Monday, May 22, 2017

A burning issue for Singapore: Indonesia readies for haze battle...

Almost every year around this time – during the dry season – haze descends on Riau. And every year Jois Marfu’ah suffers.

Villages and some businesses across Riau, on the island of Sumatra, slash and burn shrub land to make way for crops. The flames belch out a toxic mess that is dangerous to breathe. Ear, nose and throat infections are common. Day becomes night as visibility drops to 50 metres or so, Jois says. Schools close. Trips to see relatives – already arduous on Indonesia’s woeful roads – become torture. And all this goes on for months.

“I want to cry,” says Marfu’ah, 30. “It’s so uncomfortable and scary.”

Two years after fires laid waste to 2 million hectares of land – causing US$16 billion in damage and fraying relations with neighbours Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, which were blanketed in haze – Indonesia is desperate to avoid a rerun. Full story...

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

The 14 Healthiest Vegetables on Earth...

Vegetables are well-known for being good for your health. Most vegetables are low in calories but high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

However, some vegetables stand out from the rest with additional proven health benefits, such as the ability to fight inflammation or reduce the risk of disease.

This article takes a look at 14 of the healthiest vegetables and why you should include them in your diet. Full story...

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Indian woman hacks off "holy man" rapist’s penis; local politicians and cops applaud...

A woman in India cut off the genitals of a Hindu holy man after he allegedly tried to rape her, officials said Saturday.

The 23-year-old woman said the self-proclaimed spiritual healer had been sexually assaulting her for years at her home in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

The sick swami, 54-year-old Gangeshananda Theerthapada, was reported to be in stable condition after reconstructive surgery.

 “It was difficult to stitch the cut off portion. The surgery was done to stop bleeding and to restore the urinary tract,” officials at the medical college where Theerthapada was treated said in a statement. Full story...

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Why Socrates hated democracy...

EU fatcats want BRITAIN to help fund their £166,000 gold-plated pensions for decades to come...

Brussels expects Britain to help fund its gold-plated £55 billion pension pot – which gives the average EU official £59,000 – for decades to come.

The astonishing perks allow the most senior officials, such as presidents of the EU’s institutions, to draw a maximum of £166,000 in yearly payments in retirement.

The EU’s 28 member states are currently lumbered with an astonishing £54.6 billion bill for pension and private health insurance payments.

According to analysts, Brussels could demand between £4.4 billion and £5.7 billion from the UK for its pension pot during Brexit negotiations.

Theresa May would face intense criticism if she agrees to foot the bill for lining the pockets of thousands including a string of Remain-supporting British peers.

At £59,000, the average Brussels pension payout is more than twice the UK average salary. Full story...

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Singapore robot guards aim to help ease worker shortage...

In Singapore, where robots are being deployed from healthcare to restaurants in a government-backed push to ease a workforce crunch, a new niche has been found for intelligent machines — nightwatchman.

O-R3, a four-wheeled security robot unveiled by a Singapore technology company on Friday, is designed to patrol large outdoor areas without human guidance, making sure all people on the site are authorised to be there. It navigates itself with an array of sensors including laser scanners and GPS.

The automated guard, which weighs 80kg and stands 1.5m tall, comes with a drone, which pops out of its side to pursue intruders over fences or across difficult terrain.

While security robots are already on the market — US company Knightscope’s K5 is widely deployed at malls and corporate headquarters in California — the Singapore business OTSAW Digital is promoting its machine as a solution to the tightening labour market in ageing Asian societies. Full story...

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EU banning rip-off mobile roaming charges from 15 June...

Whether you voted remain or leave, the European commission has come to your aid. Holidaymakers are about to get free mobile phone roaming across Europe and a host of other destinations from 15 June – for the next two years, at least.

Following a long campaign and a series of staged roaming price cuts, the commission will finally put in place a long-cherished aim – the ability of Europeans to make same-cost mobile calls and data downloads irrespective of which EU country they are in.

But fears remain that once Brexit takes place the gains could be reversed. And holidaymakers will still need to be careful about getting caught out in some non-EU countries such as Switzerland, Andorra and even the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, which are not formally part of the EU or even the European Economic Area (EEA).

