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Offline knarf

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Global firms accused of importing timber linked to Amazon massacre
« Reply #9225 on: November 23, 2017, 03:45:01 PM »
Greenpeace alleges 12 companies continued to trade with Madeireira Cedroarana after its founder was accused of ordering torture and murder

More than a dozen US and European companies have been importing timber from a Brazilian logging firm whose owner is implicated in one of the most brutal Amazonian massacres in recent memory, according to a Greenpeace Brazil investigation.

The first-world buyers allegedly continued trading with Madeireira Cedroarana after police accused its founder, Valdelir João de Souza, of ordering the torture and murder of nine people in Colniza, Mato Grosso, on 19 April, claims the report by the NGO.

The state attorney alleges de Souza organised the assassinations to gain access to the forest where the victims – all smallholders – lived. Since the indictment on 15 May, the suspect has been on the run.

During this period, the fugitive’s company allegedly sold products to foreign firms who shipped them to the US, Germany, France, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada and Japan.

Greenpeace alleges these shipments may be in contravention of the US Lacey Act, which bans trade in timber that violates any foreign law, and the European Union’s timber regulation, which obliges companies to conduct due diligence to ensure there is “no more than a negligible risk that it has been illegally harvested.”

It lists the 13 companies involved as Pine Products, Lacey Wood Products, Mid-State Lumber Corp, South Florida Lumber, Wood Brokerage International, Vogel Import & Export, Delfin Germany, Tiger Deck, Global Timber, Centre Import Bois Méditerranée, Derlage Junior Hout, Global Gold Forest and Houthandel van der Hoek.


Greenpeace activists set up crosses in Brasília in memory of people killed during conflicts in the Amazon.

Even before this year’s massacre, the report alleges these firms should have hesitated to do business with Madeireira Cedroarana because it had accrued about £130,000 in unpaid federal fines for stocking and trading illegal timber. There also appears to be evidence of widespread fraud, timber laundering and killings of forest defenders in Amazon states including Mato Grosso.

Greenpeace urged US and European authorities to consider Brazilian timber to be at high risk of coming from an illegal source, and thus to oblige companies to go beyond official paperwork and to carry out third-party field audits.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/23/global-firms-accused-of-importing-timber-linked-to-amazon-massacre
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Budweiser begins space experiments aimed at brewing beer on Mars
« Reply #9226 on: November 23, 2017, 03:49:23 PM »


When Budweiser maker Anheuser-Busch announced earlier this year that it wanted to be the first company to brew beer on Mars, most commentators thought that it had its tongue lodged so firmly in its cheek that delicate surgery would be required to remove it.

But the beer brand clearly isn’t letting go of the idea, this week announcing that it’s “upholding its commitment” and moving forward with the first stage of the plan. It involves sending barley seeds to the International Space Station (ISS) this December to learn about how beer ingredients react in a microgravity environment.

Budweiser is predicting, perhaps wisely, that when we finally build a city on Mars, as hoped for by the likes of SpaceX CEO Elon Musk and officials in Dubai, its inhabitants may want to quaff a beer or two from time to time. And Budweiser wants to be there to brew it.

To get the ball rolling, the famous beer brand is partnering with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, which manages the ISS U.S. National Laboratories, and Space Tango, a payload development company that operates two commercial research facilities within the National Laboratory.

Working with Budweiser’s innovation team, the group will send two barley-based experiments to the ISS as part of the next SpaceX cargo supply mission, scheduled for December 4.

Budweiser’s barley seeds will stay in orbit for around a month before returning to Earth for analysis.

“Malting barley is a process that results in the high-quality malt used in the Budweiser enjoyed today, and the research on the ISS will unveil how the barley seeds react in a unique microgravity environment,” Budweiser said in a release.

“One of the experiments will focus on barley seed exposure, with the second testing barley germination. Not only will the research offer insights on steps to creating beer on the red planet, but it could also provide valuable information on the production of barley and the larger agricultural community here on Earth.”

In other words, if the ambitious Mars enterprise doesn’t work out, there could still be some benefits for those of us remaining here on Earth. Which is nice to know.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/budweiser-brew-beer-mars/
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A Split From Trump Indicates That Flynn Is Moving to Cooperate With Mueller
« Reply #9227 on: November 23, 2017, 03:52:08 PM »
Lawyers for Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, notified the president’s legal team in recent days that they could no longer discuss the special counsel’s investigation, according to four people involved in the case, an indication that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with prosecutors or negotiating a deal.

Mr. Flynn’s lawyers had been sharing information with Mr. Trump’s lawyers about the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining whether anyone around Mr. Trump was involved in Russian efforts to undermine Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

That agreement has been terminated, the four people said. Defense lawyers frequently share information during investigations, but they must stop when doing so would pose a conflict of interest. It is unethical for lawyers to work together when one client is cooperating with prosecutors and another is still under investigation.

The notification alone does not prove that Mr. Flynn is cooperating with Mr. Mueller. Some lawyers withdraw from information-sharing arrangements as soon as they begin negotiating with prosecutors. And such negotiations sometimes fall apart.

Still, the notification led Mr. Trump’s lawyers to believe that Mr. Flynn — who, along with his son, is seen as having significant criminal exposure — has, at the least, begun discussions with Mr. Mueller about cooperating.
Continue reading the main story
Related Coverage

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    How Michael Flynn’s Disdain for Limits Led to a Legal Quagmire JUNE 18, 2017
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Lawyers for Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump declined to comment. The four people briefed on the matter spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly.

A deal with Mr. Flynn would give Mr. Mueller a behind-the-scenes look at the Trump campaign and the early tumultuous weeks of the administration. Mr. Flynn was an early and important adviser to Mr. Trump, an architect of Mr. Trump’s populist “America first” platform and an advocate of closer ties with Russia.

