that was informed by its history, and that goes beyond even the European Union’s strict measures. It further tightened restrictions on data gathering by Facebook in February.

• And after long being a laggard on internet privacy and regulation, the United States is now taking interest.

Last month Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said that it was time to regulate his company.

And make sure you read this provocative column, published in Opinion this week by the longtime tech writer and, more recently, Times columnist Kara Swisher.

“Let me be clear — I love technology, including my deeply felt relationship with that iPhone that spans decades now,” she wrote. “But it has never been more urgent to put up some guardrails. While I do not consider the behemoth tech companies monsters, they can and do act monstrously.”
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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Russia Says ‘New World Order’ Being Formed
« Reply #12414 on: April 13, 2019, 03:17:10 PM »
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov declared today that the Western, liberal model of society is dying, and a new world order is taking its place. Lavrov made the comments at his annual meeting with students and professors at the Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy, reported Russian state news agency TASS.

“The Western liberal model of development, which particularly stipulates a partial loss of national sovereignty – this is what our Western colleagues aimed at when they invented what they called globalization – is losing its attractiveness and is no more viewed as a perfect model for all. Moreover, many people in the very western countries are skeptical about it,” Lavrov said.

According to him, global development is guided “by processes aimed at boosting multipolarity and what we call a polycentric world order.”
Tensions flare up in the Union State…again

“Clearly, multipolarity and the emergence of new centers of power in every way requires efforts to maintain global stability and search for a balance of interests and compromises, so diplomacy should play a leading role here,” Lavrov went on to say. “Particularly because there are a lot of issues that require generally acceptable solutions. These include regional conflicts, international terrorism, food security and environmental protection. This is why we believe that only diplomacy can help make agreements and reach sustainable decisions that will be accepted by all.

“The US and its allies are trying to impose their approaches on others,” Lavrov noted. “They are guided by a clear desire to preserve their centuries-long dominance in global affairs although from the economic and financial standpoint, the US – alone or with its allies – can no longer resolve all global economic and political issues,” he said.

“In order to preserve their dominance and recover their indisputable authority, they use blackmail and pressure. They don’t hesitate to blatantly interfere in the affairs of sovereign states.”
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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Charging Assange reflects dramatic shift in US approach
« Reply #12415 on: April 13, 2019, 03:24:21 PM »
WASHINGTON (AP) — The decision to seek the extradition of Julian Assange marked a dramatic new approach to the founder of WikiLeaks by the U.S. government, a shift that was signaled in the early days of the Trump administration.

President Barack Obama’s Justice Department had extensive internal debates about whether to charge Assange amid concerns the case might not hold up in court and would be viewed as an attack on journalism by an administration already taking heat for leak prosecutions.

But senior Trump administration officials seemed to make clear early on that they held a different view, dialing up the rhetoric on the anti-secrecy organization shortly after it made damaging disclosures about the CIA’s cyberespionage tools.

“WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” former CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in April 2017 in his first public speech as head of the agency.

“Assange and his ilk,” Pompeo said, seek “personal self-aggrandizement through the destruction of Western values.”

A week after the CIA director’s speech, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the arrest of Assange was a priority, part of a broader Justice Department crackdown on leakers.

“We’ve already begun to step up our efforts, and whenever a case can be made, we will seek to put some people in jail,” he said.

Pompeo, now secretary of state, declined Friday to discuss the issue, citing the now-active legal pursuit of Assange following his removal a day earlier by British authorities from the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.

The administration won’t say why they decided now to charge Assange with a single count of computer intrusion conspiracy that dates to 2010. Back then, WikiLeaks is alleged to have helped Chelsea Manning, then a U.S. Army intelligence analyst, crack a password that gave her higher-level access to classified computer networks.

Nor will they say whether the Obama administration had the same evidence that forms the basis of the indictment, or whether Assange will face additional counts if he is extradited to the United States.

But a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal and legal matters, traced the genesis of the indictment to what’s known as the “Vault 7 leak” in 2017, when WikiLeaks released thousands of pages of documents revealing details about CIA tools for breaking into targeted computers, cellphones and consumer electronics.

A former CIA software engineer was charged with violating the Espionage Act by providing the information to WikiLeaks and is to go on trial later this year in New York. And the leak was a tipping point in deciding to pursue Assange, the official said.

“Vault 7 was the nail in the coffin, so to speak,” the official said.

It ended years of ambivalence about what to do about Assange, who was hailed by many when WikiLeaks published hundreds of thousands of State Department cables and U.S. military documents, including many that revealed previously unknown facts about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the detainees held at the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Even today, Assange and WikiLeaks have supporters around the world, amid a debate over whether the dissemination of raw, unfiltered documents and data counts as journalism.

Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst behind the famed leak of the secret history of the Vietnam War known as the Pentagon Papers, called the charging of Assange an “ominous” effort to criminalize a necessary component of journalism.

“The charges are based on facts that were known throughout the Obama administration, which chose not to indict because of the obvious challenge to the First Amendment that would involve,” Ellsberg said in an Associated Press interview.