Some mobile operators are choosing to include these areas in their new roaming-free packages, but others are not. What’s more, Turkey appears to be half in, half out – Vodafone is treating it the same as the EU but others are not. Full story...

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Trump signs largest arms deal in American history with Saudi Arabia...

The United States and Saudi Arabia have sealed an arms deal worth $350 billion over the next decade, the White House said Saturday, on the occasion of President Trump's first visit to Riyadh since taking office. The deal was partially negotiated by Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner, who reportedly called the CEO of defense contractor Lockheed Martin and asked her to lower the price of a missile detection system while meeting with Saudi officials earlier this month.

The immediate sale is worth $110 billion and includes "Abrams tanks, combat ships, missile defense systems, radar, and communications and cyber security technology," officials familiar with the package told The Associated Press Friday. “When completed, it will be the largest single arms deal in American history," said Vice Admiral Joe Rixey, chief of the Pentagon's Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

Riyadh is expected to use at least some of the weapons in its military intervention in Yemen's civil war, where the Saudi-led coalition has been accused of war crimes. Human rights advocates have warned that the deal risks making the United States complicit, though the U.S. is already offering logistical support to the intervention. Full story...

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

America’s reign of terror: A nation reaps what it sows...

Who designed the malware worm that is now wreaking havoc on tens of thousands of computers internationally by hackers demanding a king’s ransom? The U.S. government.

Who is the biggest black market buyer and stockpiler of cyberweapons (weaponized malware that can be used to hack into computer systems, spy on citizens, and destabilize vast computer networks)? The U.S. government.

What country has one the deadliest arsenals of weapons of mass destruction? The U.S. government.

Who is the largest weapons manufacturer and exporter in the world, such that they are literally arming the world? The U.S. government.

Which is the only country to ever use a nuclear weapon in wartime? The United States.

How did Saddam Hussein build Iraq’s massive arsenal of tanks, planes, missiles, and chemical weapons during the 1980s? With help from the U.S. government.

Who gave Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida “access to a fortune in covert funding and top-level combat weaponry”? The U.S. government. Full story...

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The Egyptian pyramids...


Italy makes vaccination mandatory for children...

The Italian government has approved a law ordering parents to vaccinate children or face fines. The authorities have noted a rise in measles cases, which the cabinet blames on "the spread of anti-scientific theories."

The new legislation makes vaccines mandatory for 12 preventable diseases, including measles, chicken pox, polio, hepatitis B, and tetanus. Only children with immunizations would be eligible for nursery school, according to the Friday law.

Parents would face large fines for sending non-vaccinated children to state childcare facilities or schools.

"The lack of appropriate measures over the years and the spread of anti-scientific theories, especially in recent months, has brought about a reduction in protection," Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni told a news conference in Rome. Full story...

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Trump told Russians that firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey eased pressure from investigation...

President Trump told Russian officials in the Oval Office this month that firing the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, had relieved “great pressure” on him, according to a document summarizing the meeting.

“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”

Mr. Trump added, “I’m not under investigation.”

The conversation, during a May 10 meeting — the day after he fired Mr. Comey — reinforces the notion that Mr. Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives. Mr. Trump said as much in one televised interview, but the White House has offered changing justifications for the firing. Full story...

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Dangal: India's wrestling blockbuster delights China...

Dangal is not your typical song-and-dance heavy Bollywood romance.

Starring hugely popular Aamir Khan, it tells the story of Indian wrestler and coach Mahavir Singh Phogat who trained his daughters to become wrestlers - defying social norms.

The real-life family is from conservative Haryana state, known for the high prevalence of social issues such as gender inequality and child marriage. And the family faced great adversity to realise his wrestling dreams.

One of his daughters Geeta Phogat went on to win India's first ever gold medal in wrestling at the Commonwealth Games in 2010 and became the first Indian female wrestler to qualify for the Olympic Games. Full story...

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Sri Lankan Tamils remember relatives killed in the civil war...

Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamils on Thursday lit lamps and displayed photos framed in flowers of relatives killed in a bloody civil war, marking the eighth anniversary of the end of the fighting.