His ties to Russia predated the campaign — he sat with President Vladimir V. Putin at a 2015 event in Moscow — and he was a point person on the transition team for dealing with Russia.

The White House had been bracing for charges against Mr. Flynn in recent weeks, particularly after charges were filed against three other former Trump associates: Paul Manafort, his campaign chairman; Rick Gates, a campaign aide; and George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser.

But none of those men match Mr. Flynn in stature, or in his significance to Mr. Trump. A retired three-star general, Mr. Flynn was an early supporter of Mr. Trump’s and a valued surrogate for a candidate who had no foreign policy experience. Mr. Trump named him national security adviser, he said, to help “restore America’s leadership position in the world.”

Among the interactions that Mr. Mueller is investigating is a private meeting that Mr. Flynn had with the Russian ambassador and Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, during the presidential transition. In the past year, it has been revealed that people with ties to Russia repeatedly sought to meet with Trump campaign officials, sometimes dangling the promise of compromising information on Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Flynn is regarded as loyal to Mr. Trump, but he has in recent weeks expressed serious concerns to friends that prosecutors will bring charges against his son, Michael Flynn Jr., who served as his father’s chief of staff and was a part of several financial deals involving the elder Mr. Flynn that Mr. Mueller is scrutinizing.

The White House has said that neither Mr. Flynn nor other former aides have incriminating information to provide about Mr. Trump. “He likes General Flynn personally, but understands that they have their own path with the special counsel,” a White House lawyer, Ty Cobb, said in an interview last month with The New York Times. “I think he would be sad for them, as a friend and a former colleague, if the process results in punishment or indictments. But to the extent that that happens, that’s beyond his control.”

Mr. Flynn was supposed to have been the cornerstone of Mr. Trump’s national security team. Instead, he was forced out after a month in office over his conversations with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak. Mr. Flynn’s handling of those conversations fueled suspicion that people around Mr. Trump had concealed their dealings with Russians, worsening a controversy that has hung over the president’s first year in office.

Four days after Mr. Trump was sworn in, the F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Flynn at the White House about his calls with the ambassador. American intelligence and law enforcement agencies became so concerned about Mr. Flynn’s conversations and false statements about them to Vice President Mike Pence that the acting attorney general, Sally Q. Yates, warned the White House that Mr. Flynn might be compromised.

The conversations with the Russian ambassador that led to Mr. Flynn’s undoing took place during the presidential transition. When questions about them surfaced, Mr. Flynn told Mr. Pence that they had exchanged only holiday greetings — the conversations happened in late December, around the time that the Obama administration was announcing sanctions against Russia.

While Mr. Pence and White House press officers repeated the holiday-greetings claim publicly, Mr. Flynn and the ambassador had in fact discussed the sanctions. That invited the idea that the incoming administration was trying to undermine the departing president and curry favor with Moscow.

Mr. Trump sought Mr. Flynn’s resignation only after news broke that Mr. Flynn had been interviewed by F.B.I. agents and that Ms. Yates had warned the White House that his false statements could make him vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

Since then, Mr. Flynn’s legal problems have grown. It was revealed that he failed to list payments from Russia-linked entities on financial disclosure forms. He did not mention a paid speech he gave in Moscow, as well as other payments from companies linked to Russia.

The former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, has testified before Congress that Mr. Trump asked him to end the government’s investigation into Mr. Flynn in a one-on-one meeting in the Oval Office the day after Mr. Flynn was fired. Mr. Trump’s request caused great concern for Mr. Comey, who immediately wrote a memo about his meeting with the president.

And investigators working for Mr. Mueller have questioned witnesses about whether Mr. Flynn was secretly paid by the Turkish government during the presidential campaign. Mr. Flynn belatedly disclosed, after leaving the White House, that the Turkish government had paid him more than $500,000.

Mr. Flynn’s firing was, in some ways, the first domino that set off a cascade of problems for Mr. Trump. After the president ousted Mr. Comey, news surfaced that the president had requested an end to the Flynn inquiry, a revelation that led to Mr. Mueller’s appointment. That, in turn, raised the profile of an investigation that the president had tried mightily to contain.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/23/us/politics/flynn-mueller-russia-trump.html
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In this Nov. 17, 2017, photo, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., left, Kate McClure, right, and McClure’s boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, pose at a CITGO station in Philadelphia. When McClure ran out of gas, Bobbitt, who is homeless, gave his last $20 to buy gas for her.

FLORENCE, N.J.

(This story has been updated to reflect that the GoFundMe account had raised $250,000 by Thursday afternoon, November 23, 2017 -- up from $34,000 when the story was originally published the day before.)

Kate McClure didn’t expect to run out of gas on her drive to Philadelphia last month.

And she definitely didn’t expect that her misfortune would give her the opportunity to change someone else’s life.

Pulled over on the side of I-95, McClure, 27, was approached by a homeless man named Johnny. She was apprehensive at first, but Johnny told her to get back into her car and to lock the doors while he walked to get her help. He went to a nearby gas station, used his last $20 fill a can and brought it back to fill up her car.

Grateful, but without a dollar to repay him, McClure promised she would come back with something.

In the weeks since, she’s returned to the spot along I-95 where Johnny stays with cash, snacks and Wawa gift cards. Each time she’s stopped by with her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, they’ve learned a bit more about Johnny’s story, and become humbled by his gratitude.

Eventually, the Florence Township couple knew they had to do something more.

“I would say, ‘I keep thinking about that guy,’” D’Amico said. And McClure was thinking about Johnny, too.

So they launched a GoFundMe campaign, putting an ambitious $10,000 goal and hoping to rein in a few hundred dollars to book Johnny a motel for a few nights where he could clean up, and start to get back on his feet.