A former Justice Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions, said there was an extensive debate within the government over the feasibility of charging Assange with the publication of stolen, classified materials.

But prosecutors grew concerned that such a case would not hold up in court. Even though officials did not agree with Assange’s self-characterization as a journalist, the former official said, there was concern that it would be hard to justify charging him with actions that more conventional journalists take.

The former official said the department at the time was more amenable to bringing a case like the one ultimately brought — a narrower prosecution centered on a hacking conspiracy. It focuses on an entirely different violation that may obviate any First Amendment or press freedom concern.

“This is just charging a journalist with conspiracy to hack into computer systems, which is no different than breaking into a building or breaking into a classified safe,” said Mary McCord, a senior Justice Department national security official in the Obama administration. “And that’s not First Amendment protected activity.”

That is a widely held view in government, even among people generally sympathetic to the mission of the media.

“This was deliberate and malicious effort to cause harm to us, to U.S. national security interests, and I think it would be good if there is some accountability at last,” said David Pearce, who was U.S. ambassador to Algeria in 2010 when WikiLeaks released hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic cables. “So far there hasn’t been any accountability for Mr. Assange.”
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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 (CNN)For the first time "No Religion" has topped a survey of Americans' religious identity, according to a new analysis by a political scientist. The non-religious edged out Catholics and evangelicals in the long-running General Social Survey.
Ryan Burge, a political scientist at Eastern Illinois University and a Baptist pastor, found that 23.1% of Americans now claim no religion.

Catholics came in at 23.0%, and evangelicals were at 22.5%.
The three groups remain within the margin of error of each other though, making it a statistical tie. Over 2,000 people were interviewed in person for the survey.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

Offline knarf

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Gene-silencing: 'New class' of medicine reverses disease porphyria
« Reply #12417 on: April 13, 2019, 03:52:10 PM »

Sue Burrell no longer has severe bouts of pain.

Doctors have used a new type of medicine called "gene silencing" to reverse a disease that leaves people in crippling pain.

The condition, acute intermittent porphyria, also causes paralysis and is fatal in some cases.

The novel approach fine-tunes the genetic instructions locked in our DNA.

Doctors say they are "genuinely surprised" how successful it is and that the same approach could be used in previously untreatable diseases.
How bad is porphyria?

Sue Burrell, from Norfolk, has endured pain few could imagine and needed to take strong opioid painkillers every day.

At one point her porphyria was causing severe attacks every couple of weeks and needed hospital treatment.

But even then morphine did not stop the pain.

She told the BBC it was worse than child-birth, saying: "It's so intense - so strong it's in your legs, in your back, and it just resonates everywhere. It's really, really unbearable."

Her sister was affected even more severely and was completely paralysed in hospital for two years.

What is porphyria?

There are several types of porphyria, but each is caused by the body being unable to produce enough of a substance called haem.

Haem is a key component of the haemoglobin in red blood cells that transport oxygen around the body.

Problems in the body's haem manufacturing process can lead to a build up of toxic proteins.

These cause the attacks of physical pain in Sue's form of the disease. In other porphyrias the proteins can cause skin problems.

There is some speculation King George III had porphyria.

Sue was one of the patients on the trial and is now taking the drug.

She says her life has been transformed.

"I've had pain for 10 years, I didn't expect that could go away. I'm seeing friends and they're [asking] 'you're not taking any painkillers?' and I was [saying] 'no!'."

A clinical trial on 94 people across 18 countries was presented at the International Liver Congress in Vienna.

The therapy cut the number of severe attacks by 74%.

And 50% of patients were completely clear of attacks that needed hospital treatment, compared to 16% given a dummy treatment.

One person dropped out of the study due to side effects.

So how does it work?

The treatment uses an approach called gene silencing.

A gene is part of our DNA that contains the blueprint for making proteins, such as hormones, enzymes or raw building materials.

But our DNA is locked away inside a cell's nucleus and kept apart from a cell's protein-making factories.

So our bodies use a short strand of genetic code, called messenger RNA, to bridge the gap and carry the instructions.

This drug, called givosiran, kills the messenger in a process known as RNA interference.

In acute intermittent porphyria it lowers the levels of an enzyme involved in haem production and prevents the build-up of toxic proteins.
Is this a big deal?

Prof David Rees, from King's College London, treated patients taking part in the trial in the UK.

He told the BBC: "This is a really important treatment - it's innovative. Porphyria is one of the first conditions it has been used in successfully.

"I'm genuinely surprised how well it works in this condition and I think it offers a lot of hope for the future."
Could this treat other diseases?

Potentially yes, but it is still very early days.

Gene silencing has been used to treat a genetic disease that causes nerve damage and the US Food and Drug Administration said such medicines "have the potential to transform medicine".

A similar approach is also being investigated in Huntington's disease, which is caused by a toxic protein that kills brain cells.

Researchers are also looking into it as an alternative to statins for lowering cholesterol.

Barry Greene, the president of Alnylam, which developed the porphyria drug, told the BBC the latest findings were "heralding a brand new class of medicine".
Are people excited?