A Sri Lankan court barred activists from holding a commemoration near a monument to Tamils killed in the fighting, but other memorials were carried out unhindered in many parts of the country's north and east.

C.V. Wigneswaran, the chief minister of the Tamil-majority northern province lit a commemorative fire in Mullivaikkal beach where tens of thousands of civilians are believed to have been killed in the last days of the fighting.

It was here that the now-defeated Tamil Tiger rebels mounted their last stand against advancing government troops in May 2009.

Wigneswaran said a disproportionate number of soldiers are still stationed in the former war zone. Full story...

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Facebook fined £94m for 'misleading' EU over WhatsApp takeover...

Facebook has been fined €110m (£94m) by the EU for providing misleading information about its 2014 takeover of WhatsApp.

The European commission said it had imposed a “proportionate” fine on the technology company to send a clear signal that all firms must comply with EU competition rules.

When Facebook took over the WhatsApp messaging service in 2014, it told the commission it would not be able to match user accounts on both platforms, but went on to do exactly that.

The commission found that Facebook staff knew in 2014 that it was technically possible to link WhatsApp phone numbers with Facebook users’ identities, contrary to their public statements about the merger.

In a statement Facebook said the errors were not intentional and noted that the commission confirmed these submissions had not changed the outcome of the merger inquiry. Full story...

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Love and saucers...

France fines Facebook for collecting users' data without them knowing...

France's data protection agency said on Tuesday it had fined Facebook for collecting information on users without their
knowledge, following a probe of the social network in cooperation with other European regulators.

The CNIL agency said it had slapped a penalty of 150,000 euros ($160,000) on Facebook Inc and Facebook Ireland, for "several breaches of the French Data Protection Act", the maximum fine in such cases.

Following a two-year investigation, CNIL said Facebook had built up "a massive compilation of personal data of internet users in order to display targeted advertising".

The American internet giant had also "collected data on browsing activity of internet users on third-party websites, via the 'datr' cookie, without their knowledge", the agency said. This was "unfair tracking", it said.

The French action is part of a Europe-wide approach, CNIL said, with Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain and the German city state of Hamburg also investigating and working with France. Full story...

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India is scanning people’s fingerprints and eyeballs to make a database of every citizen...

If you’re an Indian citizen, chances are you’re well-acquainted with a government program that scans people’s fingerprints and irises and uploads the data to a federal database. If you don’t comply, you risk losing the ability to pay your taxes, collect welfare money, and access other government assistance programs.

And if you’re unlucky, you might even lose the ability to stay private, as hackers could use the data to trace your phone calls, messages, and physical location.

This is the reality for India’s 1.3 billion people, who since 2009 have been asked to comply with an ID-collection system the government bills as voluntary, but only if people don’t mind forgoing basic civic entitlements, the Los Angles Times reports. The program, known as Aadhaar, or “foundation” in Hindi, seeks to log every person’s identity using biometric data collected at various “enrollment agencies” scattered around the country — primarily in an effort to cut down on instances of fraud and counterfeiting.

Over the last eight years, the government has moved a growing number of transactions to the Aadhaar bucket. Most recently, it said people could file their income taxes only if they had first registered with Aadhaar, Hindstan Times reports. Full story...

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Chelsea Manning released from military prison...

Chelsea Manning, the army private who released a vast trove of US state secrets and was punished by the US military for months in penal conditions denounced by the UN as torture, has been released from a military prison in Kansas after serving seven years of a 35-year sentence.

Manning walked out to freedom after 2,545 days in military captivity. She was arrested in May 2010 outside a US army base on the outskirts of Baghdad, having leaked hundreds of thousands of documents and videos downloaded from intelligence databases to WikiLeaks.

The US military confirmed that Manning was released on Wednesday morning.

A couple of hours after her release, Manning said in a statement: “After another anxious four months of waiting, the day has finally arrived. I am looking forward to so much! Whatever is ahead of me, is far more important than the past. I’m figuring things out right now–which is exciting, awkward, fun, and all new for me.” Full story...

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British bookies say gamblers are betting Trump won't finish his term in office...

British gamblers believe U.S. President Donald Trump is now more likely to leave office before the end of his first term than not, British bookmakers said on Wednesday, after a week of tumult at the White House.