As of Thursday, November 23, 2017, the campaign had garnered more than $250,000 in donations, up from $34,000 on Wednesday when this story was originally published.

“It just blew up,” McClure said earlier this week, noting that donors have come forward with $5, $10 or even several hundred after she’s shared the GoFundMe to various Facebook groups.

Johnny, who’s 34, told McClure and D’Amico he has been homeless for about a year. He said he was previously a certified paramedic, and also served in the Marine Corps.

After moving around the country for a time, he came to Philadelphia a year ago with a job lined up and some money to buy a truck. But soon after the job fell through, leaving Johnny surviving off meager savings.

Later, he lost his paperwork, rendering him unable to work. One night on the streets turned into a week, and ultimately a year of homelessness.

Learning his story, and sifting through his old Facebook photos, McClure and D’Amico said they were shocked to see how quickly Johnny’s life had changed from that of a working man who vacationed on the beach to one living off the streets of Philadelphia.

“It’s crazy, you can relate to that,” McClure said. “You look through and think, ‘that could be me.’”

Last week, they surprised Johnny with the campaign, telling him they had already raised $1,700 and planned to keep going.

“That changes my life, right there,” Johnny said of the $1,700, captured in a video McClure took. “I’ve honestly met more good people than bad,” he said of his time in Philadelphia.

The couple understands how their help in reaching out to landlords and vouching for Johnny’s character will help him overcome some of those hurdles.

“If we just handed him the money, it’s not going to happen,” McClure said.

Johnny has started the process of getting his paperwork replaced, as he’s currently without identification or Veteran’s Affairs papers, McClure said. He hopes to get a job at the Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, and down the road, hopes to take the test to become recertified as a paramedic in Pennsylvania or New Jersey.

And McClure and D’Amico are confident they can get him started on that path soon, hoping to place him in a room to rent in an apartment within two weeks as they continue to fundraise.

“When I still look at (the GoFundMe), it blows my mind,” McClure said. “It’s actually going to happen for him.”

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article186044173.html#fmp
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On Thanksgiving, the NFL Faces a Collision of Crises
« Reply #9229 on: November 23, 2017, 04:01:22 PM »
Turkey Day usually represents a late-season reset for pro football, but myriad controversies portend a more serious tone this year.

The National Football League’s tradition of playing on Thanksgiving Day is also its oldest. Back in 1920, the year the league was founded, 12 proto-football teams squared off in six Turkey Day matchups. Since then the NFL has hosted Thanksgiving games in every year but four—all during World War II—with the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions emerging as annual hosts and other teams rotating through to play in front of a tryptophan-tripping, football-mad nation.

And as the NFL has ballooned into the most popular professional sports league in North America, its Thanksgiving custom has grown as well, adding pyrotechnics and halftime shows to impress massive TV audiences. Aside from the Super Bowl, no celebration better represents the NFL’s largesse, cultural might, spectacle, and promise of escapism than Thanksgiving—the league’s entire self-image, shrunken down to one day.

This Thanksgiving, however, the NFL faces a cornucopia of crises, from backlash over player protests to allegations of collusion to rising concerns over head injuries to sliding TV viewership. Fans fret over the league’s quality of play and sponsors bemoan sagging ratings. Players decry racism in and out of football, while owners fear how such expression will affect their bottom lines. At times this fall, the games themselves have wound up smothered by one cacophonous controversy after another. This has been the NFL’s most tumultuous season in recent memory and the first time in at least a generation the league’s problems have seemed to overwhelm its product.

The top storyline in the NFL this season has not been Tom Brady’s continued excellence or Carson Wentz’s timely emergence or the surprising Rams and Jaguars. It has instead been the dozens of players across the league who have knelt, sat, or raised their fists during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice. The demonstrations have prompted anger and admonishment from Donald Trump and backlash from fans who view such acts as disrespectful to America’s flag and military.

And although player activism has slowed in recent weeks, its specter continues to hover. Take the Detroit Lions, who will kick off Thursday’s Thanksgiving slate by hosting the Minnesota Vikings. In September, eight Detroit players knelt in protest days after Trump said NFL owners should fire “son of a bitch” athletes who disrespect the flag. The kneeling Lions drew not just boos from their own fans but also angry letters, prompting the team’s owner Martha Ford to request they stand during future anthems. The players all eventually complied, though the running back Ameer Abdullah resumed protesting weeks later by raising a fist before his team’s game at Green Bay earlier this month.

This Thursday, hours after Abdullah and his Lions teammates do or do not protest, the New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon will, in all likelihood, kneel before taking on Washington on the road. Vernon has knelt each week since September, despite the Giants owner John Mara’s plea that all players stand. “What it would take for me to stand is if people can understand what the whole message is behind it,” Vernon told Newsday last week. “But everybody doesn’t see things that way and tries to distort what the message was from the beginning, which is basically social injustice on African Americans and police brutality.”

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will not be anywhere near Thursday’s action, as he remains unsigned after initiating the wave of protests last fall, but his name will echo through living rooms every time, say, the Vikings quarterback Case Keenum throws an incomplete pass. Why, Kaepernick’s defenders will wonder, do retreads like Keenum continue to receive opportunities while a former NFC-champion quarterback sits at home? That Keenum is enjoying a surprisingly productive season will seem beside the point. To many observers, poor quarterback play around the league serves as a weekly reminder of the alleged blackballing of Kaepernick.

Meanwhile, no one will loom over the NFL’s Thanksgiving more than the Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has spent this fall sowing chaos on numerous fronts. Some owners have either accommodated or compromised with protesting players, but Jones issued an ultimatum: Stand during the anthem or be benched. ESPN revealed he has also pushed hard for the NFL at large to adopt a similar mandate, sparking a power struggle among league owners. When the Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter recently blamed players’ protests for his company’s declining revenues, some owners reportedly wondered whether Jones (who owns more than 100 of the chain’s franchises) had masterminded the comments.
In the NFL’s ideal world, every fan would sit through Thursday’s games while focused on nothing but football.