The field of gene silencing has been around for a long time.

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2006 went to the researchers who discovered RNA interference, which occurs naturally in our cells.

But the field is now getting to the point where it can be harnessed to help some patients.

Dr Alena Pance, from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, told the BBC News website: "I get excited about this, because targeting the messenger RNA allows the fine-tuning of the proteins that are involved in certain diseases.

"And therefore, perhaps for the first time, [it can] offer a tool to be able to control those diseases to very accurate levels.

"There are diseases that are very difficult to find treatment for, that with this technology might be possible to tackle."
Is this like gene therapy?

Kind of.

Gene therapy permanently alters the hard copy of the genetic instructions in DNA.

This can be beneficial as it means you need treatment only once, but could also be more risky. If anything goes wrong, such as accidentally editing the wrong part of the genetic code, it cannot be undone.

Gene silencing leaves the original DNA alone, but targets the instructions that it sends out into the cell.

The downside is you need to keep taking the treatment for the therapy to work.

The two approaches are likely to have roles in different diseases.

Gene therapy has greater potential in diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy where a vital protein for keeping muscles intact is missing.

Gene silencing has more potential where tweaking levels of a protein will affect the course of a disease.
Will anybody be able to afford it?

This is the million dollar question, almost literally, as so far genetic medicines have been expensive.

A recent gene therapy for a rare form of blindness was priced at $850,000 (£650,000) for the one-off treatment.

How much the monthly injections of givosiran will be is still unknown.

The hope will be that as the field develops, the costs will eventually come down.

Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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High water pushed up the Yukon River from the Bering Sea floods gardens around homes in the western village of Kotlik, Alaska, in February. Warm winds had melted or pushed away Bering Sea ice, leaving coastal villages vulnerable to winter flooding. Philomena Keys via AP

Scientists who study the northern Bering Sea say they’re seeing changed ocean conditions that were projected by climate models – but not until 2050.

The rapid changes are leading researchers to wonder if ecosystems near the Bering Strait are undergoing a transformation.

The Bering Sea saw record-low sea ice last winter. Oceanographer Phyllis Stabeno says it’s too early to attribute the changes to climate change and she expected a bounce-back this winter.

Instead, warm February winds cleared most of the Bering Sea of ice.

The Iditarod trail sledge dog race passes icebergs in open water on Norton Sound on the approach to Nome, Alaska

University of Alaska Fairbanks physical oceanographer Seth Danielson says the changes are triggering biological effects.

Commercially valuable fish such as walleye pollack and Pacific cod moved farther north last year. Seabird experts say a seabird die-off that occurred may be tied to changing ocean conditions.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 04:06:04 PM by knarf »
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'

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It’s 2018 — yet 767 million people continue to live in extreme poverty, struggling to survive on less than $1.90 per day. Every day, too many children wake up not knowing whether they will have food to eat, school to attend, or clean water and sanitation — and women and girls often suffer the most.
Meanwhile, 42 individuals hold as much money as the poorest 50% of the globe. This can’t be right.

The good news? The number of people living in extreme poverty has halved since 1990 — and we have a plan to reach zero. In 2015, world leaders agreed to 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end extreme poverty, fight inequality, and stop climate change by 2030. But we need another $300-$400 billion every year to achieve this.

Sounds crazy? What if we told you that there are 2,208 billionaires in the world — and between them, they possess a total of USD $9.1 trillion? Their wealth increases daily. They have the power to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and end extreme poverty.

If every billionaire committed to donate just 1% of their wealth towards achieving the SDGs, it’s estimated this would help save the lives of 6 million children — every single year, strengthen the healthcare systems of over 70 countries, secure an education for over 200 million children, and provide clean water and sanitation for millions more.

This inequality cannot go on. Add your name to our petition calling on the world’s richest people to help end extreme poverty.

Take Action: Sign Petition

Sign our petition calling on the world’s richest people to help end extreme poverty.
To the 2,208 billionaires of the world,


With a basic act of humanity, you have the ability to help create a world of peace and prosperity.


In 2015, all 193 countries of the UN agreed on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to achieve and prosperous and sustainable future for all. 


A world without extreme poverty is within our grasp if we enable the world’s poorest people to benefit from modern healthcare, education, and infrastructure. A modest portion of your great wealth, wisely allocated, can help them to do just that.   


By pledging a mere 1% of your wealth each year for the SDGs, you can ensure that every child goes to school, every mother and every child has access to life-saving healthcare, and everybody has the benefit of safe water, sanitation, and energy services.


The Move Humanity initiative is calling upon the world’s wealthiest individuals – those with $1 billion USD or more - to contribute at least 1% of their wealth each year towards the Sustainable Development Goals.  The initiative works with the UN, major global organisations such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, national governments, and civil society, to help ensure that the funds are well spent. 


We ask you to be a Global Citizen that helps to end extreme poverty and usher in an era of peace.   


Let’s #MoveHumanity together. Take the 1% pledge.
Mark Twain — 'There are many humorous things in the world; among them, the white man's notion that he is less savage than the other savages.'