Betfair said that punters had bet more than 5,000 pounds ($6,470) on an early departure for Trump in the hours after it was reported he had asked his then-FBI Director James Comey to shut down an investigation into ties between former White House national security adviser Michael Flynn and Russia.

Concerns that businessman and former reality TV star Trump's economic reforms could be slowed and he might even face the threat of impeachment has dented demand for the dollar.

On UK betting markets, the odds on Trump failing to see out his four-year term dropped to 5/6 from evens on Betfair, implying a 55 percent chance that he will leave.

Betfair was also offering odds of 12/5 percent that Trump would leave office this year, implying a 27 percent chance that he would depart. Betfair said that the odds for such an early departure had never been shorter. Full story...

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Pumping iron with Kenya's strongest mother and daughter...

Delta passenger kicked off flight after using restroom...

A Milwaukee man was reportedly kicked off a Delta Air Lines flight earlier this month after going to the restroom while the plane waited to takeoff on the runway.

Kima Hamilton was flying from Atlanta’s Hartsfield–Jackson International Airport to Milwaukee on April 18. The plane had left the gate and was waiting on the tarmac for about 30 minutes, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

As the aircraft was waiting to depart, Hamilton says he realized he urgently needed to use the restroom.

"I don't normally pee right before I get on the plane, and I've never had a problem like this before,” Hamilton recalled to the Journal Sentinel. “I don't remember drinking an abnormal amount of water.”

He got up to use the bathroom and was reportedly told by a flight attendant that the plane would lose its spot in the takeoff queue if he went inside. But Hamilton couldn’t hold it so he quickly relieved himself then went back to his seat.

But the incident wasn’t over... Full story...

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Patients: Monsanto's Roundup gave us cancer as EPA official helped the company

Christine Sheppard fantasizes about her life before cancer. Before she had to take painkillers "all the time." Before she had to seriously worry about when she might die.

"I found out something was wrong because my right leg swelled up enormously," Sheppard said. "They did an ultrasound and found I was completely full of these lymph nodes. It was stage IV large-cell lymphoma."

Grueling chemotherapy treatments have started robbing her of mobility. "It's a strange nerve thing," she said. "I don't always know where my feet are. I have to look down to see where they are."

And the symptoms "will be progressively worse. There's no cure. Eventually, I will probably end up fairly immobilized." Full story...

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Britons throw away 1.4million edible bananas each day...

Britons routinely bin 1.4m edible bananas every day at a cost of £80m a year, figures reveal.

A third of consumers (30%) admit to discarding a banana if it has even a minor bruise or black mark on the skin. More than one in 10 (13%) also throw the fruit away if it shows any green on the skin.

The figures, from the government’s waste advisory body Wrap, are being published on Monday by supermarket Sainsbury’s to highlight the scale of avoidable food waste generated in the UK.

Through its £10m five-year Waste Less, Save More national initiative, the supermarket is offering practical tips and ideas to help customers reduce their food waste. Official statistics show that the average UK family throws away £700 of food each year. Full story...

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Microsoft president blasts NSA for its role in 'WannaCry' computer ransom attack...

A Microsoft executive sharply criticized a U.S. spy agency Sunday for its role in weaponizing a weakness in Windows and allowing it to be stolen by hackers and used to launch history’s largest ransomware attack.

"This attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem," Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer at Microsoft, wrote in the wake of the “WannaCry” computer virus attack, which crippled computers worldwide.

He compared it to the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. “And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today — nation-state action and organized criminal action,” he added.

Smith’s criticism comes as the virus continues to spread around the globe, despite the efforts of companies, governments and security experts. Europe’s leading police agency said Sunday that the computer virus had reached an "unprecedented level," claiming 200,000 victims and spreading to at least 150 countries. Full story...

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Thailand threatens to prosecute Facebook for running a video of the country's heavily tattooed king walking through a shopping mall in a tiny yellow crop-top...



Embarrassing footage of Thailand's king wearing a crop top while sporting 'fake' tattoos have prompted authorities to threaten action against Facebook.

The video of King Maha Vajiralongkorn strolling around a shopping centre with a woman was widely shared on the social network.