As the protest issue simmers, Jones has feuded with the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, which the running back began serving last week after months of injunction requests and appeals. ESPN reported that a furious Jones told Goodell he would “come after [him] with everything I have,” then later threatened to sue the league to hold up the commissioner’s contract negotiations.

On Thursday afternoon, Jones’s Cowboys will play the Los Angeles Chargers, who face a crisis of the existential variety. The franchise relocated this past summer from San Diego, a year after the Rams arrived in L.A. from St. Louis. From the day they showed up, the Chargers have received only tepid support from Angelenos, struggling to sell out even the puny 27,000-seat, soccer-specific stadium they are using until their new (much larger) home is completed in three years.

But, to the NFL, all of these issues pale next to one chief concern: TV ratings. The league has long sold itself as a bulletproof property in this area, and the prevailing wisdom always held that even if changing tastes, proliferation of options, and rampant cord-cutting chipped away at ratings for other kinds of programming, Americans would never give up their football. But for the second consecutive year, viewership is down, suggesting the league is no longer immune to the industry’s broader trends. Whether the decline owes to backlash over player protests, quality of play, or over-saturation, the league seems vulnerable in a way it hasn’t in decades.

In the NFL’s ideal world, every fan would sit through Thursday’s games while focused on nothing but football. The day’s slate would offer an escape from the messy outside world. But this year, viewers will be faced with Jones’s feud with Goodell and the players’ ongoing protests, with Kaepernick’s absence and the league’s lagging ratings, with the rash of injuries to star players that will, for example, keep the Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. away from the field, and with the repetitive brain trauma these athletes will have invariably suffered (and continue to suffer) as part of their jobs.

As usual, Thanksgiving will showcase much of what the NFL is all about. This year, for once, that reality will work against them.

https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/11/on-thanksgiving-the-nfl-faces-a-collision-of-crises/546446/
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Sheriff: Las Vegas shooting gunman fired over 1,100 rounds
« Reply #9230 on: November 23, 2017, 04:05:51 PM »
 The top lawman in Las Vegas says the gunman who killed dozens of people at a concert last month fired more than 1,100 rounds.

The newly released estimate from Sheriff Joe Lombardo offers more detail about the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

Lombardo tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was aware of the previously unreported figure because his department's forensics lab is working with the FBI to process all ballistics evidence.

Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and injured hundreds more on Oct. 1 after he shattered windows of his suite on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel-casino and unleashed withering gunfire at the music festival below before killing himself.

Authorities have said they have not determined Paddock's motive or why he stopped shooting. Lombardo says authorities found about 4,000 unused rounds in the suite.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/sheriff-las-vegas-shooting-gunman-fired-1100-rounds-51349609
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Volunteer Monica Smith serves up a Thanksgiving meal at the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles last year.

Thanksgiving meals will be served to thousands of homeless and near-homeless individuals today on Skid Row and in Pasadena and Canoga Park amid calls for donations and volunteers for the rest of the year.

The Midnight Mission will serve Thanksgiving brunch to nearly 2,500 homeless and near-homeless men, women and children, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs.

Scheduled volunteer servers include gubernatorial candidate and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, entertainer Dick Van Dyke and actress Nicolette Sheridan.

The Midnight Mission is seeking donations of $5 to $10 to help it cover the costs of the meals. Donations can be made by texting “Meals” to 71777, Berkovich said. The mission serves meals seven days a week, distributes hygiene kits after its meal service and conducts drives for food and clothing to distribute to its guests.

Berkovich said the group has been serving nearly 1 million meals a year each year since 2013.

“We haven't seen numbers like this since the Great Depression,” she said.

The nearby Fred Jordan Mission expects to serve more than a ton of turkey drumsticks, along with 500 pounds of mashed potatoes, 80 gallons of gravy, hundreds of pounds of traditional cornbread stuffing, 560 pounds of candied yams, 585 pounds of green beans, glazed carrots, spiced peaches, cranberry sauce and 400 pumpkin pies, according to the mission's Suzanna Choi.

The mission is seeking donations of unwrapped toys worth $15 to $20 each to be given to thousands of poor children for Christmas. The toys can be dropped off at the mission on Thanksgiving or any other day through Dec. 15, Choi said.

Union Station Homeless Services will be serving thousands of meals at its annual Thanksgiving Dinner in the Park at Central Park in Pasadena, continuing a tradition that began in 1972. Donations of store-bought pies will be accepted Thanksgiving morning, CEO John C. Brauer said.

More than 2,000 people will be served a sit-down meal of turkey with trimmings at the 30th annual Community Thanksgiving Day Dinner for San Fernando Valley homeless and low-income families at the Guadalupe Community Center in Canoga Park.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-homeless-thanksgiving-20171123-story.html
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FCC Commissioner Begs Nation to Stop GOP Colleagues From Killing Net Neutrality
« Reply #9232 on: November 23, 2017, 04:15:41 PM »
Jessica Rosenworcel says it's time to "roar" and "make a ruckus" to save the internet as we know it


Net neutrality supporters hold signs in front of the White House.

After one commissioner called the FCC's newly-released plan to roll back net neutrality "worse than one could imagine," a second commissioner is now calling voters to make sure the proposal by Republican Chairman Ajit Pai does not go through.

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed published Thursday—entitled "I'm on the FCC. Please stop us from killing net neutrality"—Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel points to the overwhelming public support for net neutrality and the ongoing questions about validity of anti-net neutrality public comments submitted to FCC, as well as what appear to be tens of thousands of missing comments. "If the idea behind the plan is bad, the process for commenting on it has been even worse," she writes.

