AuthorTopic: Knarf's Knewz Channel  (Read 1578881 times)

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Pornhub said it's 'devastated' by PayPal's decision to stop payouts to models on its platform.

Late Wednesday night, Pornhub announced that PayPal is no longer supporting payments for Pornhub—a decision that will impact thousands of performers using the site as a source of income.

Most visitors to Pornhub likely think of it as a website that simply provides access to an endless supply of free porn, but Pornhub also allows performers to upload, sell, and otherwise monetize videos they make themselves. Performers who used PayPal to get paid for this work now have to switch to a different payment method.

"We are all devastated by PayPal's decision to stop payouts to over a hundred thousand performers who rely on them for their livelihoods," the company said on its blog. It then directed models to set up a new payment method, with instructions on how PayPal users can transfer pending payments.

"We sincerely apologize if this causes any delays and we will have staff working around the clock to make sure all payouts are processed as fast as possible on the new payment methods," the statement said.

A PayPal spokesperson told Motherboard: “Following a review, we have discovered that Pornhub has made certain business payments through PayPal without seeking our permission. We have taken action to stop these transactions from occurring.”

A spokesperson for Pornhub told Motherboard: "Decisions like that of PayPal and other major companies do nothing but harm efforts to end discrimination and stigma towards sex workers. While we still have several payment methods for our models available, we will continue to add more sex worker friendly ones and explore cryptocurrency options in the near future."

PayPal is one of many payment processors that have discriminated against sex workers for years. Its acceptable use policy states that "certain sexually oriented materials or services" are forbidden—phrasing that's intentionally vague enough to allow circumstances like this to happen whenever the company wants.

Are you a sex worker who has been impacted by this situation, or by any payment processors discriminating against your work? We'd love to hear from you. Contact Samantha Cole securely on Signal at +16469261726, direct message on Twitter, or by email.

The list of payment platforms, payment apps, and banks that forbid sexual services in their terms of use is very, very long, and includes everything from Venmo to Visa. Many of these terms have been in place for nearly a decade—and payment processors have been hostile toward sex work long before harmful legislation like the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act came into law last year. But those laws only help to embolden companies to kick sex workers off their platforms, and make the situation even more confusing and frustrating for performers.
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Protesters in white jumpsuits with smartphones mounted on their heads scanned people's faces on Thursday.

Protesters who oppose facial recognition donned white hazmat suits and cameras to collect face scans of more than 13,000 people.

Activists from Fight for the Future mounted the protest in Washington, DC, on Thursday.

Three protesters wearing white jumpsuits bearing signs saying "Facial Recognition in Progress" scanned the faces of passersby using smartphones mounted on their heads. They used Amazon's commercially available facial-recognition software, called Rekognition.

The protesters were making the point that facial recognition remained unregulated in the US. Private companies and the US government are increasingly adopting the technology, prompting fears of surveillance creep.

The protesters focused on the halls of Congress as well as busy metro stops, and they were looking in particular for members of Congress, journalists, and Amazon lobbyists, according to a press release.

The protest was livestreamed, and a tally was kept of how many people they scanned. The final count was 13,740, including 25 lobbyists, seven journalists, and one congressman, Democratic Rep. Mark DeSaulnier of California.

The website where the protest was livestreamed allows people to upload their picture to check whether they were among the 13,740 faces scanned. Fight for the Future says it will delete all the photos and data after two weeks.

"This should probably be illegal, but until Congress takes action to ban facial-recognition surveillance, it's terrifyingly easy for anyone — a government agent, a corporation, or just a creepy stalker — to conduct biometric monitoring and violate basic rights at a massive scale," Fight for the Future's deputy director, Evan Greer, said in a statement. "We did this to make a point."

Fight for the Future's protesters.

The organization is calling for immediate legislation banning the use of facial-recognition technology by governmental bodies and law enforcement.

Four US cities have enforced their own facial-recognition bans: Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco in California, and Somerville, Massachusetts. The protest took place on the same day a bipartisan bill was introduced that would force the police to obtain a warrant before using facial recognition.

Fight for the Future's methods were not universally welcomed. Chris Gilliard, an expert in privacy and tech policy, objected to the logic of using nonconsensual facial recognition on unsuspecting citizens, especially people of color.

Greer responded in a comment to Vice that Fight for the Future deliberately picked areas "already under surveillance" rather than residential areas, a logic Gilliard rejected. "Following that logic, I could set up my surveillance project in a neighborhood filled with Ring doorbells. After all, everyone in that neighborhood is in the system," he tweeted.