But Thai authorities have threatened to press charges if it is still available at 10am tomorrow.

The footage was purportedly filmed in Munich, Germany, in July last year.

It shows the monarch, who came to power last year following the death of his father, with a number of tattoos on his arms, stomach, and back. More + photos...

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Forced into pornography: Japan moves to stop women being coerced into sex films...

 When Kurumin Aroma was approached on Tokyo street four years ago and asked if she was interested in “glamour modelling”, she spied an opportunity to realise her dream of becoming a TV celebrity.

“The talent scout had a proper business card and spoke very respectfully, so I thought he was someone I could trust,” Aroma, who uses an assumed name in public, told the Guardian.

But months later, the 26-year-old became one of an alarming number of Japanese women who say they have been forced into appearing in pornographic films by unscrupulous, and unregulated, production companies.

Then in her final year at university, Aroma agreed to attend a follow-up interview, where the president of an entertainment production company presented her with a contract that indicated she would be required to remove her clothes for a photo shoot.

“That was the first I’d heard about nudity,” she said. “I cried, but felt under a lot pressure to say yes, so I agreed.” Full story...

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Sunday, May 14, 2017

At LA airport's new private terminal, the rich can watch normal people suffer...

The guiltiest pleasure at Los Angeles international airport’s (LAX) new private terminal for the mega-rich is not the plush, hushed privacy, or the beds with comforters, or the massages, or the coriander-scented soap, or the Willie Wonka-style array of chocolates and jelly beans, or the Napa Valley cabernet.

It is the iPad that sits on a counter at the entrance, with a typed little note: “Here is a glimpse of what you’re missing over at the main terminal right now.”

The screen shows travellers hauling bags through packed terminals, queuing in long lines, looking harassed and being swallowed into pushing, shoving paparazzi scrums – routine hazards for the 80 million people who pass through LAX each year.

“There they process thousands of people at a time, they’re barking. It’s loud. Here it’s very, very lovely,” said Gavin de Becker, who runs the new terminal, called Private Suite.

He wasn’t wrong. The $22m facility, the first of its kind in the US, opens on Monday, giving the 1% a whole new way to separate themselves from everyone else’s reality. Full story...

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Bad news...


HP Laptops Discovered To Be Spying On Users With Keylogger

Swiss cybersecurity firm Modzero has discovered that 28 models of HP laptops running the "MicTray64.exe" audio driver on Windows 7 and 10 systems - a little over 20% of all laptops - have been spying on users via a 'keylogger,' a program which records every keystroke made on the device. This means that passwords for banking, email accounts, and private communications on affected laptops are being stored locally - which "leads to a high risk of leaking sensitive user input."

"Users are not aware that every keystroke made while entering sensitive information - such as passphrases (or) passwords on local or remote systems - are captured by (the software)" -Modzero

When Modzero contacted HP about the issue the company went radio silent, so the Swiss firm went public with it's findings. When UK based Sky News picked up the story and reached out to HP, the company said they were "aware of the keylogger issue on select HP PCs."

HP told Sky News: "Our supplier partner developed software to test audio functionality prior to product launch and it should not have been included in the final shipped version. Fixes will be available shortly via HP.com." Full story...

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Jilted lover rapes woman with friend, beats her to death with bricks in Rohtak...

A 20-year-old woman was allegedly gang raped and killed in Haryana’s Rohtak by her jilted lover and his friend, who smashed her face with a brick and crushed the body under the wheels of their car to conceal her identity, police said on Saturday.

Stray dogs had eaten the victim’s face and lower portion of her body which was spotted by a passerby in an secluded area of the city in Haryana on May 11, police added.

The two accused, Sumit Kumar from Sonepat and Vikas from Uttar Pradesh, have been arrested.

The victim’s private parts were also mutilated by the accused, police said, adding that sedatives were found in her stomach during the post-mortem. The incident took place on May 9.

The incident took place weeks after the Haryana government launched a special drive teams called ‘Operation Durga’ to stop harassment of women in public places in the state, which has one of the worst sex ratio in the country. Full story...