Rosenworcel decries Pai's plan as "a lousy idea. And it deserves a heated response from the millions of Americans who work and create online every day."

Killing net neutrality, she adds, means

    your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor. The move could affect everything online, including the connections we make and the communities we create.

    This is not the internet experience we know today. Americans should prevent the plan from becoming the law of the land.

In short, she writes, the American public needs to "Make a ruckus," including by targeting other members of the FCC.

Rosenworcel has also made recent rallying cries to save net neutrality on social media. On Wednesday, she tweeted a link to Pai's proposal and wrote: "Don't boo. Read it. Then roar.  It's time to make a ruckus. It's time to #SaveNetNeutrality."

 Jessica Rosenworcel

@JRosenworcel

This is the @FCC plan to roll back #NetNeutrality: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-347927A1.pdf ….

Don't boo. Read it. Then roar.

It's time to make a ruckus. It's time to #SaveNetNeutrality.
11:34 AM - Nov 22, 2017

    57 57 Replies
    1,072 1,072 Retweets
    1,403

Her op-ed came a day after Democratic FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn said Pai's proposal is "worse than one could imagine" and released a fact sheet (pdf) explaining its consequences to the net as we know it, as Common Dreams reported.

As NBC News outlines, the resistance to Pai's plan is intensifying. "While the topic of net neutrality is certainly one that can be described as 'wonky,'" the reporting notes, "it's still something that could affect every person who uses the internet."

Among those catalyzing the resistance is digital rights advocacy organization Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

Corynne McSherry, legal director at EFF, wrote this week, "Instead of responding to the millions of Americans who want to protect the free and open Internet, the FCC instead is ceding to the demands of a handful of massive ISPs, like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T."

The group is also urging open internet supporters to contact their members of Congress to fight any rollback of net neutrality.

Digital rights group Fight for the Future is also urging constituents to press their lawmakers to stop the plan, and is calling for protests at Verizon retail stores nationwide on December 7.

Verizon is being targeted, a call-to-action explains, because Pai "is a former top lawyer for Verizon, and the company has been spending millions on lobbying and lawsuits to kill net neutrality so they can gouge us all for more money."

 Fight for the Future @fightfortheftr

#NetNeutrality is NOT DEAD YET. Congress has stopped FCC votes before. Do NOT give up!

1) RETWEET this to help spread the word that we can still stop this.

2) CALL your lawmakers: http://battleforthenet.com

3) PROTEST at Verizon stores on Dec 7: http://VerizonProtests.com
1:08 PM - Nov 21, 2017

    73 73 Replies
    8,824 8,824 Retweets
    4,888

The FCC is set to vote on the plan Dec. 14, so "There's still time to let the FCC know what you think," write Matt Wood and Gaurav Laroia of Free Press. "You can also urge your members of Congress to condemn Pai's plan, as hundreds of thousands of you have already done in the past 24 hours."

"If we turn up the pressure," they conclude, "there's a small (but growing) chance we can put the brakes on Pai's bad ideas before the FCC votes. So keep fighting and speaking out—and don't fall for Ajit Pai's lies."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/23/fcc-commissioner-begs-nation-stop-gop-colleagues-killing-net-neutrality
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'Winter has come' for Iranian charged with HBO hack
« Reply #9233 on: November 24, 2017, 05:26:10 AM »
The indictment claims Behzad Mesri is a former Iranian military who stole unaired episodes of several HBO series for ransom.

Game of Thrones scripts were leaked and info held for ransom prior to the premiere of season seven

US prosecutors have said "winter has come" for an Iranian man charged with hacking HBO, stealing episodes and demanding a ransom.

According to federal authorities, Behzad Mesri is a former Iranian military contractor and a member of the Turk Black Hat Security hacking team.

The indictment accuses Mr Mesri of computer fraud, wire fraud, extortion and identity theft, after unaired episodes of Game Of Thrones, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Ballers were leaked online.

Acting US attorney Joon Kim told a news conference in Manhattan on Tuesday that HBO had "become a victim of a malicious cyberattack" and, although Mr Mesri was in Iran and could not be arrested, he would face consequences.

"In Game of Thrones, 'winter is coming' is the motto of the House of Stark," Mr Kim said.

"Today, winter has come for Behzad Mesri."


Behzad Mesri is shown in this undated photo provided by the FBI in New York

"For the rest of his life - and he's a relatively young man in his late 20s - he will never be able to travel outside Iran,'' he added.

"The memory of American law enforcement is very long."

Mr Kim confirmed the 29-year-old Iranian national had been added to the FBI's most wanted list.

He is accused of conducting "hundreds of website defacements using the online hacker pseudonym 'Skote Vahshat' against websites in the United States and elsewhere around the world".

:: Game of Thrones season 7 pirated 'more than a billion times'

Court papers accuse Mr Mesri of threatening HBO and demanding to be paid "a 'non-negotiable' ransom" - approximately $6m (£4.5m) worth of Bitcoin.

After 1.5 terabytes of data were stolen from HBO servers last summer, an email was sent to all HBO employees reading: "Hi to All losers" Yes it's true! HBO is hacked! Beware of Heart Attacks!!!".

Mr Kim declined to say if HBO had offered or paid any ransom.

The US Attorney also denied that the charges against Mr Mesri were part of a coordinated Justice Department effort to increase pressure on lawmakers to stiffen sanctions against Iran.

https://news.sky.com/story/winter-has-come-for-iranian-charged-with-hbo-hack-11138493
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Deadly blast strikes mosque in Egypt's Sinai
« Reply #9234 on: November 24, 2017, 05:30:56 AM »


At least 115 people have been killed in a bomb and gun attack on a mosque in Egypt's northern Sinai Peninsula, according to state media.