Artificial-intelligence experts have expressed concerns specifically over the usage of Amazon's Rekognition software by law enforcement, as researchers found it was more likely to misidentify women and people with darker complexions.
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European Investment Bank to phase out fossil fuel financing
« Reply #14582 on: Today at 07:17:00 AM »
EU’s lending arm to become first ‘climate bank’ by ending financing of oil, gas and coal projects after 2021

 A power station in Poland. The bank has called its decision the ‘most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere’.

The European Investment Bank has agreed to phase out its multibillion-euro financing for fossil fuels within the next two years to become the world’s first ‘“climate bank”.

The bank will end its financing of oil, gas, and coal projects after 2021, a policy that will make the EU’s lending arm the first multilateral lender to rule out financing for projects that contribute to the climate crisis.

The decision to stem the flow of capital into fossil fuel projects has been welcomed by green groups as an important step towards the EU’s aim to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

The EIB, the world’s largest multilateral financial institution, described its decision as a “quantum leap” in ambition. “Climate is the top issue on the political agenda of our time,” said the bank’s president, Werner Hoyer. “We will stop financing fossil fuels and launch the most ambitious climate investment strategy of any public financial institution anywhere.”

The bank’s vice-president, Andrew McDowell, said the move was “an important first step – not the last step, but probably one of the most difficult.”

Under its new policy, the bank will end all lending to fossil fuels within two years and align all funding decisions with the Paris climate accord. Energy projects applying for EIB funding will have to show they can produce one kilowatt hour of energy while emitting less than 250 grammes of carbon dioxide.

The decision to prioritise renewable and efficient energy follows a policy promise by the incoming European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, to turn the EIB into a “climate bank”, unlocking a potential €1tn in funds to help move Europe’s economy toward cleaner energy.

Von der Leyen also wants the EU to raise its target of cutting emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2030 in support of plans to become the first climate-neutral continent by 2050.

The EIB’s announcement comes a year later than hoped by climate campaigners but also limits approvals of new fossil fuel projects before 2021 to projects that are already under appraisal by the EIB. This could pose long-term problems for the gas industry, which has more than $200bn in liquefied natural gas projects planned over the next five years.

Colin Roche, of Friends of the Earth Europe, called the decision “a significant victory” for the climate movement. “Finally, the world’s largest public bank has bowed to public pressure and recognised that funding for all fossil fuels must end – and now all other banks, public and private, must follow their lead,” he said.

Nick Mabey, of the environmental thinktank E3G, said: “Europe is sending a clear signal that it intends to move away from fossil fuel investments toward the climate-neutral future its citizens want. The EIB is sending a message to other financial institutions that investment in fossil fuels is drawing to an end.”

Environmental campaigners estimate that the EIB handed out €6.2m every day to fossil fuel companies between 2013 and 2018.

The EIB handed one of Europe’s largest ever loans to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which will bring Caspian gas to Europe, and it has funded plans by the Polish utility PGE to build two gas-fired power plants.

The climate campaign group said a decisive end to this financial lifeline could prove another nail in the coffin for the fossil fuel industry.

Kate Cahoon, a campaigner for, which is based in Germany, said: “When the world’s biggest public lender decides to largely ditch fossil fuels, financial markets across the globe will take notice: this is the beginning of the end of climate-wrecking fossil fuel finance.”

However, the group warned that the EIB’s pledge included loopholes that could still lock European countries into decades of dependence on fossil fuels. The EIB will continue to support any project added to the EU’s “projects of common interest” list before 2022. At present, more than 50 gas projects could be eligible.

Alex Doukas, an analyst with Oil Change International, said the EIB had failed to pass a policy consistent with the Paris agreement because of the hold the fossil fuel industry still had over EU politics.

“Gas lobbyists were able to convince many parties – most significantly Germany and the European commission – to override public support for a fossil-free EIB and write significant concessions into this policy,” he said.

“However, with people-powered movements for climate action stronger than ever, the gas industry will face an uphill battle in using these EIB loopholes to get new projects funded by 2021.”
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A rubbish story: China's mega-dump full 25 years ahead of schedule
« Reply #14583 on: Today at 07:23:24 AM »

A worker applying a capping layer to a landfill site in Hangzhou

The Jiangcungou landfill in Shaanxi Province, which is the size of around 100 football fields, was designed to take 2,500 tonnes of rubbish per day.