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"This is not Islam." Former Pakitan prime minister's daughter criticises law forbidding public eating during Ramazan, says 'this is not Islam'

Perturbed by legislation making eating in public during Ramazan a jailable offence, Bakhtawar Bhutto took to Twitter to condemn the rule.
The daughter of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said the rule is not consistent with Islam as scores of people will die of dehydration, fearing punishment from the authorities.
“People are going to die from heat stroke and dehydration with this ridiculous law. Not everyone is able. This is not Islam,” she wrote. Full story...
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Saturday, May 13, 2017

The missing: Fury over Kashmir's disappeared men and boys grows amid security clampdown...

 On the 10th day of every month since 1994, a group of women gather in Srinagar.

Holding faded photographs and wiping away tears with their scarves, these women have doggedly protested for their missing relatives to be restored to them, but with no luck. That is, with no luck yet.

In India’s northern disputed Kashmir state "enforced disappearances" that happened after the armed Islamist insurgency erupted in the region in 1989 have not been forgotten.

Attendance at the park gathering, however, has grown in recent months as the levels of insurgency in the province have worsened and the clampdown by the security forces has tightened.

On Wednesday, as usual, more than 100 women came together to demand the return of their family members. Full story...

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Malaysia squeezes social media administrators...

With national elections looming, perhaps as early as August or September, the Malaysian government is warning its legions of myriad social media critics to knock off tweeting or posting content the government deems “inappropriate.”

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission has promulgated a new “advisory for group admins” that critics say is designed to coerce social media platforms such as Facebook and others in the country to censor postings by opponents of the government.

The Barisan Nasional, the national ruling coalition, has cause for concern. According to Steven Gan, editor of the independent news website Malaysiakini, the next election, which must be held before August of 2018 but is likely to be earlier, is likely to be fought out in social media, with as many as 70 percent of Malaysians online.

With the mainstream media – English, Malay and Chinese language newspapers, radio and television – in the hands of political parties aligned with the government, an increasing number of citizens are turning to the Internet to seek independent voices. Full story...

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The first hug...

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Disgruntled French voters urged to stay away from polling stations until 5pm...

A petition urging the French to vote late on Sunday has gathered tens of thousands of signatures. Emmanuel Macron could be in for a shock.
It is possible to block Marine Le Pen without supporting Emmanuel Macron, at least that's according to a petition that's quickly gaining traction in France.

The petition, set up by a group called "Entends Mavoix" ("Hear my voice"), has attracted over 50,000 supporters in its call for citizens to vote after 5pm in the second round of the presidential election on Sunday.

The reason?

France's Ministry of the Interior publishes participation reports at midday and at 5pm, meaning the fed up voters who vote late will be noticeably absent from the figure when published at 5pm - a move that they hope will let Macron know that all those who voted after were not voting for him but rather against Le Pen.

 "This text is neither a call to vote for Macron, nor to abstain. It's an offer for those who decided to vote against the National Front to be heard, and for their voice to be counted and made public," the petition reads. Full story...

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Stephen Fry faces blasphemy probe after God comments...

Police in the Republic of Ireland have launched an investigation after a viewer claimed comments made by Stephen Fry on a TV show were blasphemous.

Officers are understood to be examining whether the British comedian committed a criminal offence under the Defamation Act when he appeared on RTE in 2015.

Fry had asked why he should "respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world.... full of injustice".

He later said he was not "offensive towards any particular religion".

According to a report in the Irish Independent newspaper, no publicised cases of blasphemy have been brought before the courts since the law was introduced in 2009 and a source said it was "highly unlikely" that a prosecution against Fry would take place. Full story...

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UK government is secretly planning to break encryption and spy on people’s phones, reveals leaked document...

A leaked document reveals the UK government has drawn up yet further, disturbingly dystopian draft bulk surveillance powers, which would give authorities carte blanche to monitor citizens' live communications, and effectively illegalize encryption. A cybersecurity expert told Sputnik this has terrifying implications not merely for internet privacy.

The draft, produced by private consultation, was leaked to the Open Rights Group. It details rules that would fall under Section 267(3)(i) of the Investigatory Powers Act.

The rules would compel all communications companies — including phone networks and ISPs — to provide real-time access to any named individual's full content within a single working day, as well as any "secondary data" related to that individual, including encrypted content.