The attack took place in the al-Rawda village, west of el-Arish, shortly after Friday prayers.

Egyptian state media MENA provided the death toll, citing an official security source. It also said that 80 people were wounded in the attack.

Local media reports said that attackers planted explosives and then opened fire on worshippers while the sermon was under way.

Egypt has for years been battling an armed movement in the rugged and thinly populated Sinai Peninsula, which has gained pace since the military overthrew democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013.

In 2014, following a suicide bombing that left 31 soldiers killed, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi declared a state of emergency in the peninsula, describing it as a "nesting ground for terrorism and terrorists".

Local media also reported the closure of the Arish-Rafah road, further east.

The attack comes a day before the Rafah border crossing, the main gateway for Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip to the outside world, was due to open for a three-day period.

The border opened briefly earlier this week.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/blast-strikes-mosque-egypt-sinai-171124113423231.html

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Who is Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe's 'Crocodile'?
« Reply #9235 on: November 24, 2017, 05:35:44 AM »

Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised a new era of democracy for Zimbabwe

Harare, Zimbabwe - On Wednesday, two weeks after fleeing to South Africa, a beaming Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa emerged from his car to the thundering chants of "Garwe! Garwe! Garwe!".

The roar only grew louder as the 75-year-old later took to the stage to address the cheering crowds.

"Today, we are witnessing the beginning of a new and unfolding democracy," he told the thousands who had gathered to welcome home the man they believe can take Zimbabwe into a new era.

Popularly known as "Garwe", or crocodile in Shona, after his days as a member of the 1960s Crocodile Gang that waged anti-colonial resistance acts against the white minority regime of the time, Mnangagwa is set to become Zimbabwe's second leader and third president since independence in 1980.

Mnangagwa - also known as "Ngwena" (a totemic name for a crocodile) or "E.D.", after his initials - has long been seen as the man most likely to replace his mentor and Zimbabwe's longtime leader, Robert Mugabe.

But things took a different turn as factional battles within the ruling ZANU-PF party over Mugabe's succession pitted him, a vice president, against the president's wife, Grace.

On November 6, the internal power struggle led to the dismissal of Mnangagwa, who fled to South Africa for safety.

But in a sudden move, the military seized power on November 15 and placed 93-year-old Mugabe under house arrest at his Blue Roof Residence in Harare. As pressure grew, Mugabe finally resigned on Tuesday, putting an end to his reign of 37 years.

Great expectations

Mnangagwa's political shrewdness and ability to survive seemingly dire situations have seen him grow into his nickname.

Tales of his dramatic escape from Zimbabwe shortly after his firing as vice president could make for an action movie script, and have earned him wide popularity and sympathy among many Zimbabweans.

Many believe he represents change and could turn the country's fortunes around.

During his vice presidency, Mnangagwa introduced the Command Agriculture scheme, an African Development Bank-backed programme designed to help communities become more self-sufficient.

Launched two years ago, the initiative is still in its infancy. But some analysts believe it has the potential to return Zimbabwe to its status as the breadbasket of the region.

As a prominent ZANU-PF official, Mnangagwa backed the seizures of white-owned commercial farms at the turn of the millennium.

However, in his home province of the Midlands he reportedly "secretly" protected some white farmers from being driven from their lands.

According to leaked intelligence reports reviewed by Reuters news agency, re-engaging white farmers could be one of the potential priorities in a post-Mugabe era.

"Mnangagwa realises he needs the white farmers on the land when he gets into power … he will use the white farmers to resuscitate the agricultural industry, which he reckons is the backbone of the economy," reads part of the report.
International relations

In his first public remarks since fleeing into exile for safety, Mnangagwa expressed keenness in reshaping Zimbabwe into a more inclusive nation across the lines of race and political affiliation.

His vision for the country, he said, also includes re-engagement with the international community.

As Mugabe's second-in-command, he has brokered multi-million dollar trade deals with Russia, China and South Africa.

In 2015, he led trade delegations to Europe in an effort to re-open lines of communication with the West which, in 2001, imposed targeted sanctions on top government leaders, including Mnangagwa, during one of Zimbabwe's darkest decades of political and human rights violations.

Much to the chagrin of Mugabe, Mnangagwa has built up a rapport with foreign investors, the International Monetary Fund and local diplomats, including Britain's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Catriona Laing.

Despite denials by Laing, the ambassador was criticised by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) opposition party for backing an "incorrigible regime".
Old guard

While many supporters wave banners inscribed "E.D. for a new Zimbabwe", in the belief the 75-year-old could reform the country's economy, the reality is that Mnangagwa belongs to ZANU-PF's old guard.

Since 1980, he has held a number of roles, including minister of state security, minister of justice and ZANU-PF's chief election agent in 2008 - all helping create the system that enabled Mugabe to remain in power.

The two have been close allies since the 1960s, when Mnangagwa's family took in the young Mugabe when he was deployed as a rural teacher in their area.

They forged a friendship, with Mugabe taking Mnangagwa under his wing as his protege. Both were sentenced to at least 10 years in prison for their anti-colonial acts. In jail, they studied law via correspondence.

Although tarnished by his role in ethnic massacres in the 1980s and intimidating the opposition, Mnangagwa has promised a new era of democracy under his leadership.

Alex Magaisa, a law professor and former government adviser, told Al Jazeera that Mnangagwa will have to work hard to "cleanse" his reputation.

With the economy in tatters and political stability wavering, Magaisa said improving people's wellbeing could work well in his favour.

"If the economy is fixed, people will generally be happy," he said.

On Wednesday, in his first public address since his dismissal, he vowed to bring a different political reality in Zimbabwe, which is scheduled to hold elections next year. 

"Never should the nation be held at ransom by one person ever again, whose desire is to die in office whatever the cost of the nation," he told the cheerings crowd.