But instead it received 10,000 tonnes of waste per day - the most of any landfill site in China.

China is one of the world's biggest polluters, and has been struggling for years with the rubbish its 1.4 billion citizens generate.

How big is the landfill site?
The Jiangcungou landfill in Xi'an city was built in 1994 and was designed to last until 2044.

The landfill serves over 8 million citizens. It spans an area of almost 700,000 square metres, with a depth of 150 metres and a storage capacity of more than 34 million cubic metres.

Until recently, Xi'an was one of the few cities in China that solely relied on landfill to dispose of household waste - leading to capacity being reached early.

Earlier this month, a new incineration plant was opened, and at least four more are expected to open by 2020. Together, they are expected to be able to process 12,750 tonnes of rubbish per day.

The move is part of a national plan to reduce the number of landfills, and instead use other waste disposal methods like incineration.

The landfill site in Xi'an will eventually become an "ecological park".

How much waste does China produce?
In 2017, China collected 215 million tonnes of urban household waste, according to the country's statistical yearbook. That's up from 152 million ten years earlier.

The country had 654 landfill sites and 286 incineration plants.

It is not clear what China's recycling rate is, as no figures have been released. China plans to recycle 35% of waste in major cities by the end of 2020, according to one government report.

This July, sorting and recycling rubbish was made mandatory in Shanghai - leading to "a sense of panic" among some residents.

In 2015, there was a landslide at a rubbish dump in the southern city of Shenzhen, killing 73 people.

The dump was designed to hold four million cubic metres worth of rubbish, with a maximum height of 95 metres.

When it collapsed, it was holding 5.8m cubic metres of material with waste heaps up to 160m high.

One town in Malaysia was left swamped with foreign waste

Does China deal with other countries' waste?
Not anymore. It used to, until the end of 2017 when it decided to ban the import of 24 different grades of rubbish.

In 2017 alone, China took in seven million tonnes of plastic rubbish from Europe, Japan and the US - and 27 million tonnes of waste paper.

Other countries, including Malaysia, Turkey, the Philippines and Indonesia, have picked up some of the slack.

But they struggled to deal with the amount of waste coming in - often times resulting in massive, out-of-control landfills in their own countries.

Some of these countries have now banned the import of certain types of rubbish and are even sending it back.

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Climate activists to launch week-long hunger strike
« Reply #14584 on: Today at 07:34:00 AM »

Police hold a protester during an Extinction Rebellion demonstration in Westminster, London.

Environmental activists around the world have announced they will begin a week-long hunger strike next week in a bid to force global leaders to urgently tackle the “climate emergency”.

An octogenarian from the UK will join hundreds of others in at least 22 countries who have signed up to go without food in protest against a lack of action being taken to cut greenhouse gas emissions and halt ecological breakdown.

The decision is a “last resort tactic”, according to international campaign group Extinction Rebellion (XR), which is spearheading the hunger strike.

Members from the UK branch of XR have delivered a letter to the country’s main political parties as they prepare to go to the polls in next month’s general election.

In the letter they issue a dire warning about the future of the planet and call for meetings with leaders to demonstrate their commitment to battling climate change.

The letter states: “Today, humanity is at a crossroads. Either we unite to prevent the rapidly escalating climate and ecological collapse, or this nation and global society will disintegrate beyond recognition.

“Your party has an absolute duty of care, for the current and future well-being of everyone in the United Kingdom.”

La Pethick, an 83-year-old from East Sussex, is set to take part in the protest.

“I am going on hunger strike for my family’s future and for future generations,” she said.

Another UK striker, 67-year-old artist Marko Stepanov from London, said: “I will strike for seven days or more to show my dedication and determination. I believe that the hunger strike is the strongest, effective, non-violent way to progress our cause.”

The strike, which aims to highlight the vulnerability of world food supplies and force governments to enact Extinction Rebellion’s three demands – tell the truth; act now; and go beyond party polictics – has been scheduled to continue for a week.

The action was initiated by Giovanni Tamacas of Extinction Rebellion US, whose extended family in Vietnam and El Salvador is already experiencing many disastrous effects of global warming.

The 20-year-old said: “We are hunger striking because we have no choice. We are being taken to our deaths.

“Greedy governments and corporations have criminally and catastrophically failed to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.

“Our shortsighted governments are too systemically corrupt to stop mass starvation, societal collapse and the death of billions of humans.”
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