This means UK organizations will be precluded from introducing true end-to-end encryption of user data, and legally required to introduce backdoors to their systems, so authorities can monitor any and all communications. Such ease of access was demanded by Home Secretary Amber Rudd in the wake of the March 22 Westminster terrorist attack. Full story...

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900 suspected arrested as ‘darknet’ child porn kingpin jailed for 30yrs...

Nearly 900 members of a global ‘dark web’ pedophile ring sprawling Europe and the Americas have been arrested following a two-year investigation, the FBI and Europol reported after the website’s founder was handed a 30-year jail sentence.

Shedding light on the scope of the operation which is still active, the FBI revealed that in the US alone, 350 arrests were made as part of a wide-ranging investigation into Playpen – a secret website that is being referred to as possibly the biggest child pornography online dump that ever existed.

The arrests and other law enforcement actions related to the investigation were carried out “in countries far and near”, including Turkey, Peru, Chile, Ukraine, Israel and Malaysia, according to the FBI.

Europe accounts for the major share of arrests and convictions with 368 suspects being charged. A total of 870 arrests were made in connection with the case, according to Europol.

Over 300 children who had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of Playpen members have been identified or rescued. Full story...

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Friday, May 05, 2017

India court upholds 2012 Delhi gang rapists' death penalty...

India's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentences of four men convicted of the gang rape and murder of a student in Delhi.

Akshay Thakur, Vinay Sharma, Pawan Gupta and Mukesh were given the death penalty by a court in 2013.

Rejecting their appeal, Justice R Banumathi said the men committed "a barbaric crime" that had "shaken society's conscience".

The brutal gang rape led to nationwide outrage and and new anti-rape laws.

The 23-year-old physiotherapy student was attacked on a bus that she had boarded with her male friend as they returned home from watching a film in December 2012. Her friend was also beaten up.

Jyoti Singh - whose name was publicly revealed by her mother only in 2015 - died from injuries in a hospital 13 days later. Full story...

‘I went to my first orgy and loved it’

A gorgeous brunette is slowly undressing me. I can’t remember her name, but her face is somewhere around my waist, lips kissing my stomach, her hands grabbing my hips. We’re sliding over the edge of a black leather couch as she kneels on the floor, slowly slipping my black lace negligee over my head.

Her husband is sitting opposite us. Another woman is perched on the armrest above me, lightly stroking my arm and kissing my neck. Several men and women are standing around watching us.

It’s the hottest thing I’ve ever, ever experienced.

This is my first orgy — and it seems to be going pretty well. More specifically, I’m at an exclusive sex party being held by Killing Kittens. First started in the UK by Emma Sayle (who used to hang with Kate Middleton), these high-end events are all about the ladies — men are only allowed if they’re the guest of a woman. Female empowerment is central to Killing Kittens’ approach. Anything goes at these parties, but only when women initiate. Members are put through a vetting process before being allowed into the community and everyone signs a non-disclosure agreement. Full story...

Why real scientists think aliens would never eat humans...

When the Martians first land on Earth in the 1996 sci-fi comedy Mars Attacks!, for a moment it appears all will be fine. "We come in peace," says their leader, as the music swells and a dove soars overhead. Seconds later the Martian pulls out a laser gun and opens fire on a crowd of human onlookers. Yet another blockbuster alien invasion has begun.

That's Hollywood, of course. But the melodrama underscores one of humanity's most widely held fears: that if and when we do encounter extraterrestrial beings, they will wreak all kinds of havoc, much as they do in the movies.

Or will they? For his new book, Aliens: The World's Leading Scientists on the Search for Extraterrestrial Life, quantum physicist Jim Al-Khalili asked a series of experts to explore how humans might actually make contact with aliens. The possibility is not as far-fetched as it once seemed: since NASA launched its Kepler mission in 2009, researchers have discovered thousands of new planets and "revolutionized our concept of how many habitable worlds could exist," writes astrobiologist Nathalie Cabrol in one of the book's essays.

But while Hollywood suggests we should expect to battle their inhabitants, science tells a different story. Here, five popular alien myths that Aliens debunks. Full story...

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