After almost 40 years of one-man rule, Mnangagwa faces many challenges as the country's new president.

Whether he will succeed remains to be seen.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/emmerson-mnangagwa-zimbabwe-crocodile-171124062910487.html
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'Blast' heard hours after Argentinian sub went missing
« Reply #9236 on: November 24, 2017, 05:38:36 AM »
A sound detected by sensors hours after an Argentine submarine sent its last signal was "consistent with an explosion", a navy spokesman said on Thursday.

A search operation has been under way since contact with the submarine - with 44 sailors on board - ceased on the morning of November 15.

Concern for the crew has increased as oxygen supplies are running low. Experts say the ARA San Juan had enough oxygen to last seven to 10 days.

"Some information was received regarding the singular anomalous event - short, violent, and non nuclear - consistent with that of an explosion," said navy spokesman Enrique Balbi.

The San Juan went missing in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina. Balbi said there was no sign the blast might be linked to an attack on the sub.

US Navy Lieutenant Lily Hinz said the unusual sound detected underwater could not be attributed to marine life or naturally occurring noise in the ocean.

"It was not a whale and it is not a regularly occurring sound," Hinz said.

The submarine's disappearance prompted a massive search for the vessel, involving 10 countries.

"It's not looking good. The fate of those 44 crew members on ARA San Juan is looking increasingly grim," Al Jazeera correspondent Daniel Schweimler said from Buenos Aires.

Family members are angry with the Argentinian authorities, saying it has taken the navy too long for this information to come to light. "Many of them are fearing the worst, many of them fear they are dead," Schweimler added.

Since the start of the operation, about 480,000-square kilometres have been combed. Initially, the multinational effort was impeded by bad weather conditions that caused waves of more than six metres in height.

The San Juan is a TR-1700-class, non-nuclear submarine, built in the former West Germany. It officially entered service in 1985 and was refurbished to modern standards in 2013.

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/heard-hours-argentinean-missing-171123153120706.html
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Methane bubbles are effect and cause of rise in temperature
« Reply #9237 on: November 24, 2017, 05:45:28 AM »
Due to climate change, including rising temperatures, more and more methane is bubbling up from lakes, ponds, rivers and wetlands throughout the world. The release of methane – a potent greenhouse gas – leads to a further increase in temperature, thus creating a ‘vicious circle’. This is the conclusion of a team of biologists led by Radboud University in an article published in Nature Communications on 22 November. Reducing greenhouse gas is the way to break the vicious circle.

"Never before have such unequivocal, strong relationships between temperature and emissions of methane bubbles been shown on such a wide, continent-spanning scale.", says biologist Sarian Kosten of Radboud University.
Bubbling greenhouse gas

The study focused on shallow lakes, ponds, rivers and wetlands. These aquatic environments are relevant in the context of climate change because they are responsible for much of global greenhouse gas emissions. An important part of these emissions is caused by bubbles filled with methane gas that develop in the sediment at the bottom of these water bodies. When the bubbles reach the surface, the gas enters the atmosphere. 

From a Dutch fish pond to postglacial lakes in Sweden

For the current research, an international team of scientists studied existing literature and conducted a large experiment in close collaboration with the Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW). First, existing research into methane bubbles was collected from various locations, ranging from a fishing pond in Malden (a town near Nijmegen) to postglacial lakes in northern Sweden and forest ponds in Canada. “Next, we simulated methane bubble production in 1000-litre ‘mini-lakes’ at the NIOO, where we could accurately control temperature and other conditions,” explains Ralf Aben, biologist at Radboud University. “In this way we excluded causes other than the rise in temperature.”
1 degree extra, 6 to 20 percent more methane

In open tanks filled with water and sediment, the researchers were able to mimic an annual cycle. Four tanks had a 'normal' Dutch climate, and in four other tanks the average temperature was 4 degrees Celsius higher. That led to 50 percent higher emissions of methane bubbles. The biologists predict that a temperature rise of 1 degree Celsius leads to 6 to 20 percent higher emissions of methane bubbles, which in turn leads to additional greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and to an additional temperature increase.
Now what?

Nutrient-rich sediments produce more methane than nutrient-poor sediments. One possibility for reducing methane production is therefore to make sure that sediments have fewer nutrients, which means using less fertiliser!

The global rise in temperature will be difficult to reverse, but not impossible. “Every tonne of greenhouse gas that we emit leads to additional emissions from natural sources such as methane bubbles,” says Kosten. “Luckily, the opposite is also true: if we emit less greenhouse gas and the temperature drops, we gain a bonus in the form of less methane production. This bonus from nature should be our motivation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further.”

http://www.ru.nl/english/news-agenda/news/vm/iwwr/2017/methane-bubbles-effect-cause-rise-temperature/
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Queensland Bulldozes A Gabba's Worth Of Native Bushland Every Three Minutes
« Reply #9238 on: November 24, 2017, 05:57:15 AM »
It Could Get Worse After The Election



Two big things happen in Queensland this coming weekend. One is the state election. The other is the first Ashes Test at the Gabba. The two can be linked in a surprising way.

While coverage of the Queensland election has been dominated by the jobs-versus-environment battle over Adani's proposed Carmichael mine, another major environmental issue has received little press: land clearing.



Queensland clears more native woodland than any state in Australia by far. In fact if Queensland were a country, it would be one of the world's top 10 deforesters, according to the Wilderness Society.

Wait, what does this have to do with the cricket? Well, The Wilderness Society has calculated that an area a little larger than the surface of The Gabba is cleared every three minutes in Queensland.

Yes, one-and-a-bit Gabbas every three minutes. Which is around 600 Gabbas a day. The scary part? The rate of clearing could be about to increase massively.


Gemma Plesman holds a koala, who are one of the biggest victims in all this.

The Wilderness Society's calculations go a little like this. The Gabba is about 1.8 hectares in size.

    The rate of deforestation/land clearing in Queensland, according to the most recent statistics released by the Queensland Government for 2015-16, was 395,000 hectares;
    That's about 1,080 hectares a day, or 0.75 hectares a minute;
    That works out to 2.25 hectares every 3 minutes. Which as mentioned, is a Gabba-and-a-bit.

"In Queensland we really take the trophy for the deforestation hotspot in Australia," Wilderness Society Queensland campaign manager Gemma Plesman told HuffPost Australia.

"We used to have some pretty good laws that protected forests and bushland, and they were hard fought for, and deforestation rates dropped really low. But then Campbell Newman's government came into power [in 2012] and he changed the Vegetation Management Act."

Here's how the latest version of the Act states its purpose:

    The stated purpose of the act is to regulate the clearing of vegetation in a way that—

    (a) conserves remnant vegetation that is—

    (i) an endangered regional ecosystem; or
    (ii) an of concern regional ecosystem; or
    (iii) a least concern regional ecosystem; and

    (b) conserves vegetation in declared areas; and

    (c) ensures the clearing does not cause land degradation; and

    (d) prevents the loss of biodiversity; and

    (e) maintains ecological processes; and

    (f) manages the environmental effects of the clearing to achieve the matters mentioned in paragraphs (a) to (e); and

    (g) reduces greenhouse gas emissions; and

    (h) allows for sustainable land use.

Reading through that list, it's hard to imagine you could lose 600 Gabbas a day (or 219 thousand Gabbas a year) worth of native vegetation -- yet somehow have no land degradation, biodiversity loss, or increased greenhouse gas emissions.

In other words, can the Act really live up to its stated aim?

"No definitely not," Gemma Plesman responded. (You can listen to our podcast with Gemma Plesman below and learn how trees have such an important role to play in mitigating climate change.)

While a nation and a state obsess Over Adani's proposed Carmichael mine, land clearing is the silent devastation ripping Australia's ecological heartland to shreds. As with the Carmichael mine, what happens next depends on the Queensland election result.

The current Palaszczuk Labor minority government took over from the Newman government in 2015 and tried to strengthen the Vegetation Management Act in parliament. It failed because it didn't have the numbers.

If elected, the LNP intends to leave the current laws in place. That means more land clearing. There's a fear among conservationists that they may relax the laws even further due to the One Nation influence.

If re-elected, Labor has said it would reinstate stronger vegetation management laws and back them up with a $500 million Land Restoration Fund. It's one of the costliest promises of the entire campaign, but it's a bridge to a future where industries like carbon sequestration could be even more valuable than agriculture.


With two bulldozers and a chain, you can basically bugger up a huge chunk of Australia.

As ever, voiceless wildlife are caught in the political crossfire. For koalas, it's essential that unchecked land clearing stops, especially in the ever-expanding urban fringe areas of south-east Queensland.

"At the moment big developers are winning and koalas are losing," Plesman said.

"Koalas simply have nowhere to go [when their habitat is cleared]. Sometimes they are injured directly by bulldozers, or they go looking for shelter and they get attacked by dogs. Habitat loss really is driving them to the brink of extinction in Queensland."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2017/11/23/queensland-bulldozes-a-gabbas-worth-of-native-bushland-every-three-minutes-and-it-could-get-worse-after-the-election_a_23282421/


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Re: On Thanksgiving, the NFL Faces a Collision of Crises
« Reply #9239 on: November 24, 2017, 06:39:52 AM »
Turkey Day usually represents a late-season reset for pro football, but myriad controversies portend a more serious tone this year.

//The top storyline in the NFL this season has not been Tom Brady’s continued excellence or Carson Wentz’s timely emergence or the surprising Rams and Jaguars. It has instead been the dozens of players across the league who have knelt, sat, or raised their fists during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice. //

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will not be anywhere near Thursday’s action, as he remains unsigned after initiating the wave of protests last fall, but his name will echo through living rooms every time, say, the Vikings quarterback Case Keenum throws an incomplete pass. Why, Kaepernick’s defenders will wonder, do retreads like Keenum continue to receive opportunities while a former NFC-champion quarterback sits at home?

//

Meanwhile, no one will loom over the NFL’s Thanksgiving more than the Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has spent this fall sowing chaos on numerous fronts. //

As the protest issue simmers, Jones has feuded with the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell over Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, which the running back began serving last week after months of injunction requests and appeals. ESPN reported that a furious Jones told Goodell he would “come after [him] with everything I have,” then later threatened to sue the league to hold up the commissioner’s contract negotiations.

On Thursday afternoon, Jones’s Cowboys will play the Los Angeles Chargers, who face a crisis of the existential variety. The franchise relocated this past summer from San Diego, a year after the Rams arrived in L.A. from St. Louis.

Meanwhile, since this article was published, Dolt 45 has rage-tweeted repeatedly, attempting to redefine the players' BLM-inspired protests into dishonoring the flag, or the troops, or some other manifestation of stolen valor. The point has always been about social injustice on African Americans and police brutality, to say nothing of open season/no bag limit on black Americans.

Case Keenum is inexplicably having an all star season. In the only football I watched yesterday, he led the Vikings to a convincing victory and played far better than a "game manager." Pretty good for a comparatively "old guy." Who knew?

jerry Jones' threatened lawsuits have folded like a tent, much like popular support for this Potempkin President... or the Cowboys, for that matter. They were beaten convincingly by the near-orphaned, aforementioned Chargers, as karma had a holiday. Even though I wasn't paying attention, I was pleased with the result.

And in other news, John Schplatter still makes shitty pizza. May worms take up residence in his head.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound